SOCIAL AND POLITICAL LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
The rapid growth of Canada, which is coming more and more under the notice of the world, on account of its excellent agricultural and other exported products as well as on account of the vigour and enterprise of its people, will become of greater yearly interest as the country develops and its people attain to fuller growth Without going back to the early history of the country itself of much interest to the diligent student to repay him for its perusal, I shall sketch only the outlines of its history, commencing with the formation of the confederacy under which Canada is now governed. What is now known as Canada consisted of a number of separate governments connected with England as Crown colonies, one and all of which had gone through the various grades of colonial life until they had been accorded constitutional liberty within themselves. The Province of Quebec was originally settled by the French, and has gradually grown up under British rule to respect British laws and institutions, and by treaty has been allowed to attain its original internal laws, privileges and customs, an agreement which has been carried out in good faith to the present day. The Province of Ontario was altogether settled by the British, and in the year 1841 these two Provinces were united. The Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, in order to improve their position, conceived the idea of forming a union similar to that of Ontario and Quebec. As the united Provinces of Ontario and Quebec under its constitution did not work satisfactorily, the great scheme of forming a union of the Maritime Provinces with Ontario and Quebec was agitated, and was made to embrace the still grander scheme of placing the whole of British North America under one government. The details were discussed by the representatives of these various Provinces, and their union was eventually consummated by the formation of the Dominion of Canada. The measure which called the Dominion into existence was passed in the British Parliament in 1867, and is known as the British North America Act. Shortly afterwards the Queen's proclamation was issued, making the Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario, one federation, the total population of which was at that time about three millions.
In the year 1870 the North-West Territory was acquired by the Dominion; in 1871 the Province of British, Columbia joined the confederacy; and in 1873, Prince Edward Island, a beautiful little isle in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, completed the grand scheme of confederation, and laid the foundation of the greatness of the country. The only Province in the northern part of this continent which has not as yet cast in its lot with Canada is the island of Newfoundland, which at present maintains its old relation to England as a Crown colony.
One of the chief points in the articles of agreement between these various Provinces was that railway communication should be opened up so as to bring them into closer communication and trade. This was first effected by the construction of the Intercolonial Railway between the Maritime Provinces and Quebec, and since perfected by the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway from ocean to ocean.
Each Province on entering the Dominion was allowed to retain its local laws and constitution dealing with its own internal affairs through its local Legislature as hitherto. Since confederation, the Lieutenant-Governor of each Province is appointed by the Governor-General in Council, and the rights, powers and privileges conceded to the local Legislatures are defined and laid down in the British North America Act, subject to judicial interpretations. The Dominion of Canada, so constituted, is divided into ridings, for the election of members to the Dominion House of Commons at Ottawa, apportioned to the various Provinces forming the confederation, according to their population, and based on that of the Province of Quebec. The Dominion Government, so constituted, consists of an Executive Council of thirteen members with the Governor-General at the head, an elective house of Commons after that of England, and the Senate after the model of the House of Lords, with the exception that the number of its members are fixed by statute and cannot be increased at the will of the Government. The Senators are appointed for life by the Crown, and their duties are similar to those of the House of Lords. The Executive Councils of the various Provinces consist of five or six members with the Lieutenant-Governor at the head. The Dominion Parliament controls matters connected with trade, commerce, defence. and the general welfare of the whole country. The highest court of appeal is the Privy Council of England, the people having preserved to them as a valuable privilege the right to appeal at the foot of the throne. The Governor-General is appointed by the British Government for a term of five years. With the exception of these two silken threads, the political independence of the people is complete. As British subjects they enjoy the valuable privileges of England's prestige and the advantage of her foreign diplomatic system in all parts of the world. To the Imperial Government is reserved the power to disallow the Acts of the Canadian Parliament, when deemed prejudicial to the welfare of the empire; and the Dominion Government has the power to disallow the Acts of the local Legislatures, which it does when they are inimical to the interests of the Canadian people, a most valuable check upon sectional influences. This system of government is the outgrowth of the wisdom of the people who have made the country, and whose wants and aspirations have year by year, attested the value of controlling their own local affairs while leaving their general interests to the care of the Federal Government.
The Parliament of Canada is annually held at Ottawa. permanently located as the seat of Government by the Queen in the year 1858. The local Parliaments meet annually in their respective capitals, - Charlottetown, in Prince Edward Island; Halifax, in Nova Scotia; Fredericton, in New Brunswick; Quebec, in Quebec; Toronto, in Ontario; Winnipeg, in Manitoba; Regina, in the North-West Territories, and Victoria, in British Columbia.
