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Three Years in Canada
John MacTaggart

Foreword: the following is a transcription of a portion of John MacTaggart's book, "Three Years in Canada" a large two volume set published in 1829. Several sections deal with his experiences during the building of the Rideau Canal and these are the sections transcribed below.

John MacTaggart was born near Borgue, Scotland, on 26 June 1791 and studied civil engineering under John Rennie (both father and son). It was the son, John Rennie (later Sir John Rennie), who recommended MacTaggart to Lt. Colonel John By. MacTaggart was appointed Clerk of the Works for the Rideau Canal construction project in 1826. He was discharged under somewhat cloudy circumstances (ill health, either due to drink or malaria or both) in 1828. He returned to England and died on January 8, 1830.

John MacTaggart was a keen young engineer, full of ideas, many of which are expressed in Three Years in Canada. Many of MacTaggart's stories in Three Years in Canada should be taken with a grain of salt, MacTaggart was trying to make the book saleable and clearly exagerated accounts in many places. Colonel By for instance stated that he thought much of the book to be inaccurate. But still, it makes a very interesting read.

So ... read on ...








IN 1826-7-8.

















VOL. I and VOL. II










Selected Transcriptions

The following are transcriptions of selected sections from Three Years In Canada dealing with the Rideau Canal and other subjects of interest.  The table of contents from both volumes have been included with the transcribed sections highlighted.

The transcription was done by scanner, using OCR and manually proofed.


Ken W. Watson

January 27, 2005



Transcription Notes:

The original pagination of the document has been maintained.  The volume number and page number at the top of each section correspond to the original volume and page of Three Years In Canada.  The only change was to recover hyphenated “orphans” at the end of some pages in order to improve readability.





Contents shown in bolded characters are those included in this transcription





NOTES on the Atlantic.......................................................................... 1

Banks and Island of Newfoundland...................................................... 18

The Isle of Bic..................................................................................... 21

Notes on the St. Lawrence, beneath Quebec........................................ 27

Canadian Cities................................................................................... 33

Rummaging....................................................................................... 44

Frosts and Floods................................................................................ 66

The Lakes........................................................................................... 81

The Forest........................................................................................... 91

The Rideau Canal........................................................................... 103

Wilderness of Rideau..................................................................... 105

Long Island Rapids......................................................................... 121

Burrett's Rapids............................................................................. 125

Nicholson's Rapids......................................................................... 126

Rapids of Merrick's Mills.............................................................. 127

Merrick's Falls............................................................................... 128

Maitland's Rapids.......................................................................... 131

Edmund's Rapids............................................................................ 132

Rapids of Smith's Falls................................................................... 134

Smith's Falls.................................................................................... 135

First Rapids of the Rideau............................................................. 138

River Tay, or Perth River.............................................................. 140

Oliver's Ferry.................................................................................. 143

Upper Narrows, Rideau Lake.......................................................... ib.

Isthmus of Rideau Lake................................................................. 144

Isthmus of Clear Lake.................................................................... 145

Chaffey's Rapids.............................................................................. ib.

Davis's Rapids................................................................................ 147

Jones's Falls.................................................................................... 148

Cranberry Marsh............................................................................ 151

Round Tail........................................................................................ ib.

Brewer's Upper Mill....................................................................... 152

Brewer's Lower Mill....................................................................... 153

Billydore's Rifts................................................................................ ib.

Jack's Rifts..................................................................................... 154

Kingston Mills and Mill Creek........................................................ ib.

System proposed for conducting the Works of the Rideau

Canal, in Upper Canada ................................................................ 157

Society for the Promotion of Natural History...................................... 170

Settlers and Squatters........................................................................ 192

Letters and Remarks respecting the Americans................................... 209

Curiosities in Natural History—Snakes............................................... 223

The Avrill, or Wood Worm................................................................ 224

Carrion Crows.................................................................................. 229

Lachine, Granville, and the Petite Nation Canals................................. 235

Lumbermen....................................................................................... 240

Character of the Canadians, and their Boat Songs.............................. 249

Prophecies and Dialogues of Jonathan................................................ 258

Celebrated Original Characters..................................................... 266

Philemon W right, Esq...................................................................... ib.

Capt. Andrew Wilson, R.N............................................................. 269

To Dr. Dunlop, Warden of the Woods and Forests for the

Canada Company.............................................................................. 274

Chief Mac Nab................................................................................. 277

The Canadian Mississippi................................................................... 280

Disputes and Crimes.......................................................................... 290

Burlington Bay and Forty Mile Creek................................................. 296

The Forty-Mile Creek....................................................................... 303

Canoes and Cottages...................................................................... 305

Canadian Improvements.................................................................... 312

Canadian Mintage and Cash Circulation...................................... 320

The Union Bridge ............................................................................. 326






The Weather......................................................................................... 1

Cranberry Marsh and Sickness....................................................... 13

Mines of Canada................................................................................. 22

Falls of Niagara................................................................................... 33

River St. Lawrence and Barnhart's Island............................................. 47

Of Dogs.............................................................................................. 71

Dr. Aberncthy..................................................................................... 75

Canadian Peculiarities connected with Art and Nature.......................... 81

Basins................................................................................................. ib.

Steam-Boats....................................................................................... 85

Ship-Building....................................................................................... 86

Sleighs................................................................................................. 88

Hail-Roads.......................................................................................... 89

Thunder............................................................................................... 90

Scientific Bushwork............................................................................. 94

Cure of the Townships......................................................................... 96

Scorched Timber................................................................................. 97

Concession Lines................................................................................. 99

Ice-shoves......................................................................................... 102

Stumps............................................................................................. 103

Dry-stone Locks and Dams........................................................... 104

Water, Lime, and Sand...................................................................... 106

Refraction.......................................................................................... 107

Corduroy Roads and Bridges............................................................. 110

Drowned Woods, Dams, and Swamp Improvement........................... 112

First Impressions............................................................................... 116

The Laird of Birrboy.......................................................................... 117

Singularities of various Animals........................................................... 126

Chub-Fish........................................................................................... ib.

Butterflies.......................................................................................... 127

Lake Salmon..................................................................................... 130

Moles................................................................................................ 131

Bees.................................................................................................. 133

Mice, Musk-rats, Skunks, and Squirrels............................................. 134

The Indians........................................................................................ 136

Statistical Tables of several Wild Territories in North America............ 143

The Welland Canal............................................................................ 144

A Tunnel Lock.................................................................................. 163

Suicidal Manners............................................................................... 166

The Boundary Line............................................................................ 175

Geocentric Latitude........................................................................... 183

Interior Discovery.............................................................................. 189

Peculiarities, chiefly of Climate........................................................... 202

Winter Taverns.................................................................................... ib.

Snow Melting.................................................................................... 203

Soils.................................................................................................. 204

Mud-holes......................................................................................... 205

Fossil Timber..................................................................................... 206

Timber................................................................................................ ib.

Lake Oil............................................................................................ 208

Kingston Dock Yard......................................................................... 209

Bleaching and Dyeing......................................................................... 211

Wool................................................................................................. 213

Sketches of Manners and Amusements.............................................. 216

Hudson's Bay Company.................................................................... 224

Arctic Curiosities............................................................................... 233

United States' Canals......................................................................... 237

Emigration....................................................................................... 242

Vale of Gattineau, a proper place for the transportation of

Convicts............................................................................................ 261

Benefits to Canada............................................................................ 265

Canada Company.............................................................................. 271

Information for the Guidance and Benefit of Persons

desirous to Emigrate to Upper Canada............................................... 303

Extent of Territory............................................................................. 307

Continental Water Communications.................................................... 314

Language........................................................................................... 324

Halifax............................................................................................... 332



Vol. I - Page 44


R U M M A G I N G.


THIS is the art of exploring whatever lies in a state of nature, or in one that may be considered similar; it may also be explained as a method whereby curiosities are discovered, and singular information obtained.  It forms no uninteresting study, and some, I have heard, prefer it to phrenology; examples, however, will throw more light on the subject. Having been told of mountains of iron ore, by my famous and worthy friend Philemon Wright, Esq. of Hull, we took our way on horseback through the forest to inspect the said ore-bed, that had begun to make some noise, and had hindered the magnetic needle of many a surveyor's compass from traversing properly. Four of us mounted, with a guide, at the celebrated Columbian hotel, and away we went; our conductor having provisions, axes, hammers, &c. in a bag on the saddle with him. Having cantered

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away a couple of miles through cleared land, we began to enter the wilderness; and as I am no great horseman, let the animal or the road be ever so good, I soon found my eyes and nose beginning to be scratched to death from the brushwood lashing and rubbing against them, —and soon, alas! I found myself comfortably landed on my back on the trunk of an old tree that had fallen by age many years before. On looking round me, I saw my quiet old pony, thinking for a wonder what was become of me, one of his fore feet having trod out the crown of a good new thirty-shilling hat I had bought in London.  My companions gathered round, but could not prevail on me to mount again; the guide led the horse, and I trudged along on foot. Getting weary, however, and seeing the comparatively easy manner in which my friends the Americans got along, in spite of the thick brush-wood and old trees that lay stretching over one another at all angles, I got upon the back of the quiet little animal again, but soon found it almost impossible to follow my companions, without getting myself bruised in all quarters, and perhaps some of my bones broken. They had got about an hundred yards before, and hallooed out to me to follow; I exerted myself to the utmost, but one of my legs getting into the cleft of a

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small tree, I was torn off my horse's back, and left amongst the briers again. Bawling out, they waited until I came up: none of them but Mr. Mackay, as good a Scotsman as lives, laughed, and I was almost inclined to curse him; the fellow being a good horseman, and used to the rough roads of Canada, could keep his seat on the saddle in a way, but the skin of his legs was partly peeled like my own, and his clothes torn in various places. After travelling a great deal, riding but little, and being pulled down frequently as described, we got to a stream which the guide said had its origin in the iron-mountain. Proceeding up the stream to its source, we at last came upon the famous ore-bed; but through excessive fatigue, after having taken a little refreshment, I fell asleep, as did all my companions but one, the enterprising Lord of the Manor of Hull: he kindly let us take a nap for about an hour, when he roused us, much recovered. Traversing these wild mountains in all directions, we were much pleased with immense specimens of iron ore that everywhere appeared ; and said to ourselves, that this place might be a muirkirk at no very distant date. Mr. Mackay wielded the hammer with masonic skill, and laid the rich rocks open to inspection. These mountains seem to range over an extent of more

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than four miles square : at one place they are not more than two miles from the first Falls of the Gattineau, where a road might easily be constructed, and where machinery and engines could be erected at a very moderate rate, as water-power may be had to any extent from the Falls. The country all round is growing thickly with hard wood, particularly maple, which makes the best charcoal of any. From all I can think, this is the best place for an iron-manufactory in Canada. While examining these mountains, we filled the bag with various specimens of minerals, such as iron felspar, hornblende, native iron ore, granite of various colours, white, grey, and red, and a kind of stone very common in Canada, which we called Limestone granite ; it being limestone that calcinates to powder, yet to all appearance by fracture granite. We also found marble blocks of great variety, white, green, and variegated.

The stream before-mentioned discharges itself into the Gattineau near to the Falls, and has washed down, through a series of ages, great quantities of the finest particles of plumbago ; the banks of the river in that neighbourhood being covered with it to a great extent. I tried its effect in furbishing metals, and found it surprising, making my rusty bush-knife gleam with brightness. We at

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length thought of returning to the inn. Night came on, and in the forenoon of the next day I found myself alive at the Falls of Chaudiere : the troubles I had undergone were amply repaid, my bruises recovered, the skin came over my arms and legs, but I will never try to explore the wilds of Canada on horseback again.

When I first arrived at the Rideau, the Governor of Canada, Lord Dalhousie, and Colonel By, were there, and had fixed the entrance of the Rideau canal to be in Rafting Bay ; a beautiful bay about two miles farther up the Ottawa river than where Mr. Samuel Clowes, Civil Engineer to the Provincial Government of Upper Canada, had proposed, as being the only practical place where the Rideau river could be carried into the Ottawa by a canal. Accordingly, my first duty seemed to be that of proving if the said engineer was right or not; Rafting Bay being by far the most elegant entrance for the canal, and nearer the head of the Ottawa navigation.

Having procured three faithful men to assist me to explore, as many axe-men, and two to carry provisions, we sallied out into the woods in the beginning of November 1826. The axe-men continually cutting down a line through the underwood, we were enabled to take, what is called in surveying, a

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flying level, which is a rough guess to a foot, more or less, of the rise or fall of the country above any fixed data. Having continued at this fagging employment for three days, my assistants keeping in the neighbourhood, returning nightly and giving information respecting swamps, gullies, streams, mountains, &c. I at last came upon the famous Rideau, at a distance of between four and five miles from the above beautiful bay.

Taking a level of this extent in England would not have occupied more than a day; but in a dark dense wood the subject is quite altered, and a surveyor has to change his home system altogether : for instance, if we get upon a hill or other eminence in Britain, we may see the natural lead of the land; but in Canada, owing to the wilderness, you have to grope for this like blind men. On coming out on the river, I found it to be forty-five feet above the level of the Ottawa, and that if a cut were to be made from thence to the valley which descended into the bay, a rocky ridge would have to be broken through, nearly two miles long, and about sixty feet deep to the bottom level of the canal. To attempt such a work would have been madness: the thing is by no means impracticable, but it would devour an enormous sum of money. Finding this, we left behind our various scientific instruments,

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and ascended the river. Having penetrated about three miles, we came upon foaming rapids, where the river was narrow in width and the banks high. Here was the famous Hog's Back, and here we proposed to raise the river by a dam, so that the water might be brought on a level with the head of Entrance Valley above alluded to, which was eighty feet above the Ottawa. But the question arose again, if the river could be raised here to the required level, was it possible for us to retain that level through the wilderness,—a distance, as we supposed, of seven miles?  To ascertain this, now became the object of research, and we set to work accordingly ; but meeting with various gullies, and huge swamps, to get through which (they being full of water) became almost impossible, we waded, and were often obliged to crawl on our hands and knees under the brushwood, and this in water. Finding, therefore, we could make no good job of surveying them, until the swamps froze, we wended our weary way to the Ottawa as we best could, and there awaited the coming of the frost, which did not happen sufficiently for our purpose until the 20th of December, and then it was accompanied by a foot-depth of snow. No matter ; we started again, cut holes through the thickets of these dismal swamps, directed a person to go about half a mile before,

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and wind a horn, keeping to one place, until those behind came up; so that by the compass and the sound, there being no sun, we might better grope out our course. For in the woods you have not only to keep to a course, but you have also to discover what that course is; not as on sea, where the course is known, before the ship starts, that one port bears from another; but in the wilderness the relative position of places is not known,—a cause which improves the instinct of the Indian, making it so superior to that of a European. We had this matter to study deeply; and we had likewise to seek for that track where we could best preserve our level, in the shortest possible distance. This compelled us frequently to diverge from the direct course; a ridge of rocks or a deep swamp, the one much above, the other beneath, the required level, had necessarily to be shunned as much as possible.

I mention these things out of no vain boast, but as curiosities in science, and must own that the subject perplexed me not a little. Placed in thick and dark snow-covered woods, where, unless the axe-men cut holes, a prospect of five yards could not be obtained ; doubtful what kind of land lay on either side, or directly before ; calculating at the same time, the nature of canal-making in such

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places, the depths to dig, or the banks to raise, so that the level might be kept from one sheet of water to another, the former eighty feet above the latter; while the weather was extremely cold, and the screws of the theodolite would scarcely move: these things all considered, were teasing enough to overcome, and required a little patience.  When night drew on, two of the axe-men were sent off to rig the wigwam shanty by the side of a swamp. This was done for two reasons, or say three : first, because water could be had in the swamps to drink and cook with, if the ice were broken to get at it; secondly, the boughs of the hemlock grow more bushy in such places, and are so far more easily obtained to cover the shanty ; and thirdly, there are generally dry cedar-trees found there, which make excellent firewood, and the bark of dry cedar is the best thing in the world for lighting a fire with. When the party got to the place, there was a very comfortable house set out, a blazing fire with a maple back log, ranging along for a length of twenty or thirty feet. There, on the bushy hemlock would we lie down; roast-pork before the fire on wooden prongs, each man roasting for himself; while plenty of tea was thrown into a large kettle of boiling water, the tin mug was turned out, the only tea-cup, which being filled, went round until

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all had drunk ; then it was filled again, and so on ; while each with his bush-knife cut toasted pork on a shive of bread, ever using the thumb-piece to protect the thumb from being burned : a tot or two round of weak grog finished the feast, when some would fall asleep,—others to sleep and snore ; and after having lain an hour or so on one side, some one would cry Spoon!—the order to turn to the other—which was often an agreeable order, if a spike of tree-root or such substance stuck up beneath the ribs. Reclining thus, like a parcel of spoons, our feet to the fire, we have found the hair of our heads often frozen to the place where we lay. For many days together did we lie in these wild places, before we could satisfy ourselves with a solution of the problem already represented. In Dow's great swamp, one of the most dismal places in the wilderness, did five Irishmen, two Englishmen, two Americans, one French Canadian, and one Scotchman, hold their merry Christmas of 1826,—or rather forgot to hold it at all.

