Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 8 June 1816
Note: The Nova Scotia Archives has made the entire Acadian Recorder available online, here.
The last week has been the most barren of intelligence we have ever experienced. From the States, we see deplorable accounts of suffering from want of rain – in many parts the Wheat has perished, and the ground been again ploughed and sown with other seeds. Nothing can be more unpromising than our prospects; perhaps there never was a year so backward, such a succession of unfavourable weather, or so scanty a shew of vegetation on the beginning of June.
Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 3 August 1816
…THE SEASON. – We have great pleasure in assuring our neighbours, that the Season never bid fairer to reward the husbandman in Nova-Scotia, than it does at this period. Wheat, Oats, and Potatoes look well throughout the country; and the season promises a good crop of grass.
Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 10 August 1816
… At a time like the present when our streets are crowded with numbers of our countrymen, who for want of employment have been forced from their native country, and with others, who after having gloriously fought its battles in the late wars have been disbanded and left without any other means of support than their labour. It may not be thought improper to offer some observations on the practice of many of the farmers of this country in the employment of labourers, – …the inhabitants of this country in general, are in the habit of employing the above description of persons by the month, at the enormous wages of from four to five pounds per month, during three or four months of the summer season, and discharging them at the expiration of that time, in consequence of which that very useful class of men are thrown out of employment, in the inclement season of winter, to leave this country and seek employment in the milder climate of the Unite States, or to resort for a precarious and wretched support to our seaport towns where they fall a prey to every kind of vice, and become from intemperance unfit to pursue the healthful and beneficial employment of Agriculture in either case; they are totally lost to our country and in the ensuing season our farmers are at a loss for labour to aid in the cultivation of their estates. …I would seriously recommend to our farmers instead of employing men in the manner above stated, to engage them by the year, which they will be able to do at less wages….
Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 10 August 1816
… The inhabitants of Antigonish, desire through me, to express their gratitude to the late worthy Governor of this Province, Sir JOHN COAPE SHERBROOKE, for his very liberal Donation to them, and timely relieving the distress Inhabitants of this place, with Flour and Bread to the amount of £100 – Whereby upwards of five hundred souls (by estimation) were in some measure relieved by it, many of whom had nothing to subsist upon but the very scanty allowance of Milk their Cows afforded them, being brought into this distressed situation, by the injury done to their Crops last season by the Mice.
Antigonish, July 31, 1816.
Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 14 September 1816
Oats of this year’s growth, made their first appearance in our market this morning. They were raised by Mr. E. Dawson, on a farm near the North-West arm; and are of an excellent quality.
Prince Edward Island in Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 9 November 1816
We learn from Prince Edward Island, by a gentleman who left it on Tuesday, the 29th ult. That he Governor had prohibited the Exportation of Grain, and all kinds of Provision for the space of three months. A number of vessels were partly ladened for Newfoundland and this place.
Beneficus, letter to the editor, 19 December 1816 in Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 21 December 1816
I had the satisfaction to observe in the Recorder of Saturday last, a letter addressed to you on the subject of giving charity, by employing the laboring part of the community during the winter, who may be destitute of the means of support. I agree with the writer in his remarks …and will add one or two of my own.
… I must say with regard to throwing the heaps of snow (caused by drifts or shoveling) into the centre of the street, I am much pleased, as it would make the sleighing safer; not only for those riding, but also for pedestrians….
I will now mention what occurs to me, respecting the rate and mode of payment to be given. …I would recommend that some building be hired, in which these unfortunate persons can be accommodated. …As Bread is extremely high and scarce at present, perhaps a loan of Biscuit might be had by application, from the Government Stores….
With respect to their going into the country at present, without any immediate prospect in view, I think they ought not to be encouraged by any person resident in town. No doubt in the course of the winter many applications for laboring men, may be made from the country, but generally it will be found, that the Farmers have engaged such labour as they will require for the winter. … Therefore humanity and justice should prevent our recommending to those unfortunate strangers lately arrived, a cold and dreary journey, at this inclement and perilous season, which will in all probability add to their misfortunes, by disappointing their only hope.
The arrival and situation of these much-to-be-pitied fugitives, will have reached all parts of the Province, before the meeting of the Legislature, when the Members of the Assembly will come to the Capital prepared either to legislate discreetly and I hope liberally on this vitally important matter ….
In a climate like ours a very considerable number of laboring men in town, must be without employment, the greater part of the winter; otherwise the community must be very deficient of the quantity of labour required in summer. On that account, I should not only like to see a provision for the present, but for future winters. …
~Beneficus, letter to the editor
Letter to the editor, 31 January 1817 in Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 1 February 1817
…I have remarked but one publication under the title of “Beneficus”; which has taken into contemplation the suffering of the Labouring Poor, at this inclement season, and that contained only a partial statement of the necessities of an unfortunate class, who have lately arrived from Newfoundland, — But Sir, a very superficial observer, upon casting his eyes around this Metropolis, will see distress and want, prevalent in every quarter. …A Meeting of the Friends of Suffering Humanity is requested at the Exchange Coffee Room, at 12 o’clock, To-morrow….
~A Friend to Humanity letter to the editor of the Weekly Chronicle
Beneficus letter to the editor, 31 January 1817 in Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 1 February 1817
In my last letter I stated that there could be but one opinion respecting the mode of relieving the laboring poor. – That was, by giving employment, were it practicable. If the conclusion is that it is not practicable, then we must be contented with the next best thing. That is, giving relief without employment. …
And I think it will be as readily admitted, that no past winter, equaled the present either in amusements and pleasure, or poverty and frost.
