Infomotions, Inc.The Canadian Dominion; a chronicle of our northern neighbor / Skelton, Oscar Douglas, 1878-1941

Author: Skelton, Oscar Douglas, 1878-1941
Title: The Canadian Dominion; a chronicle of our northern neighbor
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): canada; canadian; british; policy; nova scotia; government; colonies; provinces; upper canada; empire; lower canada; united; new brunswick; wilfrid laurier; trade
Contributor(s): Marriage, Ellen [Translator]
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Identifier: etext2835
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Title: The Canadian Dominion, a Chronicle of our Northern Neighbor

Author: Oscar D. Skelton

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Copyright, 1919, by Yale University Press


The history of Canada since the close of the French regime falls
into three clearly marked half centuries. The first fifty years
after the Peace of Paris determined that Canada was to maintain a
separate existence under the British flag and was not to become a
fourteenth colony or be merged with the United States. The second
fifty years brought the winning of self-government and the
achievement of Confederation. The third fifty years witnessed the
expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea and the endeavor to
make the unity of the political map a living reality--the
endeavor to weld the far-flung provinces into one country, to
give Canada a distinctive place in the Empire and in the world,
and eventually in the alliance of peoples banded together in
mankind's greatest task of enforcing peace and justice among

The author has found it expedient in this narrative to depart
from the usual method of these Chronicles and arrange the matter
in chronological rather than in biographical or topical
divisions. The first period of fifty years is accordingly covered
in one chapter, the second in two chapters, and the third in two
chapters. Authorities and a list of publications for a more
extended study will be found in the Bibliographical Note.

O. D. S.











Scarcely more than half a century has passed since the Dominion
of Canada, in its present form, came into existence. But thrice
that period has elapsed since the fateful day when Montcalm and
Wolfe laid down their lives in battle on the Plains of Abraham,
and the lands which now comprise the Dominion finally passed from
French hands and came under British rule.

The Peace of Paris, which brought the Seven Years' War to a close
in 1763, marked the termination of the empire of France in the
New World. Over the continent of North America, after that
peacee, only two flags floated, the red and yellow banner of
Spain and the Union Jack of Great Britain. Of these the Union
Jack held sway over by far the larger domain--over the vague
territories about Hudson Bay, over the great valley of the St.
Lawrence, and over all the lands lying east of the Mississippi,
save only New Orleans. To whom it would fall to develop this vast
claim, what mighty empires would be carved out of the wilderness,
where the boundary lines would run between the nations yet to be,
were secrets the future held. Yet in retrospect it is now clear
that in solving these questions the Peace of Paris played no
inconsiderable part. By removing from the American colonies the
menace of French aggression from the north it relieved them of a
sense of dependence on the mother country and so made possible
the birth of a new nation in the United States. At the same time,
in the northern half of the continent, it made possible that
other experiment in democracy, in the union of diverse races, in
international neighborliness, and in the reconciliation of empire
with liberty, which Canada presents to the whole world, and
especially to her elder sister in freedom.

In 1763 the territories which later were to make up the Dominion
of Canada were divided roughly into three parts. These parts had
little or nothing in common. They shared together neither
traditions of suffering or glory nor ties of blood or trade.
Acadia, or Nova Scotia, by the Atlantic, was an old French
colony, now British for over a generation. Canada, or Quebec, on
the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, with seventy thousand
French habitants and a few hundred English camp followers, had
just passed under the British flag. West and north lay the
vaguely outlined domains of the Hudson's Bay Company, where the
red man and the buffalo still reigned supreme and almost

The old colony of Acadia, save only the island outliers, Cape
Breton and Prince Edward Island, now ceded by the Peace of Paris,
had been in British hands since 1713. It was not, however, until
1749 that any concerted effort had been made at a settlement of
this region. The menace from the mighty fortress which the French
were rebuilding at that time at Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, and
the hostility of the restless Acadians or old French settlers on
the mainland, had compelled action and the British Government
departed from its usual policy of laissez faire in matters of
emigration. Twenty-five hundred English settlers were brought out
to found and hold the town and fort of Halifax. Nearly as many
Germans were planted in Lunenburg, where their descendants
flourish to this day. Then the hapless Acadians were driven into
exile and into the room they left, New Englanders of strictest
Puritan ancestry came, on their own initiative, and built up new
communities like those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode
Island. Other waves of voluntary immigration followed--Ulster
Presbyterians, driven out by the attempt of England to crush the
Irish woolen manufacture, and, still later, Highlanders, Roman
Catholic and Presbyterian, who soon made Gaelic the prevailing
tongue of the easternmost counties. By 1767 the colony of Nova
Scotia, which then included all Acadia, north and east of Maine,
had a prosperous population of some seven thousand Americans, two
thousand Irish, two thousand Germans, barely a thousand English,
and well over a thousand surviving Acadian French. In short, this
northernmost of the Atlantic colonies appeared to be fast on the
way to become a part of New England. It was chiefly New
Englanders who had peopled it, and it was with New England that
for many a year its whole social and commercial intercourse was
carried on. It was no accident that Nova Scotia later produced
the first Yankee humorist, "Sam Slick."

With the future sister province of Canada, or Quebec, which lay
along the St. Lawrence as far as the Great Lakes, Acadia or Nova
Scotia had much less in common than with New England. Hundreds of
miles of unbroken forest wilderness lay between the two colonies,
and the sea lanes ran between the St. Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy,
or Halifax and Havre or Plymouth, and not between Quebec and
Halifax. Even the French settlers came of different stocks. The
Acadians were chiefly men of La Rochelle and the Loire, while the
Canadians came, for the most part, from the coast provinces
stretching from Normandy and Picardy to Poitou and Bordeaux.

The situation in Canada proper presented the British authorities
with a problem new in their imperial experience. Hitherto, save
for Acadia and New Netherland, where the settlers were few in
numbers and, even in New Netherland, closely akin to the
conquerors in race, religion, and speech, no colony containing
men of European stocks had been acquired by conquest. Canada held
some sixty or seventy thousand settlers, French and Catholic
almost to a man. Despite the inefficiency of French colonial
methods the plantation had taken firm root. The colony had
developed a strength, a social structure, and an individuality
all its own. Along the St. Lawrence and the Richelieu the
settlements lay close and compact; the habitants' whitewashed
cottages lined the river banks only a few arpents apart. The
social cohesion of the colony was equally marked. Alike in
government, in religion, and in industry, it was a land where
authority was strong. Governor and intendant, feudal seigneur,
bishop and Jesuit superior, ruled each in his own sphere and
provided a rigid mold and framework for the growth of the colony.
There were, it is true, limits to the reach of the arm of
authority. Beyond Montreal stretched a vast wilderness merging at
some uncertain point into the other wilderness that was
Louisiana. Along the waterways which threaded this great No Man's
Land the coureurs-de-bois roamed with little heed to law or
license, glad to escape from the paternal strictness that irked
youth on the lower St. Lawrence. But the liberty of these rovers
of the forest was not liberty after the English pattern; the
coureur-de-bois was of an entirely different type from the
pioneers of British stock who were even then pushing their way
through the gaps in the Alleghanies and making homes in the
backwoods. Priest and seigneur, habitant and coureur-de-bois were
one and all difficult to fit into accepted English ways. Clearly
Canada promised to strain the digestive capacity of the British

The present western provinces of the Dominion were still the
haunt of Indian and buffalo. French-Canadian explorers and fur
traders, it is true, had penetrated to the Rockies a few years
before the Conquest, and had built forts on Lake Winnipeg, on the
Assiniboine and Red rivers, and at half a dozen portages on the
Saskatchewan. But the "Company of Adventurers of England trading
into Hudson's Bay" had not yet ventured inland, still content to
carry on its trade with the Indians from its forts along the
shores of that great sea. On the Pacific the Russians had coasted
as far south as Mount Saint Elias, but no white man, so far as is
known, had set foot on the shores of what is now British

Two immediate problems were bequeathed to the British Government
by the Treaty of Paris: what was to be done with the unsettled
lands between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi; and how were
the seventy thousand French subjects in the valley of the St.
Lawrence to be dealt with? The first difficulty was not solved.
It was merely postponed. The whole back country of the English
colonies was proclaimed an Indian reserve where the King's white
subjects might trade but might not acquire land. This policy was
not devised in order to set bounds to the expansion of the older
colonies; that was an afterthought. The policy had its root in an
honest desire to protect the Indians from the frauds of
unscrupulous traders and from the encroachments of settlers on
their hunting grounds. The need of a conciliatory, if firm,
policy in regard to the great interior was made evident by the
Pontiac rising in 1763, the aftermath of the defeat of the
French, who had done all they could to inspire the Indians with
hatred for the advancing English.

How to deal with Canada was a more thorny problem. The colony had
not been sought by its conquerors for itself. It was counted of
little worth. The verdict of its late possessors, as recorded in
Voltaire's light farewell to "a few arpents of snow," might be
discounted as an instance of sour grapes; but the estimate of its
new possessors was evidently little higher, since they debated
long and dubiously whether in the peace settlement they should
retain Canada or the little sugar island of Guadeloupe, a mere
pin point on the map. Canada had been conquered not for the good
it might bring but for the harm it was doing as a base for French
attack upon the English colonies--"the wasps" nest must be smoked
out." But once it had been taken, it had to be dealt with for

The policy first adopted was a simple one, natural enough for
eighteenth-century Englishmen. They decided to make Canada* over
in the image of the old colonies, to turn the "new subjects," as
they were called, in good time into Englishmen and Protestants. A
generation or two would suffice, in the phrase of Francis
Maseres--himself a descendant of a Huguenot refugee but now
wholly an Englishman--for "melting down the French nation into
the English in point of language, affections, religion, and
laws." Immigration was to be encouraged from Britain and from the
other American colonies, which, in the view of the Lords of
Trade, were already overstocked and in danger of being forced by
the scarcity or monopoly of land to take up manufactures which
would compete with English wares. And since it would greatly
contribute to speedy settlement, so the Royal Proclamation of
1763 declared, that the King's subjects should be informed of his
paternal care for the security of their liberties and properties,
it was promised that, as soon as circumstances would permit, a
General Assembly would be summoned, as in the older colonies. The
laws of England, civil and criminal, as near as might be, were to
prevail. The Roman Catholic subjects were to be free to profess
their own religion, "so far as the laws of Great Britain permit,"
but they were to be shown a better way. To the first Governor
instructions were issued "that all possible Encouragement shall
be given to the erecting Protestant Schools in the said
Districts, Townships and Precincts, by settling and appointing
and allotting proper Quantities of Land for that Purpose and also
for a Glebe and Maintenance for a Protestant minister and
Protestant schoolmasters." Thus in the fullness of time, like
Acadia, but without any Evangelise of Grand Pre, without any
drastic policy of expulsion, impossible with seventy thousand
people scattered over a wide area, even Canada would become a
good English land, a newer New England.

* The Royal Proclamation of 1763 set the bounds of the new
colony. They were surprisingly narrow, a mere strip along both
sides of the St. Lawrence from a short distance beyond the Ottawa
on the west, to the end of the Gasps peninsula on the east. The
land to the northeast was put under the jurisdiction of the
Governor of Newfoundland, and the Great Lakes region was included
in the territory reserved for the Indians.

It is questionable whether this policy could ever have achieved
success even if it had been followed for generations without rest
or turning. But it was not destined to be given a long trial.
From the very beginning the men on the spot, the soldier
Governors of Canada, urged an entirely contrary policy on the
Home Government, and the pressure of events soon brought His
Majesty's Ministers to concur.

As the first civil Governor of Canada, the British authorities
chose General Murray, one of Wolfe's ablest lieutenants, who
since 1760 had served as military Governor of the Quebec
district. He was to be aided in his task by a council composed of
the Lieutenant Governors of Montreal and Three Rivers, the Chief
Justice, the head of the customs, and eight citizens to be named
by the Governor from "the most considerable of the persons of
property" in the province.

The new Governor was a blunt, soldierly man, upright and just
according to his lights, but deeply influenced by his military
and aristocratic leanings. Statesmen thousands of miles away
might plan to encourage English settlers and English political
ways and to put down all that was French. To the man on the spot
English settlers meant "the four hundred and fifty contemptible
sutlers and traders" who had come in the wake of the army from
New England and New York, with no proper respect for their
betters, and vulgarly and annoyingly insistent upon what they
claimed to be their rights. The French might be alien in speech
and creed, but at least the seigneurs and the higher clergy were
gentlemen, with a due respect for authority, the King's and their
own, and the habitants were docile, the best of soldier stuff.
"Little, very little," Murray wrote in 1764 to the Lords of
Trade, "will content the New Subjects, but nothing will satisfy
the Licentious Fanaticks Trading here, but the expulsion of the
Canadians, who are perhaps the bravest and best race upon the
Globe, a Race, who cou'd they be indulged with a few priviledges
wch the Laws of England deny to Roman Catholicks at home, wou'd
soon get the better of every National Antipathy to their
Conquerors and become the most faithful and most useful set of
Men in this American Empire."*

* This quotation and those following in this chapter are from
official documents most conveniently assembled in Shorn and
Doughty, "Documents relating to the Constitutional History of
Canada, 1759-1791", and Doughty and McArthur, "Documents relating
to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1791-1818".

Certainly there was much in the immediate situation to justify
Murray's attitude. It was preposterous to set up a legislature in
which only the four hundred Protestants might sit and from which
the seventy thousand Catholics would be barred. It would have
been difficult in any case to change suddenly the system of laws
governing the most intimate transactions of everyday life. But
when, as happened, the Administration was entrusted in large part
to newly created justices of the peace, men with "little French
and less honour," "to whom it is only possible to speak with
guineas in one's hand," the change became flatly impossible. Such
an alteration, if still insisted upon, must come more slowly than
the impatient traders in Montreal and Quebec desired.

The British Government, however, was not yet ready to abandon its
policy. The Quebec traders petitioned for Murray's recall,
alleging that the measures required to encourage settlement had
not been adopted, that the Governor was encouraging factions by
his partiality to the French, that he treated the traders with "a
Rage and Rudeness of Language and Demeanor" and--a fair thrust in
return for his reference to them as "the most immoral collection
of men I ever knew"--as "discountenancing the Protestant Religion
by almost a Total Neglect of Attendance upon the Service of the
Church." When the London business correspondents of the traders
backed up this petition, the Government gave heed. In 1766 Murray
was recalled to England and, though he was acquitted of the
charges against him, he did not return to his post in Canada.

The triumph of the English merchants was short. They had jumped
from the frying pan into the fire. General Guy Carleton, Murray's
successor and brother officer under Wolfe, was an even abler man,
and he was still less in sympathy with democracy of the New
England pattern. Moreover, a new factor had come in to reenforce
the soldier's instinctive preference for gentlemen over
shopkeepers. The first rumblings of the American Revolution had
reached Quebec. It was no time, in Carleton's view, to set up
another sucking republic. Rather, he believed, the utmost should
be made of the opportunity Canada afforded as a barrier against
the advance of democracy, a curb upon colonial insolence. The
need of cultivating the new subjects was the greater, Carleton
contended, because the plan of settlement by Englishmen gave no
sign of succeeding: "barring a Catastrophe shocking to think of,
this Country must, to the end of Time, be peopled by the Canadian

To bind the Canadians firmly to England, Carleton proposed to
work chiefly through their old leaders, the seigneurs and the
clergy. He would restore to the people their old system of laws,
both civil and criminal. He would confirm the seigneurs in their
feudal dues and fines, which the habitants were growing slack in
paying now that the old penalties were not enforced, and he would
give them honors and emoluments such as they had before enjoyed
as officers in regular or militia regiments. The Roman Catholic
clergy were already, in fact, confirmed in their right to tithe
and toll; and, without objection from the Governor, Bishop
Briand, elected by the chapter in Quebec and consecrated in
Paris, once more assumed control over the flock.

Carleton's proposals did not pass unquestioned. His own chief
legal adviser, Francis Maseres, was a sturdy adherent of the
older policy, though he agreed that the time was not yet ripe for
setting up an Assembly and suggested some well-considered
compromise between the old laws and the new. The Advocate General
of England, James Marriott, urged the same course. The policy of
1768, he contended eleven years later, had already succeeded in
great measure. The assimilation of government had been effected;
an assimilation of manners would follow. The excessive military
spirit of the inhabitants had begun to dwindle, as England's
interest required. The back settlements of New York and Canada
were fast being joined. Two or three thousand men of British
stock, many of them men of substance, had gone to the new colony;
warehouses and foundries were being built; and many of the
principal seigneuries had passed into English hands. All that was
needed, he concluded, was persistence along the old path. The
same view was of course strenuously urged by the English
merchants in the colony, who continued to demand, down to the
very eve of the Revolution, an elective Assembly and other rights
of freeborn Britons.

Carleton carried the day. His advice, tendered at close range
during four years' absentee residence in London, from 1770 to
1774, fell in with the mood of Lord North's Government. The
measure in which the new policy was embodied, the famous Quebec
Act of 1774, was essentially a part of the ministerial programme
for strengthening British power to cope with the resistance then
rising to rebellious heights in the old colonies. Though not, as
was long believed, designed in retaliation for the Boston
disturbances, it is clear that its framers had Massachusetts in
mind when deciding on their policy for Quebec. The main purpose
of the Act, the motive which turned the scale against the old
Anglicizing policy, was to attach the leaders of French-Canadian
opinion firmly to the British Crown, and thus not only to prevent
Canada itself from becoming infected with democratic contagion or
turning in a crisis toward France, but to ensure, if the worst
came to the worst, a military base in that northland whose
terrors had in old days kept the seaboard colonies circumspectly
loyal. Ministers in London had been driven by events to accept
Carleton's paradox, that to make Quebec British, it must be
prevented from becoming English. If in later years the solidarity
and aloofness of the French-Canadian people were sometimes to
prove inconvenient to British interests, it was always to be
remembered that this situation was due in great part to the
deliberate action of Great Britain in strengthening
French-Canadian institutions as a means of advancing what she
considered her own interests in America. "The views of the
British Government in respect to the political uses to which it
means to make Canada subservient," Marriott had truly declared,
"must direct the spirit of any code of laws."

The Quebec Act multiplied the area of the colony sevenfold by the
restoration of all Labrador on the east and the region west as
far as the Ohio and the Mississippi and north to the Hudson's Bay
Company's territory. It restored the old French civil law but
continued the milder English criminal law already in operation.
It gave to the Roman Catholic inhabitants the free exercise of
their religion, subject to a modified oath of allegiance, and
confirmed the clergy in their right "to hold, receive and enjoy
their accustomed dues and rights, with respect to such persons
only as shall confess the said religion." The promised elective
Assembly was not granted, but a Council appointed by the Crown
received a measure of legislative power.

On his return to Canada in September, 1774, Carleton reported
that the Canadians had "testified the strongest marks of Joy and
Gratitude and Fidelity to their King and to His Government for
the late Arrangements made at Home in their Favor." The "most
respectable part of the English," he continued, urged peaceful
acceptance of the new order. Evidently, however, the respectable
members of society were few, as the great body of the English
settlers joined in a petition for the repeal of the Act on the
ground that it deprived them of the incalculable benefits of
habeas corpus and trial by jury. The Montreal merchants, whether,
as Carleton commented, they "were of a more turbulent Turn, or
that they caught the Fire from some Colonists settled among
them," were particularly outspoken in the town meetings they
held. In the older colonies the opposition was still more
emphatic. An Act which hemmed them in to the seacoast,
established on the American continent a Church they feared and
hated, and continued an autocratic political system, appeared to
many to be the undoing of the work of Pitt and Wolfe and the
revival on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi of a
serious menace to their liberty and progress.

Then came the clash at Lexington, and the War of American
Independence had begun. The causes, the course, and the ending of
that great civil war have been treated elsewhere in this series.*
Here it is necessary only to note its bearings on the fate of

* See "The Eve of the Revolution" and "Washington and His
Comrades in Arms" (in "The Chronicles of America").

Early in 1775 the Continental Congress undertook the conquest of
Canada, or, as it was more diplomatically phrased, the relief of
its inhabitants from British tyranny. Richard Montgomery led an
expedition over the old route by Lake Champlain and the
Richelieu, along which French and Indian raiding parties used to
pass years before, and Benedict Arnold made a daring and
difficult march up the Kennebec and down the Chaudiere to Quebec.
Montreal fell to Montgomery; and Carleton himself escaped capture
only by the audacity of some French-Canadian voyageurs, who,
under cover of darkness, rowed his whaleboat or paddled it with
their hands silently past the American sentinels on the shore.
Once down the river and in Quebec, Carleton threw himself with
vigor and skill into the defense of his capital. His generalship
and the natural strength of the position proved more than a match
for Montgomery and Arnold. Montgomery was killed and Arnold
wounded in a vain attempt to carry the city by storm on the last
night of 1775. At Montreal a delegation from Congress, composed
of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll of
Carrollton, accompanied by Carroll's brother, a Jesuit priest and
a future archbishop, failed to achieve-more by diplomacy than
their generals had done by the sword. The Canadians seemed,
content enough to wear the British yoke. In the spring, when a
British fleet arrived with reenforcements, the American troops
retired in haste and, before the Declaration of Independence had
been proclaimed, Canada was free from the last of its ten
thousand invaders.

The expedition had put Carleton's policy to the test. On the
whole it stood the strain. The seigneurs had rallied to the
Government which had restored their rights, and the clergy had
called on the people to stand fast by the King. So far all went
as Carleton had hoped: "The Noblesse, Clergy, and greater part of
the Bourgeoisie," he wrote, "have given Government every
Assistance in their Power." But the habitants refused to follow
their appointed leaders with the old docility, and some even
mobbed the seigneurs who tried to enroll them. Ten years of
freedom had worked a democratic change in them, and they were
much less enthusiastic than their betters about the restoration
of seigneurial privileges. Carleton, like many another, had held
as public opinion what were merely the opinions of those whom he
met at dinner. "These people had been governed with too loose a
rein for many years," he now wrote to Burgoyne, "and had imbibed
too much of the American Spirit of Licentiousness and
Independence administered by a numerous and turbulent Faction
here, to be suddenly restored to a proper and desirable
Subordination." A few of the habitants joined his forces; fewer
joined the invaders or sold them supplies--till they grew
suspicious of paper "Continentals." But the majority held
passively aloof. Even when France joined the warring colonies and
Admiral d'Estaing appealed to the Canadians to rise, they did not
heed; though it is difficult to say what the result would have
been if Washington had agreed to Lafayette's plan of a joint
French and American invasion in 1778.

Nova Scotia also held aloof, in spite of the fact that many of
the men who had come from New England and from Ulster were eager
to join the colonies to the south. In Nova Scotia democracy was a
less hardy plant than in Massachusetts. The town and township
institutions, which had been the nurseries of resistance in New
England, had not been allowed to take root there. The
circumstances of the founding of Halifax had given ripe to a
greater tendency, which lasted long, to lean upon the mother
country. The Maine wilderness made intercourse between Nova
Scotia and New England difficult by land, and the British fleet
was in control of the sea until near the close of the war. Nova
Scotia stood by Great Britain, and was reserved to become part of
a northern nation still in the making.

That nation was to owe its separate existence to the success of
the American Revolution. But for that event, coming when it did,
the struggling colonies of Quebec and Nova Scotia would in time
have become merged with the colonies to the youth and would have
followed them, whether they remained within the British Empire or
not. Thus it was due to the quarrel between the thirteen colonies
and the motherland that Canada did not become merely a fourteenth
colony or state. Nor was this the only bearing of the Revolution
on Canada's destiny. Thanks to the coming of the Loyalists, those
exiles of the Revolution who settled in Canada in large numbers,
Canada was after all to be dominantly a land of English speech
and of English sympathies. By one of the many paradoxes which
mark the history of Canada, the very success of the plan which
aimed to save British power by confirming French-Canadian
nationality and the loyalty of the French led in the end to
making a large part of Canada English. The Revolution meant also
that for many a year those in authority in England and in Canada
itself were to stand in fear of the principles and institutions
which had led the old colonies to rebellion and separation, and
were to try to build up in Canada buttresses against the advance
of democracy.

The British statesmen who helped to frame the Peace of 1783 were
men with broad and generous views as to the future of the
seceding colonies and their relations with the mother country. It
was perhaps inevitable that they should have given less thought
to the future of the colonies in America which remained under the
British flag. Few men could realize at the moment that out of
these scattered fragments a new nation and a second empire would
arise. Not only were the seceding colonies given a share in the
fishing grounds of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, which was
unfortunately to prove a constant source of friction, but the
boundary line was drawn with no thought of the need of broad and
easy communication between Nova Scotia and Canada, much less
between Canada and the far West. Vague definitions of the
boundaries, naturally incident to the prevailing lack of
geographical knowledge of the vast continent, held further seeds
of trouble. These contentions, however, were far in the future.
At the moment another defect of the treaty proved to be Canada's
gain. The failure of Lord Shelburne's Ministry to insist upon
effective safeguards for the fair treatment of those who had
taken the King's side in the old colonies, condemned as it was
not only by North and the Tories but by Fox and Sheridan and
Burke, led to that Loyalist migration which changed the racial
complexion of Canada.

The Treaty of 1783 provided that Congress would "earnestly
recommend" to the various States that the Loyalists be granted
amnesty and restitution. This pious resolution proved not worth
the paper on which it was written. In State after State the
property of the Loyalists was withheld or confiscated anew. Yet
this ungenerous treatment of the defeated by the victors is not
hard to understand. The struggle had been waged with all the
bitterness of civil war. The smallness of the field of combat had
intensified personal ill-will. Both sides had practiced cruelties
in guerrilla warfare; but the Patriots forgot Marion's raids,
Simsbury mines, and the drumhead hangings, and remembered only
Hessian brutalities, Indian scalpings, Tarleton's harryings, and
the infamous prison ships of New York. The war had been a long
one. The tide of battle had ebbed and flowed. A district that was
Patriot one year was frequently Loyalist the next. These
circumstances engendered fear and suspicion and led to nervous

At least a third, if not a half, of the people of the old
colonies had been opposed to revolution. New York was strongly
Loyalist, with Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the Carolinas closely
following. In the end some fifty or sixty thousand Loyalists
abandoned their homes or suffered expulsion rather than submit to
the new order. They counted in their ranks many of the men who
had held first place in their old communities, men of wealth, of
education, and of standing, as well as thousands who had nothing
to give but their fidelity to the old order. Many, especially of
the well-to-do, went to England; a few found refuge in the West
Indies; but the great majority, over fifty thousand in all,
sought new homes in the northern wilderness. Over thirty
thousand, including many of the most influential of the whole
number (with about three thousand negro slaves, afterwards freed
and deported to Sierra Leone) were carried by ship to Nova
Scotia. They found homes chiefly in that part of the province
which in 1784 became New Brunswick. Others, trekking overland or
sailing around by the Gulf and up the River, settled in the upper
valley of the St. Lawrence--on Lake St. Francis, on the Cataraqui
and the Bay of Quinte, and in the Niagara District.

Though these pioneers were generously aided by the British
Government with grants of land and supplies, their hardships and
disappointments during the first years in the wilderness were
such as would have daunted any but brave and desperate men and
women whom fate had winnowed. Yet all but a few, who drifted back
to their old homes, held out; and the foundations of two more
provinces of the future Dominion--New Brunswick and Upper
Canada--were thus broadly and soundly laid by the men whom future
generations honored as "United Empire Loyalists." Through all the
later years, their sacrifices and sufferings, their ideals and
prejudices, were to make a deep impress on the development of the
nation which they helped to found and were to influence its
relations with the country which they had left and with the
mother country which had held their allegiance.

Once the first tasks of hewing and hauling and planting were
done, the new settlers called for the organization of local
governments. They were quite as determined as their late foes to
have a voice in their own governing, even though they yielded
ultimate obedience to rulers overseas.

In the provinces by the sea a measure of self-government was at
once established. New Brunswick received, without question, a
constitution on the Nova Scotia model, with a Lieutenant
Governor, an Executive Council appointed to advise him, which
served also as the upper house of the legislature, and an
elective Assembly. Of the twenty-six members of the first
Assembly, twenty-three were Loyalists. With a population so much
at one, and with the tasks of road making and school building and
tax collecting insistent and absorbing, no party strife divided
the province for many years. In Nova Scotia, too, the Loyalists
were in the majority. There, however, the earlier settlers soon
joined with some of the newcomers to form an opposition. The
island of St. John, renamed Prince Edward Island in 1798, had
been made a separate Government and had received an Assembly in
1773. Its one absorbing question was the tenure of land. On a
single day in 1767 the British authorities had granted the whole
island by lottery to army and navy officers and country
gentlemen, on condition of the payment of small quitrents. The
quitrents were rarely paid, and the tenants of the absentee
landlords kept up an agitation for reform which was unceasing but
which was not to be successful for a hundred years. In all three
Maritime Provinces political and party controversy was little
known for a generation after the Revolution.

It was more difficult to decide what form of government should be
set up in Canada, now that tens of thousands of English-speaking
settiers dwelt beside the old Canadians. Carleton, now Lord
Dorchester, had returned as Governor in 1786, after eight years'
absence. He was still averse to granting an Assembly so long as
the French subjects were in the majority: they did not want it,
he insisted, and could not use it. But the Loyalist settlers, not
to be put off, joined with the English merchants of Montreal and
Quebec in demanding an Assembly and relief from the old French
laws. Carleton himself was compelled to admit the force of the
conclusion of William Grenville, Secretary of State for the Home
Department, then in control of the remnants of the colonial
empire, and son of that George Grenville who, as Prime Minister,
had introduced the American Stamp Act of 1765: "I am persuaded
that it is a point of true Policy to make these Concessions at a
time when they may be received as a matter of favour, and when it
is in Our own power to regulate and direct the manner of applying
them, rather than to wait till they shall be extorted from us by
a necessity which shall neither leave us any discretion in the
form nor any merit in the substance of what We give."
Accordingly, in 1791, the British Parliament passed the
Constitutional Act dividing Canada into two provinces separated
by the Ottawa River, Lower or French-speaking Canada and Upper or
English-speaking Canada, and granting each an elective Assembly.

Thus far the tide of democracy had risen, but thus far only. Few
in high places had learned the full lesson of the American
Revolution. The majority believed that the old colonies had been
lost because they had not been kept under a sufficiently tight
rein; that democracy had been allowed too great headway; that the
remaining colonies, therefore, should be brought under stricter
administrative control; and that care should be taken to build up
forces to counteract the democracy which grew so rank and swift
in frontier soil. This conservative tendency was strengthened by
the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.* The rulers of
England had witnessed two revolutions, and the lesson they drew
from both was that it was best to smother democracy in the

* It will be remembered that in the debate on the Constitutional
Act the conflicting views of Burke and Fox on the French
Revolution led to the dramatic break in their lifelong

For this reason the measure of representative government that had
been granted each of the remaining British colonies in North
America was carefully hedged about. The whole executive power
remained in the hands of the Governor or his nominees. No one yet
conceived it possible that the Assembly should control the
Executive Council. The elective Assembly was compelled to share
even the lawmaking power with an upper house, the Legislative
Council. Not only were the members of this upper house appointed
by the Crown for life, but the King was empowered to bestow
hereditary titles upon them with a view to making the Council in
the fullness of time a copy of the House of Lords. A blow was
struck even at that traditional prerogative of the popular house,
the control of the purse. Carleton had urged that in every
township a sixth of the land should be reserved to enable His
Majesty "to reward such of His provincial Servants as may merit
the Royal favour" and "to create and strengthen an Aristocracy,
of which the best use may be made on this Continent, where all
Governments are feeble and the general condition of things tends
to a wild Democracy." Grenville saw further possibilities in this
suggestion. It would give the Crown a revenue which would make it
independent of the Assembly, "a measure, which, if it had been
adopted when the Old Colonies were first settled, would have
retained them to this hour in obedience and Loyalty." Nor was
this all. From the same source an endowment might be obtained for
a state church which would be a bulwark of order and
conservatism. The Constitutional Act accordingly provided for
setting aside lands equal in value to one-seventh of all lands
granted from time to time, for the support of a Protestant
clergy. The Executive Council received power to set up rectories
in every parish, to endow them liberally, and to name as rectors
ministers of the Church of England. Further, the Executive
Council was instructed to retain an equal amount of land as crown
reserves, distributed judiciously in blocks between the grants
made to settlers. Were any radical tendencies to survive these
attentions, the veto power of the British Government could be
counted on in the last resort.

For a time the installment of self-government thus granted
satisfied the people. The pioneer years left little leisure for
political discussion, nor were there at first any general issues
about which men might differ. The Government was carrying on
acceptably the essential tasks of surveying, land granting, and
road building; and each member of the Assembly played his own
hand and was chiefly concerned in obtaining for his constituents
the roads and bridges, they needed so badly. The
English-speaking settlers of Upper Canada were too widely
scattered, and the French-speaking citizens of Lower Canada were
too ignorant of representative institutions, to act in groups or

Much turned in these early years upon the personality of the
Governor. In several instances, the choice of rulers for the new
provinces proved fortunate. This was particularly so in the case
of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from
1792 to 1799. He was a good soldier and a just and vigorous
administrator, particularly wise in setting his regulars to work
building roads such as Yonge Street and Dundas Street, which to
this day are great provincial arteries of travel. Yet there were
many sources of weakness in the scheme of government--divided
authority, absenteeism, personal unfitness. When Dorchester was
reappointed in 1786, he had been made Governor in Chief of all
British North America. From the beginning, however, the
Lieutenant Governors of the various provinces asserted
independent authority, and in a few years the Governor General
became in fact merely the Governor of the most populous province,
Lower Canada, in which he resided.

