Immagini della pagina
[ocr errors]

fishing to an extent sufficiently great to ensure that permanent utility to the nation which it is so capable of producing

- The same remarks are applicable in their full import to the lumber trade; by which is meant the shipping of planks, staves, and timber of various sorts, for the use of the planters. Bryan Edwards estimates the annual demand of a West India plantation, of six hundred acres, in staves and heading for casks alone, at 1501. the year 1791, it was estimated that in Jamaica, there were 796 sugar estates; these at the rate of 1501. per annum, would give the Americans 119,4001. annually in this branch of trade from one island alone. Add to this then, the consumption of the other colonies, the constant increase of cleared estates, the new settlements of Berbice and Demerara, and it will clearly appear that the supplies requisite for these and other descriptions of timber must be immensely great, especially when it is recollected that the buildings in the towns and plantations are chiefly constructed of wood. According to our author, the annual demand for timber, previous to the restrictions, was 117,740 loads; of which the Americans furnished 113,600, while our provinces had the opportunity of supplying only about 3496 loads; but in 1810, when the restrictions on American commerce were in force, the exports from Quebec alouę amounted to 160,932 loads; proving, we think, in the strongest manner, the ability of our provinces to meet a very extensive demand in this article, and clearly exhibiting the inmense disadvantages which these colonies must labour under, when deprived by undue competition, of this important branch of trade. The author aduces many facts to show that the Americans have made the most of this article of commerce, converting it, in many instances, into a lucrative manufacture, by sawing and preparing the timber, before exportation, to answer nearly all the purposes to which it can be applied in the West Indies; and hence have arisen, says he, in the stony, sterile regions of New Hampshire, flourishing settlements and a numerous population. At Da Moriscotti, he saw upon one stream, in the short space of a quarter of a mile, no fewer than eight saw-mills employed in this trade.

Now, we imagine, there would be no great difficulty in securing the whole of this gainful traffic to our own provinces. There is abundance of the raw material, so to speak, and nothing seems wanting but a few hands and a little capital, of which, at this moment, there is an overflow in Great Britain seeking an advantageous employment. It nay indeed be stated, as an objection to every measure of restriction and monopoly, that, as the Americans can supply lụmber on lower terms than the people of Canada or New Brunswick, it would be unjust to compel the West Indian planter to forego this advantage, and to purchase in a dearer market. In answer to this, however, it may be sufficient to observe, that the principles of a free trade are not yet recognized in any part of the world; that every nation endeavours to encou



[ocr errors]

rage its domestic manufactures; and that, if any imaginable circumstances can justify the adoption of a restrictive system, it must be those very circumstances in which we stand with relation to America. The primary object in our translatic policy must be to raise and support a power of sufficient magnitude to keep the Americans in check on their own shores; to embrace erery opportunity of rearing sailors, and of increasing the tonnage of our colonists; and, with these views, to deprive the former of every branch of manufacture and of sea-faring industry, which can possibly be occupied by ourselves. In prosecuting such measures 100, we should only follow the example which the American government has recently sel, for with the avowed intention of promoting their internal manufactures, they have since the peace nearly doubled the import duties upon all goods made in Great Britain.

