THE EMIGRANTS' GUIDE TO THE CANADAS
by Wm. Watson, Esq., Dublin, Ireland
Printed by G. Bull, 3, Redmond's Hill, 1822
We, whose names are hereunto subscribed, having carefully examined a manuscript, written by Mr. Watson, on the subject of Emigration to Canada, declare it to be a performance worthy of our highest approbation; as the statements, which it contains, are literally true. We therefore, strenuously recommend the perusal of this work to every one of our Countrymen, who are curious, or have a disposition to emigrate to Canada, as they will, by an impartial reading, clearly comprehend whether they are (in the various views which may take of the Country) likely to succeed. The local knowledge we possess of this Country, enables us unequivocally to state that the work above mentioned, contains more useful information, with respect to Canada, than any work of the kind which we have hitherto seen; and to the Emigrant, on his arrival, it will prove a valuable acquisition, and prevent the necessity of his having recourse to the chicanery of the Emigrant Offices, where he must pay, and receive no manner of satisfaction.
Ralph Smyth, late of Shinrone, King's County.
Ben. Workman, late of Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
Alex. Workman, late of Lisburn, Co. Antrim.
W. H. Hughes, late of Cootchill, Co. Cavan.
Wm. Kent, late of Doharrow, Co. Tipperary.
John Carr, late of Mountrath.
Montreal, Lower Canada, July 16, 1821.
To Thomas Going, Esq. member of the Farming Society of Ireland, Traverston, Nenagh.
Owing to the intimacy subsisting between us, and your very well known character, as a most experienced and a practical Farmer, I am induced to Dedicate this treatise to you.
Should I be so base and presumptuous as to dedicate a work to you, which should be found to be both partial and incorrect, I am inclined to think that in so doing, I would be offering to you and the People of Ireland, the greatest disesteem, indignity and injustice.
I am, Sir,
Your very obliged and humble Servant,
Dublin, 12th Feb., 1822.
Since Emigration to the Canadas from England, Ireland, and Scotland is becoming very prevalent, I feel it a duty incumbent on me to lay before my countrymen such a portion of information respecting the Canadas, as may enable them to decide wisely and impartially, before they should attempt so serious and important an undertaking.
Truth shall be the motto of this treatise, and to it I will strictly adhere, particularly as a love for the industrious Irish is the actuating motive, or principle, upon which I am determined to act. Having already spent some time in the Canadas, it is but reasonable to suppose, that I cannot be altogether unacquainted with their Soil, Climate, peculiarities, Inhabitants, Manners, &c. &c.
Thus, then, do I trust to accomplish a Work, which I humbly hope will be found replete with utility, and susceptible of satisfaction and general approbation. I will refrain from everything superfluous, and confine myself to a simple statement of facts, concise in themselves, and unadorned by any colouring whatsoever.
Previously to my arrival in Canada, various letters from it to Ireland did come under my notice; but I am sorry to state, that since my arrival there, I have had an opportunity of knowing from experience, that they really abounded with falsehood, error, and absurdities: nor did I ever see one, that could be relied on as a guide or directory.
Comformably to the spirit of Philanthropy will I write, and therefore hope that my countrymen will find this to be a work, or safeguard sufficient to enable them to detect all falsehood and deception- a standard for them to act by- and a good criterion, so as to form their judgement, and fix their wise and final determination.
If, happily, such should be the result, I will, in some measure, feel compensated for both the time and labour expended thereon; and if, hereafter, I should discover myself to be once instrumental in conducting one of my countrymen aright, respecting Emigration to the Canadas, it will be no small gratification to my mind; it will, on the contrary, in my opinion, be an important seal of testimony to the merits of this publication.
If having been myself a practical and experimental agriculturist, should be of any signification, I deem it but right to touch thereon: particularly as it may be of some weight in the publicity or authenticity of this work.
Many thousands have emigrated to the Canadas during the last four or five years; the number is almost incredible: and those that prospered or did not, it would be truly difficult to discover.
It is a common opinion in Ireland, that any person emigrating to the Canadas', can obtain Land gratis; such a report sounds sweetly, especially to those who wish to become Agriculturists, or may have been labouring under the Agents of Absentees, Rack Rents, &c. &c.
Imagination, or rather too hasty and sanguine wishes, lead them to suppose, that any Country must be better than their own and if they were but once in the Canadas, they would then be in a "promised land flowing with milk and honey," and where they might be happy, enjoying every ad vantage which they might think unattainable in the place of their nativity.
This is but the sunny side of the Irish Emigrants chimeras, who, in their zeal, and air-castle building fancy smother most things salutory; or in reality contrary thereto. Little are they aware of the picture which, in candour and impartiality, I am here emboldened to sketch or draw for them.
The Tenures of Land in Canada
Land in this Country is held by two sorts of Titles, in Fiefs Seiqniorial, and in free and common Soccage. This difference of heritable right to landed property has arisen out of the political situation in which the Country has been placed at various periods. Under the French Government the Civil Constitution was established upon the Feudal system; and their mode of granting Land was conformably thereto. Subsequently to the Act of Charles II., which confirmed the holding of Land in England by free and common soccage, and when the Canadas became a part of the British Empire, the benefit of that Act was extended to them, introducing thereby, the plan of granting Land according to that tenure.
The Seignorial titles arose in the way already noticed; and owe their existence at present to the act of Cession, by which Canada was resigned to England: for by the articles of said treaty, all holding lands under French Grants, had them confirmed according to the tenure on which they had been granted, named in fief seignorial.
The French Kings granted an amazing tract of territory, extending about eighty-five miles below Quebec, along the banks of the River St. Lawrence, to about thirty or forty miles above Montreal, being a distance of about three hundred and sixty miles. It was in large tracts named seignories. Those differ in size in various cases, but are generally from thirty-six to fifty square miles each, and contain, in the entire, about 7,985,400 square acres.
It being the wish of Government to promote the settlement of the Country, a clause was inserted in the Seignorial deeds conveying their lands, by which they were obliged to concede then in farms, under the penalty of forfeiting their Seignories. The Seignors were obliged, as has been told, to concede their lands in small lots, or farms, free of all expence, except the cost of surveying; 15s., and the price of a process verbal, 7s. 6d. Those, to whom concessions were made, are bound to pay them certain sums, expressed by the deed of concession, such as annual rent and other perquisites. The Rents, in all cases, are very low, though they differ in many seignories; they never exceed 3s. and two bushels of Wheat per annum, for every Sixty Acres of Land. In many cases the Seignors when conceding uncleared Land, do not claim this Rent for the first two or three years. Should a Seignor bring the whole of his land under cultivation, the obligation to concede it on the terms mentioned ceases, in which case he may either sell or lease it as he pleases.