In Upper Canada, as in New Brunswick, the population was at first
much at one. In time, however, discordant elements appeared.
Religious, or at least denominational, differences began to cause
friction. The great majority of the early settlers in Upper
Canada belonged to the Church of England, whose adherents in the
older colonies had nearly all taken the Loyalist side. Of the
Ulster Presbyterians and New England Congregationalists who
formed the backbone of the Revolution, few came to Canada. The
growth of the Methodists and Baptists in the United States after
the Revolution, however, made its mark on the neighboring
country. The first Methodist class meetings in Upper Canada, held
in the United Empire Loyalist settlement on the Bay of Quinte in
1791, were organized by itinerant preachers from the United
States; and in the western part of the province pioneer Baptist
evangelists from the same country reached the scattered settlers
neglected by the older churches.

Nor was it in religion alone that diversity grew. Simcoe had set
up a generous land policy which brought in many "late Loyalists,"
American settlers whose devotion to monarchical principles would
not always bear close inquiry. The fantastic experiment of
planting in the heart of the woods of Upper Canada a group of
French nobles driven out by the Revolution left no trace; but
Mennonites, Quakers, and Scottish Highlanders contributed diverse
and permanent factors to the life of the province. Colonel Thomas
Talbot of Malahide, "a fierce little Irishman who hated Scotchmen
and women, turned teetotallers out of his house, and built the
only good road in the province," made the beginnings of
settlement midway on Lake Erie. A shrewd Massachusetts merchant,
Philemon Wright, with his comrades, their families, servants,
horses, oxen, and 10,000 pounds, sledded from Boston to Montreal
in the winter of 1800, and thence a hundred miles beyond, to
found the town of Hull and establish a great lumbering industry
in the Ottawa Valley.

These differences of origin and ways of thought had not yet been
reflected in political life. Party strife in Upper Canada began
with a factional fight which took place in 1805-07 between a
group of Irish officeholders and a Scotch clique who held the
reins of government. Weekes, an Irish-American barrister, Thorpe,
a puisne judge, Wyatt, the surveyor general, and Willcocks, a
United Irishman who had become sheriff of one of the four Upper
Canada districts, began to question the right to rule of "the
Scotch pedlars" or "the Shopkeeper Aristocracy," as Thorpe called
those merchants who, for the lack of other leaders, had developed
an influence with the governors or ruled in their frequent
absence. But the insurgents were backed by only a small minority
in the Assembly, and when the four leaders disappeared from the
stage,* this curtain raiser to the serious political drama which
was to follow came quickly to its end.

* Weekes was slain in a duel. Wyatt and Thorpe were suspended by
the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Francis Gore, only to win redress
later in England. Willcocks was dismissed from office and fell
fighting on the American side in the War of 1812.

In Lower Canada the clash was more serious. The French Canadians,
who had not asked for representative government, eventually
grasped its possibilities and found leaders other than those
ordained for them. In the first Assembly there were many
seigneurs and aristocrats who bore names notable for six
generations back Taschereau, Duchesnay, Lotbiniere, Rouville,
Salaberry. But they soon found their surroundings uncongenial or
failed to be reelected. Writing in 1810 to Lord Liverpool,
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, the Governor, Sir
James Craig, with a fine patrician scorn thus pictures the
Assembly of his day.

"It really, my Lord, appears to me an absurdity, that the
Interests of certainly not an unimportant Colony, involving in
them those also of no inconsiderable portion of the Commercial
concerns of the British Empire, should be in the hands of six
petty shopkeepers, a Blacksmith, a Miller, and 15 ignorant
peasants who form part of our present House; a Doctor or
Apothecary, twelve Canadian Avocats and Notaries, and four so far
respectable people that at least they do not keep shops, together
with ten English members compleat the List: there is not one
person coming under the description of a Canadian Gentleman among

And again:

"A Governor cannot obtain among them even that sort of influence
that might arise from personal intercourse. I can have none with
Blacksmiths, Millers, and Shopkeepers; even the Avocats and
Notaries who compose so considerable a portion of the House, are,
generally speaking, such as I can nowhere meet, except during the
actual sitting of Parliament, when I have a day of the week
expressly appropriated to the receiving a large portion of them
at dinner."

Leadership under these conditions fell to the "unprincipled
Demagogues," half-educated lawyers, men "with nothing to lose."

But it was not merely as an aristocrat facing peasants and
shopkeepers, nor as a soldier faced by talkers, but as an
Englishman on guard against Frenchmen that Craig found himself at
odds with his Assembly. For nearly twenty years in this period
England was at death grips with France, end to hate and despise
all Frenchmen was part of the hereditary and congenial duty of
all true Britons. Craig and those who counseled him were firmly
convinced that the new subjects were French at heart. Of the
250,000 inhabitants of Lower Canada, he declared, "about 20,000
or 25,000 may be English or Americans, the rest are French. I use
the term designedly, my Lord, because I mean to say that they are
in Language, in religion, in manner and in attachment completely
French." That there was still some affection for old France,
stirred by war and French victories, there is no question, but
that the Canadians wished to return to French allegiance was
untrue, even though Craig reported that such was "the general
opinion of all ranks with whom it is possible to converse on the
subject." The French Revolution had created a great gulf between
Old France and New France. The clergy did their utmost to bar all
intercourse with the land where deism and revolution held sway,
and when the Roman Catholic Church and the British Government
combined for years on a single object, it was little wonder they
succeeded. Nelson's victory at Trafalgar was celebrated by a Te
Deum in the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Quebec. In fact, as Craig
elsewhere noted, the habitants were becoming rather a new and
distinct nationality, a nation canadienne. They ceased to be
French; they declined to become English; and sheltered under
their "Sacred Charter"* they became Canadians first and last.

* "It cannot be sufficiently inculcated ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT
that the Quebec Act is a Sacred Charter, granted by the King in
Parliament to the Canadians as a Security for their Religion,
Laws, and Property." Governor Sir Frederick Haldimand to Lord
George Germaine, Oct. 25, 1780.

The governors were not alone in this hostility to the mass of the
people. There had grown up in the colony a little clique of
officeholders, of whom Jonathan Sewell, the Loyalist Attorney
General, and later Chief Justice, was the chief, full of racial
and class prejudice, and in some cases greedy for personal gain.
Sewell declared it "indispensably necessary to overwhelm and sink
the Canadian population by English Protestants," and was even
ready to run the risk of bringing in Americans to effect this
end. Of the non-official English, some were strongly opposed to
the pretensions of the "Chateau Clique"; but others, and
especially the merchants, with their organ the Quebec "Mercury",
were loud in their denunciations of the French who were
unprogressive and who as landowners were incidentally trying to
throw the burden of taxation chiefly on the traders.

The first open sign of the racial division which was to bedevil
the life of the province came in 1806 when, in order to meet the
attacks of the Anglicizing party, the newspaper "Le Canadien" was
established at Quebec. Its motto was significant: "Notre langue,
nos institutions, et nos lois." Craig and his counselors took up
the challenge. In 1808 he dismissed five militia officers,
because of their connection with the irritating journal, and in
1810 he went so far as to suppress it and to throw into prison
four of those responsible for its management. The Assembly, which
was proving hard to control, was twice dissolved in three years.
Naturally the Governor's arbitrary course only stiffened
resistance; and passions were rising fast and high when illness
led to his recall and the shadow of a common danger from the
south, the imminence of war with the United States, for a time
drew all men together.

While the foundations of the eastern provinces of Canada were
being laid, the wildernesses which one day were to become the
western provinces were just rising above the horizon of
discovery. In the plains and prairies between the Great Lakes and
the Rockies, fur traders warred for the privilege of exchanging
with the Indians bad whiskey for good furs. Scottish traders from
Montreal, following in the footsteps of La Verendrye and
Niverville, pushed far into the northern wilds.* In 1788 the
leading traders joined forces in organizing the North-West
Company. Their great canoes, manned by French-Canadian voyageurs,
penetrated the network of waters from the Ottawa to the
Saskatchewan, and poured wealth into the pockets of the lordly
partners in Montreal. Their rivalry wakened the sleepy Hudson's
Bay Company, which was now forced to leave the shores of the
inland sea and build posts in the interior.

* It is interesting to note the dominant share taken in the trade
and exploration of the North and West by men of Highland Scotch
and French extraction. For an account of La Verendrye see "The
Conquest of New France" and for the Scotch fur traders of
Montreal see "Adventurers of Oregon" (in "The Chronicles of

On the Pacific coast rivalry was still keener. The sea otter and
the seal were a lure to the men of many nations. Canada took its
part in this rivalry. In 1792, when the Russians were pressing
down from their Alaskan posts, when the Spaniards, claiming the
Pacific for their own, were exploring the mouth of the Fraser,
when Captain Robert Gray of Boston was sailing up the mighty
Columbia, and Captain Vancouver was charting the northern coasts
for the British Government, a young North-West Company factor,
Alexander Mackenzie, in his lonely post on Lake Athabaska, was
planning to cross the wilderness of mountains to the coast. With
a fellow trader, Mackay, and six Canadian voyageurs, he pushed up
the Peace and the Parsnip, passed by way of the Fraser and the
Blackwater to the Bella Coola, and thence to the Pacific, the
first white man to cross the northern continent. Paddling for
life through swirling rapids on rivers which rushed madly through
sheer rock-bound canyons, swimming for shore when rock or sand
bar had wrecked the precious bark canoe, struggling over
heartbreaking portages, clinging to the sides of precipices,
contending against hostile Indians and fear-stricken followers,
and at last winning through, Mackenzie summed up what will ever
remain one of the great achievements of exploration in the simple
record, painted in vermilion on a rock in Burke Channel:
Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of
July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three. The first bond
had been woven in the union of East and West. Between the eastern
provinces a stronger link was soon to be forged. The War of 1812
gave the scattered British colonies in America for the first time
a living sense of unity that transcended all differences, a
memory of perils and of victories which nourished a common

The War of 1812 was no quarrel of Canada's. It was merely an
incident in the struggle between England and Napoleon. At
desperate grips, both contestants used whatever weapons lay ready
to their hands. Sea power was England's weapon, and in her claim
to forbid all neutral traffic with her enemies and to exercise
the galling right of search, she pressed it far. France trampled
still more ruthlessly on American and neutral rights; but, with
memories of 1776 still fresh, the dominant party in the United
States was disposed to forgive France and to hold England to
strict account.

England had struck at France, regardless of how the blow might
injure neutrals. Now the United States sought to strike at
England through the colonies, regardless of their lack of any
responsibility for English policy. The "war hawks" of the South
and West called loudly for the speedy invasion and capture of
Canada as a means of punishing England. In so far as the British
North American colonies were but possessions of Great Britain,
overseas plantations, the course of the United States could be
justified. But potentially these colonies were more than mere
possessions. They were a nation in the making, with a right to
their own development; they were not simply a pawn in the game of
Britain and the United States. Quite aside from the original
rights or wrongs of the war, the invasion of Canada was from this
standpoint an act of aggression. "Agrarian cupidity, not maritime
right, wages this war," insisted John Randolph of Roanoke, the
chief opponent of the "war hawks" in Congress. "Ever since the
report of the Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House,
we have heard but one word--like the whippoorwill, but one
eternal monotonous tone--Canada, Canada, Canada!"

At the outset there appeared no question that the conquest of
Canada could be, as Jefferson forecast, other than "a mere matter
of marching." Eustis, the Secretary of War, prophesied that "we
can take Canada without soldiers." Clay insisted that the Canadas
were "as much under our command as the Ocean is under Great
Britain's." The provinces had barely half a million people,
two-thirds of them allied by ties of blood to Britain's chief
enemy, to set against the eight millions of the Republic. There
were fewer than ten thousand regular troops in all the colonies,
half of them down by the sea, far away from the danger zone, and
less than fifteen hundred west of Montreal. Little help could
come from England, herself at war with Napoleon, the master of
half of Europe.

But there was another side. The United States was not a unit in
the war; New England was apathetic or hostile to the war
throughout, and as late as 1814 two-thirds of the army of Canada
were eating beef supplied by Vermont and New York contractors.
Weak as was the militia of the Canadas, it was stiffened by
English and Canadian regulars, hardened by frontier experience,
and led for the most part by trained and able men, whereas an
inefficient system and political interference greatly weakened
the military force of the fighting States., Above all, the
Canadians were fighting for their homes. To them the war was a
matter of life and death; to the United States it was at best a
struggle to assert commercial rights or national prestige.

The course and fortunes of the war call for only the briefest
notice. In the first year the American plans for invading Upper
Canada came to grief through the surrender of Hull at Detroit to
Isaac Brock and the defeat at Queenston Heights of the American
army under Van Rensselaer. The campaign ended with not a foot of
Canadian soil in the invaders' hands, and with Michigan lost, but
Brock, Canada's brilliant leader, had fallen at Queenston, and at
sea the British had tasted unwonted defeat. In single actions one
American frigate after another proved too much for its British
opponent. It was a rude shock to the Mistress of the Seas.

The second year's campaign was more checkered. In the West the
Americans gained the command of the Great Lakes by rapid building
and good sailing, and with it followed the command of all the
western peninsula of Upper Canada. The British General Procter
was disastrously defeated at Moraviantown, and his ally, the
Shawanoe chief Tecumseh, one of the half dozen great men of his
race, was killed. York, later known as Toronto, the capital of
the province, was captured, and its public buildings were burned
and looted. But in the East fortune was kinder to the Canadians.
The American plan of invasion called for an attack on Montreal
from two directions; General Wilkinson was to sail and march down
the St. Lawrence from Sackett's Harbor with some eight thousand
men, while General Hampton, with four thousand, was to take the
historic route by Lake Champlain. Half-way down the St. Lawrence
Wilkinson came to grief. Eighteen hundred men whom he landed to
drive off a force of a thousand hampering his rear were
decisively defeated at Chrystler's Farm. Wilkinson pushed on for
a few days, but when word came that Hampton had also met disaster
he withdrew into winter quarters. Hampton had found Colonel de
Salaberry, with less than sixteen hundred troops, nearly all
French Canadians, making a stand on the banks of the Chateauguay,
thirty-five miles south of Montreal. He divided his force in
order to take the Canadians in front and rear, only to be
outmaneuvered and outfought in one of the most brilliant actions
of the war and forced to retire. In the closing months of the
year the Americans, compelled to withdraw from Fort George on the
Niagara, burned the adjoining town of Newark and turned its women
and children into the December snow. Drummond, who had succeeded
Brock, gained control of both sides of the Niagara and retaliated
in kind by laying waste the frontier villages from Lewiston to
Buffalo. The year closed with Amherstburg on the Detroit the only
Canadian post in American hands. On the sea the capture of the
Chesapeake by the Shannon salved the pride of England.

The last year of the war was also a year of varying fortunes. In
the far West a small body of Canadians and Indians captured
Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, while Michilimackinac,
which a force chiefly composed of French-Canadian voyageurs and
Indians had captured in the first months of war, defied a strong
assault. In Upper Canada the Americans raided the western
peninsula from Detroit but made their chief attack on the Niagara
frontier. Though they scored no permanent success, they fought
well and with a fair measure of fortune. The generals with whom
they had been encumbered at the outset of the war, Revolutionary
relics or political favorites, had now nearly all been replaced
by abler men--Scott, Brown, Exert--and their troops were better
trained and better equipped. In July the British forces on the
Niagara were decisively beaten at Chippawa. Three weeks later was
fought the bloodiest battle on Canadian soil, at Lundy's Lane,
either side's victory at the moment but soon followed by the
retirement of the invading force. The British had now outbuilt
their opponents on Lake Ontario; and, though American ships
controlled Lake Erie to the end, the Ontario flotilla aided
Drummond, Brock's able successor, in forcing the withdrawal of
Exert forces from the whole peninsula in November. Farther east a
third attempt to capture Montreal had been defeated in the
spring, after Wilkinson with four thousand men had failed to
drive five hundred regulars and militia from the stone walls of
Lacolle's Mill.

Until this closing year Britain had been unable, in face of the
more vital danger from Napoleon, to send any but trifling
reenforcements to what she considered a minor theater of the war.
Now, with Napoleon in Elba, she was free to take more vigorous
action. Her navy had already swept the daring little fleet of
American frigates and American merchant marine from the seas. Now
it maintained a close blockade of all the coast and, with troops
from Halifax, captured and held the Maine coast north of the
Penobscot. Large forces of Wellington's hardy veterans crossed
the ocean, sixteen thousand to Canada, four thousand to aid in
harrying the Atlantic coast, and later nine thousand to seize the
mouth of the Mississippi. Yet, strangely, these hosts fared
worse, because of hard fortune and poor leadership, than the
handful of militia and regulars who had borne the brunt of the
war in the first two years. Under Ross they captured Washington
and burned the official buildings; but under Prevost they failed
at Plattsburg; and under Pakenham, in January, 1815, they failed
against Andrew Jackson's sharpshooters at New Orleans.

Before the last-named fight occurred, peace had been made. Both
sides were weary of the war, which had now, by the seeming end of
the struggle between England and Napoleon in which it was an
incident, lost whatever it formerly had of reason. Though
Napoleon was still in Elba, Europe was far from being at rest,
and the British Ministers, backed by Wellington's advice, were
keen to end the war. They showed their contempt for the issues at
stake by sending to the peace conference at Ghent three
commissioners as incompetent as ever represented a great power,
Gambier, Goulburn, and Adams. To face these the United States had
sent John Quincy Adams, Albert Gallatin, Henry Clay, James
Bayard, and Jonathan Russell, as able and astute a group of
players for great stakes as ever gathered round a table. In these
circumstances the British representatives were lucky to secure
peace on the basis of the status quo ante. Canada had hoped that
sufficient of the unsettled Maine wilderness would be retained to
link up New Brunswick with the inland colony of Quebec, but this
proposal was soon abandoned. In the treaty not one of the
ostensible causes of the war was even mentioned.

The war had the effect of unifying Canadian feeling. Once more it
had been determined that Canada was not to lose her identity in
the nation to the south. In Upper Canada, especially in the west,
there were many recent American settlers who sympathized openly
with their kinsmen, but of these some departed, some were jailed,
and others had a change of heart. Lower Canada was a unit against
the invader, arid French-Canadian troops on every occasion
covered themselves with glory. To the Canadians, as the smaller
people, and as the people whose country had been the chief battle
ground, the war in later years naturally bulked larger than to
their neighbors. It left behind it unfortunate legacies of
hostility to the United States and, among the governing classes,
of deep-rooted opposition to its democratic institutions. But it
left also memories precious for a young people--the memory of
Brock and Macdonell and De Salaberry, of Laura Secord and her
daring tramp through the woods to warn of American attacks, of
Stony Creek and Lundy's Lane, Chrystler's Farm and Chateauguay,
the memory of sacrifice, of endurance, and of courage that did
not count the odds.

Nor were the evil legacies to last for all time. Three years
after peace had been made the statesmen of the United States and
of Great Britain had the uncommon sense to take a great step
toward banishing war between the neighbor peoples. The Rush-Bagot
Convention, limiting the naval armament on the Great Lakes to
three vessels not exceeding one hundred tons each, and armed only
with one eighteen-pounder, though not always observed in the
letter, proved the beginning of a sane relationship which has
lasted for a century. Had not this agreement nipped naval rivalry
in the bud, fleets and forts might have lined the shores and
increased the strain of policy and the likelihood of conflict.
The New World was already preparing to sound its message to the


The history of British North America in the quarter of a century
that followed the War of 1812 is in the main the homely tale of
pioneer life. Slowly little clearings in the vast forest were
widened and won to order and abundance; slowly community was
linked to community; and out of the growing intercourse there
developed the complex of ways and habits and interests that make
up the everyday life of a people.

All the provinces called for settlers, and they did not call in
vain. For a time northern New England continued to overflow into
the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada, the rolling lands south of
the St. Lawrence which had been left untouched by riverbound
seigneur and habitant. Into Upper Canada, as well, many
individual immigrants came from the south, some of the best the
Republic had to give, merchants and manufacturers with little
capital but much shrewd enterprise, but also some it could best
spare, fugitives from justice and keepers of the taverns that
adorned every four corners. Yet slowly this inflow slackened.
After the war the Canadian authorities sought to avoid republican
contagion and moreover the West of the United States itself was
calling for men.

But if fewer came in across the border, many more sailed from
across the seas. Not again until the twentieth century were the
northern provinces to receive so large a share of British
emigrants as came across in the twenties and thirties. Swarms
were preparing to leave the overcrowded British hives. Corn laws
and poor laws and famine, power-driven looms that starved the
cottage weaver, peace that threw an army on a crowded and callous
labor market, landlords who rack-rented the Connaughtman's last
potato or cleared Highland glens of folks to make way for sheep,
rulers who persisted in denying the masses any voice in their own
government--all these combined to drive men forth in tens of
thousands. Australia was still a land of convict settlements and
did not attract free men. To most the United States was the land
of promise. Yet, thanks to state aid, private philanthropy,
landlords' urging and cheap fares on the ships that came to St.
John and Quebec for timber, Canada and the provinces by the sea
received a notable share. In the quarter of a century following
the peace with Napoleon, British North America received more
British emigrants than the United States and the Australian
colonies together, though many were merely birds of passage.

The country west of the Great Lakes did not share in this flood
of settlement, except for one tragic interlude. Lord Selkirk, a
Scotchman of large sympathy and vision, convinced that emigration
was the cure for the hopeless misery he saw around him, acquired
a controlling interest in the Hudson's Bay Company, and sought to
plant colonies in a vast estate granted from its domains. Between
1811 and 1815 he sent out to Hudson Bay, and thence to the Red
River, two or three hundred crofters from the Highlands and the
Orkneys. A little later these were joined by some Swiss soldiers
of fortune who had fought for Canada in the War of 1812. But
Selkirk had reckoned without the partners of the North-West
Company of Montreal, who were not prepared to permit mere herders
and tillers to disturb the Indians and the game. The Nor'Westers
attacked the helpless colonists and massacred a score of them.
Selkirk retorted in kind, leading out an armed band which seized
the Nor'Westers' chief post at Fort William. The war was then
transferred to the courts, with heart-breaking delays and endless
expense. At last Selkirk died broken in spirit, and most of his
colonists drifted to Canada or across the border. But a handful
held on, and for fifty years their little settlement on the Red
River remained a solitary outpost of colonization.

Once arrived in Canada, the settler soon found that he had no
primrose path before him. Canada remained for many years a land
of struggling pioneers, who had little truck or trade with the
world out of sight of their log shacks. The habitant on the
seigneuries of Lower Canada continued to farm as his grandfather
had farmed, finding his holding sufficient for his modest needs,
even though divided into ever narrower ribbons as le bon Dieu
sent more and yet more sons to share the heritage. The
English-speaking settler, equipped with ax and sickle and flail,
with spinning wheel and iron kettle, lived a life almost equally
primitive and self-contained. He and his good wife grew the
wheat, the corn, and the potatoes, made the soap and the candles,
the maple sugar and the "yarbs," the deerskin shoes and the
homespun-cloth that met their needs. They had little to buy and
little to sell. In spite of the preference which Great Britain
gave Canadian grain, in return for the preference exacted on
British manufactured goods, practically no wheat was exported
until the close of this period. The barrels of potash and pearl-
ash leached out from the ashes of the splendid hardwood trees
which he burned as enemies were the chief source of ready money
for the backwoods settler. The one substantial export of the
colonies came, not from the farmer's clearing, but from the
forest. Great rafts of square pine timber were floated down the
Ottawa or the St. John every spring to be loaded for England. The
lumberjack lent picturesqueness to the landscape and the
vocabulary and circulated ready money, but his industry did
little directly to advance permanent settlement or the wise use
of Canadian resources.

The self-contained life of each community and each farm pointed
to the lack of good means of transport. New Brunswick and the
Canadas were fortunate in the possession of great lake and river
systems, but these were available only in summer and were often
impeded by falls and rapids. On these waters the Indian bark
canoe had given way to the French bateau, a square-rigged flat-
bottomed boat, and after the war the bateau shared the honors
with the larger Durham boat brought in from "the States."

Canadians took their full share in developing steamship
transportation. In 1809, two years after Fulton's success on the
Hudson, John Molson built and ran a steamer between Montreal and
Quebec. The first vessel to cross the Atlantic wholly under
steam, the Royal William, was built in Quebec and sailed from
that port in 1833. Following and rivaling American enterprise,
side-wheelers, marvels of speed and luxury for the day, were put
on the lakes in the thirties. Canals were built, the Lachine in
1821-25, the Welland around Niagara Falls in 1824-29, and the
Rideau, as a military undertaking, in 1826-32, all in response to
the stimulus given by De Witt Clinton, who had begun the "Erie
Ditch" in 1817. On land, road making made slower progress. The
blazed trail gave way to the corduroy road, and the pack horse to
the oxcart or the stage. Upper Canada had the honor of inventing,
in 1835, the plank road, which for some years thereafter became
the fashion through the forested States to the south. But at best
neither roads nor vehicles were fitted for carrying large loads
from inland farms to waterside markets.

Money and banks were as necessary to develop intercourse as roads
and canals. Until after the War of 1812, when army gold and army
bills ran freely, money was rare and barter served pioneer needs.
For many years after the war a jumble of English sovereigns and
shillings, of Spanish dollars, French crowns, and American
silver, made up the currency in use, circulating sometimes by
weight and sometimes by tale, at rates that were constantly
shifting. The position of the colonies as a link between Great
Britain and the United States, was curiously illustrated in the
currency system. The motley jumble of coins in use were rated in
Halifax currency, a mere money of account or bookkeeping
standard, with no actual coins to correspond, adapted to both
English and United States currency systems. The unit was the
pound, divided into shillings and pence as in England, but the
pound was made equal to four dollars in American money; it took 1
pound 4s. 4d. in Halifax currency to make 1 pound sterling. Still
more curious was the influence of American banking. Montreal
merchants in 1808 took up the ideas of Alexander Hamilton and
after several vain attempts founded the Bank of Montreal in 1817,
with those features of government charter, branch banks, and
restrictions as to the proportion of debts to capital and the
holding of real property which had marked Hamilton's plan. But
while Canadian banks, one after another, were founded on the same
model and throughout adhered to an asset-secured currency basis,
Hamilton's own country abandoned his ideas, usually for the

In the social life of the cities the influence of the official
classes and, in Halifax and Quebec, of the British redcoats
stationed there was all pervading. In the country the pioneers
took what diversions a hard life permitted. There were "bees" and
"frolics," ranging from strenuous barn raisings, with heavy
drinking and fighting, to mild apple parings or quilt patchings.
There were the visits of the Yankee peddler with his "notions,"
his welcome pack, and his gossip. Churches grew, thanks in part
to grants of government land or old endowments or gifts from
missionary societies overseas, but more to the zeal of lay
preachers and circuit riders. Schools fared worse. In Lower
Canada there was an excellent system of classical schools for the
priests and professional classes, and there were numerous
convents which taught the girls, but the habitants were for the
most part quite untouched by book learning. In Upper Canada
grammar schools and academies were founded with commendable
promptness, and a common school system was established in 1816,
but grants were niggardly and compulsion was lacking. Even at the
close of the thirties only one child in seven was in school, and
he was, as often as not, committed to the tender mercies of some
broken-down pensioner or some ancient tippler who could barely
sign his mark. There was but little administrative control by the
provincial authorities. The textbooks in use came largely from
the United States and glorified that land and all its ways in the
best Fourth-of-July manner, to the scandal of the loyal elect.
The press was represented by a few weekly newspapers; only one
daily existed in Upper Canada before 1840.

Against this background there developed during the period 1815-41
a tense constitutional struggle which was to exert a profound
influence on the making of the nation. The stage on which the
drama was enacted was a small one, and the actors were little
known to the world of their day, but the drama had an interest of
its own and no little significance for the future.

In one aspect the struggle for self-government in British North
America was simply a local manifestation of a world-wide movement
which found more notable expression in other lands. After a
troubled dawn, democracy was coming to its own. In England the
black reaction which had identified all proposals for reform with
treasonable sympathy for bloodstained France was giving way, and
the middle classes were about to triumph in the great franchise
reform of 1832. In the United States, after a generation of
conservatism, Jacksonian democracy was to sweep all before it.
These developments paralleled and in some measure influenced the
movement of events in the British North American provinces. But
this movement had a color of its own. The growth of self-
government in an independent country was one thing; in a colony
owing allegiance to a supreme Parliament overseas, it was quite
another. The task of the provinces--not solved in this period, it
is true, but squarely faced--was to reconcile democracy and

The people of the Canadas in 1791, and of the provinces by the
sea a little earlier, had been given the right to elect one house
of the legislature. More than this instalment of self-government
the authorities were not prepared to grant. The people, or rather
the property holders among them, might be entrusted to vote taxes
and appropriations, to present grievances, and to take a share in
legislation. They could not, however, be permitted to control the
Government, because, to state an obvious fact, they could not
govern themselves as well as their betters could rule them.
Besides, if the people of a colony did govern themselves, what
would become of the rights and interests of the mother country?
What would become of the Empire itself?

What was the use and object of the Empire? In brief, according to
the theory and practice then in force, the end of empire was the
profit which comes from trade; the means was the political
subordination of the colonies to prevent interference with this
profit; and the debit entry set against this profit was the cost
of the diplomacy, the armaments, and the wars required to hold
the overseas possessions against other powers. The policy was
still that which had been set forth in the preamble of the
Navigation Act of 1663, ensuring the mother country the sole
right to sell European wares in its colonies: "the maintaining a
greater correspondence and kindness between them [the subjects
at home and those in the plantations] and keeping them in a
firmer dependence upon it [the mother country], and rendering
them yet more beneficial and advantageous unto it in the further
Imployment and Encrease of English Shipping and Seamen, and vent
of English Woollen and other Manufactures and Commodities
rendering the Navigation to and from the same more safe and
cheape, and makeing this Kingdom a Staple not only of the
Commodities of those Plantations but also of the Commodities of
other countries and places for the supplying of them, and it
being the usage of other Nations to keep their [plantation] Trade
to themselves." Adam Smith had raised a doubt as to the wisdom
of the end. The American Revolution had raised a doubt as to the
wisdom of the means. Yet, with significant changes, the old
colonial system lasted for full two generations after 1776.

In the second British Empire, which rose after the loss of the
first in 1783, the means to the old end were altered. To secure
control and to prevent disaffection and democratic folly, the
authorities relied not merely on their own powers but on the
cooperation of friendly classes and interests in the colonies
themselves. Their direct control was exercised in many ways. In
last reserve there was the supreme authority of King and
Parliament to bind the colonies by treaty and by law and the
right to veto any colonial enactment. This was as before the
Revolution. One change lay in the renunciation in 1778 of the
intention to use the supreme legislative power to levy taxes,
though the right to control the fiscal system of the colonies in
conformity with imperial policy was still claimed and practised.
In fact, far from seeking to secure a direct revenue, the British
Government was more than content to pay part of the piper's fee
for the sake of being able to call the tune. "It is considered by
the Well wishers of Government," wrote Milnes, Lieutenant
Governor of Lower Canada, in 1800, "as a fortunate Circumstance
that the Revenue is not at present equal to the Expenditure." A
further change came in the minute control exercised by the
Colonial Office, or rather by the permanent clerks who, in
Charles Buller's phrase, were really "Mr. Mother Country." The
Governor was the local agent of the Colonial Office. He acted on
its instructions and was responsible to it, and to it alone, for
the exercise of the wide administrative powers entrusted to him.

But all these powers, it was believed, would fail in their
purpose if democracy were allowed to grow unchecked in the
colonies themselves. It was an essential part of the colonial
policy of the time to build up conservative social forces among
the people and to give a controlling voice in the local
administration to a nominated and official class. It has been
seen that the statesmen of 1791 looked to a nominated executive
and legislative council, an hereditary aristocracy, and an
established church, to keep the colony in hand. British
legislation fostered and supported a ruling class in the
colonies, and in turn this class was to support British
connection and British control. How this policy, half avowed and
half unconscious, worked out in each of the provinces must now be

In Upper Canada party struggles did not take shape until well
after the War of 1812. At the founding of the colony the people
had been very much of one temper and one condition. In time,
however, divergences appeared and gradually hardened into
political divisions. A governing class, or rather clique, was the
first to become differentiated. Its emergence was slower than in
New Brunswick, for instance, since Upper Canada had received few
of the Loyalists who were distinguished by social position or
political experience. In time a group was formed by the accident
of occupation, early settlement, residence in the little town of
York, the capital after 1794, the holding of office, or by some
advantage in wealth or education or capacity which in time became
cumulative. The group came to be known as the Family Compact.
There had been, in fact, no intermarriage among its members
beyond what was natural in a small and isolated community, but
the phrase had a certain appositeness. They were closely linked
by loyalty to Church and King, by enmity to republics and
republicans, by the memory of the sacrifice and peril they or
their fathers had shared, and by the conviction that the province
owed them the best living it could bestow. This living they
succeeded in collecting. "The bench, the magistracy, the high
officials of the established church, and a great part of the
legal profession," declared Lord Durham in 1839, "are filled by
the adherents of this party; by grant or purchase they have
acquired nearly the whole of the waste lands of the province;
they are all powerful in the chartered banks, and till lately
shared among themselves almost exclusively all offices of trust
and profit." Fortunately the last absurdity of creating Dukes of
Toronto and Barons of Niagara Falls was never carried through, or
rather was postponed a full century; but this touch was scarcely
needed to give the clique its cachet. The ten-year governorship
of Sir Peregrine Maitland (1818-28), a most punctilious person,
gave the finishing touches to this backwoods aristocracy.

The great majority of the group, men of the Scott and Boulton,
Sherwood and Hagerman and Allan MacNab types, had nothing but
their prejudices to distinguish them, but two of their number
were of outstanding capacity. John Beverley Robinson, Attorney
General from 1819 to 1829 and thereafter for over thirty years
Chief Justice, was a true aristocrat, distrustful of the rabble,
but as honest and highminded as he was able, seeking his
country's gain, as he saw it, not his own. A more rugged and
domineering character, equally certain of his right to rule and
less squeamish about the means, was John Strachan, afterwards
Bishop of Toronto. Educated a Presbyterian, he had come to Canada
from Aberdeen as a dominie but had remained as an Anglican
clergyman in a capacity promising more advancement. His abounding
vigor and persistence soon made him the dominant force in the
Church, and with a convert's zeal he labored to give it exclusive
place and power. The opposition to the Family Compact was of a
more motley hue, as is the way with oppositions. Opposition
became potential when new settlers poured into the province from
the United States or overseas, marked out from their Loyalist
forerunners not merely by differences of political background and
experience but by differences in religion. The Church of England
had been dominant among the Loyalists; but the newcomers were
chiefly Methodist and Presbyterian. Opposition became actual with
the rise of concrete and acute grievances and with the appearance
of leaders who voiced the growing discontent.

The political exclusiveness of the Family Compact did not rouse
resentment half as deep as did. their religious, or at least
denominational, pretensions. The refusal of the Compact to permit
Methodist ministers to perform the marriage ceremony was not soon
forgotten. There were scores of settlements where no clergyman of
the Established Church of England or of Scotland resided, and
marriages here had been of necessity performed by other
ministers. A bill passed the Assembly in 1824 legalizing such
marriages in the past and giving the required authority for the
future; and when it was rejected by the Legislative Council,
resentment flamed high. An attempt of Strachan to indict the
loyalty of practically all but the Anglican clergy intensified
this feeling; and the critics went on to call in question the
claims of his Church to establishment and landed endowment.

The land question was the most serious that faced the province.
The administration of those in power was condemned on three
distinct counts. The granting of land to individuals had been
lavish; it had been lax; and it had been marked by gross
favoritism. By 1824, when the population was only 150,000, some
11,000,000 acres had been granted; ninety years later, when the
population was 2,700,000, the total amount of improved land was
only 13,000,000 acres. Moreover the attempt to use vast areas of
the Crown Lands to endow solely the Anglican Church roused bitter
jealousies. Yet even these grievances paled in actual hardship
beside the results of holding the vast waste areas unimproved.
What with Crown Reserves, Clergy Reserves, grants to those who
had served the state, and holdings picked up by speculators from
soldiers or poorer Loyalists for a few pounds or a few gallons of
whisky, millions of acres were held untenanted and unimproved,
waiting for a rise in value as a consequence of the toil of
settlers on neighboring farms. Not one-tenth of the lands granted
were occupied by the persons to whom they had been assigned. The
province had given away almost all its vast heritage, and more
than nine-tenths of it was still in wilderness. These speculative
holdings made immensely more difficult every common neighborhood
task. At best the machinery and the money for building roads,
bridges, and schools were scanty, but with these unimproved
reserves thrust in between the scattered shacks, the task was
disheartening. "The reserve of two-sevenths of the land for the
Crown and clergy," declared the township of Sandwich in 1817,
"must for a long time keep the country a wilderness, a harbour
for wolves, a hindrance to a compact and good neighborhood."

A further source of discontent developed in the disabilities
affecting recent American settlers. A court decision in 1824 held
that no one who had resided in the United States after 1783 could
possess or transmit British citizenship, with which went the
right to inherit real estate. This decision bore heavily upon
thousands of "late Loyalists" and more recent incomers. Under the
instructions of the Colonial Office, a remedial bill was
introduced in the Legislative Council in 1827, but it was a
grudging, halfway measure which the Assembly refused to accept.
After several sessions of quarreling, the Assembly had its way;
but in the meantime the men affected had been driven into
permanent and active opposition.

The leaders of the movement of resistance which now began to
gather force included all sorts and conditions of men. The
fiercest and most aggressive were two Scotchmen, Robert Gourlay
and William Lyon Mackenzie. Gourlay, one of those restless and
indispensable cranks who make the world turn round, active,
obstinate, imprudent, uncompromisingly devoted to the common good
as he saw it, came to Canada in 1817 on settlement and
colonization bent. Innocent inquiries which he sent broadcast as
to the condition of the province gave the settlers an opportunity
for voicing their pent-up discontent, and soon Gourlay was
launched upon the sea of politics. Mackenzie, who came to Canada
three years later, was a born agitator, fearless, untiring, a
good hater, master of avitriolic vocabulary, and absolutely
unpurchasable. He found his vein in weekly journalism, and for
nearly forty years was the stormy petrel of Canadian politics.
From England there came, among others, Dr. John Rolph, shrewd and
politic, and Captain John Matthews, a half-pay artillery officer.
Peter Perry, downright and rugged and of a homely eloquence,
represented the Loyalists of the Bay of Quinte, which was the
center of Canadian Methodism. Among the newer comers from the
United States, the foremost were Barnabas Bidwell, who had been
Attorney General of Massachusetts but had fled to Canada in 1810
when accused of misappropriating public money, and his son,
Marshall Spring Bidwell, one of the ablest and most single-minded
men who ever entered Canadian public life. From Ireland came Dr.
William Warren Baldwin, whose son Robert, born in Canada, was
less surpassingly able than the younger Bidwell but equally
moderate and equally beyond suspicion of faction or self-seeking.

How were these men to bring about the reform which they desired?
Their first aim was obviously to secure a majority in the
Assembly, and by the election of 1828 they attained this first
object. But the limits of the power of the Assembly they soon
discovered. Without definite leadership, with no control over the
Administration, and with even legislative power divided, it could
effect little. It was in part disappointment at the failure of
the Assembly that accounted for the defeat of the Reformers in
1830, though four years later this verdict was again reversed.
Clearly the form of government itself should be changed. But in
what way? Here a divergence in the ranks of the Reformers became
marked. One party, looking upon the United States as the utmost
achievement in democracy, proposed to follow its example in
making the upper house elective and thus to give the people
control of both branches of the Legislature. Another group, of
whom Robert Baldwin was the chief, saw that this change would not
suffice. In the States the Executive was also elected by the
people. Here, where the Governor would doubtless continue to be
appointed. by the Crown, some other means must be found to give
the people full control. Baldwin found it in the British Cabinet
system, which gave real power to ministers having the confidence
of a majority in Parliament. The Governor would remain, but he
would be only a figurehead, a constitutional monarch acting, like
the King, only on the advice of his constitutional advisers.
Responsible government was Baldwin's one and absorbing idea, and
his persistence led to its ultimate adoption, along with a
proposal for an elective Council, in the Reform party's programme
in 1834. Delay in affecting this reform, Baldwin told the
Governor a year later, was "the great and all absorbing grievance
before which all others sank into insignificance." The remedy
could be applied "without in the least entrenching upon the just
and necessary prerogatives of the Crown, which I consider, when
administered by the Lieutenant. Governor through the medium of a
provincial ministry responsible to the provincial parliament, to
be an essential part of the constitution of the province." In
brief, Baldwin insisted that Simcoe's rhetorical outburst in
1791, when he declared that Upper Canada was "a perfect Image and
Transcript of the British Government and Constitution," should be
made effective in practice.

The course of the conflict between the Compact and the Reformers
cannot be followed in detail. It had elements of tragedy, as when
Gourlay was hounded into prison, where he was broken in health
and shattered in mind, and then exiled from the province for
criticism of the Government which was certainly no more severe
than now appears every day in Opposition newspapers. The conflict
had elements of the ludicrous, too, as when Captain Matthews was
ordered by his military superiors to return to England because in
the unrestrained festivities of New Year's Eve he had called on a
strolling troupe to play Yankee Doodle and had shouted to the
company, "Hats off"; or when Governor Maitland overturned
fourteen feet of the Brock Monument to remove a copy of
Mackenzie's journal, the "Colonial Advocate", which had
inadvertently been included in the corner stone.

The weapons of the Reformers were the platform, the press, and
investigations and reports by parliamentary committees. The
Compact hit back in its own way. Every critic was denounced as a
traitor. Offending editors were put in the pillory. Mackenzie was
five times expelled from the House, only to be returned five
times by his stubborn supporters. Matters were at a deadlock, and
it became clear either that the British Parliament, which alone
could amend the Constitution, must intervene or else that the
Reformers would be driven to desperate paths. But before matters
came to this pass, an acute crisis had arisen in Lower Canada
which had its effect on all the provinces.

In Lower Canada, the conflict which had been smoldering before
the war had since then burst into flame. The issues of this
conflict were more clearcut than in any of the other provinces. A
coherent opposition had formed earlier, and from beginning to end
it dominated the Assembly. The governing forces were outwardly
much the same as in Upper Canada--a Lieutenant Governor
responsible to the Colonial Office, an Executive Council
appointed by the Crown but coming to have the independent power
of a well-entrenched bureaucracy, and a Legislative Council
nominated by the Crown and, until nearly the end of the period,
composed chiefly of the same men who served in the Executive. The
little clique in control had much less popular backing than the
Family Compact of Upper Canada and were of lower caliber. Robert
Christie, an English-speaking member of the Assembly, who may be
counted an unprejudiced witness since he was four times expelled
by the majority in that house, refers to the real rulers of the
province as "a few rapacious, overbearing, and irresponsible
officials, without stake or other connexion in the country than
their interests." At their head stood Jonathan Sewell, a
Massachusetts Loyalist who had come to Lower Canada by way of New
Brunswick in 1789, and who for over forty years as Attorney
General, Chief Justice, or member of Executive and Legislative
Councils, was the power behind the throne.

The opposition to the bureaucrats at first included both English
and French elements, but the English minority were pulled in
contrary ways. Their antecedents were not such as to lead them to
accept meekly either the political or the social pretensions of
the "Chateau Clique"; the American settlers in the Eastern
Townships, and the Scotch and American merchants who were
building up Quebec and Montreal, had called for self-government,
not government from above. Yet their racial and religious
prejudices were strong and made them unwilling to accept in place
of the bureaucrats the dominance of an unprogressive habitant
majority. The first leader of the opposition which developed in
the Assembly after the War of 1812 was James Stuart, the son of
the leading Anglican clergyman of his day, but he soon fell away
and became a mainstay of the bureaucracy. His brother Andrew,
however, kept up for many years longer a more disinterested
fight. Another Scot, John Neilson, editor of the Quebec
"Gazette", was until 1833 foremost among the assailants of the
bureaucracy. But steadily, as the extreme nationalist claims of
the French-speaking majority provoked reprisals and as the
conviction grew upon the minority that they would never be
anything but a minority,* most of them accepted clique rule as a
lesser evil than "rule by priest and demagogue."

* The natural increase of the French-Canadian race under British
rule is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in social
history. The following figures illustrate the rate of that
increase: the number was 16,417 in 1706; 69,810 in 1765; 479,288
in 1825; 697,084 in 1844. The population of Canada East or Lower
Canada in 1844 was made up as follows: French Canadians, 524,244;
English Canadians. 85,660; English, 11,895; Irish, 43,982;
Scotch, 13,393; Americans, 11,946; born in other countries, 1329;
place of birth not specified, 4635.

In the reform movement in Upper Canada there were a multiplicity
of leaders and a constant shifting of groups. In Lower Canada,
after the defection of James Stuart in 1817, there was only one
leader, Louis Joseph Papineau. For twenty years Papineau was the
uncrowned king of the province. His commanding figure, his powers
of oratory, outstanding in a race of orators, his fascinating
manners, gave him an easy mastery over his people. Prudence did
not hamper his flights; compromise was a word not found in his
vocabulary. Few men have been better equipped for the agitator's

His father, Joseph Papineau, though of humble birth, had risen
high in the life of the province. He had won distinction in his
profession as a notary, as a speaker in the Assembly, and as a
soldier in the defense of Quebec against the American invaders of
1775. In 1804 he had purchased the seigneury of La Petite Nation,
far up the Ottawa. Louis Joseph Papineau followed in his father's
footsteps. Born in 1786, he served loyally and bravely in the War
of 1812. In the same year he entered the Assembly and made his
place at a single stroke. Barely three years after his election,
he was chosen Speaker, and with a brief break he held that post
for over twenty years.

Papineau did not soon or lightly begin his crusade against the
Government. For the first five years of his Speakership, he
confined himself to the routine duties of his office. As late as
1820 he pronounced a glowing eulogy on the Constitution which
Great Britain had granted the province. In that year he tested
the extent of the privileges so granted by joining in the attempt
of the Assembly to assert its full control of the purse; but it
was not until the project of uniting the two Canadas had made
clear beyond dispute the hostility of the governing powers that
he began his unrelenting warfare against them.

There was much to be said for a reunion of the two Canadas. The
St. Lawrence bound them together, though Acts of Parliament had
severed them. Upper Canada, as an inland province, restricted in
its trade with its neighbor to the south, was dependent upon
Lower Canada for access to the outer world. Its share of the
duties collected at the Lower Canada ports until 1817 had been
only one-eighth, afterwards increased to one-fifth. This
inequality proved a constant source of friction. The crying
necessity of cooperation for the improvement of the St. Lawrence
waterway gave further ground for the contention that only by a
reunion of the two provinces could efficiency be secured. In
Upper Canada the Reformers were in favor of this plan, but the
Compact, fearful of any disturbance of their vested interests,
tended to oppose it. In Lower Canada the chief support came from
the English element. The governing clique, as the older
established body, had no doubt that they could bring the western
section under their sway in case of union. But the main reason
for their advocacy was the desire to swamp the French Canadians
by an English majority. Sewell, the chief supporter of the
project, frankly took this ground. The Governor, Lord Dalhousie,
and the Colonial Office adopted his view; and in 1822 an attempt
was made to rush a Union Bill through the British Parliament
without any notice to those most concerned. It was blocked for
the moment by the opposition of a Whig group led by Burdett and
Mackintosh; and then Papineau and Neilson sailed to London and
succeeded in inducing the Ministry to stay its hand. The danger
was averted; but Papineau had become convinced that if his people
were to retain the rights given them by their "Sacred Charter"
they would have to fight for them. If they were to save their
power, they must increase it.

How could this be done? Baldwin's bold and revolutionary policy
of making the Executive responsible to the Assembly did not seem
within the range of practical politics. It meant in practice the
abandonment of British control, and this the Colonial Office was
not willing to grant. Antoine Panet and other Assembly leaders
had suggested in 1815 that it would be well, "if it were
possible, to grant a number of places as Councillors or other
posts of honour and of profit to those who have most influence
over the majority in the Assembly, to hold so long as they
maintained this influence," and James Stuart urged the same
tentative suggestion a year later. But even before this the
Colonial Office had made clear its position. "His Majesty's
Government," declared the Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst, in
1814, "never can admit so novel & inconvenient a Principle as
that of allowing the Governor of a Colony to be divested of his
responsibility [to the Colonial Office] for the acts done during
his administration or permit him to shield himself under the
advice of any Persons, however respectable, either from their
character or their Office."

Two other courses had the sanction of precedent, one of English,
the other of American example. The English House of Commons had
secured its dominant place in the government of the country by
its control of the purse. Why should not the Assembly do
likewise? One obvious difficulty lay in the fact that the
Assembly was not the sole authority in raising revenue. The
British Parliament had retained the power to levy certain duties
as part of its system of commercial control, and other casual and
territorial dues lay in the right of the Crown. From 1820,
therefore, the Assembly's main aim was twofold--to obtain control
of these remaining sources of revenue, and by means of this power
to bludgeon the Legislative Council and the Governor into
compliance with its wishes. The Colonial Office made concessions,
offering to resign all its taxing powers in return for a
permanent civil list, that is, an assurance that the salaries of
the chief officials would not be questioned annually. The offer
was reasonable in itself but, as it would have hampered the full
use of the revenue bludgeon, it was scornfully declined.

The other aim of the Patriotes, as the Opposition styled
themselves, was to conquer the Legislative Council by making it
elective. Papineau, in spite of his early prejudices, was drawn
more and more into sympathy with the form of democracy worked out
in the United States. In fact, he not only looked to it as a
model but, as the thirties wore on, he came to hope that moral,
if not physical, support might be found there for his campaign
against the English Government. After 1830 the demand for an
elective Legislative Council became more and more insistent.

The struggle soon reached a deadlock. Governor followed Governor:
Lord Dalhousie, Sir James Kempt, Lord Aylmer, all in turn failed
to allay the storm. The Assembly raised its claims each session
and fulminated against all the opposing powers in windy
resolutions. Papineau, embittered by continued opposition,
carried away by his own eloquence, and steadied by no
responsibility of office, became more implacable in his demands.
Many of his moderate supporters--Neilson, Andrew Stuart, Quesnel,
Cuvillier--fell away, only to be overwhelmed in the first
election at a wave of the great tribune's hand. Business was
blocked, supplies were not voted, and civil servants made shift
without salary as best they could.

The British Government awoke, or half awoke, to the seriousness
of the situation. In 1835 a Royal Commission of three, with the
new Governor General, Lord Gosford, as chairman, was appointed to
make inquiries and to recommend a policy. Gosford, a genial
Irishman, showed himself most conciliatory in both private
intercourse and public discourse. Unfortunately the rash act of
the new Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Francis Bond
Head, in publishing the instructions of the Colonial Office,
showed that the policy of Downing Street was the futile one of
conciliation without concession. The Assembly once more refused
to grant supplies without redress of grievances. The
Commissioners made their report opposing any substantial change.
In March, 1837, Lord John Russell, Chancellor of the Exchequer in
the Melbourne Ministry, opposed only by a handful of Radical and
Irish members, carried through the British Parliament a series of
resolutions authorizing the Governor to take from the Treasury
without the consent of the Assembly the funds needed for civil
administration, offering control of all revenues in return for a
permanent civil list, and rejecting absolutely the demands alike
for a responsible Executive and for an elective Council.

British statesmanship was bankrupt. Its final answer to the
demands for redress was to stand pat. Papineau, without seeing
what the end would be, held to his course. Younger men, carried
away by the passions he had aroused, pushed on still more
recklessly. If reform could not be obtained within the British
Empire, it must be sought by setting up an independent republic
on the St. Lawrence or by annexation to the United States.

In Upper Canada, at the same time, matters had come to the verge
of rebellion. Sir John Colborne had, just before retiring as
Lieutenant Governor in 1836, added fuel to the flames by creating
and endowing some forty-four rectories, thus strengthening the
grip of the Anglican Church on the province. His successor, Sir
Francis Bond Head, was a man of such rash and unbalanced judgment
as to lend support to the tradition that he was appointed by
mistake for his cousin, Edmund Head, who was made Governor of
United Canada twenty years later. He appointed to his Executive
Council three Reformers, Baldwin, Rolph, and Dunn, only to make
clear by his refusal to consult them his inability to understand
their demand for responsible government. All the members of the
Executive Council thereupon resigned, and the Assembly refused
supplies. Head dissolved the House and appealed to the people.

The weight of executive patronage, the insistence of the Governor
that British connection was at stake, the alarms caused by some
injudicious statements of Mackenzie and his Radical ally in
England, Joseph Hume, and the defection of the Methodists, whose
leader, Egerton Ryerson, had quarreled with Mackenzie, resulted
in the overwhelming defeat of the Reformers. The sting of defeat,
the failure of the Family Compact to carry out their eleventh
hour promises of reform, and the passing of Lord John Russell's
reactionary resolutions convinced a section of the Reform party,
in Upper Canada as well as in Lower Canada, that an appeal to
force was the only way out.

Toward the end of 1837 armed rebellion broke out in both the
Canadas. In both it was merely a flash in the pan. In Lower
Canada there had been latterly much use of the phrases of
revolution and some drilling, but rebellion was neither
definitely planned nor carefully organized. The more extreme
leaders of the Patriotes simply drifted into it, and the actual
outbreak was a haphazard affair. Alarmed by the sudden and
seemingly concerted departure of Papineau and some of his
lieutenants, Nelson, Brown, and O'Callaghan, from Montreal, the
Government gave orders for their arrest. The petty skirmish that
followed on November 16, 1837, was the signal for the rallying of
armed habitants around impromptu leaders at various points. The
rising was local and spasmodic. The vast body of the habitants
stood aloof. The Catholic Church, which earlier had sympathized
with Papineau, had parted from him when he developed radical and
republican views. Now the strong exhortations of the clergy to
the faithful counted for much in keeping peace, and in one view
justified the policy of the British Government in seeking to
purchase their favor. The Quebec and Three Rivers districts
remained quiet. In the Richelieu and Montreal districts, where
disaffection was strongest, the habitants lacked leadership,
discipline, and touch with other groups, and were armed only with
old flintlocks, scythes, or clubs. Here and there a brave and
skillful leader, such as Dr. Jean Olivier Chenier, was thrown up
by the evidence opened a way out of the difficult situation. A
year later Peel and Webster, representing the two countries,
exchanged formal explanations, and the incident was closed.

In Upper Canada many a rebel sympathizer lay for months in jail,
but only two leaders, Lount and Matthews, both brave men, paid
the penalty of death for their failure. In Lower Canada the new
Governor General, Lord Durham, proved more clement, merely
banishing to Bermuda eight of the captured leaders. When, a year
later, after Durham's return to England, a second brief rising
broke out under Robert Nelson, it was stamped out in a week,
twelve of the ringleaders were executed, and others were deported
to Botany Bay.

The rebellion, it seemed, had failed and failed miserably. Most
of the leaders of the extreme factions in both provinces had been
discredited, and the moderate men had been driven into the
government camp. Yet in one sense the rising proved successful.
It was not the first nor the last time that wild and misguided
force brought reform where sane and moderate tactics met only
contempt. If men were willing to die to redress their wrongs, the
most easy-going official could no longer deny that there was a
case for inquiry and possibly for reform. Lord Melbourne's
Government had acted at once in sending out to Canada, as
Governor General and High Commissioner with sweeping powers, one
of the ablest men in English public life. Lord Durham was an
aristocratic Radical, intensely devoted to political equality and
equally convinced of his own personal superiority. Yet he had
vision, firmness, independence, and his very rudeness kept him
free from the social influences which had ensnared many another
Governor. Attended by a gorgeous retinue and by some able working
secretaries, including Charles Buller, Carlyle's pupil, he made a
rapid survey of Upper and Lower Canada. Suddenly, after five
crowded months, his mission ended. He had left at home active
enemies and lukewarm friends. Lord Brougham, one of his foes,
called in question the legality of his edict banishing the rebel
leaders to Bermuda. The Ministers did not back him, as they
should have done; and Durham indignantly resigned and hurried
back to England.

Three months later, however, his "Report" appeared and his
mission stood vindicated. There are few British state papers of
more fame or more worth than Durham's "Report". It was not,
however, the beginning and the end of wisdom in colonial policy,
as has often been declared. Much that Durham advocated was not
new, and much has been condemned by time. His main suggestions
were four: to unite the Canadas, to swamp the French Canadians by
such union, to grant a measure of responsible government, and to
set up municipal government. His attitude towards the French
Canadians was prejudiced and shortsighted. He was not the first
to recommend responsible government, nor did his approval make it
a reality. Yet with all qualifications his "Report" showed a
confidence in the liberating and solving power of self-government
which was the all-essential thing for the English Government to
see; and his reasoned and powerful advocacy gave an impetus and a
rallying point to the movement which were to prove of the
greatest value in the future growth not only of Canada but of the
whole British Empire.


The struggle for self-government seemed to have ended in deadlock
and chaos. Yet under the wreckage new lines of constructive
effort were forming. The rebellion had at least proved that the
old order was doomed. For half a century the attempt had been
made to govern the Canadas as separate provinces and with the
half measure of freedom involved in representative government.
For the next quarter of a century the experiment of responsible
government together with union of the two provinces was to be
given its trial.

The union of the two provinces was the phase of Durham's policy
which met fullest acceptance in England. It was not possible, in
the view of the British Ministry, to take away permanently from
the people of Lower Canada the measure of self-government
involved in permitting them to choose their representatives in a
House of Assembly. It was equally impossible, they considered, to
permit a French-Canadian majority ever again to bring all
government to a standstill. The only solution of the problem was
to unite the two provinces and thus swamp the French Canadians by
an English majority. Lower Canada, Durham had insisted, must be
made "an English province." Sooner or later the French Canadians
must lose their separate nationality; and it was, he contended,
the part of statesmanship to make it sooner. Union, moreover,
would make possible a common financial policy and an energetic
development of the resources of both provinces.

This was the first task set Durham's successor, Charles Poulett
Thomson, better known as Lord Sydenham. Like Durham he was a man
of outstanding capacity. The British Government had learned at
last to send men of the caliber the emergency demanded. Like
Durham he was a wealthy Radical politician, but there the
resemblance ended. Where Durham played the dictator, Sydenham
preferred to intrigue and to manage men, to win them by his
adroitness and to convince them by his energy and his business
knowledge. He was well fitted for the transition tasks before
him, though too masterful to fill the role of ornamental monarch
which the advocates of responsible government had cast for the

Sydenham reached Canada in October, 1839. With the assistance of
James Stuart, now a baronet and Chief Justice of Lower Canada, he
drafted a union measure. In Lower Canada the Assembly had been
suspended, and the Special Council appointed in its stead
accepted the bill without serious demur. More difficulty was
found in Upper Canada, where the Family Compact, still entrenched
in the Legislative Council, feared the risk to their own position
that union would bring and shrank from the task of assimilating
half a million disaffected French Canadians. But with the support
of the Reformers and of the more moderate among the Family
Compact party, Sydenham forced his measure through. A confirming
bill passed the British Parliament; and on February 10, 1841, the
Union of Canada was proclaimed.

The Act provided for the union of the two provinces, under a
Governor, an appointed Legislative Council, and an elective
Assembly. In the Assembly each section of the new province was to
receive equal representation, though the population of Lower
Canada still greatly exceeded that of Upper Canada. The Assembly
was to have full control of all revenues, and in return a
permanent civil list was granted. Either English or French could
be used in debate, but all parliamentary journals and papers were
to be printed in English only.*

* From 1841 to 1867 the whole province was legally known as the
"Province of Canada." Yet a measure of administrative separation
between the old sections remained, and the terms "Canada East"
and "Canada West" received official sanction. The older terms,
"Lower Canada" and "Upper Canada," lingered on in popular usage.

In June, 1841, the first Parliament of united Canada met at
Kingston, which as the most central point had been chosen as the
new capital. Under Sydenham's shrewd and energetic leadership a
business programme of long-delayed reforms was put through. A
large loan, guaranteed by the British Government, made possible
extensive provision for building roads, bridges, and canals
around the rapids in the St. Lawrence. Municipal institutions
were set up, and reforms were effected in the provincial

Lord John Russell in England and Sydenham in Canada were anxious
to keep the question of responsible government in the background.
For the first busy months they succeeded, but the new Parliament
contained men quite as strong willed as either and of quite other
views. Before the first session had begun, Baldwin and the new
French-Canadian leader, La Fontaine, had raised the issue and
begun a new struggle in which their single-minded devotion and
unflinching courage were to attain a complete success.

Responsible government was in 1841 only a phrase, a watchword.
Its full implications became clear only after many years. It
meant three things: cabinet government, self-government, and
party government. It meant that the government of the country
should be carried on by a Cabinet or Executive Council, all
members of Parliament, all belonging to the party which had the
majority in the Assembly, and under the leadership of a Prime
Minister, the working head of the Government. The nominal head,
Governor or King, could act only on the advice of his ministers,
who alone were held responsible to Parliament for the course of
the Government. It meant, further, national self-government. The
Governor could not serve two masters. If he must take the advice
of his ministers in Canada, he could not take the possibly
conflicting advice of ministers in London. The people of Canada
would be the ultimate court of appeal. And finally, responsible
government meant party government. The cabinet system presupposed
a definite and united majority behind the Government. It was the
business of the party system to provide that majority, to insure
responsible and steady action, and at the same time responsible
criticism from Her Majesty's loyal Opposition. Baldwin saw this
clearly in 1841, but it took hard fighting throughout the forties
to bring all his fellow countrymen to see likewise and to induce
the English Government to resign itself to the prospect.

Sydenham fought against responsible government but advanced it
against his will. The only sense in which he, like Russell, was
prepared to concede such liberty was that the Governor should
choose his advisers as far as possible from men having the
confidence of the Assembly. They were to be his advisers only, in
fact as well as form. The Governor was still to govern, was to be
Prime Minister and Governor in one. When Baldwin, who had been
given a seat in the Executive Council, demanded in 1841 that this
body should be reconstructed in such a way as to include some
French-Canadian members and to exclude the Family Compact men,
Sydenham flatly refused. Baldwin then resigned and went into
opposition, but Sydenham unwillingly played into his hand. By
choosing his council solely from members of the two Houses, he
established a definite connection between Executive and Assembly
and thus gave an opportunity for the discussion of the
administration of policy in the House and for the forming of
government and opposition parties. Before the first session
closed, the majority which Sydenham had built up by acting as a
party leader at the very time he was deriding parties as mere
factions, crumbled away, and he was forced to accept resolutions
insisting that the Governor's advisers must be men "possessed of
the confidence of the representatives of the people." Fate ended
his work at its height. Riding home one September evening, he was
thrown from his horse and died from the injuries before the month
was out.

It fell to the Tory Government of Peel to choose Sydenham's
successor. They named Sir Charles Bagot, already distinguished
for his career in diplomacy and known for his hand in matters
which were to interest the greater Canada, the Rush-Bagot
Convention with the United States and the treaty with Russia
which fixed, only too vaguely, the boundaries of Alaska. He was
under strict injunctions from the Colonial Secretary, Lord
Stanley, to continue Sydenham's policy and to make no further
concession to the demands for responsible government or party
control. Yet this Tory nominee of a Tory Cabinet, in his brief
term of office, insured a great advance along this very path
toward freedom. His easy-going temper predisposed him to play the
part of constitutional monarch rather than of Prime Minister, and
in any case he faced a majority in the Assembly resolute in its

The policy of swamping French influence had already proved a
failure. Sydenham had given it a full trial. He had done his
best, or his worst, by unscrupulous manipulation, to keep the
French Canadians from gaining their fair quota of the members in
the Union Assembly. Those who were elected he ignored. "They have
forgotten nothing and learnt nothing by the Rebellion, " he
declared, "and are more unfit for representative government than
they were in 1791." This was far from a true reading of the
situation. The French stood aloof, it is true, a compact and
sullen group, angered by the undisguised policy of Anglicization
that faced them and by Sydenham's unscrupulous tactics. But they
had learned restraint and had found leaders and allies of the
kind most needed. Papineau's place--for the great tribune was now
in exile in Paris, consorting with the republicans and socialists
who were to bring about the Revolution of 1848--had been taken by
one of his former lieutenants. Louis Hippolyte La Fontaine still
stands out as one of the two or three greatest Canadians of
French descent, a man of massive intellect, of unquestioned
integrity, and of firm but moderate temper. With Baldwin he came
to form a close and lifelong friendship. The Reformers of Canada
West, as Upper Canada was now called, formed a working alliance
with La Fontaine which gave them a sweeping majority in the
Assembly. Bagot bowed to the inevitable and called La Fontaine
and Baldwin to his Council. Ill health made it impossible for him
to take much part in the government, and the Council was far on
the way to obtaining the unity and the independence of a true
Cabinet when Bagot's death in 1843 brought a new turn in affairs.

The British Ministers had seen with growing uneasiness Bagot's
concessions. His successor, Sir Charles Metcalfe, a man of honest
and kindly ways but accustomed to governing oriental peoples,
determined to make a stand against the pretensions of the
Reformers. In this attitude he was strongly backed both by
Stanley and by his successor, that brilliant young Tory, William
Ewart Gladstone. Metcalfe insisted once more that the Governor
must govern. While the members of the Council, as individuals,
might give him advice, it was for him to decide whether or not to
take it. The inevitable clash with his Ministers came in the
autumn of 1843 over a question of patronage. They resigned, and
after months of effort Metcalfe patched up a Ministry with W. H.
Draper as the leading member. In an election in which Metcalfe
himself took the platform and in which once more British
connection was said to be at stake, the Ministry obtained a
narrow majority. But opinion soon turned, and when Metcalfe, the
third Governor in four years to whom Canada had proved fatal,,
went home to die, he knew that his stand had been in vain. The
Ministry, after a precarious life of three years, went to the
country only to be beaten by an overwhelming majority in both
East and West. When, in 1848, Baldwin and La Fontaine were called
to office under the new Governor General, Lord Elgin, the fight
was won. Many years were to pass before the full implications of
responsible government were worked out, but henceforth even the
straitest Tory conceded the principle. Responsible government had
ceased to be a party cry and had become the common heritage of
all Canadians.

Lord Elgin, who was Durham's son-in-law, was a man well able to
bear the mantle of his predecessors. Yet he realized that the day
had passed when Governors could govern and was content rather to
advise his advisers, to wield the personal influence that his
experience and sagacity warranted. Hitherto the stages in
Canadian history had been recorded by the term of office of the
Governors; henceforth it was to be the tenure of Cabinets which
counted. Elgin ceased even to attend the Council, and after his
time the Governor became more and more the constitutional
monarch, busied in laying corner stones and listening to tiresome
official addresses. In emergencies, and especially in the gap or
interregnum between Ministries, the personality of the Governor
might count, but as a rule this power remained latent. Yet in two
turning points in Canadian history, both of which had to do with
the relations of Canada to the United States, Elgin was to play
an important part: the Annexation Movement of 1849 and the
Reciprocity Treaty of 1854.

In the struggle for responsible government, loyalty to the
British Crown, loyalty of a superior and exclusive brand, had
been the creed and the war cry of the Tory party. Yet in 1849 men
saw the hotheads of this group in Montreal stoning a British
Governor General and setting fire to the Parliament Buildings,
while a few months later their elders issued a manifesto urging
the annexation of Canada to the United States. Why this sudden
shift? Simply because the old colonial system they had known and
supported had come to an end. The Empire had been taken to mean
racial ascendancy and trade profit. Now both the political and
the economic pillars were crumbling, and the Empire appeared to
have no further excuse for existence.

In the past British connection had meant to many of the English
minority in Lower Canada a means of redressing the political
balance, of retaining power in face of a body of French-speaking
citizens outnumbering them three or four to one. Now that support
had been withdrawn. Britain had consented, unwillingly, to the
setting up of responsible government and the calling to office of
men who a dozen years before had been in arms against the Queen
or fleeing from the province. This was gall and wormwood to the
English. But when the Ministry introduced, and the Assembly
passed, the Rebellion Losses Bill for compensating those who had
suffered destruction of property in the outbreak, and when the
terms were so drawn as to make it possible, its critics charged,
that rebels as well as loyalists would be compensated, flesh and
blood could bear no more. The Governor was pelted with rotten
eggs when he came down to the House to sign the bill, and the
buildings where Parliament had met since 1844, when the capital
had been transferred from Kingston to Montreal, were stormed and
burned by a street mob.

