Canadian Scenery Illustrated in a Series of Views: Volume 2
The noted landscape and scenic illustrator William Bartlett traveled extensively through Europe, Asia and Africa, and made four voyages to the United States and Canada, the fruits of which appeared in American Scenery and Canadian Scenery. Included among the striking plates are depictions of Niagara Falls, Montreal, Toronto and Nova Scotia, as well as landscapes, rivers, ports, and Indian encampments.
This is the finest of Mr. Bartlett's works. Magazine editor, journalist, and talented poet and essayist, Nathaniel Parker Willis brought a "rare, modern sensibility to his reports on contemporary life" (Brady Gallery), including this history and current status of Upper and Lower Canada. Originally published in 30 parts beginning in 1840 (as a continuation of their earlier collaboration, American Scenery), this first edition in book form appeared in June of 1842.
References: Staton & Tremaine 2424. BAL 22764. Allibone, 2757. Sabin 3786
2 volumes : illustrations, map ; 28 cm
Added engraved title page in each volume: "Canadian scenery, by N.P. Willis, Esq: illustrated in a series of views by W.H. Bartlett." Imprint, volume 1: "London"; imprint, volume 2: London, James S. Virtue"; vignette in volume 1: Wigwam in the forest, vignette in volume 2: The Horse-shoe fall.
Reprint of first edition: London : George Virtue, 1842.
Originally issued in 30 monthly parts bound in printed paper wrappers, each with four engravings and eight or twelve pages of text; also issued in quarterly installments.
Probable date range suggested by entries under the Virtue name in Brown, P.A.H., London publishers and printers, c. 1800-1870, page 209.
The engravings signed and each with a caption title; undated.
Map engraved by W. Hughes; other engravings by R. Wallis, J. Cousan, Willmore, R. Brandard, Bentley, Richardson, H. Adlard, H. Griffiths, S. Bradshaw, E. Benjamin, E. Radclyffe, J.C. Armytage, C. Cousen, F.W. Topham, J. Carter, E.J. Roberts, W. Mossman, J. Smith, J. Tingle, J.H. Le Keux, R. Sands, E. Challis, and J.B. Allen.
Volume 1: 4 unnumbered pages,128 pages, 55 unnumbered leaves of plates; volume 2: 4 unnumbered pages, 116 pages, 65 unnumbered leaves of plates.
List of Images
1. Title Page
2. Montreal, from the Mountain
3. The Cathedral, Montreal
4. Timber Slide at Les Chats (Upper Canada)
5. Interior of the Cathedral, Montreal
6. Junction of the Ottawa and St. Laurence (near Cedars)
7. The Owls Head (Lake Memphremagog)
8. The Lac des Allumettes
9. Portage des Chats
10. Bridge at Bytown, Upper Canada (fallen in)
11. Falls of the Ottawa at Les Chats
12. The Rideau Canal, Bytown
13. Locks on the Rideau Canal (near Bytown)
14. Mill on the Rideau River, near Bytown
15. The Ottawa River at Bytown
16. Church at Point-Levi
17. The Citadel of Quebec
18. The Market Place, Quebec
19. Timber Depot near Quebec
20. Mills at Sherbrooke, on the River Magog
21. Bridge at Sherbrooke (Eastern Townships)
22. Pass of Bolton, Eastern Townships
23. Scene on the River St. Francis (near Sherbrooke (Eastern Townships)
24. Orford Mountain (Eastern Townships).
25. View over Lake Memphremagog (from the Sugar Loaf).
26. Outlet of Lake Memphremagog
27. A Settler's hut on the frontier
28. View from the house of R. Shirreff, Esq (Ottawa River)
29. Davis' Clearing (Eastern Townships)
30. Timber Slide and Bridge on the Ottawa
31. Lake Massawhippy (Eastern Townships)
32. A Lake farm on the Frontier
33. Lake beneath the Owls-head Mountain (Eastern Townships)
34. Orford Lake
35. Lake Memphremagog (near Georgeville)
36. Working a Canoe up a Rapid
37. Scene on the River St. Laurence
38. Brockville, St. Laurence
39. Kingston, Lake Ontario
41. Light-tower, near Coburg (Lake Ontario)
42. Wellington, on Lake Ontario (Fishing Nets)
43. A Shanty on Lake Chaudiere (Canada)
44. Indian Scene on the St. Laurence
45. View on the frontier line, near Stanstead plains (Upper Canada)
46. Falls on the St. John River
47. A first Settlement
48. Fredericton, New Brunswick
49. Fredericton, New Brunswick (from opposite)
50. The Green at Fredericton
51. The Governor's House, Fredericton
52. Indian Town (River St. John)
53. Split Rock (St. John River)
54. Lily Lake (St. John)
55. St. John and Portland, New Brunswick
56. St. John from the Signal
57. Scene in the bay of Annapolis
58. Old Fort, near Annapolis Royal
59. Kentville (Nova Scotia)
60. The General's Bridge, near Annapolis Nova Scotia)
61. Windsor, Nova Scotia, from the residence of Judge Haliburton
62. The Residence of Judge Haliburton
63. Cape Blowmedon and Parrsboro
64. Cape Split (Bay of Fundy)
65. View of the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia, from Dartmouth
Location: Online Only
Willis, William Henry, Canadian Scenery Illustrated: Volume 2. London, James S. Virtue. 1865.
Willis, William Henry, (1865) Canadian Scenery Illustrated: Volume 2. London, James S. Virtue.
Willis, William Henry, Canadian Scenery Illustrated: Volume 2. London, James S. Virtue. 1865.
+ See Book Content
CANADIAN SCENERY ILLUSTRATED. FROM DRAWINGS BY W. H. BARTLETT. THE LITERARY DEPARTMENT BY N. P. WILLIS, ESQ. AUTHOR OF "PENCILLINGS BY THE WAY," "INKLINGS OF ADVENTURE," ETC. VOL. II.
LONDON: VIRTUE & CO., CITY ROAD AND IVY LANE.
I. MONTREAL AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
II. QUEBEC AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
III. EASTERN TOWNSHIPS.
IV. SUGGESTIONS ON EMIGRATION.
V. SPORTING IN CANADA.
VI. IMPRESSIONS OF CANADA, NIAGARA, THE ST. LAWRENCE, ETC. UPON EMIGRANT SETTLERS.
VII. NEW BRUNSWICK.
LIST OF THE ENGRAVINGS. VOL. II.
Montreal, from the Mountain.
The Cathedral, Montreal.
Interior of the Cathedral, Montreal.
Timber Slide at "Les Chats."
The Lac des Allumettes.
Junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence.
Portage des Chats.
Falls of the Ottawa at Les Chats.
A Shanty on Lake Chaudière.
The Owls Head.
Bridge at Bytown, Upper Canada.
The Rideau Canal, Bytown.
Locks on the Rideau Canal.
The Ottawa River at Bytown.
Mill on the Rideau River, near Bytown.
Church at Point Levi.
The Citadel of Quebec.
The Market Place, Quebec.
Timber Depot near Quebec.
Mills at Sherbrooke, on the River Magog.
Bridge at Sherbrooke.
Pass of Bolton, Eastern Townships.
Scene on the River St. Francis near Sherbrooke.
Outlet of Lake Memphremagog.
A Settler's hut on the frontier.
View from the house of R. Shirreff, Esq.
Timber Slide and Bridge on the Ottawa.
A Lake farm on the Frontier.
Lake beneath the Owls-head Mountain.
View over Lake Memphremagog.
Working a Canoe up a Rapid.
Scene on the River St. Lawrence.
Light-tower, near Coburg.
Wellington, on Lake Ontario.
Indian Scene on the St. Lawrence.
View on the frontier line, near Stanstead plains.
Falls on the St. John River.
A first Settlement.
Fredericton-New Brunswick. From opposite.
The Green at Fredericton.
The Governor's House, Fredericton.
St. John from the Signal.
St. John and Portland, New Brunswick.
Scene in the bay of Annapolis.
An Old Fort in Nova Scotia.
The General's Bridge, near Annapolis.
Windsor, Nova Scotia.
The Residence of Judge Haliburton.
Cape Blowmedon and Parrsboro'.
View of the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
CHAP. I. MONTREAL AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
The rural districts of Trois Rivières, so far as they lie northward of the St. Lawrence, form a continuation of the same kind of territory as that below, and are in general flatter, and capable of more uniform cultivation. To the westward, especially in ascending the river, it presents a succession of flourishing settlements and gay villages, occurring every eight or nine miles. These extend, particularly along the Lake of St. Peter, a wide expansion of the St. Lawrence, about twenty-five miles long, and from five to ten broad, but its depth in many places does not exceed twelve feet. Hence the intricate channels, through which alone large vessels can be navigated, must be marked by poles or other beacons. The shores are extremely flat, but numerous verdant islands enliven the western extremity, which also mark the boundary of the provinces. Near the eastern frontier, the Batiscan, with a village of the same name at its mouth, falls into the great river.
The district of Montreal, if not the most extensive in Lower Canada, is, at least, that which contains the greatest portion of valuable land. Commencing at the western boundary of Trois Rivières, it extends along the St. Lawrence, but in that direction terminates where Upper Canada begins, not far above the capital. It shoots, however, a long branch of the Ottawa, embracing all the northern bank of that river, till it is bounded along with the Lower Province, by Lake Temiscaming. This district, on the north of the St. Lawrence, comprehends the counties of Montreal, Berthier, Lachenaye, L'Assomption, Terrebonne, Two Mountains, Vaudreuil, and Ottawa, containing a population of 147,649. Another portion, nearly equally valuable, lies on the south side, and will be afterwards described.
Montreal, the chief town in this district, though not ranking as a capital, is equal to Quebec in magnitude, and superior in commercial importance. Its greatness is likely to increase, from its favourable situation, and the growing prosperity of Upper Canada, of which, as being the highest point of the St. Lawrence to which vessels of the first class can ascend, it always continues the emporium.
The site of this town does not present those bold and grand features which distinguish the Canadian metropolis, though its beauty can scarcely be surpassed. The river, in this finest part of its course, divides itself into two channels, inclosing an island thirty-two miles long and ten and a half broad, which forms one of the most favoured spots on earth. The soil, everywhere luxuriant, is cultivated like one great garden, to supply the inhabitants with vegetables and fruit. These last are of the finest quality, and the apples especially are said to display that superiority which so remarkably distinguishes them in the New World. Although the island possesses in general that level surface that fits it for a thorough cultivation, yet about a mile and a half north-east rises a hill, 550 feet high, commanding a noble view over the fertile country, which is watered by the several branches and tributaries of the St. Lawrence. Its face is covered with agreeable villas, and its wooded heights form a frequent resort to pleasure parties from the city; but the intention now understood to be entertained of erecting fortifications on its summit, will, if put into execution, banish in a great measure its rural character.
The city, built on the southern border of this fine island, is not crowded like Quebec into a limited space, which can alone be covered with streets and habitations. It has a wide level surface to extend over, so that even the older streets are of tolerable breadth, and several of them occupy its entire length. The principal one, Rue Notre Dame, considerably exceeds half a mile in extent, and contains many of the chief public buildings. There is an upper and lower town, though the difference of elevation is very slight; but the former is much the more handsome of the two. The seven suburbs are not, as in the older capital, detached and extraneous, but on the same level, and immediately adjacent. Their streets, continued in the direction of those in the body of the place, are regular, and display many handsome houses. The vicinity is adorned with beautiful villas.
The Cathedral, Montreal.
Of the public edifices, the new catholic cathedral, completed in 1829, is undoubtedly the most splendid, and is, in fact, superior to any other in British America. Its style is a species of Gothic; it is 255 feet 6 inches in length, and 134 feet 6 inches in breadth. The flanks rise 61 feet above the terrace, and there are six towers, of which the three belonging to the main front are 220 feet high. It is faced with excellent stone, and roofed with tin. The principal window is 64 feet in height, and 32 broad. On the roof has been formed a promenade, 76 feet by 20, elevated 120 feet, and commanding a most delightful view. The interior contains 1244 pews, equal to the accommodation of at least 10,000 persons. There are five public and three private entrances to the first floor, and four to the galleries, so disposed that this vast congregation can easily assemble and disperse in a few minutes. The building comprises seven chapels, all visible from the front entrance, and nine spacious aisles. The high altar bears a resemblance to that at St. Peter's at Rome, the pulpit to that of the cathedral at Strasburg. The large window is painted, but not in good style; it is intended that it shall be filled hereafter with stained glass. The other catholic edifices belong mostly to the order of St. Sulpice, by whose members, as formerly mentioned, Montreal was chiefly founded, and who hold the superiority of the whole island upon which it stands. Their seminary, which is a large and commodious building adjoining the cathedral, occupies three sides of a square, 132 feet long by 90 deep, and is surrounded by spacious gardens. To extend its benefits, the order have lately, at an expense of 10,000l., erected a handsome additional building, 210 feet by 45. In these establishments, the numerous students, attending all the branches of learning and philosophy, are taught at very moderate charges. There are two large nunneries; the principal one, called the Congregation of Notre Dame, contains a superior and sixty sisters, who receive boarders at a low rate, and send teachers to different parts of the district. The Sœurs Gris (Grey Sisters) consist of a superior and twenty-four nuns, who admit into their spacious apartments the infirm poor, and are said to treat them with great humanity. The Hôtel Dieu is a large conventual structure, occupied by a superior and thirty-six nuns, and is also appropriated to the reception of the sick and indigent. Its utility is limited by the smallness of its funds, notwithstanding occasional grants from the legislature. The Monastery of the Recollets, which occupies extensive grounds at the end of Notre Dame-street, is now demolished, though its church is still used for public worship.
Interior of the Cathedral, Montreal.
The English establishments, both for religion and education, are also very respectable. The Episcopal church in the street just named, is a very handsome specimen of modern architecture, and is surmounted by a lofty spire. The Scotch church is plain, but attended by a highly respectable congregation. In 1814, a most important donation was made by a wealthy individual-the Hon. James McGill-to found a college for the principal branches of education. The endowments consist of a valuable estate at the Mountain, with 10,000l. in money. It has not, however, yet come into operation, in consequence of a law-suit, which did not terminate till 1835, when the available funds in the hands of the institution amounted to 22,000l. It is to be conducted on the most liberal system,-individuals of every religious persuasion being admitted as students, and even as teachers. There is a Natural History Society and a Mechanics' Institution, whose labours have been meritorious. The private establishments for education are also respectable. The limited means of the Hôtel Dieu are amply compensated by the more ample income of the Montreal General Hospital, which was built in 1821-2 by voluntary subscription, at an expense of nearly 6000l. It is said to be one of the best regulated institutions of the kind in America.
The harbour of Montreal does not seem to have received all the attention which its importance merits. It is somewhat confined, and has no wharfage, though close to the bank, in front of the town, is a depth of fifteen feet, sufficient for the largest vessels which ascend to this point. Its chief disadvantage consists in two shoals, and in the Rapid of St. Mary's, about a mile below, which vessels often find it difficult to stem. Important improvements are now contemplated, and a grant for the purpose has been even voted by the legislature. The communication with the opposite sides of the river is carried on by means of ten ferries, on several of which ply a number of steam-vessels. A wooden bridge was once constructed from Repentigny, on the northern shore, but in the spring after its completion it was carried down by the masses of ice. It is still thought that one of larger span might be constructed free from that danger.
In considering the rural districts of Montreal, so far as they extend northward of the St. Lawrence, we shall begin with the tract reaching down to the province of Trois Rivières. It presents an aspect similar to that of the whole coast from Quebec, but still more level, and also more fertile and populous. It forms one uninterrupted succession of flourishing settlements with villages, on a larger scale than in the lower districts. Berthier, with 850 inhabitants, on a branch of the St. Lawrence, called the North Channel, is a great thoroughfare, being midway between Trois Rivières and Montreal, and supplying a variety of goods to the neighbouring seigniories. St. Eustache, on the channel called Jesus, or St. Jean, which seems to be a joint branch of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa, commands the route to the territories on the latter river; and, before the recent insurrection, had a considerable traffic, and a population of fully a thousand. The Isle Jesus, separated from the main land by this channel, extends parallel to that of Montreal for the space of twenty-one miles, and is six at its greatest breadth. It is throughout level, fertile, and highly cultivated; the original forest being almost entirely extirpated, except for ornament and fuel. In this quarter, on the small lake of the Two Mountains, are a couple of villages belonging to the Algonquins and Iroquois, containing altogether about two hundred houses.
Timber Slide at "Les Chats." (Upper Canada.)
The portion of Montreal district on the St. Lawrence extends to Pointe au Baudet, fifty-five miles above the capital, where it meets the boundary of Upper Canada. This tract, between the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, forms the county of Vaudreuil; it is level, diversified only by a few gentle hills, and is also very fruitful. Vaudreuil and Rigaud are only villages; the chief importance being attached to the places which lie on the river. La Chine is about eight miles above Montreal, where the navigation is interrupted by the fall of St. Louis, to obviate which, the fine canal, bearing its name, has been erected, at an expense of 137,000l. This village, which originally received its appellation from the chimerical idea that it would afford a route to China, stills forms an important point in the navigation both of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa, near whose junction it is situated. About twelve miles farther up, at the village of Pointe des Cascades, commences a series of formidable cataracts, which, with little interruption, extend about nine miles. There is nowhere any high fall; but the stream, filled with hidden rocks and covered with breakers, dashes like the waves of a tempestuous ocean. Yet the rafts, the Durham boats, and bateaux constructed for the purpose, can, under skilful guidance, be safely piloted through these dangerous rapids. The crews, however, are often obliged to unload the most bulky part of their cargo, and have it conveyed by land. Steam navigation, which ceases at one end of this obstruction, is resumed at the other; and the village of the Cedars, situated opposite to the rapids of the same name, is the chief depot for the land-passage. It commands a magnificent view of the foaming billows, and of the barks which steer through them their perilous course.
The Ottawa province, extending about 350 miles along the northern bank of that great river, forms, as it were, a very extensive wing, detached from the district and from Lower Canada, while the upper province extends opposite to it along the southern bank. Thus the boundary between these two territories, which at first runs due north, as soon as it strikes the Ottawa stretches first north-west, and then almost due west. This extensive tract is as yet by no means occupied or improved in proportion to its natural capabilities. The numerous obstacles to the navigation, though now in part removed, have doubtless greatly retarded its settlement.
The Lac des Allumettes.
The upper part of the river beyond the falls and Portage des Allumettes, is used by the fur-traders, who have a post also in Lake Temiscaming, more than 350 miles above the junction of the Ottawa with the St. Lawrence; but this tract has never been surveyed, nor even accurately described. Up to the Portage, it is regularly frequented by the lumberers, who find valuable supplies of pine and oak, which they contrive to float down in rafts, through all obstructions. At the Allumettes the stream separates into two channels, enclosing an island fifteen miles long, and forming three small lakes, called the Allumettes, the Mud, and the Musk Rat. On the latter is one solitary farm, said to be in a prosperous condition. Eight miles below the junction of these channels is Fort Coulange, where the Hudson's Bay Company have a post, near which is one well-cultivated settlement. Four or five miles down, another division of the stream forms an island of about twenty miles long; but the two channels are much impeded by falls and rapids. The northern, which is the more practicable, has four portages within a few miles of the port of junction, and there is another five miles below it. The falls are not above eight or ten feet high, but they are much broken by masses of rock, and have a very wild appearance.
Junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence. (near Cedars.)
For ten miles downwards the stream is beautifully diversified by wooded islands, through which it rushes with various degrees of violence. The banks, great part of the way, consist of white marble, somewhat soft and coarse; but farther inland, it is believed, a superior description would be found. At the end of this tract, Bisset's chantier, a solitary log-house, with a few cleared acres, relieves the eye after the monotony of these vast solitudes; it affords also a welcome asylum to the fur and timber traders. Soon after, the view opens upon the magnificent expanse of the Lake des Chats, about fifteen miles long, studded with richly-wooded islets. On the south are one or two scattered mansions, and particularly Kinnell Lodge, the residence of the Highland chieftain, McNab. The northern side appears uninhabited; yet at a little distance from the beach is the settlement of Clarendon, formed in 1829, and in 1831 containing 257 inhabitants. The township of Bristol, in 1828, presented only a few poor hovels and 31 settlers, which number had, in 1831, increased to 96, and in 1836 to not less than 445. At length the lake suddenly contracts, and the rapids of the Chats, for three miles, dash in violent eddies, amid a labyrinth of islands. They terminate in the Falls des Chats, fifteen or sixteen in number, extending in a curved line across the river, and divided by wooded islands; but only from sixteen to twenty feet high. The northern coast, having a rocky and uneven surface, forms the township of Onslow, which in 1836 had 150 settlers.
Portage des Chats.
Falls of the Ottawa at Les Chats.
About six miles below this point commences Lake Chaudière, an expanse eighteen miles long, and, like the former, terminating in rapids, succeeded by falls. These last, called the Great and Little Chaudière (Kettle), are on a larger scale, 60 feet high and 212 broad. The descending torrent, striking on a great circular rock, is thrown up in clouds of spray, which conceal the bottom of the fall, and often rise in revolving columns high above its summit. A great portion of the water being unaccounted for, is believed to escape through subterraneous channels. Immediately below, where the stream still rolls in rapid eddies, a bridge has been thrown across. The difficulties of the undertaking were overcome by dividing the structure into four parts, consisting of different materials. The broadest span is stretched by means of a hempen fabric, composed of three-inch cables, forming an inverted segment of a circle, the lowest point of which is only seven feet above the torrent. But at no time can it be passed without a feeling of peril.
A Shanty on Lake Chaudière. (Canada)
The Owls Head. (Lake Memphremagog.)
The township of Onslow is followed by that of Eardley, extending along Lake Chaudière, and having much excellent land, which is very imperfectly occupied by 200 persons. Below is Hull, the most flourishing of all the upper settlements on the Ottawa. Its front towards the river is level or gently undulating; but it rises behind into hills, some 900 feet high, yet finely wooded, or affording good pasturage. It is watered by the large river Gatineau, and contains valuable mines of iron and quarries of marble. This township was surveyed by Philemon Wright, an American loyalist, who in 1806 obtained a grant of 12,000 acres of it for himself and his associates. Having, by his pecuniary advances, secured the exclusive property of the greater portion, as well as of large tracts in neighbouring townships, he has become a most extensive landowner. By great exertions he has rendered it extremely flourishing, and has led the way in all the measures now taking for the improvement of this fine district. The town of Wright, situated immediately opposite to the great Rideau Canal, must rapidly grow in importance. Its population is already considerable, and it contains a neat church and comfortable hotel. The Chaudière Falls and the bridge immediately adjoin it.
Bridge at Bytown, Upper Canada.
The Rideau Canal, Bytown.
Locks on the Rideau Canal. (near Bytown)
From this point to Grenville, sixty miles distant, the Ottawa affords an uninterrupted navigation for steam vessels. The township of Hull is succeeded by those of Templeton, Buckingham, and Lochaber. Large tracts were here granted to different proprietors, who unfortunately have not taken due pains to increase their value; and the space for new settlers has been further narrowed by the crown and clergy reserves. Steps, however, are taking to induce the owners either to improve or renounce their possessions, and to arrange the preserves on such a principle, that they may not interrupt the continuity of settlement. The population of all three, which in 1828 little exceeded 300, has since been greatly augmented. Buckingham, in 1831, contained 570; Lochaber, 236; Templeton, in 1836, supposed 390. La Petite Nation, a seigniory early formed, but as yet only partially settled, acquired a considerable accession of Irish emigrants, through the exertions of M. Papineau, the seignior, who erected extensive saw-mills on its eastern border. It has now 826 settlers.
The Ottawa River at Bytown.
The township of Grenville, which next follows, may be considered as commencing the densely-peopled portion of Lower Canada. This is not owing to its fertility, which is much impeded by the interruption of hilly ground, connected with the lofty range which traverses the interior. A branch from this gives rise to the rugged cataract named the Long Sault, which can be passed only by the most skilful voyageurs; and obstructions continue to occur as far as Point Fortune, where the river, opening into the Lake of the Two Mountains, becomes united with the St. Lawrence. To remedy this evil, a fine canal, called the Grenville, which will be more fully described afterwards, has been formed. Numerous individuals employed on this work have settled and taken farms in the township, which by these means had acquired, in 1836, a population estimated at 1450. Below is Chatham, which, through exertions commenced in 1806 by Colonel Robertson, Dr. Fraser, and others, has become one of the most flourishing settlements. Though traversed by some naked hills, it has extensive level tracts, and the public road is every where bordered by thriving farms and handsome dwelling-houses, built of brick. The population in 1831 was 2604. Chatham Gore, a rising township, has already 473, all Irish protestants. Here the Ottawa country terminates, Chatham being bounded by Argenteuil, the first of that range of old French settlements which extend along the river as far as Quebec.
Mill on the Rideau River, near Bytown.
CHAP. II. QUEBEC AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.
The district of Quebec occupies the whole coast watered by the gulf and river of St. Lawrence, from the eastern limit of the colony to the mouth of the river St. Anne, about thirty miles below Trois Rivières; and thence, in a direct line, to the northern boundary. The greater part of this extensive section belongs to the uncultivated portion of the country, and presents a chaos of mountains, lakes, and torrents, tenanted only by wild beasts and a few wandering Indians. At Cape Tourment, however, it begins to give place to a tract of a much more pleasing character; and though still traversed by rugged eminences, it contains much fertile land, which is described as being at once romantic and beautiful. On the northern side of the St. Lawrence it is divided into the counties of Quebec, Montmorency, Orleans, and Port Neuf, and comprised, in 1831, a population of 56,615.
Church at Point Levi.
In the midst of this fine landscape stands Quebec, the capital of British America, it is seated on a promontory stretching out into the river, which, by means of it and Point Levi on the opposite side, is narrowed to about three quarters of a mile, though immediately below it spreads out into a wide basin. Cape Diamond, the most elevated point of the city, is reckoned by an eminent traveller 1000 feet high; a proof of the fallacious nature of such estimates, since the more accurate observations of Bouchette fixes it at 345. Above a hundred feet lower is an elevated plain, on which are built the castle and the whole of what is termed the upper town. Thence a perpendicular steep of above 200 feet descends to the banks of the St. Lawrence; and in the narrow interval between this precipice and the river is the lower town, the crowded seat of business and shipping.
The scenery of Quebec and the surrounding country is described by all travellers as rivaling in picturesque beauty the most favoured parts of the earth. The navigator who ascends the St. Lawrence, after he has passed the Isle of Orleans, and entered the broad basin already mentioned, where he first comes in sight of this capital, is struck with intense admiration. He sees its citadel crowning a lofty cliff, its castle and batteries overhanging a range of formidable steeps, the river crowded with numerous vessels of every form and size, from the huge timber-raft to the bark canoe. The fall of Montmorency appears dashing its white foam almost to the clouds, and on each side is a long range of fertile and beautiful shore. On ascending Cape Diamond, a still grander and more extensive panorama bursts upon his view, combining all the boldness of rude with the richness of cultivated nature. Up and down the magnificent stream of the St. Lawrence is a reach of more than forty miles, on which sails almost innumerable are in ceaseless movement. Below is the beautiful Isle of Orleans, while the opposite coast is diversified by a great variety of natural and cultivated scenery. To the north appears the river St. Charles, winding amid fertile valleys and hills, with villages hanging on their sides, while the prospect is closed by a bold screen of mountains. Mr. Weld prefers the views from the upper town, where, though fewer objects are seen, they appear more distinct and brilliant. This traveller, after visiting a great part of Europe and America, gives to them a preference over every thing he had observed on either continent. Mr. McGregor considers them similar, but much superior, to those from the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling.
The Citadel of Quebec.
Quebec, from its situation and the care with which it has been fortified, is a very strong town, and considered the chief bulwark of British America. On the summit of the lofty headland just described stands the citadel. The rock consists of gray granite mixed with quartz crystals, and a species of dark-coloured slate. About forty acres are here covered with works, carried to the edge of the precipice, and connected by massive walls and batteries with the other defences of the place. The main body of the fortress, however, consists of the upper town, whose fortifications enclose a circuit of about two miles and three quarters. The face of the hill towards the river is so precipitous, that it requires only a common wall to protect it, though the gate leading from the lower town is defended by heavy cannon, and the steep approach by Mountain-street is enfiladed and flanked by many guns of large calibre. As the declivity towards the interior and the Plains of Abraham does not present the same abrupt face, but descends by successive ridges, it has been strengthened by a series of regular works, including ditch, covered way, and glacis, with some exterior defences to obstruct the approach of an enemy. It seems probable, therefore, that the place would hold out against any attack, till the approach of the rigorous winter should compel the assailants to raise the siege.
The upper town, which these fortifications enclose, forms the chief part of Quebec, and the residence of all the principal inhabitants not engaged in trade. It is a tolerably handsome old-looking town; the houses being mostly of stone, partly roofed with tin. The streets are well paved, and in some instances macadamized, but they are much too narrow, as the broadest does not exceed thirty-two feet. St. Louis-street, the almost exclusive residence of the fashionable circle, has been lately adorned with several elegant mansions. The public buildings are commodious and substantial, without much pretension to architectural ornament. The Castle of St. Louis, a large, plain baronial-looking edifice, forms the dwelling of the Governor. It comprises a space of four acres, once fortified; but the great extension of the works has rendered its walls superfluous, and they are allowed to go to decay. The apartments are large and commodious, and the veranda commands a magnificent vista up the river. Adjoining is a spacious structure, once occupied by government offices, now chiefly employed for public entertainments. The enclosure contains two excellent and well-cultivated gardens.
Of religious edifices the chief is the Roman Catholic cathedral, being 216 feet long by 180 in breadth, and capable of containing a congregation of 4000. The interior has a lofty and solemn aspect, but the outside is heavy and not in very good taste. There are several other Catholic churches. The English cathedral, though smaller, being only 136 feet long by 75 broad, and in a simple style, is considered extremely neat. The Scotch church is much inferior. The monastic establishments are spacious. The Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 1637 by the Duchess d'Aiguillon, includes a convent, church and courtyard, besides cemetery and gardens. The range of buildings is extensive, but without any ornament; and its chief use is as an hospital, in which respect it affords the greatest benefit to the colony. A prioress and thirty-two nuns are continually employed in ministering to the sick, with a great degree of attention and skill: hence Government have been induced to make occasional grants in addition to the considerable revenues attached to the establishment. The Ursuline Convent is a neat building, in the heart of the city, surrounded by fine gardens. It was founded, in 1639, by Madame de la Peltrie, chiefly for the purposes of education. The inmates, forty-six in number, observe a somewhat rigid seclusion, but they instruct, in reading, writing, and needlework, a certain number of girls, comprehending even Protestants. They are very assiduous in embroidery and other ornamental works, especially for ecclesiastical vestments; and the fruits of their industry are often sold at high prices, which are thrown into the common stock. The spacious monastery of the Jesuits, 224 feet by 200, surrounded by noble gardens, was forfeited on the suppression of that order, and at the conquest was regarded as crown property. It was then converted into a place of exercise for the troops, and, to the regret of many, its fine trees were cut down, but the legislature of the province have lately petitioned for its being restored to its original purpose of education. The large edifice, called the Seminary, with an extensive domain attached to it, was founded, in 1663, by M. de Petré, with a view to the instruction of the Catholic clergy. It is now open to all students of that persuasion, who are initiated in the different branches of knowledge upon paying the trifling sum of five shillings annually to defray incidental expenses. Pupils, indeed, may be boarded as well as taught for 12l. 10s. a year.
The buildings employed for public purposes are ample and commodious, though mostly reared for different objects. The bishop's palace formed an extremely elegant residence, with a chapel and many conveniences; but, in return for an annuity, it was relinquished, and now accommodates the two branches of the legislature. About the year 1803, a very handsome house was erected by a joint stock company, in the best situation the town afforded, with the view of being employed as an hotel. This plan, however, being abandoned, it was sold to the chief justice, and is now leased at 500l. a year by government, who give it up to the use of their chief civil departments. It contains also the museum of the Literary and Historical Society, founded in 1824, and which, in 1829, was united to that for the promotion of arts and sciences. The collection is said to be valuable, in regard to mineralogy and botany. There is a Library also, though only in its infancy. The artillery barracks form a long range of building, somewhat roughly constructed, but substantial and convenient. The Armoury contains equipments for 20,000 men, and, being extremely well arranged, excites the admiration of strangers.
The Market Place, Quebec.
The market is held in an open space, 250 feet long, with a breadth in some places of about 165. A large building with stalls has been reared in the centre, though the chief business is still transacted on the open ground. It is held every day, but Saturday is the busiest. The crowds of carters, with their wives and families, bringing in the productions of the surrounding country, their brawlings and vociferations in bad French and broken English, form a scene of noise and confusion, amid which appear a few Indian squaws, and the gentlemen of the city and garrison going round to make purchases. Every kind of provision is abundant and cheap, except fish, which is less plentiful than might be expected from the situation. Among public places may also be mentioned the Grand Parade in front of the castle, surrounded by the most distinguished edifices; and also the Esplanade, a large level space along the interior wall, which is the chief theatre for military exercises.
