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Forrest Life in Acadia
Chapter I. The Maritime Provinces


Paddling down a picturesque Nova-Scotian stream called the Shubenacadie some ten years since in an Indian canoe, it occurred to me to ask the steersman the proper Micmac pronunciation of the name. He replied, “We call 'em ‘Segeebenacadie' Plenty wild potatoes—segeeben—once grew here.” “Well, ‘acadie' Paul, what does that mean?” I inquired. “Means— where you find 'em" said the Indian.

The termination, therefore, of acadie, signifying a place where this or that is found, being of frequent occurrence in the old Indian names of places, seems to have been readily adopted by the first permanent settlers in Nova Scotia to designate an extensive district, though one with uncertain limits — the Acadie of the followers of Mons. De Monts in the first decade of the seventeenth century comprising the present provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, with a portion of the State of Maine. The peninsula of Nova Scotia was, however, Acadie proper, and herein was laid the scene of the expulsion of the French neutrals from their settlements by the shores of Minas Basin and elsewhere—an event round which has centred so much misconceived sympathy of authors and poets, but which has since been shown to have been a most justifiable and necessary step, from their unceasing plottings with the Indians against British dominancy, receiving, of course, strong support from the French, who still held Louisburg and Quebec.

*Having had access since these lines were written to Dr. Dawson’s second edition of “Acadian Geology,” recently published by Macmillan and Co., I was at once struck with the author’s account of the derivation of the term “Acadie,” which he has given in language so similar to my own (even to instancing the Indian name of the same river), that I think it but just to notice this fact—his work being produced some time prior to my own. From this standard work on the Geology of the British Provinces, I will also quote a few passages in further exemplification of the subject.

The author is informed by the Rev. Mr. Rand, the zealous Indian Missionary of the Acadian Indians, who has made their ways and language his whole study for a long period of years, and translated into their tongue the greater portion of Scripture, that “ the word in its original form is Kady or Gadie, and that it is equivalent to region, field, ground, land, or place, but that when joined to an adjective, or to a noun with the force of an adjective, it denotes that the place referred to is the appropriate or special place of the object expressed by the noun or noun-adjective. Now in Micmac, adjectives of this kind are formed by suffixing ‘a’ or ‘wa’ to the noun. Thus Segubbun is a ground-nut; Segubbuna, of or relating to ground-nuts; and Segubbuna-Kaddy is the place or region of ground-nuts, or the place in which these are to be found in abundance.”

As further examples of this common termination of the old Indian names of places, Dr. Dawson gives the following :—

Soona-Kaddy (Sunacadie). Place of cranberries.
Kata-Kaddy. Eel-ground.
Tulluk-Kaddy (Tracadie). Probably place of residence ; dwelling place.
Buna-Kaddy (Bunacadie, or Benacadie). Is the place of bringing forth; a place resorted to by the moose at the calving-time.
Segoonuma-Kaddy. Place of Gaspereaux; Gaspereaux or Alewife river.

Again, “Quodiah or Codiah is merely a modification of Kaddy in the language of the Maliceets” (a neighbouring tribe dwelling in New Brunswick, principally on the banks of the St. John), “and replacing the other form in certain compounds. Thus Nooda-Kwoddy (Noodiquoddy or Winchelsea Harbour) is a place of seals, or, more literally, place of seal-hunting. Pestumoo-Kwoddy (Passamaquoddy), Pollock-ground, &c. &c.”

Most interesting, and indeed romantic, as is the early history of Acadie during her constant change of rulers until the English obtained a lasting possession of Nova Scotia in 1713, and finally in 1763 were ridded of their troublesome rivals in Cape Breton by the cession on the part of the French of all their possessions in Canada and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a history political and statistical of the Lower Provinces would be quite irrelevant to the general contents of a work like the present. The subject has been ably and exhaustively treated by the great historian of Nova Scotia, Judge Haliburton, and more recently, and in greater bulk, by Mr. Murdoch.

Of their works the colonists are justly proud, and when one reads the abundant events of interest with which the whole history of Nova Scotia is chequered, of its steady progress and loyalty as a colony, and of the men it has produced, one cannot wonder at the present distaste evinced by its population on being compelled to merge their compact history and individuality in that of the New Dominion.

An outline sketch of the physical geography of Acadie is what is here attempted, and a description of some of the striking features of this interesting locale.

