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Hints for Emigrants
From The Emigrant's Directory and Guide to obtain lands and effect a settlement in the Canadas. By Frances A. Evans. 1833

Note: This is part of section IV of the above mentioned publication. The full text can be found at:


Next to the choice of situation, that which concerns a settler, before he should take any steps towards making a bargain, is to make himself acquainted with the quality of the soil; for which let him remember, in the first place, that when choosing land in a state of nature, he may commonly know its quality by the Sort of timber growing thereon. Thus, a mixture of all kinds of hard and soft wood, (that is, evergreens and such as shed their leaves,) of a healthy growth, without too much underwood, has a corresponding good soil fitted for most sorts of agricultural productions. When the land is covered with firs or evergreen trees, called soft wood, they indicate a poor sandy soil, which is by no means to be recommended. The absence of all fir or soft wood, denotes a better quality, and if there be no timber growing on it but maple and beech, the soil is light and sandy. From a growth of large elm, maple, birch, oak, walnut, beech, basswood, and some hemlock, with little underwood, may be expected the best soil, if dry; but examination will satisfy the inquirer.

Large tracts of flat land are often met with, covered mostly with tamarack or larch, where the upper soil is sandy to the depth of from eight to twelve inches on a substratum of marly clay, which, when cleared and drained is very durable and good, as deep ploughing brings up the clay and fertilizes the surface. Emigrants, however, seldom like to settle on such land, while the French Canadians generally prefer it, the largest tracts of this quality being found in the seigniories, near the St. Laurence, in Lower Canada. This sort is not susceptible of such speedy cultivation as the former kinds, it being generally necessary to drain it, and extract the roots of the trees, before it can be ploughed or cultivated to advantage; while, on the other hand, hardwood upland can be immediately cultivated the same year, after having cleared off the timber, without extracting the roots; or even beforehand, the crop often amply repaying the expense of clearing and bringing it to that state.


Government heretofore adopted various methods in settling the waste lands, by several successive plans laid down for that purpose. A complement of land was given gratis to every settler, on certain conditions of settlement; but this is now no longer the case, as at present all the crown lands are sold on easy terms of payment. Officers and discharged soldiers, however, receive grants gratis, in the following proportions:- Privates, 100 acres; sergeants, 200; sergeant-majors 300; Subalterns 500; Captains 800; Majors 1000; and all higher officers 1200 acres.

It is thought the British Government were led into the plan of selling land, from the comparative failure of the several other plans that had been previously adopted, and from a hope that such a system would tend to prevent the accumulation of large tracts in the hands of unimproving individuals. Commissioners for the sale of crown lands have been accordingly appointed in the several provinces, who keep offices for this purpose at the Seats of Government where all persons may purchase at a fixed rate, called "The upset price." There are also for the same purpose in various parts of the country, Agents appointed by these Commissioners. In several places, at certain periods of the year, "The upset price" being fixed by Government, lands are set up for sale and struck off to the highest bidder on any of the following conditions.-In the first place, to such as pay the full price, they immediately get from the Crown a direct title in free and common soccage for ever. Next, to those who pay down one fourth of the purchase the three other parts in annual instalments, free of interest: no right further than occupying it is given, until the whole purchase money is paid; and the land, if not paid for as agreed, may again be sold. Poor persons wanting 100 acres, or less, may have the same by paying down one year's interest on the amount of the purchase, and every other year doing the same till the principal shall have been paid up; the land being liable to revert to the Crown, if the interest be not punctually paid:-the purchaser may however, instead of continuing the plan of paying this way, clear up what may be still unpaid of the principal at any time convenient. Unless the whole of the purchase money be paid, no person can sell or transfer lands thus obtained, without the consent of Government, which is easily got if the parties wish, or appear to act uprightly. The emigrant may be able to effect a purchase of crown land on any of the conditions now mentioned, in Quebec, or in York, on his arrival in either province, and choose such terms as will best suit his views and circumstances, as the title obtained from tile crown is the best that can be' procured. To these offices therefore the settler is particularly referred, as by making himself there acquainted with the terms and some other particulars, it will give him a general idea of the value of lands in the several townships and their vicinities.

The prices of Crown lands for the current year, (1832) in Lower Canada, in the townships open for sale, are as follows-In the townships of Stanbridge and Dunham ten shillings per acre. In Farnham, Stanstead, and Compton four shillings per acre. In Sutton, Granby, Shefford, Milton, Potton, Barnston, Clifton, Hereford, Eaton, Shipton, Windsor, Kingsey, Melbourne, Ely, Durham, and Upton, five shillings. In Bolton, Westbury, Newport, Wickham, Ireland, Leeds, Hallifax, and Inverness, four shillings. In Wendover, Caxton, &c. two shillings and six-pence. In the townships on the Ottawa river, and south of Montreal, five shillings. And in those of Stoneham and Tewkesbury, north of Quebec, four shillings.

In other cases when the settler purchases land from private individuals, or from proprietors on an extensive scale, who are always met with in large towns, good titles may be had, but he will do well to have proper legal advice as to the manner of sale, security of title, &c. In the townships of Lower Canada, and in Upper Canada, offices are established for the registry of any incumbrance affecting real or landed property, and in such places secure titles may be easily obtained; otherwise, great caution is requisite in persons who are unacquainted with the laws and customs of the colony, as in a considerable extent of the settled parts of Lower Canada it is difficult to procure good or sufficiently secured titles to land.

Partially cleared lots which would make desirable farms, may be had for ever in most settled parts; they can be procured in more easily, and on cheaper terms, than wooded land could be purchased for and afterwards cleared by a person who is a stranger to that business, and are more desirable to the British farmer who, by availing himself of such lots, would be at once able to settle and keep stock to farm with, and thus be the sooner in the actual enjoyment of comforts, and free from those inconveniences that are sometimes felt by those locating in the woods. In many cases such farms with from ten to thirty acres or more of cleared land, can be purchased for less money than wood land, adding thereto the cost of clearing, being put into that state by persons who prefer clearing to farming;, therefore to the settler who has got sufficient money for that purpose, such farms would be an advantage if the soil be good, on the contrary, if bad, the labour of clearing is thrown away, and his circumstances become the most uncomfortable. Bad land being harder to be cleared than good, which fulfils the old Yankee proverb, "it is like a bad horse, hard to be caught, and when caught, good for nothing."

