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are promoted by seniority, as vacancies may
If we admire this system, what shall we say of our own ? Every officer of the British Navy with whom I have had the honour of conversing upon this subject, has acknowledged, that in our service, promotion entirely depends, not on merit, but on interest. If a man have no interest, he may, though an excellent officer and navigator, remain a Midshipman or Lieutenant all his life; and must submit to those keen and galling feelings of disappointment and vexation, which naturally arise at seeing one's juniors and inferiors promoted over one. If it were not that the generality of our meritorious but neglected officers are men without any private fortune, and possessing nothing but their swords, they would no doubt throw
their commissions in disgust, and leave a service, where court favour mocks at humble merit. Every well wisher to his country must regret, that a system is not altered, which, if continued, will ultimately ruin the high character of our Navy. When two hostile ships are bearing down upon one another, the palm of victory, is not for the smile or the bow of the courtier, but for the science and the courage of the man.
In contemplating the United States, it must strike every one as very extraordinary, that they should have become, in so short a time, the second of commercial nations, with a reasonable prospect of soon becoming the first. What has caused this wonderful prosperity? The answer is short-free institutions, and free trade.
There are no excise officers in the United States. An American farmer would not, were any one to tell him, believe that there is a country, where a man can neither make his superfluous barley into malt, nor grow a little tobacco for his own private use, although he might raise it as easily as cabbage—where he cannot drive a cart on springs, without paying extra tax for it--where &c. &c. &c. for enumeration is impossible.
This unshackled state of domestie industry gives an astonishing impulse to internal, and consequently to external commerce. No sooner has an American made a certain quantity of candles, spirits, leather, or &c. than he loads a boat with it, and sends it down the great rivers to some large commercial town, where he sells it, or exchanges it for any article of foreign produce.
The advantages of free trade are at present so
universally acknowledged, that it is unnecessary here to expatiate upon them. It may not however be amiss to observe, that no government, except that of the United States, has acted up to this knowledge. The Americans have no monopolies; and they impose none of those overwhelming duties, which impede commerce, diminish the revenue, and serve as a premium to smugglers. In what country, except the United States, can a man trade in any sized vessel to any part of the world whatsoever ?
There is nothing perhaps, in which the people of the United States so immeasurably excel all others, as in the construction of their merchant vessels.
The plan of building their larger merchant ships, long and sharp, and in that respect like fighting vessels, has been introduced for some time, and has answered beyond expectation. Hence the carrying trade from Liverpool to New York has been completely taken out of the hands of the English. Even the manufacturers of. Glasgow, as I have been informed by a respectable merchant of that place, find it answers better to send their goods to Liverpool, to be shipped from thence in American vessels, than to send them direct from Glasgow to America, in English vessels. The Americans may indeed triumphantly ask: “ Who sails, or who sends goods in an English merchant ship, when he can sail, or can send them in an
American ?” The reason will be evident to any one who will walk through the docks at Liverpool. He will see the American ships, long, sharp built, beautifully painted and rigged, and remarkable for their fine clean appearance and white canvas. He will see the English vessels, short, round, and dirty, resembling great black tubs. The contrast will be immediately remarked, even by those who have never been on board a ship; and in the cabins the contrast is even more striking. There is in fact just about the same difference, both in rate of sailing and in appearance, between an American and an English vessel, that there is between a racehorse and a cart-horse, or between a light postcoach and a heavy waggon.
It has been said : “ The English vessels carry larger cargoes"-true! but then they take nearly double the time to make the voyage. An English merchant very justly said to me: “ I would of course rather employ a vessel belonging to my own country; but you must at once perceive, that if I send a consignment to America of the value of 100,0001., it is of the greatest importance to me to have it delivered as soon as possible. Even the daily interest of such a sum is no trifle, and what then must I think of the interest of three weeks or a month? Accordingly, though I pay a higher freight, I always send my goods in American vessels.”
I am happy to say that some public-spirited individuals at Liverpool intend introducing a reform in the manner of constructing merchant vessels. Every friend of his country must wish them suc
The superiority of the American vessels as regards sailing is universally acknowledged. Their small craft, as schooners, sloops, &c., often sail from New York, and Boston, and the other commercial cities, to the West Indies and South America, in a space of time, which, compared with that taken by our English vessels, seems quite incredible. In standing up the Channel, I have really been quite astonished to see the rate at which we ran past all the English ships. An officer in the naval service of our East India Company told me, that the same observation may be made, with regard to the American vessels trading to China.
They can,” said he, “ sail round us, and I have no doubt would often make the same voyage as we do in one-third of the time ; but our vessels are built for carrying cargoes, and not for sailing." This may answer very well as long as the Company retains the monopoly of the China trade; but when it is thrown open, (which it is to be hoped will soon be the case,) they must build their vessels in a different manner, or give up all hopes
The Americans have practically demonstrated