We have always held it unwise, generally speaking, to legislate on the subject of provisions, for as prices are regulated by the supply, and the supply by the bounty of Heaven, rather than by the foresight of men, no laws can have a permanent efficacy, as to the steadiness of the money-value of corn, in any given number of years. In the case, however, of our American colonies, every possible encouragement should be afforded them, to raise corn for the supply of the West India islands; and thereby to enable them to seize that important article of manufacture and commerce, which has proved so advantageous to the farmer and ship-owner of the United States. The author is decidedly of opinion, and he brings forward a great number of facts in sup. port of it, that our provinces are naturally more fertile and bet. ter fitted for the purposes of agriculture than the middle or southern states of the Union; and if the four which is made in Canada be inferior to that of Baltimore, it is not because the wheat is coarser, but because the millers, at the latter place, arc more expert and careful than in the former, or even than in any part of England. Were the provinces, however, certain of a constant market, though only to the West Indies, they would soori adopt the improvements of their southern neighbours in their mode of manufacture, and produce, instead of the present deteriorated article, flour of very superior quality; an event which would prove an effectual check, not only in open rivalship, but in illicit importation from the states into the Canadas themselves. In 1802, Canada alone exported 100,000 bushels of wheat, 38,000 barrels of flour, and 32,000 casks of biscuits; but in 1810, during the non-intercourse Act, the exports from the same province were 170,000 bushels of wheat, 12,519 barrels of four, 16,467 quintals of biscuit, 18,928 bushels of pease, 866 bushels of oats, 98 bushels of Indian corn: and if this district, under every disadvantage, could export to such an amount, of what ex. tension is the trade of the whole provinces not susceptible, were culture properly encouraged by legislative protection.

[ocr errors]

It is not our intention to descend to the other minor branches of trade particularized at great length by our author; we may mention, however, that of “ Notions," which seem to be in great demand among the Creoles, consisting of potatoes, biscuits, crackers, cheese, hams, butter, tongues, salt-beef, pork, poultry, eggs, apples, jams, soused and smoked fish, with other articles, says our authority, too numerous for detail. Doubting whether these are fit subjects for an Act of Parliament, and knowing how essential they are to a comfortable existence on this side the Atlantic as well as on the other, we have only to express a hope that our colonies on the Western Continent, will soon be so much improved as to meet fully all the wants of the luxurious islanders, and in this way to secure the riches which at present go into the hands of our most malignant foes. That they are capable of raising such a supply was completely proved during the late war; for Halifax being made the principal station of a large naval and military force, a sudden demand was thus created for provisions for all kinds, which, without any previous arrangements, was immediately answered from the resources of Nova Scotia alone. The town was also sweiled by a prodigious concourse of strangers, not military; and yet so far from any appearance of famine or even of scarcity, the author declares that there was a profusion of all the necessaries of life, and the prices only such as all markets will obtain, when there exists a great demand and brisk sales. Indeed there is no room for doubt that our provinces might readily be converted into extensive depots of corn, as well as of fish, sufficient not only to supply the West India islands, but even to lend assistance to the mother country in bad seasons; and as this would answer the double purpose of increasing the power of our fellow-subjects, and of limiting the resources of their ambitious neighbours, we should sincerely hope that the attention of government will be speedily directed to bring it about.

Our author is greatly alarmed at the prospect of a powerful competition, on the part of the native artizans and mechanics in the United States, in every department of manufacturing skill; and he even foresees an epoch, as at no great distance, when we shall be completely driven not only from the American market, but also from that of the West Indies, and from all other countries, in fact, to which their enterprising spirit may lead them. We cannot enter into all his fears on this subject. The Americans are, indeed, using every measure, fair and foul, to equal us in cheapness and excellence of manufactured goods, and, we must add that, their efforts have not been altogether unaccompanied with success; still in a country of which half the soil is still to be cleared, where money is laid out tu so much advantage in the culture of land, where labour is dear and capital comparatively small, it would be extremely unwise, and must involve considerable sacrifices, to force the national industry into a new channel.

[ocr errors]

Be this as it may, however, we cannot interfere with the interval policy of any state. Let us keep them out of the West Indies, and diminish, as much as possible, their facility of trading with our Eastern empire; and, then, let us meet them fairly in the general market of the world.

Following the order we proposed, we are now to consider the best means of security and defence; and with the conviction before us, that the Americans have resolved, sooner or later, to annex our northern provinces to their dominions, it becomes a matter of the most urgent consideration to defeat their projects. Canada, they say, naturally belongs to them; and on the same principle they ought to have Novia Scotia, and the West India islands, as being very conveniently situated for the several branches of commerce in which they wish to embark. Our business, however, is to anticipate them in all their plans of conquest and aggrandizement, for if ever they shall reduce our provinces on the main land, our insular colonies will be exposed to the greatest hazard, and our maritime superiority can no longer rest on a solid foundation,

The first step, then, which should be taken for strengthening our American provinces, is to increase the population, by encouraging emigrants to settle in them. Various plans have been adopted for this purpose, at different eras.