A High Commissioner resides in London, England to look after the interests of Canada in all matters relating to the people and the Government. Sir Alexander Galt was the first statesman appointed to this position, afterwards succeeded by Sir Charles Tupper, who fills the post to-day. This appointment is a step in advance in the political history of the country and its connection with England. The question of a political change in the relations of Canada with England is one up for discussion at the present day. It is not a question brought forward by any corporation or government, but one that has been agitated by those who aspire to the possession of greater power and greater prestige for the British race. By the gradual loosening of the paternal ties, under which our growth has been fostered, an aspiration, the outgrowth of Canadian life, is leading to changes which, if wisely directed, will yet make Canada a brighter jewel in the British Crown.
To repress the loyal and patriotic feelings the people of Canada have for British institutions, British progress and civilization, will be no easy matter, and a closer connection with the mother country and with their fellow subjects in every part of the world may be hoped for.
Imperial federation is a matter of grave importance to the British Empire at large, and may fairly be discussed as a practical question affecting the future of British subjects the world over, and now that the problem of greater legislative concessions for the Irish people is being mooted, the present is an opportune time to give vent to any views bearing upon the relations of England with her colonies. Great Britain has made a noble effort to indoctrinate the world with the liberal ideas of Free Trade, but the world has hitherto refused to accept any trade doctrines based on philanthropic ideas. She has a Colonial Empire, with a population whose feelings and aspirations are in unison with the mother country, but in shaping their destiny they have to be governed by the circumstances by which they are surrounded. It may be alleged that Great Britain protects her colonies in consideration of the allegiance they owe to the Crown; but in reality she acts as a police for the world and so long as her armies and her fleet are used for the general protection of all, and she frames her trade policies for the benefit the world at large, the colonies, owing to their weakness, have to legislate to protect themselves in their trade relations. Should British statesmen, however, recognize that there is a future in the development of the colonies for the strength of the British Empire, commercially and generally, it may be worth while considering whether a change in her fiscal policy would not have the effect of solidifying that empire, and it is possible in the future that by a protective policy, and by the building up of the markets of the empire, other nations may some some day hereafter be induced to knock at the door and universal free trade may become a reality. If in the meantime the British Empire is to be strengthened by unity, the benefits conferred on the world at large by Great Britain's power will increase so long as the British people continue to be the embodiment of christianity, civilization and commerce.
Canada has a direct interest in this question, for Imperial Federation upon a trade basis would make Canada the Imperial highway between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the value of that trade in the future, with all that it brings in its train, cannot be over-estimated. As a Canadian nation, pure and simple, although we have strong national aspirations, we could never expect to exercise an influence in the world, nor probably be able to maintain an independent position in it, but as an integral part of the British Empire we would become a most powerful arm of that empire, which does exercise an influence in the world. An impression exists that Imperial Federation would deprive the colonies of some of their rights; it would have a contrary effect. It would increase their rights and privileges, for it would give them the power of voting upon any question that affects the interests of the empire, of which they form part. On the other hand, the practical experience of her colonies would not have a deteriorating effect upon the talented statesmen of Great Britain, but their hands would be strengthened by the support of these growing populations. The contention is also made that the land questions which complicate the politics of the mother country have no interest to us. But this is a fallacy, for the rights of property and the protection of industry, though not a living question, are a vital point of our political life, and anything that will lay a solid foundation, upon which the industry and thrift of the people can build, should meet our sympathies. Imperial Federation should be formed to strengthen Great Britain and to strengthen her colonies, which united, will create a power to withstand the fight that will, in the future unquestionably have to be maintained between christianity and civilization on one side, and infidelity socialism on the other, and the healthy offshoot of the parent stem will materially help to sustain the principle which have been the motive power of the Anglo-Saxon race.
While the question of Imperial federation upon a trade basis of protection does not appear to be in accordance with the principles or education of the English people, the present generation, and although a change of their fiscal policy might be looked upon as a change of principle, yet, if solid benefits are to be derived from such a change, surely it is worth while to give the matter more than a passing thought. One fact may be accepted, and that is that British subjects, no matter in what part the world they may live, have the same interest and the same disposition to maintain the honour and integrity of Great Britain, commercially or otherwise, as those residing in the British Isles. The people of the United States have grown in numbers, as well as grown in wealth and prestige, under a protective policy. This is mainly owing to the enormous internal trade that has been developed within their own boundaries; and from the varied commodities they are capable of producing in the different climatic regions comprised within their limits, they are practically independent of the outside world for support. The same varied productions exist within the limits of the British Empire, including its colonial possessions, and if, therefore, the United States derive actual advantage from a protective policy, the same beneficial results may be looked for within the limits of a confederated British Empire. A citizen of the United States, moving from New York State to California, though three thousand miles away, is no weakness to their country, and under Imperial Federation, a British subject, if moving from the United Kingdom to Canada or Australia, would be a strength to the empire, and for that reason all efforts on behalf of emigration, should, as much as possible, be encouraged in that direction. There is no reason why, if British subjects are on a par commercially, they should not be able to contribute their share to the maintainance of British power; and if that principle were once established the larger markets and the larger population that would be created by that community of interest would yearly add to the strength and prestige of the empire at large, and to the maintainance of its supremacy, financially and morally. A great many suggestions have been made by eminent men in regard to Imperial federation, but there are so many difficulties surrounding the project, the accomplishment of which would be the greatest political achievement in the world's history, that nothing practical has. yet come of them. Still, it would seem that the present moment is favourable for bringing this question forward into the arena of practical politics. The present position of the Irish question, and the demand the Irish people have put forward for local autonomy, render it necessary for the British Parliament to consider seriously all that that demand involves. While Canadians would not like to see the constitutional liberty of the Irish people checked, they would as little like to see the unity of the empire impaired, and to that extent Canadians are interested. If a scheme for the federation of the empire were formulated there is no reason then why Ireland should not possess the same constitutional liberties as are enjoyed by Canada without fear of the ultimate result.
