New Brunswick History and Other Stuff

New Brunswick’s Third Town in 1838: Saint Andrews

leave a comment »


Saint Andrews in 1838: An Inhabitant’s Report

These descriptions are from Notitia of New Brunswick for 1836 and Extending Into 1837, by ‘An Inhabitant’, published in Saint John in 1838. It is usually attributed to Peter Fisher but has also been attributed to Alexander Wedderburn.

This description is different from those for Saint John and Fredericton as presented in previous blogs. He is critical of Saint Andrews as a commercial failure “without any satisfactory prospect of a revival.” He is also skeptical of the prospects for the Saint Andrews and Quebec Railroad.

Here is his description:

Saint Andrews

“[Saint Andrews) Is the shire-town of the County of Charlotte, and may rank as the third town in the Province, having been among the first places in the Bay of Fundy that prosecuted the fishing and milling business in the infancy of our trade.”

“It is the frontier town of New-Brunswick, and lies nearly opposite Robbinstown in the State of Maine, on a peninsula or narrow strip of land near the St. Croix river, and fronting Passamaquoddy Bay.”

“The town is handsomely laid out in small squares, having some fine lengthy streets parallel with the water, which are intersected with cross streets at right angles. The front part of the town is a level plain, which soon swells into high commanding ground that overlooks the harbour and the adjacent country, and from whence the view is very beautiful.”

“Saint Andrews is a free port, and has a good harbour, but the trade has fallen off very much of late. Formerly it was a great shipping port, and most of the business of the county centred there, but of late the trade has been diverted to Saint Stephen’s, Magaguadavic, and other places which have grown up in the county, and Saint Andrews has at present but a small share of the business of the great trading county of which it is the metropolis. It is very conveniently situated for the fishery. A number of fine islands lie round the harbour, and the waters abound with cod, haddock, pollock and other fish, and there is every facility for prosecuting the fishery to advantage. Its principal trade, however consists in lumber, both squared and sawed; but the exports are yearly diminishing. The harbour is far inferior to that of Saint John, and it is in some years obstructed with ice in the winter.”

“Saint Andrews being among the first towns built in the Province, has a number of institutions for promoting the commercial and moral interests of the place; among which are a Chamber of Commerce; the Charlotte County Bank, with a capital of £15,000; a Savings Bank; an Agricultural Society; a Bible Society; a Saint Patrick’s Society; a Temperance Society; also a Grammar School, and a Printing Office.”

“Saint Andrews is considerably well built up, and contains a number of handsome houses and seats, which being kept in the best order, make a fine appearance. The public edifices are an Episcopal and a Presbyterian Church, a Methodist Chapel, a Court House, Jail, and Record Office, with Barracks and other Government buildings. This town, on the whole, is neat and healthy; but its trade, as was before observed, appears to be dwindling away without any satisfactory prospect of a revival.”

Rail Road – As the Saint Andrews and Quebec Railroad Association originated in this town, and as its chief supporters belong to Saint Andrews and the County of Charlotte, it will naturally be expected that some notice should be taken of that stupendous project in this place.”

“This association consists of a number of persons belonging to Charlotte and other places, who are incorporated, and styled “The Saint Andrews and Quebec Rail-road Company,” with a proposed capital of £750,000, for the purpose of constructing a Rail-road between the two places, a distance of more than 270 miles through an unsettled wilderness. The projected line of road has been surveyed, and runs nearly as follows:- After leaving Saint Andrews it continues in a pretty straight line until it approaches within a short distance of the right bank of the river Saint John, between the Parish of Woodstock and Houlton Plantation; from thence it proceeds with an easy curve till it reaches the valley of the Restook, and continues, with several deviations to avoid unsuitable ground, until it arrives at the Saint Lawrence, near Quebec. The estimated cost of the road is stated in round numbers at One Million currency. The sum of £10,000 was obtained from Government in 1836, which has already been expended in exploring the projected route.”

“The writer does not wish to intrude an opinion on this undertaking, but will only offer a few simple calculations, to shew how necessary it is to look to the end in such matters. According to American engineers, who have some experience in such things, after a rail-road is fully completed and in operation, the annual cost to keep it in good order is stated at about £600 per mile. Now allowing this to be near the truth for such roads in the United States, it would cost full as much, if not more, to keep them in the same good repair in this cold country. But granting that it would only cost £500 per mile, and the road with its windings to be 280 miles in length, it would require £l40,000 annually for repairs only, without counting any of the other great expenses, or the interest on the first cost. Now as the expense would be certain, can any person point out a mode by which even the sum for repairs could be certainly realised yearly? Again – suppose such a road should even be finished and offered to a company as a free gift, on condition that they should keep it in repair and operation, would any prudent persons of limited means be willing to accept the offer, or be willing to take stock in the company on such conditions? – Another consideration should also be kept in view: if capitalists from the mother country or elsewhere should be induced by specious statements to join in such an undertaking and the scheme prove abortive, would it not prevent such persons at another time from vesting money in any practicable enterprise that might hereafter be projected, and thereby retard the future prosperity of the Province.”


Written by johnwood1946

October 10, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: