[taken from from the Dictionary of Trade and Commerce By MALACHY POSTLETHWAYT, 1755. ]
The Isle of Man is, and has been many years, a common storehouse for all manner of goods and merchandises that pay high duties in Great Britain or Ireland, or are prohibited into these kingdoms.
The merchants in that Island have constant supplies of large quantities of tobacco. both in leaf and roll, tea in chests. with all sorts of East India and Dutch goods from Holland ; one cargo landed there from Rotterdam, though contrary to law, consisted of 345: chests of tea ; they are likewise supplied with tobacco and other things from Dunkirk, Ostend, Norway, and even some parts in Great Britain ; with tea and India goods of all sorts from Gottenburg and Denmark, with vast quantities of brandy and wines from France, and with rum from America ; the Scotch and others send vessels to our plantations on purpose for that commodity and land it there, contrary as is supposed to the act of navigation.
These goods are all warehoused in that Island, and afterwards put into packages of lesser quantities and weights, such as may be most handy and convenient for running into Great Britain and Ireland.
There are nine or ten large wherries. and above twenty boats in the Island, constantly employed in the smuggling trade, and weekly from thence, if the weather permits, loaden with high duty or prohibited goods ; the wherries and boats from Peel-town supply the east and north parts of Ireland, the Highlands and west of Scotland ; those from Douglas and Derbyhaven; Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire; and those from Ramsey, Cumberland, and all the country on each side of Solway Firth, but their chief trade is up the river at Boulness, into the Scotch border near Annan.
Ten or twelve of these boats are almost every week seen in a fleet passing Whitehaven all laden, steering for the said river, where they land their cargoes at noon-day, the country being all ready to assist and protect them, in such numbers as no officer dare offer to molest.
These cargoes, which generally consist of brandy, rum, tea, and silks, are afterwards brought out of the Scotch border on horseback in the night, under an armed force of fifteen or twenty men into England, and guarded by them up into the country, till they have passed all the preventative officers on the English border.
Thus all the northern counties on this side Trent, if not further, are supplied from that Island with these commodities at a cheap rate, for the smuggler generally buys his brandy and rum there at two shillings the gallon. or under, and other goods in proportion, and by paying no duties is enabled to undersell the fair trader.
It was several years ago made appear, that the clandestine trade carried on from this island, was then £100,000 yearly loss to the revenue of Great Britain and Ireland. and it is, computed now to be twice as much, not to mention it's carrying away the coin, the detriment to the honest merchant, landholder and even ruin to the labouring people ; for being constantly supplied with brandy, rum, and Dutch geneva at so cheap a price, induces them to drink so much as not only weakens their constitutions but corrupts their morals. There is no other method, it is feared, can be thought on to put a stop to this great and growing evil (all the laws hitherto having proved ineffectual) but either by lowering the duties or purchasing the Island of the present proprietor.
From July 16, 1753, to July 11, 1754, a manufacturer of tobacco with eight working men, manufactured and shipped off to Ireland 166 hogshead, containing 8397 rolls, 175,358 pounds neat tobacco, There is now in the Isle of Man several workhouses, in which are employed 5o men and upwards, all workers of Irish roll tobacco.-Say but 48 men, that in the same proportion with the manufactory in England, will be 996 hogsheads, containing 50,382 rolls, 1,052,148 pounds neat tobacco, which must all be run into Great Britain or Ireland, but chiefly in Ireland.
Irish duties on 1,052,148 lb. tobacco, is £24,001 16s. 7½d ; Loss per annum will be English £22,155 10s. 9d. N.B. The supply for tobacco to the Island is chiefly from Dunkirk.
Tobacco imported into the Isle of Man, makes a considerable article of the lord proprietor's revenue-who receives half a pound duty on the same, which is allowed on all hands, to bring him in £1.500 per annum.
One factor only, named W.T. for the merchants and dealers in tobacco, in Dublin and other parts in Ireland, actually paid near £1000 to the proprietor's collector for tobacco only, in the year 1753. And there are three or four more factors in that Island for tobacco dealers, who pay less sums annually. These tobaccos are mostly manufactured in the Island into fine pig-tail and coarse roll, and run into Great Britain and Ireland. The working manufacturers were first procured from Dublin and Glasgow ; there are not now less than fifty of these hands, and a number of boys employed in several workhouses in the Island.
