Open Collections

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

Canada in 1848. Being an examination of the existing resources of British North America. With considerations… Synge, Millington Henry, 1823-1907 1848

Item Metadata


JSON: bcbooks-1.0221707.json
JSON-LD: bcbooks-1.0221707-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): bcbooks-1.0221707-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: bcbooks-1.0221707-rdf.json
Turtle: bcbooks-1.0221707-turtle.txt
N-Triples: bcbooks-1.0221707-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: bcbooks-1.0221707-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Array       CANADA IN 1848. 
PRICE ONE SHILLING. "In the fourteenth year of George m. the boundaries of the province of Quebec, as it was
then called, were defined by an act of the Imperial Government. By that act it included a
great extent of what is now New England, and the whole of the country between the state
of Pennsylvania, the river Ohio, and the Mississippi north to the Hudson's Bay territory."
—" Hochelaga."
Which was thus reviewed in "Blackwood's Magazine": —
" If England is, as she is said to be, generally tenacious, she has strangely relaxed in
North America. Governments have patched up disputes, and made concessions through
fear of complicating their difficulties, and of incurring blame for plunging the country
into war, and the critical moment passed, she has borne no malice, and let bygones be bygones. . . Meanwhile, and in case of accidents, it is proper and prudent to keep our bayonets brieht, and to put bolts and bars upon the gates of Canada." CANADA   IN    1848,
&c. &c. &c. 
In the beginning of the year 1846 the attention of
England was roused to so great a degree by the tone of
President Polk's message to the United States' Congress,
as to lead to a display t)f determination, on the part of
the Premier of the then existing administration, which
was warmly and gladly received by our very pacific
country. It is not our object to enter into a recapitulation
of the circumstances of the treaty that surrendered our
claims, and so restored the peaceful understanding
between this country and the United States; nor of
those of the equally to-be-regretted Ashburton treaty;
although regrets, unavailing enough, will arise in whomsoever studies the fantastic outline of our North American
frontier, and reflects on its injurious consequences.
But one thing connected with both these treaties induces us to call earnest attention to this subject; namely,
that in both cases the country at large was too ignorant
of the merits of the questions to be deeply interested;
and—if this ignorance was not shared by the Government
and its accredited employes—the subjects of intense and
general interest immediately around us were so numerous
and great, as to eclipse the vital importance of questions
at issue in a remoter scene.
In Sir F. B. Head's book, | The Emigrant," is a record
of the conduct of the Government, on the occasion of the
state of Canada coming before the Imperial Parliament,
at the time of the Earl of Durham's report. Whatever
opinion may be entertained of the subject then under
discussion, the most superficial reader can scarcely fail to
remark that the interest of questions nearer home excluded, or, at least, greatly overshadowed that felt for 4
others more remote and less known.    Nor can it ever be
otherwise. i
To prevent, therefore, a repetition of similar occurrences, a general interest in the immense empire inhabited
by our countrymen is essential; which interest is only to
be awakened by an intimate acquaintance with its characteristics.
The opinion, some years ago growing more and more
popular, that colonies are rather hindrances to the prosperity of Great Britain than glorious helpers thereunto,
has in it, like most opinions commonly entertained, a
mixture of truth and of error. So long as we continue
to pour from our shores swarms of helpless paupers,
whom we ship merely to be rid of, so long will such
colonists remain an inelastic burden on the mother
country. So long as we allowed the education, moral
and physical, of all our population, to be neglected, so
long could we not expect material prosperity or genuine
affection from that portion, driven ignorant and helpless
to fight their undirected way into comparative ease, or to
perish uncared for in the attempt. Such, however, have
been the substitutes for the yeomen and labourers of
England whom we have sent to our colonies.
In educating our home population we have made a
great stride, which, supplied as our colonies are from
home, will shortly tell, if well continued, throughout the
world; and the monstrous evils of " spontaneous emigration" have risen to such a pitch as to have attracted
universal attention. Let us hope, then, for a wiser intelligence on colonisation in sequence to our educational
Tiie general principle of our remarks will be found to
apply to most of our large colonial possessions ; but our
present object is especially the fuller development of the
resources of British North America.*
It is an idea very commonly entertained, that the
British provinces will, as soon as they cease to find it
contrary to their advantage, fellow the example of those
revolted colonies, now the United States; and that it is
* More especially the very great opportunities afforded by the cessation of
convict-labour in our Australian colonies should not be overlooked. The
great present pressure in these colonies, in consequence of the want of such
labour, should be removed in connection with the relief and profitable employment of portions of our surplus home population.
JlBTT^SirTT—jg inexpedient to retain a country so long as it continues a
drain on the fatherland, to not only lose it, but to have
nurtured it into a rival, when it shall have attained
Let us bid those who may think that in Canada the
state of feeling is already rootedly alienated from Great
Britain remember that from thence its inhabitants, or
their fathers, from whose loins they are sprung, mostly
took their departure in early life; and that thousands of
men, no more than a single one, voluntarily abandon the
love of the land of their early home,"of their ancestry,
and the resting-places of their friends. Let it also be
remembered by those who would argue the defection of
Canada, or other British provinces, from the history of
the past, what were the circumstances attending the last
revolt (and only one) of British Colonies. Let them call
to mind the injustice and the ignorance against which
those colonies revolted, and the unyielding obstinacy of
that spirit of unteachableness, which is answerable for
the past, and against which, they, who desire imperial
unity, have still to struggle in all quarters of the globe.
Let the regret with which those colonies revolted be also
borne in mind ! Generations have succeeded, yet in the
hearts of many of the best and noblest, that lingering
regret remains ; not that the revolt took place, not that
it was successful, but that it was rendered necessary.
And yet the wondrous progress of that republic is
owing to the continuous influx of human sinew from that
land, from whose ancestry and traditions, from whose
fame and glory, it has forcibly severed itself! That
sinew continues to pour in: famine and pestilence have
stricken it, and it must now recruit itself in British
America; it must, moreover, there learn to adapt itself
to the new field of labour to which it is called; it must
come healthy, clad, and helpful: and still that sinew
comes pouring in.
And so British America is one vast lazar-house—one
school of labour to its contiguous rival.
And why is this ?
I Spontaneous emigration" casts upon the British
part (which surely has the first claim on us—it is the
claim of us on ourselves)—multitudes stricken by pestilence and famine. Heart-rending suffering is relieved
with all that generosity can bestow : but no scheme of labour is formed for the recovered, or the healthy; no
sure hope burns a beacon, giving courage in adversity;
no immediate means of honourable employment are at
hand to enable the emigrant to look about him; no means
of earning subsistence are pointed out to silence indolent
beggary, and to prevent the loss of shame in those, whose
first asking had been with an aching heart.
Some employment, some half measures, some unconnected, desultory doings are certainly going on; these
cease and vary, and the recruited sinew, and the saved
capital, crosses the frontier. A necessary evil consequence
of this uncertain demand for labour, is the high price it
can at times command, especially in such kinds of employment as cannot be prosecuted during the severe
winter of the country. This high, but variable, price
thus cripples development, and re-acts against itself.
Can this call on British America to give shelter to the
indigent and to the sick, and lose the fair return of seeing,
through our care, a contented and flourishing population
grow therefrom upon its soil, be expected to make the
country partial to the connection to which it is indebted
for this evil ? Is the alms grudgingly bestowed and received with pain, or the necessary machinery of State
relief likely to nurse a thankful people?
But these things can and must be changed: and it can
be proved to these provinces that England, and England
only, can fully develope their resources—that, in fact,
they co-exist only with the union with England.
Be it our task, and pleasure, to aid in showing how
these things can be.
Our scheme for the development of the resources of
British America, whilst relieving the present awful distress, is the formation of secure, rapid, and complete
—that is, independent, communication thioughout the
country ; because:—
It provides at once for the productive relief of innumerable poor; for the productive employment of the
surplus population of Great Britain.
It accomplishes the boon so ardently desired by the
North American Provinces—viz., independent home and
inter-provincial communication; and, much more,—
It lays the foundation of labouring habits, of capital,
of knowledge of the country, in many, many thousands of
valuable men, true Britons;— It opens to a people stricken, and bowed down, new
fertile lands, now known only to the few, who from exploring habits, or transient business, have beheld its
natural richness, and its destitution of inhabitants ;—
It provides an efficient means for replacing " spontaneous emigration" by an organised, superintended, directed, and employed colonisation.
We trust also to establish that our scheme further
promotes the colony's constant, natural, and lasting
attachment to the mother country—indeed, its virtual
unity therewith, and its defence; and, truly, that it combines these objects so as to make the one scarcely
severable from the other.
We shall now endeavour to arrange, as simply as possible, the evidence and reasoning on which these our
assertions are built.
