List Of Contents | Contents of Roughing it in the Bush, by Susanna Moodie
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  Have through the welkin proudly rung;
  And, heads uncovered, every tongue
    Has echoed back--"God save the Queen!"
                      God save the Queen!

  It was not like the feeble cry
  That slaves might raise as tyrants pass'd,
  With trembling knees and hearts downcast,
  While dungeoned victims breathed their last
    In mingled groans of agony!
                      God save the Queen!

  Nor were these shouts without the will,
  Which servile crowds oft send on high,
  When gold and jewels meet the eye,
  When pride looks down on poverty.
    And makes the poor man poorer still!
                      God save the Queen!

  No!--it was like the thrilling shout--
  The joyous sounds of price and praise
  That patriot hearts are wont to raise,
  'Mid cannon's roar and bonfires blaze,
    When Britain's foes are put to rout--
                      God save the Queen!

  For 'mid those sounds, to Britons dear,
  No dastard selfish thoughts intrude
  To mar a nation's gratitude:
  But one soul moves that multitude--
    To sing in accents loud and clear--
                      God save the Queen!

  Such sounds as these in days of yore,
  On war-ship's deck and battle plain,
  Have rung o'er heaps of foemen slain--
  And with God's help they'll ring again,
    When warriors' blood shall flow no more,
                      God save the Queen!

  God save the Queen! let patriots cry;
  And palsied be the impious hand
  Would guide the pen, or wield the brand,
  Against our glorious Fatherland.
    Let shouts of freemen rend the sky,
                      God save the Queen!--and Liberty!

  Reader! my task is ended.



Published by Richard Bentley in 1854

In justice to Mrs. Moodie, it is right to state that being still
resident in the far-west of Canada, she has not been able to
superintend this work whilst passing through the press. From this
circumstance some verbal mistakes and oversights may have occurred,
but the greatest care has been taken to avoid them.

Although well known as an authoress in Canada, and a member of a
family which has enriched English literature with works of very
high popularity, Mrs. Moodie is chiefly remembered in this country
by a volume of Poems published in 1831, under her maden name of
Susanna Strickland. During the rebellion in Canada, her loyal
lyrics, prompted by strong affection for her native country, were
circulated and sung throughout the colony, and produced a great
effect in rousing an enthusiastic feeling in favour of law and
order. Another of her lyrical compositions, the charming Sleigh
Song, printed in the present work [at the end of chapter VII],
has been extremely popular in Canada. The warmth of feeling
which beams through every line, and the touching truthfulness
of its details, won for it a reception there as universal as it
was favourable.

The glowing narrative of personal incident and suffering which
she gives in the present work, will no doubt attract general
attention. It would be difficult to point out delineations of
fortitude under privation, more interesting or more pathetic
than those contained in her second volume.

London, January 22, 1852



Introductory Chapter to the First Canadian Edition (1871)

In the year 1832 I landed with my husband, J.W. Dunbar Moodie,
in Canada. Mr. Moodie was the youngest son of Major Moodie, of
Mellsetter, in the Orkney Islands; he was a lieutenant in the
21st Regiment of Fusileers, and had been severely wounded in
the night-attack upon Bergen-op-Zoom, in Holland.

Not being overgifted with the good things of this world--the
younger sons of old British families seldom are--he had, after
mature deliberation, determined to try his fortunes in Canada,
and settle upon the grant of 400 acres of land ceded by the
Government to officers upon half-pay.

Emigration, in most cases--and ours was no exception to the general
rule--is a matter of necessity, not of choice. It may, indeed,
generally be regarded as an act of duty performed at the expense
of personal enjoyment, and at the sacrifice of all those local
attachments which stamp the scenes in which our childhood grew in
imperishable characters upon the heart.

Nor is it, until adversity has pressed hard upon the wounded spirit
of the sons and daughters of old, but impoverished, families, that
they can subdue their proud and rebellious feelings, and submit to
make the trial.

This was our case, and our motive for emigrating to one of the
British colonies can be summed up in a few words.

