New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

Table of Contents, Rev. April 19, 2017

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

  1. The King of France Cannot Have Given You Our Land, Because it Was Not His – Apr. 19, 2017
  2. Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians – Apr. 12, 2017
  3. From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac in 1867 – Apr. 5, 2017
  4. A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717 – Apr. 2, 2017
  5. Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees – Mar. 29, 2017
  6. Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874 – Mar. 22, 2017
  7. In the Beginning – Wabanaki Creation Stories – Mar. 15, 2017
  8. Pride versus Rascals and Villains in Saint John in 1791 – Mar. 8, 2017
  9. The Trent Affair – Mar. 1, 2017
  10. A Shocking Description of Anti-Confederates in Rural Nova Scotia in 1867 – Feb. 22, 2017
  11. Surveying Through the Wilderness in 1844 – Feb. 15, 2017
  12. At the Bend of the Petitcodiac in 1844: Moncton – Feb. 8, 2017
  13. Maria Rye and Her British Home Children – Feb. 1, 2017
  14. New Brunswick’s East Coast in 1832, Following the Miramichi Fire – Jan. 25, 2017
  15. Slavery in the Loyalist Era – Jan. 18, 2017
  16. Weather and the Seasons in Micmac Mythology – Jan. 11, 2017
  17. New Brunswick’s Roads in 1832: ‘Many paths are misnamed roads’. Jan. 7, 2017
  18. Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution – Dec. 28, 2016
  19. A Holiday Special: Christmas as it Was in Saint John in 1808 – Dec. 23, 2016
  20. Expressions from Cuffer Down plus Signs and Omens – Dec. 21, 2016
  21. From Passamaquoddy to the Petitcodiac: What it Was Like in 1832 – Dec. 14, 2016
  22. Raymond Writes About the Lives and Customs of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet People – Dec. 7, 2016
  23. The Governor’s House was an Outrage to Good Taste – Fredericton in 1832 – Nov. 30, 2016
  24. An Unparalleled and Abominable Deception – Nov. 23, 2016
  25. Not a Metropolis, but the Largest Town in the Province – Saint John in 1832 – Nov. 16, 2016
  26. Lumber Camp Life, and Game-Wardens Poaching Moose – Nov. 9, 2016
  27. Louisbourg: It Didn’t Have to Happen. It Just Didn’t Have to Happen – Nov. 2, 2016
  28. Let Us Consider the Lowly Seagull – Oct. 26, 2016
  29. 5 – David Kennedy Completes His Travels of 1876 in Halifax – Oct. 19, 2016
  30. 4 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Nova Scotia in 1876 – Oct. 12, 2016
  31. 3 – David Kennedy’s Tour of Newcastle, Chatham and Bathurst in 1876 – Oct. 5, 2016
  32. 2 – David Kennedy’s Visit to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 28, 2016
  33. 1 – David Kennedy’s Travels from Quebec City to New Brunswick in 1876 – Sept. 21, 2016 (This blog posting was lost on Sept. 28th. I decided not to re-post, since it would clutter my subscribers’ screens.)
  34. A Short History of Early English Nova Scotia – Sept. 14, 2016
  35. Fish Wardens Described as Useless Political Appointments – Sept. 7, 2016
  36. With Indian Guides in the Wilds of New Brunswick, 1862 – Aug. 31, 2016
  37. Blog past #300: Port Royal from 1604 to 1613. Of Heritage Value to all North Americans – Aug. 24, 2016
  38. Hunting Down the Last of the Old Growth Pine – Aug. 17, 2016
  39. Dr. James Robb – Aug. 10, 2016
  40. Peace Negotiations With Pierre Tomah on the Saint John River – Aug. 3, 2016
  41. Business Opportunities on Campobello Island – July 27, 2016
  42. A Pompous Captain on the Evils of Logging – July 20, 2016
  43. The Too-Easy Life of Nova Scotians Disproved – July 13, 2016
  44. Why Not to Marry a Nova Scotia Woman, and How to Make Maple Sugar – July 6, 2016
  45. The Bloody Assault on Fort Louisbourg in 1758 – June 29, 2016
  46. The Medical Men of Saint John in its First Half Century – June 22, 2016
  47. Henry Ketchum and the Chignecto Marine Transport Railway – June 15, 2016
  48. A War Journal from Majabidwaduce on the Penobscot – June 8, 2016
  49. Mi’kmaq Magic and Medicine – June 1, 2016
  50. Thomas Wood, and His Visit to the Saint John River in 1769 – May 25, 2016
  51. The Northern Colonies: Languishing in Mediocrity – ca 1804 – May 18, 2016
  52. Fredericton’s Victoria Cottage Hospital – May 11, 2016
  53. The Passamaquoddy Wampum Records – May 4, 2016
  54. Slog on, or Die – Apr. 27, 2016
  55. Changes Nova Scotia Underwent from Discovery to 1758 When the First General Assembly Met in Halifax – Apr. 20, 2016
  56. The Disastrous Winter on St. Croix Island, 1604-05, and Other Adventures – Apr. 13, 2016
  57. Missions to the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in the Early 1800’s – Apr. 6, 2016
  58. It Sounded Like a Residential School Philosophy – Mar. 30, 2016
  59. The Acadian Fugitives – Mar. 23, 2016
  60. Giddy, Eccentric, and Discontented Characters, or Misguided Souls, or Turncoats? – Mar. 16, 2016
  61. Indian Routes of Travel in New Brunswick – Mar. 9, 2016
  62. Historic Sites from the English Period on the Saint John River – Mar. 2, 2016
  63. How to Hunt a Moose, a Goose, and a Caribou in New Brunswick in 1791 – Feb. 24, 2016
  64. William Hubbard Complains to Edward Winslow about the Congregationalists in Sheffield – Feb. 17, 2016
  65. Good Fences Make Good Neighbours – Feb. 10, 2016
  66. WE NEED THE ACADIANS TO REMAIN: Lieut Governor, 1715 – Feb. 2, 2015
  67. Guy Carleton on the Fur Trade in Canada, 1767 – Jan. 27, 2016
  68. A Letter on Irish Immigrants – Jan. 20, 2016
  69. The Wreck of the ‘Lord Ashburton’ – Jan. 13, 2016
  70. A Ghost at Noonday – Jan. 6, 2016
  71. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 3: Will Not the Bright Sun and the Blue Heavens Testify Against Us? – Dec. 30, 2015
  72. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 2: To Every Thing There is a Season – Dec. 23, 2015
  73. Silas Rand on the Mi’kmaq People – Part 1: All Men From One Blood – Dec. 16, 2015
  74. Limits to the Royal Bounty – Dec. 9, 2015
  75. Nova Scotia, a Receptacle for Superfluous People? – Dec. 1, 2015
  76. From New Ireland to New Brunswick – Nov. 25, 2015
  77. The Most Gentlemanlike Government on Earth – Nov. 18, 2015
  78. I Love You for Your Plainness – Nov. 11, 2015
  79. Ward Chipman Remembers the Final Evacuation of New York – Nov. 4, 2015
  80. A Reply to “Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok” – Oct. 28, 2015
  81. A Century of Educational Progress in New Brunswick from 1800 to 1900 – Oct. 21, 2015
  82. Notes About the Earliest Public Markets in Saint John, New Brunswick – Oct. 14, 2015
  83. The Provincial Dairy School at Sussex, New Brunswick, 1900 – Oct. 7, 2015
  84. An Account of Nova Scotia in 1743 – Sept. 30, 2015
  85. The Petition of the Infamous 55 – Sept. 23, 2015
  86. Francis Sharpe’s Woodstock Apples – Sept. 16, 2015
  87. The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary – Sept. 9, 2015
  88. The New Brunswick Election of 1785 – Sept. 2, 2015
  89. The Many Fires in Saint John, 1784-1877 – Aug. 26, 2015
  90. A Proposal for an Attack on N0va Scotia – Aug. 19, 2015
  91. Fredericton’s Great Flood of 1936 – Aug. 12, 2015
  92. A Letter about the Acadians and the Expulsion – Aug. 5, 2015
  93. Saint John in 1834, Before it was Forever Changed by the Great Fire – July 29, 2015
  94. New Brunswick, No Country for a Mere Gentleman, 1834 – July 22, 2015
  95. Woodstock, the Only Village Between the Green River and Fredericton in 1834 – July 15, 2015
  96. On the Tamiscouta Prtage from Lake Tamiscouta to just above Grand Falls, 1834 – July 10, 2015
  97. Men of Honor and Probity Run Amok – July 1, 2015
  98. By Steamer to the So-Called City of Fredericton – June 24, 2014
  99. A Quiet and Business-Like Little City – June 17, 2015
  100. Rambles Among the Bluenoses in 1862 – June 10, 2015
  101. Edward John Russell, a New Brunswick Artist – June 3, 2015
  102. Provincial Lunatic Asylum, Report of the Medical Superintendent, 1875 – May 27, 2015
  103. The Saint John River and Port Royal in the Early 1600’s – May 20, 2015
  104. What Should We Think of Benedict Arnold? – May 13, 2015
  105. Diphtheria in New Brunswick in the Year 1889 – May 6, 2015
  106. The Official Account of the Destruction of Burnt Church – Apr. 29, 2015
  107. The Exchange Coffee House and Saint John’s First Club – Apr. 22, 2015
  108. The Wigwams and Dwellings of the Gaspesians – Apr. 15, 2015
  109. The Story of Brook Watson – Apr. 8, 2015
  110. Where Stood Fort LaTour? – Apr. 1, 2015
  111. Things This Morning Really Wear the Aspect of War – Mar. 25, 2015
  112. At Portland Point – Mar. 18, 2015
  113. Electrical Power From the Reversing Falls – Mar. 10, 2015
  114. Father Rale’s War – 1722-25; How it Ended – Mar. 4, 2015
  115. What Was the Big Deal About the Marco Polo? – Feb. 25, 2015
  116. Grand Manan to Petitcodiac, in 1786 – Feb. 18, 2015
  117. A Trip From St. John to Fredericton in 1870 – Feb. 11, 2015
  118. A Tour of St. John, N.B., in 1870 – Feb. 4, 2015
  119. Destruction by Fire of the First Cathedral in Chatham – Jan. 28, 2015
  120. Burgan the Burglar – Jan. 21, 2015
  121. Facts and Reasons Against Confederating With Canada – Jan. 14, 2015
  122. Discontent in Early Halifax in 1756 – Jan. 7, 2015
  123. A Trip on the ICR From Bathurst to Miramichi – Dec. 31, 2014
  124. Early Attempts to Introduce the Cultivation of Hemp in Eastern British America – Dec. 24, 2014
  125. Touring Campbellton and Dalhousie, Despite the Mosquitoes, 1876 – Dec. 19, 2014
  126. The Fire of 1837 in Saint John – Dec. 10, 2014
  127. The Cruise of the Rechab – Dec. 3, 2014
  128. A Night in the Deep – Nov. 26, 2014
  129. Robert Foulis (A Misplaced Genius) – Nov. 19, 2014
  130. The City Mills – Nov. 15, 2014
  131. The Brothers d’Amours – Nov. 5, 2014
  132. John Allan’s Revolutionary Mission to the Saint John River – Oct. 29, 2014
  133. Relics of the Acadian Period – Oct. 22, 2014
  134. Some Odd Old Advertisements – Oct. 15, 2014
  135. The Miramichi Fire – Relief of the Sufferers – Oct. 8, 2014
  136. Jonathan Eddy’s Account of the Attack on Fort Cumberland, November, 1776 – Oct. 1, 2014
  137. Which of These Two is the Wisest and Happiest? – Sept. 24, 2014
  138. Fredericton Bridge, a Prophetic Writing – Sept. 17, 2014
  139. A Speech to Distinguished Persons of Stake and Consideration – Sept. 10, 2014
  140. Building an Education System From Almost Nothing – Sept. 3, 2014
  141. Cape Tormentine to the Baye des Chaleurs in the 1600’s – Aug. 27, 2014
  142. The Customs of the Mi’kmaq in the 1600’s and Before – Aug. 20, 2014
  143. Two Documents Relating to the Fenians in New Brunswick – Aug. 13, 2014
  144. The Lazaretto for Lepers in Tracadie, 1862 – Aug. 6, 2014
  145. Thoughts About the Augustine Mound at Metepenegiag Mi’kmaq Nation – July 30, 2014
  146. What am I Bid for This Pauper? – July 23, 2014
  147. Trouble at Madawaska, 1831 – July 16, 2014
  148. The Great Fire at Saint John, June 20, 1877 – July 9, 2014
  149. The Poor Fellows Shook as if They Would Fall to Pieces! – July 2, 2014
  150. How to Build a Logging Camp in Around 1850 – June 25, 2014
  151. Risen from the Ashes, Phoenix Square in Fredericton – June 18, 2014
  152. Rocks and Water, Magnificence and Squalor; St. John in 1876 – June 11, 2014
  153. Moncton as Seen by a Journalist in 1876 – June 4, 2014
  154. Events Leading to the Caraquet Riots of 1875 – May 28, 2014
  155. A Dramatic Account of the Miramichi Fire – May 21, 2014
  156. Saint John in the Early 1840’s – May 18, 2014
  157. A Note to Subscribers, and a Memorandum for me – May 14, 2014
  158. The Myth that Kerosene was Invented in New Brunswick – May 7, 2014
  159. A Church with Military Boots and Fixed Bayonets – Apr. 30, 2014
  160. An Opening Salvo in an Ongoing Argument – Apr. 23, 2014
  161. May living worms his corpse devour – Apr. 16, 2014
  162. He don’t look any better than some of our own boys – Apr. 9, 2014
  163. The Disputed Territory Between New Brunswick and Maine – Apr. 2, 2014
  164. Navigation on the Saint John River – Mar. 26, 2014
  165. Shepody as a Hot Investment Opportunity, 1868 – Mar. 19, 2014
  166. To Her Majesty, RE: Reciprocity, 1853 – Mar. 12, 2014
  167. Diary on the Tobique, 1851 – Mar. 5, 2014
  168. Growing up in Fredericton in the 1820s and 1830s – Feb. 26, 2014
  169. Travels From Eastport, Maine, to Fredericton, 1851 – Feb. 19, 2014
  170. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 2 of 2 – Feb. 12, 2014
  171. The Saint John General Public Hospital, 19th Century, Part 1 of 2 – Feb. 5, 2014
  172. The Story of the Great Brothers – Jan. 29, 2014
  173. A Trek up the Tobique, and Onward to Bathurst – Jan. 22, 2014
  174. Summer Tourists. A Manual for New Brunswick Farmers – Jan. 19, 2014
  175. A Trek from Grand Falls to Campbellton, 1862 – Jan. 15, 2014
  176. A Trek From Taymouth to Boisetown, 1862 – Jan. 12, 2014
  177. Capt. William Owen’s Journal, Campobello, 1770-71 – Jan. 8, 2014
  178. The Founding of Campobello Island – Jan. 5, 2014
  179. New Brunswick Roads and Railways, 1855 – Jan. 1, 2014
  180. Grand Manan – Dec. 29, 2013
  181. The Shipyard Fire in Saint John, in 1841 – Dec. 26, 2013
  182. Christmas as it Was in Saint John, in 1808 – Dec. 22, 2013
  183. The Saint John Grammar School – Dec. 18, 2013
  184. William Wishart Blasts the New Brunswick Education System, 1845 – Dec. 15, 2013
  185. The Diary of Sarah Frost – Dec. 11, 2013
  186. Pŭlěs, Pŭlowěch′, and Beechkwěch (Pigeon, Partridge, and Nighthawk) – Dec. 10, 2014
  187. The Government of New Brunswick, 1837 – Dec. 4, 2013
  188. The Whales and the Robbers – Dec. 1, 2013
  189. The Ashburton Treaty – Nov. 27, 2013
  190. Glooscap and His Four Visitors – Nov. 24, 2013
  191. The Pioneers of Saint Stephen – Nov. 20, 2013
  192. The Adventures of Kâktoogwâsees; a Tale of Ancient Times – Nov. 17, 2013
  193. The Asylum at Saint John – Nov. 13, 2013
  194. The Liver-Colored Giants and Magicians – Nov. 10, 2013
  195. Smuggling Between Calais and St. Stephen – Nov. 6, 2013
  196. The Two Weasels – Nov. 3, 2013
  197. A note to subscribers – Oct. 30, 2013
  198. The European and North American Railway, 1862 – Oct. 30, 2013
  199. The Origin of the War Between the Mi’kmaq and the Kwěděches – Oct. 23, 2013
  200. Trouble on the Line: The Early Telegraph in New Brunswick – Oct. 16, 2013
  201. The Invisible Boy; Team′ and Oochigeaskw – Oct. 9, 2013
  202. Transportation to and from Fredericton, 1841 – Oct. 2, 2013
  203. The Boy That Was Transformed Into a Horse – Sept. 25, 2013
  204. McAdam: Notes From the Early Days – Sept. 18, 2013
  205. The Magical Food, Belt and Flute – Sept. 11, 2013
  206. European & North American Rly. Staff, 1861 – Sept. 4, 2013
  207. Glooscap and the Megumoowesoo: A Marriage Adventure – Aug. 28, 2013
  208. The Loss of the Royal Tar – Aug. 21, 2013
  209. Robbery and Murder Revenged, Plus a Grand Falls Story – Aug. 14, 2013
  210. The St. John River From Below Fredericton to the Reversing Falls – Aug. 7, 2013
  211. A Proposal for a Wooden Railway – July 31, 2013
  212. ‘On the Early History of New Brunswick’ – July 24, 2013
  213. The Maugerville Settlement, 1763-1824 – July 17, 2013
  214. 1930 Circus Train Wreck Near Moncton, N.B. – July 10, 2013
  215. Horses or Oxen? Pick one – July 3, 2013
  216. The St. John River; Andover to Fredericton – June 26, 2013
  217. Origins of Some Place Names on N.B.’s Eastern Shore – June 19, 2013
  218. The St. John River; Grand Falls to the Tobique – June 12, 2013
  219. Gabriel Acquin – June 5, 2013
  220. The Seigniories of New Brunsiwck – May 29, 2013
  221. An 1841 Trek up the Oromocto River – May 22, 2013
  222. Fredericton’s Exhibition Palace, and Bears in N.B. – May 15, 2013
  223. Murder on Diamond Square Road – May 8, 2013
  224. Acadian Historic Sites in New Brunswick – May 1, 2013
  225. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 5 of 5 – Apr. 24, 2013
  226. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 4 of 5 – Apr. 17, 2013
  227. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 3 of 5 – Apr. 10, 2013
  228. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 2 of 5 – Apr. 3, 2013
  229. John C. Tracy’s Book, Part 1 of 5 – Mar. 27, 2013
  230. A Retrospective Look at Saint John – Mar. 20, 2013
  231. The Wreck of the England – Mar. 13, 2013
  232. The First Decade of the 1800’s in St. John, N.B. – Mar. 6, 2013
  233. St. John’s Poorhouse and Workhouse – Feb. 27, 2013, Rev. Sept. 9, 2015
  234. New Brunswick Scenes From an Old Book – Feb. 20, 2013
  235. Nice Pictures From Another Old Book – Feb. 13, 2013
  236. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, Part 2/2 – Feb. 6, 2013
  237. Life in the Backwoods of New Brunswick, 1845 – Jan. 30, 2013
  238. The Works of W.O. Raymond – Jan. 23, 2013
  239. The Year of the Fever – Jan. 16, 2013
  240. Hanged for the Theft of 25 Cents – Jan. 9, 2013
  241. Reversing Falls – Pictures – Jan. 2, 2013
  242. Christmas as it was in 1808 – Dec. 25, 2012
  243. Nice Pictures From an Old Book – Dec. 19, 2012
  244. The Saint John Bridge Collapse of 1837 – Dec. 12, 2012
  245. The First Road Bridge Across the Reversing Falls – Dec. 5, 2012
  246. The Mystery of the First Lizzie Morrow – Nov. 28, 2012
  247. The First Murder Trial on the River St. John – Nov. 21, 2012
  248. The March of the 104th Regiment in 1812 – Nov. 14, 2012
  249. Partridge Island – Nov. 7, 2012
  250. Fredericton’s First Bridge Across the Saint John River – Oct. 31, 2012
  251. 1816, The Year Without a Summer – Oct. 31, 2012
  252. Winslow to Wentworth, 1781 – Oct. 31, 2012
  253. Oops! An explanation – Oct. 31, 2012
  254. The Saxby Gale of 1869 – Oct. 31, 2012
  255. New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews – Oct. 31, 2012
  256. Fredericton and York County in 1838 – Oct. 31, 2012
  257. The City and County of Saint John in 1838 – Sept. 26, 2012
  258. The St. Andrews and Quebec Railroad – Sept. 19, 2012
  259. The Studholm Report of Saint John River Pre-Loyalists in 1783 – Sept. 12, 2012
  260. Caleb Jones. Further RE: Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – Sept. 5, 2012
  261. The Wreck of the Martha – Aug. 29, 2012
  262. The Early Settlement of Maugerville and the Sheffield Parsonage Dispute – Aug. 22, 2012
  263. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 2 of 2 – Aug. 15, 2012
  264. Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick to Confederation, Part 1 of 2 – Aug. 8, 2012
  265. The Morrow House at French Lake, N.B. – New Information – Aug. 1, 2012
  266. Sound by Glen Glenn, Revision 1 – July 25, 2012
  267. Ann, otherwise known as Nancy – July 18, 2012
  268. The Fire of October 7, 1825 – Beyond the Miramichi – July 11, 2012
  269. Lemuel Allan Wilmot – July 4, 2012
  270. The Great Fire at Miramichi, October 7, 1825 – June 27, 2012
  271. Robert Rankin in New Brunswick – June 20, 2012
  272. Who Owned the Mill at Tracy, New Brunswick? – June 13, 2012
  273. Signatures of Sunbury County Ancestors – June 6, 2012
  274. Daniel Wood’s Log Cabin, and Little Field Barn at French Lake, New Brunswick – May 30, 2012
  275. Rusagonis and George Garraty – May 23, 2012
  276. Epitaph Transcriptions from a Collection – May 16, 2012
  277. Central New Brunswick Gravestones from a Genealogy – May 9, 2012
  278. Nashwaak River Pictures with Stewart Family Connections – May 2, 2012
  279. More Sunbury County Photographs from a Collection – Apr. 25, 2012
  280. An Indian Burial Ground at Oromocto; and Coal Mining on the Oromocto River – Apr. 22, 2012
  281. “Days of Old” by Katherine DeWitt and Norma Alexander – Apr. 18, 2012
  282. The Wood Cemetery at French Lake, New Brunswick – Apr. 11, 2012
  283. James Glenie in New Brunswick – Apr. 4, 2012
  284. Four Generations of the Stewart Family on the Nashwaak River – Mar. 28, 2012
  285. Three Generations of the Mersereau Family in New Brunswick – Mar. 21, 2012
  286. Three Generations of the Smith Family of Sunbury County, New Brunswick – Mar. 14, 2012
  287. Three Generations of the Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Mar. 7, 2012
  288. New Brunswick Education in 1883 – Feb. 29, 2012
  289. Riots and Demonstrations in Saint John – Feb. 20, 2012
  290. Making Better Butter – Feb. 18, 2012
  291. York County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 8, 2012
  292. Sunbury County Place Names, 1896/1905 – Feb. 1, 2012
  293. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 3 of 3 – Jan. 25, 2012
  294. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 2 of 3 – Jan. 18, 2012
  295. Stereoscopic slides from Fred Stewart, Part 1 of 3 – Jan. 11, 2012
  296. The Hon. Thomas Baillie: Gone, but not soon forgotten! – Jan. 5, 2012
  297. The Fort at Oromocto, 1780 – 1783 – Dec. 29, 2011
  298. The Great Fire in Fredericton, 1850 – Early Accounts – Dec. 15, 2011
  299. The Morrow House at French Lake, and More – Dec. 8, 2011
  300. The Old Woman House at French Lake, New Brunswick – Dec. 1, 2011
  301. Smith Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Nov. 25, 2011
  302. French Lake from Before we Remember – Nov. 20, 2011
  303. How Geary became known as Geary – Nov. 9, 2011
  304. Elizabeth (Smith) Secord; N.B.’s First Woman Registered Doctor – Nov. 4, 2011
  305. Phillips Family Photographs from a Collection, Rusagonis, N.B. – Nov. 2, 2011
  306. Mersereau Family Photographs from a Collection, Sunbury County, N.B. – Oct. 30, 2011
  307. Wood Family Photographs from a Collection, French Lake, N.B. – Oct. 25, 2011
  308. Jeremiah Tracy: Pioneer of the Village of Tracy, New Brunswick – Oct. 20, 2011
  309. Two Old Railroad-Inspired Songs – Oct. 16, 2011
  310. Ode to the Oromocto River – Oct. 10, 2011
  311. John Mersereau, Loyalist 2 – Oct. 4, 2011
  312. The Earliest American Railroads and Locomotives – Sept. 14, 2011
  313. The Mersereau Manufacturing Company of Brooklyn, New York, Notes – Sept. 3, 2011
  314. George Morrow of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1801-1868 – Aug. 26, 2011
  315. The Wood Family of French Lake, New Brunswick – Legends – Aug. 9, 2011
  316. The Baptist Church on the Oromocto River in New Brunswick – Aug. 7, 2011
  317. John Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1788-1868 – Aug. 2, 2011
  318. Daniel Wood of French Lake, New Brunswick – 1764-1847 – Aug. 1, 2011
  319. Three Stewarts on the Nashwaak – July 24, 2011
  320. Bunker Genealogy – Five Bunkers – July 20, 2011
  321. Statistics From the 1851 and 1871 Sunbury County New Brunswick Census Reports – July 19, 2011
  322. Historical Development of the Beam Bending Equation M=fS – July 18, 2011
  323. Seth Noble, Maugerville and the American Revolution – July 16, 2011
  324. Columns, the Long and the Short of it – 1729-1900 – July 15, 2011
  325. The Great Saint John Steel Cantilever Bridge – July 13, 2011
  326. The Upper Oromocto River in 1847 – July 11, 2011
  327. Early Glimpses of the Rusagonis Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  328. Abraham Gesner’s 1847 Observations of Sport Hunting in New Brunswick – July 11, 2011
  329. It Sounds a bit Too Easy – July 10, 2011
  330. James Buncker – July 10, 2011
  331. Inconsistent Petitions; Changed Self-Interests – July 10, 2011
  332. Abner Mersereau and a Letter – July 9, 2011
  333. Early Glimpses of the Patterson Settlement Baptist Church in New Brunswick – July 9, 2011
  334. The Textile Mill at Geary, New Brunswick – July 8, 2011
  335. Letter of Mi’kmaq’ Chief Pemmeenauweet to Queen Victoria – 1841 – July 7, 2011
  336. New Brunswick in the 1840s – July 7, 2011


