Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Lands of the Slave and the Free by Henry A. Murray

Part 6 out of 10

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

of the witch's den, proposed that the refractory spirit should be asked
if any of the company were objectionable to it. This being done, a
rattling "Yes" came forth, upon which each person asked in succession,
"Am I objectionable to you?" There was a dead silence until it came to
my friend and myself, to each of whom it gave a most rappingly emphatic
"Yes." Accordingly, we rose and left the field to those whose greater
gullibility rendered them more plastic objects for working upon. Never
in my life did I witness greater humbug; and yet so intense was the
anxiety of the Boston public to witness the miracle, that during all the
day and half the night the spirit was being invoked by the witch, into
whose pockets were pouring the dollars of thousands of greater gabies
than myself, for many went away believers, receiving the first germs of
impressions which led them to a Lunatic Asylum, or an early grave, as
various statistics in America prove most painfully.

To show the extent to which belief in these absurdities goes, I subjoin
an extract from a paper, by which it appears that even the solemnities
of a funeral cannot sober the minds of their deluded followers. Mr.
Calvin R. Brown--better known as the husband of Mrs. Anne L. Fish, a
famous "spirit medium" in New York--having died, we read the following
notice of the funeral:--"After prayer, the Rev. S. Brittan delivered an
address, in which he dwelt with much earnestness upon the superiority of
the life of the spirit, as compared with that of the body. At various
points in his address there were rappings, sometimes apparently on the
bottom of the coffin, and at others upon the floor, as if in response to
the sentiments uttered. After concluding his address, Professor Brittan
read a communication purporting to have come from the deceased after his
entrance into the spirit world. While it was being read, the reporter
states that the rappings were distinctly heard. Several friends then
sang, "Come, ye disconsolate," after which the Rev. Mr. Denning made a
few remarks, during which the rappings were more audible than before.
Other ceremonies closed the funeral. The whole party, preachers,
physicians, and all, were spiritualists," &c.

But I have before me a letter written by Judge Edmonds, which is a more
painful exemplification of the insanity superinduced by giving way to
these absurdities; in that document you will find him deliberately
stating, that he saw heavy tables flying about without touch, like the
leaves in autumn; bells walking off shelves and ringing themselves, &c.
Also, you will find him classing among his co-believers "Doctors,
lawyers, clergymen, a Protestant bishop, a learned and reverend
president of a college, judges of higher courts, members of congress,
foreign ambassadors (I hope not Mr. Crampton), and ex-members of the
United States Senate."

The ladies of the old country will, no doubt, be astonished to hear that
their sisters of the younger country have medical colleges in various
States; but, I believe, mostly in the northern ones. To what extent
their studies in the healing art are carried, I cannot precisely inform
them; it most probably will not stop at combinations of salts and senna,
or spreading plasters--for which previous nursery practice with bread
and butter might eminently qualify them. How deeply they will dive into
the mysteries of anatomy, unravelling the tangled web of veins and
arteries, and mastering the intricacies of the ganglionic centre; or how
far they will practise the subjugation of their feelings, whether only
enough to whip off some pet finger and darling little toe, or whether
sufficiently to perform more important operations, even such as Sydney
Smith declared a courageous little prime minister was ready to undertake
at a minute's notice; these are questions which I cannot answer: but one
thing is clear, the wedge is entered. How far it will be driven in, time
must show.[AK]


[Footnote AK: The Massachusetts Legislature, in a recent session,
appropriated funds to the New England Female Medical College, located in
Boston, to pay forty students for five years; and I have since observed
in a Boston paper that there are twenty lady physicians, who, confining
themselves to midwifery and diseases of their own sex, have a fair
practice, and enjoy the confidence of the families they visit.]


_Teaching of Youth, and a Model Jail_.

I must now turn to a more important and interesting feature of Boston,
viz., education. We all remember how the religious persecution in the
reign of Elizabeth, fettering men's consciences, drove a devoted band of
deep-thinking Christians into caves of concealment, and how, after much
peril, they escaped in 1609, in the reign of James the First, to
Amsterdam, under the leadership of the noble-hearted J. Robinson, where,
after sighing long for a return beneath the flag of the country of their
birth, they obtained a charter from the Virginia Company. The first
division of them embarked on board "The Mayflower," a small vessel of
180 tons, and sailed from Plymouth, 6th September, 1620, landing in
their new and barren home upon the 11th of December. These were the
sturdy champions of liberty of conscience, from whom the New Englanders
may be said to have sprung, and who have leavened the whole community
with their energy and indomitable spirit: such men knew how to
appreciate education, as the leveller of oppression and the bulwark of
freedom; and it is, therefore, no wonder that the American Republic
recognises them as the worthy pioneers of that noble feature in their
institutions--free education, supplied to all by the State.

Let us, then, see how far their descendants are treading in their
footsteps upon this point. I speak of Boston and its 150,000
inhabitants, not of the State. And first, it is important to observe,
that the strict provisions of the State requirements would be met by
three schools, and three teachers with assistants, whose salaries would
amount to 900l. The actual provision made by this energetic community,
is,--Schools: 1 Latin, 1 English, 22 grammar, 194 primary,--total for
salaries, 37,000l. And that it may not be supposed the salaries are
great prizes, it is important to remark, that there are 65 male
teachers, and about 300 female teachers. The highest paid are
head-masters of Latin and English schools, 490l.; sub-masters of same,
and head-masters of grammar, 300l.; ushers, assistants, &c., from
50l. to 160l.; and female teachers, from 45l. to 60l., with
5l. additional for care of the rooms.

All the primary schools have female teachers; and the feeling is
strongly in favour of females for instructing the very young, their
patience and kindness being less likely to foster feelings of dread and

The total amount of taxes raised in the city is, in round numbers,
250,000l.; of which 65,000l., or more than one-fourth, is devoted to
schools. The total value of all public school estates of Boston, up to
May, 1851, was 260,000l.; and the salary of the head-master is, within
a few pounds, equal to that of the governor of the State.

Say, then, reader, has some portion of the spirit of the Pilgrim Fathers
descended to the present generation, or not?--a population of 150,000
devoting 260,000l. to education.

Wherever parents are unable to provide books, &c., the children are
supplied with the use of them _gratis_. All corporal punishment is
strongly discouraged, but not prohibited; and all inflictions thereof
are recorded for the information of the Visiting Board. Having omitted
to make personal inquiries on the spot, I obtained, through the kindness
of Mr. Ticknor, answers to the following questions on the point of
religious instruction:--

1. "Are the pupils at your normal schools obliged to receive religious
instruction from some minister, and to attend some place of worship; or
may they, if they prefer, receive no such instruction, and attend no

"The State has put the normal schools under the charge of the Board of
Education, with no special law or instructions. The Board of Education
endeavours to act on exactly the same principles as those which the law
has laid down with respect to the common schools. The Board requires
that the pupils of the normal schools attend some place of worship, the
pupil making his own choice. These schools are opened every morning with
reading the Scriptures, singing, and prayer. The moral conduct of the
pupils is carefully watched over, and instruction is given in respect to
the best methods of training the young in religion and morals. The
religious teaching is ethical, not doctrinal."

2. "Are the children at your common schools obliged to receive some
religious instruction, or if their parents express a wish they should
not receive any at school, is the wish complied with?"

"The law requires all teachers to instruct their pupils 'in the
principles of piety,' and forbids any sectarian books to be introduced
into the public schools. The school committees of each town prescribe
the class-books to be used, and commonly make the Bible one of those
books. The teacher is expected to follow the law in respect to teaching
the principles of piety, without any instruction from the school
committee, and is almost always allowed to do this in his own way,
unless he is guilty of some impropriety, in which case the school
committee interferes. He usually has devotional exercises at the opening
of the school, and reads the Scriptures, or causes them to be read, as
an act of worship, whether they are prescribed by the committee or not.
Many teachers take that occasion to remark upon topics of morality, and
thereby aim to prevent misconduct. Indeed, the Bible is much relied on
as a means of discipline rather for preventing wrong-doing, than for
correcting it.

"No minister, as such, gives religious instruction in any of our public
schools. Ministers are commonly on the school committees, and when
visiting the schools, as committees, exhort the children to good
behaviour, and to a religious life.

"No cases are known of parents wishing their children to be excused from
such religious instruction, except with the Catholics, who desire that
their children be excused from the devotional exercises, especially from
reading the Protestant version of the Bible. Even this is very rare
where the teacher himself reads the Scriptures in connexion with other
devotional exercises. It occurs most frequently where the children are
required to use the Bible themselves, either in devotional exercises or
in a reading lesson. But those wishes are not often regarded, because
the committee has a legal right to prescribe the Bible as a school-book,
and to require all the pupils to comply with all the regulations of the
school. In some few instances, committees have thought it expedient to
allow the Douay version to be used by Catholic children; but it amounts
to nothing, as it is an abstract point started by the priests, for which
parents care but little; besides, it is objected that the Douay version
with its glosses is 'a sectarian book,' whereas the common English
version without note or comment is not."

Scholars desirous of entering the higher schools are generally required
to pass through the lower, and bring therefrom certificates of capacity
and conduct. In the statute of the State, with reference to education,
all professors, tutors, instructors, &c., are enjoined to impress upon
the minds of those committed to their charge "the principles of piety,
justice, a sacred regard to truth, and love of their country." Among the
various subjects in connexion with education, in which instruction is
given in these schools, it may be as well to mention one, which, I
believe, is all but totally neglected in England. By legislative
enactment, section 2, "All school-teachers shall hereafter be examined
in their knowledge of the elementary principles of physiology and
hygiene, and their ability to give instructions in the same."

The School Committee consists of two members from each of the twelve
wards of the city, chosen annually, and assisted by the Mayor and
President of the Common Council. The average expense of each scholar at
the primary schools is 25s. per annum, at the higher schools three
guineas. Under the foregoing system, 12,000 children are instructed
annually at the primary schools, and 10,000 at the higher schools, which
aggregate of 22,000 will give an attendance of nearly 70 per cent. upon
all children between the ages of five and fifteen, to whom the avenues
of knowledge, from the lisping letters of infancy to the highest
branches of philosophy, are freely opened.

Through the kindness of Mr. B. Seaver, the Mayor of Boston, I was
enabled to visit several of these schools, the cleanliness of which, as
well as their good ventilation, was most satisfactory. The plan adopted
here, of having the stools made of iron and screwed on to the floor,
with a wooden seat fixed on the top for each pupil, and a separate desk
for every two, struck me as admirably calculated to improve ventilation
and check sky-larking and noise. The number of public schools in the
whole State is 4056, which are open for seven months and a half in the
year, and the average attendance of scholars is 145,000; besides which,
there are 749 private schools, with 16,000 scholars. It is a curious
fact, and bears strong testimony to the efficiency of the public
schools, that while they have increased by 69 during the year, the
private schools have decreased by 36. The foregoing sketch is from the
official Reports, printed at Boston in 1853.

In addition to these schools, there are four colleges, three theological
seminaries, and two medical schools. Of these I shall only notice one of
the colleges, which I visited, and which enjoys a high reputation--viz.,
Harvard College, or Cambridge, as it is sometimes called, from the
village where it is situated. The history of this college is a wholesome
proof how a small institution, if duly fostered by a nation, may
eventually repay future generations with liberal interest. Established
in 1636, by a vote of 400l., it obtained the name of Harvard, from the
bequeathment by a reverend gentleman of that name, A.D. 1638, of the sum
of 780l. and 300 volumes. Its property now amounts to upwards of
100,000l., and it is divided into five departments--collegiate, law,
medical, theological, and scientific--affording education to 652
students, of whom one half are undergraduates. There are forty-five
instructors, all men of unquestionable attainments, and capable of
leading the students up to the highest steps of every branch of
knowledge; the necessary expenses of a student are about 45l. a year;
the fee for a master of arts, including the diploma, is 1l. sterling.