The anger felt against the Ministry thus turned against the
British Government. The English minority felt like an advance
guard in a hostile country, deserted by the main forces, an
Ulster abandoned to Home Ruler and Sinn Feiner. They turned to
the south, to the other great English-speaking Protestant people.
If the older branch of the race would not give them protection or
a share in dominance, perhaps the younger branch could and would.
As Lord Durham had suggested, they were resolved that "Lower
Canada must be ENGLISH, at the expense, if necessary, of not
being BRITISH."

But it was not only the political basis of the old colonial
system that was rudely shattered. The economic foundations, too,
were passing away, and with them the profits of the Montreal
merchants, who formed the backbone of the annexation movement. It
has been seen that under this system Great Britain had aimed at
setting up a self-contained empire, with a monopoly of the
markets of the colonies. Now for her own sake she was sweeping
away the tariff and shipping monopoly which had been built up
through more than two centuries. The logic of Adam Smith, the
experiments of Huskisson, the demands of manufacturers for cheap
food and raw materials, the passionate campaigns of Cobden and
Bright, and the rains that brought the Irish famine, at last had
their effect. In 1846 Peel himself undertook the repeal of the
Corn Laws. To Lower Canada this was a crushing blow. Until of
late the preference given in the British market on colonial goods
in return for the control of colonial trade had been of little
value; but in 1848 the duties on Canadian wheat and flour had
been greatly lowered, resulting in a preference over foreign
grain reckoned at eighteen cents a bushel. While in appearance an
extension of the old system of preference and protection, in
reality this was a step toward its abandonment. For it was
understood that American grain, imported into Canada at a low
duty, whether shipped direct or ground into flour, would be
admitted at the same low rates. The Act, by opening a back door
to United States wheat, foreshadowed the triumph of the cheap
food agitators in England. But the merchants, the millers, and
the forwarders of Montreal could not believe this. The canal
system was rushed through; large flour mills were built, and
heavy investments of capital were made. Then in 1846 came the
announcement that the artificial basis of this brief prosperity
had vanished. Lord Elgin summed up the results in a dispatch in
1849: "Property in most of the Canadian towns, and more
especially in the capital, has fallen fifty per cent in value
within the last three years. Three-fourths of the commercial men
are bankrupt, owing to free trade. A large proportion of the
exportable produce of Canada is obliged to seek a market in the
United States. It pays a duty of twenty per cent on the frontier.
How long can such a state of things endure?"

In October, 1849, the leading men of Montreal issued a manifesto
demanding annexation to the United States. A future Prime
Minister of Canada, J. J. C. Abbott, four future Cabinet
Ministers, John Rose, Luther Holton, D. L. Macpherson, and A. A.
Dorion, and the commercial leaders of Montreal, the Molsons,
Redpaths, Torrances, and Workmans, were among the signers.
Besides Dorion, a few French Canadians of the Rouge or extreme
Radical party joined in. The movement found supporters in the
Eastern Townships, notably in A. T. Galt, a financier and
railroad builder of distinction, and here and there in Canada
West. Yet the great body of opinion was unmistakably against it.
Baldwin and La Fontaine opposed it with unswerving energy, the
Catholic Church in Canada East denounced it, and the rank and
file of both parties in Canada West gave it short shrift. Elgin
came out actively in opposition and aided in negotiating the
Reciprocity Treaty with the United States which met the economic
need. Montreal found itself isolated, and even there the revival
of trade and the cooling of passions turned men's thoughts into
other channels. Soon the movement was but a memory, chiefly
serviceable to political opponents for taunting some signer of
the manifesto whenever he later made parade of his loyalty. It
had a more unfortunate effect, however, in leading public opinion
in the United States to the belief for many years that a strong
annexationist sentiment existed in Canada. Never again did
annexation receive any notable measure of popular support. A
national spirit was slowly gaining ground, and men were
eventually to see that the alternative to looking to London for
salvation was not looking to Washington but looking to

In the provinces by the sea the struggle for responsible
government was won at much the same time as in Canada. The
smaller field within which the contest was waged gave it a bitter
personal touch; but racial hostility did not enter in, and the
British Government proved less obdurate than in the western
conflicts. In both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick little
oligarchies had become entrenched. The Government was
unprogressive, and fees and salaries were high. The Anglican
Church had received privileges galling to other denominations
which surpassed it in numbers. The "powers that were" found a
shrewd defender in Haliburton, who tried to teach his fellow
Bluenoses through the homely wit of "Sam Slick" that they should
leave governing to those who had the training, the capacity, and
the leisure it required. In Prince Edward Island the land
question still overshadowed all others. Every proposal for its
settlement was rejected by the influence of the absentee
landlords in England, and the agitation went wearily on.

In Nova Scotia the outstanding figure in the ranks of reform was
Joseph Howe. The son of a Loyalist settler, Howe early took to
his father's work of journalism. At first his sympathies were
with the governing powers, but a controversy with a brother
editor, Jotham Blanchard, a New Hampshire man who found radical
backing among the Scots of Pictou, gave him new light and he soon
threw his whole powers into the struggle on the popular side.
Howe was a man lavishly gifted, one of the most effective orators
America has produced, fearing no man and no task however great,
filled with a vitality, a humor, a broad sympathy for his fellows
that gave him the blind obedience of thousands of followers and
the glowing friendship of countless firesides. There are still
old men in Nova Scotia whose proudest memory is that they once
held Howe's horse or ran on an errand for a look from his kingly

Howe took up the fight in earnest in 1835. The western demand for
responsible government pointed the way, and Howe became, with
Baldwin, its most trenchant advocate. In spite of the determined
opposition of the sturdy old soldier Governor, Sir Colin
Campbell, and of his successor, Lord Falkland, who aped Sydenham
and whom Howe threatened to "hire a black man to horse-whip," the
reformers won. In 1848 the first responsible Cabinet in Nova
Scotia came to power.

In New Brunswick the transition to responsible government came
gradually and without dramatic incidents or brilliant figures on
either side. Lemuel Wilmot, and later Charles Fisher, led the
reform ranks, gradually securing for the Assembly control of all
revenues, abolishing religious inequalities, and effecting some
reform in the Executive Council, until at last in 1855 the
crowning demand was tardily conceded.

From the Great Lakes to the Atlantic the political fight was won,
and men turned with relief to the tasks which strife and faction
had hindered. Self-government meant progressive government. With
organized Cabinets coordinating and controlling their policy the
provinces went ahead much faster than when Governor and Assembly
stood at daggers drawn. The forties and especially the fifties
were years of rapid and sound development in all the provinces,
and especially in Canada West. Settlers poured in, the scattered
clearings; widened until one joined the next, and pioneer
hardships gave way to substantial, if crude, prosperity.
Education, notably under the vigorous leadership of Egerton
Ryerson in Canada West, received more adequate attention. Banks
grew and with them all commercial facilities increased.

The distinctive feature of this period of Canadian development,
however, was the growth of canals and railroads. The forties were
the time of canal building and rebuilding all along the lakes and
the St. Lawrence to salt water. Canada spent millions on what
were wonderful works for their day, in the hope that the St.
Lawrence would become the channel for the trade of all the
growing western States bordering on the Great Lakes. Scarcely
were these waterway improvements completed when it was realized
they had been made largely in vain. The railway had come and was
outrivaling the canal. If Canadian ports and channels were even
to hold their own, they must take heed of the enterprise of all
the cities along the Atlantic coast of the United States, which
were promoting railroads to the interior in a vigorous rivalry
for the trade of the Golden West. Here was a challenge which must
be taken up. The fifties became the first great railway era of
Canada. In 1850 there were only sixty-six miles of railway in all
the provinces; ten years later there were over two thousand.
Nearly all the roads were aided by provincial or municipal bonus
or guarantee. Chief among the lines was the Grand Trunk, which
ran from the Detroit border to Riviere du Loup on the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, and which, though it halted at that eastern terminus in
the magnificent project of connecting with the railways of the
Maritime Provinces, was nevertheless at that time the longest
road in the world operating under single control.

The railways brought with them a new speculative fever, a more
complex financial structure, a business politics which shaded
into open corruption, and a closer touch with the outside world.
The general substitution of steam for sail on the Atlantic during
this period aided further in lessening the isolation of what had
been backwoods provinces and in bringing them into closer
relation with the rest of the world.

It was in closer relations with the United States that this
emergence from isolation chiefly manifested itself. In the
generation that followed the War of 1812 intercourse with the
United States was discouraged and was remarkably insignificant.
Official policy and the memories of 1783 and 1812 alike built up
a wall along the southern border. The spirit of Downing Street
was shown in the instructions given to Lord Bathurst, immediately
after the close of the war, to leave the territory between
Montreal and Lake Champlain in a state of nature, making no
further grants of land and letting the few roads which had been
begun fall into decay thus a barrier of forest wilderness would
ward off republican contagion. This Chinese policy of putting up
a wall of separation proved impossible to carry through, but in
less extreme ways this attitude of aloofness marked the course of
the Government all through the days of oversea authority.

The friction aroused by repeated boundary disputes prevented
friendly relations between Canada and the United States. With
unconscious irony the framers of the Peace of 1783 had prefaced
their long outline of the boundaries of the United States by
expressing their intention "that all disputes which might arise
in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United
States may be prevented." So vague, however, were the terms of
the treaty and so untrustworthy were the maps of the day that
ultimately almost every clause in the boundary section gave rise
to dispute.

As settlement rolled westward one section of the boundary after
another came in question. Beginning in the east, the line between
New Brunswick and New England was to be formed by the St. Croix
River. There had been a St. Croix in Champlain's time and a St.
Croix was depicted on the maps, but no river known by that name
existed in 1783. The British identified it with the Schoodic, the
Americans with the Magaguadavic. Arbitration in 1798 upheld the
British in the contention that the Schoodic was the St. Croix but
agreed with the Americans in the secondary question as to which
of the two branches of the Schoodic should be followed. A similar
commission in 1817 settled the dispute as to the islands in
Passamaquoddy Bay.

More difficult, because at once more ambiguous in terms and more
vitally important, was the determination of the boundary in the
next stage westward from the St. Croix to the St. Lawrence. The
British position was a difficult one to maintain. In the days of
the struggle with France, Great Britain had tried to push the
bounds of the New England colonies as far north as might be,
making claims that would hem in France to the barest strip along
the south shore of the St. Lawrence. Now that she was heir to the
territories and claims of France and had lost her own old
colonies, it was somewhat embarrassing, but for diplomats not
impossible, to have to urge a line as far south as the urgent
needs of the provinces for intercommunication demanded. The
letter of the treaty was impossible to interpret with certainty.
The phrase, "the Highlands which divide those rivers that empty
themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into
the Atlantic Ocean," meant according to the American reading a
watershed which was a marshy plateau, and according to the
British version a range of hills to the south which involved some
keen hairsplitting as to the rivers they divided. The intentions
of the parties to the original treaty were probably much as the
Americans contended. From the standpoint of neighborly adjustment
and the relative need for the land in question, a strong case in
equity could be made out for the provinces, which would be cut
asunder for all time if a wedge were driven north to the very
brink of the St. Lawrence.

As lumbermen and settlers gathered in the border area, the risk
of conflict became acute, culminating in the Aroostook War in
1838-39, when the Legislatures of Maine and New Brunswick backed
their rival lumberjacks with reckless jingoism. Diplomacy failed
repeatedly to obtain a compromise line. Arbitration was tried
with little better success, as the United States refused to
accept the award of the King of the Netherlands in 1831. The
diplomats tried once more, and in 1842 Daniel Webster, the United
States Secretary of State, and Lord Ashburton, the British
Commissioner, made a compromise by which some five thousand miles
of the area in dispute were assigned to Great Britain and seven
thousand to the United States. The award was not popular on
either side, and the public seized eagerly on stories of
concealed "Red Line" maps, stories of Yankee smartness or of
British trickery. Webster, to win the assent of Maine, had
exhibited in the Senate a map found in the French Archives and
very damaging to the American claim. Later it appeared that the
British Government also had found a map equally damaging to its
own claims. The nice question of ethics involved, whether a
nation should bring forward evidence that would tell against
itself, ceased to have more than an abstract interest when it was
demonstrated that neither map could be considered as one which
the original negotiators had used or marked.*

* See "The Path, of Empire", by Carl Russell Fish (in "The
Chronicles of America").

The boundary from the St. Lawrence westward through the Great
Lakes and thence to the Lake of the Woods had been laid down in
the Treaty of 1783 in the usual vague terms, but it was
determined in a series of negotiations from 1794 to 1842 with
less friction and heat than the eastern line had caused. From the
Lake of the Woods to the Rockies a new line, the forty-ninth
parallel, was agreed upon in 1818. Then, as the Pacific Ocean was
neared, the difficulties once more increased. There were no
treaties between the two countries to limit claims beyond the
Rockies. Discovery and settlement, and the rights inherited from
or admitted by the Spaniards to the south and by the Russians to
the north, were the grounds put forward. British and Canadian fur
traders had been the pioneers in overland discovery, but early in
the forties thousands of American settlers poured into the
Columbia Valley and strengthened the practical case for their
country. "Fifty-four forty or fight"--in other words, the calm
proposal to claim the whole coast between Mexico and
Alaska--became the popular cry in the United States; but in face
of the firm attitude of Great Britain and impending hostilities
with Mexico, more moderate counsels ruled. Great Britain held out
for the Columbia River as the dividing line, and the United
States for the forty-ninth parallel throughout. Finally, in 1846,
the latter contention was accepted, with a modification to leave
Vancouver Island wholly British territory. A postscript to this
settlement was added in 1872, when the German Emperor as
arbitrator approved the American claim to the island of San Juan
in the channel between Vancouver Island and the mainland.*

* See "The Path of Empire".

With the most troublesome boundary questions out of the way, it
became possible to discuss calmly closer trade relations between
the Provinces and the United States. The movement for reciprocal
lowering of the tariffs which hampered trade made rapid headway
in the Provinces in the late forties and early fifties. British
North America was passing out of the pioneer, self-sufficient
stage, and now had a surplus to export as well as townbred needs
to be supplied by imports. The spread of settlement and the
building of canals and railways brought closer contact with the
people to the south. The loss of special privileges in the
English market made the United States market more desired. In
official circles reciprocity was sought as a homeopathic cure for
the desire for annexation. William Hamilton Merritt, a Niagara
border business man and the most persistent advocate of closer
trade relations, met little difficulty in securing almost
unanimous backing in Canada, while the Maritime Provinces lent
their support.

It was more difficult to win over the United States. There the
people showed the usual indifference of a big and prosperous
country to the needs or opportunities of a small and backward
neighbor. The division of power between President and Congress
made it difficult to carry any negotiation through to success.
Yet these obstacles were overcome. The depletion of the fisheries
along the Atlantic coast of the United States made it worth
while, as I.D. Andrews, a United States consul in New Brunswick,
urged persistently, to gain access to the richer grounds to the
north and, if necessary, to offer trade concessions in exchange.
At Washington, the South was in the saddle. Its sympathies were
strongly for freer trade, but this alone would not have counted
had not the advocates of reciprocity convinced the Democratic
leaders of the bearing of their policy on the then absorbing
issue of slavery. If reciprocity were not arranged, the argument
ran, annexation would be sure to come and that would mean the
addition to the Union of a group of freesoil States which would
definitely tilt the balance against slavery for all time. With
the ground thus prepared, Lord Elgin succeeded by adroit and
capable diplomacy in winning over the leaders of Congress as well
as the Executive to his proposals. The Reciprocity Treaty was
passed by the Senate in August, 1854, and by the Legislatures of
the United Kingdom, Canada, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick,
and Nova Scotia in the next few months, and of Newfoundland in
1855. This treaty provided for free admission into each country
of practically all the products of the farm, forest, mine, and
fishery, threw open the Atlantic fisheries, and gave American
vessels the use of the St. Lawrence and Canadian vessels the use
of Lake Michigan. The agreement was to last for ten years and
indefinitely thereafter, subject to termination on one year's
notice by either party.

To both countries reciprocity brought undoubted good. Trade
doubled and trebled. Each country gained by free access to the
nearest sources of supply. The same goods figured largely in the
traffic in both directions, the United States importing grain and
flour from Canada and exporting it to the Maritime Provinces. In
short the benefits which had come to the United States from free
and unfettered trade throughout half a continent were now
extended to practically a whole continent.

Yet criticism of the new economic regime was not lacking. The
growth of protectionist feeling in both countries after 1857
brought about incidents and created an atmosphere which were
dangerous to the continuance of close trade relations. In 1858
and 1859 the Canadian Government raised substantially the duties
on manufactured goods in order to meet the bills for its lavish
railway policy. This increase hit American manufacturers and led
to loud complaints that the spirit of the Reciprocity Treaty had
been violated. Alexander T. Galt, Canadian Minister of Finance,
had no difficulty in showing that the tariff increases were the
only feasible sources of revenue, that the agreement with the
United States did not cover manufactures, and that the United
States itself, faced by war demands and no longer controlled by
free trade Southerners, had raised duties still higher. The
exports of the United States to the Provinces in the reciprocity
period were greater, contrary to the later traditions, than the
imports. On economic grounds the case for the continuance of the
reciprocity agreement was strong, and probably the treaty would
have remained in force indefinitely had not the political
passions roused by the Civil War made sanity and neighborliness
in trade difficult to maintain.

When the Civil War broke out, the sympathies of Canadians were
overwhelmingly on the side of the North. The railway and freer
trade had been bringing the two peoples closer together, and time
was healing old sores. Slavery was held to be the real issue, and
on that issue there were scarcely two opinions in the British

Yet in a few months sympathy had given way to angry and
suspicious bickering, and the possibility of invasion of Canada
by the Northern forces was vigorously debated. This sudden shift
of opinion and the danger in which it involved the provinces were
both incidents in the quarrel which sprang up between the United
States and Great Britain. In Britain as in Canada, opinion, so
far as it found open expression, was at first not unfriendly to
the North. Then came the anger of the North at Great Britain's
legitimate and necessary, though perhaps precipitate, action in
acknowledging the South as a belligerent. This action ran counter
to the official Northern theory that the revolt of the Southern
States was a local riot, of merely domestic concern, and was held
to foreshadow a recognition of the independence of the
Confederacy. The angry taunts were soon returned. The ruling
classes in Great Britain made the discovery that the war was a
struggle between chivalrous gentlemen and mercenary
counterhoppers and cherished the hope that the failure of the
North would discredit, the world over, the democracy which was
making uncomfortable claims in England itself. The English
trading classes resented the shortage of cotton and the high
duties which the protectionist North was imposing. With the
defeat of the Union forces at Bull Run the prudent hesitancy of
aristocrat and merchant in expressing their views disappeared.
The responsible statesmen of both countries, especially Lincoln
and Lord John Russell, refused to be stampeded, but unfortunately
the leading newspapers served them ill. The "Times", with its
constant sneers and its still more irritating patronizing advice,
and the New York "Herald", bragging and blustering in the frank
hope of forcing a war with Britain and France which would reunite
South and North and subordinate the slavery issue, did more than
any other factors to bring the two countries to the verge of war.

In Canada the tendency in some quarters to reflect English
opinion, the disappointment in others that the abolition of
slavery was not explicitly pledged by the North, and above all
resentment against the threats of the "Herald" and its followers,
soon cooled the early friendliness. The leading Canadian
newspaper, for many years a vigorous opponent of slavery, thus
summed up the situation in August, 1861:

"The insolent bravado of the Northern press towards Great Britain
and the insulting tone assumed toward these Provinces have
unquestionably produced a marked change in the feelings of our
people. When the war commenced, there was only one feeling, of
hearty sympathy with the North, but now it is very different.
People have lost sight of the character of the struggle in the
exasperation excited by the injustice and abuse showered upon us
by the party with which we sympathized."*

* Toronto "Globe", August 7, 1861.

The Trent affair brought matters to a sobering climax.* When it
was settled, resentment lingered, but the tension was never again
so acute. Both Great Britain and in Canada the normal sympathy
with the cause of the Union revived as the war went on. In
England the classes continued to be pro-Southern in sympathy, but
the masses, in spite of cotton famines, held resolutely to their
faith in the cause of freedom. After Lincoln's emancipation of
the slaves, the view of the English middle classes more and more
became the view of the nation. In Canada, pro-Southern sentiment
was strong in the same classes and particularly in Montreal and
Toronto, where there were to be found many Southern refugees,
some of whom made a poor return for hospitality by endeavoring to
use Canada as a base for border raids. Yet in the smaller towns
and in the country sympathy was decidedly on the other side,
particularly after the "Herald" had ceased its campaign of
bluster and after Lincoln's proclamation had brought the moral
issue again to the fore. The fact that a large number of
Canadians, popularly set at forty thousand, enlisted in the
Northern armies, is to be explained in part by the call of
adventure and the lure of high bounties, but it must also be
taken to reflect the sympathy of the mass of the people.

* See "Abraham Lincoln and the Union", by Nathaniel W. Stephenson
(in "The Chronicles of America").

In the United States resentment was slower in passing. While the
war was on, prudence forbade any overt act. When it was over, the
bill for the Alabama raids and the taunts of the "Times" came in.
Great Britain paid in the settlement of the Alabama claims.*
Canada suffered by the abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty at
the first possible date, and by the connivance of the American
authorities in the Fenian raids of 1866 and 1870. Yet for Canada
the outcome was by no means ill. If the Civil War did not bring
forth a new nation in the South, it helped to make one in the far
North. A common danger drew the scattered British Provinces
together and made ready the way for the coming Dominion of

*See "The Day of the Confederacy", by Nathaniel W. Stephenson;
and "The Path of Empire" (in "The Chronicles of America").

It was not from the United States alone that an impetus came for
the closer union of the British Provinces. The same period and
the same events ripened opinion in the United Kingdom in favor of
some practical means of altering a colonial relationship which
bad ceased to bring profit but which had not ceased to be a
burden of responsibility and risk.

The British Empire had its beginning in the initiative of private
business men, not in any conscious policy of state. Yet as the
Empire grew the teaching of doctrinaires and the example of other
colonial powers had developed a definite policy whereby the
plantations overseas were to be made to serve the needs of the
nation at home. The end of empire was commercial profit; the
means, the political subordination of the colonies; the debit
entry, the cost of the military and naval and diplomatic services
borne by the mother country. But the course of events had now
broken down this theory. Britain, for her own good, had abandoned
protection, and with it fell the system of preference and
monopoly in colonial markets. Not only preference had gone but
even equality. The colonies, notably Canada, which was most
influenced by the United States, were perversely using their new
found freedom to protect their own manufacturers against all
outsiders, Britain included. When Sheffield cutlers, hard hit by
Canada's tariff, protested to the Colonial Secretary and he
echoed their remonstrance, the Canadian Minister of Finance, A.
T. Galt, stoutly refused to heed. "Self-government would be
utterly annihilated," Galt replied in 1860, "if the views of the
Imperial Government were to be preferred to those of the people
of Canada. It is therefore the duty of the present government
distinctly to affirm the right of the Canadian legislature to
adjust the taxation of the people in the way they deem best -
even if it should unfortunately happen to meet the disapproval of
the Imperial Ministry." Clearly, if trade advantage were the
chief purpose of empire, the Empire had lost its reason for

With the credit entry fading, the debit entry loomed up bigger.
Hardly had the Corn Laws been abolished when Radical critics
called on the British Government to withdraw the redcoat
garrisons from the colonies: no profit, no defense. Slowly but
steadily this reduction was effected. To fill the gaps, the
colonies began to strengthen their militia forces. In Canada only
a beginning had been made in the way of defense when the Trent
episode brought matters to a crisis. If war broke out between the
United States and Great Britain, Canada would be the battlefield.
Every Canadian knew it; nothing could be clearer. When the danger
of immediate war had passed, the Parliament of Canada turned to
the provision of more adequate defense. A bill providing for a
compulsory levy was defeated in 1862, more on personal and party
grounds than on its own merits, and the Ministry next in office
took the other course of increasing the volunteer force and of
providing for officers' training. Compared with any earlier
arrangements for defense, the new plans marked a great advance;
but when judged in the light of the possible necessity of
repelling American invasion, they were plainly inadequate. A
burst of criticism followed from England; press and politicians
joined in denouncing the blind and supine colonials. Did they not
know that invasion by the United States was inevitable? "If the
people of the North fail," declared a noble lord, "they will
attack Canada as a compensation for their losses; if they
succeed, they will attack Canada in the drunkenness of victory."
If such an invasion came, Britain had neither the power nor the
will, the "Times" declared, to protect Canada without any aid on
her part; not the power, for "our empire is too vast, our
population too small, our antagonist too powerful"; not the will,
for "we no longer monopolize the trade of the colonies; we no
longer job their patronage." To these amazing attacks Canadians
replied that they knew the United States better than Englishmen
did. They were prepared to take their share in defense, but they
could not forget that if war came it would not be by any act of
Canada. It was soon noted that those who most loudly denounced
Canada for not arming to the teeth were the Southern
sympathizers. "The 'Times' has done more than its share in
creating bad feeling between England and the United States,"
declared a Toronto newspaper, "and would have liked to see the
Canadians take up the quarrel which it has raised . . . . We have
no idea of Canada being made a victim of the Jefferson Bricks on
either side of the Atlantic."

The question of defense fell into the background when the war
ended and the armies of the Union went back to their farms and
shops. But the discussion left in the minds of most Englishmen
the belief that the possession of such colonies was a doubtful
blessing. Manchester men like Bright, Liberals like Gladstone and
Cornewall Lewis, Conservatives like Lowe and Disraeli, all came
to believe that separation was only a question of time. Yet honor
made them hesitate to set the defenseless colonies adrift to be
seized by the first hungry neighbor.

At this juncture the plans for uniting all the colonies in one
great federation seemed to open a way out; united, the colonies
could stand alone. Thus Confederation found support in Britain as
well as a stimulus from the United States. This, however, was not
enough. Confederation would not have come when it did--and that
might have meant it would never have come at all--had not party
and sectional deadlock forced Canadian politicians to seek a
remedy in a wider union.

At first all had gone well with the Union of 1841. It did not
take the politicians long to learn how to use the power that
responsible government put into their hands. After Elgin's day
the Governor General fell back into the role of constitutional
monarch which cabinet control made easy for him. In the forties,
men had spoken of Sydenham and Bagot, Metcalfe and Elgin; in the
fifties, they spoke of Baldwin and La Fontaine, Hincks and
Macdonald and Cartier and Brown, and less and less of the
Governors in whose name these men ruled. Politics then attracted
more of the country's ablest men than it does now, and the party
leaders included many who would have made their mark in any
parliament in the world. Baldwin and La Fontaine, united to the
end, resigned office in 1851, believing that they had played
their part in establishing responsible government and feeling out
of touch with the radical elements of their following who were
demanding further change. Their place was taken in Canada West by
Hincks, an adroit tactician and a skilled financier, intent on
railway building and trade development; and in Canada East by
Morin, a somewhat colorless lieutenant of La Fontaine.

But these leaders in turn soon gave way to new men; and the
political parties gradually fell into a state of flux. In Canada
West there were still a few Tories, survivors of the Family
Compact and last-ditch defenders of privilege in Church and
State, a growing number of moderate Conservatives, a larger group
of moderate Liberals, and a small but aggressive extreme left
wing of "Clear Grits," mainly Scotch Presbyterians, foes of any
claim to undue power on the part of class or clergy. In Canada
East the English members from the Townships, under A. T. Galt,
were ceasing to vote as a unit, and the main body of
French-Canadian members were breaking up into a moderate Liberal
party, and a smaller group of Rouges, fiery young men under the
leadership of Papineau, now returned from exile, were crusading
against clerical pretensions and all the established order.

The situation was one made to the hand of a master tactician. The
time brought forth the man. John A. Macdonald, a young Kingston
lawyer of Tory upbringing, or "John A.", as generation after
generation affectionately called him, was to prove the greatest
leader of men in Canada's annals. Shrewd, tactful, and genial,
never forgetting a face or a favor, as popular for his human
frailties as for his strength, Macdonald saw that the old party
lines drawn in the days of the struggle for responsible
government were breaking down and that the future lay with a
union of the moderate elements in both parties and both sections.
He succeeded in 1854 in bringing together in Canada West a strong
Liberal-Conservative group and in effecting a permanent alliance
with the main body of French-Canadian Liberals, now under the
leadership of Cartier, a vigorous fighter and an easy-going
opportunist. With the addition of Galt as the financial expert,
these allies held power throughout the greater part of the next
dozen years. Their position was not unchallenged. The Clear Grits
had found a leader after their own heart in George Brown, a
Scotchman of great ability, a hard hitter and a good hater--
especially of slavery, the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and "John
A." Through his newspaper, the Toronto "Globe", he wielded a
power unique in Canadian journalism. The Rouges, now led by A. A.
Dorion, a man of stainless honor and essentially moderate temper,
withdrew from. their extreme anticlerical position but could not
live down their youth or make head against the forces of
conservatism in their province. They did not command many
votes in the House, but every man of them was an orator, and they
remained through all vicissitudes a power to reckon with.

Step by step, under Liberal and under Liberal Conservative
Governments, the programme of Canadian Liberalism was carried
into effect. Self-government, at least in domestic affairs, had
been attained. An effective system of municipal government and a
good beginning in popular education followed. The last link
between Church and State was severed in 1854 when the Clergy
Reserves were turned over to the municipalities for secular
purposes, with life annuities for clergymen who had been
receiving stipends from the Reserves. In Lower Canada the
remnants of the old feudal system, the rights of the seigneurs,
were abolished in the same year with full compensation from the
state. An elective upper Chamber took the place of the appointed
Legislative Council a year later. The Reformers, as the Clear
Grits preferred to call themselves officially, should perhaps
have been content with so much progress. They insisted, however,
that a new and more intolerable privilege had arisen--the
privilege which Canada East held of equal representation in the
Legislative Assembly long after its population had fallen behind
that of Canada West.

The political union of the two Canadas in fact had never been
complete. Throughout the Union period there were two leaders in
each Cabinet, two Attorney Generals, and two distinct judicial
systems. Every session laws were passed applying to one section
alone. This continued separation had its beginning in a clause of
the Union Act itself, which provided that each section should
have equal representation in the Assembly, even though Lower
Canada then had a much larger population than Upper Canada. When
the tide of overseas immigration put Canada West well in the
lead, it in its turn was denied the full representation its
greater population warranted. First the Conservatives, and later
the Clear Grits, took up the cry of "Representation by
Population." It was not difficult to convince the average Canada
West elector that it was an outrage that three French-Canadian
voters should count as much as four English-speaking voters.
Macdonald, relying for power on his alliance with Cartier, could
not accept the demand, and saw seat after seat in Canada West
fall to Brown and his "Rep. by Pop." crusaders. Brown's success
only solidified Canada East against him, until, in the early
sixties, party lines coincided almost with sectional lines.
Parties were so closely matched that the life of a Ministry was
short. In the three years ending in 1864 there were two general
elections and four Ministries. Political controversy became
bitterly personal, and corruption was spreading fast.

Constant efforts were made to avert the threatened deadlock.
Macdonald, who always trusted more to personal management than to
constitutional expedients, won over one after another of the
opponents who troubled him, and thus postponed the day of
reckoning. Rival plans of constitutional reform were brought
forward. The simplest remedy was the repeal of the union, leaving
each province to go its own way. But this solution was felt to be
a backward step and one which would create more problems than it
would solve. More support was given the double majority
principle, a provision that no measure affecting one section
should be passed unless a majority from that section favored it,
but this method broke down when put to a practical test. The
Rouges, and later Brown, put forward a plan for the abolition of
legislative union in favor of a federal union of the two Canadas.
This lacked the wide vision of the fourth suggestion, which was
destined to be adopted as the solution, namely, the federation of
all British North America.

Federal union, it was urged, would solve party and sectional
deadlock by removing to local legislatures the questions which
created the greatest divergence of opinion. The federal union of
the Canadas alone or the federal union of all British North
America would either achieve this end. But there were other ends
in view which only the wider plan could serve. The needs of
defense demanded a single control for all the colonies. The
probable loss of the open market of the United States made it
imperative to unite all the provinces in a single free trade
area. The first faint stirrings of national ambition, prompting
the younger men to throw off the leading strings of colonial
dependence, were stimulated by the vision of a country which
would stretch from sea to sea. The westward growth of the United
States and the reports of travelers were opening men's eyes to
the possibilities of the vast lands under the control of the
Hudson's Bay Company and the need of asserting authority over
these northern regions if they were to be held for the Crown.
Eastward, also, men were awaking to their isolation. There was
not, in the Maritime Provinces, any popular desire for union with
the Canadas or any political crisis compelling drastic remedy,
but the need of union for defense was felt in some quarters, and
ambitious politicians who had mastered their local fields were
beginning to sigh for larger worlds to conquer.

It took the patient and courageous striving of many men to make
this vision of a united country a reality. The roll of the
Fathers of Confederation is a long and honored one. Yet on that
roll there are some outstanding names, the names of men whose
services were not merely devoted but indispensable. The first to
bring the question within the field of practical politics was A.
T. Galt, but when attempt after attempt in 1864 to organize a
Ministry with a safe working majority had failed, it was George
Brown who proposed that the party leaders should join hands in
devising some form of federation. Macdonald had hitherto been a
stout opponent of all change but, once converted, he threw
himself into the struggle, with energy. He never appeared to
better advantage than in the negotiations of the next few years,
steering the ship of Confederation through the perilous shoals of
personal and sectional jealousies. Few had a harder or a more
important task than Cartier's-reconciling Canada East to a
project under which it would be swamped, in the proposed federal
House, by the representatives of four or five English-speaking
provinces. McDougall, a Canada West Reformer, shared with Brown
the credit for awakening Canadians to the value of the Far West
and to the need of including it in their plans of expansion.
D'Arcy McGee, more than any other, fired the imagination of the
people with glowing pictures of the greatness and the limitless
possibilities of the new nation. Charles Tupper, the head of a
Nova Scotia Conservative Ministry which had overthrown the old
tribune, Joseph Howe, had the hardest and seemingly most hopeless
task of all; for his province appeared to be content with its
separate existence and was inflamed against union by Howe's
eloquent opposition; but to Tupper a hard fight was as the breath
of his nostrils. In New Brunswick, Leonard Tilley, a man of less
vigor but equal determination, led the struggle until
Confederation was achieved.

