Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Click here to learn more about MyHeritage and get free genealogy resources

British North America
New Brunswick Past and Present

(Agent-General, New Brunswick)

The province of tlie British Empire with which I have to deal, and in which I take a very deep interest, is very little heard of, probably on account of its steady-going good behaviour, and consequently is not so well known as many much less important countries of the world.

In the early days of the French and English settlements in America, the province of New Brunswick was a part of the French province or colony of Acadia, which included within its somewhat elastic and not very clearly-defined boundaries the countries now known as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and the State of Maine.

I say somewhat elastic boundaries, as they were made to vary according to the changing fortunes of the English, the French, or the New England Settlements, but originally the extent of Acadia was as I have just described.

New Brunswick, which was made a distinct province in 1784, occupies that part of the great Dominion of Canada and of the Continent of America situated nearest to Great Britain.

As a practical illustration of this, it may be stated that the port of Chatham on the Miramichi River is nearer to Liverpool than any other port of any considerable importance on the mainland of America, its distance by shortest route through the Strait of Belle Isle being about 2430 miles, whereas Halifax, in Nova Scotia, is distant 2450, Quebec 2633, and New York 3105 miles respectively.


New Brunswick is a very compact country, being almost square, and all its districts having at the same time easy access to the ocean, being practically washed by the sea on three sides, that is by the Bay of Chaleur, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Northumberland Strait on the north and east, and by the Bay of Fundy on the south, whilst the grand St. John River and the St. Croix most effectively open up the western counties of the province to the sea.

It has good ports on all these waters, the city of St. John at the mouth of the river of the same name and that of Halifax being the two most important winter ports of Canada, whilst St. Andrews (also open all winter) is beautifully situated on the Passamaquoddy Bay.

This bay, covering an area of 100 square miles, forms a magnificent harbour, with easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, but the water is entirely sheltered, and here could lie in stately repose the navies of every country in the world.

New Brunswick adjoins the province of Quebec on the north, the State of Maine on the west, the province of Nova Scotia on the south-east, and is separated from the province of Prince Edward Island by the Strait of Northumberland.

Now, with regard to the size and population of the country, I may say that it contains about 28,000 square miles of territory, making it considerably larger than the two kingdoms of Holland and Belgium combined, or than Holland and Switzerland put together. Nearly 1 5,000 square miles are forest and woodland.

It is divided into fifteen counties, which in total area are equal to the twenty-seven middle and southern counties of England, so that it is also, roughly speaking, about two-thirds the size of England, and equal in size to all England lying south of a line drawn from Chester on the Dee to the Wash. The extreme length is 230 miles, and the width 190 miles.

Its population is now estimated to be 325,000, making it the fourth in importance in this respect of the provinces forming the Dominion. To compare it with the Australasian and South African colonies, the population is rather over that of South Australia, about half that of New Zealand, not far inferior in numbers to the whole white population of the Cape Colony, and, although only a third larger in extent of territory than Natal, it contains six times as many white people.

Early Discoverers

Having now given a general idea of the geographical position of New Brunswick, let us turn to its early history in connection with its first visitors or discoverers in medieval times.

Five years after Columbus had discovered or, at any rate, reopened a road to the western continent, in his search for a new and more direct route to the Indies, John Cabot, who set sail from Bristol for the New World with Ietters-patent granted by Henry VII., and with a man-of-war, the Matthew, and three merchant ships, and, we are told, equipment worthy of the undertaking, was the first European in modern and unquestioned history to set foot on the Continent of America.

Whether the first land seen by Cabot was Newfoundland or Nova Scotia, there is no question but that he visited Acadia, lie having sailed alone the American shores some one thousand miles and erected upon the coast the flag of England, in token of its possession by his patron. The 400th anniversary of this first landing or discovery of the mainland of America was celebrated in 1897, not only in the town of Bristol, from which this notable expedition set sail, but also in Nova Scotia.

Cabot returned to England with two of the natives, and in the following year (1498) another expedition set sail under the command of his son, Sebastian Cabot, who, after attempting the North-West Passage and being driven therefrom by the ice, skirted along the whole coast of North America as far as Florida. It is on the ground of these visits of the Cabots that the English based their claims to the ownership of these countries in the disputes which followed between the English and the French almost continuously during the succeeding two centuries and a half.

Gaspar de Cortereal, a Portuguese, was the next visitor to these shores, in the year 1500, and being driven back, like Cabot, by the ice in the north, he visited a country his description of which might well accord with Acadia, namely: “ A country abounding in immense pines, with people attired in the skins of wild animals; these natives were well made and fitted for labour,” so much so, in his estimation, that he captured fifty-seven of them and brought them back with him to Europe, where they were sold as slaves.

On his second voyage he met with mishap, as neither he nor his ships were heard of more.

In 1524 Verazzano, a Florentine, under the patronage of Francis I. of France, was the next notable voyager to visit this part of America. He first touched in South Carolina, and found that the farther northwards he proceeded the more hostile the natives became. This is not to be wondered at, as the conduct of the early European voyagers in carrying off the then friendly aborigines to slavery was not calculated to dispose them favourably towards other visitors of the same colour. He gave the name of New France to the whole of the territory which lie visited. This was the origin of the French claim.

The next expedition we read of is that of Mr. Thomas Thorne, a learned and wealthy citizen of Bristol, who having obtained the countenance and support of Henry VIII, sailed forth in 1527 in the Dominus Vosbiscum accompanied by a canon of St. Paul’s, a man of much wealth, and imbued witli a desire for scientific discovery.

The voyage was not prosperous, and having lost one of their ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the other coasted along the shores of Arembec—the name given by the English to Acadia—and returned to England the same year. Nothing appears to have resulted from this trading and colonising expedition.

We now come to a much more notable figure in the early history of Canada and Acadia, in the person of Jacques Cartier, a very bold and skilful pilot of St. Malo, in France.

He sailed, with two small vessels of sixty tons each, from that port in 1534. He touched at Newfoundland, sailed through the Strait of Belle Isle to the north of that island, and on the 30th June came in sight of the shores of New Brunswick, at the mouth of the beautiful Miramichi River on the “ north shore.”

Cartier entered this river, and speaks of it as “a very goodly river, but very shallow.” Hannay also tells us, in his “History of Acadia,” that this, the first explorer to describe New Brunswick itself, as distinguished from other parts of Acadia or America, was charmed with the beauty and fertility of the country, and speaks of it in glowing terms. The forest tree* were principally pines, cedars, white elms, ash, willow, and yew trees, and many others with which the navigator was unacquainted.

Amongst the latter, no doubt, was the hemlock spruce, a very beautiful and lofty forest tree, in no manner resembling the herb called hemlock with which Socrates poisoned himself, but resembling the yew, or a tree between that and the pine.

This tree is chiefly valuable on account of its bark, which is rich in the most valuable form of tannic acid for the manufacture of leather, and to its abundance in Canada and the Eastern States of the Union is entirely due the most important place that America holds in the great industry of tanning.

The industry of gathering this bark for the making of leather and the manufacture of tanning extracts gives employment to many of the inhabitants not only of the Miramichi Valley but also to other districts of New Brunswick, at seasons of the year when other work or occupation is difficult to obtain.

But to return to Cartier, lie reports that where there were no trees, the ground was covered with gooseberries, strawberries, and blackberries, wild peas, and a species of wild corn which resembled rye. The climate was as warm as that of Spain, and the birds were very numerous. The land was level, and the natives manifested a friendly disposition.

Such is, in substance, the account given (according to Hannay) of this part of New Brunswick by its first recorded discoverer, who, fresh from the rumored coast and severe climate of Newfoundland and Labrador, was the better able to appreciate its beauties.

I quote at this length in order to show that New Brunswick is by no means a country that is always covered with snow the year round as some imagine, but that it enjoys a delightful summer, and this is not astonishing when we remember that it lies between the latitudes 45° and 48°, corresponding in this respect to that part of France lying between Nantes and Bordeaux. An old French writer on Acadia declared that every tree that flourished in France would grow in Acadia— except the olive.

We need not follow Jacques Cartier further, except to say that he proceeded along the coast northwards, entering the great Bay of Chaleur, the northern boundary of the province, which he so named on account of the great heat prevailing while he sojourned there, and thence passed up the St. Lawrence River, which, with the Great Lakes, forms the grandest waterway in the world, containing, as it is said to do, half the fresh water of the adobe. He thus became the first discoverer of Canada.

Some fifty years later than Cartier’s first voyage, about the middle of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, commanded the best-fitted expedition that had set sail for the New World up to that time.

Besides carrying a large stock of provisions and articles of traffic, its personnel was carefully chosen, and consisted of blacksmiths, carpenters, shipwrights, See., 260 men in all; but the expedition was unfortunate from first to last from contagious disease having broken out shortly after sailing, and also on account of storms and disaster.

From the first-mentioned cause the largest of the fleet, fitted out by Sir Walter Raleigh himself and named after him, had to put back. Who amongst us in our young days has not been impressed with the tragic story of the adventures of the Delight, the Golden Hind, and of the loss of the gallant commander in mid-Atlantic on board of the little Squirrel? As Hannay justly says: “The death of Sir Humphrey Gilbert was a sad loss to the New World as well as to the Old, for in his ocean grave was buried the hope of Acadia being made a British colony at that time. Hoav different might its history have been had that navigator’s designs been carried into effect."

One more expedition to Acadia is recorded just at the close of the sixteenth century, and that was again French, under the command of Marquis de la Roche and the auspices of the Huguenot king of France, Henry IV. This was just 300 years ago—in 1598— and 100 years after the visit of Cabot.

