Fifty Years Ago.
Dear Sir:—Much complaint is made that a large portion of the fishing schooners in the St. Lawrence is American. This is laid to our bad Government, our country, and every thing else but the true CAUSE by the ignoble, and the grumbling, disloyal, disappointed newspapers writers who know better or ought to know. Our people are only just getting their lands cleared up and have been enduring the hardships of a new country. It has been easier for the people to get their foreign necessaries by the exportation of lumber from their wilderness lands than to get out fishing vessels. That part of Massachusetts now called Maine had exhausted its timber a hundred years ago and was driven to fishing and the development of the business, and with the influx of immigration and English money they have little to boast of that they have gone ahead of us in fishing &c. Every person, who has taken the trouble to watch events, knows that the Dominion of Canada has made greater progress in the last fifty years than have the New England States. In highways and roads, in agriculture, in schools, in manufactures, in ship building, in foreign trade &c our progress has been greater. They were one hundred years ago where we are now on account of their age.
Let me call attention to another man's memory. Mr. Nelson Bulmer (now eighty), tells of his grandfather Dixon. Mr. Dixon came to Nova Scotia in 1773 with a number of others, the first settlers; he was the ancestor of all the Dixons in Sackville. Mr. Bulmer says, I recollect the old gentleman coming to our house, I was a boy then, and when he wanted to go home, he said—Nelson my boy, yoke up the oxen and take me home, I'm tired. I took him home; he lived near where Mr. Alfred Dixon now lives. I said, why did you not take a horse and wagon; he replied— No horse, carts or wagons in those days, I recollect the first of that kind of thing in Sackville. Mr. Milledge, a merchant of Westcock and Major Wilson, the father of Mr. Wilson now living in Sackville, imported one each from Connecticut, a two wheeled chaise. There were plenty chaises and fine carriages in New England then. They had then been to the United States Of America for a quarter of a century. He says his father purchased Mr. Milledge’s chaise at Mr. Milledge's decease as well as a table. Some parts of the old chaise may yet be seen and the table is in use in his own house now.
Mr. Bulmer says that a Mr. Lockhart told him he was the first man who passed through Dorchester woods with a loaded team. He went with an ox team for a hogshead of ram for Mr. Milledge, and often had to pry up his load to clear his axles of rooks &c. This could not be over one hundred years ago, for Mr. Mllledge was a young man, and in the records of marriages he is found to have been married to Miss Sarah Botsford, by Charles Dixon Esq in 1790, such was the state of the roads in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia at this time. Members of Assembly had to travel to head-quarters on snow shoes a large portion of the way. This, the writer had from one of the Members.
In the early days of the settlement of America Nova Scotia got a bad name; settled by the French, who studied only war and the fur trade, its somewhat ragged south-eastern coast, emigration from Europe passed on to the English colonies and has continued to do so, hence the the state of our provinces. Money that left England for America went to build New England towns and manufactories. It is only now since Confederation was effected through much tribulation, with a railway system that astonishes the world, and a general progress unparalleled in history have we fought our way to our merited rank as a field for capital and a place for those looking to emigration in Europe.
What will one hundred years do for us, now, that the immense mineral wealth of Cape Breton and Nova Scotia proper is known, our nearness to Europe is realized, our facilities for transportation are appreciated, our unequalled fishing grounds, and the new state of the country and immense railroad system that is exciting the capitalists of Europe? We have lived down foreign slander and contempt and have only now to contend with the pigmy annexationist and the sour faced haters of every thing and every body. We have drifted beyond the fifty years of Her Majesty's Reign in these letters; the times are so connected is the excuse
August, 1887. X. X.