These instances of Rummaging occurring the first year I left London, made more impression on me than others I could detail, fraught far beyond comparison with hardship and difficulty. For two or three months at a time would we penetrate up these wild rivers, wading past the

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rapids for miles together, or clamber through a dreary country, bitten with insects night and day—with bloody, swelled faces; while the heat of the sun blistered the skin exposed to its rays, producing frightful ulcers ; while the water was perfect poison to drink, and our food far from being plenty. Often a rock or root would run through the bottom of our canoes; and sometimes they would overset in the rapids, whereby the provisions would be much injured, and ourselves half drowned into the bargain : nevertheless, we met with strange scenes, which kept the spirits from sinking. If the mind can find nothing interesting, disease and every evil afflict both it and the body ; but where it can find plenty of employment, dangers and difficulties are easily surmounted. In winter, we traversed distant regions on sleighs, and in snow-shoes; broke through the ice frequently, and got ourselves wet and frost-bitten:—no matter; there is ever some balm in Gilead; and although nothing on earth would make me do over again what I have done, still I might undertake an enterprise that would ultimately turn out worse.

In some of my curious wanderings I was accompanied by Colonel By, of the Royal Engineers, a gentleman I shall ever esteem and value. He

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encountered all privations with wonderful patience and good-humour; was even too daring in some instances; would run rapids that his Indians trembled to look at; and cross wide lakes with the canoe when the Canadians were gaping with fear at the waves that were rolling around them. He could sleep soundly any where, and eat any thing, even to raw pork. One night we lost ourselves altogether in Craneberry Lake, on our route through the waters from the Ottawa to Lake Ontario. There were two canoes of us, and the poor fellows paddled away lustily ; but it was of no use ; the more we sailed, the farther astray we went, and could not find the outlet of the river Cataraque. Getting through a frightful marsh, partly overflowed by water, we entered with the canoes into an expanse of flooded woods, and one of the canoes stuck in the fork of a tree buried in the water. We went alongside, and the crew having got into the other canoe, we succeeded in lifting it out of the fork. Dark night came on, and we landed on some sort of wild shore about ten o'clock, clambered up the brow amongst the trees, and pulled the canoes and their cargoes after. We had parted with our provision canoe on the morning before, and appointed to have met with it that night at a station called Brewer's Mills: thus we

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had nothing to eat but a small bit of cheese ; and as for drink, there was nothing but a little drop of brandy in a bottle, and this was not allowed to be touched. There we were, no one knew where, in the heart of an endless wild, without food or any thing else whatever for the comfort of human life ; but we minded it not. Although we had had a fagging day, no one was inclined to sleep: could we have knocked up any thing in the shape of a dinner, we might then all have snoozed profoundly ; but hunger kept us from the arms of Morpheus, and allowed us to ruminate on our forlorn situation. We hallooed out frequently as loud as we could, but no one heard us. We were sometimes answered by the owl, afar in the solitary woods, and the lake bird, called loon, also deigned to reply from the distant waters. At one time we heard, or thought we heard, the barking of a dog,—which might have been so, but I thought it that of the wolf species.

Having a gun with us, we succeeded in lighting a good fire, which is always a pleasant thing to look at; while the light reflected aloft on the woods was beautiful. We frequently loaded the gun with powder and fired it off; and the sound reverberating through the forest and rocks

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was heard for a long time after. Thinking we had got into Loughborough Lake, which opens out of Craneberry Marsh, towards morning we started with the light of the moon, and after paddling away five or six miles until we came to the head of a deep bay, swimming-full of drift-wood, we there put about, and were glad to get back to the fire we had left on the unknown shore. We had supplied it well with fuel before we started, in hopes that we might use its light, like that of a Pharos, to guide us on our proper course ; but, alas! we now all began to droop a little, for there was a probability that we might not find our way out of the Lake, and of course, therefore, must perish.

The sun arose ; we took to the canoes again, and seeing some wild ducks, we shot at them several times, but could not succeed in killing one of them. Having paddled away several miles, and taking our bearing by the sun, the compass being useless, I found we were returning as we had come the day before; we therefore lay to, to strike the course. While doing so, we heard the report of a musket at a distance. We bore away to the place whence the sound proceeded, heard another shot let off, and even saw the smoke. It was

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an Indian shooting wild ducks. We all felt rejoiced to see him, divided the drop of brandy, engaged him as a guide, and he brought us out at the famous Round Tail mouth of the Cataraque; from whence we proceeded to Brewer's Mills, found the provision canoe, and made a hearty breakfast. So much for that time when I was bewildered in the Craneberry Marsh; but it was by no means the first time. I had spent many dismal nights in it before, and only narrate this on the score that Colonel By was with me, and conducted himself as became a man.

A lake, therefore, cannot be explored to advantage, without frequently running astray ; the oftener wrong, the more knowledge is acquired. Where any matter is known, curiosity ends; but while doubt and mystery cloud the lovely face of Nature, there is employment for the rummager.

Being at the funeral of a respectable native of La Prairie, I met with a young man who had just returned from a distant excursion in the fur-trade. He gave me an account of his route, the circumstances of which so well pleased me, that I embodied the information for my friend in the following letter.


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EVERY man to his business; and this being mine in Canada, of course I am more at home on this than on any other subject. It claimed the greater part of my attention while in the country, and by confining me to it, prevented me from exploring much, which I should otherwise have done; yet, by this very confinement, I was better enabled to examine things minutely; and the statements about to be given, will form safe data for various deductions, which may be applied to the whole of North America.

The two great rivers of Canada, viz. the St. Lawrence and Ottawa, meet at the Island of Montreal; the former forming the south boundary, the latter flowing through the interior of Canada, and dividing the Upper and Lower Provinces. There are great rapids on both rivers;

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and during the Canadian wars, it was found extremely difficult to get stores dragged up the St. Lawrence, to supply our forces on the lakes ; the rapids and the enemy greatly hindered the forwarding of the necessary supplies along the frontier.  On the return of peace, various methods were proposed to remove this obstacle, by canalling the St. Lawrence, constructing better roads, or connecting a chain of small rivers and lakes, that lay between Lake Ontario and the Ottawa river. The last of these methods was considered the best; since, if found practicable, it was conceived that it might not only answer for transporting stores safely, either in times of war or peace, but might also be the means of opening an important tract in the interior of Canada. Various persons considered capable of forming a proper judgment of this scheme, were sent through the route to report on the same, by orders both of the Provincial and Imperial

Parliament; and all accounts seeming very favourable, the construction of the Rideau Canal, by the latter, was determined upon. In the autumn of 1826, I was ordered to make a survey, and after a very fatiguing task, reported thus to my worthy commander. Lieutenant-colonel By.

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“ Wilderness of Rideau.


“ December 28, 1826.


“ HAVING by your orders explored the country in all directions, between the Bay on the Ottawa river, called Rafting Bay, in lat. 45º 30' north, long. 77º 20' west, where the Rideau Canal is proposed to commence, and the sheet of still water at Captain Wilson's, being a part of the River Rideau, embracing in the survey an interesting tract of country about eight miles long and four broad : I feel disposed to report to you as follows.

“ From the level of the low water in the Ottawa river to the head of the entrance valley which runs into Rafting Bay, in the above river, the height is eighty-three feet, which is proposed to be surmounted by locks and a basin to eighty feet; the distance from the shore of the entrance bay, to this summit-level, is 1090 feet. A distance of six chains farther brings the Canal into an extensive beaver meadow of about twelve acres, where a beautiful basin, or lay-by, may be constructed.  From this place the route of the Canal leads gently away in a southerly direction, on the line of a number of small swamps, which have their origin in the beaver meadow, until it comes to a celebrated spot called the Notch of the Mountain, a distance of

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about three miles. Throughout this part of the route the levels are extremely favourable, and a natural gully greatly assists our business. The Notch of the Mountain is a break in a ridge of hills, about seven chains broad , the hilly ridge is about thirty-four feet high, and runs east and west; east about three miles, and west half a mile: a place seemingly designed by Nature to allow the Rideau Canal to pass through. On the west side of the ridge the swamps fall away rapidly towards the Bay of the Chaudiere. After passing through the Notch, the summit-level holds good for a quarter of a mile, when a sudden depression takes place into Dow's Great Swamp. This swamp runs directly across the township of Nepean from the River Rideau to the Ottawa. The ridge of mountains, already spoken of, terminates here on their western extremity, and forms a partial ridge across it, sixteen feet beneath the summit-level, dividing the swamp, so that two-thirds of it fall into the Rideau, and the other third into the Ottawa above the Falls of Chaudiere: when the floods in the Rideau rise above sixteen feet, a part of them naturally fall into the Ottawa. The plan, however, as delineated, will convey a clearer idea of the extent and nature of this. Where this swamp falls into the Rideau, below Stegman's Falls, it is more

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than a mile broad; and where it falls into the Ottawa it is much broader. At the spot which we have termed the ridge of the swamp, it was expected that the canal might have been carried over; but, as it lay so far to the westward of the line, it was thought prudent to save distance, and hold on directly through the swamp, where it is thirteen chains broad, and averages thirty-two feet deep beneath the summit-level. Although this extensive swamp may be considered a great obstacle in the way of the canal, I am inclined to think otherwise. As there was no possibility of avoiding it, the closest examination took place in order to discover some method to cross it in a tolerably easy manner; an account of this method I shall soon give, after explaining another point, which seems to be much connected with this swamp, and which no surveyor could fail to pass without noticing.

“ A swamp of this nature, lying directly between the Rideau and the Grand River, a distance of four miles and a half, seems to be a favourable line for the canal; but, on farther examination, we find that the currents in the Ottawa, below the bay called Bellows Bay, are very much against that supposition; and, as the swamp below Stegman’s Falls in the Rideau is only forty-eight feet above

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the Ottawa, there is fifty-two feet to surmount before the still-water at Captain Wilson's can be gained. If, therefore, a summit-level of eighty can be any way preserved from Rafting Bay, that route is surely the most advantageous, as it always holds its place in the elevations of the rapids of the Rideau.  For, as the difference between Captain Wilson's still-water and the waters of the Ottawa, beneath the Falls of Chaudiere, is one hundred and ten feet; that height must always be surmounted, whatever plan be adopted. If locks are not constructed on the Ottawa side of the country, they must be on the Rideau side ; the same number being necessary, according to their lifts, whichever side they be put on.

“ Having stated thus much, I proceed to explain the method which seems to me the most practicable for crossing the swamp; although in so doing I may incur a little ridicule. The plan, so far as I am aware, is new, and has never been tried before; but the situation of the place, and many other circumstances, justify the method proposed. At first view, one would suppose that a mound of earth might be formed to carry the canal over, or that an embankment of thirty-four feet, with another smaller one at the ridge of the

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swamp, of sixteen feet, would answer well, and form an extensive sheet of water for boats to rest and pass one another between them ; but, after considering a little, we find, that to raise such embankments would be no easy matter, and would consume much money. An aqueduct of wood would be much better, and an aqueduct of wood I propose. Instead, however, of supporting it on piles or arches, as is the case commonly, I propose that the heads of the cedar-trees, which grow as thickly in the swamp as they possibly can grow, and average fourteen inches thick, and seventy feet high, be sawn off to the proper level, in the route of the canal, so as to form props for the bottom, sides, and towing-path. Upon this foundation, with clay, puddle, and planking, I consider there can be little difficulty in carrying the canal over, as is shown in the design. A cedar-tree, when cut down, will remain fresh fifty years; and surely, a tree standing on, and fixed by its roots, is a stronger and steadier support for an aqueduct, than any pile of the height requisite, let it be driven in the best manner possible. Nevertheless, the idea of carrying a canal over the trees in Canada, may raise the laugh against us. However, it seems the best plan I can suggest, though you may probably devise something

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better still when you see the place—a place which cost us much trouble to explore, owing to the cold weather, thick brush-wood, and the waters in the .swamp not being strong enough to bear a person properly.

“ A stop-gate will require to be placed near this aqueduct at the swamp, so that the water may be let out of this part of the canal during winter, that the frost may not injure the works. At this place too a junction may take place with a branch-canal coming from the Lake of Chaudiere, on the Ottawa river. I have taken the level up to this lake, and find it to be only thirteen feet beneath the summit-level, which is, as stated before, eighty feet; so that the Lake of Chaudiere is sixty-seven feet above the waters of the Ottawa, under the Falls of Chaudiere. From this swamp to the lake the distance is about five miles, and almost level; so that with two small locks of seven feet lift each, and this distance of five miles of canal, a navigation may be opened for forty miles and more up the Ottawa, into a fertile country, now rapidly increasing in population. To do this will be much cheaper than building locks to lift sixty-seven feet, and cutting six miles through a rocky country ; which would have to be done if ever the Falls of Chaudiere, the Rapids of Du Chene, &c.

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be surmounted as proposed; and if a junction cannot take place with the Rideau Canal and the Chaudiere branch in Dow's Great Swamp, I know of no other place where it can be accomplished without much more trouble and expense ; since, to join at Captain Wilson's, the distance is thirteen miles, and difference of level forty-three feet. At some distant day, perhaps, the Mississipi Lake and the Rideau Lake may be united; but the Rideau Lake, by Mr. Clowes, is two hundred and eighty-seven feet above the Ottawa: so here is two hundred and twenty feet between the Lake of the Chaudiere that must be surmounted, before that takes place,—a thing that will not be done for a trifle. But to return to our subject.

“ After the swamp is passed, we come upon a dry flat of land, averaging eight feet beneath the summit-level ; and instead of raising an embankment even here, we propose that the aqueduct should continue over it for ten chains farther, and, as the trees grow thin upon it, we propose to bring cedars out of the swamp for that purpose. As this aqueduct is embosomed in the wood, it will be endangered by fire; and to insure it against the casual flames of the forest, we propose that the wood shall be cut back from it on each side for the distance of four chains, and that this wood be

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appropriated for constructing the aqueduct. Having finished this wooden fabric, one hundred and fifty chains more bring us to the summit-level, which we no sooner gain, than a ridge of high land presents itself before us, and a gully running up into it, which I have termed Likely Gully, because we here fancied that we could lift to the summit-level of the still-water at Captain Wilson’s, by placing three locks together in this gully. But after having risen to this summit-level, and explored the country in all directions, both with the level and without it, I found that this country ascended much, and formed, what is termed, the Mountains of Nepean. At one time we were upwards of sixty feet above the summit-level, and fell into the still-waters, where the banks were at their lowest, at thirty-five feet above the summit. This was at the mouth of Cockburn’s Valley, a great gully, or drainer, two hundred feet wide, running to the south-west, and draining the swampy uplands.

“ Finding, therefore, this route through the Mountains of Nepean to the still-water to be impracticable, we returned to the bottom of Likely Gully again, and crept on with the eighty-feet summit along the skirt of the mountainous ridge. After crossing in this route two small gullies which

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may either be filled up or passed with two small aqueducts, we fell into the Rideau two miles from the swamp, being about five miles from the shores of Rafting Bay, in the Ottawa. At this place the banks of the river are thirty-eight feet high on the Nepean side, and eighty feet high on the other, sloping to the water's edge at an angle of thirty-one degrees. This place is on the east side of Peter's Gully, a large gully named after an axe-man, who very faithfully assisted me to explore it. At this place the summit-level is thirty feet above the level of the waters in the Rideau, which must be raised to it by a strong dam of that height; and as the bank is thirty-eight feet high, we shall have to cut through a distance of about two chains, to the depth of eight feet over and above the depth of the canal. This will be of little consequence, as this rock will have to be excavated, at any rate, to assist in constructing the dam.

The dam which we propose for this place is one of ninety feet base, having two-thirds of that base opposed, as it were, to the rapids, and the other third behind, that the slope may rise gently against the great pressure of the waters, and fall away steeper on the under side. A better idea of its proposed form will be obtained from the sections

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on the plan. It must curve gently over the top, to have heavy rubble-stone next the casing, and a body of clay, four feet thick, running vertically down the middle, so that it may be water-tight. The casing must be rectangular stones, six feet by three, and not less than a foot thick, packed vertically on the slopes, side by side, and breaking bond regularly throughout.  At this place, the width of the Rideau is two hundred and forty-three feet; the banks and bottom are limestone rock. We would propose that the first courses of the sloping stones should be let three feet into the solid rock in the bottom of the river, so that the eddies may be prevented from working their way under the fabric.

“ A strong dam, then, of the above dimensions, will not only lift the Rideau to the summit-level, but throw back from it a sheet of still water, according to the levels, for about half a mile, to a place called Willow Point, and into a channel on the Gloucester side of the river, opposite the point just mentioned, nearly a quarter of a mile farther. This channel is called the Gloucester Snie, and seems by Nature made to receive the Rideau Canal ; for it is not only a channel, or snie, winding through a low descending country, as it may be termed, all the way from the still-water, but on each side of it

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there are pretty high banks, as the plan of the survey shows.  The land-bank is twenty-four feet high, and the river-bank twenty-two feet on an average, and they are about four hundred and twenty-six feet apart in general. This great dam on the Rideau may also be found of utility as an engine for excavating the canal between it and Dow's Swamp; for, after the canal is formed, and the trees, earth, &c. loosened, if the flood-gate of the dam be opened, the waters of the Rideau will sweep these loose substances before it into the great swamp.

“ This dam will back the water up Peter's Gully, in such a manner that the canal may enter it with less cutting than it would require to drive it through the bank on the brow of the river as stated, and will also form an entrance for it out of the way of the current; so that between this and the dam, there will be a corner reserved for the drift-wood of the Rideau.

