The American negroes are generally much less repulsive than the Australian or Caledonian Kanaks that I used to study. They accept white supremacy, which the Kanaks have never agreed to; this is why they develop in our midst because of their usefulness, but do not mix. It has been calculated that during the three past centuries, Africa has exported twenty million negroes to the Americas, and if these far-off countries were then a source of tremendous wealth, we owe it to the hands of the blacks: Colbert signed special laws that were to govern the fate of the 400,000 blacks owned by our settlers in the West Indies, and it is difficult to imagine anything harsher, except if one admits that negroes are not men but domestic animals.
The code signed by Colbert in 1685 was probably dictated by already established practices, and we shall just quote one article, which will be representative of the others, since all cases are provided for: « … a fugitive slave will have his ears cut off for his first offense, in case of a second offence, his ham severed; at his third attempt, death ». It took no less than our 1795 and 1848 revolutions to set an example for the other peoples: nowadays, negroes are free in our colonies, in North America and in Brazil, but this freedom did not provide negroes with the power that can only be ensured through the superiority of one's race; they are not slaves anymore, but they are servants, and what is the value of this free servant?
One has to admit it, he has less value than in his previous slave status: perish the thought that I would praise the time when, in line with Colbert's code, negroes were assimilated to a property's furniture, but, in those days, even if devoid of a true attachment to their masters who were often harsh, always haughty and imperious, the negroes were attached to their fellow slaves, to the things, to the country that surrounded them and that they were seeing since childhood; they formed a part, true the most humble, but a part all the same of their master's property and, in this capacity, they were considered and, naively, that was enough for them. Nowadays, they are free to come and go, they indeed do come and go, or rather they run besides the whites, sad, dazed, downgraded, disoriented; their services are accepted in return for money, because here manpower is the rarest of things, but never does a kind word elevate them to their own eyes or flatter them... except, true, to buy their votes, but then they are not fooled because if they try, like the donkey in the fable, to join the whites, mockery if not blows will remind them of their lowly status.
Nevertheless, benefiting from cheap and abundant food, which is one of the United States' characteristic features, negroes are physically happy, they are as fat and gleaming as can be; their children are numerous and, without the need for more immigration, they multiply rather quickly and their numbers have increased at the rate of eleven percent per year during those two last years, while the whole of the population increased by 25 percent, albeit including the immigrants. However, the United States' seven and a half million colored people live mainly in the Southern States where the climate is more convenient for them; they are not disturbed by the recollection of their past slave status in those territories. There are only one million negroes disseminated in the northern provinces; despite this small number, the lynching of some of those unfortunate men by whites happens all the time, and their death is often preceded by the most barbaric of tortures; thus, in 1892, I read in the local press the story of a negro who, having assaulted a white woman, was seized by the mob, tied to a tree, and doused with kerosene, which the said white woman insisted upon lighting herself, cheered by the crowd!
Witnessing the ever-widening divide between the negroes and the whites, one can only hope that time will merge the two races, and I can only conclude this chapter by wishing that, in France, the future preserves us from the intrusion of Africans. Let us be good to them, let us be fair, but let them remain inside their tribes.
If, starting from Toronto, one travels northward through lowlands dotted with lakes including Georgian Bay, an outgrowth of Lake Huron which is a small sea in itself, one soon leaves cultivated and cultivable land for forests and swamps and, after about 500 km, reaches one of the Canadian Pacific Railroad stations, 1,000 km from Montréal which is the start of the line: North Bay is the bud of a large city which still has a small number of wooden houses, but where streets are drawn as if expecting great numbers of people to settle there, and in this country, this proves a useful precaution. North Bay stands on the shore of a wonderfully picturesque lake, sprinkled with wooded islets; it looks all the more like the fjords in Scandinavia that the ground itself is very similar to that of Norway: this lake, named Nipissing, is relatively small, measuring only 60 kilometers by 16, i.e. approximately the size of Lake Geneva.
There, still going west, we enter an hitherto unexplored forest whose limits are unknown, but six hundred square leagues of which have been burned by mine prospectors, hunters, or pioneers: some through negligence, others to clear a path or to better examine the ground even if that means burning solitary forests; not only are shrubs and branches consumed by the flames, but the big trunks are singed, blackened, and stand gloomily. The pine is the main forest tree in these cold wastes but, following a fire, the ground becomes naturally covered with new vegetation: rock maples, red oaks, cherry birches, all less valuable than the pine. Walking is very difficult and tiring in this tangle of young trees, trunks, roots and hills formed most often of steep and bare rocks, while the bottom of the valleys is swampy or formed of ponds often caused by beavers which fell trees across lakes; rare are the areas where plots of land could be cultivated, and the exploitation of forests still remains the main industry.
Mines de Sudbury
In 1846, the Canadian government was made aware, by the report of a learned explorer: Doctor Hunt, that this part of Ontario province is rich in mines, but the lack of means of access and transportation has prevented their exploitation; this area could only be crossed by birch bark canoe, following the twists and turns of an uninterrupted network of lakes and rivers; ultimately, the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 1869 opened these areas to civilization. The flow of pioneers first aimed at the fertile territories of the North-West and Manitoba which, as we know, developed rapidly; as for the mines, which were found around Sudbury station, about 200 kilometers from North Bay, they were only studied during these latter years. At first, the explorers thought that the ore contained only copper, but metallurgic operations showed that nickel was at least as abundant as copper; that finding proved very important indeed for the future of those new deposits. Since my first journey in 1890, more new nickel-copper mines have been discovered in various villages in that area, and we still do not know the full extent of these metalliferous grounds; given the obstacles to exploration we mentioned earlier on, many years will certainly elapse before a map showing the location of all nickel deposits is drafted.
As far as overall geology, which is easier to study thanks to the natural cross-sections offered by the banks of rivers and lakes, is concerned, it has been found that rocks in this district spread out unmodified over a vast area and belong to the Huronian Tier, so-called by geologists because of its enormous spread north of Lake Huron. At present, the dimensions assigned to the area likely to offer serious chances of finding nickel mines are one thousand kilometers from east to west, and its north-to-south limits – vast in any case – have not yet been established by the prospectors. This is not to say that the vast nappe of very old rocks is identical all over: on the contrary, all the range of minerals belonging to that remote era when the Earth's crust was formed can be found there: gneisses and syenites are plenty, specially the latter which are very clearly represented over several million square leagues; and finally, diorites and their usual derivatives. I was surprised to find in these parts and together some formations that I had only seen in New Caledonia next to nickel mines, as well as others, all different, that I had also noticed together with nickel in Scandinavia and in the Alps (Varollo Valley); however, so far, the Canadian nickel ore has been similar to that found in Europe, but has never displayed the nice green variant that I brought back for the first time from New Caledonia. Here, the nickel ore can be found next to the contact lines of dorites with gneiss or with quartz syenite or in their contact faces; anyway, the ore is always found together with diorite and this particularly when this rock is in the form of breccias interspersed in the cracks of massive diorite.
It took a good dose of courage to invest capital in the exploitation of ore located in such a remote area under such a harsh climate. Here, fall and spring are replaced by a capricious succession of ice-cold days with gusts of rain, snow, and hot days, this depending if the wind is northerly or southerly.
It is a real struggle, long or short, between dying or receding summer and receding or arriving winter. Finally, in late October, winter is established with snow sticking firmly to the ground where it will remain all winter until the May sun melts it for good: it is not rare to see the thermometer descend to mercury's freezing point; however, when the wind is calm, a healthy man will endure cold very well; what is then dangerous is the wind which causes man to freeze and die; however it is a painless and calm death in a deep slumber.