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This Company, though to its shareholders it has proved a failure, has been of considerable service to the colony, and under its present management, is capable of being of much use to intending settlers from the mother country. Incorporated by act of parliament, it bought 550,000 acres from the crown in this county of York, and has opened roads in various directions, established a resident clergyman and medical practitioner at Stanley, and promoted the settlement of many respectable emigrant families in the neighbourhood. Immediately around the town of Stanley, the land is by no means of first-rate quality, but it produces 25 bushels of wheat an acre, and 200 to 300 bushels of potatoes. The wheat is thin skinned; averages 64 to 68 lb. a bushel ; 68 lb. is common, and it is said sometimes to weigh as much as 70 lb. These high weights of wheat have often been given me in different parts of New Brunswick. I suppose that the very hot summers dry the grain so much as to give it superior density.
On one of the farms I visited, I found improvements proceeding as an Englishman likes to do his work-clearing, stumping, taking off stones, and trenching all at one operation. This no doubt makes the land pleasanter to look upon, and gives it a more civilised appearance than when the stumps are left for seven or eight years to rot before they are taken out. But it, costs £10 currency an acre to clear it after this manner; so that, granting this method to be as cheap in the long run, it is quite beyond the means of the mass of new settlers. The owner of this farm, himself a new settler, assured me that it was a great mistake for a person with a little capital to settle in the wilderness, with the view of clearing himself a farm, when intervale land can be bought for £10 an acre. I believe there is much truth in this, unless a very favourably situated grant of good land can be obtained. The turnips (Aberdeen yellows) were on this
RUNNING FIRE IN THE FIELDS.
farm very beautiful. Sown on the 19th of July, they already covered the ground.
Two farms of 100 acres each, 30 acres cleared on each, and a small house, were offered me together for £100, or £50 for each. Another farm of 205 acres, with 120 cleared, and a really nice house on it, was to be had for £750 currency.
The hop grows well here, as I afterwards saw it in the most northern parts of the province. Though there is little local demand for the produce of this plant, it might be cultivated for exportation, and would have, in the English market, at least an equal chance with the hops now imported in large quantities from the United States.
It was very striking, on one of the farms I visited, to see how rapidly fire was capable of running along a field, burning the parched grass, and endangering the crops. Advantage had been taken of the extreme drought to burn up some stumps, when, by a sudden freak of the wind I suppose, the fire took to the grass, and spread so fast towards a field of oats that it was necessary to turn out all hands to arrest it by throwing earth on the advancing line of fire; and it was finally shut out only by yoking the horses into a plough, and hastily running a furrow between the fire and the oats.
Returning from Stanley to the main road, we passed through some fine hardwood land upon the Company's grant, well adapted for farming. It was like driving through a beautiful green lane, the narrow road opened by the Company being for the most part covered with verdure, and the shade of the lofty trees affording a grateful shelter from the mid-day sun.
We came upon the Nashwauk where it ceases to be navigable, and where the ancient Indian portage across the country to the south-west Miramichi River commences. The Nashwauk, as I have already mentioned, falls into the St John opposite to Fredericton. Along its banks there
is much excellent intervale land ; and for upwards of twenty miles above its mouth, the cleared lands are occupied by the descendants of old soldiers of the Black Watch, (42d,) who obtained grants here in 1783, at the end of the American war, They have among them many fine farms, but their clearings have as yet extended only a short distance into the upland.
Across the portage to Boistown—about twenty miles —the country is comparatively level, and the soil is light, sandy, stony, and often poor. Its appearance was injured by the excessive drought, and the real agricultural value of the surface has been lessened by the frequent forest-burnings. At present it is almost naked of trees, and in many places forms for miles one continued fern brake.
