New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. October 15, 2014

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This blog will continue to grow, but following is a table of contents so far – from the top:

  1. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  2. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  3. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  4. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  5. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  6. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  7. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  8. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  9. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  10. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  11. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  12. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  13. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  14. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  15. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  16. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  17. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  18. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  19. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  20. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  21. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  22. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  23. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  24. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  25. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  26. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  27. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  28. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  29. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  30. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  31. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  32. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  33. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  34. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  35. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  36. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  37. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  38. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  39. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  40. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  41. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  42. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  43. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  44. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  45. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  46. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  47. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  48. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  49. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  50. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  51. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  52. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  53. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  54. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  55. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  56. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  57. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  58. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  59. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  60. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  61. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  62. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  63. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  64. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  65. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  66. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  67. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  68. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  69. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  70. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  71. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  72. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  73. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  74. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  75. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  76. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  77. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  78. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  79. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  80. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  81. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  82. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  83. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  84. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  85. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  86. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  87. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  88. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  89. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  90. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  91. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  92. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  93. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  94. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  95. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  96. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  97. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  98. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  99. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  100. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013
  101. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  102. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  103. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  104. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  105. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  106. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  107. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  108. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  109. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  110. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  111. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  112. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  113. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  114. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  115. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  116. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  117. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  118. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  119. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  120. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  121. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  122. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  123. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  124. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  125. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  126. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  127. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  128. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  129. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  130. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  131. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  132. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  133. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  134. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  135. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  136. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  137. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  138. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  139. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  140. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  141. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  142. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  143. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  144. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  145. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  146. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  147. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  148. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  149. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  150. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  151. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  152. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  153. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  154. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  155. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  156. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  157. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  158. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  159. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  160. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  161. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  162. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  163. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  164. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  165. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  166. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  167. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  168. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  169. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  170. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  171. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  172. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  173. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  174. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  175. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  176. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  177. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  178. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  179. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  180. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  181. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  182. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  183. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  184. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  185. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  186. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  187. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  188. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  189. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  190. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  191. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  192. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  193. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  194. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  195. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  196. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  197. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  198. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  199. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  200. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  201. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  202. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  203. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

October 15, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Some Odd Old Advertisements

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From the blog at

The following collection of odd old advertisements is from The New Brunswick Magazine, Volume 2, Number 5, Saint John, N.B., 1899. There is no indication of who compiled them, but it was likely W.K. Reynolds, who was the magazine editor.

Some of the advertisements are odd in different ways. The one about the ‘negro wench’ is more sad than odd, and the only thing odd about the Gaelic sermon is that the compiler thought that it was odd.

Germain Street

Germain Street at Duke Street, St. John, ca. 1880’s or 90’s

From the New Brunswick Museum. The neighbourhood of the first advertisement, though at a later date.


Some Odd Old Advertisements

From the Royal Gazette, January 21, 1800:


Absconded from his master’s service on the 14th inst., William D., an indentured apprentice. This is to caution all persons not to trust him on my account (particularly Shoemakers and Taylors), as he has long been in the habit of running me in debt without my knowledge. He is an artful, insinuating, dangerous Character—fond of Nocturnal Frolics, Card-playing and Tippling, and appears to have arrived at great perfection in these accomplishments, within a few months. His principal place of resort is at the Youth’s Hotel in Duke Street, a most dangerous receptacle for the rising generation, should it be continued. He is well known from being in the service of the Subscriber for a number of years.

N.B. All persons are hereby forbid harbouring or concealing said Apprentice, and all masters of vessels are cautioned not to take him out of the Province under the penalty of the Law. John Ryan.

From St. John Gazette, March 1, 1799:


A Negro Wench and Child.

The Wench is about 19 years old, has been brought up in the Country, is well acquainted with a Dairy, and understands all kinds of House-work. She is to be sold for no fault. Enquire of Mr. Ryan.

From St. John Gazette, July 29, 1800:


Whereas some evil minded person, set on by the instigation of the Devil, has been on board of the Ship I am now building near the Old Fort at Carleton, and have maliciously, or in a fit of insanity, cut the edges of the ceiling plank, so that they are damaged thereby. I hereby Caution all persons whatsoever, on their peril, whether out of malice, madness, or otherwise, to desist from the like practices in future as I am determined to prosecute the offender to the extremity of the Law.

Archibald Fillies, St. John, 24th July, 1800

From St. John Gazette, August 12, 1800:


Is hereby offered to any Person who will discover the unprincipled wretch that killed a Mare belonging to the Subscriber on the 7th instant, near Simonds’ Saw Mills,—the vile Fiend appears to have maliciously perpetrated the act with a pitch fork while the Mare was grazing on the high Road—but should it be proved to have been an accident, it will be settled on very easy terms by immediate application to

Christopher Watson, St. John, 12th August, 1800

From N.B. Courier, August 7, 1823:

GÆLIC SERMON—Immediately after the usual afternoon service in the Scotch Church tomorrow, a Gaelic Sermon will be delivered by the Rev. Mr. McCallum to those who are acquainted with the dialect. It is requested of the members of the Scotch Church to make this intimation known to their Gælic friends.

Written by johnwood1946

October 15, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The Miramichi Fire — Relief of the Sufferers

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From the blog at

The Miramichi Fire — Relief of the Sufferers

Miramichi 1760

A View of Miramichi, 1760, by Francis Swaine

After a view by Hervey Smyth. National Gallery of Canada, No. 4976, via

The great fire of October 7, 1825 caused massive destruction in New Brunswick, especially on the Miramichi watershed, as has been revealed in several postings in this blog.

Following is a report by the Miramichi Committee outlining, in retrospect, the measures that they took to organize relief. The report was published in 1828 and includes many interesting facts, such as rumours that had circulated in Britain that the Miramichi had received more relief than it needed. These rumours were vigorously denied, and this may also explain the Committee’s care in denying that relief had been handed out carelessly.

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If anything could abate the regret which your Committee have had cause to indulge ever since they saw the impracticability of making and early report of their proceedings, it is the assurance, that adequate allowance for the nature of the work they have had to perform would never be denied them, by any individual, whose munificence had contributed to the magnitude of their undertaking.

When your Committee assumed the sacred trust imposed on them by the inhabitants of Miramichi, and since rendered so important and interesting by the liberality of your Subscriptions, some preliminary steps had been taken by a Board of Relief hastily formed a few hours after the calamity, to alleviate, as far as available means would permit, the immediate wants and sufferings of the people, and as these measures were subsequently recognized and confirmed by this body, It may be necessary to state some of the most material.

