SIR RICHARD HENRY BONNYCASTLE, KT.,
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROYAL ENGINEERS AND MILITIA OF CANADA WEST.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
LONDON: HENRY COLBURN, PUBLISHER, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.
Frederick Shoberl, Junior, Printer to His Royal Highness Prince Albert, 51, Rupert Street, Haymarket, London.
THE SECOND VOLUME.
Return to Toronto, after a flight to Lake Superior—Loons natural Diving Bells—Birds caught with hooks at the bottom of Niagara River—Ice-jam—Affecting story—Trust well placed—Fast Steamer—Trip to Hamilton—Kekequawkonnaby, alias Peter Jones—John Bull and the Ojibbeways—Port Credit, Oakville, Bronte, Wellington Square—Burlington Bay and Canal—Hamilton—Ancaster—Immense expenditure on Public Works—Value of the Union of Canada with Britain, not likely to lead to a Repeal—Mackenzie's fate—Family Compact—Church and Kirk—Free Church and High Church—The Vital Principle—The University—President Polk, Oregon, and Canada Page 1
Ekfrid and Saxonisms—Greek unde derivaturs—The Grand River—Brantford—Plaster of Paris—Mohawks—Dutch forgetfulness—George the Third, a Republican King—Church of the Indians—The Five Nations—A good Samaritan denies a drop of water—Loafers—Keep your Temper, a story of the Army of Occupation—Tortoise in trouble—Burford 51
Woodstock—Brock District—Little England—Aristocratic Society in the Bush—How to settle in Canada as a Gentleman should do—Reader, did you ever Log?—Life in the Bush—The true Backwoods 75
Beachville—Ingersoll—Dorchester—Plank road—Westminster Hall—London—The great Fire of London—Longwoods—Delaware—The Pious, glorious, and immortal Memory—Moncey—The German Flats—Tecumseh—Moravian settlement—Thamesville—The Mourning Dove—The War, the War—Might against Right—Cigar-smoking and all sorts of curiosity—Young Thames—The Albion—The loyal Western District—America as it now is 95
Intense Heat—Pigs, the Scavengers of Canada—Dutch Country—Moravian Indians—Young Father Thames—Ague, a cure for Consumption—Wild Horses—Immense Marsh 125
Why Engineer-officers have little leisure for Book-making—Caution against iced water—Lake St. Clair in a Thunderstorm—A Steaming Dinner—Detroit river and town—Windsor—Sandwich—Yankee Driver—Amherstburgh—French Canadian Politeness—Courtesy not costly—Good effects of the practice of it illustrated—Naked Indians—Origin of the Indians derived from Asia—Piratical attempt and Monument at Amherstburgh—Canadians not disposed to turn Yankees—Present state of public opinion in those Provinces—Policy of the Government—Loyalty of the People 132
The Thames Steamer—Torrid Night—"The Lady that helped" and her Stays—Port Stanley—Buffalo City—Its Commercial Prosperity—Newspaper Advertisements—Hatred to England and encouragement of Desertion—General Crispianus—Lake Erie in a rage—Benjamin Lett—Auburn Penitentiary—Crime and Vice in the Canadas—Independence of Servants—Penitentiaries unfit for juvenile offenders—Inefficiency of the Police—Insolence of Cabmen—Carters —English rule of the road reversed—Return to Toronto 168
Equipage for a Canadian Gentleman Farmer—Superiority of certain iron tools made in the United States to English—Prices of Farming Implements and Stock—Prices of Produce—Local and Municipal Administration—Courts of Law—Excursion to the River Trent—Bay of Quinte—Prince Edward's Island—Belleville—Political Parsons—A Democratic Bible needed—Arrogance of American politicians—Trent Port—Brighton—Murray Canal in embryo—Trent River—Percy and Percy Landing—Forest Road—A Neck-or-nothing Leap—Another perilous leap, and advice about leaping—Life in the Bush exemplified in the History of a Settler—Seymour West—Prices of Land near the Trent—System of Barter—Crow Bay—Wild Rice—Healy's Falls—Forsaken Dwellings 205
Prospects of the Emigrant in Canada—Caution against ardent spirits and excessive smoking—Militia of Canada—Population—The mass of the Canadians soundly British—Rapidly increasing Prosperity of the North American Colonies, compared with the United States—Kingston—Its Commercial Importance—Conclusion 260
Return to Toronto, after a flight to Lake Superior—Loons natural Diving Bells—Birds caught with hooks at the bottom of Niagara River—Ice-jam—Affecting story—Trust well placed—Fast Steamer—Trip to Hamilton—Kekequawkonnaby, alias Peter Jones—John Bull and the Ojibbeways—Port Credit, Oakville, Bronte, Wellington Square—Burlington Bay and Canal—Hamilton—Ancaster—Immense expenditure on Public Works—Value of the Union of Canada with Britain, not likely to lead to a Repeal—Mackenzie's fate—Family compact—Church and Kirk—Free Church and High Church—The vital principle—The University—President Polk, Oregon, and Canada.
After a ramble in this very desultory manner, which the reader has, no doubt, now become accustomed to, I returned to Toronto, having first observed that the harvest looked very ill on the Niagara frontier; that the peaches had entirely failed, and that the grass was destroyed by a long drought; that the Indian corn was sickly, and the potatoes very bad. Cherries alone seemed plentiful; the caterpillars had destroyed the apples—nay, to such an extent had these insects ravaged the whole province, that many fruit-trees had few or no leaves upon them. A remarkable frost on the 30th of May had also passed over all Upper Canada, and had so injured the woods and orchards, that, in July, the trees in exposed places, instead of being in full vigour, were crisped, brown, and blasted, and getting a renewal of foliage very slowly.
My return to Toronto was caused by duty, as well as by a desire to visit as many of the districts as I possibly could, in order to observe the progress they had made since 1837, as well as to employ the mind actively, to prevent the reaction which threatened to assail it from the occurrence of a severe dispensation.
I heard a very curious fact in natural history, whilst at Niagara, in company with a medical friend, who took much interest in such matters.
I had often remarked, when in the habit of shooting, the very great length of time that the loon, or northern diver, (colymbus glacialis,) remained under water after being fired at, and fancied he must be a living diving-bell, endued with some peculiar functions which enabled him to obtain a supply of air at great depth; but I was not prepared for the circumstance that the fishermen actually catch them on the hooks of their deepest lines in the Niagara river, when fishing at the bottom for salmon-trout, &c. Such is, however, the fact.
An affecting incident at Queenston, whilst we were waiting for the Transit to take us to Toronto, must be related. I have mentioned that, in the spring of 1845, an ice-jam, as it is called here, occurred, which suddenly raised the level of the Niagara between thirty and forty feet above its ordinary floods, and overset or beat down, by the grinding of mountain masses of ice, all the wharfs and buildings on the adjacent banks.
The barrack of the Royal Canadian Rifles at Queenston was thus assailed in the darkest hours of the night, and the soldiers had barely time to escape, before the strong stone building they inhabited was crushed. The next to it, but on higher ground, more than thirty feet above the natural level of the river, was a neat wooden cottage, inhabited by a very aged man and his helpless imbecile wife, equally aged with himself. This man, formerly a soldier, was a cabinet-maker, and amused his declining years by forming very ingenious articles in his line of business; his house was a model of curious nick-nackeries, and thus he picked up just barely enough in the retrograding village to keep the wolf from the door; whilst the soldiers helped him out, by sparing from their messes occasionally a little nourishing food.
That night, the dreadful darkness, the elemental warnings, the soul-sickening rush of the river, the groaning and grinding of the ice, piling itself, layer after layer, upon the banks of the river, assailed the old man with horrors, to which all his ancient campaigns had afforded no parallel.
He heard the irresistible enemy, slowly, deliberately, and determinedly advancing to bury his house in its cold embrace. He hurried the unmindful sharer of his destiny from her bed, gathered the most precious of his household goods, and knew not how or where to fly. Loudly and oft the angry spirit of the water shrieked: Niagara was mounting the hill.
The soldiers, perceiving his imminent peril, ventured down the bank, and shouted to him to fly to them. He moved not; they entreated him, and, knowing his great age and infirmity, and the utter imbecility of the poor old dame, insisted upon taking them out.
But the man withstood them. He looked abroad, and the glimmering night showed him nothing but ruin around.
"I put my trust in Him who never fails," said the veteran. "He will not suffer me to perish."
The soldiers, awed by the wreck of nature, rushed forward, and took the ancient pair out by strength of arms; and, no sooner had they done so, than the waters, which had been so eager for their prey, reached the lower floor, and a large wooden building near them was toppled over by waves of solid ice. Much of the poor man's ingeniously-wrought furniture was injured; but, although the neighbouring buildings were crushed, cracked, rent, and turned over, the old man's habitation was spared, and he still dwells there, waiting in the sunshine for his appointed time, with the same faith as he displayed in the utter darkness of the storm.
He had built his cottage on land belonging to the Crown; and, in consequence of an act recently passed, he, with many others who had thus taken possession, had been ordered to remove. But his affecting history had gained him friends, and he has now permission to dwell thereon, until he shall be summoned away by another and a higher authority, by that Power in whom he has his being, and in whom he put his trust.
We landed once more at Toronto, at present "The City" of Upper Canada, on the 7th of July, and left it again on the 8th, in the fine and very fast steamer Eclipse for Hamilton, in the Gore district, at three o'clock, p.m. The day was fine; and thus we saw to advantage the whole shore of Ontario, from Toronto to Burlington.
