The Canadian Dominion; a chronicle of our northern neighbor
106 Pages

The Canadian Dominion; a chronicle of our northern neighbor


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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Canadian Dominion, by Oscar D. Skelton This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: The Canadian Dominion A Chronicle of our Northern Neighbor Author: Oscar D. Skelton Release Date: December 11, 2008 [EBook #2835] Language: English Character set encoding: ASCII *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CANADIAN DOMINION *** Produced by The James J. Kelly Library Of St. Gregory's University; Alev Akman, Dianne Bean, Joe Buersmeyer, and David Widger THE CANADIAN DOMINION A CHRONICLE OF OUR NORTHERN NEIGHBOR By Oscar D. Skelton NEW HAVEN: YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS TORONTO: GLASGOW, BROOK & CO. LONDON: HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 1919 Copyright, 1919, by Yale University Press PREFACE The history of Canada since the close of the French regime falls into three clearly marked half centuries. The first fifty years after the Peace of Paris determined that Canada was to maintain a separate existence under the British flag and was not to become a fourteenth colony or be merged with the United States. The second fifty years brought the winning of self-government and the achievement of Confederation. The third fifty years witnessed the expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea and the endeavor to make the unity of the political map a living reality—the endeavor to weld the far-flung provinces into one country, to give Canada a distinctive place in the Empire and in the world, and eventually in the alliance of peoples banded together in mankind's greatest task of enforcing peace and justice among nations. The author has found it expedient in this narrative to depart from the usual method of these Chronicles and arrange the matter in chronological rather than in biographical or topical divisions. The first period of fifty years is accordingly covered in one chapter, the second in two chapters, and the third in two chapters. Authorities and a list of publications for a more extended study will be found in the Bibliographical Note. O. D. S. QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY, KINGSTON, CANADA, July, 1919. Contents PREFACE THE CANADIAN DOMINION CHAPTER I. THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS CHAPTER II. THE FIGHT FOR SELFGOVERNMENT CHAPTER III. THE UNION ERA CHAPTER IV. THE DAYS OF TRIAL CHAPTER V. THE YEARS OF FULFILMENT THE CANADIAN DOMINION CHAPTER I. THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS Scarcely more than half a century has passed since the Dominion of Canada, in its present form, came into existence. But thrice that period has elapsed since the fateful day when Montcalm and Wolfe laid down their lives in battle on the Plains of Abraham, and the lands which now comprise the Dominion finally passed from French hands and came under British rule. The Peace of Paris, which brought the Seven Years' War to a close in 1763, marked the termination of the empire of France in the New World. Over the continent of North America, after that peace, only two flags floated, the red and yellow banner of Spain and the Union Jack of Great Britain. Of these the Union Jack held sway over by far the larger domain—over the vague territories about Hudson Bay, over the great valley of the St. Lawrence, and over all the lands lying east of the Mississippi, save only New Orleans. To whom it would fall to develop this vast claim, what mighty empires would be carved out of the wilderness, where the boundary lines would run between the nations yet to be, were secrets the future held. Yet in retrospect it is now clear that in solving these questions the Peace of Paris played no inconsiderable part. By removing from the American colonies the menace of French aggression from the north it relieved them of a sense of dependence on the mother country and so made possible the birth of a new nation in the United States. At the same time, in the northern half of the continent, it made possible that other experiment in democracy, in the union of diverse races, in international neighborliness, and in the reconciliation of empire with liberty, which Canada presents to the whole world, and especially to her elder sister in freedom. In 1763 the territories which later were to make up the Dominion of Canada were divided roughly into three parts. These parts had little or nothing in common. They shared together neither traditions of suffering or glory nor ties of blood or trade. Acadia, or Nova Scotia, by the Atlantic, was an old French colony, now British for over a generation. Canada, or Quebec, on the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, with seventy thousand French habitants and a few hundred English camp followers, had just passed under the British flag. West and north lay the vaguely outlined domains of the Hudson's Bay Company, where the red man and the buffalo still reigned supreme and almost unchallenged. The old colony of Acadia, save only the island outliers, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island, now ceded by the Peace of Paris, had been in British hands since 1713. It was not, however, until 1749 that any concerted effort had been made at a settlement of this region. The menace from the mighty fortress which the French were rebuilding at that time at Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, and the hostility of the restless Acadians or old French settlers on the mainland, had compelled action and the British Government departed from its usual policy of laissez faire in matters of emigration. Twenty-five hundred English settlers were brought out to found and hold the town and fort of Halifax. Nearly as many Germans were planted in Lunenburg, where their descendants flourish to this day. Then the hapless Acadians were driven into exile and into the room they left, New Englanders of strictest Puritan ancestry came, on their own initiative, and built up new communities like those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Other waves of voluntary immigration followed—Ulster Presbyterians, driven out by the attempt of England to crush the Irish woolen manufacture, and, still later, Highlanders, Roman Catholic and Presbyterian, who soon made Gaelic the prevailing tongue of the easternmost counties. By 1767 the colony of Nova Scotia, which then included all Acadia, north and east of Maine, had a prosperous population of some seven thousand Americans, two thousand Irish, two thousand Germans, barely a thousand English, and well over a thousand surviving Acadian French. In short, this northernmost of the Atlantic colonies appeared to be fast on the way to become a part of New England. It