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Title: Canada and the Canadians - Volume I
Author: Bonnycastle, Richard Henry, 1791-1847
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Emigrants And Immigration                                            Page 1

The Emigrant and his Prospects                                           46

A Journey to the Westward                                                90

The French Canadian                                                     127

Penetanguishene--The Nipissang Cannibals, and a
Friendly Brother in the Wilderness                                      146

Barrie and Big Trees--A new Capital of a new District--Nature's
Canal--The Devil's Elbow--Macadamization and Mud--Richmond Hill
without the Lass--The Rebellion and the Radicals--Blue Hill and
Bricks                                                                  172

Toronto and the Transit--The Ice and its innovations--Siege
and Storm of a Fortalice by the Ice-king--Newark, or Niagara--Flags,
big and little--Views of American and of English Institutions--Blacklegs
and Races--Colonial high life--Youth very young                         195

The old Canadian Coach--Jonathan and John Bull passengers--"That
Gentleman"--Beautiful River, beautiful drive--Brock's
Monument--Queenston--Bar and Pulpit--Trotting horse Railroad--Awful
accident--The Falls once more--Speculation--Water
Burning Spring--Setting fire to Niagara--A charitable Woman--The Nigger's
Parrot--John Bull is a Yankee--Political Courtship--Lundy's Lane
Heroine--Welland Canal                                                  217

The Great Fresh-water Seas of Canada                                    266





  Emigrants and Immigration.

Very surprising it seems to assert that the Mother Country knows very
little about the finest colony which she possesses--and that an
enlightened people emigrate from sober, speculative England, sedate and
calculating Scotland, and trusting, unreflective Ireland, absolutely and
wholly ignorant of the total change of life to which they must
necessarily submit in their adopted home.

I recollect an old story, that an old gunner, in an old-fashioned,
three-cornered cocked hat, who was my favourite playfellow as a child,
used to tell about the way in which recruits were obtained for the Royal

The recruiting sergeant was in those days dressed much finer than any
field-marshal of this degenerate, railway era; in fact, the Horse Guards
always turned out to the sergeant-major of the Royal Military Academy of
Woolwich, when that functionary went periodically to the Golden Cross,
Charing Cross, to receive and escort the young gentlemen cadets from
Marlow College, who were abandoning the red coat and drill of the
foot-soldier to become neophytes in the art and mystery of great gunnery
and sapping.

"The way they recruited was thus," said the bombadier. "The gallant
sergeant, bedizened in copper lace from the crown of his head to the
sole of his foot, and with a swagger which no modern drum-major has ever
presumed to attempt, addressed a crowd of country bumpkins.

"'Don't listen to those gentlemen in red; their sarvice is one which no
man who has brains will ever think of--footing it over the univarsal
world; they have usually been called by us the flatfoots. They uses the
musquet only, and have hands like feet, and feet like fireshovels.

"'Mind me, gentlemen, the royal regiment of the Royal Artillery is a
sarvice which no gentleman need be ashamed of.

"'We fights with real powder and ball, the flatfoots fights with
bird-shot. We knows the perry-ferry of the circumference of a round
shot. Did you ever see a mortar? Did you ever see a shell? I will answer
for it you never did, except the poticary's mortar, and the shell that
mortar so often renders necessary.

"'Now, gentlemen, at the imperial city of Woolwich, in the Royal
Arsenal, you may, if you join the Royal Artillery, you may see shells in
earnest. Did you ever see a balloon? Yes! Then the shells there are
bigger than balloons, and are the largest hollow shot ever made--the
French has nothing like them.

"'And the way we uses them! We fires them out of the mortars into the
enemy's towns, and stuffs them full of red sogers. Well, they bursts,
and out comes the flatfoots, opens the gates, and lets the Royal
Artillery in; and then every man fills his sack with silver, and gold,
and precious stones, after a leetle scrimmaging.

"'Come along with me, my boys, and every one of you shall have a coat
like mine, which was made out of the plunder; and you shall have a horse
to ride, and a carriage behind it; and you shall see the glorious city
of Woolwich, where the streets are paved with penny loaves, and drink is
to be had for asking.'"

So it is with nine-tenths of the emigrants to Canada in these
enlightened days; so it is with the emigrants from old England, and from
troubled Ireland, to the free and astonishing Union of the States of
America and Texas, that conjoint luminary of the new go-ahead world of
the West.

Dissatisfied with home, with visionary ideas of El Dorados, or starving
amidst plenty, the poorer classes obtain no correct information. Beset
generally with agents of companies, with agents of private enterprise,
with reckless adventurers, with ignorant priests, or missionaries of the
lowest stamp, with political agitators, and with miserable traitors to
the land of their birth and breeding, the poor emigrant starts from the
interior, where his ideas have never expanded beyond the weaver's loom
or factory labour, the plough or the spade, the hod, the plane, or the
trowel, and hastens with his wife and children to the nearest sea-port.

There he finds no friend to receive and guide him, but rapacious agents
ready to take every advantage of his ignorance, with an eye to his
scanty purse. A host of captains, mates, and sailors, eager to make up
so many heads for the voyage, pack them aboard like sheep, and cross the
Atlantic, either to New York or to Quebec, just as they have been able
to entice a cargo to either port. Then come the horrors of a long voyage
and short provisions, and high prices for stale salt junk and biscuit;
and, at the end, if illness has been on board, the quarantine, that most
dreadful visitation of all--for hope deferred maketh the heart sick.

From the first discovery of America, there has been a tendency to
exaggeration about the resources and capabilities of that country--a
magniloquence on its natural productions, which can be best exemplified
by referring the reader to the fac-simile of the one in Sir Walter
Raleigh's work on Guiana,[1] now in the British Museum. Shakespeare had,
no doubt, read Raleigh's fanciful description of "the men whose heads do
grow beneath their shoulders," &c.; for he was thirty-four years of age
when this print was published, only seventeen years before his death.

[Footnote 1: Brevis et admiranda descriptio REGNI GVIANÆ, AVRI
abundantissimi, in AMERICA, sev novo orbe, sub linea Æquinoctilia siti:
quod nuper admodum, Annis nimirum 1594, 1595, et 1596 per generosum
Dominum Dr. GVALTHERVM RALEGH Equitem Anglum detectum est: paulo post
jussa ejus duobus libellis comprehensa. Ex quibus JODOCVS HONDIVS
TABVLAM Geographicam adornavit, addita explicatione Belgico sermone
scripta: Nunc vero in Latinum sermonem translata, et ex variis
authoribus hinc inde declarata. Noribergæ. Impensis LEVINI HULSII.

So expansive a mind as Raleigh's undoubtedly was, was not free from that
universal credulity which still reigns in the breasts of all men
respecting matters with which they are not personally acquainted; and
the glowing descriptions of Columbus and his followers respecting the
rich Cathay and the Spice Islands of the Indies have had so permanent a
hold upon the imagination, that even the best educated amongst us have,
in their youth, galloped over Pampas, in search of visionary
_Uspallatas_. Nor is it yet quite clear that the golden city of El
Dorado is wholly fabulous, the region in which it was said to exist not
having yet been penetrated by Science; but it soon will be, for a
steamboat is to ply up the Maranon, and Peru and Europe are to be
brought in contact, although the voyage down that mighty flood has
hitherto been a labour of several months.

The poor emigrant, for we must return to him, lands at New York. Sharks
beset him in every direction, boarding-houses and grogshops open their
doors, and he is frequently obliged, from the loss of all his
hard-earned money, to work out his existence either in that exclusively
mercantile emporium, or to labour on any canal or railroad to which his
kind new friends may think proper, or most advantageous to themselves,
to send him. If he escapes all these snares for the unwary, the chances
are that, fancying himself now as great a man as the Duke of Leinster,
O'Connell, the Lord Mayor of London, or the Provost of Edinburgh, free
and unshackled, gloriously free, he becomes entangled with a host of
land-jobbers, and walks off to the weary West, there to encounter a life
of unremitting toil in the solitary forests, with an occasional visit
from the ague, or the milk-fever, which so debilitates his frame, that,
during the remainder of his wretched existence, he can expect but little
enjoyment of the manorial rights appendant to a hundred acres of wild

Let no emigrant embark for the United States unless he has a kind friend
to guide and receive him there, and to point out to him the good and the
evil; for the native race look upon all foreigners with a jealous eye,
and particularly upon the Irish.

The Germans make the best settlers in that country, perhaps because, not
speaking English, they cannot be so easily imposed upon by the crimps,
and also because they seldom emigrate before they have arranged with
their friends in America respecting the lands which they are to occupy.

A society of British philanthropists has been established at New York to
direct British emigrants in their ultimate views; but it may well be
imagined that these gentlemen, who are chiefly engaged in trade, cannot
descend to understand fully, or are constant witnesses of, the low
tricks which are practised to seduce the unwary ones.

The emigrant to Canada is somewhat differently situated.

The Irish come out in shiploads every season, and generally very
indifferently provided and without any definite object; nay, to such an
extent is this carried, that hundreds of young females venture out every
year by themselves, to better their condition, which betterment usually
ends in their reaching as far inland as Toronto, where, or at other
ports on the lakes, they engage themselves as domestics.

When we consider that nearly 25,000 emigrants leave the Mother Country
every year for Canada alone, how important is it that they should be
informed of every particular likely to increase their comforts and to
conduce to their well-being! This kind of service can be but partially
rendered by the present publication, which, being intended for the
general reader, cannot be given in a form likely to reach the class of
emigrants who usually proceed to America otherwise than through the
advice which the reader may, whenever it is in his power, kindly bestow
upon them. But it will, I am persuaded, be extensively useful in that
way, and also to the settler with a small capital who can afford to
consult it.

Learned dissertations upon colonization are useful only to the
politician, and so much venality has prevailed among those who have
thrust themselves forward in the cause of Canadian settlement, that the
public become a little alarmed when they hear of a work expressly
designed for the emigrant.

The very best informed at home, and the _haute noblesse_, have been
repeatedly taken in. Dinnerings and lionizing have been the order of the
day for persons, who, in the colony, cut a very inferior figure. But
this is natural, and in the end usually does no harm. It is natural that
the colonist, who is a _rara avis_ in England, should be considered a
very extraordinary personage among men who seek for novelty in any
shape; because those who lavish favours upon him at one time and eschew
his presence afterwards are usually ignorant of the very history of
which he is the type. It is like the standing joke of sending out
water-casks for the men-of-war built on the fresh-water seas of Canada,
for there are plenty of rich folks at home who want only to be filled.

The different sorts of people who emigrate from _home_ to the United
States or Canada, may be classed under several heads, like the
travellers of Sterne.

First, the inquisitive and restless, who leave a goodly inheritance or
occupation behind them, because they have heard that Tom Smith or Mister
Mac Grogan, very ordinary folks anywhere, have made a rapid fortune,
which is indeed sometimes the case in the United States, though rather
rare there for old countrymen, and is still more rare and unlikely in
Canada, where large fortunes may be said to be unknown quantities.

Settlers of this class usually fall to the ground very soon--if they
settle in Canada, they become Radicals; if they return from the States,
they become Tories.

The next class are your would-be aristocratic settlers, younger sons of
younger sons, cousins of cousins, Union Barons, nephews' nephews of a
Lord Mayor, or unprovided heirs in posse.

These fancy they confer a sort of honour by selecting the colony as
their final resting-place, and that a governor and his ministers have
nothing in the world to think about but how they can provide for such
important units. Hence they frequently end by placing themselves in
direct opposition to the powers that be, or take very unwillingly to the
labours of a farmer's life. Many of them, when they find that pretension
is laughed at, particularly if no talents accompany it, which is rarely
or ever the case, for talent is modest and retiring in its essential
nature, turn out violent Republicans or Radicals of the most furious
calibre; but the more modest portion work heartily at their farms, and
frequently succeed.

Another class is your private gentlemen's sons and decent young farmers
from England, Ireland, or Scotland, who think before they leap, have
connexions already established in Canada, and small capitals to
commence with. These are the really valuable settlers: they go to
Canada for land and living; and eschew the land and liberty system of
the neighbouring nation. Wherever they settle, the country flourishes
and becomes a second Britain in appearance, as may be observed in the
London and western districts.

It does not require a very lengthened acquaintance with Canada to form
observations upon the characters of the _immigrants_, as the Webster
style of Dr. Johnson will have the word to be.

The English franklin and the English peasant who come here usually weigh
their allegiance a little before they make up their minds; but, if they
have been persuaded that Queen Victoria's reign is a "_baneful
domination_," they either go to the United States at once, or to those
portions of Canada where sympathy with the Stars and Stripes is the
order of the day.[2]

[Footnote 2: That is, to those portions of the London and western
district where American settlers abound, who have so generously repaid
the fostering care which Governor Simcoe originally extended to them.
One of those rabid folks indebted to the British government, who kept an
inn, padlocked his pumps lately when a regiment was marching through
Woodstock in hot dusty weather, that the soldiers might not slake their

If they be Scotch Radicals, the most uncompromising and the most bitter
of all politicians, they seek Canada only with the ultimate hope of
revolutionizing it.

But the latter are more than balanced by the respectable Scotch, who
emigrate occasionally upon the same principles which actuate the
respectable portion of the English emigrants, and by the hardy
Highlanders already settled in various parts of the colony, whose
proverbial loyalty is proof against the arts of the demagogue.

The great mass of emigrants may however be said to come from Ireland,
and to consist of mechanics of the most inferior class, and of
labourers. These are all impressed with the most absurd notions of the
riches of America, and on landing at Quebec often refuse high wages with
contempt, to seek the Cathay of their excited imaginations westward.

If they be Orangemen, they defy the Pope and the devil as heartily in
Canada as in Londonderry, and are loyal to the backbone.

If they are Repealers, they come here sure of immediate wealth, to kick
up a deuce of a row, for two shillings and sixpence currency is paid for
a day's labour, which two shillings and sixpence was a hopeless week's
fortune in Ireland; and yet the Catholic Irish who have been long
settled in the country are by no means the worst subjects in this
Trans-Atlantic realm, as I can personally testify, having had the
command of large bodies of them during the border troubles of 1837-8.
They are all loyal and true.

In the event of a war, the Catholic Irish, to a man--and what a
formidable body it is in Canada and the United States!--will be on the
side of England. O'Connell has prophesied rightly there, for it is not
in human nature to forget the wrongs which the Catholics have suffered
for the past ten years in a country professing universal freedom and

The Americans of the better classes with whom I have conversed admit
this, but their dislike of the Irish is rooted and general among all the
native race; and they fear as well as mistrust them, because, in many of
the largest cities, New York for one, the Irish predominate.

The Americans say, and so do the Canadians, that, for some years back,
since the repeal agitation at home, a few very ignorant and very
turbulent priests, of the lowest grade, have found their way across the
Atlantic. I have travelled all over Canada, and lived many years in the
country, and have been thrown among all classes, from my having been
connected with the militia. I never saw but one specimen of Irish
hedge-priest, and therefore do not credit the assertion; this one came
out last year, and a more furious bigot or a more republican ultra I
never met with, at the same time that he was as ignorant as could be

Such has not hitherto been the case with the Catholic priesthood of the
Canadas. The French Canadian clergy are a body of pious, exemplary men,
not perhaps shining in the galaxy of science, but unobtrusive,
gentlemanly, and an honour to the _soutane_ and _chasuble_.

The priests from Ireland are not numerous, for the Irish chapels were,
till very lately, generally presided over by Scotch missionaries; and I
can safely say that, whether Irish or Scotch, the Catholic priesthood of
Western Canada will not yield the palm to their Franco-Canadian brethren
of the cross, and that loyalty is deeply inculcated by them. I have long
and personally known and admired the late Bishop Mac Donell; a worthier
or a better man never existed. The highest and the lowest alike loved

I saw him bending under the weight of years, passed in his ministry and
in the defence of his adopted country, just before he left Canada, to
lay his bones in his natal soil, preside over the ceremony of placing
the first stone of the Catholic seminary, for which he had given the
ground and funds to the utmost of his ability.

He was a large, venerable-looking man, unwieldy from the infirmities of
age and a life of toil and trouble; and the affecting and touching
portion of the scene before us was to see him supported on his right and
left by the arms of a Presbyterian colonel and a colonel of the Church
of England.

This is true Christianity, true charity--peace be to his soul!--

His successor was a Canadian, equally free from pretension and bigotry;
and he was succeeded by an Irishman, whose mission is to heal the wounds
of party and strife. He is living and in office; I cannot, therefore,
speak of him; but, differing as an Englishman so widely as I do in
religious tenets from his, I can freely assert that, if clergymen of
every denomination pursued the same course of brotherly love that he
does, we should hear no more of the fierce and undying contention about
subjects which should be covered with the veil of benevolence and

You cannot force a man to think as you do, to draw him into what you
conceive to be the true path; mildness and conciliation are much more
likely to effect your object than the Emperor of China's yellow stick.
The days of the Inquisition, of Judge Jefferies, and of Claverhouse, are
happily gone by; and the artillery of man's wrath now vents its harmless
thunders much in the same way as the thunders of the Vatican, or the
recent fulmination of the Archbishop of Paris against the author of the
Wandering Jew; that is to say, with a great deal of noise, but without
much damnifying any one, as the public soon formed a true judgment of M.
Sue and of the tendency of his works.

On the other hand, how horrible it is, and what a fearful view of frail
human nature is opened for a searching mind to observe that a man, who
professes to have abandoned the pleasures of existence, to have broken
through the very first law of nature, to have separated himself from his
kind, and to have assumed perfection and infallibility, the attributes
of his Creator, devoting the altar at which he serves to the wicked
purposes of arraying man against man, and of embruing the hands held up
before him at prayer in the blood of his fellow-mortals!

But such is the inevitable tendency of the system of "I am better than
thou," whether it be practised by a Catholic priest of the hedge-school,
by a fanatic bawler about new light, or by a fierce and uncompromising
churchman. Faith, hope, and charity, are alike misinterpreted and
misunderstood. Faith with these consists in blind or hypocritical
devotion to their peculiar opinions and dogmas; hope is limited to the
narrowest circle of ideas; and charity, Divine charity, exists not; for
even the very relics, the mouldering bones of the defunct, are not
allowed to rest side by side; and as to those differing in the slightest
degree from them, to them charity extends not, however pious, however
sincere, or however excellent they may be.

The people of England are very little aware how widely Roman Catholicism
extends in the United States and in Canada. From accurate returns, it
has been ascertained that in the United States there were last year
1,500,000, with 21 bishops, 675 churches, 592 mission stations, and 572
priests otherwise employed in teaching and travelling; 22 colleges or
ecclesiastical establishments, 23 literary institutions, 53 female
schools or convents for instruction, 84 charitable hospitals and
institutions, and 220 young students, preparing for the ministry; whilst
we learn, from the Annals of the Propaganda, that 1,130,000 francs were
appropriated, in May 1845, to the missions of America, or about £47,000
annually, of which the share for the United States, including Texas, was
771,164 francs, or about £32,000 in round numbers.

Then again, the greater portion of the Indian tribes in the north-west
and west, excepting near the Rocky Mountains or beyond them, are Roman
Catholics; and their numbers are very great, and all in deep hatred,
dislike, and enmity, to the Big Knives.

More than half a million of the Lower Canadians are also of the same
persuasion, and their church in Upper Canada is large and increasing by
every shipload from Ireland. Even in Oregon, a Catholic bishop has just
been appointed.

It is more than probable, that in and around the United States three
millions of Roman Catholic men are ever ready to advance the standard of
their faith; whilst Mexico, weak as it is, offers another Catholic
barrier to exclusive tenets of liberty, both of conscience and of

It is surprising how very easily the emigrants are misled, and how
simply they fancy that, once on the shores of the New World, Fortune
must smile upon them.

There is a British society, as I have already stated, for mutual
protection, established at New York; and the government have agents of
the first respectability at Quebec, at Montreal, and at Kingston. But
the poorer classes, as well as those whose knowledge of life has been
limited, are sadly defrauded and deluded.

At a recent meeting of the Welsh Society at New York, facts were stated,
showing the depravity and audacity of the crimps at Liverpool and New
York. The President of the Society said that, owing to the nefarious
practices against emigrants, the Germans first, then the Irish, after
that the Welsh, and lastly the English residents of the city had taken
the matter in hand by the formation of Protective Societies.

The president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick observed that in
Liverpool the poor emigrants were fleeced without mercy; and he gave as
one instance a fact that, by the representations of a packet agent, a
large number of emigrants were induced to embark on board a packet
without the necessary supply of provisions, being assured that for their
passage-money they would be supplied by the captain--an arrangement of
which the captain was wholly ignorant.

The president of the Welsh Society exhibited sixty dollars of trash in
bills of the Globe Bank, that had been palmed off upon an unsuspecting
Welshman by some rascal in Liverpool, in exchange for his hoarded gold,
and declared that this was only one of a series of like villanies
constantly occurring.

The ex-president of the St. George's Society, Mr. Fowler, mentioned a
curious circumstance connected with the history of New York. He said
that he remembered the city when it contained only fifty thousand
inhabitants, and not one paved side walk, excepting in Dock Street. Now
it had a population of nearly 400,000, and had so changed, that he could
no longer identify the localities of his youthful days.

Who, he asked, had done this? The emigrant! and it was protection they
needed, not charity. He should have added, that the great mass of the
emigrants who have made New York the mighty city it now is, were Irish,
and that the native Americans have banded themselves in another form of
protection against their increasing influence.

The republican notions which the greater portion of the lower classes
emigrating from the old country have been drilled into, lead them to
believe that in the United States all men are equal, and that thus they
have a splendid vault to make from poverty to wealth, an easy spring
from a state of dependency to one of vast importance and consideration.
The simple axiom of republicanism, that a ploughman is as good as a
president, or a quarryman as an emperor, is taken firm hold of in any
other sense than the right one. What sensible man ever doubted that we
were all created in the same mould, and after the same image; but is
there a well educated sane mind in America, believing that a perfect
equality in all things, in goods and chattels, in agrarian rights and in
education, is, or ever will be, practicable in this naughty world?

Has nature formed all men with the same capacities, and can they be so
exactly educated that all shall be equally fit to govern?

The converse is true. Nature makes genius, and not genius nature. How
rarely she yields a Shakespeare!--There has been but one Homer, one
Virgil, since the creation. There was never a second Moses, nor have
Solomon's wisdom and glory ever again been attainable.

Look at the rulers of the earth, from the patriarchs to the present day,
how few have been pre-eminent! Even in the earliest periods, when the
age of man reached to ten times its present span, the wonderful sacred
writ records Tubal-Cain, the first artificer, and Jubal, the lyrist, as
most extraordinary men; and with what care are Aholiab and Bezabel,
cunning in all sorts of craft, and Hiram, the artificer of Tyre,
recorded! Hiram, the king, great as he undoubtedly was, was secondary in
Solomon's eyes to the widow's son.

These men, says the holy record, were gifted expressly for their
peculiar mission; and so are all men, to whom the Inscrutable has been
pleased to assign extraordinary talent.

Cæsar, the conqueror, Napoleon, his imitator, and Nelson, and
Wellington, are they on a par with the rabble of New York? Procul, O,
procul este profani!

Pure democracy is an utter and unattainable impossibility; nature has
effectually barred against it. The only thing in the course of a life of
more than half a century that has ever puzzled me about it is, that the
Catholic clergy should, in so many parts of the world, have lent it a
helping hand. The ministers of a creed essentially aristocratic,
essentially the pillars of the divine right of kings, have they ever
been in earnest about the matter? Perhaps not!

If that giant of modern Ireland, the pacificator citizen king, succeeded
in separating the island from Great Britain, would he, on attaining the
throne, or the dictatorship, or the presidency, or whatever it might be,
for the nonce, desire pure democracy? _Je crois que non_, because, if he
did, he would reign about one clear week afterwards.

Look at the United States, see how each successive president is bowed
down before the Moloch altar; he must worship the democratic Baal, if he
desires to be elected, or re-elected. It is not the intellect, or the
wealth of the Union that rules. Already they seriously canvass in the
Empire State perfect equality in worldly substance, and the division of
the lands into small portions, sufficient to afford the means of
respectable existence to every citizen. It is, perhaps, fortunate that
very few of the office-holders have much substance to spare under these
circumstances; but, if the President, Vice-President, and the
Secretaries of State, are to live upon an acre or two of land for the
rest of their lives, Spartan broth will be indeed a rich diet to theirs.

When the sympathizers invaded Canada, in 1838-1839, the lands of the
Canadians were thus parcelled out amongst them, as the reward of their
extremely patriotic services, but in slices of one hundred, instead of
one or two, acres.

But, notwithstanding all this ultra-democracy, there is at present a
sufficient counterbalance in the sense of the people, to prevent any
very serious consequences; and the Irish, from having had their religion
trampled upon, and themselves despised, would be very likely to run
counter to native feeling.

If any country in the whole civilized world exhibits the inequality of
classes more forcibly than another, it is the country which has lately
annexed Texas, and which aims at annexing all the New World.

There is a more marked line drawn between wealth and pretension on the
one hand, poverty and impertinent assumption on the other, than in the
dominions of the Czar. Birth, place, power, are all duly honoured, and
that sometimes to a degree which would astonish a British nobleman,
accustomed all his life to high society. I remember once travelling in a
canal boat, the most abominable of all conveyances, resembling Noah's
ark in more particulars than its shape, that I was accosted, in the
Northern States too, and near the borders, where equality and liberty
reign paramount, by a long slab-sided fellow-passenger, who, I thought,
was going to ask me to pay his passage, his appearance was so shabby,
with the following questions:

"Where are you from? are you a Livingstone?" I told him, for I like to
converse with characters, that I was from Canada. "What's your name?" he
asked. I satisfied him. He examined me from head to foot with attention,
and, as he was an elderly man, I stood the gaze most valiantly. "Well,"
he said, "I thought you were a Livingstone; you have got small ears, and
small feet and hands, and that, all the world over, is the sign of
gentle blood."

He was afterwards very civil; and, upon inquiring of the skipper of the
boat who he was, I found that my friend was a man of large fortune, who
lived somewhere near Utica, on an estate of his own.

This was before the sympathy troubles, and I can back it with another
story or two to amuse the reader.

Some years ago, when it was the fashion in Canada for British officers
always to travel in uniform, I went to Buffalo, the great city of
Buffalo on lake Erie, in the Thames steamer, commanded by my good
friend, Captain Van Allen, and the first British Canadian steamboat
that ever entered that harbour. We went in gallantly, with the flag
flying that "has braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze." I
think the majority of the population must have lined the wharfs to see
us come in. They rent the welkin with welcomes, and, among other
demonstrations, cast up their caps, and cried with might and main--"Long
live George the Third!"--Our gracious monarch had for years before bid
this world good night, but that was nothing; the good folks of Buffalo
had not perhaps quite forgotten that they were once, long before their
city was a city, subjects of King George.

I and another officer in uniform were received with all honours, and
escorted to the Eagle hotel, where we were treated sumptuously, and had
to run the gauntlet of handshaking to great extent. A respectable
gentleman, about forty, some seven years older than myself, stuck close
to me all the while. I thought he admired the British undress uniform,
but he only wanted to ask questions, and, after sundry answers, he
inquired my name, which being courteously communicated, he said, "Well,
I am glad, that's a fact, that I have seen you, for many is the whipping
I have had for your book of Algebra." Now I never was capable of
committing such an unheard-of enormity as being the cause of
flagellation to any man by simple or quadratic equations; and it must
have been the binomial theorem which had tickled his catastrophe, for it
was my father's treatise which had penetrated into the new world of
Buffalonian education.

It is a pity, is it not, gentle reader, that such feelings do not now

Nevertheless, even now, the designation of a British officer is a
passport in any part of the United States. The custom-house receives it
with courtesy and good-will; society is gratified by attentions received
from a British officer; and it is coupled with the feelings which the
habits and conduct of a gentleman engender throughout Christendom.

At New York, I visited every place worth seeing; and, although
disliking gambling, races, and debating societies, _à outrance_, I was
determined to judge for myself of New York, of life in New York.

On one occasion, I was at a meeting of the turf in an hotel after the
races, where violent discussions and heavy champagning were going on. I
was then (it was in 1837) a major in the army, and was introduced to one
or two prominent men in the room as a British officer who had been to
see the racecourse; this caused a general stir, and the champagne flew
about like----I am at a loss for a simile; and the health of Queen
Victoria was drunk with three times three.

On board a packet returning from England, we had several of the leading
characters of the United States as passengers. A very silly and
troublesome democrat, of the Loco-foco school, from Philadelphia, made
himself conspicuous always after dinner, when we sat, according to
English fashion, at a dessert, by his vituperations against monarchy and
an exhibition of his excessive love for everything American. The
gentlemen above alluded to, men who had travelled over Europe, whose
education and manners made them that which a true gentleman is all over
the world, were disgusted, and, to punish his impertinence, proposed
that a weekly paper should be written by the cabin passengers, in which
the occurrences of each day should be noted and commented upon, and that
poetry, tales, and essays, should form part of its matter.

They agreed to discuss the relative points and bearings of monarchy and
democracy; they to depute one of their number to be the champion of
monarchy; and we to chuse the champion of democracy from amongst the
English passengers.

Two drawings were fixed up at each end of the table after dinner; one,
representing a crowned Plum-pudding; and the other, Liberty and
Equality, by the well-known sign. The blustering animal was soon
effectually silenced; a host of first-rate talent levelled a constant
battery at his rude and uncultivated mind.

I shall never forget this voyage, and I hope the talent-gifted Canadian
lawyer who threw down the gauntlet of Republicanism, and who has since
risen to the highest honours of his profession which the Queen can
bestow, has preserved copies of the Saturday's Gazette of The Mediator
American Packet-ship.

The mention of this vessel puts me in mind of one more American
anecdote, and I must tell it, for I have a good deal of dry work before

Crossing the Atlantic once in an American vessel, we met another
American ship, of the same size, and passed very close. Our captain
displayed the stars and stripes in true ship-shape cordial greeting.
Brother Jonathan took no notice of this sea civility, and passed on;
upon which the skipper, after taking a long look at him with his
spy-glass, broke out in a passion, "What!" said he, "you won't show your
b--d bunting, your old stripy rag? Now, I guess, if he had been a
Britisher, instead of a d--d Yankee, he would not have been ashamed of
his flag; he would have acted like a gentleman. Phew!" and he whistled,
and then chewed his cigar viciously, quite unconscious that I was
enjoying the scene.

But, if it be possible that one peculiar portion of the old countrymen
are more disliked or despised than another in any country under the sun,
connected by such ties as the United States are with Britain, there can
be no doubt that the condition of the Jews under King John, as far as
hatred and unexpressed contumelious feeling goes, was preferable to the
feeling which native Americans, of the ultra Loco-foco or ultra-federal
breed, entertain towards the labouring Catholic Irish, and would, if
they could with safety, vent upon them in dreadful visitation. They
would exterminate them, if they dared.

To account for such a feeling, it must be observed that a large portion
of these ignorant and misguided men have brought much of this animosity
upon themselves; for, continuing in the New World that barbarous
tendency to demolish all systems and all laws opposed to their limited
notions of right and wrong, and, whilst their senseless feuds among
themselves harass society, they eagerly seek occasions for that restless
political excitement to which they are accustomed in their own unhappy
and regretted country.

A body of these hewers of wood and drawers of water, who, when not
excited, are the most innocent and harmless people in the world--easily
led, but never to be driven--get employed on a canal or great public
work; and, no sooner do they settle down upon wages which must appear
like a dream to them, than some old feud between Cork and Connaught,
some ancient quarrel of the Capulets and Montagues of low life, is
recollected, or a chant of the Boyne water is heard, and to it they go
pell-mell, cracking one another's heads and disturbing a peaceful
neighbourhood with their insane broils.

Or, should a devil, in the shape of an adviser, appear among them, and
persuade these excitable folks that they may obtain higher wages by
forcing their own terms, bludgeons and bullets are resorted to, in order
to compel compliance, and incendiarism and murder follow, until a
military force is called out to quell the riots.