As a preliminary measure, in order to bring the view of those different peoples who constitute the British Empire into shape upon this question, it might be suggested that a council be formed, consisting of representatives from Canada, from Australia and New Zealand, and from South Africa (representing the great colonial centres of the empire), to confer with representatives from the United Kingdom, appointed in any manner that each Parliament may elect. This council could then discuss the practicability of uniting the empire upon some basis which would be acceptable to all. In order to thoroughly gauge public opinion upon the subject and to obtain the views of the people at large, this council should meet in Canada, Australia, and the Cape, before finally meeting in England to sum up the results of their labours. The effect of such a council could scarcely fail to be of practical benefit and good results would certainly follow. The meeting of colonists this year at the great Colonial Exhibition, to be held in England, would be an opportune time to take some practical step to bring forward the discussion of some scheme that would lead to so desirable a result as the closer union of all British subjects. though from the British Government would have to come the invitation to form a preliminary council.
The liberty of the Canadian people. under their confederated constitution, is perfect. and the most minute details of their public life are subject to the popular voice, and an enlargement of the scheme of confederation would not deprive them of any portion of this freedom.
In Manitoba the municipal affairs are conducted by councils, which are elective bodies, having the supervision of roads, bridges, assessment. etc.. and consist of six members. Each municipality consists of six or nine surveyed townships of thirty-six square miles each. For judicial purposes the Province is divided into three districts, called the Eastern, Western, and Central, to each of which a judicial board is appointed, consisting of a chair- man and four elective members. This board sees to the collection of arrears of taxes, the management of gaols, selection of jurors, and everything connected with the judicial affairs of the district. In Ontario this work is done by county councils. The system varies slightly in the other Provinces. The township councils consist of four or more members, as the case may be, with a reeve as their head. They meet regularly to look after the affairs of the locality. The county council in Ontario is composed of all the township reeves and deputy-reeves who elect a warden as their head, and assembles in session two or three times in the year. In addition to this we have our school boards, with very extensive powers, to secure the best education of the people. Town and city government, each within itself, is on a similar basis.
By these various methods of government it will be seen that the freedom of the people is complete, and that self-government has reached a limit it would be difficult to improve upon. The franchise, fixed at a very low amount, gives the mass of the population an equal voice in the government of the country. The revenue is chiefly derived from customs and excise, there being no direct tax except that levied by the municipal bodies for municipal purposes. The Dominion Government distributes a portion of the revenue among the Provinces according to the population, to meet the expenses of local administration. The most perfect equality in religious matters exists, all denominations being tolerated and respected.
Previous to the acquisition of the North-West Territories, the growth of the country was very gradual, when the land had to be reclaimed from the interminable forests by patient, hard-fisted labour. It took a settler many years from the time he went on his farm to clear it, by which time, however, he found himself possessed of a valuable property, and where, it may be, he had reared and educated a large family, and had been able to lay by a sufficient sum to give him a moderate independence in the evening of his life. In addition to this he probably had placed a son or two on farms of their own in the neighbourhood, watching the opportunity to purchase places partially improved. Such is the history of nearly all the industrious men who have taken up a free grant of land in the forests of Canada. By the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, large forest tracts in the Province of Ontario are opened up where free grants of land can be obtained, and another half century is going to witness greater developments in this magnificent Province.
The educational advantages are unsurpassed: so excellent are they that many farmers' sons and sons of the labouring population go through the higher schools and take a position in the professional and commercial callings of the country.