Nova Scotia is a peninsula 256 miles in length, and about 100 in breadth; a low plateau, sixteen miles wide, connects it with the continental province of New Brunswick. The greatest extension of the peninsula, like that of similar geographical conformations in all parts of the earth, is towards the south. The actual trend of its Atlantic coast is from north-east to south-west—a direction in which are extended its principal geological formations agreeing with the course of the St. Lawrence and of the Apellachian chain of mountains which terminate at Cape Gaspd Its dependency, Cape Breton, is an island, 100 miles long, and eighty broad, separated from Nova Scotia by the narrow, canal-like Gut of Canseau, in places but half a mile in width—“a narrow transverse valley,” says the author of “Acadian Geology,” “excavated by the currents of the drift period.” The largest and the greater proportion of the rivers flow across the province, through often parallel basins, into the Atlantic, indicating a general slope at right angles to the longer axis. The Shubenacadie is, however, a singular exception, rising close to Halifax harbour on the Atlantic side of the province, and crossing with a sluggish and even current through a fertile intervale country to the Bay of Fundy. The Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia are indented to a wonderful extent by creeks and arms of the sea, often running far inland—miniature representations of the Scandinavian fiords. As might be expected, as accompaniments to such a jagged coast-line, there are numerous islands, shoals, and reefs, which render navigation dangerous, and necessitate frequent light-houses. The outlines of the western shores are much more regular, with steep cliffs and few inlets, somewhat similar on comparison with the same features of the continent itself as displayed on its Atlantic and Pacific coasts. To these harbours and to the fisheries may be attributed the position of the capital of Halifax on the Atlantic .side.

All, or nearly all, the best portion of the country, in an agricultural point of view, lies in the interior and to the westward. The old capital, Port Royal, afterwards named by the English Annapolis Royal, has a most picturesque position at the head of a beautiful bay, termed Annapolis Basin, on the western side of the province, and is backed by the garden of Nova Scotia, the Annapolis Valley, which extends in a direction parallel to the coast, sheltered on both sides by steep hills crowned with maple forests for more than sixty miles, when it terminates on the shores of Minas Basin in the Grand Pre of the French Acadians.

The whole surface of the country is dotted with countless lakes. Often occurring in chains, these give rise to the larger rivers which flow into the Atlantic. In fact, all the rivers issue directly from lakes as their head waters; these latter, again, being supplied by forest brooks rising in elevated swamps. In the hollows of the high lands are likewise embosomed lakes of every variety of form, and often quite isolated. Deep and intensely blue, their shores fringed with rock boulders, and generally containing several islands, they do much to diversify the monotony of the forest by their frequency and picturesque scenery. In a paper read before the Nova-Scotian Institute in 1865, the writer, Mr. Belt, believes that the conformation of the larger lake basins of Nova-Scotia is due to glaciation, evidenced by the deep furrows and scratchings on their exposed rocks, the rounding of protuberant bosses, and the transportation of huge boulders—the Grand Lake of the Shubenacadie chain being a notable instance.

Although the country is most uneven, sometimes boldly undulating, at others broken up in extremely irregular forms, the only absolute levels being marginal on the alluvial rivers, there are no lofty mountains in Nova Scotia. The Cobequid Hills, skirting Minas Basin towards the junction of the province with New Brunswick, are the most elevated, rising to 1200 feet above the sea. This chain runs for more than 100 miles nearly due east and west. No bare peaks protrude; it is everywhere clothed with a tall luxuriant forest, with a predominance of beech and sugar-maple.

Very similar in its general physical features to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick is distinguished by bolder scenery, larger rivers, and greater dimensions of the more important conifers. From the forests in its northern part arise sugar-loaf mountains with naked summits— outlying peaks of the Alleghanies—which occur also in Maine, more frequently, and on a still larger scale. The mountain scenery where the Restigonche divides the Gaspe chain from the high lands of northern New Brunswick is magnificent; and the aspects of Sussex Yale, and of the long valley of the Miramichi, are as charming as those of the intervales of Nova Scotia.

The little red sandstone island of Prince Edward, lying in a crescent-shape, in accordance with the coast lines of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, in a deep southern bay of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, is the most fertile of the three provinces, and possesses the attractive scenery of high cultivation pleasantly alternating with wood and water.