Charters have been granted by government for the exclusive possession of large districts, and, at other times, premiums have been held out to individuals and families, to form settlements under the immediate patronage of the crown. The plan adopted by the present ministers, and to which we alluded in the outset of the article, was to grant to every settler, eighteen years of age and upwards, one hundred acres of land in perpetuity, upon the condition that such settler should pay into the hands of a public agent, before leaving Great Britain, the sum of sixteen pounds, to be repaid to him after having resided for a given time in the colony. The object of this arrangement, it is very obvious, was in the first place, to have the settlers of a respectable order of men, and secondly, to prevent them from repairing to the United states in preference to remaining in Canada. Both these points, we are fully of opinion, deserved all the attention which was paid to them; for as the emigrants were to be carried out, free of expense, there can be no doubt that thousands would have availed themselves of the opportuniiy, thus presented, of crossing the ocean, who had no scrious intention to continue thereafter British subjects. The author of the work which we are now examining, admits that this scheme appears well caculated for tire purpose of introducing into our provinces worthy and respectable characters; though he is of opinion, at the same time, that an auxiliary measure, embracing a still lower class of settlers, might be safely adopted, and he recommends that it should be founded on the following regulations:

“ 1st. That printed proposals be circulated, stating explicitly, the terms of emigration.

“2d. That all persons indiscriminately, (except notorious villains) of an age proper to labour, be permitted to enrol their names in lists, gratuitously prepared for that purpose; at the same time stating to which of the colonies they intend removing. These lists should be posted in public places, for the purpose of guarding against fraud, that no persons be permitted to leave the kingdom, if their creditors choose to affix a negative on the list.

“3d. That the emigrants should be under martial law, but guaranteed against all kind of military service, except that common to all inhabitants of colonies in the time of war; and that proper officers, civil and agricultural, should be appointed with a commissariat, &c.

“ 41h. That the emigrants, while they remain embodied, should be fed at the expense of government; but, except in special cases, they should clothe themselves.

* 5th. That agricultural implements should be advanced gratuitously by government.

" 6th. That the several corps of emigrants should proceed in transports, provided by government, to Canada, Nova Scotia, or New-Brunswick.

“7th. That when arrived at their destination, they should with all convenient spced, commence the clearance of the precise district allotted to them, performing the labour in a body until the whole was cleared, drained, and ready for culture.

“8th. The land when thus prepared should be divided to each by lot; the whole being previously surveyed, and laid out into equal shares of one hundred acres or more per man.

“ 9th. The officers to be paid an equivalent for their superintendance, either out of the cleared estate, or by a salary from government.

“ 10th. The emigrants to be invested with their respective estates, free of all fees or charges; to hold them by the tenure of free and common soccage; and to be discharged from further services."

“ The author likewise recommends that, instead of disbanding soidiers at home, all regiments in future, intended to be reduced, should be sent to one of the four provinces in North America, particularly to Upper Canada, to clear land in the manner stated in the 7th and 8th regulations, reserving to them the option of settling on their respective allotments, when cleared, or of selling their shares and returning home. There appears, at first view, an apparent hardship in sending men to be disbanded so far from their native land, after the fatigues, perhaps of a lengthened war; yet, as they would be left at liberty to dispose of their estates as soon as cleared, if they should not choose to cultivate them, and would thus secure a property of four or five hundred pounds to increase the comforts of their old age, the objection loses much of its force. The great advantages of employing a regiment, as a body, in the clearance of land, and then dividing by lot to each man his proportional share, must occur 10 the mind the very first moment one thinks on the subject. The men, in such circumstances, act under authority, and the work is done regularly and systematically; and we all know, there are thousands of persons who would engage heartily in the cultiva

« IndietroContinua »