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Slog on, or Die

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Slog on, or Die


Pokemouche, New Brunswick in around 1890

From Wikipedia

The Acadians of Nova Scotia had suffered the Expulsion of 1755, and relations were strained with those who remained. The few Acadians along New Brunswick’s eastern coast had made a reluctant peace with the British, but those further north delayed their submission. The French in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and their Mi’kmaq allies had carried out raids against the English, and the Acadians from around Nepisiquid may have participated in this. This was why the Acadians were being “removed,” as described in the following journal.

This ‘removal’ obviously hardened the Acadians against the English, and their Mi’kmaq allies considered themselves to be in a state of war.

Gamaliel Smethurst was an English trader who had a licence from the government of Quebec to trade with the French in the Bay of Chaleur. He was transported to the area in a ship just as the removal was in progress, but was abandoned at Nepisiquid by the ship’s captain who was afraid that the Acadians or the Mi’kmaq would attack him. Smethurst had to find his own way to Fort Cumberland. It was a six-week hard slog by canoe and on foot in the late fall and early winter, the only alternative being death. The few remaining Acadians were helpful in his journey, but he lived in fear that the Mi’kmaq would kill him.

We therefore have a story of adventure from Nepisiquid and proceeding past Caraquet, Pokemouche, Shippagan, Miramichi, Bouctouche, and Baie Verte to Fort Cumberland. This was in 1761, when all that existed at most of these places were their names.

This is from Gamaliel Smethurst’s, A Narrative of an Extraordinary Escape Out of the Hands of the Indians in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, published in London in 1774 and edited and re-printed by W.F. Ganong in the Collections of the New Brunswick Historical Society, 1905.


Smethurst’s Journal

THURSDAY, October 29, 1761. Left Nipisiquid, in the Bay of Chaleurs. Capt. M’Kenzie, with about fifty Highlanders, had just arrived to remove the people: he took them all unexpectedly; they were very unwilling to be removed. He took about one hundred and eighty persons, with all their vessels, to the number of eleven sloops and shallops. We came out with them in the evening: it was calm, and we were obliged to tow—Got out of the channel. By the obstinacy and confusion of the captain of the brigantine, though I had a French pilot on board, who told us we were too much to the northward, got upon a bank. As it was top of spring-tides, our captain said we would never get off: he seemed frightened out of his senses—Parted with our pilot—He must go with the rest of the French.

FRIDAY, October 30. In the morning I went ashore in the boat—took my papers and trunks along with me—went to find a lighter in order to unload the vessel so much as to lighten her to float—found one—staid to keep her afloat when the tide should come in—sent the men on board for fear they should be wanted, (the night’s tide had been a very low one). Towards noon it began to blow fresh at north-west. About two o’clock saw the brig was got off, but no boat came for me: she tacked all the afternoon, as if to get to windward and come to, but in the evening she bore away. For what reason they did not come ashore for me, cannot account—suppose some accident happened. I was left in a very disagreeable situation. What few French staid behind, were on the other side the bay, and are irritated to the last degree against the English, for the step they have taken to remove their friends from their habitations at this season of the year, and the savages are no friends at all to the English. I was on the harbour—There came a canoe with Indians in the evening—looked about them and walked off. I durst not appear, not knowing what disposition they were in. I staid all night in one of their hovels—durst not make a fire for fear of discovery.

SATURDAY, October 31. Looked impatiently all day—no vessel appeared in site—the wind northwest, brisk breeze, but did not blow over-hard—killed a few ortolans [birds] and dressed them—Some of the inhabitants came searching for little things among the rubbish—one of them promised to take me off in the evening to the habitations of the French on the other side of the bay, but did not—lodged very uncomfortably—slept little—made no fire at night.

SUNDAY, November 1. Was not without hopes to see the brig—she may have put into Port Daniel, and waiting an opportunity to come up. Mr. Charles Duges who is very sick, sent for me—I went to his house—In the evening came back for my trunks—Some persons had attempted to open them both, but did not forced the locks.

MONDAY, November 2. Made an agreement with Capt. Andrews, an Indian, to take me down to Caraquet, in a canoe. In the afternoon came to Mr. Dugas’ brother from Ristioguch—they behave very civilly to me. Mr. Dugas’ brother intends to go to Fort Cumberland when the frost sets in, but I am in hopes of reaching it before that time; at least to hear of the brig along shore, if I can get a conveyance—The Indian Andrews refuses to go.