Meritorious students, whose circumstances require it, are allowed, at
the discretion of the Faculty, to be absent for thirteen weeks,
including the winter vacation, for the purpose of teaching schools.
Parents who think their sons unable to take care of their own money, may
send it to a patron duly appointed by the college, who will then pay all
bills and keep the accounts, receiving, as compensation two and a half
per cent. I think the expenses of this establishment will astonish those
who have had to "pay the piper" for a smart young man at Oxford, as much
as the said young man would have been astonished, had his allowance,
while there, been paid into the hands of some prudent and trusty
patron. Tandems and tin horns would have been rather at a discount--_cum
pluribus aliis_.

The college has a look of antiquity, which is particularly pleasant in a
land where almost everything is spick-and-span new; but the rooms I
thought low and stuffy, and the walls and passages had a neglected
plaster-broken appearance. There are some very fine old trees in the
green, which, throwing their shade over the time-worn building, help to
give it a venerable appearance. A new school of science has just been
built by the liberality of Mr. Lawrence,[AL] late Minister of the United
States in this country; and I may add that the wealth and prosperity of
the college are almost entirely due to private liberality.

As the phonetic system of education has been made a subject of so much
discussion in the United States, I make no apology for inserting the
following lengthy observations thereon. A joint committee on education,
appointed to inquire into its merits by the Senate, in 1851, reported
that there was evidence tending to show--"That it will enable the pupil
to learn to read phonetically in one-tenth of the time ordinarily
employed. That it will enable the learner to read the common type in
one-fourth of the time necessary according to the usual mode of
instruction. That its acquisition leads the pupil to the correct
pronunciation of every word. That it will present to the missionary a
superior alphabet for the representation of hitherto unwritten
languages," &c. A similar committee, to whom the question was referred
by the House of Representatives in 1852, state that during the past year
the system had been tried in twelve public schools, and that, according
to the testimony of the teachers, children evinced greater attachment to
their books, and learnt to read with comparative ease; and they conclude
their report in these words:--"Impressed with the importance of the
phonetic system, which, if primarily learnt, according to the testimony
presented, would save two years of time to each of the two hundred
thousand children in the State, the committee would recommend to school
committees and teachers, the introduction of the phonetic system of
instruction into all the primary schools of the State, for the purpose
of teaching the reading and spelling of the common orthography, with an
enunciation which can rarely be secured by the usual method, and with a
saving of time and labour to both teachers and pupils, which will enable
the latter to advance in physical and moral education alone until they
are six years of age, without any permanent loss in the information they
will ultimately obtain."

One gentleman of the minority of the committee sent in a very strong
report condemning the system. He declares "the system is nothing but an
absurd attempt to mystify and perplex a subject, which ought to be left
plain and clear to the common apprehensions of common men." Further on
he states, "No human ingenuity can show a reason for believing that the
way to learn the true alphabet, is first to study a false alphabet; that
the way to speak words rightly, is to begin by spelling them wrong; that
the way to teach the right use of a letter, is to begin by giving a
false account of a letter. Yet the phonetic system, so far as it is
anything, is precisely this." Then, again, with reference to the eight
specimen scholars, taken from a school of fifty, and who were exhibited,
he observes, "they were the same as those who were examined a year ago;
nothing is said of the other forty-two. It is not necessary to say
anything more of the character of such evidence as this;" and he winds
up by observing: "Such a mode of instruction would, in his opinion,
waste both the time and the labour employed upon it, and complicate and
embarrass a study, which in its true shape is perfectly simple and
clear." The following old anecdote would rather tend to prove that
spelling and reading were not either "simple or clear" to a Lancashire
judge, who, having asked the name of a witness, and not catching the
word exactly, desired him to spell it, which he proceeded to do
thus:--"O double T, I double U, E double L, double U, double O, D." The
learned judge laid down his pen in astonishment, and after two or three
unsuccessful efforts, at last declared he was unable to record it--so
puzzled was he with the "simple" spelling of that clear name--Ottiwell

In the _Massachusetts Teacher_ of January, 1853, there is the report of
a committee, in which they state "that children taught solely by the
phonetic system, and only twenty minutes each day, outstripped all their
compeers." They further add, that "the phonetic system, thus beneficial
in its effects, has been introduced into one hundred and nineteen public
and five private schools, and that they have reason to believe, that no
committee ever appointed to examine its merits have ever reported
adverse to it;" and they conclude by strongly "recommending teachers to
test the merits of the System by actual trial in their schools." Then
again, in the following number of their journal, they strongly condemn
the system as both useless and impracticable.

Having carefully weighed the arguments on both sides, I am led to the
conclusion, that the objections of those who condemn the system are
partly owing to the fact, that while reaching their present advanced
state of knowledge, they have entirely forgotten their own struggles,
and are thus insensibly led to overlook the confusion and difficulty
which must ever arise in the infant mind, where similar combinations
produce similar sounds. An infant mind is incapable of grasping
differences, but understands readily simple facts; if what meets the eye
represent a certain fixed sound, the infant readily acquires that sound;
but if the eye rest on _o, u, g, h,_ as a combination, and the endeavour
is made to teach him the endless varieties of sound produced thereby,
his little mind becomes puzzled, his ideas of truth become confused, his
memory becomes distrusted, and his powers of reading become retarded by
the time occupied in the--to him--most uninteresting task of learning a
host of unmeaning sounds. The inevitable consequence is that the poor
little victim becomes disheartened, rendering a considerable amount of
additional trouble and--which is far more difficult to find--patience
necessary upon the part of the teacher.

Common sense points out, that the reading of phonetic words must be more
easily learnt than the reading of the aphonetic words, of which our
language is essentially composed. The real question is simply
this,--Does the infant mind advance with such rapidity under phonetic
teaching, as to enable it at a certain age to transfer its powers to
orthodox orthography, and reach a given point of knowledge therein,
with less trouble, and in a shorter space of time, than those infants
do who are educated upon the old system? If phonetic teaching has this
effect, it is an inestimable boon, and if not, it is a complete
humbug.[AM] It should also be borne in mind, that the same arguments
which hold good in the case of infants will apply also, in a great
degree, to adults who wish to learn to read, and to foreigners
commencing the study of our language. Whether any further use of
phonetics is either desirable or practicable, would be a discussion out
of place in these pages.

When any startling novelty is proposed, enthusiasts carry their advocacy
of it so far as often to injure the cause they wish to serve: on the
other hand, too many of the educated portion of the community are so
strenuously opposed to innovation, as to raise difficulties rather than
remove them. Has not the common sense of the age been long calling for
changes in the law of partnership, divorce, &c., and is not some
difficulty always arising? Has not the commercial world been crying
aloud for decimal coinage and decimal weights and measures, and are not
educated men constantly finding some objections, and will they not
continue to do so, until some giant mind springs up able to grasp the
herculean task, and force the boon upon the community? Were not
steamboats and railways long opposed as being little better than insane
visions? Did not Doctor Lardner prove to demonstration that railway
carriages could never go more than twenty miles an hour, owing to the
laws of resistance, friction, &c., and did not Brunel take the breath
out of him, and the pith out of his arguments, by carrying the learned
demonstrator with him on a locomotive, and whisking him ten miles out of
London in as many minutes? When I see that among so intelligent and
practical a people as the New Englanders--a people whose thoughts and
energies are so largely devoted to education--one hundred and nineteen
schools have adopted the phonetic system, I cannot but look back to the
infancy of steam, and conclude, that there must be more advantages in
that system than its opponents seem disposed to allow it to possess.

The Committee of Council on Education in England, to whom the funds
set apart for educational purposes are, intrusted, authorized the
printing of phonetic books for schools some years since; but authorizing
books without training masters to teach them, is about as useful as
putting engines into a ship, without supplying engineers to work them.
Besides which, their phonetic system was in itself confusing and
objectionable; they have also informed the public, that the system, in
various forms, is almost universally adopted in the elementary schools
of Holland, Prussia, and Germany.[AN]

I should also mention that other systems have been tried both in England
and Scotland, and that those teachers who employ them speak highly of
their advantages, especially in the latter country. I have now a paper
before me, called _The Reading Reformer_, in which I find the following
sentence, which tends to show that the system is approved of in France
in the highest quarters:--"The phonetic method of primary instruction is
used in the 5th regiment of the line, the 12th Light, the Penitentiary
of St. Germain, and the House of Correction for young prisoners. The
Minister of War has ordered that French should be taught by this method
to the young Arabs, in the three schools of Algiers, Oran, and

One great mistake has been made by the champions of this mode of
teaching, which is more fatal to its success, in my opinion, than any
difficulty raised by its opponents, and that is the adoption by each
champion of his own phonetic alphabet; and for which he claims a
superiority over the alphabets of others. The absurdity of this
perpetual strife must be palpable. If a Fireworshipper were to be
converted, what hopes of success would there be if a Mormonite and a
Mussulman were placed on one side of him, and a Free Kirk man and a
Jesuit on the other? The public, as regards phonetic teaching, are
precisely in that Fireworshipper's position. Reader, you must form your
own opinion: I offer none. And now, with your permission, we will quit
the region of speculation and return to sober fact.

One of the most striking buildings I visited during my stay at Boston
was the jail; the airiness and cleanliness were both perfect, and the
arrangement was to me totally novel. Independent of the ground outside,
which is walled all round, the jail itself is built under a large outer
case, affording abundance of light and ventilation. This outer building
forms a corridor all round the jail, affording protection to the keepers
from all weathers, and thus enables them to keep an efficient watch over
the inmates. Supposing any prisoner to escape from his cell, he is still
hemmed in by this outer case, which has only one door, so situated that
no one can approach it without being seen from a considerable distance;
and, even if these difficulties be overcome, the outer wall common to
all prisons still remains. As far as I could learn, no prisoner has ever
been able to force his way out. At night a blaze of gas in the outer
hall lights all the dormitories and the corridor which runs round
outside the jail, thus rendering escape as difficult at night as in
broad daylight. Water is freely supplied to every room on every storey,
and means of bathing are arranged in various parts of the building.
School-rooms, private rooms, and a chapel are all contained within this
leviathan outer case. In short, to those who take an interest in
improving the airiness of jails and the security of prisoners, this
building is well worth the most careful examination; and I trust we may
some day profit by the improvements which the ingenuity of the New
Englanders has here exhibited, for the frequent escapes from our jails
prove that some change is requisite.

The Bostonians have applied the telegraph to a most important use,
which, I believe, we have totally overlooked in England. The town is
divided into sections, in each of which are a certain number of
stations; all of these latter have a telegraph-office, communicating
with one grand central office, by which means they explain where the
fire is. The central office immediately indicates to every section the
information thus obtained by the ringing of alarm-bells; and, by this
method, every fire-station in the city is informed of the locality of
the danger within a few minutes after its occurrence.

The naval arsenal at Boston is moderate in size, kept very clean; but
when I visited it there were little signs of activity or life. They have
only three building sheds, in one of which a vessel has been in progress
for twenty years; the other two are vacant. The principal feature is the
rope-walk, which is 1640 feet long, and worked by steam-power.

The United States, being on friendly terms with England, and so far
removed from Europe and its politics and its disturbances, pays
comparatively little attention to the navy, which is small, when
considered in reference to the size and wealth of the country and the
extent of its seaboard.

The convention for the amendment of the constitution being in session, I
was enabled, through the kindness of Mr. Sumner, the senator for the
State, to witness their proceedings, which were conducted with becoming
dignity. The speakers, if not eloquent, at least adhered to the subject
under discussion, in a manner some of the wordy and wandering gentlemen
in our House of Commons might imitate with advantage.

The supply of water for the town is brought from Lake Cochitnate, a
distance of twenty miles; and the length of piping in connexion with it
is upwards of 100 miles. The State authorized a city debt of 900,000l.
for the necessary expenses of the undertaking and purchase of the
ground, &c. The annual receipts amount to 36,000l., which will, of
course, increase with the population. Dwelling-houses pay from 1l. as
high as 15l. tax, according to their consumption. The average daily
expenditure in 1853 was about 7,000,000 gallons, or nearly 50 gallons
per head.

