Back to Black Loyalist Home Page Black Loyalists: Our Story, Our People Canada's Digital Collections

Home: Documents: Diaries: Booth's Diary

Our Story
  revolution
  exile
  arrival
  prejudice
  faith
  suffering
  exodus
People
Communities
Documents
Loyalists Now
Feedback
 

March 14th 1789- Frost last night - Mild thaw and wind rising with appearance rain - wind rather northerly Harbour begins to open at the upper end. 'Tis clear of ice, from Provision Island as low as John's Street; except close in shore, where the ice in many places still continues - the weather being mild during the course of the day, from the superior power of the sun; even tho' blowing from the north quarter, and the river being open and rapid, those waters rush through the ice, and seemingly carry off all obstruction. Should this weather continue, we shall soon have a free passage for vessels -

The vessels that come in, lie at anchor nearly opposite Hamilton's Point; this is the northernmost point on entrance of Birchtown Bay -

NB - Birch Town is the Black's Settlement under the care and charge of a Colonel Bluck, a Mulatto man, of surprizing address, being perfectly polite, and, I believe he has had superior education-- If he had not been so fortunate he has certainly made good use of his time -- he don't appear to exceed eight and twenty: - his wife is a Negro Woman - as is his Mother - They are people from Barbados -

This poor man, like many others in Shelburne Settlements - set off on the great scale, with his expectations much too far exalted; not having sufficiently examined and reflected, whether the land they were seated upon, or the water, which partly surround them, would be profitable enough to tempt an increase of Companions - He began by Building a spacious house, and laying out an excellent Garden, the garden he has well attended to the latter, but the Building he has been obliged to stop the progress of; having only, as far as I could see, completed his Kitchen, with a small Room -

His neighbours, who, were at first 800 or thereabouts, are now reduced to a third of that number; very poorly Lodged indeed - They have given no proof of their judgement in Farming about this spot, having in My opinion neglected that which would have in the end, turned out to the most advantage: 'tis a valley with much stones, and a little swampy; but to appearance easily drain'd and sewr'd - perhaps this Land - [ for I ask'd very few questions ] - belongs to some sharer, too distant to begin his Work - or that Land at this moment is too cheap here, for him to make his market of it-- and to go to market somewhere else - Fishing is the chief and most profitable employment for these Poor, but really spirited People;-- and, which they follow, as far as their circumstances will admit; for it must be known, that even a Fisherman requires a little yellow and white earth* to commence his business.

* What is commonly called Cash -

Those that cannot get into this Employ, work as Labourers; clearing Land, by the Acre, which they do for 8 dollars, cutting cordwood for fires, and hunting in the season;-- but they are no Farmers, and but very I indifferent Gardners-- The farmers, who are the men of the most desirable in every young Country; are off--or at least, very few re- maining.--These men (if I may be allowed to say it) should have been the first People, both with respect to choice, and situation; even, (I may with advantage assert) had their inclination been to settle on that Part where the Town now stands; I don't mention this from opinion of the Land there, being better, because I know otherwise; I only say it, in consideration of the great necessity there was; to court and indulge those most valuable People to so Young, and difficult a Country; for turning to any use, or advantage. If they were disappointed in their hopes, on viewing what was destined to them; should they attempt to sacrifice their last shilling, before they could with any chearfulness(sic), view a small apppearance of any Harvest; How much more difficult must it then be for those, who are totally ignorant of the industrious Farmer's Plough, and Harrow!

 
{caption}

{links}