SIR RICHARD HENRY BONNYCASTLE, KT.,
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROYAL ENGINEERS AND MILITIA OF CANADA WEST.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONDON: HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
F. Shoberl, Jnr. Printer to H.R.H Prince Albert, Rupert Street.
THE FIRST VOLUME.
CHAPTER I. Emigrants And Immigration Page 1
CHAPTER II. The Emigrant and his Prospects 46
CHAPTER III. A Journey to the Westward 90
CHAPTER IV. The French Canadian 127
CHAPTER V. Penetanguishene—The Nipissang Cannibals, and a Friendly Brother in the Wilderness 146
CHAPTER VI. Barrie and Big Trees—A new Capital of a new District—Nature's Canal—The Devil's Elbow—Macadamization and Mud—Richmond Hill without the Lass—The Rebellion and the Radicals—Blue Hill and Bricks 172
CHAPTER. VII. Toronto and the Transit—The Ice and its innovations—Siege and Storm of a Fortalice by the Ice-king—Newark, or Niagara—Flags, big and little—Views of American and of English Institutions—Blacklegs and Races—Colonial high life—Youth very young 195
CHAPTER VIII. The old Canadian Coach—Jonathan and John Bull passengers—"That Gentleman"—Beautiful River, beautiful drive—Brock's Monument—Queenston—Bar and Pulpit—Trotting horse Railroad—Awful accident—The Falls once more—Speculation—Water Privilege—Barbarism—Museum—Loafers—Tulip-trees—Rattlesnakes—The Burning Spring—Setting fire to Niagara—A charitable Woman—The Nigger's Parrot—John Bull is a Yankee—Political Courtship—Lundy's Lane Heroine—Welland Canal 217
CHAPTER IX. The Great Fresh-water Seas of Canada 266
Emigrants and Immigration.
Very surprising it seems to assert that the Mother Country knows very little about the finest colony which she possesses—and that an enlightened people emigrate from sober, speculative England, sedate and calculating Scotland, and trusting, unreflective Ireland, absolutely and wholly ignorant of the total change of life to which they must necessarily submit in their adopted home.
I recollect an old story, that an old gunner, in an old-fashioned, three-cornered cocked hat, who was my favourite playfellow as a child, used to tell about the way in which recruits were obtained for the Royal Artillery.
The recruiting sergeant was in those days dressed much finer than any field-marshal of this degenerate, railway era; in fact, the Horse Guards always turned out to the sergeant-major of the Royal Military Academy of Woolwich, when that functionary went periodically to the Golden Cross, Charing Cross, to receive and escort the young gentlemen cadets from Marlow College, who were abandoning the red coat and drill of the foot-soldier to become neophytes in the art and mystery of great gunnery and sapping.
"The way they recruited was thus," said the bombadier. "The gallant sergeant, bedizened in copper lace from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, and with a swagger which no modern drum-major has ever presumed to attempt, addressed a crowd of country bumpkins.
"'Don't listen to those gentlemen in red; their sarvice is one which no man who has brains will ever think of—footing it over the univarsal world; they have usually been called by us the flatfoots. They uses the musquet only, and have hands like feet, and feet like fireshovels.
"'Mind me, gentlemen, the royal regiment of the Royal Artillery is a sarvice which no gentleman need be ashamed of.
"'We fights with real powder and ball, the flatfoots fights with bird-shot. We knows the perry-ferry of the circumference of a round shot. Did you ever see a mortar? Did you ever see a shell? I will answer for it you never did, except the poticary's mortar, and the shell that mortar so often renders necessary.
"'Now, gentlemen, at the imperial city of Woolwich, in the Royal Arsenal, you may, if you join the Royal Artillery, you may see shells in earnest. Did you ever see a balloon? Yes! Then the shells there are bigger than balloons, and are the largest hollow shot ever made—the French has nothing like them.
"'And the way we uses them! We fires them out of the mortars into the enemy's towns, and stuffs them full of red sogers. Well, they bursts, and out comes the flatfoots, opens the gates, and lets the Royal Artillery in; and then every man fills his sack with silver, and gold, and precious stones, after a leetle scrimmaging.
"'Come along with me, my boys, and every one of you shall have a coat like mine, which was made out of the plunder; and you shall have a horse to ride, and a carriage behind it; and you shall see the glorious city of Woolwich, where the streets are paved with penny loaves, and drink is to be had for asking.'"
So it is with nine-tenths of the emigrants to Canada in these enlightened days; so it is with the emigrants from old England, and from troubled Ireland, to the free and astonishing Union of the States of America and Texas, that conjoint luminary of the new go-ahead world of the West.
Dissatisfied with home, with visionary ideas of El Dorados, or starving amidst plenty, the poorer classes obtain no correct information. Beset generally with agents of companies, with agents of private enterprise, with reckless adventurers, with ignorant priests, or missionaries of the lowest stamp, with political agitators, and with miserable traitors to the land of their birth and breeding, the poor emigrant starts from the interior, where his ideas have never expanded beyond the weaver's loom or factory labour, the plough or the spade, the hod, the plane, or the trowel, and hastens with his wife and children to the nearest sea-port.
There he finds no friend to receive and guide him, but rapacious agents ready to take every advantage of his ignorance, with an eye to his scanty purse. A host of captains, mates, and sailors, eager to make up so many heads for the voyage, pack them aboard like sheep, and cross the Atlantic, either to New York or to Quebec, just as they have been able to entice a cargo to either port. Then come the horrors of a long voyage and short provisions, and high prices for stale salt junk and biscuit; and, at the end, if illness has been on board, the quarantine, that most dreadful visitation of all—for hope deferred maketh the heart sick.
From the first discovery of America, there has been a tendency to exaggeration about the resources and capabilities of that country—a magniloquence on its natural productions, which can be best exemplified by referring the reader to the fac-simile of the one in Sir Walter Raleigh's work on Guiana, now in the British Museum. Shakespeare had, no doubt, read Raleigh's fanciful description of "the men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders," &c.; for he was thirty-four years of age when this print was published, only seventeen years before his death.
[Footnote 1: Brevis et admiranda descriptio REGNI GVIANAE, AVRI abundantissimi, in AMERICA, sev novo orbe, sub linea AEquinoctilia siti: quod nuper admodum, Annis nimirum 1594, 1595, et 1596 per generosum Dominum Dr. GVALTHERVM RALEGH Equitem Anglum detectum est: paulo post jussa ejus duobus libellis comprehensa. Ex quibus JODOCVS HONDIVS TABVLAM Geographicam adornavit, addita explicatione Belgico sermone scripta: Nunc vero in Latinum sermonem translata, et ex variis authoribus hinc inde declarata. Noribergae. Impensis LEVINI HULSII. M.D.XCIX.]
So expansive a mind as Raleigh's undoubtedly was, was not free from that universal credulity which still reigns in the breasts of all men respecting matters with which they are not personally acquainted; and the glowing descriptions of Columbus and his followers respecting the rich Cathay and the Spice Islands of the Indies have had so permanent a hold upon the imagination, that even the best educated amongst us have, in their youth, galloped over Pampas, in search of visionary Uspallatas. Nor is it yet quite clear that the golden city of El Dorado is wholly fabulous, the region in which it was said to exist not having yet been penetrated by Science; but it soon will be, for a steamboat is to ply up the Maranon, and Peru and Europe are to be brought in contact, although the voyage down that mighty flood has hitherto been a labour of several months.
The poor emigrant, for we must return to him, lands at New York. Sharks beset him in every direction, boarding-houses and grogshops open their doors, and he is frequently obliged, from the loss of all his hard-earned money, to work out his existence either in that exclusively mercantile emporium, or to labour on any canal or railroad to which his kind new friends may think proper, or most advantageous to themselves, to send him. If he escapes all these snares for the unwary, the chances are that, fancying himself now as great a man as the Duke of Leinster, O'Connell, the Lord Mayor of London, or the Provost of Edinburgh, free and unshackled, gloriously free, he becomes entangled with a host of land-jobbers, and walks off to the weary West, there to encounter a life of unremitting toil in the solitary forests, with an occasional visit from the ague, or the milk-fever, which so debilitates his frame, that, during the remainder of his wretched existence, he can expect but little enjoyment of the manorial rights appendant to a hundred acres of wild land.
Let no emigrant embark for the United States unless he has a kind friend to guide and receive him there, and to point out to him the good and the evil; for the native race look upon all foreigners with a jealous eye, and particularly upon the Irish.
The Germans make the best settlers in that country, perhaps because, not speaking English, they cannot be so easily imposed upon by the crimps, and also because they seldom emigrate before they have arranged with their friends in America respecting the lands which they are to occupy.
A society of British philanthropists has been established at New York to direct British emigrants in their ultimate views; but it may well be imagined that these gentlemen, who are chiefly engaged in trade, cannot descend to understand fully, or are constant witnesses of, the low tricks which are practised to seduce the unwary ones.
The emigrant to Canada is somewhat differently situated.
The Irish come out in shiploads every season, and generally very indifferently provided and without any definite object; nay, to such an extent is this carried, that hundreds of young females venture out every year by themselves, to better their condition, which betterment usually ends in their reaching as far inland as Toronto, where, or at other ports on the lakes, they engage themselves as domestics.
When we consider that nearly 25,000 emigrants leave the Mother Country every year for Canada alone, how important is it that they should be informed of every particular likely to increase their comforts and to conduce to their well-being! This kind of service can be but partially rendered by the present publication, which, being intended for the general reader, cannot be given in a form likely to reach the class of emigrants who usually proceed to America otherwise than through the advice which the reader may, whenever it is in his power, kindly bestow upon them. But it will, I am persuaded, be extensively useful in that way, and also to the settler with a small capital who can afford to consult it.
Learned dissertations upon colonization are useful only to the politician, and so much venality has prevailed among those who have thrust themselves forward in the cause of Canadian settlement, that the public become a little alarmed when they hear of a work expressly designed for the emigrant.