Before leaving Boston, I may as well give some evidence of the
prosperity of the State. In the year 1830, the population was 600,000;
at the present date it is 1,000,000. The exports of domestic produce,
which in 1844 amounted to 1,275,000l., now amount to upwards of
2,830,000l.; and the imports, which at the former period amounted to
4,000,000l., now amount to nearly 7,000,000l. The population of
Boston has increased 600 per cent. during the present century. Lowell,
which is the great Manchester of Massachusetts, has increased its
population from 6500 in 1830 to nearly 40,000 at the present date; and
the capital invested, which in 1823 was only 500,000l., is now nearly
2,700,000l. I do not wish to weary my readers with statistics, and
therefore trust I have said enough to convey a tolerable impression of
the go-aheadism of these hardy and energetic descendants of the Pilgrim
Fathers; and, for the same reasons, I have not made any observations
upon their valuable libraries, hospitals, houses of industry,
reformation, &c., the former of which are so largely indebted to private
munificence. But before taking my leave of Boston, I must notice the
great pleasure I derived from hearing in all quarters the favourable
impression which Lord Elgin's visit, on the occasion of opening the
railway in 1851, had produced. His eloquence and urbanity was a constant
theme of conversation with many of my friends, who generally wound up by
saying, "A few such visits as that of the Railway Jubilee would do more
to cement the good feeling between the two countries than the diplomacy
of centuries could effect." I must here add, that upon my visiting
Quebec, I found that the same cordial feeling of fellowship had been
produced on the Canadian mind, by the brotherly reception they had met
with upon that memorable occasion. Farewell to Boston! but not farewell
to the pleasing recollection of the many happy hours I spent, nor of the
many kind friends whose acquaintance I enjoyed there, and which I hope
on same future occasion to renew and improve.


[Footnote AL: Such gifts during the lifetime of the donor, are in my
estimation, better evidences of liberality and zeal in a cause, than the
most munificent bequests even of a Stephen Gerard, who only gave what he
could no longer enjoy.]

[Footnote AM: A _Vide_ observation by Mr. H. Mann, chap. 20.]

[Footnote AN: The expense of printing proper books is sometimes
mentioned as an objection, on account of requiring new types for the new
sounds taught. No expense can outweigh the value of a change by which
education can be facilitated; but even this difficulty has been obviated
by Major Beniowski's plan. He obtains the new symbols requisite by
simply inverting a certain number of letters for that purpose.]



Early morning found me seated in the cars on my way to Quebec. Not being
a good hand at description of scenery, this railway travelling is a
great boon to my unfortunate reader--if he have got thus far. A Nubian
clothed in castor-oil, and descending from the heavens by a slippery
seat upon a rainbow, might as well attempt to describe the beauties of
our sphere as the caged traveller at the tail of the boiling kettle
attempt to convey much idea of the scenery he passes through. Not merely
do the scrunching squeaks of the break, the blasty trumpet whistle, the
slamming of doors, and the squalling of children bewilder his brain and
bedeafen his ears, but the iron tyrant enchains and confuses his eyes. A
beautiful village rivets his attention,--bang he goes into the tunneled
bowels of the earth; a magnificent panorama enchants his sight as he
emerges from the realms of darkness; he calls to a neighbour to share
the enjoyment of the lovely scene with him; the last sounds of the call
have not died away, ere he finds himself wedged in between two
embankments, with nought else but the sky for the eye to rest on. Is it
any wonder, then--nay, rather, is it not an evidence of
truthfulness--that I find the record of my journey thus described in my
note-book:--"7-1/2 A.M., Fizz, fizz; hiss, hiss--waving
fields--undulating ground--sky--varied tints of green--cottages, cattle,
humanities--bridges, bays, rivers, dust, and heat--Rouse's Point, 7-1/2
P.M." At this point we got out of the cage and embarked in a steamer.
The shroud of night hung heavily around us, and the lights of Montreal
and its suburbs, reflected in the unruffled stream, shone all the
brighter from the density of the surrounding darkness, and formed a
brilliant illumination. In half an hour I was comfortably housed in the
hotel, where, to my agreeable surprise, I met one of my countrywomen,
whose many charms had made her a theme of much admiration at Washington,
where I first had the pleasure of making her acquaintance.

Any one who, wandering far from home, finds himself surrounded with
utter strangers, will partially understand the pleasure I enjoyed at
finding one face I had looked upon before; but to understand it fully,
they must know the face I was then gazing upon. Don't be curious,
reader, as to whom it belonged, for I have no intention of enlightening
you, further than to say it belonged to her and her husband. Twelve
hours of railway makes me sleepy; it's my nature, and I can't help it,
so I trust I may be excused, when I confess that I very soon exchanged
the smile of beauty for the snore of Morpheus. What my dreams were, it
concerns nobody to know.

The magnificent brow of hill which overhangs Montreal was named in 1535
Mont Royal, by the famous Jacques Cartier, in honour of his royal
master; the French settlement which arose a century after, in the
neighbourhood of the Indian village of Hochelaga, assumed the name of
the hill, and has at last shaken down into its present combination. What
Goths, not to preserve the Indian name which savours of the land and of
antiquity, instead of substituting a French concoction! With regard to
the site of the town, there is no doubt it is on the island now called
Montreal; but where that island is situated may be considered an open
question; the river Ottawa runs into the St. Lawrence at the western
extremity of the island, and the question is, whether the water on the
northern shore is the Ottawa or the St. Lawrence; upon which depends
whether the island is in the St. Lawrence, or between the St. Lawrence
and the Ottawa. Not wishing to deprive either of their finger in the
pie, I should give my verdict in favour of the latter opinion; but I
leave it an open question to the reader. The population of the town is
increasing rapidly, no doubt owing in great measure to emigration. In
1849 it was 48,000, in 1851, 58,000. The great majority are of the
Church of Rome, 41,000; of the Church of England there are 4000; the
other denominations are in small numbers.

At the time I arrived, the town was full of gloom and excitement, for
it was but a few days previous that the Roman Catholics endeavoured to
murder Gavazzi, while delivering one of his anti-Romanistic lectures,
which, whatever their merits or demerits, were most certainly very
injudicious, considering the elements of which the population of
Montreal is composed; and it cannot be denied, that Signor Gavazzi's
lectures upon sacred subjects are delivered in a style partaking so much
of the theatrical, that a person ignorant of the language of his
address, might readily suppose that he was taking off John Kemble and
Liston alternately, and therefore the uneducated Irish emigrants might
very well conclude his sole object was to turn their creed into
ridicule. I certainly never heard or saw a person, lecturing on sacred
subjects, whose tone and manner were so ridiculously yet painfully at
variance with the solemnity due to such a theme. The excitement
produced, the constant calling out of the military, and the melancholy
sequel, are too recent and well known to require recapitulation here. It
is but just to the French Romanists to state, that as a body they
repudiated and took no part in the villanous attempt upon Gavazzi's
life; the assailants were almost exclusively Irish Romanists, who form
nearly one-fifth of the population. Would that they could leaven their
faith with those Christian virtues of peacefulness and moderation which
shine so creditably in their co-religionists of French origin.

While touching upon the subject of the military being called out in aid
of the civil power, I am reminded of a passage extracted from some
journal which a friend showed me, and which I consider so well
expressed, that I make no apology for giving it at length.

"THE MOB.--The mob is a demon fierce and ungovernable. It will not
listen to reason: it will not be influenced by fear, or pity, or
self-preservation. It has no sense of justice. Its energy is exerted
in frenzied fits; its forbearance is apathy or ignorance. It is a
grievous error to suppose that this cruel, this worthless hydra has
any political feeling. In its triumph, it breaks windows; in its
anger, it breaks heads. Gratify it, and it creates a disturbance;
disappoint it, and it grows furious; attempt to appease it, and it
becomes outrageous; meet it boldly, and it turns away. It is
accessible to no feeling but one of personal suffering; it submits to
no argument but that of the strong hand. The point of the bayonet
convinces; the edge of the sabre speaks keenly; the noise of musketry
is listened to with respect; the roar of artillery is unanswerable.
How deep, how grievous, how burdensome is the responsibility that lies
on him who would rouse this fury from its den! It is astonishing, it
is too little known, how much individual character is lost in the
aggregate character of a multitude. Men may be rational, moderate,
peaceful, loyal, and sober, as individuals; yet heap them by the
thousand, and in the very progress of congregation, loyalty,
quietness, moderation, and reason evaporate, and a multitude of
rational beings is an unreasonable and intemperate being--a wild,
infuriated monster, which may be driven, but not led, except to
mischief--which has an appetite for blood, and a savage joy in
destruction, for the mere gratification of destroying."

The various fires with which the city has been visited, however
distressing to the sufferers, have not been without their good effect,
of which the eye has most satisfactory evidence in the numerous public
and other buildings now built of stone. The only monument in the city is
one which was raised to Nelson. Whether the memory of the hero has
passed away, or the ravages of the weather call too heavily on the
public purse, I cannot say; but it would be more creditable to the town
to remove it entirely, than to allow it to remain in its present
disgraceful state. It is reported that its restoration is to be effected
by private subscription; if so, more shame to the authorities.

As nay first object was to reach Quebec, I only stayed one day at
Montreal, which I employed in driving about to see what changes had
taken place in the town and neighbourhood since my former visit in 1826.
I started by steamer in the evening, and arrived early the next morning.

Is there any scene more glorious to look upon than that which greets the
eye from the citadel at Quebec? The only scene I know more glorious is
Rio Janeiro, which I believe to be by far the grandest in the world; but
the Rio lacks the associations of Quebec. Who can ever forget that
beneath its walls two chieftains, the bravest of the brave, fell on the
same battle-field--the one in the arms of victory, the other in defence
of his country and her honour? The spot where our hero fell is marked by
a pillar thus simply inscribed:--


Nor has the noble foe been forgotten, though for a long time unnoticed.
In the year 1827, the Earl of Dalhousie being Governor-General, a
monument was raised in Quebec to Wolfe and Montcalm; and the death they
both met at the post of honour is commemorated on the same column,--a
column on which an Englishman may gaze with pride and a Frenchman
without a blush. The following words, forming part of the inscription, I
think well worthy of insertion: "Military prowess gave them a common
death, History a common fame, Posterity a common monument."

It is a curious fact, that when the foundation-stone was laid, an old
soldier from Ross-shire, the last living veteran of the gallant band who
fought under Wolfe, was present at the ceremony, being then in his
ninety-fifth year. Everybody who has seen or read of Quebec must
remember the magnificent towering rock overhanging the river, on the
summit of which the citadel is placed, forming at once the chief
stronghold of its defence, and the grandest feature of its scenery. But
perhaps everybody does not know that to this same glorious feature the
city owes its name. The puny exclamation of Jacques Cartier's Norman
pilot upon beholding it was, "_Que bec_!" and this expression of
admiration has buried, in all but total oblivion, the old Algonquin name
of Stadacona. What a pity that old pilot was not born dumb.

The increase of population here does not seem, to be very rapid. In
1844, it was about 36,000; now, it is little more than 42,000. There can
be no doubt that the severity of the climate is one great cause of so
small an increase. When it is remembered that the average arrival of the
first vessel after the breaking up of the ice is between the last week
of April and the first week in May, this need not he much wondered at.

The Governor-General's residence, is removed from the town, and a
beautiful little country villa, called Spencer Wood, has been assigned
him in lieu. It is situated on the banks of the river, about half a mile
inland; the only objection to it is, that the size thereof is not
sufficient for vice-regal entertainments; but a very slight addition
would remedy that defect. In all other respects it is a charming place,
as I can gratefully testify. The drives and sights around the city are
too well known to need much notice from me.

Montmorenci, with its frozen cone in winter, is one of the chief
resorts for pic-nickers in their sleighs. The trackless path over the
frozen snow during the season is as full of life as Windsor park was in
the old Ascot days. Bright eyes beaming from rosy cheeks, and half
buried in furs, anxiously watch for the excitement of a capsize, and
laugh merrily as the mixed tenants of some sleigh are seen rolling over
one another in most ludicrous confusion; the sun shines brightly, the
bells ring cheerily, all is jollity and fun, and a misanthrope would be
as much out of his element in one of these pic-nics as a bear in a

The falls of Lorette afford another pleasant excursion, not forgetting
old Paul and his wife--a venerable Indian chief and his squaw--whom I
visited, and the cleanliness of whose cottage I had great pleasure in
complimenting him upon, as also upon his various medals, which extended
from Chateau Gai down to the Exhibition of 1851. He appeared as much
struck with my venerable appearance as I was with his; for, upon being
asked my age, he bestowed a searching glance from head to foot, and then
gravely replied, "Seventy-five." I rebelled against his decision, and
appealed to his wife, who kindly took my part, and after a steady gaze,
said, "Oh, Paul! that gentleman is not more than seventy-two." It was in
vain I tried to satisfy them, that thirty summers would have to pass
over my head before I reached that honourable time of life. However, it
is not only Indians who miscalculate age, for a young lady, fresh from
Ireland, having the same question put to her, said "Sixty;" and upon
being told she was seventeen years out in her calculation, she replied,
with painful coolness, "Which way?" I never felt a confirmed old
bachelor till I heard that awful "Which way?"