It was in June, 1864, that the leaders of the Parliament of
Canada became convinced that federation was the only way out. A
coalition Cabinet was formed, with Sir Etienne Tache as nominal
Premier, and with Macdonald, Brown, Cartier, and Galt all
included. An opening for discussing the wider federation was
offered by a meeting which was to be held in Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island, of delegates from the three Maritime
Provinces to consider the formation of a local union. There, in
September, 1864, went eight of the Canadian Ministers. Their
proposals met with favor. A series of banquets brought the plans
before the public, seemingly with good results. The conference
was resumed a month later at Quebec. Here, in sixteen working
days, delegates from Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince
Edward Island, and also from Newfoundland, thirty-three in all,
after frank and full deliberation behind closed doors, agreed
upon the terms of union. Macdonald's insistence upon a
legislative union, wiping out all provincial boundaries, was
overridden; but the lesson of the conflict between the federal
and state jurisdiction in the United States was seen in
provisions to strengthen the central authority. The general
government was empowered to appoint the lieutenant governors of
the various provinces and to veto any provincial law; to it were
assigned all legislative powers not specifically granted to the
provinces; and a subsidy granted by the general government in
lieu of the customs revenues resigned by the provinces still
further increased their dependence upon the central authority.

It had taken less than three weeks to draw up the plan of union.
It took nearly three years to secure its adoption. So far as
Canada was concerned, little trouble was encountered. British
traditions of parliamentary supremacy prevented any direct
submission of the question to the people; but their support was
clearly manifested in the press and on the platform, and the
legislature ratified the project with emphatic majorities from
both sections of the province. Though it did not pass without
opposition, particularly from the Rouges under Dorion and from
steadfast supporters of old ways like Christopher Dunkin and
Sandfield Macdonald, the fight was only halfhearted. Not so,
however, in the provinces by the sea. The delegates who returned
from the Quebec Conference were astounded to meet a storm of
criticism. Local pride and local prejudice were aroused. The
thrifty maritime population feared Canadian extravagance and
Canadian high tariffs. They were content to remain as they were
and fearful of the unknown. Here and there advocates of
annexation to the United States swelled the chorus. Merchants in
Halifax and St. John feared that trade would be drawn away to
Montreal. Above all, Howe, whether because of personal pique or
of intense local patriotism, had put himself at the head of the
agitation against union, and his eloquence could still play upon
the prejudices of the people. The Tilley Government in New
Brunswick was swept out of power early in 1865. Prince Edward
Island and Newfoundland both drew back, the one for eight years,
the other to remain outside the fold to the present day. In Nova
Scotia a similar fate was averted only by Tupper's Fabian
tactics. Then the tide turned. In New Brunswick the Fenian Raids,
pressure from the Colonial Office, and the blunders of the
anti-Confederate Government brought Tilley back to power on a
Confederation platform a year later. Tupper seized the occasion
and carried his motion through the Nova Scotia House. Without
seeking further warrant the delegates from Canada, Nova Scotia,
and New Brunswick met in London late in 1866, and there in
consultation with the Colonial Office drew up the final
resolutions. They were embodied in the British North America Act
which went through the Imperial Parliament not only without
raising questions but even without exciting interest. On July 1,
1867, the Dominion of Canada, as the new federation was to be
known, came into being. It is a curious coincidence that the same
date witnessed the establishment of the North German Bund, which
in less than three years was to expand into the German Empire.


The federation of the four provinces was an excellent
achievement, but it was only a beginning on the long, hard road
to nationhood. The Fathers of Confederation had set their goal
and had proclaimed their faith. It remained for the next
generation to seek to make their vision a reality. It was still
necessary to make the Dominion actual by bringing in all the
lands from sea to sea. And when, on paper, Canada covered half a
continent, union had yet to be given body and substance by
railway building and continuous settlement. The task of welding
two races and many scattered provinces into a single people would
call for all the statesmanship and prudence the country had to
give. To chart the relations between the federal and the
provincial authorities, which had so nearly brought to shipwreck
the federal experiment of Canada's great neighbor, was like
navigating an unknown sea. And what was to be the attitude of the
new Dominion, half nation, half colony, to the mother country and
to the republic to the south, no one could yet foretell.

The first problem which faced the Dominion was the organization
of the new machinery of government. It was necessary to choose a
federal Administration to guide the Parliament which was soon to
meet at Ottawa, the capital of the old Canada since 1858 and now
accepted as the capital of the larger Canada. It was necessary
also to establish provincial Governments in Canada West,
henceforth known as Ontario and in Canada East, or Quebec. The
provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were to retain their
existing provincial Governments.

There was no doubt as to whom the Governor General, Lord Monck,
should call to form the first federal Administration. Macdonald
had proved himself easily the greatest leader of men the four
provinces had produced. The entrance of two new provinces into
the union, with all the possibilities of new party groupings and
new personal alliances it involved, created a situation in which
he had no rival. His great antagonist, Brown, passed off the
parliamentary stage. When he proposed a coalition to carry
through federation, Brown had recognized that he was sacrificing
his chief political asset, the discontent of Canada West. But he
was too true a patriot to hesitate a moment on that score, and in
any case he was sufficiently confident of his own abilities to
believe that he could hold his own in a fresh field. In this
expectation he was deceived. No man among his contemporaries
surpassed him in sheer ability, in fearless honesty, in vigor of
debate, but he lacked Macdonald's genial and supple art of
managing men. And with broad questions of state policy for the
moment out of the way, it was capacity in managing men that was
to count in determining success. Never afterward did Brown take
an active part in parliamentary life, though still a power in the
land through his newspaper, the Toronto "Globe", which was
regarded as the Scotch Presbyterian's second Bible. Of the other
leaders of old Canada, Cartier with failing health was losing his
vigor and losing also the prestige with his party which his solid
Canada East majority had given him; Galt soon retired to private
business, with occasional incursions into diplomacy; and McGee
fell a victim in 1868 to a Fenian assassin. From the Maritime
Provinces the ablest recruit was Tupper, the most dogged fighter
in Canadian parliamentary annals and a lifelong sworn ally of

It was at first uncertain what the grouping of parties would be.
Macdonald naturally wished to retain the coalition which assured
him unquestioned mastery, and the popular desire to give
Confederation a good start also favored such a course. In his
first Cabinet, formed with infinite difficulty, with provinces,
parties, religions, races, all to consider in filling a limited
number of posts, Macdonald included six Liberal ministers out of
thirteen, three from Ontario, and three from the Maritime
Provinces. Yet if an Opposition had not existed, it would have
been necessary to create one in order to work the parliamentary
machine. The attempt to keep the coalition together did not long
succeed. On the eve of the first federal election the Ontario
Reformers in convention decided to oppose the Government, even
though it contained three of their former leaders. In the
contest, held in August and September, 1867, Macdonald triumphed
in every province except Nova Scotia but faced a growing
Opposition party. Under the virtual leadership of Alexander
Mackenzie, fragments of parties from the four provinces were
united into a single Liberal group. In a few years the majority
of the Liberal rank and file were back in the fold, and the
Liberal members in the Cabinet had become frankly Conservative.
Coalition had faded away.

Within six years after Confederation the whole northern half of
the continent had been absorbed by Canada. The four original
provinces comprised only one-tenth of the area of the present
Dominion, some 377,000 square miles as against 3,730,000 today.
The most easterly of the provinces, little Prince Edward Island,
had drawn back in 1865, content in isolation. Eight years later
this province entered the fold. Hard times and a glimpse of the
financial strength of the new federation had wrought a change of
heart. The solution of the century-old problem of the island,
absentee landlordism, threatened to strain the finances of the
province; and men began to look to Ottawa for relief. A railway
crisis turned their thoughts in the same direction. The
provincial authorities had recently arranged for the building of
a narrow-gauge road from one end of the island to the other. It
was agreed that the contractors should be paid 5000 pounds a mile
in provincial debentures, but without any stipulation as to the
total length, so that the builders caused the railway to meander
and zigzag freely in search of lower grades or long paying
stretches. In 1873, which was everywhere a year of black
depression, it was found that these debentures, which were
pledged by the contractors to a local bank for advances, could
not be sold except at a heavy loss. The directors of the bank
were influential in the Government of the province. It was not
surprising, therefore, that the government soon opened
negotiations with Ottawa. The Dominion authorities offered
generous terms, financing the land purchase scheme, and taking
over the railway. Some of the islanders made bitter charges, but
the Legislature confirmed the agreement, and on July 1, 1873,
Prince Edward Island entered Confederation.

While Prince Edward Island was deciding to come in, Nova Scotia
was straining every nerve to get out. There was no question that
Nova Scotia had been brought into the union against its will. The
provincial Legislature in 1866, it is true, backed Tupper. But
the people backed Howe, who thereupon went to London to protest
against the inclusion of Nova Scotia without consulting the
electors, but he was not heeded. The passing of the Act only
redoubled the agitation. In the provincial election of 1867, the
anti-Confederates carried thirty-six out of thirty-eight seats.
In the federal election Tupper was the only union candidate
returned in nineteen seats contested. A second delegation was
sent to London to demand repeal. Tupper crossed the ocean to
counter this effort and was successful. Then he sought out Howe,
urged that further agitation was useless and could only bring
anarchy or, what both counted worse, a movement for annexation to
the United States, and pressed him to use his influence to allay
the storm. Howe gave way; unfortunately for his own fame, he went
further and accepted a seat in the federal Cabinet. Many of his
old followers kept up the fight, but others decided to make a
bargain with necessity. Macdonald agreed to give the province
"better terms," and the Dominion assumed a larger part of its
debt. The bitterness aroused by Tupper's high-handed procedure
lingered for many a day; but before the first Parliament was
over, repeal had ceased to be a practical issue.

Union could never be real so long as leagues of barren, unbroken
wilderness separated the maritime from the central provinces.
Free intercourse, ties of trade, knowledge which would sweep away
prejudice, could not come until a railway had spanned this
wilderness. In the fifties plans had been made for a main trunk
line to run from Halifax to the Detroit River. This ambitious
scheme proved too great for the resources of the separate
provinces, but sections of the road were built in each province.
As a condition of Confederation, the Dominion Government
undertook to fill in the long gaps. Surveys were begun
immediately; and by 1876, under the direction of Sandford
Fleming, an engineer of eminence, the Intercolonial Railway was
completed. It never succeeded in making ends meet financially,
but it did make ends meet politically. In great measure it
achieved the purpose of national solidification for which it was
mainly designed.

Meanwhile the bounds of the Dominion were being pushed westward
to the Pacific. The old province of Canada, as the heir of New
France, had vague claims to the western plains, but the Hudson's
Bay Company was in possession. The Dominion decided to buy out
its rights and agreed, in 1869, to pay the Company 300,000 pounds
for the transfer of its lands and exclusive privileges, the
Company to retain its trading posts and two sections in every
township. So far all went well. But the Canadian Government, new
to the tasks of empire and not as efficient in administration as
it should have been, overlooked the necessity of consulting the
wishes and the prejudices of the men on the spot. It was not
merely land and buffalo herds which were being transferred but
also sovereignty over a people.

In the valley of the Red River there were some twelve thousand
metis, or half-breeds, descendants of Indian mothers and French
or Scottish fathers. The Dominion authorities intended to give
them a large share in their own government but neglected to
arrange for a formal conference. The metis were left to gather
their impression of the character and intentions of the new
rulers from indiscreet and sometimes overbearing surveyors and
land seekers. In 1869, under the leadership of Louis Riel, the
one man of education in the settlement, able but vain and
unbalanced, and with the Hudson's Bay officials looking on
unconcerned, the metis decided to oppose being made "the colony
of a colony." The Governor sent out from Ottawa was refused
entrance, and a provisional Government under Riel assumed
control. The Ottawa authorities first tried persuasion and sent a
commission of three, Donald A. Smith (afterwards Lord
Strathcona), Colonel de Salaberry, and Vicar General Thibault.
Smith was gradually restoring unity and order, when the act of
Riel in shooting Thomas Scott, an Ontario settler and a member of
the powerful Orange order, set passions flaring. Mgr. Tache, the
Catholic bishop of the diocese, on his return aided in quieting
the metis. Delegates were sent by the Provisional Government to
Ottawa, and, though not officially recognized, they influenced
the terms of settlement. An expedition under Colonel Wolseley
marched through the wilderness north of Lake Superior only to
find that Riel and his lieutenants had fled. By the Manitoba Act
the Red River country was admitted to Confederation as a
self-governing province, under the name of Manitoba, while the
country west to the Rockies was given territorial status. The
Indian tribes were handled with tact and justice, but though for
the time the danger of armed resistance had passed, the embers of
discontent were not wholly quenched.

The extension of Canadian sovereignty beyond the Rockies came
about in quieter fashion. After Mackenzie had shown the way,
Simon Fraser and David Thompson and other agents of the NorthWest
Company took up the work of exploration and fur trading. With the
union of the two rival companies in 1821, the Hudson's Bay
Company became the sole authority on the Pacific coast. Settlers
straggled in slowly until, in the late fifties, the discovery of
rich placer gold on the Fraser and later in the Cariboo brought
tens of thousands of miners from Australia and California, only
to drift away again almost as quickly when the sands began to

Local governments had been established both in Vancouver Island
and on the mainland. They were joined in a single province in
1866. One of the first acts of the new Legislature was to seek
consolidation with the Dominion. Inspired by an enthusiastic
Englishman, Alfred Waddington, who had dreamed for years of a
transcontinental railway, the province stipulated that within ten
years Canada should complete a road from the Pacific to a
junction with the railways of the East. These terms were
considered presumptuous on the part of a little settlement of ten
or fifteen thousand whites; but Macdonald had faith in the
resources of Canada and in what the morrow would bring forth. The
bargain was made; and British Columbia entered the Confederation
on July 1, 1871.

East and West were now staked out. Only the Far North remained
outside the bounds of the Dominion and this was soon acquired. In
1879 the British Government transferred to Canada all its rights
and claims over the islands in the Arctic Archipelago and all
other British territory in North America save Newfoundland and
its strip of Labrador. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from
the forty-ninth parallel to the North Pole, now all was Canadian

Confederation brought new powers and new responsibilities and
thrust Canada into the field of foreign affairs. It was with slow
and groping steps that the Dominion advanced along this new path.
Then--as now--for Canada foreign relations meant first and
foremost relations with her great neighbor to the south. The
likelihood of war had passed. The need for closer trade relations
remained. When the Reciprocity Treaty was brought to an end, on
March 17, 1866, Canada at first refrained from raising her tariff
walls. "The provinces," as George Brown declared in 1874,
"assumed that there were matters existing in 1865-66 to trouble
the spirit of American statesmen for the moment, and they waited
patiently for the sober second thought which was very long in
coming, but in the meantime Canada played a good neighbor's part,
and incidentally served her own ends, by continuing to grant the
United States most of the privileges which had been given under
the treaty free navigation and free goods, and, subject to a
license fee, access to the fisheries."

It was over these fisheries that friction first developed.*
Canadian statesmen were determined to prevent poaching on the
inshore fisheries, both because poaching was poaching and because
they considered the fishery privileges the best makeweight in
trade negotiations with the United States. At first American
vessels were admitted on payment of a license fee; but when, on
the increase of the fee, many vessels tried to fish inshore
without permission, the license system was abolished, and in 1870
a fleet of revenue cruisers began to police the coast waters.
American fishermen chafed at exclusion from waters they had come
to consider almost their own, and there were many cases of
seizure and of angry charge and countercharge. President Grant,
in his message to Congress in 1870, denounced the policy of the
Canadian authorities as arbitrary and provocative. Other issues
between the two countries were outstanding as well. Canada had a
claim against the United States for not preventing the Fenian
Raids of 1866; and the United States had a much bigger bill
against Great Britain for neglect in permitting the escape of the
Alabama. Some settlement of these disputed matters was necessary;
and it was largely through the activities of a Canadian banker
and politician, Sir John Rose, that an agreement was reached to
submit all the issues to a joint commission.

* See "The Path of Empire".

Macdonald was offered and accepted with misgivings a post as one
of the five British Commissioners. He pressed the traditional
Canadian policy of offering fishery for trade privileges but
found no backing in this or other matters from his British
colleagues, and he met only unyielding opposition from the
American Commissioners. He fell back, under protest, on a
settlement of narrower scope, which permitted reciprocity in
navigation and bonding privileges, free admission of Canadian and
Newfoundland fish to United States markets and of American
fishermen to Canadian and Newfoundland waters, and which provided
for a subsidiary commission to fix the amount to be paid by the
United States for the surplus advantage thus received. The Fenian
Raids claims were not even considered, and Macdonald was angered
by this indifference on the part of his British colleagues. "They
seem to have only one thing in their minds, " he reported
privately to Ottawa, "that is, to go home to England with a
treaty in their pocket, settling everything, no matter at what
cost to Canada." Yet when the time came for the Canadian
Parliament to decide whether to ratify the fishery clauses of the
Treaty of Washington in which the conclusions of the commission
were embodied, Macdonald, in spite of the unpopularity of the
bargain in Canada, "urged Parliament" to accept the treaty,
accept it with all its imperfections, to accept it for the sake
of peace and for the sake of the great Empire of which we form a
part." The treaty was ratified in 1871 by all the powers
concerned; and the stimulus to the peaceful settlement of
international disputes given by the Geneva Tribunal which
followed* justified the subordination of Canada's specific

* See "The Path of Empire"

A change in party now followed in Canada, but the new Government
under Alexander Mackenzie "was as fully committed as the
Government of Sir John Macdonald to the policy of bartering
fishery for trade advantage. Canada therefore proposed that
instead of carrying out the provisions for a money settlement,
the whole question should be reopened. The Administration at
Washington was sympathetic. George Brown was appointed along with
the British Ambassador, Sir Edward Thornton, to open
negotiations. Under Brown's energetic leadership a settlement of
all outstanding issues was drafted in 1874, which permitted
freedom of trade in natural and in most manufactured products for
twenty-one years, and settled fishery, coasting trade,
navigation, and minor boundary issues. But diplomats proposed,
and the United States Senate disposed. Protectionist feeling was
strong at Washington, and the currency problem absorbing, and
hence this broad and statesmanlike essay in neighborliness could
not secure an hour's attention. This plan having failed, the
Canadian Government fell back on the letter of the treaty. A
Commission which consisted of the Honorable E. H. Kellogg
representing the United States, Sir Alexander T. Galt
representing Canada, and the Belgian Minister to Washington, M.
Delfosse, as chairman, awarded Canada and Newfoundland $5,500,000
as the excess value of the fisheries for the ten years the
arrangement was to run. The award was denounced in the United
States as absurdly excessive; but a sense of honor and the
knowledge that millions of dollars from the Alabama award were
still in the Treasury moved the Senate finally to acquiesce,
though only for the ten-year term fixed by treaty. In Canada the
award was received with delight as a signal proof that when left
to themselves Canadians could hold their own. The prevailing view
was well summed up in a letter from Mackenzie to the Canadian
representative on the Halifax commission, written shortly before
the decision: "I am glad you still have hopes of a fair verdict.
I am doubly anxious to have it, first, because we are entitled to
it and need the dollars, and, second, because it will be the
first Canadian diplomatic triumph, and will justify me in
insisting that we know our neighbors and our own business better
than any Englishmen."

Mackenzie's insistence that Canada must take a larger share in
the control of her foreign affairs was too advanced a stand for
many of his more conservative countrymen. For others, he did not
go far enough. The early seventies saw the rise of a short-lived
movement in favor of Canadian independence. To many independence
from England seemed the logical sequel to Confederation; and the
rapid expansion of Canadian territory over half a continent
stimulated national pride and national self-consciousness Opinion
in England regarding Canadian independence was still more
outspoken. There imperialism was at its lowest ebb. With scarcely
an exception, English politicians, from Bright to Disraeli, were
hostile or indifferent to connection with the colonies, which had
now ceased to be a trade asset and had clearly become a military

But no concrete problem arose to make the matter a political
issue. In England a growing uneasiness over the protectionist
policies and the colonial ambitions of her European rivals were
soon to revive imperial sentiment. In Canada the ties of
affection for the old land, as well as the inertia fostered by
long years of colonial dependence, kept the independence movement
from spreading far. For the time the rising national spirit found
expression in economic rather than political channels. The
protectionist movement which a few years later swept all Canada
before it owed much of its strength to its claim to be the
national policy.

But it was not imperial or foreign relations that dominated
public interest in the seventies. Domestic politics were
intensely absorbing and bitterly contested. Within five years
there came about two sudden and sweeping reversals of power.
Parties and Cabinets which had seemed firmly entrenched were
dramatically overthrown by sudden changes in the personal factors
and in the issues of the day. In the summer of 1872 the second
general election for the Dominion was held. The Opposition had
now gained in strength. The Government had ceased to be in any
real sense a coalition, and most of the old Liberal rank and file
were back in the party camp. They had found a vigorous leader in
Alexander Mackenzie.

Mackenzie had come to Canada from Scotland in 1842 as a lad of
twenty. He worked at his trade as a stonemason, educated himself
by wide reading and constant debating, became a successful
contractor and, after Confederation, had proved himself one of
the most aggressive and uncompromising champions of Upper Canada
Liberalism. In the first Dominion Parliament he tacitly came to
be regarded as the leader of all the groups opposed to the
Macdonald Administration. He was at the same time active in the
Ontario Legislature since, for the first five years of
Confederation, no law forbade membership in both federal and
provincial Parliaments, and the short sessions of that blessed
time made such double service feasible. Here he was aided by two
other men of outstanding ability, Edward Blake and Oliver Mowat.
Blake, the son of a well-to-do Irishman who had been active in
the fight for responsible government, became Premier of Ontario
in 1871 but retired in 1872 when a law abolishing dual
representation made it necessary for him to choose between
Toronto and Ottawa. His place was taken by Mowat, who for a
quarter of a century gave the province thrifty, honest, and
conservatively progressive government.

In spite of the growing forces opposed to him Macdonald triumphed
once more in the election of 1872. Ontario fell away, but Quebec
and the Maritime Provinces stood true. A Conservative majority of
thirty or forty seemed to assure Macdonald another five-year
lease of power. Yet within a year the Pacific Scandal had driven
him from office and overwhelmed him in disgrace.

The Pacific Scandal occurred in connection with the financing of
the railway which the Dominion Government had promised British
Columbia, when that province entered Confederation in 1871, would
be built through to the Pacific coast within ten years. The
bargain was good politics but poor business. It was a rash
undertaking for a people of three and a half millions, with a
national revenue of less than twenty million dollars, to pledge
itself to build a railway through the rocky wilderness north of
Lake Superior, through the trackless plains and prairies of the
middle west, and across the mountain ranges that barred the
coast. Yet Macdonald had sufficient faith in the country, in
himself, and in the happy accidents of time--a confidence that
won him the nickname of "Old Tomorrow"--to give the pledge. Then
came the question of ways and means. At first the Government
planned to build the road. On second thoughts, however, it
decided to follow the example set by the United States in the
construction of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, and to
entrust the work to a private company liberally subsidized with
land and cash. Two companies were organized with a view to
securing the contract, one a Montreal company under Sir Hugh
Allan, the foremost Canadian man of business and the head of the
Allan steamship fleet, and the other a Toronto company under D.
L. Macpherson, who had been concerned in the building of the
Grand Trunk. Their rivalry was intense. After the election of
1872 a strong compromise company was formed, with Allan at the
head, and to this company the contract was awarded.

When Parliament met in 1872, a Liberal member, L. S. Huntington,
made the charge that Allan had really been acting on behalf of
certain American capitalists and that he had made lavish
contributions to the Government campaign fund in the recent
election. In the course of the summer these charges were fully
substantiated. Allan was proved by his own correspondence, stolen
from his solicitor's office, to have spent over $350,000, largely
advanced by his American allies, in buying the favor of
newspapers and politicians. Nearly half of this amount had been
contributed to the Conservative campaign fund, with the knowledge
and at the instance of Cartier and Macdonald. Macdonald, while
unable to disprove the charges, urged that there was no
connection between the contributions and the granting of the
charter. But his defense was not heeded. A wave of indignation
swept the country; his own supporters in Parliament fell away;
and in November, 1873, he resigned. Mackenzie, who was summoned
to form a new Ministry, dissolved Parliament and was sustained by
a majority of two to one.

Mackenzie gave the country honest and efficient administration.
Among his most important achievements were the reform of
elections by the introduction of the secret ballot and the
requirement that elections should be held on a single day instead
of being spread over weeks, a measure of local option in
controlling the liquor traffic, and the establishment of a
Canadian Supreme Court and the Royal Military College--the
Canadian West Point. But fate and his own limitations were
against him. He was too absorbed in the details of administration
to have time for the work of a party leader. In his policy of
constructing the Canadian Pacific as a government road, after
Allan had resigned his charter, he manifested a caution and a
slowness that brought British Columbia to the verge of secession.
But it was chiefly the world-wide depression that began in his
first year of office, 1873, which proved his undoing. Trade was
stagnant, bankruptcies multiplied, and acute suffering occurred
among the poor in the larger cities. Mackenzie had no solution to
offer except patience and economy; and the Opposition were freer
to frame an enticing policy. The country was turning toward a
high tariff as the solution of its ills. Protection had not
hitherto been a party issue in Canada, and it was still uncertain
which party would take it up. Finally Mackenzie, who was an
ardent free trader, and the Nova Scotia wing of his party
triumphed over the protectionists in their own ranks and made a
low tariff the party platform. Macdonald, who had been prepared
to take up free trade if Mackenzie adopted protection, now boldly
urged the high tariff panacea. The promise of work and wages for
all, the appeal to national spirit made by the arguments of
self-sufficiency and fully rounded development, the desire to
retaliate against the United States, which was still deaf to any
plea for more liberal trade relations, swept the country. The
Conservative minority of over sixty was converted into a still
greater majority in the general election of 1878, and the leader
whom all men five years before had considered doomed, returned to
power, never to lose it while life lasted.

The first task of the new Government, in which Tupper was
Macdonald's chief supporter, was to carry out its high tariff
pledges. "Tell us how much protection you want, gentlemen," said
Macdonald to a group of Ontario manufacturers, "and we'll give
you what you need." In the new tariff needs were rated almost as
high as wants. Particularly on textiles, sugar, and iron and
steel products, duties were raised far beyond the old levels and
stimulated investment just as the world-wide depression which had
lasted since 1873 passed away. Canada shared in the recovery and
gave the credit to the well-advertised political patent medicine
taken just before the turn for the better came. For years the
National Policy or "N.P.," as its supporters termed it, had all
the vogue of a popular tonic.

The next task of the Government was to carry through in earnest
the building of the railway to the Pacific. For over a year
Macdonald persisted in Mackenzie's policy of government
construction but with the same slow and unsatisfactory results.
Then an opportunity came to enlist the services of a private
syndicate. Four Canadians, Donald A. Smith, a former Hudson's Bay
Company factor, George Stephen, a leading merchant and banker of
Montreal, James J. Hill and Norman W. Kittson, owners of a small
line of boats on the Red River, had joined forces to revive a
bankrupt Minnesota railway.* They had succeeded beyond all
parallel, and the reconstructed road, which later developed into
the Great Northern, made them all rich overnight. This success
whetted their appetite for further western railway building and
further millions of rich western acres in subsidies. They met
Macdonald and Tupper half way. By the bargain completed in 1881
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company undertook to build and
operate the road from the Ottawa Valley to the Pacific coast, in
return for the gift of the completed portions of the road (on
which the Government spent over $37,000,000), a subsidy of
$25,000,000 in cash, 25,000,000 selected acres of prairie land,
exemption from taxes, exemption from regulation of rates until
ten per cent was earned, and a promise on the part of the
Dominion to charter no western lines connecting with the United
States for twenty years. The terms were lavish and were fiercely
denounced by the Opposition, now under the leadership of Edward
Blake. But the people were too eager for railway expansion to
criticize the terms. The Government was returned to power in 1882
and the contract held.

* See "The Railroad Builders", by John Moody (in "The Chronicles
of America").

The new company was rich in potential resources but weak in
available cash. Neither in New York nor in London could purse
strings be loosened for the purpose of building a road through
what the world considered a barren and Arctic wilderness. But in
the faith and vision of the president, George Stephen, and the
ruthless energy of the general manager, William Van Horne,
American born and trained, the Canadian Pacific had priceless
assets. Aided in critical times by further government loans, they
carried the project through, and by 1886, five years before the
time fixed by their contract, trains were running from Montreal
to Port Moody, opposite Vancouver.

A sudden burst of prosperity followed the building of the road.
Settlers poured into the West by tens of thousands, eastern
investors promoted colonization companies, land values soared,
and speculation gave a fillip to every line of trade. The middle
eighties were years of achievement, of prosperity, and of
confident hope. Then prosperity fled as quickly as it had come.
The West failed to hold its settlers. Farm and factory found
neither markets nor profits. The country was bled white by
emigration. Parliamentary contest and racial feud threatened the
hard-won unity. Canada was passing through its darkest hours.

During this period, political friction was incessant. Canada was
striving to solve in the eighties the difficult question which
besets all federations--the limits between federal and provincial
power. Ontario was the chief champion of provincial rights. The
struggle was intensified by the fact that a Liberal Government
reigned at Toronto and a Conservative Government at Ottawa, as
well as by the keen personal rivalry between Mowat and Macdonald.
In nearly every constitutional duel Mowat triumphed. The accepted
range of the legislative power of the provinces was widened by
the decisions of the courts, particularly of the highest court of
appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England.
The successful resistance of Ontario and Manitoba to Macdonald's
attempt to disallow provincial laws proved this power, though
conferred by the Constitution, to be an unwieldy weapon. By the
middle nineties the veto had been virtually abandoned.

More serious than these political differences was the racial feud
that followed the second Riel Rebellion. For a second time the
Canadian Government failed to show the foresight and the sympathy
required in dealing with an isolated and backward people. The
valley of the Saskatchewan, far northwest of the Red River, was
the scene of the new difficulty. Here thousands of metis, or
French half-breeds, had settled. The passing of the buffalo,
which had been their chief subsistence, and the arrival of
settlers from the East caused them intense alarm. They pressed
the Government for certain grants of land and for the retention
of the old French custom of surveying the land along the river
front in deep narrow strips, rather than according to the
chessboard pattern taken over by Canada from the United States.
Red tape, indifference, procrastination, rather than any illwill,
delayed the redress of the grievances of the half-breeds. In
despair they called Louis Riel back from his exile in Montana.
With his arrival the agitation acquired a new and dangerous
force. Claiming to be the prophet of a new religion, he put
himself at the head of his people and, in the spring of 1885,
raised the flag of revolt. His military adviser, Gabriel Dumont,
an old buffalo hunter, was a natural-born general, and the
half-breeds were good shots and brave fighters. An expedition of
Canadian volunteers was rushed west, and the rebellion was put
down quickly, but not without some hard fighting and gallant
strokes and counterstrokes.

The racial passions roused by this conflict, however, did not
pass so quickly. The fate to be meted out to Riel was the burning
question. Ontario saw in him the murderer of Scott and an
ambitious plotter who had twice stirred up armed rebellion.
Quebec saw in him a man of French blood, persecuted because he
had stood up manfully for the undoubted rights of his kinsmen.
Today experts agree that Riel was insane and should have been
spared the gallows on this if on no other account. But at the
moment the plea of insanity was rejected. The Government made up
for its laxity before the rebellion by severity after it; and in
November, 1885, Riel was sent to the scaffold. Bitterness rankled
in many a French-Canadian heart for long years after; and in
Ontario, where the Orange order was strongly entrenched, a
faction threatened "to smash Confederation into its original
fragments" rather than submit to "French domination."

Racial and religious passions, once aroused, soon found new fuel
to feed upon. Honore Mercier, a brilliant but unscrupulous leader
who had ridden to power in the province of Quebec on the Riel
issue, roused Protestant ire by restoring estates which had been
confiscated at the conquest in 1763 to the Jesuits and other
Roman Catholic authorities, in proportions which the act provided
were to be determined by "Our Holy Father the Pope." In Ontario
restrictions began to be imposed on the freedom of
French-Canadian communities on the border to make French the sole
or dominant tongue in the schoolroom. A little later the
controversy was echoed in Manitoba in the repeal by a determined
Protestant majority of the denominational school privileges
hitherto enjoyed by the Roman Catholic minority.

Economic discontent was widespread. It was a time of low and
falling prices. Farmers found the American market barred, the
British market flooded, the home market stagnant. The factories
stimulated by the "N. P." lacked the growing market they had
hoped for. In the West climatic conditions not yet understood,
the monopoly of the Canadian Pacific, and the competition of the
States to the south, which still had millions of acres of free
land, brought settlement to a standstill. From all parts of
Canada the "exodus" to the United States continued until by 1890
there were in that country more than one-third as many people of
Canadian birth or descent as in Canada itself.

It was not surprising that in these extremities men were prepared
to make trial of drastic remedies. Nor was it surprising that it
was beyond the borders of Canada itself that they sought the
unity and the prosperity they had not found at home. Many looked
to Washington, some for unrestricted trade, a few for political
union. Others looked to London, hoping for a revival of the old
imperial tariff preferences or for some closer political union
which would bring commercial advantages in its train.