Our first stopping place was Port Credit, a place remarkable for the settlement near it of an Indian tribe, to which the half-bred Peter Jones, or Kekequawkonnaby, as he is called, belongs.
This man, or, rather, this somewhat remarkable person, and, I think, missionary teacher of the Wesleyan Methodists, attained a share of notoriety in England a few years ago, by marrying a young English woman of respectable connections, and passed with most people in wonder-loving London as a great Indian Chief, and a remarkable instance of the development of the Indian mind. He was, or rather is, for I believe he is living, a clever fellow, and had taken some pains with himself; but, like most of the Canadian lions in London, does not pass in his own country for any thing more than what he is known to be there, and that is, like the village he lives near, of credit enough. It answers certain purposes every now and then to send people to represent particular interests to England; and, in nearly all these cases, John Bull receives them with open arms, and, with his national gullibility, is often apt to overrate them.
The O-jibbeway or Chippewa Indians, so lately in vogue, were a pleasant instance, and we could name other more important personages who have made dukes, and lords, and knights of the shire, esquires of the body, and simple citizens pay pretty dearly for having confided their consciences or their purse-strings to their keeping.
Beware, dear brother John Bull, of those who announce their coming with flourishes of trumpet, and who, when they arrive on your warm hearths, fill every newspaper with your banquetings, addresses, and talks, not to honour you, but to tell the Canadian public what extraordinary mistakes they have made in not having so readily, as you have done, found out their superexcellencies.
These are the men who sometimes, however, find a rotten rung in Fortune's ladder, and thus are suddenly hurled to the earth, but who, if they succeed and return safely, become the picked men of company, forget men's names, and, though you be called John, call you Peter.
The mouth of the little river Credit is called Port Credit, the port being made by the parallel piers run out into deep water on cribs, or frames of timber filled with stones, the usual mode of forming piers in Canada West. It is a small place, with some trade, but the Indians complain sadly that the mills and encroachments of the Whites have destroyed their salmon-fishery, which was their chief resource. Where do the Whites come in contact with the Red without destroying their chief resource? Echo answers, Where?
Sixteen miles farther on we touched at Oakville, or Sixteen Mile Creek, where again the parallel piers were brought into use, to form a harbour. Oakville is a very pretty little village, exhibiting much industry.
Bronte, or Twelve Mile Creek, is the next village, very small indeed, with a pier, and then Port Milford, which is one mile from Wellington Square, a place of greater importance, with parallel piers, a steam-mill, and thriving settlement; near it is the residence of the celebrated Indian chief Brant, who so distinguished himself in the war of 1812. Here also is still living another chief, who bears the commission of major in the British army, and is still acknowledged as captain and leader of the Five Nations; his name is John Norton, or, more properly, Tey-on-in-ho, ka-ra-wen.
That which I wished particularly, however, to see, was now close to us, the Canal into Burlington Bay.
Burlington Bay is a little lake of itself, surrounded by high land in the richest portion of Canada, and completely enclosed by a bar of broad sand and alluvial matter, which runs across its entrance. In driving along this belt, you are much reminded of England: the oaks stand park-like wide asunder, and here, on tall blasted trees, you may frequently see the bald eagle sitting as if asleep, but really watching when he can rob the fish-hawk of the fruits of his piscatory toils.
The bald eagle is a cunning, bold, bad bird, and does not inspire one with the respect which his European congeners, the golden or the brown eagle, do. He is the vulture of North America rather than the king of birds. Why did Franklin, or whoever else did the deed, make him the national emblem of power? He is decidedly a mauvais sujet.
[Footnote 1: I think, however, I have read that the philosophic printer gave him a very bad character.]
The Canal of Burlington Bay is an arduous and very expensive undertaking. The opening from Lake Ontario was formerly liable to great changes and fluctuations, and the provincial work, originally undertaken to fix the entrance more permanently, was soon found inadequate to the rapid commercial undertakings of the country. Accordingly, a very large sum was granted by the Parliament for rendering it stable and increasing the width, which is now 180 feet, between substantial parallel piers.
There is a lighthouse at each end on the left side going in, but the work still requires a good deal of dredging, and the steamboat, although passing slowly and steadily, made a very great surge. In fact, it requires good steerage-way and a careful hand at the helm in rough weather.
The contractors made a railroad for five miles to the mountain, to fetch the stone for filling-in the piers.
The voyage across Burlington Bay is very pleasant and picturesque, the land being more broken, elevated, and diversified than in the lower portions of Canada West; and the Burlington Heights, so important a position in the war of 1812, show to great advantage. Here is one of the few attempts at castle-building in Canada called Dundurn Castle, the residence of Sir Allan Macnab. It is beautifully situated, and, although not perhaps very suitable to a new country, it is a great ornament to the vicinity of Hamilton, embowered as it is in the natural forest. Near it, however, is a vast swamp, in which is Coot's Paradise, so named, it is said, from a gentleman, who was fond of duck-shooting, or perhaps from the coot or water-hen being there in bliss.
Hamilton is a thriving town, exhibiting the rapid progress which a good location, as the Americans call it, ensures. The other day it was in the forest, to-day it is advancing to a city. It has, however, one disadvantage, and that is the very great distance from its port, which puts both the traveller and the merchant to inconvenience, causing expense and delay. How they manage, of a dark night, on the wharf to thread the narrow passage lined with fuel-wood for the steamboat I cannot tell; but, in the open daylight of summer, I saw a vehicle overturned and sent into the mud below. There is barely room for the stage or omnibus; and thus you must wait your turn amidst all the jostling, swearing, and contention, of cads, runners, agents, drivers, and porters; a very pleasant situation for a female or an invalid, and expecting every moment to have the pole of some lumber-waggon driven through your body.
Private interest here, as well as in so many other new places and projects in Canada, has evidently been at work, and a city a mile or two from its harbour, without sufficient reason, has been the result. But that will change, and the city will come to the port, for it is extending rapidly. The distance now is one mile and a quarter.
After great delay and a sharp look-out for carpet-bags and leather trunks, we arrived at Young's Hotel, a very substantial stone building, on a large scale, where civility and comfort made up for delay. It was English.
As it was night before we got settled, although a very fine night, and knowing that I should start before "Charles's Wain was over the new chimney," I sallied forth, with a very obliging guide, who acted as representative of the commissariat department, to examine the town.
The streets are at present straggling, but, as in most Canadian new towns, laid out wide and at right angles. The main street is so wide that it would be quite impracticable to do as they do in Holland, namely, sit at the door and converse, not sotto voce, with your opposite neighbour. It is in fact more like a Mall than a street, and should be planted with a double row of trees, for it requires a telescope to discover the numbers and signs from one row of houses and shops to the other.
Here the American custom of selling after dark by lamplight was everywhere visible, and everywhere new stone houses were building. I went into Peest's Hotel, now Weeks's, the American Tavern, and there saw indubitable signs that the men of yore had a pretty sprinkling of Yankees among them.
Hamilton has 4500 inhabitants, and is a surprising place, which will reach 10,000 people before two or three years more pass. It has already broad plank-walks, but they are not kept in very good repair; in fact, it cannot escape the notice of a traveller from the Old World that there is too magnificent a spirit at work in the commencement of this place, and that utility is sacrificed to enlargement.
Hamilton is beautifully situated on a sloping plane, at the foot of a wooded range of hills, called mountains, whence fine stone of very white colour in immense blocks is easily procured and brought; and it is very surprising that more of this stone has not been used in Toronto, instead of wood. Brick-clay is also plentiful, and excellent white and red bricks are made; but, such is the rage for building, that the largest portion of this embryo city is of combustible pine-wood.
I left Hamilton in a light waggon on the 9th of July, at half-past five o'clock, a.m., having been detained for horses, and rolled along very much at my ease, compared to what the travelling on this route was seven years ago—I was going to say, on this road, but it would have been a misnomer, for there was nothing but a miry, muddy, track then: now, there is a fine, but too narrow, macadamized highway, turnpiked—that is to say, having real turnpike gates.
The view from "the mountain" is exceedingly fine, almost as fine as that from Queenston heights, embracing a richly-cultivated fruit and grain country, a splendid succession of wooded heights, and a long, rolling, ridgy vista of forest, field, and fertility, ending in Lake Ontario, blue and beautiful.
We arrived, at a quarter past seven, at Ancaster, a very pretty little village, with two churches, and composed principally of wooden houses.
The Half-way House is then gained, being about half a mile from the end of the macadamized road, and thirteen and a half from Hamilton. Good bridges, culverts, and cutting, are seen on this section of the line to London. We got to Ancaster at half-past eight, or in about two hours and three quarters, and thence over the line of new road which was, what is called in America, graded, that is, ploughed, ditched, and levelled, preparatory to putting on the broken stone, and which graded road, in spring and autumn, must be very like the Slough of Despond.
At eleven, we reached Maloney's Tavern—most of the taverns on the Canadian new roads are kept by Irish folks—four miles from Brentford.
The Board of Works have been busily employed here, for a great portion of the road is across a swamp, which has been long known as the swamp. This is a pine-country, soil, hard clay or mud, and no stone; and the route is a very expensive one to form, requiring great bridging and straightening.
I observe that the estimate for 1845, for Public Works on this road, in the Gore District, for finishing it, is as high as L10,000 currency, and it is to be all planked, and that, to continue it to London, L36,182 15s. 8d. had been expended up to July, 1844.
