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must act with as little authority as skill. The prerogative of the crown is utterly inadequate to the object; because all regulations are, in their nature, restrictive of some liberty. In the reign, indeed, of Charles the First, the council, or committees of council, were never a moment unoccupied, with affairs of trade. But even where they had no ill intention (which was sometimes the case) trade and manufacture suffered infinitely from their injudicious tamperings. But since that period, whenever regulation is wanting (for I do not deny, that sometimes it may be wanting) parliament constantly sits; and parliament alone is competent to such regulation. We want no instructions from boards of trade, or from any other board; and God forbid we should give the least attention to their reports. Parliamentary inquiry is the only mode of obtaining parliamentary information. There is more real knowledge to be obtained, by attending the detail of business in the committees above stairs, than ever did come, or ever will come from any board in this kingdom, or from all of them together. An assiduous member of parliament will not be the worse instructed there, for not being paid a thousand a year for learning his lesson. And now that I speak of the committees above stairs, I must say, that having till lately attended them a good deal, I have observed that no description of members give so little attendance, either to communicate, or to obtain instruction upon matters of commerce, as the honourable members of the grave board of trade. I really do not recollect that I have ever seen one of them in that sort of business. Possibly some members may have better memories; and may call to mind some job that may have accidentally brought one or other of them, at one time or other, to attend a matter of commerce.

This board, Sir, has had both its original formation, and its regeneration, in a job. In a job it was conceived, and in a job its mother brought it forth. It made one among those shewy and specious impositions, which one of the experiment-making administrations of Charles the Second held out to delude the people, and to be substituted in the place of the real service which they might expect from a parliament annually sitting. It was intended, also to corrupt that body whenever it should be permitted to sit. It was projected in

the year 1668, and it continued in a tottering and rickety childhood for about three or four years, for it died in the year 1673, a babe of as little hopes as ever swelled the bills of mortality in the article of convulsed or over-laid children, who have hardly stepped over the threshold of life.

It was buried with little ceremony; and never more thought of, until the reign of King William, when in the strange vicissitude of neglect and vigour, of good and ill success that attended his wars, in the year 1695, the trade was distressed beyond all example of former sufferings, by the piracies of the French cruisers. This suffering incensed, and, as it should seem, very justly incensed, the house of commons. In this ferment they struck, not only at the admin'istration, but at the very constitution of the executive government. They attempted to form in parliament a board for the protection of trade; which, as they planned it, was to draw to itself a great part, if not the whole, of the functions and powers, both of the admiralty, and of the treasury ; and thus, by a parliamentary delegation of office and officers, they threatened absolutely to separate these departments from the whole system of the executive government, and of course to vest the most leading and essential of its attributes in this board. As the executive government was in a manner convicted of a dereliction of its functions, it was with infinite difficulty, that this blow was warded off in that session. There was a threat to renew the same in the next. To prevent the effect of this manœuvre, the court opposed another manœuvre to it; and in the year 1696, called into life this board of trade, which had slept since 1673.

This, in a few words, is the history of the regeneration of the board of trade. It has perfectly answered its purposes. It was intended to quiet the minds of the people, and to compose the ferment that was then strongly working in parliament. The courtiers were too happy to be able to substitute a board, which they knew would be useless, in the place of one that they feared would be dangerous. Thus the board of trade was reproduced in a job; and perhaps it is the only instance of a publick body, which has never degenerated ; but to this hour preserves all the health and vigour of its primitive institution.

This board of trade and plantations has not been of any use to the colonies, as colonies; so little of use, that the flourishing settlements of New England, of Virginia, and of Maryland, and all our wealthy colonies in the West Indies, were of a date prior to the first board of Charles the Second. Pennsylvania and Carolina were settled during its dark quarter, in the interval between the extinction of the first, and the formation of the second board. Two colonies alone owe their origin to that board. Georgia, which, till lately, has made a very slow progress; and never did make any progress at all, until it wholly got rid of all the regulations which the board of trade had moulded into its original constitution. That colony has cost the nation very great sums of money; whereas the colonies which have had the fortune of not being godfathered by the board of trade, never cost the nation a shilling, except what has been so properly spent in losing them. But the colony of Georgia, weak as it was, carried with it to the last hour, and carries, even in its present dead pallid visage, the perfect resemblance of its parents. It always had, and it now has, an establishment paid by the publick of England, for the sake of the influence of the crown; that colony having never been able or willing to take upon itself the expence of its proper government, or its own appropriated jobs.

