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Title: Stewart, Frances to , 1822
CollectionRevisiting Our Forest Home, The immigrant letters of Frances Stewart [J. L. Aoki]
SenderStewart, Frances
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationemigrant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginUpper Canada
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1419
Genrejournal, account of passage, arrival in the colonies, description of the land
Transcript1822: July 1-21 [journal]

July 1 1822

We are now on the Great Bank of Newfoundland & have just dined
heartily on a most excellent Cod which Tom caught yesterday evening.
We have hitherto had a most prosperous & even rather pleasant passage.
I have not been the least ill, though we have had some very sickening
nights. For the first fortnight we got on very fast indeed & hoped to have
reached Quebec by this time, but for the last ten days we have had a great
deal of calm weather 8t when there was any wind it was not quite favourable.
By [tacking] constantly we have arrived so far. I have much reason
to be thankful that we have had so safe a voyage & that I have escaped
sickness. We are as comfortably settled in this vessel as such a number
could be in so confined a spot. We have one very large cabin in which all
the Reids sleep, Mr. R. & Tom swinging in the middle in cots. In this we eat & in bad weather we sit there. I have the little state cabin for my party.
There are two good & very wide births in it. I sleep in one with my nursling
& my maid, Anna Maria, & Ellen in the other. I am very comfortable
here & quite independent & though I have only room to stand up & dress
myself I am much happier than if we were all together. I am very glad
to have it to retire to whenever I like. When the weather is fine I sit on
deck all day except at mealtimes. For the last week the weather has been
foggy, damp & cold. On Midsummer day the thermometer was only 42
at Noon. This weather is very common in this part of the Atlantic & is
disheartening just now as I am in a state of feverish impatience which I
cannot conquer to get to the end of our voyage & be settled in our own
log house. We have no passengers whose society could be the least pleasure
to us. The Captain is just what you might expect to find a person
who was raised from being a common sailor. He is rough & vulgar but is
anxious to pay us every attention in his power & is very good natured to
the children. We are beginning to rock about so much that I must stop
writing. Though not sick, I have had some bad headaches & am sometimes
stupefied & unable to fix my eyes on anything.

Wednesday July 10. Ten days have passed my dear friends since I
wrote the latter part of this & yet we have made very little progress in this tedious passage. However, for two days we are cheered by being within
sight of land, a delightful sight after having seen nothing but the boundless ocean for 33 days. This land was the southern or south Eastern part of Newfoundland. We saw land on each side of us on Monday when we
were between Cape Raye in Newfoundland & Cape North in this island
of Breton. They are a very pretty chain of hills ending in abrupt headlands.
Today we have been for the most part out of sight of land but now
& then had a very indistinct view of the island of Anticosta, a large island 130 miles long & 30 broad, covered with stunted trees, but uninhabited.
We have several times seen whales at a distance spouting their jets d'eaux
into the air but they have not been very near us & we could only distinguish the immense body of the creature. But we have often seen a smaller species very near us which spouts in the same way,
In the very middle of the Atlantic we were accompanied by little
birds of the swallow tribe but webfooted. They are called Mother Carey's chickens & are very pretty little birds. When in the middle of the Atlantic
a poor little House swallow flew into the rigging & was caught. We have
seen numbers of a sort of puffin I believe called shearwaters because
they skim on the surface of the water & seem to cut through the waves.
About a week ago a little bird was found in one of the boats & I took it to
nurse as it proved to be a land bird & we were not near land at the time.
It is very like our grey linnet but the bill is very long and crosses over at the point like the crossbill. I have kept it in a basket. It is going on very well & is so tame that it eats out of our hands & sits on our shoulders.
Yesterday it sat on my head all the time I was at dinner. It is a dear little thing but does not attempt song. We are now in the gulph of St. Laurence,the weather extremely cold.

Sunday July 21, Quebec. Here we are at last safe & sound after a passage
of exactly 7 weeks & one day. We reached this new world at about
eight oClock this morning. All our passage up the river has been most
interesting. The views on both sides (since we have been able to see land
on both sides at once) have been the most beautiful I ever saw. For above
200 miles along the coast of Nova Scotia we were within sight of the finest
mountains covered with trees from the highest point down to the waters
edge. As we approached the Canadian coast the headlands were equally
beautiful & surpassed anything I had ever seen except Killarney. Some of
the views reminded Tom very much of the [ ]. Altogether I was delighted
more than I can express and Oh how often did I wish that I could share my
pleasure with you, all my dear friends. We came on slowly. On Saturday
night last, we came to that part of the river where pilots are taken. Our
pilot came & we thought ourselves secure against the rocks & banks, but
how ignorant were we of our fate! Next morning we were surrounded by
a thick fog & even the pilot was at a loss to know whereabouts we were.
Fortunately there was so little wind that the ship scarcely moved on. At
half past one just as we were assembled for prayers in the Cabin, we felt
three great stokes & the whole ship trembled Oh most frightfully. We all
remained panic struck for a moment. You may imagine our fright when
we heard that we were striking on a rock!! Exactly as we struck the fog
cleared off & we then saw that we were close to Red island. Some French
Canadians happened to be on the island fishing & as soon as they saw us they came off in their Canoe to assist us. They were very active & very
good matured, particularly one old man, who really was most benevolent
& never left us till one the next morn'g. We struck there for 6 hours before we moved or could feel sure that the vessel was safe. At last she moved round, the pumps were tried, she made no water. All seemed safe, when
bump we came on another rock. Soon, however, after several bumpings
& scrapings we got off most providentially. No bad consequence except
two of the sailors were hurt, one of them rather severely by the Anchor,
& we had the pleasure of nursing him in our cabin all night & the next
day & have made him nearly well again. The next day was lovely & as we
were obliged to anchor for tide, we had time to go on shore but I have not
room in this letter to enter into the details of our excursion on shore, our first landing on American ground. I will keep it for a letter to Kate which I will tell her to send to you. I cannot cram all I want to say into one sheet, and besides I am surrounded by people — 19 in this little cabin at once.
I scarcely know what I am about, for Bessy is roaring for me too, but
notwithstanding all my confusion my heart is steadily, warmly & gratefully
devoted to my beloved friends. Give our kindest loves to Ma & Lou,
Upton, E'town, Allenstown, &c.