Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 35 > Page 35 - Brown's 'Early History of the Coal Trade'

Page 35 - Brown's 'Early History of the Coal Trade'

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/12/1 (330 reads)

ing the mines for ten years free of tax, to pay two shillings and sixpence sterling for every chaldron they ship for the fur? ther term of ten years; three shillings and ninepence for the next ten years; and five shillings per chaldron for the last ten years of their lease." In a subsequent application. Sir Samuel and his friends, finding, probably, there was no chance of obtaining the whole island, asked for a grant of 100,000 acres between the Mira River and the great entrance of the Bras d'Or, and a lease of all the coal thereon for thirty years; undertaking to settle thereon not less than one hundred persons every five years; to build a town on one of the harbours; to pay a quit-rent after the first ten years of two shillings and one penny upon every hundred acres of land; and a royalty of two shillings and six? pence sterling per chaldron during the first ten years, and five shillings per chaldron during the remainder of their lease on all coal exported. Neither of these proposals was accepted by the Government, although the. Lords of Trade recommended that a lease should be granted to Brigadier-General Howe and his associates, because it would be the means of lowering the price of coal in England, from which large quantities were exported to America; would be a boon to the colo? nies, where fuel was becoming daily scar- ; cer; and would be a source of considerable revenue. Several other applications were made for leases about the same time, but only one will be noticed, as it shows the exagger? ated notions which then prevailed of the extent of the coal seams in Cape Breton. "A design is on foot for establishing a company to work to advantage the coal mines, which have this great superiority over all others, that the coals are within three feet of the surface, and the most ex? cellent ever seen. There will be no occa? sion for digging underground, or making drains to carry off the water, as in Eng? land, for the mines consist of entire moun? tains of coal, and are sufficient to sup? ply all the British plantations in America for ten centuries." (Scot's Magazine, July, 1765.) This very flattering "design," like its predecessors, came to nought, as like? wise did a scheme for making salt, started by one William Hutton in the same year, who obtained permission to dig for coal at any place except where the troops were at work. Notwithstanding the failure of so many at? tempts to obtain leases, others, with more moderate, and consequently more feasible views, were anxious to embark in coal-min? ing. In the month of September 1766, Lieut.-Colonel Francklyn, the Governor of Nova Scotia, understanding that applica? tions would shortly be made for leases, ad? dressed a letter to the Lords of Trade, giving such information as he thought would be useful to their lordships in form? ing a just appreciation of the coal seams, and concluded by recommending that the mines should be leased. He stated in his letter that the only mine then open was situated on the north shore of Cow Bay (the site of the works now known as the Block House Mines), and that the establish? ment consisted of a picketted fort 100 feet square, with a block-house, barracks and store-houses; also a wharf convenient for shipment close to the mines. Vessels of 80 to 100 tons could load at this wharf between June 1 and October 15, "when the wharf must be taken down and rebuilt in the spring, the bay being so open, and the drifts of ice so violent, as to carry it away in the winter season." He says the mine is in good order and well propped, "the vein being good, and, as he was told, twelve feet thick and half a mile wide," and could employ twenty men daily. Franck? lyn proposed that coal should be sold at the mines for exportation, and recommended that it should be taken to Halifax for re- shipment in vessels going out in ballast. (Furniture courtesy Bonnell-Lubetzki's, Sydney) ?? The shop with a difference everything handcrafted by a local artisan Island Crafts Beautifully displayed children's toys, sweaters and accessories; fashionable" hand-knit sweaters in a variety of colours and patterns; excellent weav? ing, quilts, unique pottery, handpainted jewelry, woodwork, Christmas display 'year round, and ever popular Cheticamp hooking. A complete souvenir line. OPEN YEAR ROUND: MONDAY TO SATURDAY, 9 TO 5; FRIDAY, 9 TO 9 Wholesale: full line of souvenirs 539-6474 329 Charlotte St., Sydney 564-5527
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