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John Graves Simcoe
Chapter V - "Pioneers, O Pioneers!"


IN 1782 Upper Canada was a wilderness of forest. Here and there had the axe notched the shore with clearances for forts or blockhouses. At Cataraqui stood the barracks on the site of old Fort Frontenac; Fort Niagara guarded the entrance of the river ; Fort Erie protected its blockhouses with palisades; Detroit remained the most important post to the westward. Around these military posts there had been just sufficient cultivation to supply the officers' mess with vegetables, and the table of the privates with the necessary relief from a course of salt pork. But the country had never been thought of as a field for colonization until the British government was compelled to turn its attention to the task of providing homes for the Loyalists who had fled to England from New York with Carleton, or who were trooping into Quebec from the south by way of Lake Champlain and the Richelieu. When Carleton evacuated New York he took upwards of forty thousand souls, his army and refugee Loyalists, to England. Despite the irritation of congress at delay and the constant pressure of his own government, the general refused to leave the city until every Loyalist who wished to accompany him had been provided for. The experience of those who were unfortunate enough to be left bellind proved that his estimate of the importance of removing the men who had fought, and the women and children who had suffered, for the loyal cause was not extravagant. Disaster and personal loss had often visited those of the conquering party, and the events were too near, their memory was burned too deeply, to admit of clear sight, or of mercy after victory. To have left the Loyalists in New York, the great stronghold of the cause, would have been to abandon them to the lawlessness of partizan spirit. Many were so abandoned, of necessity, throughout the country, and upon their sufferings in mind, body and estate, was the province of Upper Canada founded.

The Treaty of Paris attempted to provide for the protection of the Royalists and their property. The fourth, fifth, and sixth clauses of the treaty were as follows:—

"IV—It is agreed, that creditors on either side shall meet with no lawful impediment to the recovery of the full value in sterling money of all bona fide debts heretofore contracted.

V—It is agreed, that the congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective states to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects, and also the estates, rights, and properties of persons resident in districts in the possession of His Majesty's arms, and who have not borne arms against the said United States; and that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go into any part or parts of any of the Thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months unmolested in their endeavours to obtain the restitution of such of their estates, rights, and properties as may have been confiscated; and that congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several states a reconsideration and revision of all Acts or laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws or Acts perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with the spirit of conciliation which, on the return of the blessings of peace, should universally prevail. And that congress should also earnestly recommend to the several states that the estates, rights, and properties of such last-mentioned persons shall be restored to them, they refunding to any person who may be now in possession of the bona fide price (where any has been given) which such persons may have paid on purchasing any of the said lands, rights or properties, since the confiscation.

"And it is agreed that all persons who have any interest in confiscated lands, either by debts, marriage settlements or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution of their just rights.

"VI—That there shall be no future confiscation made, nor any prosecutions commenced against any person or persons, for or by reason of the part which lie or they may have taken m the present war; and that no person shall on that account suffer any future loss or damage either in his person, liberty or property, and that those who may be in confinement on such charges at the time of the ratification of the treaty in America, shall be immediately set at liberty and the prosecutions so commenced be discontinued "

The clauses might have been regarded as sufficiently clear in statement and just in intention to merit execution in their integrity by an honourable nation. But the United States was not yet a nation; there was no guiding national sentiment; even the separate states were ruled by faction, local interests and prejudices. The functions of congress were hardly comprehended by the mass of the population, and the will of the executive was powerless to cool this turbulent element just poured from the furnaec of successful rebellion. There may have been in the minds of some of the leaders of congress the idea that the articles just quoted were written down in good faith and should be acted upon, and more surely there must have been in the minds of many fair and just men throughout the States the sentiment that confiscation and persecution were abominable and unrighteous. 13ut these feelings could not prevail; they were overwhelmed, lost, strangled in the flood of bitter feeling which rolled against the men who, like their opponents and persecutors, had but done what they conceived their duty.

