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the only member of the administration who took any material interest in it. Indeed, Mr Pitt was, at that time, entirely devoted to domestic concerns; nor did he pay any particular attention to foreign politics, until compelled by the French Revolution.

Having proved by the tract, entitled, "Thoughts on the Naval Strength of the British Empire," my zeal for the honour and credit of the navy, I was thence led to entertain an anxious wish to have the manning of the navy placed on a more advantageous footing than was at that time the case. I was induced to draw up a plan for that purpose, and sent it to Mr Pitt, accompanied by the following letter:


The inclosed paper, though short, will sufficiently explain my ideas respecting the manning of. the navy. As it has ever been a favourite subject of mine, I still feel a desire to bring it before Parliament. At the same time, if effectual measures are to be taken by Government, or if it is judged prejudicial to the public service to bring it forward, I shall certainly relinquish any private wish of my own, for the general benefit of the country. I have the honour to be, Sir, your very obedient humble servant,


Whitehall, 13th February 1793.

To which I received the following answer :

Mr Pitt presents his compliments to Sir John Sinclair. Being persuaded that he can have no view but the public service in the proposal which he thinks of making respecting manning the navy, Mr Pitt cannot help begging to represent to him, that the agitation of that question at this time may produce consequences very contrary to those which he intends; and he therefore hopes that Sir John Sinclair will at least defer stating any thing publicly, till Mr Pitt has had some farther communication with him on the subject.

Downing Street, Monday, Feb. 11. 1793.

It was impossible to bring forward a motion, which the Minister of the Crown had so earnestly requested should not be made, and accordingly the plan was not persevered in.

No. II.


The following communication from Lord Hastings, proves his Lordship's great attention to foreign political questions, even when he was not a minister of state:

Donington, July 27. 1808.


You were right in saying that the occurrence in Spain went beyond what the most sanguine hope with which we could have flattered ourselves; and your Latin quotation would have been equally apposite with the remark, had one not to fear that no adequate advan· tage will be drawn from the circumstance. The opportunity was a glorious one. Our ministers, however, seem to have been incapable of opening their eyes to an angle sufficient to embrace the magnitude of the object. Without reference to the radical distresses of our situation, without conviction that nothing is gained unless you alter the relative proportion of strength now existing between France and this country,—we seem to aim at nothing more than to embarrass Bonaparte for the instant. Suppose him foiled in his designs on Spain, he only misses an acquisition of which he had in fact no need. Suppose Spain emancipated from fear of thraldom, our benefit is as nothing if she sits down upon a compromise with Bonaparte. We had only one rational game to play. It was to seize the enthusiasm of Spain, left open to our influence by the entire disorganization of the country, and to direct it, not simply to the clearance of Spain from French armies, but to proclaimed vengeance for the insidious attack made upon that kingdom. On no other terms can you expect to invite forward again the Emperors of Russia and Austria; and without their co-operation the war must finish, whensoever it shall finish, by leaving France with a preponderance under which we shall be smothered. One cannot say that this great effort may not be made, but the course of our measures is not at all calculated to bring it about. You see the jealousy of Spain strongly indicated towards us even at the moment when they are soliciting succours, and we have taken no step of a nature to extinguish that well-grounded doubt of our good faith, though the entire confidence of Spain in us is now our only chance of escape from the most formidable distresses. It

is the galling weight of the public imposts, not what Bonaparte can do against us by force, that constitutes the danger of our situation. And with what sort of forecast is it that we are to look forward to years of protracted contest, with every year a new invasion of the comforts of the people? Inadvertent to this, we are reviving all the track of ordinary diplomacy in Spain,-we are fashioning armies for the capture of sea-ports or the defence of passes,—and we are boastingly anticipating a triumph in the independence of Spain, which the inhabitants would atchieve without our aid. Let all this run to our wish, and we are only just where we were. It is an odd thing to say, but the defeat of the Spanish armies is the only chance which I now see for the conversion of this opportunity, (after its first advantages were missed), to the support of any British interest. In the freedom of gallant men we must all rejoice; but our own country demands our attention, and we might honourably ingraft our own cause upon the deliverance of Spain. Believe me, my Dear Sir John, your very obedient humble servant,

No. III.



