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Title: Canadian Scenery, Volume II (of 2)
Author: Willis, Nathaniel Parker
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Montreal, from the Mountain._]

                            CANADIAN SCENERY


                    FROM DRAWINGS BY W. H. BARTLETT.

                       THE LITERARY DEPARTMENT BY

                           N. P. WILLIS, ESQ.


                 *        *        *        *        *
                                VOL. II.
                 *        *        *        *        *

                 VIRTUE & CO., CITY ROAD AND IVY LANE.



                        LIST OF THE ENGRAVINGS.

                 *        *        *        *        *

                                VOL. II.

                 *        *        *        *        *

        THE OWLS HEAD.
        INDIAN TOWN.
        SPLIT ROCK.
        LILY LAKE.
        CAPE SPLIT.

                           CANADIAN SCENERY.

                 *        *        *        *        *

                                CHAP. I.


The rural districts of Trois Rivières, so far as they lie northward of
the St. Lawrence, form a continuation of the same kind of territory as
that below, and are in general flatter, and capable of more uniform
cultivation. To the westward, especially in ascending the river, it
presents a succession of flourishing settlements and gay villages,
occurring every eight or nine miles. These extend, particularly along
the Lake of St. Peter, a wide expansion of the St. Lawrence, about
twenty-five miles long, and from five to ten broad, but its depth in
many places does not exceed twelve feet. Hence the intricate channels,
through which alone large vessels can be navigated, must be marked by
poles or other beacons. The shores are extremely flat, but numerous
verdant islands enliven the western extremity, which also mark the
boundary of the provinces. Near the eastern frontier, the Batiscan, with
a village of the same name at its mouth, falls into the great river.

The district of Montreal, if not the most extensive in Lower Canada, is,
at least, that which contains the greatest portion of valuable land.
Commencing at the western boundary of Trois Rivières, it extends along
the St. Lawrence, but in that direction terminates where Upper Canada
begins, not far above the capital. It shoots, however, a long branch of
the Ottawa, embracing all the northern bank of that river, till it is
bounded along with the Lower Province, by Lake Temiscaming. This
district, on the north of the St. Lawrence, comprehends the counties of
Montreal, Berthier, Lachenaye, L’Assomption, Terrebonne, Two Mountains,
Vaudreuil, and Ottawa, containing a population of 147,649. Another
portion, nearly equally valuable, lies on the south side, and will be
afterwards described.

Montreal, the chief town in this district, though not ranking as a
capital, is equal to Quebec in magnitude, and superior in commercial
importance. Its greatness is likely to increase, from its favourable
situation, and the growing prosperity of Upper Canada, of which, as
being the highest point of the St. Lawrence to which vessels of the
first class can ascend, it always continues the emporium.

The site of this town does not present those bold and grand features
which distinguish the Canadian metropolis, though its beauty can
scarcely be surpassed. The river, in this finest part of its course,
divides itself into two channels, inclosing an island thirty-two miles
long and ten and a half broad, which forms one of the most favoured
spots on earth. The soil, everywhere luxuriant, is cultivated like one
great garden, to supply the inhabitants with vegetables and fruit. These
last are of the finest quality, and the apples especially are said to
display that superiority which so remarkably distinguishes them in the
New World. Although the island possesses in general that level surface
that fits it for a thorough cultivation, yet about a mile and a half
north-east rises a hill, 550 feet high, commanding a noble view over the
fertile country, which is watered by the several branches and
tributaries of the St. Lawrence. Its face is covered with agreeable
villas, and its wooded heights form a frequent resort to pleasure
parties from the city; but the intention now understood to be
entertained of erecting fortifications on its summit, will, if put into
execution, banish in a great measure its rural character.

The city, built on the southern border of this fine island, is not
crowded like Quebec into a limited space, which can alone be covered
with streets and habitations. It has a wide level surface to extend
over, so that even the older streets are of tolerable breadth, and
several of them occupy its entire length. The principal one, Rue Notre
Dame, considerably exceeds half a mile in extent, and contains many of
the chief public buildings. There is an upper and lower town, though the
difference of elevation is very slight; but the former is much the more
handsome of the two. The seven suburbs are not, as in the older capital,
detached and extraneous, but on the same level, and immediately
adjacent. Their streets, continued in the direction of those in the body
of the place, are regular, and display many handsome houses. The
vicinity is adorned with beautiful villas.

[Illustration: _The Cathedral, Montreal._]

Of the public edifices, the new catholic cathedral, completed in 1829,
is undoubtedly the most splendid, and is, in fact, superior to any other
in British America. Its style is a species of Gothic; it is 255 feet 6
inches in length, and 134 feet 6 inches in breadth. The flanks rise 61
feet above the terrace, and there are six towers, of which the three
belonging to the main front are 220 feet high. It is faced with
excellent stone, and roofed with tin. The principal window is 64 feet in
height, and 32 broad. On the roof has been formed a promenade, 76 feet
by 20, elevated 120 feet, and commanding a most delightful view. The
interior contains 1244 pews, equal to the accommodation of at least
10,000 persons. There are five public and three private entrances to the
first floor, and four to the galleries, so disposed that this vast
congregation can easily assemble and disperse in a few minutes. The
building comprises seven chapels, all visible from the front entrance,
and nine spacious aisles. The high altar bears a resemblance to that at
St. Peter’s at Rome, the pulpit to that of the cathedral at Strasburg.
The large window is painted, but not in good style; it is intended that
it shall be filled hereafter with stained glass. The other catholic
edifices belong mostly to the order of St. Sulpice, by whose members, as
formerly mentioned, Montreal was chiefly founded, and who hold the
superiority of the whole island upon which it stands. Their seminary,
which is a large and commodious building adjoining the cathedral,
occupies three sides of a square, 132 feet long by 90 deep, and is
surrounded by spacious gardens. To extend its benefits, the order have
lately, at an expense of 10,000_l._, erected a handsome additional
building, 210 feet by 45. In these establishments, the numerous
students, attending all the branches of learning and philosophy, are
taught at very moderate charges. There are two large nunneries; the
principal one, called the Congregation of Notre Dame, contains a
superior and sixty sisters, who receive boarders at a low rate, and send
teachers to different parts of the district. The _Sœurs Gris_ (Grey
Sisters) consist of a superior and twenty-four nuns, who admit into
their spacious apartments the infirm poor, and are said to treat them
with great humanity. The Hôtel Dieu is a large conventual structure,
occupied by a superior and thirty-six nuns, and is also appropriated to
the reception of the sick and indigent. Its utility is limited by the
smallness of its funds, notwithstanding occasional grants from the
legislature. The Monastery of the Recollets, which occupies extensive
grounds at the end of Notre Dame-street, is now demolished, though its
church is still used for public worship.

[Illustration: _Interior of the Cathedral, Montreal._]

The English establishments, both for religion and education, are also
very respectable. The Episcopal church in the street just named, is a
very handsome specimen of modern architecture, and is surmounted by a
lofty spire. The Scotch church is plain, but attended by a highly
respectable congregation. In 1814, a most important donation was made by
a wealthy individual—the Hon. James M^{c}Gill—to found a college for
the principal branches of education. The endowments consist of a
valuable estate at the Mountain, with 10,000_l._ in money. It has not,
however, yet come into operation, in consequence of a law-suit, which
did not terminate till 1835, when the available funds in the hands of
the institution amounted to 22,000_l._ It is to be conducted on the most
liberal system,—individuals of every religious persuasion being
admitted as students, and even as teachers. There is a Natural History
Society and a Mechanics’ Institution, whose labours have been
meritorious. The private establishments for education are also
respectable. The limited means of the Hôtel Dieu are amply compensated
by the more ample income of the Montreal General Hospital, which was
built in 1821-2 by voluntary subscription, at an expense of nearly
6000_l._ It is said to be one of the best regulated institutions of the
kind in America.

The harbour of Montreal does not seem to have received all the attention
which its importance merits. It is somewhat confined, and has no
wharfage, though close to the bank, in front of the town, is a depth of
fifteen feet, sufficient for the largest vessels which ascend to this
point. Its chief disadvantage consists in two shoals, and in the Rapid
of St. Mary’s, about a mile below, which vessels often find it difficult
to stem. Important improvements are now contemplated, and a grant for
the purpose has been even voted by the legislature. The communication
with the opposite sides of the river is carried on by means of ten
ferries, on several of which ply a number of steam-vessels. A wooden
bridge was once constructed from Repentigny, on the northern shore, but
in the spring after its completion it was carried down by the masses of
ice. It is still thought that one of larger span might be constructed
free from that danger.

In considering the rural districts of Montreal, so far as they extend
northward of the St. Lawrence, we shall begin with the tract reaching
down to the province of Trois Rivières. It presents an aspect similar to
that of the whole coast from Quebec, but still more level, and also more
fertile and populous. It forms one uninterrupted succession of
flourishing settlements with villages, on a larger scale than in the
lower districts. Berthier, with 850 inhabitants, on a branch of the St.
Lawrence, called the North Channel, is a great thoroughfare, being
midway between Trois Rivières and Montreal, and supplying a variety of
goods to the neighbouring seigniories. St. Eustache, on the channel
called Jesus, or St. Jean, which seems to be a joint branch of the St.
Lawrence and Ottawa, commands the route to the territories on the latter
river; and, before the recent insurrection, had a considerable traffic,
and a population of fully a thousand. The Isle Jesus, separated from the
main land by this channel, extends parallel to that of Montreal for the
space of twenty-one miles, and is six at its greatest breadth. It is
throughout level, fertile, and highly cultivated; the original forest
being almost entirely extirpated, except for ornament and fuel. In this
quarter, on the small lake of the Two Mountains, are a couple of
villages belonging to the Algonquins and Iroquois, containing altogether
about two hundred houses.

[Illustration: _Timber Slide at “Les Chats.”_
 (Upper Canada.)]

The portion of Montreal district on the St. Lawrence extends to Pointe
au Baudet, fifty-five miles above the capital, where it meets the
boundary of Upper Canada. This tract, between the St. Lawrence and the
Ottawa, forms the county of Vaudreuil; it is level, diversified only by
a few gentle hills, and is also very fruitful. Vaudreuil and Rigaud are
only villages; the chief importance being attached to the places which
lie on the river. La Chine is about eight miles above Montreal, where
the navigation is interrupted by the fall of St. Louis, to obviate
which, the fine canal, bearing its name, has been erected, at an expense
of 137,000_l._ This village, which originally received its appellation
from the chimerical idea that it would afford a route to China, stills
forms an important point in the navigation both of the St. Lawrence and
the Ottawa, near whose junction it is situated. About twelve miles
farther up, at the village of Pointe des Cascades, commences a series of
formidable cataracts, which, with little interruption, extend about nine
miles. There is nowhere any high fall; but the stream, filled with
hidden rocks and covered with breakers, dashes like the waves of a
tempestuous ocean. Yet the rafts, the Durham boats, and bateaux
constructed for the purpose, can, under skilful guidance, be safely
piloted through these dangerous rapids. The crews, however, are often
obliged to unload the most bulky part of their cargo, and have it
conveyed by land. Steam navigation, which ceases at one end of this
obstruction, is resumed at the other; and the village of the Cedars,
situated opposite to the rapids of the same name, is the chief depot for
the land-passage. It commands a magnificent view of the foaming billows,
and of the barks which steer through them their perilous course.

The Ottawa province, extending about 350 miles along the northern bank
of that great river, forms, as it were, a very extensive wing, detached
from the district and from Lower Canada, while the upper province
extends opposite to it along the southern bank. Thus the boundary
between these two territories, which at first runs due north, as soon as
it strikes the Ottawa stretches first north-west, and then almost due
west. This extensive tract is as yet by no means occupied or improved in
proportion to its natural capabilities. The numerous obstacles to the
navigation, though now in part removed, have doubtless greatly retarded
its settlement.

[Illustration: _The Lac des Allumettes._]

The upper part of the river beyond the falls and Portage des Allumettes,
is used by the fur-traders, who have a post also in Lake Temiscaming,
more than 350 miles above the junction of the Ottawa with the St.
Lawrence; but this tract has never been surveyed, nor even accurately
described. Up to the Portage, it is regularly frequented by the
lumberers, who find valuable supplies of pine and oak, which they
contrive to float down in rafts, through all obstructions. At the
Allumettes the stream separates into two channels, enclosing an island
fifteen miles long, and forming three small lakes, called the
Allumettes, the Mud, and the Musk Rat. On the latter is one solitary
farm, said to be in a prosperous condition. Eight miles below the
junction of these channels is Fort Coulange, where the Hudson’s Bay
Company have a post, near which is one well-cultivated settlement. Four
or five miles down, another division of the stream forms an island of
about twenty miles long; but the two channels are much impeded by falls
and rapids. The northern, which is the more practicable, has four
portages within a few miles of the port of junction, and there is
another five miles below it. The falls are not above eight or ten feet
high, but they are much broken by masses of rock, and have a very wild

[Illustration: _Junction of the Ottawa and St. Lawrence._
 (near Cedars.)]

For ten miles downwards the stream is beautifully diversified by wooded
islands, through which it rushes with various degrees of violence. The
banks, great part of the way, consist of white marble, somewhat soft and
coarse; but farther inland, it is believed, a superior description would
be found. At the end of this tract, Bisset’s _chantier_, a solitary
log-house, with a few cleared acres, relieves the eye after the monotony
of these vast solitudes; it affords also a welcome asylum to the fur and
timber traders. Soon after, the view opens upon the magnificent expanse
of the Lake des Chats, about fifteen miles long, studded with
richly-wooded islets. On the south are one or two scattered mansions,
and particularly Kinnell Lodge, the residence of the Highland chieftain,
M^{c}Nab. The northern side appears uninhabited; yet at a little
distance from the beach is the settlement of Clarendon, formed in 1829,
and in 1831 containing 257 inhabitants. The township of Bristol, in
1828, presented only a few poor hovels and 31 settlers, which number
had, in 1831, increased to 96, and in 1836 to not less than 445. At
length the lake suddenly contracts, and the rapids of the Chats, for
three miles, dash in violent eddies, amid a labyrinth of islands. They
terminate in the Falls des Chats, fifteen or sixteen in number,
extending in a curved line across the river, and divided by wooded
islands; but only from sixteen to twenty feet high. The northern coast,
having a rocky and uneven surface, forms the township of Onslow, which
in 1836 had 150 settlers.

[Illustration: _Portage des Chats._]

[Illustration: _Falls of the Ottawa at Les Chats._]

About six miles below this point commences Lake Chaudière, an expanse
eighteen miles long, and, like the former, terminating in rapids,
succeeded by falls. These last, called the Great and Little Chaudière
(Kettle), are on a larger scale, 60 feet high and 212 broad. The
descending torrent, striking on a great circular rock, is thrown up in
clouds of spray, which conceal the bottom of the fall, and often rise in
revolving columns high above its summit. A great portion of the water
being unaccounted for, is believed to escape through subterraneous
channels. Immediately below, where the stream still rolls in rapid
eddies, a bridge has been thrown across. The difficulties of the
undertaking were overcome by dividing the structure into four parts,
consisting of different materials. The broadest span is stretched by
means of a hempen fabric, composed of three-inch cables, forming an
inverted segment of a circle, the lowest point of which is only seven
feet above the torrent. But at no time can it be passed without a
feeling of peril.

[Illustration: _A Shanty on Lake Chaudière._

[Illustration: _The Owls Head._
 (Lake Memphremagog.)]

The township of Onslow is followed by that of Eardley, extending along
Lake Chaudière, and having much excellent land, which is very
imperfectly occupied by 200 persons. Below is Hull, the most flourishing
of all the upper settlements on the Ottawa. Its front towards the river
is level or gently undulating; but it rises behind into hills, some 900
feet high, yet finely wooded, or affording good pasturage. It is watered
by the large river Gatineau, and contains valuable mines of iron and
quarries of marble. This township was surveyed by Philemon Wright, an
American loyalist, who in 1806 obtained a grant of 12,000 acres of it
for himself and his associates. Having, by his pecuniary advances,
secured the exclusive property of the greater portion, as well as of
large tracts in neighbouring townships, he has become a most extensive
landowner. By great exertions he has rendered it extremely flourishing,
and has led the way in all the measures now taking for the improvement
of this fine district. The town of Wright, situated immediately opposite
to the great Rideau Canal, must rapidly grow in importance. Its
population is already considerable, and it contains a neat church and
comfortable hotel. The Chaudière Falls and the bridge immediately adjoin

[Illustration: _Bridge at Bytown, Upper Canada._]

[Illustration: _The Rideau Canal, Bytown._]

[Illustration: _Locks on the Rideau Canal._
 (near Bytown)]

From this point to Grenville, sixty miles distant, the Ottawa affords an
uninterrupted navigation for steam vessels. The township of Hull is
succeeded by those of Templeton, Buckingham, and Lochaber. Large tracts
were here granted to different proprietors, who unfortunately have not
taken due pains to increase their value; and the space for new settlers
has been further narrowed by the crown and clergy reserves. Steps,
however, are taking to induce the owners either to improve or renounce
their possessions, and to arrange the preserves on such a principle,
that they may not interrupt the continuity of settlement. The population
of all three, which in 1828 little exceeded 300, has since been greatly
augmented. Buckingham, in 1831, contained 570; Lochaber, 236; Templeton,
in 1836, supposed 390. La Petite Nation, a seigniory early formed, but
as yet only partially settled, acquired a considerable accession of
Irish emigrants, through the exertions of M. Papineau, the seignior, who
erected extensive saw-mills on its eastern border. It has now 826

[Illustration: _The Ottawa River at Bytown._]

The township of Grenville, which next follows, may be considered as
commencing the densely-peopled portion of Lower Canada. This is not
owing to its fertility, which is much impeded by the interruption of
hilly ground, connected with the lofty range which traverses the
interior. A branch from this gives rise to the rugged cataract named the
Long Sault, which can be passed only by the most skilful _voyageurs_;
and obstructions continue to occur as far as Point Fortune, where the
river, opening into the Lake of the Two Mountains, becomes united with
the St. Lawrence. To remedy this evil, a fine canal, called the
Grenville, which will be more fully described afterwards, has been
formed. Numerous individuals employed on this work have settled and
taken farms in the township, which by these means had acquired, in 1836,
a population estimated at 1450. Below is Chatham, which, through
exertions commenced in 1806 by Colonel Robertson, Dr. Fraser, and
others, has become one of the most flourishing settlements. Though
traversed by some naked hills, it has extensive level tracts, and the
public road is every where bordered by thriving farms and handsome
dwelling-houses, built of brick. The population in 1831 was 2604.
Chatham Gore, a rising township, has already 473, all Irish protestants.
Here the Ottawa country terminates, Chatham being bounded by Argenteuil,
the first of that range of old French settlements which extend along the
river as far as Quebec.

[Illustration: _Mill on the Rideau River, near Bytown._]

                               CHAP. II.

                     QUEBEC AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The district of Quebec occupies the whole coast watered by the gulf and
river of St. Lawrence, from the eastern limit of the colony to the mouth
of the river St. Anne, about thirty miles below Trois Rivières; and
thence, in a direct line, to the northern boundary. The greater part of
this extensive section belongs to the uncultivated portion of the
country, and presents a chaos of mountains, lakes, and torrents,
tenanted only by wild beasts and a few wandering Indians. At Cape
Tourment, however, it begins to give place to a tract of a much more
pleasing character; and though still traversed by rugged eminences, it
contains much fertile land, which is described as being at once romantic
and beautiful. On the northern side of the St. Lawrence it is divided
into the counties of Quebec, Montmorency, Orleans, and Port Neuf, and
comprised, in 1831, a population of 56,615.

[Illustration: _Church at Point Levi._]

In the midst of this fine landscape stands Quebec, the capital of
British America, it is seated on a promontory stretching out into the
river, which, by means of it and Point Levi on the opposite side, is
narrowed to about three quarters of a mile, though immediately below it
spreads out into a wide basin. Cape Diamond, the most elevated point of
the city, is reckoned by an eminent traveller 1000 feet high; a proof of
the fallacious nature of such estimates, since the more accurate
observations of Bouchette fixes it at 345. Above a hundred feet lower is
an elevated plain, on which are built the castle and the whole of what
is termed the upper town. Thence a perpendicular steep of above 200 feet
descends to the banks of the St. Lawrence; and in the narrow interval
between this precipice and the river is the lower town, the crowded seat
of business and shipping.

The scenery of Quebec and the surrounding country is described by all
travellers as rivaling in picturesque beauty the most favoured parts of
the earth. The navigator who ascends the St. Lawrence, after he has
passed the Isle of Orleans, and entered the broad basin already
mentioned, where he first comes in sight of this capital, is struck with
intense admiration. He sees its citadel crowning a lofty cliff, its
castle and batteries overhanging a range of formidable steeps, the river
crowded with numerous vessels of every form and size, from the huge
timber-raft to the bark canoe. The fall of Montmorency appears dashing
its white foam almost to the clouds, and on each side is a long range of
fertile and beautiful shore. On ascending Cape Diamond, a still grander
and more extensive panorama bursts upon his view, combining all the
boldness of rude with the richness of cultivated nature. Up and down the
magnificent stream of the St. Lawrence is a reach of more than forty
miles, on which sails almost innumerable are in ceaseless movement.
Below is the beautiful Isle of Orleans, while the opposite coast is
diversified by a great variety of natural and cultivated scenery. To the
north appears the river St. Charles, winding amid fertile valleys and
hills, with villages hanging on their sides, while the prospect is
closed by a bold screen of mountains. Mr. Weld prefers the views from
the upper town, where, though fewer objects are seen, they appear more
distinct and brilliant. This traveller, after visiting a great part of
Europe and America, gives to them a preference over every thing he had
observed on either continent. Mr. M^{c}Gregor considers them similar,
but much superior, to those from the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling.

[Illustration: _The Citadel of Quebec._]

Quebec, from its situation and the care with which it has been
fortified, is a very strong town, and considered the chief bulwark of
British America. On the summit of the lofty headland just described
stands the citadel. The rock consists of gray granite mixed with quartz
crystals, and a species of dark-coloured slate. About forty acres are
here covered with works, carried to the edge of the precipice, and
connected by massive walls and batteries with the other defences of the
place. The main body of the fortress, however, consists of the upper
town, whose fortifications enclose a circuit of about two miles and
three quarters. The face of the hill towards the river is so
precipitous, that it requires only a common wall to protect it, though
the gate leading from the lower town is defended by heavy cannon, and
the steep approach by Mountain-street is enfiladed and flanked by many
guns of large calibre. As the declivity towards the interior and the
Plains of Abraham does not present the same abrupt face, but descends by
successive ridges, it has been strengthened by a series of regular
works, including ditch, covered way, and glacis, with some exterior
defences to obstruct the approach of an enemy. It seems probable,
therefore, that the place would hold out against any attack, till the
approach of the rigorous winter should compel the assailants to raise
the siege.

The upper town, which these fortifications enclose, forms the chief part
of Quebec, and the residence of all the principal inhabitants not
engaged in trade. It is a tolerably handsome old-looking town; the
houses being mostly of stone, partly roofed with tin. The streets are
well paved, and in some instances macadamized, but they are much too
narrow, as the broadest does not exceed thirty-two feet. St.
Louis-street, the almost exclusive residence of the fashionable circle,
has been lately adorned with several elegant mansions. The public
buildings are commodious and substantial, without much pretension to
architectural ornament. The Castle of St. Louis, a large, plain
baronial-looking edifice, forms the dwelling of the Governor. It
comprises a space of four acres, once fortified; but the great extension
of the works has rendered its walls superfluous, and they are allowed to
go to decay. The apartments are large and commodious, and the veranda
commands a magnificent vista up the river. Adjoining is a spacious
structure, once occupied by government offices, now chiefly employed for
public entertainments. The enclosure contains two excellent and
well-cultivated gardens.

Of religious edifices the chief is the Roman Catholic cathedral, being
216 feet long by 180 in breadth, and capable of containing a
congregation of 4000. The interior has a lofty and solemn aspect, but
the outside is heavy and not in very good taste. There are several other
Catholic churches. The English cathedral, though smaller, being only 136
feet long by 75 broad, and in a simple style, is considered extremely
neat. The Scotch church is much inferior. The monastic establishments
are spacious. The Hôtel-Dieu, founded in 1637 by the Duchess
d’Aiguillon, includes a convent, church and courtyard, besides cemetery
and gardens. The range of buildings is extensive, but without any
ornament; and its chief use is as an hospital, in which respect it
affords the greatest benefit to the colony. A prioress and thirty-two
nuns are continually employed in ministering to the sick, with a great
degree of attention and skill: hence Government have been induced to
make occasional grants in addition to the considerable revenues attached
to the establishment. The Ursuline Convent is a neat building, in the
heart of the city, surrounded by fine gardens. It was founded, in 1639,
by Madame de la Peltrie, chiefly for the purposes of education. The
inmates, forty-six in number, observe a somewhat rigid seclusion, but
they instruct, in reading, writing, and needlework, a certain number of
girls, comprehending even Protestants. They are very assiduous in
embroidery and other ornamental works, especially for ecclesiastical
vestments; and the fruits of their industry are often sold at high
prices, which are thrown into the common stock. The spacious monastery
of the Jesuits, 224 feet by 200, surrounded by noble gardens, was
forfeited on the suppression of that order, and at the conquest was
regarded as crown property. It was then converted into a place of
exercise for the troops, and, to the regret of many, its fine trees were
cut down, but the legislature of the province have lately petitioned for
its being restored to its original purpose of education. The large
edifice, called the Seminary, with an extensive domain attached to it,
was founded, in 1663, by M. de Petré, with a view to the instruction of
the Catholic clergy. It is now open to all students of that persuasion,
who are initiated in the different branches of knowledge upon paying the
trifling sum of five shillings annually to defray incidental expenses.
Pupils, indeed, may be boarded as well as taught for 12_l._ 10_s._ a

The buildings employed for public purposes are ample and commodious,
though mostly reared for different objects. The bishop’s palace formed
an extremely elegant residence, with a chapel and many conveniences;
but, in return for an annuity, it was relinquished, and now accommodates
the two branches of the legislature. About the year 1803, a very
handsome house was erected by a joint stock company, in the best
situation the town afforded, with the view of being employed as an
hotel. This plan, however, being abandoned, it was sold to the chief
justice, and is now leased at 500_l._ a year by government, who give it
up to the use of their chief civil departments. It contains also the
museum of the Literary and Historical Society, founded in 1824, and
which, in 1829, was united to that for the promotion of arts and
sciences. The collection is said to be valuable, in regard to mineralogy
and botany. There is a Library also, though only in its infancy. The
artillery barracks form a long range of building, somewhat roughly
constructed, but substantial and convenient. The Armoury contains
equipments for 20,000 men, and, being extremely well arranged, excites
the admiration of strangers.

[Illustration: _The Market Place, Quebec._]

The market is held in an open space, 250 feet long, with a breadth in
some places of about 165. A large building with stalls has been reared
in the centre, though the chief business is still transacted on the open
ground. It is held every day, but Saturday is the busiest. The crowds of
carters, with their wives and families, bringing in the productions of
the surrounding country, their brawlings and vociferations in bad French
and broken English, form a scene of noise and confusion, amid which
appear a few Indian squaws, and the gentlemen of the city and garrison
going round to make purchases. Every kind of provision is abundant and
cheap, except fish, which is less plentiful than might be expected from
the situation. Among public places may also be mentioned the Grand
Parade in front of the castle, surrounded by the most distinguished
edifices; and also the Esplanade, a large level space along the interior
wall, which is the chief theatre for military exercises.

The lower town is a narrow crowded range of buildings, extending along
the base of the precipice. The spot on which it stands is entirely the
creation of human industry; for, originally, the waves at high water
beat the very foot of the rock. Wharfs, however, have been founded, and
carried out into the river, though nowhere farther than 240 yards, and
on these streets have been erected. So limited, indeed, is the space,
that the quarter beyond Cape Diamond communicates with the rest only by
a path cut in many places through the solid rock. This part of Quebec is
compared to the most irregular and confused districts of Edinburgh. It
is connected with the upper town by what is called Mountain-street,
which formerly was not passable for carriages without extreme
difficulty, but has of late been much improved. The Breakneck-stairs, as
they are denominated, are more commodious for foot passengers. Besides
extensive wharfs, the lower town contains the Quebec bank, which, in
addition to apartments for its appropriate purpose, has others for a
fire assurance company, and a subscription library, the most extensive
and valuable in Canada. The government warehouses are all spacious, and
the custom-house having been found inconvenient, the foundation-stone of
a new one was laid in 1831. Amid wharfs lately formed on the flat beach
of the St. Charles, has been erected the exchange building, an elegant
structure, containing a spacious reading room, and several others
devoted to commercial purposes. Projects are in contemplation for
erecting a pier, which would also serve as a bridge across the estuary;
an improvement, which, while it would afford ample space for the
extension of the lower town, would enable the largest vessels and rafts
to lie in security, instead of resorting, as at present, to caves in the

On the inland side of the fortress, stretching more than a mile into the
interior, are the large suburbs of St. Roche and St. Johns. They are
built regularly, but chiefly of wood, and with accommodations suited
only to the lower ranks; though of late, indeed, they have been adorned
with many stone houses of a superior class. There is also a smaller
suburb, named St. Louis.

[Illustration: _Timber Depot near Quebec._]

Quebec maintains a constant communication with Point Levi on the
opposite shore, whence it derives a great part of its provisions. A
steam ferry-boat plies every half hour, making the trip in about ten or
fifteen minutes. The navigation also being very properly left free, the
river is constantly covered with numerous canoes, generally hollowed out
from the trunks of trees. The boatmen brave the most tempestuous
weather; and, though often driven several leagues out of their course,
are scarcely ever wrecked. Even in winter, when they must encounter
blocks of ice, with which the channel is encumbered, they contrive with
ropes and iron-pointed poles to raise their vessels upon the surface of
the masses, and drag them along till they find open water on which to
launch it. When this channel is frozen entirely over, the communication
becomes still more easy. A line is marked with beacons placed by the
Grand Voyer, over which hay, firewood, with other bulky articles, are
transported abundantly and at reduced prices. This advantage occurs only
occasionally; but every year the channel between the Isle of Orleans and
the northern coast is frozen over, when the produce of that fertile
spot, reserved for the occasion, finds a ready conveyance. Formerly,
milk and vegetables were brought in a frozen state from distant
quarters, but now these commodities are procured in abundance from the

The society of Quebec is more gay and polished than is usual in colonial
cities, where the pursuit of wealth forms too often the sole object of
the inhabitants. Here, besides merchants, there are a number of British
civil and military officers, and a body of French noblesse, living on
their domains. These different classes do not, it is said, always
thoroughly amalgamate. The French, though often superior in manners and
habits, are in some degree disdained by the ruling people, which they do
not well brook. Among the English themselves, the chief test of rank is
an introduction at the castle, without which strangers will find
themselves placed below those whom they would have been classed above in
the mother country. The hotels are good, and, after the fashion of the
United States, the inmates commonly dine at a table d’hôte, which often
affords to the visitor the opportunity of meeting with interesting
characters. He can, however, if he wishes, have private apartments.

The cultivated country northward of Quebec does not extend far, being
closely hemmed in by the range of mountains, and settlement being
obstructed through the very imperfect titles by which alone the land can
be conveyed. Immediately westward, in front of the fortification, are
the Plains of Abraham, memorable as the scene whereon Quebec was gained
by the gallant Wolfe, and whence only it can be successfully assailed.
The summit, indeed, is 330 feet high, which does all but command the
loftiest pinnacle on which Fort Diamond stands. As some security against
this danger, four martello towers have been so placed as to range over
the whole plain. Immediately to the north, a road leads along the
heights to the village of St. Foix, and to the beautifully secluded
dingle of Sillery, about four leagues in length and one in breadth,
formerly the seat of a missionary settlement, which we shall have
occasion again to mention. In the same direction from the suburb of St.
Roch is the Huron village of Lorette, near the banks of the river St.
Charles, which in this neighbourhood forms a beautiful cascade. Onward
still, twelve miles from Quebec, is the lake of the same name, about
four miles long and one broad. It is divided into two parts by
projecting ledges, and the upper one especially is finely diversified by
rocks, woods, bays, hills, and lofty mountains in the distance.

Crossing the St. Charles, and going eastward through the agreeable
village of Beauport, we reach the Falls of Montmorency, one of the most
picturesque objects in all America. They do not, indeed, pour down that
immense flood of water which renders Niagara so wonderful; but the
height is greater, being 240 feet, and the stream descends the whole of
this vast steep in one white sheet of foam. It is received into a vast
basin, whence arise clouds of vapour that display the most brilliant
tints of the rainbow. M. Bouchette imagines that even Switzerland,
though it contains much loftier falls, has none which descend in so
unbroken a mass. He overlooks, we think, the Staubbach, whose stream,
however, is less copious than that of Montmorency. In winter, when the
falling waters congeal into icicles, these accumulate above each other,
till they, on some occasions, swell to an amazing magnitude, and present
a most curious spectacle. About fifty years ago General Haldimand, then
governor of Canada, built a house close to the fall, and commanding a
most advantageous view of it. This was afterwards occupied by the Duke
of Kent, and is now the residence of Mr. Paterson, who has erected upon
the river an extensive range of saw-mills.

                               CHAP. III.

                           EASTERN TOWNSHIPS.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The county of Sherbrooke embraces the greater part of the district of
St. Francis, immediately south of Trois Rivières, to which it is often
considered as attached. Being quite beyond the range of the Seigniories,
it has been divided into twenty-nine townships, which include much
valuable land. It presents in general a broken and varied surface,
sometimes rising into mountains clothed with fine timber, is well
watered, yet not so encumbered with swamps as the more western
districts. The only part hitherto settled is that adjoining to Stanstead
in Montreal; but the British American Land Company expect soon to
diffuse culture over the whole. Orford, indeed, the first on this side,
is so mountainous as to be almost unfit for improvement, and contains
only 320 inhabitants. But the west, Ascot, with 1,800, Compton to the
south, with 2,020, and Eaton to the east, with 1,500, are in general
very fine, with an undulating surface, and commodiously watered by
streams well adapted for mills. The first contains Sherbrooke, the
county town, where the commerce of the neighbouring settlements chiefly
centres. It contains about 350 inhabitants, with three places of worship
and a woollen manufactory; and the Land Company have lately made it the
centre of their operations. They have undertaken a new road to Port St.
Francis, whereby the distance will be reduced to seventy miles, and have
likewise established a stage conveyance between the two places, by which
the journey is performed in one day. They have also improved the roads
to Quebec and Montreal, from each of which it is about 100 miles
distant. In Eaton and Compton are rising villages bearing the same
names. South from Eaton, Clifton and Newport, though hilly, contain much
good land; yet in 1831 their united population was only 188.