“ Farther up the river, 250 chains or thereabout, as near as could be measured owing to the thick trees, and about fifteen feet below the summit-level, is a noted ridge of rocks, called the Hog's Back, from the circumstance of raftsmen with their wares sticking on it in coming down the stream.

“ Here the river is narrower than at Peter's

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Gully, being two hundred and twenty feet wide ; and the banks on each side rise abruptly to the height of ninety feet. Did the banks not rise so high, we should have proposed at this place a dam of larger dimensions than the former one, of forty-five feet, so as to back the Rideau into the still-water at once, which is two miles and a half above it. By this arrangement the next three locks, or numbers nine, ten, and eleven, could have been placed together immediately behind it. This is by far the boldest plan, but by no means the safest. Its advantages, though seemingly great, will not, in our opinion, balance those of the other proposal. The length would be less, certainly ; but then it would create more cutting through rocks, and embankments over gullies, as the section of the bank, taken from one dam to the other, will show. The question, however, is well worthy of consideration, and as such we submit it with much deference.   I am very sure that both may be done, but the former we conceive to be an easier method than the latter, and not subject to such risk of being swept away by the great spring-floods of the Rideau, which we are told sometimes rise more than fourteen feet.

“ Now that we are got into the Gloucester Snie, as before mentioned, our difficulties diminish greatly ;

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for a dam of ten feet across the snie, from bank to bank, at the point where the backed-up waters from the Rideau-dam end, will throw the waters back another quarter of a mile up the snie. By placing a lock before this dam, we get into the second sheet of still-water in the snie ; and where this ends again, another lock and dam bring us to the entrance of the still-water at Captain Wilson's.

“ At this place, for a few chains, we come up the line of Mr. Clowes, and both routes fall into the still-water at the same place. Mr. Clowes here proposes, as will be seen in his Report, to run a dam of seven feet across the Rideau, so as to deepen the still-water; and I perfectly agree with my brother surveyor, that a dam at this place to deepen the still-water is requisite, as it is full of little shoals, over which a canoe can with difficulty be passed.  I should, however, think that a dam of seven feet is too high ; as the banks on the Gloucester side of the river are here not more than six feet high, and therefore a dam of Mr. Clowes’ dimensions would be apt to flood the beautiful fertile country on the banks of the river, which are cleared, and under the cultivation of very respectable settlers. We will, however, go the length of five feet with him, putting our last

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lock directly behind its end on the Gloucester side of the river. By doing so, we shall have depth sufficient in the still-water, and if not better, we may deepen the shoals a foot or so, and then a free navigation is opened to the Black Rapids.

“ From the rigours of a Canadian winter, and extreme roughness of the wilderness, I will not too confidently promise that all my measurements and levels are perfectly correct; but under all untoward circumstances I conceive that I have made an approximation to the truth. It now remains for me to return you a correct estimate of the works proposed to be constructed equally good with those of the Lachine Canal; and this shall be done to the best of my experience, knowledge, and calculation.”

The estimate of this work, including all bridges towing-paths, and minute things, came out to 87,500l.

Various other business engaged me until the middle of the following summer, treating with contractors, instructing people how to work, and commencing the excavations in the valley on the Ottawa; at length I received an order to proceed

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and finish the survey of the Rideau Canal. Colonel By had examined all that had been done the previous winter, and was quite satisfied as to the correctness of the report. After labouring hard in the wilderness through the months of June and July, I got back to the Ottawa alive, and returned the following information.


“Ottawa, August 3, 1827.


“ HAVING surveyed, examined, and explored with all my industry, attention, and ability, the nature, character, and connexions of that stupendous undertaking the Rideau Canal, I fail not to lay before you my ideas of the same, and to offer you whatever information I have gathered on this important subject. To do this in a systematic and brief manner, I divide the work into its natural sections, and treat of each as they occur in regular order. Last winter, I detailed to you the line of canal from its commencement at the Grand River Ottawa to the Black Rapids on the Rideau ; and now it is thought proper to proceed where that report left off, and continue through to Kingston, the whole extent of the canal.

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“ Black Rapids.

“These rapids exist between Wilson's and Long Island still-waters, difference of level 8 feet 10 inches. The Rideau river at this place is 180 feet wide. To surmount these rapids, a dam of 220 feet in length, 12 feet in height above water-surface, with a lock of 10-ft. lift, and an embankment averaging 250 feet long and 5 feet high, will be necessary. The dam to run from bank to bank, at the foot of the rapids, where the bottom of the river is of a rocky nature, banks of clay, and of best quality for canal purposes. In a ravine good rock appears for building: this ravine and brook are on the west side of the river, where also a bight is found out of the water-way, suitable for building the lock in. The depth of water in this bight averages 4 feet, but will be deepened 1 foot 6 inches more, by the waters set back from the 45 feet dam at Hog's Back. Coffer-dam must inclose a water-surface of about five acres, so that the entrance to the lock may be safely cleared of all obstructions. Excavation for lock pit will average 8 feet in depth, and these excavations will be of use in forming the coffer-dam. No guard-lock will be required here, but a guard gate may be of service in the season of floods. The embankments to be made of clay, and to rise 2 feet above the

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surface of dam or caul, that the waters may not run over them. This caul, or waste-weir, to be constructed after the usual manner, cored, cased, &c. with care, according to the proper slopes, and with duly curved parabolic at top, according to the laws of hydrostatics.

“ The banks of the river accord with the height of the dam.  This dam will deepen the Long Island still-water to the required depth, and back two feet of water into the river-lock at the foot of Long Island, a distance of nearly five miles from the works, at Black Rapids. On the whole these works may be constructed at a very moderate rate, and are now in active operation.


“ Long Island Rapids.

“ Having come up the Long Island still-water, where the banks of the river are high, woody, and destitute of settlers. Long Island and the foot of the Rapids present themselves.  This island is about four miles in length, and may contain two hundred and fifty acres; the rapids continue the whole length of the island, and from the still-water at head to that at bottom, the difference is nearly twenty-four feet.  At this place an excellent situation discovers itself for the works which seem requisite to construct a link of the

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Rideau Canal, which will afford 'an uninterrupted navigation of twenty-eight miles. This is on Mr. Hurlburt's farm, east bank of river.

“ Here, as at Black Rapids, a bight is formed by the bank, out of the water-way, in which the locks can be most advantageously placed, to strike the river fair at both entrances when the dam is raised. There must be three locks at this place, of nine-feet lift each, so that a dam above surface-level be got over: this dam requires to be so raised above the level of the rapids, which is, as before stated, twenty-four feet, that the long sheet of still-water extending from the head of Long Island over Hurd's Shallows to the bottom of Burrett's Rapids, be deepened ; as in many places of the above sheet, the natural water, in the river, from bank to bank, will not average more in summer flood than two, and three feet in depth. The banks of the river along both sides of Long Island are perfectly sufficient for the retention of the waters raised by the above dam ; as they have been faithfully explored, in consequence of there being doubts of their not being adequate for this purpose. A piece of rougher wilderness could with difficulty be found in Canada ; a road opened through it, would greatly benefit the progress of the works.

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“ It is true that, immediately at the west end of the proposed dam, a valley is found stretching into the country, about two hundred yards in width, which, unless embanked to the height of eight feet, would allow the river to get round behind the dam, and so into its natural channel below. But the expense and trouble of forming this embankment are not comparable to the building another dam at White Horse Falls, (a place about two miles up the Rapids,) and building one of the proposed three locks there; which would have to be done, were the banks not found sufficient for the purposes of the dam. A guard-gate may be necessary here as at Black Rapids; but a guard-lock may be dispensed with. A paltry saw-mill, the property of Mr. Hurlburt, will be drowned by the dam, together with a few hundred acres of swamp wilderness, on the banks of the still-water, with about the one-third of Long Island. Let the locks be placed as they may, still the same average of swampy wilderness will be drowned; there is no possibility of avoiding this, as the river must be deepened. About one half of the proposed drowned part of Long Island might be saved; but this is of such small consideration

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that it seems unnecessary to take it into account ; and as to seeking for remedies to preserve lands from being totally flooded, which are always so in the season of floods, and partially so every day in the year, it seems to me an unnecessary trouble unless Government is obliged to pay dear for acres of land not worth a farthing.

“ This dam at the foot of Long Island will be about 280 feet in length, and as it will throw the waters of the Rideau back on the thriving town of Richmond, by way of the valley already alluded to, the River Jocque may be dammed, and a connexion opened at a very moderate rate with the Rideau Canal, a plan which will greatly promote the prosperity of that town and of the surrounding country.

“ Thus, dams on a river are engines of the first importance; not only because they overcome rapids and make rivers navigable, and thus save the great trouble of inland cutting, (which in Canada from the nature of its wildernesses, ought to be avoided,) but also because they make canals of all creeks, gullies, valleys, &c. within their influence—an object, surely, of much more consequence than the preservation of sickly and unfertile swamps.

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“ Burrets Rapids.

“ Having got over Long Island Rapids, the fords in the still-water above, and Hurd's Shallows—which, after all the water proposed to be thrown back over them, may yet require farther deepening in some instances, by caissoon-work, which is more proper than attempting to raise the dam another foot,—we come to Burrett's Rapids. There, instead of damming the river, or cutting through the rocky country, it is proposed to incline the canal into a natural snie, called the Oxford Snie, being in the township of that name on the east side of the river. This snie is about one mile and a half long, running parallel with the river ; commencing, as is usual, with snies at the head of the rapids, and terminating at the still-water at the head of Hurd’s Shallows. In this snie no excavation for the canal is required; it only requires to be cleared of trees and brushwood. At its lower end a lock of eleven feet two inches lift is proposed to be placed ; and at its head, where the river is 240 feet wide, the water of the river is proposed to be carried into it by a dam 8 feet 6 inches above the surface of water-level. By this means Burrett’s Rapids are overcome, which are 2 feet 7 ½ inches ; as well as Suter's Rapids, 1 foot 7 ½ inches; and Docherty’s

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Ripple of 8 inches; while Cox's Still-Water is deepened, and also Cox's Rapid of 3 feet 6 inches, sending back 5 feet 6 inches in depth of water to the dam proposed at Nicholson's Rapid. Thus we avoid an intricate tract of country for canal purposes, where the banks of the river are ever varying alternately low on one side, and high on the other, where the fertile and old clear lands of the lower Rideau settlement interfere, and where the private interests of settlers are almost at open variance with one another.


“ Nicholson''s Rapids.

“ At this place, where there is one of those natural bights of the river already commented on as suitable for building a lock in, we again set to work. This is on the east side of the river: I say on the east side, though, perhaps, more strictly it may be called south side; yet, as the Rideau River, taken upon the whole, runs north and south, for the sake of brief distinction I say always that one of its sides is east and the other west, although perhaps a bend or wimple may at times not accord with the rhomb of the compass. 200 feet will be about the length of Nicholson's Dam, and sixteen feet the height, requiring 300 feet of embanking on an average of eight feet in height.

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the lock is of eleven-feet lift. It may be remarked that, in putting in this river-lock, no coffer-dams will be requisite, as at Long Island and Black Rapids ; because at those places the river is deep; but here it is quite shallow, requiring all the water for the lock-chamber backed up from the snie-dam below.

“ The lock may thus be built on a dry level bed of limestone; the excavation will average ten feet rock, and will answer for backing and wing-walls to the lock.


“ Rapids of Merrick's Mills.

“ Nicholson's Rapids being levelled by the above dam, and surmounted by the above lock, we reach the limestone quarry of Mr. James Clowes, about three quarters of a mile above. Here a dam and lock, of nearly the same dimensions as the former, will be required, in order that deep water may be obtained over Merrick's Rapids, Shallows, Fords, &c. and six feet backed up to Merrick's Falls, so as to meet the river-lock proposed there that these falls may be overcome.

“ The situation of this proposed dam and lock is extremely favourable, as a quarry of limestone fortunately occurs close to it: sixteen feet will be the height, and 200 feet the length, requiring

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about eighty feet of embankment: when I say 200 feet in length, I mean that of water-way, and the embankment from water-edge to banks. The lock will be on the west side of the river, directly at the quarry, where the river is circumscribed in dimensions, and the banks are very favourable. In general, I have always found that the banks and rapids of the rivers of Canada correspond to one another in this particular; that is to say, the height of the banks at the bottom of a rapid, is always about equal to the fall of that rapid, and only decreases as the rapid decreases, and vice versa. From this dam to Merrick's Falls, the distance is about two miles and a quarter.


“ Merrick’s Falls.

“ At Merrick's Mills we have to contend with a fall of twenty-seven feet ten inches; that is, from Macrea's still-water to the still-water below Merrick’s Falls ; and this is proposed to be surmounted by the following method.  Passing the east end of Merrick’s Mill-dam, which is 368 feet in length, twenty-nine feet wide, and which raises the water twelve feet, there is a snie, which has been converted into a rafting-channel.   In this snie, or rafting channel, we propose to place three

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locks, each of eight feet four inches lift.  The channel is shelving limestone, and tolerably favourable for such buildings. No coffer-dam for river-lock will be required, as six feet is thrown back from the dam, at the foot of Merrick’s Rapids, which is sufficient for the chamber of river-lock.   Where the rafting-channel terminates in Merrick’s Mill-pond, the distance is 1250 feet to the waters below.   The channel runs straight; and when it leaves the Mill-pond, a distance of two hundred and ten feet, a wooden truss-bridge, sixteen feet wide, well-constructed, passes over it. The width of the channel at the bridge is forty-six feet. Twenty-four feet four inches is the elevation of Mill-pond above the still-water below, leaving a fall of three feet six inches from Macrea’s to the Mill-pond. In the middle of this fall, directly above Mill-pond, where the river is narrow and shallow, a six-feet dam in height is proposed: one hundred and fifty feet is the width of the river at this place, the bottom of which is hard limestone. The object of this dam, which is two hundred yards from the bridge, is to lift the river into a snie on the east side, which snie terminates in the mouth of the rafting-channel, where are the proposed locks.   Now this

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snie, by a little deepening and stone embanking, can be connected with the entrance of the locks, which not only brings the Canal above Merrick’s Mills, but over the Rapids above them, and into Macrea’s still-water. This is seven miles in length, being all the way to Maitland’s Rapids, and there raises the river one foot six inches; there will, nevertheless, for about five hundred yards at Macrea’s, be one foot of rock excavation required, which will be a troublesome thing to execute; but, as the banks of the river alongside will bear nothing more, an obstacle that cannot be avoided must be encountered. There is a possibility of passing Merrick’s Mills with the Canal at the west end of the dry stone dam; but some rock excavation, averaging twelve feet in depth, for two hundred and fifty yards, would have to be encountered ; and moreover, by taking the Canal this way, it would be injurious to a grist-mill, forty feet by thirty, and a saw-mill, thirty-four by twenty-four, which are almost in the line on this side the river. On the whole, the masonry and building in the works at Merrick’s Mills will be considerable. The locks, wing-walls, stone embankments, dam, &c. will form altogether a large piece of work; yet the materials of all kinds being on the spot, make the business comparatively easy.

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“ Maitland’s Rapids.

“ Between these Rapids and Macrea’s, the river is deep, but filled with grassy sedgy islands, which must be cleared out of the way. Indeed, in other parts of the river, before coming to this. section, there are various floating marshes met with, which must be shoved out, and the banks and bottom freed from rotten trees, and other dissolving vegetable matter. A dam of three feet is required here to cross the river at the Ferry, opposite Maitland’s house ; one hundred and eighty-six feet is the width of the river at this place, and ninety feet the distance to the west bank. The use of this dam is to deepen Edmund’s Shallows, three and a half miles above, and to lull a small rapid between. A snie exists at this place, by which we pass the rapid with trifling cutting. In this snie a lock of four-feet lift is proposed: this lock is 700 feet distant from the river above, and 791 feet from the river below, to be placed at a bend in the snie. For the 700 feet, four feet of excavation is required; but for the other distance, merely scouring out will answer, with a little deepening towards the mouth of the lock. Small deepenings of this nature will be required at other locks already noticed, but these are of such a trifling nature that they scarcely deserve a remark.

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“ A little way above this snie, there is another, which probably may require a small embankment thrown across it, as in floods the waters above the rapids find vent that way. Above the rapids, likewise, is a considerable creek, striking out into the country, called Vandozer's Creek : where it comes from is unknown,—my time would not afford me leisure to explore it. Beneath the rapid, comes out Irish Creek, from Irish Lake, to be afterwards examined.


“ Edmund’s Rapids.

“ These are met with between the head of Maitland's still-water, already mentioned, and Phillips’ Bay, consisting of a chain of small ripples, not worthy the name of rapids, for about three miles in length; yet, small as they are, their aggregate amount is considerable (being 12 feet) ; and as the banks are extremely low, two dams and two locks are required. The first dam to be placed nearly opposite Mr. James Edmund’s house, to raise the water eight feet perpendicular ; but as two feet are proposed to be thrown back from Maitland’s Dam, a lock of six-feet lift will get over it.  This lock to be built on the east side of the river, and in the middle of Edmund’s Shallows, 450 feet down the bank from the end of the dam. The dam has 123

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feet water-way from Edmund's shore to an island, whose width is 200 feet, and the snie beyond 100 feet. The island will require an embankment, averaging four feet, and the embankments on either shore to come to the top of them : 68 feet on Edmund’s, or west shore, and 98 on east shore.