The lords of the treasury, considering the intolerable growing evils arising from smuggling, ordered (the beginning of this summer) the commissioners of the customs to order the several collectors of his Majesty's revenue in Great Britain, to transmit to them the most accurate estimates possible of the nature and quantity of the clandestine trade carried on in their respective districts, with their own observations thereon, and their opinions of the most feasible methodical methods of suppressing the same, and whatever else might tend to the improvement and better establishment of his Majesty's revenue in the customs and excise, that the same might be considered by their lordships, and laid before parliament, &c., or to that effect. One of these orders addressed to the collector of the port of ___ by the secretary of the customs, I saw. The said collector, who is an able and intelligent officer, and with whom I have often conferred on these matters, did accordingly acquit himself to his principals. He also informed me, that the like orders had issued from the commissioners of the customs in Ireland to the respective collectors in that kingdom, with some of whom, the most notable, he had kept a close correspondence on this head as well as with several in the ports of Great Britain. That upon the whole of their informations and estimates he found, that the smuggling trade from the Isle of Man alone to Ireland, could not amount to less than a loss of £200,000 per annum to his Majesty's revenue in that kingdom. And from the said island to England, Wales, and Scotland, at least £300,000 per annum. And to the East-India company and the fair trader £200,000 per annum more, in the whole £700,000 per annum, exclusive of the horrid consequences attending the said clandestine trade from the said Isle ; the chief of which are, the destruction of the health, breed and morals of the British :subjects stretching round the said island, the death and daggers of their manufactures and agriculture. The decay and consumption of the fair trader, and the temptation, and almost necessity they are thereby daily brought under, of countenancing and connecting themselves with the said smugglers, in order to keep out of a gaol-the inevitable forerunners of the decay and destruction of his Majesty's customs and excise, if suffered much longer. Add only one consideration more, the nourishing and strengthening the trade and commerce of foreign powers, particularly one, our most dangerous neighbour, by destroying our own, and draining us constantly of our cash, &c.
A Memorial or petition of the merchants, owners of ships &c . in the ports of Cumberland, has been lately presented to the lords of the treasury, setting forth the grievances they labour under from the clandestine trade carried on from the Isle of Man to which I could add many more facts and considerations in support thereof, very interesting. For instance, not one merchant along the coast of that country, has for seven years past, imported and paid duty for any French brandy, the country being with the same by the smuggling-boats and night-carriers from the Isle of Man, though for four years past, that island has been chiefly supplied with coarse Spanish brandy from Cëtte and Barcelona, which they purchase there at about 10d. English per gallon, and is sold out again to the smuggling-boats in the Isle of Man, at 18d. English per gallon, the duty on importation of the same in the island being but a zp. per gallon to the lord of the isle and the freight. This brandy may be bought afterwards on the south and west coasts of Scotland, for about 2s 2d. per gallon in great quantities.
Above 4000 gallons of this brandy were last year seized at different times, put up to sale at the custom-house at Whitehaven, but it would not fetch even the king's duty. Is not this a plain demonstration that the country about was supplied with it by the smugglers at a much lower price Yet by the seizures of brandy brought to that custom-house last year as just mentioned it is MOST CERTAIN, that not one smuggling-boat load from that island in a hundred, is taken by the cruizers or coast-officers. or in any other ways. Almost every soul along the coast of Cumberland, &c. even the beggars and their brats , if they can steal anything to purchase coarse sugar, drink tea once or twice a day, especially the damnified teas imported from Gottenburgh, &c. into the Isle of Man, much of which is sold by the smugglers from thence for 6d. or 1s. per pound, or that the excise on this article is dwindled to nothing along the coast. By such deplorable means, punch,bumbo, rumbo and dry drams, have universally prevailed among all degrees of people on the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland lying round the said Island, to the inconceivable detriment of both the customs and excise, and it lessens in proportion the consumption of malt liquor, and the necessary motives of brewing it well.
True it is, no less than eight ships arrived in the Isle of Man in the compass of 14 days in July last from foreign parts with brandy, rum, geneva, tobacco, arrac, teas, silks, &c. At one town called Douglas, the streets of which were scarce passable for several weeks, on account of the hogsheads. all the warehouses in the town not being able to contain their cargoes, till room was made by running off the stock then in cellar. The smugglers last summer marched in the night in bodies of twenty-men armed, and as many horse-loads of brandy, teas. &-c. into and through some of the towns in Cumberland.-There are no troops in the whole country, except a small garrison at Carlisle on the east side thereof.
