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First, The Americans systematically encroach upon their lands, and drive them from their hunting-grounds.
Secondly, The American government make fraudulent purchases of their lands from Indians who have no right or power to sell, as, for example, by getting a few insignificant members of a village to make a sale, to color usurpation.
Thirdly, The American government, in many instances, have paid the Indians only one farthing per acre for lands, which they sold immediately afterwards for six dollars, deriving thus a most productive article of revenue from this unprincipled system ; whilst even the miserable pittance of one farthing per acre they connive at the embezzlement of, by their agents.
Fourthly, The American government has established what they call trading posts in the Indian territory, under the pretence of supplying them with necessaries instead of money, for their lands.
Fifthly, These posts are turned into military stations at the pleasure of the American government, tending to the immediate annoyance, and to the ultimate subjugation, of the Indians. ' Sixthly, Obstructions and embarrassments of various kinds have been long thrown in the way of the British traders repairing with supplies to the Indians; and finally, those traders were altogether prohibited from bringing their goods, by laws, such as the acts of non-importation, non-intercourse, &c. to which the Indians were no parties; notwithstanding they were by treaties, made with them as independent nations, and solemnly sanctioned by the United States, entitled to the right of free intercourse with the British traders.'
Seventhly, Neither the feelings, the interests, nor the rights of the Indians, were at all considered by the Americans ; but, on the contrary, were, on all occasions, studiously outraged and violated. °
If this view of the subject be entertained by those whom we are accustomed to call unenlightened savages, how much more readily will the European politician see the evil consequences with
" See the case of the Michilimakinac Company, whose boats were seized in 1807 by the Americans, which, in more unembarrassed times would have been considered a justifiable cause of immediate war.
which such a system as the Americans pursue is pregnant both to the Indians and to the Canadas!
The next point to be adverted to is, the necessity of excluding the Americans from the fisheries on the coasts of British North America, especially those of Labradore, Newfoundland, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The third article of the treaty of 1783, which admits them to take and dry fish on the shores of these colonies, ought to be utterly abrogated, and every vestige of its existence taken away. Improvident and impolitic in the outset, experieuce has shown, that it is much more injurious than might, on a superficial view, be supposed. That the Americans were enabled thereby to carry our own fish to the West Indies, and derive great part of the advantages of a trade which nature points out as belonging to us, is too well known to be more largely insisted on. But the latent evil consists in the encroachments committed, the insults offered, the depraved habits introduced, and the contraband trade carried on, under the mask of fishery, by the Americans, wherever their feet have been set on shore. That the mode in which the Americans have in this respect conducted themselves, is a systematic preliminary to the ulterior views of their government for the acquisition of territorial power in those parts, is apparent, when it is remarked, that in an article of a treaty concluded between France and the United States within the last twelve years, they mutually guarantee such lands as they may acquire in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and this at a time when neither of them owned an inch of land in the Gulf.
Not less than twelve hundred sail of American vessels were on those coasts, on real or pretended fishing expeditions, in 1805,' and a very extended illicit trade was carried on by them. The evils complained of are strongly set forth in the memorial of the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, addressed to Lord Bathurst in October last, and corroborated by affidavits ; by which it appears, that the Americans have of late years, previous to the present war, far outnumbered the British fishermen, and were very lawless in their
· Letter from the Custom-house, at Halifax, 20th August, 1806.
manners. They endeavoured to appropriate the bait exclusively to themselves; and frequently, on purpose, passed their boats through the British nets, even at times taking the fish out of them, and going on shore and plundering with impunity. They have frequently landed at the Magdalen Islands, and, hoisting the American flag, have been very abusive and insulting to the inhabitants. On this subject the words of the Memorialists are worthy of quotation : “ Among the evils,” they say, “ which such an intercourse must inevitably produce, we are convinced, that the sentiments, habits, and manners, both political and moral, of the lower order of the Americans, are dangerous and contaminating in a very great degree. It is our first wish to see these colonies completely British; this will ever be found their surest defence and greatest blessing ; but the intercourse permitted by that fatal article of the definitive treaty was detrimental to their duty as subjects, and to every other object of this address.”
