HINTS TO EMIGRANTS.*
Teas is a clever little pamphlet, written apparently by the kind of man who ought to write it, one who was originally a two-horse farmer, but there is not enough of it to be of much practical use. The people to whom it is addressed will read it with interest, but will feel ignorant after reading it. Nothing is so much wanted as a really good book of hints to small farmers, and men about to become small farmers, who intend to emigrate to America. Such books about the colonies are numerous, but we do not remember a good one about the United States. It should not be written by a Yankee, who is sure either to imagine the emigrant knows things he does not know, or to excite his imagination by long columns of the statistics of prosperity, of no conceivable use to a man who is going to America because he has heard from some one he trusts that it is a good country for a poor man. It should be written by an emigrant who has got a little above the world, who knows where the hitches" are and how they may be overcome, who can tell what sort of prosperity labour will produce, who can point out when and where capital is necessary or useful, and who can and will frankly describe the drawbacks. He should devote his book to a class, preferentially the small farmers, and to one, two, or three States, preferentially the wheat-growing States of the Northern West. No detail should be too small for him, for it is in matters of detail that the emigrant fails, and he should carefully avoid the use of scientific terms. Mr. John Clyne, for example, gives a long list of mean temperatures, which tells him, we presume, something, but John Nokes nothing ; while a table of comparisons between American temperatures and those of English counties would inform the latter on a subject on which he is sure to be anxious. Mr. Clyne, again, leaves out any information as to the mode and cost of getting from the port of entry to the settlement, and all details as to the precise steps to be taken to obtain a grant under the Homestead Law. He publishes the Act, it is true, and states that any married man, who resides five years on unoccupied laud, may have a free grant of 160 acres, but that is not the only point. Nokes wants to know where to go, what official to apply to, what he is to sign, how he is to live till he gets his house up. He • Aists tv Anigraids. a, John Elyaa. Landoll: W. E. Allen.
knows he can live, and live well by labour for wages, and can see that is the wisest thing to do, but if he is an average Nokes that is the precise thing he is anxious to avoid. The land given him, says Mr. Clyne, is uncleared, and his first business is to get up a house :—
" It now remains to add, for the benefit of those who wish to try the backwoods or obtain a grant of Government land, the following brief sketch of how one begins to 'clear a farm.' The land, as I have said, is laid out in townships or parishes. These are farther dividedinto lots, sections, half sections, and quarter sections. You ascertain where the road is likely to be, and there you select a spot for your house. The brushwood and small timber are first cleared away, and then the trees felled to make logs for the building of the house These are notched, or the half chipped off at the end; and when they have been properly placed together, the doors and windows are sawn out, with a space for the chimney. When the rafters have been put on, split timber is re- quired for the roof and flooring, costing in all about 25 dols. In con- tinuing the clearance of the farm the brushwood and small timber are piled in heaps ; but when you come to a large tree that will split for rails, you either leave it standing, or, felling the tree, split rails and carry them whither they will be likely to be wanted. It is customary to saw the logs eleven feet in length, and split them so as to leave them four or five inches square."
All very good, but is the emigrant required to do all that him- self? If so, how long will it take him to do, and how and where does he live meanwhile, if not, how and at what price does he obtain assistance ? Those are points the emigrant would like to know, as also the probable price if he concludes to buy cleared land with a house already on it. It is of no use to say land is obtain- able at a price ranging from 20 cents. an acre. Tradesmen in London say that, and the minimum always represents an un: merchantable article. The point is to give the average cost of an average cleared farm in such and such a State, at such and such distances from civilization. There is an average there, just as there is an average here, though it be one modified by a thousand and one circumstances of locality, fertility, and some- times fancy, and it is the averaga which the farmer who intends to arrive say with 2001. in his pocket wants to know. It is of course very pleasant to him to read statements like these : —" Before the Homestead Act was in force a friend of mine, Mr. Main, went out to America, and had just money to pay 3 dols. per acre for a place in the woods. He commenced and chopped away at the timber and sowed wheat in a few acres ; while, to defray the cost of living, he would build or work at any odd job for his neighbours. He has now a farm, all paid for, of 170 acres, a frame house, barn, and outhouses, a waggon, a buggy or carriage, horses, cattle, &c., and he has also brought up and educated eight children. I do not quote him as an example of an exceedingly fortunate or money-making man, but as an ordinary specimen of the men who go out with a strong will and with tolerable health, to make a home for themselves in the West." That was pleasant for Mr. Main—worthy man, much more useful than Count von Bismark or Professor Teufelsdrock,—but, as matter of information, in what state did Mr. Main buy land at that price, what