Extract of a letter from Quebec, June 6.
“We are dreadfully alarmed at present on account of the great scarcity of flour throughout the province. Common flour sold this morning in the market at six dollars, per cwt. bran from 7s. 6d. to 6s. oats 3s. per bushel, and pease 20d. per bushel. There has been an account taken of the quantity of flour and wheat in this city, and liberties, by order of the Governor and Council, and we find there is not more than will serve as ten days. They ar much worse off in the district of Montreal than we are here: We have sent them frequent supplies.
“Wheat which was found too bad to be shipped last year at three livres, now sells at two dollars. One Merchant will make upwards of fifteen hundred pounds by this job.
“Government, for the relief of the poor, have caused to be issued, by the contractor here, rise at 3 d. per lb. no one to get more than a dollar’s worth at a time. The day before yesterday there was delivered above a hundred pounds worth in this way.
“In consequence of letters by last Thursday’s post from Montreal, two thousand bushels of damaged wheat were shipped yesterday for that market. We have not had a grain of flour from England or the States, though we hear of a cargo from New York, for Montreal. The vessel was to call at New Brunswick ; and it is more than probably, that people there, being in great want themselves, have detained her. The Government have done now what they should have done five or six months ago, and then we should not be in this starving condition ; that is, we are to have a proclamation to permit the importation of grain and flour from the States.
“My servant is just come home from the baker’s, where I had sent him for half a dollar’s worth of bread. After watching for two hours, till the bread came out of the overn, he could get but eighteen-pennyworth ; three small loaves, indeed, weighing only two pounds each. Thirty-five shillings have been paid for ship biscuit. The Lord knows what will become of us–except Government will distribute some of the flour that is come for the troops, in the Queen.
“Mr. Davidson, one of the Council, assured us on Thursday last, there was not wheat and flour
in the country for five weeks. He has taken a great deal of pains to be well informed on the subjuct; and to him are we indebted for the proclamation to allow the importation from the States. He stood forth alone, and offered, at his own expence, to get an account taken of the quantities of wheat and flour in the town and liberties of Quebec, and insisted on its being taken into consideration.”
Citation: Glasgow Advertiser (Glasgow, United Kingdom), 20 July 1789, available at the Scissors and Paste Database, http://www.scissorsandpaste.net/5.