Tallis, John
Tallis's history and description of the Crystal Palace and the exhibition of the world's industry in 1851 (Band 1) — London, 1851

Page: 52a
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They are usually the property of young men associated into voluntary companies, who
take great pride in adorning their respective engines. Plence the profusion of painting
and other ornamental decorations. Over the fire-engine.was.suspended a canoe of white
birch, which presented no especial difference from canoes we have seen a hundred
times, except its size; but this canoe was actually paddled 3,000 miles of lake and river
navigation, with a crew of twenty men, before being placed on board a steamer for
England. It was the same description of canoe employed by the Hudson's Bay Com-
pany in their annual journeys to the vast preserves of fur-bearing animals under their
command. We should have been pleased if it had been accompanied by one of the
voyageurs, whose gay costume, and songs, and semi-savage manners, have been described
in the book of Sir George, Simpson, late resident governor of Hudson's Bay, or as it
is now officially named, Rupert's Land, and several North American travellers. A piano,
a large French bedstead, a set of tables and chairs, all elaborately carved out of Canadian
black walnut, next came under our notice., as remarkable specimens of a wood as yet little
known in this country. In colour, size, beauty of grain, and polish, it was equal, if not
superior to the best specimens of French and Italian walnut. A slab, which formed part
of the Canadian trophy in the central avenue, was cut from a tree which made 27,000
feet of available timber. The workmanship of this furniture; although very fair, offered
nothing remarkable for praise or blame. We liked the emblematic beavers carved round
the edge of the table; but not the same animals crawling like rats on the cross bars of
the legs. Among the chairs were a set unpolished, and fashioned after some introduced
into America by the earliest settlers. It was reported that he' majesty had condescended
to accept them. One Canadian gentleman was under the impression that the originals
had been imported from England in the sixteenth century, by Sebastian Cabot; but that
is unlikely, because, although Cabot discovered Labrador, there is no evidence that he
formed any settlement in Canada at all. The originals are probably of Erench origin,
and not older than the time of Louis Quatorze. Around the fire-engine were arranged
a set of Canadian sleighs. The white one was a cutter for one horse; the next, an,
elegant long carriage of very graceful curves, was a tandem sleigh; the largest was for a
pair or four horses, and was made after the fashion approved by the Military Tandem
Club. With the sleighs, we must notice a set of harness that hung on the wall, the
saddles covered with bells, and adorned with pendent plumes of blue horse-hair: white
plumes of the same material were arranged to wave from brass spikes between the ears
of the prancing horses. On a bright winter's day we can imagine no prettier sight
than the whole turn-out, with its blood horses, ringing bells, fair ladies wrapped in furs,
and dashing fur-wrapped driver, careering across the hard snow or the sounding ice of
a frozen river. Eurs, skins, horns, and Indian curiosities filled up %he interstices of the
Canadian collection. The head and wide-spreading horns of a gigantic moose, or elk,
might be compared with the European variety of the same species, from the Lithuanian
forests, exhibited in the Russian section.

Before we quit Canada, however, we must not omit to make mention of the enormous
Canadian timber-trophy, and of the importance of the timber trade in this valuable
colony. The Canadas are almost entirely divided by the Ottawa or Grand river, which
forms the great highway of the timber trade, on which from eight to ten thousand men
are constantly employed; an army waging continual war with the denizens of the
forests. The white and red pine have.as yet formed the chief timber exports of Canada,
which are floated on immense rafts down the Ottawa and the St. Lawrence, a distance of
from six to seven hundred miles, to Quebec. A single raft frequently has a surface of
three acres, and appears at a distance like some landslip, or island, huts and all, sailing
down the river; broad thin boards serve for sails. Some of the white pines yield planks
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