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the Eastern boundary on the side of New Brunswick which oc "casioned the convention to remain unratified*."
As a hope may be entertained that the convention referred to by Mr. Madison respecting these Islands may NOT yet be ratified: We request your honour to transmit to his majesty's ministers this our joint address on a subject of such importance to his majesty's government, and the rights and interests of his faithful subjects in this province.
After the full discussion of the question of right to these islands, in the correspondence between his majesty's ministers and his excellency the lieutenant-governor of this Province, on former occasions, particularly his excellency's dispatch to his grace the duke of Portland, dated 5th August 1799, and the letters and documents therein mentioned, it may be thought superfluous to do more than generally to refer to those papers on the present occasion. We trust, however, that the magnitude of the object will justify our attempt to bring within a small compass the result of those discussions, adding thereto some further observations which more immediately press upon our attention, and which we hope will merit the consideration of his majesty's ministers.
That part of the second article of the treaty of peace between his majesty and the United States which respects the present question is expressed as follows: "East, by a line to be drawn along the "middle of the river Saint Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy,
to its source, &c. comprehending all islands within twenty leagues "of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due eaft from the points where the aforesaid "boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part, and East Florida 66 on the other part, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy, and "the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are, or here"tofore have been, within the limits of the said Province of Nova "Scotia."
The islands hereby granted are evidently such, and such only, as are within twenty leagues of the coast, and also lie between those parallels of latitudes by which the shores of the ceded country are limited at their northern and southern extremities. Hence all islands, not within those parallels, however near they may be to the shore, are clearly excluded from the grant, and of those which are within the parallels, all such as then were, or ever had been, within the limits of Nova Scotia, are also excluded. From the treaty of peace, therefore, the United States can derive no shadow of claim to the islands in question; and his majesty's original right to them remains entire and.... incontestable.
For, we believe, it has never been controverted even by the Ame
* Vide Tract. "The British Treaty, p. 30. to p. 41. wherein it is stated," "Connected also with our Eastern boundary, is an object of little intrinsic value, "(Moose Island), but important to the trade of Massachusetts, and to the revenue of the United States." Editor.
+ Vide ante, p. 13, 14, 40.
+ Vide Appendix, ante, No. I. p. 67.
rican government, that these islands, always before the treaty of peace, were comprehended within the limits, and constituted a part of the province of Nova Scotia, which it was the obvious intention of the treaty to reserve to his majesty, by its utmost limits, a reference. to the original boundaries of the province in sir William Alexander's patent, and to the description of the boundaries in all the commissions to his majesty's governors of the province, and the actual grant of two of these islands to Francis Bernard and others, by letters patent under the seal of the province of Nova Scotia, bearing date the 30th Oct. 1765, place this fact beyond all dispute.
These islands, at the time when the province of New Brunswick was erected in the year 1784, were all possessed and inhabited by bis majesty's subjects; they were by an act of the General Assembly of the Province passed in January 1786, for the purpose of dividing the several countries into towns and parishes, expressly made a part of the parish of West Isles in the county of Charlotte; and their inhabitants yielded obedience to the laws of the province, in attending to the several duties which they were called upon to perform by the courts and magistrates established and appointed in that county; and we cannot but consider it as a matter of serious regret, that the possession of these islands, shortly afterwards usurped by the state of Massachussett's, and hitherto continued, has given rise to a claim of territorial right on the part of that state founded merely upon that possession.
We now beg leave briefly to hint at some of the mischiefs and inconveniences which have resulted from this continued usurpation. Very large quantities of lumber, furnished from the neighbouring parts of the province, are purchased by the American subjects and carried to these islands for exportation, which lumber is paid for with prohibited articles from the United States, and they in the same manner engross almost the whole of the produce of the fisheries among these islands, which is also paid for in the same manner, and thus we sustain a double injury. The West India islands are in a great measure precluded from receiving their supplies of fish and lumber in British bottoms; and large quantities of contraband goods are introduced into this province to the great injury of the commercial interests of Great Britain, as well as of the fair merchants and traders residing here.
Their situation enables the inhabitants of these islands to engross a very great proportion of the plaster trade from this and the neighbouring province of Nova Scotia, which is now become of great magnitude and extent, whereby his majesty's subjects are deprived of a very highly valuable carrying trade in this article.
These islands are become places of refuge for insolvent debtors and disorderly persons of every description, particularly of deserters from bis majesty's service, all attempts to recover whom are insolently resisted.
By the possession of these islands, great facility is given to the conveyance in small vessels of contraband articles of every description to various parts of this Province and Nova Scotia, so that the fair British merchant can have no equal competition with these illicit traders, even in the sale of British and West Indian goods.
Whereas, on the contrary, if these islands were in the possession of
his majesty's subjects, very large quantities of fish and lumber would be thereby furnished by them for the supply of the British West India islands, the present ruinous contraband trade greatly interrupted, and a very beneficial carrying trade in the article of plaster of Paris in a great measure secured.
Or if the Americans were dispossessed of these islands, there is no other situation in that neighbourhood which could give them the advantages and opportunities to injure the trade of this province which they now enjoy.