The very best informed at home, and the haute noblesse, have been repeatedly taken in. Dinnerings and lionizing have been the order of the day for persons, who, in the colony, cut a very inferior figure. But this is natural, and in the end usually does no harm. It is natural that the colonist, who is a rara avis in England, should be considered a very extraordinary personage among men who seek for novelty in any shape; because those who lavish favours upon him at one time and eschew his presence afterwards are usually ignorant of the very history of which he is the type. It is like the standing joke of sending out water-casks for the men-of-war built on the fresh-water seas of Canada, for there are plenty of rich folks at home who want only to be filled.
The different sorts of people who emigrate from home to the United States or Canada, may be classed under several heads, like the travellers of Sterne.
First, the inquisitive and restless, who leave a goodly inheritance or occupation behind them, because they have heard that Tom Smith or Mister Mac Grogan, very ordinary folks anywhere, have made a rapid fortune, which is indeed sometimes the case in the United States, though rather rare there for old countrymen, and is still more rare and unlikely in Canada, where large fortunes may be said to be unknown quantities.
Settlers of this class usually fall to the ground very soon—if they settle in Canada, they become Radicals; if they return from the States, they become Tories.
The next class are your would-be aristocratic settlers, younger sons of younger sons, cousins of cousins, Union Barons, nephews' nephews of a Lord Mayor, or unprovided heirs in posse.
These fancy they confer a sort of honour by selecting the colony as their final resting-place, and that a governor and his ministers have nothing in the world to think about but how they can provide for such important units. Hence they frequently end by placing themselves in direct opposition to the powers that be, or take very unwillingly to the labours of a farmer's life. Many of them, when they find that pretension is laughed at, particularly if no talents accompany it, which is rarely or ever the case, for talent is modest and retiring in its essential nature, turn out violent Republicans or Radicals of the most furious calibre; but the more modest portion work heartily at their farms, and frequently succeed.
Another class is your private gentlemen's sons and decent young farmers from England, Ireland, or Scotland, who think before they leap, have connexions already established in Canada, and small capitals to commence with. These are the really valuable settlers: they go to Canada for land and living; and eschew the land and liberty system of the neighbouring nation. Wherever they settle, the country flourishes and becomes a second Britain in appearance, as may be observed in the London and western districts.
It does not require a very lengthened acquaintance with Canada to form observations upon the characters of the immigrants, as the Webster style of Dr. Johnson will have the word to be.
The English franklin and the English peasant who come here usually weigh their allegiance a little before they make up their minds; but, if they have been persuaded that Queen Victoria's reign is a "baneful domination," they either go to the United States at once, or to those portions of Canada where sympathy with the Stars and Stripes is the order of the day.
[Footnote 2: That is, to those portions of the London and western district where American settlers abound, who have so generously repaid the fostering care which Governor Simcoe originally extended to them. One of those rabid folks indebted to the British government, who kept an inn, padlocked his pumps lately when a regiment was marching through Woodstock in hot dusty weather, that the soldiers might not slake their thirst.]
If they be Scotch Radicals, the most uncompromising and the most bitter of all politicians, they seek Canada only with the ultimate hope of revolutionizing it.
But the latter are more than balanced by the respectable Scotch, who emigrate occasionally upon the same principles which actuate the respectable portion of the English emigrants, and by the hardy Highlanders already settled in various parts of the colony, whose proverbial loyalty is proof against the arts of the demagogue.
The great mass of emigrants may however be said to come from Ireland, and to consist of mechanics of the most inferior class, and of labourers. These are all impressed with the most absurd notions of the riches of America, and on landing at Quebec often refuse high wages with contempt, to seek the Cathay of their excited imaginations westward.
If they be Orangemen, they defy the Pope and the devil as heartily in Canada as in Londonderry, and are loyal to the backbone.
If they are Repealers, they come here sure of immediate wealth, to kick up a deuce of a row, for two shillings and sixpence currency is paid for a day's labour, which two shillings and sixpence was a hopeless week's fortune in Ireland; and yet the Catholic Irish who have been long settled in the country are by no means the worst subjects in this Trans-Atlantic realm, as I can personally testify, having had the command of large bodies of them during the border troubles of 1837-8. They are all loyal and true.
In the event of a war, the Catholic Irish, to a man—and what a formidable body it is in Canada and the United States!—will be on the side of England. O'Connell has prophesied rightly there, for it is not in human nature to forget the wrongs which the Catholics have suffered for the past ten years in a country professing universal freedom and toleration.
The Americans of the better classes with whom I have conversed admit this, but their dislike of the Irish is rooted and general among all the native race; and they fear as well as mistrust them, because, in many of the largest cities, New York for one, the Irish predominate.
The Americans say, and so do the Canadians, that, for some years back, since the repeal agitation at home, a few very ignorant and very turbulent priests, of the lowest grade, have found their way across the Atlantic. I have travelled all over Canada, and lived many years in the country, and have been thrown among all classes, from my having been connected with the militia. I never saw but one specimen of Irish hedge-priest, and therefore do not credit the assertion; this one came out last year, and a more furious bigot or a more republican ultra I never met with, at the same time that he was as ignorant as could be conceived.
Such has not hitherto been the case with the Catholic priesthood of the Canadas. The French Canadian clergy are a body of pious, exemplary men, not perhaps shining in the galaxy of science, but unobtrusive, gentlemanly, and an honour to the soutane and chasuble.
The priests from Ireland are not numerous, for the Irish chapels were, till very lately, generally presided over by Scotch missionaries; and I can safely say that, whether Irish or Scotch, the Catholic priesthood of Western Canada will not yield the palm to their Franco-Canadian brethren of the cross, and that loyalty is deeply inculcated by them. I have long and personally known and admired the late Bishop Mac Donell; a worthier or a better man never existed. The highest and the lowest alike loved him.
I saw him bending under the weight of years, passed in his ministry and in the defence of his adopted country, just before he left Canada, to lay his bones in his natal soil, preside over the ceremony of placing the first stone of the Catholic seminary, for which he had given the ground and funds to the utmost of his ability.
He was a large, venerable-looking man, unwieldy from the infirmities of age and a life of toil and trouble; and the affecting and touching portion of the scene before us was to see him supported on his right and left by the arms of a Presbyterian colonel and a colonel of the Church of England.
This is true Christianity, true charity—peace be to his soul!—
His successor was a Canadian, equally free from pretension and bigotry; and he was succeeded by an Irishman, whose mission is to heal the wounds of party and strife. He is living and in office; I cannot, therefore, speak of him; but, differing as an Englishman so widely as I do in religious tenets from his, I can freely assert that, if clergymen of every denomination pursued the same course of brotherly love that he does, we should hear no more of the fierce and undying contention about subjects which should be covered with the veil of benevolence and humility.
You cannot force a man to think as you do, to draw him into what you conceive to be the true path; mildness and conciliation are much more likely to effect your object than the Emperor of China's yellow stick. The days of the Inquisition, of Judge Jefferies, and of Claverhouse, are happily gone by; and the artillery of man's wrath now vents its harmless thunders much in the same way as the thunders of the Vatican, or the recent fulmination of the Archbishop of Paris against the author of the Wandering Jew; that is to say, with a great deal of noise, but without much damnifying any one, as the public soon formed a true judgment of M. Sue and of the tendency of his works.
On the other hand, how horrible it is, and what a fearful view of frail human nature is opened for a searching mind to observe that a man, who professes to have abandoned the pleasures of existence, to have broken through the very first law of nature, to have separated himself from his kind, and to have assumed perfection and infallibility, the attributes of his Creator, devoting the altar at which he serves to the wicked purposes of arraying man against man, and of embruing the hands held up before him at prayer in the blood of his fellow-mortals!
But such is the inevitable tendency of the system of "I am better than thou," whether it be practised by a Catholic priest of the hedge-school, by a fanatic bawler about new light, or by a fierce and uncompromising churchman. Faith, hope, and charity, are alike misinterpreted and misunderstood. Faith with these consists in blind or hypocritical devotion to their peculiar opinions and dogmas; hope is limited to the narrowest circle of ideas; and charity, Divine charity, exists not; for even the very relics, the mouldering bones of the defunct, are not allowed to rest side by side; and as to those differing in the slightest degree from them, to them charity extends not, however pious, however sincere, or however excellent they may be.
The people of England are very little aware how widely Roman Catholicism extends in the United States and in Canada. From accurate returns, it has been ascertained that in the United States there were last year 1,500,000, with 21 bishops, 675 churches, 592 mission stations, and 572 priests otherwise employed in teaching and travelling; 22 colleges or ecclesiastical establishments, 23 literary institutions, 53 female schools or convents for instruction, 84 charitable hospitals and institutions, and 220 young students, preparing for the ministry; whilst we learn, from the Annals of the Propaganda, that 1,130,000 francs were appropriated, in May 1845, to the missions of America, or about L47,000 annually, of which the share for the United States, including Texas, was 771,164 francs, or about L32,000 in round numbers.
Then again, the greater portion of the Indian tribes in the north-west and west, excepting near the Rocky Mountains or beyond them, are Roman Catholics; and their numbers are very great, and all in deep hatred, dislike, and enmity, to the Big Knives.
More than half a million of the Lower Canadians are also of the same persuasion, and their church in Upper Canada is large and increasing by every shipload from Ireland. Even in Oregon, a Catholic bishop has just been appointed.
It is more than probable, that in and around the United States three millions of Roman Catholic men are ever ready to advance the standard of their faith; whilst Mexico, weak as it is, offers another Catholic barrier to exclusive tenets of liberty, both of conscience and of person.
It is surprising how very easily the emigrants are misled, and how simply they fancy that, once on the shores of the New World, Fortune must smile upon them.