The immense expenditure, since 1839, upon internal improvements in Canada, in canals, harbours, lighthouses, roads, &c., is almost incredible, as the subjoined list will show:—
REPORT OF THE BOARD OF WORKS,
SHOWING THE MONEYS EXPENDED UPON EACH OF THE PUBLIC WORKS, FROM THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE WORK, UP TO THE 1ST JULY, 1844.
Welland Canal L238,995 14 10
ST. LAWRENCE CANALS, VIZ.:
Prescott to Dickenson's landing 13,490 19 4 Cornwall (to the time of opening the Canal in June, 1843) 57,110 4 2 Cornwall (to repair breaks in the banks since the above period) 9,925 16 4 Beauharnois 162,281 19 5 Lachine 45,410 11 2 Expenditure on dredge, outfit, &c., applicable to the foregoing in common 4,462 16 3 Lake St. Peter 32,893 19 3 Burlington Bay Canal 18,539 11 2 Hamilton and Dover Road 30,044 16 5
NEWCASTLE DISTRICT, VIZ.:
Scugog Lock and Dam 6,645 8 1 Whitlas Lock and Dam 6,101 7 11 Crook's Lock and Dam 7,849 9 6 Heely's Falls 8,191 5 1 Middle Falls 219 2 8 Ranney's Falls 228 6 8 Chisholm's Rapids 7,599 14 0 Harris's Rapids 1,591 9 6 Removing sundry impediments in the River 185 17 0 Port Hope and Rice Lake Road 1,439 16 4 Bobcaygean, Buckhorn, and Crook's Rapids 12 0 0 Applicable to the foregoing works generally 6,674 1 2
HARBOURS, AND LIGHTHOUSES, AND ROADS LEADING THERETO.
Windsor Harbour 15,355 18 3 Cobourg Harbour 10,381 6 3 Port Dover 3,121 10 4 Long Point Lighthouse and Light-ship 2,163 8 5 Burwell Harbour and Road 136 10 0 Scugog Road 1,202 6 3 Port Stanley 16,242 10 10 Rondeau Harbour, Road and Lighthouse 60 4 2 Port Stanley Road 24,385 13 5 Expenditure on outfit, &c. applicable to the foregoing in common 2,328 13 7 River Ottawa 35,603 16 3 Bay of Chaleurs Road 15,726 16 11 Gosford Road 10,801 10 10 Main North Toronto Road 686 19 4 Bridges between Montreal and Quebec 20,860 19 11 Cascades Road 13,287 19 6 London and Sarnia Road 19,837 5 11 London and Brantford Road 36,182 18 5 London and Chatham, Sandwich and Amherstburgh Road 12,789 0 1 River Richelieu 92 4 0 ———————
Certified to be a true abstract of the accounts of the Board of Works.
Thomas A. Begly, Sec. Board of Works.
Hamilton H. Killarly, President Board of Works.
* * * * *
The estimate for 1845 was 125,200, as may be seen by the following report of the Inspector General of Canada, as laid before Parliament:—
For present repairs to the Chatham Bridge L100
For improving the Grand River Swamp Road—total 10,000—required this year 9,000
For improving Rouge Hill and Bridge, also another bridge and hill east of the former—total L6,500— required this year 5,000
For Belleville Bridge 1,500
For the completion of the Dover Road over the mountain, to the limits of the town of Hamilton, and erection of toll-gates 5,500
For the improvement of the road from L'Original to Bytown, by Hattfield, Gifford, Buckworth, and Green's Creeks, as surveyed and estimated, together with the building of a bridge across the narrow channel, at the mouth of the Rideau, on the line of the road from Gattineau Ferry to Bytown—total cost, L5,930—required this year L3,000
Owen's Sound Road, comprehending the line from Dundas by Guelph, to Owen's Sound direct (this sum being for the chopping, clearing, drawing, and forming of the portion not yet opened, and towards the lowering of hills, or otherwise improving such bad parts of the line between Nicolet and Dundas as most require it) 4,000
For opening the road throughout from Lake Ontario, at Windsor Harbour, to Georgius Bay, on Lake Huron, this sum being for the opening of the road from the head of Scugog Road to the Narrow's bridge 2,000
For improving Queenston and Grimsby Road, for laying on the metal already delivered, and completing such parts left unfinished as are most advanced, and establishing gates 8,000
(To finish the remainder of this communication within the Niagara district will cost L16,000, and that within the Gore district L10,000.)
For improving the Trent navigation, towards the completion of the works now in progress L12,000—for this year 6,000
To cover expense of surveys, examination, preparation of estimates of the cost of improving the Main Province Road across the ravines of the Twelve and Sixteen Mile Creeks between Toronto and Hamilton; opening a road from the main road to Port Credit; opening and completing a road from the Ottawa at Bytown, to the St. Lawrence in the most direct line; of opening a road between Kingstown and the Lake des Allumettes on the Ottawa, with a branch towards the head of the Bay of Quinte; of opening a road from the Rideau, thence by Perth, Bellamy's Mills, Wabe Lake, to fall in with the road proposed from Bytown to Sydenham; of completing the Desjardin's Canal; of constructing the Murray Canal; of overcoming the impediments to the navigation of the river Trent, between Heely's Falls and the Bay of Quinte, and also for a survey of the road from Barrie to Lake Huron, through the townships of Sunindale and Nottawasaga 2,000
For improving the Amherstburgh and Sandwich road 1,000
For the Cornwall and L'Original road 900 ———— L47,000
WORKS OF A GENERAL CHARACTER, AS CONNECTED WITH THE COMMERCE OR REVENUE OF THE COUNTRY.
To forming a dam across the branch of the Mississisqui, and forming a portage road at the Chats 1,250
For works upon the Ottawa and roads connected therewith, as detailed in the Report of the Board of Works of 3rd February, 1845, laid before the legislature—total L21,600—required this year 8,500
For building a landing-wharf, with stairs and approaches at the Quarantine Station, Grosse Isle 2,750
For the extension of piers, and opening inner basin at Port Stanley harbour—total L6,000—required this year 1,200
For dredging at Cobourg harbour 500
For expenses of piers and dredging at Windsor harbour 2,000
For repairs and erection of Lighthouses—total L7,900—this year 5,000
For the formation of a deep water-basin, at the entrance of the Lachine Canal, in the harbour of Montreal, to admit vessels from sea 15,000
For the erection of a Custom House at Toronto 2,500 ———- L39,700 ———— Total currency L125,200 ————
W. B. Robinson, Inspector General.
Thus, from the commencement of the operations of the Board of Works in the Canadas, or in about six years, there will have been no less an amount than a million and a half expended in opening the resources of that "noble province," as Lord Metcalfe styled it, in his valedictory address.
This, with the enormous outlay of nearly two millions during the revolt, the cost of the Rideau Canal and fortifications, and the money spent by an army of from 8 to 10,000 men, has thrown capital into Canada which has caused it to assume a position which the most sanguine of its well-wishers could never have anticipated ten years ago.
Its connection with England, therefore, instead of being a "baneful" one, as a misinformed partizan stated, has been truly a blessing to it, and proves also, beyond a doubt, that, now it is about to have an uninterrupted water-communication from the oceans of Europe, Asia, and Africa, to the fresh-water seas of Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, its resources will speedily develop themselves; and that its people are too wise to throw away the advantages they possess, of being an integral portion of the greatest empire the world ever had, for the very uncertain prospects of a union with their unsettled neighbours, although incessant underhand attempts to persuade them to join the Union are going on.
Taxation in Canada is as yet a name, and a hardship seldom heard of and never felt. Perfect freedom of thought in all the various relations of life exists; there is no ecclesiastical domination; no tithes. The people know all this, and are not misled by the furious rhodomontades of party-spirit about rectories, inquisitorial powers, family compacts, and a universal desire for democratic fraternization; got up by persons who, with considerable talents, great perseverance and ingenuity, ring the changes upon all these subjects, in hopes that any alteration of the form of government will place them nearer the loaves and fishes, although I verily believe that many of the most untiring of them would valiantly fight in case of a war against the United States.
A more remarkable example, I believe, has never been recorded in history than the fate of William Lyon Mackenzie, a man possessing an acuteness of mind, powers of reasoning, and great persuasiveness, with indefatigable research and industry, such as rarely fall to obscure and ill-educated men.
Involving Canada in a civil war, which he basely fled before, as soon as he had lighted its horrid torch; as soon, in fact, as he had murdered an old officer, whose services had extended over the world, and who was just on the verge of what he hoped would be a peaceful termination of his toils in his country's cause; as soon as he had burned the houses of a widow who had never offended him, and of a worthy citizen, whose only crime in his eyes was his loyalty; and as soon as he had robbed the mail, and a poor maidservant travelling in it, of her wages. This man fled to the United States, was received with open arms, got a ragged army to invade Canada, then in profound peace with the citizens, who protected him.
His failure at Navy Island is known too well to need repeating. He wandered from place to place, sometimes self-created President or Dictator of the Republic of Canada, sometimes a stump orator, sometimes in prison, sometimes a printer, sometimes an editor, abusing England, abusing Canada, abusing the United States; then a Custom-house officer in the service of that Republic; then again a robber, a plunderer of private letters, left by accident in his office, which he, without scruple, read, and without scruple, for political purposes, published.
Reader, mark his end. It teaches so strong a lesson to tread in the right path that it shall be given in his own words, in a letter which he wrote, on the 11th of November last year, to the "New York Express" newspaper.