The lower town is a narrow crowded range of buildings, extending along the base of the precipice. The spot on which it stands is entirely the creation of human industry; for, originally, the waves at high water beat the very foot of the rock. Wharfs, however, have been founded, and carried out into the river, though nowhere farther than 240 yards, and on these streets have been erected. So limited, indeed, is the space, that the quarter beyond Cape Diamond communicates with the rest only by a path cut in many places through the solid rock. This part of Quebec is compared to the most irregular and confused districts of Edinburgh. It is connected with the upper town by what is called Mountain-street, which formerly was not passable for carriages without extreme difficulty, but has of late been much improved. The Breakneck-stairs, as they are denominated, are more commodious for foot passengers. Besides extensive wharfs, the lower town contains the Quebec bank, which, in addition to apartments for its appropriate purpose, has others for a fire assurance company, and a subscription library, the most extensive and valuable in Canada. The government warehouses are all spacious, and the custom-house having been found inconvenient, the foundation-stone of a new one was laid in 1831. Amid wharfs lately formed on the flat beach of the St. Charles, has been erected the exchange building, an elegant structure, containing a spacious reading room, and several others devoted to commercial purposes. Projects are in contemplation for erecting a pier, which would also serve as a bridge across the estuary; an improvement, which, while it would afford ample space for the extension of the lower town, would enable the largest vessels and rafts to lie in security, instead of resorting, as at present, to caves in the neighbourhood.
On the inland side of the fortress, stretching more than a mile into the interior, are the large suburbs of St. Roche and St. Johns. They are built regularly, but chiefly of wood, and with accommodations suited only to the lower ranks; though of late, indeed, they have been adorned with many stone houses of a superior class. There is also a smaller suburb, named St. Louis.
Timber Depot near Quebec.
Quebec maintains a constant communication with Point Levi on the opposite shore, whence it derives a great part of its provisions. A steam ferry-boat plies every half hour, making the trip in about ten or fifteen minutes. The navigation also being very properly left free, the river is constantly covered with numerous canoes, generally hollowed out from the trunks of trees. The boatmen brave the most tempestuous weather; and, though often driven several leagues out of their course, are scarcely ever wrecked. Even in winter, when they must encounter blocks of ice, with which the channel is encumbered, they contrive with ropes and iron-pointed poles to raise their vessels upon the surface of the masses, and drag them along till they find open water on which to launch it. When this channel is frozen entirely over, the communication becomes still more easy. A line is marked with beacons placed by the Grand Voyer, over which hay, firewood, with other bulky articles, are transported abundantly and at reduced prices. This advantage occurs only occasionally; but every year the channel between the Isle of Orleans and the northern coast is frozen over, when the produce of that fertile spot, reserved for the occasion, finds a ready conveyance. Formerly, milk and vegetables were brought in a frozen state from distant quarters, but now these commodities are procured in abundance from the neighbourhood.
The society of Quebec is more gay and polished than is usual in colonial cities, where the pursuit of wealth forms too often the sole object of the inhabitants. Here, besides merchants, there are a number of British civil and military officers, and a body of French noblesse, living on their domains. These different classes do not, it is said, always thoroughly amalgamate. The French, though often superior in manners and habits, are in some degree disdained by the ruling people, which they do not well brook. Among the English themselves, the chief test of rank is an introduction at the castle, without which strangers will find themselves placed below those whom they would have been classed above in the mother country. The hotels are good, and, after the fashion of the United States, the inmates commonly dine at a table d'hôte, which often affords to the visitor the opportunity of meeting with interesting characters. He can, however, if he wishes, have private apartments.
The cultivated country northward of Quebec does not extend far, being closely hemmed in by the range of mountains, and settlement being obstructed through the very imperfect titles by which alone the land can be conveyed. Immediately westward, in front of the fortification, are the Plains of Abraham, memorable as the scene whereon Quebec was gained by the gallant Wolfe, and whence only it can be successfully assailed. The summit, indeed, is 330 feet high, which does all but command the loftiest pinnacle on which Fort Diamond stands. As some security against this danger, four martello towers have been so placed as to range over the whole plain. Immediately to the north, a road leads along the heights to the village of St. Foix, and to the beautifully secluded dingle of Sillery, about four leagues in length and one in breadth, formerly the seat of a missionary settlement, which we shall have occasion again to mention. In the same direction from the suburb of St. Roch is the Huron village of Lorette, near the banks of the river St. Charles, which in this neighbourhood forms a beautiful cascade. Onward still, twelve miles from Quebec, is the lake of the same name, about four miles long and one broad. It is divided into two parts by projecting ledges, and the upper one especially is finely diversified by rocks, woods, bays, hills, and lofty mountains in the distance.
Crossing the St. Charles, and going eastward through the agreeable village of Beauport, we reach the Falls of Montmorency, one of the most picturesque objects in all America. They do not, indeed, pour down that immense flood of water which renders Niagara so wonderful; but the height is greater, being 240 feet, and the stream descends the whole of this vast steep in one white sheet of foam. It is received into a vast basin, whence arise clouds of vapour that display the most brilliant tints of the rainbow. M. Bouchette imagines that even Switzerland, though it contains much loftier falls, has none which descend in so unbroken a mass. He overlooks, we think, the Staubbach, whose stream, however, is less copious than that of Montmorency. In winter, when the falling waters congeal into icicles, these accumulate above each other, till they, on some occasions, swell to an amazing magnitude, and present a most curious spectacle. About fifty years ago General Haldimand, then governor of Canada, built a house close to the fall, and commanding a most advantageous view of it. This was afterwards occupied by the Duke of Kent, and is now the residence of Mr. Paterson, who has erected upon the river an extensive range of saw-mills.
The county of Sherbrooke embraces the greater part of the district of St. Francis, immediately south of Trois Rivières, to which it is often considered as attached. Being quite beyond the range of the Seigniories, it has been divided into twenty-nine townships, which include much valuable land. It presents in general a broken and varied surface, sometimes rising into mountains clothed with fine timber, is well watered, yet not so encumbered with swamps as the more western districts. The only part hitherto settled is that adjoining to Stanstead in Montreal; but the British American Land Company expect soon to diffuse culture over the whole. Orford, indeed, the first on this side, is so mountainous as to be almost unfit for improvement, and contains only 320 inhabitants. But the west, Ascot, with 1,800, Compton to the south, with 2,020, and Eaton to the east, with 1,500, are in general very fine, with an undulating surface, and commodiously watered by streams well adapted for mills. The first contains Sherbrooke, the county town, where the commerce of the neighbouring settlements chiefly centres. It contains about 350 inhabitants, with three places of worship and a woollen manufactory; and the Land Company have lately made it the centre of their operations. They have undertaken a new road to Port St. Francis, whereby the distance will be reduced to seventy miles, and have likewise established a stage conveyance between the two places, by which the journey is performed in one day. They have also improved the roads to Quebec and Montreal, from each of which it is about 100 miles distant. In Eaton and Compton are rising villages bearing the same names. South from Eaton, Clifton and Newport, though hilly, contain much good land; yet in 1831 their united population was only 188.
Mills at Sherbrooke, on the River Magog.
Bridge at Sherbrooke. (Eastern Townships.)
The north-western part of the county includes Melbourne, with 1,280 settlers, and Shipton, on the Nicolet, with 1,900. The two are considered the finest of all the St. Francis townships, and their population is rapidly increasing. Shipton contains Richmond, a village of some consequence, and another is rapidly rising in Melbourne. Windsor and Stoke are represented as possessing almost equal advantages; yet they have drawn little attention, the former containing only 220 settlers, the latter scarcely any. Brompton, west from these, though uneven and rocky, has some good tracts, which have drawn 350 inhabitants; while Dudswell, east of Windsor, which has also a variegated surface, can boast of 342.
The whole south-eastern part of this large county, containing the townships of Garthby, Strafford, Whitton, Adstock, Marston, Chesham, Emberton, Hampden, and Bury, with certain portions of Weedon, Singwick, Ditton, Auckland, and Hereford, composes the great block purchased by the Land Company. It had not been previously surveyed, and was occupied only by detached individuals, who had availed themselves of its neglected situation to squat upon it. Its surface is very varied. The central part, according to a recent report, appears too mountainous to invite settlement; but from this height it slopes down in various directions to the St. Francis, to its tributary the Salmon, and to Lake Megantie. These lower declivities are richly wooded, and well fitted for a mixed system of corn and pasture farming. The Salmon river, which traverses in a northerly direction nearly the whole district, has beautiful and fertile banks, one part of which, about ten miles long, from its luxuriant verdure is called "The Meadows." This river, as well as numerous little streams which flow into it, is rapid and broken by falls, unfit for navigation, but convenient for mills. Here the Company have determined to begin their settlement; and about half a mile from the principal fall they have founded a village, named Victoria. During the summer of 1836 several hundred labourers were employed by them in forming a road between it and Sherbrooke.
Pass of Bolton, Eastern Townships.
Scene on the River St. Francis near Sherbrooke. (Eastern Townships.)
The tracts on this side of the river belonging to the district of Quebec, embrace a great extent of coast; but the settlements do not extend far into the interior. The possession of a portion, too, amounting to 6,400,000 acres, is still under discussion with the United States. This division consists of the counties of Beance, Belle-chasse, Dorchester, Kamouraska, L'Islet, Lotbinière, Megantie, and Rimouski, which contain a population of 87,700. The aspect of the territory, as compared with the western, is decidedly bold and hilly, though not mountainous, as on the opposite shore. The land generally stretches in irregular ridges, which, at from ten to twenty miles inland, swell into a broad table land, that slopes down to the river St. John. Between these ridges, however, intervene valleys, and even extensive plains, many of which, from the encouragement afforded by the markets of the capital, have been brought into very tolerable cultivation. The territory is watered by numerous rivers, full and rapid, though, from being closely hemmed in by high land on the south, they have not so long a course as those farther west. The principal are the Chaudière, Du Sud, St. Anne, Ouelle, Green River, Rimouski, Great Mitis, and Matane. In ascending the St. Lawrence, the views along the valleys marked out by these streams and the heights by which they are bounded, are singularly grand and picturesque.
Orford Mountain. (Eastern Townships.)
The tract watered by the Chaudière, the largest of these rivers, and comprising the county of Beance, is hilly and broken, the soil light, and in some places stony, yet on the whole fertile, and the vicinity of the capital has led to its careful cultivation. It derives very great advantages also from the Kennebeck road, leading from Quebec to Boston, and completed in 1830, by which its agricultural produce is conveyed to a good market, and large supplies of live stock transported. The fall on the Chaudière forms one of the most picturesque objects in America. If it does not equal the grandeur of Niagara and Montmorency, it possesses features more interesting than either. The river is here narrowed to the breadth of between 300 and 400 feet, and the height does not exceed 130. It descends, too, not in one continuous sheet, but is broken by projecting rocks into three channels, which, however, unite before reaching the basin below. Nothing, therefore, is on the same great scale as in its two rivals; yet it surpasses both in the magnificent forests by which it is overhung, whose dark foliage, varied and contrasted by the white foam of the cataracts, produces the most striking effects. These are heightened by the deep and hollow sound of the waters, and the clouds of spray, which, when illumined by the sun, exhibit the most brilliant variety of prismatic colours. A succession of rapids for some space upwards displays a continuation of the same bold and beautiful scenery.
Lake Memphremagog. (near Georgeville.)
Outlet of Lake Memphremagog.
CHAP. IV. SUGGESTIONS ON EMIGRATION.
The Edinburgh Cabinet Library, in a most valuable paper on emigration, makes the following remarks and statements, which, being drawn up after evidently most careful observation and research, are better worthy than anything we could write, of being recorded in a chapter on this subject. "Britain can conveniently spare every season not less than 50,000 or 60,000 of her inhabitants, retaining a sufficient number for every useful purpose, and with much advantage to those who remain behind. The adventurers, too, will form on the other side of the Atlantic a great and flourishing people, imbued with the laws, letters, manners, and all the acquirements which have raised their native country high among nations. A portion even of our superfluous capital, which sometimes seeks employment in distant and even chimerical objects, might be very advantageously invested in the culture and improvement of those valuable colonies.
"Admitting, however, the national benefits of emigration, it remains a very important question, what are the individuals or classes to whom it affords advantages sufficient to compensate for leaving their native land; and what course they ought to follow in order to realize these benefits. This is a point on which the reader may reasonably expect us to throw some additional light; and we can in truth assert, that we have considered it as anxiously as if all our own prospects had been involved in its solution. To arrive at any fixed conclusion, however, has been by no means easy. The materials are ample, but they are furnished by individuals usually more or less prepossessed on one side, and in many instances incapable of expressing their ideas with precision, or even of forming any distinct or decided opinion on so perplexed a subject. We have endeavoured, however, by carefully collating opposite statements, by fixing upon ascertained facts and points in which all parties agree, to draw up for the intending emigrant a reasonable view of what he may expect to meet with in the settlements beyond the Atlantic.
"The individuals who usually migrate into that new region may be divided into two classes,-those belonging to the labouring order, and those who seek to support themselves in the middling rank of society. The former go in the view of obtaining each a spot which he can cultivate with his own hands, subsisting chiefly on its produce: the latter hope, by the application of skill and capital, and by engaging the aid of others, to carry on operations on a larger scale, and to draw from their property a portion of the conveniences and even elegancies of life. The former comprise the more extensive, and indeed the more important branch of the subject; but as the latter will lead us to view it under a greater variety of lights, we shall most conveniently direct our first attention to it.
"No one, who has made any observation on the present state of this country, can have failed to observe the extreme difficulty which the middling classes find to support their place in society, and particularly to enable their sons to succeed them in stations of well-remunerated employment. The reduced scale of the army and navy, and the rigid economy now introduced into all the departments of the government, have withdrawn many former sources of income. Manufactures and trade, even when prosperous, can be carried on with advantage only on a large scale, with low profits upon an extensive capital. Hence there remain only the learned professions, with the officers and clerks employed by banks, insurance companies, and similar establishments; and in these pursuits, the increase of population and the number thrown out from other occupations cause an eager competition. This is increased by the general diffusion of information among the inferior classes, many of whom, by merit and address, compete successfully for these higher appointments,-a state of things which may be, on the whole, advantageous, as securing for national purposes a greater degree of talent; but it obviously increases the pressure on the middling ranks already severely felt.
A Settler's hut on the frontier.
"Among the numerous young men, however, thus languishing for want of employment, there are probably not a few who possess or could command a small capital of from 500l. to 1000l. and who have the degree of judgment and industry requisite to superintend the labours of agriculture. It becomes then an interesting question, whether Canada affords the means of attaining that independence, and earning those conveniences, which their native country denies to them. On this subject, and every thing connected with it, a great variety of opinions prevails; but on comparing all together, we shall state grounds for concluding that, with a due degree of skill and perseverance, the emigrant in this rank will find the means, not indeed of rising to wealth, but of placing himself in a comfortable and independent situation.
"The cultivator in Canada stands in very different circumstances from either the proprietor or farmer in Britain. He obtains an estate in full and perpetual property for a smaller sum than the annual rent which he would here be obliged to give for it. After paying this price, however, he must expend at least three times as much in clearing and bringing it into a state of cultivation. Even then it will not yield him rent; it will be merely a farm for him to cultivate, with the very important advantage indeed of its being wholly his own, and no landlord to pay. The taxes also are extremely light, when compared to those which press on the English farmer. But in return for these benefits, he must give to his servants considerably higher wages, and will even have no small trouble in procuring them on any terms. What is worse, he obtains for his produce much lower prices, and even these with difficulty, because the supply of grain and provisions in a region so wholly agricultural must more and more exceed the demand within the country itself. These commodities, indeed, will always find a market among the dense population of Britain, to which they are now admitted on payment of easy duties; and in point of fact, the price must be finally ruled by what they will sell for here. After paying the expense of transportation across the Atlantic, added to that of conveying them from the place of production to the ports of Montreal or Quebec, there is little prospect that the finest wheat of Upper Canada will permanently bring in this country more than 50s. per quarter. Deducting the duty, 5s.-freight, 10s.-carriage from even a favourable situation in the interior, 8s.-we have only 27s.; or about 3s. 4d. per bushel left to the cultivator.
"Under these circumstances, it has become a prevailing opinion, and maintained by many as an indisputable maxim, that a Canadian proprietor cannot cultivate with advantage by means of hired servants, but must himself perform the full task of a common labourer. Those only are represented in the way of well-doing who have constantly in their hands the axe or the plough, whose ladies are seen milking the cows, churning, and performing the humblest menial offices. We must frankly say that, if such be the necessary lot of a settler in Canada, we cannot but concur with Captain Hall in thinking it unfit for the class now in consideration. Can it be supposed that a young man, accustomed to refined society, should renounce friends and country, and remove to a remote land, not to improve his condition, but to reduce himself to the level of a common labourer? How can he expect a fair partner, accustomed perhaps to value somewhat too highly the immunities of a refined society, to share with him so hard and humble a lot? We most readily admit that the labouring classes have within their reach the best blessings of life, and are often happier than those called their superiors. Still the desire of exemption from bodily toil, and of enjoying a portion of the conveniences and elegancies of life, is natural, and has a salutary effect in stimulating to activity and invention. The lively author of the "Backwoods," a zealous advocate of the working system, admits the hardship of a young gentleman, employed to "chop down trees, to pile brush-heaps, split rails for fences, dressed in a coarse over-garment of hempen cloth called a logging shirt, and a Yankee straw hat flapped over his eyes." We cannot help thinking that this ingenious lady is somewhat too severe on those of her own sex who, without her internal resources and powers of reflection, could not accommodate themselves to the hard and dreary life consequent upon this system. In short, we may observe, that if land in Canada will pay nothing but the mere manual labour put upon it, it is fitted only for the peasant settler, and can never afford an income for a person of better rank. This opinion seems confirmed by the judgment of the learned lady herself, when, after an experiment of three years, she concludes, that for a gentleman a small income is almost indispensable,-a good one desirable; this last a case not very likely to occur.
"Notwithstanding these weighty authorities, we do not hesitate to assert, that in farming on such a scale as will remunerate a person in the middling rank, his devoting himself to constant bodily labour is not only unnecessary, but decidedly injurious. It is admitted, we suppose, that, in our country, upon an extent of 150 to 200 acres, the tasks of planning, arranging, inspecting, and finding a proper market for the produce, afford very full occupation to a single individual. But in a Canadian farm, all these occupations are much more arduous and difficult. The business cannot be reduced into the same fixed routine; a greater variety of produce, both in grain and live stock, must be reared; servants, less steady, and oftener changed, require much stricter superintendance; markets are not found without more difficulty, and at a greater distance. To perform all these functions carefully and well, on a property of this extent, must, we apprehend, keep the owner's hands very full. To attempt to combine with them the daily task of a common labourer, seems to ensure their being executed in an imperfect and slovenly manner, and consequently the whole concern greatly mismanaged. The newly-arrived emigrant is indeed told that the other is the approved mode, and that if he wishes to thrive in the country he must follow its customs. The fundamental principles of rural economy, however, cannot be changed by the interposition of the Atlantic. The original settlers in Upper Canada were mostly of the less opulent class, who could cultivate their lots only by the labour of their own hands. A few of them, who, by extraordinary exertion, have risen to some degree of wealth, retain still probably their primitive habits and maxims, and represent their success as connected with the hard personal labours which they then underwent. These are held forth as the models to be followed by the young cultivator. But a general rule cannot be founded on a few cases where peculiar activity and energy were displayed. With an average allotment of these qualities, such as we are generally entitled to expect, the union of the intellectual and directing with the manual and operative department, can rarely succeed. We are convinced that a person of competent judgment, devoting himself wholly to the former, would raise on the same ground a considerably larger produce than one who, exhausted by daily toil, should follow only in a rough way the mechanical routine observed among his neighbours. He would thus create a surplus applicable to his own profits; and we are convinced that it is only by the exertions of such a class that any improvement can be expected in the system of Canadian culture, which is admitted on all hands to be at present exceedingly defective.
Davis' Clearing. (Eastern Township.)
"In estimating, however, the plans and views of such a settler, several circumstances must be taken into consideration, and, in particular, the situation of his property. The Canadian districts are classed under two heads. The first, called The Bush, comprehends those situated in the depth of the forest, where towns and markets are distant, and reached only by roads which are almost impassable. To compensate the obvious disadvantages of this locality, settlers obtain a greater chance of good land at a considerably lower rate; a party of neighbours or friends can cluster together; and they have every prospect that sooner or later the communications will be much improved, that villages will spring up in their vicinity, and their estates be thereby raised in value. These considerations may justly weigh with certain classes of emigrants, but for those now under consideration they are far overbalanced by the disadvantages. In such a position, there is much greater difficulty in procuring hired labour, while its price must be higher, because the workmen are not only fewer, but more generally aim at having land of their own. Hence the expense of clearing ground in the several districts has been stated as differing to the extent of 2l. an acre; and while the cost of raising the produce has thus been augmented, its price or money value is greatly diminished. Cash indeed is scarcely ever seen in the remoter parts. It may at first view seem singular that there should be abundance of commodities worth money, and yet not able to procure it; but we may observe, that gold and silver will purchase any thing in every quarter of the world, while the products of a landed estate are of value only on the spot: the merchant, therefore, may give goods produced in the same vicinity, but he cannot give money. Connected with this want is the impossibility of procuring many of the elegancies and luxuries of life, portions of which have, by the middling classes, come to be viewed in the light of necessaries. Mr. Pickering mentions that tea, when sold at Buffalo, cost 4s., at Port Talbot, 6s. per lb. Salt at the former place was 9s., at the latter, 1l. 2s. 6d. a barrel. The settler may have plenty of food and homespun cloth, but almost every other commodity will be beyond his reach. These observations are not indeed to be understood in their utmost rigour, for in every district a certain amount of money, or at least of foreign articles, may be obtained in exchange for the surplus produce. The merchant, however, in fixing the value, makes a large deduction on account of the long and difficult conveyance; besides, as he carries on trade on a small scale and without competition, he exacts high profits, and has the farmer a good deal at his mercy. Commercial transactions in all the country districts of America are usually carried on by an individual named a storekeeper, who keeps an assortment of all the commodities likely to be wanted, and receives in return the produce of the cultivator. This mode of proceeding still farther supersedes the necessity of employing cash as a medium of exchange.
"Compared to the various disadvantages now stated, the gentleman settler, who must take with him a certain amount of capital, ought not to regard even a considerable difference in the price of the land, because, as already observed, it forms the smallest part of the outlay requisite for bringing it into a productive state. With regard to the contingent expectation of a future rise in value, this can only take place upon the low original price, and therefore can never be of any very great amount. Besides, along with the general advance of the country, the settled districts, and those in the vicinity of towns, will acquire also an additional value. At all events, a rise in the land is of little importance to him, if it ceases to be his,-an issue to which a long course of heavy expenses and scanty produce is very likely to lead.
"We have thought it the more necessary to dwell upon these considerations, as they seem to have escaped a large proportion of the opulent settlers recently attracted towards Canada. Under the influence of vague and speculative hopes, they have made it their ambition to plunge into the extreme west and the heart of the bush, and seem to have imagined that the farther they placed themselves beyond every vestige of culture and civilisation, the greater advantages did they secure. A letter in 1834 states that almost all the emigrants of capital were hastening to the London District, a territory perhaps the most decidedly woodland of any in Canada. Settlers in these wilds encounter peculiar and extreme hardships, being deprived of every accommodation to which they had been accustomed; sometimes even in want of common necessaries, and in danger of starvation. At different times, pork, flour, or tea are wanting, when the weather cuts off all communication with the shore; and the ox-waggon, in travelling thence with supplies, is often so shaken that the contents are strangely mingled. Rice, sugar, currants, mustard, are jumbled together; and the next pudding perhaps proves to be seasoned with pepper, and even rappee. However, while their money lasts, they can make their way, and clear a certain portion of land, which yields in plenty the rude necessaries of life.
View from the house of R. Shirreff, Esq. (Ottawa River.)
But they have no means to recruit their exhausted purse, or secure any supply of the comforts and elegancies to which they had been accustomed. If, in anticipation of prosperity, they have incurred any extent of pecuniary obligation, their situation becomes extremely embarrassing, and may issue in the entire loss of their property.
"Important, however, as a marketable situation appears, it ought by no means to be procured by any great sacrifice as to the quality of the land; for, as Mr. Talbot justly states, it is vain for a cultivator to be near a market, if he has little or nothing to carry to it. It has been already mentioned, that after paying the original price, a much larger sum, nearly equal in every case, must be expended in bringing the land under cultivation. Thus there is little difference between the cost of good and bad soil, while the former only, under existing disadvantages, ever can remunerate the settler. It is a grievous thing, as Mr. Shirreff observes, to incur heavy labour and expense in clearing a spot, and then find it worth little. The settler, therefore, who brings with him a certain amount of capital, practises a most wretched economy when he hesitates to pay such an original price as will secure both a good situation and good land. If a small sacrifice must be made, it should rather be on the former. A larger produce will pay for a small addition on the cost of transport, and time may remedy the one evil, but will never make a bad sale good. Some sacrifice of this kind may often be necessary; since, as Mr. Fergusson remarks, on the immediate banks of lakes and rivers it is not unfrequently light and sandy, whence arises the necessity of going somewhat into the interior in order to find the more valuable description.
"In consequence of the views now stated, it becomes a highly important question what are the market or cash districts (as they are sometimes called), in contradistinction to those in the bush. In regard to Canada, the topographical details already given must throw important lights on the subject; and to these some general observations shall now be added. The shipping ports of Montreal or Quebec form the central points, by proximity to which the advantages of all sites in either province are to be estimated; and next to this is a location on navigable waters having a ready communication with them. The banks of the St. Lawrence between these two cities are occupied to a considerable depth inland by the French seigniories. Land, however, in the vicinity of Montreal may still be procured, having the advantages of a ready market; but from this very circumstance it cannot be purchased under a price varying from 10l. to 20l. an acre, a rate beyond the reach of most emigrants. It may be rented indeed at 10s. or 12s. and Mr. Shirreff is of opinion that farming may there be carried on with advantage; but in a country where land may be obtained in full property at so cheap a rate, the British settler is not likely to be content with this dependent tenure. His object, therefore, must be sought somewhat farther in the interior.
"The parts of the Eastern and Johnstown districts along the bank of the St. Lawrence enjoy perhaps the best situation as regards proximity to market of any in Upper Canada; and their advantage in this respect will be further improved on the completion of the canal now in progress for overcoming the obstructions in the navigation of that river. This tract, however, labours under the very serious drawback of being decidedly inferior in soil and climate to the more western territories. The former deficiency, it is true, will appear from our topographical survey to be by no means universal, the idea having been in some measure suggested by the rugged aspect of the immediate banks. Matilda and other districts appear to contain a considerable extent of fine land yet-unoccupied. The climate operates chiefly to prevent the raising of wheat so fine as to bear the cost of transportation to Europe; but this is of less moment since live stock had begun to be considered the more profitable branch. On the whole, therefore, we incline to think that settlers of capital, in their eagerness to push westward and into the bush, have bestowed too little attention on this portion of territory.
"The banks of the Ottawa on both sides as far up as Hull, and including those of its tributary the Rideau, appear to possess similar advantages. Some demand for produce is also made by the lumberers who pass to and from the upper tracts on this river. The soil and climate seem to call for nearly the same observations as have been made on the two preceding districts.
Timber Slide and Bridge on the Ottawa.
"The shores of Lake Ontario, including a space varying from ten to twenty miles inland, afford good scope for a settler of moderate capital. This territory, though not uniformly fertile, contains a large extent of excellent soil with a comparatively mild climate; and as the rigorous season is shorter, winter wheat even of fine quality may be produced. Toronto and Kingston, now considerable towns, present a ready market, through the medium too of respectable merchants, who are known to deal on liberal terms. The river Trent and the Rice Lake might perhaps be viewed as enlarging the sphere of eligible settlement somewhat beyond the limits now stated; but we could scarcely recommend to a gentleman to go far beyond Peterborough. The vicinity of the city first mentioned, and the goodness of the road called Gouge-street, may indeed carry the range a little farther in that direction, though we doubt whether it would be advisable to go to the remoter shores of Lake Simcoe. Gore district, where it passes Burlington Bay, must, we suspect, be considered as mere bush.
"Beyond Ontario, the shores of Lake Erie, even since the completion of the Welland Canal, cannot be recommended without some hesitation. The distance from Montreal becomes great, and as the goods could scarcely be conveyed without transhipment, the tolls of three canals must be paid. At all events, it is only the lands closely adjoining this great lake that appear to afford a profitable site for the more opulent settlers; for the interior of the London District, including even the banks of the Thames, must still, we suspect, be classed with the bush-territory. Mr. Shirreff found that wheat bore a very low price there, and that it was moreover difficult to be procured. The shores of Lake Huron must also be included under the same description.
Lake Massawhippy. (Eastern Townships.)
"It ought, however, to be observed that these limits may be considerably modified by the great works mentioned in the commercial chapter as being contemplated for extending the communications of Upper Canada. These, unfortunately, are now at a stand for want of means; but if the plans of Lord Durham be carried into effect, we may hope to see them all accomplished on an augmented scale.
"It will be proper to consider under this view the eastern townships of Upper Canada. Their situation is peculiar, owing to the banks of the St. Lawrence and of the Richelieu being occupied by the French seigniories, having a tract of inferior ground in their rear. The townships are thus thrown much inland, and their products can be brought to market only by a land-carriage, varying from 60 to 120 miles. The roads too have hitherto been bad; but the British American Land Company have been employed in making a very good one from Port St. Francis to Sherbrooke, and in improving the others. The evil also is much mitigated by the circumstance that cattle, which form the main staple of this territory, can convey themselves to market, and, even if killed, the salted meat contains much more value in the same bulk than grain. Yet we should hesitate in advising settlers of the more opulent class to proceed further than Melbourne and Shipton, on the side of Port St. Francis, or beyond Shefford, if proceeding from Montreal. Here they will find good land, which, when the promised improvements are completed, will not be much more than 50 miles from a port on the St. Lawrence.
"A young man, who desires to form a judgment how far such a mode of life will suit him, must be warned not to carry out the ideas of rank and dignity which are connected with the possession of land in Europe. Here, according to feudal ideas, not wholly extinct, it was anciently combined with power; and still, from the large rents paid for its use, it generally confers wealth without labour-the enjoyment of splendor and luxurious ease. But in America, this species of property has never implied hereditary influence; and it yields income, in most instances, only by hard personal labour, or an active superintendence. The few wealthy men of which it can boast, have acquired their riches by acting as merchants and storekeepers; and these are, on the whole, the persons of greatest consequence in the country. But, though landed estate does not ensure those factitious distinctions, there are important advantages of which it can never be divested. It is attended with a degree of independence seldom enjoyed by the middling classes in Britain; for here, farmers, with a heavy burden of rent and taxes, which they must make good amid many uncertainties, are always liable to come under the power of their landlords. Salaried officers, too, may be exposed to insult, and even the loss of their situations, through the caprice of employers or superiors; whereas, a proprietor in the colonies, if he can draw a subsistence from his lands, and keep clear of debt, is scarcely liable to any vicissitude. He is removed, indeed, from the society of his friends; but this, unless as to occasional visits, is usually the lot of professional men even in our own country, who must accept employment wherever they can find it. Again, he can never return to reside in his native land-a privation which, to those who have spent the best part of their lives abroad, is, in a great degree, imaginary; and, aided by the improving means of communication, he is not debarred from the possibility of seeing his relations at home. In regard to society in Canada, if he has followed the advice of not going far into the bush, he will find it as good as it is usually met with in the rural parts of Britain, or even in provincial towns.
A Lake farm on the Frontier.
"The foregoing estimates have been made with the view of ascertaining what income may be expected from a Canadian farm, after it is cleared and placed under regular cultivation; but the momentous question-by what means and resources the emigrant is to bring it into this condition, still remains to be considered. It must not be concealed that his task will be arduous; and if he is to perform it, as is here supposed, by hired labourers, a certain capital will be requisite. 200 acres of land, of good quality, and in an eligible situation, cannot be purchased for much less than 200l. He must erect some kind of habitation, though at first a simple one, and have certain farm-offices, implements, and labouring stock, which will require at least 100l. He must also have the means of subsistence till he is able to draw it from his farm; though this, it is presumed, during his noviciate, will be managed with the strictest economy. But the hardest part of the task now remains; for the dense forest which covers his ground must be cut down before a single blade can grow upon it. This process, with the addition of fencing and sowing, is averaged at 4l. an acre, which, with reference to the requisite space of 150 acres, would amount to 600l.; the remaining 50 being advantageously allowed to remain in woodland. It is true that this process may be gradual, and that the increasing produce of the improved portions will afford means for clearing the remainder; but as there is also to be paid out of it the subsistence of the emigrant, the expenses of cultivation, and the additions necessary to the stock of the enlarged farm, the improvements must be far advanced before any surplus can be expected."
Lake beneath the Owls-head Mountain. (Eastern Townships.)
CHAP. V. SPORTING IN CANADA.
The pursuit of most kinds of game in Canada does not differ sufficiently from that of other countries to make a description worth our while. That of the bear, however, is a sort of aboriginal sport, which sometimes involves rough adventures. Mr. Talbot, in his Travels, gives the following, which seems as perilous as any we can quote:-
"One of my father's settlers, of the name of Howay, discovered the tracks of three bears on the morning of the 11th December; and, after following them for about three miles, came to the tree in which they had taken up their quarters. Having his dog, his gun, and his axe with him, he began to cut down the tree, the trunk of which was at least 16 feet in circumference. Whilst engaged in this employment, he occasionally directed his eyes upward, to see if his motions disturbed the bears in the place of their retreat. He became at length weary of acting as sentry to the prisoners, and had nearly forgotten this needful precaution, when, in the midst of his hewing, a large piece of bark struck him on the head. This aroused his attention, and, on looking again, he discovered, to his great consternation, one of the bears descending the tree in the usual manner, tail foremost. Apprehensive that he might be attacked by his black friend, which he perceived was coming down with every appearance of hostility, he laid down his axe, and, taking up his gun, resolved to discharge its contents into the body of bruin. Upon reflection, however, he desisted; for he was afraid, if he only wounded the animal, his own life would be the forfeit of his eager temerity. While he was thus deliberating, his dog perceived the bear, then only a few yards from the ground, and, by his barking, alarmed the brute so much that he ran up the tree with inconceivable swiftness. On arriving at the opening into the trunk, he turned himself about, and, looking down attentively, surveyed the dog and his master. Howay now regretted that he had not called upon some of his neighbours to assist him; but being afraid that if he should then go for any one the party would in the mean time effect their escape, he rallied his courage, and, resuming his gun, lodged a ball in the bear's neck, which fortunately brought him lifeless to the ground. Victory generally inspires the conqueror with fresh courage, and is seldom the forerunner of caution. The conduct of Howay, however, affords an exception to a rule so generally acknowledged; for, instead of being elated by his success, and stimulated to pursue his conquest, he reflected, that, although he had been thus far fortunate, the favourable issue was to be imputed more to casualty than to any particular exertion of his own prowess, and concluded, that if he continued to fell the tree, he might in his turn become the vanquished. He, therefore, very prudently determined to go home and bring some of his neighbours to his aid. Leaving the bear at the foot of the tree he departed, and in a short time returned with two men, three dogs, and an additional axe. They soon succeeded in cutting clown the tree, which, when falling, struck against another, and broke off about the middle, at the identical spot where the beasts lodged. Stunned and confused, the affrighted animals ran so close to one of the men, that he actually put the muzzle of his gun close to its shoulder and shot two balls through its body. The other escaped unhurt; and the dogs pursued the wounded one till he compelled them to return with their flesh badly lacerated.
