British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

IV
EMIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT

A. EMIGRATION POLICY


QUEBEC: GEORGE POWNALL TO JOHN POWNALL, 11 November 17841

[ Quebec.]

. . . The Loyalist and disbanded soldiers who are chiefly settled upon the Crown lands lately bought from the Indians on the north side of the Lake Ontario, together with some families at Sorel and in the vicinage of Montreal may amount to between five and six thousand souls including a party of Butler's Rangers who are settled at Niagara; they are settled in fifteen townships which I understand extend from about fifty miles above Montreal to the Bay of Quintée included. I am told that these people are very well satisfied and are now most of them under cover; if they possess a spirit of industry and perseverance they may possibly thrive there, the soil is by all accounts very rich and fit for the produce of every grain; the woods produce fine white oak and other timber, fit for the purpose of the West India market; and the seasons are milder and the climate better than in this lower part of the province; but they still have difficulties to encounter, one of which is from their being at the mercy of the savages whenever these people may take it into their heads to quarrel with them. . . . Another very great disadvantage these people will meet with is from their situation, which places them so far from any market for their produce, and the rapids which they have to pass in order to get down the river are both critical and dangerous until well known. I trust however that these people will succeed from the very flattering accounts I hear of them: the only doubt with me is, whether from the very great partiality they still by all accounts entertain for their old country, if the colonists see the policy of regaining these people and hold out the most trifling encouragement for their return, whether they would not take the bait. . . .

Whether these people would not have been more useful to Great Britain, to the province and to themselves, had they been settled below Quebec, is a question seems to me to admit of some doubt: or if they had been settled more in the centre of the province, whether

____________________
1
C.O. 42/16, ft. 77-78. George Pownall, son of John Pownall, had been Clerk and Registrar of the Legislative Council of Quebec since 1775.

-390-

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