Caledonian Mercury, 29 November 1792, p3
Upper Canada, Kingston of Catarague, Eastern Extremity of Lake Ontario
His Excellency Governor Simcoe and Major Littlehales, with the civil and military attendants required in a colonial expedition, arrived at Kingston on the 14th of July. Of this voyage it will not be uninteresting to relate some particulars.
In a progress of nearly 900 miles up this majesty of rivers, the St Laurence, from Cape Roziere, and the Island of Anticosti to this town, it will naturally be conceived, from the description of this tract of the Continent, that we have seen more various and more stupendous views of nature than can be painted by the most inventive imagination. From the Gulph [sic] of St Laurence to Quebec the scene is in general bold, and displays the lofty mountains of both shores to the admiring eye. For the last 100 miles the river gradually contracts, and becomes insulated with a rich variety of natural ornaments. From Quebec to Montreal, that part of Lower Canada, which is principally inhabited by the French or native Canadians, assumes a more cultivated and domestic appearance, with the most beautiful natural scenery, a little improved by art. There are many neat small towns in this place of 200 miles, and several rivers dissembling themselves into the St Laurence in various directions; such as the Richelieu, the Ratiscan, Les Trois Rivieres, whose source is supposed to issue near Hudson’s Bay, &c &c.
Montreal is situated in an island of the same name. It is one of the principal towns in Canada, and is surrounded by regular fortification. The streets are uniform – the houses well built – and a convent and spiral churches add essentially to its handsome appeal. I was more struck and pleased with it than with Quebec.
From Montreal to Kingston, the north shore of the Troquois, or St Laurence, is in good site of cultivation, and tolerably well inhabited by loyalists, disbanded officers and soldiers, though there are people of all nations, especially Germans. The South Shore has scarcely any inhabitants, except the Indians of St Regis, and another tribe near Fort Ofwegethie, constituting part of the Six Nations, as they are within the treaty line of 1783, in latitude 45.
This view of more than 200 miles does not possess the sublime, but the beautiful in the extreme. It forms a continuation of small lakes, islands, woods, rivulets, &c and though there is little relief to the eye by any bold, prominent break, except the Alleghany, mountains afar off, yet it possesses the true Claude Lorraine in more perfection than any territory of such magnitude. The formidable rapids of Gallete, Long Saut, Plat &c, which the Canadians navigate with wonderful dexterity, strongly interest the attention of the traveller.
Upper Canada seems to contain all the natural advantage of Great Britain, with many additions; but it is an infant state, and requires nutriment and care, and must for a few years, look for assistance, at least in a pecuniary way, from the mother country, or it will never come to years of maturity. It has evident conveniences for commerce and agriculture. The water communication so easy for trade, the soil so reach, that even without manure, the farmer pays little regard to the succession of crops, yet his crops yield him more in proportion than in England. He uses the same implements of husbandry, the plough, the sickle, the spade and the axe.
Governor Simcoe, on his arrival here, assembled his Executive Council, and after opening his commission, solemnly proclaimed the British Constitution to this province. The boundary had been previously determined, commencing at the Cove west of Point-au-Bauder, in Lake St Francis, the division line about 50 miles from Montreal, and 150 east of Kingston. After concluding other colonial matters of importance, he issued a proclamation, dividing the province into counties, with the following names: Glengarry, Stormont, Dundas, Grenville, Leeds, Frontenac, Ontario, Addington, Prince Edward, Lennox, Hastings, Northumberland, Durham, York, Lincoln, Norfork, Suffolk, Essex and Kent, which last county is to comprehend all the territory not already described, and not belonging to the Indians, from the northernmost line of Hudson’s Bay, to the foremost limits of the country generally known by the name of Canada. These 19 counties are to send on the 12th of September to Niagara sixteen members for the House of Assembly. When the people are more numerous, and the country becomes more flourishing, I presume subdivisions will be made, and the representation encreased.[sic]
Governor Simcoe is going to Niagara, across the Ontario, one of the wonderful fresh waters of this continent. He may, probably, this autumn, visit Detroit, and the river La Franche, hereafter to be called the Thames, parallel with the north side of Lake Erie, communicating with Lakes St Clair, Huron, Superior on the W and NW by various branches, and Ontario on the SE where several people imagine the metropolis of Upper Canada will be built. Prince Edward is expected here from Quebec to the Falls.
The Indians of the Western Territory, and the Six Nations of this part of Upper Canada, are collecting in the Miami Kingdoms, their chiefs and warriors, to prepare against that active American General Wayne, who is assembling a powerful army on the frontiers, and on the Ohio and Mississippi, to revenge the cause of St Clair, and to endeavour to extirpate the Indians, who are greatly elated with their victory last year.
All the ceded forts still remain in our possession well garrisoned.
I have visited some of the Indian towns, and encampments belonging to the Messissages, Onondagas, Oneidas, Cackowaukas, Mohawks, Senekas, &c. An account of their manners and customs I shall reserve for another occasion; observing only at present that I cannot suppose it possible that any object, within the range of existence, can strike the eye of a stranger so forcibly as these savages, who are, in every particular, the reverse of civilization.