"By this time the winter sun had ceased to shed his refulgent beams upon that portion of the globe, and the men deemed it imprudent to follow the tracks until the succeeding morning; when Howay, accompanied by a person of the name of Nowlan, an American by birth, and of course well acquainted with the woods, followed the tracks, having previously provided themselves with a rifle, an axe, about six charges of powder and shot, and bread and meat sufficient for their dinner. This was early in the morning of Thursday, the 12th of December. About two o'clock in the afternoon they were observed by some persons crossing the river Thames, nearly seven miles from the place at which they set off. This was the only intelligence we had of them for thirteen days. After they had been absent for some time their friends concluded that they must either have perished with hunger and cold, or have been destroyed by the wounded bear. I was strongly of opinion that they had been frozen to death, for the weather was excessively cold, and they were slightly clothed, without a tinder-box and totally unprovided with any means of shielding themselves from the inclemency of the weather. I therefore assembled a large party of the settlers pertaining to the townships of London and Nassouri, and proposed that we should stock ourselves with provisions for a few days, and go in quest of the two unfortunate hunters. To this proposal they unanimously agreed; and we set off on the following morning, provided with pocket compasses and trumpets, a good supply of ammunition, and the necessary apparatus for lighting fires, taking with us some of the best dogs in the country. In the interval between their departure and ours a partial thaw had taken place, which left not the slightest layer of snow upon the ground, except in low and swampy situations. We had, therefore, no tracks for our direction, nor any idea of the course which Howay and Nowlan had taken, except what we had obtained from the persons who saw them crossing the Thames on the day of their departure. We had no very sanguine hopes of finding them; but continued for two days to explore thousands of acres of interminable forests and desolate swamps, apparently untrodden by human foot, yet without the most distant prospect of success. We returned home, having given up all expectation of seeing them again, either living or dead. There was, however, one consideration which administered a portion of comfort to our anxiety: the objects of our search were men without families-they were strangers in America. They had no parents here to mourn over their untimely fate; no wives to lament the hour when they first met, or the moment when they last parted; and no children to deplore their early orphanage, or to call in vain for their fathers' return. In fact, they were mourned by none but unconnected neighbours.
"Thirteen days had now elapsed since the departure of the two adventurous settlers, and all hope of their return had completely vanished. On the morning of Christmas-day, as I was in the act of sending messengers to some of Howay's most intimate acquaintance, to request them to take an inventory of his property, I was informed that he and his companion had returned a few hours before, alive, but in a most wretched condition. When I had recovered in some measure from my surprise I went to see them, for I felt anxious to hear from themselves an account of their extraordinary preservation. Never in my life did I behold such spectacles of woe, poverty, and distress. Their emaciated countenances, wild and sunken eyes, withered limbs, and tattered garments, produced such an extraordinary effect upon my imagination, that I approached them with a degree of timidity for which I was unable to account. I sat down beside them, and for some time fancied I was holding converse with the ghosts of departed spirits; nor could I entirely banish this idea from my mind during a conversation of several hours. Their preservation appeared to me as signal an interposition of Providence as any of which I had before heard; and, since it may not prove uninteresting to you, who are unacquainted with the woods and wilds of America, I shall give you a particular account of it. I consider it the more likely to interest you, because it is none of those second-hand stories which usually, as they fly from cabin to cabin, increase prodigiously, until they swell beyond the reasonable bounds of probability, and fearfully invade those illimitable regions-
'Where human thought, like human sight,
Fails to pursue their trackless flight.'
"On the day of their departure, they pursued the bear, which took a north-western course for at least twenty miles, and at night stopped upon his track. With great difficulty they lit a fire, having contrived to produce a light by the application of a piece of dry linen to the pan of their gun whilst flashing it. Thus, before a good fire, they spent the first night, which was exceedingly cold, both supperless and sleepless.
"In the morning they continued the chase, as soon as they had eaten a small piece of bread, the crumbs or fragments of their dinner on the preceding day. This was equally divided between themselves and their dog. About noon, when they had travelled on the track, through all its windings and doublings, for at least twenty miles, they were unable to distinguish the north from the south, and of course considered themselves lost in the boundless immensity of interminable forests. They resolved to pursue the bear no longer, conscious that it would lead them still further into the wilderness, from whence they apprehended they could not without difficulty extricate themselves, for the snow was disappearing fast, and the rain continuing to increase. They now recollected, that, in the early part of the day, they had crossed over the track of another bear, which they fancied would lead them to the settlements. This they unwisely resolved to follow, consoling themselves with the thought, that, if it should not conduct them to the abodes of man, it might lead them to the bear's retreat; and that if they should succeed in killing him in a spot even remote from any settlement, his flesh would afford them nourishment, and his skin a more comfortable couch than the snow-covered deserts on which they had bivouacked the preceding night. Hope, which-though it often bids desponding thoughts depart, and sometimes cheers us in the darkest hour-is too frequently the cause of our expecting where expectation is vain, and disappointment ruinous, had, in the present instance, nearly precipitated its unfortunate votaries into the vortex of irretrievable misery. They followed on the track, until the snow completely disappeared, and the sky became so dreadfully overcast, that they were compelled to relinquish all ideas of hunting, and to think only of escaping from solitude and starvation. They were by this time on the banks of a small rivulet, the course of which they resolved to pursue, expecting that it would eventually lead them to the Thames, into which they calculated, as a matter of undoubted certainty, it emptied itself. On the banks of this rivulet they passed the second night, but were not able to get any sleep. It rained incessantly, and they suffered much from their exposed situation, for they were only partially covered with a few strips of barks. The wolves howled around them, and the tempest "fiercely blew." The trees bent their proud crests even with the ground; and many, torn up by the roots through the violence of the wind, fell to rise no more, near the very spot on which our travellers vainly sought repose.
View over Lake Memphremagog. (from the Sugar Loaf.)
"On the third day they continued their journey down the brook, which, growing wider and wider, inclined them to think it was the head of some extensive river, and they hoped it would prove to be that of the Thames. The violence of the storm began to subside about noon, but without any abatement of the cold, or cessation of the rain, which continued to fall during the whole of the day. A little before sunset they fired at a partridge, but unfortunately missed it. Three charges of powder and shot were now all that remained. Still hope, with its sustaining influence, prevented their hearts from sinking within them, and still did they expect a speedy termination of their toils and sufferings. But another joyless night found them waking in all its watches, and another sunless morning saluted them,-the victims of despair.
"On the fourth day, they felt excessively hungry and weak; their thirst also was insatiable, being compelled every five or six minutes to drink. In the afternoon, their hunger increased to such a degree, that they could have eaten any thing except human flesh. Sixty hours had now elapsed without their having tasted food of any kind, and the appalling idea of suffering by starvation for the first time obtruded itself. Before the close of the day, however, they succeeded in shooting a partridge, one-half of which they imprudently ate as their supper, and feasted on the remainder at breakfast the ensuing morning,-thus fulfilling the scriptural injunction in a sense in which it was not conveyed, "Take no thought for the morrow." They declared their hunger was no more appeased by eating this bird, than it would have been, at a more fortunate period of their lives, by swallowing a cherry! Little more than one charge of powder was now left; and this they resolved to preserve for lighting fires, knowing, as the frost had again set in, that if they were exposed for a single night to the weather, without the protection of a fire, they must inevitably perish.
"The fifth night proved extremely cold, and Nowlan perceived, in the morning, that his feet were badly frozen. Pitiable as their situation was before this heart-rending event, it then became still more wretched. This unfortunate man had now to endure a complication of unprecedented sufferings. To the imperative hankerings of hunger, which he could not satisfy, a continual thirst, which he could not appease, a violent fever, which seemed not to abate, and the "pelting of the pitiless storm," from which he had no shelter, there was added a species of torment the most excruciating that human nature is doomed to suffer. Until this deplorable event, they had travelled at least fifty miles a day, walking, or, as they expressed it, running from before sunrise until after sunset. They were now unable to perform more than half their accustomed journey, and even that with the utmost difficulty.
"On the afternoon of the sixth day, the sun appeared for a few moments, and convinced them that they were not on the banks of the Thames. The knowledge of this gave them much uneasiness, from a conviction which it impressed on their minds, that they were on the banks of a river which might lead them to the desolate and uninhabited shores of Lake Huron or Lake St. Claire. Still they preferred following its course, hoping to discover some Indian settlement, which they could have no expectation of finding if they departed from its margin. Immediately after the sun had disappeared they discovered a boat on the opposite side of the river, and, a little further down, a canoe. The appearance of these vessels induced them to think that a new settlement could not be far distant; but, when they had travelled several miles further, and had not met with any other traces of inhabitants, they concluded that the vessels had been driven down the river by the ice during the late thaw, and had been stopped at the point where they were first noticed. They were just about to cut down some timber for the night, when they observed a stack of hay a few perches before them, and on their side of the river. The hay appeared to have been mowed on the flats, or shallows, where it grows spontaneously beneath the gloomy shades of the overhanging forest. This circumstance, when coupled with their recent discovery of the boat and canoe, convinced them that they were in the immediate neighbourhood of some settlement. The hay-stack afforded them a comfortable asylum for the night, and appeared to them the most enviable bed on which they had ever reclined.
"On the morning of the seventh day, they rose much refreshed, having enjoyed, for the first time since they left home, a few hours of sound sleep. They were confirmed afresh, by the incident of the stack, in their resolution to keep close to the river, being elated with the idea that it would certainly lead them to some inhabited place. But their dog, the faithful companion of their dangers and partaker in their sufferings, was that morning unable to proceed any farther. When he attempted to follow them, he staggered a few paces, and then fell, but had not power to rise again. The hunger of the men had by this time increased to such a degree, that they could have eaten the most loathsome food; yet they desisted from killing the dog;-they left him to die a lingering death rather than imbrue their hands in the blood of a fellow-sufferer. Scarcely had they proceeded a mile beyond the hay-stack, when they were intercepted by an impassable swamp, which compelled them to leave the direction of the river. Difficulties seemed to surround them on every hand, and success appeared to smile on them for a moment but to add to their other sufferings the pangs of blighted hope and bitter disappointment. They were compelled to wander once more into the pathless desert, with very faint expectations of regaining the river.
"They walked a considerable distance on the eighth day; and at four o'clock on the ninth discerned the tracks of two men and a dog. They now imagined the long-wished for settlement at hand. With renewed spirit and alacrity, therefore, they pushed onward, indulging by the way the pleasing reflection, that the issue of the newly-discovered track would ere long terminate their woes, and bring them to enjoy once more the unspeakable pleasure of human society. Judge, then, what must have been their feelings, when, towards evening, they were brought to the very spot on which they had lain five nights before! Hope now no longer shed her delusive rays into their hearts; and they neither had a thought, nor felt a desire, to prolong a miserable existence. They sat down, therefore, without making a fire, and formed a resolution that night to end both their miseries and their lives. The tears trickled down their haggard cheeks, as they gazed upon each other's altered countenance; and the chief dread which both felt was, that the one should die before his companion, and leave the survivor to expire unpitied and unseen. Another reflection added poignancy to their sufferings; and that was, the idea of being devoured, after death, by the ravenous monsters of the wilderness. Howay, however, with some degree of fortitude endeavoured to compose himself, trusting that, 'though, after his skin, wolves should destroy his mortal body, yet in his flesh should he see God; whom he should see for himself, and his eyes should behold, and not another.' But Nowlan, though sixty-four winters had furrowed his cheeks, had very little notion of a future state,-his perishable body alone engrossed his attention. Educated, or rather reared, in this land of impiety and infidelity, his ideas of the Deity and of his attributes were little calculated to elevate his views from the miseries of this world to the felicities of another and a better. He had scarcely ever heard the sound of the gospel, and knew nothing of its offers of mercy. In this world he had no longer any interest; and about the eternal concerns of the next he was wholly ignorant, and seemed utterly unconcerned. How deplorable the situation of such a being! Better for him had he never been born! With bright and well-founded prospects of a blissful immortality, a man may rejoice in the midst of tribulations, if possible still more acute; but, without these powerful consolations in a dying hour, he must sink in despair beneath the accumulated weight of misery and remorse.
"After indulging in the gloomiest reflections for nearly an hour,-during which time they both declared, that if a tree had then been in the act of falling on them, they would not have made any exertion to escape from its destructive stroke,-they began to look upon it as their duty to employ the means which Providence had placed within their reach for the preservation of that life which He who gave possessed the sole right of taking away; and they resolved once more to light a fire. This with the utmost difficulty they accomplished, for they were so much debilitated as to be scarcely able to exert themselves in collecting a sufficient quantity of fuel. As they consumed the last grain of their powder in this operation, they became susceptible but of one emotion,-that of indescribable horror, at the idea of being compelled, ere another night should elapse, to pay the debt of nature in a manner the most abhorrent to their feelings. They now conversed freely, but in a melancholy strain, on the method in which it was most likely that the frost would accomplish their destruction; and agreed in the opinion, that it would first attack the extremities of their bodies, and gradually proceed up towards the vitals, until their hearts'-blood should become congealed to ice. After this discourse they lay down, almost unmindful of the past and careless about the future, endeavouring to resign themselves to the fate which awaited them, whatever that might be.
"On the morning of the ninth day of their deplorable wanderings, they arose in a state of perfect apathy, and began to traverse the same lands which they had so reluctantly trodden six days before. In the evening they arrived at the hay-stack, where they left the dog. They found him still living, but unable to get upon his feet. He was reduced to a mere skeleton, and appeared to be in the agonies of death. The desire of life once more took its seat in their hearts, and they resolved to seek diligently for some sort of food. Their appetites were now so unconquerably ravenous, that they stripped the bark off an elm tree, and devoured large quantities of its inner rind. Scarcely had they eaten it, however, when they became exceedingly delirious, and were forced to lie down among the hay, where they remained until morning in an agony of despair.
By daylight, on the tenth morning, they were much better, and would have arisen, but, recollecting that they now possessed no materials for lighting a fire, they resolved to roll themselves up in the hay again, and quietly await the hour of dissolution, whenever it should arrive. Their resolution had but just been formed, when they heard the joyful sound of a cow-bell, which seemed to proceed from the opposite shore of the river. They arose immediately, and, on looking over the water, perceived to their infinite satisfaction a log-house recently erected, but yet without any appearance of inhabitants. For some time they felt inclined to doubt the evidence of their senses, and to consider the log-house as a creature of their disturbed imaginations. They recollected passing that way before without observing any building; but, on calling to mind the circumstance of seeing the boat and the canoe, they were convinced that all was reality-delightful, heart-cheering reality! They, therefore, resolved, by some means or other, to ford the river; and walking with feeble steps but bounding hearts along the bank, they soon discovered a crossing place. On arriving at the opposite shore, they were met by a white man and two Indians, who took them to the house of one Townsend, with whom they were well acquainted, and from whom they experienced every mark of attention which their wretched condition required. The heart of sensibility, if conversant with affliction, may form some estimate of their feelings at that moment. Every tender emotion, of which the soul of unlettered man is susceptible, may be supposed to have been in full exercise at that exhilarating interview. And if a single feeling had then any marked preponderance over another, it must have been that of gratitude-boundless, unspeakable gratitude, to the protecting power of an Almighty and gracious Deliverer.
"A few months previous to this event, Townsend had discovered a salt-spring on the banks of the river Sauble, and was at this time preparing to commence a manufactory of that article at a distance of nearly twenty miles from any human habitation. This embryo salt-manufactory was the building which Howay and Nowlan discovered after they heard the ringing of the cow-bell. It was a fortunate circumstance for them; for if this spot had been uninhabited, as it was a short time before, they must unquestionably have breathed their last on the banks of that unexplored river, which flows into Lake Huron at a point which is nearly 100 miles from any settlement. They were only thirty miles from the lake when interrupted by the swamp, in avoiding which they had inadvertently wandered back into the woods; and, on discovering their own tracks, returned unconsciously to the place where they had lain five nights before-a catastrophe, which, at the time, they lamented as a dire misfortune, but which afterwards, as you have seen, was the cause of their final deliverance.
"At Townsend's house they were fifty miles from home, every yard of which they had to travel through the wilderness, but not without the aid of a blazed line to direct them. Nowlan's feet were by this time in a very bad condition; and as he could not procure at that lonely dwelling the materials necessary to prevent mortification, which he was apprehensive would very soon take place, he and his companion set off early on the following morning. Mrs. Townsend kindly furnished them with provisions, and every thing necessary for their journey; and on the eve of the thirteenth day after their departure from the Talbot Settlement, they had once more the happiness of enjoying the comforts of their own firesides.-So much for the enviable pleasures of the American bear-chase!"
We add to this interesting account a few remarks on bears from a clever writer on Natural History.
"There are probably three or four different kinds of bears in North America; but neither the grizzly bear, the barren-ground bear, nor the great polar species, infest the countries with which we are more immediately occupied, although the last-named occasionally travels as far southward on the coast of Labrador as the fifty-fifth parallel. However, the black bear (Ursus niger Americanus) is well known in Canada, and is found wherever wooded districts occur, northwards to the shores of the Arctic Sea, southwards as far as Carolina, and westward across the continent to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Although this species is the least carnivorous of its kind, yet Dr. Richardson informs us that its strength and agility, combined with its great tenacity of life, render an attack upon it very hazardous, and its pursuit has always been considered by the rude inhabitants of the northern regions as a matter of the highest importance. They previously propitiate the whole race of bears by sundry ceremonies, and when an individual is slain they treat it with the utmost respect, address it as a near relation, and offer it a pipe to smoke. This veneration has no doubt arisen from their admiration of the skill and pertinacity with which bruin defends himself, and it is both curious and interesting to observe how the same feeling is exhibited by various tribes of people, speaking different languages, and inhabiting separate countries. We know from Regnard that the chase of the bear is regarded by the Laplanders as among the most solemn actions of their life; and Leems tells us that they never address that animal familiarly by its proper name of Guourhja, but call it "the old man in the fur cloak," because it has the strength of ten men, and the sense of twelve. Bear-dances, in which its movements are imitated, are well known among the recreations of the North American Indians. Alexander Henry, who travelled in Canada and the adjoining territories in the years 1760-76, has furnished us with some valuable and curious remarks regarding the black bear of the New World. While on the banks of Lake Michigan, in the month of January, he observed the trunk of an enormous pine tree much torn, as if by the claws of one ascending and descending. He next noticed a large opening in the upper portion, near which the smaller branches were broken off. It was agreed that all his retainers should assemble together next morning, to assist in cutting down the tree, as from the absence of tracks upon the surrounding snow, it was presumed that a bear had for some time lain concealed within. The tree measured eighteen feet in circumference. Their axes being very light, they toiled all day, both men and women, like beavers, till the sun went down, by which time they had got only about half way through the trunk. They renewed the attack next morning, and about two in the afternoon the monarch of the wood reeled and fell. For several minutes after the first crash every thing remained quiescent, and it was feared their labour had been in vain; but just as Mr. Henry advanced towards the opening, out came an enormous bear, which he immediately shot. No sooner was the monster dead than his assailants approached, and all took the head in their hands, stroking and kissing it repeatedly, begging its pardon a thousand times, calling it their relation and grandmother, and requesting it to lay no blame on them since it was truly an Englishman who had put it to death. "If," adds Mr. Henry, "it was I that killed their grandmother, they were not themselves behind hand in what remained to be performed." The skin was taken off, and the fat found to be in several places six inches deep. When divided into two parts it formed a load for two persons, and the fleshy portions were as much as four men could carry. In all, the carcass must have exceeded 500 pounds weight. As soon as they had reached the lodge, the head was adorned with various trinkets, and laid upon a scaffold, with a large quantity of tobacco near the nose; and sundry other ceremonies were gone through in the course of the ensuing morning, after which they made a feast of the flesh. According to this author it is only the female bear that makes her lodging in the upper parts of trees,-an instinctive practice, by which her future young are secured from the attacks of wolves and other carnivorous animals. She brings forth in the winter season, and remains in her lodge till the cubs have acquired some strength. The male is said always to lodge in the ground, under the roots of trees.
In the latitude of 65° the winter sleep of the bear continues from the beginning of October to the first or second week of May; but on the northern shore of Lake Huron, the period is shorter by two or three months. In very severe winters, numbers of them have been observed entering the United States from the northward, all extremely lean, and accompanied by scarcely any females. Now it is well known that bears never retire to their winter dens until they have acquired a thick coating of fat, and that in remote districts they couple in September, when in good condition from feeding on the wild berries, which are at that time mature and abundant. The females then retire at once to their holes, concealing themselves so carefully that even "the lyncean eye of an Indian hunter very rarely detects them;" but the males, exhausted by the pursuit of their mates, require ten or twelve days to recover their lost fat. "An unusually early winter will, it is evident, operate most severely on the males, by preventing them from fattening a second time; hence their migrations at such times to more southerly districts." It is an error, however, to suppose, as many do, that the black bears generally abandon the northern districts on the approach of winter, the quantity of skins, as Dr. Richardson observes, which are procured during that season in all parts of the fur countries being a sufficient proof to the contrary. The females bring forth about the beginning of January, and are supposed to carry for about fifteen or sixteen weeks. The number of cubs varies from one to five, according to the age of the mother, who begins to bear long before she has attained her full dimensions.
CHAP. VI. IMPRESSIONS OF CANADA, NIAGARA, THE ST. LAWRENCE, ETC. UPON EMIGRANT SETTLERS.
The Falls of Niagara impress travellers very differently. Most persons, having heard of this wonder of the world from their childhood, have aggrandized their imagination of its appearance in proportion with the growth of their minds, and visit Niagara, at last, with the expectation of seeing an ocean poured from the height of the clouds. A very graphic and sketchy account of past impressions at the Falls is given by a traveller, whose book is less known than it deserves; and we quote from him, quite sure that his description will be new to the reader. "I first visited these celebrated Falls," he says, "in the month of September-a season of the year which, in America, is peculiarly pleasant. The violent heats have then considerably abated; the musquito, satiated with human blood, has given rest to his proboscis; and man, free from the irritating bite of innumerable tormenting insects, and from the scorching heat of an almost insupportable sun, enjoys an agreeable respite, and ranges through the country in quiet and comfort. Until I arrived within a mile of the Falls, the sky was perfectly clear, the sun shone with his wonted splendour, and the atmosphere was remarkably dry and uncommonly lucid. But no sooner had I approached their immediate vicinity, than a sudden and singular change took place in the whole aspect of nature. The earth, before parched and immovable, became damp and tremulous; and the sky, till then unsullied by a single cloud, assumed a frowning, dark, and portentous appearance. The atmosphere, previously dry and rarefied, now presented a dense and humid visage; and my fancy, unreined by my reason transported me into a world essentially different from that in which, a few minutes before, I 'lived, and moved, and had my being.'
"Still, however, I pursued my course, and at length gained the summit of the craggy hills which flank this noble river. My increased elevation did not contribute to dissipate the preconceived delusion, and I still felt inclined to doubt of my own or the world's identity. Mountains of water, belching forth the most appalling sounds-globes of foam, boiling with rage-rainbows, embracing within their numerous and splendid arches a surprising variety of newly-formed impending clouds-rocks, boldly projecting over the tumultuous abyss-and spray-covered forests, decorated with pearly drops, now rendered more brilliant than crystal by the reflected rays of the setting sun, and now blown into feathery streams by sudden gusts of the impetuous wind;-these were some of the most striking features of the gorgeous scenery by which I was surrounded. Long did I luxuriate in pleasing contemplation, admiring its peculiar grandeur; and still did I find myself lingering amidst these stupendous and matchless displays of creative excellence, until the sun, wearied with shedding his beams on the transatlantic wilds, had retired, in all his glory, 'to rove o'r other lands, and give to other men the kindest boon of heaven.'
"For the first time of my life did I regret the shortness of a September day. But my regret soon ceased; for ere night had completely drawn her sable mantle across the objects of my admiration, over which I still lingered, a glorious moon, enshrouded in golden robes, kindly lent me the aid of her beauteous lustre, and quickly diffused through every part of the landscape new features of loveliness, giving it a character far more soft and interesting than that with which proud day had invested it. The stupendous and magnificent machinery of nature, which had recently bound me in abstraction, was now divested of many of its peculiar charms. A perfect calm succeeded. The forests appeared sunk in deep repose. The winds had subsided. The green leaves, no longer agitated by the breeze, ceased their rustling. Not a cloud floated along the face of heaven. Every thing around and above seemed to have found
'Tir'd nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep.'
All was still, except the wakeful cataracts that roared with their wonted violence, and disturbed the basin which groaned beneath the undiminished burden. Never was there a finer contrast than that between the noise of the water and the stillness of the air; the golden effulgence of the rushing flood, and the impenetrable shades of the surrounding forests; the blackness of the frightful gulf, down which the waves, with unabating force, are precipitated in crashing confusion, and the light and cheering face of the spangled heavens, over which the crescent moon was sailing with modest pride and conscious dignity.
"Sick and insensible must be the soul that could behold with indifference an exhibition so fine, so varied, so replete with all that is calculated to please the eye, to arouse the mind, and, in a word, to raise the whole man above the vulgar level of existence, and make him sensible, that while he thus contrasts the piccuresque scenery of the earth with the inimitable grandeur of the heavens, he is standing, as it were, in the immediate presence of that Deity who 'measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span'-to whom he is indebted for all he sees, and all he feels-by whose almighty power and wisdom the rivers had their appointed sources and obtained leave to flow, and from whose hands the mountains first received their appropriate bulk and due conformation.
"I cannot convey to you any idea of the poverty of language that is felt when one attempts to describe such a combination of grand and uncommon objects, among which is found every thing essential to constitute the romantic, the terrific, the picturesque, and the sublime. All that is awfully grand here occupies a prominent station; and every part is so tastefully arranged as to make the deepest impression upon beholders, and to proclaim, in language not less loud than the 'music of the spheres,'
The hand that made us is divine.
"The country in which Lake Erie lies is elevated nearly 300 feet above that which surrounds Ontario. The extensive slope, or mountain, as it is called, which divides the lower country from the upper, is, in many places, nearly perpendicular. It commences on the northern side of Lake Ontario, and runs thence round its north-western point, until it is intersected by the road which leads from York to Amherstburgh. It afterwards pursues an eastern direction, and finally embanks the strait or river of Niagara.
"Persons who visit the Falls generally stop at an adjacent village-(this account was written some twelve or fifteen years ago),-consisting of about a dozen houses, and two very excellent hotels, in which as good accommodation may be found as in any other part of the country. From the balcony of that which is styled the 'Niagara Falls' Pavilion,' there is a very fine view of the Horse-shoe Fall, and of the island which bisects the river. From the same house there is a difficult foot-path, which leads down a very steep bank to the edge of the river, immediately adjoining the place where the Table Rock formerly stood. It must also be recollected that the river issues from Lake Erie about twenty miles above the Falls, and, until it arrives within three miles of them, runs with a smooth current and an undisturbed surface. The bed of the stream then becomes rocky; and the water is so violently agitated by passing down successive rapids, that a person of the strongest nerves, standing on the shore, cannot without difficulty refrain from shuddering at the sight.
"Notwithstanding the rapidity of the current, its violence is displayed only on each side of the river, the middle remaining sufficiently smooth to admit of boats passing down to the island that separates the river into two branches, before the waters are dashed down the precipice which forms the Fall. As the current approaches this island, it seems to run with redoubled velocity. It is impossible to conceive any thing equal to the force and swiftness of its progress to the ledge of rocks, over which it is propelled, till it impetuously tumbles into the bed of the river beneath, with a noise louder than thunder. When the waters fall into the deep basin, they rebound into the air in immense spherical figures, white as snow and sparkling as diamonds. These figures, after rising, and, apparently, remaining stationary for a moment, explode at the top, and emit columns of spray to an astonishing height. They then subside, and are succeeded by others, which appear and disappear in the same manner.
"From that part of the Table Rock which yet remains, and the path to which I have already described, the spectator commands one of the grandest and most romantic views in nature. The tremendous rapids above the Falls-Goat Island in their midst, covered with trees, which seem at every moment about to be swept away-the Horse-shoe Fall, immediately below Table Rock-Fort Schlosser Fall, beyond Goat Island, and the frightful gulf beneath, boiling with perpetual rage, and shooting upwards immense volumes of sparkling foam, smoking with the apparent intensity of heat, are a few of the great objects which are forced upon his attention.
"Another place from which the Falls assume, if possible, a more striking and awful appearance, is at the bottom of the cataract. The precipice leading to this spot is descended by means of a ladder, commonly called 'the Indian ladder'-a piece of mechanism simply consisting of a cedar-tree, the boughs of which are lopped off at a sufficient distance from the trunk to make them answer all the purposes of irregular steps. After descending this ladder, the perpendicular height of which is upwards of sixty feet, you proceed along the edge of the river, which is covered with broken rocks, the wrecks of boats, and other exuviæ, until you arrive at the bottom of the Horse-shoe Fall. From this place visitors frequently proceed on foot several hundred yards, within a prodigious sheet of caverned water, which is formed by the overshooting of the cataract. But they must be men of the firmest nerve who venture on such a daring enterprise; for the most undaunted resolution is in danger of being shaken on looking upward at the impending rock, which continually seems to bend and groan beneath the rolling flood, to which it serves as a fearful support. From the projecting edge of this rock, the mass of waters is impelled forward, and leaves a large and smooth expanse, which reaches from the natural sheet of falling water to the very base of the gradually undermined mountain. If the atmosphere be dense, it is still more dangerous to engage in the bold attempt of exploring the stable foundations of the river; for people at such times not unfrequently lose the power of respiration in proceeding far beneath the rocky ceiling. Notwithstanding this and various other dangers, to which all are equally exposed who venture to approach the Fall in boats, the fisherman frequently continues there for hours together, apparently without any apprehension of danger.
"The whole breadth of the precipice or Falls, including the islands which intervene, is 1,335 yards. The greatest body of water falls on the Canadian side of the river; and on account of the form assumed by the waters before they are dashed from the top of the rocks, it is designated the Horse-shoe Fall. It extends from the shore to the intermediate island, a distance of 600 yards. Fort Schlosser Fall, which is on the American side, presents a sheet of water 350 yards in breadth; and the Little Fall extends across a ledge of rocks for upwards of 140 yards. The quantity of water which pours over all three, in every minute, is estimated at 169,344,000 gallons.
"Many stories are told of the melancholy fate of persons who at various times have been carried down the rapids, in attempting to cross the river above; but I believe the only well-authenticated anecdote of this kind is that of an Indian, who, having become intoxicated with liquor, made his canoe fast to a rock, a few miles above the Falls, and fell asleep. By some unknown accident, the canoe was loosed from its moorings, and immediately floated down the current. While the surface of the water continued to be smooth, the slumbers of the unconscious savage were undisturbed; but when his frail bark entered on the rapids, and became agitated by the turbulent eddies, he suddenly awoke. On perceiving his perilous situation, and recovering a little from his first astonishment, he laid hold upon his paddle, and used the most violent exertions to escape from the impending destruction. When his repeated failures to avert the swift course of the vessel had convinced him that all endeavours on his part would be unavailing, he laid aside his paddle, composedly rolled himself up in his blanket, and putting the whiskey bottle for the last time to his lips, quietly lay down, as if all danger were over. In a few moments he and his bark were precipitated down the Falls; and no one ever saw trace again of the Indian or his canoe.
"In the summer of 1822, a similar accident befel two unfortunate white men. It appears that, for some time past, a part of Goat Island, which separates the Falls, has been inhabited, and under cultivation. Some of the residents, who were on the point of quitting their perilous abode, were engaged in conveying their movable effects to the Canada shore. The day was exceedingly boisterous, and the current of the river consequently more violent than usual. Four men, with two boats, were engaged in taking away the furniture; and when the first trip had been accomplished, two of them, being apprehensive of danger from the fury with which the wind blew in the direction of the stream, resolved to venture no more until the storm should abate. They communicated this determination to their companions, who, laughing them to scorn, boasted largely of their own freedom from fear, and returned to their hazardous employment. But in a few minutes afterwards, they were carried down the cataract, and dashed to pieces. A day or two after this event, a table which had been in the same boat, was discovered in the river at the foot of the Falls, uninjured.
