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PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND:
A BRIEF BUT
THIS FINE COLONY;
SOME OF ITS ADVANTAGES AS A PLACE OF SETTLEMENT:
ADDRESSED TO THOSE
BRITISH FARMERS, AND OTHERS,
WHO MAY BE DISPOSED
TO BETTER THEIR FORTUNE IN A NEW COUNTRY:
DIRECTIONS HOW TO PROCEED, WHAT TO PROVIDE, AND
WHAT STEPS TO TAKE ON ARRIVING IN
BY J. L. LEWELLIN.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY JAMES D. HASZARD,
ROYAL GAZETTE OFFICE.
RE-PRINTED BY W. LEWIS, 21, FINCH-LANE, CORNHILL,
J. K. BAKEWELL, 5, BARGE-YARD, BLUCKLESBURY.
TO THE PUBLIC,
TO PERSONS WHO CONTEMPLATE
EMIGRATING TO AMERICA.
A copy of the following little work, which was originally published at Prince Edward Island, having been sent to a gentleman in London who had resided many years in that Colony, he was so forcibly struck with the accuracy of the statements it contains, that, at his recommendation, it has been re-printed for distribution in England, in the hope that it may draw some attention to one of the finest English Colonies in America, and thus assist, as the Author observes, "to redeem "a beautiful Island from the most unaccountable neglect.
Having been officially employed in a survey of the adjoining Colony of Nova Scotia, and having visited Prince Edward Island, I am able to bear personal testimony to the truth of the Author’s statements.
The whole Coast, or shores of the island, abound in Fish, and it is proposed to establish a Fishery in an exceedingly eligible situation, selected for the purpose, the particulars of which will be given to any Capi-
talist disposed to embark a small sum of money in this most profitable trade.
That important branch of commerce, the Cod-fish Trade, which is carried on at Newfoundland in large vessels of from 100 to 200 tons and upwards, requiring a great outlay of capital, the fish being killed on the greatbanks at a distance of 100 to 150 miles from land, may be carried on at Prince Edward Island in open boats, at an outlay of little more than the cost of lines and hooks, within a mile of the shore, the whole coast of the Island presenting fine fishing-ground. (See Appendix.)
In addition to the statements contained in this Pamphlet, I am prepared to afford any further information that may be desired by persons intending to Emigrate; and, as the season for embarking from Britain to America is approaching, early application should be made at my office, where plans and particulars of several thousand acres of valuable land at Prince Edward Island, for disposal, can be seen, and information and advice given as to obtaining passages out.
J. R. BAKEWELL,
6, Barge-yard, Bucklersbury.
London, February, 1834.
Note—Letters (post paid) immediately answered, and every .assistance and information afforded.
To his Excellency Lieutenant-colonel ARETAS WILLIAM YOUNG, Lieutenant-governor, and Commander-in-Chief, in and over His Majesty’s Island Prince Edward, and its Dependencies; Chancellor, Vice-Admiral, and Ordinary of the same, &c. &c. &c.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY,
Your condescension, in permitting the following humble attempt to benefit this rising and fertile Colony. to be dedicated to your Excellency, manifests that you feel not only a desire to discharge faithfully the duties attached to your high station, as the Representative of our patriotic King—but demonstrates also your earnest wish to advance the interests of the people committed to your Government, by making the capabilities of the Island more generally known, and thereby inducing, to come among us, farmers who would be likely to advance our prosperity, by their practical knowledge, industry, and capital. This has been the single object of the writer, and he feels gratified that the gentlemen who have perused the manuscript have pronounced it to be a faithful delineation; and, so far from exaggerating, some have considered it as not doing ample justice to the real advantages of Prince Edward Island.
When the rapid advances of the Colony, during the administration of your Excellency’s Predecessor, are duly estimated, it may not partake of enthusiasm to anticipate, that, under the auspices of your Government, a still more rapid progression may be realized; for, although your Excellency may not be a practical Agriculturist, yet the decision, sound judgment, and general knowledge which mark the commencement of your administration, justify the hope that you will discriminate the true interests and real advantages of the people of your charge; and that your parental care, in connection with the energy of your conduct, will lead to a degree of prosperity which will cause every Colonist to deplore the arrival of the painful period when you shall be removed from amongst us.
That your Excellency may be made a blessing to the Inhabitants of this Colony, and that yourself and family may participate every temporal and eternal felicity, are the ardent wishes of
Most obliged and faithful servant,
J. L. LEWELLIN.
In December, 1826, the writer of the following hints embarked from Prince Edward Island, for England, on business. Having no fellow-passenger, and with a view to beguile the hours of a winter passage across the Atlantic, as well as, chiefly, to redeem a beautiful island from the most unaccountable neglect, he employed him self in sketching a familiar account of the Colony, which he expected, when he left England the following Spring, might have been published. A recent advertisement, by the Committee of the Central Agricultural Society, induced him to attempt a revision of the rough manuscript; but so great and happy alterations and Improvements have generally obtained in this Colony, that it would have been easier, perhaps, to drop the old account, than endeavour to adapt it to the rapid progress the country has made during the short period of six years! This remark will explain why some passages in this little sketch may appear wanting in justice to the present actual state of the Island. in the year 1824, when the writer first arrived in the Colony, scarcely a stack of grain was to be seen throughout the country; now, almost every farmer has a well-filled stack-yard. The number of coasting-vessels, and the export of agricultural produce, have made a corresponding advance. Then, not a travelling waggon (the general carriage of North America,) was to be seen; now they are quite common on the roads, as are gigs and other vehicles.
