« السابقةمتابعة »
should it succeed, there is no doubt but that Britain might again recover that pre-eminence in the woollen manufacture me once porsefred.For as there is no other kingdom in Europe, except Spain, that could produce such fine wool as might be reared in Scotland, the manufacturers of or her nations would be under the neceflity of resorting to Spain, or more difiant countries, for that necessary article, which we could have within our own island; which would give us such an advantage over them in this respect as would ensure the prosperity of this branch of our manufačiure. In this view, Therefore, it is greatly the interest of the state to promote the plan for improviog our wool above recommended.'
Having thus proved that there are no natural impediments to prevent the establishment of manufactures in Scotland, he takes a retrospective view of those political institutions that have tended to retard their progress in that country. Among other particuJars he animadverts with great warmth upon the pernicious ten. dency of entails, and traces the influence of that mode of transmitting heritage upon the national character of the people: he likewise complains that the mode of trials for civil causes in Scotland is less friendly to liberty and a spirit of independence, the only fute foundation of national industry, than in England; and he closes the volume with remarks on the nature of the fisheries of Scotland.
. I have purpofely, says he, avoided, till this time, saying any thing about the filheries on the coast of Scotland, about which you are lo anxious to be informed; because I foresee, that till some plan is adopted to mitigate those evils that depress the lower ranks of people in Scotland, and to bellow upon them riches and activity, all attempts to reap benefits from thence must be poor and inconfidere able ; and because I am sensible, that if ever these beneficent pure poses Mhall be effected, the fishings, without almost any effort of those in power, will become a great and astonishing object of national wealth and industry. As this, therefore, muft naturali rather follow than lead the way in the improvement of Scotland, I have hitherto kept it out of fight.'
Then follow some observations on the salmon and cod fisheries, which we pass over as of less moment, to come to the herring fishery, which he thinks has never yet been attempted in a proper manner.
· The great point wanted to give ftability to the British herringfithery, is to diminish the expence incurred by those who engage in is.-- For till that shall be accomplished so far as to bring the Britih herrings cheaper to a foreign market than those of Holland can be afforded, the business must be carried on in a languid manner, that can be attended with little benefit to the nation. But this expence can only be diminished by the frugality and industry of the persons actually engaged in the Shery; which can be accomplished in no other way, than by giving to those individuals engaged in it the certainty of reaping for themselves, and not earning for another, the wbole profits that ihall be derived from that indultry and frugality.
No labour that is carried on by slaves, can ever be done at so little expence as by freemen.- No:bing that is performed by hirelings, can ever be performed fo cheap as by men who are working immediately for their own behoof.
• This fundamental axiom in politics, the juftness of which is confirmed by the experience of all nations, ancient and modern, seems to have been entirely overlooked by our legislators in their attempts to establish the herring fishery; in consequence of which their efforts, alter thirty years experience, have been found to have produced hardly any beneficial effect. —And by adhering to this political axiom with invar ble steadiness, the Dutch, who have many natural impediments to surmount that we have not, do ftill continue to carry on a successful fishery upon our very coast, and undersell us in foreign markets by the fish caught sometimes by our own people, even in our own harbours.
• The laws that have been at different times enacted in Great Britain with regard to this grand fishery, seem to have been framed directly in opposition to this axiom. And I have no hesitation in saying, that a Dutchman who should read these laws, would be perfeally satisfied, that if they were intitled, acts for discouraging, instead of encouraging, the herring-fishery, the title would correspond much more perfectly with the laws themselves than it does in its present form.-He would say, that to encourage the herring-fi thery effectually, the British legislature ought to have aimed at diminishing the expence of that fithing to the several undertakers as much as was in their power :-intlead of which they have endeavoured all they could to encrease it, by loading the several undertakers with an unnecessary apparatus of nets and instruments, that they can hardly ever have occasion to employ. He would say,--that if they had really aimed at diminihing this expence, instead of confining the piernium to those only who were rich, and capable of forming great equipments ; by which circumilance the poor, who must of necessicy be the operators in that great work, are effectually deprived of any immediate benefit from thence; they would have devised some me. thod of bellowing a premium that should have extended its influence to the meanest individual, in proportion to his industry.-He would say, that if the success of the fishery had been the principal object aimed at, rather than the enriching some powerful undertakers, the premium ought not to have been so confiderable as to indemnify these for almoit their whole adventure, without any industry on their part, and to extend equally to the idle as the industrious; but should have been in itself more moderate, and so contrived as to encrease with the industry and skill of the respective undertakers. In short, he would say, that if the English had been jealous left the Scots might at some time or other engage in the herring.filhing themselves, and from their natural advantages be enabled to outrival the Dutch in this branch of commerce, which they wished to prevent; and had they been afraid to avow this design openly, but resolved to effect ic by an underhand round-about way, they could not have fallen upon a plan more effectually to have done this than that which they have adopted; because it effectually excludes the natives from reaping any benefit directly from the premium, who were the only persons
that, from local fituation, and other circumstances, could carry on that fishing cheaper than any others ;-and because it puts it out of the power of enterprising individuals from diminishing their expence of tackle and equipments, and from fupplying that deficiency by in. genuity and industry, seeing they must have these, whether they use them or not.