[Illustration: _Mills at Sherbrooke, on the River Magog._]

[Illustration: _Bridge at Sherbrooke._
 (Eastern Townships.)]

The north-western part of the county includes Melbourne, with 1,280
settlers, and Shipton, on the Nicolet, with 1,900. The two are
considered the finest of all the St. Francis townships, and their
population is rapidly increasing. Shipton contains Richmond, a village
of some consequence, and another is rapidly rising in Melbourne. Windsor
and Stoke are represented as possessing almost equal advantages; yet
they have drawn little attention, the former containing only 220
settlers, the latter scarcely any. Brompton, west from these, though
uneven and rocky, has some good tracts, which have drawn 350
inhabitants; while Dudswell, east of Windsor, which has also a
variegated surface, can boast of 342.

The whole south-eastern part of this large county, containing the
townships of Garthby, Strafford, Whitton, Adstock, Marston, Chesham,
Emberton, Hampden, and Bury, with certain portions of Weedon, Singwick,
Ditton, Auckland, and Hereford, composes the great block purchased by
the Land Company. It had not been previously surveyed, and was occupied
only by detached individuals, who had availed themselves of its
neglected situation to squat upon it. Its surface is very varied. The
central part, according to a recent report, appears too mountainous to
invite settlement; but from this height it slopes down in various
directions to the St. Francis, to its tributary the Salmon, and to Lake
Megantie. These lower declivities are richly wooded, and well fitted for
a mixed system of corn and pasture farming. The Salmon river, which
traverses in a northerly direction nearly the whole district, has
beautiful and fertile banks, one part of which, about ten miles long,
from its luxuriant verdure is called “The Meadows.” This river, as well
as numerous little streams which flow into it, is rapid and broken by
falls, unfit for navigation, but convenient for mills. Here the Company
have determined to begin their settlement; and about half a mile from
the principal fall they have founded a village, named Victoria. During
the summer of 1836 several hundred labourers were employed by them in
forming a road between it and Sherbrooke.

[Illustration: _Pass of Bolton, Eastern Townships._]

[Illustration: _Scene on the River St. Francis near Sherbrooke._
 (Eastern Townships.)]

The tracts on this side of the river belonging to the district of
Quebec, embrace a great extent of coast; but the settlements do not
extend far into the interior. The possession of a portion, too,
amounting to 6,400,000 acres, is still under discussion with the United
States. This division consists of the counties of Beance, Belle-chasse,
Dorchester, Kamouraska, L’Islet, Lotbinière, Megantie, and Rimouski,
which contain a population of 87,700. The aspect of the territory, as
compared with the western, is decidedly bold and hilly, though not
mountainous, as on the opposite shore. The land generally stretches in
irregular ridges, which, at from ten to twenty miles inland, swell into
a broad table land, that slopes down to the river St. John. Between
these ridges, however, intervene valleys, and even extensive plains,
many of which, from the encouragement afforded by the markets of the
capital, have been brought into very tolerable cultivation. The
territory is watered by numerous rivers, full and rapid, though, from
being closely hemmed in by high land on the south, they have not so long
a course as those farther west. The principal are the Chaudière, Du Sud,
St. Anne, Ouelle, Green River, Rimouski, Great Mitis, and Matane. In
ascending the St. Lawrence, the views along the valleys marked out by
these streams and the heights by which they are bounded, are singularly
grand and picturesque.

[Illustration: _Orford Mountain._
 (Eastern Townships.)]

The tract watered by the Chaudière, the largest of these rivers, and
comprising the county of Beance, is hilly and broken, the soil light,
and in some places stony, yet on the whole fertile, and the vicinity of
the capital has led to its careful cultivation. It derives very great
advantages also from the Kennebeck road, leading from Quebec to Boston,
and completed in 1830, by which its agricultural produce is conveyed to
a good market, and large supplies of live stock transported. The fall on
the Chaudière forms one of the most picturesque objects in America. If
it does not equal the grandeur of Niagara and Montmorency, it possesses
features more interesting than either. The river is here narrowed to the
breadth of between 300 and 400 feet, and the height does not exceed 130.
It descends, too, not in one continuous sheet, but is broken by
projecting rocks into three channels, which, however, unite before
reaching the basin below. Nothing, therefore, is on the same great scale
as in its two rivals; yet it surpasses both in the magnificent forests
by which it is overhung, whose dark foliage, varied and contrasted by
the white foam of the cataracts, produces the most striking effects.
These are heightened by the deep and hollow sound of the waters, and the
clouds of spray, which, when illumined by the sun, exhibit the most
brilliant variety of prismatic colours. A succession of rapids for some
space upwards displays a continuation of the same bold and beautiful

[Illustration: _Lake Memphremagog._
 (near Georgeville.)]

[Illustration: _Outlet of Lake Memphremagog._]

                               CHAP. IV.

                       SUGGESTIONS ON EMIGRATION.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The Edinburgh Cabinet Library, in a most valuable paper on emigration,
makes the following remarks and statements, which, being drawn up after
evidently most careful observation and research, are better worthy than
anything we could write, of being recorded in a chapter on this subject.
“Britain can conveniently spare every season not less than 50,000 or
60,000 of her inhabitants, retaining a sufficient number for every
useful purpose, and with much advantage to those who remain behind. The
adventurers, too, will form on the other side of the Atlantic a great
and flourishing people, imbued with the laws, letters, manners, and all
the acquirements which have raised their native country high among
nations. A portion even of our superfluous capital, which sometimes
seeks employment in distant and even chimerical objects, might be very
advantageously invested in the culture and improvement of those valuable

“Admitting, however, the national benefits of emigration, it remains a
very important question, what are the individuals or classes to whom it
affords advantages sufficient to compensate for leaving their native
land; and what course they ought to follow in order to realize these
benefits. This is a point on which the reader may reasonably expect us
to throw some additional light; and we can in truth assert, that we have
considered it as anxiously as if all our own prospects had been involved
in its solution. To arrive at any fixed conclusion, however, has been by
no means easy. The materials are ample, but they are furnished by
individuals usually more or less prepossessed on one side, and in many
instances incapable of expressing their ideas with precision, or even of
forming any distinct or decided opinion on so perplexed a subject. We
have endeavoured, however, by carefully collating opposite statements,
by fixing upon ascertained facts and points in which all parties agree,
to draw up for the intending emigrant a reasonable view of what he may
expect to meet with in the settlements beyond the Atlantic.

“The individuals who usually migrate into that new region may be divided
into two classes,—those belonging to the labouring order, and those who
seek to support themselves in the middling rank of society. The former
go in the view of obtaining each a spot which he can cultivate with his
own hands, subsisting chiefly on its produce: the latter hope, by the
application of skill and capital, and by engaging the aid of others, to
carry on operations on a larger scale, and to draw from their property a
portion of the conveniences and even elegancies of life. The former
comprise the more extensive, and indeed the more important branch of the
subject; but as the latter will lead us to view it under a greater
variety of lights, we shall most conveniently direct our first attention
to it.

“No one, who has made any observation on the present state of this
country, can have failed to observe the extreme difficulty which the
middling classes find to support their place in society, and
particularly to enable their sons to succeed them in stations of
well-remunerated employment. The reduced scale of the army and navy, and
the rigid economy now introduced into all the departments of the
government, have withdrawn many former sources of income. Manufactures
and trade, even when prosperous, can be carried on with advantage only
on a large scale, with low profits upon an extensive capital. Hence
there remain only the learned professions, with the officers and clerks
employed by banks, insurance companies, and similar establishments; and
in these pursuits, the increase of population and the number thrown out
from other occupations cause an eager competition. This is increased by
the general diffusion of information among the inferior classes, many of
whom, by merit and address, compete successfully for these higher
appointments,—a state of things which may be, on the whole,
advantageous, as securing for national purposes a greater degree of
talent; but it obviously increases the pressure on the middling ranks
already severely felt.

[Illustration: _A Settler’s hut on the frontier._]

“Among the numerous young men, however, thus languishing for want of
employment, there are probably not a few who possess or could command a
small capital of from 500_l._ to 1000_l._ and who have the degree of
judgment and industry requisite to superintend the labours of
agriculture. It becomes then an interesting question, whether Canada
affords the means of attaining that independence, and earning those
conveniences, which their native country denies to them. On this
subject, and every thing connected with it, a great variety of opinions
prevails; but on comparing all together, we shall state grounds for
concluding that, with a due degree of skill and perseverance, the
emigrant in this rank will find the means, not indeed of rising to
wealth, but of placing himself in a comfortable and independent

“The cultivator in Canada stands in very different circumstances from
either the proprietor or farmer in Britain. He obtains an estate in full
and perpetual property for a smaller sum than the annual rent which he
would here be obliged to give for it. After paying this price, however,
he must expend at least three times as much in clearing and bringing it
into a state of cultivation. Even then it will not yield him rent; it
will be merely a farm for him to cultivate, with the very important
advantage indeed of its being wholly his own, and no landlord to pay.
The taxes also are extremely light, when compared to those which press
on the English farmer. But in return for these benefits, he must give to
his servants considerably higher wages, and will even have no small
trouble in procuring them on any terms. What is worse, he obtains for
his produce much lower prices, and even these with difficulty, because
the supply of grain and provisions in a region so wholly agricultural
must more and more exceed the demand within the country itself. These
commodities, indeed, will always find a market among the dense
population of Britain, to which they are now admitted on payment of easy
duties; and in point of fact, the price must be finally ruled by what
they will sell for here. After paying the expense of transportation
across the Atlantic, added to that of conveying them from the place of
production to the ports of Montreal or Quebec, there is little prospect
that the finest wheat of Upper Canada will permanently bring in this
country more than 50_s._ per quarter. Deducting the duty,
5_s._—freight, _10s._—carriage from even a favourable situation in the
interior, 8_s._—we have only 27_s._; or about 3_s._ 4_d._ per bushel
left to the cultivator.

“Under these circumstances, it has become a prevailing opinion, and
maintained by many as an indisputable maxim, that a Canadian proprietor
cannot cultivate with advantage by means of hired servants, but must
himself perform the full task of a common labourer. Those only are
represented in the way of well-doing who have constantly in their hands
the axe or the plough, whose ladies are seen milking the cows, churning,
and performing the humblest menial offices. We must frankly say that, if
such be the necessary lot of a settler in Canada, we cannot but concur
with Captain Hall in thinking it unfit for the class now in
consideration. Can it be supposed that a young man, accustomed to
refined society, should renounce friends and country, and remove to a
remote land, not to improve his condition, but to reduce himself to the
level of a common labourer? How can he expect a fair partner, accustomed
perhaps to value somewhat too highly the immunities of a refined
society, to share with him so hard and humble a lot? We most readily
admit that the labouring classes have within their reach the best
blessings of life, and are often happier than those called their
superiors. Still the desire of exemption from bodily toil, and of
enjoying a portion of the conveniences and elegancies of life, is
natural, and has a salutary effect in stimulating to activity and
invention. The lively author of the “Backwoods,” a zealous advocate of
the working system, admits the hardship of a young gentleman, employed
to “chop down trees, to pile brush-heaps, split rails for fences,
dressed in a coarse over-garment of hempen cloth called a logging shirt,
and a Yankee straw hat flapped over his eyes.” We cannot help thinking
that this ingenious lady is somewhat too severe on those of her own sex
who, without her internal resources and powers of reflection, could not
accommodate themselves to the hard and dreary life consequent upon this
system. In short, we may observe, that if land in Canada will pay
nothing but the mere manual labour put upon it, it is fitted only for
the peasant settler, and can never afford an income for a person of
better rank. This opinion seems confirmed by the judgment of the learned
lady herself, when, after an experiment of three years, she concludes,
that for a gentleman a small income is almost indispensable,—a good one
desirable; this last a case not very likely to occur.

“Notwithstanding these weighty authorities, we do not hesitate to
assert, that in farming on such a scale as will remunerate a person in
the middling rank, his devoting himself to constant bodily labour is not
only unnecessary, but decidedly injurious. It is admitted, we suppose,
that, in our country, upon an extent of 150 to 200 acres, the tasks of
planning, arranging, inspecting, and finding a proper market for the
produce, afford very full occupation to a single individual. But in a
Canadian farm, all these occupations are much more arduous and
difficult. The business cannot be reduced into the same fixed routine; a
greater variety of produce, both in grain and live stock, must be
reared; servants, less steady, and oftener changed, require much
stricter superintendance; markets are not found without more difficulty,
and at a greater distance. To perform all these functions carefully and
well, on a property of this extent, must, we apprehend, keep the owner’s
hands very full. To attempt to combine with them the daily task of a
common labourer, seems to ensure their being executed in an imperfect
and slovenly manner, and consequently the whole concern greatly
mismanaged. The newly-arrived emigrant is indeed told that the other is
the approved mode, and that if he wishes to thrive in the country he
must follow its customs. The fundamental principles of rural economy,
however, cannot be changed by the interposition of the Atlantic. The
original settlers in Upper Canada were mostly of the less opulent class,
who could cultivate their lots only by the labour of their own hands. A
few of them, who, by extraordinary exertion, have risen to some degree
of wealth, retain still probably their primitive habits and maxims, and
represent their success as connected with the hard personal labours
which they then underwent. These are held forth as the models to be
followed by the young cultivator. But a general rule cannot be founded
on a few cases where peculiar activity and energy were displayed. With
an average allotment of these qualities, such as we are generally
entitled to expect, the union of the intellectual and directing with the
manual and operative department, can rarely succeed. We are convinced
that a person of competent judgment, devoting himself wholly to the
former, would raise on the same ground a considerably larger produce
than one who, exhausted by daily toil, should follow only in a rough way
the mechanical routine observed among his neighbours. He would thus
create a surplus applicable to his own profits; and we are convinced
that it is only by the exertions of such a class that any improvement
can be expected in the system of Canadian culture, which is admitted on
all hands to be at present exceedingly defective.

[Illustration: _Davis’ Clearing._
 (Eastern Township.)]

“In estimating, however, the plans and views of such a settler, several
circumstances must be taken into consideration, and, in particular, the
situation of his property. The Canadian districts are classed under two
heads. The first, called _The Bush_, comprehends those situated in the
depth of the forest, where towns and markets are distant, and reached
only by roads which are almost impassable. To compensate the obvious
disadvantages of this locality, settlers obtain a greater chance of good
land at a considerably lower rate; a party of neighbours or friends can
cluster together; and they have every prospect that sooner or later the
communications will be much improved, that villages will spring up in
their vicinity, and their estates be thereby raised in value. These
considerations may justly weigh with certain classes of emigrants, but
for those now under consideration they are far overbalanced by the
disadvantages. In such a position, there is much greater difficulty in
procuring hired labour, while its price must be higher, because the
workmen are not only fewer, but more generally aim at having land of
their own. Hence the expense of clearing ground in the several districts
has been stated as differing to the extent of 2_l._ an acre; and while
the cost of raising the produce has thus been augmented, its price or
money value is greatly diminished. Cash indeed is scarcely ever seen in
the remoter parts. It may at first view seem singular that there should
be abundance of commodities worth money, and yet not able to procure it;
but we may observe, that gold and silver will purchase any thing in
every quarter of the world, while the products of a landed estate are of
value only on the spot: the merchant, therefore, may give goods produced
in the same vicinity, but he cannot give money. Connected with this want
is the impossibility of procuring many of the elegancies and luxuries of
life, portions of which have, by the middling classes, come to be viewed
in the light of necessaries. Mr. Pickering mentions that tea, when sold
at Buffalo, cost 4_s._, at Port Talbot, 6_s._ per lb. Salt at the former
place was 9_s._, at the latter, 1_l._ 2_s._ 6_d._ a barrel. The settler
may have plenty of food and homespun cloth, but almost every other
commodity will be beyond his reach. These observations are not indeed to
be understood in their utmost rigour, for in every district a certain
amount of money, or at least of foreign articles, may be obtained in
exchange for the surplus produce. The merchant, however, in fixing the
value, makes a large deduction on account of the long and difficult
conveyance; besides, as he carries on trade on a small scale and without
competition, he exacts high profits, and has the farmer a good deal at
his mercy. Commercial transactions in all the country districts of
America are usually carried on by an individual named a storekeeper, who
keeps an assortment of all the commodities likely to be wanted, and
receives in return the produce of the cultivator. This mode of
proceeding still farther supersedes the necessity of employing cash as a
medium of exchange.

“Compared to the various disadvantages now stated, the gentleman
settler, who must take with him a certain amount of capital, ought not
to regard even a considerable difference in the price of the land,
because, as already observed, it forms the smallest part of the outlay
requisite for bringing it into a productive state. With regard to the
contingent expectation of a future rise in value, this can only take
place upon the low original price, and therefore can never be of any
very great amount. Besides, along with the general advance of the
country, the settled districts, and those in the vicinity of towns, will
acquire also an additional value. At all events, a rise in the land is
of little importance to him, if it ceases to be his,—an issue to which
a long course of heavy expenses and scanty produce is very likely to

“We have thought it the more necessary to dwell upon these
considerations, as they seem to have escaped a large proportion of the
opulent settlers recently attracted towards Canada. Under the influence
of vague and speculative hopes, they have made it their ambition to
plunge into the extreme west and the heart of the bush, and seem to have
imagined that the farther they placed themselves beyond every vestige of
culture and civilisation, the greater advantages did they secure. A
letter in 1834 states that almost all the emigrants of capital were
hastening to the London District, a territory perhaps the most decidedly
woodland of any in Canada. Settlers in these wilds encounter peculiar
and extreme hardships, being deprived of every accommodation to which
they had been accustomed; sometimes even in want of common necessaries,
and in danger of starvation. At different times, pork, flour, or tea are
wanting, when the weather cuts off all communication with the shore; and
the ox-waggon, in travelling thence with supplies, is often so shaken
that the contents are strangely mingled. Rice, sugar, currants, mustard,
are jumbled together; and the next pudding perhaps proves to be seasoned
with pepper, and even rappee. However, while their money lasts, they can
make their way, and clear a certain portion of land, which yields in
plenty the rude necessaries of life.

[Illustration: _View from the house of R. Shirreff, Esq._
 (Ottawa River.)]

But they have no means to recruit their exhausted purse, or secure any
supply of the comforts and elegancies to which they had been accustomed.
If, in anticipation of prosperity, they have incurred any extent of
pecuniary obligation, their situation becomes extremely embarrassing,
and may issue in the entire loss of their property.

“Important, however, as a marketable situation appears, it ought by no
means to be procured by any great sacrifice as to the quality of the
land; for, as Mr. Talbot justly states, it is vain for a cultivator to
be near a market, if he has little or nothing to carry to it. It has
been already mentioned, that after paying the original price, a much
larger sum, nearly equal in every case, must be expended in bringing the
land under cultivation. Thus there is little difference between the cost
of good and bad soil, while the former only, under existing
disadvantages, ever can remunerate the settler. It is a grievous thing,
as Mr. Shirreff observes, to incur heavy labour and expense in clearing
a spot, and then find it worth little. The settler, therefore, who
brings with him a certain amount of capital, practises a most wretched
economy when he hesitates to pay such an original price as will secure
both a good situation and good land. If a small sacrifice must be made,
it should rather be on the former. A larger produce will pay for a small
addition on the cost of transport, and time may remedy the one evil, but
will never make a bad sale good. Some sacrifice of this kind may often
be necessary; since, as Mr. Fergusson remarks, on the immediate banks of
lakes and rivers it is not unfrequently light and sandy, whence arises
the necessity of going somewhat into the interior in order to find the
more valuable description.

“In consequence of the views now stated, it becomes a highly important
question what are the market or _cash_ districts (as they are sometimes
called), in contradistinction to those in the _bush_. In regard to
Canada, the topographical details already given must throw important
lights on the subject; and to these some general observations shall now
be added. The shipping ports of Montreal or Quebec form the central
points, by proximity to which the advantages of all sites in either
province are to be estimated; and next to this is a location on
navigable waters having a ready communication with them. The banks of
the St. Lawrence between these two cities are occupied to a considerable
depth inland by the French seigniories. Land, however, in the vicinity
of Montreal may still be procured, having the advantages of a ready
market; but from this very circumstance it cannot be purchased under a
price varying from 10_l._ to 20_l._ an acre, a rate beyond the reach of
most emigrants. It may be rented indeed at 10_s._ or 12_s._ and Mr.
Shirreff is of opinion that farming may there be carried on with
advantage; but in a country where land may be obtained in full property
at so cheap a rate, the British settler is not likely to be content with
this dependent tenure. His object, therefore, must be sought somewhat
farther in the interior.

“The parts of the Eastern and Johnstown districts along the bank of the
St. Lawrence enjoy perhaps the best situation as regards proximity to
market of any in Upper Canada; and their advantage in this respect will
be further improved on the completion of the canal now in progress for
overcoming the obstructions in the navigation of that river. This tract,
however, labours under the very serious drawback of being decidedly
inferior in soil and climate to the more western territories. The former
deficiency, it is true, will appear from our topographical survey to be
by no means universal, the idea having been in some measure suggested by
the rugged aspect of the immediate banks. Matilda and other districts
appear to contain a considerable extent of fine land yet-unoccupied. The
climate operates chiefly to prevent the raising of wheat so fine as to
bear the cost of transportation to Europe; but this is of less moment
since live stock had begun to be considered the more profitable branch.
On the whole, therefore, we incline to think that settlers of capital,
in their eagerness to push westward and into the bush, have bestowed too
little attention on this portion of territory.

“The banks of the Ottawa on both sides as far up as Hull, and including
those of its tributary the Rideau, appear to possess similar advantages.
Some demand for produce is also made by the lumberers who pass to and
from the upper tracts on this river. The soil and climate seem to call
for nearly the same observations as have been made on the two preceding

[Illustration: _Timber Slide and Bridge on the Ottawa._]

“The shores of Lake Ontario, including a space varying from ten to
twenty miles inland, afford good scope for a settler of moderate
capital. This territory, though not uniformly fertile, contains a large
extent of excellent soil with a comparatively mild climate; and as the
rigorous season is shorter, winter wheat even of fine quality may be
produced. Toronto and Kingston, now considerable towns, present a ready
market, through the medium too of respectable merchants, who are known
to deal on liberal terms. The river Trent and the Rice Lake might
perhaps be viewed as enlarging the sphere of eligible settlement
somewhat beyond the limits now stated; but we could scarcely recommend
to a gentleman to go far beyond Peterborough. The vicinity of the city
first mentioned, and the goodness of the road called Gouge-street, may
indeed carry the range a little farther in that direction, though we
doubt whether it would be advisable to go to the remoter shores of Lake
Simcoe. Gore district, where it passes Burlington Bay, must, we suspect,
be considered as mere bush.

“Beyond Ontario, the shores of Lake Erie, even since the completion of
the Welland Canal, cannot be recommended without some hesitation. The
distance from Montreal becomes great, and as the goods could scarcely be
conveyed without transhipment, the tolls of three canals must be paid.
At all events, it is only the lands closely adjoining this great lake
that appear to afford a profitable site for the more opulent settlers;
for the interior of the London District, including even the banks of the
Thames, must still, we suspect, be classed with the bush-territory. Mr.
Shirreff found that wheat bore a very low price there, and that it was
moreover difficult to be procured. The shores of Lake Huron must also be
included under the same description.

[Illustration: _Lake Massawhippy._
 (Eastern Townships.)]

“It ought, however, to be observed that these limits may be considerably
modified by the great works mentioned in the commercial chapter as being
contemplated for extending the communications of Upper Canada. These,
unfortunately, are now at a stand for want of means; but if the plans of
Lord Durham be carried into effect, we may hope to see them all
accomplished on an augmented scale.

“It will be proper to consider under this view the eastern townships of
Upper Canada. Their situation is peculiar, owing to the banks of the St.
Lawrence and of the Richelieu being occupied by the French seigniories,
having a tract of inferior ground in their rear. The townships are thus
thrown much inland, and their products can be brought to market only by
a land-carriage, varying from 60 to 120 miles. The roads too have
hitherto been bad; but the British American Land Company have been
employed in making a very good one from Port St. Francis to Sherbrooke,
and in improving the others. The evil also is much mitigated by the
circumstance that cattle, which form the main staple of this territory,
can convey themselves to market, and, even if killed, the salted meat
contains much more value in the same bulk than grain. Yet we should
hesitate in advising settlers of the more opulent class to proceed
further than Melbourne and Shipton, on the side of Port St. Francis, or
beyond Shefford, if proceeding from Montreal. Here they will find good
land, which, when the promised improvements are completed, will not be
much more than 50 miles from a port on the St. Lawrence.

“A young man, who desires to form a judgment how far such a mode of life
will suit him, must be warned not to carry out the ideas of rank and
dignity which are connected with the possession of land in Europe. Here,
according to feudal ideas, not wholly extinct, it was anciently combined
with power; and still, from the large rents paid for its use, it
generally confers wealth without labour—the enjoyment of splendor and
luxurious ease. But in America, this species of property has never
implied hereditary influence; and it yields income, in most instances,
only by hard personal labour, or an active superintendence. The few
wealthy men of which it can boast, have acquired their riches by acting
as merchants and storekeepers; and these are, on the whole, the persons
of greatest consequence in the country. But, though landed estate does
not ensure those factitious distinctions, there are important advantages
of which it can never be divested. It is attended with a degree of
independence seldom enjoyed by the middling classes in Britain; for
here, farmers, with a heavy burden of rent and taxes, which they must
make good amid many uncertainties, are always liable to come under the
power of their landlords. Salaried officers, too, may be exposed to
insult, and even the loss of their situations, through the caprice of
employers or superiors; whereas, a proprietor in the colonies, if he can
draw a subsistence from his lands, and keep clear of debt, is scarcely
liable to any vicissitude. He is removed, indeed, from the society of
his friends; but this, unless as to occasional visits, is usually the
lot of professional men even in our own country, who must accept
employment wherever they can find it. Again, he can never return to
reside in his native land—a privation which, to those who have spent
the best part of their lives abroad, is, in a great degree, imaginary;
and, aided by the improving means of communication, he is not debarred
from the possibility of seeing his relations at home. In regard to
society in Canada, if he has followed the advice of not going far into
the bush, he will find it as good as it is usually met with in the rural
parts of Britain, or even in provincial towns.

[Illustration: _A Lake farm on the Frontier._]

“The foregoing estimates have been made with the view of ascertaining
what income may be expected from a Canadian farm, after it is cleared
and placed under regular cultivation; but the momentous question—by
what means and resources the emigrant is to bring it into this
condition, still remains to be considered. It must not be concealed that
his task will be arduous; and if he is to perform it, as is here
supposed, by hired labourers, a certain capital will be requisite. 200
acres of land, of good quality, and in an eligible situation, cannot be
purchased for much less than 200_l._ He must erect some kind of
habitation, though at first a simple one, and have certain farm-offices,
implements, and labouring stock, which will require at least 100_l._ He
must also have the means of subsistence till he is able to draw it from
his farm; though this, it is presumed, during his noviciate, will be
managed with the strictest economy. But the hardest part of the task now
remains; for the dense forest which covers his ground must be cut down
before a single blade can grow upon it. This process, with the addition
of fencing and sowing, is averaged at 4_l._ an acre, which, with
reference to the requisite space of 150 acres, would amount to 600_l._;
the remaining 50 being advantageously allowed to remain in woodland. It
is true that this process may be gradual, and that the increasing
produce of the improved portions will afford means for clearing the
remainder; but as there is also to be paid out of it the subsistence of
the emigrant, the expenses of cultivation, and the additions necessary
to the stock of the enlarged farm, the improvements must be far advanced
before any surplus can be expected.”

[Illustration: _Lake beneath the Owls-head Mountain._
 (Eastern Townships.)]

                                CHAP. V.

                          SPORTING IN CANADA.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The pursuit of most kinds of game in Canada does not differ sufficiently
from that of other countries to make a description worth our while. That
of the bear, however, is a sort of aboriginal sport, which sometimes
involves rough adventures. Mr. Talbot, in his Travels, gives the
following, which seems as perilous as any we can quote:—

“One of my father’s settlers, of the name of Howay, discovered the
tracks of three bears on the morning of the 11th December; and, after
following them for about three miles, came to the tree in which they had
taken up their quarters. Having his dog, his gun, and his axe with him,
he began to cut down the tree, the trunk of which was at least 16 feet
in circumference. Whilst engaged in this employment, he occasionally
directed his eyes upward, to see if his motions disturbed the bears in
the place of their retreat. He became at length weary of acting as
sentry to the prisoners, and had nearly forgotten this needful
precaution, when, in the midst of his hewing, a large piece of bark
struck him on the head. This aroused his attention, and, on looking
again, he discovered, to his great consternation, one of the bears
descending the tree in the usual manner, tail foremost. Apprehensive
that he might be attacked by his black friend, which he perceived was
coming down with every appearance of hostility, he laid down his axe,
and, taking up his gun, resolved to discharge its contents into the body
of bruin. Upon reflection, however, he desisted; for he was afraid, if
he only wounded the animal, his own life would be the forfeit of his
eager temerity. While he was thus deliberating, his dog perceived the
bear, then only a few yards from the ground, and, by his barking,
alarmed the brute so much that he ran up the tree with inconceivable
swiftness. On arriving at the opening into the trunk, he turned himself
about, and, looking down attentively, surveyed the dog and his master.
Howay now regretted that he had not called upon some of his neighbours
to assist him; but being afraid that if he should then go for any one
the party would in the mean time effect their escape, he rallied his
courage, and, resuming his gun, lodged a ball in the bear’s neck, which
fortunately brought him lifeless to the ground. Victory generally
inspires the conqueror with fresh courage, and is seldom the forerunner
of caution. The conduct of Howay, however, affords an exception to a
rule so generally acknowledged; for, instead of being elated by his
success, and stimulated to pursue his conquest, he reflected, that,
although he had been thus far fortunate, the favourable issue was to be
imputed more to casualty than to any particular exertion of his own
prowess, and concluded, that if he continued to fell the tree, he might
in his turn become the vanquished. He, therefore, very prudently
determined to go home and bring some of his neighbours to his aid.
Leaving the bear at the foot of the tree he departed, and in a short
time returned with two men, three dogs, and an additional axe. They soon
succeeded in cutting clown the tree, which, when falling, struck against
another, and broke off about the middle, at the identical spot where the
beasts lodged. Stunned and confused, the affrighted animals ran so close
to one of the men, that he actually put the muzzle of his gun close to
its shoulder and shot two balls through its body. The other escaped
unhurt; and the dogs pursued the wounded one till he compelled them to
return with their flesh badly lacerated.

[Illustration: _Orford Lake._]

“By this time the winter sun had ceased to shed his refulgent beams upon
that portion of the globe, and the men deemed it imprudent to follow the
tracks until the succeeding morning; when Howay, accompanied by a person
of the name of Nowlan, an American by birth, and of course well
acquainted with the woods, followed the tracks, having previously
provided themselves with a rifle, an axe, about six charges of powder
and shot, and bread and meat sufficient for their dinner. This was early
in the morning of Thursday, the 12th of December. About two o’clock in
the afternoon they were observed by some persons crossing the river
Thames, nearly seven miles from the place at which they set off. This
was the only intelligence we had of them for thirteen days. After they
had been absent for some time their friends concluded that they must
either have perished with hunger and cold, or have been destroyed by the
wounded bear. I was strongly of opinion that they had been frozen to
death, for the weather was excessively cold, and they were slightly
clothed, without a tinder-box and totally unprovided with any means of
shielding themselves from the inclemency of the weather. I therefore
assembled a large party of the settlers pertaining to the townships of
London and Nassouri, and proposed that we should stock ourselves with
provisions for a few days, and go in quest of the two unfortunate
hunters. To this proposal they unanimously agreed; and we set off on the
following morning, provided with pocket compasses and trumpets, a good
supply of ammunition, and the necessary apparatus for lighting fires,
taking with us some of the best dogs in the country. In the interval
between their departure and ours a partial thaw had taken place, which
left not the slightest layer of snow upon the ground, except in low and
swampy situations. We had, therefore, no tracks for our direction, nor
any idea of the course which Howay and Nowlan had taken, except what we
had obtained from the persons who saw them crossing the Thames on the
day of their departure. We had no very sanguine hopes of finding them;
but continued for two days to explore thousands of acres of interminable
forests and desolate swamps, apparently untrodden by human foot, yet
without the most distant prospect of success. We returned home, having
given up all expectation of seeing them again, either living or dead.
There was, however, one consideration which administered a portion of
comfort to our anxiety: the objects of our search were men without
families—they were strangers in America. They had no parents here to
mourn over their untimely fate; no wives to lament the hour when they
first met, or the moment when they last parted; and no children to
deplore their early orphanage, or to call in vain for their fathers’
return. In fact, they were mourned by none but unconnected neighbours.

“Thirteen days had now elapsed since the departure of the two
adventurous settlers, and all hope of their return had completely
vanished. On the morning of Christmas-day, as I was in the act of
sending messengers to some of Howay’s most intimate acquaintance, to
request them to take an inventory of his property, I was informed that
he and his companion had returned a few hours before, alive, but in a
most wretched condition. When I had recovered in some measure from my
surprise I went to see them, for I felt anxious to hear from themselves
an account of their extraordinary preservation. Never in my life did I
behold such spectacles of woe, poverty, and distress. Their emaciated
countenances, wild and sunken eyes, withered limbs, and tattered
garments, produced such an extraordinary effect upon my imagination,
that I approached them with a degree of timidity for which I was unable
to account. I sat down beside them, and for some time fancied I was
holding converse with the ghosts of departed spirits; nor could I
entirely banish this idea from my mind during a conversation of several
hours. Their preservation appeared to me as signal an interposition of
Providence as any of which I had before heard; and, since it may not
prove uninteresting to you, who are unacquainted with the woods and
wilds of America, I shall give you a particular account of it. I
consider it the more likely to interest you, because it is none of those
second-hand stories which usually, as they fly from cabin to cabin,
increase prodigiously, until they swell beyond the reasonable bounds of
probability, and fearfully invade those illimitable regions—

        ‘Where human thought, like human sight,
        Fails to pursue their trackless flight.’

