The difficulties which the Upper Canadian immigrants had to undergo before reaching their destination were much greater than was the case with the people who went direct in ships from American ports to Halifax and other places on the Atlantic coast. The former had to make toilsome journeys by land, or by bateaux and canoes up the St. Lawrence, the Richelieu, the Genesee, and other streams which gave access from the interior of the United States to the new Canadian land. The British government did its best to supply the wants of the population suddenly thrown upon its charitable care, but, despite all that could be done for them in the way of food and means of fighting the wilderness, they suffered naturally a great deal of hardship. The most influential immigration found its way to the maritime provinces, where many received congenial employment and adequate salaries in the new government of New Brunswick. Many others, with the wrecks of their fortunes or the pecuniary aid granted them by the British government, were able to make comfortable homes and cultivate estates in the valleys of the St. John and Annapolis, and in other fertile parts of the lower provinces. Of the large population that founded Shelburne a few returned to the United States, but the greater number scattered all over the provinces. The settlers in Upper Canada had to suffer many trials for years after their arrival, and especially in a year of famine, when large numbers had to depend on wild fruits and roots. Indeed, had it not been for the fish and game which were found in some, but not in all, places, starvation and death would have been the lot of many hundreds of helpless people.
Many of the refugees could trace their descent to the early immigration that founded the colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay. Some were connected with the Cavalier and Church families of Virginia. Others were of the blood of persecuted Huguenots and German Protestants from the Rhenish or Lower Palatinate. Not a few were Highland Scotchmen, who had been followers of the Stuarts, and yet fought for King George and the British connection during the American revolution. Among the number were notable Anglican clergymen, eminent judges and lawyers, and probably one hundred graduates of Harvard, Yale, King’s, Pennsylvania, and William and Mary Colleges. In the records of industrial enterprise, of social and intellectual progress, of political development for a hundred years, we find the names of many eminent men, sprung from these people, to whom Canada owes a deep debt of gratitude for the services they rendered her in the most critical period of her chequered history.
DEVELOPMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE INSTITUTIONS (1784—1812).
SECTION I—Beginnings of the provinces of New Brunswick, Lower Canada and Upper Canada.