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with the production of the colonies, has been long known and felt here, which must, under the existing laws has been lately fully proved before a be carried and deposited there, whe- committee of the house of Commons, ther there shall or shall not be a that, from the operations of the prospect of exportation. The excess causes which we have only briefly of importation, above the consump- adverted to, the great staple of the tion of the United Kingdom, is British West-Indies, sugar, does not nearly two-fifths of the whole quan- sell in the markets of the mother tity, or above 100,000 hogsheads of country for the duties, with the exsugar ; but the loss of two-fifths of pences and charges of sending it the gross produce of his estate will there. And that, with the excepbe far from the measure of the tion, of a few plantations on a very planter's damage; the remainder can large scale, or under circumstances never bear a fair price, whilst the peculiarly fortunate, no revenue quantity in the market so far ex- whatever is left to the planter, for: ceeds what the consumer requires: the support of his family, or the sąWhich excess and depression are in- tisfaction of his creditors. creased by encouraging a licensed . The committee need hardly re: intercourse with the Island of St. present that the only permanent Domingo or Hayti. 8th, The ex, source of taxation must be the clear cessive duties which continued to revenue of the individuals compobe levied on this staple now bearing sing the society, who give up a no proportion to the price, falling proportion of it to the general use, nearly, if not wholly, on the grower, and for the common sufety, in whatand not as has been at all times ever that proportion may be raised. intended or professed, on the con- lfa community shall ever be reduced sumer.
10 that calamitous situation, when To these may be added the dis- the whole clear income of the procourgement to the planters by the prietors of the soil shall have been consumption, in the navy and other put in requisition for the treasury, wise, of foreign brandies and spirits, there can remain in that country few the use of which might be in a great objects of iegitimate taxation. measure superseded by rum. A It has been proved beyond the policy infringing the system of reci- possibility of being controverted, procal monopoly, and aggravating that the cultivators of sugar in this distress, which more liberal conduct island, comprehending both landtowards the colonies might have alle holders and farmers, are, with very viated.
few exceptions, in the unfortunate Continuing upon coffee a duty, state supposed, even if they wero amounting to a prohibition, in place exempt from the burthen of debts. of endeavouring to bring this whole The greatest proportion of the some beverage into general use, taxes of this country is raised on this must be a just subject of complaint body of proprietors directly, and a to the inhabitants of this island, and considerable share of the remainder must by the committee be adverted indirectly, through various classes of to, as affecting the price of an im- the inhabitants, whose chief means portant staple, which may soon be of support are drawn from the sugar excluded from the continental mar- plantations. ket, through the only channel open It were vain to search for means to the grower.
of levying part of a revenue that, But the overwhelming distress of does not exist. And it is painful to the sugar-planter, swallows up all the committee to state, that it will inferior and less pressing evils. What be impracticable to continue to raise
within this island, those contribu- ters to adopt proper measures for tions which were chearfully paid in our relief and redress. happier times, unless the sugar plan- Ordered, that Mr. Stevenson, Mr. ters shall be enabled to support Grant, Mr. Whitehorne, Mr. Sims, their share of the public burthens, and Mr. Finlayson, be a committee by some radical, effectual, and per- for that purpose. manent, measures, which shall restore and ensure to them an income, 2. Resolved— That;this house, for bearing a just proportion to their itsell, and on the part of its constilarge capitals, on which our local tuents, and of all other persons in taxes have been heretofore.chiesty any manner concerned in the welassessed.
