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of more romantic peril and difficulty, we do not suppose to exist anywhere on this planet.
Mr M'Gregor's account of these people has all the interest of a romance with the truth of history. Yet they are cheerful; and as passionately attached to their own mode of life, though entailing upon them a premature old age, as the chamois-hunters of the Alps. Danger, like the risk in gambling, comes at length to be loved for its own sake.
It is urged, however, that this pursuit has a tendency to demoralize the people engaged in it; and on that ground chiefly has been raised a project by our present Ministers for loading the colonial timber with an additional duty of ten shillings a-load, and at the same time reducing the duty on foreign timber by five. On this point, Mr M'Gregor makes a powerful representation, on the one hand, of extravagant follies connected with this new financial plan, and, on the other, of the benefits to this country from the timber trade as now conducted. The heads of his statement are these: First, it employs about three hundred thousand tons of British shipping, and sixteen thousand seamen. Secondly, it supplies to England annually about four hundred thousand loads of timber. Thirdly, it takes off, in payment for this, British manufactures to the va lue, at first cost, of more than two millions sterling. Fourthly, the timber ships having a home freight find it to be in their power to carry out emigrants at one half the fares which would otherwise be required. And accordingly in 1830 alone, out of forty thousand British settlers in North America, more than threefourths were carried out at these reduced rates by the timber ships. With these and other facts before him, luminously stated in the present work, Lord Althorp must be a bold man indeed if he can seriously proceed with his financial changes, which will have the effect of destroying this important branch of industry at one blow. Yet these interests, vast as they are, sink in importance by the side of those which are connected with
Canada; so much larger is the scale, and so much more comprehensive, upon which these last are expanding. In 1763, about the time when our possession of Canada was finally secured by treaty, its total populalation was rated at seventy thousand. It is now, according to Mr M'Gregor, nine hundred thousand; of which one-third belongs to the upper province, and the other two to the lower. The total militia of Canada consists of eighty-five thousand men. In 1830, the imports of Canada amounted to L.1,771,345; and the exports to nearly two millions. Twenty years ago, all the vessels of every description which arrived in Canada, amounted to 341, registering about 52 thousand tons. At present, without enumerating coasters, or fishing-vessels, river or lake craft, Canada gives employment to about one thousand ships, registering about 220,000 tons, and navigated by eleven thousand seamen. These items in the account of its prosperity we mention as expressing, in a shape easily understood, the amount of advance which she has made; and it must be recollected that this expansion is continually going on. In reality, if Great Britain had no other possession than this in North America, she would have the basis of a great empire. The mere river St Lawrence is a sufficient exponent of the great destiny which the hand of nature has assigned to this region. Perhaps few readers are aware that the river St Lawrence is the greatest in the world. Mr M'Gregor asserts this; and, considering the breadth of this river in connexion with its length, and the prodigious size of the lakes into which it continually opens, we believe that he is right.* At Cape Rosier, which is considered its mouth, the St Lawrence is eighty miles broad; and at Cape Chat, 100 miles up the stream, it is still forty. Even at the point where its waters are perfectly unaffected by the sea, it is still twenty-two miles broad, and twelve fathoms (that is, 72 feet) deep. Nay, 100 miles below Quebec, it is nearly 300 feet deep; for
* Even the river of the Amazons appears, by Mr M'Gregor's measurement, to be inferior to the St Lawrence, as respects length; and that it is very much inferior, as respects breadth, every body is aware.
its depth increases upwards. Such a river was an appropriate basin for receiving the vast timber-ships called the Columbus and the Baron of Renfrew-" those mammoth ships," (as Mr M'Gregor happily styles them,) "the largest masses, in one body, that human ingenuity, or daring enterprise, ever contrived to float on the ocean.' Both, by the way, crossed the Atlantic; and both were lost. Of the Columbus we have the following_account from Mr M'Gregor:-"The length on deck was about 320 feet; breadth something more than 50; and the extreme depth of the body about 40 feet. There was then about 3000 tons put on board before launching. Every thing was on a gigantic scale, The launch-ways were laid on solid mason-work, embedded in the rock. The chain and hemp-cables, capstan, bars, &c. exceeded the dimensions of common materials, in the same proportion as the Columbus did
for those who seek quiet, and the enjoyments of social life, no one of our colonies seems equal in attractions to this magnificent region. Provisions are cheap; though, it is true, that, in Quebec and Montreal, the style of living, in other respects, is allowed to counteract that advantage. The scenery, and the style of rural architecture adopted in the Canadian cottages, is such as peculiarly to delight English eyes. And perhaps, in no part of the world is the style of manners so courteous and winning, as amongst the old indigenous Canadian peasantry, descended from the original French settlers. On these points we cannot have more accurate information than that of Mr M'Gregor.