“On the day of their departure, they pursued the bear, which took a
north-western course for at least twenty miles, and at night stopped
upon his track. With great difficulty they lit a fire, having contrived
to produce a light by the application of a piece of dry linen to the pan
of their gun whilst flashing it. Thus, before a good fire, they spent
the first night, which was exceedingly cold, both supperless and

“In the morning they continued the chase, as soon as they had eaten a
small piece of bread, the crumbs or fragments of their dinner on the
preceding day. This was equally divided between themselves and their
dog. About noon, when they had travelled on the track, through all its
windings and doublings, for at least twenty miles, they were unable to
distinguish the north from the south, and of course considered
themselves lost in the boundless immensity of interminable forests. They
resolved to pursue the bear no longer, conscious that it would lead them
still further into the wilderness, from whence they apprehended they
could not without difficulty extricate themselves, for the snow was
disappearing fast, and the rain continuing to increase. They now
recollected, that, in the early part of the day, they had crossed over
the track of another bear, which they fancied would lead them to the
settlements. This they unwisely resolved to follow, consoling themselves
with the thought, that, if it should not conduct them to the abodes of
man, it might lead them to the bear’s retreat; and that if they should
succeed in killing him in a spot even remote from any settlement, his
flesh would afford them nourishment, and his skin a more comfortable
couch than the snow-covered deserts on which they had bivouacked the
preceding night. Hope, which—though it often bids desponding thoughts
depart, and sometimes cheers us in the darkest hour—is too frequently
the cause of our expecting where expectation is vain, and disappointment
ruinous, had, in the present instance, nearly precipitated its
unfortunate votaries into the vortex of irretrievable misery. They
followed on the track, until the snow completely disappeared, and the
sky became so dreadfully overcast, that they were compelled to
relinquish all ideas of hunting, and to think only of escaping from
solitude and starvation. They were by this time on the banks of a small
rivulet, the course of which they resolved to pursue, expecting that it
would eventually lead them to the Thames, into which they calculated, as
a matter of undoubted certainty, it emptied itself. On the banks of this
rivulet they passed the second night, but were not able to get any
sleep. It rained incessantly, and they suffered much from their exposed
situation, for they were only partially covered with a few strips of
barks. The wolves howled around them, and the tempest “fiercely blew.”
The trees bent their proud crests even with the ground; and many, torn
up by the roots through the violence of the wind, fell to rise no more,
near the very spot on which our travellers vainly sought repose.

[Illustration: _View over Lake Memphremagog._
 (from the Sugar Loaf.)]

“On the third day they continued their journey down the brook, which,
growing wider and wider, inclined them to think it was the head of some
extensive river, and they hoped it would prove to be that of the Thames.
The violence of the storm began to subside about noon, but without any
abatement of the cold, or cessation of the rain, which continued to fall
during the whole of the day. A little before sunset they fired at a
partridge, but unfortunately missed it. Three charges of powder and shot
were now all that remained. Still hope, with its sustaining influence,
prevented their hearts from sinking within them, and still did they
expect a speedy termination of their toils and sufferings. But another
joyless night found them waking in all its watches, and another sunless
morning saluted them,—the victims of despair.

“On the fourth day, they felt excessively hungry and weak; their thirst
also was insatiable, being compelled every five or six minutes to drink.
In the afternoon, their hunger increased to such a degree, that they
could have eaten any thing except human flesh. Sixty hours had now
elapsed without their having tasted food of any kind, and the appalling
idea of suffering by starvation for the first time obtruded itself.
Before the close of the day, however, they succeeded in shooting a
partridge, one-half of which they imprudently ate as their supper, and
feasted on the remainder at breakfast the ensuing morning,—thus
fulfilling the scriptural injunction in a sense in which it was not
conveyed, “Take no thought for the morrow.” They declared their hunger
was no more appeased by eating this bird, than it would have been, at a
more fortunate period of their lives, by swallowing a cherry! Little
more than one charge of powder was now left; and this they resolved to
preserve for lighting fires, knowing, as the frost had again set in,
that if they were exposed for a single night to the weather, without the
protection of a fire, they must inevitably perish.

“The fifth night proved extremely cold, and Nowlan perceived, in the
morning, that his feet were badly frozen. Pitiable as their situation
was before this heart-rending event, it then became still more wretched.
This unfortunate man had now to endure a complication of unprecedented
sufferings. To the imperative hankerings of hunger, which he could not
satisfy, a continual thirst, which he could not appease, a violent
fever, which seemed not to abate, and the “pelting of the pitiless
storm,” from which he had no shelter, there was added a species of
torment the most excruciating that human nature is doomed to suffer.
Until this deplorable event, they had travelled at least fifty miles a
day, walking, or, as they expressed it, running from before sunrise
until after sunset. They were now unable to perform more than half their
accustomed journey, and even that with the utmost difficulty.

“On the afternoon of the sixth day, the sun appeared for a few moments,
and convinced them that they were not on the banks of the Thames. The
knowledge of this gave them much uneasiness, from a conviction which it
impressed on their minds, that they were on the banks of a river which
might lead them to the desolate and uninhabited shores of Lake Huron or
Lake St. Claire. Still they preferred following its course, hoping to
discover some Indian settlement, which they could have no expectation of
finding if they departed from its margin. Immediately after the sun had
disappeared they discovered a boat on the opposite side of the river,
and, a little further down, a canoe. The appearance of these vessels
induced them to think that a new settlement could not be far distant;
but, when they had travelled several miles further, and had not met with
any other traces of inhabitants, they concluded that the vessels had
been driven down the river by the ice during the late thaw, and had been
stopped at the point where they were first noticed. They were just about
to cut down some timber for the night, when they observed a stack of hay
a few perches before them, and on their side of the river. The hay
appeared to have been mowed on the flats, or shallows, where it grows
spontaneously beneath the gloomy shades of the overhanging forest. This
circumstance, when coupled with their recent discovery of the boat and
canoe, convinced them that they were in the immediate neighbourhood of
some settlement. The hay-stack afforded them a comfortable asylum for
the night, and appeared to them the most enviable bed on which they had
ever reclined.

“On the morning of the seventh day, they rose much refreshed, having
enjoyed, for the first time since they left home, a few hours of sound
sleep. They were confirmed afresh, by the incident of the stack, in
their resolution to keep close to the river, being elated with the idea
that it would certainly lead them to some inhabited place. But their
dog, the faithful companion of their dangers and partaker in their
sufferings, was that morning unable to proceed any farther. When he
attempted to follow them, he staggered a few paces, and then fell, but
had not power to rise again. The hunger of the men had by this time
increased to such a degree, that they could have eaten the most
loathsome food; yet they desisted from killing the dog;—they left him
to die a lingering death rather than imbrue their hands in the blood of
a fellow-sufferer. Scarcely had they proceeded a mile beyond the
hay-stack, when they were intercepted by an impassable swamp, which
compelled them to leave the direction of the river. Difficulties seemed
to surround them on every hand, and success appeared to smile on them
for a moment but to add to their other sufferings the pangs of blighted
hope and bitter disappointment. They were compelled to wander once more
into the pathless desert, with very faint expectations of regaining the

“They walked a considerable distance on the eighth day; and at four
o’clock on the ninth discerned the tracks of two men and a dog. They now
imagined the long-wished for settlement at hand. With renewed spirit and
alacrity, therefore, they pushed onward, indulging by the way the
pleasing reflection, that the issue of the newly-discovered track would
ere long terminate their woes, and bring them to enjoy once more the
unspeakable pleasure of human society. Judge, then, what must have been
their feelings, when, towards evening, they were brought to the very
spot on which they had lain five nights before! Hope now no longer shed
her delusive rays into their hearts; and they neither had a thought, nor
felt a desire, to prolong a miserable existence. They sat down,
therefore, without making a fire, and formed a resolution that night to
end both their miseries and their lives. The tears trickled down their
haggard cheeks, as they gazed upon each other’s altered countenance; and
the chief dread which both felt was, that the one should die before his
companion, and leave the survivor to expire unpitied and unseen. Another
reflection added poignancy to their sufferings; and that was, the idea
of being devoured, after death, by the ravenous monsters of the
wilderness. Howay, however, with some degree of fortitude endeavoured to
compose himself, trusting that, ’though, after his skin, wolves should
destroy his mortal body, yet in his flesh should he see God; whom he
should see for himself, and his eyes should behold, and not another.’
But Nowlan, though sixty-four winters had furrowed his cheeks, had very
little notion of a future state,—his perishable body alone engrossed
his attention. Educated, or rather reared, in this land of impiety and
infidelity, his ideas of the Deity and of his attributes were little
calculated to elevate his views from the miseries of this world to the
felicities of another and a better. He had scarcely ever heard the sound
of the gospel, and knew nothing of its offers of mercy. In this world he
had no longer any interest; and about the eternal concerns of the next
he was wholly ignorant, and seemed utterly unconcerned. How deplorable
the situation of such a being! Better for him had he never been born!
With bright and well-founded prospects of a blissful immortality, a man
may rejoice in the midst of tribulations, if possible still more acute;
but, without these powerful consolations in a dying hour, he must sink
in despair beneath the accumulated weight of misery and remorse.

“After indulging in the gloomiest reflections for nearly an
hour,—during which time they both declared, that if a tree had then
been in the act of falling on them, they would not have made any
exertion to escape from its destructive stroke,—they began to look upon
it as their duty to employ the means which Providence had placed within
their reach for the preservation of that life which He who gave
possessed the sole right of taking away; and they resolved once more to
light a fire. This with the utmost difficulty they accomplished, for
they were so much debilitated as to be scarcely able to exert themselves
in collecting a sufficient quantity of fuel. As they consumed the last
grain of their powder in this operation, they became susceptible but of
one emotion,—that of indescribable horror, at the idea of being
compelled, ere another night should elapse, to pay the debt of nature in
a manner the most abhorrent to their feelings. They now conversed
freely, but in a melancholy strain, on the method in which it was most
likely that the frost would accomplish their destruction; and agreed in
the opinion, that it would first attack the extremities of their bodies,
and gradually proceed up towards the vitals, until their hearts’-blood
should become congealed to ice. After this discourse they lay down,
almost unmindful of the past and careless about the future, endeavouring
to resign themselves to the fate which awaited them, whatever that might

“On the morning of the ninth day of their deplorable wanderings, they
arose in a state of perfect apathy, and began to traverse the same lands
which they had so reluctantly trodden six days before. In the evening
they arrived at the hay-stack, where they left the dog. They found him
still living, but unable to get upon his feet. He was reduced to a mere
skeleton, and appeared to be in the agonies of death. The desire of life
once more took its seat in their hearts, and they resolved to seek
diligently for some sort of food. Their appetites were now so
unconquerably ravenous, that they stripped the bark off an elm tree, and
devoured large quantities of its inner rind. Scarcely had they eaten it,
however, when they became exceedingly delirious, and were forced to lie
down among the hay, where they remained until morning in an agony of

By daylight, on the tenth morning, they were much better, and would have
arisen, but, recollecting that they now possessed no materials for
lighting a fire, they resolved to roll themselves up in the hay again,
and quietly await the hour of dissolution, whenever it should arrive.
Their resolution had but just been formed, when they heard the joyful
sound of a cow-bell, which seemed to proceed from the opposite shore of
the river. They arose immediately, and, on looking over the water,
perceived to their infinite satisfaction a log-house recently erected,
but yet without any appearance of inhabitants. For some time they felt
inclined to doubt the evidence of their senses, and to consider the
log-house as a creature of their disturbed imaginations. They
recollected passing that way before without observing any building; but,
on calling to mind the circumstance of seeing the boat and the canoe,
they were convinced that all was reality—delightful, heart-cheering
reality! They, therefore, resolved, by some means or other, to ford the
river; and walking with feeble steps but bounding hearts along the bank,
they soon discovered a crossing place. On arriving at the opposite
shore, they were met by a white man and two Indians, who took them to
the house of one Townsend, with whom they were well acquainted, and from
whom they experienced every mark of attention which their wretched
condition required. The heart of sensibility, if conversant with
affliction, may form some estimate of their feelings at that moment.
Every tender emotion, of which the soul of unlettered man is
susceptible, may be supposed to have been in full exercise at that
exhilarating interview. And if a single feeling had then any marked
preponderance over another, it must have been that of
gratitude—boundless, unspeakable gratitude, to the protecting power of
an Almighty and gracious Deliverer.

“A few months previous to this event, Townsend had discovered a
salt-spring on the banks of the river Sauble, and was at this time
preparing to commence a manufactory of that article at a distance of
nearly twenty miles from any human habitation. This embryo
salt-manufactory was the building which Howay and Nowlan discovered
after they heard the ringing of the cow-bell. It was a fortunate
circumstance for them; for if this spot had been uninhabited, as it was
a short time before, they must unquestionably have breathed their last
on the banks of that unexplored river, which flows into Lake Huron at a
point which is nearly 100 miles from any settlement. They were only
thirty miles from the lake when interrupted by the swamp, in avoiding
which they had inadvertently wandered back into the woods; and, on
discovering their own tracks, returned unconsciously to the place where
they had lain five nights before—a catastrophe, which, at the time,
they lamented as a dire misfortune, but which afterwards, as you have
seen, was the cause of their final deliverance.

“At Townsend’s house they were fifty miles from home, every yard of
which they had to travel through the wilderness, but not without the aid
of a blazed line to direct them. Nowlan’s feet were by this time in a
very bad condition; and as he could not procure at that lonely dwelling
the materials necessary to prevent mortification, which he was
apprehensive would very soon take place, he and his companion set off
early on the following morning. Mrs. Townsend kindly furnished them with
provisions, and every thing necessary for their journey; and on the eve
of the thirteenth day after their departure from the Talbot Settlement,
they had once more the happiness of enjoying the comforts of their own
firesides.—So much for the enviable pleasures of the American

We add to this interesting account a few remarks on bears from a clever
writer on Natural History.

“There are probably three or four different kinds of bears in North
America; but neither the grizzly bear, the barren-ground bear, nor the
great polar species, infest the countries with which we are more
immediately occupied, although the last-named occasionally travels as
far southward on the coast of Labrador as the fifty-fifth parallel.
However, the black bear (_Ursus niger Americanus_) is well known in
Canada, and is found wherever wooded districts occur, northwards to the
shores of the Arctic Sea, southwards as far as Carolina, and westward
across the continent to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Although this
species is the least carnivorous of its kind, yet Dr. Richardson informs
us that its strength and agility, combined with its great tenacity of
life, render an attack upon it very hazardous, and its pursuit has
always been considered by the rude inhabitants of the northern regions
as a matter of the highest importance. They previously propitiate the
whole race of bears by sundry ceremonies, and when an individual is
slain they treat it with the utmost respect, address it as a near
relation, and offer it a pipe to smoke. This veneration has no doubt
arisen from their admiration of the skill and pertinacity with which
bruin defends himself, and it is both curious and interesting to observe
how the same feeling is exhibited by various tribes of people, speaking
different languages, and inhabiting separate countries. We know from
Regnard that the chase of the bear is regarded by the Laplanders as
among the most solemn actions of their life; and Leems tells us that
they never address that animal familiarly by its proper name of
_Guourhja_, but call it “the old man in the fur cloak,” because it has
the strength of ten men, and the sense of twelve. Bear-dances, in which
its movements are imitated, are well known among the recreations of the
North American Indians. Alexander Henry, who travelled in Canada and the
adjoining territories in the years 1760-76, has furnished us with some
valuable and curious remarks regarding the black bear of the New World.
While on the banks of Lake Michigan, in the month of January, he
observed the trunk of an enormous pine tree much torn, as if by the
claws of one ascending and descending. He next noticed a large opening
in the upper portion, near which the smaller branches were broken off.
It was agreed that all his retainers should assemble together next
morning, to assist in cutting down the tree, as from the absence of
tracks upon the surrounding snow, it was presumed that a bear had for
some time lain concealed within. The tree measured eighteen feet in
circumference. Their axes being very light, they toiled all day, both
men and women, like beavers, till the sun went down, by which time they
had got only about half way through the trunk. They renewed the attack
next morning, and about two in the afternoon the monarch of the wood
reeled and fell. For several minutes after the first crash every thing
remained quiescent, and it was feared their labour had been in vain; but
just as Mr. Henry advanced towards the opening, out came an enormous
bear, which he immediately shot. No sooner was the monster dead than his
assailants approached, and all took the head in their hands, stroking
and kissing it repeatedly, begging its pardon a thousand times, calling
it their relation and grandmother, and requesting it to lay no blame on
them since it was truly an Englishman who had put it to death. “If,”
adds Mr. Henry, “it was I that killed their grandmother, they were not
themselves behind hand in what remained to be performed.” The skin was
taken off, and the fat found to be in several places six inches deep.
When divided into two parts it formed a load for two persons, and the
fleshy portions were as much as four men could carry. In all, the
carcass must have exceeded 500 pounds weight. As soon as they had
reached the lodge, the head was adorned with various trinkets, and laid
upon a scaffold, with a large quantity of tobacco near the nose; and
sundry other ceremonies were gone through in the course of the ensuing
morning, after which they made a feast of the flesh. According to this
author it is only the female bear that makes her lodging in the upper
parts of trees,—an instinctive practice, by which her future young are
secured from the attacks of wolves and other carnivorous animals. She
brings forth in the winter season, and remains in her lodge till the
cubs have acquired some strength. The male is said always to lodge in
the ground, under the roots of trees.

In the latitude of 65° the winter sleep of the bear continues from the
beginning of October to the first or second week of May; but on the
northern shore of Lake Huron, the period is shorter by two or three
months. In very severe winters, numbers of them have been observed
entering the United States from the northward, all extremely lean, and
accompanied by scarcely any females. Now it is well known that bears
never retire to their winter dens until they have acquired a thick
coating of fat, and that in remote districts they couple in September,
when in good condition from feeding on the wild berries, which are at
that time mature and abundant. The females then retire at once to their
holes, concealing themselves so carefully that even “the lyncean eye of
an Indian hunter very rarely detects them;” but the males, exhausted by
the pursuit of their mates, require ten or twelve days to recover their
lost fat. “An unusually early winter will, it is evident, operate most
severely on the males, by preventing them from fattening a second time;
hence their migrations at such times to more southerly districts.” It is
an error, however, to suppose, as many do, that the black bears
generally abandon the northern districts on the approach of winter, the
quantity of skins, as Dr. Richardson observes, which are procured during
that season in all parts of the fur countries being a sufficient proof
to the contrary. The females bring forth about the beginning of January,
and are supposed to carry for about fifteen or sixteen weeks. The number
of cubs varies from one to five, according to the age of the mother, who
begins to bear long before she has attained her full dimensions.

                               CHAP. VI.


                 *        *        *        *        *

The Falls of Niagara impress travellers very differently. Most persons,
having heard of this wonder of the world from their childhood, have
aggrandized their imagination of its appearance in proportion with the
growth of their minds, and visit Niagara, at last, with the expectation
of seeing an ocean poured from the height of the clouds. A very graphic
and sketchy account of past impressions at the Falls is given by a
traveller, whose book is less known than it deserves; and we quote from
him, quite sure that his description will be new to the reader. “I first
visited these celebrated Falls,” he says, “in the month of September—a
season of the year which, in America, is peculiarly pleasant. The
violent heats have then considerably abated; the musquito, satiated with
human blood, has given rest to his proboscis; and man, free from the
irritating bite of innumerable tormenting insects, and from the
scorching heat of an almost insupportable sun, enjoys an agreeable
respite, and ranges through the country in quiet and comfort. Until I
arrived within a mile of the Falls, the sky was perfectly clear, the sun
shone with his wonted splendour, and the atmosphere was remarkably dry
and uncommonly lucid. But no sooner had I approached their immediate
vicinity, than a sudden and singular change took place in the whole
aspect of nature. The earth, before parched and immovable, became damp
and tremulous; and the sky, till then unsullied by a single cloud,
assumed a frowning, dark, and portentous appearance. The atmosphere,
previously dry and rarefied, now presented a dense and humid visage; and
my fancy, unreined by my reason transported me into a world essentially
different from that in which, a few minutes before, I ‘lived, and moved,
and had my being.’

“Still, however, I pursued my course, and at length gained the summit of
the craggy hills which flank this noble river. My increased elevation
did not contribute to dissipate the preconceived delusion, and I still
felt inclined to doubt of my own or the world’s identity. Mountains of
water, belching forth the most appalling sounds—globes of foam, boiling
with rage—rainbows, embracing within their numerous and splendid arches
a surprising variety of newly-formed impending clouds—rocks, boldly
projecting over the tumultuous abyss—and spray-covered forests,
decorated with pearly drops, now rendered more brilliant than crystal by
the reflected rays of the setting sun, and now blown into feathery
streams by sudden gusts of the impetuous wind;—these were some of the
most striking features of the gorgeous scenery by which I was
surrounded. Long did I luxuriate in pleasing contemplation, admiring its
peculiar grandeur; and still did I find myself lingering amidst these
stupendous and matchless displays of creative excellence, until the sun,
wearied with shedding his beams on the transatlantic wilds, had retired,
in all his glory, ‘to rove o’r other lands, and give to other men the
kindest boon of heaven.’

“For the first time of my life did I regret the shortness of a September
day. But my regret soon ceased; for ere night had completely drawn her
sable mantle across the objects of my admiration, over which I still
lingered, a glorious moon, enshrouded in golden robes, kindly lent me
the aid of her beauteous lustre, and quickly diffused through every part
of the landscape new features of loveliness, giving it a character far
more soft and interesting than that with which proud day had invested
it. The stupendous and magnificent machinery of nature, which had
recently bound me in abstraction, was now divested of many of its
peculiar charms. A perfect calm succeeded. The forests appeared sunk in
deep repose. The winds had subsided. The green leaves, no longer
agitated by the breeze, ceased their rustling. Not a cloud floated along
the face of heaven. Every thing around and above seemed to have found

        ‘Tir’d nature’s sweet restorer, balmy sleep.’

All was still, except the wakeful cataracts that roared with their
wonted violence, and disturbed the basin which groaned beneath the
undiminished burden. Never was there a finer contrast than that between
the noise of the water and the stillness of the air; the golden
effulgence of the rushing flood, and the impenetrable shades of the
surrounding forests; the blackness of the frightful gulf, down which the
waves, with unabating force, are precipitated in crashing confusion, and
the light and cheering face of the spangled heavens, over which the
crescent moon was sailing with modest pride and conscious dignity.

“Sick and insensible must be the soul that could behold with
indifference an exhibition so fine, so varied, so replete with all that
is calculated to please the eye, to arouse the mind, and, in a word, to
raise the whole man above the vulgar level of existence, and make him
sensible, that while he thus contrasts the piccuresque scenery of the
earth with the inimitable grandeur of the heavens, he is standing, as it
were, in the immediate presence of that Deity who ‘measured the waters
in the hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span’—to
whom he is indebted for all he sees, and all he feels—by whose almighty
power and wisdom the rivers had their appointed sources and obtained
leave to flow, and from whose hands the mountains first received their
appropriate bulk and due conformation.

“I cannot convey to you any idea of the poverty of language that is felt
when one attempts to describe such a combination of grand and uncommon
objects, among which is found every thing essential to constitute the
romantic, the terrific, the picturesque, and the sublime. All that is
awfully grand here occupies a prominent station; and every part is so
tastefully arranged as to make the deepest impression upon beholders,
and to proclaim, in language not less loud than the ‘music of the

        The hand that made us is divine.

“The country in which Lake Erie lies is elevated nearly 300 feet above
that which surrounds Ontario. The extensive slope, or mountain, as it is
called, which divides the lower country from the upper, is, in many
places, nearly perpendicular. It commences on the northern side of Lake
Ontario, and runs thence round its north-western point, until it is
intersected by the road which leads from York to Amherstburgh. It
afterwards pursues an eastern direction, and finally embanks the strait
or river of Niagara.

“Persons who visit the Falls generally stop at an adjacent
village—(this account was written some twelve or fifteen years
ago),—consisting of about a dozen houses, and two very excellent
hotels, in which as good accommodation may be found as in any other part
of the country. From the balcony of that which is styled the ‘Niagara
Falls’ Pavilion,’ there is a very fine view of the Horse-shoe Fall, and
of the island which bisects the river. From the same house there is a
difficult foot-path, which leads down a very steep bank to the edge of
the river, immediately adjoining the place where the Table Rock formerly
stood. It must also be recollected that the river issues from Lake Erie
about twenty miles above the Falls, and, until it arrives within three
miles of them, runs with a smooth current and an undisturbed surface.
The bed of the stream then becomes rocky; and the water is so violently
agitated by passing down successive rapids, that a person of the
strongest nerves, standing on the shore, cannot without difficulty
refrain from shuddering at the sight.

“Notwithstanding the rapidity of the current, its violence is displayed
only on each side of the river, the middle remaining sufficiently smooth
to admit of boats passing down to the island that separates the river
into two branches, before the waters are dashed down the precipice which
forms the Fall. As the current approaches this island, it seems to run
with redoubled velocity. It is impossible to conceive any thing equal to
the force and swiftness of its progress to the ledge of rocks, over
which it is propelled, till it impetuously tumbles into the bed of the
river beneath, with a noise louder than thunder. When the waters fall
into the deep basin, they rebound into the air in immense spherical
figures, white as snow and sparkling as diamonds. These figures, after
rising, and, apparently, remaining stationary for a moment, explode at
the top, and emit columns of spray to an astonishing height. They then
subside, and are succeeded by others, which appear and disappear in the
same manner.

“From that part of the Table Rock which yet remains, and the path to
which I have already described, the spectator commands one of the
grandest and most romantic views in nature. The tremendous rapids above
the Falls—Goat Island in their midst, covered with trees, which seem at
every moment about to be swept away—the Horse-shoe Fall, immediately
below Table Rock—Fort Schlosser Fall, beyond Goat Island, and the
frightful gulf beneath, boiling with perpetual rage, and shooting
upwards immense volumes of sparkling foam, smoking with the apparent
intensity of heat, are a few of the great objects which are forced upon
his attention.

“Another place from which the Falls assume, if possible, a more striking
and awful appearance, is at the bottom of the cataract. The precipice
leading to this spot is descended by means of a ladder, commonly called
‘the Indian ladder’—a piece of mechanism simply consisting of a
cedar-tree, the boughs of which are lopped off at a sufficient distance
from the trunk to make them answer all the purposes of irregular steps.
After descending this ladder, the perpendicular height of which is
upwards of sixty feet, you proceed along the edge of the river, which is
covered with broken rocks, the wrecks of boats, and other _exuviæ_,
until you arrive at the bottom of the Horse-shoe Fall. From this place
visitors frequently proceed on foot several hundred yards, within a
prodigious sheet of caverned water, which is formed by the overshooting
of the cataract. But they must be men of the firmest nerve who venture
on such a daring enterprise; for the most undaunted resolution is in
danger of being shaken on looking upward at the impending rock, which
continually seems to bend and groan beneath the rolling flood, to which
it serves as a fearful support. From the projecting edge of this rock,
the mass of waters is impelled forward, and leaves a large and smooth
expanse, which reaches from the natural sheet of falling water to the
very base of the gradually undermined mountain. If the atmosphere be
dense, it is still more dangerous to engage in the bold attempt of
exploring the stable foundations of the river; for people at such times
not unfrequently lose the power of respiration in proceeding far beneath
the rocky ceiling. Notwithstanding this and various other dangers, to
which all are equally exposed who venture to approach the Fall in boats,
the fisherman frequently continues there for hours together, apparently
without any apprehension of danger.

“The whole breadth of the precipice or Falls, including the islands
which intervene, is 1,335 yards. The greatest body of water falls on the
Canadian side of the river; and on account of the form assumed by the
waters before they are dashed from the top of the rocks, it is
designated the Horse-shoe Fall. It extends from the shore to the
intermediate island, a distance of 600 yards. Fort Schlosser Fall, which
is on the American side, presents a sheet of water 350 yards in breadth;
and the Little Fall extends across a ledge of rocks for upwards of 140
yards. The quantity of water which pours over all three, in every
minute, is estimated at 169,344,000 gallons.

“Many stories are told of the melancholy fate of persons who at various
times have been carried down the rapids, in attempting to cross the
river above; but I believe the only well-authenticated anecdote of this
kind is that of an Indian, who, having become intoxicated with liquor,
made his canoe fast to a rock, a few miles above the Falls, and fell
asleep. By some unknown accident, the canoe was loosed from its
moorings, and immediately floated down the current. While the surface of
the water continued to be smooth, the slumbers of the unconscious savage
were undisturbed; but when his frail bark entered on the rapids, and
became agitated by the turbulent eddies, he suddenly awoke. On
perceiving his perilous situation, and recovering a little from his
first astonishment, he laid hold upon his paddle, and used the most
violent exertions to escape from the impending destruction. When his
repeated failures to avert the swift course of the vessel had convinced
him that all endeavours on his part would be unavailing, he laid aside
his paddle, composedly rolled himself up in his blanket, and putting the
whiskey bottle for the last time to his lips, quietly lay down, as if
all danger were over. In a few moments he and his bark were precipitated
down the Falls; and no one ever saw trace again of the Indian or his

“In the summer of 1822, a similar accident befel two unfortunate white
men. It appears that, for some time past, a part of Goat Island, which
separates the Falls, has been inhabited, and under cultivation. Some of
the residents, who were on the point of quitting their perilous abode,
were engaged in conveying their movable effects to the Canada shore. The
day was exceedingly boisterous, and the current of the river
consequently more violent than usual. Four men, with two boats, were
engaged in taking away the furniture; and when the first trip had been
accomplished, two of them, being apprehensive of danger from the fury
with which the wind blew in the direction of the stream, resolved to
venture no more until the storm should abate. They communicated this
determination to their companions, who, laughing them to scorn, boasted
largely of their own freedom from fear, and returned to their hazardous
employment. But in a few minutes afterwards, they were carried down the
cataract, and dashed to pieces. A day or two after this event, a table
which had been in the same boat, was discovered in the river at the foot
of the Falls, uninjured.

“The noise of the Falls is said to be heard, on a calm evening, as far
as Burlington Heights, a distance of nearly fifty miles. But when this
is true, the wind, which is an excellent transmitter of sound, must blow
exactly in that direction. The waters make a report which might be heard
at a much greater distance, if, instead of falling into a profound gulf,
surrounded on every side with hills of at least 350 feet perpendicular
height, which confine the sound, they fell upon a horizontal plain of
sufficient altitude to allow the sound to pass without interruption into
the circumjacent country. As an illustration:—If a stone were let fall
from the surface of the earth into a well 100 feet deep, the noise would
not be distinctly heard by a person standing twenty yards from its
mouth; but if the same stone were dropped from the apex of a steeple of
only half that height, into a cistern of water, the surface of which was
on a level with the earth, the noise, occasioned by its splashing in the
water, would be distinctly heard at above five times the former

“Previous to the settlement of the country along the banks of the
Niagara river, great numbers of wild beasts, birds, and fishes might be
seen dashed to pieces on the shore near the bottom of the Falls. But
since this part of the country has been thickly settled, scarcely any
thing is to be found in the bed of the river below the Falls, except
fishes and a few water fowl, which, on alighting in the rapids, are
unable to take wing again, and are soon hurried down the dreadful abyss.

“It is generally supposed that the Falls were once as far down as
Queenston, and the supposition seems plausible. The appearance of the
banks on each side of the river affords very strong presumptive evidence
in favour of this notion; and the fact of the constant recession of the
Falls, observed by the people who reside in their vicinity, is no less
confirmatory. That seven miles of limestone strata of such great depth
should be worn away by nothing but water, will appear too preposterous
for belief, by those who have never stooped to the drudgery of
calculation; but if only the fiftieth part of a barleycorn had been worn
away in every hour since the creation, supposing the Falls to have been
then at Queenston, or a little above it, they would now be within a few
perches of their present position. These calculations receive an air of
great plausibility, at least, from the rugged features of the banks
between the Falls and Queenston, which afford numerous and strong
indications of the violence to which the strata have there been

The writer from whom the foregoing account of Niagara is quoted, went
out with his father and a few labourers to settle in Canada. His voyage
up the St. Lawrence is very descriptive of the scenery and adventures
which fell to the lot of all travellers on the same errand at that time,
and may be useful as well as interesting here. He says:—“I embarked at
La Chine with my father and his settlers, twenty days after our arrival
in Quebec. On account of the shallows immediately below this village,
goods and passengers intended for a higher destination up the river are
conveyed by land from Montreal. Previous to our leaving La Chine,
thirty-one of the settlers, dreading, the expense of transporting their
families to the Upper Province, separated from us and accepted of a
settlement at or near Perth, about 140 miles north-west of Montreal.
Owing to the rapidity of the St. Lawrence immediately above Montreal,
ship navigation terminates at that city. Such is the vehemence of the
current in various places, that it is totally impossible to ascend the
river in vessels of ordinary construction. Batteaux, or flat-bottomed
boats, narrow at bow and stern, and made of pine boards, have been found
much better adapted to the river than any others. These boats are about
forty feet long, and six across the centre, and are navigated by four
men and a pilot. Each boat carries about five tons, and is provided with
a small mast and sails, six setting poles about nine feet long, shod at
their lower extremities with iron, which terminates in a sharp point,
and the necessary cooking apparatus. In these boats, all the merchandise
destined for Upper Canada is conveyed; and, fitted out in this style,
they depart from La Chine, four or five of them generally forming one
party. They quickly arrive in Lake St. Louis, which is formed by the
junction of the Ottawa, or Grand River, with the St Lawrence. If the
wind happen to blow favourably when they are passing through this lake,
they haul up their sails until they arrive at the Cascades, which are
about thirty miles from Montreal.

[Illustration: _Working a Canoe up a Rapid._]

At the Cascades a short canal has been cut, and locks formed by the
government, through which the vessels pass, till they attain the head of
these rapids, after which they proceed without departing from the river
till they arrive at the Cedars, where, by other locks, they ascend the
most difficult part of the rapids. The current between the Cascades and
the Cedars is so very impetuous, that the boatmen are obliged to have
recourse to their setting-poles, which they fix in the bed of the river,
and thus propel their boats with considerable celerity. These exertions,
though fatiguing in the extreme, they are often obliged to continue for
several hours without intermission, and not unfrequently even their best
endeavours in this may prove abortive. When this is the case, they make
a rope fast to the bow of the boat; and leaving only the helmsman on
board, they plunge into the water and tow her by main strength up the
rapids. This is the manner in which they perform the arduous passage,
which, though only 120 miles, they seldom accomplish in less than ten
days. How the men who are employed in this difficult navigation exist
without ruining their constitutions is a mystery which I am utterly
unable to explain. They are compelled, almost every hour, when actually
melting with heat and fainting with fatigue, to jump into the water,
frequently up to their arm-pits, and to remain in it towing their boats
until they are completely chilled. They then have recourse to the aid of
ardent spirits, of which on all occasions they freely partake, and, in a
few minutes, are once more bathed in perspiration. The principal rapids
between Montreal and Prescott are the _Cedars_ and the _Cascades_
already mentioned, the _Coteau du Lac_ and the _Long Sault_, the latter
of which are about nine miles in length; and though they are seldom
ascended in less than a day, boats have been known to descend through
their whole length in fifteen minutes.

