The Backwoods of Canada eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 306 pages of information about The Backwoods of Canada.

How little did he dream of the drudgery inseparable from the duties of a lad of his age, in a country where the old and young, the master and the servant, are alike obliged to labour for a livelihood, without respect to former situation or rank!

Here the son of the gentleman becomes a hewer of wood and drawer of water; he learns to chop down trees, to pile brush-heaps, split rails for fences, attend the fires during the burning season, dressed in a coarse over-garment of hempen cloth, called a logging-shirt, with trousers to correspond, and a Yankee straw hat flapped over his eyes, and a handspike to assist him in rolling over the burning brands.  To tend and drive oxen, plough, sow, plant Indian corn and pumpkins, and raise potatoe-hills, are among some of the young emigrant’s accomplishments.  His relaxations are but comparatively few, but they are seized with a relish and avidity that give them the greater charm.

You may imagine the disappointment felt by the poor lad on seeing his fair visions of amusement fade before the dull realities and distasteful details of a young settler’s occupation in the backwoods.

Youth, however, is the best season for coming to this country; the mind soon bends itself to its situation, and becomes not only reconciled, but in time pleased with the change of life.  There is a consolation, too, in seeing that he does no more than others of equal pretensions as to rank and education are obliged to submit to, if they would prosper; and perhaps he lives to bless the country which has robbed him of a portion of that absurd pride that made him look with contempt on those whose occupations were of a humble nature.  It were a thousand pities wilfully to deceive persons desirous of emigrating with false and flattering pictures of the advantages to be met with in this country.  Let the pro and con be fairly stated, and let the reader use his best judgment, unbiassed by prejudice or interest in a matter of such vital importance not only as regards himself, but the happiness and welfare of those over whose destinies Nature has made him the guardian.  It is, however, far more difficult to write on the subject of emigration than most persons think:  it embraces so wide a field that what would be perfectly correct as regards one part of the province would by no means prove so as regarded another.  One district differs from another, and one township from another, according to its natural advantages; whether it be long settled or unsettled, possessing water privileges or not; the soil and even the climate will be different, according to situation and circumstances.

Much depends on the tempers, habits, and dispositions of the emigrants themselves.  What suits one will not another; one family will flourish, and accumulate every comfort about their homesteads, while others languish in poverty and discontent.  It would take volumes to discuss every argument for and against, and to point out exactly who are and who are not fit subjects for emigration.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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