The scenes of this kind in Canada, where vast sums are annually expended
on the public works, have been frightful; and such has been the terror
which these lawless hordes have inspired, that timid people have quitted
their properties and fled out of the reach of the moral pestilence; nay,
it has been carried so far, that a Scotch regiment has been marked on
account of its having been accidentally on duty in putting down a canal
riot; and, wherever its station has afterwards been cast, the vengeance
of these people has followed it.

At Montreal, the elections have been disgraced by bodies of these
canallers having been employed to intimidate and overawe voters; and,
were it not that a large military force is always at hand there, no
election could be made of a member, whose seat would be the unbiassed
and free choice of his constituents.

It is, however, very fortunate for Canada that these canallers are not
usually inclined to settle, but wander about from work to work, and
generally, in the end, go to the United States. The Irish who settle are
fortunately a different people; and, as they go chiefly into the
backwoods, lead a peaceful and industrious life.

But it is, nevertheless, very amusing, and affords much insight into the
workings of frail human nature to observe the conduct of that portion of
the Irish emigrants who find that they have neither the means of
obtaining land, nor of quitting some large town at which they may
arrive. Their first notion then is to go out to service, which they had
left Ireland to avoid altogether. The father usually becomes a
day-labourer, the sons farm-servants or household servants in the towns,
the daughters cooks, nursery-maids, &c.

When they come to the mistress of a family to hire, they generally sit
down on the nearest chair to the door in the room, and assume a manner
of perfect familiarity, assuring the lady of the house that they never
expected to go out to service in America, but that some family
misfortune has rendered such a step necessary. The lady then, of course,
asks them what branch of household service they can undertake; to which
the invariable reply is, anything--cook or housemaid, child's-maid or
housekeeper, and that indeed they lived in better places at home than
they expect to get in America, such as Lord So-and-so's, or Squire

The end of this is obvious; and a lady told me, the other day, she hired
a professed cook, who was very shortly put to the test by a dinner-party
occurring a day or two after she joined the household. Her mistress
ordered dinner; and one joint, or _pièce de resistance_, was a fine
fillet of veal. The professed cook, it appeared, laboured under a little
_manque d'usage_ on two delicate points, for she very unexpectedly burst
into her lady's boudoir just as she was dressing for dinner, and
exclaimed, "Mistress, dear, what'll I do with the vail?"--"The veil?"
said the dame, in horror; "what veil?"--"Why, the vail in the pot, marm;
I biled it, and it swelled out so, the divil a get it out can I git it."

So with the farm-servants, they can all do everything; and an Irish
gentleman told me that he lately hired a young man, an emigrant, to
plough for him; and, on asking him if he understood ploughing, the
good-natured Paddy answered, offhand, "Ploughing, is it? I'm the boy for
ploughing."--"Very well, I'm glad of it," said the gentleman, "for you
are a fine, likely young fellow, so I shall hire you." He hired him
accordingly at high wages--ten dollars a month and provisions and
lodging found. The first day he was to work, my friend told him to go
and yoke the oxen. Paddy stared with all his eyes, but said nothing, and
went away. He staid some time, and then returned with a pair of oxen,
which he was driving before him. "Here's the oxen, master!"--"Where are
the yokes, Paddy?"--"The yokes! by the powers, is that what they call
beef in Canady?" Poor Paddy had been a weaver all his live-long days.

The Irish are almost exclusively the servants in most parts of the
northern states and throughout Canada, excepting the French Canadians,
and very attached, faithful servants they frequently are; but notions of
liberty and equality get possession of their phrenological developments,
and they are almost always on the move to better their condition, which
rarely happens as they desire.

Then another crying evil in Canada and in the States is the rage for
dress. An Irish girl no sooner gets a modicum of wages than all her
thoughts are to go to chapel or church as fine or finer than her
mistress. Nearly every servant-girl in the large towns has a _ridicule_
(that must be the proper way of spelling it), a bustle, a parasol, an
expensive shawl, and a silk gown, and fine bonnet, gloves, and a white
pocket-handkerchief. The men are not so aspiring, and usually don on
Sundays a blue coat and brass buttons, white pantaloons, white gloves,
and a good fur cap in winter, or a neat straw hat or brilliant beaver in
summer. The waistcoat is nondescript, but the boots are irreproachable.
A cigar has nearly replaced the pipe in the streets.

I will defy a short-sighted person to distinguish her nursery-maid from
her own sister at a little distance; and, being somewhat afflicted that
way myself, I frequently nod to a well-dressed soubrette, thinking she
is at least a leading member of the aristocracy of the town; and this is
the more amusing, as in all colonial towns and in the _haute societé_ of
the Republic very considerable magnificence is affected, and a rage for
rank and pseudo-importance is not a little the order of the day.
"Nothing," says a distinguished writer upon that most frivolous of all
threadbare subjects, etiquette, "nothing is more decidedly the sign of a
vulgar-born or a vulgar-bred person than to be ready to practise the
art of cutting." I therefore bow to the well-dressed grisettes, upon the
principle of avoiding to be thought vulgar in mixed society by cutting a
lady of tremendous rank; as I would rather take a cook for a Countess,
or a chambermaid for an Honourable, than be guilty of so much rudeness.

You must not smile, gentle reader, and say cooks are often handsomer
than Countesses, or chambermaids prettier than Honourables; I am like
the old man of the Bubbles of Brunnen, insensible to anything but the
beauties of nature. Neither must you think we have no Countesses nor
Honourables in Canada. The former are in truth _raræ aves_, but the
latter--why, every change of ministry creates a batch of them.


  The Emigrant and his Prospects.

Those who really wish Canada well desire it to become a second Britain,
and not a mere second Texas. Those who wish it evil, and these comprise
the restless, unprovided race of politicians under whose incessant
agitation Canada has so long groaned, desire its Texian annexation to
the already overgrown States in its vicinity.

That it may become a second Britain and hold the balance of power on the
continent of America is my prayer, and the prayer too of one who
entertains no enmity towards the people of the United States, but who
admires their unceasing exertions in behalf of their country, who would
admire their institutions, based as they are upon those of England, if
the grand design of Washington had been carried out, and perfect freedom
of thought and of action had been secured to the people, instead of a
slavish awe of the mob, an absolute dread of the uneducated masses, a
sovereign contempt of the opinion of the world in accomplishing any
design for the aggrandizement of the Union, the most despotic and
degrading oppression of all who presume to hold religious opinions at
variance with those of the masses, and the chained bondsman in a land of

To guard the respectable settler, who has a character at stake, and a
family with some little capital to lay out to better advantage than he
can at home, against the grievous and often fatal errors which have been
propagated for sinister motives by needy adventurers who have written
about Canada, or who are or have been agents for the sake only of the
remuneration which it brings, caring but little for the misery they have
entailed, I have undertaken to continue an account of this fine
province, where nothing is provided by Nature except fertile soil and a
healthy climate; the rest she leaves to unremitting labour and to the
exercise of judgment by the settler.

As I have already inferred, this work will contain nothing vituperative
of the United States, of that people who are the grandchildren of
Britannia, and whose well-being is so essential to the peace and
security of Christendom.

I shall endeavour to render it as plain and unpretending as possible,
and shall not confine myself to studied rules or endeavours to make a
book, taking up my subject as suits my own leisure, which is not very
ample, and resuming or interrupting it at pleasure or convenience.

It will be necessary to enter more at large than in my preceding volumes
into the resources of Canada, and, for this end, Geology and other
scientific subjects must be introduced; but, as I dislike exceedingly
that heavy and gaudy veil of learning, that embroidered science, with
which modern taste conceals those secrets of Nature which have been so
partially unfolded, I shall not have frequent recourse to absurd Greek
derivations, which are very commonly borrowed for the occasion from
technical dictionaries, or lent by a classical friend; but, whenever
they must occur, the dictionary shall explain them, for I really think
it beneath the dignity of the lights of modern Geology to talk as they
do about the Placoids and the Ganoids, as the first created fishlike
beings, and of the Ctenoids and the Cycloids as the more recent finners.
It always puts me in mind of Shakespeare's magniloquence concerning "the
Anthropophagi and men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders, of
antres vast and deserts idle," when he exhibited his learning in
language which no one, however, can imitate, and which he makes the lady
seriously incline and listen to, simply because she did not understand a
word that was said. So it is with the overdone and continual changing of
terms that now constantly occurs; insomuch that the terms of plain
science, instead of being simplified and brought within the reach of
ordinary capacities, is made as uncouth and as unintelligible as
possible, and totally beyond the reach of those who have no collegiate
education to boast of, and no good technical dictionary at hand to refer

The present age is most prone to this false estimate of learning and to
public scientific display. If science, true science, yields to it,
learning will very soon vanish from the face of the earth again, and
nothing but monkish lore and the dark ages return.

There is a vast field open for research in Canada: it is yet a virgin
soil, both as respects its moral and its physical cultivation.
Therefore, plain facts are the best, and those made as level to the eye
as possible; for the amusing mistakes which a would-be learned man
makes, after a cursory perusal of anything scientific, only subject him
to silent derision.

A very old casual acquaintance of mine, a sort of man holding a rather
elevated rank, but originally from the great unwashed, who had risen by
mere chance, aided by a little borough influence, was talking to me one
day about some property of his in Western Canada, which he fancied had
rich minerals upon it. Accordingly, he had taken a preliminary Treatise
on Mineralogy in hand, and puzzled his brains in order to converse
learnedly. "My land," quoth he, "is Silesia, and has a great bed of
sulphuret of pyrites." The poor gentleman, who had a vast opinion of
himself and always contradicted everybody about everything, meant that
his soil contained a deal of silica, and that iron pyrites was abundant
in it.

The importance of the annual migration from Britain is best evidenced by
the representation of the chief emigrant agent at Quebec, subjoined.

In all the great sea-ports of England, Ireland, and Scotland, there are
emigrant agents appointed by the government, to whom application should
always be made for information, by every emigrant who has not the
advantage of friends in Canada to receive and guide him; and these
gentlemen prevent the trouble, expense, loss of time, and fraud, to
which the poor settlers are subjected by the crimps and agents, with
whom every sea-port abounds.

On their arrival in Canada, if ignorant of their way, they should apply
at Quebec to the government principal agent, who is stationed there for
the lower or eastern part of Canada, and he will give them either advice
or passage, according to the nature of the case.

It is a pity that a rage exists for going as far west as possible at
first, for this rage causes distress, and ends frequently by their being
kidnapped into settling in the United States.

If, however, they are determined to go on to Western Canada, their
course is either to pay their own way, or to obtain assistance from the
government to send them on to Kingston, where another government agent
for Western Canada is stationed; and, as this gentleman has now acted in
that capacity for many years, he possesses a perfect knowledge of the
country and its resources, and of the wants and objects of the

There is excellent land, and plenty of it to be obtained from the
British American Land Company in Lower Canada, in that portion called
"The Townships," which adjoin the states of Vermont and New York; and,
excepting that the winters are longer, the climate more severe, it is as
desirable as any other part of the province, and, in point of health,
perhaps more so, as it is sufficiently far from the great river and
lakes to make it less subject to ague; which, however, more or less, all
new countries in the temperate zone, well forested and watered, are
invariably the seat of, and which is increased in power and frequency in
proportion to the neighbourhood of fresh water in large bodies, and the
use of whiskey as a preventive.

From a statement of the number of emigrants to this colony for the last
sixteen years, compiled by A.C. Buchanan, Esq., chief emigrant agent, it
appears that, in the five years subsequently to 1829, the emigration
from the British Isles was 165,793. From other sources, in the three
years, from 1829 to 1832, the emigration exceeded that of the previous
ten years--the numbers being respectively, 125,063 and 121,170. In 1832,
the emigrants arrived reached the high number of 51,746; but the cholera
of that year was of so fatal a character on the St. Lawrence, that the
numbers in 1833 fell 22,062. This epidemic, coupled with the rebellions
of '37 and '38, materially checked the increased emigration commenced in
1836. In 1838, the number was only 3,266, and in 1839, 7,500. But, since
1840, emigration has again recovered, and, during the period of
navigation of 1845, it amounted to 27,354, of whom 2,612 arrived _via_
the United States.

The United States, however, received by far the largest proportion of
the emigration from Britain. At the port of New York alone, from 1st
November, 1844, to 31st October, 1845, there arrived--

From England and Scotland         10,653
From Ireland                      38,300
Total at New York                 48,953

The number of emigrants landed at the port of Quebec, in 1845, was

|             NUMBER OF EMIGRANTS SINCE 1829.                          |
|                |'29 to '33|'34 to '38|'39 to '43|'44 to '45| Total.  |
|                |          |          |          |          |         |
|                |----------|----------|----------|----------|---------|
|England.        |  43,386  | 28,624   |  30,318  | 16,531   | 119,354 |
|Ireland.        | 102,264  | 54,898   |  74,981  | 24,201   | 256,344 |
|Scotland.       |  20,143  | 10,998   |  16,289  |  4,408   |  51,838 |
|British American|          |          |          |          |         |
|  Prov. &c.     |   1,904  |  1,831   |   1,777  |    377   |   5,589 |
|                |----------+----------+----------+----------+---------|
|                | 167,697  | 96,351   | 123,860  | 45,517   | 433,425 |

Upper Canada would seem to have received the largest share of the influx
of population. The increase in the number of its inhabitants, between
1827 and 1843, is stated at 230,000.

The local government has for some few years past encouraged, although
rather scantily, as Mr. Logan can, I dare say, testify, an exploration
of the natural resources of the Canadas, as far as geology and
mineralogy are concerned. Its medical statistics, its botany and
zoology, will follow; and agriculture, that primary and most noble of
all applications of the mind to matter, is making rapid strides, by the
formation of district and local societies, which will do infinitely more
good than any system of government patronage for the advancement of the
welfare of the people could devise.

The public works have also, for the first time, been placed under the
control of the executive and legislative bodies by the formation of a
board, which is itself also subject to the supervision of the

But much remains to be done on this important head. A melancholy error
was committed in making the President, and consequently all the officers
and _employés_, of the Board of Works, partizans of the ministry of the
day; thus paralyzing the efforts of a zealous man, on the one hand, by
the fear of dismissal upon any change of the popular will, and
neutralizing his efforts whilst in office, by rendering his measures
mere jobs.

This has been amended under Lord Metcalfe's administration; and it is to
be hoped that the office of President of the Board of Works will
hereafter be one subjected to severe but not to vexatious scrutiny, and
at the same time carefully guarded against political influence, and only
rendered tenable with honour by the capacity of the person selected to
fill it and of his subordinates. Canada is, as I have written two former
volumes to prove, a magnificent country. I doubt very much if Nature has
created a finer country on the whole earth.

The soil is generally good, as that made by the decay of forests for
thousands of years upon substrata, chiefly formed of alluvion or
diluvion, the deposit from waters, must be. It is, moreover, from Quebec
to the Falls of St. Mary, almost a flat surface, intersected and
interlaced by numberless streams, and studded with small lakes, whilst
its littorale is a river unparalleled in the world, expanding into
enormous fresh water seas, abounding with fish.

If the tropical luxuries are absent, if its winters are long and
excessively severe, yet it yields all the European fruits abundantly,
and even some of the tropical ones, owing to the richness of its soil
and the great heat of the summer. Maize, or Indian corn, flourishes, and
is more wholesome and better than that produced in the warm South. The
crops of potato, that apple of the earth, as the French so justly term
it, are equal, if not superior, to those of any other climate; whilst
all the vegetables of the temperate regions of the old world grow with
greater luxuriance than in their original fields. I have successively
and successfully cultivated the tomato, the melon, and the capsicum, in
the open air, for several seasons, at Kingston and Toronto, which are
not the richest or the best parts of Western Canada, as far as
vegetation is concerned. Tobacco grows well in the western district, and
where is finer wheat harvested than in Western Canada?--whilst hay, and
that beauty of a landscape, the rich green sod, the velvet carpet of the
earth, are abundant and luxuriant.

If the majesty of vegetation is called in question, and intertropical
plants brought forward in contrast, even the woods and trackless
forests of Guiana, where the rankest of luxuriance prevails, will not do
more than compete with the glory of the primeval woods of Canada. I know
of nothing in this world capable of exciting emotions of wonder and
adoration more directly, than to travel alone through its forests.
Pines, lifting their hoary tops beyond man's vision, unless he inclines
his head so far backwards as to be painful to his organization, with
trunks which require fathoms of line to span them; oaks, of the most
gigantic form; the immense and graceful weeping elm; enormous poplars,
whose magnitude must be seen to be conceived; lindens, equally vast;
walnut trees of immense size; the beautiful birch, and the wild cherry,
large enough to make tables and furniture of.

Oh, the gloom and the glory of these forests, and the deep reflection
that, since they were first created by the Divine fiat, civilized man
has never desecrated them with his unsparing devastations; that a
peculiar race, born for these solitudes, once dwelt amidst their
shades, living as Nature's woodland children, until a more subtile being
than the serpent of Eden crept amongst them, and, with his glittering
novelties and dangerous beauty, caused their total annihilation! I see,
in spirit, the red hunter, lofty, fearless, and stern, stalking in his
painted nudity, and displaying a form which Apollo might have envied,
amidst the everlasting and silent woods; I see, in spirit, the bearded
stranger from the rising sun, with his deadly arms and his more deadly
fire-water, conversing with his savage fellow, and displaying the envied
wealth of gorgeous beads and of gaudy clothing.

The scene changes, the proud Indian is at the feet of his ensnarer;
disease has relaxed his iron sinews; drunkenness has debased his mind;
and the myriad crimes and vices of civilized Europe have combined to
sweep the aborigines of the soil from the face of the forest earth. The
forest groans beneath the axe; but, after a few years, the scene again
changes; fertile fields, orchards and gardens, delight the eye; the
city, and the town, and the village spires rise, and where two solitary
wigwams of the red hunter were once alone occasionally observed, twenty
thousand white Canadians now worship the same Great Author of the
existence of all mankind.

And to increase these fields, these orchards, these gardens, these
villages, these towns, and these cities, year after year, thirty
thousand of the children of Britain cross the broad Atlantic: and what
seeks this mass of human beings, braving the perils of the ocean and the
perils of the land? Competence and wealth! The former, by prudence, is
soon attainable; the acquisition of the latter uncertain and fickle.

No free grants of land are now given, but the settler may obtain them
upon easy terms from the government, or the Canada and British American

The settler with a small capital cannot do better than purchase out and
out. Instalments are a bad mode of purchasing; for, if all should not
turn out right, instalments are sometimes difficult to meet; and the
very best land, in the best locations, as we shall hereafter see, is to
be had from 7s. 6d., if in the deep Bush, as the forest is called; to
10s., if nearer a market; or 15s. and 20s., if very eligibly situated.
Thus for two hundred pounds a settler can buy two hundred acres of good
land, can build an excellent house for two hundred and fifty more, and
stock his farm with another fifty, as a beginning; or, in other words,
he can commence Canadian life for five hundred pounds sterling, with
every prospect before him, if he has a family, of leaving them
prosperous and happy. But he and they must work, work, work. He and all
his sons must avoid whiskey, that bane of the backwoods, as they would
avoid the rattlesnake, which sometimes comes across their path. Whiskey
and wet feet destroy more promising young men in Canada than ague and
fever, that scourge of all well watered woody countries; for the ague
and fever seldom kill but with the assistance of the dram and of

Men nurtured in luxury or competence at home, as soon as the unfailing
_ennui_ arising from want of society in the backwoods begins to succeed
the excitement of settling, too frequently drink, and in many cases
drink from their waking hour until they sink at night into sottish
sleep. This is peculiarly the case where there is no village nor town
within a day's journey; and thus many otherwise estimable young men
become habitual drunkards, and sink from the caste of gentlemen
gradually into the dregs of society, whilst their wives and families
suffer proportionably.

In Lower Canada, this vice does not prevail to the same extent as in the
upper portion of the province. The French Canadians are not addicted to
the vice of drinking ardent spirits as a people, although the lumberers
and voyageurs shorten their lives very considerably by the use of
whiskey. The _lumberers_, who are the cutters and conveyers of timber,
pass a short and excited existence.

In the winter, buried in the eternal forest, far, far away from the
haunts of man, they chop and hew; in the summer, they form the timber,
boards, staves, &c., into rafts, which are conveyed down the great lakes
and the rivers St. Lawrence and Ottawa to Quebec--on these rafts they
live and have their summer being. Hard fare in plenty, such as salt pork
and dough cakes; fat and unleavened bread, with whiskey, is their diet.
Tea and sugar form an occasional luxury. Up to their waists in snow in
winter, and up to their waists in summer and autumn in water, with all
the moving accidents by flood and field; the occasional breaking-up of
the raft in a rapid, the difficulty of the winter and spring transport
of the heavy logs of squared timber out of the deep and trackless woods,
combine to form a portion of the hard and reckless life of a lumberer,
whose _morale_ is not much better than his _physicale_.

Picture to yourself, child of luxury, sitting on a cushioned sofa, in a
room where the velvet carpet renders a footfall noiseless, where art is
exhausted to afford comfort, and where even the hurricane cannot disturb
your perusal of this work, a wood reaching without limit, excepting the
oceans either of salt or fresh water which surround Canada, and where to
lose the track is hopeless starvation and death; figure the giant pines
towering to the clouds, gloomy and Titan-like, throwing their vast arms
to the skyey influences, and making a twilight of mid-day, at whose
enormous feet a thicket of bushes, almost as high as your head, prevents
your progress without the pioneer axe; or a deep and black swamp for
miles together renders it necessary to crawl from one fallen monarch of
the wood onwards to the decaying and prostrate bole of another, with an
occasional plunge into the mud and water, which they bridge; eternal
silence reigning, disturbed only by your feeble efforts to advance; and
you may form some idea of a red pine land, rocky and uneven, or a cedar
swamp, black as night, dark, dismal, and dangerous.

Here, after you have hewed or crept your toiling way, you see, some
yards or some hundred yards, as the forest is close or open, before
you, a light blue curling smoke amongst the dank and lugubrious scene;
you hear a dull, distant, heavy, sudden blow, frequent and deadened,
followed at long intervals by a tremendous rending, crashing,
overwhelming rush; then all is silent, till the voice of the guardian of
man is heard growling, snarling, or barking outright, as you advance
towards the blue smoke, which has now, by an eddy of the wind, filled a
large space between the trees.

You stand before the fire, made under three or four sticks set up
tenwise, to which a large cauldron is hung, bubbling and seething, with
a very strong odour of fat pork; a boy, dirty and ill-favoured, with a
sharp glittering axe, looks very suspiciously at you, but calls off his
wolfish dog, who sneaks away.

A moment shows you a long hut, formed of logs of wood, with a roof of
branches, covered by birch-bark, and by its side, or near the fire,
several nondescript sties or pens, apparently for keeping pigs in,
formed of branches close to the ground, either like a boat turned
upside down, or literally as a pigsty is formed, as to shape.

In the large hut, which is occasionally more luxurious and made of slabs
of wood or of rough boards, if a saw-mill is within reasonable distance,
and there is a passable wood road, or creek, or rivulet, navigable by
canoes, you see some barrel or two of pork, and of flour, or biscuit, or
whiskey, some tools, and some old blankets or skins. Here you are in the
lumberer's winter home--I cannot call him woodman, it would disgrace the
ancient and ballad-sung craft; for the lumberer is not a gentle woodman,
and you need not sing sweetly to him to "spare that tree."

The larger dwelling is the hall, the common hall, and the pig-sties the
sleeping-places. I presume that such a circumstance as pulling off
habiliments or ablution seldom occurs; they roll themselves in a blanket
or skin, if they have one, and, as to water, they are so frequently in
it during the summer, that I suppose they wash half the year
unintentionally. Fat pork, the fattest of the fat, is the lumberer's
luxury; and, as he has the universal rifle or fowling-piece, he kills a
partridge, a bear, or a deer, now and then.

I was exploring last year some woods in a newly settled township, the
township of Seymour West, in the Newcastle district of Upper Canada,
with a view to see the nakedness of the land, which had been represented
to me as flowing with milk and honey, as all new settlements of course
are said to do. I wandered into the lonely but beautiful forest, with a
companion who owned the soil, and who had told me that the lumberers
were robbing him and every settler around of their best pine timber.
After some toiling and tracing the sound of the axes, few and far
between, felling in the distance, we came upon the unvarying boy at
cookery, the axe, and the dog.

My conductor at once saw the extent of the mischief going on, and,
finding that the gang, although distant from the camp-fire, was
numerous, advised that we should retrace our steps. We however
interrogated the boy, who would scarcely answer, and pretended to know
nothing. The dog began to be inquisitive too, and one of the dogs we had
with us venturing a little too near a savoury piece of pork, the nature
of the young half-bred ruffian suddenly blazed out, and the axe was
uplifted to kill poor Dash. I happened to have a good stick, and
interfered to prevent dog-murder, upon which the wood-demon ejaculated
that he would as soon let out my guts as the dog's, and therefore my
companion had to show his gun; for showing his teeth would have been of
little avail with the young savage.

The settlers are afraid of the lumberers; and thus all the finest land,
near rivers, creeks, or transport of any kind, is swept of the timber to
such an extent that you must go now far, far back from the Lakes, the
St. Lawrence, or the Ottawa, before you can see the forest in its
primeval grandeur.

This robbery has been carried on in so barefaced and extensive a manner,
that the chief adventurer, usually a merchant or trader, who supplies
the axe and canoemen with pay in his shop goods, cent. per cent. above
their value, becomes enriched.

The lumberer's life is truly an unhappy one, for, when he reaches the
end of the raft's voyage, whatever money he may have made goes to the
fiddle, the female, or the fire-water; and he starts again as poor as at
first, living perhaps by a rare chance to the advanced age, for a
lumberer, of forty years.

And a curious sight is a raft, joined together not with ropes but with
the limbs and thews of the swamp or blue beech, which is the natural
cordage of Canada and is used for scaffolding and packing.

A raft a quarter of a mile long--I hope I do not exaggerate, for it may
be half a mile, never having measured one but by the eye--with its
little huts of boards, its apologies for flags and streamers, its
numerous little masts and sails, its cooking caboose, and its
contrivances for anchoring and catching the wind by slanting boards,
with the men who appear on its surface as if they were walking on the
lake, is curious enough; but to see it in _drams_, or detached portions,
sent down foaming and darting along the timber slides of the Ottawa or
the restless and rapid Trent, is still more so; and fearful it is to
observe its _conducteur_, who looks in the rapid by no means so much at
his ease as the functionary of that name to whom the Paris diligence is

Numberless accidents happen; the drams are torn to pieces by the
violence of the stream; the rafts are broken by storm and tempest; the
men get drunk and fall over; and altogether it appears extraordinary
that a raft put together at the Trent village for its final voyage to
Quebec should ever reach its destination, the transport being at least
four hundred and fifty miles, and many go much farther, through an open
and ever agitated fresh water sea, and amongst the intricate channels of
The Thousand Islands, and down the tremendous rapids of the Longue
Sault, the Gallope, the Cedars, the Cascades, &c.

But a new trade, has lately commenced on Lake Ontario, which will break
up some of the hardships of the rafting. Old steamboats of very large
size, when no longer serviceable in their vocation, are now cut down,
and perhaps lengthened, masted, and rigged as barques or ships, and
treated in every respect like the Atlantic timber-vessels. Into these
three-masters, these Leviathans of Lake Ontario, the timber, boards,
staves, handspikes, &c., from the interior are now shipped, and the
timber carried to the head of the St. Lawrence navigation.

One step more, and they will, as soon as the canals are widened, proceed
from Lake Superior to London without a raft being ever made.

That this will soon occur is very evident; for a large vessel of this
kind, as big as a frigate, and named the Goliath, is at the moment that
I am writing preparing at Toronto, near the head of Lake Ontario, a
thousand miles from the open sea, for a voyage direct to the West Indies
and back again. Success to her! What with the railroad from Halifax to
Lake Huron, from the Atlantic Ocean to the great fresh ocean of the
West--what with the electric telegraph now in operation on the banks of
the Niagara by the Americans--what with the lighting of villages on the
shores of Lake Erie with natural gas, as Fredonia is lit, and as the
city of the Falls of Niagara, if ever it is built, will also be, there
is no telling what will happen: at all events, the poor lumberer must
benefit in the next generation, for the worst portion of his toils will
be done away with for ever.

Settler, never become a lumberer, if you can avoid it.

But, as we have in this favourite hobbyhorse style of ours, which causes
description to start up as recollections occur, accompanied the lumberer
on his voyage to that lumberer's Paradise, Quebec, whither he has
conducted his charge to The Coves, for the culler to cull, the marker to
mark, the skipper to ship, and the lumber-merchant to get the best
market he can for it, so we shall return for a short time to Lower
Canada, to talk a little about settlement there.

As I hinted before, Lower Canada is too much decried as a country to
re-commence the world in; but the Anglo-Saxon and Milesian populace are
nevertheless beginning to discover its value, and are very rapidly
increasing both in numbers and importance. The French Canadian yeoman,
or small farmer, has an alacrity at standing still; it is only _le
notaire_ and _le medécin_ that advance; so that, if emigration goes on
at the rate it has done since the rebellion, the old country folks will,
before fifty more years pass over, outnumber and outvote, by ten times,
Jean Baptiste, which is a pity, for a better soul than that merry
mixture of bonhomie and phlegm, the French Canadian is, the wide world's
surface does not produce. Visionary notions of _la gloire de la nation
Canadienne_, instilled into him by restless men, who panted for
distinction and cared not for distraction, misled the _bonnet rouge_
awhile: but he has superadded the thinking cap since; and, although he
may not readily forget the sad lesson he received, yet he has no more
idea of being annexed to the United States than I have of being Grand
Lama. In fact, I really believe that the merciful policy which has been
shown, and the wise measure of making Montreal the seat of government,
and thus practically demonstrating the advantage of the institutions of
England by daily lessons in the heart of their dear country, has done
more to recall the Canadians to a sense of the real value of the
connexion with Great Britain than all the protocols of diplomatists, or
all the powder that ever saltpetre generated, could have achieved.

Pursue a perfectly impartial course, as you ought and must do, towards
the Canadians, and show them that they are as much British citizens as
the people of Toronto are, and you may count upon their loyalty and
devotion without fear. They know they never can be an independent
nation; that folly has been dreamed out, and the fumes of the vision are

They now know and feel that annexation to the great Republic in their
neighbourhood will swamp their nationality more effectively than the red
or the blue coats of England can ever do, will desecrate their altars,
will portion out their lands, will nullify their present importance, and
render them an isolated race, forgotten and unsought for, as the
Iroquois of the last century, who, from being the children and owners of
the land, the true _enfans du sol_, are now--where? The soil, had it
voice, could alone reply, for on its surface they are not.

We must never in England form a false estimate of the French Canadian,
because a few briefless lawyers or saddle-bag medical men urged them
into rebellion. Their feelings and spirit are not of the same _genre_ as
the feelings and spirit which animated the hideous soul of the
_poissardes_ and _canaille_ of Paris in 1792. There is very little or no
poverty in Lower Canada; every man who will work there, can work; and it
is a nation rather of small farmers than of classes, with the ideas of
independence which property, however small, invariably generates in the
human breast; but with that other idea also which urges it to preserve
ancient landmarks.

It is chiefly in the large towns and in their neighbourhood that the
desire for exclusive nationality still exists, fostered by a rabid
appetite for distinction in some ardent and reckless adventurers from
the British ranks, who care little what is undermost so long as they are

The hostility of the British settlers to the French is by no means so
great as is so carefully and constantly described, and would altogether
cease, if not kept continually alive by Upper Canadian demonstration,
and that desire to rule exclusively which has so long been the bane of
this fine colony.

It reminds one always of the morbid hatred of France, which existed
thirty years ago in England, when Napoleon was believed, by the lower
classes--ay, and by some of the higher too--to be Apollyon in earnest.

I remember an old lord of the old school, whose family honours were not
of a hundred years, and whose ancestors had been respectable traders,
saying to me, a short time before he died, that Republican notions had
spread so much from our peace with infidel France, that he should yet
live to see those who possessed talent or energy enough among the middle
class, take those honours which he was so proud of, and with the titles
also, the estates.

Look, said he, at the absurd decoration showered on the _savans_ of
France, Baron Cuvier, for instance; and he fell into a passion, and,
being a French scholar, sang forth, in a paroxysm of gout, this

  "Travaillez, travaillez, bon tonnelier,
  Racommodez, racommodez, ton Cuvier."

And yet he was by no means an ignorant man--was at heart a true John
Bull, and had travelled and seen the world. He was blinded by an
unquenchable hatred of France, a hatred which has now ceased in England
in consequence of the facility of intercourse, but which is revived in
France against England by those who think _la gloire_ preferable to
peace and honour.

The miserable feudal system in Lower Canada has kept the French
population in abeyance; that population is literally dormant, and the
resources of the country unused; a Seigneur, now often anything but a
Frenchman, holds an immense tract, parcelled out into little slips
amongst a peasantry, whose ideas are as limited as their lands.
Generation after generation has tilled these patches, until they are
exhausted; and thus the few proprietors who have been able to emancipate
themselves from the Seignoral thraldom sell as fast as they can obtain
purchasers; and the Seignories lapse, by failure of descent or by
cutting off the entail, as it may be termed, under the dominion of
foreigners, to the people.

It is surprising that British capitalists do not turn their attention
more to Lower Canada, where land is thus to be bought very cheap, and
which only requires manuring, a treatment that it rarely receives from
a Canadian, to bring it into heart again, and where the vast extent of
the British townships, held in free and common soccage, opens such a
field for the agriculturist.

These townships are rapidly opening up and improving, and the sales of
the British American Land Company may in round numbers be said to
average £20,000 a year, or more than 40,000 acres, averaging ten
shillings an acre.

The day's wages for a labourer on a farm in Lower Canada may be stated
at two shillings currency, about one shilling and eightpence sterling,
with food and lodging; but, excepting in the towns and in the eastern
townships, the labourers are Canadians, elsewhere chiefly Irish. In the
large towns also they are Irish, and two shillings and sixpence is the
usual price of a day's work at Montreal.

There is a great demand for English or Scotch labourers in the townships
where provisions are reasonable, and the materials for building, either
lime, stone, brick, or wood, also very moderate in price from their

Cultivated, or rather cleared, farms may be purchased now near the
settlements for about six pounds per acre, with very often dwelling and
farms on them, and a clear title may be readily obtained, after inquiry
at the registry office of the county, to see whether any mortgage or
other encumbrance exist--a course always to be adopted, both in Upper
and Lower Canada. A settler must take the precaution of tracing the
original grant, and that the land, if he buys from an individual, is
neither Crown nor Clergy reserve, nor set apart for school or any other
public purposes. Never buy, moreover, of a squatter, or land on which a
squatter is located, for the law is very favourable to these gentry.

A squatter is a man who, axe in hand, with his gun, dog, and baggage,
sets himself down in the deep forest, to clear and improve; and this he
very frequently does, both upon public and private property; and the
Government is lenient, so that, if he makes well of it, he generally
has a right of pre-emption, or perhaps pays up only instalments, and
then sells and goes deeper into the bush. Every way there is difficulty
about squatted land, and very often the squatter will significantly
enough hint that there is such a thing as a rifle in his log castle.
Squatters are usually Americans, of the very lowest grade, or the most
ignorant of the Irish, who really believe they have a right to the soil
they occupy.

I do not profess to give an account of the Eastern Townships; the
prospectus of the British American Land Company will do that; and, as I
have never been through them entirely, so I could only advance
assertion; but I believe that they are admirably adapted for English and
Scotch settlers, and that, bounded as they are by the French Canadians
on one side, and by the United States on the other, with every facility
for roads, canals, and railways, they must become one of the richest,
most and important portions of Canada before half a century has passed
over; but it will take that time, notwithstanding railways and
locomotives, to make Jean Baptiste a useful agriculturist; and the fly
must be eradicated from the wheat before Lower Canada can ever come
within a great distance of competition in the flour market with the
upper province.

Take a steamboat voyage from Quebec to Montreal, and you pass through
French Canada; for, although there are very extensive settlements of the
race below Quebec till they are lost in the rugged mountains of
Gaspesia, yet the main body of _habitants_ rest upon the low and
tranquil shores of the St. Lawrence, for one hundred and eighty miles
between the Castle of St. Lewis and the Cathedral of Montreal. The
farm-houses, neat, and invariably whitewashed, line the river,
particularly on the left bank, like a cantonment, and go back to the
north for, at the utmost, ten or twelve miles into the then boundless

The cultivated ground is in narrow slips, fenced by the customary snake
fence, which is nothing more than slabs of trees split coarsely into
rails, and set up lengthways in a zig-zag form to give them stability,
with struts, or riders, at the angles, to bind them. These farms are
about nine hundred feet in width, and four or five miles in depth, being
the concessions or allotments made originally by the _seigneurs_ to the
_censitaires_, or tillers of the soil. Every here and there, a long road
is left, with cross ones, to obtain access to the farms, much in the
same way, but not near so conveniently, or well done, as the concession
lines in Upper Canada, which embrace large spaces of a hundred acre or
two hundred acre lots, including many of these lots, and giving a
sixty-six feet or a forty foot road, as the case may be, and thus
dividing the country into a series of large parallelograms, and making
every farm accessible.

Each Lower French Canadian farmer is an independent yeoman, excepting as
bound to the soil, and to certain seignorial dues and privileges, which
are, however, trifling, and far from burthensome. Taxes are unknown,
and they cheerfully support their priesthood.

It is not generally known in England that the feudal tenure--although
very laughable and absurd at this time of day, and from which some
seigneurs, but never those of unmixed French blood, are disposed to
claim titles equivalent to the baronage of England, with incomes of
about a thousand a year, or at most two, and manorial houses, resembling
very much a substantial Buckinghamshire grazier's chateau--was
originally established by the French monarchs for wise, highly useful,
and benevolent purposes.

These seigneuries were parcelled out in very large tracts of forest
along the banks of the St. Lawrence, or the rivers and bays of Lower
Canada, on the condition that they should be again parcelled out among
those who would engage to cultivate them in the strips above-mentioned.
Thus re-granted, the _seigneur_ could not eject the _habitant_, but was
allowed to receive a nominal or feudal rent from the vassal, and the
usual droits. These droits are, first, the barbarous "_lods et
ventes_," or one thirteenth of the money upon every transfer which the
_habitant_ makes by sale only; but the original rent can never be
raised, whatever value the land may have attained. The rights of the
mill, that old European appanage of the lord of the soil, were also
reserved to the seigneur, who alone can build mills within his domain,
or use the waters within his boundaries for mechanical purposes; but he
must erect them at convenient distances, and must make and repair roads.
The miller, therefore, takes toll of the grist, which is another source
of seignorial revenue, although not a very great one, for the toll is,
excepting the miller's thumb rights, not very large.

The crown of England is the lord paramount or suzerain, and demands a
tax of one fifth of the purchase-money of each seignory sold or
transferred by the lord of the manor.

By law, the lands cannot be subdivided, and if a seigneurie is sold it
cannot be sold in parts, nor can any compromise with the habitants for
rent, or any other claim or incumbrance, be made.

An institution like this paralyzes the resident, paralyzes the settler,
and destroys that aristocracy for whose benefit it was created; for it
prevents the lord of the manor from ever becoming rich, or taking much
interest in the improvement of his domain; and thus every thing
continues as it was a hundred years ago. The British emigrant pauses ere
he buys land thus enthralled; and almost all the old French families,
who dated from Charlemagne, Clovis, or Pepin, from the Merovingian or
Carlovingian monarchies, have disappeared and dwindled away, and their
places have been supplied by the more enterprising, or the _nouveau
riche_ men of the old world, or by restless, acute lawyers, and
metaphysical body-curers.

It was no wonder, therefore, that, upon the removal of the seat of
government from Toronto, and the appointment of a governor-general
untrammelled by the lieutenant governorship of Western Canada, over
which he had had before no control, that it should be considered
desirable by degrees to introduce the English land system throughout
Canada, and that parliamentary inquiry should be made into the necessity
of abolishing all feudal taxation. In Montreal this has been done, and,
as the seignoral rights of succession lapse, it will soon be done every
where, for the recent enactments have emancipated many already.

But no sensible or feeling mind will desire to see the French Canadian
driven to break up all at once habits formed by ages of contentment;
and, as it does not press upon them beyond their ready endurance, why
should we, to please a few rich capitalists or merchants, suddenly force
a British population into the heart of French Canada?

Jean Baptiste is too good a fellow to desire this. On our part, we
should not forget his truly amiable character; we should not forget the
services he rendered to us, when our children fought to drive us from
our last hold on the North American continent; we should not forget his
worthy and excellent priesthood; nor should we ever lose sight of the
fact, that he is contented under the old system. Above all, we should
never forget that he fought our battles when his Gallic sires joined our
revolted children.

I feel persuaded that, if an unhappy war must take place between the
United States and England, the French Canadians will prove, as they did
before on a similar occasion, loyal to a man.

All animosity, all heart-burning, will be forgotten, and the old French
glory will shine again, as it did under De Salaberry.

Ma foi, nous ne sommes pas perdus, encore; and some hero of the war has
only to rouse himself and cry, as Roland did,

  Suivez, mon panage éclatant,
  Français ainsi que ma bannière;
  Qu'il soit point du ralliement,
  Vous savez tous quel prix attend
  Le brave, qui dans la carrière,
  Marche sur le pas de Roland.
  Mourons pour notre patrie
  C'est le sort le plus beau et le plus digne d'envie.


  A journey to the Westward.

We must leave Roncesvalles and La Gloire awhile, and, instead of riding
a war horse, canter along upon the hobby, or a good serviceable Canadian
pony, the best of all hobbies for seeing the Canadian world, and on
which mettlesome charger we can much better instruct the emigrant than
by long prosings about political economy and systematic colonisation.

So, _en avant_! I am going to relate the incidents of a journey last
summer to the Westward, and to give all the substance of my observations
on men and things made therein.

I left Kingston on the 26th of June, in the Princess Royal mail steamer,
at 8 p.m., the usual hour of starting being seven, for Toronto; the
weather unusually cold.

This fine boat constitutes, with two others, the City of Toronto and the
Sovereign, the royal mail line between Kingston and Toronto. All are
built nearly alike, are first class seaboats, and low pressure; they
combine, with the Highlander, the Canada, and the Gildersleave, also
splendid vessels, to form a mail route to Montreal--the latter boats
taking the mail as far as Coteau du Lac, forty-five miles from Montreal,
on which route a smaller vessel, the Chieftain, plies, wherein you
sleep, at anchor, or rather moored, till daylight, if going down, or
going upwards, on board the mail boat.

Passengers go from Montreal to Kingston by the mail route in twenty-four
hours, a distance of 180 miles; a small portion, between the Cascades
Rapids and the Coteau being traversed in a coach, on a planked road as
smooth as a billiard-table.

From Kingston to Toronto, or nearly the whole length of Lake Ontario,
takes sixteen hours, the boat leaving at seven, and arriving about or
before noon next day; performing the passage at the rate of eleven miles
an hour, exclusively of stoppages.

The transit between Montreal and Kingston is at the rate, including
stoppage for daylight, the river being dangerous, of eight miles an
hour; thus, in forty hours, the passenger passes from the seat of
government to the largest city of Western Canada most comfortably, a
journey which twenty years ago it always took a fortnight, and often a
month, to accomplish, in the most precarious and uncomfortable
manner--on board small, roasting steamers, crowded like a cattle-pen--in
lumbering leathern conveniences, miscalled coaches, over roads which
enter not into the dreams of Britons--by canoes--by bateaux, (a sort of
coal barges,)--by schooners, where the cabin could never permit you to
display either your length, your breadth, or your thickness, and thus
reducing you to a point in creation, according to Euclid and his

Your _compagnons de voyage_, on board a bateau or Durham boat, which was
a _monstre_ bateau, were French Canadian voyageurs, always drunk and
always gay, who poled you along up the rapids, or rushed down them with
what will be will be.

These happy people had a knack of examining your goods and chattels,
which they were conveying in the most admirable manner, and with the
utmost _sang-froid_; but still they were above stealing--they only
tapped the rum cask or the whiskey barrel, and appropriated any cordage
wherewith you bound your chests and packages. I never had a chest, box,
or bale sent up by bateau or Durham boat that escaped this rope mail.

By the by, the Durham boat, a long decked barge, square ahead, and
square astern, has vanished; Ericson's screw-propellers have crushed it.
It was neither invented by nor named after Lord Durham, but was as
ancient as Lambton House itself.

The way the conductors of these boats found out vinous liquors was, as
brother Jonathan so playfully observes, a _caution_.

I have known an instance of a cask of wine, which, for security from
climate, had an outer case or cask strongly secured over it, with an
interior space for neutralizing frost or heat, bored so carefully that
you could never discover how it had been effected, and a very
considerable quantum of beverage extracted.

I once had a small barrel, perhaps twenty gallons of commissariat West
India ration rum, the best of all rum for liqueurs, sucked dry. Of
course, it had leaked, but I never could discover the leak, and it held
any liquid very well afterwards.

I know the reader likes a story, and as this is not by any means an
historical or scientific work, excepting always the geological portion
thereof, I will tell him or her, as the case may be, a story about
ration rum.

There was a funny fellow, an Irish auctioneer at Kingston, some years
ago, called Paddy Moran, whom all the world, priest and parson, minister
and methodist, soldier and sailor, tinker and tailor, went to hear when
he mounted his rostrum.

He was selling the goods of a quarter-master-general who was leaving the
place. At last he came to the cellar and the rum. "Now, gintlemin," says
Moran, "I advise you to buy this rum, 7s. 6d. a gallon! going, going!
Gintlemin, I was once a sojer--don't laugh, you officers there, for I
was--and a sirjeant into the bargain. It wasn't in the Irish
militia--bad luck to you, liftenant, for laughing that way, it will
spoil the rum! I was the tip-top of the sirjeants of the regiment--long
life to it! Yes, I was quarter-master-sirjeant, and hadn't I the sarving
out of the rations; and didn't I know what good ration rum was; and
didn't I help meself to the prime of it! Well, then, gintlemin and
ladies--I mane, Lord save yees, ladies and gintlemin--if a
quarter-master-sirjeant in the army had good rum, what the devil do you
think a quarter-master-general gets?"

The rum rose to fifteen shillings per gallon at the next bid.

You can have every convenience on board a Lake Ontario mail-packet,
which is about as large as a small frigate, and has the usual sea
equipment of masts, sails, and iron rigging. The fare is five dollars in
the cabin, or about £1 sterling; and two dollars in the steerage. In the
former you have tea and breakfast, in the latter nothing but what is
bought at the bar. By paying a dollar extra you may have a state-room on
deck, or rather on the half-deck, where you find a good bed, a large
looking-glass, washing-stand and towels, and a night-lamp, if required.
The captains are generally part owners, and are kind, obliging, and
communicative, sitting at the head of their table, where places for
females and families are always reserved. The stewards and waiters are
coloured people, clean, neat, and active; and you may give
sevenpence-halfpenny or a quarter-dollar to the man who cleans your
boots, or an attentive waiter, if you like; if not, you can keep it, as
they are well paid.

The ladies' cabin has generally a large cheval glass and a piano, with a
white lady to wait, who is always decked out in flounces and furbelows,
and usually good-looking. All you have got to do on embarking or on
disembarking is to see personally to your luggage; for leaving it to a
servant unacquainted with the country will not do. At Kingston, matters
are pretty well arranged, and the carters are not so very impudent, and
so ready to push you over the wharf; but at Toronto they are very so so,
and want regulating by the police; and in the States, at Buffalo
particularly, the porters and carters are the most presuming and
insolent serviles I ever met with; they rush in a body on board the
boat, and respect neither persons nor things.

I knew an American family composed chiefly of females, travelling to the
Falls; and these ladies had their baggage taken to a train going inland,
whilst they were embarking on board the British boat which was to convey
them to Chippewa in Canada.

The comfort of some of these boats, as they call them, but which ought
to be called ships, is very great. There is a regular drawingroom on
board one called the Chief Justice where I saw, just after the
horticultural show at Toronto, pots of the most rare and beautiful
flowers, arranged very tastefully, with a piano, highly-coloured
nautical paintings and portraits, and a _tout ensemble_, which, when the
lamps were lit, and conversation going on between the ladies and
gentlemen then and there assembled, made one quite forget we were at sea
on Lake Ontario, the "Beautiful Lake," which, like other beautiful
creations, can be very angry if vexed.

The Americans have very fine steam vessels on their side of the lake,
but they are flimsily constructed, painted glaringly, white, and green,
and yellow, without comfort or good attendance, and with a
devil-may-care sort of captain, who seems really scarcely to know or to
care whether he has passengers or has not, a scrambling hurried meal,
and divers other unmentionables.

The American gentry always prefer the British boats, for two good
reasons; they see Queen Victoria's people, and they meet with the utmost
civility, attention, and comfort. They sit down to dinner, or
breakfast, or tea, like Christian men and women, where there is no
railway eating and drinking; where due time is spent in refreshing the
body and spirits; and where people help each other, or the waiters help
them, at table, without a scramble, like hogs, for the best and the
most--a custom which all travelled Americans detest and abominate as
much as the most fastidious Englishman.

It is not unusual at hotel dinners, or on board steamers, to see a man,
I cannot call him a gentleman, sitting next a female, totally neglect
her, and heap his plate with fish, with flesh, with pie, with pudding,
with potato, with cranberry jam, with pickles, with salad, with all and
every thing then within his reach, swallow in a trice all this jumble of
edibles, jump up and vanish.

Can such a being have a stomach, or a digestion, and must he not
necessarily, about thirty-five years of age, be yellow, spare, and
parchment-skinned, with angular projections, and a prodigious tendency
to tobacco?

An American gentleman--mind, I lay a stress upon the second word--never
bolts his victuals, never picks his teeth at table, never spits upon the
carpet, or guesses; he knows not gin-sling, and he eschews mint-julep;
but he does, I am ashamed to say, admire a sherry cobbler, particularly
if he does not get a second-hand piece of vermicelli to suck it through.
Reader, do you know what a sherry cobbler is? I will enlighten you. Let
the sun shine at about 80° Fahrenheit. Then take a lump of ice; fix it
at the edge of a board; rasp it with a tool made like a drawing knife or
carpenter's plane, set face upwards. Collect the raspings, the fine
raspings, mind, in a capacious tumbler; pour thereon two glasses of good
sherry, and a good spoonful of powdered white sugar, with a few small
bits, not slices, but bits of lemon, about as big as a gooseberry. Stir
with a wooden macerator. Drink through a tube of macaroni or vermicelli.
_C'est l'eau benite_, as the English lord said to the _garçon_ at the
Milles Colonnes, when he first tasted real _parfait amour_.--_C'est
beaucoup mieux_, _Milor_, answered the waiter with a profound

Gin-sling, cock-tail, mint-julep, are about as vulgar as blue ruin and
old tom at home; but sherry cobbler is an affair of consideration--only
never pound your ice, always rasp it.

It is a custom on board the Canadian steamers for gentlemen to call for
a pint of wine at dinner, or for a bottle, according to the strength of
the party; but it is a custom more honoured in the breach than the
observance; for sherry and port are the usual stock, both fiery as
brandy, and costing the moderate price of seven shillings and sixpence a
bottle, the steward having laid the same in at about one shilling and
eight pence, or at most two shillings. Why this imposition, the only one
you meet with in travelling in Canada at hotels or steamboats, is
perpetrated and perpetuated, I could never learn.

Many American gentlemen, however, encourage it, and have told me that
they do so because they get no good port in the States. Ale and porter
are charged two shillings and sixpence a bottle, which is double their
worth. Be careful also not to drink freely of the iced water, which is
always supplied _ad libitum_. Few Europeans escape the effects of
water-drinking when they land at Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Toronto,
&c. There is something peculiar, which has never yet been satisfactorily
explained by medical men, in the sudden attack upon the system produced
by the waters of Canada: this is sometimes slight, but more often lasts
several days, and reduces the strength a good deal. Iced water is worse,
and produces country cholera. The Americans use ice profusely, and drink
such draughts of iced water, that I have been astonished at the impunity
with which they did so.

Perhaps the change from a moist sea atmosphere to the dry and
desiccating air of Canada, where iron does not rust, may be one cause of
the malady alluded to, and another, in addition to the water, the
difference of cookery; for here, at public tables and on board the boats
generally, where black cooks prevail, all is butter and grease.

But the change of climate is undoubtedly great. I had been long an
inhabitant of Upper Canada, and fancied myself seasoned; but, having
returned to England, and spending afterwards two or three years in the
excessively humid air of the sea-coast of Newfoundland at St. Johns,
where I became somewhat stout, on my return to Upper Canada, for want of
a little preparatory caution in medicine, although naturally of a spare
habit, I was seized with a violent bleeding at the nose, which baffled
all remedies for several months, until artificial mineral water and a
copious use of solutions of iron stopped it. No doubt this prevented the
fever of the lakes, and was owing to the dryness of the air. I mention
this to caution all new-comers, young and old, to take timely advice and

There is another complaint in Upper Canada, which attacks the settler
very soon after his arrival, especially if young, and that is worms; a
disorder very prevalent at all times in Canada, particularly among the
poorer classes, and probably owing to food.

These, with ague and colic, or country cholera, are the chief evils of
the clime; few are, however, fatal, excepting the lake fever, and that
principally among children.

The sportsman should recollect, in so marshy and woody a country,
subject as it is to the most surprising alternations of temperature,
that instead of minding that celebrated rule, "Keep your powder dry," he
should read, "Keep your feet dry." Dry feet and the avoidance of sitting
in wet or damp clothes, or drinking iced water when hot, or of cooling
yourself in a delicious draught of air when in a perspiration, are the
best precautions against ague, fever, colic, or cholera--in a country
where the thermometer reaches 90° in the shade, and sometimes 110°, as
it did last summer, and 27° below zero in the winter, with rapid
alternations embracing such a range of the scale as is unknown

In the country places, in travelling, you will invariably find that
windows are very little attended to, and that the head of your bed, or
the side of it, is placed against a loosely-fitting broken sash. The
night-fogs and damps are highly dangerous to new-comers; so act

Fleas and bugs, and "such small deer," you must expect in every inn you
stop at, even in the cities; for it appears--and indeed I did not know
the fact until this year--that bugs are indigenous, _native to the
soil_, and breed in the bark of old trees; so that if you build a new
house, you bring the enemy into your camp. Nothing but cleanliness and
frequent whitewash, colouring, paint, and soft soap, will get rid of
them. If it were not for the strong smell of red cedar and its extreme
brittleness, I would have my bedstead of that material; for even the
iron bedsteads, in the soldiers' barracks, become infested with them if
not painted often. Red cedar they happily eschew.

Travellers may talk as they please of mosquitoes being the scourge of
new countries; the bugs in Canada are worse, and the black fly and
sand-fly superlatively superior in annoyance. The black fly exists in
the neighbourhood of rivers or swamps, and attacks you behind the ear,
drawing a pretty copious supply of blood at each bite. The sand-fly, as
its name imports, exists in sandy soil, and is so small that it cannot
be seen without close inspection; its bite is sharp and fiery.

Then the farmer has the wheat-fly and the turnip-fly to contend against;
the former has actually devoured Lower Canada, and the latter has
obliged me in a garden to sow several successive crops. The melon-bug is
another nuisance; it is a small winged animal, of a bright yellow
colour, striped with black bars, and takes up its abode in the flower of
the melon and pumpkin, breeding fast, and destroying wherever it
settles, for young plants are literally eaten up by it.

The grub, living under ground in the daytime, and sallying forth at
night, is a ferocious enemy to cabbage-plants, lettuce, and most of the
young, tender vegetables; but, by taking a lantern and a pan after dark,
the gentlemen can be collected whilst on their tour, and poultry are
very fond of them. Last year, the potato crop failed throughout Canada.
What a singular dispensation!--for it alike suffered in Europe, and no
doubt the malady was atmospheric. The hay crop, too, suffered severely;
but still, by a merciful Providence, the wheat and corn harvest was
ample, and gathered in a month before the customary time.

By the word corn I mean oats, rye, and barley; but in the Canadas and in
the United States that word means maize or Indian-corn only, which in
Canada, last summer, was not, I should think, even an average crop. It
is extensively used here for food, as well as buckwheat, and for feeding

But to our journey westward. I arrived at Toronto on the 27th of June,
and found the weather had changed to variable and fine.

On steaming up the harbour, I was greatly surprised and very much
pleased to see such an alteration as Toronto has undergone for the
better since 1837. Then, although a flourishing village, be-citied, to
be sure, it was not one third of its present size. Now it is a city in
earnest, with upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants--gas-lit, with good
plank side-walks and macadamized streets, and with vast sewers, and fine
houses, of brick or stone. The main street, King Street, is two miles
and more in length, and would not do shame to any town, and has a much
more English look than most Canadian places have.

Toronto is still the seat of the Courts of Law for Western Canada, of
the University of King's College, of the Bishopric of Toronto, and of
the Indian Office. Kingston has retained the militia head-quarter
office, and the Principal Emigrant Agency, with the Naval and Military
grand depôts; so that the removal of the seat of Government to Montreal
has done no injury to Toronto, and will do very little to Kingston: in
fact, I believe firmly that, instead of being injurious, it will be very
beneficial. The presence of Government at Kingston gave an unnatural
stimulus to speculation among a population very far from wealthy; and
buildings of the most frail construction were run up in hundreds, for
the sake of the rent which they yielded temporarily.

The plan upon which these houses were erected was that of mortgage; thus
almost all are now in possession of one person who became suddenly
possessed of the requisite means by the sale of a large tract required
for military purposes. But this species of property seldom does the
owner good in his lifetime; and, if he does reclaim it, there is no
tenant to be had now; so that the building decays, and in a very short
time becomes an incumbrance. Mortgages only thrive where the demand is
superior and certain to the investment; and then, if all goes smoothly,
mortgager and mortgagee may benefit; but where a mechanic or a
storekeeper, with little or no capital, undertakes to run up an
extensive range of houses to meet an equivocal demand, the result is
obvious. If the houses he builds are of stone or brick, and well
finished, the man who loans the money is the gainer; if they are of
wood, indifferently constructed and of green materials, both must
suffer. So it is a speculation, and, like all speculations, a good deal
of repudiation mixes up with it.

There are two good houses of entertainment for the gentleman traveller
in Toronto; the Club House in Chewett's Buildings and Macdonald's Hotel.
In the former, a bachelor will find himself quite at home; in the
latter, a family man will have no reason to regret his stay.

But servants at Toronto--by which I mean _attendants_--are about on a
par with the same race all over Canada. The coloured people are the
best, but never make yourself dependent on either; for, if you are to
start by the stage or the steamer, depend on your watch, instead of upon
your boots being cleaned or your shaving-water being ready. In the
latter case, shave with cold water by the light of your candle, lit by
your own lucifer match. They are civil, however, and attentive, as far
as the very free and easy style of their acquirements will permit them;
for a cook will leave at a moment's notice, if she can better herself;
and any trivial occurrence will call off the waiter and the boots. The
only punctual people are the porters; and, as they wear glazed hats,
with the name of the hotel emblazoned thereon, frigate-fashion, you can
always find them.

An excellent arrangement is the omnibus attached to the hotels in Canada
West, which conveys you cost-free to and from the steamboat, and a very
comfortable wooden convenience it is, resembling very much the vans
which, in days of yore, plied near London.

My first start from Toronto was to Ultima Thule, Penetanguishene, a
locality scarcely to be found in the maps, and yet one of much
importance, situate and being north-north-west of the city some hundred
and eight miles, on Lake Huron.

The route is per coach to St. Alban's, thirty and three miles, along
Yonge Street, of which about one-third is macadamized from granite
boulders; the rest mud and etceteras, too numerous to mention. Yonge
Street is a continuous settlement, with an occasional sprinkling of the
original forest. The land on each side is fertile, and supplies Toronto

It rises gradually by those singular steps, or ridges, formerly banks or
shores o£ antediluvian oceans, till it reaches the vicinity of the
Holland river, a tortuous, sluggish, marshy, natural canal, flowing or
lazily creeping into Lake Simcoe, at an elevation of upwards of
seven-hundred and fifty feet above Lake Ontario, and emptying itself
into Lake Huron by a series of rapids, called the Matchedash or Severn

The first quarter of the route to St. Alban's is a series of
country-houses, gentlemen's seats, half-pay officers' farms, prettily
fenced, and pleasant to the sight: the next third embraces Thornhill, a
nice village in a hollow; Richmond Hill, with a beautiful prospect and
detached settlements: the ultimate third is a rich, undulating country,
inhabited by well-to-do Quakers, with Newmarket on their right, and
looking for all the world very like "dear home," with orchards, and as
rich corn-fields and pastures as may be seen any where, backed,
however, by the eternal forest. It is peculiarly and particularly

A short distance before reaching St. Alban's, which is quite a new
village, the road descends rapidly, and the ground is broken into

But I must not forget Bond's Lake, a most singular feature of this part
of the road, which, perhaps, I shall treat of in returning from
Penetanguishene, as I am now in a hurry to get to St. Alban's.

Here, where all was scrub forest in 1837, are a little street, a house
of some pretension occupied by Mr. Laughton, the enterprising owner of
the Beaver steamboat, plying on Lake Simcoe, and two inns.

I stopped for the night, for Yonge Street is still a tiresome journey,
although only a stage of thirty three miles, at Winch's Tavern. This is
a very good road-side house, and the landlord and landlady are civil and
attentive. Before you go to roost, for stopping by the way-side is
pretty much like roosting, as you must be up with Chanticleer, you can
just look over Mr. Laughton's paling, and you will see as pretty a
florist's display as may be imagined. The owner is fond of flowers, and
he has lots of them, and, when you make his acquaintance afterwards in
the Beaver, you will find that he has lots of information also. But I
did not go in the Beaver, which ship "wharfs" some two or three miles
further ahead, at Holland River Landing, commonly called "the Landing,"
par excellence. Here flies, mosquitoes, ague, and other plagues, are so
rife, that all attempts at settlement are vanity and vexation of spirit.

So, being willing to see what had happened in Gwillimbury since 1837, I
took a waggon and the land road, and went off as day broke, or rather
before it broke, about four a.m., in a deep gray mist. The waggon should
be described, as it is the best _voiture_ in Western Canada.

Four wheels, of a narrow tire, are attached without any springs to a
long body, formed of straight boards, like a piano-case, only more
clumsy; in which, resting on inside rims or battens, are two seats, with
or without backs, generally without, on which, perhaps, a hay-cushion,
or a buffalo-skin, or both, are placed. Two horses, good, bad, or
indifferent, as the case may be, the positive and comparative degrees
being the commonest, drag you along with a clever driver, who can turn
his hand to chopping, carpentering, wheelwright's work, playing the
fiddle, drinking, or any other sort of thing, and is usually an Irishman
or an Irishman's son. For two dollars and a half a day he will drive you
to Melville Island, or Parry's Sound, if you will only stick by him; and
he jogs along, smoking his _dudeen_, over corduroy roads, through mud
holes that would astonish a cockney, and over sand and swamp, rocks and
rough places enough to dislocate every joint in your body, all his own
being anchylosed or used to it, which is the same thing, in the

He will keep you _au courant_, at the same time, tell the name of every
settler and settlement, and some good stories to boot. He is a capital
fellow, is "Paddy the driver," generally a small farmer, and always has
a contract with the commissariat.

The first place of any note we came to, as day broke out of the blue fog
which rose from the swampy forest, was Holland River Bridge, an
extraordinary structure, half bridge, half road, over a swamp created by
that river in times long gone by; a level tract of marsh and wild rice
as far as the eye can reach, full of ducks and deer, with the Holland
River in the midst, winding about like a serpentine canal, and looking
as if it had been fast asleep since its last shake of the ague.

Crossing this bridge-road, now in good order, but in 1837 requiring
great dexterity and agility to pass, you come to a slight elevation of
the land, and a little village in West Gwillimbury, which, I should
think, is a capital place to catch lake-fever in.

The road to it is good, but, after passing it and turning northwards,
is but little improved, being very primitive through the township of
Innisfil. However, we jogged along in mist and rain, on the 29th of
June, and saw the smoke, ay, and smelt it too, of numerous clearings or
forest burnings, indicating settlement, till we reached Wilson's Tavern,
where, every body having the ague, it was somewhat difficult to get
breakfast. This is thirteen miles from St. Alban's.

