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In A Strange Land
The Diary of William McDougall, 1868-1872
Preface
A .reputable Maritime archivist once said that garbagemen and book-men were equally disreputable. We hope he was referring to the fact that book dealers intrude a fee between the archivist and the paper goods. If this his point, we cheerfully counter that no archivist has yei shown the public spirit to forgo his wages. If he meant that both are despoilers, he is incorrect! Any honest processor of public waste will tell you that conservation is much more profitable than burning. Bookmen probably do not gain to the same extent as garbage men, but they do intervene, when archivists are not present, to prevent the destruction of prime source information. This journal is an example of one such rescue. Acquisition of the writings of William McDougall equals our pleasure in having offered the New Brunswick histories of Atkinson, Monro, Hay, Cooney aiid Rayniond. Unlike these scholarly gentlemen, McDougall shows little i·terest in questions of plot , theme, and saleability. Considering the fact that he was an untravelled youth from Wickham Station it is surprising that he recorded his movements a·d produced such a stroiig personal image in his decade. The diary commences in 1868, tracing his travels from New Brunswick to California by sea. A return horne is noted, as well as two removals to Nevada. The concluding entry pictures McDougall as a pioneer in British Columbia. This book reveals little of the history of New Brui·swick, but it does add to our understanding of what it once meant to be a New Brunswicker. As a seat of contention, the old land of Acadia had a very rudimentary economy. The Atlantic Provinces, which later occupied this la·d mass, succeeded in altering that deficincy in the years 1800 through 1850. Timber had, by then, become the Inainstay of New Brunswick; timber and the fisheries that of Nova Scotia; agriculture the base for Prince Edward Island. Wind, wood and water were all boosted by the discovery of gold in California aiid Australia. A strong demand for ships and supplies was further augInented by the Crirnean War and The Indian Mutiny, which produced a market for troop carriers. The abolition of British Imperial Preference i· the 1840's caused the writi·g of a Reciprocity Treaty with the United States. This, temporarily,re-established a free-trade in raw materials over north-south routes. With fish and coal given access to the U.S. market British colonial trade increased by as much as 300 percent. The Maritime Provinces sailed from these balmy waters into thick o'fog, with technical innovation the reef. The rise of the iron ship happened to coincide with the Confederation of Canada in 1867. Althou·h New Brunswickers have since blamed the union for the "troubles," but the United States failure to renew reciprocity in 1866 was probably a more telling factor. We have excuses, but they are poor ones, for our slow adaptation of ship building techniques based oii the use of steel.

These first gains were reinforced by "rofiteering" during the American Civil War. While the war tended to stagnate American ship-building and its merchant marine,the Maritimes realized a dramatic expansion of their facilities. With their chief competitor distracted their water trade doubled in the twenty years before 1860. New England had now a smaller more distant timber resource. With the quality of American lumber on the decline, New Brunswick was best placed to become internationally competitive in this product and at shipbuilding. The following table illustrates growth at Saint John, N.B.

Year 1855 1860 1865 1870

New Vessels Built 95 100 148 85

Registration (St. John) 566 492 628 734

With a sense of Maritime moderation, Hay labelled this as, "the period when trade relatioins with the U.S. (were) satisfactory". He also said, Railway building, increased trade brought about chiefly by the reciprocity treaty with the United States, and the Crimean War in Europe and the Civil War in America, brought great prosperity to the province during the fifteen years before confederation. Everything that the farmer raised brought high prices, and there was plenty of employment for all who sought it. Although New Brunswickers had once felt that their law-makers would be overshadowed in a legislature combined with Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and the Canadas, and that taxes would be higher, they were panicked by the loss of the southern marke t. They now began to perceive union in terms of a rail link and free trade with Canada. When confederation came, 325,000 Nova Scotians, 250,000 New Brunswickers and 96,000 Prince Edward Islanders set sights on this new market. At this time the maj or metropolitan areas were Halifax, N.S. (pop. 25,000) and Saint John, N.B. (pop. 20,000) Nova Scotia was now committed to fishing and the coastal trade but New Brunswick was still basically a supplier of timber and ships. Prince Edward Island supplied the agricultural deficits of its neighbours . Initially, the conversion of trade to an east-west pattern seemed to work. The effects of economic well-beiiig are reflected in the population growth of a Loyalist township which had 2,868 persons in 1850 and 6,525 inhabitants in 1871. By 1891 the census revealed 2,680 persons. The building of an Intercolonial Railway according to the terms of Confederation was a stimulus to fortunes in New Brunswick. Since the Nova Scotia Peninsula was closer to Europe it benefitted most from increased sea-trade. As a result by 1874 it had surpassed New Brunswick as a shipbuilding province. Unfortunately for both Provinces iron and steam were on the horizon. A world-wide financial depression between 1873 and 1896 created wholesale migration of Maritime youth. In the first decade of decline the population did increase by 13.5 percent but 40,000 departed for better economic waters. The population was static fronm 18811891 when the