The above mentioned observations together with the following a memorial of the merchants, do truly discover the present state of smuggling from the Isle of Man to the British dominions.-It remains now to examine the utility of suppressing the same effectually,- the present ineffectually means used for that end,-And, lastly, what may effectually and speedily do it.
It is now admitted by all the intelligent. that the above-mentioned trivial duties to the lord proprietor of the Isle of Man do not amount to less than : or £6000 per annum. at one penny a gallon upon spirits of all denominations imported there, a halfpenny a pound on tobacco ditto, and 2½ per cent. on all dry goods ad valorem : by which, if there were no other lights, a reasonable judgment might be formed of the bulk of the clandestine trade carried on from thence to the British dominions round them, and the shocking loss it must be to his Majesty's customs and excise in particular, exclusive of the fatal consequences to his subjects.
From which it cannot but be admitted, that the government had better give the lord proprietor of that island, and his heirs for every consideration of 5, or even £10,000 a year, for his sovereignty than let it remain 12 months more as it is, it being obvious that the sum the government would save thereby, in a year or two, would more than pay such consideration for ever, at -, per cent. even exclusive of the annual fair revenue of that island, which would then belong to the crown, and may be reckoned at £2000.
Thus much in regard to the propriety and necessity of purchasing and annexing it to the crown, and making it a part and parcel of the realm of England, by act of parliament.
It is said (and I believe with reason) that the present annual expense to the crown in supporting cruizers, and additional coast-officers, all along the coast of the three kingdoms, round the said island, and chiefly on account of the smuggling from thence, amounts to no less than £20,000 per annum.
How improper ! how injudicious these lofty masted and decked sloops and cruizers are for the purpose intended, I submit to the cabin-boy, without repeating any more, than they do not catch one smuggling boat in a hundred.
I shall be ashamed to repeat, that such lofty cruizers must be discovered by. the smuggling, open, four-oared boats, with their two low masts and small sails. above an hour or two, at least, before the cruizer can discover them ; the natural consequence of which is, the boats immediately clap to windward, and stand a wide course from the cruizer, by which they are seldom discovered, except in a fog, when it is always calm enough to give the boats an advantage by their oars. Moreover, such cruizers draw. too much water to pursue the smuggling boats in shore, and, before such can reach them with their boats, their cargoes are landed, and numbers of people always ready to convey them away. So much for the insignificancy of such cruizers !
I come now to offer effectual means totally to suppress the smuggling from that island.
And first that of purchasing and annexing the same to the crown, which, indeed. is to be preferred on every account. This would infallibly put a final end to the smuggling from that , island : because all such foreign goods as mentioned above must then be brought to the island in ships of burthen, and landed in one of their four ports, and this could not be done without the knowlege of a king's governor, collector, and the proper officers, in the face of day, the whole coast of that island being rocky and dangerous, except for their four- ports. and open boats cannot supply them from France, Holland, Spain, Denmark, and Sweden.
But if the lord proprietor should decline taking a reasonable consideration for his sovereignty thereof, or ask an unreasonable one for the same, which I would not suppose, except he should estimate the growing revenue thereof in proportion as it has increased since the year 1730, when he came to the inheritance thereof, viz. to have increased from £1000 in the aforesaid duty, to £5,000 a year: if this should be the case, it may properly, fail under consideration, as a most important national concern, whether it be not absolutely necessary to have an act of parliament for commissioners immediately to inquire into, and ascertain, the value of the said island, and to oblige him to receive such valuable consideration in lieu thereof, &c. as in the case of the heritable jurisdictions in North Britain.
But if measures of this kind should be thought improper, I doubt not means may easily be found to induce him to, alter his inclinations in a short time. viz.- By dismissing the present set of improper cruizers employed for suppressing the running trade from that island, and employing the annual espense of their establishment in fitting out and supporting half a score light open boats. or cutters, carrying 9 or 10 men each, having two low-masts, equal to those of the smuggling boats, to sail and row six oars at a time, to be stationed on proper cruizers round the said island - These must see and be seen at the same time ; but being light had better adapted for sailing and rowing, and drawing equal water, would soon come up with the smuggling boats.
