1902 Encyclopedia > New Brunswick, Canada

New Brunswick

New Brunswick, a province of Canada, in British North America, lying between 45o 5’ and 48o 40’ N. lat and 63o 50’ and 68o W.long. It is bounded on the N.W. by Quebec; N. by the Bay of Chaleur; E. by the Gulf of St Lawrence and Northumberland Strait, which separates it from Prince Edward Island; S by a portion of Nova Scotia, Chignecto Bay, and the Bay of Fundy; and on the W. by the State of Maine. Its length form north to south is 230 miles, its greatest breadth 190 miles, and it has a seaboard of some 545 miles, interrupted only by the isthmus of Chignecto, which joins the province to Nova Scotia. In shape it is very compact, resembling an irregular quadrangle. Its area is 27,177 square miles.

Physical Features. – The surface is generally undulating, but in the northern and north-western sections there are many ranges of hills which rise to a height of from 1200 to 2000 feet, while individual peaks are to be found of even greater altitude. These elevations are an extension of the Appalachian Mountains, and traverse the province from the State of Maine. The scenery is most picturesque and varied, and vast forests abound all through this section of country. The southern region embraces the district along the Bay of Fundy. Its coast is rocky and bold, and interrupted by great ravines. West of the river St John the soil is fertile and rich, and, though towards the east it is not so deep, there is still a good agricultural country, with many beautiful valleys, grain fields, and forests. Along the shores on the east coast, and for 20 miles inland, the country is flat, and composed of mosses and marshes, but beyond that distance it rises into gently sloping hills, which extend as far as St John.

The whole of New Brunswick is well watered. Rivers bays, and lakes are numerous, and several are navigable for vessels of large tonnage. The principal rivers are the St John, Miramichi, Resitgouche, Saint Croix, Peticodiac, Richibucto, and Nepisiguit. The St John, which is famous for its scenery, rises in the State of Maine, and is over 450 miles in length. It is navigable for vessels of moderate tonnage from St John on the Bay of Fundy to Fredericton, a distance of about 88 miles, but steamers of light draught ply as far as Woodstock, 65 miles farther, and during the rainy season boats may proceed to Grand Falls, a cataract 70 or 80 feet high 225 miles from the sea. Above the falls the St John has been navigated by a steamer to the mouth of the Madawaska, 40 miles. The river is an important highway, especially of the lumber traffic. About 9,000,000 acres of New Brunswick, 2,000,000 acres of Quebec, and 6,000,000 acres of Maine lands are drained by it. Among the many lakes communicating with the St John is Grand Lake, 30 miles long, and varying from 3 to 9 miles in breadth. The Miramichi rises in the country of Carleton, and flows in a north-easterly direction into a bay of the same name. It is 225 miles long, 7 miles wide at its mouth, and navigable for large vessels as far as Nelson (46 miles). In the spring and autumn, when full freshets prevail, small steamers and tow-boats can ply a much greater distance. The branches of the Miram ichi drain a fourth of the entire province. An extensive lumber trade is done in this district, and many sawmills are driven by the river. Its fisheries are specially valuable including salmon, trout, bass, smelt, and lobster. The Restigouche forms the north-east boundary of the province, is 100 miles in length, and discharges into the Bay Chaleur. It is composed of five main branches, from which fact it derives its name, signifying in Indian "the river which divides like the hand." It is a considerable waterway, 3 miles in width at its mouth and 9 fathoms in depth. Large vessels may safely navigate it 18 miles from the bay. The main river and its tributaries drain over 400 square miles of fertile and well-wooded country. A good deal of lumber is carried on it, and the harbor is secure and safe for ships of ordinary tonnage. The St Croix separates the State of Maine from New Brunswick at its south-west part. Its source is a chain of lakes called the Chiputneticook. The Peticodiac is navigable for 25 miles for ships, and schooners of 80 tons burden may proceed to the head of the tide, 12 miles farther; it empties into Shepody Bay. The Richibucto discharges into the Gulf of St Lawrence. The Nepisiguit and Tobique (a tributary of the St John) in the north are in much repute among anglers.

The coast-line of New Brunswick is indented with numerous fine bays and harbors. There are few islands. The Bay of Fundy is a huge arm of the sea extending into the land between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and terminating in two smaller bays, Chignecto Bay and the basin of Minas. Its length up to Chignecto Bay is 140 miles, and its extreme breadth 45 miles. It is noted for its high tides, which are influenced by the Gulf Stream, and rise about 30 feet at St John and 60 feet at the head of Chignecto Bay, rushing into the latter with remarkable force. At Bay Verte, 14 miles distant, the tide rise little more than 4 or 5 feet. The Bay of Chaleur, which presents no impediment to navigation, and has several excellent harbors, is over 90 miles in length, and from 20 to 25 miles in breadth. On its southern side the shores are low, and on the northern bold and precipitous. The other inlets of consequence on the east coast are Miramichi, Richibucto, Buctouche, Cocgane, and Shediac Bays; on the south coast are Passamaquoddy Bay, St John Harbor, and Chignecto Bay.

