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the great capital,” says Mr. Porter, in his examination before the committee, “that there is in this country, the large amount of trade that we have carried on, the genius of the people, which is favorable to enterprise of all kinds, and especially maratime enterprise, to the great skill we have acquired in carrying on our operations, to the number of ports which we have in all parts of the coast, and, in fact to the natural and acquired advantages of this country, which are very great as compared with any foreign country, we owe the increase of our commercial marine to all these causes combined, in spite of the acts of parliawnent.” So far from the navigation laws assisting in supplying the royal navy with seamen, Captain Sir James Sterling, who was examined as a witness before the committee, stated that it was a great mistake to suppose that the navy now derived any considerable number of seamen from the merchant service; that there were not above a thousand men in the royal navy who have been brought up in the merchant service; the rest are trained in the navy itself; and that of able seamen who enter from the merchant service for the first time, one half desert from their first
ship, consequently they are not very anxious to have theili.”
But we have shown that the unprotected trade employs the most shipping, and of course, must yield the greatest number of sailors; and as that part of the British shipping which is unprotected has increased most, all reason ceases for the further maintenance of the law.
As to the coasting trade, Captain Sir James Sterling, of the royal navy, and Mr. Shaker, both of whom are said to have given much attention to the navigation laws, gave it as their opinions, that the foreigner could not compete with the British in their coasting trade; “that it was one of those difficult trades to manage, that there are very few foreigners that could manage it; they could not navigate the coast; or understand that better than they do, and that they cannot deprive us of.” The same may be said of the American coasting trade, with this advantage in her favor, that all who could became her rivals are Europeans, and they would have to cross the Atlantic before they could commence their work, and from the nature of our institutions, foreigners are not likely to be long engaged in our coasting trade, before they would become citizens of the country and make it their permanent home; and if they did not do that, they would certainly prefer the American service, where the wages are higher than in the foreign. Now let us see, after an experience of upwards of four centuries and a half, what is the conclusion of practical men, of the philosophers and of the wisest and most liberal státesmen of England “From 1824,” says Mr. Ricardo, “when Mr. Huskisson removed some prohibitions, and lessened the amount of several protective duties, up to 1846, when the very parliament elected to maintain them completed their abolition, every reduction of duties and relaxation of the colonial and home protective systems, has been uniformly followed by increased consumption, and import of the several liberated or partially relieved articles, and of exports to pay for them, to the no small benefit of all carriers by land and water.” p. 54. Mr. Ricardo informs us that, during the inquiry of the committee of 1824, the discovery of guano, alone, did more for the shipping of England, (while it exposed the folly of the protective system,) than all the navigation laws ever did, or could have done; and what was done by guano in 1844 free trade in corn did in 1847; and the importations of live animals, butter and cheese, grain, flour and Indian corn, since the reduction of duties, and the great production of cotton in America, has done more for British shipping than the two thousand two hundred acts passed by the British government to regulate the customs and navigation of the kingdom." Our object, in this article, has been rather to give a suscinct history of the navigation laws than to explain the operation of its various provisions, and their injurious effects on the commerce of the different parts of the earth. On a future occasion we shall continue this subject, when we shall endeavor to expose the errors of a system injurious to every body and beneficial to none. The days of protection are numbered, and we envy the happiness of those who shall be in at the death. “Fortunately,” says Mr. Ricardo, “the world is in advance of them, even in its darkest corners, and no government can ever again hold power in this country, under the name or with the intentions of protectionists. The verdict has been pronounced against the long oppressive and worn out system of exclusions and differential duties; and it is settled that trade, in all its branches and appliances, shall be free, and must, by its
* “When it is considered,” says Mr. McGregor in his preface to his Commercial Statistics, “that about 2,200 acts had been passed by parliament to regulate the customs and navigation of the United Kingdom and British possessions; and that in 1815 more than eleven hundred of those ambiguous and conflicting statutes were in force, it was not surprising that, not only the merchants, ship owners and manufacturers who had to regulate their commercial and shipping transactions by such a heterogeneous mass of laws, but that those, also, who had to execute them, acted generally in almost utter ignorance of the legislation formed to govern the trade and navigation of the empire.”
own strength, meet the world in open competition.”
