Edited by D.M.R. Bentley



On July 26, 1804, the Quebec Gazette reported the recent arrival at the port of Quebec of the Jane, a vessel carrying coals from Newcastle and a single passenger, one “C. Baylay Esqr.”.  As James and Ruth Talman have long-since established, this passenger was Cornwall Bayley, a student until “‘Easter 1804’”1 at Christ’s College, Cambridge and the author of a “little Volume”2 of verse, Canada. A Descriptive Poem, Written at Quebec, 1805. With Satires—Imitations—and Sonnets, which was printed in Quebec by John Neilson in 1806.  In the Advertisement to this volume, Bayley describes himself as “a Youth . . . almost . . . a School-boy . . . .”3  In fact, when Canada. A Descriptive Poem was published Bayley was 22 years of age and not long for this world.  In October, 1806 he returned to England and in November, 1807 died at Doncaster4 of the “consumption” (tuberculosis)5 that may, as the Talmans speculate, have brought him to Canada in the first place, perhaps in search of a healthier climate.  As Bayley himself says, echoing James Thomson’s “Winter,”6
            . . . with a keener air the biting North,
            Parent of health and pleasure rushes forth;
            His powers the frame invigorated speak,
            Brace every nerve and flush in every cheek!

         Bayley’s movements between his arrival at Quebec in July, 1804 and his return to England in October, 1806 are not easy to follow with precision.  From two of the poems in the Canada volume, “On the System of Education prevalent in New York” (which contains a reference to a “dance [that] was in vogue in New-York in the winter of 1804-5” [p.75n]) and “The Year of Sorrow.  Written in New-York at the close of the Year 1804” (p. 48-52), it is evident that he spent at least part of his first winter in North America at some remove from “the biting North.”  More than likely, Bayley travelled [Page xi] south to New York by the popular St. Lawrence—Lake Champlain—Hudson River route, but just conceivably, he took the more circuitous and spectacular route via Lake Ontario and Niagara Falls that had been followed in the fall and early winter of 1796 by Isaac Weld, whose Travels through the States of North America, and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada . . . (1799) lies centrally in the background of Canada. A Descriptive Poem.       
From another poem in Bayley’s volume, “Lines written on the banks of the Skullkill” (“Whilst a stranger I wander afar from the shores . . . [pp. 25-26]), it is evident that he visited Philadelphia, possibly—if the poem was indeed written in situ and its reference to “the harvests that scatter the fields” is temporally accurate—in the late summer or early fall of either 1804 or 1805.  In favour of the latter date, which would mean either that Bayley spent the major part of 1805 in the United States (or, less likely, that he took two trips south of the border) is the clear debt of “Lines written on the banks of Skullkill” to Thomas Moore’s “Lines written on leaving Philadelphia” (“Alone by the Schuylkill a wonderer rov’d, / And bright were its flowery banks to the eye . . . ”)8, which was published in The Port Folio in Philadelphia on August 31, 1805.9  Of less interest here than the debt of Bayley’s poem to Moore’s10 is the strong sense to be gained from the former that Bayley, like Moore, had found a congenial circle of friends in Philadelphia:

                 But . . . that which the Skullkill alone of each stream
            That adorns her Columbia can prove;
            ’Tis the gentle ingenuous manners that beam,
            On her social politeness and love!
                 Philadelphia!  how well do thy merits approve,
            The fair title affection has given;
            Where thy sons are the union of brotherly love,11
            And thy daughters are Seraphs from Heaven!

Who were Bayley’s friends in Philadelphia?  In the absence of factual information, any answer to this question must be speculative.  A plausible suggestion, however (and one which generates some even more intriguing questions and speculations), is that while in Philadelphia Bayley came into contact with the group surrounding Joseph Dennie, the founder and editor of [Page xii] The Port Folio.  This group, which had played enthusiastic host to Moore in the summer of 1804, included the novelist Charles Brockden Brown and Joseph Hopkinson (the author of “Hail Columbia,” the unofficial national anthem of the United States) and, until his death in February, 1804 the expatriate English scientist and man-of-letters Joseph Priestley.12  With the notable exception of Priestley, the Dennie circle was strongly Federalist, gallophobic, anti-democratic, and pro-British, an orientation that certainly accords with Bayley’s religious and political ideas—his hostility to Jeffersonian democracy, for example, and his hatred for such free-thinkers and Atheists (the words were almost synonymous at this time) as Voltaire and “Columbia’s serpent [Thomas] Paine” (see Canada, 18ff.).
    If Bayley did indeed come into contact with the Dennie circle in Philadelphia, it is just possible that he was given an introduction to the group by none other than Thomas Moore, a focus of mutual admiration.  En route to Halifax and a ship back to England in 1804, the diminutive Irish poet whose controversial translation of the Odes of Anacreon under the name of Thomas Little had occasioned both the adulation of the Dennie circle and the first of the “Sonnets, &c.” in the Canada volume, and was actually in Canada, first at Niagara Falls (July 24-29) and then at Montreal and Quebec (August 20, about a month after Bayley’s arrival).13  Did Bayley meet Moore at this time?  Did he perhaps hear him read “Lines written on leaving Philadelphia”?  Did the Irish poet suggest that the sickly youth from Cambridge visit the “cultivated little circle” in Philadelphia through which “Mr. Dennie [had] succeeded in diffusing . . . that love for good literature and sound politics . . . which is so very rarely the characteristic of his countrymen”?14  Again, an absence of factual information makes these questions merely speculative.  Moreover, it must be conceded that against returning positive answers to them there stands the fact that nowhere in his poems does Bayley register a meeting either with Moore or with Dennie.  Two further and intriguing coincidences are worth noticing, however.  The first is that Moore’s principal guide to the United States and Canada was apparently the same as Bayley’s: Weld’s Travels, a work upon which, like Bayley, he relied heavily for his descriptions of North-American subjects, including the exquisite “Canadian Boat Song,” “Written on the River St. Lawrence.”15  The second is one that connects Bayley, if not directly with Dennie and members of his circle, then at least with his magazine and his ideas: between February 15 and September 20, 1806 a great many of the miscellaneous poems in the Canada volume were published in The Port Folio,16 all over the initials “C.B.” and some with biographical details that [Page xiii] are not present in Bayley’s “little Volume.”
    The note that prefaces the first selection of Bayley’s poems in The Port Folio, on February 15, 1806, is worth quoting in full for the information it contains about the poet’s physical location, literary interests, and creative career:
            [The inclosed are part of a collection of poems written by a young                         gentleman (at present) of this city.  The only apology for their                         imperfections is the youth of the author, as they were all written before his             21st year, and many of them before his 16th.  If they be thought worthy of             he notice, at any time, of the editor of the Port Folio, the author will be             gratified by their insertion, as, though so far remote, he still peruses that             entertaining and useful miscellany. C.B.
            Quebec, Dec. 24., 1805]
            None of these trifles ever appeared in print before.

Whatever Bayley’s movements in the months (or year) following his arrival in Canada in July, 1804, this Prefatory Note indicates that he was back in Quebec before Christmas, 1805 and, hence, that Canada. A Descriptive Poem could indeed have been “Written,” as its subtitle claims, at “Quebec, 1805.” Two other poems signed “C.B.,” and published in Thomas Cary’s Quebec Mercury on December 23, 1805 and January 27, 1806, confirm Bayley’s presence in Quebec for at least part of the winter of 1805-1806; the first, an attack on Napoleon in the form of a parody of Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be . . . ” soliloquy for the benefit of the newspaper’s “loyal readers,” is dated “Quebec, December 10th. 1805,” and the second, a “song” celebrating Nelson’s recent victory over Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar, is dated “Quebec 20th January 1806.”  And finally, two more poems in the Mercury, the first some “Stanzas Occasioned by the death of Dr. R. Jones, of Montreal” in the issue for December 30, 1805, and the second, “The Montreal Nosegay” written “For the Quebec Mercury” and dated, “Montreal, 14th April, 1806,”17 indicate what seems to be confirmed by other evidence: that Bayley was at least a frequent visitor to Montreal from Quebec in the winter of 1805-1806, and probably moved to Montreal towards the end of that winter or very early in the spring—that is, between dating the Advertisement to Canada “QUEBEC, February, 1806” and writing “The Montreal Nosegay” in that city on April 14.  A very prominent Montreal doctor,18 “Scholar,” “Poet,”19 and “man of letters” who died “after a lingering illness”20 on December 15, [Page xiv] 1805, Robert Jones was the father of Helen Eliza Jones, the woman whom Bayley married in Montreal on May 18, 1806.21
    The daughter with “bleeding soul” in Bayley’s elegiac “STANZAS” on her father, Helen Eliza Jones is probably the “Miss J____s of “The Montreal Nosegay”: “a sweet pea, which can pleasantly bind, / In bands of affection, the hearts of mankind . . . .” She is almost certainly also the subject of at least one of Bayley’s other lyrics, for in The Port Folio for March 15, 1806 the blank that appears in the title of “To _______” in the Canada volume is filled with the name Eliza. All things considered, there can be little doubt that Helen Eliza Jones is the “Miss ________” to whom Canada is dedicated—“THE GREATEST ORNAMENT” of the “COUNTRY” and, by the same token, the monna innominata who is addressed in the poem’s concluding verse paragraph:
                        Oh!_______witness thou,
            That manly love to female worth must bow;
            Life with thee,_____, were an endless feast,
            To me, without thee, one continual waste . . . .

If confirmation of this identification were required, it would be provided by the inscription in what must be Bayley’s handwriting in the copy of Canada that is held by the Metropolitan Toronto Library, which reads: “Miss Helen Eliza Jones from the author of this poem and of all her happiness and glory. Long may he reign over her!”
    The fact that Bayley inscribed a copy of Canada to his wife under her maiden name indicates that his “little Volume” was published sometime between February, 1806 (the date of its Advertisement) and May 18 (the date of his marriage), a supposition confirmed, as will be seen in due course, by John Neilson’s records.  Bayley’s apparent move from Quebec to Montreal during this period, coupled, perhaps, with a worsening of his health, may account for the lack of “an opportunity for correcting” the “errors in his poem on Canada” that he speaks of in the Advertisement. These factors may also explain the piecemeal quality of the volume—the insertion, after “the poem on Canada was committed to the press,” of the long end-note that follows Canada and, after “the first part of [the] little Volume was in types,”22 of the two items that occupy its final pages, the elegy entitled “The Year of Sorrow” and a list of several “Errata” (see the Editorial Emendations following the poem in the present edition). [Page xv]
    The fastidious Neilson cannot have been pleased with the unprofessional appearance of Canada. A Descriptive Poem, Written at Quebec, 1805. With Satires—Imitations—and Sonnets.  But perhaps he consoled himself with the knowledge that, in the words of its Advertisement, the book was destined primarily for “the circle of [the poet’s] acquaintances . . . .”  Bayley himself hoped—again in the words of his Advertisement—that if the book were ever to reach a wider audience, its “candid reader . . . [would] make allowances for the inexperience . . . ” of its youthful author, and overlook particularly the uncorrected errors in its title poem.  Although the latter part of this request cannot be granted in a scholarly edition of Canada, a sympathetic assessment of the poem’s shortcomings can surely be expected of any reader who is familiar with circumstances surrounding its composition and publication in Quebec in 1805-1806.


Although Canada has been briefly discussed by the Talmans in the Literary History of Canada and included by Michael Gnarowski in Three Poems from Lower Canada, it has not until now undergone close scholarly and critical scrutiny, or been included in any major anthology.  No doubt one reason for this is the lack of all but sporadic literary merit in the poem.  But there may also be a relative explanation for the neglect of Canada by scholars, critics, and anthologists in the greater interest and appeal of the two other early poems of some length from Lower Canada, Cary’s Abram’s Plains and J. Mackay’s Quebec Hill.  And it must be conceded that a consideration of one or other of these two poems is probably sufficient for any survey of Canadian writing, even one devoted entirely to the Colonial period. Needless to say, this would be particularly true if the object of the survey were quickly to canvas the early poetry (perhaps merely to demonstrate its inadequacies) before proceeding to better and more recent things.
    Yet the mistake should not be made of thinking that any one of Abram’s Plains, Quebec Hill, or Canada is typical to the extent of being able fully to stand in for all three.  Certainly, there are strong similarities among them (as, indeed, among later poems of the baseland orientation23 such as Oliver Goldsmith’s The Rising Village and Joseph Howe’s Acadia): all three are topographical and “descriptive” 24 poems that treat of the “landscape,” people, flora, and fauna of portions of the country with “the addition of such embellishments as may be supplied by historical retrospection and incidental [Page xvi] meditation”;25 all three are written in the decasyllabic couplets that remained the norm for topographical and descriptive poems until well into the nineteenth century;26 and all three draw more or less on the same poetic models—Goldsmith’s The Traveller and Pope’s Windsor-Forest, for example, and, as already intimated with regard to Canada, Thomson’s The Seasons.  Nor is there a lack of similarity in subject-matter among the poems of Cary, Mackay, and Bayley.  All three contain responses to Niagara Falls as sublime.  All three describe the Plains of Abraham and the transformation of the Canadian winter, and do so, at least in part, from the vantage point of the heights of Quebec.  And, to a greater or lesser extent, all three use the St. Lawrence River system as a structuring device, moving either up it towards the hinterland, the pays d’en haut of the voyageurs (see Canada, 333-378), or down it in the direction of the Canadian baseland and, beyond that, the mercantile and imperial centre of Great Britain.27
    Within these real but general resemblances of form, genre, poetic indebtedness, and ‘Canadian content,’ however, Abram’s Plains, Quebec Hill, and Canada are as distinct from one another as the interests and sensibilities of the men who wrote them and as the times in which they were written and published.  Each is the product of a unique occasion or commission, as is perhaps nowhere more evident in the contrast between Cary’s commemoration in 1789 of the thirtieth anniversary of Wolfe’s victory on the Plains of Abraham and Mackay’s use of the General in a diatribe against “cruel War” and “Martial Fame.”28  Neither primarily commemorative nor remotely condemnatory, Bayley’s depiction of Wolfe arises from his particular concern, perfectly understandable in the year of the battles of Trafalgar and Austerlitz (a victory, of course, for Napoleon), with Britain’s rôle in combatting what he (Bayley) sees as the interconnected evils of revolution, democracy (Jacobinism), and despotism—hence, his assertion, after envisaging Wolfe dying “in Vict’ry’s bosom” (with a possible pun on Nelson’s flagship?) that “still his spirit hover o’er these walls / And Albion’s sons to Valour’s standard calls” (175, 179-180).  As much an exemplary figure as the Wolfe of Abram’s Plains and Quebec Hill, the inspirational Wolfe of Canada is yet the product of a different time and sensibility—a sensibility who “mental outfit” (to borrow a phrase from Archibald Lampman)29 consisted of several items that did not impinge upon Cary or Mackay, not least Weld’s Travels, which lies as centrally and uniquely in the background of Canada as do the Travels of Jonathon Carver and Peter Kalm in the respective backgrounds of Abram’s Plains and Quebec Hill.30 [Page xvii]
    Another of these items, and one that is central to a full understanding of Bayley’s response to the Canadian physical and social environment (and even to Weld’s Travels), is the faculty psychology of David Hartley, whose theory of the association of ideas constitutes an important stage on the journey from the empirical epistemology of Locke around the turn of the seventeenth century to Coleridge’s formulation of the Romantic imagination towards the end of the eighteenth.  In essence, Hartley’s associationism, as expounded in his Observations on Man (1749) is a systematic elaboration of Locke’s conception of the human mind as a tabula rasa or “empty cabinet”31 onto or into which impressions of the external world are conveyed by the five senses, especially the sense of sight.  Once stored in the memory, these discrete and simple “ideas of sensation” are connected together—associated—like links in a chain to form “complex and abstract” “ideas of reflection.”  All of these phrases (with the “sensation” / “reflection” opposition properly attributed to Locke) are taken from Priestley’s Introductory Essays to Hartley’s Theory of the Human Mind, on the Principle of the Association of Ideas (2nd. ed. 1790),32 an attempt to popularize the theories contained in the Observations on Man that might have been a source of Bayley’s ideas about the workings of the mind.  Whether in the original or in Priestley’s digest (or in some other derivative text), Hartley’s definition of the “imagination or fancy” appears to have dictated the gist of the lines in Canada that are here juxtaposed with it for the purposes of comparison:

            When ideas, and trains of ideas, occur, or are called up, in a
            vivid manner, and without regard to the order of former
            actual impressions and perceptions, this is said to be done by
            the power of imagination or fancy.33
                        Yet still the mind—imagination’s cell—
                        On scenes which pall the senses, loves to dwell—
                        Calls up reflection’s ever-roving train—
                        Links every though in one successive chain,
                        And as those thoughts in Fancy’s realms we lose
                        Gives birth to song, and consecrates the Muse! (29-34)

Elsewhere, Hartley writes of the superiority of the “pleasures of the imagination,” which “do not cloy [Bayley’s word is ‘pall’] very soon,” over “sensible ones,” such as those derived from “a beautiful scene” or “the [Page xviii] beauties of nature in general,”34 and, of course, he frequently resorts to the mechanistic metaphor of a “chain” with “connecting links”35 to describe the process of association.  For Bayley, as for Hartley and Priestley, the mind’s inscrutable association of “thoughts” into ever more “abstract” and “complex” entities is the source of poetry or “song.”  Clearly not a post-Kantian Romantic in his analysis of the mind and its faculties, Bayley is not either a pure Classicist or Neoclassicist: neither the ally of a divinely creative imagination nor simply the daughter of Mnemosyne, his “Muse” is consecrated by a mind whose principal “power,” be it memory (which I take to be understood), “imagination,” or “Fancy,” is connective or associative.  Nevertheless, Bayley’s evident suspicion of Fancy—“’Tis not the voice of Fancy that we hear,” he exclaims later in Canada,  “’Tis not delusion’s dream excites our fear!” (215-216)—places him firmly with Cary and Mackay on the side of the divide between Neoclassicism and Romanticism that ranks the realistic products of reason and craft over creations of the “fabulous kind, whose fabric is the sole work of the imagination and where fancy has full play.”36
    One ramification of Bayley’s acceptance of the notion that poetry is the product of the association of ideas is evident at the very outset of his poem in his description of the “view from Cape Diamond” (Plan of the Poem). This phrase, like several other words and ideas from the opening lines of Canada—including the sensory bewilderment and optical minification that occur when looking down at the town, the river, and “vessels” and “wharfs” from “the edge of the precipice”—comes directly from Weld’s description of “the view from the cape” in his Travels (see Explanatory Notes, 1-28).  Evidently Weld’s description associated itself in Bayley’s mind with Edgar’s putative account of the view from Dover Cliffs in King Lear, IV, vi, 11-24—“How fearful / And dizzy ’tis to cast one’s eyes so low! / The crows and choughs that wing the midway air / Show scarce so gross as beetles” and so on (again, see Explanatory Notes, 1-28)—and with Samuel Johnson’s comment on Edgar’s speech to the effect that—to quote Bayley’s first footnote—“He who looks from a Precipice---finds himself assailed by one dreadful idea of irresistible destruction---but this overwhelming reflection is dissipated from the moment the faculties become collected---and the mind can diffuse it’s attention to minute objects.”  Augmented by materials from Pope, the Bible, and, no doubt, elsewhere, the passages from Weld, Shakespeare, and Johnson that were thus “Call[ed] up” in Bayley’s mind “by reflection’s ever-roving train” became after a sojourn in “Fancy’s realm” and with the addition of poetic form the opening lines of Canada: [Page xix]

            How steep th’ascent! how fearful from the brow
            Projecting thus, to mark the gulf below!
            Ev’n now the falt’ring strand appears to sink—
            My feet recoil with horror from the brink!
            One startling word might hurl the fleeting breath,
            Wafted in midway air, to realms of Death;
            One more—one sudden glance—half snatch’d—would seem
            Inevitable fate!--’Tis Fancy’s dream—
            And ’tis but for a moment! Reason’s laws
            Return, collected, from the transient pause;
            A thousand charms the raptur’d soul employ,
            And fear itself is overwhelm’d in joy.

As is evident from these lines, as from the bulk of Canada, pastiche—or, more kindly, verbal mosaic—is the practical result of Bayley’s conception of poetry as a product of the association of ideas.  The gift on display here is primarily that of arranging words and ideas from elsewhere within decasyllabic couplets, though the passage does display Bayley’s skill, evident elsewhere in his poem, for modulating the pace of his lines to reflect movements and pauses in the internal and external worlds: “One more—one sudden glance—half snatch’d—would seem / Inevitable fate! . . . Reason’s laws / Return, collected, from the transient pause . . . .”  This last line in particular show that, like Cary and Mackay before him, Bayley has learned from Pope that in poetry “The Sound must seem an Echo to the Sense” and that a line should “breathe, or pause, by fits”37 according to the demands of its subject-matter.  That Bayley uses the “pause” / pause device twice again in Canada—“The mountain torrents by the frost’s control / Arrested pause,— . . . ” (307-308), “Ev’n animation seems to pause! . . . ”(315)—points clearly, however, to the limitations of his technical ability and verbal resources.
    Before leaving the opening lines of Canada, account needs to be taken of their overall movement from “fear,” “horror,” and imbalance to control, “Reason,” and “joy.”  To an extent, this transition is explicable merely in terms of the sublime, a psychological response that can either combine terror and pleasure (as in Abram’s Plains, for example)38 or move from the former to the latter.  Yet Bayley’s carefully staged movement from a negative to a positive response to the “view from Cape Diamond” may well be a further [Page xx]  reflection of Hartlean associationism that has profound ramifications for the verse paragraph that follows.  As is not always remembered, one of Hartley’s principle concerns in the Observations on Man is to inquire into the process by which the feelings of “pleasure and pain”39 that sometime accompany simple sensations of the natural world (for example) gradually give rise through accretive association to complex sensations of right and wrong, obligation and selfishness, God’s goodness to man and—when things go badly awry—“superstition or atheism.”40  For this chain of reflection to work properly—that is to lead to a “rational self-interest”41 and, beyond that, to the love of God—there has to emerge a preference for the complex over the simple, the pleasurable over the painful.  Hartley could almost be describing the opening lines of Canada when he observes an early stage of this process at work in his discussion of “the pleasures arising from the contemplation of the beauties of the natural world”: “If there be a precipice . . . in one part of the scene, the nascent ideas of fear and horror magnify and enliven all the other ideas, and by degrees pass into pleasure, by suggesting the security from pain.”  Moreover, in describing “grandeur,” “novelty,” and “Uniformity and variety in conjunction” as the “principal sources of the pleasures of beauty”42 that lead from the contemplation of nature to a recognition of God’s “bounty and benignity,”43 he could almost be providing a programme for the second verse paragraph of Bayley’s poem:

            Onwards—whilst not a shade intrudes between,
            Expands the area of the checquer’d scene;
            All that Creation’s rural sceptre yields
            The bloom of vales—the garniture of fields,
            All that of Beauport’s crops—of Orlean’s charms
            Majestic Lawrence circles in his arms;
            All that the wood primæval, nature’s child,
            Spreads o’er the rocky steep of vesture wild;
            These fill the void; whilst Alps on Alps arise,
            And bound the prospect to our wearied eyes.