To these considerations it may be added, that in case of hostilities at any time in the United States, or countenance given by them to hostile attacks from any other country, the province, by the possession of these islands, would, in that quarter, be rendered more secure from attack and capable of defence.
Impressed with the importance of the foregoing considerations, We indulge the hope, that the transmission of this address by your honour to his majesty's ministers may be productive of important benefits to the interests and welfare of his majesty's subjects in this province.
G. D. Ludlow, Speaker of the Council.
Presented in March, 1807.
REPORT of the Committee of the House of Commons on the Commercial State of the West India Islands.
THE COMMITTEE, who were appointed to take into Consideration the Commercial State of the WEST INDIA COLONIES, and to report their Proceedings from Time to Time, to the House; and who were empowered to report the MINUTES of, EVIDENCE taken before them; and to whom all Minutes of Evidence which were taken before the Committee in the last Session of Parliament, on the West India Planters' Petitions, together with their Proceedings, were referred ;
HAVE, pursuant to the Order of the House, examined' the Matter to them referred; and have agreed to the following REPORT.
YOUR committee have thought it their duty, in the first place, to inquire into the situation of the West India planters at the present moment, and for several years preceding; and have examined various respectable witnesses, proprietors of estates, who have resided many years in the West Indies, and who have had the properties of several absentees under their management; and also many merchants intimately acquainted with the expences and profits of a great variety of estates, and generally conversant with the West India commerce. From their testimony it appears, that since the year 1799, there has taken place a progressive deterioration in the situation of the planters, resulting from a progressive diminution of the price of sugar, although at the same time the duty, and all the expences attending the cultivation, have been increasing, till at length the depression of the market has become such, that the prices obtained for the last year's crop will not pay the expence of cultivation, except upon estates on a very great scale, making sugar of a very superior quality, or enjoying other extraordinary advantages.-Calculations have been laid before your committee, from the accounts of estates both in Jamaica and the other islands; by which it appears, that the British supplies and island expences amount to 20s. 1od. in the former, and to Appen- 195. 6d. in the latter, on the cwt. of sugar, after accounting and dix. giving credit for the amount received for the sale of rum. As these calculations are formed upon an average of years, and upon estates of the ordinary scale, and in no respects unusually circumstanced, it appears to your committee, that these sums per cwt. of sugar may be taken as the average expence of cultivation, independent of interest upon the capital; and your committee are confirmed in this opinion by finding a similar calculation in the report made by the sugar distillery committee, in the last parliament.-To this must be added an expence of from 155. 6d. to 16s. per cwt. necessarily in
curred for freight, insurance, and other mercantile charges, between the shipping the goods in the colonies, and their being offered to market in this kingdom, forming together an amount of from 355. to 365. which appears, upon this evidence, to be the absolute cost to the planter per cwt. of sugar, before any return of capital can attach.-Upon a reference to the average prices published in the Gazette for the last eight months, which vary from 365. to 315. giving a mean price of 335. 6d., it appears evident that the planters must have cultivated their estates at a loss.
The intereft which has been ftated to your committee as what should be the fair profit upon a capital of fuch a nature as that of a fugar eftate, confifting not merely of land and negroes, but of buildings of great extent and coft, neceffary for the carrying on of fuch a manufacture, and subject to various and peculiar risks and viciffitudes, is not less than 10 per-cent.
During the period of profperity previous to 1800, it is ftated, that in general the profits did not exceed that fum; and that, from that period, they have gradually diminished to 2 and 11⁄2 per-cent. till, at the prefent moment, there is no return of intereft whatever.
It may perhaps be right to notice one exception, namely, of an eftate moft favourably circumftanced in every refpect, where the profits are stated to have amounted, during the four years 1795, 1796, 1797, and 1798, to 12 per cent.; but they appear alfo to have declined ever fince; in 1801, 1802, 1803, and 1804, to have been re- Appen duced to about 6 per-cent. and in 1805, to about 3 per-cent., and dix. fubfequently to have suffered a still further reduction.
In the course of their investigation of the fituation of the planters, your committee thought it right to ascertain whether it might not be in their own power, in many instances, to remedy the evils of their fituation, by converting their sugar eftates to other more profitable cultivation; but the evidence on that point fhews, that such a conversion must be attended with so great a facrifice of capital, as to be out of the question as a measure of relief.
With a view to the profpect for the future, they have obtained a return of the quantity of fugar at prefent in the Weft India Docks; from which, and from other evidence, it appears, that the quantity now on hand is unufually great for the time of year. The crop of the last year is alfo on the point of coming into the market.
It should not be omitted further to ftate, that for many years paft the islands have almoft entirely efcaped the natural calamities (of hurricanes, &c.) which have occafionally proved destructive to the property in those countries.
In investigating the causes of that depreffion of the market, from whence the whole of the planter's diftrefs appears to originate, the firft object which strikes your committee, is that extraordinary fituation in which he is placed, which prevents him alone (in exception to every other fimilar cafe) from indemnifying himself for the increase of duty, and of other expences attending his cultivation, by an equivalent increase of price to the confumer. For it appears, that fince the year 1799, the duty on fugar has been raised from 20s. to 275. and contingently to 30s. per cwt.; the expences of the estates are calculated to have arifen, in many articles 50, and in others above