The roads round about in all directions are admirable; not so if you
cross the river to the Falls of the Chaudiere; but the abomination of
abominations is the ferry-boat, and the facilities, or rather obstacles,
for entering and exiting. To any one who has seen the New York
ferry-boats, and all the conveniences connected with them, the contrast
is painfully humiliating. In the one case you drive on board as readily
as into a court-yard, and find plenty of room when you get there; in the
other, you have half a dozen men holding horses and carriages, screaming
in all directions, and more time is wasted in embarking than a Yankee
boat would employ to deposit you safely on the other side; and it would
puzzle a Philadelphia lawyer to decide which is the more abominable, the
exit or the entry. Nevertheless, the traveller will find himself
compensated for all his troubles--especially if the horse and carriage
be a friend's--by the lovely drive which takes him to the Chaudiere
Falls, a trip I had the pleasure of making in company with a jolly party
of good fellows belonging to the 72nd Highlanders, then in garrison at
Quebec, and whose hospitalities during my stay I gratefully remember.

If, however, an Englishman feels humiliated in crossing the Quebec
ferry, he feels a compensating satisfaction upon entering the Quebec
Legislative Council Chamber, which in its aspect of cleanliness,
furniture, &c., has an appearance of refinement far superior to that at
Washington. As they were not sitting during my stay in Canada, I had no
opportunity of drawing any comparison on their different modes of
carrying on public business. I had heard so much during my absence from
England of the famous Rebellion Losses Bill, and all the obloquy which
had been heaped upon the Governor-General in consequence, that I was
very anxious to get some insight into the true state of the case,
although perhaps the justification of the Earl of Elgin's conduct by Sir
Robert Peel ought to have satisfied me.

I soon became convinced that in this, as in most similar cases, the
violence of party spirit had clouded truth; and the bitterness of
defeat, in minds thus prejudiced, had sought relief in the too-common
channels of violence and abuse. However much to be deplored, I fear that
the foregoing opinions will be found, on most occasions of political
excitement, to be true. The old party, who may be said to have enjoyed
the undisguised support of the Queen's representatives from time
immemorial, were not likely to feel very well disposed to Lord Elgin,
when they found that he was determined to identify himself with no
particular party, but that, being sent to govern Canada
constitutionally, he was resolved to follow the example of his
sovereign, and give his confidence and assistance to whichever party
proved, by its majority, to be the legitimate representative of the
opinions of the governed, at the same time ever upholding the right and
dignity of the Crown. This was, of course, a first step in unpopularity
with the party who, long triumphant, now found themselves in a minority;
then, again, it must be remembered that a majority which had for so many
years been out of power was not likely, in the excitement of victory, to
exercise such moderation as would be calculated to soothe the irritated
feelings of their opponents, who, they considered, had enjoyed too long
the colonial loaves and fishes.

With all these elements at work, it is not to be wondered at that a
question which admitted of misinterpretation should be greedily laid
hold of, and that, thus misinterpreted, the passions of the mob should
be successfully roused. I believe there is little question that the
Government brought forward the Rebellion Losses Bill in the Senate in a
manner, if not arrogant, at all events most offensive, and thus added
fuel to the flames; but, viewed dispassionately, what is the truth of
this far-famed bill? It was framed upon the precedent of that for the
payment of similar losses in Upper Canada on a previous occasion, and I
believe the very same commissioners were appointed to carry out its
provisions. It received the sanction of the Governor-General in the same
way as all other bills, and was never smuggled through, as the irritated
opposition and infuriated mobs would have us believe. The
Governor-General clearly states that it never was intended in any way
"to compensate the losses of persons guilty of the heinous crime of
treason," and the names of the commissioners appointed to decide upon
the claims of the sufferers might alone have been a sufficient guarantee
that such an abominable idea was never entertained. Without mentioning
others, take Colonel W.C. Hanson: schooled in the field of honour and
patriotism, whose courage has been tried in many a bloody struggle
during the Peninsular war, and is attested by the honourable badges that
adorn his breast. Is a recreant rebel likely to find sympathy in that
breast which for half a century stood unchallenged for loyalty and
truth? What do his letters, as one of the commissioners, prove beyond
the shadow of a doubt? I have them now before me; and, so far from
claims being hastily admitted, I find the gallant old soldier constantly
advocating the cause of some claimant whom the commissioners declined to
indemnify, but never yet have I seen his name as opposed to any
compensation granted; possessing that still more noble quality which is
ever the lovely handmaid of true courage, his voice is raised again and
again for mercy.

I could quote from numerous letters of this veteran, extracts similar to
the following:--The claimants were inhabitants of St. Benoit, some
portion of which population had been in arms as rebels, but upon the
approach of the Queen's troops they had all laid down their arms. As to
the facts of the case, Colonel Hanson writes to Lord Seaton, who
replies:--"The soldiers were regularly put up in the village by the
Quartermaster-General's department, and strict orders were issued to
each officer to protect the inhabitants and their property; Lieut.-Col.
Townsend to remain in the village of St. Benoit for its protection, the
remainder of the troops to return to Montreal. The utmost compassion and
consideration should be felt for the families of the sufferers plunged
into affliction by the reckless conduct of their relatives; every house
injured or destroyed at St. Benoit was a wanton destruction, perpetrated
in defiance of guards placed to protect property." Thus writes Lord
Seaton. Colonel Hanson, after quoting the above, proceeds to state that
the evidence before the commissioners proves that "immediately after
Lieut.-Col. Townsend assembled his regiment for the purpose of marching
back to Montreal, the volunteers from the northern townships commenced
plundering the village, carrying off the whole of the effects belonging
to the inhabitants, burning the church, and nearly every house in the
village ... wilfully and wantonly destroying houses, and in many
instances burning valuable barns and granaries.... Therefore I humbly
pretend that every such individual who thus suffered should be
indemnified, as his loss was a wanton destruction of the dwellings,
buildings, property, and effects of the said inhabitants." Yet such was
the jealous way in which the commissioners excluded all doubtful
claimants, that Colonel Hanson found himself in a minority upon the
consideration of the foregoing claims, and, as a man of honour and
anxious for justice, felt it his duty to address a letter to the
Governor-General upon the subject, from which letter, bearing date
January, 1852, the foregoing extracts have been taken.

I have very many of such complaints of justice being withheld from
claimants, in the opinion of the gallant colonel, now lying before me,
but "_ex uno disce omnes_." I have read a great portion of the Report,
and the conclusion is irresistibly forced upon my mind, that everything
which could possibly be brought to assume the slightest shade of
rebellion was made fatal to an applicant's claim; but if anything were
wanting to satisfy my mind that the vilifiers of the "Losses Bill" had
not any ground of complaint against the measure, it would be found in
the fact, that among its various opponents to whom I spoke, they one and
all exclaimed, "Look at the case of Nelson, absolutely a rebel in arms,
and his claims listened to!" This was their invariable reply; and, until
I made inquiry, it looked very bad. But what was the real state of the
case? Simply that Nelson, having been ruined by his rebellion, many
loyal and faithful subjects to whom he owed debts suffered for his
faults; and the money awarded for the losses sustained by the rebel went
to pay the loyal debtors, except a small portion which was granted to
his wife, who was well known to be strongly opposed to the course he had
pursued, and who had lost considerable property which she held in her
own right. I say that the fact of Nelson's case being always brought up
as the great enormity carried more conviction to my mind of the utter
weakness of the opponents' cause than anything else; and it also proved
to me how ignorant many of them were of the truth, for several of them
who vilified the Bill, the Government, and the Governor-General, had not
the slightest idea, till I informed them, how the Nelson award was

There is no doubt that the atrocities of which Montreal was the scene
constitute the most discreditable features in modern Canadian history,
and which, it is to be hoped, the instigators to and actors in are long
since fully ashamed of; nor can the temper and judgment of the
Governor-General on this trying occasion be too highly extolled. When it
was imperative to dissolve the Parliament, he foresaw that his not doing
so in person would be misconstrued by his enemies, and that he would be
branded by them with that most galling of all accusations to a noble
heart--cowardice. With a high-minded sense of duty, he put all such
personal considerations aside. There were two courses open to him: one,
to call out the military, and in their safe keeping dissolve the
Assembly; the other, to depute the Commander of the Forces to perform
that duty. The former must have produced a collision with the populace,
and the blood of many whom he believed to be as loyal as he knew they
were misguided and excited would have flowed freely; the latter, he
foresaw, would be misconstrued into an act of personal cowardice, but he
knew it would prevent a flow of blood, the remembrance of which would
keep alive the bitterest elements of political animosity for years to
come. With true patriotism, he sacrificed himself at the shrine of the
country he was sent to govern, preferring to be the subject of the most
galling accusations rather than shed unnecessarily one drop of the blood
of those committed to his rule.

During the whole of Lord Elgin's able and prosperous administration, I
can scarcely conceive any one act of his to which he can look back with
more satisfaction, than this triumph of his judgment over his feelings,
when he offered up just pride and dignity on the altar of mercy, and
retired to Quebec. A shallow-pated fellow, who had probably figured
personally in the outrages of that period, in talking to me on the
subject, thus described it,--"he bolted off in a funk to Quebec;" and
doubtless hundreds of others, as shallow-pated as himself, had been made
to believe such was the case, and vituperation being the easiest of all
ignoble occupations, they had probably done their best to circulate the
paltry slander. Lord Elgin, however, needs no goose-quill defender; the
unprecedented increasing prosperity of the colony under his
administration is the most valuable testimony he could desire. It is not
every governor who, on his arrival, finding a colony in confusion and
rebellion, has the satisfaction, on his resignation of office, of
leaving harmony and loyalty in their place, and the revenue during the
same period increased from 400,000l. to 1,500,000l.: and if any
doubt ever rested upon his mind as to whether his services were approved
of and appreciated at home, it must have been removed in the most
gratifying manner, when, upon a public dinner being given him at the
London Tavern, 1854, all shades of politicals gathered readily to do him
honour; and while the chairman, Lord John Russell, was eulogizing his
talents and his administration, five other colonial and ex-colonial
ministers were present at the same board to endorse the compliment; the
American Minister also bearing his testimony to the happy growth of
good feeling between the two countries, which Lord Elgin had so
successfully fostered and developed. I cannot recal to my memory any
other instance of so great an honour having been paid to a colonial

I was astonished to find so little had been done in Canada for the
organization of a militia force, especially when their republican
neighbours afford them an example of so much activity and efficiency in
that department. It may not be desirable as yet for the colony to
establish any military school, such as West Point; but it might be
agreeable and advantageous to the colonists, if we allowed a given
number of young men to be educated at each of our military colleges in
England; those only being eligible, who, by a severe examination, had
proved their capabilities, and whose conduct at the places of their
education had been noted as exemplary. By such simple means, a certain
amount of military knowledge would gradually be diffused amongst the
colonists, which would render them more efficient to repress internal
troubles or repel foreign aggression.

As it may be interesting to some of my readers, I shall here give a
slight sketch of the Canadian parliaments. The Legislative Assembly, or
House of Commons, is composed of eighty-four members, being forty-two
for each province. The qualification for membership is 500l., and the
franchise 40s. freehold, or 7l. 10s. the householder; it is also
granted to wealthy leaseholders and to farmers renting largely; the term
is for four years, and members are paid 1l. per day while sitting, and
6d. per mile travelling expenses. The Legislative Council consists of
forty members, and is named by the Crown for life. The Cabinet, or
Executive Council, are ten in number, and selected from both Houses by
the Governor-General. Their Chancellor of the Exchequer is the Prime
Minister. The Canadians wish to do away with the qualification for
members of the Assembly, retaining the qualification for the franchise,
and to increase the number of members to sixty-five for each province.
They also desire to supersede the nomination of the Crown, and to make
the Legislative Council elective,[AO] with a property qualification of
1000l., thirty members for each province; these latter to be elected
for six years.