Having refreshed, however, with such as it was, we visited Mr. Wilson's
stable, and saw a splendid stud horse which he was rearing, and as
handsome a thorough-bred black as you could wish to see in the

Proceeding in rain, we drove, by what in England would be called an
execrable road, through the townships of Innisfil and Vespra to Barrie,
the capital hamlet of the district of Simcoe.

On emerging from the woods three or four miles from Barrie, Kempenfeldt
Bay suddenly appears before you, and if the road was better, a more
beautiful ride there is not in all broad Canada. Fancy, however, that,
without any Hibernicism, the best road is in the water of the lake. This
is owing to the swampy nature of the land, and to the circumstance that
a belt of hard sand lines the edge of the bay; so Paddy drove smack into
the water of Kempenfeldt, and, as he said, sure we were travelling by
water every way, for we had a deluge of rain above, and Lake Simcoe
under us.

But natheless we arrived at Barrie by mid-day, a very fair journey of
twenty-eight miles in eight hours, over roads, as the French say,
_inconcevable_; and alighted like river gods at the Queen's Arms, J.
Bingham, Barrie.

Barrie, named after the late commodore, Sir Robert Barrie, is no common
village, nor is the Queen's Arms a common hostel. It is a good,
substantial, stone edifice, fitted up and kept in a style which neither
Toronto nor Kingston, nay, nor Montreal can rival, as far as its extent
goes. I do assure you, it is a perfect paradise after the road from St.
Alban's; and, as the culinary department is unexceptionable, and the
beds free from bugs, and all neatness and no noise, I will award Mrs.
Bingham a place in these pages, which must of course immortalize her.
They are English people; and, when I last visited their house, in 1837,
had only a log-hut: now they are well to do, and have built themselves a
neat country-house.

When I first saw Barrie, or rather before Barrie was, as I passed over
its present site, in 1831, there was but one building and a little
clearance. In 1846, it is fast approaching to be a town, and will be a
city, as it is admirably placed at the bottom of an immense inlet of
Lake Simcoe, with every capability of opening a communication with the
new settlements of Owen Sound and St. Vincent, and the south shore of
Lake Huron.

It has been objected, to this opinion respecting Barrie, that the
Narrows of Lake Simcoe is the proper site for "The City of the North,"
as the communication by land, instead of being thirty-six miles to
Penetanguishene, the best harbour on Lake Huron, is only fourteen, or
at most nineteen miles, the former taking to Cold Water Creek, and the
latter to Sturgeon Bay; but then there is a long and somewhat dangerous
transit in the shallowest part of the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron to

If a railroad was established between Barrie and the naval station, this
would be not only the shortest but the safest route to Lake Huron; for,
if Sturgeon Bay is chosen, in war-time the transit trade and the
despatch of stores for the government would be subjected to continual
hindrance and depredation from the multitude of islands and
hiding-places between Sturgeon Bay and Penetanguishene; whilst, on the
other hand, no sagacious enemy would penetrate the country from Sturgeon
Bay and leave such a stronghold as Penetanguishene in his rear, whereby
all his vessels and supplies might be suddenly cut off, and his return
rendered impracticable.

Barrie is, therefore, well chosen, both as a transit town and as the
site of naval operations on Lake Simcoe, whenever they may be

For this reason, government commenced the military road between Barrie
and Penetanguishene, and settled it with pensioned soldiers, and also
settled naval and military retired or half-pay officers all round Lake
Simcoe. But, as we shall have to talk a good deal about this part of the
country, and I must return by the road, let us hasten on to our night's
lodging at the Ordnance Arms, kept by the ancient widow of J. Bruce, an
old artilleryman.

Since 1837, the road, then impassable for anything but horses or very
small light waggons, has been much improved, and Paddy drove us on,
after dinner at Bingham's, through the heavy rain _à merveille_!

When I passed this road before, what a road it was! or, in the words of
the eulogist of the great Highland road-maker, General Wade,

  "Had you seen this road, before it was made,
  You would have lift up your eyes and blessed"
       General somebody.

It was necessary, as late as 1837, to take a horse; and, placing your
valise on another, mount the second with a guide. My guide was always a
French Canadian named François; and many an adventure in the
interminable forest have we experienced together; for if François had
lost his way, we should have perhaps reached the Copper-mine River, or
the Northern Frozen Ocean, and have solved the question of the passage
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, or else we should have had a certain
convocation of politic wolves or bears, busy in rendering us and our
horses invisible; for, after all, they have the true receipt of fern
seed, and you can walk about, after having suffered transmigration into
their substance, without its ever being suspected that you were either
an officer of engineers or a Franco-Canadian guide.

An old and respected officer, once travelling this bridle road with
François and myself, and mounted on a better horse than either of ours,
which was lent to him by the Assistant Commissary-General stationed at
Penetanguishene, got ahead of us considerably, and, by some accident,
wandered into the gloomy pine forest. Missing him for a quarter of an
hour, I rode as fast as my horse, which was not encumbered with baggage,
would go ahead, and, observing fresh tracks of a horse's shoes in the
mud, followed them until I heard in the depths of the endless and solemn
woods faint shouts, which, as I came nearer to them, resolved themselves
into the syllables of my name. I found my chief, and begged him never
again, as he had never been there before, to think of leaving us. Had he
gone out of sound, his fate would have been sealed, unless the horse,
used as it was to the path, had wandered into it again; but horses and
cattle are frequently lost in these solitudes, and, perhaps being
frightened by the smell of the wild beasts, or, as man always does when
lost, they wander in a circle, and thus frequently come near the place
from which they started, but not sufficiently so to hit the almost
invisible path.

But although the road, excepting in the middle of summer, is still
indifferent, it is perfectly safe, and a lady may now go to
Penetanguishene comparatively comfortably.

Bruce's tavern is a respectable log-house, twelve miles from Barrie; and
here you can get the usual fare of ham, eggs, and chickens, with
occasionally fresh meat from Barrie, and perhaps as good a bed as can be
had in Canada. We started from Barrie at half-past two, and arrived at
half-past five.

Whiskey, be it known, with very atrocious brandy, is the only beverage,
excepting water, along the country roads of Canada.

From Bruce's we drove to Dawson's, also kept by the widow of an old
soldier, where every thing is equally clean, respectable, and
comfortable. It is seven miles distant.

Beyond this is Nicoll's, near a corduroy swamp road; and three miles
further (which place eschew), seven years ago, I heard the landlady's
voice chiding a little girl, who had been sent a quarter of a mile for a
jug of water. I heard the same voice again in action, and for the same
cause, and a very dirty urchin again brought some very dirty water. In
fact, whiskey was too plentiful and water too scarce.

From Nicoll's to Jeff's Corner is ten long and weary miles, five or six
of which are through the forest. Jeff's is not a tavern, so that you
must go to bait the horses to Des Hommes, about two miles further, where
there is no inducement to stay, it being kept by an old French Canadian,
who has a large family of half-breeds. Therefore, on to the village of
Penetanguishene, which is twenty miles from Bruce's, or some say
twenty-four. We started from Bruce's at half-past three in the morning,
and reached "The Village," as it is always called, at half-past twelve,
on the 30th of June, and the rain still continuing ever since we left
Toronto. Thus, with great expedition, it took the best portion of three
days for a transit of only 108 miles. This has been done in twenty-four
hours by another route, as I shall explain on my return.

Penetanguishene is a small village, which has not progressed in the same
ratio as the military road to it has done. It is peopled by French
Canadians, Indians, and half-breeds, and is very prettily situated at
the bottom of the harbour. Lieutenant-Colonel Phillpotts, of the Royal
Engineers, selected this site after the peace of 1815, when Drummond's
Island on Lake Huron was resigned to the Americans, for an asylum for
such of the Canadian French settled there as would not transfer their
allegiance. They migrated in a body.

This is the nearest point of Western Canada at which the traveller from
Europe can observe the unmixed Indian, the real wild man of the woods,
with medals hanging in his ears, as large as the bottom of a silver
saucepan, rings in his nose, the single tuft of hair on the scalp,
eagle's plumes, a row of human scalps about his neck, and the other
amiable etceteras of a painted and greased _sauvage_.

Here also you first see the half-breed, the offspring of the white and
red, who has all the bad qualities of both with very few of the good of
either, except in rare instances.


  The French Canadian.

At Penetanguishene you see the original pioneer of the West, that
unmistakeable French Canadian, a good-natured, indolent man, who is
never active but in his canoe singing, or _à la chasse_, a true
_voyageur_, of which type of human society the marks are wearing out
fast, and the imprint will ere long be illegible. It makes me serious,
indeed, to contemplate the Canadian of the old dominant race, and I
shall enter a little into his history.

_Res ardua vetustis novitatem dare_; and never could an author impose
upon himself a greater task than that of endeavouring succinctly to
trace such a history, in this age of railroads and steam-vessels, or to
bring before the mind's eye events which have long slumbered in
oblivion, but which it behoves thinking minds not to lose sight of.

Man is now a locomotive animal, both as regards the faculties of mind
and of motion; unless in the schools, in the cabinet, or in amusing
fictions founded on fact, he rarely finds leisure to think about a
forgotten people.

Canada and Canadian affairs have, however, succeeded in interesting the
public of America and the public of Europe--the "go-ahead" English
reader in the New World--because Canada would be a very desirable
addition to the already overgrown Republic founded by the Pilgrim
Fathers and Europeans; because French interest looks with a somewhat
wistful eye to the race which at one time peopled and governed so large
a portion of the Columbian continent. Regrets, mingling with desires,
are powerful stimulants. An unconquerable and natural jealousy exists in
France that England should have succeeded in laying the foundations of
an empire, which bids fair to perpetuate the glories of the Anglo-Saxon
race in its Transatlantic dominion; whilst the true Briton, on the other
hand, regards Canada as the apple of his eye, and sees with pleasure and
with pride that his beloved country, forewarned by the grand error
committed at Boston, and so prophetically denounced by Chatham, has
obtained a fairer and more fertile field for British legitimate

Tocqueville, a sensible and somewhat impartial writer, is the only
political foreign reasoner who has done justice to Canada; but it is
_par parenthèse_ only; and even his powers of mind and of reasoning,
nurtured as they have been in republicanism, fail to convince fearless
hearts that democracy is a human necessity.

That the American nation will endeavour to put a wet blanket over the
nascent fires of Spanish ambition in the miserable new States of the
Northern Continent, and to absorb them in the stars of Columbia, there
can be no doubt. California, the most distant of the old American
settlements of Spain, has felt already the bald eagle's claw; Texas is
annexed; and unless European interests prevent it, which they must do,
Mexico, Guatemala, Yucatan, and all the petty priest-ridden republics of
the Isthmus, must follow, and that too very soon.

But what do the people of the United States, (for the government is not
a particeps, save by force,) pretend to effect by their enormous
sovereignty? The control probably of the Atlantic and Pacific seaboards
is the grand object, and, to effect this, Canada and Nova Scotia stand
in the way, and Canada and Nova Scotia are therefore marked down as
other Stars in the American galaxy.

The Russian empire is cited, as a case in point, for immense extension
being no obstacle to central coercion, or government, if the term be
more pleasing.

We forget that each individual State of the present Union repudiates
centralization, and acts independently. Little Maine wanted to go to
war with mighty England on its own bottom; and there was a rebellion in
Lesser Rhode Island, which puzzled all the diplomatists very
considerably. Now let us sketch a military picture, and bring out the
lights and shades boldly.

Suppose that the United States determines upon a war with Great Britain,
let us look to the consequences. Firstly, an immense re-action has taken
place in Canada, and a mass of growlers, who two years ago would perhaps
have been neutral, would readily take arms now in favour of British
institutions, simply because "impartiality" has been evinced in
governing them.

Next, the French Canadians have no idea of surrendering their homes,
their laws, their language, their altars, to the restless and
destructive people whose motto is "Liberty!" but whose mind is
"Submission," without reservation of creed or colour.

Then, on the boundless West, innumerable Indians, disgusted by the
unceremonious manner in which the Big Knife has driven them out, are
ready, at the call of another Tecumseh, to hoist the red-cross flag.

In the South, the negro, already taught very carefully by the North a
lesson of emancipation, only waits the hour to commence a servile and
horrible war, worse than that exercised by the poor Cherokees and Creeks
in Florida, which, miserable as were the numbers, scanty the resources,
and indomitable the courage, defied the united means and skill of the
American armies to quell.

A person who ponders on these matters deplores the infatuation of the
mob, or of the western backwoodsmen, who advocate war to the knife with
England; for, should it unhappily occur and continue, war to the knife
it must be.

American orators have asserted that England, base as she is, dare not,
in this enlightened age, let loose the blacks. I fear that, self-defence
being the first law of Nature, rather than lose Canada, and rather than
not gain it, both England and the United States will have recourse to
every expedient likely to bring the matter to an issue, and will abide
by that Machiavelian axiom--the end sanctifies the means.

An abominable outcry was raised during the last war against the
employment of the savage Indians with our armies; but the loudest in
this vituperation forgot that the Americans did the same, as far as
their scanty control over the Red Man permitted, and that, where it
failed, the barbarous backwoodsman completed the tragedy.

Making razor-strops of Tecumsehs' skin was not a very Christian
employment, in retaliation for a scalp found wrapped up in paper in the
writing-desk of a clerk, when the public offices were sacked at Little
York. The poor man most likely thought it a very great curiosity; and I
dare say there are some in the British Museum, as well as preserved
heads of the South Sea islanders.

A war between England and the United States is a calamity affecting the
whole world, and, excepting for political interest, or that devouring
fire burning in the breasts of so many for change, I am persuaded that
the intelligence of the Union is opposed to it. America cannot sweep
England from the seas, or blot out its escutcheon from The Temple of
Fame. It is child's play even to dream of it. England is as vitally
essential to the prosperity of America as America is to the prosperity
of England; and, although American feelings are gaining ground in
England, by which I do not mean that the President of the United States
will ever govern our island, but independent notions and axioms similar
to those practised in the Union; yet the time has not, nor ever will,
arrive, that Britain will succumb to the United States, either from
policy or fear, any more than that her grandchildren, on this side of
the Atlantic, could pull down the Stars and Stripes, and run the meteor
flag up to the mast-head again.

The United States is a wonderful confederation, and Nature seems, in
creating that people, to have given them constitutions resembling the
summers of the northern portion of the New World, where she makes
things grow ten times as fast as elsewhere. A grain of wheat takes a
decent time to ripen in England, and requires the sweat of the brow and
the labour of the hands to bring it to perfection; but in North America
it becomes flour and food almost before it is in ear in the old country.
Nature marches quick in America, but is soon exhausted; so her people
there think and act ten times as fast as elsewhere, and die before they
are aged. The women are old at thirty, and boys of fifteen are men; and
so they ripe and ripe, and so they rot and rot.

Everything in the States goes at a railroad pace; every carter or
teamster is a Solon, in his own idea; and every citizen is a king _de
facto_, for he rules the powers that be. They think in America too fast
for genius to expand to purpose; and as their digestion is impaired by a
Napoleonic style of eating, so very powerful and very highly cultivated
minds are comparatively rare in the Union. There is no time for study,
and they take a democratic road to learning.

And yet, _ceteris paribus_, the Union produces great men and great
minds; and if any thing but dollars was paid attention to, the
literature of America would soon be upon a par with that of the Old
World; as it is, it pays better to reprint French and English authors
than to tax the brains of the natives.

For this reason, the agricultural population of the States are more
reasonable, more amiable, and more original than those engaged in
incessant trade. I have seen an American farmer in my travels this year,
who was the perfect image of the English franklin, before his daughters
wore parasols and thrummed the piano. Oh, railways, ye have much to
answer for! for, although the prosperity of the mass may be increased by
you, the happiness and contentment of the million is deteriorating every

I am not about to write a history of Canada at present, for that is
already done, as far as its military annals are concerned, during the
three years since I last addressed the public; but it shall yet slumber
awhile in its box of pine wood, until the time is ripe for development:
I merely intend here to put together some reminiscences which strike me
as to the part the French Canadian has played, and to show that we
should neither forget nor neglect him.

Canada, as it is well known, was French, both by claim of discovery and
by the more powerful right of possession.

Stimulated by the fame of Cabot, and ambitious to be pilots of the Meta
Incognita, that visionary channel which was to conduct European valour
to the golden Cathay and to the rich Spice Islands of the East, French
adventurers eagerly sought the coveted honours which such a voyage could
not fail to yield them, and to combine overflowing wealth with chivalric
renown. France, England, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, sent forth those
daring spirits whose hopes were uniformly crushed, either by
encountering the unbroken line of continental coast, or dashed to pieces
amidst the terrors of that truly Cimmerian region, where ice and fog,
cold and darkness, contend for empire.

Of all those heroic navigators, who would have rivalled Columbus under
happier circumstances, none were successful, even in a limited sense, in
attempting to reach China by the northern Atlantic, excepting the French
alone, who may fairly be allowed the merit of having traversed nearly
one half of the broadest portion of the New World in the discovery of
the St. Lawrence and its connecting streams, and in having afterwards
reached Mexico by the Mississippi.

Even in our own days, nearly four centuries after the Columbian era, the
idea of reaching China by the North Pole has not been abandoned, and is
actively pursuing by the most enlightened naval government in the world,
and, very possibly, will be achieved; and, as coal exists on the
northern frozen coasts, we shall have ports established, where the
British ensign will fly, in the realms of eternal frost--nay, more, we
shall yet place an iron belt from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a
railroad from Halifax to Nootka Sound, and thus reach China in a
pleasure voyage.

I recollect that, about twelve years ago, a person of very strong mind,
who edited the "Patriot," a newspaper published at Toronto, Mr. Thomas
Dalton, was looked upon as a mere enthusiast, because one of his
favourite ideas, frequently expressed, was, that much time would not
elapse before the teas and silks of China would be transported direct
from the shores of the Pacific to Toronto, by canal, by river, by
railroad, and by steam.

Twelve years have scarcely passed since he first broached such an
apparently preposterous notion, as people of limited views universally
esteemed it; and yet he nearly lived to see an uninterrupted steamboat
communication from England to Lake Superior--a consummation which those
who laughed at him then never even dreamt of--and now a railroad all the
way to the Pacific is in progress of discussion.

Mac Taggart, a lively Scotch civil engineer, who wrote, in 1829, an
amusing work, entitled "Three Years in Canada," was even more sanguine
on this subject; and, as he was a clerk of works on the Rideau Canal,
naturally turned his attention to the practicability of opening a road
by water, by the lakes and rivers, to Nootka Sound.

Two thousand miles of water road by the Ottawa, the St. Lawrence, and
the Welland, has been opened in 1845, and a future generation will see
the white and bearded stranger toiling over the rocky barriers that
alone remain to repel his advances between the great Superior and the
Pacific. A New Simplon and a peaceful Napoleonic mind will accomplish

The China trade will receive an impulse; and, as the arms of England
have overcome those of the Celestial Empire, and we are colonizing the
outer Barbarian, so shall we colonize the shores of the Pacific, south
of Russian America, in order to retain the supremacy of British
influence both in India and in China. The vast and splendid forests
north of the Columbia River will, ere long, furnish the dockyards of
the Pacific coast with the inexhaustible means of extending our
commercial and our military marine.

And who were the pioneers? who cleared the way for this enterprise?
Frenchmen! The hardy, the enduring, the chivalrous Gaul, penetrated from
the Atlantic, in frail vessels, as far as these frail barks could carry
him; and where their service ceased, with ready courage adopted the
still more fragile transport afforded by the canoe of the Indian, in
which, singing merrily, he traversed the greater part of the northern
continent, and actually discovered all that we now know, and much more,
since lapsed into oblivion.

But his genius was that of conquest, and not of permanent colonization;
and, trammelled by feudal laws and observances, although he extended the
national domain and the glory of France beyond his most ardent desire,
yet he took no steps to insure its duration, and thus left the Saxon and
the Anglo-Norman to consolidate the structure of which he had merely
laid the extensive foundation.

But, even now, amidst all the enlightenment of the Christian nations,
the descendants of the French in Canada shake off the dust of feudality
with painful difficulty; and, instead of quietly yielding to a better
order of things, prefer to dwell, from sire to son, the willing slaves
of customs derived from the obsolete decrees of a despotic monarchy.

Whether they individually are gainers or losers by thus adhering to the
rules which guided their ancestors, is another question, too difficult
for discussion to grapple with here. As far as worldly happiness and
simple contentment are concerned, I believe they would lose by the
change, which, however, must take place. The restless and enterprising
American is too close a neighbour to let them slumber long in contented

The Frenchman was, however, adapted, by his nature, to win his way,
either by friendship or by force, among the warlike and untutored sons
of the forest. Accommodating himself with ease to the nomadic life of
the tribes; contrasting his gay and lively temperament with the solemn
taciturnity and immoveable phlegm of the savage; dazzling him with the
splendour of his religious ceremonies; abstemious in his diet, and
coinciding in his recklessness of life; equally a warrior and equally a
hunter; unmoved by the dangers of canoe navigation, for which he seemed
as well adapted as the Red Man himself; the enterprising Gaul was
everywhere feared and everywhere welcome.

The Briton, on the contrary, cold as the Indian, but not so cunning;
accustomed to comparative luxury and ease; despising the child of the
woods as an inferior caste; accompanied in his wars or wanderings by no
outward and visible sign of the religion he would fain implant;
unaccustomed to yield even to his equals in opinion; unprepared for
alternate seasons of severe fasting or riotous plenty; and wholly
without that sanguine temper which causes mirth and song to break forth
spontaneously amidst the most painful toil and privations; was not the
best of pioneers in the wilderness, and was, therefore, not received
with open arms by the American aboriginal nations, until experience had
taught the sterling value of his character, or, rather, until it became
thoroughly apparent.

To this day, where, in the interminable wilderness, all trace of French
influence is buried, the Indian reveres the recollections of his
forefathers respecting that gallant race; and, wherever the canoe now
penetrates, the solemn and silent shades of the vast West, the Bois
Brulé, or mixed offspring of the Indian and the Frenchman, may be heard
awakening the slumber of ages with carols derived from the olden France,
as he paddles swiftly and merrily along.

Such was the Frenchman, such the French Canadian; let us therefore give
due honour to their descendants, and let not any feeling of distrust or
dislike enter our minds against a race of men, who, from my long
acquaintance with them, are, I am fully persuaded, the most innocent,
the most contented, and the most happy yeomanry and peasantry of the
whole civilized world.

I have observed already, in a former work, that, as far as my experience
of travelling in the wilds of Canada goes, and it is rather extensive, I
should always in future journeys prefer to provide myself with the true
French Canadian boatmen, or voyageurs, or, in default of them, with
Indians. With either I should feel perfectly at ease; and, having
crossed the mountain waves of Huron in a Canada trading birch canoe with
both, should have the less hesitation in trusting myself in the
trackless forest, under their sole guidance and protection.

  Honneur à Jean Baptiste!
  C'est un si bon enfant!


  Penetanguishene--The Nipissang Cannibals, and a Friendly Brother in the

Penetanguishene, pronounced by the Indians Pen-et-awn-gu-shene, "the Bay
of the White Rolling Sand," is a magnificent harbour, about three miles
in length, narrow and land-locked completely by hills on each side. Here
is always a steam-vessel of war, of a small class, with others in
ordinary, stores and appliances, a small military force, hospital and
commissariat, an Indian interpreter, and a surgeon.

But the presents are no longer given out here, as in 1837 and
previously, to the wild tribes; so that, to see the Indian in
perfection, you must take the annual government trader, and sail to the
Grand Manitoulin Island, about a hundred miles on the northern shore of
Lake Huron, where, at Manitou-a-wanning, there is a large settlement of
Indian people, removed thither by the government to keep them from being
plundered of their presents by the Whites, who were in the habit of
giving whiskey and tobacco for their blankets, rifles, clothing, axes,
knives, and other useful articles, with which, by treaty, they are
annually supplied.

The Great Manitoulin, or Island of the Great Spirit, is an immense
island, and, being good land, it is hoped that the benevolent intentions
of the government will be successful. An Indian agent, or
superintendent, resides with them; and a steamboat, called the Goderich,
has made one or two trips to it, and up to the head of Lake Huron, last

I went to Penetanguishene with the intention of meeting this vessel and
going with her, but fear that her enterprise will be a failure. She was
chartered to run from Sturgeon Bay, about nineteen miles beyond the
narrows of Lake Simcoe, in connection with the mail or stage from
Toronto, and the Beaver steamboat, plying on Lake Simcoe.

From Sturgeon Bay she went to Penetanguishene, and then to St. Vincent
Settlement, and Owen's Sound, on Lake Huron, where a vast body of
emigrants are locating. From Owen's Sound, she coasted and doubled
Cabot's Head, and then ran down three hundred miles of the shore of Lake
Huron to Goderich, Sarnia, Fort Gratiot, Windsor, and Detroit, with an
occasional pleasure-trip to Manitoulin, St. Joseph's, and St. Mary's; so
that all the north shore of Lake Huron could be seen, and the passengers
might take a peep at Lake Superior, by going up the rapids of St. Mary
to Gros Cap. But a variety of obstacles occurred in this immense voyage,
although ultimately they will no doubt be overcome.

By starting in the Toronto stage early in the morning, the traveller
slept on board the Goderich at Sturgeon Bay, a good road having been
formed from the Narrows, although, by some strange oversight, this road
terminates in a marsh six hundred feet from the bank to the island, on
which the wharf and storehouse built for the steamer are erected. This
caused much inconvenience to the passengers.

The stage went, or goes, once a week, on Monday, to Holland Landing,
thirty six miles, meets the Beaver, which then crosses Lake Simcoe to
the Narrows, a small village, thriving very fast since it is no longer a
government Indian station, fifty miles, and there lands the travellers,
who proceed by stage to Sturgeon Bay, nineteen more, and sleep on board
the Goderich, arriving about eight p.m. The vessel gets under weigh, and
reaches Penetanguishene by six in the morning: thus the whole route from
Toronto, which takes three days by the land road, is performed in
twenty-four hours.

But there are drawbacks: the Georgian Bay, between Sturgeon Bay and
Penetanguishene, is, as I have already observed, dangerous at night, or
in a fog. At Owen's Sound, the population is not far enough advanced to
build the extensive wharf requisite, or to lay in sufficient supplies of
fuel, and thus great detention was experienced there. At
Penetanguishene, the wharf is not taken far enough into deep water for
the vessel to lie at, and thus she usually grounded in the mud, and
detention again arose. Then again, after rounding Cabot's Head and
getting into the open lake, the coast is very dangerous, having not one
harbour, until we arrive at the artificial one of Goderich, which is a
pier-harbour; for the Saugeen is a roadstead full of rocks, and cannot
be approached by a large vessel.

If, therefore, any thing happens to the machinery, and a steamer has to
trust to her sails, the westerly winds which prevail on Lake Huron and
blow tremendously, raising a sea that must be seen to be conceived of in
a fresh-water lake, she has only to keep off the shore out into the main
lake, and avoid Goderich altogether, by making for the St. Clair River.

However, the vessel did perform the voyage successfully seven times;
and in summer it may do, and, if it does do, will be of incalculable
benefit to the Huron tract, and the new settlements of the far west of

I am, however, afraid that the railroad schemes for opening the country
to the south of this tract will for some time prevent a profitable
steamboat speculation, although vast quantities of very superior fish
are caught and cured now on the shores of Huron, such as salmon-trout
and white fish, which, when properly salted or dried, are equal to any
salt sea-fish whatever.

The Canadian French, the half-breeds, and the Indians, are chiefly
engaged in this trade, which promises to become one of great importance
to the country, and is already much encroached upon by adventurers from
the United States.

The herring, as far as I can learn, ascends the St. Lawrence no higher
than the Niagara River, but Ontario abounds with them and with salmon; a
smaller species of white fish also has of late years spread itself over
that lake, and is now sold plentifully in the Kingston market, where it
was never seen only seven years ago. It is a beautiful fish, firm and
well tasted, but rather too fat.

A farmer on the Penetanguishene road has introduced English breeds of
cattle and sheep of the best kind. He was, and perhaps still is,
contractor for the troops, and his stock is well worth seeing; he lives
a few miles from Barrie. Thus the garrison is constantly supplied with
finer meat than any other station in Canada, although more out of the
world and in the wilderness than any other; and, as fish is plentiful,
the soldiers and sailors of Queen Victoria in the Bay of the White
Rolling Sand live well.

I was agreeably surprised to find at this remote post that only one
soldier drank anything stronger than beer or water; and of course very
little of the former, owing to the expense of transport, was to be had.
The soldier that did drink spirits did not drink to excess.

How did all this happen in a place where drunkenness had been
proverbial? The soldiers, who were of the 82nd regiment, had been
selected for the station as married men. Their young commanding officer
patronized gardening, cricketing, boating, and every manly amusement,
but permitted no gambling. He formed a school for the soldiers and their
families, and, in short, he knew how to manage them, and to keep their
minds engaged; for they worked and played, read and reasoned; and so
whiskey, which is as cheap as dirt there, was not a temptation which
they could not resist. In winter, he had sleighing, snowshoeing, and
every exercise compatible with the severe weather and the very deep snow
incident to the station.

I feel persuaded that, now government has provided such handsome
garrison libraries of choice and well selected books for the soldiers,
if a ball alley, or racket court, and a cricket ground were attached to
every large barrack, there would not only be less drinking in the army,
but that vice would ultimately be scorned, as it has been within the
last twenty years by the officers. A hard-drinking officer will scarcely
be tolerated in a regiment now, simply because excessive drinking is a
low, mean vice, being the indulgence of self for unworthy motives, and
beneath the character of a gentleman. To be brought to a court-martial
for drunkenness is now as disgraceful and injurious to the reputation of
an officer as it was to be tried for cowardice, and therefore seldom
occurs in the British army.

The vice of Canada is, however, drink; and Temperance Societies will not
mend it. Their good is very equivocal, unless combined with religion, as
there is only one Father Matthew in the world, nor is it probable that
there will be another.

Penetanguishene is at present the _ultima Thule_ of the British military
posts in North America. It borders on the great wilderness of the North,
and on that backbone of primary rocks running from the Alleghanies,
across the thousand islands of the St. Lawrence, to the unknown
interior of the northern verge of Lake Superior.

Penetanguishene will not, however, be long the _ultima Thule_ of British
military posts in Western Canada, as a large and most important
settlement is making at Owen's Sound, on Lake Huron, connected by a long
road through the wilderness with Saugeen river, another settlement on
the shores of that lake, to prevent the necessity of the difficult
water-passage round Cabot's Head; and a steamboat has been put on the
route by the Canada Company, to connect Saugeen with Goderich.

The government, up to the 31st of December, 1845, had sold or granted
54,056 acres of land at Owen's Sound, of which 1,168 acres had been
chopped or cleared of the forest last year alone; and 1,787 acres of
wheat and 1,414 acres of oats had been harvested in 1845. There were 483
oxen, 596 cows, 433 young cattle, and 26 horses; and the population was
1,950, of which 759 were males above sixteen, and 399 males under
sixteen, with 395 females above, and 399 under, the same age.

In this new colony there were 1,005 Presbyterians, 195 Roman Catholics,
173 Methodists, 167 of the Church of England, 67 Baptists, 8 Quakers.
The other sects or divisions were not enumerated with sufficient
accuracy to detail; and Owen's Sound, being as yet buried in the Bush,
cannot be visited by casual travellers, unless when an occasional
steamer plies from Penetanguishene. There is yet no post-office; but
1,500 newspapers and letters were received or sent in 1845; and two
flour-mills and two saw-mills are erected and in use. Three schooners of
a small class ply in summer to Penetanguishene. The village is at the
head of Owen's Sound, fifteen miles from Cape Croker, and is named
Sydenham, containing already thirty-six houses. Government gives 50
acres free, on condition of actual settlement, and that one third is
cleared and cropped in four years, when a deed is obtained: another
fifty is granted by paying 8s. an acre within three years, 9s. within
six years, 10s. an acre within nine years. The soil is good and climate

North-north-west and north-east of Penetanguishene, all is wood, rock,
lake, river, and desert, in which, towards the French river, the
Nipissang Indian, the most degraded and helpless of the Red Men,
wanders, and obtains scanty food, for game is rare, although fish is
more plentiful.