He would be pitied, indeed, were it not that the widow and the orphan, the houseless and the maimed, cry aloud against the remorseless one. How many there are now living in Canada, whose lives have been rendered miserable, from their losses, or from injured health, during the watchings and wardings of 1837, 1838, 1839, during the long winter nights of such a climate, during the rains and damps of the spring and of the fall time of the year, and during the heats of an almost tropical summer. Heat, wet, and cold, in all their most terrible forms, were they exposed to. The young became prematurely old. The old died. Peace to their souls! Requiescant in pace!
In the "New York Express" of the 11th November, we find a letter signed by Mr. Mackenzie, in which he endeavours to justify himself. What has particularly engaged our attention are the following paragraphs:—
"If an angel from heaven had told me, eight years ago, that the time would come in which I would find myself an exile, in a foreign land—poor, and with few friends—calumniated, falsely accused, and the feelings of honest, faithful Republicans artfully excited against me—and that among the foremost of my traducers and slanderers would be found Edwin Croswell and the 'Argus,' Thomas Ritchie and his journal, Green and the 'Boston Post,' with the Pennsylvanian and other newspapers called Democratic; and that these presses and their editors would eagerly retail any and every untruth that could operate to my prejudice, but be dumb to any explanation I might offer, I could not have believed it. But if a pamphlet (like mine) had been then written, exhibiting, with unerring accuracy, the true characters of the combination of unprincipled political managers, among whom you have long acted a conspicuous part; if a Jesse Hoyt had come forward as state's evidence to swear to the truth of the pamphlet, while the parties implicated remained silent; and if you and your afflicted presses had, as you do now with the letters in my pamphlets, defended the real criminals, declared solemnly that you could see nothing wrong in what they had done, and directed the whole force of your widely circulated journal against the innocent person who had warned his countrymen against a most dangerous cabal of political hypocrites of the basest class—in other words, had I known you and your partnership as well in October, 1837, as I do, by dear-bought experience, in November, 1845, I would have hesitated very long indeed, before assuming any share whatever in that responsibility which might have given you the Canadas, as an additional theatre for the exhibition of those peculiar talents, by which this State and Union, and thousands in other lands, have so severely suffered. While reproving gambling and speculation in others, you and your brother wire-pullers have made the property, the manufactures, the commerce of America, your tributaries—even the bench of justice, with its awful solemnities and responsibilities, has been so prostituted by your friends that, when at sea and about to launch three of his fellow-creatures into eternity, a captain in the American navy hesitated not to avow that he had told one of them 'that for those who had money and friends in America there was no punishment for the worst of crimes.'—Nor did the court-martial before whom that avowal was freely made censure him.
"Observe how Mr. and Mrs. Butler sneer at poor judges, corrupt judges, pauper judges, partial chancellors, and at the administration of American justice, though by their own party—and how their leader pities Marcy, throws him on the Supreme Court bench as a stopping place, to save him from ruin.—Look at the bankrupt returns of this district alone—one hundred and twenty millions of dollars in debt, very little paid or to be paid, many of the creditors beggared, many of the debtors astonishing the fashionable with their magnificent carriages and costly horses. No felony in you and your friends, who brought about the times of 1837-8. Oh, no! All the felony consists in exposing you. Two hundred years ago it was a felony to read the Bible in English. Truth will prevail yet.
"I confess my fears that, as I have now no press of my own, nor the means to get one, and am persecuted, calumniated, harassed with lawsuits, threatened with personal violence, saying nothing of the steady vindictiveness of your artful colleague, nor of the judges chosen by Mr. Van Buren and his friends, whom the 'Globe Democratic Review' and 'Evening Post' denounced in 1840, and declared to be independent of common justice and honesty, you may succeed in embittering the cup of misery I have drunk almost to the dregs. The Swedish Chancellor, Count Axel Oxenstiern, wrote to one of his children, 'You do not know yet, my son, how little wisdom is exhibited in ruling mankind.' I think that Mr. Butler cannot be a pure politician, and yet the corrupt individual whose dishonesty I have so clearly shown.—Perhaps the United States government may justify him, and the laws punish me for exhibiting him in his true colours. Be it so—I had for many years an overflow of popularity; and if it is now to be my lot to be overwhelmed with obloquy, hatred, and ceaseless slander, I am quite prepared for it, or even for worse treatment. Being old, and not likely at any future time to be a candidate for office, it is of very little consequence to society what may become of me—but I have a lively satisfaction that I was an humble instrument selected, at a fortunate moment, to prove, by their own admission in 1845, every charge I had made against you and your friends through the 'New York Examiner,' before I left the service of the Mechanics' Institute here, in 1845.
"W. L. Mackenzie."
The Upper Canadians should follow the example of the good people of Amherstburgh, and erect a monument in the capital of Upper Canada to the memory of those who died in consequence of the folly, the hardihood, and the presumption of this man.
There may have been some excuse pleaded for the Canadian French. Misled by designing men, these excellent people of course fancied that, contrary to all possible reason and analogy, a population of about half a million was strong enough to combat with British dominion. Their language, laws, and religion, they were told, were in danger.
But what excuse could the Upper Canadians have—men of British birth, or direct descent, who had grievances, to be sure, but which grievances resolved themselves into the narrow compass of the Family Compact and the thirty-seven Rectories? Quiet farmers, reposing in perfect security under the AEgis of Britain, were the mass of Upper Canadians.
The "Family Compact" is still the war-cry of a party in Upper Canada; and one person of respectability has published a letter to Sir Allan Macnab, in which he states that, so long as the Chief Justice and the Bishop of Toronto continue to force Episcopalianism down the throats of the people, so long will Canada be in danger. This gentleman, an influential Scotch merchant of Toronto, in his letter dated Hamilton, C. West, 18th November, 1846, says, that the Family Compact, or Church of England tory faction, whose usurpations were the cause of the last rebellion, will be the cause of a future and more successful one, "if they are not checked;" and, while he fears rebellion, he dreads that, in case of a war, his countrymen, "the Scotch, could not, on their principles, defend the British government, which suffers their degradation in the colony."
This plainly shows to what an extent party spirit is carried in Canada, when it suffers a man of respectability and loyalty coolly to look rebellion in the face as an alternative between his own church and another.
A Church of England man, totally unconnected with colonial interests and with colonial parties, is a better judge of these matters than a Church of Scotland man, or a Free Church man, who believes, with his eyes shut, that Calvinism is to be thrust bodily out of the land by the influence of Dr. Strachan or Chief Justice Robinson.
It is obvious to common sense that any attempt on the part of the clergy or the laity of Upper Canada to crush the free exercise of religious belief, would be met not only with difficulties absolutely insurmountable, but by the withdrawal of all support from the home government; for, as the Queen of England is alike queen of the Presbyterian and of the Churchman, and is forbidden by the constitution to exercise power over the consciences of her subjects throughout her vast dominions; so it would be absurd to suppose for a moment that the limited influence in a small portion of Canada of a chief justice or a bishop, even supposing them mad or foolish enough to urge it, could plunge their country into a war for the purposes of rendering one creed dominant.
The Church of England is, moreover, not by any means the strongest, in a physical sense, in Upper Canada, neither is the Church of Scotland; nor is it likely, as the writer quoted observes, that it would be at length necessary to sweep the former off the face of the country, in order to secure freedom for the latter.
The Kirk itself is wofully divided, in Canada, by the late wide-spread dissent, under the somewhat novel designation of the Free Church. One need but visit any large town or village to observe this; for it would seem usually that the Free Church minister has a larger congregation than the regularly-called minister of the ancient faith of Caledonia. Now, the members of the Free Church have no such holy horror of Dr. Strachan, Chief Justice Robinson, or Sir Allan Macnab, as that exhibited in the above-mentioned letter; nor is it believed that the Church of England would presume to denounce and wage internecional war against their popular institution. But a person who has lived a great part of his life in Canada will take all this cum grano salis.
The Scotch in Upper Canada are not and will not be disloyal. On the contrary, if I held a militia command again, I should be very glad, as an Englishman, that it should consist of a very fair proportion of Highlanders and of Lowlanders.
The British public must not be misled by the hard-sounding language and the vast expenditure of words it may have to receive, in the perusal of either the High Church, or the Presbyterian fulminators in Canada West.
The whole hinges on what the writer calls "the vital question," namely, upon the university of Canada at Toronto being a free or a close borough.
The High Church party contend that this institution was formed for the Church of England only, and endowed with an immense resource in lands accordingly.
The Church of Scotland, "as by law established," for I do not include the Free Church, has strenuously opposed this for a long series of years, and contends that it has equal rights and equal privileges in the institution.
It would consume too much space to enter into argument upon argument anent a question which, ever since the rebellion, has grown from the seeds so profusely scattered in the grounds of dispute on both sides.
The home government, foreseeing clearly that this vexed question is one of paramount importance, has declared itself not neuter, but passive; has given at large its opinion, favourable to general education, conducted upon the most liberal acceptance of the charter; and has left it to the wisdom of the Canadian Parliament to decide.
[Footnote 1: A large public meeting of Roman Catholics upon the subject of the University question took place lately at Toronto, where a temperate spirit prevailed.]
An eminent lawyer was employed to carry out Lord Metcalfe's conciliatory views, in accordance with the spirit of the instructions from the queen. This gentleman, who had previously been accused by the reform party of belonging to the Family Compact before he accepted high legal office under the colonial government, had been employed also on the part of the Church of England as counsel before the bar of the House, to advocate its claims, and in a singularly clever and lucid speech, of immense length, certainly made the cause a most excellent one. But
"how chances mock, And changes fill the cup of alteration!"