More than merely a prospect piece in the picturesque mode—a view from a height that emphasizes the “Order in Variety”44 of the landscape—this passage is a celebration of the plenitude and love that are evident in God’s [Page xxi] “Creation.”  Appropriated as they are from Pope’s description of the view from “the Heights of Arts”45 in the Essay on Criticism, the final lines of the passage provide a bridge to the Hartlean account of the origins of poetry in the ensuing passage (already quoted) and, more to the present point, a comment on the ascent from the simple, the painful, and the particular to the abstract, the pleasurable and the infinite that comprises the opening movement of Bayley’s poem.
    Since the “Muse” of Canada is “consecrate[d]” by a “mind” that conceives itself in terms of associationism, there naturally arises the question of what rôle, if any, Hartley’s ideas play in the overall shape and structure of the poem.  This is a difficult, if not impossible, question to answer because the attitudes of both Bayley and Hartley to such matters as “superstition [and] atheism” are fairly conventional manifestations of the conservative and protestant line of thought that was almost ubiquitous in Britain in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and thus slipper and dangerous ground for a study of influence.  With this large caveat in mind, it can nevertheless be suggested that Hartley’s detailed discussions of “these pleasures and pains of imagination, self-interest, sympathy, theosophy, and the moral sense”46 in the Observations of Man could have provided Bayley with the idea of structuring Canada as a series of contrast between the painfully negative and pleasingly positive trains of thought that are called to mind by his contemplation of the Canadian scene.  One example of such a contrast can be found in the lengthy description of the country and its inhabitants before (35-130) and after (131-188) the arrival of Christianity; another lies in the even lengthier and more pointed accounts of the godless and despotic “rabbles” or contemporary America and France (189-246) and the pious, happy, tolerant, and prosperous people that Bayley finds in Quebec (247ff.). Bayley’s pained catalogue of the follies and vices of European life (ostentation, poverty, prostitution, gambling and the like) that he fondly thinks are absent from Canada (415-464) and, even more, his “pleas’d” enumeration of the manifestations of study, devotion, service, and creativity that he sees in the country (465-488) have clear equivalents in Hartley,47 as does his concluding conviction that “active virtue” (494) and physical beauty are combined in the “seraph forms” (510) of such Canadian “girls” (497) as Helen Eliza Jones, who have it in their “power . . . / To waken rapture or excite despair,” to make life either “an endless feast” or “one continual waste” (503-508).  Under the heading “Of the Pleasures and Pains of Imagination” Hartley observes the “mixture of hope and fear” that can be generated by the “beauty of the person,” “particularly in the female sex,” [Page xxii] and—good Anglican that he is—opines that such beauty will “moderate, spiritualize, and improve” the “gross sensual [pleasures]” of sexual attraction, ultimately converting them, “in the virtuous,” to the higher pleasures of “mutual love,” pure “esteem,” and “religious affection.”48 Bayley may have taken personal and spiritual consolation from such thoughts, and even had them in mind during the writing of the concluding section of his poem, but beyond such tentative statements of Hartley’s possible presence in the latter portions of Canada it would be unwise to go, particularly since a single-minded argument for an influence between two men in the realm of merely commonplace ideas might cast shadow on what should remain beyond dispute:  Bayley’s debt to Hartlean associationism for his conceptions of the mind’s working and the origin of poetry.


To the extent that it is a set-piece “from the family of Aikin”49—a description of the “animal and vegitable productions of the Country” (Plan) of the sort recommended by John Aiken in his Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry—the second section of Canada recalls Mackay’s Quebec Hill.  But, in its opening lines at least, Bayley’s account of Canada’s flora and fauna differs from Mackay’s in its lightness and humour, qualities that bring to mind, not merely the transition from “horror” to “joy” in the opening paragraph of the poem, but also Bayley’s designation of his poems in the Advertisement to his “little Volume” as “Bagatelles”—trifles or light verses.  Unobtrusively dividing Canada’s pre-histroy along Christian lines at the Flood, Bayley characterizes the ante-deluvian period as a “long and dreary night [of] . . . / Chaos” (37-38) in which, with delightful immodesty and wantonness, the “shore” of the St. Lawrence freely but vainly “display[ed] it’s abundant breast,” wooing “the plowshare” and seeking to be “caress’d” by the hand of non-existent Man.  More feminine, charming, and “vain” (perhaps in both senses) are the seductive efforts to the country’s “vegitable productions”:

            In vain the Cedar ting’d the perfum’d gale;
            And stately Pines wav’d on the upland dale;
            In vain the Maple wept her sweets around,
            And fruits spontaneous melted on the ground.
                                                            (43-46) [Page xiii]

On the “lengthen’d shore” that presumably appeared after the subsidence of the Flood and the subsequent dispersal world-wide of the animals in Noah’s ark, Bayley envisages a comical menagerie that includes “the dull Bear,” “the sleek Elk,” and “The shaggy Buffaloe,” animals whose presence in both Asia and North America, like that of the “Wolf” (59) and the “Fox” (61) mentioned later, was construed by many Christian writers as proof of the migration of animals from Mount Ararat to the New World by way of an isthmus between Russian and Alaska.50  The supposition that the “two Continents [were] . . . once united” (Note Referred to in the Poem on Canada, 95n.) was strengthened in many people’s minds by the discoveries in Siberia and the United States of the remains of a creature that Bayley also includes in his menagerie:

            The Mammoth, hugest in the brutal train,
            Tow’r’d to the sky, and stalk’d across the plain,
            Drank the discolor’d river from it’s bed,
            And shook the mountains at his every tread.

Using phraseology drawn from the accounts of Leviathan and Behemoth in the Bible and Paradise Lost, Bayley creates here a miniature tall-tale in the American vein.  His reason for doing so may well have been the traditional satirist’s one of inflation for the purpose of deflation—his target being Jefferson’s detailed, and, to some, credulous and atheistic,51 description of the Mammoth in the section of Notes on the State of Virginia entitled, surely not coincidentally, “Productions Mineral, Vegitable and Animal.”52  Certainly Bayley’s exaggeration of the size and power of the Mammoth in his account of the “animal and vegitable productions” of Canada accords with the skeptical tone of a note in the July 13, 1805 number of The Port Folio to the effect that “Mr. Jefferson . . . has discovered another Big-boned animal.  It is said to be larger than the universe, and to drink forty oceans at a swallow.”  As will become more apparent in due course, a joke at Jefferson’s expense even in the unlikely realm of paleontology is entirely consistent with Bayley’s hostile assessment of the American President and his Republican politics later in Canada
    After the departure of the Mammoth, the tone of Bayley’s description of Canada’s “animal . . . productions” becomes noticeably darker.  Supported [Page xxiv] by a reference to man’s self-destructive tendencies and an allusion to Milton’s description of the serpent in Book IX of Paradise Lost (“Fold above fold . . . his Head / Crested aloft . . . ”),53 Bayley’s account of the Rattle Snake—“(Sole suicide, save man) the crested snake, / Rattled her folds and rustled thro’ the brake” (55-56)—ushers in a catalogue of distinctly post-lapsarian creatures:  “The murd’rous Wolf that whelms his soul in blood, . . . The Fox that lurks in ambush for his prey, / The pilfering band of Squirrels dark’ning day . . . ” (59-62).  With the nondescript “Otter” and the “provident” Beaver (who fills “His gran’ries” perhaps as a response to the harsh realities of the fallen world), these vicious animals are the “undisputed tyrants” of the “forest” (64-65) until the arrival of the distant ancestors of Canada’s Indians—“savage hordes; / . . . rushing from afar, / With brethren clans to wage eternal war!” (66-68). That these people are nomadic and uncivilized is shown by their “light tents” and disregard of sexual differences (66-67);54 that they are from Asia (again, presumably, by way of the isthmus between Russian and Alaska) is indicated by the word “hordes,” which refers specifically to “clans” of “roving Tartars;”55 that they are Satanic is suggested by the allusion to Satan’s resolve to wage “eternal war” in Paradise Lost, I, 121 (see Explanatory Notes, 66 and 68 and n.).  As should now be evident, Bayley’s account of the pre-history of Canada’s plants, animals, and, finally, native peoples is far from the straightforward Application of Natural History to Poetry that it may first have appeared.  Indeed, in its far-reaching theological and scientific implications, the second section of Canada is precisely what might be expected of a “young gentleman” late from Cambridge, a university dominated around the turn of the nineteenth century by “debate . . . about the historicity of the Mosaic deluge, about the method by which the earth had been created, and about the significance and meaning of fossils, particularly those species now exctinct.”56  This was  a Cambridge under the “guidance of William Paley,” whose Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity Collected from the Appearances of Nature, published in 1802 (three years before Paley’s death in May, 1805), was a hugely influential contribution on the Christian side of the debate against the “skepticism of the French philosophes.”57 The fact that Paley was “a central part of the curriculum”58 at Cambridge in Bayley’s day (and also an alumnus of Bayley’s college [Christ’s]) helps to account for the two references to him in the notes to Canada (95n. and supplementary Note) and points towards his works as a formative influence on the young poet’s treatment of nature as a revelation of divine design. [Page xxv]
    The concern with the origin and character of Canada’s native peoples that emerges at the close of Bayley’s description of the country’s “animal and vegitable productions” forms the basis for the ensuing section of the poem (“The Indians with some conjectures upon their origin and former state” [Plan]; 69-116), as well as for the lengthy Note that the poet appended to Canada after it was “committed to the press.”  In both his supplementary Note and in his note to line 95 of the poem, Bayley refers the “curious reader” to a large number of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century books “upon the subject of the origin of native Americans” and what was considered by many writers to be the related matter of the present, degenerate state of the Indians.  Pierre de Charlevoix, who probably provided Bayley with the bulk of his bibliography in this area (see the Explanatory Notes on the Note Referred to in the Poem on Canada, 95n.), seems also to have furnished the poet, partly through his summaries of the views of Edward Brerewood, George Horn, and others, with the substance of the theory of the origin of the American Indians that he finds acceptable both scientifically (“agreeable to reason”) and theologically (“essential to the truth of Revelation” [95n.]).  Like the rest of mankind, the Indians are the descendants of Noah whose “grandsons,” “since the confusion of tongues” (Bayley’s phrase in his supplementary Note), were “obliged to separate and to spread themselves in conformity to the designs of God over the whole earth . . . .”59  Becoming less and less knowledgeable and civilized as time and geography removed them from the source and centers of civilization (the Middle East and, subsequently, Europe), the descendants of Noah who migrated to central Asia eventually became the “savage hordes” of “roving Tartars” who crossed to North America when “the two Continents [were] . . . united.”  As if in response to two rhetorical questions posed by Charlevoix—“Who can seriously believe that Noah and his immediate descendants knew less than we do . . . ?” and “Why . . . should we be surprised that the Americans, so long unknown to the rest of the world should have become barbarians and savages . . . ?”60—Bayley speculates that

                            . . . there was a time (ere first
            On Europe’s plains the dawn of science burst)
            When the forefather’s of these vagrant hordes
            Knew every charm that civil life affords;
            Now . . . they rove, expell’d by wayward fate,
            By mutual warfare of tyrannic hate; [Page xxvi]
            The offspring once, of nations far renown’d,
            Whom Genius cherish’d or whom Glory crown’d . . . .

