LETTERS FROM UPPER CANADA.
THESE letters may be had for less than the Canadian postage; and yet an emigrant of the superior, that is to say the wealthier and educated class, would freely give five pounds or more for the infor- mation, of a practical kind that they contain. The writers are settlers from Ireland, and appear to consist of two families,—the MAGRATHS, who have been long settled in Upper Canada, and who know the country as a good fox-hunter knows his covers; and the RA Dc LI FFS, who went out under their directions. Mr. MAGRATH, the principal letter-writer, in the first instance sends over to his old friend Mr. RADCLIFF full informationrespecting the new land about him. When it appears the RADCLIFFS are bent for the home over sea, he furnishes them with minute instructions fer- the regulation of their passage, their shipping, their landing, their progress into the interior, &e. They go : after they are arrived we then have their experience; and that of a very various kind, from the cook- maid to the young mistress. The information of Mr. MAGRATS is in some sort official, for just at the epoch of the first letter, he was appointed, by the Canadian Government, agent for superin- tending the settlement of emigrants.
According to Mr. MAGRATH, the following is the cost of taking out a family to Canada: it is abridged from his father's accounts.
In May, 1827, our family consisting of my father,* mother, sister,
cousin, three brothers, myself, and a female servant, nine in num-
ber, took our passage in the brig Donegal of Whitehaven, in which we had the accommodation of the entire state cabin, containing £ s. six berths, and two state rooms, with the services of a steward, for 50 0 G
The cost of provisions, calculated for 80 days . 20 0 Q Expenses in lodgings at Montreal (with our own provisions brought
on shore) 2 0 0 Travelling charges of my father and mother, sister and cousin, to
Prescot, 130 miles by steam boat and stages 10 0 0 Expense of conveying my brothers and myself with luggage, weigh- lug ' 20 cwt., at 4s. per cwt., and our expenditure in taverns, &c., during nine days, while on our passage up the St. Lawrence, in
Durham boats, from Montreal to Prescot 10 0 0 One day's charges at Prescot, where our entire family met 2 0 0 From Prescot to York (230 miles) by steam-boat in first cabin 20 0 0 Expenses at York, in lodgings for ten days or a fortnight 13 0 0 Conveyance of luggage and family to settlement; suppose 8 0 Total cost from Liverpool to settlement in Upper Canada with every comfort and respectable accommodation 135 0 Or 151. for each individual.
I have estimated the luggage at 20 cwts. ; ours was 7 tons, 3 cwts. ! ! !—the largest quantity ever landed by a single family on the wharf at York; and for transporting it from Montreal it cost my father 28/. 12s. ; but in my calcula- tion and estimate, I have allowed the more usual and economical quantity of one ton.
With respect to our sea store, one third only was consumed, as we made the voyage to Quebec in twenty-seven days. The surplus quantity, however, was of essential service to us, afterwards, in our lodgings at York ; and some of it we brought forward to Erindale.
And yet the RADCLIFFS found that this plan of providing stores was a profitless scheme : they were too sick to get at or cook their provisions • and yet by having them they were deprived of the assistance of the captain and steward, &c.; and in the end their stores were all stolen by the steerage passengers, who were, we presume, too poor to be sick. This, therefore, is the use of this experience upon experience. The homely proverb of " what is one man's meat is another man's poison" was never more forcibly exemplified than in the application of ordinary directions to emi- grants.
These MAGRATHS are stout fellows : one of them sends a general offer of marriage to any " smart and pretty widow under thirty- five, with a snug jointure or disposable fortune, with three or four ready-made sons and daughters,' on behalf of his brother, which brother he describes for the information of the said widow. He tells us, he measures, without his shoes, six feet three inches : they must be a race of giants,—see what their father laid in for a voyage of four or five weeks.
Two hundred weight of corned beef, packed in a pickling tub, well hooped, and with a bar of iron across the lid with a hinge and staple.
One hundred weight of biscuit. Ditto ditto of flour.
Ditto ditto of oatmeal.
Ten shillings worth of bread ; fresh beef and mutton ; half-a-dozen hams; half-a-dozen tongues ; live fowls; two dozen of wine; two gallons of ruin; potatoes, and other vegetables.
