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PROVINCE OF CANADA.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, QUEBEC,
Present: His excellency the governor general, in council.
His excellency was pleased to lay before the council a memorandum of this day's date, from the honorable the minister of finance, stating that it has been represented to his department that the paper currency authorized and made a legal tender by the United States government, has become greatly depreciated in value, and that the market value of goods in the several markets of the United States is based upon the nominal value of the said paper currency, and that the levying of duty upon this value so based is injurious to trade, and has the effect of making the duty so imposed greater than it would be if imposed upon the fair market value thereof, if such value was expressed in the standard currency of the United States, which was the only legal currency in that country when the customs laws of this province were enacted.
His excellency was pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered, that, with a view to remedy as far as possible the evils complained of, all invoices of goods. purchased on and after the first day of November proximo, in the United States, the prices of which are based upon such depreciated paper currency, shall, upon the entry thereof, be accompanied by a certificate, under the hand and seal of a British consul, showing the percentage of depreciation of American paper currency, as compared with gold, on the day of the date of such invoice; and that collectors of customs in this province be authorized to deduct the amount of such percentage of depreciation from the invoice, and compute the duties upon the amount remaining after such deductions.
WM. H. LEE, C. E. C.
GASPÉ BASIN-THOMAS FITNAM, Consul.
APRIL 19, 1862.
I herewith enclose copies of imports, exports, and the annual trade returns of the port of Gaspé Basin, for the year 1861, numbered, respectively, 59, 60, and
Statement showing the total values of imports at the port of Gaspé during the year ended December 31, 1861, and also the countries whence the imports were made.
Statement showing the total values of exports of the growth, produce, and manufacture of the province of Canada from the port of Gaspé during the year ended December 31, 1861, and also to what country the same were exported.
Statement showing the number of arrivals and departures of steamers and sailing vessels for the port of Gaspé during the year ended December 31, 1862, together with their tonnage and number of crew.
Accompanying I beg leave to furnish my annual report for the year ending 30th September, 1862.
Herewith I have the honor to present my annual report of commercial operations within the limits of this consular jurisdiction, accompanying the same with a brief description of the coal fields in this region.
It will be perceived, from my account of arrivals and departures of vessels at this port, there was a great increase of trade during the past year. The quantity of coal shipped exceeds largely any previous year during my residence of fourteen years.
Having recently paid a visit to these coal mines, the gentlemanly and obliging resident agent, (James Scott, esq.,) to whom American visitors are greatly indebted for his unbounded hospitality, informed me that at the present time there were 560 persons employed by the company underground, and 180 upon the surface. There are three shafts in operation for raising coal: two working from the main coal or upper seam, one of which is 80 yards deep, and the other 160 yards; the third shaft works from the lower vein, and is 100 yards deep. The
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vertical section of the upper vein is from 30 to 35 feet, and has been worked over horizontally to the extent of 230 acres; the vertical section of the lower vein is from 18 to 24 feet, but so far has only been partially worked over horizontally. The two shafts from the upper seam yield daily, in twelve hours' working, 750 tons, and the shaft from the lower seam, 300 tons; total, 1,050 tons per diem.
The following is a monthly statement of the shipments during the present year, commencing at the opening of navigation: April, 1,473 tons; May, 12,483 tons; June, 17,223 tons; July, 20,833 tons; August, 40,257 tons; September, 42,639 tons; October, 25,000 tons; November, 18,000 tons; December, 12,000 tons-all large coal. The quantities for the latter three months are assumed, but are expected to be found nearly correct.
From the foregoing statement it will be seen that extraordinary facilities must be in operation to meet such irregularities in the demand; in fact, the agent distinctly asserted that more bituminous coal had been shipped from these mines in one day than had ever been done from any single establishment in the universe, as many as 2,400 tons being shipped in one day of twelve hours' working. During the busy months of August and September five powerful locomotive engines were daily at work upon the railway, which is about six miles in length, to perform the work required; also, during these months, as many as fifteen vessels per day have been sent away from the loading ground with cargoes. The real cost of the coal on board ship is only known in London, where the company is located. The amount of wages alone runs from twelve to fourteen thousand dollars per month, all of which is expended in the district, including Pictou. Improvements are constantly being made by the scientific gentleman at the head of this establishment, and I sincerely congratulate the company upon the fortunate selection they have made in one who is not only theoretically but practically the master of his profession.