“ The reason of dropping down the east bank so far with the proposed lock, is to pass a small rapid, and part of Edmund's Shallows, the remainder of the Shallows being expected to be deepened enough by the two feet thrown back from Maitland’s Dam. The excavation for the Canal along this bank will average eight feet, and probably some rock will appear as an interruption.—I may here remark, that laying out canals in Canada is a business perfectly different from that in Britain ; for there the order of engineers is to fly the rivers, but here it is quite the reverse. The rivers are shunned, because the freshets in that country are sudden, and in a few hours bring destruction on works of art placed in them; by leaving rivers, also, inland marts are benefited ;—whereas, in this country, no inland towns are known ; and the seasons, though running on extremes, are not sudden in their degrees—neither with heat nor cold, dry-ness nor moisture.

“ The second, or upper dam of Edmund's Rapids

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is proposed to be placed within one quarter of a mile of Philips’ Bay, about four miles above the former, at a spot where the river is narrow, and banks are favourable.  Water-way at this place is 160 feet, and there are 150 feet of five feet embanking ; height of dam eleven feet: the lock to be placed on the east side of the river, where there is a convenient place: lift of lock 5 feet 1 inch and a quarter; excavation for lock and entrance 6 feet deep, partly rock. This dam will drown a little rapid above of 2 feet 1 inch and a quarter, and throw up 4 feet to Sly's Dam, at the foot of the rapids of Smith's Falls, a distance of two miles. It will also raise the river into a snie on the east side of the river, beside Philips’ Bay, by which means an ugly bend in the river will be avoided.


“ Rapids of Smith’s Falls.

“ At an old settler’s house of the name of Sly, a dam is proposed, called Sly’s Dam, to do the business of these rapids, and form a free navigation to the foot of Smith’s Falls, four miles above.  Dam 19 feet in height, width of river 150 feet, and length of embankment 250 feet, averaging six feet high. The banks are extremely favourable for retention on both sides, and there is plenty of white free-stone rock. Two locks are proposed to

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be placed here on the west side of the river, where a favourable bight is discovered ; one lock will require to be 8 feet lift, and another 7.  By this dam no land of any consequence will be drowned or molested, but the lower part of old Sly's house will be inundated, and a new one will be required for him at 50l. value.  At this place the cubic feet of water passing down the Rideau per hour are 345,000 ; a sufficient supply for ten locks of ten-feet lift every hour ; but when the large lakes and reservoirs are filled, they will be able to supply more than a thousand locks per hour, without being sensibly diminished in level.  In estimating the quantity of waters in the Rideau, we find them, when they leave the Rideau Lake at Oliver’s Ferry, to be double what they are at Burrett’s, thirty miles down the river: the cause of this seems not to be accounted for, by supposing that there are subterranean ducts which swallow a portion of the waters ; but may rather be explained by evaporation, since for the above distance the river flows rapidly in thin sheets over horizontal beds of warm limestone rock.


“ Smith's Falls.

“ To the minds of people accustomed to canalling business, these Falls become as appalling an object

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as any that is to be met with : they fall over beds of hard bastard marble rock, 36 feet in less than one quarter of a mile. At this place there are numbers of islands formed by snies winding round the Falls. Between one of these and the west bank of the river, we propose a dam of 23 feet; this dam is directly in the middle of the rapid, and nearly opposite to Rykert’s Store : 96 feet at bottom, 200 at top, will be the length of the dam. This dam is proposed to check the water oozing through the fissures at the above rocky island, and to throw the water over the Falls, so that the still-water above may be deepened 2 feet 7 inches, and also that the snie immediately behind the island may be filled with water; for in this place we propose three locks of 11 feet 2 inches lift each, the dam forming the waste-weir to the same.

“ The width of the Rocky Island, from dam to snie, is 290 feet, and of height sufficient for the dam. The snie has low banks for 420 feet on its east side, which will require a stone embankment, so as to get above the rapid from wing-wall of upper lock, and save Ward’s Farm from inundation.. At the bottom of the snie, about 50 feet from the Rideau, the locks begin to be put in. At the bottom, the rock is of a shelving nature, doing away with the necessity of having inverted

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arches; indeed, few inverted arches seem to be necessary throughout the whole work. The first lock-pit will have to be excavated seven, the second two feet; the bottom of the third is five feet above level.   Considerable backing-in and retaining wing-wall work are required about the Hornet's Snie—we denominate it so, from the trouble these insects gave us; while patiently measuring and surveying it we were severely stung, yet this snie could not be lost sight of : its average width is 60 feet, its banks, at lower end, are 20 feet, and width 86 feet. The banks of the Rideau, opposite the mouth of the snie, are 86 feet, and the mouth is 220 feet, beneath a saw-mill. This mill is 150 feet beneath the end of the proposed dam, being nearly between Saw-mill Dam and the saw-mill. We are thus particular, as the dam to be built nearer the mill would destroy it, and if farther up the stream, the water would get out of the snie behind it.  By the above means, therefore, we surmount the Falls without being obliged to cut three miles round them, through a rocky country averaging ten feet deep to canal bottom, with rock that defies the strength of gunpowder or crow-bars to remove it, and would weary the British treasury with expenses.

“ Behind Smith's Falls, about three miles on the

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west side of the river, there is a large swampy tract of country, a chain of extensive beaver meadows winding-in, and terminating somewhere nigh to Merrick's Mills, fifteen miles below.  These swamps, from the river levels, must form something like an inclined plane, having an elevation of nearly 100 feet. Now, to cut through these swamps for fifteen miles, and miss six miles of natural river navigation, and to construct ten locks in a swamp, and all apart from each other, the whole, too, remote from reservoirs which such works require, seems to .me a preposterous idea. Yet it is advanced, and I must own it preferable to the one almost adopted, of cutting through the above mentioned long ledges of Plutonic rock.


“ First Rapids of the Rideau.

“ No sooner have we struggled over our difficulties at Smith’s Falls, than we encounter others almost equally irksome, but different in their nature. These are a chain of small rapids, where the river banks are low and swampy, where the bed of the river is the above-mentioned rock, and where, in short, we neither can dam, deepen, nor yet cut through the country. At the head of the chain of rapids, it is true, the banks of the river can bear a dam of four feet; but what avails that when it is

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above the rapids ? nevertheless, a dam of four feet in height is proposed there. This place is about eight miles from Oliver’s Ferry, arid about three from Smith's Falls. The Rideau here is 260 feet wide, running shallow over a smooth bed of limestone, to the depth of six inches. This dam will deepen the shallows at the mouth of the Perth River, as it falls into the Rideau; also those of the Upper Narrows, Rideau Lake. It will also deepen the Tay, or Perth river, and throw 3 feet 6 inches of water upon the Fishing Falls there. Past its east end a quantity of water will flow, which can be diverted, down the swampy bank, to the still-water below the rapids, a distance of about a mile. This swamp has 3 ½ feet of black mud, resting on a smooth bed of the above limestone. We propose to widen the cutting of the Canal through this swamp, and scrape the black mud from the rock, forming with it the necessary embankments. At the bottom of the rapids stands the lock of seven-feet lift to bring the Canal into the still-water.  Notwithstanding all our precaution in avoiding this rock, I am afraid that at times we may be obliged to undertake the excavation of a foot or two of it, which would be a serious matter, if it even continued 60 yards. By the above dam, and the one at Smith's Falls, some of the swampy wilderness

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must be transformed into lakes. Altogether, the land required for the Rideau Canal, by keeping the river, is small; for if the average of the surface of the river be taken into account, and the same for forty feet from either brink up the banks, which is Government property, there remains not half the quantity of land to be purchased from individuals, as there would have been if the Canal had taken an expensive inland route, and forsaken the river. Moreover, the dams proposed to be placed in the Rideau will drown but very little more land than the river at present drowns when in flood. The extensive swamps along many places of its banks, are the property of no private individuals, from which cause Government may treat them as is thought proper. An acre of water is generally more valuable than an acre of land. This is a truth nowhere better known than in England.


“ River Tay, or Perth River.

“ Having now climbed up by a great succession of dams and locks to the noble summit pond of the Rideau Lake, I digress a little, and give an account of a survey made of the Perth River. About five miles from Oliver's Ferry, the mouth' of the Tay opens into the Rideau : for two miles

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up, it may be easily made navigable, requiring only a little mud scraping, and rushy matters taken out of the way. After this distance we come to the Fishing Falls, so named by the inhabitants from the fishing-nets placed there. These rapids are about a mile and a half in length, with limestone horizontal rock, but shelving, and fall about 19 feet throughout the rapids. The banks of the river are generally low. At one place, however, about 200 yards below, where the waters make a sudden fall of 4 feet at once, a dam of 12 feet and lock may be obtained; the dam 140 feet long, sufficient to lull the rapids above.  The remainder of the rapids below can only be overcome either by deepening the channel, or quitting the river, and digging about half a mile through loamy wilderness. These rapids or Fishing Falls surmounted, we come to M’Vittie’s still-water, of three feet in depth, for two miles, and passing it to the Upper Rapids, there are only 550 yards in length, with a fall of four feet to overcome, when the river must be left again, and the country cut through for the above distance, putting in the lock where it falls into the still-waters below. We next gained the Perth stillwater, a sheet of about five miles long, average depth three feet, banks swampy, and river choked with sedge-grass, bulrush,

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and wild rice, which being cleared away. a navigation of three feet in depth is open to Perth ; to go one foot deeper would require much money and labour.

“ Between the Fishing Falls and Upper Rapids, a creek runs out on the south side of the river, called Jebb’s Creek, after the intelligent man of that name who first explored it. This creek flows from Otty Lake, which is about a mile from Rideau Lake ; perhaps a route might be found up this creek. There are also good accounts of a swamp snie which leaves M’Vittie’s still-water, and falls into the Rideau Lake. All these snies and creeks I would have searched, had there not been much more important service on my hands ; but I regret they are not thoroughly examined. Had the Tay, like the Jocque, fallen into the Rideau, beneath some of the Rideau Falls, the dams and locks on these rapids of the Rideau would have opened up the Perth navigation ; whereas it is only aided two feet, which are thrown into it by the last dam, as already mentioned. The land around Perth is tolerably fertile, but the situation of the town is unhealthy, from its surrounding swamps. It is about 30 feet above the level of Rideau Lake, and nearly 400 feet above the city of Montreal; it is almost on a level with the Mississipi

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Lake, and it seems to me, that if the navigation of Cockburn Creek, which fall into the Rideau at First Rapids, was opened to the above mentioned lake, (an object, by all reports of an easy nature to perform,) then a navigation through Perth Settlement, by way of creek and lake, might become an advantageous concern.


“ Oliver's Ferry.

“ This will become an important station on the Rideau Canal, as the public road between Perth and Brockville passes by here; from Perth, 8 miles, from Brockville, 35 miles.  Rideau Lake at this place, is 464 feet wide and 35 deep, and rises in spring 3 ½  feet; foot-passengers here pay three pence a piece for ferryage, and waggons fifteen pence. A wooden truss bridge might be raised over the Ferry for 1500l. This Ferry runs across what is termed the Lower Narrows, Rideau Lake.


“ Upper Narrows, Rideau Lake.

“ Here the lake contracts to about 100 feet in width, and becomes very shallow : 4 ½ feet deepening will be required through free-stone rock and gravel ; two coffer-dams will be required here ; south coffer-dam must be 180 feet wide, and the north 150. I thought it might be more proper

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to cut through the low head-land ; but the water on the north side keeping shallow, prevented the attempt. The length of deepening will be about 250 feet. This is a fine situation for a small village. The shores of the Rideau Lake are rocky and bold, yet they abound in unexplored bays, which should be examined.

“ Isthmus of Rideau Lake.

“ Between Mud Lake and Rideau Lake, there is an isthmus of one mile and a quarter; a swamp runs from the north landing-place: half-way across, where it terminates, it is about 30 feet above level. This swamp, which is an inclined plane, will have an average cutting of 12 feet. A small ridge, 130 yards wide, requires 25 feet cutting; the line then falls into a beaver meadow, where there will be 14 feet cutting, and thence into Mud Lake. This lake being below the level of Rideau Lake 3 ½ feet, has, of consequence, to be raised by the dam at Chaffey’s Mills. Throughout this line of proposed cutting, little rock is expected to be met with, except about the ridge; but had the line been run straight, as laid out between the lakes, a hill of rock would have to be cut through 44 feet above level for 300 yards. For this work two small coffer-dams are required to deepen the Canal into

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either lake ; but the coffer-dam on the north side will require to be 6 ½  feet, and that on the south side 4 feet.  The excavations through this cut will probably be full of mineral substances ; at least, if we may judge from surface appearance.


“ Isthmus of Clear Lake.

“ This isthmus is 143 feet wide; cutting about 4 feet, and two small coffer-dams, of 4 feet deep each. As 3 ½ feet is backed from the dam at Chaffey’s Mills, Clear Lake and Indian Lake are on a level.  Deepening and clearing out will be required between Mud Lake and Clear Lake, 2 feet for 300 yards, and the banks to be dressed.


“ Chaffey’s Rapids.

“ Having passed Rideau Lake, Mud, Clear, and Indian Lakes, we come to Chaffey’s Mills, a very extensive establishment, consisting of saw, grist, and fulling-mills, carding-machines, stores, barns, distillery, &c. filling up the whole river, and not to be estimated at a less expense than 5000l. On first examining this place, I thought to have found no difficulty in passing the mills with the Canal, as a valley on the east side of the river seemed to set the matter at rest. But, in exploring this valley, nothing was found but deep rocky excavation, and

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it appeared that, after all, it would lead the Canal through woods and swamps two miles about these were sufficient causes for a relinquishment of that route. The river was most carefully examined on its western side, with even worse success. A place was discovered below the mills, where a dam could easily be put, and two locks, sufficient for overcoming the whole rapids, of 13 feet, deepening the river above, raising the level of the lakes, &c.; but by this course the great mill establishment became drowned. Under these circumstances, I am not ashamed to own that I was more puzzled to know how to act, than on any other part of the route. High banks on either side of a river, and mills choking up that river, seemed to defy the science of engineering to pass them with the Canal, unless by running matters to a great expense. But, after taking the following measurements, levels, &c. and pondering on the subject, I came at last to a conclusion. Nine and a quarter feet was found to be the fall of Chaffey’s Mill-dam, and the remainder of Rapid 3 feet 9 inches, beneath the mill-dam—where this Rapid began below it, was 1136 feet from the mill-bridge ; length of the bridge 91 feet. On going to the bottom of the rapids, it was found that a break took place in the rocky bank, in which a

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lock might be advantageously built; and this lock might be 6-feet lift, without injuring the mills in any respect, farther than obliging the millers to lift their small horizontal wheels about 14 inches—a tiling of no great trouble. By placing a lock here, it was found that the mills might be passed, by a trifling cutting of 10 feet. The dam for tins lock requires to he 60 feet wide. Beneath the lock, the river will have to be deepened 2 feet for 150 feet; the bottom is rocky. Where the Canal takes the river again, above the mills, a lock of 11 feet 2 inches is required, and a dam 65 feet long across the river, so as to raise it 5 feet, on a level with the Rideau Lake, and to deepen the fords between. The stone abounding at Chaffey's Mills is of a singular nature, resembling white granite, but it is a species of limestone.


“ Davis's Rapids.

“ After leaving Chaffey''s Mills, we sail through Davis’s Lake to Davis’s Rapids and Mills, where we easily carry the Canal past the Mills on west side of river; 7 feet 3 ¾ inches, the fall of rapid, requiring a 9-feet lock. The cutting here will be 363 feet: no dam is necessary, as snie, 30 feet wide, is taken advantage of; but probably Davis’s Mill-dam, which is 270 feet in length, will have to

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be constructed anew, as it is the engine which at present backs up the water. A little bar above the Mills requires deepening ; the excavations are supposed to be gravel.


“ Jones's Falls.

“ These are the greatest in the least distance that are met with in the whole route, rolling down a narrow ravine scarcely a mile in length, and having a 60-feet fall. The banks of this narrow and crooked ravine are lofty, averaging 90 feet in height; and on their west side there are deep bogs, surrounded by high land.  The methods which have been proposed to pass these falls with the Rideau Canal are various : one is to build the locks, of 10-feet lift each, in the bottom of the ravine; but this plan is objectionable on the score that they will be placed in the way of freshets and floods, and suffer from that cause. It is also an objection that as the ravine is crooked, and cannot be straightened, from the nature of its steep free-stone banks, the locks cannot be placed in such a manner as not to have their entrances awkwardly set for boats to get in and out of them. Again, if placed in the ravine, the rock excavation will be great, and the builders troubled with waters; as it yet remains a problem, whether a dam at the

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head of the falls can hinder the water from flowing in from the lake. Secondly, two dams, of 30 feet each, are proposed to be raised at the two narrow guts of the ravine, where it is 50 feet in width, and to place three locks behind each ; but this method is subject to some of the evils of the former, such as to floods, and to finding a proper situation for the locks, &c. Thirdly, it is proposed to raise a dam of 20 feet beneath the first rapid, and throw the Canal into a valley on the east side of the river, but here would be much cutting, and the Canal would be taken nearly two miles round. Fourthly, it is proposed to build a dam at the lower gut, 762 feet from the still-water below, and 14 feet up the rapids; this dam to be 48 feet in height. The whole rapids in the-wild ravine would thus be drowned, and the lake above raised to 2 feet, which would give depth of water at Davis’s Mill. But the erection of this dam would also throw the waters down Macdonald’s gully, the mouth of which opens beside it on the west side. The highest part of the bottom of the gully would be covered with 33 feet 6 inches depth of water. The dimensions of this strange gully are as follow: 677 yards in length, 1009 feet from its upper mouth to summit height, and from thence 1012 to the still-water below.

