Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
COASTING TRADE, the trade or intercourse carried on by sea between two or more ports or places in the same country—Much doubt has, for a considerable time, been entertained in regard to the policy of the monopoly of the coasting trade, and, in England, in 1849, it was proposed that it should be thrown open. It is not easy, indeed, to see any grounds on which this monopoly could be satisfactorily vindicated. In considering this question it is needless to refer to countries destitute of a commercial marine, for without the aid of foreigners they could have no coasting trade. And the shipowners of countries that have such a marine, and which also have any considerable facilities for carrying on navigation, have so many advantages on their side, that it is difficult to imagine that they should ever be superseded, in any considerable degree, by foreigners, in carrying on the coasting trade. But while the admission of the latter to the privileges of engaging in that trade hinders the native shipowners from availing themselves of any peculiar circumstances to charge oppressive rates of freight, it at the same time subjects them to that wholesome competition by which alone their inventive energies can be fully developed. The probability consequently is, that the introduction of a free system will be as advantageous in all that respects shipping and navigation as in most other things.
J. R. M'C.
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