The theoretical attention of the Government has been
for some time drawn to the importance of the systematic
development of our colonies; and the efforts of noble
and patriotic philanthropists directed to the arrangement
of such colonisation as shall carry with it the flag of
England, conquering deserted tracks, multiplying families
in all regions, and forming countries and nations whose
sympathy is one, and (in the language of a late beautiful
dispatch) " whose aim and hope for the future are identi-
tical." Amazing field thus offering in our colonies
throughout the world, for which the superfluous population of Great Britain is the invaluable "requisite, if properly directed. These convictions and desires have, as
yet, resulted in little more than the collection of much
valuable information and the partial propagation of the
opinions of experienced and talented men; but who can
rise from reading the Report of the Select Committee of
the House of Lords on Colonisation from Ireland, with
the Minutes of Evidence, or from the Report of Lord
Monteagle's Select Committee on Colonisation, unconvinced of the opportunities offering in British North
America? Can any read such an array of statistical
and other facts as is contained in the evidence of Mr.
G. Pemberton, or Mr. Perley, and doubt whether it be
conclusive for the district to which that evidence refers ?
Scarcely, we should say ; whilst it is so harmonious as to
be proof presumptive for any other district as it shall
become developed.
k 8
The Reports referred to—and, indeed, all evidence that
can be collected—tends to prove and establish, we think,
most undeniably—
That there is a field open to an almost illimitable capital
of labour.
That the systematic employment of labour will not only
open new lands, but by many fold multiply the value of
all existing cultivated land in British North America.
That excellence of communication is the medium by
which the development of the resources will be most
quickly and effectually furthered.
That the labouring body employed in opening and
perfecting such communication will change; that, even
assuming the communications completed, no reaction will
follow, as the labour will be continuously absorbed into the
various channels of a highly advancing state of agriculture and commerce.
Now these facts, if brought about and continued,
through the instrumentality of Great Britain, seem also
to establish—
That the systematic development of the resources of
British North America will, so far from being a drain on
Great Britain, be of immediate advantage to her.
That such development entails the natural enduring
and perfect union between Great Britain and that part of
her empire in North America.
The author of the interesting " Letters from America,"
published in 1844, a petitioner for systematic colonisation
as an Irish relief measure, remarks with justice, in comparing the relative progress of Canada and the younger
states of the American republic, the advantages accruing
from the proximity of the older states, and puts the
query as to the probable condition of Canada, did it
adjoin our western shores.
Completeness of communication, including facility, rapidity, and security, is indeed the true secret of the
rapidity and completeness of the development of a country. Surely England itself ought to be to us a familiar
example, as superior in regard to its canals and to all connected with its roads before the sera of railroads, as it is
now wonderfully intersected by the latter.
From the sources already referred to, it appears that
the rate of progress of Canada is equal to that of the
thirteen older states of the United States' Union, and that 9
the cause of the superiority of development in the new,
or western states, is owing to the absorption of the emigrant labour by the public works of those new states.
And this absorption we propose creating for British
The progress of Canada, be it observed, has been
achieved under circumstances of great disadvantage as to
means of communication ; whilst, we believe, no traveller,
however unobservant, can fail to remark how, throughout
the United States, these arteries, so to speak, of civilisation, are attended to. A great advantage derived from
extensive public works in a new, wooded country, and
which applies with peculiar force to that kind we are now
especially considering, is, we presume, by this time familiar to most Englishmen. It is that the emigrant is
thereby accustomed to his new sphere. Those arriving
without capital must go through several stages before
they can live on a piece of uncleared land without misery ;
indeed, under scarcely any circumstances can the new
comer do so profitably. He should begin on the roads,
or about other public works, if without capital, and become farm servant in all cases of limited means. But let
us pursue our comparison.
The remarkable abundance of United States' produce
and manufacture in these colonies has been much and
frequently dwelt on. To what is it owing ? To what is
the undeniable growth of United States' intercourse and
habit of thought owing ? To the means of communication ; those with England and the interprovincial being
bad, slow, difficult (of course we do not allude to the passage across the Atlantic, which is common to both countries), those with the United States being, of course, a
very simple affair.
But the interests of British America and of the United
States are as directly antagonistic as those of Great Britain and British America are identical. Every increase
of the development of British America increases this antagonism of interests.
Surely, had it been designed to cultivate the intercourse between the provinces of Canada and the United
States, to the exclusion or injury of that with England,
few means could have been thought of more efficacious
than compelling them to look to the United States for
intelligence from England ; neglecting to transmit, or to
:1 10
encourage the transmission of the English new s as rapidly as possible through a country whose commercial
and agricultural prosperity so greatly depends on such
intelligence; this, too, when such neglect entails the
advantage of the start on the rival. Is it not wonderful
that no independent mail route exists to give the British
provinces the benefit of the geographical position of
Halifax ? Is it not wonderful that there should be no
interprovincial means of rapid communication?
These thoughts had been thrown together before the
rupture of the postal arrangements with the United States.
We are thankful to that Government for assisting us in
showing the necessity of an independent communication
with our North American empire, and for other reasons.
The taking offence at having tor comply with regulations
applicable to all letters not sent by the contract line,
shows the claims they will advance, and their mode of
advocating them; and the effect of compromising questions from apparent expediency. Pity 'tis that England
has had to learn these truths so late ; it must be owned it
has not been for lack of lessons.
We have in our title introduced the defence of the
country, and we examine our project in connection with
its retention within the empire, because it is necessary to
consider whether we are furthering to perpetuity, so far
as our powers can, the unity and pre-eminence in excellence of Britain, in whatever quarter of the globe her
children may be establishing or carrying on her greatness, before executing a plan for availing ourselves of the
finest opportunity for developing magnificent resources
that any age has offered. The finest, because labour is
to be the means; and the replacement of suffering, want,
sickness, and idleness, by cultivation and civilisation, the
That the development of the resources of the country,
by means of facilities of communication, affords the most
effectual defence against foreign aggression, and that the
military arrangements for the country should be made in
intimate connection with its general progress, we trust
easily to prove.
The defence of a country, in all branches of the subject, should be considered with reference to the nature of
the attacks to which it is liable. Bearing this in mind,
the next important consideration is to cause these pro- 11
bable or possible attacks to miscarry by the most effect-
tual employment of the resources of the country. We
speak in very general terms, for, however intricate and
ingenious the details of policy, strategy, or engineering,
as related to each other, may be, that successive nations
have employed and handed down to us, these principles
remain fundamental, and applicable alike to the first
general conception and the most finished details of arrangement. But these truisms, however plain and self-
evident, are too often forgotten when the time arrives for
putting them in practice.
The attacks to which a boundary of 65 degrees of longitude, in the 49th parallel of latitude, and accessible along
the greater part of its inhabited and civilised portion by inland seas is exposed, are as varied in their nature, and of as
formidable a character as the resources of the hostile country can command. With the future pregnant with grandeur, riches, and strength—but, alas ! also with hostility—
stimulated by the passion for territorial aggrandisement,
a passion that grows by what it feeds on, ever nourished
by encouragement, and cherished by the United States,
it is necessary to consider not only how British America
can be held at the present moment, but how its means of
defence can be best developed simultaneously with its resources.
It is true the boundary questions are decided; but the
aggressive nature and policy of our neighbours, that dictated the claims they then advanced, not only remain, but
have been whetted by other acquisitions which we shall
not now stop to characterise; and the same general want
of information amongst us, which is not overlooked by
them, partially remains. To this ignorance our boundary, from the shores of the Atlantic to those of the Pacific,
is owing. To it is owing the necessity of stating reasons
for giving prominence to the imperious importance of
putting "bolts and bars upon the gates" of British
America. As in no case the simultaneous consideration
of the defence of a country, and of the development of its
resources can be more indispensably necessary than in
British North America, belonging to England, and contiguous to the United States, so in no country can they
progress better or be more, as we hope to make evident.
To fortify so extensive a frontier as we have spoken
of  were   an   absurd   method,   and   this   consideration 12
lead us to a means that will be not absurd. A known
and acknowledged rule of the most successful strategy
is to concentrate on any desired point an overwhelming force. Hence, a rule and a consequence are at once
derived—viz., that it is essentially necessary to be able
to bring to bear on the military and naval depdts, on the
capital, and on the fighting grounds, with certainty and
with rapidity, the armies required for their defence, or
for the field; and that, with reference to the defence of
the whole country, the value of an army will be proportioned to the certainty and the degree of speed with
which its movement can be effected.
It follows, also, though not immediately connected with
our present subject, that the depdts and the Capital, require to be so fortified, as to be effectually tenable against
all surprises by such troops as may be spared to guard
Thus the advantages, even the necessity, of excellence
of communication in British America, as a military question, is easily established; and we trust apd believe that
its general beneficial results are as clearly proved.
We proceed to examine the merits of different lines,
or rather different parts of one grand line, or, trunk
communication, which appears the most proper for an
imperial undertaking; remarking, as the opportunity
occurs, on the various advantages offering, without further regard to the divisions of our subject.
Firstly, to establish rapidity of communication with
England; making the line a highway for commerce, and
such agriculture as it may be capable of, we mention the
Halifax and Quebec railroad, into which various other
lines will flow, through the enterprise of the provinces,
or the fostering care of their governments and legislatures. The colonising results of such measures have
been generally stated; we here particularly point out
that it is asserted in the evidence already referred to, as
collected for the House of Lords, that the opening of
a few ordinary colonial roads, during the year 1846,
in New Brunswick, led to the formation of new settlements, vastly enhanced the value of the land, permanently provided for the influx of labourers, and opened
a field for the profitable employment of thousands more.
The system proposed in the able prospectus of the company, that advocated this railway in the beginning of the 13
year 1846, of granting farms along the line under a
species of military tenure to such as had by their labour
formed it, provides a population loyal, honest, and industrious, accustomed to labour, possessing some capital
from their earnings on the work, and having an immediate interest in the soil; and thus most valuable:
exactly as the opposite system of | Spontaneous Emigration" has as natural a tendency to misery and to turbulent
worthlessness; offering to the last comers, who find it
most difficult to obtain the means of subsistence in a
strange country, the only resources of fraud, violence, or
beggary; so that it has covered with obloquy the very
name of " Emigrant."
From Quebec to Montreal a steam-boat communication
is established on the broad waters of the St. Lawrence.
For the continuation of the trunk, or grand line, the
Ottawa is far preferable to the front route. For the
reasons that led to the construction of the Ottawa and
Rideau canals—viz., the danger, and even certainty, of a
front line of communication being interrupted in time of
war; and it is, besides, the shorter route to the head of
the great lakes; whilst the moral, political, and commercial effects of a central trunk communication removed
from the frontier cannot easily be overrated. Besides
which, the frontier advance is such as to command,
where it may be found desirable, the most advantageous
junctures with a trunk line, and the imperial object is to
select the best line for the whole country; keeping in
view the greatest development of the resources of the
entire British portion of the continent, and the demand
that will be created a few years hence.
To Bytown there is an uninterrupted communication,
which was made in connection with the Rideau Canal;
it is true that a strange anomaly—viz., three small
locks on the Grenville Canal—greatly interferes with the
line at present; but their enlargement will not be put off
much longer; it has been already discussed, and when
requiring repair, if not sooner, these can easily be assimilated to the rest.
A source of regret more serious, and not so likely to
be remedied, as far greater demolition and much more
extentive works would be necessary—to an extent, in fact,
to render an alteration now most unadvisable—is, that the
Rideau Canal is not large enough to enable all vessels 14
that are used in the inland traffic to proceed through it
from the chain of lakes to Montreal, and vice versa.
The proposal might have seemed too grand ; it is, alas!
a subject of too grand regret: for let it be borne in mind
how infinitely more serviceable this would have been
than the St. Lawrence canals, which, in that case, would
never have been constructed; useless, even if not destroyed,
as they will be in time of war. What a rich return the
remaining capital—viz., the difference between the expense
of the increased size of the Ottawa and Rideau canals, and
the total of both the present lines—would have yielded, if
employed in opening and bringing under the plough the
fertile lands of the West. The circumstance that of the
many lines of canal constructed in Canada, no two independent ones are of the same dimensions; although for
conveying the western produce, nothing could have been
more desirable for the producer than the avoiding of
transhipments, and, notwithstanding the military advantages it would have conferred in the transport of
stores, &c, and for the defence of the lakes, shows the
necessity of future arrangements being based on one
comprehensive system.
Having, for the reasons stated, selected the Ottawa
route, it is necessary to examine attentively the various
methods by which an inland advance from that river to
Lake Huron may be made. This will occupy some time,
and require the investigation of some detail; but is not,
we trust, at variance with that care we have hitherto
taken to establish the accuracy of our assertions, and to
proceed step by step in our course, producing the
evidence which has taught us the resources accessible to
a judicious employment of labour.
The advance may be made by canal, by railroad, or by
a mixed route.
The natural facilities for a water communication up
the Ottawa are so great as at once to exclude a railway
parallel to the river; whilst, even if it were as easily
practicable, there is no advantage in a railway from
Bytown—say to Penetanguishene—as being the shortest
distance to Lake Huron, and a harbour already selected;
that does not apply in a greater degree to one from the
highest point of the Ottawa that can be made available
for navigation, which is Maganetawang, at the mouth of
the Mataween, or Little River, to Lake Huron.    In com- 
paring the highest point of the Ottawa that can be
rendered navigable with any lower on the river as the
eastern terminus of a communication to the west, the
same arguments apply that we brought forward in favour
of the Ottawa over the St. Lawrence route; and, again,
there is a saving of distance on the route to the west.
Up to this point, Maganetawang, therefore, the choice
lies between a canal throughout, and a mixed route ; the
comparative claims of which we shall presently examine.
So far back as in the year 1839 commissioners were
appointed by Sir G. Arthur, Lieutenant-Governor, and
the Legislature of Upper Canada, to survey the waters
between the Ottawa and Lake Huron, to determine the
practicability of effecting a navigable communication
between the two; and it was ascertained that the lowest
line of country between the Ottawa and Lake Huron
is at their nearest point of approximation, the country
about Lake Nepissing being bounded by much higher
land. To render a railway superior to a canal, the line
should be the shortest possible, but the high and mountainous nature of the country confines it to what may be
termed the comparative valley of Lake Nepissing, where
the advantages derivable from that, and several minor
lakes, besides those of French River, seem on this part
of the route also to point out the superior advantages of
a water communication.
Thus we have only a canal route and a mixed route to
compare, the line of country being marked out, and in so
far as a general scheme is concerned, the same in both cases.
The question may be reduced to this: Whether the
advantages of uniform, unbroken, and direct communication from Quebec to the head of Lake Superior are so
great as to render it desirable, in the circumstances under
which alone it\is to be obtained. On no smaller scale
is there a principle to contend for: if any necessary
interruption be allowed to remain, the mixed route seems
at once to claim the preference throughout.
On the other hand the question is, whether the advantages of the communication may not be as effectually
secured by a mixed route, properly arranged, and throughout under one superintendence; and thus the excess of
expenditure required for a uniform route avoided.
In order to decide this question, it will be best to as-
fl 16
certain at once what those advantages of communication
are that are likely to be effected.
They are the whole carrying trade of the west. A
glance at the map will show the rapidity and completeness with which the western produce can reach the
Atlantic by this means; whilst, with the avoidance of
transhipment from the head of Lake Superior, or any
nearer mart, to Quebec, or even to Europe, we have
no hesitation in saying that this line would command all
the freight, not only of the British, but of the United
States' western lands, and prove highly reproductive.
The present state of things naturally inclines the
Canadians to desire the suspension or repeal of the
Navigation-laws, and especially the free navigation of the
St. Lawrence ; but with this scheme we suggest whether
it would not be far better to become themselves owners
of vessels suited to this service, and to retain for themselves the carrying trade.
This is the greatest advantage derivable from this portion of the line, and that which is most likely to be lessened by a mixed route.
The naval protection of the upper lakes, in itself an
important consideration, is also effected.
As we have stated, for a mixed route, only the negative consideration offers, whether the advantages of a
ship canal cannot be secured at a less cost. Doubtless
the difference of expenditure would be great, and the
inconvenience of the transfer from steamej; to railway,
and vice-versd, may in a great measure be overcome by
judicious arrangements, for which it is absolutely essential that the whole route be laid out as one scheme, and
continued under one superintendence. The produce
and merchandise can be placed in vans adapted for running on the cars, or being placed on the steam-boats, the
differences of level being conquered by mechanical arrangements. It is certainly an inferior, though still a
good method.
To realise for a mixed route the object of its adoption
—viz., the saving of expense—its dimensions would be
those of the present larger locks on the Ottawa.
The detail of the routes, pointing out the differences
occurring retrospectively from the mouth of the Ottawa,
is as follows :— 17
The enlargement of the existing: works.
The enlargement   of three
A Railway to Aylmer, or a
new Canal.
At Bytown, to overcome the rapids and falls of the Chaudiere.
(Ascent, 55 feet; length, 4
It had been proposed by the Commissioners above referred to, to take advantage of the rise of the first series
of combined locks of the Rideau, and to construct a
Junction Canal to turn the Chaudiere falls and rapids.
We have not, however, adopted the suggestion, because
the locks in question are combined, and are a single set of
locks. The loss of time consequent on locking through
any considerable traffic, especially if crossing, is a most
serious objection. This, we consider, will always be the
case on the Great Western line, as we may call it, and
also on the Rideau in time of war.
(A favourite natural valley
exists for the site of the locks.)
(The Railway to Aylmer
will, under any circumstances,
be shortly made, but, it must
be remembered, will not be the
property of this line.)
The length of Lake Chaudiere, clear.
(Probably decisive in. favour
a Canal to its foot.)
