By Peter Fisher
AS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN 1825 (With a few additional Explanatory Notes)
NOW RE-PRINTED JOINTLY BY
THE GOVERNMENT OF NEW BRUNSWICK AND WILLIAM SHIVES FISHER (Grandson of the Author)
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NEW BRUNSWICK HISTORICAL SOCIETY ST. JOHN, N. B. 1921
The tale of the Loyalists; their loyalty to high ideals of national duty—to fulfil which they underwent untold losses, privations and sufferings when they abandoned their homes and their all, and sought new homes and commenced a new life in a northern wilderness—is a story that appeals wherever patriotism is an honor and self-sacrifice a virtue. In this Province of New-Brunswick, settled mainly by families torn and rent by the American revolution and whose descendants are reaping the reward of their sacrifice, it is of peculiar interest.
In 1825, when Peter Fisher published the first Historical work, the Province of New-Brunswick had received the loyalist immigration forty-three years before, at which date it was constituted a separate Province. The progress of the country during a period when its political institutions and industrial life were in a formative condition is of deep interest. The account given of it in Mr. Fisher's work is of sufficient value in the opinion of the New Brunswick Historical Society to warrant its being reprinted. In addition to the original work, there has been embodied with it, notes and observations prepared by the Venerable Archdeacon Raymond and published in Vol. X of the records of the Society. A copy of the history not being available, this is printed from a photostat copy furnished by the Dominion archives.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF THE PROVINCE,
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION
COUNTRY, CLIMATE, PRODUCTIONS, INHABITANTS, GOVERNMENT, RIVERS, TOWNS, SETTLEMENTS, PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS, TRADE, REVENUE, POPULATION, &c.
An Inhabitant of the Province.
"Whatever concerns my country, interests me; I follow nature, with truth my guide."
SAINT JOHN: PRINTED BY CHUBB & SEARS, MARKET-SQUARE.
To the Reader.
Having at different times collected what information I could obtain relating to the Province of New-Brunswick, I intended whenever I had a sufficient fund of correct materials, to publish them in such a shape as to diffuse a general knowledge of the Country, its productions, sources of wealth, &c. For this reason I had kept the different Counties, as well as the several subjects of which I intended to treat, separate, in order to receive such additions as I could from time to time make. But as I am happy to find that it is one of the objects of the New-Brunswick Agricultural and Emigrant Society, to publish a Geographical and Statistical Account of the Province, as soon as materials can be collected, I have given up my first design—being convinced that such a Society can collect correct information and the materials for such a desirable object with far greater facility and accuracy than an individual. In the mean time, I have given these Sketches to the public, hoping they may serve to give a faint knowledge of the Country, till a more perfect Work is prepared. It is no small matter to give any thing like a full description of a new Country like New-Brunswick, where the Compiler has but few helps—where there are but few written documents to resort to, and where neither Animals, Minerals, or Plants, have been properly arranged; and where there are but few correct materials to guide him in pointing out the changes of the seasons and other natural phenomena, with many other things which are requisite in a complete description of a new Country. The labour of even arranging the different Parishes was considerable, which the statement of the population of the Province, (had I possessed that document in time,) would have at once supplied.
It was my intention to add a concise history of the principal transactions that have taken place in the Country from its first occupation to the present time, from such sources both written and oral, as came within my researches; but have for the reasons before stated relinquished that design.
The description of some of the Counties is not so full as I could wish, but it may be observed this is but an outline of what I at first designed; and that the information I had collected of some of the Counties, was very scanty; but that I intended to extend it to considerable length, as correct materials could be procured. Having therefore abandoned my first design, I had to contract the description of some of the Counties of which I had a fuller knowledge, to make the Work more uniform; and not to appear partial to some parts of the Province, or to have forgotten others.
Fractional accuracy cannot be expected in such a brief outline; neither indeed is it of much consequence. I have, however, endeavoured to come as near the reality as possible, and given as full a detail as the size of the Work would allow.
Old Settlers on the River Saint John. New-Brunswick erected into a Government, and settled by the Loyalists in 1783-4. Difficulties of the first Settlers. List of successive Governors and Presidents.
The Province of New-Brunswick formerly formed a part of Nova-Scotia, which was the first European settlement on the Continent of North America.—The first grant of land in it was given by King JAMES the FIRST to Sir WILLIAM ALEXANDER, in 1621—from whom it had the name of Nova-Scotia or New Scotland. It was at that time regarded by the English as a part of CABOT'S discovery of Terra-Nova. The first settlers, however, were emigrants from France, who as early as the year 1604 came to the Country with DE MONT, a French adventurer, and gave it the name of Acadia.
This country frequently changed masters; passing from the French to the English, and back again, till it was finally ceded in full sovereignty to the British at the peace of Utrecht in 1713.
In 1760, a number of persons from the County of Essex, in Massachusetts, obtained a grant of a Township, twelve miles square, on the River Saint John, from the British Government; and after several delays in exploring and surveying, they commenced a settlement at Maugerville.
During the American War of 1775, they were joined by a number of other families from New England: the district adjoining Maugerville was settled, and the whole called by the general name of Sunbury, where the Courts of Justice were held till 1783: when the peace with America left the Loyalists who had followed the British standard, to seek an asylum in some part of the British dominions.
Prior to this period a number of families from Yorkshire in England, and others from Massachusetts, had settled in and about Cumberland, where many of their descendants still remain.—These people, actuated by different attachments, lived during the war in a state of hostility with each other;—one part adhering to the British, and the other to the Americans.
In the month of April, 1783, about three thousand persons, men, women, and children, sailed from New-York for the River Saint John; many of them being passengers, but the major part persons who had joined the British army, and were now sent to this Country to be disbanded and settled. In the month of October following, about twelve hundred more arrived from the same place. Those as well as the former had to seek a shelter from the approaching winter, by building log and bark huts; a few indeed were admitted into the houses of the settlers who had resided here before and during the American war. Provisions and clothing were furnished by Government for the first year, with a few implements to commence a settlement. Lord DORCHESTER appointed the Rev. Mr. SAYRE, GEORGE LEONARD, WILLIAM TYNG, and JAMES PETERS, Esquires, as agents to apply for lands and locate them. Major STUDHOLM was soon after added to the number by Governor PARR.—This Officer at that time commanded the Garrison of Fort Howe, at the entrance of Saint John River. These agents appointed the Rev. Mr. ARNOLD for their secretary. The duties that devolved on these gentlemen were of the most arduous nature; they had however the satisfaction of receiving the thanks of the Governor and Council of Nova-Scotia, for their upright conduct in transacting that business.
In the year 1785, the present limits of New-Brunswick were divided from Nova-Scotia, and a separate Charter of a Constitution was granted to the Province, under Governor CARLETON, with a Council composed of the following gentlemen:—BEVERLEY ROBINSON, GABRIEL G. LUDLOW, GEORGE D. LUDLOW, ABIJAH WILLARD, JONATHAN ODELL, JAMES PUTNAM, JOSHUA UPHAM, EDWARD WINSLOW, WILLIAM HAZEN, GILFRED STUDHOLM, AND DANIEL BLISS.—BEVERLEY ROBINSON, ABIJAH WILLARD, and JAMES PUTNAM, died soon after, when BEVERLEY ROBINSON, the son of the former, with GEORGE LEONARD, and JOHN SAUNDERS, were appointed to succeed them. The above Members of the Council transacted the business of the Province for a long while. Governor CARLETON was authorized from the Crown to locate lands to the Loyalists and disbanded Troops in proportion to their ability and rank.
From this period the Province slowly improved in Agriculture, Ship Building, and the exportation of Masts, Spars, &c. to Great-Britain, and Fish, Staves, Shingles, Hoop Poles, and sawed Lumber to the West-Indies. Receiving in return coarse Woollens and other articles from England; and Rum, Sugar, Molasses, and other produce from the West-Indies.—a Town was built at the mouth of the River Saint John, and another at St. Ann's Point, called Fredericton, where part of two Regiments were stationed till the French revolution.—Barracks and other public works were erected in different places, and the upper part of the Country settled by establishing two military posts in the interior, one at the Presqu-Isle, eighty miles above Fredericton, and another at the Grand Falls, fifty-two miles farther up. But the difficulties to which the first settlers were exposed continued for a long time almost insurmountable. Having been reared in a pleasant Country, abounding in all the comforts of life, they found themselves suddenly transplanted to a wilderness with a rigorous climate, devoid of almost every thing that could make life tolerable.—On their arrival they found a few hovels where Saint John is now built, the adjacent country exhibiting a most desolate aspect; which was peculiarly discouraging to people who had just left their homes in the beautiful and cultivated parts of the United States. Up the River Saint John the country appeared better, and a few cultivated spots were found occupied by old settlers. At St. Ann's, where Fredericton was afterwards built, a few scattered huts of French were found; the country all around being a continued wilderness—uninhabited and untrodden, except by the savage and wild animals; and scarcely had these firm friends of their country began to construct their cabins, when they were surprised by the rigors of an untried climate: their habitations being enveloped in snow before they were tenantable. The climate at that period (from what cause has not yet been satisfactorily ascertained) being far more severe than at present. They were frequently put to the greatest straits for food and clothing to preserve existence; a few roots were all that tender mothers could at times procure to allay the importunate calls of their children for food.—Sir GUY CARLETON had ordered them provisions for the first year at the expense of Government; but as the country was not much cultivated at that time, food could scarcely be procured on any terms. Frequently had those settlers to go from fifty to one hundred miles with hand sleds or toboggans through wild woods or on the ice to procure a precarious supply for their famishing families. The privations and sufferings of some of those people almost exceed belief. The want of food and clothing in a wild, cold country, was not easily dispensed with or soon remedied. Frequently in the piercing cold of winter a part of the family had to remain up during the night to keep fire in their huts to prevent the other part from freezing. Some very destitute families made use of boards to supply the want of bedding: the father or some of the elder children remaining up by turns, and warming two suitable pieces of boards, which they applied alternately to the smaller children to keep them warm; with many similar expedients.
