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Debate On The Security And Protection Of Trade And Navigation

Title:     Debate On The Security And Protection Of Trade And Navigation
Author: Samuel Johnson [More Titles by Johnson]


The same day that the lords read a first time the indemnification bill, they read also, for the first time, a bill sent from the commons, entitled, An Act for the better protecting and securing the trade and navigation of this kingdom in time of war. As this bill had a remarkable rise, passed the commons without a division, and the end proposed by it was so commendable, it may be proper to give some account of it before we proceed to the debate thereon in the house of lords.

It may be remembered, that we have mentioned great cause of complaint on account of the losses sustained by the British merchants from the enemy's privateers, who were not sufficiently checked. The merchants and traders of London, Bristol, and other cities, having applied to the administration in vain, presented petitions to both houses, setting forth, among other things, "that notwithstanding the growing insolence of the Spanish privateers, the applications of the suffering merchants for protection and redress, had been neglected; that numbers of his majesty's most useful subjects have been reduced to want and imprisonment, or, compelled by inhuman treatment, and despairing of a cartel for the exchange of prisoners, had enlisted in the service of Spain; that there had been various neglects and delays in the appointment of convoys, and some of the commanders of the few that had been granted, deserted the ships under their care at sea, and left them as a prey to the enemy," etc.

One petition farther says, "That the want of ships of force properly stationed, encouraged the enemy to increase the number of their privateers."

Another, "That most of the captures were almost on our coast, in the Channel and soundings, at a time when the naval force of Britain was greater than ever was known, a few ships of which might have ruined the enemy's privateers."

One set of the petitioners apprehend, "that most of the captures might have been prevented, had a few ships been properly stationed on this side cape Finisterre, and the commanders kept to the strictest duty."

Other petitioners "are not a little alarmed, not only at the increase and number of the Spanish privateers lately equipped, but at the unexpected great strength the enemy have lately shown in the Mediterranean, by which their trade must become more precarious than ever."

The last petition delivered in was from the mayor, aldermen, and commons of the city of London, setting forth, "that they had seen a powerful and well-provided fleet remain inactive in our own ports, or more ingloriously putting to sea, without the appearance of any enterprise in view; while our trading vessels were daily exposed to the privateers of an inconsiderable port, and a feeble enemy holds our naval power in derision, to the ruin of trade, the enriching the enemy, and the disgrace of the British name."

Their general request is, "that they may have regular convoys, and that the commanders be ordered not to desert their charge when in danger, that cruisers be properly stationed, subject to such inspection as shall best answer the end designed."

They all concluded with praying, "that the house would make such provision for the future security of the navigation and commerce of these kingdoms as they shall think fit."

The petitions were severally referred to the consideration of a committee of the whole house, and the following orders made for necessary papers to be laid before the house.

1. An account of his majesty's ships of war which have been employed since the beginning of last year, as cruisers for the protection of the trade of this kingdom on this side cape Finisterre, the stations of such ships, and how long ordered to continue thereupon, with the times of their going to sea, and their returning into port; when such ships were cleared, and which of them tallowed, and when respectively.

2. The journals of the commanders of such of his majesty's ships of war as have been employed since the commencement of the present war, as cruisers for the protection of trade on this side cape Finisterre.

3. An account of the ships of war built in any of his majesty's yards, which have been launched since July, 1739, the times when launched, when first put to sea, and on what services employed.

4. An account of the ships of war built in private yards for his majesty's service, in the said time; distinguishing the times when contracted for, when launched, when first put to sea, and on what services employed.

5. An account of the ships and vessels purchased for his majesty's service since the said time, distinguishing when purchased, when first put to sea, and what services employed in.

6. An account of the ships of war appointed as convoys to the trade of this kingdom to foreign parts, since the commencement of the present war, distinguishing the ships appointed, and the particular services, together with the notices given to the traders of the time prefixed for their sailing, and the times they sailed respectively.

7. That his majesty be addressed for the report of the commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral to his majesty in council, upon the petition of the merchants, relating to their losses during the war, to be laid before the house.

8. That the schoolmaster and a mariner on board his majesty's ship, the Duke, do attend the said committee.

Six days after these orders passed, the said accounts and report were presented to the house by the secretary of the admiralty.

There were also laid before them copies of above one hundred letters, from and to the secretary of state, admirals, ambassadours, consuls, commanders of his majesty's ships, and trading vessels; from the commissioners of the sick and hurt seamen, with heads of a cartel for exchange of prisoners; and memorials and representations from merchants.

Also a list of ships taken since the commencement of the war, and of the prisoners made by the enemy, also letters from several of them relating to their treatment, and from the captain-general of the province where the said seamen were imprisoned, relating to an exchange; several certificates and depositions, and a proposal by the lords of the admiralty for a general exchange of prisoners; also copies of the orders of the commissioners of admiralty to captains and commanders on the enemy's coast.

Petitions from the wives of seamen taken prisoners; letters to and from the principal officers of the enemy, prisoners in Britain, relating to the exchange.

Certificates of the discharge of several prisoners, by the enemy, on promise that a like number of the prisoners in Britain should be discharged.

The secretary of the Admiralty also laid before the house a book of the regulations and instructions relating to the sea-service, established by his majesty in council.

These requisites being laid before the house of commons, they went into a committee on the twenty-third day of their sitting, heard one of the petitioners, several witnesses, and desired to sit again.

In the mean time were presented to the house seventeen other letters concerning sea affairs, and an account when the East India company first applied, since the war began, for a convoy to St. Helena, and when they sailed, and what number of ships came under the said convoy, and on the twenty-fifth day of sitting the committee heard more witnesses.

Next day they proceeded, when an account was brought in of the Spanish prisoners released, by what orders, and on what conditions; also an account of the number of seamen employed the last year, distinguishing how many at home, and how many abroad, also of the number of ships and vessels of war, distinguishing the rates.

The secretary of the admiralty also presented a list of the names of the merchant ships, and the masters, as have behaved so negligently as to delay the convoys from whom they had taken sailing orders, or that have abandoned the same, or that have been any ways disobedient to the instructions established for good government, with the narration of the facts since the beginning of the war.

Also copies of the reasons given, in writing, by such commanders of his majesty's ships as have been appointed in this war as cruisers on this side cape Finisterre, for leaving their stations, or for coming into port, before the time required by their orders, which papers were sixty-one in number.

All which were referred to the said committee, and then they heard some other evidence, and after farther proceeding desired leave to sit again.

Next day the secretary of the admiralty presented copies of all applications for convoys for ships and cruisers, and what was done thereon, which papers were above forty, of which eight were petitions to get convoys for single ships.

All which papers and accounts were referred to the said committee, which was to proceed again on the twenty-eighth day, but the houses were desired to adjourn for fifteen days.

When the house met again, the said secretary presented copies of all complaints made since the war began, to the commissioners of the admiralty, against, or relating to commanders leaving the trade under their convoy, or their stations, or for impressing seamen out of outward-bound ships after clearance, or homeward-bound before they reached their port, or for other misbehaviour, or injury done by them to trade, with an account of what has been done thereupon.

These papers, including the complaints and the orders given thereupon, which are much the greater part, with justifications from the commanders, were in number forty; but we ought not to omit that amongst them there is a representation of the Portugal merchants in favour of one commander, captain Ambrose, who had taken several of the enemy's privateers.

On the thirty-third day of sitting were presented, from the office for the sick and wounded seamen, copies of the returns from such persons as have been empowered to pay his majesty's bounty to the British subjects, prisoners in the ports of Spain, distinguishing the number of men paid each month, and what ships they belonged to, and when taken.

Also an account of the number of men who have been put sick on shore from his majesty's ships, into the hospitals last year, distinguishing how many died, and how many were returned to the ships, or run away, or were otherwise disposed of.

Which papers were referred to the said committee, and the house went into it, heard farther evidence, and the chairman desired leave to sit again.

Accordingly they proceeded on this affair the thirty-fifth day, and heard farther evidence.

On the thirty-seventh day more papers were laid before the house, being three several orders issued by the admiralty to the commanders of his majesty's ships in the ports of Portugal, or such as shall have occasion to put into the said ports; also an estimate of the debt of the navy; which were referred to the said committee, and the house went into it, and came to several resolutions, which were reported the next day, and are as follow.

The first resolution was, that it appeared to the committee, that notwithstanding the repeated applications of the merchants for cruisers to be properly stationed for the protection of the trade of this nation from the privateers of Spain, the due and necessary care has not been taken to keep a proper number of his majesty's ships employed in that service, more especially in and near the Channel and soundings; for want of which, many ships had been taken by the enemy, some of them of considerable value, to the great loss of many of his majesty's subjects, the great advantage and encouragement of the enemy, and the dishonour of this nation. II. That the detention of the ships bound to Portugal for near twelve months, by the refusal of protections for some time, and the delay of convoys afterwards, gave our rivals in trade an opportunity of introducing new species of their woollen manufactures into Portugal, to the great detriment of this kingdom.

Upon this foundation, the house ordered that a bill be brought in for the better protecting and securing the trade and navigation of this kingdom in times of war; and that the lord mayor of London (since deceased) and sir John BARNARD, do prepare and bring in the same.

On the first day of April, being the fifty-ninth of their sitting, the lord mayor of London presented, according to order, a bill for the better protecting and securing the trade and navigation of this kingdom in time of war; and the same was received and read a first time, and ordered to be read a second time, and to be printed.

