Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
DOMINION OF CANADA. The dominion of Canada comprises the British provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, the district of Kewatin, and the Northwest Territories. The British North American act for the federal union of these provinces into one dominion under the crown of Great Britain, was passed by the English parliament in 1867. At that date, Upper and Lower Canada—since called Ontario and Quebec—Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were the only provinces included in the confederation desiring political union. The act, however, contained provisions to admit any of the remaining British provinces whose people might subsequently desire to join the union; and British Columbia, and the province of Prince Edward Island, within a few years, became members of the federation. The act of union was proclaimed July 1, 1867. Soon afterward the Northwest Territories were transferred to the dominion. These are the vast district, "which not having before been granted to any British subject, nor belonging to the subject of any other Christian prince," Charles II. granted to the Hudson's Bay company, and throughout which that company so long monopolized a lucrative trade. The province of Manitoba, and the recently established district of Kewatin, are both portions of the territory formerly controlled by the Hudson's Bay company.
—The union was purely of provincial origin, but received the hearty support of England, as it tended to consolidate British American interests. The time chosen was specially opportune for the success of such a project in Canada, as there were clouds there on the political horizon, which foreboded trouble. When Upper and Lower Canada were united in 1840, the two provinces had equal representation in the legislature, and no change in the number of representatives could be made without the consent of two-thirds of all their members. But as the increase of population was greater in the upper than in the lower province, for some years prior to 1867, there was considerable clamor in Upper Canada for a re-adjustment, on the basis of population, of the parliamentary representation. While the justice of such a demand was beyond controversy, Lower Canada declined to sanction any change which placed her in a legis&lgrave;ative minority. Under such circumstances the discontent in Upper Canada steadily increased. This was but one of a series of vexations questions which gave her majesty's loyal opposition in Canada a complete outfit of weapons of offense, and made it impossible for the most wary political leaders to retain their majorities. The strongest administrations that could be formed held their existence on but a precarious tenure, and were short-lived. Disputes respecting political grievances, between people homogeneous in race and religion, are not always easy to control, but when they are accompanied by the antipathies and antagonisms skillful dealers in disturbing questions can bring into play between people as wide apart as Scotch Presbyterians and French Catholics, they become dangerous. This fact was timely recognized in Canada. Political leaders grew apprehensive that their followers might become unmanageable and urge the strife beyond a war of words, and thoughtful, non-partisan people turned to a union of all the British provinces as the surest and most practicable means of avoiding impending trouble. This, it was thought, would afford an opportunity to dispose of perplexing questions, and prevent the recurrence of these annoying dead-locks into which the evenly balanced strength and rancor of political parties were constantly bringing the legislature. Aspiring public men in each of these provinces also foresaw, that the pent-up area of their field of political action must thereby be enlarged and made more important. In this way confederation grew to be considered the most feasible solution of the problems which puzzled the rulers of Canada. The act of union was the outcome of the deliberations of the ablest public men of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, as representative men of all parties aided in the work. The act passed the English parliament essentially as it was left by the Canadian delegates. A coalition government was formed to initiate the new order of things in the dominion, and but few men of influence withheld their aid from the attempt to make the new machinery of government run smoothly at the start.
—Quietly as this change was effected, it was an important transition for Canada; and that country to-day widely differs from what it was a decade and a half ago. The former Canada was but a fringe of settlements along the heavily timbered banks of the St. Lawrence, the Ottawa, and a few other large rivers of the country; and along the shores of the great lakes. It had no prairies, inviting to the immigrant, because they require but a minimum outlay for cultivation, and will yield a quick return for labor. It had no accessible seaport of its own during winter, and had per force to be content with its isolated position more than half of each year, or be dependent on the courtesy of its neighbor for a winter port. The Canada of to-day contains all the British possessions in North America, except Newfoundland. It commands fine harbors, on both sides of the continent, and has at its disposal stretches of virgin prairie, nowhere surpassed. East and west it extends from ocean to ocean; and north and south from the frozen ocean and Hudson's bay to the frontier of the United States. The area within these boundaries includes more than 3,000,000 square miles, and is surpassed in extent only by the vast territories of the United States, and the imperial possessions of Great Britain, Russia and China.