• The consequence of these laws has been nearly in fact what might have been expected from the foregoing reasoning. In hopes of obtaining the bounty, many vessels are annually fitted out by rich individuals in England or elsewhere, which meet at the general ren. dezvous at the proper season, and make a great figure annually in a news paper. These are commanded by men in general, who have Do other interest in the adventure, than to draw their pay for the time; and are navigated by persons who know no more about fishing, than I do about directing the manæuvres of an army; and who are usually engaged at as low a rate as posible, being wanted merely to make a fhow at the general rendezvous.---The preservation of the neis, and other expensive articles of equipment, in order that they may make their appearance at the next annual rendezvous, is the principal care of the maler, who accomplishes his end most effectua'ly, by locki g them up, and hardly suffering them to be wet. ted ; and while they remain on the llation, which they are obliged to do for a certain time to intiile them to the premium, instead of applying themselves with affiduiry to catching of fish, like skilful filhermen, the parade about like wanton idlers, -break and disperse the fhoals of fith wherz-ever they meet them; and, not content with this in the open sea, even enter into the creeks and bays, where small boats only could fish with propriety, and in which the natives, even without any aid from the bouniy, would, if uninterrupted, make a reaf nable proht to themselves. Thus these premium vessels pro• duce as much mischief as they can where-ever they go, to the great anroyance of the industrious fishermen, wo are from this cause obliged in some measure to defert an employment that they would naturally fullow with profit, if freed from this intolerable nuisance.'
To remedy thefe defects he proposes that a realonable bounty fhould be allowed on every barrel of herrings properly cured; ani that the bounty "pon buffes per tun fhould be lowered, and tiele veflc ls be prohib iod from fishing within a limited distance of the cost. This would allow the natives to fish in their creeks with freedom ; it would likewise allure merchants to come and purchase the fifh when frefh caught, and cure them for themselves.
By this means, he observes, the fishermen would be necefsarily freed of all the expence that would be required in providing casks and salt, nor would they be obliged to learn the nicer operation of curing them: from which circumstances they would be at liberty to exert themselves to the utmost of their power in their own calling, without taking any concern about other matters, which do not so naturally belong to their busineso-Thus each party would move in his own sphere
with pleasure and profit, and mutually contribute to the good of the whole.'
Other means of encouraging this great national fishery are pointed out, among which we are not surprized to find a premium proposed for the discovery of a new and better manner of curing herrings than any yet known; but we were forry to find Mr. A. fo far forget himself as to give this a dash of ridicule which might well have been spared, as it must tend to counteract the intention he aimed at. As this is a matter of real moment, every thing that has the smallest appearance of levity ought to have been avoided.
But the greatest improvement which he proposes, is to make the Herring and Greenland whale-fisheries go hand in hand, and mutually alliit one another. The whale-fishery, he observes, has been greatly retarded by the large size of the vessels which have been usually employed in it, and the mismanagement that always attends public companies in matters of trade. To prevent this, in fome degree, for the future, he proposes, that the bounty should be granted to vessels of a smaller size, and that all restrictions with regard to the number of hands, provisions, tackle, &c. should be entirely abolished *, in lieu of which the
* In all the laws hitherto enacted in Britain for granting a bounty on veffels employed in any kinds of filings, the legillature seems to have been extremely 10. dic tous to prevent any person from claiming the bounty, unless they were provided with every thing that could be thought neceffary for car: ying on these fisheries in every possible fituation of things, and hence they have been at great pains to prefc ibe the number of nets, Ins, lalt, casks, men, provisions, &c. to be on board of every such viffel before it could be entitled to the bounty; and also to regulate the ports from which they are to tail, and many other particulars, which seem quite unneceflary, as the only operate like so many clogs to retard the business they seem evidently intended to encourage, and to enhance the price of the articles that they ought to diminith.
