Letter by David Burns written June 23, 1873, published in The Stonehaven Journal July 31, 1873

The following letter has been addressed by Mr. David Burns, one of the New Stonehaven colonists, for publication amongst friends in Scotland:—
To Members and Friends of New Kincardineshire Colony, resident in Scotland.
DEAR FRIENDS,—Before I left our heather land I promised to write at times and give you some account of our procedure here, and before commencing I beg to state that I shall confine myself to what I know to be the truth—as some reports got out concerning us that had better never been heard of—many reports, indeed, that had more of fiction than fact in them. it is true that we met some difficulty, and had some little hardships to contend with that we did not expect to meet, but to blame individuals who had no control over such matters is unfair. The real cause of our complaints is the unusual lateness of spring. That was a matter that could neither be foreseen by our high-spirited philanthropic minded friend of our colony, Captain Brown, nor prevented by the liberal Government of New Brunswick. Everything has been done for us that the Government could do, and from the hour that Captain Brown took the leadership of our party until we landed safely on the Kilburn farm, not one single mishap or hitch in the programme of management occurred. But in order to give some short account of our voyage, and some useful hints to those who intend to follow us, I must begin at the beginning. First, then, the office in Glasgow; there you will get all information required concerning insurance of luggage, changing of money, if required. But small had best be taken out in gold and silver, sovereigns and half, shillings and sixpences; other coins are not handy here.
The next thing is the ship, and I must say that those who get a passage in the Castalia will be fortunate, for I do not think that a better sea boat is likely to be met with. Our Dundee friends will remember that at a meeting there I gave her a high character for her fine lines and beautiful symmetry. Her behavior during four bad nights and three bad days proved her to be worthy of all the praise I then bestowed on her. Her commander, Captain Butler, is a noble fellow, a thorough sailor, knows his duty, and does it. His officers are all of the same stamp as himself. Mr. Allison and his staff of stewards deserve the thanks of the colonists for their attention; and here I must not omit to mention the names and kindness of Messrs. Reed and Craig, second officers, whose berth was in juxtaposition to mine, and when I was laid up, or rather laid down, they never failed to call and enquire how I got along. When we are unwell we all know the value of sympathy.
Such is the character of the officers of the Castalia, and the same is given of all others in the employ of the Anchor Line.
The provisions are good and ample, the bread casks are always open to all passengers, and new baked rolls are served out every morning, which, with plenty of butter and coffee, one can manage to make a breakfast. There are two fish dinners weekly, the others are varied—soup, potatoes, meat, plum pudding, &c. Beef tea is also served out daily, and gruel in the evening when sea-sickness prevails. Porridge is also made for those who prefer it to coffee, so that, with such a dietary scale, nothing need be taken from home unless, perhaps, a little jelly, which is very palatable, when Neptune gives one to understand that he is king of the ocean.
I shall commence my next letter from St. John, and will have something to say of the natives and Government officials. Meantime, assuring my friends that the Colony is a success, everything in a thriving state, although all the colonists are not equally advanced, there being some working in groups who have great clearings made, crops sown and planted, while those working singly are not making so great progress, but all are doing well. Live stock is being daily added to the colony and thriving well as far as can be seen.—
Yours very sincerely,
David Burns.
New Eden Cottage, June 23, 1873.

Notes about the letter:

David Burns (1809-1898) was 64 years old when he arrived at lot 6 in Kincardine via the Castalia. He and his wife Margaret (1810-1897) celebrated their golden wedding anniversary at their home, “New Eden Cottage,” in 1883, and were buried in the cemetery at Melville Church. Their daughter Carrie and her husband Benjamin Niddrie arrived on the Sidonian in 1874 and had six children born in the Colony.

William Kilburn (1813-1889) and his wife Mary Jane Hagerman (c.1817-1886) and their ten children lived on the eastern bank of the St. John River. The Kilburn family provided much assistance to the New Kincardineshire colonists.

Source of the letter: “New Kincardineshire Colony” written by David Burns at New Eden Cottage, Kincardine, New Brunswick on June 23, 1873. Published in The Stonehaven Journal, Thursday, July 31, 1873. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ 

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