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William the 3d, c. 22, s. 2*, was regularly and strictly enforced, a valuable and beneficial trade would be secured to the ship owners of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; for on a moderate computation, allowing each vessel to make four voyages during the season, at least 10,000 tons of British shipping, navigated by 1000 men, would gain employment. At present the Americans have the benefit of the freight of more than three-fourths of the quantity annually taken from the quarries in the two provinces, the freight exceeding double the value of the article; the quantity shipped in 1806 in American bottoms, being stated at 32,000 tons. It was truly remarked by LORD BACON, "there be but three things which one nation selleth unto another; the commodity as nature yieldeth it, the manufacture, and the vecture, or carriage: so that if these three wheels go, wealth will follow as in a spring-tide. And it cometh many times to pass, that materiam superabit opus, that the work and carriage is more worth than the materials, and enricheth a nation more."
A point of great national importance then presents itself for consideration, namely, the injury the mother country sustains by the contraband trade carried on at these islands with the subjects of the United States, not only from the sale of prohibited articles, but from the decrease it occasions in the employment of the shipping of the British provinces, and its consequent discouragement of their carrying trade, in which were formerly reared many excellent and useful seamen whereas the small craft which take the gypsum or plaister from the quarries to the islands in Passamaquoddy bay, are chiefly navigated by countrymen taken from their farms, and who make one or two trips or short voyages in a year for the purpose of obtaining supplies for their families, of contraband articles from the American stores in these islands; but who would certainly be much better and more advantageously employed in attending to their agricultural pursuits.
It appears that the houses of assembly of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, contemplated passing a law to prevent vessels being laden with gypsum at the quarries, and from landing it eastward of Portland in the state of Massachusets,
* See also the subsequent statutes and orders of council in Reeves's History of Shipping, 2d edition, 1807, respecting colonial trade.
which would have secured the carriage of this article to the ships of the King's colonies; but doubts were entertained as to the authority of the assemblies to adopt such a regulation; some time after an application to that effect was made by general Carleton to government, in the former administration of the duke of Portland, and there is reason to believe it would have been attended to and acted upon, had not a change taken place about that time in the ministry. As gypsum is only to be found in the British American colonies, no fear need be entertained of the subjects of the United States refusing to take it in British vessels; for whatever charge may attach on the article, they will continue to purchase it, for, in truth, they cannot do without it.
Another serious reason for resuming the sovereignty of these islands, prior to the renewal of any treaty with the United States, is the attempt which in case of war*, may probably be made by them in that quarter to invade the British colonies; therefore the Americans should be confined within their limits on the main land; besides this illicit intercourse with the British provinces from the proximity of the islands tends only to enrich them, and to impoverish the King's subjects in those settlements.
In the event of a war between Great Britain and America, which would terminate the existing treaties between the two countries, great precaution must be taken in any future arrangements with the United States, to avoid those errors which unfortunately occurred in the formation of the former ones; for the renewal of many of the articles of the treaty of 1783, and the first ten articles of the treaty of 1794, will present strong impediments to the amelioration of the condition of the British colonists in America.
The ambiguity of the treaty of 1794 places the Canadians in a very hopeless situation respecting their commercial intercoure with the United States by land, or inland navigation; especially when the explanation of any of its articles depends on the revenue officers of the United States. Not satisfied with the advantages which that treaty gives them, and which have been before pointed out, they construe its letter, at the sacrifice of its evident intention and spirit; so that instead of being reciprocal, it is made the foundation for impositions, which place the Canadian Indian traders entirely
Appendix, No. 7.
at their mercy. They likewise change their ground so frequently to suit their own purposes, that the moment they agree to relax upon any point in dispute, another is started, involving fresh and greater difficulties than those apparently given up.
It recently formed a subject of just complaint, that the American collectors at the inland posts calculated the duties. on merchandize from Canada, in the manner before-mentioned; and there was reason to believe, from a communication said to have been made by Mr. Erskine to the president Mr. Dunn, that the government of the United States had given up that point; when in the course of last summer at Michilimakinac, the Canadians found, to their great astonishment, the American collector there, not only persisted in demanding again the former exorbitant duties, but threatening to adopt a principle by which he would have had it in his power to seize the whole of the goods from Canada, or to levy whatever contributions he thought fit, as the consideration for refraining to ruin the British traders. To detail the systematic course of the most arbitrary exaction and imposition of the officers of the United States at the inland posts, would exceed the limits of this tract; but the circumstances which occurred at Michilimakinac last year were so grossly flagrant, it is presumed the merchants here connected with Canada, have communicated the same to the British government, in order that whenever negotiations are resumed between the two countries, proper stipulations will be entered into to prevent the like in future, and to secure to the British trader adequate protection in his commercial pursuits from similar impositions.