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Never was there a better place than this gully to build the locks. A combination of three locks at two places is therefore proposed, having a basin between, 304 feet long, and 130 feet wide. The banks on each side of this gully average 50 feet, and seem to contain beautiful quarries of free-stone for the locks. At the summit-level of the gully, its width is 130 feet—a space of sufficient dimensions for all the purposes of the Canal. The dam will require, from the nature, of the banks, to be 216 feet long at the top, but the average length will not be above 100 feet.  It is almost made already, from lumps of rock standing 20 feet from its base; the whole requires filling in from the high rocky banks above, and to be cased, as with other cauls. The construction of this dam, which is 3 feet higher than that at Hog's Back, will, after all, be a trifle when compared to the latter. The superiority of this plan to the others seems to me so obvious, that even proofs are unnecessary.  By it the works come to a focus. The locks and dam are beside one another, surrounded by quarries: the dam in a gut of the river which no floods can shake; the locks lie in fair entrance lines, without requiring any thing like heavy cutting. The whole of the trouble

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of building in water, or in being troubled with water when built, is thus avoided.


“ Cranberry Marsh.

“ This requires a little deepening with the marsh-drag, as in the fens of England. The dam at Brewer's Upper Mill will drown them 2 feet 6 inches; so the labours here are trivial, scarcely deserving to be estimated. The dam at White Fish Falls, on the River Gananoque, and that at Round Tail, on the River Cataroque, must both be removed, and some dead timber taken out of Cranberry Lake, which has been drowned by the raising of these dams. Cranberry Marsh is about nine miles in length, and its lake about the same.


“ Round Tail.

“ This is rather a remarkable spot on the line, being a break in a ledge of rocks that the Cataroque, or Kingston River, may burst from its source, the lake—45 feet is its width. In it is placed a dam which must be removed: lift of dam being 4 feet 8 inches, and depth below dam-cill 7 feet. The dam proposed at Brewers Upper Mill will do away with this dam, and throw 2 feet 6 inches over the drowned woods more than at present.

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“ Brewer’s Upper Mill.

“ About a mile beneath the Round Tail is tills place, an extensive mill establishment, built on a rapid, whose declivity is 10 feet 9 inches. On the west side of the river indulgent Nature has given us a valley to take the Canal past the Mills to the still-water below, a distance of about 500 yards; 1490 feet from water above to the summit of valley, and 1250 from thence to water below: 25 feet is the highest land met with in the valley above the level of the waters below ;—width of the valley averages 120, and banks 20 feet. The proposed dam, 180 feet above the Mill, will require to be 50 feet long, with a side retaining-wall of 80 feet, from an island of 10 feet in height to the main land: between said island and main shore, a distance of 50 feet, the canal leaves the river. Two locks, of 9 feet-lift each, are required to be placed on the south exposure of the valley; 12 feet will be the average depth of clay excavation of the locks, and 6 feet the average cutting from the river below to the locks, which is 800 feet. The dam will require to lift the water above surface of Mill-pond about 9 feet. This Mill is 43 by 61 ½ feet, and is altogether so respectable,

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that it is needless to drown it, when it is not in the way of the Canal, as has been proposed.


“ Brewer's Lower Mill.

“ This is about three miles and a half farther down the stream than the former, 11 feet being the fall of the Mill-dam, and a small rapid between the Mills of 2 feet 6 ¾ inches. Of course, the whole fall to be overcome is 13 feet 6 ¾ inches; but as 4 feet is proposed to be backed up on this Mill from the dam at Billydore’s Rifts, and only one foot from the Lower Mill to the Upper, a lock of 10 feet 7 inches will answer : 822 feet will be the length of cutting round the Mill, averaging 10 feet cutting loamy clay. Here the River Cataroque is 80 feet in width, having deep loamy clay banks ; 140 feet is the length of the Mill-dam, and the Mill 24 by 60. Some flinty whitstone abounds in the bed of the river, but it is difficult to say if it be of a quality to build the locks with.


“ Billydore's Rifts.

“ These rifts, as they are called, otherwise small ripples, continue about a mile. Their fall is about four feet; but from the rough state of this country, we found it impracticable to take the levels accurately until it be cleared. the banks

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to Brewer's Lower Mill admit of a dam sufficient for the rapid and lift of lock, which will require to be 6 ½ feet. The bottom of the river is rocky, the banks are loamy clay.  Sometimes temporary dams are made here by raftsmen, that they may bring down their timber to market. The River Cataroque is about a quarter part less than the Rideau at Merrick’s Mills.


“ Jack's Riffs.

“ These are about seven miles beneath the former Rifts, and will require a dam and lock of nearly similar dimensions.  But this country being then clearing of trees and brushwood, it was impossible to take the levels over it; however, it was easily seen that the river, with small trouble, might be made perfectly navigable, as it wound gently along, 4 feet deep, 80 feet wide, between clay banks, averaging 8 feet in height.


“ Kingston Mills, and Mill Creek.

“ Six miles beneath Jack's Rifts, we come to Kingston Mills, situated on a fall of 26 feet; and with little trouble, excepting cutting through a lump of granite rock 120 feet long, and averaging 20 feet in depth. We can lock ourselves

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down by three locks of 9 feet 4 inches lift each, into Kingston Mill Creek, as two feet will have to be backed over the pond shallows to Jack's Rifts, by a dam at Mill-bridge 183 feet long. The depth of the water at the bridge is 8 feet 6 inches, so the height of the dam from the bottom will be 10 feet 6 inches. Opposite the mouth of the proposed locks, the Mill-creek (which is the Cataroque) is 130 feet wide, banks rocky, and rising to the height of 100 feet ; where the locks fall into the creek, it is 596 feet below the Mill-dam. At a natural rend in the rock, the excavation of river-lock and second lock will be rock to their depths; but the third will not require any: from the head of the locks to the Mill-pond, as the distance is 220 yards, and ground uneven, 8 feet will be about this average cutting. Getting into this creek, we have plenty of deep water all the way to Kingston Bay, where the Canal terminates, excepting at a small ford opposite Ganeox's Farm, where there was only 4 ½ feet for about 100 feet. This may be deepened, say 3 feet, and that is allowing 2 feet for the fluctuations of Lake Ontario. Ought not this, surely, to be adopted, before cutting two miles through marshes, and two miles more through swamps, as proposed and laid out ?

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“ Having now brought the Canal into that beautiful bay of Lake Ontario, Kingston Bay, my labours come to a close.

“To my assistants, one and all, my warmest wishes for their welfare are due. If ever men struggled to do their duty, we did ; and if that duty be wrongly conceived, I submit with the utmost deference to persons of superior judgment, who I sincerely hope will correct what may be found erroneous.

“ I am, &C.”



The estimate of all this work, carefully made out, was 398,560l. which, with the former 87,500l. brought the expenses of the Rideau Canal to 486,060l.

When the woods came to be cleared away, and roads opened, an examination of the survey was entered into, when it was found to be nearly correct; and, although the dimensions of locks have been altered and made larger, to pass steam-vessels, still this does not affect the survey, although it will alter the estimate.

The locks were first laid out of the size of those of Lachine, 100 feet long, 20 feet wide, but afterwards 142 feet by 33; in both cases the depth of

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water was the same, 5 feet: the number of locks in all amounted to 47.

In the winter, previous to the survey from Black Rapids to Kingston, I drew out the following plan for managing this large work, which was allowed to be made public in the newspapers.

“System proposed/or conducting the Works of

the Rideau Canal, in Upper Canada.

“ As the Rideau Canal is evidently an undertaking of great enterprise, it therefore requires that a proper system should be adopted as soon as possible, and that the execution of the same be carried into effect in the best and most economical manner possible.

“ The British Government has determined upon executing this undertaking, and now looks to those who have been considered qualified for that purpose, for such plans, and for that matured system, which will, in all probability, accomplish the great work in question.

“ For this purpose, let it be stated in the outset, that all views of the subject shall be extensive, nothing of a contracted nature shall enter into competition; it is false economy, not to take the Rideau Canal on a broad scale. No squandering,

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nor vain and foolish speculation can be, of course, allowed; but yet, what long practice and experience warrant, must be attended to and acted on, in defiance of those who consider a shilling thrown away, when they have not the penetration and sagacity to discover that it was spent for other purposes, and for what they know nothing about. The British Government has concluded that the extensive works of the Rideau Canal shall be executed by contract ; and this conclusion is certainly the result of wise investigation into works of a similar nature ; for, of a surety, there is no method hitherto discovered which can equal in every respect that of letting out the works to be executed to contractors, who have proved themselves, by works they have previously performed, to be fully competent for the tasks they take on hand. And, in giving out contracts, it is best to allow no contractor to have any thing to do with them, be his cash or consequence what they may, unless he is well known as a practical artist, competent for what he professes ; for when Government advances nothing more, or not so much money on contracts, as the contractor has laid out, of course there is little for any surety work in the matter: so that, when Government finds a contractor qualified for the execution of his contract, if that person has but

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little money or means, he may, nevertheless, turn out an excellent contractor. For, as the Government will keep an extensive store at the works of every article requisite for their expeditious prosecution, contractors can be supplied therefrom, if unable to supply themselves elsewhere; and it would be useless for them to seek elsewhere, as Government can supply them cheaper and better than they will find any where else in Canada.

“ No contractor shall be allowed to contract for any work out of his line and profession. Thus, to a mason shall not be given a job of excavation, any more than to an excavator a piece of building or mason-work.

“ The works of the Rideau Canal seem to divide themselves into the following great branches: building and finishing locks of heavy masonry, excavating earth and clay, excavating rock and gravel, constructing heavy dams across the Rideau of rough rubble masonry, framing aqueducts and bridges of wood, &c.

“ Now any one of these branches is quite enough for any contractor to perform properly, and will absorb his utmost attention ; and all contractors who prove, or have proved themselves capable to conduct the work they take in hand, ought to have as much of their own particular branch given them

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as they have possible power to perform: this is no more than doing justice to worthy men, and at the same time (whatever may be argued to the contrary) doing justice to the British Government. Here are liberality and economy working for one another's mutual interests.

“ Every care shall be taken with respect to the comfort of the contractors and their people : they will have places near the works (wherever these may be) whereon temporary buildings may be erected; and the utmost assistance will be afforded by the Government to the erection of such buildings, so that every person will be safely sheltered, and no time lost in coming and going to the works. There shall be a subaltern's command of sixty soldiers always stationed near, that peace and quietness may be preserved ; as in a wilderness, like that through which the Rideau Canal has to pass, there is no protection to be had from the civil power. Surgeons shall be engaged, and furnished with medicines, for the benefit of the sick ; as the swampy wilderness, and swampy waters, may sometimes create distempers. Plenty of spirits, and provisions of all sorts, with beds, blankets, mits, caps, shoes, &c. shall be always at hand, in the Government store, to answer whatever demands may come for such articles by the people on

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the work, so that every one may be kept strong, healthy, and cheerful. There is a melancholy peculiar to Canada, which must be combated.  People who labour under it must be encouraged with soothing language, good treatment, and now and then, as circumstances require, a little assistance, gratis, as a stimulant.

“ It shall always be ascertained if contractors pay their workmen’s wages, and a certain sum of money shall be kept out of the contractor’s hands to meet this special purpose.

“ The whole of the works on the line of the Rideau Canal shall be commenced, if possible, nearly at the same time ; the period allowed to complete the undertaking being short for a work of such magnitude, in such a situation, and under such a climate, where people cannot work to any great advantage more than one-half of the year. All contractors ought to be bound to remain in person on the works they engage to execute ; for unless they do so, the works, in all probability, will suffer by their absence, and they themselves be much injured by such inattention.

“ By such a system, it is expected, with all dependence on the kindness of Providence, that the Rideau Canal may be constructed.”

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When I drew up this system, there was one circumstance mentioned which I greatly regretted to find expunged, as it gave us much trouble. This was the clause that  ‘no sub-contractors would be allowed on any account whatever.’  Vagabonds were hired to perform jobs by contractors; and these thought the Government entitled to look after them,—just as if they would have any thing to do with those they did not know. Sub-contractors are the worst animals that can ever come upon a public work. However, the system did good ; the sharks of storekeepers were held at bay, and poor labourers were not devoured.

The Rideau Canal, when constructed, will be perfectly different from any other in the known world, since it is not ditched or cut out by the hand of man. Natural rivers and lakes are made use of for this Canal, and all that science or art has to do in the matter, is in the lockage of the rapids or waterfalls, which exist either between extensive sheets of still river water, or expansive lakes. To surmount this difficulty, dams are proposed, and, in many instances, already raised, at the bottom of the rapids, or sometimes at their head, or even, as the case may be, in their middle, by which means the rapids and waterfall’s are converted into still-water. These dams are of various

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heights, according to the lift of the rapid they have to overcome; they cross the rivers where the banks are found to be most, retentive and the space narrow ; and immediately behind them, or in some instances, as the nature of the country requires, at one end, the locks are excavated out and built. These locks vary in lift according to the lift of rapid: where the rapid is 60 feet, the locks are proposed to be six in number, if 80 feet, eight, and so forth : 10 feet being always considered a proper lift for a lock. The extensive utility of these dams must be obvious to any person who considers the business in an engineering point of view ; they do away with lines of extended excavations through a thick-wooded wilderness. In several instances, a dam not more than 24 feet high, and 180 feet wide, will throw the rapids and rivers into a still sheet above it for a distance of more than 20 miles. The dams also back the waters up creeks, ravines, and valleys ; and, instead of making one canal, they form numerous canals of various ramifications, which will all tend greatly to the improvement of a very fertile country. As they convert the rivers into extensive reservoirs, they may be filled and emptied as often as possible, without creating either the slightest disturbance in the movements of the

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waters of the lakes, or sensible diminution of their contents.  But, when a canal is ditched through a country, if the locks have occasion to be often opened and shut, a current is raised in the canal, and the waters are not unfrequently drained out of it, or, at least, are reduced beneath the proper navigable depth. Does it not, then, appear in the clearest manner possible, that the Rideau Canal can never be in want of water, unless a convulsion take place amongst the elements of nature ? And as for evaporation, the dams will lessen more than increase it, as they deepen the rivers over beds of warm limestone-rock, and thus destroy the present influence of the hot summer sun of Canada; exhalations are trivial from the surface of lakes, compared with those from shallow rivers.

Thus is this Canal formed by dam and lock, and not by locks and cuts, as in England. The land drowned by the raising of the dams is not worth mentioning, consisting chiefly of swampy wastes, the haunts of otters and beavers.

Were Canada a country where floods and freshets are obnoxious to works placed in the beds of rivers, it would then be proper to shun the rivers with the works ; but this is not the case. Floods there certainly are, but as these come periodically, they can be calculated upon with the greatest certainty ; guard-gates and sluices can be fixed for their reception.

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Dams even destroy the effect of floods, for, as they form extensive lakes, the floods in getting through them expend their fury. Thus the Great Rideau Lake, the summit reservoir, which averages 24 miles long and 6 broad, only rises, with the greatest floods, 3 feet; while, in narrow places in the River Rideau, the rise is from 10 to 14 feet : were, therefore, all the dams and lakes raised, the floods would never be deeper over the waste-weirs than 2 feet.

It has been stated that the Rideau Canal has been estimated to cost l69,000l.: this is perfectly true, and, if the works were executed in a weak and unsatisfactory manner, might, probably, be found sufficient; but if British substantiality is required—and required it always is—three times the above sum will perhaps not be found to be too much. How can it be otherwise ? If any practical engineer is applied to, he will at once state, that to build a substantial, good lock of cut stone, similar to those of the Lachine Canal, and those proposed first for the Rideau Canal, will cost (excavation of lock-pit included) something near the sum of 6000l. Now, as the rise from the Ottawa River to the grand summit-level of the Rideau Lake is 283 feet, and the descent from thence into Lake Ontario 154 feet, making a total lift, as it were, for lockage of 437 feet, and consequently

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requiring about 47 locks of 9-feet lift each, requiring the above sum of 6000l. each, the chief part of the true estimate is shown at once ; and if the price of the dams, excavation, land required, mill damages, &c. be added, the full estimate will be readily obtained, and will appear to be nearly the sum already represented. And is this sum too much ? Was there ever an inland navigation about one hundred and sixty miles long, having forty-seven locks, constructed for the sum ? Never.   Here, the main expense is lockage; the whole excavation in the above distance exceeds not eighteen miles. Perhaps the Erie or New York Canal, the boast of the States of America, may be brought forward to disprove this; but let them be compared with a due regard to the substantial nature of the work. Again, the Lachine Canal—and a, better constructed one is nowhere to be found—although only about nine miles long, and having seven locks, cost 130,000l.; and it could easily be shown that this was not too much, considering the country in which it was situated, and various other circumstances which do not affect a British Canal.  The Granville Canal too, now in progress, and which will, when finished, be nearly equal in extent and dimensions to the Lachine Canal, has already cost 80,000l., and is not yet above one half completed.