TUESDAY, November 3. There came a skiff in here from Port Daniel—the people saw nothing of the brig, which convinces me she is gone out of the bay—Agreed with the people of the skiff to take me down to Caraquet, twelve leagues—gave them fifty-six livres.

WEDNESDAY, November 4. Towards noon, set out from Nipisiquid, in company with three Frenchmen; they all look like run-aways, who dare not go to their own country—they belong to Old France—I and they have not made their submission to the English government. The wind was too much to the northward, as the master said, to proceed—We only went over the bay to the deserted huts—they staid to pick up what they could find—they stole about a bushel of salt from one family who had not removed all their things over the bay—this confirms me in opinion they are rogues. Captain M’Kenzie had not taken all the Acadians—there were some women lying in, so he must leave some to take care of them; others were sick, and could not be removed. Those who remained had gone over the bay into the woods, for the sake of fire during the winter. The Acadians make themselves a winter house in two or three days—They cut down a number of pine trees, suitable to the occasion—square them, and place them one upon another, fastening them with trunnels, and fill the crevices with moss; the chimney they secure with clay—they cover their houses with slabs and bark—they are very good broad axe men.

THURSDAY, November 6. As we sailed all night, got down to Caraquet, twelve leagues, by morning. It was a very cold disagreeable night. Old Saint Jean condoled with me upon the occasion, but would not buy any thing I had, to raise a little money; unless I would sell them for a quarter their value—Sold him nine shirts, and some silver lace for a trifle. This man is a native of Old France—married an Indian, and has lived here near fifty years. His son, who is half Indian, called Jean Baptist has married an Indian also. I have traded considerably with him—got him to procure two Indians to go with me to Fort Cumberland in a canoe—He did so, and we agreed for 140 livres, (provided we could get the consent of their tribe)—I thought, if possible to get to Mirimichi (the last French settlement); if not, to Fort Cumberland before the frosts set in—Left my large trunk with Jean Baptist.

FRIDAY, November 6. Put myself into the hands of the Indians. There was an old Indian Squaw, with one eye, and her two great sons: they were of the Pookmoosh tribe of Mickmacks—We embarked in a canoe—set our blanket-sail about eleven o’clock—reached Chipagon in the afternoon—this is three leagues from Caraquet—staid here all night. Captain M’Kenzie had been here, and taken some of the inhabitants—there remains about six families—lay in one of their huts.

SATURDAY, November 7. Today the wind being contrary, the savages would not proceed—the land continues very low, fit for improvement—Chipagon is a good harbour for fishermen, well secured.

SUNDAY, November 8. After dinner we set off from Chipagon, three miles from thence—came to a portage —we are now got into the bay of the gulph of St. Lawrence. There is a passage at Chipagon for small craft, that do not draw above five or six feet of water. Most of the French shallops, with Captain M’Kenzie, went this way. One of the Indians carried the bark canoe, the other carried the blankets, guns, and paddles, while the squaw carried the kettle to cook in, with birch bark, and other small things. After we had walked a league further, we pitched our tent for all night—Lay upon our mother’s lap [the earth]—I was under some apprehensions at first, as I had never travelled with Indians before; however I behaved as if I was not the least afraid—The place we lay at, is six miles from Chipagon.

