COLONIZATION OF ALIENATED LANDS: PRINCE EDWARD LSLANII!..
[Extracts from the Evidence taken by Lord Monteagle's Committee.] Mr. Samuel Cunard, contractor for the mail-steamers between Liverpool and Boston, and owner of extensive lands in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia,. and Prince Edward Island, describes the manner in which he has funned; tenantry on his lands in that colony.
Prince Edward Island contains about 1,300,000 acres of land. It was alienated by the Crown, all in one day, in grants of 20,000 acres each. Some of the present owners hold under the original grant; but many have bought lands; and among those are Mr. Cunard and his son: they possess property in the island to the extent of 230,000 acres. The soil is good— a light alluvial soil, fit for any agricultural purposes, but showing no indi- cation of metallic riches. The surface is undulating, but without any high mountainous laud. The wheat is uncommonly fine—by the French, Prince Edward Island was considered the granary of Quebec; "and oats are beautiful—you have no such oats here." There is a tax of 4s. per hundred acres on wild lands, the proceeds of which are applied to public buildings: in Charlottetown a public building which coat 20,0001. was thus paid for. The goodness and healthiness of the climate are generally admitted. The present population of the island probably exceeds 50,000; and there is, a steady immigration, of the voluntary kind, averaging about seven or eight hundred a year. There is no pressing demand for labour; and a hasty migration into the colony would injure the labouriug classes there, by de- pressing wages; but Mr. Cunard describes a mode of settlement which is evidently capable of extension. "I lay out roads through my land as I think I shall have tenants coming, always having plenty in advance; then I lay the land out in lots of fifty acres each fronting on the road, and I employ my tenants to make my roads; instead of pay- ing me rent in money, I employ them in that way. Then I give my tenants leases for 999 years. The first two or three years I give them for nothing; after that they pay me threepence, then sixpence, then niuepeuce, and then a shilling. shilling Is the maximum rent that I charge them. There is a clause in the lease that they may have the land at any time by paying me the original pries of it; that is, twenty years' purchase-1L per acre. So that I never get advantage of their improvements. In other cases the poor man goes on the land and cul- tivates it; and he is bound to pay the landlord a certain sum in a certain time. If he fails to pay it, the original owner comes into possession of the land; but not so with mine, because at any period during 999 years there is a clause in the lease which gives him the power to have the fee-simple by purchase at the original. cost; not at the enhanced value, but at twenty years' purchase at Is. Then I gave him the first three or four years free." " Was 11. an acre the original price you gave for the land ?"—" No; that is the price I fix upon it. I make the roads. It is very much better for a new settler to take land from me upon those terms than to receive land free from the Govern- ment; because he need not go into the woods to look for his land, as he would do in the event of his going into the wilderness, and getting a grant from the Go-
vernment: but I have a plan in the office, and the land is described to them in the lease." • • •
" Is there any large proportion totally uncultivated ?"—a Yes; there is some lying under wood. There are a great many tenants that have very fine farms indeed. I dare say I have a rental of 3,0001. a year; but I expend the greater part of it in roads and bridges, and in other improvements. I paid a very large sum of money for my land: if I had it all I would never put it out in that way again. I paid a very large sum in .I.ondon within ten years for parts of mine."
• "You have described your contracts with your tenants: do you find any difficulty in enforcing those contracts, or are they on the whole honestly per- formed?"—" They are now; they were not some tune ago. I have not one refrac- tory tenant on mine now." • • • " What is the size of your farms generally?"—" I prefer giving fifty acres. The settlers are very apt to endeavour to get large tracts of land, but I have lately prohibited that on my lots; and when a poor man comes, I say, Fifty acres is quite enough for you, because I retain the adjoining lot for you to increase your farm when your family gets up, and you can increase your farm behind.' " "Of those fifty acres how much is cleared ?"—" None, till they go on. It de- pends upon the time they have been there. I have some tenants that have been more that twenty years; others that have been only two or three years. It also depends upon their habits and industry: but many of them have got beautiful farms."
" Within what period, generally speaking, do they choose to purchase?"—" Fif- teen or twenty years generally, unless a man is very fortunate in making some *culation, and then he is able to purchase sooner; but as I only charge them at the rate of five per cent interest on the money, and six per cent is the rate of interest in the country, they are not disposed to purchase, and I cannot take it from them as long as they pay the rent.
[Mr. Cunard is the only person who grants long leases. His experience, how- ever, satisfies him that the system of long leases with the option of purchasing the the-eimple works best. The tenants prefer a certainty of getting the fee-simple, to the longest leases—even to leases fur 999 years.]
