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Doubtless if it were necessary to have motives and conside. rations of a national kind to induce us 10 thunder against these usurpers of the seas, in order to punish these shopkeepers of Europe, to ruin these engrossers of subsistences, and to wither these dealers of kings and royal constitutions, it would be sufficient for us to present to France, now free, the hideous picture of the crimes of the British cabinet; they are known. These are they :
Who has meditated the destruction of neutral navigation, which was always respected by the English government ?.
Who has sent ambassadors to Genoa, to Venice, to Naples, to require, to command war against the French, to put a stop to all communication with her?
Who has insulted, infringed upon the flag of friendly nations, for the purpose of seizing the provisions, destined for a people, which they wished to starve, in order to enslave? It is the English goveroment.
Who has laboured to engross around us, all the subsistences of America, of India, and of Europe, for the purpose of treating the French, as in 1783 lord Clive treated the East Indians, to reduce them to the most absurd tyranny ?
Who has had the baseness to offer us bread with chains, sub. sistence with a king, the means of supporting life under a de.. vouring constitution ? It is the British government.
Who have roved incessantly, like highwaymen, round our ports to offer provisions to the slaves who would accept the shameful condition of having a king, and who would also debase themselves so far as to receive an English, or Hanoverian king? ;
Who has dared to attack Dunkirk, with all the most destructive inventions of war, in order to recall to our remembrance the English commissary, who under the dastardly monarchy prohi. bited us from laying one stone upon another, and for the purpose of obtaining the foot of usurpation on the continent of Europe ? • Who has endeavoured to sow division among the French, even among the patriots, with a cool and execrable calculation, by diffusing gold and corruption through commissaries under the mask of patriotism? - Who has disseminated in our cities, even in our popular so. cieties, those political corruptors, or rather infamous agents of a still more infamous English ministry? The British government.
Who has opened in the bosom of the Republick, a consum. ing wound, a second Vendée, a civil war nourished by secret agents, who in the midst of our departments calculated the expenses, the means, and the progress of it?
Who has set loose upon our country, plunderers, refractory priests, and emigrant traitors? Who has purchased with gold, a part of our garrisons, corrupted the citizens and the generals ? VOL 1
Who has thrown, by assignats and intrigues, into our fifteen battalions of the second levies of Paris, those dregs of Piedmontese, Germans, Genoese, Neapolitans, the scum of foreign countries, for the purpose of betraying our armed brothers, and of tarnishing if they had been able, the Parisian name, the first wbich has been written by the hand of liberty, in the sacred annals of the revolution? Who has so liberally supplied the villains of the Vendée with muskets, powder, cannon on which are written, the names of those mercantile tyrants of Europe? The British government.
port, belonging to the Republick, and thrown into fanaticism the people of Todlon, in order to annihilate our marine, and to des. iroy' the inhabitants of that beautiful city?
Who has inundated with floods of corrupting gold, an opulent and industrious town, which they have instigated to rebellion, in order to force us to destroy with our own hands, this theatre of arts, and of the finest manufactures of Europe, and then to possess themselves, of the trade of silks of Piedmont, to ruin our
even of our genius for the manufacturing arts to which Europe had become tributary ?
Who have betrayed the interests of their own nation to make war on a people who would have gloried in their esteem, and a more intimate alliance with them? This crime was reserved for the British government.
Citizens, the hatred of kings and of Carthage founded the constitution of the Roman republick; the hatred of kings, of the emigrants, of the nobles, and of the English, must consolidate the French constitution.
Let the spectacle of so many crimes rouse Europe from her lethargy ; let the governments which are slaves to England cease to slumber, and let them at last perceive, near them, the precipice opened by that corrupting and corrupted government, who buy and sell men, cities, and ports, as we traffick in vile cattle, who are stock-jobbers of people, as the financiers of the Rue Vivienne are stock.jobbers of paper; who sport with govern. ments as the negro merchant sports with the inhabitants of Guinea, and who would wish to traffick in the political constitutions of Europe, as they do in the merchandises extorted from India.
Let the nations of the north, above all, hearken to the voice of the National Convention of France. Here is the secret of the English.
To annihilate the maritime powers by the means of one ano. ther, the French navy by that of Spain, and then the Spanish navy when cut off liom the assistance of that of France; Holland belongs to them, the Dutch are the slaves of England. As to the marine of the North, the commercial vessels of the nor
thern nations, from Holland as far as Russia, must pass through the channel, which is between Dunkirk and the English coasts, and consequently it is of importance to England, to have ports on each side of this streight. The atrocious audacity with which she has seized vessels, belonging to the northern powers must demonstrate to all nations, how much her designs aug. ment their dangers, and menace the safety of their commerce, for time present and to come.
Frenchmen, Europeans, neutral powers, northern nations, you have all the same interest as ourselves, in the salvation of France. Carthage agitated Italy, London agitates Europe ; it is a wolf placed on the side of the continent to devour it; it is a political excrescence which liberty has undertaken to destroy.
The navigation act, that we propose, is the effectual and true means of attaining that object; it is founded on the rights of each nation; it is founded in your most evident and incontesta. ble interest; it is founded upon the most imperious duties of the National Convention, that of establishing the prosperity of France, and destroying the Republick's most mortal enemies.