The area of the Acadian provinces is as follows :—Of Nova Scotia, with Cape Breton, 18,600 square miles ; of New Brunswick, 27,100 square miles; and of Prince Edward Island, 2137 square miles. Their population, respectively, being nearly 332,000, 252,000, and 81,000.

To the Geologist, the most interesting feature of modern discovery in a country long famous for its mineral wealth, is the wide dissemination of gold in the quartz veins of the metamorphic rocks, which occur on the Atlantic shore of Nova Scotia, stretching from Cape Sable to the Gut of Canseau, and extending to a great distance across the province. Its first discovery is currently supposed to have been made in 1861 in a brook near Tangier harbour, about sixty miles from Halifax, and to have been brought about by a man, stopping to drink, perceiving a particle of the precious metal shining amongst the pebbles. This led to an extended research, soon rewarded by discovery of the matrix, and general operations accompanied by fresh discoveries in widely distant points, and thus, perhaps, was fairly started gold mining in Nova Scotia. I believe, however, that I am right in attributing the honour of being the first gold finder in the province to my friend and quondam companion in the woods, Captain C. I/Estrange of the Royal Artillery, and understand that his claim to priority in this matter has been recently fully recognised by the Provincial Government; it being satisfactorily shown that he found and brought in specimens of gold in quartz from surface rocks, when moose-hunting in the eastern districts, some time before the discoveries at Tangier. The Oven's Head diggings, near Lunenburg, were discovered during the summer of the same year; and the sea-beach below the cliffs at this locality afforded for a short time a golden harvest by washing the sand and pounded shale which had been silted into the fissures of the rocks below high water mark. The gold thus obtained had of course come from the cliff detritus—the result of the incessant dash of Atlantic waves over a long period of time—and was soon exhausted: the claims on the cliff, however have proved valuable. Then followed the discovery of the highly-prolific barrel-shaped quartz at Allen’s farm, afterwards known as the Waverley diggings, of the Indian Harbour and Wine Harbour gold-fields on the Eastern Coast beyond Tangier, and of others to the westward, at Gold Eiver and La Have. Farther back from the coast, and towards the edge of the slate formation, the precious metal has been found at Mount Uniacke, and in the most northern extension of the granitic metamorphic strata towards the Bay of Fundy, at a place called Little Chester.

Though no small excitement naturally attended the simultaneous and hitherto unexpected discovery of such extensive gold areas, the development of the Nova-Scotian gold mines has been conducted with astonishing decorum and order: the robberies and bloodshed incident on such a pursuit in wilder parts of America, or at the Antipodes, have been here totally unknown. The individuals who prospected and took up claims, soon finding the difficulty of remunerating themselves by their own unaided labour, disposed of them for often very considerable sums to the companies of Nova-Scotians, Germans, and Americans, which had been formed to work the business methodically. Though constantly seen glistening as specks in the quartz, close to the surface, the metal was seldom disclosed in nuggets of great value, and the operation of crushing alone (extracting the gold by amalgamation with quicksilver) proved remunerative in the long run and when carried out extensively.

At the commencement of this important era in the economical history of Nova Scotia, the interest attached to the pursuit of gold-digging may be well imagined. Farm labourers, and farmers themselves, deserted their summer's occupation and hastened to the localities proclaimed as gold-fields. Shanties, camps, and stores appeared amongst the rough rocks which strewed the wilderness in the depths of the forest. At Tangier, when I visited it (the same summer in which gold was first discovered there)/ a street had risen, with some three hundred inhabitants, composed of rude frame houses, bark camps, and tents. Flags flaunted over the stores and groggeries, and the characteristic American “ store ” displayed its motley merchandise as in the settlements. Anything could be here purchased, from a pickaxe to a crinoline. A similar scene was shortly afterwards presented at the Oven's Head; whilst at the Waverley diggings, only ten miles distant from the capital of Nova Scotia, a perfect town has sprung up. This latter locality is famous for the singular formation of its gold-bearing quartz lodes, termed “ The Barrels.” These barrels were discovered on the hill-side at a small distance below the surface, and consisted of long trunk-like shafts of quartz enclosed in quartzite. They were arranged in parallel lines, and looked very like the tops of drains exposed for repair. At first they were found to be exceedingly rich in gold, some really fine nuggets having been displayed; but subsequent research has proved them a failure, and the barrel formation has been abandoned for quartz occurring in veins of ordinary position. A German company established here has succeeded in obtaining large profits, working the quartz veins by shafts sunk to a great depth. Their crushing mill, when I visited it, contained sixteen ponderous “stampers” moved by water power. Every three or four weeks an ingot was forwarded by them to Halifax, weighing four or five hundred ounces. Some beautiful specimens of gold in quartz of the purest white, from this locality, were exhibited by the Commissioners at the last great International Exhibition.