Canada, on this continent, is destined to take the place that England occupies in Europe in the raising of high grade stock of all kinds, the climate, soil and pursuits the people being conducive to that result. To-day Ontario takes the lead in this respect, and, except perhaps Kentucky, she exports more horses to the United States than any single State in the Union can furnish to their neighbouring States. The producing power of Ontario is capable of being increased three or fourfold by more enlightened farming, and great strides are now being made in that direction. In agriculture, Ontario, Manitoba, and the North-West Territory lead the way among the other Provinces. In Quebec, the Maritime Provinces, and British Columbia, the chief industries are. fishing, mining, lumbering, and ship-building.
Since the acquisition of the North-West Territories when Canada became possessed of an enormous area of rich prairie land ready for the plough, the advancement of the country has been more rapid, and a larger field for her young men has been opened up, where they are able to carve out homes for themselves on Canadian soil. The natural increase of the population was so great that it could not be absorbed in the slow growth formerly attained, hence, the United States was hitherto the field where the surplus population sought employment, and where Canadians have laid the foundation of many thriving settlements on the western prairies of the neighbouring republic. At least seventy-five thousand Canadians gain their livelihood in Chicago alone; while French-Canadians have crossed the border line to the manufacturing centres of the Eastern States; but many families are now migrating hither to get more elbow-room for their sons, as the development of our prairie regions offers to them homes under their own flag and government.
It is said that at least a million Canadians now gain their livelihood in the United States, which has the effect of maintaining a strong bond of sympathy, nay, even affection, between the two peoples, for there is scarcely a household in Canada that has not a relative residing in the United States. This fact, however, produces no effect upon the political sympathies of the people, Canadians realizing that, in addition to the natural ties of kinship with the mother country, their interests for trade and commerce lie in the development of the domestic lines of communication between the Atlantic and the Pacific, and holding for the benefit of this carrying trade their great. continental highway.
In the North-West Territories, Manitoba has been carved out to take a position as a Province of the Dominion. From the eastern boundary of this Province to the twenty-ninth range, which is the western boundary, it is about three hundred miles; its northern boundary extends two hundred and sixty miles north from the boundary line of the United States. Its form of local government is similar to that of the other Provinces of the Dominion. The North-West Territory is governed by a Council, consisting of members elected wherever a thousand of a population is congregated within a limited space, and of a number of members appointed by the Dominion Government. As soon as the population is large enough to, elect twenty-one representatives, the appointed members drop out. These constitute the North-West Council which manages the local affairs of the whole Territory between the Provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia, the population not being dense enough yet to carve out another Province. Four Districts, however have been created for postal and registration purposes called Saskatchewan, Assiniboia, Alberta, and Athabaska which no doubt in time will attain to the dignity of Provinces in the Dominion. The people of the District of Assiniboia, through which the Canadian Pacific Railway runs, are already agitating for separate local power The land regulations of the Government in the North-West are liberal. They are in charge of a land commissioner and a land board in Winnipeg, who supervise the various agencies throughout the country, and have the power to settle all disputes that may arise in the location of claims. For this purpose, the country is divided up into districts, each presided over by a land agent and an assistant, where the entries for land are made, and through whom the business of the settlers is conducted with the Government, in the location and settlement of homesteads. Every settler is entitled to a free homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, with the right of purchasing the adjoining one hundred and sixty acres, called his preemption, for the fixed sum of two dollars or two dollars and a half per acre, according to its proximity to the Canadian Pacific Railway. This privilege the settler secures at the end of three years, provided he has performed settlement duties upon his homestead, which consist of residence thereon for six months in each year for three years succeeding his entry, building a house and stable, and cultivating a small portion of his land. After having performed his settlement duties to the extent described, he applies for his patent, testifying to the faithful performance of his contract with the Government, which is further assured by the affidavits of two of his neighbours, and certified by the land commissioner, his patent issues. If so inclined, he is then entitled to enter upon another homestead, performing has duties in the same manner. These homesteads are eligible only upon even-numbered sections of the survey, the odd-numbered sections being reserved by the Government for sale, or for the subsidizing of railway companies for the further development of the country by rail way communication.