To represent these transactions at Washington would have been unavailing; and no effectual remedy occurs, except that in the event of war, every exertion should be made to regain Michilimakinac and the Indian territory; but in case an amicable arrangement takes place between the two countries, it should be a primary object of negotiation, on the part of the King's ministers, to obtain an express stipulation, that all merchandize passing inland from the one territory into the other, intended bona fide for the trade with and consumption of the Indians, shall be exempt from the payment of all duties whatever; it is warranted by the treaty of 1794, which allows a similar exemption to the Indians, when, carrying articles for their own use from the one state to the
other. These remarks apply to the Indian trade only; but with respect to the other injuries experienced in the trade between the United States and Canada, they have been already noticed, and the remedy pointed out, which has occurred to persons well acquainted with the trade of the province, as likely to remove the inconveniences and difficulties encountered by the King's subjects.
Not content with these encroachments and exactions on the British trader, the subjects of the United States appear determined to extend them, when and wherever they have opportunity and power. About two or three years ago an American officer ascended some of the rivers which fall into the Missisippi, where the northwest traders have establishments or trading posts; and on his arrival there, notwithstanding the hospitality and kindness he experienced from the British traders, insisted that the British flag and medals should be recalled, and those of the United States substituted; the territory being, as he asserted, within their limits. The northwest partner then resident there being intimidated, very inconsiderately and imprudently submitted to this interference, instead of insisting that the territory was British; or if any doubt could be entertained in that respect, that it should be considered British, until the line from the Lake of the Woods was ascertained by the consent of both nations. This opportunity of checking encroachments in that quarter being lost, and intimations having been given of an intention to seize goods at the posts dependant upon that which is called the Fond du Lac Department, that is, at the farther end of Lake Superior, the northwest company deemed it prudent, under such circumstances, to compromise with the officers of the United States for the duties on their goods there; and the collector at Michilimakinac, instead of requiring actual previous entries, has since been induced to receive at the close of the season from the agents of the northwest company, statements of the duties so agreed to be given, and to accept the same accordingly; which it is evident he is constrained to do, not only under the circumstances of that compromise, but from the opportunity there existed of evading in a great measure the payment of them.
If the Indian trade is considered important and desirable to be retained by Great Britain, it cannot be effectually done unless that part of the territory which produces it, and which was most improvidently ceded by the treaty of 1783 is resumed, or by an abolition of the duties on Indian goods as
before mentioned: if, however, the resumption of the whole is impracticable, it is prudent to endeavour to obtain, in the course of future negotiation, such a line as will at least avoid any interference on the part of the United States with the northwest company*, and to secure as much as is practicable of Michilimakinac.
Mr. Jefferson having refused to ratify the convention of May, 1803, which amongst other things + likewise settled the course of the line from the Missisippi to the Lake of the Woods; it is to be expected another opportunity will not be afforded them to obtain such valuable concessions; but that every endeavour will be made in future negotiations to substitute the river St. Louis (which falls into Lake Superior) to its source, and from thence to the nearest river which falls into the Missisippi, Such an arrangement would secure the northwest company, and especially if in fixing the line between Canada and Louisiana, beyond the Missisippi, the Misourie could be established as the boundary line, it would be of the utmost importance to the Michilimakinac trade: however, in no case whatever should the subjects of the United States be permitted to go beyond the Rocky Mountains, as they certainly have no right by pretence of discovery or otherwise, to any territory watered by rivers falling into the Western Ocean. Ifa new line could be obtained on the principle of the height of land, dividing the waters which fall into the Atlantic, from those which have their outlets by the river St. Lawrence, it would secure not only the Michilimakinac, but likewise the Detroit Indian trade‡; and even if it was modified so as to leave the boundaries as at present, until entering Lake Huron, but from thence to proceed to the entrance of Lake Michigan, and down that lake to Chicogo, and thence descending the Illinois river to its junction with the Missisippi, from which last-mentioned river to ascend the Misourie, it would secure to Great Britain the most material part of the Michilimakinac trade.
It, however, cannot be too strongly impressed, that in future negotiation with the United States, the greatest care should be taken not to accede to any proposition of settling the boundaries between the two territories, without personal
*See Weld's Travels, vol. 1.
+ The British Treaty, p. 36.
See Weld's Travels, 2 vol. p. 99, for very valuable information on these topics.