MONDAY, November 9. All this part of the country very low marshy land, full of inlets, where are salt marshes, and abundance of lakes, with vast quantities of water fowl. Our Indians did not stop to kill any. About noon arrived at Pookmoosh—here are five or six cabins of Indians—Their chief called a council upon my coming amongst them—they had just signed a treaty with the English, which I knew; but they said the English had deceived them by telling them it was peace, whereas the French tell them it is war still. They said the English were a very cunning people, for I had been pretending to trade with the French at Nipisiquid, and had collected them together, and the English came with a net and catched them all. They enquired how I was armed, (my sword happened luckily to be broke the day before with a fall, and my fusee was only a fowling piece;) I had a pistol in my pocket which I did not let them see, for fear of fresh grounds of suspicion. In answer to what they said, I told them it was war still with the French but peace with the Indians; that the people I had been trading with, had made their submission, and were English subjects. I made the squaw of the chief a present of some trifles such as ribbons, &c. This I believe, was as strong an argument as any I used, to procure me an order that the young men should go forward with me on the morrow; though, had they thought I had been any ways concerned with Captain M’’Kenzie in removing the French, they would have cut me to pieces; but this point I had taken care that Jean Baptist cleared up to the two Indians and the squaw, before we left Caraquet. I lodged in a wigwham—ten or a dozen men, women and children all together round a fire—lay upon branches of spruce, and covered with blankets—the fire in the middle of the wigwham—There is a hole at top which lets out the smoak—this a very large cabin—it would hold twenty people—it was hung round with fish, cut into shreds—they preserve their fish, their geese, and their game, in that manner without salt—they take the bones out, and cut the flesh very thin: then dry it in the smoak for their winter’s provision—The name of the chief is Aikon Aushabuc. Such were our boasted ancestors the Britons when Julius Caesar first landed upon our Island.

TUESDAY, November 10. About noon my guides came fresh painted, and we parted from Pookmoosh; and glad I was to get rid of a people who had such absolute power in their own hands, and bore such an enmity to the English. It was a fine day, and we coasted this afternoon thirty miles upon these inland salt lake. This country is so full of the finest possible conveniences for canoes, and it must blow a perfect storm to disturb them; and the water not above two or three feet deep—Came to a portage—lay upon a plain beach, upon the cold ground to-night; it snowed very much.

WEDNESDAY, November 11. This proved a very rainy boisterous day—a great storm at east—lay by all day—was very wet, and very uncomfortable—my bread all gone; and I had nothing to live upon, but some fish smoaked in the manner just mentioned—no salt—no liquor of any kind, but water. I durst not carry any strong liquor with me, for the Indians would not have stirred till they had drank all out; and they do things in their liquor they would not do when sober.

THURSDAY, November 12. The storm continued, which has drove all the game away—Killed two or three sea-gulls, these I broiled and eat without any sauce but a good appetite—We removed from off the beach over the lake.

FRIDAY, November 13. Blows as hard as ever, or rather more severe—could not stir out—very wet and cold, especially at nights.

SATURDAY, November 14. The storm does not abate. There came to us two canoes with six Indians in them—one a very surly fellow, was prompting my guides to mischief—continually talking against the English said they wanted the land from the Indians, and that I came to see how they might conveniently be attacked. I thought it best to put a good face upon the matter; not to seem afraid, or lose any of my importance. I told them, it was true my life was in their power; but if any accident happened to me, the English would destroy their whole tribe.

SUNDAY, November 15. The storm increases. The neck of land where we had lodged, that parts the land from the sea was overflowed, which raised the lake, and set our things a swimming. We removed further up into the woods. I have not had dry deaths since Tuesday night—Endeavoured to keep up the spirits of the Indians who, I found, were for returning to Pookmoosh the first opportunity; and as we were only five or six miles from a French settlement, wanted much to get out of the hands of the Indian—Promised them the whole wages to carry me to Merrimishi.

MONDAY, November 16. The storm was still violent; and what was worse, our provisions are expended, except the skin of one fish: nor had the Indians who came to us any-thing left. We might justly be said to “eat to live, and not live to eat;” yet a small piece of the fat o£ the fish, without any dressing, keeps me from being excessive hungry, which I attribute to my not using any salt so long; so had not anything to irritate the coats of my stomach— I perceive myself growing very sick.

TUESDAY, November 17. The storm still continues—have not seen sun, moon, or stars, this seven days—Took a resolution all of us to remove to an Indian camp, about six miles from hence, up the country; but such a road sure never was travelled before—mid-leg deep in water—sometimes crossed brooks up to the middle; some fallen trees and thick underwood made it as bad as possible. I was prodigiously fatigued, as were two of the Indians—we were four hours in getting there. Upon our arrival we found the Indians had deserted their wigwhams; but there was a good covered cabin. In another hut we found some fish and dried geese: Took two of the geese, and paid five shillings sterling to one of the savages, who said he knew the person they belonged to. I did this, that the savages might entertain a good opinion of their new allies the English. The savages took fish without ceremony, as their custom is to go into huts, and help themselves to anything they can find—to eat and drink, without saying one word:—Had a large fire, and expect to lie dry to-night, which I have not done these eight nights past.

WEDNESDAY, November 18. Last night proved a cold dry night—the weather moderate—went back the way we came to our canoe, where we had left our baggage—arrived there about twelve o’clock; and wet as I was, immediately embarked, and with a fair wind reached Merrimichi about six o’clock. I was obliged to be carried out of the canoe into a hut to warm and dry myself; for I had almost lost the use of my limbs with sitting steady in a bark canoe six hours, wet up to the middle.

THURSDAY, November 19. Lodged last night in a poor Frenchman’s hut—lay upon the floor all night by the fire—he had no bed but one in the same room and that his family lay in—rested very comfortably. About midnight a young man came to me from his father, with offers of service; his name is Brusar, but they generally called him Beausoleil; he brought me a bottle of rum and some flour—was extremely kind to me. In the morning the old man came himself—brought me pork, and other necessaries, he is the most considerable person here—had been a great purtizan—was one of the French neutrals who were removed to Carolina—made his escape by land to Mississippi, and travelled 1400 leagues to recover his native country. These people have been great enemies to the English; however I shall never forget the great obligations I owe to Brusar, for his present kindness to me. He told me of a vessel about three leagues from this place belonging to Nipisiquid, that had stopt during the late bad weather, and he was very certain she was not gone. This news was extremely agreeable to me. I sold Brusar several things—some muslin neck scarves, more of my shirts with gold lace, in order to pay the savages according to my promise. I had paid them the whole money, as though they had carried me to Fort Cumberland, although we are not above half way. The Frenchmen endeavored to prevent me from paying them so much—said they had extorted the promise from me in the late bad weather, for fear of them returning back to Pookmoosh: so it was prudent to encourage them at that time with the prospect of a large reward, which I had no occasion now to comply with, I considered, however, as the English had but very recently made a treaty with them, I would convince them they regarded their words: for the Indians never consider individuals; if any person does them an injury or favor, they charge the whole nation with it. This should be a standing caution to our Indian traders, to deal honestly with them, otherwise they may bring on a public calamity.

FRIDAY, November 20. Mr. Brusar procured me a large log canoe, with three men, to go in search of the vessel. This country is all low land—very full of islands and creeks, water carriage throughout; lurking places for Indians—Unless we can civilize them, they will retard the settlement of this part of the world greatly. The Frenchman where I lodged, and most of the village, set off this morning for Point Miscou, to hunt sea-cows for their oil which they make use of in winter instead of butter.—About noon proceeded with the Frenchmen in the log canoe, and in three hours reached a creek where we found four shallops, or skiffs, with several families—I believe they intend to winter here—they had the good luck to avoid the late bad weather. The chief of the Indians came to me—shewed his treaty with the Governor of Halifax, and said he would conduct me to Fort Cumberland. There had been a vessel wreck’d here in the late violent storm—what she is, don’t know at present—there is one man saved, who I intend to go see—My brig must have got further than this, if she went off the coast This river of Merrimichi runs up the country a great way—almost meets the river St. John, which falls into the bay of Fundy.

SATURDAY, November 21. Lodged very comfortably last-night with Amand Bugeaux, his family, and Nicholas Gautier—in the night the wind had been strong at N.W.—we removed to the south side of the creek; to two deserted houses; better than those on the north side—the Indians here are about fifty fighting men—they are the Merrimichi tribe of Micmacks.

SUNDAY, November 22. This being a calm day there came a skiff from the island where the vessel was wrecked. She proved to be the Hulton, Capt. Benjamin Hallaway, belonging to Mr. John Hill of Hull, but freighted from London to Quebec with twelve hundred barrels of flour, eighty puncheons of English brandy, twenty-three barrels of goods, and nineteen barrels of hardware. The brandy and a good deal of flour was going to Bryn and Brymer of Quebec. There were twelve hands on board—only one saved—he was the mate, a young man from Hull—his name James Pratchell. When we got on shore, he was taken care of by the French from Nipisiquid, who, fortunately for him, had stopped here.