The growth of the Province of Manitoba has been very rapid. From a population of twelve thousand in 1870, it has now grown to upwards of a hundred thousand, with all the organizations for self-government enjoyed by the older Provinces. Villages, towns, and cities are springing up on all sides, by the enterprise and ambition of the people in the various districts, who seek to improve them year by year in order to create local markets for the consumption of their produce. As an example of the growth of the country, the district in which I reside, embracing the North-Western District of Manitoba, and comprised within Range 16 and Range 29 from the United States boundary line up to Township 23Äin 1880, comparatively speaking, there was not a settler beyond those connected with the Hudson's Bay posts, while to-day there are fifty thousand people gaining a comfortable livelihood. The assessment of the various municipalities which Comprise it amounts twenty-two million dollars, at an average rate of four dollars per acme. It will thus be seen, that in that small district alone, within the past few years, twenty-two million dollars has been added to the capital wealth of the country try, and what was a barren waste is now in process of becoming a cultivated tract. The country is settled by immigrants from England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Eastern Provinces of Canada, who bring with them from five hundred to five thousand dollars each, which is expended in building their homes and stocking their farms with implements and live stock, and their industry adds to the purchasing power of the country which the bountiful soil enables them to enjoy. It is a well-known fact that the farther north grain is grown successfully the greater the value of the wheat for the manufacture of flour: samples of our grain which have found their way to England have been classed among the highest grades. Although the country is vet too young to supply that market, of the three or four million bushels we annually export much is purchased by the American and Canadian millers to improve their grade of flour. The country is subject to early frosts, which nip late grain and deteriorate the quality; but as it is this nearness to the frostÄline that makes our wheat of such superior quality, it must be considered a not unmixed evil; and those who succeed in harvesting their grain before the frost scenic a valuable crop. With the occupation and cultivation of the country, however, these hosts will cease to affect the wheat injuriously. If we had half the population in Manitoba that is in the Province of Ontario or Quebec we could annually export twenty million bushels yearly, besides supplying the local market. It is worthy of note that the wheat which took the leading prize at time American Centennial in 1876 was grown at Fort Chippawayan, one thousand miles north-west of Prince Albert, and such is the superior; quality of Manitoba wheat that the market price today in Toronto, for the best samples, is one dollar and five cents, against eighty-two cents for the best grade of Ontario wheat.
The purity of the atmosphere and the luxuriance of vegetation are also conducive to the very highest results in stock-raising. A neighbour of mine, from a flock of Southdown sheep running on the prairie, this year killed a lamb, dressed for market, weighing seventy-eight pounds and from the same flock a lamb was killed last year weighing seventy-seven pounds. Another neighbour killed a Leicester lamb weighing eighty-one pounds; In the same neighbourhood a two-year-old beast was killed, which, when dressed, weighed eight hundred pounds, without stall-feeding. These are examples of what can be accomplished by the ordinary farmer. Where the prairies are so extensive there is no limit to the enterprise of the farmer in stock-raising. Native horses, because they are able to paw the snow from off the grass with their hoofs, can graze the whole winter through, nature providing them with a sufficient coat to protect them from the winter's storm. Cattle have not the same power to paw the snow, and hence have to be fed, except in the western portions of the territory, near the base of the Rocky Mountains, where the mild winds, or chinook winds, as they are called, blow through the gaps of the Rocky Mountains from the Pacific Ocean, and prevent the snow lying any length of time. The cattle there, where large ranches are established and have proved most profitable, are enabled to graze in large herds without winter-feeding. The people, in the encouragement of agriculture, hold annual exhibitions of grain, roots and stock, and everything manufactured by the farmers or for their use. Every county has its exhibition, and every Province has its annual "fair," aided by grants from the local governments, to encourage their excellence, and prizes are awarded amounting to five hundred dollars in the smaller places and five thousand dollars, in the larger places.
The township councils, the county councils, and the school hoards, have power to borrow money by issuing debentures, and such is the promptness with which their liability for interest is met that municipal and school debentures are a favourite form of investment. It is by means of these loans that the construction of local railroads has been stimulated, and by the fostering care of the Dominion Government, the local Government, and the, municipal bodies, the prosperity of the country is stimulated and realized, through the. magnificent public works which have been constructed. Since Confederation was established in 1867, by means of the Intercolonial, and this year by the Canadian Pacific Railways, the two Atlantic ports of Halifax in Nova Scotia and St. John in New Brunswick have been connected with the Pacific ports in British Columbia. This long line of upwards of three thousand miles gives the people speedy means of communication with one another, and cheap transport for produce.
Among the most onerous and responsible duties the Dominion Government has to perform, and which absorb a large share of the revenue of the country, is that which provides for the care of her Indian population; and so nobly and so justly has Canada treated the wards of the nation that very few tales of atrocity occur in her history, such as are related in the history of other countries. Canada has had her Indian friends as allies whenever their help was needed. The well-known Indian chiefs, Tecumseh and Brant, after whom the flourishing city of Brantford is called, are celebrated in history as noble specimens of North American Indians. An amusing story is told of Brant. When visiting England many years ago, he was invited to a masque ball and was asked to come in his native costume. This stately, dignified savage, stalking silently about the spacious apartments as a guest, was suppose by the company to be a masquer. An inquisitive individual, dressed as a Turk, followed him about, endeavouring to penetrate his disguise. Becoming bolder, this fellow's impertinence annoyed Brant, who, like a flash of lightning, drew his tomahawk, and twisting his fingers in the hair of the Turk. uttered one of those blood-curdling yells that Indians alone know how to give, and threatened his scalp. Having well played his part, to the astonishment and wonderment of the assembly and to the evident discomfiture of his Turkish friend, Brant quietly continued his silent, stately promenade.
