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The Settlers in Canada   By: (1792-1848)

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The Settlers in Canada, by Captain Marryat.

"The Settlers in Canada" was published in 1844, the twenty first book to flow from Marryat's pen. Marryat's later books were written for a juvenile readership. This book is notable because it is not in Marryat's earlier style, in that the narrative flows forward in a steady style, without the introduction of the usual asides which make his nautical books so readable. The subject material, set in the Canadian wilderness, is very well treated: in fact one might almost say that he had read the works of the later masters of Canadian wilderness writing, Ballantyne or Egerton Ryerson Young. Another feature which is unusual for him is the shortness and evenness of the chapters; nor are there any of the long paragraphs normal for his earlier works. This helps to make the book so suitable as a children's book.




It was in the year 1791, that an English family went out to settle in Canada. This province had been surrendered to us by the French, who first colonised it more than thirty years previous to the year I have mentioned. It must, however, be recollected that to emigrate and settle in Canada was, at that time, a very different affair to what it is now. The difficulty of transport, and the dangers incurred, were much greater, for there were no steamboats to stem the currents and the rapids of the rivers; the Indians were still residing in Upper and many portions of Lower Canada, and the country was infested with wild animals of every description some useful, but many dangerous: moreover, the Europeans were fewer in number, and the major portion of them were French, who were not pleased at the country having been conquered by the English. It is true that a great many English settlers had arrived, and had settled upon different farms, but, as the French settlers had already possession of all the best land in Lower Canada, these new settlers were obliged to go into or towards Upper Canada, where, although the land was better, the distance from Quebec and Montreal and other populous parts was much greater, and they were left almost wholly to their own resources, and almost without protection. I mention all this because things are so very different at present, and now I shall state the cause which induced this family to leave their home, and run the risks and dangers which they did.

Mr Campbell was of a good parentage, but, being the son of one of the younger branches of the family, his father was not rich, and Mr Campbell was, of course, brought up to a profession. Mr Campbell chose that of a surgeon, and, after having walked the hospitals (as it is termed), he set up in business, and in a few years was considered as a very able man in his profession. His practice increased very fast, and before he was thirty years of age he married.

Mr Campbell had an only sister, who resided with him, for their father and mother were both dead. But about five years after his own marriage, a young gentleman paid his addresses to her, and, although not rich, as his character was unexceptionable, and his prospects good, he was accepted. Miss Campbell changed her name to Percival, and left her brother's house to follow her husband.

Time passed quickly; and, at the end of ten years, Mr Campbell found himself with a flourishing business, and, at the same time, with a family to support; his wife having presented him with four boys, of whom the youngest was but a few months old.

But, although prosperous in his own affairs, one Heavy misfortune fell upon Mr Campbell, which was the loss of his sister, Mrs Percival, to whom he was most sincerely attached. Her loss was attended with circumstances which rendered it more painful, as, previous to her decease, the house of business in which Mr Percival was a partner, failed; and the incessant toil and anxiety which Mr Percival underwent, brought on a violent fever, which ended in his death... Continue reading book >>

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