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The HISTORY of the laft dit with Great Britain. That confidering the prodigious confumption of the produce of the Weft Indies in Great Britain, Ireland, and the colonies on the continent of America; the rapid increase of thofe colonies; the vaft acceffion of fubjects by the late conquefts; the utter incapacity of our own island, to fupply fo great a demand, will, the petitioners prefume, be out of all queftion; on the other hand, the lumber produced from clearing this immenfe territory, and the provisions extracted from a fertile foil, muft raise a fupply for exportaCon much greater than all our islands can confume; it feems therefore confiftent with found policy, to indulge thofe colonies both in the free and unrestrained exportation of all the lumber and produce they can fpare, and an ample importation of fugar, rum, and melafles, to fupply the various branches of their trade; fince without the one the clearing of lands will be difcouraged; and provifions, for want of vent, become of little profit to the farmer; without the other, the petitioners must be plunged into a total incapacity of making good their payments of British debts; their credit muft fink, and their imports from Great Britain gradually diminish, till they are contracted to the narrow compafs of remittances, in articles of their own produce; whence the colonies muft, from inevitable neceffity, betake themselves to manufactures of their own, which will be attended with confequences very detrimental to thofe of Great Britain.

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The petitioners having thus reprefented the nature of their commerce, humbly beg leave to point out the feveral grievances under which it labours, from the regulations prefcribed by the two before mentioned acts. The heavy embarraffments which attend the article of fugar, is a capital fubject of complaint; and, befides the abfolute neceffity of a great importation to fuftain their trade, it often happens, that at the foreign iflands, a fufficient return-cargo, independant of fugar, cannot be procured, which render trade precarious and difcouraging; befides, the high duty of 5s. terling a hundred, is found by experience to be fo exceffive, that it has induced the fair trader to decline that

branch of bufinefs, while, to people lefs fcrupulous, it prefents an irrefiftable temptation to fmuggling. That the preflure of this duty is not aggravated, the petitioners appeal to the officers of the customs of their port, who must confefs that there have not been wanting inftances where merchants have been driven to the difagreeable neceffity of bringing their very plate into the custom-house to difcharge it. The petitioners, therefore most humbly entreat that a more moderate duty be laid on foreign fugars, which, they are affured, would not only greatly promote the profperity both of thofe colonies and their mother country, but encrease the royal revenue far beyond what can be expected under the prefent restraints. The compelling merchants to land and ftore foreign fugars in Great Britain, before they are exported to other parts of Europe, is another expenfive and dilatory reftriction, without being of any material advantage to the revenue of Great Britain; for it puts it out of the petitioners power to meet foreigners at market upon an equal footing. That British plantation fugar exported from North America, thould be declared French on being landed in England, the petitioners conceive may be juftly claffed among the number of hardships inflicted by those regulations, as in effect it deprives them of making a remittance in that article, by expofing them to the payment of the foreign duty in Great Britain, which appears the more fevere, as their fellow subjects of the islands are left at liberty to export thofe fugars for what they really are, and a diftinction is formed which the petitioners cannot but regard with uneafinefs. That foreign rum, French excepted, is the next article which the petitioners most humbly propofe for confideration, as its importation, on a moderate duty, would add confiderably to the revenue, prevent fmuggling, encreafe the fale of British manufactures, and enable the petitioners to bring back the full value of their cargoes, more especially from the Danish idlands of St. Thomas and St. Croix, where they can only receive half the value in fugar and cotton, and confequently rum alone can be expected for the other half, thofe



islands having no fpice but of a bafe
kind. That it is with the greateft
concern the petitioners obferve, that
foreign logwood is alfo made fubject
to the delay, hazard, and expence of
being landed in Great Britain; which
with its low price, its bulk, and the
duty with which it is now burthened,
muft totally deftroy that valuable
branch of the petitioners commerce,
and throw it into the hands of foreign-
ers unfettered with thofe heavy em-
barraffinents. That their lumber and
pot-ath, even when shipped for Ireland,
where the latter is fo neceffary for the
progress of their linen manufacture,
and even provifions, though intended
to relieve that kingdom from a fa-
mine, are fubject to the fame diftref-
fing impediments; nor is flax-feed,
on the timely importation of which
the very existence of the linen manu-
facture immediately depends, exempt-
ed: Yet both flax-feed, lumber, and
pot-afh, may all be imported into
Ireland directly from the Baltic, where
they are purchased from foreigners
under the national difadvantage of be-
ing paid for with money instead of ma-
nufactures; the petitioners, therefore,
humbly beg leave to exprefs their
hopes, that an evil fo highly prejudi-
cial to them, to the ftaple of Ireland,
and to the trade and manufactures of
Great Britain, will not fail of obtain-
ing the attention of the houfe, and
an immediate and effectual redress.
The petitioners beg leave farther to
reprefent, that the wines from the if
lands, in exchange for wheat, flour,
fish and lumber, would confiderably
augment the important article of re-
mittance, was the American duty
withdrawn on exportation to Great
Britain: It is therefore humbly fub-
mitted to the houfe, whether fuch an
expedient, calculated at once to attach
the inhabitants to husbandry, by en-
creafing the confumption of American
produce, to encourage British manu-
factures, by enabling the petitioners
to make good their payments, and to
encrease the royal revenue by an addi-
tional import of wines into Great
Britain, will not be confiftent with
the united interefts both of the mo-
ther country and her colonies. The
petitioners alfo conceive that the North
American fishery is of the highest na-
tional importance, fince, by annually