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Can it then be possible that sensible people should suppose that the Rideau Canal can be constructed at an expense four times less in proportion ? On the contrary, as its route lies through a much wilder tract of Canada than that of either Lachine or Granville, it can hardly be expected that it should be constructed at even the same ratio. But, had the original line of the Rideau Canal been followed—the line from whence the estimate of 169,000l. is deduced, I will undertake to point out five miles of it, which alone would swallow the whole of the estimate; and will even venture to state, that if that route, which was chiefly cutting through a rocky wilderness, had been adopted, it would almost have exhausted the British treasury. It is a great satisfaction to me, that, by a concurrence of circumstances, I became one of those persons who discovered the injurious scheme into which my country was about to be dragged, and in some measure contributed to preserve science from abuse, character from destruction, and government from an enormous expense.

I never was a great advocate in favour of the large locks for the Rideau in preference to the small, as first proposed: had there been but few locks required, the large might be preferable; but there are too many, and I am afraid the trouble of opening and shutting them will turn out to be great.

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The small locks would certainly have sufficed to pass a great deal of wares through them in a very short time; while on the large sheets there might have been, steam-tugs stationed to drag on the rafts of lumber and fleets of barges. These locks would likewise have corresponded with those of the other Canadian canals. It is true, that towing-paths cannot be had through the extensive lakes and marshes of the Rideau; but then the locks are so laid out as to be in numbers together, which not only saves the expense of wing-walling, but also concentrates trouble; when once the barges had passed a lot of locks, a convov of them might have been led along by the steam-tug.  However, the large lock is now the one being constructed,—let it be so,—but the Grand Canadian Canal is not the Rideau Canal, nor the Wetland Canal.  These are only mere sections of it, which are to be met with on the grand line between Quebec and the noble summit-level of Lake Superior.  This famous Canal will be finished in a few years as far as the summit-level. Steam-boats may go up from Quebec to Lake Superior ere three years from this time; from thence with little trouble, they will pass through the notch of the rocky mountains and be locked down the Columbia to the Pacific ocean. The route, however, will be better to be kept off' the American

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frontier, which is Columbia, and to go down Cook's river, or the large Salmon river at Nootka Sound. The town of Nootka is likely yet to be as large as London, and ought to be laid out on an extensive plan, as the trade between it and the Oriental world may become wonderfully great, in a short time. Then when the steam-packet line is established between Quebec and London, as it soon will be, we may come and go between China and Britain in. about two months. The names of the stages will be London, Cove of Cork, the Azores, Newfoundland, Quebec, Montreal, Kingston, Port Dalhousie, Port Maitland, Erie, Huron, Superior, Rocky Mountains, Athabaska, Nootka and Canton. Can this be called a foolish prophecy, or an idle dream?—By no means; it is perfectly practicable.   The magnitude of the whole may probably be too much for the minds of the generality of mankind to grasp; but what signifies that ? Were the work absolutely finished, millions would not believe it! Pagans consider the sun in a different light from Astronomers. The eyes of both are dazzled by his beams, while his real nature is unknown,—as far beyond the understanding of man, as he is in miles from the earth, and probably much farther.

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THE chief of these is Philemon Wright, Esq. of Hull, a Bostonian, who came to Canada about thirty-six years ago with 30,000 dollars. Rummaging through the country in quest of land, he came upon the Ottawa River, and proceeded up it to the Falls of Chaudiere, in a canoe. “There,” says the Squire, “ I clambered up a tree, and on looking round, found myself at the head of the navigation: there I saw a number of rivers, as it were, pouring into one : the country, by the appearance of the timber, seemed fit for agriculture. ‘ Here shall I take up my abode,' I exclaimed, for this will become a place of vast importance in due time, although it "is now nothing but a howling wilderness.’”  Being pleased thus far, he hastened back to Quebec, and took out his deeds, invited some of his people to follow him,

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came back up the river 100 miles from any neighbours, and there commenced operations in earnest, levelled down the forest, built houses, raised large crops of grain, and bred many cattle, pigs, and poultry.  In a short time, he had more than a thousand acres cleared, and the township swarming with people. The Indians could not understand this: they became alarmed lest their whole territory should be taken from them; but Mr. Wright quieted their fears, gave them tobacco, and granted them many indulgencies. Struggling on for about fifteen years, he found himself as wealthy a man as any in the whole country. He kept an extensive store, and supplied the traders with timber and fur, of which they stood in need ; he also put up a saw and grist-mill; and numerous were the wares he conducted down the river to Quebec. Had all the people who have gone to Canada as much genuine enterprise as Philemon, the country would have presented a different appearance today from what it does. He soon became well-known far and near; improved the breed of his cattle; became a great favourite at the court of his Governors, and colonel of his own .regiment of militia ; sent his son Ruggles to England and France, to observe the manners and improvements of Europe—a trip that cost the old

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gentleman something to the tune of 3000l., but that he grudged not. How contented was he when his son returned, with a beautiful bull, and a he-goat, of the most renowned ancestors !

The township of Hull now became a fashionable resort; a splendid hotel was built; livery stables were well stalled; a steam-boat set a-going ; flag-staff and bell erected : while a magazine was filled with gunpowder; and an armoury richly filled with cannons, muskets, and swords. The howling wilderness vanished ; the bears and wolves sought more remote regions. But this was not all, nor the half of all; churches, and chapels, and schools were built; and priests, surgeons, school-masters, and lawyers, were frequently to be met with at Hull. Free-masonry also nourished : the squire was a Royal Arch-mason ; procured a charter; opened a lodge in high style ; while all the men of character about flocked in, and became members of the ancient craft. He was a perfect Jacob, and yet is truly an American; but a loyal man to Hull—and that is quite enough. He has also a kind heart; and will differ with none, unless an infringement be attempted on his lands. He is about six feet high ; a tight man, with a wonderfully strange, quick, reflective, wild eye. No one is more the father of his people than he ; when he has

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been from home at any time, on his coming back guns are fired, bells rung, and flags waved. He is now about seventy years of age, but quite healthy, and can undergo any fatigue; the most severe cold is nothing to him, and as for the heat, he minds it as little. All his enjoyments are of a singular kind ; there is some domesticity about him, but not much. Talk of schemes of the wildest enterprise, and he is then in his glory ; and if he can get any one to meet his views, how happy he is!  It was he who first proposed the Rideau Canal; and I have heard him, with pleasure, propose many other works equally great and ingenious. Mr. Gait amused the people of Quebec, by producing him on the stage, in the character of Obadiah Quincy, Bunker, from Boston: the worthy old gentleman used to sit in the box, and laugh heartily at himself.


Captain Andrew Wilson, R.N.

This gentleman is one of the most notable factotums to be met with in Canada. He is at once a profound lawyer, with all the acts of the provincial legislatures on the top of his tongue, at a moment's warning; and at home, a farmer of the first rate—will talk you blind about raising bullocks, wheat, onions, what not; an author too—has published

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in three volumes octavo a naval history, fraught with tactics and sea affairs. At his house on the banks of Rideau,—Ossian Hall, as he is pleased to term it,—there is the best library that ever was taken into the wilderness; books of all sorts; and a vade-mecum full of sea scenes, and drawings of ships in action and out of it, while the outline of many a headland, cape, and bay, is there pourtrayed : this valuable album he terms the sailor's hornpipe. Set the captain fully a-going, get him out to sea, some grog a-board, and how he dashes away ! One would imagine, to hear him, that there never was a battle fought on the ocean but he had the pleasure of being in it. Thus will he speechify : “ We had given the fellow chase for three days, d–n him ; and on the morning of the third, a slight fog came on, so who could see him ? One looked out from the top after another, but no signs of him. Up went I, glass slung, at my back, and after looking out a full quarter of an hour, I bawled down to the men at the wheel, ' I have him !—starboard—set the compass—off the weather-bow—mark the direction of the glass;—in an instant round came the ship. ‘Yet I have her I’ I bawled down.  ‘Steady,—all steady. Sir,’ was the reply ; when I withdrew the glass, and went below. We bore up,

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came in view, and in two hours we had him,—a Spanish prize worth ten thousand dollars. Captain Andrew Wilson did that by the Lord! He was often with me in the woods. On engineering exploits the captain was an excellent rummager, and understood the nature of creeks and gullies well. Presenting him with a map of a part of the wilderness he was well acquainted with, " Yes, Sir," he exclaimed,  “it is the thing. Sir: there is Otterson’s House to an inch. Sir ; you have marked the Deer Lick, Sir,—I know it well,—many a day I have been there with my gun, Sir. You have made your name immortal in the. woods, Sir—or I’ll be d—d, Sir.”

There was a dam, however, which we were building, that did not please the Captain; and he used to reprobate it thus. “ You are no engineers, I will tell you to your faces, gentlemen ; where will ye be when the floods come fifteen feet at a start,—when the ice of the lakes gives way,—when the snows, trees, houses, and all the banks come before it ?—where are ye, gentlemen ? ”  Matters did not turn out just so ill, however, as he suspected they would.  One time at the Hull hotel, I observed the Captain present at a party who were singing in full chorus a Canadian boat-song ; the famous Judge Macdonnel was leading;

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but our hero did not seem to enjoy the hilarity. The song was long, and he was mute : getting perfectly weary, he dashed down his wig on the table in great wrath, and burst forth with, “ D—n your fresh-water nonsense ; come out to the salt ocean, my boys, and I 'm with ye ! ”

He is a Justice of Peace, and Notary Public too; signed not only R.N. to his name, but J.P. and N.P. Married many an amorous couple; although this is said to be against the law, if a clergyman be within fifteen miles : however, what cared the noble captain ? “ he had soul and body to look after ; he had the county of Bathurst to govern ; the Perth lawyers to regulate ; the roads to lay out; and more to do than all Downing-street.”  However, his importance was not so great as he would have us believe ; indeed, with those who really knew him, he seemed quite aware of this, and would good-naturedly laugh at his own nonsense. There was one thing he insisted on, but never could prove to me its correctness, that every tree in the forest, great and small, was worth a dollar. If such be the case, Canada is much more valuable than I am led to believe it is. He held his weekly courts at By-town, where the following alarming case, amongst others, came before him.

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And really, to see the Captain on the bench, with his anchor-button coat, attending gravely to the examinations of witnesses, taking off his spectacles, occasionally wiping them, and then carefully laying them across his nose again, while the court of ignorance was marking his every motion,—the scene was highly ludicrous. Of this he was perfectly sensible, but it was an amusement to him ; he liked to be consulted, to make speeches, to have his pockets crammed with documents, and all the world following him.

A couple of housewives becoming intimate, one of them made the other a present of a fine breeding hen. But chucky, not quite happy in her new abode, made her nest in a gentleman's hayloft, and commenced hatching there. During the period of incubation, she regularly returned to the home of her old mistress, and received her food. When the brood came forth, a dozen in number, the gentleman laid claim to them, as being part of his property; the woman to whom the hen was presented, also put in her claim; while the original owner, because she had fed her, considered she had the best right to the flock of any. In such an embarrassing case, the justice called up all his learning, and recalled all the statutes ; when, after

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considerable bickering, the woman to whom she was made a present, received her once more into her holy keeping.


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THE canoes are generally made of birch bark, extremely neat, light, and altogether constructed with the greatest ingenuity; improvements one after another have been added through a lapse of ages, and now they may be said to be really bordering on perfection. No straight lines are here made use of in the moulding, but aquatic curves of the very first order, so that they may carry an immense load, and yet meet the water with the least resistance possible—formed light, yet very tight and strong. Birch bark of a yellowish colour, without wrinkles, is generally considered the best, and will last the longest: this bark is found in the remote woods, and the canoes from the inland territories of the north are always preferred. It is rare to meet the Indian carpenters at work: they will walk through the yards with

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us, which are commonly to be met with on the obscure banks of some lonely lake, and show every thing; but they will not let us see them actually applying their moulds, like the artists of Britain. The dimensions of a canoe are not given by breadth of beam, depth of hold, &c. but by fathoms in length, from the shoulder of the bow to the bends of the stern.

They will live in very agitated waters, where our boats would inevitably founder. The largest kinds of canoes are those of four and five fathoms. It is truly frightful to see them running rapids of rivers, in which, every moment, they are either expected to be upset or swamped, by those who do not understand them ; but the Indians and Canadians can manage them in a superior style. They will, with the largest, pass a portage of a mile, in less than half an hour, although they may have nearly a ton of luggage to carry. Three men will easily run along with a canoe on their shoulders, which in the water is laden with the before-mentioned burthen, and probably twelve paddlers. No boats in the world can carry, or be carried, like them; but they do not sail very fast: perhaps five miles an hour may be about the medium rate of sailing. They swim in very little water; one drawing nine inches is considered

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to be deep.  Sometimes a mast and sail are raised to a fair wind, and then they fly along the lakes like swallows. They are carried with the bottom up, the gunwale resting on the shoulders of the bearers, who have a cord over the bow and stern, to balance the huge-looking burthen. On the sides of the return bows and sterns, various animals, such as serpents and beavers, are beautifully painted. The timbers, as I may say, are fine split pine or cedar: they are sewed with stripes of the leatherwood-tree, and the seams gummed with the juice of the tamarack-shrub. When they spring a leak, they run them instantly ashore, pull them from the waters, and turn the bottom up; a fire is then kindled, and a burning cleft faggot is taken and run along the seams, while the voyager blows through the cleft; this melts the gum, which is then pressed down by the thumb, and so the cure is effected. If a hole has been punched in the bark, the piece is extracted, and a new piece inserted. When done, she is soon in the water, and away again on the voyage. Log canoes are likewise very common, but chiefly used amongst the settlers. They are scooped and moulded, as every one knows, out of the trunks of trees, and are quite inferior, in every sense of the word, to the birch canoes, being heavier, more

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liable to upset, and more difficult to be repaired when out of order; they likewise draw more water, crack with the sun, and rot very soon. They have a singular method of applying oars to them, by fixing an arm on each side, with a pin through the end, to act as a fulcrum to the oar: so rigged, a single rower can send a canoe of this kind very rapidly forward. It is a singular fact respecting canoes, that a couple of paddlers in a small one, will outrun another manned with twenty. There are few finer scenes than a Canadian Regatta: fifty canoes on the smooth broad lake, voyagers fancifully adorned, the song up in full chorus, blades of the paddles flashing in the sun as they rapidly lift and dip, while the watery foambells hurry into the hollow of the wakes.

The orders of architecture baffle all description : every one builds his cottage or house according to his fancy; and it is not a difficult thing, in passing through the country, to tell what nation the natives of the houses hail from, if we are aware of any of the whims or conceits that characterize them. Thus a plain rectangular house of brick or stone, with five windows and a door in front, and a window, perhaps, in either gable; the barns, sheds, stables, and offices at a respectable

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distance behind; a kitchen-garden off at one end, full of turnips, melons, onions, cabbages, &c. and at the other an orchard, full of fruit-trees, with a range of beehives in a corner, is the dwelling of an honest English farmer.—The wealthy Lowland Scotchman follows the same plan nearly: there is not such an air of neatness and uniformity, but there is more live stock about the doors: the pool, or river, is full of geese and ducks, while round the barn are numerous flocks of hens and turkeys ; a favourite cow, perhaps, hangs on for 'friendship about the gate ; a sow comes forth with her litter; and the cur-dogs seem not to be scarce.

A house larger than either of these, chiefly built of wood, and painted white, with nine windows and a door in front, seven windows in either gable, and a semicircular one above all, almost at the top of the angle of the roof, the blinds painted green, the chimney stalks highly ornamented, and also the fanlight at the door ; the barns, stables, &c. off from the house at a great distance ; the arches of all the shed-doors turned of wood in eccentric elliptics; live stock not very plentiful about the place ; a disposition to be showy and clean, without neatness, proportion, or substantiality ; a good-looking girl, I might say, about the head, but the shoes not shining with Warren's

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best, with a tolerably well-made gown on, not very tawdry, the petticoats, which may sometimes be seen if we mind our eye, having no charms, and any tiling but the colour of the snow,—it is almost needless for me to say, that this is the mansion of Jonathan, or the U. E. Loyalist from the United States.

A house nearly as large as the Americana, but built of stone, and high roofed, having two tall chimney stalks growing out of either gable ; an attempt to be showy and substantial, without rhyme or reason; an air of great miscalculation, and a woeful sacrifice made with the intention to gain something, which something does not seem to have been properly denned ; a disposition evidently for a house like no other person's, beyond the reach of architecture, generally met with in a state of dilapidation and decay, the window-panes sadly mutilated, old straw-hats stuck in "to keep out the wind, and so forth,—this (and there are many such places) was intended for the abode of a person who had made a few thousand pounds by the fur-trade—a wild pushing Highland-man, who had often seen the remotest regions of the north-west.

The French Canadian has a little house with verandas all round, few windows, and few fancies; every thing done with an air of humble

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comfort; a windmill, perhaps, turns round on the top of one chimney, and a cross is stuck up on another ; if a large pole stands before the door with a cock perched on the top of it, the owner is a captain in the Native Militia.—The Dutch copy the Canadians : have their houses small and comfortable, but without much uniformity, and they seem to dislike little toys, such as windmills: if the house can be surrounded with an orchard, they will have it done; and above the well is sure to be placed the long Dutch lever, a large spar, often nearly ,thirty feet long, balanced on a fulcrum of about twelve feet high; a chain is fixed to the upper end, and a hook, by which the can or pail is let down into the well, and when full, the lever, to return to its equilibrium, assists the drawer of water to bring it up—a simple and useful invention.