Suppose, also, the captors were entitled to 40/-- per head for each smuggler so taken in the fact : and besides one moiety of the clandestine goods then taken, the 40/- per head to be paid -them out of the remaining moiety of the goods, or, in case of a deficiency therein, to be instantly paid them by :the collector of the port where the prize and smugglers are landed, upon delivering over to the civil power such captive smuggler, or smugglers, who are to be impowered to commit the said delinquents to gaol, till they can be conveniently turned over to serve on board the royal navy for the space of seven years at least ; such cruizers nevertheless, to be entitled to one third of the goods .taken, except they deliver over to the civil magistrate one or more of the -smuggling delinquents then taken in the fact.
If some people should think this punishment too light for such atrocious enemies to the public, then they have my consent and approbation either to transport them to America for life, or even to exchange them for our Christian slaves in Barbary : all which I think too favourable for such who promote the destruction of their fellow creatures and country at the same time.
Upon this last method it must be observed, as the reason of its effectuainess' .that, at present, the smuggling merchants and factors in the island give, for freight to each of the smuggling boats, five guineas, which is paid to the said crew immediately, upon their producing a certificate of their having delivered their said cargo to their consignment in Scotland, England, Wales, &c. But as the captures would be at least as 20 to 1 under this disposition, so would the danger to the boat-crews be, on account of the penalties annexed, which would quickly discourage all freight at any price : this would soon stagnate all .stock on hand in the island, stop farther importation of such goods, and with it, the lord's duties. Most of the Manx's boat-men are very hardy able-bodied seamen, mostly married and wedded to their own homes, and to whom a servitude and absence of seven years, or more. would. I am confident, be a hind of death, In short. something must speedily be done to put an effectual end to the enormous smuggling trade carried on from that island, or all the evils abovementioned must infallibly continue.
N.B. No Leeward Island rum is now imported into the Isle of Man, but coarse stinking North Amercan rum, drawn from molasses, carried there by their lumber ships from the Leeward Islands, particularly French melasses, from St Eustatia. .French and Spanish wines abound in the island, and great quantity of Dutch geneva, very coarse Spanish silks, Barcelona handkerchiefs. The Liverpool Guinea-men also take in stores at the Isle of Man , and their toys trinkets, imported there from Holland, France &c Horrible! The Memorial beforementioned, of the merchants and owners of ships in the port of Whitehaven. Humbly addressed to the right honourable the lords commissioners of his Majesty's treasury.
" We the merchants, and proprietors of ships in the port of Whitehaven, in the County of Cumberland, beg leave to represent to your lordships the great damage which this nation in general and more especially the ports of this county) sustains from the clandestine trade carried on from the Isle of Man, to the several parts of Great Britain and -Ireland, and humbly to submit to your lordships judzment the means we apprehend to be the most conducive to remove the same.
It is well-known that this house is the great store-house wherein the French and other nations. deposit prodigious quantities of wine, brandy coffee. tea, silks, and other India goods, which are there admitted upon very low duties, and afterwards smuggled upon the coasts of Great Britain acid Ireland, in small boats and wherries, built for that purpose ; besides the frauds committed in the article of TOBACCO, which being first entered in the several ports of Great Britain, for foreign parts, after receiving the drawback, are frequently landed in this Island. and afterwards run back again in this kingdom and Ireland.
For the carrying on of which clandestine trade, the situation of the Isle of an, is extremely- commodious, being within seven hours-sail of the several coasts of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales.
The loss, by this illicit trade, to his Majesty's revenues in the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, hath by competent judges, been computed at no less than Two Hundred Thousand Pounds :annually, besides the damage to the fair traders in general, and to the honourable East-India company in particular, which may reasonably be computed at no less sum. And if the duties alone upon these foreign commodities, thus fraudulently imported, amount to so excessive .a sum, we may judge, in part, what an immense treasure in Specie is annually drained from these kingdoms, and principally from the circumjacent sea-coasts, for the purchase thereof, which in the -same proportion, tends to the impoverishing his Majesty's dominions, and the inriching a neighbouring state, the formidable rival of our power, as well as our commerce.
