Canada under British Rule 1760-1900
John G. Bourinot

Part 5 out of 6

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. Honore 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Levis_ by the Abbe 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 regime, 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 Frechette is a worthy successor of Cremazie 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. Frechette 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

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 regime--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

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


COUNCILS (1783--1900).

I have deemed it most convenient to reserve for the conclusion of this
history a short review of the relations that have existed for more than
a century between the provinces of the Dominion and the United States,
whose diplomacy and legislation have had, and must always have, a
considerable influence on the material and social conditions of the
people of Canada.--an influence only subordinate to that exercised by
the imperial state. I shall show that during the years when there was no
confederation of Canada--when there were to the north and north-east of
the United States only a number of isolated provinces, having few common
sympathies or interests except their attachment to the crown and
empire--the United States had too often its own way in controversial
questions affecting the colonies which arose between England and the
ambitious federal republic. On the other hand, with the territorial
expansion of the provinces under one Dominion, with their political
development, which has assumed even national attributes, with the steady
growth of an imperial sentiment in the parent state, the old condition
of things that too often made the provinces the shuttlecock of skilful
American diplomacy has passed away. The statesmen of the Canadian
federation are now consulted, and exercise almost as much influence as
if they were members of the imperial councils in London.

I shall naturally commence this review with a reference to the treaty of
1783, which acknowledged the independence of the United States, fixed
the boundaries between that country and British North America, and led
to serious international disputes which lasted until the middle of the
following century. Three of the ablest men in the United
States--Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay--succeeded by their
astuteness and persistency in extending their country's limits to the
eastern bank of the Mississippi, despite the insidious efforts of
Vergennes on the part of France to hem in the new nation between the
Atlantic and the Appalachian Range. The comparative value set upon
Canada during the preliminary negotiations may be easily deduced from
the fact that Oswald, the English plenipotentiary, proposed to give up
to the United States the south-western and most valuable part of the
present province of Ontario, and to carry the north-eastern boundary up
to the River St. John. The commissioners of the United States did not
accept this suggestion. Their ultimate object--an object actually
attained--was to make the St. Lawrence the common boundary between the
two countries by following the centre of the river and the great lakes
as far as the head of Lake Superior. The issue of negotiations so
stupidly conducted by the British commissioner, was a treaty which gave
an extremely vague definition of the boundary in the north-east between
Maine and Nova Scotia--which until 1784 included New Brunswick--and
displayed at the same time a striking example of geographical ignorance
as to the north-west. The treaty specified that the boundary should pass
from the head of Lake Superior through Long Lake to the north-west angle
of the Lake of the Woods, and thence to the Mississippi, when, as a
matter of fact there was no Long Lake, and the source of the Mississippi
was actually a hundred miles or so to the south of the Lake of the
Woods. This curious blunder in the north-west was only rectified in
1842, when Lord Ashburton settled the difficulty by conceding to the
United States an invaluable corner of British territory in the east (see
below, p 299).


The only practical advantage that the people of the provinces gained
from the Treaty of Ghent, which closed the war of 1812--15, was an
acknowledgment of the undoubted fishery rights of Great Britain and her
dependencies in the territorial waters of British North America. In the
treaty of 1783 the people of the United States obtained the "right" to
fish on the Grand and other banks of Newfoundland, and in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence and at "all other places in the sea, where the inhabitants
of both countries used at any time heretofore to fish", but they were to
have only "the liberty" of taking fish on the coasts of Newfoundland and
also of "all other of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in America; and
also of drying and curing fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbours,
and creeks of Nova Scotia (then including New Brunswick), Magdalen
Islands, and Labrador, so long as the same shall remain unsettled." In
the one case, it will be seen, there was a recognised right, but in the
other only a mere "liberty" or privilege extended to the fishermen of
the United States. At the close of the war of 1812 the British
government would not consent to renew the merely temporary liberties of
1783, and the United States authorities acknowledged the soundness of
the principle that any privileges extended to the republic in British
territorial waters could only rest on "conventional stipulation." The
convention of 1818 forms the legal basis of the rights, which Canadians
have always maintained in the case of disputes between themselves and
the United States as to the fisheries on their own coasts, bays, and
harbours of Canada. It provides that the inhabitants of the United
States shall have for ever the liberty to take, dry, and cure fish on
certain parts of the coast of Newfoundland, on the Magdalen Islands and
on the southern shores of Labrador, but they "renounce for ever any
liberty, heretofore enjoyed" by them to take, dry, and cure fish, "on or
within three marine miles of any of the coasts, bays or creeks or
harbours of his Britannic Majesty's other dominions in America";
provided, however, that the American fishermen shall be admitted to
enter such bays and harbours, for the purpose of shelter, and of
repairing damages therein, of purchasing wood, and of obtaining water,
and "for no other purpose whatever."

