« PreviousContinue »
FINANCES AND TRADE.
“THAT operation which, in the case of a private trader, is “ called “taking stock,' is not unbecoming to the dignity or “ unsuited to the interests of a nation. It is customary and “ convenient at certain periods, to look into the several sources “ of our public income, and the several branches of our public “ expenditure ; to compare them with similar heads of revenue " and disbursement in former years ; and to survey the move“ ments of trade of banking, and of other pecuniary interests “ which admit of being expressed in numbers.”— Preface to Finances and Trade of the United Kingdom, at the beginning of the year 1852. By Sir G. C. LEWIS.
The operation which has been so justly commended as becoming the dignity, and not unsuited
to the interests of a great nation, will not be considered as inappropriate to the position, or less important to the interests, of a colony, of an offshoot of that country to which it is the boast of Canada to be allied by many a kindred tie ; and although more than one pen has recently been employed in describing the resources of our richly endowed country,—her political and social institutions,—her actual condition and future prospects,a tabular return of the more prominent statistics of the Province may yet be found to have its use: while the adoption of reciprocal freedom of trade between the United States of America and the British North American Provinces, offering fresh incentives to enterprise, and “ inaugurating,” in the language of Lord Elgin, “ a new era in the “ commercial history of Canada," appears to furnish the fitting opportunity for “ taking stock,” the breathing moment, before entering upon a more extended sphere of action, to review our finances and trade, and our social condition.
The first table submitted, is a return of the public income and expenditure for the year 1854, in the shape in which it is annually laid before the Provincial Parliament.
Table B, gives a comparative view of these returns, carried back to the period of the union of Upper and Lower Canada, in the year 1841*.
Other tables follow, to which reference is made in the text.
QUEBEC, June 1855.
* All the amounts are given in the currency in use in the Province; to convert sterling into currency, add a fifth and the twelfth of a fifth ; to convert currency into sterling, multiply by sixty, and divide by seventy-three.