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HINTS TO EMIGRANTS: LETTER XXIV


LETTERS FROM PERTH,
UPPER CANADA.
BY THE
REV. WILLIAM BELL


LETTER  XXIV


THE FOLLOWING TABLES will give some idea of the stages between Quebec and Montreal, between Montreal and Kingston, and between Kingston and York.

Table of Distances from Quebec to Montreal.
From Quebec to
12Lorett.
3018Cape Sante.
453315Dechambeau.
60483015St. Ann's.
9078604530Three Rivers.
1059375604515Mackiske.
1171058772572712Masquenonge.
1351231059060453318Berthier.
1501381201059060453315Laventre.
1651531351201057560483015End of Montreal Island.
180168150135120907563453015Montreal.


Table of Distances from Montreal
From Montreal to
9La Chine.
189Point Clair.
27189Isle.
3627189Cedars.
4738292011Coteau du Lac.
56473829209Point Boudet.
5748393021101Province Line.
64554637281787Lancaster.
67584940312011103River Rasin.
80716253443324231613Colquhoun.
847566574837282720174Cornwall.
8980716253423332252295Mill Roche.
928374655645363528251283Matice's.
10798898071605150434027231815Cook's.
11710899908170616053503733282510Shaver's.
129120111102938273726562494540372212Johnstown.
1321231141059685787568655248434025153Prescott.
14413512611710897888780776460555237271512Brockville.
15414513612711810798979087747065624737252210Stephen Andrew's.
1661571481391301191101091029986827774594937342212Daniel Baldwin's.
1761671581491401291201191121099692878469594744322210Gananoque.
190181172163154143134133126123110106101988373615846362414Franklin's.
200191182173154153144143136133120116111108938371685646342410Kingston.


Table of Distances from Kingston to York
From Kingston to
18Bath.
3113Nappane Mills.
37196Bowen's.
51332014Magbee's.
584027217Bellville.
705239331912Trent.
80624943292210Sandford's.
887057513730188Keelor's.
96786559453826168Groover's.
8886736753463424168Cobourg.
1068875695548362618102The Courthouse Hamilton.
11193807460534131231575Smith's Creek.
119101888268614939312315138Orton's.
130112999379726050423426241911Blair's.
1451271141089487756557494139342615Still's.
16014212912310910290807264565449413015Galloway's.
17515314013812411710595877971696456453015York.
[Editor's note: there are a few errors in the numbers in the original charts, and they have been faithfully repeated above.]



