Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

GENERAL HISTORY.

85

Cape Breton was annexed as a county to Nova Scotia, with the privilege of sending two members to the House of Assembly at Halifax. This is strongly protested against by the colonists of the island, who have petitioned his Majesty on the subject, and been thus prudently replied to, by Mr. Stanley, while Colonial Secretary :

I have laid before the King the petition which has been sent home, and have received his Majesty's commands to intimate, that, with every desire to pay the earliest attention to the reasonable representation of any petition of his Majesty's subjects, the question is considered to be of far too grave a character to be dealt with otherwise than in the most formal

manner.

It would be proper, therefore, that the petitioners should be informed that, with a view to bring forward the claim which they have advanced in the most effectual and correct mode, their petition should be drawn up and addressed to his Majesty in Council, and that they should be apprised that the case will be heard by counsel.

“ E. G. STANLEY." “ To the Governor of Nova Scotia."

The first question which will naturally arise in the mind of the mere economist, who looks to the pounds, shillings, and pence of the moment, after perusing the foregoing accounts, of the gallant efforts made for the acquisition of Cape Breton Isle is, whether it be worth the money spent in its acquisition to this question the statesman will add, whether it is worth the blood spilt in the capture ? Both these questions may be satisfactorily answered in the affirmative: its inexhaustible mines of coal and iron, lying close to the surface, and contiguous to each other—to say no

thing of the valuable fisheries on its coasts—the fine timber in its forests—and the fertile land throughout the territory, sufficiently answer the question of the economist : the statesman need only glance for a second at its geographical position, commanding the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and adjacent seas, to find a prompt and satisfactory reply to his query, should it ever be put by a short-sighted and anti-maritime, and I will add, unnational ministry.

CHAPTER II.

PHYSICAL ASPECT-CHIEF TOWNS-GEOLOGY-MINERALOGY

-CLIMATE -- POPULATION --GOVERNMENT-COMMERCESTAPLE PRODUCTS, &c.

CAPE Breton is of a shape nearly triangular, its shores indented with many fine deep havens, broken with innumerable coves and islets, and almost separated into two islands' by the great inlet of the sea, termed Bras d'Or, which ramifies in the most singular and romantic manner throughout the isle. These natural divisions of Cape Breton are also in striking

· The isthmus of St. Peter, which prevents the Bras d'Or entirely separating Cape Breton into two parts, is not more than 3,000 feet, and it has been proposed to cut a canal to join the two seas, the expense of which would not be more than 17,0001.

PHYSICAL ASPECT.

87

contrast, the one to the north being high, bold, and steep, that to the south low, intersected by water, diversified with moderate elevations, and gradually rising from the interior shore of the Bras d'Or until it presents abrupt cliffs towards the ocean. In this latter division the highest land does not exceed 800 feet, but the highlands in the north division are are higher, bolder, and more continuous; Smokey Cape, exceeding 1,800 feet in altitude above the level of the sea. The Bras d'Or would appear to have been an irruption of the ocean, caused by some earthquake, or convulsion, admitting the water within the usual boundary of the coast.

Its entrance is on the east side of the island facing Newfoundland, and divided into two passages by Boulardie Island. The south

passage, called Little Bras d'Or, is about twenty-three miles long, and from a quarter to three miles wide, but rendered unnavigable for large vessels by a bar at its mouth. The north passage, Great Bras d'Or, is twenty-five miles long, two or three wide, with a free navigation, and above sixty fathoms soundings. The Bras d'Or itself is the union of these two branches, which form the great lake in the centre of the island, with several fine bays, where the timber ships for England usually load, at a distance of forty miles from the main ocean. The length of this noble sea-water lake is about fifty miles, its greatest width twenty, with a depth varying from twelve to sixty fathoms, everywhere securely navigable, and by reason of its numerous bays and inlets affording the benefit of inland navigation to almost every farm in the country. Several fresh

water lakes exist in different places, the largest are Lake Marguerite, in the north division, which is about forty miles in circumference; the Grand River and Mire lakes in the south, the latter, together with its river intersecting the island on its southeast coast for thirty miles, in the rear of the site of the ancient fortress of Louisburg.

Sydney, the capital of Cape Breton, in latitude 46° 18', longitude 60° 3', is the only military post in the island, and is beautifully situated, a few miles south of the entrance of Bras d'Or, upon a narrow, but somewhat elevated tongue of land, about one mile in length and half that space in breadth, its line of direction north and south, nearly eleven miles from the mouth of Spanish River. On the east side of the small promontory is a basin three miles in circumference, while the main channel runs on the west side, and then opens a fine harbour, affording a secure anchorage for large frigates. The operations of the Mining Company are improving Sydney, which it is asserted has suffered materially from the annexion of the island to Nova Scotia.

From Sydney to Louisburg the shore presents abrupt cliffs, low beaches, bays, rivers, and a few islands'. Louisburg Harbour, in 45° 54' north lati.

1 Scatari Island, for which vessels bound from England to our possessions in North America, usually shape their course, lies a few miles from Mire Bay, on the south-east coast of Cape Breton. A light-house should for mere humanity sake be erected on this island, and I would entreat the attention of the patriotic brethren of the Trinity House, to the following facts obtained from a Halifax paper:

“ If we look to the comparative loss of life and property in

PHYSICAL ASPECT.

89

tude, 59° 52' west longitude ; has an entrance about a quarter of a mile wide between some small rocky islet, with a blind passage near the west point, on which Louisburg stood. The basin within, three miles long by one wide, is one of the finest harbours in the world, with good watering places. The ruins of the once formidable batteries, with wide broken gaps (as blown open by gunpowder), present a melancholy picture of past energy. The strong and capacious magazines, once the deposit of immense quantities of munitions of war, are still nearly entire, but hidden by the accumulation of earth and turf, and now afford a commodious shelter for flocks of peaceful sheep, who feed around the burial-ground,

these places, we shall not find that on Scatari and St. Paul's to be trifling. The loss at the Isle of Sable, in the aggregate, during twenty-one years from 1806 to 1827 was about thirtyfive vessels-two indeed of these were frigates, besides several ships and brigs; but great part of them schooners and fishing vessels. In the vicinity of St. Paul's and Scatari, there have been in 1832, three ships, one barque, eight brigs, and several small vessels, in all about 3,000 wrecked tons; and in 1833, four ships, four brigs and, two schooners, near 2,800 tons, and containing upwards of 600 souls. How many more have suffered in these places, and at the Isle of Sable, who can tell ? Here is a summary of the known loss in two years ; but if the estimate be correct that the loss of shipping in the vicinity of St. Paul's and Scatari, has been for the last twenty years about 2,000 tons per annum, how awfully great must be the loss from first to last; as in such case in twenty years about 40,000 tons of shipping must have been wrecked in these two places, which is a far greater loss than at the Isle of Sable in the same given period.” A recent calculation estimates the loss of life on these rocks during the past years at upwards of 1000 !

« EdellinenJatka »