A Canal in either case, size the only difference.
(Ascent, 55 feet; length, 3 miles.)
To the Portage du Fort (26 miles.)
Thus far steamers already ply, portages being made in the
first instance by common road to Aylmer; at the Chats by a
tram road.
An ascent of 82 feet and 7i
A Railway of 10 miles to
Muskrat Lake; thence, by it
and the river of the same name,
an unobstructed navigation to
Lac des Allumettes.
(80 miles) To the Deux Joachims Rapids,
miles of obstructed navigation,
but a natural valley affording
facilities to the work. 18
A Canal to overcome an ascent
of 10 feet; length, half a mile.
the deepening of two small
shallows with at present 5 to
6 feet of water, and an ascent
of 10 feet, obstructing half a
mile of navigation.
Deux Joachim Rapids.
A   Canal  in either   case.
(Ascent, 20 feet; length, 2 miles)
To Rocher Capitaine Rapids (10 miles),
Perhaps the same as for the
Ship Canal, and a Railway
from Maganetawang to Lake
Nepissing ; or a Railway from
the foot of Rocher Capitaine
(according to the levels of the
country, the distance not varying greatly to Lake Nepissing)
—say 80 miles.
Thence in succession an ascent, 25 feet; length, 2 J miles.
Seven miles clear. Ascent,
30 feet ; length, 1J miles.
13J miles clear to Maganetawang, the mouth of the Mata-
ween, or little river there.
Ascent, 10 feet; length, half
a mile.
To Lake Salon, an ascent of
100 feet, with 4 miles of obstructed, 6 miles of free navigation.
Thence in succession, 5
miles clear. Ascent, 14 feet,
with 5 miles of obstructed
navigation, 4 of them only requiring deepening. 5J miles
clear. Ascent, 10 feet; length,
1 mile, to the summit level, or
Total ascent, 419 feet;
Total obstructed navigation,
27^ miles;
Total available, and Lakes,
187 miles; from the summit
level to Lake Nepissing. Descent, 20 feet; length, 2 miles;
and 3 requiring to be deepened.
The remainder of the route will only differ in dimensions.
(Descent, 80 feet; obstructed navigation, 9 miles; 50 miles
Thus 50 locks of an average
of 10 feet, lift, accomplish the
communication between the
River Ottowa and Lake Huron.
N.B.—The dimensions, both of distance and altitude, taken
from the Report of the Commissioners above-named, are not
(This route, depending in a
great measure, both for its nature and length, on minuter
details; the approximation of
totals, as by the above detail,
is not considered sufficiently
near to be placed opposite that
given of the Ship Canal.)
P3»V, 19
given as minutely accurate, but as quite sufficient to point out
where, in regard to economy, a mixed route can be advantageously brought in.
Besides the commercial advantages we have pointed
out, the Ship Canal accomplishes more than the military
advantages of the Rideau. It is planned only on a scale
commensurate with the progress of the provinces, and
the advancement of the West; and perhaps not so grand
a proposal as the Rideau in its day—except, indeed, in
its results.
To it we are strongly inclined to give the preference,
believing that it would unquestionably produce the results we have stated; but we are not prepared to say that
it is impossible the most beneficial results should be derived from its rival; and we prefer endeavouring at once
to call attention to the principles of our scheme, to waiting until we have determined, by minuter details, which is
the more eligible course. We are advocating no formed
commercial speculation, and are not desirous of petting
a fancy of our own ; but we are anxious to do our best
at a time when every human being must feel called upon
to labour for his fellow-man ; and every Englishman, especially, to maintain his country's greatness, to relieve her
afflicted children, and to aid in restoring her to soundness ; and therefore we earnestly contend for due attention
to the grand principle of systematic colonisation, and the
magnificent opportunities that we believe apparent.
Either mode affords military support to the upper
lakes, and to the West, and flanks the Canadian Salicut.
By either, an army can take in reverse an attacking force
from Lake Erie, the probable fighting ground of a future
war, should one unhappily occur, against which surely
such preparations as these are the very best human precautions. By means of either, an army, at the head of
the lakes, might yet be in constant communication
with the Capital. Either opens the Ottawa country for
hundreds of miles, now scarcely known except by the lumberers ;—a country thus spoken of in that most valuable
work, I The Overland Journey round the World," by Sir
George Simpson, Governor-in-Chief of the Hudson's Bay
Company's territories:—
I These lumberers may be considered as the pioneers of that
commerce which cannot fail ere long to find its way up this
B  2 20
noble river, abounding as it does in every conceivable requisite
for trade and agriculture ; such as water power, abundance of
timber, good climate, and a variety of soil—sandy, stony, and
rich. The scenery is generally picturesque, here rising in lofty
rocks, and there clothed with forests to the water's edge; and
the whole, being now deserted by its ancient lords, is left free
to the civilising influences of the axe and the plough."
We have pointed out lines taking the utmost advantage
of the upper lake, as these have not the objections of a
frontier communication to anything like the destructive
extent of Lakes Erie and Ontario; and the greater the
advance towards the west, the greater the advantage
from the whole scheme. Nature has made one great unequalled highway into her beauteous riches in this magnificent country, and has called on man for the rest.
Yet even her broad tract of inland sea has here and
there a barrier interposed, that the progress of civilisation may be preceded by reflection, and accompanied by
labour; even as she herself has piloted out, and more
than half completed, the great inland water route that we
have been considering. The Sault St. Marie may be so
easily overcome by a canal of two miles' length that we
shall only thus allude to it.
We have now arrived at the resources of Lake Superior ; and again we quote from Sir G. Simpson, who
furnishes the most authentic and interesting account:—
"Before bidding good-bye to Lake Superior, let me add that,
since the date of my visit, the barren rocks which we passed
have become an object of intense interest, promising to rival,
in point of mineral wealth, the Altai Chain and the Uralian
mountains. Iron had long been known to abound on the
northern shore, two mines having been at one time worked, and
abandoned, chiefly on account of temporary obstacles, which
the gradual advance of agriculture and civilisation was sure to
remove; and more recently the southern shore, though of a
much less favourable character in this respect, was found to
possess rich veins of copper and silver. Under these circumstances, various enterprising inhabitants of Canada have prosecuted investigations, which appear to have satisfactorily proved
that, in addition to their iron, the forbidden wastes of the
northern shore contain inexhaustible treasures, both of the
precious and of the useful metals, of gold and silver, of copper
and tin; and already have associations been formed to reap the
teeming harvest." 21
Which associations for working these mines have been
organised, and are working in a quiet, but most judicious
and industrious manner; and all acquainted with the
subject unite in bearing testimony to the ability and zeal
of the directors, and the professional employe's.
These mineral resources probably materially raise the
comparative advantages of the ship canal.
Again, the lands watered by the Kaministoquoia, which
falls into the Lake Superior, near its western extremity,
are thus described :—
I Early in. the forenoon we reached the mountain portage,
formed by the Kakabekka Falls, out of sight of the main track,
the scene being accessible only by a tangled path; the Kaministoquoia, here taking a sudden turn, leaps into a deep and
dark ravine, itself a succession of leaps, while the spectator
stands right in front, near enough to be covered with the spray.
Inferior in volume alone to Niagara, the Kakabekka has the
advantage of its far-famed rival in height of fall and wildness
of scenery. About the middle of the descent, a beautiful rainbow, at the time of our visit, spanned the churning water, contrasting sweetly at once with the white foam, the green woods,
and the sombre rocks.
" The river, during the day's march, passed through forests of
elm, oak, pine, birch, &c, being studded with isles not less
fertile and lovely than its banks ; and many a spot reminded us
of the rich and quiet scenery of England. The paths of the
numerous portages were spangled with violets, roses, and many
other wild flowers ; while the currant, the goosberry, the raspberry, the cherry and even the vine were abundant. All this
bounty of nature was imbued, as it were, with life, by the
cheerful notes of a variety of birds, and by the restless flutter
of butterflies of the brightest hues. Compared with the adamantine deserts of Lake Superior, the Kaministoquoia presented
a perfect Paradise. One cannot pass through this fair valley
without feeling that it is destined, sooner or later, to become the
happy home of civilised men, with their bleating flocks and
their lowing herds, with their schools and their churches, with
their full garners and their social hearths. At the time of our
visit the great obstacle in the way of such a consummation was
the hopeless wildness to the eastward; which seemed to bar for
ever the march of settlement and cultivation. But that very
wilderness, now that it is to yield up its long hidden stores, bids
fair to remove the very impediments which it hitherto has itself
presented. The mines of Lake Superior, besides establishing a
continuity of route between the east and west, will find their 5Si
nearest and cheapest supply of agricultural produce in the valley
of the Kaministoquoia."
We now stand at the head of Lake Superior, and,
reckoning the distance by the tortuous nature of our
path, have arrived, "perhaps, halfway across the North
American Continent.