Some readers looking only at the present state of the country may smile at this account as wildly exaggerated, and may suppose that the skins of the moose and other wild animals would have been a far better substitute for bedding. But I have received the account of the above facts, with many other expedients which were at that time adopted by the settlers, from persons of undoubted veracity, and who had been eye witnesses of what they related. It is, however, needless to enlarge upon the hardships they endured, as most of the sufferers are now no more. Some indeed were discouraged and left the country; but most of those who remained had the pleasure of seeing the country improved and their families comfortably settled. Many of those Loyalists were in the prime of life when they came to this country; and most of them had young families. To establish these they wore out their lives in toil and poverty, and by their unremitting exertions subdued the wilderness, and covered the face of the country with habitations, villages, and towns.
I have not noticed these circumstances as if they were peculiar to the settlers of New-Brunswick; but to hold up to the descendants of those sufferers the hardships endured by their parents; and to place in a striking point of view, the many comforts they possess by the suffering, perseverance, and industry of their fathers. All new settlements formed at a great distance from the parent state, are exposed to difficulties, till the country becomes improved. Many of the Colonies in North America, when first settled, were more than once on the point of total extinction. The remnant of the inhabitants of some of them were even embarked to abandon the country altogether, when they were stopped by succour from home. The remembrance of the difficulties of the first settlers should make their descendants contented with their present advantages, and instead of wishing to change, to use their own exertions to improve the country, and duly to appreciate the many blessings and privileges they enjoy.
Under the judicious and paternal care of Governor CARLETON, assisted by several of the leading characters, many of the difficulties of settling an infant and distant Country were lessened. The condition of the settlers was gradually ameliorated; agriculture was particularly attended to: The Governor himself set a pattern in which he was followed by several of the leading men in the different offices. A variety of grains and roots were cultivated with success, and considerable progress made in clearing the wilderness. Barren seasons were sometimes experienced, when the scarcity of food was partially remedied by the exertions of the Governor, assisted by several other public spirited gentlemen, who are now no more.
After having governed the Province for nearly twenty years—after having seen the country from a desolate wilderness rising to a state of importance among the surrounding Colonies—after having seen the settlers placed in a state of comparative comfort and independence—and after having in every respect endeared himself to them as their common father and benefactor—Governor CARLETON, in 1803, removed to England, when the Government of the Province was administered by the following persons, under the style of Presidents, till his death, viz.—G. G. LUDLOW, from his departure till February, 1808; EDWARD WINSLOW, Esquire, from that period till the 24th May following; when he was succeeded by Major-General HUNTER, who held the Government, with the exception of two short intervals, (during which the Government devolved first on Lieutenant-Colonel JOHNSTONE, and afterwards on Major-General BALFOUR,) till 1812, when he was succeeded by Major-General SMYTH; he having gone to England in 1813, the Government was administered by Major-General SAUMAREZ; but was resumed by General SMYTH, in 1814, who having again left the Province, the Government devolved on Lieutenant-Colonel HAILES. On the death of Governor CARLETON, Major-General GEORGE STRACEY SMYTH, was appointed to the Government by His Majesty's Commission, dated the 28th February, 1817. Governor SMYTH died the 27th March, 1823, when the Government was assumed by WARD CHIPMAN, Esquire, who administered the same till his death in the month of February following, when it devolved on JOHN MURRAY BLISS, Esquire. In the mean time, Major-General Sir HOWARD DOUGLAS, Baronet, had been appointed to the Government by His Majesty. He arrived in the Province in August, 1824, and immediately repaired to Fredericton, and assumed the Government on the 28th of the same month, and is at present (1825) Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Province of New-Brunswick, and its Dependencies.
The lively interest which Sir HOWARD takes in whatever concerns the prosperity of the Province, may be best inferred from his own words in his address to the Legislative Body, and his speech at the formation of the Agricultural Society, which are inserted in full in the Appendix to this short work.
Situation. Extent. Boundaries. Face of the Country. Soil, Animals. Mineral and Vegetable Productions. Inhabitants, Religion, and Government.
New-Brunswick is situated between the forty-fifth and forty-ninth degrees of North latitude, and between the sixty-fourth and sixty-eighth degrees of West longitude. It is nearly 200 miles in length, and 180 in breadth, containing about twenty-two thousand square miles of land and water. It is bounded on the North by the river St. Lawrence and Canada, on the West by the State of Maine, on the South and Southeast by the Bay of Fundy and Nova-Scotia, and on the East by the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Bay Verte. It is divided into eight Counties, viz. St. John, Westmorland, King's, Queen's, Charlotte, York, Sunbury, and Northumberland, which are again divided into Parishes, according to their extent, and will be described when I come to treat of the Counties separately.
This Province is watered with several fine rivers which lay open the inmost recesses of the country, and are of the utmost advantage to the inhabitants in transporting the products of the forests to the seaports, as their chief trade consists in lumber and other bulky articles. It likewise abounds in lakes, streams, springs, and rivulets, so that there are few places unprovided with good mill seats or water conveyance. It is diversified with beautiful acclivities, hills and mountains, some of which will be noticed in the course of this work.
The appearance of the country along the Bay of Fundy is forbidding, rugged and broken, and the soil indifferent. Advancing from the sea-board into the interior the face of the country becomes more level, being interspersed with gentle risings and vales, with large strips of fertile intervals along the rivers, which being annually overflowed produce excellent crops. In many places along the margin of the rivers, the banks are high and abrupt, and to a stranger the land appears poor and hard to cultivate; but after rising the banks, and advancing a short distance from the water, the land becomes level, and the soil rich; being covered with a thick black mould, produced by the putrefaction of the leaves of the numerous trees with which the country is covered. In other parts the land rises with a beautiful slope from the water, offering many fine situations for buildings and seats. The land in some parts being a second intervale, and in others a good upland with a strong soil.
Most of the rivers have numbers of fine Islands interspersed in their courses, which being chiefly formed by the washing of the currents, consist of rich alluvial soil, producing grain, roots and grass in the greatest luxuriance. These islands may be considered as the gardens of the country, which they enrich and beautify. The rapidity of the rivers, swoln by the melting of the snow in the spring, tears away the soil in some parts, and deposits it in others; by which means their courses are gradually altered; new Islands are formed, and alluvial soil accumulated in some parts of the rivers, while it is washed away in others; and this is more or less the case according to the looseness of the soil, and the bends of the river: so that a man may have a growing estate, or he may see his land diminishing from year to year without the power to remedy it.
As most of the settlements are as yet confined to the margin of rivers and streams, the country a little back is a continued forest, covered with a stately growth of trees, consisting of pines, firs, spruce, hemlock, maple, birch, beech, ash, elm, poplar, hornbeam, &c. In some parts of the country white and red oak are found, but in no great quantity; although men who have ranged the woods in search of pine, say there are large groves in the interior. The islands are generally covered with butternut, basswood, elm, maple, alder, &c. and in some places the same trees are found on them, as on the high land in their vicinity.
As the climate of a new country, abounding with lakes, rivers and streams, and covered with close woods, which exclude the sun, must be daily altering as the country becomes cleared and improved: I shall hereafter notice some of the changes that have taken place in the climate of this Province since it was settled by the Loyalists in 1783.
The domestic animals in this Province are much the same as those in the United States; many of the horses and oxen used in the lumber business, being annually furnished by the Americans. The breed of horses has been improved by stallions imported at different periods from England and other places. In Cumberland the inhabitants have paid considerable attention to the improvement of the breed of horned cattle; in consequence of which, and the extensive marshes in that country, their dairies are superior to any in the Province. The sheep and swine are of a good size and various breeds. As Agriculture has been much neglected in this Province on account of the great trade that is carried on in lumber, not much attention has been paid to improving the domestic animals, till of late, a Society has been formed, and cattle exhibitions instituted, which no doubt will soon make an alteration in that part of the rural economy of the Province.
The wild animals are not so numerous as formerly, and some species are nearly extinct. The Moose or Elk, which were found in great abundance when the loyalists first came to the province, were wantonly destroyed, being hunted for the skin, while their carcases were left in the woods, a few only being used for food, although their flesh is equal to the Ox, and would have supplied the destitute settlers with animal food for a long while, had there been any effectual means at that time to restrain the waste of the mercenary hunter. So great was the destruction of those valuable animals, that in a few years they totally disappeared. A few have lately been seen, and a law has been enacted for their preservation; but they can scarcely be reckoned among the present animals of the Province. The other wild animals are Bears, Foxes, Wolves, Caraboo, Sable, Loup-cervier, Peaconks, Racoon, Mink, Ground and Red Squirrels, Weasels, Muskrats, Wild Cats, Hares, &c. with that valuable animal the Beaver.