Another method of obtaining land, of which it may be necessary to apprise the settler, prevails in the Canadas. Persons advanced in life are often met with, who, either not having children, or having them already settled in life, desire to make their old age comfortable without labour. They will give their farms, implements, and stock, to an honest industrious person, who binds himself either to support them during their lives, or else may pay them a certain rent for the same term, upon the expiration of which, the tenant enjoys the whole without further payment. In such cases, he will do well to be cautious, and consult an honest lawyer on the form, conditions, &c. before he involve himself in what, if not properly secured, may ultimately prove to have been a severe burden. But if all things are found regular and fair, the acquisition of a cleared farm and stock by this means, would be a great advantage to the poor settler.

It is common also to rent farms for terms of from one to seven years, longer leases not being frequently given; in such cases the yearly rent is from seven shillings and six pence to fifteen shillings per acre near the cities and large towns, and from five to ten shillings at a distance of from ten to twenty miles. Cleared farms are also frequently let on shares; that is, the owner of the farm stocks it with horses, cattle, agricultural implements, and half the seed necessary to be planted or sown; the tenant in return is to pay as rent half of the whole increase of the stock produced on the farm; being bound in all cases to cultivate it to advantage, and take all necessary care of its fences, and of such other matters as may require to be attended to.

The Upper Canada Land Company, who have agents in Quebec, Montreal, and various other parts, have vast quantities of land scattered all over the upper province, besides the Huron Tract already noticed, which consists of 1,000,000 acres near Lake Huron, 600 miles above Montreal. Their agents will be able to inform the emigrant of their terms, and to show from surveys the various situations and lands to be disposed of, the quality of the soil and all other particulars connected with it, as well as the route to be taken by the purchaser. They give titles of the land they dispose of, in free and common soccage for ever.

The lands granted by the British government, since the conquest of Canada from the French, which include almost the whole of the upper and the townships in the lower province, are granted in free and common soccage; by this tenure the owner is lord of the soil, which is not liable to any rent or charge whatever, mines only being reserved by the crown; and in this manner the land is sold and transferred from one to another, subject to no condition or reservation unless by mutual agreement.

In Lower Canada that tract along both banks of the St. Laurence, from its mouth to Upper Canada, and extending back from the river from ten to twenty miles or more, having been granted by the French government before the conquest, is conceeded under a decription of title not familiar to the British settler; it shall, therefore, be described more particularly, as there are many desirable tracts of seignorial land, very favourably situated near the St. Laurence, and easily obtained. The substance of what follows on this head is taken from a work on Canada, by Colonel Bouchette, Surveyor General.

The lands alluded to were conceded by the French king in Seigniories, Fiefs, or Baronies, according to the Feudal system. The Seignior holding the seigniory, fief, or barony, from the king as lord paramount for public settlement, each seignior as he comes into possession, and on the accession of a new sovereign, is obliged to do homage and fealty for his seigniory, and on all transfers or sales of the seigniory to pay to the king a quint or fifth part of the purchase, which, if paid instanter, causes a reduction of two-thirds; so that in fact the seignior was not much more than an agent to the king, to settle a portion of the country, and receive certain emoluments for doing so and taking care of the same. The seigniory is more or less in size from one to one hundred square miles in surface. The Seigniors are by law obliged to concede or lease lots, of about ninety acres each, of the seigniory to tenants or censitaires on certain conditions that are easy: the tenant has a lease for ever and pays for a lot from a halfpenny to a penny per acre yearly, with other trifling considerations which come to about the same. Latterly the seigniors have been charging more, whether legal or not, is not so clearly, ascertained. The seignior has the exclusive right to the grist mills on his seigniory, to which the tenants are obliged to give employment, by using them when they have any thing in that way to get ground the charge being one-fourteenth for grinding. Lands are also held on leases of from twenty to fifty years or more, subject to a very small rent, which titles are termed bail amphiteotique. Other lands are held by what is called Franc allen, a freehold similar to what is called free and common soccage, being exempt from all charges to any person but the king. Another sort of title is called censive, subject to a yearly rent in money or produce. All these that have been enumerated include the different forms of title granted in the seigniories.

A most material privilege however belongs to the seignior or landlord of the seigniory, which is called lods et vente or part of the sales, being a twelfth part of the value of all farms sold from one to another on his seigniory, which every purchaser must pay; but a deduction of one-fourth is made for prompt payment. Thus, whenever a farm on a seigniory is sold, the seignior claims a twelfth of its value, which is a great draw back on industry; for if a person takes a lot worth 10, and then expends on it 1190, thereby making it worth 1200, on the sale thereof the seignior claims 100, to which he can have no equitable claim, though legal. Besides these privileges and emoluments to the seignior, he has the right also of droit de retrait, which is, that he can claim any farm sold by the tenant, within forty days after the sale, by paying the highest price for the same. He can also claim a tithe of all fish caught on the seigniory, besides being entitled to fell forest timber any where on the same for his house, mills, roads, public works, and the churches. Some seigniors have compounded for all their rights, unless lods et vente, by receiving a greater yearly rent, that is, from fifteen to twenty shillings per lot: The same remedy might be applied for lods et vent: also, and thus have justice done to all, by charging a yearly rent; and not suffering it to be as at present a tax on improvement. However, when the land is not sold there is no lods et vents to pay, which is only a grievance when a sale takes place. The French Canadians are generally partial to the seignorial titles, perhaps from habit, and in consequence of having them associated as they are with their laws and religion; the Roman Catholics, who occupy farms in the seigniories, are obliged to pay a tithe of one twenty-fifth, of all grain raised by them, to their own clergy, besides assisting to build and repair their churches, parsonages, &c. The seigniors to whom these seigniories belong, either live on them or have resident agents, who are always ready to concede lands, and give titles at once with scarcely any expense.