In April, 1817, the governments of Great Britain and the United States
came to an important agreement which ensured the neutrality of the great
lakes. It was agreed that the naval forces to be maintained upon these
inland waters should be confined to the following vessels: on Lakes
Champlain and Ontario to one vessel, on the Upper Lakes to two vessels,
not exceeding in each case a hundred tons burden and armed with only one
small cannon. Either nation had the right to bring the convention to a
termination by a previous notice of six months. This agreement is still
regarded by Great Britain and the United States to be in existence,
since Mr. Secretary Seward formally withdrew the notice which was given
for its abrogation in 1864, when the civil war was in progress and the
relations between the two nations were considerably strained at times.

The next international complication arose out of the seizure of the
steamer _Caroline_, which was engaged in 1837 in carrying munitions of
war between the United States and Navy Island, then occupied by a number
of persons in the service of Mr. Mackenzie and other Canadian rebels. In
1840 the authorities of New York arrested one Macleod on the charge of
having murdered a man who was employed on the _Caroline_. The
Washington government for some time evaded the whole question by
throwing the responsibility on the state authorities and declaring that
they could not interfere with a matter which was then within the
jurisdiction of the state courts. The matter gave rise to much
correspondence between the two governments, but happily for the peace of
the two countries the American courts acquitted Macleod, as the evidence
was clear that he had had nothing to do with the actual seizing of the
_Caroline_; and the authorities at Washington soon afterwards
acknowledged their responsibility in such affairs by passing an act
directing that subjects of foreign powers, if taken into custody for
acts done or committed under the authority of their own government, "the
validity or effect whereof depends upon the law of nations, should be
discharged." The dissatisfaction that had arisen in the United States on
account of the cutting out of the _Caroline_ was removed in 1842, when
Sir Robert Peel expressed regret that "some explanation and apology for
the occurrence had not been previously made," and declared that it was
"the opinion of candid and honourable men that the British officers who
executed this transaction, and their government who approved it,
intended no insult or disrespect to the sovereign authority of the
United States[9]."

[9: Hall's _Treatise on International Law_ (3rd ed.), pp. 311--313]

In the course of time the question of the disputed boundary between
Maine and New Brunswick assumed grave proportions. By the treaty of
1783, the boundary was to be a line drawn from the source of the St.
Croix, directly north to the highlands "which divide the rivers which
fall into the Atlantic ocean from those which fall into the river St.
Lawrence;" thence along the said highlands to the north-easternmost head
of the Connecticut River; and the point at which the due north line was
to cut the highlands was also designated as the north-west angle of Nova
Scotia. The whole question was the subject of several commissions, and
of one arbitration, from 1783 until 1842, when it was finally settled.
Its history appears to be that of a series of blunders on the part of
England from the beginning to the end. The first blunder occurred in
1796 when the commissioners appointed to inquire into the question,
declared that the Schoodic was the River St. Croix mentioned in the
treaty. Instead, however, of following the main, or western, branch of
the Schoodic to its source in the Schoodic Lakes, they went beyond
their instructions and chose a northern tributary of the river, the
Chiputnaticook, as the boundary, and actually placed a monument at its
head as a basis for any future proceeding on the part of the two
governments. The British government appear to have been very anxious at
this time to settle the question, for they did not take exception to the
arrangement made by the commissioners, but in 1798 declared the decision
binding on both countries.

Still this mistake might have been rectified had the British government
in 1835 been sufficiently alive to British interests in America to have
accepted a proposal made to them by President Jackson to ascertain the
true north-western angle of Nova Scotia, or the exact position of the
highlands, in accordance with certain well-understood rules in practical
surveying which have been always considered obligatory in that
continent. It was proposed by the United States to discard the due north
line, to seek to the west of that line the undisputed highlands that
divide the rivers which empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence
from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to find the point in the
'watershed' of these highlands nearest to the north line, and to trace a
direct course from it to the monument already established. "If this
principle had been adopted," says Sir Sandford Fleming, the eminent
Canadian engineer, "a straight line would have been drawn from the
monument at the head of the Chiputnaticook to a point which could have
been established with precision in the 'watershed' of the highlands
which separate the sources of the Chaudiere from those of the
Penobscot,--this being the most easterly point in the only highlands
agreeing beyond dispute with the treaty. The point is found a little to
the north and west of the intersection of the 70th meridian west
longitude and the 46th parallel of north latitude." Had this proposal
been accepted England would have obtained without further difficulty
eleven thousand square miles, or the combined areas of Massachusetts
and Connecticut.


