That bounties upon exportation have been 
abused, to many fraudulent purposes, is very 
well known. But it is not the interest of 
merchants and manufacturers, the great inventors 
of all these expedients, that the home 
market should be overstocked with their goods
an event which a bounty upon production 
might sometimes occasion. A bounty upon 
exportation, by enabling them to send abroad 
their surplus part, and to keep up the price of 
what remains in the home market, effectually 
prevents this. Of all the expedients of the 
mercantile system, accordingly, it is the one 
of which they are the fondest. I have known 
the different undertakers of some particular 
works agree privately among themselves to 
give a bounty out of their own pockets upon 
the exportation of a certain proportion of 
goods which they dealt in. This expedient 
succeeded so well, that it more than doubled 
the price of their goods in the home market
notwithstanding a very considerable increase 
in the produce. The operation of the bounty 
upon corn must have been wonderfully different, 
if it has lowered the money price of 
that commodity
Something like a bounty upon production
however, has been granted upon some particular 
occasions. The tonnage bounties given 
to the white herring and whale fisheries may, 
perhaps, be considered as somewhat of this 
nature. They tend directly, it may be supposed
to render the goods cheaper in the 
home market than they otherwise would be. 
In other respects, their effects, it must be 
acknowledged, are the same as those of bounties 
upon exportation. By means of them, 
a part of the capital of the country is employed 
in bringing goods to market, of which 
the price does not repay the cost, together 
with the ordinary profits of stock. 
But though the tonnage bounties to those 
fisheries do not contribute to the opulence of 
the nation, it may, perhaps, be thought that 
they contribute to its defence, by augmenting 
the number of its sailors and shipping. This, 
it may be alleged, may sometimes be done 
by means of such bounties, at a much smaller 
expense than by keeping up a great standing 
navy, if I may use such an expression, in the 
same way as a standing army
Notwithstanding these favourable allegations
however, the following considerations 
dispose me to believe, that in granting at least 
one of these bounties, the legislature has been 
very grossly imposed upon: 
First. The herring-buss bounty seems too 
From the commencement of the winter fishing 
1771, to the end of the winter fishing 
1781, the tonnage bounty upon the herring-buss 
fishery has been at thirty shillings the 
ton. During these eleven years, the whole 
number of barrels caught by the herring-buss 
fishery of Scotland amounted to 378,347. 
The herrings caught and cured at sea are 
called sea-sticks. In order to render them 
what are called merchantable herrings, it is 
necessary to repack them with an additional 
quantity of salt; and in this case, it is reckoned
that three barrels of sea-sticks are usually 
repacked into two barrels of merchantable 
herrings. The number of barrels of merchantable 
herrings, therefore, caught during 
these eleven years, will amount only, according 
to this account, to 252,231¼. During these eleven 
years, the tonnage bounties paid amounted 
to L.155,463 : 11s. or 8s. 2¼d. upon every 
barrel of sea-sticks, and to 12s. 3¾d. upon 
every barrel of merchantable herrings
The salt with which these herrings are cured 
is sometimes Scotch, and sometimes foreign 
salt; both which are delivered, free of all excise 
duty, to the fish-curers. The excise duty 
upon Scotch salt is at present 1s. 6d., that 
upon foreign salt 10s. the bushel. A barrel 
of herrings is supposed to require about one 
bushel and one-fourth of a bushel foreign 
salt. Two bushels are the supposed average 
of Scotch salt. If the herrings are entered 
for exportation, no part of this duty is paid 
up; if entered for home consumption, whether 
the herrings were cured with foreign or 
with Scotch salt, only one shilling the barrel 
is paid up. It was the old Scotch duty upon 
a bushel of salt, the quantity which, at a low 
estimation, had been supposed necessary for 
curing a barrel of herrings. In Scotland, foreign 
salt is very little used for any other purpose 
but the curing of fish. But from the 
5th April 1771 to the 5th April 1782, the 
quantity of foreign salt imported amounted to 
936,974 bushels, at eighty-four pounds the 
bushel; the quantity of Scotch salt delivered 
from the works to the fish-curers, to no more 
than 168,226, at fifty-six pounds the bushel 
only. It would appear, therefore, that it is 
principally foreign salt that is used in the fisheries
Upon every barrel of herrings exported
there is, besides, a bounty of 2s. 8d. and more 
than two-thirds of the buss-caught herrings 
are exported. Put all these things together, 
and you will find that, during these eleven 
years, every barrel of buss-caught herrings
cured with Scotch salt, when exported, has 
cost government 17s. 11¾d.; and, when entered 
for home consumption, 14s. 3¾d.; and 
that every barrel cured with foreign salt, when 
exported, has cost government L.1 : 7 : 5¾d.; 
and, when entered for home consumption
L.1 : 3 : 9¾d. The price of a barrel of good 
merchantable herrings runs from seventeen 
and eighteen to four and five-and-twenty shillings
about a guinea at an average.[39] 
Secondly, The bounty to the white-herring 
fishery is a tonnage bounty, and is proportioned 
to the burden of the ship, not to her diligence 
or success in the fishery; and it has, I