An Economic History of Canada

By Mary Quayle Innis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
A PERIOD OF CONSOLIDATION, 1783-1821

So great has been the emigration of Fishermen, and others, from this Province to the American States, that the customary offers of the Merchants, which is all they can possibly afford, have hitherto proved insufficient to draw them back again to this Province, on the contrary, during the last season, even a great many industrious families have gone to that country.1

Two fields were pointed out to me which had been cropped twenty-one years in succession without receiving any manure whatever.2

This mode of carrying on the trade not only causes the amount of furs collected by either of the two companies to depend more on the activity of their agents, the knowledge they possess of the motions of the Indians and the quantity of rum they carry, than upon the liberality of the credits they give, but is also productive of an increasing deterioration of the character of the Indians and will probably ultimately prove destructive to the fur trade itself.3


THE MARITIMES

The economic life of the Maritime Provinces continued to depend upon the sea; New Brunswick, with its white-pine forests penetrated by the St. John and the Miramichi, turned to lumbering, but its sea-surrounded position kept Nova Scotia to fishing and trade. Areas of fertile soil were limited and agriculture continued to be of minor importance in both provinces.

Settlement showed a mosaic of nationalities. First had come the French to the Annapolis Valley and Cape Breton, later English and Irish to Halifax, Germans to Lunenburg, and New Englanders to the Annapolis Valley, and Scotch to Cape Breton and Pictou County.

Nova Scotia was the obvious retreat for Loyalists who poured into the colony in 1783. The sale of lands was suspended and free grants were made to them, while wood lands were thrown open for

____________________
1
Petition of the Merchants of Halifax, 1805, Journals of the Assembly. Nova Scotia, 1803- 1805, p. 28.
2
Howison: Sketches of Upper Canada, p. 37.
3
Franklin Sir John: Narrative of a Journey to the Shores of the Polar Sea. London, 1824, vol. I, p. 130-131.

-83-

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