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Add expence of the military department, which has has}
been more this year than usual.
4 0 20 0
259 10 1,622
334 vessels cleared at the Custom-house. 70275 tons.
To illustrate more fully the above tonnage in 1808, as increased by the natural amelioration of the country, and by the embargo in America, let us compare it with the tonnage of the shipping of the years 1806-33,996.
The increase is conspicuous.
To the Right Hon. Lord Hobart, one of His Majefty's principal Secretaries of State,
The Memorial and Petition of the Merchants and other Inhabitants of New Brunswick,
THAT after the settlement of this province by the American loyalists in the year 1783, its inhabitants eagerly engaged in endeavouring to supply with fish and lumber the British possessions in the West Indies, and by their exertions they had, within the first ten years, built ninety-three square-rigged vessels, and seventy-one sloops and schooners, which were principally employed in that trade. There was the most flattering prospect that this trade would have rapidly increased, when the late war breaking out, the Governors of the West India islands admitted, by proclamation, the vessels of the United States of America to supply them with every thing they wanted; by which means the rising trade of this province has been materially injured, and the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants severely checked. For the citizens of the United States, having none of the evils of war to encounter, are not subject to the high rates of insurance on their vessels and cargoes, nor to the great advance in the wages of seamen, to which, by the imperious circumstances of the times, British subjects are unavoidably liable. And being admitted by proclamation, they are thereby exempt from a transient and parochial duty of two and a half to five per cent. exacted in the West India islands from British subjects.
Admission into the British ports in the West Indies having been once obtained by the Americans, their government has spared neither pains nor expence to increase their fisheries, so essential to that trade. By granting a bounty of nearly 20s. per ton on all vessels employed in the cod fishery, they have induced numbers to turn their attention to that business, and now the principal part of the cod fishery in the Bay of Fundy is engrossed by them.
The county of Charlotte being separated from the United States only by a navigable river, the Americans have, under the foregoing advantages, been enabled to carry off annually (to be reshipped for the West India market) nearly three millions of feet of boards cut in that part of this province, and also a large proportion of the fish caught and cured by British subjects in the Bay of Passamaquoddy.
These discouraging circumstances have prevented the trade in fish and lumber from this province to the West Indies from increasing since the year 1793, and would have totally annihilated it, had not the province possessed advantages in point of situation so favourable for that trade, as to enable its inhabitants to continue the establishments already made for that purpose. What those advantages are, your memorialists now beg leave to state to your Lordship.
The sea coast of this province abounds with cod and scale fish, and its rivers are annually visited by immense shoals of herrings, shad, and salmon. The numerous harbours along the coast are most conve niently situated for carrying on the cod fishery, which may be cuted to any extent imaginable. The herrings which frequent the rivers of this province are a species peculiarly adapted for the West India market; being equally nutritious with the common herrings, and possessed of a greater degree of firmness, they are capable of being kept longer in a warm climate. In such abundance are they annually to be found, that the quantity cured can only be limited by the insufficient number of hands employed in the business.
The interior of this province, as well as the parts bordering on the sea coast, is every where intersected by rivers, creeks, and lakes, on the margin of which, or at no great distance from them, the country for the most part is covered with inexhaustible forests of pine, spruce, birch, beech, maple, elm, fir, and other timber, proper for masts of any size, lumber, and ship-building. The smaller rivers afford excellent situations for saw-mills, and every stream, by the melting of the snow in the spring, is rendered deep enough to float down the masts and lumber of every description, which the inhabitants have cut and brought to its banks, during the long and severe winters of this climate, when their agricultural pursuits are necessarily suspended. The lands in the interior of the province are generally excellent, and where cleared, have proved very productive.
Great advances have not hitherto been made in agriculture for want of a sufficient number of inhabitants, yet within a few years
there has remained, beyond our domestic supply, a considerable surplus in horses, salted provisions, and butter, for exportation. And your memorialists look forward with confidence to a rapid increase in the exports of those articles, for which the soil and climate of this country are well adapted.
Possessing so many local advantages, your memorialists feel themselves warranted in stating to your Lordship, that, were not the Americans admitted into the British ports in the West Indies, the fisheries of this and the neighbouring colonies, if duly encouraged, would, with the regular supply from the united kingdoms, furnish the British West India islands with all the fish they would require. And that in a few years the supply of lumber from this province, which already exceeds ten millions of feet annually, would, with the excep tion of staves only, be equal to the demand in the said islands. And your memorialists farther confidently state, that these provinces would furnish shipping sufficient to carry from the United States all the flour, corn, and staves, which the British West Indies would stand in need of beyond what the Canadian provinces could furnish.
During the peace from 1783 to 1793, American vessels were not admitted into the British West India islands, (the whole trade of those islands being carried on during that period in British bottoms) and at no time have the supplies been more abundant or more reasonable. Were the Americans excluded from those islands, this and the neighbouring provinces could now furnish a much larger proportion than formerly of the supplies required, and a rapid and progressive increase might annually be expected. But should the Americans obtain by treaty a right to participate in that trade, not only will the farther progress of improvement in this province be interrupted, but many of its most industrious inhabitants, unable to procure a subsistence here, will be urged to forego the blessings of the British constitution, to which they are most sincerely and zealously attached, and to seek for an establishment in the United States of America. That great advantages would result to the British nation from providing a sure and permanent supply of those essential articles for its West India islands, independent of foreign assistance, must be obvious. The inhabitants of those islands, forming commercial connexions only with their fellow subjects, would continue the more unalterably attached in their dutiful affection and loyalty to the parent state; and there would be the less reason to dread the conse
quences of any misunderstanding that might hereafter arise between Great Britian and the United States of America. The introduction into the West Indies of contraband articles, particularly teas, and all kinds of East India manufactures, (a traffic which the Americans now carry on to an enormous extent) would thereby be checked, and the whole benefit of the trade of those islands secured to British subjects. If thus aided and supported against the views of the Americans, the trade of these northern provinees would speedily acquire new and increasing vigour, and (which may be an important consideration) soon render them valuable nurseries of seamen for the British navy, that grand security to the commerce and prosperity of his majesty's kingdoms and colonies.
Your memorialists therefore most humbly pray, &c.
Saint John, New Brunswick, 11th May, 1804.