For several years after this settlement was suggested a most serious
conflict went on between New Brunswick and the state of Maine. The
authorities of Maine paid no respect whatever to the negotiations that
were still in progress between the governments of Great Britain and the
United States, but actually took possession of the disputed territory,
gave titles for lands and constructed forts and roads within its limits.
Collisions occurred between the settlers and the intruders, and
considerable property was destroyed. The legislature of Maine voted
$800,000 for the defence of the state, and the legislature of Nova
Scotia amid great enthusiasm made a grant of $100,000 to assist New
Brunswick in support of her rights. Happily the efforts of the United
States and British governments prevented the quarrel between the
province and the state from assuming international proportions; and in
1842 Mr. Alexander Baring, afterwards Lord Ashburton, was authorised by
the ministry of the Earl of Aberdeen to negotiate with Mr. Daniel
Webster, then secretary of state in the American cabinet, for the
settlement of matters in dispute between the two nations. The result was
the Ashburton Treaty, which, in fixing the north-eastern boundary
between British North America and the United States, started due north
from the monument incorrectly placed at the head of the Chiputnaticook
instead of the source of the true St. Croix, and consequently at the
very outset gave up a strip of land extending over some two degrees of
latitude, and embracing some 3000 square miles of British territory. By
consenting to carry the line due north from the misplaced monument Lord
Ashburton ignored the other natural landmark set forth in the treaty:
"the line of headlands which divide the waters flowing into the Atlantic
from those which flow into the St. Lawrence." A most erratic boundary
was established along the St. John, which flows neither into the St.
Lawrence nor the Atlantic, but into the Bay of Fundy, far east of the
St. Croix. In later years the historian Sparks found in Paris a map on
which Franklin himself had marked in December, 1782, with a heavy red
line, what was then considered the true natural boundary between the two
countries. Mr. Sparks admitted in sending the map that it conceded more
than Great Britain actually claimed, and that "the line from the St.
Croix to the Canadian highlands is intended to exclude [from the
territory of the United States] all the waters running into the St.
John." Canadians have always believed with reason that that portion of
the present state of Maine, through which the Aroostook and other
tributaries of the St. John flow, is actually British territory. If we
look at the map of Canada we see that the state of Maine now presses
like a huge wedge into the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec as a
sequence of the unfortunate mistakes of 1796, 1835, and 1842, on the
part of England and her agents. In these later times a "Canadian short
line" railway has been forced to go through Maine in order to connect
Montreal with St. John, and other places in the maritime provinces. Had
the true St. Croix been chosen in 1796, or President Jackson's offer
accepted in 1835, this line could go continuously through Canadian
territory, and be entirely controlled by Canadian legislation.

Another boundary question was the subject of much heated controversy
between England and the United States for more than a quarter of a
century, and in 1845 brought the two countries very close to war. In
1819 the United States obtained from Spain a cession of all her rights
and claims north of latitude forty-two, or the southern boundary of the
present state of Oregon. By that time the ambition of the United States
was not content with the Mississippi valley, of which she had obtained
full control by the cession of the Spanish claims and by the Louisiana
purchase of 1803, but looked to the Pacific coast, where she made
pretensions to a territory stretching from 42 deg. to 54 deg. 40' north
latitude, or a territory four times the area of Great Britain and
Ireland, or of the present province of Ontario. The claims of the two
nations to this vast region rested on very contradictory statements with
respect to priority of discovery, and that occupation and settlement
which should, within reasonable limits, follow discovery; and as the
whole question was one of great perplexity, it should have been settled,
as suggested by England, on principles of compromise. But the people of
the United States, conscious at last of the importance of the territory,
began to bring their influence to bear on the politicians, until by 1845
the Democratic party declared 'for 54 deg. 40' or fight,' Mr. Crittenden
announced that "war might now be looked upon as almost inevitable."
Happily President Polk and congress came to more pacific conclusions
after a good deal of warlike talk; and the result was a treaty (1846) by
which England accepted the line 49 degrees to the Pacific coast, and
obtained the whole of Vancouver Island, which for a while seemed likely
to be divided with the United States. But Vancouver Island was by no
means a compensation for what England gave up, for, on the continent,
she yielded all she had contended for since 1824, when she first
proposed the Columbia River as a basis of division.