He was lauded to the skies, and deemed to have achieved the great end sought by the High Church party.
Mark the reverse:
They forgot wholly that, in his capacity of barrister, he did, as every barrister is bound to do, his very best for his employers, and no doubt conscientiously desiring that the rights of the Church of England should be upheld; but no sooner was he employed as a minister of the Crown to pacify the discontent which the Presbyterians, the Methodists, and the Roman Catholics had expressed very openly, and no sooner did he, by an equal exertion of his intellect, point put the most feasible method of solving the difficulty, than a storm of abuse most lavishly bespattered him, and he was called a seceder from the High Church principles, an abandoner of the High Canadian Tory ranks, or anything else the reader may fancy. Now, those who know this gentleman best are of opinion that he never was a very violent partizan either in politics or in religious matters, and that to his moderation much of the good that has unquestionably resulted from Lord Metcalfe's government may be ascribed.
The chief justice and the bishop, against whom the tirade of the revolutionary press is constantly aimed, may both have once, by their position in the Upper House, had much to do with political matters, but that either of them has ever had in view so absurd a notion as that of governing Canada by their local influence, and of thus overawing the Crown, is too ridiculous to be believed.
The chief justices and the bishops, in all our colonial possessions, are now most wisely debarred from exercising political sway in the legislative council, over which, some years ago, they no doubt possessed very great influence in many of the colonies.
In Canada, where one half and even more of the population is Roman Catholic, it cannot be believed that a Protestant bishop, or a Protestant head of the civil law, can exercise any other powers than those which their offices permit them to do; and by the British constitution it is very clear that any attempts to subvert the established order of things on their parts would inevitably lead to deprivation and impeachment.
If, therefore, they were really guilty of an endeavour to rule by their family connections, is it probable that 600,000 Roman Catholics, and a vastly preponderating mass of Presbyterians, Methodists, Unitarians, and the endless roll of Canadian dissenters from the Church, would permit it?
That the bishop and the chief justice possess a considerable share of personal influence in Upper Canada, there can be no question whatever; but, after the statement of the former, in his annual visitation published in 1841, that out of a population of half a million there were only ninety-five clergymen and missionaries, where there should be six hundred and thirty-six, if the country was fully settled, it is a fanciful picture that the reformers have drawn of their power and resources—power which is really derived only from intermarriages among the few remnants of the earliest loyalist settlers, or from admiration of their private conduct and abilities. In short, "the family compact" is a useful bugbear; it is kept up constantly before the Canadians, to deter them from looking too closely into other compacts, which, to say the truth, are sometimes neither so national, so loyal, nor so easily explained.
Canada is, at this juncture, without question, the most free and the happiest country in the whole world; not that it resembles Utopia, or the happy valley of Rasselas, but because it has no grievances that may not be remedied by its own parliament—because it has no taxation—because its government is busied in developing its splendid internal resources—and because the Mother Country expends annually enormous sums within its boundaries or in protecting its commerce.
Why does England desire that the banner of the Three Crosses shall float on the citadels of Quebec and Kingston? why does she desire to see that flag pre-eminent on the waters of Lake Superior or in the ports of Oregon? Is it because Canada is better governed as an appanage of the Crown of Victoria than it possibly could be by Mr. Polk? Is it from a mere desire for territory that the mistress of the seas throws her broad shield over the northern portion of North America? or is it because the treasury of England has millions of bars of gold and of silver, deposited in its vaults by the subjects of Canada?
No, it is from none of these motives: Canada is a burthen rather than a mine of wealth to England, which has flourished a thousand-fold more since Washington was the first president, than she ever did with the thirteen colonies of the West.
Is it because the St. Lawrence trade affords a nursery for her seamen, or that Newfoundland is the naval school? No; about three or four British vessels now fish on the grand banks, where hundreds once cast anchor. The fisheries are boat-fisheries on the shores instead of at sea, and the timber trade would engage British shipping and British sailors just as largely if Quebec had the beaver emblazoned on the flag of its fortress as if the flag of a thousand years floated over its walls.
The resources of England are inconceivable; if one source dries up, another opens. China is replacing Africa.
The London Economist estimates the increase of capital in England from 1834, or just before the troubles in Canada, which cost her two millions sterling, to 1844, in ten years only, at the rate of forty-five millions sterling annually—four-hundred and fifty millions, in ten years, in personal property only! What was the increase in real estate during those ten years? and what empire, or what combination of empires, can show such wealth?
Thus, while Canada has been a drag-chain upon the chariot-wheel of British accumulation, did the prosperity of the empire suffer, or is it likely to suffer, by war with the United States, or by separation from England?
The interests of the United States and the interests of England would no doubt mutually suffer, but the former power, if it annexed Canada, would most severely feel the result. England would then close the ports of the St. Lawrence, as well as those of the seaboard from Quebec to Galveston; nor would the Nova Scotian and New Brunswick provinces be conquered until after a bloody and most costly struggle; for they, being essentially maritime, would the less readily abandon the connexion with that power which must for ages yet to come be preponderant at sea. The Ocean is the real English colony. By similar natural laws, the United States has other advantages and other matters to control in its vast interior.
I forget what writer it is who says—perhaps it was Burke—that any nation which can bring 50,000 men in arms into the field, whatever may be its local disadvantages of position, can never be conquered, if its sons are warlike and courageous.
Canada can bring double that number with ease; and whilst its interests are as inseparable from those of England as they now are, it is not to be supposed that a Texian annexation will dissolve the bond.
We have been greatly amused in Canada during the winter of 1845, after Mr. Polk's "all Oregon or none of it," to find in the neighbouring republic a force of brave militia-men or volunteers turn out for a field day with CANADA and OREGON painted on their cartouche-boxes.—Mr. Polk did not go quite so far, it is true; but a great mass of the people in the United States prophesy that, if war lasts, all the North American Continent, from the Polar seas to the Isthmus of Darien, will have the tricoloured stripes and the galaxy of stars for its national flag.
This is all-natural enough; no one blames the people of the republic for desiring extended fame and empire; but is it to be extended by the Caesaric mode, Veni, vidi, vici, or by deluging two-thirds of that continent with the blood of man?
A calm view of antecedent human affairs tells us another tale.
A black population in the south and in the vast Island of Hayti, in Jamaica and in the West Indies; a brave and enterprising mixed race in Cuba; the remorseless Indian of the West, whose tribes are countless and driven to desperation; the multitudinous Irish, equally ready for fighting as for vengeance for their insulted church; the Anglo-Saxon blood on the northern borders, combined with the Norman Catholics of the St. Lawrence; innumerable steam-vessels pouring from every part of Europe and of Asia—are these nothing in the scale? Are the feelings of the wealthy, the intelligent, and the peaceful in the United States not to be taken into account?
Is the total annihilation for a long period of all external commerce nothing? Are blazing cities, beleaguered harbours, internal discontent, servile war, nothing in the scale of aggrandizement? Is the great possibility of the European powers interfering as nothing? Will not Russia, aware now of the value of her North American possessions, look with a jealous eye upon the Bald Eagle's attempt at a too close investigation of her eaglets' nest in the north? Would not France, just beginning to colonize largely, like a share in the spoils?
To avoid all this, is the reason that England clings to Canada, that Canada must not be sold or given away. Canada is in short the important State which holds the balance of power on the North American Continent; and, when her Eagle is strong enough to fly alone, it will not be either from having false wings, or without the previous nursing and tender care of her European mother, who will launch her safely from the pinnacle of glory into the clear sky of powers and principalities.
Ekfrid and Saxonisms—Greek unde derivaturs—The Grand River—Brantford—Plaster of Paris—Mohawks—Dutch forgetfulness—George the Third, a Republican King—Church of the Indians—The Five Nations—A good Samaritan denies a drop of water—Loafers—Keep your Temper, a story of the Army of Occupation—Tortoise in trouble—Burford.
But to resume the journey. We passed the Ekfrid Hotel. Saxon names creep steadily over Canada, whilst barbarous adaptations of Greek and Latin find favour in the United States. A little learning is a dangerous thing. Cicero and Pompey never dreamed or desired that a white and green wooden village in a wilderness, where patent pails and patent ploughs are the staple, should be dignified thus; but, as the French say, chacun a son gout.
The first good view of the Grand River was attained three miles from Brantford, and, although the name is rather too sounding, the Grand River is a very fine stream. It put me singularly in mind, with its oak-forested banks, its tall poplars, and its meandering clear waters, of the Thames about Marlow, where I remember, when I was a boy at the Military College, seeing the fish at the bottom on a fine day, so plain that I longed to put a little salt on their tails.
You look down near the Union Inn, Carr's, on a most beautiful woodland view, undulating, rich, and varied. This part of the country is a sandy soil, and is called the Oak Plains. Here once flourished the Indian. His wars, his glory, his people—where are they? Gone! The Saxon and the Celt have swept off the race, and their memory is as a cloud in a summer's sky, beautiful but dissolving.
Brantford is a very long village, with four churches or chapels, one of them a handsome building, and with fine prospects of the country, through which runs the Grand River. The houses are mostly of wood, a few of brick, with some good shops, or stores, as they are universally called in America and Canada, where every thing, from a pin to a six-point blanket, may be obtained for dollars, country produce, or approved bills of exchange—chiefly however by barter, that true universal medium in a new country, as may be gleaned from any Canadian newspaper about Christmas time, when the subscribers are usually reminded that wood for warming the printer will be very acceptable.