The emigrant's hope of bettering his condition, and securing a
sufficient competence to support his family, to free himself from
the slighting remarks too often hurled at the poor gentleman by the
practical people of the world, which is always galling to a proud
man, but doubly so when he knows that the want of wealth constitues
the sole difference between him and the more favoured offspring of
the same parent stock.

In 1830 the tide of emigration flowed westward, and Canada became
the great landmark for the rich in hope and poor in purse. Public
newspapers and private letters teemed with the almost fabulous
advantages to be derived from a settlement in this highly favoured
region. Men, who had been doubtful of supporting their families in
comfort at home, thought that they had only to land in Canada to
realize a fortune. The infection became general. Thousands and tens
of thousands from the middle ranks of British society, for the space
of three or four years, landed upon these shores. A large majority
of these emigrants were officers of the army and navy, with their
families: a class perfectly unfitted, by their previous habits and
standing in society, for contending with the stern realities of
emigrant life in the backwoods. A class formed mainly from the
younger scions of great families, naturally proud, and not only
accustomed to command, but to recieve implicit obedience from the
people under them, are not men adapted to the hard toil of the
woodman's life. Nor will such persons submit cheerfully to the
saucy familiarity of servants, who, republicans at heart, think
themselves quite as good as their employers.

Too many of these brave and honest men took up their grants of wild
land in remote and unfavourable localities, far from churches,
schools, and markets, and fell an easy prey to the land speculators
that swarmed in every rising village on the boarders of civilization.

It was to warn such settlers as these last mentioned, not to take
up grants and pitch their tents in the wilderness, and by so doing
reduce themselves and their families to hopeless poverty, that my
work "Roughing it in the Bush" was written.

I gave the experience of the first seven years we passed in the
woods, attempting to clear a bush farm, as a warning to others, and
the number of persons who have since told me, that my book "told the
history" of their own life in the woods, ought to be the best proof
to every candid mind that I spoke the truth. It it not by such feeble
instruments as the above that Providence works when it seeks to
reclaim the waste places of the earth, and make them subservient to
the wants and happiness of its creatures. The great Father of the
souls and bodies of men knows the arm which wholesome labour from the
infancy has made strong, the nerves that have become iron by patient
endurance, and He chooses such to send forth into the forest to hew
out the rough paths for the advance of civilization.

These men became wealthy and prosperous, and are the bones and
sinews of a great and rising country. Their labour is wealth, not
exhaustion; it produces content, not home-sickness and despair.

What the backwoods of Canada are to the industrious and
ever-to-be-honoured sons of honest poverty, and what they are
to the refined and polished gentleman, these sketches have
endeavoured to show.

The poor man is in his native element; the poor gentleman totally
unfitted, by his previous habits and education, to be a hewer of the
forest and a tiller of the soil. What money he brought out with him
is lavishly expended during the first two years in paying for labour
to clear and fence lands which, from his ignorance of agricultural
pursuits, will never make him the least profitable return and barely
find coarse food for his family. Of clothing we say nothing. Bare
feet and rags are too common in the bush.

Now, had the same means and the same labour been employed in the
cultivation of a leased farm, or one purchased for a few hundred
dollars, near a village, how different would have been the results,
not only to the settler, but it would have added greatly to the
wealth and social improvement of the country.

I am well aware that a great and, I must think, a most unjust
prejudice has been felt against my book in Canada because I dared to
give my opinion freely on a subject which had engrossed a great deal
of my attention; nor do I believe that the account of our failure in
the bush ever deterred a single emigrant from coming to the country,
as the only circulation it ever had in the colony was chiefly through
the volumes that often formed a portion of their baggage. The many
who have condemned the work without reading it will be surprised to
find that not one word has been said to prejudice intending emigrants
from making Canada their home. Unless, indeed, they ascribe the
regret expressed at having to leave my native land, so natural in
the painful home-sickness which, for several months, preys upon the
health and spirits of the dejected exile, to a deep-rooted dislike
to the country.

So far from this being the case, my love for the country has steadily
increased from year to year, and my attachment to Canada is now
so strong that I cannot imagine any inducement, short of absolute
necessity, which could induce me to leave the colony where as a wife
and mother, some of the happiest years of my life have been spent.