A good farm of such land ought to be very profitable, owing to that noble river the St. Lawrence being so convenient. Generally speaking, this land is light, and not so good as land in many parts of the Upper Province; still I must observe, it possesses many great advantages, such as the contiguity of towns and villages, and navigable water: enough in the eyes of some to make a good farm here preferable to one in any other part of Canada; though this tenure is attended with many restrictions, insignificant and beneath my notice.
Free and Common Soccage
The advantages attached to this kind of tenure are so well known and esteemed, as to require no comment. I believe that all the lands conceded by the British Government in Canada, have, and will be granted under this tenure. The conditions are fixed by the authority of the Govornor and Council. Every person thus obtaining land is obliged to become a Settler thereon. He must build a house and clear a road in front of his lot, and must clear five acres for every hundred he gets before he can obtain his deed. Such conditions are rigidly observed in Upper Canada. In the lower province, there is no clause obliging the settler to clear the road, or keep it in repair; such being provided for by the Road Act in that province. The ground to be cleared in the lower province is less than in the upper, being four acres to each grant, be it large or small. Such are the conditions of the settling duties in Lower Canada, and the Settler is allowed three years for their completion, at the expiration of which time, be can get his deed, and thus become an estated man. He will also have to pay a certain sum, as the price of his land, and fees for drawing out the requisite papers, &c. &c. The whole of which sum differs in various parts of the two Provinces, but will not, at the very highest, exceed 3s. 6d. per acre, which charge, in the upper Province, (to suit the convenience of the Emigrant) is to be paid at different periods.
A poor Emigrant, proving that he is unable to pay any fees, will get fifty acres of land free; but such a grant of uncleared land I deem insignificant, as every Farm ought to have, at least, so much unclear land in reserve, for fuel and various other purposes.
The Canadas have no Manufactories worth noticing. Emigrants can apply for land in Quebec, Montreal, Kingston and York, and can purchase land reasonably in any part of the Canadas.
York, a town of Upper Canada, seated on Lake Ontario, is the seat of Government for this province. This town lies low, consists chiefly of one street, which is more than half an English mile in length, and is rapidly increasing, it has a compact, new, handsome Assembly House, a large, well-constructcd building of the Established religion; a Methodist Meeting House; Gaol, and Market House. Fever and Ague are no strangers to its inhabitants, perhaps owing to its very low situation and contiguity to Lake Ontario: but very few die of those diseases. Almost all the houses are built of Wood roofed with Shingles, or Tin. Its streets are not paved, nor is it a place of much mercantile trade, or any other lively business. Houses and lodging are expensive here, more so than in either England or Ireland. The land about York is wretchedly poor; light and sandy, at least for seven or eight miles distance, in every direction.
A Council assembles here once a fortnight, for the purpose of taking Emigrant's petitions for land into consideration: each petition must state particulars; the means, &c. which the petitioner possesses, must be accompanied with papers of recommendation, and the necessary Oath of Allegiance certificate. Should the Petitioner have taken this Oath in his native country, he must renew it here, or else remain disqualified, without any alternative. At the Land-Agent's office, in York, when taking the Oath of Allegiance, half a Dollar must be paid; and should the Petition be written by the Clerk of said Office, a similar charge will be made for so doing. The former sum cannot be avoided, but the latter can by a person writing his own petition, or getting a friend to compose it, which is the better way for, many reasons. Hasty, illiterate and inexperienced men pay for their petitions, and one told me he did so without being able to afford it.
In reply to a Petition, a Location ticket will be obtained at the Surveyor-Generals Office, which will cost about 3s. 9d. British. This Ticket specifies the number of Acres granted, Township, lot and concession. The Government fees; agreeably to a late regulation, is to be paid in three different portions; the first on getting the Location ticket, the second in six months, and the last at the expiration of twelve months. Eighteen months are allowed as the limitted time for compleating the settlement duties.
Here follow a scale of the government Fees, and also of the settling Duties, &c. &c.
GOVERNMENT FEES IN THE UPPER PROVINCE, 1821.
50 acres - Free
100 acres - £12
200 acres - £30
300 acres - £60
400 acres - £75
500 acres - £125
600 acres - £150
700 acres - £175
800 acres - £200
900 acres - £225
1000 acres - £250
1100 acres - £275
1200 acres - £300
Five Acres to be cleared to every hundred acres granted, a Log-house, sixteen feet by twenty, roofed and finished. Every lot of two-hundred acres must have a Road cut at each end, 33 feet broad; but a person getting only half a Lot, (a hundred acres) cuts his road only at one end. The Clear Land must be fenced, the Logs and Brushwood burned, and the ground fitted for the harrow.
Regular Land Council Days at York, 1821
January 10th, 24th.
Feb. 7th, 21st.
March 7th, 21st.
April 4th, 18th.
May 2nd, 6th, 30th.
June 13th, 27th.
July 11th, 25th.
Aug. 8th, 22nd.
Sep. 5th, 19th.
Oct. 3rd, 7th, 21st.
Nov. 14th, 28th.
Dec. 12th, 26th.
Cost of Clearing An Acre of Canadian Land
Cutting and Chopping into Logs, and piling Branches and Underwood : 8 men at 3s. 0d. each
Burning Brush : 4 men at ditto
Piling Logs : 4 men at ditto
Two Yoke of Oxen and Drivers : 2 men, two teams at 3s. 9d. each
Fencing : 3 men at ditto
Totals : 21 men, costing £4 6s. 3d.
Should the Emigrant purchase Men's wearing apparel, by Auction, in Montreal, and give them in part payment to men employed in clearing his land, it far from a town, the profit thereon will enable him to get his land cleared cheaper.
Produce of An Acre of Good Cleared Land
(English measure) generally.
One Acre of Wheat, 20 stone Irish to the barrel : 4 barrels and 10 stone
One Acre of Oats, 12 stone Irish to the barrel : 8 barrels
One Acre of Potatoes, 24 stone Irish to the barrel : 60 barrels
Indian Corn, 20 stone Irish to the barrel : 6 barrels and 8 stone and 8 lb.