By reason of some omission, we do not find when the bill was read a second time; but, on the seventy-second sitting, a day was appointed to go into a committee on the seventy-ninth, when they did, and made several amendments, which were reported on the eighty-second day, and with amendments to one of them, were agreed to, and ordered to be engrossed. At their eighty-seventh sitting the bill was read a third time and passed, and the lord mayor of London was ordered to carry the bill to the lords, and desire their concurrence. And three days after it was read by their lordships a first time, and is as follows; the words within these marks [ ] showing how the blanks were filled up, and the amendments made in its progress through the house of commons, with notes of the words left out.

An Act for the better protecting and securing of the trade and navigation of this kingdom in times of war.

"Whereas it is necessary, in times of war, that a sufficient number of ships should be appointed, and kept constantly employed, as cruisers, in proper stations, for the protection and security of the trade and navigation of this kingdom; be it enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of both houses of the senate in this present council assembled, and by the authority of the same, that when and as often as this kingdom shall be engaged in war with any kingdom or state in Europe, (over and above the ships of war for the line of battle, and for convoys to remote parts,) such a number of ships of war as shall be sufficient for the protection and security of the merchant-ships, in their going out and returning home, shall be constantly employed as cruisers, or for convoys, in and near the British Channel and soundings, and in such other stations on this side cape Finisterre, as shall by the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral of Great Britain for the time being, be judged most proper for that purpose; the aforesaid ships of war to be careened at least [three] times in the year, or oftener, if there be occasion; and that the seamen on board any such cruisers shall not be turned over into any other ship or ships, but such only as shall be appointed for cruising, or home convoys, according to the tenour of this act.

(2.) "Provided always, and be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that nothing herein contained shall restrain, or be construed to restrain, the lord high admiral or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being, from directing any of the ships which shall be appointed to be cruisers in pursuance of this act, to be employed in the line of battle, (in case of great necessity,) on this side cape Finisterre, without whose immediate direction, the said ships shall be always cruising, or employed as home convoys, except when they are careening or refitting.

(3.) "And be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being, shall, on or before the [first day of July next] authorize and appoint a commissioner of the navy, or some one or more person or persons, who shall constantly reside at such place or places as his majesty shall direct; by virtue of which appointment, such person or persons, in the place or places for which he or they shall be appointed, shall superintend or oversee every thing relating to the aforesaid cruisers; and shall take care that every thing necessary be immediately provided for all and every the aforesaid cruising ships of war, that shall come into any port by stress of weather, or to careen or refit; and as soon as they or any of them are refitted, shall order all or any of the said ships of war to put to sea again as soon as possible.

(4.) "And be it farther enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after the said [first day of July] if any captain, or other officer on board any of his majesty's ships of war, shall wilfully spring, carry away, or lose any mast or masts of any such ship [Footnote: Left out, or ships.], or shall make any false pretence or excuse for leaving the station on which such ship or ships shall be appointed to cruise, or shall return into port before the expiration of the term appointed for his cruise, without just and sufficient reason for so doing, every captain or officer offending in any of the aforesaid cases, [shall be punished by fine, imprisonment, or otherwise, as the offence by a court-martial shall be adjudged to deserve.]

(5.) "And to the intent that it may be the more easily known what service the aforesaid cruisers shall every year perform, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the commissioner of the navy in each of the outports, or such person or persons as shall, for that purpose, be appointed by the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being, shall transmit to him or them, every [three months] a distinct and separate account digested into proper columns, of the time when any of the ships appointed to be cruisers, sailed out of port, when such ship came in, together with the number of days, cast up, that such ship was out upon duty, and the reasons of her putting into port, and the time and reasons of her stay there; with an account how often, and the times when each of the said ships have been careened every year; and that the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral, for the time being, shall cause copies of the said accounts to be laid before both houses of the senate within [eight days] after their meeting.

(6.) "And be it farther enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral, for the time being, shall, on or before the said [first day of July] nominate and appoint such a number of the ships of war, as shall be sufficient for the purposes aforementioned, to be cruisers or convoys on this side cape Finisterre for the current year; and shall afterwards yearly, and every year, during the present or any future war, between the [first day of November] and the [first day of December] nominate and appoint a sufficient number of ships of war to be cruisers or convoys on this side cape Finisterre for the year ensuing; and as often as any of them shall happen to be taken or lost, shall, as soon as may be, appoint others in the room of every ship so taken or lost.

(7.) "And whereas it is of the utmost importance to the trade of this nation, that the captains or commanders of his majesty's ships of war appointed for convoys to and from remote parts, should take due care of the merchant ships committed to their charge; be it, therefore, enacted by the authority aforesaid, that every captain or commander of any of his majesty's ships of war, who, on or after the bill shall commence, shall be appointed convoy or guard to any merchant ships or vessels, or who shall have any merchant ships or vessels under his charge, do and shall diligently attend upon such charge without delay, and in and during the course of the voyage take the utmost care of such merchant ships and vessels, and do and shall every evening see that the whole number of the said merchant ships and vessels under his convoy be in company with him; and in case he shall be obliged in the night time to Jack, or alter his course, or lie-to, that he do and shall make the proper signals, to give the merchant ships and vessels, under his convoy, notice thereof; and if in the morning he shall find any of the said merchant ships and vessels to be missing, he shall use his utmost endeavours to rejoin them, and shall not willingly or negligently sail away from, leave, or forsake such merchant ships or vessels, until he has seen them safe, so far as he shall be directed to convoy them; and in case any of the said merchant ships or vessels shall be in distress, he shall give them all proper and necessary relief and assistance, as far as he is able; and in case any such captain or commanding officer shall refuse or neglect to do all or any of the matters aforesaid, every such captain or commanding officer shall [be condemned to make reparation of the damage to the merchants, owners, and others, as the court of admiralty shall adjudge; and also be punished according to the quality of his offence, as shall be adjudged fit by a court-martial.]

(8.) "And whereas it is of the utmost importance to our settlements in America, and the trade thereof [Footnote: Left out, "in time of war."], that the commanders of the ships stationed there, should use their best endeavours for the protection and security of such trade, [and the colonies there;] be it farther enacted by the authority aforesaid, that [Footnote: Left out, "during the continuance of any such war."] none of his majesty's ships, which shall be stationed at any of the said settlements, shall quit or leave their stations under pretence of going to careen or refit, or under any other pretence whatsoever, without an especial order from the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral, (or the commander in chief of his majesty's ships of war in those seas, or in America, [Footnote: These words were added.]) for the time being. [Footnote: Left out, "or unless the commander or commanders of such ship or ships shall be ordered off their station, to be employed in the line of battle in the American seas, which shall not be done, but in cases of the greatest necessity."]

(9.) "And to the end that it may appear what service the ships so stationed shall perform, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the captain or commanding officer on board every such ship or vessel, shall keep a distinct and separate account, digested into proper columns, of the times when the said ship or vessel sailed out of port, when such ship or vessel came in, the service she was upon, together with the number of days cast up, that such ship or vessel was out upon such duty, and shall cause the same to be fairly entered in one or more book or books, to be kept for that purpose; such entries to be digested in proper columns, and to be [every six months] transmitted [Footnote: Left out, "together with the duplicates thereof."] to the captain or commanding officer of every such station ship, to the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being, and shall also send duplicates of the said accounts at the first opportunity.

(10.) [Footnote: This clause was added in the committee.] "And be it farther enacted by the authority aforesaid, that the commanders of his majesty's ships of war, on their arrival at any of the said settlements, shall deliver a copy of the orders they shall have received from the lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral of Britain for the time being, so far as they relate to the protection of the said colonies, and of the trade of the said colonies, to the governour and council of the respective colony or plantation where they shall be stationed; which orders shall be entered into the council books of such colony or plantation respectively; and the said governour and council are hereby authorized and empowered to give such directions in writing to the captains and commanders of such stationed ships, as they shall think will be most for the protection and security of their trade: and the said captains and commanders are hereby required to conform to, and observe the same, provided the same do not contradict the instructions they shall have received from the said lord high admiral, or commissioners for executing the office of lord high admiral for the time being."



The bill for the security and protection of trade and navigation being this day read a second time in the house of lords, the earl of WINCHELSEA, who had lately accepted the chair at the admiralty board, rose and spoke as follows:

My lords, I know not by what accident the numerous defects and general impropriety of this bill have escaped the attention of the other house; nor is there any necessity for examining the motives upon which it passed, or of inquiring whether its reception was facilitated by the popularity of the title, the influence and authority of those by whom it was proposed, or the imaginary defects of our present regulations, which have been on some occasions represented to be such as it is scarcely possible to change but for the better.

The knowledge and experience of those who concurred in sending this bill for your lordships' approbation, cannot but produce some degree of prepossession in its favour; for how can it be imagined, my lords, that men of great abilities and continual opportunities of observation, should not be well versed in questions relating chiefly to their private interest, and discover the nearest way to their own success!

And yet, my lords, it will be found that their sagacity has, perhaps, never so apparently forsaken them as on this occasion, that no proposition was ever laid before this house, in which more contracted motives were discovered, and that the bill is such as might rather have been expected from petty traders, unacquainted with the situation of kingdoms, the interests of princes, the arts of policy, the laws of their own country, and the conduct of former wars; than by merchants of extensive traffick, general correspondence, and great attainments.

