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The Gentleman Emigrant
The Canadas

THAT man must indeed be a Stoic who can bid his native land farewell without emotion. We can hardly believe in the existence of such a mortal. He may have resolved to emigrate without one pang of regret; he may have gone through the ordeal of bidding friends and relatives adieu without any visible agitation; but when, from the deck of the outward-bound ship, he sees the shores of Old England slowly sinking beneath the horizon, the tear will start, and the lip quiver, in spite of him. He is not invariably the stoutest-hearted who shows the least emotion.

“The moistened eye, the trembling lip,
Are not the signs of doubt or fear;"

and a man may be bold as a lion, and yet impressionable as a child.

There are few more touching sights than the one which meets the eye on the deck of an emigrant ship at the moment when it becomes known that the headland looming in the distance is the vessel’s point of departure; and that the words are passed along, “Come on deck, and see the land; it is the last glimpse we shall catch of the ‘Old country.’” In an instant the ’tween decks are deserted; the top-gallant forecastle is taken by storm; the bulwarks are lined with wistful faces; every eye is strained in the direction of the shore. It is then, and then only, that the full meaning of that magic word Home can be realized. To nine-tenths of those poor creatures England has been a home but in name; it is little they have to thank her for. If a fostermother, she has been a flinty-hearted one. And yet no sooner does the moment arrive to take one last look at the fast-receding shore, than all past neglect is forgotten, all bitterness vanishes ; and it is with streaming eyes and in broken accents that the word Farewell is uttered. Although more subdued, the anguish is as great in the cabin as in the steerage. However bright the prospect—however great the probability of a happy return—it is with- a heavy heart that the gentleman emigrant, his eyes fixed on the land, whispers to himself, “What changes may not happen, what vicissitudes of fortune may I not have to undergo, before I see those shores again?” That the cabin is the proper place for the married gentleman emigrant who has a few thousands lodged to his credit in the Bank of British North

America, the Bank of New South Wales, or the Bank of Otago, there can be no question whatsoever ; but we very much doubt if it be the best place for the young unmarried man whose capital is limited to hundreds In fact, we are sure that it is not. Every young man going forth into the world with a determination to rough it, should drop his individuality at his father’s hall-door. Sooner or later he must come down a peg or two, and by far the wisest plan is to lower away at once. Has his father furnished him with the amount necessary to pay for a cabin passage?

So much the better. Let him put the difference in his pocket, and go intermediate or steerage; the satisfaction of knowing that he has made a good start will more than compensate him for every discomfort. If he be bound for America, the passage is a short one, and he can select a season when there are few emigrants. If to Australia or New Zealand, he will find many respectable men amongst his fellow-passengers. After the comforts of an English home, the ’tween deck accommodation will perhaps startle him; but if he be of the right stuff, he will manage to put up with it; and should he never, in his journey through life, have to encounter greater hardship, he will have every reason to be thankful. The old American “liners” excepted, a great change for the better has of late years been effected in the internal economy of emigrant ships. Not only has the accommodation been improved, but the dietary likewise. On board most Transatlantic steamers the provisions served out are excellent in quality and unlimited in quantity; and the question is no longer “How do the emigrants manage to exist on the voyage?” but “How on earth can they stow away all that is provided for them?” Considering the modest sum demanded for a passage-ticket, the living is absolutely sumptuous. But it is not alone for the sake of the money to be saved that we would advise the young unmarried man of limited means to take a steerage passage. It is rather that he may thereby avoid being thrown into the society of men who would lead him into unnecessary extravagance, and who, by their overcoloured descriptions of colonial life, would be pretty certain to raise expectations in his breast never to be realized. The gentleman emigrant should have no high-flown notions in his head; and, if economy be requisite, he should be economical from the very start. The misadventures of many a fine young fellow now eating the bitter bread of dependence in one or other of our colonies, may be traced to his having taken up his abode upon landing in some expensive first-class hotel, instead of in the second-class boarding-house suited to his finances. “It will only be for a day or two“ Once clear of this place, I shall be able to economize.“ A pound more or less is of little consequence.” These are the quicksands upon which many a well-intentioned youth has made shipwreck. “Ce nest que le premier pas qui coute” says the French proverb. If the young gentleman emigrant will only keep it in mind, his chances of success will be increased tenfold.

