Duncan Campbell's History of Prince Edward Isl. - Ch. 12


Commercial Statistics - Imports - Exports - Revenue - Government Policy - Fisheries - Education - Manufactures - Charlottetown - Census of 1798.

We shall now present a few facts respecting the commerce and other prominent interests of the island. Through the courtesy of the efficient collector of customs , - Mr. Donald Currie , - a gentleman whose polite attention and hospitality to strangers visiting the island deserve a permanent record, - we have been favored with important returns. As an illustration of the wonderful progress made in the development of the agricultural resources of the island, we may state that while the quantity of oats exported in 1862 was only 943,109 bushels, it amounted, in 1872, to 1,558,322 bushels!

The following is the value in dollars of the imports and exports of the island from 1870 to 1874, inclusive. The returns represent a rate of progress to which, perhaps, no parallel can be produced in the British Empire:

1872 2,569,8781,894,173
1873-4 1,908,5221,908,461
1874-5 1,960,9971,940,901*

* The island having entered the confederation with the Dominion on the first July, 1873, Canadian manufactured goods since then have not come under the head of "imports," which explains the apparent decrease The same remark applies to exports, because all island products sent to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Magdalen Islands, and Canada, which were formerly "exports," are not so reckoned now. In the value of exports is included the price of the tonnage sold or transferred to other parts.

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The island revenue was formerly derived from ad valorem and specific import duties, land assessments, sales of public and Crown lands. Since confederation it comes from compensatory subsidies, and the two last named sources. The revenue of 1860, in sterling currency, was £28,742, and the expenditure £41,196; in 1865 the revenue was £45,360, and the expenditure £48,350; in 1870 the revenue was £62,230, and the expenditure £70,662, - thus the revenue has been increasing from 1860 to 1870 at the average rate of £3,400. The receipts for the year 1874 were $403,013, and the expenditure for the same year was $435,207. The reason why in this latter year the expenditure exceeds the revenue is to be found in the fact of the large amount paid as compensation for land appropriated for railway purposes. It is right, also, the statement should go forth that the expenditure, which was so much in excess of the revenue in previous years, has been owing to the judicious purchase, by successive governments of the island, of freehold estates. Indeed, from 1854 to 1870 the government bought 445,131 acres of laud, at a cost, in sterling money, of £98,435, of which 345,475 acres have been resold up to the year 1870. The money thus expended in the purchase of land is now in process of indirectly yielding a profitable return to the island; so that for contracting temporary debt, successive governments deserve credit. instead of condemnation. They have made bold and successful efforts to shield the people from the misery and ruin entailed by the reckless disposal of the land by the Crown, and from the gross injustice of successive home governments in not making full and honorable compensation for the evil consequences of their action.

Mr. John Ings has placed at the temporary disposal of the writer a most interesting little manuscript book contain-

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ing extracts from the survey of Captain Holland, in 1765, and exhibiting penmanship and neatness of arrangement of the first order. At this period the number of acres cleared in the three counties was 11,235 ; houses, 391 ; churches, 2; mills, 11.

The number of acres of arable land held by all families in 1861 was 368,127. The number held in 1871 was 445,103, - the increase in ten years being 76,976 acres!

Prince Edward Island is the best fishing-station within the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. But this important department of industry has not been cultivated to anything like the extent it ought , - being mainly carried on with United States capital. The following table from the census of 1870 shows that there had been, from 1860 until 1870, little, if any, progress:

Fishing Establishments.89176
Barrels of Mackerel cured,7,16316.047
Barrels of herrings or Alewives, 22,41616,831
Quintals of Codfish or Hake,39,77615,649
Gallons of Fish Oil17,6091l,662
Boats owned for fishing,1,2391,183
Men engaged in fishing, .2,3181,646

In 1870 the total number of schools in the three counties was 372; and of scholars, 15,000. In 1874 the number of schools was 403; of scholars, 18,233. The salaries of teachers range from $113.56 to $324.44 only about twenty teachers receiving the larger sum, - an allowance which cannot, by any possibility, command the necessary talent, and which must be increased if the educational system is to be put on a proper basis.

The manufactures of the island are such as promise further development. The importance of diminishing the import of articles which can be produced as cheaply on the island as

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elsewhere cannot be overestimated. Merchants who send money from the island to procure manufactured goods which they can obtain to equal advantage at home are enemies to the material progress of the island. Is furniture required? Men like Messrs. John Newson, Mark Butcher, or John E. Ferguson can supply it. Are carriages or wagons needed? Visit Messrs. McKinnon & Fraser's establishment, or that of Messrs. J. & B. Scott. Are castings needed? Messrs. McKinnon & McLean, or Mr. Edward Morrisey can accommodate customers. Are window-sashes or similar woodwork in request? Lee & Gale are prepared to execute orders. Is tobacco required? Messrs. Hickey & Stewart and Charles Quirk produce a superior article. Are mowing-machines needed by our farmers? Mr. Archibald White makes them in great numbers and of excellent design and quality. Is well-made cloth required? It can be supplied in abundance by the manufacturing establishment of Mr. John D. Reid, Tryon. The men of whom these and similar firms consist are practical tradesmen, who are not ashamed to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, and who naturally look to their fellow-islanders for that support to which their skill and enterprise entitle them.

The railway, under the management of Mr. McKechnie, prospers beyond the most sanguine expectations of its promoters It was opened in the month of April, 1875. We give a statement of traffic earnings from the date of its opening till the close of August, 1875.

No. PassengersAmountFreightMailsExpressTotal

Mr. Stronach manages the mechanical department efficiently, and the amount paid annually in wages is such as confers signal benefit on Charlottetown.

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One word about Charlottetown. If the city were to represent the intelligence and enterprise of the fair and fertile isle of which it is the capital, it would be celebrated in the Dominion for the excellence of its sidewalks, its copious supply of water, its thorough system of drainage, and the delightful salubrity of its atmosphere. Since our arrival on the island, our head has been more than once in danger of coming into violent contact with the dilapidated wooden structure beneath. "I smell you in the dark," said Johnson to Boswell, as they walked on one of the then unwatered and undrained streets of Edinburgh, and certainly, the redolence of Charlottetown can hardly with truth be said to be elysian. The return of Mr. William Murphy, the representative of pure water, to a civic seat, from which he ought never to have been ejected, augurs that the legislative and municipal steps already taken to furnish a remedy for evils which can no longer exist without injury to the health of the inhabitants, will lead to a speedy consummation devoutly to be wished; and then Charlottetown will stand, in the estimation of tourists, in the position which its natural advantages warrant.

In hotel accommodation, the extensive and well-equipped Island Park Hotel of Mr. Holman, which we visited, is a credit to the island. The hotel of Mr. John Newson, at Rustico, is also well reported; and we are given to understand that Miss Rankin, determined that Charlottetown should no longer lag behind the times, is about to have a handsome house erected in a most suitable locality. A few first-class hotels will not only be mutually profitable to the owners, but also beneficial to respectable houses of all grades.

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Note: The next 18 pages of this book contain a transcript of the 1798 Census. As this is already represented on The Island Register, we will not repeat it here. It may be viewed from the Census Index page. I will continue by scanning some of the wonderful advertisements for Island businesses represented in the back of the book, as I get time.

Bremner Bros. Ad.

One of the many ads at the back of the book, is this ad for Bremner Brothers, the publishers of this book. Other ads include:

Chapter End

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History of Prince Edward Island

Presented by: Dave Hunter & The Island Register.

Last Updated: 7/10/99 12:07:55 PM
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