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THE money in circulation is chiefly what is called dollar-bills, being provincial bank-notes, and Yankee half-dollars, which are about the size of half-crown pieces; silver coins having eagles, stars, and emblems of liberty stamped upon them. British coins are very rare, and are eagerly inquired after ; a sovereign is worth 24s. currency. Money matters are of a perplexing nature; a Stock Exchange broker would be baffled, for some time, to manage them properly, the exchanges and premiums vary so much. The troops are paid in army sterling, with dollars valued at 4s. 4d.—with merchants, 4s. 6d.  100l. sterling is 1151. 7s. 8¼d. currency, and 100l. currency is 86l. 1s. 4d. sterling.  On a bank bill of exchange for. 100l. sterling, I have paid 125l. 12s. currency.

There are numbers of shillings in circulation,

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out being the mintage of all nations, few can tell the exact value of them, unless weighed as old silver, which is never done, except one has a quantity of them. Who can be bothered with weighing single shillings, as we require them for casual payments ? and more than that, we cannot do it every where, were we willing; for where is a sensitive pair of scales to be had in every shop, with the necessary drachms for balancing the matter ? and then to carry a weigh-beam about would be troublesome.  While the French keep gabbling about quinze sous, and trente sous, which are perplexing to comprehend ; every sort of a copper-piece is an halfpenny. I have no less than 120 different kinds, the greater part of them old copper coins of Britain, and merchants’ tokens all over the world. If a lot of farthings be taken into a smithery, and receive a blow from the sledge-hammer on the anvil, they will then be excellent Canadian coppers, or half-pennies. Some attention, by those who ought to give it, if any such there be, should be bestowed on the money business of Canada. In the trade of sovereigns and British coin, considerable profits are, and might be made : I am surprised to find so few regular trading Jews in this business. Take over a bagfull of coins, and they may be disposed of to much advantage, and keep

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the Yankee dollars out of the market; for the very coins of a realm, like the songs, affect its character. The emblems on the current coins of Canada help to make Yankees of the Colonists. At the same time, it would be difficult to establish a Canadian mint; the Americans must coin for us there, so much the more pity. Rich men are by no means plentiful; indeed, a 20,000l. man is very rare.  Ladies with fortunes are, therefore, not in Canada, so fortune-hunters may seek for game nearer home. There are banks in the chief towns: rags and rag-cooks, as our doughty Cobbett has them and their bills. The American system of banking is indeed curious : wherever a canal, road, bridge, &c. or other large work is going on, a bank is started beside it; not a branch bank of some large establishment, as in Britain, but a bank purely for the business of that work alone, whatever it may be—as the Erie Canal Bank.  In these, dens, of knavery, contractors can so manage their labourers and artists with flash credit, that payments in full can never be effected; and the contractors themselves are so led by the nose, by the agents of the work, and the bankers, that they are often cheated of large amounts; but there are few complaints heard, not a murmur will come from the lips of Jonathan. It is

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a truth that their public works are constructed without any one knowing who paid for them, and therefore they are public works indeed, and may well be exempted from tolls and taxes. A regular set of rogues employed together is a scene worthy the contemplation of a mannerist.

An American contractor on the Rideau Canal paid a visit to the States, and returned with a budget of Auburn bills, seemingly bank-notes : these he flashed about everywhere, and some of the unknowing were a little deluded. He also brought with him a sleigh and span of horses, not to be matched in the country for elegance.  While eating our bread and onions at dinner one day, he drove up to the humble cottage, and requested me to take a drive with him. Away we went delightfully, for the sleighing was fine, and pulled up at the Columbian Hotel, en passant, where we jumped out to taste a little of something, but more evidently with the intent of showing off. While cutting an important swell through the halls of the hotel, before a number of people, he pulled out a bunch of Auburn bills, and, without my paying much attention, pushed them into my hands, saying, “ Take these, Mac, my boy; I guess you’ll never want money while one of them here bills is in your pocket. ”—“ No, no, my good fellow,”

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I replied, returning them to him ; “ that big dam you are building must not have a blind gauger.”  He took the hint, the story took wing, and I afterwards met it in various parts of the country. America is not a laughing nation; a hearty laugh is not to be heard, except amongst the Canadians;—the crafty, chatty laugh is frequent. The tears of laughter never bedewed the Yankee’s cheek; they are too full of plots for giving way to this, and “ the loud laugh that bespeaks the vacant mind, ” as the poet says: however, the Auburn bills created some fun in the wilderness of Rideau. All the labourers on the Canal were paid in Yankee half-dollars ; the commissariat furnished these to the contractors, brought up in boxes from Montreal.  It was curious enough to see the contractors crawling through the woods with their dollar-bags on their backs. Poor fellows! the trouble Government found in making ready cash payments involved many of them in great distress.

The vouchers required so many signatures that they were difficult to be obtained, as one officer was here, and another there, over the whole extent of the line ; but this difficulty is unknown where the work and the officers are at one place. Had the contractors been people who had had plenty of

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money of their own, then the Government might have taken its own time to pay them for work performed; but being poor, the case-was-different, and much distress arose from this cause. Sometimes the whole of the necessary officers, clerks, &c. forming a moveable Somerset House, as it were, would go through the line, and make payments according to progress and measurements ; but this plan, again, was attended with much expense. In other large works, not conducted by Government, an agent is deputed to pay the money, so that distress arising from the procuring of signatures is avoided. This voucher-hunting business, as we called it, did much injury to the character of all persons connected with the public works, and to the Canal itself.  We were blamed because ready payments, according to the system of accounts, could not be made, and for the works being neglected by the contractors hunting up and down in quest of names, that they might have the military chest opened by producing the required documents, and the money drawn out. Government requires so many checks, that her very securities become bewildering ; and accounts, which at first are simplicity itself, become filled with various perplexities : we managed, however, to keep them correct.



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THIS infernal place lies between the Rideau Lake and Lake Ontario ; the route of the Rideau canal goes directly through it.  The dimensions are about eighteen miles long, and in some places about two miles broad.  It is almost covered with extensive flats of cranberry bushes: these have long tangled roots above eight feet long ; so the bushes, although rooted in the marsh, swim on the surface of the fetid waters.  Round the flats are little winding navigable paths for canoes: to keep the right ones in going through the marsh is a thing of much difficulty ; and if a person jumps out of the canoe on to the cranberry flats, these slowly sink with him, and he shortly discovers that lie has got down to his middle. The berries are very plentiful ; they are globose, transparent, of a yellowish colour, sometimes marked with little black spots ;

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they something resemble sparrow eggs, and may be gathered in bushels full at the close of summer.  Settlers will go ten miles to gather them ; but as the mist of the marsh is extremely noxious to life, people prefer staying at home, instead of visiting the abode of the ague. The malaria of this dreadful place was the chief cause, in my opinion, for putting a stop to the progress of the public works in the warm weather of 1828; hundreds of labourers and mechanics were laid down with sickness, many of whom never rose again. To clear a way for the canal through this marsh was generally considered to be difficult, as labourers could not dig the bushes with spade and shovel, and as their stalks and roots were extremely tough, and could not be cut or dragged out of the way. I proposed the following method ; but it was not acted upon, lest the matter should be made worse.

From this marsh two considerable streams broke away in different directions; one called the Gananoque, which falls into the St. Lawrence, the other Cataraque into Lake Ontario. At the head of these streams, viz. at the White Fish Falls on the former, and the Roundtail on the latter, people having saw mills erected on them, had built dams, by which the water in the marsh was raised eight feet above its natural level. This was done for

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the double purpose of keeping a good supply of summer water for the mills, and also to enable the millers to transport down the winding channels saw-logs, which are found, of good quality, on the shores of the marshy lake. These dams, although the millers might dislike it, were proposed to be knocked away in the spring, and the marsh drained as low as possible of its waters ; in this state it was to lie and dry before the hot suns of summer; and at the close of autumn to be set fire to, and burned out of the way ; the dams to be afterwards raised, when a lovely lake would be produced in its stead, which would not only give a free canal navigation, but tend greatly to destroy pestilential qualities. This plan was overruled, however by the growling of the millers, and the alarm that, if the marsh was left without water, the muddy venom would be set free, the exhalations from which might be more prejudicial to health than those in the present state. But when the marsh in its present state stops the progress of the public works during summer, what worse thing can it do ?  The plan will very likely yet be carried into execution.  It is singular that the banks of this marsh are bold, and composed of moor-stone and granite, amongst which there are many singular holes and dens ; but by whom inhabited, it

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has not been my fortune to learn.  Altogether it is a curious place.  Its entrance from the north is a narrow deep defile. When the canal is constructed, its grand waste weir will be the Gananoque River, the floods of the rivers and lakes will be thrown down it, and the works left uninjured, as they are placed on the Lake Ontario branch or Cataraque.  On passing through the marsh in the hot season, a blue mist seems to stick to it morning and evening, but vanishes with the mid-day sun, when a quivering atmosphere appears.  The smell is very nauseous, like that of a cadaverous animal in the last stage of decomposition.  This marsh is but partially frozen in the most severe winter.

Canada has a large share of disease, like most other countries: it is not so very fine and healthy as has been reported.  There are many hale old people in it, to be sure; but such persons are to be met with even in Batavia the most sickly town on the earth.  If we had no occasion to expose ourselves to the weather, it is probable that we should find ourselves enjoying better health than we commonly do; but who can keep from exposing themselves ?  We must go forth on our business, whatever that may be.  The majority of mankind must struggle to live, in order to die.  If we can afford to go out and come in when we

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please, I dare say there is not any more to be said against sickness in this climate, than in England; but if we have to wander in the wilderness amongst swamps, as many have—to sleep amongst them, and be obliged to drink bad water—the Dysentery, Fever and Ague, and all manner of bilious fevers, are sure to succeed one another. The Fever and Ague of Canada are different, I am told, from those of other countries: they generally come on with an attack of bilious fever, dreadful vomiting, pains in the back and loins, general debility, loss of appetite, so that one cannot even take tea, a tiling that can be endured by the stomach in England when nothing else can be suffered. After being in this state for eight or ten days, the yellow jaundice is likely to ensue, and then fits of trembling—these come on some time in the afternoon, mostly, with all. For two or three hours before they arrive, we feel so cold that nothing will warm us; the greatest heat that can be applied is perfectly unfelt; the skin gets dry, and then the shaking begins. Our very bones ache, teeth chatter, and the ribs are sore, continuing thus in great agony for about an hour and a half; we then commonly have ; a vomit, the trembling ends, and a profuse sweat ensues, which lasts for two hours longer. This over, we find the malady has run one of its

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rounds, and start out of the bed in a feeble state, sometimes unable to stand, and entirely dependent on our friends (if we have any) to lift us on to some seat or other.

This is the most prevalent disorder: sometimes it proves fatal, but not generally so by any means. It leaves, however, dregs of various kinds behind it, which often end in dropsies, consumptions, &c. Those who have had it once, will most likely have a touch of it every year. A moist, hot summer fosters it very much; and when we fairly take it, we are rendered useless for any active business for many months. - The sulphate of Quinine, a preparation from bark, is what the doctors administer for the cure of this wearisome distemper : it seems to be a very potent medicine, but being very dear, poor people are at a loss to procure it. The Indians are never troubled with any thing of the sort. There is a kind of ague, too, the patient does not shake with, termed the Dumb Ague: this is very difficult to cure, and mostly affects those advanced in years.

The Lake Fever prevails at Kingston, York, and other towns and villages on the borders of the great lakes. It is often fatal, and the nature of it as yet seems not well understood by the faculty.

Consumption is also very frequent, and of the most rapid nature too. Dr. Christie, myself, and

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some others, were one evening resting ourselves in the Hull hotel, when, behind the arras, some one gave a cough.  “ That's a church-yard cough!” exclaimed the Doctor ; “ and whoever gave it will be in the grave in less time than six weeks from this date.”  Astonished at the matter, we started up, and went to explore the adjoining rooms. We did so ; and although we found plenty of people in them, not one seemed any tiling like ready for the grave in six weeks; all looked pretty fat and healthy. We inquired about who had been coughing, but all denied it, or rather they were not aware of any one—the very person himself was not aware. We went back to our apartment, and having been there a few hours, we heard a similar cough again.  Up we started, determined to discover its author; and traced it to proceed from a Master Mason, a very strong healthy-looking young Scotchman.  I would not believe the Doctor; but his words proved perfectly true. The lad died in less than six weeks’ time, to the grief of a fine young woman he was going to have for a wife. I went to see him on his death-bed : she was there, and weeping over him.  Dear girl! her lover died,—but she had another in a few weeks afterwards, and was married.  Mr. Mackay, my worthy, gave them their outfit:—of course I was at the wedding.

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Charbon is a disease which seems to afflict the poor French peasants: it is something of the nature of the yaws. A small black spot appears on some part of the body,—hence the French name charbon, or charcoal: this is commonly on the arm, and there is no remedy but that of almost instantly cutting out the infected part. It is reported that they are tainted with this loathsome complaint from their handling cadaverous animals, skinning and eating such, as they frequently do,—the same as the poor Scotch moor farmers do their braxy sheep, which is the root of their sibbans, or yaws.

The country swarms with quacks, and a man of real surgical merit receives no encouragement; people are apt to prescribe for themselves when they take a turn of illness, and so are hurried out of the world sooner than most likely they otherwise would be.  “ Every lumberman carries a lancet, ” is a common saying; and those from the United States will not employ any as a surgeon, unless he be a Yankee likewise: an they conceive, if an Englishman were allowed to open a vein, he would bleed them to death; or, if they took one of his powders, it would poison them. Tepid baths are much in request in the towns, and found of much service during winter, when the cold seals the pores, and “ checks perspiration ”

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The Indians are well acquainted with the hot-bath, and derive from it great cures. They build it of rude stones, by the banks of a lake, or river, and in it kindle a fire, and keep it up until the stones and sand be hot; they then sprinkle some water, and bring forth the patient: having stretched him, or her, in the rude bath, water is poured against the hot stones, which flies hissing on to the body : when this is done, it is wrapt up in buffalo-skins, and a profuse sweat thereby obtained.

In the summer of 1828, the sickness in Upper Canada raged like a plague ; all along the banks of the lakes, nothing but languid fevers; and at the Rideau Canal few could work with fever and ague ; at Jones's Falls and Kingston Mills, no one was able to carry a draught of water to a friend; doctors and all were laid down together.  And people take a long time to recover amid these hot swamps; it is not two or three weeks ill, and then up and well again, but so many months.  The Ottawa is conceived to be a very healthy river; the people on its banks are seldom or never sick ; and the Lower Province is much freer from distemper than the Upper.  Stumps in a certain state of decay are said to be dreadfully obnoxious to health.



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In clearing a woody country, these become one of the greatest obstacles; the stumps of resinous wood will not decay for twenty years; those of hard wood will endure five. Various machines and methods have been tried to eradicate them ; still, decay is found to be the only effective engine. Levers of all kinds, screws, dumbcrafts, &c. can make no hand of them.   Gunpowder is also by no means qualified; after repeated trials, we abandoned it altogether. In cutting canals where they must be removed, the best method was found to be

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deep breast-work; when undermined, they tumbled into the cut, while their weight loosened the adjoining soil. Grubbing, however, is considered a job by itself with the Americans, for which they are in the habit of receiving fifteen pounds per acre.

We found this laborious work, and not to answer. The stumps were cut out, not rooted out, for they were then as troublesome to manage, as if they had never been touched; and even when rooted out, they were so bulky and unwieldy, we could not get them removed out of the way, and no fire could be applied able to consume them. Under these circumstances, they were left in the bottom of the excavations, on the floor of the deepest cut, to be burned when they were well dried in the suns of two or three summers; or floated out of the way when the canal came to be filled with water. The effects of every year tell upon stumps; we know the ages of clearings by examining them : that is to say, the year in which the farm had been cleared of trees. When large holes were bored into stumps, water would accumulate in them from the rains ; so the frost, in consequence, would break them up.


Dry-stone locks, and Dams.

Canals in the country are much to be preferred before land-roads, through the woods ; they are

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more easily constructed, and will require less repairs afterwards. Let the dry-stone lock be the one used to pass the rapids and key-work dams; the numerous rivers and streams, which wind through Canada in all directions, point to canals as the root of improvement. I would particularly mark out the Trent navigation, from the Bay of Quinty to Lake Simcoe.  The Thames navigation, to open up the gardens of Erie, and a connexion between Lake Huron and the Ottawa, by way of the French River and Lake Nepising.  Beavers make dams differently from us, they insert their stakes at an angle against the stream ; we do the reverse: probably they are right.

The American saw-mill dam is very ingenious; formed of round logs notched into one another : its shape is the long wedge; the trees are laid by one another, slanting to the rapid, well bedded in the cross headers; the lower tier is the shortest and thickest; the upper, longer and smaller. Tills outer slope is generally laid at an angle of thirty degrees with the rapid. Floods seldom are able to wash these dams away, and they answer the end intended very well. They have a method of keeping water out of coffer-dams, by applying the thick hemlock boughs to the openings where the water is forcing its way through ; thus, the boughs are dragged into the interstice, and

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the dam made water-tight, without clay puddle as in England.