Before I proceed, my lords, to confirm the character of the bill by a distinct consideration of the particular paragraphs, and an enumeration of the several improprieties and defects which may be found in it, I think it not superfluous or unseasonable to remark one general errour, common to this with all other laws of the same kind, the errour of prescribing rules to military operations, of attempting to fix what is, in its own nature, variable, as it must depend upon external causes to which the British legislature has yet found no means of extending its authority.

To direct, upon remote conjectures and uncertain prospects, the conduct of a commander, is, in my opinion, my lords, not more rational than to trace upon a chart the course of a ship, and pronounce it criminal to deviate from it. The one supposes a foreknowledge of the motions of the wind, and the other of the counsels of our enemies; nor can any thing be expected from such regulations, but overthrow and disgrace. I believe, my lords, that in running over the histories of the world, and examining the originals of the mightiest empires, and the sudden revolutions which have been produced by the overpowering torrents of war, which, at different periods of time, have swept the powers of the earth before them, it will be found that all rapid conquests, and sudden extensions of empire, have been effected by sovereign princes at the head of armies which acted only by immediate command, that few memorable actions have been performed by delegated commanders, and that of those few whose names have descended to posterity, those have generally been most successful who were invested with the largest powers, who acted without control, and were at liberty to snatch every opportunity, and improve every favourable conjuncture, without any necessity of communicating their schemes, of waiting for the result of tedious deliberations, or of soliciting a relaxation of former orders.

But, my lords, though, perhaps, all positive prescriptions of the conduct of military undertakings have a tendency rather to obstruct than promote success, yet as they may be drawn up with different degrees of wisdom and sagacity, they may have a greater or less appearance of usefulness and reason. Such as have been well concerted may afford useful hints, though they ought not to be enacted with indispensable obligations. And to consider even those in which less proofs of skill and foresight can be discovered, may have, at least, this advantage, that the proposals may not be speedily repeated, nor our counsels embarrassed with absurd expedients. I shall, therefore, lay before your lordships my opinion of every paragraph, and show what are the objections which may be raised, both to the whole bill in general, and to its particular clauses.

To the bill in general, it must be objected, that it is filled with vague expressions, and ideas so indeterminate, that no man can tell when he has obeyed it. Here are many rules ordered to be observed, when there shall be no just and sufficient reason for neglecting them, and some operations to be performed as often as there shall be occasion, and ships are to cruise in a certain latitude, unless there is a necessity of employing them elsewhere.

Did not the title of this bill, my lords, give it some claim to a serious consideration; and did not the integrity and capacity of those by whom it was drawn up, exempt them from contempt and ridicule, I should be inclined to treat a law like this with some degree of levity; for who, my lords, can be serious when his consent is desired to a bill, by which it is enacted, that men shall act on certain occasions, as they shall think most expedient?

Nor is this, my lords, the only instance of precipitancy and want of consideration, for many of the injunctions are without any penal sanction; so that though we should pass this bill with the greatest unanimity, we should only declare our opinion, or offer our advice, but should make no law, or what, with regard to the purposes of government, is the same, a law which may be broken without danger.

But general objections, my lords, will naturally produce general evasions; and a debate may be prolonged without producing any clear view of the subject, or any satisfactory decision of a single question: I shall, therefore, endeavour to range my objections in order, and, by examining singly every paragraph of the bill, show the weakness of some expedients, the superfluity of others, and the general unfitness of the whole to produce the protection and security intended by it.

In the first clause alone may be found instances of all the improprieties which I have mentioned to your lordships. It is proposed that in a time of war between this empire and any other state, such a number of ships shall be employed as cruisers or convoys in the Channel, as the admiralty shall judge most proper for that purpose. What is this, my lords, but to continue to the admiralty the power which has been always executed? What is it but to enact that the ships shall be stationed in time of war as the commissioners of the admiralty shall determine and direct?

Of these ships, it is farther enacted, that they shall be careened three times a-year, or oftener if there shall be occasion; but it is not declared who shall judge of the necessity of careening, or who shall be punished for the neglect of it when it is requisite, or for the permission or command of it when it is superfluous.

There is yet another regulation, my lords, in this clause, which ought not to be passed without remark. It is provided, that the sailors employed in the cruisers and convoys in the Channel, shall not be turned over but to other cruisers and convoys; by which, I suppose, it was intended, that our outguards should be prevented from being weakened, and that our merchants should never be destitute of protection; an end truly laudable, and which deserves to be promoted by some establishment better concerted. The expedient now proposed, seems to have been contrived upon the supposition that the admiralty may not always be very solicitous for the safety of the merchants, and that, therefore, it is necessary to secure them by a law from the danger of being deprived of protection; for, upon the present establishment, the removal of men from one ship to another must be made by the permission of the admiralty; and when the right of such permission shall by this law be taken away, what new security will the merchants obtain? The admiralty will still have the power, though not of turning over the men, yet of recalling the ships, and commerce suffer equally in either case.

By the second clause, my lords, there is still a power reserved to the admiralty, of dismissing these guardians of commerce from their stations, and employing them in case of great necessity in the line of battle, on this side cape Finisterre. Not to cavil, my lords, at the term of great necessity, of which it is apparent that the commissioners of the admiralty are to judge, I would desire to be informed what measures are to be taken, if a royal navy should unluckily rove beyond this cape, which is marked out as the utmost bound of the power of the admiralty, and should there be reduced to the necessity of engaging desperately with a superiour force, or retiring ignominiously before it. Are not our ships to pass a single league beyond their limits, in the honour or preservation of their country? Are they to lie unactive within the sound of the battle, and wait for their enemies on this side the cape?

The third clause, my lords, is, if not absurd like the former, yet so imperfectly drawn up, that it can produce no advantage; for of what use will it be to station an officer where his majesty shall think fit? At all the royal docks there are officers already stationed, and in any other place what can an officer, deputed by his majesty, do more than hire workmen, who will as cheerfully and as diligently serve any other person? And why may not the captain of the vessel procure necessaries for money, without the assistance of a commissioner?

In the fourth clause, my lords, nothing is proposed but what is every day practised, nor any authority conferred upon the court of admiralty, than that which it always possessed, of punishing those who disobey their orders. The provision against the crime of wilfully springing a mast, is at least useless; for when did any man admit that he sprung his mast by design? Or why should it be imagined that such an act of wickedness, such flagrant breach of trust, and apparent desertion of duty, would in the present state of the navy escape the severest punishment? Would not all the officers and mariners on board the ship see that such a thing was wilfully done? Would not they cry out--"You are springing the mast," and prevent it, or discover the crime, and demand punishment?

The fifth clause, my lords, is without any penal sanction, and, therefore, cannot be compulsive; nor is any thing of importance proposed in it, which is not already in the power of the senate. Either house may now demand an account of the stations and employments of the ships of war; nor does the senate now omit to examine the conduct of our naval affairs, but because our attention is diverted by more important employments, which will not by this bill be contracted or facilitated.

The use of the provision in the sixth clause, my lords, I am not able to conceive; for to what purpose, my lords, should the ships appointed for any particular service be nominated at any stated time? What consequence can such declarations of our designs produce, but that of informing our enemies what force they ought to provide against us? In war, my lords, that commander has generally been esteemed most prudent, who keeps his designs most secret, and assaults the enemy in an unguarded quarter, with superiour and unexpected strength.

In the seventh clause, many regulations are prescribed to the commanders of those ships which are appointed to convoy the trading vessels. These regulations, my lords, are not all equally unreasonable, but some of them are such as it may, on many occasions, be impossible for the commanders of his majesty's ships to observe in such a manner as that the masters of merchant ships may not imagine themselves neglected or forsaken. The captain of the convoy may be, therefore, harassed by them with prosecutions, in which it may be difficult to make his innocence appear. The convoy may be sometimes accused of deserting the traders, when the traders in reality have forsaken the convoy, in confidence that they should either arrive safe at the port without protection, or be able, if they should happen to fall into the enemy's hands, to charge their misfortune upon the negligence of their protector.

The eighth clause, my lords, is so far from being such as might be expected from merchants, that it seems rather to have been drawn up by men who never saw the sea, nor heard of the violence of a storm. For who that had the slightest idea of the uncertainty and hazard of a sailor's condition, who that had been ever told of a shipwreck, or but looked on the pictures of naval distress, would propose that no ship should retire to a harbour, or quit the station to which it was assigned, on any pretence whatsoever without permission, which sometimes could not be obtained in many months, and which never could be received soon enough to allow of a remedy for sudden disasters, or pressing calamities. It might with equal reason be enacted, that no man should extinguish a fire without an act of the senate, or repel a thief from his window, without a commission of array.

It is happy, my lords, that this clause is not enforced by a penalty, and, therefore, can never have the obligatory sanction of a law; but since it may reasonably be supposed, that the authors of it intended that the observation should be by some means or other enjoined, let us examine how much security it would add to our navigation, and how much strength to our naval power, if the breach of it had been made capital, which is in itself by no means unreasonable; for what punishment less than death can secure the observation of a law, which, without the hazard of life, cannot be obeyed?

Let us, therefore, my lords, suppose a crew of gallant sailors surprised in their cruise by such a hurricane as is frequent in the American seas, which the highest perfection of skill, and the utmost exertion of industry has scarcely enabled them to escape; let us consider them now with their masts broken, their ship shattered, and their artillery thrown into the sea, unable any longer either to oppose an enemy, or to resist the waves, and yet forbidden to approach the land, and cut off from all possibility of relief, till they have represented their distress to some distant power, and received a gracious permission to save their lives.