The province of Nova Scotia was the youngest and the favourite child of the board. Good God! What sums the nursing of that ill-thriven, hard-visaged, and ill-favoured brat, has cost to this wittol nation! Sir, this colony has stood us in a sum of not less than seven hundred thousand pounds. To this day it has made no repayment-It does not even support those offices of expence, which are miscalled its government; the whole of that job still lies upon the patient, callous shoulders of the people of England.

Sir, I am going to state a fact to you, that will serve to set in full sunshine the real value of formality and official superintendance. There was in the province of Nova Scotia, one little neglected corner, the country of the neutral French; which having the good fortune to escape the fostering care of both France and England, and to have been shut out from the protection and regulation of councils of commerce, and

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of boards of trade, did, in silence, without notice, and without assistance, increase to a considerable degree. But it seems our nation had more skill and ability in destroying, than in settling a colony. In the last war we did, in my opinfon, most inhumanly, and upon pretences that in the eye of an honest man are not worth a farthing, root out this poor innocent deserving people, whom our utter inability to gov ern, or to reconcile, gave us no sort of right to extirpate. Whatever the merits of that extirpation might have been, it was on the footsteps of a neglected people, it was on the fund of unconstrained poverty, it was on the acquisitions of unregulated industry, that any thing which deserves the name of a colony in that province, has been formed. It has been formed by overflowings from the exuberant population of New England, and by emigration from other parts of Nova Scotia of fugitives from the protection of the board of trade.

But if all of these things were not more than sufficient to prove to you the inutility of that expensive establishment, I will desire you to recollect, Sir, that those who may be very ready to defend it, are very cautious how they employ it ; cautious how they employ it even in appearance and pretence. They are afraid they should lose the benefit of its influence in parliament, if they seemed to keep it up for any other purpose. If ever there were commercial points of great weight, and most closely connected with our dependences, they are those which have been agitated and decided in parliament since I came into it. Which of the innumerable regulations since made had their origin or their improvement in the board of trade? Did any of the several East India bills which have been successively produced since 1767, originate there? Did any one dream of referring them, or any part of them thither? Was any body so ridiculous as even to think of it? If ever there was an occasion on which the board was fit to be consulted, it was with regard to the acts that were preludes to the American war, or attendant on its commencement: those acts were full of commercial regulations, such as they were the intercourse bill; the prohibitory bill; the fishery bill. If the board was not concerned in such things, in what particular was it thought fit that it should be concerned? In the course of all these bills through the house, I observed

the members of that board to be remarkably cautious of intermeddling. They understood decorum better; they know that matters of trade and plantations are no business of theirs.

There were two very recent occasions, which, if the idea of any use for the board had not been extinguished by prescription, appeared loudly to call for their interference.

When commissioners were sent to pay his majesty's and our dutiful respects to the congress of the United States, a part of their powers under the commission were, it seems, of a commercial nature. They were authorized in the most ample and undefined manner, to form a commercial treaty with America on the spot. This was no trivial object. As the formation of such a treaty would necessarily have been no less than the breaking up of our whole commercial system, and the giving it an entire new form; one would imagine, that the board of trade would have sat day and night, to model propositions, which, on our side, might serve as a basis to that treaty. No such thing. Their learned leisure was not in the least interrupted, though one of the members of the board was a commissioner, and might, in mere compliment to his office, have been supposed to make a shew of deliberation on the subject. But he knew that his colleagues would have thought he laughed in their faces, had he attempted to bring any thing the most distantly relating to commerce or colonies before them. A noble person, engaged in the same commission, and sent to learn his commercial rudiments in New York, (then under the operation of an act for the universal prohibition of trade) was soon after put at the head of that board. This contempt from the present ministers of all the pretended functions of that board, and their manner of breathing into its very soul, of inspiring it with its animating and presiding principle, puts an end to all dispute concerning their opinion of the clay it was made of. But I will give them heaped measure.

It was but the other day, that the noble lord in the blue ribbon carried up to the house of peers two acts, altering I think much for the better, but altering in a great degree, our whole commercial system. Those acts, I mean, for giv

ing a free trade to Ireland in woollens and in all things else,

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