For this prosperity the Colonists are mainly indebted to the seven years’ administration of the late Lieutenant-Governor, Colonel Ready, aided by a liberal and enlightened Legislature, whose measures and suggestions for the good of the country ever met his ready support and concurrence. During this period the greater part of the revenue was applied in making extensive lines of roads and bridges, and other local improvements. His Excellency well understood the wants of a young country,
and was zealously attached to farming: a fortuitous circumstance, but of great importance to a people, whose pursuits are and must be decidedly agricultural. Under his patronage several Societies, for promoting good farming, the improvement of stock, &c. have been formed, and the Colony owes to him the introduction, at a very considerable cost, of a thorough-bred entire horse, and also a mare; the former has greatly added to the value of this particular stock, great prices having been obtained or offered for the descendants of Ronceavalles. In addition to these, Colonel Ready imported cattle of the Alderney, Suffolk, and North Devon breeds; and superior Leicester and South-down sheep.
The author of this little work pledges himself to the reader that the statements he has given are the genuine convictions of his own mind; and, as he believes, agreeable to truth—that he has not been employed to write it by any person whomsoever—neither does he expect to derive any advantage beyond what may arise from the fulfillment of his desire to see a number of good farmers, who may be cramped in their circumstances at home, occupying land in a fertile Island, where he anticipates that his days will come to an end in the rational and useful pursuit of agriculture. Here are no direct taxes, but Statute Labour on the Highways —no poor-rates, no tythes, no yellow fever, no ague, no hurricanes, and low cases of consumption. Happy would the writer be should his labours prove the means of collecting around him a number of British farmers, who will persevere in their own improved modes and management, and not be drawn aside by the bad practices and make-shifts of any about them, until their conduct and perseverance place them in such comfortable and independent circumstances as shall constrain others to tread in their steps; and thus have an influence in bringing about that ample prosperity which the Colony is very capable of attaining to, and which needs only a little good management on the part of the proprietors and other gentlemen, in situations to lead the opinions and guide the actions of others.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND.
WHEN a man’s circumstances or his inclination have induced him to make up his mind to quit the land of his birth, and court the smiles of fortune in a new country, it may be of consequence to him to be truly informed of some place to which he may direct his course, with a prospect of moderate success and certain independence, if he act with common industry, prudence, and integrity. It is. with a view to convey such information that the following remarks are penned by one who is himself an Emigrant, and has spent some years in Prince Edward Island, in such employment as necessarily brought him to be minutely acquainted with the soil, customs, manners, modes of business, and methods of farming in the Colony; his judgment being assisted by sixteen years’ experience in the cultivation of a farm in England—and who would deeply regret to put it into any man’s power to reproach him with having wantonly or interestedly excited expectations which could not be realized.
It may sometimes happen that persons of a fickle temper, or who may feel disaffected towards the government under which they live, or not over fond of work, dream that, by going to some other country, they shall reap, in a miraculous manner, a golden harvest without that sweat of the brow which is the portion of the great bulk of mankind; to such it may be said—stay where you are, a new country has nothing to offer, and will have no charms for you.
But there are hundreds, nay thousands, of Farmers in Britain, men of industry and sobriety, who have either lost great part of their property by the unjust acts of others, or suffered in their circumstances by changes in the times; or are feeling great difficulty in meeting a heavy rent, and those taxes (assessed, highway, church, and poor) which, in addition to wages, oblige the Farmer to put his hand continually into his pocket. To these a new country may afford great relief, more especially if they can muster up one, two, or three hundred pounds to take with them.
To give up one’s country, to forsake the scenes of childhood, and the endeared associations of maturer age, may be like giving up the ghost to some sensible or sensitive minds; and where a great aversion is felt to quit a person’s native land, it may seldom happen that the party is ever completely reconciled to the change, be the advantages ever so great. Individuals entertaining such views and feelings should remain where they are, in case their circumstances will allow it, and it might be wise to do so in all who have the means of enjoying the comforts and meeting the heavy burdens of England. They may be well assured that no place in the world can altogether equal their own dear native land, take it for all and all—its freedom, accommodations, facilities of travelling, comforts, luxuries, noble institutions, means of civil and religious education, &c. are not to be met with elsewhere in the same universal degree and extent.— But, alas! is there no offset, no dark side to this glowing picture? Have not the singular and as-
tonishing events of the last forty years brought it to pass that the rich and the poor are absorbing the middle classes of society? And how many are there, in these times of pecuniary distress, farmers as well as others, who once had the means to enjoy and relish the matured luxuries and advantages of Britain, now feeling considerable difficulty, and much distress of mind, in providing for the various calls made on them for payment, and for supplying the absolute wants of a family!
If farmers who are so situated, or have hard landlords to deal with, who will not lower a rent that is too high to be paid—who are daily seeing their little property get less, and are fearing lest themselves and families may come to the parish, should have courage to cross the sea, let them gather up the fragments of their property, and commence farming in the fertile Colony of Prince Edward Island.
There is another class of persons to whom an invitation may be given. In innumerable instances there are, in farmers’ families, young persons who have been long looking out for a place to settle in with the object of their affections, to whom they would gladly be united could they get a Farm with any prospect of paying the rent, and bringing up a family; but no, they have waited year after year in vain—there is no room for them, where there is so much elbowing and jostling, and every corner and every post is occupied; where, as soon as a place becomes vacant, twenty or thirty applicants offer for it; the rent is hereby kept up, and the too bold takers are but too often ruined, and give opportunity for another scramble.
These young farmers must have some property; or they could not take a farm. With this they would do much better in a new country than in England—as one hundred pounds here would accomplish as much as three, if managed with the same industry and prudence as in the old country.