It must be observed that the stumps occupy a part of this Acre.
Price of Produce in York Market, 1820.
Wheat, one Bushel, 60 lbs. : £0 3s. 9d.
Barley, One Bushel, 60 lbs. : ditto, £0 2s. 6d.
Oats, One Bushel, 36 lbs. : £0 1s. 6d.
Potatoes, One Bushel, 60 lbs. : £0 1s. 6d.
Indian Corn, One Bushel, 60 lbs. : £0 3s. 9d.
The Best Flour, One Barrel, 196 lbs. : £1 0s. 0d.
Pork, One Barrel, 204 lbs. : £2 10s. 0d.
Prime Beef : 3d. per lb.
Prime Mutton : 4d. per lb.
The Government in Upper Canada often indulges poor Emigrants, by giving them six months longer than the limited time for completing the settling duties.
Two-sevenths of Upper Canada are Crown and Clergy Reserves, each lot consisting of two hundred acres, which will be leased for 21 Years, with a Renewal power; for the first Seven years must be paid Seven Dollars, the next Seven years Fourteen Dollars, and the last Seven Years, Twenty-one Dollars.
No person Emigrating should burden himself with any Articles from the Old Countries, as he can purchase by Auction, in Montreal, every, article cheaper than he could in Europe. Money is the only thing he should take, and that is what will enable him best to succeed in his pursuits. Could he take a quantity of old halfpence, such as are not current here, they will pass for their intrinsic value in Canada. Dollars, for five shillings, and Guineas for One Pound three-shillings and eight pence, if weight. Quills, Paper and Feathers, in many parts of the Wilderness, sell well.
In Montreal a Carpenter's wages from 4s. to 6s. a day; he must diet himself, nor will he get constant work. Plaisterer's, for the best work, 1s. 3d. a yard, finding all materials; without finding materials, 6d. a yard. The best Laths 2s. a thousand, and Nails, 3s. a thousand. Cut and cast Nails used here. Lath cut Nails 11d. a thousand. Irish journeymen Nailers no use, as all the nails are cut and imported.
Candles, by the box, 10d. a lb. and Soap, by the box, 5 1/2d. and by the single lb. 7 1/2d. Best Tallow 7d. a lb. There is no Duty on anything made; Ashes, &c. very cheap.
As there is but little Mason-work doing in the Canadas, except in towns already well supplied with Masons, and as they must be unemployed during the Winter, I will not advise such to Emigrate unless they intend to follow some other pursuit during that season.
When the Settling Duties are accomplished, and an Affidavit made to that effect by two Witnesses before a Magistrate, the Settler can obtain his Deed.
Should an emigrant be located on a very bad Lot, he must prove it unworthy his attention, or he cannot get it exchanged. It is seldom such Lots are given to any one, as the Surveyors almost invariably (according to their judgment) distinguish them in their Books, and thus return them to the Government Office.
If a man find out an unoccupied Lot in any township, supposing one near a particular friend's, and should petition for it the first, he will obtain it. By paying a small sum he can discover in every township all the unlocated Lots, and has the liberty of petitioning for any of them with every probability of success. But it is very seldom that a good Lot ever remains unoccupied in any well-inhabited fertile Township; in which case, to accomplish his desire, he must either lease a Reserve or Purchase, and always has the alternative to go back into the newly surveyed and wild Townships, which will be locating on his arrival.
Whilst the Emigrant is going through the necessary petitionary proceedings, he will be necessitated to live in the Town, at a weighty expense, where he petitions, and perhaps, may spend a month or more in this way, before he can finally adjust all the requisite particulars.
In proceeding to Land thus obtained, the Emigrants will suffer every inconvenience, privation and hardship; as they advance through the Wilderness, they are obliged to prepare a passage by cutting any trees - which might be in the way to impede their sledge or wagon, drawn either, by horses or oxen, the usual way of conveying their Children, Furniture, Provisions, &c. &c. Should their lands be far from a town, village, or inhabited place, great must be the difficulties which they will have to encounter. Families, in the Summer time, will be often obliged to sleep unhoused during the journey; and, indeed, they are often so painfully circumstanced, that none but those who experience such trials, can attempt to tell, or even form of them the most distant idea. Forlorn and strange will the Emigrant feel, until he becomes accustomed to such new and solitary scenery, and often will he visit ideally the hills and valleys of ERIN GO BRAGH!
Until he can procure from his own land the provisions necessary for his house, he will find it very expensive and laborious, if not difficult to obtain them, unless he should happen to have some settlers of at least two or three years standing somewhat convenient.
The nearest Land of any signification in quantity to York, which will be next locating, is fifty miles (in 1821), and it undoubtedly must become farther every year.
As to clearing Land in the Canadas, either an American or Canadian, who is expert with the Axe, will in Eight days cut the timber of an Acre-chop it into Logs fourteen feet long-pile the Branches with the underbrush for burning, and three men with a Yoke of Oxen will collect the Logs of said Acre into heaps for the same purpose in the space of two days.
Underbrush consists of young trees from half an inch to six in diameter. Between the large trees neither Briers, Furze or Bushes of any kind appear, and stones are scarcely found.
Pine Land is not generally esteemed, owing to its being principally light and sandy; and many years may elapse before the pine root and stumps will vanish. They are even said to continue a nuisance for forty or fifty years.
Land is enclosed with a rail fence, it being the cheapest and most convenient. A man may in eight days make Rails, and fence therewith a five Acre field. Pine is the the most valuable timber for building or boards; and makes good Charcoal, which is commonly used by Blacksmiths, Coal mines being as yet undiscovered.
Beech, Maple, Elm, Basswood, Hiccory and other sorts grow in land most esteemed for its quality, the Stumps and Roots of which shortly decay. Beech, Maple and Hickory are much prized for fuel.