In many of the states the action in direct contravention of the treaty was overt, and took the form of legislation designed to prevent the operation of the pacific clauses, to countenance the alienation of property, and to shackle the already overweighted Loyalist with new disabilities and penalties. Where the statute-book remained unsullied by these violent enactments, there was yet the body of private hate; and greed and selfishness to be reckoned with. In society and communities there was ever present that immense pressure of disapproval, that frown combined of hatred and suspicion under which no man could long live and breathe freely. No property was ever recovered except by stealth, and no debt was anywhere collected save through the rare personal honour of the debtor.

While these things continued, Great Britain kept her grasp on Oswego, Detroit, Niagara and Michilimackinac, the posts which dominated the western country. Thus her treaty obligations were unfulfilled, and, while acting with firmness towards the power that had shown willingness to make fail-contracts but inability to carry them out, she gave her protection and assistance to her faithful people. Claims for losses were paid to the enormous amount of $18,912,294, and those who had taken refuge in the province of Quebec were provided with food and shelter.

The first refugees arrived before the war had ceased, the men were frequently drafted into the provincial regiments, the women and children were maintained at Machiche, St. Johns, Chambly, Sorel and other points at which they arrived naturally upon the termination of their journey. This influx continued up to 1790, and consisted of those who had suffered the more actively for the royal cause. There was at Niagara also a considerable number of refugees who sought the protection of the garrison and who began early settlement of the shores of Lake Ontario. After the year 1790 began the immigration of those who were loyal at heart and welcomed the opportunity of settlement again under the British flag, free from the contempt of their republican neighbours and the political servitude in which they lived. Simcoe, by his proclamation of free grants of land, created what would, in these days, be called a "boom," and the morals and principles of some of the settlers looked strangely like those of the ordinary land-grabber and speculator. But every one was a Royalist to his ardent mind.

A quotation from the Duke de la Rochefoucauld, a shrewd but not altogether unprejudiced observer, may be made to show the spirit with which Simcoe received emigrants in his day. "We met in this excursion an American family who, with some oxen, cows, and sheep, were emigrating to Canada. 4 We come/ said they, ' to the governor,' whom they did not know, 4 to see whether he will give us land.' 'Aye, aye,' the governor replied, 'you are tired of the federal government; you like not any longer to have so many kings; you wish again for your old father' (it is thus the governor calls the British monarch when he speaks with Americans); *you are perfectly right; come along, we love such good Royalists as you are, we will give you land.'" This was in 1795, and there is truth in the insinuation that all emigrants were not Loyalists. Writing only four years after the duke, Mr. Richard Cartwright states pointedly that "it has so happened that a great portion of the population of that part of the province which extends from the head of the Bay of Kenty upwards is composed of persons who have evidently no claim to the appellation of Loyalists."

At one extreme we have the governor who thought that every American who touched the soil of Upper Canada was cleansed from his republicanism, and at the other the legislative councillor who could only see loyalty in those of the first immigration. A mean of truth might be established between them by deciding that these later arrivals were not partizans either of one side or the other, and that they chose, not altogether from selfish motives, to throw in their lot with the king. Even Mr. Cartwright could not gainsay that they were good settlers and possessed "resources in themselves which other people are usually strangers to." While their loyalty was, may be, lukewarm, the oath of allegiance presented no terrors; they took it calmly and their descendants are now so staunchly loyal that they have forgotten that their British sentiment, perhaps, began with kissing a magistrate's Bible. The Loyalists who, after Simcoe's arrival, came from England, had not the pioneer virtues possessed by the New World settlers. They are described by Cartwright as "idle and profligate," and notwithstanding their aid from government, their rations, their implements, their household utensils, they failed to take root in the country, and disappeared or became paupers and vagrants.

In the summer of 1782 there were sixteen families, comprising ninety-three persons, settled at Niagara. They had two hundred and thirty-six acres under cultivation, and had harvested eleven hundred and seventy-eight bushels of grain and six hundred and thirty of potatoes. The erection of- a saw and grist-mill upon the farm of Peter Secord, one of these pioneers, was contemplated. These sixteen families were supporting themselves with the assistance of rations granted by the govern-meiit, and they are the first settlers of Upper Canada.