There is a British society, as I have already stated, for mutual protection, established at New York; and the government have agents of the first respectability at Quebec, at Montreal, and at Kingston. But the poorer classes, as well as those whose knowledge of life has been limited, are sadly defrauded and deluded.
At a recent meeting of the Welsh Society at New York, facts were stated, showing the depravity and audacity of the crimps at Liverpool and New York. The President of the Society said that, owing to the nefarious practices against emigrants, the Germans first, then the Irish, after that the Welsh, and lastly the English residents of the city had taken the matter in hand by the formation of Protective Societies.
The president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick observed that in Liverpool the poor emigrants were fleeced without mercy; and he gave as one instance a fact that, by the representations of a packet agent, a large number of emigrants were induced to embark on board a packet without the necessary supply of provisions, being assured that for their passage-money they would be supplied by the captain—an arrangement of which the captain was wholly ignorant.
The president of the Welsh Society exhibited sixty dollars of trash in bills of the Globe Bank, that had been palmed off upon an unsuspecting Welshman by some rascal in Liverpool, in exchange for his hoarded gold, and declared that this was only one of a series of like villanies constantly occurring.
The ex-president of the St. George's Society, Mr. Fowler, mentioned a curious circumstance connected with the history of New York. He said that he remembered the city when it contained only fifty thousand inhabitants, and not one paved side walk, excepting in Dock Street. Now it had a population of nearly 400,000, and had so changed, that he could no longer identify the localities of his youthful days.
Who, he asked, had done this? The emigrant! and it was protection they needed, not charity. He should have added, that the great mass of the emigrants who have made New York the mighty city it now is, were Irish, and that the native Americans have banded themselves in another form of protection against their increasing influence.
The republican notions which the greater portion of the lower classes emigrating from the old country have been drilled into, lead them to believe that in the United States all men are equal, and that thus they have a splendid vault to make from poverty to wealth, an easy spring from a state of dependency to one of vast importance and consideration. The simple axiom of republicanism, that a ploughman is as good as a president, or a quarryman as an emperor, is taken firm hold of in any other sense than the right one. What sensible man ever doubted that we were all created in the same mould, and after the same image; but is there a well educated sane mind in America, believing that a perfect equality in all things, in goods and chattels, in agrarian rights and in education, is, or ever will be, practicable in this naughty world?
Has nature formed all men with the same capacities, and can they be so exactly educated that all shall be equally fit to govern?
The converse is true. Nature makes genius, and not genius nature. How rarely she yields a Shakespeare!—There has been but one Homer, one Virgil, since the creation. There was never a second Moses, nor have Solomon's wisdom and glory ever again been attainable.
Look at the rulers of the earth, from the patriarchs to the present day, how few have been pre-eminent! Even in the earliest periods, when the age of man reached to ten times its present span, the wonderful sacred writ records Tubal-Cain, the first artificer, and Jubal, the lyrist, as most extraordinary men; and with what care are Aholiab and Bezabel, cunning in all sorts of craft, and Hiram, the artificer of Tyre, recorded! Hiram, the king, great as he undoubtedly was, was secondary in Solomon's eyes to the widow's son.
These men, says the holy record, were gifted expressly for their peculiar mission; and so are all men, to whom the Inscrutable has been pleased to assign extraordinary talent.
Caesar, the conqueror, Napoleon, his imitator, and Nelson, and Wellington, are they on a par with the rabble of New York? Procul, O, procul este profani!
Pure democracy is an utter and unattainable impossibility; nature has effectually barred against it. The only thing in the course of a life of more than half a century that has ever puzzled me about it is, that the Catholic clergy should, in so many parts of the world, have lent it a helping hand. The ministers of a creed essentially aristocratic, essentially the pillars of the divine right of kings, have they ever been in earnest about the matter? Perhaps not!
If that giant of modern Ireland, the pacificator citizen king, succeeded in separating the island from Great Britain, would he, on attaining the throne, or the dictatorship, or the presidency, or whatever it might be, for the nonce, desire pure democracy? Je crois que non, because, if he did, he would reign about one clear week afterwards.
Look at the United States, see how each successive president is bowed down before the Moloch altar; he must worship the democratic Baal, if he desires to be elected, or re-elected. It is not the intellect, or the wealth of the Union that rules. Already they seriously canvass in the Empire State perfect equality in worldly substance, and the division of the lands into small portions, sufficient to afford the means of respectable existence to every citizen. It is, perhaps, fortunate that very few of the office-holders have much substance to spare under these circumstances; but, if the President, Vice-President, and the Secretaries of State, are to live upon an acre or two of land for the rest of their lives, Spartan broth will be indeed a rich diet to theirs.
When the sympathizers invaded Canada, in 1838-1839, the lands of the Canadians were thus parcelled out amongst them, as the reward of their extremely patriotic services, but in slices of one hundred, instead of one or two, acres.
But, notwithstanding all this ultra-democracy, there is at present a sufficient counterbalance in the sense of the people, to prevent any very serious consequences; and the Irish, from having had their religion trampled upon, and themselves despised, would be very likely to run counter to native feeling.
If any country in the whole civilized world exhibits the inequality of classes more forcibly than another, it is the country which has lately annexed Texas, and which aims at annexing all the New World.
There is a more marked line drawn between wealth and pretension on the one hand, poverty and impertinent assumption on the other, than in the dominions of the Czar. Birth, place, power, are all duly honoured, and that sometimes to a degree which would astonish a British nobleman, accustomed all his life to high society. I remember once travelling in a canal boat, the most abominable of all conveyances, resembling Noah's ark in more particulars than its shape, that I was accosted, in the Northern States too, and near the borders, where equality and liberty reign paramount, by a long slab-sided fellow-passenger, who, I thought, was going to ask me to pay his passage, his appearance was so shabby, with the following questions:
"Where are you from? are you a Livingstone?" I told him, for I like to converse with characters, that I was from Canada. "What's your name?" he asked. I satisfied him. He examined me from head to foot with attention, and, as he was an elderly man, I stood the gaze most valiantly. "Well," he said, "I thought you were a Livingstone; you have got small ears, and small feet and hands, and that, all the world over, is the sign of gentle blood."
He was afterwards very civil; and, upon inquiring of the skipper of the boat who he was, I found that my friend was a man of large fortune, who lived somewhere near Utica, on an estate of his own.
This was before the sympathy troubles, and I can back it with another story or two to amuse the reader.
Some years ago, when it was the fashion in Canada for British officers always to travel in uniform, I went to Buffalo, the great city of Buffalo on lake Erie, in the Thames steamer, commanded by my good friend, Captain Van Allen, and the first British Canadian steamboat that ever entered that harbour. We went in gallantly, with the flag flying that "has braved a thousand years the battle and the breeze." I think the majority of the population must have lined the wharfs to see us come in. They rent the welkin with welcomes, and, among other demonstrations, cast up their caps, and cried with might and main—"Long live George the Third!"—Our gracious monarch had for years before bid this world good night, but that was nothing; the good folks of Buffalo had not perhaps quite forgotten that they were once, long before their city was a city, subjects of King George.
I and another officer in uniform were received with all honours, and escorted to the Eagle hotel, where we were treated sumptuously, and had to run the gauntlet of handshaking to great extent. A respectable gentleman, about forty, some seven years older than myself, stuck close to me all the while. I thought he admired the British undress uniform, but he only wanted to ask questions, and, after sundry answers, he inquired my name, which being courteously communicated, he said, "Well, I am glad, that's a fact, that I have seen you, for many is the whipping I have had for your book of Algebra." Now I never was capable of committing such an unheard-of enormity as being the cause of flagellation to any man by simple or quadratic equations; and it must have been the binomial theorem which had tickled his catastrophe, for it was my father's treatise which had penetrated into the new world of Buffalonian education.
It is a pity, is it not, gentle reader, that such feelings do not now exist?
Nevertheless, even now, the designation of a British officer is a passport in any part of the United States. The custom-house receives it with courtesy and good-will; society is gratified by attentions received from a British officer; and it is coupled with the feelings which the habits and conduct of a gentleman engender throughout Christendom.
At New York, I visited every place worth seeing; and, although disliking gambling, races, and debating societies, a outrance, I was determined to judge for myself of New York, of life in New York.
On one occasion, I was at a meeting of the turf in an hotel after the races, where violent discussions and heavy champagning were going on. I was then (it was in 1837) a major in the army, and was introduced to one or two prominent men in the room as a British officer who had been to see the racecourse; this caused a general stir, and the champagne flew about like——I am at a loss for a simile; and the health of Queen Victoria was drunk with three times three.
On board a packet returning from England, we had several of the leading characters of the United States as passengers. A very silly and troublesome democrat, of the Loco-foco school, from Philadelphia, made himself conspicuous always after dinner, when we sat, according to English fashion, at a dessert, by his vituperations against monarchy and an exhibition of his excessive love for everything American. The gentlemen above alluded to, men who had travelled over Europe, whose education and manners made them that which a true gentleman is all over the world, were disgusted, and, to punish his impertinence, proposed that a weekly paper should be written by the cabin passengers, in which the occurrences of each day should be noted and commented upon, and that poetry, tales, and essays, should form part of its matter.
They agreed to discuss the relative points and bearings of monarchy and democracy; they to depute one of their number to be the champion of monarchy; and we to chuse the champion of democracy from amongst the English passengers.
Two drawings were fixed up at each end of the table after dinner; one, representing a crowned Plum-pudding; and the other, Liberty and Equality, by the well-known sign. The blustering animal was soon effectually silenced; a host of first-rate talent levelled a constant battery at his rude and uncultivated mind.
I shall never forget this voyage, and I hope the talent-gifted Canadian lawyer who threw down the gauntlet of Republicanism, and who has since risen to the highest honours of his profession which the Queen can bestow, has preserved copies of the Saturday's Gazette of The Mediator American Packet-ship.
The mention of this vessel puts me in mind of one more American anecdote, and I must tell it, for I have a good deal of dry work before me.