The Maple affords a Sap, of which is made passable Sugar. March and April are the Months for making it. I have seen some of it which appeared to me as fair as any Jamaica Sugar; but in flavour, taste and smell it is found inferior. When making this Sugar, the trees are tapped three feet from the ground with an incision made with an axe two inches deep, from which the Sap runs into wooden troughs: A healthy tree will yield in a day four gallons of Sap. By a process of boiling it becomes Sugar, and is purified by milk, flour or an egg, which brings all its impure qualities to the surface. An hundred trees ought to yield a sufficiency of Sap in one day to make sixteen pounds of sugar. It is only on particular days that the Sap will run, the Nights of which must be frosty, and the days thereof warmly influenced by the Sun. During a good Sugar season people generally make from three to foqr hundred weight. The quahtity depends on the season, indefatigability and help of the Maker. It may be worth the expence attending it, as little other work can be done in its season. I heard of a man, who made last season Eleven hundredweight of this Sugar. The trees thus tapped will answer for a serie of years by making new incisions, and though the liquor must decrease, its strength will progressively improve. This Sugar will sell in the month of December for 5d. British, per lb. and for less in the beginning of the season. There is rarely to be found a good lot of Land but has some Maple. Stranger's, at first, do not altogether relish Maple sugar, particularly fine and delicate Emigrants. Excellent vinegar, and an indifferent sort of Cider, with very good Molasses, are produced from the Maple sap.
If an Emigrant should settle on his land in time to have a portion cleared against September, he can sow wheat therein, and cover it with the harrow, which is the only way to sow it, otherwise he must be satisfied with Spring Crops; for if the Wheat be not sown early enough, so us to be well over ground and strong, before any severe snow or frost should visit it, a good crop must be very uncertain therefrom.
The Spring crops consist of Potatoes, Indian Corn, Oats, Peas, Turnips, Barley and sometimes Wheat. In April or May, Oats are harrowed in. In the latter end of May, Potatoes and Indian Corn are sown, both of which are liable to suffer at times from the late and early frosts. Potatoes are deposited in Hills by a hoe, four feet from each other, and while the roots continue in the land in a stubborn way, it is the only method to, plant them.
Indian Corn is deposited by putting two or three grains in each hole, equally distant as the potatoes. Potatoes are taken out with a Hoe. In the month of September the Indian Corn is cut with a Sickle, and made into Shocks, &c. when properly saved and seasoned; and the stalks, which are good fodder, are accordingly stacked. Pumpkins are to be sown at the same time with Indian Corn, by depositing one or two grains in every fourth hole. This mode is very economical, in as much as the same land answers for both; and pumpkins are good food for pigs and horned cattle, many of which fatten upon them.
Indian Corn is most excellent to fatten pigs, horses and oxen, when ground amid boiled it resembles stirabout, and is pleasant food. It will also make coarse close bread, and is a grain very beneficial to the Agriculturist being prized as much here, as potatoes are in Ireland. Potatoes are sometimes pitted during the Winter in Upper Canada, but cannot be touched, owing to the intense frost, until Spring. They are generally kept in cellars, particularly what may be required for daily use. They are inferior in quality to the Irish potatoes, which in a great measure may be accounted for by the little covering they have in such new land, and so many planting them, who were never farmer's until they settled there. I often ate with a friend as sweet and as good potatoes as I could with for in my native land.
Hops grow very well in the Canadas, and sell from 6d. to 10d. per lb. There is a Hop-Yard near Montreal, which, for the last ten years, did not experience any failure.
Horses are not much used by the inhabitants of newly located settlements, Oxen being considered more easily fed and managed.
A yoke of Oxen can be purchased for £12 10s.; a draft horse for £10.; a good milch Cow for £5.; a Sheep for 10s. 0d., and a Sow, with young, for £1 10s. The horses in Upper Canada somewhat resemble those of Ireland. The Cows are small like mongrel Kerries, very kind for milk, and often calve at the singular age of nineteen months. They are not well made, are and very narrow ver the kidneys. The Oxen are sizable and made like the kine; they are trained to the yoke from yearlings, and draw with kindness and facility coupled with a wooden yoke, having a bow at each end. They are uncommonly tractable and useful in the Wilderness, especially where the roads and footing are bad and miry. Without any instance of inflexibility they are completely mastered by the driver's voice and whip. Thus may the Irish learn a very wise lesson by adopting the same method of training heifers and oxen at the same young age, and by yoking them exactly the same way. They will find that one yoke of oxen thus managed, will be more useful than two yoke after the old country usage.
Sheep are not large, and in wool and shape resemble the Spanish breed. Pigs, generally, are inferior to the Irish. Tame Geese, Ducks and hens, are large and good; Turkeys are scarce. Abundance of birds like the Irish Partridge, but larger and better, are found everyday in the year in the Wilderness, and may be easily shot. Deer are often noticed, but seldom killed, except by the Indians; who trace them in the winter.
New township settlers are often wonderfully inconvenienced, not having the advantage or accommodation of good Roads, Mills, or Market towns convenient, which would enable them to dispose of their various commodities both comfortably and advantageously. To Emigrants they must principally look for the sale of those articles. Little Money is obtainable for any article here, business being chiefly carried on by barter.
This custom of traffic exists, I suppose, chiefly from the country being new, and the great scarcity of money, little of which can be obtained, except from Emigrants arriving; few of whom have any to signify by the time they arrive on their respective lands. A long time will elapse before good roads will be seen in this country; indeed few places can afford the proper materials, limestone being so scarce in the Canadas. There is a public clay road from Kingston to York, but a very bad one, without any stones thereon. Other roads run in different directions, such as Quebec, Montreal, Niagara, Queenstown, Talbot's Settlement, &c. &c.; but wretchedly situated are those Settlers, who live thirty miles more or less from those public roads.
Feather Beds are dear in many parts of Canada, and are frequently sold for 2s. 6d. per lb.
Tradesmen and labourers, of all descriptions, need not, expect the high wages which were customary in this country four or five years ago: the scarcity of them then made high wages unavoidable; but now, in a country, I may say, overrun by such people, they will find hire decreasing every year. All those, whose profession obliges them to be employed in outdoor work, must consider, that during the winter they cannot follow their accustomed labours. It is a common practise for Women to weave and make men's clothes; and mostly every man residing in the Wilderness, is, generally speaking, JACK OF ALL TRADES!
I find Emigrants of every profession returning yearly to their Native Country; still I cannot wonder at such being the case when they emigrate to such a country as Canada, flushed with the most unreasonable and whimsical expectations, and perfectly ignorant of the great exertions, sobriety and judgment, which are so essentially requisite to enable them to succeed. The climate, and wild appearance of the Canadas, at first sight intimidate many; exciting in them a despondency and regret, which cannot be overcome but by great labour, mental strength, courage and perseverance. Inactive and timid men should never emigrate; they will never prosper at home or abroad, but particularly in Canada. Instances occur of very, poor Emigrants arriving; too late in the season, with large families to support, and before they can make any successful exertion in any pursuit, sickness overtakes them, intense and chilling cold benumbs them; thus, in poverty and want, they may languish without friends or relief, save the scanty boon which, if in towns, they may chance to get from the benevolent Societies thereof.