While about 140 of the settlers took their passage from La Chine in what
the Canadians call Durham boats, my father and his family, with the
remainder of the settlers, embarked in a vessel of the same description.
The accommodation which the boat afforded was so poor, that our
situation, during the thirteen days of our voyage from La Chine to
Prescott, was in reality “below the reach of envy.” To make room for my
mother and the children in the wretched little hole of a cabin, my
brother and I were frequently obliged to sleep on the shore in the open
air—the refreshing zephyrs being our only curtains, and the “spangled
heavens, a shining frame,” our resplendent canopy. Taverns are
undoubtedly found in many parts along the banks of the river; but, as
the boats do not always stop in the neighbourhood of these refectories,
we seldom had any other method of reposing our weary bodies than the one
to which I have now alluded.

One night in particular, when we felt the air rather too cool for
sleeping on the ground, my brother and I, with three of the settlers,
solicited permission of a Canadian farmer to lie on the floor of his
kitchen. This request, though humble and moderate, was peremptorily
refused. We asked for neither bed nor blanket, meat nor drink, but
barely for leave to stretch our fatigued limbs on the uncovered boards;
yet even this was denied. We were in the act of quietly returning to the
boat, when, on approaching the door of his stable, we found it open,
entered, and had but just discovered some clean straw, upon which we
designed to rest our heads for the night, when the owner stalked in, and
on recognising us, commanded our instant departure. We were therefore
compelled to decamp and to take our usual nightly station on the shore.
This little incident banished sleep from my eyes; and I spent the
greater part of the night in the indulgence of the most gloomy
reflections. That fondly beloved Isle of Erin, where the genius of
hospitality continually holds her court, and freely spreads her social
influence, again recurred to my memory. I thought of her humblest sons,
generous and humane, sons of benevolence and toil, whose hard labour
just gives what life requires, but gives no more; yet who, with the ever
ready smile of heart-felt sympathy, are willing to share that
hard-earned little with the weary traveller whom chance directs to their
threshold, or necessity throws upon their bounty.

We were from the 18th of August to the 1st of September in accomplishing
this voyage of only 120 miles. I think I may say, without any danger of
hyperbole, that, during this short period, each of us encountered
greater difficulties, endured more privations, and submitted to stronger
proofs of our fortitude, than had been our lot in all the preceding
years of our lives. We were obliged by day, in consequence of the great
weight of our luggage, to assist the sailors in towing the boat up the
rapids, often up to the arm-pits in the water; and by night to rest our
enervated and shivering limbs on the inhospitable shore of this river of

On the ninth day of our amphibious journey my brother and I with several
of the settlers, for the sake of a little variety, left the boat, and
walked a few miles along the shore of the St. Lawrence. As we were
entirely unacquainted with the country, we resolved to keep as close as
possible to the bank, which in this part was completely covered with
thick woods. When we had walked about a mile, our progress was
interrupted by a large tract of swampy land, which we found to be
totally impassable. Before we had reached the head of the swamp, and
once more gained the shore, the boat was out of sight. However, we
pursued our route along the bank until night approached, when we
perceived a light about two miles down the river, which we concluded to
be that of the boat. This conjecture proved to be correct. It appeared
that, in our hurry to overtake her, we had over-reached the mark, and
got too far a-head. As the night was dark, we whistled, hallooed, and
fired off our guns, hoping to induce them to pull up and take us on
board. But all our efforts proved ineffectual; we could neither make
them hear us, nor understand our signals. At length one of our party
observed a house about half a mile above us;—a discovery which afforded
no small degree of pleasure. We had walked nearly ten miles through a
dismal forest, over swamps and marshes, and were hungry and fatigued. A
few moments before we had no prospect of discovering even a dry spot of
land on which we might lay ourselves down to rest. Nothing appeared—

        “But matted woods, where birds forget to sing,
        And silent bats in drowsy clusters cling.”

Judge, then, what was our pleasure on beholding a human habitation; for
a human one it was, though its title to humanity was founded solely on
the fact of its being the abode of man, without the least reference to
the gentleness of his nature.

[Illustration: _Scene on the River St. Lawrence._
 (_Near Montreal._)]

When we entered within the door, and informed the owner of the
circumstances which obliged us to become intruders, and to claim his
hospitality, he muttered out a few words with unfeeling frigidity, the
purport of which was that we might lie upon the floor if we pleased! It
was then about nine o’clock; and from that hour until eleven, when they
retired to bed, I do not recollect that we had the pleasure of any
further conversation either with our host or his lady. When they
withdrew from the apartment we were left sole monarchs of the kitchen;
but our throne was, in one respect, like that which the sycophantic
courtiers of king Canute urged him to usurp—it was covered with coarse
sand, and presented no very agreeable aspect as a resting-place to us,
who presumed to think that we had done sufficient penance for our
transgressions in this country, by the sufferings which we necessarily
endured in the day during the course of our unfortunate perambulations.
It was some time before we could reconcile ourselves to the idea of
lying down on the rough kitchen floor; but at length the god of dreams
prevailed over all our apprehensive sensibilities, and compelled us to
resume a recumbent posture. I converted my hat into a pillow, and my
cravat into a cap or turban; and, after promising my companions in
tribulation a glass of rum in the morning by way of toasting Canadian
hospitality, I fell asleep; but awoke some time before day-break with
sore limbs and an aching head.

From the perusal of such incidents as these, one would probably form a
very low and indifferent opinion of Canadian hospitality; but justice
compels me to add, that the people who live on the shores of the St.
Lawrence have so frequently been imposed upon, plundered, and otherwise
maltreated by various evil-disposed emigrants in their progress to the
Upper Province, that, if we had experienced even worse treatment than
this which I have related, it ought not, under such provoking
circumstances, to excite much astonishment.

The country on each side of the river, between Prescott and Montreal, is
similar in appearance to that between the latter city and Quebec, with
this difference, that the houses above Montreal are much inferior to
those below. For about 60 miles beyond Montreal almost all the
inhabitants are of French extraction, and still speak the language of
their ancestors. They scarcely understand a word of English, and seem to
be of very humble origin. Their habitations are constructed in the style
of cottages; and though they certainly are not reproachable with any
great degree of taste or elegance in their design, they have a just
claim to honourable mention for the compensating attributes of
cleanliness and of neatness, if not of refinement, in the simple
decorations of their interiors. The traveller, who may have occasion to
cross their thresholds, will seldom witness the semblance of poverty, or
the shadow of discontent. Since my arrival in the country, I have not
beheld a single trace of anxiety or care in the countenances of the
people. In the city, the town, the village, and the open country, every
eye sparkles with contentment, and every tongue speaks the language of
independence. If the maxim of our ethic poet be correct, that—

        “Reason’s whole pleasure, all the joys of sense,
        Lie in three words, _health_, _peace_, and _competence_,”

I do not wonder at beholding such an invariable picture of enjoyment in
the looks of the Canadians; for they certainly possess, to a perfection
which cannot be surpassed, every one of those integral elements in the
happiness of man which the poet has thus tersely described. How
melancholy the contrast to an Irishman! How delightfully, yet mournfully
exhilarating to a Canadian, if, from a knowledge of the unhappy
condition of our unfortunate countrymen, he should make the comparison,
and find in it an inducement to bless his happier lot!

The only villages at this time (1820) between Montreal and Prescott are
La Chine and Point Clear; the latter of which is eighteen miles from
Montreal. It has a church and parsonage-house; contains about I,000
inhabitants, all of whom are Roman catholics.

The Village of the Cedars consists of a few houses, inhabited chiefly by
mechanics. Coteau du Lac is equally small, but of more importance as a
military post, a fort having been erected in its immediate vicinity for
the protection of the trade upon the river, and for the purpose of
intercepting the passage of an enemy, whether ascending or descending.

Cornwall, which is dignified with the appellation of a town, is more
extensive than either of the two just mentioned. It is 86 miles from
Montreal, and has a gaol, a court-house, a Roman catholic chapel, and a
Presbyterian meeting-house. In Prescott, which contains about 150
inhabitants, there is a military fort, called “Fort Wellington.” At this
place ship navigation commences, and continues as far as Niagara.

We remained two days at Prescott; and, on the 3d of September, we
embarked for York (now Toronto) on board a small schooner, called the
Caledonia. We performed this voyage, which is a distance of 250 miles,
in six days.

[Illustration: _Brockville—St. Lawrence._]

The St. Lawrence, between Prescott and Kingston, presents an aspect the
most wild and fanciful. The Lake of the Thousand Isles, which is
situated between them, exhibits a delightful combination of the varied
scenery of nature. It has all the features of the placid, the
picturesque, and the sublime, with a striking inter-mixture of the
savage and the uncouth. While slowly gliding up the stream the stranger
observes the northern shores thickly settled. The lowly cottage and the
large mansion alternately attract his notice. The bustle and activity of
life are everywhere visible upon the land; while, upon the lake, all is
solemn stillness and solitude. Hundreds of little islands, assuming
every variety of form, and covered with stunted trees of almost every
species, are spread over the watery expanse, and afford a finished
specimen of that peculiar sort of scenery which is produced when the
several principles and causes of vegetation are not consentaneous—when
the seed is planted by the hand of nature in a sterile soil; and
fertilizing rains, morning dews, and fostering breezes, severally
contribute their appointed quota of natural assistance, but seem to lose
much of their accustomed efficacy by having no suitable objects on which
to operate.

The rocky and barren soil of these islands invites not the hand of
industry to redeem them from their unproductiveness; nor do their
unfrequented retreats discover to the beholder even a solitary wigwam.
They are the abode of silence, and the resting-place of solitude. The
contemplative observer cannot view them without some feelings of regret:
while his eye roves with delight over spots of earth disposed into all
imaginary shapes, in which matchless beauty and proofs of skilful design
are apparent in every direction, his judgment detects the fallacy of his
sight; and he laments to find these picturesque creations yielding
nothing for supplying the wants of man but such products as serve to
gratify his curious vision. Scarcely can he restrain the wish,
presumptuous though it be, that Providence in its wisdom had
distinguished this portion of the universe by something of greater
utility and of more substantial excellence.

Immediately opposite Prescott, on the shore of the United States, is the
town of Ogdensburg; and twelve miles higher up, on the Canada shore,
stands the delightful village of Brockville, so called in honour of the
late lamented Sir Isaac Brock. This enchanting little spot unites in its
situation every beauty of nature. In front of it flows the river St.
Lawrence, interspersed with numerous islands, variously formed, and
thickly wooded. Behind it is an assemblage of small hills, rising one
above another in “gay theatric pride;” and on each side are well-cleared
farms, in an advanced state of cultivation. Every thing combines to
render it preeminently beautiful. The dwellings are of wood, and
tastefully painted; and the court-house, on an elevated situation at the
back of the village, seems, from its superior size, to be the guardian
of the villagers—an idea of my fancy, which I did not venture to
confirm by entering within its doors.

Sixty-seven miles from Prescott, and seventy-nine from Brockville, is
the town of Kingston, built in 1784, and a place of great importance to
the British interests in Canada. It is the naval depôt of the Upper
Province, and is strongly protected by a fort, called Fort Frederick. In
Kingston harbour, which is deep and well-sheltered, there were at this
time several large ships, and one, the St. Lawrence, of 102 guns, which
is said to have cost the enormous sum of 300,000l. Some of these vessels
were constructed in England, and sent to Quebec in frame, whence they
were transported to Kingston, at immense cost, on board of such boats as
have been already described. The carriage of the Psyche frigate alone,
from Quebec to Kingston, is said to have cost 12,000_l._ What could
induce government to build ships in England, where timber is so dear,
for the service of Canada? The policy of this “sending of coals to
Newcastle” is a mystery which could not be solved by the best informed
men in the Canadas. A sufficient number of mechanics to construct every
ship necessary for the lake-service, might have been sent out for
one-fourth of the expense incurred by the bare transportation of a
single frigate from Quebec to Kingston.

Lake Ontario, to which Kingston serves as a kind of entrance, is in
length 171 miles, in breadth 59, and in circumference 467. The depth of
the water varies very much, but is seldom less than three, or more than
50 fathoms, although, in the centre of the lake, soundings have been
made with a line of 350 fathoms without finding a bottom. It is often
visited with violent storms, which render its navigation peculiarly
dangerous; and though none except experienced seamen ought to be
entrusted with the management of the craft which sail upon its wide and
deceitful bosom, yet many have obtained the command of vessels who were
utterly ignorant of the science of navigation.

[Illustration: _Kingston—Lake Ontario._]

The waters of this lake, as well as those of Lakes Erie, Huron, and
Superior, rise to an unusual height in every thirty-five years. In 1816,
Ontario was seven feet higher than it is known to have been for upwards
of thirty years before that time. Does not this form a very interesting
subject for the speculations of the natural philosopher? While the
waters of these lakes never rise or fall more than eight or ten inches
above or below their usual height, excepting at these stated periods,
what cause can be assigned for the production of such a body of water as
is sufficient to effect this extraordinary change?

Between Kingston and York there are two or three very small villages,
the largest of which is Belleville, containing at present about 150

York (Toronto) is the seat of government for Upper Canada, and is
situated on the north side of Lake Ontario. Its harbour, which is a very
extensive one, is formed by a long narrow peninsula, commonly called
Gibraltar Point. Though it is the capital of an extensive colony, it
would, as it stands at this time, be considered in Europe but a village.
Its defenceless situation, which cannot be much improved, renders it of
little importance in time of war. It was captured by the Americans on
the 27th of April, 1813. They had not, however, held possession of it
many days when they evacuated it, having first destroyed all the public

[Illustration: _Coburg._]

The garrison is about a mile west of the town, and consists of a barrack
for the troops, a residence for the commanding officer, a battery and
two blockhouses, which are intended for the protection of the harbour.
In the year 1793 there was only one wigwam on the present site of the
town. It now contains 1,336 inhabitants, and about 250 houses, many of
which exhibit a very neat appearance. The parliament-house, erected
lately, is a large and convenient brick building, finished off in the
plainest possible manner. The house in which the Lieut.-Governor resides
is built of wood, and though by no means contemptible, is much inferior
to some private houses in the town. Many of the law and government
officers have very elegant seats in and about the town; and, with few
exceptions, they are built of wood, and assume a most inviting aspect.

The streets of the capital are regularly laid out, intersecting each
other at right angles. Only one of them, however, is yet completely
built; and, in wet weather, the unfinished streets are, if possible,
muddier and dirtier than those of Kingston. The situation of the town is
very unhealthy, for it stands on a piece of low marshy land, which is
better calculated for a frog-pond, or beaver meadow, than for the
residence of human beings. The inhabitants are, on this account, much
subject, particularly in spring and autumn, to agues and intermittent
fevers; and, probably, five-sevenths of the people are annually
afflicted with these complaints. He who first fixed upon this spot as
the site of the capital of Upper Canada, whatever predilection he may
have had for the roaring of frogs, or for the effluvia arising from
stagnated waters and putrid vegetables, can certainly have had no very
great regard for preserving the lives of his Majesty’s subjects. The
town possesses one great advantage, however, which is that of a good
though defenceless harbour.

When we arrived at York, my father waited on the Lieut.-Governor, and
handed him the order for land which we had received from Earl Bathurst.
His Excellency told him that he might select his land from any township
in the Province at that time open for location; but assured him, that as
he himself had been only a short time in the country, it was out of his
power to recommend any particular division to his notice. He then
referred my father to the Surveyor-General, and also gave him a letter
of introduction to that officer, directing him to afford us such
information as might be required. We called upon the Surveyor-General
accordingly, but obtained very little satisfactory intelligence.

A short time afterwards, my father met with Col. Thomas Talbot, who came
to Canada about thirty years before, an officer, if I mistake not, in
the fifth regiment of foot. During the period of his being stationed
here, he became so much attached to the woods and wilds, that, on his
return home, he felt half dissatisfied with his native country. He,
therefore, sold his commission, and obtained a grant of 100,000 acres of
land, under the condition that he should place a settler upon every 200
acres. He selected an extensive tract on the northern borders of Lake
Erie, about 150 miles S.W. of Toronto. In the year 1802, when there was
not a single christian habitation within forty miles of his own estate,
the Colonel commenced a settlement under the most discouraging and
inauspicious circumstances imaginable. He called his domain Port Talbot,
and, in eight or ten years, saw a thriving settlement gradually rise up
around him. But he has not yet been able to fulfil his engagement with
the government; nor is it likely that he will, if he continue to
estimate his land at its present price—three dollars per acre for 150
acres, and 50 acres gratis.

The Colonel is one of the most eccentric characters on the whole
continent. He not only lives a life of cheerless celibacy, but enjoys no
human society whatever. So great was his aversion to the fair sex, that,
for many years after his arrival at Port Talbot, he refused to hire a
female servant, but milked his own cows, made his own butter, and
performed every other function of kitchen-maid, house-maid, cook, and
dairy-woman. Is it not rather strange that a British officer, of such
high rank in the army, and respectable connexions in civil life, should
be induced to settle in the pathless wilderness, where he is totally
excluded from society, unless he should associate with a class of people
whom he considers entirely beneath him, and with whom he has never yet
in any respect confederated? Being a member of the legislative council
of Upper Canada, he goes to York once or twice in the year. These
visits, and an occasional one to England, at intervals of five or six
years, serve to rub off the rust contracted in his lonely cottage, and
to remind him that the world is still as merry as it was when he figured
in its gayest circles.

From the Colonel’s extensive knowledge of the country, my father
considered him to be well qualified for giving advice with respect to
the choice of a settlement. He, therefore, made him acquainted with our
circumstances and want of information. The Colonel mentioned several
settlements as eligible, but particularly recommended the township of
London, a tract of land surveyed many years ago by order of General
Simcoe, the first Lieut.-General of Upper Canada. It was, therefore,
agreed that we should immediately proceed to London; and, on the 11th of
September, our whole party set off for Niagara on board the same
schooner that brought us from Prescott.

Weary of travelling by water, I separated from the party at York, and
proceeded by land to Port Talbot, where I agreed to join them. The road
from York to Port Talbot, for the first fifty miles, runs nearly in a
south-west course, through a thickly settled country, the soil of which
is light and sandy, and therefore not susceptible of any great
improvement. Several small rivers, whose banks are very high, and nearly
perpendicular, intersect this part of the country, and render travelling
an undertaking of difficult and dangerous performance. Horses, in
ascending and descending these steep banks, frequently fall, and are
sometimes dashed to pieces, in spite of the best exertions of their
drivers. From the head of Lake Ontario to the Grand River Ouse, the
river takes a western direction, and thence to the township of Woodhouse
its inclination is southern, but from Woodhouse to Port Talbot it
preserves a south-western course.

On the banks of the Grand River Ouse, twenty-one miles from Dundas, I
passed through several villages inhabited by the Six Nations of Indians.
These villages, which, from their proximity to each other, appear to be
comprised in one settlement, are composed of about 200 houses, which
contain nearly 1,500 inhabitants. The land upon which they reside is
some of the most fertile in the whole province. It was given to the
Indians of the Five Nations, who have since admitted another nation to
participate in all their rights and immunities, immediately after the
revolutionary war, as a compensation for lands which they had forfeited
in the United States by their adherence to Great Britain. Six miles on
each side of the river, from its source to its mouth, originally
composed this grant; but they have since sold several townships to
different individuals. Still, however, they retain a quantity of land
sufficient, under proper cultivation, for the maintenance of half a
million of people. In one of the Indian villages a neat church has been
erected at the expense of government. It is greatly superior in
workmanship, as well as in size, to many of the parish churches in Great
Britain. The pulpit is situated at the upper extremity of the aisle, and
is surmounted with the royal arms of England, executed in bas-relief.

A clergyman of the Established Church occasionally performs divine
service in the church; and when he is absent, his place in the pulpit is
supplied by an Indian, whom his countrymen dignify with the title of
“Dr. John.” This worthy divine, in the absence of the English clergyman,
affords his brethren a specimen of his oratorical abilities; but it is
very evident that the gospel has not yet obtained much influence in the
hearts of these Indians, or in that of the native preacher. It cannot,
therefore, be supposed to exercise any great control over their conduct.

As I happened to be at this village on the sabbath, and felt curious to
see uncivilised men engaged in the worship of the Deity, I called upon
Dr. John, and requested to know if there would be any service in the
forenoon. He had little the appearance of a minister of that gospel, the
principle of which is—“Peace upon earth, and good will towards men,”
for he was busily engaged in whetting a tomahawk, and replied to my
question with the utmost indifference: “I meant,” said he, “to have had
a meeting to-day, but I lost my spectacles in a frolic last night, and
cannot, therefore, preach again till Mr. Smith (a neighbouring
shopkeeper) gets his goods from Montreal.”

After crossing the Grand River, the road for many miles has a very
delightful aspect. On each side of the road, extensive plains, thinly
planted, apparently, by the hand of man, spread further than the eye can
reach, and afford a pleasant contrast to the sombre gloom which hangs,
like the shadow of darkness, over the greater part of this extensive
continent. These plains are almost wholly uninhabited, although
possessed of many superior advantages. But the want of timber and water
for domestic purposes, and the inferiority of the soil, which is light
and sandy, render them of little comparative value. To the traveller
alone, wearied with his wanderings through interminable forests, these
beautiful plantations and flower-covered fields afford an exhilarating
prospect. Towards Long Point, in the neighbourhood of which there are
also similar extensive plains, the country on each side of the road is
tolerably well settled; but the houses of public entertainment afford
the most wretched accommodations, and exhibit an appearance, both inside
and out, which by no means induces one to form a favourable opinion of
Canadian hostelries.

I reached Port Talbot on the 15th of September, and found that my
friends had not arrived. As I was sitting a while after in a tavern
contiguous to the river, and I expected to have met with my father and
his family, a lady and gentleman rode up to the door. When the lady
entered, I handed her a seat. The gentleman next appeared, and, on
seating himself, inquired, as is customary in the country, whether I was
travelling east or west. I told him that I had already explored as much
of the western country as I then intended; and added, that, during the
last four months, I had travelled from within seven degrees of the
Observatory at Greenwich, and that it was not my design to go farther
into the country until I had seen my friends, whom I daily expected from
the east, safely and comfortably settled a few miles farther to the
northward. This topographical reply a little surprised them, for it was
too general, and did not descend to such _minutiæ_ as is usually

[Illustration: _Light-tower, near Coburg._
 (Lake Ontario.)]

The lady, who appeared a good deal embarrassed, or rather in a state of
mental anxiety, said, with much apparent concern, “Alas, Sir, I fear
your friends in America are few, and your hope of seeing them
comfortably settled, like most worldly hopes, vain and unfeasible.” I
conjured her to explain herself; and, after some hesitation, she
reluctantly complied, for her exclamation had undoubtedly been
involuntary:—“You are not altogether friendless! You have at least _one
brother_! I saw him a few hours ago, in health, but unhappy. He is
travelling in this direction, and will be with you in a few hours.” With
this expression on her lips, she rose from her seat, and retired hastily
to an adjoining apartment, where, addressing the landlady, she
continued—“About eight o’clock this morning we overtook a number of
young men, all Europeans, among whom was a gentleman, evidently the
brother of this young man. They are the only surviving passengers of a
large party belonging to the Fort Erie schooner, which was wrecked a few
nights ago on the United States’ shore.” I heard this with undefinable
emotions, and, rushing into the apartment, in which the lady was still
conversing with the hostess, entreated her to tell me all she knew of
the melancholy catastrophe. She said, “About three o’clock on the
evening of the 19th of September, I saw your friends embark at Fort Erie
for Port Talbot, on board a large schooner; and from the great number of
passengers who embarked, and the indifferent quality of the vessel, the
people of Fort Erie entertained serious apprehensions for the safety of
the travellers—the weather being very boisterous, and the captain of
the schooner an inefficient and inexperienced man. In a few days
afterwards news arrived at Fort Erie that the vessel had been wrecked on
the morning of the 21st, on the shore of the United States; and that the
few young men who survived were taken up by a New York schooner, and
landed in Canada.”

On hearing this awful intelligence, I immediately set off to meet my
brother and his companions. Before I had proceeded more than half a
dozen miles I met the whole party; and judged from their countenances
that the information I had received was not exactly correct. I told them
what I had heard, and desired to know whether or not I had been
misinformed. My brother replied, that my information was in the main
correct; that they had indeed been shipwrecked, but that no lives had
been lost, except that of a Mrs. Lewis, who had died in consequence of
severe cold and fatigue. I was also further given to understand that my
father and his family were all well and safe, and in the United States,
waiting only a vessel to bring them over to the shores of Canada. It is
impossible to describe the sudden transition of my feelings on hearing
these joyful tidings. A few moments before I had the strongest grounds
for believing that my nearest relations were lodged in a cold and watery
grave; but now I could indulge in the joyful anticipation of meeting
them once more, restored, as it were, to life. In about a fortnight
after this they all arrived at Port Talbot, after having experienced
much kindness from the inhabitants of the State of New York during their
continuance among them.

In the latter part of October, my father removed his family from Port
Talbot to Westminster, where he procured lodgings for them until a house
was erected on his own lands. The township of Westminster is separated
from that of Port Talbot only by the river Thames. London is situated
about 24 miles north of Lake Erie. On the 1st of November, 1818, it was
entirely unsettled, and its surface studded with the various trees which
are to be found in Canada. The land is considered, if not superior to
every township hitherto opened for location, at least inferior to none
in the whole province. The township forms a square, and is divided into
16 concessions, in each of which are 6,400 acres. These concessions are
subdivided into lots of 200 acres, of which there are 32 in each.
Between every two concessions there are 66 feet set apart for roads,
which are called concession lines. These, together with seven side roads
of equal width, which intersect them at right angles, and are
equi-distant from each other, comprise all the public roads in a

On the 26th of October, my brother and I, with six men carrying
provisions and felling-axes, took our departure from Westminster; and,
having hired a guide, proceeded into London, to fix upon the most
desirable lot for the erection of a house. 1,200 acres were assigned to
my father for his own demesne, if I may so call it. We had, therefore, a
large tract of land to explore before we could decide on the most
eligible site. After spending the greater part of the day in approving
and disapproving of particular lots, we unanimously determined on making
the second lot in the sixth concession the future asylum of our exiled

When we had agreed on this point, our next consideration was to procure
shelter for the night; for we were upwards of nine miles from the abodes
of civilised beings, and in the midst of desolate wilds,—

        “Where beasts with men divided empire claim,
        And the brown Indian marks with murd’rous aim.”

After walking about for some time in quest of a suitable place for
making a fire, we discovered an old Indian wigwam, deserted by its
inhabitants. In this little hut we resolved to continue during the
night; and, having a tinder-box, with all the other necessary materials,
we speedily lighted an excellent fire. After we had taken supper on the
trunk of a tree, we lay down to rest, each rolling himself up in a
blanket, and each in his turn supplying fuel to the fire. Thus did we
pass the first night on our American estate.

In the morning, about sunrise, we were suddenly awakened by the howling
of a pack of wolves, which were in full cry after an unfortunate deer.
The howl of these ferocious animals so nearly resembles the cry of
fox-dogs, that, when I awoke and heard it, I fancied myself in the midst
of the sporting woods of Erin. But the delusion was not of long
continuance, for I speedily discovered, that, instead of being in my
native land,—

        ”Where the tints of the earth, and the hue of the sky,
        In colour though varied, in beauty may vie,”

I was in the midst of a dreary and monotonous wilderness.

To increase our consternation, or, at least, to direct it into another
channel, the horses, which we brought with us to carry our bed-clothes
and provisions, had broken from their tethers during the night, and
consumed every ounce of our bread!—

        “Calm is my soul, nor apt to rise in arms,
        Except when fast approaching danger warns.”

And yet I was on this occasion sufficiently provoked to revenge our loss
on the sides of the ill-natured brutes. We had brought our provender,
with the utmost difficulty, a distance of nearly twelve miles through
woods and swamps; and then to be deprived of it in this way, was too
much for a man of the firmest philosophy to bear without impatience. We
should have been under the disagreeable necessity of dispensing with our
breakfast, if we had not had the consideration to bring some potatoes
with us, which, happily, under the circumstances, are not so well suited
to the appetite of an American horse as they are to the palate of an

We continued encamped in the woods from the 26th of October until the
1st of December. During this period, we laid the foundation of a house
46 feet long, and 21 feet wide; one half of which we finished first, for
the accommodation of the family, who removed into it on the 2d of
December—five months and nineteen days after our embarkation for
America. During the thirty-five days which we spent in the woods,
previous to the arrival of the family, our only lodging was the
miserable wigwam, which had a hundred holes in its roof, through which,
when lying awake at night, we could easily note every remarkable star
that passed the meridian. Our only bed was composed of withered leaves,

        “A log contriv’d a double debt to pay—
        By night a pillow, and a seat by day.”

These are only slight specimens of the hardships which must be
encountered by those who settle in a wilderness; and yet, no small
degree of fortitude is requisite to support the mind of him who is
obliged to submit to them. It is a grievance of no inconsiderable
magnitude to be compelled, after a day of severe labour, to stretch
one’s weary limbs on the bare ground in the cold month of November, and
to be protected from the fierce north wind, and from the chilling frost,
only by a miserable hut, with a fire sufficiently near it to counteract,
in some degree, their benumbing effects.

But the hope of independence is sufficient to sustain the mind under
privations still greater than these; and he who can bring himself to
think, when lying down to rest on the bare earth, that the day is not
far distant when he may happily repose on a more inviting couch, without
one anxious thought respecting the future prospects of himself and his
family, regards these transient sufferings with a kind of feeling nearly
allied to actual pleasure. He sees the time fast approaching when the
wilderness to him shall be ‘a fruitful field, and the desert shall
blossom as the rose;’ when the productive soil shall gratefully yield an
ample reward to his toils; and when the hardships of his situation
shall, by the blessing of Heaven on his exertions, gradually disappear,
and leave him in possession of health, plenty, and independence. While
indulging in such joyful and ecstatic visions, the wooden pillow of a
new and industrious settler becomes softer than bolsters of down, and
his solitary blanket feels more comfortable than sheets of Holland.

                 *        *        *        *        *

We have presented the views of almost every class of observers on this
interesting country; but there yet remains unquoted an observer of the
difficulties, toils, and trials to which woman is subjected in Canada;
and from her admirable, graphic, and womanly record we make large
extracts. The book is the “Backwoods of Canada,” and the authoress the
wife of an emigrant officer.

“It is now settled that we abide here till after the government sale has
taken place. We are, then, to remain with —— and his family till we
have got a few acres chopped, and a log-house put up on our own land.
Having determined to go at once into the bush, on account of our
military grant, which we have been so fortunate as to draw in the
neighbourhood of S——, we have fully made up our minds to enter at
once, and cheerfully, on the privations and inconveniences attending
such a situation, as there is no choice between relinquishing that great
advantage and doing our settlement duties. We shall not be worse off
than others who have gone before us to the unsettled townships, many of
whom, naval and military officers with their families, have had to
struggle with considerable difficulties, but who are now beginning to
feel the advantages arising from their exertions.

“In addition to the land he is entitled to as an officer in the British
service, my husband is in treaty for the purchase of an eligible lot by
Small Lakes. This will give us a water frontage, and a further
inducement to bring us within a little distance of S——; so that we
shall not be quite so lonely as if we had gone on to our government lot
at once.”

We have experienced some attention and hospitality from several of the
residents at Peterborough. There is a very genteel society, chiefly
composed of officers and their families, besides the professional men
and storekeepers. Many of the latter are persons of respectable family
and good education. Though a store is, in fact, nothing better than what
we should call in the country towns at home a “_general shop_,” yet the
storekeeper in Canada holds a very different rank from the storekeeper
of the English village. The storekeepers are the merchants and bankers
of the places in which they reside. Almost all money matters are
transacted by them; and they are often men of landed property and
consequence, not unfrequently filling the situations of magistrates,
commissioners, and even members of the provincial parliament.

As they maintain a rank in society which entitles them to equality with
the aristocracy of the country, you must not be surprised when I tell
you that it is no uncommon circumstance to see the sons of naval and
military officers and clergymen standing behind a counter, or wielding
an axe in the woods with their fathers’ choppers; nor do they lose their
grade in society by such employment. After all, it is education and
manners that must distinguish the gentleman in this country, seeing that
the labouring man, if he is diligent and industrious, may soon become
his equal in point of worldly possessions. The ignorant man, let him be
ever so wealthy, can never be equal to the man of education. It is the
mind that forms the distinction between the classes in this country.
“Knowledge is power!”

We had heard so much of the odious manners of the Yankees in this
country, that I was rather agreeably surprised by the few specimens of
native Americans that I have seen. They were, for the most part, polite,
well-behaved people. The only peculiarities I observed in them were a
certain nasal twang in speaking, and some few odd phrases; but these
were only used by the lower class, who “_guess_,” and “_calculate_,” a
little more than we do. One of their most remarkable terms is to
“_Fix_.” Whatever work requires to be done, it must be _fixed_. “Fix the
room,” is, set it in order. “Fix the table,”—“Fix the fire,”—says the
mistress to her servants; and the things are fixed accordingly.

I was amused one day by hearing a woman tell her husband the chimney
wanted fixing. I thought it seemed secure enough, and was a little
surprised when the man got a rope and a few cedar boughs, with which he
dislodged an accumulation of soot that caused the fire to smoke. The
chimney being _fixed_, all went right again. This odd term is not
confined to the lower orders alone; it becomes a standard word even
among the later emigrants from our country.

With the exception of some few remarkable expressions, and an attempt at
introducing fine words in their every-day conversation, the lower orders
of Yankees have a decided advantage over our English peasantry in the
use of grammatical language; they speak better English than you will
hear from persons of the same class in any part of England, Ireland, or
Scotland—a fact that we should be unwilling, I suppose, to allow at

If I were asked, what appeared to me the most striking feature in the
manners of the Americans that I had met with, I should say it was
coldness, approaching to apathy. I do not at all imagine them to be
deficient in feeling or real sensibility, but they do not suffer their
emotion to be seen. They are less profuse in their expressions of
welcome and kindness than we are, though probably quite as sincere. No
one doubts their hospitality; but, after all, one likes to see the
hearty shake of the hand, and hear the cordial word that makes one feel
oneself welcome.

Persons who come to this country are very apt to confound the old
settlers from Britain with the native Americans; and when they meet with
people of rude, offensive manners, using certain Yankee words in their
conversation, and making a display of independence, not exactly suitable
to their own aristocratical notions, they immediately suppose they must
be genuine Yankees, while they are, in fact, only imitators; and you
well know the fact, that a bad imitation is always worse than the

You would be surprised to see how soon the new comers fall into this
disagreeable manner and affectation of equality, especially the inferior
class of Irish and Scotch; the English less so. We were rather
entertained by the behaviour of a young Scotchman, the engineer of the
steamer, on my husband addressing him with regard to the management of
the engine. His manners were surly, and almost insolent. He scrupulously
avoided the least approach to courtesy or outward respect; nay, he even
went so far as to seat himself on the bench close beside me, and
observed, that, among the many advantages this country offered to
settlers like him, he did not reckon it the least of them, that he was
not obliged to take off his hat when he spoke to people, (meaning
persons of our degree,) or address them by any other title than their
name; besides, he could go and take his seat beside any gentleman, or
lady either, and think himself to the full as good as them.