We are bound for Quebec by one of Allan and Co.’s magnificent steamers, and amongst the passengers are two gentlemen emigrants whose movements it is our intention to follow—one a married man, with a capital of five thousand pounds; the other a bachelor with twelve hundred.

We are steaming up the smooth waters of the noble St. Lawrence. Our vessel’s deck, which had but few attractions for the majority of the passengers during the earlier portion of the voyage, is now completely blocked up with men, women, and children, many of them in holiday attire, all of them anxious to catch a glimpse of that land of promise which is henceforth to be their home. As old hands ourselves, and able, in the profundity of our experience, to exclaim with Solomon, “There is no new thing under the sun,” we wrap ourselves in our toga of apathy, and listen to the exclamations of delight and surprise which on every side resound. Steadily we steam along under the cloudless sky, past the cottages of MM. les Habitants—which candour obliges us to confess are much fairer outside than in—past little village churches with glittering spires and cross-bedecked God’s-acres, past patches of primeval forest and humble clearing, past Orleans Island, and then Cape Diamond—with its impregnable citadel, the quaint old town, its tin roofs flashing in the sunlight, the busy harbour, with its forest of masts and rafts innumerable—bursts upon the view, and the voyage is ended.

A couple of hours more and we are safely installed at our hotel, and by a familiar voice in the corridor we are soon apprized that our married friend has taken up his abode in the same caravansary. What has become of our other friend we know not, but he "will be sure to turn up when wanted. There is nothing to detain him in Quebec. One day will suffice to do the old town and the new, to visit the plains of Abraham, and to admire the prospect from the citadel. The river Saguenay, the Falls of Montmorency, and the Chaudiere can be left for a future visit; and if we are not greatly mistaken, both he and Mr. Benedict will be found on board the Montreal steamer to-morrow evening. We are not mistaken. From the hurricane deck of the steamer we witness both arrivals — Coelebs in light marching order, with a couple of portmanteaus, a bundle of rugs, and a gun-case, which he guards with the most anxious care; Benedict, in very heavy ditto, with wife, two children, nurse, and a couple of dray loads of luggage, a portion of which is evidently furniture. Were our friend not as green as grass, he would have given the stewardess of the Austrian a couple of sovereigns to take charge of the bairns, and so have saved the nurse, and sold his furniture at an awful sacrifice before leaving, and saved the cost of transport. That nice-looking girl will have found herself a mate before she has been six months in the province. That furniture will, before it finds a final resting-place, have cost in transport charges alone more than its original value.. When will our fellow-countrymen cease to act like the Chinese, and learn that the appliances of civilized life are to be found in other lands besides their own, and that it is not necessary to drag one’s household gods along with one?

Let the gentleman emigrant beware of taking “a couple of good English servants along with him,” as we have seen recommended. Unless those servants be very old and tried family retainers, he will live to repent him of his folly, for they will be sure to leave him whenever the whim seizes them. Have they signed an agreement that they will remain in his service a certain number of years; or, in the event of leaving, refund their passage money? That agreement, however carefully it may have been drawn up, will in the backwoods be of even less value than was the king’s writ fifty years ago in the county Gralway—not worth the paper upon which it is written. He may have the law on his side, but they will find a way of evading it; and to avoid backwoods’ litigation he will be only too glad to let them go. As regards the personal effects to be taken by the emigrant, all that is necessary is clothing sufficient to last for some years; a good supply of substantial house linen, plate, cutlery, firearms, and such little nick-nacks as the better-half (if he has one) may insist upon keeping; and the fewer they are the more reason will he have to be thankful. If he have a library, or any furniture prized as an heirloom, let him have it well packed up and stored before leaving England; when he is settled, it will be time enough to send for it. To bring out with one agricultural implements, seed, &c., is little short of lunacy.