were his wages while he was chopping, what did bread, butter, tea, and shoe-leather cost, and what was the price of dressing those eight? Mr. Clyne tells us how they got educated, but though education is valuable, and gratis education a rare gift, still there are shoe bills. We imagine Mr. Main lived on his farm, and looked on specie when he got any as useful to pay taxes, or lay by against a rainy day, but Mr. Clyne does not say so, though the fact might weigh with emigrants. A certain vagueness runs through his directions. For example, he says, "The question is sometimes asked what can such a farm produce? It would be more difficult to answer the question—what can it not produce? The American settler can grow all kinds of grain and most kinds of fruit, flax, and hemp, while horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, and poultry are sure to flourish with them. In consequence of the high prices of most things since the late war began, the American farmer has been more and more addicting himself to the pro- duction of all necessary articles ; and there is now almost nothing he requires, except tea, which he cannot obtain from his own farm. In 1859 there were 7,235,025 gallons of molasses produced, and in 1860 38,863,884 lbs. of maple sugar." Very good. A ship or a fleet could float in that amount of molasses, but still one would like to know its value per pound, and if maple will grow ' among wheat, and if there is such a thing known as a "four-course shift," and if not, how the land is preserved from exhaustion,—Mr. Clyne admits it is often worked to death,—and so on. Many a
• farmer's mouth will water at the subjoined description. After speaking of apples, pears, cherries, plums, and vines, and recom- mending the emigrant to dry his surplus, he says, "The most difficult kind of fruit to raise are plums and nectarines, they being liable to be bitten by the curcullio, whereupon the fruit drops while
yet green. The only preventative is to turn some hogs loose among the trees, so soon as the latter have grown to bearing size. Amongst' the best plums to grow are Golden drops, Green gage, Imperial gage, Lombard, Washington, Yellow gage. The various apricots, nectarines, currants, and strawberries are of such import- ance that they need scarcely be named. Apart from the mere luxury of having these various kinds of fruit for home use, the settler will discover that they are the least expensive part of his farm. Most frequently you can get as many grape cuttings as are needed for nothing, and fruit trees may be purchased as low as 100. each. America is making great progress in growing good wine grapes. In 1860 Ohio alone produced 56,264 gallons of wine, and California 494,516 gallons ; it is more than double now." Will all States grow those fruits, and if not, which, and are there any disadvantages to counterbalance the temp- tation of getting good grape cuttings for nothing and fruit trees as low as fivepence each? The following, again, is valu- able, but it wants details, and a good many details, the two lines 1"-- we have italicized containing the only unmistakably valuable hint. "The next point to be considered is the kind of soil which should be preferred. If the settler wants land for grazing and corn, flat and low-lying laud is the best ; if he wishes to grow wheat and fruit he should take high land. Clayey soil is peculiarly difficult to cultivate in America ; the sun hardens the clay and renders it unworkable. Clayey soil in England may be preferable to sandy soil, for England, as compared with America, has a moist climate ; but in America sandy soil is much the better of the two. A loamy soil, in which clay and sand are about equally mixed, is eligible for almost any purpose ; and marl is also good, as it con- tains from 5 to 20 per cent, of carbonate of lime. Calcareous soil is very abundant in America, and its productive qualities are not to be surpassed. Prairie and peaty soil contain a quantity of organic matter, which is for many purposes very valuable. It is very common in America to select land by the kinds of timber grown upon it ; but it is somewhat difficult to say which trees are the best guides." "Chalky land," too, Mr. Clyne, is English for "calcareous soil," and conveys a good deal more to most men of the kind you are addressing. No need of tables for them extracted from the census. They can get information of that sort ; their difficulty is detail, which they cannot get. The present reviewer, who has an unquenchable interest in most things American and all things relating to the improvement of peasants' comfort, has tried at odd times for three years to ascertain the average annual value of an average freehold in Western New York, and has not succeeded, and does not expect to. American books are like American newspapers, which have a morbidly developed talent for giving you everything except the facts on which their "spicy com- ments" are based, which will, for instance, "flay an orator alive," but never publish the speech which irritates them. The secret of this is of course want of knowledge as to the points of which average Englishmen are ignorant, a defect which can only be corrected by a book written by an emigrant, a shade above his class, slightly garrulous, and profoundly convinced that nobody knows anything but himself—a Boswell of the American farmstead. Such a man would have a sale for such a book of many scores of thousands, and might seriously affect the position of English agriculture. His work would be sure sooner or later to descend from the small farmers, of whom we have been speaking, among the labourers, who need only the further information that they can get by such a route to such a place, and there obtain work which in two years will raise them to the position in which the book we have indicated becomes invaluable.