"The noise of the Falls is said to be heard, on a calm evening, as far as Burlington Heights, a distance of nearly fifty miles. But when this is true, the wind, which is an excellent transmitter of sound, must blow exactly in that direction. The waters make a report which might be heard at a much greater distance, if, instead of falling into a profound gulf, surrounded on every side with hills of at least 350 feet perpendicular height, which confine the sound, they fell upon a horizontal plain of sufficient altitude to allow the sound to pass without interruption into the circumjacent country. As an illustration:-If a stone were let fall from the surface of the earth into a well 100 feet deep, the noise would not be distinctly heard by a person standing twenty yards from its mouth; but if the same stone were dropped from the apex of a steeple of only half that height, into a cistern of water, the surface of which was on a level with the earth, the noise, occasioned by its splashing in the water, would be distinctly heard at above five times the former distance.
"Previous to the settlement of the country along the banks of the Niagara river, great numbers of wild beasts, birds, and fishes might be seen dashed to pieces on the shore near the bottom of the Falls. But since this part of the country has been thickly settled, scarcely any thing is to be found in the bed of the river below the Falls, except fishes and a few water fowl, which, on alighting in the rapids, are unable to take wing again, and are soon hurried down the dreadful abyss.
"It is generally supposed that the Falls were once as far down as Queenston, and the supposition seems plausible. The appearance of the banks on each side of the river affords very strong presumptive evidence in favour of this notion; and the fact of the constant recession of the Falls, observed by the people who reside in their vicinity, is no less confirmatory. That seven miles of limestone strata of such great depth should be worn away by nothing but water, will appear too preposterous for belief, by those who have never stooped to the drudgery of calculation; but if only the fiftieth part of a barleycorn had been worn away in every hour since the creation, supposing the Falls to have been then at Queenston, or a little above it, they would now be within a few perches of their present position. These calculations receive an air of great plausibility, at least, from the rugged features of the banks between the Falls and Queenston, which afford numerous and strong indications of the violence to which the strata have there been subjected."
The writer from whom the foregoing account of Niagara is quoted, went out with his father and a few labourers to settle in Canada. His voyage up the St. Lawrence is very descriptive of the scenery and adventures which fell to the lot of all travellers on the same errand at that time, and may be useful as well as interesting here. He says:-"I embarked at La Chine with my father and his settlers, twenty days after our arrival in Quebec. On account of the shallows immediately below this village, goods and passengers intended for a higher destination up the river are conveyed by land from Montreal. Previous to our leaving La Chine, thirty-one of the settlers, dreading, the expense of transporting their families to the Upper Province, separated from us and accepted of a settlement at or near Perth, about 140 miles north-west of Montreal. Owing to the rapidity of the St. Lawrence immediately above Montreal, ship navigation terminates at that city. Such is the vehemence of the current in various places, that it is totally impossible to ascend the river in vessels of ordinary construction. Batteaux, or flat-bottomed boats, narrow at bow and stern, and made of pine boards, have been found much better adapted to the river than any others. These boats are about forty feet long, and six across the centre, and are navigated by four men and a pilot. Each boat carries about five tons, and is provided with a small mast and sails, six setting poles about nine feet long, shod at their lower extremities with iron, which terminates in a sharp point, and the necessary cooking apparatus. In these boats, all the merchandise destined for Upper Canada is conveyed; and, fitted out in this style, they depart from La Chine, four or five of them generally forming one party. They quickly arrive in Lake St. Louis, which is formed by the junction of the Ottawa, or Grand River, with the St Lawrence. If the wind happen to blow favourably when they are passing through this lake, they haul up their sails until they arrive at the Cascades, which are about thirty miles from Montreal.
Working a Canoe up a Rapid.
At the Cascades a short canal has been cut, and locks formed by the government, through which the vessels pass, till they attain the head of these rapids, after which they proceed without departing from the river till they arrive at the Cedars, where, by other locks, they ascend the most difficult part of the rapids. The current between the Cascades and the Cedars is so very impetuous, that the boatmen are obliged to have recourse to their setting-poles, which they fix in the bed of the river, and thus propel their boats with considerable celerity. These exertions, though fatiguing in the extreme, they are often obliged to continue for several hours without intermission, and not unfrequently even their best endeavours in this may prove abortive. When this is the case, they make a rope fast to the bow of the boat; and leaving only the helmsman on board, they plunge into the water and tow her by main strength up the rapids. This is the manner in which they perform the arduous passage, which, though only 120 miles, they seldom accomplish in less than ten days. How the men who are employed in this difficult navigation exist without ruining their constitutions is a mystery which I am utterly unable to explain. They are compelled, almost every hour, when actually melting with heat and fainting with fatigue, to jump into the water, frequently up to their arm-pits, and to remain in it towing their boats until they are completely chilled. They then have recourse to the aid of ardent spirits, of which on all occasions they freely partake, and, in a few minutes, are once more bathed in perspiration. The principal rapids between Montreal and Prescott are the Cedars and the Cascades already mentioned, the Coteau du Lac and the Long Sault, the latter of which are about nine miles in length; and though they are seldom ascended in less than a day, boats have been known to descend through their whole length in fifteen minutes.
While about 140 of the settlers took their passage from La Chine in what the Canadians call Durham boats, my father and his family, with the remainder of the settlers, embarked in a vessel of the same description. The accommodation which the boat afforded was so poor, that our situation, during the thirteen days of our voyage from La Chine to Prescott, was in reality "below the reach of envy." To make room for my mother and the children in the wretched little hole of a cabin, my brother and I were frequently obliged to sleep on the shore in the open air-the refreshing zephyrs being our only curtains, and the "spangled heavens, a shining frame," our resplendent canopy. Taverns are undoubtedly found in many parts along the banks of the river; but, as the boats do not always stop in the neighbourhood of these refectories, we seldom had any other method of reposing our weary bodies than the one to which I have now alluded.
One night in particular, when we felt the air rather too cool for sleeping on the ground, my brother and I, with three of the settlers, solicited permission of a Canadian farmer to lie on the floor of his kitchen. This request, though humble and moderate, was peremptorily refused. We asked for neither bed nor blanket, meat nor drink, but barely for leave to stretch our fatigued limbs on the uncovered boards; yet even this was denied. We were in the act of quietly returning to the boat, when, on approaching the door of his stable, we found it open, entered, and had but just discovered some clean straw, upon which we designed to rest our heads for the night, when the owner stalked in, and on recognising us, commanded our instant departure. We were therefore compelled to decamp and to take our usual nightly station on the shore. This little incident banished sleep from my eyes; and I spent the greater part of the night in the indulgence of the most gloomy reflections. That fondly beloved Isle of Erin, where the genius of hospitality continually holds her court, and freely spreads her social influence, again recurred to my memory. I thought of her humblest sons, generous and humane, sons of benevolence and toil, whose hard labour just gives what life requires, but gives no more; yet who, with the ever ready smile of heart-felt sympathy, are willing to share that hard-earned little with the weary traveller whom chance directs to their threshold, or necessity throws upon their bounty.
We were from the 18th of August to the 1st of September in accomplishing this voyage of only 120 miles. I think I may say, without any danger of hyperbole, that, during this short period, each of us encountered greater difficulties, endured more privations, and submitted to stronger proofs of our fortitude, than had been our lot in all the preceding years of our lives. We were obliged by day, in consequence of the great weight of our luggage, to assist the sailors in towing the boat up the rapids, often up to the arm-pits in the water; and by night to rest our enervated and shivering limbs on the inhospitable shore of this river of cataracts.
On the ninth day of our amphibious journey my brother and I with several of the settlers, for the sake of a little variety, left the boat, and walked a few miles along the shore of the St. Lawrence. As we were entirely unacquainted with the country, we resolved to keep as close as possible to the bank, which in this part was completely covered with thick woods. When we had walked about a mile, our progress was interrupted by a large tract of swampy land, which we found to be totally impassable. Before we had reached the head of the swamp, and once more gained the shore, the boat was out of sight. However, we pursued our route along the bank until night approached, when we perceived a light about two miles down the river, which we concluded to be that of the boat. This conjecture proved to be correct. It appeared that, in our hurry to overtake her, we had over-reached the mark, and got too far a-head. As the night was dark, we whistled, hallooed, and fired off our guns, hoping to induce them to pull up and take us on board. But all our efforts proved ineffectual; we could neither make them hear us, nor understand our signals. At length one of our party observed a house about half a mile above us;-a discovery which afforded no small degree of pleasure. We had walked nearly ten miles through a dismal forest, over swamps and marshes, and were hungry and fatigued. A few moments before we had no prospect of discovering even a dry spot of land on which we might lay ourselves down to rest. Nothing appeared-
"But matted woods, where birds forget to sing,
And silent bats in drowsy clusters cling."
Judge, then, what was our pleasure on beholding a human habitation; for a human one it was, though its title to humanity was founded solely on the fact of its being the abode of man, without the least reference to the gentleness of his nature.
Scene on the River St. Lawrence. (Near Montreal.)
When we entered within the door, and informed the owner of the circumstances which obliged us to become intruders, and to claim his hospitality, he muttered out a few words with unfeeling frigidity, the purport of which was that we might lie upon the floor if we pleased! It was then about nine o'clock; and from that hour until eleven, when they retired to bed, I do not recollect that we had the pleasure of any further conversation either with our host or his lady. When they withdrew from the apartment we were left sole monarchs of the kitchen; but our throne was, in one respect, like that which the sycophantic courtiers of king Canute urged him to usurp-it was covered with coarse sand, and presented no very agreeable aspect as a resting-place to us, who presumed to think that we had done sufficient penance for our transgressions in this country, by the sufferings which we necessarily endured in the day during the course of our unfortunate perambulations. It was some time before we could reconcile ourselves to the idea of lying down on the rough kitchen floor; but at length the god of dreams prevailed over all our apprehensive sensibilities, and compelled us to resume a recumbent posture. I converted my hat into a pillow, and my cravat into a cap or turban; and, after promising my companions in tribulation a glass of rum in the morning by way of toasting Canadian hospitality, I fell asleep; but awoke some time before day-break with sore limbs and an aching head.
From the perusal of such incidents as these, one would probably form a very low and indifferent opinion of Canadian hospitality; but justice compels me to add, that the people who live on the shores of the St. Lawrence have so frequently been imposed upon, plundered, and otherwise maltreated by various evil-disposed emigrants in their progress to the Upper Province, that, if we had experienced even worse treatment than this which I have related, it ought not, under such provoking circumstances, to excite much astonishment.
The country on each side of the river, between Prescott and Montreal, is similar in appearance to that between the latter city and Quebec, with this difference, that the houses above Montreal are much inferior to those below. For about 60 miles beyond Montreal almost all the inhabitants are of French extraction, and still speak the language of their ancestors. They scarcely understand a word of English, and seem to be of very humble origin. Their habitations are constructed in the style of cottages; and though they certainly are not reproachable with any great degree of taste or elegance in their design, they have a just claim to honourable mention for the compensating attributes of cleanliness and of neatness, if not of refinement, in the simple decorations of their interiors. The traveller, who may have occasion to cross their thresholds, will seldom witness the semblance of poverty, or the shadow of discontent. Since my arrival in the country, I have not beheld a single trace of anxiety or care in the countenances of the people. In the city, the town, the village, and the open country, every eye sparkles with contentment, and every tongue speaks the language of independence. If the maxim of our ethic poet be correct, that-
"Reason's whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
Lie in three words, health, peace, and competence,"
I do not wonder at beholding such an invariable picture of enjoyment in the looks of the Canadians; for they certainly possess, to a perfection which cannot be surpassed, every one of those integral elements in the happiness of man which the poet has thus tersely described. How melancholy the contrast to an Irishman! How delightfully, yet mournfully exhilarating to a Canadian, if, from a knowledge of the unhappy condition of our unfortunate countrymen, he should make the comparison, and find in it an inducement to bless his happier lot!
The only villages at this time (1820) between Montreal and Prescott are La Chine and Point Clear; the latter of which is eighteen miles from Montreal. It has a church and parsonage-house; contains about I,000 inhabitants, all of whom are Roman catholics.
The Village of the Cedars consists of a few houses, inhabited chiefly by mechanics. Coteau du Lac is equally small, but of more importance as a military post, a fort having been erected in its immediate vicinity for the protection of the trade upon the river, and for the purpose of intercepting the passage of an enemy, whether ascending or descending.
Cornwall, which is dignified with the appellation of a town, is more extensive than either of the two just mentioned. It is 86 miles from Montreal, and has a gaol, a court-house, a Roman catholic chapel, and a Presbyterian meeting-house. In Prescott, which contains about 150 inhabitants, there is a military fort, called "Fort Wellington." At this place ship navigation commences, and continues as far as Niagara.
We remained two days at Prescott; and, on the 3d of September, we embarked for York (now Toronto) on board a small schooner, called the Caledonia. We performed this voyage, which is a distance of 250 miles, in six days.
The St. Lawrence, between Prescott and Kingston, presents an aspect the most wild and fanciful. The Lake of the Thousand Isles, which is situated between them, exhibits a delightful combination of the varied scenery of nature. It has all the features of the placid, the picturesque, and the sublime, with a striking inter-mixture of the savage and the uncouth. While slowly gliding up the stream the stranger observes the northern shores thickly settled. The lowly cottage and the large mansion alternately attract his notice. The bustle and activity of life are everywhere visible upon the land; while, upon the lake, all is solemn stillness and solitude. Hundreds of little islands, assuming every variety of form, and covered with stunted trees of almost every species, are spread over the watery expanse, and afford a finished specimen of that peculiar sort of scenery which is produced when the several principles and causes of vegetation are not consentaneous-when the seed is planted by the hand of nature in a sterile soil; and fertilizing rains, morning dews, and fostering breezes, severally contribute their appointed quota of natural assistance, but seem to lose much of their accustomed efficacy by having no suitable objects on which to operate.
The rocky and barren soil of these islands invites not the hand of industry to redeem them from their unproductiveness; nor do their unfrequented retreats discover to the beholder even a solitary wigwam. They are the abode of silence, and the resting-place of solitude. The contemplative observer cannot view them without some feelings of regret: while his eye roves with delight over spots of earth disposed into all imaginary shapes, in which matchless beauty and proofs of skilful design are apparent in every direction, his judgment detects the fallacy of his sight; and he laments to find these picturesque creations yielding nothing for supplying the wants of man but such products as serve to gratify his curious vision. Scarcely can he restrain the wish, presumptuous though it be, that Providence in its wisdom had distinguished this portion of the universe by something of greater utility and of more substantial excellence.
Immediately opposite Prescott, on the shore of the United States, is the town of Ogdensburg; and twelve miles higher up, on the Canada shore, stands the delightful village of Brockville, so called in honour of the late lamented Sir Isaac Brock. This enchanting little spot unites in its situation every beauty of nature. In front of it flows the river St. Lawrence, interspersed with numerous islands, variously formed, and thickly wooded. Behind it is an assemblage of small hills, rising one above another in "gay theatric pride;" and on each side are well-cleared farms, in an advanced state of cultivation. Every thing combines to render it preeminently beautiful. The dwellings are of wood, and tastefully painted; and the court-house, on an elevated situation at the back of the village, seems, from its superior size, to be the guardian of the villagers-an idea of my fancy, which I did not venture to confirm by entering within its doors.
Sixty-seven miles from Prescott, and seventy-nine from Brockville, is the town of Kingston, built in 1784, and a place of great importance to the British interests in Canada. It is the naval depôt of the Upper Province, and is strongly protected by a fort, called Fort Frederick. In Kingston harbour, which is deep and well-sheltered, there were at this time several large ships, and one, the St. Lawrence, of 102 guns, which is said to have cost the enormous sum of 300,000l. Some of these vessels were constructed in England, and sent to Quebec in frame, whence they were transported to Kingston, at immense cost, on board of such boats as have been already described. The carriage of the Psyche frigate alone, from Quebec to Kingston, is said to have cost 12,000l. What could induce government to build ships in England, where timber is so dear, for the service of Canada? The policy of this "sending of coals to Newcastle" is a mystery which could not be solved by the best informed men in the Canadas. A sufficient number of mechanics to construct every ship necessary for the lake-service, might have been sent out for one-fourth of the expense incurred by the bare transportation of a single frigate from Quebec to Kingston.
Lake Ontario, to which Kingston serves as a kind of entrance, is in length 171 miles, in breadth 59, and in circumference 467. The depth of the water varies very much, but is seldom less than three, or more than 50 fathoms, although, in the centre of the lake, soundings have been made with a line of 350 fathoms without finding a bottom. It is often visited with violent storms, which render its navigation peculiarly dangerous; and though none except experienced seamen ought to be entrusted with the management of the craft which sail upon its wide and deceitful bosom, yet many have obtained the command of vessels who were utterly ignorant of the science of navigation.
The waters of this lake, as well as those of Lakes Erie, Huron, and Superior, rise to an unusual height in every thirty-five years. In 1816, Ontario was seven feet higher than it is known to have been for upwards of thirty years before that time. Does not this form a very interesting subject for the speculations of the natural philosopher? While the waters of these lakes never rise or fall more than eight or ten inches above or below their usual height, excepting at these stated periods, what cause can be assigned for the production of such a body of water as is sufficient to effect this extraordinary change?
Between Kingston and York there are two or three very small villages, the largest of which is Belleville, containing at present about 150 inhabitants.
York (Toronto) is the seat of government for Upper Canada, and is situated on the north side of Lake Ontario. Its harbour, which is a very extensive one, is formed by a long narrow peninsula, commonly called Gibraltar Point. Though it is the capital of an extensive colony, it would, as it stands at this time, be considered in Europe but a village. Its defenceless situation, which cannot be much improved, renders it of little importance in time of war. It was captured by the Americans on the 27th of April, 1813. They had not, however, held possession of it many days when they evacuated it, having first destroyed all the public buildings.
The garrison is about a mile west of the town, and consists of a barrack for the troops, a residence for the commanding officer, a battery and two blockhouses, which are intended for the protection of the harbour. In the year 1793 there was only one wigwam on the present site of the town. It now contains 1,336 inhabitants, and about 250 houses, many of which exhibit a very neat appearance. The parliament-house, erected lately, is a large and convenient brick building, finished off in the plainest possible manner. The house in which the Lieut.-Governor resides is built of wood, and though by no means contemptible, is much inferior to some private houses in the town. Many of the law and government officers have very elegant seats in and about the town; and, with few exceptions, they are built of wood, and assume a most inviting aspect.
The streets of the capital are regularly laid out, intersecting each other at right angles. Only one of them, however, is yet completely built; and, in wet weather, the unfinished streets are, if possible, muddier and dirtier than those of Kingston. The situation of the town is very unhealthy, for it stands on a piece of low marshy land, which is better calculated for a frog-pond, or beaver meadow, than for the residence of human beings. The inhabitants are, on this account, much subject, particularly in spring and autumn, to agues and intermittent fevers; and, probably, five-sevenths of the people are annually afflicted with these complaints. He who first fixed upon this spot as the site of the capital of Upper Canada, whatever predilection he may have had for the roaring of frogs, or for the effluvia arising from stagnated waters and putrid vegetables, can certainly have had no very great regard for preserving the lives of his Majesty's subjects. The town possesses one great advantage, however, which is that of a good though defenceless harbour.
When we arrived at York, my father waited on the Lieut.-Governor, and handed him the order for land which we had received from Earl Bathurst. His Excellency told him that he might select his land from any township in the Province at that time open for location; but assured him, that as he himself had been only a short time in the country, it was out of his power to recommend any particular division to his notice. He then referred my father to the Surveyor-General, and also gave him a letter of introduction to that officer, directing him to afford us such information as might be required. We called upon the Surveyor-General accordingly, but obtained very little satisfactory intelligence.
A short time afterwards, my father met with Col. Thomas Talbot, who came to Canada about thirty years before, an officer, if I mistake not, in the fifth regiment of foot. During the period of his being stationed here, he became so much attached to the woods and wilds, that, on his return home, he felt half dissatisfied with his native country. He, therefore, sold his commission, and obtained a grant of 100,000 acres of land, under the condition that he should place a settler upon every 200 acres. He selected an extensive tract on the northern borders of Lake Erie, about 150 miles S.W. of Toronto. In the year 1802, when there was not a single christian habitation within forty miles of his own estate, the Colonel commenced a settlement under the most discouraging and inauspicious circumstances imaginable. He called his domain Port Talbot, and, in eight or ten years, saw a thriving settlement gradually rise up around him. But he has not yet been able to fulfil his engagement with the government; nor is it likely that he will, if he continue to estimate his land at its present price-three dollars per acre for 150 acres, and 50 acres gratis.
The Colonel is one of the most eccentric characters on the whole continent. He not only lives a life of cheerless celibacy, but enjoys no human society whatever. So great was his aversion to the fair sex, that, for many years after his arrival at Port Talbot, he refused to hire a female servant, but milked his own cows, made his own butter, and performed every other function of kitchen-maid, house-maid, cook, and dairy-woman. Is it not rather strange that a British officer, of such high rank in the army, and respectable connexions in civil life, should be induced to settle in the pathless wilderness, where he is totally excluded from society, unless he should associate with a class of people whom he considers entirely beneath him, and with whom he has never yet in any respect confederated? Being a member of the legislative council of Upper Canada, he goes to York once or twice in the year. These visits, and an occasional one to England, at intervals of five or six years, serve to rub off the rust contracted in his lonely cottage, and to remind him that the world is still as merry as it was when he figured in its gayest circles.
From the Colonel's extensive knowledge of the country, my father considered him to be well qualified for giving advice with respect to the choice of a settlement. He, therefore, made him acquainted with our circumstances and want of information. The Colonel mentioned several settlements as eligible, but particularly recommended the township of London, a tract of land surveyed many years ago by order of General Simcoe, the first Lieut.-General of Upper Canada. It was, therefore, agreed that we should immediately proceed to London; and, on the 11th of September, our whole party set off for Niagara on board the same schooner that brought us from Prescott.
Weary of travelling by water, I separated from the party at York, and proceeded by land to Port Talbot, where I agreed to join them. The road from York to Port Talbot, for the first fifty miles, runs nearly in a south-west course, through a thickly settled country, the soil of which is light and sandy, and therefore not susceptible of any great improvement. Several small rivers, whose banks are very high, and nearly perpendicular, intersect this part of the country, and render travelling an undertaking of difficult and dangerous performance. Horses, in ascending and descending these steep banks, frequently fall, and are sometimes dashed to pieces, in spite of the best exertions of their drivers. From the head of Lake Ontario to the Grand River Ouse, the river takes a western direction, and thence to the township of Woodhouse its inclination is southern, but from Woodhouse to Port Talbot it preserves a south-western course.
On the banks of the Grand River Ouse, twenty-one miles from Dundas, I passed through several villages inhabited by the Six Nations of Indians. These villages, which, from their proximity to each other, appear to be comprised in one settlement, are composed of about 200 houses, which contain nearly 1,500 inhabitants. The land upon which they reside is some of the most fertile in the whole province. It was given to the Indians of the Five Nations, who have since admitted another nation to participate in all their rights and immunities, immediately after the revolutionary war, as a compensation for lands which they had forfeited in the United States by their adherence to Great Britain. Six miles on each side of the river, from its source to its mouth, originally composed this grant; but they have since sold several townships to different individuals. Still, however, they retain a quantity of land sufficient, under proper cultivation, for the maintenance of half a million of people. In one of the Indian villages a neat church has been erected at the expense of government. It is greatly superior in workmanship, as well as in size, to many of the parish churches in Great Britain. The pulpit is situated at the upper extremity of the aisle, and is surmounted with the royal arms of England, executed in bas-relief.
A clergyman of the Established Church occasionally performs divine service in the church; and when he is absent, his place in the pulpit is supplied by an Indian, whom his countrymen dignify with the title of "Dr. John." This worthy divine, in the absence of the English clergyman, affords his brethren a specimen of his oratorical abilities; but it is very evident that the gospel has not yet obtained much influence in the hearts of these Indians, or in that of the native preacher. It cannot, therefore, be supposed to exercise any great control over their conduct.
As I happened to be at this village on the sabbath, and felt curious to see uncivilised men engaged in the worship of the Deity, I called upon Dr. John, and requested to know if there would be any service in the forenoon. He had little the appearance of a minister of that gospel, the principle of which is-"Peace upon earth, and good will towards men," for he was busily engaged in whetting a tomahawk, and replied to my question with the utmost indifference: "I meant," said he, "to have had a meeting to-day, but I lost my spectacles in a frolic last night, and cannot, therefore, preach again till Mr. Smith (a neighbouring shopkeeper) gets his goods from Montreal."
After crossing the Grand River, the road for many miles has a very delightful aspect. On each side of the road, extensive plains, thinly planted, apparently, by the hand of man, spread further than the eye can reach, and afford a pleasant contrast to the sombre gloom which hangs, like the shadow of darkness, over the greater part of this extensive continent. These plains are almost wholly uninhabited, although possessed of many superior advantages. But the want of timber and water for domestic purposes, and the inferiority of the soil, which is light and sandy, render them of little comparative value. To the traveller alone, wearied with his wanderings through interminable forests, these beautiful plantations and flower-covered fields afford an exhilarating prospect. Towards Long Point, in the neighbourhood of which there are also similar extensive plains, the country on each side of the road is tolerably well settled; but the houses of public entertainment afford the most wretched accommodations, and exhibit an appearance, both inside and out, which by no means induces one to form a favourable opinion of Canadian hostelries.
I reached Port Talbot on the 15th of September, and found that my friends had not arrived. As I was sitting a while after in a tavern contiguous to the river, and I expected to have met with my father and his family, a lady and gentleman rode up to the door. When the lady entered, I handed her a seat. The gentleman next appeared, and, on seating himself, inquired, as is customary in the country, whether I was travelling east or west. I told him that I had already explored as much of the western country as I then intended; and added, that, during the last four months, I had travelled from within seven degrees of the Observatory at Greenwich, and that it was not my design to go farther into the country until I had seen my friends, whom I daily expected from the east, safely and comfortably settled a few miles farther to the northward. This topographical reply a little surprised them, for it was too general, and did not descend to such minutiæ as is usually expected.
Light-tower, near Coburg. (Lake Ontario.)
The lady, who appeared a good deal embarrassed, or rather in a state of mental anxiety, said, with much apparent concern, "Alas, Sir, I fear your friends in America are few, and your hope of seeing them comfortably settled, like most worldly hopes, vain and unfeasible." I conjured her to explain herself; and, after some hesitation, she reluctantly complied, for her exclamation had undoubtedly been involuntary:-"You are not altogether friendless! You have at least one brother! I saw him a few hours ago, in health, but unhappy. He is travelling in this direction, and will be with you in a few hours." With this expression on her lips, she rose from her seat, and retired hastily to an adjoining apartment, where, addressing the landlady, she continued-"About eight o'clock this morning we overtook a number of young men, all Europeans, among whom was a gentleman, evidently the brother of this young man. They are the only surviving passengers of a large party belonging to the Fort Erie schooner, which was wrecked a few nights ago on the United States' shore." I heard this with undefinable emotions, and, rushing into the apartment, in which the lady was still conversing with the hostess, entreated her to tell me all she knew of the melancholy catastrophe. She said, "About three o'clock on the evening of the 19th of September, I saw your friends embark at Fort Erie for Port Talbot, on board a large schooner; and from the great number of passengers who embarked, and the indifferent quality of the vessel, the people of Fort Erie entertained serious apprehensions for the safety of the travellers-the weather being very boisterous, and the captain of the schooner an inefficient and inexperienced man. In a few days afterwards news arrived at Fort Erie that the vessel had been wrecked on the morning of the 21st, on the shore of the United States; and that the few young men who survived were taken up by a New York schooner, and landed in Canada."
On hearing this awful intelligence, I immediately set off to meet my brother and his companions. Before I had proceeded more than half a dozen miles I met the whole party; and judged from their countenances that the information I had received was not exactly correct. I told them what I had heard, and desired to know whether or not I had been misinformed. My brother replied, that my information was in the main correct; that they had indeed been shipwrecked, but that no lives had been lost, except that of a Mrs. Lewis, who had died in consequence of severe cold and fatigue. I was also further given to understand that my father and his family were all well and safe, and in the United States, waiting only a vessel to bring them over to the shores of Canada. It is impossible to describe the sudden transition of my feelings on hearing these joyful tidings. A few moments before I had the strongest grounds for believing that my nearest relations were lodged in a cold and watery grave; but now I could indulge in the joyful anticipation of meeting them once more, restored, as it were, to life. In about a fortnight after this they all arrived at Port Talbot, after having experienced much kindness from the inhabitants of the State of New York during their continuance among them.
In the latter part of October, my father removed his family from Port Talbot to Westminster, where he procured lodgings for them until a house was erected on his own lands. The township of Westminster is separated from that of Port Talbot only by the river Thames. London is situated about 24 miles north of Lake Erie. On the 1st of November, 1818, it was entirely unsettled, and its surface studded with the various trees which are to be found in Canada. The land is considered, if not superior to every township hitherto opened for location, at least inferior to none in the whole province. The township forms a square, and is divided into 16 concessions, in each of which are 6,400 acres. These concessions are subdivided into lots of 200 acres, of which there are 32 in each. Between every two concessions there are 66 feet set apart for roads, which are called concession lines. These, together with seven side roads of equal width, which intersect them at right angles, and are equi-distant from each other, comprise all the public roads in a township.
On the 26th of October, my brother and I, with six men carrying provisions and felling-axes, took our departure from Westminster; and, having hired a guide, proceeded into London, to fix upon the most desirable lot for the erection of a house. 1,200 acres were assigned to my father for his own demesne, if I may so call it. We had, therefore, a large tract of land to explore before we could decide on the most eligible site. After spending the greater part of the day in approving and disapproving of particular lots, we unanimously determined on making the second lot in the sixth concession the future asylum of our exiled family.
When we had agreed on this point, our next consideration was to procure shelter for the night; for we were upwards of nine miles from the abodes of civilised beings, and in the midst of desolate wilds,-
"Where beasts with men divided empire claim,
And the brown Indian marks with murd'rous aim."
After walking about for some time in quest of a suitable place for making a fire, we discovered an old Indian wigwam, deserted by its inhabitants. In this little hut we resolved to continue during the night; and, having a tinder-box, with all the other necessary materials, we speedily lighted an excellent fire. After we had taken supper on the trunk of a tree, we lay down to rest, each rolling himself up in a blanket, and each in his turn supplying fuel to the fire. Thus did we pass the first night on our American estate.
In the morning, about sunrise, we were suddenly awakened by the howling of a pack of wolves, which were in full cry after an unfortunate deer. The howl of these ferocious animals so nearly resembles the cry of fox-dogs, that, when I awoke and heard it, I fancied myself in the midst of the sporting woods of Erin. But the delusion was not of long continuance, for I speedily discovered, that, instead of being in my native land,-
"Where the tints of the earth, and the hue of the sky,
In colour though varied, in beauty may vie,"
I was in the midst of a dreary and monotonous wilderness.
To increase our consternation, or, at least, to direct it into another channel, the horses, which we brought with us to carry our bed-clothes and provisions, had broken from their tethers during the night, and consumed every ounce of our bread!-
"Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
Except when fast approaching danger warns."
And yet I was on this occasion sufficiently provoked to revenge our loss on the sides of the ill-natured brutes. We had brought our provender, with the utmost difficulty, a distance of nearly twelve miles through woods and swamps; and then to be deprived of it in this way, was too much for a man of the firmest philosophy to bear without impatience. We should have been under the disagreeable necessity of dispensing with our breakfast, if we had not had the consideration to bring some potatoes with us, which, happily, under the circumstances, are not so well suited to the appetite of an American horse as they are to the palate of an Irishman.
We continued encamped in the woods from the 26th of October until the 1st of December. During this period, we laid the foundation of a house 46 feet long, and 21 feet wide; one half of which we finished first, for the accommodation of the family, who removed into it on the 2d of December-five months and nineteen days after our embarkation for America. During the thirty-five days which we spent in the woods, previous to the arrival of the family, our only lodging was the miserable wigwam, which had a hundred holes in its roof, through which, when lying awake at night, we could easily note every remarkable star that passed the meridian. Our only bed was composed of withered leaves, while
"A log contriv'd a double debt to pay-
By night a pillow, and a seat by day."
These are only slight specimens of the hardships which must be encountered by those who settle in a wilderness; and yet, no small degree of fortitude is requisite to support the mind of him who is obliged to submit to them. It is a grievance of no inconsiderable magnitude to be compelled, after a day of severe labour, to stretch one's weary limbs on the bare ground in the cold month of November, and to be protected from the fierce north wind, and from the chilling frost, only by a miserable hut, with a fire sufficiently near it to counteract, in some degree, their benumbing effects.
But the hope of independence is sufficient to sustain the mind under privations still greater than these; and he who can bring himself to think, when lying down to rest on the bare earth, that the day is not far distant when he may happily repose on a more inviting couch, without one anxious thought respecting the future prospects of himself and his family, regards these transient sufferings with a kind of feeling nearly allied to actual pleasure. He sees the time fast approaching when the wilderness to him shall be 'a fruitful field, and the desert shall blossom as the rose;' when the productive soil shall gratefully yield an ample reward to his toils; and when the hardships of his situation shall, by the blessing of Heaven on his exertions, gradually disappear, and leave him in possession of health, plenty, and independence. While indulging in such joyful and ecstatic visions, the wooden pillow of a new and industrious settler becomes softer than bolsters of down, and his solitary blanket feels more comfortable than sheets of Holland.
We have presented the views of almost every class of observers on this interesting country; but there yet remains unquoted an observer of the difficulties, toils, and trials to which woman is subjected in Canada; and from her admirable, graphic, and womanly record we make large extracts. The book is the "Backwoods of Canada," and the authoress the wife of an emigrant officer.
"It is now settled that we abide here till after the government sale has taken place. We are, then, to remain with -- and his family till we have got a few acres chopped, and a log-house put up on our own land. Having determined to go at once into the bush, on account of our military grant, which we have been so fortunate as to draw in the neighbourhood of S--, we have fully made up our minds to enter at once, and cheerfully, on the privations and inconveniences attending such a situation, as there is no choice between relinquishing that great advantage and doing our settlement duties. We shall not be worse off than others who have gone before us to the unsettled townships, many of whom, naval and military officers with their families, have had to struggle with considerable difficulties, but who are now beginning to feel the advantages arising from their exertions.