outflow rose to 104,000. New England gained the bulk of these peoples. Although shipbuilders did commence to build with steel and were able to hold their share of the bulk cargo trade, the total output in 1895 was only a third of production in 1875. In the conversion to steel Maritirne yards found sufficient local coal for smelting, but were without iron. Unable to gain the cheap steel available elsewhere, shipbuilding fell and there was a related drop in the ocean carrying-trade. It was now seen that Maritime manufacturing was competitive with rather than complimentary too that of Upper Canada. Ontario and Quebec imposed general tariffs which afflicted the Maritime export market. The emergence of mass production in the northwestern Provinces, and the phenomenal growth of population and influx of American capital there offset minor successes based on the Maritime railway boom. When the depression ended in 1896 and wheat becamean important export the Canadian economy advanced but New Brunswick could not follow. Port activities increased but not at preConfederation levels. The Intercolonial Railway had f-Biled to gaill trade for the Maritimes since the higher cost of rail transport as opposed to shipment by water favoured American and St. Lawrence ports. Even the development of the C.P.R. "short line" between Saint John and Montreal via Northern Maine did not assist. Iiistead the new line opened the Maritimes to very efficient competition from "Canadian" manufacturers, and made local industry less able to compete on home ground. In this period, industry tended to follow an immigrant population headed north and west.. McDougall may not have been present to witness this massive leave-taking. His f`irst departure was in 1868, a year after Confederation. Perhaps he possessed foresight, but more likely he was simply foot-loose, since there was "plenty of employment". He was at home Jan. 1871 - Oct 28, 1872, in New Brunswick from October 28, 1872 until November 1. When he departed for Nevada for the second time, it was definitely on iInpulse although, "with much greater reluctance and misgivings than the first time". McDougall does not explain why he moved in the face of this inertia, or even why he first braved the "new west". By 1869, Samuel Bowles reports that, "....no more than half as many people are now engaged in gold miniIlg as in 1860". The Nevada Silver Mines opened in 1859, but they were also failing by 1868. In any event, McDougall's diary reveals that he followed no will o' the wisp, but a traditional New Brunswick occupation, the saw-mills. Bowles has also said that, "People who think they are smart in the East, and come to California expecting to find it easy wool-gathering, are generally apt to go home shorn". On his twenty-fifth birthday, McDougall writes that, (I) "find myself at home well and without a cent almost". We don't know if he was "shorn" but he does have our understanding. For the rest, we recommend that you seek out a copy of Samuel Bowles, Out New West, Records of Travel Between The Mississippi River and the Pacific Oceaii. Hartford Publishing Co., Hartford CT 1869. Although it is not mentioned on the title page, Bowles duplicated McDougalls journey, but in the opposite direction. The point-of-view is similar in spite of differences in age and experience. In his account, Bowles suggests that travel from the east to California will be revolutionized by the construction of U.S. Continental RailwaY. Prior to 1869 the only approach to the West Coast was by the Panama Route. The desire to reach California built the Railroad across the Isthmus, and created lines of ocean steamers on either side of the land mass. In 1868, this route carried 50,000 passengers, including McDougall, from east to west. At the same tiine it conveyed 20,000 passengers, including Bowes, from west to

east. By 1869, Bowes concluded that the railroad had won the race, in half the time, and that, "the steamers will be deserted". Nevertheless, he thoroughly enjoyed his return home in 1865 as "the trip introduced us to strange scenery and society", and rounded our gay and anomalous Pacific Coast summer". McDougall's trip was of a different variety, although he does not name homesickness and other elements of his passage . The trip required about three weeks for each of the two travellers. Bowes had passage on seas, "almost as smooth as inland lakes". With typical "beginner's luck" McDougall encountered rough weather. Both found, "companions.... as thick as flies in August' McDougall did not share Bowes opinion of San Francisco as possessing, "the magnetism of an ugly or improper person". but they respectively judged the Panama passage, "a rare revelation", and, "the most pleasant trip 1 ever had".