MONDAY, November 23. Had a design of going to see the situation of the wreck, but the wind blows too hard.

TUESDAY, November 24. Intended to go to see the wreck today but was stopt by the Indians—they told me their chief would come to talk to me, and call a council—they have found a good deal of brandy for they are, all of them, continually drunk—I am afraid of mischief—They did not call a council to-day.

WEDNESDAY, November 25. Was got into a little schooner to go to the island, to see the situation of the wreck, when I was called back by the chief, and the other Indians. There was likewise the chief of the St. Johns Indians here—The vessel being cast away had collected the Indians from all quarters—they called a council—they told me they would endeavor to save all the effects they could out of the vessel, and make a fair declaration of what they saved—that the French should do the same. The chief likewise told me he would send four men to Fort Cumberland with me and the young man who was saved out of the vessel—I found some good effects from my behaviour to the Indians who brought me along; for they were here, and had told how honourably I had dealt with them—The name of the Indian chief here is Louis Francois, the name of the chief of St. John’s tribe is Louis Lamoureux—they had large silver medals of the French king, hanging to ribbons round their necks. In the afternoon, went with the French to the island where the wreck was—they had rolled about two hundred barrels of flour from off the beach, to a place of safety; and there were about one hundred more good upon the beach—I did not discover any brandy, or bales of goods but believe the French and Indiana had hid a large quantity—They brought off fifteen barrels of flour—got back about nine at night

THURSDAY, November, 26. Picked up yesterday bundles of English newspapers for twelve months past, with which I am highly entertained—find some of my acquaintance married, others dead—some fortunate, others bankrupts—it is great amusement for me, as my mind has fasted so long from any food of this kind.

FRIDAY, November 27. Continue still drying and examining the newspapers—the Indians have fixed our departure for to-morrow—The French are very much afraid of the Indians now they have strong liquor.

SATURDAY, November 28. This morning proved very stormy—the Indians do not go—In the afternoon I was ordered to a council in one of their wigwhams*—the council consisted of a dozen—they were all drunk, except the chief and another—they were a long time, before they would permit me to go—They would detain me till the frost sets in, and go by land, for fear of accidents—they said they were masters there; and if they had a mind to keep me three or four months, I must stay. I urged my necessity—pleaded hard for them to permit two of the Frenchmen to go with me, instead of Indians, as I could converse better with them: after long debating, they allowed me to set out in the morning with two Frenchmen.

* Three or four drunken Indians with loaded muskets came, and taking hold of both my arms, a third Indian staggered before me saying “La meme chose comme governour Halifax:” by which I must understand him to be as great a man as the governor of Halifax: When we arrived at the wigwham, the drunken governor of Halifax, pointing to the chief, said in English “All one, King George.”

SUNDAY, November 29. A great deal of snow had fallen in the night, and we did not set out—the day proved a mild thawing day—the Indians all met together to worship—they are rigid ceremonious Papists—great bigots—know little of the grounds of their religion; but it is pompous, and that is enough. To show their zeal, where the Frenchmen crossed themselves once, the Indians would do it twice; but their religious zeal at this time is pretty much heated with brandy—their priests must take a great deal of pains with them—they sing very well. The Canadians will have it in their power to play off the Indians at any time against our back settlements, by encouraging their religious bigotry; indeed it gains ground in Canada.

MONDAY, November 30. About ten o’clock we set out in a bark canoe, which I had bought of the savages—there were Nicholas Gautier, Joseph Rishar, and myself — The young man who was mate of the vessel, is not in a condition to travel—his legs and foot are very much swoln— he proposes to stay till the Indians will let some other Frenchmen go—I left him thirty-two pounds of beaver, and a beaver coat, to dispose of for a supply for him—We got about three leagues—the wind was pretty high, and very cold at northwest.

TUESDAY, December 1. Set out early this morning—the sea was pretty rough, but we were in hopes of its becoming more moderate—the wind was west-north-west —Came to a bay where we dined—I was very wet, with the sea washing into the canoe; for we now keep upon the main ocean—Crossed the bay, when I landed, and walked along the beach; for the canoe was too deep loaded—Had not gone above two miles, when I came to a rivulet—the canoe could not come ashore, the surf was so great—I was obliged to wade over—it took me up to the breast—Carried my beaver coat upon my head, and my memorandum book in my month—thought of Julius Caesar—When I got over, ran along the beach to keep myself warm—-Did not proceed above a mile till we found a convenient place for the canoe to land—here the Frenchmen came ashore—We were obliged to stay all night in a very low wet swamp—the wind north—brows very much.

