The journal was written on the blank pages of an almanac of the late 1790's. It had previously been used by someone to record shipments of various types of goods, including slaves.

John McFarlane was not an educated man. Words were spelled phonetically and he recorded only what he thought unusual – it's not until page eight when they arrive in Montreal that we learn his wife and family were with him. Nor are we told any details of his family other than he and his wife carried the two youngest, implying that there were at least three children. Five children were born and three died on the ship, recorded only with terse entries, and the entry of 24 May: "lay becamed and a mutany on Board" must be a world's record for understatement. He did, however, talk a lot about the weather, so he helped to pass this dominant gene into the Canadian gene pool.

I've transcribed the journal as best I could, line-for-line, with original spelling intact. I've indicated by best guesses with ?? or [square brackets].

May 19th 1821 [We?] Sailed from Greenock in the Ship David of London was towed out with a Steam Boat to the tail of the Bank about four oclock and three tugs[?] brought us clear of Izemp[??] where we had a fine fair Breaze M20 Sunday morning early pased the Mull of [....??] with a fine Breaze at about 8 nots an hour 21 M out of sight of land 9 nots nots an houre 22 te a fine Brease with us [o..] with the most part sea sick 23 W 4+1/2 nots and an number of porposes passed the Ship 24 th lay becamed [--page 2--] and a mutany on Board 25 th fr. cloudy morning fair breas and blos hard throw the night 26 sa Blowes verrey hard child ) in the morning slakens b. ) toward Evening 27th su, litle wind and right ahead. Heard a sermon on board from Mr. Gemmel 28 mo fine Breeze at 8 nots (do 29 t at 9 nots chield 30 w heavey geals against 31 th do Jun 1 fr do 2 S do Child B. 3 SU do 4th M Chield B. 5 t do 6 w geale slakend 7 th at 6 nots chield dyed 8 th haled a french Brig 9 [?] saw a ship ahead [--page 3--] 10 su which we pased this morning which was the Provodance of Turnmojth from which we Spok § Liverpool. She was 210 days at sea this morning the wind beca fair which has been contrary since the 25 of last month. a sail ahead which [ponet?] us in a short time ladend with staves for liverpool. Heard a sermon preached by Mr. Gemmel 11 upon the banks of new foundland with a heavey gale and vilence cold [??] 12 lay almost becamed. 13 W light Breases 14 th light B 15 vessels 15 f passed them mostly 16 s strong Breas on scalded [???] 17 su slight Brease Strong at night a Serman Mr. Gemmel entered the gulfe of[?] [???] [--page 4--] m 18 slight B Chielz Born t 19 plain[?] Brease at 10 nots[?] saw the coast of novascot(ia) which apeared mountanious with some specks of snow on them and as cloasley cloathed with trees to aperanse as b[?]ale in apear[ance?] saw labradore on our right w 20 slight Breas and changable a chield diyd of the croup child diys th21 slight Breas and cheangable saw the first houses about 8 in number closley to gethern which had a fine aperance afterward saw game along the shore at considerable distances f22 wind variable River nerrows passes the isle of Bee[k?] cloaser view of labradore which apears partly sandy along Shoar fair Breas at 12 South side beautiful high hils with the wody[?] faces next the river more [civil or level] houses numous passed the Green ile finley woded with alight house upon its [--page 5--] s 23 North side saw houses and stea[??} land lases. Sight of the north shore with islands in the river which stopt the view of the shore but saw the tops of the mountains which extend some lenth [B.W.h ?] [??] houses verrey numerus prospeck beautiful fine Brease this morning which contin(ued?) to twelve when ebe brought us to [techeri?] heaved anchor about 12 oclock and came alitel further when we lay that night chield diys Su24 heaved and came to anchor four times this day anumber of vessel(s) passed us homward Bound saw the iland of Orleans on our (right?) which apeared well cultivated and peopled and verrey beautiful left side apeared so likewise weather verrey fogey throught the night this day verrey warm m 25 heaved anchor and came to the head of the island of Orlean, where we saw the fals of Marant and in a short time came to anchor at Quebeck [--page 6--] Saml:Gooddill 5[...p] --------------------------------- which show a most striking apperance on acount of the Rock where the fortress stands and the Glaring aperanced Churtches and houses which are principly covered with tin their are some most eligant houses and shops which have agrand apperance but the Streets are badly cacied[sic] but having only afew houres time in it I can not be verrey perticuler about it as I left it about eleven ocloake at night in the Lady Sherbrook Stem Boat for Montrial which is by fare the largest Stem vessal of the kind that ever I Saw [--Page 7--] June 26th had a heavie Deluge of rain which proved to be verrey disagriable to the most part as they had made their Beads upon deck where they were complietely drenched with water and it turned verey coald in the morning which made it truley Unplisent I got my ankle Strained in the hauld of the David and the cold made it swell verrey (m)utch which was verrey tublsome (fo)r afew days this day we had a fine (vie)w of the Banks of the River which apeared verrey Beautiful and in some parts well Cultivated saw some fine Villages on shore [and inverted in relation to the above text] Tensler and [boy?] [--Page 8--] and anumber of ilands in the River but darknes stopt the prospect we arived at Montriaul about eleaven at night lay on board all night 27th got aur loggadge on shore in haste found my oalde frend James Yong who healped me to load some carts and put my Wife and family on two carts for lochen[?] while I stoped with Mr Yong for two houres in Montriaul and got my tea with him and conveyed me 4 miles of the way but went in the wrong road which wase 3 miles [round?] [Inverted entry "A" is here] [--Page 9--] [per?]lower Lasheen and the Boat[?] the(n?) wewent brought me to upper Lasheen about nine miles above Montreal where I had afine vew of the cuntry which was verrey plesent and well cultivated. I arrived at upper Lasheen in the evening and had to return to loues[sic] by the river where I saw about 15 indians or natives walking round 3 fires with alarge [kemel? or bellel?] on one and Rosting meet on the other 2 in averrey curious Manner they Roasted their meat by means of four small sticks set round the fire at equal distance from each other in an oblick direction and inclined togeather at the top with the meat stuck on the small points (where?) the branches grew [-- Page 10 --] I arived at lower Lasheen about ten at night 28-29-30-1-2-of Juley lay in lower Lausheen which is a depo for troops where we saw numbers of horses cows and sheep and swine that eet grass like cows we saw grass in grate plenty both natural and some with agreate variety of fruits particulary apel trees which growes in grate plenty with grate quantiteys of apels their are fine gardings well stocked with a veriety of vigetabels with which I am litel aquainted thier are a grate aperance of afine crope of all kinds I saw the wine grapes growing in grate quanteties with the vine clingin round taul trees along the shore their are greate quantities of stones along the [--Page 11 --] Shore of the St. Lawrance which extend about a quarter of a mile from the river some fields are verrey numerously cover(ed) with them and some of pretty learge[?] James Dick the Morning of [afterourvrey??] went into the river to Bath and was drowned owing to astep part he went over after going in alitel way and the water running verrey rapidley swept him him

