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1794.]

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for other countries because of her fitness for navigation, and of her redundant population: but the interests of the United States, possessing a fertile and unsettled country, would not be promoted by drawing off her citizens from agriculture to navigation. Enough had already been done to encourage navigation, and its consequent growth had been sufficiently rapid. It promised to give that share in the transport of their commodities which their interests required.

'If, however, additional encouragement was to be given, then they urged that the duty on all foreign vessels should be increased, and the particular restrictions imposed by any nation on American vessels be precisely retaliated. The discriminations now proposed would merely encourage the shipping of one foreign nation at the expense of that of another.

But further: the United States had not yet sufficient shipping for the transportation of their produce. It must either be transported in foreign ships, or not transported at all. By and by it will be otherwise, but, in the meanwhile, for the Legislature to make it the interest of American citizens to employ French vessels in preference to English, by discriminations that would enhance the freight, would be a bounty to the shipping of France, which would be paid by American agriculture.

The navigation act of Great Britain, so much objected to, they said, was not directed against the United States more than against other nations. It was a long settled policy to which she was so much attached that she would probably rather forego the sale of her manufactures in the United States than abandon it. The right way, moreover, of opposing this system would be by correspondent restrictions, to which many would agree, who were opposed to the resolutions.

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[CHAP. VII.

Nor would the manufactures of the United States be encouraged merely by shifting commerce from one channel to another. This could be done only by laying protecting duties or prohibitions on such articles as were or could be manufactured at home.

If Great Britain could furnish the commodities wanted by the United States, at a cheaper rate than other countries, a prohibitory duty on such commodities would force our citizens to resort to worse and to dearer markets. The country was not able, of itself, to supply the manufactures it required. Until it was, it would be unwise to prohibit their importation.

The only effect, then, of the proposed policy would be to force trade from one nation to another. This is, however, a delicate and difficult office. Though embarrassed for a while, commerce will eventually overcome these artificial obstacles, and regulate itself. That its present course is natural is proved by the acknowledged necessity of using violent means to change it.

They urged that it was inconsistent to complain of British restrictions on American commerce, and at the same time that Great Britain obtained more than her fair proportion of it. Its large amount showed that it was not heavily burdened. If she purchased more than she consumed, it must be because it was the interest of America to sell to her the excess. She could purchase such excess only by offering better terms than any other nation.

If the importation of British manufactures was prohibited, and America obtained her supplies from other countries, accustomed to manufacture only for themselves, it would create a demand in those countries for British fabrics, and thus we should still encourage the consumption of those manufactures, though at an increased cost:

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and that the present time, when all is in confusion in France, was particularly unfavorable to the experiment of obtaining manufactures from her.

"We lay a stress," they remark, "on the importance and peculiar value of our products-many of them being the necessaries of life, which we seem to suppose that other nations cannot dispense with; yet we complain of the British prohibition of our grain except when its price is high. But the products of America are also the products of other soils, and may of course be supplied by other countries. Indeed, some of our products, which now find a market abroad, might, on a fair competition, be excluded. In this way formidable rivals to the American producer may arise, and be continued longer than these resolutions.

The credit given by British merchants was maintained to be of solid benefit to the United States, deficient as they were in commercial capital. But it was denied that any political influence resulted from it, in proof of which it was urged that although large debts were due from Virginia, her Representatives come forward with spirit to oppose Great Britain, while the Representatives from the East, where the people are not in debt to the English merchants, are opposed to these resolutions.

It was said to exhibit a mortifying spectacle, that the Legislature of the Union was deliberating not concerning the welfare of their own citizens, but upon the relative circumstances of two European nations, and upon the question which of them has the best form of government, or feels the most affection for us, and on that course of measures which we should adopt as most likely to humble the one, and exalt the other.

If the conduct of Great Britain was as hostile as was represented, the adoption of commercial regulations, of a

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[CHAP. VII. navigation act, and the whole parade of shutting ports and freeing trade from its shackles, was not a fit remedy for the evil.

"After continued negotiation," said one of the speakers,1 "should an obstinate denial of justice be still experienced, I would teach the world that the United States are no less prompt in commanding justice to be done them, than they have been patient and industrious in attempting to obtain it by fair and peaceable means. Away with your milk and water regulations. If the subject be considered merely as a commercial one, the resolutions go too far, and attempt too much; but as a hostile measure, they fall infinitely short of the mark, and do too little."

It may seem strange that both the Northern and Southern States should, on this question of protecting navigation and manufactures, have maintained principles directly opposite to those which they have subsequently supported, as well as opposite to their respective interests, and when those interests were as distinctly seen as at any time since: but a main object of the resolutions being to retaliate on Great Britain and to benefit France, on which points the two great divisions of the country were directly opposed and were equally warm, they were both, in support of their feelings of preference for one nation and hostility to the other, willing to make a sacrifice of their interests. The South was content to pay dearer for manufactures, as well as for the carriage of their produce to foreign markets, and the North to forego the benefits to their navigation and rising manufactures which would result from the exclusion of British competition. Pecuniary interests often present but a feeble

1 Mr. Tracy, of Connecticut.

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resistance to popular sympathy, and none at all to popular antipathy.

The resentment against Great Britain was much increased during this debate, by the intelligence of the new order in council of the sixth of November, which has been mentioned, and which was not promulgated in England until some weeks after it issued. Under this order many American vessels were seized, sent into British ports, and their cargoes condemned in the viceadmiralty courts. This order, which inflamed the feelings of the Republican or Anti-Anglican party to the highest pitch, was also not without its effect on their opponents. They regarded it as evidence that Great Britain had decided on war with the United States, and they were, moreover, with all their good-will towards Great Britain in her present contest with France, not disposed to submit to such a flagrant violation of neutral rights. They accordingly set about preparing for the unwelcome result which seemed so probable.

This debate was protracted to the third of February, when the question having been taken on the first resolution, it was carried by a majority of five. The subject was then postponed to the first Monday in March.

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The policy of establishing a permanent navy was the next important subject of discussion in the House of Representatives.

Early in January, the Naval Committee had recommended this policy. The force proposed was six frigates

four of forty-four guns, and two of thirty-six guns. The Algerines, before January, were known to have taken eleven American vessels, and to have made captives of more than one hundred American citizens.

This measure was opposed by the Republican party as

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