WEDNESDAY December 2. Lay very uncomfortably last night—left our canoe, and went to look for a better lodging place—Walked six miles before we could find a wood, it is such low, marshy land—snows hard—wind north—found out at last a convenient place.

THURSDAY, December 3. Lay better last night than the night before, though I find the want of a blanket—a beaver coat is very well while it continues dry, but once wet, it is intolerable—This morning Rishar and Gautier went to the canoe to fetch supplies, and see how the surf was—returned in three hours with some bisket and pork, but it continues to snow worse than yesterday, with the wind strong at south-west—Abundance of broken claws of lobsters, with other shell-fish, were thrown upon the beach in the late stormy weather—the snow incommodes us in our tent very much—the wind has changed—it was with much persuasion I could get the Frenchmen to stay all day, to see what kind of weather it would be—their patience is wore put—they are determined to return.

FRIDAY, December 4. This morning the Frenchmen went for the canoe—it proved a calm morning—proceeded on our way—I walked upon the beach—When we came to a bay or a river, they took me into the canoe, and ferried me over—Came this day five leagues—we are now fifteen leagues from Merrimichi, at a river called by the Indians Chishibouwack, not above six feet deep—they say it runs a good way up the country—Still continues low good land, very improveable; this will certainly be the granary of North America, when it comes to be well peopled—There have been Indians here, but they are gone up the country—their wigwhams are still standing.

SATURDAY, December 5. The night proved very calm; but at six o’cloek in the morning the wind began to blow at north-east; soon after, it snowed, and continued so very violently all day—Left our canoe, and went up the creek about a mile; crossed a small river upon the ice to a deserted house of the French—we found the Indians had been here, but they were gone up the river a hunting—We found the head of a dog smoaked whole, the hair singed off, but the teeth and tongue standing:—The Indians, when they make a great feast, kill two or three dogs, which they hold as a high treat—at such times they have a grand dance.

SUNDAY, December 6. The Frenchmen tell me, that Captain M’Kenzie went from Nipisiquid in good time; for that the chief of the Nipisiquid Indians was gone up to Joseph Glaud, the chief of the Ristigouch Indians, to persuade him to come down with his Indians; and if Captain M’Kenzie had staid five days longer, no Frenchman would have been removed, for that the Indians would have engaged our troops. This story, however improbable. I understand had been propagated on board my brig—I had found something had frightened the Captain out of his senses, but did not understand what it was before—This morning pleasant, the wind had changed to the south, but the sea was too great to proceed—about ten o’clock, the wind came strong at south-west—blows a perfect hurricane; and what added to our distress when we went to pass to our canoe the way we had come, we found the ice was thawed, so that we could not pass the river—We went two miles np the river, but could not pass over—returned to our hut— Gautier killed an Indian dog, which was loitering about the hut, in case we could not get to our provision, that it might be a reserve—put the dried head of the dog in my pocket, in case of extremity—fasted all day—Could not help thinking of that line of Dr. Young “Poor pensioners on the bounties of an hour.”

MONDAY, December 7. This morning the Frenchmen tried to get over the ice, but it broke in with them—then they made a raft, and got over nearer the sea—About ten o’clock they came with the canoe; and as soon as I had eat, or rather devoured, a salt pork pasty, which the Frenchwomen had made me for my travelling store, we set off, and the day proved a very fine one—I walked all the way, unless when we came to rivers, deep bays, or rocks — Four leagues from where we set off, came to a river, called by the Indians Rishibucto—runs twenty leagues up the country—it is a pretty deep river—Went about two leagues further—here we encamped.