The decade from 1885 to 1895 stands out in the record of the
relations of the English-speaking peoples as a time of constant
friction, of petty pin pricks, of bluster and retaliation. The
United States was not in a neighborly mood. The memories of 1776,
of 1812, and of 1861 had been kept green by exuberant comment in
school textbooks and by "spread-eagle" oratory. The absence of
any other rivalry concentrated American opposition on Great
Britain, and isolation from Old World interests encouraged a
provincial lack of responsibility. The sins of England in Ireland
had been kept to the fore by the agitation of Parnell and Davitt
and Dillon; and the failure of Home Rule measures, twice in this
decade, stirred Irish-American antagonism. The accession to power
of Lord Salisbury, reputed to hold the United States in contempt,
and later the foolish indiscretion of Sir Lionel Sackville-West,
British Ambassador at Washington, in intervening in a guileless
way in the presidential election of 1888, did as much to nourish
ill-will in the United States as the dominance of Blaine and
other politicians who cultivated the gentle art of twisting the
tail of the British lion.

Protection, with the attitude of economic warfare which it
involved and bred, was then at its height. Much of this hostility
was directed against Canada, as the nearest British territory.
The Dominion, on its part, while persistently seeking closer
trade relations, sometimes sought this end in unwise ways. Many
good people in Canada were still fighting the War of 1812. The
desire to use the inshore fishery privileges as a lever to force
tariff reductions led to a rigid and literal enforcement of
Canadian rights and claims which provoked widespread anger in New
England. The policy of discrimination in canal tolls in favor of
Canadian as against United States ports was none the less
irritating because it was a retort in kind. And when United
States customs officials levied a tax on the tin cans containing
fish free by treaty, Canadian officials had retaliated by taxing
the baskets containing duty-free peaches.

The most important specific issue was once more the northeastern
fisheries. As a result of notice given by the United States the
fisheries clauses of the Treaty of Washington ceased to operate
on July 1, 1885. Canada, for the sake of peace, admitted American
fishing vessels for the rest of that season, though Canadian fish
at once became dutiable. No further grace was given. The Canadian
authorities rigidly enforced the rules barring inshore fishing,
and in addition denied port privileges to deep-sea fishing
vessels and forbade American boats to enter Canadian ports for
the purpose of trans-shipping crews, purchasing bait, or shipping
fish in bond to the United States. Every time a Canadian fishery
cruiser and a Gloucester skipper had a difference of opinion as
to the exact whereabouts of the three-mile limit, the press of
both countries echoed the conflict. Congress in 1887 empowered
the President to retaliate by excluding Canadian vessels and
goods from American ports. Happily this power was not used.
Cleveland and Secretary of State Bayard were genuinely anxious to
have the issue settled. A joint commission drew up a
well-considered plan, but in the face of a presidential election
the Senate gave it short shrift. Fortunately, however, a modus
vivendi was arranged by which American vessels were admitted to
port privileges on payment of a license. Healing time, a
healthful lack of publicity, changing fishing methods, and
Canada's abandonment of her old policy of using fishing
privileges as a makeweight, gradually eased the friction.

Yet if it was not the fishing question, there was sure to be some
other issue--bonding privileges, Canadian Pacific interloping in
western rail hauls, tariff rates, or canal tolls-to disturb the
peace. Why not seek a remedy once for all, men now began to ask,
by ending the unnatural separation between the halves of the
continent which God and geography had joined and history and
perverse politicians had kept asunder?

The political union of Canada and the United States has always
found advocates. In the United States a large proportion, perhaps
a majority, of the people have until recently considered that the
absorption of Canada into the Republic was its manifest destiny,
though there has been little concerted effort to hasten fate. In
Canada such course of action has found much less backing. United
Empire Loyalist traditions, the ties with Britain constantly
renewed by immigration, the dim stirrings of national sentiment,
resentment against the trade policy of the United States, have
all helped to turn popular sentiment into other channels. Only at
two periods, in 1849, and forty years later, has there been any
active movement for annexation.

In the late eighties, as in the late forties, commercial
depression and racial strife prepared the soil for the seed of
annexation. The chief sower in the later period was a brilliant
Oxford don, Goldwin Smith, whose sympathy with the cause of the
North had brought him to the United States. In 1871, after a
brief residence at Cornell, he made his home in Toronto, with
high hopes of stimulating the intellectual life and molding the
political future of the colony. He so far forsook the strait
"Manchester School" of his upbringing as to support Macdonald's
campaign for protection in 1878. But that was the limit of his
adaptability. To the end he remained out of touch with Canadian
feeling. His campaign for annexation, or for the reunion of the
English-speaking peoples on this continent, as he preferred to
call it, was able and persistent but moved only a narrow circle
of readers. It was in vain that he offered the example of
Scotland's prosperity after her union with her southern neighbor,
or insisted that Canada was cut into four distinct and unrelated
sections each of which could find its natural complement only in
the territory to the south. Here and there an editor or a minor
politician lent some support to his views, but the great mass of
the people strongly condemned the movement. There was to be no
going back to the parting of the ways: the continent north of
Mexico was henceforth to witness two experiments in democracy,
not one unwieldy venture.

Commercial union was a half-way measure which found more favor. A
North American customs union had been supported by such public
men as Stephen A. Douglas, Horace Greeley, and William H. Seward,
by official investigators such as Taylor, Derby, and Larned, and
by committees of the House of Representatives in 1862, 1876,
1880, and 1884. In Canada it had been endorsed before
Confederation by Isaac Buchanan, the father of the protection
movement, and by Luther Holton and John Young. Now for the first
time it became a practical question. Erastus Wiman, a Canadian
who had found fortune in the United States, began in 1887 a
vigorous campaign in its favor both in Congress and among the
Canadian public. Goldwin Smith lent his dubious aid, leading
Toronto and Montreal newspapers joined the movement, and Ontario
farmers' organizations swung to its support. But the agitation
proved abortive owing to the triumph of high protection in the
presidential election of 1888; and in Canada the red herring of
the Jesuits' Estates controversy was drawn across the trail.

Yet the question would not down. The political parties were
compelled to define their attitude. The Liberals had been
defeated once more in the election of 1887, where the continuance
of the National Policy and of aid to the Canadian Pacific had
been the issue. Their leader, Edward Blake, had retired
disheartened. His place had been taken by a young Quebec
lieutenant, Wilfrid Laurier, who had won fame by his courageous
resistance to clerical aggression in his own province and by his
indictment of the Macdonald Government in the Riel issue. A
veteran Ontario Liberal, Sir Richard Cartwright, urged the
adoption of commercial union as the party policy. Laurier would
not go so far, and the policy of unrestricted reciprocity was
made the official programme in 1888. Commercial union had
involved not only absolute free trade between Canada and the
United States but common excise rates, a common tariff against
the rest of the world, and the division of customs and excise
revenues in some agreed proportion. Unrestricted reciprocity
would mean free trade between the two countries, but with each
left free to levy what rates it pleased on the products of other

When in 1891 the time came round once more for a general
election, it was apparent that reciprocity in some form would be
the dominant issue. Though the Republicans were in power in the
United States and though they had more than fulfilled their high
tariff pledges in the McKinley Act, which hit Canadian farm
products particularly hard, there was some chance of terms being
made. Reciprocity, as a form of tariff bargaining, really fits in
better with protection than with free trade, and Blaine,
Harrison's Secretary of State, was committed to a policy of trade
treaties and trade bargaining. In Canada the demand for the
United States market had grown with increasing depression. The
Liberals, with their policy of unrestricted reciprocity, seemed
destined to reap the advantage of this rising tide of feeling.
Then suddenly, on the eve of the election, Sir John Macdonald
sought to cut the ground from under the feet of his opponents by
the announcement that in the course of a discussion of
Newfoundland matters the United States had taken the initiative
in suggesting to Canada a settlement of all outstanding
difficulties, fisheries, coasting trade, and , on the basis of a
renewal and extension of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. This
policy promised to meet all legitimate economic needs of the
country and at the same time avoid the political dangers of the
more sweeping policy. Its force was somewhat weakened by the
denials of Secretary Blaine that he had taken the initiative or
made any definite promises. As the election drew near and
revelations of the annexationist aims of some supporters of the
wider trade policy were made, the Government made the loyalty cry
its strong card. "The old man, the old flag, and the old policy,"
saved the day. In Ontario and Quebec the two parties were evenly
divided, but the West and the Maritime Provinces, the "shreds and
patches of Confederation," as Sir Richard Cartwright, too ironic
and vitriolic in his speech for political success, termed them,
gave the Government a working majority, which was increased in

Again in power, the Government made a formal attempt to carry out
its pledges. Two pilgrimages were made to Washington, but the
negotiators were too far apart to come to terms. With the triumph
of the Democrats in 1899. and the lowering of the tariff on farm
products which followed, there came a temporary improvement in
trade relations. But the tariff reaction and the silver issue
brought back the Republicans and led to that climax in
agricultural protection, the Dingley Act of 1897, which killed
among Canadians all reciprocity longings and compelled them to
look to themselves for salvation. Although Canadians were anxious
for trade relations, they were not willing to be bludgeoned into
accepting one-sided terms. The settlement of the Bering Sea
dispute in 1898 by a board of arbitration, which ruled against
the claims of the United States but suggested a restriction of
pelagic sealing by agreement, removed one source of friction.
Hardly was that out of the way when Cleveland's Venezuela message
brought Great Britain and the United States once more to the
verge of war. In such a war Canadians knew they would be the
chief sufferers, but in 1895, as in 1862, they did not flinch and
stood ready to support the mother country in any outcome. The
Venezuela episode stirred Canadian feeling deeply, revived
interest in imperialism, and ended the last lingering remnants of
any sentiment for annexation. As King Edward I was termed "the
hammer of the Scots," so McKinley and Cleveland became "the
hammer of the Canadians," welding them into unity.

While most Canadians were ceasing to look to Washington for
relief, an increasing number were looking once more to London.
The revival of imperial sentiment which began in the early
eighties, seemed to promise new and greater possibilities for the
colonies overseas. Political union in the form of imperial
federation and commercial union through reciprocal tariff
preferences were urged in turn as the cure for all Canada's ills.
Neither solution was adopted. The movement greatly influenced the
actual trend of affairs, but there was to be no mere turning back
to the days of the old empire.

The period of laissez faire in imperial matters, of Little
Englandism, drew to a close in the early eighties. Once more men
began to value empire, to seek to annex new territory overseas,
and to bind closer the existing possessions. The world was
passing through a reaction destined to lead to the earth-shaking
catastrophe of 1914. The ideals of peace and free trade preached
and to some degree practiced in the fifties and sixties were
passing under an eclipse. In Europe the swing to free trade had
halted, and nation after nation was becoming aggressively
protectionist. The triumph of Prussia in the War of 1870 revived
and intensified military rivalry and military preparations on the
part of all the powers of Europe. A new scramble for colonies and
possessions overseas began, with the late comers nervously eager
to make up for time lost. In this reaction Britain shared.
Protection raised its head again in England; only by tariffs and
tariff bargaining, the Fair Traders insisted, could the country
hold its own. Odds and ends of territory overseas were annexed
and a new value was attached to the existing colonies. The
possibility of obtaining from them military support and trade
privileges, the desirability of returning to the old ideal of a
self-contained and centralized empire, appealed now to
influential groups. This goal might be attained by different
paths. From the United Kingdom came the policy of imperial
federation and from the colonies the policy of preferential trade
as means to this end.

In 1884 the Imperial Federation League was organized in London
with important men of both parties in its ranks. It urged the
setting up in London of a new Parliament, in which the United
Kingdom and all the colonies where white men predominated would
be represented according to population. This Parliament would
have power to frame policies, to make laws, and to levy taxes for
the whole Empire. To the colonist it offered an opportunity to
share in the control of foreign affairs; to the Englishman it
offered the support of colonies fast growing to power and the
assurance of one harmonious policy for all the Empire. Both in
Britain and overseas the movement received wide support and
seemed for a time likely to sweep all before it. Then a halt

Imperial federation had been brought forward a generation too
late to succeed. The Empire had been developing upon lines which
could not be made to conform to the plans for centralized
parliamentary control. It was not possible to go back to the
parting of the ways. Slowly, unconsciously, unevenly, yet
steadily, the colonies had been ceasing to be dependencies and
had been becoming nations. With Canada in the vanguard they had
been taking over one power after another which had formerly been
wielded by the Government of the United Kingdom. It was not
likely that they would relinquish these powers or that
self-governing colonies would consent to be subordinated to a
Parliament in London in which each would have only a fragmentary

The policy of imperial cooperation which began to take shape
during this period sought to reconcile the existing desire for
continuing the connection with the mother country with the
growing sense of national independence. This policy involved two
different courses of action: first, the colonies must assert and
secure complete self-government on terms of equality with the
United Kingdom; second, they must unite as partners or allies in
carrying out common tasks and policies and in building up
machinery for mutual consultation and harmonious action.

It was chiefly in matters of trade and tariffs that progress was
made in the direction of self-government. Galt had asserted in
1859 Canada's right to make her own tariffs, and Macdonald twenty
years later had carried still further the policy of levying
duties upon English as well as foreign goods. That economic point
was therefore settled, but it was a slower matter to secure
control of treaty-making powers. When Galt and Huntington urged
this right in 1871 and when Blake and Mackenzie pressed it ten
years later, Macdonald opposed such a demand as equivalent to an
effort for independence. Yet he himself was compelled to change
his conservative attitude. After 1877 Canada ceased to be bound
by commercial treaties made by the United Kingdom, unless it
expressly desired to be included. In 1879 Galt was sent to Europe
to negotiate Canadian trade agreements with France and Spain; and
in the next decade Tupper carried negotiations with France to a
successful conclusion, though the treaty was formally concluded
between France and Britain. By 1891 the Canadian Parliament could
assert with truth that "the self-governing colonies are
recognized as possessing the right to define their respective
fiscal relations to all countries." But Canada as yet took no
step toward assuming a share in her own naval defense, though the
Australasian colonies made a beginning, along colonial rather
than national lines, by making a money contribution to the
British navy.

The second task confronting the policy of imperial cooperation
was a harder one. For a partnership between colony and mother
country there were no precedents. Centralized empires there had
been; colonies there had been which had grown into independent
states; but there was no instance of an empire ceasing to be an
empire, of colonies becoming self-governing states and then
turning to closer and cooperative union with one another and with
the mother country.

Along this unblazed trail two important advances were made. The
initiative in the first came from Canada. In 1880 a High
Commissioner was appointed to represent Canada in London. The
appointment of Sir Alexander Galt and the policy which it
involved were significant. The Governor-General had ceased to be
a real power; he was becoming the representative not of the
British Government but of the King; and, like the King, he
governed by the advice of the responsible ministers in the land
where he resided. His place as the link between the Government of
Canada and the Government of Britain was now taken in part by the
High Commissioner. The relationship of Canada to the United
Kingdom was becoming one of equality not of subordination.

The initiative in the second step came from Britain, though
Canada's leaders gave the movement its final direction. Imperial
federationists urged Lord Salisbury to summon a conference of the
colonies to discuss the question they had at heart. Salisbury
doubted the wisdom of such a policy but agreed in 1887 to call a
conference to discuss matters of trade and defense. Every
self-governing colony sent representatives to this first Colonial
Conference; but little immediate fruit came of its sessions. In
1894 a second Conference was held at Ottawa, mainly to discuss
intercolonial preferential trade. Only a beginning had been made,
but already the Conferences were coming to be regarded as
meetings of independent governments and not, as the
federationists had hoped, the germ of a single dominating new
government. The Imperial Federation League began to realize that
it was making little progress and dissolved in 1893.

Preferential trade was the alternative path to imperial
federation. Macdonald had urged it in 1879 when he found British
resentment strong against his new tariff. Again, ten years later,
when reciprocity with the United States was finding favor in
Canada, imperialists urged the counterclaims of a policy of
imperial reciprocity, of special tariff privileges to other parts
of the Empire. The stumbling-block in the way of such a policy
was England's adherence to free trade. For the protectionist
colonies preference would mean only a reduction of an existing
tariff. For the United Kingdom, however, it would mean a complete
reversal of fiscal policy and the abandonment of free trade for
protection in order to make discrimination possible. Few
Englishmen believed such a reversal possible, though every trade
depression revived talk of "fair trade" or tariffs for bargaining
purposes. A further obstacle to preferential trade lay in the
existence of treaties with Belgium and Germany, concluded in the
sixties, assuring them all tariff privileges granted by any
British colony to Great Britain or to sister colonies. In 1892
the Liberal Opposition in Canada indicated the line upon which
action was eventually to be taken by urging a resolution in favor
of granting an immediate and unconditional preference on British
goods as a step toward freer trade and in the interest of the
Canadian consumer.

Little came of looking either to London or to Washington. Until
the middle nineties Canada remained commercially stagnant and
politically distracted. Then came a change of heart and a change
of policy. The Dominion realized at last that it must work out
its own salvation.

In March, 1891, Sir John Macdonald was returned to office for the
sixth time since Confederation, but he was not destined to enjoy
power long. The winter campaign had been too much for his
weakened constitution, and he died on June 6, 1891. No man had
been more hated by his political opponents, no man more loved by
his political followers. Today the hatred has long since died,
and the memory of Sir John Macdonald has become the common pride
of Canadians of every party, race, and creed. He had done much to
lower the level of Canadian politics; but this fault was forgiven
when men remembered his unfailing courage and confidence, his
constructive vision and fertility of resource, his deep and
unquestioned devotion to his country.

The Conservative party had with difficulty survived the last
election. Deprived of the leader who for so long had been half
its force, the party could not long delay its break-up. No one
could be found to fill Macdonald's place. The helm was taken in
turn by J. J. C. Abbott, "the confidential family lawyer of the
party," by Sir John Thompson, solid and efficient though lacking
in imagination, and by Sir Mackenzie Bowell, an Ontario veteran.
Abbott was forced to resign because of ill health; Thompson died
in office; and Bowell was forced out by a revolt within the
party. Sir Charles Tupper, then High Commissioner in London, was
summoned to take up the difficult task. But it proved too great
for even his fighting energy. The party was divided. Gross
corruption in the awarding of public contracts had been brought
to light. The farmers were demanding a lower tariff. The leader
of the Opposition was proving to have all the astuteness and the
mastery of his party which had marked Macdonald and a courage in
his convictions which promised well. Defeat seemed inevitable
unless a new issue which had invaded federal politics, the
Manitoba school question, should prove more dangerous to the
Opposition than to the forces of the Government.

The Manitoba school question was an echo of the racial and
religious strife which followed the execution of Riel and in
which the Jesuits' Estates controversy was an episode. In the
early days of the province, when it was still uncertain which
religion would be dominant among the settlers, a system of
state-aided denominational schools had been established. In 1890
the Manitoba Government swept this system away and replaced it by
a single system of non-sectarian and state-supported schools
which were practically the same as the old Protestant schools.
Any Roman Catholic who did not wish to send his children to such
a school was thus compelled to pay for the maintenance of a
parochial school as well as to pay taxes for the public schools.
A provision of the Confederation Act, inserted at the wish of the
Protestant minority in Quebec, safeguarded the educational
privileges of religious minorities. A somewhat similar clause had
been inserted in the Manitoba Act of 1870. To this protection the
Manitoba minority now appealed. The courts held that the province
had the right to pass the law but also that the Dominion
Government had the constitutional right to pass remedial
legislation restoring in some measure the privileges taken away.
The issue was thus forced into federal politics.

A curious situation then developed. The leader of the Government,
Sir Mackenzie Bowell, was a prominent Orangeman. The leader of
the Opposition, Wilfrid Laurier, was a Roman Catholic. The
Government, after a vain attempt to induce the province to amend
its measure, decided to pass a remedial act compelling it to
restore to the Roman Catholics their rights. The policy of the
Opposition leader was awaited with keen expectancy. Strong
pressure was brought upon Laurier by the Roman Catholic hierarchy
of Quebec. Most men expected a temporizing compromise. Yet the
leader of the Opposition came out strongly and flatly against the
Government's measure. He agreed that a wrong had been done but
insisted that compulsion could not right it and promised that, if
in power, he would follow the path of conciliation. At once all
the wrath of the hierarchy was unloosed upon him, and all its
influence was thrown to the support of the Government. Yet when
the Liberals blocked the Remedial Bill by obstructing debate
until the term of Parliament expired, and forced an election on
this issue in the summer of 1896, Quebec gave a big majority to
Laurier, while Manitoba stood behind the party which had tried to
coerce it. The country over, the Liberals had gained a decisive
majority. The day of new leaders and anew policy had dawned at


Wilfrid Laurier was summoned to form his first Cabinet in July,
1896. For eighteen years previous to that time the Liberals had
sat in what one of their number used to call "the cold shades of
Opposition." For half of that term Laurier had been leader of the
party, confined to the negative task of watching and criticizing
the administration of his great predecessor and of the four
premiers who followed in almost as many years. Now he was called
to constructive tasks. Fortune favored him by bringing him to
power at the very turn of the tide; but he justified fortune's
favor by so steering the ship of state as to take full advantage
of wind and current. Through four Parliaments, through fifteen
years of office, through the time of fruition of so many
long-deferred hopes, he was to guide the destinies of the nation.

Laurier began his work by calling to his Cabinet not merely the
party leaders in the federal arena but four of the outstanding
provincial Liberals--Oliver Mowat, Premier of Ontario, William S.
Fielding, Premier of Nova Scotia, Andrew G. Blair, Premier of New
Brunswick, and, a few months later, Clifford Sifton of Manitoba.
The Ministry was the strongest in individual capacity that the
Dominion had yet possessed. The prestige of the provincial
leaders, all men of long experience and tested shrewdness,
strengthened the Administration in quarters where it otherwise
would have been weak, for there had been many who doubted whether
the untried Liberal party could provide capable administrators.
There had also been many who doubted the expediency of making
Prime Minister a French-Canadian Catholic. Such doubters were
reassured by the presence of Mowat and Fielding, until the Prime
Minister himself had proved the wisdom of the choice. There were
others who admitted Laurier's personal charm and grace but
doubted whether he had the political strength to control a party
of conflicting elements and to govern a country where different
race and diverging religious and sectional interests set men at
odds. Here again time proved such fears to be groundless. Long
before Laurier's long term of office had ended, any distrust was
transformed into the charge of his opponents that he played the
dictator. His courtly manners were found not to hide weakness but
to cover strength.

The first task of the new Government was to settle the Manitoba
school question. Negotiations which were at once begun with the
provincial Government were doubtless made easier by the fact that
the same party was in power at Ottawa and at Winnipeg, but it was
not this fact alone which brought agreement. The Laurier
Government, unlike its predecessor, did not insist on the
restoration of separate schools. It accepted a compromise which
retained the single system of public schools, but which provided
religious teaching in the last half hour of school and, where
numbers warranted, a teacher of the same faith as the pupils. The
compromise was violently denounced by the Roman Catholic
hierarchy but, except in two cities, where parochial schools were
set up, it was accepted by the laity.

With this thorny question out of the way, the Government turned
to what it recognized as its greatest task, the promotion of the
country's material prosperity. For years industry had been at a
standstill. Exports and imports had ceased to expand; railway
building had halted; emigrants outnumbered immigrants. The West,
the center of so many hopes, the object of so many sacrifices,
had not proved the El Dorado so eagerly sought by fortune hunters
and home builders. There were little over two hundred thousand
white men west of the Great Lakes. Homesteads had been offered
freely; but in 1896 only eighteen hundred were taken up, and less
than a third of these by Canadians from the East. The stock of
the Canadian Pacific was selling at fifty. All but a few had
begun to lose faith in the promise of the West.

Then suddenly a change came. The failure of the West to lure
pioneers was not due to poverty of soil or lack of natural
riches: its resources were greater than the most reckless orator
had dreamed. It was merely that its time had not come and that
the men in charge of the country's affairs had not thrown enough
energy into the task of speeding the coming of that time. Now
fortune worked with Canada, not against it. The long and steady
fall of prices, and particularly of the prices of farm products,
ended; and a rapid rise began to make farming pay once more. The
good free lands of the United States had nearly all been taken
up. Canada's West was now the last great reserve of free and
fertile land. Improvements in farming methods made it possible to
cope with the peculiar problems of prairie husbandry. British
capital, moreover, no longer found so ready an outlet in the
United States, which was now financing its own development; and
it had suffered severe losses in Argentine smashes and Australian
droughts. Capital, therefore, was free to turn to Canada.

But it was not enough merely to have the resources; it was
essential to display them and to disclose their value. Canada
needed millions of men of the right stock, and fortunately there
were millions who needed Canada. The work of the Government was
to put the facts before these potential settlers. The new
Minister of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, himself a western man,
at once began an immigration campaign which has never been
equaled in any country for vigor and practical efficiency. Canada
had hitherto received few settlers direct from the Continent.
Western Europe was now prosperous, and emigrants were few. But
eastern Europe was in a ferment, and thousands were ready to
swarm to new homes overseas.

The activities of a subsidized immigration agency, the North
Atlantic Trading Company, brought great numbers of these peoples.
Foremost in numbers were the Ruthenians from Galicia. Most
distinctive were the Doukhobors or Spirit Wrestlers of Southern
Russia, about ten thousand of whom were brought to Canada at the
instance of Tolstoy and some English Quakers to escape
persecution for their refusal to undertake military service. The
religious fanaticism of the Doukhobors, particularly when it took
the form of midwinter pilgrimages in nature's garb, and the
clannishness of the Ruthenians, who settled in solid blocks, gave
rise to many problems of government and assimilation which taught
Canadians the unwisdom of inviting immigration from eastern or
southern Europe. Ruthenians and Poles, however, continued to come
down to the eve of the Great War, and nearly all settled on
western lands. Jewish Poland sent its thousands who settled in
the larger cities, until Montreal had more Jews than Jerusalem
and its Protestant schools held their Easter holidays in
Passover. Italian navvies came also by the thousands, but mainly
as birds of passage; and Greeks and men from the Balkan States
were limited in numbers. Of the three million immigrants who came
to Canada from the beginning of the century to the outbreak of
the war, some eight hundred thousand came from continental
Europe, and of these the Ruthenians, Jews, Italians, and
Scandinavians were the most numerous.

It was in the United States that Canada made the greatest efforts
to obtain settlers and that she achieved the most striking
success. Beginning in 1897 advertisements were placed in five or
six thousand American farm and weekly newspapers. Booklets were
distributed by the million. Hundreds of farmer delegates were
given free trips through the promised land. Agents were appointed
in each likely State, with sub-agents who were paid a bonus on
every actual settler. The first settlers sent back word of
limitless land to be had for a song, and of No. 1 Northern Wheat
that ran thirty or forty bushels to the acre. Soon immigration
from the States began; the trickle became a trek; the trek, a
stampede. In 1896 the immigrants from the United States to Canada
had been so few as not to be recorded; in 1897 there were 2000;
in 1899, 12,000; in the fiscal year 1902-03, 50,000; and in
1912-13, 139,000. The new immigrants proved to be the best of
settlers; nearly all were progressive farmers experienced in
western methods and possessed of capital. The countermovement
from Canada to the United States never wholly ceased, but it
slackened and was much more than offset by this northward rush.
Nothing so helped to confirm Canadian confidence in their own
land and to make the outside world share this high estimate as
this unimpeachable evidence from over a million American
newcomers who found in Canada, between 1897 and 1914, greater
opportunities than even the United States could offer. The
Ministry then carried its propaganda to Great Britain.
Newspapers, schools, exhibitions were used in ways which startled
the stolid Englishman into attention. Circumstances played into
the hands of the propagandists, who took advantage of the flow of
United States settlers into the West, the Klondike gold fields
rush, the presence of Laurier at the Jubilee festivities at
London in 1897, Canada's share in the Boer War. British
immigrants rose to 50,000 in 1903-04, to 120,000 in 1907-08, and
to 150,000 in 1912-13. From 1897 to the outbreak of the war over
1,100,000 Britishers came to Canada. Three out of four were
English, the rest mainly Scotch; the Irish, who once had come in
tens of thousands and whose descendants still formed the largest
element in the English-speaking peoples of Canada, now sent only
one man for every twelve from England. The gates of Canadian
immigration, however, were not thrown open to all comers. The
criminal, the insane and feeble-minded, the diseased, and others
likely to become public charges, were barred altogether or
allowed to remain provisionally, subject to deportation within
three years. Immigrants sent out by British charitable societies
were subjected, after 1908, to rigid inspection before leaving
England. No immigrant was admitted without sufficient money in
his purse to tide over the first few weeks, unless he were going
to farm work or responsible relatives. Asiatics were restricted
by special regulations. Steadily the bars were raised higher.

Not all the 3,000,000 who came to Canada between 1897 and 1914
remained. Many drifted across the border; many returned to their
old homes, their dreams fulfilled or shattered; yet the vast
majority remained. Never had any country so great a task of
assimilation as faced Canada, with 3,000,000 pouring into a
country of 5,000,000 in a dozen years. Fortunately the great bulk
of the newcomers were of the old stocks.

Closely linked with immigration in promoting the prosperity of
the country were the land policy and the railway policy of the
Administration. The system of granting free homesteads to
settlers was continued on an even more generous scale. The 1800
entries for homesteads in 1896 had become 40,000 ten years later.
In 1906 land equal in area to Massachusetts and Delaware was
given away; in 1908 a Wales, in 1909 five Prince Edward Islands,
and in 1910 and 1911 a Belgium, a Netherlands, and two
Montenegros passed from the state to the settler. Unfortunately
not every homesteader became an active farmer, and production,
though mounting fast, could not keep pace with speculation.

Railway building had almost ceased after the completion of the
Canadian Pacific system. Now it revived on a greater scale than
ever before. In the twenty years after 1896 the miles in
operation grew from 16,000 to nearly 40,000. Two new
transcontinentals were added, and the older roads took on a new
lease of life. At the end of this period of expansion, only the
United States, Germany, and Russia had railroad mileage exceeding
that of Canada. Much of the building was premature or duplicated
other roads. The scramble for state aid, federal and provincial,
had demoralized Canadian politics. A large part of the notes the
country rashly backed, by the policy of guaranteeing bond issues,
were in time presented for payment. Yet the railway policies of
the period were broadly justified. New country was opened to
settlers; outlets to the sea were provided; capital was obtained
in the years when it was still abundant and cheap; the whole
industry of the country was stimulated; East was bound closer to
West and depth was added to length.*

* During the Great War it became necessary for the Federal
Government to take over both the National Transcontinental,
running from Moncton in New Brunswick to Winnipeg, and the
Canadian Northern, running from ocean to ocean, and to
incorporate both, along with the Intercolonial, in the Canadian
National Railways, a system fourteen thousand miles in length.

The opening of the West brought new prosperity to every corner of
the East. Factories found growing markets; banks multiplied
branches and business; exports mounted fast and imports faster;
closer relations were formed with London and New York financial
interests; mushroom millionaires, country clubs, city slums,
suburban subdivisions, land booms, grafting aldermen, and all the
apparatus of an advanced civilization grew apace. A new
self-confidence became the dominant note alike of private
business and of public policy.

With industrial prosperity, political unity became assured.
Canada became more and more a name of which all her sons were
proud. Expansion brought men of the different provinces together.
The Maritime Provinces first felt fully at one with the rest of
Canada when Vancouver and Winnipeg rather than Boston and New
York called their sons. Even Ontario and Quebec made some advance
toward mutual understanding, though clerical leaders who sought
safety for their Church in the isolation of its people,
imperialists who drove a wedge between Canadians by emphasizing
Anglo-Saxon racial ties, and politicians of the baser sort
exploiting race prejudice for their own gain, opened rifts in a
society already seamed by differences of language and creed. In
the West unity was still harder to secure, for men of all
countries and of none poured into a land still in the shaping.
The divergent interests of the farming, free trade West and of
the manufacturing, protectionist East made for friction.
Fortunately strong ties held East and West together. Eastern
Canadians or their sons filled most of the strategic posts in
Government and business, in school and church and press in the
West. Transcontinental railways, chartered banks with branches
and interests in every province, political parties organizing
their forces from coast to coast, played their part. Much had
been accomplished; but much remained to be done. With this
background of rapid industrial development and growing national
unity, Canada's relations with the Empire, with her sister
democracy across the border, and with foreign states, took on new
importance and divided interest with the changes in her internal

From being a state wherein the mother country exercised control
and the colonies yielded obedience the Empire was rapidly being
transformed into a free and equal partnership of independent
commonwealths under one king. Out of the clash of rival theories
and conflicting interests a new ideal and a new reality had
developed. The policy of imperial cooperation--the policy whereby
each great colony became independent of outside control but
voluntarily acted in concert with the mother country and the
sister states on matters of common concern--sought to reconcile
liberty and unity, nationhood and empire, to unite what was most
practicable in the aims of the advocates of independence and the
advocates of imperial federation. The movement developed
unevenly. At the outbreak of the Great War, it was still
incomplete. The ideal was not always clearly or consciously held
in the Empire itself and was wholly ignored or misunderstood in
Europe and even in the United States. Yet in twenty years' space
it had become dominant in practice and theory and had built up a
new type of political organization, a virtual league of nations,
fruitful for the future ordering of the world.

The three fields in which this new policy was worked out were
trade, defense, and political organization. Canada had asserted
her right to control her tariff and commercial treaty relations
as she pleased. Now she used this freedom to offer, without
asking any return in kind, tariff privileges to the mother
country. In the first budget brought down by the Minister of
Finance in the Laurier Cabinet, William S. Fielding, a reduction,
by instalments, of twenty-five per cent in tariff duties was
offered to all countries with rates as low as Canada's--that is,
to the United Kingdom and possibly to the Netherlands and New
South Wales. The reduction was meant both as a fulfilment of the
Liberal party's free trade pledges and as a token of filial good
will to Britain. It was soon found that Belgium and Germany, by
virtue of their special treaty rights, would claim the same
privileges as Britain, and that all other countries with most
favored nation clauses could then demand the same rates. This
might serve the free trade aims of the Fielding tariff but would
block its imperial purpose. If this purpose was to be achieved,
these treaties must be denounced. To effect this was one of the
tasks Laurier undertook in his first visit to England in 1897.