fare of this island, do, in the most That, from the unexpected sums solemn and decided manner, protest which have been, and may be, col- against the act of the impe.ial parlected, from the extraordinary im- liament, passed on the 25th day of portation of Africans, as before March last, entitled, • an act for stated, and the unexpecied falling the abolition of the slave trade,' not in of debts due to the public, it may only as a breach, on the part of gobe practicable, with rigid economy vernment, of the conditions under in all other branches of the public which his Majesty's subjects em. expenditure,, to continue such sub- barked in the settlement of this issistence another year. And the land, but as a novel, unjust, and uncommittee recommend to the house constitutional interference with its to vote sums necessary for giving the internal government and affairs ; said additional subsistence to the calculated to defeat and subvert our 31st day of December, 1808. The laws, to ileprive us of our dearest committee humbly hope, that, on a birth-right, the trial by jury, to faithful representation to our most raise envy and jealousy in the breast gracious Sovereign, of the calamin of the settled negroes ; subversive tous situation to which his loyal of an ancient and adınitted princi. subjects of this island are reduced, ple of the British constitution, that his Majesty, with his accumstoined no laws can be binding on those who benevolence, will recognize the uni are not represented in the parlia. form zeal with which the voluntary ment which enacts them, placing contributions towards the comfort not only our rights and properties, of his Majesty's troops in this island but also our lives, in the most imhave been made, whilst the inhabin minent danger, and tending to protants had the means : and, consi- mote disaffection in the minds of his dering the state to which proprietors, Majesty's most loyal subjects. once opulent, are reduced, that his 3. That the legislature of this island Majesty will be pleased to direct has, and ever had, the exclusive his ministers to adopt such measures and absolute right to enact its own as shall be necessary for protecting laws, and to regulate entirely its interthis yet important colony from the nal government and affairs :-That general funds of the empire, to which the imperial parliament hath not, it contributes so large and dispropor- nor hath any other power upon tionate a share. And the committee earih, the most distant right to in, recommend to the house to appoint terfere therein (except only his Maa committee to prepare a most jesty, in the instance of disallowing humble address to his Majesty, set- the laws here made) ; and that in uing forth these our grievances and support of the dearest rights and oppressions, earnestly beseeching bis liberties of our fellow subjects, it is Majesty's commands on his minis. our duty, by all constitutional means in our power, to resist the attempt 7. That, under the pressure of a that has been, and every attempt heavy public debt, and of individual that may be made, to destroy or to distress, now actually felt and beabridge that right.
come insupportable ; and from the 4. That this house, in more fortu- prospect of the calamities which pate days, when the situation of the must be the inevitable consequence inhabitants of this island was differ- of the abolition act, it is absolutely ent ; and when the burthens and re- necessary to relieve all ranks, by strictions imposed by Great Britain moderating the taxes, and by rèwere infinitely less oppressive than trenching the public expenditure in they now are, has never failed in every possible manner, even in some shewing the strongest disposition to cases of acknowledged public benefit render the situation of his Majesty's and advantage. That the vote of troops in this island inost comfort- the house, refusing the annual grant able ; and that this house is still of 15,000l. for roads at a distance influenced by the same disposition, from the sea, by which internal but is totally deprived of the same settlers, who so much augment our means.
· strength, are discouraged, should be 5. That the usual pay and subsis. followed up by a resolution to sustence granted to his Majesty's white pend for the present all grants for troops stationed in this 'island, to public buildings and barracks, exthe extent of 3,000 men, be conti- cept in a limited degree, and under nued to them until ihe 31st of De- very apparent necessity. cember, 1808 ; in the first place by 8. That the further prosecution of exhausting the funds to arise from the measures about to be adopted in the duties on new negroes, under the the imperial parliament for the react commonly called the additional lief of the sugar-colonies; the reduty bill, and as to the deficiency peal in toto of the abolition act; or, out of the monies to arise from some if that cannot be effected, the absoor one of the other money-bills to be lute repeal, at least of all the obpassed this session.
noxious and unconstitutional enact6. That the abolition act, by its ments thereof, coupled with a full totally destroying, for the future, compensation to the island for its the customary revenue , under the losses, sufferings, and disappointe, Negro duty bill, by its baneful ef- ments, in consequence of:he abolifects on our ordinary resources, and tion of the trade ; the adoption by its general tendency to overwhelm the British government of the means the unfortunate settlers and inbabi- of affording general protection to tants of the island, in combination this colony at the general expence with the excessive duties and charges of the empire ; and, above all, an on our produce, and the well-known abandonment by the imperial pardistress of the colony, render us liament of every pretension to an totally unable to make any provi. interference with our internal gosion for his Majesty's troops, beyond vernment or affairs, are objects of the period above-mentioned, nor the highest importance to this island, can we contemplate a renewal of and call for the immediate, the such grants, until, by a redress of serious, and most energetic atten. our grievances, the minds of our tion of the island agent. constituents respecting our constiturional rights shall be quieted, and A postscript to the St Jago de la the possession of the means shall Vega gazette, of October 29, conagain enable us to bear so heavy a tains a long report, made by a comburden.
mittee of the house of Assembly of the Island of Jamaica, to whom the infamous principle, that the fag act passed in the last session of of a nation does not cover goods, and the imperial parliament of the uni- to give to their right of blockade an ted kingdom of Great Britain, for arbitrary extension, and which inthe abolition of the Slave Trade, fringes on the sovereignty of every was referred. A number of letters stale; we have decreed, and do from Spanish town inforın us, that decree, as follows : it was expedient to suppress several Art. J. Every ship, to whatever strong passages, descriptive of the nation it may belong, that shall present temper, strength, and de- have submitted to be searched by signs of the negroes, that they might an English ship, or to a voyage to not inflame them.
England, or ihat shall have paid any tax whatsoever to the English
government, is thereby. and for IMPERIAL DECREJ. ihat alone, declared to be denationRejoinder to his Britannic Majesty's alized, to have forfeited the protecorder in council of the 11th of tion of its King, and to have become November, 1807.