Before we proceed farther, it is necessary to inform the stranger, that the pounds, shillings; and pence, in these colonies, commonly called Halifax currency, are in value ten per cent below the pounds, shillings, and pence, sterling. Thus 100 sterling is equivalent to 110 currency. All the current gold, silver, and copper coins of Europe and America pass here in that proportion of value. The guinea and sovereign pass respectively for about twenty three shillings and four pence, and twenty-two shillings, and some times more if the rate of exchange is high on England; the dollar five shillings; the British shilling one and a penny; the English and French crown five shillings and six pence, and their several parts in proportion. In most places bargains are made by the number of dollars, as four dollars make one pound, which is a ready mode of calculating. It is hoped that this will not be considered an irrelevant digression, as the emigrant who has not had experience himself in these matter, must require to be taught by others in order that he may find the less embarrassment in making such preliminary arrangements as are necessary before he can proceed to occupy himself in the more immediate works of agriculture.


Having now endeavoured to give, in what I conceived to be the most natural order, such directions and information so that the emigrant cannot be at a loss how to conduct himself in any of the preparatory steps to be taken, either in making choice of situation, ascertaining the quality and properties of the soil, making a purchase, or procuring a lease of a farm, and securing his title therein, I shall next proceed to give such further hints as be may find useful, after all the other arrangements shall have been fully made to his satisfaction; before which, it may be no harm, in addition to what has been already said, again to remind him that however good the quality of the land may be or eligible its situation in other respects, it will nevertheless be of importance top pay attention to the following particulars: Whether there be roads or communications leading to, from, or near such lands; for if they do not possess these indispensible conveniences he will find it a circumstance attended with much trouble, as there should be a road at least within three miles of him, if not more immediately contiguous. Whether they be in the vicinity of, or have easy access to, a market of some kind, either store, village, town, or city, as any one of them will generally answer the generation that settle the land; grist and saw mills are equally necessary, not forgetting the neighbourhood, neighbours, &c. And lastly, but not of least importance, the security or validity of the title in the land to be purchased. By paying due regard to these particulars, and acting with discretion and prudence, he may proceed at once to his land, and under the blessing of Divine Providence need not fear the result: sobriety, industry, and perseverance, will be sure to crown his exertions with the desired success.

In proceeding thus at length, after he has surmounted all his preliminary troubles, to settle himself on his farm, he will require to ascertain if provision can be got in its immediate vicinity, if not to provide them in the most convenient place possible, as it will be well to save the expense of carriage; otherwise he should buy them in the town before starting. He should be also provided with suitable axes for chopping, with strong hoes, a spade, grinding stone, pickaxe, hand-saw, files, chissels, planes, a cross-cut saw, spoke-shave, hammers, nails, hinges, locks, glass and putty. The axes, hoes, and grinding stone, are what he will find necessary for clearing, but the other implements will be found very convenient, as the settler will be able to do and get done many useful and necessary jobs by being provided with them. Many, if not all, of these articles may be got near the farm, especially the axes, and if cheap it will be best to buy them there, otherwise to purchase them where most convenient and cheapest. Loading, whether passengers or luggage, will be conveyed for one penny a mile per cwt. land carriage, or less, according to circumstances: French Canadians will cart cheaper than any other, but the employed will remember to make the best bargain he can. In travelling by land it is customary to carry provisions for the road; and to stop at any farmer's house for refreshment, as public houses are not always convenient on the different roads. It is in no wise recommended to the settler of contracted means to buy horses for a new farm, on which there is not much grass. A cow or two with a yoke of oxen (with a yoke and chain to work and clear land) can be easily supported on brushwood, and will live well in the woods, a few acres of which may be inclosed with fallen trees, so as to prevent the cattle from straying away; but when accustomed to get a handful of salt once or twice a week, they will always return of their own accord; however a good cow-bell should be strapped about the neck, to indicate, if necessary, where they may be found. Horned cattle may be nearly supported during the winter also on hardwood tops and brush wood. The following prices of cattle and articles are, what are generally given at present in Canada; which will not be found, to differ much in either province, unless when the size or breed make the alteration: A much cow from 3 to 5; a working horse, from 7 to 10; sheep from 7s. 6d. to 15s.; a yoke of oxen from 8 to 12; young pigs from 3s. to 4s., and, if six months old, from 10s to 15s.; a plough from 2. to 3.; an ass from 7s. 6d. to 10s., &c.; but from these rates there must be often a deviation, as the season, place, and other circumstances, cause the prices to be either below or above those mentioned. In all cases it will be prudent for the settler to inquire concerning the value of such articles in the neighbourhood where he is purchasing them, and to act accordingly in making his bargain.


A supply of such necessaries as the settler may require being provided, a convenient lodging in the neighbourhood of his farm, will be the best to procure until a log house can be erected. If this cannot be provided, a log camp may be speedily erected in a few hours, where a family can comfortably lodge for some time, and in which (being built with logs and covered over with bark, split timber, boards, or fir tops) more comfort will be found than expected, especially after the confinement experienced by the emigrant on board ship. When this is effected another camp may be erected in which to place his goods, and thus he will find himself lodged at home on his own estate; which often gives more real satisfaction than elegant and costly mansions do to the great. Care should be taken that no large trees be left standing near the house or camp, which in falling might reach it, as in consequence of having their roots running near the surface they are liable to be laid prostrate by a sudden gust of wind. It would be advisable for the settler, if he have got the means, to employ a man accustomed to clear land for some time, by which way he would in a short time become fully acquainted with the business: or it would be well if he could contract for a job of three or four acres to be cleared off, which generally costs from two to three pounds per acre, the stumps of the trees being left in the ground, which is not only the usual plan, but in fact the best and cheapest. This he should get done round about the site of his intended buildings, which ought to be in a dry situation, and near good water.

