Extract of a letter.
The population of Canada, in 1760, was reckoned at 62,000 souls, whilst her exports had never exceeded two millions of livres tournois (about 90,000l) The imports must have greatly exceeded the exports ; but not even a conjecture of the differences can be formed. The present population of the Canadas may be rated at 320,000 souls ; but great as this augmentation may appear, commerce will be found to have greatly surpassed the proportional ratio of the population.
From 1763 to 1793, the exports may have varied from 120,000l. to 300,000l. chiefly of wheat, furs, and peltry. But, during the last 18 years, they have increased to the surprising sum of 1,220,963l. 10s. Sterling, as we shall presently perceive by the following estimate, which cannot be much over or under the truth :-
Furs and skims … 105,000 0 Wheat, all other grain, flour, and biscuit 136,500 0 Lumber of all descriptions … 536,500 0 Pot and pearl ashes … 223,000 0 Beets and pork 30,000 0 Sundries (too tedious to particularise) … 16,000 10 The hulls, masts, and yards, of 28 ves sels built in the province … 84,000 0 Total of domestic produce 1,131,000 0 Sundry goods imported and exported 4,780 0 1,125,780 0
Commissions and additional charges at 7 1/2 per cent. Sterling … 65,183 0 t. 1,220,963
The amounts of imports of dutiable articles at Quebec is about 380,000l. Sterling. It is impossible to ascertain the value of goods not dutiable ; but we may safely conlude, that they will make the total of import as one million Sterling, leaving a balance in favour of these provinces, which, but a few years ago, would have appeared incredible. This property is carried by 661 vessels, whose tonnage is 143,893, navigated by 6758 seamen. The freight and primage on these vessels are nine guineas per ton, being 1,359,788l. 17s. Sterling, which, without taking into consideration the charges in Britain, will make the gross amount of our cargoes landed, exceed 3,000,000l. Sterling, being about a tenth of the imports of the United Kingdom.
Our commerce has become considerable with the United States. A few years ago, our imports from thence greatly exceeded our exports. But since respectable and intelligent American merchants have begun to settle amongst us, I believe the scale turned in our favour ; and thus British industry is commencing to run in a channel never before much thought of.
Citation: Caledonian Mercury (Edinburgh, United Kingdom), 26 August 1811, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/1.