I would not be understood as condemning these amusements and pleasures, only where they take such compleat possession of the mind, as to make it callous to the distressing poverty of our fellow creatures. …
So far, am I from wishing to abolish the amusements of the town, that I have no hesitation in saying, I should be happy to see employed a portion of the inactive labour of this town, in digging a foundation for a THEATRE, to be built by subscription. …
~Beneficus letter to the editor
1816 Weather Summary, Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 1 February 1817
The months of January and February were very mild. – March chilly with a few severe days; on the whole an unfavourable month for the Farmer, and unpleasant to all. –April proved as bad until the 25th when there were a few fair days. –May was, on the whole, the most distressing month we have experienced these many years by rains, high winds and flights of snow. – June would have been a tolerable month of March, a great deal of wet, much cold weather and frequent frosts: the 21st and five following days were real summer weather. – July, but a cold month, yet contained a large proportion of clear days. – August was so favourable that it brought forward every species of vegetation rapidly; and, had it not been for a frost which proved universal throughout the Province on the morning of the 22d, the crops would have turned out an average. A few farmers, on dry soils, profited by their early seeding; this season has eminently proved the advantage of that practice. – September a pleasant month, and secured the lingering hay season, which was a month beyond the usual period. – October a very fine month, and did much good to the country, but still the potatoes suffered much by the frequent frosts and late season, the frosts destroying the tops before the roots were ripe. – November a good month until the 22d, and then the winter sat in more than two weeks sooner than usual. – In December there was more changeable weather, and some very severe days for the season. On the whole this Province is said to have escaped (this year) better than its neighbours.
January 1817 Weather, Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 8 February 1817
Halifax, Nova Scotia. Diary of the Weather for JANUARY. The beginning of the month was mild until the 5th; from thence the cold has continued very steadily. … Some very cold days and a few very severe; thermometer is said to have been at 9/16 at 4 o’clock, A.M. on the 29th. Much good sleighing up the country.
Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 22 February 1817
…The sufferings to which that class of this society are exposed, from the want of that most necessary article, Fuel, is painfully obvious to all to whom their distresses are known; …. I would respectfully submit …that a Depository of Wood at the favourable periods for purchase should be formed, under the superintendence of the Overseers of the Poor, or any other competent persons to whom it might be deemed eligible to allot that duty – the money to be derived from whatever Provincial Fund would be the most appropriable to such a charitable use, and that in periods of necessity, such as the present it should be disposed of at the average purchase price …in such quantities, and to such persons as the Overseers or Superintendants should decided on.
~Trim, letter to the editor
Letter to the editor, 14 March 1817 in Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 15 March 1817
Although I may be thought by many a visionist, for saying that Nova Scotia is not merely a Grazing country from a nature, but a Bread country, I will, notwithstanding say I think so. … But as I intend to confine this communication the Agriculture of the Province, I will endavour to make it appear reasonable that the following encouragement should be given:
A bounty on all Grain, say from 1s. 9d. to 2s. 9d. per bushel, sold by Farmers, obliging them to keep a sufficient quantity for the use of their families. This bounty could be derived from a Duty to be laid on Flour from the United States, and a smaller duty on Wheat and other Grain from that country. …
How much better would it be if the wealth of the province could be kept within it. …
~A Nova-Scotian, letter to the editor
March 1817 Weather, Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 5 April 1817
There have been considerable quantities of Snow fallen this month – so much as to have materially impeded the work in the woods, in which it is at present very deep. The frost has not been very severe, but has remained steady until towards the end, when it relented after the 22nd during the day; but having always frozen slightly, at least, at night and thawed in the day …. The highway from Sackville landing to Shaw’s tavern at the lower end of the Bason, has been made upon the ice during the whole of this month; a circumstance which has not happened since the winter 1788-9. …. The harbour has been several times closed with ice as low as Point Sandwich, or near to it, for several days together; a very unusual occurrence; … But there has been no instance of such cold as has been reported to have taken place in different parts of the United States.
“An Act to prohibit the exportation of Corn and Potatoes,” Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 5 April 1817
Whereas it is expedient to prohibit the exportation of Corn, and Potatoes, from any part of this Province:
…it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to export in any ship, vessel or boat, from any part of this Province, to any port or places out of this Province, (the necessary stores or provisions for such ship, vessel or boat excepted,) any Wheat, Rye, Barley, Indian Corn, Oats, or Potatoes.
And be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall export or load …any of the articles herein enumerated …shall forfeit and pay double the value of the articles so exported or laden….
And be it further enacted, That such ship, vessel or boat … shall be liable to seizure and condemnation….
And be it further enacted, That upon condemnation and sale the proceeds thereof shall be applied as follows: — One moiety or half-part thereof …shall be paid to the person or persons who have given information in consequence of which the seizure shall have been made and prosecuted …and the other moiety to be paid to the Overseers of the Poor of such Township….
April 1817 Weather, Nova Scotia Acadian Recorder, 10 May 1817
Diary of the Weather for APRIL …
The beginning of the month contained a large proportion of clear bright days; but the nights being, in general, unusually cold, with smart frosts, the great accumulation of snow, in the woods, during the winter and the Ice in the small harbours, the Coves and on the Lakes, have not so much diminished as usually they do at this season. … On the whole, however, the weather has been generally clear and bright, but backward. More pleasant to Townspeople than profitable to Farmers.