Even at the present time it is impossible to form any just estimation of the value of the Nova-Scotian gold-fields. Scientific men have given it as their opinion that the main seat of the treasure has not yet been touched, and that the present workings are but surface pickings. Then, again, we may refer to the immense extent of the Lower Silurian rocks on the Atlantic coast. At one end of the province, stretching back for some fifty miles, the whole area of the formation has been stated to comprise 'about 7000 square miles. The wide dispersion over this tract of casual gold discoveries and of the centres of actual operations naturally leail to the belief that gold mining is still in its infancy in Nova Scotia.

The yield of gold from the quartz veins is exceedingly variable : some will scarcely produce half an ounce, others as much as eight ounces to the ton. I have seen a large quartz pebble picked up on the road side between Halifax and the Waverley diggings, rather larger than a man’s head, which was spangled and streaked with gold in every direction, estimated in value at nearly one hundred pounds. It is curious to reflect for how many years that valuable stone had been unwittingly passed by by the needy settler returning from market to his distant farm on the Eastern Road. Now frequent roadside ehippings strewed about attest the curiosity of the modern traveller through the gold districts.

Of much greater importance, however, to these colonies than the recently discovered gold-fields are their boundless resources as coal-producing countries, paralysed though their works may be at present by the pertinacious refusal on the part of the United States to renew the Reciprocity Treaty. To this temporary prostration an end must soon be put by the opening up of intercolonial commerce, to be brought about by the speedy completion of an uninterrupted railway communication between the Canadas and the Lower Provinces, and well-established commercial relations throughout the whole of the New Dominion.

The coal-fields of Acadie are numerous and of large area, the carboniferous system extending throughout the province of Nova Scotia, including Cape Breton, bounding the metamorphic belt of the Atlantic coast, and passing through the isthmus, which joins the two provinces, into New Brunswick, where it attains its broadest development. In the latter province, however, the actual coal seams are unimportant; and it is in certain localities in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton where the magnificent collieries of British North America are found, and from which it has been said the whole steam navy of Great Britain might be supplied for centuries to come, as well as the demands of the neighbouring colonies. It is impossible to over-estimate the political importance accruing from so vast a transatlantic storehouse of this precious mineral both to England and the colonists themselves, whilst singularly enough, on the Pacific side of the continent, and in British possession, occur the prolific coal-fields of Vancouver's Island. “That the eastern and western portals of British America,” says Mr. E. G. Haliburton, “should be so favoured by nature, augurs well for the New Dominion, which, possessing a vast tract of magnificent agricultural country between these extreme limits, only requires an energetic, self-reliant people, worthy of such a home, to raise it to a high position amongst nations.”

The grand coal column from the main seam of the Albion mines at Pictou, exhibited at the last Great Exhibition in London, will be long remembered. This seam is 37 feet in vertical thickness. With iron of excellent quality found abundantly and in the neighbourhood of her great coal-fields, and fresh discoveries of various other minerals of economic value being constantly made, Acadie has all the elements wherewith to forge for kerself the armour-plated bulwark of great commercial prosperity. And yet the shrewd capitalists of the Great Republic are rapidly becoming possessed of the mineral wealth of the country, almost unchallenged by provincial rivalry.

