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[92] by new powers to vice-admiralty courts, and by
chap. V.} 1763. Mar.
a curiously devised system,1 which should bribe the whole navy of England to make war on colonial trade. Accordingly, at a time when the merchants were already complaining of the interruption of their illicit dealings with the Spanish main, he recommended to Bute the more rigid enforcement of the laws of navigation; and on the very day on which the bill for a regular plantation revenue was reported to the house, he was put on a committee to carry his counsel into effect. March had not ended when a bill was brought in,2 giving authority to employ the ships, seamen and officers of the navy as custom-house officers and informers. The measure was Grenville's own, and it was rapidly carried through; so that in three short weeks it became lawful, from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to Cape Florida, for each commander of an armed vessel to stop and examine, and, in case of suspicion, to seize every merchant ship approaching the colonies; while avarice was stimulated by hope of large emoluments, to make as many seizures, and gain in the vice-admiralty courts the condemnation of as many vessels as possible. It was Grenville who introduced a more than Spanish sea guard of British America; it was he who first took energetic measures to enforce the navigation acts.

1 Smith's Wealth of Nations, Book I. chap. v.: ‘The mercantile syster, in its nature and essence, is system of restraint and regulation, and such as could scarce fail to be agreeable to a laborious and plod ding man of business, who had been accustomed to regulate the different establish the necessary checks and controls for confining each to its proper sphere, &c.’ This, and what follows, applies to Grenville as well a as to Colbert.

2 Journals of the House of Commons, XXIX. 609. Statutes at large, VII. 443. 3 George III. chap. XXII. Lieut. Governor Hutchinson's private letter to R. Jackson, 17 Sept. departments of public offices, and to 1763. Admiral Colville to Lieut.; Gov. Colden, 14 Oct. 1763; also Egremont's Circular of 9 July, 1763.

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