John Wood

Written by johnwood1946

April 19, 2017 at 11:23 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

The King of France Cannot Have Given You Our Land, Because it Was Not His

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From the blog at

The King of France Cannot Have Given You Our Land, Because it Was Not His

This blog posting is much longer than I would like. However, it is interesting and important enough to share in full. It is from James Baxter’s The Pioneers of New France in New England, with contemporary letters and documents, Albany, N.Y., 1894.

Sebastien Ralé was a Jesuit priest assigned to minister to Native groups in New France, and following is his letter to his brother dated more than thirty years after his arrival. It is a firsthand account of Native life extending from Illinois to Acadia in the early 18th century. Ralé is mostly remembered as a provocateur among the Wabanaki Indians, the people of the first light, including the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Penobscot and Nanrantsouak people (the Nanrantsouak were from the interior of Maine). He was eventually killed in battle by the English.

I have resisted the urge to edit some parts of the letter, such as his many references to “savages” and his gruesome details of the torture of prisoners. He was writing from Nanrantsouak, also known as Norridgewock, i.e., Kennebec.

Maliseet Men and Canoe, ca. 1863

New Brunswick Museum


Nanrantsouak, this 12th of October 1723

Monsieur and very dear brother;

The peace of Our Lord.

I can no longer refuse the kind requests which you make me in all your letters, to inform you a little in detail of my occupations and of the character of the Savage nations, in the midst of which Providence has placed me for so many years. I do it the more willingly, because in conforming in this regard to wishes so urgent on your part I satisfy yet more your affection and curiosity.

It was the 23 of July of the year 1689 that I embarked at Rochelle; and after three months of a pleasant enough voyage, I arrived at Quebec the 13 of October of the same year. I applied myself at first to learning the language of our Savages. This is difficult; because it is not sufficient to study the terms and their signification and to make a collection of words and phrases, it is still necessary to know the turn and the arrangement which the savages give them, which one hardly acquires except by intercourse and association with these people.

I went then to dwell in a village with the Abnaki nation, situated in a forest, which is only three leagues from Quebec. This was inhabited by two hundred savages nearly all Christians. Their cabins were arranged a little like the houses in the towns; an inclosure of stakes, thick and high, form a kind of wall which shelters them from the incursions of their enemies.

Their cabins are very soon set up; they plant poles which they join at the top; and they cover them with great sheets of bark. The fire is made in the middle of the cabin; they spread all round rush mats, on which they sit during the day; and take their repose during the night.

The clothing of the men consists of a cassock of skin, or else of a piece of red or blue stuff. That of the women is a blanket; which hangs from the neck quite to the middle of the legs and which they adjust quite properly. They put another blanket on the head, which descends even to the feet and which serves them for a cloak. Their stockings extend only from the knee to the ankle. Socks made of elk hide and lined inside with hair or wool serve them in place of shoes. This sock is absolutely necessary to them in order to be adjusted to the snow-shoes, by means of which they walk upon the snow. These snow-shoes are made lozenge shape, are more than two feet long and a foot and a half wide. I did not believe that I could ever walk with such machines; when I made trial of them I soon found it so easy that the savages could not believe that it was the first time that I had made use of them. The invention of these snow-shoes is of great use to these savages not only to travel on the snow, with which the ground is covered a great part of the year, but also to go in pursuit of beasts and above all of the moose; these animals, larger than the largest oxen of France walk only with difficulty upon the snow; thus it is not difficult for the savages to overtake them, and they often kill them with a common knife attached to the end of a stick, they feed upon their flesh and after having well dressed their skins in which they are skillful they trade them with French and English who give them in exchange cassocks, blankets, kettles, guns, hatchets and knives.

To give you an idea of a savage, picture to yourself a large man strong, agile, of a swarthy tint, without beard, with black hair, and whose teeth are whiter than ivory. If you wish to see him in his accoutrements you will only find for his whole adornment what is called beads; this is a kind of shell or stone which they fashion into the form of little grains, some white and others black, and which they string in such a manner, that they represent divers very regular figures which are agreeable to them. It is with this bead that our Savages knot and plait their hair above their ears and behind, make collars, garters, belts, five or six inches wide and with this sort of ornaments they estimate themselves a great deal more than an European does with all his gold and his jewels.

The occupation of the men is hunting or war, that of the women is to remain in the village and to make there out of bark, baskets, bags, boxes, dishes, plates, etc. They sew the bark with roots and make of them various utensils very appropriately wrought, the canoes are likewise made solely of bark, but the largest can scarce hold more than six or seven persons.

It is with these canoes made of a bark which has hardly the thickness of a crown, that they cross the arms of the sea, and that they navigate the most dangerous rivers and lakes of four or five hundred leagues around. I have thus made many voyages without having run any risk. Only once, that in crossing the river Saint Lawrence I found myself suddenly surrounded with masses of ice of enormous size and the canoe was wedged in them; at once the two savages who conducted me cried out; “we are dead men; it is done, we must perish,” in the meantime making an effort, they leaped upon the floating ice. I did like them, and after having drawn up the canoe we carried it to the extremity of this ice. Then it was necessary for us to place ourselves again in the canoe to gain another ice cake, and thus then leaping from ice cake to ice cake, we arrived at last at the bank of the stream without other inconvenience than being very wet and numb with cold. Nothing equals the affection which the savages have for their children. As soon as they are born, they place them on a little piece of board covered with cloth and a little bear skin in which they envelope them, and this is their cradle. The mothers carry them on their back in a manner convenient for the children and for them. Hardly do the children begin to walk when they are trained to draw the bow. They become so adroit in this, that at the age of ten or twelve years they do not fail to kill the bird that they shoot at. I have been surprised at it, and I should have hardly believed it, if I had not been witness of it.