An exploring expedition into this country was sent by Sir John Colborne,
in 1835, with a view of ascertaining its capabilities for settlement. An
officer of engineers, Captain Baddely, was the astronomer and geologist;
a naval officer the pilot; with surveyors and a hardy suite.

They left Lake Simcoe in the township of Rama from the Severn river,
and, going a short journey eastward, struck the division line of the
Home and the Newcastle districts, which commences between the townships
of Whitby and Darlington, on the shore of Lake Ontario, and runs a
little to the westward of north in a straight course, until it strikes
the south-east borders of Lake Nipissang, embracing more than two
degrees of latitude, not one half of which has ever been fully explored.

The plan adopted was to cut out this line, and diverge occasionally from
it to the right and left, until a great extent of unknown land on the
east, and the distance between it and Lake Huron, which contained a
large portion of the Chippewa Indian hunting-grounds, was thoroughly

In performing so very arduous a task, much privation and many obstacles
occurred--forests, swamps, rivers, lakes, rocky ridges--all had to be

To the eastward of the main line, and for some distance to the westward,
good land appeared; and, as the agricultural probe was freely used,
chance was not permitted to sway. The agricultural probe is an
instrument which I first saw slung over my friend Baddely's shoulders,
and of his invention. It is a sort of huge screw gimblet, or auger,
which readily penetrates the ground by being worked with a long
cross-handle, and brings up the subsoil in a groove to a considerable
depth. Specimens of the soil and of rocks and minerals were collected,
and a plan was adopted which is a useful lesson to future explorers. A
small piece of linen or cotton, about four inches square, had two pieces
of twine sewed on opposite corners, and the cloth was marked in
printers' ink, from stamps, with figures from 1 to 500. A knapsack was
provided, and the specimens were reduced to a size small enough to be
carefully tied up in one of these numbered square cloths; and, as the
specimens were collected, they were entered in the journal as to number
and locality, strata, dip, and appearance. Thus a vast number of small
specimens could be brought on a man's back, and examined at leisure.

The toils, however, of such a journey in the vast and untrodden
wilderness are very severe, and the privations greater. For, in this
tract, on the side next to Lake Huron, there was an absence of game
which scarcely ever occurs in the forest near the great lakes. With ice
forming and snow commencing, and with every prospect of being frozen in,
a portion of the explorers missed their supplies, and subsisted for
three whole days and nights on almost nothing; a putrid deer's liver,
hanging on a bush near a recent Indian trail, was all the animal food
they had found; but this even hunger could scarcely tempt them to cook.
I was exploring in a more civilized country near them; but even there
our Indian guide was at fault, and, from want of proper precaution, our
provision failed. A small fish amongst four or five persons was one
day's luxury.

The Nipissang Indians, a very degraded and wretched tribe, live in this
desolate region, and, it is said, have sometimes been so reduced for
want of game as to resort to cannibalism. We heard that they had
recently been obliged to resort to this practice. I was directed, with
my friends, to conciliate these people, and to assure them that the
British government, so far from intending to injure them by an
examination of their country, desired only to ameliorate their sad

[Footnote 3: Some time afterwards, during the period in which Lord
Glenelg held the Colonial Office, I was appointed to report upon the
state and condition of the Indians of Canada, by his lordship, without
my knowledge or solicitation; this was never communicated to me by the
then Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada, and I only knew of it last year,
by accidentally reading a report on the subject made by order of the
House of Assembly, after I left Canada. I do not know if his lordship
will ever read this work, or the gentleman to whom I believe I was
indebted for the intended kindness; and, if either should, I beg to
tender my thanks thus publicly.]

We had a council. The astronomer royal, who was also the geologist, was
a fine, portly fellow, whose bodily proportions would make three such
carcases as that which I rejoice in. The nation sat in council and the
Talk was held. Grim old savages, filthy and forbidding, half-starved
warriors, hideous to the eye, sat in large circle, with the two great
Red Fathers, as they called my friend and myself, on account of our
scarlet jackets. The pipe passed from hand to hand and from mouth to
mouth, and many a solemn whiff ascended in curling clouds: all was
solemn and sad.

The speech was made and answered with an acuteness which we were not
prepared for. But our explanation and mission were at length received,
and the pledge of peace, the wampum-belts, were accepted and worn by the
aged chiefs. My friend jogged my elbow once or twice, and thought they
were eyeing him suspiciously, for he was to proceed into their country.
He looked so fat and so healthy, that he thought their greasy mouths
watered for a roasted slice of so fine a subject!

But the wampum pledge is never broken, and we had smoked the calumet of
friendship. Thus, although he luxuriated, after a total abstinence of
three days, on the sight of a decayed deer's liver, which he could not
be prevailed upon to partake of, yet the Nipissang, starving as he must
also have been, never fried my friend, nor feasted on his fatness.

This is not the only good story to be told of Penetanguishene; for the
American press of the frontier, with its accustomed adherence to truth,
discovered a mare's nest there lately, and stated that the British
government kept enormous supplies of naval stores, several
steam-vessels, a depôt of coal, and everything necessary for the
equipment of a large war fleet on Lake Huron, at this little outpost of
the West, and that a tremendous force of mounted cavaliers were always
ready to embark on board of it at all times.

There are now certainly a good many horses at the village, whereas, in
1837, perhaps one might have found out a dozen by great research there:
as for cavalry, unless Brother Jonathan can manufacture it as cheaply
and as lucratively as he does wooden clocks or nutmegs, it would be
somewhat difficult to _raise_ it at Penetanguishene.

The village is a small, rambling place, with a little Roman Catholic
church and a storehouse or general shop or two, about which, in summer,
you always see idle Indians playing at some game or other, or else
smoking with as idle villagers.

The garrison is three miles from the village, and is always called "The
Establishment;" and in the forest between the two places is a new
church, built of wood, very small, but sufficient for the Established
Church, as it is sometimes called, of that portion of Canada. A
clergyman is constantly stationed here for the army, navy, and
civilians, and near the church is a collection of log huts, which I
placed there some years ago by order of Lord Seaton, with small plots of
ground attached to each as a refuge for destitute soldiers who had
commuted their pensions.

This Chelsea in miniature flourished for a time, and drained the streets
of the large towns of Canada of the miserable objects; but, such was the
improvidence of most of these settlers and such their broken
constitutions, that, on my present visit, I found but one old serjeant
left, and he was on the point of moving.

The commutation of pensions was an experiment of the most benevolent
intention. It was thought that the married pensioner would purchase
stock for a small farm, and set himself down to provide for his children
with a sum of money in hand which he could never have obtained in any
other way. Many did so, and are now independent; but the majority,
helpless in their habits, and giving way to drink, soon got cheated of
their dollars and became beggars; so that the government was actually
obliged at length to restore a small portion of the pension to keep them
from starvation. They died out, would not work at the Penetanguishene
settlement, and have vanished from the things that be. Poor fellows!
many a tale have they told me of flood and field, of being sabred by the
cuirassiers at Waterloo, of being impaled on a Polish lance, and of
their wanderings and sufferings.

The military settlement, however, of the Penetanguishene road is a
different affair. It was effected by pensioned non-commissioned officers
and soldiers, who had grants of a hundred acres and sometimes more; and
it will please the benevolent founder, should these pages meet his eye,
to know that many of them are now prosperous, and almost all well to do
in the world.

But we must retrace our steps, and waggon back again by their doors to

I left the village at half-past six in the morning, raining still, with
the wind in the south-east, and very cold. We arrived at the Widow
Marlow's, nineteen miles, at mid-day; the weather having changed to fine
and blowing hard--certainly not pleasant in the forest-road, on account
of the danger of falling trees, to which this pass is so liable that a
party of axemen have sometimes to go ahead to cut out a way for the

We passed through the twelve mile woods by a new road, which reduces the
extent of actual forest to five, and avoids altogether the Trees of the
Two Brothers, noted in Penetanguishene history for the fatal accident,
narrated in a former volume, by which one soldier died, and his brother
was, it is supposed, frightened to death, in the solemn depths of the
primeval and then endless woods.

Near the end of the five mile Bush, about a mile from the first
clearance, Jeffrey, the landlord of the inn at the village, has built a
small cottage for the refreshment of the traveller, and in it he intends
to place his son. In the mean time, until quite completed, for money is
scarce and things not to be done at railroad pace so near the North
Pole, he has located here an old well known black gentleman, called Mr.
Davenport, who was once better to do in the world, and kept a tavern

Having had the honour of his acquaintance for many years, I stopped to
see how my old friend was getting on, particularly as I heard that he
was now very old, and that his white consort had left him alone in the
narrow world of the house in the woods. He received me with grinning
delight, and told me that he had just left the new jail at Barrie for
selling liquor without a license, which, I opine, is rather hard law
against a poor old nigger, who had literally no other means of support,
and was most usefully stationed, like the monks of St. Bernard, in a
dangerous pass.

But the wind is tempered to the shorn lamb, and the woolly head of old
Davenport had matter of satisfaction in it from a source that he never
dreamed of.

Alone--far away from the whole human world, in the depth of a hideous
forest, with a road nearly impassable one half of the year,--he found an
unexpected friend.

For fear of the visits of two-footed and four-footed brutes during the
long nights of his Robinson Crusoe solitude, old Davenport always shut
up his log castle early, and retired to rest as soon as daylight
departed; for it did so very early in the evening there, as the solemn
pines, with their gray trunks and far-spreading moss-grown arms and
dismal evergreen foliage, if it can be called foliage, stood close to
his dwelling--nay, brushed with the breath of the wind his very roof.

Recollect, reader, that this lonely dweller in the Bush resided near the
spot where the two soldier brothers perished; and you may imagine his
thoughts, after his castle was closed at night by the lone warder. No
one could come to his assistance, if he had the bugle that roused the
echoes of Fontarabia.

He had retired to rest early one night in the young spring-time, when he
heard a singular noise on the outside of his house, like somebody
moaning, and rubbing forcibly under his window, which was close to the
head of his pallet-bed. Quivering with fear, he lay, with these sounds
continuing at short intervals, through the whole night, and did not rise
until the sun was well up. He then peeped cautiously about, but neither
heard nor saw any thing; and, axe in hand and gun loaded, he went forth,
but could not perceive aught more than that the ground had been slightly
disturbed. This went on for some time, until at last, one fine moonlight
night, the old man ventured to open a part of his narrow window; and
there he saw rubbing himself, very composedly, a fine large he bear, who
looked up very affectionately at him, and whined in a decent melancholy

Davenport had, it seems, thrown some useless article of food out of this
window; and Bruin supposed, no doubt, that Blackey did it out of
compassionate feeling for a fellow denizen of the forest, and repeated
his visits to obtain something more substantial, rubbing himself, to get
rid of the mosquitoes, as it was his custom of an afternoon, against the
rough logs of the dwelling. He had, moreover, become a little impatient
at not being noticed, and scratched like a dog to make the lord of the
mansion aware of his presence. This usually occurred about nine o'clock.

Davenport, at last, threw some salt pork to Bruin, which was most
gratefully received; and every night after that, for the whole summer
and autumn, at nine o'clock or thereabouts, the bear came to receive
bread, meat, milk, or potatoes, or whatever could be spared from the
larder, which was left on the ground under the window for him. In fact,
they soon came to be upon very friendly terms, and spent many hours in
each other's company, with a stout log-wall between Davenport and his
brother, as he always calls the bear.

When the snows of winter, the long, severe winter of these northern
woods, at last came, Bruin ceased his nocturnal visitations, and has
never been seen since, the old man thinking that he has been shot or
trapped by the Indian hunters.

I asked Davenport if he ever ventured out to look for his brother, but
he shook his head and replied, "My brudder might have hugged me too
hard, perhaps." The poor old fellow is very cheerful, and regrets his
brother's absence daily. The bailiffs most likely would not have put him
in jail for selling whiskey to a tired traveller, but would have avoided
the castle in the woods, if they thought there was any chance of meeting


  Barrie and Big Trees--A new Capital of a new District--Nature's
  Canal--The Devil's Elbow--Macadamization and Mud--Richmond Hill
  without the Lass--The Rebellion and the Radicals--Blue Hill and

We reached Barrie safely that night, and slept at the Queen's Arms. Next
morning, I had an excellent opportunity of seeing this thriving village.

It is very well situated on the shore of Kempenfeldt Bay, on ground
rising gradually to a considerable height, and is neatly laid out,
containing already about five hundred people.

On the high ground overlooking the place are a church, a court-house,
and a jail, all standing at a small distance from each other, nearly on
a line, and adding very much indeed to the appearance of the place. The
deep woods now form a background, but are gradually disappearing. I went
about a mile into them, and saw several new clearances, with some nice
houses building or built; and particularly one by Bingham, our landlord,
a very comfortable, English-looking, large cottage, with outhouses and
an immense barn, round which the rascally ground squirrels were playing
at hide-and-seek very fearlessly.

The Court House contains the district school, which appears very
respectable, and is conducted by a young Irishman; it also contains all
the district offices, and is two stories high, massively and well built,
the lower story being of stone and the upper of brick, both from
materials on the spot.

The church is of wood, plain and neat. The jail is worth a visit, and
shows what may be done in the forest and in a brand-new district, as the
district of Simcoe is, although I believe about half the money it cost
would have been better employed on the roads; for it has never been
used, except as a place of confinement for an unfortunate lunatic.

It is formed in the castellated style, of a handsome octagonal tower, of
very white, shelly limestone, with a square turreted stone enclosure, on
the top of which is an iron _chevaux de frize_, and which enclosure is
subdivided into separate day-yards for prisoners. The entrance is under
a Gothic archway; and in the centre of the tower is an internal space,
open from top to bottom, and preventing all access to the stairs from
the cells, which are very neat, clean, and commodious, with a good
supply of water, and excellent ventilation. It is, in short, as pretty a
toy penitentiary as you could see anywhere, and looks more like an Isle
of Wight gentleman's fortress, copied after the most approved Wyattville
pattern of baronial mansion, with a little touch of the card-house. In
short, it is as fine as you can conceive, and sets off the village
wonderfully well.

The red pine, near Barrie and through all the Penetanguishene country,
grows to an enormous size. I measured one near Barrie no less than
twenty-six feet in girth, and this was merely a chance one by the
path-side. Its height, I think, must have been at least two hundred
feet, and it was vigorously healthy. What was its age? It would have
made a plank eight feet broad, after the bark was stripped off.

But the woods generally disappoint travellers, as they never penetrate
them; and the lumberers have cut down all available pines and oaks
within reach of the settlements, excepting where they were not worth the
expence of transport. The pines, moreover, take no deep root; and, as
soon as the underbrush or thicket is cleared, they fall before the
storm. Provident settlers, therefore, rarely leave large and lofty trees
near their dwellings for fear of accident.

The pine, in the Penetanguishene country, has a strange fancy to start
out of the earth in three, five, or more trunks, all joined at the base,
and each trunk an enormous tree. I have an idea that this has arisen
from the stony, loose soil they grow in, which has caused this strange
freak of Nature, by making it difficult for the young plant to rear its
head out of the ground. Whatever is the reason, however, all the masts
of some "great Amiral" might be truly provided out of a single

But we must leave Barrie, after just mentioning Kempenfeldt, about a
mile or so distant, which was the original village; and, although at the
actual terminus of the land road, has never flourished, and still
consists of some half dozen houses. The newer Admiral superseded the
more ancient one; for Barrie did deeds of renown, which it suited the
Canadians to commemorate much more than the unfortunate Kempenfeldt and
his melancholy end.

If ever there was an infamous road between two villages so close
together, it is the road between these two places; I hope it will be
mended, for it is both dark and dangerous.

I always wondered not a little how it happened that Bingham of Barrie
kept such a good table, where fresh meat was as plentiful as at Toronto.
I looked for the market-place of the capital of Simcoe: there was none.
But the mystery was solved the moment I put my foot on board the Beaver
steamer to go back by the water road.

What will the reader think of Leadenhall Market being condensed and
floating? Such, however, was the case; there was a regular travelling
butcher's-shop, for the supply of the settlers around Lake Simcoe; and
meat, clean and enticing as at the finest stall in the market aforesaid,
where upon regular hooks were regularly displayed the fine roasting and
boiling joints of the season. And a very fair speculation no doubt it
is, this pedlar butchery.

On the 3rd of July, at half-past twelve, I left the capital of the
Simcoe district, and am particular as to dates and seasons, because it
tells the traveller for pleasure what are the times and the tides he
should choose.

We embarked on board the good ship Beaver, a large steam-vessel, for the
Holland Landing, distant twenty-eight miles--twenty-one of them by the
lake, and seven by the river. The vessel stops by the way at several
settlements, where half-pay officers generally have pitched their tents;
and twice a week she makes the grand tour of the whole lake, at an
altitude of upwards of seven hundred and fifty feet above Lake Ontario,
and not forty miles from it.

This navigation of the Holland river is very well worth seeing, as it is
a natural canal flowing through a vast marsh, and very narrow, with most
serpentine convolutions, often doubling upon itself.--Conceive the
difficulty of steering a large steamboat in such a course; yet it is
done every day in summer and autumn, by means of long poles, slackening
the steam, backing, &c., though very rarely without running a little way
into the soft mud of the swamp. The motion of the paddles has, however,
in the course of years, widened the channel and prevented the growth of
flags and weeds.

There is one place called the Devil's Elbow, a common name in Canada for
a difficult river pass, where the sluggish water fairly makes a double,
and great care is necessary. Here the enterprising owner and master of
the vessel tried to cut a channel; but, after getting a straight course
through the mud for two-thirds of the way, he found it too expensive to
proceed, but declares that he will persevere. Why does not the Board of
Works, which has literally the expenditure of more than a million, take
the business in hand, and complete it? One or two hundred pounds would
finish the affair. But perhaps it is too trifling, and, like the cut at
the Long Point, Lake Erie, to which we shall come presently, is
overlooked in the magnitude of greater things.

Of all the unformed, unfinished public establishments in Canada, it has
always appeared to me that the Crown Lands department, and the Board of
Works, are pre-eminent. One costs more to manage the funds it raises
than the funds amount to; and the other was for several years a mere
political job. No very eminent civil engineer could have afforded to
devote his time and talents to it, as he must have been constantly
exposed to be turned out of office by caprice or cupidity. I do not
know how it is now managed, but the political jobbing is, I believe, at
an end, as the same person presides over the office who held it when it
was in very bad odour. This gentleman must, however, be quite adequate
to the office, as some of the public works are magnificent; but I cannot
go so far as to say that one must approve of all. The St. Lawrence Canal
has cost the best part of a million, is useless in time of war, and a
mere foil at all times to the Rideau navigation, which the British
government constructed free of any provincial funds. The timber slides
on the Trent are so much money put into the timber-merchants' pockets,
to the extreme detriment of the neighbouring settlers, whose lands have
been swept of every available stick by the lawless hordes of woodcutters
engaged to furnish this work; and who, living in the forest, were beyond
the reach of justice or of reason, destroying more trees than they could
carry away, and defying, gun and axe in hand, the peaceable

It was intended, before the rebellion broke out, to render the river
Trent navigable by a splendid canal, which would have opened the finest
lands in Canada for hundreds of miles, and eventually to have connected
Lake Huron with Lake Ontario. A large sum of money was expended on it
before the Board of Works was constituted, and an experienced clerk of
works, fresh from the Rideau Canal, was chosen to superintend; but the
troubles commenced, and the money was wanted elsewhere.

When money became again plentiful, and the country so loudly demanded
the Trent Canal, why was it not finished? I shall give by and by an
account of a recent excursion to the Trent, and then we shall perhaps
learn more about it, and why perishing timber slides were substituted
for a magnificent canal.

But the Devil's Elbow should be straightened by the Board of Works at
all events, otherwise it may stick in the mud, and then nobody can help
it; for the marsh is very extensive, and there would be no Jupiter to
cry out to.

Well, however, in spite of all obstacles, Captain Laughton piloted us
safe to Ague and Fever Landing, where, depend upon it, we did not stay a
moment longer than sufficed to jump into a coloured gentleman's waggon,
which was in waiting, and in which we were driven off as a coloured
gentleman always drives, that is to say, in a hand-gallop, to Winch's
tavern, our old accustomed inn at St. Alban's, where we arrived in due
time, and there hired another Jehu, who was an American Irishman (a sad
compound), to take us as far towards Yonge Street as practicable. We
reached Richmond Hill, seventeen miles from the Landing, at about eight
o'clock, having made a better day's journey than is usually accomplished
on a road which will be macadamized some fine day; for the Board of
Works have a Polish engineer hard at work surveying it--of course no
Canadian was to be found equal to this intricate piece of
engineering--and I saw a variety of sticks stuck up, but what they meant
I cannot guess at. I suppose they were going to _grade_ it, which is the
favourite American term--a term, by the by, by no manner or method
meaning gradus ad Parnassum, or even laying it out in steps and stairs,
like the Scotch military road near Loch Ness; but which, as far as my
limited information in Webster's Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon tongue
goes, signifies levelling. I may, however, be mistaken; and this puts me
in mind of another tale to beguile the way.

A character set out from England to try his fortune in Canada. He was
conversing about prospects in that country, on board the vessel, with a
person who knew him, but whom he knew not. "I have not quite made up my
mind," said the character, "as to what pursuit I shall follow in Canada;
but that which brings most grist to the mill will answer best; and I
hear a man may turn his hand to anything there, without the folly of an
apprenticeship being necessary; for, if he has only brains, bread will
come--now, what do you think would be the best business for my market?"

"Why," said the gentleman, after pondering a little, "I should advise
you to try civil engineering; for they are getting up a Board of Works
there, and want that branch of industry very much, for they won't take
natives; nothing but foreigners or strangers will go down."

"What is a civil engineer?" said the character.

"A man always measuring and calculating," responded his adviser, "and
that will just suit you."

"So it will," rejoined Character; and a civil engineer he became
accordingly, and a very good one into the bargain; for he had brains,
and had used a yard measure all his lifetime.

I was told this story by a person of veracity, who heard the
conversation, but it is by no means a wonderful one; for such is the
versatility of talent which the climate of Northern America engenders,
that I knew a leading member of parliament provincial, who was a
preacher, a shopkeeper, a doctor, a lawyer, a banker, a militia colonel,
and who undertook to build a suspension bridge across the cataracted
river Niagara, to connect the United States with Canada for £8,000,
lawful money of the colony; an undertaking which Rennie would perchance
have valued at about £100,000; but _n'importe_, the bill was passed, and
a banking shop set up instead of a bridge, which answered every purpose,
for the notes passed freely on both sides until they were worn out.

Behold us, however, at Richmond Hill, having safely passed the Slough of
Despond, which the vaunted Yonge Street mud road presents, between the
celebrated hamlet of St. Alban's and the aforesaid hill, one of the
greatest curiosities of which road, near St. Alban's, is the vicinity of
a sort of Mormon establishment, where a fellow of the name of David
Wilson, commonly called David, has set up a Temple of the Davidites,
with Virgins of the Sun, dressed in white, and all the tomfooleries of a
long beard and exclusive sanctity. But America is a fine country for
such knavery. Another curiosity is less pitiable and more natural. It
is Bond Lake, a large narrow sheet of water, on the summit between Lake
Simcoe and Lake Ontario, which has no visible outlet or inlet, and is
therefore, like David Wilson, mysterious, although common sense soon
lays the mystery in both cases bare; one is a freak of Nature concealing
the source and exitus, the other a fraud of man.

The oak ridges, and the stair-like descents of plateau after plateau to
Ontario, are also remarkable enough, showing even to the most
thoughtless that here ancient shores of ancient seas once bounded the
forest, gradually becoming lower and lower as the water subsided. Lyell
visited these with the late Mr. Roy, a person little appreciated and
less understood by the great ones of the earth at Toronto, who made an
excellent geological survey of this part of the province, and whose
widow had infinite difficulty in obtaining a paltry recompense for his
labours in developing the resources of the country. The honey which this
industrious bee manufactured was sucked by drones, and no one has done
him even a shadow of justice, but Mr. Lyell, who, having no colonial
dependence, had no fears in so doing.

But of Richmond Hill, why so called I never could discover, for it is
neither very highly picturesque, nor very highly poetical, although
Dolby's Tavern is a most comfortable resting-place for a wearied
traveller, at which prose writer or poetaster may find a haven.
Attention, good fare, and neatness prevail. It is English.

I have observed two things in journeying through Upper Canada. If you
find neatness at an hostel, it is kept by old-country people. If you
meet with indifference and greasy meats, they are Americans. If you see
the best parlour hung round with bad prints of presidents, looking like
Mormon preachers, they are radicals of the worst leaven. If prints from
the New York Albion, neatly framed and glazed, hang on each side of a
wooden clock, over a sideboard in the centre of the room, opposite to
the windows, the said prints representing Queen Victoria, Lord Nelson,
Windsor Castle, or the New Houses of Parliament, be assured that loyalty
and John Bullism reign there; and, although you meet with no servility,
you will not be disgusted with vulgar assumption, such as cocking up
dirty legs in dirty boots on a dirty stove, wearing the hat, and not
deigning to answer a civil question.

Personally, no man cares less for the mode of reception, when I take
mine ease at mine inn, than I do, for old soldiers are not very
fastidious, and old travellers still less so; but give me sturdy John
Bull, with his blunt plainness and true independence, before the silly
insolence of a fellow, who thinks he shows his equality, by lowering the
character of a man to that of a brute, in coarse exhibitions of assumed
importance, which his vocation of extracting money from his unwilling
guests renders only more hateful.

We departed from Richmond Hill at half-past five, and waggoned on to
Finch's Inn, seven miles, where we breakfasted. This is another
excellent resting-place, and the country between the two is thickly
settled. I forgot to mention that we have now been travelling through
scenes celebrated in the rebellion of Mackenzie. About five miles from
Holland Landing is the Blacksmith's Shop, which was the head-quarters of
Lount, the smith, who, like Jack Cade, set himself up to reform abuses,
and suffered the penalty of the outraged laws.

Lount was a misled person, who, imbued with strong republican feelings,
and forgetting the favours of the government he lived under, which had
made him what he was, took up arms at Mackenzie's instigation, and
thought he had a call--a call to be a great general. He passed to his
account, so '_requiescas in pace_,' Lount! for many a villain yet lives,
to whose vile advices you owed your untimely end, and who ought to have
met with your fate instead of you. Lount had the mind of an honest man
in some things, for it is well known that his counsels curbed the bloody
and incendiary spirit of Mackenzie in many instances. The government
has not sequestered his property, although his sons were equally guilty
with himself.

We also pass, in going to Toronto, two other remarkable places. Finch's
Tavern, where we breakfasted at seven o'clock, was formerly the Old
Stand, as it was so called, of the notorious Montgomery, another
general, a tavern general of Mackenzie's, who moved to a place about
four miles from the city, where the rebels were attacked in 1837 by Sir
Francis Head, and near which the battle of Gallows Hill was fought.

Montgomery was taken prisoner, sent to Kingston, and escaped by
connivance, with several others, from the fortress there on a dark
night, fell into a ditch, broke his leg, and afterwards was hauled by
his comrades over a high wall, and got across the St. Lawrence into the
United States, where he was run over afterwards by a waggon and much
injured. His tavern was burnt to the ground by the militia during the
action, on account of the barbarous murder there of Colonel Moodie, a
very old retired officer, who was killed by Mackenzie's orders in cold
blood. It is now rebuilt on a very extensive scale; and he is again
there, having been permitted to return, and his property, which was
confiscated, has been restored to his creditors.

Such were Mackenzie's intended government and the tools he was to govern
by! Such is the British government! The Upper Canadians wisely preferred
the latter.

Next to Richmond Hill is Thornhill, all on the macadamized portion of
the road to Toronto. Thornhill is a very pretty place, with a neat
church and a dell, in which a river must formerly have meandered, but
where now a streamlet runs to join Lake Ontario. Here are extensive
mills, owned by Mr. Thorne, a wealthy merchant, who exports flour
largely, the Yonge Street settlement being a grain country of vast
extent, which not only supplies his mills, but the Red Mills, near
Holland Landing, and many others.

From Montgomery's Tavern to Toronto is almost a continued series for
four miles of gentlemen's seats and cottages, and, being a straight
road, you see the great lake for miles before its shores are reached.
Large sums have been expended on this road, which is carried through a
brick-clay soil, in which the Don has cut deep ravines, so that immense
embankments and deep excavations for the level have been requisite.

Near Toronto, at Blue Hill, large brick yards are in operation, and here
white brick is now made, of which a handsome specimen of church
architecture has been lately erected in the west end of the city. Tiles,
elsewhere not seen in Canada, are also manufactured near Blue Hill; but
they are not extensively used, the snow and high winds being
unfavourable to their adoption, shingles or split wood being cheaper,
and tinned iron plates more durable and less liable to accident.

In most parts of Upper Canada, near the shores of the great lakes, you
can build a house either of stone or brick, as it suits your fancy, for
both these materials are plentiful, particularly clay; but at Toronto
there is no suitable building-stone; plenty of clay, however, is found,
for there you may build your house out of the very excavations for your
cellars; and I confess that I prefer a brick house in Canada to one of
limestone, for the latter material imbibes moisture; and if a brick
house has a good projecting roof, it lasts very long, and is always

It is surprising to observe the effects of the climate on buildings in
this country. A good stone house, not ten years old, carefully built,
and pointed between the joints of the masonry with the best cement,
requires a total repair after that period, and often before. The
window-sills and lintels of limestone break and crack, and the chimneys
soon become disjointed and unsafe. Although it may seem paradoxical, yet
it is true that the woodwork of a house lasts good much longer than the
stone, or rather the cement, which joins the stone; but wood decays
also very rapidly. A bridge becomes rotten in ten years, and a shingled
roof lasts only fifteen; but then wood is never seasoned in America; it
would not pay.


  Toronto and the Transit--The ice and its innovations--Siege and
  storm of a Fortalice by the Ice-king--Newark, or Niagara--Flags,
  big and little--Views of American and of English
  institutions--Blacklegs and Races--Colonial high life--Youth very

Behold us again in Toronto at Macdonald's Hotel; and, as we shall have
to visit this rising city frequently, we shall say very little more
about it at present, but embark as speedily as possible on board the
Transit, and steam over to Niagara.

The Transit, a celebrated packet, now getting old, and commanded by a
son of its well-known owner, Captain Richardson, starts always in summer
at eight a.m. punctually, and makes her voyage by half-past eleven, at
which hour, on the 5th day of July, we once more touched the shore of
Newark, or Niagara Town, at the Dock Company's wharf, which we found had
been greatly damaged in the spring of the year by a most extraordinary
ice phenomenon.

At the breaking-up of the frost, the ice in the river Niagara, which
came down the river, packed near its mouth, and dammed it up so high at
Queenston, seven miles above and close to the narrows, that the upper
surface of the fields of ice was thirty feet above the level of the
river, there a quarter of a mile broad or more. The consequence was,
that every wharf and every building under this level was destroyed and
crushed. Every edifice on the banks, and among others a strong stone
barrack, full of soldiers, was stormed by the frost-king, during the
darkness of an awful night, and the front wall fairly breached and borne
down by the advancing masses of ice. The soldiers had barely time to
escape from the crashing and rending walls; and their cooking-house, a
detached building, some yards from the barrack and higher up the bank,
was turned over, as if it had been a small boat.

In the memory of man, such a scene had never occurred before, and
probably never will again; and I have been told, by those who beheld it,
that a more solemn display of natural power and irresistible might has
seldom been witnessed than that of the gradual grinding, heaving passage
of one great floe, or field, of thick-ribbed ice over the other, until
that summit was gained which could not be exceeded.

Then came the disruption, the roar, the rush, the fury, the foam, the
groaning thunder, and the river flood; the plunge and the struggle
between the solid and the liquid waters.

Truly, the thundering water was well named by the Indian of old--NE AW
GAR AW is very Greek sounding.

Newark, or, as it is now called, Niagara, but, as it should be named,
Simcoe, is still a pretty, well laid-out town; and, although it has
scarcely had a new house built in it for many years past, is on the
whole a very respectable place, and the capital of the district of
Niagara, celebrated for its apple, peach, and cherry orchards.