The subjoined letter from Mr Windham proves the cordiality of his friendship for the person to whom it was addressed. An invariable rule he had adopted, not to deny himself, is one which few public men have adopted.

Park Street, Westminster, Dec. 20. 1799.


I have been wishing to make up for my omission of writing, by finding an opportunity of calling upon you. But I am informed that you have quitted your house at Whitehall, and cannot immediately learn where you have removed to.

You will find me here almost any morning, when you will do me the favour to call, and always happy to see you. I am seldom out, and make it almost an invariable rule not to deny myself. I am, Dear Sir, yours very truly,


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No. IV.


The whole free trade system, as every one is aware, rests upon a hypothesis, that it will effect a reciprocity of liberality in our neighbours. The boldest theorist has never contended, that we are to throw open our ports to the produce and manufactures of other countries, but with the expectation that sooner or later these countries must receive our produce or manufactures as freely in return. Upon what ground such an expectation can rest, will appear by the following extract from the late speech of the French Minister of Finance, delivered in the Chamber of Deputies :—

"Two systems are actually at issue, the system of Restriction, and that of Liberality. Which of the two suits France? A country like France has much to furnish to foreign countries, but it has also many things to receive from them; and this is the point which must determine the system. Where ought a country to place itself when it has thirty millions of consumers, and so rich a soil? The first care of this country is to preserve to itself the supply of what it can offer to so extensive a consumption. Should we, in the name of agriculture, invoke the system of liberality? Could our agriculturists resist the importation into France of the corn of Odessa and other countries? Could the proprietors of our pasturages support a competition with other countries, who can raise cattle so much cheaper than ourselves? Could our wool trade be protected with this system? The importation of foreign cloths would completely ruin it in less than a year. The silk trade, which is the staple of France, would not even be secure. The importation of Indian silks would give a fatal blow to our manufactures at Lyons. Of all the branches of our agriculture, wines alone would not be injured by the plans proposed. The best answer to the adversaries of the system pursued by us, is in the solution of this question: Is France become poorer or richer? It is impossible that the balance of trade can be against her, if she is becoming richer. The administration is incessantly occupied with inquiring, amidst all the means, that which will be the most proper to furnish positive data to the Chambers. We are engaged at this moment in fresh valuations, because some of them have been demonstrated to be erroneous. Our irons ought necessarily to be protected by a temporary surcharge on account of the operations of our neighbours. The impulse given to this sort of industry, the capi

tals directed to it, will soon enable France to manufacture for herself as cheap as her neighbours. The system which it is wished to substitute, would have no other result than discouraging those who enter on this career, and deceiving those who have establishments in this branch. As to wines, England, it is said, would consume our wines, of which the qualities are known, as she consumes those of Portugal. But do you wish to know on what conditions she would consume them? You know what the conditions are which she has imposed on Portugal. On the same conditions you would sell your wines."

Next to our own country, France is now the most commercial, and has always been the most intelligent nation of Europe. The opinion of the French, upon a question of international, and particularly upon a question of commercial policy, may be taken as a favourable, if not a fair standard of the prevailing opinion in Europe. Now, the above extract tells us, that, upon principles of general and permanent operation, the French people are opposed to a system of free trade. Whether these principles are right or wrong is not the question; they are the principles upon which they will act; and it were mere madness to expect, in the teeth of such a declaration, that the attempt to force a free trade can end in any thing but calamity.

No. V.

EXTRACT OF A WORK, ENTITLED, LONDRES ET LES ANGLAIS. Par J. L. FERRI DE ST CONSTANT. Printed at Paris anno 12, vol. iii. chap. xxx. p. 225.

Société d'Agriculture.

Le dernier établissement fait à Londres pour encourager et accélérer les progrès des arts, et celui qui a pour objet le premier des

* Translation.

Extract from a work, entitled, "London and the English." By J. L. Ferri de St Constant. Printed at Paris in the year 1812, vol. iii. chap. 30. p. 225.


The most recent establishment erected in London for encouraging and accelerating the progress of the arts, and that which has for its object the chief of all the arts, the Society of Agriculture, was established in 1793, according to the plan proposed by Sir John Sinclair, who was the first President. He ought to be regarded as the founder, because it was owing to his zeal, perseverance, and clear views on the subject, that every obstacle was overcome, and the approbation of

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