The first refugee Loyalists arrived in the eastern district in the summer of 1784 and took up land upon the St. Lawrence below Cataraqui, at that place, and upon the shores of the Bay of Quints. They were all poorly equipped to gain their subsistence from the forest-covered domain which had been granted them. Soldiers and Loyalists alike had but the clothing upon their backs. When a family had a few chairs or a table, saved somehow from the ruin of their homesteads, guarded and transported with care and labour out of all proportion to the value of the articles, they were affluent amid the general destitution. The pioneer in our day can suffer no such isolation, and cannot endure like hardships. All civilization rushes to help him. He has only to break through the fringe of forest that surrounds him and he finds a storehouse of all the world's goods necessary for him at his command. By his fire he may read of the last month's revolutions, or the triumphs of peace in the uttermost parts of the earth. Whatever he touches in his cabin of rough logs may remind him of his comradeship with all the other producers of the globe, and every kernel of grain that he grows and every spare-rib that he fattens goes to swell the food-wealth of the world. For the pioneers of 1784 it was strife for bare subsistence; they were as isolated as castaways on a desert island who had saved part of the ship's stores and tools.

The government gave them a little flour and pork and a few hoes and axes, and with these they were to dispossess those ancient tenants who had for ages held undisputed possession. They drew lots for their lands. The lucky ones obtained the farms near the posts or where some advantage of water, springs, groves, or soil made the situation desirable. When they were located began the great work of providing shelter. While the trees were felled and the rude hut was taking shape, the family slept under the stars upon the ground, huddled together for warmth or protection from the dew and rain. Blankets they had none; their clothes were tattered, and as the chill nights of September came upon them, thus exposed, they suffered from cold. With dull axes, which they could not sharpen, they made their clearances, and when they were made they had no seed, or but a handful, to sow between the stamps upon the rich loam which was ready to yield them an hundred-fold. Their single implement was the hoe with which they chopped roots, turned the soil, covered the little seed. With toil in the clear air they sharpened hunger that could not be assuaged from the small supply of food which they were compelled to hoard against the length of the winter. Their staples were flour and pork, but to these could be added fish, that were in such plenty that a hooked stick was all that was required to take them from the streams, and wild fowl that could be captured with the most primitive snare.

They faced all the harshness of life in the wilderness except the hostility of the Indians. These first Upper Canadian settlers never turned their cabins into blockhouses, never primed their guns and stood alert at the loopholes "while shrill sprang through the dreaming hamlet on the hill, the war cry of the triumphant Iroquois." The savages who surrounded them were refugees like themselves, allies who had fought with the disbanded regiments and now, side by side, had turned them to the peaceful employments which were alike strange and untoward to the wielders of the tomahawk and the bearers of the rifle. Only upon occasion, maddened with rum for which they had bartered their treaty presents, did they drive off and kill the precous cattle and frighten the women and children when the men were at the post for rations. The normal attitude of the Indian to the settler was one of friendliness. In his possession he held the wisdom produced by centuries of conflict with the conditions that faced the pioneer. And when the rewards that he might look for were small he taught him to take fish without hooks or bait, to prepare skins without the tanner's vat, to make delicious sugar from the sap of the maple, to snare rabbits, to build canoes. He brought to the cabin door venison and dishes of birch-bark, and pointed out nuts and roots that were edible and nutritious.

The government, observant of this friendliness that made the work of colonization so much easier, rewarded the Indians in many ways by gifts and privileges. The Mississaugas, who held the lands about Kingston and the lower end of the lake, received, on October 19th, 1787, a special grant of £2,000, York currency, in goods, as a reward for giving aid in their country to the Loyalists.

The winter of 1785 found these earliest settlers for the most part prepared to withstand its rigours. Their little log huts were reared in the middle of the clearings supported by immense chimneys of rough stones, which opened in the dwarf interiors fireplaces nearly as large as one side of the enclosure. The chinks in the logs were stuffed with moss and clay, and the stones were cemented by nothing stronger than the soil from which they had been gathered. Night and day they kept fires roaring on the hearths. The precincts gradually widened in the snow as trees fell under the axe, and the interior of the cabins began to take on an air of rude comfort as, one by one, rough articles of furniture were knocked together by the light of the fire. The enforced stinting of the coarse, wholesome food, the splendid purity of the air, the sweeping ventilation of the little living -room kept clear by the sweet flame of maple and birch, the invigorating labour with axes amongst the resinous pine and the firm-trunked hard woods gave health and strong sleep, and happy hearts followed.