But all these expeditions, although enjoying the encouragement of such notable monarchs as Henry VII. and VIII., Queen Elizabeth, Francis I., and Henri IV., really made during a whole century no solid progress towards the foundation of colonies; nevertheless, the waters surrounding Acadia were frequented by hardy and adventurous fishermen from the coasts of Great Britain, Brittany, the Basque provinces of France and Spain, and also from Portugal. They no doubt landed for supplies of fresh water and fuel, and to dry or cure their fish and to trade with the natives, but no real or permanent settlements were the result. We cannot but admire their pluck and daring, continued without interruption to this day, in quest of the boundless wealth of cod and other fish for which this region, including the banks of Newfoundland, is so famous.

As an illustration of this fact, it is stated that Sir Humphrey Gilbert, after his stormy voyage across the Atlantic in 1583, found no less than thirty-six fishing vessels of different nationalities lying in the harbour of St. John’s, Newfoundland. To quote our great New Brunswick historian once more: “ In this way the whole coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence became well known long before Canada and Acadia contained a single white settler, and the Atlantic coast of Acadia was equally familiar to these traders and fishermen.”

Norse Discoverers

But these were not the first visitors or discoverers of Acadia, as there is no question but that it was visited by the Norsemen at the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh centuries, and whatever the claims of Labrador, Newfoundland, Massachusetts, or Quebec may be as to their being designated by the ancient Norse names of Helluland, Markland, or Vinland, which they gave to the respective countries they visited, there is little doubt that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick represent one or other of these.

That the learned of Europe knew of the existence of America long before Columbus is evidenced by the fact that Pope Pascal II., in the year 1112, appointed one Eric Upsi Bishop of Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland, and it is also related that this good prelate visited the latter country in the year 1121.

However, space will not permit of our following this very interesting subject. I will only mention that even Vinland would apply to New Brunswick, as grapes grow in abundance on the islands of the St. John River.

French Regime

Nor have we time to follow the history covering the period of 160 years, during which this country passed backwards and forwards between the French and the English, from the arrival in 1603 of De Monts, who was accompanied by Champlain, the founder of Quebec, until the final surrender of the whole of Acadia alonir with Canada to the English in the year 1763, although it is a history full of romance and interest, as many of my readers will recognise at the mention of such names as De Poutrincourt, Bicncourt, Sir William Alexander, Sir David Kertk, De Kazilly, Denys, Abbe Laloutre, and especially of Latour and Charnisay.

British Rule

The chief fact, however, of interest is that New Brunswick, though first really settled as an English colony in 1761, is the creation of the American Revolution, when in 1783 a fleet arrived from New York with 3000 loyalists, who left the United States to find a new home in a country still under the British flag. The United Empire Loyalist element is to this day the backbone and sinew of the country.

The first Governor was Sir Thomas Carleton, who soon transferred the capital to Fredericton, eighty-six miles up the St. John River, which was the old French post of St. Anne, and which by way of the Nashwauk and the Miramichi opened up the most ready means, in the French colonial days, of reaching the main French province of Canada. Till this time New Brunswick formed part of the province of Nova Scotia, but from this date was a separate province. Since then the growth of population and the development of the resources of the country have been gradual and sure.

I must not, however, omit to mention the great Miramichi fire of 1825, when no less than 3,000,000 acres of valuable forest lands were burnt down, $1,000,000 of property destroyed, and 160 lives lost. The settlers, with their families and their cattle, were driven into the rivers and sea, together with the wild animals, this being the only refuge from the flames.

To those who wish for more information in regard to the history as well as the natural and general features of New Brunswick, I would refer them to Hannay’s “History of Acadia,” and to a new issue of Stanford’s “Compendium of Geography,” Vol. I., just published, relating to Canada and Newfoundland, by Dr. S. E. Dawson, to both of which I am especially indebted for many facts and up-to-date information.

The Country

It has often been remarked by visitors to America that the most English countries, as regards both the people themselves and the general appearance of the country, are the Maritime Provinces of Canada.

To quote from the beautiful Jubilee number of the Toronto Globe, a copy of which was sent to the Queen, and was exhibited among the Queen’s Jubilee presents, in describing New Brunswick, it says: “A country may well claim to be prosperous when it is found to have neither the extreme of great wealth nor of great poverty among its people. This is the happy condition of the maritime provinces of Canada as a whole, but in no one of them is this more evident than in the province of New Brunswick. While it is not a land where fortunes are rapidly Avon and lost in the fever of speculation, it is yet a country where a competence may be gained as easily as anywhere on the earth, and where there is the still more important assurance that prosperity and comfort are the reward of the sober, honest, and industrious of all classes. Its contour and physical features are such as to make all parts of it easily accessible and available for settlement as the increase of the population may demand.”


It is a remarkable fact, that of the people of this province 94 per cent, are native-born Canadians, and of the remaining 6 per cent, only 1 per cent. were born outside the British Empire.

They are naturally a seafaring people, largely descended from generations of sailors and fishermen, and turn to the ocean for a livelihood, whether in connection with the fisheries or navigation. The ship-building trade was formerly the most important industry of the colon}", with the single exception of lumbering, and still the wooden ships of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are to be seen in every seaport of the world. Although the people of these provinces have an inborn capacity for the management of such vessels and are able to work them at a profit where others have failed, we must admit that iron and steel vessels are speedily driving the wooden ships off the seas.