Geology. – The northern divisions of the province are occupied by metamorphic slates and rocks of Silurian age. The area of the Carboniferous system includes the greater part of the counties of Westmoreland, Queen’s, Sunbury, and Gloucester, a considerable portion of York and North umberland, and the whole of the county of Kent. The Lower Carboniferous and Devonian systems prevail in the western portion about the head of the Grand Lake and on the river Canaan. Grey sandstone, shales, and conglomerates predominate. Along the southern coast, from the head of the Bay of Fundy to the State of Maine, there is a belt comprising Laurentian, Huronian, Cambrian, and Silurian rocks. Dr J. W. Dawson says, "the Carboniferous plain of New Frunswick corresponds to and its eastern extremity is connected with that of Nova Scotia; and its hilly ranges of altered and igneous rocks form, with those of Nova Scotia, outlying ridges rudely parallel to the great Appalachian breastbone of America, and, like it, descending under the level of newer deposits and of the sea at their north-eastern extremities." The Newer Red Sandstone and Middle Cambrian formations are also to be founding New Brunswick, with trap, limestones, porphyry, granite, syenite, felsites, and gneiss. Many of the strata are rich in fossil remains. The coal-fields of the province occupy an area of over 11,000 square miles. Iron and plumbago or graphite occur in workable quantities, the deposits of the former being extensive and valuable. Manganese abounds and forms an article of export. Gold, in small quanities, is found on the banks of the Shiktehawk, a tributary of the St John. Professor Bailey has discovered drift gold on the headwaters of the Tobique and the Miramichi, and at the Grand Falls of the St John. At St Stephen, in Charlotte county, it occurs in quartz veins in micaceous schist, and in the same neighborhood in a black plumbaginous slate. Copper, lead, nickel, and zinc, with important deposits of antimony, complete the list of minerals.

Climate. – The climate of New Brunswick is somewhat similar to that of the more southern parts of Quebec. It is subject to pronounced extremes of heat and cold, but is considered healthy, and epidemics are rare. In the interior the thermometer sometimes registers 95o Fahr.in the summer, while in the winter, which begins early in December and lasts until the end of March, the mercury frequently drops as low as 35o below zero. At Fredericton, the capital, the temperature ranges from – 35o to 100o, the mean being about 42o. The winters are severe, and snow falls to a great depth, especially in the north, where also wild and cold winds prevail. In the south the winters are milder and more broken. The most charming season is autumn, and particularly that part of it known as the Indian summer, which lasts about six weeks.

Agriculture, &c. – Vegetation is rapid. A very large portion of the country is well adapted for agriculture, the soil being exceedingly fertile. On the "intervals" or low lands enormous quantities of hay are grown, while the yield on the high lands varies from one to three tons per acre. Wheat, oats, buckwheat, rye, barley, hemp, and flax yield good crops, and potatoes, turnips, beets, celery, carrots, parsnips, and pease and beans grow well. The principal fruits are apples, plums, cherries, gooseberries, currants strawberries, and raspberries. A large export trade of recent years has sprung up in the latter fruits. Hay has always been exported from the province to the United States, where it commands good prices. Farming is not prosecuted in New Brunswick to the extent it should be, and the inhabitants fail to raise enough produce to meet their own wants.

The amount of land under crop in 1871 was 778,461 acres, and in pasture 385,105 acres. In 1881 these figures were increased to 849678 acres under crop and 392,169 in pasture. The crops raised during the latter year were 521,956 bushels of wheat, 84,183 of barley, 3,297,534 of oats 1,587,223 of buckwheat, 18,157 of corn, 43,121 of pulse, 990,336 of turnips, 6,961,016 of potatoes, 159,043 of other roots, 414,046 tons of hay. The number of horses in 1881 was 52,975, pof working oxen, 8812; of horned cattle, 203,748; of sheep, 221,163; and of swine, 53,087. In 1882 760,531 lb of wool and 78,203 lb. Of bees’ honey were raised.

Commerce. – New Brunswick ranks as one of the most amply wooded countries in the world. Great forests of trees cover an extensive portion of its surface, and lumbering forms one of its chief industries. The principal trees are pine, hackmatac, spruce, cedar, beech, maple, hemlock, birch, fir, elm, oak, larch, butternut, ash, poplar, chestnut, and sumach. Though lumbering and fishing form the main occupations of the people, many are engaged in the mining and manufacturing industries. The total value of the produce of the forest exported in 1881-82 was 4,724,422 dollars; of the fisheries, 753,251 dollars; of the mines, 140,908 dollars; of animals and their produce, 321,426 dollars; of agricultural produce, 256,994 dollars; of manufactures, 365,748 dollars. The total value of the exports was 7,474,407 dollar, and the imports $6,707,244. The chief articles of export are fish, timber and lumber, iron coal, gypsum, manganese, hay, &c. The imports embrace wheat and other grain, flour and corn-meal, salted meats, coffee, tea, sugar, mollases, tobacco, woolen, cotton, and silk goods, fruits, &c.