Contrasting the first years of my life in the bush with Canada as
she now is, my mind is filled with wonder and gratitude at the rapid
strides she has made towards the fulfilment of a great and glorious

What important events have been brought to pass within the narrow
circle of less than forty years! What a difference since NOW and
THEN. The country is the same only in name. Its aspect is wholly
changed. The rough has become smooth, the crooked has been made
straight, the forests have been converted into fruitful fields, the
rude log cabin of the woodsman has been replaced by the handsome,
well-appointed homestead, and large populous cities have pushed the
small clap-boarded village into the shade.

The solitary stroke of the axe that once broke the uniform silence of
the vast woods is only heard in remote districts, and is superseded
by the thundering tread of the iron horse and the ceaseless panting of
the steam-engine in our sawmills and factories.

Canada is no longer a child, sleeping in the arms of nature,
dependant for her very existence on the fostering care of her
illustrious mother. She has outstepped infancy, and is in the full
enjoyment of a strong and vigorous youth. What may not we hope for
her maturity ere another forty summers have glided down the stream
of time! Already she holds in her hand the crown of one of the
mightiest empires that the world has seen, or is yet to see.

Look at her vast resources--her fine healthy climate--her fruitful
soil--the inexhaustible wealth of her pine forests--the untold
treasures hidden in her unexplored mines. What other country
possesses such an internal navigation for transporting its products
from distant Manitoba to the sea, and from thence to every port in
the world!

If an excellent Government, defended by wise laws, a loyal people,
and a free Church, can make people happy and proud of their country,
surely we have every reason to rejoice in our new Dominion.

When we first came to the country it was a mere struggle for bread to
the many, while all the offices of emolument and power were held by a
favoured few. The country was rent to pieces by political factions,
and a fierce hostility existed between the native born Canadians--the
first pioneers of the forest--and the British emigrants, who looked
upon each other as mutual enemies, who were seeking to appropriate
the larger share of the new country.

Those who had settled down in the woods were happily unconscious
that these quarrels threatened to destroy the peace of the colony.

The insurrection of 1837 came upon them like a thunder clap; they
could hardly believe such an incredible tale. Intensely loyal, the
emigrant officers rose to a man to defend the British flag and
chastise the rebels and their rash leader.

In their zeal to uphold British authority, they made no excuse for
the wrongs that the dominant party had heaped upon a clever and
high-spirited man. To them he was a traitor, and, as such, a public
enemy. Yet the blow struck by that injured man, weak as it was,
without money, arms, or the necessary munitions of war, and defeated
and broken in its first effort, gave freedom to Canada, and laid
the foundation of the excellent constitution that we now enjoy. It
drew the attention of the Home Government to the many abuses then
practised in the colony, and made them aware of its vast importance
in a political point of view, and ultimately led to all our great
national improvements.

The settlement of the long-vexed clergy reserves question, and the
establishment of common schools was a great boon to the colony. The
opening up of new townships, the making of roads, the establishments
of municipal councils in all the old districts, leaving to the
citizens the free choice of their own members in the council for
the management of their affairs, followed in rapid succession.

These changes of course took some years to accomplish, and led to
others equally important. The Provincial Exhibitions have done much
to improve the agricultural interests, and have led to better and
more productive methods of cultivation than were formerly practiced
in the Province. The farmer gradually became a wealthy and
intelligent landowner, proud of his improved flocks and herds, of
his fine horses and handsome homestead. He was able to send his sons
to college and his daughters to boarding school, and not uncommonly
became an honourable member of the Legislative Council.

While the sons of poor gentlemen have generally lost caste and sunk
into useless sots, the children of these honest tillers of the soil
have steadily risen to the highest class, and have given to Canada
some of her best and wisest legislators.

Men who rest satisfied with the mere accident of birth for their
claims to distinction, without energy and industry to maintain
their position in society, are sadly at discount in a country which
amply rewards the worker, but leaves the indolent loafer to die in
indigence and obscurity.

Honest poverty is encouraged, not despised, in Canada. Few of her

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