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, celebrating the sixtieth
anniversary of her reign, was made the occasion for holding the
third Colonial Conference. It was attended by the Premiers of all
the colonies. Among them Wilfrid Laurier, or Sir Wilfrid as he
now became, stood easily preeminent. In the Jubilee festivities,
among the crowds in London streets and the gatherings in court
and council, his picturesque and courtly figure, his unmistakable
note of distinction, his silvery eloquence, and, not least, the
fact that this ruler of the greatest of England's colonies was
wholly of French blood, made him the lion of the hour. In the
Colonial Conference, presided over by Joseph Chamberlain, the new
Colonial Secretary, Laurier achieved his immediate purpose. The
British Government agreed to denounce the Belgian and German
treaties, now that the preference granted her came as a free gift
and not as part of a bargain which involved Britain's abandonment
of free trade. The other Premiers agreed to consider whether
Canada's preferential tariff policy could be followed.
Chamberlain in vain urged defense and political policies designed
to centralize power in London. He praised the action of the
Australian colonies in contributing money to the British navy but
could get no promise of similar action from the others. He urged
the need of setting up in London an imperial council, with power
somewhat more than advisory and likely "to develop into something
still greater," but for this scheme he elicited little support.
After the Conference Sir Wilfrid visited France and in ringing
speeches in Paris did much to pave the way for the good
understanding which later developed into the entente cordiale.

The glitter and parade of the Jubilee festivities soon gave way
to a sterner phase of empire. For years South Africa had been in
ferment owing to the conflicting interests of narrow, fanatical,
often corrupt Boer leaders, greedy Anglo-Jewish mining magnates,
and British statesmen-Rhodes, Milner, Chamberlain--dominated by
the imperial idea and eager for an "all-red" South Africa.
Eventually an impasse was reached over the question of the rights
and privileges of British subjects in the Transvaal Republic. On
October 9, 1899, President Kruger issued his fateful ultimatum
and war began.

What would be Canada's attitude toward this imperial problem? She
had never before taken part in an overseas war. Neither her own
safety nor the safety of the mother country was considered to be
at stake. Yet war had not been formally declared before a demand
arose among Canadians that their country should take a hand in
rescuing the victims of Boer tyranny. The Venezuela incident and
the recent Jubilee ceremonies had fanned imperialist sentiment.
The growing prosperity was increasing national pride and making
many eager to abandon the attitude of colonial dependence in
foreign affairs. The desire to emulate the United States, which
had just won more or less glory in its little war with Spain, had
its influence in some quarters. Belief in the justice of the
British cause was practically universal, thanks to the skillful
manipulation of the press by the war party in South Africa.
Leading newspapers encouraged the campaign for participation.
Parliament was not in session, and the Government hesitated to
intervene, but the swelling tide of public opinion soon warranted
immediate action. Three days after the declaration of war an
order in council was passed providing for a contingent of one
thousand men. Other infantry battalions, Mounted Rifles, and
batteries of artillery were dispatched later. Lord Strathcona,
formerly Donald Smith of the Canadian Pacific syndicate, by a
deed recalling feudal days, provided the funds to send overseas
the Strathcona Horse, roughriders from the Canadian West. In the
last years of the war the South African Constabulary drew many
recruits from Canada. All told, over seven thousand Canadians
crossed half the world to share in the struggle on the South
African veldt.

The Canadian forces held their own with any in the campaign. The
first contingent fought under Lord Roberts in the campaign for
the relief of Kimberley; and it was two charges by Canadian
troops, charges that cost heavily in killed and wounded, that
forced the surrender of General Cronje, brought to bay at
Paardeberg. One Canadian battery shared in the honor of raising
the siege of Mafeking, where Baden-Powell was besieged, and both
contingents marched with Lord Roberts from Bloemfontein to
Pretoria and fought hard and well at Doornkop and in many a
skirmish. Perhaps the politic generosity of the British leaders
and the patriotic bias of correspondents exaggerated the
importance of the share of the Canadian troops in the whole
campaign; but their courage, initiative, and endurance were
tested and proved beyond all question. Paardeberg sent a thrill
of pride and of sorrow through Canada.

The only province which stood aloof from wholehearted
participation in the war was Quebec. Many French Canadians had
been growing nervous over the persistent campaign of the
imperialists. They exhibited a certain unwillingness to take on
responsibilities, perhaps a survival of the dependence which
colonialism had bred, a dawning aspiration toward an independent
place in the world's work, and a disposition to draw tighter
racial and religious lines in order to offset the emphasis which
imperialists placed on Anglo-Saxon ties. Now their sympathies
went out to a people, like themselves an alien minority brought
under British rule, and in this attitude they were strengthened
by the almost unanimous verdict of the neutral world against
British policy. Laurier tried to steer a middle course, but the
attacks of ultra-imperialists in Ontario and of
ultra-nationalists in Quebec, led henceforward by a brilliant and
eloquent grandson of Papineau, Henri Bourassa, hampered him at
every turn. The South African War gave a new unity to
English-speaking Canada, but it widened the gap between the
French and English sections.

The part which Australia and New Zealand, like Canada, had taken
in the war gave new urgency to the question of imperial
relations. English imperialists were convinced that the time was
ripe for a great advance toward centralization, and they were
eager to crystallize in permanent institutions the imperial
sentiment called forth by the war. When, therefore, the fourth
Colonial Conference was summoned to meet in London in 1902 on the
occasion of the coronation of Edward VII, Chamberlain urged with
all his force and keenness a wide programme of centralized
action. "Very great expectations," he declared in his opening
address, "have been formed as to the results which may accrue
from our meeting." The expectations, however, were doomed to
disappointment. He and those who shared his hopes had failed to
recognize that the war had called forth a new national
consciousness in the Dominions, as the self-governing colonies
now came to be termed, even more than it had developed imperial
sentiment. In the smaller colonies, New Zealand, Natal, Cape of
Good Hope, the old attitude of colonial dependence survived in
larger measure; but in Canada and in Australia, now federated
into commonwealths, national feeling was uppermost.

Chamberlain brought forward once more his proposal for an
imperial council, to be advisory at first and later to attain
power to tax and legislate for the whole Empire, but he found no
support. Instead, the Conference itself was made a more permanent
instrument of imperial cooperation by a provision that it should
meet at least every four years. The essential difference was that
the Conference was merely a meeting of independent Governments on
an equal footing, each claiming to be as much "His Majesty's
Government" as any other, whereas the council which Chamberlain
urged in vain would have been a new Government, supreme over all
the Empire and dominated by the British representatives.
Chamberlain then suggested more centralized means of defense,
grants to the British navy, and the putting of a definite
proportion of colonial militia at the disposal of the British War
Office for overseas service. The Cape and Natal promised naval
grants; Australia and New Zealand increased their contributions
for the maintenance of a squadron in Pacific waters; but Canada
held back. The smaller colonies were sympathetic to the militia
proposal; but Canada and Australia rejected it on the grounds
that it was "objectionable in principle, as derogating from the
powers of self-government enjoyed by them, and would be
calculated to impede the general improvement in training and
organization of their defense forces." Chamberlain's additional
proposal of free trade within the Empire and of a common tariff
against all foreign countries found little support. That each
part of the Empire should control its own tariff and that it
should make what concessions it wished on British imports, either
as a part of a reciprocal bargain or as a free gift, remained a
fixed idea in the minds of the leaders of the Dominions.
Throughout the sessions it was Laurier rather than Chamberlain
who dominated the Conference.

Balked in his desire to effect political or military
centralization, Chamberlain turned anew to the possibilities of
trade alliance. His tariff reform campaign of 1903, which was a
sequel to the Colonial Conference of 1902, proposed that Great
Britain set up a tariff, incidentally to protect her own
industries and to have matter for bargaining with foreign powers,
but mainly in order to keep the colonies within her orbit by
offering them special terms. In this way the Empire would become
once more self-sufficient. The issue thus thrust upon Great
Britain and the Empire in general was primarily a contest between
free traders and protectionists, not between the supporters of
cooperation and the supporters of centralization. On this basis
the issue was fought out in Great Britain and resulted in the
overwhelming victory of free trade and the Liberal party, aided
as they were by the popular reaction against the jingoist policy
which had culminated in the war. When the fifth Conference, now
termed Imperial instead of Colonial, met in 1907, there was much
impassioned advocacy of preference and protection on the part of
Alfred Deakin of Australia and Sir L.S. Jameson of the Cape; but
the British representatives stuck to their guns and, in Winston
Churchill's phrase, the door remained "banged, barred, and
bolted" against both policies. At this conference Laurier took
the ground that, while Canada would be prepared to bargain
preference for preference, the people of Great Britain must
decide what fiscal system would best serve their own interests. A
consistent advocate of home rule, he was willing, unlike some of
his colleagues, from the other Dominions, to let the United
Kingdom control its own affairs.

The defense issue had slumbered since the Boer War. Now the
unbounded ambitions of Germany gave it startling urgency. It was
about 1908 that the British public first became seriously alarmed
over the danger involved in the lessening margin of superiority
of the British over the German navy. The alarm was echoed
throughout the Dominions. The Kaiser's challenge threatened the
safety not only of the mother country but of every part of the
Empire. Hitherto the Dominions had done little in the way of
naval defense, though they had one by one assumed full
responsibility for their land defense. The feeling had been
growing that they should take a larger share of the common
burden. Two factors, however, had blocked advance in this
direction. The British Government had claimed and exercised full
control of the issues of peace and war, and the Dominions were
reluctant to assume responsibility for the consequences of a
foreign policy which they could not direct. The hostility of the
British Admiralty, on strategic and political grounds, to the
plan of local Dominion navies, had prevented progress on the most
feasible lines. The deadlock was a serious one. Now the imminence
of danger compelled a solution. Taking the lead in this instance
in the working out of the policy of colonial nationalism,
Australia had already insisted upon abandoning the barren and
inadequate policy of making a cash contribution for the support
of a British squadron in Australasian waters and had established
a local navy, manned, maintained, and controlled by the
Commonwealth. Canada decided to follow her example. In March,
1909, the Canadian House of Commons unanimously adopted a
resolution in favor of establishing a Canadian naval service to
cooperate in close relation with the British navy. During the
summer a special conference was held in London attended by
ministers from all the Dominions. At this conference the
Admiralty abandoned its old position; and it was agreed that
Australia and Canada should establish local forces, cruisers,
destroyers, and submarines, with auxiliary ships and naval bases.

When the Canadian Parliament met in 1910, Sir Wilfrid Laurier
submitted a Naval Service Bill, providing for the establishment
of local fleets, of which the smaller vessels were to be built in
Canada. The ships were to be under the control of the Dominion
Government, which might, in case of emergency, place them at the
disposal of the British Admiralty. The bill was passed in March.
In the autumn two cruisers, the Rainbow and the Niobe, were
bought from Britain to serve as training ships. In the following
spring a naval college was opened at Halifax, and tenders were
called for the construction, in Canada, of five cruisers and six
destroyers. In June, 1911, at the regular Imperial Conference of
that year, an agreement was reached regarding the boundaries of
the Australian and Canadian stations and uniformity of training
and discipline.

Then came the reciprocity fight and the defeat of the Government.
No tenders had been finally accepted, and the new Administration
of Premier Borden was free to frame its own policy.

The naval issue had now become a party question. The policy of a
Dominion navy, a policy which was the logical extension of the
principles of colonial nationalism and imperial cooperation which
had guided imperial development for many years, was attacked by
ultra-imperialists in the English-speaking provinces as
strategically unsound and as leading inevitably to separation
from the Empire. It was also attacked by the Nationalists of
Quebec, the ultra-colonialists or provincialists, as they might
more truly be termed, under the vigorous leadership of Henri
Bourassa, as yet another concession to imperialism and to
militarism. In November, 1910, by alarming the habitant by
pictures of his sons being dragged away by naval press gangs, the
Nationalists succeeded in defeating the Liberal candidate in a
by-election in Drummond-Arthabaska, at one time Laurier's own
constituency. In the general election which followed in 1911, the
same issue cost the Liberals a score of seats in Quebec.

When, therefore, the new Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, faced
the issue, he endeavored to frame a policy which would suit both
wings of his following. In 1912 he proposed as an emergency
measure to appropriate a sum sufficient to build three
dreadnoughts for the British navy, subject to recall if at any
time the Canadian people decided to use them as the nucleus of a
Canadian fleet. At the same time he undertook to submit to the
electorate his permanent naval policy, as soon as it was
determined. What that permanent policy would be he was unwilling
to say, but the Prime Minister made clear his own leanings by
insisting that it would take half a century to form a Canadian
navy, which at best would be a poor and weak substitute for the
organization the Empire already possessed. The contribution to
the British navy satisfied the ultra-imperialists, while the
promise of a referendum and the call for money alone, and not
men, appealed to the Nationalist wing. Under the impetuous
control of its new head, Winston Churchill, the British Admiralty
showed that it had repented its brief conversion to the Dominion
navy policy, by preparing an elaborate memorandum to support
Borden's proposals, and also by formulating plans for imperial
flying squadrons to be supplied by the Dominions, which made
clear its wish to continue the centralizing policy permanently.
The Liberal Opposition vigorously denounced the whole dreadnought
programme, advocating instead two Canadian fleet units somewhat
larger than at first contemplated. Their obstruction was overcome
in the Commons by the introduction of the closure, but the
Liberal majority in the Senate, on the motion of Sir George Ross,
a former Premier of Ontario, threw out the bill by insisting that
it should not be passed before being "submitted to the judgment
of the country." This challenge the Government did not accept.
Until the outbreak of the war no further steps were taken either
to arrange for contribution or to establish a Canadian navy,
though the naval college at Halifax was continued, and the
training cruisers were maintained in a half-hearted way.

In the Imperial Conference of 1911, one more attempt was made to
set up a central governing authority in London. Sir Joseph Ward,
of New Zealand, acting as the mouthpiece of the imperial
federationists, urged the establishment, first of an Imperial
Council of State and later of an Imperial Parliament. His
proposals met no support. "It is absolutely impracticable," was
Laurier's verdict. "Any scheme of representation--no matter what
you call it, parliament or council--of the overseas Dominions,
must give them so very small a representation that it would be
practically of no value," declared Premier Morris of
Newfoundland. "It is not a practical scheme," Premier Fisher of
Australia agreed; "our present system of responsible government
has not broken down." "The creation of some body with centralized
authority over the whole Empire," Premier Botha of South Africa
cogently insisted, "would be a step entirely antagonistic to the
policy of Great Britain which has been so successful in the past
. . . . It is the policy of decentralization which has made the
Empire--the power granted to its various peoples to govern
themselves." Even Premier Asquith of the United Kingdom declared
the proposals "fatal to the very fundamental conditions on which
our empire has been built up and carried on."

Stronger than any logic was the presence of Louis Botha in the
conferences of 1907 and 1911. On the former occasion it was only
five years since he had been in arms against Great Britain. The
courage and vision of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in granting
full and immediate self-government to the conquered Boer
republics had been justified by the results. Once more freedom
proved the only enduring basis of empire. Botha's task in
attempting to make Boer and Briton work together, first in the
Transvaal, and, after 1910, in the Union of South Africa, had not
been an easy one. Attacked by extremists from both directions, he
faced much the same difficulties as Laurier, and he found in
Laurier's friendship, counsel, and example much that stood him in
good stead in the days of stress to come.

Not less important than the relations with the United Kingdom in
this period were the relations with the United States. The
Venezuela episode was the turning point in the relations between
the United States and the British Empire. Both in Washington and
in London men had been astounded to find themselves on the verge
of war. The danger passed, but the shock awoke thousands to a
realization of all that the two peoples had in common and to the
need of concerted effort to remove the sources of friction. Then
hard on the heels of this episode followed the Spanish-American
War.* Not the least of its by-products was a remarkable
improvement in the relations of the English-speaking nations. The
course of the war, the intrigues of European courts to secure
intervention on behalf of Spain, and the lining up of a British
squadron beside Dewey in Manila Bay when a German Admiral
blustered, revealed Great Britain as the one trustworthy friend
the United States possessed abroad. The annexation of the
Philippines and the definite entry of the United States upon
world politics broke down the irresponsible isolation which
British ministers had found so much of a barrier to diplomatic
accommodations. With John Hay and later Elihu Root at the State
Department, and Lansdowne and Grey at the Foreign Office in
London, there began an era of good feeling between the two

* See "The Path of Empire".

Ottawa and Washington were somewhat slower in coming to terms.
Many difficulties can arise along a three thousand mile border,
and with a people so sure of themselves as the Americans were at
this period and a people so sensitive to any infringements of
their national rights as the Canadians were, petty differences
often loomed large. The Laurier Government, therefore, proposed
shortly after its accession to power in 1896 that an attempt
should be made to clear away all outstanding issues and to effect
a trade agreement. A Joint High Commission was constituted in
1898. The members from the United States were Senator Fairbanks,
Senator Gray, Representative Nelson Dingley, General Foster, J.A.
Kasson, and T.J. Coolidge of the State Department. Great
Britain was represented by Lord Herschell, who acted as chairman,
Newfoundland by Sir James Winter, and Canada by Sir Wilfrid
Laurier, Sir Richard Cartwright, Sir Louis Davies, and John
Charlton, M.P.

The Commission held prolonged sittings, first at Quebec and later
at Washington, and reached tentative agreement on nearly all of
the troublesome questions at issue. The bonding privileges on
both sides the border were to be given an assured basis; the
unneighborly alien labor laws were to be relaxed; the Rush-Bagot
Convention regarding armament on the Great Lakes was to be
revised; Canadian vessels were to abandon pelagic sealing in
Bering Sea for a money compensation; and a reciprocity treaty
covering natural products and some manufactures was sketched out.
Yet no agreement followed. One issue, the Alaska boundary, proved
insoluble, and as no agreement was acceptable which did not cover
every difference, the Commission never again assembled after its
adjournment in February, 1899.

The boundary between Alaska and the Dominion was the only bit of
the border line not yet determined. As in former cases of
boundary disputes, the inaccuracies of map makers, the
ambiguities of diplomats, the clash of local interests, and
stiff-necked national pride made a settlement difficult. In 1825
Russia and Great Britain had signed a treaty which granted Russia
a long panhandle strip down the Pacific coast. With the purchase
of Alaska in 1867 the United States succeeded to Russia's claim.
With the growth of settlement in Canada this long barrier down
half of her Pacific coast was found to be irksome. Attempt after
attempt to have the line determined only added to the stock of
memorials in official pigeonholes. Then came the discovery of
gold in the Klondike in 1896, and the question of easy access by
sea to the Canadian back country became an urgent one. Canada
offered to compromise, admitting the American title to the chief
ports on Lynn Canal, Dyea and Skagway, if Pyramid Harbor were
held Canadian. She urged arbitration on the model the United
States had dictated in the Venezuela dispute. But the United
States was in possession of the most important points. Its people
believed the Canadian claims had been trumped up when the
Klondike fields were opened. The Puget Sound cities wanted no
breach in their monopoly of the supply trade to the north. The
only concession the United States would make was to refer the
dispute to a commission of six, three from each country, with the
proviso that no area settled by Americans should in any event
pass into other bands. Canada felt that arbitration under these
conditions would either end in deadlock, leaving the United
States in possession, or in concession by one or more of the
British representatives, and so declined to accept the proposed

Finally, in 1903, agreement was reached between London and
Washington to accept the tribunal proposed by the United States,
which in turn withdrew its veto on the transfer of any settled
area. Canada's reluctant consent was won by a provision that the
members of the tribunal should be "impartial jurists of repute,"
sworn to render a judicial verdict. When Elihu Root, Senator
Lodge, and Senator Turner were named as the American
representatives, Ottawa protested that eminent and honorable as
they were, their public attitude on this question made it
impossible to consider them "impartial jurists." The Canadian
Government in return nominated three judges, Lord Alverstone,
Lord Chief Justice of England, Sir Louis Jette, of Quebec, and
Mr. Justice Armour, succeeded on his death by A. B. Aylesworth, a
leader of the Ontario bar. The tribunal met in London, where the
case was thoroughly argued.

The Treaty of 1825 had provided that the southern boundary should
follow the Portland Canal to the fifty-sixth parallel of latitude
and thence the summits of the mountains parallel to the coast,
with the stipulation that if the summit of the mountains anywhere
proved to be more than ten marine leagues from the ocean, a line
drawn parallel to the windings of the coast not more than ten
leagues distant should form the boundary. Three questions arose:
What was the Portland Canal? Did the treaty assure Russia an
unbroken strip by making the boundary run round the ends of deep
inlets? Did mountains exist parallel to the coast within ten
leagues' distance? In October these questions received their
answer. Lord Alverstone and the three American members decided in
favor of the United States on the main issues. The two Canadian,
representatives refused to sign the award and denounced it as
unjudicial and unwarranted.

The decision set Canada aflame. Lord Alverstone was denounced in
unmeasured terms. From Atlantic to Pacific the charge was echoed
that once more the interests of Canada had been sacrificed by
Britain on the altar of Anglo-American friendship. The outburst
was not understood abroad. It was not, as United States opinion
imagined, merely childish petulance or the whining of a poor
loser. It was against Great Britain, not against the United
States, that the criticism was directed. It was not the decision,
but the way in which it was made, that roused deep anger. The
decision on the main issue, that the line ran back of even the
deepest inlets and barred Canada from a single harbor, though
unwelcome, was accepted as a judicial verdict and has since been
little questioned. The finding that the boundary should follow
certain mountains behind those Canada urged, but short of the ten
league line, was attacked by the Canadian representatives as a
compromise, and its judicial character is certainly open to some
doubt. But it was on the third finding that the thunders broke.
The United States had contended that the Portland Channel of the
treaty makers ran south of four islands which lay east of Prince
of Wales Island, and Canada that it ran north of these islands.
Lord Alverstone, after joining in a judgment with the Canadian
commissioners that it ran north, suddenly, without any conference
with them, and, as the wording of the award showed, by agreement
with the United States representatives, announced that it ran
where no one had ever suggested it could run, north of two and
south of two, thus dividing the land in dispute. The islands were
of little importance even strategically, but the incontrovertible
evidence that instead of a judicial finding a political
compromise had been effected was held of much importance. After a
time the storm died down, but it revealed one unmistakable fact:
Canadian nationalism was growing fully as fast as Canadian

The relations between Canada and the United States now came to
show the effect of increasingly close business connections. The
northward trek of tens of thousands of American farmers was under
way. United States capitalists began to invest heavily in farm
and timber lands. Factory after factory opened a Canadian branch.
Ten years later these investments exceeded six hundred millions.
In the West, James J. Hill was planning the expansion of the
Great Northern system throughout the prairie provinces and was
securing an interest in the great Crow's Nest Pass coal fields.
Tourist travel multiplied. The two peoples came to know each
other better than ever before, and with knowledge many prejudices
and misunderstandings vanished. Canada's growing prosperity did
not merely bring greater individual intercourse; it made the
United States as a whole less patronizing in its dealings with
its neighbor and Canada less querulous and thin-skinned.

In this more favorable temper many old issues were cleared off
the slate. The northeastern fisheries question, revived by a
conflict between Newfoundland and the United States as to treaty
privileges, was referred to the Hague Court in 1909. The verdict
of the arbitrators recognized a measure of right in the
contentions of both sides. A detailed settlement was prescribed
which was accepted without demur in the United States,
Newfoundland, and Canada alike. Pelagic sealing in the North
Pacific was barred in 1911 by an international agreement between
the United States, Great Britain, Japan, and Russia. Less success
attended the attempt to arrange joint action to regulate and
conserve the fisheries of the Great Lakes and the salmon
fisheries of the Pacific, for the treaty drawn up in 1911 by the
experts from both countries failed to pass the United States

But the most striking development of the decade was the
businesslike and neighborly solution found for the settlement of
the boundary waters controversy. The growing demands for the use
of streams such as the Niagara, the St. Lawrence, and the Sault
for power purposes, and of western border rivers for irrigation
schemes, made it essential to take joint action to reconcile not
merely the conflicting claims from the opposite sides of the
border but the conflicting claims of power and navigation and
other interests in each country. In 1905 a temporary waterways
commission was appointed, and four years later the Boundary
Waters Treaty provided for the establishment of a permanent Joint
High Commission, consisting of three representatives from each
country, and with authority over all cases of use, obstruction,
or diversion of border waters. Individual citizens of either
country were allowed to present their case directly before the
Commission, an innovation in international practice. Still more
significant of the new spirit was the inclusion in this treaty of
a clause providing for reference to the Commission, with the
consent of the United States Senate and the Dominion Cabinet, of
any matter whatever at issue between the two countries. With
little discussion and as a matter of course, the two democracies,
in the closing years of a full century of peace, thus made
provision for the sane and friendly settlement of future
line-fence disputes.

The chief barrier to good relations was the customs tariff.
Protectionism, and the attitude of which it was born and which it
bred in turn, was still firmly entrenched in both countries.
Tariff bars, it is true, had not been able to prevent the rapid
growth of trade; imports from the United States to Canada had
grown especially fast and Canada now ranked third in the list of
the Republic's customers. Yet in many ways the tariff hindered
free intercourse. Though every dictate of self-interest and good
sense demanded a reduction of duties, Canada would not and did
not take the initiative. Time and again she had sought
reciprocity, only to have her proposals rejected, often with
contemptuous indifference. When Sir Wilfrid Laurier announced in
1900 that there would be no more pilgrimages to Washington, he
voiced the almost unanimous opinion of a people whose pride had
been hurt by repeated rebuffs.

Meanwhile protectionist sentiment had grown stronger in Canada.
The opening of the West had given an expanding market for eastern
factories and had seemingly justified the National Policy. The
Liberals, the traditional upholders of freer trade, after some
initial redemptions of their pledges, had compromised with the
manufacturing interests. The Conservatives, still more
protectionist in temper, voiced in Parliament little criticism of
this policy, and the free trade elements among the farmers were
as yet unorganized and inarticulate. Signs of this protectionist
revival, which had in it, as in the seventies, an element of
nationalism, were many. A four-story tariff was erected. The
lowest rates were those granted the United Kingdom; then came the
intermediate tariff, for the products of countries giving Canada
special terms; next the general tariff; and, finally, the surtax
for use against powers discriminating in any special degree
against the Dominion. The provinces one by one forbade the export
of pulp wood cut on Crown Lands, in order to assure its
manufacture into wood pulp or paper in Canada. The Dominion in
1907 secured the abrogation of the postal convention made with
the United States in 1875 providing for the reciprocal free
distribution of second class mail matter originating in the other
country. This step was taken at the instance of Canadian
manufacturers, alarmed at the effect of the advertising pages of
United States magazines in directing trade across the line. Yet
even with such developments, the Canadian tariff remained lower
than its neighbor's.

In the United States the tendency was in the other direction.
With the growth of cities, the interests of the consumers of
foods outweighed the influence of the producers. Manufacturers in
many cases had reached the export stage, where foreign markets,
cheap food, and cheap raw materials were more necessary than a
protected home market. The "muckrakers" were at the height of
their activity; and the tariff, as one instrument of corruption
and privilege, was suffering with the popular condemnation of all
big interests. United States newspapers were eager for free wood
pulp and cheaper paper, just as Canadian newspapers defended the
policy of checking export. It was not surprising, therefore, that
reciprocity with Canada, as one means of increasing trade and
reducing the tariff, took on new popularity. New England was the
chief seat of the movement, with Henry M. Whitney and Eugene N.
Foss as its most persistent advocates. Detroit, Chicago, St.
Paul, and other border cities were also active.

Official action soon followed this unofficial campaign. Curiously
enough, it came as an unexpected by-product of a further
experiment in protection, the Payne-Aldrich tariff. For the first
time in the experience of the United States this tariff
incorporated the principle of minimum and maximum schedules. The
maximum rates, fixed at twenty-five per cent ad valorem above the
normal or minimum rates, were to be enforced upon the goods of
any country which had not, before March 10, 1910, satisfied the
President that it did not discriminate against the products of
the United States. One by one the various nations demonstrated
this to President Taft's satisfaction or with wry faces made the
readjustments necessary. At last Canada alone remained. The
United States conceded that the preference to the United Kingdom
did not constitute discrimination, but it insisted that it should
enjoy the special rates recently extended to France by treaty. In
Canada this demand was received with indignation. Its tariff
rates were much lower than those which the United States imposed,
and its purchases in that country were twice as great as its
sales. The demand was based on a sudden and complete reversal of
the traditional American interpretation of the most favored
nation policy. The President admitted the force of Canada's
contentions, but the law left him no option. Fortunately it did
leave him free to decide as to the adequacy of any concessions,
and thus agreement was made possible at the eleventh hour. At the
President's suggestion a conference at Albany was arranged, and
on the 30th of March a bargain was struck. Canada conceded to the
United States its intermediate tariff rates on thirteen minor
schedules--chinaware, nuts, prunes, and whatnot. These were
accepted as equivalent to the special terms given France, and
Canada was certified as being entitled to minimum rates. The
United States had saved its face. Then to complete the comedy,
Canada immediately granted the same concessions to all other
countries, that is, made the new rates part of the general
tariff. The United States ended where it began, in receipt of no
special concessions. The motions required had been gone through;
phantom reductions had been made to meet a phantom

This was only the beginning of attempts at accommodation. The
threat of tariff war had called forth in the United States loud
protests against any such reversion to economic barbarism.
President Taft realized that he had antagonized the growing
low-tariff sentiment of the country by his support of the
Payne-Aldrich tariff and was eager to set himself right. A week
before the March negotiations were concluded, a Democratic
candidate had carried a strongly Republican congressional
district in Massachusetts on a platform of reciprocity with
Canada. The President, therefore, proposed a bold stroke. He made
a sweeping offer of better trade relations. Negotiations were
begun at Ottawa and concluded in Washington. In January, 1911,
announcement was made that a broad agreement had been effected.
Grain, fruit, and vegetables, dairy and most farm products, fish,
hewn timber and sawn lumber, and several minerals were put on the
free list. A few manufactures were also made free, and the duties
on meats, flour, coal, agricultural implements, and other
products were substantially reduced. The compact was to be
carried out, not by treaty, but by concurrent legislation. Canada
was to extend the same terms to the most favored nations by
treaty, and to all parts of the British Empire by policy.

For fifty years the administrations of the two countries had
never been so nearly at one. More difficulty was met with in the
legislatures. In Congress, farmers and fishermen, standpat
Republicans and Progressives hostile to the Administration, waged
war against the bargain. It was only in a special session, and
with the aid of Democratic votes and a Washington July sun, that
the opposition was overcome. In the Canadian Parliament, after
some initial hesitation, the Conservatives attacked the proposal.
The Government had a safe majority, but the Opposition resorted
to obstruction; and late in July, Parliament was suddenly
dissolved and the Government appealed to the country.

When the bargain was first concluded, the Canadian Government had
imagined it would meet little opposition, for it was precisely
the type of agreement that Government after Government,
Conservative as well as Liberal, had sought in vain for over
forty years. For a day or two that expectation was justified.
Then the forces of opposition rallied, timid questioning gave way
to violent denunciation, and at last agreement and Government
alike were swept away in a flood of popular antagonism.

One reason for this result was that the verdict was given in a
general election, not in a referendum. The fate of the Government
was involved; its general record was brought up for review; party
ambitions and passions were stirred to the utmost. Fifteen years,
of office-holding had meant the accumulation of many scandals, a
slackening in administrative efficiency, and the cooling by
official compromise of the ardent faith of the Liberalism of the
earlier day. The Government had failed to bring in enough new
blood. The Opposition fought with the desperation of fifteen
years of fasting and was better served by its press.

Of the side issues introduced into the campaign, the most
important were the naval policy in Quebec and the racial and
religious issue in the English-speaking provinces. The Government
had to face what Sir Wilfrid Laurier termed "the unholy alliance"
of Roman Catholic Nationalists under Bourassa in Quebec and
Protestant Imperialists in Ontario. In the French-speaking
districts the Government was denounced for allowing Canada to be
drawn into the vortex of militarism and imperialism and for
sacrificing the interests of Roman Catholic schools in the West.
On every hand the naval policy was attacked as inevitably
bringing in its train conscription to fight European wars a
contention hotly denied by the Liberals. The Conservative
campaign managers made a working arrangement with the
Nationalists as to candidates and helped liberally in circulating
Bourassa's newspaper, Le Devoir. On the back "concessions" of
Ontario a quieter but no less effective campaign was carried on
against the domination of Canadian politics by a French Roman
Catholic province and a French Roman Catholic Prime Minister. In
vain the Liberals appealed to national unity or started back
fires in Ontario by insisting that a vote for Borden meant a vote
for Bourassa. The Conservative-Nationalist alliance cost the
Government many seats in Quebec and apparently did not frighten

Reciprocity, however, was the principal issue everywhere except
in Quebec. Powerful forces were arrayed against it. Few
manufactures had been put on the free list, but the argument that
the reciprocity agreement was the thin edge of the wedge rallied
the organized manufacturers in almost unbroken hostile array. The
railways, fearful that western traffic would be diverted to
United States roads, opposed the agreement vigorously under the
leadership of the ex-American chairman of the board of directors
of the Canadian Pacific, Sir William Van Horne, who made on this
occasion one of his few public entries into politics. The banks,
closely involved in the manufacturing and railway interests,
threw their weight in the same direction. They were aided by the
prevalence of protectionist sentiment in the eastern cities and
industrial towns, which were at the same stage of development and
in the same mood as the cities of the United States some decades
earlier. The Liberal fifteen-year compromise with protection made
it difficult in a seven weeks' campaign to revive a desire for
freer trade. The prosperity of the country and the cry, "Let well
enough alone," told powerfully against the bargain. Yet merely
from the point of view of economic advantage, the popular verdict
would probably have been in its favor. The United States market
no longer loomed so large as it had in the eighties, but its
value was undeniable. Farmer, fisherman, and miner stood to gain
substantially by the lowering of the bars into the richest market
in the world. Every farm paper in Canada and all the important
farm organizations supported reciprocity. Its opponents,
therefore, did not trust to a direct frontal attack. Their
strategy was to divert attention from the economic advantages by
raising the cry of political danger. The red herring of
annexation was drawn across the trail, and many a farmer followed
it to the polling booth.