At length the baggage is all checked, and we are off. With the wretched cabin accommodation of English river and channel steamers still fresh in their recollections, the saloon of the Choctaw seems palatial to our immigrants. How soft the carpets ! how comfortable the chairs! how cosy the state-rooms! Why, the cabins on board the Austrian were nothing to them. Slowly and steadily we stem the rapid current. Had we taken the “cars,” we should have been whisked up to Montreal in a twinkling; but when time is not an object, the silent highway is not only the cheapest, it is the best. There is one advantage that the American has over the Britisher—he can really enjoy a steamboat trip on his lakes and rivers. Instead of being limited to a “fisherman’s walk”—two steps and overboard, with the alternative of being cooped up in a stuffy cabin—like poor John Bull, Jonathan, if active, has the entire length of the hurricane deck for a promenade; if lazy, a gorgeous saloon, where he can lounge and read; if sleepy, a cosy state-room wherein to snooze; if hungry, a table provided with all the delicacies of the season; if thirsty, a bar where he can “liquor up,” in defiance of Neale Dow and the Maine law; if unshaven, a barber’s shop, where he will be “fixed” in a jiffy, and where he can likewise, in case of need, provide himself with a clean collar and dicky. In England, the stranger is often at his wit’s end to know how to. while away the time; in America, be the weather only fine, and sea, lake, or river “convanient,” it is his own fault if he cannot amuse himself. All he has to do is to walk straight up to the clerk of his hotel, and consult with him concerning steamers and ferry-boats, and then walk straight down to the landing-stage and take his ticket. For a dollar or two he will have his day’s outing, and instead of returning hot, grimy, and worn out, he will be fresher than when he started in the morning. When there is opposition on any line, the fares are merely nominal. We have before now been carried gratis, and the clerk of the boat has assured us with sly humour that, were it not for the encouragement it would offer to loafers to take up their residence permanently on board, the company would be happy to throw breakfast, dinner, and~ supper into the bargain.

Although there is for us no longer the charm of novelty, we can, after an absence of five years, fully appreciate the substantial comforts provided on board the Choctaw. We glide into our old ways as though we had been absent but a fortnight, and call for porter-—house steak, and hot cakes and apple sass, like a genuine native. Verily, man’s adaptability is wonderful!

Before arriving at Montreal, we sound our immigrants as to their intentions. Wiser than the generality of would-be settlers, they have determined to take a leaf out of Brother Jonathan’s book, and are going to have a look around before fixing on a location. The time will surely not be wasted ? Tar from it; it is the very best thing to do. And so, with much hand-shaking, and promises to visit them whenever they may be settled, we bid them farewell for a time, and continue our journey.

Notwithstanding the immense extent of the Canadas, it will be to a comparatively small area that the investigations of the moneyed gentleman immigrant will in all probability be confined. Draw a line on the map of Canada from Kingston westwards to Lake Huron, the tract of country lying south of that line is Canada Felix. By calling it Canada Felix, we do not mean to imply that the rest of the country is a desert, but merely that, from its geographical position, its superior climate, its advanced state of civilization, it offers more attractions to the gentleman settler than any other section of the Dominion. The married man who, with capital at command, would voluntarily choose for a permanent residence some wild region, where his labours would be those of a pioneer, must be, to say the least, eccentric. Nothing can be more amusing than those advertisements, addressed to men of capital, which from time to time make their appearance in the English newspapers. “Splendid Opportunities!!! In Texas!! 1 In Arkansas!!! In the Assineboine Country!!! In the Argentine Republic!!!! Climate superb! Shooting first-rate!! Land tip-top!!! A Fortune certain!!!!”