The HISTORY of the laft Seffion of Parliament.


employing fo great a number of fhipping, it conftitutes a refpectable nurfery for feamen, and is fo advantagcous for remittances in payment for British manufactures; whence the petitioners humbly prefume it will be cherished by the houfe, and every impediment removed that tends to check its progrefs. The enlarging the jurifdiction of the admiralty is another part of the ftatute of the fourth of his majefty's reign, very grievous to the trade and navigation of the colonies, and oppreffive to the fubjects, The petitioners beg leave to express their warmeit fentiments of gratitude for the advantages intended by parliament in the opening free ports in the islands of Jamaica and Dominica; yet, at the fame time, cannot but lament their being fo unhappy as to be unable to reap the benefits, which, it was imagined, would flow from fo wife a policy. The collecting great quantities of the produce of Martinico, Guadaloupe, &c. at the island of Dominica, would be of real advantage to the colonies, were they permitted to take them in return for their lumber and provifions; but as they are now prohibited from taking any thing but melaffes, the petitioners think it evident, that they can derive no fubftantial advantage under fuch a reftraint, and are unable to difcern the principle on which the prohibition is founded; for fince fugar may be imported directly from the foreign iflands, it feems much more reafonable to fuffer it from a free port belonging to Great Britain. titioners, therefore humbly hope, that the houfe will think it equitable to adopt this trade to their circumstances, by granting them liberty to import into the colonies all Welt-India productions, in exchange for their commodities; and that, upon the whole, the petitioners, with the greatest anxiety, find themfelves obliged to inform the houfe, that although, at the laft feffion, the neceffity of relieving the trade of thofe colonies feems to have been univerfally admitted, and the tender regard of parliament for their happiness highly diftinguifhed; neverthelfs, experience has evinced, that the commercial regulations then enacted, infead of remedying, have encreafe the heavy bu then under which it already laboured. Hence,


The pe



The HISTORY of the laft Seffion of Parliament. June

due confideration, nothing can be more manifeft, than that the ability of thofe colonies to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain, immediately depends upon, and is infeperably connected with the progrefs of their commerce; and that ability, by removing the neceffity of home manufactures, would leave them at liberty to purfue agriculture, in which their true intereft confifts. The petitioners, therefore, pray the house to take the above into confideration, and to grant fuch relief therein as fhould be thought confiftent with good policy, and the mutual interefts of Great Britain and her colo


There was never perhaps a petition of more confequence, in relation to trade, prefented to parliament than this, or one in which our colonies, the British merchants trading to the continent of America, with our artizans and manufacturers are more nearly interested, and, therefore, if the facts upon which the petition is founded, could be fufficiently proved, they juftly called for an immediate redreis; especially if the regulations here recommended would be of little or no difadvantage to our Weft-India iflands. But the majority of the house appear to have been fo much offended at the inhabitants of our colonies in North America, and particularly with thofe of New York, as to refolve not to spend a thought on their advantage, whatever effect this might have on our merchants, tradefmen and manufacturers; and therefore this petition was rejected, by its being ordered to lie on the table. But it is to be hoped, that the time is at hand, when effectual measures will be taken to revive our declining commerce; and that a more judicious parliament, that has much better ideas of trade than the laft, will conciliate the affections of our colonies to their mother country, and enable them to trade with us, on a footing equally advantageous to both. We now come to fome acts of a more limited nature, as not having an imme liate relation either to the whole kingdom in general, or to our exten. five plantations, and fhall here begin with the capital of Great-Britain.

