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too, but to the rheumatic, consumptive, and feeble, it is a severe trial. It is remarked that a great number of children die in infancy in this country, particularly among the French-Canadian population; the weak in years seem injuriously affected as well as the weak in constitution.
With the exception of a very few bitterly cold days in winter, that season is far from being disagreeable; the pure, dry, frosty air has at times a most exhilarating effect, and the blue, unclouded sky above relieves the eye from the almost painful monotony of the snowy earth. The long duration of this sleep of nature is however very wearisome; after the third or fourth month, the longing for green fields and leafy woods becomes intense and harassing, and the frozen pleasures of the winter have lost all their novelty and zest. While the snow is melting away in spring, the weather is usually beautiful and very warm; but the roads and fields are in an indescribably disagreeable state, and travelling is almost impossible. Then, when the young summer fairly sets in, nothing can be more charming than the climate-bright and warm during the day, with the air still pure and clear as ever; and the transition from bare brown fields and woods to verdure and rich green foliage is so rapid that you can almost fancy you see its progress; while, at night, light frosts refresh the atmosphere and brace the nerves relaxed by the delirious warmth of the day.
To this succeed July and August, almost terrible in their intense heat; the roads and rocks at mid-day so hot as to be painful to the touch, and the strength of the direct rays of the sun even greater than in the tropics; but the night always brings a re-invigorating coolness, and the breezes of the morning are as fresh and tempered as in our own favored land. The autumn —or the “Fall" as they love to call it here-rivals the spring in its healthy and moderate warmth, and far excels it in the beauty of the coloring which it bestows.
The population returns of Canada are not by any means accurate, the number of emigrants each year, with the uncertainty of their remaining in the province, adds to the difficulty of arriving at a correct estimate. I believe, from the information I have been able to obtain from the best sources, that about fourteen
hundred thousand is the number of British subjects in this country; seven hundred and fifty thousand in the Lower, and six hundred and fifty thousand in the Upper Province. Of these, five hundred and fifty thousand are of French descent, the remainder of the Anglo-Celtic race, with about six thousand Indians. The population has hitherto doubled itself in about every twenty-five years.
The annual average number of emigrants for the last fifteen years, has been twenty-five thousand, but it is supposed that a large portion of these have unadvisedly passed on to the United States; some have since returned to Canada, others soon went to rest in the pestilential western marshes, while others have been successful. But in Canada, with common regularity and industry, all are successful: the healthy climate spares them their vigor for labor; land is cheaper and hardly less fertile there are no taxes; the value of agricultural produce is greater in their markets than on the banks of the Mississippi; and there is no Lynch Law.
The late Lord Durham, in his celebrated Report, delighted to extol the prosperity of our Republican neighbors in contrast to the state of our fellow subjects. A Select Committee of the Upper Canada House of Assembly drew up a counter-report to this, in which they indignantly, and with reason, deny the sweeping statements of the High Commissioner. I extract the following from the Committee's Report.
'Having first described the surpassing prosperity of the United States, for the purpose of contrasting it with the poverty and inferiority of these colonies, his Lordship proceeds to state :- On the side of both the Canadas, and also of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a widely scattered population, poor, and apparently unenterprising, though hardy and industrious, separated from each other by tracts of intervening forest, without towns and markets, almost without roads, living in mean houses, deriving little more than a rude subsistence from ill-cultivated land, and seemingly incapable of improving their condition, present the most instructive contrast to their enterprising and thriving neighbors on the American side.' Let the farmers, of all political parties, residing in the districts fronting on the St. Lawrence, the owners of the
extensive, beautiful, and well-cultivated lands on the Bay of Quinte, in the district of Newcastle, the Horne, Gore, Niagara, London, and western districts, read this degrading account, and ask themselves whether they would feel perfectly safe in submitting their future political fate, and that of their children, to the dogmas of a man who has so grossly misstated their character and condition."
To the emigrant from the British Islands, there is, perhaps, no place in the world offering a better settlement than the eastern townships of Lower Canada. There, in his log hut, with his wife and children round him to cheer his labor, he may speedily cut out his independence from the magnificent forests, and possess the fertile land in less than twelve months of patient toil enough is cleared for the production of sufficient potatoes and corn to place him beyond the reach of want, and set him in the road to competence. The first year is the difficulty,-often a disheartening and almost intolerable struggle.