Mr. Joplin had been dispatched, express, to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor with accounts of the dreadful events by which the extensive county of Northumberland had suddenly been laid ruins and the population exposed to the horrors of famine—a subscription had been opened among such of the inhabitants of the Parishes of Chatham, Newcastle and Nelson, as had not severely suffered by the fire—the sick and wounded had been placed under the care of proper persons—the dead interred; and such arrangements made for the comfort of the surviving sufferers, as the reduced quantity of food and raiment would allow—and lastly, about three hundred persons, principally of the labouring classes, had been provided with the means of going to the neighbouring ports.

Ten Sub-Committees were appointed simultaneously with your Committee, to act under their directions, to report frequently the condition of their respective districts, and effectively to prevent the neglect of the destitute in any part of the extensive scene of desolation.

From the reports of these auxiliaries your Committee were enabled also to prepare an account of the Loss, which after having been corrected by a special committee who visited each district, and individually examined each sufferer, was published early in 1826,—the following recapitulation exhibits the aggregate loss, sustained by the inhabitants of Miramichi, as contained in that statement.

Persons Burnt and Drowned, 160; Buildings Destroyed, 595; Head of Cattle Destroyed, 850; Loss of Property Estimated at £204,320; of Which was Insured £12,050; Leaving a Net Loss of, £192,270.

From such data it is evident, that the multitude which was to be clothed and fed on the bounty of others would rapidly diminish the very scanty stock which had providentially escaped the general devastation—and, on the very eve of a winter which must consign half of the population of the country to certain starvation, without extraordinary succour, your Committee had come to look with the most intense anxiety, for any intelligence of immediate aid, from other parts.

Happily this frightful state of suspense was not of long duration. Letters were received by express from His Excellency Sir Howard Douglas; and others on the same day from the principal Merchants of Halifax. The former stating that His Excellency had despatched Mr. Joplin to Quebec, invested with authority to purchase provisions and clothing on account of the Province, to the extent of five or six thousand pounds; and the latter, that Rear Admiral Lake, had kindly directly H.M.S. Orestes, Capt. H. Litchfield, to proceed to Miramichi, with the first fruits of a subscription set on foot at Halifax, a few hours after the accounts of the fire had arrived, and also that His Excellency Sir James Kempt had ordered the Gov. Brig Chebucto to repair to Pictou for the purpose of proceeding to Miramichi if required.

These exhilarating accounts were succeeded by a Messenger from the City of St. John, with Letters announcing the shipment of a large subscription in provisions and clothing in the schooner Olive Branch, and the transportation of a further supply by the Steamboat to Fredericton, and thence to be conveyed over land to Miramichi.

On the 26th October, His Excellency Sir Howard Douglas arrived at Miramichi, and while deeply affected by the ruins and misery of a Colony he had so recently seen rejoicing under the beaming rays of prosperity, was everywhere administering advice and consolation; cheering by his presence, the bereaved and afflicted, and animating by his example those whom Heaven had spared to comfort and assist them.

On Sunday the 30th October, H.M.S. Orestes anchored off Chatham—her presence, and the intelligence she brought that several loaded schooners would follow her, entirely dissipated those gloomy apprehensions which no philosophy could before subdue.

From this interesting period, every succeeding day afforded the most substantial proof of the unbounded sympathy of the sister Provinces, for by the 5th November, the following vessels were discharging their cargoes at Miramichi, on account of the sufferers. Nancy, from Pictou, Albion, Active, and Elizabeth from Halifax, and Olive Branch from St. John, N.B. and these were immediately succeeded by the Harriette and Nancy, from Halifax, Monique and Jane, from the Bay Chaleur, Angelique, from Antigonishe, James William, from Pictou, Two Sisters from St. John, Newfoundland, John and Elizabeth from Lunenburgh, and Spring Bird, from St. John, New Brunswick.

While those blessings wore pouring into Miramichi, the active and dignified benevolence of his Excellency the Earl Dalhousie, and of the Inhabitants of Quebec and Montreal was beautifully displayed in the rapidity with which the object of Mr. Joplin’s mission was completed, for in forty days the date of the fire, the cargo of the ship St Lawrence, of 277 tons, was safely deposited in Miramichi, and the entire cost, including the freight, defrayed by the Government and People of the Canadas.

The most spirited exertions were still kept up to throw in supplies, but winter soon precluded the possibility of any further transportation by water, and the Eliza-Ann, from Halifax with bread and flour from the inhabitants of Boston, as also the Mary, from Charlottetown, P.E. Island, were compelled by the severity of the weather, to go into Richibucto, where their cargoes were landed, and subsequently conveyed to Miramichi.

From such abundant resources as were by this time placed at the disposal of your Committee, the appalling conditions of want and starvation quickly receded, and although deprived of comforts and enjoyments, which in too many instances time could never restore the sufferers manifested great resignation to their lot, and a lively sense of Gratitude towards their benefactors.

Your Committee having thus far confined their very brief review of the subscriptions, to the order in which the succour arrived, have adverted only to those which were made in the British Provinces and their dependencies, but they feel a proud assurance their countrymen will acquit them of any undue preference, if they say the intelligence of what had been done in the United States of America for the cause of humanity—gave birth to feelings more delightful and sublime, than any they had before experienced. The greatness of mind, and unmeasured liberality, displayed on this memorable occasion by the citizens of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Eastport, are worthy of thy highest praise and admiration.

During the long and inclement winter which followed so closely on the steps of the fire, (and to the ravages of which, it was fitted to give a still keener edge,) your Committee continued to sit incessantly; and notwithstanding every tangible arrangement was made to shorten the discussions on the ever varying claims submitted for their consideration, and to give facility to their operations in the issue of supplies; the returning spring had smiled on the blackened forests and tenantless farms of Northumberland, ere they had so far completed the work, as to be justified in reducing their sittings to one day in the week. But at this late period they deem it as unnecessary as it would be uninteresting to enter into a minute detail of their proceedings, during the distribution of the necessaries of life to nearly three thousand persons for a term of six months, and it is hoped there is as little occasion to state, that in this department of their duty, the real wants and privations of the sufferers constituted the grand criterion by which they were governed.

It may be said, however, that if so much time was essential to the issue of food and raiment, how fared those who were last supplied? It is incumbent therefore on your Committee, to bring under your consideration, those circumstances which prevented more rapid progress, and the means adopted to avert their ill effects. Whenever there is cause to draw heavily upon the public bounty, to rescue from any great calamity the helpless and afflicted, such is the depravity of human nature, that the idle and undeserving are ever ready to seize the golden opportunity, to come in for a share of the loaves and fishes, and such are generally loudest in their claims. It often happens too, that when the spirit of a people is crushed by the pressure of unexpected woe and privation, many will place entire dependence on that arm which was only extended for their temporary aid, while they allow their energies to evaporate in hopeless inactivity. The most diligent scrutiny was therefore indispensable to avoid the one and an equal degree of caution and timely advice to avert the evils of the other, nevertheless, as it is better to err on the side of humanity, where error cannot he avoided your Committee trust their deviations will appear on the liberal side of the question; for while few persons were ever sent empty handed away, care was taken where any suspicion or uncertainty rested on the propriety of the claim, to confine the apportionment to a sufficiency for the time that must elapse in obtaining more correct information on the case.