That which I most revolted at when I began to live with the savages was to find myself obliged to take my repast with them; nothing is more disgusting. After having filled their pot with meat they make it boil at the most three quarters of an hour, after which they take it from the fire, serve it in bark porringers and divide it with all those who are in the cabin. Each one bites into this meat as he would into a piece of bread. This spectacle did not give me much appetite, and they very soon noticed my repugnance. “Why dost thou not eat?” they asked. I replied to them that I was not accustomed to eat meat thus, without adding to it a piece of bread. “It is necessary to conquer thyself,” they replied, “is it so difficult as to be a patriarch who knows prayer perfectly? We overcome a great deal to believe that which we cannot see.” After this there was no more to consider. It was best to bring one’s self to their manners and customs in order to merit their confidence and gain them to Jesus Christ.

Their meals are not regular as in Europe, they live from hand to mouth, whilst they have somewhat from which to make good cheer, they profit by it, without troubling themselves about having anything to live on the following days.

They passionately love tobacco; men, women, children smoke almost continually. To give them a piece of tobacco, is to give them more pleasure than to give them their weight in gold.

In the beginning of June, and when the snow is nearly all melted, they sow the skamgar, this is what we call Turkey or Indian wheat. Their style of sowing is to make with the fingers or with a little stick, different holes in the ground, and to throw in each eight or nine kernels, which they cover with the same earth which they have withdrawn to make the hole. Their harvest takes place at the end of August.

It is in the midst of these people, who pass for the least coarse of all our savages, that I passed the apprenticeship of a missionary. My principal occupation was the study of their tongue: it is very difficult to learn, above all when one has no other masters than savages. They have many sounds which they only utter from the throat, without making any movement of the lips; ou, for example is of this number, and this is why in writing it, we make it by the figure 8, to distinguish it from other sounds. I passed a part of a year in their cabins and heard them talk. It was necessary for me to maintain extreme attention, to gather what they said, and to conjecture the signification of it. Sometimes I guessed right, more often I deceived myself, because not very able to manage their guttural letters. I repeated only part of the word, and this made them laugh. At last, after five months of continual application, I reached the point of understanding all their terms, but that was not sufficient for me to express myself according to their taste. I had still a good way to go to catch the scope and genius of their tongue, which is altogether different from the genius and scope of our European languages. To shorten the time and to put myself sooner in a state to exercise my functions, I made choice of some savages who had more wit and spoke better. I told them roughly some articles of the catechism, and they rendered them to me in all the delicacy of their language. I put them at once on paper, and by this means I made myself in a little while a dictionary and a catechism which contained the principles and the mysteries of religion.

One cannot deny that the language of the savages has true beauties, and I know not what of energy, in the turn and manner in which they express themselves. I am going to give you an example of it. If I should ask you, Why God has created you? You would reply to me, that it is to know him, to love him and to serve him, and by this means to merit eternal glory. But should I put the same question to a savage, he would reply to me thus in the term of his language; The great Spirit has thought of us; let them know me, let them love me, let them honor me, and let them obey me for then I shall make them enter into my glorious felicity. If I should wish to tell you in their style, that you would have much difficulty in learning the savage tongue, see how it would be necessary to express myself; I think of you my dear brother, that he will find difficulty in learning the savage tongue. The language of the Hurons is the master language of the savages; and when one possesses it in less than three months one can make himself understood by the five Iroquois nations. It is the most majestic and the most difficult of all the savage tongues. This difficulty does not come alone from their guttural character, but still more from the diversity of accents, because two words composed of the same characters have significations quite different. Father Chaumont, who has dwelt fifty years among the Hurons, has composed a grammar of it, which is very useful to those who newly arrive in that mission, nevertheless a missionary is most happy when, with those helps, after ten years constant labor, he expresses himself elegantly in this language.

Each savage nation has its particular tongue; thus the Abnakis, the Hurons, the Iroquois, the Algonkins, the Illinois, the Miamis, etc., have each their language. They have no books to learn these languages, and, when they shall have them, they will be useless enough. Practice is the only master which can instruct us. While I have labored in four different missions of savages, namely among the Abnakis, the Algonkins, the Hurons and the Illinois, I have been obliged to learn these different languages. I am going to give you a specimen, to the end that you may know the little relation which there is between them. I choose the strophe of a hymn of the Holy Sacrament, which they ordinarily chant during the Mass at the elevation of the sacred host and which begins in these words, O Salutaris, hostia; Such is the translation in verse of this strophe in the four languages of these different nations.

[He then presents the tract which in English would read “O saving sacrifice who art continually offered, and who givest life; thou by whom we enter heaven, we are continually assaulted; come strengthen us” into four languages.]

It was nearly two years that I lived with the Abnakis, when I was recalled by my superiors; they destined me to the mission of the Illinois, who had lost their missionary. I went then to Quebec, where, after having employed three months in studying the Algonkin tongue, I embarked the 13th of August in a canoe, to go to the Illinois; their country is distant from Quebec more than eight hundred leagues. You may well judge that so long a voyage in these barbarous lands cannot be made without running great risks, and without suffering great inconvenience. I had to traverse lakes of immense extent, and where storms are as frequent as on the sea. It is true that one has the advantage of setting foot on land every night; but one is fortunate when one finds some flat rock where one may pass the night. When the rain falls, the only means of protection is to place oneself beneath the turned over canoe.

One runs still greater dangers on the rivers, principally in places where they flow with extreme rapidity. Then the canoe flies like an arrow, and if it comes in contact with rocks, which one finds there in abundance, it breaks into a thousand pieces. This misfortune happened to some of those who accompanied me in other canoes, and it is by a singular protection of divine goodness that I did not suffer the same fate; because my canoe struck several times against the rocks, without receiving the least damage. In fine, one risks suffering from hunger that which is most cruel. The length and the difficulty of these kinds of voyages only permits bringing with one a sack of Indian corn. One would suppose that the chase would furnish on the route something to live upon; but if the game fails, one finds oneself exposed to many days of fasting. Then all the resource which one has is to search for a kind of leaves, which the savages call Kingnessanack and the French tripes de roches. One would take them for Cerfeuil, of which they have the shape, if they were not much larger; they serve them either boiled or roasted; those which I have eaten are not so bad.

I did not suffer much from hunger as far as the lake of the Hurons, but it was not the same with the companions of my voyage; the bad weather having scattered their canoes, they could not join me. I arrived the first at Missilimakinak, from whence I sent them food, without which they would have died of hunger. They had passed seven days without any nourishment but that of a crow, which they had killed rather by chance than by skill, for they had not strength to support themselves.

The season was too far advanced to continue my route as far as to the Illinois, from whence I was yet distant about four hundred leagues. Thus it was necessary for me to remain at Missilimakinak, where there were two of our missionaries, one among the Hurons, and the other with the Outaouacks. The latter are very superstitious and much attached to the jugleries of their medicine men. They attribute to themselves an origin as senseless as ridiculous. They pretend to spring from families, and each family is composed of five hundred persons.

Some are of the family of Michabou, that is to say of the great hare. They pretend that this great hare was a man of prodigious size, that he could spread nets in the water at eighteen feet in depth, and that the water came hardly to his armpits; that one day, during the deluge, he sent the beaver to discover the land; but as this animal did not return he sent out the otter, who brought back a little earth covered with foam; that he repaired to the place in the lake where he found this earth, which formed a little isle; all around which he walked in the water, and that this island became extraordinarily large. This is why is attributed to him the creation of the earth. They add that after having accomplished this work he flew up to heaven, which is his ordinary abode, but before quitting the earth, when his descendants came to die, that they should burn their bodies and throw their ashes into the air, so that they should more easily raise themselves towards heaven; that if they should fail in this, the snow would cease to cover the earth, that their lakes and their rivers would remain frozen, and that, not being able to angle for fish, which is their common food, they would all die in the spring.

In fact, a few years ago, the winter having continued longer than ordinary, there was a general consternation among the savages of the family of the great hare. They had recourse to their accustomed jugleries; they assembled many times in order to advise on the means of dissipating this snow enemy who seemed obstinate to remain upon the earth; when an old woman approached them. “My children,” said she, “you have no wit, you know the orders that the great hare has left to burn the bodies of the dead and to throw their ashes to the wind, to the end that they should return more promptly to heaven, their country; and you have neglected his orders by leaving some days journey from here a dead man without burning, as if he was not of the family of the great hare. Repair forthwith your fault, take care to burn him if you wish that the snow should disappear.” “You are right our mother” replied they, “thou hast more wit than we and the council which thou givest us restores life to us.” They immediately deputed twenty-five men to go and burn this body. They employed about fifteen days in this journey. During that time the thaw came and the snow melted. They loaded with praises and presents the old woman who had given the advice; and this event, quite natural as it was, served much to confirm them in their folly and superstitious credulity.

The second family of the Outaouacks pretend to have sprung from the Namepick, that is to say from the carp. They say that a carp having laid his eggs upon the bank of the river, and the Sun having darted its rays there, he formed a woman from them from whom they are descended. Thus they call themselves of the family of the carp.

The third family of the Outaouacks attributes its origin to the paw of the Mackova, that is to say, of a bear, and they call themselves of the family of the bear, but without explaining in what manner they are sprung from it. When they kill any of these animals they make a feast to him of his own flesh; they speak to him, they harangue him; “do not have any design against us,” they say to him, “because we have killed thee; thou hast wit, thou seest that our children suffer for hunger, they wish to make thee enter into their bodies, is it not glorious for thee to be eaten by the children of the chief?”

It is only the family of the great hare which burns dead bodies, the two others bury them. When any chief dies they prepare a vast coffin, where, after having laid the body clothed in its finest garments, they enclose with him his blanket, his gun, his supply of powder and lead, his bow, his arrows, his kettle, his platter, some provisions, his tomahawk, his pipe, his box of vermillion, his mirror, some collars of beads, and all the presents which were made at his death according to usage. They imagine that with this outfit he will make his journey more happily to the other world, and will be better received by the great chiefs of the nation, who will conduct him with them into a place of delights.

While all is being adjusted in the coffin the relatives of the dead assist at the ceremony by mourning after their fashion, that is to say, by chanting in a lugubrious tone and beating time with a stick to which they have attached many rattles.

Where the superstition of these people appears the most extravagant is in the worship that they render to that which they call their manitou. As they scarcely know anything but the beasts with which they live in the forests, they imagine within these beasts, or within their skin, or within their plumage, a kind of spirit which governs all things, and which is the master of life and death. There are, according to them manitous common to all the nation, and there are particular ones for each person. Oussakita, say they, is the great manitou of all the beasts which walk upon the earth, or which fly in the air. It is he who governs them; thus when they go to chase, they offer him tobacco, powder, lead, and skins well dressed, which they attach to the end of a pole, and elevate it in the air. “Oussakita”, they say to him, “we give thee to smoke, we offer thee of that to kill the game, deign to accept these presents, do not permit that they should escape our arrows, let us kill a great number of the fattest of them, so that our children shall neither fail of clothing, nor of nourishment.”

They call Michibichi the manitou of the waters and of the fish, and they make a sacrifice to him nearly similar when they go to fish or when they undertake a journey. This sacrifice consists of throwing into the water some tobacco, food, kettles, and asking him that the waters of the river should flow more slowly, that the rocks should not break their canoes, and that he accord to them fish in abundance.

Besides these common manitous, each has his own particular one, which is a bear, or a beaver, or a bustard, or some similar beast. They carry the skin of this animal to the war, to the chase, and on their journeys, persuading themselves that they preserve them from all danger and that they will make them successful in their undertakings.

When a savage wishes to get a manitou, the first animal which presents itself to his imagination during his sleep is commonly the one upon which his choice falls. He kills a beast of this kind; he puts his skin, or his plumage, if it is a bird in the most honorable place in his cabin; he prepares a feast in his honor, during which he makes to him his harangue in terms the most respectful, after which he is known as his manitou.

As soon as I saw the spring arrive, I left Missilimakinak to go to the Illinois. I found on my route many savage nations, among others Maskoutings, Jakis, Omikoues, Iripegouans, Outagamis, etc. All these nations have their peculiar language but for all the rest they differ in nothing from the Outaouacks. A missionary who dwells at the bay of the Puants, makes from time to time excursions among these savages to instruct them in the truths of religion.

After forty days walking, I entered the river of the Illinois, and having advanced fifty leagues I arrived at the first village, which was of three hundred cabins, all of four or five fires. One fire is always for two families. They have twelve villages of their nation. On the morrow after my arrival I was invited by the principal chief to a grand repast, which he gave to the more considerable persons. He had caused to be killed for this a number of dogs; such a banquet passes among the savages for a magnificent feast; it is why they call it the feast of the chief. The ceremonies which they observe are the same among all the nations. It is common in these sorts of festivals that the savages deliberate upon their most important affairs, as, for example, when it is agitated, either to undertake war against their neighbors, or to terminate it by a proposition of peace.

When all the guests have arrived, they range themselves all around the cabin, seating themselves either on the bare earth, or on mats. Then the chief arises and begins his harangue. I avow to you that I admired his flow of words, the justice and the force of reasons which he displayed, the eloquent turn that he gave them, the choice and delicacy of the expressions, with which he adorned his discourse. I am persuaded that if I could put in writing what this savage said to us on that moment and without preparation, it would convince you without difficulty that the most able European, after much meditation and study, could scarcely compose a discourse more solid and better termed.

Their harangue finished, two savages who performed the function of carvers, distributed the plates to all the assembly, and each plate was for two guests, they ate conversing together of indifferent things; and when the repast was finished, they retired, carrying, according to their custom, that which they had remaining in their plates.

The Illinois do not give those feasts which are customary with many other savage nations, where one is obliged to eat all that has been served to him, should one burst by it. When it happens that anyone has not the power to observe this ridiculous rule, he addresses himself to some one of the guests, whom he knows to be of a better appetite; “My brother,” says he to him, “have pity on me, I am dead if thou dost not give me life, eat that which remains to me, I will make thee a present of something.” It is the only means to escape from embarrassment.

The Illinois only cover themselves about the waist, and as to the rest, they go all naked; different compartments of all sorts of figures, which they engrave on the body in a way which is ineffaceable, hold for them the place of garments. It is only in the visits which they make or when they assist at church, that they wrap about them a covering of dressed skin during the summer, and during the winter, of a skin, with the hair on, which they leave to retain more warmth. They adorn the head with feathers, of different colors, with which they make garlands and crowns, which they adjust quite properly; they take care to paint the face with different colors, but above all with vermillion; they wear collars, and pendants from the ears made of different stones which they cut in the form of precious stones; some are blue, red and white like alabaster, to which it is necessary to add a plate of porcelain which finishes the collar. The Illinois persuade themselves that these fantastic ornaments give them grace and attract respect.

When the Illinois are not occupied in war or in the chase, the time is passed either in sport, or in feasts, or in the dance. They have two sorts of dances; some which are used in token of rejoicing, and to which they invite the most distinguished women and girls; the others are used to mark their grief, the death of the more important of their nations. It is by these dances that they pretend to honor the deceased, and to dry the tears of their relatives. All have the right to mourn in this way the death of their relations, providing they make presents for this purpose. The dances last more or less time, in proportion to the price and value of the presents and they immediately distribute them to the dancers, their custom is not to bury the dead; they wrap them in skins and attach them by the head and feet to the tops of trees. Excepting their times of sports, of feasts and dances, the men remain quietly on their mats, and pass their time in sleeping, or in making bows, arrows, pipes, and other things of this nature. As for the women, they work from morning till night like slaves. It is for them to cultivate the land, and to sow the corn during the summer; and from the beginning of winter they are occupied in making mats, in dressing skins, and in many other kinds of work; because their first care is to provide the cabin with all that is necessary therein.

Of all the nations of Canada, there are none who live in so great abundance of all things as the Illinois. Their rivers are covered with swans, with bustards, with ducks, and with teals. Hardly can one go a league, but he finds a prodigious multitude of turkeys, which go in flocks, sometimes to the number of two hundred. They are bigger than those which one sees in France. I had the curiosity to weigh some which were of the weight of thirty pounds. They have at the neck a kind of wattle of hair a half a foot in length. The bears and the stags are there in very great quantity; one also sees there an infinite number of buffaloes and deer; there is not a year that they do not kill thousands of deer, and more than two thousands of buffaloes; one sees on the prairies till lost to view from four to five thousand buffaloes which feed there. They have a hump on the back, and a head extremely large. Their hair, except that on the head, is curled and soft as wool, their flesh is naturally salt, and is so light, that although one eats it quite raw, it does not cause indigestion. When they have killed a buffalo, which appears to them too lean, they are contented to take the tongue, and go to seek one fatter.