Let us then take a cursory view, of the advantages which call for the promulgation of the navigation act. They are to aggrandize our commercial system, less to repel the industry of Eng. land, than to substitute our own in its stead, to multiply our means of navigation, to create an astonishing marine, and to tell 10 every nation that they should communicate directly with France, is only to present a general view to them ; I pass to more direct advantages.
From 1651, when the English navigation act, passed, all their merchants, all their politicians, all their economists, Child, Shef. field, even Smith himself agree that it is to this act, that Eng. land owes the prosperity, the superiority of her marine. This opinion has been examined, several times in France, by the citizen Ducher, who has presented to us his ideas on this important subject. The example has been given, experience is had, and nature offers to you an immense population with an army of in. trepid seamen-enormous capitals—great forests—with assured relations in the north, with iron mines with your woods of Corsica-your numerous ports—with your colonies, with your manufactures, two hundred leagues of coasts to populate by shipping—and the two seas to traverse in ; such then is the act of navigation decreed by nature—it is your province to decree the act of navigation, which policy and commerce require.
The first advantage. France should discourage all second hand commerce carried on by other than her own vessels.
It is a direct commerce that we must have, and it is this kind of commerce, that England owes to her navigation act.
It would be humiliating to France; it would be declaring her impolitick and impotent, were she to receive commercial objects by any other vessels than those of the country which has manufactured or produced them. By this means you will attract to your ports, and be enabled to form useful connections with other nations. I will cite to you but one plain example. Why is there in the ports of London, Plymouth, Liverpool, more American vessels than in the ports of France ? It is because we do not import in our own vessels, or those of the United States of America, the rice, tobacco, pot-ashes, oils, and other articles of their growth. Why is there in the Thames more American vessels laden with grain and flour, than in our Atlantick ports ? Because Neckar and Roland purchased at second hand, and seemed to be instructed to support the Eng. lish commercial system, instead of purchasing directly from the United States of America.
We have left to the English the care of going to seek or to
lina, as well as the grain of Pennsylvania, giving them the first profit. The English make payment with their manufactures - which is giving them the second profit. We, Frenchmen, purchase these tobaccoes and rice from the hands of the English, for specie, or at an enormous price in assignats, which
profit. A direct navigation, embraced by the navigation act, will restore to you all these advantages and rights.
As though it was not enough to purchase at second hand, we did not carry even our own merchandises. The mercan. tile marine of England was in our pay, and by us continued in it. A navigation act will destroy this abuse, and reinstate us in the receipt of these profits, impolitically lavished on the English and Hollanders.
Are we then without seamen and without marines, or rather have not our seamen, our merchants, a right to reproach us with their misery, and to obtain from us the preference to perfidious foreigners ? Let us secure to our marines their occupations--suffer not the inhabitants of Amsterdam to fish and na. vigate for you any longer; nor let the English spin longer for our use, the wools and cottons which they purchase even in our ports.
Let foreigners no longer bring that which our fellow citizens can fabricate and transport as well and better than they. Then would you have numerous artisans, manufactures brought to perfection, your ports filled with shipping and marines. Let us prohibit all traffick on our frontiers, and cherish our navigation.
Let false alarms cease, by considering that our navigation will always be sufficient, when joined to that of the states from whom we shall draw productions. If our vessels, and those of the Americans can bring us tobacco for our consumptionwhy suffer the English to come in as a third party in the trans. portation of it? If our vessels and those of Spain are sufficient to bring her wools, why permit a Hollander to come and transport them, and thereby render ourselves tributary to him ? And admitting that our navigation should in the first instance prove insufficient, the proposed act will induce that of other nations to come directly to us, and we shall endeavour our. selves to make our own sufficient, by accelerating the progress of ship building.. There is no other means than under the patronage of this important act, by which our marine can rise io that degree of value and activity, which the destinies of France may require.
Second advantage. Here the national constitution presents to you all the riches which it ought to secure to us. Are we not yet weary of being the tributaries of foreign industry, of shamefully being the supporters of the vessels of our atrocious and laborious neighbours? Shall we never become tired of giving subsistence to their seamen, of seeing our most cruel enemies plough the ocean at our expense, and rendering us the slaves of the luxury and trinkets, which their industrious avarice induces them incessantly to fabricate for France?
You are desirous of having a marine, for without a marine there can be no colonies; and without colonies there can be no commercial prosperity: Then, in order to have such a marine as is necessary for the most astonishing republick that ever existed, we must have vessels ; further, we must build them ; still further, we must have seamen, and the fisheries furnish them.-The fisheries and ship-building are the cradle of the marine. The English have experienced this 150 years, and their marine is the most brilliant.
To force ship-building, is to create that rare and valuable reunion of men and artificers, by whose hands are produced new or repaired vessels.
To force ship-building, is to establish ship-yards-is to form magazines—to multiply useful hands to produce artists and workmen of every kind, who may be found at oncc for the peaceable speculations of commerce, and for the terrible wants of war.
To force ship-building at home, is to augment navigation, by the necessity of seeking timber, cordage, and the other mat. ters necessary in various parts of France, or for the foreigner ; -is to increase the vessels for transportation ; is to auginent the number of sailors ; is to augment among us the benefits of freight; is to centuple our exchanges, our commercial relations and our profits ; is to diffuse the tri-coloured flag over all seas.
For a navigating people to purchase its marine abroad, would be a strange speculation, as the marine would always be dependent on the merchants furnishing them! That of plac. ing, as a reserve, with a foreign nation, or in a foreign ship