At a general Meeting of the Ship-owners, and others concerned in the Carrying-trade of Canada, held in the Court House, on Saturday, the fourth day of January, pursuant to requisition, to take into consideration matters affecting their interests, Captain Patterson was called to the Chair, and Mr. Rowlands requested to act as Secretary. The Chairman having briefly explained the object of the meeting, it was Moved by Captain Cameron; seconded by Capt. Gaskin:
Resolved - That by the Provincial Law, as at present construed, and enforced by the Custom House Department, the owners of British vessels navigating the Lakes of Canada West and River St. Lawrence, are deprived of the advantages intended to be secured to Ship-owners in all parts of Her Majesty's dominions.
2. That by the Imperial Statute, 6th Geo. 4, chap 105, sec. 10, it is enacted "That no goods shall be carried from any British possession in Africa, Asia, or America, to any other of such possessions, nor from any one part of any such possessions to another part of the same, except in British ships."
3. That Lumber, cut and dressed for market on the shore of Lake Erie, and throughout the Western part of Canada West, is there purchased by Foreigners, carried by them in foreign vessels to French Creek, a port in the United States, rafted there, afterwards brought into Canada, entered at the Custom House, at Coteau du Lac, as Foreign Lumber, nominally paying a duty of five per cent, and again shipped for the British market as Canadian Lumber.
4. That by the construction put upon the provincial Act 4 & 5 Vic., which permits the introduction of foreign lumber into Canada on payment of five per cent ad valorem duty, and by the past practice of the Custom House Officer at Coteau du Lac, that provincial Act is a complete evasion of the Imperial Statute above quoted, and thereby has long deprived the owners of British vessels their just rights.
5. That the Provincial Act in question not only evades the Imperial Law, as to the rights of Shipowners in Canada, but also covers another evasion of the Imperial Law, by sending from this Colony into the British market foreign lumber in the character of Colonial.
6. That the Provincial Act 4 & 5 Victoria, in itself an evasion of the Imperial Law, as hitherto acted upon at Coteau du Lac, is also evaded as to render the duty of five per cent, imposed thereby on foreign lumber, merely nominal, since those foreigners have been allowed to fix its value near Lake Erie, and have been allowed further to underrate such lumber in making erroneous entries, by irresponsible subordinates to the Custom House at Coteau du Lac.
7. That in the opinion of this meeting it is unconstitutional to attempt by provincial legislation, and the construction of such legislation by the Provincial Custom House, and hitherto sanctioned by the Executive Government, to deprive the British Shipowner of the rights and privileges intended to be secured to him by the Imperial Law.
8. That this meeting, from the above stated facts, fully concur in a portion of the Report of Malcolm Cameron, Esq. late Commissioner of Customs, laid before the Legislature in October, 1843, wherein it is stated that in Montreal "the officers of the Customs particularly remarked upon the partial and inefficient examination of vessels, and informed me that so little confidence had they in the clearances produced from Coteau du Lac, that they put a tide-water on board of every craft that arrived from that port."
9. That even in possession of their full right as by Imperial Law established, the owners of British Vessels on the Lakes of Canada West would be competing with foreign Vessels at a disadvantage, since a large quantity of up freight is obtainable on the American side of the River and Lakes, especially in the article of Salt, for a vast extent of improved country in the Western States, which up freight so remunerates the American ship-owner as to enable him to carry the British lumber at a cheaper rate from Lake Erie to Quebec.
10. That as it is known to this meeting that some few vessels of American build have been purchased by British subjects, in expectation of such vessels being altered, and according to the past practice, so injurious to the commercial interests of the Province, so as to perform a part of the carrying trade thereof. And as this meeting are of opinion that the owners of such vessels hitherto engaged carrying lumber as above explained, would suffer loss and injury by a sudden change, which it would be desirable should be effected in the Custom Laws on this subject, this meeting are of opinion that their peculiar case should be favorably considered.
11. That since it appears the Legislature is about to introduce some alterations in the Customs Law of this Province, during the present Session, it would be advisable these well founded grievances of the ship-owners should be duly represented, and a petition forwarded to each branch of the Legislature, praying that they should be restored to their original rights, as granted by the Imperial Navigation Laws, by levying such duty on lumber coming from the United States, to the amount of 25 per cent, or such amount as in their wisdom they shall deem right and necessary; and that Capt. Patterson and Capt. Gaskin do form a Committee to draft a petition founded on the above resolutions, procure signatures, and forward the same. Which resolutions, being put from the chair, were adopted unanimously.
On motion, Capt. Paterson left the chair, and Mr. Oliphant was called thereto, when the thanks of the meeting were voted to the Chairman for his conduct in the chair, and to Capt. Cameron for the interest which he has exhibited in behalf of the rights of British ship-owners.
The meeting then adjourned sine die.
S. Rowlands, Secretary
p.3 The Season - ....The harbour is still open, and both channels between this and Yankee Land can hardly be closed before the full moon. It cannot be denied, for it is apparent to the meanest observer, that the Winters in Canada are gradually growing milder.
FOR SALE OR TO LET,
For A Term Of Years,
THE NEW MARINE RAILWAY and SHIPYARD at Portsmouth, near Kingston. Apply to Thos. Dissett,or Mr. James Baker, Kingston, C.W.
January 7th, 1845.
The Subscriber will not be responsible for any bargains or debts contracted in his name, without his personal signature or written order.
THOS. DISSETT, Proprietor of M. R.
January 7th, 1845.