The ill consequences which would have resulted from a hasty and indiscriminate application of your charily must be obvious, and equally so, your Committee imagine the time, patience and labour inseparable under circumstances of such extreme perplexity and confusion, from the line of conduct pursued.

When the Mariner is shipwrecked on a desert shore, and death appears in all its hideous forms, his only care while the tempest races round him, is the preservation of his life, but when that is secured, the storm passed away, and the heavens once more propitious, how anxiously do his thoughts revert to his future destiny! And such was the situation of these unfortunate persons. Confounded and bewildered by the prostration of all their hopes, the support of life was for some time the only care that could retain its hold on the mind; when however these early fears were dispelled by your merciful interposition, then arose the fearful forebodings for the future, life was to begin by the houseless, friendless and penniless, and frequently by those who should rather have been preparing to leave it; their present wants had been supplied, their future ones appeared in fearful disarray. It may be imagined, then, but not too easily described with what feelings of joy and gratitude, the result of the subscriptions received in the mother country was received by these destitute people.

Wretched indeed must have been their lot, and vain their struggle With that destiny which had stripped them of every earthly advantage or left then only in possession of a scorched and vacant piece of sod without the secondary aid, which these funds, in conjunction with the American and other money subscriptions so opportunely and efficiently afforded. Such, in short, must have been the deplorable situation of hundreds of industrious families, had their dependence on your bounty terminated with the winter, that the mind shrinks from the contemplation of the melancholy picture, and turns instinctively to the better prospect which the opening spring presented. But your Committee are aware that an opinion has prevailed, particularly In Great Britain, that once the more formidable effects of the fire had been subdued, the people might be quickly returned to a situation not much inferior to that they enjoyed before their dreadful visitation. Perhaps it is not difficult to trace the error to its source. In Great Britain. The very nature of things must generally confine the aggregate of human misery to the temporary privation and its consequences, and as the mind only draws its conclusions, but draws them insensibly from things with which it is familiar, it is not at all surprising that and estimate formed upon such data as the occasional sufferings of the poorer classes in that country supply, should fail in its application to the situation of things in an infant colony, which forbid comparison, and defy description. It must be admitted that the basis of every subscription set on foot for Miramichi, was the immediate and positive sufferings of the people, but if that people had not been encouraged by the distribution of occasional small sums of money to recommence their former pursuits—to return to their farms, to erect temporary habitations for their families, to till the ground again for future subsistence—scarcely worse would have been their lot had they not survived the lamentable cause of their ruin!

Your Committee trust these remarks will not be understood as a proof of any insensibility of the exertions everywhere made in Great Britain on behalf of the sufferers, for while the deep sympathy which the large contributions in that country proclaims, evinces to admiration, the enlarged view that was taken of the event, still, for the reasons which have been urged, an opinion might very naturally arise as the novelty subsided, that more money had been subscribed than the urgency of the case required. But your Committee are convinced, beyond the possibility of a doubt, that the money subscriptions were as essential to the ulterior salvation of the country, as was the succour so promptly thrown in from the neighbouring ports, when delay would have been immediate destruction.

Your Committee now beg permission to suspend their remarks while they proceed to shew an account of the property and money entrusted to their care, but in making up that part thereof relative to the subscriptions in Provision and Clothing, a difficulty has occurred which no labour can now remove; the hurried manner in which so much property was collected and shipped, prevented in frequent instances, the usual invoice from accompanying the cargo, It is therefore impossible to go so far into the detail of such subscriptions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and some other parts as under other circumstances would be indispensable, and if any errors should be detected, as doubtless will be the case the Committee trust they will be imputed to the absence of such documents as are essential to a more perfect statement.

It may be necessary here to remark also, that only the subscriptions made for Miramichi, without regard to the fires in the other parts of the Province, are included the following Schedules [which are not included in this blog posting: J.W.]

Written by johnwood1946

October 8, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776

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From the blog at

Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776

Jonathan Eddy and John Allan were New Englanders and supporters of the American Revolution. Allan, in particular, launched several attacks and intrigues against what is now New Brunswick from late 1776 to mid-1777, with the objective of developing support among the settlers, especially at Maugerville, and among the Indians.

One of the most aggressive assaults was Jonathan Eddy’s attack on Fort Cumberland in the late autumn of 1776. This affair has been thoroughly researched and the best account of it that I have seen is The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776: An Episode in the American Revolution by Ernest Clarke (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1995). The telling of the story in this blog does not borrow from Mr. Clarke, but is from Eddy’s own report as found in Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia During the Revolution, Chiefly Compiled from the Journals and Letters of Colonel John Allan, …, compiled and edited by Frederick Eidder (Albany, N.Y., 1867).

Fort Cumberland

Fort Cumberland in 1778

By William Spry, from Library and Archives Canada

Following is Eddy’s report. It is truthful, except that it does not dwell upon negative aspects of the affair. For example, his kind interpretation of the conclusion was that “it was thought Proper by the Committee that we should Retreat.” In fact, they were a sorry lot by that time, and had little option.

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:- :-:-:-:-:

Eddy’s letter of Jany. 5, 1777

To the Hon. Council & House of Representatives of the State of Massachusetts Bay:

I have Endeavored to inform your Honors in some part of my Proceedings since my Departure from Boston.

I left the long Wharf in Boston together with Mr Row & Mr How and arrived at Newbury the second Day, where we Chartered a small Vessell to carry us to Machias at which Place we arrived (after Many Unfortunate Accidents) in about three weeks from the Time of our setting out.

During my Stay at Machias I met with Col. Shaw, by whose Favor I obtained Capt. West & several other good Men, to the amount of about Twenty, to join me in the Expedition against Fort Cumberland. Then Proceeded to Passamaquoddy where I was joined by a few more; from thence to the River St John’s & went up the same about sixty Miles to the Inhabitants whom I found almost universally to be hearty in the Cause,—and joined us with Capt, 1 Lieut. & Twenty five Men, as also 16 Indians; so that our whole Force now, amounted to Seventy two Men, and with this Party I set off for Cumberland in Whale Boats and Canoes, and standing up the Bay arrived in a few Days, at Shepody in the sd County.

