Page images

The had made fome progrefs, on the union of the two kingdoms, from a conviction that it might be better, cheaper, and more for the general advantage carried on here. The parliament of Great Britain have affifted the linen manufactory and the fisheries in that country, and will no doubt continue to aid, to regulate, and to protect them.

Agriculture in its utmost extent is the common interest of both islands, and must contribute to their common felicity, by fecuring plenty, and augmenting the number of their inhabitants. Manufactures and commerce reft fafely, and can only reft fafely upon this bafis, and must be always extenfive and advantageous, when provifions of all kinds, and in all places, are cheap. The efforts of industry must be regulated for the common profit by the public policy. The natural difpofition of our commodities being the fureft rule; the rewarding knowledge and labour, the ftigmatizing ignorance and idleness, the moft effectual means; and fo directing these as to make the welfare of the Empire the continual object of our combined endeavours. By this method the noble fpirit of improvement proceeding from its proper center, and diffufing itself on every fide, industry finding, through all the wide extent of the British territories, perpetual materials for its operations, muft by degrees act upon the whole, and being directed by this excellent principle, all the efforts of individuals, will, by the wife conduct of government, terminate in the general happiness of its fubjects. For Mr. Houghton's maxim will for ever hold true, that a triple league amongst our three kingdoms, is the only one of which we stand in need, the fecurity, ftability, and profperity of this great state requiring, under the protection of Divine Providence, no other fupport than a firm junction of its parts; and when thoroughly understood, it will be found, that their feparate interests afford the ftrongest motives to this union.'

Dr. Campbell then proceeds to confider the eftablishment of property, the fource of public credit, and the nature of banking and circulation; together with the improvements made by bridges, public pofts for literary correfpondence, canals, &c. The following obfervations on bounties, we think, deferve attention: All undertakings, in refpect either to mercantile enterprizes, or in the establishment of manufactures, are weak and feeble in their beginnings, and, if unfuccefsful, either fink entirely, or at least are seldom revived in the fame age. Accidents of this nature are not only deftructive to private perfons, but exceedingly detrimental to the public intereft. On this principle, more especially fince trade, for which Providence defigned us, hath been attended to, fuch attempts have been thought deferving, and have been frequently favoured with public fupport. This in former times

Rev. Aug. 1774.


ufually flowed from the crown, in the form of letters patent, charters, or other grants of privileges, which, however requifite they might be, were notwithstanding very frequently ob jects of cenfure. If fuch as obtained them failed in their endeavours, they were reputed projectors. If, on the other hand, they fucceeded, they were confidered as monopolizers. In later times, and in concerns of moment, a much better method hath been adopted, as often as it has been found practicable, by rejecting private or particular intereft, and propofing the defigned advantages to fuch as fhould perform the ftipulations on which they are granted. These bounties, as they are paid by the public, fo they are folely calculated for the benefit of the public. They are fometimes given to encourage induftry and application in raifing a neceffary commodity, which was intended by the bounty on exporting corn. Sometimes for promoting manufactures, as in the cafe of those made of filk. Sometimes to fupport a new manufacture against foreigners already in poffeffion of it, as in making linen and fail-cloth. Such affiftances, however, are never bestowed but upon mature deliberation, in virtue of strong proofs, and with a moral certainty of national benefit. The great intention of bounties is, to place the British trader on fuch ground, as to render his commerce beneficial to his country. In order to this, fome profit muft accrue to himfelf, otherwise he would not embark therein; but this, whatever it be, muft prove inconfiderable in comparison of what refults to the public. For if, by the help of fuch a bounty, one or many traders export to the value of a thousand, ten thousand, or a hundred thousand pounds worth of commodities or manufactures, whatever his or their profit or lofs (for the latter, through avidity and over-loading the market, fometimes happens) may be, the nation gains the thousand, ten thousand, or hundred thousand pounds, which was the object of the Legiflature in granting the bounty. It is indeed true, that on whatever account, or to whatever amount, this reward is given, the public feem to pay, and private perfons feem to receive. But thefe private perfons receive it as the hire from the public, for performing a fervice which otherwise they would not perform, the benefit of which accrues to the public; that can therefore very well afford to pay that reward in reality, which, as we have ftated it, the only feems to do. For, looking a little closer, we cannot help difcerning, that the bounty is paid to individuals, who, as fuch, make a part of the public. But the commodities or manufactures exported, are fold to foreigners, and the whole produce of them, be it what it will, comes into the purfe of the public, in one corner of which, the original bounty was left, and in another will lie the merchant's profit.

It was neceffary to state this point at large, because many miftakes have been made about it; to obviate which for the future, let these three circumstances be continually borne in mind, in respect to this mode of affifting agriculture, manufactures, and commerce. First, that no bounty can be defired, but on the plea of national utility, which always deferves notice, and cannot eafily be mistaken. It must be likewise alleged and proved, that this is the only means by which the national benefit can be obtained. In the fecond place, the fums iffued on this account, not only fhew the clear expence of the bounty, but also indicate the profit gained by the public; for, as the one cannot exift without the other, that amount must be the inconteftible index of both. Lastly, let it be remembered (and of this too fome, inftances might be given) if bounties fhould be improperly beftowed, they will of courfe prove ineffectual, and, after a few fruitlefs trials, will remain unclaimed, confequently produce no expence. To thefe remarks we may add, that bounties are ufually granted but for a limited time, and then expire, are always liable to be fufpended, and of course can never be the cause of any great national lofs.'

