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America, and no exertions were wanting, or suggestions rejected, which had a reasonable tendency to increase their population or to encourage their industry.
Canada. CANADA, it appears, is able to export great quantities of wheat and flour; and during the present war, considerable cargoes of those articles have been annually shipped from thence to Great Britain, Portugal, and other places. The temporary causes, which had checked the cultivation of this province, are in some respects removed, and an increased annual export of flour and wheat may be depended upon, as the culture of wheat and manufacture of flour are rapidly increasing in that settlement; from whence have been recently exported in one year 800,000 bushels of wheat and 30,000 barrels of flour *.
Great quantities of timber and lumber can likewise be furnished from Canada, particularly the white oak, which is used in the West Indies for puncheon staves +; and although the price of lumber may be at present dearer than that which is the growth of the United States, it is of a much better quality, from being procured farther north.-In the London market, the Quebec staves bear a much higher price than American. The forests of the two ‡ Canadas, Nova Scotia, and its dependencies, with New Brunswick, are inexhaustible, and capable of supplying every species of naval timber; and the inhabitants of these provinces only require the encouragement of the mother country, and a certainty of market, to induce them more extensively to engage in that most important branch of trade, which is not so incumbered with difficulties as have been industriously represented. The Canadians have learnt to prepare their timber to great advantage, by floating mills, of a new construction, and built at a third of the expence of the ordinary mills ||; and there is sufficient water-carriage to transport the timber from the places of its growth to a shipping port.
The timber, together with the masts and spars, which have already been sent to Great Britain from these colonies, afford sufficient specimens of their qualities; as well as the
Appendix, No. 8, page 189. the evidence to the West India
Charlevoix's Journal, vol. i. page 245, edit. 1761.
Reports of the Board of Trade, in the collection before mentioned,
prices at which they can be sold, and the increasing demand prove them to be suitable for British use. The number of ships lately employed in this trade, points out how advantageous, if properly encouraged, it will be to the mother country, especially from the increased demand it will occasion for British manufactures, which will be taken in return; besides, it will, if Government adopt the proper means of promoting this branch of trade, so as to induce mercantile men of capital to engage in it, relieve the nation considerably from its dependence on the Northern Powers * for supplies of naval timber. This prominent feature of the trade of the colonies has become, from recent circumstances, of the highest importance to Great Britain, in consequence of the extension of the war in the north of Europe, and the existing differences between Russia, Prussia, Denmark, and this country.
The different kinds of timber in the forests of these provinces are enumerated in other parts of these observations, which, from the numerous rivers and creeks that intersect the country, are brought with more than ordinary facility to convenient places for shipment; of the excellencies of their qualities, the cargoes imported last year at Liverpool, and other ports, bear ample testimony; during that period, many British vessels made in this trade two voyages from Great Britain to Nova Scotia and New Bruns wick, and some of them to Canada; thus pointing out, as it were, at this crisis, a new source of employment for the British ships which were formerly engaged in the Baltic trade +.
By the 12th Chas. II. c. iv. certain duties were imposed on the importation into England of all deals, boards, masts, yards, and timber, according to the rates mentioned in the schedule to that act, and the regulations therein contained.
The necessity of providing naval timber for his Majesty's navy and the merchants' service, in order that the country might not depend on other states for what was essential to her defence as a maritime power, became an object of legislative attention early in the last century; and it was deemed essential to encourage by bounties the importation of timber
*Mr. Baring's examination, page 21.
+ See, Remarks on the probable Conduct of Russia and France &c. p. 91. edition 1805, Asperne.
from the continent of British America into Great Britain. Accordingly, by the 3d and 4th Ann, c. x. sect. 2. a certain reward or premium was granted on the importation from Masts, thence of masts, yards, and bowsprits. The preamble of &c. his statute is worthy of attention, as it shews the policy which influenced at that time the legislature: it recites
"Whereas the royal navy and the navigation of England, wherein under GOD the wealth, safety, and strength of THIS KINGDOM is so much concerned, depends on the due. supply of stores necessary for the same, which being now brought in, mostly from foreign parts in foreign shipping, at exorbitant and arbitrary rates, to the great prejudice and discouragement of the trade and navigation of this kingdom, may be provided in a more certain and beneficial manner from her Majesty's own dominions-And whereas her Majesty's colonies and plantations in America were at first settled, and are still maintained and protected, at a great expence of the treasure of this kingdom, with a design to render them as useful as may be to England, and the labour and industry of the people there profitable to themselves: and in regard the said colonies and plantations, by the vast tracts of land therein, lying near the sea, and upon navigable rivers, may commodiously afford great quantities of all sorts of naval stores, if due encouragement be given for carrying on so great and advantageous an undertaking, which will likewise tend not only to the further employment and increase of English shipping and seamen, but also to the enlarging in a great measure the trade and vent of the woollen and other manufactures and commodities of this kingdom, and of other her Majesty's dominions, in exchange for such naval stores which are now purchased from foreign countries with money or bullion: and for enabling her Majesty's subjects in the said colonies and plantations, to continue to make due and sufficient returns in the course of their trade."