At Shepody we found and took Capt Walker and a Party of thirteen Men who had been stationed there by Col Gorham Commander of the Garrison at Cumberland, for the Purpose of getting Intelligence &c.—Thence we Proceeded to Memrancook, and there had a Conference with the French, who Readily joined us, although they saw the Weakness of our Party. We then marched 12 Miles through the woods to Sackville & there were met by the Committee who Expressd their Uneasiness at seeing 80 few of us, and those unprovided with Artillery, Never the less hoping that Col Shaw would soon come to our Assistance with a Reinforcement they unanimously joined us. The same Night I sent off a small Detachment who marched about 12 Miles through very bad Roads to Westcock & there took a Schooner in Aulack River, loaded with Apples Cyder, English Goods &c. to the Amount of about £300, but finding afterwards that she was the Property of Mr Hall of Annapolis, who is a good Friend to the Cause of Liberty, I discharged her. I afterwards sent another Boat Load of Men, as a Reinforcement to the first Party, making together about 30 Men, in Order to take a Sloop which lay on the Flats below the Fort, loaden with Provisions and other Necessaries for the Garrison: After a Difficult March, they arrived opposite the Sloop; on board of which was a Guard of 1 Sergt. & 12 men, who had they fir’d at our People, must have alarmed the Garrison in such a Manner as to have brought them on their Backs. However, our men rushed Resolutely towards the Sloop up to their Knees in Mud, which made such a Noise as to alarm the Sentry, who hailed them & immediately called the Sergt of the Guard: The Sergt. on comming up, Ordered his Men to fire, but was immediately told by Mr Row that if they fired one Gun, Every Man of them should be put to Death; which so frightened the poor Devils that they surrendered without firing a Shot, although our People Could not board her without the Assistance of the Conquered, who let down Ropes to our Men to get up by. By this Time the Day broke and the Rest of our Party made to their Assistance in the Schooner aforementioned & some Boats. In the mean Time Came down Several Parties of Soldiers from the Fort not Knowing the Sloop was taken (who) as fast as they Came, were made Prisoners by our Men & order’d on board: Among the Rest, Capt. Barron, Engineer of the Garrison, and Mr Eagleson, who may be truly Called the Pest of Society; and by his unseasonable Drunkenness the Evening before, prevented his own Escape and occasioned his being taken in Arms.

The Sloop now beginning to float & the Fog breaking away, we were discovered by the Garrison, who observing our Sails loose thought at first, it was done only with an Intent to dry them, but soon Perceiving that we were under Way, fired several Cannon shot at us & marched down a Party of 60 Men to attack us, but we were at such distance, that all their Shot was of no Consequence.

We then sailed to Fort Lawrence, another Part of the Township, and there landed Part of the Stores on board the Sloop to Enable us to attack the Garrison.

Having left a small Guard on board the Sloop to secure the Prisoners, I marched the Remainder to Cumberland side of the River and Encamp’d within about one mile of the Fort, and was there joined by a Number of the Inhabitants so that our whole Force was now about 180 Men, but having several outposts to guard, & many Prisoners to take Care of, the Number that Remained in the Camp, did not Exceed 80 men;—I now thought Proper to invest the Fort & for this Purpose sent a Summons to the Commanding Officer, to surrender, (a Copy of which together with his Answer I have Enclosed) —

Upon Col. Gorham’s Refusal to surrender we attempted to storm the Fort in the Night of the 12th Novr with our scaling Ladders & other Accoutrements, but finding the Fort to be stronger than we imagined (occasioned by late Repairs) We thought fit to Relinquish our Design after a heavy firing from their Great Guns and small Arms with Intermission for 2 Hours, which we Sustained without any Loss (Except one Indian being wounded) who behaved very gallantly, and Retreated in good Order to our Camp.

Our whole Force in this Attack, Consisted of about 80 Men, while the Enemy were 100 strong in the Fort, as I learned since from some Deserters who came over to us; a greater number than we imagined. I must needs acquaint your Honors that Never Men behaved better than ours, during the engagement never flinching, in the midst of a furious Cannonade from the Enemy.

In this Posture we Continued a Number of Days and totally cut off their Communications with the Country, Keeping them closely block’d up within the Fort, which we Expected to take in a little Time by the Assistance of a Reinforcement from Westward.

In the mean Time on the 27th Novr arrived in the Bay a Man of War, from Halifax, with a Reinforcement for the Garrison consisting of near 400 Men & landed on that and the day following.

Nov. 30th The Enemy to the Number of 200, Came out in the Night by a round about March; got partly within our Guards, notwithstanding we had Scouts out all Night, and about Sunrise furiously Rushed upon the Barracks where our Men were quartered, who had but just Time Enough to Escape out of the Houses and run into the Bushes where, (notwithstanding the Surprise in which we were) our Men Killed & wounded 15 of the Enemy while we lost only one man who was Killed in the Camp.

In the midst of such a Tumult they at length proceeded about 6 Miles into the Country to the Place where they imagined our stores &c. to be & in the Course of their March burnt 12 Houses & 12 Barns in some of which the greater Part of our Stores were deposited. In this Dilemma My Party being greatly weakened by sending off many for Guards with the Prisoners &c. & our Stores being Consumed, it was thought Proper by the Committee that we should Retreat to St. Johns River & there make a stand, till we could have some certain Intelligence from the Westward, which we hope we shall have in a short time by the Favor of the Committee, who are gone forwards—And as it appears to be the opinion of the Committee of Cumberland and St Johns River that I should Remain here, I am determined to make a Stand, at this Place, till I am drove off, which I believe will not be Easily done, unless the Enemy should send a Force from Halifax by Water on Purpose to subdue this Settlement, as I am continually Reinforced by People from Cumberland & the Neighboring Counties, so that I believe we shall be able to Repulse any Party that may be sent from the Garrison at Cumberland, though I imagine we shall not be troubled by any Irruption from them this Winter as the Reinforcement is chiefly gone, having left only about 200 Men in the Fort, and those in a bad Condition for the want of Clothing; and if 200 men could be sent us by Land this winter we could Reduce the Garrison by cutting off their Supplies of wood which they are obliged to go 8 or 9 Miles for through a Country full of small Spruce, Fir & such like Wood, Consequently very Convenient for us to lay an Ambush, as we are perfectly acquainted & the Enemy Strangers thereto; And this your Honors may Easily Conceive, as we Destroyed a Number of Houses the Property of Friends to each Side, which lay adjacent to the Fort & the Commanding Officer having given orders to pull them down & carry the Timber into the Fort for Firing, the Committee ordered me to Prevent it by firing them which I did accordingly; and left them destitute of anything to burn within some Miles. On this River are a considerable Number of Indians, who are universally hearty in the Cause, 16 of whom together with the Governor Ambrose accompanied me in the Expedition and behaved most gallantly, but are a little uneasy that no Goods are yet arrived for them from Boston, agreeable to the late Treaty with them, which was Ratified by Coll Shaw in Behalf of the States, & I should be very glad if your Honors would Satisfy them in this Point as soon as possible, as they have been Extremely faithful during this Contest; and if this is done I am confident I can have near 200 of them to join me in any Expedition against the Enemy.