In both the body of the poem (103-116) and in his notes (see 105n. and the supplementary Note), Bayley agrees with Charlevoix and Edward Stillingfleet61 that the “superstitions” and “notions of religion” among the Indians are, like their “arts and sciences,” the degenerate vestiges of their original, Biblical culture— “the phantoms of a purer creed / That worships Heav’n in spirit as in deed . . . ” (109-110).  It may even be that in describing his generic Indian’s snowshoes as “snow-sandals” and his headdress as a “crown of Feathers” (75-76, emphasis added) Bayley intended these things, like the Indian’s “bow” (69), to be recognized as the distant descendants of items developed in the cradle of civilization and referred to in the Bible.
    As a hunter (or warrior: both can be deduced from the Indian’s “bow” and “Fatigue”), the “wild” and “undomestic” (70-71) Indian was considered by social historians such as William Robertson and Gilbert Stuart (to name two more of the writers mentioned in Bayley’s notes) to be at the farthest removed from “polished society.”62  As Cornelius de Pauw, perhaps one of the “others” to whom Bayley refers in his notes “on the origin of [the] native Americans”63 puts it “ . . . hunters . . . are the most savage of all: wandering, and unsure of what is in store for them from one day to the next, they are bound to fear the reunion and multiplication of their fellow-creatures as the greatest of evils . . . A savage hunter [is] . . . never at peace with men or with animals; his instincts are wild and his manners barbarous; and the more his mind is occupied with ways of providing for his subsistence, the less does he reflect on the possibility of becoming civilised.”64  While conceding that the Indian exhibits “barbarous custom[s]” (74) and various reprehensible character traits, including propensities for “Revenge,” “Rage,” cruelty, and “‘Jealousy’” that had by this time become stereotypical,65  Bayley does not—indeed, cannot, if he is to be consistent with “the truth of Revelation” as he understands it—conceive of the Indian as entirely bad and unredeemable.  As the descendant of Noah (and, hence, of Adam), the Indian exhibits the remnants of his pre-migratory (not to say pre-lapsarian) state.  “In form superior and in reason great!” (72), the Indian “warrior” possesses certain innate (“self-born”) and patriotic “virtues” (“Contempt of danger, and contempt of pain”) that bear the “stamp” of something deeper and immortal: [Page xxvii]

            Yes here are form’d the mouldings of a soul,
            Too great for ease, too lofty for controul;
            A soul, which ripen’d by refinement’s hand,
            Had scatter’d wisdom thro’ its native land;
            A soul, which Education might have given
            To earth an honor—and an heir to Heaven!

Barbarous, but not atheistic, degenerate and deprived, but not soulless and entirely depraved, Bayley’s Indians may not be as admirable as the Christian sons and daughters of Canada who are praised later in the poem, but they are a good deal more praiseworthy than the “‘paricidal’” (196) “‘men without a God’” (219) who have come to power in post-revolutionary France and the United States.
    Following as it does Bayley’s metaphorical account of the eclipse of the Indians’ “Sun of Science” (115) during the dark ages of their isolation from Judeo-Christian civilization, the description of the “darken’d Sabbath” (118) of October 16, 1785 (see Explanatory Notes, 118-120) indicates two things: (1) that even the pious inhabitants of Canada are susceptible to the sorts of doubts and fears manifested by the Indians in response to such natural phenomena as thunder (see 106); and (2) that, just as dawn followed darkness in October, 1785, so the “Sun of Science” may yet again shine for Canada’s native peoples.  When it comes to superstition in particular, no clear line can be drawn between the Indians and contemporary white Canadians (especially Roman Catholics), but Christianity and European civilization nevertheless offer the best “Hope” (121) for a continuation of the “refinement” of Canada’s earliest inhabitants that began with what Bayley briefly describes in the next-section of the poem—“The colonization of [the country] by the French Missionaries” (Plan).  Accepting two widely-held beliefs of his day—the notion that agriculture was unknown among the Indians prior to the arrival of the Europeans and the idea that a transition from hunting to agriculture constituted a “stage” in the “progress” of societies from “rudeness” to “refinement”66—Bayley gives first France and then Britain the credit for the transformation that he sees and hears about him:

            How sweet the vales with many a hamlet crown’d
            Where Sabbath bells proclaim their welcome sound!
            Are these the spots where erst the savage race [Page xxviii]
            With endless bloodshed fill’d the desert place?
            Are these the spots where o’er the piling fire,
            The Indian watch’d his victim foes expire?
            How chang’d the scene! now nought but mutual love,
            Descends in Seraph features from above;
            The darted tomahawk, no longer known,
            Its tribute yields to agriculture’s throne;
            The war whoop’s echoes and the slave’s sad throes,
            Are hush’d in music, pleasure, and repose!

            This Gallia, was thy work . . . .
            Nor be less praise to thee, my country due;—
            Britannia’s honors let my Song renew!

It is entirely appropriate that in these and subsequent lines, echoes of several Christian poets—Milton, Thomson, and William Cowper67—combine with allusions to the Bible (notably Isaiah 2.4: “ . . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . ”) in Bayley’s account of the coming of Christianity and its secular corollary—British “mercy” and “justice” (151)—to Canada and its inhabitants.  As the epitome of a Britain that “Fight[s] but to conquer—conquer[s] but to save!” (152), Bayley’s Wolfe is not merely the exemplary and inspirational military hero discussed earlier; he is also to an extent Christ-like—a man worthy of both “the laurel” and “the lov’lier olive” (147-148) because he died bringing both a sword and peace to Canada.


After the historical retrospection that culminates in the sections treating of “The Death of Wolfe” (Plan; 159-180) and “The repulse of the American army under Montgomery” (Plan; 181-188), Bayley direct Canada towards “incidental meditation” in the form of some “Reflections upon Democracy--and the usual evils of Revolution--Illustrated by France” (Plan; 189-246).  By placing his “Reflections upon Democracy . . . and the . . . evils of Revolution . . . ” in the mouth of “Columbia’s genius” (191)—that is, the spirit of America— Bayley is able to depict and condemn various [Page xxix] developments in the post-revolutionary United States, from the invasion of Canada to the election of Jefferson, as violations, not merely of the implied (British) Tory and (American) Federalist values that lie behind Canada, but also of the natural and better impulses of the country itself.  That “Columbia’s genius” speaks her sad and bitter words of mourning and warning about the present state of the Union from a “sequester’d cave” (189) indicates her separation and detachment from an American society that has degenerated into a war-like and plebian “‘Democracy’” (207), a vengeful and faction-ridden tyranny of the masses that is flouting the ideal of “‘Freedom’” (210) and steering the new republic’s “‘weak’” and “‘fragil’” ship of state towards imminent and permanent destruction (203-214).  That Columbia’s “sequester’d cave” is “lav[d]” by the water of the Hudson . . . or . . . Potomac” (190) links her with the heartland and heroic past of the United States, with at least the “thoughts of right” (clearly a very different thing in Bayley’s mind to actual right) that guided the American Colonies in the “erring cause” of their rebellion against the rule of British law (195-202).  At home in such company as Christopher Caustic’s Democracy Unveiled, or Tyranny Stripped of the Garb of Patriotism, a satirical poem published in Boston in 1805 and sympathetically noticed in The Port Folio on August 31 of that year, the interpolated lament of “Columbia’s genius” in Canada clearly owes a specific debt to “The Genius of Columbia,” a poem by the American Federalist poet Thomas Green Fessenden that was published in the July 28, 1804 issue of Dennie’s magazine.  To be sung to the “Tune ‘In a mouldering cave,’” Fessenden’s poem depicts a female Columbia who refers to democracy as a “storm” (the inspiration, perhaps of Bayley’s “blasts of . . . chance” and “black’ning skies” [211-212]) and, moreover, fears that the United States will follow the lead of France, “[and] thus be abandon’d by heaven.”68
    When Bayley “turn[s] . . . [his] eyes to Gallia’s blood-stained coast”—to “the usual evils of Revolution--Illustrated by France”—he sees a “mad train”69 of atheists that begins with Voltaire and leads ineluctably to Napoleon.  Recalling the comparison between “man” and the “Rattle Snake” on the basis of their capacity for self-destruction, the “pois’nous band” (233) of this section of Canada includes “Columbia’s serpent Paine” and other practitioners of the “venom’d arts” (229) of free though such as Frederick the Great of Prussia (a friend and patron of Voltaire) and Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke (who knew Voltaire when he was in England).  Making “mistaken right their secret scheme” (231) like Satan in the guise of the serpent in Paradise Lost, IX, these and other snakes in the garden of [Page xxx] eighteenth-century America and Europe have succeeded through guile in unleashing upon the Western world the force of an evil that only Britain can prevent from being all-engulfing:

            . . . on the throne where murder’d Louis sate
            A foreign Despot wields the wav’ring state!
            Mad with ambition, thro’ the eastern coast,
            Depopulation leads his murdering host;
            Italia mourns—stript of her classic charms,
            And Danube echoes to the clash of arms;
            Europa’s empires totter on their base
            Nor dare their universal foe to face;
            Save thou my native land! ’tis thine alone
            To shake corruption from her Venal throne;
            ’Tis thine to scorn the threats in fury hurl’d,
            And stay the flood that strives to overwhelm the world!