From the outset, then, the opponents of reciprocity concentrated
their attacks on its political perils. They denounced the
reciprocity agreement as the forerunner of annexation, the
deathblow to Canadian nationality and British connection. They
prophesied that the trade and intercourse built up between the
East and the West of Canada by years of sacrifice and striving
would shrivel away, and that each section of the Dominion would
become a mere appendage to the adjacent section of the United
States. Where the treasure was, there would the heart be also.
After some years of reciprocity, the channels of Canadian trade
would be so changed that a sudden return to high protection on
the part of the United States would disrupt industry and a mere
threat of such a change would lead to a movement for complete

This prophecy was strengthened by apposite quotations showing the
existing drift of opinion in the United States. President Taft's
reference to the "light and imperceptible bond uniting the
Dominion with the mother country" and his "parting of the ways"
speech received sinister interpretations. Speaker Champ Clark's
announcement that he was in favor of the agreement because he
hoped "to see the day when the American flag will float over
every square foot of the British North American possessions" was
worth tens of thousands of votes. The anti-reciprocity press of
Canada seized upon these utterances, magnified them, and
sometimes, it was charged, inspired or invented them. Every
American crossroads politician who found a useful peroration in a
vision of the Stars and Stripes floating from Panama to the North
Pole was represented as a statesman of national power voicing a
universal sentiment. The action of the Hearst papers in sending
pro-reciprocity editions into the border cities of Canada made
many votes--but not for reciprocity. The Canadian public proved
that it was unable to suffer fools gladly. It was vain to argue
that all men of weight in the United States had come to
understand and to respect Canada's independent ambitions; that in
any event it was not what the United States thought but what
Canada thought that mattered; or that the Canadian farmer who
sold a bushel of good wheat to a United States miller no more
sold his loyalty with it than a Kipling selling a volume of verse
or a Canadian financier selling a block of stock in the same
market. The flag was waved, and the Canadian voter, mindful of
former American slights and backed by newly arrived Englishmen
admirably organized by the anti-reciprocity forces, turned
against any "entangling alliance." The prosperity of the country
made it safe to express resentment of the slights of half a
century or fear of this too sudden friendliness.

The result of the elections, which were held on September 21,
1911, was the crushing defeat of the Liberal party. A Liberal
majority of forty-four in a house of two hundred and twenty-one
members was turned into a Conservative majority of forty-nine.
Eight cabinet ministers went down to defeat. The Government had a
slight majority in the Maritime Provinces and Quebec, and a large
majority in the prairie West, but the overwhelming victory of the
Opposition in Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia turned the

The appeal to loyalty revealed much that was worthy and much that
was sordid in Canadian life. It was well that a sturdy national
self-reliance should be developed and expressed in the face of
American prophets of "manifest destiny," and that men should be
ready to set ideals above pocket. It was unfortunate that in
order to demonstrate a loyalty which might have been taken for
granted economic advantage was sacrificed; and it was disturbing
to note the ease with which big interests with unlimited funds
for organizing, advertising, and newspaper campaigning, could
pervert national sentiment to serve their own ends. Yet this was
possibly a stage through which Canada, like every young nation,
had to pass; and the gentle art of twisting the lion's tail had
proved a model for the practice of plucking the eagle's feathers.

The growth of Canada brought her into closer touch with lands
across the sea. Men, money, and merchandise came from East and
West; and with their coming new problems faced the Government of
the Dominion. With Europe they were trade questions to solve, and
with Asia the more delicate issues arising out of oriental

In 1907 the Canadian Government had established an intermediate
tariff, with rates halfway between the general and the British
preferential tariffs, for the express purpose of bargaining with
other powers. In that year an agreement based substantially on
these intermediate rates was negotiated with France, though
protectionist opposition in the French Senate prevented
ratification until 1910. Similar reciprocal arrangements were
concluded in 1910 with Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. The
manner of the negotiation was as significant as the matter. In
the case of France the treaty was negotiated in Paris by two
Canadian ministers, W.S. Fielding and L.P. Brodeur, appointed
plenipotentiaries of His Majesty for that purpose, with the
British Ambassador associated in what Mr. Arthur Balfour termed a
"purely technical" capacity. In the case of the other countries
even this formal recognition of the old colonial status was
abandoned. The agreement with Italy was negotiated in Canada
between "the Royal Consul of Italy for Canada, representing the
government of the Kingdom of Italy, and the Minister of Finance
of Canada, representing His Excellency the Governor General
acting in conjunction with the King's Privy Council for Canada."
The conclusions in these later instances were embodied in
conventions, rather than formal treaties.

With one country, however, tariff war reigned instead of treaty
peace. In 1899 Germany subjected Canadian exports to her general
or maximum tariff, because the Dominion refused to grant her the
preferential rates reserved for members of the British Empire
group of countries. After four years' deliberation Canada
eventually retaliated by imposing on German goods a special
surtax of thirty-three and one-third per cent. The trade of both
countries suffered, but Germany's, being more specialized, much
the more severely. After seven years' strife, Germany took the
initiative in proposing a truce. In 1910 Canada agreed to admit
German goods at the rates of the general--not the
intermediate--tariff, while Germany in return waived her protest
against the British preference and granted minimum rates on the
most important Canadian exports.

Oriental immigration had been an issue in Canada ever since
Chinese navvies had been imported in the early eighties to work
on the government sections of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Mine
owners, fruit farmers, and contractors were anxious that the
supply should continue unchecked; but, as in the United States,
the economic objections of the labor unions and the political
objections of the advocates of a "White Canada" carried the day.

Chinese immigration had been restricted in 1885 by a head tax of
$50 on all immigrants save officials, merchants, or scholars; in
1901 this tax was doubled; and in 1904 it was raised to $500. In
each case the tax proved a barrier only for a year or two, when
wages would rise sufficiently to warrant Orientals paying the
higher toll to enter the Promised Land. Japanese immigrants did
not come in large numbers until 1906, when the activities of
employment companies brought seven thousand Japanese by way of
Hawaii. Agitators from .the Pacific States fanned the flames of
opposition in British Columbia, and anti-Chinese and
anti-Japanese riots broke out in Vancouver in 1907. The Dominion
Government then grappled with the question. Japan's national
sensitiveness and her position as an ally of Great Britain called
for diplomatic handling. A member of the Dominion Cabinet,
Rodolphe Lemieux, succeeded in 1907 in negotiating at Tokio an
agreement by which Japan herself undertook to restrict the number
of passports issued annually to emigrants to Canada.

The Hindu migration, which began in 1907, gave rise to a still
more delicate situation. What did the British Empire mean, many a
Hindu asked, if British subjects were to be barred from British
lands? The only reply was that the British Government which still
ruled India no longer ruled the Dominions, and that it was on the
Dominions that the responsibility for the exclusion policy must
rest. In 1909 Canada suggested that the Indian Government itself
should limit emigration, but this policy did not meet with
approval at the time. Failing in this measure, the Laurier
Government fell back on a general clause in the Immigration Act
prohibiting the entrance of immigrants except by direct passage
from the country of origin and on a continuous ticket, a rule
which effectually barred the Hindu because of the lack of any
direct steamship line between India and Canada. An
Order-in-Council further required that immigrants from all
Asiatic countries must possess at least $200 on entering Canada.
The Borden Government supplemented these restrictions by a
special Order-in-Council in 1913 prohibiting the landing of
artisans or unskilled laborers of any race at ports in British
Columbia, ostensibly because of depression in the labor market.
The leaders of the Hindu movement, with apparently some German
assistance, determined to test these restrictions. In May, 1914,
there arrived at Vancouver from Shanghai a Japanese ship carrying
four hundred Sikhs from India. A few were admitted, as having
been previously domiciled in Canada; the others, after careful
inquiry, were refused admittance and ordered to be deported.
Local police were driven away from the ship when attempting to
enforce the order, and the Government ordered H.M.C.S. Rainbow
to intervene. By a curious irony of history, the first occasion
on which this first Canadian warship was called on to display
force was in expelling from Canada the subjects of another part
of the British Empire. Further trouble followed when the Sikhs
reached Calcutta in September, 1914, for riots took place
involving serious loss of life and later an abortive attempt at
rebellion. Fortunately there were good prospects that the Indian
Government would in future accept the proposal made by Canada in
1909. At the Imperial Conference of 1917, where representatives
of India were present for the first time, it was agreed to
recommend the principle of reciprocity in the treatment of
immigrants, India thus being free to save her pride by imposing
on men from the Dominions the same restrictions the Dominions
imposed on immigrants from India.

But all these dealings with lands across the sea paled into
insignificance beside the task imposed on Canada by the Great
War. In the sudden crisis the Dominion attained a place among the
nations which the slower changes of peace time could scarcely
have made possible in decades.

When the war party in Germany and Austria-Hungary plunged Europe
into the struggle the world had long been fearing, there was not
a moment's hesitation on the part of the people of Canada. It was
not merely the circumstance that technically Canada was at war
when Britain was at war that led Canadians to instant action. The
degree of participation, if not the fact of war, was wholly a
matter for the separate Dominions. It was the deep and abiding
sympathy with the mother country whose very existence was to be
at stake. Later, with the unfolding of Germany's full designs of
world dominance and the repeated display of her callous and
ruthless policies, Canada comprehended the magnitude of the
danger threatening all the world and grimly set herself to help
end the menace of militarism once for all.

On August 1, 1914, two days before Belgium was invaded, and three
days before war between Britain and Germany had been declared,
the Dominion Government cabled to London their firm assurance
that the people of Canada would make every sacrifice necessary to
secure the integrity and honor of the Empire and asked for
suggestions as to the form aid should take. The financial and
administrative measures the emergency demanded were carried out
by Orders-in-Council in accordance with the scheme of defense
which only a few months before had been drawn up in a "War Book".
Two weeks later, Parliament met in a special four day session and
without a dissenting voice voted the war credits the Government
asked and conferred upon it special war powers of the widest
scope. The country then set about providing men, money, and
munitions of war.

The day after war was declared, recruiting was begun for an
expeditionary force of 21,000 men. Half as many more poured into
the camp at Valcartier near Quebec; and by the middle of October
this first Canadian contingent, over 30,000 strong, the largest
body of troops which had ever crossed the Atlantic, was already
in England, where its training was to be completed. As the war
went on and all previous forecasts of its duration and its scale
were far outrun, these numbers were multiplied many times. By the
summer of 1917 over 400,000 men had been enrolled for service,
and over 340,000 had already gone overseas, aside from over
25,000 Allied reservists.

Naturally enough it was the young men of British birth who first
responded in large numbers to the recruiting officer's appeal. A
military background, vivid home memories, the enlistment of
kinsmen or friends overseas, the frequent slightness of local
ties, sent them forth in splendid and steady array. Then the call
came home to the native-born, and particularly to Canadians of
English speech. Few of them had dreamed of war, few had been
trained even in militia musters; but in tens of thousands they
volunteered. From French-speaking Canada the response was slower,
in spite of the endeavors of the leaders of the Opposition as
well as of the Government to encourage enlistment. In some
measure this was only to be expected. Quebec was dominantly
rural; its men married young, and the country parishes had little
touch with the outside world. Its people had no racial sympathy
with Britain and their connection with France had long been cut
by the cessation of immigration from that country. Yet this is
not the complete explanation of that aloofness which marked a
great part of Quebec. Account must be taken also of the
resentment caused by exaggerated versions of the treatment
accorded the French-Canadian minority in the schools of Ontario
and the West, and especially of the teaching of the Nationalists,
led by Henri Bourassa, who opposed active Canadian participation
in the war. Lack of tact on the part of the Government and
reckless taunts from extremists in Ontario made the breach
steadily wider. Yet there were many encouraging considerations.
Another grandson of the leader of '37, Talbot Papineau, fell
fighting bravely, and it was a French-Canadian battalion, Les
Vingt Deuxiemes, which won the honors at Courcelette.

When the war first broke out, no one thought of any but voluntary
methods of enlistment. As the magnitude of the task came home to
men and the example of Great Britain had its influence, voices
began to be raised in favor of compulsion. Sir Robert Borden, the
Premier, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier alike opposed the suggestion.
Early in 1917 the adoption of conscription in the United States,
and the need of reenforcements for the Canadian forces at the
front led the Prime Minister, immediately after his return from
the Imperial Conference in London, to bring down a measure for
compulsory service. He urged in behalf of this course that the
need for men was urgent beyond all question; that the voluntary
system, wasteful and unfair at best, had ceased to bring more
than six or seven thousand men a month, chiefly for other than
infantry ranks; and that only by compulsion could Quebec be
brought to shoulder her fair share and the slackers in all the
provinces be made to rise to the need. It was contended, on the
other hand, that great as was the need for men, the need for
food, which Canada could best of all countries supply, was
greater still; that voluntary recruiting had yielded over four
hundred thousand men, proportionately equivalent to six million
from the United States, and was slackening only because the
reservoir was nearly drained dry; and that Quebec could be
brought into line more effectively by conciliation than by

The issue of conscription brought to an end the political truce
which had been declared in August, 1914. The keener partisans on
both sides had not long been able to abide on the heights of
non-political patriotism which they had occupied in the first
generous weeks of the war. But the public was weary of party
cries and called for unity. Suggestions of a coalition were made
at different times, but the party in power, new to the sweets of
office, confident of its capacity, and backed by a strong
majority, gave little heed to the demand. Now, however, the
strong popular opposition offered to the announcement of
conscription led the Prime Minister to propose to Sir Wilfrid
Laurier a coalition Government on a conscription basis. Sir
Wilfrid, while continuing to express his desire to cooperate in
any way that would advance the common cause, declined to enter a
coalition to carry out a programme decided upon without
consultation and likely, in his view, to wreck national unity
without securing any compensating increase in numbers beyond what
a vigorous and sympathetic voluntary campaign could yet obtain.

For months negotiations continued within Parliament and without.
The Military Service Act was passed in August, 1917, with the
support of the majority of the English-speaking members of the
Opposition. Then the Government, which had already secured the
passage of an Act providing for taking the votes of the soldiers
overseas, forced through under closure a measure depriving of the
franchise all aliens of enemy birth or speech who had been
admitted to citizenship since 1902, and giving a vote to every
adult woman relative of a soldier on active service. Victory for
the Government now appeared certain. Leading English-peaking
Liberals, particularly from the West, convinced that conscription
was necessary to keep Canada's forces up to the need, or that the
War Times Election Act made opposition hopeless, decided to
accept Sir Robert Borden's offer of seats in a coalition Cabinet.

In the election of December, 1917, in which passion and prejudice
were stirred as never before in the history of Canada, the
Unionist forces won by a sweeping majority. Ontario and the West
were almost solidly behind the Government in the number of
members elected, Quebec as solidly against it, and the Maritime
Provinces nearly evenly divided. The soldiers' vote, contrary to
Australian experience, was overwhelmingly for conscription. The
Laurier Liberals polled more civilian votes in Ontario, Quebec,
Alberta, and British Columbia, and in the Dominion as a whole,
than the united Liberal party had received in the Reciprocity
election of 1911. The increase in the Unionist popular vote was
still greater, however, and gave the Government fifty-eight per
cent of the popular vote and sixty-five per cent of the seats in
the House. Confidence in the administrative capacity of the new
Government, the belief that it would be more vigorous in carrying
on the war, the desire to make Quebec do its share, the influence
of the leaders of the Western Liberals and of the Grain Growers'
Associations, wholesale promises of exemption to farmers, and the
working of the new franchise law all had their part in the
result. Eight months after the Military Service Act was passed,
it had added only twenty thousand men to the nearly five hundred
thousand volunteers; but steps were then taken to cancel
exemptions and to simplify the machinery of administration. Some
eighty thousand men were raised under conscription, but the war,
so far as Canada was concerned, was fought and won by volunteers.

"The self-governing British colonies," wrote Bernhardi before the
war, "have at their disposal a militia, which is sometimes only
in process of formation. They can be completely ignored so far as
concerns any European theater of war." This contemptuous forecast
might have been justified had German expectations of a short war
been fulfilled. Though large and increasing sums had in recent
years been spent on the Canadian militia and on a small permanent
force, the work of building up an army on the scale the war
demanded had virtually to be begun from the foundation. It was
pushed ahead with vigor, under the direction, for the first three
years, of the Minister of Militia, General Sir Sam Hughes. Many
mistakes were made. Complaints of waste in supply departments and
of slackness of discipline among the troops were rife in the
early months. But the work went on; and when the testing time
came, Canada's civilian soldiers held their own with any veterans
on either side the long line of trenches.

It was in April, 1915, at the second battle of Ypres--or, as it
is more often termed in Canada, St. Julien or Langemarck--that
the quality of the men of the first contingent was blazoned
forth. The Germans had launched a determined attack on the
junction of the French and Canadian forces, seeking to drive
through to Calais. The use, for the first time, of asphyxiating
gases drove back in confusion the French colonial troops on the
left of the Canadians. Attacked and outflanked by a German army
of 150,000 men, four Canadian brigades, immensely inferior in
heavy artillery and tortured by the poisonous fumes, filled the
gap, hanging on doggedly day and night until reenforcements came
and Calais was saved. In sober retrospection it was almost
incredible that the thin khaki line had held against the
overwhelming odds which faced it. A few weeks later, at Givenchy
and Festubert, in the same bloody salient of Ypres, the Canadian
division displayed equal courage with hardly equal success. In
the spring of 1916, when the Canadian forces grew first to three
and then to four divisions, heavy toll was taken at St. Eloi and
Sanctuary Wood.

When they were shifted from the Ypres sector to the Somme, the
dashing success at Courcelette showed them as efficient in
offense as in defense. In 1917 a Canadian general, Sir Arthur
Currie, three years before only a business man of Vancouver, took
command of the Canadian troops. The capture of Vimy Ridge, key to
the whole Arras position, after months of careful preparation,
the hard-fought struggle for Lens, and toward the close of the
year the winning of the Passchendaele Ridge, at heavy cost, were
instances of the increasing scale and importance of the
operations entrusted to Currie's men.

In the closing year of the war the Canadian corps played a still
more distinctive and essential part. During the early months of
1918, when the Germans were making their desperate thrusts for
Paris and the Channel, the Canadians held little of the line that
was attacked. Their divisions had been withdrawn in turn for
special training in open warfare movements, in close cooperation
with tanks and air forces. When the time came to launch the
Allied offensive, they were ready. It was Canadian troops who
broke the hitherto unbreakable Wotan line, or Drocourt-Queant
switch; it was Canadians who served as the spearhead in the
decisive thrust against Cambrai; and it was Canadians who
captured Mons, the last German stronghold taken before the
armistice was signed, and thus ended the war at the very spot
where the British "Old Contemptibles" had begun their dogged
fight four years before.

Through all the years of war the Canadian forces never lost a gun
nor retired from a position they had consolidated. Canadians were
the first to practice trench raiding; and Canadian cadets
thronged that branch of the service, the Royal Flying Corps,
where steady nerves and individual initiative were at a premium.
In countless actions they proved their fitness to stand shoulder
to shoulder with the best that Britain and France and the United
States could send: they asked no more than that. The casualty
list of 220,000 men, of whom 60,000 sleep forever in the fields
of France and Flanders and in the plains of England, witnesses
the price this people of eight millions paid as its share in the
task of freeing the world from tyranny.

The realization that in a world war not merely the men in the
trenches but the whole nation could and must be counted as part
of the fighting force was slow in coming in Canada as in other
democratic and unwarlike lands. Slowly the industry of the
country was adjusted to a war basis. When the conflict broke out,
the country was pulling itself together after the sudden collapse
of the speculative boom of the preceding decade. For a time men
were content to hold their organization together and to avert the
slackening of trade and the spread of unemployment which they
feared. Then, as the industrial needs and opportunities of the
war became clear, they rallied. Field and factory vied in
expansion, and the Canadian contribution of food and munitions
provided a very substantial share of the Allies' needs. Exports
increased threefold, and the total trade was more than doubled as
compared with the largest year before the war.

The financing of the war and of the industrial expansion which
accompanied it was a heavy task. For years Canada had looked to
Great Britain for a large share alike of public and of private
borrowings. Now it became necessary not merely to find at home
all the capital required for ordinary development but to meet the
burden of war expenditure, and later to advance to Great Britain
the funds she required for her purchase of supplies in Canada.
The task was made easier by the effective working of a banking
system which had many times proved its soundness and its
flexibility. When the money market of Britain was no longer open
to overseas borrowers, the Dominion first turned to the United
States, where several federal and provincial loans were floated,
and later to her own resources. Domestic loans were issued on an
increasing scale and with increasing success, and the Victory
Loan of 1918 enrolled one out of every eight Canadians among its
subscribers. Taxation reached an adequate basis more slowly.
Inertia and the influence of business interests led the
Government to cling for the first two years to customs and excise
duties as its main reliance. Then excess profits and income taxes
of steadily increasing weight were imposed, and the burdens were
distributed more fairly. The Dominion was able not only to meet
the whole expenditure of its armed forces but to reverse the
relations which existed before the war and to become, as far as
current liabilities went, a creditor rather than a debtor of the
United Kingdom.

It was not merely the financial relations of Canada with the
United Kingdom which required readjustment. The service and the
sacrifices which the Dominions had made in the common cause
rendered it imperative that the political relations between the
different parts of the Empire should be put on a more definite
and equal basis. The feeling was widespread that the last
remnants of the old colonial subordination must be removed and
that the control exercised by the Dominions should be extended
over the whole field of foreign affairs.

The Imperial Conference met in London in the spring of 1917. At
special War Cabinet meetings the representatives of the Dominions
discussed war plans and peace terms with the leaders of Britain.
It was decided to hold a Conference immediately after the end of
the war to discuss the future constitutional organization of the
Empire. Premier Borden and General Smuts both came out strongly
against the projects of imperial parliamentary federation which
aggressive organizations in Britain and in some of the Dominions
had been urging. The Conference of 1917 recorded its view that
any coming readjustment must be based on a full recognition of
the Dominions as autonomous nations of an imperial commonwealth;
that it should recognize the right of the Dominions and of India
to an adequate voice in foreign policy; and that it should
provide effective arrangements for continuous consultation in all
important matters of common concern and for such concerted action
as the several Governments should determine. The policy of
alliance, of cooperation between the Governments of the equal and
independent states of the Empire, searchingly tested and amply
justified by the war, had compelled assent.

The coming of peace gave occasion for a wider and more formal
recognition of the new international status of the Dominions. It
had first been proposed that the British Empire should appear as
a unit, with the representatives of the Dominions present merely
in an advisory capacity or participating in turn as members of
the British delegation. The Dominion statesmen assembled in
London and Paris declined to assent to this proposal, and
insisted upon representation in the Peace Conference and in the
League of Nations in their own right. The British Government,
after some debate, acceded, and, with more difficulty, the
consent of the leading Allies was won. The representatives of the
Dominions signed the treaty with Germany on behalf of their
respective countries, and each Dominion, with India, was made a
member of the League. At the same time only the British Empire,
and not any of the Dominions, was given a place in the real organ
of power, the Executive Council of the League, and in many
respects the exact relationship between the United Kingdom and
the other parts of the Empire in international affairs was left
ambiguous, for later events and counsel to determine. Many French
and American observers who had not kept in close touch with the
growth of national consciousness within the British Empire were
apprehensive lest this plan should prove a deep-laid scheme for
multiplying British influence in the Conference and the League.
Some misunderstanding was natural in view not only of the
unprecedented character of the Empire's development and polity,
but of the incomplete and ambiguous nature of the compromise
affected at Paris between the nationalist and the imperialist
tendencies within the Empire. Yet the reluctance of the British
imperialists of the straiter sect to accede to the new
arrangement, and the independence of action of the Dominion
representatives at the Conference, as in the stand of Premier
Hughes of Australia on the Japanese demand for recognition of
racial equality and in the statement of protest by General Smuts
of South Africa on signing the treaty, made it clear that the
Dominions would not be merely echoes. Borden and Botha and Smuts,
though new to the ways of diplomacy, proved that in clear
understanding of the broader issues and in moderation of policy
and temper they could bear comparison with any of the leaders of
the older nations.

The war also brought changes in the relations between Canada and
her great neighbor. For a time there was danger that it would
erect a barrier of differing ideals and contrary experience. When
month after month went by with the United States still clinging
to its policy of neutrality, while long lists of wounded and dead
and missing were filling Canadian newspapers, a quiet but deep
resentment, not without a touch of conscious superiority,
developed in many quarters in the Dominion. Yet there were others
who realized how difficult and how necessary it was for the
United States to attain complete unity of purpose before entering
the war, and how different its position was from that. of Canada,
where the political tie with Britain had brought immediate action
more instinctive than reasoned. It was remembered, too, that in
the first 360,000 Canadians who went overseas, there were 12,000
men of American birth, including both residents in Canada and men
who had crossed the border to enlist. When the patience of the
United States was at last exhausted and it took its place in the
ranks of the nations fighting for freedom, the joy of Canadians
was unbounded. The entrance of the United States into the war
assured not only the triumph of democracy in Europe but the
continuance and extension of frank and friendly relations between
the democracies of North America. As the war went on and Canada
and the United States were led more and more to pool their united
resources, to cooperate in finance and in the supply of coal,
iron, steel, wheat, and other war essentials, countless new
strands were woven into the bond that held the two countries
together. Nor was it material unity alone that was attained; in
the utterances of the head of the Republic the highest
aspirations of Canadians for the future ordering of the world
found incomparable expression.

Canada had done what she could to assure the triumph of right in
the war. Not less did she believe that she had a contribution to
make toward that new ordering of the world after the war which
alone could compensate her for the blood and treasure she had
spent. It would be her mission to bind together in friendship and
common aspirations the two larger English-speaking states, with
one of which she was linked by history and with the other by
geography. To the world in general Canada had to offer that
achievement of difference in unity, that reconciliation of
liberty with peace and order, which the British Empire was
struggling to attain along paths in which the Dominion had been
the chief pioneer. "In the British Commonwealth of Nations,"
declared General Smuts, "this transition from the old legalistic
idea of political sovereignty based on force to the new social
idea of constitutional freedom based on consent, has been
gradually evolving for more than a century. And the elements of
the future world government, which will no longer rest on the
imperial ideas adopted from the Roman law, are already in
operation in our Commonwealth of Nations and will rapidly develop
in the near future." This may seem an idealistic aim; yet, as
Canada's Prime Minister asked a New York audience in 1916, "What
great and enduring achievement has the world ever accomplished
that was not based on idealism?"


For the whole period since 1760 the most comprehensive and
thorough work is "Canada and its Provinces", edited by A. Shortt
and A. G. Doughty, 23 vols. (1914). W. Kingsford's "History of
Canada", 10 vols. (1887-1898), is badly written but is an ample
storehouse of material. The "Chronicles of Canada" series
(1914-1916) covers the whole field in a number of popular
volumes, of which several are listed below. F. X. Garneau's
"Histoire du Canada" (1845-1848; new edition, edited by Hector
Garneau, 1913-), the classical French-Canadian record of the
development of Canada down to 1840, is able and moderate in tone,
though considered by some critics not sufficiently appreciative
of the Church.

Of brief surveys of Canada's history the best are W. L. Grant's
"History of Canada" (1914) and H. E. Egerton's "Canada" (1908).

The primary sources are abundant. The Dominion Archives have made
a remarkable collection of original official and private papers
and of transcripts of documents from London and Paris. See D. W.
Parker, "A Guide to the Documents in the Manuscript Room at the
Public Archives of Canada" (1914). Many of these documents are
calendared in the "Report on Canadian Archives" (1882 to date),
and complete reprints, systematically arranged and competently
annotated, are being issued by the Archives Branch, of which A.
Shortt and A. G. Doughty, "Documents Relating to the
Constitutional History of Canada", 1759-1791, and Doughty and
McArthur, "Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of
Canada", 1791-1818, have already appeared. A useful collection of
speeches and dispatches is found in H. E. Egerton and W. L.
Grant, "Canadian Constitutional Development" (1907), and W. P. M.
Kennedy has edited a somewhat larger collection, "Documents of
the Canadian Constitution", 1759-1915 (1918). The later Sessional
Papers and Hansards or Parliamentary Debates are easily
accessible. Files of the older newspapers, such as the Halifax
"Chronicle" (1820 to date, with changes of title), Montreal
"Gazette" (1778 to date), Toronto "Globe" (1844 to date),
"Manitoba Free Press" (1879 to date), Victoria "Colonist" (1858
to date), are invaluable. "The Dominion Annual Register and
Review", ed. by H. J. Morgan, 8 vols. (1879-1887) and "The
Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs", by John Castell
Hopkins (1901 to date), are useful for the periods covered.

For the first chapter, Sir Charles P. Lucas, "A History of
Canada", 1765-1812 (1909) and A. G. Bradley, "The Making of
Canada" (1908) are the best single volumes. William Wood, "The
Father of British Canada" ("Chronicles of Canada", 1916), records
Carleton's defense of Canada in the Revolutionary War; and Justin
H. Smith's "Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony" (1907) is a
scholarly and detailed account of the same period from an
American standpoint. Victor Con's "The Province of Quebec and the
Early American Revolution" (1896), with a review of the same by
Adam Shortt in the "Review of Historical Publications Relating to
Canada", vol. 1 (University of Toronto, 1897), and C. W. Alvord's
"The Mississippi Valley in British Politics", 2 vols. (1917)
should be consulted for an interpretation of the Quebec Act. For
the general reader, W. S. Wallace's "The United Empire Loyalists"
("Chronicles of Canada", 1914) supersedes the earlier Canadian
compilations; C. H. Van Tyne's "The Loyalists in the American
Revolution" (1902) and A. C. Flick's "Loyalism in New York during
the American Revolution" (1901) embody careful researches by two
American scholars. The War of 1812 is most competently treated by
William Wood in "The War with the United States" ("Chronicles of
Canada", 1915); the naval aspects are sketched in Theodore
Roosevelt's "The Naval War of 1812" (1882) and analyzed
scientifically in A. T. Mahan's "Sea Power in its Relations to
the War of 1812" (1905).

For the period, 1815-1841, W. S. Wallace's "The Family Compact"
("Chronicles of Canada", 1915) and A. D. De Celles's "The
Patriotes of '37" ("Chronicles of Canada", 1916) are the most
concise summaries. J. C. Dent's "The Story of the Upper Canadian
Rebellion" (1885) is biased but careful and readable. "William
Lyon Mackenzie", by Charles Lindsey, revised by G. G. S. Lindsey
(1908), is a sober defense of Mackenzie by his son-in-law and
grandson. Robert Christie's "A History of the Late Province of
Lower Canada", 6 vols. (1848-1866) preserves much contemporary
material. There are few secondary books taking the anti-popular
side: T. C. Haliburton's "The Bubbles of Canada" (1839) records
Sam Slick's opposition to reform; C. W. Robinson's "Life of Sir
John Beverley Robinson" (1904) is a lifeless record of the
greatest Compact leader. Lord Durham's "Report on the Affairs of
British North America" (1839; available in Methuen reprint, 1902,
or with introduction and notes by Sir Charles Lucas, 3 vols.,
1912) is indispensable. For the Union period there are several
political biographies available. G. M. Wrong's "The Earl of
Elgin" (1905), John Lewis's "George Brown" (1906), W. L. Grant's
"The Tribune of Nova Scotia" ("Chronicles of Canada", 1915), J.
Pope's "Memoirs of the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander
Macdonald", 2 vols. (1894), J. Boyd's "Sir George Etienne
Cartier" (1914), and O. D. Skelton's "Life and Times of Sir A. T.
Galt" (1919), cover the political developments from various
angles. A. H. U. Colquhoun's "The Fathers of Confederation"
("Chronicles of Canada", 1916) is a clear and impartial account
of the achievement of Confederation; while M. O. Hammond's
"Canadian Confederation and its Leaders" (1917) records the
service of each of its chief architects.

For the years since Confederation biographies again give the most
accessible record. Sir John S. Willison's "Sir Wilfrid Laurier
and the Liberal Party" (1903) is the best political biography yet
written in Canada. Sir Richard Cartwright's Reminiscences (1912)
reflects that statesman's individual and pungent views of
affairs, while Sir Charles Tupper's "Recollections of Sixty
Years" (1914) and John Castell Hopkins's "Life and Work of Sir
John Thompson" (1895) give a Conservative version of the period.
Sir Joseph Pope's "The Day of Sir John Macdonald" ("Chronicles of
Canada", 1915), and O. D. Skelton's "The Day of Sir Wilfrid
Laurier" ("Chronicles of Canada", 1916) between them cover the
whole period briefly. L. J. Burpee's "Sandford Fleming" (1915) is
one of the few biographies dealing with industrial as distinct
from political leaders. Imperial relations may be studied in G.
R. Parkin's "Imperial Federation, the Problem of National Unity"
(1892) and in L. Curtis's "The Problem of the Commonwealth"
(1916), which advocate imperial federation, and in R. Jebb's "The
Britannic Question; a Survey of Alternatives" (1913), J. S.
Ewart's "The Kingdom Papers" (1912-), and A. B. Keith's "Imperial
Unity and the Dominions" (1916), which criticize that solution
from different standpoints. The "Reports" of the Imperial
Conferences of 1887, 1894, 1897, 1902, 1907, 1911, 1917, are of
much value. Relations with the United States are discussed
judiciously in W. A. Dunning's "The British Empire and the United
States" (1914). Phases of Canada's recent development other than
political are covered best in the volumes of "Canada and its
Provinces", a History of the Canadian people and their
institutions, edited by A. Shortt and A. G. Doughty.

A useful guide to recent books dealing with Canadian history will
be found in the annual "Review of Historical Publications
Relating to Canada", published by the University of Toronto (1896
to date).

End of Project Gutenberg's The Canadian Dominion, by Oscar D. Skelton


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