"They like it better; although I am getting rent now from some people worth 20,0001. There is a gentleman of property from England who is worth more than 20,0001., and he pays me rent 15/. a year: he does not care about it." "Have you been able to observe the progress of any of those settlers from the tame of their first taking the land until a recent period ?"—" Yes, I have. I have never known a settler with industrious habits who has not succeeded, unless there may be a solitary case of a man being sick; but I have never known an indus- trious sober man who has not succeeded."
"Have you known many without capital ?"—" Yes, a great many without capital" And without any means of providing for themselves upon their arrival in the colony ?"—" Most of them. I consider that a man has capital sufficient if he has health and a few pounds, no matter how small; if be has but 101., merely to enable him to get on to the land to assist him a little at first." "Supposing the arrival of an emigrant of that description in the colony of Prince Edward's Island, what would be the coarse that he would take in order to provide for himself in the first instance before he became a settler?"—" Of course m harvest-time and at other times there is some labour to do; but I think a man with a very few pounds would go on his lot of land almost immediately. He would get some of his neighbours to assist him in cutting down logs and erecting a log-house sufficient for the family, till he is enabled to replace it with a good house." •
.4 Have not the principal part of your settlers other occupations besides farm- ing? fishing, and shipowning? "—" Yes-' fishing particularly. There is no part of the world better calculated for fishing than Prince Edward's Island. You can stand in no part of the island twelve miles from the water, and you are surrounded with fish of various kinds. You may take a cart down to the shore in many places and fill it with lobsters; and there are cod-fish, mackerel, and herrings, all
round the coast." • • •
"Have you had any combinations upon what is called in New York the Anti- Rent principle?"—" Yes, we had:once; but we pat it down, and they are now per- fectly satisfied. They thought that by combining together they would be suf- ficiently strong to put the law at defiance, and to resist the populous d rent ; .,but they have all come in, and now acknowledge the right of the landlord, sad ac- knowledge that the leases are binding on them." 9 "Can you form any calculation as to the number of emigrant; pf the descrip- tion of which you have been speaking, that could be absorbed by the colony of Prince gdward's Wand, supposing it were thought desirable to send them, taking only what you consider to be the capital necessary for their maintenance? "—" • forget exactly the number that I said I would take some time ago; but I think you might send out with propriety, in the spring of the year, five hundred families, or a thousand families, computing a family at five or six persons' more especially if it could be known in the colony that they were cotnitig; that they ffilglit re- ef potatoes and other article.s of fQ04. It IS a Yet'; great place for MOW& ax • r., potatoes. "Does the population depend much Upon potatoes? "—" No; they live much better than the people do here." • " What is the employment [for the winter] ? "—" Clearing new land, procuring fuel for the winter, and fencing; and there is a great deal of ship-bnildmg going on: they net the timber for that. No man can be twelve miles from a ship-yard; because the island is long and narrow, and it is supplied with fine harbours, so that he is enabled in any part of the island to take wood to a shipping-place."
"Have you been able to observe any considerable difference in the conduct and the progress of the emigrants from those different parts [England, Scotland, and Ireland] ?"—" I think that the English farmers are the best; I think the Irish are the next, if they are from a farming district, and their children are very good: the descendants of the Irish make excellent settlers. The Scotch Highlanders are very bad settlers. If you get Lowland farmers, they are very good indeed; but the Highlanders are perfectly unacquainted with farming; they are very easily satisfied; they are content with a very small clearing, and they remain so; their views appear to be bounded by very limited desires." "As to orderliness and obedience to law, is there any difference between the different classes of settlers ?"—" I do not think there is." "In the event of circumstances enabling the colony to receive any increased number of emigrants, would there be any indisposition to receive a portion of those from Ireland ?"—" Certainly not. There are a great many Irish there; the Irish thatgo out have friends in all parts of the island."
"Have you known cases of those Irish settlers assisting the friends to join
them? Yes; the Irish are very good to their friends, no people in the world more so: they send home constantly small sums to their friends to assist them in getting out."
"Is there any water-power in the island ?"—" Yes; plenty of mills. There is very good instruction at schools; the Legislature provides schoolmasters in every district." • • •
"Have you any doubt that the settlement of a considerable number of addi- tional inhabitants in the island would be productive of increased wealth to the island, and increased return to the proprietors of land? "—" Certainly. Every man who settles in the island will use his 31. or 41. of British manufactured goods: they all dress well, and live comfortably; and they must increase the wealth of the island in every respect."