I agree with Lord Charles Beresford that when England requires more men of the right sort to man her navy, she can look to her colonies to supply them, and not the least suitable are those who hail from the Atlantic provinces of Canada. It would, indeed, be a wise measure if the British and Canadian Governments would join in providing a training-ship for the Maritime Provinces.

New Brunswick has 545 miles of seaboard, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have an even greater extent of coast.


English tenant farmers, or young men brought up to farming and who have a few hundred pounds available, could do worse than seek a home in this country. They will find with little trouble farms to suit their fancy and their fortune, the owners being satisfied to accept a certain proportion of cash and to leave the remainder of the purchase money as a charge, if desired, extending over several years. This applies to those who have even £100 or £200 up to £2000,

These farms come into the market from a variety of causes and reasons which it is not necessary to enumerate here, but the chief cause is the desire of the son of the old settler to better himself and to go farther west, where he hears of what he thinks are better chances of improving his condition, and, with his experience of rough life in the backwoods, this is no doubt true; but the Englishman or Scotchman from the old country will find it quite as big a step to transfer his energies to the—to him—equally novel surroundings of an old-established colony like New Brunswick.

To him, however, who has not got the desirable two or three hundred pounds at his disposal, I would say, leave the little he has at home in the savings-bank, and on arrival hire himself out to a farmer or take any work he can get for a year or so; he will certainly be able to earn a living, if not to save something, and when he has gained some experience of the country, take up a free grant from the Government or buy a farm partially cleared. Large areas of the finest land capable of sustaining hundreds of thousands of farmers are still obtainable without encroaching much on the large territories of forest, where the land is by no means bad, but not of the best quality for profitable farming.

Land is easily obtained ; the conditions under which a lot of 100 acres can be secured by actual settlers are so easy as to be within the reach of any man who has health and energy.1 He may pay in cash to aid in the construction of the roads and bridges in his locality, or he need pay no cash if he is willing to perform work on roads and bridges for three years to the value of £2 a year. Within two years after obtaining permission to occupy the land, he must build on it a house not less than sixteen by twenty feet, and clear at least two acres. When he has resided there three consecutive years, cleared and cultivated ten acres, and complied with the conditions already named, the 100 acres will be granted absolutely to him. In order to make the conditions as to three years’ residence as easy as possible, the settler may, from time to time, absent himself from the land in order to procure means of support for himself and family. Application may be made for Crown lands without any conditions of settlement, in which case the land applied for is advertised and sold by public auction at an upset price of one dollar an acre.

According to census of 1891, the occupied land amounted to four and a half million acres, of which one and a half million were improved, over one million being under crop, and nearly half a million acres in pasture, and some twelve thousand acres reserved to gardens and orchards.


In 1898 there was an increased acreage sown, due mainly to the large importation of seed wheat and other agricultural seeds which were freely distributed through the Agricultural Societies in various districts, and also to the assistance in the construction of a sufficient number of modern flour-mills in different localities, in order to encourage the farmer in growing wheat. In 1898 there were about 29,000 acres in wheat, yielding 410,000 bushels, an increase of almost 100 per cent, since 1891. Owing to the requirements of the lumbermen hay and oats always find a ready sale, and last year there were produced in New Brunswick some 5,000,000 bushels of oats, an increase of nearly 2,000,000 bushels in seven years, and owing to the improved methods of farming, a yield of 27 bushels per acre, as against 19 some years ago. The production of hay was about 550,000 tons. There were also increased quantities of barley, buckwheat, and potatoes grown last year.

The Government of New Brunswick a few years ago followed the example set by the Government of Ontario in encouraging farmers in different districts to produce butter and cheese by giving grants in aid of the erection of cheese and butter factories. There are in New Brunswick now some fifty-five cheese factories and fourteen butter factories in operation. The production of cheese last year (1898) amounted to nearly 850,000 lbs., valued at about £14,000, and the output of butter amounted to nearly £4000 in value. The establishment of these factories is a very considerable boon to the farmers in country districts, giving them a ready market for all the milk that they can produce. There is still a large field for increase in the production of butter, as not more than one-half of the butter consumed in the province is made there, the rest being imported from Ontario and Quebec. With the contemplated increase in cheese and butter factories during the next few years, New Brunswick should produce all the butter required, and largely increase its exportation of cheese.


The financial affairs of the Province are in an exceedingly sound condition. The total indebtedness amounts to some £590,000, bearing interest at the rate of 3 and 4 per cent. The 3 per cent, bonds recently issued are selling at par. To set against this debt are the valuable Crown lands of the Province, comprising some 7,000,000 acres, which bring in a considerable revenue. Including the subsidy from the Dominion Government, the total revenue of the Province is about £150,000.

The above moderate indebtedness has been incurred in judicious expenditures for railways, roads, bridges, and educational purposes. With a continuance of wise and careful administration, it will not be long before New Brunswick Bonds—bearing 3 per cent, interest—will stand as high as any Colonial securities in the financial market.