In the spring when the fall wheat began to show in a shimmer of green rising about the stumps equally over all inequalities of the ground, springing up gladly, renewing itself with a bright joy in the virgin earth, the labourers saw the first of hundreds of springtimes that were to gladden Ontario. These first blades of wheat, making patches of green where the axes had cleft the forest for sunshine and ram, were flags of hope unfurled for the women and children. It ripened, this virgin grain, breast high, strong-headed, crammed with the force of unwearied soil and sweeping sunshine. When hands gathered it, and threshed it, and winnowed it, it was crushed in the hollow scooped in a hardwood stump—a rude mortar. And if the swords of the old soldiers had not actually become plowshares or their spears pruning-hooks, at least their cannon balls were frequently made into pestles and, suspended by cords from the end of a pole which was balanced like a well-sweep, pounded grain peacefully into coarse and wholesome flour.

And while the grain waxed plump and ripened, the women, with resourceful energy, sought to improve the conditions of life. In most eases they had saved the seed which produced the first harvest, now they endeavoured to clothe their families, learned the Indian tanning, spun thread from the fibres of the basswood bark, and made clothing of deerskin, trousers and smocks and petticoats, that would withstand for years the rough usage of a frontier life. Stockings were unknown; at first the children frequently spent the whole of the winter months indoors for lack of the necessary foot-covering. When it became possible to obtain leather every man was shoe-maker to his own family, and produced amorphous but comfortable boots. Looking forward to the raising of wool, flax, and hemp, hand-looms were fashioned in the winter and spinning-wheels, and when the materials were at hand the women learned to spin and weave, and linsey-woolsey took the place of buckskin. When the proper materials were not at hand blankets were made from anything that could be found, for instance, "hair picked out of the tanner's vat and a hemp-like weed growing in the yard." A common knife and a little invention filled the housewife's shelves with many a small article that 64 made keeping the house easier—uncouth basswood trenchers, spoons, and two-pronged forks whittled from hard maple, and bowls done out of elm knots. The steady progress of the colony received but one serious check. The "hungry year" came with its dearth and its privation.

After three years of toil some slight degree of comfort had been reached, but in the summer of 1787 disaster fell upon them. The harvest was a failure. During the winter that followed there was dire suffering. They lived upon whatever they could find in the woods. They killed and ate their few cattle, their dogs, their horses. The government could not cope with such wide and far-reaching destitution, and the people were thrown upon their own resources. The story of the circulation of the beef bones among neighbouring families to give flavour to the thin bran soup is familiar. They lived on nuts and roots, on anything from which nourishment could be extracted. When the early summer brought up the grain they boiled the green, half-filled ears and stalks, and as the year drew on distress gradually vanished and comfort and improvement marched on.

Transport and communication were difficult, the lakes and rivers were the natural carriage-ways; and bush-trails, a foot or two wide, blazed at every turn led from one clearance to another. But despite these obstacles the people were sociable and helpful. Their interests w ere alike, their sufferings had been similar, and common difficulties drew them together. They passed on the knowledge of small, hut to them important, discoveries in domestic processes and economies. The invention of one became common property. No man endeavoured to conceal his discovery of the best way to extract stumps or mount a potash-kettle, to build a bake oven, or to shape felloes. Every woman gave away her improvements in bread-making, in weaving, and in dyeing. They were like members of one family, and for good-fellowship and economy in labour they joined forces, and in "bees" the men raised barn-timbers and rooftrees, the women gathered around the quilting-frames and the spinning-wheels.