As soon as there is a sufficient space cleared for building a log house on, straight logs may be got from the timber cut down for clearing, or picked out up and down and drawn to the building site:- the best timber for that purpose is pine, spruce, cedar, hemlock, or fir; and if these cannot be got the straightest timber of any other kind convenient. The log-house should not be longer than from twenty-four to thirty feet at most, nor its breadth more than from twenty to twenty-four feet; neither should the walls be raised more than ten or twelve feet; for if the dimensions exceed these, as the logs decay they will be apt to give out and fall. In general houses of this description are not so large. Under the house should be dug out a good cellar, where potatoes, and all such other provisions as may require this precaution, could be preserved during winter from the frost, and in summer from the heat. It will be found easier to do this before the house is built, and if laid up with small logs, they will prevent the earth from falling in; the cellar should not be within three feet of the breadth or length of the house, and aught to be five or six feet deep, if the place can be conveniently sunk so much. When a sufficient number of logs are provided, the usual practice is for a few neighbours to assemble and assist the new settler in laying up the walls of his house, each log being mortised half way through at the angles for the cross one to rest in; and by this means it becomes a firm building while the timbers last, which they may be expected to do for about twenty years. On laying up the logs over the parts intended for the doors and windows, notches are made large enough to admit a saw, that when the walls are up there may be no trouble in sawing them out to the proper size. When the rafters and ribs are set up, they may be covered with shingles of split pine or spruce, or with boards, if to be had near; but if these cannot be provided, the bark of elm, pine, or spruce, may be easily peeled off in June or July, which makes a good covering for a few years, and is again easily got and renewed. After the house is covered in, if boards cannot be got, split basswood, fir, or pine, is used for flooring, hewn smooth, and pinned to the sills or beams of the floor. A house thus built, covered, and floored, may be got up for about 10. by contract, but will not cost half so much if the economical plan here suggested be attended to; the owner will then have to finish it off as may be convenient and suited to his taste. The usual practice is to get small sashes and have them fitted in, a door hung on, stones collected and a chimney built in one end of the house, moss and splinters of wood stuffed well between the chinks of the logs, and plastered over with mortar made of clay and sand; and after all this has been executed, the house may be divided to suit the occupiers' comfort and wishes.

In such a house a family may live comfortably, cheered by the gratifying reflection that they are residing on their own estate, which will become more valuable every year, and for which they have not to pay rent, taxes, nor any other of those charges, which have been to them, while in their native country, a source of perpetual uneasiness: where they can taste the sweets of freedom, independence, serenity, and repose. At the approach of winter it will be necessary to bank up the house with earth, about a foot high round the foundation on the outside, in order to secure the cellar against frost, and make the dwelling as warm as possible. In effecting these or other local improvements, information and assistance may be always got from those previously settled, who are ever found ready to contribute in every possible way towards promoting the comforts of newcomer to the bush: a fellow feeling that prevails, on such occasions, as well as a desire to see their neighbours settled, causes all to interest themselves in the welfare of the industrious new settler. A small pig or two may be advantageously fed on the offal of the house, a yard being enclosed for them, and the ensuing year they will be found to contribute to the comforts of the family, after potatoes and other agricultural produce shall have been raised. In parts where beech and oak grow, hogs feed and fatten on the nuts and acorns, without any other assistance; but care should be taken that they trespass not on the neighbours' crops. A few fowls will also be a convenience, and are easily kept; it will be necessary, however, to defend them from hawks, foxes, and any other enemies to which they may be liable to fail a prey.


In clearing land to advantage, there is need of much art and dexterity, and notwithstanding any directions that may be given, a settler desirous of learning, will gain more by trying to derive practical information from observing those who are well acquainted with that business, than by volumes written on the theory. He is therefore advised to observe for himself; or employ some person who has been brought up in such work, or at least well acquainted with it; for, some will clear an acre of land with one third of the labour that others have in doing so, and labour saved in that way is as good as money saved. However, for the information of the stranger, I will here add methods usually persued in clearing, as he may not always find it easy to get such labourers as are most profitable; and useful practical hints may occasionally prove salutary.

A piece of dry land, or tolerably so, near the house is the most, advisable to begin with. The most approved method of clearing, especially if hardwood land, is to cut down the brushwood, close to the ground, with a bush-hook or axe; in order to preserve the edge, the blow should given up, but as close to the ground as possible, that the stumps should not afterwards obstruct the harrowing. This should be thrown in heaps, that when dry it may burn off the better, on burning the other timber. When the brushwood is cut and piled on the piece intended to be cleared, chopping down the large timber may be proceeded with according to the following plan:- Observe to which side the tree inclines, if to any, and on that side or near it chop in about two feet from the ground; chop sloping dow, above, and straight in below, so as that the stump shall be left quite flat. After having cut in more than half way, minding to do it straight across, begin to cut on the opposite side, about an inch or more higher than the former incision; and work in as before, having one cut sloping down, and the other horizontal; when the tree begins to crack or shake, it should be watched at each blow of the axe, until you see it begin to fall; and then step one side, sufficiently out of the way, as trees often bound, and are dangerous in falling. Care should also be taken that it fall not upon another tree, as the getting it down will be attended with some trouble and danger: dead, dry, or broken limbs should also be watched lest they should fall on the chopper. Upright trees may be made fall in any particular direction that may be desired, by chopping first and deepest into the side at which it is required it should fall; a little experience and observation, with presence of mind, caution, and prudence, will only be necessary. When the tree is fallen the limbs should be cut off into heaps, after which the body is to be cut up into lengths of 10 or 12 feet; then take another and proceed in the same manner, which will cause them not to interfere with one another. Six men accustomed to this work, will, if diligent, chop about an acre in a day. In about a month or six weeks, or sooner if in summer when the leaves are on, the timber thus cut will be fit to burn, particularly if there be a few dry days previous to firing it; it will be best to do so when there is a light wind blowing from the buildings, and then the fire should be put in the windy side of the field chopped down, and it will spread the better among the fallen timber: it should be done about 10 or 12 o'clock in the day. When the fierceness of the fire is past, the brands and small wood may be thrown in heaps on the larger timber; and the heavy logs are afterwards to be hauled together with oxen, or rolled with handspikes into heaps, and burned off. As the piles are burned out, the ashes may be saved for pot or pearl ash manufactories, being worth from six to ten shillings per bushel for that purpose, if care be taken to preserve it from wet. The land is then fit for planting or sowing in, and, if at a proper season, the sooner the better after the fire becomes entirely extinguished.