Next Back To Index

Back To Index

In A Strange Land
The Diary of William McDougall, 1868-1872
Preface
A .reputable Maritime archivist once said that garbagemen and book-men were equally disreputable. We hope he was referring to the fact that book dealers intrude a fee between the archivist and the paper goods. If this his point, we cheerfully counter that no archivist has yei shown the public spirit to forgo his wages. If he meant that both are despoilers, he is incorrect! Any honest processor of public waste will tell you that conservation is much more profitable than burning. Bookmen probably do not gain to the same extent as garbage men, but they do intervene, when archivists are not present, to prevent the destruction of prime source information. This journal is an example of one such rescue. Acquisition of the writings of William McDougall equals our pleasure in having offered the New Brunswick histories of Atkinson, Monro, Hay, Cooney aiid Rayniond. Unlike these scholarly gentlemen, McDougall shows little i·terest in questions of plot , theme, and saleability. Considering the fact that he was an untravelled youth from Wickham Station it is surprising that he recorded his movements a·d produced such a stroiig personal image in his decade. The diary commences in 1868, tracing his travels from New Brunswick to California by sea. A return

horne is noted, as well as two removals to Nevada. The concluding entry pictures McDougall as a pioneer in British Columbia. This book reveals little of the history of New Brui·swick, but it does add to our understanding of what it once meant to be a New Brunswicker. As a seat of contention, the old land of Acadia had a very rudimentary economy. The Atlantic Provinces, which later occupied this la·d mass, succeeded in altering that deficincy in the years 1800 through 1850. Timber had, by then, become the Inainstay of New Brunswick; timber and the fisheries that of Nova Scotia; agriculture the base for Prince Edward Island. Wind, wood and water were all boosted by the discovery of gold in California aiid Australia. A strong demand for ships and supplies was further augInented by the Crirnean War and The Indian Mutiny, which produced a market for troop carriers. The abolition of British Imperial Preference i· the 1840's caused the writi·g of a Reciprocity Treaty with the United States. This, temporarily,re-established a free-trade in raw materials over north-south routes. With fish and coal given access to the U.S. market British colonial trade increased by as much as 300 percent. The Maritime Provinces sailed from these balmy waters into thick o'fog, with technical innovation the reef. The rise of the iron ship happened to coincide with the Confederation of Canada in 1867. Althou·h New Brunswickers have since blamed the union for the "troubles," but the United States failure to renew reciprocity in 1866 was probably a more telling factor. We have excuses, but they are poor ones, for our slow adaptation of ship building techniques based oii the use of steel. These first gains were reinforced by "rofiteering" during the American Civil War. While the war tended to stagnate American ship-building and its merchant marine,the Maritimes realized a dramatic expansion of their facilities. With their chief competitor distracted their water trade doubled in the twenty years before 1860. New England had now a smaller more distant timber resource. With the quality of American lumber on the decline, New Brunswick was best placed to become internationally competitive in this product and at shipbuilding. The following table illustrates growth at Saint John, N.B.

Year 1855 1860 1865 1870

New Vessels Built 95 100 148 85

Registration (St. John) 566 492 628 734

With a sense of Maritime moderation, Hay labelled this as, "the period when trade relatioins with the U.S. (were) satisfactory". He also said, Railway building, increased trade brought about chiefly by the reciprocity treaty with the United States, and the Crimean War in Europe and the Civil War in America, brought great prosperity to the province during the fifteen years before confederation. Everything that the farmer raised brought high prices, and there was plenty of employment for all who sought it.