This for a family of nine ! We do not hear whether the whole was consumed; but if this is the family scale of provision, why then six feet three inches would seem to be in perfect harmony with their system of nurture. The book has only just come out : it has probably not yet met the eye of many "pretty and smart widows," and the Spectator may after all be the medium through which these sons of Titan are to he made happy. Let .us not omit the address—Erindale, Toronto, Upper Canada.
The first question which Mr. MAGRATH sets about discussing, is whether the emigrants shall purchase an uncleared lot, or land which has been already occupied. He enters into a practical and picturesque exemplification of the two schemes ; he accompanies the emigrant through all the stages of each mode, and gives the expenses in separate accounts. It appears, that in taking posses- sion of a cleared or uncleared farm of 200 acres, the difference in money is very small, and the balance must be decided by a com- parison of less easily estimated items. The mere Bush presents serious privations and very considerable risks, and we should settle the account thus : if a large number emigrate in company together, a little neighbourhood of chosen society, with a medical man among them—then we should recommend the Bush, where they may have choice of land, and all settle not far from each other. But if the party is small, and if they are careless of the neighbour- hood, then the cleared farm is preferable. Mr. SUMMERVILLE, iii the Quarterly Agricultural Journal of BLACKWOOD for March, gives an account of speculation of this kind, and his prospects ; after the perusal of which it will be a hard task for any farmer, who has five hundred pounds clear, to remain in England. The RADCLIFFS took uncleared land, and describe clear as tinpurctiaseably dear..
The first letter of Mrs. W. RADCLIFF,. from tile country of her adoption to her father-in-law in Ireland,. is a very pleasant and in- structive little narrative. Really, as far as -we can see„the Old Country cannot spare ladies who write so agreeably. The first MI:- pressions of Canada are peculiarly striking a nd beautiful.. • The. Beveeeall James Magratls, late hears ef fibar,;(44 is the Divggge of Ferns,. The 4th letter gives an account of the proceedings of the family of the MAGRATHS, in clearing their domain and building their barns and log-houses. The two Titans, JAMES andenannas, unassisted, cut eighteen thousand shingles for the roof of the barn, besides siding and flooring it. The floor of this barn is sup- ported by twenty-three beams of wood, eighteen inches square, with two courses of three-inch plank over them. These are the fellows for the Bush. The " smart and pretty widow" need fear no want of bread, with such a barn, and such bread-winners.
The 5th letter is another pleasant narrative from Mrs. W. RAD- CLIFF, giving an account of their arrival at York. She learns, from comparing notes with other ladies, what is the general opinion now, that the best way to the Canadas is via New York in one of the Liners. The expense looks more ; but, all things considered, it does not turn out so, save for heavy goods.
Land is rising monthly in Upper Canada; and the quantity of re- spectable people proceeding thither astonishes our Irish family. Medical men are in great demand; every body agrees that even a moderately qualified person would, in the phrase of the lady letter- writer, " make a fortune."
Letter 6th is from Mr. MAGRATH again: it gives a famous ac- count of the progress of the M`Giants. We extract the following passage as highly illustrative of life in Canada.
Our house stands in the garden, with a circular paling at one end to fence off the yard and offices. The poultry plague us a good deal in spring by scratching up the seeds. In the severity of winter, their claws are, in many cases, frost-nipped, and our seed beds become more secure : a good farm-yard and a busy barn-door are the best remedies. Many of the domestic fowl totally
lose their toes in winter, and consequently become harmless in the gardens; they are pitiable objects, when rambling about on their stumps, and we some- times, in the excess of goodnatured feeling, wish them their full complement of pedal members, even at the expense of our seeds.
When we first came here, our hands were soft and delicate, as those of a lady, from being unused to laborious occupation; but seeing every one around us em- ployed at manual works—magistrates, senators, counsellors, and colonels, without any feeling of degradation, we fairly set to, in the spirit of emulative industry, and have already exhibited pretty fair specimens of our efforts in clear- ing land, and afterwards ploughing it.
My brother Charles can take, what is termed here, a great gap out of a field of corn, with a cradle scythe; he and his brother James once cut down two acres of rye before dinner.