Crossing the Atlantic once in an American vessel, we met another American ship, of the same size, and passed very close. Our captain displayed the stars and stripes in true ship-shape cordial greeting. Brother Jonathan took no notice of this sea civility, and passed on; upon which the skipper, after taking a long look at him with his spy-glass, broke out in a passion, "What!" said he, "you won't show your b—d bunting, your old stripy rag? Now, I guess, if he had been a Britisher, instead of a d—d Yankee, he would not have been ashamed of his flag; he would have acted like a gentleman. Phew!" and he whistled, and then chewed his cigar viciously, quite unconscious that I was enjoying the scene.
But, if it be possible that one peculiar portion of the old countrymen are more disliked or despised than another in any country under the sun, connected by such ties as the United States are with Britain, there can be no doubt that the condition of the Jews under King John, as far as hatred and unexpressed contumelious feeling goes, was preferable to the feeling which native Americans, of the ultra Loco-foco or ultra-federal breed, entertain towards the labouring Catholic Irish, and would, if they could with safety, vent upon them in dreadful visitation. They would exterminate them, if they dared.
To account for such a feeling, it must be observed that a large portion of these ignorant and misguided men have brought much of this animosity upon themselves; for, continuing in the New World that barbarous tendency to demolish all systems and all laws opposed to their limited notions of right and wrong, and, whilst their senseless feuds among themselves harass society, they eagerly seek occasions for that restless political excitement to which they are accustomed in their own unhappy and regretted country.
A body of these hewers of wood and drawers of water, who, when not excited, are the most innocent and harmless people in the world—easily led, but never to be driven—get employed on a canal or great public work; and, no sooner do they settle down upon wages which must appear like a dream to them, than some old feud between Cork and Connaught, some ancient quarrel of the Capulets and Montagues of low life, is recollected, or a chant of the Boyne water is heard, and to it they go pell-mell, cracking one another's heads and disturbing a peaceful neighbourhood with their insane broils.
Or, should a devil, in the shape of an adviser, appear among them, and persuade these excitable folks that they may obtain higher wages by forcing their own terms, bludgeons and bullets are resorted to, in order to compel compliance, and incendiarism and murder follow, until a military force is called out to quell the riots.
The scenes of this kind in Canada, where vast sums are annually expended on the public works, have been frightful; and such has been the terror which these lawless hordes have inspired, that timid people have quitted their properties and fled out of the reach of the moral pestilence; nay, it has been carried so far, that a Scotch regiment has been marked on account of its having been accidentally on duty in putting down a canal riot; and, wherever its station has afterwards been cast, the vengeance of these people has followed it.
At Montreal, the elections have been disgraced by bodies of these canallers having been employed to intimidate and overawe voters; and, were it not that a large military force is always at hand there, no election could be made of a member, whose seat would be the unbiassed and free choice of his constituents.
It is, however, very fortunate for Canada that these canallers are not usually inclined to settle, but wander about from work to work, and generally, in the end, go to the United States. The Irish who settle are fortunately a different people; and, as they go chiefly into the backwoods, lead a peaceful and industrious life.
But it is, nevertheless, very amusing, and affords much insight into the workings of frail human nature to observe the conduct of that portion of the Irish emigrants who find that they have neither the means of obtaining land, nor of quitting some large town at which they may arrive. Their first notion then is to go out to service, which they had left Ireland to avoid altogether. The father usually becomes a day-labourer, the sons farm-servants or household servants in the towns, the daughters cooks, nursery-maids, &c.
When they come to the mistress of a family to hire, they generally sit down on the nearest chair to the door in the room, and assume a manner of perfect familiarity, assuring the lady of the house that they never expected to go out to service in America, but that some family misfortune has rendered such a step necessary. The lady then, of course, asks them what branch of household service they can undertake; to which the invariable reply is, anything—cook or housemaid, child's-maid or housekeeper, and that indeed they lived in better places at home than they expect to get in America, such as Lord So-and-so's, or Squire So-and-so's.
The end of this is obvious; and a lady told me, the other day, she hired a professed cook, who was very shortly put to the test by a dinner-party occurring a day or two after she joined the household. Her mistress ordered dinner; and one joint, or piece de resistance, was a fine fillet of veal. The professed cook, it appeared, laboured under a little manque d'usage on two delicate points, for she very unexpectedly burst into her lady's boudoir just as she was dressing for dinner, and exclaimed, "Mistress, dear, what'll I do with the vail?"—"The veil?" said the dame, in horror; "what veil?"—"Why, the vail in the pot, marm; I biled it, and it swelled out so, the divil a get it out can I git it."
So with the farm-servants, they can all do everything; and an Irish gentleman told me that he lately hired a young man, an emigrant, to plough for him; and, on asking him if he understood ploughing, the good-natured Paddy answered, offhand, "Ploughing, is it? I'm the boy for ploughing."—"Very well, I'm glad of it," said the gentleman, "for you are a fine, likely young fellow, so I shall hire you." He hired him accordingly at high wages—ten dollars a month and provisions and lodging found. The first day he was to work, my friend told him to go and yoke the oxen. Paddy stared with all his eyes, but said nothing, and went away. He staid some time, and then returned with a pair of oxen, which he was driving before him. "Here's the oxen, master!"—"Where are the yokes, Paddy?"—"The yokes! by the powers, is that what they call beef in Canady?" Poor Paddy had been a weaver all his live-long days.
The Irish are almost exclusively the servants in most parts of the northern states and throughout Canada, excepting the French Canadians, and very attached, faithful servants they frequently are; but notions of liberty and equality get possession of their phrenological developments, and they are almost always on the move to better their condition, which rarely happens as they desire.
Then another crying evil in Canada and in the States is the rage for dress. An Irish girl no sooner gets a modicum of wages than all her thoughts are to go to chapel or church as fine or finer than her mistress. Nearly every servant-girl in the large towns has a ridicule (that must be the proper way of spelling it), a bustle, a parasol, an expensive shawl, and a silk gown, and fine bonnet, gloves, and a white pocket-handkerchief. The men are not so aspiring, and usually don on Sundays a blue coat and brass buttons, white pantaloons, white gloves, and a good fur cap in winter, or a neat straw hat or brilliant beaver in summer. The waistcoat is nondescript, but the boots are irreproachable. A cigar has nearly replaced the pipe in the streets.
I will defy a short-sighted person to distinguish her nursery-maid from her own sister at a little distance; and, being somewhat afflicted that way myself, I frequently nod to a well-dressed soubrette, thinking she is at least a leading member of the aristocracy of the town; and this is the more amusing, as in all colonial towns and in the haute societe of the Republic very considerable magnificence is affected, and a rage for rank and pseudo-importance is not a little the order of the day. "Nothing," says a distinguished writer upon that most frivolous of all threadbare subjects, etiquette, "nothing is more decidedly the sign of a vulgar-born or a vulgar-bred person than to be ready to practise the art of cutting." I therefore bow to the well-dressed grisettes, upon the principle of avoiding to be thought vulgar in mixed society by cutting a lady of tremendous rank; as I would rather take a cook for a Countess, or a chambermaid for an Honourable, than be guilty of so much rudeness.
You must not smile, gentle reader, and say cooks are often handsomer than Countesses, or chambermaids prettier than Honourables; I am like the old man of the Bubbles of Brunnen, insensible to anything but the beauties of nature. Neither must you think we have no Countesses nor Honourables in Canada. The former are in truth rarae aves, but the latter—why, every change of ministry creates a batch of them.
The Emigrant and his Prospects.
Those who really wish Canada well desire it to become a second Britain, and not a mere second Texas. Those who wish it evil, and these comprise the restless, unprovided race of politicians under whose incessant agitation Canada has so long groaned, desire its Texian annexation to the already overgrown States in its vicinity.
That it may become a second Britain and hold the balance of power on the continent of America is my prayer, and the prayer too of one who entertains no enmity towards the people of the United States, but who admires their unceasing exertions in behalf of their country, who would admire their institutions, based as they are upon those of England, if the grand design of Washington had been carried out, and perfect freedom of thought and of action had been secured to the people, instead of a slavish awe of the mob, an absolute dread of the uneducated masses, a sovereign contempt of the opinion of the world in accomplishing any design for the aggrandizement of the Union, the most despotic and degrading oppression of all who presume to hold religious opinions at variance with those of the masses, and the chained bondsman in a land of liberty!
To guard the respectable settler, who has a character at stake, and a family with some little capital to lay out to better advantage than he can at home, against the grievous and often fatal errors which have been propagated for sinister motives by needy adventurers who have written about Canada, or who are or have been agents for the sake only of the remuneration which it brings, caring but little for the misery they have entailed, I have undertaken to continue an account of this fine province, where nothing is provided by Nature except fertile soil and a healthy climate; the rest she leaves to unremitting labour and to the exercise of judgment by the settler.
As I have already inferred, this work will contain nothing vituperative of the United States, of that people who are the grandchildren of Britannia, and whose well-being is so essential to the peace and security of Christendom.
I shall endeavour to render it as plain and unpretending as possible, and shall not confine myself to studied rules or endeavours to make a book, taking up my subject as suits my own leisure, which is not very ample, and resuming or interrupting it at pleasure or convenience.
It will be necessary to enter more at large than in my preceding volumes into the resources of Canada, and, for this end, Geology and other scientific subjects must be introduced; but, as I dislike exceedingly that heavy and gaudy veil of learning, that embroidered science, with which modern taste conceals those secrets of Nature which have been so partially unfolded, I shall not have frequent recourse to absurd Greek derivations, which are very commonly borrowed for the occasion from technical dictionaries, or lent by a classical friend; but, whenever they must occur, the dictionary shall explain them, for I really think it beneath the dignity of the lights of modern Geology to talk as they do about the Placoids and the Ganoids, as the first created fishlike beings, and of the Ctenoids and the Cycloids as the more recent finners. It always puts me in mind of Shakespeare's magniloquence concerning "the Anthropophagi and men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders, of antres vast and deserts idle," when he exhibited his learning in language which no one, however, can imitate, and which he makes the lady seriously incline and listen to, simply because she did not understand a word that was said. So it is with the overdone and continual changing of terms that now constantly occurs; insomuch that the terms of plain science, instead of being simplified and brought within the reach of ordinary capacities, is made as uncouth and as unintelligible as possible, and totally beyond the reach of those who have no collegiate education to boast of, and no good technical dictionary at hand to refer to.