In Upper Canada also the prospects of the settler are not less encouraging. The Canada Company published a statement a few years ago of the condition of the people at the settlement of Goderich; in 1829 was the first commencement; in 1840 six thousand people had established themselves there, and made improvements in the lands, and acquired live stock to the amount of £242,287; nearly half of this was in the possession of families who had originally nothing, or, at most, some few of them had ten pounds to start with; the remainder was accumulated by people who had been slightly better off in the world. Most of the first settlers have already paid out also the full extent of their purchase money, and are now freeholders of the land.
With a sufficient capital and extent of land under cultivation to make it worth while to devote his time to it, a man who understood it would at once be able to live in comfort, and make money on a farm. The French-Canadian gentleman, however, thinks it beneath his dignity, and trusts everything to a subaltern; and the Englishman generally expends so much of his capital in the purchase of the land and stock, that, for years afterwards, he is crippled in the means of working his resources.
Horses and other cattle, though hardy and valuable in their
way, are far inferior to the English breed, and not improved by a recent admixture with American blood. In Lower Canada live stock are very expensive in their maintenance during the long winters, and are usually miserably poor and thin; in short, but just kept from starving, till food becomes plentiful in the spring. The importance of the trade of the St. Lawrence to England is not to be estimated solely by the value of the goods exchanged, though, even in that point of view, it is very considerable; the nature of the productions of Canada sent to the British islands, requires an immense bulk of shipping, and employs a great num. ber of the very best sailors. The inhabitants of this province consume a greater proportion of English goods than any people in the world, excepting those of Australia. The Canadian purchases nearly four times as much of the produce of British industry as the citizen of the United States; in return he has hitherto obtained highly remunerating prices in our markets for everything he can send us, and in any quantity.
The tariff of the United States of course acts against the colonies, as well as against England; but it is obvious that with the very inefficient preventive force they possess, it must be a dead letter along twelve hundred miles of a frontier, a large part of which is forest or navigable water. A great deal of contraband trade with the northern parts of America is carried on through Canada, but not to such an extent as might be expected from its being greatly profitable, and with very slight risk of loss. It would seem that here the smuggler created for the "irrepressible energies of commerce" an outlet made necessary by the absurd and mischievous tariff. Demoralizing as such a trade must be, it seems almost inevitable. People and capital alone are wanted in this country; the springs of wealth are endless.
I have mentioned elsewhere that a great panic was caused in the Canada timber trade by the diminution of protection for colonial produce; for the first year from this alarm, there was a great falling off in the quantity exported; the next, however, rallied considerably, and the export is now one third more than when this step towards free trade was taken. On the other hand, it is a very singular and almost unaccountable fact, that the quantity of corn and flour sent to England since Canada has obtained
nearly a monopoly in that market, is considerably less than it was in times when there was no peculiar enactment in its favor.
At this moment, opinion in Canada is very much divided on the subject of the probable loss of their exclusive advantages in the English corn market. The agricultural portion of the community are generally very much alarmed, fearing a great fall in prices at home, and a consequent depreciation in the value of their produce; they talk of ruin-waste, untilled lands, and all sorts of dreary things. Again, some of the timber-merchants, in breathless terror, cry out that the relaxation of duties on foreign timber must at once drive them to bankruptcy, altogether forgetting their increased prosperity since the late change. The more enlightened and practical of the mercantile men hail this announcement of free trade with pleasure, and triumphantly quote the facts which the last few years have given, as conclusive in its favor.
The present is, beyond all doubt, the time of Canada's greatest prosperity from the highest to the lowest-merchant, farmer, tradesman, laborer-their hands are full of business, their profits and wages ample; there is scarcely a shadow for the discontented to lay hold of. The country has only now begun to arrive at that degree of maturity, when trade takes its great start. We should recollect that English Canada is more than a century younger than the trading districts of the United States; it is unfair to compare their progress in commerce hitherto, for till very recently the conditions of this country were such as to render the former merely anxious for, and busied in the support of life, the primitive pursuits of husbandry being the only occupation of the people. As numbers increased and towns enlarged, wealth and intelligence were brought to bear, and the last five, ten, fifteen years, show a change in these provinces almost incredible.
Within the longest of those periods, the populations of Quebec and Montreal, the two principal trading towns, have nearly doubled; numbers of people have risen from humble circumstances to affluence; handsome shops, with plate-glass windows, adorned with costly goods, replace the small and obscure stores; the roads, bridges, and canals, ships, and steamers, have improved and multiplied in a most extraordinary manner. This is but the commencement; the impulse is only now fairly at work; a few