Before proceeding, let us review the results of our
A rapid and independent communication with England,
accompanied by the results stated.
The same, interprovincially.
The development of the resources of Ottowa.
The carrying trade of the West.
The most material assistance to the defence of the
whole country.
A ready transport to any market of the resources of
Lake Superior.*
The colonisation of the lands of the Kaministoquoia.
The natural though indirect result is also most important and valuable; the development of the many promising ramifications from the trunk line.
Continuing our journey to the west from the head of
Lake Superior, the objections to a frontier communication return upon us ; while yet the natural facilities for a
water communication render it very tempting before we
have gone any great distance ; and, in spite of our judgment, we should have decided most unwillingly against it,
did not, fortunately, the unrivalled richness of the land
come to our aid ; rendering it certain that, besides the
active occupation of unobstructed waters, it can abundantly command a railway from the mouth of the Kami
nistoquoia to the Lake of the Woods ; the line touching
at Raing Lake.
* When the above was written we had met with no authenticated account
of the resources of the Lake Huron mines; but an analysis of a portion of
the ore from the immense mineral regions that exist on this lake also has
given the following result:—
Nickel    18       per cent.
Cobalt     10-43 „
Copper       3-14        f~
Iron         3-47 „
Arsenic and Sulphur .... 59-14        „
Silica, &c       5-82
The fertility of the lands above Lake Huron is, we presume, universally
known. J
rarim, "eataflftS-
We have hitherto found the canoe route from time
immemorial the most advantageous, and it will probably
continue our best guide to the general line of the future
communication, excepting where, to seek water, it deviates
from a direct course in a country of nearly the same
levels. Then a railway would select the more direct
The objection to a line of canal, any considerable part
of which runs near the frontier, is insurmountable, for the
destruction of any part thereof renders it useless. This
objection applies to the improvement of the navigation
to Rainy Lake, in connection with the river of that name,
to the Lake of the Woods.
That we have not exaggerated the beauty and fertility
of this scene, the following description, from Sir G.
Simpson's journey will show :—
" The river which empties Lac la Pluie into the Lake of the
Woods is decidedly the finest on the whole route, in more than
one respect. From Fort Frances downwards, a stretch of
nearly a hundred miles, it is not interrupted by a single impediment; while yet the current is not strong enough materially to
retard an ascending traveller. Nor are the banks less favourable
to agriculture than the waters themselves to navigation, resembling in some measure those of the Thames near Richmond.
From the very brink of the river there rises a gentle slope of
green sward, crowned in many places with a plentiful growth
of birch, poplar, beech, elm, and oak. Is it too much for the
eye of philanthropy to discern, through the vista of futurity,
this noble stream, connecting as it does, the fertile shores of two
spacious lakes, with crowded steam-boats on its bosom, and
populous towns on its borders ?"
Surely the time is come for the opening of such scenes
as these to relieve the crowds perishing around us!
The immediate object being to extend our chain of
labour as far as possible into the west, and to develop as
much as possible of its resources; the railroad might, for
the present, terminate at Rainy Lake; and be again
resumed at the head of the first rapid of the River
Winnepeg, proceeding from thence to Fort Garry, in the
Red River settlement. It will be remembered that it was
considered advisable to garrison this settlement during
the uncertainty of the issue of the Oregon question ; the
troops proceeding from England to Fort York, Hudson's
Bay, and thence to Fort Garry.
;^aar»!=wgi £4
Some officers from Canada having been ordered there
after the regular departure of the Hudson's Bay Company's canoes were actually compelled to proceed through
the United States' territory!
We have now attained Lake Winnepeg, and gained
most important advantages for our western progress,
having provided the country thus far with an easy and
quick communication ; the advantages thereof accrue to
the entire shores of this vast lake and to those of its tributaries ; whilst the soil is so fertile as to have attracted
an important and flourishing settlement, when access to it
could only be gained by the most laborious and tedious
process; a circumstance precluding the possibility of full
agricultural development, or any commercial activity.
The Saskatchewan flows into Lake Winnepeg with a
rapid of three miles, which boats, however, descend;
after this it is navigable for many hundreds of miles, and
boats can ascend it for fourteen hundred miles. The
southern branch of the same river, though less is known
of its banks, is also unobstructed.
We would also remark, that when thus connected with
the chain of North American civilisation, the route
from the north of Lake Winnepeg to Fort York, which
is marked out by the River Nelson and a series of lakes,
may become a line for settlements. A ship annually
arrives at Fort York for the service of the Hudson's Bay
Company.  Who can tell how many may eventually do so?
Thus far—that is, to works at the rapids of the Saskatchewan—our present proposals extend, on account of
the amazing extent of country opened by this one only settlement, which can be easily protected, and will at once
become an important post.
As to the means of communication themselves, by which
these countries are opened, besides the traffic and freight
resulting from the cultivation of the West, that of the
Hudson's Bay Company may prove not inconsiderable ;
though, probably, however advantageous in all respects
to themselves, the Company may be somewhat unwilling
to see the mystery and romance of their territory invaded.
ij The necessity of protecting works further in the interior against hostile tribes of Indians is a formidable impediment to their successful prosecution at present; and
the scheme marked out is as vast as we can hope
desire to see forthwith undertaken; whilst, with the pro
or Vafu
gress of its execution, the obstacles offering in the Hudson's Bay Company's territories will be proportionably
diminished. So long, however, as the empire's heart is
overburdened by a surplus multitude, it should be remembered that most fertile and lovely tracts of country,
many times larger than England, exist in the body of
that empire, which never yet within the knowledge of
man have yielded their fruits to his service. A manifold-
multiplied value also is given to every part of the connected communication between it and the Atlantic, and
thereby also to every part of British America, when once
the goal of the Pacific is attained.
From the extreme point rendered accessible by the
waters of the Sasketchewan, where, probably, the continuation would at first begin, the distance is not comparatively great; the hostility of the Indians overcome
(or what, for the present, would more effectually restrain
England's advance, the possibility of their sufferings
being increased by the progress of civilisation), the passage of the Rocky Mountains may rather prove a stimulant,
as it will be the last remaining obstacle, and attention
being called to the subject, may urge to exertion the
talents of such men as have elsewhere conquered every
natural difficulty, however formidable.
The time of its being accomplished will, we think,
depend chiefly on the progress of civilisation from the
east; it might have been greatly hastened by a simultaneous settlement from the western coast, but England's
ministers have there surrendered all territory of agricultural value, and, in effect, cut off her interior from the
seaboard: nor let the country now reproach them whose
apathy and incredulity neglected the ability and labour
that laid before it the proofs of our rights. It was occupied bestowing compliments in return for ferocious
threats. While the minister was censuring the plenipotentiary for maintaining our claims, the country was abandoning her distant pioneers.
But during the execution of that part of the scheme,
which will place four-fifths of the degrees of longitude of
our North American empire in instant and unbioken
communication with England, information can be collected, surveys taken, and the best means devised, and
who can say that great resources may not yet be found
in that unpromising part of Oregon remaining to us ?
The day has been, when, alas! the riches of all North
I •:• r 26
America were as lightly esteemed, and the disappointment of those who saw Oregon's fairer part lost may have
led them to undervalue the part saved. Its geographical
importance, at least, it cannot lose. Such an opening of
the sources of industry and wealth as will systematically
relieve the well-nigh desponding multitudes of the land,
should be the primary object during the execution of
the works we have been contemplating, as it is their
highest and noblest aim.
To derive from these measures the chiefest benefits
they may confer, the work must be executed under the
superintendence of the Imperial Government. In a
young country, where there is yet little general capital
and much speculation, the system of contracts is, at all
times, bad for extraordinary works. The failure of the
parties, from whatever cause occurring, not only ruins
themselves, and is of great injury to the undertaking,
but the opportunity the system furnishes to dishonesty
is reprehensible beyond expression. Very commonly the
labourer, who has worked unremittingly, is defrauded of
his earnings, and left starving and helpless, a prey to
discontent and indignation, whilst to him it seems but a
mockery that he has no pi*otection to look to. And, in
spite of the legal impediments interposed by a contract,
who can gainsay the equity of the man's persuasion, that
" It was a Government work, and they should have protected the poor man's toil." Thus are the spirits of men
embittered and exposed to the heartless sophistries of
demagogues; very far towards blighting the happy moral
effects of the stimulus afforded to labour would such a
system tend ; and, even if the whole scheme were so completed with all the precision of the most perfect good faith,
how very far short would the beneficial results fall of those
which might be attained; for the experienced craftsman
and the regular excavator would then share the benefit,
and, probably, the transient stranger, also, if not foe, attracted by the harvest to be reaped. On the other hand,
if entirely conducted by Government, and with the above
object kept constantly in view, one result of this proposal, the greatest and the happiest, the most triumphant
and enduring—one that may stamp the era, and the
country, as presenting the noblest monument of human
wisdom and benevolence that the world has known—
remains yet untold.