Industrious Labourers, too, who have no prospect of becoming master-men in their native land, may (as thousands, without a shilling, often have) become Farmers and Landowners in the Colonies.
All those who are living upon a small fixed income, and find it convenient to reside where the necessaries of life are cheap, may enjoy a retreat much to their satisfaction in Charlotte-Town, the capital of the Island; where every convenience and many luxuries are to be had on reasonable terms—house-rent and fuel being, in the comparison, the most expensive articles.
The present uncertain and depressed state of West India property may induce persons resident in those Colonies to wish to remove. Several families have settled in Prince Edward Island from Bermuda and the Sugar Islands, without appearing to feel any serious inconvenience from the Winter. Frequent opportunities occur of advantageously investing considerable sums in the purchase of real Estate.
The rage for emigration must have increased rapidly in Britain. The number of Emigrants to Canada has doubled, and during the past season reached to the very astonishing amount of 50,000, the twentieth part of a million! These have to travel seven or eight hundred miles to the Upper
Province, after they land at Quebec; but, it is highly probable that all would not pass by Prince Edward Island, superior as it is allowed to be to the neighbouring Colonies, had they been made acquainted with the fertility of its soil, its local advantages for fishing and commerce, and its other privileges, of which it may be proper to give some account.
This Colony, formerly called Saint John’s, is situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; having Nova Scotia to the South, Cape Breton to the East, New Brunswick to the West, with the Magdalen Islands and the Gulph on the North; containing more than 1,300,000 acres; and, by the census of 1827, about 24,600 inhabitants, now greatly increased. The climate is very salubrious; many British Settlers declaring that they are without ailment, although they never knew what continued health was in their native land: and I have heard one gentleman say, he could kill, in the way of exertion and fatigue, a hundred such puny creatures as he was when he arrived in the country.
The air is dry, which renders the severe cold of winter more bearable than the raw damp cold of England, which occasions shivering and chattering of the teeth, very unusual here. The temperature is less severe than in some parts of Canada; and, although the ‘Winter is long, it much assists the farmer, fertilizing the earth, probably equal to half a dressing of manure, and enabling it to produce tolerable crops under very indifferent management.
The soil is a deep sound loamy sand; the general subsoil clay, as appears by its being met with in
almost every cellar, and also by the abundance of fine water every where thrown up to the surface in springs and brooks. It is wrought by two horses, and is admirably adapted to the climate. A more clayey surface would too long delay putting in the crops at Spring. This inconvenience is partially felt in some parts, where there is a considerable portion of argil in the soil. It is somewhat singular that while the Winter wheat of Britain thrives best in a heavy soil, the Spring wheat sown in the Colony delights in the lighter lands. Vegetation is far more rapid than in Britain; here, as soon as the winter garment melts and discovers the surface, made brown and russet by long-continued frost, the animating rays of the Sun, in latitude 46 degrees, arouse the dormant but refreshed powers of the earth, which soon assumes a beautiful verdure, and Continues to give evidence of its fertility, until the commencement of Winter. Grain sown in May may be reaped in August.* The general face of the country is only a little uneven or undulated; but in some parts hills are found of moderate height, and few countries have a greater uniformity of soil, or, according to their extent, so small a portion of land, wholly incapable of cultivation: none can be better watered—for it abounds in navigable rivers,
* Although Prince Edward Island shares not the wild extravagancies and romantic scenery which characterize her neighbours, the Traveller will be delighted with her milder and more feminine beauties and graces; nor will the sentimentalist want subjects for his pen, when he contemplates the azure expanse of ocean, the noble navigable river and its busy craft, the alternate forest, of varied hue, and the well-cultivated farm, displaying the solid supports and comforts of the rural life—but the sole object of the writer of these hints is to make them useful to Emigrants, by detailing only such facts and circumstances as may benefit and assist the Emigrant in the serious affair of beginning the world in a young country.
fresh-water brooks, and springs of excellent quality.
Mode of Tenure—Upon the conquest of the Island from the French, about 70 years since, it was granted by the British Government, in Townships of 20,000 acres each; whereby the Colony sustained a deep and lasting injury. Had so fertile a country continued Crown land, and been granted to actual settlers, in quantities of land equal or proportioned to their means of improvement, the greater part of it would now be occupied by men of talent and capital, and in a high state of improvement— what might not the Island, in such circumstances, have done!
The Proprietors themselves, also, have been too generally negligent of their property. Living commonly in Britain, and possessing other means, they generally have given too little attention to their Estates in Prince Edward Island; neglected to make the Colony more known; and committed a mistake in leasing rather than selling lands—not considering that it is from the number and respectability of the body of small proprietors, or occupying yeomen, that the improvement of a new country must spring, and the rapidly increasing value of its unoccupied lands arise.
It has been remarked by a practical man, who had travelled much in North America, that the soil of Prince Edward Island is superior to that of the maritime States of the Union, and exceeded only by the back lands about the Mississippi, the State of Vermont, and parts of Upper Canada— but what judicious farmer would prefer a heavy clay to a fertile sand, in a country having a short season, unless his object were grazing only?
The present mode of obtaining land in Prince Edward Island is, either by lease for 999 years, at 1s. to 1s. 6d. per acre per annum—one or more years free, then 3d. per acre, and increasing yearly at that rate to full rent; or by purchase, at from ten to twenty shillings and upwards per acre. This is to be understood of woodland, that is wholly unimproved. Some proprietors have had farms fall into hand with more or less of cleared land on them; these, of course, are let or sold at an advanced sum, but commonly for less than the cost of clearing. Emigrants, who might not choose to sit down on a wood farm, would have many opportunities of purchasing the leasehold, or freehold, and improvements of partly-cleared farms; and it would be wise in those possessing the means to do so.