—Canada is naturally divided into three immense geological basins, draining into the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Arctic ocean and Hudson's bay. The great lakes and the St. Lawrence are the outlet from the eastern watershed. For several hundred miles they form the boundary between the United States and Canada. They constitute the largest and purest body of fresh water known. The St. Lawrence is 1,500 miles long, and drains an area of 330,000 square miles, the larger portion of which is in Canada. In the northern basin of the Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan, Nelson and Mackenzie rivers, together, are 2,700 miles long, and drain an area of 890,000 square miles. West of the Rocky mountains the Fraser river is 450 miles long, and drains an area of 30,000 square miles. The Fraser, Columbia and Peace rivers are the chief streams of British Columbia. The Peace river rises in the angle formed by the Peak range with the Rocky mountains and the Coast range. It receives the gold-bearing tributary, Findlay's branch, passes the great range of the Rocky mountains and joins the Mackenzie river, which, after a course of 2,000 miles, reaches the frozen ocean. The Columbia river rises in the Rocky mountains, and after receiving important tributaries enters the United States territory and falls into the Pacific. The entire western basin is about 800 miles long by 400 miles wide. From California northward the line of the Pacific coast is singularly unbroken up to the straits of Fuca, about 750 miles from San Francisco. But north of the straits there is a perfect maze of islands which were explored by Vancouver nearly 100 years ago. To seaward of this archipelago, and divided by a sound, are the islands of Vancouver and Queen Charlotte, the former being furthest to the south, and separated from the main land by a channel, which, at its narrowest parts, is only a few thousand yards wide. On Vancouver's island Great Britain established a separate colony, with the town of Victoria as capital, but the government of the island was united to that of the main land in 1866. The island is 250 miles long and 70 wide. It contains coal and other minerals, while in parts it is heavily timbered and adapted for agriculture.
—If the temperature of this continent in northern latitudes were similar to that prevailing in corresponding latitudes of the other hemisphere, all the older settled parts of Canada would enjoy a climate like that of the countries of central and southern Europe. But though favored with skies as bright as these countries, Canada, influenced by arctic currents, experiences a degree of cold to which they are strangers. On the Atlantic side of Canada, long before the latitudes are left which map out some of the most highly civilized countries of Europe, a region is reached unfit for settlement, where the Indian, undisturbed by civilization, may continue to hunt and fish, and live in squalor, as his forefathers lived for generations before him. Still traced westward, the isothermal lines are found to trend to the north, and there is a difference of 25 per cent. between the temperature of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts at the same latitude. At the mouth of the Columbia river, which corresponds in latitude with Quebec, the climate is as mild as that of the south of England. The milder climate of the Pacific coast is attributed to the warm winds from the Pacific ocean. It is stated on the authority of the Canadian government, that wheat can be grown with profit in latitude 60°, at longitude 122° 31' west. The Ontario peninsula between the great lakes has a climate like that of the adjacent states of New York, Michigan and Ohio. The cities of Toronto, Hamilton, London, Guelph and Brantford have grown up in that district. The Hon. David A. Wells referred to it, in the "North American Review" for September, 1877, as being as fair a country as exists on the American continent. Prof. Kingston, of the Toronto observatory, gives the mean temperature of Toronto, as shown by the observations of seven consecutive years, as 44.4° Fahrenheit. The lowest temperature registered, during the seven years, was—16° F, and the highest, 95.4° F. The climate of Quebec and the maritime provinces closely corresponds with that of the northern parts of New York, Vermont and Maine. Summer is nearly as hot there as in Ontario, but is shorter. The winters are more extreme than in the upper province, being colder, and from three to four weeks longer. At Esquimault, on Vancouver's island, British Columbia, where a meteorological station has been established, Prof. Kingston reports that the mean temperature is 48.42° F., ranging from a maximum of 85° F. to a minimum of 8° F. Some of the finest timber in Canada is in that district. At Spence's Bridge, a British Columbian station, said to fairly represent the valleys of the southern plateau, the temperature runs to greater extremes. Prof Kingston gives 105° F. as the highest temperature recorded, and—29 F. as the lowest; the mean temperature being 47.79° F. The mean summer temperature of the prairie region of Canada is stated in governmental reports to be 60° F., but the summers are short and hot, and the winters of that region are long and cold. At Battleford, in the Kewatin district, toward Fort Edmonton, the temperature falls to—40° F., but the air is dry, and the cold is said not to be disagreeable. In latitude 51° 30' at the Touchwood hills, cattle remain out all winter, and find pasturage on the bunch grass which the snow partly covers. The snowfall is lighter in the prairie country than in the same latitudes further east. In most of the settled parts of Canada there are copious spring and summer rains. In 1877 Mr. Bell, F. G. S., explored the southeastern coast of the Hudson's bay, the Mediterranean sea of this continent. From July 11 to Sept. 21 he recorded a series of thermometrical observations of the temperature of the water in five rivers of the district, and of the temperature of the sea and of the air. The mean temperature given by his observations was: of the rivers, 61° F.; of the sea, 53° F.; and of the air, 62.5° F. The temperature of the surface water of Lake Superior varies from 40° F. to 42° F., about the temperature of the air. At a depth of 60 feet the thermometer invariably falls to 38° F. The great lakes but seldom are frozen for more than a narrow strip along the shore. They exert a great influence on the climate of the interior of Canada—The act of union requires a census to be taken in Canada every 10 years. That for 1881 has just been taken, and some of the returns are available. The population of the dominion is now 4,350,933, an increase over that of 1871 of 664,337. The population of each constituent province, during the present and two preceding decades, and the territorial area of each province, are given in the following table:
The returns of this year's census showing religious creeds are not yet published; those for 1871 gave
For the remainder of the population no religious creed was given.
