British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

exported in these foreign vessels. The Lords of this Committee, therefore, take the liberty of recommending to the Duke of Portland, that His Grace should call the attention of the Governors of these Islands to a proper discharge of their duty in this respect, and to a discreet exercise of the power so assumed by them, and remind them, that as they are acting contrary to the Laws of Navigation which they are sworn to observe, their justification and indemnity from penalties must depend upon the sense which Parliament shall entertain of the propriety and discretion of their conduct on these occasions. . . .


22
JOSEPH MARRYAT: CONCESSIONS TO AMERICA THE BANE OF BRITAIN, 18071

. . . One grievance, of which the British colonies feel the weight, is the system adopted by the mother country towards the colonies captured from the enemy, which are immediately put on the same favoured footing as her own legitimate possessions, and have her home consumption opened to them. The British market is now clogged with the produce of Demerary, Surinam, Tobago, and St. Lucia; while, by the policy of the enemy, the produce of the colonies of Great Britain is excluded from almost every part of the continent of Europe. The cultivation and population of these temporary possessions are augmented by British capital and British speculators; and, as they before were, so they again probably will be, restored to their former owners, with increased means of rivalling the British colonies in the continental markets at a peace, after having done them infinite injury in the British market during war.

But the great cause of the distress under which the British planters labour is that Great Britain gives even the colonies of which the enemy retains possession such superior advantages to those which her own colonies enjoy, as have already aggrandized the former in an extraordinary degree, and as, if continued, must inevitably ruin the latter. In former wars, the hostile powers could only maintain a commercial intercourse with their colonies by hazarding their fleets to carry it on. This necessity has led to some of the most brilliant naval victories of Great Britain, and constantly enriched her navy with the spoils of the enemy. But now that not a ship of any power with which we are at war, dare shew itself on the ocean, that our enemies have no practicable means of carrying on their own commerce with their colonies, Great Britain injudiciously permits a neutral power to

____________________
1
Concessions to America the Bane of Britain; or the Cause of the Present Distressed Situation of the British Colonial and Shipping Interests explained, and the Proper Remedy suggested, Lond. 1807, pp. 5-10 and 36-41. Joseph Marryat, M.P., a Colonial Agent for Grenada and Trinidad, defended West India preference and attacked slave emancipation and the African Institution.

-280-

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