Misery like this, my lords, admits no exaggeration, nor need I dwell long on the absurdity of establishing regulations which cannot be observed, and which if they were enforced by any sanctions, proportioned, as all penal sanctions ought to be, to the temptations of violating them, must drive all our sailors into foreign service, or urge them, upon the first distress, to defiance of law, and fill America with pirates, and with rebels.

By the ninth clause, my lords, nothing is proposed but a relaxation of the present discipline. It requires, that the commanders of ships of war shall send only once in six months those accounts of their conduct and their service, which they are at present obliged to transmit by every ship that returns from America; so that by passing this bill, we shall only be disabled from receiving regular and seasonable informations of the transactions of our distant squadrons and colonies, shall be disturbed with groundless suspicions, and tortured with unnecessary suspense.

I have arrived at length at the last clause, a clause, my lords, worthy to be the concluding paragraph of a bill like this; a clause in which the power of the admiralty is communicated to the governours of our colonies; men, my lords, not hitherto much celebrated for their superiour wisdom, moderation, or integrity; of whom, at least, it is no reproach to assert, that they are known to be, for the most part, wholly unacquainted with maritime affairs, and very little famed for military knowledge; and of whom it is above all to be considered, that they generally commence merchants at their arrival in America, and may more probably direct ships sent to guard the colonies, to stations in which they may preserve their own vessels, than to those where they may contribute most to the general security of trade.

Thus my lords, I have examined without prejudice every paragraph of this bill, and believe, that from the objections which I have made, it appears now plainly to your lordships, that all the regulations which are of any use, are such as are already established by long custom, or by former statutes; and such, therefore, as it is unnecessary to mention in a new law; and that whatever is here to be found new, is absurd, unintelligible, or pernicious.

This bill, my lords, is said to be founded on the act made for the same purpose, in the wars of the queen Anne; but I cannot forbear to observe, that the original law, though not one of those to which much of the success of that war is to be ascribed, was drawn up with more discernment than the bill before us. It was, at least, intelligible; the number of cruisers was limited, and it was, therefore, possible to know when it was obeyed; but of this bill I can confidently assert, that as no man can understand, so no man can observe it.

I have spoken more largely, my lords, on this occasion, because this bill relates particularly to my present employment, in which, as I desire to do my duty, I desire to know it; and, surely, I cannot be condemned by your lordships for opposing a bill, of which the only tendency is to make my province difficult, to render one part of my office inconsistent with another, and engage me in the task of superintending the execution of impracticable measures.

What influence my arguments will have upon your lordships, I cannot foresee. As every man flatters himself that his own opinions are right, I hope to find this house concurring in my sentiments; but whatever may be the determination of your lordships, I am so fully convinced of the pernicious tendency of this bill, and the embarrassments which must be produced by an attempt to execute it, that if it be not rejected by this house, I shall willingly resign my office to others of more courage, or of greater abilities; for I can have no hopes of performing my duty under these restrictions, either to my own honour, or to the advantage of my country.

The duke of BEDFORD spoke next, to the following effect:--My lords, though the noble lord has produced very specious arguments against every paragraph of the bill before us, and though many of his observations are just, and some of his objections not easily to be answered, yet I cannot admit that it will produce those fatal consequences which he seems to foresee, nor am yet convinced that it will be either pernicious or useless.

It has always, my lords, been the practice of this house, to attend to every proposal for the publick advantage, to consider it without any regard to the character of those by whom it is offered, and to approve or reject it upon no other motives than those of justice and reason.

The same equity and prudence has always influenced your lordships to distinguish between the several parts of the same bill; to reject those expedients, of which, however plausible, either experience or reason may discover the impropriety, and to retain those from which any real benefit can reasonably be expected. We should never throw away gold because it is mingled with dross, or refuse to promote the happiness of the nation, because the expedients which were offered for that end happened to be conjoined with some others of a disputable nature.

By the prosecution of this method, a method, my lords, too rational and just to be neglected or forgotten, I doubt not but this bill, which, as I shall readily admit, is not yet perfect, may be improved into a law, from which the nation will receive great advantages, by which our trade will be extended, and our riches increased.

Many of the clauses, my lords, may, in my opinion, admit of an easy vindication, others may be amended by very slight alterations, and very few are either wholly useless, or manifestly improper.

The chief defect of the first clause is such, that the noble lord has, by declaring his disapprobation of it, given a very uncommon proof of his integrity, disinterestedness, and moderation; for it is imperfect only by placing too much confidence in the admiralty, which is left in full power to determine the number of cruisers in or near the Channel and soundings.

The noble lord has remarked, that the act of queen Anne, on which the present bill is founded, exacted a determinate number of ships to be employed in this particular service, and that it was, therefore, more prudently drawn up than the present bill. But I cannot see the wisdom of diminishing the authority of the lord high admiral; for had that act been extended in the same manner to other services, it would have left him only the name and shadow of an office, without power and without use.

This clause, my lords, rightly understood, is only a declaration of confidence in his majesty's officers, an evident confession of their abilities to discern the interest of the publick, and of their zeal for the prosecution of it.

With as little reason, my lords, can it be objected, that the ships are required to be careened three times a-year. The necessity of careening frequently those ships, of which the chief use arises from their celerity, every sailor can declare to your lordships; nor will any man whom his employments or his amusements have made acquainted with navigation, allege that any thing is proposed in the bill, which it would not be detrimental to the publick service to neglect.

It has been objected by the noble lord, that they are directed to be careened oftener, if there be occasion; terms by which a discretionary power is implied, of which yet it does not appear in whose hands it is lodged. Let us consider, my lords, what inconvenience can arise from the clause as it now stands, and what corruption or negligence can be encouraged by it.

The discretionary right of bringing the ship into the ports to be careened oftener than thrice a-year, must be, without controversy, placed in the captain; for none but those that are in the ship can discover the necessity of careening it, or know the inconveniencies that are produced by the adhesion of extraneous substances to its sides and bottom.

I own, my lords, it may be objected, that every captain will, by this clause, be furnished with an excuse for deserting his station at pleasure; that under pretence of uncommon ardour to pursue the enemy, he may waste his time in endless preparations for expedition; that he may loiter in the port to careen his ship; that before it is foul he may bring it back again, and employ the crew in the same operation; and that our merchants may be taken at the mouth of the harbours in which our ships of war lie to be careened.

But, my lords, it is to be remembered, that in the third clause a commissioner is appointed, by whom accounts are regularly to be transmitted to the admiralty, of the arrival and departure of every ship, and by whom the conduct of every captain is to be inspected; and that he may easily detect such truant commanders, as shall careen their ships only for the sake of deserting their stations.

Nor can the merchants suffer by any negligence or corruption of the captains, because it is intended that the place of every ship returning into port shall be supplied by another; and that the same number shall be always in the same station, unless more important service makes them more necessary in another place.

This proviso, my lords, a proviso undoubtedly reasonable, is established in the second clause, but has not had the good fortune to escape the censure of the noble lord, who has inquired, what must be the conduct of the commanders of cruising vessels, if a seafight should happen beyond the cape, which they are in this clause forbidden to pass?

That the clause may admit of expressions not only more proper, but more agreeable to the intention of those by whom it was drawn up, I cannot deny; for I suppose it very far from their design to limit the operations of our navy to any part of the ocean, and am confident that they meant only that the cruisers should not be despatched to such a distance from their stations, as that our coasts should be left long unguarded, or the enemy have time to collect his forces, and pour his navies or his privateers upon our defenceless traders.

If by the commissioners mentioned in the third clause be intended a new swarm of officers, the proposition is such as I confess myself very far from approving; for it will be to little purpose that we protect the trade, if we invent new commissioners to devour its profits; nor can we hope for any other consequence from additional wealth, if it be procured by increasing the influence of the crown, but that we should become a more tempting prey to the harpies of a court.

But, my lords, to accomplish all that is intended by this clause, there is not any need of new officers; for there are not many ports in which ships of war can be commodiously careened, and perhaps there is not one which can be used for this purpose, in which there is not already some officer of the crown, whose employment allows him leisure sufficient for the execution of a new charge, and whose present salary will afford an ample recompense for some casual addition of employment.

The fourth clause, in which is provided that no commander shall wilfully spring his mast, or desert his station, is such as I should be willing, with the noble lord, to think unnecessary; but must appeal to your lordships, whether the late conduct of the convoys has not too evidently shown the defect of our present establishment.

The injuries, my lords, which the publick may suffer by the negligence of the commanders of the ships of war, are such as it is worthy of the legislature to obviate with the utmost caution; and, therefore, it is by no means improper to enact a punishment for those who shall, upon any false pretences, leave their station; for though such neglect of duty is, in the present state of our naval establishment, considered as disreputable and irregular, yet it does not appear that it has been censured with the detestation which it deserves, or punished with the severity necessary to its prevention.

It is observed, my lords, with relation to the following paragraph, that either house may, at present, require accounts of the conduct of the captains of the navy, and that, therefore, it is unnecessary to provide, by any new law, that they shall be laid before them; but if it be considered, my lords, how many inquiries, which we have a right to make, are year after year constantly omitted, and how many may be excited by curiosity to read accounts which lie before them, who yet will not move the house to demand the accounts, or engage in the debate which such a motion may produce, it will not be thought unnecessary to provide, that they shall be subject to examination without the formality of a regular vote.