With regard to the proposed change in the Legislative Council, I confess
I look upon its supposed advantages--if carried out--with considerable
doubt, inasmuch as the electors being the same as those for the other
Chamber, it will become merely a lower house, elected for a longer
period, and will lose that prestige which might have been obtained by
exacting a higher qualification from the electors. Then, again, I think
the period for which they are elected decidedly too short, being fully
convinced that an increase in duration will usually produce an increase
in the respectability of the candidates offering themselves for
election; an opinion in which I am fully borne out by many of the wisest
heads who assisted in framing the government of the United States, and
who deplored excessively the shortness of the period for which the
senators were elected.[AP] I cannot believe, either, that the removing
the power of nomination entirely from the Crown will prove beneficial to
the colony. Had the experiment been commenced with the Crown resigning
the nomination of one-half of the members, I think it would have been
more prudent, and would have helped to keep alive those feelings of
association with, and loyalty to, the Crown which I am fully certain the
majority of the Canadians deeply feel; a phalanx of senators, removed
from all the sinister influences of the periodical simoons common to all
countries would thus have been retained, and the Governor-General would
have had the power of calling the highest talent and patriotism to his
councils, in those times of political excitement when the passions of
electors are too likely to be enlisted in favour of voluble agitators,
who have neither cash nor character to lose. However, as these questions
are to be decided, as far as this country is concerned, by those who
probably care but little for my opinions, and as the question is not one
likely to interest the general reader, I shall not dilate further upon


[Footnote AO: Since my return to England the proposed increase in the
Legislative Assembly has taken place. The Imperial Government has also
empowered the colony to alter the constitution of the Legislative
Council, and to render it elective if they thought proper so to do.]

[Footnote AP: _Vide_ Chapter on the "Constitution of the United


_A Trip to the Uttawa_.

Having spent a fortnight in the enjoyment of lovely scenery and warm
hospitality, and taken a last and lingering gaze at the glorious
panoramic view from the citadel, I embarked once more on the St.
Lawrence. It was evening; and, as the moon rose bright and clear, the
wooded banks and silvered stream formed as charming a picture as the eye
of man could wish to rest upon. Morning found us at Montreal. Among my
fellow-passengers were two members of the Cabinet, or Executive Council,
Mr. Hincks and Mr. Drummond, both on their way to the Ottawa, the
commercial importance of that river to the prosperity of the colony
having induced them to take the trip with a view of ascertaining, by
actual observation and examination, what steps were most advisable to
improve its navigation.

My intention was to start at once for Kingston; but when they kindly
asked me to accompany them, I joyfully accepted, and an hour after I
landed at Montreal I was on the rail with my friends, hissing away to
Lachine, where the chief office of the Hudson's Bay Company is fixed.
There we embarked in a steamer on Lake St. Louis, which is a struggling
compound of the dark brown Ottawa and the light blue St. Lawrence. The
lake was studded with islands, and the scenery rendered peculiarly
lovely by the ever-changing lights and shades from the rising sun. We
soon left the St. Lawrence compound and reached that part of the
Ottawa[AQ] which the poet has immortalized by his beautiful "Canadian
Boat Song."

St. Anne's is a small village, and the rapids being impassable in low
water they have built a lock to enable steamers to ascend; but
fortunately, when we passed, there was sufficient water, and we steamed
up the song-famed rapids, above which the river spreads out into the
Lake of the Two Mountains. It is proposed to build a railway bridge for
the main trunk line, just above the rapids. How utterly the whizzing,
whistling kettle spoils the poetry of scenery, undeniable though its
utility be! There is no doubt that the Lake of the Two Mountains has
many great beauties; but, whatever they may be, a merciless storm of
rain effectually curtained them from us, and we traversed the whole lake
to Point Fortune in a mist worthy of the Western Highlands. There we
took coach, as the locks at Carillon are not yet large enough for
full-sized steamers to pass. The road was alike good and uninteresting,
running by the side of the canal, whose banks were here and there
enlivened by groups of wild flowers.

A stage of twelve miles brought us to Grenville, where we again took
steamer on the Ottawa, and, the weather being finer, we had an
opportunity of enjoying the scenery, which is very peculiar. It has none
of the wild features of grandeur which one associates with comparatively
unknown streams, in a country where all is gigantesque. There is nothing
mountainous or craggy, but the banks and hills at the back being
luxuriously wooded, and conveying the idea of being well tenanted, the
absence of human habitations seems unnatural, and gives the solitude an
air of mystery, only broken at long intervals by a bowered cottage or a
wreath of smoke. The most remarkable building is the French chateau of
M. Papineau, very prettily situated on the northern bank, commanding an
extensive view of the river, and looking in its isolation as though its
occupant was a second Robinson Crusoe, and monarch of all he surveyed.
Night soon buried all scenery in its sable mantle, and, after sixty
miles steaming, we reached Bytown, where we found friends and
conveyances ready to take us over to Aylmer, there to sleep preparatory
to a further excursion up the river early in the morning. As the
distance was only eight miles, we were soon at Mr. Egan's hospitable
board, from which we speedily retired to rest, so as to be ready for the
morrow's trip.

Early dawn found us on hoard and steaming merrily up the glorious
stream, which, spreading out very widely, has been lakefied, and is
called Lake Chaudiere and Du Chene, thus named, I suppose, because the
water is cold and there are few oaks to be seen. Be that as it may, the
scenery, though possessing neither striking features nor variety, is
very pretty and cheerful. A quantity of lovely little villas stud the
banks, some ensconced snugly in cosy nooks, others standing out boldly
upon the rich greensward; and, for a background, you have full-bosomed
hills, rich in forest monarchs, clad in their dense and dark mantles.
Suddenly the scene changes, the Chats Falls burst upon the sight; and
well does the magnificent view repay the traveller for any difficulty he
may have had in his endeavours to reach this spot. About three miles
above the rocky and well-wooded island that creates the falls, the river
contracts very considerably, and in its rushing impetuosity seems as
though it were determined to sweep the whole island into the lake below;
then there appears to have been a compromise between the indignant
stream and the obstinate island, and the latter seems to have offered up
a great portion of its timber at the shrine of Peace, and to have
further granted various rights of way to its excited neighbour. The
river seems to have taken advantage of both these concessions very
largely, but it appears that in nature, as it often occurs in politics,
concessions only breed increased demands, and the ungrateful Ottawa,
while sweeping away forest timber and baring the granite rock in a dozen
different channels, thunders its foaming waters along with an angry
voice, ever crying "More, more."

I never saw anything more beautiful than these falls. They are generally
from twenty to forty feet broad, and about the same in height; but from
the shape of the island you cannot see them all at once; and as you
steam along there is a continual succession of them, each revealing some
new beauty. It was at this place that I, for the first time, saw a slide
for the descent of lumber, to which I shall have to refer hereafter. For
many years the porterage of goods across this island to the Ottawa
above--which is called Lake Chats--was a work of much difficulty and
expense. Mr. E., with that enterprise and energy which mark his
character, got two friends of kindred spirit to join him, and made a
railway across, about three miles and a half long. It is a single line,
constructed upon piles, and the car is rattled over at a jolly pace by
two spicy ponies. As the piles are in some places from twenty to thirty
feet in the air, it looks nervous work; and if one of the ponies bolted,
it might produce a serious accident; but they seem aware of the danger,
and trot away as steadily as an engine, if not quite so rapidly.

On reaching the north-western end of the island, another steamer was
waiting for us, and we again breasted the stream of the Ottawa. After
passing the first three miles, which, as before mentioned, are very
narrow, and thus produce that additional impetus which ends in the
lovely Chats Falls, the river opens out into the Lake. The shores are
low and with a gentle rise, and there is comparatively little appearance
of agricultural activity, the settler having found the ground at the
back of the rise better suited for farming purposes.

Some distance up the lake, and close to its margin, is the farm of Mr.
McDonnell, thus forming an exception to the general rule. His residence
is an excessively pretty cottage, commanding a grand panoramic view.
Here we stopped to pay a visit to the energetic old Highlander and his
family, and to enjoy his hospitalities. If he is to be taken as a
specimen of the salubrity of the climate, I never saw so healthy a
place. He came here as a lad to push his fortunes, with nothing but a
good axe and a stout heart. He has left fifty summers far behind him; he
looks the embodiment of health, and he carries his six feet two inches
in a way that might well excite the envy of a model drill-sergeant; and
when he took my hand to welcome me, I felt all my little bones
scrunching under his iron grasp, as if they were so many bits of pith.

I could not help contrasting the heartiness of his welcome with the two
stiff fingers which in highly-civilized life are so often proffered
either from pride or indifference; and though he did very nearly make me
cry "Enough!" I would a thousand times rather suffer and enjoy his
hearty grasp than the cold formality of conventional humbug. The hardy
old pioneer has realized a very comfortable independence, and he told me
his only neighbours were a band of his countrymen at the back of the
hill, who speak Gaelic exclusively and scarce know a word of English.
They mostly came out with "The Macnab," but from time to time they are
refreshed by arrivals from the Old Country.

Having a long day's work before us, we were enabled to make but a short
stay, so, bidding him and his family a sincere good-bye and good speed,
we renewed our journey. We soon came in sight of the black stumpy
monuments of one of the most disastrous conflagrations which ever
victimized a forest. Some idea may be formed of the ravages of the
"devouring element," from the simple fact that it all but totally
consumed every stick of timber covering a space of forty-five miles by
twenty-five; and the value of what was thus destroyed may be partially
estimated, when it is considered that one good raft of timber is worth
from three to five thousand pounds. These rafts, which are seen dotted
about the lake in every direction, have a very pretty effect, with their
little distinguishing flags floating in the breeze, some from the top of
a pole, some from the top of the little shanty in which their hardy
navigators live; and a dreary, fatiguing, and dangerous career it must
be; but Providence, in his mercy, has so constituted man, that habit
grows into a new nature; and these hardy sons of creation sing as
merrily, smile as cheerfully, smoke as calmly, and unquestionably sleep
as soundly, as any veteran in idleness, though pampered with luxuries,
and with a balance at his banker's which he is at a loss how to

These sons of toil bear practical testimony to the truth of what the
late lamented Sir J. Franklin always declared to be his conviction, from
long experience, viz., that the use of spirits is enfeebling rather than
invigorating to those who have to work in the most severe climates. The
Lumberers are nearly all teetotallers, and I am told they declare that
they find their health bettered, their endurance strengthened, their
muscles hardened, and their spirits enlivened by the change. If this be
so, and if we find that the natives of warm climates are, as a mass,
also teetotallers, and that when they forsake their temperance colours
they deteriorate and eventually disappear, I fear we must come to the
conclusion, that however delicious iced champagne or sherry-cobbler may
be, or however enjoyable "a long pull at the pewter-pot," they are not
in any way necessary to health or cheerfulness, and that, like all
actions, they have their reactions, and thus create a desire for their
repetition, until by habit they become a second nature, to the great
comfort and consolation of worthy wine-merchants and fashionable medical
men, whose balance-sheets would suffer about equally by the
discontinuance of their use; not to mention the sad effects of their
misuse, as daily exhibited in police reports and other features, if
possible worse, which the records of "hells" would reveal.

So strong does the passion become, that I know of a lady who weighs
nearly a ton, and is proud of displaying more of her precious substance
than society generally approves of, in whom the taste "for a wee drop"
is so strong, that, to enable her to gratify it more freely, she has the
pleasure of paying two medical men a guinea each daily, to stave off as
long as they can its insidious attacks upon her gigantic frame. You must
not, however, suppose that I am a teetotaller. I have tried it, and
never found myself better than while practising it; still I never lose a
chance if a bottle of iced champagne is circulating, for I confess--I
love it dearly.