—The detailed returns of the census of 1871 showed that about four-fifths of the population were of native birth. Those of foreign birth were returned as follows:
—The Indian population of Canada is about 100,000.
—The population of the chief cities of Canada, in 1861, 1871 and 1881, was returned as follows:
—Most of the Canadian people are engaged in avocations of agriculture, lumbering and manufacturing of lumber for foreign markets, fishing and mining. During the last few years a protective fiscal policy has favored the establishment of manufacturing industries, and several classes of goods, formerly imported, are now manufactured by Canadians at home. Among these are boots and shoes, agricultural implements, machinery of various kinds; and in textile fabrics, tweeds and domestic cottons. The principal shoe factories are in Quebec, Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton. The cheaper and lighter classes of boots and shoes are, for the most part, made in Quebec. The manufacture of agricultural implements is carried on in almost every district of Ontario. Cotton factories, with the latest equipments, are in operation in St. John, Montreal, Valleyfield, Cornwall, Merriton, Dundas and Hamilton.
—The export returns of the customs department of the government afford the best clue to a knowledge of Canadian industries. The gross exports from Canada for the year ending June 30, 1880, and the two preceding years, were: 1878, $79,323,667; 1879, $71,491,255; 1880, $87,911,458. Foreign products in transit are included in the above figures of gross exports. The exports which were products of Canada amounted in value. for 1880, to $70,096,191. The value of the various classes of Canadian products, is as follows:
These goods were exported to 30 different countries, the 10 principal buyers, and the amount taken by each, being as follows:
Of mineral produce. the coal of British Columbia and Nova Scotia takes a leading place. British Columbia exported, in 1880, 204,525 tons of coal, valued at $700.142. The coal exports of Nova Scotia, for 1880. were 132,796 tons, valued at $238,390. The principal output of coals in British Columbia is on Vancouver's island. The coal beds of Nova Scotia are in the counties of Cape Breton, Pictou and Cumberland.
—Gold mining is carried on with success in both these provinces. From 2,000 to 4,000 hands, mostly Chinese, have found employment at gold mining in British Columbia since 1860. Their yearly produce has been from $1,000,000 to $3,735,850. The official report of the gold dust, etc., exported from British Columbia for the year ending June 30,1880, gives the amount as $964,484, but it is estimated that one-third more than is officially returned is exported. The returns for 1880 show that the exports of Nova Scotia gold mining produce were $121,350. The lodes of auriferous quartzite and gold-bearing slate in Nova Scotia are reported by Mr. Selwyn, the director of the Canadian geological survey. to extend through a formation having an area of 3,500 square miles. Oil and salt wells are in operation in the counties of Lambton and Huron in Ontario. The iron ores, which abound in almost every province of Canada, have hitherto scarcely been touched. The export of iron ore, in 1880, was mainly from Ontario, the amount being insignificant; value, $76,474. The value of exports of copper ores was $150,799. New Brunswick exported last year to Great Britain 1,395 tons of manganese ore, valued at $15.139. Near Ottawa city there are large deposits of phosphate of lime or apatite. Shipments of this in 1880 to Great Britain were 6,792 tons; to the United States, 1,182 tons; total value, $119,882. Of Canadian salt, 492,467 bushels, worth $46,190, were exported in 1880.
—Small quantities of ores of antimony, lead and plumbago were exported in 1880, but, up to the present, these ores have been of more value as an index to the minerals of the country, than the intrinsic economic worth of their exports—The United States buy more fish from Canada than are bought from her by any other country. The value of the fish of all kinds—fresh, dry salted, pickled, smoked and canned—shipped to the United States in 1880, was $1,618,881. If to this we add the value of the fish and seal oils, and that of the skins of marine animals bought by the United States for that year, the total value of the Canadian fishery products taken by the United States for 1880, amounts to $1,738,870. The West Indies, Great Britain and South America are the next best markets for Canadian fish.
—The following is a list of the chief articles of agricultural produce exported by Canada in 1880, and their value:
This excludes all produce not raised in Canada, shipped from Canadian ports. The chief markets for this grain, etc., were Great Britain, the United States, Newfoundland, France and Belgium. The value of this class of produce shipped to Great. Britain in 1880, was $12,641,961; of that shipped to the United States, $8,086,795—Canada exported, in 1880, timber and sawed lumber to 27 countries, each province shipping some of the products of its forests. Most of the shipments from Ontario were to the United States. In 1880 these were, of lumber, planks, boards and joists, and amounted in value to $4.137,662. The pineries of the upper Ottawa and those of the Georgian bay are of immense value. They are the sources of a large annual supply of logs. The returns of the Crown timber office at Ottawa, show that there were cut in the Ottawa district during the year ending June 30, 1880, 2,555,981 saw logs, and 108,957 pieces of square timber. British Columbia sent masts and bridge timber to China and Japan, and the maritime provinces sent timber to Africa. The Douglas fir (Abies Douglasii) grows in British Columbia to a great size; some trees are more than 300 feet high. Pot and pearl ashes, and bark for tanning, are important forest productions. The value of ashes exported in 1880 was $304,381; and of bark, $441,360. Great Britain bought, in 1880, productions of the Canadian forest, worth $8,673,336, and the United States bought in the same period, $6,532,418 worth.