But the greatest loss the public sustains by this detestable trade, proceeds from the alienation of such numbers of his Majesty's subjects from the honest arts of life, from agriculture, from manufactures, or from lawful commerce, to . ,;an employment which tends both to the destruction of their lives. and the debauching of their morals by the excessive importation of spirituous liquors.
These evils, though extending, in some degree to all parts of Great Britain .and Ireland, are yet most sensibly felt by the port of Whitehaven, and other neighbouring ports of this county, by -reason of their vicinity to the Isle of Man.
We beg leave, therefore, to represent to your lordships the peculiar hardships which the trade of this port labours under from the clandestine practices abovementioned, which, of late, have been carried on to a most exhorbitant height.
A considerable trade hath formerly been carried on from the port of Whitehaven, by the exportation of British manufactures to Virginia and Maryland, and other of his :Majesty's plantations in America, and the importation of tobacco, and other , products of these colonies, and also the exportation of coals to Dublin, and other parts of the kingdom of Ireland, by means whereof the commerce of these kingdoms hath been enlarged. his Majesty's revenues increased, and great numbers of ablebodied seamen have been raised ready upon any emergency, to be applied to the defence of their king and country. Both these trades are at present in a very declining state, occasioned chiefly by the exorbitant growth of the smuggling trade in the Isle of Man ;for whereas formerly a profitable branch of the trade of this port consisted in supplying the Irish markets with tobacco, this hath been greatly diminished by the manufactories of this commodity which have been set up and greatly increased of late in the said Island, by means whereof these markets are chiefly supplied with manufactured tobacco, in a clandestine way. to the great prejudice of the trade of this place. and the fair trader in general.
We beg likewise to represent to your lordships, the difficulties which the coal-trade labours under, as it is at present. carried on from Whitehayen, and the neighbouring ports. to Dublin, and other parts of the Kingdom of Ireland, arising from the same cause. And whereas, by an act made in the 12th year of his late Majesty George the 1st, no goods nr commodities whatsoever, other than such that are of the produce or manufacture of the Isle of Man, are allowed to be brought from the said Island, into the Kingdoms of Great Britain or Ireland. on any pretence whatsoever. under- the penalty of a forfeiture of ship and goods ; which makes it necessary that the owners of the ships employed in the trade. for the safety of their own property, should use the greatest caution and circumspection, in appointing the most faithful rnasters and sailors to navigate there, that are to be met with, yet it frequently happens that small quantities of prohibited goods are taken on board. on the coast of the said Island. where boats are continually plying-to supply. them. by reason whereof, ships of great value are forfeited and, sold, to the great prejadice of their innocent proprietors, who are often without redress, inasmuch a the nature of the trade will allow only such low wages to the masters of coal vessel that few persons who are possessed of any considerable-property will accept of that office. By this means, this once flourishing trade is now reduced to a very declining state, few people being willingly to venture their substance upon so precarious a foundation.
For the removal of these obstacles to lawful commerce by which the nation in general (and more especially the port of Whitehaven, and other neighbouring ports) are greatly affected, we humbly beg leave to mention to Your lordships the expedient which, by the wisdom of the legislature, has been judged most.conducive to this end, viz ; by purchasing the sovereignty of the said Island of the right honourable the proprietor, and annexing to his Majesty's government for the carrying of which useful design into execution, your lordships have been vested with a proper authority.
But if this cannot be effected. we humbly desire your lordships would vouchsafe to take under your consideration the state of the smuggling from this Island, and apply such further remedies as in your wisdom shall seem most expedient, since it is evident from experience, that the laws now in being are not sufficient to restrain the illicit practices complained of, which are growing, to so exorbitant a pitch, that the smuggling boats go publicly in large fleets, and at a common risk : so that when any of his Majesty's cruizers fall in with them, it is scarce possible to take more than one at a time, and then the law hath provided no other punishment but the loss of boats and goods, which loss is abundantly made up by the success .of their confederates. But this seldom happens, for the cruizers employed in the Channel are slow sailors, and easily seen at a distance, and easily avoided, so that scarce one in a hundred of the smuggling, boats, or wlierries ever fall into their hands.
It seems necessary, therefore, that a greater number of small boats, well manned, should be employed in apprehending these smuggling vessels. and that some further provision ought to be made by law, for the punishment of those who I are employed in navigating there, either be transportation to the British Colonies in America, or by sending them. for a limited time, on board his Majesty's navy, or by some other way which may be judged more expedient.
