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CH A P.
by all accounts, to have been at least equal to any of the
little to boast of, either in the original formation, or, so far as concerns their internal government, in the subsequent profperity of the colonies of America. Folly and injustice seem to have been the principles which presided over the first project of establishing those colonies; the folly of hunting after mines, and the injustice of coveting a country, whose natives, far from having ever injured the people of Europe, had received the first adventurers with every mark of kindness and hospitality.”
112. Every modern mother-country, has secured to herself, in one shape or another, a monopoly of her colony trade.-" This monopoly, like all the other mean and malignant expedients of the mercantile system, depresses the industry of all other countries; but chiefly that of the colonies, without in the least increasing, but on the contrary diminishing, that of the country in whose favour it is established.-Some nations have even gone so far as to give up the whole commerce of their colonies to an exclusive company, of whom the colonies were obliged to buy all such European goods as they wanted, and to whom they were obliged to sell the whole of their own surplus produce. It was the interest of the company, therefore, not only to sell the former as dear, and to buy the latter as cheap, as possible; but to buy no more of the latter, even at this low price, than they could dispose of at a very high price in Europe. It was their interest, not only to degrade, in all cases, the value of the produce of the colony, but, in many cases, to keep down the natural increase of it's quantity. Of all the expedients that can well be contrived to ftunt the na
tural growth of a new colony, that of an exclusive company is CHA P. undoubtedly the most effectual," “ For example, the Dutch East India company, by different arts of oppression, have reduced the population of several of the Molucca Isands, formerly pretty well inhabited, nearly to the number fufficient to supply with provisions their own insignificant garrisons, and such of their ships as occasionally come there for fpices *."
COMMERCE. 113. There are two species of commerce different from, and even opposite to, if not destructive of, one another. Some explanation of both forms an essential part of my
114. ist. Commiffon-commerce, into which, in remote ages, Commiffion mankind were naturally led by their real wants. An interchange of useful commodities was the only object of merchants in early times. A natural and necessary barter, by
* Wealth of Nations, edit. 5. Vol. II. p. 344, 350, 375, 397, 434.-At p. 476, the intelligent author mentions the operations of the Dutch Ealt India company, in the-Spice Isands, to enhance the price, by burning all the spices, beyond a certain quantity, giving premiums for the collection of the blossoms of the clove and nutmeg trees, &c. He also glances at certain practices of the English East India company's former servants; particularly their ordering the peasants to plough up rice, and sow poppies, and the contrary, just as their interest, in the sale of opium or rice, happened to direct.—Sir W. Temple, in his observations on Holland, says that " a Dutchman, who had been at the Spice Islands, told him, that he saw at one time three heaps of mutmegs burnt, each of which was more than an ordinary church would hold."-But we need not go so far abroad, for instances of such pro. ceedings; for, in the year 1774, I was present at the burning of a large quantity of of saleable spices, at the India House in Amsterdam, for the avowed purpose of keeping up the price.
CA A P. their means, diffused the produce of every part of the then
known world over the whole ; and their profits might be regarded more as the wages of necessary labour, than as the gains of injurious monopoly. Gold and silver were not excluded from this commerce; but they were left to find their way into the general circulation, by their weight and Standard. Their relative worth was not, like that of coin, fixed by artificial laws; but, like the worth of every other commodity, was regulated by the natural demand. And paper credit had, in that early period, no existence. This natural and unrestrained state of commerce accorded
perfećtly with the primitive simplicity of those ages:
and it certainly tended to promote a diffusion of the comforts of life commensurate to the wants of mankind, whom it united by the bond of mutual interests.
115. A mixture of sensible and virtuous Europeans withi encouraged
simple, untutored Africans, may be expected, by the recilony.
procal action and re-action of their habits and manners, to produce a social character nearly approaching the ancient simplicity. It were therefore to be wished, that the beneficial species of commerce, just mentioned, could be so fixed in every new African colony, as for ever to exclude that perverted system which I shall call speculation-commerce, on which it seems necessary to dwell somewhat more particularly *.
in a new co
* In order to give the reader some idea of the extent to which a trade in the productions of Africa may be carried, it may not be amiss to mention a few fa&ts which show that a communication between very distant parts of that continent, is already open. And it will scarcely be denied, that this might be made the channel of conveying regular supplies of European goods into those central regions which have hitherto seldom received any, except when the precarious success of the predatory expeditions of their chiefs happened to enable them to make returns in
116. 2d. Speculation-commerce produces effects very dif. C HA P.
. ferent from commission-commerce. It does not tend so di
Speculationslaves; but who, were that traffic abolished, would not fail to find equivalents in the productions of the country.---The Chevalier des Marchais, who visited Gui. nea in 1725, 1726, and 1727, by order of the French government, says that " Malays came on horses 90 days journey to trade at Ardra, bringing cotton cloths and muslins, and receiving llaves, ivory and gold duft.”—Captain Fraser says, there is a trade in slaves, carried on across the continent by merchants, who come for them from the estern parts of Africa to Angola on the west, and other witnesses affirm the same thing (See Min. of Evid.) --Lieut. Matthews tells us, that many black priests travel across from the Nile, and from Morocco to Abyssinia, that he saw seve. ral of them in the Mandingo country, and that by means of them, and the travelling black merchants, the defeat of the Spaniards before Gibraltar was known 40 days after, at Riopongos (Voyage to Sierra Leona, p. 70.) This report must have travelled at the rate of at least 40 miles a day, which proves that the roads are not very bad.—The negro captive I mentioned in the note to $ 71, told me that he had travelled much; and, in particular that he had made seven journies froin Fouta Jallo, considerably above Gallam, 10 Whidah, to buy fire-arms for his king, who having been embroiled with the princes lower down the Senegal, could not as usual, get them from the coast, by that river. From his account Fouta Jallo, lics be. tween the Niger and the Whidah, 10 days journey from the former “ towards the sun-setting," as he expressed it, and 15 from the latter, “ towards the sun-rising, but considerably below it.” But the circumstance of his conversation which most surprised me was, that in many parts of the interior, he passed the rivers on bridges.. -For an account of the “ trade in the interior parts of Africa," see that title in the Privy Council's Report, where it appears that that continent is traversed in many directions by caravans trading in European goods, ivory, gold-dust, ebony, slaves, sennah, mannah, callia, dates, gums, &c.—See also the interesting publica, tions of the African affociation.
It may be said, that, seeing the western coast of Africa, is resorted to for slaves by the eaftern nations of that continent, and even by the East Indians, that the abo. Jition of that traffic does not depend on the Europeans. I. answer that the slave market on the western coast does entirely depend on the Europeans; and that this is the greatest market, would appear from the dealers coming so far to frequent it; for they would not travel across the continent, if they could conveniently buy flaves nearer home. If, therefore, the Europeans abolish the Nave-trade, it is plain that the emporium for it would be removed from the western coast, and would no longer difturb legitimate commerce there.
CHA P. rectly to supply the wants of a community, as to gratify
the avidity of individual merchants, whom governments
and miserably stinting others.
perhaps, love to be compared to conductors which convey community. the commercial fluid through the world. I shall not object
to the comparison, if they will permit me to mention, that
unconnected with the
* Mr. Burke.