When people are determined to emigrate, and several in a neighbourhood are so inclined, they would find much comfort in keeping together, and again forming a little society in their newly-adopted homes. Fifty-seven families might settle in a square of three miles, and each have 100 acres, with 60 over, which the proprietor might give for a school and place of worship. Such a Settlement could maintain a Minister of the Gospel, and Schoolmaster, and employ a good tradesman in each calling, and a pleasant thing it would be to have fifty-seven neighbour-settlers within a mile and a half of the centre of the settlement!
The foregoing remarks are chiefly introductory, and affect the question—Who ought to emigrate? It is hoped they will tend to guide and assist in making up the minds, on the subject of emigra-
ting, of very many who are doubting and perplexed, not knowing what to do for the best, though they are suffering in their feelings and in their circumstances, and would fair quit their present situation were they not withheld by attachment to dear relations and friends, to habits and objects, and deterred by a dread of the sea, and going to a new country among strangers—being quite at a loss how and where to proceed. There is something terrific in all this to the minds of persons who have never journied far from their own fireside ; but the writer has experienced that the anticipation is worse than the reality. Circumstances induced him to wish to emigrate; but then, the cold winter of America, and a thousand difficulties, presented themselves—well, he embarked with a large family, had a long and boisterous passage, arrived, and found the country so far beyond his expectation, that he can readily say, his attachment to it is such, that he has not the shadow of a wish to reside again in England, and nothing, except perhaps a large income, would induce him to do so; being fully satisfied that, although a settler who has no capital will have many difficulties to encounter in the infancy of his undertaking, yet there is a certain prospect of the necessaries of life, with, each succeeding year, an increase of prosperity to every sober, industrious farmer, who is acquainted with his business, and an absence of all anxiety about children, who are likely to do much better than their parents. There is a something too in the breast of a liberty-loving Briton, which would stimulate him to encounter a little present priva-
tion to secure his future independence, and relieve himself from the pain of being asked for money, which, owing to uncontrollable circumstances, he may not be able to pay; and there is a pleasure also in creating, as it were, a farm out of the wilderness, which, with every returning season, yields increased cause for exultation.
The general mode of conducting a farm is slovenly, often wretched. Cattle, sheep, and pigs, are turned into the woods, or on the shore, to get their own living during Summer; and, frequently, as much time is lost in seeking the stock as would clear enough land to support them in good pasture. Few farms have any subdivision fences. A patch is ploughed here for wheat, another there for barley, the intervening spots are mown for hay: and yet, under all this want of judicious arrangement, it is astonishing what returns are obtained—a like management in England would not give the Farmer bread and cheese. But there are many meritorious exceptions to this cobbling sort of system. Many farmers display, in their management, an accurate and intimate knowledge of their difficult calling; these are developing the powers of the Island soil; and their example, in connection with the exertions of the Agricultural Society, are operating a great and satisfactory change.
The first operation of settlement upon a wood farm is to cut down the Timber, which is done about a yard from the ground; it is then junked into nine feet lengths, and burnt; the trunks which remain are piled and again burnt, until the settler
is enabled to putt in his potatoe crop, which is done by gathering with the hoe such mould as the roots will admit of into hills, in each of which four or five sets are planted. Wheat, sown broad-cast, and covered with the hoe, generally succeeds; or oats, among which timothy-seed is, or ought to be, sown for hay, and the land suffered to remain under grass till the stumps will come out, commonly in five or six years, if the Timber had been hard wood. The Americans are said to manage this process much better, by cutting all the trees under six inches diameter level with the ground, which enables them to use the harrow in sowing their wheat crop immediately. With it they sow timothy and clover, which is mown two years, and fed as long; they then plough between the stumps for a crop, and next season stump and level. The great want of a new Settler is hay, therefore in case he could take out goods or money to pay for clearing ten acres in this method, he would be enabled to keep a good stock soon after his commencement; and the wheat crop ought to pay the expense, which might be about £3 l0s. per acre, or £35 currency. The wheat produce, at 15 bushels per acre, and 5s. per bushel, would be £37 l0s.
An opinion has been expressed by a Lowland Scotch Farmer that, if the Settlers wrought only three days in the week, as they are obliged to do in the old country every day, they would obtain a sufficiency to supply their wants; and, it may be observed with truth, that it is probable no country, in a parallel or similar climate, will or does make
a more grateful return for any labor or expense bestowed on its soil.
If a piece of land be moderately dressed with stable manure, and imperfectly tilled, it will produce 300 bushels of potatoes, heaped Winchester measure, per acre, although cultivated only with the plough. After potatoes wheat is sown, some times without any ploughing—produce 20 bushels and upwards. It is difficult to say what the average return of barley and oats may be, the management is so various, but, on land in any suitable condition, five quarters of oats and four quarters of barley may be calculated on in ordinarily fruitful years. The writer has had at the rate of 70 bushels per acre of oats in some small experiments made on land recently brought into cultivation, and preparing for a garden. Crop, 1830, his wheat averaged 30 bushels per acre—inferior the past season. Last Spring a ridge of potatoes was put in with the spade, without manure; a perch was dug, to ascertain the acreable produce, which amounted to 480 bushels, being three bushels per perch. Some persons, indeed, do not allow the soil to be so fertile as the writer apprehends; but, may not this arise, from injudicious management rather than from any deficiency in the soil? Some Farmers sow timothy and clover-seed with the wheat (the practice has now become pretty general), others trust to what the soil may throw up of itself, and so kindly is the land for producing herbage, particularly the white clover, * that a ton of this fine
* Trefolium ripens, which becomes very troublesome in gardenground. Early in the season a bed was sown on new land with the early garden stone turnip; the worm attacked and spoiled the crop, consequently no hoeing was given, and, by the fall of the year, the white clover became a complete carpet, every where matted together. The ground had previously been dressed with kelp, but never had any stable or barton dung.
food, mixed indeed with couch-grass and other weeds, is sometimes cut per acre, without one grain of seed being sown by the Settler. Can this be bad land?
