Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

• 286 SINGULAR APPEARANCES IN THE LIMESTONE.

the gneiss were interstratified regularly and distinctly. How, then, came these anomalous appearances ? They are regarded by some as proofs of the theory that the crystalline limestones, like the granites which have been fused, are of igneous origin; that they have been melted, and in this state have been elevated from beneath, and injected into the anomalous situations in which they are occasionally found. Without denying the possibility of such fusion and injection, there is no occasion, I think, to have recourse to this supposition with the view of explaining the phenomena hitherto observed. The most strenuous supporter of this igneous origin of the crystalline limestones in North America is Dr Emmons of Albany—a man of much learning, who has enjoyed many opportunities of personally observing such rocks in situ. My attention was drawn to the subject by this gentleman during my stay in that city; I shall, therefore, if my space permit, return for a little to the consideration of his views in a subsequent chapter.

CHAPTER XI.

Montreal.-New churches.Ruins of the Parliament House. Scotch

farmers in the Island of Montreal.-Soil near Lachine.-Its produce per acre.—Cultivation of hops.-Price of land.-French Canadian farms and farming.–Bad farming at home.—Bad farmers forced to emigrate.—Clerical obstacles to the settlement of Protestant farmers in Lower Canada. —Apples and cider of the island.—Hedges of English and American Thorn.-Valley of Lachine.-Importance of a better practical husbandry in Lower Canada. Interest of an established clergy in promoting its introduction.-Interest they have in the land. -- Yet progress has generally been slowest where the interest of the clergy is the greatest.-Importance of agricultural instruction in the country schools, especially in agricultural principles. -How they should be taught.-Desire to introduce such instruction in Lower Canada.- Patronage of the Roman Catholic clergy.-Excursion to St Hilaire.-St Lawrence and Atlantic railroad.—Winter shelter for cattle.—Mode of making butter.—Maple sugar manufacture in Canada and the adjoining States.—Mode of procedure.-Produce of single trees. — Profit of Maple-groves. — Soil of the valley of St Lawrence.—Tile-drainage upon its stiff clays.—Pigeon or stone weed, its prevalence.- What its history teaches.-Inferior breeds of pigs and cattle.--Belloil Mountain.–Pilgrimage Stations.-Beautiful view of the St Lawrence flats.—Exhaustion of this formerly fertile region.Seignorial tenure of land.—Reserved rights of the seigneur.Reserved rents a grievance.-Sherbrooke.—Lands of the “ Canadian Land Company,” in the eastern counties. — Their progress and present inconveniences.— Tile-draining at Montreal. — Voyage to Quebec.—The Ottawa River and District.-Its rising importance.Proportions of British and French in Montreal.- National, political, religious, and municipal parties in the city.-Difficulty in satisfying such a population.—Wisdom in changing the seat of government.Why the British members from Upper Canada voted for the Rebellion Losses Bill.-Explanation of one of their number.

Sunday, 23d September.—I attended morning service in an Episcopal chapel in Montreal. It was well per

288

66 REBELLION REWARDED."

formed; but the congregation was very small. In its ecclesiastical concerns, the city appears to be in a very prosperous and thriving condition. A new Roman Catholic cathedral, and a palace for the bishop, have been of late years erected. The cathedral is chiefly remarkable for its size and internal capacity. It is so fitted up with pews as to afford sitting-room for ten thousand people! New churches belonging to other denominations also, and all handsome, are springing up in various wellselected situations.

As I went along the streets, evidences of the prevailing political excitement presented themselves everywhere. Among others was a large placard on the walls, headed “ Rebellion Rewarded," and containing extracts from the speeches of Lords Stanley and Lyndhurst in the House of Lords, on the subject of the recent Compensation Bill. I could not help regretting that opinions should have been expressed by influential men in the Home legislature, which those who were now declaring themselves enemies of British connection should be able to quote with something like a show of reason, in justification of their illegal violence.