But even then the question of boundary was not finally settled by this
great victory which had been won for the United States by the
persistency of her statesmen. The treaty of 1846 continued the line of
boundary westward along "the 49th parallel of north latitude to the
middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver
Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel and
of Fuca's straits to the Pacific Ocean" Anyone reading this clause for
the first time, without reference to the contentions that were raised
afterwards, would certainly interpret it to mean the whole body of water
that separates the continent from Vancouver,--such a channel, in fact,
as divides England from France; but it appears there are a number of
small channels separating the islands which lie in the great channel in
question, and the clever diplomatists at Washington immediately claimed
the Canal de Haro, the widest and deepest, as the canal of the treaty.
Instead of at once taking the ground that the whole body of water was
really in question, the English government claimed another channel,
Rosario Strait, inferior in some respects, but the one most generally,
and indeed only, used at the time by their vessels. The importance of
this difference of opinion lay chiefly in the fact, that the Haro gave
San Juan and other small islands, valuable for defensive purposes, to
the United States, while the Rosario left them to England. Then, after
much correspondence, the British government, as a compromise, offered
the middle channel, or Douglas, which would still retain San Juan. If
they had always adhered to the Douglas--which appears to answer the
conditions of the treaty, since it lies practically in the middle of the
great channel--their position would have been much stronger than it was
when they came back to the Rosario. The British representatives at the
Washington conference of 1871 suggested the reference of the question to
arbitration, but the United States' commissioners, aware of their
vantage ground, would consent to no other arrangement than to leave to
the decision of the Emperor of Germany the question whether the Haro or
the Rosario channel best accorded with the treaty; and the Emperor
decided in favour of the United States. However, with the possession of
Vancouver in its entirety, Canada can still be grateful; and San Juan is
now only remembered as an episode of skilful American diplomacy. The
same may be said of another acquisition of the republic--insignificant
from the point of view of territorial area, but still illustrative of
the methods which have won all the great districts we have named
--Rouse's Point at the outlet of Lake Champlain, "of which an exact
survey would have deprived" the United States, according to Mr. Schouler
in his excellent history.

During this period the fishery question again assumed considerable
importance. The government at Washington raised the contention that the
three miles' limit, to which their fishermen could be confined by the
convention of 1818, should follow the sinuosities of the coasts,
including the bays, the object being to obtain access to the valuable
mackerel fisheries of the Bay of Chaleurs and other waters claimed to be
exclusively within the territorial jurisdiction of the maritime
provinces. The imperial government sustained the contention of the
provinces--a contention practically supported by American authorities in
the case of the Delaware, Chesapeake, and other bays on the coast of the
United States--that the three miles' limit should be measured from a
line drawn from headlands of all bays, harbours and creeks. In the case
of the Bay of Fundy, however, the imperial government allowed a
departure from this general principle, when it was urged by the
Washington government that one of its headlands was in the territory of
the United States, and that it was an arm of the sea rather than a bay.
The result was that foreign fishing vessels were only shut out from the
bays on the coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick within the Bay of
Fundy. All these questions were, however, placed in abeyance by the
reciprocity treaty of 1854 (see p. 96), which lasted until 1866, when it
was repealed by the action of the United States, in accordance with the
provision bringing it to a conclusion after one year's notice from one
of the parties interested.

The causes which led in 1866 to the repeal of a treaty so advantageous
to the United States have been long well understood. The commercial
classes in the eastern and western states were, on the whole, favourable
to an enlargement of the treaty; but the real cause of its repeal was
the prejudice in the northern states against Canada on account of its
supposed sympathy for the confederate states during the Secession war. A
large body of men in the north believed that the repeal of the treaty
would sooner or later force Canada to join the republic; and a bill was
actually introduced in the house of representatives providing for her
admission--a mere political straw, it is true, but showing the current
of opinion in some quarters in those days. When we review the history of
those times, and consider the difficult position in which Canada was
placed, it is remarkable how honourably her government discharged its
duties of a neutral between the belligerents. In the case of the raid of
some confederate refugees in Canada on the St. Alban's bank in Vermont,
the Canadian authorities brought the culprits to trial and even paid a
large sum of money in acknowledgment of an alleged responsibility when
some of the stolen notes were returned to the robbers on their release
on technical grounds by a Montreal magistrate. It is well, too, to
remember how large a number of Canadians fought in the union
armies--twenty against one who served in the south. No doubt the
position of Canada was made more difficult at that critical time by the
fact that she was a colony of Great Britain, against whom both north and
south entertained bitter feelings by the close of the war; the former
mainly on account of the escape of confederate cruisers from English
ports, and the latter because she did not receive active support from
England. The north had also been much excited by the promptness with
which Lord Palmerston had sent troops to Canada when Mason and Slidell
were seized on an English packet on the high seas, and by the bold tone
held by some Canadian papers when it was doubtful if the prisoners would
be released.

