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war, when our communication with the continent is so much abridged that we cannot supply their demands ourselves. But in time of peace we could certainly manage the whole of this trade; and in time of war even, there seems no reasonwhy we should not exclusively supply our West India market. I do not see how British capital could be employed more advantageously to the country than in a trade which draws real wealth from the ocean, increases our shipping, and augments the number of our seamen.

When one reflects on the great extent of the Banks of Newfoundland, being nearly four hundred miles in length, by about two hundred miles in breadth, besides the smaller banks and fishing grounds on the coast of Cape Breton, and round the shores and islands of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, there seems room enough for all the cod-fish catchers in the world; and it may seem hard that any of them should be excluded. But as Great Britain has both the right and the power to monopolize this trade, I cannot see any impropriety in her doing so. The allowing the Americans

a share in this trade was an act of pure generosity on the part of Britain. However, a nation ought to be just to its own subjects before it is generous to those of another country.

For some days past we have seen a great number of enormous whales rolling their huge carcasses in the deep. It is curious enough to observe them when several appear near the vessel at the same time. They come to the surface to breathe, or blow, as it is generally called (and with great propriety, for the noise is equal to that of fifty bellows of the largest size), and the water is spouted to an immense height, like the steam of a fire engine.

Amongst the extraordinary things one meets with at sea, it is not one of the least, surprising to observe small land-birds several hundred miles from land. I was sitting on deck the other day, when, to my great surprise, my attention was arrested by the warbling of a bird. I looked up, and saw a linnet perched on the rigging, and whistling with as much ardour as if on a bush in a green meadow. It is probable they are driven to sea in a gale of wind, or,

perhaps a fog may conceal the land from them, and by taking a wrong direction, they may proceed to sea; still it is a matter not a little surprising that they should be able to continue on the wing so long as is necessary to fly several hundreds of miles, particularly when the usual shortness of their flight is considered. They continue sometimes with a vessel for several days, and are frequently caught by the sailors; but it is remarked that they seldom live, though every care is taken to give them proper food. food. When the vessel rolls much, they find it difficult to retain their footing on the rigging, and you see them forced, as it were, to resume their flight in search of a better resting-place: poor little creatures! they look for it in vain. You at length see them drop into the sea. It is surprising what hold such little incidents take of our sensibilities.

To-night we expect to enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I trust the weather may continue favourable, and the wind moderate, so as to enable me to write again before we enter the river. In the mean time, I must go on deck, and take another view of Cape Breton.

C

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LETTER III.

Gulf of St. Lawrence, May, 1806. We are now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which we entered a few days ago. The entrance through which we passed is the principal one; it is sixty miles broad, and is formed by Cape North, in the island of Cape Breton, on the south side, and by Cape Raiy, in Newfoundland, on the north side. There is another communication with the ocean, through the Streights of Belleisle, between Newfoundland and the Labrador shore, but it is seldom used, except by running vessels from Quebec, that are going to Scotland, or the north of England. The third communication with the ocean is by the Gut of Canso, through which, vessels coming from the West Indies, or the United States of America, generally enter the Gulf. This passage, which is very narrow, separates Cape Breton from New Brunswick.

The inland country of Cape Breton ap

pears very mountainous, and they still (25th May) are covered with snow—a chilling prospect.

We acquired possession of Cape Breton in 1763, and erected it into a separate government in 1784. There is in this island, which is about a hundred miles in length by sixty in breadth, much arable land, which at present abounds with hardwood and pine timber., This country is of great value to Britain, for several reasons. As it commands the Gulf of St. Lawrence, it may be considered as the key of Canada. There are in its neighbourhood very valuable fisheries, which cannot well be carried on without a harbour in the island, and the harbour of Louisburgh is the principal one for that purpose.

Great advantages are likely to accrue from the valuable coal-mines in Cape Breton. There is also abundance of iron. The working of the coal-mines, together with the fisheries, form the chief employment of the inhabitants. Communication with the interior of the island is rendered easy by means of a number of lakes and inlets from the sea, found in every direction.

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