TUESDAY, December 8. The island of St. John appears here very plain—it is about four leagues from hence—a fine low island—the Frenchmen tell me it is near fifty leagues long, and fifteen broad—Six leagues from where we lodged we came to a river called Bucktough—a league further, another large river, called Cockyne—We travelled ten leagues to-day—the country continues flat—trees are chiefly pine, red oak, birch, beech—this last wood burns exceeding well

WEDNESDAY, December 9. This proved a fine morning—When we had got two leagues, came to a large river, called Chedaick—a large bay and an island make two entrances—This is the last large river we have to cross—we found it full of loose ice, which made it exceedingly difficult to get over. There were two rivers of smaller note, which I could not learn the names of. A sea-cow lifted its head out of the water, and came swimming after the canoe—the Frenchmen soon shot it—it had 2 large teeth out of water in the upper jaw pointing downwards—these serve for defence, to climb rocks with, &c.—full grown sea-cow will make two barrels of oil in autumn, when they are fattest—they are easily killed with a ball—very unwieldy—much like Anson’s sea-lions—I believe of the same species—this was larger than an ox—The French use the oil of these creatures to their meat—it is to me as rank as seal oil—The most noted places for their present resort, are the islands of Magdelines, and Point Miscou; but the sea-cows wild fowl, Indians, and beaver, will leave us as we settle in the country, and go to places less frequented—Came this day about nine leagues—I walked all the way, excepting crossing the rivers, &c.

THURSDAY, December 10. Last night frosty—the moon shone very bright when we went to sleep; but when we awoke this morning, it was a violent storm at east—Staid in the cabin all day.

FRIDAY, December 11. This mornings though the wind was pretty high, set off in our canoe—passed one small river that runs to the southward—about four leagues from the place we lodged, came to another small river—here we left our canoe, and set out with our baggage to cross the country— they call it ten miles to Bay Verte by land—Going up the river, the ice broke in with the two Frenchmen—they had been obliged to leave their keg of brandy, and had hugged it so close at parting, that they were a little light-headed—Returned back to our canoe in order to lodge there all night.

SATURDAY, December 12. Set out this morning before day—went up a creek about a mile, and then took to the woods—There had fallen about a foot deep of snow, and it was froze over at top, so as to make it bear sometimes, and break in at others, with a prodigious number of fallen trees and brooks to cross, with broken wood and thick underbrush, made it almost impassable; these, with about twenty weight of baggage and a heavy beaver coat I had to carry, made it too much for me—the Frenchmen were much heavier loaded— Sometimes we were obliged to creep on our hands and knees, under fallen trees, to climb over others; branches and stumps running into my legs and face, made it bad beyond description.— thought I was very unfit to travel; to creep, my temper will not allow me, and to climb does not seem my talent, but to walk upright is my great desire; yet with that method, here, as in the great wood of worldly affairs, you cannot get forward—if you would advance, you must sometimes stoop, sometimes ambitiously climb, sometimes dirty yourself in nasty ways: but at all events, drive thro’ thick and thin. Thus moralizing, and stumbling on, push’d forward, with hopes of soon getting out of my difficulties; very often falling and sometimes fainting, I arrived at Bay Verte, about an hour after sun-set, almost fatigued to death— it would not have been possible for me to have gone half-a-mile farther—Found here some of the French vessels which Captain M’Kenzie had brought off with him, and a party of Highlanders, under a Serjeant’s command. The fort here is destroyed, and the inhabitants removed—there has been a very pretty village here— the French had a communication from this place with the island St. John, Louisbourg, &c.—Lay all night in the block-house, or rather guard-house the English are building.

SUNDAY, December 13. Was very thankful to the almighty Disposer of events, for leading me to a place of safety, and giving me strength and resolution to undergo the different trials I have been exercised with for these six weeks passed—set out to go to Fort Cumberland, called by the French Chignecto—this isthmus is fifteen miles across—pretty good road—Got a soldier to carry my baggage—reached it about sun-set—Fort Cumberland is situated at the top of the bay of Fundy, to the westward—there are two companies of soldiers here; one of Highlanders, another of Rangers—Captain M’Kenzie, of the Highlanders, is gone to Halifax—the commanding officer of the Rangers is Captain Danks. To my great disappointment a vessel had sailed for Boston about a week before, and the bay is now frozen np, which will occasion my stay here some time—So far the journal.

Here ends the first part of Smethnrst’s book. The second part is of much less interest, particularly to New Brunswick readers…. [W.F. Ganong]


Written by johnwood1946

April 27, 2016 at 9:15 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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