As to the sixth clause, my lords, which regards the nomination of convoys at a certain time, I can discover no reasonable objection to such a provision, or none that can preponderate against the advantages which may arise from it. By the certain establishment of convoys, the value of insurance may be nearly fixed; merchants will know what confidence is to be reposed in the force of the ships, and, what they have, perhaps, had of late equal reason to examine, how much trust can be placed in the fidelity of the commanders.

The nomination of convoys, my lords, is, in my opinion, more likely to affright our enemies, and to deter their attempts, than to encourage them by the information which it will afford them; for nothing but our own negligence can conceal from us the naval strength of any power on earth; and we may always, while we are careful to preserve our maritime superiority, protect our merchants so powerfully, that none of our enemies shall be incited to attack them by the knowledge of the number and force of the ships appointed for their defence.

I come now, my lords, to the seventh clause; and surely to ascertain the duties of the captains to whose protection our trading vessels are intrusted, cannot appear superfluous to any of your lordships, who have read the lists of our losses, heard the complaints of our merchants, or made any inquiry into the conduct of our sea captains. There is, I fear, too much reason to believe, that some of them have, with premeditated design, deserted the traders in places where they have known them most exposed to the incursions of the enemy; and it is to the last degree evident, that others have manifested such contempt of the merchants, and such a disregard of their interest, as may most justly expose them to the suspicion of very criminal negligence, of negligence which no community can be too watchful against, or too severely punish.

It has been affirmed by the noble lord, that it is not equitable to subject the commanders of convoys to penalties for the loss of the trading vessels, which may, perhaps, either rashly or negligently quit their protection. That it is not reasonable to subject them to penalties, is undoubtedly true; but, my lords, it is far from being equally certain, that it is not just to expose them to a trial, in a case in which it must be almost impossible to determine falsely; in a case where the crews of, perhaps, twenty ships may be called as witnesses of their conduct, and where none, but those whose ship is lost, can be under the least temptation to offer a false testimony against them.

On this occasion, my lords, it may not be improper to obviate the objection produced by the seeming omission of penal sanctions, which is only another proof of implicit confidence in the officers of the admiralty, who have already the power, allowed to military courts, of proceeding against those who shall deviate from their orders. This power, which is in a great degree discretionary, it was thought improper to limit, by ascertaining the punishment of crimes, which so many circumstances may aggravate or diminish; and, therefore, in my opinion, this clause is far from being so defective as the noble lord represented it.

The last three clauses, by which the ships in America are prohibited to leave their station, by which it is required that accounts should be once in six months transmitted to the admiralty, and by which the captains are subjected to the command of the governours of our colonies, are, in my opinion, justly to be censured. The first is impossible to be observed, the second is unnecessary, and the third will probably produce more inconveniencies than benefits.

Thus, my lords, I have endeavoured to show, that this bill, though not perfect, is yet such as, with some emendations, may produce great advantages to the traders of this empire. For, though it is undoubtedly a just observation, that the success of military attempts cannot be promoted by rigid restrictions and minute regulations, yet it is equally certain that no nation has yet been so fortunate as to be served by men of integrity superiour to laws, or of wisdom superiour to instructions; and every government has found it necessary to direct the conduct of its officers by general rules, though they have been allowed to comply with particular circumstances, and to give way to sudden accidents.

I think it, therefore, my lords, necessary to propose, that this bill shall be more particularly examined in a committee, that, after having received the necessary explanations and amendments, it may be referred again to the other house.

Lord DELAWARE rose next, and spoke to the purpose following:--My lords, the noble duke has, by his arguments in favour of this bill, given a very eminent proof of great abilities; he has shown every clause in that light which may least expose to view its improprieties and defects; but has at length only shown, that it is not impossible to make a useful law, for the purposes mentioned in the title of this bill; not that any of the expedients, now proposed, will afford the desired advantage to the publick, or obviate any of the inconveniencies of which the traders have been so long and so importunately complaining.

This bill, my lords, is, indeed, founded upon a law made in a reign celebrated for the wisdom of our conduct and the success of our arms; but it will not, I suppose, be asserted, that nothing was, even in that period, ill conducted; nor will it be an argument, sufficient for the justification of an expedient, that it was practised in the victorious reign of queen Anne.

If we inquire into the consequences of that law, we shall find no inducement to revive it on this or any future occasion. For it had no other effect than that of exposing us to our enemies by dividing our forces; a disadvantage of which we soon found the effects, by the loss of two large ships of seventy guns, and of a multitude of trading vessels, which, by that diminution of our naval armament, necessarily fell into the hands of privateers and small cruisers, that ravaged the ocean without fear or molestation.

If we examine the present establishment of our navy, my lords, it will be discovered, that nothing is proposed in this bill, which is not more efficaciously performed by the methods now in use, and more judiciously established by laws, of which long experience has shown the usefulness. This, my lords, will easily appear from the perusal of the orders which every commander of a convoy regularly receives, and of the printed rules, established by his majesty in council, for the royal navy.

In these, my lords, much more is comprehended than can properly be inferred in a law not occasionally variable; nor do I think any thing omitted, which an experienced and candid inquirer will think useful to the increase of our naval strength, or necessary to the protection of our commerce.

In considering this bill, I shall not trouble your lordships with a minute consideration of every single paragraph, though every paragraph might furnish opportunity for animadversions; but shall content myself with endeavouring to evince the reasonableness of some of the objections made by the noble lord who spoke first, and enforcing his opinion with such arguments as have occurred to me, though, indeed, it requires no uncommon sagacity to discover, or superiour skill in ratiocination to prove, that where this bill will produce any alteration in our present scheme, it will manifestly change it for the worse.

For surely, my lords, it will not be necessary to show, by any elaborate and refined reasoning, the absurdity of confining cruisers to particular stations, with an absolute prohibition to depart from them, whatever may be the certainty of destruction, or prospect of advantage.

If the intention of cruising ships is to annoy the enemies of the nation, ought they to be deprived of the liberty of pursuing them? If they are designed for the protection of our merchants, must they not be allowed to attend them till they are out of danger.

Every one, my lords, has had opportunities of observing, that there are men who are wholly engrossed by the present moment, and who, if they can procure immoderate profit, or escape any impending danger, are without the least solicitude with regard to futurity, and who, therefore, live only by the hour, without any general scheme of conduct, or solid foundation of lasting happiness, and who, consequently, are for ever obliged to vary their measures, and obviate every new accident by some new contrivance.

By men of this disposition, my lords, a temper by which they are certainly very little qualified for legislators, the bill now before us seems to have been drawn up; for their attention is evidently so engaged by the present occurrences, that there is no place left for any regard to distant contingencies. The conclusion of this war is to them the period of human existence, the end of all discord and all policy. They consider Spain as the only enemy with whom we can ever be at variance, and have, therefore, drawn up a law, a law without any limitation of time, to enable us to oppose her. They have with great industry and long searches discovered, that cruisers on this side cape Finisterre, may be of use against the Spaniards, and propose, therefore, that in all times of war they are to be despatched to that individual station, though we should be engaged in disputes with the northern crowns, or fit out fleets to make conquests in the East Indies.

In all our wars, my lords, however judiciously concerted, and however happily concluded, the pleasures of success have been abated by the mortification of losses, and some complaints have been at all times mingled with the shouts of triumph. How much soever the glory of the nation has been elevated, the fortunes of particular persons have been impaired, and those have never thought themselves recompensed by the general advantages of the publick, who have suffered by the acquisition of them; they have always imagined themselves marked out for ruin by malevolence and resentment, and have concluded that those disasters which fell upon them only by the common chance of war, were brought on them by negligence or design.

The losses of our merchants in the present war must be acknowledged to have been more than common, but if we examine accurately into the causes that may be assigned for so great a number of captures, we shall find them such as this law will have no tendency to remove, such as might be easily imagined before the commencement of hostilities, and such as it will be extremely difficult on any future occasion of the same kind, to hinder from producing the same effects.

The first and greatest cause, my lords, of the number of our losses, is the number of our ships, which cannot all be sufficiently protected. The extent, therefore, of our commerce, in proportion to that of our enemies, exposes us to double disadvantage; we necessarily lie open in more parts to the depredations of privateers, and have no encouragement to attempt reprisals, because they have few ships of value to be seized. The profit of our commerce naturally withholds our sailors from our ships of war, and makes part of our navy an idle show; the certainty of plunder incites them to turn their merchant ships into cruisers, and to suspend their trade for more profitable employment. Thus they at once increase the number of plunderers, and take away from us the opportunity of repairing our losses by the same practice.

And, my lords, if the losses of our merchants have been greater than in former wars, our trade is more extensive, and our ships far more numerous. Nor is it to be forgotten that a very important part of our commerce is carried on before the eyes of the Spaniards, so that they may issue out upon our merchants from their own coasts, and retire immediately beyond danger of pursuit.

But, my lords, neither the situation of Spain, nor the extent of our commerce, would have made this war so destructive, had not our merchants sometimes facilitated the attempts of our enemies by their own negligence or avarice.

I have been informed, my lords, that as the masters of trading vessels complain of having been deserted by their convoys, the captains of the ships of war have, in their turn, exhibited such representations of the conduct of the trading masters, as may prove that their caution is not proportioned to their clamour, and that in however melancholy terms they may recount the miseries of captivity, the calamities of ruined families, and the interruption of the trade of Britain, they will not endeavour to escape their enemies at the expense of much circumspection, and that the prospect of no large profit will be sufficient to overbalance the danger of those evils which they so pathetically lament.

