Page:Remarks on the British Quarantine Laws.djvu/12

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422

Dr. Maclean on the

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has, in more than one instance, been acted upon. There is one case of this destruction upon record, even antecedent to the act. By an order of Council, dated the 4th of March 1720, the ships Bristol Merchant, and Turkey Merchant, were ordered to be burnt, as appears by a petition presented to His Majesty by the Levant Company, dated the 2d of May 1721. And, in June 1721, we find that £.23,935 were voted, in a committee of supply, to the owners of the ships and goods so burnt. (Russell's Treatise, p. 423, note.) In 1800, the ships Aurora, Mentor, and Lark, from Mogadore, were destroyed, with their cargoes, pursuant to an order in Council of the 7th of January 1800. (Append, to the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons respecting the contagion of the plague, 4th July 1819.) Mr. Green, in his evidence, conjectures that the value of these vessels and their cargoes, which the treasury had to make good, must have exceeded £.20,000. (Report of 1819, p. 41.)

In a petition, dated the 31st of January, and presented to his Majesty in Council in February 1720, the Levant Company make the following very pertinent remarks.

"The dominions of the Grand Signior are of so vast an extent, that the plague may be in one part, and no way dangerous to another. But this act, as we humbly presume, may oblige all ships coming from Turkey to perform quarantine, though even from places not infected, since it must be concluded that there is a constant correspondence through the whole empire, which has been scarce ever known to be free from infection in every part of it. We most humbly hope that the good state of health, at any port in Turkey where our ships shall lade for England, being certified by your Majesty's ambassador at Constantinople, or the respective consuls, may be sufficient to prevent any ship, goods, wares, or merchandises, accompanied by such clean patents, from performing quarantine, provided the ship's company and passengers are found to be perfectly free from any contagion, after a voyage of seldom less than three months, but oftener four or five,[1] since in Italy, where the rules of quarantine are most strictly observed, the merchant is generally possessed of his goods in less than that time after the ship's departure from Turkey.[2]

  1. At that period the Levant Company's ships usually sailed in fleets; by which, and the then state of the art of navigation, it happened that their voyages were of much longer duration than at present.
  2. In Holland, where quarantine is scarcely more than nominal, the detention of the Levant goods, after their arrival in port, is so trifling, as to enable the Dutch merchants to anticipate the English in their own markets. This evil is in vain attempted to be obviated on the part of the British government, by restrictive laws on the indirect importation of Levant goods from Holland and other places.