This bounty was granted for a limited period, and afterwards continued by another act until 1725, when it ceased; but it was revived by the 2 Geo. II. c. xxxv. and continued by subsequent statutes * until the 24th of June, 1781, when it was discontinued. It also appears, that in order to
*By the 3d and 4th Ann, c. x. s. 2. from 1st January, 1705, for 9 years, and by the 12 Ann, c. ix. s. 1. continued from 1714, for 11 years.
give a more extensive effect to this beneficial regulation, and to promote the timber trade of the colonies, a sum not exceeding £10,000 was voted by parliament * for that purpose; but the legislature finding from experience, that these regulations did not afford adequate encouragement, so as to induce the colonists to engage extensively in the trade, further aid was given, by allowing other descriptions of timber to be imported from thence, duty free, and by the 8th Geo. I. c. xii. s. 2. which recited, "that great quantities of wood and timber, and of the goods commonly called lumber, (which are therein enumerated) had usually been imported into this kingdom from foreign coun-Lumber} tries at excessive rates or prices, especially in time of war, and foreigners had thereby found opportunities to export the coined monies of this realm, and that it was well known that such commodities, being the growth and produce of his Majesty's plantations in America, could be furnished from thence, if due encouragement was given," it was enacted, that for the term of 21 years, from the 24th of June, 1722, the same might be imported into Great Britain direct from the King's colonies in America, in British vessels navigated according to law, duty free, (masts, yards, and bowsprits excepted) touching which, duties and premiums had been ascertained by former acts. - The provisions of this act were continued by subsequent statutes †, and are now in force.
A short time prior to the American war, with a view to But by the 2 Geo. II. c. xxxv. s. 3. was revived and continued from the 29th September, 1729, for 13 years.
13 Geo. II. c. xxviii. s. 1. continued from thence to 25 Dec.
obtain a constant and sufficient supply of timber from that continent, other regulations were adopted, and by the 5th Geo. 3. c. 45. certain bounties were given from and after the 1st January 1766, on the importation of deals, planks, boards and timber of certain dimensions, into Great Britain and Ireland. It may not be inapplicable to introduce the recital of this statute, to shew the same policy continued to influence the legislature on this subject." Whereas the "improving and securing the trade and commerce of the "British colonies and plantations in America is highly "beneficial not only to the said colonies and plantations but "to Great Britain; and whereas, it may on this account "be proper to encourage the importation of deals, planks, "boards and timbers from the said colonies and plantations, "whereby his Majesty's royal navy, as well as ships employ"ed in the merchants' service, may be furnished with such "materials at more reasonable rates than at present, and "great sums of money at present expended among foreign "nations for the purchase of such materials may be saved.”
This duty was, however, limited in its duration, having been granted for three periods of three years each at different rates, the last period ending the first of January, 1175. This regulation gave a fresh stimulus to the timber trade with America, and if it had been continued a few years longer, would have laid the foundation of a regular trade, and afforded an ample supply of timber of all kinds for Great Britain and its dependencies.
Further encouragement appears about this period to have been given to this branch of trade: for by the 11th Geo. 3. c. 50. a bounty was granted for a limited time, on the importation of white oak staves and headings from the colonies, and on the 30th April, 1777, it was resolved in the commons house, after some debate in a committee of the whole house*, "that it might be expedient to grant a bounty "upon staves and other lumber imported from Canada, East "and West Floridas, Nova Scotia, and the island of St. "John, to the West Indies;" but no Bill appears to have been introduced in consequence of this resolution, or any further proceedings had thereon, in parliament.
After this period, this important branch of colonial trade languished and became greatly depressed, notwithstanding the provisions of the 8th Geo. 1. c. 12. s. 2. and the dif
* Commons Journal, 36 vol. p. 468.