Arrows are the principal arms which serve them, in war and in the chase. These arrows are armed at the end with a cut stone and sharpened in the form of a serpent’s tongue; lacking a knife they serve them also to skin the animals which they kill. They are so adroit in drawing the bow that they hardly ever miss their stroke, and they do it with so much swiftness that they will have sooner discharged a hundred arrows than another will have charged his gun. They put themselves to little trouble in working with the proper nets to fish in the rivers, because the abundance of animals of all sorts which they find for their subsistence, renders them quite indifferent to fish. However, when they take a fancy to have them, they embark in a canoe with their bows and their arrows, standing upright the better to discover the fish, and as soon as they have perceived him, they pierce him with an arrow.

The only means among the Illinois to public esteem and veneration is, as with other savages, to make the reputation of a skillful hunter, and yet more of a good warrior; it is principally of that which they make their merit consist, and it is that which they call to be truly a man. They are so passionate for this glory that they will undertake journeys of four hundred leagues, in the midst of forests, to make a slave, or to take the scalp from a man whom they have killed. They count for nothing the fatigues and the long fasts which they have to sustain, above all when they approach the enemy’s land; because then they no longer dare to hunt, from fear that the beasts, being only wounded may fly with the arrow in the body, and warn their enemy to put himself in state of defense, because their manner of making war, the same as among all savages, is to surprise their enemies; this is why they send out scouts, to observe their number and their march, or to note if they are on their guard. According to the report which is made them, they either put themselves in ambush, or make an irruption into their cabins, tomahawk in hand, and they do not fail to kill some of them before they had dreamed to defend themselves.

The tomahawk is made of a stag’s horn, or of wood in the shape of a cutlass, terminated by a large ball. They hold the tomahawk in one hand and the knife in the other. As soon as they have dealt their blow on the head of their enemy they encircle it with their knife, and remove the scalp with a surprising rapidity.

When the savage returns to his country laden with many scalps he is received with great honors; but it is for him the height of glory when he makes prisoners, and brings them alive. As soon as he arrives all the people of the village assemble and range themselves in a line on the road where the prisoners should pass. This reception is very cruel; some tear out their nails, others cut off their fingers or ears; while others deal them blows with clubs.

After this first reception, the old men assemble to deliberate if they shall accord life to their prisoners or if they shall put them to death. When there is some dead person to revive, that is to say, if some one of their warriors has been killed, and whom they judge should be replaced in his cabin, they give to this cabin one of their prisoners, who holds the place of the deceased and this is what they call reviving the dead.

When the prisoner is condemned to death, they plant immediately in the earth a great post, to which they attach him by both hands; they make him sing the song of death, and all the savages being seated around the post, they kindle a few steps from it a great fire, where they heat hatchets, gun barrels, and other irons. Then they come one after the other, and apply them all red upon different parts of the body, there are those who burn him with fire brands; some who gash his body with their knives; others who cut off a piece of flesh already roasted, and eat it in his presence; one may be seen filling his wounds with powder, and rubbing it all over his body, after which they set it on fire. In fine each torments him according to his caprice, and that during four or five hours, sometimes even during two or three days. The more shrill and piercing the cries which the violence of these torments make him utter, the more agreeable and diverting is the spectacle to these barbarians. It was the Iroquois who invented this frightful kind of death, and it is only by way of retaliation that the Illinois, in their turn, treat their Iroquois prisoners with an equal cruelty.

That which we understand by the word Christianity, is known only among all the savages by the name of prayer. Thus, when, I shall say to you in the remainder of this letter, that such a savage nation has embraced prayer, it is saying, that it has become Christian, or that it is disposed to be so. One would have had less trouble in converting the Illinois, if the prayer had permitted polygamy among them. They avow that prayer is good, and they are pleased when it is talked to their women and children; but when one speaks of it to themselves; one finds how difficult it is to fix their natural inconstancy and to persuade them to have but one wife and to have her always.

At the hour when they assemble, morning and evening, for prayer, all repair to the chapel. There are none even among their greatest medicine men, that is to say, among the greatest enemies of religion, who do not send their children to be instructed and baptized. Here is the greatest fruit which one finds at first among the savages, and of which one is the most certain; because among the great number of infants, not a year passes but many die before they reach the age of reason, and among the adults, the most part is so fervent and so attached to prayer, that they would suffer the most cruel death rather than abandon it.

It is a blessing for the Illinois to be far removed from Quebec, because they cannot carry to them the fire-water as they do others. This drink is among the savages the greatest obstacle to Christianity and the source of an infinite number of the most shocking crimes. We know that they only purchase it in order to plunge themselves into the most furious intoxication; the disorders and the sad deaths of which one is witness every day should much overbalance the gain which one can make by traffic in so fatal a liquor.

It was two years that I abode with the Illinois, when I was recalled to consecrate the rest of my days to the Abnaki nation. It was the first mission to which I had been destined at my arrival in Canada, and it is that apparently, where I shall finish my life. It was necessary then for me to return to Quebec, to go from there to rejoin my dear savages. I have already described to you the length and difficulties of this journey; therefore, I will speak to you only of a very consoling adventure to me four leagues from Quebec.

I found myself in a kind of village, where there are twenty five French houses, and a cure, who had care of it. Near this village appeared a cabin of savages, where was found a girl of the age of sixteen years, whom a sickness of many years had reduced to extremity. M. the cure, who did not understand the language of these savages, prayed me to go to confess the sick girl, and conducted me himself to her cabin. In the conversation which I had with this young girl, on the truths of religion, I learned that she had been very well instructed by one of our missionaries, but that she had not yet received baptism. After having passed two days to put to her all the questions proper, to assure myself of her disposition; “Do not refuse me, I conjure thee,” said she to me, “the grace of the baptism that I demand of thee; thou seest how’r much my breast is oppressed and that but little time remains to me to live; how unfortunate it would be to me; and what reproaches wouldest thou not have to make to thyself, if I should die without receiving this grace?” I replied to her that she should prepare for it on the next day, and retired. The joy which my reply caused her, worked in her a change so immediate that she was in a state to repair early in the morning to chapel. I was extremely surprised at her arrival and immediately I solemnly administered baptism to her. After which she returned to her cabin where she ceased not to thank the divine mercy for so great a blessing; and to sigh for the happy moment which should unite her to God for all eternity. Her desires were granted, and I had the happiness to assist at her death. What a stroke of providence for this poor girl, and what consolation for me to have been the instrument which God had well wished to use to place her in heaven.

You do not require from me, my dear brother, that I should enter into the detail of all that which has happened to me during the many years that I am in this mission; my occupations are always the same, and I should expose myself to wearisome repetitions. I will content myself by reporting to you certain facts, which appear to me the most to merit your attention.

I can tell you in general that you would find it difficult to restrain your tears if you found yourself in my church with our assembled savages, and if you should be witness of the piety with which they recite their prayers, chant the divine offices and participate in the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist. When they have been illumined with the lights of faith, and when they have sincerely embraced it they are not the same men, and the most part preserve the innocence which they have received from baptism. It is this which fills me with the sweetest joy, when I hear their confessions, which are frequent; whatever the questions which I put to them, I can often hardly find matter to absolve them from.

My occupations with them are continual. As they only expect help from their missionary and as they have in him complete confidence, it does not suffice me to fulfill the spiritual functions of my ministry for the sanctification of their souls, it is still necessary that I enter into their temporal affairs that I may always be ready to comfort them, when they come to consult me, and that I should decide their little differences, that I should take care of them when they are sick, that I should bleed them, that I should give them medicines, etc. My days are sometimes so full, that I am obliged to shut myself up in order to find time to devote to prayer, and to recite my office.

The zealous spirit with which God has filled me for the welfare of my savages was much alarmed in the year 1697, when I learned that a nation of Amalingan savages were coming to establish themselves a day’s journey from my village. I had ground to fear that the juggleries of their medicine men, that is the sacrifices which they make to the demon and the disorders which ordinarily follow, might make an impression upon some of my young neophytes; but thanks to the divine mercy, my fears were very soon dissipated by what I am going to tell you.

One of our captains, celebrated for his valor, having been killed by the English, from whom we are not distant, the Amalingans sent several of their nation into our village, to dry the tears of the relatives of this illustrious deceased, that is to say, as I have already explained to you, to visit them, to make presents to them, and to testify to them by their dances the part which they take in their affliction. They arrived on the eve of Corpus Christi. I was then occupied in hearing the confessions of my savages, which continued all that day, the night following, and the next day until noon, when began the procession of the Consecrated Host. It was done with much order and piety, and, even in the midst of these forests, with more pomp and magnificence than you yourself could imagine. This spectacle, which was new for the Amalingans, attracted them, and struck them with admiration. I thought it my duty to profit by the favorable disposition in which they were, and after, having assembled them, I made them the following discourse in savage style. “It is a long time, my children that I have wished to see you; now that I have this happiness, it wants but little that my heart should burst. Think of the joy that a father has who tenderly loves his children, when he again sees them after a long absence in which they have run the greatest dangers, and you will conceive a portion of mine; because although you pray not yet, I cease not to regard you as my children, and to have for you a father’s tenderness, because the children of the great Spirit, who has given you being as well as those who pray, who has made heaven for you as well as for them, who thinks of you as he thinks of them and me, that they may rejoice in eternal happiness. That which gives me pain, and lessens the joy that I have in seeing you is the reflection which I actually make, that one day I shall be separated from one part of my children, whose lot will be eternally unhappy, because they do not pray; while the others who pray will be in the joy which never ends. When I think of this sad separation can I have a contented heart? The happiness of some does not give me so much joy, as the unhappiness of others afflicts me. If you had insurmountable obstacles to prayer, and if abiding in the state where you are I could make you enter into heaven I would spare nothing to secure you this happiness, I would push you in, I would make you all enter there, so much I love you, and so much I desire that you should be happy; but it is this which is not possible. It is necessary to pray, it is necessary to be baptized, in order to enter into this place of delights.”

After this preamble, I explained to them at great length the principal articles of the faith, and I continued thus:

“All the words which I come to explain to you are not human words; they are the words of the great Spirit; they are not written like the words of a man upon a collar, which they make to tell all that they wish; but they are written in the book of the great Spirit, where a lie cannot have access.”

To make you understand this savage expression, it is necessary to remark, my dear brother, that the custom of these people when they write to any nation, is to send a collar, or a large belt, on which they make different figures with porcelain beads of different colors. They instruct him who carries the collar, telling him, this is what the collar says to such a nation, to such a person, and they send him forth. Our savages would have trouble in understanding what was said to them, and would be but little attentive if one did not conform himself to their manner of thought and expression; I continued thus:

“Courage, my children, hear the voice of the great Spirit who speaks to you by my mouth, he loves you; and his love for you is so great, that he has given his life to procure for you an eternal life. Alas! perhaps he has only permitted the death of one of our captains in order to draw you to the place of prayer, and make you hear his voice. Reflect that you are not immortal. A day will come when they will likewise wipe away the tears for your death; what will serve you to have been in this life great captains, if, after your death, you are cast into eternal flames? He, for whom you come to mourn with us is happy to have listened a thousand times to the voice of the great Spirit and to have been faithful to the prayer. Pray like him, and you shall live eternally. Courage, my children, we will not separate that some should go to one side, and others to another; let us all go to heaven, it is our country, it is that to which the sole master of life calls you of whom I am only the interpreter; think of it seriously.”

As soon as I had done speaking, they conversed together some time, afterwards their orator made me this reply on their part; “My Father, I am glad to listen to thee. Thy voice has penetrated even into my heart, but my heart is yet closed, and I can not open it at present, to make you know what is there, or on what side it will turn; it is necessary that I should wait a number of chiefs and other considerable people of our nation who will arrive the next autumn, it is then that I will disclose to thee my heart. Behold, my dear father, all that I have to say to thee at present.”

“My heart is content,” replied I to him; “I am very glad that my word has given you pleasure, and that you demand time to think of it; you will only be more firm in your attachment to the prayer when you shall have once embraced it. In the meantime I shall not have ceased to address myself to the great Spirit, and to ask of him that he should regard you with eyes of pity, and that he should strengthen your thoughts to the end that they should be turned to the side of prayer.” After which I quitted their assembly and they returned to their village.

When autumn had come, I learned that one of our savages would go to the Amalingans to seek corn to sow their lands. I made him come to me and charged him to say to them on my part that I was impatient to see my children again, that I had them always present in mind, and that I prayed them to remember the word that they had given me. The savage acquitted himself faithfully of his commission, and this is the response that the Amalingans made him.

“We are much obliged to our father for thinking of us without ceasing. On our side, we have thought much on that which he has said to us. We cannot forget his words, while we have a heart because they have been so deeply graven there, that nothing can efface them. We are persuaded that he loves us, we wish to listen to him, and to obey him in that which he desires of us. We accept the prayer which he proposes to us and we see nothing in it but what is good and laudable; we are resolved to embrace it, and we should already have gone to find our father in his village, if there had been sufficient provisions for our subsistence during the time that he should devote to our instruction; but how can we find it there? We know that hunger is in the cabin of our father, and it is this which doubly afflicts us, that our father should be hungry and that we should not be able to see him that he may instruct us. If our father could come here to pass some time with us he would live and would instruct us. This is what you shall say to our father.” This answer of the Amalingans was returned at a favorable juncture; the greater part of my savages had been gone for some days to seek wherewith to live upon until the gathering in of corn; their absence gave me leisure to visit the Amalingans, and on the next day I embarked in a canoe to repair to their village. I was no more than a league distant, when they perceived me; and immediately they saluted me with continual discharges of guns which ceased only at the landing of the canoe. This honor which they rendered me assured me of their present dispositions. I lost no time and as soon as I arrived I caused a cross to be planted, and those who accompanied me very soon raised a chapel which they made of bark in the same manner as their cabins were made, and erected an altar in it. While they were occupied with this work, I visited all the cabins of the Amalingans, to prepare them for the instruction which I should give them. As soon as I commenced they became very assiduous to understand. I assembled them three times a day in the chapel; namely, the morning after my mass, at midday, the evening after prayer. The rest of the day I went about the cabins where I gave them more particular instructions.

When after several days of continual work, I judged that they were sufficiently instructed I fixed the day when they should come to regenerate themselves in the water of the holy baptism. The first who repaired to the cabin, were the chief, the orator, three of the more considerable of the nation, with two women. After their baptism, two other bands, each of twenty savages, succeeded them, who received the same grace. In fine all the others continued to come there on this day, and the morrow.

You can judge well enough, my dear brother that however the missionary labors, he is well recompensed for his fatigue by the sweet consolation that he receives in leading an entire nation of savages into the way of salvation. I prepared to leave them, and return to my own village, when a deputy came to tell me on their part that they had all assembled in the same place, and that they prayed me to repair to their assembly. As soon as I appeared in the midst of them, the orator addressed these words to me in the name of all the others. “Our father,” said he to me, “we have not words to testify to thee the inexpressible joy that we all feel in having received baptism. It seems to us now that we have another heart; everything which gave us trouble is entirely dissipated, our thoughts are no more wavering, the baptism interiorly fortifies us, and we are fully resolved to honor it all the days of our life. Behold what we say to thee before thou quittest us.” I replied to them in a little discourse, wherein I exhorted them in the singular grace which they had received, and to do nothing unworthy of the character of a child of God, with which they have been honored by the holy baptism. As they prepared to depart for the sea, I added that on their return, we should determine what would be most proper, either that we should go to dwell with them or that they should come to form with us one and the same village.