Plank side-walks, a new feature in Canadian towns, are rapidly extending in Brantford, which is just starting into importance; as the government, though it is so far inland, intend to make a port of it, by thoroughly opening the navigation of the Grand River from its mouth in Lake Erie. The works are near completion, and a steamboat, the Brantford, plies regularly in summer. Thus an immense country, probably the finest wheat-land in the world, will be opened to commerce, and the great plaster of Paris quarries of the river find a market, for increasing the fertility of the poorer lands of the lower part of the province.
Brantford is named after Brant, the celebrated Indian warrior chief, and here the Mohawk tribe of the Five Nations have their principal seat. This excellent race, for their adhesion to British principles in the war of the Revolution, lost their territory in the United States, consisting of an immense tract in the fair and fertile valley of the Mohawk river, in the State of New York, through which the Erie Canal and railroad now run, and possessed by a flourishing race of farmers.
I remember being told a curious story of the Dutch, who have their homesteads on the Mohawk Flats, the richest pasture land in New York. These simple colonists, preserving their ancient habits, pipes, breeches, and phlegm, looked with astonishment at the progress of their Yankee neighbours, and predicted that so much haste and action would soon expend itself. At last came surveyors and engineers, those odious disturbers of antiquity and quiet rural enjoyments: they pointed their spirit-levels, they stretched their chains across the fair fields of the quiet slumbering valley of these smoking Dutchmen. The very cows looked bewildered, and Mynheer, taking his meerschaum from his lips, sighed deeply.
They told him that a railroad was projected across his acres; he would not have minded a canal. He had survived the wars of the Indians; he had forgotten Sir William Johnson and his neighbouring castle; he had gone through the rebellion of Washington without being despoiled; and had finally, as he thought, settled down in the lovely valley of the meandering Mohawk, in a flat very like what his ancestors represented to him as the pictured reality of Sluys or Scheldtland. He had smoked and dozed through all this excitement, and was just beginning to understand English. The American character was above his comprehension. He remembered George the Third with respect, because his great grandfather was a Dutchman, who had ascended the British throne, and had proclaimed Protestantism and Orange boven as the law of the colonies. He still thought George the Third his ruler; and never knew that George Washington had, Cromwell-like, ousted the monarch from his fair patrimony, on pretence that tea was not taxable trans-atlantically.
The railroad came: Acts of Congress or of Assembly passed; and fire and iron rushed through the happy valley. The patriarchs lifted up their hands and their pipes in utter dismay.
"Ten thousand duyvels!" exclaimed one old Van Winkle; "vat is dis?—it is too ped! King Jorje is forget himsel. I should not vonder we shall hab a rebublic next."
"I dink ve shall," was the universal response from amidst a dense cloud of tobacco vapour.
The Mohawks, or Kan-ye-a-ke-ha-ka, as they style themselves, are now only a dispersed remnant of a once powerful tribe of the Five Nations. They received several grants of land in Canada for their loyalty, and among others, 160,000 acres of the best part of the province in which we are now travelling, but it is probable that their numbers altogether do not now exceed 3000. Two thousand two hundred dwell near the Grand River, and a large body near Kingston. The Kingston branch are chiefly Church of England men, and an affecting memorial of their adhesion to Britain exists in the altar-cloth and communion-plate which they brought from the valley of the Mohawk, where it had been given to them in the days of Queen Anne.
A church has recently been erected by them on the banks of the Bay of Quinte, in the township of Tyendinaga, or the Indian woods. It is of stone, with a handsome tin-covered spire, and replaces the original wooden edifice they had erected on their first landing, the first altar of their pilgrimage, which was in complete decay.
They held a council, and the chief made this remarkable speech, after having heard all the ways and means discussed:—"If we attempt to build this church by ourselves, it will never be done: let us therefore ask our father, the Governor, to build it for us, and it will be done at once."
It was not want of funds, but want of experience, he meant; for the funds were to be derived from the sale of Indian lands. The Governor, the late Sir Charles Bagot, was petitioned accordingly, and the church now stands a most conspicuous ornament of the most beautiful Bay of Quinte.
They raised one thousand pounds for this purpose; and, proper architects being employed, a contract was entered into for L1037, and was duly accepted. How well it would be if this amount could be refunded to this loyal and moral people from England! What a mite it would take from the pockets of churchmen!
The first stone was laid by S. P. Jarvis, Esq., Chief Superintendent of Indians in Canada; and the Archdeacon of Kingston, the truly venerable G. O. Stuart, conducted the usual service, which was preceded by a procession of the Indians, who, singing a hymn, led the way from the wharf where the clergy and visitors had landed from the steamers, past the old church, through the grounds appropriated for their clergyman's house, and then, ascending the hill westward, they crossed the Indian Graves, and reached the site of their new temple. Te Deum and the Hundredth Psalm were then sung, and the Archdeacon, offering up a suitable prayer, the stone was lowered into its place. The following inscription was placed in this stone:—
To The Glory of God and Saviour The remnant of the Tribe Kanyeakehaka, In token of their preservation by the Divine Mercy, through Christ Jesus, In the Sixth Year of our Mother Queen Victoria, Sir Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, G.C.B. Being Governor-General of British North America, The Right Reverend J. Strachan, D.D. and LL.D., being Bishop of Toronto, and the Reverend Saltern Givins, being in the 13th year of his Incumbency, The old wooden fabric having answered its end,
This Corner Stone of Christ's Church, Tyendinaga, was laid in the presence of The Venerable George Okill Stuart, LL.D., Archdeacon of Kingston, By Samuel Peters Jarvis, Chief Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Canada, Assisted by various members of the Church, On Tuesday, May 30th, A.D. 1843. James Howard of Toronto, Architect; George Brown of Kingston, Architect, having undertaken the Supervision of the work, and John D. Pringle being the Contractor.
A hymn was sung by the Indians and Indian children of the school; the Rev. William Macauley, of Picton, delivered an address, which was followed by a prayer from the Rev. Mr. Deacon, and Collects, after which the Archdeacon pronounced the blessing.
I have recited this because I feel that it will interest a very large body of my countrymen in England, and trust that those who can afford to consider it will not forget the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, in whom I take the more interest from having had them under my command during the troubles of 1838, and of whose loyalty and excellent conduct then I have already informed the reader.
I saw this edifice lately; it is Gothic, with four lancet windows on each side, and buttressed regularly. Its space is 60 feet by 40, with a front tower projecting; and the spire, very pointed and covered with glittering tin, rises out of the dark surrounding woods from a lofty eminence of 107 feet. It is certainly the most interesting public building in Canada West.
I wish some excellent lady would embroider a royal standard or silk union-jack, that the Indians might display it on their tower on high days and holidays. Depend upon it they would cherish it as they have done the ancient memorials of their faith, which date from Queen Anne.
The Indian village near Brantford also boasts of its place of worship; but, although it has its ritual from the Church of England, the clergyman comes from the United States and is paid by the society, called the New England Society. He has lived many years among his flock, and is said to be an excellent man. The Indians are to a man as loyal as those of Tyendinaga. The Society has a school which it supports also, where from forty to fifty Indian children are taught and have various trades to work at.
They are very moral and temperate, and here may be seen the strange spectacle, elsewhere in the neighbourhood of the white man so rare—of unmixed blood. But the Whites amongst them nevertheless are not of the best sample of the race, as a great number of restless American borderers have fixed their tents near the Grand River, and they have managed to get a good deal of their property and lands, although in Canada it is illegal to purchase land from the Indian races. A superintendent, an old officer in the British army, is stationed with the Five Nations purposely to protect them; yet it is impossible for any one to be aware or to guard against the ruffianly practices of those who think that the Red Man has no longer a right to cumber the earth.
The Five Nations are settling; and it is observed that, whenever they cease to be nomadic, and steadily pursue agriculture and the useful arts, the decrease, so apparent in their numbers before, begins to lessen.
The public works, the great high road to London, and the opening of the navigation of the Grand River, have greatly enhanced the value of their property, whilst at the same time it has brought dangers with those conscienceless adventurers from the bordering States, and from the reckless turbulent Irish canal men, who keep the country in constant excitement, and who, owing no allegiance to Britain or to the American Union, cross over from the States to Canada, or vice versa, as work or whim dictates, carrying uneasiness and dismay wherever they go.
Latterly, however, these worse than savages have been kept in some control by the establishment of a mounted or foot police, and by stationing parties of the Royal Canadian Regiment on their flanks. The military alone can keep them in awe, though they cannot always prevent midnight burnings and atrocities. The French Canadians and the Indians cordially detest these canallers.
I was told a story in passing through Brantford, which shows how the spirit of the lower class of American settlers in this portion of Canada is kept up, since they first openly showed it during the rebellion.
A regiment of infantry, I think the 81st, was marching to relieve another at London, and, on arriving here, weary of the deep sandy or miry roads, the men naturally sought the pumps and wells of the village. A fellow who keeps a large tavern, called Bradley's Inn, hated the sight of the British soldier to that degree, that he locked up his pump of good drinking water and left another open, which was unfit for any purpose.