Lumbering—that is, the getting out of timber and sawing same into deals and boards—is the chief industry of New Brunswick; but of recent years many new industries have been developed throughout the province, such as the manufacture of cotton, boots and shoes, furniture, products of iron, tanning extracts, leather, and, more recently, wood-pulp for paper-makin". Some of these industries natural to New Brunswick are hampered greatly by the heavy duties imposed by the neighbouring United States on these products, and also by the restrictions imposed by France, where there is also a large market for the three forest products above named—namely, timber, tanning extract, and pulp; but these cannot be developed to their full extent till we have a direct line between New Brunswick or Canada and France, on account of the extra duties imposed on goods arriving by way of the States or England, which render trade impossible.


The fisheries include salmon, cod, mackerel, herring, shad, smelt, black-bass, trout, lobsters, and oysters.

There are important lobster-canning establishments all along the coast of the Strait of Northumberland, and a large business is carried on in the shipment of frozen salmon, trout, bass, and smelts to the New York and New England markets. The fresh fish are kept in refrigerators, and shipped when the prices rule the highest in these markets, excellent facilities having been provided for rapid transit, both by rail and steamer.


Coal is found, also gold, silver, lead, antimony, copper, iron, manganese, and other valuable minerals in considerable quantities, but none have been worked to any great extent. This is owing a good deal to the thick forest and underbush covering most of the country, large portions of which even now have been but superficially examined, and I have no doubt that the future will unveil considerable mineral wealth in this country.


Besides its fair and proportionate representation in the Dominion Parliament at Ottawa there is the local parliament at Fredericton, in which there are forty-eight members elected on a very popular franchise. The executive government consists of seven members, and is responsible to the Assembly in the manner usual in the British Colonies. Leading members of the Local Government are the Hon. H. R, Emmerson, Premier and Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works; the Hon. L. J. Tweedie, Provincial Secretary and Receiver-General; the Hon. A. S. White, Attorney-General; while the Hon. A. G. Blair ably represents the Province in the Dominion Cabinet.


Education is of the very best. Schools are free and undenominational, and may be primary, advanced, high, superior, or grammar schools, according to the extent of the needs of the district they are provided for. The keystone of the system is the University of New Brunswick, founded in 1S28, to which a certain number of students from each county are admitted without the usual fees, and which has the power to grant University degrees.


No colony should exceed Canada in aptness for military matters. Its inhabitants are mainly descended from soldiers and sailors disbanded at different periods, or from those men loyal to the British throne, whether soldier or civilian, who left the United States at the end of the War of Independence to cut out for themselves, in a new and wild land, homes where the dear old flag of England would still wave over their heads. This was the ease in Nova Scotia between 1713 and 1749, and in New Brunswick in 1761, 1763, and 17S3, and by the disbandment of regiments at various times since.

The different branches of the service in Canada wear the same uniforms as in the corresponding services in England. The finest regiments have often volunteered for service abroad when they thought their services might be of use to the mother country, and I would like to say that the cavalry regiment to which I belonged during the Soudan and Afghan troubles of 1885 volunteered to a man to serve in either of those countries. We were not a little disappointed when the Australian offer was accepted and our proffered services declined, but we hope to be more fortunate at some future time.

New Brunswick derives its name from the reigning house of England; loyalty to the Throne of England was its origin, and loyal to Queen and Empire it will remain.


As a sporting country, New Brunswick has few rivals. I do not say that big game, or perhaps even small game, is as abundant there as in many other countries, but what I do say is that, with good sport, you have a grand, health-giving, and exhilarating climate, and the most beautiful surroundings in which to enjoy it.

With all this, you have the most noble quarry in the whole world in the moose, not only on account of his size and the magnificent trophy afforded by his head and spacious antlers, but also in this, that he is one of the most difficult of animals to approach and to get a shot at.

The caribou is another noble inhabitant of the New Brunswick woods, of the same species as the Lapland reindeer, though a larger and finer animal, as the Canadian moose is also in comparison with his representative in Europe, the Norwegian elk.

Some years ago, when staying at Fredericton, I went out with my brother to a noted district for moose and caribou to enjoy a week’s sport. We had a delightful drive over the crisp and sparkling snow to a fine old-fashioned settlement at Stanley, and there took to the woods in a rough sled with a driver and pair of horses, very comfortably stowed away amidst buffalo robes spread over a goodly quantity of loose hay. We stopped overnight at a half-way log hut provided for the teams going to and fro during the winter by the large lumber kings operating in that district of country, and kept in order by a man who acted as hotel manager, steward and cook, butler and boots all in one, and a very sociable evening we spent together, with good cheer in the shape of salt pork and fish, and nothing stronger than very strong tea with no milk, but with a little molasses to sweeten it.

Next day by noon we arrived at a large logging camp, containing probably twenty-five or thirty men all in one log camp or house, the men provided with sleeping accommodation on two long shelves four feet above the floor, and running from end to end of the shanty. It also contained a large red-hot stove, although the cooking was done in a log-house set apart for the purpose.