The village where I dwell is called Nanantsouack, and is placed in a country which is situated between Acadia and New England. This mission is about eight leagues from Pentagouet, and they count it a hundred leagues from Pentagouet to Port Royal. The river of my mission is the greatest of all those which water the lands of the savages. It should be marked on the chart, under the name of Kinibeki; which has brought the French to give to these savages the name of kanibals. This river empties into the sea at Sankderank, which is only five or six leagues from Pemquit. After having ascended forty leagues from Sankderank, one arrives at my village which is on the height of a point of land. We are only the distance of two days at the most from the English habitation; it takes more than fifteen days for us to reach Quebec, and the journey is very painful and difficult. It would be natural that our savages should do their trading with the English, and there are no advantages which the latter have not offered them to attract and to gain their friendship; but all their efforts have been useless and nothing has been able to detach them from alliance with the French. The only tie which has so closely united us with them is their firm attachment to the Catholic faith. They are convinced that if they gave themselves up to the English, they would very soon find themselves without a missionary, without a sacrifice, without a sacrament, and nearly without any exercise of religion, and that little by little they would be plunged into their first infidelity. This firmness of our savages has been put to all sorts of tests on the part of their powerful neighbors, without their ever having been able to gain anything.

In the time when the war was on the point of being kindled between the powers of Europe, the English governor newly arrived at Boston, requested of our savages an interview on the sea-shore, or an island which he designated. They consented to it, and prayed me to accompany them there, to consult me on the artful proposals which might be made to them, in order to be assured that their replies should have nothing contrary neither to religion, nor to the interests of the king’s service. I followed them, and my intention was to keep myself simply in their quarters, to aid them by my counsels, without appearing before the governor. As we approached the island, to the number of more than two hundred canoes, the English saluted us by a discharge of all the cannons of their ships, and all the savages responded to this salute by a light discharge of all their guns. Afterwards the governor appearing on the island, the savages landed there with precipitation; thus I found myself where I desired not to be and where the governor desired not that I should be. When he perceived me, he came some steps toward me, and after the ordinary compliments, he returned to the midst of his people, and I to the savages.

“It is by order of our queen,” said he to them, “that I come to see you; she desires that we should live in peace. If some English man should be imprudent enough to do you wrong, do not dream to avenge yourself for it, but address your complaint immediately to me, and I will render you prompt justice. If it happens that we should have war with the French, remain neutral, and do not mix yourselves in our differences. The French are as strong as we, therefore let us settle our quarrels together. We will supply all your needs; we will take your furs, and we will give you our goods at a moderate price.” My presence hindered him from saying all that he intended, for it was not without design that he had brought a minister with him.

When he had ceased speaking, the savages retired, to deliberate together on the reply which they had to make. During this time, the governor drawing me apart “I pray you sir” said he to me, “not to lead your Indians to make war against us.” I replied to him that my religion and my character engaged me to give them only counsels of peace. I should have spoken more, when I saw myself suddenly surrounded with a score of young warriors, who feared lest the governor wished to carry me away. In the meantime the savages came forward, and one of them made the following reply to the governor.

“Great chief, thou didst tell us not to join with the French. Supposing that thou shouldst declare war against him; know that the French man is my brother; we have the same prayer he and I, and we are in the same cabin at two fires; he has one fire and I the other. If I see thee enter into the cabin on the side of the fire where the French man is seated I should watch thee from my mat, where I am seated at the other fire; if, in watching thee, I should perceive that thou carriest a hatchet, I should have the thought what does the Englishman intend to do with this hatchet? I should raise myself then upon my mat, to observe what he will do. If he raises the hatchet to strike my brother the Frenchman, I take mine, and I run to the Englishman to strike him. Is it that I should be able to see my brother struck in my cabin, and remain quietly on my mat? No, no, I love my brother too much, not to defend him. Thus I would say to thee, great chief; do nothing to my brother, and I will do nothing to thee; remain quiet on thy mat, and I will remain in repose on mine.”

It is thus that this conference ended. A little time after some of our savages arrived from Quebec, and reported that a French vessel had brought there the news of war kindled between France and England. Our savages immediately, after having deliberated according to their custom, ordered the young men to kill the dogs, to make the war feast, and to learn there those who wished to engage themselves in it. The feast took place; they hung a kettle, they danced, and two hundred and fifty warriors met there. After the feast they fixed upon a day to come to confess themselves. I exhorted them to be as attached to their prayer as they were in the village, to well observe the laws of war, not to exercise any cruelty, not to kill anybody except in the heat of combat, to treat humanely those who surrendered themselves prisoners, etc.

The manner in which these people make war, renders a handful of their warriors more formidable than a body of two or three thousand European soldiers would be. As soon as they have entered into the enemy’s country, they divide themselves into different parties, one of thirty warriors, another of forty, etc. They say to the first; “to you is given this hamlet to devour,” this is their expression “to you others, is given this village, etc.” At once, the signal is given to strike all together, and at the same time in different places. Our two hundred and fifty warriors, spread themselves over more than twenty leagues of country, where there are villages, hamlets, and houses; on the day mentioned they struck all together early in the morning; in a single day they swept away all that the English had there, and they killed more than two hundred of them, and they made more than one hundred and fifty prisoners, and had on their part only a few warriors slightly wounded. They returned from this expedition having each one two canoes loaded with booty which they had taken.

During all the time that the war lasted, they carried desolation throughout all the land which belonged to the English; they ravaged their villages, their forts, their farms, carried away a great number of cattle and made more than six hundred prisoners. Therefore these gentlemen persuaded with reason, that in keeping my savages in their attachment to the Catholic faith I strengthened more and more the bonds which united them to the French, have put in operation all sorts of tricks and artifices to detach them from me. There are no offers nor promises which they have not made them, if they would deliver me into their hands, or at least send me back to Quebec, and take in my place one of their ministers. They have made several attempts to surprise me and carry me off; they have gone even so far as to promise a thousand pounds sterling to him who would carry my head to them. You may well believe, my dear brother, that these menaces are not capable of intimidating me, nor to diminish my zeal; too happy if I should become their victim, and if God should judge me worthy of being loaded with irons and to pour out my blood for the salvation of these savages.

At the first news which came of the peace made in Europe, the governor of Boston caused our savages to be told that if they would properly assemble in a place, he would confer with them on the present juncture of affairs. All the savages presented themselves at the place indicated, and the governor spoke to them thus.

“To the men of Naranhous, I inform thee that peace is made between the King of France and our queen, and that by the treaty of peace, the King of France ceded to our queen, Plaisance and Portrail with all the lands adjacent. So, if thou wishest, we will live in peace thou and I. We have done so formerly; but the suggestions of the French have made thee break it, and it was to please him that thou hast come to kill us. Let us forget all these wicked doings and cast them into the sea, to the end that they shall appear no more and that we shall be good friends.” “That is well”, replied the orator, in the name of the Savages, that the Kings should be at peace, “I am very glad of it, and I have no more trouble in making it with thee. It is not I who struck thee during twelve years, it is the Frenchman who has used my arm to strike thee. We are at peace, it is true, I have even thrown away my hatchet, I know not where, and while I was in repose on my mat, thinking of nothing, some young men brought me word, which the governor of Canada sent me by which he said to me; My son the English man has struck me, help me to avenge myself on him, take thy hatchet, and strike the Englishman. I who have always listened to the word of the French governor, I sought my hatchet, I found it at last all rusted, I burnished it, I hung it at my belt to come to strike thee, now the Frenchman tells me to put it down; I throw it far away, that one may no longer see the blood with which it is red. I consent to it.”

“But thou sayest that the French man hast given thee Plaisance and Portrail which is in my neighborhood, and all the lands adjacent; he shall give it to thee as much as he will, for me I have my land which the great Spirit has given me to live on as long as there shall be a child of my nation, he will fight to preserve it” All ended thus pleasantly. The governor made a great feast to the savages, after which each withdrew. The happy expectations of peace, and the tranquility which they began to enjoy, gave birth to the thought among our savages to rebuild what has been ruined in a sudden eruption which the English made, while they were absent from the village. As we are very distant from Quebec and much nearer Boston, they deputed some of the principal men of their nations to demand workmen, with the promise to pay liberally for their work. The governor received them with great demonstration of friendship, and bestowed upon them all sorts of blandishments. “I wish myself to rebuild your church,” said he to them, “and I will use you better in it than the French governor has done whom you call your father. It should be for him to rebuild it, since it was he who in some sort has ruined it, in leading you to strike me; as for me, I defend myself as I can; as for him, after being served by you for his defence, he abandons you. I shall act much better with you, for not only do I grant you workmen, I wish moreover to pay them myself, and to bear all the expense of the building which you wish to construct; but as it is not reasonable that I, who am an Englishman should build a church without putting into it an English minister to keep it, and to teach prayer in it, I will give you one with whom you will be contented and you shall send back the French minister to Quebec, who is in your village.”

“Thy word astonishes me” replied the deputy of the savages, “and I wonder at the proposition that thou hast made me. When thou camest here, thou didst see me a long time before the French governor; neither those who preceded thee, nor thy ministers have ever spoken to me of prayer, nor of the great Spirit. They have seen my furs, my skins of the beaver, and the moose, and it is on them alone they have thought; it is these that they have sought with eagerness, I could not furnish them to the French governor, my father, to send them to me.”

In effect, M. the governor had no sooner learned the ruin of our church, than he sent his workmen to rebuild it. It is of a beauty, which might be admired in Europe, and I spared nothing to adorn it. You have been able to see by the details that I have given in my letter to my nephew, that in the depths of these forests, and among these Savage nations, the divine Service is performed with much propriety and dignity. It is to this I am very attentive, not only while the Savages reside in the village, but yet all the time that they are obliged to inhabit the seashore, where they go twice each year to find there something to live on. Our savages have so fully despoiled their country of beasts, that for ten years they have no longer found there either moose or deer. Bears and beavers have become very rare there, they have scarcely anything to live on except corn, beans, and pumpkins. They crush the corn between two stones to reduce it to flour, then they make a broth of it which they sometimes season with grease or with dry fish. When the corn fails they search in the tilled fields for potatoes or acorns, which they esteem as much as corn. After having dried it, they cook it in a kettle with ashes, to remove the bitterness from it. For myself, I eat it dry, and it holds for me the place of bread.

At a certain time, they repair to a river a short distance off, where during a month the fish ascend the river in so great quantity, that one could fill fifty thousand barrels of them in a day, if one could have sufficient strength for the work. They are a kind of great herring very agreeable to the taste when they are fresh; they press forward one upon another a foot in thickness, and they dip them out like water. The savages dry them during eight or ten days, and they live upon them during all the time they sow their lands.

It is only in the spring that they sow their corn, and they only give it the last hoeing towards Corpus Christi Day. After which they deliberate as to what place on the sea they shall go to seek something to live upon till the harvest, which is not ordinarily made until a little after the Assumption. After having deliberated they send to pray me to repair to their assembly. As soon as I have arrived there, one of them speaks to me thus in the name of all the others. “Our father, what I say to thee, is what all of those whom thou seest here would say to thee, thou knowest us, thou knowest that we want food; scarcely have we been able to give the last hoeing to our fields, and we have no other resource until the harvest, but to go and seek food on the shore of the sea. It will be hard for us to abandon our prayer; that is why we hope that thou wilt accompany us, so that in seeking something to live upon we shall not interrupt our prayer. Such and such persons will embark thee, and that which thou wilt have to carry will be dispersed among the other canoes. That is what I have to say to thee.” I have no sooner replied to them Kekikberba (this is a savage term which means, I hear you, my children, I agree to what you demand), than all cry together ouriourie, which is an expression of thanks. Immediately after they leave the village.

As soon as they arrive at the place where they should pass the night, they plant poles at intervals in the form of a chapel, they surround them with a large tent of ticking, and it is open only in front. All is finished in a quarter of an hour. I always carry with me a fair cedar board four feet in length with what should support it; it is this which serves for an altar, above which is placed a very appropriate canopy. I adorn the interior of the chapel with very fine silk stuff; a mat of reeds dyed and well wrought, while a great bearskin serves for a carpet They carry this all prepared, and they have only to place it when the chapel is arranged. At night I take my rest on a carpet. They sleep in the air in an open field if it does not rain; if it rains or snows they cover themselves with bark which they carry with them, and which is rolled up like cloth. If the excursion is made in the winter, they remove the snow from the space which the chapel should occupy and they arrange it as usual. Then they make each day the evening and the morning prayer, and I offer the holy sacrifice of the mass.

When the savages have reached their destination, on the next day they occupy themselves in erecting a church, which they cover with their bark. I carry with me my chapel, and all that is necessary to adorn the choir, which I hang with silk stuffs and fair calicoes. The divine service is performed as in the village and indeed, they form a kind of village of all their cabins made of bark, which they set up in less than an hour. After the Assumption, they quit the sea and return to the village to make their harvest. They fare then very poorly until after All Saints, when they return a second time to the sea. It is in this season that they make good cheer. Besides large fish, shell fish, and fruits, they find bustards, ducks, and all sorts of game, with which the sea is all covered in the place where they encamp, which is divided by a great number of little islands. The hunters who go out in the morning to hunt ducks, and other kinds of game sometimes kill a score at a single shot. Towards the Purification, or later toward Ash Wednesday they return to the village, it is only the hunters who scatter themselves abroad to go in pursuit of the bears, of the moose, of the deer and of the beavers.

These good savages have often given me proofs of the most sincere attachment for me, above all on two occasions, when, finding myself with them on the shores of the sea, they took lively alarm on my account. One day when they were occupied with their hunting, a rumor was suddenly spread that an English party had made an irruption into my quarters, and had carried me away. In that very hour they assembled, and the result of their deliberation was that they should pursue the party until they had overtaken it, and had snatched me from their hands, should it cost them life. They set off at the same instant toward my quarter, rather far into the night. When they entered into my cabin, I was occupied in composing the life of a saint in the savage language. “Ah, our father”; they cried, “How glad we are to see thee.” “I am eagerly rejoiced to see you, but what is it brings you here at so frightful a time?” “It is mainly that we are come, they had assured us that the English had carried thee off; we came to observe their tracks and our warriors could hardly wait to come and pursue them, and to attack their forts, where, if the news had been true, the English would have without doubt have imprisoned you.” “You see, my children” I replied to them, “that your fears are unfounded; but the friendship my children show me fills my heart with joy; because it is a proof of their attachment to the prayer. Tomorrow, you shall depart immediately after mass at the earliest hour to our brave warriors, and deliver them from all uneasiness.”

Another alarm equally false threw me into great embarrassment, and exposed me to perish with hunger and misery. Two savages came in haste to my quarters to inform me that they had seen the English within a half day’s journey. “Our father” said they to me, “there is no time to lose, it is necessary that thou shouldest retire, thou wilt risk too much to remain here; for us we will await them, and perhaps we will go in advance of them. The runners depart at this moment to observe them; but for thee it is necessary that thou shouldest go to the village with these men whom we bring to conduct thee there. When we shall know thee in a place of safety, we shall be easy.” I set out at break of day with ten savages who served me for guides; but after some days march, we found ourselves at the end of our small provisions. My conductors killed the dog which followed them, and ate it; they soon came to their wolf bags which they likewise ate. This is what it was not possible for me to taste, nevertheless I lived on a kind of wood which they boiled, and which, being cooked, is as tender as radishes half cooked, except the heart which is very hard and which they throw away; this wood had not a bad taste, but I had extreme difficulty in swallowing it. Sometimes they found attached to the trees those excrescences of wood which are white like large mushrooms; they cook them and reduce them to a kind of pulp, but it is quite necessary to acquire a taste for them. At other times they dried in the fire the bark of the green oak, they pounded it immediately, and made it into a pulp or else they dried the leaves which grew in the clefts of the rocks and which they called tripes de roche; when they are cooked, they make a pulp very black and disagreeable. I ate of all this, because there is nothing that hunger does not devour.

With such food, we could make only very short journeys. We arrived in the meantime at a lake which began to thaw, and there was already four inches of water on the ice. It was necessary to cross it with our snow shoes; but as these snow shoes are made of strips of skin, as soon as they were wet, they became very heavy, and rendered our march much more difficult. Although one of our men marched at our head to sound the way, I sank suddenly as far as to the knees; another who marched beside me sank presently up to the waist, crying out; “My father, I am dead.” As I approached him to offer him my hand, I sank myself still deeper. At last, it was not without much hardship that we extricated ourselves from this danger, through the encumbrance which our snow shoes caused us, of which we could not rid ourselves. Nevertheless, I ran still less risk from drowning, than from dying from cold in the midst of this half frozen lake.