It has a good-looking church, and the living is a rectory. A Roman
Catholic church stands close to the English, and a handsome Scots church
is at the other end of the town. There is an ugly jail and Court-House
about a mile in the country, and an excellent market, where every thing
is cheap and good.

Barracks for the Royal Canadian Rifle regiment stand on a large plain.
Old Fort George, the scene of former battling, is in total ruin; and
Fort Mississagua, with its square tower, looks frowningly at Fort
Niagara, on the American side of the estuary of the Great River. I never
see these rival batteries, for it is too magniloquent to style them
fortresses, but they picture to my mind England and the United States.

Mississagua looks careless and confident, with a little bit of a
flag--the flag, however, of a thousand years, displayed, only on
Sundays and holidays, on a staff which looks something like that which
the king-making Warwick tied his heraldic bear to.

The antiquity and warlike renown of England sit equally and visibly
impressed on the crest of the miserable Mississagua as on that of

Fort Niagara, an old French Indian stockade, modernized by the American
engineers from time to time, half-lighthouse, half-fortification,
glaring with whitewashed walls, that may be seen almost at Toronto, with
a flag-staff towering to the skies, and a flag which would cover the
deck of a first-rate, displayed from morn to night, speaks of the new
nation, whose pretensions must ever be put in plain view, and constantly
tell the tale that America is a second edition of the best work of
English industry and of British valour--a second edition interwoven,
however, with foreign matter, with French _fierté_ without French
_politesse_, with German mysticism without German learning, with the
restless and rabid democracy of the whole world without the salutary
check of venerable laws, and with that strange mixture of freedom and
slavery, of tolerance and intolerance, which distinguishes America of
the nineteenth century.

But it is, nevertheless, a most extraordinary spectacle, to contemplate
the rise and progress of the union in so short a period since the
declaration of independence.

An Irish gentleman, apparently a clergyman, last year favoured the
public with the result of an extensive tour in Canada and the United
States, in "Letters from America."

He starts in his preface with these remarkable expressions, which must
be well considered and analyzed, because they are the deliberate
convictions of an observant and well-informed man, who had, moreover,
singular opportunities of reflecting upon the people he had so long
travelled amongst.

He says that "In energy, perseverance, enterprise, sagacity, activity,
and varied resources" the Americans infinitely surpass the British;
that he never met with "a stupid American." That our "American children"
surpass us not only in our good, but "in our evil peculiarities." This I
cannot understand; for, surely, if we have _peculiarities_, which there
is no denying, they must by all the rules of logic be limited to

But the writer observes, in a paragraph too long for quotation, that
they exceed us in materialism and in utilitarianism; that we, a nation
of shopkeepers, as Napoleon styled the English, were outdone in the
worship of Mammon by them; that we have rejected too much the higher
branches of art and science, and the cultivation of the æsthetic
faculty--what an abominable word æsthetic is! it always puts me in mind
of asthmatic, for it is broken-winded learning.

"Is it not common," says he, "in modern England to reject authorities
both in Church and State, to look with contempt on the humbler and more
peculiarly christian virtues of contentment and submission, and to
cultivate the intellectual at the expense of the moral part of our
nature? If these and other dangerous tendencies of a similar nature are
at work among ourselves, as they undoubtedly are, it is useful and
interesting to observe them in fuller operation and more unchecked
luxuriance in America."

Now, it is very satisfactory, that the Americans, a race of yesterday,
who have had no opportunity as yet of coping with the deep research and
master-minds of Europe, should in half a century have leaped into such a
position in the civilized world as to have exceeded the Englishman in
all the most useful relations of life, as well as in all its darker and
more dangerous features; very satisfactory indeed that the mixed race
peopling the United States should be better and worse than that nation
to which the world, by universal consent, has yielded the palm of
superiority in all the arts and in all the sciences of modern

Wherein do the Americans exceed the sons of Britain? In history, in
policy, in poetry, in mathematics, in music, in painting, or in any of
the gifts of the Muses? Are they more renowned in the dreadful art of
war? or in the mild virtues of peace? Is the fame of America a wonder
and a terror to the four quarters of the globe?--We may fearlessly reply
in the negative. The outer barbarian knows the American but as another
kind of Englishman. It will yet take him some centuries to distinguish
between the original and the offspring.

It is, in short, as untenable as an axiom in policy or history, that the
American exceeds the Briton in the development of mind, as it is that
the American exceeds the Briton in the development of the baser
qualities of our nature.

When the insatiate thirst for dollars, dollars, dollars, has subsided,
then the American may justly rear his head as an aspirant for historic
fame. His land has never yet produced a Shakespeare, a Johnson, a
Milton, a Spenser, a Newton, a Bacon, a Locke, a Coke, or a Rennie. The
utmost America has yet achieved is a very faint imitation of the least
renowned of our great writers, Walter Scott.

In diplomacy I deny also the palm. For although India is a case in
point, like as Texas, yet even there we have never first planted a
population with the express purpose of ejecting the lawful government,
but have conquered where conquest was not only hailed by the enslaved
people but was a positive benefit, by the introduction of mild and
equitable laws instead of brutal and bloody despotisms. We have not
snatched from a weak republic, whose principles had been expressly
formed on our own model, that which poverty alone obliged it to
relinquish. If the writer, who appears to be an excellent man and a good
christian, had lived for several years on the borders of the eagerly
desired Canada, I very much doubt whether he would have seen such a
_couleur de rose_ in the transactions of the mighty commonwealth, where
the rulers are the ruled, and where education, intellect, integrity,
innocence, and wealth must all alike bow before the Juggernaut of an
unattainable perfection of equality.

If Bill Johnson, the mail robber and smuggler, is as good as William
Pitt or any other William of superior mind, why then the sooner the
millennium of democracy arrives the better. It is unfortunate for the
present generation--what it will be for the next no man can pretend to
say--that this debasing principle is gaining ground not only in Canada
but in England. A reflecting mind has no objection to the creed that all
men were created equal; but history, sacred and profane, plainly shows
that mind as well as matter is afterwards, for the wisest of purposes,
very differently developed.

Does the meanest white American, the sweeper of Broadway, if there be
such a citizen, believe in this perfection of equality amongst men as a
fundamental axiom of the rights of man? Place a black sweeper of
crossings in juxtaposition, and the question will very soon solve
itself. Why, the free and enlightened citizens will not even permit
their black or coloured brethren to worship their common Creator in the
same pew with themselves--it is horror, it is degradation! And yet
there is a universal outcry about sacred liberty and equality all over
the Union. The angels weep to witness the tricks of men placed in a
little brief authority. Can such a state of things last as that, where
the Irish labourer is treated as an inferior being in the scale of
creation, and the Negro, or the offspring of the Negro and the white, is
branded with the stigma of servile? It cannot--it will not. Either let
democracy assume its true and legitimate features, or let it cease--for
the re-action will be a fearful one, as dread and as horribly diabolical
as that which the folly of the aristocracy of old France brought on that
devoted land.

I have said, and I repeat it, that a residence on the borders of Canada
and the United States for some time will cure a reflecting mind of many
long cherished notions concerning the relative merits of a limited
monarchy and of a crude democracy.

The man who views the border people of the United States with calm
observation will soon come to the conclusion that a state of
government, if it may be so called, where the commonest ruffian asserts
privileges which the most educated and refined mind never dreams of, is
not an enviable order of things.

In the first fury of a war with England, who were the promoters? the mob
on the borders. Who hoped for a new sympathy demonstration, in order to
annex Canada? the people of the Western States, who, far removed from
the possibility of invasion, valiantly resolve to carry fire and sword
among their unoffending brethren.

The intelligence and the wealth of the United States are passive; they
are physically weak, and therefore succumb to the dictation of the rude
masses. And what keeps up this singular action, but the
constantly-recurring elections, the incessant balloting and voting, the
necessity which every man feels hourly of saving his substance or his
life from the devouring rapacity of those who think that all should be

If the government, acutely sensible that war is an evil which must
cripple its resources, is unwilling to engage in it, both from principle
and from patriotism, it must yield if the mob wills it, or forfeit the
sweets of office and of power. Hence, few men enter upon the cares of
public life in the States now-a-days who are of that frame of mind which
considers personal expediency as worthy of deep reflection. What would
Washington have said to such a system?

The batteries or fortalices of Niagara and of Mississagua have led to a
digression quite unintentional and unforeseen, which must terminate for
the present with a different view from that of the author of the Letters
above-mentioned: and let us hope fervently that the New World has not
yet arrived at such a consummation as that of surpassing the vices and
crimes of the Old, as we are certain it has not yet achieved such a
moral victory as that of outrunning it in the race of scientific or
mechanic fame. England is no more in her dotage than America is in her
nonage. The former, without vanity or want of verity be it spoken, is
as pre-eminent as the latter is honestly and creditably aspiring.

The writer above quoted says their ships sail better, and are manned
with fewer hands. We grant that no nation excels the United States in
ship-building, and that they build vessels expressly for sailing; but
for one English ship lost on the ocean, there are three of the venturous
Americans; for one steam-vessel that explodes, and hurls its hundreds to
destruction, in England or Canada, there are twenty Americans.

In England, the cautious, the slow and the sure plan prevails; in
America, the go-ahead, reckless, dollar-making principle prevails; and
so it is through every other concern of life. A hundred ways of
worshipping the Creator, after the christian form, exist in America,
where half a dozen suffice in England.

Time is money in America; the meals are hurried over, relaxations
necessary to the enjoyment of existence forbidden--and what for? to
make money. To what end? to spend it faster than it is made, and then to
begin again. You have only a faint shadow of the immense wealth realized
in England by that of the merchant or the shopkeeper in the States.
Capital there is constantly in a rapid consumption; and as the people
engaged in the feverish excitement of acquiring it are in the latter
country, from their habits, shortlived, so the opposite fact exhibits
itself in England. There are no Rothschilds, no railway kings in
America. Time and the man will not admit of it. John Jacob Astor is an
exception to this fact.

On landing at Niagara, the difference of climate between it and Toronto
is at once perceived. Here you are on sandy, there on clayey soil. Here
all is heat, there moisture. I tried hard for several seasons to bring
the peach to perfection at Toronto, only thirty-six miles from Niagara,
without success; at Niagara it grows freely, and almost spontaneously,
as well as the quince. The fields and the gardens of Niagara are a
fortnight or more in advance of those of Toronto. Strange that the
passage of the westerly winds across Ontario should make such a

Niagara is a grand racing-stand, where all the loafers of the
neighbouring republic congregate in the autumn; I was unfortunately
present at the last races, and never desire to repeat my visit at that
season. Blacklegs and whitelegs prevail; and the next morning the course
was strewed with the bodies of drunken vagabonds. It appears to me very
strange that the gentry of the neighbourhood suffer a very small modicum
of ephemeral newspaper notoriety to get the better of their good sense.
The patronage of such a racecourse as that of Niagara, so far from being
an honour, is the reverse. It is too near the frontier to be even
decently respectable; nor is the course itself a good one, for the sand
is too deep. Many a young gentleman of Toronto, who thinks that he
copies the aristocracy of England by patronizing the turf, finds out to
his own loss and sorrow that it would have been much better to have had
his racing qualifications exhibited nearer his own door; and there
cannot possibly be a greater colonial mistake committed than to fancy
that grooms, stable-boys, and blacklegs, are now the advisers and
companions of our juvenile nobility.--That day has passed!

It is very unfortunate that very false ideas exist in some of the
colonies of the manners and customs of high life in England. The
grown-up people often fancy that cold reserve, and an assumption of
great state, indicate high birth and breeding. The younger branches seem
frequently to think that there is no such thing at home as the period of
adolescence; consequently, you often see a pert young master deliver his
unasked opinion and behave before his seniors and superiors as though he
wanted to intimate that he was wiser in his generation than they.

In crossing to Niagara, we had a specimen of the precocious colonist of
1845. The table of the captain of the boat, like that of his respected
father, was good and decorously conducted, and there were several ladies
and some most respectable travelled Americans at dinner. A very young
gentleman, who boasted how much he had lost at the races, how much they
had gambled, and how much they drank of champagne the night
before--champagne, by the by, is thought a very aristocratic drink among
psuedo-great men, although it is common as ditch-water in the United
States--engrossed the whole conversation of the dinner-table, picked his
teeth, took up the room of two, called the waiter fifty times, and ended
by ordering the cheese to be placed on the table before the pies and
puddings were removed. The company present rose before the dessert
appeared, thoroughly disgusted; and I afterwards saw this would-be man
peeping into the windows of the ladies'-cabin, and performing a thousand
other antic tricks, cigar in mouth, for which he would in England have
met with his deserts.

The precociousness of Transatlantic children is not confined to the
United States--it is equally and unpleasantly visible in Canada.

The Americans who travel, I can safely say, are not guilty of these
monstrous absurdities. I have crossed the Atlantic more than once with
boys of from seventeen to twenty, who have left college to make the
grand tour, without ever observing any thing to find fault with. The
American youth is observant, and soon discovers that attempting to do
the character of men before his time in the society of English strangers
invariably lowers instead of raising an interest.

There is a good caricature of this in an American book, I forget its
title, written some time ago, to show the simplicity, gullibility, and
vindictivness of our Trollopean travellers. It is a boy of sixteen, or
thereabouts, cigar in the corner of his mouth, hat cocked on three
curls, and all the modern etceteras of a complete youth, saying to his
father, "Here, take my boots, old fellow, and clean them." The father
looks a little amazed, upon which the manikin ejaculates, "Why don't you
take them? what's the use of having a father?"

There will be a railway smash in this, as well as in the locomotive
mania. Republicanism towards elders and parents is unnatural; the child
and the man were not born equal.

I remember reading in a voluminous account of the terrors of the French
revolution a remarkable passage:--servants denounced masters, debtors
denounced creditors, women denounced husbands, children denounced
parents, youth denounced protecting age; gratitude was unknown; a favour
conferred led to the guillotine: but never, never in that awful period,
in that reign of the vilest passions of our nature over reason, was
there one instance, one single instance, of a parent denouncing its

It is not a good sign when extreme youth pretends to have discovered the
true laws of the universe, when the son is wiser than the father, or
when immature reason usurps the functions of the ripened faculties.

I have put this together because I hear hourly parents deprecating the
system of education in the greatest city of Western Canada; because I
hear and see children of fourteen swaggering about the streets with all
the consequence of unfledged men, smoking cigars, frequenting
tavern-bars and billiard-rooms, and no doubt led by such unbridled
license into deeper mysteries and excesses; because I hear clergymen
lament that boys of that age lose their health by excesses too difficult
of belief to fancy true. Surely a salutary check in time may be applied
to such an evil.

But liberty and equality, as I said before, are extending on both sides
of the Atlantic: and in their train come these evils, simply because
liberty and equality are as much misunderstood as real republicanism and
limited monarchy are.


  The old Canadian Coach--Jonathan and John Bull passengers--"That
  Gentleman"--Beautiful River, beautiful drive--Brock's
  Monument--Queenston--Bar and Pulpit--Trotting horse Railroad--Awful
  accident--The Falls once more--Speculation--Water
  Burning Spring--Setting fire to Niagara--A charitable Woman--The
  Nigger's Parrot--John Bull is a Yankee--Political
  Courtship--Lundy's Lane--Heroine--Welland Canal.

I can make no stay at Niagara for the present; but, after resting awhile
at Howard's Inn, which is the most respectable one in the town, proceed
in his coach to Queenston.

The old Canadian coach has not yet quite vanished before modern
improvement. It is a mighty heavy, clumsy conveniency, hung on leather
springs, and looking for all the world as if elephants alone could move
it along; and, if it should upset, like Falstaff, it may ask for levers
to lift it up again.

We had on board the coach an American, of the species Yankee, a thorough
bluff, rosy, herculean, Yorkshire-farmer, and several highly respectable

I will not say Jonathan did not spit before them, for he is to the
manner born; but, although of inferior grade, if there can be such a
thing mentioned respecting a citizen of the United States, and
particularly of "the Empire State," of which he was, to his credit be it
said, he treated the females with that courtesy, rough as it is, which
seems innate with all Americans.

A stormy discussion arose on the part of John Bull, who hated slavery,
disliked spitting, got angry about Brock's monument, and, in short,
looked down with no small share of contempt upon the man of yesterday,
whose ideas of right and wrong were so diametrically opposed to his own,
and who very sententiously expressed them.

John told him that the only thing he had never heard in his travels
through the Northern and Western States--where he had been to look at
the land with a view to purchase, either there or in Canada, as might be
most advisable--the only thing he had never heard was that all the
citizens of the United States were all "gentlemen."

"I guess you didn't hear with both ears, then, for you always must have
remarked that whenever one citizen spoke of another, he said 'that

John laughed outright. "No, friend, I never did hear your white
gentlemen call a nigger 'that gentleman;' so, you see, all your folks
ain't equal, and all ain't gentlemen. Here, in Canada, I have heard a
blacky called 'that gentleman;' and, by George, if many more of your
runaway slaves cross the border, they will soon be the only gentlemen in
Canada, for they are getting very impudent and very numerous."

This is, in a measure, true; such troops of escaped negroes are annually
forwarded to Canada by the abolitionists that the Western frontier is
overrun already, and the impudence of these newly free knows no bounds.
But they cordially hate both the Southern slaveholders and the

Talking of slavery, pray read an account of it from an American of the
Northern States.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "New Orleans, January 26, 1846.

"A man may be no abolitionist--I am not one; he may think but little on
the subject of slavery--it has never troubled me one way or the other:
but let him mark the records of the glorious battles of the Revolution;
let him notice the Eagle of Liberty, and all the emblems of
Independence, Freedom, and the rights of man; let him muse on the
thoughts they awaken, and then behold the actualities of life around
him. Suddenly the sharp rap of an auctioneer's hammer startles him, and
the loud striking of the hour of twelve will divert his attention to the
throng of men around him, and the appearance of three or four men on
raised stands in different parts of the Rotunda, who are calling the
attention of those around him, at the same time unrolling a hand-bill
that the stranger has noticed in the most conspicuous places in the
city, printed in French and English, announcing the sale of a lot of
fine, likely slaves; at the same time, he observes maps of real estates
spread out--everything in fact around him denoting a 'busy mart where
men do congregate,' as it really is.

"The auctioneer, making the most noise, attracts his attention first;
joining the crowd in front of the stand, he observes twelve or fifteen
negroes of all ages and both sexes standing in a line to the left of the
auctioneer; they are comfortably, and some of them neatly dressed,
particularly the women, with their yellow Madras handkerchiefs tied
around their heads, and their bright, showy dresses; but they have a
look that irresistibly causes him to think back for a comparison to the
objects before him, and it seems strange that it should bring to mind
some market or field where he has sometimes seen cattle offered for
sale, whose saddened look seemed to forbode some evil to them; but the
animal look is somewhat redeemed by the smiles and plays of the little
_piccaninies_, who seem to wonder why they are there, with so many men
looking at them.--Now for business.

"'Maria, step up here. There, gentlemen, is a fine, likely wench, aged
twenty-five; she is warranted healthy and sound, with the exception of a
slight lameness in the left leg, which does not damage her at all. Step
down, Maria, and walk.' The woman gets down, and steps off eight or ten
paces, and returns with a slight limp, evidently with some pain, but
doing her best to conceal her defect of gait. The auctioneer is a
Frenchman, and announces everything alternately in French and English.
'Now, gentlemen, what is bid? she is warranted, elle est gurantie, and
sold by a very respectable citizen. 250 dollars, deux cent et cinquante
dollars: why, gentlemen, what do you mean! Get down, Maria, and walk a
little more. 275, deux cent soixante et quinze, 300, trois cents!--go
on, gentlemen--325, trois cents et vingt cinq! once, twice, ah! 350,
trois cents et cinquante: une fois! deux fois! going, gone, for 350
dollars. A great bargain, gentlemen.'

"My attention is called to the opposite side of the room: 'Here,
gentlemen, is a likely little orphan yellow girl, six years old--what is
bid? combien? thirty-five dollars, trente cinq, fifty dollars, cinquante
dollars, thank you.' Finally, she is knocked down at seventy-five

"Why, there is a whole family on that other stand; let us see them.
'There, gentlemen, is a fine lot: Willy, aged thirty-five, an expert
boy, a good carpenter, brickmaker, driver, in fact, can do anything, il
sait faire tout. His wife, Betty, is thirty-three, can wash, cook, wait
on the table, and make herself generally useful; also their boy George,
five years old; you will observe, gentlemen, that Betty est enceinte.
Now what is bid for this valuable family?' After a lively competition,
they are bid off at 1,550 dollars, the whole family.

"As I have before remarked, everything is done in French and English;
even the negroes speak both languages. I saw one poor old negro, about
sixty, put up, but withdrawn, as only 270 dollars were bid for him.
While waiting to be sold, they are examined and questioned by the
purchasers. One young girl, about sixteen or eighteen, was being
inspected by an elderly, stern, sharp-eyed, horse-jockey looking man,
who sported his gold chains, diamond pin, ruffles, and cane: 'How old
are you?' 'I don't know, sir.' 'Do you know how to eat?' 'Everybody does
that,' she said sullenly.

"Passing up the Esplanade next morning, (Sunday) I saw some forty or
fifty very fine-looking negroes and negresses, all neatly dressed,
standing on a bench directly in front of a building, which I took to be
a meeting or school house: walking by, a genteel-looking man stepped up
and asked me if I wished to buy a likely boy or girl. Telling him I was
a stranger, and asking for information, he told me it was one of the
slave-markets; that they stood there for examination, and that he had
sold 500,000 dollars worth and sent them off that morning.

"The above facts are some of the singular features (to a Northerner) of
this remarkable place, and I assure you that I 'nothing extenuate, or
set down aught in malice;' but may the time come when even a black man
may say, 'I am a man!'


       *       *       *       *       *

I once relieved a poor black wretch who was starving in the streets of
Kingston, and told him where to go to get proper advice and protection:
all the thanks I received were that he was sorry he ran away, for he had
been a waiter somewhere in the South, and got a good many dollars by his
situation; whereas, he said, Canada was a poor country, and he had no
hope of thriving in it.

The lower class of negroes in Canada, for there are several classes
among even runaways, are very frequently dissolute, idle, impudent, and
assuming--so difficult is it for poor uneducated human nature to bear a
little freedom.

The coloured people, if they get at all up in the world, assume vast
airs, but there are very many well-conducted people among them. As yet
neither coloured people nor negroes have made much advance in Canada.

John Bull had visited almost every portion of the Northern and Western
States, was a shrewd, observing character, and had come to the
conclusion, which he very plainly expressed, that the state of society
in the Union was not to his taste, that he could procure lands as cheap
and as good for his gold in Canada, and that to Canada he would bring
his old woman and his children.

"For," said he, "in the London or Western districts of Upper Canada, the
land is equal to any in the United States, the climate better, and by
and by it will supply all Europe with grain. Settling there, an
Englishman will not always be put in mind of the inferiority of the
British to the Americans, will not always be told that kings and queens
are childish humbugs, and will not have his work hindered and his mind
poisoned by constant elections and everlasting grasping for office.

"While," says John to Jonathan, "I am in Canada, just as free as you
are; I pay no taxes, or only such as I control myself, and which are
laid out in roads, or for my benefit. I can worship after the manner of
my fathers, without being robbed or burnt out, and I meet no man who
thinks himself a bit better than myself; but, as I shall take care to
settle a good way from republican sympathizers for the sake of my poor
property, I shall always find my neighbours as proud of Queen Victoria
as I be myself."

Jonathan replied that he had no manner of doubt that Miss Victoria was a
real lady, for every female is a lady in the States; the word being
understood only as an equivalent for womankind, and that John might like
petticoat government, but, for his part, he calculated it was better to
be a king one's-self, which every citizen of the enlightened republic
was, and no mistake.

And kings they are, for all power resides there, in the body of which
he was a favourable specimen, but which does not always show its members
in so fair a light.

I do not know any coach ride in British America more pleasing than that
from Niagara to Queenston. You cross a broad green common, with the
expanse of Lake Ontario on one side, the forest and orchard on the
other; and, after passing through a little coppice, suddenly come upon
the St. Lawrence, rolling a tranquil flood towards the great lake below.

High above its waters, on the edge of the sharp precipitous bank,
covered with trees--oak, birch, beech, chestnut, and maple--runs the
sandy road, bordered by corn-fields, by orchards, and occasionally by
little patches of woodland, looking for all the world like Old England,
excepting that that unpicturesque snake fence spoils the illusion.

Now, bright and deep, rolls the giant flood onward; now it is hidden by
a turn of the bank; now, glittering, it again appears between the trees.
Thus you travel until within a couple of miles or so of Queenston, when,
the road leaving the bank, and the river forming a large bay-like bend,
a splendid view breaks out.

You catch a distant glimpse of that narrow pass, where a wall of rock,
two hundred feet high on each side, and somewhat higher on the American
shore, vomits forth the pent-up angry Niagara. Above this wall, to the
right and left, towers the mountain ridge, covered with forest to the
south, and with the greenest of grass to the north, where, stately and
sad, stands the pillar under whose base moulder the bones of the gallant
Brock, and of Mac Donell, his aide-de-camp.

Rent from summit to base, tottering to its fall, is Brock's monument,
and yet the villain who did the deed that destroyed it lives, and dares
to show his face on the neighbouring shore.

I cannot conceive in beautiful scenery any thing more picturesque than
the gorge of the Niagara river: it combines rapid water, a placid bay, a
tremendous wall of rock, forest, glade, village, column, active and
passive life.

Queenston is a poor place; it has never gained an inch since the war of
1812; but, as a railroad has been established, and a wharf is building
in connection with it, it will go ahead. Opposite to it is Lewiston, in
the United States, less ancient and time-worn, full of gaudily-painted
wooden houses, and with much more pretension. Queenston looks like an
old English hamlet in decay; melancholy and miserable; Lewiston is the
type of newness, all white and green, all unfinished and all

The odious bar-room system of the Northern States is fast sweeping away
all vestiges of English comfort. The practice of lounging, cigar in
mouth, sipping juleps and alcoholic decoctions in common with smugglers
and small folk, is fast unhinging society. The plan of social economy in
the mercantile cities is rapidly spreading over the whole Union, and the
fashion of ladies' drawing-rooms being absorbed into the parlour of an
hotel or boarding-house has brought about a change which the next
generation will lament.

It is the restless rage for politics, the ever present desire for
dollars, which has brought about this state of things; the young husband
seeks the bar-room as a merchant does the Change; and thus, except in
the wealthy class, or among the contemplative and retired, there is no
such thing as private life in the northern cities and towns. Huge
taverns, real wooden gin palaces, tower over the tops of all other
buildings, in every border village, town, and city; and a good bar is a
better business than any other. Thus in Lewiston, in Buffalo, in short,
in every American border town, the best building is the tavern, and the
next best the meeting-house; both are fashionable, and both are anything
but what they should be; for he who keeps the best liquors, and he who
preaches most pointedly to the prevailing taste, makes the most of his
trade. The voluntary system is a capital speculation to the publican as
well as to the parson; but, unfortunately, it is more general with the
former than with the latter.

The Niagara frontier is a rich and a fertile portion of Canada,
surrounded almost by water, and intersected by rivers, and the Welland
Canal, with an undulating surface in the interior. It grows wheat,
Indian corn, and all the cereal gramina to perfection, whilst Pomona
lavishes favours on it; nor are its woods less prolific and luxuriant.
Here the chestnut, with its deep green foliage and its white flowers,
forms a pleasing variety to the sylvan scenery of Canada.

It would be, from its healthiness alone, the pleasantest part of Canada
to live in, but it is too near the borders where sympathizers, more keen
and infinitely more barbarous than those on the ancient Tweed, render
property and life rather precarious; and, therefore, in war or in
rebellion, the Niagara frontier is not an enviable abode for the
peaceable farmer or the timid female.

The ascent to the plateau above Queenston is grand, and the view from
the summit very extensive and magnificent; embracing such a stretch of
cultivated land, of forest, of the habitations of men, and of the
apparently boundless Ontario, the Beautiful Lake, that it can scarcely
be rivalled.

The railroad has, however, spoiled a good deal of this; it runs from the
summit of the mountain, along its side or flank, inland to Chippewa,
beyond the Falls; and you are whirled along, not by steam, but by three
trotting horses, at a rapid rate, through a wood road, until you reach
the Falls, where you obtain just a glimpse and no more of the Cataract.

On the top of the mountain, as a hill four or five hundred feet above
the river is called, is a place which was the scene of an awful
accident. The precipice wall of the gorge of the Niagara is very close
to the road, but hidden from it by stunted firs and bushes. Colonel
Nichols, an officer well known and distinguished in the last American
war, was returning one winter's night, when the fresh snow rendered all
tracks on the road imperceptible, in his sleigh with a gallant horse.
Merrily on they went; the night was dark, and the road makes a sudden
turn just at the brink, to descend by a circuitous sweep the face of
the hill into Queenston. Either the driver or the horse mistook the
path, and, instead of turning to the left, went on edging to the right.

The next day search was made: the marks of struggling were observed on
the snow; the horse had evidently observed his danger; he had floundered
and dashed wildly about; but horse, sleigh, and driver, went down, down,
down, at least two hundred feet into the abyss below; and sufficient
only remained to bear witness to the terrific result.

The railroad (three horse power) takes you to the Falls or to Chippewa.
If you intend visiting the former, and desire to go to the Clifton
House, the best hotel there, you are dropped at Mr. Lanty Mac Gilly's,
where the four roads meet, one going to the Ferry, one to Drummondville,
a village at Lundy's Lane, now cut off from the main road; the other you
came by, and the continuation of which goes to Chippewa, where a
steamer, called the Emerald, is ready to take you to the city of
Buffalo in the United States. As I shall return by way of Buffalo from
the extreme west of Canada, we will say not a word about any thing
further on this route at present than the Falls, and perhaps the reader
may think the less that is said about them the better.

But, gentle reader, although it be a well-worn tale, I had not seen the
Falls for five years, and I wish to tell you whether they are altered or
improved; and most likely you will take some little interest in so old a
friend as the Falls of Niagara; for you must have read about those
before you read Robinson Crusoe, and have had them thrust under your
notice by every tourist, from Trollope to Dickens. They say, _on dit_, I
mean, which is not translatable into English, that this is the age of
Materialism and Utilitarianism. By George, you would think so indeed, if
you had the chance of seeing the Falls of Niagara twice in ten years.
They are materially injured by the Utilitarian mania. The Yankees put an
ugly shot tower on the brink of the Horseshoe at the beginning of that
era, and they are about to consummate the barbarism, by throwing a wire
bridge, if the British government is consenting, over the river, just
below the American Fall. But Niagara is a splendid "Water Privilege,"
and so thought the Company of the City of the Falls--a most enlightened
body of British subjects, who first disfigured the Table Rock, by
putting a water-mill on it, and now are adding the horror of
gin-palaces, with sundry ornamental booths for the sale of juleps and
sling, all along the venerable edge of the precipice, so that trees of
unequalled beauty on the bank above, trees which grow no where else in
Canada, are daily falling before the monster of gain.

What they will do next in their freaks it is difficult to surmise; but
it requires very little more to show that patriotism, taste, and
self-esteem, are not the leading features in the character of the
inhabitants of this part of the world.

If the Colossus of Rhodes could be remodelled and brought to the Falls,
one leg standing in Canada, and the other in the United States, there
would be a company immediately formed for hydraulic purposes, to convey
a waste pipe from the tips of the fingers as far as Buffalo; and another
to light the paltry village of Manchester, all mills and mint-juleps,
with the natural gas which would be made to feed the lamp. A grogshop
would be set up in his head; telescopes would be poked out of his eyes,
and philosophers would seat themselves on his toes, to calculate whether
the waters of the British Fall could not be dammed out, so as to turn a
few cotton mills more in Manchester, as it is called, which scheme some
Canadian worthy would upset, by resorting to Mr. Lyell's proof that the
whole river might once have flowed, and may again be made to flow, down
to St. David's--thus, by expending a few millions, cutting off
Jonathan's chance.