The latter makes all the waggons, sleighs, harrows, &c. ; and when I am not superintending- the emigrant settlements, my time at home is occupied in shoe-
ing horses, making gates, fences, chimney-pieces, and furniture. Indeed my mechanical labours are so multifarious, that I can hardly enumerate them ; but you may form some idea of their versatility, when I tell you that I made an ivory tooth for a very nice girl, and an from one for the harrow within the same day. My younger brother lends a hand at every thing, from a duet on the piano-
forte to the thrashing of a sheaf of corn; and believe me, we are neither de- graded in our own estimation, nor in that of the most elevated of our acquaint-. ances, by thus earning the bread of independence; nor are we without our full share of amusement, which is much more grateful than can be imagined by those whose days are spent in idleness or vanity.
We have frequently occupied the morning at work in a potato field, and passed the evening rnost agreeably in the ball-room at York!! What would Mrs. Grundy say to that ? When we contrast our peaceful and tranquil state here, with the turbulence of Ireland, our hearts overflow with gratitude to the Being who has cast our lot where neither ban nor bolts are necessary, where neither Indian nor settler will molest; where we can leave our property lying carelessly around us, even in the solitude of the night ; and where capital punishment has occurred only in three or four instances during many years. We have had, however, lest you should suppose us to be too perfect a set of beings, an Irish row or two. Some of our countrymen, in a drunken frolic, lately attacked the landlord of a tavern in which they had been drinking ; broke every thing in his bar, and pursued him into the Bush. Fortunately for him, he met oue of his own men with a loaded rifle, which he seized ; being closely pressed, he took refuge in a shanty, where two of the ruffians attacked him in front, while a third endeavoured to pounce upon him through the roof, with the benevolent design of battering out his brains (a la Tipperary) with a stave.
The fellow struck and broke the rifle ; but, from the blow, it went off, and shot the assailant through the head. The landlord then took to his light pair of heels, and escaped from the other two An inquest was held, and a verdict of " justifiable homicide" of course returned.
A solitary instance of outrage need not alarm or deter a settler. Let a man determine to exert himself, and, with even moderate capital, and health, he must prosper : if he be devoid of energy and become embarrassed, he will be ruined here, as he would elsewhere; and his creditors have a very summary way of recovering their demands upon him, as his land (though in perpetuity) can be sold, as if it were chattel property. But the vexatious and useless seventies of the English laws, as they relate to debtor and creditor, are mitigated in this colony by local statutes ; no one here can be arrested for debt on mesne process. If it be justly apprehended that a debtor purposes to leave the country, a writ (on affidavit) of ne exeat regno can be taken out, to which he must give bail ; but no further step is taken until judgment is given.
Letter 7th is from Mr. WILLIAM RADCLIFF, the husband of the very pleasant correspondent of his father. He babbles agreeably of his lot, and his &ming, and his money. He buys four hundred acres for 2001. in the Huron track; and all his friends, including a physician, settle about him. he tells us that the Canada Bank pays 12 per cent., and that the exchange on every sovereign is four shillings ; so that any person taking over five thousand pounds would receive for it six, which, being bought in as Govern- ment bank stock, would give an income of seven hundred and twenty pounds—a very pretty investment. There are other facts of the kind to be found in this letter.
Letter 9th is an excellent practical account of the whole art and mystery of clearing. Nowhere is there any thing so specific.
Letter 10th is BRIDGET LA cy's letter to her friend MARY THOMP- SON, in Ireland. It is dated York,. Upper Canada; and is, in its way, as instructive and amusing as the rest. We presume that it is genuine: we take it on the faith of the Reverend Mr. RAD-
CLIFF.* * We observe a nos, however, to a subsequent letter which leads us to doubt.
Letters 11th, 12th, and 13th, give an account of the further progress of the RADCLIFF'S with some interesting experience among the Indians. There is also a very minute report of the provision which is being made for public worship; as also of the state of religion among the settlers. The remaining letters, from 15th to 20th inclusive, with the exception of a short one ou. the manner of remittance, are occupied with Mr. MAGRATH'S ac- counts of the field-sports of Canada. They are very amusing, and will stimulate the sporting propensities of many a young hero at home. Here are no game-laws and no property in game; the ex. perienced sportsman is sure to return with a horse-load of booty, from the fat buck to the fat pheasant. Mr. MAGRATH has a very picturesque way of handling these descriptions. There is an appendix, containing useful information, with a paper of queries answered by Mr. MAGRATH. The volume is set off with several of Mr. LOVER'S etchings. We need not say they have a good deal of humour in them. The price of this useful little work is only six shillings.