Bosh! a man must be a born fool to be gulled by such nonsense. As we once heard a phlegmatic Teuton remark to a Yankee land-agent who had been trying for two hours or more to effect the sale of a block of land in Minnesota, by describing the said state as a terrestrial paradise—“Ja! dat toes soundt ferry gut— ’most doo gut I denks do be drue.” That’s just it. It all sounds very well, but it is much too good to be true. When thousands of farms, ready prepared for the hand of the sower, are for sale in Canada West and in the Northern, Middle, and Southern States, why bury oneself in the Red River district, in Texas, in La Plata, in Arkansas? Time enough to think of Fort Garry when a railway runs through that much-belauded “fertile belt,” of Monte Video, when the law is no longer a dead letter, of Little Rock, when “toothpicks” are less lethal than at present. Let them do the pioneering who have no money. If he will only take time to look about him, the man of small capital, who. is desirous of settling in the Canadas, can find plenty of locations much nearer home than Fort Garry. There is plenty of good land still lying waste eastward of Lake Huron, and, although for reasons hereafter to be given, we cannot recommend the maritime provinces to the gentleman settler, millions of fertile acres are for sale at government price in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

But let the immigrant be on his guard, land can be too cheap. When the locality is so far removed from market, that it takes three bushels of wheat or potatoes to pay the carriage of the fourth, the land would be dear as a gift. In most cases, cheap land will prove a delusion and a snare, and much the dearest in the end. If the immigrant have the means, far wiser to give two, or even three pounds an acre for medium land in a district where there is rail or water communication, and a market within easy reach, than three shillings for the richest of loams in the wilderness. We speak from a monetary point of view. If money making be not the great desideratum, and the settler have resources within himself, a grazing farm, remote from town and clearing, is to our mind infinitely preferable to an improved arable ditto in some semi-civilized township. Our reason for thinking so will appear anon.

Farms in the Canadas may be divided into four classes. Firstly, choice farms in the immediate vicinity of the larger towns; secondly, those on a line of railway; thirdly, such as may enjoy the advantages of direct water communication, a good road, an adjacent market, &c.; fourthly, those in the wilderness. Notwithstanding the constant demand for wholly, or partially cleared farms, there are always plenty of them in the market. It is one characteristic of the genuine American, that he is seldom or never contented with his belongings. He is generally ready to make a trade, and to sell anything in his possession, from the old homestead to the new cradle. Let his farm be the best in the township, he is open to an offer. If he be a Yankee, he is tired of farming, and intends trying storekeeping, or running a saw-mill, or a meeting-house for a spell. If a Canadian, it will generally turn out that his head has been completely turned by some specious paragraph or advertisement which has caught his eye, in the columns of hi& weekly paper, to the effect that farming in the British provinces is all moonshine, and that the only place for the industrious husbandman with small capital, is on the new line of railway, in Buncomb County, Gammonia Territory, in the land of the Stars and Stripes. The number of well-to-do Canadian farmers who have been lured by these advertisements emanating from the offices of shrewd Yankee land-speculators is past belief. A good many of them, after having frittered away all their capital, find their way back to the vicinity of their old home, but their experience is not sufficient to deter others from doing the self-same thing, and the result is, that many of the best farms in the Canadas are to be seen advertised for sale in the Montreal, Toronto, and Hamilton papers.