Others again clear their land by first chopping down the brushwood, leaving it scattered as it falls; after which they cut down the large trees, and cut off the limbs, leaving them also scattered as they fall, but do not chop up the body of the tree. When sufficiently dry, it is set on fire as before, and let burn off; after which, such logs as are not burned are chopped up, rolled or drawn together in heaps, and burned off as already mentioned. When time or labour is scarce in spring, many defer burning off the heavy timber, and plant potatoes, Indian corn, or some other crops among the logs, which answers very well when time does not admit of the land being wholly cleared off, as when the crop is off in the fall the timber is easily chopped and burned. The settler can pursue either plan, as both are followed with success. He will of course perceive that what is meant by clearing off the land does not include taking out the stumps of the trees; as they rot out by degrees, and injure the land less by being left to do so than by digging them out, a process in the course of which the poor clay is drawn up to the surface: they will soon rot, and can be drawn out or burned off with ease when dry. The stumps are very little in the way of farming to advantage, as the ground may be ploughed and planted between them without any difficulty, especially by a person accustomed to them; their chief evil is the unsightly appearance they present to the eye of an European, who is used to clear and level fields.


In clearing land, suitable timber may be selected for fencing, and drawn or carried to the places where such enclosures are to be made; but they should not be erected before the fire is past, or it may burn them down again. Various methods of fencing are resorted to, but if the place cleared be surrounded on all sides by the woods, a row of trees felled one after the other, with such additions as may be requisite, will be a sufficient temporary fence. When clearings join the road or other clearings, a more regular fence will be requisite, which is generally constructed on new lands, with logs cut twelve or fourteen feet long, and about a foot or more thick; they are laid up thus:- The largest are laid next the ground, lapping about a foot of each end, side by side: some put a cross block under the lapped ends of the logs, to raise them from the ground: on this row of logs is placed another, with cross blocks under their ends, as under the first, and with notches in the blocks for the end of the logs to lie in; and by again laying on this  another row of smaller logs as before, the fence is completed, three rows high being generally sufficient, if the logs of which they are composed be large. Some drive two stakes by each side of every length of the Logs to cross at the top, on which they place long heavy poles, to render the fence firm and strong. Others again lay up what is called a zig-zag fence, which they construct with poles, and find to answer very well; but the former will stand fifteen or twenty years and is very firm. The settler may, as soon as he has got his land cleared please himself by a choice of the many sorts of fencing used in the country; and as good and firm ones are so very necessary to preserve the fruits of the farmer's labour, he will do well to have his land sufficiently secured that way, in order to guard against trespassers which would in a short time ruin the prospects of a crop, if it were left at their mercy.


When the settler has a piece of land cleared, he should not think of sowing wheat after the first of June, although it is sometimes done in Lower Canada on new well burnt land, any day during the first week of that month; the author himself had a good crop of wheat which was not sowed till the eighth of June; but this should not be depended on, and the earlier the better. Oats, barley, Indian corn, beans, and rye, may be sowed on new land, the first ten days of June to advantage, and potatoes may be planted all the month; but, as observed before, the earlier the crops are put down, if the land be fit, the less danger will there be of their being injured by the early frosts in autumn. Wheat, rye, and peas require to be earliest sowed, and should be put in ground as soon as ever it is free from frost in spring and fit in other respects, but the above time is mentioned as the latest period for sowing them. In such parts of new land as grain is to be sowed in, the piece designed for that purpose should be harrowed among the stumps, in length and across, with a harrow made like the letter A, and having nine large teeth, two inches square, which should be drawn by the top by a strong horse, or yoke of oxen; by this process the land is pulverized, and considerably improved for receiving the seed. When this is done one bushel of wheat, rye, or peas, will be sufficient for an acre, and of barley or oats one and a half bushel. After sowing the seed, harrow the ground, well as before, and should any remain uncovered, round stumps, or in any other place out of the reach of the harrow, it may be covered in with a hand hoe; many poor settlers, when they cannot procure harrows or oxen, hoe in all their grain, and raise good crops. After it is harrowed in, it requires no further labour till the crop is fit for cutting, unless to cut down weeds or sprouts when they overtop it. With this cultivation wheat will produce from ten to twenty five bushels or more per acre, but fifteen is considered a fair return. Rye yields about the same produce, and will do best in a light dry soil that may not answer for wheat; Oat, and Barley from twenty to forty bushels per acre: Peas from ten to twenty bushels; much of course depends on the care taken, the soil, season, and some other accidental circumstances. Buckwheat may be sown about the last of June, and will take about four gallons of seed to the acre; if it succeeds well it will give a return of from thirty to fifty bushels.