The third book contains an hiftory of Britain, to the time of Henry the Seventh; the Author's view in this detail, is thus explained: The proper object of this work was not by any means to add to the number either of the defcriptions or hiftories of the British dominions, but to apply fuch materials as could be found in them, or in our laws, to explain what hath been already, or what hereafter may be done, for the improvement of thefe ifles, and the emolument of their inhabitants. In profecution of this undertaking, we have had frequent occafions of mentioning the very different circumstances in which they have been in different periods of time, and sometimes to mention the causes; but this hath been done as briefly as might be, intending to give in this book, as fuccinctly as poffible, an account of the feveral nations that have borne rule in this country, and the policies they introduced. This feemed to be indifpenfably neceffary, to obviate what might otherwife be taken for inconfiftences, to vindicate fome affertions that may appear but flightly grounded, and more especially to do that justice it certainly merits, to our excellent conftitution, to which our paft and prefent happiness hath been owing, and upon which it muft always depend. This, it is conceived, can never be fo perfpicuously performed, as by fuch a regular deduction, from which the fpirit, genius, and manners of our respective ancestors will be beft difcerned, the influence of government on the temper and condition of the people rendered evident, and from thence the various viciffitudes thefe countries have undergone, from better to worse, and from worfe to better again, 1 2


may be fo clearly accounted for, and fo fully explained, as to give the candid Reader that fatisfaction which he muft natorally with to have in refpect to so interefting and fo important a fubject.'

The fourth book contains an account of the revenues among the most antient inhabitants of Britain; of the revenues raised by the Romans while they were mafters of Britain, of those of the Saxon monarchs; of the revenue, from the coming in of the Normans to the restoration; and from the restoration to the late peace.

In book V. the Author treats on the curious and important fubject of colonies. Dr. Campbell concludes his account of our fettlements in the Eaft Indies, in the following manner :

This very fuccinct description and detail of our poffeffions in the Eaft, and of the advantages arifing from them, demonftrates clearly of how great confequence they are to Great Britain. The manner in which they have been attained, hath been alfo plainly stated; but without defcanting upon that, it is a point of much more importance to confider how they may be retained; for this, beyond all doubt, is become a very important national object. Their diftance, and their extent, may feem to render this exceedingly difficult, but if requifite to national fafety and profperity, it ought by no means to be looked on as impoffible. The first step feems to be fo to connect the feveral prefidencies, as that by a concurrence of councils and of forces when neceflary, they may reciprocally affift each other, for then all their feparate and diftinct interests would in every inftance receive the support of the whole. A mild, uniform, and per⚫manent government fhould be established in every prefidency, allowing the natives to live according to their own manners and customs, which are fuited to the foil and climate to which they are enured by habit, and the altering of which in the end, might prove as contrary to our interefts, as in the beginning it would be to their inclinations. The laws of this country fteadily and ftrictly enforced by respectable courts of judicature, would controul the conduct of Europeans. The abfolute protection from every fpecies of oppreffion in either their perfons or properties, would restore industry and manufactures amongst the inhabitants, as well as conciliate their affections, increase their numbers, and induce them, from a fenfe of their being perfectly fecure, to bring to light their hidden, and now useless treasures. Foreign commerce properly encouraged would foon return, and extending through new channels augment the confumption of our commodities, enlarge the circle of correfpondence through the Indies, furnish new articles for our fales, and bring many of the old ones hither on easier terms. The whole of this arrangement, once thoroughly digefted, and fully car

ried into execution, would, under the conftant inspection and protection of the Legislature, preferve in perfect harmony every branch of this political and commercial fyftem."

Dr. C. then proceeds to treat of our fettlements in Africa, and afterwards to confider thofe very important and flourishing ones, the American Colonies, and the Leeward Iflands. He finishes his accounts in these words: This arduous task is at length accomplished, and it may be permitted to fay, that even this very fuccinct inventory of our different poffeffions, for fuch it is, and is given for no more, fufficiently fhews the extent of the British Empire, and the grandeur to which it is arrived. This, to a candid and confiderate Reader, will appear the clearest demonstration of the excellence of that conftitution, by which fuch amazing effects have been manifeftly produced. By this, as it was acquired, it hath been alfo hitherto upheld, and as far as human forefight can difcern, will continue to fubfift fo long as that conftitution fhall retain its vigour. An argument furely, of all others, the ftrongeft, for our warm and fteady adherence thereto, as that upon which our all, and how great an all this is, this book hath in fome degrees explained, muft ever depend, It is true, the foundation is wonderfully wide, and the fuperftructure raised thereon is as wonderfully fuperb, but the fame power that with the affiftance of Providence raifed, will be undoubtedly able, through the fame affiftance, to fupport it, if we are not wanting to that and to ourselves, in the exertion of unanimity and public fpirit, which, having fuch encouragement to perfe verance, we cannot from fo brave, fo generous, and fo enlightened a nation as this, have any occafion to fufpect.'

The fixth book is entitled, The Commercial Interefts of Great Britain; and contains a comprehenfive view of our trade with Ruffia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the free cities of Germany, the Auftrian Netherlands, the United Provinces, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, &c. the coafting trade between Great Britain and Ireland, and its connection with foreign commerce, the nature of our inland trade, and the rife of markets, marts, and fairs, the eftablishment of towns and cities, and the probable advantages of canals.

The last chapter, is entitled, Farther Improvements fill necefJary. Here Dr. Campbell mentions our delects and refources. He propofes feveral improvements in agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, and concludes in the following manner: Thefe inftances, to which if it had appeared neceffary, very many more might have been added, fhew plainly that in the moft ca pital points we have very pregnant refources, and are in no danger of declining through want of means to proceed We may likewife, on the juft grounds of experience, in refpect to cultivation, manufactures, and commerce, expect that our re

I 3


« PreviousContinue »