Unmarried Women, who have no fortunes, and are active, and industrious, without much pride or vanity, and Who can relish a quiet and retired life, should emigrate to the Canadas, in any of the country parts of which they will not reside long, before they can have all opportunity of being well married, such being very scarce, and considered, in that country, a fortune in themselves. Marriage portions indeed are not customary there.
In the months of June, July and August especially, morning's and evenings, Emigrants are liable to be stung and tantalized by the Moschettoes; but those pests are scarcely noticed by hardy, rough and laborious residents: delicate strangers are chiefly annoyed by them. On the Other hand, the Emigrant is exposed to a scorching sun, which preys upon and enervates his bodily frame. Squirrels, and a small bird, called the Blue Jay, damage greatly the Emigrants corn for the first or second year.
About three years or upwards, after any land is cleared, it may be ploughed between the stumps; and the ploughs are so constructed as to cut and loosen the roots. The clear land is frequently laid down with the first crop of Wheat. The large stumps of most Trees, except Pine and White Oak, will be rotten in ten years; smaller in five or six: they may be taken out at any time; but to avoid unnecessary expense it is better leave them to a natural decay, particularly as labourers are scarce and wages high.
The soil varies much in the Canadas, and it is very difficult to ascertain the exact qualities of a Wilderness; some parts run sandy and light; others consist of a stubborn and costive clayish loam, while limestone is but rarely found. I suppose from the grass which grows in Canada, that its richest parts cannot vie with the rich land in Ireland. The severity and length of the winter, added to the scorching and intense heat of the summer, are very good reasons why the grass cannot be as verdant, thick, soft and luxuriant as in Ireland. On the whole, Ireland, though old and exhausted, is superior in quality; it possesses a fertility, rich veins, hills and valleys, whilst such are not as yet discovered in the Canadas.
Most parts are well watered by Lakes, streams, and rivers. Saw Mills, worked by water, are erected in many places, and there is one of those Mills within eight miles of Quebec where 360 saws are kept in motion. Boards are very cheap; half-inch Boards, by the hundred square feet, 2s. British; three-quarters, ditto, ditto, 2s. 6d.; one inch, ditto, ditto, 3s. 4d.; 1 1/4th, ditto, 4s. 0d. and so on in proportion.
The majority of Emigrants on their arrival at Quebec have scarcely any money. Quebec is about 540 miles distant from York in Upper Canada, which journey may be performed by water, and will take, at least a fortnight to accomplish this tedious voyage; owing to the amazing rapids or currents, in some parts of the river St. Lawrence, which oppose the Boats drawn by men and horses with astonishing force, and when in their favour carry them forward with incredible velocity.
Distance And Cost of Going From Quebec to York
In a Steam Boat from Quebec to Montreal, 180 miles, 2d. cabin, 10s. 0d.; from Montreal to La Chine, by land 9 miles 6s. 0d.; from La Chine to Kingston, in a Batteau, 170 miles, 7s. 6d. and 5s. 0d. a hundred for Luggage; from Kingston to York, 180 miles, in a Steamboat, 2d. cabin 15s. There is no charge for Luggage in the Steamboats.
A man, with a large family, wishing to embark prosperously and extensively inland, would require £300, though many have but very little and struggle to acquire properties. A man can do more with £300 in this country than be can with £700 in Ireland.
Society in the Wilderness is by no means good, as very few polite people are there to be found. Those who enjoyed the politeness and advantages of Irish hospitality, its intercourse and conviviality, must feel very solitary; no matter what merits or good conduct distinguished them heretofore, they are little valued or respected, but are obliged to associate with the most illiterate, Unpolished and worthless sort. It is a common practice with tradesmen and workmen of every description, to eat at the same table with master's and families, and should this custom be violated, it would give great offence, perhaps induce them to withdraw from your employment; and they also expect the best treatment, attention and diet. In manners, both parents and children generally degenerate; should the advantage and education of the latter in such respects be taken into consideration, I would not advise them to emigrate, unless they cannot procure a sufficient property, comfortable maintenance, &c. &c. in their native country. Delicate men, who wish to live without labouring or wielding the axe, except they have a command of Money to save them therefrom, should not think of living in a Canadian Wilderness.
In the old settlements there are Schools established, and partly supported by Government, the scholars of which are instructed in English, Writing and Arithmetic. Those Schools are somewhat like poor country Schools in Ireland, but are better conducted, having, I believe, grammatical teachers. It is not very easy for Schoolmasters to obtain those schools, as none except such as understand the English Language grammatically, and can spell and pronounce the letters of the Alphabet, not Irish but English like, are esteemed; some even thus qualified may not be constantly employed, while the Trustees, whose duty is to engage them, are sometimes so ignorant, as to be scarcely able to write their own names: such trustees may often dismiss a teacher from prejudice or caprice. Agreeably to a late regulation a teacher cannot be dismissed for six months at least, from the time of his engagement; and then, Unless he get a favourable certificate from the Trustees he cannot obtain the Government money. The best educated men are generally appointed Trustees, but it often happens that a Settlement cannot afford the like. Fifty Pounds British, is, for the most part the Teacher's Yearly allowance; ten Pounds of which the Govermunetit pays, and the Parents of the Scholars the remainder. The Teacher, if a single man, can boarded and lodged in the houses of the parents alternatively, but not without payment.
The Indians, except in Wartime, seldom visit any of the Settlements. They are quiet and harmless, except irritated; and if so, will recollect it and the person so provoking them during life. In both provinces there are a few Indian villages and settlements, and many Indians speak English very well.
Wild Beasts retire from or shun inhabited places. Wolves sometimes attack Sheep; and Foxes are larger here than in Ireland. The Rivers are all well supplied with Salmon, Eel, Pike, and Trout. A Salmon of 12lb. weight can be purchased for 3s. British, but sometimes cheaper or dearer according to circumstances.
