« PreviousContinue »
The following errors occurred in the English copy, and were not noticed
Page 96, 2d line, for Charleston, N. C. read S. C.
196, 19th line, for cents read dollars.
290, 23d line, for observe read subserve.
A few other slight typographical errors have been detected, but they do not
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER.
IN the course of the year 1820, and the spring of 1821, I made au extensive tour through Upper and Lower Canada and the United States of America, traversing the latter through Maine and Louisiana, through Alabama, and back again through the States of Mississippi and Tennessee.
Although I had no intention of remaining in the country, the subject of emigration had become so interesting before I left England, that it was natural that in a journey of nearly 8000 miles in the New World, about 1800 of which I performed on horseback, that subject should engage much of my attention.
I was by no means qualified, either by previous habits or information, to avail myself fully of the valuable opportunities of observation which I enjoyed; but I made a few general remarks on the subject, in my correspondence with my brother; and having found, on my arrival at home, that he had preserved my letters, it has occurred to me, that, superficial as my knowledge was on many parts of the subject, I might possibly add something to the general stock of information on a question so peculiarly interesting at a time in which so many persons have been under the painful necessity of deciding on the eligibility of expatriating themselves, in order to find in the new world a freedom from those cares under which they were sinking in the old.
If on perusing the letters I send you-which are copied, I believe, without any alteration, except where there are personal allusions—it should be compatible with your plans to insert them in the Christian Observer, they are quite at your service.
At a future time I may, perhaps, trouble you with some remarks on the religion and morals of the United States, if I persude myself they will be of any interest.
Although I most decidedly prefer my own country, I feel that very great injustice has been done to America by most of our travellers and journalists; and I was gratified to perceive, that the Christian Observer, in the true spirit which becomes its character, was the first to endeavour to establish a more correct, as well as a more candid and liberal appreciation of that interesting and powerful, though in some respects rival nation.
Philadelphia, Nov. 6, 1820.
NEITHER am I able to write to you as fully as I could desire on the subject of emigration to the United States, upon which you say you should wish to hear what occurs to me. On this difficult and interesting topic, I will enter more particularly shortly; and, in the mean time, will send you the result of my observations on the inducements which Canada appeared to me to offer to English labourers and other persons of little or no property. Those observations were necessarily both rapid and superficial; and my information is proportionably scanty, although I endeavoured to seize every opportunity of obtaining intelligence.
The lands which the Government is at present distributing in Upper Canada lie parallel to the St. Lawrence and the Lakes, and constitute a range of townships in the rear of those already granted. They are said to be no where above ten or fifteen miles distant from the old settlements. Land offices are established in ten different districts, in order to save the emigrants the trouble of going up to York; but their power is restricted to grants of a hundred acres. When an emigrant
has chosen the township in which he wishes to settle, and has complied with the necessary formalities, he receives, by lot, a location-ticket for a particular hundred acres, with a condition that he is not to dispose of them for three years. The title is not given till he has performed his settling duties; which are, to clear five acres in each hundred, and the half of the road in front. Now these certainly appear to be very easy conditions on which to obtain the fee-simple of a hundred acres : and the proposal to emigrate must therefore be a tempting one to a starving labourer or mechanic.
The real inducements, however, are so much less than the apparent ones, that although many would wisely emigrate even with a full conviction of the difficulties they had to encounter, I believe that, at present, there is not one emigrant in five hundred who does not feel bitterly disappointed on his arrival at Quebec. Instead of finding himself, as his confused ideas of geography had led him to expect, on the very borders of his little estate, he learns with astonishment that he is still five hundred miles from his transatlantic acres; and, if he has no money in his pocket, he may probably have to encounter, in reaching them, more severe distress than he ever felt at home. There is indeed much benevolent feeling towards emigrants both at Quebec and Montreal; and societies have been formed in each of these places, to afford them information and relief; but the inhabitants are beginning to complain that the requisitions for this purpose are becoming more burdensome than even the English poor-rates. The steam-boat compa
nies are also liberal; (indeed almost every man of property feels a personal interest in the encouragement of emigration;) but an emigrant must be unusually fortunate who reaches the Land Office in Upper Canada, without expending at least 51. after landing at Quebec. The emigrants who accompanied us in the steam-boat in which I ascended the St. Lawrence, were some of those lately sent out free of expense by our Government; but there was one, a smart shoe-maker, not of that number, who had been detained some weeks at Quebec earning money to carry him up the river.
When the emigrant arrives at the Land Office of the district where he proposes to settle, determined perhaps in his choice by the hope that his lot will place him in the vicinity of an old acquaintance, he may probably have to wait some weeks before the next distribution takes place; during which he must be supporting himself at an expense increased by his ignorance of the manners of the country. He then learns, perhaps for the first time, that there are certain fees to be paid at the different offices through which his papers must pass. I have a list of these before me, in which they are stated to be,
For 100 Acres
500 do. 1000 do.
£ 5 14 1
16 17 6
39 19 9
78 10 2
I was however informed, by several persons from York with whom I crossed Lake Ontario, one of whom said he was in the habit of transacting this business for the emigrants, that, for a hun