The timothy is a most valuable grass, is easily kept distinct from other plants, its small weighty seed is readily separated from the stalk, and very large hay crops are produced by it in well managed land. Horned cattle are wintered on straw, which, in connection with their being summered in the woods, occasions a small return of dairy productions from the milch-cows. Many settlers, who keep from six to eight, consume all the produce in their families but those who feed them in good pasture get a profitable return. Butter sells at 8d. to 12d. per lb. Cheese 6d. to 8d. Potatoes 1s. Wheat 4s. 6d. to 5s. Oats 1s. to 1s. 6d. Barley 3 s. per Winchester bushel. Beef 2 1/2. to 5d. per lb. Mutton about the same. Pork 2 1/2d. to 4d. Hay £2 to £3 per ton, and upwards.
Besides the grain and potatoes mentioned above, most Farmers grow patches of Flax, which may be said to thrive well, considering that the seed is never changed. Hops make a capital return, and are almost a certain crop. hemp also grows well; and, indeed, every plant any wise suited to the climate.
Labour is still rather high, as it ever will be where land is cheap, and the people comparatively
few. Farming men-servants get 30g. to 40s. per month. Girls 12s. to 15s. Day-labourers 2s. to 3s. and food, or 4s. without. Provisions are generally found to all workmen. Cutting down and junking timber per acre 30g. to 40s.; if burnt 50s. to 60s. Stumping and levelling, 40s. to 60s. Blacksmith’s work has been much lowered within two years, but is still costly.
The manures to be obtained are kelp, other seaweed, or eel-grass, muscle-mud, marsh-mud from banks in the rivers, and other mud found in swampy places. Much fern grows in parts where the fire has run; but this capital source of amending the land is wholly neglected. It is the common practice to penn all the neat cattle on some border of the cleared ground every night during Summer, and this, with the manure obtained from the byres or beast-houses and the stables, is all some farmers depend on. The general surface of Prince Edward Island being sandy, in some places light, but deep, the clay, which is every where met with beneath, will hereafter prove a valuable treasure to the farmer, by enabling him to grow crops to almost any extent, through the argillaceous principle so conveniently at hand. The only stone common in the Colony is red sandstone; but in the neighbouring provinces both limestone and coal abound; and lime would be a capital manure to bring in, sweeten, and fertilize new land. But whether the materials could be brought, and the lime burnt at an expense to pay the farmer where labour is dear, is doubtful; neither can it be expected that it wilt be soon tried, when manures almost at the door are neglected.
Fences are made with poles, called longers, 14 to 15 feet long, eight in number, placed one above another in a diagonal form, and secured at the —angles where the pannels meet and the poles lock into each other, by stakes driven into the ground either in an upright or standing direction; the topmost pole, or longer, stouter than the others, rests in the crutch made by these stakes or pickets when the stakes angle; when upright, they are secured or bound together by withes. A few judicious persons have commenced permanent fences by planting quicksets; other plants, the spruce, fir, &c. have been tried; the latter afford shelter as well as bounds. The hawthorn grows very kindly and rapidly. Live fences might be made of beech, or white maple; the latter is destroyed with difficulty.
Dry goods, or British merchandize and manufactures, bore very high prices some few years since. At the present time they may be obtained very reasonable in Charlotte-town, for prompt cash payment. In many country places great prices are still charged; but, should a fishery be established, trade extended, or the land better cultivated, and its surplus produce sent to a cash market, either of which would introduce money into the Colony, goods will be sold still lower; and, should all these branches of national industry and national wealth prosper—and prosper they must; I had almost said, with my Uncle Toby, prosper they shall—then some of the superabundant capital of Britain will no doubt find profitable employment here; and what ardent and enthusiastic mind will then fix the limits of the advancement of the Colony? The
Island Prince Edward has long since been described as the Garden of Canada. It has lately been designated the Sicily of North America. In some future period it may become the emporium of an extensive commerce. At present there are a great number of vessels, from 60 to 100 tons and upwards, built in the Colony every season, and sold in Newfoundland for the seal-fishery.
There are no manufactures carried on in the Colony, except domestic ones, for the use of the farmer’s family. The settlers generally make of their wool a very useful cloth, called homespun, worth from 4s. 6d. to 5s. per yard, which serves the men for jackets and trowsers, whilst a finer sort supplies the females with gowns for winter use; they also manufacture blankets, stockings, or socks, and mittins. The wool is simply dyed with indigo. Some families make the greater part of their table, bed, and personal linen, from flax, often using with it cotton warp of American manufacture. Leather is tanned by most settlers from their own hides; and there is need of it, shoes being very expensive to purchase. The Colonists make a great part of the soap and candles they use, but the greater number burn fish-oil for light. People generally do not procure for themselves half the comforts they might enjoy with a little more exertion and perseverance. All that a farm wilt produce in England for the farmer’s table may be produced here, and of excellent quality; but, in the country parts, there are no butchers’ or bakers’ shops, yet the settlers sometimes sell part of what meat they kill, and sometimes lend. Indeed, there is amongst
them a great deal of that spirit of hospitality which is pleasing in every country, arid more particularly grateful and needful in a young one. Gardens and Orchards are much neglected, although apples and other fruits thrive well, and no country can boast of finer vegetables, which are not so early as in England.