But new dangers awaited us the next day, in the passage of a river which it was necessary we should cross on the floating ice. We extricated ourselves from it happily, and at last arrived at the village. I at first dug up a little Indian corn, which I had left in my house, and I ate of it, all raw as it was to appease my first hunger, while these poor savages made all sorts of efforts in order to regale me. And in effect the repast that they brought me, although frugal and but little appetizing, as it might appear to you, was, in their eyes, a veritable feast. They served me at first a plate of mush made of Indian corn. Now for the second course, they gave me a small morsel of bear, with acorns and a little cake of Indian corn cooked under the ashes. When I asked them why they had prepared for me such good cheer; “How now, our father,” they replied to me, “it is two days that thou hast eaten nothing; could we do less; would to God that we could very often regale thee in this way.” While I was thinking to recover from my fatigue, one of the Indians who were encamped on the sea shore, and who was ignorant of my return to the village caused a new alarm. Having come to my quarters, and not finding me there, nor yet those who were encamped with me, they did not doubt that we had been carried away by a party of English; and while on his way to give warning to those in his quarters, he reached the bank of the river. There, he tore the bark from a tree upon which he drew with charcoal the English about me, and one of them cutting off my head. This is all the writing of the savages, and they understand as well among themselves, by these kinds of figures, as we understand each other by our letters. He then placed this sort of letter around a stick which he planted on the bank of the river, in order to instruct the passersby what had happened to me. A short time after, some savages who passed there in six canoes to go to the village, discovered this bark. “There is a writing,” said they; “let us see what it tells.” “Alas,” they cried on reading it, “the English have killed those of the quarter of our father; as for him, they have cut off his head.” They immediately plucked off the lock of hair which they leave negligently flowing over their shoulders and seated themselves around the stick until the next day, without saying a single word. This ceremony among them is the mark of the greatest affliction. The next day they continued their route to within a half league of the village where they stopped; then they sent one of them into the woods quite near to the village, in order to see if the English had not come to burn the fort and the cabins. I was reciting my breviary while walking along by the fort on the river, when this savage arrived opposite me on the other side. As soon as he perceived me “Ah, my father,” cried he, “how glad I am to see thee. My heart was dead, and it revived on seeing thee, we have seen the writing which said the English had cut off thy head. How glad I am that it has lied.” When I proposed to him to send him a canoe to cross the river. “No,” replied he, “it is enough that I have seen thee; I return upon my steps to carry this pleasant news to those who await me, and we shall come very soon to rejoin thee.” Indeed they arrived there the same day.

I believe, my very dear brother, to have fulfilled that which you desired of me, by the summary which I undertake to make you of the nature of this country, of the character of our savages, of my occupations, of my labors, and of the danger to which I am exposed. You judge without doubt that it is on the part of my gentlemen, the English of our neighborhood, that I have the most to fear. It is true that for a long time they have sworn my destruction; but neither their ill-will for me, nor the death with which they threaten me, shall ever be able to separate me from my old flock; I recommend it to your holy prayers, and am, with most tender attachment, etc.

Written by johnwood1946

April 19, 2017 at 11:22 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians

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From the blog at

I debated what to title this posting without being too inflammatory, and finally decided upon Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians. There is no avoiding, however, that it is a story of ethnic cleansing. Two documents follow, the first being Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence’s instructions to the military in carrying out the Expulsion, and the second being his notice to other colonial governors to expect shipments of displaced people. These are from Report and Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, a collection of papers dated in Halifax 1883.

Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence

From Wikipedia


(Spelling is as found)

Bureaucracy and the Expulsion of the Acadians

  1. Instructions to Lieutenant Colonel Winslow:

Hallifax, 11th August, 1755

Instructions for Lieutenant Colonel Winslow Commanding His Majestye’s Troops att Mines; or in His Absence for Captain Alexr Murray Commanding His Majesty’s Troops Piziquid in Relation to the Transportation of the Inhabitants of the Districts of Mines Piziquid, River of Canard, Cobequid etc. out of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Sir, Having in my Letter of the 31st of July Last Acquainted Captain Murray with the Reasons which Induced His Majesty’s Council to Come to the Resolution of Sending Away the French Inhabitants and Clearing the Whole Country of Such Bad Subjects, (Which Letter he will Communicate to you together with the Instructions I have Since that Sent Him) it only Remains for Me to Give you Necessary Orders and Instructions for Puting in Practice What has Ben So Solemly Determined.

That the Inhabitants May Not have it in their Power to Return to this Province, Nor to Join in Strengthening the French of Canada or Louisbourge, it is Resolved that they shall be Dispersed Among His Majesty’s Colonies Upon the Continent of America.

For this purpose Transports are Sent Up the Bay to Ship off those at Chignecto And Colonel Monckton will Order those he Cannot fill their unto Mines Bason to Carry off Some part of the Inhabitants of these Districts; you Will have Vessels Also from Boston to Transport one Thousand Persons Reckoning Two Persons to a Ton.

Upon the arrival of these Vessels from Boston And Chignecto in the Bason of Mines, as Many of the Inhabitants of the Districts of Mines, Piziquid, Cobiquid, the River of Canard, &c.; as Can Be Collected By Any Means, Particularly the Heads of Families & Young Men are to Be Shipped On Board of them at the Above Rate of Two Persons to a Ton Or as Near it as Possible; the Tonnage to be ascertained By Charter Parties of the Severall Transports; Which you Will Be Furnished With an Account of From the Masters.

And to Give You all the Ease Possible Respecting the Victualling of these Transports; I have Appointed Mr. George Saul to Acte as Agent Victualler Upon this Occasion, And have given him Particular Instructions for that Effect, Which he has Directions to Communicate to you. And to Furnish You With a Copy of upon his Arrivall From Chignecto; With Provisions Ordered for Victualling the whole Transports.

Destination of the Vessels Appointed to Rendivous in the Bason of Mines

To be Sent to North Carolina. Such a Number as Will Transport Five hundred Persons or their abouts.

To be Sent to Virginia. Such a Number as Will Transporte One Thousand Persons.

To Marylande. Such a Number as will Transporte Five hundred persons or in Proportion, if the Number if the — to — Shipped Oft Should Exceed two thousand Persons.

If the Transports from Boston Should Arrive In Mines Bason Before Mr. Saul the Agent Victualler Shall Arrive from Chignecto, they Must Remain their till he Does Arrive with the Provisions, But in Case You Shall have Imbarked Any of the Inhabitants Before the Agent Victualler be On the Spot, You will If Necessary Allow Each Person So Imbarked Five Pounds of Flower and one pound of Pork for Every Seven Days. Which Allowance Mr. Saul has Orders to Replace.

When the People are embarked you will please to Give the Maste of Each Vessell One of the Letters (of which you will Receive a Number Signed By Me) Which you will Address to the Governour of the Province or Commander in Chief for the time Being where they are to be put on Shore and enclose therein the Printed form of the Certificate to be Granted to the Masters of the Vessells to Intitle them to their Hire as Agreed Upon By Charter Party: And with Each of these you will Give the Masters their Sailing Orders in writing to Proceed According to the above Destination, And Upon their Arrivall Immediately to wait Upon the Governers or Commanders in Chief of the Provinces to Which they are Bound—with the Said Letters and to Make all Possible Dispatch in Debarking their Passengers and Obtaining Certificates thereof Agreeable to the Form Afforesaid: And you will in these Orders Make it a Perticular Injunction to the Said Masters to be as Carefull and watchfull as Possible During the whole Course of the Passage; to Prevent the Passengers from Making any Attempt to Seize Upon the Vessells By Allowing only a Small Number to be Upon the Decks at a Time, and Useing all Other Necessary Precautions to Prevent the Bad Consequences of Such Attempts; And that they Be Perticularly Carefull that the Inhabitants have Carried no Arms or Other Offencive Weapons on Board with them at their Imbarkation; As Also that they See the Provisions Regularly Issued to the People Agreable to the Allowance proportioned in Mr. Saul’s Instructions.

As Captain Murray is well Acquainted with the People &c. with the Country, I would have you Consult with Him Upon all occasions, And Perticularly with Relation to the Means Necessary for Collecting the People together, So as to Get them On Board; And if you Find that fair Means will not Do with them, you Must Proceed By the Most Vigorous Measures Possible not Only in Compeling them to Embarke But in Depriveing those who Shall Escape of all Means of Shelter or Support By Burning their Houses and Distroying Everything that May Afford them the Means of Subsistance in the Countrey. You will Receive Herewith a Copy of the Charter Party; which the Masters of the Transporte Vessels taken here have entered Into with the Goverment, For your Information as to the Terms; those From Boston will Be Nearly the Same, and as you See they are hired By the Month you will Use all Possible Dispatch to Save Expence to the Publick.

If it is not very Inconvenient I would have you Send the Sloop Dove to Annapolis to take on Board part of the Inhabitants their, Destined for Connecticut to Which Place that Vessel Belongs.

As Soon as the Transports have Received Their People On Board, And Are Ready to Sail you are to Acquaint the Commander of His Majesty’s Ship therewith that He May take them Under Convoy and put to Sea without Loss of Time.

When you have Executed the Buisness of Shipping Off all that Can Be Collected of the Inhabitants in the Districts About Mines Bason you will March your Self or Send a Strong Detachment to Annapolis Royal to Assist Major Handfeild in Shipping off those of that River, And you will So Order it as all the Straglers that May be Met with by the way May be taken up and Carried to Annapolis in Order to their Being Shipped with the Reste.

Chas. Lawrence

  1. Circular Letter from Governor Lawrence to the Governors of the other colonies:

Hallifax in Nova Scotia, 11th of August, 1755

Sir, The success that has attended His Majesty’s Armes in Driving the French from the Encrochments they had Made In the Province Furnished Me with a Favourable Oppertunity of Reducing the French Inhabitants of this Colony to a Proper Obedience to His Majesty’s Goverment or Forcing them to Quit the Country. These Inhabitants were Permitted to Remain in Quiet Possession of their Lands, Upon Condition they Should take the Oath of Allegiance to the King within one year after the Treaty of Utretch by which this Province was Ceded to Great Britain; With this Condition they have Ever Refuced to Comply without having at the Same time from the Governor an Assurance in Writing that they Should not Be Called Upon to Bear Arms in the Defence of the Province And with this General Phillips Did Comply of which Step His Majesty has Disapproved, And the Inhabitants Pretending Therefrom to be in a State of Neutrality between His Majesty and His enemies have Continually Furnished the French and Indians with Intelligence, Quarters, Provisions and Assistance In Annoying the Governmente, and While one Part have Abetted the French Incroachments By their Treachery, the Other have Countananced them by Open Rebellion. And Three Hundred of them were Actually found in Armes in the French forte at Beausejour When it Surrendered.

Notwithstanding all their former Bad Behaviour as His Majesty was Pleased to Allow me to Extend Still further His Royall Grace to Such as would Return to their Duty, I Offered Such of them as had Not Ben Openly in Arms Againste us a Continuance of the Possession of their Lands If they would take the Oath of Allegiance Unqualified with Any Reservations whatso Ever, But this they have Most Audaciously as Well as Unanimously Refused, And if they would Presume to Do this when their is a Large Fleet of Ships of War in the Harbour And a Considerable Land Force in the Province, What Might Not wee Expecte from them When the Approaching Winter Deprives us of the Former, And When the Troops Which are only Hirede from New England Occasionally and for a Small Time Have Returned Home?

As by this Behaviour the Inhabitants Have forfeited all title to their Lands and any further favour from the Government; I Called together His Majesty’s Council att which the Honourable Vice Admiral Boscaven & Rear Admiral Mostyn Assisted to Consider By what Means We Could with the Greatest Security and effect rid Ourselves of a Set of People who would forever have Ben an Obstruction to the Intentions of Settling this Colony and that it was now from their Refussal of the Oath Absolutely incumbent Upon Us to Remove.

As to their Numbers Amount to Near Seven Thousand Persons, the Driveing them off With Leave to Go Whither they Pleased, would have Doubtless Strengthened Canada, With so Considerable a Number of Inhabitants, and as they have no Cleared Land to Give them at Present, Such as Are Able to Bear Armes, Must have ben Immediately Employed In Annoying this ande the Neighboring Colonies, to Prevent Such an Inconveniency, it was Judged a Necessary, and the Only Practible Measure to Divide them among the Colonies, where they May be of Some Use as Most of them Are Healthy Strong People, And as they Cannot easily collecte themselves together Again it will Be out of their Power to Do any Mischief, And they May Became Proffitable and it is Possible in time Faithful Subjects.

As this Step was Indispensibly Necessary To the Security of this Colony Upon whose Preservation from French Incrochments the Prosperity of North America its esteemed in a Great Measure Dependant. I have not the Least Reason to Doubt of your Excellency’s Concurrence And that will Receive the Inhabitants I now Send and Dispose of them in Such Manner as May Best Answer Our Designs in Preventing their Reunion.

As the Vessells employed in This Service are Upon Monthly Hire I beg the Favour of you to Expedite as Much as Possible their Discharge And that they May Be Furnished with a Certificate of the Time thereof Agreable to the Form Enclosed.

I am, Sir, Your Most Obedient and Most Humble Servant,

Chas. Lawrence

Written by johnwood1946

April 12, 2017 at 8:54 AM

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From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac in 1867

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From the blog at

Queen’s Square, Opera Office, & Post Office, Charlottetown, ca 1915

From the McCord Museum

Alexander Gilbert was a Montreal journalist who toured the Maritime Provinces in 1867, and published his findings in the Montreal Evening Telegram under the headline From Montreal to the Maritime Provinces and Back.

The following travelogue is edited from his writing, and describes his journey From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac. He was impressed with what he saw.


From Pictou, Nova Scotia to Saint John, New Brunswick via Charlottetown and Shediac in 1867

Once more on the Nova Scotia Railway, and soon New Glasgow is left behind. In about twenty minutes Fisher’s Grant is reached, and here a ferry steamer is waiting for the conveyance of passengers to Pictou on the other side of the bay. Pictou is beautifully situated, and is far ahead of New Glasgow in appearance. No time is allowed for a run into the town, for the good steamer Princess of Wales is waiting with steam up to start for Shediac, via Prince Edward Island.

The passengers have just time to get on board, the ropes are cast off, the good byes said, and away sails the Princess, her bow pointing for the clear blue water ahead. The scenery is very fine in leaving the Bay of Pictou, and as the steamer runs rapidly out to sea the sea breeze comes sweeping in with refreshing effect. A delightful passage of four hours, and we are entering the magnificent harbour of Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, and no mean city. The harbour is, indeed, a large and splendid one. As we near the city, the island presents a very beautiful appearance, the red cliffs on the shore covered to the very edge with a luxuriant green, contrasting with the snow white beach with charming effect. Into the harbour three rivers empty themselves, the east, north, and west rivers, the waters of which can be seen stretching away far inland. Approaching nearer the city, the Government House and Catholic Cathedral are conspicuous, and while the eye is lost in admiration of the pretty scene, the steamer runs alongside the wharf, and we are informed that in a very short time she will be off again for Shediac. However, a stroll into the city reveals wide red sandstone streets, a novel sight in themselves; shops of respectable size, and strong healthy looking inhabitants. As there had been a grand Orange procession during the day, the city was gay with bunting, and numbers of the fair sex were promenading the principal thoroughfares—and very fair and pretty were the young ladies of Charlottetown, and, I believe, as a general rule, this is strictly true. A loud whistle from the steamer necessitates a hasty retreat on board, and again is the Princess under way. With the departure of daylight, the comfortable well-lighted saloon of the steamer is filled with a sociable group of passengers, and many are the opinions expressed as to the benefits of this Confederation, and grave are the considerations as to what should be the duty of Prince Edward Island in the present critical state of affairs. A Montrealer on board horrified the Islanders by stating that the Island would make a grand watering place for the Dominion, and startling as his proposition seemed to the indignant Charlottetownians, it is a far greater probability than that Prince Edward Island will remain in the state of isolation it at present enjoys. Retiring to a comfortable state-room, after a refreshing night’s rest we awake to find ourselves at Shediac, on the eastern shore of New Brunswick. In the harbour are a number of vessels of large tonnage, loading with deal for European ports; the deals are made in the interior, and brought down to the water’s edge, are floated off to the vessels waiting to receive them. The New Brunswick Railroad runs down the wharf to within a few feet of the stream, and the passenger has only to step from the boat to the train now ready to start for the city of St. John. Before leaving the good and staunch steamer that has carried us from Pictou to the present landing place, I must not forget the kindness of the gentlemanly captain, or the indefatigable exertions of the energetic steward to ensure the comfort of his passengers while on board. No one who goes by Halifax should think of returning to either St. John or Portland by any route but by this; the journey by rail and boat is as pleasant as could be desired, with the advantage of a visit to Prince Edward Island, and a sight of its beautiful harbour and scenery.