The present age is most prone to this false estimate of learning and to public scientific display. If science, true science, yields to it, learning will very soon vanish from the face of the earth again, and nothing but monkish lore and the dark ages return.
There is a vast field open for research in Canada: it is yet a virgin soil, both as respects its moral and its physical cultivation. Therefore, plain facts are the best, and those made as level to the eye as possible; for the amusing mistakes which a would-be learned man makes, after a cursory perusal of anything scientific, only subject him to silent derision.
A very old casual acquaintance of mine, a sort of man holding a rather elevated rank, but originally from the great unwashed, who had risen by mere chance, aided by a little borough influence, was talking to me one day about some property of his in Western Canada, which he fancied had rich minerals upon it. Accordingly, he had taken a preliminary Treatise on Mineralogy in hand, and puzzled his brains in order to converse learnedly. "My land," quoth he, "is Silesia, and has a great bed of sulphuret of pyrites." The poor gentleman, who had a vast opinion of himself and always contradicted everybody about everything, meant that his soil contained a deal of silica, and that iron pyrites was abundant in it.
The importance of the annual migration from Britain is best evidenced by the representation of the chief emigrant agent at Quebec, subjoined.
In all the great sea-ports of England, Ireland, and Scotland, there are emigrant agents appointed by the government, to whom application should always be made for information, by every emigrant who has not the advantage of friends in Canada to receive and guide him; and these gentlemen prevent the trouble, expense, loss of time, and fraud, to which the poor settlers are subjected by the crimps and agents, with whom every sea-port abounds.
On their arrival in Canada, if ignorant of their way, they should apply at Quebec to the government principal agent, who is stationed there for the lower or eastern part of Canada, and he will give them either advice or passage, according to the nature of the case.
It is a pity that a rage exists for going as far west as possible at first, for this rage causes distress, and ends frequently by their being kidnapped into settling in the United States.
If, however, they are determined to go on to Western Canada, their course is either to pay their own way, or to obtain assistance from the government to send them on to Kingston, where another government agent for Western Canada is stationed; and, as this gentleman has now acted in that capacity for many years, he possesses a perfect knowledge of the country and its resources, and of the wants and objects of the settlers.
There is excellent land, and plenty of it to be obtained from the British American Land Company in Lower Canada, in that portion called "The Townships," which adjoin the states of Vermont and New York; and, excepting that the winters are longer, the climate more severe, it is as desirable as any other part of the province, and, in point of health, perhaps more so, as it is sufficiently far from the great river and lakes to make it less subject to ague; which, however, more or less, all new countries in the temperate zone, well forested and watered, are invariably the seat of, and which is increased in power and frequency in proportion to the neighbourhood of fresh water in large bodies, and the use of whiskey as a preventive.
From a statement of the number of emigrants to this colony for the last sixteen years, compiled by A.C. Buchanan, Esq., chief emigrant agent, it appears that, in the five years subsequently to 1829, the emigration from the British Isles was 165,793. From other sources, in the three years, from 1829 to 1832, the emigration exceeded that of the previous ten years—the numbers being respectively, 125,063 and 121,170. In 1832, the emigrants arrived reached the high number of 51,746; but the cholera of that year was of so fatal a character on the St. Lawrence, that the numbers in 1833 fell 22,062. This epidemic, coupled with the rebellions of '37 and '38, materially checked the increased emigration commenced in 1836. In 1838, the number was only 3,266, and in 1839, 7,500. But, since 1840, emigration has again recovered, and, during the period of navigation of 1845, it amounted to 27,354, of whom 2,612 arrived via the United States.
The United States, however, received by far the largest proportion of the emigration from Britain. At the port of New York alone, from 1st November, 1844, to 31st October, 1845, there arrived—
From England and Scotland 10,653 From Ireland 38,300 ———- Total at New York 48,953
The number of emigrants landed at the port of Quebec, in 1845, was 25,375.
NUMBER OF EMIGRANTS SINCE 1829. - '29 to '33 '34 to '38 '39 to '43 '44 to '45 Total. - England. 43,386 28,624 30,318 16,531 119,354 Ireland. 102,264 54,898 74,981 24,201 256,344 Scotland. 20,143 10,998 16,289 4,408 51,838 British American Prov. &c. 1,904 1,831 1,777 377 5,589 + - 167,697 96,351 123,860 45,517 433,425 + -
Upper Canada would seem to have received the largest share of the influx of population. The increase in the number of its inhabitants, between 1827 and 1843, is stated at 230,000.
The local government has for some few years past encouraged, although rather scantily, as Mr. Logan can, I dare say, testify, an exploration of the natural resources of the Canadas, as far as geology and mineralogy are concerned. Its medical statistics, its botany and zoology, will follow; and agriculture, that primary and most noble of all applications of the mind to matter, is making rapid strides, by the formation of district and local societies, which will do infinitely more good than any system of government patronage for the advancement of the welfare of the people could devise.
The public works have also, for the first time, been placed under the control of the executive and legislative bodies by the formation of a board, which is itself also subject to the supervision of the government.
But much remains to be done on this important head. A melancholy error was committed in making the President, and consequently all the officers and employes, of the Board of Works, partizans of the ministry of the day; thus paralyzing the efforts of a zealous man, on the one hand, by the fear of dismissal upon any change of the popular will, and neutralizing his efforts whilst in office, by rendering his measures mere jobs.
This has been amended under Lord Metcalfe's administration; and it is to be hoped that the office of President of the Board of Works will hereafter be one subjected to severe but not to vexatious scrutiny, and at the same time carefully guarded against political influence, and only rendered tenable with honour by the capacity of the person selected to fill it and of his subordinates. Canada is, as I have written two former volumes to prove, a magnificent country. I doubt very much if Nature has created a finer country on the whole earth.
The soil is generally good, as that made by the decay of forests for thousands of years upon substrata, chiefly formed of alluvion or diluvion, the deposit from waters, must be. It is, moreover, from Quebec to the Falls of St. Mary, almost a flat surface, intersected and interlaced by numberless streams, and studded with small lakes, whilst its littorale is a river unparalleled in the world, expanding into enormous fresh water seas, abounding with fish.
If the tropical luxuries are absent, if its winters are long and excessively severe, yet it yields all the European fruits abundantly, and even some of the tropical ones, owing to the richness of its soil and the great heat of the summer. Maize, or Indian corn, flourishes, and is more wholesome and better than that produced in the warm South. The crops of potato, that apple of the earth, as the French so justly term it, are equal, if not superior, to those of any other climate; whilst all the vegetables of the temperate regions of the old world grow with greater luxuriance than in their original fields. I have successively and successfully cultivated the tomato, the melon, and the capsicum, in the open air, for several seasons, at Kingston and Toronto, which are not the richest or the best parts of Western Canada, as far as vegetation is concerned. Tobacco grows well in the western district, and where is finer wheat harvested than in Western Canada?—whilst hay, and that beauty of a landscape, the rich green sod, the velvet carpet of the earth, are abundant and luxuriant.
If the majesty of vegetation is called in question, and intertropical plants brought forward in contrast, even the woods and trackless forests of Guiana, where the rankest of luxuriance prevails, will not do more than compete with the glory of the primeval woods of Canada. I know of nothing in this world capable of exciting emotions of wonder and adoration more directly, than to travel alone through its forests. Pines, lifting their hoary tops beyond man's vision, unless he inclines his head so far backwards as to be painful to his organization, with trunks which require fathoms of line to span them; oaks, of the most gigantic form; the immense and graceful weeping elm; enormous poplars, whose magnitude must be seen to be conceived; lindens, equally vast; walnut trees of immense size; the beautiful birch, and the wild cherry, large enough to make tables and furniture of.
Oh, the gloom and the glory of these forests, and the deep reflection that, since they were first created by the Divine fiat, civilized man has never desecrated them with his unsparing devastations; that a peculiar race, born for these solitudes, once dwelt amidst their shades, living as Nature's woodland children, until a more subtile being than the serpent of Eden crept amongst them, and, with his glittering novelties and dangerous beauty, caused their total annihilation! I see, in spirit, the red hunter, lofty, fearless, and stern, stalking in his painted nudity, and displaying a form which Apollo might have envied, amidst the everlasting and silent woods; I see, in spirit, the bearded stranger from the rising sun, with his deadly arms and his more deadly fire-water, conversing with his savage fellow, and displaying the envied wealth of gorgeous beads and of gaudy clothing.
The scene changes, the proud Indian is at the feet of his ensnarer; disease has relaxed his iron sinews; drunkenness has debased his mind; and the myriad crimes and vices of civilized Europe have combined to sweep the aborigines of the soil from the face of the forest earth. The forest groans beneath the axe; but, after a few years, the scene again changes; fertile fields, orchards and gardens, delight the eye; the city, and the town, and the village spires rise, and where two solitary wigwams of the red hunter were once alone occasionally observed, twenty thousand white Canadians now worship the same Great Author of the existence of all mankind.
And to increase these fields, these orchards, these gardens, these villages, these towns, and these cities, year after year, thirty thousand of the children of Britain cross the broad Atlantic: and what seeks this mass of human beings, braving the perils of the ocean and the perils of the land? Competence and wealth! The former, by prudence, is soon attainable; the acquisition of the latter uncertain and fickle.
No free grants of land are now given, but the settler may obtain them upon easy terms from the government, or the Canada and British American companies.