It is not uncommon, my lords, when the fleet has entered the open seas, for the traders to take different courses both from the convoy and from each other, and to disperse themselves beyond the possibility of receiving assistance in danger or distress; and what wonder is it if part of them be lost, since only part of them can be protected?

It may be imagined, my lords, that this is only an excuse forged by the commanders to cover their own negligence or treachery. It may be asked, what motives could induce the merchants to expose themselves to unnecessary dangers, or what proofs they have ever given of such wild negligence of their own interest or safety, as that they should be suspected of rushing precipitately into the jaws of rapine?

This, my lords, is an objection specious in itself, and such as those who have not inquired into the present state of our traffick will not very readily discover to be fallacious; but it may easily be removed, by showing that the danger of being taken by the enemy is generally not so great to those who have the direction of the ship as it is commonly believed.

By the present custom of insurance, my lords, the merchant exempts himself from the hazard of great losses, and if he insures so much of the value of the ship and cargo, that the chance of arriving first at market is equivalent to the remaining part, what shall hinder him from pressing forward at all events, and directing his course intrepidly through seas crowded with enemies?

It is well known, my lords, that there is, in a great part of mankind, a secret malignity, which makes one unwilling to contribute to the advantage of another, even when his own interest will suffer no diminution; nor is it to be imagined, that this disposition is less predominant in traders than in the other classes of the community, though it is exerted on different occasions. The envy of one part of mankind is excited by reputation, or interest, or dignity, or power. The trader, for the most part, envies nothing but money, in which he has been taught from his infancy that every human excellence is comprehended, and contributes to the increase of the riches of another, with the same unwillingness with which a soldier would concur in the advancement of an inferiour officer to a post of higher rank and authority than his own.

For this reason, my lords, there is generally a malevolence in the merchant against the insurer, whom he considers as an idle caterpillar, living without industry upon the labours of others, and, therefore, when he lays down the sum stipulated for security, he is almost in suspense, whether he should not prefer the loss of the remaining part of the value of his vessel to the mortification of seeing the insurer enjoy that money, which fear and caution have influenced him to pay.

This disposition, undoubtedly, inclines him to proceed with less regard to his own security, and betrays him into dangers which it was, at least, possible to avoid; for to what purpose, says he, have I insured my ship if I am not to be set free from the necessity of anxiety and caution? If I arrive safely at the port, I shall dispose of my commodities with uncommon advantage; if I miscarry, the insurer will at least suffer with me, and be deservedly punished for his suspicions and extortion.

I doubt not but some of your lordships will imagine, that I am now indulging chimerical speculations, that I am ascribing great force to weak motives, and supposing men to act upon principles which, in reality, never operated in the human breast. When I think disadvantageously of others, my lords, I am, indeed, always desirous to find myself mistaken, and shall be pleased to hear on this occasion from any of your lordships, who have conversed at large among mankind, that it is not common for one man to neglect his own interest for fear of promoting that of another. In the present question, my lords, I have only supposed that envy may be one motive among many, and wish its influence were so small, as that it might have been less proper to mention it.

The practice of insurance, my lords, whether it contributes or not to the number of the captures, undoubtedly increases the clamour which they occasion; for as the loss is extended, the complaint is multiplied, and both the merchant and insurer take the liberty of censuring the conduct of the naval officers, and of condemning the measures of the government. The ministry is charged with neglecting the protection of commerce, with oppressing the merchants, and with conniving at the enemy's preparations; that they who most eagerly solicited the war, may be the first that shall repent it.

Another cause of the frequency of our losses in the present war, is the general circulation of intelligence throughout Europe, by which it is made impossible to conceal from our enemies the state of our armies, our navies, or our trade. Every regiment that is raised, every ship that is built, every fleet of trading vessels that lies waiting for the wind, is minutely registered in the papers of the week, and accounts of it transmitted to every nation of the world, where curiosity or interest will pay for information. The Spaniards, therefore, need only regulate their schemes according to their instructions from Britain, and watch those fleets which are frequently sent out, for they may be confident that some masters will wander from their protectors, enticed by avarice, negligence, or temerity, and that they shall have opportunities of enriching themselves without the necessity of engaging the convoy.

To protect ships which are to be steered each at the will of the master, is no less impossible, my lords, than to conduct an army of which every private man is at liberty to march according to his own caprice, to form and pursue his own plan of operation, and to dispute and neglect the orders of his leader. Nor is it more reasonable to subject the captains of the ships of war to penalties for the loss of a vessel, over which they have no authority, than to require from an officer in the army an account of the lives of men, who perished by disobeying his commands.

In my opinion, my lords, we might, with far greater probability of success, revive a precedent that may be found in the reign of king William, in which it was appointed by an order of council, that the name of every ship which went out with a convoy should be registered, and that the owners should give security to provide a sufficient number of arms and a proper quantity of ammunition to assist the imperial ships in annoying or repelling the enemy; with one injunction more of the utmost importance to the efficacious protection of our commerce, and which, therefore, in every war ought to be repeated and enforced; an injunction by which the masters of the ships of trade were required to obey the directions of the commander of the convoy.

That some measures ought to be concerted for the preservation of our trade I am very far from denying, and shall willingly concur in such as shall to me appear likely to promote the end proposed by them. Our losses, my lords, are undoubtedly great, though I believe far less than they are reported by discontent and malevolence; for if a ship be delayed by an accidental hinderance, or kept back by contrary winds for a few days, there are men so watchful to snatch every opportunity of reproaching the measures of the government, that a clamour is immediately raised, the ship is taken, the merchants are sacrificed, and the nation betrayed.

While this report is conveyed from one to another, and, like other falsehoods, increasing in its progress; while every man adds some circumstance of exaggeration, or some new proof of the treachery of the ministry, the ship enters the port, and puts an end, indeed, to the anxiety of the owners and insurers, but by no means pacifies the people, or removes their prejudices against the conduct of their governours; for as no man acknowledges himself the first author of the report, no man thinks himself under any obligation to retract or confute it, and the passions of the multitude, being once in commotion, cannot be calmed before another opportunity of the same kind may be offered for agitating them afresh.

To the expectations of the people, my lords, it is always proper to have some regard, nor is there any valuable use of power but that of promoting happiness, and preventing or removing calamities; but we are not to endeavour to pacify them by the appearance of redress, which, in reality, will only increase those evils of which they complain, nor to depress the reputation of this assembly by passing laws which the experience of a single month will prove to be of no use.

Of this kind, my lords, the bill now before us has been shown by the noble lord that spoke first on this occasion; by whom every clause has been discovered to be either defective or unnecessary, and who has evinced, beyond all possibility of reply, that the regulations here proposed can be divided only into two kinds, of which one is already established either by law or prescription, and the other cannot be admitted without apparent injury both to our navy and our trade.

Part of the clauses the noble duke has, indeed, attempted to defend, but has been obliged by his regard to reason and to truth, to make such concessions, as are, in my opinion, sufficient arguments for the rejection of the bill. He has admitted of almost every clause that it is imperfect, that it may be amended by farther consideration, and that, though not wholly to be neglected, it yet requires some farther improvements to become effectual to the advantage of our merchants.

The last three clauses, his natural abilities and just discernment immediately showed him to be indefensible; and he has too much regard to the interest of his country to attempt the vindication of a bill, which could not be passed without weakening it by impairing its naval force, and, yet more sensibly, by diminishing the reputation of its legislature.

I hope, therefore, my lords, that I shall not undergo the common censure of disregard to our commercial interest, or be ranked amongst the enemies of the merchants, though I declare, that in my opinion, this bill ought to be rejected as unnecessary and injudicious, and that we should only, by considering in a committee what no consideration can amend, waste that time in a fruitless attempt, which may be spent much more usefully upon other subjects.

Lord CARTERET spoke next, to the following purpose:--My lords, though I do not approve equally of every part of the bill now before us, though I think some of the provisions unnecessary, others unlikely to produce any beneficial effects, and some already established by former acts of the senate, or rules of the admiralty, yet I cannot agree with the noble lord that it is unworthy of farther consideration.

In my opinion, my lords, it is necessary, for many reasons, to amend this bill rather than reject it; and I hope, that when I shall have laid before you the result of those inquiries and those reflections which I have made on this occasion, your lordships will judge it not improper to refer it to a committee.

Nothing, my lords, is more necessary to the legislature than the affection and esteem of the people; all government consists in the authority of the few over the many, and authority, therefore, can be founded only on opinion, and must always fall to the ground, when that which supports it is taken away.

For this reason, my lords, it is worthy of this most august and awful assembly, to endeavour to convince the people of our solicitude for their happiness, and our compassion for their sufferings; lest we should seem elevated by the casual advantages of birth and fortune above regard to the lower classes of mankind; lest we should seem exalted above others only to neglect them, and invested with power only to exert it in acts of wanton oppression; lest high rank should in time produce hatred rather than reverence, and superiority of fortune only tempt rapine and excite rebellion.

The bill now under our consideration, my lords, cannot be rejected without danger of exasperating the nation, without affording to the discontented and malevolent an opportunity of representing this house as regardless of the publick miseries, and deaf to the cries of our fellow-subjects languishing in captivity, and mourning in poverty. The melancholy and dejected will naturally conceive us inebriated with affluence, and elated with dignity, endeavouring to remove from our eyes every spectacle of misery, and to turn aside from those lamentations which may interrupt the enjoyment of our felicity.

Nor, indeed, can it be justly said, that such representations are without grounds, when we consider the important occasion on which this bill is drawn up, the bitterness of those calamities which it is intended to redress, and the authority by which it is recommended to us.