Although the smuggling trade carried on by means of the Isle of Man is exceeding great, and attended not only with very great detriment to the revenue. but of unspeakable injury to the fair trader. who pay- the legal duties for those commodities that others smuggle : yet it is to he wished that all the smuggiing in the kingdom centered in this Island only, for then the annexing the same to the crown of Great Britain might prove all effectual remedy against so great an evil. Certain, however. it is. that this illegal and pernicious practice has. spread itself too much over the whole kingdom, and calls aloud for an effectual redress, if there is a possibility. But while men are weak and wicked enough to persuade themselves, that there is nothing criminal in robbing the king of his revenue. or taking a false custom-house Oath. it is to be feared that those evils will never be extirpated from amongst us.
Nor do mankind seem to be sensible of the consequences to the public of thus robbing the royal revenue ; for whatever the revenue is illegally plundered of, occasions the raising of new funds, or taxes, to supply that deficiency ; and this has been the occasion of the continuance of the national debts and taxes ; for if all those sums of Money of which the public revenue has been, since the Revolution, deprived, by the infamous practice of smuggling, lead been saved, it is to be questioned, whether the nation would have been much in debt at this time of day. So that it may be said with truth, that smuggling has been one principal cause of the continuance of our debts and taxes ; and. therefore, such who perpetrate acts of this kind, are the greatest bane to these kingdoms, if the perpetuity of our debts and taxes is one of the greatest of evils.
Nor does the mischief thus terminate to the injury and oppression of the community in general, it strikes directly at the immediate ruin and destruction of every individual fair and honourable trader in the kingdom ; for that he evades the payment of the legal duties upon the commodities wherein he traffics will, as he can well afford it, undersell him who justly pays the duties and thus the honourable trader must either be undone, or turn smuggler to prevent it. Whence it is apparent, that one smuggler breeds many, and is the source of so general a depravity in trade, that smuggling traders are, in a great measure become the great instruments of the ruin of all the rest.
The severity that has been shown towards the most outrageous of these miscreants, has, indeed, had such happy effects, as to break the knot of those terrible banditti ; yet this has not struck at the root of the mischief, and, in the opinion of most, it can never be extirpated while the temptation from high duties remains so great, : for where the avoiding them makes profit so great, no risk, no danger, can prevent men attempting it; it is throwing out a bait to a greedy fish, he will snap at it, though ruin ensues. Besides, it being chiefly the articles of luxury that are smuggled, as brandy, tea, French wine, laces, silks, &c, it spreads their consumption among the lower class of people, who are tempted to imitate at less expense, the luxuries of their superiors ; and the same smugglers that bring us these superfluities, carry off prodigious quantities of raw wool, to the great prejudice of our manufactures, and the nation in general.
High customs prevent the bartering away of our manufactures for foreign goods, not only for our own consumption, bu: also for exportation, which might enlarge the vent of our goods ten times more than, it now is ; for if a merchant now exports woollen goods, and would barter them for wines, the duties on them would amount to more than the cost of his woollen goods ; so that he must have a double capital for such an adventure, or let it quite alone, whereby the sales of great quantities of woollen goods are lost to the nation.
As high customs enhance the expences of our navigation, the freight must be raised accordingly; whereby; the prices of the soap, oil and dye stuff used. in manufacturing our wool;. are advanced to the maker. and the freights on the cloths; or stuffs, exported, being also raised, are additional clogs upon the' sales of our woollen goods.
High duties prevent the carrying and fishing trades, the great nurseries of seamen ; whereby our sailors being few, and their expences raised by taxes, they have the highest wages of most people in Europe, which is another additional advance on the freighters, to the prejudice of our woollen, trade as above.
Great duties taking away so great a part of our merchants stocks, they are thereby deprived of driving that great trade, and purchasing those quanities of woollen goods they would otherwise do ; besides, our merchants risks in trade being greater than those in Holland, and their losses heavier by our customs, their bankruptcies must be more frequent, this sensibly affects our manufacturers, who are generally considerable creditors, for broken merchants may as well be compared to ninepins, one which seldom falls without beating down many others
High duties recommend foreign manufactures of fine goods, by making them expensive, which vanity, on that account soon renders fashionable; whilst our own are despised, though superior in goodness, and are a great discouragement to our manufactures.