All my Transactions in this Affair have been done by the Authority of a Committee of Safety for the County of Cumberland & many Difficulties having arisen for want of Commissions I hope your Honors will send some blank ones for the raising of a Regiment in this Province if the Hon. Continental Congress should think fit to Carry on the War further in this Quarter, so that Proper Regulations may be make & many disorderly actions prevented.

I am &c.

Jonathan Eddy

Maugerville on the R. St John, Jany 5th, 1777.

ATTACHMENT #1: Jonathan Eddy’s call upon the fortress to surrender:

To Joseph Gorham Esq. Lieut Colonel Commandr of the Royal Fencibles Americans Commanding Fort Cumberland

The already too plentifull Effusion of Human Blood in the Unhappy Contest between Great Britain and the Colonies calls on every one Engag’d on either side, to use their utmost Efforts to prevent the Unnatural Carnage, but the Importance of the Cause on the side of America has made War necessary, and its Consequences, though in some Cases shocking are yet unavoidable. But to Evidence that the Virtues of humanity are carefully attended to, to temper the Fortitude of a Soldier; I have to summon you in the Name of the United Colonies to surrender the Fort now under your Command, to the Army sent under me by the States of America. I do promise that if you Surrender Yourselves as Prisoners of War you may depend upon being treated with the utmost Civility & Kind Treatment; if you refuse I am determined to storme the Fort, and you must abide the consequences—

Your answer is expected in four Hours after you receive this and the Flag to Return safe.

I am Sir

Your most obedt Hble Servt

Jona Eddy

Commanding Officer of the United Forces

Nov. 10, 1776

ATTACHMENT #2: Lieut. Colonel Gorham’s reply to the call to surrender:

Ft. Cumberland, 10th Novr 1776


I acknowledge the receipt of a Letter (under coular of a Flagg of Truce Signed by one Jonan Eddy Commanding officer expressing a concern at the unhappy Contest at present Subsisting between great Britain and the Colonys and recommending those engaged on either side to use their Endeavors to prevent the too Plentifull effusion of human Blood and further Summoning the Commanding officer to surrender this Garrison—

From the Commencement of these Contest I have felt for my deluded Brother Subjects and Countrymen of America and for the many Innocent people they have wantonly Involved in the Horrors of an Unnatural Rebellion, and entertain every humane principle as well as an utter aversion to the Unnecessary effusion of Christian Blood. Therefore command you in his Majesty’s name to disarm yourself and party Immediately and Surrender to the Kings mercy, and further desire you would communicate the Inclosed Manifests to as many of the Inhabitants you can and as Speedily as possible to prevent their being involved in the Same dangerous and Unhappy dilema—

Be assured Sir I shall never dishonour the Character of a Soldier by Surrendering my command to any Power except to that of my Sovereign from whence it originated.

I am Sir

Your most hble servt

Jos. GORHAM Lt Col. Comst

R.F.A. Commanding Officer at Fort Cumberland

Written by johnwood1946

October 1, 2014 at 9:40 AM

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Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?

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From the blog at

Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest?

Mikmaq Wigwam

Mi’kmaq Wigwam, probably at Evandale, N.B., c 1910

New Brunswick Museum

Chrestien Le Clercq was a priest working in the 1600’s to convert the Gaspesians to Christianity, Gaspesia being what he called the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In 1691, he wrote a book about the Gaspesian people, concentrating on the area from Isle Percée in the north, southward down the eastern coast of New Brunswick. His Gaspesians were therefore the Mi’kmaq.

One of Le Clercq’s chapters described Mi’kmaq wigwams. This was an accurate and valuable work, but along the way he mentioned that the wigwams were mean and miserable, very badly kept, and just as badly arranged. He went on to say that they were so low that one could not stand up in them. There was also a coldness which could not be described, and the smoke was insufferable.

And so, a French man, perhaps a trader, was explaining to the Indians one day that they should live in houses as they did in France. Everyone in France lived in comfort and prosperity beyond anything that the Mi’kmaq could imagine, he said. Le Clercq was translator for this exchange, and recorded it in his book which was translated by William F. Ganong and republished in 1910 as New Relations of Gaspesia, With the Customs and Religion of the Gaspesian Indians.

If Le Clercq did not approve of the wigwam, then the Mi’kmaq man in our story cared even less for his friend’s attitude. Following is his response, which Ganong put in Elizabethan English to match, more or less, Le Clercq’s 1691 French.

