|Title:||From William Radcliff, Esq., Upper Canada, to|
|Collection||Authentic Letters from Upper Canada [Rev. Thomas Radcliff]|
|Origin||York, Upper Canada|
|Recipient||Rev. Thomas Radcliff|
|Genre||family, farming, local economy, neighbours|
|Transcript||the Rev. Thomas Radcliff, Dublin.|
York, August, 1832.
My dear Father,
It was an old rule in raising the militia, that a man
must act himself, or find a better,—of which latter privilege,
with respect to our correspondence, I have availed
myself, in an admirable substitute, who has been as
anxious to write to you herself, as to prevent me, as I
have really been unable, from my state of health, till within
these last three days, to give my attention to any thing
but endeavouring at recovery. This, through the skill of
my kind friend, physician, and fellow-traveller, Dr.
Phillips, has been happily effected; and I now feel something
like myself once more.
I apprehend that the feverish attacks, to which strangers
are liable, on their first arrival, has been increased by the
state of the air, which has brought cholera into this
quarter in a most destructive form. My ailment tended
that way, and alarmed me very much. It has raged dreadfully
all round our lodgings. Persons in perfect
health, with whom I have dined, have been carried to their
graves next morning; and, amongst others, my poor little
nieee, greatly regretted by us all, and sadly deplored by
her father and mother; who, to preserve the other children,
got away from this as fast as possible; but we could not
stir. We are all, however, nearly in perfect health, thank
God; and next week it is our intention to proceed to the
land, to get up my house before the winter sets in.
The choice of my lots I left to my brother, not being
able to go myself. He has succeeded to admiration, for
himself, for me, and for some friends in the same town-
I have, for the present, bought four hundred acres for
two hundred pounds, land of superior quality, in the
Huron track, London district, township Adelaide, named
after the Queen, within twenty miles of Lake Huron, and
thirty of Lake Erie.
As to people of moderate capital, (say from five to eight
hundred pounds,) purchasing desirable land any where
but in the absolute forest, is out of the question. So that,
having been informed by a kind friend, of the prime
quality of that we have purchased, and my brother and
his companions, who went to view it, having approved of
it very much, our lots are all chosen there; and, as far as
I can learn, we have every reason to be satisfied.
Improved farms have risen to a price that no common
capital can compass. Even in our remote district, it is
thought that land will be of three-fold value in two or
three years. Therefore, if A——r, or any of our friends,
decide upon coming out, and wish to be near us, they
should write at once, that we may secure the lots in time;
for the townships are filled up, almost as fast as they are
Our divisions adjoin that which is laid out for the town.
When that comes to be built, (and it is said it will be completed
in three years,) the value of our property will
obviously be enhanced.
Our fellow-travellers, Phillips and Groom, have settled
themselves beside us.
The former, as resident physician, has got the grant of
a town lot to build on.
How lucky to have such a man in the midst of us.
All the spare cash I had, I have vested in bank stock,
in the bank of Upper Canada. It is a decided fact that
this stock pays regularly twelve per cent, and is as safe
as in the Bank of England.
Government are the holders, as I am informed, of onethird
of the entire, and I am well assured that capital may
be vested with perfect safety in this fund.
No individual is permitted to invest more than one
thousand pounds, that many may partake of the advantage
The influx of emigrants to our province of Upper
Canada has been such, that in the last year the population
is said to have increased one-fourth; and in this season,
fully as much is expected. This affects the resources of
the country in various ways, particularly as to the facility
of disposing of farming produce; and also, as to the banking
interests, of which I have been speaking. As I am
informed, and indeed read in the public prints, that so
numerous have been the arrivals of settlers, with considerable
capital, that within a year three hundred
thousand sovereigns have been deposited in the bank of
My deposit was in gold, and I received four shillings
exchange on each sovereign.
Bank stock has this year paid sixteen per cent, never
less than twelve; the legal interest is but eight; but on the
last dividend there was a bonus of eight more, in consequence
of the country rising into such rapid prosperity.
So that I request you to get our friend and kinsman
to call in any money that I can command, and to send it
me forthwith. Double interest in Ireland may be a very
bad thing; but, being well secured, is quite the reverse here.
I can tell you nothing of the country, as I have been
shut up for a month in this unhealthy town; where, however,
the markets, being nearly on a par with ours, speak
well for farming profits, though consumers (as we are
now,) may feel the inconvenience.
Beef, mutton, and pork .... 5d. per lb.
Butter . . . . 11 do.
Bread, dearer than at home.
In fact, every thing is dear, as the province cannot
supply itself, and is obliged to import from the States.
The farmers here have no difficulty in finding a market
for their corn. For all that we can grow, these ten years
to come, we shall have a ready sale at our door.
The number of emigrants going up each year will take
away all that can be spared at a full price.
All the old people say that the country rises more now
in one year, than it did before in fifty. Upon the whole,
then, I cannot see any risk the prudent and industrious
farmer can be subject to, who pays no rent, has plenty
to subsist him, with a ready market, and good price for
Amongst some agreeable acquaintances I have made is
Dr. Gwynn, come to settle at York, in the medical department.
He was introduced to me by a letter from our
worthy friend and relative, S- G-. We have become
very intimate; he is an excellent fellow, and accompanied
me on a trip to Niagara, from whence we returned
You will expect some account of that wonder of
wonders;—you are doomed to be disappointed;—not so
much, however, as if I attempted to describe it. You know
my talent don't lie that way. I can enjoy the sublime, but
I cannot talk of it. Better observe a solemn silence. It
appears to me, to be that which the magic scene itself
would dictate; and I am strongly disposed to vindicate
Mrs. Bogle Corbet, in having chosen the retirement of her
bed-chamber, to view this tremendous rush of waters,
uninterrupted even by the scientific remarks of her
husband, whose good taste would have done ample justice
to the astounding subject.
As to my companion and myself, we resolved neither
to speak or write about it, farther than to recommend it
to all, whom it may concern, to come and view for themselves,
that of which no adequate idea can possibly be
formed, from the ablest description.
Before I left home, I read many accounts of those surprising
falls, which miserable attempts, compared with the
great reality, afford no pleasurable recollection. Martin
Doyle's was short, and had some spirit in it; and in your
own Encyclopedia, there was an accurate statement of
heights and distances, of rocks, and foam, and spray, and
all seemingly very well done.
But no pen can delineate, that which I again repeat,
must be seen, to be conceived.
I understand that upon the very spot we traversed at
the Falls, a handsome city is about to arise, which some
think from the precedence and perfection of the town at
Chippewa, will be a dangerous speculation. I hope this
will not be the case, as we learn that J. R-'s near
connection is a chief sharer and proprietor.
There appears to be every necessary attraction, and I
sincerely hope for our cousin's sake it may succeed. He
means, as we hear, to reside there, and will, from his
habits, naturally prefer the mixed society of a lively town,
to the sound of the axe in the forest, in which we shall
find our enjoyment.
We have, so far, suffered great hardships on our voyage
—also from bad health—and look forward to much
trouble and inconvenience in forming a settlement on our
land, but should be delighted and content, if we had all
our people with us. When separated, even for the short
time that we have been, a horrible feeling obtrudes on the
mind, at having left, perhaps, for ever, (with whatsoever
motives of prudence or of wisdom,) our nearest and
dearest relations; and this feeling alone (the sole drawback
on the objects we have in view,) makes us, often,
almost lament the step that we have taken.
With kindest love to those very friends, whose absence
we so much feel,
Believe me, my dear Father,
Always, your affectionate Son,