Lately, I see by the papers, this good Samaritan, who could not find it in his heart to assuage the thirst of a parched throat, or to give even a drop of water to the weary, had his house burnt down by accident. It is a wonder that he had not tried to place it to the account of the soldiers; but, perhaps, he was ashamed, and perhaps, they being at so great a distance as London is, he thought that such an impossibility would not go down. There was, it appears, no water to quench his devouring flame. Fiat justitia!
This part of Canada, and about London, has been a chosen region for American settlers, and also for loafers from the borders of the Republic; and accordingly you observe that which is not obvious in any part of the United States, twenty miles from the St. Lawrence, or the lakes, great pretension to independence and rough rudeness of manner, contrasted by the real independence and quiet bearing of the sons of Britain.
The refugees, or whatever the American border-settlers or adventurers in Canada may be called, are invariably insolent, vulgar, and unbearable in their manners; whilst, away from the frontier, in the United States, the traveller observes no ostentatious display of Republicanism, no vulgar insolence to strangers, unless it be in the bar-room of some wayside tavern, where one is sometimes obliged, as elsewhere, to rest awhile, and where the frequenters may be expected to be not either polite or polished.
The Americans may be said to live at the bar; and yet, in all great cities, the bar of the hotels seldom exhibits anything to offend a traveller, who has seen a good deal of the world; nor do I think that purposed insult or annoyance would be tolerated towards any foreigner who keeps his temper.
So it is all over the world. I remember, as a young man, in the army of Occupation in France, when the soul of the nation was ground to despair, at seeing foreign soldiers lording it in la belle France, that, at Valenciennes, St. Omers, Cambray, and all great towns, constant collisions and duels occurred from the impetuous temper of the half-pay French officers, and yet, in many instances, good sense and firmness avoided fatal results.
I know an officer, who was billeted, the night before one of the great reviews of the allied troops, in a small country tavern, where an Englishman had never before been seen, and he found the house full as it could hold of half-pay Napoleonists. The hostess had but one room where the guests could dine, and even that had a bed in it; and this bed was his billet.
He arrived late, and found it occupied by moustached heroes of the guard, Napoleon's cavalry and infantry demi-soldes, who had rested there to see the review next day, where the battle of Denain was fought over again with blank cartridge.
They were at supper and very boisterous, but, with the innate politesse of Frenchmen, rose and apologized for occupying his bedroom. To go to bed was of course not to be thought of, so he asked to be permitted to join the table; and, after eating and drinking, he found some of the youngest very much disposed to insult him. He watched quietly; at last, toasts were proposed, and they desired him to fill to the brim. The toast they said, after a great deal of improvising, was to the health of the greatest man and the greatest soldier, Napoleon le Grand!—De tout mon coeur, Napoleon le Grand!
This took them by surprise; they had no idea that an Englishman could see any merit in Napoleon.
"Fill your glasses, gentlemen," said the officer, "to the brim, as I filled mine."
They did so, and he said "A la sante de Napoleon deux," which was then a favourite way with the French Imperialists of toasting his son.
The effect was electric. The most insolent and violent of the vieux moustaches took up the stool he was sitting upon and threw it through the window; the glasses followed; and then he went round and embraced the proposer.
"Brave Anglais!" was shouted from many heated lungs; and the evening not only concluded in harmony, but they caused the hostess to make her unwelcome visitor as comfortably lodged for the night as the resources of her house would admit.
Thus it is all over the world; firmness and prudence carry the traveller through among strange people and stranger scenes; and, believe me, none but bullies, sharpers, or the dregs of the populace in any Christian country will insult a stranger.
All the stories about spitting, and "I guess I can clear you, mister," as the man said when he spat across some stage-coach traveller out of the opposite window, are very far-fetched. The Americans certainly do spit a great deal too much for their own health and for other people's ideas of comfort, but it arises from habit, and the too free practice of chewing tobacco. I never saw an American of any class, or, as they term it, of any grade, do it offensively, or on purpose to annoy a stranger. They do it unconsciously, just as a Frenchman of the old school blows his nose at dinner, or as an Englishman turns up his coat-tails and occupies a fireplace, to the exclusion of the rest of the company.
An Englishman should not form his notions of America from the works of professed tourists—men and women who go to the United States, a perfectly new country, for the express purpose of making a marketable book: these are not the safest of guides. One class goes to depreciate Republican institutions, the other to praise them. It is the casual and unbiassed traveller who comes nearest to the truth.
Monsieur de Tocqueville was as much prepossesed by his own peculiar views of the nature of human society as Mrs. Trollope. Extremes meet; but truth lies usually in the centre. It is found at the bottom of the well, where it never intrudes itself on general observation.
The Americans have no fixed character as a nation, and how can they? The slave-holding cavaliers of the South have little in common with the mercantile North; the cultivators and hewers of the western forests are wholly dissimilar from the enterprising traders of the eastern coast; republicanism is not always democracy, and democracy is not always locofocoism; a gentleman is not always a loafer, although certainly a loafer is never a gentleman. A cockney, who never went beyond Margate, or a sea-sick trip to Boulogne, that paradise of prodigals, always fancies that all Americans are Yankees, all clock-makers, all spitters, all below his level. He never sees or converses with American gentlemen, and his inferences are drawn from cheap editions of miserable travels, the stage, or in the liners in St. Katherine's Docks, after the company of the cabin has dispersed.
The American educated people are as superior to the American uneducated as is the case all over Christendom; and John Bull begins to find that out; for steam has brought very different travellers to the United States from the bagmen and adventurers, the penny-a-liners, and the miserables whose travels put pence into their pockets, and who saw as little of real society in America as the poor Vicar of Wakefield's family, before they knew Mr. Burchell.
The Americans you meet with in Canada are, with some exceptions, adventurers of the lowest classes, who, with the dogmatism of ignorant intolerance, hate monarchy because they were taught from infancy that it was naught. Such are the people who lock up their pumps; but they are not all alike. There are many, many, very different, who have emigrated to Canada, because they dislike mob influence, because they live unmolested and without taxation, and because they are not liable every moment to agrarian aggression.
In this part of the Canadas, the runaway slaves from the Southern States are very numerous.
There is an excellent covered bridge over the Grand River at Brantford; and, on crossing this in the waggon, we saw a good-hearted Irishman do what Mr. Bradley refused to do, that is, give drink to a wayfarer. This wayfarer resembled the Red Coat that Mr. Bradley hated so in one particular—he had his armour on. It was a huge mud turtle, which had most inadvertently attempted to cross the road from the river into the low grounds, and a waggon had gone over it; but the armour was proof, and it was only frightened. So the old Irish labourer, after examining the great curiosity at all points, took it up carefully and restored it to the element it so greatly needed—water. Was he not the Good Samaritan?
Whilst here, we were told that at Alnwick, in the Newcastle district, the government has located an Indian settlement on the Rice Lake very carefully. Each Indian has twenty-five acres of land, and a fine creek runs through the place, on the banks of which the Indian houses have been built so judiciously, that the inhabitants have access to it on both sides.
The Mohawk language is pronounced without opening and shutting the lips, labials being unknown. Some call the real name of the tribe Kan-ye-ha-ke-ha-ka, others Can-na-ha-hawk, whence Mohawk by corruption.
After staying a short time at Clement's Inn, which is a very good one, we left Brantford at half-past one, and were much pleased with the neatness of the place, and particularly with the view near the bridge of the river. The Indian village and its church are down the stream to the left, about two miles from the town, and embowered in woods.
We drove along for eight miles to the Chequered Sheds, a small village so called; at twenty minutes to four reached Burford, two miles further on, which is another small place on Burford Plains, with a church; and at a quarter past four reached a very neat establishment, a short distance beyond a small creek, and called the Burford Exchange Inn. The country is well settled, with good houses and farms.
We stopped a short time at Phelan's Inn, four miles and a half on, just beyond which the macadamized road commences again; but the country is not much settled between the Exchange and Phelan's Inn.
Woodstock—Brock District—Little England—Aristocratic Society in the Bush—How to settle in Canada as a Gentleman should do—Reader, did you ever Log?—Life in the Bush—The true Backwoods.
We arrived at Woodstock at eight p.m., and were delighted with the rich appearance of the settlement and country, resembling some of the best parts of England, and possessing a good road macadamized from granite boulders.
Woodstock is a long village, neatly and chiefly built of wood, fifty three miles from Hamilton. It is the county town of the Brock district; and here numbers of gentlemen of small fortunes have settled themselves from England and Ireland. It is a thriving place, and their cottages and country houses are chiefly built, and their grounds laid out, in the English style, with park palings. Sir John Colborne has the merit of settling this loyal population in the centre of the western part of Canada.
The old road went through a place called absurdly enough Paris, from the quantity of gypsum with which the neighbourhood abounds; and fine specimens of silurian fossils of the trilobite family and of madrepores, millepores, and corallics, are found here. Love's Hotel is the best in the village, and a good one it is.
What with the truly English scenery of the Oak Plains, the good road, and the British style of settlement, Woodstock would appear to be the spot at which a man tired of war's alarms should pitch his tent; and accordingly there are many old officers here; but the land is dear and difficult now to obtain. A recent traveller says it is the most aristocratic settlement in the province, and contains, within ten miles round, scions of the best English and Irish families; and that the society is quite as good as that of an average country neighbourhood at home. The price of land he quotes at L4 sterling an acre for cleared, and from L1 to L1 10s. for wild land. A friend of his gave L480 for sixty cleared and one hundred uncleared acres, with a log house, barn, and fences.
He moreover gives this useful information, that very few gentlemen farmers do more than make their farms keep their families, and never realize profit: thus, he says, a single man going to Woodstock to settle ought to have at least one hundred pounds a year income quite clear, after paying for his land, house, and improvements.
I have seen a good deal of farming and of farmers in Canada. Farming there is by no means a life of pleasure; but, if a young man goes into the Bush with a thorough determination to chop, to log, to plough, to dig, to delve, to make his own candles, kill his own hogs and sheep, attend to his horses and his oxen, and "bring in firing at requiring," and abstains from whiskey, it signifies very little whether he is gentle or simple, an honourable or a homespun, he will get on. Life in the Bush is, however, no joke, not even a practical one. It involves serious results, with an absence of cultivated manners and matters, toil, hardship, and the effects of seasoning, including ague and fever.
Recipe.—First buy your land in as fine a part of the province as possible, then build your log-hut, and a good barn and stable, with pig and sheep-pens. Then commence with a hired hand, whom you must not expect to treat you en seigneur, and who will either go shares with you in the crops, or require L30 currency a year, and his board and lodging.
Begin hewing and hacking till you have cleared two or three acres for wheat, oats, and grass, with a plot for potatoes and Indian corn.
When you have cut down the giant trees, then comes the logging. Reader, did you ever log? It is precious work! Fancy yourself in a smock-frock, the best of all working dresses, having cut the huge trees into lengths of a few feet, rolling these lengths up into a pile, and ranging the branches and brush-wood for convenient combustion; then waiting for a favourable wind, setting fire to all your heaps, and burying yourself in grime and smoke; then rolling up these half-consumed enormous logs, till, after painful toil, you get them to burn to potash.
Wearied and exhausted with labour and heat, you return to your cabin at night, and take a peep in your shaving-glass. You start back, for, instead of the countenance you were charmed to meet at the weekly beard reckoning, you see a collier's face, a collier's hands, and your smock-frock converted into a charcoal-burner's blouse.
Cutting down the forest is hard labour enough until practice makes you perfect; chopping is hard work also; but logging, logging—nobody likes logging.
Then, when you plough afterwards, or dig between the black stumps, what a pleasure! Every minute bump goes the ploughshare against a stone or a root, and your clothes carry off charcoal at a railroad pace.
It takes thirty years for pine-stumps to decay, five or six for the hard woods; and it is of no use to burn the pine-roots, for it only makes them more iron-like; but then the neighbours, if you have any, are usually kind: they help you to log, and to build your log-hut.
Your food too is very spicy and gentlemanlike in the Bush: barrels of flour, barrels of pork, fat as butter and salt as brine, with tea, sugar—maple-sugar, mind, which tastes very like candied horehound—and a little whiskey, country whiskey, a sort of non-descript mixture of bad kirschwasser with tepid water, and not of the purest gout. Behold your carte. If you have a gun, which you must have in the Bush, and a dog, which you may have, just to keep you company and to talk to, you may now and then kill a Canada pheasant, ycleped partridge, or a wild duck, or mayhap a deer; but do not think of bringing a hound or hounds, for you can kill a deer just as well without them, and I never remember to have heard of a young settler with hounds coming to much good. Moreover, the old proverb says, a man may be known by his followers: and it is as absurd for a poor fellow, without money, to have great ban-dogs at his heels, as it would be for a rich nobleman to live in his garret upon bread and water. Moreover, in Canada, most sportsmen are mere idlers, and generally neglectful either of their professions or of their farms. Many a fine young fellow has been ruined in Canada, by fancying it very fine to copy the officers of the army in their sportsmanship, forgetting that these officers could afford both in time and money what they could not.
Keep your house, and your house will keep you. Almost all settlers too have mothers, wives, sisters, brothers, cousins, to assist them, or to provide for; and, if they are industrious, a few years make them happy and independent.
Even L50 a year of clear income in the Bush is a very pretty sum, and L100 per annum places you on the top of the tree—a magnate, a magistrate, a major of militia.
I know many, many worthy families, who live well with their pensions or their half-pay.
What a luxury to have your own land, two hundred acres!—to live without the chandler, the butcher, the baker, the huxter, and the grocer! Tea, a little sugar and coffee, these are your real luxuries.
Soap you make out of the ley of your own potash; fat you get from your pigs or your sheep, which supply you with candles and food; and by and by the good ox and the fatted calf, the turkey, the goose, and the chicken, give your frugal board an air of gourmandism; whilst in this climate all the English garden vegetables and common fruits require only a little care to bring them to perfection. Indian corn and buckwheat make excellent cakes and hominy; and you take your own wheat to be ground at the nearest mill, where the miller requires no money, but only grist. In like manner, the boards for your house are to be had at the sawmill for logs, for potash, for wheat, for oats.
Keep a few choice books for an evening, and provide yourself with stout boots and shoes, a good coat, and etceteras, besides your smock-frock and shooting-jacket of fustian, and its continuations, and let the rest follow; for you will at last take to wear country homespun, when occasions of state do not require it otherwise, such as church and tea-parties of more than ordinary interest.
People talk about life in the Bush as they do about life in London, without knowing very much about either. Backwoods and backwoodsmen are novelties which amuse for the moment. A backwoodsman, who never worked at a farm, although he may be much in the habit of seeing farmers, has not always just conceptions. He must not live in a village newly made, but actually reside in a log-hut, just erecting, to know what life in the Bush is. Gentlemen and lady travellers are the worst judges possible, because, even if they go and visit their friends, the best foot is always put foremost to receive them, and vanity or love induces every sacrifice to make them comfortable.
They see nothing of the labours of the seven months' winter, of the aguish wet autumn, of the uncertain spring, of the tropical summer, of ice, of frost, of musquitoes and black flies, of mud and mire, of swamp and rock, of all the innumerable drawbacks with which the spirit of the settler has to contend, or the very coarse and scanty fare to solace him after his toils of the day.
See a young pair of brothers, sons of an officer of high rank, whose father dying left them but partially provided for, with a mother and several grown-up daughters.
They fly to France to live. This resource might, by a war, be soon broken up. The sons collect what remains of money—they arrive in Canada. They purchase cheap land far in the interior, miles away from any town. They build a log-hut, clear their land, and accumulate gradually the furniture and household goods. Toil, toil, toil. The log-hut is enlarged. The mother and daughters are invited from home to join their "life in the Bush." They are expected. Everything is made comfortable for them. The brothers are chopping in the woods—night approaches. They return—return to find their log-house, furniture, wardrobe, books, linen—every thing consumed. They are wanderers in the wilderness. Do they despair? Yes, because one brother, the strongest, takes cold—he lingers, he dies.
The survivor, indomitable, yet bowing under his accumulated afflictions, assisted by his neighbours, builds another log-house. His mother and sisters arrive, are dispersed among the nearest neighbours, get the ague. Struggle, struggle, struggle! on, on, on! The pension here is of service. The girls, brought up in luxury, scions of a good race, turn their hands cheerfully to do every thing. Their conduct is admired. Other settlers from the gentry at home arrive with some capital. The locality turns out good. The girls marry well. The surviving son, ten years afterwards, has four hundred acres of his own—thinks of building a house fit for a gentleman farmer to live in, and is surrounded by broad acres of wheat, without a stump to be seen, with a large flock of sheep grazing peacefully on his green meadows, and cattle enough to secure him from want.
This is one case, under my own eye, and the moral of it is, neither of the sons drank whiskey.
Look at another picture. An officer of respectable rank, young and tired of the service, where promotion is not even in prospect, settles in Canada—he has money. He buys at once a fine tract of forest, converts it by his money into a fertile farm, builds an excellent house, furnishes it, marries.
Knowing nothing of farming, fond of his dogs and his gun, delighted in a canoe and duck-shooting, absent day after day in the deer-tracks, occasionally killing a wolf or a bear, absorbed in sport, he leaves his farm to the sole care of an industrious man, who receives half the crops. He is cheated at every turn; the man buys with the profits land for himself, and leaves him abruptly.
The fine house requires repairs, the fences get out of order, the cattle and the pigs roam wherever they like. Money, too much money, has been laid out. The fine young man perhaps becomes a confirmed drunkard. Voila le fin!
This is another case under my own observation, and I very much regret indeed to say that, of the class of gentlemen settlers, it is by far more frequent and observable than the first. Habits of shooting beget habits of drinking and smoking; and it is not at all uncommon in the backwoods to see a man whom you have known on the sunny side of St. James's, dressed in the height of fashion, and of most elegant manners, walking along with his pointer and his gun in a smock-frock or blouse, a pipe, a clay-pipe stuck in the ribbon of his hat, and with evident tokens of whiskey upon him.
If he works at his farm, which all who are not overburthened with riches must do, and those that are usually remain in England, he works hard; and then reflect, reader, that chopping and logging, that cradling wheat and ploughing land, are not mere amusements, but entail the original ban, the sweat of the brow—he must every now and then drink, drink, drink. I have seen a man who would otherwise have been a high ornament to society, whose acquirements were very great, and who brought out an excellent library, abandon literature and his army manners, and drink whiskey, not by the glass but by the tumbler. And what is it, you will naturally ask, that can induce a reasoning soul to do thus? Why!—lack of society, want of current information, the long and tedious winter, and the labours of spring and of autumn. In fact, it is "the backwoods," the listlessness of the backwoods, which, like the opposite extreme, the fatuity and blase life of a great metropolis, causes men to rush into insane extremes to avoid reflection. The mind is dulled and blunted.