Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

188

SOILS OF THE PROVINCE, AND

as the main source of wealth when the lumberage—that of cutting down and selling the ancient forests-shall have in a measure passed away. I have already mentioned an idea as being very prevalent that the mineral resources, especially the supplies of fossil fuel, in the colony, were inexhaustible, though all the research hitherto made had failed to discover a single workable seam of coal of good quality, or of great extent. On the other hand, it was supposed or asserted by many that the surface or soil of the province was not fitted to produce large supplies of human food, that it was not an agricultural country, and could not support a greatly increased population.

My earliest attention was directed to this latter opinion, and, by personal observation and inquiry, and by carefully collating the numerous documents in the Surveyorgeneral's office, I was enabled to classify the soils in the several districts of the province, and to ascertain, approximately, the relative proportions and absolute quantities of each quality of soil which it contains. In this way I estimated the province to contain a surface in imperial acres, in round numbers, of—

Acres.
Soil No. 1, or 1st class,

50,000
Soil No. 2, or 2d class,

1,000,000 Soil No. 3, or 3d class,

6,950,000 Soil No. 4, or 4th class,

5,000,000 Soil No. 5, or 5th class,

5,000,000 Total area of the province, 18,000,000 I have already stated that wheat has, for many years, been an uncertain crop in the province; that, of all the grain-crops, oats may be considered the surest and safest in the colony, taken as a whole; and that, for the support of stock, this grain and hay are the main reliance. I therefore classified the above soils according to their capability to produce hay and oats, supposing that land

.

[ocr errors]

THEIR FOOD-PRODUCING CAPABILITIES.

189

which will yield one ton of hay per acre will produce, in arable culture, twenty bushels of oats; a ton and a half of hay, thirty bushels; two tons, forty bushels, and so on. Thus, I reckon that the several qualities of soil are such that

Tons of
Hay.

Bushels of Oats.

...

Bushels of Oats. or

No. 1 will produce 21 or 50 per imperial acre,
No. 2

2

40 No. 3

1} 30 No.4

1

20
No. 5 is supposed at present to be incapable of

cultivation, The whole available area of the province, therefore, will produce, on its several soils :

Tons of Hay.
First class,

125,000 2,500,000
Second class,

2,000,000 40,000,000 Third class,

10,425,000 208,500,000 Fourth class, 5,000,000 100,000,000

Total produce 17,550,000 or 351,000,000

of the province, ) This is equal to an average produce, over the whole available part of the province, of 1f tons of hay, or 27 bushels of oats, per acre. Of course, the reader will understand that I only speak of the natural food-producing capability of the province, not implying that, at any time, it is likely ever to be devoted solely and entirely to the growth of hay and oats, but that the whole surface is capable of yielding on an average 1} tons of hay, 27 bushels of oats, or their equivalent in some other species of food.

Now, allowing for the food of each human being, big and little, 40 bushels, or 5 quarters of oats, such as this colony produces; for each horse, 4 tons of hay ; for neat cattle, 2 tons; and for sheep and pigs a quarter of a ton each; and supposing the relative proportions of human beings and of various kinds of stock in the colony to

190

PEOPLE THE PROVINCE MAY SUPPORT

remain as it is at present,* the above amount of produce will feed a population of Men, women, and children,

4,200,000 Horses,

600,000 Cattle,

2,400,000 Sheep and pigs,

5,000,000 But the cattle, sheep, and pigs are reared for human food, and I have estimated the yearly increase of the above numbers of cattle, sheep, and pigs, to be able to feed about one-third as many people as the vegetable food will sustain.f Thus, the province, according to these calculations, is capable of sustainingMen, women, and children,

5,600,000 Horses, :

600,000 Cattle,

2,400,000 Sheep and pigs,

5,000,000 The agricultural capabilities of the province, therefore, instead of being small, and limited to the support of a paltry population of a few hundred thousand only, are absolutely large, and fitted to raise food for several millions of people.

But the other opinion to which I have adverted, as to the abundance of fossil fuel in the province, interferes here with our calculation, and assumes an agricultural aspect of which it does not, at first sight, appear capable.

In the above calculation, it has been assumed that the whole of the available land is employed in the production of food, either for man or beast. In that case, the supply of timber from the five millions of acres of waste land, might yield all that was wanted for building and other domestic purposes, and for shipping. And if, * Supposed at present to beMen, women, and children,

210,000 Horses and cattle,

150,000 Sheep and pigs,

250,000 + The mode in which this result is arrived at is detailed in my Report on the Agricultural Capabilities of New Brunswick, p. 30.

IF THERE BE SUPPLIES OF FOSSIL FUEL.

191

as the population thickens, supplies of fossil fuel are met with in sufficient abundance, the whole available surface may be so employed, and the population above arrived at of five and a half millions fully supported.

But, if fossil fuel should not be found, then a certain sensible proportion of the whole surface-of every farm, in fact-must, as in Scandinavia and Finland, be kept in forest for the supply of fuel to the farmer's family. Comparing the yearly produce of woodland in this province with the average annual consumption of fuel, I find that about two acres must be reserved under wood for each individual inhabitant; and, supposing the half of this to be supplied by the waste land, or in other ways, so as not materially to affect the production of food, still, one acre for each individual must be kept under wood, which might otherwise be employed in the production of food. This reduces the population-sustaining capability of the province toMen, women, and children,

4,200,000 Horses,

450,000 Cattle,

1,800,000 Sheep and pigs,

3,750,000 If we compare these numbers with the previous calculation, we shall see that the presence or absence of a full supply of fossil fuel will make a difference of one full fourth in the agricultural capability of the province, as represented by the number of people it will support.

The extent to which good coal, capable of being worked to a profit, exists in the colony, is, therefore, a matter of important inquiry in connection, not only with the commercial and manufacturing, but also with the agricultural capabilities of the province. Nor is the inquiry one which, in this agricultural connection, it will be prudent to postpone till the population thickens, and a scarcity either of food or fuel is to be apprehended in the province as a whole. Where the land is good, the

192

AVERAGE PRODUCE OF THE COLONY.

temptation to clear right away is great, and is already in some districts-as I have already described to be in some measure the case in Sussex Vale—causing fuel to be comparatively scarce and dear. The larger the extent of cleared land at any place, the more distant and expensive must wood for fuel be, unless there be coal to supply its place. If coal, therefore, is not to be hereafter easily obtained, early steps should be taken in each neighbourhood to preserve a sufficient extent of the native forest, to prevent any future scarcity. It should be reserved by legislative enactment. But these steps will not be taken, nor will the necessity for taking them be understood, unless a careful examination by a prudent and uninterested party, skilled in practical mining as well as in theoretical geology, be made at the public expense, with the view of determining this point.

I have given, in the preceding pages, the average produce per acre of the more usually cultivated crops in some of the counties of New Brunswick. I might have given similar averages for each of the counties I passed through, as, in answer to a circular issued by the provincial authorities at my request, returns were furnished me from every part of the province. I have withheld these, however, for fear of overloading my pages with such matters. But out of the entire county averages I have prepared general averages for the whole province, which very much merit the attention of such of my readers as may be interested in the rural condition of this colony. These averages give for the produce per imperial acre of the different crops :Wheat, 18 bushels. Barley,

27 bushels. Oats,

Buckwheat, 28
Rye,
Potatoes,

Turnips,

or 111 tons. -the turnip-culture being still in its infancy.

Indian corn,

33 18 204 or

6 tons.

36 390

« ZurückWeiter »