Quebec Mercury, 28 May 1816
As the weather, until within a few days, was, for a time, uncommonly cold; and as much has been said in the American papers of remarkable spots being lately seen on the sun’s disk … it has been suggested that the extraordinary cold weather may have been the effect of so much of the sun being thus inumbrated; or at least that this may have been, in part the cause; to which added the opposition of much ice floating to the southward.
Montreal in Quebec Mercury, 11 June 1816
Yesterday morning the frost was sharp, ice as thick as a dollar, which has injured tender as well as hardy plants. Such an alarming season loudly demands the attention of the husbandman to provide against an impending scarcity. We understand, seeds of good qualities are scarce in various parts of the country; it then becomes the bounden duty of the rich to assist the poor in providing for the ensuing harvest. When a crop of wheat is doubtful, it is universally admitted, that potatoes are the best substitute; this season too many of them cannot be planted.
Early this morning some snow fell; and the frost was as severe as on yesterday morning.
Quebec Mercury, 9 July 1816
Cold weather has for these three or four days, returned to us, to a degree to make fire comfortable, particularly to sedentary people. We mean males, for as to females, nearnaked as they generally are, it is seldom that they can keep from the fire in any weather.
Quebec Mercury, 20 August 1816
We have much satisfaction in learning, from all parts, that nothing can be more flattering than the appearance of the crop in the two Canadas. We trust that the pleasing prospect will be eventually realized in overflowing granaries.
Quebec Mercury, 24 September 1816
Though but the 24th of Sept., St. Anne street is full of faded leaves from a large elm on the church ground, the greater part of whose leaves have become yellow, for some weeks. The woods within view of the town, have taken an autumnal appearance. Three nights past there was frost in the country; but the season generally, for some time, has been remarkably favorable, so as to give time to the wheat in the neighborhood to ripen, though late. – Nothing could be finer than its present state. It is now cutting. The equinoctial winds have begun this day.
Quebec Mercury, 8 October 1816
The failure of the harvest in certain parishes on the South Shore of St. Lawrence, below Quebec, oweing to the late frosts, we regret to learn threatens the most serious consequences to the inhabitants of those parishes unless some timely supply be provided for their subsistence. St. Anne, Rivière Ouelle, Kamouraska and St. André and the other parishes are said to have entirely lost their wheat harvest.
Quebec Mercury, 3 December 1816
We have been requested to notice that, some of our Bakers have served their customers with bread that is not eatable. Bread being intended as the stuff of life, if, by any perversion, instead of nutriment, it is made to be pernicious, it is changing good into evil; which is an offence that ought not to be overlooked, and we trust, will not be repeated.
The winter is completely set in; the carioles have been running for a week past.
Quebec Mercury, 24 December 1816
At a period of uncommon distress to the lower order of inhabitants, when subscriptions are opened for their relief, and every exertion made to alleviate, if not remove it, no apology is necessary for trespassing upon public attention; … I shall therefore at once suggest that, without loss of time, some public or private buildings be procured, for the purpose of separating the unfortunate and helpless from the vicious and idle. … “Something must be done”, every one says, and the new philanthropic society are no doubt well inclined; … A few hours since I heard that a lady sent some blankets to a poor woman who was dying for want, with several children, however her servant learnt that she had sold similar donations before, and expended the money in rum, while the children were starving. I do not hesitate to say, (however pious people may condemn me) that to rescue those infants from famine, and what is worse the horrid example of their infamous mother, they should be taken from her, and taught to work; and she be permitted to terminate her existence in her favorite way. It will be said that great difficulties exist respecting the plan I have proposed, but I cannot discover them. Are the good people of Quebec so solicitous for their poor, and will they not allow their unoccupied houses to be appropriated for their relief? Are there not many persons who possess abundance of fuel at a distance from the town, who would willingly give it, were conveyances and labour found for its transport? Are there not numbers of poor men crying out for work, who thus employed, would provide not only for their own immediate wants, but the comforts of some hundreds? … Possibly, there may be Government buildings at present unoccupied; if so, a few days would be sufficient to convert them into Poor-houses. … I hate the whining, canting tone of the times; exertion and cheerfulness will do every thing….
~A Stranger, letter to the editor
Quebec Mercury, 25 February 1817
Most people talk of the severity of the cold of this winter, compared with former seasons, but I have not seen any one who could tell precisely what the difference really was in thermometrical degrees. To satisfy myself upon this point, I took the medium degree of cold as given in your journal from the 1st Jan. of this year, to the 18th Feb. your last date, a period of 49 days, or seven weeks. This I compared with the medium degree of cold for exactly the same period in the three preceding years; the result is as follows, viz,
1814 – medium cold was upwards of 7 ¾ degree above zero.
1815 – medium cold, was nearly 5 degrees above zero.
1816 – medium cold, was nearly 4 ½ degrees above zero.
1817 – medium cold, was nearly 2 degrees below zero.
By this it will be seen that the greatest difference is 9 ¾, and the least 6 ½ in favour of the intensity of cold this year; an immense difference truly, when it is considered that it was for the long and continued period of seven weeks.
Quebec Mercury, 8 March 1817
Whereas many Farmers distressed by the short Harvest of the last Year consumed for their support during the present year, what was necessary for their next feed, and such as are able to spare feed for their supplies, may not be willing to trust it to the poorer inhabitants, without indisputable security for the payment thereof, at the next ensuing Harvest: In tenderness therefor the disaffected, Be it enacted …. [A]ny contract or agreement which shall after the passing of this Act, and before the twenty-fifth day of June next, be bona fide made in writing for supplies of Wheat, Pease, Oats, or any other Seed, Corn, or Potatoes, in the preference of a Notary Public, or one of His Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, or a Curate of any Parish, or, a Captain of the Militia, and one other credible Witness, for any quantity of Seed Corn, not exceeding Forty minots of Wheat, and Thirty minot s of other Bread, Corn, or Grain; nor Twenty minots of Potatoes to any one Buyer or Borrower, his Debt therefore shall in all Courts, be deemed and ajudged to be a privileged Debt, with the benefit of preference to the Vender or Lender, before any other Creditor, ….
Quebec Mercury, 22 April 1817
On Tuesday morning the ice made a grand movement before the city, and on Wednesday the river was clear between this and La Prairie. We are not informed how far down the ice has opened but we suppose it to be still fast at Varennes, five leagues below. The water before the city scarcely rose a foot above the level marked by the ice before it moved; a circumstance rather novel, and which has only occurred once before during the last twenty years. The weather is very variable, and indicates a backwards season.
Quebec Mercury, 6 May 1817
On Saturday, the wind blew strong from the eastward, which had the effect of breaking up the ice before the town, it being on Sunday morning in full motion. Another instance of the river Saint Lawrence being covered before this town, with fixed ice, on the 3d of May, we believe is not within the memory of the longest liver among us. Maypoles were planted on it on the 1st of the month, and horses, carriages, and horned cattle crossed it to the day of its breaking up.
Quebec Mercury, 27 May 1817