ART. WI.-Opinions of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the Cases of “ Smith v. Turwer,” and “Norris v. the City of Boston "
THESE opinions were deemed of sufficient importance to induce the senate to order 10,000 copies to be printed for their use. A number of copies so greatly exceeding that of the senators themselves must of course have been intended for distribution among the people, and accordingly they have been very extensively distributed. We are not aware of any previous example of such a proceeding in relation to a decision of the supreme court; but we are by no means disposed to find fault with it: on the contrary, we think that the senate deserve the thanks of the country for having spread before the people at large a matter of grave moment, which would otherwise have appeared nowhere else than in the annual volume of Reports of the Decisions of the Supreme Court, and fallen into the hands only of a few judges and lawyers. We should regard it as a departure from our legitimate province to notice reports of judicial decisions, concerning the ordinary controversies between individuals, as to private rights; but where they concern great public questions, and affect, as in this instance, to pass judgment upon the sovereign rights of the States, we know of nothing to which our pages could be devoted more worthy of attention.
The case of Smith v. Turner arose out of a statute of the State of New-York, which contains the following provisions: The 7th section provides “that the health commissioner shall demand, and be entitled to receive, and in case of neglect or refusal to pay, shall sue for and recover in his name of office, the following sums from the master of every vessel that shall arrive in the port of New-York, viz.: 1. From the master of every vessel from a foreign port, for himself and each cabin passenger, one dollar and fifty cents; for each steerage passenger, mate, sailor or mariner, one dollar. “2. From the master of each coasting vessel, for each person on board, twenty-five cents; but no coasting vessel from the States of New-Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island, shall pay for more than one voyage in each month, computing from the first voyage in each year.” The 8th section declares that the money so received shall be denominated “hospital moneys.” The 9th section gives “each master paying hospital moneys a right to demand and recover from each person the sum paid on his account.” By the 10th section, any master failing to make these payments within twenty-four hours after the arrival of his vessel in the port forfeits one hundred dollars. The 11th section requires the commissioners of health to account annually to the comptroller of the State for all moneys received by them for the use of the marine hospital, and if such moneys shall, in any year, exceed the expenses of their trust, including their own salaries, and exclusive of such expenses as are to be borne and paid as part of the contingent charges of the city of New-York, they are to pay over the surplus to the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents, in the City of New-York. The British ship, Henry Bliss, of which Smith was master, touched at the port of New-York in June, 1841, and landed two hundred and ninety steerage passengers. Turner, the health commissioner, brought an action against him, under the statute, to recover one dollar for each of the said passengers. This was resisted, on the ground that the statute was a regulation of commerce, and in conflict with the constitution of the United States. The supreme court of the State overruled the objection, and their judgment was affirmed by the court of errors. The case of Norris v. the City of Boston grew out of a 38 vol. xvi.-No. 32.
statute of Massachusetts relating to alien passengers, which is as follows:
“Sec. 1. When any vessel shall arrive at any port or harbor within this State, from any port or place without the same, with alien passengers on board, the officer or officers whom the mayor and aldermen of the city, or the selectmen of the town, where it is proposed to land such passengers, are hereby authorized and required to appoint, shall go on board such vessels and examine into the condition of said possengers.
“Sec. 2. If, on such examination, there shall be sound among said passengers any lunatic, idiot, maimed, aged, or infirm person, incompetent, in the opinion of the officer so examining, to maintain themselves, or who have been paupers in any other country, no such alien passenger shall be permitted to land, until the master, owner, consignee, or agent of such vessel, shall have given to such city or town a bond, in the sum of one thousand dollars, with good and sufficient security, that no such lunatic or indigent passenger shall become a city, town or State charge within ten years from the date of said bond.
“Sec. 3. No alien passenger, other than those spoken of in the preceding section, shall be permitted to land until the master, owner, consignee or agent of such vessel shall pay to the regularly-appointed boarding officer the sum of two dollars for each passenger so landing; and the money so collected shall be paid into the treasury of the city or town, to be appropriated as the city or town may direct for the support of soreign paupers.”
Norris was master of the schooner Union Jack, belonging to St. John, New-Brunswick, from which place she came to Boston with nineteen alien passengers, for each of whom two dollars were demanded of him, and paid under protest. He brought an action in the court of common pleas against the city of Boston, to recover back the money, and the jury, under the instructions of the court, found a verdict for the city, which, on appeal, was sustained by the supreme court of the State.
Both cases were carried up by appeal to the supreme court of the United States, as “cases arising under the constitution.” They were argued twice, and held for a long time under advisement. The court consists of nine judges, five of whom, Justices McLean, Catron, McKinley, Grier and Wayne, concurred in the opinion that the States of