The domestic Fowls are Turkies, Geese, Ducks, Hens, and other Poultry; and among the wild are, Partridges, Geese, Ducks, Pigeons, Owls, Crows, and Swans; with a variety of small Birds, which have nothing peculiar to render a particular description of them necessary. There are but few reptiles in the Province, and those are harmless.
Most of the rivers are well stored with Salmon, Shad, Bass, Suckers, and Herrings, with abundance of small Fish, such as Trout, Perch, Chub, Smelt, Eels, &c. Cusks are taken in the winter, and Sturgeon are taken in some parts, but not often.
The Bays and Harbors are well supplied with Cod, Pollock, Haddock, &c. Mackerel are taken in different places at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy, and along the coasts.
But little can be said about the mineral or fossil productions of a country which is yet in its infancy, and where the industry of the inhabitants can be more profitably employed on the surface of the earth than in ransacking its bowels. Minerals cannot be procured and manufactured without money. To work mines effectually, many things are requisite that cannot be expected in a new country. Such as capitalists who can risk money on experiments, and wait a long time for returns: for all property employed in the first working of mines is uncertain. The next thing is abundance of cheap labour—then a demand for the articles produced; next to produce it of such a quality, and at such a price as to make it find a market: with many other considerations sufficient to deter men who feeling themselves straitened in pecuniary resources, see the necessity of employing what little they possess in the way that will give a sure and quick return; and to such persons, the surface of the country covered with pines, holds out a more inviting prospect than the concealed riches of the earth. From the appearance of the country, there is reason to believe it is rich in minerals, and that the mountains contain ores of different metals in abundance; but as no attempts of consequence have been made to procure specimens or assay them, it cannot be expected that any particular account of them could be given in this short work. It is probable the time is not far distant when men of intelligence will turn their attention to investigate scientifically the different natural productions of the Province. Coals are found in abundance at the Grand Lake, and specimens have been discovered in several other places, so as to leave no doubt of the Province being well stored with that useful article. Limestone of a good quality is found in different parts of the Province; particularly at the narrows, near the mouth of the river St. John, where there is not only sufficient for the use of the country; but to supply Europe and America for ages, should they need it. Gypsum is also found up the Bay, near Cumberland, and Manganese at Quaco.
This Province abounds in different kinds of excellent Stone for building, and other purposes. Grindstones are manufactured in abundance for home use and exportation. Veins of Marble, of different species, have been discovered, some of which have been partially explored, and small quantities manufactured.
The vegetable productions are, Wheat, Rye, Oats, Barley, Maize, Beans, Peas, Buckwheat and Flax, with a variety of Roots, Grasses, and Hortulan Plants.
The fruits are Apples, Plums, Cherries, Currants, Gooseberries, Cranberries, Blue and Black Berries, Raspberries, Strawberries, and small Grapes, with a number of small wild fruits. Butter Nuts, a large oily nut, Beech Nuts, and Hazel Nuts are found in different parts of the country in abundance, and in many places serve for fattening hogs; particularly the Beech Nut, which after the severe frosts in the fall nearly cover the ground.
There are no disorders peculiar to the climate. The air throughout most part of the year is very pure and the inhabitants in general enjoy a good share of health. Whether the observations that have been made of the Americans sooner decaying than Europeans will apply to the inhabitants of New-Brunswick cannot yet be ascertained; as the Province has not been long enough settled; but there is good reason to believe that with temperance and care the human frame will exist as long in vigor in the latter as in Europe.—Another remark as a proof of the former has been made which is that the human mind sooner arrives to maturity in America than in Europe; but this if true may be more owing to accidental than physical causes.
Their earlier marriages likewise proves nothing as they arise from the peculiar circumstances of the different countries.
The inhabitants of New-Brunswick may be classed as follows according to priority of settlement.
1st. The Aborigines or Indians.
2d. Acadians, being the descendants of the French who were allowed to remain in Nova-Scotia after it was ceded to the British. They were called the French neutrals—their descendants are at present settled in different parts of the Province and are considerably numerous and will be noticed with the Indians hereafter.
The old Inhabitants, were those families who were settled in the Province before the conclusion of the American revolution, as already noticed. They were so called by the disbanded troops and refugees who came to the country in 1783, and the appellation is still applied to their descendants. Some of those were settled at Maugerville where they had made considerable improvements before the loyalists came to the country. A few of the old stock are still living, having attained to a great age. Their descendants are however numerous, and by intermarriages with the new comers, spread over every part of the Province.
The next and most numerous class of inhabitants are the descendants of the Loyalists who came to the Province at the conclusion of the American revolution, and whose sufferings I have already slightly noticed.—These are the descendants of those genuine patriots who sacrificed their property and comfort in the United States for their attachment to that Government under which they drew their first breath; and came to this Province (at that period a wilderness) to transmit those blessings to their posterity. For although many of them belonged to the army and were sent here to be disbanded, they had formerly been comfortably settled in the States; and when it came to the trying point whether they should forsake their homes or abandon their King, the former was preferred without hesitation, although many of them had young families and the choice was made at the risk of life, and also with the change of habit from the peaceful yeoman to the bustle of a camp.—As however the choice was made with promptness so it was persevered in with constancy.
The other inhabitants are emigrants from different parts of Europe. In some parts they have obtained allotments of land and are settled a number of families together, in other places again they are intermixed with the other settlers and by intermarriages, &c. are assimilating as one people: proving themselves in many instances, good subjects, and valuable members of society.
The last class that I shall notice are the people of Colour, or Negroes.—These are found in considerable numbers in different parts of the Province. In some parts a number of families are settled together as farmers; but they do not make good settlers, being of a volatile disposition, much addicted to dissipation; they are impatient of labour, and in general fitter for performing menial offices about houses as domestics, than the more important, but laborious duties of farmers.—In their persons, the inhabitants of New-Brunswick are well made, tall and athletic. There are but few of those born in the country, but what have attained to a larger growth than their parents.
The genius of these people differ greatly from Europeans—the human mind in new countries left to itself exerts its full energy; hence in America where man has in most cases to look to himself for the supply of his wants, his mind expands, and possesses resources within itself unknown to the inhabitants of old settled countries, or populous cities. In New-Brunswick, a man with his axe and a few other simple tools, provides himself with a house and most of his implements of husbandry,—and while a European would consider himself as an outcast, he feels perfectly at home in the depth of the forest. In new countries likewise the mind acquires those ideas of self-importance and independence so peculier to Americans. For the man who spends the greater part of his time alone in the forest, as free as the beasts that range it without controul, his wants but simple and those supplied from day to day by his own exertions, acquires totally different habits of acting and thinking, from the great mass of the people in crowded cities, who finding themselves pressed on all sides, and depending on others from day to day for precarious support, are confirmed in habits of dependence.
Hence the inhabitants of this Province are men who possess much native freedom in their manners. This, from their veneration to their King makes them faithful subjects and good citizens, not blindly passive, but from affection adhering to that Government under which they drew their first breath and under which they have been reared.
In noticing the state of religion in this Province, it may not be amiss to observe that the old inhabitants who came originally from New-England, where the genius of their church government was republican, were generally Calvinistic in their modes and doctrine; while the loyalists and others who came to the country in 1783, were generally Churchmen, Quakers, or Methodists. The Emigrants who have come since that period include all the above denominations.
The Church of England is in a flourishing state in this Province; there are nineteen Clergymen belonging to the establishment who are under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Nova-Scotia. Many of them have handsome churches with numerous congregations. Two of them are employed as Itinerants for the vacant districts of the Province, and several of the others serve two or more Parishes—An Ecclesiastical Commissary has the superintendence of the whole.
The Catholics have a few Chapels and appear to be on the increase. Their congregations are chiefly composed of Emigrant Irish, French, and Indians.—There are six Clergymen in the Province, some of whom are settled and others are employed as Missionaries among the scattered French and Indians.
There are but two Ministers of the Kirk of Scotland in the Province; they have handsome churches in Saint John and St. Andrews. There are however a number of Seceders from the Presbyterian form of Church Government, but all holding the doctrines of Calvin; several of them have commodious places of worship, and respectable congregations.
There are no places of worship belonging to the Quakers in this Province. There are however, a few of these primitive worshippers scattered through the country, who joining sincerity and honesty with plainness, are excellent members of society.
The Methodists are a numerous and respectable body of people. There are four Wesleyan Missionaries in this Province, with a number of Methodist Preachers, who although not immediately in connection with the Missionaries, adhere strictly to the old Methodist discipline and doctrine; and usually attend the Conferences, which are held once a year, either in Nova-Scotia or New-Brunswick; where the Missionaries for the two Provinces and the adjacent Islands assemble to arrange the different stations of their Preachers and regulate the affairs temporal and spiritual of that body. At these conferences young Preachers are admitted on trial, and probationers who have laboured four years in the Ministry to the satisfaction of the Conference, are taken into full connection.
The Baptists are the descendants of those followers of Mr. WHITFIELD, who formerly were very numerous under the denomination of New-Lights. About 25 or 30 years ago, a change in their forms and discipline took place among the leaders in Nova-Scotia, who adopted the mode of Baptizing only Adults, and the other tenets of the old Baptists whose name they also assumed. There are however a few of the New-Lights still scattered through the country, who carrying the levelling spirit into their religion, do not like order of any kind. They style themselves Baptists, Christians, &c. The Baptists on the contrary have a formula of faith comprised in seventeen articles, and are very strict in church government. They are a numerous class of people, and have several fine Chapels; they have however but few settled Ministers, not having as yet made sufficient provision to supply their members with a stated Ministry. They regulate their affairs by an annual association.
