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Country Life in Canada Fifty Years Ago Personal recollections and reminiscences of a sexagenarian   By: (1825-1901)

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Tonya Allen, Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.

LIFE IN CANADA FIFTY YEARS AGO:

PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS AND REMINISCENCES OF A SEXAGENARIAN.

BY CANNIFF HAIGHT

"Ah, happy years! Once more who would not be a boy?"

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.

TO THE YOUNG MEN OF CANADA,

UPON WHOSE INTEGRITY AND ENERGY OF CHARACTER THE FUTURE OF THIS GREAT HERITAGE OF OURS RESTS,

THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED BY THE AUTHOR.

PREFACE.

When a man poses before the world even the Canadian world in the role of an author, he is expected to step up to the footlights, and explain his purpose in presenting himself before the public in that capacity.

The thoughts of the world are sown broadcast, very much as the seed falls from the sweep of the husbandman's hand. It drops here and there, in good ground and in stony places. Its future depends upon its vitality. Many a fair seed has fallen on rich soil, and never reached maturity. Many another has shot up luxuriantly, but in a short time has been choked by brambles. Other seeds have been cast out with the chaff upon the dung heap, and after various mutations, have come in contact with a clod of earth, through which they have sent their roots, and have finally grown into thrifty plants. A thought thrown out on the world, if it possesses vital force, never dies. How much is remembered of the work of our greatest men? Only a sentence here and there; and many a man whose name will go down through all the ages, owes it to the truth or the vital force of the thought embedded in a few brief lines.

I have very little to say respecting the volume here with presented to the public. The principal contents appeared a short time ago in the Canadian Monthly and the Canadian Methodist Magazine . They were written at a time when my way seemed hedged around with insurmountable difficulties, and when almost anything that could afford me a temporary respite from the mental anxieties that weighed me down, not only during the day, but into the long hours of the night, would have been welcomed. Like most unfortunates, I met Mr. Worldly Wiseman from day to day. I always found him ready to point out the way I should go and what I should do, but I have no recollection that he ever got the breadth of a hair beyond that. One evening I took up my pen and began jotting down a few memories of my boyhood. I think we are all fond of taking retrospective glances, and more particularly when life's pathway trends towards the end. The relief I found while thus engaged was very soothing, and for the time I got altogether away from the present, and lived over again many a joyous hour. After a time I had accumulated a good deal of matter, such as it was, but the thought of publication had not then entered my mind. One day, while in conversation with Dr. Withrow, I mentioned what I had done, and he expressed a desire to see what I had written. The papers were sent him, and in a short time he returned them with a note expressing the pleasure the perusal of them had afforded him, and advising me to submit them to the Canadian Monthly for publication. Sometime afterwards I followed his advice. The portion of the papers that appeared in the last named periodical were favourably received, and I was much gratified not only by that, but from private letters afterwards received from different parts of the Dominion, conveying expressions of commendation which I had certainly never anticipated. This is as much as need be said about the origin and first publication of the papers which make up the principal part of this volume. I do not deem it necessary to give any reasons for putting them in book form; but I may say this: the whole has been carefully revised, and in its present shape I hope will meet with a hearty welcome from a large number of Canadians... Continue reading book >>




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