Strongly reminiscent of Milton’s Satan, who is also, of course, the ambitious and despotic ruler of a “host” and a formidable “foe” to all mankind, Napoleon is the source of a demonic parody of the “flood” that was sent by God to destroy evil.  More than merely “incidental meditation,” Bayley’s diatribe against Napoleon and the “pois’nous band” that made him possible has the ring of righteous indignation based on genuine feeling.
    When Bayley redirects his gaze from Europe to Canada he sees a society that is Edenic at least to the extent that [it] is “guiltless” of the “shame” of contemporary “Gallia” (249-250), a society in which “the innocent manners of the [French-] Canadians”—including an annual celebration in May of “A new Creation” (260)—derive from pre-revolutionary France.  Bayley does not go so far as to suggest that Canada is a pre-lapsarian paradise in which (to paraphrase Genesis 3. 17-23) man need not till the ground in the sweat of his face, but he does portray the Canadian soil as especially responsive to “active labour” (252):

            Soon the glad soil returns the given seed,
            With three-fold harvest and with earliest meed;
            And scarce ere yet the embryo blooms appear,
            Mature and perfect shews the favor’d year!
                                                (263-266) [Page xxxi]

The “blaze” of the Canadian “Summer” may sap the energy and, as Lampman says in “Heat,” “blind . . . [the] sight,”70 but, for those who remain alert and observant, it can also be a source of æsthetic pleasure and near Edenic charm when “ . . . in the flowery cup of roseate hue [the humming bird] / Enfolds his wings, and drinks its honied dew.”
    The English Canadians whom Bayley mentions by name in the ensuing description of the view from “Montrèal’s mountain heighth” (a passage that is parallel to the poem’s opening description of the prospect from Cape Diamond) were prominent members of Lower Canada’s financial, political and seigneurial élite:  William Grant and Simon McTavish.  The fact that Bayley addresses flattering remarks (“ . . . let me trace the isle / Which, Grant, thy hand industrious has embrac’d / With mix’d protub’rance and assiduous taste . . . ” [280-282]) as if to the former, who died after a brief illness on October 5, 1805, may indicate that at least this portion of the poem was composed before that date.  Moreover, the flattering nature of these remarks may be indicative of a personal or professional relationship between Bayley and Grant, “[o] ne of the most aggressive members of the British bourgeoisie at Quebec” who owned an “imposing and varied library of nearly 600 volumes, many of them on law and history.”71  In any event, Bayley’s flattery of Grant’s “hand industrious” and “assiduous taste,” like his later comments on “McTavish’s tomb” (286n.) and, indeed, his subsequent references to “Sir Alexander Mackenzie” (427n.) indicate, as surely as Cary’s by turns sycophantic and cautionary addresses to the “soldier, statesman, and merchant”72 of Lower Canada in Abram’s Plains, the connection between Canada’s neo-classical poets and the British colonial élite upon whom they relied for an audience and, in some cases, perhaps, for financial or professional assistance.
    When Bayley continues his description of the “manners and customs” of the French-Canadians according to the various “seasons” by focusing on the winter, he presents the weather of “the biting North” not only as the “Parent of health” (302) but also, and again recalling Thomson, as the source of numerous indoor and outdoor pleasure, from carriole-riding to social gatherings “round the cheering fire” (336).  As well as revealing a heavy reliance on Thomson’s “Winter” for its diction and imagery, Bayley’s description of the snow-covered landscape of Lower Canada speaks of lessons learned from the passages in An Essay on Criticism alluded to earlier in which Pope urges poets to reflect their matter in their manner.  Part of Bayley’s description is worth quoting at length, and not without calling [Page xxxii] attention to its resonantly Hartlean comparison of the extraordinary “shapes” and “sights” generated by the freezing of “mountain torrents” to the fabrications of “playful Fancy”:

             . . . in one tractless scene resplendent glow
            Hills, vales, and rivers of unending snow;
            The mountain torrents by the frost’s control
            Arrested pause,—and, freezing as they roll,
            In gothic shapes and broken structures rise,
            Which playful Fancy oft may realize!—
            Its vagrant smoke the cottage chimney hurls,
            Shrinks from the cold, and, as it issues, curls;
            The forest groan beneath the flaky weight,
            Congeal’d to ice, and mourn their fallen state;
            Ev’n animation seems to pause! . . .

Joining the repetitive use in this passage of the “pause” / pause device mentioned earlier are at least two techniques illustrated in An Essay on Criticism.  The more obvious of these is perhaps the application of Pope’s example of the use of long or “open Vowels” to suggest weariness and slow movement (“When Ajax strives, some Rocks’ vast Weight to throw, / The line too labours, and the words move slow . . . ”)73 to a description of the weight of winter snow: “The forests groan beneath the flaky weight, / Congeal’d to ice, and mourn their fallen state . . . .”  The second technique in the passage that recalls the Essay on Criticism is the use of commas (caesuras) to slow the movement of a line for mimetic purposes in the couplet “Its vagrant smoke the cottage chimney hurls, / Shrinks from the cold, and, as it issues, curls . . . .” This couplet also make good use mimetically of the centrifugal thrust generated by the placement of a verb after two trochees at the end of a line (“the cóttăge chímňey húrls”) and the contrary centripetal pull created by the presence of metrical inversion and a short vowel at the beginning of the next line (“Shŕinks frŏm thĕ cóld”).  It may also be observed that at the beginning of the passage Bayley effectively combines a centrifugal thrust with a prefix and a suffix of negation or absence (“un-”, “-less”) to convey something of the ability of snow to eradicate distinctions and carry the eye toward infinity: “in one tractless scene resplendent glow / Hills, vales, and rivers of unending snow . . . .”
    It is consistent with Bayley’s conception of Canadian society as a [Page xxxiii] peaceful and pious middle-ground between, on the one hand, the “wild and undomestic state” of the Indian and, on the other, what Robertson calls the “maturity and decline” of ostensibly “polished”74 societies like Napoleonic France, that when he turns again to the social landscape of Lower Canada he sees in the French-Canadians a people who combine and reconcile “roving fancies” (345) akin to those of the Indians with a social stability and cohesion that he finds absent in supposedly more advanced nations.  At the Tory heart of Canada is thus the scene in which “some healthful hoary-headed sire,” evidently a one-time voyageur, feeds the “roving fancies” of his audience with tales of his travels and adventures in a “circle” that has been drawn by “social mirth” and “friendship” around a “cheering fire,” perhaps in the “lov’d abode” to which the old man has returned after his journeys to “wild Erie” and beyond (331-351).  No exemplar of the flight from authority that characterizes the true hinterland orientation, the “hoary-headed sire” apparently rejoices in the advancement of civilization into the pays d’en haut (“ . . . cultivation even travels there!”[354]).  Moreover—and properly, from a Tory perspective—he allows his memories of “wild,” “romantic,” and “restless” Niagara Falls (whose sublimity Bayley renders largely by combining Weld and Thomson) to remind him of how “little” he is in “Creation’s scale” and to prompt his silent praise of “his maker’s works” (355-378).  The humble and reverent attitude that Niagara Falls elicits from the “aged sire” (373) and his enraptured audience is presented by Bayley as a specific instance of the presence in Canada of the uncomplicated Christian piety that he finds lacking elsewhere:

            For, in these cots afar from Atheist pride,
            And bigot doctrines to deceit allied;
            Faith, Hope and Charity adore the cross,
            Of him who suffer’d to redeem our loss—
            Religion here disdains not to impart,
            Her warmest influence on the simple heart . . . .

Agreeing with Weld75 that Canada is free of the sort of religious “persecution” that drives the “pious poor” to leave their native lands in search of more tolerant religious climates (385-386), Bayley then directs his attention to the social landscape of the country, finding it freer than had Weld of the economic and moral abuses of capitalism and feudalism:76 [Page xxxiv]

            No griping landlord with oppression’s rod,
            Drives the poor tenant from his sweet abode;
            No wretch with one monopolizing hand
            Spreads crafty famine o’er a plenteous land;
            No titled Lord th’ instructed child of vice,
            Whose laws are passion, and whose Gods are dice,
            Lays siege to virgin innocence and Youth . . . .

A little reminiscent of William Blake in its diction and tone, this passage is, of course, a response to Goldsmith’s depiction in The Deserted Village of the dreadful economic and moral consequences of the enclosure and depopulation of rural England and Ireland in the middle of the eighteenth century by the great landowners (a group composed of both the nouveau riche and the landed aristocracy).  Overly sanguine as it may be, Bayley’s perception of Canada as a land free from the various forms of rapacity evident in England and elsewhere finds many echoes in the country’s early poetry, most obviously in the somewhat less complacent but still largely optimistic Rising Village of Goldsmith’s Canadian grand-nephew.
    Also echoed in much early poetry about Canada is Bayley’s subsequent depiction of Canadians as virtuous, family-oriented, and financially independent bucolics who possess physical and spiritual blessings in abundance:

                                        . . . here the rustic bands,
            Themselves enjoy the labour of their hands;
            Each views the independence of his lot,
            The genial stove that cheers his cleanly cot;
            His faithful wife—his offspring’s varying stage,
            In quick succession rip’ning into age;
            His neat Calash (himself the artist) made,
            For use and pleasure—not for vain parade;
            The well-plough’d arpent—the laborious steed,
            Tho’ small, yet strong, and certain in his speed;
            The cow’s full udder wishing to be press’d,
            The downy flock whence flows his self-made vest;
            The river’s freedom or the babbling brook
            Where many a victim trembles on his hook, [Page xxxv]
            These are his riches; —but from Heaven sent,
            He boasts his greatest wealth in virtue and content!

The heirs of the rural sufficiency and contentment attributed to bucolics from at least the time of Virgil’s Georgics to long after Thomson’s Seasons, Canada’s “rustic bands” possess two items that set them apart from their classical and neo-classical ancestors and, moreover, speak of a creative and distinctively Canadian response to the harsh necessities of northern life: the “genial stove[s]” by means of which, as Weld observes, the Canadians “keep their habitations . . . warm and comfortable”77 and the “Calash[es]” which Bayley begs to differ from Weld in seeing as the manifestations, not of vanity,78 but of the combination of “use” (utile) and “pleasure” (dulce) that was considered well into the nineteenth century in Canada to be the hallmark of valid art.  Creative and communal, hardy (like their horses) and self-sufficient, the (French-) Canadians are materially independent but spiritually humble.  As unscathed by the abuses of Feudalism and Commercialism as by the destructiveness of Atheism and Revolution, they enjoy rural comfort and contentment amid the plenty of wild and domestic nature and beneath a Heaven that has yet to be emptied of its God.
    In the “Reflections upon Great Britain and her Colonies” (Plan) that follow Bayley’s enumeration of the material and spiritual riches enjoyed by the inhabitants of Canada, the colony emerges as the recipient of the best that the Old World has to offer, namely, British culture in all its outward and inner manifestations,—equality under the law (420), external refinement (422), high-mindedness (427), and, above all, the “spirit” of “Freedom” (432-433).  Evidently sharing Edward Gibbon’s dismay at the decline and fall of imperial Rome under the influence of barbarism and superstition (415-416), Bayley sees Britain, once the enemy of “peace and science” (418) but now, of course, the bringer of the pax Brittanica and British culture, as Rome’s enlightened successor—the bearer among “savage tribes” and “dreary scene[s]” (422-423) of the civilized values that were long ago “exile[d]” (433) from Rome herself.  In the vanguard of “British sons” (421) in the imperial enterprise of bringing civilization to the Canadian wilderness is the explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie.  Bayley may have encountered Mackenzie’s Voyages at first hand after their publication in 1801 or learned about the explorer’s achievement through Weld (See Explanatory Notes, 427-430 and n.); either way, Mackenzie’s Voyage . . . from Montreal on the [Page xxxvi] River St. Lawrence through the Continent of North America to the . . . Pacific Ocean . . . in 1793 . . . evidently captured the poet’s imagination:

            . . . one exalted mind alone [did] scan,
            Millions of regions undescried by man;
            Circling the globe from wide Atlantic’s bound,
            To where Pacific meets the joining round!