In general a desire for the christian Ministry is increasing in the Province.—Places of worship are erecting in most of the settlements, and such other provision for the support of the Gospel provided as the abilities of the settlers will admit.
The Government of New-Brunswick, like most of the British Colonies, is Royal and a miniature of the parent state. The other forms originally established in the Colonies and Plantations were charter and proprietory governments, which of late years have mostly given place to royal or monarchial governments, after the British model.
The Governor has a Council consisting of twelve Members, to assist him in the discharge of the executive duties of his station. These with the representatives from the different Counties constitute the Provincial Legislature.
The principal Courts established in the Province are the following.—
The Court of Chancery, which is a Prerogative Court, as well as a Court of Equity. The Lieutenant-Governor, or Commander-in-Chief is Chancellor, and the Justices of the Supreme Court Assignees.
The Court of Governor and Council, for hearing and determining Causes relating to Marriage and Divorce.
The Supreme Court of Judicature for the Province is held in Fredericton. It consists of the Chief Justice and three Assistant Judges. The Terms are the third Tuesday of February and May, and the second Tuesday of July and October. The Jurisdiction of this Court is very extensive, partaking of the power of the Courts of King's Bench, Exchequer, Common Pleas, and other Courts in England. All civil causes of importance and capital cases are determined in this Court. The present Chief Justice SAUNDERS, who presides in this Court, the reader will observe, was a Member of the first Council in the Province. He has ever since been actively employed in the first stations in the country, which he has filled with the greatest ability and integrity. He is the only survivor capable of filling a public station among all those who bore a share in the public concerns of the Province on its first erection into a separate Government under Governor CARLETON. The salary of the Chief Justice is L700 or L750 sterling. The other Justices have each L500 sterling per annum. The Justices, besides attending the Supreme Court at the Seat of Government, hold Circuit Courts in the different Counties.
The Inferior Court of Common Pleas consists of two, three, or more Justices, who preside occasionally. They are assisted by the Magistrates of the County. Here civil causes that do not involve property to a great amount are determined, as are also crimes and misdemeanors not affecting life. The Grand Inquest of the County attends this Court, when Bills of Indictment are found, which if involving matters above its Jurisdiction, are handed over to the Supreme Court for trial. Most of the Police of the Counties and Parishes is regulated by this Court, which is held half-yearly or quarterly in the several Counties, as the public business may require. Here the parish officers are appointed, parish and county taxes apportioned; the accounts from the different parishes audited; retailers and innkeepers licensed and regulated, &c. In short, this Court exercises in many respects the same powers in the several Counties, in regard to their internal police, as those that are exercised by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of incorporated Cities.
Besides these Courts there is a summary mode of recovering debts under five pounds before a single Magistrate.
The Legislature of New-Brunswick, like most of the British Colonies, is a miniature of the British Parliament, consisting of the Lieutenant-Governor, the Council, and House of Representatives. The Governor represents the King. The Council form the upper House, in humble imitation of the House of Lords in England; and the Representatives from the different Counties forming the lower House, or House of Assembly. The number of Representatives for the several Counties is as follows: For the Counties of St. John, Westmorland, Charlotte, and York, four each; the Counties of King's, Queen's, Sunbury and Northumberland, two each; and two for the City of St. John, making in all twenty-six. This representation, the reader will observe, is very unequal. The County of Saint John, which includes the City, having two more members than the extensive County of York, which includes the Seat of Government; and the County of Sunbury, which is not as large as some parishes in the other counties, has as many members as the County of Northumberland, which comprises over one-third of the Province. It must indeed be admitted that Saint John and Sunbury are far better settled than Northumberland; but when we look at the great extent of the latter, the numerous settlements and great trade in that part of the Province, we must allow that the inhabitants of that part of the country have not an equal share of what may be considered the bulwark of liberty—namely, a fair representation. Six members at least, would not be out of proportion for that large County.
The Assembly sits in the winter at Fredericton: the sessions continue from six to seven weeks. Its chief business is in managing the provincial revenue, providing for schools, roads, &c. and making such laws as the state and trade of the Province may from time to time require. When laws are enacted that interfere with Acts of Parliament, they are transmitted to the King, with a suspending clause, and are not in force until they receive the royal approbation.
As New-Brunswick lies in nearly the same parallel of latitude as Paris, Vienna, and other places in Europe, it would be natural to suppose the climate would be similar to those places; but it must be observed that cold is found to predominate on the continent of America. Hence in places under the same parallels, the differences between the old and new continents, with regard to cold, is very great, and this difference increases as you advance from the equator. This has been supposed by Dr. Robertson and others to arise from the western situation of America, and its approaching the pole nearer than Europe or Asia, and from the immense continent stretching from the St. Lawrence towards the pole and to the westward; and also from the enormous chain of mountains which extend to an unknown distance through that frozen region, covered with eternal snow and frost; over which the wind in its passage acquires that piercing keenness which is felt as far as the Gulf of Mexico, but more severely in the Canadas, New-Brunswick, and Nova-Scotia.
The prevailing winds, from October to April, are from the north and north-west, during most of which period the air, though frequently intensely keen, is clear and healthy. December is a temperate, pleasant winter month. In January the heavy falls of snow commence, and the drifting storms prevail chiefly in February and March; but these are not so frequent as formerly, and the major part of the winter is clear, hard weather.
In April the spring commences, and the winds are chiefly from the east north-east, which occasion dull, heavy weather. The rivers, lakes, and streams break up this month. As May advances, the weather becomes settled, and the mornings are uncommonly fine. The sun, which rises a little after four o'clock, diffuses his beams in full splendor through an unclouded sky. This is the usual month for sowing and planting on the high land. The intervale and low lands are generally later in drying, and are generally cultivated in June. The prevailing winds in the summer are from the south and south-west, veering at times to the eastward, but never continuing long to the north-west. In the first part of June the cold is considerable at night, frequently attended with frosts, particularly at the changes of the moon, which sometimes injure the early flowering fruits; and it is not till after the summer solstice that the night air loses its chilliness. This is no doubt occasioned by the snow, which lies undissolved in the deep recesses of the forest, as well as by the waters of the numerous rivers, lakes, &c. all which are swoln at this season; and by the cold acquired by the earth during the winter, which requires the full effect of the sun's influence, till late in June, before it is sufficiently heated. As soon as the earth is so thoroughly warmed that the nights lose their chill, vegetation becomes surprisingly rapid. In a few days, plants that appeared yellow and stunted, assume a deep green, and show a vigorous growth; and in less than a week, should a shower intervene, the face of the country exhibits the most luxurious vegetation, sufficient to astonish those who have only been familiar with temperate climates.
September is a pleasant month: the air is serene and pure. The rivers and streams are usually lower this month than at any other period during the year, and the dry weather frequently continues till late in October. Snow falls sometimes early in November, and lays till late in April; but this does not always hold. The rivers and lakes freeze up about the middle of this month, some sooner and others later, according to their situation. It is not uncommon to have frost in all the months in the year except July: for, as was observed before, it seldom escapes at the changes of the moon in June, and it frequently happens at the full in August, particularly on small streams. If, however, it passes that period, it generally keeps off till late in September. A stranger would naturally conclude from this account, that the season was too short and frosty for crops to come to maturity; but this is not the case. Roots come to perfection and grain gets ripe in most years; wheat being oftener hurt by the rust than the frost. The springs are indeed backward; but vegetation is exceeding rapid, and the autumns are uncommonly fine. The changes of the weather are frequently very sudden. Often in the space of two hours, (in the seasons of fall and spring,) changing from the mild temperature of September to the rigor of winter. This is chiefly occasioned by the wind: for while it blows from any of the points from the S.W. to the N.E. the air is mild; but when it veers from the N.E. to the N.W. it becomes cold and clear; and as it frequently shifts very suddenly, the transition from heat to cold is equally short. Even in the sultry month of July, whenever the wind changes for a few hours to the N.W. the air becomes cool, elastic, and invigorating. This, as was before noticed, is occasioned by its passing over the immense continent to the northwestward, and Hudson's Bay to the northward. On the contrary, when the winds are from the southward and S.E. they are mild and relaxing, retaining a portion of the heat acquired in the torrid zone. The changes, however, are not always so violent. The weather often both in winter and summer, continues for weeks with little alteration in the temperature, and changes imperceptibly. The coldest weather generally felt in the country, is on or near the full moon in January; for it is not till after the cold has had some time to exert its full influence and chill the earth, that the full rigor of winter is experienced. The same is the case with the greatest heat in summer, being in July, after the sun has for some time exerted his full influence on the earth.—From observations made by several persons, it is well understood that a gradual change has been taking place in the climate on the American continent within a century past. The change in this Province since 1783, has been very great—the summers having abated much of their former heat, and the winters grown proportionately milder. Neither are there such excessive droughts in summer, as formerly; the seasons being cooler, with more rain; neither does the snow accumulate to such a depth on the earth. This may arise not so much from a less quantity falling, as from the frequent thaws which now take place in the winter season.