It may naturally be expected, my lords, that the title of a bill for the protection and security of trade, should raise an uncommon degree of ardour and attention; it might be conceived that every lord in this house would be ambitious of signalizing his zeal for the interest of his country, by proposing, on this occasion, every expedient which experience or information had suggested to him; and that instead of setting ourselves free from the labour of inquiry and the anxiety of deliberation, by raising objections to the bill and rejecting it, we should labour with unanimous endeavours, and incessant assiduity, to supply its defects, and correct its improprieties; to show that a design so beneficial can never be proposed to us without effect, and that whenever we find honest zeal, we shall be ready to assist it with judgment and experience.

Compassion might likewise concur to invigorate our endeavours on this occasion. For who, my lords, can reflect on families one day flourishing in affluence, and contributing to the general prosperity of their country, and on a sudden, without the crime of extravagance or negligence, reduced to penury and distress, harassed by creditors, and plundered by the vultures of the law, without wishing that such misfortunes might by some expedient be averted? But this, my lords, is not the only nor the greatest calamity, which this bill is intended to prevent. The loss of wealth, however grievous, is yet less to be dreaded than that of liberty, and indigence added to captivity is the highest degree of human misery. Yet even this, however dreadful, is now the lot of multitudes of our fellow-subjects, who are languishing with want in the prisons of Spain.

Surely, my lords, every proposal must be well received that intends the prevention or relief of calamities like these. Surely the ruin of its merchants must alarm every trading nation, nor can a British senate sit unconcerned at the captivity of those men by whom liberty is chiefly supported.

Of the importance of the merchants, by whom this bill is recommended to our consideration, and by whose influence it has already passed the other house, it is not necessary to remind your lordships, who know, that to this class of men our nation is indebted for all the advantages that it possesses above those which we behold with compassion or contempt, for its wealth and power, and perhaps for its liberty and civility. To the merchants, my lords, we owe that our name is known beyond our own coasts, and that our influence is not confined to the narrow limits of a single island.

Let us not, therefore, my lords, reject with contempt what is proposed and solicited by men of this class; men whose experience and knowledge cannot but have enabled them to offer something useful and important, though, perhaps, for want of acquaintance with former laws, they may have imagined those provisions now first suggested, which have only been forgotten, and petitioned for the enaction of a new law, when they needed only an enforcement of former statutes.

That our naval force has, in the present war, been misapplied; that our commerce has been exposed to petty spoilers, in a degree never known before; that our convoys have been far from adding security to our traders; and that with the most powerful fleet in the world, we have suffered all that can fall upon the most defenceless nation, cannot be denied.

Nor is it any degree of temerity, my lords, to affirm, that these misfortunes have been brought upon us by either negligence or treachery; for, besides that no other cause can be assigned for the losses which a powerful people suffer from an enemy of inferiour force, there is the strongest authority for asserting, that our maritime affairs have been ill conducted, and that, therefore, the regulation of them is very seasonably and properly solicited by the merchants.

For this assertion, my lords, we may produce the authority of the other house, by which a remonstrance was drawn up against the conduct of the commissioners of the admiralty. This alone ought to influence us to an accurate discussion of this affair. But when an authority yet more venerable is produced, when it appears that his majesty, by the dismission of the commissioners from their employments, admitted the justice of the representation of the commons, it surely can be of no use to evince, by arguments, the necessity of new regulations.

It is, indeed, certain, that men of integrity and prudence, men of ability to discern their duty, and of resolution to execute it, can receive very little assistance from rules and prescriptions; nor can I deny what the noble lord has affirmed, that they may be sometimes embarrassed in their measures, and hindered from snatching opportunities of success, and complying with emergent occasions; but, my lords, we are to consider mankind, not as we wish them, but as we find them, frequently corrupt, and always fallible.

If men were all honest and wise, laws of all kinds would be superfluous, a legislature would become useless, and our authority must cease for want of objects to employ it; but we find, my lords, that there are men whom nothing but laws and penalties can make supportable to society; that there are men, who, if they are not told their duty, will never know it, and who will, at last, only perform what they shall be punished for neglecting.

Were all men, like the noble lord whom I am now attempting to answer, vigilant to discover, sagacious to distinguish, and industrious to prosecute the interest of the publick, I should be very far from proposing that they should be constrained by rules, or required to follow any guide but their own reason; I should resign my own prosperity, and that of my country, implicitly into their hands, and rest in full security that nothing would be omitted that human wisdom could dictate for our advantage.

I am not persuading your lordships to lay restraints upon virtue and prudence, but to consider how seldom virtue and authority are found together, how often prudence degenerates into selfishness, and all generous regard for the publick is contracted into narrow views of private interest. I am endeavouring to show, that since laws must be equally obligatory to all, it is the interest of the few good men to submit to restraints, which, though they may sometimes obstruct the influence of their virtue, will abundantly recompense them, by securing them from the mischiefs that wickedness, reigning almost without limits, and operating without opposition, might bring upon them.

It may not be improper to add, my lords, that no degree of human wisdom is exempt from errour; that he who claims the privilege of acting at discretion, subjects himself likewise to the necessity of answering for the consequences of his conduct, and that ill success will at least subject him to reproach and suspicion, from which, he whose conduct is regulated by established rules, may always have an opportunity of setting himself free.

Fixed and certain regulations are, therefore, my lords, useful to the wisest and best men; and to those whose abilities are less conspicuous, and whose integrity is at best doubtful, I suppose it will not be doubted that they are indispensably necessary.

Some of the expedients mentioned in this bill, I shall readily concur with the noble lord in censuring and rejecting; I am very far from thinking it expedient to invest the governours of our colonies with any new degree of power, or to subject the captains of our ships of war to their command. I have lived, my lords, to see many successions of those petty monarchs, and have known few whom I would willingly trust with the exercise of great authority. It is not uncommon, my lords, for those to be made cruel and capricious by power, who were moderate and prudent in lower stations; and if the effects of exaltation are to be feared even in good men, what may not be expected from it in those, whom nothing but a distant employment could secure from the laws, and who, if they had not been sent to America to govern, must probably have gone thither on a different occasion?

The noble duke, who has vindicated the bill with arguments to which very little can be added, and to which I believe nothing can be replied, has expressed his unwillingness to concur in any measures for the execution of which new officers must be appointed. An increase of officers, my lords, is, indeed, a dreadful sound, a sound that cannot but forebode the ruin of our country; the number of officers already established is abundantly sufficient for all useful purposes, nor can any addition be made but to the ruin of our constitution.

I am, therefore, of opinion, that no new officer was intended by those that drew up the bill, and that they proposed only to furnish those that loiter in our ports, at the expense of the publick, with an opportunity of earning their salaries by some useful employment.

I know not, indeed, my lords, whether any good effects can be reasonably hoped from this provision; whether men accustomed to connivance and negligence in affairs of less importance, ought to be trusted with the care of our naval preparations, and engaged in service, on which the prosperity of the publick may depend; and cannot conceal my apprehensions, that such men, if commissioned to superintend others, may themselves require a superintendent.

But, my lords, this and every other clause may, in a committee, be carefully examined and deliberately corrected; and since it appears evident to me, that some law is necessary for the security of our commerce, I think this bill ought not to be rejected without farther consideration.

Lord WINCHELSEA rose again, and spoke thus:--My lords, as the known sincerity of that noble lord allows no room for suspecting, that he would bestow any praises where he did not believe there was some desert, and as his penetration and acuteness secure him from being deceived by any false appearances of merit, I cannot but applaud myself for having obtained his esteem, which I hope will not be forfeited by my future conduct.

Having happily gained the regard of so exact a judge of mankind, I am the less solicitous what opinion may be conceived of my abilities or intentions by those whose censures I less fear, and whose praises I less value, and shall, therefore, cheerfully hazard any degree of popularity, which I may have hitherto possessed, by continuing my opposition to this bill, of which I am still convinced that it will produce nothing but embarrassment, losses, and disgrace.

The necessity of gaining and preserving the esteem of the people I very willingly allow, but am of opinion that though it may sometimes be gained by flattering their passions and complying with their importunities, by false appearances of relief, and momentary alleviations of their grievances, it is only to be preserved by real and permanent benefits, by a steady attention to the great ends of government, and a vigorous prosecution of the means by which they may be obtained, without regard to present prejudices or temporary clamours.

I believe, my lords, it will always be found that it is dangerous to gratify the people at their own expense, and to sacrifice their interest to their caprices; for I have so high a veneration of their wisdom, as to pronounce without scruple, that however they may, for a time, be deceived by artful misrepresentations, they will, at length, learn to esteem those most, who have the resolution to promote their happiness in opposition to their prejudices.

I am, therefore, confident, my lords, of regaining the popularity which I may lose by declaring, once more, that this bill ought to be rejected, since no endeavours shall be wanting to show how little it is necessary, by an effectual protection of every part of our trade, and a diligent provision for the naval service.

The duke of BEDFORD rose, and spoke to this effect:--My lords, I am convinced that this bill is very far from being either absurd or useless, nor can imagine that they by whom it was drawn up could fail of producing some expedients that may deserve consideration.

It is probable, that a farther inquiry may show the propriety of some clauses, which at present appear most liable to censure; and that, if we reject this bill thus precipitately, we shall condemn what we do not fully comprehend. No clause appeared to me more unworthy of the judgment and penetration of the merchants than the last, nor was there any which I should have rejected at the first perusal with less regret; yet, having taken this opportunity of considering it a second time, I find it by no means indefensible, for the direction of ships stationed for the defence of our American territories, is not committed to the governours alone. The council of each province is joined with them in authority, by whom any private regards may be overborne, and who cannot be supposed to concur in any directions which will not promote the general interest of the colony.

