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However, independently of these circumstances, it has now satisfactorily been proved to the public, that all kinds of American wood, whether the growth of the United States, or of the British possessions, is not only extremely liable to the dry rot, so much so, that it will become totally useless and decayed within the short space of a twelve-month or thereabouts, when excluded from the air; but will also cause any European wood coming in contact with it to get defective in the same degree; and a more decided proof upon this subject cannot be given than by the documents rendered in evidence, according to which, sundry frigates built of the American pitch or red pine, were found unserviceable after the lapse of 3 to 3 years on the average; and those built of American yellow pine were found decayed on an average of less than 3 years; whilst the frigates built of European fir timber were not found defective till after the expiration of 8 years on the average, and some of them remaining in service for 9 and even 10 years. It thence follows of course, that to use Canada timber in future, in any kind of building whatsoever, is sure to cause that building to be condemned beforehand, and would be just as much as to have the property vested therein thrown away, without the possi bility of ever deriving any benefit from it; for by the evidence, page 60, it clearly appears, that a house built of Canada wood is literally worth nothing. With this prejudice laid open, which must increase as it goes on spreading more generally, I humbly think, that his Majesty's Government will consider it beneficial to the Canadian settlers, to check them at once from entering any deeper into so dangerous an enterprise, which must bring ultimate ruin upon themselves and upon numbers of his Majesty's subjects; for if even a double increase of the present duties on European wood were to be fixed upon, that would not prevent the consumer, (how much so ever it would reduce consumption in toto) from using the European wood in preference to the other, when such undeniable proofs of the total defectiveness of the Canadian timber are before him; and to encourage that trade with all its defects upon it, would only be to draw so many more individuals into ruin, for that timber would sure enough find its way to England, and in large quantities too, but would as sure be left to decay in the public docks or private yards of individuals, and consequently be loaded with the loss of an additional capital in freight charges, &c.
Canada deals, or those manufactured in this country of Canada timber, form an exception. from the above case; for they being found useful for all ordinary, and slight purposes, such as packing cases, packing boards, toys, and the like, do not require that durability which is indispensable with buildings of smaller or greater
magnitude, and as the present establishments in the British Colonies of America rest chiefly on the manufacturing or converting of the trees or of the timber into deals, a sufficient employ will always be left for the native laborer, in supplying these establishments with the raw article, and also for the capital vested in the saw-mills, in converting the raw article and supplying this country with the deals, and which would surely turn out to a more useful account, than the overstocking the British markets with American timber, so as also to enhance the price of the raw material to themselves on the spot.-Besides, the deals manufactured in Canada, would not, strictly speaking, be liable to the censure of attempting fraud on the British revenue, whether the raw article used for the converting into deals be the growth of the United States or not: much otherwise is the case with timber, which is manufactured and got ready in the forests of the United States, and transmitted to Canada, evidently with the view of defrauding the British
I would in the next place beg leave to consider
The ill effects which the encouragement given to the Canadian timber trade, has had upon the trade with the European nations and also to this country."
To come at the surest conclusion upon this subject, it is necessary to go minutely into the official returns of the timber trade for the last twenty years. From them it will appear, that Prussia had the greatest share, and in fact supplied this country with three times the quantity of timber annually, to what all other nations taken collectively did, until her trade became interrupted in the year 1806, by the Swedes blockading all her ports, of which, and the subsequent war, other nations have been enabled to take advantage in supplying this country with timber. If I compare the Prussian shipments of timber to this country, previous to the period just mentioned, namely from 1799 to 1805, a total quantity of 1,074,029 loads or an annual supply of 153,433 loads of timber, will be found the result; and if I take the Prussian shipments since the conclusion of peace, say from 1814 to 1819, consisting in these six years of 355,325 loads, the annual supply has been only at the fate of loads.
There then is a proof that Prussia alone has suffered to the extent of about one hundred thousand loads of timber annually, or at once of two thirds of her former trade with this country in that branch only. In the export of deals too, Prussia has suffered to the extent of 531 great standarts, (each of 120 pieces) being about one sixth of her former trade; for from 1799 to 1805, she exported on an average to England annually, 3078, gr. st. and from 1814 to 1819, only at the rate of 2547, being annually 63,720 deals deficiency, or 531
gr. st. Sweden supplied this country in the same period, say from 1799 to 1805, with 7124 loads of timber, or on an average annually with 1018 loads, and 5008 great standarts of deals and deal ends; and in the latter period, say from 1814 to 1819, with 70,644 loads of timber, or on an average annually with 11,774 loads, and 6149 gr. st. deals, &c. She consequently has increased in her trade with this country tenfold, while Prussia has suffered an hundred fold;-and if evidence has been given that Sweden also feels the ill effects of the present high and unproportionate duty on her deals, such evidence must be extremely erroneous; for Sweden never enjoyed one tenth part of her present timber trade with this country, whilst the former low duties were in force, but rather improved in her trade with the increase of those duties.-Russia has also increased in her timber and deal trade with this country, in the latter period over the former by a small matter of 1060 loads of timber, and 1778 great standarts of deals annually.