After the smaller grain is sowed, Indian corn, potatoes, and other vegetables, (unless those of the kitchen-garden, which may be put down sooner,) depend the settler's attention. Indian corn should be planted as soon as possible after the first of May, but may be put later in new land than in old. After the ground has been harrowed, if it be entirely cleared off, the planter having the seed in a small bag tied round his, waist, commences the process of planting by striking his hoe into the ground, raising the earth a little by lowering the handle, and dropping in three, or four grains; then withdrawing the hoe, he takes a step forward, treading down the earth on the seed, and striking it in again about three feet from the former incision, so proceeds; the corn being buried about two inches in the earth, and intervals of about three feet being left between the rows and hills, it will require no other attendance but weeding, until ripe. In every third or fourth hill or row, two or three pumpkin seeds may be thrown in with the corn, as they grow well with it, and when ripe are found very valuable to feed cattle or hogs, the Americans also make good palatable pies of them. About a gallon of Indian corn is sufficient to plant an acre, and if soaked in warm water and copperas water, it will sprout the quicker; the copperas will also have the effect of preventing vermin or birds from destroying it when coming up. Some plant corn in new land, by scooping out a little earth with the hoe, and, after they have dropped in the seed, cover it over in a small hill; the former plan answers as well, and is done with much more expedition. It will produce in a warm summer, from twenty to fifty bushels per acre, and makes good bread or pudding, and is found a useful ingredient in several other luxuries. It is a common thing to cut off the tops a few inches above the ear or cob when it is full; which being dried and carried home, make such fodder for cows, horses, and sheep, as they are very fond of, and is, if well saved better than many sorts of hay. The corn is ripe when the grain gets glazed in the ear, but must, when pulled, be kept from lying too much in a heap, to prevent its growing mouldy. It is usually gathered in September; the ears are broken off and thrown in small heaps in the field; and as soon as convenient the husks are pulled off, which may be done at night; after which the clean ears are spread about six or eight inches deep on a dry loft or floor to dry and season. Others make a crib two or three feet wide, and as long as may be necessary, in which they put the cleaned ears of corn, and cover them in to protect them from the wet; the air passing through hardens and dries the grain. When hard it may be shelled, and if dry enough, ground up for use; unless it be very dry will become mouldy when ground, if much be left together; therefore the meal should be spread thin and loose in a box or bin made for that purpose, else it will be soon unfit for use. Much then of this should not be ground at once, unless extremely dry or kiln-dried.

Indian corn, besides being good for family use, is good for fattening hogs, cattle, &c. and may, when ground, be mixed with pumpkins or potatoes; the soft unripe ears are also picked out at the time of harvest, and are excellent food for hogs, being thrown to them without any further preparation:-in fact, Indian corn, when it succeeds well, is one of the best productions of a new farm. The pumpkins when the corn is being gathered, may be carted home, as they do not keep well when, exposed to frost and thaws, and are therefore given to the cattle and hogs in the fall or early in winter. Hogs fatten well on them when cut up, and boiled and mixed with a little potatoes and meal; but they may be given raw to the larger cattle, which are very fond of them:-a great quantity will grow on an acre with the Indian corn.

Potatoes, the best root a farmer can raise, and which are easily raised on a new farm, next demands the attention of the settler. The quantity of seed required is about ten bushels to the acre, the large round white potato being preferred. When the land, after the burning off of the timber, is well harrowed according to the plan already laid down, four or five cuts or seed ends are laid on the surface of the ground, about six inches asunder, in a square; the earth is then hoed up on them, forming a hill nearly as large as the contents of a bushel measure emptied out; this plan is proceeded with, till the piece of ground intended for that purpose be covered with these hills, which one with another will occupy each about a yard square. Until fit to take up in September, they will require to have no further labour expended on them, unless weeding, which is seldom necessary. They are very easily taken out, and may be deposited in small pits in the field, covered lightly with earth, or put in the cellar of the house at once; otherwise, if wanted to be kept till spring, they may be laid up in large pits, in a dry situation, covered as usual with about two or three feet of earth, and they will keep all the winter-but should not be opened till the April following. They yield from two hundred to four hundred bushels per acre, and the earlier planted after the middle, of May, the drier and better.

Turnips may be sowed in June or July in new land, and require little attendance unless to thin or weed them: they require to be lightly harrowed, and sowed before rain, and they will then grow fast. Beets, carrots, parsnip, mangel wurzel and Swedish turnip, require to be sowed earlier, and will do well-: all these must be sowed broad cast, in new land. Melons, cucumbers, and other garden vegetables of this description, grown in the open air, and are easily cultivated. French or dwarf beans are planted in the same way as Indian corn, but not more than one foot asunder, and are a very profitable crop for a family: the white or mottled ones that do not run to vines are the best to plant, and may be put down from the middle of May to the middle of June.

In saving crops of grain, potatoes, and other vegetables, the same customs as in Europe may be followed, unless in the additional care to prevent roots from the frost. The whole of the crops in Canada when saved, are laid up in the barn, stable, root house, or cellar. The Canadian farmers reap their corn greener than is generally done in Europe, and spread it thin in the field as cut: after it has been left lying for some days in fair weather, they bind it in large bundles and carry it to their houses, which answers well in this country. They also bind up their hay in bundles of fifteen pounds each, and sell these by the hundred, equal to two thirds of a ton. It will be wisdom in the settler to follow any good plan he may observe in useful operation among persons long settled in the country, and so far as be is able, to improve upon them; but not to make too much of a venture, until acquainted with the climate and the country.

Such lands as are sowed with wheat, rye, oats, or barley, should be laid down the first year with Timothy, or fox tail grass seed or clover, and they will have a coat of grass for the next year's use: the usual complement of seed for an acre is about two gallons of grass with two pounds of red clover; but if the land be low or wet, two pounds of red top grass seed will be sufficient for an acre without clover. The grass seed may be mixed with the grain about to be sowed, and all harrowed together, but others sow it when the grain is over the ground, before rain; the former method however is preferred. Grass is generally cut the latter end of July and the beginning of August, and in a dry season, (as it usually is) is easily saved, put up in the barn, and secured.

The settler should lay down in grass, each year, the part he sows with grain, until he has his farm large enough; and endeavour yearly to clear a sufficient extent for new crops; then in a few years, what is first laid down in good heart will be fit to break up, and most of the stumps will plough out.