Here we met our hunter-guide, whose business it was to provide fresh meat for this lumbering camp. We started off with him at once and one other man to pull our toboggan with our kit and supplies. We took to our snow-shoes and made a detour through the woods with our guide in search of game. We had not gone far when we came on a herd of fine caribou feeding on the moss and lichen on the tops of the spruce trees recently cut down by the lumbermen of the camp we had just left. Creeping up noiselessly on our snow-shoes over the soft snow from cover to cover, four fine animals fell to our guns. It was getting dusk, so we left them, after covering them over with snow and branches, to return and carry them off on the morrow.

With buoyant spirits, rendered the more so by the clear, crisp, and invigorating atmosphere, we soon overtook our man with the toboggan on the frozen level surface of the Clearwater River, a branch of the Miramichi, and were soon at our rendezvous for the next few days, a trapper’s hut on the bank of the river amongst the great spruce, pine, and hemlock trees. We quickly had some choice portions of our caribou cut in steaks and frizzling in the pan, and also four or five partridges, or rather forest grouse, impaled on the ends of sticks stuck in the ground, roasting before the fire.

We made a most excellent repast while listening to the highly-coloured tales of our guide and our trapper friend, not always confined to strict veracity, I fear.

We next proceeded to hunt for the still nobler game and the real object of our journey, the moose. The snow had fallen daily of late, so that it was with difficulty we novices could see the traces of moose at all. Not so with our experienced guide, but his difficulty was rather that the spoor was too abundant, that is, that there were too many moose about, and that,, having picked out the tracks of a fine big bull, he would lose it again from its crossing and reerossing those of other moose, sometimes cows and calves, which, of course, are not fair prey to the true sportsman, and are now protected by law from interference. However, on the third or fourth day, our guide had located our quarry, and starting at daybreak the next morning, we were upon him, but before we could get a shot he disappeared as if by magic. We followed his tracks in the snow all that day, and so keen were we that at nightfall we decided to sleep in the snow and give him chase again next morning. This we did, and our persistence was crowned with success. His magnificent head and antlers are now amongst my most cherished possessions.

Of course there is a great deal of other game in this sportsman’s paradise, only eight days’ sail from England, which time will not permit me to more than mention, such as deer, lynx, fox, marten, musk-rat, and beaver, with great abundance of wood-grouse or partridge, wild geese and ducks, and, indeed, wild fowl of all descriptions.

The game laws are excellent and strictly carried out, so that game of all sorts is now becoming more numerous instead of the reverse.

New Brunswick has been called by the Indian “the land of many waters,” and it is needless to say that its inland fishing is about the very best in the world. Salmon, trout, and black-bass all afford excellent sport.

Englishmen should not neglect this field, and I shall be very glad to afford every information to those who desire to try it.


There are settlements of Indians in different parts of the country; these belong both to the Micmacs and Malicite tribes. They were always great friends of the French, as against the English, and were always very well treated by the former. However, the Indians of New Brunswick have not much to complain of in this respect, as there is said to have been no material decrease in their numbers since the first settlement of the country, which, as you know, can hardly be said of any other part of America.

The Indians of Acadia were essentially a race of hunters and warriors and despised agriculture, and to this day they are averse to steady labour in the fields or in the woods, though some work at the saw-mills and also at peeling hemlock bark in the season, but they are chiefly useful as guides and canoe-men.

Of course they are perfectly peaceable, and although the Indian is often said to be morose and taciturn, at least my own experience has not accorded with this. I remember on one occasion when I made a journey of several weeks, on a sporting expedition up the Restigouche and Upsalquitch, when we had three canoes manned by two Indians each, the Indians were remarkably loquacious round the camp fire at night, recounting their stories in their own language and full of fun and laughter, one of them being evidently the clown of the party. I may say there were only one or two of them who were not strict teetotalers, being so brought up by the Roman Catholic mission opposite Campbelltown.

However, in the old days they did not require agriculture, as game was extremely abundant, and about the time when De La Tour and Charnazay were fighting with each other for possession of the country, as many as 3000 moose skins were collected on the St. John each year; wild fowls in incredible numbers were found on the marsh lands and up the rivers, as indeed they are to-day. Charlevoix states that near St. John geese laid their eggs so abundantly that they alone might have sustained the whole population. Lescarbaut relates the same in regard to the St. Croix.

Besides this, there were abundance of fish, and especially salmon, which the Indians not only captured with hook and line, but with torch and spear, which was their favourite method, and in which they are extremely expert to-day, this mode of capturing salmon being permitted to the Indians alone.

They cooked their meat and fish by broiling it on live coals, or roasting it on the ends of sticks around the fire, but soup was their favourite food, which they boiled in a spacious wooden caldrou made for the purpose in the stump of a large tree hollowed out by fire. The soup was boiled by dropping in red-hot stones, which as they cooled were replaced by others hot from the fire, until the meal was cooked. Their camping grounds were often chosen on account of these fixed caldrons, as naturally they were not readily moved.

Wild grapes, it also appears, formed part of the food of the St. John River Indians.

