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Life In The Clearings Versus The Bush
by Susanna Moodie
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To persons unaccustomed to hard labour, and used to the comforts and luxuries deemed indispensable to those moving in the middle classes at home, a settlement in the bush can offer few advantages.
The native-born Canadian regarded with a jealous feeling men of talent and respectability who emigrated from the mother country, as most offices of consequence and emolument were given to such persons. The Canadian, naturally enough, considered such preference unjust, and an infringement upon his rights as a native of the colony, and that he had a greater claim, on that account, upon the government, than men who were perfect strangers. This, owing to his limited education, was not always the case; but the preference shown to the British emigrant proved an active source of ill-will and discontent.
Inside Flap Copy
In the sequel to Roughing It in the Bush, Susanna Moodie portrays the relatively sophisticated society springing up in the clearings along Lake Ontario. During a trip from Belleville to Niagara Falls, Moodie acts as a meticulous observer of the social customs and practices of the times.
Invaluable as social history and as a candid self-portrait, Life in the Clearings versus the Bush chronicles, with wit and wisdom, Canadian society in the mid-19th century.
The NCL edition is an unabridged reprint of the complete original text.
About the Author
Susanna Moodie was born Susanna Strickland in Bungay, Suffolk, England, in 1803. The sixth and final daughter of a retired dock manager, she grew up in a middle-class family that encouraged the children in reading and in writing. Her sisters Agnes and Elizabeth would write Lives of the Queens of England and other biographies of the aristocracy, her sister Catharine Parr (later Traill) would emigrate to Canada and write several natural history books, and her brother Samuel, another emigrant to Canada, would write of the settler's life. Susanna’s juvenilia include poetry and many fiction tales for young adults.
In 1831 Susanna Strickland married John Wedderburn Dunbar Moodie, a military officer who had returned to England from South Africa to explore publication projects and to find a wife. A year later, they emigrated to Upper Canada (Ontario). In Flora Lyndsay (1854), Susanna Moodie gives a fictionalized account of the family’s move to Canada, concluding with the journey up the Saint Lawrence River.
For their first seventeen months in Canada, the Moodies lived on cleared farmland near Port Hope. In 1834 they moved to a bush farm in Douro Township north of Peterborough and near the homes of Samuel Strickland and Catharine Parr Traill. The farm was the Moodie home for five years, and Roughing It in the Bush (1852), describes their life in these two backwoods areas.
From 1837 to 1839 Dunbar Moodie served in the Upper Canada militia, and in 1839 he was appointed Sheriff of Victoria District (later Hastings County). His family moved to Belleville in 1840, their home until his death in 1869. After her husband’s death Susanna Moodie spent her time with her various grown children and with her sister Catharine.
Susanna Moodie died in Toronto, Ontario, in 1885.
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