For several years prior to 1816, the seasons had been growing gradually cooler—less warmth being felt on a mean in each succeeding year till 1816, when the cold appeared to have arrived at its acme; for in that year it appeared to predominate: from whatever cause has not yet been ascertained. Some ascribed it to spots on the sun's disc; others supposed that large masses of ice had been detached from the shores of Greenland, and floated so near America as to occasion the uncommon chill of the air,—with other conjectures of a like nature, totally unsatisfactory. For spots have frequently been observed on the sun, and it would require an immense quantity of ice to produce any permanent effect.—Whatever might have been the cause, it is certain the genial warmth of the sun appeared nearly lost: for when shining in meridian splendour in the months of June and July, a cold rigorous air was felt. There was a fall of snow, which was general over the Province and extended to the United States, on the 7th June, to the depth of three or four inches in the northern parts of the country. This was followed by severe frosts in every month in that year. The crops were very light: fields of wheat were totally destroyed. Even the never failing potatoe was chilled and did not yield half a crop.
After this year the seasons began slowly to improve; but the shock given to agriculture, by the failure of several crops, brought great distress on the poor, and gave a check to the prosperity of the Province. So great was the distress of the country, that the Legislature applied L6,000 to be laid out in seed and provisions, and advanced to such as were in want on a credit. For a few years back the seasons have been favorable to agriculture; but the extremes of heat and cold in winter and summer are not so great, and the rains are more generally diffused through the year than formerly.
I have been thus particular in noticing the changes of the seasons, as I think it would be a great advantage to the Province if a correct register of the weather was kept, and the changes of the seasons particularly attended to, as it would furnish data to guide the farmer in his crops, by sowing more of the hardy grains, such as oats, barley, peas, &c. as the seasons, (judging by a comparison with former years) was likely to be warm or frosty; and not running so much on Indian corn, which always requires hot seasons. Had this been attended to in the cold seasons, less distress would have been felt in the country, as oats, barley, &c. generally did well, when the other crops failed.
As I observed before, several causes have been assigned for the difference between the climate of Europe and America, by persons who have investigated that subject. But the causes of the alteration that has taken place in the seasons in North America, remain yet a desideratum with the learned. Whether the alteration is occasioned by the precession of the equinoxes, or by the position of our globe with the other planets, (for changes no doubt are taking place in the great system of the universe, which, though slow, must produce powerful effects,) or from whatever cause it may be, the effects are visible, and cannot reasonably be wholly ascribed to the improvement of the country, or any alteration that has taken place in it.
New-Brunswick appears to be but little liable to the great convulsions of nature, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, &c. There has been but one shock of an earthquake experienced by the present inhabitants since they have settled the country. This shock happened on the 22d May, 1817, at 25 minutes past three o'clock in the morning. The duration of the shock was about 45 seconds. It was attended with the usual rumbling noise, without thunder, the weather being very serene and pleasant. The appearances, however, usually indicating earthquakes, such as fiery meteors, the uncommon brilliancy of the aurora borealis, &c. had been frequent the winter preceding.
I shall now proceed to notice the principal grains, roots, and grasses cultivated in the Province, and give as correct an account of their produce, &c. as the imperfect state of the agriculture of the country will allow.
Wheat is sown from five pecks to two bushels to an acre, and yields from twelve to twenty-four bushels per acre. Twenty bushels is a good crop, on new land, although it sometimes produces more, when the soil is very rich and the season favourable. On old land the return is from ten to fifteen bushels per acre, the mean is about twelve. Rye is grown on inferior lands. It takes about the same quantity of seed to the acre, and gives much the same returns.
Oats are much cultivated in this country, and generally turn out a good crop. The quantity of seed is from two to three bushels, and the produce from twenty to thirty bushels per acre. Barley is not much cultivated, although it would do well as a substitute in frosty seasons.
Buckwheat is a grain that gives a large return for the quantity sown. It is raised on lands that are too poor to produce good crops of the other grains, and sown later in the season, so that the greatest summer heat may be past before the grain is formed in the ear; for should there be a few very hot days when the grain is in the milk, the crop would be destroyed. The same would be the case, if a slight frost should strike it in that stage. If, however, it escapes these casualties, to which it is liable, it turns out a good crop, yielding from forty to sixty bushels to an acre. There is a species of wild Buckwheat, which is a surer crop, but of an inferior quality.
Millet has lately been introduced into the Province. It is said to do well on most lands, but has not been much attended to.
Indian Corn or Maize, flourishes in high perfection on the intervales, which are generally composed of alluvial soil. It is usually planted in hills nearly four feet asunder. Five grains is the usual quantity for a hill. It is a plant that requires a light rich soil, old manure, and hot seasons; should these requisites concur, a good crop may be expected. It is usually hoed thrice, and produces from twenty-five to forty bushels per acre.
Pease are a hardy grain, and produce from ten to fifteen bushels to an acre.
Beans are usually set in drills; they thrive well on light sandy lands, but are not much cultivated in the country.
Among the ground crops or roots, the most valuable is the Potatoe—a root that can never be sufficiently prized, as affording one of the most productive and surest substitutes for bread of any known, and without which it would have been extremely difficult to have colonized these Provinces. This may be reckoned the surest crop, and is peculiarly well adapted to new countries, as it thrives best on new burnt land. The usual and simplest method of cultivating this root is by planting cuttings of it in hills, about three feet asunder. This method is peculiarly convenient on land newly cut down, as the seed is set with the hoe between the stumps and roots with which the ground is covered, and where the plough or harrow could be of no service. They are generally hoed once in the season, and turn out in the fall a large crop of clean, smooth potatoes, of a superior flavour to those grown on old lands. The produce is from 150 to 200 bushels from an acre; although they sometimes greatly exceed that quantity.—They are an excellent crop for improving new lands; for as the culture is all performed with the hoe or hack, the small roots of the stumps are destroyed in planting and digging; for wherever there is room to drop an eye, it never fails to vegetate, working under roots and around stones, so that in the autumn the farmer has frequently to cut away or dig under roots for his crop, which often exceeds his expectation. In some parts of the Province, where the lands have been long in cultivation, drilling is practised, and the labour chiefly performed with the plough and harrow; and of late the Irish method of setting them in beds has been introduced. There are many varieties of this root cultivated in the Province; but no attention has been paid to renewing the seed from the ball, which no doubt would improve the quality as well as the produce.
Several kinds of Turnips are cultivated in this Province; the best of which is the ruta-baga, or Swedish turnip. This is an excellent root and cultivated with great success, particularly on new lands. They differ from the common field turnip, being of a firm texture they keep the year round; while the common turnip turns soft and unfit for use after the winter sets in. They, however, answer a good purpose for early use and for cattle, being sown late in July, after the other crops are out of the way. The Swedish turnip is sown early in June. All the sowing in this country is broad-cast, the method of drilling being scarcely known.
The other roots are, beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, radishes, &c. which are chiefly cultivated in gardens. There are a variety of cabbages, sallads, cauliflowers, squashes, &c. which are also cultivated in the gardens with great success.
The principal grasses produced in the country, are white and red clover, timothy, lucerne, browntop, &c. Good uplands produce one and a half tons per acre, and the intervale from two to three tons. There are several species of wild grass, such as blue-joint, &c. found in meadows, in the woods, and along streams, which make very good food for young stock.
As no regular catalogue of the various species of indigenous plants has yet been made in this country, it would be useless to attempt anything like a correct, minute enumeration of them in this concise sketch. I shall, therefore, prosecute this part of the subject no farther, as I think the time is not far distant when this branch of the rural economy of the Province will be particularly attended to; and that the Societies which have lately been formed for that purpose, will not only develope and improve the native productions of the country, but introduce different species of exotics, as they find them answer the soil and climate.
PRINCIPAL RIVERS AND TOWNS.
River St. Croix. St. John. Miramichi. Mars-Hill. City of St. John. Fredericton. St. Andrews.
Having in the preceding chapters given a brief sketch of the settlement and face of the country, and noticed its climate, productions, &c. I shall now proceed to give a short description of the principal rivers, mountains, and towns, beginning with the
RIVER SAINT CROIX.
This river was made the boundary between the territories of His Britannic Majesty and the United States, by the treaty of 1783 which describes the bounds as follows, viz. "That angle, which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of the St. Croix river to the Highlands, along the said Highlands which divide these rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river; thence down along the middle of that river to the 45th degree of north latitude, from thence by a line due west on said latitude until it strikes the river Iroquois, or Cataraquy," &c.