As the well-known presence of the French translation of his Voyages in Napoleon’s library on St. Helena attests, Mackenzie more than any other explorer typifies the spirit of Romantic Imperialism, an ethos characterized geographically by a movement outwards from one of the centers of European civilization (London, Paris, Montreal) for the purposes, not of escaping that civilization, but of extending its values globally to new “regions” and peoples.
    It is finally as a symbol of British culture conceived in Romantic and Imperial terms that the St. Lawrence River—Mackenzie’s route to and from the Pacific—assumes its meaning in Canada.  Whereas Bayley can and does count at various points in the poem on the reader’s association of the Tiber with classical Rome (431), the Loire with pre-Revolutionary France (254), and the Hudson and Potomac with the “genius” of the United States (190-191), the equivalent link between the St. Lawrence and Romantic-Imperial Britain is one that the poet must forge himself.  But how?  Bayley’s solution to this problem is elegant and complex, and may, incidentally, show the operation again at this point in Canada of the sort of Hartlean “chain” of “thoughts” that generated the poem’s opening lines.  Having allowed “reflection’s ever-roving train” to connect imperial Britain and Rome, Bayley sees the presence of “Freedom’s spirit” (433) on the St. Lawrence as a sign of the commencement of a “golden reign” (435) in North America—a new Augustan age which, in turn (and perhaps by way of a pun or “tributary”), “Recalls the . . . tributary strain” (436) of the Roman “Poet” Horace in the various poems that he addressed to Augustus (Octavian), the Emperor responsible for the Pax Romana and for temporarily returning Rome to constitutional rule after the military dictatorship of “[Julius] Cæsar” (419).  Three of Horace’s “tributary” poems in particular—Ode IV, ii and Epode IX (both of which repeat the phrase “Io, Triumphe!” [‘Hail! God of Triumph!’])79 and Ode IV, xv (which credits Augustus with restoring [Page xxxvii] fertility, peace, morality and the rule of law to Rome)80—may have combined with other materials in the “realms” of Bayley’s “Fancy” to produce the opening lines of his tribute to the St. Lawrence:

            Hail then, Majestic King of rivers, hail!
            Whether amid the placid-winding vale,
            Thy waters ripen nature’s every bloom;
            Or, thro’ the bosom of the forest’s gloom,
            Their swelling currents with resistless tide,
            Break o’er the rocks, and lash their craggy side;
            Where e’re thy waves reflect the face of day,
            Wide—rich—romantic—is thy regal sway!

Since Bayley is proclaiming the beginning in Canada of a “golden reign” that is “Wide—rich—romantic” and, above all, British, it is entirely appropriate that the analogical matrix of this and the remaining portion of his tribute to the St. Lawrence be the coronation of a British monarch, a ceremony in which the future King or Queen is clothed or invested with various emblematic objects, such as the orb and the sceptre.  In Bayley’s adaptation of the process of investiture to his “regal” river, the emblematic objects are replaced by features of the Canadian landscape: “the placid-winding vale” of peace, the ripening “waters” of fertility, and the “swelling currents” of a power that is as “resistless” as it is enlightened.
    When the remainder of Bayley’s tribute to the St. Lawrence is read in conjunction with its footnotes referring to Sorelle and Toronto under their English names of William Henry and York, a further and more specific dimension to this portion of Canada emerges.  The two princes for whom these towns were named—Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, and William Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh—were respectively the brother and son of King George III, whose troubled reign (1760-1820) began shortly after the fall of Quebec and thus coincided with the inception of Bayley’s “golden” age in Canadian history.  Viewed in this light, Bayley’s highly selective catalogue of the “rivers--towns and villages” (Plan) of the St. Lawrence serves to identify the “Majestic King of rivers” with George III himself to cast the various places mentioned in the catalogue as princes and peers rendering homage to their new monarch after his coronation:

            Thine is Chaudiere in wild impetuous force, [Page xxxviii]
            And Montmorenci’s more majestic course;
            Thine are the well-nam’d Cartier’s bending woods,
            And Saguenay, himself a Prince of floods;
            Thine is Chamblee that still adorns her fort,
            And neat Sorelle, the princely-favor’d port;
            Here Kingston tow’rs o’er vast Ontario’s sheet,
            Here too Toronto, now an Empire’s seat;
            And here impending Albion’s signal plays,
            O’er the rude rock from whence my fancy strays!

North, south, east, and west—for these are the directions in which Bayley’s “fancy strays”—the “rivers--towns and villages” of Lower and Upper Canada pay tribute to a St. Lawrence dominated, finally, by the Union Jack that flies above Cape Diamond at the “high centre”81 of Britain’s “Empire” in North America.  Almost needless to say, it is characteristic of the imperial imagination that it organizes reality around places that are central to and higher than their surroundings precisely because they are manifestations of the imperial presence.
    In the portion of Canada that remains after this richly layered treatment of the St. Lawrence, Bayley moves gradually from public to private concerns, beginning with a “Panegyric upon Quebec” (Plan) and ending with the “tribute” to Helen Eliza Jones and the other “females of the Province” to which reference has already been made.  As if addressing Mackay’s two-pronged critique of Quebec as a place devoid of ancient architecture and rife with opportunities for vicious behavior,82 Bayley discounts the former objection and—consistent with the idealism of earlier sections of the poem—proclaims the absence of a wide variety of social and moral evils in Canada, from conspicuous wealth to prostitution and gambling:

            What tho’ no marble busts, no gothic tow’rs,
            No pillars glowing with Corinthian flowers,
            No gaudy equipage, no liveried train,
            Here thro’ the streets awaken Envy’s pain;
            What tho’ no surly porter’s idle state
            Spurns the poor beggar from the noble’s gate?
            What tho’ no brothels here with riot sound,
            No tables shake, no taverns blaze around,
            Where dissipation holds her midnight sway, [Page xxxix]
            Reversing nature, shrinking from the day?

More reminiscent of Cary than Mackay in its positive assessment of the physical and social landscapes of Quebec, Canada also recalls Abram’s Plains in explicitly designating its “muse” as “peaceful” (465)83 and in happily dwelling on scenes of “order’d rest” (466) in Lower Canada—in Bayley’s case, the Jesuit Seminary and the General Hospital in Quebec City (466-482).  Despite the muse machinery that governs this section of the poem, and despite the typically Protestant reservations expressed by Bayley (as by Cary) about the superstitious element of Catholicism and the life-denying dimension of the Nun’s vocation (489-496), there sounds through the description of the Seminary as a centre of “youthful science, and instructive proof” (468) and the depiction of the General Hospital as a source of “celestial love” and “Charity” (471-482) a personal note that echoes forward in Canadian poetry to A.M. Klein’s grateful portrait of “the safe domestic fowl of the House of God” in “For the Sisters of the Hotel Dieu”:

            O biblic birds,
            who fluttered to me in my childhood illnesses
            —me little, afraid, ill, not of your race,—
            the cool wing for my fever, the hovering solace,
            the sense of angels—
            be thanked, O plumage of paradise, be praised.84

Was the young and probably sickly student from Cambridge shown special kindness by the Jesuits at the Seminaire and the Ursulines at the Hôpital Général during his times in Quebec City in 1804-1806?  Was he perhaps treated also at the Hôtel Dieu in Trois Rivières, the convent whose “bark work” and “Artificial flowers” (485-488 and ns) he describes with a detail and appreciation not found in Weld?  The answers may never be known, but certainly the sheer length of the description of the Nuns and their activities in Canada, coupled with what is known and can be surmised about Bayley, suggest the presence of personal indebtedness behind the penultimate section of the poem.
    In any event, there can be no doubt about the personal element behind Bayley’s concluding “tribute” to his future wife and her Canadian sisters, overlayed though it is with conventional elements of flattery that are as old as [Page xl] the classics and as contemporary as Thomas Moore.  “O! whilst thy country boasts of hearts like thine, / In seraph forms a spirit so divine,” Bayley tells Miss Jones in his final lines,

            Then may that country bear the palm away,
            From every clime that drinks the orient ray,
            Then may the theme which now my song pursues
            Be prais’d hereafter by a worthier muse;
            And England’s self may hail around her coast,
            Canadia’s daughters as her noblest boast!

As few people would doubt that “Canadia’s daughters [are] her noblest boast” as would hesitate to affirm that “worthier muse[s]” than Bayley’s have sung their praises in the nearly two hundred years since the publication of Canada.  But perhaps Bayley’s poem is at its least engaging and illuminating in its final, fulsome lines, and much more so—as the preceding discussion has attempted to show—in those passages where it brings a keen, perceptive, and learned intelligence to bear on the peoples and landscapes of Canada, often with unique and enduringly intriguing results.

The First Edition

In John Neilson’s day book under the heading “Quebec 14th March, 1806” the following entry appears:

            Cornwall Bayley for printing
            Canada a descriptive Poem
            150 copies—making three
            Sheets and a quarter Roy. 1
            Small pica type @
            144 stitched and cov’d in blue
            6 bound in calf—85

The cost of printing Bayley’s small volume is given in Neilson’s account book under the date “April 21, 1806,” where an entry reads “To Cornwall Bayley, for his acct in full [£] 19 1 5 ½”.86 The dates of these [Page xli] entries—March 14 and April 21—confirm that Canada was printed between the date of its Advertisement (February, 1806) and Bayley’s marriage on May 18 of the same year, and probably in late March or early April.  By a curious coincidence, Thomas Cary’s Abram’s Plains was printed on March 14, 1789, almost if not exactly seventeen years earlier.  It, too, was covered in blue wrappers.87
    In addition to establishing the approximate date of the publication of Canada, Neilson’s records provide valuable information about the number and type of copies printed—fifty less than Abram’s Plains (which appears to have had a run of two hundred copies), and in two covers, one “soft” and the other “hard,” indeed “deluxe.”  Although most of the surviving copies of Canada have been rebound, the copy inscribed by Bayley to Helen Eliza Jones and now held in the Baldwin Room of the Metropolitan Toronto Reference Library seems to carry the original “calf” binding of the leather over boards.  Mottled brown in colour, its spine is elegantly embossed with gold bands and flowerets.
    A comparison and collation88 of several copies of Canada . . . indicates that both issues of the book were printed from the same plates.  In the copies in the Baldwin Room and the National Library of Canada, someone—probably Bayley—has inked in the corrections contained on the list of Errata at the end of the volume (see Editorial Emendations following the poem in the present text).
    As interesting as the copy of Canada in the Baldwin Room is the one in the Library of Parliament in Ottawa.  Inscribed to the “Rev. J. Strachan—with the Author’s respects” it contains, on the back of the title page, a poem to Bayley by the future Anglican Bishop of Toronto.  Dated May 21, 1806 (three days after Bayley’s marriage), the poem reads:
                                                         To the Author