The settler with a small capital cannot do better than purchase out and out. Instalments are a bad mode of purchasing; for, if all should not turn out right, instalments are sometimes difficult to meet; and the very best land, in the best locations, as we shall hereafter see, is to be had from 7s. 6d., if in the deep Bush, as the forest is called; to 10s., if nearer a market; or 15s. and 20s., if very eligibly situated. Thus for two hundred pounds a settler can buy two hundred acres of good land, can build an excellent house for two hundred and fifty more, and stock his farm with another fifty, as a beginning; or, in other words, he can commence Canadian life for five hundred pounds sterling, with every prospect before him, if he has a family, of leaving them prosperous and happy. But he and they must work, work, work. He and all his sons must avoid whiskey, that bane of the backwoods, as they would avoid the rattlesnake, which sometimes comes across their path. Whiskey and wet feet destroy more promising young men in Canada than ague and fever, that scourge of all well watered woody countries; for the ague and fever seldom kill but with the assistance of the dram and of exposure.
Men nurtured in luxury or competence at home, as soon as the unfailing ennui arising from want of society in the backwoods begins to succeed the excitement of settling, too frequently drink, and in many cases drink from their waking hour until they sink at night into sottish sleep. This is peculiarly the case where there is no village nor town within a day's journey; and thus many otherwise estimable young men become habitual drunkards, and sink from the caste of gentlemen gradually into the dregs of society, whilst their wives and families suffer proportionably.
In Lower Canada, this vice does not prevail to the same extent as in the upper portion of the province. The French Canadians are not addicted to the vice of drinking ardent spirits as a people, although the lumberers and voyageurs shorten their lives very considerably by the use of whiskey. The lumberers, who are the cutters and conveyers of timber, pass a short and excited existence.
In the winter, buried in the eternal forest, far, far away from the haunts of man, they chop and hew; in the summer, they form the timber, boards, staves, &c., into rafts, which are conveyed down the great lakes and the rivers St. Lawrence and Ottawa to Quebec—on these rafts they live and have their summer being. Hard fare in plenty, such as salt pork and dough cakes; fat and unleavened bread, with whiskey, is their diet. Tea and sugar form an occasional luxury. Up to their waists in snow in winter, and up to their waists in summer and autumn in water, with all the moving accidents by flood and field; the occasional breaking-up of the raft in a rapid, the difficulty of the winter and spring transport of the heavy logs of squared timber out of the deep and trackless woods, combine to form a portion of the hard and reckless life of a lumberer, whose morale is not much better than his physicale.
Picture to yourself, child of luxury, sitting on a cushioned sofa, in a room where the velvet carpet renders a footfall noiseless, where art is exhausted to afford comfort, and where even the hurricane cannot disturb your perusal of this work, a wood reaching without limit, excepting the oceans either of salt or fresh water which surround Canada, and where to lose the track is hopeless starvation and death; figure the giant pines towering to the clouds, gloomy and Titan-like, throwing their vast arms to the skyey influences, and making a twilight of mid-day, at whose enormous feet a thicket of bushes, almost as high as your head, prevents your progress without the pioneer axe; or a deep and black swamp for miles together renders it necessary to crawl from one fallen monarch of the wood onwards to the decaying and prostrate bole of another, with an occasional plunge into the mud and water, which they bridge; eternal silence reigning, disturbed only by your feeble efforts to advance; and you may form some idea of a red pine land, rocky and uneven, or a cedar swamp, black as night, dark, dismal, and dangerous.
Here, after you have hewed or crept your toiling way, you see, some yards or some hundred yards, as the forest is close or open, before you, a light blue curling smoke amongst the dank and lugubrious scene; you hear a dull, distant, heavy, sudden blow, frequent and deadened, followed at long intervals by a tremendous rending, crashing, overwhelming rush; then all is silent, till the voice of the guardian of man is heard growling, snarling, or barking outright, as you advance towards the blue smoke, which has now, by an eddy of the wind, filled a large space between the trees.
You stand before the fire, made under three or four sticks set up tenwise, to which a large cauldron is hung, bubbling and seething, with a very strong odour of fat pork; a boy, dirty and ill-favoured, with a sharp glittering axe, looks very suspiciously at you, but calls off his wolfish dog, who sneaks away.
A moment shows you a long hut, formed of logs of wood, with a roof of branches, covered by birch-bark, and by its side, or near the fire, several nondescript sties or pens, apparently for keeping pigs in, formed of branches close to the ground, either like a boat turned upside down, or literally as a pigsty is formed, as to shape.
In the large hut, which is occasionally more luxurious and made of slabs of wood or of rough boards, if a saw-mill is within reasonable distance, and there is a passable wood road, or creek, or rivulet, navigable by canoes, you see some barrel or two of pork, and of flour, or biscuit, or whiskey, some tools, and some old blankets or skins. Here you are in the lumberer's winter home—I cannot call him woodman, it would disgrace the ancient and ballad-sung craft; for the lumberer is not a gentle woodman, and you need not sing sweetly to him to "spare that tree."
The larger dwelling is the hall, the common hall, and the pig-sties the sleeping-places. I presume that such a circumstance as pulling off habiliments or ablution seldom occurs; they roll themselves in a blanket or skin, if they have one, and, as to water, they are so frequently in it during the summer, that I suppose they wash half the year unintentionally. Fat pork, the fattest of the fat, is the lumberer's luxury; and, as he has the universal rifle or fowling-piece, he kills a partridge, a bear, or a deer, now and then.
I was exploring last year some woods in a newly settled township, the township of Seymour West, in the Newcastle district of Upper Canada, with a view to see the nakedness of the land, which had been represented to me as flowing with milk and honey, as all new settlements of course are said to do. I wandered into the lonely but beautiful forest, with a companion who owned the soil, and who had told me that the lumberers were robbing him and every settler around of their best pine timber. After some toiling and tracing the sound of the axes, few and far between, felling in the distance, we came upon the unvarying boy at cookery, the axe, and the dog.
My conductor at once saw the extent of the mischief going on, and, finding that the gang, although distant from the camp-fire, was numerous, advised that we should retrace our steps. We however interrogated the boy, who would scarcely answer, and pretended to know nothing. The dog began to be inquisitive too, and one of the dogs we had with us venturing a little too near a savoury piece of pork, the nature of the young half-bred ruffian suddenly blazed out, and the axe was uplifted to kill poor Dash. I happened to have a good stick, and interfered to prevent dog-murder, upon which the wood-demon ejaculated that he would as soon let out my guts as the dog's, and therefore my companion had to show his gun; for showing his teeth would have been of little avail with the young savage.
The settlers are afraid of the lumberers; and thus all the finest land, near rivers, creeks, or transport of any kind, is swept of the timber to such an extent that you must go now far, far back from the Lakes, the St. Lawrence, or the Ottawa, before you can see the forest in its primeval grandeur.
This robbery has been carried on in so barefaced and extensive a manner, that the chief adventurer, usually a merchant or trader, who supplies the axe and canoemen with pay in his shop goods, cent. per cent. above their value, becomes enriched.
The lumberer's life is truly an unhappy one, for, when he reaches the end of the raft's voyage, whatever money he may have made goes to the fiddle, the female, or the fire-water; and he starts again as poor as at first, living perhaps by a rare chance to the advanced age, for a lumberer, of forty years.
And a curious sight is a raft, joined together not with ropes but with the limbs and thews of the swamp or blue beech, which is the natural cordage of Canada and is used for scaffolding and packing.
A raft a quarter of a mile long—I hope I do not exaggerate, for it may be half a mile, never having measured one but by the eye—with its little huts of boards, its apologies for flags and streamers, its numerous little masts and sails, its cooking caboose, and its contrivances for anchoring and catching the wind by slanting boards, with the men who appear on its surface as if they were walking on the lake, is curious enough; but to see it in drams, or detached portions, sent down foaming and darting along the timber slides of the Ottawa or the restless and rapid Trent, is still more so; and fearful it is to observe its conducteur, who looks in the rapid by no means so much at his ease as the functionary of that name to whom the Paris diligence is entrusted.
Numberless accidents happen; the drams are torn to pieces by the violence of the stream; the rafts are broken by storm and tempest; the men get drunk and fall over; and altogether it appears extraordinary that a raft put together at the Trent village for its final voyage to Quebec should ever reach its destination, the transport being at least four hundred and fifty miles, and many go much farther, through an open and ever agitated fresh water sea, and amongst the intricate channels of The Thousand Islands, and down the tremendous rapids of the Longue Sault, the Gallope, the Cedars, the Cascades, &c.
But a new trade, has lately commenced on Lake Ontario, which will break up some of the hardships of the rafting. Old steamboats of very large size, when no longer serviceable in their vocation, are now cut down, and perhaps lengthened, masted, and rigged as barques or ships, and treated in every respect like the Atlantic timber-vessels. Into these three-masters, these Leviathans of Lake Ontario, the timber, boards, staves, handspikes, &c., from the interior are now shipped, and the timber carried to the head of the St. Lawrence navigation.
One step more, and they will, as soon as the canals are widened, proceed from Lake Superior to London without a raft being ever made.
That this will soon occur is very evident; for a large vessel of this kind, as big as a frigate, and named the Goliath, is at the moment that I am writing preparing at Toronto, near the head of Lake Ontario, a thousand miles from the open sea, for a voyage direct to the West Indies and back again. Success to her! What with the railroad from Halifax to Lake Huron, from the Atlantic Ocean to the great fresh ocean of the West—what with the electric telegraph now in operation on the banks of the Niagara by the Americans—what with the lighting of villages on the shores of Lake Erie with natural gas, as Fredonia is lit, and as the city of the Falls of Niagara, if ever it is built, will also be, there is no telling what will happen: at all events, the poor lumberer must benefit in the next generation, for the worst portion of his toils will be done away with for ever.