The boundaries thus described, have caused considerable difficulty between the two Governments, in discovering which is the height of land mentioned in the treaty; and in regard to the St. Croix, it is supposed that the British Commissioners were totally unacquainted with the river in question, and not aware that the lines proposed, if run according to the American construction of the treaty, would separate the British Provinces of New-Brunswick and Canada. It is also probable that it was not precisely known at that time what river was meant by the St. Croix, but that another river, more to the westward, might have been intended. This uncertainty about the rivers at that time might have arisen from the general name of St. Croix, which was given by Europeans to all the rivers falling into the Bay of Fundy, occasioned by the French on their first landing in the country, having erected crosses at different points, and named the places from that circumstance, the country of the Holy Cross. However it may have happened, difficulties ensued in ascertaining the precise Islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy belonging to each power, and the Highlands meant by the treaty of 1783. This induced the Commissioners of the two Powers at the treaty of Ghent to provide against any misunderstanding on these points for the future, by the fourth and fifth articles of that treaty. The fifth article, bearing particularly on this point, states that "Whereas neither that point of the Highlands, lying due north from the source of the river St. Croix, designated in the former treaty of peace between the two powers, as the north-west angle of Nova-Scotia, nor the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river, have yet been ascertained: and whereas that part of the boundary line between the dominions of the two powers, which extends from the source of the river St. Croix, directly north to the above-mentioned north-west angle of Nova-Scotia, thence along the said Highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut river, thence down along the middle of that river to the 45th degree of north latitude, thence by a line due west on said latitude, until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraquy, has not yet been surveyed, it is agreed that for these several purposes two Commissioners shall be appointed, sworn, and authorized, to act exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the next preceding article, unless otherwise specified in the present article. The said Commissioners shall meet at St. Andrews, in the Province of New-Brunswick, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commissioners shall have power to ascertain and determine the points above-mentioned, in conformity with the provisions of the said treaty of peace of 1783, and shall cause the boundaries aforesaid, from the source of the river St. Croix to the river Iroquois or Cataraquy to be surveyed and marked according to the said provisions: the Commissioners shall make a map of the said boundary, and annex to it a declaration under their hands and seals, certifying it to be the true map of the said boundary, and particularizing the latitude and longitude of the north-west angle of Nova-Scotia, of the north-westernmost head of Connecticut river, and of such other points of the said boundary as they may deem proper. And both parties agree to consider such map and declaration as finally and conclusively fixing the said boundary. And in the event of the said Commissioners differing or both or either of them refusing, declining, or wilfully omitting to act, such reports, declarations, or statements shall be made by them, or either of them, and such reference to a friendly sovereign or state shall be made in all respects, as in the latter part of the fourth article is contained."—The fourth article here alluded to provides that "such sovereign or state shall decide ex-parte upon the said report alone, and His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the United States engage to consider the decision of such friendly sovereign or state to be final and conclusive on all matters to them referred."—Notwithstanding these precautions on the part of the Agents of the two Governments, the points alluded to are not yet ascertained or settled.
But to resume the description of the river. The St. Croix has two main branches, one inclines to the eastward, and communicates with a chain of lakes, some of which are of considerable extent, and lie near a branch of the Penobscot river. The other turns to the westward. From this branch there is a route by a succession of lakes and short portages to the waters that fall into the river St. John. The lands on the banks of this river are of good quality, and have been well timbered; most of the pine has been cut off, but there is still abundance of other timber, consisting of the harder woods, spruce, firs, &c. There are mills erected on different parts of this river, which furnish a great quantity of sawed lumber annually.
There are several falls in the river, which obstruct the navigation. There are, however, several fine settlements along its banks, and the adjoining country is first improving.
RIVER SAINT JOHN.
This noble river encircles a large portion of New-Brunswick, and may be considered as the principal drain of those numerous rivers and streams with which the Province is intersected. Winding in an irregular semi-circle, it traverses an extent of about five hundred miles, and falls into the Bay of Fundy nearly in the same parallel of latitude in which it takes its rise.
It may not be improper to observe, that most of the rivers and streams in this country were originally named by the Indians, who generally, by the names they give, wish to signify something peculiar to the thing named; consequently the Indian name of this river, which they call "Looshtook," signifies long river.—It rises from lakes near the head of Connecticut river, between the 45th and 46th degrees of north latitude, and stretches to the northward, beyond the 47th degree of north latitude, where it receives the waters of the Madawaska river, which rises near the St. Lawrence. It then inclines to the southward, and continues its course uninterrupted, receiving several large streams, till it arrives at the Grand Falls, in lat. 46 deg. 54'. Here its channel is broken by a chain of rocks, which run across the river at this place, over which its waters are precipitated with resistless impetuosity. The river, just above the cataract, makes a short bend of nearly a right angle, forming a small bay a few rods above the precipice, in which there is an eddy, which makes it a safe landing place, although very near the main precipice, where canoes pass with the greatest safety. Immediately below this bay, the river suddenly contracts. A point of rocks project from the western shore and narrow the channel to the width of a few rods. The waters thus pent up sweep over the rugged bottom with great rapidity; just before they reach the main precipice they rush down a descent of some feet, and rebound in foam from a bed of rocks on the edge of the fall. They are then precipitated down perpendicular cliffs of about forty-five feet in height, into an abyss studded with rocks, which nearly choke the passage, leaving only a small opening in the centre, through which the water, after whirling for some time in the bason, rushes with tremendous impetuosity, sweeping through a broken rocky channel and a succession of falls for more than half a mile, being closely pent up with rocks, which in some places overhang the river so as to hide most part of it from the view of the observer. Trees and timber, which are carried down the falls, are sometimes whirled round in the bason below the precipice till they are ground to pieces; sometimes their ends are tapered to a point, and at other times broken or crushed in different places. Below the falls there is another small bay with a good depth of still water, very convenient for collecting timber, &c. after it has escaped through the falls. Here the canoes and boats from Fredericton and different parts of the river land, and if bound for Madawaska they are taken out of the water and carried or drawn, as well as their loads, across the isthmus to the small bay above the falls before mentioned, where they are again put in the water, and proceed without any farther interruption to the upper settlements and the Canada line. The distance of the portage, including the windings of the road up the hill is about 100 rods from water to water. Flat bottomed boats, from fifteen to twenty tons burthen, can come from St. John to this place, which is a distance of about two hundred and twenty-three miles. No larger craft than canoes have as yet been used above the falls. This has not arisen from any defect in the river, which above the falls is smooth and of sufficient depth for large vessels; but from the habits of the French settlers, who are partial to canoes, which they set through the rapids with poles at a great rate, and with which they shoot the cataracts and rapids with great address.
About a mile below the landing place a succession of rapids commence. The first from their appearance are called the white rapids. The banks are here every high, and the water being pent up by a narrow channel, rushes through the beds of rocks which nearly cross the river, and whirling about in their passage are forced over and around the crags in sheets of foam. A few miles below the falls the river is increased by the junction of the Salmon, Restook, and Tobique rivers, which will be noticed hereafter. It then continues its course without interruption, receiving every few miles some considerable streams, till it reaches the Maductic Falls. Its course is nearly south, and its width about a quarter of a mile, occasionally widening and contracting from the Grand Falls to Woodstock, where it widens to near a mile and forms several fine Islands. It afterwards diminishes, and strips of intervale narrow its bed.
At the Maductic Falls its channel is again nearly choked up with rocks. The navigation, however, is not totally interrupted, for rafts, boats, and small craft in their descent are run through the falls by persons well acquainted with the channel; and in their ascent they are towed through with men or horses, and but few accidents happen, considering the numbers that navigate the river.
As the bed of the river is frequently encumbered with rocks and sand-bars, the navigation is very difficult at the dry time of the year. The current is likewise swift in many places, and rapids are frequent, till within six miles of Fredericton, where they end.
About nine miles above Fredericton the river suddenly widens and receives the Madam-Keswick. Here is a group of fertile islands, some of which are over a mile in length, and nearly as broad. At Fredericton the river is about three quarters of a mile wide, and flows with a beautiful unbroken current to the falls near the City of Saint John.—A number of fine Islands are scattered in different parts of its bed. These Islands are composed of rich alluvial soil, and produce large crops of grass and grain. Being formed by the washings of the river, they are like garden spots scattered through the country. About nine miles from St. John the river widens into a bay nearly six miles long and three wide. The river Kennebeckasis falls into this bay. At the foot of the bay it suddenly contracts, and winds through a crooked passage called the narrows, and again opens and forms a small bay directly above the falls. Here the current is again broken by a bed of rocks, and suddenly contracted by the near approach of the banks which appear to have been formerly united and forced asunder by some convulsion of nature. From the appearance of the rocks on each side it is probable that the water having been pent up in the small bay just noticed, have in their efforts to escape undermined the land and rocks at this place, and forced a subterraneous passage, which by wearing, aided by some violent concussion, has caused the rocks to fall in, when the earth being washed away by the rapidity of the current, has left the present passage open, and that the split-rock and the bed of the channel is part of the former overhanging rocks.
For that the bed of the channel consists of cragged rocks of various shapes and sizes, is evident from the whirlpools and eddies at that place. These falls make a tremendous roaring at certain periods. After passing the falls, it forms the harbour of St. John, and falls into the Bay of Fundy in lat. 45 deg. 20' N.
The spring tides at St. John rise from twenty-four to twenty-eight feet. The body of the river is seventeen and a half feet above low water mark. When the tide has flowed twelve feet, the falls are smooth and passable from fifteen to twenty minutes. They are level three and a half hours on the flood, and two and a half on the ebb, and passable four times in twenty-four hours. Above the falls the tides rise four feet. At Maugerville, seventy miles up the river, they rise from one to two feet; at Fredericton from six to ten inches, and are perceivable nine miles above that place, varying according to the phases of the moon. In the spring, the river, swoln with rains and the melting of the snow and ice, rises higher than the tides, which prevents vessels from ascending the falls for some weeks.