"In addition to the land he is entitled to as an officer in the British service, my husband is in treaty for the purchase of an eligible lot by Small Lakes. This will give us a water frontage, and a further inducement to bring us within a little distance of S--; so that we shall not be quite so lonely as if we had gone on to our government lot at once."
We have experienced some attention and hospitality from several of the residents at Peterborough. There is a very genteel society, chiefly composed of officers and their families, besides the professional men and storekeepers. Many of the latter are persons of respectable family and good education. Though a store is, in fact, nothing better than what we should call in the country towns at home a "general shop," yet the storekeeper in Canada holds a very different rank from the storekeeper of the English village. The storekeepers are the merchants and bankers of the places in which they reside. Almost all money matters are transacted by them; and they are often men of landed property and consequence, not unfrequently filling the situations of magistrates, commissioners, and even members of the provincial parliament.
As they maintain a rank in society which entitles them to equality with the aristocracy of the country, you must not be surprised when I tell you that it is no uncommon circumstance to see the sons of naval and military officers and clergymen standing behind a counter, or wielding an axe in the woods with their fathers' choppers; nor do they lose their grade in society by such employment. After all, it is education and manners that must distinguish the gentleman in this country, seeing that the labouring man, if he is diligent and industrious, may soon become his equal in point of worldly possessions. The ignorant man, let him be ever so wealthy, can never be equal to the man of education. It is the mind that forms the distinction between the classes in this country. "Knowledge is power!"
We had heard so much of the odious manners of the Yankees in this country, that I was rather agreeably surprised by the few specimens of native Americans that I have seen. They were, for the most part, polite, well-behaved people. The only peculiarities I observed in them were a certain nasal twang in speaking, and some few odd phrases; but these were only used by the lower class, who "guess," and "calculate," a little more than we do. One of their most remarkable terms is to "Fix." Whatever work requires to be done, it must be fixed. "Fix the room," is, set it in order. "Fix the table,"-"Fix the fire,"-says the mistress to her servants; and the things are fixed accordingly.
I was amused one day by hearing a woman tell her husband the chimney wanted fixing. I thought it seemed secure enough, and was a little surprised when the man got a rope and a few cedar boughs, with which he dislodged an accumulation of soot that caused the fire to smoke. The chimney being fixed, all went right again. This odd term is not confined to the lower orders alone; it becomes a standard word even among the later emigrants from our country.
With the exception of some few remarkable expressions, and an attempt at introducing fine words in their every-day conversation, the lower orders of Yankees have a decided advantage over our English peasantry in the use of grammatical language; they speak better English than you will hear from persons of the same class in any part of England, Ireland, or Scotland-a fact that we should be unwilling, I suppose, to allow at home.
If I were asked, what appeared to me the most striking feature in the manners of the Americans that I had met with, I should say it was coldness, approaching to apathy. I do not at all imagine them to be deficient in feeling or real sensibility, but they do not suffer their emotion to be seen. They are less profuse in their expressions of welcome and kindness than we are, though probably quite as sincere. No one doubts their hospitality; but, after all, one likes to see the hearty shake of the hand, and hear the cordial word that makes one feel oneself welcome.
Persons who come to this country are very apt to confound the old settlers from Britain with the native Americans; and when they meet with people of rude, offensive manners, using certain Yankee words in their conversation, and making a display of independence, not exactly suitable to their own aristocratical notions, they immediately suppose they must be genuine Yankees, while they are, in fact, only imitators; and you well know the fact, that a bad imitation is always worse than the original.
You would be surprised to see how soon the new comers fall into this disagreeable manner and affectation of equality, especially the inferior class of Irish and Scotch; the English less so. We were rather entertained by the behaviour of a young Scotchman, the engineer of the steamer, on my husband addressing him with regard to the management of the engine. His manners were surly, and almost insolent. He scrupulously avoided the least approach to courtesy or outward respect; nay, he even went so far as to seat himself on the bench close beside me, and observed, that, among the many advantages this country offered to settlers like him, he did not reckon it the least of them, that he was not obliged to take off his hat when he spoke to people, (meaning persons of our degree,) or address them by any other title than their name; besides, he could go and take his seat beside any gentleman, or lady either, and think himself to the full as good as them.
"Very likely," I replied, hardly able to refrain from laughing at this sally; "but I doubt you greatly overrate the advantage of such privileges, for you cannot oblige the lady or gentleman to entertain the same opinion of your qualifications, or to remain seated beside you, unless it pleases them to do so." With these words I rose up and left the independent gentleman, evidently a little confounded at the manœuvre: however, he soon recovered his self-possession, and continued swinging the axe he held in his hand, and said, "It is no crime, I guess, being born a poor man."
"None in the world," replied my husband; "a man's birth is not of his own choosing. A man can no more help being born poor than rich; neither is it the fault of a gentleman being born of parents who occupy a higher station in society than his neighbour. I hope you will allow this?"
The Scotchman was obliged to yield a reluctant affirmative to the latter position, but concluded with again repeating his satisfaction at not being obliged in this country to take off his hat, or speak with respect to gentlemen, as they styled themselves.
"No one, my friend, could have obliged you to be well-mannered at home any more than in Canada. Surely you could have kept your hat on your head, if you had been so disposed; no gentleman would have knocked it off, I am sure. As to the boasted advantage of rude manners in Canada, I should think something of it, if it benefited you in the least, or put one extra dollar in your pocket; but I have my doubts if it has that profitable effect."
Wellington, on Lake Ontario. (Fishing Nets.)
"There is a comfort, I guess, in considering oneself equal to a gentleman."
"Particularly if you could induce the gentleman to think the same." This was a point that seemed rather to disconcert our candidate for equality, who commenced whistling and kicking his heels with redoubled energy.
"Now," said his tormentor, "you have explained your notions of Canadian independence, be so good as to explain the machinery of your engine, with which you seem very well acquainted."
The man eyed my husband for a minute, half sulking, half pleased with the implied compliment on his skill, and, walking off to the engine, discussed the management of it with considerable fluency, and from that time treated us with perfect respect. He was evidently struck with my husband's reply to his question, put in a most discourteous tone, "Pray, what makes a gentleman; I'll thank you to answer me that?" "Good manners, and good education," was the reply. "A rich man, or a high-born man, if he is rude, ill-mannered, and ignorant, is no more a gentleman than yourself."
This put the matter on a different footing; and the engineer had the good sense to perceive that rude familiarity did not constitute a gentleman.
But it is now time I should give you some account of Peterborough, which, in point of situation, is superior to any place I have yet seen in the Upper Province. It occupies a central point between the townships of Monaghan, Smith, Cavan, Otanahee, and Douro: and may, with propriety, be considered as the capital of the Newcastle District.
It is situated on a fine elevated plain, just above the small lake, where the river is divided by two low wooded islets. The original or government part of the town is laid out in half-acre lots; the streets, which are now fast filling up, are nearly at right-angles with the river, and extend towards the plains to the north-east. These plains form a beautiful natural park, finely diversified with hill and dale, covered with a lovely greensward, enamelled with a variety of the most exquisite flowers, and planted, as if by Nature's own hand, with groups of feathery pines, oaks, balsams, poplars, and silver birch. The views from these plains are delightful; whichever way you turn your eyes they are gratified by a diversity of hill and dale, wood and water, with the town spreading over a considerable tract of ground.
The plains descend with a steep declivity towards the river, which rushes with considerable impetuosity between its banks. Fancy a long narrow valley, and separating the east and west portions of the town into two distinct villages.
The Otanahee bank rises to a loftier elevation than the Monaghan side, and commands an extensive view over the intervening valley, the opposite town, and the boundary forest and hills behind it: this is called Peterborough East, and is in the hands of two or three individuals of large capital, from whom the town lots are purchased.
Peterborough, thus divided, covers a great extent of ground, more than sufficient for the formation of a large city. The number of inhabitants is now reckoned at 700 and upwards; and if it continues to increase as rapidly in the next few years as it has done lately, it will soon be a very populous town.
There is great water-power, both as regards the river and the fine broad creek which winds its way through the town, and falls into the small lake below. There are several saw and grist-mills, a distillery, fulling-mill, two principal inns, besides smaller ones, a number of good stores, and a government school-house, which also serves for a church till one more suitable should be built. The plains are sold off in pack lots, and some pretty little dwellings are being built; but I much fear the natural beauties of this lovely spot will be soon spoiled.
I am never weary with strolling about, climbing the hills in every direction, to catch some new prospect, or gather some new flowers, which, though getting late in the summer, are still abundant.
Among the plants with whose names I am acquainted, are a variety of shrubby asters, of every tint of blue, purple, and pearly white; a lilac monarda, most delightfully aromatic, even to the dry stalks and seed-vessels; the white gnaphalium, or everlasting flower; roses of several kinds, a few late buds of which I found in a valley near the church. I also noticed among the shrubs a very pretty little plant, resembling our box; it trails along the ground, sending up branches and shoots; the leaves turn of a deep copper red, yet, in spite of this contradiction, it is an evergreen. I also noticed some beautiful lichens, with coral caps surmounting the grey hollow foot-stalks, which grow in irregular tufts among the dry mosses; or more frequently I found them covering the roots of the trees or half-decayed timbers. Among a variety of fungi, I gathered a hollow cup, of the most splendid scarlet within, and a pale fawn colour without; another very beautiful fungi consisted of small branches, like clusters of white coral, but of so delicate a texture, that the slightest touch caused them to break.
The ground in many places was covered with a thick carpet of strawberries, of many varieties, which afford a constant dessert during the season to those who choose to pick them,-a privilege of which I am sure I should gladly avail myself were I near them in the summer. Besides the plants I have myself observed in blossom, I am told the spring and summer produce many others; the orange lily; the phlox, or purple lichnidea; the mocassin flower, or lady's slipper; lilies of the valley in abundance; and, towards the banks of the creek and the Otanahee, the splendid cardinal flower (lobelia cardinalis) waves its scarlet spikes of blossoms.
I am half inclined ta be angry, when I admire the beauty of the Canadian flowers, to be constantly reminded that they are scentless, and therefore scarcely worthy of attention; as if the eye could not be charmed by beauty of form and harmony of colours, independent of the sense of smelling being gratified.
To redeem this country from the censure cast on it by a very clever gentleman I once met in London, who said, "the flowers were without perfume, and the birds without song," I have already discovered several highly aromatic plants and flowers. The milkweed must not be omitted among these-a beautiful shrubby plant, with purple flowers, which are alike remarkable for beauty of colour and richness of scent.
I consider this country opens a wide and fruitful field to the inquiries of the botanist. I now deeply regret I did not benefit by the frequent offers -- made me of prosecuting a study which I once thought dry, but now regard as highly interesting, and the fertile source of mental enjoyment, especially to those who, living in the bush, must necessarily be shut out from the pleasures of a large circle of friends, and the varieties that a town or village offer.
On Sunday I went to church; the first opportunity I had had of attending public worship since I was in the highlands of Scotland; and surely I had reason to bow my knees in thankfulness to that merciful God, who had brought us through the perils of the great deep, and the horrors of the pestilence.
Never did our beautiful Liturgy seem so touching and impressive as it did that day,-offered up in our lowly log-built church in the wilderness.
This simple edifice is situated at the foot of a gentle slope on the plains, surrounded by groups of oaks and feathery pines, which, though inferior in point of size to the huge pines and oaks of the forest, are far more agreeable to our eye, branching out in a variety of fantastic forms. The turf here is of an emerald greenness; in short, it is a sweet spot, retired from the noise and bustle of the town, a fitting place in which to worship God in spirit and in truth.
There are many beautiful walks towards the Smith-town hills, and along the bank that overlooks the river. The summit of this ridge is sterile, and is thickly set with loose blocks of red and grey granite, interspersed with large masses of limestone scattered in every direction; they are mostly smooth and rounded, as if by the action of water. As they are detached, and merely occupy the surface of the ground, it seems strange to me how they came at that elevation. A geologist would doubtless be able to solve the mystery in a few minutes. The oaks that grow on this high bank are rather larger and more flourishing than those in the valleys and more fertile portions of the soil.
Behind the town, in the direction of the Cavan and Emily roads, is a wide space, which I call the "squatters' ground," it being entirely covered with shanties, in which the poor emigrants, commuted pensioners, and the like, have located themselves and families. Some remain here under the ostensible reason of providing a shelter for their wives and children, till they have prepared a home for their reception on their respective grants; but not unfrequently it happens that they are too indolent, or really unable to work on their lots, often situated many miles in the backwoods, and in distant and unsettled townships, presenting great obstacles to the poor emigrant, which it requires more energy and courage to encounter than is possessed by a vast number of them. Others, of idle and profligate habits, spend the money they received, and sell the land, for which they gave away their pensions, after which they remain miserable squatters in the shanty ground.
The shanty is a sort of primitive hut in Canadian architecture, and is nothing more than a shed built of logs, the chinks between the round edges of the timbers being filled with mud, moss, and bits of wood; the roof is frequently composed of logs split and hollowed with the axe, and placed side by side, so that the edges rest on each other; the concave and convex surfaces being alternately uppermost, every other log forms a channel to carry off the rain and melting snow. The eaves of this building resemble the scalloped edges of a clam shell; but, rude as this covering is, it effectually answers the purpose of keeping the interior dry, far more so than the roofs formed of bark or boards, through which the rain will find entrance. Sometimes the shanty has a window, sometimes only an open doorway, which admits the light and lets out the smoke. A rude chimney, which is often nothing better than an opening cut in one of the top logs above the hearth, and a few boards fastened in a square form, serves as the vent for the smoke; the only precaution against the fire catching the log-walls behind the hearth being a few large stones, placed in a half circular form, or more commonly a bank of dry earth raised against the wall.
Nothing can be more comfortless than some of these rude shanties, reeking with smoke and dirt, the common receptacle for children, pigs, and fowls. But I have given you the dark side of the picture; I am happy to say all the shanties on the squatters' ground were not like these. On the contrary, by far the larger proportion were inhabited by tidy folks, and had one or even two small windows, and a clay chimney, regularly built up through the roof; some were even roughly floored, and possessed similar comforts with the small log-houses.
You will, perhaps, think it strange when I assure you that many respectable settlers, with their wives and families, persons delicately nurtured, and accustomed to every comfort before they came hither, have been contented to inhabit a hut of this kind during the first or second year of their settlement in the woods.
I have listened with feelings of great interest to the history of the hardships endured by some of the first settlers in the neighbourhood, when Peterborough contained but two dwelling-houses. Then there were neither roads cut, nor boats built, for communicating with the distant and settled parts of the district; consequently the difficulties of procuring supplies of provisions was very great, beyond what any one who has lately come hither can form any notion of.
When I heard of a whole family having had no better supply of flour than what could be daily ground by a small hand-mill, and for weeks being destitute of every necessary, not even excepting bread, I could not help expressing some surprise, never having met with any account in the works I had read concerning emigration that at all prepared one for such evils.
"These particular trials," observed my intelligent friend, "are confined principally to the first breakers of the soil in the unsettled parts of the country, as was our case. If you diligently question some of the families of the lower class that are located far from the towns, and who had little or no means to support them during the first twelve months, till they could take a crop off the land, you will hear many sad tales of distress."
Writers on emigration do not take the trouble of searching out these things, nor does it answer their purpose to state disagreeable facts. Few have written exclusively on the "Bush." Travellers generally make a hasty journey through the long-settled and prosperous portions of the country; they see a tract of fertile, well-cultivated land, the result of many years of labour; they see comfortable dwellings, abounding with all the substantial necessaries of life; the farmer's wife makes her own soap, candles, and sugar; the family are clothed in cloth of their own spinning, and hose of their own knitting. The bread, the beer, butter, cheese, meat, poultry, &c., are all the produce of the farm. He concludes, therefore, that Canada is a land of Canaan, and writes a book setting forth these advantages, with the addition of obtaining land for a mere song; and advises all persons who would be independent, and secure from want, to emigrate.
He forgets that these advantages are the result of long years of unremitting and patient labour; that these things are the crown, not the first-fruits of the settler's toil; and that, during the interval, many and great privations must be submitted to by almost every class of emigrants.
Many persons on first coming out, especially if they go back into any of the unsettled townships, are dispirited by the unpromising appearance of things about them. They find none of the advantages and comforts of which they had heard and read, and they are unprepared for the present difficulties; some give way to despondency, and others quit the place in disgust.
A little reflection would have shown them that every rood of land must be cleared of the thick forest of timber that encumbers it before an ear of wheat can be grown; that, after the trees have been chopped, cut into lengths, drawn together, or logged, as we call it, and burned, the field must be fenced, the sped sown, harvested, and thrashed, before any returns con be obtained; that this requires time and much labour, and, if hired labour, considerable outlay of ready money; and, in the mean time, a family must eat. If at a distance from a store, every article must be brought through bad roads, either by hand or with a team, the hire of which is generally costly in proportion to the distance and difficulty to be encountered in the conveyance. Now these things are better known beforehand, and then people are aware what they have to encounter.
Even a labouring man, though he have land of his own, is often, I may say generally, obliged to hire out to work for the first year or two, to earn sufficient for the maintenance of his family; and ever so many of them suffer much privation before they reap the benefit of their independence. Were it not for the hope and certain prospect of bettering their condition ultimately, they would sink under what they have to endure; but this thought buoys them up. They do not fear an old age of want and pauperism; the present evils must yield to industry and perseverance; they think also for their children; and the trials of the present time are lost in pleasing anticipations for the future.
"Surely," said I, "cows, and pigs, and poultry might be kept; and you know where there is plenty of milk, butter, cheese, and eggs, with pork and fowls, persons cannot be very badly off for food."
"Very true," replied my friend; "but I must tell you it is easier to talk of these things at first than to keep them, unless on cleared or partially cleared farms; but we are speaking of a first settlement in the backwoods. Cows, pigs, and fowls must eat; and if you have nothing to give them unless you purchase it, and perhaps have to bring it from some distance, you had better not be troubled with them, as the trouble is certain, and the profit doubtful. A cow, it is true, will get her living during the open months of the year in the bush, but sometimes she will ramble away for days together, and then you lose the use of her, and possibly much time in seeking her; then, in the winter, she requires some additional food to the browse that she gets during the chopping season, or ten to one but she dies before spring; and as cows generally lose their milk during the cold weather if not very well kept, it is best to part with them in the fall, and buy again in the spring, unless you have plenty of food for them, which is not often the case the first winter. As to pigs, they are great plagues on a newly-cleared farm if you cannot fat them off hand; and that you cannot do without you buy food for them, which does not answer to do at first. If they run loose, they are a terrible annoyance both to your own crops and your neighbour's, if you happen to be within half a mile of one, for though you may fence out cattle you cannot pigs: even poultry require something more than they pick up about the dwelling to be of any service to you, and are often taken off by hawks, eagles, foxes, and pole-cats, till you have proper securities for them."
"Then how are we to spin our own wool, and make our own soap and candles?" said I. "When you are able to kill your own sheep, and hogs, and oxen, unless you buy wool and tallow." Then, seeing me begin to look somewhat disappointed, he said, "Be not cast down, you will have all these things in time, and more than these, never fear, if you have patience, and use the means of obtaining them. In the meanwhile prepare your mind for many privations to which at present you are a stranger; and if you would desire to see your husband happy and prosperous, be content to use economy, and, above all, be cheerful. In a few years the farm will supply you with all the necessaries of life, and by and by you may even enjoy many of the luxuries. Then it is that a settler begins to taste the real and solid advantages of his emigration; then he feels the blessings of a country where there are no taxes, tithes, nor poor-rates; then he truly feels the benefit of independence. It is looking forward to this happy fulfilment of his desires that makes the rough paths smooth, and lightens the burden of present ills. He looks round upon a numerous family, without those anxious fears that beset a father in moderate circumstances at home; for he knows he does not leave them destitute of an honest means of support."
In spite of all the trials he had encountered, I found this gentleman was so much attached to a settler's life, that he declared he would not go back to his own country to reside for a permanence on any account; nor is he the only one that I have heard express the same opinion; and it likewise seems a universal one among the lower class of emigrants. They are encouraged by the example of others, whom they see enjoying comforts that they could never have obtained had they laboured ever so hard at home; and they wisely reflect they must have had hardships to endure had they remained in their native land, (many indeed had been driven out by want,) without the most remote chance of bettering themselves, or becoming the possessors of land free of all restrictions. "What to us are the sufferings of one, two, three, or even four years, compared with a whole life of labour and poverty?" was the remark of a poor labourer, who was recounting to us the other day some of the hardships he had met with in this country. He said, he "knew they were only for a short time, and that by industry he should soon get over them."
I have already seen two of our poor neighbours that left the parish a twelve-month ago; they are settled in Canada Company lots, and are getting on well. They have some few acres cleared and cropped, but are obliged to "hire out," to enable their families to live, working on their own land when they can. The men are in good spirits; and say, "they shall in a few years have many comforts about them that they never could have got at home, had they worked late and early; but they complain that their wives are always pining for home, and lamenting that ever they crossed the seas." This seems to be the general complaint with all classes; the women are discontented and unhappy. Few enter with their whole heart into a settler's life. They miss the little domestic comforts they had been used to enjoy; they regret the friends and relations they left in the old country; and they cannot endure the loneliness of the backwoods.
This prospect does not discourage me; I know I shall find plenty of occupation within doors, and I have sources of enjoyment when I walk abroad that will keep me from being dull. Besides, have I not a right to be cheerful and contented for the sake of my beloved partner? The change is not greater for me than him; and if, for his sake, I have voluntarily left home, and friends, and country, shall I therefore sadden him by useless regrets? I am always inclined to subscribe to that sentiment of my favourite poet, Goldsmith,-
"Still to ourselves in every place consign'd,
Our own felicity we make or find."
But I shall very soon be put to the test, as we leave this town to-morrow by ten o'clock. The purchase of the Lake lot is concluded. There are three acres chopped, and a shanty up; but the shanty is not a habitable dwelling, being merely an open shed that was put up by the choppers as a temporary shelter; so we shall have to build a house. Late enough we are; too late to get in a full crop, as the land is merely chopped, not cleared; and it is too late now to log and burn the fallow, and get the seed-wheat in; but it will be ready for spring crops. We paid five dollars and a half per acre for the lot; this was rather high for wild land, so far from a town, and in a scantily-settled part of the township; but the situation is good, and has a water-frontage, for which my husband was willing to pay something more than if the lot had been further inland. * * * *
I shall begin my letter with a description of our journey through the bush, and so go on, giving an account of our proceedings, both within doors and without. I know my little domestic details will not prove wholly uninteresting to you; for well I am assured that a mother's eye is never weary with reading lines traced by the hand of an absent and beloved child.
After some difficulty, we succeeded in hiring a waggon and span (i. e. pair a-breast) of stout horses, to convey us and our luggage through the woods to the banks of one of the lakes, where--had appointed to ferry us across. There was no palpable road, only a blaze on the other side, encumbered by fallen trees, and interrupted by a great cedar swamp, into which one might sink up to one's knees, unless we took the precaution to step along the trunks of the mossy, decaying timbers, or make our footing sure on some friendly block of granite or limestone. What is termed in bush language a blaze, is nothing more than notches or slices cut off the back of the trees, to mark out the line of road. The boundaries of the different lots are often marked by a blazed tree, also the concession-lines. These blazes are of as much use as finger-posts of a dark night.
The road we were compelled to take lay over the Peterborough plains, in the direction of the river; the scenery of which pleased me much, though it presented little appearance of fertility, with the exception of two or three extensive clearings.
About three miles above Peterborough the road winds along the brow of a steep ridge, the bottom of which has every appearance of having been formerly the bed of a lateral branch of the present river, or perhaps some small lake, which has been diverted from its channel, and merged into the Otanabee.
On either side of this ridge there is a steep descent; on the right, the Otanabee breaks upon you, rushing with great velocity over its rocky bed, forming rapids in miniature, resembling those of the St. Lawrence; its dark frowning woods of sombre pine give a grandeur to the scene which is very impressive. On the left lies below you a sweet secluded dell of evergreens, cedar, hemlock, and pine, enlivened by a few deciduous trees. Through this dell there is a road-track, leading to a fine cleared farm, the green pastures of which were rendered more pleasing by the absence of the odious stumps that disfigure the clearings in this part of the country. A pretty bright stream flows through the low meadow that lies at the foot of the hill, which you descend suddenly close by a small grist-mill that is worked by the waters, just where they meet the rapids of the river.
I called this place "Glen Morrison," partly from the remembrance of the lovely Glen Morrison of the Highlands, and partly because it was the name of the settler that owned the spot.
Our progress was but slow, on account of the roughness of the road, which is beset with innumerable obstacles, in the shape of loose blocks of granite and limestone, with which the lands on the banks of the river and lakes abound; to say nothing of fallen trees, big roots, mud-holes, and corduroy bridges, over which you go jolt, jolt, jolt, till every bone in your body feels as if it were going to be dislocated. An experienced bush-traveller avoids many hard thumps by rising up or clinging to the sides of his rough vehicle.
As the day was particularly fine I often quitted the waggon, and walked on with my husband for a mile or two.
We soon lost sight entirely of the river, and struck into the deep solitude of the forest, where not a sound disturbed the almost awful stillness that reigned around us. Scarcely a leaf or bough was in motion, excepting at intervals we caught the sound of the breeze stirring the lofty heads of the pine-trees, and wakening a hoarse and mournful cadence. This, with the tapping of the red-headed and grey woodpeckers on the trunks of the decaying trees, or the shrill whistling cry of the little striped squirrel, called by the natives 'chitmunk,' was every sound that broke the stillness of the wild. Nor was I less surprised at the absence of animal life. With the exception of the aforesaid chitmunk, no living thing crossed our path during our long day's journey in the woods.
In these vast solitudes one would naturally be led to imagine that the absence of man would have allowed nature's wild denizens to have abounded free and unmolested; but the contrary seems to be the case. Almost all wild animals are more abundant in the cleared districts than in the bush. Man's industry supplies their wants at an easier rate than seeking a scanty subsistence in the forest.
You hear continually of depredations committed by wolves, bears, racoons, lynxes, and foxes, in the long-settled parts of the province. In the backwoods the appearance of wild beasts is a matter of much rarer occurrence.
I was disappointed in the forest trees, having pictured to myself hoary giants, almost primeval with the country itself, as greatly exceeding in majesty of form the trees of my native isles, as the vast lakes and mighty rivers of Canada exceed the locks and streams of Britain.
There is a want of picturesque beauty in the woods. The young growth of timber alone has any pretension to elegance of form, unless I except the hemlocks, which are extremely light and graceful, and of a lovely refreshing tint of green. Even when winter has stripped the forest, it is still beautiful and verdant. The young beeches, too, are pretty enough, but you miss that fantastic bowery shade that is so delightful in our parks and woodlands at home.
There is no appearance of venerable antiquity in the Canadian woods. There are no ancient spreading oaks, that might be called the patriarchs of the forest. A premature decay seems to be their doom. They are uprooted by the storm, and sink in their first maturity, to give place to a new generation that is ready to fill their places.
The pines are certainly the finest trees. In point of size there are none to surpass them. They tower above all the others, forming a dark line that may be distinguished for many miles. The pines being so much loftier than the other trees, are sooner uprooted, as they receive the full and unbroken force of the wind in their tops; thus it is that the ground is continually strewn with the decaying trunks of huge pines. They also seem more liable to inward decay, and blasting from lightning, and fire. Dead pines are more frequently met with than any other tree.
Much as I had seen and heard of the badness of the roads in Canada, I was not prepared for such a one as we travelled along this day; indeed, it hardly deserved the name of a road, being little more than an opening hewed out through the woods, the trees being felled and drawn aside, so as to admit a wheeled carriage passing along. The swamps and little forest streams, that occasionally gush across the path, are rendered passable by logs placed side by side. From the ridgy and striped appearance of these bridges, they are aptly enough termed corduroy.
Over these abominable corduroys the vehicle jolts, jumping from log to log, with a shock that must be endured with as good a grace as possible. If you could bear these knocks, and pitiless thumpings and bumpings, without wry faces, your patience and philosophy would far exceed mine;-sometimes I laughed because I would not cry.
Imagine you see me perched upon a seat composed of carpet-bags, trunks, and sundry packages, in a vehicle little better than a great rough deal box set on wheels, the sides being merely pegged in, so that more than once I found myself in rather an awkward predicament, owing to the said sides jumping out. In the very midst of a deep mud-hole out went the front board, and with the shock went the teamster (driver), who looked rather confounded at finding himself lodged in a slough as bad as the "Slough of Despond." For my part, as I could do no good, I kept my seat, and patiently awaited the restoration to order. This was soon effected, and all went on well again, till a jolt against a huge pine-tree gave such a jar to the ill-set vehicle, that one of the boards danced out that composed the bottom, and a sack of flour, and a bag of salted pork, which was on its way to a settler's whose clearing we had to pass in the way, were ejected. A good teamster is seldom taken aback by such trifles as these.
He is, or should be, provided with an axe. No waggon, team, or any other travelling equipage, should be unprovided with an instrument of this kind, as no one can answer for the obstacles that may impede his progress in the bush. The disasters we met fortunately required but little skill in remedying. The sides need only a stout peg, and the loosened planks that form the bottom being quickly replaced, away you go again over root, stump, and stone, mud-hole, and corduroy; now against the trunk of some standing tree, now mounting over some fallen one, with an impulse that would annihilate any lighter equipage than a Canadian waggon, which is admirably fitted by its very roughness for such roads as we have in the bush.
The sagacity of the horses in this country is truly admirable. Their patience in surmounting the difficulties they have to encounter, their skill in avoiding the holes and stones, and in making their footing sure over the round and slippery timbers of the log bridges, renders them very valuable. If they want the spirit and fleetness of some of our high-bred blood horses, they make up in gentleness, strength, and patience. This renders them most truly valuable, as they will travel in such places that no British horse would, with equal safety to their drivers. Nor are the Canadian horses, when well fed and groomed, at all deficient in beauty of colour, size, or form. They are not very often used in logging; the ox is preferred in all rough and heavy labour of this kind.
Just as the increasing gloom of the forest began to warn us of the approach of evening, and I was getting weary and hungry, our driver, in some confusion, avowed his belief that, somehow or other, he had missed the track, though how he could not tell, seeing there was but one road. We were nearly two miles from the last settlement, and he said we ought to be within sight of the lake if we were on the right road. The only plan, we agreed, was for him to go forward and leave the team, and endeavour to ascertain if he were near the water; and, if otherwise, to return to the house we had passed, and inquire the way.
After running full half a mile a-head, he returned with a dejected countenance, saying we must be wrong, for he saw no appearance of water; and the road we were on appeared to end in a cedar swamp, as the further he went the thicker the hemlocks and cedars became; so, as we had no desire to commence our settlement by a night's lodging in a swamp,-where, to use the expression of our driver, the cedars grew as thick as hairs on a cat's back, we agreed to retrace our steps.
After some difficulty the lumbering machine was turned, and slowly we began our backward march. We had not gone more than a mile, when a boy came along, who told us we might just go back again, as there was no other road to the lake; and added, with a knowing nod of his head, "Master, I guess if you had known the bush as well as I, you would never have been fule enough to turn when you were going just right. Why, any body knows that them cedars and hemlocks grow thickest near the water; so you may just go back for your pains."
It was dark, save that the stars came forth with more than usual brilliancy, when we suddenly emerged from the gloomy forest to the shores of a beautiful little lake, that gleamed the more brightly from the contrast of the dark masses of foliage that hung over it, and the towering pine-woods that girt its banks.
Here, seated on a huge block of limestone, which was covered with a soft cushion of moss, beneath the shade of the cedars that skirt the lake, surrounded with trunks, boxes, and packages of various descriptions, which the driver had hastily thrown from the waggon, sat your child, in anxious expectation of some answering voice to my husband's long and repeated holloa.
But when the echo of his voice had died away, we heard only the gurgling of the waters at the head of the rapids, and the distant and hoarse murmur of a waterfall some half mile below them.
We could see no sign of any habitation, no gleam of light from the shore to cheer us. In vain we strained our ears for the plash of the oar, or welcome sound of the human voice, or bark of some household dog, that might assure us we were not doomed to pass the night in the lone wood.
We began now to apprehend we had really lost the way. To attempt returning through the deepening darkness of the forest in search of any one to guide us was quite out of the question, the road being so ill defined that we should soon have been lost in the mazes of the woods. The last sound of the waggon wheels had died away in the distance, and to have overtaken it would have been impossible. Bidding me remain quietly where I was, my husband forced his way through the tangled underwood along the bank, in hope of discovering some sign of the house we sought, which we had every reason to suppose must be near, though probably hidden by the dense mass of trees from our sight.
As I sat in the wood, in silence and in darkness, my thoughts gradually wandered back across the Atlantic to my dear mother, and to my old home; and I thought, what would have been your feelings, could you at that moment have beheld me as I sat on the cold mossy stone, in the profound stillness of that vast leafy wilderness, thousands of miles from all those holy ties of kindred and early associations that make home in all countries a hallowed spot. It was a moment to press upon my mind the importance of the step I had taken, in voluntarily sharing the lot of the emigrant,-in leaving the land of my birth, to which, in all probability, I might never again return. Great as was the sacrifice,-even at that moment, strange as was my situation,-I felt no painful regret or fearful misgiving depress my mind. A holy and tranquil peace came down upon me, soothing and softening my spirits into a calmness that seemed as unruffled as was the bosom of the water that lay stretched before my feet.