Although New Brunswickers had once felt that their law-makers would be overshadowed in a legislature combined with Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and the Canadas, and that taxes would be higher, they were panicked by the loss of the southern marke t. They now began to perceive union in terms of a rail link and free trade with Canada. When confederation came, 325,000 Nova Scotians, 250,000 New Brunswickers and 96,000 Prince Edward Islanders set sights on this new market. At this time the maj or metropolitan areas were Halifax, N.S. (pop. 25,000) and Saint John, N.B. (pop. 20,000) Nova Scotia was now committed to fishing and the coastal trade but New Brunswick was still basically a supplier of timber and ships. Prince Edward Island supplied the agricultural deficits of its neighbours . Initially, the conversion of trade to an east-west pattern seemed to work. The effects of economic well-beiiig are reflected in the population growth of a Loyalist township which had 2,868 persons in 1850 and 6,525 inhabitants in 1871. By 1891 the census revealed 2,680 persons. The building of an Intercolonial Railway according to the terms of Confederation was a stimulus to fortunes in New Brunswick. Since the Nova Scotia Peninsula was closer to Europe it benefitted most from increased sea-trade. As a result by 1874 it had surpassed New Brunswick as a shipbuilding province. Unfortunately for both Provinces iron and steam were on the horizon. A world-wide financial depression between 1873 and 1896 created wholesale migration of Maritime youth. In the first decade of decline the population did increase by 13.5 percent but 40,000 departed for better economic waters. The population was static fronm 18811891 when the outflow rose to 104,000. New England gained the bulk of these peoples. Although shipbuilders did commence to build with steel and were able to hold their share of the bulk cargo trade, the total output in 1895 was only a third of production in 1875. In the conversion to steel Maritirne yards found sufficient local coal for smelting, but were without iron. Unable to gain the cheap steel available elsewhere, shipbuilding fell and there was a related drop in the ocean carrying-trade. It was now seen that Maritime manufacturing was competitive with rather than complimentary too that of Upper Canada. Ontario and Quebec imposed general tariffs which afflicted the Maritime export market. The emergence of mass production in the northwestern Provinces, and the phenomenal growth of population and influx of American capital there offset minor successes based on the Maritime railway boom. When the depression ended in 1896 and wheat becamean important export the Canadian economy advanced but New Brunswick could not follow. Port activities increased but not at preConfederation levels. The Intercolonial Railway had f-Biled to gaill trade for the Maritimes since the higher cost of rail transport as opposed to shipment by water favoured American and St. Lawrence ports. Even the development of the C.P.R. "short line" between Saint John and Montreal via Northern Maine did not assist. Iiistead the new line opened the Maritimes to very efficient competition from "Canadian" manufacturers, and made local industry less able to compete on home ground. In this period, industry tended to follow an immigrant population headed north and west.. McDougall may not have been present to witness this massive leave-taking. His f`irst departure was in 1868, a year after Confederation. Perhaps he possessed foresight, but more likely he was simply foot-loose, since there was "plenty of employment". He was at home Jan. 1871 - Oct 28, 1872, in New Brunswick from October 28, 1872 until November 1. When he departed for Nevada for the second time, it was definitely on iInpulse although, "with much greater reluctance and misgivings than the first time".

McDougall does not explain why he moved in the face of this inertia, or even why he first braved the "new west". By 1869, Samuel Bowles reports that, "....no more than half as many people are now engaged in gold miniIlg as in 1860". The Nevada Silver Mines opened in 1859, but they were also failing by 1868. In any event, McDougall's diary reveals that he followed no will o' the wisp, but a traditional New Brunswick occupation, the saw-mills. Bowles has also said that, "People who think they are smart in the East, and come to California expecting to find it easy wool-gathering, are generally apt to go home shorn". On his twenty-fifth birthday, McDougall writes that, (I) "find myself at home well and without a cent almost". We don't know if he was "shorn" but he does have our understanding. For the rest, we recommend that you seek out a copy of Samuel Bowles, Out New West, Records of Travel Between The Mississippi River and the Pacific Oceaii. Hartford Publishing Co., Hartford CT 1869. Although it is not mentioned on the title page, Bowles duplicated McDougalls journey, but in the opposite direction. The point-of-view is similar in spite of differences in age and experience. In his account, Bowles suggests that travel from the east to California will be revolutionized by the construction of U.S. Continental RailwaY. Prior to 1869 the only approach to the West Coast was by the Panama Route. The desire to reach California built the Railroad across the Isthmus, and created lines of ocean steamers on either side of the land mass. In 1868, this route carried 50,000 passengers, including McDougall, from east to west. At the same tiine it conveyed 20,000 passengers, including Bowes, from west to east. By 1869, Bowes concluded that the railroad had won the race, in half the time, and that, "the steamers will be deserted". Nevertheless, he thoroughly enjoyed his return home in 1865 as "the trip introduced us to strange scenery and society", and rounded our gay and anomalous Pacific Coast summer". McDougall's trip was of a different variety, although he does not name homesickness and other elements of his passage . The trip required about three weeks for each of the two travellers. Bowes had passage on seas, "almost as smooth as inland lakes". With typical "beginner's luck" McDougall encountered rough weather. Both found, "companions.... as thick as flies in August' McDougall did not share Bowes opinion of San Francisco as possessing, "the magnetism of an ugly or improper person". but they respectively judged the Panama passage, "a rare revelation", and, "the most pleasant trip 1 ever had".

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