The Canadian Dominion, a Chronicle of our Northern Neighbor
Oscar D. Skelton

Part 3 out of 4

brought back the Republicans and led to that climax in
agricultural protection, the Dingley Act of 1897, which killed
among Canadians all reciprocity longings and compelled them to
look to themselves for salvation. Although Canadians were anxious
for trade relations, they were not willing to be bludgeoned into
accepting one-sided terms. The settlement of the Bering Sea
dispute in 1898 by a board of arbitration, which ruled against
the claims of the United States but suggested a restriction of
pelagic sealing by agreement, removed one source of friction.
Hardly was that out of the way when Cleveland's Venezuela message
brought Great Britain and the United States once more to the
verge of war. In such a war Canadians knew they would be the
chief sufferers, but in 1895, as in 1862, they did not flinch and
stood ready to support the mother country in any outcome. The
Venezuela episode stirred Canadian feeling deeply, revived
interest in imperialism, and ended the last lingering remnants of
any sentiment for annexation. As King Edward I was termed "the
hammer of the Scots," so McKinley and Cleveland became "the
hammer of the Canadians," welding them into unity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* See "The Path of Empire".

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

For the period, 1815-1841, W. S. Wallace's "The Family Compact"
("Chronicles of Canada", 1915) and A. D. De Celles's "The
Patriotes of '37" ("Chronicles of Canada", 1916) are the most
concise summaries. J. C. Dent's "The Story of the Upper Canadian
Rebellion" (1885) is biased but careful and readable. "William
Lyon Mackenzie", by Charles Lindsey, revised by G. G. S. Lindsey
(1908), is a sober defense of Mackenzie by his son-in-law and
grandson. Robert Christie's "A History of the Late Province of
Lower Canada", 6 vols. (1848-1866) preserves much contemporary
material. There are few secondary books taking the anti-popular
side: T. C. Haliburton's "The Bubbles of Canada" (1839) records
Sam Slick's opposition to reform; C. W. Robinson's "Life of Sir
John Beverley Robinson" (1904) is a lifeless record of the
greatest Compact leader. Lord Durham's "Report on the Affairs of
British North America" (1839; available in Methuen reprint, 1902,
or with introduction and notes by Sir Charles Lucas, 3 vols.,
1912) is indispensable. For the Union period there are several


Back to Full Books