My reverie was broken by the light plash of a paddle, and a bright line of light showed a canoe dancing over the lake; in a few minutes a well-known and friendly voice greeted me as the little bark was moored among the cedars at my feet. My husband having gained a projecting angle of the shore, had discovered the welcome blaze of the wood fire in the log-house; and, after some difficulty, had succeeded in rousing the attention of its inhabitants. Our coming that day had long been given up, and our first call had been mistaken for the sound of the ox-bells in the wood; this had caused the delay that had so embarrassed us.
We soon forgot our weary wanderings beside the bright fire that blazed on the hearth of the log-house, in which we found S-- comfortably domiciled with his wife. To the lady I was duly introduced; and in spite of all remonstrances from the affectionate and careful mother, three fair sleeping children were successively handed out of their cribs to be shown me by the proud and delighted father.
Our welcome was given with that unaffected cordiality that is so grateful to the heart; it was as sincere as it was kind. All means were adopted to soften the roughness of our accommodations; which, if they lacked that elegance and convenience to which we had been accustomed in England, were not devoid of rustic comfort; at all events, they were such as many settlers of the first respectability have been glad to content themselves with, and many have not been half so well lodged as we are now.
We may, indeed, consider ourselves fortunate in not being obliged to go at once into the rude shanty that I described to you as the only habitation on our land. This test of our fortitude was kindly spared us by S--, who insisted on our remaining beneath his hospitable roof till such time as we should have put up a house on our own lot. Here, then, we are for the present fixed, as the Canadians say; and if I miss many of the little comforts and luxuries of life, I enjoy excellent health and spirits, and am very happy in the society of those around me.
The children are already very fond of me. They have discovered my passion for flowers, which they diligently search for among the stumps, and along the lakeshore. I have begun collecting, and though the season is far advanced, my hortus siccus boasts of several elegant specimens of fern; the yellow Canadian violet, which blooms twice in the year, in the spring and fall, as the autumnal season is expressively termed; two sorts of Michaelmas daisies, as we call the shrubby asters, of which the varieties here are truly elegant; and a wreath of the festoon pine, a pretty evergreen, with creeping stalks, that run along the ground three or four yards in length, sending up, at the distance of five or six inches, erect, stiff, green stems, resembling some of our heaths in the dark, shining, green, chaffy leaves. The Americans ornament their chimney glasses with garlands of this plant, mixed with the dried blossoms of the life-everlasting (the pretty white and yellow flowers we call love-everlasting); this plant is also called festoon pine. In my rambles in the wood near the house, I have discovered a trailing plant, bearing a near resemblance to the cedar, which I consider has, with equal propriety, a claim to the name of ground or creeping cedar.
As much of the botany of these unsettled portions of the country is unknown to the naturalist, and the plants are quite nameless, I take the liberty of bestowing names upon them according to inclination or fancy. But while I am writing about flowers, I am forgetting that you will be more interested in hearing what steps we are taking on our land.
My husband has hired people to log up, (that is, to draw the chopped timbers into heaps for burning,) and clear a space for building our house upon. He has also entered into an agreement with a young settler in our vicinity to complete it for a certain sum, within and without, according to a given plan. We are, however, to call the "bee," and provide every thing necessary for the entertainment of our worthy hive. Now, you know that a "bee," in American language, or rather phraseology, signifies those friendly meetings of neighbours who assemble at your summons to raise the walls of your house, shanty, barn, or any other building: this is termed a "raising bee." Then there are logging-bees, husking-bees, chopping-bees, and quilting-bees. The nature of the work to be done gives the name to the bee. In the more populous and long-settled districts this practice is much discontinued; but it is highly useful, and almost indispensable to new settlers in the remote townships, where the price of labour is proportionately high, and workmen difficult to be procured.
Imagine the situation of an emigrant with a wife and young family, the latter possibly too young to render him the least assistance in the important business of chopping, logging, and building, on their first coming out to take possession of a lot of wild land: how deplorable would their situation be, unless they could receive quick and ready help from those around them!
This laudable practice has grown out of necessity; and if it has its disadvantages,-such, for instance, as being called upon at an inconvenient season for a return of help by those who have formerly assisted you,-yet it is so indispensable to you that the debt of gratitude ought to be cheerfully repaid. It is, in fact, regarded in the light of a debt of honour; you cannot be forced to attend a bee in return, but no one that can does refuse, unless from urgent reasons; and if you do not find it possible to attend in person, you may send a substitute in a servant, or in cattle, if you have a yoke.
In no situation, and under no circumstance, does the equalizing system of America appear to such advantage as in meetings of this sort. All distinctions of rank, education, and wealth are for the time voluntarily laid aside. You will see the son of the educated gentleman and that of the poor artisan, the officer and the private soldier, the independent settler and the labourer who works out for hire, cheerfully uniting in one common cause. Each individual is actuated by the benevolent desire of affording help to the helpless, and exerting himself to raise a home for the homeless.
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Our log-house is not yet finished, though it is in a state of forwardness. We are still indebted to the hospitable kindness of S-- and his wife for a home. This being their first settlement on their land, they have as yet many difficulties, in common with all residents in the backwoods, to put up with this year. They have a fine block of land, well situated; and S-- laughs at the present privations, to which he opposes a spirit of cheerfulness and energy that is admirably calculated to effect their conquest. They are now about to remove to a larger and more commodious house that has been put up this fall, leaving us the use of the old one till our own is ready.
We begin to get reconciled to our Robinson Crusoe sort of life; and the consideration that the present evils are but temporary, goes a great way towards reconciling us to them.
One of our greatest inconveniences arises from the badness of our roads, and the distance at which we are placed from any village or town where provisions are to be procured.
Till we raise our own grain, and fatten our own hogs, sheep, and poultry, we must be dependent upon the stores for food of every kind. These supplies have to be brought us, at considerable expense and loss of time, through our beautiful bush roads; which, to use the words of a poor Irishwoman, "can't be no worser." "Och, darlint," she said, "but they are just bad enough, and can't be no worser. Och, but they arn't like to our iligant roads in Ireland."
You may send down a list of groceries to be forwarded when a team comes up, and when we examine our stores, behold rice, sugar, currants, pepper, and mustard all jumbled into one mess! What think you of a rice pudding seasoned plentifully with pepper, mustard, and, may be, a little rappee or prince's mixture added by way of sauce? I think the recipe would cut quite a figure in the "Cook's Oracle," or Mrs. Dalgairn's "Practice of Cookery," under the original title of a "Bush pudding."
And then, woe and destruction to the brittle ware that may chance to travel through our roads! Lucky, indeed, are we, if, through the superior carefulness of the person who packs them, more than one-half happens to arrive in safety. For such mishaps we have no redress. The storekeeper lays the accident upon the teamster, and the teamster upon the bad roads, wondering that he himself escapes with whole bones after a journey through the bush.
This is now the worst season of the year,-this and just after the breaking up of the snow. Nothing hardly but an ox-cart can travel along the roads, and even that with difficulty, occupying two days to perform the journey; and the worst of the matter is, that there are times when the most necessary articles of provisions are not to be procured at any price. You see, then, that a settler in the bush requires to hold himself pretty independent, not only of the luxuries and delicacies of the table, but not unfrequently even of the very necessaries.
One time no pork is to be procured; another time there is a scarcity of flour, owing to some accident that has happened to the mill, or for the want of proper supplies of wheat for grinding; or perhaps the weather and the bad roads at the same time prevent a team coming up, or people from going down. Then you must have recourse to a neighbour, if you have the good fortune to be near one, or fare the best you can on potatoes. The potatoe is, indeed, a great blessing here; new settlers would often be otherwise greatly distressed; and the poor man and his family, who are without resources, without the potatoe must starve.
Once our stock of tea was exhausted, and we were unable to procure more. In this dilemma milk would have been an excellent substitute, or coffee, if we had possessed it; but we had neither one nor the other, so we agreed to try the Yankee tea-hemlock sprigs boiled. This proved to my taste a vile decoction; though I recognised some herb in the tea that was sold in London at five shillings a pound, which I am certain was nothing better than dried hemlock leaves reduced to a coarse powder.
S-- laughed at our wry faces, declaring the potation was excellent; and he set us an example by drinking six cups of this truly sylvan beverage. His eloquence failed in gaining a single convert; we could not believe it was only second to young hyson. To his assurance that to its other good qualities it united medicinal virtues, we replied that, like all other physic, it was very unpalatable.
"After all," said S--, with a thoughtful air, "the blessings and the evils of this life owe their chief effect to the force of contrast, and are to be estimated by that principally. We should not appreciate the comforts we enjoy half so much if we did not occasionally feel the want of them. How we shall value the conveniences of a cleared farm after a few years, when we can realise all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life!"
"And how we shall enjoy green tea after this odious decoction of hemlock!" said I.
"Very true; and a comfortable frame-house, and nice garden, and pleasant pastures, after these dark forests, log-houses, and no garden at all!"
"And the absence of horrid black stumps!" rejoined I. "Yes; and the absence of horrid stumps! Depend upon it, my dear, your Canadian farm will seem to you a perfect paradise by the time it is all under cultivation; and you will look upon it with the more pleasure and pride from the consciousness that it was once a forest wild, which, by the effects of industry and well-applied means, has changed to fruitful fields. Every fresh comfort you realise around you will add to your happiness; every improvement within doors or without will raise a sensation of gratitude and delight in your mind, to which those that revel in the habitual enjoyment of luxury, and even of the commonest advantages of civilization, must in a great degree be strangers. My pass-words are-'Hope, resolution, and perseverance!'" "This," said my husband, "is true philosophy; and the more forcible, because you not only recommend the maxim, but practise it also."
I had reckoned much on the Indian summer, of which I had read such delightful descriptions; but I must say it has fallen far below my expectations. Just at the commencement of this month (November) we experienced three or four warm hazy days, that proved rather close and oppressive. The sun looked red through the misty atmosphere, tinging the fantastic clouds that hung in smoky volumes with saffron and pale crimson light, much as I have seen the clouds above London look on a warm sultry spring morning.
Not a breeze ruffled the waters, not a leaf (for the leaves had not entirely fallen) moved. This perfect stagnation of the air was suddenly changed by a hurricane of wind and snow that came on without any previous warning. I was standing near a group of tall pines, that had been left in the middle of a clearing, collecting some beautiful crimson lichens, S-- not being many paces distant, with his oxen drawing firewood: suddenly we heard a distant hollow rushing sound, that momentarily increased, the air around us being yet perfectly calm; I looked up, and beheld the clouds, hitherto so motionless, moving with amazing rapidity in several different directions. A dense gloom overspread the heavens. S--, who had been busily engaged with the cattle, had not noticed my being so near, and now called to me to use all the speed I could to gain the house, or an open part of the clearing, distant from the pine-trees. Instinctively I turned towards the house, while the thundering shock of trees falling in all directions at the edge of the forest, the rending of the branches from the pines I had just quitted, and the rush of the whirlwind sweeping down the lake, made me sensible of the danger with which I had been threatened.
The scattered boughs of the pines darkened the air as they whirled above me; then came the blinding snow storm; but I could behold the progress of the tempest in safety, having gained the threshold of our house. The driver of the oxen had thrown himself on the ground, while the poor beasts held down their meek heads, patiently abiding "the pelting of the pitiless storm." S--, my husband, and the rest of the household, collected in a group, watched with anxiety the wild havoc of the warring elements. Not a leaf remained on the trees when the hurricane was over; they were bare and desolate. Thus ended the short reign of the Indian summer.
I think the notion entertained by some travellers, that the Indian summer is caused by the annual conflagration of forests by those Indians inhabiting the unexplored regions beyond the larger lakes, is absurd. Imagine for an instant what immense tracts of woods must be yearly consumed to affect nearly the whole of the continent of North America; besides, it takes place at that season of the year when the fire is least likely to run freely, owing to the humidity of the ground from the autumnal rains. I should rather attribute the peculiar warmth, and hazy appearance of the air that marks this season, to the fermentation going on of so great a mass of vegetable matter that is undergoing a state of decomposition during the latter part of October and the beginning of November. It has been supposed by some persons that a great alteration will be effected in this season, as the process of clearing the land continues to decrease the quantity of decaying vegetation. Nay, I have heard the difference is already observable to those long acquainted with the American continent.
Hitherto my experience of the climate is favourable. The autumn has been very fine, though the frosts are felt early in the month of September; at first slightly, of a morning, but towards October more severely. Still, though the first part of the day is cold, the middle of it is warm and cheerful.
We see already the stern advances of winter. It commenced very decidedly from the breaking up of the Indian summer. November is not at all like the same month at home. The early part was soft and warm, the latter cold, with keen frosts, and occasional falls of snow; but it does not seem to possess the dark, gloomy, damp character of our British Novembers. However, it is not one season's acquaintance with the climate that enables a person to form any correct judgment of its general character, but a close observance of its peculiarities and vicissitudes during many years' residence in the country.
I must now tell you what my husband is doing on our land. He has let out ten acres to some Irish choppers, who have established themselves in the shanty for the winter. They are to receive fourteen dollars per acre for chopping, burning, and fencing-in that quantity. The ground is to be perfectly cleared of every thing but the stumps; these will take from seven to nine or ten years to decay; the pine, hemlock, and fir remain much longer. The process of clearing away the stumps is too expensive for new beginners to venture upon, labour being so high that it cannot be appropriated to any but indispensable work. The working season is very short, on account of the length of time the frost remains on the ground. With the exception of chopping trees, very little can be done. Those that understand the proper management of uncleared land, usually underbrush, (that is, cut down all the small timbers and brushwood,) while the leaf is yet on them; this is piled in heaps, and the wind-fallen trees are chopped through in lengths, to be logged up in the spring with the winter's chopping. The latter end of the summer and the autumn are the best seasons for this work. The leaves then become quite dry and sear, and greatly assist in the important business of burning off the heavy timbers. Another reason is, that when the snow has fallen to some depth, the light timbers cannot be cut close to the ground, or the dead branches and other encumbrances collected and thrown into heaps.
We shall have about three acres ready for spring crops, provided we get a good burning of that which is already chopped near the site of the house; this will be sown with oats, pumpkins, Indian corn, and potatoes: the other ten acres will be ready for putting in a crop of wheat. So you see it will be a long time before we reap a harvest. We could not even get in spring-wheat early enough to come to perfection this year.
We shall try to get two cows in the spring, as they are little expense during the spring, summer, and autumn; and by the winter we shall have pumpkins and oat-straw for them.
* * * * * *
But it is time that I should give you some account of our log-house, into which we moved a few days before Christmas. Many unlooked-for delays having hindered its completion before that time, I began to think it would never be habitable.
The first misfortune that happened was the loss of a fine yoke of oxen, that were purchased to draw in the house-logs; that is, the logs for raising the walls of the house. Not regarding the bush as pleasant as their former master's cleared pastures, or, perhaps, foreseeing some hard work to come, early one morning they took it into their heads to ford the lake at the head of the rapids and march off, leaving no trace of their route excepting their footing at the water's edge. After many days spent in vain search for them, the work was at a stand, and for one month they were gone, and we began to give up all expectation of hearing any news of them. At last we learned they were some twenty miles off, in a distant township, having made their way through bush and swamp, creek and lake, back to their former owner, with an instinct that supplied to them the want of roads and compass.
Oxen have been known to traverse a tract of wild country to a distance of thirty or forty miles, going in a direct line for their former haunts by unknown paths, where memory could not avail them. In the dog we consider it is scent, as well as memory, that guides him to his far-off home; but how is this conduct of the oxen to be accounted for? They returned home through the mazes of interminable forests, where man, with all his reason and knowledge, would have been bewildered and lost.
It was the latter end of October before even the walls of our house were up. To effect this we called "a bee." Sixteen of our neighbours cheerfully obeyed our summons; and, though the day was far from favourable, so faithfully did our hive perform their tasks, that by night the outer walls were raised.
The work went merrily on with the help of plenty of Canadian nectar (whisky), the honey that our bees are solaced with. Some huge joints of salt pork, a peck of potatoes, with a rice-pudding, and a loaf as big as an enormous Cheshire cheese, formed the feast that was to regale them during the raising. This was spread out in the shanty, in a very rural style. In short, we laughed, and called it a pic-nic in the backwoods; and rude as was the fare, I can assure you great was the satisfaction expressed by all the guests of every degree, our "bee" being considered as very well conducted. In spite of the difference of rank among those that assisted at the bee, the greatest possible harmony prevailed, and the party separated well pleased with the day's work and entertainment.
The following day I went to survey the newly-raised edifice, hut was sorely puzzled, as it presented very little appearance of a house. It was merely an oblong square of logs, raised one above the other, with open spaces; for the doors and windows were not then chopped out, and the rafters were not up. In short, it looked a very queer sort of a place; and I returned home a little disappointed, and wondering that my husband should be so well pleased with the progress that had been made. A day or two after this I again visited it. The sleepers were laid to support the floors, and the places for the doors and windows cut out of the solid timbers, so that it had not quite so much the look of a bird-cage as before.
After the roof was shingled we were again at a stand, as no board could be procured nearer than Peterborough, a long day's journey through horrible roads. At that time no saw-mill was in progress; now there is a fine one building within a little distance of us. Our flooring-boards were all to be sawn by hand, and it was some time before any one could be found to perform this necessary work, and that at high wages-six-and-sixpence per day. Well, the boards were at length down, but of course of unseasoned timber; this was unavoidable; so as they could not be planed, we were obliged to put up with their rough unsightly appearance, for no better were to be had. I began to recall to mind the observation of the old gentleman with whom we travelled from Cobourg to Rice Lake. We console ourselves with the prospect that by next summer the boards will all be seasoned, and then the house is to be turned topsy-turvy, by having the floors all relaid, jointed, and smoothed.
The next misfortune that happened, was, that the mixture of clay and lime, that was to plaster the inside and outside of the house between the chinks of the logs, was one night frozen to stone. Just as the work was about half completed, the frost suddenly setting in, put a stop to our proceeding for some time, as the frozen plaster yielded neither to fire nor to hot water, the latter freezing before it had any effect on the mass, and rather making bad worse. Then the workman that was hewing the inside walls to make them smooth, wounded himself with the broad axe, and was unable to resume his work for some time.
I state these things merely to show the difficulties that attend us in the fulfilment of our plans; and this accounts, in a great measure, for the humble dwellings that settlers of the most respectable description are obliged to content themselves with at first coming to this country,-not, you may be assured, from inclination, but necessity: I could give you such narratives of this kind as would astonish you. After all, it serves to make us more satisfied than we should be, on casting our eyes around to see few better off than we are, and many not half so comfortable, yet of equal, and, in some instances, superior pretensions as to station and fortune.
Every man in this country is his own glazier; this you will laugh at; but if he does not wish to see and feel the discomfort of broken panes, he must learn to put them in his windows with his own hands. Workmen are not easily to be had in the backwoods when you want them; and it would be preposterous to hire a man at high wages, to make two days' journey to and from the nearest town to mend your windows. Boxes of glass of several different sizes are to be bought at a very cheap rate in the stores. My husband amused himself by glazing the windows of the house preparatory to their being fixed in.
To understand the use of carpenter's tools, I assure you, is no despicable or useless kind of knowledge here. I would strongly advise all young men coming to Canada to acquire a little acquaintance with this valuable art, as they will often be put to great inconvenience for the want of it.
I was once much amused with hearing the remarks made by a very fine lady, the reluctant sharer of her husband's emigration, on seeing the son of a naval officer of some rank in the service busily employed in making an axe-handle out of a piece of rock-elm.
"I wonder you allow George to degrade himself so," she said, addressing his father.
The captain looked up with surprise. "Degrade himself! In what manner, madam? My boy neither swears, drinks whisky, steals, nor tells lies."
"But you allow him to perform tasks of the most menial kind. What is he now better than a hedge-carpenter; and I suppose you allow him to chop, too?"
"Most assuredly I do. That pile of logs in the cart there was all cut by him after he had left study yesterday," was the reply.
"I would see my boys dead before they should use an axe like common labourers."
"Idleness is the root of all evil," said the captain. "How much worse might my son be employed if he were running wild about the streets with bad companions."
"You will allow this is not a country for gentlemen or ladies to live in," said the lady.
"It is the country for gentlemen that will not work, and cannot live without, to starve in," replied the captain, bluntly; "and for that reason I make my boys early accustom themselves to be usefully and actively employed."
"My boys shall never work like common mechanics," said the lady, indignantly.
"Then, madam, they will be good for nothing as settlers; and it is a pity you dragged them across the Atlantic."
"We were forced to come. We could not live as we had been used to do at home, or I never would have come to this horrid country."
"Having come hither you would be wise to conform to circumstances. Canada is not the place for idle folks to retrench a lost fortune in. In some parts of the country you will find most articles of provision as dear as in London; clothing much dearer, and not so good, and a bad market to choose in."
"I should like to know, then, who Canada is good for?" said she, angrily.
"It is a good country for the honest, industrious artisan. It is a fine country for the poor labourer, who, after a few years of hard toil, can sit down in his own log-house, and look abroad on his own land, and see his children well settled in life as independent freeholders. It is a grand country for the rich speculator, who can afford to lay out a large sum in purchasing lands in eligible situations; for if he have any judgment he will make a hundred per cent. as interest for his money after waiting a few years. But it is a hard country for the poor gentleman, whose habits have rendered him unfit for manual labour. He brings with him a mind unfitted to his situation; and even if necessity compels him to exertion, his labour is of little value. He has a hard struggle to live. The certain expenses of wages and living are great, and he is obliged to endure many privations if he would keep within compass, and be free of debt. If he have a large family, and brings them up wisely, so as to adapt themselves early to a settler's life, why he does well for them, and soon feels the benefit on his own land; but if he is idle himself, his wife extravagant and discontented, and the children taught to despise labour, why, madam, they will soon be brought down to ruin. In short, the country is a good country for those to whom it is adapted; but if people will not conform to the doctrine of necessity and expediency, they have no business in it. It is plain Canada is not adapted to every class of people."
"It was never adapted for me or my family," said the lady, disdainfully.
"Very true," was the laconic reply; and so ended the dialogue.
But while I have been recounting these remarks, I have wandered far from my original subject, and left my poor log-house quite in an unfinished state. At last I was told it was in a habitable condition, and I was soon engaged in all the bustle and fatigue attendant on removing our household goods. We received all the assistance we required from --, who is ever ready and willing to help us. He laughed, and called it a "moving bee;" I said it was a "fixing bee;" and my husband said it was a "settling bee;" I know we were unsettled enough till it was over. What a din of desolation is a small house, or any house under such circumstances! The idea of chaos must have been taken from a removal or a setting to rights; for I suppose the ancients had their flittings, as the Scotch call it, as well as the moderns.
Various were the valuable articles of crockery-ware that perished in their short but rough journey through the woods. Peace to their manes! I had a good helper in my Irish maid, who soon roused up famous fires, and set the house in order.
We have now got quite comfortably settled, and I shall give you a description of our little dwelling. What is finished is only a part of the original plan; the rest must be added next spring or fall, as circumstances may suit.
A nice small sitting-room, with a store-closet, a kitchen, pantry, and bed-chamber, form the ground-floor; there is a good upper floor that will make three sleeping rooms.
"What a nut-shell!" I think I hear you exclaim. So it is at present; but we purpose adding a handsome frame front as soon as we can get boards from the mill, which will give us another parlour, long-hall, and good spare bed-room. The windows and glass-door of our present sitting-room command pleasant lake-views to the west and south. When the house is completed we shall have a veranda in front, and at the south side; which forms an agreeable addition in the summer, being used as a sort of outer room, in which we can dine, and have the advantage of cool air, protected from the glare of the sun-beams. The Canadians call these verandas "stoups." Few houses, either log or frame, are without them. The pillars look extremely pretty, wreathed with the luxuriant hop-vine, mixed with the scarlet creeper and "morning glory," the American name for the most splendid of major convolvuluses. These stoups are really a considerable ornament, as they conceal in a great measure the rough logs, and break the barn-like form of the building.
Our parlour is warmed by a handsome Franklin stove, with brass gallery and fender. Our furniture consists of a brass-railed sofa, which serves upon occasion for a bed, Canadian painted chairs, a stained pine table, green and white curtains, and a handsome Indian mat that covers the floor. One side of the room is filled up with our books. Some large maps and a few good prints nearly conceal the rough walls, and form the decoration of our little dwelling. Our bed-chamber is furnished with equal simplicity. We do not, however, lack comfort in our humble home; and though it is not exactly such as we could wish, it is as good as, under existing circumstances, we could have.
I am anxiously looking forward to the spring, that I may get a garden laid out in front of the house, as I mean to cultivate some of the native fruits and flowers, which, I am sure, will improve greatly by cultivation. The strawberries that grow wild in our pastures, woods, and clearings, are several varieties, and bear abundantly. They make excellent preserves, and I mean to introduce beds of them into my garden. There is a pretty little wooded islet on our lake, that is called Strawberry Island-another, Raspberry Island; they abound in a variety of fruits-wild grapes, raspberries, strawberries, black and red currants, a wild gooseberry, and a beautiful little trailing plant that bears white flowers like the raspberry, and a darkish purple fruit consisting of a few grains of a pleasant brisk acid, somewhat like in flavour to our dewberry, only not quite so sweet. The leaves of this plant are of a bright light green, in shape like the raspberry, to which it bears in some respects so great a resemblance (though it is not shrubby or thorny) that I have called it the "trailing" raspberry.
I suppose our scientific botanists in Britain would consider me very impertinent in bestowing names on the plants and flowers I meet with in these wild woods; I can only say, I am glad to discover the Canadian or even the Indian names if I can, and where they fail I consider myself free to become their floral godmother, and give them names of my own choosing.
I was tempted one fine frosty afternoon to take a walk with my husband on the ice, which I was assured was perfectly safe. I must confess for the first half-mile I felt very timid, especially when the ice is so transparent that you may see every little weed or pebble at the bottom of the water. Sometimes the ice was thick and white, and quite opaque. As we kept within a little distance of the shore, I was struck by the appearance of some splendid red berries on the leafless bushes that hung over the margin of the lake, and soon recognised them to be the high-bush cranberries. My husband soon stripped the boughs of their tempting treasure, and I, delighted with my prize, hastened home, and boiled the fruit with some sugar, to eat at tea with our cakes. I never ate anything more delicious than they proved; the more so, perhaps, from having been so long without tasting fruit of any kind, with the exception of preserves during our journey, and at Peterborough.
Soon after this I made another excursion on the ice, but it was not in quite so sound a state. We nevertheless walked on for about three-quarters of a mile. We were overtaken on our return by S--, with a hand-sleigh, which is a sort of wheelbarrow, such as porters use, without sides, and, instead of a wheel, is fixed on wooden runners, which you can drag over the snow and ice with the greatest ease if ever so heavily laden. S-- insisted that he would draw me home over the ice like a Lapland lady on a sledge. I was soon seated in state, and in another minute felt myself impelled forward with a velocity that nearly took away my breath. By the time we reached the shore I was in a glow from head to foot.
You would be pleased with the situation of our house. The spot chosen is the summit of a fine sloping bank above the lake, distant from the water's edge some hundred or two yards: the lake is not quite a mile from shore to shore. To the south, again, we command a different view, which will be extremely pretty when fully opened-a fine smooth basin of water, diversified with beautiful islands, that rise like verdant groves from its bosom. Below these there is a fall of some feet, where the waters of the lakes, confined within a narrow channel between beds of limestone, rush along with great impetuosity, foaming and dashing up the spray in mimic clouds. * * * * * *
What a different winter this has been to what I had anticipated! The snows of December were continually thawing; on the 1st of January not a flake was to be seen on our clearing, though it lingered in the bush. The warmth of the sun was so great on the first and second days of the new year, that it was hardly possible to endure a cloak, or even shawl, out of doors; and, within, the fire was quite too much for us. The weather remained pretty open till the latter part of the month, when the cold set in severely enough, and continued so during February. The 1st of March was the coldest day and night I ever experienced in my life; the mercury was down to twenty-five degrees in the house: abroad it was much lower. The sensation of cold early in the morning was very painful, producing an involuntary shuddering, and an almost convulsive feeling in the chest and stomach. Our breaths were congealed in hoar-frost on the sheets and blankets. Every thing we touched of metal seemed to freeze our fingers. This excessive degree of cold only lasted three days, and then a gradual amelioration of temperature was felt.
During this very cold weather I was surprised by the frequent recurrence of a phenomenon that I suppose was of an electrical nature. When the frosts were most intense, I noticed that when I undressed, my clothes, which are at this cold season chiefly of woollen cloth, or lined with flannel, gave out when moved a succession of sounds, like the crackling and snapping of fire, and, in the absence of a candle, emitted sparks of a pale whitish blue light, similar to the flashes produced by cutting loaf-sugar in the dark, or stroking the back of a black cat; the same effect was also produced when I combed and brushed my hair.
The snow lay very deep on the ground during February, and until the 19th of March, when a rapid thaw commenced, which continued without intermission till the ground was thoroughly freed from its hoary livery, which was effected in less than a fortnight's time. The air during the progress of the thaw was much warmer and more balmy than it usually is in England, when a disagreeable damp cold is felt during that process.
Though the Canadian winter has its disadvantages, it has also its charms. After a day or two of heavy snow the sky brightens, and the air becomes exquisitely clear and free from vapour; the smoke ascends in tall spiral columns till it is lost; seen against the saffron-tinted sky of an evening, or early of a clear morning, when the hoar-frost sparkles on the trees, the effect is singularly beautiful.
I enjoy a walk in the woods of a bright winter-day, when not a cloud, or the faint shadow of a cloud, obscures the soft azure of the heavens above; when, but for the silver covering of the earth, I might look upwards to the cloudless sky and say, "It is June, sweet June!" The evergreens, as the pines, cedars, hemlock, and balsam firs, are bending their pendent branches, loaded with snow, which the least motion scatters in a mimic shower around, but so light and dry is it that it is shaken off without the slightest inconvenience.
The tops of the stumps look quite pretty with their turbans of snow; a blackened pine-stump, with its white cap and mantle, will often startle you into the belief that some one is approaching you thus fancifully attired. As to ghosts or spirits, they appear totally banished from Canada. This is too matter-of-fact country for such supernaturals to visit. Here there are no historical associations-no legendary tales of those that came before us. Fancy would starve for lack of marvellous food to keep her alive in the backwoods. We have neither fay nor fairy, ghost nor bogle, satyr nor wood-nymph; our very forests disdain to shelter dryad or hamadryad. No naiad haunts the rushy margin of our lakes, or hallows with her presence our forest rills. No Druid claims our oaks; and instead of poring with mysterious awe among our curious limestone rocks, that are often singularly grouped together, we refer them to the geologist, to exercise his skill in accounting for their appearance; instead of investing them with the solemn characters of ancient temples or heathen altars, we look upon them with the curious eye of natural philosophy alone.
Even the Irish and Highlanders of the humblest class seem to lay aside their ancient superstitions on becoming denizens of the woods of Canada. I heard a friend exclaim, when speaking of the want of interest this country possessed, "It is the most unpoetical of all lands; there is no scope for imagination; here all is new-the very soil seems newly formed; there is no hoary ancient grandeur in these woods-no recollections of former deeds connected with the country. The only beings in which I take any interest are the Indians, and they want the warlike character and intelligence that I had pictured to myself they would possess."
This was the lamentation of a poet. Now, the class of people to whom this country is so admirably adapted are formed of the unlettered and industrious labourers and artisans. They feel no regret that the land they labour on has not been celebrated by the pen of the historian, or the lay of the poet. The earth yields her increase to them as freely as if it had been enriched by the blood of heroes. They would not spare the ancient oak from feelings of veneration, nor look upon it with regard for any thing but its use as timber. They have no time, even if they possessed the taste, to gaze abroad on the beauties of nature; but their ignorance is bliss.
After all, these are imaginary evils, and can hardly be considered just causes for dislike to the country. They would excite little sympathy among every-day men and women, though doubtless they would have their weight with the more refined and intellectual members of society, who naturally would regret that taste, learning, and genius should be thrown out of its proper sphere.
For myself, though I can easily enter into the feelings of the poet and the enthusiastic lover of the wild and the wonderful of historic lore, I can yet make myself very happy and contented in this country. If its volume of history is yet a blank, that of nature is open, and eloquently marked by the finger of God; and from its pages I can extract a thousand sources of amusement and interest whenever I take my walks in the forest or by the borders of the lakes.
But I must now tell you of our sugar-making, in which I take rather an active part Our experiment was on a very limited scale, having but one kettle, besides two iron tripods; but it was sufficient to initiate us in the art and mystery of boiling the sap into molasses, and finally the molasses down to sugar.
The first thing to be done in tapping the maples, is to provide little rough troughs to catch the sap as it flows; these are merely pieces of pine-tree, hollowed with the axe. The tapping the tree is done by cutting a gash in the bark, or boring a hole with an auger. The former plan, as being most readily performed, is the most usually practised. A slightly-hollowed piece of cedar or elder is then inserted, so as to slant downwards, and direct the sap into the trough; I have seen a flat chip made the conductor. Ours were managed according to rule, you may be sure. The sap runs most freely after a frosty night, followed by a warm bright day; it should be collected during the day in a barrel or large trough, capable of holding all that can be boiled down the same evening; it should not stand more than twenty-four hours, as it is apt to ferment, and will not grain well unless fresh.
My husband, with an Irish lad, began collecting the sap the last week in March. A pole was fixed across two forked stakes, strong enough to bear the weight of the big kettle. Their employment during the day was emptying the troughs and chopping wood to supply the fires. In the evening they lit the fires, and began boiling down the sap.
It was a pretty, a picturesque sight, to see the sugar-boilers, with their bright log-fire among the trees, now stirring up the blazing pile, now throwing in the liquid and stirring it down with a big ladle. When the fire grew fierce it boiled and foamed up in the kettle, and they had to throw in fresh sap to keep it from running over.