I doubt not, my lords, but other clauses have been equally mistaken, and, therefore, think it necessary to consider them in a committee, where every lord may declare his sentiments, without the restraint of a formal debate, and where the bill may be deliberately revised, and accommodated more exactly to the present exigencies of the nation.

Lord WINCHELSEA spoke again, in substance as follows:--My lords, the only reason which has been urged for considering this bill in a committee, is the necessity of gratifying the merchants, and of showing our concern for the prosperity of commerce. If therefore it shall appear, that the merchants are indifferent with regard to its success, I hope it will be rejected without opposition.

I was this morning, my lords, informed by a merchant, who has many opportunities of acquainting himself with the opinions of the trading part of the nation, that they were fully convinced of the impossibility of adapting fixed rules to variable exigencies, or of establishing any certain method of obviating the chances of war, and defeating enemies who were every day altering their schemes; and declared that they had no hopes of security but from the vigilance of a board of admiralty, solicitous for the welfare of the merchants, and the honour of the nation.

Lord CHOLMONDELEY rose and spoke to the following purpose:--My lords, as three clauses of this bill have been universally given up, and almost all the rest plainly proved by the noble lord to be either absurd or superfluous, I cannot see why it should not be rejected without the solemnity of farther consideration, to which, indeed, nothing but the title can give it any claim.

The title, my lords, is, indeed, specious, and well fitted to the design of gaining attention and promoting popularity; but with this title there is nothing that corresponds, nor is any thing to be found but confusion and contradictions, which grow more numerous upon farther search.

That the whole bill, my lords, is unnecessary, cannot be denied, if it be considered that nothing is proposed in it which is not already in the power of your lordships, who may call at pleasure for the lists of the navy, the accounts of the cruisers, the duties of their commissions, and the journals of their commanders, (as you did in the sixth of queen Anne,) and detect every act of negligence or treachery, and every instance of desertion, or of cowardice.

Nothing is necessary to the regulation of our naval force, but that your lordships vigilantly exert that power which is conferred upon you by the constitution, and examine the conduct of every officer with attention and impartiality; no man then will dare to neglect his duty, because no man can hope to escape punishment.

Of this bill, therefore, since it is thus useless and inconsistent, I cannot but suspect, my lords, that it was concerted for purposes very different from those mentioned in the title, which it has, indeed, no tendency to promote. I believe, my lords, the projectors of it intended not so much to advance the interest of the merchants, as to depress the reputation of those whom they have long taken every opportunity of loading with reproaches, whom they have censured as the enemies of trade, the corrupters of the nation, and the confederates of Spain.

To confirm these general calumnies, it was necessary to fix on some particular accusation which might raise the resentment of the people, and exasperate them beyond reflection or inquiry. For this purpose nothing was more proper than to charge them with betraying our merchants to the enemy.

As no accusation could be more efficacious to inflame the people, so none, my lords, could with more difficulty be confuted. Some losses must be suffered in every war, and every one will necessarily produce complaints and discontent; every man is willing to blame some other person for his misfortunes, and it was, therefore, easy to turn the clamours of those whose vessels fell into the hands of the Spaniards, against the ministers and commanders of the ships of war.

These cries were naturally heard with the regard always paid to misfortune and distress, and propagated with zeal, because they were heard with pity. Thus in time, what was at first only the outcry of impatience, was by malicious artifices improved into settled opinion, that opinion was diligently diffused, and all the losses of the merchants were imputed, not to the chance of war, but the treachery of the ministry.

But, my lords, the folly of this opinion, however general, and the falsehood of this accusation, however vehement, will become sufficiently apparent, if you examine that bulky collection of papers which are now laid before you, from which you will discover the number of our fleets, the frequency of our convoys, the stations of our ships of war, and the times of their departure and return; you will find that no provision for war, no expedient likely to promote success has been neglected; that we have now more ships equipped than in the late war with France, that nothing can be added to the exactness with which our maritime force is regulated, and that there is not the least reason to doubt of the fidelity with which it has been employed.

In every war, my lords, it is to be expected that losses will be suffered by private persons on each side, nor even in a successful war can the publick always hope to be enriched; because the advantage may arise, not immediately from captures, but, consequently, from the treaties or conditions in which a prosperous war may be supposed to terminate.

What concessions we shall in this war extort from the Spaniards, what security will be procured for our merchants, what recompense will be yielded for our losses, or what extent will be added to our commerce, it cannot yet be expected that any man should be able to declare; nor will his majesty's counsellors be required to give an account of futurity. It is a sufficient vindication of their conduct, and an evident proof of the wisdom with which the war has been conducted, that we have hitherto gained more than we have lost.

This, my lords, will appear from a diligent and minute comparison of the captures on each side, and an exact computation of the value of our losses and our prizes. It will be found that if the Spaniards have taken, as it is not improbable, a greater number of ships, those which they have lost have been far more wealthy.

The merchants, indeed, seem to have distrusted the strength of the evidence which they produced in support of their allegations, by bringing it only before the other house, where, as an oath could not be administered, every man delivered what he believed as what he knew, and indulged himself without scruple in venting his resentment, or declaring his suspicions; a method of allegation very proper to scatter reproaches and gratify malevolence, but of very little use for the discovery of truth.

Had they come before your lordships, every circumstance had been minutely examined, every assertion compared with other evidence, all exaggerations repressed, and all foreign considerations rejected; each part would have been impartially heard, and it would have plainly been known to whom every loss was to be imputed. The negligence or treachery of the commanders of the convoys, wherever it had been found, would have been punished, but they would not have charged them with those miscarriages which were produced only by the obstinacy or inattention of the masters of the trading vessels.

Such inquiries, my lords, they appear to have thought it their interest to decline, and, therefore, did not proceed on their petition to this house; and if they did in reality avoid a rigorous examination, what can be inferred, but that they intended rather to offer insinuations than proofs, and rather to scatter infamy than obtain justice.

And, that nothing was indeed omitted that could secure our own commerce, or distress our enemies, may reasonably be collected from the number and great strength of our fleet, to which no empire in the world can oppose an equal force. If it has not been supplied with sailors without some delays, and if these delays have given our enemies an opportunity of adding to their securities, of fortifying their ports, and supplying their magazines, it must be ascribed to the nature of our constitution, that forbids all compulsory methods of augmenting our forces, which must be considered as, perhaps, the only inconvenience to be thrown into the balance against the blessings of liberty.

The difficulty of manning our ships of war, is, indeed, extremely perplexing. Men are naturally very little inclined to subject themselves to absolute command, or to engage in any service without a time limited for their dismission. Men cannot willingly rush into danger without the prospect of a large advantage; they have generally some fondness for their present state of life, and do not quit it without reluctance. All these reasons, my lords, concur to withhold the sailors from the navy, in which they are necessarily governed with higher authority than in trading vessels, in which they are subjected to punishments, and confined by strict regulations, without any certain term of their bondage; for such they, who know not the necessity of subordination, nor discover the advantages of discipline, cannot but account subjection to the will and orders of another.

By serving the merchants, they not only secure to themselves the liberty of changing their masters at pleasure, but enjoy the prospect of a near and certain advantage; they have not, indeed, any expectations of being suddenly enriched by a plate ship, and of gaining by one engagement such wealth as will enable them to spend the rest of their lives in ease and affluence; but they are sure of a speedy payment of their wages, perhaps, of some profits from petty commerce, and of an opportunity of squandering them at land in jollity and diversions; their labour is cheerful, because they know it will be short, and they readily enter into an employment which they can quit when it shall no longer please them.

These considerations, my lords, have no influence upon the preparations of France and Spain, where no man is master of his own fortune, or time, or life, and where the officers of the state can drive multitudes into the service of the crown, without regard to their private views, inclinations, or engagements. To man a fleet, nothing is necessary but to lay an embargo on the trading vessels, and suspend their commerce for a short time; therefore no man dares refuse to enter into the publick service when he is summoned; nor, if he should fly, as our sailors, from an impress, would any man venture to shelter or conceal him.

Absolute monarchs have, therefore, this advantage over us, that they can be sooner prepared for war, and to this must be ascribed all the success which the Spaniards have obtained. This, my lords, will not be obviated by the bill now before us, nor will it, indeed, procure any other benefit to the trade, or any addition to the power of the nation.

Of the ten clauses comprised in the bill, the greatest part is universally allowed to be injudiciously and erroneously proposed; and those few, which were thought of more importance, have been shown to contain no new expedients, nor to add any thing to the present regulations.

I cannot, therefore, discover any reason, my lords, that should induce us to refer to a committee this bill, of which part is confessedly to be rejected, and the rest is apparently superfluous.

[Then the question being put, whether the bill should be referred to a committee; it passed in the negative. Content, 25. Not content, 59.

On the rejection of this bill by the lords, a bill which related to an affair of no less importance than the security of trade and navigation, and which had been unanimously passed by the commons, it was satirically remarked, that the upper house understood trade and navigation better than the lower. However, the circumstances that attended it, made the publication of the bill, with the amendments and the reasons offered by the lords on both sides, expected with the more impatience.]

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Samuel Johnson's non-fiction: Debate On The Security And Protection Of Trade And Navigation