But it is of no use to joke on this subject; Niagara is, both to the
United States and to England, but especially to Canada, a public
property. It is the greatest wonder of the visible world here below,
and should be protected from the rapacity of private speculations, and
not made a Greenwich fair of; where pedlars and thimble-riggers, niggers
and barkers, the lowest trulls and the vilest scum of society,
congregate to disgust and annoy the visitors from all parts of the
world, plundering and pestering them without control.

The only really pretty thing on the British side is the Museum, the
result of the indefatigable labours of Mr. Barnett, a person who, by his
own unassisted industry, has gathered together a most interesting
collection of animals, shells, coins, &c., and has added a garden, in
which all the choicest plants and flowers of North America and of
Britain grow, watered by the incessant spray of the Great Fall. In this
garden I saw, for the first time in Canada, the English holly, the box,
the heath, and the ivy; and there is a willow from the St. Helena stock.

It requires unremitting watchfulness, however, to keep all this
together, for _loafers_ are rife in these parts. He had gathered a very
choice collection of coins, which was placed in a glass case in the
Museum. A loafer cast his eye upon them, visited the Museum frequently,
until he fully comprehended the whereabouts, and then, by the help of a
comrade or two, broke a window-pane, passed through a glazed division of
stuffed snakes, &c., and bore off his prize in the dead of the night. By
advertising in time, and by dint of much exertion, the greater part was
recovered, but the proprietor has not dared publicly to exhibit them

He is now forming a menagerie, and also has a collection of fossils and
minerals from the neighbourhood, with a camera obscura. He is, in short,
a specimen of what untiring industry can accomplish, even when

There are some tulip-trees near the Falls, but this plant does not grow
to any size so far north; and, although native to the soil, it is,
perhaps, the extreme limit of its range. The snake-wood, a sort of
slender bush, is found here, with very many other rare Canadian plants,
which are no doubt fostered by the continual humidity of the place; and,
if you wish to sup full of horrors,[4] Mr. Barnett has plenty of live

[Footnote 4: This puts me in mind of the vulgar received opinion that my
godfather Fuseli supped on pork-steaks, to have horrid dreams.
Originally said in joke, this absurd story has been repeated even by
persons affecting respectability as writers. His Greek learning alone
should have saved his memory from this.]

To wind up all, the Americans are going to put up another immense
gin-palace on the opposite shore; and, as a climax to the excellent
taste of the vicinage, they are about to place a huge steamboat to cross
the rapids at the foot of the Manchester Falls. The next speculation, as
I hinted above, must be to turn the Niagara into the Erie, or into the
Welland Canal, and make it carry flour, grind wheat, and do the duty
which the political economists of this thriving place consider all
rivers as alone created for.

One traveller of the Utilitarian school has recorded, in the traveller's
album at the Falls, the number of gallons of water running over to
waste per minute; and another writes, "What an almighty splash!"

I went once more to see the Burning Spring, and have no doubt whatever
that the City of the Falls, that great pre-eminent humbug, if it had
been built, might have easily been lit by natural gas, as it abounds
every where in the neighbourhood, the rock under the superior Silurian
limestone being a shale containing it, as may be evidenced by those
visitors, who are persuaded to go under "the Sheet of Water," as the
place is called where the Table Rock projects, and part of the cataract
slides over it; for, on reaching the angle next to the spiral stair, a
strong smell is plainly perceptible, something between rotten eggs and
sulphur; and there you find a little trickling spring oozing out of the
precipice tasting of those delectable compounds.

A Yankee, with the soaring imagination of that imaginative race,
proposes to set fire to the Horseshoe Fall, and thus get up a grand
nocturnal exhibition, to which the Surrey Zoological pyrotechny would
bear the same ratio as a sky-rocket to Vesuvius.

There is no great impossibility in this fact, if it was "not a fact"
that the rush of the Fall disturbs the superincumbent gases too much to
permit it; for there can be but little doubt that there is plenty of
_materiel_ at hand, and, some day or other, a lighthouse will be lit
with it to guide sleepy loons and other negligent water-fowl over the
Falls. I wonder they do not get up a Carburetted Hydrogen Gas Company
there, with a suitable engineer and railway, so that visitors might
cross over to Goat Island on an atmospheric line. There are plenty of
railway stags on both shores, if you will only buy their stock to
establish it; and, at all events, it would improve the City of the
Falls, which now exhibits the deplorable aspect of three stuccoed
cottages turned seedy, and a bare common, in place of a magnificent
grove of chestnut trees, which formerly almost rivalled Greenwich Park.

But the crowning glory of "the City" is the Reflecting Pagoda, a thing
perched over Table Rock bank; very like a huge pile engine, with a
ten-shilling mirror, where the monkey should be. Blessings on Time!
though he is a very thoughtless rogue, he has touched this grand effort
of human genius in the wooden line slightly, and it will soon follow the
horrid water-mill which stood on that most singular and indescribable
freak of Nature, the Table Rock. I would have forgiven Lett, the
sympathizer, if, instead of assassination and the blowing-up of Brock's
Monument, he had confined his attentions to a little serious Guy Fauxing
at the Mill and the Reflecting Pagoda.

Niagara--Ne-aw-gaw-rah, thou thundering water! thy glories are
departing; the abominable Railway Times has driven along thy borders;
and, if I should live to see thee again ten years hence, verily I should
not be astounded to find thee locked-up, and a station-house staring me
in the visage, from that emerald bower, in thy most mysterious recess,
where the vapour is rose-coloured, and the bright rainbow alone now
forms the bridge from the Iris Rock!

I was so disgusted to see the spirit of pelf, that concentration of
self, hovering over one of the last of the wonders of the world, that I
rushed to the Three Horse Railway, and soon forgot all my misery in
scrambling for a place; for there was no alternative. There were only
three carriages and one open cart on the rail; the three aristocratic
conveniences were full; and the coal-box--for it looked very like
one--was full also, of loafers and luggage; so I despaired of quitting
the Falls almost as much, by way of balance, as I rejoiced when they
once again met my ken.

But women are women all the world over; a black lady nursed Mungo Park,
when he was abandoned by the world; and a charitable she-Samaritan
crowded to make room for a disconsolate wayfarer.

I felt very much as the nigger's parrot at New York did.

Blacky was selling a parrot, and a gentleman asked him what the bird
could do. Could he speak well? "No, massa; no peaky at all." "Can he
sing?"--"No, massa; no peaky, no singy." "Why, what can he do, then,
that you ask twenty dollars for him?" "Oh! massa, golly, he thinky
dreadful much." So, when the daughter of Eve made way for me in the
rail-car, why I thinky very much, that, wherever a stranger meets
unexpected kindness, it is sure to be a woman that offers it.

There were the usual host of American travellers in the cars; and as one
generally gets a fund of anecdote and amusement on these occasions, from
their habits of communicativeness, I shall put the English reader in
possession of the meaning of words he often sees in the perusal of
American newspapers and novels which I gathered.

New York is the Empire State, and with the following comprises Yankee
land, which word Yankee is most properly a corruption of Yengeese, the
old Indian word for English; so that, by parity of reasoning, John Bull
is, after all, a Yankee.

  Massachusetts    The Bay State, Steady Habits.
  Rhode Island     Plantation State.
  Vermont          Banner State, or Green Mountain Boys.
  New Hampshire    The Granite State.
  Connecticut      Freestone State.
  Maine            Lumber State.

These are the Yankees, _par excellence_; and it is not polite or even
civil for a traveller to consider or mention any of the other States as
labouring under the idea that they ever could, by any possibility, be
considered as Yankees; for, in the South, the word Yankee is almost
equivalent to a tin pedlar, a sharp, Sam Slick.

  Pennsylvania   is     The Keystone State.
  New Jersey            The Jersey (pronounced Jar-say) Blues.
  Delaware              Little Delaware.
  Maryland              Monumental.
  Virginia              The Old Dominion, and sometimes the Cavaliers.
  North Carolina        Rip Van Winckle.
  South Carolina        The Palmetto State.
  Georgia               Pine State.
  Ohio                  The Buckeyes.
  Kentucky              The Corncrackers.
  Alabama               Alabama.
  Tennessee             The Lion's Den.
  Missouri              The Pukes.
  Illinois              The Suckers.
  Indiana               The Hoosiers.
  Michigan              The Wolverines.
  Arkansas              The Toothpickers.
  Louisiana             The Creole State.
  Mississippi           The Border Beagles.

I do not know what elegant names have been given to the Floridas, the
Iowa, or any of the other territories, but no doubt they are equally
significant. Texas, I suppose, will be called Annexation State.

This information, although it appears frivolous, is very useful, as
without it much of the perpetual war of politics in the States cannot be
understood. Yankee in Europe is a sort of byword, denoting repudiation
and all sorts of chicanery; but the Yankee States are more English, more
intellectual, and more enterprising than all the rest put together; and
Pennsylvania should be enrolled among them.

In short, in the north-east you have the cool, calculating, confident,
and persevering Yankee; in the south, the fiery, somewhat aristocratic,
bold, and uncompromising American, full of talent, but with his energies
a little slackened by his proximity to the equator and his habitual use
of slave assistance.

In the central States, all is progressive; a more agricultural
population of mixed races, as energetic as the Yankee, but not
possessing his advantages of a seaboard. The Western States are the
pioneers of civilization, and have a dauntless, less educated, and more
turbulent character, approaching, as you draw towards the setting sun,
very much to the half-horse, half-alligator, and paving the way for the
arts and sciences of Europe with the rifle and the axe.

It is these Western States and the vast labouring population of the
seaboard, who have only their manual labour to maintain them, without
property or without possessions of any kind, that control the
legislature, their numerical strength beating and bearing down mind,
matter, and wealth.

Doubtless it is the bane of the republican institution, as now settled
in North America, that every man, woman, and child, in order to assert
their equality, must meddle with matters far above the comprehension of
a great majority; for, although the people of the United States can, as
George the Third so piously wished for the people of England, read their
bible, whenever they are inclined to do so, yet it is beyond
possibility, as human nature is constituted, that all can be endowed
with the same, or any thing like the same, faculties. Too much learning
makes them mad; and hence the constant danger of disruption, from
opposing interests, which the masses--for the word mob is not applicable
here--must always enforce. The north and the south, the east and the
west, are as dissimilar in habits, in thought, in action, and in
interests, as Young Russia is from Old England, or as republican France
was from the monarchy of Louis the Great.

Hence is it that a Canadian, residing, as it were, on the Neutral
Ground, can so much better appreciate the tone of feeling in America, as
the United States' people love to call their country, than an
Englishman, Scotchman, or Irishman can; for here are visible the very
springs that regulate the machinery, which are covered and hidden by the
vast space of the Atlantic. You can form no idea of the American
character by the merchants, travelling gentry, or diplomatists, who
visit London and the sea-ports. You must have lengthened and daily
opportunities of observing the people of a new country, where a new
principle is working, before you can venture safely to pronounce an
attempt even at judgment.

Monsieur Tocqueville, who is always lauded to the skies for his
philosophic and truly extraordinary view of American policy and
institutions, has perhaps been as impartial as most republican writers
since the days of the enthusiast Volney, on the merits or demerits of
the monarchical and democratic systems; yet his opinions are to be
listened to very cautiously, for the leaven was well mixed in his own
cake before it was matured for consumption by the public.

Weak and prejudiced minds receive the doctrines of a philosopher like
Tocqueville as dictations: he pronounced _ex cathedra_ his doctrines,
and it is heresy to gainsay them. Yet, as an able writer in that
universal book, "The Times," says, reason and history read a different

That democracy is an essential principle, and must sooner or later
prevail amongst all people, is very analogous to the prophecy of Miller,
that the material world is to be rolled up as a garment, and shrivelled
in the fire on the thirteenth day of some month next year, _or_ the year

These fulminations are very semblable to those of the popes--harmless
corruscations--a sort of aurora borealis, erratic and splendid, but very
unreal and very unsearchable as to cause and effect.

There can be, however, very little doubt in the mind of a person whose
intellects have been carefully developed, and who has used them quietly
to reason on apparent conclusions, that the form of government in the
United States has answered a purpose hitherto, and that a wise one; for
the impatience of control which every new-comer from the Old World
naturally feels, when he discovers that he has only escaped the dominion
of long-established custom to fall under the more despotic dominion of
new opinions, prompts him, if he differs, and he always naturally does,
where so many opinions are suddenly brought to light and forced on his
acquiescence, to move out of their sphere. Hence emigration westward is
the result; and hence, for the same reasons, the old seaboard States,
where the force of the laws operates more strongly than in the central
regions, annually pour out to the western forests their masses of
discontented citizens.

The feeling of old Daniel Boone and of Leather Stockings is a very
natural one to a half-educated or a wholly uneducated man, and no doubt
also many quiet and respectable people get harassed and tired of the
caucusing and canvassing for political power, which is incessantly going
on under the modern system of things in America, and take up their
household gods to seek out the land flowing with milk and honey beyond
the wilderness.

No person can imagine the constant turmoil of politics in the Northern
States. The writer already quoted says, that there is "one singular
proof of the general energy and capacity for business, which early
habits of self-dependence have produced;--almost every American
understands politics, takes a lively interest in them (though many
abstain under discouragement or disgust from taking a practical part),
and is familiar, not only with the affairs of his own township or
county, but with those of the State or of the Union; almost every man
reads about a dozen newspapers every day, and will talk to you for
hours, (_tant bien que mal_) if you will listen to him, about the tariff
and the Ashburton treaty."

And he continues by stating that this by no means interferes with his
private affairs; on the contrary, he appears to have time for both, and
can reconcile "the pursuits of a bustling politician and a steady man
of business. Such a union is rarely found in England, and never on, the

But what is the result of such a union of versatile talent? Politics and
dollars absorb all the time which might be used to advantage for the
mental aggrandizement of the nation; and every petty pelting quidnunc
considers himself as able as the President and all his cabinet, and not
only plainly tells them so every hour, but forces them to act as _he_
wills, not as _wisdom_ wills. There is a Senate, it is true, where some
of this popular fervour gets a little cooling occasionally: but,
although there are doubtless many acute minds in power, and many great
men in public situations, yet the majority of the people of intellect
and of wealth in the United States keep aloof whilst this order of
things remains: for, from the penny-postman and the city scavenger to
the very President himself, the qualification for office is popular

Thus, when Mr. Polk thunders from the Capitol, it is most likely not
Mr. Polk's heart that utters such warlike notes of preparation, but Mr.
Polk would never be re-elected, if he did not do as his rulers bid him

It may seem absurd enough, it is nevertheless true, that this political
furor is carried into the most obscure walks of life, and the Americans
themselves tell some good stories about it; while, at the same time,
they constantly din your ears with "the destinies of the Great
Republic," the absolute certainty of universal American dominion over
the New World, and the rapid decay and downfall of the Old, which does
not appear fitted to receive pure Democracy.[5]

[Footnote 5: One of the speakers against time, in a late debate on the
Oregon question, quoted those fine lines, about "The flag that braved a
thousand years the battle and the breeze," and said its glory was
departing before the Stars and Stripes, which were to occupy its place
in the event of war, from this time forth and for ever.]

They tell a good story of a political courtship in the "New York
Mercury," as decidedly one of the best things introduced in a late
political campaign:--

"Inasmuch," says the editor, "as all the States hereabouts have
concluded their labours in the presidential contest, we think we run no
risk of upsetting the constitution, or treading upon the most fastidious
toe in the universe, by affording our readers the same hearty laugh into
which we were betrayed.

"Jonathan walks in, takes a seat and looks at Sukey; Sukey rakes up the
fire, blows out the candle, and don't look at Jonathan. Jonathan hitches
and wriggles about in his chair, and Sukey sits perfectly still. At
length he musters courage and speaks--


"'Wall, Jon-nathan?'

"'I love you like pizan and sweetmeats?'

"'Dew tell.'

"'It's a fact and no mistake--wi--will--now--will you have me--Sew--ky?'

"'Jon--nathan Hig--gins, what am your politics?'

"'I'm for Polk, straight.'

"'Wall, sir, yew can walk straight to hum, cos I won't have nobody that
ain't for Clay! that's a fact.'

"'Three cheers for the Mill Boy of the Slashes!' sung out Jonathan.

"'That's your sort,' says Sukey. 'When shall we be married,

"'Soon's Clay's e--lect--ed.'

"'Ahem, ahem!'

"'What's the matter, Sukey?'

"'Sposing he ain't e--lect--ed?'

"We came away."

Verily, Monsieur De Tocqueville, you are in the right--democracy is an
inherent principle.

But the train is progressing, and we are passing Lundy's Lane, or, as
the Americans call it, "The Battle Ground," where a bloody fight between
Democracy and Monarchy took place some thirty years ago, and where

"The bones, unburied on the naked plain,"

still are picked up by the grubbers after curiosities, and the very
trees have the balls still sticking in them.

Here woman, that ministering angel in the hour of woe, performed a part
in the drama which is worth relating, as the source from which I had the
history is from the person who owed so much to her, and whose gallantry
was so conspicuous.

Colonel Fitzgibbon, then in the 49th regiment, having inadvertently got
into a position where his sword, peeping from under his great coat,
immediately pointed him out as a British officer, was seized by two
American soldiers, who had been drinking in the village public-house,
and would either have been made prisoner or killed had not Mrs. Defield
come to his rescue.

Mr. Fitzgibbon was a tall, powerful, muscular person, and his captors
were a rifleman and an infantry soldier, each armed with the rifle and
musket peculiar to their service. By a sudden effort, he seized the
rifle of one and the musket of the other, and turned their muzzles from
him; and so firm was his grasp, that, although unable to wrest the
weapon from either of them, they could not change the position.

The rifleman, retaining his hold of his rifle with one hand, drew Mr.
Fitzgibbon's sword with the other, and attempted to stab him in the
side. Whilst watching his uplifted arm, with the intent, if possible, of
receiving the thrust in his own arm, Mr. Fitzgibbon perceived the two
hands of a woman suddenly clasp the rifleman's wrist, and carry it
behind his back, when she and her sister wrenched the sword from him,
and ran and hid it in the cellar.

Mrs. Defield was the wife of the keeper of the tavern where this officer
happened to have arrived; an old man, named Johnson, then came forward,
and with his assistance Mr. Fitzgibbon took the two soldiers prisoners,
and carried them to the nearest guard, although at that moment an
American detachment of 150 men was within a hundred yards of the place,
hidden however from view by a few young pine-trees.

I am sure it will please the British reader to learn that the government
granted 400 acres of the best land in the Talbot settlement to Edward
Defield, for his wife's and sister-in-law's heroic conduct.

Yet, such is the influence of example upon unreflecting minds dwelling
on the frontiers of Upper Canada, that although in most instances the
settlers are in possession of farms originally free gifts from the
Crown, yet many of their sons were in arms against that Crown in 1837.
Among these misguided youths was a son of Defield's, who surrendered,
with the brigands commanded by Von Schultz, in the windmill, near
Prescott, in the winter of 1838. He had crossed over from Ogdensburgh,
and was condemned to a traitor's death.

From Colonel Fitzgibbon's statement to the executive, this lad, in
consideration of his mother's heroism, was pardoned. Mrs. Defield is
still living.

The three horses _en licorne_ trot us on, and we pass Lundy's Lane,
Bloody Run, a little streamlet, whose waters were once dyed with gore,
and so back to Niagara, where I shall take the liberty of saying a few
words concerning the Welland Canal.

The Welland Canal, the most important in a commercial point of view of
any on the American continent--until that of Tchuantessegue, in Mexico,
which I was once, in 1825, deputed to survey and cut, is formed, or that
other projected through San Juan de Nicaragua--was originally a mere
job, or, as it was called, a job at both ends and a failure in the
middle, until it passed into the hands of the local government. If there
has been any job since, it has not been made public, and it is now a
most efficient and well conducted work, through which a very great
portion of the western trade finds its way, in despite of that
magnificent vision of De Witt Clinton's, the Erie Canal; and when the
Welland is navigable for the schooners and steamers of the great lakes,
it will absorb the transit trade, as its mouth in Lake Erie is free from
ice several weeks sooner than the harbour of Buffalo.

The old miserable wooden locks and bargeway have been converted into
splendid stone walls and a ship navigation; and, to give some idea of
the rising importance of the Welland Canal, I shall briefly state that
the tolls in 1832 amounted to £2,432, in 1841 had risen to £20,210, and
in 1843 to £25,573 3s. 10-1/4d.: and when the works are fairly finished,
which they nearly are, this will be trebled in the first year; for it
has been carefully calculated that the gross amount which would have
passed of tonnage of large sailing craft only on the lakes, in 1844, was
26,400 tons, out of which only 7,000 had before been able to use the

All the sailing vessels now, with the exception of three or four, can
pass freely; and three large steam propellers were built in 1844, whose
aggregate tonnage amounted to 1,900 tons; they have commenced their
regular trips as freight-vessels, for which they were constructed, and
have been followed by the almost incredible use of Ericson's propeller.

To show the British reader the importance of this work, connecting, as
it does, with the St. Lawrence and Rideau Canals, the Atlantic Ocean,
and Lakes Superior and Michigan, I shall, although contrary to a
determination made to give nothing in this work but the results of
personal inspection or observation, use the scissors and paste for once,
and thus place under view a table of all the articles which are carried
through this main artery of Canada, by which both import and export
trade may be viewed as in a mirror, and this too before the canal is
fairly finished.



  Beef and pork                  barrels,       41,976-1/4
  Flour                            do.         305,208-1/2
  Ashes                            do.           3,412
  Beer and cider                   do.              50
  Salt                             do.         213,212
  Whiskey                          do.             931
  Plaster                          do.           2,068-1/2
  Fruit and nuts                   do.             470
  Butter and lard                  do.           4,639-1/2
  Seeds                            do.           1,429-1/2
  Tallow                           do.           1,182
  Water-lime                       do.           1,662
  Pitch and tar                    do.              75
  Fish                             do.           1,758-1/2
  Oatmeal                          do.             132
  Beeswax                          do.              36
  Empty                            do.           3,044
  Oil                            barrels,           96
  Soap                             do.              13
  Vinegar                          do.              24
  Molasses                         do.               1
  Caledonia water                  do.              10
  Saw logs                         No.          10,411
  Boards                         feet,       7,493,574
  Square timber                  cubic feet,   490,525
  Half flatted do.                 do.          13,922
  Round do.                        do.          20,879
  Staves, pipe                     do.         630,602
    Do.   W. I.                    do.       1,197,916
    Do.  flour barrel              do.         130,500
  Shingles                         do.         330,400
  Rails                            do.          12,318
  Racked hoops                     do.          59,300
  Wheat                          bushels,    2,122,592
  Corn                             do.          73,328
  Barley                           do.             930
  Rye                              do.             142
  Oats                             do.           5,653
  Potatoes                         do.           7,311
  Peas                             do.             138
  Butter and lard                 kegs,          4,669
  Merchandize                     tons,      11,318 16
  Coal                             do.        1,689  7
  Castings                         do.          211  6
  Iron                             do.        1,748 10
  Tobacco                          do.          140  7
  Grindstones                      do.          151 14
  Plaster                          do.        1,491 10
  Hides                            do.          101 15
  Bacon and Hams                   do.          307  0
  Bran and shorts                 tons,        231  11
  Water-lime                       do.         441   7
  Rags                             do.           3   0
  Hemp                             do.         500  11
  Wool                             do.          15   9
  Leather                          do.           9  17
  Cheese                           do.           1   2
  Marble                           do.           1  10
  Stone                           cords,           738-1/2
  Firewood                         do.           3,251
  Tan bark                         do.             957
  Cedar posts                      do.              69
  Hoop timber                      do.              16
  Knees                            do.             184
  Small packages                   No.             459
  Pumps                            do.             102
  Passengers                       do.           3,261-1/2
  Sleighs                          do.               2
  Waggons                          do.             177
  Pails                            do.             136
  Horses                           do.               2
  Ploughs                          do.              25
  Thrashing-machines               do.              18
  Cotton                         bales,             25
  Fruit-trees                   bundles,           268
  Sand                        cubic yards,      10,778
  Schooners                        No.           2,121
  Propellers                       do.             484
  Scows                            do.           1,671
  Boats                            do.               4
  Rafts                            do.             118
  Tonnage                                      327,570
  Amount collected                 £25,573 3s. 10-1/4d.


  The Great Fresh-water Seas of Canada.

A sentimental journey in Canada is not like Sterne's, all about
corking-pins and _remises_, monks and Marias, nor is it likely, in this
utilitarian age, even if Sterne could be revived to write it, to be as
immortal; nevertheless, let us ramble.

The Welland Canal naturally leads one to reflect on the great sources of
power spread before the Canadian nation; for, although it will never,
never be _la nation Canadienne_, yet it will inevitably some day or
other be the Canadian nation, and its limits the Atlantic and the
Pacific Oceans.

President Polk--they say his name is an abbreviation of Pollok--can no
more dive into "the course of time" than that poet could do, and it is
about as vain for him to predict that the American bald eagle shall claw
all the fish on the continent of the New World, as it is to fancy that
the time is never to come when the Canadian races, Norman-Saxon as they
are, shall not assert some claim to the spoils.

Canada is now happier under the dominion of Victoria than she could
possibly be under that of the people of the States, and she knows and
feels it. The natural resources of Canada are enormous, and developing
themselves every day; and it needs neither Lyell, nor the yet unheard-of
geologists of Canada to predict that the day is not far distant when her
iron mines, her lead ores, her copper, and perhaps her silver, will come
into the market.[6]

[Footnote 6: Since I penned this, a company is forming to work valuable
argentiferous copper-mines lately discovered on Lake Superior. The
Americans are actually working rich mines of silver, copper, &c.]

I see, in a paper lying before me, that Colonel Prince, a person who has
already flourished before the public as an enterprising English farming
gentleman, who combines the long robe with the red coat, has, with a
worthy patriotism, obtained a very large grant of lands from the
government to explore the shore of Lake Superior, in order to find
whether the Yankees are to have all the copper to themselves; and that,
in searching a little to the eastward of St. Mary's Rapids, a very
valuable deposit has been discovered, which has stimulated other
adventurers, who have found another mine nearer the outlet of the lake
and still more valuable, the copper of which, lying near the surface,
yields somewhere about seventy-five per cent.[7]

[Footnote 7: A recent number of "The Scientific American," published in
New York, contains the following:--Some of the British officers in
Canada have lately made an important discovery of some of the richest
copper-mines in the world. This discovery has created great excitement.
Some of the officers, _en route_ to England, are now in the city, and
will carry with them some specimens of the ore, and among them one piece
weighing 2,200 lbs. The ore is very rich, yielding, as we learn,
seventy-two per cent. of pure copper. Some of the copper was taken from
the bed of a river, and some broken off from a cliff on the banks. The
latter is six feet long, four broad, and six inches thick.]

We know that rich iron mines exist, and are steadily worked in Lower
Canada; we know that a vast deposit of iron, one of the finest in the
world, has lately been discovered on the Ottawa, a river in the township
of M'Nab; and we know that nothing prevents the Marmora and Madoc iron
from being used but the finishing of the Trent navigation. Lead abounds
on the Sananoqui river, and at Clinton, in the Niagara district; whilst
plumbago, now so useful, is abundant throughout the line, where the
primary and secondary rocks intersect each other. Mr. Logan, employed by
the government, _ex cathedra_, says there is no coal in Canada; but
still it appears that in the Ottawa country it is very possible it may
be found, and that, if it is not, Cape Breton and the Gaspé lands will
furnish it in abundance; and, as Canada may now fairly be said to be all
the North American territory, embraced between the Pacific somewhere
about the Columbia river, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, for a political
union exists between all these provinces, if an acknowledged one does
not, coal will yet be plentiful in Canada.

Canada, thus limited, is now, _de facto_, ay, and _de jure_, British
North America; and a fair field and a fertile one it is, peopled by a
race neither to be frightened nor coaxed out of its birthright.

The advantages of Canada are enormous, much greater, in fact, than they
are usually thought to be at home.

The ports of St. John's and of Halifax, without mentioning fifty others,
are open all the year round to steamers and sea-going vessels; and when
railroads can at all seasons bring their cargoes into Canada proper,
then shall we live six months more than during the present torpidity of
our long winters. John Bull, transported to interior Canada, is very
like a Canadian black bear: he sleeps six months, and growls during the
remaining six for his food.

Then, in summer, there is the St. Lawrence covered with ships of all
nations, the canals carrying their burthens to the far West and the
great mediterraneans of fresh water, opening a country of unknown
resources and extent.

These great seas of Canada have often engaged my thoughts. Tideless,
they flow ever onward, to keep up the level of the vast Atlantic, and in
themselves are oceans. How is it that the moon, that enormous
blister-plaster, does not raise them? Simply because there is some
little error in the very accurate computations which give all the
regulations of tidal waters to lunar influences.

Barlow, one of the mathematical master-spirits of the age, was bold
enough once to doubt this vast power of suction on the part of the ruler
of the night; and there were certain wiseacres who, as in the case of
Galileo, thought it very religiously dangerous indeed, to attempt to
interfere with her privileges.

But, in fact, the phenomenon of the tides is just as easy of explanation
by the motion of the earth as it is by the moon's presumed drinking
propensities, and, as she is a lady, let us hope she has been belied.
The motion of the earth would not affect such narrow bodies of water as
the Canadian lakes, but the moon's power of attraction would, if it
existed to the extent supposed, be under the necessity of doing it,
unless she prefers salt to fresh liquors.

One may venture, now-a-days, to express such a doubt, particularly as
Madam Moon is a Pagan deity.

The great lakes are, however, very extraordinary in their way. Let us
recollect what I have seen and thought of them.

We will commence with Lake Superior, which is 400 miles in length, 100
miles wide, and 900 feet deep, where it has been sounded. It contains
32,000 square miles of water, and it is 628 feet above the level of the

Lake Michigan is 220 miles long, 60 miles wide, and 1,000 deep, as far
as it has been sounded; contains 22,400 square miles, and is 584 feet
above tide-water; but it is, in fact, only a large bay of Lake Huron,
the grand lake, which is 240 miles long, without it averaging 86 miles
in width, also averaging 1,000 feet deep, as far as soundings have been
tried, contains 20,400 square miles, and is also about 584 feet above
the tidal waters.

Off Saginaw Bay, in this lake, leads have been sunk 1,800 feet, or 1,200
feet below the level of the Atlantic, without finding bottom.

Green Bay, an arm of Michigan, is in itself 106 miles long, 20 miles
wide, and contains 2,000 square miles.

Lake St. Clair, 6 feet above Lake Erie, follows Lake Huron; but it is a
mere enlargement of the St. Lawrence, of immense size, however, and
shallow: it is 20 miles long, 14 wide, 20 feet deep, and contains 360
square miles.

Then comes Lake Erie, the Stormy Lake, which is 240 miles long, 40 miles
wide, 408 feet in its deepest part, and contains 9,600 square miles.
Lake Erie is 565 feet above tide-water. Its average depth is 85 feet

Lake Ontario, the Beautiful Lake, is 180 miles long, 45 miles wide, 500
feet average depth, where sounded successfully, but said to be
fathomless in some places, and contains 6,300 square miles. It is 232
feet above the tide of the St. Lawrence.

The Canadian lakes have been computed to contain 1,700 cubic miles of
water, or more than half the fresh water on the globe, covering a space
of about 93,000 square miles. They extend from west to east over nearly
15 degrees and a half of longitude, with a difference of latitude of
about eight and a half degrees, draining a country of not less surface
than 400,000 square miles.

The greatest difference is observable between the waters of all these
lakes, arising from soil, depth, and shores. Ontario is pure and blue,
Erie pure and green, the southern part of Michigan nothing particular.
The northern part of Michigan and all Huron are clear, transparent, and
full of carbonic gas, so that its water sparkles. But the extraordinary
transparency of the waters of all these lakes is very surprising. Those
of Huron transmit the rays of light to a great depth, and consequently,
having no preponderating solid matters in suspension, an equalization of
heat occurs. Dr. Drake ascertained that, at the surface in summer, and
at two hundred feet below it, the temperature of the water was 56°.

One of the most curious things on the shallow parts of Huron is to sail
or row over the submarine or sublacune mountains, and to feel giddy from
fancy, for it is like being in a balloon, so pure and tintless is the
water. It is, like Dolland's best telescopes, achromatic.