Many of the Settlers live very much on fish (herring, mackerel, cod, lobsters, &c.) and potatoes, oatmeal porridge, and milk, but people generally are getting into more expensive habits in food, dress, dwellings, and furniture. Tea may be purchased from 3s. 6d. to 5s. per lb. Sugar 6d. Rum 3s. 9d. to 5g. per gallon.
Here we may pause and exclaim—Verily, this is a good poor man’s country! Here a settler may begin farming without a shilling in his pocket, and obtain employment at such wages as will not only enable him to live, but also to proceed with his farm—a country where the unfortunate but industrious may find a refuge, with a certainty of food and raiment, and save himself from being brought to day-labor or forced to seek parochial relief in the place which once witnessed his prosperity. It might answer also for persons with small means and large families, if they could purchase partly cleared farms, and were willing to labor a part of their time. Officers on halfpay might find it a retreat not to be despised. It is a growing country—growing in value, in importance, in power to yield the comforts of life, and in the respectability of its society, to which every creditable emigrant would be a valuable
addition: and it may be an inducement to some minds that a man of moderate attainments shines like a little star in new and small communities, who would be unregarded in any well-improved circle in Britain.
Emigrants may enjoy in the Island advantages in many respects preferable or superior to what they would meet with in Upper Canada, where British goods are dearer and produce cheaper. Here would be no long journey to perform after the voyage, requiring a considerable expenditure1 but the settler can go upon a farm immediately on his arrival; and this is a great convenience to those who bring their furniture, implements, a few goods, &c.; and all who can should do so. We have a greater choice of markets; the Canadian settler must sell to the merchant or storekeeper; the Prince Edward Island farmer can ship his productions to Halifax, Newfoundland, Miramichi, &c.; and a trade to the West Indies has been commenced, which would absorb all our surplus beef, pork, butter, hams, flour, oats, and other articles, should it be found desirable to prosecute this commerce; but this should not be the case, at least as it regards oats, * which must be shipped to Britain in as large quantities as possible. England is a purchaser of foreign oats to a great extent, and P. E. Island grows a very con-
* By the Census of 1827, there were then about 3500 farmers in the Colony; each of these producing 100 bushels of oats for exportation, would give 43,750 quarters. Every farmer might very easily feed pork for two barrels; no soil or climate being more congenial to the production of potatoes. These two articles of export might soon become equivalent to Sixty Thousand Pounds per annum.
siderable surplus; why, then, not send them directly to the home market ?—especially as the old country pays cash; the Colonies chiefly offer truck or barter. "The spirit of improvement and inquiry is abroad,"—should it lead to the establishment of a grain trade direct to Britain, and of fisheries, these would encourage an improved husbandry and extended commerce; and then, such are the natural advantages of the Island, that a considerable share of prosperity must follow—nay, few Colonies are likely to thrive more. Another advantage attends settling here; if by any means the party does not like the country, he will have abundant opportunities to quit it again.
Having said as much as may be necessary to convey to the mind of a farmer an idea of the cost of land and labour in Prince Edward Island, with the returns of each crop, by which he will be enabled to judge from his capital and the strength of his family how far he would be likely to succeed in the Colony, the writer will now endeavour to offer a few hints as to what he should provide, and how he should act, when he has made up his mind on the prudence and propriety of quitting a country which no longer offers him any reasonable prospect of obtaining the comforts or the necessaries which a family require.
Furniture.—A family intending to emigrate and settle in North America should take with them what furniture they will need, in case they already have it. Some persons have had to lament selling their goods by auction for, perhaps, a third part of the value, under the idea that where timber may be had for little more than the trouble of getting, such
things must be cheap; but the difference in the amount of a tradesman’s or mechanic’s wages makes them dearer; and they are not everywhere to be procured, as there are but few professed cabinetmakers in the Colony. Bedding is very essential, particularly blankets, which are generally dear, in the country parts at least, and sometimes scarce.
Clothing.—Warm clothing is required in winter. The men generally wear stout flannel or serge drawers, and a pair of socks over their stockings in very cold weather, but it is more convenient to dispense with stockings altogether, and use long drawers with socks only. Two pair of mittins are sometimes required in travelling. Trowsers are generally worn, and short or round jackets commonly. Blue serge, or stout stuff, makes very suitable winter gowns for women and girls; who use strong printed cottons, ginghams, or Scotch homespun in the summer. Calico and striped shirting cotton garments are the most common. Fustian is good summer cloathing for men and boys; the heat being greater than in England during the season. Of shoes a good stock should be provided, being both dear and scarce, or difficult to be obtained; at least, in country places. It would be a great benefit if every emigrant could take two or three years’ clothing with him, that he might have little occasion to spend money for such articles until his Farm should make him a return; money so laid out would pay a good interest.
Food for the Passage—Where females or children are in a family, it may be proper and necessary to have sugar and tea or coffee; but, in general, it way be well to avoid cooking as much as possible.
Persons unused to the sea find it very awkward to attend at the cookhouse, especially in bad weather, even if not prevented by sea-sickness; and the fire is much occupied, where there are passengers in addition to the ship’s company; therefore, biscuit, butter, cheese, bacon, ham, eggs, onions, &c. which require little or no preparation, would be the preferable articles for sea stock; with one or two large plain cakes, apples, and spice. A little brandy also may be useful, nay required, medicinally; and salts, castor-oil, rhubarb, magnesia, hartshorn, laudanum, &c. with oatmeal * for gruel. The passage to Prince Edward Island may occupy thirty days, but provisions should be laid in for seven weeks.