After labour there was mirth. The young men fought and wrestled and showed their prowess in many a forgotten game. The women made matches and handed on the news. There was dancing, good eating, and deep drinking. In the winter there were surprise patties and dances when the company came early and stayed for a day or two. But the weddings were the chief occasions for jollity and good fellowship. Before the year 1784 the ceremony was performed by the officer-in-command at the nearest post, or the adjutant of the regiment; afterwards, until the passage of the Marriage Act, by the justice of the peace for the district. The bride and groom with their attendants, sometimes on foot, sometimes on horseback, followed the trail through 66 the woods. If the journey were long they rested overnight at the house of some neighbour. They made as brave a show as possible, the bride decked out in calico, calamink, or linsey-woolsey, the bridegroom in his homespun. Or may be each in inherited garments of a more prosperous age, the bride in a white satin that had taken an ivory shade in its wanderings, the bridegroom in a broadcloth coat with brass buttons, knee breeches, and beaver hat. There was a fiddler always to be found, and no wedding was complete and perfect without a dance. Sometimes odd expedients were necessary to supply the ring, and there is record of one faithful pair that were married with the steel ring attached to an old pair of skates.

The chief messengers from the outside world were the itinerant preachers and the Yankee pedlars. They were the newsmongers who brought into the wilds word of the latest happenings, six months old : how Robespierre had cut off his king's head, how Black Dick had beaten the French, how Jay had made a treaty with King George, how the king's son was on the way to Niagara, how they were to have as a governor of their own, the fighting colonel of the Queen's Rangers, how a real French duke was at Kingston in the officers' quarters, how there was to be another war with the States. All the stray news from Albany or Quebec was talked over while the pedlar opened his pack of prints and gee-gaws, or before the preacher turned from these worldly subjects to the one nearest his heart, the welfare of the eternal soul.

They were not greatly troubled with money; they made their own in effect, by trade and barter, or, in fact, by writing on small slips of paper that passed everywhere at their face value until that became indecipherable from soil or friction, when the last holders made fresh copies, and on they went with their message of trust and confidence. The earliest settlers had no means of producing wealth. Their markets were their own simple tables, their exports reached the next concession, or the nearest military post. Their first and chief source of ready money was the sale of potash, a crude product from hardwood ashes. In fact, not many years have passed since the disappearance of the V-shaped ash vat and the cumbrous potash kettle. Their next source of revenue was the provisioning of the troops, and in 1794 agriculture had so developed that the commissariat was in that year partly supplied from the provincial harvest. Then timber became the staple, and the whole of the exports— potash, grain, and pork—were freighted to Montreal on rafts. Cattle at first were scarce and hard to provide for. Some of the earliest settlers had cows and oxen at places in the States, that had to be driven hundreds of miles through the woods over paths slashed out for their passage. In the first settlement at Oswegatchie (Prescott) for a population of five hundred and ninety-seven there 68 were only six horses, eight oxen and eighteen cows. During the "hungry year" the first cattle were nearly all killed for food, but before long every farmer had his oxen and cows that ranged the woods as nimble as deer and picked up their living in the same fashion.

Saw and grist-mills were soon established. First at Niagara, then at Napanee, at Kingston, at York on the Humber, and gradually they were added to as the harvests became greater and the demand for flour and lumber more extensive. Taking the grist to mill was always the most important event of the year. By tedious and dangerous voyages along the lake shore in open boats or scows, the settler took his bags of grain that were precious as gold to him, and returned with his flour, less the toll exacted for grinding, fixed by law at one-twelfth. While he was away the women kept the houses, lying awake at night with the children sleeping around them, shivering at the howling of the wolves. Often were they alarmed by rumours of disaster and loss to the one who had gone forth " bearing his sheaves with him," but who doubtless "came again with rejoicing".

As time went by there grew up those distinctions and degrees which must inevitably develop in society that begins to be settled and secure. Governor Simcoe to the full extent of his power aided these divergences. He thought nothing would contribute so greatly to the solid, four-square loyalty of the province as an aristocracy. This aristocracy he hoped to build out of the materials at his hand: half-pay officers, many of whom bore names that were honoured at home and whose traditions were those of good families and settled ways of life, the few leading merchants and landed proprietors who were the financiers and bankers of the colony. Upon these men fell the honours that Simcoe could recommend or bestow; they were the legislative councillors, the lieutenants of counties, the magistrates. They were the flower of the loyalty of the province, and from them he would have formed an aristocracy with hereditary titles, estates, coats-of-arms, permanent seats in the legislative council. From this eminence the people descended in degree through the professional classes, the farmers, the shopkeepers, to the substratum of the land-grabber and speculator, whose loyalty was tainted and whose motives and movements were imagined and observed with suspicion.