By this subject, the attention is collaterally drawn to the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, which we have been in the habit of restoring to France at the conclusion of every war, but which it is to be hoped, will never more be done; for not only is it impolitic to give the French that privilege, but it will afford the Americans an opportunity of treating for the purchase of them from France, which, it is well ascertained, they had on fôrmer occasions in contemplation, in order to pursue their favorite plan of aggrandizement, by getting a footing of some kind in the vicinity of the Gulf of St. Lawrence; and we trust that the French will, in future, be totally excluded from Newfoundland we have much to restore on the return of peace, but we have much that we ought to retain.
The objects hitherto recommended to the attention of the negociators of a treaty with America, are such as tend to secure the integrity of our colonies in that quarter from future encroachment or invasion, and to ensure the permanent enjoyment, both to them and to the mother country, of the advantages in actual or past possession. But another main point remains to be adverted to, and its merits discussed, namely, the improvement and extension of those advantages by the augmentation of the population, agriculture, trade, and fisheries of those possessions, reasonably to be expected from pursuing a true line of policy. It is not enough to know that these territories possess the sources of extended and permanent prosperity,
! but it is necessary also to give effect and fecundity to them by overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of their abundant overflow. An especial, an artificial, and, if the expression may be allowed, a suicidal barrier, has, for years, obstructed and destroyed the blessings which the bounty of Providence put into our hands. This barrier consisted in allowing the Americans to supply our West India Islands with timber, staves, fish, and provisions. The war has put an end to this impolitic system, and experience has destroyed the illusions upon which that intercourse was sanctioned, which should never be revived !
But it is not only with respect to the prosperity of our North American colonies, that the permitted intercourse of the citizens of the United States with the West Indies is prejudicial, for other and very important branches of British trade have experienced also serious injury. Under the plea of distress in the islauds, American vessels, of all sizes, having clandestinely on board East India, European (not British,) and United States manufactures, were admitted during several years, and, till the embargo system took place, almost as freely as if the intercourse had been legally justified." This, however, is only incidentally mentioned.
By the declaration of His Majesty in council of the 27th of December 1783, immediately consequent upon the treaty with America, the first infraction was made in our system of navigation, and the commerce between the United States and the West Indies, which had been completely suspended for eight years, was suddenly revived by public authority. By that hasty and improvident concession we made the United States necessary to the West India, and a system has grown out of it, which has só entangled and beset us on all sides, that it is difficult to convince even rational and unprejudiced minds, that the West India Islands can exist and florish without communication with those States. This renders it therefore necessary to go a little at large into this subject, which is of vital importance to the British settlements in North America. The infallible tendency of the revival of that traffic was to discourage those settlements, which were thereby deprived of a market, which, if they had enjoyed to the present time, would have rendered them as valuable as any of the possessions under the British Crown. Before the American rebellion, the traffic between the continental
Memorial from Nova Scotia to Lord Bathurst.
colonies and the West Indies was so great, that congress, under the idea of ruining the islands, during the war, prohibited all intercourse with them. The experience, however, of eight years, proved that the West India Islands could exist and prosper, even if the United States had been doomed to perpetual sterility. The traders of Great Britain and Ireland seized the opportunity which the enmity of America afforded them, and even during an expensive and consuming war, when vast fleets and armies were fed beyond the ocean, all those necessaries which the West Indies did not readily procure by their own economy, were sufficiently, and even superabundantly, supplied from the British islands.
It would carry these observations to greater length than intended, to give the detailed accounts upon which these assertions are founded;' but in illustration of them, the supplies of salted provisions (beef, pork, and fish), those upon which the advocates of a free intercourse with the West Indies lay the most stress, shall here be contrasted, as made by the provincials, ( as they were then called ) in 1773, the last year previous to hostilities, in which their intercourse with the West Indies was uninterrupted, and as made from England in the year 1780, when the war was raging, and in 1783 when peace was concluded.
Barrels of beef Barrels of
and pork. salted fish. In 1773 there was imported into the West Indies from America ...... 14, 922 16, 200
- ..... from England 259 2 , 506 In 1780 ..... from England 17, 795 10, 394 In 1783, . . . . . from England 16, 526 18, 248
As to these and other necessaries the West India demand was amply answered. The planters also derived ground provisions from the best of all resources, their own industry, and began to learn a lesson, which is of the greatest importance for every people to know, that no community ought to depend upon their neighbours for the necessaries of life, and that the country which is physically dependent upon another runs the greatest hazard of becoming, sooner or later, also politically dependent upon it. From authentic documents it is undeniably proved, that for the
See the Reports of the Privy Council, 1784 and 1791.