In addition to what has been observed respecting seasons it may be added, that in Upper Canada, and in the south West parts of Lower Canada, the spring seasons are ten or fifteen days longer than in the lower parts of this province, and the progress of vegetation extremely rapid in all parts after the frost and snow depart. Also for three hundred miles or more around Quebec, Montreal, or Kingston, little difference is perceptible for or against the farmer in the settled parts. The nearer the sea the deeper the snow lies in winter, and the farther west the less snow or indeed frost; but always enough to prevent vegetation, as when there is frost in Quebec it generally extends to the utmost parts of Upper Canada, though it may not be so severe. During the winter in the upper province, and to the south, there are many thaws succeeded by frosts: in Lower Canada the season is more regular and steady, but uniformly healthy and generally agreeable; and labouring men can with little inconvenience work in the open air all seasons in the year.

Having thus noticed the progress of clearing and cultivating land on a new farm, it may be observed, that on old cleared farms the same mode of farming as in the United Kingdoms may be followed with success; subject only to such alterations as may be necessary to suit the climate, secure the crops, and meet some other contingencies: and also that fall or winter wheat and rye may be raised well, though not usually done. As the hints contained in these pages are not so much intended for the guidance of the farmer in farming, as of the emigrant in settling, further observations on this head are deemed unnecessary.


A branch of rural economy and comfort, peculiar to North America, is necessary to be noticed for the information of the emigrant, which is the manufacture of maple sugar. The settler should examine his farm, and where he can get from 200 to 500 or more maple trees together, and most convenient, that should be reserved for a sugary. There being two kinds of maple, the hard and soft, the rock or hard maple is the one to be preferred: both will make sugar, but this will yield the sweetest sap and the brightest quality. If from among the trees intended for this use the brushwood be cut down and removed, the business can be carried on more conveniently. The process of sugar making is as follows: As the sun gets power in the latter part of March, and beginning of April, the sap begins to rise from the roots, and the trees are fit for tapping: the sap continues, at intervals on fair days, to run for about a month, until the sun gets too warm, and the buds swell out on the tree.

A large gouge or hollow chissel should be provided, and a piece of dry pine or cedar got and cut into lengths of about nine inches each. These pieces should be split into bolts, about an inch thick, the breadth of the gouge; and these bolts again split up, with the gouge, about a quarter of an inch thick, by which they will become hollow spouts, like the instrument with which they are cut, for the sap to run in: they should then be pared with a sharp knife at the end, to the shape of the edge or point of the gouge, so that when it is driven half an inch or so into the tree, the spout, also may be driven into the incision, and fit it tightly. Troughs to receive the sap as it falls from the spout, are made of pine, fir or ash, of a proper size, being about fifteen inches through; such trees are cut up into lengths of two feet, which pieces being split into two, each half piece is hollowed out with an axe so as to contain about two gallons. A man accustomed to the work will make forty or fifty troughs in a day, and they may be bought for about ten shillings per hundred. Each tree of ordinary size will require one, and very large trees two troughs. Those who can afford to get buckets instead of them will find it an advantage, as much sap is thereby saved: they cost about ten pence each. A tree will run about a bucket-full per day, on days succeeding frosty nights with a moderately warm run to thaw the sap.

After all these have been prepared, one or two of the troughs being placed under each tree, the person holding the spouts, gouge and an axe, makes with the corner of the axe a small sloping notch about an inch and a half long, and deep enough to penetrate into the wood of the tree half an inch; the under side of the incision being cut sloping down into the tree, so as that the sap may run to its lowest point: if fit to tap, the sap is seen immediately, to ooze from the cut. About an inch under that, the gouge is driven in for the spout as before directed, through which the sap is conveyed down till it drops into the bucket or trough at the foot of the tree, the cut being made almost two feet from the ground: one man can thus tap about two hundred trees or more in a day. Others for tapping are provided with an inch auger, with which instead of making an incision with the axe, they bore a hole an inch deep, and put in the spout an inch lower down as already directed: this though more tedious is the best plan for the tree. One tapping generally answers for a season, and the trees, if not greatly hacked, will do for a sugary many years.

The sap is collected with a yoke and handled buckets by a man every evening, or as the troughs get nearly full; whence it is conveyed to the boiling place which should be a dry spot, - the most central and convenient to the sugary. At the boiling place there should be receivers, such as puncheons or barrels, to hold the sap until boiled down; but when those cannot be got, large logs are hollowed out with an axe for that purpose. The process of boiling the sap into sugar is simple, and easily acquired: two stout crotches are fixed upright in the ground eight or ten feet asunder, and on them is placed a cross stick from which the pots or kettles are hung; a crook to hang them by being made of a hooked piece of wood. The fire is made underneath of split or small wood between two larger logs rolled on each side. The sap should be strained into the boilers, and when boiling down, one boiler should be kept filled from the other, and that again supplied from the receivers till the liquid be boiled down to the consistency of sirrup. It is then taken up and strained into a deep narrow vessel, there it is left to settle for a day or two. When about being sugared off, it is carefully poured from the sediment into a small boiler, and again hung over & slow fire; a little milk, or a couple of eggs beat up, being put in to clarify it: as it boils, it is skimmed, and after boiling about an hour to a proper consistence, which is ascertained by practice and observation, it is poured into vessels to cool, and stirred occasionally till cold. The Canadians boil it so much, that when cold it forms hard solid cakes; to make use of which, it becomes necessary to scrape it with a knife. It is better, however, not to boil it so dry, but to pour it into a barrel after boiling sufficently, and when cold, the sugar begins to crust on the surface in a day or so; after which, by having a few gimlet holes bored in the bottom of the barrel, the molasses will run off, and leave after it a clean fair sugar, similar to, and better than, the best muscovado, and more delicate in flavor- if care be taken in boiling, settling, straining and cleansing. To prevent the sap or sirrup from boiling over, about an inch square of fat pork should be thrown in once or twice a day, and it will be found to have the desired effect. The scum, sediment, and last run of the sap from the trees which is not good for suger, should be boiled together one half down, and being barrelled, will by allowing it to ferment, make good vinegar: it may be well, to put, in a little leaven or yest, though it will answer without it. Each tree will average a produce of about two pounds of sugar in the season, which extends to the end of April. Two men will be able to attend from two hundred two five hundred trees, and by attention will make good profit at a season, when they are not wanted for other purposes; the sugar being worth from four pence to seven pence halfpenny per pound. By a little examination and experience, better than by any further direction, the settler may in a few days obtain a perfect knowledge of the process; and if for a short time the labour be found severe, the reward will be sweet.


