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Port Talbot, Upper Canada

March 21st, 1832.

To Mr. Wilson.

Sir,—Your letter with Mr. Smith's, came to hand only last evening; there must have been some unwarranted delay from its length of time in coming.  With delay, therefore, I hasten to give you the required information, as far as a letter will permit; and I am happy to say that the prospects of the emigrant here now were never more cheering.  49,700 landed last season at Quebec only, and double that number is expected this season; and though a few of them passed through to their friends in the States, a greater number came into the province by way of New York, as did numbers from the States, who had previously settled there.  These latter, in general, make some of the most loyal subjects; although the greater part of them, on going into the States, were democratically inclined, they soon became disgusted with the ignorance and vanity, indeed I might say knavery, of the common people in the States, and the contempt all other country people meet with, from their fancied inferiority.

A great number of people of intelligence arid property came into the province, from home, last season: those that are not farmers, generally invest their capital in grist and saw-mills; breweries (which are fast increasing throughout the province, partly caused by the preference for beer, and partly by the "Temperance Societies," which prohibit the use of ardent spirits, as far as their influence extends); furnaces, and iron foundries, which are erecting in all sections of the country, as there is plenty of iron ore in every district, and particularly the western ones; small factories, stores, trading, &c., which give new life and impulse to industry; raising the price of produce, &c., rapidly; improving the circumstances and comforts of the settlers, which is evident by their better personal appearance, as to dress, &c.; by new frame and brick houses, and other buildings rising up everywhere, and by an evident advance in polite manners.

Grain bears a better, and a cash price; wheat, 3s. 6d. to 4s. 6d. per bushel.  Land increases in value, in some instances more than double.  The Canada Company have raised the price of their lands in some districts.  Several new steam boats, built and building; harbours and canals making; new post-routes establishing; the Welland Canal is partially opened, and the Rideau is to be opened this season, when vessels can come from the ocean to the upper large lakes.  Some railroads in contemplation.  New roads in all parts, or old ones improving, chiefly by grants of money from the legislature.  New towns and villages springing up; churches and meeting-houses erecting in every direction; a college in full operation in York; some superior schools established, and about to be general throughout the province.  The land that was originally set apart for clergy, is to be appropriated for that purpose by the legislature next session, by permission of the home government; and other appropriations, it is supposed, are to be made to the clergy in lieu thereof.  School-masters of a superior order will consequently be in request.  A new bank just established at Kingston, and branches of it in various other places; eight or ten new newspapers, four or five in the western districts; agricultural societies in every part, which import from the States and home, superior breeds of cattle, horses, &c.  All these within a few months, sufficiently indicate a prosperous state of the country.

A considerable number of the Chelsea pensioners came in last season; one or two townships entirely settled by them, and they are in general well satisfied.  The other day I saw a loyal address from one of these townships, expressive of their prosperity, and satisfaction at the general measures of the government, &c.  Those addresses are general throughout the province, passed at district and township meetings, convened for the purpose called forth by the attempt at excitement and disaffection of a few demagogues, to serve their own sinister purposes, and whose aim is to subvert the British Constitution, by instilling their democratic principles.  They at first, by their sophistry, led away some well-meaning, weak people; but now their design is seen through and exposed, and the consequence is, a general burst of loyal feeling, by the addresses, &c. before mentioned.  This party, a few years ago, complained that the British government was indifferent to their prosperity, by not settling the province; but, Proteus like, they now censure it for "swarming the European paupers" into the country—forgetting that nine out of every ten of themselves, when they came hither, were as poor as the poorest of these "paupers," as they call the emigrants.  But the agitators only fear the superior loyalty of these emigrants, over some that come in from the States; which they well know will destroy their hopes—but their day is already over!

Society also, is getting much more respectable, by the advantageous change of circumstances, and by the number of respectable emigrants from home, great part of which are retired and half-pay officers of the army.

One of the grievances of the above "grievance-mongers," is the allowing the importation of American produce into the province free of duty, to be shipped in British vessels for home, thus encouraging British shipping.  Whether this be true or not, it shows, unequivocally, the superiority of Canada over the States for a market; and at the same time, they have not one-third of the taxes to pay they have in the States, and purchase manufactures without duties; while the others pay from 30 to 50 per cent.  In short, I may say, this province, probably, with the exception of Lower Canada, pays less taxes than any country in the world; and there is no part of the world, I believe, that is more prosperous, and rapidly increasing, than Upper Canada, at the present time.

I will now make a few remarks on fitting out for, the voyage, &c.—Emigrants are brought out to Quebec for much less now than a few years ago,—from 2l. to 2l. 10s., or 3l., and sometimes less; while to New York, it is from 3l. to 51.  The reason is obvious; vessels go out to the former, generally, in ballast, such vast numbers going, and no limit in tonnage; while to New York there is a proper limit, and heavy penalties when it is exceeded.  This is a real "grievance," and a gross neglect of the authorities at home—to suffer the avarice of ship owners and captains to crowd their vessels to suffocation, as it is the death of some, and cause of much illness every season.  They have passed a law at Quebec, this winter, to levy a dollar a-head on every adult, children something less, to support hospitals for the sick on landing in Quebec; rendered necessary by passengers being crowded too thick on board the ships.  A dollar each is paid at New York for the same purpose.

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