Considerably removed from the mainland, with a coast line for some distance conforming to the direction of the Gulf Stream, the northern edge of which closely approaches its shores, the climate of Nova Scotia is necessarily most uncertain; south-westerly winds are continually struggling for mastery with the cold blasts which blow over the continent from the north-west. In comparatively fine weather in summer, the sea fog, which marks the mingling of the warm waters of the great Atlantic current with the colder stream which courses down the eastern coast of Newfoundland from the Polar regions, carrying with it troops of icebergs, is almost always hovering off the land, from which it is barely repelled by the gentle west winds from the continent. The funnel-shaped Bay of Fundy, and the bight in the Nova-Scotian coast which merges into the long harbour of Halifax are the strongholds of this obnoxious pall of vapour. A few miles inland the west wind generally prevails ; indeed it is often astonishing with what suddenness one emerges from the fog on leaving the coast. A point or two of change in the direction of the wind makes all the difference. I have often made the voyage from Halifax to Cape Eace—the exact course of the northern fog line— alternating rapidly between sunshine and dismal and dangerous obscurity as the wind veered in the least degree on either side of our course. Past this, the south-easternmost point of Newfoundland, the fog holds on its way till the great banks are cleared : it seldom works up the coast to the northward, and is of rare occurrence at St. John's. St. John, New Brunswick, seems to be especially visited, though it has no footing in the interior of that province.

Insidiously drawing around the mariner in these waters in calm summer weather, the fog of the Gulf Stream is always thickest at this season, although the stratum of vapour scarcely reaches over the vessel’s tops, the moon or stars being generally visible from the deck at night. Fog trumpets or lights are to a certain extent useful precautions, yet even the strictest watch from the bowsprit is often insufficient to avert collision.

In winter time the propinquity of the Gulf Stream produces frequent moderations of temperature. Deep falls of snow are perpetually melting under its warm currents of air when.borne inland, though such phases are quickly succeeded by a reassertion of true North American cold, with a return of the north-west wind, arresting the thaw, and encasing the steaming snow with a film of glace ice.

During the spring months again, the Arctic currents, accompanied by easterly or north-easterly winds, exercise a chilling influence on the climate of the Atlantic coast of the Lower Provinces. Immense areas of field ice float past the Nova-Scotian shores from the mouth of the St. Lawrence and harbours of the Gulf, often working round into Halifax harbour and obstructing navigation, whilst vegetation is thereby greatly retarded.

The mirage observed on approaching these floating ice plains at sea is very striking—mountains appear to grow out of them, with waterfalls; towns, castles, and spires, ever fleeting and varying in form. I have observed very similar effects produced in summer, off the coast, on a clear day, on a distant wall of sea fog, by evaporation. As might be reasonably expected, the commingling of two great currents emanating from such far distant sources as do the Gulf and the Polar streams, must be productive at their point of junction, of phenomena interesting to the ichthyologist. To the student of this branch of natural history Halifax is an excellent position for observation, and from the recorded memoranda of Mr. J. M. Jones we find many curious meetings of northern and southern types in the same waters—for instance that of the albicore and the Greenland shark (Thynnus vulgaris and Scymnus borealis)—the former a well-known inhabitant of the tropics,' the latter a true boreal form. Tropical forms of fish are of frequent occurrence in the Halifax market, and shoals of flying fish have been observed by Admiral Sir Alexander Milne in the Gulf Stream as far as 37 deg. 50 min. N.