The principle of our proposition may be thus briefly 27
embodied: That the removal of a surplus population
into unoccupied and fertile lands will benefit both the
population from which the pressure of redundance is
removed, and the population so removed : both the scene
quitted, and those new sought.
Now, the direction of the labour by which these new
lands are to be reached, and their resources developed,
affords singular opportunities for the moulding of that
nucleus, from which these future countries will be
formed, and which will also greatly influence the existing
We will trace such superintendence from the beginning, assuming the worst case, the recurrence of a
sickness and affliction similar to last year's fearful
The system of superintendence must begin in Great
Britain, to abolish at once the cruel crowding* of starving
emigrants. Should the sickness unfortunately recur, as
we have assumed, can we express how greatly even thus
its most fearful features would be mitigated ?
The emigrant arrived in the new sphere of his labour—
say sick (again to choose the worse case for example)—is
removed to the hospital, which should be in connection
with the works; his frame has not been wasted by starvation and neglect at sea, and he has no fear for the future,
harassing his desponding spirits. When recovering,
he can, during a gradual convalescence, (for strength
returns but slowly after these typhoid fevers), regain his
strength upon the works;   still  receiving according to
* See especially the letter addressed by the Hon. Adam Ferrie, M. L. C,
Canada, and Chairman of the Emigration Committee, to Lord Grey, reprinted
in the Appendix hereto. This letter not only shows the fearful evils that
have resulted from the want of superintendence to prevent the crowding of
emigrant vessels, but presents a true, and even softened picture of the agonising horrors that have accompanied "Spontaneous Emigration," whilst in
the midst of the crime and misery, of which it is its chief object to prevent
a repetition, it finds a place to point out the reciprocal benefits to be derived
from a properly-conducted system of colonisation. This letter cannot be too
generally circulated amongst legislators and landlords to acquaint them with
the suffering—for which they are, in truth, responsible—amongst the lower
class of tenants and labourers, to point out to them the real prospects of an
emigration to British America under existing circumstances. Having been
published in the papers, it is appended, but we in no way whatever desire
to give corroboration to the statement of the names therein mentioned, which,
on the contrary, would almost seem to be a guarantee that the acts complained of must have been, "the wanton and unauthorised act of worthless
and unprincipled hirelings f the situation of emigrants as described is
incontrovertible. laamviAi!
his need from the hospital, continually encouraged by
the increased quantity of work he can perform, and
never reduced to beggary or to receiving alms; for the
arrangement of the labour may easily be made to
embrace the slight services of the weak, and those, little
more valuable, of the ignorant, by apportioning payment
to quantity—that is, by task-work. Intelligent and
painstaking overseers and master-mechanics should be
appointed to instruct in the various trades, as well as to
superintend the work, they themselves being, wherever
practicable, selected from the body. The whole of the
men employed should be only those from Great Britain,
or Europe, who were about to adopt British America
for their home, and unprovided settlers in the country.
For the refractory or troublesome there should be
nothing but immediate and quiet dismissal; there need
be no hurrying in the work; no opportunity whatever
afforded to a combination; no admission whatever of
foreign resources. Much might be thus learnt, whilst
none need leave the works without an aptitude for that
general rough work required in a new country.
This regular and steady mode of conducting the work
would, independently of the arriving numbers, command
labour at the lowest wages; by their maintaining them,
the price of labour would be nowhere raised, no artificial
stimulus given to speculation, no momentary and hollow
prosperity produced, but the rapidity of the progress of
the work be regulated by the demand existing for
employment, and more country, in other words, more
room be obtained." Private enterprise would derive all
the advantage of the new sources opening, without any
of the injury of a rival contention for labour.
And yet we hesitate not to say that the works may thus
be executed, including all expenses, more cheaply, much
better, and as quickly, as by any other mode, whilst the
population formed will be invaluable.
The attention of the world is arrested, watching the
issue of the struggle of opinions amongst us, especially
from the United States, a cry goes forth that England is
worn out—monarchy an abomination—Europe expended.
The affliction of last year covered the globe, but there
was little concealment of the joy at the tribulation of
Great Britain. We are still first of nations; we still
revere the names of our fathers; oh! be we animated *mmwm*mi
by their spirit to show that the great and the lowly, the
strong and the weak, the learned and simple, will unite
to maintain England's integrity, which is her greatness ;
and to make a continued and vigorous effort to render
her, not on her own soil only, but wherever her children
have gone forth to dwell, there also, merry, happy,
good, old England.
And we dare add, that we believe, that such a mode of
carrying out the scheme as we have endeavoured to describe, is, in fact, a centralisation of the funds and objects
of charity, enterprise, and state necessity, for the diffusion
of a healthy educated industry—for a moral education
of the noblest kind. If much of our people has not yet
been taught to read and write, here is an opportunity of
instilling lessons productive of much greater blessings,
whilst every man can now be taught them, while, as it
were, passing through the portals into the scene of his
new life. On the very shore of America, where all we
still most dearly reverence is now most vilified, we shall
hold up the standard highest, and show that our monarchy
and our faith still lead us foremost in all good actions and
every good desire.
Then shall the execution of these communications and
'all their results be greatest as the means of an education
of affection for our country, devotion to our Sovereign,
and reverence for the institutions of our fathers—which
will find many to continue them—and hand them down in
the lands their labour will have opened, perhaps, until
time shall be no longer.
We cannot forbear a short allusion to the extraordinary facilities in the country for ship-building, iron, timber, the material for charcoal, all in abundance, and
surely enough building space; what could she then gain
by a repeal of the Navigation-laws ? *    She would only
* The following remarks on the Navigation Laws, which have appeared
in The British Colonist, published at Toronto, C. W., bear eminently on the
subject as it now stands, whilst it will readily be perceived how greatly
magnified the importance of calmly considering this question becomes in
proportion as the extent of country opened to shipping is increased. With
regard to the West India trade, independent of the home sugar-carrying
trade, a most profitable ihter-colonial traffic may be established. Hay, oats,
corn, cattle, horses, &c, fetch a highly-remunerative price in Bermuda or
the West Indies, and the return trade of oranges, lemons, and tropical fruits,
and other produce, alone, would amply repay the sending even of empty
vessels to these countries. The former are, at present, imported mostly of an
inferior quality from the United States, who do not derive the same extent of
p. X"
E 30
lose, perhaps, the time necessary to develope resources
so long and unaccountably neglected. Why lose a single
day in supplying the West Indian market ?
The foregoing pages will have explained our views as
to the abundant sufficiency of the means at hand in our
North American Possessions of greatly alleviating the
distress occasioned by the overcrowding of our home
population. But we do not wish entirely to leave unnoticed the fact that these possessions form only a
portion of the resources at our command, and which,
with a judicious regulation of the impulse to emigration
already in existence—not less consistent with sound
policy than with humanity—would be effectually brought
into play.
It has not formed part of our present plan to offer any
suggestions for the arrangements connected with the
superintendence of the emigrant on his voyage, but
rather with giving him the means of gaining his subsistence on his arrival in his new home; and I am
convinced that if, in addition to the capabilities of British
America, the resources of India, about to be so much
more fully developed by the Great Indian Railway and
the steam communication with Australia, and the fields
for industry and enterprise in the immense continents and
islands we possess in Australia, Van Dieman's Land,
New Zealand, &c, be systematically attended to, the
surplus population of all ranks which is now festering in
advantage from.the return trade, and from whom, therefore, the prize may be
easily borne.
From The British Colonist:—" The Navigation Laws.—Any change of these
laws should be made with a view to benefit Canada. It is very remarkable,
however, that those who have been foremost in clamouring for their repeal,
have assigned no other motive for doing so than the temporary convenience
of procuring foreign ships to do our carrying trade at a cheaper rate. No
doubt the new free-trade system of the imperial Government, having entirely
altered our colonial relationship, releases us from the obligation to maintain
a monopoly for Great Britain, but we must take care and not abuse a newly-
acquired liberty. We have the means of ship-building within ourselves, and
there is no necessity for inviting foreigners to do for us what we have every
facility for accomplishing in a most efficient and profitable way. . . . What
would profit Canada most considerably is a navigation law in favour of
Canadian shipping. Every country in the world protects its own carrying
trade, and why should not Canada? It is not necessary to resort to unconditional protective laws, but the preference to our ships could be so adapted
as to admit foreign competition whenever our own shipping interests should
prove incompetent, either from a want of enterprise or industry, to satisfy
the just expectations of the commercial classes. Above all things, we should
be careful not to throw away a source of employment to Our artisan and law,
Great Britain will be rendered an invaluable treasure, of
which each of the countries alluded to may only claim a
fair proportion.