—Canadian animals and their produce were exported in 1880 to 12 countries. Great Britain bought of these to the value of $11,104,223; and the United States bought $6,016,988 worth. In 1880 Canada exported 21,983 horses, worth $1,880,379. Of these the United States took 20,594, worth $1,798,616. For the same year there were 54,944 horned cattle exported, worth $2,764,437, of which Great Britain took something more than double the number taken by the United States.
—Butter and cheese have within a few years become important ant articles of export from Canada. In 1880 there were shipped of butter, 18,535,362 pounds, valued at $3,058,669; and of cheese, 40,368,678 pounds, valued at $3,893,366. The United States bought, in 1880, from Canada, 3,551,906 pounds of wool, worth $911,271.—the manufactures exported from Canada in 1880 amounted, as per figures in the statement given, to less than the fisheries exports, but to more than her mineral products. They were shipped to 37 different countries, but Great Britain and the United States were buyers of two-thirds of the amount shipped. The actual figures of the amounts they bought are: Great Britain, $1,386,746; United States, $1,283,342. Newfoundland and the British West Indies were, in 1880, the two next best customers for Canadian manufactures, but Newfoundland took hardly a fifth of the amount of manufactured goods shipped to the United States, and the British West Indies hardly a third of the amount sent to Newfoundland. More than 60,000 pairs of boots and shoes were exported to Great Britain during 1880, and about 2,000 pairs to the United States. 27,603 sewing machines, worth $201,545, were exported in 1880 to 17 different countries. About $40,000 worth of these were sent to Africa.
—The value of all Canadian imports in 1880 was $86,489,747. They were $1,421,711 less than the gross exports for the same time. For the first time in Canada last year's returns show an excess of exports over imports. But if the comparison of exports and imports during 1880 be restricted to goods of Canadian production, and to goods entered for Canadian consumption, the imports are in excess. Imports, in 1880, of goods for Canadian consumption, $71,782,349; exports, in 1880, of goods the productions of Canada, $70,096,191; excess of imports for consumption over exports of Canadian production, $1,686,158.
—The aggregate trade, in 1880 of Canada with Great Britain, shows an increase over the trade of 1879, amounting to $13,018,438, while the aggregate trade between Canada and the United States for the same period decreased $8,207,863.
—There were 18,370 sea-going vessels entered inward and outward at dominion ports during 1880. These had a registered tonnage of 6,786,714 tons, and crews numbering 220,113 men.
—The arrivals and departures of vessels engaged in the coasting trade were registered at dominion ports in 1880, as 70,493. Tonnage, 14,053,013 tons.
—The number of vessels of all kinds on the register books of the dominion, as per report of minister of marine and fisheries, was, Dec. 31, 1880, 7,377, measuring 1,311,218 tons register tonnage. At-an average value of $30 per ton, the value of the registered tonnage of Canadian vessels is $39,336,540.
—In the trade on the lakes and rivers between Canada and the United States there were, in 1880, 17,441 Canadian and United States vessels entered inward at Canadian ports. These vessels had a registered tonnage of 3,707,885 tons, and their crews comprised about 150,000 men.
—There are in Canada, 36 banks, acting under charters granted by the dominion government. The official statement of the deputy minister of finance shows that these banks had, on May 31, 1881, paid-up capital, $59,370,840; and notes in circulation, $25,575,729. They held specie, $5,572,600, and dominion notes, $10,833,900. Their aggregate liabilities were $119,551,299; and their assets, $193,580,659. The most important Canadian banks are: bank of Montreal, with a paid up capital of $11,999,200; bank of Commerce paid-up capital, $6,000,000; and bank of British North America, paid-up capital, $4,866,666. In 1871 the paid-up capital of chartered banks in Canada was $37,915,390, or $21,455,450 less than in 1881.
—The charters of Canadian banks issue subject to the provisions of the general banking act of Canada. This enjoins that no bank shall circulate notes or commence business until the sum of $200,000 capital be bona fide paid up, and the treasury board has certified to its payment. Notes in circulation must never exceed unimpaired paid-up capital. A bank must receive its own notes at par, but is not compelled to redeem them in specie or in dominion notes except at places where they are made payable. The head office of a bank must always be one of the places at which the notes of a bank are payable.