[ See another account ]
[ of this event in the ]
[ on the LCGS website. ]

[Inverted entry "B" is here] [--Page 12 --] down into adep swirley part of the riv(er) and his corps has not ben found yet tha(t) we have heard of he left awife and eleven children some of them are men and women he wase much lemented for he wase as agood sot[??] man as was on Board We got all our loggage on Board on the Second and on the Third we embarked on Board of fiften bataus some of them verrey deply loaded on the 3-4-5-6-7-8-9 arrived at Prescot after a most fatigen voage the first day we came on pretey well we crossed alake in the afternoon with a fine Brease and arived at night at the ca[??]ad canale wher we had ahurrey to get our supper coocked and make our Bed on the lee side of a bush and aque[? many?] in the morning the Batoos were alligted[?] and part of our logadge taken o[?eant?] about 4 miles wher it wase re[moved?] [--Page 13--] after the Batoos wer draged along [blotted] each by the party belonging to it and [wer?] some times up to the hinches among mud and water and at one part they were draged by horses for about half a mile we came on through [carawels?] and rapids till we came to the long Sound which is a terable Raped of about half a mile in length and each Batoo had too horses to drag it up which coas for each half a doler I saw a number of islands some of them beautiful and partly cultivated likewise some eligant houses Built of whin stons and exelant lime with pavilion Roofs of three and four storeys and of agrate wideth and length we passed anumber of saw and flour Mils [--Page 14--] I got amost compleet dive head foremost into averrey rapped part of the river about five feet deep but had the fortune to have hold of the end of the end of the rope by which I was draged out or the current would have keept me down and at night had to strip to the skin and roll myself in a duffel and ly down to sleep and in the morning put on my shirt which which wase completley weet and as their are verrey heavey deues in the Night and coald in the morning it set my teeth achittring till I got warm with the oar which I had [tile?] play for five days without intermition betwixt Bowing and draggen [-- Page 15 --] I saw a number of verrey extensive Rafts of timber which mast be verey dangerous to the conductors over the Rappids some of them which have adreadful apperance from roacks and large Stones apearing at the surface of the water which Breacks over them in amost dreadful mannar the must part of the stones so fareas I have seen are lime ston of a bleu[?] kind. we landed at Prescot on the ninth about eleven morning where the whole of the people belongin to the comerse and part of the Buckingham Remained and the whole of the comerce which stopt us from the ninth to the thertieth of Juley before we got away [-- Page 16 --] their is a foart Wellington heare which did some dammage to atowne on the oposit side of the river belongin to the steats of the name Odensburg which is situate on black river which joines the St. laurance and bears the name with propriety as it is verrey Black. it is prety siseable and apeares to be rapidly increasing I wase twise over in it and purchased some small articles on reasonable terms their is steam Boats that pases between this place and Kingston their wase anumber of our contrey men wiman and children died heir after the fatiges of the voage [-- Page 17 --] Mrs Dick died heare that lost ther husband at lasheen and heare Mr Purdey braithed his last averrey Sencable agre(able) man in my oppinon and I concidred him badley yused by anumber which I considred wase partley the cause of his death. Juley 13th we begun our march by land we pased Brockvale about 10 miles above prescot it containes anumber of verrey eligant hous and stands on the Banks of the St lourance and has afine apperance hear we left the course of the River [-- Page 18 --] when we begun our march by land through bad Roads which took four days we arived at lennark on the 17th of Juley prescot is aplesent chearey