In the purchase of a farm, the immigrant will have to be more or less guided by the state of his banker’s account; but he will do well to bear in mind that it is not invariably the one for which the most money is demanded that will make the best return. Having selected his district, his first step should be to take up his quarters at some unpretentious inn or farmhouse in the vicinity. He wont have been six hours in the place before the “folks” will know all about him, or think that they do, which is the same thing. That man ..down to the hotel, or to Uncle Smith’s, is from the Old Country. He has come to fish—to hunt. He has run away from his creditors. He is as rich as Astor. He is as poor as Job. He is a doctor—a lawyer going to hang out his shingle in the village. He is on the look out for a lo-cation. We have ourselves lain for weeks under the fearful imputation of being Fenian Stephens, and when taking our walks abroad, have been dogged by the menkind, and been peered at from behind doors and window-curtains by the womenkind of the village. Worse! we have had our letters opened at the post-office; and when, justly indignant at this flagrant breach of trust, we have proceeded to give the postmaster a bit of our mind, have been sneeringly told to write to the Postmaster-General as soon as we pleased—he, the delinquent, was agreeable. Our letters had been given by mistake in the dusk of the evening to Mr. Patrick O’Flannigan. Such a mistake might easily be qiade, the two names being so very similar!

It is stupid to get angry with these too" inquisitive country folk. Rather let the stranger be “all things to all men,” that is to say, let him assume every character but his true one. ' Is he in search of a farm? It is for change of air he has come to the “Corners.” Is it a horse he is seeking? He would like to know of some strong working bullocks fit for lumbering. Under no circumstances let him hoist his distinguishing pennant until the engagement is won—the bargain completed. There is a good deal of the Yankee about the Canadian. Let him think you want anything “real bad,” and he is a very Shylock. Make him believe that you can do perfectly well without it, or, better still, that you don’t feel disposed to take it at any price, and to effect a sale he will let you have it a bargain. But to get to windward of him the Britisher must be wide awake, for he is a very subtle cross-examiner, and can detect a discrepancy in a statement as quickly as an Old Bailey lawyer. The cute Yankee seldom commits himself; he lets his adversary do the talking, and whittles. He who believes that the American whittles with no other object than to whittle away the time, is very much mistaken in his man. The Yankee whittles that he may the better think and listen, and not unfrequently that he may avoid having to look you in the face. You imagine that he is absorbed in his puerile occupation. Not a bit of it. The motion of his hand is merely mechanical; he is listening to every word you utter, and is at the same time revolving in his own mind what answer lie shall give you. Inadvertently you contradict yourself, or make some admission which had better been withheld. Master Yank looks up, smiles, and resumes his whittling. That smile means that he scores one point, and if, before the conclusion of your argument, he has not scored the remainder, and won the game, you will be smart—for a Britisher. Oh, gentleman immigrant! whosoever thou art, take the advice of one who has himself been whittled into many a foolish bargain—fight the enemy with his own weapons; buy a jack-knife, and whittle ! When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war. Armed with stick and jack-knife, you will at least meet your adversary on equal terms; and if you lose the day, it will be superior strategy, not superior armour, that has conquered you. There is yet another piece of advice we would give you. Don’t buy a pig in a poke. Never purchase anything from a Canadian or Yankee without having first thoroughly acquainted yourself with its real value. It is easily done. You have but to proceed as did the old cynic when he desired to find out a girl’s bad qualities—sing her praises to her bosom friends and rivals. If you desire to know the precise value of Uncle Sprague’s farm, commend it before neighbours Jones and Robinson. It wont be long before you are told (in strict confidence) its every defect. After making due allowance for the uncharitableness of human nature, and putting down as extra good whatever has not been described as preter-superlatively bad, you will arrive at a pretty fair conclusion as to the value thereof, and may cautiously proceed to open negotiations with the owner. If, after the information you have thus surreptitiously obtained, Mr. Sprague should still manage to outwit you, you deserve to be victimized. But since neither whittling, as an art, nor soft-sawdering as an accomplishment, is to be acquired in a day, you will do well to serve your apprenticeship thereto, and in some part of the country other than that in which it is your intention to settle; for it is highly desirable that you get rid of your Old World habits and ideas before presenting yourself to the good folk amongst whom you will have henceforth to live. An unguarded word, a contemptuous gesture, a tart reply, will be remembered against you for years ; and that you may live at peace with your neighbours, you must be social and conciliatory from the very start.

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