Scattered throughout the older provinces of the Dominion, the Indians have grown up peaceably with their white brethren become thoroughly accustomed to the ways of the civilized world, and give little trouble to the authorities. But with the acquisition of the North-West Territories and the Province of British Columbia, the management of her Indian population became at once both difficult and expensive. Following out the traditional policy of the country, one of the first duties that devolved upon the Government was the extinction of the Indian title by means of treaty, which was principally effected by a commission under Lieutenant-Governors Archibald and Morris, and afterwards by Lieutenant-Governor Laird. The making of all these treaties required a great deal of patience and not a little tact on their part; for the Indian is not wanting in intelligence nor cunning, displaying an extreme fondness for speechmaking, containing a great flow of language, generally wide of the mark they intend to lead up to. When this has to be done through one and sometimes two interpreters, the patience of the officers upon whom this duty devolves can be imagined. The Indians have sufficient intelligence to know that they must make a treaty, but they are bound to have as much feasting and as much talking over it as they possibly can before they bind themselves over. The basis upon which these treaties have been made is an annual payment of five dollars a year to every man, woman and child in the various tribes, with an additional amount for the chiefs and councillors, and a reserve of land set apart for their use, of their own selecting, which is faithfully held in trust for them by the Government. As a separate treaty is made with each tribe, and the tribes are numerous, it took several years to accomplish the work. The ground is now, however, pretty well covered. The country is divided up into districts, over each of which an Indian agent is appointed, whose duty it is to care for the interests of the various tribes in his agency and annually to pay them their treaty money. These agencies are supervised by inspectors, over whom again is an Indian Commissioner, at present Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney, and an assistant Indian Commissioner, Mr. Hayter Reid. When all the treaties were completed, the Government set to work to civilize the Indians and to teach them to gain a livelihood from the soil by their own industry. To that end, farms were established in each agency, and farm instructors appointed to encourage them in the pursuit of agriculture. This was strongly recommended by Lieutenant-Governor Laird,-the first Indian Commissioner appointed, and one who exercised a most beneficial influence among the Indian population. The Government provided the necessary implements and cattle to commence upon, which are held in trust by the Indians for their profitable use, and not given to be dealt with as they wish. In addition, rations are served out according to their necessities Tire provisions in regard to these measures have been liberal, though only voluntary, not being part of the original treaty. It was found, necessary by the Government to deal in this manner, because the encroachments of the white man were depriving the natives of the main sources of their livelihood, hunting the buffalo, which hitherto roamed in countless herds over this vast territory. So avaricious and wanton has the white man been to the south of the boundary line, that the noble animal of the prairies has now become a memory of the past. There, they were driven by stratagem into traps and slaughtered wholesale, merely for the sake of their hides; nothing is more conclusive on this point than the trade returns of the United States, which show that from a hundred thousand robes and upwards, annually, the trade in this particular has almost ceased, and buffalo robes will shortly become a curiousity of the fur trade.
The buffalo was wont to roam over the immense prairies, from south to north, seeking out the most luxu- riant pasture lands of the Saskatchewan valley in the summer season, and returning to the south for winter quarters. Latterly, however, the American Indians and traders, notably Sitting Bull and his warlike tribe, have altogether prevented them crossing the boundary line into our districts, thus depriving our Indians of their source of support. The industry and capital of the white man is now covering the luxuriant prairies with vast herds of cattle instead, in which, however, the Indians do not share and dare not meddle. In regard to "cattle-lifting," it is astonishing how seldom depredations are committed by them, which may be attributed to the native honesty of the Indian. The activity and fearlessness of the Mounted Police, and the justice which they have always shown, have also helped to bring about this beneficial result. They have not known two laws, one for the white man and one for the Indian, but by their impartiality have dealt out equal justice, thus causing the Indian to respect the white man's laws. It is an astonishing fact that during the fifteen years that Canada has occupied this country, until the present season, the settlements have been unmolested and have lived in peace and harmony with the Indian, without fear and without anxiety.
I have myself had some experience of the Indians, having lived in the centre of a number of tribes, and have nothing but good to say of them. When my nearest neighbour was twelve miles distant, the Indians would come and go from my house in the most friendly manner, and I never had to complain of their dishonesty. We have had a number at a time taking shelter from the storms, when they would exchange their furs and game for provisions; and year after year they might go on in this peaceful, civil, friendly manner without disturbance; but once excite them with war and their savage nature is then uppermost. I cannot liken them more forcibly than to an English bull dog, whose demeanour and actions are peaceful and gentle except when confronted with one of its own species, when its brutal nature is apparent, and it has not the power to restrain its actions. As one Indian during the late campaign naively expressed himself, when asked what he went to fight for, he said, "I know it is wrong to go, I know that it is foolish to go, but there is something in me that makes me go," and in these few words may be expressed the Indian character, and by these feelings we must judge of and guide them. Had they not been influenced by the machinations of Riel, who hoped to enlist their aid, the present organized effort would not have reached important dimensions. The rapidity with which Canada has covered the country with her troops and succeeded in her battles, will teach them more than ever to respect the power and the laws of the country: but it should lead us to deal with them as kindly, as justly, and as firmly as in the past, to protect them in their means of livelihood, to lead them to civilization and to acquire and manifest an individuality of their own.