Art. li. Whether the ships dena. - At our Royal Palace at Milan, tionalizcd by the arbitrary measures
Dec, 17, 1807. uf the English governmernt, enter Napoleon, Emperor of the French, into our ports, or those of our King of Italy, and protector of the allies, or whether they fall into the Rhenish confederation :-Obscrving hands of our ships of war, or of our the measures adopted by the British privateers, they are declared to be government, on the 11th of Novem- good and lawful prizes. ber last, by which vessels belonging Art. 111. The British islands are to neutral, friendly, or even powers declared to be in a state of blockade the allies of England, are made both by sea and land. Evety ship, liable, not only to be searched by of whatever nation, or whatsocver English cruizers, but to be compul- the nature of its cargo so may be, sorily detained in England, and to that sails from the ports of Eng. have a tax laid on them of so much land, or those of the English coloper cent on the cargo, to be regula- nies, or to countries occupied by ted by the British legislature: English troops, is good and lawsul
Observing that by these acts the prize, as contrary to the present British government denationalizes deciee; and may be captured by ships of every nation in Europe, our ships of war or our privateers, that it is not competent for any go- and adjudged to the captor. vernment i detract from its own Art, IV. These measures, which independence and rights, all the are resorted to only in just retaliaSovereigns of Europe having in tion of the barbarous systein adopted trust the sovereignties and indepen- by England, which assimilates its dence of the flag; ihat if by an legislation to that of Algiers, shall unpardonable weakness, and which cease to have any effect with resin the eyes of posterity, would be pect to all nations who shall have an indelible, stain, such a tyranny the firmness to compel the English was allowed to be established into government to respect their flag. principles and consecrated by usage, They shall continue to be rigorously the English would avail themselves in force as long as that government of it to assert it as a right, as they does not return to the principle of have availed themselves of the tole- the law of nations, which regulates rance of governinents to establish the the relations of civilized states in a state of wår. The provisions of the going to be aggravated by the ineapresent decree shall be abrogated sures lately adopted by England ; and null, in fact as soon as the but they will find our minds made English abide again by the princi- up to struggle against, and to overples of the law of vations, which are come, this new mode of oppression. also the principles of justice and of We must not shut our eyes to the honour.
consequence. Importation and exAll our ministers are charged with portation, already so much restricthe execution of ibe present decree, ted, will soon be much more so. which shall be inserted in the bulle. Every thing connected with maritin of the laws.
time commerce, every thing that NAPOLEON. depends upon it, will now be liable
to more difficulties, to more uncer
tainty. There are, however, two As a Supplement to this decree channels that still remain open. there is in the official journal the The power of attacking every following circular letter, addressed ship that renounces the independence by the minister of the interior to the of its national flag, by a shameful chambers of commerce.
submission to British sovereignty, You are not unacquainted, gen- and by navigating under a British tlemen, with the late acts of the licence, will open a wide field to the British government, that last stage hopes of our commanders. Such a of the oppression of the commerce resource will not nrove ineflectual of the world; you know that it has and French commerce will not devote resolved to destroy the feeble remains itself uselessly to that sort of warfare of the independence of the seas. It which never lets courage, dexterity, now ihinks proper, that henceforth and decision, go unrewarded. no ships shall navigate the seas with We have moreover to hope that out touching at its ports, without a neutral ships will elude the vigilance tribute to its pretended sovereignty; of the English cruizers; the imand without receiving from it an mense extent of the coasts of the ignoininious licence.
' 'empire will favour and protect their Thus the ocean is henceforward enterprises.. i only the field of slavery ; the usur- These resources ought not to be pation of the most sacred of the undervalued, not counted for norights of nations is consummated, thing. France will submit to a and this tyrannic yoke is to press temporary situation, which can only upon them untill the day of ven- change with time, and with new geance, or until brought to a due exertions ; but her enemy shall not sense of moderation, the English, deprive her .of the main basis of her government will itself calm its rage prosperity, her internal communiand break that sceptre to which the cation, her relations with the conti. nitions of the continent will never nent, where she no longer sees any consent to submit.
but friends or allies ; her soil will I am calling our common atten- not be be less fertile, her industry tion to the important circumstances will not maintain itself the less, which must powerfully induce us to though deprived of some materials awake your patriotism and your which it is not impossible to replace. wisdom. One would have iamgined, To this last proposition I am that every obstruction and restraint rather anxious, gentlemen to direct that clogged the course of the com- your attention. You have advice merce on the continent, had been to give, and examples to hold out : exhausted; siill, towever, they are to commerce. You must already