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276   HISTORY OF CANADA.

 

office. Any that were deemed hostile to British trading interests were promptly disallowed. As an offset to this monopoly of colonial trade, Great Britain imposed upon colonial products a lower rate of duty than was charged upon the same articles when imported from a foreign country. Lumber from the Maritime Provinces, for instance, had thus an advantage over Baltic timber. When a proposal was made in England in 1830 to reduce the duty on the latter, New Brunswick was much excited. Poulett Thompson—who afterwards became Lord Sydenham—was burned in effigy at St. John and Fredericton because he favored the proposed reduction.

A Change of Policy.—For many years a struggle had been going on in Great Britain between those who supported the protective system—of which the colonial trade policy was only one phase—and those who desired free trade. In 1846 the corn laws were repealed by the British parliament, and the British markets were thrown open to the world's competition. The colonies were no longer given advantage there over other competitors ; but—what ultimately proved a greater boon—they were . expressly empowered to repeal any and all tariff Acts imposed upon them by Imperial legislation. Three years later (1849), the old navigation Acts were repealed, and the colonies became free to buy and sell wherever their interests might dictate.

Other Concessions.—In the same year (1849), Great Britain surrendered control of the postal service in the provinces. There was an intercolonial conference held during the summer at Halifax, for the purpose of concerting measures for postal communication between the provinces, as well as to discuss the possibility of intercolonial free trade. This last, however, was not to be until Confederation. Of Great Britain's attitude on the question of colonial freedom, George Brown was able to say, in 1850 : " Frankly and generously she has, one by one, surrendered all the rights which were once held necessary to the condition of a colony—the patronage of the Crown, the right over the public domain, the civil list, the customs, the post office, have all been relinquished." As early as 1856 it was laid down by Imperial authority (in the regulations for the colonial service): "The customs establishments in all the colonies are under the control and management of the several colonial


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