In today’s political climate, when sustainable development is the perceived goal for farming and forest communities throughout the globe, the experiences of early Canadian settlers force a re-examination of many of the assumptions about the processes through which wilderness has been civilised.
The Frontier Environment and Social Order examines the development of civil society within the forest frontier of Upper Canada, using the letters of Francis Codd, a young English doctor, who settled in the Ottawa Valley in 1846 as the textual basis. The letters provide detailed evidence about frontier development: clearing the forest, establishing farming communities, and bringing civil institutions to a developing country.
This period was one of intense social and environmental transformation as immigrants began the difficult task of settling a new land. The backdrop to Francis Codd’s life in Canada was dramatic, but the detailed observations he provides bring the process of settlement to life. Codd became one of the cornerstones of local society and his letters and the memoirs of his contemporaries document the privations and struggles of the time. They also present new evidence on the establishment of a relationship between nature and culture at a time when ideas of wilderness and civilisation were being forged through civil society and its myths.
This fascinating book will appeal to environmental social scientists and economists, historians, geographers and migration specialists as well as the interested reader.