In addition to the reserves which are set apart for their use, any Indian who wishes to resign his treaty and become an owner of land on his own account, can select a section of six hundred and forty acres in his reserve, and when recommended by the agent as capable of maintaining himself, he obtains his patent. As a further incentive towards civilization, the franchise has been conferred on Indians who thus take up land. In addition, an Act was passed in 1884, called "The Indian Advancement Act," for conferring certain privileges on the more advanced bands of the Indians of Canada, with the view of training them for the exercise of municipal powers within their own reserves. This Act, brought in by Sir John Macdonald, is an Act the Dominion of Canada may well be proud of, and is one of the most liberal measures ever brought in to elevate an uncivilized race. We have yet much to learn in our dealings with the Indians of this territory, which can only be gained by a more patient and intimate study of their character, and of anything that would better their condition. It would be wise to prohibit the sun-dance, which is only an occasion for relating the brave deeds they have done, and of exciting the young men to emulate the warriors whenever the opportunity offers. Or the annual gathering of the sun dance might be turned into a social gathering for industrial and instructive purposes. It is questionable if it is wise to continue the tribal relations, which might be gradually altered. Especially should the education of the children be encouraged and fostered. Towards this end there have been established forty-two Indian schools in the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territory, with a total attendance of twelve hundred and sixty-one, and an average daily attendance of seven hundred and eighty pupils. These schools are wholly supported by the Government, with industrial schools at Battleford, Qu'Appelle, and High River, near Calgary, and assistance is rendered to the Methodist Indian Orphanage, established by the Rev. Mr. McDougall, on the Stony reserve, a Morley, in the Rocky Mountains, and to the Roman Catholic Industrial School, at St. Albert, near Edmonton. The total Indian population of the North-West is thirty-four thousand that of British Columbia thirty-nine thousand, while the Indian population of the whole Dominion is one hundred and thirty-one thousand nine hundred and fifty-two.
Since these troubles commenced a Bill was passed making it criminal to supply arms and ammunition to Indians by any storekeeper or other person without a written permit. In addition, an Act was passed empowering the Government on their own authority to proclaim any district which they might deem disaffected to be declared so, and to disarm the population of that district. This is a mere precautionary measure, and it is hoped that no necessity will arise to put it in force. I insert here an interesting letter from Crowfoot, Chief of the Blackfeet tribe, which was transmitted through Lieutenant-Governor Dewdney to the Government, and read out in Parliament by Sir John Macdonald:Ä
The loyalty of these tribes on this occasion avoided a large amount of embarrassment to the country in quelling the disturbance in the North. The question of dealing with the Plain Indians in the future is one of moment to the country. They have been deprived of their natural means of livelihood, the buffalo, and on the open prairie they have not the means of supporting themselves except by agriculture, or by being fed at the expense of the country. It does not do to suppose that the most profitable use the labour of the Indians can be put to is to make them farmers, for there is in the northern part of the territory a large amount of valuable fur of all kinds by which the Indians might support themselves, and which would largely add to the trade of the country. Their natural inclination is for trapping and hunting, and to those Indian tribes who show an inclination to leave the plains for the forest it would be wise to transport them to reserves where they could settle down and gain a livelihood by these means. No one who visited their districts during the campaign could fail to realize the progress that has been made by the Chippawayans and Wood Crees on their reserves on the Beaver River and round Loon Lake. They had built houses, accumulated stock, and enjoyed the abundant fish with which the northern lakes teem, besides having the profit on the sale of the valuable fur which they trap. The more Indians of the North-West Territory that could be placed in the same position, the better for themselves and the better for the country. The policy of allowing halfbreeds to take the Indian treaty is detrimental. Those half-breeds who have been half-civilized by intermarriage with the whites should not be allowed to return to their savage life, but be made to settle down to industrial pursuits, to continue the civilization that their intermarriage has commenced by allotting them the scrip to which the half-breeds are entitled, instead of by supporting them in the same way the Indians are supported, and thus be encouraged to cultivate the soil."via Gleichen, N. W. T.,From BLACKFOOT CROSSING,
"April 11, 1885.