"The houses of the habitans (i. e. the peasantry) are sometimes built of stone, high. The walls outside are whitebut generally of wood, and only one story
washed; which imparts to them, parti
other ships. Yet this huge four-cularly in summer, when almost every
masted vessel was strongly framed, timbered, and planked, on the usual principles, and not put together like a raft, as many people imagined."* One pledge for the future prosperity of Canada is found in her mineral wealth. Even petalite, the rarest of fossils, is yielded by her soil, (near York ;) iron of the best quality, copper, lead, tin, plumbago, &c., and all the metals predominant in the useful arts, have been found already; nor do we recollect a single mineral which is indispensable to manufacturing industry, except only coal, which has not been discovered in Canada, Salt and gypsum are now produced in abundance. Even coal would probably have been detected long ago, had the woods been less infinite. And, should it even happen that coal were never detected, still the vast coal-fields in the neighbouring province of Nova Scotia (to say nothing of what might be had from New Brunswick, or Cape Breton, or Nova Scotia,) are known to be sufficient for the consumption of all America, through very long periods of time.
Meantime, as a place of residence
clean-looking appearance. thing else is green, a most lively and Some of the houses have verandas; and an orchard and garden is often attached. We cannot but be pleased and happy while travelling through them. They assuredly seem to be the very abodes of simplicity, virtue, and happiness. We pass along delighted through a beautiful rural country, with clumps of wood interspersed, amidst cultivated farms, pastures, and herds; decent parish churches, and neat white houses or cottages. The inhabitants are always not only civil, but polite and hospitable; and the absence of beggary, and of the squalid beings, whose misery harrows our feelings in the United Kingdom, is the best proof that they are in comfortable circumstances. Thefts are rare, and doors are as rarely locked. You never meet a Canadian, but he puts his hand to his hat, or bonnet rouge; he is always ready to inform you, or to receive you into his house; and, if you are hungry, the best he has is at your service.
The manners of the women and children which prevails amongst the peasants of have nothing of the awkward bashfulness Scotland, nor the boorish rudeness of those of England. While we know that each may be equally correct in heart, yet we cannot help being pleased with the manners that smooth our journeys; and
*The reader must not suppose that three thousand tons was the complement of her loading. She ran out a mile by the impetus of her launch, and took in the rest of her cargo, which was far more, at the Falls of Montmorenci,
often have I compared the easy obliging manner of the Canadian habitans, with the rough What d'ye want?' of the English boor, or the wondering What's your wull?' of the Scotch cotters. At the auberges or inns, many of which are post-houses, we find civility, ready attendance, and have seldom to complain of what we pay for. The post-houses, which are established along the main roads, are regulated by an act of the Provincial Parliament; and the maitre de poste is obliged to keep a certain number of horses, caleches, and cabrioles, ready at all hours of the night or day for the accommodation of travellers. There is seldom any delay; fares are fixed by law; there is nothing to pay the driver; and a paper is given, stating the charge from stage to stage-which is, for a caleche or cabriole, (in which two can travel,) fifteen pence per league.-The priest's house is always close to the church; and you never see him except in his sacerdotal robe. Enter his house, and you are welcome; nor will he let you depart hungry."
"A Sabbath morning in the Scotch parishes, most remote from the towns, bears the nearest resemblance to a Sunday before mass in Canada. But the evenings of Sunday are far more cheerfully spent than in Scotland. The people of the parish often meet in small groups, or at each other's houses, for the sake of talking; and on these occasions they sometimes indulge in dancing."