—At the close of the fiscal year of the Canadian government, June 30, 1870, there were 226 postoffice government savings banks in Canada. During 1870, $1,347,901 were deposited, and during the same year $664,555 were withdrawn from these banks. The entire cost of management for the year was 0.44 per cent. of the balances due depositors. June 30, 1880, there were 297 offices; deposits for the year were $2,720,216; and the withdrawals for the year were $1,820,213. Entire cost of management for the year, 0.49 per cent. of the balances due depositors. Any person may deposit in the government savings banks any sum, from $1 to $300, and has the direct security of the dominion by statute therefor. Interest is allowed at 4 per cent., but deposits may be withdrawn, and invested at higher interest in dominion bonds. Since 1871 the sum of $4,466,700 has been thus withdrawn and re-invested. Taking into account this sum, together with the aggregate increase of deposits over withdrawals, to June 30, 1880, at the postoffice and other savings banks of the dominion, the investments in Canada in the government savings banks will amount to $15,670,856.
—Prof. Cherriman, the Canadian superintendent of insurance, states in his report to the minister of finance, April 30, 1881, that there are 65 companies doing insurance in Canada. Of these 36 accept life insurance, 28 fire, 6 inland marine, 6 ocean marine, 5 accident, and 3 are guarantee companies. The government holds $6,609,767 for the protection of the policy holders in these companies. The risks held by the fire companies, April 30, 1881, amounted to $411,563,271. Premiums charged on these, $4,348,826, or $10.57 on each $1,000 at risk. Nine of the companies in Canada engaging in fire insurance are Canadian, 15 are British and 4 are American. The losses paid by the fire companies in 1880 were $1,666,578; the premiums received were $3,479,577; the losses for the year being 47.90 per cent. of premium receipts. The marine companies fared badly in 1880. The losses of the inland marine companies were 28.80 per cent. in excess of the premium receipts, and the losses of the ocean marine 24.88 per cent. more than the premiums received during 1880. The 34 companies engaged in effecting life insurance in Canada, have policies in force for insurance amounting to $90,280,293. The Canada life assurance company had, on April 30, 1880, policies in force for life insurance amounting to $21,547,759. The amount of life insurance effected in Canada during 1879 and 1880 was: Canadian companies, 1879, $6,112,706; 1880, $7,547,876. British companies, 1879, $1,877,918; 1880, $1,302,011. American companies, 1879, $3,363,600; 1880, $4,057,000.
—The progress of Canada accords with Fox's dictum, "that the only means of retaining distant colonies to advantage, is to enable them to govern themselves." What advantages accrue to England from such a mode of governing Canada. Englishmen themselves have not been able to agree in deciding. Indeed, one school of English politicians, intellectual and earnest, if not numerically strong, insist that the old idea of trade following the flag is a myth; that colonial possessions are a loss instead of a gain, and but little better than hurtful suckers at the parent stem. With such a question we have nothing to do here. Truth, however, compels the admission that by Fox's method of governing, England has easily retained her authority in Canada. For though the formal bond of union be but as a silken thread, the attachment of Canadians to England is genuine and unmistakable. But we also care less for this, than to show what progress Canada has made in the art of self-government, and that, after several tentative efforts, she has settled down into a method of managing her affairs, legislative, executive and judicial, in consonance with the character of her people, and that she is not likely soon to experience much change, but such as is incident to a condition of sturdy growth.
—In accordance with the provisions of the British North American act of 1867, which regulates the constitution of the dominion, the government of Canada is controlled by a parliament, consisting of the governor general as representative of the queen of England, a senate and a house of commons. The appointment of a governor general to aid in carrying on the government on behalf and in the name of the queen, and the appointment of a commander in chief of the militia and military and naval forces of Canada, are the only exercise of authority in Canadian affairs beyond the control of the Canadian parliament; and the one reminder left to show that the age of colonial tutelage is not entirely outgrown.
—The senate comprises 78 members. Each senator must be at least 30 years old, a native born or naturalized subject of Great Britain, and the possessor of property in his own province to the value of $4,000, over and above his debts and liabilities. Appointment to the senate rests nominally with the crown, which is virtually with the ministry of the day, for under the English system, though the queen reigns, the premier pro tem. governs. Senatorial appointments are for life unless the appointee resigns, turns traitor, becomes bankrupt, or forswears allegiance to the crown of England.
—The number of members in the house of commons is not fixed definitely as is the membership of the upper house. It varies with the returns of the decennial census. Quebec has 65 members in the commons, and this number remains the same whatever may be the change of population in that province, and the proportion this number of members bears to the number of the population of Quebec, after the census of that province is taken, determines the members to be returned by the whole country, as each province is entitled to send members to parliament in the same ratio to the number of its inhabitants that 65 bears to the population of the province of Quebec. According to the census of this year, this arrangement gives Quebec a member of parliament for every 20,900 of her population, and members to the other provinces in the same proportion, except to the smaller provinces who were assured a minimum representation till their numbers brought them an increased representation under the general rule. When the representation is adjusted as the new census requires, the provinces will have the following number of members in the house of commons: Ontario, 92; Nova Scotia, 21; New Brunswick, 15; Quebec (fixed number), 65; Prince Edward Island, 6; British Columbia, 6; Manitoba, 5; (in the last three the number of members is given by terms of union). Total number of members, 210.