A sketch, however slight, of the physical geography of the Acadian Provinces would be incomplete were notice to be omitted of the famous Bay of Fundy tide—a page of modern geological history much to be studied in elucidation of phenomena of ages long past, as pointed out by Dr. Dawson, the well-known author of a valuable scientific work termed “Acadian Geology.” On the Atlantic seaboard at Halifax the rise of the spring tide is about six feet, a height attained at high water with but little variation throughout this coast. After passing Cape Sable, the southernmost extremity of the province, the portals of the bay may be said to be gained; and here an appreciable rise occurs in the tidal wave of about three feet. Farther round, at Yarmouth, sixteen feet is the height at high water in spring tides, reaching to twenty-seven feet at Digby Gut, forty-three feet at Parsboro, and, at the mouth of the Shubenacadie Eiver at the head of Cobequid Bay, occasionally attaining the extraordinary elevation of seventy feet above low water mark. In this, as well as in several other rivers discharging into the bay, the tide rushes up the channel for a considerable distance into the interior with an attendant phenomenon termed “the Bore,”—an advanced wave or wall of surging waters, some four feet above the level of the descending fresh water stream. The spectator, standing on the river bank, presently sees a procession of barges, boats, or Indian canoes, taking advantage of this natural “Express” from the ocean, whirling past him at some seven or eight miles per hour, whilst the long shelving banks of red mud are quickly hidden by the eager impulsive current. Out, in the open bay, the eddying “rips” over the flats as the rising waters cover them, or the tumultuous seas which rise where the great tide is restrained by jutting headlands afford still greater spectacles. With a strong wind blowing in an opposite direction to the tide, the navigation of the Bay of Fundy is perilous on a dark night, and many are the victims engulfed with their little fishing smacks in its treacherous and ever-shifting shoals. It wears a beautiful aspect, however, in fine summer weather—a soft chalky hue quite different from the stern blue of the sea on the Atlantic shores, and somewhat approaching the summer tints of the Channel on the coasts of England. The surrounding scenery too is beautiful; and the twelve hours’ steam voyage from Windsor, Nova Scotia, to St. John, the. capital of New Brunswick, past the picturesque headlands of Blomidon, Cape Split, and Parsboro, in fine weather most enjoyable. The red mud, or, rather, exceedingly fine sand, carried by the surging waters, is deposited at high tide on the flats and over the land overflown at the edges of the bay, and thus have been produced the extensive salt marsh lands which constitute the wealth of the dwellers by the bay shores—soils which, never receiving the artificial stimulus of manure, show no signs of exhaustion though a century may have elapsed since their utilisation. The occurrence of submerged forests, the stumps of which still stand in situ, observed by Dr. Dawson, and indicating a great subsidence of the land in modern times, and the frequent footprints of birds and animals on the successive depositions of mud, dried by the sun, and easily detached with the layers on which they were stamped, are interesting features in connection with the geology of this district.

The Fauna and Flora of the three provinces constituting Acadia (the name, though, is now seldom applied otherwise than poetically) are almost identical with those displayed on the neighbouring portions of the continent, in New England, and the Canadas, though of course, and as might be expected, a few species swell the lists of either kingdom further inland and on receding; from the ocean. There are one or two noticeable differences between the provinces themselves. Thus, for instance, whilst the white cedar (Thuya oceidentalis) is one of the most common of the New Brunswick coniferae, frequent up to its junction with Nova Scotia, there are but one or two isolated patches of this tree existing, or ever known to exist, in the latter province, and these not found near the isthmus, but on the shores of the Bay of Fundy, near Granville. Again, not a porcupine exists on the island*of Cape Breton, though abundant in Nova Scotia up to the strait of Canseau, in places scarcely half a mile broad. The migratory wild pigeon, formerly equally abundant in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, has now entirely deserted the latter, though still numerous in summer in the former province.

The Canadian deer (Cervus virginianus), common in New Brunswick, has never crossed the isthmus; and the wolf (Canis occidentalis), though now and then entering Nova Scotia, apparently cannot make up its mind to stay, though there is an amplitude of wilderness country: seen at long intervals of time in different parts of the province, and almost simultaneously, it rapidly scours over the country, and retires to the continent.

There are no deer now indigenous to Prince Edward’s Island, though the cariboo was formerly found there in abundance. The Morse or Walrus, once numerous on the coasts, seems to have entirely disappeared even from the most northern parts of the Gulf: it was once common in the St. Lawrence as far up as the Saguenay. Another disappearance from the coast of Nova Scotia is that of the Snow Goose (Anser hyperboreus), now seldom seen south of the St. Lawrence.

Of the former presence of the Great Auk (Alca im-pennis) in the neighbourhood of the Gulf, it is to be regretted that there are no living witnesses, or even . existing traditions. That it was once a resident on the shores of Newfoundland is shown by the specimens found in guano on the Funk Islands entombed under ice. As has probably happened in the case of this bird, it is to be feared that the retirement of other members of the true Boreal Fauna within more Arctic limits forebodes a gradual, though often inexplicable, progress towards extinction.