After leaving the banks of the Nashwauk, we crossed some miles of a bilberry swamp-in other words, a bog on which bilberries grow. Half-way, we stopped to bait; and, on indifferent land, found, among other settlers, a Mr Duncan, a Scotchman. His farm consists of two hundred acres, for which he paid, when he came here, £100, ten acres being in crop. “ I have plenty to eat," he said, “ but I would rather pay £4 an acre for land in Aberdeenshire than be here on my own land, A man who would make his living by clearing land, in this country, must work more like a slave than a farmer.”
Mr Duncan had settled himself on an unfavoured spot, and was naturally enough dissatisfied. And many such discontented and disappointed, and therefore restless and unhappy people, are to be found in all the newly-settled countries of North America, whether in the British provinces or in the United States.
Two things, indeed, cannot be too strongly impressed upon those who are about to emigrate. First, That those who wish to get through the world easily—who are not prepared both for privations and for very hard work-had
hur Duncan, a Scoland, found, Way, we stoppe
far better stay at home. America is not a good home for : idlers. Second, That, if the emigrant has capital, he ought to spend a little time in looking out for an eligible settlement before he fixes on a permanent home. If he have no capital to spare, let him go to service for a season, asking moderate wages till he learn where he can hope, with his small means, most happily to place himself.
In the wilderness, on burned land, besides the fireweed, the red wild raspberry, Rubus strigosus, springs up in vast abundance, and especially on granite and trappean soils. At Duncan's, I found it was the practice to eat this raspberry, and store it as hay. It is a kind of famine feed; but it is very frequently mixed with the hay, and the sheep are said to prefer it to common hay.
On the marsh-lands about Gagetown, on the St John, the smooth swamp horse-tail, salt-rush, or pipe-rush, Equisetum limosum, is largely cut for hay, as I believe is sometimes done in Great Britain. On the St John, cattle are said to fatten upon this hay, and to prefer it to the best English hay. In connection with this fact, I may mention that the field horse-tail, Equisetum arvense, according to Professor Torry,* is a favourite and nutritious food for horses towards the passes of the Rocky Mountains ; though in Great Britain it is not only considered prejudicial to the land—or rather a sign of something to be cured in the land—but as injurious to cattle, which occasionally eat it.t
The flowed intervale lands abound also in the sensitive fern, Onoclea sensibilis. Upon the Keswick River, where I crossed it in returning from Woodstock, it seemed literally to cover the soil. It is cut along with the grass, and must often form a considerable proportion of the meadow hay.
At the end of the portage we descended a steep hill to
* Botany of New York, vol. ii. p. 481.
Boistown, on the South-west Miramichi River, which runs eastward and falls into Miramichi Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of St Lawrence. This place was formerly the seat of a thriving lumber-trade, which has now almost ceased, owing to the failure of the principal adventurer by whom it was carried on. A scattering of the population has in consequence taken place, and many individual losses and social derangements have been occasioned, which it will require a considerable time to repair and adjust. Thirteen miles farther brought us to Nelson's, through virgin forests of pine growing on a poor sandy soil. The straw of the grain crops was everywhere short, and the rain had not reached the roots of the potatoes since they were planted. It was no season for judging fairly of the capabilities of the soil.
August 26th.—After breakfast, we left Nelson's for Chatham. The country continued poor, gravelly, sandy, or stony, with occasional boulders, sometimes of granite, but chiefly of the grey sandstone of the coal measures, which extend across the province from the St John at Fredericton to the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Throughout the whole of this day's journey, the effects of the dreadful fire of 1825 were visible in the blackened stems of the tall upright dead trees, which still stood undecayed, as far as the eye could see, over the gloomy hills and flats. On newly burned land the purple Epilobium waved its graceful leaves and purple flowers around the blackened trunks, and concealed in beauty the scorched underwood and fallen branches. But on these old burned lands the desolation was more complete, and a more sullen gloom still rested over the doomed surface. The substance of the soil is gone, it is said, where the burning has been too severe. The vegetable matter, I suppose, is consumed ; and this, where no living trees are shedding their annual leaves, it must take many years to restore. Many striking facts were told us regarding this