This is one of the finest rivers for lumber in the Province. Its banks as well as the banks of the numerous streams that fall into it, are covered with pines of the finest growth, which appear to be almost inexhaustable, for although lumbering has been prosecuted on this river to a great extent for a number of years past, there is still abundance found by going a little back from the water. It is indeed the main source of the trade of the large County of Northumberland. One hundred and forty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-four tons of timber were shipped at the port of Miramichi in 1824. Rafts are taken down this river with the greatest safety to the shipping, which load at different places from the mouth of the river up to Fraser's Island. It has two main branches called the north-west and south-west, which run a great way into the country, and with their numerous streams lay open the inmost recesses of this extensive County. Several fine islands lay in the course of this river, covered with elm, ash, butternut, &c. which invariably denote the most luxurious soil. Its waters are well stored with excellent salmon and other fish, which are caught here in great abundance. There are several settlements along this river, none of which merit a particular description, the improvement of the country being neglected for lumbering. The branches of this river approach in several places very near to streams falling into the river St. John, which communicate by short portages. As I have never been able to procure correct information about the sources of this river or its length, I have not the means of satisfying the reader on these points, but must dismiss the subject with these few particulars, being all I could obtain.
As was observed in the commencement of this work, this country is so intersected with rivers, streams, and lakes, that with small portages persons can go to most parts of the Province in a canoe. There is a route from the Madawaska river to the Bay of Chaleur, and another from the river St. John by the Grand River, which is fifteen miles above the Great Falls, to the Ristagouche. The river Chicktahawk, which falls into the St. John near the Presque-Isle, runs near a branch of the Miramichi; a short portage connects the route. The route from the St. Croix to the St. John is first by a chain of lakes with short portages, and next by Eel river, which falls into the St. John about fifty miles above Fredericton. There is another route from the St. John to the Miramichi, by the way of the Jemseg, through the Grand Lake and up Salmon river, from whence there is a short portage to the river Etienne which falls into the Miramichi; with several other such communications where the streams of the different large rivers nearly approach each other.
The Mountains and Hills with which the Province is diversified, have nothing peculiar to merit a particular description, except Mars Hill, which has excited considerable interest, being supposed by the British Commissioners under the treaty of Ghent to be the height of land intended by the treaty of 1783, and that consequently the boundary line between the territories of the United States and the British Provinces should take a new direction at that place. This is resisted by the American Commissioners, who wish to prolong the line beyond that point. This is an object of great importance to the two powers, for should the line be continued in the old direction, which at this point approaches very near the river St. John, it would cross that river a little above the Grand Falls, and would not only separate New-Brunswick and Canada, but likewise give the Americans the upper part of the County of York which joins Canada, with a large Settlement of French at Madawaska—Mars Hill lies about six miles from the river St. John, on the western side, about one hundred miles above Fredericton. It can be seen from the high lands on the opposite side of the river, and appears at that distance majestically towering above the adjacent country. On approaching the mountain the woods are open and the ascent commences with an easy swell about half a mile from the main hill, after which the ascent is more abrupt, and in some parts nearly perpendicular. Having reached the crest, the spectator has a clear expanse of horizon, being completely above the surrounding country. From hence he views a boundless forest beneath his feet. The hills appear like waves covered with their green foliage of different shades, from the various sorts of trees with which their brows are covered. In different places the more elevated hills appear rising above the others like towers. Facing the river St. John, he beholds Moose Mountain at about nine miles distant on the opposite side of the river, which is nearly as high as Mars Hill, and perpendicular on the north side. To his left are a range of lofty hills on the Restook; to his right he has a distant view of Houlton-plantation, and in his rear, as far as his eye can reach, are the lofty Catardhan Mountains on the Penobscot river; the intermediate space exhibiting an undulating forest of boundless variety of hills and vallies, lakes, &c. The whole forming a grand and interesting spectacle. The Mountain is about three miles in length, very narrow, and divided by a hollow near the centre. A small spot has been cut down on each end of the hill, and a temporary observatory erected by the Commissioners under the treaty of Ghent.
The Americans have laid out a settlement in this part of the country, which takes in Mars Hill. The base of the mountain is washed by the Presque-Isle river, and other streams which fall into the river St. John.
The principal Towns in New-Brunswick are SAINT JOHN, FREDERICTON, and SAINT ANDREWS; which on account of their importance and situation will be treated of separately. Leaving the other places to be noticed as they occur in the description of the several Counties, I shall proceed to give a short description of the situation, trade, public buildings, and institutions of the places just mentioned; commencing with the
CITY OF SAINT JOHN.
The City of St. John is situated in the county of that name, on a rocky peninsula at the estuary of the river St. John, in lat. 45 deg. 20' north, long. 66 deg. 3' west. The city comprehends both sides of the river. The district on the eastern side of the harbour, formerly called the township of Parr, and Carleton on the western side. It is divided into six wards, two of which are in Carleton and four in St. John, properly so called. It contains, according to the late census, 8,488 inhabitants of all descriptions.
Like most English towns, the streets in St. John intersect each other at right angles. They are in some parts well built up, the houses being of different heights and joining each other for some distance, forming several fine ranges of buildings. The first houses in this place were constructed of wood, many of them were low and ill shaped. These when removed by fires or other causes, are generally replaced with handsome brick buildings, which is making a great improvement in the appearance of the city. The streets, likewise, which were formerly nearly impassable from rocks, hills and chasms, are rapidly improving; hollows have been filled up, and rocks cut away; so that although the hills in some parts are still steep, yet carriages drive through most part of the city with the greatest safety.
A projecting point near the entrance of the harbour, has caused the different parts of the city to be distinguished by the name of the upper and lower coves; the latter of which has been much neglected till lately, Government having built a handsome range of Barracks on the point fronting the Bay of Fundy, and removed the troops, &c. from Fort Howe to that station, it is beginning to improve.
Most all the trade of the city is carried on in the upper part of the town, where there are a number of warehouses, stores, wharves, and other conveniences for lading and unlading ships. The tides rise to such a height that large ships can lay at the wharves and discharge with the greatest safety.
The harbour is convenient and safe, and capable of containing a great number of vessels of the largest description. Partridge Island lies at the entrance, on which there is a light house, and signal station, where signals are carefully attended to and made on the first approach of vessels. These signals are repeated at Fort Howe. Within the island there is a bar which extends from the western side, and passes the lower point of the peninsula, on which the city stands. It has a beacon on the outer end, and a buoy to direct vessels coming or going. The bar is dry at ebb tides, but within the harbour there is sufficient water for the largest ships. The tide ebbs and flows from sixteen to twenty-four feet perpendicular in this harbour. A pier has been constructed at the entrance of the harbour for the protection of the shipping.
St. John carries on a brisk trade with Europe, the West Indies and the United States, in lumber of different descriptions, fish, gypsum, grindstones, &c.; but the staple article is squared timber, one hundred and fourteen thousand one hundred and sixteen tons of which were shipped from this port in 1824. Ship-building has also been lately revived here and prosecuted to a considerable extent. Sixty vessels were registered at this port in 1824, whose tonnage amounted to sixteen thousand four hundred and eighty-nine tons, besides three ships and five brigs not in the above estimate. Part of these were built in St. John, and the remainder up the rivers and along the coasts for merchants in the city.
The city of St. John contains two Churches on the eastern side of the river, one of which is neatly finished and has an elegant organ; A handsome Kirk belonging to the members of the Church of Scotland; a Catholic Chapel; two Methodist Chapels, one belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, and the other to a number of that persuasion who seceded with Mr. Priestley, and a neat Baptist Meeting-House.—The other public buildings are a Poor House, a Gaol, a Marine Hospital, with two handsome ranges of Barracks lately erected at the Lower Cove, with Government Stores, Houses, &c.
A square near York-Point, reserved for a Market, &c. has an old building in the centre, the upper part of which has served for many years as a Court-House, and the under part as a flesh market; a fish and vegetable market having been lately built contiguous to it, at the edge of high water mark, and a handsome flesh market in the Lower Cove, which are generally well supplied. King's-square is situated on the height of land in King-street, and is reserved for public uses. It is a very pleasant situation commanding a fine view of the city and harbour. It is in contemplation to erect a Court House on the East side of this square on a liberal scale.—Queen's-square is situated in Duke's Ward, and is also reserved for public uses.
The Public Seminaries in St. John, are a Grammar School, the Central Madras School, and a number of Sunday Schools.
There are two Public Libraries in the City, a Vaccine Establishment, three Printing Offices, with the following religious, humane, and useful Societies:—
1. A Branch of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
2. The New-Brunswick Auxiliary Bible Society.
3. Saint John Sunday School Union Society.
4. Saint John Religious Tract Society.
5. Saint George's }
6. Saint Patrick's Societies. } Societies.
7. Saint Andrew's }
Instituted for the purpose of aiding their respective countrymen in distress.
8. New-Brunswick Society for the improvement of the breed of Horses and other Cattle.
9. Female Benevolent Society, for the relief of indigent females, and a Branch of the Wesleyan Missionary Society.
A Provincial Bank is established here with a capital of L30,000, and increased by an Act of the Legislature in 1825 to L50,000. This Bank has been found of considerable advantage in facilitating the trade of the City by discounting Bills, &c. but it may more properly be called the St. John, than the Province Bank, as it only transacts business within the City.
A Marine Insurance Company, and a Water Company have lately been incorporated; the latter is not yet in active operation.
