The Backwoods of Canada eBook

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

“Then how are we to spin our own wool and make our own soap and candles?” said I.  “When you are able to kill your own sheep, and hogs, and oxen, unless you buy wool and tallow”—­then, seeing me begin to look somewhat disappointed, he said, “Be not cast down, you will have all these things in time, and more than these, never fear, if you have patience, and use the means of obtaining them.  In the mean while prepare your mind for many privations to which at present you are a stranger; and if you would desire to see your husband happy and prosperous, be content to use economy, and above all, be cheerful.  In a few years the farm will supply you with all the necessaries of life, and by and by you may even enjoy many of the luxuries.  Then it is that a settler begins to taste the real and solid advantages of his emigration; then he feels the blessings of a country where there are no taxes, tithes, nor poor-rates; then he truly feels the benefit of independence.  It is looking forward to this happy fulfillment of his desires that makes the rough paths smooth, and lightens the burden of present ills.  He looks round upon a numerous family without those anxious fears that beset a father in moderate circumstances at home; for he knows he does not leave them destitute of an honest means of support.”

In spite of all the trials he had encountered, I found this gentleman was so much attached to a settler’s life, that he declared he would not go back to his own country to reside for a permanence on any account; nor is he the only one that I have heard express the same opinion; and it likewise seems a universal one among the lower class of emigrants.  They are encouraged by the example of others whom they see enjoying comforts that they could never have obtained had they laboured ever so hard at home; and they wisely reflect they must have had hardships to endure had they remained in their native land (many indeed had been driven out by want), without the most remote chance of bettering themselves or becoming the possessors of land free from all restrictions.  “What to us are the sufferings of one, two, three, or even four years, compared with a whole life of labour and poverty,” was the remark of a poor labourer, who was recounting to us the other day some of the hardships he had met with in this country.  He said he “knew they were only for a short time, and that by industry he should soon get over them.”

I have already seen two of our poor neighbours that left the parish a twelvemonth ago; they are settled in Canada Company lots, and are getting on well.  They have some few acres cleared and cropped, but are obliged to “hire out”, to enable their families to live, working on their own land when they can.  The men are in good spirits, and say “they shall in a few years have many comforts about them that they never could have got at home, had they worked late and early; but they complain that their wives are always pining for home, and lamenting that ever they crossed the seas.”  This seems to be the general complaint with all classes; the women are discontented and unhappy.  Few enter with their whole heart into a settler’s life.  They miss the little domestic comforts they had been used to enjoy; they regret the friends and relations they left in the old country; and they cannot endure the loneliness of the backwoods.

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The Backwoods of Canada from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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