There can be raised from these mines from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty thousand tons per annum. The coal from these mines not being used for gas purposes, the exportation generally falls considerably short of the Albion mines.
These mines have not been many years in operation. The coal is pronounced superior for gas purposes; but owing to a want of depth of water sufficient for large vessels, the quantity exported is limited, amounting to about fifty thousand tons per annum.
OTHER COAL MINES.
There are a number of other coal mines in Nova Scotia worked by individual enterprise, viz: One at Cow Bay, Cape Breton, said to be very extensive, and yielding coal of a superior quality; another in the Strait of Canso, owned and being worked by an American company; also, within less than a mile from the property of the Albion Mining Company, there has recently been discovered, by J. D. B. Fraser, esq., of Pictou, a vein of coal from which it is expected an abundance of pure oil may be extracted. In connexion with it there has been discovered a seam of coal about six feet in thickness, suitable for fuel and gas purposes, but little labor has as yet been expended upon this discovery. There is another mine at Little Glace Bay. The mining company lately formed for working this mine are opening up a harbor, and have succeeded so far already as to admit vessels drawing twelve feet water. It will require a
year or two for them to complete their operations and make the harbor large enough to admit the shipping to export the coal they contemplate raising.
From the discoveries made there can be no doubt but gold abounds in great abundance in different portions of this province. Some wonderfully rich leads have been discovered, which have yielded large returns for the labor employed. The great drawback is the want of capital to carry on mining operations, and the machinery necessary to crush and amalgamate the precious metal. This difficulty will soon be obviated, as machinery adapted to the purpose has been constructed at the foundery of William H. Davis, esq., in Pictou, which has been found thus far to be superior to any other experimented with. I have no knowledge of the quantity of gold which has been taken out; the amount, however, is very large. By a steamer for England, which sailed a short time since, one individual sent two hundred and four ounces, obtained from a small claim at the Sherbrooke diggings; and a still larger amount has been taken out within a few days at Wine Harbor. One person working at the Goldenville mines has taken out $11,000 worth of gold this season, with a clear profit of $6,000.
LONDONDERRY IRON MINES.
These mines are situated in the western part of the province, and are said to produce iron of the first quality. This iron is exported to England, and used in the manufacture of ordnance. The works consist of one blast furnace, four furnaces, and rolling-mill, and will turn out from seventeen to eighteen hundred tons of pig iron and from twelve to thirteen hundred tons of bar iron per annum ; from two hundred to two hundred and fifty men employed regularly.
This great enterprise, which is to connect the upper and lower provinces, will, in all probability, be carried into operation. At a recent meeting of a delegation from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada, representing the three governments, it was decided to accept of the offer proposed by the British government; and these representatives have now gone to England for the purpose of arranging with the Duke of Newcastle, the head of the colonial bureau, the preliminaries.
The completion of this great highway, connecting the British provinces upon this continent by iron bands, will, in my opinion, have an important bearing upon the future destiny of our country. It will enable England, at all seasons of the year, to transport her troops from Halifax to Canada, and afford her every facility for offensive and defensive operations, in case of a difficulty with the United States.
Should this road be constructed, the route will pass within twenty miles of the port of Pictou, from which a branch could readily be constructed to the main trunk, and, when accomplished, would place this port in a very important position. Pictou is nearer England by twenty-four hours' sailing than is Halifax, and eighty nearer than is Quebec. A line of steamers between this port and England would greatly shorten the voyage across the ocean, and passengers, on their arrival, would be conveyed by rail either to Canada or the United States in a much shorter time than they could via Halifax, as the connecting link between New Brunswick and Maine will soon be completed.
For seven months in the year there is no obstruction to the navigation of the St. Lawrence, or the safe entrance to this harbor; and the facility for procuring coal, together with its cheapness, will offer great inducements for the establishment of the "Liverpool and Pictou line of steamers."