Page images
PDF
EPUB

bartered with the Indians are shipped from England in the spring, and arrive in Ca-» nada in the course of the summer. They are shipped at twelve months' credit. These, goods are sorted during the summer and winter, and sent up the country the following spring; and it is perhaps six months before they get to their destination; sometimes, it is more than twelve months, when the posts are at a great distance; they are bartered for furs, which take as long a time to come to Montreal; and by the time the furs get to London and are sold, and in cash, three years at least have elapsed. So that the profits ought to be at least triple the profits of a trade where the capital is turned once a year.

Besides the furs shipped for the British market, the United States have been in the habit of taking off large quantities of furs from Montreal, as will appear from the list of exports to America. These purchases form the principal counterpoise to the large importations from the States.

An attempt has lately been made to establish a fur company in New York, to trade to the south-west; whether they will succeed or not, time only can shew. Those who know the trade for some time past, think that it must be a losing concern to any man, or body of men who may undertake it; reasoning on the principle, that if the Makinack company (who do the business on the least ex pence possible), with difficulty get a living profit by it, what must be the situation of a Charter Company, acting by governors, managers, and agents, who always do their business at a greater expence than individuals; and whose exertions, in general, are only commensurate to their interest in the concern. It is a matter that I cannot determine; but, I dare say the savages, the catchers of wild beasts, will, in the course of a very few years, settle thepoint.

A variety of articles for domestic purposes, which used formerly to be imported from Britain, are now manufactured in this country.

Of the manufactures of Canada, the iron forges take the lead. There are two works of this kind in the provinceone near Three Rivers, called the forges of St. Maurice;the other at Batiscam, near St. Ann's, on the road from Quebec to Montreal. The forges of St. Maurice were established by the French king many years ago, and his Britannic majesty at the conquest succeeded to his rights. The works are let on lease to a mercantile house in Quebec, who carry on the business with spirit and success.

The chief articles manufactured at these forges, are stoves, bar-iron, and cooking . utensils. Besides what is necessary for the use of Canada, there is a considerable exportation of cast-iron articles, particularly of stoves.

Formerly almost all the candles and soap used in Canada were imported; at present, enough is made for the use of the country, and a considerable exportation besides.

There was a regular importation of hats formerly; at present, however, they are made here in sufficient quantity for the use of the country. But there is still a considerable importation of hat-bodies, which are put into form and finished here. It might be thought that as the beaver fur goes from Canada, it would be cheaper here than in England; but this is not the case. Indeed, furs of all sorts can be pur- chased in London at a cheaper rate, and of a very superior appearance to any that

can be got in Canada. The English furrier knows his trade better, and the extent of his transactions enables him to take a smaller profit than the Canadian.

Leather has hitherto been, and indeed continues to be imported in large quantities, principally from the United States. But this probably will not long be the case, because tan works are becoming more common, and, at Quebec, are on a pretty large scale.

Canada has long been famous for the manufacture of snuff. The use of tobacco in different shapes is very common. From the time a Canadian habitant awakens in the morning, till he goes to bed at night, the tobacco pipe is seldom out of his mouth. The men smoke so much that they have not time to take snuff; but the snuff-maker is amply compensated by the ladies, who, of all ranks and of all ages, are greatly addicted to snuff taking;—and a filthy custom it is. It most assuredly assists their stoves and dry winter atmosphere, in giving them a withered appearance, and premature marks of age.

A species of sugar is made in Canada from the maple tree, which is extremely good, when purified. The method of making it is this:—

In the months of March and April, when the sap begins to rise, an incision is made in the tree about three feet from the ground, and the sap soon begins to run out. It is received into a

vessel placed for the purpose; a piece of wood is stuck into the incision which conducts the sap into the vessel, and it is carried to the boiler. Those who wish to make sugar, go into the woods, and encamp among maple-trees. They carry boilers, and other necessary apparatus with them; and they remain in the woods for several days, till the whole process is finished.— The quantity of maple-sugar made in Canada is equal to two-thirds of the whole consumption of the country. From the number of maple-trees with which the woods abound, one might imagine that enough might be made to render it an article of trade and exportation. But they are deterred from it by the general abundance of West India sugar, which can be purchased nearly as cheap as maple-sugar* being often at five pence per pound; while

« PreviousContinue »