“Very likely,” I replied, hardly able to refrain from laughing at this
sally; “but I doubt you greatly overrate the advantage of such
privileges, for you cannot oblige the lady or gentleman to entertain the
same opinion of your qualifications, or to remain seated beside you,
unless it pleases them to do so.” With these words I rose up and left
the independent gentleman, evidently a little confounded at the
manœuvre: however, he soon recovered his self-possession, and continued
swinging the axe he held in his hand, and said, “It is no crime, I
guess, being born a poor man.”

“None in the world,” replied my husband; “a man’s birth is not of his
own choosing. A man can no more help being born poor than rich; neither
is it the fault of a gentleman being born of parents who occupy a higher
station in society than his neighbour. I hope you will allow this?”

The Scotchman was obliged to yield a reluctant affirmative to the latter
position, but concluded with again repeating his satisfaction at not
being obliged in this country to take off his hat, or speak with respect
to gentlemen, as they styled themselves.

“No one, my friend, could have obliged you to be well-mannered at home
any more than in Canada. Surely you could have kept your hat on your
head, if you had been so disposed; no gentleman would have knocked it
off, I am sure. As to the boasted advantage of rude manners in Canada, I
should think something of it, if it benefited you in the least, or put
one extra dollar in your pocket; but I have my doubts if it has that
profitable effect.”

[Illustration: _Wellington, on Lake Ontario._
 (Fishing Nets.)]

“There is a comfort, I guess, in considering oneself equal to a

“Particularly if you could induce the gentleman to think the same.” This
was a point that seemed rather to disconcert our candidate for equality,
who commenced whistling and kicking his heels with redoubled energy.

“Now,” said his tormentor, “you have explained your notions of Canadian
independence, be so good as to explain the machinery of your engine,
with which you seem very well acquainted.”

The man eyed my husband for a minute, half sulking, half pleased with
the implied compliment on his skill, and, walking off to the engine,
discussed the management of it with considerable fluency, and from that
time treated us with perfect respect. He was evidently struck with my
husband’s reply to his question, put in a most discourteous tone, “Pray,
what makes a gentleman; I’ll thank you to answer me that?” “Good
manners, and good education,” was the reply. “A rich man, or a high-born
man, if he is rude, ill-mannered, and ignorant, is no more a gentleman
than yourself.”

This put the matter on a different footing; and the engineer had the
good sense to perceive that rude familiarity did not constitute a

But it is now time I should give you some account of Peterborough,
which, in point of situation, is superior to any place I have yet seen
in the Upper Province. It occupies a central point between the townships
of Monaghan, Smith, Cavan, Otanahee, and Douro: and may, with propriety,
be considered as the capital of the Newcastle District.

It is situated on a fine elevated plain, just above the small lake,
where the river is divided by two low wooded islets. The original or
government part of the town is laid out in half-acre lots; the streets,
which are now fast filling up, are nearly at right-angles with the
river, and extend towards the plains to the north-east. These plains
form a beautiful natural park, finely diversified with hill and dale,
covered with a lovely greensward, enamelled with a variety of the most
exquisite flowers, and planted, as if by Nature’s own hand, with groups
of feathery pines, oaks, balsams, poplars, and silver birch. The views
from these plains are delightful; whichever way you turn your eyes they
are gratified by a diversity of hill and dale, wood and water, with the
town spreading over a considerable tract of ground.

The plains descend with a steep declivity towards the river, which
rushes with considerable impetuosity between its banks. Fancy a long
narrow valley, and separating the east and west portions of the town
into two distinct villages.

The Otanahee bank rises to a loftier elevation than the Monaghan side,
and commands an extensive view over the intervening valley, the opposite
town, and the boundary forest and hills behind it: this is called
Peterborough East, and is in the hands of two or three individuals of
large capital, from whom the town lots are purchased.

Peterborough, thus divided, covers a great extent of ground, more than
sufficient for the formation of a large city. The number of inhabitants
is now reckoned at 700 and upwards; and if it continues to increase as
rapidly in the next few years as it has done lately, it will soon be a
very populous town.

There is great water-power, both as regards the river and the fine broad
creek which winds its way through the town, and falls into the small
lake below. There are several saw and grist-mills, a distillery,
fulling-mill, two principal inns, besides smaller ones, a number of good
stores, and a government school-house, which also serves for a church
till one more suitable should be built. The plains are sold off in pack
lots, and some pretty little dwellings are being built; but I much fear
the natural beauties of this lovely spot will be soon spoiled.

I am never weary with strolling about, climbing the hills in every
direction, to catch some new prospect, or gather some new flowers,
which, though getting late in the summer, are still abundant.

Among the plants with whose names I am acquainted, are a variety of
shrubby asters, of every tint of blue, purple, and pearly white; a lilac
_monarda_, most delightfully aromatic, even to the dry stalks and
seed-vessels; the white _gnaphalium_, or everlasting flower; roses of
several kinds, a few late buds of which I found in a valley near the
church. I also noticed among the shrubs a very pretty little plant,
resembling our box; it trails along the ground, sending up branches and
shoots; the leaves turn of a deep copper red, yet, in spite of this
contradiction, it is an evergreen. I also noticed some beautiful
lichens, with coral caps surmounting the grey hollow foot-stalks, which
grow in irregular tufts among the dry mosses; or more frequently I found
them covering the roots of the trees or half-decayed timbers. Among a
variety of fungi, I gathered a hollow cup, of the most splendid scarlet
within, and a pale fawn colour without; another very beautiful fungi
consisted of small branches, like clusters of white coral, but of so
delicate a texture, that the slightest touch caused them to break.

The ground in many places was covered with a thick carpet of
strawberries, of many varieties, which afford a constant dessert during
the season to those who choose to pick them,—a privilege of which I am
sure I should gladly avail myself were I near them in the summer.
Besides the plants I have myself observed in blossom, I am told the
spring and summer produce many others; the orange lily; the phlox, or
purple _lichnidea_; the mocassin flower, or lady’s slipper; lilies of
the valley in abundance; and, towards the banks of the creek and the
Otanahee, the splendid cardinal flower (_lobelia cardinalis_) waves its
scarlet spikes of blossoms.

I am half inclined ta be angry, when I admire the beauty of the Canadian
flowers, to be constantly reminded that they are scentless, and
therefore scarcely worthy of attention; as if the eye could not be
charmed by beauty of form and harmony of colours, independent of the
sense of smelling being gratified.

To redeem this country from the censure cast on it by a very clever
gentleman I once met in London, who said, “the flowers were without
perfume, and the birds without song,” I have already discovered several
highly aromatic plants and flowers. The milkweed must not be omitted
among these—a beautiful shrubby plant, with purple flowers, which are
alike remarkable for beauty of colour and richness of scent.

I consider this country opens a wide and fruitful field to the inquiries
of the botanist. I now deeply regret I did not benefit by the frequent
offers —— made me of prosecuting a study which I once thought dry, but
now regard as highly interesting, and the fertile source of mental
enjoyment, especially to those who, living in the bush, must necessarily
be shut out from the pleasures of a large circle of friends, and the
varieties that a town or village offer.

On Sunday I went to church; the first opportunity I had had of attending
public worship since I was in the highlands of Scotland; and surely I
had reason to bow my knees in thankfulness to that merciful God, who had
brought us through the perils of the great deep, and the horrors of the

Never did our beautiful Liturgy seem so touching and impressive as it
did that day,—offered up in our lowly log-built church in the

This simple edifice is situated at the foot of a gentle slope on the
plains, surrounded by groups of oaks and feathery pines, which, though
inferior in point of size to the huge pines and oaks of the forest, are
far more agreeable to our eye, branching out in a variety of fantastic
forms. The turf here is of an emerald greenness; in short, it is a sweet
spot, retired from the noise and bustle of the town, a fitting place in
which to worship God in spirit and in truth.

There are many beautiful walks towards the Smith-town hills, and along
the bank that overlooks the river. The summit of this ridge is sterile,
and is thickly set with loose blocks of red and grey granite,
interspersed with large masses of limestone scattered in every
direction; they are mostly smooth and rounded, as if by the action of
water. As they are detached, and merely occupy the surface of the
ground, it seems strange to me how they came at that elevation. A
geologist would doubtless be able to solve the mystery in a few minutes.
The oaks that grow on this high bank are rather larger and more
flourishing than those in the valleys and more fertile portions of the

Behind the town, in the direction of the Cavan and Emily roads, is a
wide space, which I call the “squatters’ ground,” it being entirely
covered with shanties, in which the poor emigrants, commuted pensioners,
and the like, have located themselves and families. Some remain here
under the ostensible reason of providing a shelter for their wives and
children, till they have prepared a home for their reception on their
respective grants; but not unfrequently it happens that they are too
indolent, or really unable to work on their lots, often situated many
miles in the backwoods, and in distant and unsettled townships,
presenting great obstacles to the poor emigrant, which it requires more
energy and courage to encounter than is possessed by a vast number of
them. Others, of idle and profligate habits, spend the money they
received, and sell the land, for which they gave away their pensions,
after which they remain miserable squatters in the shanty ground.

The shanty is a sort of primitive hut in Canadian architecture, and is
nothing more than a shed built of logs, the chinks between the round
edges of the timbers being filled with mud, moss, and bits of wood; the
roof is frequently composed of logs split and hollowed with the axe, and
placed side by side, so that the edges rest on each other; the concave
and convex surfaces being alternately uppermost, every other log forms a
channel to carry off the rain and melting snow. The eaves of this
building resemble the scalloped edges of a clam shell; but, rude as this
covering is, it effectually answers the purpose of keeping the interior
dry, far more so than the roofs formed of bark or boards, through which
the rain will find entrance. Sometimes the shanty has a window,
sometimes only an open doorway, which admits the light and lets out the
smoke. A rude chimney, which is often nothing better than an opening cut
in one of the top logs above the hearth, and a few boards fastened in a
square form, serves as the vent for the smoke; the only precaution
against the fire catching the log-walls behind the hearth being a few
large stones, placed in a half circular form, or more commonly a bank of
dry earth raised against the wall.

Nothing can be more comfortless than some of these rude shanties,
reeking with smoke and dirt, the common receptacle for children, pigs,
and fowls. But I have given you the dark side of the picture; I am happy
to say all the shanties on the squatters’ ground were not like these. On
the contrary, by far the larger proportion were inhabited by tidy folks,
and had one or even two small windows, and a clay chimney, regularly
built up through the roof; some were even roughly floored, and possessed
similar comforts with the small log-houses.

You will, perhaps, think it strange when I assure you that many
respectable settlers, with their wives and families, persons delicately
nurtured, and accustomed to every comfort before they came hither, have
been contented to inhabit a hut of this kind during the first or second
year of their settlement in the woods.

I have listened with feelings of great interest to the history of the
hardships endured by some of the first settlers in the neighbourhood,
when Peterborough contained but two dwelling-houses. Then there were
neither roads cut, nor boats built, for communicating with the distant
and settled parts of the district; consequently the difficulties of
procuring supplies of provisions was very great, beyond what any one who
has lately come hither can form any notion of.

When I heard of a whole family having had no better supply of flour than
what could be daily ground by a small hand-mill, and for weeks being
destitute of every necessary, not even excepting bread, I could not help
expressing some surprise, never having met with any account in the works
I had read concerning emigration that at all prepared one for such

“These particular trials,” observed my intelligent friend, “are confined
principally to the first breakers of the soil in the unsettled parts of
the country, as was our case. If you diligently question some of the
families of the lower class that are located far from the towns, and who
had little or no means to support them during the first twelve months,
till they could take a crop off the land, you will hear many sad tales
of distress.”

Writers on emigration do not take the trouble of searching out these
things, nor does it answer their purpose to state disagreeable facts.
Few have written exclusively on the “Bush.” Travellers generally make a
hasty journey through the long-settled and prosperous portions of the
country; they see a tract of fertile, well-cultivated land, the result
of many years of labour; they see comfortable dwellings, abounding with
all the substantial necessaries of life; the farmer’s wife makes her own
soap, candles, and sugar; the family are clothed in cloth of their own
spinning, and hose of their own knitting. The bread, the beer, butter,
cheese, meat, poultry, &c., are all the produce of the farm. He
concludes, therefore, that Canada is a land of Canaan, and writes a book
setting forth these advantages, with the addition of obtaining land for
a mere song; and advises all persons who would be independent, and
secure from want, to emigrate.

He forgets that these advantages are the result of long years of
unremitting and patient labour; that these things are the _crown_, not
the _first-fruits_ of the settler’s toil; and that, during the interval,
many and great privations must be submitted to by almost every class of

Many persons on first coming out, especially if they go back into any of
the unsettled townships, are dispirited by the unpromising appearance of
things about them. They find none of the advantages and comforts of
which they had heard and read, and they are unprepared for the present
difficulties; some give way to despondency, and others quit the place in

A little reflection would have shown them that every rood of land must
be cleared of the thick forest of timber that encumbers it before an ear
of wheat can be grown; that, after the trees have been chopped, cut into
lengths, drawn together, or _logged_, as we call it, and burned, the
field must be fenced, the sped sown, harvested, and thrashed, before any
returns con be obtained; that this requires time and much labour, and,
if hired labour, considerable outlay of ready money; and, in the mean
time, a family must eat. If at a distance from a store, every article
must be brought through bad roads, either by hand or with a team, the
hire of which is generally costly in proportion to the distance and
difficulty to be encountered in the conveyance. Now these things are
better known beforehand, and then people are aware what they have to

Even a labouring man, though he have land of his own, is often, I may
say generally, obliged to _hire out_ to work for the first year or two,
to earn sufficient for the maintenance of his family; and ever so many
of them suffer much privation before they reap the benefit of their
independence. Were it not for the hope and certain prospect of bettering
their condition ultimately, they would sink under what they have to
endure; but this thought buoys them up. They do not fear an old age of
want and pauperism; the present evils must yield to industry and
perseverance; they think also for their children; and the trials of the
present time are lost in pleasing anticipations for the future.

“Surely,” said I, “cows, and pigs, and poultry might be kept; and you
know where there is plenty of milk, butter, cheese, and eggs, with pork
and fowls, persons cannot be very badly off for food.”

“Very true,” replied my friend; “but I must tell you it is easier to
talk of these things at first than to keep them, unless on cleared or
partially cleared farms; but we are speaking of a _first_ settlement in
the backwoods. Cows, pigs, and fowls must eat; and if you have nothing
to give them unless you purchase it, and perhaps have to bring it from
some distance, you had better not be troubled with them, as the trouble
is certain, and the profit doubtful. A cow, it is true, will get her
living during the open months of the year in the bush, but sometimes she
will ramble away for days together, and then you lose the use of her,
and possibly much time in seeking her; then, in the winter, she requires
some additional food to the _browse_ that she gets during the chopping
season, or ten to one but she dies before spring; and as cows generally
lose their milk during the cold weather if not very well kept, it is
best to part with them in the fall, and buy again in the spring, unless
you have plenty of food for them, which is not often the case the first
winter. As to pigs, they are great plagues on a newly-cleared farm if
you cannot fat them off hand; and that you cannot do without you buy
food for them, which does not answer to do at first. If they run loose,
they are a terrible annoyance both to your own crops and your
neighbour’s, if you happen to be within half a mile of one, for though
you may fence out cattle you cannot pigs: even poultry require something
more than they pick up about the dwelling to be of any service to you,
and are often taken off by hawks, eagles, foxes, and pole-cats, till you
have proper securities for them.”

“Then how are we to spin our own wool, and make our own soap and
candles?” said I. “When you are able to kill your own sheep, and hogs,
and oxen, unless you buy wool and tallow.” Then, seeing me begin to look
somewhat disappointed, he said, “Be not cast down, you will have all
these things in time, and more than these, never fear, if you have
patience, and use the means of obtaining them. In the meanwhile prepare
your mind for many privations to which at present you are a stranger;
and if you would desire to see your husband happy and prosperous, be
content to use economy, and, above all, be cheerful. In a few years the
farm will supply you with all the necessaries of life, and by and by you
may even enjoy many of the luxuries. Then it is that a settler begins to
taste the real and solid advantages of his emigration; then he feels the
blessings of a country where there are no taxes, tithes, nor poor-rates;
then he truly feels the benefit of independence. It is looking forward
to this happy fulfilment of his desires that makes the rough paths
smooth, and lightens the burden of present ills. He looks round upon a
numerous family, without those anxious fears that beset a father in
moderate circumstances at home; for he knows he does not leave them
destitute of an honest means of support.”

In spite of all the trials he had encountered, I found this gentleman
was so much attached to a settler’s life, that he declared he would not
go back to his own country to reside for a permanence on any account;
nor is he the only one that I have heard express the same opinion; and
it likewise seems a universal one among the lower class of emigrants.
They are encouraged by the example of others, whom they see enjoying
comforts that they could never have obtained had they laboured ever so
hard at home; and they wisely reflect they must have had hardships to
endure had they remained in their native land, (many indeed had been
driven out by want,) without the most remote chance of bettering
themselves, or becoming the possessors of land free of all restrictions.
“What to us are the sufferings of one, two, three, or even four years,
compared with a whole life of labour and poverty?” was the remark of a
poor labourer, who was recounting to us the other day some of the
hardships he had met with in this country. He said, he “knew they were
only for a short time, and that by industry he should soon get over

I have already seen two of our poor neighbours that left the parish a
twelve-month ago; they are settled in Canada Company lots, and are
getting on well. They have some few acres cleared and cropped, but are
obliged to “_hire out_,” to enable their families to live, working on
their own land when they can. The men are in good spirits; and say,
“they shall in a few years have many comforts about them that they never
could have got at home, had they worked late and early; but they
complain that their wives are always pining for home, and lamenting that
ever they crossed the seas.” This seems to be the general complaint with
all classes; the women are discontented and unhappy. Few enter with
their whole heart into a settler’s life. They miss the little domestic
comforts they had been used to enjoy; they regret the friends and
relations they left in the old country; and they cannot endure the
loneliness of the backwoods.

This prospect does not discourage me; I know I shall find plenty of
occupation within doors, and I have sources of enjoyment when I walk
abroad that will keep me from being dull. Besides, have I not a right to
be cheerful and contented for the sake of my beloved partner? The change
is not greater for me than him; and if, for his sake, I have voluntarily
left home, and friends, and country, shall I therefore sadden him by
useless regrets? I am always inclined to subscribe to that sentiment of
my favourite poet, Goldsmith,—

        “Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,
        Our own felicity we make or find.”

But I shall very soon be put to the test, as we leave this town
to-morrow by ten o’clock. The purchase of the Lake lot is concluded.
There are three acres chopped, and a shanty up; but the shanty is not a
habitable dwelling, being merely an open shed that was put up by the
choppers as a temporary shelter; so we shall have to build a house. Late
enough we are; too late to get in a full crop, as the land is merely
chopped, not cleared; and it is too late now to log and burn the fallow,
and get the seed-wheat in; but it will be ready for spring crops. We
paid five dollars and a half per acre for the lot; this was rather high
for wild land, so far from a town, and in a scantily-settled part of the
township; but the situation is good, and has a water-frontage, for which
my husband was willing to pay something more than if the lot had been
further inland.   *   *   *   *

I shall begin my letter with a description of our journey through the
bush, and so go on, giving an account of our proceedings, both within
doors and without. I know my little domestic details will not prove
wholly uninteresting to you; for well I am assured that a mother’s eye
is never weary with reading lines traced by the hand of an absent and
beloved child.

After some difficulty, we succeeded in hiring a waggon and span (_i. e._
pair a-breast) of stout horses, to convey us and our luggage through the
woods to the banks of one of the lakes, where——had appointed to ferry
us across. There was no palpable road, only a blaze on the other side,
encumbered by fallen trees, and interrupted by a great cedar swamp, into
which one might sink up to one’s knees, unless we took the precaution to
step along the trunks of the mossy, decaying timbers, or make our
footing sure on some friendly block of granite or limestone. What is
termed in bush language a _blaze_, is nothing more than notches or
slices cut off the back of the trees, to mark out the line of road. The
boundaries of the different lots are often marked by a blazed tree, also
the concession-lines.[1] These blazes are of as much use as finger-posts
of a dark night.

The road we were compelled to take lay over the Peterborough plains, in
the direction of the river; the scenery of which pleased me much, though
it presented little appearance of fertility, with the exception of two
or three extensive clearings.

About three miles above Peterborough the road winds along the brow of a
steep ridge, the bottom of which has every appearance of having been
formerly the bed of a lateral branch of the present river, or perhaps
some small lake, which has been diverted from its channel, and merged
into the Otanabee.

On either side of this ridge there is a steep descent; on the right, the
Otanabee breaks upon you, rushing with great velocity over its rocky
bed, forming rapids in miniature, resembling those of the St. Lawrence;
its dark frowning woods of sombre pine give a grandeur to the scene
which is very impressive. On the left lies below you a sweet secluded
dell of evergreens, cedar, hemlock, and pine, enlivened by a few
deciduous trees. Through this dell there is a road-track, leading to a
fine cleared farm, the green pastures of which were rendered more
pleasing by the absence of the odious stumps that disfigure the
clearings in this part of the country. A pretty bright stream flows
through the low meadow that lies at the foot of the hill, which you
descend suddenly close by a small grist-mill that is worked by the
waters, just where they meet the rapids of the river.

I called this place “Glen Morrison,” partly from the remembrance of the
lovely Glen Morrison of the Highlands, and partly because it was the
name of the settler that owned the spot.

Our progress was but slow, on account of the roughness of the road,
which is beset with innumerable obstacles, in the shape of loose blocks
of granite and limestone, with which the lands on the banks of the river
and lakes abound; to say nothing of fallen trees, big roots, mud-holes,
and corduroy bridges, over which you go jolt, jolt, jolt, till every
bone in your body feels as if it were going to be dislocated. An
experienced bush-traveller avoids many hard thumps by rising up or
clinging to the sides of his rough vehicle.

As the day was particularly fine I often quitted the waggon, and walked
on with my husband for a mile or two.

We soon lost sight entirely of the river, and struck into the deep
solitude of the forest, where not a sound disturbed the almost awful
stillness that reigned around us. Scarcely a leaf or bough was in
motion, excepting at intervals we caught the sound of the breeze
stirring the lofty heads of the pine-trees, and wakening a hoarse and
mournful cadence. This, with the tapping of the red-headed and grey
woodpeckers on the trunks of the decaying trees, or the shrill whistling
cry of the little striped squirrel, called by the natives ‘chitmunk,’
was every sound that broke the stillness of the wild. Nor was I less
surprised at the absence of animal life. With the exception of the
aforesaid chitmunk, no living thing crossed our path during our long
day’s journey in the woods.

In these vast solitudes one would naturally be led to imagine that the
absence of man would have allowed nature’s wild denizens to have
abounded free and unmolested; but the contrary seems to be the case.
Almost all wild animals are more abundant in the cleared districts than
in the bush. Man’s industry supplies their wants at an easier rate than
seeking a scanty subsistence in the forest.

You hear continually of depredations committed by wolves, bears,
racoons, lynxes, and foxes, in the long-settled parts of the province.
In the backwoods the appearance of wild beasts is a matter of much rarer

I was disappointed in the forest trees, having pictured to myself hoary
giants, almost primeval with the country itself, as greatly exceeding in
majesty of form the trees of my native isles, as the vast lakes and
mighty rivers of Canada exceed the locks and streams of Britain.

There is a want of picturesque beauty in the woods. The young growth of
timber alone has any pretension to elegance of form, unless I except the
hemlocks, which are extremely light and graceful, and of a lovely
refreshing tint of green. Even when winter has stripped the forest, it
is still beautiful and verdant. The young beeches, too, are pretty
enough, but you miss that fantastic bowery shade that is so delightful
in our parks and woodlands at home.

There is no appearance of venerable antiquity in the Canadian woods.
There are no ancient spreading oaks, that might be called the patriarchs
of the forest. A premature decay seems to be their doom. They are
uprooted by the storm, and sink in their first maturity, to give place
to a new generation that is ready to fill their places.

The pines are certainly the finest trees. In point of size there are
none to surpass them. They tower above all the others, forming a dark
line that may be distinguished for many miles. The pines being so much
loftier than the other trees, are sooner uprooted, as they receive the
full and unbroken force of the wind in their tops; thus it is that the
ground is continually strewn with the decaying trunks of huge pines.
They also seem more liable to inward decay, and blasting from lightning,
and fire. Dead pines are more frequently met with than any other tree.

Much as I had seen and heard of the badness of the roads in Canada, I
was not prepared for such a one as we travelled along this day; indeed,
it hardly deserved the name of a road, being little more than an opening
hewed out through the woods, the trees being felled and drawn aside, so
as to admit a wheeled carriage passing along. The swamps and little
forest streams, that occasionally gush across the path, are rendered
passable by logs placed side by side. From the ridgy and striped
appearance of these bridges, they are aptly enough termed corduroy.

Over these abominable corduroys the vehicle jolts, jumping from log to
log, with a shock that must be endured with as good a grace as possible.
If you could bear these knocks, and pitiless thumpings and bumpings,
without wry faces, your patience and philosophy would far exceed
mine;—sometimes I laughed because I would not cry.

Imagine you see me perched upon a seat composed of carpet-bags, trunks,
and sundry packages, in a vehicle little better than a great rough deal
box set on wheels, the sides being merely pegged in, so that more than
once I found myself in rather an awkward predicament, owing to the said
sides jumping out. In the very midst of a deep mud-hole out went the
front board, and with the shock went the teamster (driver), who looked
rather confounded at finding himself lodged in a slough as bad as the
“Slough of Despond.” For my part, as I could do no good, I kept my seat,
and patiently awaited the restoration to order. This was soon effected,
and all went on well again, till a jolt against a huge pine-tree gave
such a jar to the ill-set vehicle, that one of the boards danced out
that composed the bottom, and a sack of flour, and a bag of salted pork,
which was on its way to a settler’s whose clearing we had to pass in the
way, were ejected. A good teamster is seldom taken aback by such trifles
as these.

He is, or should be, provided with an axe. No waggon, team, or any other
travelling equipage, should be unprovided with an instrument of this
kind, as no one can answer for the obstacles that may impede his
progress in the bush. The disasters we met fortunately required but
little skill in remedying. The sides need only a stout peg, and the
loosened planks that form the bottom being quickly replaced, away you go
again over root, stump, and stone, mud-hole, and corduroy; now against
the trunk of some standing tree, now mounting over some fallen one, with
an impulse that would annihilate any lighter equipage than a Canadian
waggon, which is admirably fitted by its very roughness for such roads
as we have in the bush.

The sagacity of the horses in this country is truly admirable. Their
patience in surmounting the difficulties they have to encounter, their
skill in avoiding the holes and stones, and in making their footing sure
over the round and slippery timbers of the log bridges, renders them
very valuable. If they want the spirit and fleetness of some of our
high-bred blood horses, they make up in gentleness, strength, and
patience. This renders them most truly valuable, as they will travel in
such places that no British horse would, with equal safety to their
drivers. Nor are the Canadian horses, when well fed and groomed, at all
deficient in beauty of colour, size, or form. They are not very often
used in logging; the ox is preferred in all rough and heavy labour of
this kind.

Just as the increasing gloom of the forest began to warn us of the
approach of evening, and I was getting weary and hungry, our driver, in
some confusion, avowed his belief that, somehow or other, he had missed
the track, though how he could not tell, seeing there was but one road.
We were nearly two miles from the last settlement, and he said we ought
to be within sight of the lake if we were on the right road. The only
plan, we agreed, was for him to go forward and leave the team, and
endeavour to ascertain if he were near the water; and, if otherwise, to
return to the house we had passed, and inquire the way.

After running full half a mile a-head, he returned with a dejected
countenance, saying we must be wrong, for he saw no appearance of water;
and the road we were on appeared to end in a cedar swamp, as the further
he went the thicker the hemlocks and cedars became; so, as we had no
desire to commence our settlement by a night’s lodging in a
swamp,—where, to use the expression of our driver, the cedars grew as
thick as hairs on a cat’s back, we agreed to retrace our steps.

After some difficulty the lumbering machine was turned, and slowly we
began our backward march. We had not gone more than a mile, when a boy
came along, who told us we might just go back again, as there was no
other road to the lake; and added, with a knowing nod of his head,
“Master, I guess if you had known the bush as well as I, you would never
have been _fule_ enough to turn when you were going just right. Why, any
body knows that _them_ cedars and hemlocks grow thickest near the water;
so you may just go back for your pains.”

It was dark, save that the stars came forth with more than usual
brilliancy, when we suddenly emerged from the gloomy forest to the
shores of a beautiful little lake, that gleamed the more brightly from
the contrast of the dark masses of foliage that hung over it, and the
towering pine-woods that girt its banks.

Here, seated on a huge block of limestone, which was covered with a soft
cushion of moss, beneath the shade of the cedars that skirt the lake,
surrounded with trunks, boxes, and packages of various descriptions,
which the driver had hastily thrown from the waggon, sat your child, in
anxious expectation of some answering voice to my husband’s long and
repeated holloa.

But when the echo of his voice had died away, we heard only the gurgling
of the waters at the head of the rapids, and the distant and hoarse
murmur of a waterfall some half mile below them.

We could see no sign of any habitation, no gleam of light from the shore
to cheer us. In vain we strained our ears for the plash of the oar, or
welcome sound of the human voice, or bark of some household dog, that
might assure us we were not doomed to pass the night in the lone wood.

We began now to apprehend we had really lost the way. To attempt
returning through the deepening darkness of the forest in search of any
one to guide us was quite out of the question, the road being so ill
defined that we should soon have been lost in the mazes of the woods.
The last sound of the waggon wheels had died away in the distance, and
to have overtaken it would have been impossible. Bidding me remain
quietly where I was, my husband forced his way through the tangled
underwood along the bank, in hope of discovering some sign of the house
we sought, which we had every reason to suppose must be near, though
probably hidden by the dense mass of trees from our sight.

As I sat in the wood, in silence and in darkness, my thoughts gradually
wandered back across the Atlantic to my dear mother, and to my old home;
and I thought, what would have been your feelings, could you at that
moment have beheld me as I sat on the cold mossy stone, in the profound
stillness of that vast leafy wilderness, thousands of miles from all
those holy ties of kindred and early associations that make home in all
countries a hallowed spot. It was a moment to press upon my mind the
importance of the step I had taken, in voluntarily sharing the lot of
the emigrant,—in leaving the land of my birth, to which, in all
probability, I might never again return. Great as was the
sacrifice,—even at that moment, strange as was my situation,—I felt no
painful regret or fearful misgiving depress my mind. A holy and tranquil
peace came down upon me, soothing and softening my spirits into a
calmness that seemed as unruffled as was the bosom of the water that lay
stretched before my feet.

My reverie was broken by the light plash of a paddle, and a bright line
of light showed a canoe dancing over the lake; in a few minutes a
well-known and friendly voice greeted me as the little bark was moored
among the cedars at my feet. My husband having gained a projecting angle
of the shore, had discovered the welcome blaze of the wood fire in the
log-house; and, after some difficulty, had succeeded in rousing the
attention of its inhabitants. Our coming that day had long been given
up, and our first call had been mistaken for the sound of the ox-bells
in the wood; this had caused the delay that had so embarrassed us.

We soon forgot our weary wanderings beside the bright fire that blazed
on the hearth of the log-house, in which we found S—— comfortably
domiciled with his wife. To the lady I was duly introduced; and in spite
of all remonstrances from the affectionate and careful mother, three
fair sleeping children were successively handed out of their cribs to be
shown me by the proud and delighted father.

Our welcome was given with that unaffected cordiality that is so
grateful to the heart; it was as sincere as it was kind. All means were
adopted to soften the roughness of our accommodations; which, if they
lacked that elegance and convenience to which we had been accustomed in
England, were not devoid of rustic comfort; at all events, they were
such as many settlers of the first respectability have been glad to
content themselves with, and many have not been half so well lodged as
we are now.

We may, indeed, consider ourselves fortunate in not being obliged to go
at once into the rude shanty that I described to you as the only
habitation on our land. This test of our fortitude was kindly spared us
by S——, who insisted on our remaining beneath his hospitable roof till
such time as we should have put up a house on our own lot. Here, then,
we are for the present _fixed_, as the Canadians say; and if I miss many
of the little comforts and luxuries of life, I enjoy excellent health
and spirits, and am very happy in the society of those around me.

The children are already very fond of me. They have discovered my
passion for flowers, which they diligently search for among the stumps,
and along the lakeshore. I have begun collecting, and though the season
is far advanced, my _hortus_ _siccus_ boasts of several elegant
specimens of fern; the yellow Canadian violet, which blooms twice in the
year, in the spring and fall, as the autumnal season is expressively
termed; two sorts of Michaelmas daisies, as we call the shrubby asters,
of which the varieties here are truly elegant; and a wreath of the
festoon pine, a pretty evergreen, with creeping stalks, that run along
the ground three or four yards in length, sending up, at the distance of
five or six inches, erect, stiff, green stems, resembling some of our
heaths in the dark, shining, green, chaffy leaves. The Americans
ornament their chimney glasses with garlands of this plant, mixed with
the dried blossoms of the life-everlasting (the pretty white and yellow
flowers we call love-everlasting); this plant is also called festoon
pine. In my rambles in the wood near the house, I have discovered a
trailing plant, bearing a near resemblance to the cedar, which I
consider has, with equal propriety, a claim to the name of ground or
creeping cedar.

As much of the botany of these unsettled portions of the country is
unknown to the naturalist, and the plants are quite nameless, I take the
liberty of bestowing names upon them according to inclination or fancy.
But while I am writing about flowers, I am forgetting that you will be
more interested in hearing what steps we are taking on our land.

My husband has hired people to log up, (that is, to draw the chopped
timbers into heaps for burning,) and clear a space for building our
house upon. He has also entered into an agreement with a young settler
in our vicinity to complete it for a certain sum, within and without,
according to a given plan. We are, however, to call the “bee,” and
provide every thing necessary for the entertainment of our worthy
_hive_. Now, you know that a “bee,” in American language, or rather
phraseology, signifies those friendly meetings of neighbours who
assemble at your summons to raise the walls of your house, shanty, barn,
or any other building: this is termed a “raising bee.” Then there are
logging-bees, husking-bees, chopping-bees, and quilting-bees. The nature
of the work to be done gives the name to the bee. In the more populous
and long-settled districts this practice is much discontinued; but it is
highly useful, and almost indispensable to new settlers in the remote
townships, where the price of labour is proportionately high, and
workmen difficult to be procured.