—The voting for members of parliament in Canada is by ballot. There are some assessment qualifications for voters required by the election law, and these vary as between cities, town and country districts, but practically almost every owner or occupant of a house has a vote.
—The governor general, like the constitutional sovereign he represents, keeps aloof from party in the state. He governs solely through his ministers, who are his advisers, and so long as they have a majority of the people's representatives at their back, he must hearken to their counsel. In this he has no choice. In the most extreme case, the utmost stretch of his authority only permits him to exercise the royal prerogative, dismiss his ministers, dissolve the parliament, and obtain a new expression of the will of the people In a constitutional way, as advised by his ministry, he speaks as with the voice of the nation; were he to speak otherwise, his words would have no more weight than the gossip of the messenger at his office door. Each minister of the crown is required to have a seat in the house of commons, or in the senate—a reservoir on which premiers rely when other sources of ministerial wisdom fail them. As the estimated sum to be expended by each department has to be passed in committee of supply in the lower house at each session, the ministers of the more important departments are generally members of that house, in order there fully to explain the operations of their departments.
—The public business controlled by the dominion government is transacted through 13 departments, each of which is under the control of a member of the ministry. They are: The department of the interior, controlling Indian affairs, dominion lands, and the geological survey; and the departments of finance, public works, secretary of state, railways and canals, agriculture, postmaster general, minister of justice, marine and fisheries, customs, inland revenue, militia and defense, and president of the council. These include all the branches of public business coming under the control of the dominion government, viz., management of trade, commerce, indirect taxation and management of the public debt; postal service; the census and statistics; militia and defense; payment of public officers; light houses, navigation, shipping and quarantine; fisheries; currency, banking, coinage and legal tender; weights and measures; bankruptcy; patents and inventions; naturalization laws, and laws of divorce; penitentiaries and criminal law; railways, canals and telegraphs, if extending beyond the limits of a single province.
—Some promoters of confederation would have preferred, instead of that system, a legislative union of the provinces, if such a union had been practicable. But that of Upper and Lower Canada, in 1840, had, to a certain degree, proved to be, what Brougham called it at the time, "a case of being paired, not matched," and each province, for the protection of its own peculiar interests, decided to retain. large measure of "home rule." Thus, each province regulates its local affairs through its own legislature, and administration. Provincial authority extends to the control of all public lands belonging to such province before the union. The appointment of all officers required for the administration of justice, except judges, is retained by the provincial authorities. They also regulate education; asylums, hospitals and charities; jails, prisons and reformatories, except penitentiaries; municipal institutions; shop, tavern and other licenses; local works; marriages; property and civil rights; administration of justice in provincial courts, both of civil and criminal jurisdiction; the appointment of magistrates and justices of the peace; and emigration, so far as concerns provincial lands.
—A lieutenant governor for each province is appointed by the dominion government. No province has the power to organize or maintain a military force; and the dominion government has the power to disallow any enactments of the local legislatures which are ultra vires. Neither in the provincial legislatures nor in the dominion parliament can a ministry remain in office unless sustained by a majority of the representatives of the people. This gives to important parliamentary debates as keen an interest as attaches to elections. The machinery of government was by degrees made directly responsive to public opinion, and became so more from practical necessity than theoretical predilection. This, however, has grown so distinctive that publicists, both American and English, have referred to the Canadian system as virtually one of the most democratic in existence.
—The dominion government at the time of confederation assumed the public debts of all the constituent provinces. These amounted to the gross sum of $93,046,051, or, deducting the total assets, $17,317,410, to a net sum of $75,728,641. It was also agreed to pay the provinces an annual subsidy for the relinquishment of their right to levy indirect taxes, such as customs and excise duties. The subsidy is equivalent to 80 cents per head of the population at the time of union, and an annual allowance to defray the cost of governing each province. The subsidy thus granted amounted, last year, to the sum of $3,430,846.
—The increased expenditure since the union, on railways, canals and other public works, and a heavy outlay on account of the Northwest Territories, have added to the public debt, which, June 30, 1880, was $199,125,323; or, deducting the total assets, $42,182,852, it amounts to $156,942,471. There is of this indebtedness, $137,024,582 payable in London at the following rates of interest: at 4 per cent., $89,059,999; at 5 per cent., $33,926,195; and at 6 per cent., $14,038,386.
—The revenues from customs duties, excise and other sources, surrendered by the several provinces, at the time of union, to the dominion government, were to form a "consolidated fund" to defray the cost of future government. The receipts on account of this consolidated fund, for 1880, were $23,307,406; the expenditure, $24,850,634. The gross receipts of the dominion government, for 1880, were $53,177,628; expenditure, $50,879,241. Receipts for customs duties, for 1880, were $14,071,343; for excise duties, $4,232,427.