                                               How sweet to view th’opning rose
                                               While round its virgin odour flows
                                               But sweeter far to mark the force
                                               Of Genius in its youthful course.
                                               Bright youth proceed the fav’ring nine
                                               To thee no common pow’r assign
                                               And lest thy glowing thoughts o’erleap
                                               The bounds that Taste & Nature keep
                                               A sweet Corinna guides thy light
                                               Like her who chasten’d Pindar’s flight. [Page xlii]

Not only do these lines indicate that both Bayley and his bride were known to Strachan (who from 1803 had been a missionary and grammar-school teacher in Cornwall, Upper Canada), but in so doing they point, like Canada and several shorter pieces by Bayley, Strachan, and others in The Port Folio, The Quebec Mercury, The Montreal Gazette, and elsewhere, to a small and intimate community of writers and readers of poetry in the Canadas in the early years of the nineteenth century.  That the sensibility of this community was tenaciously neo-classical and British surely needs no emphasis.  That it was also aware and proud of its poetic achievements and geographic distinctness can be sensed from the fact that on January 13, 1806, The Montreal Gazette introduced a poem—an “Elegy” as it happens, to the memory of Helen Eliza Jones’s father—with the note, “It is with pleasure we offer to our readers the following specimen of Canadian Poetry.”89  Although the product of a transient, Canada participates in a local pride that could already conceive of a distinctly Canadian literature.

The Present Text

The present text of Canada is based on Canada.  A Descriptive Poem, Written at Quebec, 1805.  With Satires—Imitations—and Sonnets, printed at Quebec by John Neilson in 1806.  Several copies of the first edition of Canada have been examined and no textual variations discovered among them.
    With an eye to Bayley’s comment that “he had not an opportunity of correcting” the “errors in his Poem on Canada” (Advertisement, 7-8), an attempt has been made to correct the “errors” in Canada without, however, regularizing or modernizing Bayley’s spelling or punctuation.  Several corrections have been made in accordance with the list of Errata on the final page of the first edition, including the re-numbering of lines 131 and following.  A few changes in punctuation have been made to eliminate possible confusions, notably in the realm of compound adjectives.  But Bayley’s use of the possessive “it’s” (which retains a memory of “it” plus the “’s” of the possessive and genitive case) has been retained, as has his (or Neilson’s) use of various lengths and configurations of dashes in different places and, it may be, for different purposes.  Canada is the product of a young Tory with a strong sense of himself, and there is no reason to believe that this combination is not reflected even at the level of punctuation in the [Page xliii] poem.  All changes to the first edition in the present text are recorded in the list of Editorial Emendations that follows the poem. [Page xliv]


Notes to the Introduction


John Peile, Biographical Register of Christ’s College, 1505-1905 (Cambridge, 1913), XI, 351, cited by James and Ruth Talman, “A Note on the Authorship of ‘Canada, A Descriptive Poem’, Quebec, 1806,” Canadian Notes and Queries, 20 (December, 1977), p.13. The Talmans were not able to consult Ernest Axon, The Bayley Family of
Manchester and Hope (Machester: The Manchester Press Co., 1890) a work which does, as they suspected, “contain more information regarding Cornwall Bayley” (p.13), including the information (Appendix II. Bibliography of Lancashire-Born Bayleys) that while at Christ’s College he published in 1802 a pamphlet entitled Epigrammata
Numismate annuo dignata et in curia Cantabrigiensi recitataCanada is not included in Axon’s Bibliography.


This is Bayley’s phrase in note on p.48 of his book, the title page of which reads: CANADA. / [rule] / A DESCRIPTIVE POEM, / written at Quebec, 1805. / [rule] / WITH / SATIRES—IMITATIONS—AND SONNETS. / [rule] / “Pro Charis Amicis.” —Hor Ode. / [rule] / Printed by JOHN NEILSON, No.3, Mountain-Street. [back]

3 Ibid., [p.4] [back]

According to the Talmans on the basis of J. A. Venn, Alumni Cantabrigiensis, but Axon states that Bayley “died at Pontefract, November, 1807” (p.220). [back]


In their Note (see 1, above) the Talmans present the major facts and sources that outline Bayley’s life.  See also their chapter on “The Canada 1763-1812” in the Literary History of Canada, ed. Carl F. Klinck (1965; rpt. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1973), p.86 and Michael Gnarowski’s Note to Canada in Three Early Poems from  
Lower Canada(Montreal: Lawrence M. Lande Foundation, 1969), p.71. Gnarowski’s anthology contains the only reprinting of Bayley’s poem prior to the present edition.


See Explanatory Notes, 301-303 in the present edition. [back]


All line references are to the present text, the lineation of which is adjusted to account for the repetition of lines 131-132 in the original edition (see Editorial Emendations, following the poem). [back]


The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, ed. A.D. Godley (London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1915 p.119. [back]


Albert H. Smythe, The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors, 1741-1850 (Philadelphia: Robert M. Lindsay, 1892), p.114, points out that Moore’s poem was reprinted from The Port Folio, V, 271 in [Page xlv] Charles Brockden Brown’s Literary Magazine, III (January, 1806), 27.  The first appearance of “Lines Written on Leaving Philadelphia” in book from was in Moore’s Epistles, Odes, and Other Poems, which was published in England in the spring of 1806. [back]


This includes similarities of form (both are written in four-line stanza and an anapestic rhythm), tone (both praise the congenial men and attractive women of Philadelphia), and mood (both are spoken by poets who leave the city regretfully and with fond memories), as well as the parallels of locale and diction indicated by the quotations given in the body of the text. [back]


In a footnote (p.25), Bayley observes that “Philadelphia is the Greek word for brotherly love.” [back]


A succinct account of Dennie’s circle is given in Hoover H. Jordan, Bolt Upright: the Life of Thomas Moore, Salzburg Studies in English Literature: Romantic Reassessment (Salzburg: Institu für Englische Sprache und Literatur, 1975), I, 107-109.  See also Harold M. Ellis, Joseph Dennie and His Circle (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1915) and Ellis P. Oberholtzer, The Literary History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Jacobs, 1906). [back]


See Jordan, Bolt Upright, I, 108 (the reception of the Odes of Anacreon in the Dennie circle) and 113-117 (Moore’s trip to Canada).  George Hutchinson Smith, “Tom Moore in Canada,” The Canadian Magazine, 33 (July, 1909), 260-263 gives a brief account of the poet’s trip to this country, as does Terence de Vere White, Tom Moore: the Irish Poet (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1977), pp. 50-51.  See also The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, pp. 121-131, The Letters of Thomas Moore, ed. Wilfred S. Dowden (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964), I, 92-99, and D.M.R. Bentley, “Thomas Moore in Canada and Canadian Poetry,” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 24 (Spring/Summer, 1989), pp. v-xi. [back]


The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore, p. 122, n. 3. [back]


See Letters, I, 95 for Moore’s recommendation of Weld’s description of Niagara Falls as “the most accurate [he has] . . . seen” and Isaac Weld, Travels through the States of North America, and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the Year 1795, 1796, and 1797, 4th. ed. (1807; rpt. New York: Johnson, 1968), II, 51 for Weld’s account of the singing of the French-Canadian boatmen (Moore’s “Canadian Boat Song” is in The Poetical Works, pp. 124-125).  A comparison of Moore’s “Every leaf was at rest, and I heard not a sound / But the woodpecker tapping the hollow beech-tree” (“Ballad Stanzas,” ibid., p. 124) with the following from Weld, Travels, II, 320 gives a sense of the poet’s debt to the traveller: A few squirrels were [Page xlvi] the only wild animals which we met with in our journey through the woods, and the most solemn silence imaginable reigned throughout, except where a wood-pecker was heard now and then tapping with its bill against a hollow tree.” [back]


See The Port Folio, I, 6 (February 15, 1806), 94; I, 9 (March 8, 1806), 144; I, 10 (March 15, 1806), 159-160 (a selection including one piece, an “Epigram” based on Hamlet’s “Frailty, thy name is woman . . . ,” that is not present in the Canada volume); I, 11 (March 22, 1806), 176 (“The Smile: an Elegy,” also absent from the Canada volume); and II, 37 (September 20, 1806), 172, 176. [back]


In the issue of April 21, 1806. [back]


At least one medical publication by Jones is extant: Remarks on the Distemper Generally Known by the Name of Molbay Disease(Montreal: Fleury Mesplet, 1786). [back]


See the “Elegy to the Memory of Doctor Jones” signed “S. G.” in the Montreal Gazette for January 13, 1806. [back]


Obituary, Montreal Gazette, December 23, 1805. [back]

21 See the Quebec Gazette, May 22, 1806 and the Montreal Gazette, May 26, 1806. [back]

Canada, pp. 19 and 48. [back]


For elaborations of the term “baseland” (and the antithetical “hinterland”), see D.M.R. Bentley “A New Dimension: Notes on the Ecology of Canadian Poetry,” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 7 Fall/Winter, 1980), pp. 1-20 and “The Mower and the Boneless Acrobat: Notes on the Stances of Baseland and Hinterland in Canadian Poetry,” Studies in Canadian Literature, 8 (1983), 5-48.  See also the Introductions to Cary’s Abram’s Plains: A Poem (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1986) and Mackay’s Quebec Hill; or, Canadian Scenery. A Poem. In two Parts (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1988).  Subsequent references to these poems are by line numbers to the texts in the Canadian Poetry Press editions. [back]


See ibid., pp. xiii-xvi for a discussion of the importance of J. Aikin’s account of “descriptive poetry” (a phrase used by Cary in his Preface to Abram’s Plains, 7) in his 1777 Essay on the Application of Natural History to Poetry. [back]


This is, of course, Samuel Johnson’s description of topographical or “local” poetry in “Denham,” Lives of the English Poets, ed. George Birkbeck Hill (1905; rpt. New York: Octagon Books, 1967), I, 77. [back]


This point is made forcibly by M. G. Parks in his Introduction to Joseph Howe’s Acadia (London: Canadian Poetry Press, 1989), pp. xiv-xvi. [back]


See my Introduction to Cary’s Abram’s Plains, pp. xiii-xiv and [Page xlvii] xviii-xx for a further discussion of the significance of the movements up and down the St. Lawrence. [back]


Quebec Hill, I, 187, 191. [back]


An Annotated Edition of the Correspondence between Archibald Lampman and Edward William Thomson (1890-1898), ed., and with an Introduction, by Helen Lynn (Ottawa: Tecumseh, 1980), p. 119. [back]


See the Explanatory Notes to these two poems in the Canadian Poetry Press editions, passim. [back]


An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, ed. Alexander Campbell Fraser (1894; rpt. New York: Dover Publications, 1959), I, 48. [back]