Although much has been said as to the treachery of the Red Indians and of their attacking defenceless settlements, they were certainly a chivalrous race before the advent of the European, and were distinguished for their honesty; and before they became demoralised by civilisation, previous to going to war they were in the habit of informing their enemies by sending them symbols to put them on their guard. They are very expert in making bark canocs, birch dishes, snow-shoes, and moccasins.

West Indies and Canada

Our Colonial Secretary has said, and not only said, but given it substantial effect too, that he is desirous of favouring and helping onward the “undeveloped estates” of the Empire. Well, I humbly represent one, and that is New Brunswick, and I will include the other maritime provinces of Canada. I will even go further and say that we have behind these the magnificent and unlimited and but very partially developed estates of the whole grand Dominion of Canada. Not far off, we have another “estate” that is suffering vicissitudes of fortune at the present time, although largely developed in the past—I refer to the West Indies.

Now, what the one group of colonies produces, the other does not, or not to any great extent; in fact, the one being tropical and the other situated in the colder regions of the North, the one just requires what the other produces, and vice versa.

The West Indies have been reduced to their present condition largely and, I think I may even say almost entirely, by the duties imposed against their products in foreign countries, and most of all from the bounties given by these foreign countries on the exported beet-root or other sugars from their countries to Great Britain.

This is such a great advantage, such an enormous boon, to the English consumer, that the Government of this great country cannot see its way to tax foreign sugars for the benefit of our West Indian colonies, however fond of them wc all may be. This is perhaps quite natural, at least we can perfectly understand it. But, if the value of these foreign-paid bounties is such a substantial gain to this country, it would be a very gracious thing to do, and also a very just and entirely defensible one, to expend a portion of the money obtained at their expense to help our West Indian brother countrymen, by subsidising a line of steamers from the West Indian Islands to St. John, New Brunswick.

The West Indian Islands get most of their imported goods from the United States. The Canadian Pacific Railway has undertaken to help the Canadians to get a larger share of the business than they have at present, and to this end has accorded the same rates to St. John from the west as are current from the same shipping points to New York, and has recently published a report from an agent it has had in the West Indies making a study of the trade question.

The report shows the West Indian imports in detail. Most of the goods could be supplied as cheaply by Canadian manufacturers and farmers. Agricultural implements, bran, box material, butter, candles, confectioneiy, coal, eggs, fish, flour, canned and dried fruit, furniture, groceries, hay, ice, lumber, chilled meats, oats, provisions, peas and beans, sheep, and many other articles, now principally supplied by the United States, might be supplied by Canada. You will notice that all the articles named in this list of West Indian imports are imported also by England, so that the trade should not compete with the exports of the home country, but only with those of the United States.

On the other hand, we in Canada want their raw sugar for our refineries, their bananas and other fruit and tropical produce.

Since this was written we have had the Colonial Secretary’s speech at Liverpool, in which lie has announced that it is the intention of the British Government to substantially help the West Indian colonies, and I venture to think what I have just suggested would be one way of effectually helping them to build up and secure a future and permanent outlet for their products in a new field.

Chief Rivers and Towns

The St. John River is over 500 miles long and drains half the province, flowing through the most beautiful country, with farming lands on either bank and valuable timber lands on its numerous tributaries. It is navigable for steamers 86 miles, as far as Fredericton, and for small steamers 126 miles to Grand Falls, and after that break, 65 miles farther. A point of interest is Jemseg, at the outlet of Grand Lake (which is 30 miles long, and 3 to 9 broad); it was a famous fort in the old colony days, and the scene of many conflicts. Jemseg ms taken from the French in 1654 by Cromwell’s expedition under Sedgwick.

Down to this point the river flows through a level farming country with wooded borders, intervale lands, and with many islands. South of Jemseg the banks become hilly, and the river itself a long succession of lake expanses. Next we come to Washademoak Lake and River.

The Kennebecasis flows in about 5 miles above its mouth from behind a coast range. It finally reaches the sea at the head of St. John harbour, flowing through a narrow gorge between walls of rock 100 feet high, and here is presented the unique phenomenon of a Reversible Fall.

The river, which at Fredericton is half a mile wide and in its lower stretches much wider, is here forced to flow for 400 yards through a gorge only 400 feet across. The tide in St. John harbour rises from 25 to 30 feet, and the gorge is so narrow that it can neither admit the tide quickly nor discharge the river promptly; for the tide recedes faster than the narrow outlet can permit the water to flow through. At low water the level of the river is 11 to 15 feet above the sea, and at high water the level of the sea is 8 to 12 feet above the river. There are therefore two falls at every tide, one in and one out.

Four times in every twenty-four hours there is a short period of equilibrium when vessels can pass in or out. The spectacle here presented twice every day is probably seen nowhere else in the world.