The corporation of London having found the 1 uns which the parliament 7 had entitled them to raile for the


building of the bridge at Black Friars, inadequate for the purpose of rendering it a toll-bridge, and wanting several other fums, to carry into execution that and fome other schemes that had been formed for beautifying and improving the city, Mr. John Paterson, one of the common-council of the city, deputy of his ward, member for Ludgarfhall, in Wiltshire, and chairman of the committee of ways and means, formed a plan for completing all thefe works, only by continuing the orphan tax, the term for which it was granted being almoft expired, and having published a very ingenious pamphlet on that fubject, distributed the impreffion among the lord mayor, aldermen, and common-council. The citizens, who had conceived an idea that new and burthenfome taxes were to be laid upon them, to carry on those great and expenfive works, were ftruck with furprize and pleasure at finding all their fears groundless, and that nothing more would be demanded of them, than what they were accustomed to pay, chearfully gave it their approbation, and a petition was foon after drawn up for leave to bring in a bill for having it paffed into a law.

On the 31st of January, the house being informed that the fheriffs of the city of London attended at the door, they were called in; and at the bar prefented to the houfe a petition of the lord mayor, aldermen, and commons, of the city of London, in common. council affembled, and then withdrew. When the petition was read, That by an act paffed in the 29th year of King George the Second, intitled, An act for building a bridge cross the river Thames, from Black-Friars in the city of London, to the oppofite fide in the county of Surry, the petitioners were impowered to build the faid bridge, to make, enlarge, or improve ftreets, ways, and paflages, on each fide of the river, to and from the faid bridge, to fill up the channel of Bridewell-Dock, and to light and watch the faid bridge, when built; that the petitioners, for the purpofes aforelaid, were impowered to take certain tools for the paffage of the bridge; and, on the credit thereof, to raise any fum not exceeding 160,000l. and the petitioners have accordingly proceeded to carry the faid act into execu



The HISTORY of the laft Seffion Parliament.

tion, and, towards the expence thereof, have borrowed the fum of 144,000l. befides which they have contributed the fum of 16,2001. and have raised the fum of 12, 180l. 178. by the dividends and profits upon part of the faid monies invested in the public funds, and the fum of 6591. 10s. 6d. by the fale of old materials, and temporary rents of fome premifes purchafed for the purposes of the faid act; which feveral fums amount together to the fum of 173,0401. 7 s. 6d. whereof the petitioners had, at Midfummer laft, expended the fum of 140,5951. 19s. 10d. fo there then remained a balance in hand of 32,4441. 78. 7 d. ; which, together with the fum 6951. 5 s. then expected to be received, will raife the faid balance to 33,089 l. 12 s. 7 d. ; and that by estimates of the works which remain to be done, to complete the faid bridge, and of premifes neceffary to be purchased for the avenues thereto (exclufive of roads on the Surry fide) the fame require a further fum of 58,500l. and that the petitioners conceive the intended toll on the faid bridge, when the fame fhall be completed, will be a great obftruction to its paffage, and a burthen upon the public; and therefore prefume to hope, that the houfe will be of opinion, that the freeing the faid bridge from fuch toll will be of public utility and advantage; in which case it will be neceffary to provide fome other fufficient fund for railing, as well the fum of 144,000l. to difcharge the money borrowed, as the faid fum of 58,500l. ftill wanting for the purposes aforefaid. That the paflage over London Bridge is fubject to a preicriptive toll upon all carts, waggons, and other carriages, paffing to or from the faid city, loaden with any kinds of goods or provifions, which toll is appropriated to the fupport of the faid bridge, and is, at this time, let upon a leafe for twenty-one years, for a fine of 21001 and at and under a yearly rent of 7351. and that the collection of this toll greatly obftru&ting the paffage of that bridge, and being a burthen upon trade, the petitioners conceive, that the freeing of the said bridge therefrom will alfo appear to be of public utility and advantage, and will require the fum of 30,000l.

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And that the wharfs between Paul's Wharf, in the city of London, and Milford Lane in the county of Middlefex, by their different encroachments, not only form an irregular and difagreeable outline; but afford the owners of fome an undue preference and advantage over others, at the fame time that the reflected fett of the tides, both of ebb and flood, throws the force of the ftream upon the Surry fhore, oppofite to Black-Friars, and, of confequence, flackens the current on the London fide; which, together with the large fewers that empty themselves in the neighbourhood, occafions a conftant accumulation of fand, mud, and rubbish, and thereby not only destroys a great part of the navigation at low water, but renders the wharfs inacceffible by the loaded craft, even at high water, unless at fpring tides: That the petitioners are advised all these inconveniences might be removed, if the north fide of the river was imbanked, fo as to range in a line with the north entrance of the faid intended bridge, the north abutment of which is fo conftructed, as that it may, at the expence of labour only, be made to coincide therewith, and that the expence of fuch imbankment is estimated at the fum of 7500l. The Royal Exchange, originally erected by Sir Thomas Gresham, under the aufpices of Queen Elizabeth, and rebuilt foon after the fire of London in 1666, is fo much decayed as to threaten its total demolition, unless speedily and effectually repaired; and that the neceffary repairs are estimated at the fum of 10,000l. a fum which the prefent state of the revenues appropriated thereto can by no means afford; and that the gaol of Newgate, which is not only the county gaol of Middlefex as well as London, but the general prifon for ftate prifoners and mugglers from all parts of the kingdom, is so small and ill-contrived, that it is impoffible to accommodate the unhappy perfons confined there with a fufficient fupply of fresh air and water, the debtors fide not enjoying even the common benefit of light in any hour of the day, or at any feafon of the year; from which circumftance the faid gaol is in general unhealthy, and often vifited by a malignant fever, called the gaol diftemper," the fatal cf