Hartley’s Theory of the Human Mind, on the Principle of the Association of Ideas; with Essays Relating to the Subject of it, 2nd. ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1790), p. xxxvii.  See also Harley’s Introduction, p. ii. All subsequent quotations from Hartley are taken from the text in Priestley’s edition. [back]


Ibid., p. iii. [back]


Ibid., pp. 255-257. [back]


See, for example, ibid., p. 22. [back]


Cary, Preface, Abram’s Plains, 13-15. [back]


These quotations are taken from, respectively, An Essay on Criticism, 365 and The Dunciad, II, 362 in The Poems of Alexander Pope, ed. John Butt (London: Methuen, 1965).  Subsequent quotations from Pope are from the texts in this volume. [back]


See Abram’s Plains, 34-35: “’ Twixt awe and pleasure, rapt in wild suspense, / Giddy, the gazer yields up ev’ry sense.” [back]


Hartley’s Theory, p. 252. [back]


Ibid., p. 325. [back]

41 Ibid., p. 299. [back]

Ibid., pp. 252-253. [back]

43 Ibid., p. 323. [back]

Pope, Windsor-Forest, 15. [back]


An Essay on Criticism, 220. [back]


Hartley’s Theory, p. 250. [back]

47 See Ibid., pp. 285-289. [back]

Ibid., pp. 269-270. [back]


This phrase comes from the note introducing the following description of Canada (and possible inspiration for parts of Bayley’s poem) in The Port Folio, V, 13 (April 6, 1805); 102:

          ‘Where Canada spreads forth her deserts hoar,
           Chilled by the polar frost of Labrador,
           Where mighty lakes their azure wastes expand, [Page xlviii]
           And swell their wat’ry empire o’er the land;
           What tribes or wing the air, or tread the plain
           What herbage springs, what nations hold their reign?’
                 Enormous forests stretch their shadows wide,
           And rich savannahs skirt the mountain’s side,
           Their [sic] bounds the Moose, and shaggy Bisons graze,
           Scar’d by the world, the tardy rein deer brays;
           The clambering squirrel tumbles from on high,
           Fix’d by the rattle snake’s rapacious eye;
           Unnumbered pigeons fill the darkened air,
           Glut the tired hawk, the loaded branches tear;
           Fair swans majestic on the waters glide;
           The mason beaver deck the flowing tide.
           Gigantic rivers shake the thundering shore,
           Dread Niagara’s foaming cataracts roar.
           In light canoe the painted Indian rows,
           Or hunts the floundering elk through melting snows;
           Weilds his huge tomahawk in deadly fray,
           And rends, with shouts, the reeking scalp away;
           Or smokes the fragrant calumet of peace,
           And, bound in wampum leagues, bids savage discord cease.

The fact that Aikin “wrote some verses” in memory of Bayley’s sister Mary Anne, who died at the age of sixteen in 1789 (See Axon, p. 207), raises the possibility that the two men were acquainted. [back]


See, for example, Edward Brerewood, Enquires Touching the diversity of Languages and Religions, through the chief parts of the world (one of the books mentioned by Bayley in his “Note Referred to in the Poem on Canada”) (London: John Norton, 1635), pp. 97-98, and, perhaps directly inspirational to Bayley, the observation of William Robertson, The History of America, 9th. ed. (London: A. Strahan, 1800), II, 36, that “the bear, the world, the fox, the hare, the deer, the roebuck, the elk and several other species . . . ” are found in both Asia and America. [back]


See “Observations upon certain passages in Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia, which appear to have a tendency to subvert Religion and establish a False Philosophy” The Port Folio, IV, 31 (August 4, 1804), 244-245; IV, 32 (August 12, 1804), 250-252; and IV, 34, (August 25, 1804), 268-269. [back]


See Query VI, Notes on the State of Virginia, ed. with an Introduction and Notes by William Peden (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1955), p. 26ff. [back]


This and subsequent quotations from Paradise Lost (in this instance, [Page xlix] IX, 499-500) are taken from Milton’s Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York: Odyssey, 1957). [back]


The phrase “Of sex regardless” (67) may, however, refer to the lack of sexual ardour attributed to the Indians by the French naturalist Buffon, whom Jefferson quotes to this effect in Query VI of Notes on the State of Virginia, pp. 58-59: “The savage is feeble, and has small organs of generation . . . . They have only few children, and they take little care of them . . . . [T]hey are indifferent because they have little sexual capacity, and this indifference to the other sex is the fundamental defect which weakens their nature, prevents its development, and . . . uproots society at the same time.”  Jefferson goes on to observe that Indian “women very frequently attend . . . the men in their parties of war and hunting” (p.60), a fact that he adduces to refute Buffon’s claims of innate indifference to sex among the Indians.  See also Robertson, The History of America, II, 65f., particularly the remark that the “natives” of the New World “treat their women with coldness and indiffernence.” [back]

55 This phrase is taken from Bayley’s Note Referred to in the Poem on Canada, 95n.. [back]

Martha McMackin Garland, Cambridge before Darwin: the Ideal of a Liberal Education, 1800-1860 (Cambridge: CambridgeUniversity Press, 1980, p. 54. [back]

57 Ibid., pp. 68 and 53. [back]

Ibid., p. 57. [back]


P. de Charlevoix, Journal of a Voyage to North-America.  Undertaken by Order of the French King.  Containiing the Geographical Description and Natural History of that Country, Canada.  Together with an Account of the Customs, Characters, Religion, Manners and Traditions of the original Inhabitants.  In a Series of a Letters to the Duchess of Lesdiguieres (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1761), I, 47. [back]


Ibid., I, 53 and 57. [back]


See ibid., I, 53 and Stillingfleet, Origines Sacræ; or A Rational Account of the Grounds of Christian Faith, as the to the Truth and Divine Authority of the Scriptures, and the Matter therein Contained (London: Henry Mortlock, 1662), pp. 578-579. [back]


Robertson, The History of America, II, 30 and II, 30-244 [Book IV], passim.  See also Stuart, A View of Society in Europe, in its Progress from Rudeness to Refinement; or, Inquiries Concerning the History of Law, Government, and Manners, 2nd. ed. (Edinburgh: J. Robertson, 1792), p. 158ff. [back]


Canada, n. 95 and Note Referred to in the Poem on Canada, n. 95. [back]


Recherches Philosophiques sur les Américains, quoted and translated [Page l] in one of the books that has been of great help in establishing context for Bayley’s view of the Indians, Ronald L. Meek’s Social Science and the Ignoble Savage, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 147.  Also very helpful in this regard has been Lee Eldridge Huddleston’s Origins of the American Indians: European Concepts, 1492-1729, Latin American Monographs, No. 11, Institute of Latin American Studies (Austin: University of Texas, 1967). [back]


See, for example, Mackay, Quebec Hill, I, 81-86 (and the corresponding entry in the Explanatory Notes).  Weld, Travels (see Explanatory Notes, 77-84) deals at length with the vengeful and cruel disposition of the Indians, as does Robertson, The History of America, II, 147-175.  In Robertson’s words, “ . . . the most frequent or the most powerful motive of the incessant hostilities among rude nations . . . [is] the passion of revenge, which rages with such violence in the breast of savages, that earnestness to gratify it may be considered as the distinguishing characteristic of men in their uncivilized state . . . The desire of revenge is communicated from breast to breast, and soon kindles into rage,” which, in turn, issues in cruelty. [back]


See note 59, above. [back]

67 See the corresponding entries in Explanatory Notes. [back]

The Port Folio, (July 28, 1804), 248. [back]


See Hartley’s Theory, p. 224 for a definition of madness that may be pertinent here: “Mad persons differ from others in that they judge wrong of past or future facts of a common nature; that their affections and actions are violent and different from, or even opposite to, those of other upon the like occasion, and such as are contrary to their true happiness . . . .” [back]


The Poems of Archibald Lampman (including At the Long Sault), intro. Margaret Coulby Whitridge, Literature of Canada: Poetry and Prose in Reprint (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), p. 13. [back]


David Roberts, “Grant, William,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography, V, 374. [back]


Abram’s Plains, 530. [back]


An Essay on Criticism, 370-371. [back]


The History of America, II, 34. [back]


Travels, I, 415: “There are no animosities in Canada about religion, and people of all persuasions are on a perfect equality with each other, except, indeed, it be the protestant dissenters, who may happen to live on lands that were subject to tithes under the French government . . . ” and I, 370-371: “Every religion is tolerated, in the fullest extent of the word, in both provinces; and no disqualifications are imposed on any persons on account of their religious opinions.” [Page li] [back]


See Explanatory Notes, 385-386. [back]

77 Travels, I, 393. [back]
78 See Explanatory Notes, 403-403. [back]

Horace, The Odes and Epodes, trans. C.E. Bennett, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press; London: William Heineimann, 1960), 90-91 and 386-389. [back]

80 See ibid., 344-347. [back]

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of  Nationalism (London: Verso Editions and NLB, 1983), p. 25. [back]


See Quebec Hill, 41-48 and 145-150. [back]

83 Abram’s Plains, 460. [back]

The Collected Poems, ed. Miriam Waddington (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1974), p. 300. [back]


Neilson Papers, Public Archives Canada, MG 24,B1, vol. 81 (frame 75). [back]


Ibid., MG 24, B1, vol. 90 (frame 57). [back]


See Introduction, Ambram’s Plains, p. xlii. [back]


8o , A-G4, 28ll; pp.[1-5] 6-52 [53-56 blank]; $2 signed (-G2).  The size of the pages (approximately 13.8 cm x 24.7cm: 5 3/8 ” x 8 7/8”) is consistent with an octavo folding of printer’s size “Roy[a]l paper (25” x 20”) bound in fours (and probably produced by work-and-turn).  The typeface of the word “Canada” on the title page is Caslon, and the typefaces in the body of the book are early modern, either Didot or, more likely, modern-face Caslon of the Baskerville family.  The types-size of Canada is indeed “Small pica” (eleven point); that of the Plan and Notes is emerald (six point).  The paper is wove and bear two watermarks: “1801” (the date of manufacture) and a monogram WM (a mark perhaps of the Whatman papermills in England).  The three stabholes in the gutter of the National Library copy of Canada indicate that it was sewn through sideways as is consistent with pamphlets or very thin books (see John Carter ABC for Book-Collectors [London: Rupert Hart Davis, 1952], p.169); the copy of the book in the Baldwin Room is stitched in a manner consistent with a bound work.
    I am very grateful to E.J. Devereux for his help on the bibliographical aspects of Canada.


See my “An Early Specimen of Canadian Poetry,” Canadian Poetry: Studies, Documents, Reviews, 26 (Spring/Summer, 1990), pp. 70-74. The elegy is signed “S.G.,” the initials, perhaps, of Samuel Gale (1783-1865), the author of Nerva (Montreal: William Grey, 1814), a Collection of Papers published in 1813 in The Montreal Herald.  In [Page lii] 1805-1806, The Port Folio published a number of  poems signed “S.G.,” including one with a Canadian reference.  See also The Quebec Gazette for 1804 and  The Port Folio for 1806-7 for poems signed “N.N.,” the pseudonym of John Strachan. [Page liii] [back]