Pardon this digression.--We are again on the Ottawa; as we advance, the
river narrows and becomes studded with little islands covered with wild
shrubs and forest trees, from whose stiff unyielding boughs the more
pliant shoots droop playfully into the foaming stream below, like the
children of Gravity coquetting with the family of Passion. Of course
these islands form rapids in every direction: we soon, approach the one
selected as the channel in which to try our strength. On we dash
boldly--down rushes the stream with a roar of defiance; arrived midway,
a deadly struggle ensues between boiling water and running water; we
tremble in the balance of victory--the rushing waters triumph; we sound
a retreat, which is put in practice with the caution of a Xenophon, and
down we glide into the stiller waters below.

Poke the fires,--pile the coals! Again we dash onwards--again we reach
midway--again the moment of struggle--again the ignominy of
defeat--again the council of war in the stiller waters below. We now
summon all our energies, determined that defeat shall but nerve us to
greater exertion. We go lower down, so as to obtain greater initial
velocity; the fires are made to glow one spotless mass of living heat.
Again the charge is sounded: on we rush, our little boat throbbing from
stem to stern; again the angry waters roar defiance--again the deadly
struggle--again for a moment we tremble in the balance of victory.
Suddenly a universal shout of triumph is heard, and as the joyous cheers
die in echoes through the forest, we are breasting the smoother waters
of the Ottawa above the rapids.

This is all very well on paper, but I assure you it was a time of
intense excitement to us; if in the moment of deadly struggle the tiller
ropes had broken, or the helmsman had made one false turn of the wheel,
we might have got across the boiling rapids, and then good-bye to
sublunary friends; our bones might have been floating past Quebec before
the news of our destruction had reached it.

The Ottawa is by no means the only channel in these parts for conveying
the produce of the lumberer's toil: there are tributaries innumerable,
affording hundreds of miles of raft navigation; so that an almost
indefinite field for their labour is open, and years, if not centuries,
must elapse before the population can increase sufficiently to effect
any very material inroad on these all but inexhaustible forests.

After proceeding a few miles beyond the scene of our late severe
struggle, we reached the little village of Portage du Fort, above which
the rapids are perfectly impassable. The inhabitants of this little wild
forest community are not very numerous, as may be supposed, and the only
object of interest is a flour-mill, which supplies the lumberers for
many miles, both above and below. Our little steamer being unable to
ascend higher, we were compelled to make a Scotchman's cruise of
it--"There and bock agin." So, turning our head eastward, we bowled
along merrily with the stream, dashing down our late antagonist like a
flash of lightning, then across the lake, and through a fleet of
bannered rafts, till we landed on the Chats Falls Island, where we found
our ponies ready to whisk us along the mid-air railway. Re-embarking on
the steamer of the morning, we found a capital dinner ready for us, and
ere the shades of evening had closed in, we were once more enjoying the
hospitalities of Aylmer.

Aylmer has only a population of 1100 inhabitants, but they are not idle.
The house of Mr. E. does business with the lumberers to the tune of
200,000l. annually, and supplies them with 15,000 lb. of tea every
year. Grog-shops are at a discount in these parts. The increasing
prosperity of this neighbourhood is mainly owing to the energy and
enterprise of Mr. Egan and his friend M. Aumond. It was by these two
gentlemen that the steam-boats were put on the lakes, and the rail made
across the island. Everybody feels how much the facility of conveyance
has increased the prosperity of this locality; and the value of Mr. E.'s
services is honourably recognised, by his unopposed election as the
representative of the district. Having had a good night's rest, and
taken in a substantial breakfast, we started off on our return to
Bytown, which city may he considered as the headquarters of the

The ground upon which the greater part of Bytown stands was offered some
years since to a servant, as payment for a debt of 70l.; he found the
bargain so bad, that he tried to get out of it. The value of the same
land is now estimated at 200,000l.!!! As late as 1826, there was not
one stone put upon another; now the population is 10,000, and steadily
increasing. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the panoramic view from the
verge of the Barrack Hill, which is a dark, frowning, perpendicular rock
several hundred feet high. To the west are the Chaudiere Falls, 200 feet
broad and 60 feet high, irregular in shape, and broken here and there by
rocks, around which the rapids leap in unceasing frenzy, ere they take
their last plunge into the maddened gulf below, thence rolling their
dark waters beneath your feet. Below the falls the river is spanned by a
very light and beautiful suspension-bridge. This part of the scene is
enlivened by the continual descent of timber-rafts rushing down the
slides, skilfully guided by their hardy and experienced navigators.
Around you is a splendid expanse of waving field and sombre forest, far
as the eye can stretch, and bounded towards the north by mountains
looming and half lost in distance, whence comes the mighty Gatineau--a
watery highway for forest treasure, threading its course like a stream
of liquid silver as the sun's rays dance upon its bosom,--the whole
forming one of the most beautiful panoramas imaginable.

No place was ever better calculated for the capital of a great country.
Bordering upon Upper and Lower Canada, only twelve hours from Montreal,
easily capable of defence, with a trade increasing in value as rapidly
as the source thereof is inexhaustible, at the confluence of two rivers
whose banks are alike rich in timber and arable land--requiring but
nineteen miles of lockage to unite the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and the
Gatineau with the boundless inland lakes of America--possessing the
magnificent Rideau Canal, which affords a ready transport down to
Kingston on Lake Ontario--rich with scenery, unsurpassed in beauty and
grandeur, and enjoying a climate as healthy as any the world can
produce,--Nature seems to have marked out Bytown as the site for a
Canadian metropolis. In short, were I a prophet instead of a traveller,
I should boldly predict that such it must be some day, if Canada remain
united and independent.

I must here explain the slides for lumber, before alluded to. In days
gone by, all lumber was shot down the rapids, to find its way as best it
could, the natural consequence being that large quantities were
irrecoverably lost. It occurred to Mr. Wright that this waste of toil
and timber might be obviated, and he accordingly, after great labour and
expense, succeeded in inventing what is termed a slide--in other words,
an inclined wooden frame--upon which a certain number of the huge logs
that compose a portion of a raft can be floated down together in perfect
security, under the guidance of one or two expert men. The invention
answered admirably, as is proved by the fact that, through its
instrumentality, timber which formerly took two seasons to reach Quebec,
now does so in five months. Like many other inventors, I fear Mr. Wright
has not received justice at the hands of the Government, who, by
building slides of their own, and granting advantages to those who use
them, have thus removed the traffic from Mr. Wright's--an injustice
which it is to be hoped it is not too late to repair; at all events, the
Imperial Legislature, which felt bound to vote 4000l. to a man that
invented a machine for making little holes between penny stamps, on the
ground of commercial utility, must agree with me that it is unworthy of
a lumbering colony to neglect the claims of a man whose invention has
proved to be a benefit to the lumber trade, absolutely beyond

The chief proprietor at Bytown is the Hon. Mr. Mackay, and of his career
in Canada he may indeed be justly proud. Arriving in the country as a
labourer without a friend, he has, by his integrity and intellectual
capability, fought his way up nobly to the highest position in the
colony, and is one of the most respected members of the Legislative
Council. Nor has he, while battling for senatorial honours, neglected
his more material interests, and the energy he has brought to bear upon
them has been rewarded to his heart's desire. He has a charming little
country place, called Rideau Hall, about three miles out of town, and is
the owner of several carding, saw, and flour mills, besides an
extensive cloth factory, from the produce of which I am at this moment
most comfortably clad. Mr. Mackay's career may fairly be termed a useful
colonial monument, to encourage the aspirations of noble ambition, and
to scourge the consciences of those drones who always see "a lion in the
way." We had the pleasure of enjoying his hospitalities at a grand
breakfast which he gave in honour of my two travelling friends, who
were, I believe, the first members of the Executive Council that had
been here for very many years.

One object of their present visit was to ascertain, from personal
observation and inquiry, how far it was desirable the Government should
grant money for the purpose of making any of the locks requisite to
connect the Ottawa, &c., with Montreal and Quebec. I cannot for an
instant doubt their being most thoroughly convinced both of its perfect
practicability and of its immense importance. It only requires the
construction of nineteen miles of canal, to complete an unbroken water
communication from Quebec to the Ottawa and all its gigantic
tributaries, extending even to Lake Temiscaming; and if a canal were cut
from this latter to Lake Nipissing, the communication would then be
complete through the heart of Canada across all the inland ocean waters
of the American continent, and thence to New York _via_ Erie Canal and
Hudson, or to New Orleans _via_ Illinois Canal, River, and Mississippi.
Already 50,000l. have been, voted for this purpose, and this first
instalment is mainly due to the energy of Mr. Egan. As a mark of respect
for their representative, he was to be honoured with a public dinner, at
which my two companions of the Executive Council were to attend.
Unfortunately, my time was limited, and I was obliged to decline
participating in the compliment which Mr. Egan had so well earned; so,
bidding adieu to my friends, and casting one last and lingering glance
at that glorious panorama--the remembrance of which time can never
efface, I got into an open shay, and began prosecuting my solitary way
towards Prescott.

I left the hotel as the guests were all arriving, and the fumes of the
coming feast proclaiming in the most appetizing way the object of their
meeting. I had two hours' daylight still left, and thus was enabled to
see a little of that part of the neighbourhood, which alone was
concealed when standing on the Barrack-hill. The more I saw of it, the
more convinced was I of the peculiar adaptation of Bytown for a great
city; the ground is admirably suited for building, and possesses a
water-power which is inexhaustible. My road, as may naturally be
supposed in a new country, lay through alternations of forest and
cultivation; if it was not well macadamized, at least it was far better
than I had expected, and there is some pleasure in being agreeably
disappointed, and able to jog along without eternally bumping in some
deep rut, which shakes the ash off your cigar inside your waistcoat.
Here and there, of course, I came across a break-neck tract, but that
only made the contrast more enjoyable.

At half-past twelve at night the little horses began to feel the effects
of six hours' work, so I stopped at a tolerably miserable wayside inn
for four hours, which was distributed between washing, feeding, and
sleeping. Sharp work, but I was anxious to catch the steamer; so,
snatching what rest I could out of that brief period, and hoping the
horses had done the same, I was again _en route_ at 5 A.M., and by great
exertions reached Prescott in good time to learn that the steamer had
started half an hour before my arrival. I consoled myself, as well as I
could, with a washing basin, a teapot, and auxiliaries. I then went to
look at the town, which consists of about three streets, and 3000
inhabitants; so that operation was accomplished without trouble,
interest, or much loss of time. Ascertaining that if I went over to
Ogdensburg, I could catch a steamer at 2 P.M., I ferried across
instanter, wishing to get a look at Brother Jonathan's town before
starting. A comparison between the two was not flattering to my national
vanity. Instead of finding a population of 3000, with no indication of
progress, I found a population of 8000, with go-aheadism in all
quarters; large houses, large streets, and active prosperity stamped on
everything. Doubtless this disparity is greatly owing to the railway, by
which the latter is connected with the whole State of New York, and also
from the want of reciprocity. Nevertheless, there is a stamp of energy
at Ogdensburg, which the most careless observer cannot but see is
wanting at Prescott.

Mr. Parish is the great proprietor at the former of these towns, and is
said to be a man of considerable wealth, which he appears to be
employing alike usefully and profitably--viz., in reclaiming from the
lake a piece of land, about four hundred square yards, adjoining the
railway terminus, by which means vessels will be able to unload readily
on his new wharf; the reclaimed ground will thereby acquire an enormous
value for storehouses.

Having finished my observations, and been well baked by a vertical
sun, I embarked at 2 P.M. Lovely weather and lovely scenery.

The village of Brockville is very prettily situated on the banks of the
lake, and is considered one of the prettiest towns in Canada. Continuing
our course, numberless neat little villages and lovely villas appear
from time to time; but when fairly on the Lake of The Thousand Isles,
the scenery is altogether charming, and some new beauty is constantly
bursting into view. Upon the present occasion the scene was rendered
more striking by the perfect reflection of all the islands upon the
burnished bosom of the glassy lake. We reached Cape Vincent towards
evening, and, changing into another steamer, landed safely at Kingston
about ten at night, where, finding a young artillery friend, I was soon
immersed in that most absorbing of all pleasures to one long from
home--viz., talking over old friends and old scenes, until you feel as
though you were among both of them. Night, however, has its claims upon
man, and, being honest, I discharged my obligation by going to bed as
the tell-tale clock struck three.