The Irish Emigrants, who find themselves, usually live on oatmeal porridge, sometimes sweetened with molasses, a wholesome diet, but not common among Englishmen; and, for dinner, herrings and potatoes; nor do they always take enough of this economical food.
It is said, that if milk be drawn from the cow into glass bottles that have been scalded and well dried, then corked tight, put into a boiler in cold-water, and boiled sometime, it will keep sweet during a long voyage in any climate. To preserve eggs from taint, immerge them about half a minute in boiling-water, to destroy the living principle.
Passage—As freights are now low, and many vessels cannot obtain charters to pay expenses and
* Oatmeal for porridge should form a chief article of the Emigrant’s sea stock, not only on account of the facility of preparing it, but because of its being a most wholesome food, calculated to retain the body in a state of health.
interest of capital, it is probable that in case a number of farmers were to apply to a proprietor, or some commercial friend, arrangements would be made to accommodate them on the best terms with a vessel from the nearest place of embarkation.
The passage-money, for persons going in the steerage from Liverpool to North America, is said to be £3 to £10 each, finding themselves. Hull is a convenient place to embark for persons on the East coast, and timber vessels sail thence to Miramichi, distant from the North Cape of Prince Edward Island about thirty miles only. Bristol would suit persons in the West of England, (but the charges have been very high,) and Plymouth those on the south. Vessels also sail from Bide-ford for the Colony, and occasionally one from London.
Goods—Should persons emigrating have money to take with them, they should purchase dollars, when to be obtained at four shillings. In the Colony they are worth 5s. 6d. each, currency, and may become worth six shillings. Sovereigns also answer well, yielding 26 to 27 shillings currency; or the Emigrant might leave part of his means in safe hands, and draw Bills of Exchange, which would give him an advantage, the difference of currency being 10 per cent, and the premium on Bills not likely to be less—indeed it has been as high as 22 and 22 1/2 per cent. To bring sterling into currency add one-ninth; for instance, £100 sterling gives £111 2s. 2 1/2 d. currency. To reduce currency to sterling, deduct one-tenth.
If the Emigrant take part money and part goods, coarse articles would answer best; as blue and
white serge, stout calicoes—particularly 36-inch bowed calico—red and other flannels, slops, Scotch caps, striped cotton shirting, muslins, stuffs, ginghams, second blue cloth, shoes, crockery, and tinware—and the like. Those who may venture to take out goods should remember that there are in every country persons who are quite ready to purchase on credit, and perfectly careless about making payment; and they had better cry over their goods than after them, as many have done. They will have call enough for them in exchange for labour and necessaries. The high value of money, and the decreased price of goods, render it more safe for the agricultural emigrant not to step out of his own proper calling to become a trader. The store-keepers now sell very reasonable for cash; and almost double the labour may be hired for money than any other mode of payment would command.
Rum-drinking is the crying sin of North America; and many an otherwise fine fellow does it lead to idleness, to debt, to uselessness. Guard against it; abhor the intemperate use of ardent spirits as your deadliest and subtlest foe, that is ready to destroy your faculties, your health, your judgment, your soul and to beggar your family.
Don’t forget to put up your Bible, with any other good books, and school-books for your children, if you have a family. Education is now estimated at something like its value. The Legislature have shewn a laudable desire to promote it. May they never cease their efforts on this interesting subject, until the holy wish of our late pious Monarch George Ill, shall be accomplished, as it regards
this Colony—his philanthropic and christian wish that "every child in his dominions should be able to read the Bible."
Emigrants, having it in their power, would do well to bring out some good stock. An entire Horse of the Suffolk Punch Breed, with lively action, would prove a great acquisition, and pay the Importer well. The Island horses are very hardy and good of their size; but now that we have good carriage-roads, they would be better with a little heavier bone. As the Prince Edward Islanders may find it profitable to breed for exportation, and as mules sell at considerable prices in the West Indies, any person importing one or more Spanish or Italian male asses, not less than fourteen hands high, would render the Colony a great benefit.
Devonshire and other cattle have been introduced, much to the improvement of the Island stock, which had dwindled in size. Until neat stock, particularly mitch-cows, shall be kept in pasture, little amendment can be expected; for, as the country becomes settled, and the number of cattle increases, the means of their support in the woods and swamps diminishes. A small animal in such case must be more profitable than a large one — The polled Galloways would be a most desirable breed, giving milk and meat on moderate keep; or the hardy Carmarthen, with its thick skin and aptitude to fatten.
The sheep and pigs are greatly improved, but there could be no objection to the importation of a few tups of the breeds of New Leicester, Dartmoor, West Country Natts, or Cotswold; or to the
introduction of swine of quick growth, light offal, and disposition to early maturity.
There are good ploughs in the Colony, and all implements, harness, houses, &c. are rapidly improving; but there is still a miserable deficiency of winnowing machines, chaff-cutters,* and other labor-saving implements. A good machine for washing clothes is a desideratum.
Young people who have no children of size, to do them much service, would find it convenient to have the help of a hand-boy or two, in case they could afford to take such with them as apprentices.
When a body of Emigrants go out together, they will be society for each other wherever they may settle; but, if only one or two families, they should be careful to enquire after persons of their own country, habits, and views, and pitch their tent near them. Much comfort has been missed by neglecting this precaution; the society and kind offices of those who have in common the same feelings, manners, usages, and sentiments, moral and religious, will stifle many a sigh in present difficulties, and hush many a regret when the happy past becomes the subject of contemplation or conversation.