its gayest apparel. In a cold climate, it should always be remembered that extremity of cold is a great advantage; because, under the circumstances which that produces, all the out-door pleasures take a tone more emphatically characteristic of a high latitude; and because home is thus trebly endeared. Winter at Quebec is much severer than at Montreal; and, in that proportion, every true connoisseur in luxury would pronounce a Quebec Christmas happier than one at Montreal. We may add, as one of the agrémens of Canada, if the visitor should choose to seek it, the society of the old Canadian noblesse, (or, properly speaking, gentry.) "These noblesse," says the earliest British governor of Canada, (Gen. Murray,) are seigneurs of the whole country; and, though not rich, are in a situation, in that plentiful part of the world, where money is scarce, and luxury still unknown, to support their dignity." They have been too much neglected by the haughty English; but hear what Mr M'Gregor says of them :-" The Canadian gentry all over the province, consisting chiefly of the old noblesse and gentry, or their descendants, retain the courteous urbanity of the French school of the last century. They speak French as purely as it is spoken in Paris.
And, on the whole, Mr M'Gregor Many of them also speak English concludes, that
"If we look for a more correct or moral people than the Canadian habitans, we may search in vain.”
Such is the picture of rural life. On the other hand, if a man seeks for the pleasures peculiar to towns, Quebec offers more attractions, and of a more varied kind, than most cities in Europe. Here are monasteries* of ancient foundation, diffusing solemnity and the tranquil peace of religion upon a place, else so tumultuous with the stir and enterprise of a capital, and through the temperament of its native population. Here are prospects the most ample and magnificent in the world; in Mr M'Gregor's opinion, much transcending those from Edinburgh or Stirling castles. Above all, this is the capital where winter puts on
fluently; and, although their political jealousies may be objected to, yet their society is very agreeable, and not sufficiently courted by the English." Finally, there is a college and professors at Quebec; two good libraries; four of which newspapers, three twice-a-week; banks; one or two good hotels; and, in short, every possible accommodation that Euroropean habits of luxury can demand.
With respect to the connexion of Canada with this country, that depends upon ourselves. Assuredly it is noways essential to Canada, which is now sufficiently developed to take upon herself her own defence, kind. and her own burdens of every Under these circumstances, we cannot but think with Mr M'Gregor, that our Government at home have been
* In one of these it is worth mentioning, on the authority of Mr M'Gregor, that the nuns have an undoubted sceret for curing cancer.
greatly injudicious in the attempts to create splendid revenues for the Church of England, where so very large an overbalance of the population is Catholic or Presbyterian. On this point it is possible that we are more impartial than Mr M'Gregor, who, though liberal and tolerant in the very highest degree, has probably been bred up in sentiments of somewhat hostile feeling towards the English church. We, on the contrary, profess the highest veneration for that great bulwark of Protestantism, and everlasting gratitude to her for the services she has rendered. But it would be a bad mode of testifying these feelings-to make her the object of perpetual murmuring, jealousy, and hatred, amongst a people who are under no absolute necessity (a fact of which they will continually become more sensible) to endure her predominance. The Roman Catholic church is in effect the ruling church in Canada; the parish priests of that church are very handsomely provided for, having severally, upon an average, L.300 a-year; and, considering that the whole of the original Canadian population, and a very large proportion of the Irish emigrants, are passionately attached to this church, and personally to this priesthood, it is expecting too much of human forbearance, to require of the Provincial Parliaments that they should be continually taking measures for securing ample revenues, and a civil precedency, to a church which in this region is militant at any rate, and which has been too generally misrepresented to hope for any indirect opportunities of counteracting that elementary disadvantage, by conciliating to itself a body of disin terested attachment. From the quality of the immigration (to use that neologism) now setting in to Canada, there is no rational prospect for any alteration in this state of feeling favourable to the Church of England. So far from that, the hostility which she already provokes will grow annually more embittered, as the number increases of her Catholic enemies, and as their consciousness becomes more distinct of the independent power which they possess. A church, or any institution whatever, which exists substantially upon sufferance, must moderate her tone, and cease to court opposition by a scale
of pretensions suited only to a condition of absolute supremacy.
