“Sunday in the Backwoods of Canada”


England and Canada

(From an English Correspondent.) Liverpool, 30th April 1873

The Victoria Daily Standard published the article on June 12, 1873. Partial transcription follows:

“. . . In respect to Emigration, the season which has just started promises to be the best Canada has ever had. Every steamer is loaded with emigrants of a substatial class, either in respect to means or capacities. The labourers who are going out to the Ontario farmers are the very pick of their districts, and the British farmers are really getting alarmed at this begira o f the best bands. From some reason or other the Dominion has been lately brought more prominently before the emigrating classes than it ever was before; and this has chiefly happened by means of the press, by leading articles, reports of meetings, lecture, &c. Yesterday, no less than 600 Scotish farmers and farm labourers, taking 160 farms, left Glasgow for St. John, New Brunswick, with the view of establishing a settlement upon the river St. John. They are all from the neighbourhood of Stonehaven in Kincardineshire, and propose to call their colony New Kincardineshire. They have been organized chiefly by means of the efforts of Captain Brown, of the Anchor line, and Mr. Thomas Potts, of New Brunswick, who recently delivered a first-rate lecture in Liverpool, upon the resources of the Dominion. He had an immense attendance and the chairman of the vening was a gentleman who recently contested the parliamentary representation of the borough. The Liverpool Daily Post, in giving an account of the starting of the colony of New Kincardineshire, says ­­­–– “The success was beyond the expectations of its projectors, the number of those joining the colony reaching 600 persons –– farmers and others engaged heretofore in agricultural pursuits. The number of farms taken is 160, and a large number of applications had to be laid over till next year, as the Government were unable to make the arrangements they had agreed to make in time for their coming; and a large addition is expected next year to the colony. The colony take with them their own minister, doctor, and schoolmaster, with all their old associations. They go without severing the ties of friendship, which can scarcely be called emigration. It is simply transplanting a part of old Scotland, away from the region of high rents, oppressive land laws, iniquitous game laws, and a life of toil, to a country where there are no land laws, no rents, no game laws, where independent proprietorship is the heritage, each becoming laird of his own manor, where there is ample room, and where each child, upon coming to the age of 18, will receive a free grant of 100 acres of land.”

You may be quite sure that every effort of the Dominion or the Provincial Government to encourage emigration of the better sort, will be duly responded to on this side. There never was a time, for instance, when the minds of the agricultural classes were so receptive of ideas upon emigration as the present. The farmers do not know which way to turn. As in the case of several of the Kincardineshire colony, they are turned off their farms at the end of their leases to make room for some earl’s deer. They are bound and fettered in every possible way. They get no return for their capital, and hardly any for their labor. They have no prospect of getting farms for their sons, and they are elbowed out by the process of the aggregation of farms, for the purpose of high farming with expensive machinery. As to the agricultural labourers, they have discerned at last what the working classes long ago found  out, that emigration is the true panacea for all the ills they are suffering. . . .

I saw today a very pretty engraving of a famous picture –– “Sunday in the Backwoods of Canada.” What a pity it is the artists of your illustrated journals, instead of imitating such subjects as these, always give us the eternal snow business and amusements, which are all very well so far as they go; but people admire them most at a distance; besides, they give wrong impressions about Canada. Thousands of Englishmen believe that snow is on the ground the year round in Canada.”

Read the entire article here.