* Th celign of a bounty in all cases of this sort ought to be to encourage inexperienced adventurers to engage in a particular branch of butinels with which they are una quainted; but which it is supposed might be carried on without the bounty, with protit, as soon as it came to be fully understood, and the bufness conducted with ec nomy.
• It that bounty, therefore, is not so high as to be alone fufficient to defray the expence of the equipment, and thus to tempt a man to fit cul a vesicl merely with a view to obtain the bounty, without atiencing at all to the bufiness, there feems to be no reason to fear that any person woulj lend a velel a voyage of this fort, without an apparatus proper for the purp le; as they must wherwise inevitably be losers by the buhness, and therefore quickly give it over ; fo that in this case there would be no neceflity for prescribing particular rules for their conduét.
• And if an adventurer finds that he cannot be fully indemnified by the bounty, and therefore muft exert himfelt when in the proper ftation for fishing, he will find, that bis vrofits will be so much diminithed, if he wants a proper apparatus, as to be obuiged of his own accord either to provide a proper apparatus, or give over the bufinels.
" But it he is at liberty to chule for himself, he will always make choice of that apparatus that will ettect the purpose required at the smaileft poffible expence.-In. genuity will be exerted to discover new methods of saving money, as every such conuivance will augment his profits ; by which means the undertakers will in time he
vessels should be only obliged to pursue the fishing for a certain limited time (if not fooner loaded) without following any other employment. This, he thinks, would induce private adventurers to fit out small vessels for this fishery in times when trade was dead, rather as a bye jobb than as a capital object : and as the commanders in these cases might probably be part owners, and diligent in business as well as sparing of expences, they would often find a reasonable profit where thips belonging to larger companies would be considerable losers. This with some other obvious regulations which he enumerates, would not fail, he thinks, to enable the British whale fishers to carry on the business as successfully as the Dutch or the New Englanders.
As these small vessels would be equally proper for the herring fithery as for that in the Greenland feas, and as the number of hands required for both fisheries is nearly equal, it would be ealy for these adventurers, on their return from Greenland, to put afore their loading, with the fishing apparatus, as soon as they returned, and taking on board the tackle, &c. necessary for the herring fishery, proceed immediately to the proper seas in fearch of that kind of fith. But to prevent all unnecessary waste of time, which he observes must be attended with a very heavy expence to the undertakers in these fisheries, where so many hands are necessarily employed, he proposes that instead of fixa ing the rendezvous for the herring finery precisely to the 22d of June and ift of October, as at present, ships might be entitled to receive the bounty if they began fishing on any day between the two periods above-mentioned; the thips being obliged to continue three months from the time of their entry, or to the end of the fishing season following, if they have not sooner completed their lading.
This, he says, would have the good effect to allow such vessels as were intended to be employed in the herring-filhery during the proper season, to pursue any other profitable employment at other times without relijaint; and not lose any time, after having completed any other voyage, before they proceeded directly to the
bithery, if at the proper season. In this manner the profits of the several owners of vessels, adventurers in this trade, would be greatly encrealed; and by consequence, they could afford to sell their fith
able to catch the fish at as small an expence as any other nation, and by consequence will afford them as cheap at foreign markets as any others can do. This surely is, or ought to be, the aim of every bounty whatever.
• For thele reasons, it appears to me a felf-evident truth, that it is altogether fuperfluous in the legisarure to express iuch anxiety, left their bounty should be beIlywed on undeserving persons; as all the conditions invented to prevent this, only tend to retard the improvement of the fishery, which might be more perfectly effeaed by moderating the bounty, where it is too high, a small degree.
• The only circumstances that seem to be reasonably eligible are, that the vessels be British built, and that they remain a proper time upon the station : a!l other parciculars might perhaps, with safety, be left to the choice of the persons concerned.'