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about one Thousand Hogsheads, the Duty of which would amount to £2000. By this Calculation it appears that the whole of the Duties that might be collected in this Province would not exceed £15000. and this supposing our Trade continues full as extensive as before the Act took Place, a Supposition highly improbable. Upon this view of the Matter, can it be imagined that the Revenue which may be raised, will in any Degree answer the Expectation of the Promoters of it? Will it in any Measure countervail the Burthens it will bring on the Inhabitants of these Colonies? Can it be put in the Balance against the Risque there will be of ruining the Trade, Fishery and Navigation of the Colonies, and the Detriment that will thereby accrue to the Commercial Interest and Manufactures of Great Britain? Will it be any Ways adequate to the Expence of collecting it; and to the Charge that the Crown will be at to prevent a clandestine Trade? The Numbers of Men of War, and small Cutters employed for this Purpose from Newfoundland to Jamaica, on board of each of which there is one or more officers of the Customs; the additional Number of Custom House Officers appointed upon this Occasion throughout the Continent, the erecting a new Court of Vice Admiralty over all America, with a Salary of £800. per Annum for the Judge, and proportionable Salaries for the Register and Marshal, must certainly create a Charge much more than adequate to all the Duties that will be collected: This Estimate is made upon a Presumption that our Trade will continue as extensive as it has heretofore been.
But we apprehend it can be clearly demonstrated that the present Duty upon Molasses and Sugar will have the Effect of an absolute Prohibition; and therefore in a short Time no Revenue from those Articles will accrue to the Crown.
The present Price of Molasses on the Continent, is no more than ten Pence half Penny Sterling per Gallon, (at which Price Rum will barely pay a Freight; when shipt off to any other Market, nor is Rum likely to bear a higher Price, seeing the French at Guadalupe are increasing their Distilleries, and will be able to undersell us at all foreign Markets) from this is to be deducted one Penny half Penny per Gallon for the Cask, and two Pence for the Freight, which is the lowest it can be brought for; what remains after these Deductions (and nothing allowed for the Cost of Insurance) is seven Pence clear, which is but one Penny per Gallon above the Price it is generally sold for at the foreign Islands, where it often exceeds, but never is under that Price; hence it is evident that a Penny per Gallon is all the Profit that can be made by the Importation of this Article, provided the Trade was free from any Duty; and this is sometimes lost by Leakage; but if we are obliged to pay three Pence per Gallon Duty, we shall at least be two Pence per Gallon Losers: The Case is much the same with Sugars, Coffee and Indigo, the Duties are so high, especially upon the white Sugars, that they Can't be imported without Loss; the Merchants it may justly be concluded, will not pursue a Trade so disadvantageous; the Goods will not be imported, and consequently no Revenue will be raised.
The natural Tendency which the Limitation, Restriction, or absolute Prohibition of our Trade with the foreign Sugar Islands, has to destroy our Navigation and Fishery, in a former Letter, has been fully set forth. There is another Branch of Business which has been but lightly touched upon, we mean the Lumber Trade. The Exportation of Timber, Boards, Staves, Hoops and other Articles of Lumber, tends greatly to promote the clearing and cul
tivating our unimproved Lands, and is a great Incouragement to our Infant Settlements; it improves a great Number of Hands to cut the Lumber, and prepare it suitable for a Market; it employs more than an hundred Sail of Vessels in this Province, which is a great Incouragement to Ship Building, a considerable Branch of Business with us; These Vessels are sent, some direct to Europe, but cheifly to the West Indies; the nett Proceeds of Numbers of them, of their Freights and Cargoes center in Great Britain: The Restraint laid upon the Exportation of this Article from the Colonies to any Part of Europe, except Great Britain, and the Regulations attending the Exportation of it to those Places where it may be legally carried, must not only be very prejudicial to this Trade; and consequently detrimental to the Province, but seems to militate with the general Design of the Act, as it prevents our sending Staves to the Azores, an article we principally depend upon to pay for the Wine we import from thence, and from which the Duties laid by this Act are partly to be raised. This Restraint appears the more grievous, as it is an Article that no way interferes with the Produce of our Mother Country; and we have an ample Fund of it to supply, not only Great Britain, but all the other Markets in Europe; which if this Restriction is continued, will be supplied from Norway and other foreign Parts; but if we must by no means be permitted to carry it to any Parts of Europe, Great Britain excepted, it would have been much better to have prohibited the Exportation of it to those Parts upon the severest Penalties, than to have it encumbred with the Bonds, the Masters of our Vessels are now obliged to give upon lading of it, the Cost of the Bonds, Certificates, and the Charge of cancelling them, it is computed, will be near equal, if not superior to the first Cost of all
the Lumber we have ever in one year sent to Spain or Portugal. For not only the Masters of such Vessels as are bound abroad, are required by the Officers of the Customs, to give these Bonds, but the Masters of all our Coasting Vessels; so that no Lumber can be brought from the Place of its Growth, in the eastern Parts of this Province to Boston, or any other Port within the Province, whether for Exportation, or for our own Use, until such Bond is given. This must create a great Expence, as well as occasion great Embarrassment to the Trade. This Regulation appears the more needless in respect of Pine Boards, as we do not know of any being sent to any other Parts of Europe besides Great Britain.
The Duty laid upon all Wine imported from Spain and Portugal is a great Hardship; as this Government have already laid an Excise amounting to £9.0.0 Sterling per Ton upon that Article. The obliging all our Vessels which have that Article, or any Oyl, Raisins or Lemmons on board, to touch at Great Britain in their Passage from these Places, must be attended with great Inconvenience and Loss; some of these articles it is well known, are of such perishable Nature as not to admit of being reshipped; by this Means the clear Profits of these Voyages will be lost; and we shall be able to make but one Voyage instead of two as usual in the Season; which will be an unspeakable Damage to our Fish Trade; and consequently to the Mother Country.
Upon the whole, the Burthens, Perplexities and Embarrassments brought upon the Inhabitants of these Colonies. by means of the late Act, are many and various. The Revenue that will arise from it if the Trade is continued, will be very triffling; and the Consequence that will follow from the rigorous Execution of it, will be very fatal to the
Colonies, as well as to the Trade and Manufactures of Great Britain.
Great Britain by means of the Colonies enjoys an extensive Trade, which as she has the absolute Regulation of, she draws to herself the Fruits of the Labour of many Thousand industrious Hands; whatever they acquire redounds to her Benefit, it all flows into Great Britain, and is less than sufficient to purchase what they want of her Manufactures. The Balance of Trade being always against the Colonies, is of itself sufficient to evince that Britain draws from her Colonies, with respect to Money Matters, every Thing they can yield. The constant Demand for British Manufactures, and other Goods imported from Great Britain is so great, as to take off every Thing that will serve for Remittances from the Colonies. The Way then to reap greater Advantages from them, is to enlarge their Trade, as to furnish them with the means of procuring more valuable Remittances. To extend their Trade to the foreign Islands in the West Indies, and permit them to carry it on free Duty would effectually do this. To allow them to bring directly from Spain and Portugal, Wine, Oyl and Fruit would answer the same valuable Purpose; For this would enable the Colonies to supply those Countries with Fish and Wheat; the whole of the Proceeds of which, except the Cost of a Cargo of Salt, and a little Wine and Fruit center in Great Britain.
On the contrary, the obstructing, embarrassing or prohibiting any of these Branches of Commerce, must finally lessen the Trade between Great Britain and her Colonies; it must lessen the Ability of the People to pay for British Manufactures; and whatever lessens that Ability, must proportionably lessen the Consumption, and consequently the Importation. From hence it is evident that Great