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the amount is drawn for immediately, in bills at sixty days sight.
The principal objection to the importation of Canada wheat into England, is the price: 6s. 6d. was the average price for five years, ending 1805, and it is frequently shipped as high as 7s. 6d. per bushel. Even at that price, it generally pays very well in Spain and Portugal. In the west of Scotland, particularly at Greenock, it brings generally a better price than in the London market, and sells there even higher than English wheat. In that part of the country, the seasons are so wet and backward, that the wheat seldom comes to maturity, at least it does not acquire a sufficient degree of hardness to grind well, and become good and useful flour. The Canada wheat, being remarkably hard and dry, is mixed with it. It then grinds well, and the flour is fit for the bakehouse. Freight to Britain is usually about 2s. per bushel.
It seldom happens that the number of bushels shipped at Quebec holds out at the port of delivery, which arises from the
manner of measuring in Canada. A half bushel is used in general; and they are extremely dexterous in measuring. The grain is put in and out of the bushel so quickly, that it has not time to feel its own weight, as it were, and settle down. I knew an instance of a man having measured, and put into the sacks in which it was carried on board, 6400 half bushels in the space of eleven hours and a half, which is near ten times in a minute.
The next articles of consequence in the list of exports, are flour and biscuit. The average amount of flour for five years, ending 1805, was 19,822 barrels at 42s. 6d. per barrel, 42,123l. 17s. 6d. The flour exported from the river St. Lawrence comes principally from Upper Canada, where the wheat is of a superior quality to that of Lower Canada, and yields very fine flour. They have many inducements for sending flour rather than wheat. It has a long inland navigation on the lakes, and down the St. Lawrence to Montreal and Quebec. It is brought down in bateaux (flat-bottomed boats), of from four to five tons burthen, navigated with oars, poles, and sails ;
and in scows. From the length of the inland navigation it becomes an object of importance to compress the bulk, and concentrate the value of the article, in order to save freight; and besides, when flour is well packed, it is not so subject to receive damage as wheat would be: it resists the water better. The country, too, is benefited by the wages of labour in manufacturing the article, and consequently augmenting its value. It gives employment to a number of people in the grinding, making casks, &c. A public inspector at Montreal and at Quebec examines all flour previous to its being shipped, to see that it is of a proper merchantable quality.
A scow is a vessel with four sides, an oblong square, in length forty to fifty feet, in breadth thirty to forty, and from four to five feet deep, flat-bottomed. The sides are not perpendicular; they are inclined outwards, for the purpose of carrying a greater weight.
The scows are built on the lakes in Upper Canada. A large one will carry 500 barrels of flour, and costs about 50%. They are built for the farmers, for the purpose
of transporting to Montreal flour, potash, &c. and are navigated by long oars or sweeps, and poles. They have a mast and sail, too, which they can use in the lakes when the wind is favourable: on these occasions they steer with an oar; and they have anchors and cables to come to with in the lakes, when the wind blows strong against them. They are made of pine, planked, and calked outside, like a ship, but have no deck. When they have discharged their cargo they are of no further use, except for breaking up for domestic purposes, and they are sold generally for a very few dollars.
The advantage to the country is carried still further when the flour is manufactured into biscuit, and exported in that shape. There was exported from Canada, on an average of five years, 21,777 hundred weight at 25s.-27,2217. 5s. The Canada biscuit is of an excellent quality, and generally much cheaper than the British biscuit. Considerable supplies of it are sent to Newfoundland and to Halifax, for the use of our navy, and other shipping in that quarter.
The other species of grain, such as pease, barley, oats, and Indian corn, are produced in considerable quantities; but the surplus produce is not sufficient to render them of importance as objects of foreign trade.'
It is only within these very few years that barley has been known in this country. It was introduced by a gentleman who erected a distillery near Quebec. He imported the seed from England, and after much pains taken to overcome the antipathy which the Canadian habitant has to experiments, he succeeded in prevailing upon them to give it a trial. He gave them the seed gratis, and bound himself to pay them a certain sum for each acre they should sow, whatever the produce might be. In this way he overcame their prejudices; and barley is now very common in all parts of the country.
The barley of Canada makes very good malt; and several breweries have been erected for making ale, of which enough is now made to supply the demands of the country, besides considerable quantities exported to the West Indies, &c.