Kingston is but a small place, though once of considerable importance.
The population is about 12,000. In the year 1841, Lord Sydenham having
removed the seat of Government from Toronto to Kingston, the inhabitants
expended large sums of money in the expectation that it would so
continue; but, in 1844, it was removed back again, and consequently a
very heavy loss was incurred by those who had laid out their money. It
is this eternal shifting about of the seat of Government--the
disadvantage of which must be manifest to every one--that makes me hope
Bytown, the position of which is so central, may some day be decided
upon as the city to enjoy that honour permanently. However much Kingston
may be recovering itself, and I was told it is, I must confess that,
despite its cathedral, colleges, university, and other fine buildings,
which it undoubtedly possesses, the grass in the streets and lanes, the
pigs and the cows feeding about in all directions, made me feel ashamed,
especially when I thought of young Ogdensburg, which I had so lately
left. Taking into consideration the extent of lake communication which
it enjoys, and that by the magnificent Rideau Canal the whole country of
the Ottawa is open to it, I must say that I consider the state of
Kingston the strongest reflection upon the energy and enterprise of the
population. The finest view is from the citadel, which commands a
splendid panoramic expanse; the fortifications are in good repair, and
garrisoned by Canadian Rifles and a few Royal Artillerymen. One of the
objects I should have had most interest in visiting was the Provincial
Penitentiary, the arrangements of which, I had heard, were admirable;
but, as I had no time to see them, the reader is saved the details.

At 3 P.M., I was again steaming away on Lake Ontario, which soon spreads
out into an open sea. The boat was tolerably good and clean, and the
food to match, but it was served down below; the cabin was therefore
very stuffy. I selected a bed with great care, and in due time got into
it, quite delighted with my carefully-chosen position, and soon buried
my nose in the pillow, full of peaceful hopes. Luckless mortal! scarce
had my nose extracted the cold from its contact with the pillow-case,
when a sound came rushing forth with a violence which shook not only me
and my bed, but the whole cabin. The tale is soon told. I had built my
nest at the muzzle of the whistle of the engine, and, as they made a
point of screeching forth the moment anything appeared in sight, you may
guess that I had a pleasant night of it, and have scrupulously avoided
repeating the experiment in any subsequent steam excursions. Having
nobody to blame but myself, I lost the little satisfaction I might have
had in abusing somebody else, and calling him a stupid ass for making
such a choice. However, as a matter of justice, I abused myself, and the
point being beyond dispute, no rejoinder was put in. Pleased with the
candour of my confession, I caught such snatches of rest as the engineer
and his whistle in mercy vouchsafed me--the next morning we were in

* * * * *

NOTE.--The Bytown mentioned in the foregoing chapter is now called
Ottawa, and is a candidate, in conjunction with Montreal and Toronto,
for the honour of permanent metropolitanism.


[Footnote AQ: Originally Uttawa, wherein Moore has shown alike his good
taste and respect for antiquity by adhering to the original and more
beautiful name.]


_Colonial Education and Prosperity_.

Toronto is prettily situated, and looks flourishing and prosperous; the
way in which property is increasing in value here is wonderful, and the
hits some people have made are quite fabulous. A property which had been
bought for 30,000l., was, within a month--before even the price was
paid in full--resold in lots for 100,000l. The position of the town is
admirably adapted for a great commercial city: it possesses a secure
harbour; it is situated on a lake about 190 miles long by 50 broad;
thence the St. Lawrence carries its produce to the ocean, and the Rideau
Canal connects it with the lumberers' home on the Ottawa; the main trunk
line of railway, which will extend from the western point of the colony
to Halifax, passes through it; a local line, traversing some of the
richest land in Canada, is now in progress to Lake Simcoe and Lake
Huron; one iron horse already affords it communication with
Waterloo--nearly opposite Buffalo--whence produce descends by the Erie
Canal and the Hudson to New York: besides all which advantages, it
enjoys at present the privilege of being one of the seats of government
and the radiating point of education. Surely, then, if any town in Upper
Canada ought to flourish, it is Toronto; nor is there, I trust, any
reason to doubt that it will become a most wealthy and important place.
The influence of the young railways is already beginning to be felt: the
population, which in 1851 was only 25,000, amounted in 1853 to upwards
of 30,000, and is still rapidly increasing. Having been fortunate enough
to make the acquaintance of Mr. Cumberland, the chief engineer of the
line of railway to Lake Simcoe, he was kind enough to ask me to
accompany him to that lake on a trip of inspection, an offer of which I
gladly availed myself. I was delighted to find that the Canadians had
sufficient good sense to patronize first and second class carriages;
and, also, that they have begun to make their own carriages and
locomotives. The rails appeared very solidly laid down, and the road
fenced off; but, despite the fences, an inquisitive cow managed to get
on the line, and was very near being made beef of in consequence. The
progress of cultivation gave the most satisfactory evidence of
increasing prosperity, while the virgin forest-land told what a rich
harvest was still in store for the industrious emigrant.

Ever and anon you saw on the cleared ground that feature so peculiar to
American scenery, a patriarchal remnant of the once dense forest, as
destitute of branches as the early Adam was of small-clothes, his bark
sabled by the flames, the few summit leaves--which alone indicated
vitality--scarce more in number than the centuries he could boast, and
trembling, as it were, at their perilous weight and doubtful tenure,
while around him stood stumps more sabled, on whom the flames had done
more deadly work, the whole--when the poetry had passed away--reminding
one of a black Paterfamilias standing proudly in the centre of his
nigger brood.

There is a good iron-foundry established here, which turns out some
excellent engines. Some of the public buildings are also fine; but,
there being unfortunately no quarries in the neighbourhood, they are
built of brick. The Lunatic Asylum is one of the best; but it is
surrounded with a high prison-looking wall, which I believe modern
experience condemns strongly as exercising a baneful influence upon the
unfortunate patients. If it be so, let us hope it may be enclosed by
something more light, airy, and open.

Several of the churches are very fine. I visited the Episcopal Church,
which has been burnt down three times; and on my remarking to the
architect the apparent clumsiness of the pews, which destroyed the
effect inside, he smiled, and told me that by the contract he was
obliged to replace them exactly as before. I told him I thought it was a
specimen of conservatism run mad, to which he fully assented. Trinity
Episcopal College is one of the finest edifices in the neighbourhood; at
present it contains only thirty-five students, but it is to be hoped its
sphere of usefulness may be extended as its funds increase. It has the
foundation of a very good library, which is rapidly extending; the
University of Cambridge sent them out a magnificent addition of 3000
volumes. The last building I shall mention is the Normal School, to
visit which was one of my chief objects in stopping at Toronto.


The ceremony of laying the foundation-stone of this building was
inaugurated with all due solemnity, and under the auspices of the able
representative of our gracious Queen, on the 2nd of July, 1851. In his
eloquent speech on that memorable occasion, when referring to the
difficulties on the question of religious instruction, the following
beautiful passage occurs:--

"I understand, sir, that while the varying views and opinions of a
mixed religious society are scrupulously respected, while every
semblance of dictation is carefully avoided, it is desired, it is
earnestly recommended, it is confidently expected and hoped, that
every child who attends our common schools shall learn there that he
is a being who has an interest in eternity as well as in time; that he
has a Father towards whom he stands in a closer and more affecting and
more endearing relationship than to any earthly father, and that
Father is in heaven; that he has a hope far transcending every earthly
hope--a hope full of immortality--the hope, namely, that that Father's
kingdom may come; that he has a duty which, like the sun in our
celestial system, stands in the centre of his moral obligations,
shedding upon them a hallowing light which they in their turn reflect
and absorb,--the duty of striving to prove by his life and
conversation the sincerity of his prayer that that Father's will may
be done upon earth as it is in heaven. I understand, sir, that upon
the broad and solemn platform which is raised upon that good
foundation, we invite the ministers of religion of all
denominations--the _de facto_ spiritual guides of the people of the
country--to take their stand along with us; that, so far from
hampering or impeding them in the exercise of their sacred functions,
we ask, and we beg them to take the children--the lambs of the flock
which are committed to their care--aside, and lead them to those
pastures and streams where they will find, as they believe it, the
food of life and the waters of consolation.

* * * * *

"Permit me in conclusion, to say, both as an humble Christian man and
as the head of the civil government of the province, that it gives me
unfeigned pleasure to perceive that the youth of this country, of all
denominations, who are destined in their maturer years to meet in the
discharge of the duties of civil life upon terms of perfect civil and
religious equality--I say it gives me pleasure to hear and to know
that they are receiving an education which is fitted so well to
qualify them for the discharge of these important duties, and that
while their hearts are yet tender and their affections yet green and
young, they are associated under conditions which are likely to
promote among them the growth of those truly Christian graces--mutual
respect, forbearance, and charity."

The position of the building is well chosen, being surrounded with
cultivated ground sufficiently extensive to be usefully employed in
illustrating the lectures given on vegetable physiology and agricultural
chemistry. The rooms are all very lofty, airy, and scrupulously clean. A
notice at the entrance warns you--"The dirty practice of spitting not
allowed in this building;" and as far as eye could discern, the notice
is rigidly obeyed. I was told that a specific had been found to cure the
filthy habit. I mention it for the benefit of hotel-keepers and
railway-conductors, in all places where such a relic of barbarism may
still find a welcome. On a certain occasion, the lecturer having
received undeniable proof that one of the students had violated the
above-mentioned regulation, stopped in the middle of one of his
sublimest flights, repeated sonorously the notice, called the culprit by
name, informed him that his endeavour to dissipate his filth into
infinity by the sole of his shoe was useless, and ordered him forthwith
to take his handkerchief out and wipe it up clean. Disobedience was
expulsion: with crimson cheek he expiated his offence by obedience to
the order, and doubtless during the hushed silence in which he completed
his labour, he became a confirmed anti-expectorationist.

Great attention is very properly paid to cleanliness, inasmuch as if
these young men, who are destined to teach others, acquire filthy
habits, they naturally encourage the same vice in their pupils, and thus
may be almost said to nationalize it. All the tables and stools are
fitted like those in the schools of the United States, which is an
immense improvement on the one long-desk and long form to match, which
predominate all but universally at home. The instruction given is
essentially by lecture and questioning; and I was particularly struck
with the quiet modulated tones in which the answers were given, and
which clearly proved how much pains were taken upon this apparently
trifling, but really very important, point.[AR] You heard no harsh
declamation grating on your ear; and, on the other hand, you were not
lulled to sleep by dreary, dull monotony.

There are two small schools attached to the establishment, for these
Normal aspirants, male and female, to practise upon, when considered
sufficiently qualified. Those thus employed during my visit seemed to
succeed admirably, for I never saw more merry, cheerful faces, which I
consider one of the best tests of a master's efficiency. The little
girls, taking a fancy for music, purchased among themselves a cottage
piano, which, being their own instrument, I have no doubt increased
their interest in the study amazingly. The boys have a kind of gymnasium
under a shed, which, when released from school, they rush to with an
avidity only equalled by that which the reader may have experienced in
his early days when catching sight of a pastry-cook's shop immediately
after receiving his first tip.[AS]

I believe that to this establishment, which was founded in 1846, belongs
the honour of being the Pioneer Normal School in the Western Hemisphere.
But while giving due credit to the Governor-General and the Government
for their leading parts in its foundation, it should never be forgotten,
how much indebted the establishment is to the unwearying zeal and
patient investigations of Dr. Ryerson, the chief superintendent of
schools in Canada. This gentleman carefully examined the various systems
and internal arrangement of scholastic establishments, not only all over
the States, but in every country of the Old World, selecting from each
those features which seemed to produce the most comfort, the best
instruction, and the greatest harmony. The result of his inquiries I
subjoin from his own pen:--

"Our system of public elementary instruction is eclectic, and is, to a
considerable extent, derived from four sources. The conclusions at
which the present head of the department arrived during his
observations and investigations of 1845, were, firstly: That the
machinery, or law part of the system, in the State of New York, was
the best upon the whole, appearing, however, defective in the
intricacy of some of its details, in the absence of an efficient
provision for the visitation and inspection of schools, the
examination of teachers, religious instruction, and uniform text-books
for the schools. Secondly. That the principle of supporting schools in
the State of Massachusetts was the best, supporting them all according
to property, and opening them to all without distinction; but that the
application of this principle should not be made by the requirements
of state or provincial statute, but at the discretion and by the
action, from year to year, of the inhabitants in each school
municipality--thus avoiding the objection which might be made against
an uniform coercive law on this point, and the possible indifference
which might in some instances be induced by the provisions of such a
law--independent of local choice and action. Thirdly: That the series
of elementary text-books, prepared by experienced teachers, and
revised and published under the sanction of the National Board of
Education in Ireland, were, as a whole, the best adapted to schools in
Upper Canada--having long been tested, having been translated into
several languages of the continent of Europe, and having been
introduced more extensively than any other series of text-books into
the schools of England and Scotland. Fourthly: That the system of
normal-school training of teachers, and the principles and modes of
teaching which were found to exist in Germany, and which have been
largely introduced into other countries, were incomparably the
best--the system which makes school-teaching a profession, which, at
every stage, and in every branch of knowledge, teaches things and not
merely words, which unfolds and illustrates the principles of rules,
rather than assuming and resting upon their verbal authority, which
develops all the mental faculties instead of only cultivating and
loading the memory--a system which is solid rather than showy,
practical rather than ostentatious, which prompts to independent
thinking and action rather than to servile imitation.