“I am greatly astonished that the French have so little cleverness, as they seem to exhibit in the matter of which thou hast just told me on their behalf, in the effort to persuade us to convert our poles, our barks, and our wigwams into those houses of stone and of wood which are tall and lofty, according to their account, as these trees. Very well! But why now,” continued he, “do men of five to six feet in height need houses which are sixty to eighty? For, in fact, as thou knowest very well thyself, Patriarch—do we not find in our own all the conveniences and the advantages that you have with yours, such as reposing, drinking, sleeping, eating, and amusing ourselves with our friends when we wish? This is not all,” said he, addressing himself to one of our captains, “my brother, hast thou as much ingenuity and cleverness as the Indians, who carry their houses and their wigwams with them so that they may lodge wheresoever they please, independently of any seignior whatsoever? Thou art not as bold nor as stout as we, because when thou goest on a voyage thou canst not carry upon thy shoulders thy buildings and thy edifices. Therefore it is necessary that thou preparest as many lodgings as thou makest changes of residence, or else thou lodgest in a hired house which does not belong to thee. As for us, we find ourselves secure from all these inconveniences, and we can always say, more truly than thou, that we are at home everywhere, because we set up our wigwams with ease wheresoever we go, and without asking permission of anybody. Thou reproachest us, very inappropriately, that our country is a little hell in contrast with France, which thou comparest to a terrestrial paradise, inasmuch as it yields thee, so thou sayest, every kind of provision in abundance. Thou sayest of us also that we are the most miserable and most unhappy of all men, living without religion, without manners, without honour, without social order, and, in a word, without any rules, like the beasts in our woods and our forests, lacking bread, wine, and a thousand other comforts which thou hast in superfluity in Europe. Well, my brother, if thou dost not yet know the real feelings which our Indians have towards thy country and towards all thy nation, it is proper that I inform thee at once. I beg thee now to believe that, all miserable as we seem in thine eyes, we consider ourselves nevertheless much happier than thou in this, that we are very content with the little that we have; and believe also once for all, I pray, that thou deceivest thyself greatly if thou thinkest to persuade us that thy country is better than ours. For if France, as thou sayest, is a little terrestrial paradise, art thou sensible to leave it? And why abandon wives, children, relatives, and friends? Why risk thy life and thy property every year, and why venture thy self with such risk, in any season whatsoever, to the storms and tempests of the sea in order to come to a strange and barbarous country which thou considerest the poorest and least fortunate of the world? Besides, since we are wholly convinced of the contrary, we scarcely take the trouble to go to France, because we fear, with good reason, lest we find little satisfaction there, seeing, in our own experience, that those who are natives thereof leave it every year in order to enrich themselves on our shores. We believe, further, that you are also incomparably poorer than we, and that you are only simple journeymen, valets, servants, and slaves, all masters and grand captains though you may appear, seeing that you glory in our old rags and in our miserable suits of beaver which can no longer be of use to us, and that you find among us, in the fishery for cod which you make in these parts, the wherewithal to comfort your misery and the poverty which oppresses you. As to us, we find all our riches and all our conveniences among ourselves, without trouble and without exposing our lives to the dangers in which you find yourselves constantly through your long voyages. And, whilst feeling compassion for you in the sweetness of our repose, we wonder at the anxieties and cares which you give yourselves night and day in order to load your ship. We see also that all your people live, as a rule, only upon cod which you catch among us. It is everlastingly nothing but cod—cod in the morning, cod at midday, cod at evening, and always cod, until things come to such a pass that if you wish some good morsels, it is at our expense; and you are obliged to have recourse to the Indians, whom you despise so much, and to beg them to go a-hunting that you may be regaled. Now tell me this one little thing, if thou hast any sense: Which of these two is the wisest and happiest—he who labours without ceasing and only obtains, and that with great trouble, enough to live on, or he who rests in comfort and finds all that he needs in the pleasure of hunting and fishing? It is true,” added he, “that we have not always had the use of bread and of wine which your France produces; but, in fact, before the arrival of the French in these parts, did not the Gaspesians live much longer than now? And if we have not any longer among us any of those old men of a hundred and thirty to forty years, it is only because we are gradually adopting your manner of living, for experience is making it very plain that those of us live longest who, despising your bread, your wine, and your brandy, are content with their natural food of beaver, of moose, of waterfowl, and fish, in accord with the custom of our ancestors and of all the Gaspesian nation. Learn now, my brother, once for all, because I must open to thee my heart: there is no Indian who does not consider himself infinitely more happy and more powerful than the French.” He finished his speech by the following last words, saying that an Indian could find his living everywhere, and that he could call himself the seigneur and the sovereign of his country, because he could reside there just as freely as it pleased him, with every kind of rights of hunting and fishing, without any anxiety, more content a thousand times in the woods and in his wigwam than if he were in palaces and at the tables of the greatest princes of the earth.

Written by johnwood1946

September 24, 2014 at 9:54 AM

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Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing

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From the blog at

The story of “Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River” was told in this blog on October 31, 2012 [].

The bridge was controversial, and M.H. Pengilly, reviewed most of the objections to it in her essay called Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing, in 1885. Pengilly began with an account of her home being destroyed by fire in 1877; which was likely the Exhibition Palace fire of October 30th. She then discusses her fear that spring-flooding could devastate Fredericton and that bridge piers in the middle of the river would make this more likely. Her fear that flooding would be worsened did not prove to be correct. However, the discussion raised other interesting topics such as westward migration and the lack of industrial development at home in New Brunswick. It is interesting that she wanted more local prosperity, while also opposing commercial development.

Burns flooding

Robbie Burns inspects flooding, Waterloo Row, Fredericton, May 1, 1973

Environment Canada at

And, so, here is Ms. Pengilly’s essay:


Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing

In the year 1877 having lost my home by fire, I spent the remainder of the Summer and Autumn in Fredricton. The home of my friends with whom I boarded was near the bank of the river “St. John,” and my attention particularly drawn to the manner in which it was getting settled down to its Winter sleep. In the morning it would be covered with ice formed during the night, and by noon swept farther down by the rains falling at its head, and at its many tributaries. We discuss the subject and come to the conclusion that by all Appearances and from the experiences of former years, there would be a great ice jam in the Spring, from there being such a body of water, forming so much ice, and stowing down like a reserve force that will carry all before it in the Spring, if the rains should fall and raise the water before the ice should be weakened by the sunshine and warm winds of Springtime. (A few dry winds came just in time to save the city that season.) The water ceased to rise and the ice moved gradually away, keeping within the river bounds. I being more nervous than usual by my fire escapade, my nights were made more sleepless while thinking of the river and as Spring approached I dared not stay so near its banks.

I would not run the risk of being washed away from a refuge to which I had been so lately driven by the fire. I went to the house of a friend five miles above the city. Its elevated position enabled us to see the ice, night and day, (the moon being full). I watched it anxiously as it crowded and jammed itself along. It lodged just below the city and fears for its safety were entertained by many, forgotten now I suppose in their desire for improvement and connecting railways. The water rose many feet above its usual height flowing into the yard of my friend, and when they told me of it on my return. I was very thankful that I had left for higher ground, for I should have had no sleep there. Although I knew I was safe on the hill, I left my bed many times to see if the ice was yet standing still, often fancying I could see it piling up over the banks of the doomed city, for whose safety and that of my friends there I felt more than anxious.

Ice and water is I am sure a more dangerous foe than fire, more rapid in its movements, more difficult to escape from, and against whose losses we are seldom insured. The proposed Bridge brings so forcibly to mind that time of dread and anxiety for the safety of Fredricton that I cannot refrain from giving expression to my thought and feelings on the subject. If the people of Fredricton would consider this matter in a natural and impartial manner, they would not for the sake of money that would necessarily be expended at that time, run the risk of destroying the city by placing a bridge where, if built with sufficient strength to resist the force of the ice in ordinary seasons might in a time like the Spring of ‘78, hold the ice and assist in forming a dam that could not fail to flood the city, if it did not sweep it entirely away. How many cities and towns situated on low lands near river banks have been destroyed by an element so much beyond the control of feeble man. Why then should we thus lend our aid to so powerful an enemy as the water and ice would be, if the proposed bridge when completed should hold the last stone required to make perfect the dam that should aid in the destruction of the city.