Abstract of the Population for 1820 for those parts of
the Province of Upper Canada which are actually or-
ganized into Counties and Districts.
Counties, &c.                 Number of Inhabitants
Glengary,       "       "       "       "      5782
Stormont,       "       "       "       "      4571
Dundas,         "       "       "       "      2195
Russell,        "       "       "       "       107
Prescott,       "       "       "       "      1567
Grenville,      "       "       "       "      4373
Leeds,          "       "       "       "      6722
Carleton,       "       "       "       "      3699
Frontenac, (exclusive of the town of Kingston) 2901
Town of Kingston,       "       "       "      1880
Lennox and Addington,   "       "       "      5724
Hastings,       "       "       "       "      2520
Prince Edward,  "       "       "       "      6079
Northumberland, "       "       "       "      4322
Durham,         "       "       "       "      1783
Simcoe,         "       "       "       "       148
York, (exclusive of the Town of York)   "      9593
Town of York,   "       "       "       "      1240
Lincoln,        "       "       "       "    13,787
Wentworth,      "       "       "       "      4959
Halton,         "       "       "       "      4796
Norfolk,        "       "       "       "      4178
Oxford,         "       "       "       "      2455
Middlesex,      "       "       "       "      5243
Kent,           "       "       "       "      1624
Essex,          "       "       "       "      3732
                                            105,980
           The opening of roads in a new settlement is always attended with trouble and expense. This is well known to the people in the county of Carleton; but their difficulties would have been much greater had it not been for the liberal assistance they have received from government. The first settlers at Perth had to open a road about twenty miles into the woods for themselves; but they received rations while they were so employed. One part of it was opened by a contractor, who received fifty pounds from Government for his trouble. But all that was done at that time was merely making an opening through the woods wide enough to let a waggon pass. The legislature, two years afterwards, voted the sum of £500 to improve the same road, and clear it to the full width of sixty feet. But this grant, liberal as it was, made but little appearance when laid out upon a road covered with heavy timber, and crossed by numerous creeks.
           In 1820, when the first emigrants on the Government grant arrived from Glasgow, it became necessary to open a road from Perth to the new settlement at Lanark. This cost the sum of £200, and the expense was defrayed by the Commander of the Forces out of the military chest. About the same time, when the military road began to be opened from the Grand River to Kingston, through Richmond and Perth, his Excellency granted £400 toward this undertaking, and the Legislature granted £200 more. Thus, in the course of a very few years, £1350 of public money, besides the statute labour of a great number of men and oxen, have been expended on these roads, and yet a great deal more must be done before they are good.
           In an extensive but thinly inhabited country like Canada, the postage of letters comes to be very heavy. They were, till lately, charged as high and sometimes higher than they are in Britain; but in 1822 a reduction took place. In the parliament of 1821 it was determined that all matters to or from the members during the future sessions should be paid by the clerk, and charged in his account of contingent expenses. Previous to that time, members of Parliament and their correspondents had to pay the postage of their letters the same as others. This sometimes came to be very heavy, especially upon the members who are not in general wealthy.
           During the last war, when the American army invaded Canada, it destroyed a great deal of property, both public and private, especially on the Niagara frontier. Those who had lost private property petitioned Government for compensation, and steps were taken to afford them redress. Commissioners were appointed to ascertain the amount of their losses. The demands of some individuals appeared extravagant, and the amount of their claims was so great that it was difficult to determine how they could be all satisfied. The first means employed was to sell all the forfeited estates of the traitors who had gone over to the enemy, and to employ the proceeds in compensating those who had suffered by the war. The produce of the sales, however, did not amount to fifteen thousand pounds, which was not a tenth part of the claims put in. The Parliament of Great Britain has since taken notice of the delay, and steps are now taking to make good the losses by instalments. Five shillings in the pound will be paid in the summer of 1823.
           In 1821, the merchants in Canada were alarmed by a report that His Majesty's Government intended to lay a duty upon timber from the British colonies in North America, or to reduce the duty upon that from the Baltic. Either of these would be ruinous to the trade of Canada, and numerous and strong remonstrances were sent home on the subject. The evil was averted for the present, but for how long we know not. The produce of our forests is almost the only article we have to pay for our imports from Britain, and the price is at present so low as barely to defray the expense of bringing it to market. But should a duty be imposed, ruin to the trade, and consequently to Canada, would be the consequence. Nor would the mother country herself be uninjured. A market for her manufactures would be lost, and many of her ships and seamen would be thrown out of employment.
           No country stands more in need of inland navigation, or offers greater facilities for carrying it into effect, than Upper Canada. The St. Lawrence has hitherto been the principal highway to the province. But it contains many rapids which are difficult to ascend. And, besides, being the boundary between Upper Canada and the United States, whenever a war takes place, the enemy have it in their power to capture any supplies that may pass that way: hence the necessity of a navigation by some other route less exposed. This has long been an object both with Government and the colonists; the one to convey stores in time of war, and the other to convey their produce to market. With a view to effect this desirable object, the House of Assembly, in 1822, appointed commissioners to explore and survey the internal communications of the province, to prepare plans and estimates for the improvement of the inland navigation, and to report their opinions as to the most eligible and practicable routes for effecting the same. They also voted the sum of three thousand pounds to defray the expense of the plans, surveys, &c. The proposed canal is to connect the Grand River with Lake Ontario near Kingston. It will be more than a hundred miles in length, and it is expected will pass through some part of Perth settlement. When it is completed, boats may pass between the upper and lower province with produce or stores, without being exposed to the frontiers of the United States. Another canal has been proposed to connect Lakes Ontario and Erie, so as to avoid the falls of Niagara. The distance between these lakes is said to be about thirty miles, and many locks will be wanted to enable boats to pass from the one to the other. By the report of the American Canal Commissioners, it appears that the Great Western Canal, which is to connect the waters of Lake Erie with those of the Hudson at Albany, is about 353 miles in length. Its width on the surface of the water is forty feet, at the bottom twenty-eight, and its depth four feet. The length of the locks is ninety, and the width is twelve feet. The estimate of the total expense of completing the canal is 4,881,738 dollars; or at the average rate, including the expense of constructing 77 locks, of about 13,830, or a little more than £3000 Sterling per mile. Should the canal, to connect Lake Erie with Montreal, be of the same dimensions, this will enable us pretty nearly to estimate the expense.
           The population of Upper Canada has been rapidly increasing ever since the termination of the late war. The average of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland arriving at Quebec for a number of years past, is about 10,000 annually. A great proportion of these, perhaps one half, go afterwards to the United States, but the half that remains will go far to settle seven or eight entire townships ten miles square. For it must be remembered that the clergy reserves in every township occupy one seventh of the whole surface and there is generally another seventh of water, rock, and swamp, on which no settlement can be made. But the number of emigrants who have come, need not deter others who intend to come, for there are still vast tracts of forest land unoccupied. Almost every year from ten to twenty new townships are surveyed and laid open for location. Most of the new townships are ten miles square, and contain 66,000 acres, including roads. Formerly the surveying of these lands was attended with a considerable expense to government, but a new plan has been adopted, which saves the expense. The surveyor receives for his work a part of the land surveyed, commonly about one per cent. The greatest evil attending the land granted by government, is its distance from markets and good roads. This circumstance induces many of the new settlers who have money, to purchase cultivated land, which they can always do at a very moderate rate. The north bank of the St. Lawrence, and of the lakes from whence it flows, were the places first settled, and they are still called the front or the old settlements. In the lower parts of the province these are occupied by loyalists or discharged soldiers. But in the upper part of the province emigrants from the United States are more numerous, who have been tempted to settle in Canada by the cheapness of the land and the fertility of the soil. The British and Irish emigrants are settled in the towns along the frontier, as merchants, mechanics, &c. on farms they have purchased from older settlers, or back in the woods from thirty to sixty miles, upon lands granted to them by government. They are generally hardy, industrious people, and are warmly attached to the British government, though it is said some of them held radical principles before they left their native country. Government could never do better with disaffected persons than send them to the colonies, where they would have plenty of work and few taxes. In Canada the settlers have too much work in rooting up trees, to trouble themselves with the cares of government. Indeed, the liberality of government has been so great, that all their complaints are removed, and no room left for any feeling but gratitude.
END OF LETTER XXIV.          BACK TO START OF LETTER

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