The lakes are subject in the latter portion of summer to a phenomenon,
which long puzzled the settlers; their surface near the shores of bays
and inlets are covered by a bright yellow dust, which passed until
lately for sulphur, but is now known to be the farina of the pine
forests. The atmosphere is so impregnated with it at these seasons,
that water-barrels, and vessels holding water in the open air, are
covered with a thick scum of bright yellow powder.

A curious oily substance also pervades the waters in autumn, which
agglutinates the sand blown over it by the winds, and floats it about in
patches. I have never been able to discover the cause of this; perhaps,
it is petroleum, or the sand is magnetic iron. Singular currents and
differently coloured streams also appear, as on the ocean; but, as all
the lakes have a fall, no weed gathers, except in the stagnant bays.

The bottom of Ontario is unquestionably salt, and no wonder that it
should be so, for all the Canadian lakes were once a sea, and the
geological formation of the bed of Ontario is the saliferous rock.

I have often enjoyed on Ontario's shores, where I have usually resided,
the grand spectacle which takes place after intense frost. The early
morning then exhibits columns of white vapour, like millions of Geysers
spouting up to the sky, curling, twisting, shooting upwards, gracefully
forming spirals and pyramids, amid the dark ground of the sombre
heavens, and occasionally giving a peep of little lanes of the dark
waters, all else being shrouded in dense mist.

People at home are very apt to despise lakes, perhaps from the usual
insipidity of lake poetry, and to imagine that they can exhibit nothing
but very placid and tranquil scenery. Lake Erie, the shallowest of the
great Canadian fresh-water seas, very soon convinces a traveller to the
contrary; for it is the most turbulent and the most troublesome sea I
ever embarked upon--a region of vexed waters, to which the Bermoothes of
Shakespeare is a trifle; for that is bad enough, but not half so
treacherous and so thunder-stormy as Erie.

Huron is an ocean, when in its might; its waves and swells rival those
of the Atlantic; and the beautiful Ontario, like many a lovely dame, is
not always in a good temper. I once crossed this lake from Niagara to
Toronto late in November, in the Great Britain, a steamer capable of
holding a thousand men with ease, and during this voyage of thirty-six
miles we often wished ourselves anywhere else: the engine, at least one
of them, got deranged; the sea was running mountains high; the cargo on
deck was washed overboard; gingerbread-work, as the sailors call the
ornamental parts of a vessel, went to smash; and, if the remaining
engine had failed in getting us under the shelter of the windward shore,
it would have been pretty much with us as it was with the poor fellow
who went down into one of the deepest shafts of a Swedish mine.

A curious traveller, one of "the inquisitive class," must needs see how
the miners descended into these awful depths. He was put into a large
bucket, attached to the huge rope, with a guide, and gradually lowered
down. When he had got some hundred fathoms or so, he began to feel
queer, and look down, down, down. Nothing could he see but darkness
visible. He questioned his guide as to how far they were from the
bottom, cautiously and nervously. "Oh," said the Swede, "about a mile."
"A mile!" replied the Cockney: "shall we ever get there?"--"I don't
know," said the guide. "Why, does any accident ever happen?"--"Yes,
often."--"How long ago was the last accident, and what was it?"--"Last
week, one of our women went down, and when she had got just where we are
now, the rope broke."--"Oh, Heaven!" ejaculated the inquisitive
traveller, "what happened to her?" The Swede, who did not speak very
good English, put the palm of his right hand over that of his left,
lifted the upper hand, slapped them together with a clap, and said, most
phlegmatically--"Flat as a pankakka."

I once crossed Ontario, in the same direction as that just mentioned, in
another steamer, when the beautiful Ontario was in a towering passion.
We had a poor fellow in the cabin, who had been a Roman Catholic priest,
but who had changed his form of faith. The whole vessel was in
commotion; it was impossible for the best sea-legs to hold on; so two
or three who were not subject to seasickness got into the cabin, or
saloon, as it is called, and grasped any thing in the way. The long
dinner-table, at which fifty people could sit down, gave a lee-lurch,
and jammed our poor _religioner_, as Southey so affectedly calls
ministers of the word, into a corner, where chairs innumerable were soon
piled over him. He abandoned himself to despair; and long and loud were
his confessions. On the first lull, we extricated him, and put him into
a birth. Every now and then, he would call for the steward, the mate,
the captain, the waiters, all in vain, all were busy. At last his cries
brought down the good-natured captain. He asked if we were in danger.
"Not entirely," was the reply. "What is it does it, captain?"--"Oh,"
said the skipper, gruffly enough, "we are in the trough of the sea, and
something has happened to the engine." "The trough of the _say_?"--my
friend was an Irishman--"the trough of the say? is it that does it,
captain?" But the captain was gone.

During the whole storm and the remainder of the voyage, the poor
ex-priest asked every body that passed his refuge if we were out of the
trough of the say. "I know," said he, "it is the trough of the say does
it." No cooking could be performed, and we should have gone dinnerless
and supperless to bed, if we had not, by force of steam, got into the
mouth of the Niagara river. All became then comparatively tranquil; she
moored, and the old Niagara, for that was her name, became steady and at
rest. Soon the cooks, stewards, and waiters, were at work, and dinner,
tea, and supper, in one meal, gladdened our hearts. The greatest eater,
the greatest drinker, and the most confident of us all, was our old
friend and companion of the voyage, "the Trough of the Say," as he was
ever after called.

Such is tranquil Ontario. I remember a man-of-war, called the Bullfrog,
being once very nearly lost in the voyage I have been describing; and
never a November passes without several schooners being lost or wrecked
upon Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario; whilst the largest American
steamers on Erie sometimes suffer the same fate. Whenever Superior is
much navigated, it will be worse, as the seasons are shorter and more
severe there, and the shores iron-bound and mountainous.

Through the Welland Canal there is now a continuous navigation of those
lakes for 844 miles; and the St. Lawrence Canal being completed, and the
La Chine Locks enlarged at Montreal, there will be a continuous line of
shipping from London to the extremity of Lake Superior, embracing an
inland voyage on fresh water of upwards of two thousand miles. Very
little is required to accomplish an end so desirable.

It has been estimated by the Topographical Board of Washington, that
during 1843 the value of the capital of the United States afloat on the
four lakes was sixty-five millions of dollars, or about sixteen
millions, two hundred thousand pounds sterling; and this did not of
course include the British Canadian capital, an idea of which may be
formed from the confident assertion that the Lakes have a greater
tonnage entering the Canadian ports than that of the whole commerce of
Britain with her North American colonies. This is, however, _un peu
fort_. It is now not at all uncommon to see three-masted vessels on Lake
Ontario; and one alone, in November last, brought to Kingston a freight
of flour which before would have required three of the ordinary
schooners to carry, namely, 1500 barrels.

A vessel is also now at Toronto, which is going to try the experiment of
sailing from that port to the West Indies and back again; and, as she
has been properly constructed to pass the canals, there is no doubt of
her success.

Some idea of the immense exertions made by the government to render the
Welland Canal available may be formed by the size of the locks at Port
Dalhousie, which is the entrance on Lake Ontario. Two of the largest
class, in masonry, and of the best quality, have been constructed: they
are 200 feet long by 45 wide; the lift of the upper lock is 11, and of
the lower, 12, which varies with the level of Lake Ontario, the mitre
sill being 12 feet below its ordinary surface. Steamers of the largest
class can therefore go to the thriving village of St. Catherine's, in
the midst of the granary of Canada.

The La Chine Canal must be enlarged for ship navigation more effectually
than it has been. I subjoin a list of colonial shipping for 1844 from
Simmonds' "Colonial Magazine."

YEAR 1844:--

  Countries.                     Vessels.      Tons.     Crews.

    Malta,                         85         15,326        893

    Bathurst,                      25          1,169        215
    Sierra Leone,                  17          1,148        111
    Cape of Good Hope,
      Cape Town,                   27          3,090        265
      Port Elizabeth,               2            201         10
      Mauritius,                  124         12,079      1,413

    Bombay,                       113         50,767      3,393
    Cochin,                        15          5,674        275
    Tanjore,                       33          5,070        257
    Madras,                        32          5,474        248
    Malacca,                         2           288         13
    Coringa,                        17         3,384        126
    Singapore,                      13         1,543        289
    Calcutta,                      186        5,1779      2,004
    Ceylon,                        674        30,076      2,696
    Prince of Wales Island,          7           996         51

  New Holland--
    Sydney,                         293        28,051      2,128
    Melbourne,                       29         1,240        147
    Adelaide,                        17           864         60
    Hobart Town,                    103         7,153        724
    Launceston,                      42         3,150        257

  New Zealand--
    Auckland,                        13           305         42
    Wellington,                       2           262         32

    Canada, Quebec,                 509        45,361      2,590
     "      Montreal,                60        10,097        556
    Cape Breton, Sydney,            369        15,048      1,296
         "   Arichat,                96         4,614        335
    New Brunswick, Miramichi,        81        10,143        509
    St. Andrews,                    193        18,391        918
    St. John,                       398        63,676      2,480
    Newfoundland, St. John,         847        53,944      4,567
    Nova Scotia, Halifax,         1,657        82,890      5,292
    Liverpool,                       31         2,641        163
    Pictou,                          60         6,929        354
    Yarmouth,                       146        11,724        637

  Prince Edward's Island,          237        13,851        857

  West Indies, Antigua,             85           833        220
    Bahama,                        140         3,252        587
    Barbadoes,                      37         1,640        305
    Berbice,                        18           854         89
    Bermuda,                        54         3,523        323
    Demerara,                       54         2,353        250
    Dominicia,                      14           502         85
    Grenada,                        48           812        198

  Jamaica, Port Antonio              5            95         22
    Antonio Bay,                     2            70         13
    Falmouth,                        5           107         29
    Kingston,                       68         2,659        359
    Montego Bay,                    18           849        105
    Morant Bay,                      9           251         51
    Port Maria,                      3            86         18
    St. Ann's,                       1            20          5
    Savannah la Mar,                 3           153         22
    St. Lucca,                       2            64         10

  Montserrat,                        4           100         19
  Nevis,                            11           178         45
  St. Kitts,                        35           546        114
  S. Lucia,                         19           013[*]     132
  St. Vincent,                      27         1,164        180
  Tobago,                            7           182         46
  Tortola,                          48           277        127
  Trinidad,                         61         1,832        378

                                  -----      -------       ------
  Total,                         7,304       592,839     40,659

[*Transcriber's note: This figure is not correct]

It will be seen, from the foregoing statement, that the tonnage of the
vessels belonging to our colonies is about equal to that of the whole of
the French mercantile marine, which in 1841 consisted of 592,266
tons--1842, 589,517--1843, 599,707.

The tonnage of the three principal ports of Great Britain in 1844 was:--

  London            598,552
  Liverpool         307,852
  Newcastle         259,571
  Total           1,165,975

On Lake Erie, the Canadians have a splendid steamer, the London, Captain
Van Allen, and another still larger is building at Chippewa, which is
partly owned by government, and so constructed as to carry the mail and
to become fitted speedily for warlike purposes.

Lake Ontario swarms with splendid British steam-vessels; but on Lake
Huron there is only at present one, called in the Waterloo, in the
employment of the Canada Company, which runs from Goderich to the new
settlements of Owen's Sound.

Propellers now go all the way to St. Joseph's, at the western extremity
of Lake Huron; and the trade on this lake and on Michigan is becoming
absolutely astonishing. Last year, a return of American and foreign
vessels at Chicago, from the commencement of navigation on the 1st of
April to the 1st of November only, shows that there arrived 151
steamers, 80 propellers, 10 brigs, and 142 schooners, making a total of
1,078 lake-going vessels, and a like number of departures, not including
numerous small craft, engaged in the carrying of wood, staves, ashes,
&c., and yet, such was the glut of wheat, that at the latter date
300,000 bushels remained unshipped.

Upwards of a million of money will be expended by the Canadian
Government in protecting and securing the transit trade of the lakes;
and the Canadians have literally gone ahead of Brother Jonathan, for
they have made a ship-canal round the Falls of Niagara, whilst "the most
enterprising people on the face of the earth," who are so much in
advance of us according to the ideas of some writers, have been,
dreaming about it.--So much for the welfare of the earth being co-equal
with democratic institutions, _à la mode Française_!

The American government up to 1844 had spent only 2,100,000 dollars on
the same objects, or about half a million sterling, according to the
statement of Mr. Whittlesey of Ohio. But that government is actually
stirring in another matter, which is of immense future importance,
although it appears trivial at this moment, and that is the opening up
of Lake Superior, where a new world offers itself.

They have projected a ship-canal round, or rather by the side of the
rapids of St. Marie. The length of this canal is said to be only, in
actual cutting, three-quarters of a mile, and the whole expense
necessary not more than 230,000 dollars, or about £55,000 sterling.

The British government should look in time to this; it owns the other
side of the Sault St. Marie, and the Superior country is so rich in
timber and minerals that it is called the Denmark of America, whilst a
direct access hereafter to the Oregon territory and the Pacific must be
opened through the vast chain of lakes towards the Rocky Mountains by
way of Selkirk Colony, on the Red River.

The lakes of Canada have not engaged that attention at home which they
ought to have had; and there is much interesting information about them
which is a dead letter in England.

Their rise and fall is a subject of great interest. The great sinking of
the levels of late years, which has become so visible and so injurious
to commerce, deserves the most attentive investigation. The American
writers attribute it to various causes, and there are as many theories
about it as there are upon all hidden mysteries. Evaporation and
condensation, woods and glaciers, have all been brought into play.

If the lakes are supplied by their own rivers, and by the drainage
streams of the surrounding forests, and all this is again and again
returned into them from the clouds, whence arises the sudden elevation
or the sudden depression of such enormous bodies of water, which have
no tides?

The Pacific and the Atlantic cannot be the cause; we must seek it
elsewhere. To the westward of Huron, on the borders of Superior, the
land is rocky and elevated; but it attains only enormous altitudes at
such a distance on the rocky Andean chain as to render it improbable
that those mountains exert immediate influences on the lakes. The
Atlantic also is too far distant, and very elevated land intervenes to
intercept the rising vapours. On the north, high lands also exist; and
the snows scarcely account for it, as the whole of North America near
these inland seas is alike covered every year in winter.

The north-east and the south-west winds are the prevalent ones, and a
slight inspection of the maps will suffice to show that those compass
bearings are the lines which the lakes and valleys of Northern America

In 1845, the lakes began suddenly to diminish, and to such a degree was
this continued from June to December, when the hard frosts begin, that,
at the commencement of the latter month, Lake Ontario, at Kingston, was
three feet below its customary level, and consequently, in the country
places, many wells and streams dried up, and there was during the autumn
distress for water both for cattle and man, although the rains were
frequent and very heavy.

Whence, then, do the lakes receive that enormous supply which will
restore them to their usual flow?--or are they permanently diminishing?
I am inclined to believe that the latter is the case, as cultivation and
the clearings of the forest proceed; for I have observed within fifteen
years the total drying up of streamlets by the removal of the forest,
and these streamlets had evidently once been rivulets and even rivers of
some size, as their banks, cut through alluvial soils, plainly

The lakes also exhibit on their borders, particularly Ontario, as Lyell
describes from the information of the late Mr. Roy, who had carefully
investigated the subject, very visible remains of many terraces which
had consecutively been their boundaries.

It is evident to observers who have recorded facts respecting the lakes,
that but a small amount of vapour water is deposited by northeasterly
winds from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the great estuary of that river, of
which the lakes are only enlargements, as the wind from that region
carries the cloud-masses from the lakes themselves direct to the valley
of the Mississippi. For it meets with no obstacle from high lands on the
western littorale, which is low. A north-east gale continues usually
from three to six days, and generally without much rain; but all the
other winds from south to westerly afford a plentiful supply of
moisture. Thus a shift of wind from north-east to north and to
north-west perhaps brings back the vapour of the great valley of the
gulf, reduced in temperature by the chilly air of the north and west. If
then an easterly gale continues for an unusual time, the basin of the
Canadian lakes is robbed of much of its water, which passes to the
rivers of the west, and is lost in the gulf of Mexico, or in the forest
lakes of the wild West.

Perhaps, therefore, whenever a cycle occurs in which north-east winds
prevail during a year or a series of years, the lakes lose their level,
for, their direction being north-east and south-west, such is the usual
current of the air; and therefore either north-east or south-westerly
winds are the usual ones which pass over their surface.

The parts of the great inland navigation which suffer most in these
periodical depressions are the St. Clair River and the shallow parts of
those extensions of the St. Lawrence called Lakes St. Francis and St.
Peter, which in the course of time will cause, and indeed in the latter
already do cause, some trouble and some anxiety.

The north winds, keen and cold, do not deposit much in the valley of the
lakes, whose southern borders are usually too low also to prevent the
passage of rain-bearing clouds.

From that portion of the dividing ridge between the valleys of the St.
Lawrence and Mississippi, only seven miles from Lake Erie, says an
American writer, there is to Fort Wayne, at the head of the Maumee
river, one hundred miles from the same lake, a gradual subsidence of the
land from 700 to less than 200 feet.

From Fort Wayne westward this dividing ridge rises only one hundred and
fifty feet, and then gradually subsides to the neighbourhood of the
south-west of Lake Michigan, where it is but some twenty feet above the
level of that water.

The basin of the Mississippi, including its great tributary streams,
receives therefore a very great portion of the falling vapour, from all
the winds blowing from north to north-east.

The same reasoner agrees with the views which I have expressed
respecting the probability of the supply to raise the level, which must
be the great feeder derived from the south and south-westward invariably
rainy winds, when of long continuance, in the basin of the St.
Lawrence, and generated by the gulf stream in its gyration through the
Mexican Bay, being heaped up from the trade wind which causes the
oceanic current, and forces its heated atmosphere north and north-east,
by the rebound which it takes from the vast Cordilleras of Anahuac and
Panama; thus depositing its cooling showers on the chain of the fresh
water seas of Canada, condensed as they are by the natural air-currents
from the icy regions of the western Andes of Oregon, and the cold
breezes from the still more gelid countries of the north-west.

The American topographical engineers, as well as our own civil engineers
and savans, have accurately measured the heights and levels of the
lakes, which I have already given; but one very curious fact remains to
be noticed, and will prove that it is by no means a visionary idea that,
from the great island of Cuba, which must be an English outpost, if much
further annexation occurs, voyages will be made to bring the produce of
the West Indies and Spanish America into the heart of the United States
and Canada by the Mississippi and the rivers flowing into it, and by the
great lakes; so that a vessel, loading at Cuba, might perform a circuit
inland for many thousand miles, and return to her port _via_ Quebec.

From the Gulf of Mexico to the lowest summits of the ridge separating
the basin of the Mississippi from that of the St. Lawrence or great
lakes, the rise does not exceed six hundred feet, and the graduation of
the land has an average of not more than six inches to a mile in an
almost continuous inclined plane of six thousand miles. The Americans
have not lost sight of this natural assistance to form a communication
between the lakes and the Mississippi.

My attention has been drawn to the subsidence of the waters of the lakes
of Canada by the unusual lowness of Ontario, on the banks of which I
lived last year, and by reading the statement of the American writer
above quoted, as well as by the fact that in the Travels of Carver, one
of the first English navigators on these mediterraneans, who states that
a small ship of forty tons, in sailing from the head of Lake Michigan to
Detroit, was unable to pass over the St. Clair flats for want of water,
and that the usual way of passing them eighty years ago was in small
boats. What a useful thing it would have been, if any scientific
navigators or resident observers had registered the rise and fall of the
lakes in the years since Upper Canada came into our possession! An old
naval officer told me that it was really periodical; and it occurred
usually, that the greatest depression and elevation had intervals of
seven years. Lake Erie is evidently becoming more shallow constantly,
but not to any great or alarming degree; and shoals form, even in the
splendid roadstead of Kingston, within the memory of young inhabitants.
An American revenue vessel, pierced for, I believe, twenty-four guns,
and carrying an enormous Paixhan, grounded in the autumn of last year on
a shoal in that harbour, which was not known to the oldest pilot.

By the bye, talking of this vessel, which is a steamer built of iron,
and fitted with masts and sails, the same as any other sea-going vessel,
can it be requisite, in order to protect a commerce which she cannot
control beyond the line drawn through the centre of the lakes, to have
such a vessel for revenue purposes? or is she not a regular man-of-war,
ready to throw her shells into Kingston, if ever it should be required?
At least, such is the opinion which the good folks of that town
entertained when they saw the beautiful craft enter their harbour.

The worst, however, of these iron boats is that two can play at shelling
and long shots; and gunnery-practice is now brought to such perfection,
that an iron steamer might very possibly soon get the worst of it from a
heavy battery on the level of the sea; for a single accident to the
machinery, protected as it is in that vessel, would, if there was no
wind, put her entirely at the mercy of the gunners. The old wooden
walls, after all, are better adapted to attack a fortress, as they can
stand a good deal of hammering from both shot and shells.

But to revert to matters more germane to the lakes.

Volney, the first expounder of the system of the warm wind of the south
supplying the great lakes, has received ample corroboration of his data
from observation. The fact that the deflection of the great trade-wind
from the west to a northern direction by the Mexican Andes Popocatepetl,
Istaccihuetl, Naucampatepetl, &c., whose snowy summits have a frigid
atmosphere of their own, is proved by daily experience.

Whenever southerly winds prevail--and, in the cycle of the gyration of
atmospherical currents, this is certain, and will be reduced to
calculation--the great lakes are filled to the edge; and whenever
northern and northeasterly winds take their appointed course, then these
mediterraneans sink, and the valley of the Mississippi is filled to

But the most curious facts are, that the different lakes exhibit
different phenomena. The Board of Public Works of Ohio states that, in
1837-38, the quantity of water descending from the atmosphere did not
exceed one-third of that which was the minimum quantity of several
preceding years.

Ontario, from the reports of professional persons, has varied not less
than eight feet, and Erie about five. Huron and Superior being
comparatively unknown, no data are afforded to judge from; but what vast
atmospheric agencies must be at work when such wonderful results in the
smaller lakes have been made evident!

People who live at the Niagara Falls, and I agree with them in
observations extending over a period since 1826, believe that these
Falls have receded considerably; and, although I do not enter into the
mathematical analysis of modern geologists respecting them, as to their
constant retrocession, believing that earthquake split open the present
channel, yet I have no doubt that the level of Lake Erie is considerably
affected by the diminution of the yielding shaly rocks of their
foundation. Earthquake, and not retrocession, appears to me, who have
had the singular advantage, as a European, of very long residence, to
have been the cause of that great chasm which now forms the bed of the
Niagara, from the Table Rock to Queenston, in short, a rending or
separating of the rocks rather than a wearing; and this is corroborated
by the many vestiges of great cataracts which now exist near the Short
Hills, the highest summit of the Niagara frontier, between Lakes Erie
and Ontario, as well as by the great natural ravine of St. David's. But
this is a subject too deep for our present purpose, and so we shall
continue to treat of the Great Lakes in another point of view.

Chemically considered, these lakes possess peculiar properties,
according to their boundaries. Superior is too little known to speak of
with certainty--Huron not much better--but Erie, and particularly
Ontario, have been well investigated. The waters of these are pure, and
impregnated chiefly with aluminous and calcareous matter, giving to the
St. Lawrence river a fresh and admirable element and aliment.

The St. Lawrence is of a fine cerulean hue, but, like its parent waters
of Erie and Ontario, rapidly deposits lime and alumine, so that the
boilers of steam-vessels, and even teakettles, soon become furred and
incrusted. The specific gravity of the St. Lawrence water above Montreal
is about 1·00038, at the temperature of 66°, the air being then 82° of
Fahrenheit. It contains the chlorides, sulphates, and carbonates, whose
bases are lime and magnesia, particularly and largely those of lime,
which accounts for the rapid depositions when the water is heated.

A very accurate analysis gives, at Montreal, in July, atmospheric air in
solution or admixture 446 per cent; for a quart of this water, 57 inches
cubic measure, evaporated to dryness, left 2.87 solid residue.

  Sulphate of magnesia       0·62
  Chloride of calcium        0·38
  Carbonate of magnesia      0·27
  Carbonate of lime          1·29
  Silica                     0·31

The waters of the Ottawa, flowing through an unexplored country, are of
a brown or dark colour. Their specific gravity is only (compared to
distilled water) as 1·0024 at 66°, the temperature of the air in July
being 82°.

The 57 cubic inches of this water gave

  0·99 sulphate of magnesia.
  0·60 chloride of lime.
  1·07 carbonate of magnesia.
  0·17 carbonate of lime.
  0·31 silica.

The difference of the colours of these waters is so great, that a
perfect line of distinction is drawn where they cross each other; and
there can be no doubt that it is caused by the reflection of the rays of
light from the impregnation of different saline quantities.

Thus as, in the old world, the waters of the Shannon are brown, and
Ireland, speaking generally, as Kohl says, is a "brown" country;[8] so,
in Upper Canada, St. Lawrence and the lakes are blue and green; and in
Lower Canada, St. Lawrence and the Ottawa are brown of various shades, a
very slight alteration of the chemical components reflecting rays of
colour as forcibly and perceptibly as, in like manner, a very slight
change of component parts develops sugar and sawdust. Nature, in short,
is very simple in all her operations.

[Footnote 8: Canada is a blue country; for, a very short distance from
the observer, the atmosphere tinges everything blue; and the waters are
chiefly of that colour, the sky intensely so.]

Before we proceed to the lower extremity of these wonderful sheets of
water again, let us just for a moment glance at what is about to be
achieved upon their surfaces, and place the Sault of St. Marie or St.
Mary's Rapids, which separate Superior from Huron, before an
Englishman's eyes. There at present nothing is talked of but copper
mines and silver or argentiferous copper ores.

The Falls of St. Mary are only rapids of no very formidable character,
the exit of Lake Superior into Lake Huron. Fifteen miles from the end of
the Great Lake, as Superior is called, are the American village of St.
Mary and the British one of the same name, on the opposite bank of the
River St. Mary.

The Americans have so far strengthened their position, that there is a
sort of fort, called Fort Brady, with two companies of regulars; and in
and about the village are scattered a thousand people of every possible
colour and origin, a great portion being, of course, half-breeds and
Indians. The American Fur Company has also a post at this place, one of
the very few remaining; for the fur trade in these regions is rapidly
declining by the extirpation of the animals which sustained it.

The American government have projected a ship canal to avoid these
rapids; and, if that is completed, a vast trade will soon grow up.

About a mile above the village is the landing-place from Lake Superior,
at the head of the rapids; there the strait is broad and deep; but,
until steamers are built, sailing vessels suffer the disadvantage of
being moveable out of the harbour by an east wind only, and this wind
does not blow there oftener than once a month. It is probable that a
proper harbour will be constructed at the foot of the lake, fifteen
miles above.

These rapids have derived their French name _Sault_ from their rushing
and leaping motion; but they are very insignificant when compared to the
Longue Sault on the St. Lawrence, as the inhabitants cross them in

I cannot describe them more minutely than Mrs. Jameson has done in her
"Summer Rambles." She crossed them, and must have experienced some
trepidation, for it requires a skilful voyageur to steer the canoe; and
it is surprising with what dexterity the Indian will shoot down them as
swiftly as the water can carry his fragile vessel. The Indians, however,
consider such feats much in the same light as a person fond of boating
would think of pulling a pair of oars, or sculling himself across the
current of a rivulet. I was once subjected to a rather awkward
exemplification of this fact. Being on a hurried journey, and expecting
to be frozen in, as it is called, before I could terminate it; I hired
an Indian and his little canoe, just big enough to hold us both, and
pushed through by-ways in the forest streams and portages. We were
paddling merrily along a pretty fair stream, which ran fast, but
appeared to reach many miles ahead of us; when, all of a sudden, my
guide said, "Sit fast." I perceived that the water was moving much more
rapidly than it had hitherto done, and that the Indian had wedged
himself in the stern, and was steering only with the paddle. We swept
along merrily for a mile, till "The White Horses," as the breakers are
called, began to bob their heads and manes. "Hold fast!" ejaculated the
Red Man. I laid hold of both edges of the canoe, firm as a rock, and in
a moment the horrid sound of bursting, bubbling, rushing waters was in
mine ears; foam and spray shut out every thing; and away we went, down,
down, down, on, on, on, as swift as thought, until, all of a sudden, the
little buoyant piece of birch-bark floated like a swan upon the bosom of
the tranquil waters, a mile beyond the Fall, for such indeed it might
be called, the absolute difference of level having been twelve feet.

When at ease again, I looked at the imperturbable savage and said, "What
made you take the Fall? was not the _détour_ passable?"--"Yes, suppose
it was! Fall better!"--"But is it very dangerous?"--"Yes, suppose,
sometime!"--"Any canoes ever lost there?"--"Yes, sometime; one two, tree
days ago, there!" pointing to a large rock in the middle of the
narrowest part above our heads.--"Did you come down there?"--"Yes,
suppose, did!"

Then, thought I to myself, I shall not trust my body to your guidance in
future without knowing something of the route beforehand; but I
afterwards got accustomed to these taciturn sons of the forest.

The Falls of St. Marie are celebrated as a fishing place; and the white
fish caught there are reckoned superior to those taken in any other part
of Lake Huron. The fishery is picturesque enough, and is carried on in
canoes, manned usually by two Indians or half-breeds, who paddle up the
rapids as far as practicable. The one in the bow has a scoop-net, which
he dips, as soon as one of these glittering fish is observed, and lands
him into the canoe. Incredible numbers of them are taken in this simple
manner; but it requires the canoemanship and the eye of an Indian.

The French still show their national characteristics in this remote
place. They first settled here before the year 1721, as Charlevoix
states; and, in 1762, Henry, a trader on Lake Huron, found them
established in a stockaded fort, under an officer of the French army.
The Jesuits visited Lake Superior as early as 1600; and in 1634 they had
a rude chapel, the first log hut built so far from civilization, in this
wilderness. At present, the population are French, Upper Canadians,
English, Scotch, Yankees, Indians, half-breeds.

The climate is healthy, very cold in winter, with a short but very warm
summer, and always a pure air. Here the Aurora Borealis is seen in its
utmost glory. In summer there is scarcely any night; for the twilight
lasts until eleven o'clock, and the tokens of the returning sun are
visible two hours afterwards.

The extremes of civilized and savage life meet at St. Mary's; for here
live the educated European or American, and the pure heathen Red Man;
here steamboats and the birch canoe float side by side; and here
all-powerful Commerce is already recommencing a deadly rivalry between
the Briton and the American, not for furs and peltry, as in days gone
by, but for copper and for metals; and here a new world is about to be
opened, and that too very speedily.

Here are Indian agents and missionaries, with schools, both the English
and the United States' government considering the entrance to the Red
Man's country, whose gates are so narrow and still closed up, to be of
very great importance, both in a commercial and a political point of
view; but it is notorious that, after the French Canadians, the Red Man
prefers his Great Mother beyond the Great Lake and her subjects to the
President and the people, who are rather too near neighbours to be
pleasant, and who have somewhat unceremoniously considered the natives
of the soil as so many obstacles to their aggrandizement.

I shall end this sketch of the lakes, by a few observations upon the
magnetic phenomena regarding them, and respecting the variation of the

Fort Erie, near the eastern termination of Lake Erie, and close to the
Niagara river, presents the line of no variation; whilst at the town of
Niagara, on the south-west end of Lake Ontario, not more than thirty-six
miles from Fort Erie, the variation in 1832 was 1° 20' east.

The line of no variation is marked distinctly on the best maps of
Canada, by the division line between the townships of Stamford and
Niagara, seven miles north of Niagara.

At Toronto in 43° 39' north latitude, and 78° 4' west longitude,
twenty-four miles north-east of Niagara, the variation in 1832 was more
than 2° easterly.

The shore of Lake Huron at Nottawassaga Bay, forty miles north-west of
Toronto, is again the line of no variation.

Thus a magnetic meridian lies between Fort Erie and Nottawassaga.

A magnetic observatory is established by the Board of Ordnance at
Toronto, near the University, and placed in charge of two young officers
of artillery, which says a good deal for the scientific acquirements of
that corps. I shall perhaps hereafter advert to this subject more at
large, as the volcanic rocks have much to do with the needle in Canada


Frederick Shoberl, Junior, Printer to His Royal Highness Prince Albert.

51, Rupert Street, Haymarket, London.

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