In Upper Canada there are many American Settlers, who favoured the English during the Wars. They are a shrewd, crafty people, and not much esteemed by their European neighbours. They are unsociable, and, as to hospitality and manners, are very different from the Irish. Accustomed to the Axe from their infancy, makes them excellent Choppers, while an Irishman, for a year after his arrival uses it in an awkward and unprofitable manner. No one emigrating should take Workmen with him, as the expense attending them is enormous; and moreover, they generally desert before they can be useful, or without one honest exertion to work out the debts of money and gratitude which they invariably contract on the way.
Land can be purchased very reasonably in every Township. Wild land, and partly cleared, are daily advertised for Sale, prime land with or without the Settling Duties having been done thereon, can be commonly purchased for ten shillings the Acre. I have seen land advertised to be sold cheaper than the Fees charged for Government land, but I suspect that neither the quality or situation was good. It is sometimes better to purchase than to draw Government land. I am sure there is no country where a man can purchase a Farm, dwelling house, &e. &c. so cheaply as in Canada.
The Canadas consist of good and bad land: were the best of it tried, old and impoverished from bearing a repetition of white crops, such as the Irish land, I think it would exhibit greater poverty. In Canada, the Farmer pays no rent; which ought to be his greatest glory and boast. Should his crops fail, or any other misfortune befall him, he need not fear that his cattle will be impounded, or sold for nonpayment of Rent, &c. As one-seventh of the land, conceded by Government in the Upper Province, is reserved for the Clergy, Tythes cannot exist there: and as to Taxes, the inhabitants, I am sure, will scarcely feel them.
The Winter, in Upper Canada, commences in November, and continues till April; during which time the ground remains covered with snow from one to three feet deep, accompanied with an extraordinary and continual frost; the cold at times so intense as to penetrate the warmest clothes, or chill the hardiest man or tame beast. Water, after remaining in a cold house near an unextinguished but feeble fire, will be frequently frozen nearly an inch thick during the night. Milk, bread, meat, &c. all frozen. Sometimes a person outside door, washing his face at a creek, may have icicles hanging from his whiskers before he could get inside to apply a towel, and by touching iron with the bare hand, it will adhere slightly to the skin thereof. In various places Saw and Grist mills cannot work for months, owing to the intensity of the frost. Cattle and Men are sometimes inconvenienced for water, as Creeks and streams in some few places are entirely converted into ice: this only occurs to shallow and lazily running waters. Such a winter must be very severe to cattle which are not generally foddered so well as they are in the old countries.
Of all descriptions of men the Canadas answer best a poor hardy labourer, who is either single or can be assisted by able and dutiful sons. Such will not feel the loss of society, and can well bear a state of equality. A labourer's hire is from 100 to 130 dollars a year, with excellent Board and lodging; Tea and flesh meat once every day. By the month, in Spring and Harvest, from 12 to 15 Dollars, ditto, ditto; in Winter, from 7 to 10 Dollars a month, ditto, ditto. Payment is given in cash, clothing and produce. Though well they live in this country, their labour is astonishingly great; in fact without the best of diet they could not work as they do; and sometimes they are badly paid.
Lower Canada has a longer and a severer winter than the Upper Province, the snow being frequently four feet deep, and varies in both provinces, as parts of them lie northerly or otherwise. The severity of the winter in this province is very great; every house here is supplied with a stove, and this custom prevails in most houses in the Upper Province, which is very economical and nccessary, to keep houses and people comfortable, particularly in towns, where fire-wood may be costly. A Cord of wood, consisting of two loads, each drawn by a pair of horses, will cost in York, Upper Canada, 12s. 6d. A Cord of wood is 8 feet long, 4 feet high, and the proper length of each stick is 30 inches.
There is some difference between both Provinces; the Summer in the lower is oppressively hot, whilst the cold of its Winter is in the opposite extreme. The upper province is somewhat more temperate both in winter and summer. The winter in this province I consider more pleasant and wholesome than that of Ireland; no mists, rain or exhalations, which are so very prevalent in Ireland, appear here; every day, snowy one's excepted, being almost cloudless, pure and serene. Last winter I did not feel it very cold in this province with the exception of three or four days, and during that period I did not wear flannel shirts or a second coat. I have been told that Emigrant's do not feel the first Winter's cold as much as any subsequent one, owing probably to the temperate Summer of Ireland, &c. which they experienced before emigration. Not so here, as a parching summer affects a person so much that he cannot but feel the effects of the winter, in consequence of the former being in the opposite extreme.
The wisdom and goodness of GOD are remarkably conspicuous, but particularly in the snow of Canada, which by covering the earth, plants, wheat, &c. &c. prevents the frost from committing such ravages as might, otherwise, eventually happen. As man, beast, fish and bird have their respective shelter, so Canada has its snow to shield it from a severe and penetrating frost. Such snow may excite regret in the bosom of some, but, if properly considered, it ought to produce a sense of gratitude and admiration for "The giver of every good and perfect gift."
A country so well wooded has an invaluable supply of fuel, which is easily and cheaply obtained, except by the inhabitants of towns; were it not for the facility of obtaining and enjoying good fires, the inhabitants of the Canadas could not exist during the winter. At the same time that a man is clearing his land he is also preparing fuel.
Cows, horses, and oxen have a finer and thicker hair than those in Ireland. They are hardy and well inured to the severity of the winter. During the first winter after an Emigrant's arrival, his cattle cannot be well foddered unless he can afford to purchase hay. In the winter of 1820, hay sold in York, Upper Canada, from 40s. to 50s. British, the ton. Some people are necessitated to browse their cattle every day during the winter by cutting down trees, on the tops of which they feed. By this plan, land is cleared and cattle partly supported, as little hay, Indian corn, stalks or straw will them suffice. In the summer, cattle range the woods indiscriminately, where they feed and thrive (without cost) remarkably well. A bell is strapped to the neck of a sober one, or two, by the well-known sound of which each owner can trace his cattle. They never range far, as instinct brings them home night and morning to their calves; they get a little salt once or twice a week, which they eat with avidity, and lick the giver's hand. Salt is also given to horses, sheep and pigs, and is deemed requisite to keep them healthy, strong and in condition; the sea being so far distant is the reason assigned for using salt in this way.
Horses are not allowed to range through the woods. Hay in Canada is generally good, but must be scarce, and vary in price, in so new a country. Sledges, or Wagons, drawn by horses or oxen, are the vehicles in which people travel expeditiously in winter, and by which they can convey any burden easier than in Summer, every road being then good and passable, whilst in the spring and summer some are extremely bad.
