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ENCOURAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
length, infests the salt marshes in such numbers as almost entirely to consume the grass; and when the scanty crop of hay is gathered, it is so tainted with the putrescent bodies of the dead locusts contained in it that it is rejected by cattle and horses.* It is some small return for their ravages that the bodies of these creatures manure the fields they have infested, and that poultry thrive upon them. Young turkeys, in the summer, live almost entirely upon these grasshoppers in parts of Massachusetts, and become fat.
The Northumberland Agricultural Society, which has its headquarters at Douglas, has hitherto been the most influential in the province, and has received the largest share of the legislative grant for the encouragement of agriculture. A method of promoting improvement among the rural population, which is common to the provincial and to the New England state legislatures, is to give from the public funds to every society a sum of money, bearing a fixed proportion to the amount raised among its own members. In New Brunswick, for every pound subscribed in a district for the promotion of agriculture, the Legislature formerly gave #2, and now give as much as £3, from the Provincial Treasury, thus stimulating at once and rewarding the local subscribers. For this purpose, £6150 were voted by the New Brunswick Legislature in 1848.
In this district I found some of the best farming and best farmers in the province, and some of the warmest friends of agricultural improvement. As there are at present many farms to be disposed of upon the Miramichi River, for which persons who know something of agriculture are eagerly desired from the Old Country, I shall insert the average produce, price, and weight per bushel, of the usually cultivated crops in the county of
* HARRIS's Insects of Massachusetts Injurious to Agriculture, p. 136.
AVERAGE PRODUCE, PRICES, AND WAGES.
Northumberland, which embraces most of the good land on the Miramichi and its tributary waters.
The average price of cheese is 54d. a pound, and of butter 9d. The average wages paid for agricultural labour are, in summer, from 50s. to 60s. a month, or, by the whole year, £27, 10s. currency, in addition to board, washing, and lodging. Day-labourers receive from onehalf to three-quarters of a dollar, with provisions.
After a hasty survey of the neighbourhood of Douglas, we drove down to the river, and crossed to the town of Chatham, on the right bank. Near the ferry we found a large encampment of Indians, who are about two hundred strong, on the Miramichi River, and own reserves of about 22,000 acres, some of which consist of excellent land. It was amusing to see the little papooses, only a few weeks old, swaddled up tight, tied fast to a bit of board, and set on end against the outside of the wigwams, apparently unheeded by anybody. No movement was made by any of the fernales, nor a sound uttered by the infant, when I took up one of them and affected to carry it off with me to the boat.
The town of Chatham is about equal in size to Douglas, and, like it, is dependent partly upon the lumber-trade and partly upon the agricultural traffic. On this occasion I merely drove through it with the view of reaching Richibucto, a distance of forty miles south, before nightfall.
GOLDEN ROD, A TROUBLESOME WEED.
had seen in theatisfied, notw the hay-crop to
in the settl strong lan
Half-an-hour brought us to the Napan River, a stream which widens as it descends, and falls into Miramichi Bay. On this river there is much good strong land, a stiff clay, the first I had seen in the settlement, for the improvement of which I was satisfied, notwithstanding the drought—which even here had reduced the hay-crop to one-third of its usual amount—that the system of thorough drainage might, even in this climate, be unhesitatingly recommended. This clay is specially infected with two species of golden rod, (Solidago canadensis and $. altissima,) which are troublesome weeds, and the former especially difficult to extirpate.
Neither of these species of golden rod is known as a weed in Europe. The only European species is the Solidago virgo aurea, which is also a native of America. It is not known as yet how many species of golden rod are to be found in New Brunswick; but in the state of New York no less than twenty-two species are known. It is very interesting to the botanist and physiologist to observe such differences in the flora of countries so closely allied as Great Britain and Northern America now are; but, as practical indications of the qualities of soils, this new flora is a source of difficulty to the visitor or settler from the Old Country, who is accustomed from early observation to connect in his mind the qualities of a soil with the weeds which grow upon it. It is a matter of regret that botanical collectors do not describe more particularly both the kind of soil on which plants usually occurwhich, when troublesome weeds, they infest—and the geological formations on which they are most frequently found. A practical value would thus be given to botanical descriptions, which hitherto they have seldom possessed.
To the English traveller, who is less interested about the indications of the humbler vegetable tribes, the numerous new species of familiar kinds of trees he meets with in Northern America are more striking. Thus in
EUROPEAN PLANTS IN AMERICA.
Great Britain, and in central Europe generally, there are seen only two kinds of oak, the common British and the sessile-fruited oak, Quercus robur and Q. sessiliflora. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick he does not find these oak trees, but in their stead two others, the red and grey oaks, Q. rubra and Q. borealis. If he goes south, the number of species increases. In Massachusetts he already meets with eleven, and in New York fifteen species of oak, among which the northern or grey oak is not included. In the whole United States, no less than forty species of oak are already known.
But probably the most generally interesting fact in regard to American plants is the influence which the introduction of European races and manners, and the frequency of intercourse with European countries, is said to have had upon the prevailing weeds, especially of the Atlantic coasts and river borders of North America. The common plantain, Plantago major, was called by the Indians the White-man's-foot. The Canadian, or creeping thistle, Cnicus arvensis, or Cirsium arvense, the pest of North American farmers, and therefore often called the cursed thistle, is an importation from Europe. Not only have most of the cultivated plants and grasses been brought from Europe, but, according to Agassiz, all the plants growing by the road-sides are exotics.
“And the wheat came up, and the bearded rye,
Beneath the breath of an unknown sky." « Everywhere in the track of the white man we find European plants; the native weeds have disappeared before him like the Indian. Even along the railroads we find few indigenous species. On the road between Boston and Salem, although the ground is uncultivated, all. the plants along the track and in the ditches are foreign."*
How curious are the reflections which such facts suggest! Would it be irrational in an Indian to suppose
* Lake Superior, its Physical Character, &c. p. 10. Boston, 1850.
110 JOHN MʻLEAN FROM ANNANDALE. that these European weeds in the ditches of the Salem railroad had actually followed the footsteps of the Irish emigrants who dug them ? May not the seeds of them have been actually shaken from the shoes of the newlyarrived immigrants ?
On the Napan River there are many settlers from Dumfriesshire, chiefly from Annandale. This has arisen from the circumstance that a traffic in timber has long existed between the Miramichi River and the town of
passage to intending emigrants. Their sons are noted as the best ploughmen, and themselves as among the best farmers in the province.
With one of these settlers, John M'Lean, I had an interesting conversation; and as his history may interest some of my readers also, as an example of the way in which steady industry overcomes difficulties, and secures comparative prosperity in a new country, I shall state the leading facts I gathered from him. He came over in the year 1822. He has 250 acres in his farm, of which 150 are cleared; but he has not force to keep all this land in crop. He works it with the aid of three of his sons, two daughters, and three horses-keeps eleven cows, eight or nine young cattle, and a few sheep. He bought his land in the wild state, cleared it all himself without hired labour, and has raised eleven children. He has four sons settled on farms, one of whom paid £150 for his farm; two of them worked as carpenters till they had saved money to buy their farms. Neither he nor any of his children ever lumbered, nor should any of them if he could help it. Not one in twenty makes anything by lumbering; and by sticking to their farms, men in the long run always make a better living, and are more independent, than by anything else. Many others who came out with him, and since he came, have stuck to their farms, and have done as well as himself. Though