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Mr. Jordan's first remark is founded on a misconception or peryersion of the allegation of the petitioners; we assert in our memorial "that in the islands of Barbadoes, Antigua, Saint Kitt's, and Ja"maica, a stranger's duty, of two and a half per cent, is imposed on "imports, and that in the island of Saint Vincent, British subjects, "exclusively, are subject to a duty of three per cent.;" no charge is therefore made, that the duty is not general in the island of Barbadoes; the charge is clearly confined to the single island of Saint Vincent.
We are not alarmed, my Lord, at the reference made by Mr. Jordan to papers which were not intended for his inspection, but for private information only; since those papers contain no other facts than such as can be proved. The practice in the West India island* of keeping the ports always open to the Americans, amounts, in our apprehension, to the grant of a free trade; and that goods of foreign manufacture are by these means introduced into the islands no one who is at all acquainted with the character and practices of the American traders can doubt. We lament that, even in these colonies, into whose ports no American vessels are admitted, except fishing vessels, which by treaty are allowed to resort to our coasts, such quantities of foreign goods do find admittance, that it is to be feared more than half the East India goods consumed in this province is supplied from the neighbouring States of America.
WTe do not, as Mr. Jordan is pleased to assert, claim a right of selling our own commodities at our own prices in time of war; but we contend that, when the article of fish is furnished from the northern colonies, in abundance, although increased in price by the war expences, the West India colonists ought not, on that account, to require or permit the introduction of it from foreign states, and in foreign bottoms; especially as the fish is generally paid for in the produce of the islands, of which the planters take care to raise the price in proportion. That these northern colonies can supply the islands with their whole consumption of fish, and at reasonable prices, can be easily proved, and that they are, therefore, entitled to do so, exclusively, Mr. Jordan himself admits.
The right of the West India colonists to obtain from the American States all articles of the first necessity, which they cannot adequately obtain from the dominions of Great Britain, is not disputed fey us; but we assert that the article of fish can be adequately ob~ tained from the British colonies. That the allowing supplies to be imported in American bottoms has been destructive to the British tarrying trade, has been lately demonstrated by a very able writer on the subject; and that the indulgences granted to the Americans have injured the fisheries, and greatly reduced the tonnage and seamen employed in these colonies, we can assert from our own sad experience. An inspection into the imports and exports of the island of Jamaica for one year, as laid before their House of Assembly, and published in the Jamaica almanack for the last year, will shew how large a portion of the West India carrying trade is engrossed by the Americans.
If, my Lord, we have stated in our memorial that it is, now, more advantageous for the merchants of this colony to dispose of their fish in the United States, than to send it to the West India islands,— we have made it a subject of complaint; and at the same time have set forth the reasons why the Americans rival us in that trade. Were our commerce with the islands placed on a fair foundation, the same British ships would convey our fish thither, which now carry it to the American markets. But burdened as that trade is with insurance against the enemy, and confined as it is, and ought to be, to a fair dealing in legitimate merchandize, we contend in those ports with the Americans at every disadvantage.
Had Mr. Jordan fairly observed on our petition and memorial, he would not have asserted that the positive affirmation in the former, "that these provinces can supply the West Indies with fish," was shaken by a subsequent observation, "that, under certain cir'* cumstances, the trade and fisheries of these colonies would be "ruined, which, with encouragement, might be almost, if not "entirely, confined to British subjects." The observation refers expressly to the trade in all the articles enumerated in the memorial; the affirmation is confined to the single article of fish. One reading of the paragraph referred to will entirely refute Mr. Jordan's remark.
Having already, my Lord, observed that the increase of the price of fish, occasioned by war, is no just ground for the introduction of that article, from foreign ports, and in foreign vessels, we shall not follow Mr. Jordan in the curious inference he undertakes to draw from our admission, that, in war time, the Americans can undersell us in fish. So little are we disposed to require an extravagant price for our fish, that we most readily would accede to Mr. Jordan's" proposal, of fixing the maximum price of cod fish at eight dollars, in time of war; and, indeed, could we obtain even three-fourths of that price, generally, during the war, the fisheries would soon flourish again, and the islands be at all times amply supplied with fish.
On the two facts with which Mr. Jordan closes his observations, we shall only remark that the former is conceded by us as to the flour and grain imported into Nova Scotia from the United States; and it is perfectly consistent with our memorial, in which we confess that Ms province is deficient in the articles of wheat and corn. The other fact we must dispute; and although we are not provided with documents to ascertain the tonnage employed between the British North American provinces and the West India islands, for the particular year 1791, yet we are furnished with returns of the tonnage employed in the trade to and from the West India islands for the year 179-, and entered at the .Custom-house in Halifax, being for one only of the two districts into which this province is divided, ind which we beg leave to insert, as follows:
It is therefore incredible, that, in the year 1791 only, 4837 tonswere employed in the trade between all the British northern provinces and the West India islands, when, in the subsequent year, it appears by an authentic return, that in one district, of one province, upwards of six thousand tons were actually engaged in that commerce.
Here, iny Lord, we conclude our observations ofi Mr. Jordan's letter; nor shall we presume to intrude on your Lordship's patience further than to state one fact, which must demonstrate the efficiency of the British colonies, or at least of British shipping, to supply the demands of the West India markets. From the year 1785, to the year 1794, American ships were excluded from the West
India islands, yet they were, during that period, so well provided with articles of the first necessity, that ships from these colonies were frequently unable to find a sale for their cargoes in our own islands, and were obliged to resort to foreign islands for a market. By returns collected from the merchants of this province, engaged in the West India trade, we find that the prices obtained by them for cod fish, from the year 1785, to the year 1792 inclusive, never exceeded five dollars per quintal, and sometimes fell short of half that sum. In the year 1793 we meet with a single instance of cod fish selling for six dollars 5 but the common price, even in that first year of the war, was not more than three and a half dollars per quintal. The cheapness, therefore, of this article clearly proves the abundance of it in the West India islands, and consequently that the allowing the Americans to import fish in American ships was not a measure ef necessity.
We have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, Your Lordship's Most obedient and most humble servants,
(Signed) William Salatier,
William Smith, George Grassic, James Fraser, and
. William Lyon.
The Right Hon. Lord Camden,
Sfc. (Sfc. &V.
Address respecting the Islands in Passamaquoddtf
To the Honourable Gabriel G. Ludlow, Esquire, President of his Majesty's Council, and Commander in Chief of the Province of New Brunswick, &c. &c.
The joint Address of his Majesty's Council, and the House of Representatives of the Province of New Brunswick, in General Assembly.
HAVING long entertained a confident hope, that the possession of Moose Island, Dudley Island, and Frederick Island, in Passamaquoddy Bay, usurped by the State of Massachusetts, would never be sanctioned by any act, or avowed acquiescence on the part of his Majesty's government; but that his Majesty's indisputable right to these islands would in due time be effectually asserted; it is with very great- concern that we now find, from a passage in a letter from Mr. Merry, to your honour, stating the communications made to him by Mr. Madison, the American Secretary of State, on the subject of these islands, that the United States do actually consider their present possession as having been so sanctioned; and that they are prepared to construe his Majesty's forbearance in this behalf, as having already warranted their claim of an entire right to these islands.
In the letter above referred to, Mr. Merry states, "that the Ame•' rican minister observed to him, that since his Majesty's govern"inent have allowed the United States to remain in possession of