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LOWER PART OF THE RIVER.
are not costly, the wants of many districts have been already fully supplied.
About sunset we reached the ferry across the northwest, where it joins the main or south-west Miramichi river, and travelled the remaining ten miles to Douglas chiefly in the dark. The land is generally of better quality along this lower part of the river, is more extensively cleared, and more skilfully cultivated. Newcastle, a considerable village four miles below the junction of the north-west river, and Douglas, a town six miles farther down, are supported in part by their traffic with the country farmers, but chiefly by the lumber-trade, of which the mouth of the Miramichi has long been an important centre.
Soon after leaving Newcastle, we met with an accident by which the pole of our carriage was broken-a circumstance of the more importance as we had still some hills to descend before we could reach Douglas.
But my travelling companion, Mr Brown, was equal to any emergency. A spare rope, and a couple of stakes from the fence, in his hands soon placed us again in marching order; so that, with a little care, and by walking on foot down the dark slopes, we reached Douglastown in safety before midnight.
land.—Expense of clearing soon repaid.—Plague of grasshoppers, in New Brunswick and New England. — Legislative grants for the promotion of agriculture. — Average produce, prices and wages in Nor. thumberland county. — Town of Chatham, — Golden rod, a troublesome weed.-North American oaks.-European weeds on the cleared lands. — History of an Annandale settler. — Bush-bean.—Provincial encouragement to elementary and grammar schools. --Bay-du- Vin schoolmaster.-Richibucto.—Buctouche river.-Sweet fern soils — Patience and contentment of the French settlers, and restlessness of the Anglo-Saxons.-Shediac, famed for its oysters.--The Bend-Bore of the river Petitcodiac.-Height of high water above that of the Bay.Country between the Bend and the city of St John.-Case of Mr Nixon, and his opinion of New Brunswick as a poor man's country.Use of river mud as an improver of the soil. — Greater industry among new settlers than among the native-born.-Blighting of buckwheat.—Burned Bridge.—Beauty of Sussex Vale.—Mr Evanson's home farm, its value and produce.-Mr Aiton's farm.-Rent and course of cropping. — Hampton, and its conglomerate soils. — Fine-looking yeomen of New Brunswick.-Price of farms around Hampton.-A discontented Irishman.-Dyked marshes of St John and the Atlantic border. — Farms around St John, their quality and value. — Rate of wages for agricultural labour in the several counties of the province.
August 27.—Yesterday and to-day have been excessively hot. We found it so as we travelled down the river in our open carriage, but we had no means of ascertaining the temperature. At Douglastown, I am informed that the thermometer has frequently stood during the past week as high as 95° Fahr. in the shade.
On this, and a subsequent visit to the Miramichi, I was much indebted to the hospitality of Mr Rankine, one of
MR PORTER'S FARMS.
103 the oldest resident merchants, and the representative of a wealthy firm long connected with the North American colonial trade. I visited with him to-day the farm of Mr John Porter, on which I found good land, well cultivated, with fair crops of wheat and oats, and a field of excellent turnips, (Aberdeen yellows.) The wheat averages 20 bushels per acre, of 60 to 65 lb., and the oats 40 bushels of 37 to 40 lb. On the upland, where the soil is heavier, the oats weigh as high as 48 lb.
This farm is mostly flat land-an extension of the high intervale on which the town stands. It consists of 80 acres, of which 60 are cleared, and is worth £400, but would at present sell for £300. He assured me that, though he has a large family, he could make a living off this farm.
Above this, the same gentleman possesses another farm on the upland. It is stronger land, and produces better oats; but it is more difficult to work, and is later in spring. It consists of 150 acres, of which 50 are cleared, yields 15 tons of hay, lets for a money-rent of £33, and is valued at £400, all currency.* Ten years ago, this farm was let for £50. The tenants have never done anything else but farm, and they have been enabled to support their families and pay their rents — though, as I have already remarked, the renting of farms is not a popular or much practised mode in this country. It is an excellent plan, however, for a new beginner, who wishes to know something of the country before he fixes upon a spot for his permanent residence. Much of the moving, and of the want of local attachment which is seen in North America, is probably to be ascribed to the hasty settlement which circumstances compel so many emigrants to make on their arrival in America.
The course of cropping adopted by a skilful man like
* £20 sterling make £25 provincial currency.
TREATMENT OF NEWLY CLEARED LAND.
Mr Porter, on clearing new land from the forest, will give the reader an idea of the general character of the treatment to which less prudent men subject their land. He cuts down the wood and burns it, then takes a crop of potatoes, followed by one of wheat with grass seeds. Nine successive crops of hay follow in as many years; after which the stumps are taken up, the land is ploughed, a crop of wheat is taken; it is then manured for the first time, or limed, and laid down again for a similar succession of crops of hay. This treatment is hard enough; but the unskilful man, after burning and spreading the ashes, takes two or three or more crops of grain, leaves it to sow itself with grass, then cuts hay as long as it bears a crop which is worth the cutting-after all which he either stumps and ploughs it, or leaves it to run again into the wilderness state.
In clearing land in this district, it is calculated that the first three crops, which are merely harrowed in, will pay all the expense of cutting the timber, burning, and cultivating. If the settler then abandon it, he is no loser : everything he cuts off it afterwards is gain, or any sum for which he can sell his cleared land. This is a great inducement to the exhausting system, which clears annually new land for grain, cuts for hay all which the old cropped land will yield, till it is again overrun with a young growth of wood, and neither saves, collects, nor values manure,
This system is barbarous, reprehensible, and wasteful to the country—and yet it is probably the method which yields a ready sustenance to the settler's family at the smallest expense of mental and bodily labour. Our condemnation of the pioneers of civilisation in a new country ought not, therefore, to be too severe or indiscriminate. With all our skill, we English farmers and teachers of agricultural science should, in the same circumstances, probably do just the same, so long as land was plenty, labour scarce and dear, markets few and distant, and
PLAGUE OF GRASSHOPPERS.
prices of produce low. As population increases, a higher class will come in, will purchase the exhausted farms, and for their skill and manure will obtain from the soil new returns, as large, and perhaps as profitable as those which rewarded the men who first penetrated the bush. Or if such men do not come in, and the land still continues in the hands of the original clearers, or their sons, the good of the country will demand that steps should be taken to instruct and enlighten them in regard to the principles of agriculture, and by degrees to wean them from an agricultural routine which is no longer either the most profitable to the individual, or adapted to the altered circumstances of the country.
In walking over Mr Porter's farm, my attention was drawn to the vast number of grasshoppers which were jumping about, not only in his grass, but in his turnip fields. I had observed them previously in considerable numbers at various places on the St John River, but here the land seemed almost alive with them. They appear during the hot weather of midsummer and autumn, and attack the turnip crops as well as the grass, sometimes entirely stripping them of their leaves. If the young turnips are not sufficiently forward by the middle or end of July, when the grasshoppers begin to swarm, they are sometimes entirely destroyed. This is a pest of which our British turnip-growers, so far as I am aware, have no cause to complain.
In New England, five or six different grasshoppers, besides as many species of locust, appear in their warm summers. In Massachusetts, the grass in the meadows and moist fields is filled with myriads of small grasshoppers, of a light green colour, which do much injury to the grass. But, in New England, grasshoppers are not generally distinguished from the small varieties of locusts which are common in that country. One of these, the small red-legged locust, about an inch in
with my which do grasshopieties