The newly-arrived emigrant or observant visitor cannot fail to be impressed with the similarity of forms in both the animal and the vegetable kingdoms to those of western Europe, here presented. To the Englishman unaccustomed to northern fir forests and their accompanying flora, the woods are naturally the strangest feature in the country—the density of the stems in the jagged forest lines which bound the settlements, the long parallel-sided openings, cut out by the axe, which mark the new clearings, where crops are growing rankly amongst the stumps, roots, and rock boulders which still strew the ground, and the wild tanglement of bushes and briars on half-reclaimed ground—but in the fields and uplands of a thoroughly cleared district he is scarcely reminded of a difference in the scene from that to which he has been accustomed. In the pastures he sees English grasses, with the buttercup, the ox-eye, and the dandelion; the thistle and many a well known weed are recognised growing by the meadow-side, with the wild rose and the blackberry, as in English hedge-rows. Though the house-sparrow and the robin are missed, and he is surprised to find the latter name applied everywhere to the numerous red-breasted thrushes which hop so fearlessly about the pastures, he finds much to remind him of bird life at home. Swallows and martins are as numerous, indeed more so ; the tit-mouse, the wren, and the gold-crest are found to be almost identical with those of the old country, the former being closely analogous in every respect to the small blue tit, and many of the warblers and flycatchers have much in common with their Transatlantic representatives. The rook is not here, but its place is taken by flocks of the common American crow, often as gregarious in its habits as the former, whilst the various birds of prey present most striking similarities of plumage when compared with those of Europe; and the appropriateness of calling the American species the same common names as are applied to the goshawk, sparrowhawk, or osprey, is at once admitted. The wasp, the bee, and the house-fly, present no appreciable differences, nor can the visitor detect even a shade of distinction in many of the butterflies.

The seafaring man arriving from Europe will find even less of divergence amongst the finny tribes and the sea-fowl on these coasts, and indeed will not pretend to assert a difference in most cases.

The very interesting question thus readily suggests, itself to the naturalist—in what light are many analogous forms in Western Europe and Atlantic North America to be regarded in reference to each other ? The identity of the species which almost continuously range the circum-arctic zoological province is perfectly well established in such instances as those of the arctic fox, the white bear, and of many of the Cetacese and Phocidse amongst mammals; of the eiders, common and king, the pintail and others of the Anatidse, and of the sturgeon, capelin, herring, and probably the sea-salmon amongst fishes. Nor could the fact be reasonably doubted in the case of creatures which are permanent residents of a limited circumpolar zone, or even in that of the migratory species which affect polar regions for a season, and thence regularly range southwards over the diverging continents. The question, however, which is offered for solution is respecting those analogous forms which have apparently permanent habitats in the Old and New Worlds, and have always remained (as far as is known) geographically isolated. With regard to the arctic deer the author’s considerations will be found given at some length, but there are many other analogies in the fauna and flora of the two hemispheres, which, on comparison, naturally lead to a discussion on the subject of local variation, and as to how far the system of classification is to be thus modified.

Buffon’s idea that many of the animals of the New World were the descendants of Old World stock would seem not only to be set aside but reversed in argument by a new and growing belief that transmission of species has extensively occurred from America to Europe and Asia. “America,” says Hugh Miller, “though emphatically the New World in relation to its discovery by civilized man, is, at least in these regions, an old world in relation to geological type, and it is the so-called old world that is in reality the new one. Sir Charles Lyell, in the “ Antiquity of Man,” states that “ Professors Unger and Heer have advanced, on botanical grounds the former existence of an Atlantic continent, during some part of the tertiary period, as affording the only plausible explanation that can be imagined of the analogy between the miocene flora of Central Europe and the existing flora of Eastern America. Other naturalists, again, have supposed this to have been effected through an overland communication existing between America and Eastern Asia in the direction of the Aleutian Islands. Sir George Simpson has stated that almost direct proof exists of the American origin of the Tchuktchi of Siberia; whilst it would appear that primitive customs and traditions in many parts of the globe are being traced to aboriginal man existing in America.

Professor Lawson, of Dalhousie College, Halifax, N.S., in referring to the recent and well-established discovery of heather (Calluna vulgaris) as indigenous to the Acadian provinces, observes, “The occurrence of this common European plant in such small quantities in isolated localities on the American continent is very instructive, and obviously points to a period when the heath was a widely-spread social plant in North America, as it is still in Europe where oft-recurring fires are yearly lessening its range. In Calluna we have probably an example of a species on the verge of extinction as an American species, while maintaining a vigorous and abundant growth in Europe. If so, may not Europe be indebted to America for Calluna, and not America to Europe?” With such scanty data, however, valuable indeed as they are in building up theories, but few and uncertain steps can be made towards solving so important a question. An irresistible conclusion is however forced on the mind of the naturalist that in many of the analogies he meets with in animal or vegetable life in this portion of the New World it is not fair to call them even types of those of the Old; they are analogous species.


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