—A large proportion of the public expenditure of Canada has been on works to enable the grain, timber and other products of the country to be cheaply taken to market. Up to 1867, the time of confederation. $60,210,600 had been expended on public works in Upper and Lower Canada. Since that time the ordinary expenditure on public works has been $13,405,921. In addition to this sum, $23,467,285 for public works have been charged to capital since that date. The Intercolonial railway has cost $23,467,285, and the sum of $16,488,759 has been spent on the Canadian Pacific railway; both sums were paid out of capital. The canals and river improvements on the St. Lawrence, Ottawa, Rideau and Richelieu rivers, are about 250 miles long. In 1871 it was decided to make a second enlargement of the Welland and St. Lawrence canals, to facilitate the traffic between Lake Erie and Montreal. The locks were to be 270 feet long, 45 feet wide, and to have a depth of 14 feet of water. The work on the Welland canal is nearly completed; that on the St. Lawrence canals is in progress. From Montreal to Port Colborne, on Lake Erie, is 375 miles; and there are on the route seven stretches of canals, with 53 locks having a lift of 533¼ feet. Lake Erie is 550&frac84; feet higher than the river at Montreal; the discrepancy, 17½ feet, between the lockage and the true difference in height being made up by the gradual declivity in the river during the distance. When these canals are completed, vessels of from 1,000 to 1,500 tons will be able to use the St. Lawrence route. At present, with vessels of 600 tons cargo it has received a fair share of traffic, for, in 1880, there were 710 sea-going vessels, having a tonnage of 628,271 tons, which came to Montreal during the season of navigation. The expenditure on the Welland and St. Lawrence canals to June 30, 1880, was $31,189,276.
—The railway system of Canada has been developed since 1851, and now consists of about 7,000 miles of railway in operation, representing a capital of about $350,000,000. A gauge 5 feet 6 inches wide was chosen for the first roads built, but has been abandoned, as has also the 3 foot 6 inch gauge, tried on one or two small roads, for the medium gauge of 4 feet 8½ inches. The Canadian Pacific railway, at present under construction, is the most important work hitherto undertaken in Canada. The survey for this road was commenced in 1871; and in 1872 an attempt was made to subsidize a private company offering to construct it, but the project failed through political contention, and the work was continued by the government. Last year a syndicate contracted to complete the construction, and to equip and operate the road, for $25,000,000, and 25,000,000 acres of land. The surveys have been made, advance telegraph lines built, about 500 miles of road constructed, and the work is vigorously proceeding. Winnipeg, where the head offices of the company are located, has already a population of 13,000. The distance by the railway from Lake Superior to the Pacific will be about 2,000 miles. The surveys of lands in the northwest give townships six miles square, each township being divided into sections of one mile square—640 acres. The railway company take alternate sections, and the government offer, for cash, lands within 24 miles of the road, for $2 50 per acre, and lands beyond that belt for $2 per acre; or a reduction of one-half of these prices to colonies.
—The receipts for 1880, on the railways operated by the government, were $1,742,537; working expenses and repairs, $1,851,489. The canal receipts, for 1880, were $347,746; expenses and repairs, $369,213.
—The Montreal telegraph company founded in 1847, and the Dominion company which was established as a rival line have both been recently leased by the Northwestern telegraph company who guarantee the proprietary a fair dividend on their stock—There is no public school system common to all the provinces, although the school act passed in the old province of Canada, in 1841, is the groundwork of the present system in Ontario and Quebec, and has influenced the systems adopted in the other provinces. One feature is common to the whole, the legislative grant for school purposes is proportionate to the amount raised by local assessment. The local funds for schools are raised by the municipal authorities of the villages, towns, cities, townships and counties. In Ontario, 750 people constitute a village, 2,000 a town, 10,000 a city. Townships are from 8 to 10 miles square, and each has its reeve, deputy reeve and four councilors elected yearly. The townships are divided into school sections of about two miles square, each having three school trustees, one of whom retires annually from office. A number of townships, villages and towns form, for municipal and school purposes, a county. The county has a council composed of the reeves and deputy reeves of the townships, and is presided over by a warden, elected by the councilors themselves. The township council arranges the school sections, and levies such school rates as the school trustees require. The county council raises a sum equal to the legislative grant to the schools in the county, appoints a legally qualified school inspector, and pays one-half of his salary, the legislature paying the rest. In cities the inspector is paid by the school board. The public schools in Ontario are free, and the whole system is under the control of a minister of education, who is a member of the cabinet of the provincial premier. The last report of the minister of education for Ontario shows that there are in that province 5,123 schools, 487.012 pupils, 6,596 teachers; and the expenditure for the year was $2,833,084. There are 104 high schools, at which pupils may continue their education to the stage of fitting themselves for entering a university. There are also county model schools, and two normal schools for the preparatory instruction of teachers. Sectarian religion is carefully excluded from all public schools, the school act providing that "no person shall require any pupil to read or study from any religious book, or to join in any exercise of devotion or religion objected to by his or her parent." Roman Catholics under the act can have separate schools. Of these there are 191 in Ontario. In Quebec, where Catholics are in a majority, there are separate schools for Protestants. There are 14 universities in the dominion. These annually confer degrees on from 300 to 400 students. The universities of Toronto, Halifax, McGill, Montreal, and Laval in Quebec, have been founded many years and are well patronized. Many who desire to advance the interests of higher education in Canada think the authority to confer degrees should be restricted to one or two corporations in each province, but such a result is by no means likely to be attained.