Here is a Chamber of Commerce for the regulation of the trade of the City, and a Savings' Bank for depositing the small savings of the Laboring Classes. Carleton on the opposite side of the river is comprehended in the limits of the City. It is situated on the point, fronting Navy Island, and comprises the ruins of old Fort Frederick. It contains a neat Church, and Meeting House, with several fine buildings. It has a good fishery and is fast improving. Saint John being an incorporated City, is governed by a Mayor, Recorder, six Aldermen, with an equal number of Assistants, under the style of "The Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City of St. John." The other officers are a Sheriff and Coroner (who likewise act for the County of St. John) a Common Clerk, a Chamberlain, a High Constable, six inferior ones, and two Marshals.
The Mayor, Recorder, Common Clerk, Sheriff, and Coroner, are appointed by the Governor, and hold their offices during his pleasure from year to year.
The Aldermen, Assistants, and inferior Constables are chosen annually by the Freemen of the City.
The Chamberlain is appointed by the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Assistants, in Common Council.
The Mayor appoints the High Constable, Marshals, Cryers, Porters, Bell-ringers, &c.
The Mayor or Recorder, with three Aldermen and three Assistants, constitute a Common Council, with power to make Laws, Ordinances, &c. which are to remain in force for one year only, unless confirmed by the Governor and Council. They also constitute a Court of Record or Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the City and County of St. John. The terms of this Court are quarterly, and it takes cognizance of all causes from five pounds value to fifty pounds, in which titles of land shall not come in question: and by an Act of the Provincial Legislature, its Jurisdiction is enlarged to all transitory actions of any value.
It may be observed that the Mayor by virtue of his office possesses extensive powers; such as making Free Citizens, regulating the Markets, &c.; and that the Aldermen are Justices of the Peace for the County as well as for the City of St. John.
The Corporation can hold real property to the amount of L2,000 per annum, within or without the City. They have at present an annual revenue of about L2,000 at their sole disposal for the improvement of the City.
It must, however, be observed that no great attention has yet been paid to ornamenting the City. This arises in some measure from the peculiar cast of its inhabitants. The men of independent property, and those holding high offices in the different departments being too few to do much, although some of them have fine seats, and many of the Merchants engaged in the shipping business, being transient persons, who from time to time come to the Province, and whose main object is to make as much as they can, in as short a time as possible, with the intention of soon returning to enjoy their gains in their native country. These persons do not feel that interest in the improvement of the place, that those do whose interests are identified with the country. Having, therefore, no local attachment to the soil, it is no wonder that they should extend their views no farther than present convenience. Such persons, then, who are to be found in all the ports of the Province add nothing to the wealth of the country, but rather act as drains to it. A few seats have, however, lately been begun on the Marsh near the City, which will soon make an alteration in the appearance of the Suburbs.
Some small improvement is much wanted at the Quays for the convenience of the Public and protection of Goods from the mud. This could be easily effected by laying sleepers and covering them with strong plank and running a railing along the margin. This would obviate the inconvenience so much felt at present by persons transacting business on the wharves, who have to walk or rather wade, day after day, through the mud. It would also facilitate the transfer of Goods, by keeping them in better order, and prevent many accidents which are yearly occurring by sailors and others falling off.
Is situated in the County of York, on the west side of the river Saint John on an extensive flat opposite the Nashwaack, formerly called Saint Anns point. The river forms an elbow in front of the town, and the hills encircle the plain, and approach the river about two miles above the town leaving a spot of low land nearly four miles in length and in places over a mile in breadth.
The town is laid out in squares of eighteen lots containing one quarter of an acre each. The streets cross at right angles. Those that run parallel with the river are more than a mile in length, and are in places considerably well built up; the houses are all of wood and of different heights.
The inhabitants are the descendents of the Loyalists who came to the Province at the close of the American revolution, with a mixture of Europeans and Americans.
Fredericton being the seat of Government, contains besides a residence for the Lieutenant-Governor, a Provincial Hall, where the Supreme Courts and General Assemblies are held. This building contains a spacious room for the Supreme Courts, with several Jury rooms, a Council Chamber, and an Assembly Room, with other apartments and conveniences for the Legislative Body. Adjoining this building are the Offices of the Surveyor General and Secretary of the Province.—The other public buildings are a handsome square of Barracks with a Parade in front, where part of a Regiment of foot are usually quartered.-Barracks and Store-houses for a company of Royal Artillery with other buildings for the use of the troops.
A County Court-House, which also serves for a Market; a small commodious Church in a sightly situation, two neat Chapels, one belonging to the Baptists, and the other to the Methodists; a Catholic Chapel in progress; a Gaol, and a building occupied as a College till another one on an enlarged scale can be erected; a Poor House in the vicinity of the town, on a liberal scale; and a Meeting House belonging to a number of persons composed of congregationalists and other seceders from the Kirk of Scotland.
Government House is situated a little above the upper part of the town on a convenient pleasant site, but having been a long time without a settled family it was when Sir HOWARD DOUGLAS came to the Province considerably out of order. It wants a wing to be added to make it uniform with other improvements: for although when the house was built for Governor CARLETON it was on a liberal scale, considering the state of the Province at that time, it has been suffered to remain without enlargement, while the country has rapidly advanced.—It is, therefore, at present neither sufficiently spacious or splendid for the Governor's residence.—The same observations may apply to the Province Hall, which although always too low to make a good appearance or allow a good Council Chamber, was a good building considering the state of the country and want of revenue at the time it was erected; but is now too small and plain, considering the great increase of the population and trade of the Province.
Public buildings speak much, though silently, for the public spirit, taste, and importance of a country. They should, therefore, always be on such an enlightened scale as not to be a prejudice to it. One general observation may be made on all the public edifices in Fredericton, which is that being uniformly low they make a flat appearance, which is peculiarly striking to a stranger coming from countries where buildings are more elevated.
Probably there are few finer situations for a town than the site on which Fredericton is built. A beautiful river glides majestically in front of a spacious plain; bounded by hills of gentle acclivity, possessing elegant sites for seats and buildings on commanding situations. On the opposite side of the river the Nashwaack rolls its tribute to the Saint John and adds much to the beauty of the situation. Abundance of excellent water is every where found with a soil peculiarly well adapted for forming gardens, walks, &c. with a pure, healthy atmosphere. From the hills which skirt the town the river can be seen to a great distance winding through the country, till it is lost among the distant Islands.
Fredericton being at the head of the sloop navigation is the main depot for goods from the seaboard. It is about eighty-five miles from the sea and surrounded by a large extent of country which is fast settling. The river Saint John is about three quarters of a mile wide in front of the town, and extends upwards of four hundred miles above it.—The surrounding country possesses an excellent soil, and abounds in valuable timber, and as the whole of the trade to and from the upper country must pass Fredericton, a great part of it must of course centre there, and consequently, as the country becomes fully settled, Fredericton must improve and from its situation remain the great central emporium of the Province.
Fredericton contains a Printing Office and a Public Library, with the following public Institutions.
1. A Branch of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
2. The Bible Association of Fredericton and its vicinity.
3. A Branch of the Methodist Missionary Society.
4. The Fredericton Emigrant Society. This Society was formed at Fredericton in 1819, for the relief of destitute strangers, being the first Institution of that kind formed in the Province. It expended large sums in that and the following year, and besides relieving the temporary necessities of great numbers of destitute Emigrants, enabled many of them to settle on new land, who are now in comfortable independent circumstances. It is not at present in active operation, but has funds to a considerable amount.
5. The New-Brunswick Agricultural and Emigrant Society. This is a Provincial Institution having branches in the different Counties. The General Society being established at Fredericton.
6. A Branch of the Society for improving the breed of Horses and Cattle, and a Savings' Bank.
Fredericton was formed by Governor CARLETON in 1785, shortly after the division of the Province from Nova-Scotia, and being considered the most eligible and central situation, was made the permanent Seat of Government. The policy of this measure has been questioned by many who overlook the general good of the country for partial advantages. Much jealousy has always existed among the Citizens of St. John in particular, in regard to this selection. Prejudices in favor of our own land, religion, institutions, &c. must always be expected, and to a certain degree it would show a want of attachment not to feel their influence; but then it must be remembered that when we allow our own interest to blind our reason, we are prone to view what concerns us with a partial eye. It is so with a person who being settled at the seaboard goes but seldom out of sight of the harbor, but from what is passing before his eyes, concludes his town is the only place of consequence in the country; and as nature has made it the great mart for the imports and exports of the interior, it must of course be likewise the only place fit for the Seat of Government, and every thing else of consequence in the Province. But when a person whose mind is above these mercenary considerations, and enlarged to see the general good of the country, casts his eye on the map of the Province, he will find that if the situation was as good a few miles farther up, it would still be more central. For Fredericton is only eighty-five miles from the sea; at the lower extremity of the County of York, which extends upwards to the Canada line about two hundred miles. The large County of Northumberland joins York on the North and Northeastward, and comprises all the land from Westmorland, along the Gulf and river of St. Lawrence, till it likewise joins Canada. These two Counties form more than two thirds of the whole Province; and will no doubt each require to be divided into two or more Counties, when they become more fully settled. Consequently the seat of Government is at present in the most eligible place for the general convenience of the inhabitants of the Province at large, than any other situation that possibly could be selected. Diverging as from a common centre, the distance of the routes from Fredericton to the most important parts of the Province are nearly equal, viz. to St. John is about eighty-five miles, passing four counties in the distance; to St. Andrews, the frontier town, about ninety miles; to Northumberland about the same distance; to Fort Cumberland in Westmorland, about one hundred and forty miles; and to Madawaska, the upper settlement on the great road to Canada, about the same distance.