Industries. – Shipbuilding, which was prosecuted on an extensive scale some twelve or fifteen years ago, has fallen off considerably of late, owing principally to the fact that iron ships and steamers have taken the place of the wooden craft in the carrying trade. During the year 1882 the number of vessels built in New Brunswick was 66, tonnage 16,820. On the 31st December 1882 the vessels registered in the province and remaining on the registry books of the several ports amounted to 1064, tonnage 308,961. in that year there were engaged in the coasting trade, including steamers and sailing vessels, 4435 craft, representing a tonnage of 415,029. The number of saw-mills in the province is 478, employing 7175 hands. There are also 166 flour and grist mills, and 83 tanneries. Other industries are lime-burning, shingly-making, manufacture of woolen cloth and cotton warps, cheese and butter making, sash, door, and blind factories, iron working, and brick-making. In 1871 the amount of capital invested industries was $5,976,176; in 1881 it reached $8,425,282, - 19,922 hands being employed in manufacturing, $3,866,011 paid in wages, and $11,060,842 worth of raw materials consumed. The total value of the articles produced was $18,512,658.

Fisheries. – The chief seats of the fisheries are in the Harbor of St John, on the islands at the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, and on the north shore. Cod, haddock, salmon, trout, sturgeon, holibut white fish, herring, shad, gaspereaux, smlet, bass, mackerel, and eels comprise the principal varieties taken. Of recent years the finishing business has been most indistiously pursued, and several furms have gone extensively into the canning of salmon, oyster, and lobsters for export. Fish-breeding establishments are in operation, maintained by the Government of the Dominion. In 1881 there were 205 larger vessels and 4284 boats engaged in the fisheries.

Game, &c. – Game is abundant – wild ducks, teal, wild geese, partridges, woodcocks, pigeons, plover, snipe, &c., occurring in great quantity. No fewer than varieties of birds have been already discovered , and ornithologists state that number can be increased. Of wild animals the principal are the bear, wolf, deer, moose, caribou, lynx, fox, musk-rat, mink, marten, ermine, hare, squirrel, and deaver.

Communication. – Good wagon roads intersect the province wherever there is a settlement. Telegraphic lines are established throughout the country, and the means of railway communication are excellent. The Inter-Colonial, which is the principal line, runs from St John to Moncton and thence to Halifax, N.S. At Moncton a branch line extends to Shediac, while the main division proceeds in a northerly direction through the countries of West-moreland, Kent, Northumbereland, Gloucester, and Restigouche, crossing the Restigouche river at the valley of the Metapedia, where the scenery is varied and beautiful, and thence to Point Levis opposite the ancient city of Quebec. The head offices are at Moncton. The St John and Maine Railways runs from St John westward to the State of Maine, connecting at Fredericton Junction with the Fredericton Branch Railway, at M’Adam with the New Brunswick and Canada Railway, and Bangor (Maine) with all the great railway lines of the United States. The New Brunswick and Canada Railway runs from St Andrews to Woodstock, and has branches to St Stephen and Houlton (Maine). At Woodstock it connects with a branch of the New Brunswick Railway which runs between Fredericton and Woodstock and Edmundston in the new county of Madawaska. The Grand Southern Railway runs from St John to St Stephen, the Albert Railway from Salisbury to Hopewell, the Elgin from Petitcodiac to Elgin, and the St Martins and Upham Railway runs from Hampton to Quaco on the shore of the bay of Fundy. The total length of the railways now (1883) is about 1002 miles.

Population. The province is divided into fifteen counties, viz., Restigouche, Gloucester, Northumberland, Kent, Westmoreland, Albert, St John, Charlotte, King’s Queen’s Sunbury, York, Carleton, Victoria and Madawaska. Up to the 31st October 1882 9,937,433 acres were granted by the Government and occupied, leaving 7,455,977 acres still vacant. The population of the province, 285,594 in 1871, was 321,233 (164,199 males, 157,114 females) in 1881. There are two Roman Catholic dioceses, one at St John and the other at Chatham, and one see of the Church of England at Fredericton. The following table shows the religious denominations and the number of their adherents:-


A large proportion of the population is composed of emigrants from Great Britain and their descendants. In the northern counties and in the valley of the Madawaska there are many settlements of French Acadians, and in the same localities and along the shores of the St John river there are Indians belonging to the Malicite, Micmac, and other tribes, numbering in all 1401. During the last forty years these have varied from 1200 to 1400. The tribes, though resembling each other in physique and appearance, differ very materially in origin and almost wholly in language. The extent of land granted to the Indian population by the Government of New Brunswick is 58,662 acres. Within the last six or seven years a most flourishing colony of Danes has been settled in the province.