Large customs are the cause of the smuggling of wool ; because the gain being great by running tea, brandy, and French goods, on account of the high duties, hath raised the contraband trade to a great pitch, and the smugglers cannot make their returns in any commodity of so quick and certain a vent, for that gives so good a profit as our wool ; for the French being less taxed than we can work cheaper and their own wool being coarse, English and Irish wools are so much in demand, that they will give great prices for them, for which reason they receive vast quantities, to the ruin of our manufactures.
High customs on ashes, bay-salt, cotton, copper, coals, drugs, foreign soap, flax, fruit, furs, hemp, iron, leather, linens, oil, paper, rice, tobacco, tallow, threads, tapes, silks .and sugar, bang necessaries of life, or materials of manufacture, must necessarily make all our commodities dear, not only to our own people, but to foreigners likewise, (though our workmen should have no excise to pay) and such discouragements give opportunity to foreigners to send their manufactures cheaper to foreign markets, and smuggle them, in defiance of all laws, into our own country, to the ruin of our manufacturer ; for all the above customs are as much taxes on woollen manufacture„ as if they were laid on the wool itself, or more ; for the workman must raise the money on the woollen goods he makes to pay the duties of what he uses for the above articles, with the advances -in all the hands they pass through, before they come to him.
It is by these high duties that we ourselves drive away own manufacturer, and prevent our getting more; and foreigners could not rival the people of so fruitful a country as Britain, if we did not furnish them with the means, by our high taxes and restraints, that are always prejudicial to trade, though designed to amend it, and never affect the thing intended, though fortified with the most rigorous penal laws ; of which Mr. Locke gives an instance, in his considerations, &c. p. 16. It is death in Spain to export money ; and yet they who furnish all the world with gold and silver, have least of, it amongst themselves : trade fetctes it away from that lazy and indigent people, notwithstanding all their artificial and forced contrivances to keep it there ; it follows trade against the rigour of their laws, and their want to foreign commodities, makes it openly carried out at noon-day.
This seems to be a parallel of the state we are coming to, and which some foreigners may by and by make.
It is seldom in England to export wool, and yet they who furnish all the world with wool, have least of the manufacturing of it among themselves : the smuggling trade fetches it away, :from that excised and custom-loaded people, notwithstanding all their artifice and forced contrivances to keep it there it follows the smuggling trade, against the rigour of their laws, and their want ,of taking off the taxes on their manufactures, makes it openly carried out at noon-day.
By this we see, neither death or banishment can force trade to an unnatural channel, and it may be -compared, in one respect, to water which ,cannot be compressed within its natural demensions the more force is excerted the-sooner the vessel broke that contained it, and the water let loose never to return,
The great De Wit, in his Memoirs, Ratisbon edit. p.77 asserts, "That the navigation, the fishery, the trade and manufactures, which are the four pillars of the state, should not be weakened, or encumbered by any taxes'; for it is they that give subsistence to most part of the inhabitants, acid which draw in all sorts of strangers, unless the necessity was so great, that the country was threatened with an entire destruction, and ;these fundamentals should be attached upon the hopes that these taxes would not last long ; at least haste should be made, 'as soon as the storm was over, to take them off: again, this distinction should be made, that manufactures should not, or cannot be taxed at all: because they are not fixed to the country, and we must fetch from foreign countries, the stuffs and materials to work them up." Smuggling sends away our specie.
Britain having no mines of gold or silver, has no other means of getting, or preserving its treasure, but by foreign trade. As customs confine our trade to mere importation, for our own necessaries or vanities, at the same time ruin our manufactures ; what we want it. exports to balance the imports, must be paid in specie, making, the balance of trade every year more and more against us; for, as we raise the prices of our goods so high, by taxes, that the foreigners will not take them, and yet continue to import their superfluities, which we now chiefly, and in time must ;entirely pay for with gold and silver, as appears by the bills of entry in every week we are begining to do ; and our high duties encourage smugglers, who have seldom a settled habitation, or any stock of our manufactures by them, to carry out vast quantities of specie to purchase their cargoes : for such large draughts make our mint lie idle ; we see but little new coined gold and hardly any silver ; and we find out, money disappear, and grow scarcer every year ; our trade decline, and our people starve