The means of restoring all classes of the country to a
healthy activity and to happiness, so far from exceeding
labouring population, a profitable internal trade, and the means of substantial
and permanent wealth to the whole province. The cry for foreign ships is
unpatriotic and mercenary. No one, who looks forward to the position
which Canada is destined to occupy at no distant day, will hesitate to concede
the importance and inestimable advantage of a judicious navigation
having for its object the increase and prosperity of our shipping trade."
From the same, to the Editor of The British Colonist:—Are we to avail ourselves of ocean trade or not from the port of Toronto ? The propeller lately
launched does infinite credit to the builders as a river or lake craft. . . .
Now the same builders might easily finish a vessel better adapted for crossing
the ocean, and if the opportunity is lost here, John Bull certainly will himself
seize it; or he will have lost much of his commercial enterprise to be satisfied with an indirect communication when he can have it direct. Has he not
endeavoured to force cargoes to the Indies, to the Wawaddy, to Timbuctoo,
and every place where there was a chance of an outlet for his manufactured
goods ? And is it likely, in a voyage of weeks instead of months, he will
neglect the St. Lawrence ? The great fact is now known on 'change in London and Liverpool, that a steamer of above 500 tons has gone safe to Montreal;
.    .    .    and I predict a season will not pass before notices are stuck up of a
vessel clearing direct for Toronto from Liverpool Ships are
tugged  up   now   from Quebec   to   Montreal—why should they not be to
Kingston ?"
From the same, to the same:—" If the merchants here do not build, another
season will not pass over before vessels will clear out direct for Lake Ontario
from the Old Country. . . With the increased facility of export, a number of articles now neglected, that would pay a reasonable freight and give a
fair return, would be sent. I am not advocating any wild speculation, but
what in the common course of things must take place, and to be prepared for
the change. Now it is evident that thousands of acres of fine timber, which
have taken ages to grow, are every season consumed in a day, leaving only
the ashes to tell the tale; and they never can be replaced, even if required.
All this may be otherwise with the means of direct shipment in the harbour.
The great bulk of general cargo will consist of the great staple, bread stuffs.
. . But let me enumerate a few of the articles that are now burnt on the
ground, and that might be sent in their rough state to a ready market—
staves, oars, gun-stocks, handspikes, spokes for wheels, hobs, handles for
axes, and other carpenters' tools, &c, &c. . . The blocks used for the wood
pavement of London came mostly from the Baltic; why not from Canada, if
such are again required ? When it is known that particular wants can be
supplied cheaper here than elsewhere, contracts will soon flow in. And if
half the time is only occupied in developing the resources of the province,
instead of angry political dissensions destroying the good feeling between
man and man, Canada will become a great country."
Existing circumstances naturally explain the somewhat contracted mode of
advocacy adopted in the extracts we have made, but they sufficiently exhibit
the facilities for, and inducements to, ship-building in the country. And all
may be thrown, by an injudicious and sudden abrogation of all navigation
laws, into the hands of a rival and hostile country!
The true point for commercial freedom at present seems certainly to be the
most intimate union with the Colonies ; not with strange nations that afford
no reciprocity. 32
the powers and capabilities of the empire, lie within a
comparatively limited portion of the dominions given into
our hands when the fundamental principles of our laws
were yet esteemed the empire's most valuable and sacred
The co-operative employment of exclusively British resources may achieve a restoration of England's integrity,
and an extension of her supremacy surpassing any records
of past power, wealth, or virtue.
This endeavour to point out the resources that have
impressed my mind with the fullest strength of conviction,
as available for the relief of the suffering of our country,
and for uniting ourselves in bonds of the closest affection
with that portion of our countrymen in North America,
and those who may hereafter inhabit its beautiful, but
now solitary places, is sent forth in humble prayer to
Him, who alone maketh men to be of one mind in a
house—that He may, indeed, put away our unhappy
divisions, and unite us all in His Service, and in mutual
Lieutenant R. E.,
Bytown, Canada West. APPENDIX.
GREY, &c, &c, &c.
My Lord,—In bringing to your notice any communication
connected with the honour and interests of her Majesty's Government, and the wholesome administration of those colonial enactments which have been ordained for the happiness and prosperity of the people of this province, I am sure I hut anticipate
the anxious desire -of your lordship on this, as on all occasions,
to give to such subjects your ready attention and your favourable consideration. But when to such inducements is superadded the fact that the subject of this letter involves the claims
of a common humanity, and the exercise of that | evea-handed
justice" which metes out alike to every man the measure of its
requirements, I am encouraged to hope that it will not only
awaken your sympathies, but invoke the speedy interposition of
that clemency and patriotism which are the prominent attributes of your lordship's enlarged and liberal mind.
The subject of emigration, as connected with this province,
and the transfer of a large portion of the destitute population of
the British Isles to these colonial shores, is doubtless familiar to
your lordship; and the dangers and difficulties which have
attended such an enterprise cannot have escaped the penetration
and discernment of your active and inquiring mind. In the
rapid introduction, during the present year, of so large a portion
of impoverished and helpless beings as were brought to our
ports in crowded ships, and under circumstances in every way
so unfavourable, feanul apprehensions were entertained that in
such an assemblage of wretchedness and misery, disease and
death would speedily acquire an ample field for their work of
suffering and devastation. In the sad realisation of these apprehensions, Canada, my lord, has furnished a "bill of mortality"
which, in her future history, will constitute an unwelcome and
melancholy record of her wrongs, and furnish just cause of reproach to the names and memory of those at whose instance
the inhuman sacrifice was accomplished. Fully sensible of the
alarm which such a state of things had unavoidably created,
and desirous that some suitable expression embodying the general views of the people of this province should be made known
to the imperial Government, 1 had the honour, in my seat in
C 11.
the Legislative Council, on two occasions, to move an address
to her most gracious Majesty, which, having been voted, was
forthwith addressed and forwarded.
I do not desire to offer your lordship, in the present communication, any views or opinions which I may have formed as to
the policy of those measures which have been adopted by her
Majesty's Government in relation to those emigrants who have
been sent to Canada; nor is it my intention to impugn the motives of those landed proprietors of the mother country who have
sought, through the great stream of emigration, to rid themselves of the burden of a worn-out and unprofitable population,
wholly destitute of that mental and physical exertion indispensable to useful labour and the success of honest industry.
I am, my lord, wholly averse to any vain and useless exhibition before the public eye which might bring me forward as a
prominent actor in those scenes of human wretchedness and
degradation which, in the performance of my official duties, it
has been my misfortune to witness. Nothing short of that
imperious sense of duty, which all faithful and loyal subjects
owe to the honour and interests of their Sovereign, and to the
weightier responsibilities of an enlightened humanity, could
have induced the present appeal to the justice and clemency of
your lordship.
The public positions in which, by the favour of the Executive
Government here, I have been placed, as chairman of the Lay
Commission, and, by the partiality of my fellow-citizens, as
chairman of the annually-ehosen Emigrant Committee, have
enabled me, through an experience of nearly twenty years, to
understand something of the plan of emigration, as adopted by
the Home Government, and carried out by the regulations and
provisions of our colonial policy. A large portion of that time
has been devoted to the interests and comforts of those who
have, through untoward events, sought, in this land of their
adoption, to improve their worldly means, and to elevate their
civil and political condition. Such, however, was the utter
destitution and misery of a large portion of these misguided and
ill-fated people on their arrival, that the unwearied ministrations of public charity and the resources of private benevolence
fell far short of that alleviation which their immediate necessities
so urgently demanded. Of the one hundred thousand men,
women, and children, who sailed from the various ports of
England, Ireland, and Scotland, to Canada, the greater part
were sent off by the extensive landed proprietors of Ireland and
their agents. I beg leave most respectfully to state to your
lordship, that in the frequent intercourse had with the emigrants, I took occasion to question the adult portion of them,
SS^L 111.
particularly the heads of families, as to the individuals under
whose authoritiy and direction they had been permitted to embark in such a defenceless and unprotected condition. The
answer invariably was, that it had been done by one or other
of the parties above mentioned. When blamed for going on board
those vessels, in which they sailed in such a state of debility
and want, they gave for answer that they were starving at home,
and were induced to that step by being promised many advantages, which they had never realised. For instance, there
have been this year about one thousand persons shipped off by
the agents of Lord Palmerston, who not only promised them
clothes, but they were assured that his lordship had agents at
Quebec, to whom instructions had been sent to pay them all
from £2 to £5 each family, according to their numbers. On
their arrival, however, no agents of his lordship were to be
found; and they were then thrown upon the bounty of the
Government here, and the charitable donations of private individuals. If his lordship was aware of this most horrible and
heartless conduct on the part of his Irish agents, and he one of
the Ministers of the Crown, I dare not say what he would deserve. But that charity, my lord, which | thinketh no evil,"
would teach me to hope that a nobleman of England, high in
the confidence of her most gracious Majesty, and sharing in
the honourable administrations of her Government, could not
so far forget that duty which he owed to God, his Sovereign,
and his country ; but that it was the "wanton and unauthorised
act of worthless and unprincipled hirelings, in whose bosoms
every principle of humanity and every germ of mercy had become totally extinct.
