the whale fishery.1 Great Britain
had sought to com-
pete with the Dutch
in that branch of industry; had, fostered it by bounties; had relaxed the act of navigation, so as to invite even the Dutch
to engage in it from British ports in British shipping.
But it was all in vain.
gave up the unsuccessful attempt, and sought a rival for Holland in British America, which had hitherto lain under the double discouragement, of being excluded from the benefit of a bounty, and of having the products of its whale fishing taxed unequally.
He now adopted the plan of gradually giving up the bounty to the British
whale fishery, which would be a saving of thirty thousand pounds2
a year to the Treasury, and of relieving the American
fishery from the inequality of the discriminating duty, except the old subsidy, which was scarcely one per cent.3
This is the most liberal act of Grenville
's administration, of which the merit is not diminished by the fact, that the American
whale fishery was superseding the English
under every discouragement.
It required liberality to accept this result as inevitable, and to favor it. It was done too, with a distinct conviction that ‘the American
whale fishery, freed from its burthen, would soon totally overpower the British
So this valuable branch of trade, which produced annually three hundred thousand pounds, and which would give employment to many shipwrights and other artificers, and to three thousand seamen,4
was resigned to America
The gain would, in the first instance, be the gain of