1796 8 Apr Halifax
593. Wm. Cottnam Tonge to Gideon White, chiefly relative to Naval Office business. ''I have always considered the Case of your County as hard with regard to the publick debt it labours under & have been always ready to pay the strictest attention to any application that might be made to the Legislative Body on your Behalf, though I must confess that I do not see how redress of the Grievances under which you labour is to be obtained from that Quarter....as you justly observe the Supreme Court taking your County in Circuit might be of essential Consequence to you, - Campbell has brought forward nothing on the Subject either in the House of Assembly or otherwise that I have heard of, both you & he may be assured of my most cordial & strenuous support of any Measures you may recommend, as far as they meet my Ideas of Justice & propriety, & I have not any Doubt but any you propose will do that perfectly.''
With regard to the Naval Office, he wishes White to send account of fees taken, with his next report. Commends White for his work as deputy. ''What follows immediately is in the Confidence of Friendship. A little more acquaintance with its duties will convince you that the weakness of the naval office is owing to its having been established by Law at a remote Period, & on account of its not being an establishment known in Great Britain, to its not having been constantly recognized by the Laws enacted since; hence it arises that it would be dangerous to entrust some of the rightfull claims of the office to a legal decision, for Instance the controul over vessels employed in the Coasting Trade must appear as necessary & proper in the eye of Reason as that of every other description of vessel whatsoever, & yet since the highly improper exertion of the Power of the executive wrested in my late Father's time this controul from the naval officer, it would be exceedingly imprudent in me to pursue a course of Law for reviving my Right to this Controul, there is even a Doubt whether the Claim of compelling Vessels to clear out at the office can be enforced by law, & it is not for me under present Circumstances to enter into Contests for clearing up these Doubts, when I have in prospect so much more certain a Mode of removing all manner of Doubt - my Father made application some time before his death for an act of Parliament to settle all these Difficulties, the Peculiar Circumstances of the Government at Home ever since forbid all Hope of their attending to an object so comparatively trivial to the important concerns which occupy their attention, I must therefore wait for a more favorable Juncture in which my Claims may be prefered with better Hopes of Success - patiently submitting to the Ingringement of some of my just rights & the loss of some of my Emoluments at the same time prudently holding every advantage within my Reach. Relative to fees for services not provided for in the table: being obliged to examine & countersign all Papers necessary for clearing a vessel...(no takes) the same fee for every Cocket & every certificate of Bond which the Table allows for one particular kind of Cocket & certificate, & the same fee for a list of Men which I am bound to inspect & sign, as for a Bill of Stores which is in the Table of Fees as being a Service of the value -. In my answer to your letter of December last I mentioned that I had again applied for the Seizing Power for you, it was promised me but I did not get it yet, however I hope I shall before your members leave Town that you may be ready to take advantage of circumstances which may arize - it is of no material Consequence whether Brinley gives you up the Collection of the light Duties or not, for I am to have a general Commission for Collecting from all Foreign Vessels, with a Power of appointing Deputies & as a much larger proportion of the Fees will be allowed than for our own Collections it will be much more advantageous to act under that Establishment so that if you get the other you had better not do anything with it'till you hear from me, that is in attempting to collect any thing from the Americans. Campbell will give you...our Assembly news & tell you how we have been battling the watch there. Holograph.
White Family Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 Vol. 950 No. 593
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