Upon even the humblest individual of the early immigration Simcoe desired to place some distinction that might make his stand for a united empire known to posterity.

At Lord Dorchester's instance a minute had been passed by the executive council of the province of Quebec on November 9th, 1789, directing the Land Boards of the different districts to register the names of those who had joined the royal standard in America before the Treaty of Separation of 1783.

But the Land Boards took but little interest in the matter, and Simcoe found the regulation a dead letter. He revived it by his proclamation dated at York on April 6th, 1796. This instrument directed the magistrates to ascertain under oath and register the names of such persons as were entitled to special distinction and land grants by reason of their cleaving to the king's cause in a troublous time. I he next ensuing Michaelmas quarter sessions was the time set for the registration, and from this date began the designation of United Empire Loyalist.

Manners and customs were British of the same date, or colonial transplanted from the old provinces of the Crown.' There can be no doubt that hard drinking was the great vice of the time, and it penetrated to Upper Canada and flourished there. To the garrisons of the posts rum was the only diversion, and the men drowned the feeling of intolerable ennui as often as they could in that fiery and potent liquor. When they were being transported from one point to another, even under the eyes of their officers they became intoxicated and remained so as long as the supply of liquor lasted. De la Rochefoucauld notes that, when Captain Pain and his detachment of the 60th Regiment were proceeded from Kingston to Montreal, "the soldiers were without exception as much intoxicated as I ever saw any in the French service. On the day of their departure they were scarcely able to row, which rendered our tour extremely tedious." The comparison to the soldiers of his own country removes any suspicion of exaggeration. Again writing of his trip to Oswego from Kingston, he says: "The four soldiers, who composed our crew, were intoxicated to such a degree that the first day we scarcely made fifteen miles, though we sailed twelve of them."

The national vice was probably treated with lenity as an evil preferable to desertion. But the latter military iniquity was of the most common occurrence. It was an easy matter at Niagara, Detroit, or Oswego to leave the immense monotony, the hideous round of a life that was a sort of servitude without the saving circumstance of hard labour, and find freedom in the American states. Rewards were freely offered for the apprehension of deserters; the government offered eight dollars and the officers added another eight for their restoration to barracks. The Indians tracked them, hunted them down and captured them, when and how they could. The extreme penalty for desertion was death. This was the usual preliminary sentence, afterwards remitted to transportation for life at hard labour. Sometimes the first sentence was one thousand lashes that would be remitted to transportation. Only in one instance was the utmost rigour of the finding of a court-martial carried out "from the absolute necessity of a public example." It happened a few weeks more than a year after Simcoe's arrival at Niagara. Charles Grisler, a private of the 5th Regiment had deserted while acting as night sentry over a few bateaux at Fort Erie. He was captured, court-martialed and shot kneeling on his coffin at Fort Niagara on October 29th, 1793.

An occasional sham fight, an alarm of war, bringing with it increased vigilance and perhaps a change of posts, labour upon some public road, vessel or fortification, these were the only reliefs to the hard barrack life with its interminable round of garrison duty under officers who for the most part paid no greater attention to their needs than if they were automata. They were rarely allowed to labour for settlers or for the townspeople of Niagara or Kingston, but sometimes their officers employed them at ninepence a day to clear land, make gardens, or improve their estates. It was a point of honour to carry out the code of dress and discipline as if the corps were at Portsmouth or London. We can imagine the detachment of the 24th Regiment under Major Campbell, that Simcoe stationed behind the palisade of Fort Miami, standing to arms in that utter wilderness in their scarlet coats with powdered hard and mitre-like helmets, every strap pipe-clayed, every button polished, every buckle pulled tight. De la Rochefoucauld draws a lively picture of a group of soldiers of the 5th Regiment dressing on board the Onondaga before their arrival at Kingston. He saw the soldiers "plastering their hair or, if they had none, their heads, with a thick white mortar, which they laid on with a brush, and afterwards raked, like a garden-bed, with an iron comb ; and then fastening on their heads a piece of wood, as large as the palm of the hand and shaped like the bottom of an artichoke, to make a cadogan, which they filled with the same white mortar, and raked in the same manner, as the rest of their head-dress. "The duke moralizes, not upon the vanity of the soldiers, but upon the f forwardness of those who are ever ready to ridicule all manners and habits which are not their own."