The same spirit of forbearance ought to govern us in all other acts of interference with the internal affairs of Canada. Where we cannot eventually command, we should be content to know our own situa
tion, and to act by the gentle ministrations of parental influence addressed to adult and independent children. The chief use to ourselves in future times of our North American possessions will be this-that they will oppose a barrier on one side to the United States sufficient to break the unity of her efforts against our own maritime supremacy, and that, through the fisheries, by a more direct service, they will avail to keep up the succession of our incomparable seamen. But it is evident that a policy of this nature, even more than a system of rigorous despotism supported by armies, demands an intimate acquaintance with the interests which we undertake to guide. A system, entirely our own, might be coherent in all its parts, though it were composed in Great Britain upon merely British principles, and with a mere British knowledge of Canadian wants. But, if we consent to know our own place, and to interpose only the weight of paternal counsels and the benefit of our occasional aid, in that case, as mere co-operators, we must submit to study those interests minutely, in which we pretend to interfere. We have contrived to ruin the West Indies by our factious theories: let us abstain from all similar attempts upon the Canadian prosperity; knowing that in this case they will recoil upon ourselves. For the Canadians have a larger influence in their Provincial Parliaments than we can overbalance; and under any settled conviction that we are not consulting for them, but for ourselves, they will have a sufficient motive for throwing off the allegiance which at present they are content to maintain.
With purposes so important, and a duty so paramount, calling upon us to acquire a comprehensive knowledge of these American colonies, we have national reasons to be thankful to Mr M'Gregor for the immense labour with which he has brought together the materials requisite for placing our public counsels in
this great chapter of policy upon a sound basis. The government at home, and their representatives in the colonies, are under the greatest obligations to him; and, next after them, all those who are now speculating on emigration. There is a separate chapter of valuable advice to this class: but in fact every page of both volumes may be considered as specially addressed to them, since the innumerable details which are collected upon every new settlement, its situation, advantages, difficulties, wants, and ultimate prospects, compose a vast thesaurus of information far more accurate and comprehensive than any which_an emigrant could ever hope to gather for himself by many years of personal travel. Sitting by his own fireside in England, he may now make up his plans; he may assort the materials of the baggage which he may find it prudent to carry with him; he may, in short, make every possible provision for his future comfort and prosperity, in a higher degree of perfection than would formerly have been possible, until after a long, painful, and very costly experiment on the different modes of colonial life, conducted at his own peculiar risk.
and go between China and Britain in about two months."
These are magnificent prospects, but not more so than we have reason to think warranted by the mere statistics of the case. The route of a prodigious commerce will be across these regions. They will soon be inundated by a vast population. Christian temples, cottages rich in comfort, and the best gifts of civilisation, colonies rising rapidly into cen. tres of knowledge and power; these elements of a potent national confederation, will speedily rise to dispossess the roving deer of their pastures and the wolf of his den. Rising under the auspices, and forwarded by the assistance of Great Britain, composed also in a very large proportion of a population originally British, they will inherit our language, literature, and historical recollections; under wise treatment at this time, they will look with gratitude and veneration to the mother country; and, from habits of ancient intercourse, will continue to strengthen our foreign policy as allies, long after that era when the maturity of their own developement shall have silently dissolved their allegiance to the British crown.
Never was there a time when coun- These great prospects are not in sel and assistance of this quality every part dependent upon our juswere so clamorously called for. Emi- tice and wisdom. In defiance of us, gration from this country is going on and all that our folly can accomplish, by gigantic strides; and in no very Canada, with the far-stretching coundistant period the advanced posts of tries to the west, will eventually comcivilisation will have established a pose a great empire. But we can do communication between the Gulf much at this crisis to forward that of St Lawrence and the Pacific Ocean. consummation, and to found lasting Mr M'Taggart, an engineer employed remembrances favourable to our own on the canals of Canada, and there- foremost interests. And considering fore little liable to the reproach of the critical moment at which the precountenancing visionary specula- sent work has come forth; considertions, declares that "steam-boats ing also the fulness and remarkable may go up from Quebec to Lake Su- accuracy of the information which it perior ere three years from this time;" offers to our governors at home, we whence they will pass "through the believe that few men in this generanotch of the Rocky Mountains, and be tion will prove greater benefactors to locked down the Columbia to the our vast establishment of North AmePacific Ocean." The town of Nootka, rican colonies than John M'Gregor. on the Sound of that name, from And when it comes to be superanmere advantages of situation, he be- nuated, as that can happen only lieves "is likely to be as large as through the rapid progress of the coLondon; as the trade between it and lonies to which it relates, we are the Oriental world may become won- sure that no man will rejoice more derfully great in a short time. Then, in a depreciation of his labours so when the steam-packet line is esta-produced, than the able and patriotic blished between Quebec and Lon- author. don, as it soon will be, we may come