The Land in Lower Canada is not so good as in the Upper province, and the French, who chiefly inhabit it, are the worst agriculturists I have seen. In many places the land runs sandy and light, particularly along the banks of the St. Lawrence, between the gulf and Quebec. At both sides of this magnificent river the scenery is pleasingly picturesque. The clear land is old, and forms gentle declivities along its irregular and well inhabited verges.
There are no such Flour mills in this country as are in Ireland, nor any Millers who purchase Wheat. The Mills are toll mills, where the farmer gets his grain ground and bolted, puts it into barrels, and thus takes it away for sale. Each barrel will cost 1s. 8d. British; and Wheat is so naturally dry that it is never kiln-dried. There are many good Flour-Mill sites in this country, and were there such Millers here as are in Europe, great would be the advantages derived herefrom. Wheat is small, well-coloured and shaped. I have seen as prime Wheat here as in Ireland, but I allude only to its quality. It is generally sown in September or October and cut in August. Oats by no means a good grain, neither mealy, round or full. I suspect that the great heat of the Summer ripens all grain so quickly, that it cannot fill or be so productLve as in Ireland. A change of seed, and, perhaps, not to sow in such rich, new land, might improve this grain.
Houses and Mills are chiefly built of wood, which is cheaper and more convenient than stone, the latter of which I consider, in most cleared places as yet, to be very scarce. The most common stone appears to be a kind of very hard grit.
Land is not to be obtained for nothing in the Canadas. Let the expense of going so far, Government Fees, Settling duties, clearing the land, &c. &c. be considered, and then count the cost, the justice of my observation will be amply proved. I knew an Emigrant who got cleared, in 9 months, 30 English Acres. All the Settlers that I visited are very comfortable, having Estates, Cows, Pigs, &c. &c.
No half-pay Officer is entitled to Land in this country, unless he become a resident thereon.
Esquising, Taranto, and part, of Erin, &c. (the new townships,) 30 miles and upwards from York, are, I suppose as good land as there is in any part of the Canadas.
Clerkship's are not easily obtained, nor do Clerks get high salaries. Seventy or £80 may, perhaps, be esteemed the very highest, yearly.
Abstract of the Population of those parts of the Province of Upper Canada, which are actually organized into Counties and Districts, wherein some New Townships are included.
Glengarry - 5782. Durham - 1783. Stormont - 4571. Simcoe - 148. Dundas - 2195. York, exclusive of the town of York - 9593. Russel - 107. Town of York -1240. Grenville - 4373. Lincoln - 13787. Leeds - 6722. Wentworth - 4959. Carleton - 3699. Halton - 4796. Frontenac, exclusive of the town of Kingston - 2901. Town of Kingston - 1880. Norfolk - 4178. Oxford - 2455. Middlesex - 5243. Lennox and Addington - 5724. Kent - 1624. Hasting - 2520. Essex - 3732. Prince Edward - 6079. Northumberland - 4322.
Total Population - 109,980.
Every County has its Militia, and no Settler is exempted therefrom; each regiment assembles twice a year, without arms or uniform. In case of war, what an army of militia will the Canadas exhibit! Men, who ought to fight bravely for the protection of their families and properties. The best recommended and fittest people are appointed Commissioned and Non-commissioned Officers.
Notwithstanding the many advantages peculiar to the Canadas, they are only fit for hardy, industrious and experienced men, who can be contented with every society, and whose future expectations are very moderate. Very few acquire large sums of money, such as 15 or £20,000. Upper and Lower Canada have each their respective Legislative Council and House of Assembly. Articles of every kind were never known to be so cheap as at present, and will, in all probability, continue so during the present peace. Money is uncommonly scarce, and, with a little, a prudent man can prosper and acquire a good property. Tinkers are very scarce in both provinces, particularly in the country Settlements. Should there be any sober ones in Ireland, I strongly advise them to emigrate, as in a very short time they will become both happy and wealthy. Able Blacksmiths, if they can carry on business for themselves, by getting into a new Settlement, ought to succeed; Iron is nearly the same price as in Ireland, but Smith's work is remarkably high in many places; 7s. 6d. and more, being often charged for a set of Shoes. An Axe half a guinea. Axes made in Ireland are of no use, as the Irish Smiths do not know how to make them, so as to answer the various purposes of this country. In Summer the Peasants seldom get their horses shod. Taylors' and Shoemakers will, perhaps, do better in their native country; their wage in Canada are higher, but they are often badly paid, and cannot obtain constant employment. Making a Coat £1 5 0. Trowsers, 7s. 6d. Waistcoat, 3s. 0d.
I have no doubt but that Bogs and all sort of Mines exist in the Canadas.
Long Point, Talbot's Settlement, Upper Canada
That part of Upper Canada generally known by the appellation of the Long Point and Talbot's Settlement, is situated on the north shore of Lake Erie, between 42D. 15M. and 42D. 50M. N. L. and between 79D. 30M. and 82D. 20M. W. L. and includes a rising of twenty townships, extending along the Lake through the greater part of London and Western districts: from the mouth of Nanticoke Creek, or the River Wareny, to within about 25 miles of Amhertsburg. It is between 25 and 30 years since the commencement of the Settlement in the vicinity of Long Point, in which time it has become populous and wealthy. The soil is well adapted to the culture of Wheat, which is the principal article of exportation from the Upper countries bordering upon the waters of the St. Lawrence. This country abounds much in Prairies, or natural plains, which induced the early settlers to give it the preference, from the ease with which a farm is quickly put under cultivation, and many of them have made improvements commensurate with such advantages. It is well watered, healthful and pleasant. Although the soil of the plains is not so durable as Timber land, yet nature seems to have made ample provision for such deficiency, in the inexhaustible beds of Gypsum, that have lately been discovered and opened on the Grand River, and in the immediate vicinity of those plains, which experience proves to be a wonderful renovator of exhausted soils, particularly Plains.
In the Township of Charlotteville rich beds of Iron Ore have lately been found; to manufacture which into Castings and Bar-Iron Works are now erecting and nearly ready for general and extensive use. This country has pleasant roads: its surface is gently undulating, and presenting to the eye of the Traveller extensive farms in a pleasing variety of succession. It is entirely free from mud, that pest of all new countries. Although this settlement be so old and wealthy, there is not a town, or scarcely a village in it. In the township of Charlotteville is Vittoria, the County town for the London District, in which there is a large Courthouse building, that when finished will be convenient and respectable.