A day or two before he had seen a crowd of Indians painted in glaring colours which they constantly freshened as they became dimmed with sweat. They are the one element of the population that I have not dwelt upon. The most important and numerous, the confederated tribes of the Six Nations, were settled on the Grand River upon lands set apart for them by Haldimand. In 1784, when other parts of the province were without schools or churches, they were supplied with both. Their church was adorned with crimson pulpit furniture and a service of solid silver, the gift of Queen Anne. These marks of civilization, the church and the school, had been given the tribe by the same government that allowed them to be debauched by rum. The savage nature was hardly hidden under the first, thinnest film of European customs. Scalps were hung up in their log huts, and arms that had brained children upon their parents' door-stones were yet nervous with power.

Simcoe felt that their loyalty was but skin-deep, that it was governed by self-interest, and that at any time unless cajoled and blinded their cunning could be turned against their former allies. Brant tie distrusted, his power he endeavoured to dissolve. His feeling upon the Indian situation was too intense, but in the savage nature he saw a real menace to the peace and prosperity of the colony. It should be remembered that at the time he governed there was a league between the Indians of the West and of Canada, that a concerted movement upon the new settlements would obliterate them as easily as a child wipes pictures from off his slate. His desire for London as a capital was principally that it would oppose a barrier between the Six Nations and the Western Indians. He used all the diplomacy, in the methods of the day, to satisfy them that it was to their interest to remain loyal to the king, and those methods were often no better than the rum bottle and the abuse of opponents in the plainest language. The officials who were appointed to protect them were often their darkest enemies, cheated them and confirmed them, by their example, in idleness and profligacy. Yet there was at the heart of these puerile negotiations, this control that seemed to be founded on debauchery and license, this alliance that was based on a childish system of presents, a principle that has been carried out without cessation and with increased vigilance to the present day, the principle of the sacredness of treaty promises. Whatever had been once written down and signed by king and chief, both will be bound by, so long as " the sun shines and the water runs."

The Indian nature now seems like a fire that is waning, that is smouldering and dying away in ashes. In Simcoe's time it was full of force and heat. It was ready to break out at any moment in savage dances, in wild and desperate orgies in which ancient superstitions were involved with European ideas but dimly understood, and intensified by cunning imaginations inflamed with rum. Where stood clustered the wigwams and rude shelters of Brant's people now stretch the opulent fields of the township of Tuscarora; and all down the valley of the Grand River there is no visible line of demarcation between the farms tilled by the ancient allies in foray and ambush who have become confederates throughout a peaceful year in seed, time and harvest.

These aborigines lend a lurid dash of colour to the romantic procession of the earliest inhabitants of Upper Canada. They file by and we watch and comment upon each group and character: the Indians with their wild cries, their tomahawks in one hand, a few green ears of maize in the other; the red-coated soldiers, tramping in their formal dress with their unwieldy accoutrements; the civil officers in their wigs and silk tights; the merchants proud with the virgin gains of the new province; the settlers, clad in homespun, the staunch men with their well-made flails, the noblewomen, children at breast, with their distaffs; the priests of the first churches bearing the weight of the law and the promise; the trapper in his bonnet of mink nodding with squirrel tails, and blouse and leggings of deerskin; the circuit rider with his eye of fire, his tongue ready as a whip of scorpions; the explorer with the abstracted step and deep glance that looks with certitude upon lands and rivers that no man ever saw; and before them all the figure of the governor who was endeavouring by precept and example to mould their diverse elements into a nation that would meet and match his own lofty ideal of what the new western nation should be.


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