Before and since the union, the government of Canada has made repeated
efforts to renew a commercial treaty with the government at Washington.
In 1865 and 1866, Canadian delegates were prepared to make large
concessions, but were reluctantly brought to the conclusion that the
committee of ways and means in congress "no longer desired trade between
the two countries to be carried on upon the principle of reciprocity."
In 1866 Sir John Rose, while minister of finance, made an effort in the
same direction, but he was met by the obstinate refusal of the
republican party, then as always, highly protective.

All this while the fishery question was assuming year by year a form
increasingly irritating to the two countries. The headland question was
the principal difficulty, and the British government, in order to
conciliate the United States at a time when the Alabama question was a
subject of anxiety, induced the Canadian government to agree, very
reluctantly it must be admitted, to shut out foreign fishing vessels
only from bays less than six miles in width at their entrances. In this,
however, as in all other matters, the Canadian authorities acknowledged
their duty to yield to the considerations of imperial interests, and
acceded to the wishes of the imperial government in almost every
respect, except actually surrendering their territorial rights in the
fisheries. They issued licenses to fish, at low rates, for several
years, only to find eventually that American fishermen did not think it
worth while to buy these permits when they could evade the regulations
with little difficulty. The correspondence went on for several years,
and eventually led to the Washington conference or commission of 1871,
which was primarily intended to settle the fishery question, but which
actually gave the precedence to the Alabama difficulty--then of most
concern in the opinion of the London and Washington governments. The
representatives of the United States would not consider a proposition
for another reciprocity treaty on the basis of that of 1854. The
questions arising out of the convention of 1818 were not settled by the
commission, but were practically laid aside for ten years by an
arrangement providing for the free admission of salt-water fish to the
United States, on the condition of allowing the fishing vessels of that
country free access to the Canadian fisheries. The free navigation of
the St. Lawrence was conceded to the United States in return for the
free use of Lake Michigan and of certain rivers in Alaska. The question
of giving to the vessels of the Canadian provinces the privilege of
trading on the coast of the United States--a privilege persistently
demanded for years by Nova Scotia--was not considered; and while the
canals of Canada were opened up to the United States on the most liberal
terms, the Washington government contented itself with a barren promise
in the treaty to use its influence with the authorities of the states to
open up their artificial waterways to Canadians. The Fenian claims were
abruptly laid aside, although, if the principle of "due diligence,"
which was laid down in the new rules for the settlement of the Alabama
difficulty had been applied to this question, the government of the
United States would have been mulcted in heavy damages. In this case it
would be difficult to find a more typical instance of responsibility
assumed by a state through the permission of open and notorious acts,
and by way of complicity after the acts; however, as in many other
negotiations with the United States, Canada felt she must make
sacrifices for the empire, whose government wished all causes of
irritation between England and the United States removed as far as
possible by the treaty. One important feature of this commission was the
presence, for the first time in the history of treaties, of a Canadian
statesman. The astute prime minister of the Dominion, Sir John
Macdonald, was chosen as one of the English high commissioners: and
though he was necessarily tied down by the instructions of the imperial
state, his knowledge of Canadian questions was of great service to
Canada during the conference. If the treaty finally proved more
favourable to the Dominion than it at first appeared to be, it was owing
largely to the clause which provided for a reference to a later
commission of the question, whether the United States would not have to
pay the Canadians a sum of money, as the value of their fisheries over
and above any concessions made them in the treaty. The result of this
commission was a payment of five millions and a half of dollars to
Canada and Newfoundland, to the infinite disappointment of the
politicians of the United States, who had been long accustomed to have
the best in all the bargains with their neighbours. Nothing shows more
clearly the measure of the local self-government at last won by Canada
and the importance of her position in the empire, than the fact that the
English government recognised the right of the Dominion government to
name the commissioner who represented Canada on an arbitration which
decided a question of such deep importance to her interests.

The clauses of the Washington treaty relating to the fisheries and to
trade with Canada lasted for fourteen years, and then were repealed by
the action of the United States government. In the year 1874 the
Mackenzie ministry attempted, through Mr. George Brown, to negotiate a
new reciprocity treaty, but met with a persistent hostility from leading
men in congress. The relations between Canada and the United States
again assumed a phase of great uncertainty. Canada from 1885 adhered to
the letter of the convention of 1818, and allowed no fishing vessels to
fish within the three miles limit, to transship cargoes of fish in her
ports, or to enter them for any purpose except for shelter, wood, water,
and repairs. For the infractions of the treaty several vessels were
seized, and more than one of them condemned. A clamour was raised in the
United States on the ground that the Canadians were wanting in that
spirit of friendly intercourse which should characterise the relations
of neighbouring peoples. The fact is, the Canadians were bound to adhere
to their legal rights--rights which had always been maintained before
1854; which had remained in abeyance between 1854 and 1866; which
naturally revived after the repeal of the reciprocity treaty of 1854;
which again remained in abeyance between 1871 and 1885; and were revived
when the United States themselves chose to go back to the terms of the
convention of 1818.

In 1887 President Cleveland and Mr. Secretary Bayard, acting in a
statesmanlike spirit, obtained the consent of England to a special
commission to consider the fishery question. Sir Sackville West, Mr.
Joseph Chamberlain, and Sir Charles Tupper represented England; Mr.
Bayard, then secretary of state, Mr. Putnam of Maine, and Mr. Angell of
Michigan University, represented the United States. Sir Charles Tupper
could not induce the American commissioners to consider a mutual
arrangement providing for greater freedom of commercial intercourse
between Canada and the United States. Eventually the commission agreed
unanimously to a treaty which was essentially a compromise. Foreign
fishermen were to be at liberty to go into any waters where the bay was
more than ten miles wide at the mouth, but certain bays, including the
Bay of Chaleurs, were expressly excepted in the interests of Canada from
the operation of this provision. The United States did not attempt to
acquire the right to fish on the inshore fishing-grounds of Canada--that
is, within three miles of the coasts--but these fisheries were to be
left for the exclusive use of the Canadian fishermen. More satisfactory
arrangements were made for vessels obliged to resort to the Canadian
ports in distress; and a provision was made for allowing American
fishing-vessels to obtain supplies and other privileges in the harbours
of the Dominion whenever congress allowed the fish of that country to
enter free into the market of the United States, President Cleveland in
his message, submitting the treaty to the senate, acknowledged that it
"supplied a satisfactory, practical and final adjustment, upon a basis
honourable and just to both parties, of the difficult and vexed
questions to which it relates." The republican party, however, at that
important juncture--just before a presidential election--had a majority
in the senate, and the result was the failure in that body of a measure,
which, although by no means too favourable to Canadian interests, was
framed in a spirit of judicious statesmanship.

As a sequel of the acquisition of British Columbia, the Canadian
government was called upon in 1886 to urge the interests of the
Dominion in an international question that had arisen in Bering Sea. A
United States cutter seized in the open sea, at a distance of more than
sixty miles from the nearest land, certain Canadian schooners, fitted
out in British Columbia, and lawfully engaged in the capture of seals in
the North Pacific Ocean, adjacent to Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte
Islands, and Alaska--a portion of the territory of the United States
acquired in 1867 from Russia. These vessels were taken into a port of
Alaska, where they were subjected to forfeiture, and the masters and
mates fined and imprisoned. Great Britain at once resisted the claim of
the United States to the sole sovereignty of that part of Bering Sea
lying beyond the westerly boundary of Alaska--a stretch of sea extending
in its widest part some 600 or 700 miles beyond the mainland of Alaska,
and clearly under the law of nations a part of the great sea and open to
all nations. Lord Salisbury's government, from the beginning to the end
of the controversy, sustained the rights of Canada as a portion of the
British empire. After very protracted and troublesome negotiations it
was agreed to refer the international question in dispute to a court of
arbitration, in which Sir John Thompson, prime minister of Canada, was
one of the British arbitrators. The arbitrators decided in favour of the
British contention that the United States had no jurisdiction in Bering
Sea outside of the three miles limit, and at the same time made certain
regulations to restrict the wholesale slaughter of fur-bearing seals in
the North Pacific Ocean. In 1897 two commissioners, appointed by the
governments of the United States and Canada, awarded the sum of $463,454
as compensation to Canada for the damages sustained by the fishermen of
British Columbia, while engaged in the lawful prosecution of their
industry on that portion of the Bering Sea declared to be open to all
nations. This sum was paid in the summer of 1898 by the United States.

In 1897 the Canadian government succeeded in obtaining the consent of
the governments of Great Britain and the United States to the
appointment of a joint high commission to settle various questions in
dispute between Canada and the United States. Canada was represented on
this commission by Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Richard Cartwright, Sir
Louis Davies, and Mr. John Charlton, M.P., Newfoundland by Sir James
Winter; the United States by Messieurs C.W. Fairbanks, George Gray, J.W.
Foster, Nelson Dingley Jr., J.A. Kasson, and T. Jefferson Coolidge. The
eminent jurist, Baron Herschell, who had been lord chancellor in the
last Gladstone ministry, was chosen chairman of this commission, which
met in the historic city of Quebec on several occasions from the 23rd
August until the 10th October, 1898, and subsequently at Washington from
November until the 20th February, 1899, when it adjourned. Mr. Dingley
died in January and was replaced by Mr. Payne, and Lord Herschell also
unhappily succumbed to the effects of an accident soon after the close
of the sittings of the commission. In an eulogy of this eminent man in
the Canadian house of commons, the Canadian prime minister stated that
during the sittings of the commission "he fought for Canada not only
with enthusiasm, but with conviction and devotion." England happily in
these modern times has felt the necessity of giving to the consideration
of Canadian interests the services of her most astute and learned
statesmen and diplomatists.

This commission was called upon to consider a number of international
questions--the Atlantic and inland fisheries, the Alaska boundary, the
alien labour law, the bonding privilege, the seal fishery in the Bering
Sea, reciprocity of trade in certain products of the two countries, and
other minor issues. For the reasons given in a previous part of this
chapter (page 269), when referring to the commercial policy of the
Laurier government, reciprocity was no longer the all-important question
to be discussed, though the commissioners were desirous of making fiscal
arrangements with respect to lumber, coal, and some other Canadian
products for which there is an increasing demand in the markets of the
United States. The long and earnest discussions of the commission on the
various questions before them were, however, abruptly terminated by the
impossibility of reaching a satisfactory conclusion with respect to the
best means of adjusting the vexed question of the Alaska boundary, which
had become of great international import in consequence of the discovery
of gold in the territory of Alaska and the district of Yukon in Canada.

The dispute between Great Britain and the United States has arisen as to
the interpretation to be given to the Anglo-Russian treaty of 1825,
which was made forty-two years before Russia sold her territorial rights
in Alaska to the United States, that sale being subject of course to the
conditions of the treaty in question. Under the third article of this
treaty[10]--the governing clause of the contract between England and
Russia--boundary line between Canada and Alaska commences at the south
end of Prince of Wales Island, thence runs north through Portland
Channel to the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude, thence follows the
summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast of the continent,
to one hundred and forty-one west longitude and thence to the frozen
ocean. That part of the line between fifty-six north latitude and one
hundred and forty-one west longitude is where the main dispute arises.
Great Britain on behalf of Canada contends that, by following the
summits of the mountains between these two points, the true boundary
would cross Lynn Canal, about half way between the headlands and
tide-water at the head of the canal, and leave both Skagway and
Dyea--towns built up chiefly by United States citizens--within British
territory. The contention of Great Britain always has been that the
boundary should follow the general contour of the coast line and not the
inlets to their head waters. On the other hand the United States contend
that the whole of Lynn Canal up to the very top, to the extent of
tide-water, is a part of the ocean, and that the territory of the United
States goes back for ten leagues from the head of the canal and
consequently includes Skagway and Dyea. In other words the United States
claim that the boundary should not follow the coast line but pass
around the head of this important inlet, which controls access to the
interior of the gold-bearing region.

[10: The following is the article in full: "The line of demarcation
between the possessions of the high contracting parties upon the coast
of the continent and the islands of America to the north-west, shall be
drawn in the following manner: commencing from the southernmost point of
the island called Prince of Wales Island, which point lies in the
parallel of fifty-four degrees forty minutes north latitude, and between
the one hundred and thirty-first and the one hundred and thirty-third
degree of west longitude, the said line shall ascend to the north along
the channel called Portland Channel as far as the point of the continent
where it strikes the fifty-sixth degree of north latitude. From this
last-mentioned point the line of demarcation shall follow the summit of
the mountains situated parallel to the coast as far as the point of
intersection of the one hundred and forty-first degree of west longitude
(of the same meridian), and finally from the said point of intersection
of the one hundred and forty-first degree in its prolongation as far as
the frozen ocean, shall form the limit between the Russian and British
possessions, on the continent of America to the north-west"]


The Canadian commissioners first offered as a compromise to leave Dyea
and Skagway in the possession of the United States if the commissioners
of that country would agree that Canada should retain Pyramid Harbour,
which would give to Canadians a highway into the Yukon district. The
acceptance of this compromise would have made a common water of the Lynn
Canal, and at the same time left to the United States the greater
portion of the territory in dispute. When the commissioners of the
United States refused this fair compromise, the Canadians offered to
refer the whole question to arbitration in order to ascertain the true
boundary under the Anglo-Russian treaty. They proposed that the
arbitrators should be three jurists of repute: one chosen for Great
Britain by the judicial committee of the privy council, one appointed by
the president of the United States, and the third a high international
authority to act as an umpire. The commissioners of the United States
positively refused to agree to this proposition and suggested the
appointment of six jurists, three to be appointed by Great Britain, and
the others by the United States. The Canadian representatives were
unable to agree to the amendment suggested by their American colleagues,
on the ground that it did not "provide a tribunal which would
necessarily, and in the possible event of differences of opinion,
finally dispose of the question," They also refused to agree to other
propositions of the United States as "a marked and important departure
from the rules of the Venezuelan boundary reference." The commissioners
of the United States were not only unwilling to agree to the selection
of an impartial European umpire, but were desirous of the appointment of
an American umpire--from the South American Republics--over whom the
United States would have more or less influence. Under these
circumstances the Canadian commissioners were unwilling to proceed to
the determination of other questions (on which a conclusion had been
nearly reached) "until the boundary question had been disposed of either
by agreement or reference to arbitration." The commission adjourned
until August in the same year, but the negotiations that took place in
the interval between the governments of Great Britain and the United
States on the question at issue were not sufficiently advanced to enable
a meeting at the proposed date. In these circumstances a _modus vivendi_
was arranged between the United States and Canada, whose interests have
been carefully guarded throughout the controversy by the government of
the imperial state.

This review of Canada's relations with the United States and England for
more than a century illustrates at once her weakness and her
strength--her weakness in the days of provincial isolation and imperial
indifference; her strength under the inspiring influences of federal
union and of an imperial spirit which gives her due recognition in the
councils of the empire. It may now be said that, in a limited sense,
there is already a loose system of federation between Great Britain and
her dependencies. The central government of Great Britain, as the
guardian of the welfare of the whole empire, cooperates with the several
governments of her colonial dependencies, and, by common consultation
and arrangement, endeavours to come to such a determination as will be
to the advantage of all the interests at stake. In other words, the
conditions of the relations between Great Britain and Canada are such as
to insure unity of policy so long as each government considers the
interests of Great Britain and the dependency as identical, and keeps in
view the obligations, welfare, and unity of the empire at large. Full
consultation in all negotiations affecting Canada, representation in
every arbitration and commission that may be the result of such
negotiations, are the principles which, of late years, have been
admitted by Great Britain in acknowledgement of the development of
Canada and of her present position in the empire; and any departure
from so sound a doctrine would be a serious injury to the imperial
connection, and an insult to the ability of Canadians to take a part in
the great councils of the world. The same mysterious Providence that has
already divided the continent of North America, as far as Mexico,
between Canada and the United States, and that in the past prevented
their political fortunes from becoming one, still forces the Canadian
communities with an irresistible power to press onward until they
realise those high conceptions which some statesmen already imagine for
them in a not very distant future. These conceptions are of a still
closer union with the parent state, which shall increase their national
responsibilities, and at the same time give the Dominion a recognised
position in the central councils of the empire.



_Name._ _Name_
The Dominion of Canada The Commonwealth of Australia.

_How Constituted._ _How Constituted_
Of provinces. Of states.

_Seat of Government._ _Seat of Government_
At Ottawa until the Queen Within federal territory in
otherwise directs. New South Wales, at least 100
miles from Sydney

_Executive Power._ _Executive Power_
Vested in the Queen. Vested in the Queen.
Queen's representative, a Queen's representative, a
governor-general, appointed by governor-general, appointed by
the Queen in council. the Queen in council.

Salary of governor-general Not less than L10,000 paid
L10,000 sterling, paid by Dominion by the commonwealth, fixed by
government, alterable by parliament from time to time,
the parliament of Canada, but not diminished during tenure of
subject to the disallowance of a governor-general.
the crown, as in 1868, when
parliament passed a bill to reduce
this salary.

Ministers called by governor-general Same--only for "privy
to form a cabinet, first councillors" read "executive
sworn in as privy councillors, councillors"
hold office while they have the
confidence of the popular house
of parliament, in accordance with


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