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young ones beside them, and the piteous cries and moans of the latter are truly distressing to those who are not accustomed to the immense slaughter which is attended with so great a profit. The skins with the fat surrounding the bodies are stripped off together, the carcases left on the ice', and the pelts or scalps carried to the vessels, whose situation during a tempest is attended with fearful danger; many have been known to be crushed to pieces by the ice closing on them. Storms during the dark night, among vast icebergs, can only be imagined by a person who has been on a lee shore in a gale of wind : but the hardy seal hunters seem to court such hazardous adventures; yet their native country ungratefully refuses to protect them in peace time against the encroachments of the French.
IMPORTS.—The principal imports consist of bread, flour, pork and beef, butter, rum, molasses, wine, brandy and gin, coffee, tea, sugar, oatmeal, salt, pease and beans, lumber, &c.
1 The winter tenants on the Labrador coast say the young seal is excellent eating.
The value, together with that of the Exports, according to a Colonial Office manuscript, has been for a series of years :
Imports (valued in sterling money). Exports (valued iri sterling money).
From From From Total To To To Total
The total value of the trade of Newfoundland may in fact be estimated at 2,000,0001. sterling per annum, independent of its great importance in a maritime point of view, while it should be remembered that it is upheld by no bounties (as that of France), nor protected by any exclusive rights, so often, yet so frequently erroneously, considered injurious to other interests ;—and yet, it is with shame I confess, little or nothing is known regarding this important island in England. Well, however, may the British nation be excused for their ignorance, when their rulers superadd to that fault an apathy which in any other country (and even in former times in Albion) would be truly deemed culpable. The trade in fish and oil carried on by the Americans and French in the British seas is of immense extent and importance,
-to France it averages about 300,000 quintals of fish, for which bounties are given ; the proportion for shipping so employed being about 20s.per ton, and for every green man (i.e. a man who was never before at sea) 75 francs ;—will not this fact open the slumbering eyes of Government to the importance of our own fishermen ?
It is not well ascertained what the amount of bounty paid also on the fish amounts to : if carried first to France, and thence to other parts of Europe, six francs per quintal ; and if to the West Indies, on board French ships, twelve francs per quintal, are supposed to be the amounts, as near as French jealousy will allow us to ascertain. St. Pierre island, so improperly ceded to France, is a depôt for smuggling French manufactures, spirits, &c., into our colonies ; and an armed French force is generally
FRENCH AND AMERICAN TRADE IN FISH.
stationed there to protect the interests and advance the pursuits of their countrymen.
The exports of cod-fish alone from the United States, wholly caught in the British AMERICAN SEAS, average about 500,000 quintals annually, and the yearly home consumption of the Americans is about 1,350,000 quintals ; of the entire quantity, 1,500,000 may be said to be taken on our own shores ; 3200 tuns of oil are produced from the livers of the cods, and 200 from pelts of seals caught on our very coasts.
The Americans take every advantage of the privileges granted them by us as regards the latitude fixed; during the day, if none of our armed cruisers be in sight, they anchor three miles from the shore, but as soon as night sets in, they run under the lee of the land, set their nets, and fish till near daylight. Our own fishermen suffer also from the Americans being allowed to, throw their offal overboard, as it drifts in-shore, and drives the fish from the nearest banks: to these evils it may be added, that our regular trade is seriously injured by the extensive smuggling commerce which the foreign fishermen carry on.
On the subject of our North American Fisheries, no Briton, properly appreciating the extent and value of this source of our national strength and wealth, can seriously write with temper. When, in 1814, Lord Castlereagh was remonstrated with against restoring to France the right of fishery on the coasts of Newfoundland, he spurned the deputation, which was composed of the most respectable merchants engaged in the trade and fisheries, and contemptuously observed, that he was not prepared to exclude the
French from a participation in those fisheries, as that would be unworthy the magnanimity of Britain. This left little to be expected from our government,
which might at that period have secured the entire of the island to the British by a mere dash of the pen ; and instead of affording facilities to the French to foster their commercial marine at our doors, and at our cost in some measure, have confined them to their proper limits, until conquest should obtain for them a footing at Algiers, which, by the way, is said to have been gained mainly by their naval force, to complete which, it is stated, they drafted 2000 men from the Newfoundland fisheries, and it is believed the naval expedition could not have been made efficient without that resource. Every fisherman, before he is allowed the bounty, with permission to embark in the fisheries of Newfoundland, is registered for the Royal Marine of France, and liable to serve at an hour's notice. Such has been the feeling and excitement among the inhabitants of Newfoundland of late years, that it is with considerable pains they have been prevented from taking summary satisfaction on what is termed the French shore; and unless more attention be paid to British interests in the fisheries, it will not be a matter of surprise, if the French find their position rendered more than uncomfortable upon the coast of that ancient colony of England, from which indeed they ought to have been swept off long ago.
I do sincerely hope that in future less attention will be paid to petty party disputes, and that the great maritime interests of the empire will receive more consideration than has yet been bestowed on