"Such are the sources from which the principal features of the school
system in Upper Canada have been derived, though the application of
each of them has been modified by the local circumstances of our
country. There is another feature, or rather cardinal principle of it,
which is rather indigenous than exotic, which is wanting in the
educational systems of some countries, and which is made the occasion
and instrument of invidious distinctions and unnatural proscriptions
in other countries; we mean the principle of not only making
Christianity the basis of the system, and the pervading element of all
its parts, but of recognising and combining in their official
character, all the clergy of the land, with their people, in its
practical operations--maintaining absolute parental supremacy in the
religious instruction of their children, and upon this principle
providing for it according to the circumstances, and under the
auspices of the elected trustee-representatives of each school
municipality. The clergy of the country have access to each of its
schools; and we know of no instance in which the school has been made
the place of religious discord; but many instances, especially on
occasions of quarterly public examinations, in which the school has
witnessed the assemblage and friendly intercourse of clergy of various
religious persuasions, and thus become the radiating centre of a
spirit of Christian charity and potent co-operation in the primary
work of a people's civilization and happiness."

With reference to religious instruction at the normal schools, Dr.
Ryerson has kindly furnished me with the following statement:--"A part
of each Friday afternoon is set apart for this purpose, and a room
allowed for the minister of each of the religious persuasions of the
students, to give instruction to the members of his church, who are
required to attend, as also to attend the service of such church at
least once every Sunday. Hitherto we have found no difficulty,
reluctance, or neglect, in giving full effect to this system."

The only difficulty in these matters that I have heard of, is a long
dispute with the Roman Catholic bishop of Toronto; but such an event one
must be prepared for when dealing with a church which claims
infallibility. I have no doubt the tact and moderation of Dr. Ryerson
have ere this thrown oil on the troubled waters, and restored the
harmony which existed between the former Roman bishop and the reverend
doctor. To those who take an interest in education, the report of the
system used in Canada, drawn up by Dr. Ryerson, and printed by order of
the Legislative Assembly, will afford much pleasure and information. It
is, of course, far too large a subject to enter upon in these pages,
containing, as it does, so vast an amount of matter worthy of serious
reflection. I will, however, indulge such of my friends as were taught
to read in the last century, with a quotation from page 67, which will
probably astonish them.

Mr. Horace Mann, so long the able Secretary of the Board of Education in
Massachusetts, after pointing out the absurdity of worrying a child's
life out, in teaching the A B C, &c., and their doubtful and
often-varying sounds utterly destitute of meaning, instead of words
which have distinct sounds and distinct meaning, thus winds
up:--"Learning his letters, therefore, gives him no new sound; it even
restricts his attention to a small number of those he already knows. So
far, then, the learning of his letters contracts his practice; and were
it not for keeping up his former habits of speaking, at home and in the
playground, the teacher, during the six months or year in which he
confines him to the twenty-six sounds of the alphabet, would pretty near
deprive him of the faculty of speech."

This extract, from the pen of one who has devoted so much talent and
patient investigation to the subject of education, entitles it to the
serious consideration of all those who are in any way connected with the
same subject in this country, where the old A B C cramming all but
universally prevails.--But to return to Upper Canada and its schools.
Some estimate of the value of its scholastic establishments may be
formed from the fact, that while its sphere of usefulness is rapidly
extending, it has already reached the following honourable position: The
population of Upper Canada is close upon 1,000,000; the number of
children between the ages of 5 and 16 is 263,000; the number of children
on the rolls of the common school establishments is 179,587; and the
grand total of money available for these glorious purposes, is
170,000l. I feel conscious that I have by no means done full justice
to this important subject; but the limits of a work like this render it
impossible so to do. Let it suffice to say, that Upper Canada is
inferior to none of its neighbouring rivals, as regards the quality of
instruction given; and that it is rapidly treading on the heels of the
most liberal of them, as regards the amount raised for its support. The
normal school, I conceive to be a model as nearly perfect as human
agency has yet achieved; and the chemical and agricultural lectures
there given, and practically illustrated on the small farm adjoining the
building, cannot fail to produce most useful and important results in a
young uncultivated country possessing the richest soil imaginable. The
Governor-General and the Government deserve every credit for the support
and encouragement they have given to education; but, if I may draw a
comparison without being invidious, I would repeat, that it is to the
unusual zeal and energy of Dr. Ryerson, to his great powers of
discriminating and selecting what he found most valuable in the
countless methods he examined, and to his combination and adaptation of
them, that the colony is mainly indebted for its present admirable
system. Well may Upper Canada be proud of her educational achievements,
and in her past exertions read a hopeful earnest of a yet more noble

But it is not in education alone that Canada has been shadowing forth a
noble career. Emancipated from maternal apron-strings by a
constitutional self-government, and aided by the superior administrative
powers of the Earl of Elgin, she has exhibited an innate vitality which
had so long been smothered by Imperial misrule as to cause a doubt of
its existence; and if she has not shown it by the birth of populous
cities, she has proved it by a more general and diffusive prosperity. A
revenue quadrupled in four years needs no Chicagos or Buffalos to
endorse the colony's claims to energy and progress. Internal
improvements have also been undertaken on a large scale: railways are
threading their iron bands through waste and forest, and connecting in
one link all the North American colonies; the tubular bridge at Montreal
will be the most stupendous work yet undertaken by engineering skill;
canals are making a safe way for commerce, where a year or two back the
roaring rapid threw its angry barrier. Population, especially in Upper
Canada, is marching forward with hasty strides; the value of property is
fast increasing; loyalty has supplanted discontent and rebellion; an
imperial baby has become a princely colony, with as national an
existence as any kingdom of the Old World.[AU] These are facts upon
which the colonists may, and do, look with feelings of both pride and
satisfaction; and none can more justly contemplate them with such
emotions, than those through whose administrative talents these
prosperous results have been produced, out of a state of chaos, in eight
short years. Dissatisfied men there ever will be among a large
community, and therefore questions of independence and annexation will
be mooted from time to time; but it seems hardly probable that a colony
which enjoys an almost independent nationality would ever be disposed to
resign that proud position, and to swamp her individuality among the
thirty-three free and slave States of the adjoining Republic. At all
events, the colony, by her conduct with reference to the present war,
has shown that she is filled with a spirit of loyalty, devotion, and
sympathy as true, as fervent, and as deep as those which animate all the
other subjects of our beloved Sovereign.

Farewell, Canada! May the sun of prosperity, which has been rising upon
you steadily for eight years, rise higher and higher, and never know
either a cloud or a meridian! Canada, adieu!


[Footnote AR: My observations at various schools in the United States
satisfied me that no attention is paid by the teachers to the tone of
voice in which the boys give their answers.]

[Footnote AS: The females are regularly taught calisthenics, and the
boys gymnastics, by a professor.]

[Footnote AT: These remarks were made in 1853. The report for the year
1854 is now lying before me, by which I find that the attendance has
increased to 194,376; and the money raised has also increased in a
similar ratio, being at that date 199,674l.]

[Footnote AU:

Population of Canada 1841, 1,156,139 } Increase,
Ditto ditto 1851, 1,842,265 } 59.34 percent.

Population of Upper Canada 1841, 405,357 } Increase,
Ditto ditto 1851, 952,004 } 104.57 percent

The increase of the United States from 1840 to 1850 was only 37.77

Wheat crop, Upper Canada 1841, 3,221,991 bushels.
Ditto ditto 1851, 12,692,852 ditto,
Wheat crop, Lower Canada 1841, 1,021,405 bushels.
Ditto ditto 1851, 3,326,190 ditto.

This table is taken from an able statement sent by the Governor-General
to the Colonial Office, dated Quebec, Dec. 22, 1852.]


_A Cataract and a Celebration_.

The convulsive efforts of the truant steam, echoing across the harbour,
told me I had little time to lose: so, bidding farewell to friends, I
hurried down to the quay, and was soon bowling over a lake as smooth and
polished as the bald head of age. The pat of every float in the wheel,
as it struck in the water, echoed with individual distinctness, and the
hubbub created thereby, in the otherwise unruffled lake, left its trace
visible on the mirrory surface for so great a distance as to justify a
disputatious man in questioning whether the term "trackless way" was
applicable to the course a vessel had passed over. Here we are, steaming
away merrily for Niagara.

There is nothing interesting in scenery until you come to the entrance
of the river, on the opposite sides of which stand Lewistown and
Queenstown, and above the latter the ruthlessly mutilated remains of the
monument to the gallant Brock. The miscreant who perpetrated the vile
act in 1841, has since fallen into the clutches of the law, and has
done--and, for aught I know, is now doing--penance in the New York
State Prison at Auburn. I believe the Government are at last repairing
it;--better late than never. The precipitous banks on either side
clearly indicate they are the silent and persevering work of the
ever-rolling stream, and leave no doubt upon any reflecting mind that
they must lead to some fall or cataract, though no reflection can fully
realize the giant cataract of Niagara.

There are several country places on the banks, and the whole appearance
bespeaks comfort and civilization. Far away in the distance is to be
seen the suspension-bridge, high in mid-air, and straight as the arrow's
flight. On either bank rival railroads are in progress; that on the
Canada side is protected from the yawning abyss by a wall calculated to
defy the power of steam. The boat touches at Queenstown, and thence
proceeds to Lewistown, where a stage is waiting for Niagara City. No
botherations of custom-house--what a blessing! The distance to ride is
seven miles, and the time one hour; but in the United States, you are
aware, every chap will "do as he best pleases;" consequently, there is a
little information to be obtained from the fresh arrival, a cock-tail
with a friend or two, a quiet piling on of luggage, &c.; all this takes
a long half-hour, and away we go with four tough little nags. A
tremendous long hill warms their hides and cools their mettle, though by
no means expending it. On we go, merrily; Jehu, a free-and-easy,
well-informed companion, guessing at certainties and calculating on

At last we reach a spring by the roadside, the steam rising from the
flanks of the team like mist from a marsh. What do I see? Number one nag
with a pailful of water, swigging away like a Glasgow baillie at a bowl
of punch. He drains it dry with a rapidity which says "More, more!" and
sure enough they keep on giving pail after pail, till he has taken in
enough to burst the tough hide of a rhinoceros. I naturally concluded
the horse was an invalid, or a culprit who had got drunk, and that they
were mixing the liquor "black list" fashion, to save his intestines and
to improve his manners; but no--round goes the pailman to every nag,
drenching each to the bursting point.

"Ain't you afraid," I said, "of killing the poor beasts by giving them
such a lot of water?"

"I guess if I was, I shouldn't give it 'em," was the terse reply.

Upon making further inquiries into this mysterious treatment, he told me
that it was a sulphur spring, and that all tired horses having exhibited
an avidity for it far greater than for common water, the instinct of the
animal had been given a fair trial, and subsequent experience had so

Book of the day: