MoboReader> Literature > Canada under British Rule 1760-1900

   Chapter 9 CONFEDERATION. 1867—1900.

Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 By John George Bourinot Characters: 152458

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

SECTION I-The first parliament of the Dominion of Canada. 1867-1872.

The Dominion of Canada took its place among the federal states of the world on the first of July, 1867. Upper and Lower Canada now became known as Ontario and Quebec, while Nova Scotia and New Brunswick retained their original historic names. The first governor-general was Viscount Monk, who had been head of the executive government of Canada throughout all the stages of confederation. He was an Irish nobleman, who had been a junior lord of the treasury in Lord Palmerston's government. He was a collateral descendant of the famous general of the commonwealth, created Duke of Albemarle after the Restoration. Without being a man of remarkable ability he was gifted with much discretion, and gave all the weight of his influence to bring about a federation, whose great benefits from an imperial as well as a colonial point of view he fully recognised.

The prime minister of the first federal government was naturally Sir John Macdonald, who chose as his colleagues Sir George E. Cartier, Sir S.L. Tilley,-to give them all their later titles-Sir A.T. Galt, Sir W.P. Howland, Mr. William McDougall, Mr. P. Mitchell, Sir A.G. Archibald, Mr. A.F. Blair, Sir A. Campbell, Sir H.L. Langevin, Sir E. Kenny, and Mr. J.C. Chapais. Mr. Brown had retired from the coalition government of 1864 some months before the union, nominally on a disagreement with his colleagues as to the best mode of conducting negotiations for a new reciprocity treaty with the United States. The ministry had appointed delegates to confer with the Washington government on the subject, but, while Mr. Brown recognised the desirability of reciprocal trade relations with the United States on equitable conditions, he did not deem it expedient to appear before American statesmen "as suitors for any terms they might be pleased to grant." A general impression, however, prevailed that this difference of opinion was not the real reason of Mr. Brown's resignation, but that the animating motive was his intense jealousy of Sir John Macdonald, whose dominant influence in the government he could no longer brook.

The governments of the four provinces were also regularly constituted at this time in accordance with the act of union. The first lieutenant-governor of Ontario was Lieutenant-General Stisted, of Quebec, Sir Narcisse Belleau; of Nova Scotia, Lieutenant-General Sir Fenwick Williams, the hero of Kars; of New Brunswick, Major-General Doyle, but only for three months. With the exception of the case of Quebec, these appointments were only temporary. It was considered prudent to select military men in view of the continuous reports of Fenian aggression. Sir William Howland became, a year later, lieutenant-governor of Ontario, Major-General Sir Francis Hastings Doyle of Nova Scotia in the fall of 1867, and Hon. L.A. Wilmot, of New Brunswick in July 1868. The first prime minister of Ontario was Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, who had been leader of a Canadian ministry before confederation. He had been a moderate Liberal in politics, and opposed at the outset to the federal union, but before 1867 he became identified with the Liberal-Conservative party and gave his best assistance to the success of the federation. In Quebec, Mr. Pierre Chauveau, a man of high culture, formed the first government, which was also associated with the Liberal-Conservative party. In New Brunswick, Attorney-General Wetmore was the first prime minister, but he was appointed a judge in 1870, and Mr. George E. King, a judge of the supreme court of Canada some years later, became his successor. In Nova Scotia, Mr. Hiram Blanchard, a Liberal and unionist, formed a government, but it was defeated at the elections by an overwhelming majority by the anti-unionists, and Mr. Annand, the old friend of Mr. Howe, became first minister.

The elections for the Dominion house of commons took place in the summer of 1867, and Sir John Macdonald's government was sustained by nearly three-fourths of the entire representation. The most notable incident in this contest was the defeat of Mr. Brown. Soon after his resignation in 1866 he assumed his old position of hostility to Sir John Macdonald and the Conservatives. At a later date, when the Liberals were in office, he accepted a seat in the senate, but in the meantime he continued to manage the Globe and denounce his too successful and wily antagonist in its columns with his usual vehemence.

The first parliament of the new Dominion met in the autumn of 1867 in the new buildings at Ottawa-also chosen as the seat of government of the federation-and was probably the ablest body of men that ever assembled for legislative purposes within the limits of old or new Canada. In the absence of the legislation which was subsequently passed both in Ontario and Quebec against dual representation-or the election of the same representatives to both the Dominion parliament and the local legislatures-it comprised the leading public men of all parties in the two provinces in question. Such legislation had been enacted in the maritime provinces before 1867, but it did not prevent the ablest men of New Brunswick from selecting the larger and more ambitious field of parliamentary action. In Nova Scotia Sir Charles Tupper was the only man who emerged from the battle in which so many unionists were for the moment defeated. Even Sir Adams Archibald, the secretary of state, was defeated in a county where he had been always returned by a large majority. Mr. Howe came in at the head of a strong phalanx of anti-unionists-"Repealers" as they called themselves for a short time.

The legislation of the first parliament during its five years of existence was noteworthy in many respects. The departments of government were reorganised with due regard to the larger interests now intrusted to their care. The new department of marine and fisheries, rendered necessary by the admission of the maritime provinces, was placed under the direction of Mr. Peter Mitchell, then a member of the senate, who had done so much to bring New Brunswick into the union. An act was passed to provide for the immediate commencement of the Intercolonial Railway, which was actually completed by the 1st of July, 1876, under the supervision of Mr., now Sir, Sandford Fleming, as chief government engineer; and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec were at last directly connected with the maritime sections of the Dominion.

The repeal agitation in Nova Scotia received its first blow by the defection of Mr. Howe, who had been elected to the house of commons. He proceeded to England in 1868 with an address from the assembly of Nova Scotia, demanding a repeal of the union, but he made no impression whatever on a government and parliament convinced of the necessity of the measure from an imperial as well as colonial point of view. Dr. Tupper was present on behalf of the Dominion government to answer any arguments that the Repealers might advance against the union. The visit to England convinced Mr. Howe that further agitation on the question might be injurious to British connection, and that the wisest course was to make the union as useful as possible to the provinces. Then, as always, he was true to those principles of fidelity to the crown and empire which had forced his father to seek refuge in Nova Scotia, and which had been ever the mainspring of his action, even in the trying days when he and others were struggling for responsible government. He believed always in constitutional agitation, not in rebellion. He now agreed to enter the ministry as president of the council on condition that the financial basis, on which Nova Scotia had been admitted to the federation, was enlarged by the parliament of Canada. These "better terms" were brought before the Canadian parliament in the session of 1869, and provided for the granting of additional allowances to the provinces, calculated on increased amounts of debt as compared with the maximum fixed by the terms of the British North America Act of 1867. They met with strong opposition from Edward Blake, a very eminent lawyer and Reformer of Ontario, on the ground that they violated the original compact of union as set forth in the British North America Act; but despite the opposition of the western Reformers they were ratified by a large majority, who recognised the supreme necessity of conciliating Nova Scotia. On account of his decision to yield to the inevitable, Mr. Howe incurred the bitter antagonism of many men who had been his staunch followers in all the political contests of Nova Scotia, and it was with the greatest difficulty that he was re-elected for the county of Hants as a minister of the crown. He remained in the government until May, 1873, when he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia. The worries of a long life of political struggles, and especially the fatigue and exposure of the last election in Hants, had impaired his health and made it absolutely necessary that he should retire from active politics. Only a month after his appointment, the printer, poet and politician died in the famous old government house, admittance to which had been denied him in the stormy days when he fought Lord Falkland. It was a fit ending, assuredly, to the life of the statesman, who, with eloquent pen and voice, in the days when his opinions were even offensive to governors and social leaders, ever urged the right of his countrymen to a full measure of self-government.

Canada and all other parts of the British empire were deeply shocked on an April day of 1868 by the tragic announcement of the assassination of the brilliant Irishman, Thomas D'Arcy McGee on his return late at night from his parliamentary duties. He had never been forgiven by the Irish enemies of England for his strenuous efforts in Canada to atone for the indiscretion of his thoughtless youth. His remains were buried with all the honours that the state could give him, and proper provision was made for the members of his family by that parliament of which he had been one of the most notable figures. The murderer, Thomas Whelan, a member of the secret society that had ordered his death, was executed at Ottawa on the 11th February, 1869.

SECTION 2.-Extension of the Dominion from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. 1869-1873.

The government and parliament, to whom were entrusted the destinies of the federation of four provinces, had a great work to accomplish in the way of perfecting and extending the Dominion, which was necessarily incomplete whilst its western territorial limits were confined to the boundaries of Ontario, and the provinces of British Columbia on the Pacific coast and of Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence remained in a position of isolation. The provisions of the British North America Act of 1867 provided in general terms for the addition of the immense territories which extend from the head of Lake Superior in a north-westerly direction as far as the Rocky Mountains. Three great basins divide these territories; Hudson Bay Basin, with probably a drainage of 2,250,000 square miles; the Winnipeg sub-basin tributary to the former, with nearly 400,000 square miles; the Mackenzie River basin with nearly 700,000 square miles. The Winnipeg basin covers a great area of prairie lands, whose luxuriant grasses and wild flowers were indented for centuries only by the tracks of herds of innumerable buffaloes on their way to the tortuous and sluggish streams which flow through that wide region. This plain slopes gently towards the arctic seas into which its waters flow, and is also remarkable for rising gradually from its eastern limits in three distinct elevations or steppes as far as the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains. Forests of trees, small for the most part, are found only when the prairies are left and we reach the more picturesque undulating country through which the North Saskatchewan flows. An extraordinary feature of this great region is the continuous chain of lakes and rivers which stretch from the basin of the St. Lawrence as far as the distant northern sea into which the Mackenzie, the second largest river in North America, carries its enormous volume of waters. As we stand on the rugged heights of land which divides the Winnipeg from the Laurentian basin we are within easy reach of rivers which flow, some to arctic seas, some to the Atlantic, and some to the Gulf of Mexico. If we ascend the Saskatchewan River, from Lake Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains, we shall find ourselves within a measurable distance not only of the sources of the Mackenzie, one of whose tributaries reaches the head waters of the Yukon, a river of golden promise like the Pactolus of the eastern lands-but also within reach of the head waters of the rapid Columbia, and the still more impetuous Fraser, both of which pour into the Pacific Ocean, as well as of the Missouri, which here accumulates strength for its alliance with the Mississippi, that great artery of a more southern land. It was to this remarkable geographical feature that Oliver Wendell Holmes referred in the following well-known verses:

"Yon stream whose sources run

Turned by a pebble's edge,

Is Athabaska rolling toward the Sun

Through the cleft mountain ledge."

"The slender rill had strayed,

But for the slanting stone,

To evening's ocean, with the tangled braid

Of foam-flecked Oregon."


A great company claimed for two centuries exclusive trading privileges over a large portion of these territories, known as Rupert's Land, by virtue of a charter given by King Charles II, on the 2nd May, 1670, to Prince Rupert, the Duke of Albemarle, and other Englishmen of rank and wealth. The early operations of this Company of Adventurers of England were confined to the vicinity of Hudson and James Bays. The French of Canada for many years disputed the rights of the English company to this great region, but it was finally ceded to England by the Treaty of Utrecht. Twenty years after the Treaty of Paris (1763) a number of wealthy and enterprising merchants, chiefly Scotch, established at Montreal the North-West Company for the purpose of trading in those north-western territories to which French traders had been the first to venture. This new company carried on its operations with such activity that in thirty years' time it employed four thousand persons and occupied sixty posts in different parts of the territories.

The Hudson's Bay Company's headquarters was York Factory, on the great bay to which British ships, every summer, brought out supplies for the posts. The North-West Company followed the route of the old French traders from Lachine by way of the Ottawa or the lakes to the head of Lake Superior, and its principal depot was Fort William on the Kaministiquia River. The servants of the North-West Company became indefatigable explorers of the territories as far as the Pacific Ocean and arctic seas. Mr., afterwards Sir, Alexander Mackenzie first followed the river which now bears his name, to the Arctic Ocean, into which it pours its mighty volume of water. He was also the first to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach the Pacific coast. Simon Fraser, another employee of the company, discovered, in 1808, the river which still recalls his exploits; and a little later, David Thompson, from whom a river is named, crossed further south and reached Oregon by the Columbia River. The energetic operations of the North-west Company so seriously affected the business of the Hudson's Bay Company that in some years the latter declared no dividends. The rivalry between the two companies reached its highest between 1811 and 1818, when Thomas Douglas, fifth Earl of Selkirk, who was an enthusiastic promoter of colonisation in British North America, obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company an immense tract of land in the Red River country and made an earnest effort to establish a Scotch settlement at Kildonan. But his efforts to people Assiniboia-the Indian name he gave to his wide domain-were baulked by the opposition of the employees of the North-west Company, who regarded this colonising scheme as fatal to the fur trade. In the territory conveyed to Lord Selkirk, the Montreal Company had established posts upon every river and lake, while the Hudson's Bay Company had only one fort of importance, Fort Douglas, within a short distance of the North-west Company's post of Fort Gibraltar, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, where the city of Winnipeg now stands. The quarrel between the Scotch settlers who were under the protection of the Hudson's Bay Company and the North-westers, chiefly composed of French Canadians and French half-breeds, or Métis culminated in 1816, in the massacre of Governor Semple and twenty-six other persons connected with the new colony by a number of half-breeds. Two years later, a number of persons who had been arrested for this murder were tried at York in Upper Canada, but the evidence was so conflicting on account of the false swearing on the part of the witnesses that the jury were forced to acquit the accused. Lord Selkirk died at Pau, in 1820, but not before he had made an attempt to assist his young settlement, almost broken up by the shameful attack of 1816.

The little colony managed to exist, but its difficulties were aggravated from time to time by the ravages of clouds of grasshoppers which devastated the territories and brought the people to the verge of starvation. In March, 1821, the North-west Company made over all their property to the older company, which now reigned supreme throughout the territories. All doubts as to their rights were set at rest by an act of parliament giving them a monopoly of trade for twenty-one years in what were then generally known as the Indian territories, that vast region which lay beyond the confines of Rupert's Land, and was not strictly covered by the charter of 1670. This act was re-enacted in 1838 for another twenty-one years. No further extension, however, was ever granted, as an agitation had commenced in Canada by 1859 for the surrender of the company's privileges and the opening up of the territories, so long a great "lone land," to enterprise and settlement. When the two rival companies were united, Mr., afterwards Sir, George Simpson, became governor, and he continued to occupy that position until 1860, when he died in his residence at Lachine, near Montreal. This energetic man largely extended the geographical knowledge of the wide dominions entrusted to his charge, though like all the servants of the company, he discouraged settlement and minimised the agricultural capabilities of the country, when examined in 1857 before a committee of the English house of commons. In 1837 the company purchased from Lord Selkirk's heirs all their rights in Assiniboia. The Scotch settlers and the French half-breeds were now in close contiguity to each other on the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The company established a simple form of government for the maintenance of law and order. In the course of time, their council included not only their principal factors and officials, but a few persons selected from the inhabitants. On the whole, law and order prevailed in the settlements, although there was always latent a certain degree of sullen discontent against the selfish rule of a mere fur company, invested with such great powers. The great object of the company was always to keep out the pioneers of settlement, and give no information of the value of the land and resources of their vast domain.

Some years before the federation of the British-American provinces the public men of Canada had commenced an agitation against the company, with the view of relieving from its monopoly a country whose resources were beginning to be known. Colonial delegates on several occasions interviewed the imperial authorities on the subject, but no practical results were obtained until federation became an accomplished fact. Then, at length, the company recognised the necessity of yielding to the pressure that was brought to bear upon them by the British government, at a time when the interests of the empire as well as of the new Dominion demanded the abolition of a monopoly so hostile to the conditions of modern progress in British North America. In 1868 successful negotiations took place between a Canadian delegation-Sir George Cartier and the Hon. William Macdougall-and the Hudson's Bay Company's representatives for the surrender of their imperial domain. Canada agreed to pay £300,000 sterling, and to reserve certain lands for the company. The terms were approved by the Canadian parliament in 1869, and an act was passed for the temporary government of Rupert's Land and the North-west territory when regularly transferred to Canada. In the summer of that year, surveyors were sent under Colonel Dennis to make surveys of townships in Assiniboia; and early in the autumn Mr. Macdougall was appointed lieutenant-governor of the territories, with the understanding that he should not act in an official capacity until he was authoritatively informed from Ottawa of the legal transfer of the country to the Canadian government. Mr. Macdougall left for Fort Garry in September, but he was unable to reach Red River on account of a rising of the half-breeds. The cause of the troubles is to be traced not simply to the apathy of the Hudson's Bay Company's officials, who took no steps to prepare the settlers for the change of government, nor to the fact that the Canadian authorities neglected to consult the wishes of the inhabitants, but chiefly to the belief that prevailed among the ignorant French half-breeds that it was proposed to take their lands from them. Sir John Macdonald admitted, at a later time, that much of the trouble arose "from the lack of conciliation, tact and prudence shown by the surveyors during the summer of 1869." Mr. Macdougall also appears to have disobeyed his instructions, for he attempted to set up his government by a coup-de-main on the 1st December, though he had no official information of the transfer of the country to Canada, and was not legally entitled to perform a single official act.

The rebellious half-breeds of the Red River settlement formed a provisional government, in which one Louis Riel was the controlling spirit from the beginning until the end of the revolt. He was a French Canadian half-breed, who had been educated in one of the French Canadian colleges, and always exercised much influence over his ignorant, impulsive, easily-deluded countrymen. The total population living in the settlements of Assiniboia at that time was about twelve thousand, of whom nearly one-half were Métis or half-breeds, mostly the descendants of the coureurs-de-bois and voyageurs of early times. So long as the buffalo ranged the prairies in large numbers, they were hunters, and cared nothing for the relatively tame pursuit of agriculture. Their small farms generally presented a neglected, impoverished appearance. The great majority had adopted the habits of their Indian lineage, and would neglect their farms for weeks to follow the scarce buffalo to their distant feeding grounds. The Scotch half-breed, the offspring of the marriage of Scotchmen with Indian women, still illustrated the industry and energy of his paternal race, and rose superior to Indian surroundings. It was among the French half-breeds that Riel found his supporters. The Scotch and English settlers had disapproved of the sudden transfer of the territory in which they and their parents had so long lived, without any attempt having been made to consult their feelings as to the future government of the country. Though they took no active part in the rebellion, they allowed matters to take their course with indifference and sullen resignation. The employees of the Hudson's Bay Company were dissatisfied with the sale of the company's rights, as it meant, in their opinion, a loss of occupation and influence. The portion of the population that was always quite ready to hasten the acquisition of the territory by Canada, and resolutely opposed Riel from the outset, was the small Canadian element, which was led by Dr. Schultz, an able, determined man, afterwards lieutenant-governor of Manitoba. Riel imprisoned and insulted several of the loyal party who opposed him. At last he ruthlessly ordered the execution of one Thomas Scott, an Ontario man, who had defied him.

While these events were in progress, the Canadian government enlisted in the interests of law and order the services of Mr. Donald Smith, now Lord Strathcona, who had been long connected with the Hudson's Bay Company, and also of Archbishop Taché, of St. Boniface-the principal French settlement in the country-who returned from Rome to act as mediator between the Canadian authorities and his deluded flock. Unhappily, before the Archbishop could reach Fort Garry, Scott had been murdered, and the Dominion government could not consider themselves bound by the terms they were ready to offer to the insurgents under a very different condition of things. The murder of Scott had clearly brought Riel and his associates under the provisions of the criminal law; and public opinion in Ontario would not tolerate an amnesty, as was hastily promised by the Archbishop, in his zeal to bring the rebellion to an end. A force of 1200 regulars and volunteers was sent to the Red River towards the end of May, 1870, under the command of Colonel Wolseley, now a field-marshal and a peer of the realm. Riel fled across the frontier before the troops, after a tedious journey of three months from the day they left Toronto, reached Fort Garry. Peace was restored once more to the settlers of Assiniboia. The Canadian government had had several interviews with delegates from the discontented people of Red River, who had prepared what they called "a Bill of Rights," and it was therefore able intelligently to decide on the best form of governing the territories. The imperial government completed the formal transfer of the country to Canada, and the Canadian parliament in 1870 passed an act to provide for the government of a new province of Manitoba. Representation was given to the people in both houses of the Canadian parliament, and provision was made for a provincial government on the same basis that existed in the old provinces of the Dominion. The lieutenant-governor of the province was also, for the present, to govern the unorganised portion of the North-west with the assistance of a council of eleven persons. The first legislature of Manitoba was elected in the early part of 1871, and a provincial government was formed, with Mr. Albert Boyd as provincial secretary. The first lieutenant-governor was Sir Adams Archibald, the eminent Nova Scotian, who had been defeated in the elections of 1867. Mr. Macdougall had returned from the North-west frontier a deeply disappointed man, who would never admit that he had shown any undue haste in commencing the exercise of his powers as governor. Some years later he disappeared from active public life, after a career during which he had performed many useful services for Canada.

In another chapter on the relations between Canada and the United States I shall refer to the results of the international commission which met at Washington in 1870, to consider the Alabama difficulty, the fishery dispute, and other questions, the settlement of which could be no longer delayed. In 1870, while the Red River settlements were still in a troublous state, the Fenians made two attempts to invade the Eastern Townships, but they were easily repulsed and forced to cross the frontier. They were next heard of in 1871, when they attempted, under the leadership of the irrepressible O'Neil, who had also been engaged in 1870, and of O'Donohue, one of Riel's rebellious associates, to make a raid into Manitoba by way of Pembina, but their prompt arrest by a company of United States troops was the inglorious conclusion of the last effort of a dying and worthless organisation to strike a blow at England through Canada.

The Dominion government was much embarrassed for some years by the complications that arose from Riel's revolt and the murder of Scott. An agitation grew up in Ontario for the arrest of the murderers; and when Mr. Blake succeeded Mr. Sandfield Macdonald as leader of the Ontario government, a large reward was offered for the capture of Riel and such of his associates as were still in the territories. On the other hand, Sir George Cartier and the French Canadians were in favour of an amnesty. The Macdonald ministry consequently found itself on the horns of a dilemma; and the political tension was only relieved for a time when Riel and Lepine left Manitoba, on receiving a considerable sum of money from Sir John Macdonald. Although this fact was not known until 1875, when a committee of the house of commons investigated the affairs of the North-west, there was a general impression after 1870 throughout Ontario-an impression which had much effect on the general election of 1872-that the government had no sincere desire to bring Riel and his associates to justice.

In 1871 the Dominion welcomed into the union the great mountainous province of British Columbia, whose picturesque shores recall the memories of Cook, Vancouver and other maritime adventurers of the last century, and whose swift rivers are associated with the exploits of Mackenzie, Thompson, Quesnel, Fraser and other daring men, who first saw the impetuous waters which rush through the ca?ons of the great mountains of the province until at last they empty themselves into the Pacific Ocean. For many years Vancouver Island and the mainland, first known as New Caledonia, were under the control of the Hudson's Bay Company. Vancouver Island was nominally made a crown colony in 1849; that is, a colony without representative institutions, in which the government is carried on by a governor and council, appointed by the crown. The official authority continued from 1851 practically in the hands of the company's chief factor, Sir James Douglas, a man of signal ability, who was also the governor of the infant colony. In 1856 an assembly was called, despite the insignificant population of the island. In 1858 New Caledonia was organised as a crown colony under the name of British Columbia, as a consequence of the gold discoveries which brought in many people. Sir James Douglas was also appointed governor of British Columbia, and continued in that position until 1864. In 1866, the colony was united with Vancouver Island under the general designation of British Columbia. When the province entered the confederation of Canada in 1871 it was governed by a lieutenant-governor appointed by the crown, a legislature composed of heads of the public departments and several elected members. With the entrance of this province, so famous now for its treasures of gold, coal and other minerals in illimitable quantities, must be associated the name of Sir Joseph Trutch, the first lieutenant-governor under the auspices of the federation. The province did not come into the union with the same constitution that was enjoyed by the other provinces, but it was expressly declared in the terms of union that "the government of the Dominion will readily consent to the introduction of responsible government when desired by the inhabitants of British Columbia." Accordingly, soon after its admission, the province obtained a constitution similar to that of other provinces: a lieutenant-governor, a responsible executive council and an elective assembly. Representation was given it in both houses of the Dominion parliament, and the members took their seats during the session of 1872. In addition to the payment of a considerable subsidy for provincial expenses, the Dominion government pledged itself to secure the construction of a railway within two years from the date of union to connect the seaboard of British Columbia with the railway system of Canada, to commence the work simultaneously at both ends of the line, and to complete it within ten years from the admission of the colony to the confederation.

In 1872 a general election was held in the Dominion, and while the government was generally sustained, it came back with a minority from Ontario. The Riel agitation, the Washington Treaty, and the undertaking to finish the Pacific railway in so short a time, were questions which weakened the ministry. The most encouraging feature of the elections was the complete defeat of the anti-unionists in Nova Scotia,-the prelude to their disappearance as a party-all the representatives, with the exception of one member, being pledged to support a government whose chief merit was its persistent effort to cement the union and extend it from ocean to ocean. Sir Francis Hincks, finance minister since 1870, was defeated in Ontario and Sir George Cartier in Montreal. Both these gentlemen found constituencies elsewhere, but Sir George Cartier never took his seat, as his health had been seriously impaired, and he died in England in 1873. The state gave a public funeral to this great French Canadian, always animated by a sincere desire to weld the two races together on principles of compromise and justice. Sir Francis Hincks also disappeared from public life in 1873, and died at Montreal in 1885 from an attack of malignant small-pox. The sad circumstances of his death forbade any public or even private display, and the man who filled so many important positions in the empire was carried to the grave with those precautions which are necessary in the case of those who fall victims to an infectious disease.

But while these two eminent men disappeared from the public life of Canada, two others began now to occupy a more prominent place in Dominion affairs. These were Mr. Edward Blake and Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, who had retired from the Ontario legislature when an act was passed, as in other provinces, against dual representation, which made it necessary for them to elect between federal and provincial politics. Sir Oliver Mowat, who had retired from the bench, was chosen prime minister of Ontario on the 25th October, 1872, and continued to hold the position with great success and profit to the province until 1896, when he became minister of justice in the Liberal government formed by Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

In 1873 Prince Edward Island yielded to the influences which had been working for some years in the direction of union, and allied her fortunes with those of her sister provinces. The public men who were mainly instrumental in bringing about this happy result, after much discussion in the legislature and several conferences with the Dominion government, were the following: Mr. R.P. Haythorne, afterwards a senator; Mr. David Laird, at a later time minister in Mr. Mackenzie's government and a lieutenant-governor of the North-west territories; Mr. James C. Pope, who became a member of Sir John Macdonald's cabinet in 1879; Mr. T.H. Haviland, and Mr. G.W. Howlan, who were in later years lieutenant-governors of the island. The terms of union made not only very favourable financial arrangements for the support of the provincial government, but also allowed a sum of money for the purpose of extinguishing the claims of the landlords to whom the greater portion of the public domain had been given by the British government more than a hundred years before. The constitution of the executive authority and the legislature remained as before confederation. Adequate representation was allowed to the island in the Canadian parliament, and the members accordingly took their places in the senate and the house of commons during the short October session of 1873, when Sir John Macdonald's government resigned on account of transactions arising out of the first efforts to construct the Canadian Pacific railway.

The Dominion was now extended for a distance of about 3,500 miles, from the island of Prince Edward in the east to the island of Vancouver in the west. The people of the great island of Newfoundland, the oldest colony of the British crown in North America, have, however, always shown a determined opposition to the proposed federation, from the time when their delegates returned from the Quebec convention of 1864. Negotiations have taken place more than once for the entrance of the island into the federal union, but so far no satisfactory arrangement has been attained. The advocates of union, down to the present time, have never been able to create that strong public opinion which would sustain any practical movement in the direction of carrying Newfoundland out of its unfortunate position of insular, selfish isolation, and making it an active partner in the material, political, and social progress of the provinces of the Canadian Dominion. Financial and political difficulties have steadily hampered the development of the island until very recently, and the imperial government has been obliged to intervene for the purpose of bringing about an adjustment of questions which, more than once, have rendered the operation of local self-government very troublesome. The government of the Dominion, on its side, while always ready to welcome the island into the confederation, has been perplexed by the difficulty of making satisfactory financial arrangements for the admission of a colony, heavily burdened with debt, and occupying a position by no means so favourable as that of the provinces now comprised within the Dominion. Some Canadians also see some reason for hesitation on the part of the Dominion in the existence of the French shore question, which prejudicially affects the territorial interests of a large portion of the coast of the island, and affords a forcible example of the little attention paid to colonial interests in those old times when English statesmen were chiefly swayed by considerations of European policy.

SECTION 3.-Summary of noteworthy events from 1873 until 1900.

On the 4th November, 1873, Sir John Macdonald placed his resignation in the hands of the governor-general, the Earl of Dufferin; and the first ministry of the Dominion came to an end after six years of office. The circumstances of this resignation were regrettable in the extreme. In 1872 two companies received charters for the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway-one of them under the direction of probably the wealthiest man in Canada, Sir Hugh Allan of Montreal, and the other under the presidency of the Honourable David Macpherson, a capitalist of Toronto. The government was unwilling for political reasons to give the preference to either of these companies, and tried to bring about an amalgamation. While negotiations were proceeding with this object in view, the general elections of 1872 came on, and Sir Hugh Allan made large contributions to the funds of the Conservative party. The facts were disclosed in 1873 before a royal commission appointed by the governor-general to inquire into charges made in the Canadian house of commons by a prominent Liberal, Mr. Huntington. An investigation ordered by the house when the charges were first brought forward, had failed chiefly on account of the legal inability of the committee to take evidence under oath; and the government then advised the appointment of the commission in question. Parliament was called together in October, 1873, to receive the report of the commissioners, and after a long and vehement debate Sir John Macdonald, not daring to test the opinion of the house by a vote, immediately resigned. In justice to Sir John Macdonald it must be stated that Sir Hugh Allan knew, before he subscribed a single farthing, that the privilege of building the railway could be conceded only to an amalgamated company. When it was shown some months after the elections that the proposed amalgamation could not be effected, the government issued a royal charter to a new company in which all the provinces were fairly represented, and in which Sir Hugh Allan appears at first to have had no special influence, although the directors of their own motion, subsequently selected him as president on account of his wealth and business standing in Canada. Despite Sir John Macdonald's plausible explanations to the governor-general, and his vigorous and even pathetic appeal to the house before he resigned, the whole transaction was unequivocally condemned by sound public opinion. His own confidential secretary, whom he had chosen before his death as his biographer, admits that even a large body of his faithful supporters "were impelled to the conclusion that a government which had benefited politically by large sums of money contributed by a person with whom it was negotiating on the part of the Dominion, could no longer command their confidence or support, and that for them the time had come to choose between their conscience and their party."

The immediate consequence of this very unfortunate transaction was the formation of a Liberal government by Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, the leader of the opposition, who had entered the old parliament of Canada in 1861, and had been treasurer in the Ontario ministry led by Mr. Blake until 1872. He was Scotch by birth, and a stonemason by trade. He came to Canada in early manhood, and succeeded in raising himself above his originally humble position to the highest in the land. His great decision of character, his clear, logical intellect, his lucid, incisive style of speaking, his great fidelity to principle, his inflexible honesty of purpose, made him a force in the Liberal party, who gladly welcomed him as the leader of a government. When he appealed to the country in 1874, he was supported by a very large majority of the representatives of the people. His administration remained in office until the autumn of 1878, and passed many measures of great usefulness to the Dominion. The North-west territories were separated from the government of Manitoba, and first organised under a lieutenant-governor and council, appointed by the governor-general of Canada. In 1875, pending the settlement of the western boundary of Ontario, it was necessary to create a separate territory out of the eastern part of the North-west, known as the district of Keewatin, which was placed under the jurisdiction of the lieutenant-governor of Manitoba. This boundary dispute was not settled until 1884, when the judicial committee of the privy council, to whose decision the question had been referred, materially altered the limits of Keewatin and extended the western boundaries of Ontario. In 1878, in response to an address of the Canadian parliament, an imperial order in council was passed to annex to the Dominion all British possessions in North America not then included within the confederation-an order intended to place beyond question the right of Canada to all British North America except Newfoundland. In the course of succeeding years a system of local government was established in the North-west territories and a representation allowed them in the senate and house of commons.

As soon as the North-west became a part of the Dominion, the Canadian government recognised the necessity of making satisfactory arrangements with the Indian tribes. The policy first laid down in the proclamation of 1763 was faithfully carried out in this great region. Between 1871 and 1877 seven treaties were made by the Canadian government with the Crees, Chippewas, Salteaux, Ojibways, Blackfeet, Bloods and Piegans, who received certain reserves of land, annual payments of money and other benefits, as compensation for making over to Canada their title to the vast country where they had been so long the masters. From that day to this the Indians have become the wards of the government, who have always treated them with every consideration. The Indians live on reserves allotted to them in certain districts where schools of various classes have been provided for their instruction. They are systematically taught farming and other industrial pursuits; agents and instructors visit the reserves from time to time to see that the interests of the Indians are protected; and the sale of spirits is especially forbidden in the territories chiefly with the view of guarding the Indians from such baneful influences. The policy of the government for the past thirty years has been on the whole most satisfactory from every point of view. In the course of a few decades the Indians of the prairies will be an agricultural population, able to support themselves.

The Mackenzie ministry established a supreme court, or general court of appeal, for Canada. The election laws were amended so as to abolish public nominations and property qualification for members of the house of commons, as well as to provide for vote by ballot and simultaneous polling at a general election-a wise provision which had existed for some years in the province of Nova Scotia. An act passed by Sir John Macdonald's government for the trial of controverted elections by judges was amended, and a more ample and effective provision made for the repression and punishment of bribery and corruption at elections. A force of mounted police was organised for the maintenance of law and order in the North-west territories. The enlargement of the St. Lawrence system of canals was vigorously prosecuted in accordance with the report of a royal commission, appointed in 1870 by the previous administration to report on this important system of waterways. A Canada temperance act-known by the name of Senator Scott, who introduced it when secretary of state-was passed to allow electors in any county to exercise what is known as "local option"; that is to say, to decide by their votes at the polls whether they would permit the sale of intoxicating liquors within their respective districts. This act was declared by the judicial committee of the privy council to be constitutional and was extended in the course of time to very many counties of the several provinces; but eventually it was found quite impracticable to enforce the law, and the great majority of those districts of Ontario and Quebec, which had been carried away for a time on a great wave of moral reform to adopt the act, decided by an equally large vote to repeal it. The agitation for the extension of this law finally merged into a wide-spread movement among the temperance people of the Dominion for the passage of a prohibitory liquor law by the parliament of Canada. In 1898 the question was submitted to the electors of the provinces and territories by the Laurier government. The result was a majority of only 14,000 votes in favour of prohibition out of a total vote of 543,049, polled throughout the Dominion. The province of Quebec declared itself against the measure by an overwhelming vote. The temperance people then demanded that the Dominion government should take immediate action in accordance with this vote; but the prime minister stated emphatically to the house of commons as soon as parliament opened in March, 1899, "that the voice of the electorate, which has been pronounced in favour of prohibition-only twenty-three per cent. of the total electoral vote of the Dominion-is not such as to justify the government in introducing a prohibitory law." In the premier's opinion the government would not be justified in following such a course "unless at least one-half of the electorate declared itself at the polls in its favour." In the province of Manitoba, where the people have pronounced themselves conclusively in favour of prohibition, the Macdonald government are now moving to give effect to the popular wishes and restrain the liquor traffic so far as it is possible to go under the provisions of the British North America act of 1867 and the decisions of the courts as to provincial powers.

For two years and even longer, after its coming into office, the Mackenzie government was harassed by the persistent effort that was made in French Canada for the condonation of the serious offences committed by Riel and his principal associates during the rebellion of 1870. Riel had been elected by a Manitoba constituency in 1874 to the Dominion house of commons and actually took the oath of allegiance in the clerk's office, but he never attempted to sit, and was subsequently expelled as a fugitive from criminal justice. Lepine was convicted of murder at Winnipeg and sentenced to be hanged, when the governor-general, Lord Dufferin, intervened and commuted the sentence to two years' imprisonment, with the approval of the imperial authorities, to whom, as an imperial officer entrusted with large responsibility in the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, he had referred the whole question. Soon afterwards the government yielded to the strong pressure from French Canada and relieved the tension of the public situation by obtaining from the representative of the crown an amnesty for all persons concerned in the North-west troubles, with the exception of Riel and Lepine, who were banished for five years, when they also were to be pardoned. O'Donohue was not included, as his first offence had been aggravated by his connection with the Fenian raid of 1871, but he was allowed in 1877 the benefit of the amnesty. The action of Lord Dufferin in pardoning Lepine and thereby relieving his ministers from all responsibility in the matter was widely criticised, and no doubt had much to do with bringing about an alteration in the terms of the governor-general's commission and his instructions with respect to the prerogative of mercy. Largely through the instrumentality of Mr. Blake, who visited England for the purpose, in 1875, new commissions and instructions have been issued to Lord Dufferin's successors, with a due regard to the larger measure of constitutional freedom now possessed by the Dominion of Canada. As respects the exercise of the prerogative of mercy, the independent judgment of the governor-general may be exercised in cases of imperial interest, but only after consultation with his responsible advisers, while he is at liberty to yield to their judgment in all cases of local concern.

One of the most important questions with which the Mackenzie government was called upon to deal was the construction of the Canadian Pacific railway. It was first proposed to utilise the "water-stretches" on the route of the railroad, and in that way lessen its cost, but the scheme was soon found to be impracticable. The people of British Columbia were aggrieved at the delay in building the railway, and several efforts were made to arrange the difficulty through the intervention of the Earl of Carnarvon, colonial secretary of state, of the governor-general when he visited the province in 1876, and of Mr., afterwards Sir, James Edgar, who was authorised to treat with the provincial government on the subject. At the instance of the secretary of state the government agreed to build immediately a road from Esquimalt to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, to prosecute the surveys with vigour, and make arrangements for the completion of the railway in 1890. Mr. Blake opposed these terms, and in doing so no doubt represented the views of a large body of the Liberal party, who believed that the government of Canada had in 1871 entered into the compact with British Columbia without sufficient consideration of the gravity of the obligation they were incurring. The commons, however, passed the Esquimalt and Nanaimo bill only to hear of its rejection in the senate, where some Liberals united with the Conservative majority to defeat it. When the surveys were all completed, the government decided to build the railway as a public work; but by the autumn of 1878, when Mr. Mackenzie was defeated at a general election, only a few miles of the road had been completed, and the indignation of British Columbia had become so deep that the legislature passed a resolution for separation from the Dominion unless the terms of union were soon fulfilled.

During the existence of the Mackenzie government there was much depression in trade throughout the Dominion, and the public revenues showed large deficits in consequence of the falling-off of imports. When the elections took place in September, 1878, the people were called upon to give their decision on a most important issue. With that astuteness which always enabled him to gauge correctly the tendency of public opinion, Sir John Macdonald recognised the fact that the people were prepared to accept any new fiscal policy which promised to relieve the country from the great depression which had too long hampered internal and external trade. In the session of 1878 he brought forward a resolution, declaring emphatically that the welfare of Canada required "the adoption of a national policy which, by a judicious readjustment of the tariff will benefit the agricultural, the mining, the manufacturing and other interests of the Dominion … will retain in Canada thousands of our fellow-countrymen now obliged to expatriate themselves in search of the employment denied them at home … will restore prosperity to our struggling industries now so sadly depressed … will prevent Canada from being made a sacrifice market … will encourage and develop an interprovincial trade … and will procure eventually for this country a reciprocity of trade with the United States." This ingenious resolution was admirably calculated to captivate the public mind, though it was defeated in the house of commons by a large majority. Mr. Mackenzie was opposed to the principle of protection, and announced the determination of the government to adhere to a revenue tariff instead of resorting to any protectionist policy, which would, in his opinion, largely increase the burdens of the people under the pretence of stimulating manufactures. As a consequence of his unbending fidelity to the principles of his life, Mr. Mackenzie was beaten at the general election by an overwhelming majority. If he had possessed even a little of the flexibility of his astute opponent he would have been more successful as a leader of a party.

One of Lord Dufferin's last official acts in October, 1878, was to call upon Sir John Macdonald to form a new administration on the resignation of Mr. Mackenzie. The new governor-general, the Marquess of Lorne, and the Princess Louise, arrived in Canada early in November and were everywhere received with great enthusiasm. The new protective policy-"the National Policy" as the Conservatives like best to name it-was laid before parliament in the session of 1879, by Sir Leonard Tilley, then finance minister; and though it has undergone some important modifications since its introduction it has formed the basis of the Canadian tariff for twenty years. The next important measure of the government was the vigorous prosecution of the Canadian Pacific railway. During the Mackenzie administration the work had made little progress, and the people of British Columbia had become very indignant at the failure to carry out the terms on which they had entered the confederation. In the session of 1880-81 Sir Charles Tupper, minister of railways, announced that the government had entered into a contract with a company of capitalists to construct the railway from Montreal to Burrard's Inlet. Parliament ratified the contract by a large majority despite the vigorous opposition made by Mr. Blake, then leader of the Liberal party, who had for years considered this part of the agreement with British Columbia as extremely rash. Such remarkable energy was brought to the construction of this imperial highway that it was actually in operation at the end of five years after the commencement of the work-only one-half of the time allowed in the charter for its completion. The financial difficulties which the company had to encounter in the progress of the work were very great, and they were obliged in 1884 to obtain a large loan from the Dominion government. The loan was secured on the company's property, and was paid off by 1887. The political fortunes of the Conservative administration, in fact, were indissolubly connected with the success of this national enterprise, and from the moment when the company commenced the work Sir John Macdonald never failed to give it his complete confidence and support.

One of the delicate questions which the Macdonald government was called upon to settle soon after their coming into office was what is known as "the Letellier affair." In March, 1878, the lieutenant-governor of the province of Quebec, Mr. Letellier de Saint-Just, who had been previously a member of the Mackenzie Liberal government, dismissed the Boucherville Conservative ministry on the ground that they had taken steps in regard to both administrative and legislative measures not only contrary to his representations, but even without previously advising him of what they proposed to do. At his request Mr., now Sir, Henry Joly de Lotbinière formed a Liberal administration, which appealed to the country. The result was that the two parties came back evenly balanced. The Conservatives of the province were deeply irritated at this action of the lieutenant-governor, and induced Sir John Macdonald, then leader of the opposition, to make a motion in the house of commons, declaring Mr. Letellier's conduct "unwise and subversive of the sound principles of responsible government." This motion was made as an amendment on the proposal to go into committee of supply, and under a peculiar usage of the Canadian commons it was not permitted to move a second amendment at this stage. Had such a course been regular, the Mackenzie government would have proposed an amendment similar to that which was moved in the senate, to the effect that it was inexpedient to offer any opinion on the action of the lieutenant-governor of Quebec for the reason that "the federal and provincial governments, each in its own sphere, enjoyed responsible government equally, separately, and independently"-in other words, that the wisest constitutional course to follow under the circumstances was to allow each province to work out responsible government without any undue interference on the part of the Dominion government or parliament. As it happened, however, Mr. Mackenzie and his colleagues had no alternative open to them but to vote down the motion proposed in the commons; while in the Conservative senate the amendment, which could not be submitted to the lower house under the rules, was defeated, and the motion condemning the lieutenant-governor carried by a large party vote.

In 1879, when the Macdonald government was in office, the matter was again brought before the house of commons and the same motion of censure that had been defeated in 1878 was introduced in the same way as before, and carried by a majority of 85. The prime minister then informed Lord Lorne that in the opinion of the government Mr. Letellier's "usefulness was gone," and he recommended his removal from office; but the governor-general was unwilling to agree hastily to such a dangerous precedent as the removal of a lieutenant-governor, and as an imperial officer he referred the whole matter to her Majesty's government for their consideration and instructions. The colonial secretary did not hesitate to state "that the lieutenant-governor of a province has an indisputable right to dismiss his ministers if, from any cause, he feels it incumbent to do so," but that, in deciding whether the conduct of a lieutenant-governor merits removal from his office, as in the exercise of other powers vested in him by the imperial state the governor-general "must act by and with the advice of his ministers." After further consideration of the subject, the Canadian government again recommended the dismissal of Mr. Letellier, and the governor-general had now no alternative except to act on the advice of his responsible ministers. It was unfortunate that the constitutional issue was obscured, from the outset, by the political bitterness that was imported into it, and that the procedure, followed in two sessions, of proposing an amendment, condemnatory of the action of the lieutenant-governor, on the motion of going into committee of supply, prevented the house from coming to a decision squarely on the true constitutional issue-actually raised in the senate in 1878-whether it was expedient for the parliament or government of Canada to interfere in a matter of purely provincial concern.

In 1891 another case of the dismissal of a ministry, having a majority in the assembly, occurred in the province of Quebec, but the intervention of parliament was not asked for the purpose of censuring the lieutenant-governor for the exercise of his undoubted constitutional power. It appears that, in 1891, the evidence taken before a committee of the senate showed that gross irregularities had occurred in connection with the disbursement of certain government subsidies which had been voted by parliament for the construction of the Bay des Chaleurs railway, and that members of the Quebec cabinet were compromised in what was clearly a misappropriation of public money. In view of these grave charges, Lieutenant-governor Angers forced his prime minister, Mr. Honoré Mercier, to agree to the appointment of a royal commission to hold an investigation into the transaction in question. When the lieutenant-governor was in possession of the evidence taken before this commission, he came to the conclusion that it was his duty to relieve Mr. Mercier and his colleagues of their functions as ministers "in order to protect the dignity of the crown and safeguard the honour and interest of the province in danger." Mr. de Boucherville was then called upon to form a ministry which would necessarily assume full responsibility for the action of the lieutenant-governor under the circumstances, and after some delay the new ministry went to the country and were sustained by a large majority. It is an interesting coincidence that the lieutenant-governor who dismissed the Mercier government and the prime minister who assumed full responsibility for the dismissal of the Mercier administration, were respectively attorney-general and premier in the cabinet who so deeply resented a similar action in 1878. But Mr. Letellier was then dead-notoriously as a result of the mental strain to which he had been subject in the constitutional crisis which wrecked his political career-and it was left only for his friends to feel that the whirligig of time brings its revenge even in political affairs[5].

[5: Since this chapter was in type, the Dominion government have found it necessary to dismiss Mr. McInnes from the lieutenant-governorship of British Columbia, on the ground-as set forth in an order-in-council -that "his official conduct had been subversive of the principles of responsible government," and that his "usefulness was gone." While Mr. McInnes acted as head of the executive at Victoria, the political affairs of the province became chaotic. He dismissed ministries in the most summary manner. When the people were at last appealed to at a general election by Mr. Martin, his latest adviser, he was defeated by an overwhelming majority, and the Ottawa government came to the conclusion-to quote the order-in-council-"that the action of the lieutenant-governor in dismissing his ministers has not been approved by the people of British Columbia," and it was evident, "that the government of the province cannot be successfully carried on in the manner contemplated by the constitution under the administration of the present incumbent of the office." Consequently, Mr. McInnes was removed from office, and the Dominion government appointed in his place Sir Henri Joly de Lotbinière, who has had large experience in public affairs, and is noted for his amiability and discretion.]

A very important controversy involving old issues arose in 1888 in connection with an act passed by the Mercier government of Quebec for the settlement of the Jesuits' estates, which, so long ago as 1800, had fallen into the hands of the British government, on the death of the last surviving member of the order in Canada, and had been, after some delay, applied to the promotion of public instruction in the province of Quebec. The bishops of the Roman Catholic Church always contended that the estates should have been vested in them "as the ordinaries of the various dioceses in which this property was situated." After confederation, the estates became the property of the government of Quebec and were entirely at the disposal of the legislature. The Jesuits in the meantime had become incorporated in the province, and made, as well as the bishops, a claim to the estates. Eventually, to settle the difficulty and strengthen himself with the ecclesiastics of the province, Mr. Mercier astutely passed a bill through the legislature, authorising the payment of $400,000 as compensation to the Jesuits in lieu of all the lands held by them prior to the conquest and subsequently confiscated by the crown. It was expressly set forth in the preamble of the act-and it was this proposition which offended the extreme Protestants-that the amount of compensation was to remain as a special deposit until the Pope had made known his wishes respecting the distribution. Some time later the Pope divided the money among the Jesuits, the archbishops and bishops of the province, and Laval University. The whole matter came before the Dominion house of commons in 1888, when a resolution was proposed to the effect that the government should have at once disallowed the act as beyond the power of the legislature, because, among other reasons, "it recognizes the usurpation of a right by a foreign authority, namely his Holiness the Pope, to claim that his consent was necessary to dispose of and appropriate the public funds of a province." The very large vote in support of the action of the government-188 against 13-was chiefly influenced by the conviction that, to quote the minute of council, "the subject-matter of the act was one of provincial concern, only having relation to a fiscal matter entirely within the control of the legislature of Quebec." The best authorities agree in the wisdom of not interfering with provincial legislation except in cases where there is an indisputable invasion of Dominion jurisdiction or where the vital interests of Canada as a whole may imperatively call for such interference.

In March, 1885, Canada was startled by the news that the half-breeds of the Saskatchewan district in the North-west had risen in rebellion against the authority of the Dominion government. It is difficult to explain clearly the actual causes of an uprising which, in all probability, would never have occurred had it not been for the fact that Riel had been brought back from Montana by his countrymen to assist them in obtaining a redress of certain grievances. This little insurrection originated in the Roman Catholic mission of St. Laurent, situated between the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan River, and contiguous to the British settlement of Prince Albert. Within the limits of this mission there was a considerable number of half-breeds, who had for the most part migrated from Manitoba after selling the "scrip[6]" for lands generously granted to them after the restoration of order in 1870 to the Red River settlements. Government surveyors had been busily engaged for some time in laying out the Saskatchewan country in order to keep pace with the rapidly increasing settlement. When they came to the mission of St. Laurent they were met with the same distrust that had done so much harm in 1870. The half-breeds feared that the system of square blocks followed by the surveyors would seriously interfere with the location of the farms on which they had "squatted" in accordance with the old French system of deep lots with a narrow frontage on the banks of the rivers. The difficulties arising out of these diverse systems of surveys caused a considerable delay in the issue of patents for lands, and dissatisfied the settlers who were anxious to know what land their titles covered. The half-breeds not only contended that their surveys should be respected, but that they should be also allowed scrip for two hundred and forty acres of land, as had been done in the case of their compatriots in Manitoba. Many of the Saskatchewan settlers had actually received this scrip before they left the province, but nevertheless they hoped to obtain it once more from the government, and to sell it with their usual improvidence to the first speculators who offered them some ready money.

[6: A certificate from the government that a certain person is entitled to receive a patent from the crown for a number of acres of the public lands-a certificate legally transferable to another person by the original holder.]

The delay of the government in issuing patents and scrip and the system of surveys were no doubt the chief grievances which enabled Riel and Dumont-the latter a resident of Batoche-to excite the half-breeds against the Dominion authorities at Ottawa. When a commission was actually appointed by the government in January, 1885, to allot scrip to those who were entitled to receive it, the half-breeds were actually ready for a revolt under the malign influence of Riel and his associates. Riel believed for some time after his return in 1884 that he could use the agitation among his easily deluded countrymen for his own selfish purposes. It is an indisputable fact that he made an offer to the Dominion government to leave the North-west if they would pay him a considerable sum of money. When he found that there was no likelihood of Sir John Macdonald repeating the mistake which he had made at the end of the first rebellion, Riel steadily fomented the agitation among the half-breeds, who were easily persuaded to believe that a repetition of the disturbances of 1870 would obtain them a redress of any grievances they might have. It is understood that one of the causes that aggravated the agitation at its inception was the belief entertained by some white settlers of Prince Albert that they could use the disaffection among the half-breeds for the purpose of repeating the early history of Manitoba, and forcing the Dominion government to establish a new province in the Saskatchewan country, though its entire population at that time would not have exceeded ten thousand persons, of whom a large proportion were half-breeds. Riel for a time skilfully made these people believe that he would be a ductile instrument in their hands, but when his own plans were ripe for execution he assumed despotic control of the whole movement and formed a provisional government in which he and his half-breed associates were dominant, and the white conspirators of Prince Albert were entirely ignored. The loyal people of Prince Albert, who had always disapproved of the agitation, as well as the priests of the mission, who had invariably advised their flock to use only peaceful and constitutional methods of redress, were at last openly set at defiance and insulted by Riel and his associates. The revolt broke out on the 25th March, 1885, when the half-breeds took forcible possession of the government stores, and made prisoners of some traders at Duck Lake. A small force of Mounted Police under the command of Superintendent Crozier was defeated near the same place by Dumont, and the former only saved his men from destruction by a skilful retreat to Fort Carleton. The half-breed leaders circulated the news of this victory over the dreaded troops of the government among the Indian bands of the Saskatchewan, a number of whom immediately went on the war-path. Fort Carleton had to be given up by the mounted police, who retired to Prince Albert, the key of the district. The town of Battleford was besieged by the Indians, but they were successfully kept in check for weeks until the place was relieved. Fort Pitt was evacuated by Inspector Dickens, a son of the great novelist, who succeeded in taking his little force of police into Battleford. Two French missionaries and several white men were ruthlessly murdered at Frog Lake by a band of Crees, and two women were dragged from the bodies of their husbands and carried away to the camp of Big Bear. Happily for them some tender-hearted half-breeds purchased them from the Indians and kept them in safety until they were released at the close of the disturbances.

The heart of Canada was now deeply stirred and responded with great heartiness to the call of the government for troops to restore order to the distracted settlements. The minister of militia, Mr. Adolphe Caron-afterwards knighted for his services on this trying occasion-showed great energy in the management of his department. Between four and five thousand men were soon on the march for the territories under Major-General Middleton, the English officer then in command of the Canadian militia. Happily for the rapid transport of the troops the Canadian Pacific Railway was so far advanced that, with the exception of 72 miles, it afforded a continuous line of communication from Montreal to Qu'Appelle. The railway formed the base from which three military expeditions could be despatched to the most important points of the Saskatchewan country-one direct to Batoche, a second to Battleford, and a third for a flank movement to Fort Edmonton, where a descent could be made down the North Saskatchewan for the purpose of recapturing Fort Pitt and attacking the rebellious Indians under Big Bear. On the 24th of April General Middleton fought his first engagement with the half-breeds, who were skilfully concealed in rifle pits in the vicinity of Fish Creek, a small erratic tributary of the South Saskatchewan. Dumont for the moment succeeded in checking the advance of the Canadian forces, who fought with much bravery but were placed at a great disadvantage on account of Middleton not having taken sufficient precautions against a foe thoroughly acquainted with the country and cunningly hidden. The Canadian troops were soon able to continue their forward movement and won a decisive victory at Batoche, in which Colonels Williams, Straubenzie, and Grasett notably distinguished themselves. Riel was soon afterwards captured on the prairie, but Dumont succeeded in crossing the frontier of the United States. While Middleton was on his way to Batoche, Lieutenant-Colonel Otter of Toronto, an able soldier who was, fifteen years later, detached for active service in South Africa, was on the march for the relief of Battleford, and had on the first of May an encounter with a large band of Indians under Poundmaker on the banks of Cut Knife Creek, a small tributary of the Battle River. Though Otter did not win a victory, he showed Poundmaker the serious nature of the contest in which he was engaged against the Canadian government, and soon afterwards, when the Cree chief heard of the defeat of the half-breeds at Batoche, he surrendered unconditionally. Another expedition under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Strange also relieved Fort Pitt; and Big Bear was forced to fly into the swampy fastnesses of the prairie wilderness, but was eventually captured near Fort Carleton by a force of Mounted Police.

This second rebellion of the half-breeds lasted about three months, and cost the country upwards of five million dollars. Including the persons murdered at Frog Lake, the loyal population of Canada lost thirty-six valuable lives, among whom was Lieutenant-Colonel Williams, a gallant officer, and a member of the house of commons, who succumbed to a serious illness brought on by his exposure on

the prairie. The casualties among the half-breeds were at least as large, if not greater. Five Indian chiefs suffered the extreme penalty of the law, while Poundmaker, Big Bear, and a number of others were imprisoned in the territories for life or for a term of years, according to the gravity of their complicity in the rebellion. Any hopes that Riel might have placed in the active sympathy of the French Canadian people of Quebec were soon dispelled. He was tried at Regina in July and sentenced to death, although the able counsel allotted to him by the government exhausted every available argument in his defence, even to the extent of setting up a plea of insanity, which the prisoner himself deeply resented. The most strenuous efforts were made by the French Canadians to force the government to reprieve him, but Sir John Macdonald was satisfied that the loyal sentiment of the great majority of the people of Canada demanded imperatively that the law should be vindicated. The French Canadian representatives in the cabinet, Langevin, Chapleau, and Caron, resisted courageously the storm of obloquy which their determination to support the prime minister raised against them; and Riel was duly executed on the 16th November. For some time after his death attempts were made to keep up the excitement which had so long existed in the province of Quebec on the question. The Dominion government was certainly weakened for a time in Quebec by its action in this matter, while Mr. Honoré Mercier skilfully used the Riel agitation to obtain control of the provincial government at the general election of 1886, but only to fall five years later, under circumstances which must always throw a shadow over the fame of a brilliant, but unsafe, political leader (see p. 247). The attempt to make political capital out of the matter in the Dominion parliament had no other result than to weaken the influence in Ontario of Mr. Edward Blake, the leader of the opposition since the resignation of Mr. Mackenzie in 1880. He was left without the support of the majority of the Liberal representatives of the province in the house of commons when he condemned the execution of Riel, principally on the ground that he was insane-a conclusion not at all justified by the report of the medical experts who had been chosen by the government to examine the condemned man previous to the execution. The energy with which this rebellion was repressed showed both the half-breeds and the Indians of the west the power of the Ottawa government. From that day to this order has prevailed in the western country, and grievances have been redressed as far as possible. The readiness with which the militia force of Canada rallied to the support of the government was conclusive evidence of the deep national sentiment that existed throughout the Dominion. In Ottawa, Port Hope, and Toronto monuments have been raised in memory of the brave men who gave up their lives for the Dominion, but probably the most touching memorial of this unfortunate episode in Canadian history is the rude cairn of stone which still stands among the wild flowers of the prairie in memory of the gallant fellows who were mown down by the unerring rifle shots of the half-breeds hidden in the ravines of Fish Creek.

In 1885 parliament passed a general franchise law for the Dominion in place of the system-which had prevailed since 1867-of taking the electoral lists of the several provinces as the lists for elections to the house of commons. The opposition contested this measure with great persistency, but Sir John Macdonald pressed it to a successful conclusion, mainly on the ground that it was necessary in a country like Canada, composed of such diverse elements, to have for the Dominion uniformity of suffrage, based on a small property qualification, instead of having diverse systems of franchise-in some provinces, universal franchise, to which he and other Conservatives generally were strongly opposed.

Between 1880 and 1894 Canada was called upon to mourn the loss of a number of her ablest and brightest statesmen-one of them the most notable in her political history. It was on a lovely May day of 1880 that the eminent journalist and politician, George Brown, died from the effects of a bullet wound which he received at the hand of one Bennett, a printer, who had been discharged by the Globe for drunkenness and incapacity. The Conservative party in 1888 suffered a great loss by the sudden decease of Mr. Thomas White, minister of the interior in the Macdonald ministry, who had been for the greater part of his life a prominent journalist, and had succeeded in winning a conspicuous and useful position in public affairs as a writer, speaker, and administrator. Three years later, the Dominion was startled by the sad announcement, on the 6th June, 1891, that the voice of the great prime minister, Sir John Macdonald, who had so long controlled the affairs of Canada, would never more be heard in that federal parliament of which he had been one of the fathers. All classes of Canadians vied with one another in paying a tribute of affection and respect to one who had been in every sense a true Canadian. Men forgot for the moment his mistakes and weaknesses, the mistakes of the politician and the weaknesses of humanity, "only to remember"-to quote the eloquent tribute paid to him by Mr. Laurier, then leader of the opposition-"that his actions always displayed great originality of view, unbounded fertility of resources, a high level of intellectual conception, and above all, a far-reaching vision beyond the event of the day, and still higher, permeating the whole, a broad patriotism, a devotion to Canada's welfare, Canada's advancement, and Canada's glory." His obsequies were the most stately and solemn that were ever witnessed in the Dominion; his bust was subsequently unveiled in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral by the Earl of Rosebery, when prime minister of England; noble monuments were raised to his memory in the cities of Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal; and the Queen addressed a letter full of gracious sympathy to his widow and conferred on her the dignity of a peeress of the United Kingdom under the title of Baroness of Earnscliffe, as a mark of her Majesty's gratitude "for the devoted and faithful services which he rendered for so many years to his sovereign and his Dominion."

Mr. Alexander Mackenzie, stonemason, journalist, and prime minister, died in April, 1892, a victim to the paralysis which had been steadily creeping for years over his enfeebled frame, and made him a pitiable spectacle as he sat like a Stoic in the front seats of the opposition, unable to speak or even to rise without the helping arm of some attentive friend. On the 30th October, 1893, Sir John Abbott, probably the ablest commercial lawyer in Canada, who had been premier of Canada since the death of Sir John Macdonald, followed his eminent predecessors to the grave, and was succeeded by Sir John Thompson, minister of justice in the Conservative government since September, 1885. A great misfortune again overtook the Conservative party on the 12th December, 1894, when Sir John Thompson died in Windsor Castle, whither he had gone at her Majesty's request to take the oath of a privy councillor of England-high distinction conferred upon him in recognition of his services on the Bering Sea arbitration. Sir John Thompson was gifted with a rare judicial mind, and a remarkable capacity for the lucid expression of his thoughts, which captivated his hearers even when they were not convinced by arguments clothed in the choicest diction. His remains were brought across the Atlantic by a British frigate, and interred in his native city of Halifax with all the stately ceremony of a national funeral. The governor-general, Lord Stanley of Preston, now the Earl of Derby, called upon the senior privy councillor in the cabinet, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, to form a new ministry. He continued in office until April, 1896, when he retired in favour of Sir Charles Tupper, who resigned the position of high commissioner for Canada in England to enter public life as the recognised leader of the Liberal-Conservative party. This eminent Canadian had already reached the middle of the eighth decade of his life, but age had in no sense impaired the vigour or astuteness of his mental powers. He has continued ever since, as leader of the Liberal-Conservative party, to display remarkable activity in the discussion of political questions, not only as a leader of parliament, but on the public platform in every province of the Dominion.

During the session of 1891 the political career of Sir Hector Langevin, the leader of the Liberal-Conservative party in French Canada, was seriously affected by certain facts disclosed before the committee of privileges and elections. This committee had been ordered by the house of commons to inquire into charges made by Mr. Israel Tarte against another member of the house, Mr. Thomas McGreevy, who was accused of having used his influence as a commissioner of the Quebec harbour, a government appointment, to obtain fraudulently from the department of public works, presided over by Sir Hector for many years, large government contracts in connection with the Quebec harbour and other works. The report of the majority of the committee found Mr. McGreevy guilty of fraudulent acts, and he was not only expelled from the house but was subsequently imprisoned in the Ottawa common gaol after his conviction on an indictment laid against him in the criminal court of Ontario. With respect to the complicity of the minister of public works in these frauds the committee reported that it was clear that, while the conspiracy had been rendered effective by reason of the confidence which Sir Hector Langevin placed in Mr. McGreevy and in the officers of the department, yet the evidence did not justify them in concluding that Sir Hector knew of the conspiracy or willingly lent himself to its objects. A minority of the committee, on the other hand, took the opposite view of the transactions, and claimed that the evidence showed the minister to be cognisant of the facts of the letting of the contracts, and that in certain specified cases he had been guilty of the violation of a public trust by allowing frauds to be perpetrated. The report of the majority was carried by a party vote, with the exception of two Conservative members who voted with the minority. Sir Hector Langevin had resigned his office in the government previous to the inquiry, and though he continued in the house for the remainder of its constitutional existence, he did not present himself for re-election in 1896 when parliament was dissolved.

Unhappily it was not only in the department of public works that irregularities were discovered. A number of officials in several departments were proved before the committee of public accounts to have been guilty of carelessness or positive misconduct in the discharge of their duties, and the government was obliged, in the face of such disclosures, to dismiss or otherwise punish several persons in whom they had for years reposed too much confidence.

On the 20th and 21st of June, 1893, a convention of the most prominent representative Liberals of the Dominion was held in the city of Ottawa; and Sir Oliver Mowat, the veteran premier of Ontario, was unanimously called upon to preside over this important assemblage. Resolutions were passed with great enthusiasm in support of tariff reform, a fair measure of reciprocal trade with the United States, a sale of public lands only to actual settlers upon reasonable terms of settlement, an honest and economical administration of government, the right of the house of commons to inquire into all matters of public expenditure and charges of misconduct against ministers, the reform of the senate, the submission of the question of prohibition to a vote of the people, and the repeal of the Dominion franchise act passed in 1885, as well as of the measure of 1892, altering the boundaries of the electoral districts and readjusting the representation in the house of commons. This convention may be considered the commencement of that vigorous political campaign, which ended so successfully for the Liberal party in the general election of 1896.

In the summer of 1894 there was held in the city of Ottawa a conference of delegates from eight self-governing colonies in Australasia, South Africa, and America, who assembled for the express purpose of discussing questions which affected not merely their own peculiar interests, but touched most nearly the unity and development of the empire at large The imperial government was represented by the Earl of Jersey, who had been a governor of one of the Australian colonies. After very full discussion the conference passed resolutions in favour of the following measures:

(1) Imperial legislation enabling the dependencies of the empire to enter into agreements of commercial reciprocity, including the power to make differential tariffs with Great Britain or with one another. (2) The removal of any restrictions in existing treaties between Great Britain and any foreign power, which prevent such agreements of commercial reciprocity. (3) A customs arrangement between Great Britain and her colonies by which trade within the empire might be placed on a more favourable footing than that which is carried on with foreign countries. (4) Improved steamship communication between Canada, Australasia, and Great Britain. (5) Telegraph communication by cable, free from foreign control, between Canada and Australia. These various resolutions were brought formally by the Earl of Jersey to the notice of the imperial government, which expressed the opinion, through the Marquess of Ripon, then secretary of state for the colonies, that the "general economic results" of the preferential trade recommended by the conference "would not be beneficial to the empire." Lord Ripon even questioned the desirability of denouncing at that time the treaties with Belgium and Germany-a subject which had engaged the attention of the Canadian parliament in 1892, when the government, of which Sir John Abbott was premier, passed an address to the Queen, requesting that immediate steps be taken to free Canada from treaty restrictions "incompatible with the rights and powers conferred by the British North America act of 1867 for the regulation of the trade and commerce of the Dominion." Any advantages which might be granted by Great Britain to either Belgium or the German Zollverein under these particular treaties, would also have to be extended to a number of other countries which had what is called the "favoured nations clause" in treaties with England. While these treaty stipulations with regard to import duties did not prevent differential treatment by the United Kingdom in favour of British colonies, or differential treatment by British colonies in favour of each other, they did prevent differential treatment by British colonies in favour of the United Kingdom. As we shall presently see, when I come to review the commercial policy of the new Dominion government three years later, the practical consequence of these treaties was actually to force Canada to give for some months not only to Germany and Belgium, but to a number of other countries, the same commercial privileges which they extended in 1897 to the parent state.

Among the difficult questions, which have agitated the Dominion from time to time and perplexed both Conservative and Liberal politicians, are controversies connected with education. By the British North America act of 1867 the legislature of each province may exclusively make laws in relation to education, but at the same time protection is afforded to denominational or dissentient schools by giving authority to the Dominion government to disallow an act clearly infringing the rights or privileges of a religious minority, or to obtain remedial legislation from parliament itself according to the circumstances of the case. From 1871 until 1875 the government of the Dominion was pressed by petitions from the Roman Catholic inhabitants of New Brunswick to disallow an act passed by the provincial legislature in relation to common schools on the ground that it was an infringement of certain rights which they enjoyed as a religious body at the time of confederation. The question not only came before the courts of New Brunswick and the Canadian house of commons, but was also submitted to the judicial committee of the imperial privy council; but only with the result of showing beyond question that the objectionable legislation was clearly within the jurisdiction of the legislature of New Brunswick, and could not be constitutionally disallowed by the Dominion government on the ground that it violated any right or privilege enjoyed by the Roman Catholics at the time of union. A solution of the question was, however, subsequently reached by an amicable arrangement between the Roman Catholics and Protestants, which has ever since worked most satisfactorily in that province.

The Manitoba school question, which agitated the country from 1890 until 1896, was one of great gravity on account of the issues involved. The history of the case shows that, prior to the formation of Manitoba in 1870, there was not in the province any public system of education, but the several religious denominations had established such schools as they thought fit to maintain by means of funds voluntarily contributed by members of their own communion. In 1871 the legislature of Manitoba established an educational system distinctly denominational. In 1890 this law was repealed, and the legislature established a system of strictly non-sectarian schools. The Roman Catholic minority of the province was deeply aggrieved at what they considered a violation of the rights and privileges which they enjoyed under the terms of union adopted in 1870. The first subsection of the twenty-second section of the act of 1870 set forth that the legislature of the province could not pass any law with regard to schools which might "prejudicially affect any right or privilege with respect to denominational schools which any class of persons have, by law or practice, in the province at the time of union." The dispute was brought before the courts of Canada, and finally before the judicial committee of the privy council, which decided that the legislation of 1890 was constitutional inasmuch as the only right or privilege which the Roman Catholics then possessed "by law or practice" was the right or privilege of establishing and maintaining for the use of members of their own church such schools as they pleased. The Roman Catholic minority then availed themselves of another provision of the twenty-second section of the Manitoba act, which allows an appeal to the governor-in-council "from any act or decision of the legislature of the province or of any provincial authority, affecting any right or privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic minority of the Queen's subjects in relation to education."

The ultimate result of this reference was a judgment of the judicial committee to the effect that the appeal was well founded and that the governor-in-council had jurisdiction in the premises, but the committee added that "the particular course to be pursued must be determined by the authorities to whom it has been committed by the statute." The third subsection of the twenty-second section of the Manitoba act-a repetition of the provision of the British North America act with respect to denominational schools in the old provinces-provides not only for the action of the governor-in-council in case a remedy is not supplied by the proper provincial authority for the removal of a grievance on the part of a religious minority, but also for the making of "remedial laws" by the parliament of Canada for the "due execution" of the provision protecting denominational schools. In accordance with this provision Sir Mackenzie Bowell's government passed an order-in-council on the 21st March, 1895, calling upon the government of Manitoba to take the necessary measures to restore to the Roman Catholic minority such rights and privileges as were declared by the highest court of the empire to have been taken away from them. The Manitoba government not only refused to move in the matter but expressed its determination "to resist unitedly by every constitutional means any such attempt to interfere with their provincial autonomy." The result was the introduction of a remedial bill by Mr. Dickey, minister of justice, in the house of commons during the session of 1896; but it met from the outset very determined opposition during the most protracted sittings-one of them lasting continuously for a week-ever known in the history of the Canadian or any other legislature of the empire. On several divisions the bill was supported by majorities ranging from 24 to 18-several French members of the opposition having voted for it and several Conservative Protestant members against its passage. The bill was introduced on the 11th February, and the motion for its second reading was made on the 3rd March, from which date it was debated continuously until progress was reported from a committee of the whole house on the 16th April, after the house had sat steadily from Monday afternoon at 3 o'clock until 2 o'clock on the following Thursday morning. It was then that Sir Charles Tupper, leader of the government in the house, announced that no further attempt would be made to press the bill that session. He stated that it was absolutely necessary to vote money for the urgent requirements of the public service and pass other important legislation during the single week that was left before parliament would be dissolved by the efflux of time under the constitutional law, which fixes the duration of the house of commons "for five years from the day of the return of the writs for choosing the house and no longer."

In the general election of 1896 the Manitoba school question was an issue of great importance. From the commencement to the close of the controversy the opponents of denominational schools combined with the supporters of provincial rights to defeat the government which had so determinedly fought for what it considered to be the legal rights of the Roman Catholic minority of Manitoba. It had looked confidently to the support of the great majority of the French Canadians, but the result of the elections was most disappointing to the Conservative party. Whilst in the provinces, where the Protestants predominated, the Conservatives held their own to a larger extent than had been expected even by their sanguine friends, the French province gave a great majority to Mr. Launer, whose popularity among his countrymen triumphed over all influences, ecclesiastical and secular, that could be used in favour of denominational schools in Manitoba.

The majority against Sir Charles Tupper was conclusive, and he did not attempt to meet parliament as the head of a government. Before his retirement from office, immediately after his defeat at the elections, he had some difference of opinion with the governor-general, the Earl of Aberdeen, who refused, in the exercise of his discretionary power, to sanction certain appointments to the senate and the judicial bench, which the prime minister justified by reference to English and Canadian precedents under similar conditions-notably of 1878 when Mr. Mackenzie resigned. Soon after the general election, and Lord Dufferin was governor-general, Sir Charles Tupper considered the subject of sufficient constitutional importance to bring it before the house of commons, where Sir Wilfrid Laurier, then premier, defended the course of the governor-general. The secretary of state for the colonies also approved in general terms of the principles which, as the governor-general explained in his despatches, had governed his action in this delicate matter.

On Sir Charles Tapper's defeat at the elections, Mr. Laurier became first minister of a Liberal administration, in which positions were given to Sir Oliver Mowat, so long premier of Ontario, to Mr. Blair, premier of New Brunswick, to Mr. Fielding, premier of Nova Scotia, and eventually to Mr. Sifton, the astute attorney-general of Manitoba. Sir Richard Cartwright and Sir Louis Davies-to give the latter the title conferred on him in the Diamond Jubilee year-both of whom had been in the foremost rank of the Liberal party for many years, also took office in the new administration; but Mr. Mills, versed above most Canadian public men in political and constitutional knowledge, was not brought in until some time later, when Sir Oliver Mowat, the veteran minister of justice, was appointed to the lieutenant-governorship of Ontario. A notable acquisition was Mr. Tarte, who had acquired much influence in French Canada by his irrepressible energy, and who was placed over the department of public works.

When the school question came to be discussed in 1897, during the first session of the new parliament, the premier explained to the house that, whilst he had always maintained "that the constitution of this country gave to this parliament and government the right and power to interfere with the school legislation of Manitoba, it was an extreme right and reserved power to be exercised only when other means had been exhausted." Believing then that "it was far better to obtain concessions by negotiation than by coercion," he had, as soon as he came into office, communicated with the Manitoba government on the subject, and had "as a result succeeded in making arrangements which gave the French Catholics of the province religious teaching in their schools and the protection of their language," under the conditions set forth in a statute expressly passed for the purpose by the legislature of Manitoba[7]. The premier at the same time admitted that "the settlement was not acceptable to certain dignitaries of the church to which he belonged"; but subsequently the Pope published an encyclical advising acceptance of the concessions made to the Manitoba Catholics, while claiming at the same time that these concessions were inadequate, and expressing the hope that full satisfaction would be obtained ere long from the Manitoba government. Since the arrangement of this compromise, no strenuous or effective effort has been made to revive the question as an element of political significance in party contests. Even in Manitoba itself, despite the defeat of the Greenway government, which was responsible for the Manitoba school act of 1890, and the coming into office of Mr. Hugh John Macdonald, the son of the great Conservative leader, there has been no sign of the least intention to depart from the legislation arranged by Sir Wilfrid Laurier in 1897 as, in his opinion, the best possible compromise under the difficult conditions surrounding a most embarrassing question.

[7: This statute provides that religious teaching by a Roman Catholic priest, or other person duly authorised by him, shall take place at the close of the hours devoted to secular instruction; that a Roman Catholic teacher may be employed in every school in towns and cities where the average attendance of Roman Catholic children is forty or upwards, and in villages and rural districts where the attendance is twenty-five or upwards; and that French as well as English shall be taught in any school where ten pupils speak the French language.]

In the autumn of 1898 Canada bade farewell with many expressions of regret to Lord and Lady Aberdeen, both of whom had won the affection and respect of the Canadian people by their earnest efforts to support every movement that might promote the social, intellectual and moral welfare of the people. Lord Aberdeen was the seventh governor-general appointed by the crown to administer public affairs since the union of the provinces in 1867. Lord Monck, who had the honour of initiating confederation, was succeeded by Sir John Young, who was afterwards raised to the peerage as Baron Lisgar-a just recognition of the admirable discretion and dignity with which he discharged the duties of his high position. His successor, the Earl of Dufferin, won the affection of the Canadian people by his grace of demeanour, and his Irish gift of eloquence, which he used in the spirit of the clever diplomatist to flatter the people of the country to their heart's content. The appointment of the Marquess of Lorne, now the Duke of Argyll, gave to Canada the honour of the presence of a Princess of the reigning family. He showed tact and discretion in some difficult political situations that arose during his administration, and succeeded above all his predecessors in stimulating the study of art, science and literature within the Dominion. The Marquess of Lansdowne and Lord Stanley of Preston-both inheritors of historic names, trained in the great school of English administration-also acquired the confidence and respect of the Canadian people. On the conclusion of Lord Aberdeen's term of office in 1898, he was succeeded by the Earl of Minto, who had been military secretary to the Marquess of Lansdowne, when governor-general, from the autumn of 1883 until the end of May, 1888, and had also acted as chief of staff to General Middleton during the North-west disturbances of 1885.

Since its coming into office, the Laurier administration has been called upon to deal with many questions of Canadian as well as imperial concern. One of its first measures-to refer first to those of Canadian importance-was the repeal of the franchise act of 1885, which had been found so expensive in its operation that the Conservative government had for years taken no steps to prepare new electoral lists for the Dominion under its own law, but had allowed elections to be held on old lists which necessarily left out large numbers of persons entitled to vote. In accordance with the policy to which they had always pledged themselves as a party, the Liberal majority in parliament passed an act which returned to the electoral lists of the provinces. An attempt was also made in 1899 and 1900 to amend the redistribution acts of 1882 and 1892, and to restore so far as practicable the old county lines which had been deranged by those measures. The bill was noteworthy for the feature, novel in Canada, of leaving to the determination of a judicial commission the rearrangement of electoral divisions, but it was rejected in the senate on the ground that the British North America act provides only for the readjustment of the representation after the taking of each Decennial census, and that it is "a violation of the spirit of the act" to deal with the question until 1901, when the official figures of the whole population will be before parliament. The government was also called upon to arrange the details of a provisional government for the great arctic region of the Yukon, where remarkable gold discoveries were attracting a considerable population from all parts of the world. An attempt to build a short railway to facilitate communication with that wild and distant country was defeated in the senate by a large majority. The department of the interior has had necessarily to encounter many difficulties in the administration of the affairs of a country so many thousand miles distant. These difficulties have formed the subject of protracted debates in the house of commons and have led to involved political controversies which it would not be possible to explain satisfactorily within the limits of this chapter.

In accordance with the policy laid down in 1897 by Mr. Fielding, the finance minister, when presenting the budget, the Laurier government has not deemed it prudent to make such radical changes in the protective or "National Policy" of the previous administration as might derange the business conditions of the Dominion, which had come to depend so intimately upon it in the course of seventeen years, but simply to amend and simplify it in certain particulars which would remove causes of friction between the importers and the customs authorities, and at the same time make it, as they stated, less burdensome in its operation. The question of reciprocal trade between Canada and the United States had for some time been disappearing in the background and was no longer a dominant feature of the commercial policy of the Liberal party as it had been until 1891, when its leaders were prepared under existing conditions to enter into the fullest trade arrangements possible with the country to the south. The illiberality of the tariff of the United States with respect to Canadian products had led the Canadian people to look to new markets, and especially to those of Great Britain, with whom they were desirous, under the influence of a steadily growing imperial spirit, to have the closest commercial relations practicable. Consequently the most important feature of the Laurier government's policy, since 1897, has been the preference given to British products in Canada-a preference which now allows a reduction in the tariff of 33-1/3 per cent. on British imports compared with foreign goods. In their endeavour, however, to give a preference to British imports, the government was met at the outset by difficulties arising from the operation of the Belgian and German treaties; and after very full consultation with the imperial government, and a reference of the legal points involved to the imperial law officers of the crown, Canada was obliged to admit Belgian and German goods on the same terms as the imports of Great Britain, and also to concede similar advantages to twenty-two foreign countries which were by treaty entitled to any commercial privileges that Great Britain or her colonies might grant to a third power. Happily for Canada at this juncture the colonial secretary of state was Mr. Chamberlain, who was animated by aspirations for the strengthening of the relations between the parent state and her dependencies, and who immediately recognised the imperial significance of the voluntary action of the Canadian government. The result was the "denunciation" by the imperial authorities of the Belgian and German treaties, which consequently came to an end on the 31st July, 1898. Down to that date Canada was obliged to give to the other countries mentioned the preference which she had intentionally given to Great Britain alone, and at the same time to refund to importers the duties which had been collected in the interval from the countries in question. With the fall, however, of the Belgian and German treaties Canada was at last free to model her tariff with regard to imperial as well as Canadian interests. It was a fortunate coincidence that the government should have adopted this policy at a time when the whole British empire was celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the accession of her Majesty Queen Victoria to the throne. In the magnificent demonstration of the unity and development of the empire that took place in London in June, 1897, Canada was represented by her brilliant prime minister, who then became the Right Honourable Sir W. Laurier, G.C.M.G., and took a conspicuous place in the ceremonies that distinguished this memorable episode in British and colonial history.

A few months later the relations between Canada and Great Britain were further strengthened by the reduction of letter postage throughout the empire-Australia excepted-largely through the instrumentality of Mr. Mulock, Canadian postmaster-general. The Canadian government and parliament also made urgent representations to the imperial authorities in favour of the immediate construction of a Pacific cable; and it may now be hoped that the pecuniary aid offered to this imperial enterprise by the British, Australasian and Canadian governments will secure its speedy accomplishment. I may add here that debates have taken place in the Canadian house of commons for several sessions on the desirability of obtaining preferential treatment in the British market for Canadian products The Conservative party, led by Sir Charles Tupper, have formulated their opinions in parliament by an emphatic declaration that "no measure of preference, which falls short of the complete realisation of such a policy, should be considered final or satisfactory." The Laurier government admits the desirability of such mutual trade preference, but at the same time it recognises the formidable difficulties that lie in the way of its realisation so long as Great Britain continues bound to free trade, and under these circumstances declares it the more politic and generous course to continue giving a special preference to British products with the hope that it may eventually bring about a change in public opinion in the parent state which will operate to the decided commercial or other advantage of the dependency.

This chapter may appropriately close with a reference to the remarkable evidences of attachment to the empire that have been given by the Canadian people at the close of the nineteenth century. From the mountains of the rich province washed by the Pacific Sea, from the wheat-fields and ranches of the western prairies, from the valley of the great lakes and the St. Lawrence where French and English Canadians alike enjoy the blessings of British rule, from the banks of the St John where the United Empire Loyalists first made their homes, from the rugged coasts of Acadia and Cape Breton, from every part of the wide Dominion men volunteered with joyous alacrity to fight in South Africa in support of the unity of the empire. As I close these pages Canadians are fighting side by side with men from the parent Isles, from Australasia and from South Africa, and have shown that they are worthy descendants of the men who performed such gallant deeds on the ever memorable battlefields of Chateauguay, Chrystler's Farm, and Lundy's Lane. Not the least noteworthy feature of this significant event in the annals of Canada and the empire is the fact that a French Canadian premier has had the good fortune to give full expression to the dominant imperial sentiment of the people, and consequently to offer an additional guarantee for the union of the two races and the security of British interests on the continent of America.

SECTION 4.-Political and social conditions of Canada under confederation.

At the present time, a population of probably five million four hundred thousand souls inhabit a Dominion of seven regularly organised provinces, and of an immense fertile territory stretching from Manitoba to British Columbia. This Dominion embraces an area of 3,519,000 square miles, including its water surface, or very little less than the area of the United States with Alaska, and measures 3500 miles from east to west; and 1400 miles from north to south.

No country in the world gives more conclusive evidences of substantial development and prosperity than the Dominion under the beneficial influences of federal union and the progressive measures of governments for many years. The total trade of the country has grown from over $131,000,000 in the first year of confederation to over $321,000,000 in 1899, while the national revenue has risen during the same period from $14,000,000 to $47,000,000, and will probably be $50,000,000 in 1900. The railways, whose expansion so closely depends on the material conditions of the whole country, stretch for 17,250 miles compared with 2278 miles in 1868; while the remarkable system of canals, which extend from the great lakes to Montreal, has been enlarged so as to give admirable facilities for the growing trade of the west. The natural resources of the country are inexhaustible, from the fisheries of Nova Scotia to the wheat-fields of the north-west, from the coal-mines of Cape Breton to the gold deposits of the dreary country through which the Yukon and its tributaries flow.

No dangerous questions like slavery, or the expansion of the African race in the southern states, exist to complicate the political and social conditions of the confederation, and, although there is a large and increasing French Canadian element in the Dominion, its history so far need not create fear as to the future, except perhaps in the minds of gloomy pessimists. While this element naturally clings to its national language and institutions, yet, under the influence of a complete system of local self-government, it has always taken as active and earnest a part as the English element in establishing and strengthening the confederation. It has steadily grown in strength and prosperity under the generous and inspiring influence of British institutions, which have given full scope to the best attributes of a nationality crushed by the depressing conditions of French rule for a century and a half.

The federal union gives expansion to the national energies of the whole Dominion, and at the same time affords every security to the local interests of each member of the federal compact. In all matters of Dominion concern, Canada is a free agent. While the Queen is still head of the executive authority, and can alone initiate treaties with foreign nations (that being an act of complete sovereignty), and while appeals are still open to the privy council of England from Canadian courts within certain limitations, it is an admitted principle that the Dominion is practically supreme in the exercise of all legislative rights and privileges granted by the imperial parliament,-rights and privileges set forth explicitly in the British North America act of 1867,-so long as her legislative action does not conflict with the treaty obligations of the parent state, or with imperial legislation directly applicable to Canada with her own consent.

The crown exercises a certain supervision over the affairs of the Dominion through a governor-general, who communicates directly with an imperial secretary of state; but in every matter directly affecting Canada-as for instance, in negotiations respecting the fisheries, the Bering Sea, and other matters considered by several conferences at Washington-the Canadian government is consulted and its statements are carefully considered, since they represent the sentiments and interests of the Canadian people, who, as citizens of the empire, are entitled to as much weight as if they lived in the British Isles.

In the administration of Canadian affairs the governor-general is advised by a responsible council representing the majority of the house of commons. As in England, the Canadian cabinet, or ministry, is practically a committee of the dominant party in parliament and is governed by the rules, conventions and usages of parliamentary government which have grown up gradually in the parent state. Whenever it is necessary to form a ministry in Canada, its members are summoned by the governor-general to the privy council of Canada; another illustration of the desire of the Canadians to imitate the old institutions of England and copy her time-honoured procedure.

The parliament of Canada consists of the Queen, the senate, and the house of commons. In the formation of the upper house, three geographical groups were arranged in the first instance, Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime provinces, and each group received a representation of twenty-four members. More recently other provinces have been admitted into the Dominion without reference to this arrangement, and now seventy-eight senators altogether may sit in parliament. The remarkably long tenure of power enjoyed by the Conservative party-twenty-five years from 1867-enabled it in the course of time to fill the upper house with a very large numerical majority of its own friends, and this fact, taken in connection with certain elements of weakness inherent in a chamber which is not elected by the people and has none of the ancient privileges or prestige of a house of lords, long associated with the names of great statesmen and the memorable events of English history, has created an agitation among the Liberal party for radical changes in its constitution which would bring it, in their opinion, more in harmony with the people's representatives in the popular branch of the general legislature. While some extremists would abolish the chamber, Sir Wilfrid Launer and other prominent Liberals recognise its necessity in our parliamentary system. In all probability death will ere long solve difficulties arising out of the political composition of the body, if the Liberal party remain in power.

The house of commons, the great governing body of the Dominion, has been made, so far as circumstances will permit, a copy of the English house. Its members are not required to have a property qualification, and are elected by the votes of the electors of the several provinces where, in a majority of cases, universal suffrage, under limitations of citizenship and residence, prevails.

In each province there is a lieutenant-governor, appointed by the Dominion government for five years, an executive council, and a legislature consisting of only one house, except in Nova Scotia and Quebec where a legislative council appointed by the crown still continues. The principles of responsible government exist in all the provinces, and practically in the North-west territory.

In the enumeration of the legislative powers, respectively given to the Dominion and provincial legislatures, an effort was made to avoid the conflicts of jurisdiction that have so frequently arisen between the national and state governments of the United States. In the first place we have a recapitulation of those general or national powers that properly belong to the central authority, such as customs and excise duties, regulation of trade and commerce, militia and defence, post-office, banking and coinage, railways and public works "for the general advantage," navigation and shipping, naturalisation and aliens, fisheries, weights and measures, marriage and divorce, penitentiaries, criminal law, census and statistics. On the other hand, the provinces have retained control over municipal institutions, public lands, local works and undertakings, incorporation of companies with provincial objects, property and civil rights, administration of justice, and generally "all matters of a merely local and private nature in the province." The residuary power rests with the general parliament of Canada.

The parliament of Canada, in 1875, established a supreme court, or general court of appeal, for Canada, whose highest function is to decide questions as to the respective legislative powers of the Dominion and provincial parliaments, which are referred to it in due process of law by the subordinate courts of the provinces. The decisions of this court are already doing much to solve difficulties that impede the successful operation of the constitution. As a rule cases come before the supreme court on appeal from the lower courts, but the law regulating its powers provides that the governor in council may refer any matter to this court on which a question of constitutional jurisdiction has been raised. But the supreme court of Canada is not necessarily the court of last resort of Canada. The people have an inherent right as subjects of the Queen to appeal to the judicial committee of the privy council of the United Kingdom.

But it is not only by means of the courts that a check is imposed upon hasty, or unconstitutional, legislation. The constitution provides that the governor-general may veto or reserve any bill passed by the two houses of parliament when it conflicts with imperial interests or imperial legislation. It is now understood that the reserve power of disallowance which her Majesty's government possesses under the law is sufficient to meet all possible cases. This sovereign power is never exercised except in the case of an act clearly in conflict with an imperial statute or in violation of a treaty affecting a foreign nation. The Dominion government also supervises all the provincial legislation and has in a few cases disallowed provincial acts. This power is exercised very carefully, and it is regarded with intense jealousy by the provincial governments, which have more than once attempted to set it at defiance. In practice it is found the wisest course to leave to the courts the decision in cases where doubts exist as to constitutional authority or jurisdiction.

The organised districts of the North-west-Assiniboia, Alberta, Athabaska, and Saskatchewan-are governed by a lieutenant-governor appointed by the government of Canada and aided by a council chosen by himself from an assembly elected by the people under a very liberal franchise. These territories have also representatives in the two houses of the parliament of Canada. The Yukon territory in the far north-west, where rich discoveries of gold have attracted a large number of people within the past two years, is placed under a provisional government, composed of a commissioner and council appointed by the Dominion government[8], and acting under instructions given from time to time by the same authority or by the minister of the interior.

[8: Since this sentence was in type the Dominion government has given effect to a provision of a law allowing the duly qualified electors of the Yukon to choose two members of the council.]

The public service enjoys all the advantages that arise from permanency of tenure and appointment by the crown. It has on the whole been creditable to the country and remarkably free from political influences. The criminal law of England has prevailed in all the provinces since it was formerly introduced by the Quebec act of 1774. The civil law of the French regime, however, has continued to be the legal system in French Canada since the Quebec act, and has now obtained a hold in that province which insures its permanence as an institution closely allied with the dearest rights of the people. Its principles and maxims have been carefully collected and enacted in a code which is based on the famous code of Napoleon. In the other provinces and territories the common law of England forms the basis of jurisprudence on which a large body of Canadian statutory law has been built in the course of time.

At the present time all the provinces, with the exception of Prince Edward Island, have an excellent municipal system, which enables every defined district, large or small, to carry on efficiently all those public improvements essential to the comfort, convenience and general necessities of the different communities that make up the province at large. Even in the territories of the north-west, every proper facility is given to the people in a populous district, or town, to organise a system equal to all their local requirements.

Every Englishman will consider it an interesting and encouraging fact that the Canadian people, despite their neighbourhood to a prosperous federal commonwealth, should not even in the most critical and gloomy periods of their history have shown any disposition to mould their institutions directly on those of the United States and lay the foundation for future political union. Previous to 1840, which was the commencement of a new era in the political history of the provinces, there was a time when discontent prevailed throughout the Canadas, but not even then did any large body of the people threaten to sever the connection with the parent state. The Act of Confederation was framed under the direct influence of Sir John Macdonald and Sir George Cartier, and although one was an English Canadian and the other a French Canadian, neither yielded to the other in the desire to build up a Dominion on the basis of English institutions, in the closest possible connection with the mother country. While the question of union was under consideration it was English statesmen and writers alone who predicted that this new federation, with its great extent of territory, its abundant resources, and ambitious people, would eventually form a new nation independent of Great Britain. Canadian statesmen never spoke or wrote of separation, but regarded the constitutional change in their political condition as giving them greater weight and strength in the empire. The influence of British example on the Canadian Dominion can be seen throughout its governmental machinery, in the system of parliamentary government, in the constitution of the privy council and the houses of parliament, in an independent judiciary, in appointed officials of every class-in the provincial as well as Dominion system-in a permanent and non-political civil service, and in all elements of sound administration. During the thirty-three years that have passed since 1867, the attachment to England and her institutions has gained in strength, and it is clear that those predictions of Englishmen to which we have referred are completely falsified. On the contrary, the dominant sentiment is for strengthening the ties that have in some respects become weak in consequence of the enlargement of the political rights of the Dominion, which has assumed the position of a semi-independent power, since England now only retains her imperial sovereignty by declaring peace or war with foreign nations, by appointing a governor-general, by controlling colonial legislation through the Queen in council and the Queen in parliament-but not so as to diminish the rights of local self-government conceded to the Dominion-and by requiring that all treaties with foreign nations should be made through her own government, while recognising the right of the dependency to be consulted and directly represented on all occasions when its interests are immediately affected.

In no respect have the Canadians followed the example of the United States, and made their executive entirely separate from the legislative authority. On the contrary, there is no institution which works more admirably in the federation-in the general as well as provincial governments-than the principle of making the ministry responsible to the popular branch of the legislature, and in that way keeping the executive and legislative departments in harmony with each other, and preventing that conflict of authorities which is a distinguishing feature of the very opposite system that prevails in the federal republic. If we review the amendments made of late years in the political constitutions of the States, and especially those ratified not long since in New York, we see in how many respects the Canadian system of government is superior to that of the republic. For instance, Canada has enjoyed for years, as results of responsible government, the secret ballot, stringent laws against bribery and corruption at all classes of elections, the registration of voters, strict naturalisation laws, infrequent political elections, separation of municipal from provincial or national contests, appointive and permanent officials in every branch of the civil service, a carefully devised code of private bill legislation, the printing of all public as well as private bills before their consideration by the legislative bodies; and yet all these essentials of safe administration and legislation are now only in part introduced by constitutional enactment in so powerful and progressive a state as New York.

Of course, in the methods of party government we can see in Canada at times an attempt to follow the example of the United States, and to introduce the party machine with its professional politicians and all those influences that have degraded politics since the days of Jackson and Van Buren. Happily, so far, the people of Canada have shown themselves fully capable of removing those blots that show themselves from time to time on the body politic. Justice has soon seized those men who have betrayed their trust in the administration of public affairs. Although Canadians may, according to their political proclivities, find fault with some methods of governments and be carried away at times by political passion beyond the bounds of reason, it is encouraging to find that all are ready to admit the high character of the judiciary for learning, integrity and incorruptibility. The records of Canada do not present a single instance of the successful impeachment or removal of a judge for improper conduct on the bench since the days of responsible government; and the three or four petitions laid before parliament, in the course of a quarter of a century, asking for an investigation into vague charges against some judges, have never required a judgment of the house. Canadians have built wisely when, in the formation of their constitution, they followed the English plan of retaining an intimate and invaluable connection between the executive and legislative departments, and of keeping the judiciary practically independent of the other authorities of government. Not only the life and prosperity of the people, but the satisfactory working of the whole system of federal government rests more or less on the discretion and integrity of the judges. Canadians are satisfied that the peace and security of the whole Dominion do not more depend on the ability and patriotism of statesmen in the legislative halls than on that principle of the constitution, which places the judiciary in an exalted position among all the other departments of government, and makes law as far as possible the arbiter of their constitutional conflicts. All political systems are very imperfect at the best; legislatures are constantly subject to currents of popular prejudice and passion; statesmanship is too often weak and fluctuating, incapable of appreciating the true tendency of events, and too ready to yield to the force of present circumstances or dictates of expediency; but law, as worked out on English principles in all the dependencies of the empire and countries of English origin, as understood by Blackstone, Dicey, Story, Kent, and other great masters of constitutional and legal learning, gives the best possible guarantee for the security of institutions in a country of popular government.

In an Appendix to this history I have given comparisons in parallel columns between the principal provisions of the federal constitutions of the Canadian Dominion, and the Australian Commonwealth. In studying carefully these two systems we must be impressed by the fact that the constitution of Canada appears more influenced by the spirit of English ideas than the constitution of Australia, which has copied some features of the fundamental law of the United States. In the preamble of the Canadian British North America act we find expressly stated "the desire of the Canadian provinces to be federally united into one Dominion under the crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with a constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom," while the preamble of the Australian constitution contains only a bald statement of an agreement "to unite in one indissoluble federal Commonwealth under the crown," When we consider the use of "Commonwealth"-a word of republican significance to British ears-as well as the selection of "state" instead of "province," of "house of representatives" instead of "house of commons," of "executive council" instead of "privy council," we may well wonder why the Australians, all British by origin and aspiration, should have shown an inclination to deviate from the precedents established by the Canadian Dominion, which, though only partly English, resolved to carve the ancient historic names of the parent state on the very front of its political structure.

As the several States of the Commonwealth have full control of their own constitutions, they may choose at any moment to elect their own governors as in the States of the American Union, instead of having them appointed by the crown as in Canada. We see also an imitation of the American constitution in the principle which allots to the central government only certain enumerated powers, and leaves the residuary power of legislation to the States. Again, while the act provides for a high and other federal courts, the members of which are to be appointed and removed as in Canada by the central government, the States are still to have full jurisdiction over the State courts as in the United States. The Canadian constitution, which gives to the Dominion exclusive control over the appointment and removal of the judges of all the superior courts, offers a positive guarantee against the popular election of judges in the provinces. It is not going too far to suppose that, with the progress of democratic ideas in Australia-a country inclined to political experiments-we may find the experience of the United States repeated, and see elective judges make their appearance when a wave of democracy has suddenly swept away all dictates of prudence and given unbridled licence to professional political managers only anxious for the success of party. In allowing the British Parliament to amend the Act of Union on an address of the Canadian parliament, we have yet another illustration of the desire of Canadians to respect the supremacy of the sovereign legislature of the empire. On the other hand, the Australians make themselves entirely independent of the action of the imperial parliament, which might be invaluable in some crisis affecting deeply the integrity and unity of the Commonwealth, and give full scope to the will of democracy expressed at the polls. In also limiting the right of appeal to the Queen in council-by giving to the high court the power to prevent appeals in constitutional disputes-the Australians have also to a serious degree weakened one of the most important ties that now bind them to the empire, and afford additional illustration of the inferiority of the Australian constitution, from an imperial point of view, compared with that of the Canadian Dominion, where a reference to the judicial committee of the privy council is highly valued.

The Canadian people are displaying an intellectual activity commensurate with the expansion of their territory and their accumulation of wealth. The scientific, historical and political contributions of three decades, make up a considerable library which shows the growth of what may be called Canadian literature, since it deals chiefly with subjects essentially of Canadian interest. The attention that is now particularly devoted to the study and writing of history, and the collection of historical documents relating to the Dominion, prove clearly the national or thoroughly Canadian spirit that is already animating the cultured class of its people.

Of the numerous historical works that have appeared since 1867 two only demand special mention in this short review. One of these is A History of the days of Montcalm and Lévis by the Abbé Casgrain, who illustrates the studious and literary character of the professors of the great university which bears the name of the first bishop of Canada, Monseigneur Laval. A more elaborate general history of Canada, in ten octavo volumes, is that by Dr. Kingsford, whose life closed with his book. Whilst it shows much industry and conscientiousness on the part of the author, it fails too often to evoke our interest even when it deals with the striking and picturesque story of the French régime, since the author considered it his duty to be sober and prosaic when Parkman is bright and eloquent.

A good estimate of the progress of literary culture in Canada can be formed from a careful perusal of the poems of Bliss Carman, Archibald Lampman, Charles G.W. Roberts, Wilfred Campbell, Duncan Campbell Scott and Frederick George Scott. The artistic finish of their verse and the originality of their conception entitle them fairly to claim a foremost place alongside American poets since Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, Bryant and Lowell have disappeared. Pauline Johnson, who has Indian blood in her veins, Archbishop O'Brien of Halifax, Miss Machar, Ethelyn Weatherald, Charles Mair and several others might also be named to prove that poetry is not a lost art in Canada, despite its pressing prosaic and material needs.

Dr. Louis Fréchette is a worthy successor of Crémazie and has won the distinction of having his best work crowned by the French Academy. French Canadian poetry, however, has been often purely imitative of French models like Musset and Gautier, both in style and sentiment, and consequently lacks strength and originality. Fréchette has all the finish of the French poets and, while it cannot be said that he has yet originated fresh thoughts, which are likely to live among even the people whom he has so often instructed and delighted, yet he has given us poems like that on the discovery of the Mississippi which prove that he is capable of even better things if he would seek inspiration from the sources of the deeply interesting history of his own country, or enter into the inner mysteries and social relations of his picturesque compatriots.

The life of the French Canadian habitant has been admirably described in verse by Dr. Drummond, who has always lived among that class of the Canadian people and been a close observer of their national and personal characteristics. He is the only writer who has succeeded in giving a striking portraiture of life in the cabin, in the "shanty" (chantier), and on the river, where the French habitant, forester, and canoe-man can be seen to best advantage.

But if Canada can point to some creditable achievements of recent years in history, poetry and essays, there is one department in which Canadians never won any marked success until recently, and that is in the novel or romance. Even Mr. Kirby's Le Chien d'Or which recalls the closing days of the French régime-the days of the infamous Intendant Bigot who fattened on Canadian misery-does not show the finished art of the skilled novelist, though it has a certain crude vigour of its own, which has enabled it to live while so many other Canadian books have died. French Canada is even weaker in this particular, and this is the more surprising because there is abundance of material for the novelist or the writer of romance in her peculiar society and institutions. But this reproach has been removed by Mr. Gilbert Parker, now a resident in London, but a Canadian by birth, education and sympathies, who is animated by a laudable ambition of giving form and vitality to the abundant materials that exist in the Dominion for the true story-teller. His works show great skill in the use of historic matter, more than ordinary power in the construction of a plot, and, above all, a literary finish which is not equalled by any Canadian writer in the same field of effort. Other meritorious Canadian workers in romance are Mr. William McLennan, Mrs. Coates (Sarah Jeannette Duncan), and Miss Dougall, whose names are familiar to English readers.

The name of Dr. Todd is well known throughout the British empire, and indeed wherever institutions of government are studied, as that of an author of most useful works on the English and Canadian constitutions. Sir William Dawson, for many years the energetic principal of McGill University, the scientific prominence of which is due largely to his mental bias, was the author of several geological books, written in a graceful and readable style. The scientific work of Canadians can be studied chiefly in the proceedings of English, American and Canadian societies, especially, of late years, in the transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, established over eighteen years ago by the Marquess of Lorne when governor-general of the Dominion. This successful association is composed of one hundred and twenty members who have written "memoirs of merit or rendered eminent services to literature or science."

On the whole, there have been enough good poems, histories, and essays, written and published in Canada during the last four or five decades, to prove that there has been a steady intellectual growth on the part of the Canadian people, and that it has kept pace at all events with the mental growth in the pulpit, or in the legislative halls, where, of late years, a keen practical debating style has taken the place of the more rhetorical and studied oratory of old times. The intellectual faculties of Canadians only require larger opportunities for their exercise to bring forth rich fruit. The progress in the years to come will be much greater than that Canadians have yet shown, and necessarily so, with the wider distribution of wealth, the dissemination of a higher culture, and a greater confidence in their own mental strength, and in the opportunities that the country offers to pen and pencil. What is now wanted is the cultivation of a good style and artistic workmanship.

Much of the daily literature of Canadians-indeed the chief literary aliment of large numbers-is the newspaper press, which illustrates necessarily the haste, pressure and superficiality of writings of that ephemeral class. Canadian journals, however, have not yet descended to the degraded sensationalism of New York papers, too many of which circulate in Canada to the public detriment. On the whole, the tone of the most ably conducted journals-the Toronto Globe, and the Montreal Gazette notably-is quite on a level with the tone of debate in the legislative bodies of the country.

Now, as in all times of Canada's history, political life claims many strong, keen and cultured intellects, though at the same time it is too manifest that the tendency of democratic conditions and heated party controversy is to prevent the most highly educated and sensitive organisations from venturing on the agitated and unsafe sea of political passion and competition. The speeches of Sir Wilfrid Laurier-the eloquent French Canadian premier, who in his mastery of the English tongue surpasses all his versatile compatriots-of Sir Charles Tupper, Mr. Foster and others who might be mentioned, recall the most brilliant period of parliamentary annals (1867-1873), when in the first parliament of the Dominion the most prominent men of the provinces were brought into public life, under the new conditions of federal union. The debating power of the provincial legislative bodies is excellent, and the chief defects are the great length and discursiveness of the speeches on local as well as on national questions. It is also admitted that of late years there has been a tendency to impair the dignity and to lower the tone of discussion.

Many Canadians have devoted themselves to art since 1867, and some Englishmen will recognise the names of L.R. O'Brien, Robert Harris, J.W.L. Forster, Homer Watson, George Reid-the painter of "The Foreclosure of the Mortgage," which won great praise at the World's Fair of Chicago-John Hammond, F.A. Verner, Miss Bell, Miss Muntz, W. Brymner, all of whom are Canadians by birth and inspiration. The establishment of a Canadian Academy of Art by the Princess Louise, and of other art associations, has done a good deal to stimulate a taste for art, though the public encouragement of native artists is still very inadequate, when we consider the excellence already attained under great difficulties in a relatively new country, where the great mass of people has yet to be educated to a perception of the advantages of high artistic effort.

Sculpture would be hardly known in Canada were it not for the work of the French Canadian Hebert, who is a product of the schools of Paris, and has given to the Dominion several admirable statues and monuments of its public men. While Canadian architecture has hitherto been generally wanting in originality of conception, the principal edifices of the provinces afford many good illustrations of effective adaptation of the best art of Europe. Among these may be mentioned the following:-the parliament and departmental buildings at Ottawa, admirable examples of Italian Gothic; the legislative buildings at Toronto, in the Romanesque style; the English cathedrals in Montreal and Fredericton, correct specimens of early English Gothic; the French parish church of Notre-Dame, in Montreal, attractive for its stately Gothic proportions; the university of Toronto, an admirable conception of Norman architecture; the Canadian Pacific railway station at Montreal and the Frontenac Hotel at Quebec, fine examples of the adaptation of old Norman architecture to modern necessities; the provincial buildings at Victoria, in British Columbia, the general design of which is Renaissance, rendered most effective by pearl-grey stone and several domes; the headquarters of the bank of Montreal, a fine example of the Corinthian order, and notable for the artistic effort to illustrate, on the walls of the interior, memorable scenes in Canadian history; the county and civic buildings of Toronto, an ambitious effort to reproduce the modern Romanesque, so much favoured by the eminent American architect, Richardson; Osgoode Hall, the seat of the great law courts of the province of Ontario, which in its general character recalls the architecture of the Italian Renaissance. Year by year we see additions to our public and private buildings, interesting from an artistic point of view, and illustrating the accumulating wealth of the country, as well as the growth of culture and taste among the governing classes.

The universities, colleges, academies, and high schools, the public and common schools of the Dominion, illustrate the great desire of the governments and the people of the provinces to give the greatest possible facilities for the education of all classes at the smallest possible cost to individuals. At the present time there are between 13,000 and 14,000 students attending 62 universities and colleges. The collegiate institutes and academies of the provinces also rank with the colleges as respects the advantages they give to young men and women. Science is especially prominent in McGill and Toronto Universities-which are the most largely attended-and the former affords a notable example of the munificence of the wealthy men of Montreal, in establishing chairs of science and otherwise advancing its educational usefulness. Laval University stands deservedly at the head of the Roman Catholic institutions of the continent, on account of its deeply interesting historic associations, and the scholarly attainments of its professors, several of whom have won fame in Canadian letters. Several universities give instructions in medicine and law, and Toronto has also a medical college for women. At the present time, at least one-fifth of the people of the Dominion is in attendance at the universities, colleges, public and private schools. The people of Canada contribute upwards of ten millions of dollars annually to the support of their educational establishments, in the shape of government grants, public taxes, or private fees. Ontario alone, in 1899, raised five millions and a half of dollars for the support of its public school system; and of this amount the people directly contributed ninety-one per cent, in the shape of taxes. On the other hand, the libraries of Canada are not numerous; and it is only in Ontario that there is a law providing for the establishment of such institutions by a vote of the taxpayers in the municipalities. In this province there are at least 420 libraries, of which the majority are connected with mechanics' institutes, and are made public by statute. The weakness of the public school system-especially in Ontario-is the constant effort to teach a child a little of everything, and to make him a mere machine. The consequences are superficiality-a veneer of knowledge-and the loss of individuality.

Free to Download MoboReader
(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top