Prior to the last two decades of the eighteenth century, the methods by which land grants were made to immigrants and others in both Canada and the United States were of a highly unsatisfactory nature. With a recklessness which now seems incredible, extensive tracts were freely ceded to irresponsible people who, as often as not, made no serious attempt to bring them under cultivation. Even the poorest colonists, who had quitted the Mother Country through stress of circumstances, could secure as many acres as they wanted, though they might be lacking the necessary money to carry them on to their locations. As a result of this over-generous system of distribution, the genuine settlers were scattered through vast areas, a condition which deprived them of the friendship of neighbours and the privileges of accessible markets.