Now as to Norway, which country never experienced much the ill effects of the late war, (as did chiefly Prussia) or was at any period so totally excluded from trading with this country, (as other nations were), she exported during the last twenty years to this country in toto, 672,194 loads of timber, being on an average 33,609 loads annually, or about one fifth only of what Prussia used to supply this country with.-If, however, Norway chose to overstock the British markets, (which she was very much in the habit of doing, and from which most likely those hundred thousands of pounds of bad debts said to be owing, as given in evidence, may have arisen) and brought to this country, as for instance in the two years of 1810 and 1811, a supply of more than she used to bring on an average in four years, and again in 1815, nearly double her usual supply; she certainly must ascribe it to herself, if her trade suffers, (and causes that of other nations to suffer too). or if she gets little or nothing at certain periods for what she brings to this country. The best criterion to go by is, to take the total quantity of her exports of timber to this country for the last nine years, say from 1810 to 1819, in which period she enjoyed an uninterrupted course of trade, and which will prove that Norway has supplied this country up to the latest period, when this question became agitated, at the rate of about 32,000 loads annually, or with nearly as much, (if not quite as much, which the records of the year 1813, unfortunately destroyed by fire, would have proved) as she has done for the last 20 years; she consequently can have suffered but little or nothing in her timber trade with this country, owing to the increase of the late heavy duties, whilst it also proves, that the immense supplies of timber, which have been imported from Canada, and from the United States through
Canada, have solely been brought here at the expense, and to the great injury of Prussia alone. In supplying this country with deals, Norway has certainly fallen off materially to former years; whether this does not, however, arise from her supplying at present almost exclusively (and which Prussia also used to do formerly) the whole of the German coast, Holland, France, and so on, thereby wishing to evade the payment of the bad debts said to be due and owing to this country (and every merchant of some experience will have met with something of the kind in that and all other countries, where it would be in vain to look for repayment of debts become bad in course of time, and owing to circumstances, or make mortgages and bonds available that are of no value)-can be for me but matter of conjecture:-so much however is certain, that this falling off in the Norway supplies of deals has been amply made up by supplies from Canada. For if I again resort to the official returns, and take the total quantity of deals and deal-ends shipped in the last 20 years by Norway to this country, it amounts to 448,604 great standarts, (each of 120 pieces) or on an average annually to 22,430 great standarts: whereas since the peace, or from 1814 to 1819 (being the period in which Norway' supplied more freely her newly acquired trading friends in Germany, Holland, and so on,) the exports of deals from Norway to this country were only 12,268 great standarts annually, and the remainder to the former quantity of 22,430 great standarts has been made up fully (or thereabouts) by supplies from Canada; for in 1819 that country had progressively increased in her establishments so far, as to supply Great Britain with 9718 great standarts of deals and ends, and every prospect is held out that she will go on to increase from year to year in supplying England with deals still more;-and as it also appears in evidence, that most of the Norway deals, particularly those called seconds, are only fit for such purposes where Canada deals have been found every way fit to answer the same purpose, such as the making of packing cases &c. &c : and as the Cana da deals, from the nature of the wood and other circumstances, are generally manufactured into the same lengths, say 12 feet, as is the case with the Norway deals, any regulation therefore in the pres sent scale of the duties on deals, so as to give Norway the least benefit in her short deals, over other lengths, would be to deprive the British American settlers of the whole of their deal trade and cut up their present expensive establishments and machinery for the converting of the Canada timber into deals. I ought to say a word or two of oak staves, which being an article that can hardly be called the produce of either Russia, Norway, or Sweden, although those countries have at times made trifling shipments thereof to this country; yet they form an important branch of trade to Prus
sia too; her exports amounting in the period from 1799 to 1805 to the total quantity of 164,274 thousands, (each thousand consisting of 1200 staves) or on an average annually to 23,468 thousands; whereas since the peace, say from 1814 to 1819, her total exports in that period were only 85,962 thousands, or on an average annually 14,327 thousands, consequently a reduction of about one half her stave trade to this country, which Prussia also lost in consequence of the very high duties that were imposed on that article to favor the British North American possessions.
I have now arrived at two undeniable facts, namely
1. That all the benefit, real and imaginary, which has been enjoyed hitherto by the British American settlers, in supplying this country with American timber and staves, has been done wholly to the inju ry of Prussia; that country having lost thereby two thirds of her once valuable timber trade, and nearly one half of her stave trade; (without having had an equivalent elsewhere) and that one description of that timber particularly, so depriving Prussia of her former trade is, if not wholly yet to a most considerable extent, the produce of the United States, consequently, by the strict letter of the law of this country, as much subject to the same duty as Prussian timber; but also, that the quality of the whole is found to be of such a defective nature as to be totally useless for any purposes embrac ing the value beyond mere trifles.
2. That all the benefit enjoyed hitherto by the British colonists, in supplying this country with deals, has been to cause a falling off to Norway in her supplying this country with about 10,000 gr. st. deals annually, (she having however found an equivalent in supplying the whole German coast, Holland, France, and so on) and that consequently to favor Norway by any remission or regulation in the present scale of the duties on deals, would be chiefly to throw back the British colonists, to the former unimproved state as regards their trade in deals; and also, (as will more fully be proved hereafter,) to exclude every other nation from supplying this country with deals in future. When therefore the report of the Lords" Committee represents that the progressive diminished wood trade with the North of Europe has occasioned great interruption with those nations, particularly with Norway; surely I may be allowed humbly to represent that the trade with Prussia, as being the only one that has suffered to so serious, an extent, must have entirely escaped the notice of those noble Lords!
I now come to the consideration of the benefit derived by this country from her trade with the North of Europe, and to the comparative state of her, exports (which she has hitherto and is still enjoying) to each individual State, that suffers under the present restrictive laws