Before bringing to a close the observations relative to the course an agriculturist is to pursue on newly cleared land, a few other remarks are added, which may be conducive to his advantage on settling in the woods. The first is respecting the ashes that may be saved of the heavy hardwood timber burned on the land; the sorts producing the best for pot or pearl ashes are, elm, maple, basswood, large birch, and brown ash; the same use can be made of all others that can be got, but these mentioned produce most and best. In order to keep it uninjured, as before observed, from wet or damp, when the timber is burned, the ashes should be collected and placed in a bin or safe; this may be simply made of small logs, floored with logs or boards, and covered over head from the rain. They should not be put in or near a house, lest if put in hot they might burn the building; they have been known also to take fire if vegetable oil be poured on cold ashes. In such a safe or bin, as has described, they may be preserved until sold or otherwise disposed of; therefore care should be taken to preserve all that can be collected, as they are worth from six pence to one shilling per bushel, according to the price of pot and pearl ashes; and if a fair price can be obtained for them in this state, it is better for the settler to sell them than boil them himself, as he is not accustomed to the process.

The older settlers manufacture their ashes, for sale to the country merchants, into what is called the salts of lye, when there are no purchasers convenient to buy them before taken through any such process. To effect this, they provide themselves with two or more deep tubs called leeches, which hold six or eight bushels of ashes, with a spigot in the bottom; they are placed on a stand a foot or two from the ground, with troughs underneath them to receive the lye when it runs off. A few brick, stone, or a handful of brushwood, are put inside over the spigot, on which is placed a little straw to prevent the ashes running through or rendering muddy the lye: over this the dry ashes are poured, nearly filling the leech, and gently pressed down; on which is poured boiling water for the first run, that is, until with it the ashes be perfectly soaked through: cold water may be then used until the strength is all taken from the ashes, which is known when the lye running off is weak like water. Two or more kettles, as in sugar making, are hung over a fire to boil down the liquid that has run from the ashes, one boiler being kept filled from the other, and that again filled from the lye running off the ashes, until all gets boiled down to the consistence of tar, which, when cold, it as hard or harder than pitch. This substance is called salts of lye, and is the pot or pearl ashes in a crude state; it is readily purchased by all Canadian country merchants, who have pot or pearl ash works in which this is again manufactured by another process not necessary here to be described. Salts of lye can be sold in the country, if not for more, at least for one-half the price that pot or pearl ashes will fetch in the ports or cities. The ashes saved from an acre of good hardwood land will produce three or four, and in some cases five cwt. of salts which sells this year (1831) at seventeen shillings and six pence per cwt. A handy man will boil 1 cwt. in a day, and almost sixteen bushels of good ashes will produce so much. This resource is a great advantage to the new settler, as it affords him some cash for clearing off his land, by producing an article for sale, which is always in demand, from what would be otherwise thrown away as being of no use to newly cleared land. The boiling place should be made near soft water if it can be conveniently got.

On land where much pine, spruce, or cedar is found, and not far from streams of water on which, when cut, it can be floated, the settler can sell to lumber merchants such timber, being worth when standing from one shilling to two and six pence per tree, according to size, distance from market, &c; but in case he can sell them delivered on the bank of the stream, it may be his advantage to do so, and thus earn the more from his own labour and resources. I would by no means advise him to attempt taking the timber to market himself, but leave that to those who understand it and make that business their avocation; his object should be to clear his land, make a farm, keep it in good order when cleared, raise necessary provisions for himself and s much as he can for sale, a succession of settlers always causing a demand for the necessaries of life. When once he is independent, comfort is the result, if not his own fault; nor need he long be deprived of the injuries attending independence and freedom.

As settlers extend their farms, the demand on the spot for the surplus of their produce naturally decreases in proportion as provisions become more plentiful: the farmer then by degrees may raise and fatten hogs, beef, sheep, and horses; which will carry themselves to market, though at a great distance, and in the different large towns and cities, or near the fisheries or ports, meet a ready sale. Thus, in the beginning of his settlement the emigrant can save his ashes and valuable timber for sale; as these decrease in the course of cultivation, the produce of the farm will more than compensate for the want: and in this manner much may be gained from the wilderness while he is extending his farm for the good of the country, himself, and his family; with a sure prospect of ultimate success.


To attain this desired result with satisfaction, industry, sobriety, and perseverance, only are necessary. The country affords the materials, which only require to be acted upon; protected as it is by a powerful state, in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty; and where the law affects no man for his opinions and actions, unless so far as his conduct may be personally injurious to public or private interests. As this is the case in the Canadas, it would conduce much to preserve the blessing of public tranquility, if every emigrant and settler coming to this country would lay aside all political animosities and other intolerant feelings, and to live and let live in mutual forbearance and christian charity; having a portion of that kindly feeling for our fellow men, that the Most High has for all. With such sentiments and a watchful care to preserve the public rights, supporting the government in all its constitutional privileges; and discountenancing every effort made to the contrary, they settler may live and enjoy himself in comfort and happiness; the birth right of every peaceable and upright British subject.

Note: There is also another publication on similar grounds at also done by Bill Martin.

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