When the sap begins to thicken into molasses, it is then brought to the sugar-boiler to be finished. The process is simple; it only requires attention in skimming and keeping the mass from boiling over, till it has arrived at the sugaring point, which is ascertained by dropping a little into cold water. When it is near the proper consistency, the kettle or pot becomes full of yellow froth, that dimples and rises in large bubbles from beneath. These throw out puffs of steam; and when the molasses is in this stage, it is nearly converted into sugar. Those who pay great attention to keeping the liquid free from scum, and understand the precise sugaring point, will produce an article little if at all inferior to Muscovado.
In general you see the maple-sugar in large cakes, like bees'-wax, close and compact, without showing the crystallization; but it looks more beautiful when the grain is coarse and sparkling, and the sugar is broken in rough masses like sugar-candy.
The sugar is rolled or scraped down with a knife for use, as it takes long to dissolve in the tea without this preparation. I superintended the last part of the process, that of boiling the molasses down to sugar; and, considering it was a first attempt, Mid without any experienced person to direct me, otherwise than the information obtained from --, I succeeded tolerably well, and produced some sugar of a fine sparkling grain and good colour. Besides the sugar, I made about three gallons of molasses, which proved a great comfort to us, forming a nice ingredient in cakes, and an excellent sauce for puddings.
The Yankees, I am told, make excellent preserves with molasses instead of sugar. The molasses boiled from maple-sap is very different from the molasses of the West Indies, both in flavour, colour, and consistency.
Besides the sugar and molasses, we manufactured a small cask of vinegar, which promises to be good. This was done by boiling five pails-full of sap down to two, and fermenting it after it was in the vessel with barm; it was then placed near the fire, and suffered to continue there in preference to being exposed to the sun's heat.
With regard to the expediency of making maple-sugar, it depends on circumstances whether it be profitable or not to the farmer. If he have to hire hands for the work, and pay high wages, it certainly does not answer to make it, unless on a large scale. One thing in its favour is, that the sugar season commences at a time when little else can be done on the farm, with the exception of chopping, the frost not being sufficiently out of the ground to admit of crops being sown; time is, therefore, less valuable than it is later in the spring.
Where there is a large family of children, and a convenient sugar-bush on the lot, the making of sugar and molasses is decidedly a saving; as young children can be employed in emptying the troughs and collecting firewood, the bigger ones can tend the kettles and keep up the fire while the sap is boiling, and the wife and daughters can finish off the sugar within doors.
Maple-sugar sells for four-pence and six-pence per pound, and sometimes for more. At first I did not particularly relish the flavour it gave to tea, but after awhile I liked it far better than Muscovado, and as a sweet-meat it is to my taste delicious. I shall send you a specimen by the first opportunity, that you may judge for yourself of its excellence.
The weather is now very warm-oppressively so. We can scarcely endure the heat of the cooking-stove in the kitchen. As to a fire in the parlour there is not much need of it, as I am glad to sit at the open door and enjoy the lake-breeze. The insects are already beginning to be troublesome, particularly the black flies-a wicked-looking fly, with black body and white legs and wings; you do not feel their bite for a few minutes, but are made aware of it by a stream of blood flowing from the wound; after a few hours the part swells and becomes extremely painful.
These "beasties" chiefly delight in biting the sides of the throat, ears, and sides of the cheek, and with me the swelling continues for many days. The mosquitoes are also very annoying. I care more for the noise they make even than the sting. To keep them out of the house we light little heaps of damp chips, the smoke of which drives them away; but this remedy is not entirely effectual, and is of itself rather an annoyance.
This is the fishing season. Our lakes are famous for masquinougé, salmon-trout, white fish, black bass, and many others. We often see the lighted canoes of the fishermen pass and repass of a dark night before our door. S-- is considered very skilful as a spearsman, and enjoys the sport so much that he seldom misses a night favourable for it. The darker the night, and the calmer the water, the better it is for the fishing.
It is a very pretty sight to see these little barks slowly stealing from some cove of the dark pine-clad shores, and manœuvring among the islands on the lakes, rendered visible in the darkness by the blaze of light cast on the water from the jack-a sort of open grated iron basket, fixed to a long pole at the bows of the skiff or canoe. This is filled with a very combustible substance, called fat-pine, which burns with a fierce and rapid flame, or else with rolls of birch-bark, which is also very easily ignited.
The light from above renders objects distinctly visible below the surface of the water. One person stands up in the middle of the boat with his fish-spear,-a sort of iron trident,-ready to strike at the fish that he may chance to see gliding in the still waters, while another with his paddle steers the canoe cautiously along. This sport requires a quick eye, a steady hand, and great caution, in those that pursue it.
I delight in watching these torch-lighted canoes so quietly gliding over the calm waters, which are illuminated for yards with a bright track of light, by which we may distinctly perceive the figure of the spearsman standing in the centre of the boat, first glancing to one side, then the other, or poising his weapon ready for a blow. When four or five of these lighted vessels are seen at once on the fishing ground, the effect is striking and splendid.
The Indians are very expert in this kind of fishing; the squaws paddling the canoes with admirable skill and dexterity. There is another mode of fishing in which these people also excel; this is fishing on the ice, when the lakes are frozen over-a sport that requires the exercise of great patience. The Indian, provided with his tomahawk, with which he makes an opening in the ice, a spear, his blanket, and a decoy-fish of wood, proceeds to the place he has fixed upon. Having cut a hole in the ice, he places himself on hands and knees, and casts his blanket over him, so as to darken the water and conceal himself from observation; in this position he will remain for hours, patiently watching the approach of his prey, which he strikes with admirable precision as soon as it appears within the reach of his spear.
Indian Scene on the St. Lawrence.
The masquinougé thus caught are superior in flavour to those taken later in the season, and may be bought very reasonably from the Indians. I gave a small loaf of bread for a fish weighing from eighteen to twenty pounds. The masquinougé is, to all appearance, a large species of the pike, and possesses the ravenous propensities of that fish.
One of the small lakes of the Otanahee is called Trout Lake, from the abundance of salmon-trout that occupy its waters. The white fish is also found in these lakes, and is very delicious. The large sorts of fish are mostly taken with the spear, few persons having time for angling in this busy country.
As soon as the ice breaks up, our lakes are visited by innumerable flights of wild fowl; some of the ducks are extremely beautiful in their plumage, and are very fine flavoured. I love to watch these pretty creatures, floating so tranquilly on the water, or suddenly rising and skimming along the edge of the pine-fringed shores, to drop again on the surface, and then remain stationary, like a fleet at anchor. Sometimes we see an old duck lead out a brood of little ones from among the rushes; the innocent soft things look very pretty sailing round their mother, but at the least appearance of danger they disappear instantly by diving. The frogs are great enemies to the young broods; they are also the prey of the masquinougé, and I believe of other large fish that abound in these waters.
The ducks are in the finest order during the early part of the summer, when they resort to the rice-beds in vast numbers, getting very fat on the green rice, which they eagerly devour.
The Indians are very successful in their duck-shooting: they fill a canoe with green boughs, so that it resembles a sort of floating island; beneath the cover of these boughs they remain concealed, and are enabled by this device to approach much nearer than they otherwise could do to the wary birds. The same plan is often adopted by our own sportsmen with great success.
A family of Indians have pitched their tents very near us. On one of the islands of our lake we can distinguish the thin blue smoke of their wood fires, rising among the trees, from our front window, or curling over the bosom of the waters.
The squaws have been several times to see me; sometimes from curiosity, sometimes with the view of bartering their baskets, mats, ducks, or venison, for pork, flour, potatoes, or articles of wearing apparel. Sometimes their object is to borrow "kettle to cook," which they are very punctual in returning.
Once a squaw came to borrow a washing tub, but not understanding her language I could not for some time discover the object of her solicitude; at last, she took up a corner of her blanket, and, pointing to some soap, began rubbing it between her hands, imitated the action of washing, then laughed, and pointed to a tub; she then held up two fingers, to intimate it was for two days she needed the loan.
The people appear of gentle and amiable dispositions; and, as far as our experience goes, they are very honest. Once, indeed, the old hunter, Peter, obtained from me some bread, for which he promised to give a pair of ducks; but when the time came for payment, and I demanded my ducks, he looked gloomy, and replied with characteristic brevity, "No duck-Chippewa (meaning S--, this being the name they have affectionately given him,) gone up lake with canoe-no canoe-duck by-and-by." By-and-by is a favourite expression of the Indians, signifying an indefinite point of time; may be, it means to-morrow, or a week, or month, or it may be a year, or even more. They rarely give you a direct promise. As it is not wise to let any one cheat you if you can prevent it, I coldly declined any further overtures to bartering with the Indians till my ducks made their appearance. Some time afterwards I received one duck by the hands of Maquin, a sort of Indian Flibberty-gibbet. This lad is a hunchbacked dwarf, very shrewd, but a perfect imp: his delight seems to be tormenting the brown babies in the wigwams, or teazing the meek deer-hounds.
The forest trees are nearly all in leaf. Never did spring burst forth with greater rapidity than it has done this year. The verdure of the leaves is most vivid. A thousand lovely flowers are expanding in the woods and clearings. Nor are our Canadian songsters mute: the cheerful melody of the robin, the bugle-song of the blackbird and thrush, with the weak but not unpleasing call of the little bird called thitabebee, and a wren, whose note is sweet and thrilling, fill our woods.
For my part, I see no reason or wisdom in carping at the good we do possess, because it lacks something of that which we formerly enjoyed. I am aware it is the fashion for travellers to assert that our feathered tribes are either mute, or give utterance to discordant cries that pierce the ear, and disgust rather than please. It would be untrue were I to assert that our singing birds are as numerous or as melodious, on the whole, as those of Europe; but I must not suffer prejudice to rob my adopted country of her rights, without one word being spoken in behalf of her feathered vocalists. Nay, I consider her very frogs have been belied; if it were not for the monotony of their notes, I really consider they are not quite unmusical. The green frogs are very handsome, being marked over with brown oval shields on the most vivid green coat; they are larger in size than the biggest of our English frogs, and certainly much handsomer in every respect. Their note resembles that of a bird, and has nothing of the croak in it.
In conclusion, though Canada might not seem a paradise to town-bred gentlemen, or modern fine ladies, it possesses advantages to persons of sober, industrious habits, which are not to be found in England. If the emigrant and his family can but struggle through the hardships and privations of a first settlement in the backwoods, there is little doubt that they will in time secure a moderate independence, and be above want, though not above work.
View on the frontier line, near Stanstead plains. (Upper Canada.)
 These concession-lines are certain divisions of the townships; these are again divided into so many lots of 200 acres. The concession-lines used to be marked by a wide avenue being chopped, so as to form a road of communication between them; but this plan was found too troublesome; and in a few years the young growth of timber so choked the opening, that it was of little use. The lately-surveyed townships, I believe, are only divided by blazed lines.
CHAP. VII. NEW BRUNSWICK.
The Province of New Brunswick holds an important position amongst the colonies of Great Britain. To the political economist it presents a tract of country 27,704 square miles in superficial extent,-blessed with a salubrious climate,-a rich and productive soil, capable of receiving the whole tide of British emigration, should it turn in that direction, and of contributing to the comfort and happiness of the surplus of our industrious population. To the trader and capitalist the advantages this colony offers are equally great:-the whole area of this vast territory is intersected by innumerable navigable rivers and lakes; its shores are indented with safe and commodious harbours; its seas and rivers stored with excellent fish; its fertile plains and valleys, that are now covered with timber, require only the industry of man to make them yield corn and the fruits of the earth in prodigal abundance; its mountains teem with various mineral productions-iron, copper, zinc, manganese; gold and silver have been found in various parts of the province; coal of superior quality is abundant in several localities, and gypsum forms a principal article of the exports of the country to the United States. In short, whether we regard this old but much neglected colony in a social or commercial point of view, it possesses much to recommend it to the attention of every thinking Englishman.
It is not my intention, however, to do more than allude briefly to these or other topics which might be considered irrelevant to the object of a work purporting to illustrate the scenery of the country.
The history of New Brunswick is closely connected with that of the adjoining province of Nova Scotia, of which it formed a portion until the year 1785. Its first settlers were a few families from New England in 1762, who planted themselves on the River St. John, about fifty miles from its mouth. After the peace with America in 1783, upwards of four thousand persons from Nantucket came also to seek a home in those almost untrodden wildernesses.
The difficulties of settling in any new country are sufficiently numerous and formidable; but the hardships which these poor people had to endure were of more than ordinary severity. On their arrival late in the autumn, they found a few wretched hovels where St. John now stands; the surrounding country presenting a most desolate aspect, which was peculiarly discouraging to people who had just left their homes in the beautiful and cultivated parts of the United States. As they proceeded up the river St. John, the country wore a more pleasing aspect. At St. Ann's, where Fredericton is now built, they met a few scattered huts of the old French settlers, the country around being a perfect wilderness, uninhabited save by wild beasts or more savage Indians. The winter, which was at that time more rigorous than it is at present, surprised the unfortunate settlers before they had time to complete the construction of their cabins; added to which, they were frequently reduced to the direst extremities for food and clothing to preserve their existence. Frequently had they to travel from fifty to one hundred and fifty miles with hand-sleds, through trackless woods, or on the ice-bound rivers, to procure a scanty supply of provisions for their families at the Government stores: and in the piercing cold of winter, a part of the family had to remain up during the night to keep the fire in their huts, to prevent the other part from freezing. Some of the more destitute settlers made use of boards instead of bedding; the father, or some of the elder members of the family, remaining up by turns, and warming two pieces of board, which they applied alternately to the smaller children to keep them warm, with many similar expedients. By patience and endurance, almost unexampled, they struggled through their sufferings; and, by unremitting exertions, subdued the wilderness, and covered the face of the country with thriving towns, and villages, and habitations, where peace, plenty, and industry have fixed their abodes.
My route to New Brunswick from Canada was by the Grand Portage, about thirty-six miles across. The roads, though bad, were better than I expected. On my way I passed through some new settlements on reclaimed swamps, near the Rivière du Loup and crossed two or three high mountains, which form part of the Alleghany chain, lying between New Brunswick and the River St. Lawrence. The greater part of the country here is a complete bed of rocks, and the whole way through the woods offers little encouragement for settlers. Having passed the Portage, I reached Lake Tamisquata or Témiscouata a wild and solitary piece of water, twenty-eight miles in length. The land upon its banks is generally inferior, but upon its western side there are several swells of fruitful ground. From this lake the River Madawaska takes its rise, and winds for thirty miles through an almost boundless forest. The country on either side is exceedingly fertile; and the scenery is of the most wild and magnificent description. A few Acadians, the descendants of the original French settlers, are located on the banks of this lonely river; they are exceedingly simple in their manners, and have little intercourse with the rest of the world, except when at distant intervals they visit Fredericton to dispose of the surplus produce of their little farms. Their wants are few, and they live a quiet pastoral life, retaining a strong attachment to the dress, habits, language, and religion of their forefathers.
This settlement is comprehended in the disputed territory claimed by the Americans on the Maine frontier; which, in point of fertility, valuable timber, and beautiful rivers and streams, is equal to any part of America.
The season at which I entered New Brunswick was May, the most favourable period in the year for seeing the country to advantage. It is then that summer bursts at once from the cold embrace of winter; for the few days intervening between the rigorous cold of winter, and the genial heat of the weather such as we experience in England in the month of June, can scarcely be called a spring. To persons who have only witnessed the tardy advances of summer through the months of March, April, and May, in Great Britain, the sudden change which takes place at this season in Canada and the adjoining colonies is especially surprising; in the course of three or four days, the fields and deciduous trees put on their verdant liveries, innumerable garden and field flowers burst into full blow, the birds of summer make their appearance and enliven the woods with their glad songs, and the American nightingales, as the frogs are called, commence their singular evening concerts. In short, nothing can be imagined more delightful than the astonishing quickness with which the face of nature becomes clothed with all the charms of summer. The forests, which cover the greatest part of the province of New Brunswick, are unequalled in magnificence in any other part of the world. The banks of the river St. John are remarkable for the magnitude and abundance of the timber with which they are overgrown. Many varieties of the red, yellow, and pitch pine, intermingled with the graceful larch, the picturesque beech and maple, birch, elm, oak, and numerous other tribes of forest timber, grow down close to the water's side, spreading in stately grandeur over the broad plains, or stretching proudly up to the summits of the mountains that descend precipitously to the river. In summer the bright and cheerful green of the forests is exceedingly beautiful and refreshing to the eye, the dark pines alone forming a sombre contrast to the vivid freshness of the deciduous trees; but it is in autumn that an American forest wears its most enchanting colours;-two or three frosty nights in the decline of the season transform the rich and boundless verdure of a vast tract into brilliant scarlet, rich violet, and every possible tint of blue and brown, deep crimson and golden yellow. The fir tribes alone maintain their unchangeable dark green hue; all others on mountain and in valley burst into glorious beauty, and exhibit the most splendid and enchanting picture that earth can produce. It is from these immense forests that New Brunswick now draws its principal wealth. The timber trade, which has hitherto almost wholly engaged the attention of settlers, is of great importance, and employs a vast number of people, whose manner of living, owing to the nature of the business they follow, is altogether different from that of the inhabitants who are occupied in agricultural pursuits.
Throughout all New Brunswick, the wood fellers, or "lumberers," as they are there termed, bear a very indifferent reputation, being generally, and I fear with too much justice, regarded as men of dissolute and extravagant habits, and whose moral character, with few exceptions, is dishonest and worthless. The curious manner in which these people associate themselves for the purpose of cutting timber is so well described by a modern writer, that I cannot do better than transcribe his account of it. "Several men," he says, "form what is called a lumbering party, composed of persons who are either hired by a master labourer, who pays them wages, and finds them in provisions; or of individuals, who enter into an understanding with each other to have a joint interest in the proceeds of their labour: the necessary supplies of provisions, clothing &c., are generally obtained from the merchants on credit, in consideration of receiving the timber which the lumberers are to bring down the rivers the following summer. The stock deemed requisite for a lumbering party consists of axes, a cross-cut saw, cooking utensils, a cask of rum, tobacco and pipes, a sufficient quantity of biscuit, pork, beef, and fish; pease and pearl barley for soup, with a cask of molasses to sweeten a decoction usually made of shrubs, as of the tops of the hemlock tree. Two or three yokes of oxen, with sufficient hay to feed them, are also required to haul the timber out of the woods. When thus prepared, these people proceed up the rivers with the provisions to the place fixed on for their winter establishment, which is selected as near a stream of water, and in the midst of as much pine timber, as possible. They commence by clearing away a few of the surrounding trees, and building a camp of round logs, the walls of which are seldom more than four or five feet high; the roof is covered with birch bark or boards. A pit is dug under the camp, to preserve any thing liable to injury from the frost. The fire is either in the middle or at one end; the smoke goes out through the roof; hay, straw, or fir branches are spread across, or along the whole length of the habitation, on which they all lie down together at night to sleep, with their feet next the fire. When the fire gets low, he who first awakes or feels cold springs up, and throws on five or six billets; and in this way they manage to have a large fire all night. One person is hired as cook, whose duty it is to have breakfast prepared before daylight; at which time all the party rise, when each takes his "morning," the indispensable dram of raw rum, immediately before breakfast. This meal consists of bread, or occasionally potatoes, with boiled beef, pork, or fish, and tea sweetened with molasses. Dinner is usually the same, with pease soup instead of tea; and the supper resembles the breakfast. These men are enormous eaters; and they also drink great quantities of rum, which they scarcely ever dilute. Immediately after breakfast they divide into three gangs, one of which cuts down the trees, another hews them, and the third is employed with the oxen in hauling the timber, either in one general road leading to the banks of the nearest stream, or at once to the stream itself. Fallen trees and other impediments in the way of the oxen are cut away with the axe."
Such is the toilsome life of a lumberer from October until the month of April; amidst forests covered with snow, and exposed to all the severity of the winter, without experiencing any of its comforts. But it is when the snow begins to dissolve in April, and the "freshets" come down the rivers, that the lumberer's most trying labours commence. The timber which has been cut during the winter is now thrown into the stream, and floated down to some convenient place for constructing a raft. The water at this period, owing to the snow water in the freshets, is more intensely cold than in the depth of winter; the lumberers are obliged to be immersed in it from morning till night, and it is seldom less than six weeks from the time the floating the timber commences, till the rafts are delivered into the merchant's hands. This course of life, it is evident, must undermine the constitution; and the sudden transition from the extreme cold of winter in the backwoods to the scorching heat of the summer sun, must tend still farther to weaken and reduce the system. In order to sustain the cold, and stimulate the organs, these men are in the habit of swallowing immoderate quantities of ardent spirits; we cannot, then, wonder that premature old age and shortness of days should form the almost inevitable fate of a lumberer. Should one of them, more prudent than his fellows, save a little money, and be enabled for the last few years of his life to exist without labour, he only drags out a miserable existence-the victim of rheumatism, and all the miseries of a broken down constitution.
Falls on the St. John River.
A few miles above the Acadian settlements, the St. John receives the waters of the Madawaska; and inclining to the westward, flows in a deep and sluggish stream through a wilderness of rich and fertile lands, until it reaches the Grand Falls of the St. John, which for romantic beauty are perhaps unequalled by the most celebrated falls in the world. Mr. McGregor, who visited them, asserts, that, though they cannot be compared with Niagara in point of magnitude, the tout ensemble of the tremendous rocks, the gigantic woods, and the continuity of the cataracts and rapids below the St. John Falls, is finer than any thing that the otherwise unparalleled Niagara can boast of. Bateaux and other craft navigating the river at this point, are carried across a narrow neck of land, from a small cove immediately above the falls, to another little creek at some distance below them. The river, which a short way above the falls is broad and placid, becomes suddenly contracted between high and rocky banks, overhung with trees of immense growth, and rushes along a descent of several feet with prodigious impetuosity, until the interruption of a ridge of rocks, close to the edge of the grand falls, changes the turbulent stream into one vast sheet of broken foam, thundering over a precipice, fifty feet in perpendicular height, into a deep vortex filled with huge rocks, amongst which the immense body of waters is for a moment partially lost. Re-appearing, it continues its course through a narrower channel, pent in by rugged overhanging cliffs, and dashing with extraordinary velocity over a succession of lesser falls, more than half a mile in length, forms a picture of terrific grandeur and sublimity. The scenery after passing the grand falls is of the wildest and boldest character imaginable; and the rocky bed of the river is exceedingly dangerous for rafts and bateaux, which, however, are dexterously navigated through the broken waters and foaming rapids.
A first Settlement.
From this point the settlements on the fertile tracts of intervale land which lie near the river become more numerous, and it is no unfrequent occurrence with travellers in the woods to fall in with a farmer and his family hard at work forming A FIRST SETTLEMENT. These settlers are mostly Americans, or English and Scotch farmers, who have emigrated from the mother country to endeavour by honest labour to obtain a comfortable independence for themselves and their children. It is a singularly interesting sight-one of these new settlements buried in the depths of a pine forest, and proves how many seeming and real difficulties a man may overcome by patience and industry. Who without some strong motive for exertion would not feel discouraged at the sight of the wilderness land covered with heavy trees, which he must cut down and destroy before he can commit to the earth the seed which is to produce food for his family? But with the prospect of independence and comfort before him, the strong-hearted settler falls cheerfully to work, the lusty strokes of his axe ring through the lonely woods, and the monarchs of the forest fall one after the other beneath his vigorous arm. A small space is cleared, and he begins to raise the walls of his future dwelling. Round logs, from fifteen to twenty feet in length, are laid horizontally over each other, notched at the corners so as to let them down sufficiently close, till the walls have attained the requisite height:-the interstices between the logs are then filled with moss and clay; a few rafters are afterwards raised for the roof, covered with pine or birch bark, and thatched with spruce branches; the chimney is formed of wooden frame-work, and plastered with clay and straw kneaded together; a doorway and an aperture for a window are next cut in the walls of the house; the door and sashes are fixed in their places; a few rough boards, or logs hewn flat on one side, are laid down for a floor, and overhead a similar flooring, to form a sort of garret or lumber room. With the addition of a few articles of furniture of the rudest construction, the habitation is now considered ready to receive the family of the settler, who view with unbounded delight their new dwelling, and joyfully prepare, for the first time since their sojourn in the forest, to cook and eat their dinner of venison beneath the shelter of their humble roof. The house being completed, the settler next turns his attention to laying out his farm; and his first object is to cut down the trees, which is done by cutting with an axe a deep notch into each side of the tree, about two feet from the ground, in such a manner that the trees all fall in the same direction; the branches are then lopped off, and the timber is suffered to lie on the ground until the beginning of the following summer, when it is set on fire. By this means all the branches and small wood are consumed; the large logs are either piled in heaps and burnt, or rolled away for the purpose of making the zigzag log fences necessary to keep off the cattle and sheep, which are allowed to range at large. The timber being thus removed, the ground requires little further preparation for the seed which is to be sown in it, than merely breaking the surface with a hoe or harrow. Plentiful crops of corn or potatoes may be raised for two and often for three years successively after the wood has been burnt on it. The stumps of the trees are allowed to remain in the ground until they are sufficiently decayed to be easily removed. The roots of spruce, beech, birch, and maple, will decay in four or five years; the pine and hemlock tree require a much longer time. After the stumps are all removed the land is turned up with the plough, and the same system of agriculture is practised as in England.
Destructive fires often occur in the woods, sometimes from the effects of lightning, but more frequently arising from the carelessness of travellers and wood-fellers, who light fires at the roots of trees, and take no trouble about extinguishing them afterwards. If the season happens to be dry, the fire soon communicates to the surrounding trees, and from thence spreading through the forest, it rages with a fury and rapidity that we can scarcely form a conception of in European countries. Let the reader, if possible, fancy the devouring flames curling around the stems of the lofty pine trees, rushing up to their dark tops, and ascending to an immense height amongst the dense clouds of black smoke arising from a whole forest on fire. At each moment the falling trees come down with a thundering crash, while sparks and splinters of burning wood, driven on the wind, spread the destruction far and wide,
"Through the grey giants of the sylvan wild."
Human means are unavailing to check the progress of the conflagration; onward it rushes, extending to every combustible substance, and spreading desolation in its path until it is quenched by rain, or until it has devoured every thing between it and the cleared lands, the sea, or some river. In the year 1825 the country to the north of Miramichi was visited by one of the most disastrous conflagrations that history has ever recorded; upwards of a hundred miles of the shores of Miramichi were laid waste by the fire, which extended to Fredericton, where it destroyed the governor's residence and about eighty other houses; and carried its ravages northward as far as the Bay de Chaleur.
From the Grand Falls the river takes a course nearly due south, bounded on either side by precipitous banks and dense forests, whose solemn gloom has not yet been cheered by the hand of man. About half way between the Falls and Fredericton the waters of the Meduxnikeag unite with those of the St. John. It is here the grand and sublime features of the scenery of the latter river soften into the beautiful and picturesque. The towering and abrupt precipices,-the overhanging crags,-the dark and unpenetrated forests,-open into smiling plains and cultivated farms; and the numerous beauties which Nature has lavished on the scene, heightened by art, adorn the landscape with the cheering prospect of human comfort and prosperity. The river from this place to St. John is navigable for rafts and boats; and the settlements, though numerous, are chiefly confined to the banks of the stream,-a situation always selected by early settlers, from the advantages it possesses in enabling them to dispose of the timber with which their land is encumbered.
Fredericton, the seat of government of this province, is agreeably situated on a level neck of land, on the south side of the River St. John, about ninety miles above its mouth. The appearance of the town and the adjacent country, viewed from the rising ground behind Fredericton, is highly beautiful and luxuriant. Immediately beneath us stands the College, a plain but extensive building, conspicuously placed on the brow of a wooded eminence, overlooking the town; further down, on the flat shore, lies the neat cheerful looking town; and at some distance on the left, the handsome residence of the governor occupies a charming site near the water. Bending almost round the town, the majestic river, which is here not more than a mile in width, flows tranquilly between its banks; but it is no longer a silent and lonely stream, where the otter and the grey duck make their home, and-
"--with tawny limb,
And belts and beads in sun-light glistening,
The savage plies his skiff, like wild bird on the wing."
Civilization and commerce are now busy upon its waters,-white sails are gliding to and fro,-and the heavy rafts of the lumberers are seen stealing slowly down the stream, or occasionally a steamer may be observed, stemming the current that runs against her in her passage up from St. John.
Fredericton-New Brunswick. From opposite.
Following the course of the river downwards, the eye traces it for several miles winding around bold headlands crowned with noble trees,-or, lingering in those lovely bays where the sombre hue of the surrounding forest scenery is relieved by cheerful settlements, green fields, and comfortable farm houses, sprinkling the rich alluvial lands that fringe the shores. Looking upwards, the scene is still more picturesque and animated;-the face of the country exhibits more extensive cultivation,-the settlements are more numerous,-the woods seem to recede from the shores, yielding their ancient sovereignty of the soil to the untiring industry of man. The best view of Fredericton is had from the opposite side of the river, from whence the town presents a very pleasing appearance. Gay spires and white-walled buildings are seen stretching along the shore for a considerable distance; above these the College occupies a commanding situation; and nearer to the spectator the tranquil river flows smoothly on, while the dark green woods that clothe the undulating hills behind the town, form a noble back ground to the picture:-if to this the reader adds a glorious summer sky, overhanging and brightening all beneath, the landscape will be complete.
The Green at Fredericton.
The Governor's House stands at a short distance from the town, in one of the most romantic and picturesque situations imaginable. It is a light and elegant structure, forming a very agreeable object from the river, surrounded as it is by ornamented plantations, and sheltered by fine upland slopes, clad with rich and beautiful foliage. The town of Fredericton is laid out with great regularity; the streets crossing at right angles, as in almost all American towns. The public buildings are not numerous; the principal are-the Government House, the College already mentioned, and the barracks, which are good and commodious. The Episcopal church is a very unpretending building; there are besides, four other places of religious worship in the town for the Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Roman Catholic inhabitants. The environs are exceedingly pretty; neat houses, smiling gardens, and comfortable farms being scattered in every direction.
The Governor's House, Fredericton.
The condition of the settlers in the neighbourhood of Fredericton, St. John, and other large towns, is very different from that of the adventurous men who go forth to make a clearing in the woods;-their difficulties not being numerous, nor the labour so incessant, as that which the first settler has to encounter. The farms of the former are generally in a high state of cultivation: the rude log-hut has given place to a well-built and commodious dwelling-house, where the farmer, with his family and a numerous establishment of household servants, mechanics, and labourers, reside. Around the main building are scattered, with little regard to regularity or uniformity of appearance, barns, cattle-sheds, stables, workshops, and out-offices; and not unfrequently a grist mill and a saw mill;-all bearing evidence of the thriving condition of the proprietor, who, if he lives near the river, is also generally engaged in the timber trade, and employs large gangs of lumberers in the woods. The following picture of one of these industrious and active individuals, who had settled near Fredericton, may serve, with few exceptions, for the whole class:-This man was worth absolutely nothing when he settled on his farm, yet by industry and perseverance, he had acquired, in seven years, a handsome independence. "He could do little more than read and write; and his manners, though quite unpolished, were not rude. He had a wonderful readiness of address, and, as far as related to his own pursuits, quick powers of invention and application. He raised large crops, ground his own corn, manufactured the flax he cultivated and the wool of his sheep into coarse cloths; sold the provisions which his farm produced, and rum and British goods, to the lumberers, and received timber in payment. He made axes and other tools required by the lumberers, at his forge. He ate, gambled, and associated with his own labourers, and all others, who made his house a kind of rallying point; he appeared, however, to be a sober man, and a person who had in view an object of gain in every thing he engaged in." The person thus described was an American; and it is an indisputable fact, that there are no people who can more readily adapt themselves to all the circumstances peculiar to a new colony than the descendants of the first settlers in the United States. They exhibit much more perseverance and ingenuity than the British colonists; and though the English farmer is decidedly superior to the Yankee in agricultural knowledge, the latter possesses, in a greater degree, a quickness of invention where any thing is required that can be supplied by the use of edge tools. An American settler is not only a carpenter and joiner, but he can, if necessary, turn his hand to various other handicrafts;-he tans leather, builds boats, makes baskets, soap, and sugar; and is his own smith, farrier, tailor, and shoemaker. Almost every farmer has a loom in his house, and his wife and daughters spin the yarn from the wool and flax produced on the farm, and afterwards weave it into cloth. The home-manufactured woollen cloth is rather coarse, but extremely durable; it is generally dyed a blue colour.
Indian Town. (River St. John.)
The habitations of the Americans who have settled in the British colonies are generally better constructed than those of any other settlers who have not had the advantage of many years' residence in the country. But though the house of the English emigrant, from his imperfect knowledge of the use of edge tools, is usually a very clumsy affair, the peculiar neatness and comfort which prevails within doors more than compensates for the want of mechanical skill displayed without.
It has been well observed, that the virtue of cleanliness is one of those which Englishwomen never forget; I may add, that no women exhibit more industry and cheerfulness than the wives of the English settlers. It is no uncommon thing to see amongst them women, who have been tenderly and delicately brought up, milking their own cows, making their own butter, and performing tasks of household work from which they formerly would have shrunk. But a determination to conform to circumstances, soon reconciles a sensible woman to the duties of her new situation; and that which was at first irksome, becomes, in a short time, not only endurable, but a source of real gratification. The value of an industrious, active, and cheerful partner, can be estimated by no one so well as a settler in a new colony. It is to her that he owes all his domestic comforts and enjoyments. Like the prudent housewife described by King Solomon, "She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." Her accomplishments are numerous, but not exactly those that a fine lady in England might expect. Her skill is shown in the arts of manufacturing maple sugar; candle and soap-making; baking, cooking, salting meat and fish, knitting stockings and mittens, spinning woollen yarns, feeding poultry, managing a dairy, and, lastly, in mending and making clothes for herself, her husband, and children. These are the occupations of an emigrant's wife; and if a female cannot resolve to enter upon them cheerfully, she should never think of settling in the woods of Canada or New Brunswick.