This has become so fast an age. The traveling and commercial world can scarcely wait for ferryboats and horses with which to exchange cars and stations. They must needs have bridges or wings. Time to them is so precious, so valuable. Is it of more value than human lives. Is it more essential to the prosperity of a country that railroads should be linked by bridges than that the safety of its cities should be considered. Will the few hours lost by such hindrances be missed at the end of life’s journey, I think not. Could not the traveling public be expedited in a less dangerous, less expensive manner. Would it not be better to expend one half the sum which would be required to build a bridge in adding boats and landings near the stations.

The exchanges would give added employment and so increase the population by drawing to us workers from other countries instead of allowing one to go west tor lack of employment here.

The Bridge that will expedite travel and benefit few while under course of erection will carry the business more swiftly past the city and leave it quiet and lifeless as before. Will it be better to draw so heavily on our government funds for the sake of a year of prosperity, that will subside into added taxation and debt, when we may with much less expense secure quite sufficient by ferryboats leaving landings at short intervals.

Let us do all in our power to increase the prosperity of our cities that they may continue growing and with a new impetus equal to those of the far west, which have been built up by a sacrifice to our Province, as they have attracted from us so many of our most enterprising young men.

Lack of public spirit and a proper protective policy that would encourage the establishment of various manufactories, has left us behind our Sister Provinces. This has in a measure been overcome by the “National Policy” of our honoured Minister of Finance which must eventually become one of the bulwarks of the Dominion.

Let us always strive for the right. Let us expend the public monies in such a manner as shall do the most good to the many.

Let it not be in any sense an individual matter, but such as will extend to our children’s children, and shall add to our wealth and strength without exposing ourselves to the danger of being swept away by the resistless force and mighty power of the ice floating down in Springtime, when the late rains of Autumn may have added so much to its usual weight and quantity. What is the puny arm of man when trying to resist the power of God in the elements. ’Tis true he has brought to his aid the lightning from the sky and with it carries words and sounds across oceans and continents. In forming the Electric light he has been able to make brilliant the darkest night. He is daily using the breath of Heaven to waft his ships across the seas.

He forms channels through which to convey water and make it subservient to his purpose, from water he produces steam to move the mighty engine, the greatest work of the present day, and yet by those elements he is often and in various ways, swept out of existence in an instant, and they who come after him are benefited by his wisdom or impoverished by his lack of judgement or economy.

I hope the people of my native county in the City of Fredricton may never have cause to regret that they have not taken heed to this my prophetic warning in regard to the Fredricton Bridge.

Written by johnwood1946

September 17, 2014 at 9:44 AM

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A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration

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From the blog at

A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration

Children Turnip Field

Children in Turnip Field, Woodstock, 1912

From collectionscanada

Almost everyone was complaining in the 1800’s about the state of Agriculture in New Brunswick. Large amounts of food were being imported rather than being produced locally; the labour force was largely dedicated to logging; farm labour was expensive; and immigrants were passing through with hopes of making better lives for themselves elsewhere. Farming techniques were improving as the 19th century progressed, but not so much in New Brunswick which was falling evermore behind. The following is one of many proposals which were made to remedy the situation, and it is from a speech given in 1825 by Lieutenant Governor Sir Howard Douglas.

The title that I have put on this blog post comes from his opening paragraph, and struck me as indicative of the social structure at that time.


At a general meeting of the Members of the Legislature, and other respectable Gentlemen from all parts of the Province, assembled in one of the Committee Rooms of the House of Assembly on Thursday the 17th of February, 1825, by request of the Lieutenant-Governor, to take into consideration some propositions to be submitted by His Excellency, relating to the improvement of Agriculture, &c. in this Province, when His Excellency was pleased to open the proceedings of the meeting with the following SPEECH:—

The purpose for which I have caused this meeting to be convened, is of the first importance to the Country: And I am delighted to find myself surrounded on this occasion, as I hope to be on every occasion, by those distinguished Persons, from whose station, stake and consideration in the Country, I may expect the most powerful aid in promoting the great objects I have in view, if we are all fully impressed with the expediency and necessity we are under, each in our several stations, of doing all that may depend upon us, to accomplish the purposes which I am now to bring more particularly under your consideration.

The purpose for which we are met is, to enquire whether some encouragement and excitement may not be applied to Agricultural pursuits, to operate, discreetly and gradually, in a manner to relieve the country from the great difficulty and disability under which it is laid by the vast sums which we pay for our food, and from the very disadvantageous effects which this produces on the cost of labour, and consequently in all branches of our industry.

Under ordinary circumstances, the high price occasioned by deficiency in the supply of any article in general demand, operating as a premium upon increased production has a direct and natural tendency to remedy its own evils. This, in fact, is an effect which is working here, though slowly, to cure the malady of which we complain; and if other branches of industry were not in an excited, forced, and somewhat unnatural condition, it would be unnecessary, superfluous, or perhaps disadvantageous, to interfere with the sources and currents of supply, which ultimately accommodate themselves in the most advantageous and fitest way, to meet demand. But there are peculiarities in the circumstances of this Country, which must appear very obvious to all persons who have correct notions of the extent of her business and dealings, compared with the limited Population and Capital we possess, which occasioning powerful competitions in other branches, would appear to demand some additional encouragement and adventitious aid, to draw Labour and Capital in greater quantities, to the cultivation of the Soil.

To consider, properly, the best modes and means by which we may augment the production of subsistence, it will be proper to resolve the question into the consideration of the elements of production, viz. Labour, Capital and Land, and to enquire in what way we can give to those constituent parts of production, the facilities and encouragement they require, to compete with other branches which are obviously under the influence of adventitious excitement.

With respect to Land, we possess it in abundance, and in quality ready to yield what we may in a judicious manner require of it; and it will be one of my main objects to endeavor to lay open to agricultural pursuits, extensive tracts which have long been locked up in reserved superabundance. This measure has in one case been, heretofore, sought and petitioned for; but it was not accorded to, at that, time, in consequence of doubts entertained by His Majesty’s Government, as to the value of the standing produce of that Land for other purposes. But it is an advantage arising from a late appointment to a high situation in the Province, that powers are given, subject to certain conditions and regulations which I may sanction, to throw open portions of those reserves to meet the improving circumstances of the Country, and this will be speedily observed in a way that will open considerable tracts of valuable Land to the operations of Agriculture.

Proceeding, next, to the consideration of Capital, it has appeared to me to be very desirable, that some new measures taken with a view to attract the enterprises of Capitalists, not only to the cultivation of fresh tracts, but likewise to that of the waste Lands of the Province generally; and I entertain the intention of bringing this proposition under the consideration of the High Authorities, elsewhere, upon whom this will depend. But the creation and accumulation of small Capitals, sufficient to enable the working man to enter with advantage on the cultivation of a grant of Land, of the usual extent, is a matter in degree and practicability, much within the influence of our own measures, and it becomes therefore subject of very fit consideration for this meeting, composed of so many distinguished persons, who, returning soon to their respective Counties, may give information respecting those Institutions which are constituted, and likely I trust to be protected, to provide for the safe custody and accumulation of the small savings of the industrious classes of Society.

