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Broadside entitled 'A Very Curious Letter from a Cotton Spinner in Canada'
Date of publication: 1808-1827 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.73(094)
Copy of a very Curious Letter from a Cotton Spinner in Canada, to his friends in this Country, containing a particular invitation to all men going out to America to take a Cotton Mill Lass
along with him, as they make the far best Wives there; with many other curious particulars.—12th Feb 1827.New Perth. Upper Canada, Sept.12,1826.
Dear Brother - I recevied your long looked for letter and we are happy to hear that you are all well, as this leaves
us at present, think, be to the Author of all good you will recieve this letter from John —, who will inform you particularly concering us and the state of the country. for he has been eight.years in this count ry and you know I have been only three. But for the short time I have been,
we have prospered well—we have had two children since, John and Jean. They are thriving very well.We have about eighteen screw of clear land, and twelve of them un-der crops we have above fifty [ ] of wheat, Scoth mea- sure, a great quantity of potatoes, barley Indian corn, me-lons, cucumbers, pumpkin,and tobacco one; one milk cow, two stirks, and a pair of oxen,we had some hardships the first year, but now it in all over. We have no angry land lord craving his rent—every lives under his own vine and plenty of food of the of the best sort. We have nine pigs and 44 sheep. We will always have plenty of wool. Our cou-sin Rab has not come on so well as me for all his braw country lass, which you will see by the following story which happened of late between him and me, and an Englishman, You know that he often said that I would be ruined when I married. Jean but of the cotton mills, for the mill lasses were good for nothing at all: that I need not offer to take one of them so America, except I wanted to starve but I think its rather reversed now.Well, you trust know that an Englishmen, a neighbour Of ours,of the name of Holden, and Rab and me, met one day in a public house in New Perth. We had a hearty glass, and through our conversation about our wives, every one was for hauding out that his own was the best. So, as we were only about three miles distant from each other, we Beat a gallon of rum,agreeing that the person who had the laziest, the dirtiest; and most uncivil, wife,and clartiest house, was ot pay the rum—so away we went to our cousin Rab's as it was the first on our road: and when we came to Rab's door we could hardly get in for muck—but save us, such a house and such a wife wi' dirt, you never did see the like with your-eyes. No wonder though they call the Scotch dirty, for her and her house were a disgrace to our country and I must say most of the braw country lasses. when they become wives are little better.You know she has black hair, it was all loose, hanging down, the neck and side of her head; her mutch and face were like as it they had been sinoked up the lum for half a year; her blue-plaid.
ing petticoat, once of true blue, was shamed into black wi' greim, the cogs, luggies, plares and spoons, were all-bark- ened owre wi' kail and porridge, for I suppose she never washed them. She had two bairns half- dressed, trailing, through the ashes. She asked. me for Jean, and the littie
bodies, and if Jean was aye as p[ ]fn' aud braw as she used to be. Yes, praise be thankit, said I, from my heart, gien' a glance athwart the house. The re awfu' folk thae cotton mill women, said she, for gaun clean and braw. " O Jenny, said I,"cleanliness is no pride." But a' this,time she never asked us to eat or drink, Rab then asked her if there was any spirit in the house. She said there was but'a wee
drap in a bottle, and the bairns needed that, for they whiles took a sair wime. The Englishm gave a
smile and a wink to me. Rab looked very sulky. I told them we must go away, so off we went to the Englishman's, and left Jenny scolding us for taking Rob wi' us. O, said Rab, I ken I'll need to pay the bet ,but for a that I must say that I never saw Jenny and her house so dirty before. We then pro-
ceeded to the Englishman's dweling, where we found and-other sort of a house and wife than Rab's. All was very neat and clean, and the wife tidy, kindly, frank, and civil, and at once bestirred herself to give us a hearty welcome, by laying bread and cheese before us, and well filled rum bottel. So. we took a slice of bread and cheese, and a glass or two of good stuff, and then set off for my house. And sure enough when we went into my house every thing was in good order—just like a little palace jean was frank, clean, and decent,as usual. Here's my cotton Mill Lass, said to the Englishman; whether do you think more of her ot of Rab's country girl. Faith, said plain spoken John Bull, there is a mighty differ- ence; the one is like an angel of lighty, and the of her like an
angel of darkness. Before we could look about us, Jean set down plenty of tea, and bread, and butter—and when that was done, plenty o' gude tody to man a' comfortable and pleasant We were all very hearty but Rab: but the-rum soon overcame his dulness, for we boused away till morning. Then off we would all go for to drink the gallon of him at New Perth, as we were as solved to mak'.Rab pay for it, as he was so positive about his braw country Jenny. but before we parted we made him convinced of his error. So my advice to you is, John, to come out to this country as soon as ever you can in the spring, and bring my sister Mary with you, she need not care about leaving her lads— for there's more men than women here, and she stands a chance to get a better match here than at home. And I would advise you John to take out a wife out with you, and if you have not fixed your mind on one already, I would advise you to choose one out of Deanston Cotton Mill, (Stirlingshire) as I think them preferable to any of your country lasses round and round and round for cleanliness and keeping a house in order. Indeed I must, however say, there are some cotton lasses, about Glasgow and Paisley, that I could not recommend to any friend or acquaintance—
but as for Deanston Mill lasses, I would recommend them before any common lass in the country, for washing, sewing, knitting, carding and spinning, Keeping a house in order, and right able to bring up a family of bairns clean and decent. so I have told you all my mind. John Muir printer.
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