The grand features of American scenery cannot be viewed to greater advantage than when sailing down one of those vast rivers which roll the accumulated tributes of a thousand streams in one majestic flood to the ocean. For this reason, I would recommend any traveller wishing to proceed from Fredericton to St. John, to take his passage by one of the steam-boats which ply between these places. Descending the St. John, the traveller cannot avoid remarking the extreme beauty of the shores, which present a succession of undulating hills, alternating with plains of the richest alluvial land. Sometimes the river assumes the appearance of a picturesque lake, studded with islands of varied form and size, reflecting, in its glassy surface, the tints of the lofty pine woods, by which it seems hemmed in. At other times, confined between rocky shores, it rushes onward with troubled speed; until, again expanding into a broad stream, it glides, in tranquil beauty, between its beautiful shores. Frequently, struck by the grandeur of the scenery by which we were passing, have I longed to gaze upon it at my leisure; but our boat, like the monster Time, stayed not for my ardent wishes; and a passing glimpse was often all I could obtain of those wild and beautiful spots. Yet purer pleasure I have seldom experienced than when gliding down this noble river. I can now picture to myself the dense and lofty forests, clothing the upland slopes; the lofty hills that overhung the stream, with pleasant vales between, full of rich fields and green pastures, sprinkled with flocks and herds, and here and there the cheerful white shingled dwellings of the industrious settlers. Sometimes the white sail of a fisherman's boat, or the painted canoe of the Indian, would cross us in our course. Numerous timber rafts, dropping sluggishly down with the stream, were overtaken and passed by us, with groups of lumberers stretched lazily on the floating mass, smoking, drinking, or sleeping in the sun, and enjoying their brief respite from slavish toil by uncontrolled abandonment to the luxury of idleness. I shall not, however, attempt a very minute description of the beautiful and fertile shores of the St. John River, which, in its descent from Fredericton to the Long Reach, receives the waters of the Washedemoak and Grand Lake from the east, and the Oromocto from the west. At the head of the Long Reach, the lands on either side, and the pretty islands which divide the river into several streams, are unequalled in beauty and fertility. Belle Isle Bay, a fine sheet of water, branches off here, and extends into the country a considerable distance. The spacious estuary of the Kennebecasis next attracts our attention. The shores are abrupt and rocky, but highly cultivated. A lovely tract of land called Sussex Vale lies near the head of the bay, thickly populated, and evincing by its appearance the prosperity and industry of its inhabitants. About a mile above the city of St. John, the river, contracted from the spacious opening of the Kennebecasis Bay, foams over and amongst a number of huge rocky masses, which appear to have been hurled from the adjacent heights into the bed of the stream, and, except at certain times of the tide, render the navigation of the river completely impracticable. This cataract, or rather succession of cataracts, forms what is called The Falls of St. John. Above the Falls, the expanded river forms a bay of some extent, surrounded by high and rugged woodlands. At the lower end of this bay, and at a short distance from the Falls, stands the picturesque village of Indian Town, which, owing to the hindrance of the navigation of the river by the Falls, has become a kind of lesser port to St. John, where numbers of small craft load and unload their cargoes. The steamer for Fredericton also lies here; the distance to St. John being not more than a mile and a half, by a good road. The best view of the Upper Falls is obtained from the bold heights about midway between Indian Town and St. John. From this spot, looking up the river, the waters are seen rushing in an immense body through the scattered rocks which intercept their progress:-above the Falls the quiet bay spreads out its blue waves, as if in contrast to the turmoil below, winding round the abrupt promontories, and washing the white walls of the village of Indian Town, which is here a beautiful object in the picture.
Split Rock. (St. John River.)
The Split Rock is that portion of the Falls lying nearest to St. John. The river here, pent between steep and rugged rocks, foams through its narrow channel with a tremendous roaring noise. The accompanying engraving represents these Rapids as they appear at low water, when the turbulent stream assumes an aspect of terrible and imposing grandeur. The approach to St. John from Indian Town is through the adjoining village of Portland, a place of some importance as regards the trade and commerce carried on there. It is the great depôt for the timber brought down from the interior of the country, and the principal wharfs and warehouses being situated in this part of the city, the traffic is consequently most considerable there.
The intelligent and amusing author of "Sam Slick," speaking of the harbour of St. John, says:-"No person on entering this harbour, for the first time, could suppose that it was the outlet of one of the largest rivers on the American continent, as it is in no way to be distinguished in appearance from any of those numerous inlets of the sea that render the coast of the British provinces every where accessible to ships of the largest class. As soon, however, as he gets a view of this noble stream, and becomes acquainted with its magnitude, he feels that St. John is destined by nature, as well as by the activity and intelligence of its inhabitants, to become the next largest city to New York on this continent." To judge of the importance of its situation, the spectator should view the Harbour and City of St. John from the heights over Portland. From this vantage ground the landscape is magnificent. He will behold, as upon a map spread beneath his feet, prairies, mountains, and woods; the noble harbour; the town, with masts of ships, spires of churches, and houses of various sizes and colours; the heights of Carleton, on the opposite side of the harbour; and, spreading away to the southward, the Bay of Fundy, with the distant shores of Nova Scotia, emerging darkly from the waters: these, with numerous other picturesque features, form a splendid and beautiful panorama.
St. John from the Signal.
The artist of this work obtained another charming and extensive prospect of St. John from the Signal, which is planted on the summit of a commanding eminence that rises immediately behind the pretty little village of Carleton. The aspect of the town from this position is exceedingly fine. Situated on a rocky peninsula projecting into a safe, spacious, and convenient harbour, it appears designed by nature to command the trade of the vast tract of country lying between it and the River St. Lawrence. Indeed, from the appearance of its public buildings,-of its wharfs and warehouses,-of the noble ships that crowd its port, and of the numerous steamers that are perpetually plying to and from Boston, Annapolis, Windsor, and other places,-it is but reasonable to infer that the time is not far distant when this town will assume an important position in the commercial world. At the entrance of the harbour is Partridge Island, on which there is a light-house and a quarantine station; and further in the harbour, a bar, extending across from the western side beyond the point on which the city stands. A beacon has been placed on this bar, which is quite dry at low water. The tide, which runs with extraordinary force, rises in this harbour from twenty-five to thirty feet perpendicular.
St. John and Portland, New Brunswick.
The streets of St. John, owing to the unevenness of the ground upon which the town has been built, are very irregular, although considerable pains have been taken to level and smooth the rugged surface. The government and public buildings are generally appropriate and handsome. The principal are the court house, a marine hospital, a poor house, a gaol, and two fine ranges of barracks, with government store-houses at the lower cove, which have materially improved the appearance of this quarter of the city. There are also two Episcopal churches, one an old wooden structure, the other a modern erection, built in the gothic style, of rough stone; a handsome Scotch kirk, two or three neat Methodist chapels, one Catholic and one Baptist place of worship, and several religious humane and useful societies in St. John. The country around the town, as I have already observed, is exceedingly picturesque; and the inhabitants are fond of making little excursions and pic-nic parties to favourite places during the summer. I visited one of these delightful spots during my sojourn at St. John. It lies within an easy walk of the town, and bears the romantic name of Lily Lake. A straggling road leads to within a short distance of it, from whence, striking off by a tangled path, through broken ground, I came suddenly upon the object of my search-a sweet little lake, reposing in the bosom of a wild valley, upon whose picturesque sides the feathery larch, the graceful beech, the wild cherry, the Indian pear, with the hazel, juniper and dogwood tree, formed many a natural thicket and delicious arbour, whose thick roof of verdant branches is, through the long summer's day,-
And musical with birds, that sing and sport
In wantonness of spirit; while below,
The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
St. John is seen to great advantage from the shores of Lily Lake:-seated on its rugged peninsula, with houses rising above houses to the summit of the hill, on whose highest point the tower of the Methodist chapel forms a striking object, the town makes, with the surrounding scenery, an exceedingly pretty picture.
Having now conducted my readers, from the Canadian boundary, through a vast extent of territory, tracing, in our route, the course of the magnificent river St. John, with its myriads of lakes and tributary streams, opening an inland navigation to almost every part of this fine province, I shall next make a rambling tour through the sister colony of Nova Scotia, describing, as I go along, the most striking and romantic features of that country, which will form the concluding portion of this work. Before quitting New Brunswick, I shall offer a few brief observations on some of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages of the colony. The rigours of the climate in winter, about which so much has been said, and which seems to have deterred many English emigrants from settling here, have been considerably exaggerated. The fact is, the climate has of late been materially ameliorated; the winters are by no means so severe, or of the same duration, as they were fifteen or twenty years since. The reason is obvious: the rapidity with which settlers are clearing the forest, and opening the face of the earth to the light of day, gives to the sun's influence a much greater extent of country annually; as a natural consequence, the snows melt more early and rapidly, and the winters become proportionably short. When the colony was but thinly inhabited, the winter commenced early in November, and continued generally until the end of April; latterly, however, there has been no dead winter until Christmas, and the spring has usually opened in the beginning of April. But even the winter has its advantages and pleasures. The snow which falls then protects the herbage and winter grain from the severity of the frost, and natural roads are formed on the hardened snow, which materially facilitate the labours of the farmer and the lumberer. When the cold is extreme, the inhabitants keep within doors; and, fuel being abundant, they feel little of the severity of the frost without. As soon as a favourable change takes place in the weather, the roads and rivers are again alive with sleighs and sleds, drawn by horses, and posting at a rapid rate, in all directions, over the glassy surface of the ice; the former as vehicles of pleasure, and the latter laden with provisions for the markets. Many settlers travel in these sleds from two to three hundred miles to the city for a market, (such trips being seldom made more than once a year,) when they barter their farm produce for tea, tobacco, hardware, and other luxuries which their farms do not yield. The summer, as I have already observed, is truly delightful; the air, notwithstanding the heat, is pure, and the nights at this season exceed in splendour the most beautiful in Europe. The autumn very much resembles an English autumn-the days warm, and the evenings delightfully cool. The productions of the province necessary for man's support are various and abundant:-wheat and Indian corn, with hay on the intervale lands. Peas, beans, carrots, turnips, mangel-worzel, and other culinary vegetables, thrive remarkably well. Melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers are produced in the open fields. Apple trees, though not yet sufficiently plentiful, thrive well in the upper parts of the province. Grapes, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries, are indigenous to the country, and are found in abundance in the woods. As far as raspberries are concerned, it is a singular circumstance, that, immediately after the clearing of a piece of land, its whole surface, unless kept down by annual crops, will be overrun with raspberry bushes, which in the second year are in full bearing. The most serious disadvantage under which New Brunswick labours is a deficiency of roads. There are, it is true, roads between the principal towns and settlements, but they cannot be said to be continually effective, or in a state to afford a constant and practicable mode of conveyance. Few of them are passable for carriages for any considerable distance, and at many seasons of the year are wholly untraversable. The most important is the post road from Nova Scotia to Canada, which crosses the province diagonally from the city of St. John, and runs parallel to St. John River, on its western side. It is passable for carriages fourteen miles above Fredericton, but only in summer: in spring and autumn it is very wet; and in winter, the only mode of travelling is by the ice, on the river.
Scene in the bay of Annapolis.
The distance from St. John River to Annapolis Bason in Nova Scotia may be about thirty miles, across the Bay of Fundy, the passage being usually performed by the steam packets which run regularly between these places. The entrance to the bason is through a narrow strait, called Digby Gut, whose precipitous sides suggest the idea of a passage having been opened through the North Mountain by some violent convulsion of nature. On entering the bason, one of the most magnificent havens in America opens to the view; on its western shore the small but beautiful village of Digby is situated, on the gentle slope of a hill, commanding a view of part of Granville and Clements, and of the broad Bay of Annapolis, which receives the collected waters of the Annapolis, Moose, and Bear rivers. The air of Digby is remarkably salubrious, and the situation particularly agreeable in summer. The author of "Sam Slick," in his pleasant work, eulogizes this town as "The Brighton of Nova Scotia, the resort of the valetudinarians who take refuge here from the unrelenting fogs, hopeless sterility, and calcareous waters of St. John." We can forgive this partiality on the part of the talented writer, who is always enthusiastic in his praise of Nova Scotia; and, without depreciating the merits of a neighbouring colony, accord to Digby the praise of being a delightful and healthy summer residence. The shores of the bay are eminently picturesque-displaying all the softer features of English park scenery, mingled with the primeval wildness of an American landscape in all its sylvan luxuriance and solitude.
An Old Fort in Nova Scotia.
The same steamer which conveyed you to Digby takes you, if you wish it, on to Annapolis, a small town situated on the river Annapolis, at the eastern extremity of the bay. It is built upon the extremity of a peninsula, which, projecting into the river, forms two beautiful basons, one above and the other below the town. This place, the earliest settlement, and the capital of the province, while under the dominion of France, was called Port Royal; but changed to Annapolis Royal, in honour of Queen Anne, in whose reign it was ceded to England. Mr. Haliburton tells us that, "in addition to its being the most ancient, it is also the most loyal city of this Western Hemisphere. This character it has always sustained; and 'royal,' as a mark of peculiar favour, has ever been added to its cognomen by every government that has ever had dominion over it." But royal patronage does not seem to have done much towards improving the condition of the place, for it has increased little in size or population since the conquest of the province. It is, however, a respectable town, and contains-a government-house, court-house, Episcopalian and Methodist churches, a respectable academy, supported by a legislative grant, commodious barracks, and several handsome private buildings. From the circumstance of the first governors of the province having resided at Annapolis, many of the most interesting subjects relating to the history of the colony are connected with this town. Indeed, it is impossible to walk in its pleasant environs, without being struck with the "old world" look of the country,-the quickset hedges, and the neatness of the farms and gardens, reminding one forcibly of an English rural scene. The view that best pleased me in this neighbourhood was that from the old fort of Annapolis, on the south-western extremity of the peninsula, which commands a fine prospect of the broad and beautiful bason, the settlements on the Granville shore, and part of Clements. These fortifications, which were erected at an immense expense, are in a dilapidated condition; the cannon dismounted, and incapable, in the present state, of sustaining a defence. An old block-house, in a ruinous state, has an air of antiquity rarely to be met with in this country; its venerable appearance struck me as being quite un-American.
The General's Bridge, near Annapolis. (Nova Scotia.)
In no part of Nova Scotia are so many natural and artificial curiosities to be met with as in the neighbourhood of Annapolis,-of these, the most singular are, the natural ice-house, a deep ravine wherein ice may be found throughout the summer,-the lake on the summit of the mountain,-the point of land on the Granville shore, opposite to Goat island, where the first piece of ground was cleared for cultivation in this colony by the French, and where is still shown the stone on which they had rudely engraved the date of their settlement, (1606,) as a memorial of their formal possession of the country,-the iron mines, on the Moose river,-and, not the least interesting, The General's Bridge, a romantic spot, about two miles from Annapolis, which I visited during my brief stay in this neighbourhood. The walk to it was most delightful: first, through the pretty suburbs of the town, and then, by a road through luxuriant woods, till I came suddenly upon the secluded valley, embosomed amongst undulating hills, through which rushed a rapid stream, dancing and sparkling in the bright beams of an early sun. An old wooden bridge, thrown across the brawling current, formed a striking object in the picture; while, nearer to us, the wigwams of a party of Indians, who had encamped on a slip of intervale land, completed the picturesque character of the scene. While the artist who accompanied me was engaged making his sketch of the place, I entered one of the wigwams of the Indians, and learnt that they were journeying from Annapolis to Liverpool, by way of the Rossignol Lakes, which, with the exception of two short portages, form, it is said, a continued chain of navigable water across the whole province, but rarely travelled, except by the Indians. Having purchased from the squaw a pair of slippers, ornamented very ingeniously with small glass beads and porcupine quills, and a fan formed from the skin of some fish, tastefully dyed with various colours, all of Indian manufacture, I rejoined my companion, who had completed his sketch, and returned to Annapolis. The road from Annapolis to Windsor runs parallel to the course of the Annapolis river, along that high ridge which stretches from the Digby Gut to the Bason of Minas, an extent of seventy miles of coast, without the intervention of a single harbour. This tract, notwithstanding this disadvantage, is settled by industrious families, who have, in general, excellent and well-cultivated farms. The towns are clean and thriving; but we meet none worthy of particular notice, until we reach Kentville, a prettily situated village, containing several handsome private residences, a court-house, gaol, and a good grammar-school. The views in the vicinity of Kentville are remarkably fine, and the formation of the land such as to present the greatest diversity of landscape; the chief charm of which consists in the unusual combination of hill, dale, woods, and cultivated fields,-in the calm beauty of agricultural scenery,-and in the romantic wilderness of the distant forests. The numerous orchards, and the general fertility of the land in this and the adjoining township of Horton, have procured for them the title of the "garden of the province."
Kentville. (Nova Scotia.)
Between Kentville and Windsor, the traveller crosses the Horton Mountain, from whence he may obtain a view of extraordinary beauty and extent. Behind him lies the township of Horton and Cornwallis, over which he has just passed, beautifully watered by the rivers that meander through them: beyond, is a lofty and extended chain of hills, presenting a vast chasm-the entrance to the Bason of Minas-through which the nineteen rivers that pour their waters into this vast reservoir appear to have forced an embouchure into the Bay of Fundy. The variety and extent of this prospect,-the rich and verdant vale of Gaspereaux,-the extended township of Horton, interspersed with groves of wood, farm-houses, orchards, and cultivated fields,-the Grand Prairie, sheltered by evergreen forests of dark foliage,-the blue highlands of the opposite side of the Bason,-and the cloud-capped summit of the lofty cape that terminates the chain of the North Mountain, form an assemblage of picturesque objects, rarely united with so striking an effect.
Windsor, Nova Scotia. FROM THE RESIDENCE OF JUDGE HALIBURTON, AUTHOR OF SAM SLICK.
The approach to the town of Windsor, from the western road, is by a handsome wooden bridge, recently constructed over the river Avon, which was formerly crossed by means of an inconvenient and unsafe ford, passable only at low water. The Avon takes its rise in the extensive lakes that lie between Chester and Windsor; but, though navigable for some miles above the latter place, it would be little better than a large brook, were it not for the augmentation it receives from the flow of the tide from the Bason of Minas, which occasions an extraordinary rise and fall of the river at Windsor; being about thirty feet at spring tides. The Avon receives the Kennetcook, Cockmagon, and the St. Croix rivers, a short distance below Windsor, and discharges their united streams into the Bason of Minas. The country in the neighbourhood of the town is exceedingly beautiful, being agreeably diversified with hill, dale, and lawn. The luxuriance of the meadows,-the chain of high hills on the south and west, clothed with wood of variegated foliage,-and the white sails of vessels gliding through the serpentine windings of the Avon and St. Croix,-are amongst the leading features of this interesting landscape. Windsor is an extremely neat and pretty town, with a Protestant church, and Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and Roman Catholic chapels. The private houses are numerous and tastefully built, and have, with few exceptions, large gardens and orchards attached to them. On an elevated and beautiful spot of ground, a short distance from the town, stands the University of King's College, which has the power of bestowing degrees, similar to those granted by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The View of Windsor, shown in the accompanying engraving, was taken from a spot near the residence of Judge Haliburton,-better known in the world of letters on both sides of the Atlantic, as the author of the humorous "Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick," the first work that ever truly delineated that most singularly amusing character-a Down-East dealer-and gave us a correct picture of the quaint, shrewd, impudent, but good-humoured Yankee, in all his striking originality of thought and action.
The Residence of Judge Haliburton. (Author of Sam Slick.)
To whom this Plate is respectfully inscribed by the Publisher.
The spectator, in this view, is supposed to be looking down the river Avon, towards the bay: beneath him is seen the picturesque town, with its new bridge; and in the distance, the winding shores, to which the rich woods and cultivated farms give a diversified and beautiful appearance. The Residence of Judge Haliburton is a small but elegant structure, delightfully situated on an eminence, which, as I have just observed, commands a noble prospect of the whole township. This charming retreat is surrounded by thriving plantations of beech, white maple, poplar, juniper, and other ornamental trees. Fruits of the most delicate kinds are produced in the garden; indeed, the sheltered situation of Windsor is peculiarly favourable for raising the tender produce of more genial climates. Mr. Haliburton remarks, that "peaches, though subject, from the early blossoms they put forth, to be injured by frosts, have been known to ripen without artificial aid or even common shelter; and grapes, pears, and quinces, and a great variety of summer and autumnal plums, arrive at perfection in all ordinary seasons."
The communication between Halifax and New Brunswick is maintained by means of steam packets, which ply between St. John and Windsor, from which latter place there is an excellent mail-coach road to Halifax. The passage across the Bay of Fundy, and through the Bason of Minas, is said to be rather dangerous, owing to the rapid tides, the rocky shores, and the fogs which prevail on these coasts.
Cape Blowmedon and Parrsboro'.
The Bason of Minas is one of the most remarkable and beautiful inlets in North America. Its entrance is through a strait about three miles in width, with bold craggy shores. Outside this strait, the tides in the Bay of Fundy are rapid but regular; but within, the rise of the tide is greater than in any other part of America; in spring tides it flows to the height of seventy feet in the narrow part of the bason. The phenomenon called the Bore is an attendant or rather precursor of the flood tide, which approaches in a line of foam, extending across the bay about four or five feet high, and rolling over the sands at the rate of four miles, or upwards, an hour. The appearance of the shores of the Bason of Minas, while sailing towards its entrance, is exceedingly beautiful:-the luxuriant woods, lagoons, hills, dales, bays, rivers and headlands, the numerous picturesque islands, the extensive farms, verdant prairies, and thriving villages which meet the eye on every side, form a succession of rich and varied landscapes. Near the entrance of the bason on the western shore is the remarkable headland called Cape Blomedon, or more generally-Cape Blow-me-down, which forms the termination of the chain of hills that run parallel to the shores of the Bay of Fundy from Annapolis. This headland presents a singularly abrupt and imposing appearance; its perpendicular front is of a dark red colour, and its rugged head may be seen at a great distance, emerging from the thick mists by which it is frequently encompassed. On the opposite side of the channel is the pretty little village of Parrsborough, sheltered by the bluff cliff called Partridge Island; which, resisting the force of the tides in the Bay of Fundy, makes a secure harbour for the craft engaged in the navigation of the Bason of Minas and the adjoining rivers. Through the narrow channel between Partridge Island and Cape Split, at the outer entrance of the bason, the great body of water collected in this immense reservoir escapes into the Bay of Fundy. The singular appearance of this Cape, whose detached masses of rock appear to have been shivered by some mighty convulsion of nature, and shaken from their original foundations, has never failed to excite the surprise and admiration of every stranger who has seen it. A mail-coach road runs from Windsor to Halifax, which crosses the St. Croix river at a short distance from the former place. On the border of the St. Croix Lakes is the hill of Ardoise, the highest land in the province, from whence may be had a distant prospect of Windsor, Falmouth, Newport, and the beautiful country around the Bason of Minas. The road, as we approach Halifax, winds for nearly ten miles along the western shore of Bedford Bason, which is connected with the outer harbour by a narrow passage at the dock yard;-this inner bason is a beautiful sheet of water, containing ten square miles of safe anchorage. The scenery here, though not highly romantic, is agreeably picturesque; and the shores of the bason are indented with numerous coves, and well-sheltered inlets of great beauty. About seven miles from Halifax are the ruins of what was once the favourite country residence of His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, when commanding the forces in this province. "It is impossible," says Mr. Haliburton, "to visit this spot without the most melancholy feelings: the tottering fences, the prostrate gates, the ruined grottoes, the long and winding avenues, cut out of the forest, overgrown by rank grass and occasional shrubs, and the silence and desolation that pervade everything around, all bespeak a rapid and premature decay, recall to mind the untimely fate of its noble and lamented owner, and tell of fleeting pleasures, and the transitory nature of all earthly things. I stopped at a small inn in the neighbourhood, for the purpose of strolling over it for the last time ere I left the country, and for the indulgence of those moralizing musings which at times harmonized with our nerves and awaked what may be called the pleasurable sensations of melancholy."
Cape Split. (Bay of Fundy.)
The harbour of Halifax is one of the finest in the world:-it is capacious, safe, accessible at all seasons of the year, and easy of approach for vessels of the largest size. Three miles from Halifax and near the mouth of the harbour is MacNab'' Island, which forms two entrances, called the eastern and western passage; but the former is only used by small vessels. The North-west Arm is an inlet branching off from the main entrance of the harbour, and penetrating about four miles into the land; it winds in the rear of the town until it approaches to within half a mile of Bedford Bason, forming the peninsula upon which the town is built. The situation of Halifax is on the east side of the peninsula, on the declivity of a commanding hill, whose summit is between two and three hundred feet above the level of the sea. Near the southern part of the peninsula stands a strong martello tower, which commands on one side the harbour of Halifax, and that of the Arm on the other. The author of "Sam Slick" gives the following humorous description of the attractions to be found in its neighbourhood. "It is situated," he writes, "at the termination of a fashionable promenade, which is skirted on one side by a thick shrubbery, and on the other by the waters of the harbour; the former being the resort of those of both sexes who delight in the impervious shade of the spruce, and the latter of those who prefer swimming and other aquatic exercises. With these attractions to the lovers of nature and a pure air, it is thronged at all hours, but more especially at day-dawn, by the valetudinarian, the aged, and infirm; and at the witching hour of moonlight, by those who are young enough to defy the dew and damp air of night." The streets of Halifax are wide, and intersect each other at right angles; some of them are paved, others macadamized, and from the ascent and nature of the soil are usually dry. The houses, however, are irregularly built, no uniformity in the height and size being observed in their construction; handsome buildings of three and four stories high being intermingled with old and mean looking edifices. The new houses built of wood, being large, neatly finished, and painted white, are more imposing in their appearance than those of brick and stone. Amongst the public buildings, the government house,-the residence of the governor of the province for the time,-is a large gloomy-looking structure, built of freestone, and situated at the southern extremity of the town. The Province Building, which is admitted to be the most splendid edifice in North America, stands within a square in the centre of the town. It is built of freestone quarried in the province, and its plan combines elegance with strength and utility; its length is 140 feet, its breadth 70, and its elevation 45 feet. It contains the chambers of the Council, and Legislative Assembly,-the Supreme Court, with its appendant offices; also all the provincial offices,-the Halifax public library, &c. There are two Episcopal churches; one (St. Paul's) is a handsome edifice with a tall spire; the other, the Rotunda church, at the north end of the town, is distinguished by a dome which gives it a remarkable appearance. Halifax also contains two Presbyterian, one Methodist, two Baptist, and one Roman Catholic chapel; besides a Sandemanian meeting-house. The court-house is a plain brick building. Dalhousie College, established in 1820, is a spacious and handsome structure, situate at the end of the old military parade.
View of the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia. FROM DARTMOUTH.
Viewed from the village of Dartmouth, on the opposite shore of the harbour, the town of Halifax appears to singular advantage. The front of the town is lined with ships, warehouses, and wharfs, amongst which Cunnard's wharf, with one of his fine steam-packets lying alongside, forms a conspicuous object. Above these the spires of the different churches and the neat tower of the methodist chapel are seen intermingled with the houses that cover the side of the hill, upon whose summit stands the citadel which commands the town and harbour. To the left, in the distance, is the entrance of the harbour; and nearer to the spectator, the numerous boats and vessels in motion upon the water, with the busy little steam ferry boat plying constantly between Dartmouth and Halifax, give life and animation to the picture.
Halifax has been always the principal naval station of British North America; and though it has lost much of its consequence since the termination of the last war, it is still the most important town in the possession of England in this part of the world, forming as it does the great military and naval depôt for her North American and West Indian colonies. The dock-yard here is the most extensive establishment of the kind out of England; it is enclosed on the land side by a high stone wall, and contains within it every requisite for repairing and refitting the largest ships. On an eminence above the dock-yard, and commanding a view of the harbour, is the residence of the admiral, who commands the squadron on the American station. There is also a large wooden building, at the south end of the town, for the use of the military commandant; with two barracks, a military hospital, ordnance and commissariat stores, &c. Halifax is the station for the North American packets, which convey the mails regularly once a month to and from Falmouth. The old worthless gun-brigs, which, to the disgrace of England, were employed for a length of time in this service, have at length been removed; and the mails are now carried by Cunnard's splendid steamers, which frequently make the passage from England out in ten days, touch at Halifax, where they deliver the mails, and proceed without delay to Boston, which they generally reach in two days. This increased facility in the communication between England and Nova Scotia will do more towards improving the colony than any thing that has been hitherto attempted, and will be the means of making Halifax one of the most flourishing towns in British North America.
END OF VOL. II.
 The descendants of the French who settled in the colonies now possessed by Great Britain are distinguished by the appellations of Canadians and Acadians. The former were settled in Canada, and the latter principally in Nova Scotia, then called Acadia. The Acadians are now to be found in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Cape Breton; always by themselves in distinct settlements, and scarcely ever inter-marrying with strangers.
 The Acadian women in Prince Edward Island dress after nearly the same fashion as the Bavarian broom-girls. On Sundays their costume is peculiarly neat and picturesque; they wear over their shoulders a small blue cloth cloak reaching only half way down the body, and generally fastened at the breast with an ornamental brass brooch; on week-days they usually wear wooden shoes. The men dress in round blue jackets with standing collars, and rows of shining metal buttons placed closely down the front, scarlet waistcoats, and loose blue trowsers. Mr. McGregor, in describing the Acadian customs, says, "Among all the Acadians in Prince Edward Island I never knew but one person who had the hardihood to dress differently from what they call "notre façon." On one occasion he ventured to put on an English coat, and he has never since, even among his relations, been called by his proper name, Joseph Gallant, which has been supplanted by that of "Joe Peacock."
 St. John and Miramichi are the two places from whence the exportation of timber is principally carried on in New Brunswick. The town of Miramichi is seated at the mouth of a beautiful and majestic river of the same name, which divides into three great branches, upon whose banks dwell a thinly-scattered population, who employ themselves during the winter chiefly in hewing timber in the woods, and in rafting it down the river in summer to the places where the ships load.
 Many Americans make a practice of clearing a few acres of wood farm, and then setting or selling the land and improvements the first opportunity that offers. When this is accomplished they travel farther into the forest, and settle upon another farm, which they clear, build on, and dispose of in the same way they did the first.
 Mr. McGregor gives the following account of this dreadful conflagration: "It appears," writes he, "that the woods had been, on both sides of the north-west branch, partially on fire for some time, but not to an alarming extent until the 7th of October, when it came on to blow furiously from the north-west, and the inhabitants on the banks of the river were suddenly alarmed by a tremendous roaring in the woods, resembling the incessant rolling of thunder; while at the same time the atmosphere became thickly darkened with smoke. They had scarcely time to ascertain the cause of this phenomenon, before all the surrounding woods appeared in one vast blaze, the flames ascending more than a hundred feet above the tops of the loftiest trees, and the fire, like a gulph in flames, rolling forward with inconceivable celerity. In less than an hour Douglastown and Newcastle were enveloped in the destroying element, and many of the wretched inhabitants perished in the midst of this terrible fire." It was calculated that upwards of 500 persons fell victims to the conflagration throughout the province.
 Carleton, named from Sir Guy Carleton, one of the early governors of this province, is a thriving little place, situated on the opposite side of the harbour to St. John. The saw mills, within the aboiteaux, a little above the village, are deserving the notice of strangers. Opposite to the town is a low muddy islet called Navy Island. The Indians say that it was carried down at one time by the stream in a body. It is, however, evidently an alluvial deposit, and has been gradually formed.
 Pic-nic excursions are much in vogue all over America. To show how far these differ from any thing to which they may be compared in England, it may be sufficient to observe, that pic-nic parties generally consist of families of respectability, with their friends, who are on a perfectly intimate footing with each other. In summer, some romantic spot is fixed upon, to which the party proceed; if by water, which is most commonly the case, in an open boat; or if by land, in gigs or in calashes, and on horseback. The ladies consider it as within their particular province to furnish eatables: the gentlemen provide wines and spirits. At these parties there is usually less restraint and more enjoyment than at the assemblies. On some grassy glade, shaded by the luxuriant branches of forest trees, and not far from some clear spring or rivulet, the contents of the well-filled baskets are disclosed; feasting on which forms certainly the most substantial part of the day's enjoyment; but perhaps the most agreeable is that which succeeds, when the party divides for the pleasure of walking; and there are undoubtedly "worse occupations in the world" than wandering with a pretty woman through the skirts of a wood, or along the margin of the sea, enjoying "sweet converse" and the delights of the open air and surrounding scenery. As the evening approaches they re-assemble; and the party, followed by their servant, bringing along the fragments of the pic-nic, return to the boat, in which they embark.-McGregor's Sketches.
 This word in usually applied to land so situated, with respect to some adjacent stream or river, as to be occasionally overflowed by it, and thus to enjoy the advantage of alluvial deposits.
 The province of Nova Scotia is an extensive peninsula, connected with the continent of North America by a narrow isthmus of only eight miles in width, between Bay Verte in the Straits of Northumberland, and Cumberland Bason at the eastern extremity of the Bay of Fundy. It is supposed to have been discovered in 1497, by John Cabot, then in the service of Henry VII. of England. The first settlement was made there in 1604, by a number of French adventurers, who founded Port Royal, now Annapolis; by these the country was named Acadia. The occupation by France of this important province was opposed by England, and was the cause of the hostilities between these countries in America, which did not terminate until France was stripped of all her North American possessions by the peace of 1763.
 This stone was discovered in 1827: it is about two feet and a half long and two feet broad; on the upper part are engraved the square and compass of the free-mason, and in the centre, in large and deeply cut Arabic figures, the date 1606.