Administration. – The affairs of the province are administered by a lieutenant –governor (salary $9000) and an executive council composed of six members with portfolios and three without offices or salary, assisted by a legislative assembly of 41 representatives and a legislative council of 18 members. The latter are appointed for life, and the former are elected by the people every four years. The lieutenant-governor is appointed by the governor-generalof Canada in council. New Brunswick return to the Canadian House of Commons 16 members, and 10 senators are appointed by the crown. The public revenue in 1882 was $643,710, and the expenditure $614,236. The principal source of income is the annual subsidy granted to the province, under the terms of the British North America Act of 1867, by the Dominion Government. This subsidy is computed on a fixed rate of 80 cents per head of population; $50,000 are allowed for government and $150,000 for export duty. In 1882 the amount paid on this basis to New Brunswick was $456,903.20. It will increase until the population reaches 400,000 when the 80 cents will be regularly calculated on that number. The remainder of the revenue is derived from the sales of crown lands, timber limits, mining licensees, fishing licenses, fess, and other miscellaneous receipts. The judiciary consists of a supreme court with chief and five puisne judges having law and equity jurisdiction, a court of marriage and divorce, a vice-admiralty court, a court for the trial and punishment of piracy and other offences on the high seas, a probate court, and six county courts. These officers are appointed for life by the federal authorities. The provincial legislature meets at Fredericton, where the Government offices are situated. The militia of the province consists of an active force of one regiment of cavalry (seven troops), two batteries of field artillery, seven batteries of garrison artillery, one company of engineers, and five battalions and rifles, in all 140 officers and 1570 non-commissioned officers and men.

Education. – The present school law was passed in 1871. Under its provisions school trustees of each district are compelled to provide school accommodation for all persons therein between the ages of five and twenty free of charge. In addition to the provincial grant a tax is levied in each county equal to 30 cents per head, and a large fund sufficient to carry out the law (including a pool-tax of $1 per head) is raised by the localities. The educational institutions aided by the Government are the university of New Brunswick (founded in 1828 under the title of King’s College, and having its seat at Fredricton), a normal or training school for teachers, and a system of common schools ranging from the primary to the grammar or high school department. The province expended for this service in 1882 $166,733. In the summer te4r, of 1881 the number of schools was 1386, of teachers 1453, and of pupils 51,921. During the winter course of 1882 there were 1317 schools at work, taught by 1371 teachers, and attended by 48,805 boys and girls. The total number of pupils in attendance at the schools within the year was 64,267. Besides the university at Fredericton there is the Mount Allison Wesleyan College at Sackville. The public charitable institutions receiving aid from the local Government are Provincial Lunatic Asylum and the City Hospital, St John, and the deaf and dumb school at Fredericton; and the blind school and deaf and dumb asylum at Halifax, N.S., receive an annual grant from the province also. In consideration of this the latter admit pupils from New Brunswick. The lazaretto for lepers at Tracadic and the marine hospital at St John are maintained by the Dominion.

History. – New Brunswick was settled in the first place by the French in July 1604, and with Nova Scotia belonged to that part of New France called Acadia until 1713, when it passed into the hands of England. A dispute arose between the two powers concerning the precise limits of Acadia, and the question remained a vexed one until the treaty of Paris, 1763, when the whole domain was finally ceded to Great Britain. In 1764 a body of Scottish farmers and laborers arrived in the country and took up their homes in the Miramichi and other districts. The year 1783 is memorable as the date when the Loyalists landed from the United States and settled in the colony. In the following year Nova Scotia and New Brunswick separated, and they remained distinct provinces until 1867, when they were united with Quebec and Ontario to form the Dominion of Canada. The capital of New Brunswick is Fredericton (population 6218), and St John (26,127) is the chief commercial city. Portland (15,226), formerly a suburb of St. John and latterly a town, was erected into a city in April 1883. Other towns are Moncton (5032), which contains the head offices of the Inter-Colonial Railway and a sugar refinery, Shediac (6227), Dorchester (6582), Richibusto (4079), St Stephen (2338), Bathurst (4806), St Andrews (2128), St George (3412), Woodstock (1994) Dalhousie (2353).

See Dawson, Acadian Geology 3d edition, Montreal, 1878; Bailey, Ells, and Matthew, in Reports of the Geol. Survey of Canada, 1878-79-80; Public Documents of New Brunswick and Canada, 1882. (G. ST.)

The above article was written by: George Stewart.

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