Cobourg, at which place we are at present, is a neatly built and flourishing village, containing many good stores, mills, a banking-house, and printing-office, where a newspaper is published once a week. There is a very pretty church and a select society, many families of respectability having fixed their residences in or near the town.
To-morrow we leave Cobourg, and shall proceed to Peterborough, from which place I shall again write and inform you of our future destination, which will probably be on one of the small lakes of the Otanabee.
Journey from Cobourg to Amherst.—Difficulties to be encountered on first settling in the Backwoods.—Appearance of the Country.—Rice Lake.—Indian Habits.—Voyage up the Otanabee.—Log-house, and its Inmates.—Passage boat.—Journey on foot to Peterborough.
Peterborough, Newcastle District.
September 8, 1832.
We left Cobourg on the afternoon of the 1st of September in a light waggon, comfortably lined with buffalo robes. Our fellow travellers consisted of three gentlemen and a young lady, all of whom proved very agreeable, and willing to afford us every information respecting the country through which we were travelling. The afternoon was fine—one of those rich mellow days we often experience in the early part of September. The warm hues of autumn were already visible on the forest trees, but rather spoke of ripeness than decay. The country round Cobourg is well cultivated, a great portion of the woods having been superseded by open fields, pleasant farms, and fine flourishing orchards, with green pastures, where abundance of cattle were grazing.
The county gaol and court-house at Amherst, about a mile and a half from Cobourg, is a fine stone edifice, situated on a rising ground, which commands an extensive view over the lake Ontario and surrounding scenery. As you advance farther up the country, in the direction of the Hamilton or Rice Lake plains, the land rises into bold sweeping hills and dales.
The outline of the country reminded me of the hilly part of Gloucestershire; you want, however, the charm with which civilization has so eminently adorned that fine county, with all its romantic villages, flourishing towns, cultivated farms, and extensive downs, so thickly covered with flocks and herds. Here the bold forests of oak, beech, maple, and bass-wood, with now and then a grove of dark pine, cover the hills, only enlivened by an occasional settlement, with its log-house and zig-zag fences of split timber: these fences are very offensive to my eye. I look in vain for the rich hedge rows of my native country. Even the stone fences in the north and west of England, cold and bare as they are, are less unsightly. The settlers, however, invariably adopt whatever plan saves time, labour, and money. The great law of expediency is strictly observed;—it is borne of necessity. Matters of taste appear to be little regarded, or are, at all events, after-considerations.