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TRAVELLERS in general have set their faces against poor people emigrating to Canada. There is nothing in which I am more willing to coincide in opinion with them than in this.  Food is not to be had there merely for the eating; it requires considerable exertion to make a living, as it does in almost every other place. Neither is employment readily obtained; a common labourer can find nothing to do for almost six months in the year, until he has learned how to wield the hatchet. He may then find employment in the woods; but it takes an Irishman a long time to learn the art of the hatchet, if he has been used chiefly to spade and shovel work, which is quite a different kind of occupation.  When he first commences hewing down trees, he often hews them down upon himself, and gets maimed,

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or killed ; and if he attempt squaring, he cuts and abuses his feet in a shameful manner. The common people of Ireland seem to me to be awkward and unhandy. What they have been used to they can do very well; but when put out of their old track, it is almost impossible to teach them any thing. A Glasgow weaver, although not bred to spade and pick-axe, as they are, makes a much better settler, can build a neat little house for his family, and learn to chop with great celerity, so that in a short time nobody could suppose that he had been bred amongst bobbins and shuttles.

It is a singular fact, too, with the Irish, that if they can get a mud-cabin, they will never think of building one of wood. At By-town, on the Ottawa, they burrow into the sand-hills; smoke is seen to issue out of holes which are opened to answer the purpose of chimneys. Here families contrive to pig together worse even than in Ireland ; and when any rows or such like things are going on, the women are seen to pop their carroty polls out of the humble doors, so dirty, sooty, smoke-dried, and ugly, that really one cannot but be disgusted ; and do what we will for their benefit, we can obtain no alteration. If you build for them large and comfortable houses,

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as was done at the place above-mentioned, so that they might become useful labourers on the public works, still they keep as decidedly filthy as before. You cannot get the low Irish to wash their faces, even were you to lay before them ewers of crystal water and scented soap : you cannot get them to dress decently, although you supply them with ready-made clothes; they will smoke, drink, eat murphies, brawl, box, and set the house on fire about their ears, even though you had a sentinel standing over with fixed gun and bayonet to prevent them.

Living then in such a manner, what must the consequence be in a climate such as Canada? It is bad in Ireland, but there it is much worse. They absolutely die by the dozen, not of hunger, but of disease.  They will not provide in summer against the inclemencies of winter. Blankets and stockings they will not purchase; so the frost bites them in all quarters, dirt gets into the putrid sores, and surgical aid is not called in by them, until matters get into the last stage.  In summer, again, the intolerable heat, and the disregard they pay to their health, by living as they do, and drinking swamp waters, if there be none nearer their habitations, instead of spring or river water, bring on malignant fevers of all kinds.

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It is my opinion, that one-tenth of all the poor Irish emigrants who come to Canada perish during the first two years they are in the country ; and when they will not amend their ways of their own accord., there are few will be found alive after being five years in the country. Out of one hundred grown-up persons, and two hundred children, the mortality bill will run nearly as follows :—First year, five of the former, thirty of the latter; second, eight-and-forty ; and at the end of five years, only fifty of the children will probably be found living, and twenty of the grown-up people.  On the public works I was often extremely mortified to observe the poor, ignorant, and careless creatures, running themselves into places where they either lost their lives, or got themselves so hurt as to become useless ever after.   Some of these, for instance, would take jobs of quarrying from contractors, because they thought there were good wages for this work, never thinking that they did not understand the business.  Of course, many of them were blasted to pieces by their own shots, others killed by stones falling on them. I have seen heads, arms, and legs, blown about in all directions ; and it is vain for overseers to warn them of their danger, for they will pay no attention. I once saw a poor man blow a red stick, and hold it

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deliberately to the priming of a large shot he had just charged. I cried out, but it was of no use. He seemed to turn round his face, as if to avoid the smoke; off went the blast, and took away his arm, and the half of his head : he was killed in a moment. As the blocks of stone fell, one of them broke the leg of another poor man, who knew nothing of such a shot being fired. At length we got the matter so systematized, that a number of shots were always prepared to be fired at once; a person stood at a distance, and kept blowing a horn, so that all the quarriers got out of the quarry to a respectable distance before the mine was sprung.

In spite of all precaution, however, they sometimes returned too soon, before some of the lazy shots had exploded, and so met with serious accidents ; and there always will be accidents taking place which cannot be foreseen.  A very skilful overseer, of the name of Charles, would try an experiment on the root of a very large pine-tree. He bored several deep holes, slanting in beneath it, and put into each a large quantity of powder. This was on the steep banks of the Rideau, at a place called Hog's Back. A number of persons, about eighty, were employed in fixing a wooden

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dam in the river below. It was in the middle of winter, and a number of men and oxen were employed in dragging pine-trees along the ice to the dam.  The tree-root which was to be experimented on, was about fifty feet above the level of the ice in the bed of the river; and the greater number of people working at the said dam, were nearer to the side on which the root was, than they were to the other.  All things being prepared, the order for every soul to clear out was given, as the match was fired. The overseer, and the majority of the people, conceived the side of the river opposite to where the root was, would be the safest place, as there they would behold the explosion without being injured. The distance being great, and as every one thought quite out of the reach of danger, accordingly the crowd took up a station at least five hundred yards off ; but some of the people working with the oxen on the ice below, not being able to get into a place of supposed safety, the oxen moving so slow, fled in beneath the bank, as it were, where the root was; off went the tremendous blast, the sun for a while was darkened with roots and boards of frozen clay, taking their terrific flight over the cowering drivers and oxen, to the opposite side of the river. When the multitude saw matters approach

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them so near, and beheld over their heads immense roots flying in all directions, the exclamations  “Good Heavens!” and  “The Lord save us!” were heard to escape them. Some turned round to run, others crouched down, putting their hands over their heads. After the blast was over, each anxious to learn the result, few knew one another, the fright and mud having so changed their appearance. Many were writhing in extreme pain from hurts and bruises received ; but no one was killed except the poor overseer himself. He had been struck by a root on the side, his arm and several of his ribs were broken : he never breathed after he was found. A wife and large family were by tills accident left in indigent circumstances, and the public works deprived of a useful man.

Even in their spade and pickaxe business, the poor Irish receive dreadful accidents; as excavating in a wilderness is quite a different thing from doing that kind of labour in a cleared country. Thus they have to pool in, as the tactics of the art go—that is, dig in beneath the roots of trees, which not unfrequently fall down and smother them.

Emigration of the poor may probably answer a good end, as lessening the dense population of Ireland; but it certainly will never do well for Canada, unless some other methods be devised than those

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now observed. It may perhaps be argued, that they are necessary as labourers at public works; I would say, no such thing. If I had any work to perform in Canada of my own, I would not employ any Irish, were it not for mere charity. The native French Canadians are much better labourers, as they understand the nature of the country, can bear the extremes of the climate much better, keep strong and healthy, and always do their work in a masterly and peaceable manner; whereas the Irish are always growling and quarrelling, and never contented with their wages.

The Canadians are quite able, too, to perform all the public labour of that country; and those who can direct them in their own language succeed extremely well.  I am certain that if all masters understood the language, as many of them do, the poor Irish would receive no employment, as I before stated, except out of mere charity. The Canadians are every way superior labourers in their own country, and repay their masters much better.  Let some plan, therefore, be found to keep these people in bread at home; and I think it is possible to find out one. Emigration only increases their distress, and they may just as well die in Ireland as in Canada.

Suppose even they were put upon cleared lands

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to live by farming, they will only exert themselves so far that they may not starve; they will not struggle for any comforts beyond tills ; to say nothing of laying by any thing in the shape of rental, to pay for the expense that somebody must be at in clearing the lands cultivated by them, which could not be less than somewhere between three and four pounds an acre. Perhaps I may be considered too severe on tills subject, and were I not speaking from practical experience, the accuracy of my statements might be doubted. There have been too many erroneous opinions advanced with respect to emigration. Those who hold wild land in the country are advocates for it; as they think the labourer will be able in a few years to obtain as much money by the sweat of his brow, as may enable him to purchase a farm of this land,—a thing which does not happen in one case out of fifty.

The Irish landholder and the philanthropist are also its advocates ; the first, because it tends to rid his unfortunate country of a portion of its misery; the second, for the same reason, with this addition, that while it weeds misery out of Ireland, it does not plant it in Canada,—which is not the fact, for it does plant it there, and in a more melancholy point of view. There are many

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other self-interested people who praise it up in high terms, such as those who pick up perquisites even out of the tattered pockets of poor emigrants. There is even property obtained out of poverty itself, and there are men who fatten upon beggars : for few emigrants arrive in Canada who have not something, and even although that be an old chest full of rags, still it has its value. While they remain utter strangers to the country, a good deal of work may be got out of them for nothing ; and there are a great variety of heartless sharks in this world, who will take advantage of such circumstances and get all the work they can out of them for nothing, and afterwards turn them adrift to the Devil, for any thing they care.

I have no interest in emigration, God knows ! it can matter nothing to me whether the poor people of Ireland remain at home or go to Canada. But I am a human being; I have been in both countries, have seen with my own eyes, have felt with my own heart, and conceive it to be no crime, no feeling of hatred towards Ireland, to avow, so far as I am enabled, the honest truth.

It has been reported, and generally believed, that the uncultivated bogs of Ireland extend to three millions of acres ; that these are situated between three and four hundred feet above the

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level of the sea, and therefore capable of great improvement by drainage, and by other means; and that the River Shannon might be easily made to have an inland navigation of four hundred miles; and the other rivers made much better for trade than they now are.  What can be the reason, then, that these great concerns, which are close at our own doors, pass almost unnoticed ? Must not the redundant population of that unfortunate island be allowed to participate in the common bounties of Nature, without being inhumanly transported in home slave-ships to foreign shores, either to perish on the voyage, or linger out a few miserable years in forests and wildernesses such as abound in Canada or elsewhere ? Did these, our woody colonies, abound in breadfruit trees like some of the islands in the great South Sea, then the poor and destitute might well sigh with watery mouths to be carried thither. But is this the case? certainly not: and yet we see too many talking and acting as if it were. We may allow that a certain number of human beings are requisite to colonize a particular portion of the earth, according to its situation with regard to the rest of the world, and especially its connexion with the mother country, in order to develope its resources, and assist in its protection in

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case of invasion. But when this is accomplished, and people begin to detach themselves according to their various interests and vocations, those without means must reasonably remain unprovided for. There is no combination to lend them assistance, they are unable to help themselves, so what must become of them ? Are they then any better than if they had remained in Ireland ? It is true that servants are required, and many would be very willing to employ a great number, but they are unable to pay them adequately for their labour; as agricultural produce will either not admit of being raised beyond what will support the family, or the chance of a crop, and expense of transport to market, deter them from making the attempt. Poor ignorant people, too, when they arrive in such colonies, are apt to feel themselves considerably elevated, and will not condescend to toil for mere bread until reduced to the last stage of poverty. Besides, as they have land offered to them for a trifle, the idea of being proprietors has a most intoxicating effect. Under this influence, I have seen them hurrying into the woods with a very indifferent hatchet, a small pack on their back, followed by a way-worn female and her children, there to live for a time on air, (and if that rise out of the swamps, none of the best

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either;)—we have met them again crawling out,—and where is the heart that would not melt at the sight ?—some of the children, most likely, dead, and the rest bit and blindfolded by musquitoes!

We observe, that the emigrants from Ireland will clan together like the Scotch and Americans, but not, like these latter, for one another's mutual benefit. A wealthy Irish settler will not assist his countrymen so much as we are led to expect,  he will cry “Ireland for ever” and  “Oh, my country !” on election days, when they will rally round him, and drink “Success to his honour!” with shouts of acclamation.  But will he help a few of them to build huts over their heads in his neighbourhood, to a patch of potato land, or anything of the kind ? Alas ! we have rarely seen instances of such things.

Letters from settlers to their friends in Britain are not to be entirely depended upon; few of them are exactly true, and for these reasons : They wish as many of their friends to follow them as possible, for it is natural in man to have his friends about him ; and to do this he must paint the beauties of Canada in glowing colours ; he must dwell upon the fertility of the soil, the cheapness of farms. If they cause them to forsake a comfortable

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home, and come out to Canada, they commit no small crime.  By remaining as they are, they benefit their own country, according to their station ; by leaving it, they in some degree do it an injury ; and after being deceived in going abroad, they blame their friends, themselves, and the country they are brought to adopt. They may, it is true, return home again, if they are able ; but this by a family of spirit will not be thought of,—they will wear away life with vexation, and in this state they are too frequently met with.

There is nothing like travellers telling the honest truth, and letting people judge for themselves.  There are certain classes of emigrants that might do well, but these must not be poor, nor yet very rich : such as have been in the school of adversity, and are no strangers to difficulties.  Such letters do much injury; they not only bring out people to be deceived, and so become discontented, but from being friends at home, they are foes ever afterwards. All the noise about cheap provisions, plenty to eat and drink, and but little to do, is nonsense ; and, indeed, if any one out of the country would consider it, they might see it at once. I can only say, that I have seen more distress in Canada than ever I saw out of it; and if we used as much exertion to live at home, as

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we are obliged to do when there, few of us would go there. But we are slow of belief, and probably it is as well; the truth is generally disbelieved. Any thing that gratifies the imagination is easily imposed on us, while that which detracts from the ideal is abhorred, and will not be received.

They who invite their friends extol the absence of taxes, the salubrity of the climate, the pleasures, amusements, pastimes, &c. They must not say a word about the difficulty of clearing the woods, the toils of the hatchet, the heavy lifts, rheumatic complaints, &c.; they must not say that only a mere speck of the country is yet cleared, and that they may get land almost for nothing ; for what is its value, remote from towns and places, where it may be brought to some account ? Not one of the logs that are seen landed on our shores is cut on the farm of any settler; there is no cleared land within 300 miles of where they are obtained. There are no taxes of any extent, because there are very few who could pay them were they imposed. Where there is little taxation in a country, there is often little wealth.

Some time ago, Canada was highly praised and blazoned forth as a proper place for emigrants. Then came New South Wales; and now the Swan River, New Holland. Thus it shifts about,

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and will doubtless turn out to be Canada again. No one, it is gravely asserted, “ought to go out to Sydney, without being able to lay his hand on 1200l.”  This is a pretty large sum for a poor man ; this would set him decently up in trade at home ; but he will never find himself worth so much money again, if he once squander it on the cultivation of wild land.  If he happen to be an early settler in a colony, wherever that may be, he then may probably add a little to the original stock, by disposing of produce at a high rate to new comers; but when the market finds its level, where is he ? who will then pay him well for his beef and cabbage ?

Thus we find all new colonies praised highly at first, and then they retrograde. There is no doubt that the necessaries of life may be had in New Holland, and that the climate is good ; but these necessaries can be obtained as easily in Canada, and the climate is equally salubrious. Indeed, when we find that the springs in New Holland are very brackish, when the salt lies like hoar-frost on the grass in the morning, and the country is covered with bushy brushwood, and not with stately trees, we are inclined to look back to Canada as the favoured land of the two ; and although the society in the latter country

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can certainly not he extolled, still we think that the natives of Newgate cannot be much superior to their descendants. Yet we are rattier disposed to think they are: that is, in plainer terms, the convicts sent out to New Holland are superior characters to that refuse of the United State which pollutes the population of Canada ; for be it known that the Americans who fly to Canada are the worst of the worst, more notoriously bad even than we find them in the States.  Emigration, then, as a general question of policy as regards the welfare of Britain, seems to stand on  a brittle foundation, while so much excellent land in the three kingdoms remains uncultivated, and which maybe much more easily rendered fit for all the purposes of agriculture than the wilderness of either the East or West Continents.

Private families may wander forth according to their own fancy—may leave a land that, to their experience, teems with hollow-hearted wretches, false friends, insufferable taxes, &c.

“And seek the valley free of woe,

  If such be in the world below.”

It is our duty, as travellers, to lay the matter fully before the public, so far as we understand it; and to offer as few opinions as possible, without producing our reasons for doing so.  The restless

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anxiety of man, the discontent arising in the breasts of thousands without cause, the propensity for wandering, and passions that cannot brook disappointment, all tend to promote emigration.  When such are its prevailing causes, let us ask those skilled in metaphysics how we are to explain the moral condition of such communities in wild foreign countries ? We are inclined to think that their report and ours will in substance nearly agree.

It has been known that settlers will sometimes rush into their farms in the woods, plant a sack-full of potatoes, and retreat again with all due precipitancy, well-stung with insects.   Towards winter they will visit the plantation, and dig up the crop, if a wandering sow with her brood should not have been there previously, and already accomplished that purpose; for swine have an instinct in the woods peculiar to themselves. They never lose their way, and can scent from afar a butternut-tree, a valley of acorns, or a horde of murphies.

There is evidently an infatuation about emigration, when families conceive they will better their condition by removing to a distant country ; when they become determined to quit the land of their fathers for evermore, be the consequences what

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they may. It is vain to offer an opinion to the contrary, or make any attempt to dissuade them from their purpose ; in truth, by endeavouring to do so, it only hastens them on the more. Any passage they meet with in the pages of the books written by travellers who have visited the promised land, which seems favourable towards it, is believed, and treasured up in their imagination, while any remark having an opposite tendency, is laid down as contrary to truth, and the poor author decried accordingly: though such supposed lies are generally the most valuable of truths, and ought to be acted upon by all people who have any pretension to reason or common sense. We have met with numbers in Canada blaming themselves that they allowed their judgment to be so far misled before they left home ; but even this is all for the best, as, from such examples, they are surely rendered more open to the belief of the Sacred Scriptures.



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