The greater part of such accumulations may be considered as funds rescued from unproductive consumption, to be laid out productively in various important branches of industry; and whilst, therefore, in this view, the provident Institutions deserve encouragement from all classes, they more particularly suggest to the gentlemen acting in the different Emigrant and Agricultural Societies, and to the employers of Agricultural Labourers generally, the co-operation which may be expected from Savings Banks in encouraging, by enabling, all industrious persons, soon to enter with advantage on the cultivation of the Soil, as proprietors of Land.

The poor Emigrant, for instance, who comes to the country destitute of pecuniary means, and who should always be met and welcomed with a great deal of charitable attention and protection, should be told, that to enter on the laborious enterprise of clearing a Lot, in the wilderness, without Capital, would be to entangle himself in very considerable difficulty. The best course which such a person can pursue, would be to avail himself of the assistance, which it should be a main object of all Emigrant Societies to provide, to procure advantageous employment in which to acquire experience of the climate, habit of Labour, and best modes of culture; and whilst acquiring these, to accumulate his Savings in the Savings Banks, in the manner that any person, who is not burthened with a large family, may soon do, in farm service in summer, and in other pursuits in winter.

This object will perhaps be best pursued by the Emigrant Societies in the different parts, taking active measures to become acquainted with the circumstances and description of Emigrants so soon as they arrive, and entering in a Book, their names, age, trade or occupation, objects, and the means they may possess of pursuing these. From those entries of the circumstances and condition of the Individuals, Emigrant Societies would be competent to give them counsel and protection. If the Emigrant’s desire should be to Agricultural pursuits, which will commonly be the case, but that he has no Capital to commence with, he should be advised to put himself to Farm service, and his attention should be drawn to the facilities which Savings Banks provide for receiving, securing and augmenting his savings; If this measure meet concurrence in its objects and practicability, it will be received as an appeal to the Agriculturists of the Country to keep correspondence with the nearest Emigrant Societies, for the purpose of procuring Labourers of their recommendation.

But although it may not be expedient for a person without Capital, to enter at once on the cultivation of his tract, yet it appears to me that some inducement should be applied to excite his industry by a prospect of an advantageous location so soon as he finds himself capable of undertaking it; and in this view I see no difficulty in the arrangement, and on the other hand, great public advantage, in securing for persons thus working for their capital, locations upon the Lots they may prefer, subject to a condition that, within one year, the Emigrant Society in whose Books they may be registered, report favorably of their proceedings, in a manner to give fair expectation that at the end of a further short period, they would be able to enter upon their location, and pay a proportion of their fees, in aid of which the Society should provide some donation or loan.

But when the Emigrant has pecuniary means, or is resolved to enter at once on his Land, the Emigrant Societies will be enabled to let him choose his situation, in the plans of unoccupied Lots reserved for Emigrants, which plans will for this purpose be transmitted to the Emigrant Societies, and to whose recommendation a quick return of location tickets will be made; and I am happy to say that this measure will be observed and promoted with much ability and zeal by the distinguished persons on whom it will severally depend.

When we reflect that one of the greatest difficulties under which we labour in accomplishing the great purpose of independence with respect to our food, arises from the want a working population sufficient for all the operative parts of our industry, and consequently the very high rate of wages and food, which lays the Agriculturist under disadvantages of the most serious description, in a climate where the productive powers of the earth are so long dormant, we must all concur in the necessity of aiding Societies by whose means so many able hands can be procured, and for want of properly supporting which, so many have passed to a foreign land.

An increased competition or supply of labour then will be much influenced by arrangements such as I have indicated; whilst in its modes, intelligence and material means. It may be greatly promoted by Agricultural Societies. These, under the designation of Agricultural and Emigrant Societies, I should wish to see formed in every Country in the Province, and Sub-Societies organized under them to carry their benefits to all parts of the Country. I trust, indeed, that ere you depart, the foundation, or rather the re-organization of such a system will be completed, and I call upon the Gentlemen of distinction from the different Counties who are now present to concur in this measure, and when they return to their respective Counties, to engage to organize such Societies to be composed of persons who would be most likely to co-operate in this great purpose. I feel confident, that whenever Societies shall be so organized in any County, they will meet the provision which I trust will be made by the liberality of the Country for their support and efficiency: and I perceive with much satisfaction that the public spirit of the Country is in many parts exhibiting itself in the form, and for the purpose which we contemplate for general adoption.

For the purpose of improving, circulating and distinguishing the modes and means must favorable to increased production, and of drawing to a focus that information which it may be desirable to possess here in the Seat of Government for myself and for you it will be proper that some provision should be devised for the laborious part of that purpose which will depend upon a Secretary who should be appointed to manage the correspondence of the Central Committee to report proceedings to the general Meeting.

The general meeting should be comprised of all Members of the Legislature; of all Presidents and Vice Presidents of County Societies, and of all members subscribers in the regulated amount. The Central Committee should be named in the general meeting to carry on the correspondence during the recess, and to arrange the general Accounts, but the appropriation of Public Funds should be made direct to the County Societies and subject only to the audit of the Central Committee. These Reports will thus exhibit a general statement of the sums expended and whether commensurate progress has been made in the improvement of agricultural implements, machinery, modes of culture, augmentation of production, and breed of Cattle, all of which should be under the influence of these meetings.

With views such as these, so soon as I discovered, in studying your affairs, the disabilities and difficulties which the Province might have to contend with from deficiency in the supply of food, and aware that it would require pecuniary means, on my part, to put into activity the plans which I then formed, and now lay before you, I submitted to His Majesty’s Secretary of State the importance of sanctioning a small grant from the funds at the disposal of the Crown, to meet the liberality and public spirit with which I am persuaded, elsewhere and everywhere, the great object now under our consideration will be supported. I have great satisfaction in showing how readily this has been dispensed: I will read the terms of it, and hasten to say that the use I shall make of it, will be, to place a sum, which I hope will be annual, at the disposal of those County Societies that are or may be organized to meet the views which I here lay before you.

In communicating this grant from His Majesty’s Revenue to the Agricultural Societies, it is however my duty to state that the continuation of this grant for future years, will depend upon the report which I may have it in my power to make of the advantages which it may have produced; and these will mainly depend upon the liberality and zeal with which this Provision is seconded in the Country generally.

Written by johnwood1946

September 10, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Posted in Uncategorized


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