healthy situation itt is aport town where the kings Batoos bring bring avast quantiety of stoares and provitions for troops and emigrants and anumber of Merchant vessels whichis duram Boats and Bataus. The Duram Boats are of aconsidrable sise about 06 or 07 feet long with [agangey?] on each side with small Blocks for their feet which they push along with pouls after the nature of [gaberts?] they yuse sailes for them when [wh..] the wind answereth. [-- Page 19 --] and took a westerly [dero??] the roads got verrey deep we traveled along with the wagans men woman and children me and my wife caried our two youngest for three days nearley the roads are nothing more then the trees cut and in swampy ground trees are cut to lenthes of 12 feet or there by and laid across the Road side by side and some of the pleaces laid in that manner are of[ey?] agrate lenth we arived at Pearth in the evening which is increasing in sise verrey fast ase it is onley four (years) [-- Page 20 --] since they were a house in it we crossed the rideau ferrey which is as Broad as Clide at [assing?] ferrey and appears to form a lake of a learge sise and after some time we came to the missip and crossed it at the ferrey which is likewise large between 2 and 3 miles from Lendrik town where I stopt with my family till I got my land in the eleventh Concessions of Lenrick and front of the thertenth [boat?] after looking for land in Ramesy Dalhousey and Lendrick and after I wase loketed I had to work at the making of Roades for three weeks and did not get them answerable [??] myself I ame situated about 11 miles from the town of lendrick I ame well satisfyed with my loat I have got a house [-- Page 21 --] 19 by 21 built with logs and covered with logs split in two and holoued out it is bas wood in general that is yused and derives its name from the Bases that is yused for packing Being made of the inner rings of the Bark it is verrey like what we called lime tree both in wood and Bark and I have got a stone vent Built in the house which is of grate Benifeet I supose that I ame about 10 miles from lendrick and not 2 or 3 miles further from Pearth but Boads are not verrey good nor plenty as yete [-- This seems to be the end of the account of the trip --]

This entry is on a separate page, and seems to have been made in 1815.

John McFarlane was born the
in July [scribbled] 1815   36years
of age              1779

[rest of page is blank]

The entries on this page seems to have been written when John McFarlane was involved in road work.




[and inverted in relation to the above]

working at the Road
Rollo     2 days   Butter  22 lb.
Millar    [?]      potatus 11 bus
forsyth  -5
         -3  sug so[??]  1.8
Morton    1  meal        1.8
Mcentyre  1
Barkely   3
Mcfarlan  3

The following entries were made in a much different hand. The ink is very black and the writing is strong with large flourishes. Entries "A" and "B" are at the bottom of the journal pages indicated and are inverted in relation to them. The other consists of a full page of entries with nothing from the journal appearing on it.

[   -- Inverted entry "A" --   ]
[-- Bottom of Journal Page 8 --]

Feby ye 10  Recd from
the Governor 200 [Bill?]
of fire wood -----------

[    -- Inverted entry "B" --   ]
[-- Bottom of Journal Page 11 --]

(De)cr 23 Send off 6 women
    2[?] Baggs of Limes
Decr 2[6 over 9] Sent off 6 Slaves
    Viz: 4 women  1 Boy
      1 Man Boy 2 Bags
      Potatoes ----------
      2 Bags of Limes -----

[-- Full page of entries --]

Novr 17 Sent off 44 Em(pty)
Anchor ---------------------
Novr 19 Sent off 2 Bund(les)
Hoops 1 do Rushes -----
Novr 21 Sent off
23 Empty Anchors
 7 Baggs Calavanic
Decr 3 Sent off 32 Emp(ty)
Anchors 1 Bag Orangs
Decr 11 Sent of 2 Slaves
 Viz one Man & one Boy
 one Bag of Limes
Decr 14 Sent off 22 Slave(s)
 Viz 2 Men 1 M:Boy
 1 Boy  16 women 2 Girls
 or[?] Bags Calavanics
2 Bags Oranges -----

Also see a letter written to John McFarlane by his father in 1829, on this website.

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