British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

to take their returns in the goods of those countries, than to make a second voyage to procure goods in Great Britain: and that this consideration, joined with the partiality which the colonists of every nation have for the productions of their mother countries, induces the Americans to increase their importation, not of British but of foreign manufactures, as well for their own consumption as for the supply of the colonies of the enemy. . . .


23
ALEXANDER BARING: AN INQUIRY INTO THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF THE ORDERS IN COUNCIL, 18081

It might naturally have been expected that, in proportion as our vigilant enemy, pursuing his system of war on our commerce, succeeded in gradually banishing it first from his own dominions, and subsequently from the whole of the Continent of Europe, with the single exception of the poor and barren country of Sweden, considerable loss and embarrassment to several branches of that commerce must ensue. The West India planters, who, from causes which we shall hereafter notice, had extended their cultivation much beyond the consumption of the mother country, were the first to complain. The ship-owners, excluded from one port after the other on the Continent, as they fell under the dominion of France, and suffering in some degree from the distress of the West India planters, soon followed them. The exporter of goods to the Continent had lost his trade, and in many instances part of his outstanding capital. The East India Company's warehouses were loaded with goods belonging to the Company and individuals, for which there was a very inadequate demand.

These several important and powerful bodies united the principal commercial interests of the country: their distress was well known to be real, and could not fail to attract the attention of the public and of Government. But the remedy was not so apparent: for want of any satisfactory solution of the difficulty, perhaps also from an inconsiderate disposition to involve in their common misfortunes the only remaining branch of trade left uninjured, a state of things, the real cause of which was sufficiently obvious, was ascribed by all to the intercourse of neutrals with the Continent of Europe; and the want

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1
An Inquiry into the Causes and Consequences of the Orders in Council: and an Examination of the Conduct of Great Britain towards the Neutral Commerce of America, Lond. 1808, pp. 1-4, 161-3, 167. Alexander Baring, M.P. (later Baron Ashburton), banker and financier, son of Sir Francis Baring (see above, pp. 17-19), had close connexions with the United States by business and marriage. He was an early advocate of freer trade, though Peel's policy in the 1840's was later to alarm him.

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