Further Warnings to Canadian Emigrants.
By Louis Wain.
Canada is at this moment making every endeavour to entice young able-bodied Englishmen to her dominions; her agents are scouring the country with specious promises and glowing reports, which are attracting young men by the thousands to try their luck in her western regions, which are nothing more or less than death traps for all but those who go out well provided for. Train-loads of raw lads, with from £10 to £100 in their pockets as their sole possession, and the barest of ordinary outfits, are being dumped into the western towns. In these towns they are compelled to stop until the snow and slush have disappeared, perhaps for a month or six weeks, or longer, the cost of living alone being six shillings a day. The majority get to the end of their resources before they can be moved to the particular claim district to which they are bound.
Once on the spot, their condition is pitiable in the extreme. Penniless, and without the means to move their small belongings, they have to scour a vast district in semi-starvation in search of work or for a likely claim. They are useless for skilled work, and so most homesteads pass them by.
Without Work or Money.
Being far from the beaten paths of civilized life, they meet with none but their own kind, and these, too, are poverty-stricken, broken-down, young-old men, who, if they have by chance survived the terrible rigours of one winter, have come out of it only at the expense of the stamina which goes to make a strong, healthy man. Utterly incapable of helping themselves, these poor wretches just keep life together until they have tramped to a chance charitable homestead, and if they have not the strength to work they may end existence in some lonely hollow, or at best make for the nearest township, there to lounge out a wretched, broken-down life until another winter relieves them of their sufferings. In most cases their hands have been so badly frost-bitten that they are quite incapable of undertaking any strong, manual labour at all. If he is very strong and willing to learn, he may perhaps be taken on at an existing homestead temporarily as an unskilled labourer, and so get through the summer months on four shillings a day and food and lodging of the roughest possible description, but the hard
work compels liim to spend his money in clothes, and the winter finds him in some township without the means to take him baok to the coast.
On the Trail.
But if he can find no work on the. old homesteads he must take his chance and strike one of the Indian trails-the only roads known in these tramping lake districts-and trust to luck. By chance he may happen upon a new homestead, one of the cheaply and hastily-constructed wooden shacks covered with earthen clods. It is evident that some poor creature has spent his summer in building his shack and in breaking up his IX out of his 160 acres of land-government requiring him to work on his claim for six months of every year for three years before it will grant him his free patent for freehold-that he has done very little towards preparing for the winter, and that he has kept alive only just so long as wood and food have lasted him, and then he has been frozen to death. Probably, as in hundreds of other cases, he has not had sufficient money to carry him through the winter, and had not the strength to walk through the snow even to the nearest homestead. The novice follows the trail again, sick at, heart, and comes upon a starving wolf snarling over a few human bones-the remains of another poor wretch who has been caught in the open in a powerless state, frost-bitten and paralysed by the intensity of the bitter wind and cold. Half a mile further lies another man's horse fallen by his cart, a pile of burnt-out straw by its side-the whole of the contents of the cart in fact-the man himself having been rescued earlier. Further on still he will see a riderless bullock wagon, the team still stiff with the frost, while a mile away is a rescue party bending over the remains of the owner of the wagon. He hastens to the spot and is glad of the bit of generous relief given by these kind men, a party of one of the many good-hearted efforts made after the winter is over, to visit the novice homesteads by the more matured and wealthy pioneer settlers, whose kindly aid just saves many lives in the nick of time. I
I do not think I need read much more, but there is one other paragraph which contains an .abominable attack upon the women of the west and so should toe brought to the attention of this House ; in fact it is this paragraph which has mainly induced me to bring this matter before the House. It is as follows :