294 The HISTORY of the laft Seffion of Parliament.

fects of which have fometimes extended beyond the prifon walls; befides which, the faid gaol is fo old and ruinous, as to be incapable of improvement, or any tolerable repair; and that the rebuilding the faid gaol in a more airy and commodious manner, is eftimated at the fum of 50,000l. and that the faid fums amount together to the fum of 300,000l. which (how much foever the petitioners have the abovementioned purposes at heart) cannot be raised without the aid and authority of parliament.

That by an act paffed in the fifth and fixth years of the reign of King William and Queen Mary, intitled, An Act for the Relief of the Orphans, and other Creditors, of the City of London, it was amongst other things enacted, That for and towards raifing a perpetual fund, to pay the yearly intereft of 4 1. for every 100l. principal money, and intereft thereof then due to any orphan of the faid city, or the executors, adminiftrators, or affigns, of any fuch orphan, all and every the city's elates and revenues fhould be for ever charged with the clear annual fum of 8000l. and the faid act alfo appropriated to the purposes aforefaid, the rents and profits of the city's aqueducts; and the fum of 2000 1. was thereby directed to be annually raised upon the perfonal eftates of the feveral inhabitants within the faid city and liberties, towards that fund; and for the farther increase thereof, the fum of 2s. 6d. was directed to be paid upon the binding of every apprentice, within the faid city, and 5s. by every perfon admitted a freeman; and the said act impofed upon all forts of wine imported into the port of the faid city, or the members thereof, by way of merchandize, a duty of 45. per tun, over and above the duties then payable thereon; and for every chaldron of coals or culm, imported into the faid port, or the river of Thames, within the liberty of the faid city, a duty of 4d. for metage for ever; and alfo for all coals or culm, ufually fold by the chaldron, for every chaldron thereof, which should be imported in to the faid port, or members thereof, from the 29th of September, 1700, over and above all other impofitions and duties, the fum of 6d. and for


every ton of such coals as were fold by the ton, the like fum of 6d. the faid impofition of 6 d. to continue from the faid 29th of September for fifty years. And that, by an act of parliament paffed in the reign of his late majefty king George the Second, intitled, An Act for the farther Relief of the Orphans, and other creditors of the city of London, and for other purpofes therein mentioned, the said duty of 6d. per chaldron, or ton, of coals, or culm, was farther continued during a term of thirty-five years from the expiration of the faid term of fifty years; and out of the money arising from the faid impofitions fo continued, the yearly fum of 3000l. was directed to be paid, during the faid term of thirty-five years, to the wardens and commonalty of the mystery of Mercers of the city of London, in the manner, and for the purposes, in the faid act mentioned; and the refidue of the faid money was thereby appropriated to make part of the fund for paying the interest to the said orphans, and other creditors of that city; and it was thereby directed, that from the 29th of September, 1750, the city's eftates and revenues fhould be charged with the yearly fum of 2000 1. and no more, over and above the faid yearly fum of 8000l. wherewith they then food charged; and that the furpluffes arifen, or to arife, from the funds fo appropriated for payment of the faid intereft, fhould be applied to the payment of the faid capital debt; and that the faid furplules have been applied accordingly, and thereby the faid capital debt was at Midsummer last reduced to the fum of 610,084 1. 6s. 10 d. and (computing the future furpiufles at a medium of the last five years) the whole may be expected to be paid off and difcharged by Ladyday, 1803; and that if the feveral duties and impofitions, which compofe the orphans fund, were continued to Lady-day, 1832, the faid fund would, with the addition thereto of 1500l. per annum, be fufficient in that time to difcharge the principal and intereft, not only of the orphans debt, but of the farther fum of 300,000l. and that, if fuch fund might be made a fecurity for raifing the laid fum, for the pur-' pofes above stated, the petitioners are willing and defirous that the faid city's


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