—A military college has been established at Kingston, for the instruction of a limited number of young men in the sciences requisite to be known by such as follow a military profession. The province of Ontario has established an agricultural college, and an institute of technology, where farmers and mechanics may obtain a knowledge of all that pertains to the theory of their respective vocations. Within a few years several societies have been established for the advancement of art in Canada, and have rendered good service in elevating the public taste.
—A supreme court of the dominion and court of exchequer was established in 1875. It is composed of a chief justice and five judges, and holds three sessions at Ottawa, the capital of the dominion, each year. Throughout the dominion law courts, English legal procedure is closely followed, except in the province of Quebec, where civil cases are still judged according to French law.
—All the male inhabitants of Canada, between the ages of 18 and 60, can, in a fixed order of their age, and their responsibility for others, be called on to serve in the militia. The present militia law of Canada permits the training annually of 45,000 men. Since the withdrawal of the imperial troops, two batteries of artillery, organized in Canada, have occupied the military works at Quebec and Kingston.
—Parkman, Garneau, Smith, Bibaud and Bouchette have given in detail the principal occurrences in the history of Canada. The "Nouvelle France" of Charlevoix, Hennepin's "Travels," and the "Relations" of the Jesuits, afford charming pictures of the exploits and experiences of the early French settlers. Cartier entered the gulf of the St. Lawrence only 42 years after Columbus first landed on one of the Bahama islands, and in 1535—the next year—he entered, on St. Lawrence's day, the great river which ever since has borne that name. The French king Francis I. paid no heed to the protests of his brother monarchs of Spain and Portugal, that such expeditions were an encroachment on their rights, remarking "there was no clause in father Adam's will giving them alone so rich a heritage." Although Normans, Basques and Bretons came and fished off the banks of Newfoundland, and Huguenots and nobles turned to America longing eyes, there was no actual settlement in Canada till in 1608, when, 12 years before the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, Champlain established a little colony on the site of the present city of Quebec. Most of the early history of Canada is taken up with the wars of the French and Indians, or French and English. But while the nobles and their vassals were fighting, the péres of St. Francis, and of the order of Jésu, extended with such undaunted zeal their missions, that Bancroft's words are literally true, "not a cape was doubled nor a stream discovered, that a Jesuit did not show the way." The feudal system held full sway in Europe when Canada was settled by the French, and feudalism was naturally enough introduced by them into their new France. Seignories, extending over 10,000,000 acres, were given to merchants, military officers and religious corporations. Altogether there were 168 of these seignories. The first—that of St. Joseph—was registered in 1626. The seigneurs owed fealty to the king, and their land was burdened with a ground rent of two sous per acre, and half a bushel of grain for the entire concession. The chief tributes paid were called Quints, and Lods et ventes. Quints were a fifth of the purchase money of an estate en fief, to be paid the sovereign. Lods et ventes were the twelfth part of the purchase money of an estate, to be paid the seigneur, unless the purchaser were a direct descendant of the vendor. The renter of land had to have his corn ground at the seigneur's mill, and render to him, as toll, the fourteenth part of what was ground. The seigneurs also had the right, though they did not often use it, to try cases of felony and high and petty mis-demeanors. Such a system had its bright as well as its dark side, but soon became out of joint with the times. After 1759, when Wolfe's victory made Canada English, that system made no further progress, and became more anomalous. Still it was hard to kill, and lingered on till the legislation for its abolition in 1854. The current public accounts of Canada still have an item referring to the indemnity of seigneurs. What the seigneurs were as aids to the settlement of Lower Canada, the Canada company to a certain extent were to Upper Canada. The Huron tract of 2,300,000 acres was purchased by the Canada company from the government in 1826, shortly after their incorporation. For their land—wild at that time—they made an annual payment to the crown, of sums of from £15,000 to £20,000, amounting, in the aggregate, to £295,000. John Galt, the novelist, was secretary to the company, and under his auspices the towns of Guelph, Goderich and Galt were located. Besides this immense tract, they held smaller tracts in almost every county of the province. The good they did has been, by this generation, almost forgotten, and the evils of their system are alone held in remembrance. That the Canada company, in their day, rendered good service to Canada is beyond question. Still, all such adventitious assistance has been merely auxiliary to the prime cause of Canadian progress, namely, the plodding, unremitting industry which has been applied to the development of her natural resources.
H. B. WITTON.
Notes for this chapter
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