Many thousands of these unhappy beings have fallen victims
to that cruel sytem of marine imprisonment which, in crowded
vessels, and the impure atmosphere of twixt decks, induces contagion and produces that endemial disease which so rapidly
spreads over the mass of its congregated victims. Vast multitudes have died on the passage out, while a still greater portion
of them have reached our shores in such a sickly and debilitated
state as to defy the penetration of medical skill, and to find
wholly unavailing all the attentions and nursing care of their
humane and faithful attendants. They landed on our shores
only to find an early grave—the only asylum for that hopeless
sorrow which too often embitters a blighted and miserable
existence. Hundreds of them most solemnly declared that
their food consisted entirely of bad biscuit and oatmeal; and
that in many cases both of these articles were in a state not fit
to feed swine, having become saturated with sea-water, and
reduced to a mouldy and putrid condition.    The quantity of
1 IV.
both food and water was much too small for the multitudes on
board. In many instances from six to eight hundred were
huddled together in one indiscriminate mass, being double the
number which the vessels were capable of accomodating with
any degree of comfort or safety. I must here, my lord, express
my deep regret that men pretending to be Christians, and ,es-
pecially that Britons could be guilty of such barbarity, evidently
for the paltry purpose of freeing themselves from the natural
and just burden of assisting to support and provide for their
own poor. Such an outrage on the claims of humanity, my
lord, might have been committed in the vile and heartless
traffic of the slave-trade, on which England has set the seal of
her just reprobation, and against whose inhuman warfare she
has pointed the cannon of her gallant navy; but that such
horrible and disgusting scenes as just described should have
been enacted under the very flag which should be a protection
to her unfortunate and defenceless subjects, is unworthy of
England, and throws a dark shade over the bright escutcheon
of her well-earned fame and glory. It would, in my opinion,
have been more humane to have at once deprived them of life,
than to have thus subjected them to those extreme sufferings
and privations which served only to increase the fears and magnify the terrors of a painful dissolution.
I cannot here refrain from enumerating to your lordship a
few among the many instances where, in the shipment of these
unfortunate beings, an utter disregard was had, not only to every
principle of humanity, but even to those common decencies of
rife which nature in the lowest depths of degradation and misfortune so scrupulously seeks to preserve. Those emigrants
from Kilkenny, Queen's County, Wicklow, and the estates of
Virginia and Avon, of which Lords De Vesci and Fitzwilliam,
and Major Mahon and Captain Wandersford, are the several
proprietors, were in a state of fearful destitution, as well as those
from the estate of Lord Palmerston.
In confirmation of this fact, I beg leave to state to your lordship, that a public meeting of the citizens of St. John, New
Brunswick, has been recently held, at which it was resolved " to
ship back to Ireland the decrepit, aged, and naked children and
women brought to that port." These unfortunate beings constitute a part of the two shipments from Lord Palmerston's
estates at Sligo.
A copy of this resolution has been transmitted to His
Excellency the Governor General, to be forwarded to Her
Majesty's Government. Comment, my lord, is here unnecessary ; and language would be wholly inadequate to express the
measure of that just indignation which such a development is
calculated to inspire. v.
The last cargo of human beings which was received from
Lord Palmerston's estate was by the '" Lord- Ashburton," the
captain of which but a few days since died of the prevailing
fever, and consisted in all of one hundred and seventy-four men,
women, and youths; of which eighty-seven were almost in a
state of nudity. No time was lost in collecting from the military, who have on this oceasicn and throughout the season, been
most kind and liberal, and from other sources, sufficient articles
of clothing for the males; while apparel for the females was
purchased from the pawnbrokers and other places. Fortunately,
they were generally in good health, so that the Emigrant Commissioners were enabled to have them sent off without delay to
their different places of destination.
I feel gratified to be able to state to your lordship that the
people of the province generally are disposed to welcome to the
country all who may feel inclined to emigrate. They are willing to lend a helping hand to those incipient efforts of emigration which by industry and probity eventually lead to affluence
and honour. They desire to see among them a vigorous and
healthy population, industriously employed in developing those
great resources so amply possessed by Canada, in the several
departments of agriculture, commerce, and the mechanical arts,
and they confidently believe that the honest views, the moral
improvement, and the immediate comfort of thousands of their
fellow-countrymen at home, who now pine in want and indigence might be eminently promoted, by a removal to this portion of British North America. While, however, they would
afford every facility to the Imperial Government in carrying
into successful operation a well-digested system of emigration,
they at the same time must earnestly remonstrate—nay, protest,
against the introduction of such hordes of beggars and vagrants
as have been so unceremoniously thrust upon this young and
thinly-populated country. They confidently trust, my lord,
that the known humanity of her most gracious Majesty, and
that of her advisers, will induce them, without delay, to take all
necessary steps within their power to prevent a recurrence of the
evils so justly complained of, and which forms the subject of
this appeal.
The fatality which has attended the course of emigration
since the month of May last, cannot, my lord, but be present
to your mind ; it presents a picture from which the eye of the
statesman, the patriot, and the Christian turns with affright,
disgust, and horror. Of the one hundred thousand human
beings who left the land of their nativity to find a home in
Canada, it is estimated that fifty thousand were common
paupers from the bye-lanes, poor-houses, and purlieus of large
and populous cities.    Of the original one hundred thousand, VI.
five thousand and upwards died on their passage to this
country, and of .those who landed on our shores (so far as the
returns have been collected), upwards of twenty thousand have
fallen victims to an insidious and fatal disease. The remnant
now scattered over various portions of the province have
become dispirited in mind, and, in many instances, utterly
reckless of their future condition and fortunes. Those orphans
who have survived the memorable visitation, remained to be
provided for and educated under the fostering care of those
charitable associations already filled by the indigent children of
the resident poor of the several towns and cities of Canada,
A large number of our humane, wealthy, and distinguished
citizens, both of the clergy and laity, in various sections of the
province have sacrificed their useful and valuable lives in their
efforts to relieve the distresses, and comfort the last hours of
'the sick and the dying. Such, my lord, has been the result of
emigration during the present year; and, viewing the disastrous
consequences which have followed in its train, 1 would respectfully demand of your lordship, to what cause are we to attribute those evils which have been here so feebly depicted?
How has it happened that whilst in former years, when no
extraordinary distress existed, Parliament felt compelled to lay
down regulations for vessels engaged in the business of transporting emigrants, and her Majesty's Government appointed
agents at the emigrant ports; and now, when emigration has
ceased to be of a healthy character, and increased vigilance
and more active measures are required both on the part of her
Majesty's Government and the Provincial Parliament of the
Province, no such precautions are deemed expedient? The
necessary instructions, and the terms for receiving the emigrants on board of those ships which are offered as a conveyance is now left, it would seem, entirely to the cupidity and
despotic cruelty of the captains in -command, and the ship \
agents temporarily appointed.
It is a fact which cannot be questioned, my lord, that the
Government agents were, in various instances, sadly deceived,
and grossly imposed on by the mercenary views and artful
policy of the ship-agents, and those immediately concerned in
this inhuman traffic of flesh and blood. For days before the
emigrants were admitted on board, the vessels destined to
receive them were anchored in the stream, having been previously furnished with a large quantity of materials and workmen actively employed for the express purpose of erecting
additional berths. In some vessels, two extra tiers from deck
to deck were added, into which all ages, sexes, and conditions,
were indiscriminately forced.    The pleadings of humanity were 
stifled by the cannibal cravings of that rapacity which rejoiced
in the anticipation that it was about to receive two pounds per
head for every additional victim.
From this over-crowding of the ships, and the absence of
proper accommodation, it is easy to perceive that not only great
inconvenience, but much severe suffering must have ensued to
those who were compelled by poverty and destitution to place
themselves in the hands of rapacious and unprincipled sharpers.
To whatever causes the present defects in the plan of emigration may be attributed, it is to be hoped, my lord, that her
Majesty's Government will wisely profit by the sad consequences which have resulted from the injudicious and arbitrary
measures pursued both by the landed proprietors and their
mercenary agents ;. and that they will avail themselves of those
facilities which may be offered by the people of Canada, and
other portions of her Majesty's North American Colonies to
secure a more humane, liberal, and beneficial plan of emigration than that which has heretofore been attempted. I confidently entertain the hope, my lord, that the subject will receive
at your hands that favourable and earnest consideration which
its high importance demands; and that the same ability, wisdom, and firmness which have been displayed by your lordship
on other subjects not less important to the interests and prosperity of this infant Province, will be attracted to the subject
of this communication.
I have the honour to be,
With the highest consideration,
Your Lordship's
Most obedient, humble Servant,
Montreal, \st December, 1847. JOHN  K.  CHAPMAN  AND COMPANY,   5,  SHOE-LANE,  AND PETERBOROUGH;


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items