PART 1.-NORTH AMERICAN COLONIES.
Copy of a DESPATCH from Governor-General the Right Hon. Sir E. HEAD, Bart.,
to the Right Hon. Sir E. B. Lytton, Bart., M.P.
Government House, Toronto, August 30, 1858.
(Received September 13, 1858.)
I HAVE the honour to forward with this Despatch the returns from the several
Departments containing the Statistics for the year 1857. These returns are as follows:-
1. MS. list of Officers.
2. Public Accounts.
3. Trade and Navigation.
4. Public Works.
5. Crown Lands.
-6. Post Office.
9. Education, Upper Canada.
10. Education, Lower Canada.
11. Geological Survey.
2. With regard to the condition of the province during 1857, my report is not by any
means so favourable as I anticipated at the commencement of the year, or as I could
have desired. The financial crisis of last autumn swept over the length and breadth of
North America, blasting undertakings in which capital had been invested with perfect
confidence, and throwing back into poverty those who had relied on such enterprises for
employment or for ultimate gain. The re-action from England and the United States
would alone have been sufficient to have involved Canada in difficulties similar to those
which pressed on both these communities. Credits given were suddenly withdrawn, and
goods bought in full reliance on a speedy and profitable sale became at once valueless,
whilst payment was exacted from the importer with double rigour.
3. On the farmer the shock was scarcely less severe. In a community where there
is little enterprise the ebb of pecuniary prosperity is, as a matter of course, less felt, but
in Upper Canada every man is anxious to improve his farm buildings, or extend the
limits of his cultivated land; this he will do as far as his ready money will carry him,
and a little further. The sudden withdrawal of the aid which he reckoned on from
the local bank leaves him without the means of paying the artificers whom he has
employed, whilst the fall of prices obliges him to part with whatever produce he may
have on hand at a loss, lucky, indeed, if he can sell it at all.
4. The labouring classes have felt the consequences of this in the increased difficulty
of obtaining employment, and in the reduction of wages.
5. The following statement made to me by a gentleman resident in the county of
Oxford, C. W., will shew the rates current in his part of the country during the last
two years :-“ In 1856 and 1857, my wages were to farm labourers (they boarding
“ themselves) $24 per month, and in October 1857, I reduced them to $16 per month,
“ which is all I am paying this year. I give them wood to cut for themselves and a
“ house, and did the same at $24. Hay harvest, and find themselves-
“ 10s. York, per acre ($1 25c.) 1857.
“78. ditto ($0 8070 ) 1858.
66 Wheat harvest
$2 50c. per acre
" Peas and oats
“ Harvest hands, per day $1 50c.