Imagine the situation of an emigrant with a wife and young family, the
latter possibly too young to render him the least assistance in the
important business of chopping, logging, and building, on their first
coming out to take possession of a lot of wild land: how deplorable
would their situation be, unless they could receive quick and ready help
from those around them!

This laudable practice has grown out of necessity; and if it has its
disadvantages,—such, for instance, as being called upon at an
inconvenient season for a return of help by those who have formerly
assisted you,—yet it is so indispensable to you that the debt of
gratitude ought to be cheerfully repaid. It is, in fact, regarded in the
light of a debt of honour; you cannot be forced to attend a bee in
return, but no one that can does refuse, unless from urgent reasons; and
if you do not find it possible to attend in person, you may send a
substitute in a servant, or in cattle, if you have a yoke.

In no situation, and under no circumstance, does the equalizing system
of America appear to such advantage as in meetings of this sort. All
distinctions of rank, education, and wealth are for the time voluntarily
laid aside. You will see the son of the educated gentleman and that of
the poor artisan, the officer and the private soldier, the independent
settler and the labourer who works out for hire, cheerfully uniting in
one common cause. Each individual is actuated by the benevolent desire
of affording help to the helpless, and exerting himself to raise a home
for the homeless.   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Our log-house is not yet finished, though it is in a state of
forwardness. We are still indebted to the hospitable kindness of S——
and his wife for a home. This being their first settlement on their
land, they have as yet many difficulties, in common with all residents
in the backwoods, to put up with this year. They have a fine block of
land, well situated; and S—— laughs at the present privations, to
which he opposes a spirit of cheerfulness and energy that is admirably
calculated to effect their conquest. They are now about to remove to a
larger and more commodious house that has been put up this fall, leaving
us the use of the old one till our own is ready.

We begin to get reconciled to our Robinson Crusoe sort of life; and the
consideration that the present evils are but temporary, goes a great way
towards reconciling us to them.

One of our greatest inconveniences arises from the badness of our roads,
and the distance at which we are placed from any village or town where
provisions are to be procured.

Till we raise our own grain, and fatten our own hogs, sheep, and
poultry, we must be dependent upon the stores for food of every kind.
These supplies have to be brought us, at considerable expense and loss
of time, through our beautiful bush roads; which, to use the words of a
poor Irishwoman, “can’t be no worser.” “Och, darlint,” she said, “but
they are just bad enough, and can’t be no worser. Och, but they arn’t
like to our iligant roads in Ireland.”

You may send down a list of groceries to be forwarded when a team comes
up, and when we examine our stores, behold rice, sugar, currants,
pepper, and mustard all jumbled into one mess! What think you of a rice
pudding seasoned plentifully with pepper, mustard, and, may be, a little
rappee or prince’s mixture added by way of sauce? I think the recipe
would cut quite a figure in the “Cook’s Oracle,” or Mrs. Dalgairn’s
“Practice of Cookery,” under the original title of a “Bush pudding.”

And then, woe and destruction to the brittle ware that may chance to
travel through our roads! Lucky, indeed, are we, if, through the
superior carefulness of the person who packs them, more than one-half
happens to arrive in safety. For such mishaps we have no redress. The
storekeeper lays the accident upon the teamster, and the teamster upon
the bad roads, wondering that he himself escapes with whole bones after
a journey through the bush.

This is now the worst season of the year,—this and just after the
breaking up of the snow. Nothing hardly but an ox-cart can travel along
the roads, and even that with difficulty, occupying two days to perform
the journey; and the worst of the matter is, that there are times when
the most necessary articles of provisions are not to be procured at any
price. You see, then, that a settler in the bush requires to hold
himself pretty independent, not only of the luxuries and delicacies of
the table, but not unfrequently even of the very necessaries.

One time no pork is to be procured; another time there is a scarcity of
flour, owing to some accident that has happened to the mill, or for the
want of proper supplies of wheat for grinding; or perhaps the weather
and the bad roads at the same time prevent a team coming up, or people
from going down. Then you must have recourse to a neighbour, if you have
the good fortune to be near one, or fare the best you can on potatoes.
The potatoe is, indeed, a great blessing here; new settlers would often
be otherwise greatly distressed; and the poor man and his family, who
are without resources, without the potatoe must starve.

Once our stock of tea was exhausted, and we were unable to procure more.
In this dilemma milk would have been an excellent substitute, or coffee,
if we had possessed it; but we had neither one nor the other, so we
agreed to try the Yankee tea—hemlock sprigs boiled. This proved to my
taste a vile decoction; though I recognised some herb in the tea that
was sold in London at five shillings a pound, which I am certain was
nothing better than dried hemlock leaves reduced to a coarse powder.

S—— laughed at our wry faces, declaring the potation was excellent;
and he set us an example by drinking six cups of this truly sylvan
beverage. His eloquence failed in gaining a single convert; we could not
believe it was only second to young hyson. To his assurance that to its
other good qualities it united medicinal virtues, we replied that, like
all other physic, it was very unpalatable.

“After all,” said S——, with a thoughtful air, “the blessings and the
evils of this life owe their chief effect to the force of contrast, and
are to be estimated by that principally. We should not appreciate the
comforts we enjoy half so much if we did not occasionally feel the want
of them. How we shall value the conveniences of a cleared farm after a
few years, when we can realise all the necessaries and many of the
luxuries of life!”

“And how we shall enjoy green tea after this odious decoction of
hemlock!” said I.

“Very true; and a comfortable frame-house, and nice garden, and pleasant
pastures, after these dark forests, log-houses, and no garden at all!”

“And the absence of horrid black stumps!” rejoined I. “Yes; and the
absence of horrid stumps! Depend upon it, my dear, your Canadian farm
will seem to you a perfect paradise by the time it is all under
cultivation; and you will look upon it with the more pleasure and pride
from the consciousness that it was once a forest wild, which, by the
effects of industry and well-applied means, has changed to fruitful
fields. Every fresh comfort you realise around you will add to your
happiness; every improvement within doors or without will raise a
sensation of gratitude and delight in your mind, to which those that
revel in the habitual enjoyment of luxury, and even of the commonest
advantages of civilization, must in a great degree be strangers. My
pass-words are—‘Hope, resolution, and perseverance!’” “This,” said my
husband, “is true philosophy; and the more forcible, because you not
only recommend the maxim, but practise it also.”

I had reckoned much on the Indian summer, of which I had read such
delightful descriptions; but I must say it has fallen far below my
expectations. Just at the commencement of this month (November) we
experienced three or four warm hazy days, that proved rather close and
oppressive. The sun looked red through the misty atmosphere, tinging the
fantastic clouds that hung in smoky volumes with saffron and pale
crimson light, much as I have seen the clouds above London look on a
warm sultry spring morning.

Not a breeze ruffled the waters, not a leaf (for the leaves had not
entirely fallen) moved. This perfect stagnation of the air was suddenly
changed by a hurricane of wind and snow that came on without any
previous warning. I was standing near a group of tall pines, that had
been left in the middle of a clearing, collecting some beautiful crimson
lichens, S—— not being many paces distant, with his oxen drawing
firewood: suddenly we heard a distant hollow rushing sound, that
momentarily increased, the air around us being yet perfectly calm; I
looked up, and beheld the clouds, hitherto so motionless, moving with
amazing rapidity in several different directions. A dense gloom
overspread the heavens. S——, who had been busily engaged with the
cattle, had not noticed my being so near, and now called to me to use
all the speed I could to gain the house, or an open part of the
clearing, distant from the pine-trees. Instinctively I turned towards
the house, while the thundering shock of trees falling in all directions
at the edge of the forest, the rending of the branches from the pines I
had just quitted, and the rush of the whirlwind sweeping down the lake,
made me sensible of the danger with which I had been threatened.

The scattered boughs of the pines darkened the air as they whirled above
me; then came the blinding snow storm; but I could behold the progress
of the tempest in safety, having gained the threshold of our house. The
driver of the oxen had thrown himself on the ground, while the poor
beasts held down their meek heads, patiently abiding “the pelting of the
pitiless storm.” S——, my husband, and the rest of the household,
collected in a group, watched with anxiety the wild havoc of the warring
elements. Not a leaf remained on the trees when the hurricane was over;
they were bare and desolate. Thus ended the short reign of the Indian

I think the notion entertained by some travellers, that the Indian
summer is caused by the annual conflagration of forests by those Indians
inhabiting the unexplored regions beyond the larger lakes, is absurd.
Imagine for an instant what immense tracts of woods must be yearly
consumed to affect nearly the whole of the continent of North America;
besides, it takes place at that season of the year when the fire is
least likely to run freely, owing to the humidity of the ground from the
autumnal rains. I should rather attribute the peculiar warmth, and hazy
appearance of the air that marks this season, to the fermentation going
on of so great a mass of vegetable matter that is undergoing a state of
decomposition during the latter part of October and the beginning of
November. It has been supposed by some persons that a great alteration
will be effected in this season, as the process of clearing the land
continues to decrease the quantity of decaying vegetation. Nay, I have
heard the difference is already observable to those long acquainted with
the American continent.

Hitherto my experience of the climate is favourable. The autumn has been
very fine, though the frosts are felt early in the month of September;
at first slightly, of a morning, but towards October more severely.
Still, though the first part of the day is cold, the middle of it is
warm and cheerful.

We see already the stern advances of winter. It commenced very decidedly
from the breaking up of the Indian summer. November is not at all like
the same month at home. The early part was soft and warm, the latter
cold, with keen frosts, and occasional falls of snow; but it does not
seem to possess the dark, gloomy, damp character of our British
Novembers. However, it is not one season’s acquaintance with the climate
that enables a person to form any correct judgment of its general
character, but a close observance of its peculiarities and vicissitudes
during many years’ residence in the country.

I must now tell you what my husband is doing on our land. He has let out
ten acres to some Irish choppers, who have established themselves in the
shanty for the winter. They are to receive fourteen dollars per acre for
chopping, burning, and fencing-in that quantity. The ground is to be
perfectly cleared of every thing but the stumps; these will take from
seven to nine or ten years to decay; the pine, hemlock, and fir remain
much longer. The process of clearing away the stumps is too expensive
for new beginners to venture upon, labour being so high that it cannot
be appropriated to any but indispensable work. The working season is
very short, on account of the length of time the frost remains on the
ground. With the exception of chopping trees, very little can be done.
Those that understand the proper management of uncleared land, usually
underbrush, (that is, cut down all the small timbers and brushwood,)
while the leaf is yet on them; this is piled in heaps, and the
wind-fallen trees are chopped through in lengths, to be logged up in the
spring with the winter’s chopping. The latter end of the summer and the
autumn are the best seasons for this work. The leaves then become quite
dry and sear, and greatly assist in the important business of burning
off the heavy timbers. Another reason is, that when the snow has fallen
to some depth, the light timbers cannot be cut close to the ground, or
the dead branches and other encumbrances collected and thrown into

We shall have about three acres ready for spring crops, provided we get
a good burning of that which is already chopped near the site of the
house; this will be sown with oats, pumpkins, Indian corn, and potatoes:
the other ten acres will be ready for putting in a crop of wheat. So you
see it will be a long time before we reap a harvest. We could not even
get in spring-wheat early enough to come to perfection this year.

We shall try to get two cows in the spring, as they are little expense
during the spring, summer, and autumn; and by the winter we shall have
pumpkins and oat-straw for them.   *   *   *   *   *   *

But it is time that I should give you some account of our log-house,
into which we moved a few days before Christmas. Many unlooked-for
delays having hindered its completion before that time, I began to think
it would never be habitable.

The first misfortune that happened was the loss of a fine yoke of oxen,
that were purchased to draw in the house-logs; that is, the logs for
raising the walls of the house. Not regarding the bush as pleasant as
their former master’s cleared pastures, or, perhaps, foreseeing some
hard work to come, early one morning they took it into their heads to
ford the lake at the head of the rapids and march off, leaving no trace
of their route excepting their footing at the water’s edge. After many
days spent in vain search for them, the work was at a stand, and for one
month they were gone, and we began to give up all expectation of hearing
any news of them. At last we learned they were some twenty miles off, in
a distant township, having made their way through bush and swamp, creek
and lake, back to their former owner, with an instinct that supplied to
them the want of roads and compass.

Oxen have been known to traverse a tract of wild country to a distance
of thirty or forty miles, going in a direct line for their former haunts
by unknown paths, where memory could not avail them. In the dog we
consider it is scent, as well as memory, that guides him to his far-off
home; but how is this conduct of the oxen to be accounted for? They
returned home through the mazes of interminable forests, where man, with
all his reason and knowledge, would have been bewildered and lost.

It was the latter end of October before even the walls of our house were
up. To effect this we called “a bee.” Sixteen of our neighbours
cheerfully obeyed our summons; and, though the day was far from
favourable, so faithfully did our hive perform their tasks, that by
night the outer walls were raised.

The work went merrily on with the help of plenty of Canadian nectar
(whisky), the honey that our _bees_ are solaced with. Some huge joints
of salt pork, a peck of potatoes, with a rice-pudding, and a loaf as big
as an enormous Cheshire cheese, formed the feast that was to regale them
during the raising. This was spread out in the shanty, in a _very rural
style_. In short, we laughed, and called it a _pic-nic in the_
_backwoods_; and rude as was the fare, I can assure you great was the
satisfaction expressed by all the guests of every degree, our “bee”
being considered as very well conducted. In spite of the difference of
rank among those that assisted at the bee, the greatest possible harmony
prevailed, and the party separated well pleased with the day’s work and

The following day I went to survey the newly-raised edifice, hut was
sorely puzzled, as it presented very little appearance of a house. It
was merely an oblong square of logs, raised one above the other, with
open spaces; for the doors and windows were not then chopped out, and
the rafters were not up. In short, it looked a very queer sort of a
place; and I returned home a little disappointed, and wondering that my
husband should be so well pleased with the progress that had been made.
A day or two after this I again visited it. The _sleepers_ were laid to
support the floors, and the places for the doors and windows cut out of
the solid timbers, so that it had not quite so much the look of a
bird-cage as before.

After the roof was shingled we were again at a stand, as no board could
be procured nearer than Peterborough, a long day’s journey through
horrible roads. At that time no saw-mill was in progress; now there is a
fine one building within a little distance of us. Our flooring-boards
were all to be sawn by hand, and it was some time before any one could
be found to perform this necessary work, and that at high
wages—six-and-sixpence per day. Well, the boards were at length down,
but of course of unseasoned timber; this was unavoidable; so as they
could not be planed, we were obliged to put up with their rough
unsightly appearance, for no better were to be had. I began to recall to
mind the observation of the old gentleman with whom we travelled from
Cobourg to Rice Lake. We console ourselves with the prospect that by
next summer the boards will all be seasoned, and then the house is to be
turned topsy-turvy, by having the floors all relaid, jointed, and

The next misfortune that happened, was, that the mixture of clay and
lime, that was to plaster the inside and outside of the house between
the chinks of the logs, was one night frozen to stone. Just as the work
was about half completed, the frost suddenly setting in, put a stop to
our proceeding for some time, as the frozen plaster yielded neither to
fire nor to hot water, the latter freezing before it had any effect on
the mass, and rather making bad worse. Then the workman that was hewing
the inside walls to make them smooth, wounded himself with the broad
axe, and was unable to resume his work for some time.

I state these things merely to show the difficulties that attend us in
the fulfilment of our plans; and this accounts, in a great measure, for
the humble dwellings that settlers of the most respectable description
are obliged to content themselves with at first coming to this
country,—not, you may be assured, from inclination, but necessity: I
could give you such narratives of this kind as would astonish you. After
all, it serves to make us more satisfied than we should be, on casting
our eyes around to see few better off than we are, and many not half so
comfortable, yet of equal, and, in some instances, superior pretensions
as to station and fortune.

Every man in this country is his own glazier; this you will laugh at;
but if he does not wish to see and feel the discomfort of broken panes,
he must learn to put them in his windows with his own hands. Workmen are
not easily to be had in the backwoods when you want them; and it would
be preposterous to hire a man at high wages, to make two days’ journey
to and from the nearest town to mend your windows. Boxes of glass of
several different sizes are to be bought at a very cheap rate in the
stores. My husband amused himself by glazing the windows of the house
preparatory to their being fixed in.

To understand the use of carpenter’s tools, I assure you, is no
despicable or useless kind of knowledge here. I would strongly advise
all young men coming to Canada to acquire a little acquaintance with
this valuable art, as they will often be put to great inconvenience for
the want of it.

I was once much amused with hearing the remarks made by a very fine
lady, the reluctant sharer of her husband’s emigration, on seeing the
son of a naval officer of some rank in the service busily employed in
making an axe-handle out of a piece of rock-elm.

“I wonder you allow George to degrade himself so,” she said, addressing
his father.

The captain looked up with surprise. “Degrade himself! In what manner,
madam? My boy neither swears, drinks whisky, steals, nor tells lies.”

“But you allow him to perform tasks of the most menial kind. What is he
now better than a hedge-carpenter; and I suppose you allow him to chop,

“Most assuredly I do. That pile of logs in the cart there was all cut by
him after he had left study yesterday,” was the reply.

“I would see my boys dead before they should use an axe like common

“Idleness is the root of all evil,” said the captain. “How much worse
might my son be employed if he were running wild about the streets with
bad companions.”

“You will allow this is not a country for gentlemen or ladies to live
in,” said the lady.

“It is the country for gentlemen that will not work, and cannot live
without, to starve in,” replied the captain, bluntly; “and for that
reason I make my boys early accustom themselves to be usefully and
actively employed.”

“My boys shall never work like common mechanics,” said the lady,

“Then, madam, they will be good for nothing as settlers; and it is a
pity you dragged them across the Atlantic.”

“We were forced to come. We could not live as we had been used to do at
home, or I never would have come to this horrid country.”

“Having come hither you would be wise to conform to circumstances.
Canada is not the place for idle folks to retrench a lost fortune in. In
some parts of the country you will find most articles of provision as
dear as in London; clothing much dearer, and not so good, and a bad
market to choose in.”

“I should like to know, then, who Canada is good for?” said she,

“It is a good country for the honest, industrious artisan. It is a fine
country for the poor labourer, who, after a few years of hard toil, can
sit down in his own log-house, and look abroad on his own land, and see
his children well settled in life as independent freeholders. It is a
grand country for the rich speculator, who can afford to lay out a large
sum in purchasing lands in eligible situations; for if he have any
judgment he will make a hundred per cent. as interest for his money
after waiting a few years. But it is a hard country for the poor
gentleman, whose habits have rendered him unfit for manual labour. He
brings with him a mind unfitted to his situation; and even if necessity
compels him to exertion, his labour is of little value. He has a hard
struggle to live. The certain expenses of wages and living are great,
and he is obliged to endure many privations if he would keep within
compass, and be free of debt. If he have a large family, and brings them
up wisely, so as to adapt themselves early to a settler’s life, why he
does well for them, and soon feels the benefit on his own land; but if
he is idle himself, his wife extravagant and discontented, and the
children taught to despise labour, why, madam, they will soon be brought
down to ruin. In short, the country is a good country for those to whom
it is adapted; but if people will not conform to the doctrine of
necessity and expediency, they have no business in it. It is plain
Canada is not adapted to every class of people.”

“It was never adapted for me or my family,” said the lady, disdainfully.

“Very true,” was the laconic reply; and so ended the dialogue.

But while I have been recounting these remarks, I have wandered far from
my original subject, and left my poor log-house quite in an unfinished
state. At last I was told it was in a habitable condition, and I was
soon engaged in all the bustle and fatigue attendant on removing our
household goods. We received all the assistance we required from ——,
who is ever ready and willing to help us. He laughed, and called it a
“_moving_ bee;” I said it was a “fixing bee;” and my husband said it was
a “settling bee;” I know we were unsettled enough till it was over. What
a din of desolation is a small house, or any house under such
circumstances! The idea of chaos must have been taken from a removal or
a setting to rights; for I suppose the ancients had their _flittings_,
as the Scotch call it, as well as the moderns.

Various were the valuable articles of crockery-ware that perished in
their short but rough journey through the woods. Peace to their manes! I
had a good helper in my Irish maid, who soon roused up famous fires, and
set the house in order.

We have now got quite comfortably settled, and I shall give you a
description of our little dwelling. What is finished is only a part of
the original plan; the rest must be added next spring or fall, as
circumstances may suit.

A nice small sitting-room, with a store-closet, a kitchen, pantry, and
bed-chamber, form the ground-floor; there is a good upper floor that
will make three sleeping rooms.

“What a nut-shell!” I think I hear you exclaim. So it is at present; but
we purpose adding a handsome frame front as soon as we can get boards
from the mill, which will give us another parlour, long-hall, and good
spare bed-room. The windows and glass-door of our present sitting-room
command pleasant lake-views to the west and south. When the house is
completed we shall have a veranda in front, and at the south side; which
forms an agreeable addition in the summer, being used as a sort of outer
room, in which we can dine, and have the advantage of cool air,
protected from the glare of the sun-beams. The Canadians call these
verandas “stoups.” Few houses, either log or frame, are without them.
The pillars look extremely pretty, wreathed with the luxuriant hop-vine,
mixed with the scarlet creeper and “morning glory,” the American name
for the most splendid of major convolvuluses. These stoups are really a
considerable ornament, as they conceal in a great measure the rough
logs, and break the barn-like form of the building.

Our parlour is warmed by a handsome Franklin stove, with brass gallery
and fender. Our furniture consists of a brass-railed sofa, which serves
upon occasion for a bed, Canadian painted chairs, a stained pine table,
green and white curtains, and a handsome Indian mat that covers the
floor. One side of the room is filled up with our books. Some large maps
and a few good prints nearly conceal the rough walls, and form the
decoration of our little dwelling. Our bed-chamber is furnished with
equal simplicity. We do not, however, lack comfort in our humble home;
and though it is not exactly such as we could wish, it is as good as,
under existing circumstances, we could have.

I am anxiously looking forward to the spring, that I may get a garden
laid out in front of the house, as I mean to cultivate some of the
native fruits and flowers, which, I am sure, will improve greatly by
cultivation. The strawberries that grow wild in our pastures, woods, and
clearings, are several varieties, and bear abundantly. They make
excellent preserves, and I mean to introduce beds of them into my
garden. There is a pretty little wooded islet on our lake, that is
called Strawberry Island—another, Raspberry Island; they abound in a
variety of fruits—wild grapes, raspberries, strawberries, black and red
currants, a wild gooseberry, and a beautiful little trailing plant that
bears white flowers like the raspberry, and a darkish purple fruit
consisting of a few grains of a pleasant brisk acid, somewhat like in
flavour to our dewberry, only not quite so sweet. The leaves of this
plant are of a bright light green, in shape like the raspberry, to which
it bears in some respects so great a resemblance (though it is not
shrubby or thorny) that I have called it the “trailing” raspberry.

I suppose our scientific botanists in Britain would consider me very
impertinent in bestowing names on the plants and flowers I meet with in
these wild woods; I can only say, I am glad to discover the Canadian or
even the Indian names if I can, and where they fail I consider myself
free to become their floral godmother, and give them names of my own

I was tempted one fine frosty afternoon to take a walk with my husband
on the ice, which I was assured was perfectly safe. I must confess for
the first half-mile I felt very timid, especially when the ice is so
transparent that you may see every little weed or pebble at the bottom
of the water. Sometimes the ice was thick and white, and quite opaque.
As we kept within a little distance of the shore, I was struck by the
appearance of some splendid red berries on the leafless bushes that hung
over the margin of the lake, and soon recognised them to be the
high-bush cranberries. My husband soon stripped the boughs of their
tempting treasure, and I, delighted with my prize, hastened home, and
boiled the fruit with some sugar, to eat at tea with our cakes. I never
ate anything more delicious than they proved; the more so, perhaps, from
having been so long without tasting fruit of any kind, with the
exception of preserves during our journey, and at Peterborough.

Soon after this I made another excursion on the ice, but it was not in
quite so sound a state. We nevertheless walked on for about
three-quarters of a mile. We were overtaken on our return by S——, with
a hand-sleigh, which is a sort of wheelbarrow, such as porters use,
without sides, and, instead of a wheel, is fixed on wooden runners,
which you can drag over the snow and ice with the greatest ease if ever
so heavily laden. S—— insisted that he would draw me home over the ice
like a Lapland lady on a sledge. I was soon seated in state, and in
another minute felt myself impelled forward with a velocity that nearly
took away my breath. By the time we reached the shore I was in a glow
from head to foot.

You would be pleased with the situation of our house. The spot chosen is
the summit of a fine sloping bank above the lake, distant from the
water’s edge some hundred or two yards: the lake is not quite a mile
from shore to shore. To the south, again, we command a different view,
which will be extremely pretty when fully opened—a fine smooth basin of
water, diversified with beautiful islands, that rise like verdant groves
from its bosom. Below these there is a fall of some feet, where the
waters of the lakes, confined within a narrow channel between beds of
limestone, rush along with great impetuosity, foaming and dashing up the
spray in mimic clouds.   *   *   *   *   *   *

What a different winter this has been to what I had anticipated! The
snows of December were continually thawing; on the 1st of January not a
flake was to be seen on our clearing, though it lingered in the bush.
The warmth of the sun was so great on the first and second days of the
new year, that it was hardly possible to endure a cloak, or even shawl,
out of doors; and, within, the fire was quite too much for us. The
weather remained pretty open till the latter part of the month, when the
cold set in severely enough, and continued so during February. The 1st
of March was the coldest day and night I ever experienced in my life;
the mercury was down to twenty-five degrees in the house: abroad it was
much lower. The sensation of cold early in the morning was very painful,
producing an involuntary shuddering, and an almost convulsive feeling in
the chest and stomach. Our breaths were congealed in hoar-frost on the
sheets and blankets. Every thing we touched of metal seemed to freeze
our fingers. This excessive degree of cold only lasted three days, and
then a gradual amelioration of temperature was felt.

During this very cold weather I was surprised by the frequent recurrence
of a phenomenon that I suppose was of an electrical nature. When the
frosts were most intense, I noticed that when I undressed, my clothes,
which are at this cold season chiefly of woollen cloth, or lined with
flannel, gave out when moved a succession of sounds, like the crackling
and snapping of fire, and, in the absence of a candle, emitted sparks of
a pale whitish blue light, similar to the flashes produced by cutting
loaf-sugar in the dark, or stroking the back of a black cat; the same
effect was also produced when I combed and brushed my hair.

The snow lay very deep on the ground during February, and until the 19th
of March, when a rapid thaw commenced, which continued without
intermission till the ground was thoroughly freed from its hoary livery,
which was effected in less than a fortnight’s time. The air during the
progress of the thaw was much warmer and more balmy than it usually is
in England, when a disagreeable damp cold is felt during that process.

Though the Canadian winter has its disadvantages, it has also its
charms. After a day or two of heavy snow the sky brightens, and the air
becomes exquisitely clear and free from vapour; the smoke ascends in
tall spiral columns till it is lost; seen against the saffron-tinted sky
of an evening, or early of a clear morning, when the hoar-frost sparkles
on the trees, the effect is singularly beautiful.

I enjoy a walk in the woods of a bright winter-day, when not a cloud, or
the faint shadow of a cloud, obscures the soft azure of the heavens
above; when, but for the silver covering of the earth, I might look
upwards to the cloudless sky and say, “It is June, sweet June!” The
evergreens, as the pines, cedars, hemlock, and balsam firs, are bending
their pendent branches, loaded with snow, which the least motion
scatters in a mimic shower around, but so light and dry is it that it is
shaken off without the slightest inconvenience.

The tops of the stumps look quite pretty with their turbans of snow; a
blackened pine-stump, with its white cap and mantle, will often startle
you into the belief that some one is approaching you thus fancifully
attired. As to ghosts or spirits, they appear totally banished from
Canada. This is too matter-of-fact country for such supernaturals to
visit. Here there are no historical associations—no legendary tales of
those that came before us. Fancy would starve for lack of marvellous
food to keep her alive in the backwoods. We have neither fay nor fairy,
ghost nor bogle, satyr nor wood-nymph; our very forests disdain to
shelter dryad or hamadryad. No naiad haunts the rushy margin of our
lakes, or hallows with her presence our forest rills. No Druid claims
our oaks; and instead of poring with mysterious awe among our curious
limestone rocks, that are often singularly grouped together, we refer
them to the geologist, to exercise his skill in accounting for their
appearance; instead of investing them with the solemn characters of
ancient temples or heathen altars, we look upon them with the curious
eye of natural philosophy alone.

Even the Irish and Highlanders of the humblest class seem to lay aside
their ancient superstitions on becoming denizens of the woods of Canada.
I heard a friend exclaim, when speaking of the want of interest this
country possessed, “It is the most unpoetical of all lands; there is no
scope for imagination; here all is new—the very soil seems newly
formed; there is no hoary ancient grandeur in these woods—no
recollections of former deeds connected with the country. The only
beings in which I take any interest are the Indians, and they want the
warlike character and intelligence that I had pictured to myself they
would possess.”

This was the lamentation of a poet. Now, the class of people to whom
this country is so admirably adapted are formed of the unlettered and
industrious labourers and artisans. They feel no regret that the land
they labour on has not been celebrated by the pen of the historian, or
the lay of the poet. The earth yields her increase to them as freely as
if it had been enriched by the blood of heroes. They would not spare the
ancient oak from feelings of veneration, nor look upon it with regard
for any thing but its use as timber. They have no time, even if they
possessed the taste, to gaze abroad on the beauties of nature; but their
ignorance is bliss.

After all, these are imaginary evils, and can hardly be considered just
causes for dislike to the country. They would excite little sympathy
among every-day men and women, though doubtless they would have their
weight with the more refined and intellectual members of society, who
naturally would regret that taste, learning, and genius should be thrown
out of its proper sphere.

For myself, though I can easily enter into the feelings of the poet and
the enthusiastic lover of the wild and the wonderful of historic lore, I
can yet make myself very happy and contented in this country. If its
volume of history is yet a blank, that of nature is open, and eloquently
marked by the finger of God; and from its pages I can extract a thousand
sources of amusement and interest whenever I take my walks in the forest
or by the borders of the lakes.

But I must now tell you of our sugar-making, in which I take rather an
active part Our experiment was on a very limited scale, having but one
kettle, besides two iron tripods; but it was sufficient to initiate us
in the art and mystery of boiling the sap into molasses, and finally the
molasses down to sugar.

The first thing to be done in tapping the maples, is to provide little
rough troughs to catch the sap as it flows; these are merely pieces of
pine-tree, hollowed with the axe. The tapping the tree is done by
cutting a gash in the bark, or boring a hole with an auger. The former
plan, as being most readily performed, is the most usually practised. A
slightly-hollowed piece of cedar or elder is then inserted, so as to
slant downwards, and direct the sap into the trough; I have seen a flat
chip made the conductor. Ours were managed according to rule, you may be
sure. The sap runs most freely after a frosty night, followed by a warm
bright day; it should be collected during the day in a barrel or large
trough, capable of holding all that can be boiled down the same evening;
it should not stand more than twenty-four hours, as it is apt to
ferment, and will not grain well unless fresh.

My husband, with an Irish lad, began collecting the sap the last week in
March. A pole was fixed across two forked stakes, strong enough to bear
the weight of the big kettle. Their employment during the day was
emptying the troughs and chopping wood to supply the fires. In the
evening they lit the fires, and began boiling down the sap.

It was a pretty, a picturesque sight, to see the sugar-boilers, with
their bright log-fire among the trees, now stirring up the blazing pile,
now throwing in the liquid and stirring it down with a big ladle. When
the fire grew fierce it boiled and foamed up in the kettle, and they had
to throw in fresh sap to keep it from running over.

When the sap begins to thicken into molasses, it is then brought to the
sugar-boiler to be finished. The process is simple; it only requires
attention in skimming and keeping the mass from boiling over, till it
has arrived at the sugaring point, which is ascertained by dropping a
little into cold water. When it is near the proper consistency, the
kettle or pot becomes full of yellow froth, that dimples and rises in
large bubbles from beneath. These throw out puffs of steam; and when the
molasses is in this stage, it is nearly converted into sugar. Those who
pay great attention to keeping the liquid free from scum, and understand
the precise sugaring point, will produce an article little if at all
inferior to Muscovado.

In general you see the maple-sugar in large cakes, like bees’-wax, close
and compact, without showing the crystallization; but it looks more
beautiful when the grain is coarse and sparkling, and the sugar is
broken in rough masses like sugar-candy.

The sugar is rolled or scraped down with a knife for use, as it takes
long to dissolve in the tea without this preparation. I superintended
the last part of the process, that of boiling the molasses down to
sugar; and, considering it was a first attempt, Mid without any
experienced person to direct me, otherwise than the information obtained
from ——, I succeeded tolerably well, and produced some sugar of a fine
sparkling grain and good colour. Besides the sugar, I made about three
gallons of molasses, which proved a great comfort to us, forming a nice
ingredient in cakes, and an excellent sauce for puddings.

The Yankees, I am told, make excellent preserves with molasses instead
of sugar. The molasses boiled from maple-sap is very different from the
molasses of the West Indies, both in flavour, colour, and consistency.

Besides the sugar and molasses, we manufactured a small cask of vinegar,
which promises to be good. This was done by boiling five pails-full of
sap down to two, and fermenting it after it was in the vessel with barm;
it was then placed near the fire, and suffered to continue there in
preference to being exposed to the sun’s heat.

With regard to the expediency of making maple-sugar, it depends on
circumstances whether it be profitable or not to the farmer. If he have
to hire hands for the work, and pay high wages, it certainly does not
answer to make it, unless on a large scale. One thing in its favour is,
that the sugar season commences at a time when little else can be done
on the farm, with the exception of chopping, the frost not being
sufficiently out of the ground to admit of crops being sown; time is,
therefore, less valuable than it is later in the spring.

Where there is a large family of children, and a convenient sugar-bush
on the lot, the making of sugar and molasses is decidedly a saving; as
young children can be employed in emptying the troughs and collecting
firewood, the bigger ones can tend the kettles and keep up the fire
while the sap is boiling, and the wife and daughters can finish off the
sugar within doors.