We are now on the New Brunswick Railway, and a smoother or better built line cannot be found in the Dominion; the cars are well finished and commodious, and the rate of travel, as contrasted with many Canadian lines of the same length, very fast. Space will not permit an extended description of the fine scenery witnessed or the many pretty little stations passed, which might furnish material for, many more letters, but the attention of the traveller cannot but be attracted by the lovely scenery as the train rushes through the verdant Sussex Valley. Nine miles from St. John is the lovely village of Rothesay, containing many beautiful villas, the summer retreats of the merchants of St. John. A little while longer, and ahead are seen the steeples and buildings of the city of St. John; the whistle shrieks and the train runs into the well-built station, the terminus of the New Brunswick Railway. Hailing a cab, we shortly arrive at the Waverley House, where dinner is awaiting, and as the morning’s journey has been productive of an appetite that might well be the envy of a dyspeptic, the curtain must drop until the substantial fare of the Waverley House has been discussed.

An American from Boston, who visited St. John, ridiculed its appearance, poked fun at its inhabitants, and no doubt in so doing imagined he distinguished himself. He certainly did distinguish himself, as an unblushing liar, and the man came from Boston! The man who could come from Boston and criticise the appearance of a city so despairingly as the lying Boston writer has done, is not only devoid of veracity, but must surely be so ignorant of the delightful cow path and “Hub of the Universe” notoriety enjoyed by the city he hailed from, as to become a curiosity.

The traveller or business man who visits St. John, witnesses the magnificent situation of the city, enjoys the lovely surrounding scenery, and experiences the hospitality of the inhabitants, and cannot be favourably impressed, should remain at home ever afterwards; he is hardly a fit subject to be let loose from the maternal apron strings.

I must confess I was not prepared for the agreeable surprise I experienced in visiting St. John; this was, perhaps, in consequence of my having been led to believe from another quarter that the city was more below the ordinary than, as it really is, far above it. One very striking feature at once noticed, is the broad streets and sidewalks, and the compact manner in which the city is built—the streets running parallel from the harbour; this, in all cases, has been strictly adhered to, the benefits of which will be more apparent at a future period when the city has assumed greater proportions. Although, like Halifax, St. John is mainly composed of wooden buildings, yet the main street can show some very large and fine blocks of brick, and the wooden structures are fast giving way to others of more substantial material.

The drives from the city to the neighbourhood are numerous and charming, and a very favourite one is to the beautiful village of Rothesay afore-mentioned. The cemetery is of great extent, prettily wooded, well laid out, and, when finished will be a fitting place for the remains of the loved ones gone before us. It is situated a short distance from the city. St. John can boast of one of the largest and finest skating rinks in the Dominion, many being of the opinion that it is equal to the famous Victoria Rink of our city. But, in the writer’s opinion, it does not afford such a large unbroken surface of ice as the Victoria, the pillars in the centre, from which the supports for the roof branch off, making a break in the ice. The St. John Rink is built in the shape of a huge dome, and does not present a very imposing appearance from the exterior, but an inside view conveys some idea of its extent, and it admirably answers the purpose for which it was constructed. Driving across the suspension bridge, a marvel of engineering skill, a lovely view is obtained of the St. John River, and of scenery in the background, which I shall not presume to describe. The asylum for the insane is in the suburb, and is a large, well-constructed edifice, and is admirably conducted and managed. Carleton and Portland constitute the suburbs of the city.

But what shall I say of the fair girls of St. John? Simply, that for really fine women, St. John is unrivalled in either Upper or Lower Canada. This may be said, in fact, of New Brunswick generally. Toronto and Quebec may boast of their fair daughters, with every reason, but they must yield the palm to St. John. Sad has been the havoc played with the hearts of British and Canadian visitors by the fair girls of New Brunswick, and no wonder. I met a number of Canadians who were all victims, all caught in the snares of Cupid. “The young ladies all seem to be good looking here at any rate,” I said to a gentleman from Toronto, who had been sometime in the city. “You better believe it,” he said, and then he candidly admitted, “I do not intend to return without one of them as my better half I can tell you.” “I give you credit for your sense,” I remarked; “I am happy to see you are so practical a Unionist. We shall be much more closely united to New Brunswick, I can safely predict, when our young; Canadians visit this part of our new Dominion.” “And glad we will be to see you too,” said a hearty young New Brunswickan who was one of the group; all the Canadians have been smitten with our lady friends, and those who are not so susceptible, at least speak in the highest praise of them. Are you making a long stay?” “No, I am happy to say, for my own peace of mind, I leave by boat tomorrow morning.” “Well, you can speak favourably of the New Brunswick girls when you get home.” “Indeed I can and will;” and when this catches the eye of my St. John friend he will see I have kept my word, at the risk of being thought a “very horrid fellow” by the young ladies of our more western part of the Dominion. But who ever heard of a literary man with a heart? Besides, the truth must be told. The St. John young ladies are unrivalled, and woe be to the bachelor who so far forgets himself as to place himself within the power of their charms. His chances of future single blessedness are few. If any are sceptical, let them put the truth of my remarks to the test.

I only wish that all who visit St. John may enjoy their visit as much as I did. My stay at St. John was as pleasant as I could desire, and my impressions of both place and people are of so pleasing a nature, that many a day will elapse before I will forget them. I do not offer this as a description of the city or surrounding scenery. My visit was of too brief a nature, and my note-book too full, to permit of giving the detailed account I would wish to have done.

Mr. Livingstone, of the Morning Telegraph, and Mr. Elder, of the Morning Journal, of St. John, practically illustrated the kindness and hospitality so proverbial of the Maritime part of our Dominion. I have to acknowledge much kindness from both these and officers of their staff. Nor must I omit to mention my jolly friend Guthrie, of the Waverley House, who although he had his house full to the ceiling had time to prove a very agreeable landlord. His house will be found the head-quarters for all Canadians, and if he is not wonderfully changed, will prove as agreeable a host as I have stated him to be.

I was fortunate, on leaving St. John, to catch the fine steamer New York again, and on a lovely morning we steamed out of the harbour of St. John. The good old city is left behind, and the steamer is smoothly rushing through the water on her way to Portland. A pleasant and smooth passage brings us to Portland at five a.m. The glad intelligence reaches us that a train will start for Montreal at seven, which gives us only two hours to wait.

To the public I would say, if you wish a delightful journey—a health-giving excursion by rail and ocean,—go to St. John, and by all means take the round trip by Halifax, Pictou, Charlottetown, Shediac, and back again to St. John.

Written by johnwood1946

April 5, 2017 at 8:26 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717

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From the blog at

A Sunday EXTRA: No Meeting of Minds Between the Acadians and the British in 1717

Mi’kmaq man, possibly in New Brunswick

ca 1915 from the McCord Museum

Following are three documents. The first is Nova Scotia Lieut. Governor John Doucette’s letter to Britain explaining his failure to get the Acadians to sign a loyalty oath. The other two documents are attachments to Doucette’s letter, being the loyalty oath that he hoped that they would sign, and their response. Relations with the Mi’kmaq are also discussed.


Lieut. Governor Doucette to the Secretary of State

Annapolis Royal Novr. ye 5, 1717


Soon after my arrival here which was on the 28th day of the last month, I was informed that the French Inhabitants had never own’d his Majesty as Possessor of this his continent of Nova Scotia and L’Acadie.

I therefore sent a summons to the people that were in this neighborhood to signe one of the papers inclosed, which if they complied with, I promised them they should have the same Protection and Liberty as the other of his Majesty’s subjects had here, if not I could by no means lett their vessels pass this Fort, to trade or fish on the coast, upon which they drew up the other paper enclosed which I could have been glad to have sent you in a cleaner manner, but the ship that brought the provisions being ready to sail, I had not time to get another signed, I find abundance inclinable to sign rather than lose the profitt they make in the fishing season, and I do veryly believe all would become subjects to His Majesty were it not for the Priests that are amongst them, who have, from the misserry that I and our poor Soldiers have been reduced to for want of money and all sorts of necessary’s, and seeing the Fort so much run to ruin, for the same reasons they have taken it as a means to inculcate a notion amongst the french inhabitants, that the Pretender will be soon settled in England and that this country will again fall into the hands of the french King; which sentiments they not dareing to own, they turn their disobedience to His Majesty to a dread of the Indians which is impossible, for the Indians here are intirely ruled by the french, and are used by them in no other manner but like slaves, so that with submission Sir, if orders could be procured to be sent from France to the Governors of Canada and Cape Breton to and severely punish any Indians or others, the french who shall insult the people of Nova Scotia or Lacadie who live under the protection of his majesty, and that a copy of such order be sent to this Garrison and others dispersed amongst the french Inhabitants, that now live in Nova Scotia and Lacadie, it would certainly be a mean’s for the inhabitants to become Subjects to his Majesty, and convince them of one error amongst the millions their Priests dayly lead them into, after which we might hope that the country about us which has been neglected (ever since the reduction of this Place) would be again improved so far that we might not longer want grain, cattle and other necessarys as wee do at present. * * * *

Your honors Most obedient and most humble servant to command,

J. Doucette


The Declaration Sent to the French for Signature

Wee the french Inhabitants whose names are under written now dwelling in Annapolis Royal and the adjacent parts of Nova Scotia or Lacadie formerly subjects to the late french King who by the Peace concluded att Utrecht did by Articles therein deliver up the whole country of Nova Scotia and Lacadie to the late Queen of Great Britain, wee doe hereby for the aforesaid reason and for the protection of us and our Familys that shall reside in Annapolis Royall or the adjacent parts of Nova Scotia or Lacadie, now in possession of his most sacred Majesty George, by the Grace of God King of Great Britain, and doe declare that we acknowledge him to be the Sole King of the said Country and of Nova Scotia and Lacadie and all the Islands depending thereon and we likewise doe declare and most solemnly swear before God to own him as our Sovereign King and to obey him as his true and Lawfull subjects in Witness whereof we sett our hands in the Presence of John Doucett his Majesty’s Lieut. Governor of Annapolis Royal this day — of — of in the year of Our Lord 1717.


The Response of the Acadians to the Draft Declaration

We the undersigned inhabitants of Acadie, according to the orders which the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to cause to be published on the part of King George viz. that we have fully to declare ourselves regarding the oath of fidelity which is demanded of us in the said orders, humbly entreat Mr. John Doucette our Governor, to be pleased to consider, that we constitute but a small number of the inhabitants.

We therefore respectfully request him to assemble the deputies of the other colonies of Minas, Beaubassin and Cobequid, with ourselves, in order that we may answer the demands that have been made on us, as we are instructed that they are now made for the last time.

For the present, we can only answer, that we shall be ready to carry into effect the demand proposed to us, as soon as his Majesty shall have done us the favor of providing some means of sheltering us from the savage tribes, who are always ready to do all kinds of mischief, proofs of which have been afforded on many occasions since the peace, they having killed and robbed several persons, as well English as French. Wherefore we pray his Excellency to consider this, and to represent to his Majesty the condition in which we are.

That unless we are protected from these savages, we cannot take the oath demanded of us without exposing ourselves to have our throats cut in our houses at any time, which they have already threatened to do.

In case other means cannot be found, we are ready to take an oath that we will take up arms neither against his Britannic Majesty, nor against France, nor against any of their subjects or allies.

Such, Sir, is the final opinion which the inhabitants take the liberty of presenting to your Excellency, as they are not able to act otherwise at present.

Signed by all the inhabitants in this neighborhood

Written by johnwood1946

April 2, 2017 at 10:23 AM

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Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees

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From the blog at

Sir James Alexander and a party of men were travelling down the Saint John River in 1844, and came to Grand Falls where they stayed for a while. Following is an edited account of what he found there, from Alexander’s book L’Acadie or Seven Years Explorations, London, 1849.

Alexander’s mission was to head a survey party to lay out a military road, and this explains his references to surveying. This excerpt concentrates upon his observations at the Falls, however.

A Log Jam at Grand Falls, from the N.B. Museum

An estimated £30,000 worth of timber was annually destroyed going over the Falls


Grand Falls, New Brunswick in 1844 – A Vast Ocean of Trees

In 1844, at the Grand Falls there were only four or five houses, the principal one being Costigan’s Inn, well known to the lumber-men of the St. John’s. Sir John Caldwell, of Quebec, in a spirit of speculation and enterprise, had attempted formerly to dam the river at the Falls, for the purpose of erecting saw-mills, as he had so often done elsewhere, but it was too much for him—the St. John’s rose, and carried away his works over the Falls; but his labours there originated a hamlet.

We found Lieutenant Simmons waiting for us at the Grand Falls. He had recently come out of the Forest, having carried his exploration from the Riviére du Loup towards the Green River. He looked strong and well, in his grey coat and axe on his shoulder, after his hard work. He very carefully explained the nature of his operations to us, and gave us every information in his power. His talents and intelligence have now procured for him the appointment of Government Inspector of Railroads in England.

In the Upper St. John’s, where the most valuable forests were abandoned to the Americans in the settlement of the boundary—(which unfortunately was not the line of the St. John’s, but considerably nearer the St. Lawrence)— I mean those forests about the Daaquem, Esseganetsacook, and Black Rivers, the lumberers construct rafts of timber, accompany them as far as it is safe above the Falls, and then abandon them. It was interesting to watch them go over the Falls, increasing in swiftness towards the brink of the precipice, then comes the plunge, and the disappearance below among the vapour, spray, and turmoil of waters. After the reappearance of the separate logs, some hurried round and round in a great cauldron under the right bank of the river, where much valuable timber was being ground to pieces, one log against another. Some sticks thrust others to the edge of the rapids, then all would turn and circle along with the great broken raft always seen in the cauldron. Sometimes a single log would rise from the bottom of the cataract, and on end, and halfway out of the water, would walk, as it were, grandly down the rapids for a considerable distance.

It was calculated that £30,000 worth of timber were annually destroyed at the Grand Falls, for want of a canal round them. It seemed to me that it would be very desirable to have a boom placed at an angle above the Falls, to give the logs the proper direction, and cause them to avoid a great rock in the centre, against which many of them struck, and were split; which would also help to keep them out of the cauldron.

The rocks at the Grand Falls are very highly inclined blueish calcareous slates. I think no fossils have been seen in them; they are at least Silurian, probably older still.

The people we found at Costigan’s Inn were rough and sturdy-looking lumberers, waiting for employment, or who had come out of the woods to refresh, or more properly to have a drink, and a spree. They were dressed usually in red flannel shirts (there is a virtue in the dye of red), homespun trousers, and a peculiar loose jacket of grey or green, the sleeves of which are made like those of a shirt, whilst the corners of the jacket are tied round the waist with strings. On their heads they wore straw or low and coarse felt hats, and their feet were encased in brown moccasins, or heavy half boots well-greased, the moccasin or boot furnishing a ready napkin after a meal of salt pork and biscuit.

The lumberers made a considerable racket at the hostel, talked loud, sang, drank, or tried their strength by “putting” a heavy stone in front of the door.

We tarried three days at the Grand Falls, living chiefly on beef, brought from the Riviére du Loup. One day it rained constantly, and we could do no out-of-door work. We occupied ourselves in writing: when it was fair we were continually on the move. We compared our instruments, and found the variation of the compass by double altitudes of the sun with the theodolite. We got linen bags made for sugar, and flannel ones for tea, also creeping-irons, to ascend the trees and look out.

These irons are of peculiar construction; they are like the letter ‘L’, are flat, and about one inch broad; the feet rest on the lower part, two leather straps bind the irons round the mid-leg and ankles, over the lumberer’s boots. At the bottom of the long leg of the L, which rests against the inner part of the leg, is a sharp spike at an angle of 45 degrees, this is stuck into the bark of the tree, like the claw of a wild beast, and thus enables the climber, embracing the tree with his arms, to reach the branches, when there is no further occasion for the irons.