Settler, never become a lumberer, if you can avoid it.
But, as we have in this favourite hobbyhorse style of ours, which causes description to start up as recollections occur, accompanied the lumberer on his voyage to that lumberer's Paradise, Quebec, whither he has conducted his charge to The Coves, for the culler to cull, the marker to mark, the skipper to ship, and the lumber-merchant to get the best market he can for it, so we shall return for a short time to Lower Canada, to talk a little about settlement there.
As I hinted before, Lower Canada is too much decried as a country to re-commence the world in; but the Anglo-Saxon and Milesian populace are nevertheless beginning to discover its value, and are very rapidly increasing both in numbers and importance. The French Canadian yeoman, or small farmer, has an alacrity at standing still; it is only le notaire and le medecin that advance; so that, if emigration goes on at the rate it has done since the rebellion, the old country folks will, before fifty more years pass over, outnumber and outvote, by ten times, Jean Baptiste, which is a pity, for a better soul than that merry mixture of bonhomie and phlegm, the French Canadian is, the wide world's surface does not produce. Visionary notions of la gloire de la nation Canadienne, instilled into him by restless men, who panted for distinction and cared not for distraction, misled the bonnet rouge awhile: but he has superadded the thinking cap since; and, although he may not readily forget the sad lesson he received, yet he has no more idea of being annexed to the United States than I have of being Grand Lama. In fact, I really believe that the merciful policy which has been shown, and the wise measure of making Montreal the seat of government, and thus practically demonstrating the advantage of the institutions of England by daily lessons in the heart of their dear country, has done more to recall the Canadians to a sense of the real value of the connexion with Great Britain than all the protocols of diplomatists, or all the powder that ever saltpetre generated, could have achieved.
Pursue a perfectly impartial course, as you ought and must do, towards the Canadians, and show them that they are as much British citizens as the people of Toronto are, and you may count upon their loyalty and devotion without fear. They know they never can be an independent nation; that folly has been dreamed out, and the fumes of the vision are evaporating.
They now know and feel that annexation to the great Republic in their neighbourhood will swamp their nationality more effectively than the red or the blue coats of England can ever do, will desecrate their altars, will portion out their lands, will nullify their present importance, and render them an isolated race, forgotten and unsought for, as the Iroquois of the last century, who, from being the children and owners of the land, the true enfans du sol, are now—where? The soil, had it voice, could alone reply, for on its surface they are not.
We must never in England form a false estimate of the French Canadian, because a few briefless lawyers or saddle-bag medical men urged them into rebellion. Their feelings and spirit are not of the same genre as the feelings and spirit which animated the hideous soul of the poissardes and canaille of Paris in 1792. There is very little or no poverty in Lower Canada; every man who will work there, can work; and it is a nation rather of small farmers than of classes, with the ideas of independence which property, however small, invariably generates in the human breast; but with that other idea also which urges it to preserve ancient landmarks.
It is chiefly in the large towns and in their neighbourhood that the desire for exclusive nationality still exists, fostered by a rabid appetite for distinction in some ardent and reckless adventurers from the British ranks, who care little what is undermost so long as they are uppermost.
The hostility of the British settlers to the French is by no means so great as is so carefully and constantly described, and would altogether cease, if not kept continually alive by Upper Canadian demonstration, and that desire to rule exclusively which has so long been the bane of this fine colony.
It reminds one always of the morbid hatred of France, which existed thirty years ago in England, when Napoleon was believed, by the lower classes—ay, and by some of the higher too—to be Apollyon in earnest.
I remember an old lord of the old school, whose family honours were not of a hundred years, and whose ancestors had been respectable traders, saying to me, a short time before he died, that Republican notions had spread so much from our peace with infidel France, that he should yet live to see those who possessed talent or energy enough among the middle class, take those honours which he was so proud of, and with the titles also, the estates.
Look, said he, at the absurd decoration showered on the savans of France, Baron Cuvier, for instance; and he fell into a passion, and, being a French scholar, sang forth, in a paroxysm of gout, this refrain:—
"Travaillez, travaillez, bon tonnelier, Racommodez, racommodez, ton Cuvier."
And yet he was by no means an ignorant man—was at heart a true John Bull, and had travelled and seen the world. He was blinded by an unquenchable hatred of France, a hatred which has now ceased in England in consequence of the facility of intercourse, but which is revived in France against England by those who think la gloire preferable to peace and honour.
The miserable feudal system in Lower Canada has kept the French population in abeyance; that population is literally dormant, and the resources of the country unused; a Seigneur, now often anything but a Frenchman, holds an immense tract, parcelled out into little slips amongst a peasantry, whose ideas are as limited as their lands. Generation after generation has tilled these patches, until they are exhausted; and thus the few proprietors who have been able to emancipate themselves from the Seignoral thraldom sell as fast as they can obtain purchasers; and the Seignories lapse, by failure of descent or by cutting off the entail, as it may be termed, under the dominion of foreigners, to the people.
It is surprising that British capitalists do not turn their attention more to Lower Canada, where land is thus to be bought very cheap, and which only requires manuring, a treatment that it rarely receives from a Canadian, to bring it into heart again, and where the vast extent of the British townships, held in free and common soccage, opens such a field for the agriculturist.
These townships are rapidly opening up and improving, and the sales of the British American Land Company may in round numbers be said to average L20,000 a year, or more than 40,000 acres, averaging ten shillings an acre.
The day's wages for a labourer on a farm in Lower Canada may be stated at two shillings currency, about one shilling and eightpence sterling, with food and lodging; but, excepting in the towns and in the eastern townships, the labourers are Canadians, elsewhere chiefly Irish. In the large towns also they are Irish, and two shillings and sixpence is the usual price of a day's work at Montreal.
There is a great demand for English or Scotch labourers in the townships where provisions are reasonable, and the materials for building, either lime, stone, brick, or wood, also very moderate in price from their abundance.
Cultivated, or rather cleared, farms may be purchased now near the settlements for about six pounds per acre, with very often dwelling and farms on them, and a clear title may be readily obtained, after inquiry at the registry office of the county, to see whether any mortgage or other encumbrance exist—a course always to be adopted, both in Upper and Lower Canada. A settler must take the precaution of tracing the original grant, and that the land, if he buys from an individual, is neither Crown nor Clergy reserve, nor set apart for school or any other public purposes. Never buy, moreover, of a squatter, or land on which a squatter is located, for the law is very favourable to these gentry.
A squatter is a man who, axe in hand, with his gun, dog, and baggage, sets himself down in the deep forest, to clear and improve; and this he very frequently does, both upon public and private property; and the Government is lenient, so that, if he makes well of it, he generally has a right of pre-emption, or perhaps pays up only instalments, and then sells and goes deeper into the bush. Every way there is difficulty about squatted land, and very often the squatter will significantly enough hint that there is such a thing as a rifle in his log castle. Squatters are usually Americans, of the very lowest grade, or the most ignorant of the Irish, who really believe they have a right to the soil they occupy.
I do not profess to give an account of the Eastern Townships; the prospectus of the British American Land Company will do that; and, as I have never been through them entirely, so I could only advance assertion; but I believe that they are admirably adapted for English and Scotch settlers, and that, bounded as they are by the French Canadians on one side, and by the United States on the other, with every facility for roads, canals, and railways, they must become one of the richest, most and important portions of Canada before half a century has passed over; but it will take that time, notwithstanding railways and locomotives, to make Jean Baptiste a useful agriculturist; and the fly must be eradicated from the wheat before Lower Canada can ever come within a great distance of competition in the flour market with the upper province.
Take a steamboat voyage from Quebec to Montreal, and you pass through French Canada; for, although there are very extensive settlements of the race below Quebec till they are lost in the rugged mountains of Gaspesia, yet the main body of habitants rest upon the low and tranquil shores of the St. Lawrence, for one hundred and eighty miles between the Castle of St. Lewis and the Cathedral of Montreal. The farm-houses, neat, and invariably whitewashed, line the river, particularly on the left bank, like a cantonment, and go back to the north for, at the utmost, ten or twelve miles into the then boundless wilderness.
The cultivated ground is in narrow slips, fenced by the customary snake fence, which is nothing more than slabs of trees split coarsely into rails, and set up lengthways in a zig-zag form to give them stability, with struts, or riders, at the angles, to bind them. These farms are about nine hundred feet in width, and four or five miles in depth, being the concessions or allotments made originally by the seigneurs to the censitaires, or tillers of the soil. Every here and there, a long road is left, with cross ones, to obtain access to the farms, much in the same way, but not near so conveniently, or well done, as the concession lines in Upper Canada, which embrace large spaces of a hundred acre or two hundred acre lots, including many of these lots, and giving a sixty-six feet or a forty foot road, as the case may be, and thus dividing the country into a series of large parallelograms, and making every farm accessible.
Each Lower French Canadian farmer is an independent yeoman, excepting as bound to the soil, and to certain seignorial dues and privileges, which are, however, trifling, and far from burthensome. Taxes are unknown, and they cheerfully support their priesthood.
It is not generally known in England that the feudal tenure—although very laughable and absurd at this time of day, and from which some seigneurs, but never those of unmixed French blood, are disposed to claim titles equivalent to the baronage of England, with incomes of about a thousand a year, or at most two, and manorial houses, resembling very much a substantial Buckinghamshire grazier's chateau—was originally established by the French monarchs for wise, highly useful, and benevolent purposes.
These seigneuries were parcelled out in very large tracts of forest along the banks of the St. Lawrence, or the rivers and bays of Lower Canada, on the condition that they should be again parcelled out among those who would engage to cultivate them in the strips above-mentioned. Thus re-granted, the seigneur could not eject the habitant, but was allowed to receive a nominal or feudal rent from the vassal, and the usual droits. These droits are, first, the barbarous "lods et ventes," or one thirteenth of the money upon every transfer which the habitant makes by sale only; but the original rent can never be raised, whatever value the land may have attained. The rights of the mill, that old European appanage of the lord of the soil, were also reserved to the seigneur, who alone can build mills within his domain, or use the waters within his boundaries for mechanical purposes; but he must erect them at convenient distances, and must make and repair roads. The miller, therefore, takes toll of the grist, which is another source of seignorial revenue, although not a very great one, for the toll is, excepting the miller's thumb rights, not very large.