Maple-sugar sells for four-pence and six-pence per pound, and sometimes
for more. At first I did not particularly relish the flavour it gave to
tea, but after awhile I liked it far better than Muscovado, and as a
sweet-meat it is to my taste delicious. I shall send you a specimen by
the first opportunity, that you may judge for yourself of its

The weather is now very warm—oppressively so. We can scarcely endure
the heat of the cooking-stove in the kitchen. As to a fire in the
parlour there is not much need of it, as I am glad to sit at the open
door and enjoy the lake-breeze. The insects are already beginning to be
troublesome, particularly the black flies—a wicked-looking fly, with
black body and white legs and wings; you do not feel their bite for a
few minutes, but are made aware of it by a stream of blood flowing from
the wound; after a few hours the part swells and becomes extremely

These “beasties” chiefly delight in biting the sides of the throat,
ears, and sides of the cheek, and with me the swelling continues for
many days. The mosquitoes are also very annoying. I care more for the
noise they make even than the sting. To keep them out of the house we
light little heaps of damp chips, the smoke of which drives them away;
but this remedy is not entirely effectual, and is of itself rather an

This is the fishing season. Our lakes are famous for masquinougé,
salmon-trout, white fish, black bass, and many others. We often see the
lighted canoes of the fishermen pass and repass of a dark night before
our door. S—— is considered very skilful as a spearsman, and enjoys
the sport so much that he seldom misses a night favourable for it. The
darker the night, and the calmer the water, the better it is for the

It is a very pretty sight to see these little barks slowly stealing from
some cove of the dark pine-clad shores, and manœuvring among the islands
on the lakes, rendered visible in the darkness by the blaze of light
cast on the water from the jack—a sort of open grated iron basket,
fixed to a long pole at the bows of the skiff or canoe. This is filled
with a very combustible substance, called fat-pine, which burns with a
fierce and rapid flame, or else with rolls of birch-bark, which is also
very easily ignited.

The light from above renders objects distinctly visible below the
surface of the water. One person stands up in the middle of the boat
with his fish-spear,—a sort of iron trident,—ready to strike at the
fish that he may chance to see gliding in the still waters, while
another with his paddle steers the canoe cautiously along. This sport
requires a quick eye, a steady hand, and great caution, in those that
pursue it.

I delight in watching these torch-lighted canoes so quietly gliding over
the calm waters, which are illuminated for yards with a bright track of
light, by which we may distinctly perceive the figure of the spearsman
standing in the centre of the boat, first glancing to one side, then the
other, or poising his weapon ready for a blow. When four or five of
these lighted vessels are seen at once on the fishing ground, the effect
is striking and splendid.

The Indians are very expert in this kind of fishing; the squaws paddling
the canoes with admirable skill and dexterity. There is another mode of
fishing in which these people also excel; this is fishing on the ice,
when the lakes are frozen over—a sport that requires the exercise of
great patience. The Indian, provided with his tomahawk, with which he
makes an opening in the ice, a spear, his blanket, and a decoy-fish of
wood, proceeds to the place he has fixed upon. Having cut a hole in the
ice, he places himself on hands and knees, and casts his blanket over
him, so as to darken the water and conceal himself from observation; in
this position he will remain for hours, patiently watching the approach
of his prey, which he strikes with admirable precision as soon as it
appears within the reach of his spear.

[Illustration: _Indian Scene on the St. Lawrence._]

The masquinougé thus caught are superior in flavour to those taken later
in the season, and may be bought very reasonably from the Indians. I
gave a small loaf of bread for a fish weighing from eighteen to twenty
pounds. The masquinougé is, to all appearance, a large species of the
pike, and possesses the ravenous propensities of that fish.

One of the small lakes of the Otanahee is called Trout Lake, from the
abundance of salmon-trout that occupy its waters. The white fish is also
found in these lakes, and is very delicious. The large sorts of fish are
mostly taken with the spear, few persons having time for angling in this
busy country.

As soon as the ice breaks up, our lakes are visited by innumerable
flights of wild fowl; some of the ducks are extremely beautiful in their
plumage, and are very fine flavoured. I love to watch these pretty
creatures, floating so tranquilly on the water, or suddenly rising and
skimming along the edge of the pine-fringed shores, to drop again on the
surface, and then remain stationary, like a fleet at anchor. Sometimes
we see an old duck lead out a brood of little ones from among the
rushes; the innocent soft things look very pretty sailing round their
mother, but at the least appearance of danger they disappear instantly
by diving. The frogs are great enemies to the young broods; they are
also the prey of the masquinougé, and I believe of other large fish that
abound in these waters.

The ducks are in the finest order during the early part of the summer,
when they resort to the rice-beds in vast numbers, getting very fat on
the green rice, which they eagerly devour.

The Indians are very successful in their duck-shooting: they fill a
canoe with green boughs, so that it resembles a sort of floating island;
beneath the cover of these boughs they remain concealed, and are enabled
by this device to approach much nearer than they otherwise could do to
the wary birds. The same plan is often adopted by our own sportsmen with
great success.

A family of Indians have pitched their tents very near us. On one of the
islands of our lake we can distinguish the thin blue smoke of their wood
fires, rising among the trees, from our front window, or curling over
the bosom of the waters.

The squaws have been several times to see me; sometimes from curiosity,
sometimes with the view of bartering their baskets, mats, ducks, or
venison, for pork, flour, potatoes, or articles of wearing apparel.
Sometimes their object is to borrow “kettle to cook,” which they are
very punctual in returning.

Once a squaw came to borrow a washing tub, but not understanding her
language I could not for some time discover the object of her
solicitude; at last, she took up a corner of her blanket, and, pointing
to some soap, began rubbing it between her hands, imitated the action of
washing, then laughed, and pointed to a tub; she then held up two
fingers, to intimate it was for two days she needed the loan.

The people appear of gentle and amiable dispositions; and, as far as our
experience goes, they are very honest. Once, indeed, the old hunter,
Peter, obtained from me some bread, for which he promised to give a pair
of ducks; but when the time came for payment, and I demanded my ducks,
he looked gloomy, and replied with characteristic brevity, “No
duck—Chippewa (meaning S——, this being the name they have
affectionately given him,) gone up lake with canoe—no canoe—duck
by-and-by.” By-and-by is a favourite expression of the Indians,
signifying an indefinite point of time; may be, it means to-morrow, or a
week, or month, or it may be a year, or even more. They rarely give you
a direct promise. As it is not wise to let any one cheat you if you can
prevent it, I coldly declined any further overtures to bartering with
the Indians till my ducks made their appearance. Some time afterwards I
received one duck by the hands of Maquin, a sort of Indian
Flibberty-gibbet. This lad is a hunchbacked dwarf, very shrewd, but a
perfect imp: his delight seems to be tormenting the brown babies in the
wigwams, or teazing the meek deer-hounds.

The forest trees are nearly all in leaf. Never did spring burst forth
with greater rapidity than it has done this year. The verdure of the
leaves is most vivid. A thousand lovely flowers are expanding in the
woods and clearings. Nor are our Canadian songsters mute: the cheerful
melody of the robin, the bugle-song of the blackbird and thrush, with
the weak but not unpleasing call of the little bird called thitabebee,
and a wren, whose note is sweet and thrilling, fill our woods.

For my part, I see no reason or wisdom in carping at the good we do
possess, because it lacks something of that which we formerly enjoyed. I
am aware it is the fashion for travellers to assert that our feathered
tribes are either mute, or give utterance to discordant cries that
pierce the ear, and disgust rather than please. It would be untrue were
I to assert that our singing birds are as numerous or as melodious, on
the whole, as those of Europe; but I must not suffer prejudice to rob my
adopted country of her rights, without one word being spoken in behalf
of her feathered vocalists. Nay, I consider her very frogs have been
belied; if it were not for the monotony of their notes, I really
consider they are not quite unmusical. The green frogs are very
handsome, being marked over with brown oval shields on the most vivid
green coat; they are larger in size than the biggest of our English
frogs, and certainly much handsomer in every respect. Their note
resembles that of a bird, and has nothing of the croak in it.

In conclusion, though Canada might not seem a paradise to town-bred
gentlemen, or modern fine ladies, it possesses advantages to persons of
sober, industrious habits, which are not to be found in England. If the
emigrant and his family can but struggle through the hardships and
privations of a first settlement in the backwoods, there is little doubt
that they will in time secure a moderate independence, and be above
want, though not above work.

[Illustration: _View on the frontier line, near Stanstead plains._
 (Upper Canada.)]


[1] These concession-lines are certain divisions of the townships; these
are again divided into so many lots of 200 acres. The concession-lines
used to be marked by a wide avenue being chopped, so as to form a road
of communication between them; but this plan was found too troublesome;
and in a few years the young growth of timber so choked the opening,
that it was of little use. The lately-surveyed townships, I believe, are
only divided by blazed lines.

                               CHAP. VII.

                             NEW BRUNSWICK.

                 *        *        *        *        *

The Province of New Brunswick holds an important position amongst the
colonies of Great Britain. To the political economist it presents a
tract of country 27,704 square miles in superficial extent,—blessed
with a salubrious climate,—a rich and productive soil, capable of
receiving the whole tide of British emigration, should it turn in that
direction, and of contributing to the comfort and happiness of the
surplus of our industrious population. To the trader and capitalist the
advantages this colony offers are equally great:—the whole area of this
vast territory is intersected by innumerable navigable rivers and lakes;
its shores are indented with safe and commodious harbours; its seas and
rivers stored with excellent fish; its fertile plains and valleys, that
are now covered with timber, require only the industry of man to make
them yield corn and the fruits of the earth in prodigal abundance; its
mountains teem with various mineral productions—iron, copper, zinc,
manganese; gold and silver have been found in various parts of the
province; coal of superior quality is abundant in several localities,
and gypsum forms a principal article of the exports of the country to
the United States. In short, whether we regard this old but much
neglected colony in a social or commercial point of view, it possesses
much to recommend it to the attention of every thinking Englishman.

It is not my intention, however, to do more than allude briefly to these
or other topics which might be considered irrelevant to the object of a
work purporting to illustrate the scenery of the country.

The history of New Brunswick is closely connected with that of the
adjoining province of Nova Scotia, of which it formed a portion until
the year 1785. Its first settlers were a few families from New England
in 1762, who planted themselves on the River St. John, about fifty miles
from its mouth. After the peace with America in 1783, upwards of four
thousand persons from Nantucket came also to seek a home in those almost
untrodden wildernesses.

The difficulties of settling in any new country are sufficiently
numerous and formidable; but the hardships which these poor people had
to endure were of more than ordinary severity. On their arrival late in
the autumn, they found a few wretched hovels where St. John now stands;
the surrounding country presenting a most desolate aspect, which was
peculiarly discouraging to people who had just left their homes in the
beautiful and cultivated parts of the United States. As they proceeded
up the river St. John, the country wore a more pleasing aspect. At St.
Ann’s, where Fredericton is now built, they met a few scattered huts of
the old French settlers, the country around being a perfect wilderness,
uninhabited save by wild beasts or more savage Indians. The winter,
which was at that time more rigorous than it is at present, surprised
the unfortunate settlers before they had time to complete the
construction of their cabins; added to which, they were frequently
reduced to the direst extremities for food and clothing to preserve
their existence. Frequently had they to travel from fifty to one hundred
and fifty miles with hand-sleds, through trackless woods, or on the
ice-bound rivers, to procure a scanty supply of provisions for their
families at the Government stores: and in the piercing cold of winter, a
part of the family had to remain up during the night to keep the fire in
their huts, to prevent the other part from freezing. Some of the more
destitute settlers made use of boards instead of bedding; the father, or
some of the elder members of the family, remaining up by turns, and
warming two pieces of board, which they applied alternately to the
smaller children to keep them warm, with many similar expedients. By
patience and endurance, almost unexampled, they struggled through their
sufferings; and, by unremitting exertions, subdued the wilderness, and
covered the face of the country with thriving towns, and villages, and
habitations, where peace, plenty, and industry have fixed their abodes.

My route to New Brunswick from Canada was by the Grand Portage, about
thirty-six miles across. The roads, though bad, were better than I
expected. On my way I passed through some new settlements on reclaimed
swamps, near the Rivière du Loup and crossed two or three high
mountains, which form part of the Alleghany chain, lying between New
Brunswick and the River St. Lawrence. The greater part of the country
here is a complete bed of rocks, and the whole way through the woods
offers little encouragement for settlers. Having passed the Portage, I
reached Lake Tamisquata or Témiscouata a wild and solitary piece of
water, twenty-eight miles in length. The land upon its banks is
generally inferior, but upon its western side there are several swells
of fruitful ground. From this lake the River Madawaska takes its rise,
and winds for thirty miles through an almost boundless forest. The
country on either side is exceedingly fertile; and the scenery is of the
most wild and magnificent description. A few Acadians[2], the
descendants of the original French settlers, are located on the banks of
this lonely river; they are exceedingly simple in their manners, and
have little intercourse with the rest of the world, except when at
distant intervals they visit Fredericton to dispose of the surplus
produce of their little farms. Their wants are few, and they live a
quiet pastoral life, retaining a strong attachment to the dress, habits,
language, and religion of their forefathers.[3]

This settlement is comprehended in the disputed territory claimed by the
Americans on the Maine frontier; which, in point of fertility, valuable
timber, and beautiful rivers and streams, is equal to any part of

The season at which I entered New Brunswick was May, the most favourable
period in the year for seeing the country to advantage. It is then that
summer bursts at once from the cold embrace of winter; for the few days
intervening between the rigorous cold of winter, and the genial heat of
the weather such as we experience in England in the month of June, can
scarcely be called a spring. To persons who have only witnessed the
tardy advances of summer through the months of March, April, and May, in
Great Britain, the sudden change which takes place at this season in
Canada and the adjoining colonies is especially surprising; in the
course of three or four days, the fields and deciduous trees put on
their verdant liveries, innumerable garden and field flowers burst into
full blow, the birds of summer make their appearance and enliven the
woods with their glad songs, and the American nightingales, as the frogs
are called, commence their singular evening concerts. In short, nothing
can be imagined more delightful than the astonishing quickness with
which the face of nature becomes clothed with all the charms of summer.
The forests, which cover the greatest part of the province of New
Brunswick, are unequalled in magnificence in any other part of the
world. The banks of the river St. John are remarkable for the magnitude
and abundance of the timber with which they are overgrown. Many
varieties of the red, yellow, and pitch pine, intermingled with the
graceful larch, the picturesque beech and maple, birch, elm, oak, and
numerous other tribes of forest timber, grow down close to the water’s
side, spreading in stately grandeur over the broad plains, or stretching
proudly up to the summits of the mountains that descend precipitously to
the river. In summer the bright and cheerful green of the forests is
exceedingly beautiful and refreshing to the eye, the dark pines alone
forming a sombre contrast to the vivid freshness of the deciduous trees;
but it is in autumn that an American forest wears its most enchanting
colours;—two or three frosty nights in the decline of the season
transform the rich and boundless verdure of a vast tract into brilliant
scarlet, rich violet, and every possible tint of blue and brown, deep
crimson and golden yellow. The fir tribes alone maintain their
unchangeable dark green hue; all others on mountain and in valley burst
into glorious beauty, and exhibit the most splendid and enchanting
picture that earth can produce. It is from these immense forests that
New Brunswick now draws its principal wealth. The timber trade,[4] which
has hitherto almost wholly engaged the attention of settlers, is of
great importance, and employs a vast number of people, whose manner of
living, owing to the nature of the business they follow, is altogether
different from that of the inhabitants who are occupied in agricultural

Throughout all New Brunswick, the wood fellers, or “lumberers,” as they
are there termed, bear a very indifferent reputation, being generally,
and I fear with too much justice, regarded as men of dissolute and
extravagant habits, and whose moral character, with few exceptions, is
dishonest and worthless. The curious manner in which these people
associate themselves for the purpose of cutting timber is so well
described by a modern writer, that I cannot do better than transcribe
his account of it. “Several men,” he says, “form what is called a
lumbering party, composed of persons who are either hired by a master
labourer, who pays them wages, and finds them in provisions; or of
individuals, who enter into an understanding with each other to have a
joint interest in the proceeds of their labour: the necessary supplies
of provisions, clothing &c., are generally obtained from the merchants
on credit, in consideration of receiving the timber which the lumberers
are to bring down the rivers the following summer. The stock deemed
requisite for a lumbering party consists of axes, a cross-cut saw,
cooking utensils, a cask of rum, tobacco and pipes, a sufficient
quantity of biscuit, pork, beef, and fish; pease and pearl barley for
soup, with a cask of molasses to sweeten a decoction usually made of
shrubs, as of the tops of the hemlock tree. Two or three yokes of oxen,
with sufficient hay to feed them, are also required to haul the timber
out of the woods. When thus prepared, these people proceed up the rivers
with the provisions to the place fixed on for their winter
establishment, which is selected as near a stream of water, and in the
midst of as much pine timber, as possible. They commence by clearing
away a few of the surrounding trees, and building a camp of round logs,
the walls of which are seldom more than four or five feet high; the roof
is covered with birch bark or boards. A pit is dug under the camp, to
preserve any thing liable to injury from the frost. The fire is either
in the middle or at one end; the smoke goes out through the roof; hay,
straw, or fir branches are spread across, or along the whole length of
the habitation, on which they all lie down together at night to sleep,
with their feet next the fire. When the fire gets low, he who first
awakes or feels cold springs up, and throws on five or six billets; and
in this way they manage to have a large fire all night. One person is
hired as cook, whose duty it is to have breakfast prepared before
daylight; at which time all the party rise, when each takes his
“_morning_,” the indispensable dram of raw rum, immediately before
breakfast. This meal consists of bread, or occasionally potatoes, with
boiled beef, pork, or fish, and _tea_ sweetened with molasses. Dinner is
usually the same, with pease soup instead of tea; and the supper
resembles the breakfast. These men are enormous eaters; and they also
drink great quantities of rum, which they scarcely ever dilute.
Immediately after breakfast they divide into three gangs, one of which
cuts down the trees, another hews them, and the third is employed with
the oxen in hauling the timber, either in one general road leading to
the banks of the nearest stream, or at once to the stream itself. Fallen
trees and other impediments in the way of the oxen are cut away with the

Such is the toilsome life of a lumberer from October until the month of
April; amidst forests covered with snow, and exposed to all the severity
of the winter, without experiencing any of its comforts. But it is when
the snow begins to dissolve in April, and the “freshets” come down the
rivers, that the lumberer’s most trying labours commence. The timber
which has been cut during the winter is now thrown into the stream, and
floated down to some convenient place for constructing a raft. The water
at this period, owing to the snow water in the freshets, is more
intensely cold than in the depth of winter; the lumberers are obliged to
be immersed in it from morning till night, and it is seldom less than
six weeks from the time the floating the timber commences, till the
rafts are delivered into the merchant’s hands. This course of life, it
is evident, must undermine the constitution; and the sudden transition
from the extreme cold of winter in the backwoods to the scorching heat
of the summer sun, must tend still farther to weaken and reduce the
system. In order to sustain the cold, and stimulate the organs, these
men are in the habit of swallowing immoderate quantities of ardent
spirits; we cannot, then, wonder that premature old age and shortness of
days should form the almost inevitable fate of a lumberer. Should one of
them, more prudent than his fellows, save a little money, and be enabled
for the last few years of his life to exist without labour, he only
drags out a miserable existence—the victim of rheumatism, and all the
miseries of a broken down constitution.

[Illustration: _Falls on the St. John River._]

A few miles above the Acadian settlements, the St. John receives the
waters of the Madawaska; and inclining to the westward, flows in a deep
and sluggish stream through a wilderness of rich and fertile lands,
until it reaches the Grand Falls of the St. John, which for romantic
beauty are perhaps unequalled by the most celebrated falls in the world.
Mr. McGregor, who visited them, asserts, that, though they cannot be
compared with Niagara in point of magnitude, the _tout ensemble_ of the
tremendous rocks, the gigantic woods, and the continuity of the
cataracts and rapids below the St. John Falls, is finer than any thing
that the otherwise unparalleled Niagara can boast of. _Bateaux_ and
other craft navigating the river at this point, are carried across a
narrow neck of land, from a small cove immediately above the falls, to
another little creek at some distance below them. The river, which a
short way above the falls is broad and placid, becomes suddenly
contracted between high and rocky banks, overhung with trees of immense
growth, and rushes along a descent of several feet with prodigious
impetuosity, until the interruption of a ridge of rocks, close to the
edge of the grand falls, changes the turbulent stream into one vast
sheet of broken foam, thundering over a precipice, fifty feet in
perpendicular height, into a deep vortex filled with huge rocks, amongst
which the immense body of waters is for a moment partially lost.
Re-appearing, it continues its course through a narrower channel, pent
in by rugged overhanging cliffs, and dashing with extraordinary velocity
over a succession of lesser falls, more than half a mile in length,
forms a picture of terrific grandeur and sublimity. The scenery after
passing the grand falls is of the wildest and boldest character
imaginable; and the rocky bed of the river is exceedingly dangerous for
rafts and _bateaux_, which, however, are dexterously navigated through
the broken waters and foaming rapids.

[Illustration: _A first Settlement._]

From this point the settlements on the fertile tracts of intervale land
which lie near the river become more numerous, and it is no unfrequent
occurrence with travellers in the woods to fall in with a farmer and his
family hard at work forming A FIRST SETTLEMENT. These settlers are
mostly Americans,[5] or English and Scotch farmers, who have emigrated
from the mother country to endeavour by honest labour to obtain a
comfortable independence for themselves and their children. It is a
singularly interesting sight—one of these new settlements buried in the
depths of a pine forest, and proves how many seeming and real
difficulties a man may overcome by patience and industry. Who without
some strong motive for exertion would not feel discouraged at the sight
of the wilderness land covered with heavy trees, which he must cut down
and destroy before he can commit to the earth the seed which is to
produce food for his family? But with the prospect of independence and
comfort before him, the strong-hearted settler falls cheerfully to work,
the lusty strokes of his axe ring through the lonely woods, and the
monarchs of the forest fall one after the other beneath his vigorous
arm. A small space is cleared, and he begins to raise the walls of his
future dwelling. Round logs, from fifteen to twenty feet in length, are
laid horizontally over each other, notched at the corners so as to let
them down sufficiently close, till the walls have attained the requisite
height:—the interstices between the logs are then filled with moss and
clay; a few rafters are afterwards raised for the roof, covered with
pine or birch bark, and thatched with spruce branches; the chimney is
formed of wooden frame-work, and plastered with clay and straw kneaded
together; a doorway and an aperture for a window are next cut in the
walls of the house; the door and sashes are fixed in their places; a few
rough boards, or logs hewn flat on one side, are laid down for a floor,
and overhead a similar flooring, to form a sort of garret or lumber
room. With the addition of a few articles of furniture of the rudest
construction, the habitation is now considered ready to receive the
family of the settler, who view with unbounded delight their new
dwelling, and joyfully prepare, for the first time since their sojourn
in the forest, to cook and eat their dinner of venison beneath the
shelter of their humble roof. The house being completed, the settler
next turns his attention to laying out his farm; and his first object is
to cut down the trees, which is done by cutting with an axe a deep notch
into each side of the tree, about two feet from the ground, in such a
manner that the trees all fall in the same direction; the branches are
then lopped off, and the timber is suffered to lie on the ground until
the beginning of the following summer, when it is set on fire. By this
means all the branches and small wood are consumed; the large logs are
either piled in heaps and burnt, or rolled away for the purpose of
making the zigzag log fences necessary to keep off the cattle and sheep,
which are allowed to range at large. The timber being thus removed, the
ground requires little further preparation for the seed which is to be
sown in it, than merely breaking the surface with a hoe or harrow.
Plentiful crops of corn or potatoes may be raised for two and often for
three years successively after the wood has been burnt on it. The stumps
of the trees are allowed to remain in the ground until they are
sufficiently decayed to be easily removed. The roots of spruce, beech,
birch, and maple, will decay in four or five years; the pine and hemlock
tree require a much longer time. After the stumps are all removed the
land is turned up with the plough, and the same system of agriculture is
practised as in England.

Destructive fires often occur in the woods, sometimes from the effects
of lightning, but more frequently arising from the carelessness of
travellers and wood-fellers, who light fires at the roots of trees, and
take no trouble about extinguishing them afterwards. If the season
happens to be dry, the fire soon communicates to the surrounding trees,
and from thence spreading through the forest, it rages with a fury and
rapidity that we can scarcely form a conception of in European
countries. Let the reader, if possible, fancy the devouring flames
curling around the stems of the lofty pine trees, rushing up to their
dark tops, and ascending to an immense height amongst the dense clouds
of black smoke arising from a whole forest on fire. At each moment the
falling trees come down with a thundering crash, while sparks and
splinters of burning wood, driven on the wind, spread the destruction
far and wide,

        “Through the grey giants of the sylvan wild.”

Human means are unavailing to check the progress of the conflagration;
onward it rushes, extending to every combustible substance, and
spreading desolation in its path until it is quenched by rain, or until
it has devoured every thing between it and the cleared lands, the sea,
or some river. In the year 1825 the country to the north of Miramichi
was visited by one of the most disastrous conflagrations that history
has ever recorded;[6] upwards of a hundred miles of the shores of
Miramichi were laid waste by the fire, which extended to Fredericton,
where it destroyed the governor’s residence and about eighty other
houses; and carried its ravages northward as far as the Bay de Chaleur.

[Illustration: _Fredericton—New Brunswick._]

From the Grand Falls the river takes a course nearly due south, bounded
on either side by precipitous banks and dense forests, whose solemn
gloom has not yet been cheered by the hand of man. About half way
between the Falls and Fredericton the waters of the Meduxnikeag unite
with those of the St. John. It is here the grand and sublime features of
the scenery of the latter river soften into the beautiful and
picturesque. The towering and abrupt precipices,—the overhanging
crags,—the dark and unpenetrated forests,—open into smiling plains and
cultivated farms; and the numerous beauties which Nature has lavished on
the scene, heightened by art, adorn the landscape with the cheering
prospect of human comfort and prosperity. The river from this place to
St. John is navigable for rafts and boats; and the settlements, though
numerous, are chiefly confined to the banks of the stream,—a situation
always selected by early settlers, from the advantages it possesses in
enabling them to dispose of the timber with which their land is

                 *        *        *        *        *

FREDERICTON, the seat of government of this province, is agreeably
situated on a level neck of land, on the south side of the River St.
John, about ninety miles above its mouth. The appearance of the town and
the adjacent country, viewed from the rising ground behind Fredericton,
is highly beautiful and luxuriant. Immediately beneath us stands the
College, a plain but extensive building, conspicuously placed on the
brow of a wooded eminence, overlooking the town; further down, on the
flat shore, lies the neat cheerful looking town; and at some distance on
the left, the handsome residence of the governor occupies a charming
site near the water. Bending almost round the town, the majestic river,
which is here not more than a mile in width, flows tranquilly between
its banks; but it is no longer a silent and lonely stream, where the
otter and the grey duck make their home, and—

                    “——with tawny limb,
        And belts and beads in sun-light glistening,
        The savage plies his skiff, like wild bird on the wing.”

Civilization and commerce are now busy upon its waters,—white sails are
gliding to and fro,—and the heavy rafts of the lumberers are seen
stealing slowly down the stream, or occasionally a steamer may be
observed, stemming the current that runs against her in her passage up
from St. John.

[Illustration: _Fredericton—New Brunswick._
 From opposite.]

Following the course of the river downwards, the eye traces it for
several miles winding around bold headlands crowned with noble
trees,—or, lingering in those lovely bays where the sombre hue of the
surrounding forest scenery is relieved by cheerful settlements, green
fields, and comfortable farm houses, sprinkling the rich alluvial lands
that fringe the shores. Looking upwards, the scene is still more
picturesque and animated;—the face of the country exhibits more
extensive cultivation,—the settlements are more numerous,—the woods
seem to recede from the shores, yielding their ancient sovereignty of
the soil to the untiring industry of man. The best view of FREDERICTON
is had FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE RIVER, from whence the town
presents a very pleasing appearance. Gay spires and white-walled
buildings are seen stretching along the shore for a considerable
distance; above these the College occupies a commanding situation; and
nearer to the spectator the tranquil river flows smoothly on, while the
dark green woods that clothe the undulating hills behind the town, form
a noble back ground to the picture:—if to this the reader adds a
glorious summer sky, overhanging and brightening all beneath, the
landscape will be complete.

[Illustration: _The Green at Fredericton._]

                 *        *        *        *        *

THE GOVERNOR’S HOUSE stands at a short distance from the town, in one of
the most romantic and picturesque situations imaginable. It is a light
and elegant structure, forming a very agreeable object from the river,
surrounded as it is by ornamented plantations, and sheltered by fine
upland slopes, clad with rich and beautiful foliage. The town of
Fredericton is laid out with great regularity; the streets crossing at
right angles, as in almost all American towns. The public buildings are
not numerous; the principal are—the Government House, the College
already mentioned, and the barracks, which are good and commodious. The
Episcopal church is a very unpretending building; there are besides,
four other places of religious worship in the town for the Presbyterian,
Methodist, Baptist, and Roman Catholic inhabitants. The environs are
exceedingly pretty; neat houses, smiling gardens, and comfortable farms
being scattered in every direction.

[Illustration: _The Governor’s House, Fredericton._]

The condition of the settlers in the neighbourhood of Fredericton, St.
John, and other large towns, is very different from that of the
adventurous men who go forth to make a clearing in the woods;—their
difficulties not being numerous, nor the labour so incessant, as that
which the first settler has to encounter. The farms of the former are
generally in a high state of cultivation: the rude log-hut has given
place to a well-built and commodious dwelling-house, where the farmer,
with his family and a numerous establishment of household servants,
mechanics, and labourers, reside. Around the main building are
scattered, with little regard to regularity or uniformity of appearance,
barns, cattle-sheds, stables, workshops, and out-offices; and not
unfrequently a grist mill and a saw mill;—all bearing evidence of the
thriving condition of the proprietor, who, if he lives near the river,
is also generally engaged in the timber trade, and employs large gangs
of lumberers in the woods. The following picture of one of these
industrious and active individuals, who had settled near Fredericton,
may serve, with few exceptions, for the whole class:—This man was worth
absolutely nothing when he settled on his farm, yet by industry and
perseverance, he had acquired, in seven years, a handsome independence.
“He could do little more than read and write; and his manners, though
quite unpolished, were not rude. He had a wonderful readiness of
address, and, as far as related to his own pursuits, quick powers of
invention and application. He raised large crops, ground his own corn,
manufactured the flax he cultivated and the wool of his sheep into
coarse cloths; sold the provisions which his farm produced, and rum and
British goods, to the lumberers, and received timber in payment. He made
axes and other tools required by the lumberers, at his forge. He ate,
gambled, and associated with his own labourers, and all others, who made
his house a kind of rallying point; he appeared, however, to be a sober
man, and a person who had in view an object of gain in every thing he
engaged in.” The person thus described was an American; and it is an
indisputable fact, that there are no people who can more readily adapt
themselves to all the circumstances peculiar to a new colony than the
descendants of the first settlers in the United States. They exhibit
much more perseverance and ingenuity than the British colonists; and
though the English farmer is decidedly superior to the Yankee in
agricultural knowledge, the latter possesses, in a greater degree, a
quickness of invention where any thing is required that can be supplied
by the use of edge tools. An American settler is not only a carpenter
and joiner, but he can, if necessary, turn his hand to various other
handicrafts;—he tans leather, builds boats, makes baskets, soap, and
sugar; and is his own smith, farrier, tailor, and shoemaker. Almost
every farmer has a loom in his house, and his wife and daughters spin
the yarn from the wool and flax produced on the farm, and afterwards
weave it into cloth. The home-manufactured woollen cloth is rather
coarse, but extremely durable; it is generally dyed a blue colour.

[Illustration: _Indian Town._
 (River St. John.)]

The habitations of the Americans who have settled in the British
colonies are generally better constructed than those of any other
settlers who have not had the advantage of many years’ residence in the
country. But though the house of the English emigrant, from his
imperfect knowledge of the use of edge tools, is usually a very clumsy
affair, the peculiar neatness and comfort which prevails within doors
more than compensates for the want of mechanical skill displayed

It has been well observed, that the virtue of cleanliness is one of
those which Englishwomen never forget; I may add, that no women exhibit
more industry and cheerfulness than the wives of the English settlers.
It is no uncommon thing to see amongst them women, who have been
tenderly and delicately brought up, milking their own cows, making their
own butter, and performing tasks of household work from which they
formerly would have shrunk. But a determination to conform to
circumstances, soon reconciles a sensible woman to the duties of her new
situation; and that which was at first irksome, becomes, in a short
time, not only endurable, but a source of real gratification. The value
of an industrious, active, and cheerful partner, can be estimated by no
one so well as a settler in a new colony. It is to her that he owes all
his domestic comforts and enjoyments. Like the prudent housewife
described by King Solomon, “She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh
willingly with her hands. She looketh well to the ways of her household,
and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Her accomplishments are numerous,
but not exactly those that a fine lady in England might expect. Her
skill is shown in the arts of manufacturing maple sugar; candle and
soap-making; baking, cooking, salting meat and fish, knitting stockings
and mittens, spinning woollen yarns, feeding poultry, managing a dairy,
and, lastly, in mending and making clothes for herself, her husband, and
children. These are the occupations of an emigrant’s wife; and if a
female cannot resolve to enter upon them cheerfully, she should never
think of settling in the woods of Canada or New Brunswick.