I visited the ruins of the Parliament House. It had been a fine massive building, constructed of the blue Trenton limestone, which is much employed as a building stone in Montreal. The outer walls were still standing; but though massively built, it appeared to be entirely incapable of repair. It is a defect of this stone, otherwise excellent for building purposes, that the united action of fire and water upon it causes it to crack, and fly into numberless splinters. Hence the walls of the Parliament House, and those of a large hotel lately burned down in the city, are shattered and splintered in every direction. This is an evil to which walls of brick, sandstone, granite, or hardened slate, are not so subject.

Monday, Sept. 24.—The wind was blowing cold this SCOTCH FARMERS AT LACHINE.

289

morning, and I began to feel my summer clothing too light for the Canadian autumn. After breakfast, I drove out to Lachine with a Mr Somerville, a practical Scottish farmer, long settled in the country, who has a farm of 300 or 400 acres on the banks of the St Lawrence, opposite the rapids of Lachine. He and his neighbour, Mr Penner, are farmers of the old Scotch school, who bid you " lay the land dry, then clean and manure-make straight furrows, clean out your ditches, take off the stones, and plough deepish.With these good mechanical principles, industriously carried out, they have greatly surpassed the French Canadian farmers; and with the possession of good Ayrshire stock, and the growth of a few turnips, and of mangoldwurzel, which does well even with the early winters of Lower Canada, they have raised good crops, extended the arable land of their farms, and kept up its condition.

The soil on this part of the island of Montreal, which lies low, and along the river, is of a blackish colour, generally very rich-of a loamy character, and easy to work. It is drained by open ditches and cross-furrows. Tile-draining, hitherto untried, is indicated by the local circumstances of soil, climate, and physical position ; and although here, as in the State of New York, the cost may appear large when compared with the total value of the land, and the increase of price which, after tile-draining, would be obtained for it in the market, yet, if from the cost be deducted the annual outlay which must be incurred to keep the ditches and cross-furrows open, the actual expense of the permanent tile-drainage will rapidly disappear. When a man settles on such land, therefore, as requires the maintaining of open ditches—with the view of retaining it, say only ten to twelve years—he will, in most cases, find his pecuniary profit greater at the end of the term, although the price

VOL. I.

[ocr errors]

290

THE GARDEN OF CANADA.

he then sells his land for should really be no greater, in consequence of the drainage he has performed. Here, as in New Brunswick and the Eastern States of the Union, I find it was a disputed question whether money is to be made by farming, where all the work is done by hired labour; that is, whether the Scotch, and English system of large farming, or the class of large farmers, can be successfully introduced into the province.

It is conceded that a man with 100 acres in cultivation, doing one-half the work by the hands of his own family, and employing hired labour to do the rest, may make both ends meet; but if a larger farm is to be worked by the same home-force, with a larger number of hired labourers, it is a question whether it can be done, in average years, so as to pay. This doubt arises not merely from the high price, but from the alleged, and I believe real, inferior quality of the agricultural labour-chiefly Irish—which a farmer is able to secure.

The island of Montreal has been long celebrated for its fertility, and, from its production of fine fruits, has been called " the garden of Canada.” The front-land, along the river, over which I passed, is very good, producing, per imperial acre, from 20 to 35 bushels of wheat, from 40 to 60 of oats, and of Indian corn, though not much cultivated here, from 40 to 50 bushels. The value of this land is, on an average, about £20 currency, or £16 sterling, per acre, when it is in a good state of cultivation, and has good buildings upon it.

Mr Penner's farm is, for the most part, very superior land. From 40 to 50 acres of it are in hops, which thrive well-produce, on an average, from 800 to 1000 Ib. per acre, and are a profitable crop. Here, as in our own hop-grounds, and in those of Flanders, they require high manuring; and thus, as a general article of culture, they are beyond the skill of the manure

« AnteriorContinuar »