Trees growing thickly in a forest, are devoid of branches for a considerable height from the ground, sometimes forty feet; the mass of the branches is towards the top, where they seek light and air. It is not an unusual thing to lose one’s way in the woods, when ascending the highest tree near, an observation is taken from its top, and from it perhaps a known height is descried, or a stream, to guide one out of the difficulty. It is necessary for the surveyor also to ascend trees, to try and discover the best line to take for a road, he may be preparing to run through the forest. Creeping-irons are also useful to lumber-men, to enable them to discover patches of pine, or other timber, suitable for their purpose.

Lieutenant Woods having engaged his party of woodsmen, we went across the river above the Falls in canoes, towards the site of a proposed fort, and practised running a line through the forest. Setting up a circumferenter-compass, we ran a N.E. course, clearing the line of brush, then set up pickets at intervals of thirty yards to mark the line; over acclivities the pickets were closer together. We measured the line with the chain, and at one side of it explored with one of the Indians, and marked by blazes, or slices of bark cut off the trees; another wavy line (following the undulations of the ground), which might be suitable for a road. There were thus a straight line and a curved one near one another; the first being carefully measured, was intended to afford a proximate idea of the distance surveyed, and the latter was considered as the line of a future road. When a large tree came in the way it was not cut down, but a sight was taken of it by the compass, after which the instrument was carried to the other side, and the line run again, till another impediment intervened.

Looking at the vast forests of pine and maple trees round us, and which covered the whole country on every side, it would seem impossible to conduct a survey through them with any accuracy, or to reach any particular distant point. New Brunswick is a vast ocean of trees, through which the compass can alone guide us. The course requires to be well calculated, and laid down on a map or chart, at the outset, making allowance for variation, and great care must subsequently be taken in following the determined course. A great mistake had been made sometime before by a civil surveyor, who was either incompetent for the task he undertook, or very careless. His duty was to lain a line for a road through a part of the Forest of New Brunswick, towards the American lines. When he came out he found he was no less than thirty miles south of the point he had steered for, and he was so much disgusted and ashamed of himself, that, abandoning his people and his instruments, he fled, and disappeared in the States.

After our mid-day repast of pork and biscuit, we put on the creeping irons and practised climbing trees like bears or woodpeckers, and after some practice, we got into the way of it.

Our Indians showed how they climbed trees to get to the branches; they first cut a notch with their axe, not far from the ground, then drove their axe into the trunk as high as they could reach, and hauled themselves up by the handle, till their toe rested in the notch, they then cut other notches and hauled themselves higher again, till they reached the branches. Sometimes they fell a tree, and let it fall sloping against another which they wish to ascend, they then mount the inclined plane. The young men sometimes practice getting up a tree with a tomahawk in each hand, struck into the bark alternately behind, which method requires great strength and agility.

After we returned from our trial survey, there was a shout of alarm from the river, and on looking out to see what was the cause of it, a man was observed on a log, above the Falls, paddling for his life. He had got too near the centre of the stream, and was being swept to destruction. There was immediately a rush to the rescue, and two canoes put out and saved him. But heedless people do not always escape here.

There is a singular story connected with the Upper St. John’s, regarding witch-poles. Lieutenant Simmons had lately been in a canoe with an old Indian hunter, on one of the lakes of the St. Francis River, and they came to two smooth and green poles, without branch or leaf, and apparently growing out of the bottom; they stood eight feet above water. On sounding, the depth was found to be thirty feet, and on shaking one pole, the other also moved. The hunter said these poles had been there since his childhood, and always had stood there since two witches came up the lake to fish, and thrusting their poles to the bottom to make fast their canoe, they had grown there!

Lieutenant Simmons had recently lost an entire suit of clothes from the following cause; he and one of his men had slept in a deserted shanty or lumberer’s hut, and having disturbed a skunk there in the morning (the Mephitis Americana, with beautiful black and white fur and bushy tail), it conveyed such an odour over the clothes, that on reaching the rest of the party, some became sick and others fled; the entire dress was washed and buried in the ground, but nothing would remove the abominable taint; however, an Indian with a strong stomach, was glad to take the clothes as a present.

Leaving Lieutenants Simmons and Woods at the Grand Falls, to go on with their work, I mounted a waggon drawn by three horses (a unicorn), on account of the bad roads in prospect, and with my assistant-surveyor and the Indian Andre, we proceeded on our way towards Fredericton, where I was to make up my party.

Written by johnwood1946

March 29, 2017 at 8:41 AM

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Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874

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Shabby Streets, Decaying Houses, and Steep Plank Sidewalks. Saint John in 1874

Market Square and South Market Slip in Flames, 1877


In this story, an American journalist named Charles Warner is traveling from Boston to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, and we join him as his steamer approaches the Bay of Fundy on its way to Saint John. He had hoped that Saint John would be only a short stop on his way to Baddeck, but he spent more time than he anticipated arranging for transportation.

Mr. Warner was a sarcastic little fellow and he did not have much good to say about Saint John or New Brunswick in general. However, he does give us a picture of a sleepy little provincial city where it was difficult to find anyone who could help him plot his journey. The story is condensed from his book Baddeck and that Sort of Thing, Boston, 1874.


When we looked from our state room window in the morning we saw land. We were passing within a stone’s throw of a pale-green and rather cold looking coast, with few trees or other evidences of fertile soil. Upon going out I found that we were in the harbor of Eastport. I found also the usual tourist who had been up, shivering in his winter overcoat, since four o’clock. He described to me the magnificent sunrise, and the lifting of the fog from islands and capes, in language that made me rejoice that he had seen it. He knew all about the harbor. That wooden town at the foot of it, with the white spire, was Lubec; that wooden town we were approaching was Eastport. The long island stretching clear across the harbour was Campobello. We had been obliged to go round it, a dozen miles out of our way, to get in, because the tide was in such a stage that we could not enter by the Lubec Channel.

We approached Eastport with a great deal of curiosity and considerable respect. It had been one of the cities of the imagination. Lying in the far east of our great territory, a military and even a sort of naval station, a conspicuous name on the map, prominent in boundary disputes and in war operations, frequent in telegraphic despatches,—we had imagined it a solid city, with some Oriental, if decayed, peculiarity, a port of trade and commerce. The tourist informed me that Eastport looked very well at a distance, with the sun shining on its white houses. When we landed at its wooden dock we saw that it consisted of a few piles of lumber, a sprinkling of small cheap houses along a side hill, a big hotel with a flag-staff, and a very peaceful looking arsenal. It is doubtless a very enterprising and deserving city, but its aspect that morning was that of cheapness, newness, and stagnation, with no compensating picturesqueness. White paint always looks chilly under a gray sky and on naked hills. The tourist, who went ashore with a view to breakfast, said that it would be a good place to stay in and go a-fishing and picnicking on Campobello Island. It has another advantage for the wicked over other Maine towns. Owing to the contiguity of British territory, the Maine Law is constantly evaded, in spirit. The thirsty citizen or sailor has only to step into a boat and give it a shove or two across the narrow stream that separates the United States from Deer Island and land, when he can ruin his breath, and return before he is missed. We ought to have war, if war is necessary to possess Campobello and Deer Islands; or else we ought to give the British Eastport. I am not sure but the latter would be the better course.

We sailed away into the British waters of the Bay of Fundy, but keeping all the morning so close to the New Brunswick shore that we could see there was nothing on it; that is, nothing that would make one wish to land. A pretty bay now and then, a rocky cove with scant foliage, a lighthouse, a rude cabin, a level land, monotonous and without noble forests,—this was New Brunswick as we coasted along it under the most favorable circumstances. But we were advancing into the Bay of Fundy; and my comrade, who had been brought up on its high tides in the district school, was on the lookout for this phenomenon. From the Bay of Fundy the rivers run up hill half the time, and the tides are from forty to ninety feet high. For myself, I confess that, in my imagination, I used to see the tides of this bay go stalking into the land like gigantic water-spouts; or, when I was better instructed, I could see them advancing on the coast like a solid wall of masonry eighty feet high. “Where,” we said, as we came easily, and neither uphill nor downhill, into the pleasant harbor of St. John, “where are the tides of our youth?”

They were probably out, for when we came to the land we walked out upon the foot of a sloping platform that ran into the water by the side of the piles of the dock, which stood up naked and blackened high in the air. It is not the purpose of this paper to describe St. John, nor to dwell upon its picturesque situation. As one approaches it from the harbor it gives a promise which its rather shabby streets, decaying houses, and steep plank sidewalks do not keep. A city set on a hill, with flags flying from a roof here and there, and a few shining spires and walls glistening in the sun, always looks well at a distance. St. John is extravagant in the matter of flag staffs; almost every well-to-do citizen seems to have one on his premises, as a sort of vent for his loyalty, I presume. St. John is built on a steep side hill, from which it would be in danger of sliding off, if its houses were not mortised into the solid rock. This makes the house foundations secure, but the labor of blasting out streets is considerable. We note these things complacently as we toil in the sun up the hill to the Victoria Hotel, which stands well up on the backbone of the ridge, and from the upper windows of which we have a fine view of the harbor, and of the hill. Opposite, above Carleton, where there is the brokenly truncated ruin of a round stone tower. This tower was one of the first things that caught our eyes as we entered the harbor. It gave an antique picturesqueness to the landscape which it entirely wanted without this. Round stone towers are not so common in this world that we can afford to be indifferent to them. This is called a Martello Tower, but I could not learn who built it. I could not understand the indifference, almost amounting to contempt, of the citizens of St. John in regard to this their only piece of curious antiquity. “It is nothing but the ruins of an old fort,” they said; “you can see it as well from here as by going there.” It was, however, the one thing at St. John I was determined to see. But we never got any nearer to it than the ferry landing. Want of time and the vis inertia of the place were against us.

But it must not be forgotten that we were on our way to Baddeck; that the whole purpose of the journey was to reach Baddeck. St. John is the sort of a place that if you get into it after eight o’clock on Wednesday morning, you cannot get out of it in any direction until Thursday morning at eight o’clock, unless you want to smuggle goods on the night train to Bangor. It was eleven o’clock Wednesday forenoon when we arrived at St. John. The Inter-Colonial railway train had gone to Shediac; it had gone also on its roundabout Moncton, Missaquat River, Truro, Stewiack, and Shubenacadie way to Halifax; the boat had gone to Digby Gut and Annapolis to catch the train that way for Halifax; the boat had gone up the river to Frederick, the capital. We could go to none of these places till the next day. The people of St. John have this peculiarity: they never start to go anywhere except early in the morning.

The reader to whom time is nothing does not yet appreciate the annoyance of our situation. Our time was strictly limited. The active world is so constituted that it could not spare us more than two weeks. We must reach Baddeck Saturday night or never. To go home without seeing Baddeck was simply intolerable. Now, if we had gone to Shediac in the train that left St. John that morning, we should have taken the steamboat that would have carried us to Port Hawkesbury, whence a stage connected with a steamboat on the Bras d’Or, which would land us at Baddeck on Friday. How many times had we been over this route on the map and the prospectus of travel! And now, what a delusion it seemed!

One seeking Baddeck, as a possession, would not like to be detained a prisoner even in Eden,—much less in St. John, which is unlike Eden in several important respects. The tree of knowledge does not grow there, for one thing; at least St. John’s ignorance of Baddeck amounts to a feature. This encountered us everywhere.

The clerk at the Victoria was not unwilling to help us on our journey, but if he could have had his way, we would have gone to a place on Prince Edward Island which used to be called Bedeque, but is now named Summerside, in the hope of attracting summer visitors. As to Cape Breton, he said the agent of the Inter Colonial could tell us all about that, and put us on the route. We repaired to the agent and he entered at once into our longings and perplexities. He produced his maps and timetables, and showed us clearly what we already knew. The Port Hawksbury steam boat from Shediac for that week had gone, to be sure, but we could take one of another line which would leave us at Pictou, whence we could take another across to Port Hood, on Cape Breton. This looked fair, until we showed the agent that there was no steamer to Port Hood.

“Ah, then you can go another way. You can take the Inter Colonial railway round to Pictou, catch the steamer for Port Hawksbury, connect with the steamer on the Bras d’Or, and you are all right.” It took us half an hour to convince him that the train would reach Pictou half a day too late for the steamer, that no other boat would leave Pictou for Cape Breton that week, and that even if we could reach the Bras d’Or we should have no means of crossing it, except by swimming. The perplexed agent thereupon referred us to Mr. Brown, a shipper on the wharf, who knew all about Cape Breton, and could tell us exactly how to get there.

Mr. Brown was not in. He never is in. His store is a rusty warehouse, low and musty, piled full of boxes of soap and candles and dried fish, with a little glass cubby in one corner, where a thin clerk sits at a high desk, like a spider in his web. The cubby is swarming with flies, and the glass of the window sash has not been washed since it was put in. The clerk is not writing, and has evidently no other use for his steel pen than spearing flies. Brown is out, says this young votary of commerce, and will not be in till half past five. We go out into the street to wait for Brown.

In front of the store is a dray, its horse fast asleep, and waiting for the revival of commerce. The dray is of a peculiar construction, the body being dropped down from the axles so as nearly to touch the ground,—a great convenience in loading and unloading. The dray is probably waiting for the tide to come in. In the deep slip lie a dozen helpless vessels, coasting schooners mostly, tipped on their beam ends in the mud, or propped up by side-pieces as if they were built for land as well as for water. At the end of the wharf is a long English steamboat unloading railroad iron, which will return to the Clyde full of Nova Scotia coal. We sit down on the dock and meditate upon the peacefulness of the drowsy afternoon. One’s feeling of rest is never complete unless he can see somebody else at work,—but the labor must be without haste, as it is in the Provinces.

While waiting for Brown, we had leisure to explore the shops of King’s Street, and to climb up to the grand triumphal arch which stands on top of the hill and guards the entrance to King’s Square. Of the shops for dry-goods I have nothing to say, for they tempt the unwary American to violate the revenue laws of his country; but he may safely go into the book-shops. The literature which is displayed in the windows and on the counters has lost that freshness which it once may have had and is, in fact, if one must use the term, fly-specked, like the cakes in the grocery windows on the side streets. There are old illustrated newspapers from the States, cheap novels from the same, and the flashy covers of the London and Edinburgh sixpenny editions. But this is the dull season for literature, we reflect.

It will always be matter of regret to us that we climbed up to the triumphal arch, which appeared so noble in the distance, with the trees behind it. For when we reached it, we found that it was built of wood, painted and sanded, and in a shocking state of decay; and the grove to which it admitted us was only a scant assemblage of sickly locust-trees, which seemed to be tired of battling with the unfavorable climate, and had, in fact, already retired from the business of ornamental shade-trees. Adjoining this square is an ancient cemetery, the surface of which has decayed in sympathy with the mouldering remains it covers. I have called this cemetery ancient, but it may not be so, for neglect, and not years, appears to have made it the melancholy place of repose it is. Whether it is the fashionable and favorite resort of the dead of the city we did not learn, but there were some old men sitting in its damp shades, and the nurses appeared to make it a rendezvous for their baby carriages, — a cheerful place to bring up children in, and to familiarize their infant minds with the fleeting nature of provincial life.

But Mr. Brown, when found, did not know as much as the agent. He had been in Nova Scotia; he had never been in Cape Breton; but he presumed we would find no difficulty in reaching Baddeck by so and so, and so and so. We consumed valuable time in convincing Brown that his directions to us were impracticable and valueless, and then he referred us to Mr. Cope. An interview with Mr. Cope discouraged us; we found that we were imparting everywhere more geographical information than we were receiving. Returning to the hotel, and taking our destiny into our own hands, we resolved upon a bold stroke.

Our plan of campaign was briefly this: To take the steamboat at eight o’clock, Thursday morning, for Digby Gut and Annapolis; thence to go by rail through the poetical Acadia down to Halifax; to turn north and east by rail from Halifax to New Glasgow, and from thence to push on by stage to the Gut of Canso. This would carry us over the entire length of Nova Scotia, and, with good luck, land us on Cape Breton Island Saturday morning. When we should set foot on that island, we trusted that we should be able to make our way to Baddeck, by walking, swimming, or riding, whichever sort of locomotion should be most popular in that province. Our imaginations were kindled by reading that the most superb line of stages on the continent ran from New Glasgow to the Gut of Canso. If the reader perfectly understands this programme, he has the advantage of the two travellers at the time they made it.

Written by johnwood1946

March 22, 2017 at 9:11 AM

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