The grand features of American scenery cannot be viewed to greater
advantage than when sailing down one of those vast rivers which roll the
accumulated tributes of a thousand streams in one majestic flood to the
ocean. For this reason, I would recommend any traveller wishing to
proceed from Fredericton to St. John, to take his passage by one of the
steam-boats which ply between these places. Descending the St. John, the
traveller cannot avoid remarking the extreme beauty of the shores, which
present a succession of undulating hills, alternating with plains of the
richest alluvial land. Sometimes the river assumes the appearance of a
picturesque lake, studded with islands of varied form and size,
reflecting, in its glassy surface, the tints of the lofty pine woods, by
which it seems hemmed in. At other times, confined between rocky shores,
it rushes onward with troubled speed; until, again expanding into a
broad stream, it glides, in tranquil beauty, between its beautiful
shores. Frequently, struck by the grandeur of the scenery by which we
were passing, have I longed to gaze upon it at my leisure; but our boat,
like the monster Time, stayed not for my ardent wishes; and a passing
glimpse was often all I could obtain of those wild and beautiful spots.
Yet purer pleasure I have seldom experienced than when gliding down this
noble river. I can now picture to myself the dense and lofty forests,
clothing the upland slopes; the lofty hills that overhung the stream,
with pleasant vales between, full of rich fields and green pastures,
sprinkled with flocks and herds, and here and there the cheerful white
shingled dwellings of the industrious settlers. Sometimes the white sail
of a fisherman’s boat, or the painted canoe of the Indian, would cross
us in our course. Numerous timber rafts, dropping sluggishly down with
the stream, were overtaken and passed by us, with groups of lumberers
stretched lazily on the floating mass, smoking, drinking, or sleeping in
the sun, and enjoying their brief respite from slavish toil by
uncontrolled abandonment to the luxury of idleness. I shall not,
however, attempt a very minute description of the beautiful and fertile
shores of the St. John River, which, in its descent from Fredericton to
the Long Reach, receives the waters of the Washedemoak and Grand Lake
from the east, and the Oromocto from the west. At the head of the Long
Reach, the lands on either side, and the pretty islands which divide the
river into several streams, are unequalled in beauty and fertility.
Belle Isle Bay, a fine sheet of water, branches off here, and extends
into the country a considerable distance. The spacious estuary of the
Kennebecasis next attracts our attention. The shores are abrupt and
rocky, but highly cultivated. A lovely tract of land called Sussex Vale
lies near the head of the bay, thickly populated, and evincing by its
appearance the prosperity and industry of its inhabitants. About a mile
above the city of St. John, the river, contracted from the spacious
opening of the Kennebecasis Bay, foams over and amongst a number of huge
rocky masses, which appear to have been hurled from the adjacent heights
into the bed of the stream, and, except at certain times of the tide,
render the navigation of the river completely impracticable. This
cataract, or rather succession of cataracts, forms what is called THE
FALLS OF ST. JOHN. Above the Falls, the expanded river forms a bay of
some extent, surrounded by high and rugged woodlands. At the lower end
of this bay, and at a short distance from the Falls, stands the
picturesque village of INDIAN TOWN, which, owing to the hindrance of the
navigation of the river by the Falls, has become a kind of lesser port
to St. John, where numbers of small craft load and unload their cargoes.
The steamer for Fredericton also lies here; the distance to St. John
being not more than a mile and a half, by a good road. The best view of
the UPPER FALLS is obtained from the bold heights about midway between
Indian Town and St. John. From this spot, looking up the river, the
waters are seen rushing in an immense body through the scattered rocks
which intercept their progress:—above the Falls the quiet bay spreads
out its blue waves, as if in contrast to the turmoil below, winding
round the abrupt promontories, and washing the white walls of the
village of Indian Town, which is here a beautiful object in the picture.

[Illustration: _Split Rock._
 (St. John River.)]

THE SPLIT ROCK is that portion of the Falls lying nearest to St. John.
The river here, pent between steep and rugged rocks, foams through its
narrow channel with a tremendous roaring noise. The accompanying
engraving represents these Rapids as they appear at low water, when the
turbulent stream assumes an aspect of terrible and imposing grandeur.
The approach to St. John from Indian Town is through the adjoining
village of Portland, a place of some importance as regards the trade and
commerce carried on there. It is the great depôt for the timber brought
down from the interior of the country, and the principal wharfs and
warehouses being situated in this part of the city, the traffic is
consequently most considerable there.

The intelligent and amusing author of “Sam Slick,” speaking of the
harbour of St. John, says:—“No person on entering this harbour, for the
first time, could suppose that it was the outlet of one of the largest
rivers on the American continent, as it is in no way to be distinguished
in appearance from any of those numerous inlets of the sea that render
the coast of the British provinces every where accessible to ships of
the largest class. As soon, however, as he gets a view of this noble
stream, and becomes acquainted with its magnitude, he feels that St.
John is destined by nature, as well as by the activity and intelligence
of its inhabitants, to become the next largest city to New York on this
continent.” To judge of the importance of its situation, the spectator
should view the HARBOUR AND CITY OF ST. JOHN from the heights over
Portland. From this vantage ground the landscape is magnificent. He will
behold, as upon a map spread beneath his feet, prairies, mountains, and
woods; the noble harbour; the town, with masts of ships, spires of
churches, and houses of various sizes and colours; the heights of
Carleton, on the opposite side of the harbour; and, spreading away to
the southward, the Bay of Fundy, with the distant shores of Nova Scotia,
emerging darkly from the waters: these, with numerous other picturesque
features, form a splendid and beautiful panorama.

[Illustration: _St. John from the Signal._]

The artist of this work obtained another charming and extensive prospect
of ST. JOHN FROM THE SIGNAL, which is planted on the summit of a
commanding eminence that rises immediately behind the pretty little
village of Carleton.[7] The aspect of the town from this position is
exceedingly fine. Situated on a rocky peninsula projecting into a safe,
spacious, and convenient harbour, it appears designed by nature to
command the trade of the vast tract of country lying between it and the
River St. Lawrence. Indeed, from the appearance of its public
buildings,—of its wharfs and warehouses,—of the noble ships that crowd
its port, and of the numerous steamers that are perpetually plying to
and from Boston, Annapolis, Windsor, and other places,—it is but
reasonable to infer that the time is not far distant when this town will
assume an important position in the commercial world. At the entrance of
the harbour is Partridge Island, on which there is a light-house and a
quarantine station; and further in the harbour, a bar, extending across
from the western side beyond the point on which the city stands. A
beacon has been placed on this bar, which is quite dry at low water. The
tide, which runs with extraordinary force, rises in this harbour from
twenty-five to thirty feet perpendicular.

[Illustration: _St. John and Portland, New Brunswick._]

The streets of St. John, owing to the unevenness of the ground upon
which the town has been built, are very irregular, although considerable
pains have been taken to level and smooth the rugged surface. The
government and public buildings are generally appropriate and handsome.
The principal are the court house, a marine hospital, a poor house, a
gaol, and two fine ranges of barracks, with government store-houses at
the lower cove, which have materially improved the appearance of this
quarter of the city. There are also two Episcopal churches, one an old
wooden structure, the other a modern erection, built in the gothic
style, of rough stone; a handsome Scotch kirk, two or three neat
Methodist chapels, one Catholic and one Baptist place of worship, and
several religious humane and useful societies in St. John. The country
around the town, as I have already observed, is exceedingly picturesque;
and the inhabitants are fond of making little excursions and pic-nic
parties[8] to favourite places during the summer. I visited one of these
delightful spots during my sojourn at St. John. It lies within an easy
walk of the town, and bears the romantic name of LILY LAKE. A straggling
road leads to within a short distance of it, from whence, striking off
by a tangled path, through broken ground, I came suddenly upon the
object of my search—a sweet little lake, reposing in the bosom of a
wild valley, upon whose picturesque sides the feathery larch, the
graceful beech, the wild cherry, the Indian pear, with the hazel,
juniper and dogwood tree, formed many a natural thicket and delicious
arbour, whose thick roof of verdant branches is, through the long
summer’s day,—

        And musical with birds, that sing and sport
        In wantonness of spirit; while below,
        The squirrel, with raised paws and form erect,
        Chirps merrily.”

St. John is seen to great advantage from the shores of Lily
Lake:—seated on its rugged peninsula, with houses rising above houses
to the summit of the hill, on whose highest point the tower of the
Methodist chapel forms a striking object, the town makes, with the
surrounding scenery, an exceedingly pretty picture.

[Illustration: _Lily Lake._]

Having now conducted my readers, from the Canadian boundary, through a
vast extent of territory, tracing, in our route, the course of the
magnificent river St. John, with its myriads of lakes and tributary
streams, opening an inland navigation to almost every part of this fine
province, I shall next make a rambling tour through the sister colony of
Nova Scotia, describing, as I go along, the most striking and romantic
features of that country, which will form the concluding portion of this
work. Before quitting New Brunswick, I shall offer a few brief
observations on some of the most prominent advantages and disadvantages
of the colony. The rigours of the climate in winter, about which so much
has been said, and which seems to have deterred many English emigrants
from settling here, have been considerably exaggerated. The fact is, the
climate has of late been materially ameliorated; the winters are by no
means so severe, or of the same duration, as they were fifteen or twenty
years since. The reason is obvious: the rapidity with which settlers are
clearing the forest, and opening the face of the earth to the light of
day, gives to the sun’s influence a much greater extent of country
annually; as a natural consequence, the snows melt more early and
rapidly, and the winters become proportionably short. When the colony
was but thinly inhabited, the winter commenced early in November, and
continued generally until the end of April; latterly, however, there has
been no dead winter until Christmas, and the spring has usually opened
in the beginning of April. But even the winter has its advantages and
pleasures. The snow which falls then protects the herbage and winter
grain from the severity of the frost, and natural roads are formed on
the hardened snow, which materially facilitate the labours of the farmer
and the lumberer. When the cold is extreme, the inhabitants keep within
doors; and, fuel being abundant, they feel little of the severity of the
frost without. As soon as a favourable change takes place in the
weather, the roads and rivers are again alive with sleighs and sleds,
drawn by horses, and posting at a rapid rate, in all directions, over
the glassy surface of the ice; the former as vehicles of pleasure, and
the latter laden with provisions for the markets. Many settlers travel
in these sleds from two to three hundred miles to the city for a market,
(such trips being seldom made more than once a year,) when they barter
their farm produce for tea, tobacco, hardware, and other luxuries which
their farms do not yield. The summer, as I have already observed, is
truly delightful; the air, notwithstanding the heat, is pure, and the
nights at this season exceed in splendour the most beautiful in Europe.
The autumn very much resembles an English autumn—the days warm, and the
evenings delightfully cool. The productions of the province necessary
for man’s support are various and abundant:—wheat and Indian corn, with
hay on the intervale[9] lands. Peas, beans, carrots, turnips,
mangel-worzel, and other culinary vegetables, thrive remarkably well.
Melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers are produced in the open fields. Apple
trees, though not yet sufficiently plentiful, thrive well in the upper
parts of the province. Grapes, cherries, raspberries, strawberries,
cranberries, blueberries, currants, and gooseberries, are indigenous to
the country, and are found in abundance in the woods. As far as
raspberries are concerned, it is a singular circumstance, that,
immediately after the clearing of a piece of land, its whole surface,
unless kept down by annual crops, will be overrun with raspberry bushes,
which in the second year are in full bearing. The most serious
disadvantage under which New Brunswick labours is a deficiency of roads.
There are, it is true, roads between the principal towns and
settlements, but they cannot be said to be continually effective, or in
a state to afford a constant and practicable mode of conveyance. Few of
them are passable for carriages for any considerable distance, and at
many seasons of the year are wholly untraversable. The most important is
the post road from Nova Scotia to Canada, which crosses the province
diagonally from the city of St. John, and runs parallel to St. John
River, on its western side. It is passable for carriages fourteen miles
above Fredericton, but only in summer: in spring and autumn it is very
wet; and in winter, the only mode of travelling is by the ice, on the

[Illustration: _Scene in the bay of Annapolis._]

The distance from St. John River to Annapolis Bason in Nova Scotia[10]
may be about thirty miles, across the Bay of Fundy, the passage being
usually performed by the steam packets which run regularly between these
places. The entrance to the bason is through a narrow strait, called
Digby Gut, whose precipitous sides suggest the idea of a passage having
been opened through the North Mountain by some violent convulsion of
nature. On entering the bason, one of the most magnificent havens in
America opens to the view; on its western shore the small but beautiful
village of Digby is situated, on the gentle slope of a hill, commanding
a view of part of Granville and Clements, and of the broad BAY OF
ANNAPOLIS, which receives the collected waters of the Annapolis, Moose,
and Bear rivers. The air of Digby is remarkably salubrious, and the
situation particularly agreeable in summer. The author of “Sam Slick,”
in his pleasant work, eulogizes this town as “The Brighton of Nova
Scotia, the resort of the valetudinarians who take refuge here from the
unrelenting fogs, hopeless sterility, and calcareous waters of St.
John.” We can forgive this partiality on the part of the talented
writer, who is always enthusiastic in his praise of Nova Scotia; and,
without depreciating the merits of a neighbouring colony, accord to
Digby the praise of being a delightful and healthy summer residence. The
shores of the bay are eminently picturesque—displaying all the softer
features of English park scenery, mingled with the primeval wildness of
an American landscape in all its sylvan luxuriance and solitude.

[Illustration: _An Old Fort in Nova Scotia._]

The same steamer which conveyed you to Digby takes you, if you wish it,
on to Annapolis, a small town situated on the river Annapolis, at the
eastern extremity of the bay. It is built upon the extremity of a
peninsula, which, projecting into the river, forms two beautiful basons,
one above and the other below the town. This place, the earliest
settlement, and the capital of the province, while under the dominion of
France, was called Port Royal; but changed to Annapolis Royal, in honour
of Queen Anne, in whose reign it was ceded to England. Mr. Haliburton
tells us that, “in addition to its being the most ancient, it is also
the most loyal city of this Western Hemisphere. This character it has
always sustained; and ‘royal,’ as a mark of peculiar favour, has ever
been added to its cognomen by every government that has ever had
dominion over it.” But royal patronage does not seem to have done much
towards improving the condition of the place, for it has increased
little in size or population since the conquest of the province. It is,
however, a respectable town, and contains—a government-house,
court-house, Episcopalian and Methodist churches, a respectable academy,
supported by a legislative grant, commodious barracks, and several
handsome private buildings. From the circumstance of the first governors
of the province having resided at Annapolis, many of the most
interesting subjects relating to the history of the colony are connected
with this town. Indeed, it is impossible to walk in its pleasant
environs, without being struck with the “old world” look of the
country,—the quickset hedges, and the neatness of the farms and
gardens, reminding one forcibly of an English rural scene. The view that
best pleased me in this neighbourhood was that from THE OLD FORT OF
ANNAPOLIS, on the south-western extremity of the peninsula, which
commands a fine prospect of the broad and beautiful bason, the
settlements on the Granville shore, and part of Clements. These
fortifications, which were erected at an immense expense, are in a
dilapidated condition; the cannon dismounted, and incapable, in the
present state, of sustaining a defence. An old block-house, in a ruinous
state, has an air of antiquity rarely to be met with in this country;
its venerable appearance struck me as being quite un-American.

[Illustration: _The General’s Bridge, near Annapolis._
 (Nova Scotia.)]

In no part of Nova Scotia are so many natural and artificial curiosities
to be met with as in the neighbourhood of Annapolis,—of these, the most
singular are, the natural ice-house, a deep ravine wherein ice may be
found throughout the summer,—the lake on the summit of the
mountain,—the point of land on the Granville shore, opposite to Goat
island, where the first piece of ground was cleared for cultivation in
this colony by the French, and where is still shown the stone on which
they had rudely engraved the date of their settlement, (1606,) as a
memorial of their formal possession of the country,[11]—the iron mines,
on the Moose river,—and, not the least interesting, THE GENERAL’S
BRIDGE, a romantic spot, about two miles from Annapolis, which I visited
during my brief stay in this neighbourhood. The walk to it was most
delightful: first, through the pretty suburbs of the town, and then, by
a road through luxuriant woods, till I came suddenly upon the secluded
valley, embosomed amongst undulating hills, through which rushed a rapid
stream, dancing and sparkling in the bright beams of an early sun. An
old wooden bridge, thrown across the brawling current, formed a striking
object in the picture; while, nearer to us, the wigwams of a party of
Indians, who had encamped on a slip of intervale land, completed the
picturesque character of the scene. While the artist who accompanied me
was engaged making his sketch of the place, I entered one of the wigwams
of the Indians, and learnt that they were journeying from Annapolis to
Liverpool, by way of the Rossignol Lakes, which, with the exception of
two short portages, form, it is said, a continued chain of navigable
water across the whole province, but rarely travelled, except by the
Indians. Having purchased from the squaw a pair of slippers, ornamented
very ingeniously with small glass beads and porcupine quills, and a fan
formed from the skin of some fish, tastefully dyed with various colours,
all of Indian manufacture, I rejoined my companion, who had completed
his sketch, and returned to Annapolis. The road from Annapolis to
Windsor runs parallel to the course of the Annapolis river, along that
high ridge which stretches from the Digby Gut to the Bason of Minas, an
extent of seventy miles of coast, without the intervention of a single
harbour. This tract, notwithstanding this disadvantage, is settled by
industrious families, who have, in general, excellent and
well-cultivated farms. The towns are clean and thriving; but we meet
none worthy of particular notice, until we reach KENTVILLE, a prettily
situated village, containing several handsome private residences, a
court-house, gaol, and a good grammar-school. The views in the vicinity
of Kentville are remarkably fine, and the formation of the land such as
to present the greatest diversity of landscape; the chief charm of which
consists in the unusual combination of hill, dale, woods, and cultivated
fields,—in the calm beauty of agricultural scenery,—and in the
romantic wilderness of the distant forests. The numerous orchards, and
the general fertility of the land in this and the adjoining township of
Horton, have procured for them the title of the “garden of the

[Illustration: _Kentville._
 (Nova Scotia.)]

Between Kentville and Windsor, the traveller crosses the Horton
Mountain, from whence he may obtain a view of extraordinary beauty and
extent. Behind him lies the township of Horton and Cornwallis, over
which he has just passed, beautifully watered by the rivers that meander
through them: beyond, is a lofty and extended chain of hills, presenting
a vast chasm—the entrance to the Bason of Minas—through which the
nineteen rivers that pour their waters into this vast reservoir appear
to have forced an _embouchure_ into the Bay of Fundy. The variety and
extent of this prospect,—the rich and verdant vale of Gaspereaux,—the
extended township of Horton, interspersed with groves of wood,
farm-houses, orchards, and cultivated fields,—the Grand Prairie,
sheltered by evergreen forests of dark foliage,—the blue highlands of
the opposite side of the Bason,—and the cloud-capped summit of the
lofty cape that terminates the chain of the North Mountain, form an
assemblage of picturesque objects, rarely united with so striking an

[Illustration: _Windsor, Nova Scotia._

The approach to the town of Windsor, from the western road, is by a
handsome wooden bridge, recently constructed over the river Avon, which
was formerly crossed by means of an inconvenient and unsafe ford,
passable only at low water. The Avon takes its rise in the extensive
lakes that lie between Chester and Windsor; but, though navigable for
some miles above the latter place, it would be little better than a
large brook, were it not for the augmentation it receives from the flow
of the tide from the Bason of Minas, which occasions an extraordinary
rise and fall of the river at Windsor; being about thirty feet at spring
tides. The Avon receives the Kennetcook, Cockmagon, and the St. Croix
rivers, a short distance below Windsor, and discharges their united
streams into the Bason of Minas. The country in the neighbourhood of the
town is exceedingly beautiful, being agreeably diversified with hill,
dale, and lawn. The luxuriance of the meadows,—the chain of high hills
on the south and west, clothed with wood of variegated foliage,—and the
white sails of vessels gliding through the serpentine windings of the
Avon and St. Croix,—are amongst the leading features of this
interesting landscape. Windsor is an extremely neat and pretty town,
with a Protestant church, and Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, and
Roman Catholic chapels. The private houses are numerous and tastefully
built, and have, with few exceptions, large gardens and orchards
attached to them. On an elevated and beautiful spot of ground, a short
distance from the town, stands the University of King’s College, which
has the power of bestowing degrees, similar to those granted by the
universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The View of Windsor, shown in the
accompanying engraving, was taken from a spot near the residence of
Judge Haliburton,—better known in the world of letters on both sides of
the Atlantic, as the author of the humorous “Sayings and Doings of Sam
Slick,” the first work that ever truly delineated that most singularly
amusing character—a Down-East dealer—and gave us a correct picture of
the quaint, shrewd, impudent, but good-humoured Yankee, in all his
striking originality of thought and action.

[Illustration: _The Residence of Judge Haliburton._
 (Author of Sam Slick.)
 _To whom this Plate is respectfully inscribed by the Publisher._]

The spectator, in this view, is supposed to be looking down the river
Avon, towards the bay: beneath him is seen the picturesque town, with
its new bridge; and in the distance, the winding shores, to which the
rich woods and cultivated farms give a diversified and beautiful
appearance. THE RESIDENCE OF JUDGE HALIBURTON is a small but elegant
structure, delightfully situated on an eminence, which, as I have just
observed, commands a noble prospect of the whole township. This charming
retreat is surrounded by thriving plantations of beech, white maple,
poplar, juniper, and other ornamental trees. Fruits of the most delicate
kinds are produced in the garden; indeed, the sheltered situation of
Windsor is peculiarly favourable for raising the tender produce of more
genial climates. Mr. Haliburton remarks, that “peaches, though subject,
from the early blossoms they put forth, to be injured by frosts, have
been known to ripen without artificial aid or even common shelter; and
grapes, pears, and quinces, and a great variety of summer and autumnal
plums, arrive at perfection in all ordinary seasons.”

The communication between Halifax and New Brunswick is maintained by
means of steam packets, which ply between St. John and Windsor, from
which latter place there is an excellent mail-coach road to Halifax. The
passage across the Bay of Fundy, and through the Bason of Minas, is said
to be rather dangerous, owing to the rapid tides, the rocky shores, and
the fogs which prevail on these coasts.

[Illustration: _Cape Blowmedon and Parrsboro’._]

The Bason of Minas is one of the most remarkable and beautiful inlets in
North America. Its entrance is through a strait about three miles in
width, with bold craggy shores. Outside this strait, the tides in the
Bay of Fundy are rapid but regular; but within, the rise of the tide is
greater than in any other part of America; in spring tides it flows to
the height of seventy feet in the narrow part of the bason. The
phenomenon called the _Bore_ is an attendant or rather precursor of the
flood tide, which approaches in a line of foam, extending across the bay
about four or five feet high, and rolling over the sands at the rate of
four miles, or upwards, an hour. The appearance of the shores of the
Bason of Minas, while sailing towards its entrance, is exceedingly
beautiful:—the luxuriant woods, lagoons, hills, dales, bays, rivers and
headlands, the numerous picturesque islands, the extensive farms,
verdant prairies, and thriving villages which meet the eye on every
side, form a succession of rich and varied landscapes. Near the entrance
of the bason on the western shore is the remarkable headland called Cape
Blomedon, or more generally—CAPE BLOW-ME-DOWN, which forms the
termination of the chain of hills that run parallel to the shores of the
Bay of Fundy from Annapolis. This headland presents a singularly abrupt
and imposing appearance; its perpendicular front is of a dark red
colour, and its rugged head may be seen at a great distance, emerging
from the thick mists by which it is frequently encompassed. On the
opposite side of the channel is the pretty little village of
Parrsborough, sheltered by the bluff cliff called Partridge Island;
which, resisting the force of the tides in the Bay of Fundy, makes a
secure harbour for the craft engaged in the navigation of the Bason of
Minas and the adjoining rivers. Through the narrow channel between
Partridge Island and CAPE SPLIT, at the outer entrance of the bason, the
great body of water collected in this immense reservoir escapes into the
Bay of Fundy. The singular appearance of this Cape, whose detached
masses of rock appear to have been shivered by some mighty convulsion of
nature, and shaken from their original foundations, has never failed to
excite the surprise and admiration of every stranger who has seen it. A
mail-coach road runs from Windsor to Halifax, which crosses the St.
Croix river at a short distance from the former place. On the border of
the St. Croix Lakes is the hill of Ardoise, the highest land in the
province, from whence may be had a distant prospect of Windsor,
Falmouth, Newport, and the beautiful country around the Bason of Minas.
The road, as we approach Halifax, winds for nearly ten miles along the
western shore of Bedford Bason, which is connected with the outer
harbour by a narrow passage at the dock yard;—this inner bason is a
beautiful sheet of water, containing ten square miles of safe anchorage.
The scenery here, though not highly romantic, is agreeably picturesque;
and the shores of the bason are indented with numerous coves, and
well-sheltered inlets of great beauty. About seven miles from Halifax
are the ruins of what was once the favourite country residence of His
Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, when commanding the forces in this
province. “It is impossible,” says Mr. Haliburton, “to visit this spot
without the most melancholy feelings: the tottering fences, the
prostrate gates, the ruined grottoes, the long and winding avenues, cut
out of the forest, overgrown by rank grass and occasional shrubs, and
the silence and desolation that pervade everything around, all bespeak a
rapid and premature decay, recall to mind the untimely fate of its noble
and lamented owner, and tell of fleeting pleasures, and the transitory
nature of all earthly things. I stopped at a small inn in the
neighbourhood, for the purpose of strolling over it for the last time
ere I left the country, and for the indulgence of those moralizing
musings which at times harmonized with our nerves and awaked what may be
called the pleasurable sensations of melancholy.”

[Illustration: _Cape Split._
 (Bay of Fundy.)]

The harbour of Halifax is one of the finest in the world:—it is
capacious, safe, accessible at all seasons of the year, and easy of
approach for vessels of the largest size. Three miles from Halifax and
near the mouth of the harbour is MacNab'’ Island, which forms two
entrances, called the eastern and western passage; but the former is
only used by small vessels. The North-west Arm is an inlet branching off
from the main entrance of the harbour, and penetrating about four miles
into the land; it winds in the rear of the town until it approaches to
within half a mile of Bedford Bason, forming the peninsula upon which
the town is built. The situation of Halifax is on the east side of the
peninsula, on the declivity of a commanding hill, whose summit is
between two and three hundred feet above the level of the sea. Near the
southern part of the peninsula stands a strong martello tower, which
commands on one side the harbour of Halifax, and that of the Arm on the
other. The author of “Sam Slick” gives the following humorous
description of the attractions to be found in its neighbourhood. “It is
situated,” he writes, “at the termination of a fashionable promenade,
which is skirted on one side by a thick shrubbery, and on the other by
the waters of the harbour; the former being the resort of those of both
sexes who delight in the impervious shade of the spruce, and the latter
of those who prefer swimming and other aquatic exercises. With these
attractions to the lovers of nature and a pure air, it is thronged at
all hours, but more especially at day-dawn, by the valetudinarian, the
aged, and infirm; and at the witching hour of moonlight, by those who
are young enough to defy the dew and damp air of night.” The streets of
Halifax are wide, and intersect each other at right angles; some of them
are paved, others macadamized, and from the ascent and nature of the
soil are usually dry. The houses, however, are irregularly built, no
uniformity in the height and size being observed in their construction;
handsome buildings of three and four stories high being intermingled
with old and mean looking edifices. The new houses built of wood, being
large, neatly finished, and painted white, are more imposing in their
appearance than those of brick and stone. Amongst the public buildings,
the government house,—the residence of the governor of the province for
the time,—is a large gloomy-looking structure, built of freestone, and
situated at the southern extremity of the town. The Province Building,
which is admitted to be the most splendid edifice in North America,
stands within a square in the centre of the town. It is built of
freestone quarried in the province, and its plan combines elegance with
strength and utility; its length is 140 feet, its breadth 70, and its
elevation 45 feet. It contains the chambers of the Council, and
Legislative Assembly,—the Supreme Court, with its appendant offices;
also all the provincial offices,—the Halifax public library, &c. There
are two Episcopal churches; one (St. Paul’s) is a handsome edifice with
a tall spire; the other, the Rotunda church, at the north end of the
town, is distinguished by a dome which gives it a remarkable appearance.
Halifax also contains two Presbyterian, one Methodist, two Baptist, and
one Roman Catholic chapel; besides a Sandemanian meeting-house. The
court-house is a plain brick building. Dalhousie College, established in
1820, is a spacious and handsome structure, situate at the end of the
old military parade.

[Illustration: _View of the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia._

Viewed from the village of DARTMOUTH, on the opposite shore of the
harbour, the town of HALIFAX appears to singular advantage. The front of
the town is lined with ships, warehouses, and wharfs, amongst which
Cunnard’s wharf, with one of his fine steam-packets lying alongside,
forms a conspicuous object. Above these the spires of the different
churches and the neat tower of the methodist chapel are seen
intermingled with the houses that cover the side of the hill, upon whose
summit stands the citadel which commands the town and harbour. To the
left, in the distance, is the entrance of the harbour; and nearer to the
spectator, the numerous boats and vessels in motion upon the water, with
the busy little steam ferry boat plying constantly between Dartmouth and
Halifax, give life and animation to the picture.

Halifax has been always the principal naval station of British North
America; and though it has lost much of its consequence since the
termination of the last war, it is still the most important town in the
possession of England in this part of the world, forming as it does the
great military and naval depôt for her North American and West Indian
colonies. The dock-yard here is the most extensive establishment of the
kind out of England; it is enclosed on the land side by a high stone
wall, and contains within it every requisite for repairing and refitting
the largest ships. On an eminence above the dock-yard, and commanding a
view of the harbour, is the residence of the admiral, who commands the
squadron on the American station. There is also a large wooden building,
at the south end of the town, for the use of the military commandant;
with two barracks, a military hospital, ordnance and commissariat
stores, &c. Halifax is the station for the North American packets, which
convey the mails regularly once a month to and from Falmouth. The old
worthless gun-brigs, which, to the disgrace of England, were employed
for a length of time in this service, have at length been removed; and
the mails are now carried by Cunnard’s splendid steamers, which
frequently make the passage from England out in ten days, touch at
Halifax, where they deliver the mails, and proceed without delay to
Boston, which they generally reach in two days. This increased facility
in the communication between England and Nova Scotia will do more
towards improving the colony than any thing that has been hitherto
attempted, and will be the means of making Halifax one of the most
flourishing towns in British North America.

                            END OF VOL. II.


[2] The descendants of the French who settled in the colonies now
possessed by Great Britain are distinguished by the appellations of
_Canadians_ and _Acadians_. The former were settled in Canada, and the
latter principally in Nova Scotia, then called Acadia. The Acadians are
now to be found in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and
Cape Breton; always by themselves in distinct settlements, and scarcely
ever inter-marrying with strangers.

[3] The Acadian women in Prince Edward Island dress after nearly the
same fashion as the Bavarian broom-girls. On Sundays their costume is
peculiarly neat and picturesque; they wear over their shoulders a small
blue cloth cloak reaching only half way down the body, and generally
fastened at the breast with an ornamental brass brooch; on week-days
they usually wear wooden shoes. The men dress in round blue jackets with
standing collars, and rows of shining metal buttons placed closely down
the front, scarlet waistcoats, and loose blue trowsers. Mr. McGregor, in
describing the Acadian customs, says, “Among all the Acadians in Prince
Edward Island I never knew but one person who had the hardihood to dress
differently from what they call “notre façon.” On one occasion he
ventured to put on an English coat, and he has never since, even among
his relations, been called by his proper name, Joseph Gallant, which has
been supplanted by that of “Joe Peacock.”

[4] St. John and Miramichi are the two places from whence the
exportation of timber is principally carried on in New Brunswick. The
town of Miramichi is seated at the mouth of a beautiful and majestic
river of the same name, which divides into three great branches, upon
whose banks dwell a thinly-scattered population, who employ themselves
during the winter chiefly in hewing timber in the woods, and in rafting
it down the river in summer to the places where the ships load.

[5] Many Americans make a practice of clearing a few acres of wood farm,
and then setting or selling the land and improvements the first
opportunity that offers. When this is accomplished they travel farther
into the forest, and settle upon another farm, which they clear, build
on, and dispose of in the same way they did the first.

[6] Mr. McGregor gives the following account of this dreadful
conflagration: “It appears,” writes he, “that the woods had been, on
both sides of the north-west branch, partially on fire for some time,
but not to an alarming extent until the 7th of October, when it came on
to blow furiously from the north-west, and the inhabitants on the banks
of the river were suddenly alarmed by a tremendous roaring in the woods,
resembling the incessant rolling of thunder; while at the same time the
atmosphere became thickly darkened with smoke. They had scarcely time to
ascertain the cause of this phenomenon, before all the surrounding woods
appeared in one vast blaze, the flames ascending more than a hundred
feet above the tops of the loftiest trees, and the fire, like a gulph in
flames, rolling forward with inconceivable celerity. In less than an
hour Douglastown and Newcastle were enveloped in the destroying element,
and many of the wretched inhabitants perished in the midst of this
terrible fire.” It was calculated that upwards of 500 persons fell
victims to the conflagration throughout the province.

[7] Carleton, named from Sir Guy Carleton, one of the early governors of
this province, is a thriving little place, situated on the opposite side
of the harbour to St. John. The saw mills, within the _aboiteaux_, a
little above the village, are deserving the notice of strangers.
Opposite to the town is a low muddy islet called Navy Island. The
Indians say that it was carried down at one time by the stream in a
body. It is, however, evidently an alluvial deposit, and has been
gradually formed.

[8] _Pic-nic_ excursions are much in vogue all over America. To show how
far these differ from any thing to which they may be compared in
England, it may be sufficient to observe, that pic-nic parties generally
consist of families of respectability, with their friends, who are on a
perfectly intimate footing with each other. In summer, some romantic
spot is fixed upon, to which the party proceed; if by water, which is
most commonly the case, in an open boat; or if by land, in gigs or in
calashes, and on horseback. The ladies consider it as within their
particular province to furnish eatables: the gentlemen provide wines and
spirits. At these parties there is usually less restraint and more
enjoyment than at the assemblies. On some grassy glade, shaded by the
luxuriant branches of forest trees, and not far from some clear spring
or rivulet, the contents of the well-filled baskets are disclosed;
feasting on which forms certainly the most substantial part of the day’s
enjoyment; but perhaps the most agreeable is that which succeeds, when
the party divides for the pleasure of walking; and there are undoubtedly
“worse occupations in the world” than wandering with a pretty woman
through the skirts of a wood, or along the margin of the sea, enjoying
“sweet converse” and the delights of the open air and surrounding
scenery. As the evening approaches they re-assemble; and the party,
followed by their servant, bringing along the fragments of the
_pic-nic_, return to the boat, in which they embark.—_M^{c}Gregor’s

[9] This word in usually applied to land so situated, with respect to
some adjacent stream or river, as to be occasionally overflowed by it,
and thus to enjoy the advantage of alluvial deposits.

[10] The province of Nova Scotia is an extensive peninsula, connected
with the continent of North America by a narrow isthmus of only eight
miles in width, between Bay Verte in the Straits of Northumberland, and
Cumberland Bason at the eastern extremity of the Bay of Fundy. It is
supposed to have been discovered in 1497, by John Cabot, then in the
service of Henry VII. of England. The first settlement was made there in
1604, by a number of French adventurers, who founded Port Royal, now
Annapolis; by these the country was named Acadia. The occupation by
France of this important province was opposed by England, and was the
cause of the hostilities between these countries in America, which did
not terminate until France was stripped of all her North American
possessions by the peace of 1763.

[11] This stone was discovered in 1827: it is about two feet and a half
long and two feet broad; on the upper part are engraved the square and
compass of the free-mason, and in the centre, in large and deeply cut
Arabic figures, the date 1606.

                           TRANSCRIBER NOTES

Spelling maintained as written except where obvious errors or omissions.
Multiple spellings of words and names were adopted consistent with
Volume I as follows: Montmorenci to Montmorency; St. Laurence (river) to
St. Lawrence (river); St. John for river and town in New Brunswick; and
St. John's for Newfoundland and Quebec early settlement on the Richelieu

Punctuation maintained except where obvious omissions or printer errors

List of Engravings created for this volume to complement Volume I.

Engravings have been enhanced and, where possible, relocated to coincide
with the text.

[The end of "Canadian Scenery Vol. II of II", by N. P. Willis (Nathaniel

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