The "query" put by "Durham" in your last number, to "the worthy Collector," would have evinced much more candour, had it been "why ANY NOTICE had been given by HIM, that foreign bottoms could no longer be employed in the coasting trade of this Province" for I am inclined to believe, that the gentleman assuming that signature, is perfectly aware that it is no part of the duty of the Collector to promulgate Laws, or regulations, relative to trade or navigation, although he has frequently done so, for the express purpose of disappointing the "rapacity of deputies," and the malice of individuals.
"Durham" does not seem to have informed himself sufficiently on the subject he has chosen to discuss. The Collector at this port has invariably, (when applied to,) informed the parties interested, that the employment of foreign bottoms in the home trade, was contrary to the provisions of the British Statutes, but he at the same time stated, that he should not interrupt a practice which had been so long permitted, without positive instructions to that effect from the Government: these instructions it appears have been some time issued to all the Collectors of the Province, and if I am correctly informed, have been given in consequence of a clause contained in the Canada trade act, passed by the Imperial Parliament at its last session, which recognizes the British Navigation Laws as being in full force here, and imposing on the Colonial Government the necessity of strictly enforcing them.
In the instance of the Seizure of the boat alluded to by "Durham," no person could more decidedly regret the measure, than the Collector, "the hardship of the case was indisputable," but information was laid before him, in writing, by an inhabitant of the town not a Revenue Officer, that the laws had been violated, he had no discretionary power, but was bound to execute the duties imposed on him by his commission, and pointed out to him by his instructions. It is proper however to observe, that long before the new instructions and regulations were acted upon at this port, several vessels had been seized, and detained under them, at York and Prescott, and of this fact it is not probable that the masters of craft here, were ignorant, but in order as far as possible, to obviate the inconvenience which might arise to persons who chanced to be unacquainted with the circumstance, the notice of the 7th instant was issued from the Custom House at this port - a notice which has not been thought necessary at any other place.