A man's religion cannot be any impediment to him in the obtaining of Land, though, in Ireland, a contrary opinion may exist. All religious sects are tolerated in the Canadas.
Many Emigrants who went to the United States have left that country and settled in the Canadas, where they enjoy superior health, and have obtained cheaper and better land in the latter than they could in the former.
Saddlers' will not find the Canadas, generally speaking, a country where they might succeed; some who emigrated know this from experience. Men should marry before they emigrate, particularly if they intend to be agriculturists. The Emigrants of Upper and Lower Canada make no complaints. The government is warmly interested for their advantage and prosperity; and perhaps there is no part of the British dominions where the people enjoy greater ease, or seem to be more loyal or more attached to their Sovereign. May they always continue so, and all well disposed and industrious subjects.
Shoes, commonly called BROGUES, will sell in many parts of the Wilderness for more than double their price in Ireland.
Montreal stands on an island in the River St. Lawrence, 180 miles from Quebec. In extent of population and trade it may be justly termed the Capital of the Canadas, though the seat of Government is in Quebec. It is about 9 miles from La Chine, 9 from La Prairie, 23 from St. John's, 45 from Sorrell, or William Henry, and 90 from Three Rivers. It extends in length northerly and southerly more thadirection about a mile from the river St. Lawrence to the foot of the insulated mountain from which it takes its name.
The old town, the boundaries of which are known by the remains of the former town gates, and of the fortifications which protected it, was in form an oblong square, but, as what were used to be called the suburbs, are now considered part of the town. Its present site is very irregular. Many new streets have been lately laid out, and judging from its amazing increase of population, and the rapidity with which improvements are progressing, it is likely that in a few years it will be nearly double the size it was ten years ago; It is said to contain about 25,000 inhabitants. The soil in the neighbourhood of Montreal is for the most part composed of clay, without stones, except here and there may be found globular masses of granite lying on the surface. Near the mountains, however, there are some quarries of granite and strata of lime, and there the soil runs generally light and loamy. The mountain of Montreal affords an excellent protection to the town and harbour against the north-west winds, which at certain periods of the year blow with a violence seldom surpassed. The most prevalent winds that are experienced here are from the northward of East and north of north-west, the former prevailing during the Spring months, and the latter in the Fall and Winter.
From various parts of this mountain a beautiful prospect opens to the view. There is a delightful view of Chambly mountain, Beloyal mountain, on the top of which there is a considerable lake; the St. John's mountain, and of the Blue mountains, in the State of Vermont, which the eye can trace the course of until it is entirely lost in the distant perspective. The Villages Longueville and La Prairie, with various Farmhouses, and the Islands in the river, &c. &c. form a pleasing part of the general prospect. Here, scarcely out of the buzz of business in the town, which appears to lie immediately beneath, you perceive the shipping in the harbour, the mechanic on his building, and the agriculturist in his field, with innumerable fine gardens amid orchards surrounding the various elegant seats belonging to the Gentlemen of Montreal. The clear and extensive prospect of the River St. Lawrence, deemed one of the finest Rivers in time world, with the Shipping, Steam Boats, and other small craft navigating it; the extensive Prairie on the opposite side of the river, the roads of which are constantly covered with vehicles of commerce passing to and from the United States, afford a most pleasing subject for contemplation.
The temperature of Montreal is remarkably variable, and is operated upon by almost every change of wind, yet, notwithstanding the quick transition from extreme heats to cold weather, that are frequently experienced here, Montreal is considered a very healthy place; the heat in the Summer is often known as high as 96 degrees in the shade, and for weeks together it will average 90 degrees at or shortly after meridian.
The houses in Montreal, which at first sight are mostly of a forbidden aspect to a Stranger, are generally built of Limestone of a most excellent quality found near the town. The old houses are of the fashion of those found in ancient towns of Spain and France. Such buildings, as have been lately erected, are mostly of cut stone, and built in the modern style. There is at present about one hundred streets in Montreal; the number of houses in the town is about two thousand six hundred; the strcets in general are narrow, some of them paved with flag stones, lighted at night; and there is a kind of Watch, or Foot patrole.
The principle Markets in Montreal are the old and new, in which Meat, Vegetables, Poultry. Eggs, Butter, &c. &c. are cheaply vended; there is also, a Fish and Hay Market. An Agriculturist society is established here, who among other things offer premiums for the improvement of cattle. Two Associations for Banking purposes have been lately founded, called the Montreal Bank, and the Bank of Canada; the formel with a capital of £25,000, and the latter with that of £300,000. Each of them are managed by a President and Directors, chosen yearly. The principal public Library here belongs to a number of publicly spiritted men, who subscribed for shares to form a capital to purchase it. It contains 7 or 8,000 volumes. Five or six Newspapers are published here. The champs-de-Mars of MontreaI is a handsome piece of Ground, perfectly level, consisting of about six English acres, with sloping banks of grass on each side, and Poplar trees around its hedges.
Beer in Montreal 1s. per gallon, Irish Whiskey 3s. a gallon; Canadian ditto, 2s. 6d. ditto; Rum from 2s. 6d. to 3s.. 3d.; Brandy 8s. 0d. ditto. Best Green Tea 5s. 6d. per lb. Best Jamaica Sugar, 6d. per lb.
Tobacco, in the Canadas, is very cheap, and will grow well there.
I will not say anything to encourage the Emigration of a Counsellor, an Attorney, Apothecary, Medical Doctor, Watchmaker, or Mercantile speculator. People should not emigrate later than the Month of May. Experienced Printers are likely to succeed.
Emigrants who may wish to go to Kingston, or who will have to encounter any of the Rapids should not go in Durham Boats, but should always prefer the Bataux: the latter being small and light, can be worked by pole men in every weather, while the former being much larger, cannot in some places make way against a foul wind, and moreover are very tediously worked.
I will not say anything in favour of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick, &c.
Montreal and its neighbourhood I would prefer to any other parts: for many reasons which the Emigrant will know experimentally on his arrival.
Most of the settlers in the New Townships of Taranto and Trafalgar, near York, are Irishmen, who lived in the United States for many years.