Arrived in the Colony, the Emigrant should be careful in selecting his land ; regarding the convenience of markets, roads, neighbours, means of religious worship and education, and also the future prospects of the situation he may choose, and
* Chaff-Cutter, by enabling the farmer to mix upland hay, marsh hay, and straw, in any advisable or required quantities, and compel the stock to eat whatever may he set before them, give a great advantage, making the fodder serve nearly double the number of cattle—a vast improvement where the winter season is severe and long.
whether it has a sufficiency of firewood. If he intend to purchase a farm, either partly cleared or wholly wood land, let him look well to the title, for very many are liable to be disputed. Should he have no friends in the Colony, he may inquire for such persons of integrity, particularly in his own business, as could and would give him sound and disinterested advice and direction in the object of his pursuit, and preserve him from imposition. It would be well to hear many opinions, to look at various situations, and be prudently cautious and slow in determining on so important a matter as choosing a situation, perhaps for life, the right or wrong management whereof may prove a great blessing or a serious evil. But it would be wrong to delay so long as to occasion serious expense, and lessen the Emigrant’s means.
Avoid getting into debt, as you value your prosperity, your peace, usefulness and happiness.
So ends this familiar address to brother farmers, who, like the writer, may feel that, however much they may love Old England above every other country, and how greatly soever they may desire to remain among her children, the voice of prudence and the mandate of necessity, as well as the future welfare of their families, imperiously command them to seek a refuge in sonic distant land. Those who may direct their course to Prince Edward island, will find a fertile soil waiting to repay their labours with plenty and independence.
* It is to be regretted that there is no Emigrant Society in the Colony. The Secretary of the Central Agricultural Society is a gentleman of probity, well acquainted with the country; and, undoubtedly, would give valuable advice and direction to new corners applying to him, and prevent their being imposed on. In case the Central Society do not become an Emigrant Society also, it would be desirable that their Secretary be appointed Agent for Emigrants.
With great local Superority as an agricultural country, this Colony is deplorably behind its better managed neighbour, Nova Scotia; one great cause of which has been, that no persons appeared to interest themselves to make the Island generally known; happily the case is now altered, as appears by the number of very respectable gentlemen of the Colony who have subscribed for twenty copies each of this little sketch, Written with that view. Should it, however, fail to accomplish any good for a country only emerging from an undeserved obscurity and dependence, justly to assume that respectable and independent station to which any people may aspire who occupy a soil that can be made to produce greatly above the supply of their own wants, it has at least passed away a few hours at sea, which otherwise might have been somewhat dreary, and it manifests an ardent desire to promote the welfare of his adopted country, and see it occupied by a set of farmers knowing how to improve its advantages, and having the means of giving to their offspring such education as shall make them scientific as well as practical men. Is this visionary—is it irrational? No, it is reasonable, it is desirable, it may be accomplished; and if’ so little is attained, it is because so little has been attempted. Who, in the year 1793, would have credited that such grand results would have followed the labors of a few choice agricultural spirits, as the Duke of Bedford, Sir John Sinclair, Arthur Young, Mr. Cake, and a few others, who gave such stimulus to agricultural inquiry, improvement, exertion, and production, as doubled and trebled the produce of the soil of Britain, and so preserved her favored people from want, during a war which closed nearly all the ports of the continent against her.
CONTEMPLATING the many advantages of Prince Edward Island a fishing station, a feeling of surprise is created that no persons capital have established themselves in Georgetown, which has excellent, commodious, and safe harbour, easy of access, and departure at all times; and very Convenient to capital fishing-grounds now used almost exclusively by vessels from the United States which never quit their anchorage, if they can any, way avoid until they get their fare or load, which is accomplished in a few days after the fish have been collected together by being baited fed. Many fine Schooners anchor in Three Rivers on their way to the fishery; and it is said that the Master of one of them remark that "the United States would cover Georgetown with Dollars that would suffice for the purchase of it."
The Colony produces timber for vessel-building; here are abundance dance of shipwrights, food for fishermen, hemp, &c.; with indefinable quantities of fish at hand, and yet it has no fishery! The Agricultural Society, which gets an annual public grant, and accumulated other funds, might do the Island a service by offering a premium for "The best Essay on Establishing Fisheries in Pr. Edward Island; detailing the modes of carrying on each branch, the adaptation of the Colony for the pursuit of this source national wealth, the probable benefits that would result from and what markets would be open to take the produce to with most profit or advantage; with a sketch of the present state of the N. American, British, and United States Fisheries—including number of British and Foreign vessels that fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and any other useful information connected with subject."
The American home market is probably the great vent for the produce of their fisheries. The rapid increase of Canadian population warrant the expectation that, at no great distance of time Canadas will become an extensive mart for the future fisheries of Colony.
Another Premium might be given for "The best Essay in natural and local advantages and resources of Prince Edward Island—what has retarded its improvement and advancement, present state of its agriculture, including arable-farming, grazing, dairy, breeding, stock in general; implements, labour, expenses, profits; and means whereby improvement may be effected is branch of rural economy—what ought to be the mails objects settler’s attention—can any articles be produced from the so exportation to meet the costs for Imports ?" &c. &c.
One great proof of the rapid advancement of Prince Edward Island is, that, in the year 1828, the agricultural exports were £8000 only, whilst, during 1831, they reached to about £30,000.
W, Lewis, Printer, 21, Finch-lane, London.