Another unique phenomenon is that of the bore on the Petticodiae at the head of the Bay of Fundy. The tide, 25 to 30 feet at St. John, 45 feet at Sackville, and at Shubenaeadie even 50 feet or more, runs at the mouth of the bay, at Briar Island, at the rate of 3 miles, and thence proceeds up the funnel-shaped estuary till at Chignecto it attains the speed of 6 to 7 miles and rushes up the Pettieodiac River, the foremost wave reaching 5 or 6 feet high; Aulac and Tantramar from mere brooks at low tide become rivers 2 to 3 miles wide.

In this neighbourhood are situated the important town of Moncton, and the machine shops and chief offices of the Intercolonial Railroad, with about 1 2,000 inhabitants; Dorchester, the county town of the prosperous farming county of Westmorland, with a population of about 2000; and Sackville, the chief farming centre of the county, with an important College and University; while at Memramcook is situated the Roman Catholic College, which is so well known throughout America that it receives pupils from all parts of Canada and the United States.

Towns on the St. John River—St. John, population 50,000; Fredericton, the capital of the Province, about 9000; Woodstock and Edmonston.

The St. Croix, 25 miles long, forms part of the United States boundary; the chief towns on it are St. Andrews, a winter port, with the finest harbour on the coast; and St. Stephen, a stirring lumbering and manufacturing town.

The Miramichi, the second river of New Brunswick, is 220 miles long, and reaches with its aflluents all the interior of the country ; it is navigable for 3 5 miles. The chief towns are Newcastle, Chatham, Douglastown, and Millerton. The district was formerly noted for wooden ship-building, now for the manufacture of lumber, tanning extract, and wood-pulp for paper-making, as well as a large and increasing fishing industry. This, like all the rivers flowing into the clear waters of the gulf, is famous for salmon.

The Ricliibucto, river and town, with fair harbour and fishing; lumbering, and lobster-canning industries.

The Nepisiquit, a turbulent river with a fall of 140 feet. Bathurst is the chief town on its banks.

The Restigouche, a beautiful clear river, with some of the finest salmon-fishing in the world, emptying into the head of the Bay of Chaleur; tributaries, Metapedia, Patapedia, and Upsalquitch, all famous for their salmon-fishing and other sport; the latter river comes from the lake of the same name, falls 400 feet in less than 2 miles over beautiful cascades. Towns on its banks, Campbellton and Dalhousie, centres of considerable importance for the production and manufacture of lumber.

Pleasure and Amusements

Boating, driving, riding, picnics, camping-out parties, and field-sports give the people ample opportunity lor enjoyment during summer. In winter they have the so-called “Winter Sports” of sleighing, skating, tobogganing, snow-shoeing, and ice-boating, and social entertainments of all kinds which would surprise the inhabitants of towns in England of the same size


Petroleum.—Since this paper was read before the Imperial Institute in January 1898, an oil belt has been discovered, extending practically from the southeast corner to the north-west corner of the province. The latest information is that the oil is of good quality, as excellent samples have been taken in more than one locality.

The law relating to mining and the royalties payable to the Government was amended, in the last General Assembly, by adding the following clause:—

Oil.—Five per cent, of the output delivered at the well’s mouth, or five per cent, of the commercial value thereof, at the option of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council.

Free Grants

By the Crown Lands Settlement Act of 1890, the conditions on which Free Grants are made have been greatly simplified and improved, and the taking up of grants of 100 acres in the new districts where settlements are to be made should be greatly encouraged thereby, as will be seen by the following extracts from the new law :—

The Surveyor-General shall cause surveys to be made of the Crown Lands in the different counties of the province suitable for settlement, and shall cause public roads to be made through such lands, and shall have the same laid off in one-lnmdred-aere lots on both sides of such roads.

Free Grants for such lots may be made to such persons as may become actual settlers.

Such person shall be of the age of eighteen years or upwards.

(1) The allottee shall commence clearing and improving within one month after publication 0f the approval of his application, and shall within three months after improve on his lot to the value of 20 dollars.

(2) And shall within one year build a house thereon, fit for habitation, of not less dimensions than 16 feet by 20 feet, and reside thereon.

(3) And shall chop down and cultivate not less than two acres, by sowing or planting the same.

(4) Chop down, cultivate, and clear not less than ten acres within three years, and shall each year actually and continuously cultivate all the land chopped down during such three years.

(5) Shall reside actually and continuously upon such land for the term of three years next succeeding such publication, and thence up to the issue of the grant, except that absence during the months of July, August, January, February, and March in any year shall not be held to be a cessation of such residence, provided such land be cultivated as aforesaid.

Compliance with the conditions above mentioned within a loss period than three years, and actual residence up to the time of such compliance, shall entitle such allottee to a grant.

In any district where lands have been laid out for settlement, and not less than ten settlers have taken up lands therein, the Surveyor-General may, at the expiration of three years, give a bonus of one hundred dollars to the settler in such district who has erected the best house and outbuildings, and has his farm in the best condition.

In the ease of any allottee during the first five years after the approval of his application has been published, whether before or after he has obtained his grant, prospecting and finding minerals on his land, he shall have prior right to a lease under the General Mining Act, of mining rights on such land, and any minerals mined thereon shall be exempt from royalty for a period of five years after the taking out of such lease.

Return to Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.