CHAPTER XX.

CHOICE OF A LOCATION. -- THE COMPANY'S LANDS. -- CROWN LANDS. -- TABLES PUBLISHED BY THE CANADA COMPANY. -- PROGRESSIVE IMPROVEMENT OF THE HURON TRACT.

AFTER twenty-seven years' residence in Canada West, it may be reasonably inferred that I am justly entitled, from my long experience, to give a fair opinion as to the best chances of location at present available to the emigrant.

On mature consideration, I must give the preference to the Huron tract, as affording a greater facility for settlement, and this for three reasons. First, on account of the excellent roads constructed by the Company--an inestimable boon, which none but the early pioneer can fully appreciate. Secondly, because of the excellent quality of the soil, which is remarkably free from surface-stone, that every old settler knows is both troublesome and expensive to clear away. And, thirdly the low price of these lands, and the facility of payment. Indeed, their system of leasing affords the poor man every chance. I shall copy a table of the yearly rent of farms leased on this plan by the Company, for the information of those of my readers who contemplate emigrating to Canada West. The present price of the Company's lands in the Huron tract, is from 12 shillings 6 pence to 20 shillings currency per acre.

The Company dispose of their lands, according to quality and situation, for ready cash, or by lease for a term of ten years. In the latter case no money is required to be paid down, the lease being granted upon the following terms:--

s. d. £ s. d.
100 acres, at 2 0 per acre, ann. rent 0 10 0 and no more.
      " 3 6       "     " 0 12 0     "
      " 5 0       "     " 0 18 0     "
      " 6 3       "     " 1 4 0     "
      " 7 6       "     " 1 10 0     "
      " 8 9       "     " 1 17 0     "
      " 10 0       "     " 2 5 0     "
      " 11 3       "     " 2 12 0     "
      " 12 6       "     " 3 0 0     "
      " 13 9       "     " 3 7 6     "
      " 16 3       "     " 3 15 0     "
      " 17 6       "     " 4 2 6     "
The rent is payable on the first day of February in each year, full power being reserved to the settler to purchase the freehold, and take his deed for the land he occupies, at any time during the lease, an arrangement, of course, saving all future payment of rent.

Many persons unacquainted with the country, might object to pay from twelve shillings and six pence to twenty shillings for the Company's lands, when they see that the Government price on the wild lands belonging to the Crown, in most townships, is only eight shillings per acre.

However, they must recollect, that all the choice lands belonging to the Crown have long since been located; and unless the emigrant is prepared to go back into the remote townships, he cannot expect to get land as good as that belonging to the Canada Company.

Indeed, the only Crown-lands which could at all compete with the Company's lands are the townships lately surveyed north of the Huron track to the River Saugeen, and the new settlements of Owen's Sound and the Queen's Bush.

In a report, drawn up and published by Daniel Lizars, clerk of the peace for the united counties of Huron, Perth, and Bruce, May, 1851, he says,--

"In this favoured portion of the province of Upper Canada, blest with a salubrious climate and a fertile soil, watered with crystal springs and brooks in every direction, reposing upon a table-land whose natural drainage flows uninterruptedly onwards to the streams and great rivers which intersect it in every quarter towards the noble Huron, or Lake St. Clair, the energies of the people have been steadily devoted to practical progress and improvement; having, in the short period above alluded to, brought upwards of eighty thousand acres of the wilderness into cultivation, erected five thousand dwelling-houses, fifty-six schools, fourteen churches, twelve grist mills, with nineteen run of stores, five oat and barley-mills, five distilleries, two breweries, eight tanneries, and twenty-four pot and pearl-ash factories."

"Among other matters which crowned their industry in 1850, I may state the following productions:--

Wheat 292,949 bushels.
Barley 13,012     "
Rye 2,181     "
Oats 215,415     "
Peas 54,657     "
Indian Corn 5,352     "
Potatoes 210,913     "
Buck-wheat 673     "
Mangel-wurzel 297     "
Turnips 143,725     "
Hay 12,823 tons.
Flax or Hemp 7,359 pounds.
Maple Sugar 351,721     "
Wool 54,347     "
Fulled cloth 10,303 yards.
Linen, or cotton cloth 1,197     "
Flannel, or
  other unfulled cloth
41,397     "
Cheese for Market 7,761 pounds.
Butter for Market 58,873     "
Beef, or Pork for Market 1,308 barrels.

"And they further rejoice in the possession of the following stock:--

Neat Cattle 26,260
Horses 2,646
Sheep 20,022
Hogs 14,655

"The above gratifying examples speak loudly for the industry of the settlers; and where hired labour can, with difficulty, be obtained at a high remuneration, notwithstanding the yearly increased ratio of new comers, and, moreover, where all are diligently employed in the onward march to happiness and independence, we may truly be thankful to a superintending Providence, that prosperity is in the ascendant."

Mr. Lizars states in another part of his Report, that the population of the Huron district

In 1841, was 5,600
In 1847, six years afterwards 16,641 increase 11,043
In 1848, one year do 20,450     "     3,807
In 1850, two years do 26,933     "     6,483

According to this ratio of increase, we may safely infer the population at the present time (1852), to exceed thirty-two thousand souls; an increase almost incredible; as, upon reference to Smith's Work on Canada, it will be found that the Huron district has made more rapid progress since its first settlement in 1827, than Lower Canada did in one hundred and four years; its population then being (in 1721), 24,511.

Many contradictory statements have been made and published in respect to what is the real actual grain average of Canada West. My own opinion is, that even could a truthful average be obtained, it would throw very little light on the real capability of the land--and for this reason. One-half of the emigrants who settle upon land in Canada, and adopt cultivation as their employment, are weavers, tinkers, tailors, sailors, and twenty other trades and professions. It must be the work of years to convert such settlers into good practical farmers. In such cases, how can a fair yield be extracted from land ignorantly cultivated? But I will venture to affirm, that wherever good farming is in practice, as good an average yield will be obtained, as in any country in the world.

"The following average of ten years for the Huron tract, has been published:--Wheat, 25 bushels; barley, 30 bushels; oats, 40 bushels; rye, 30 bushels; potatoes, 250 bushels per acre. Swedish turnips, mangel-wurzel, and other roots of a similar kind, are not yet sufficiently cultivated, to enable an average yield to be given; but it may very safely be said, that, with similar care, culture, and attention, the produce will not be less per acre than in England. Indeed, it may be said with truth to apply to every grain except beans, which do not thrive well in the Canadian climate."

Last revised 2005-03-04

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