The crown of England is the lord paramount or suzerain, and demands a tax of one fifth of the purchase-money of each seignory sold or transferred by the lord of the manor.
By law, the lands cannot be subdivided, and if a seigneurie is sold it cannot be sold in parts, nor can any compromise with the habitants for rent, or any other claim or incumbrance, be made.
An institution like this paralyzes the resident, paralyzes the settler, and destroys that aristocracy for whose benefit it was created; for it prevents the lord of the manor from ever becoming rich, or taking much interest in the improvement of his domain; and thus every thing continues as it was a hundred years ago. The British emigrant pauses ere he buys land thus enthralled; and almost all the old French families, who dated from Charlemagne, Clovis, or Pepin, from the Merovingian or Carlovingian monarchies, have disappeared and dwindled away, and their places have been supplied by the more enterprising, or the nouveau riche men of the old world, or by restless, acute lawyers, and metaphysical body-curers.
It was no wonder, therefore, that, upon the removal of the seat of government from Toronto, and the appointment of a governor-general untrammelled by the lieutenant governorship of Western Canada, over which he had had before no control, that it should be considered desirable by degrees to introduce the English land system throughout Canada, and that parliamentary inquiry should be made into the necessity of abolishing all feudal taxation. In Montreal this has been done, and, as the seignoral rights of succession lapse, it will soon be done every where, for the recent enactments have emancipated many already.
But no sensible or feeling mind will desire to see the French Canadian driven to break up all at once habits formed by ages of contentment; and, as it does not press upon them beyond their ready endurance, why should we, to please a few rich capitalists or merchants, suddenly force a British population into the heart of French Canada?
Jean Baptiste is too good a fellow to desire this. On our part, we should not forget his truly amiable character; we should not forget the services he rendered to us, when our children fought to drive us from our last hold on the North American continent; we should not forget his worthy and excellent priesthood; nor should we ever lose sight of the fact, that he is contented under the old system. Above all, we should never forget that he fought our battles when his Gallic sires joined our revolted children.
I feel persuaded that, if an unhappy war must take place between the United States and England, the French Canadians will prove, as they did before on a similar occasion, loyal to a man.
All animosity, all heart-burning, will be forgotten, and the old French glory will shine again, as it did under De Salaberry.
Ma foi, nous ne sommes pas perdus, encore; and some hero of the war has only to rouse himself and cry, as Roland did,
Suivez, mon panage eclatant, Francais ainsi que ma banniere; Qu'il soit point du ralliement, Vous savez tous quel prix attend Le brave, qui dans la carriere, Marche sur le pas de Roland. Mourons pour notre patrie C'est le sort le plus beau et le plus digne d'envie.
A journey to the Westward.
We must leave Roncesvalles and La Gloire awhile, and, instead of riding a war horse, canter along upon the hobby, or a good serviceable Canadian pony, the best of all hobbies for seeing the Canadian world, and on which mettlesome charger we can much better instruct the emigrant than by long prosings about political economy and systematic colonisation.
So, en avant! I am going to relate the incidents of a journey last summer to the Westward, and to give all the substance of my observations on men and things made therein.
I left Kingston on the 26th of June, in the Princess Royal mail steamer, at 8 p.m., the usual hour of starting being seven, for Toronto; the weather unusually cold.
This fine boat constitutes, with two others, the City of Toronto and the Sovereign, the royal mail line between Kingston and Toronto. All are built nearly alike, are first class seaboats, and low pressure; they combine, with the Highlander, the Canada, and the Gildersleave, also splendid vessels, to form a mail route to Montreal—the latter boats taking the mail as far as Coteau du Lac, forty-five miles from Montreal, on which route a smaller vessel, the Chieftain, plies, wherein you sleep, at anchor, or rather moored, till daylight, if going down, or going upwards, on board the mail boat.
Passengers go from Montreal to Kingston by the mail route in twenty-four hours, a distance of 180 miles; a small portion, between the Cascades Rapids and the Coteau being traversed in a coach, on a planked road as smooth as a billiard-table.
From Kingston to Toronto, or nearly the whole length of Lake Ontario, takes sixteen hours, the boat leaving at seven, and arriving about or before noon next day; performing the passage at the rate of eleven miles an hour, exclusively of stoppages.
The transit between Montreal and Kingston is at the rate, including stoppage for daylight, the river being dangerous, of eight miles an hour; thus, in forty hours, the passenger passes from the seat of government to the largest city of Western Canada most comfortably, a journey which twenty years ago it always took a fortnight, and often a month, to accomplish, in the most precarious and uncomfortable manner—on board small, roasting steamers, crowded like a cattle-pen—in lumbering leathern conveniences, miscalled coaches, over roads which enter not into the dreams of Britons—by canoes—by bateaux, (a sort of coal barges,)—by schooners, where the cabin could never permit you to display either your length, your breadth, or your thickness, and thus reducing you to a point in creation, according to Euclid and his commentators.
Your compagnons de voyage, on board a bateau or Durham boat, which was a monstre bateau, were French Canadian voyageurs, always drunk and always gay, who poled you along up the rapids, or rushed down them with what will be will be.
These happy people had a knack of examining your goods and chattels, which they were conveying in the most admirable manner, and with the utmost sang-froid; but still they were above stealing—they only tapped the rum cask or the whiskey barrel, and appropriated any cordage wherewith you bound your chests and packages. I never had a chest, box, or bale sent up by bateau or Durham boat that escaped this rope mail.
By the by, the Durham boat, a long decked barge, square ahead, and square astern, has vanished; Ericson's screw-propellers have crushed it. It was neither invented by nor named after Lord Durham, but was as ancient as Lambton House itself.
The way the conductors of these boats found out vinous liquors was, as brother Jonathan so playfully observes, a caution.
I have known an instance of a cask of wine, which, for security from climate, had an outer case or cask strongly secured over it, with an interior space for neutralizing frost or heat, bored so carefully that you could never discover how it had been effected, and a very considerable quantum of beverage extracted.
I once had a small barrel, perhaps twenty gallons of commissariat West India ration rum, the best of all rum for liqueurs, sucked dry. Of course, it had leaked, but I never could discover the leak, and it held any liquid very well afterwards.
I know the reader likes a story, and as this is not by any means an historical or scientific work, excepting always the geological portion thereof, I will tell him or her, as the case may be, a story about ration rum.
There was a funny fellow, an Irish auctioneer at Kingston, some years ago, called Paddy Moran, whom all the world, priest and parson, minister and methodist, soldier and sailor, tinker and tailor, went to hear when he mounted his rostrum.
He was selling the goods of a quarter-master-general who was leaving the place. At last he came to the cellar and the rum. "Now, gintlemin," says Moran, "I advise you to buy this rum, 7s. 6d. a gallon! going, going! Gintlemin, I was once a sojer—don't laugh, you officers there, for I was—and a sirjeant into the bargain. It wasn't in the Irish militia—bad luck to you, liftenant, for laughing that way, it will spoil the rum! I was the tip-top of the sirjeants of the regiment—long life to it! Yes, I was quarter-master-sirjeant, and hadn't I the sarving out of the rations; and didn't I know what good ration rum was; and didn't I help meself to the prime of it! Well, then, gintlemin and ladies—I mane, Lord save yees, ladies and gintlemin—if a quarter-master-sirjeant in the army had good rum, what the devil do you think a quarter-master-general gets?"
The rum rose to fifteen shillings per gallon at the next bid.
You can have every convenience on board a Lake Ontario mail-packet, which is about as large as a small frigate, and has the usual sea equipment of masts, sails, and iron rigging. The fare is five dollars in the cabin, or about L1 sterling; and two dollars in the steerage. In the former you have tea and breakfast, in the latter nothing but what is bought at the bar. By paying a dollar extra you may have a state-room on deck, or rather on the half-deck, where you find a good bed, a large looking-glass, washing-stand and towels, and a night-lamp, if required. The captains are generally part owners, and are kind, obliging, and communicative, sitting at the head of their table, where places for females and families are always reserved. The stewards and waiters are coloured people, clean, neat, and active; and you may give sevenpence-halfpenny or a quarter-dollar to the man who cleans your boots, or an attentive waiter, if you like; if not, you can keep it, as they are well paid.
The ladies' cabin has generally a large cheval glass and a piano, with a white lady to wait, who is always decked out in flounces and furbelows, and usually good-looking. All you have got to do on embarking or on disembarking is to see personally to your luggage; for leaving it to a servant unacquainted with the country will not do. At Kingston, matters are pretty well arranged, and the carters are not so very impudent, and so ready to push you over the wharf; but at Toronto they are very so so, and want regulating by the police; and in the States, at Buffalo particularly, the porters and carters are the most presuming and insolent serviles I ever met with; they rush in a body on board the boat, and respect neither persons nor things.
I knew an American family composed chiefly of females, travelling to the Falls; and these ladies had their baggage taken to a train going inland, whilst they were embarking on board the British boat which was to convey them to Chippewa in Canada.
The comfort of some of these boats, as they call them, but which ought to be called ships, is very great. There is a regular drawingroom on board one called the Chief Justice where I saw, just after the horticultural show at Toronto, pots of the most rare and beautiful flowers, arranged very tastefully, with a piano, highly-coloured nautical paintings and portraits, and a tout ensemble, which, when the lamps were lit, and conversation going on between the ladies and gentlemen then and there assembled, made one quite forget we were at sea on Lake Ontario, the "Beautiful Lake," which, like other beautiful creations, can be very angry if vexed.