"On behalf of myself and people I send through you to the great mother the words I have given to the Governor at a council held, at which my minor chiefs and young men were present. We are agreed and deter- mind to remain loyal to the Queen. Our young men will go to work on their reserves and will raise all the crops we can, and we hope the Government will help us to sell what we can't use. Continued reports and many lies are brought to us and we don't know what to believe, but now that we have seen the Governor and heard him speak, we will shut our ears and only listen to and believe through the Governor. Should any Indians come to our reserves and ask us to join them in war we will send them away. 1 have sent messengers to the Bloods and Piegans who belong to our treaty to tell them what we are doing and what we intend to do about the trouble. I want Mr. Denny to be with us and all my men are of the same mind. The words I sent by Father La Combe I again send: `We will he loyal to the Queen whatever happens.' I have a copy of this and when the trouble is over will have it with pride to show to the Queen's officers; and we leave our future in your hands. We have asked for nothing, but the Governor has given us a little present of tea and tobacco. We will tell you what other talk we had at our council. It is all good, not one bad word. "CROWFOOT."
An impression is created that the officials who have to deal with the Indians do not discharge their duties faithfully or honestly. From my observation in the district I reside, I believe this is not the case. A better class of officials, however, might be obtained in the lower ranks by the payment of higher salaries; it cannot be expected that for a small salary the best men of the country are available for these responsible positions, isolated as they are in the remote portions of the country. Inferior flour sometimes finds its way into the Indian camps, hut this frequently arises from the fact that the Indian Department is anxious to give settlers the benefit of the local supply, and therefore the quality of the flour varies with the quality of the wheat in particular outlying districts. Where the flour is purchased, tenders for flour calls for a higher grade when brought into the NorthWest than that supplied by local mills, in order to encourage the settlers. Indians should be supplied with beef instead of bacon, now that stock is becoming plentiful. Many tribes have large bands of horses; their wealth hitherto was gauged by the number of their horses. While they had the buffalo to hunt horses may have been fairly considered necessary, but now it would be wiser to make them trade their horses for cattle and encourage them to become pastoral.
The Indian agencies are directly supervised by inspectors: at present Mr. Wadsworth and Mr. Lawrence Herchmer, both of whom are as faithful, honest, and intelligent officers as any country could employ. I do not think any blame can be attached to the officials of the Indian Department for the difficulties and troubles that constantly arise in dealing with the Indian popula- tion; they arise more from the altered circumstances of the Indians' lives than from anything else. A better class of officials would he obtained by selecting them from among the settlers of the country, who, from residence there, are more or less brought into contact with the Indian population, and acquire a certain knowledge of their character and have learned to respect their position. There are good Indians and had Indians; it does not do to judge or govern the whole Indian population by the misdemeanour of the turbulent. There is a good field in the North-West for philanthropy in educating, civilizing and christianizing them in encouraging them to live in houses and make their homes comfortable, and above all in economizing and preparing the provisions that are liberally supplied by the Government. Towards this end many noted missionaries are working among them, but the organized effort of the Government is essential to successful results. It is a far more noble effort to put forth to preserve this subordinate race and to elevate them, than to regard them as a clog in the wheels of progress. They are human like ourselves, and their labour is valuable to the country. This is no speculative idea, as we have the experience of the older Provinces where the Indians have attained a high degree of civilization, intelligence and industry upon reserves that have been faithfully held in trust for them. These reserves are now among the most valuable farming estates in the districts upon which the Indians reside.
A reference to Canadian life and industry would not be complete without referring to the growth of our railway system. The foundation of our railway communication was laid by the Grand Trunk Railway Company, in 1853, which, when completed, connected the seaport of Quebec with the western portion of the Province of Ontario. Upon Confederation, in 1867 it was stipulated by the provinces interested that a line of railway should be built to connect the Grand Trunk Railway system with the seaboard at Halifax and St. John, which was accomplished as a Government work about 1874, and a first-class line-the Intercolonial-was constructed at an expense of twenty-six million dollars.
Upon the entrance of the Province of British Columbia, in 1871, it was stipulated that this Province should be connected with the Dominion of Canada by a trans-continental line. This undertaking was a bold and ambitious one for Canada. but the desire to bring the whole of British North America under one government, and to obtain the seaports of the Pacific, was the stimulus that made the Canadian people give their guarantee to the Province of British Columbia that they would undertake the work. It took many years to complete, because the question of expense and cost entered very largely into the political discussions of the time, and its progress was delayed.
A question arose as to the advisability of constructing that portion of the line to the north of Lake Superior, in order to secure intercommunication through Canadian territory with the Province of Manitoba and the NorthWest. The Honourable Mr. Blake thought that it was sufficient to develop the prairie regions for the present, making use of the American connections for winter trade, and the lake navigation for summer trade. Sir John Macdonald's government, on the contrary, held firmly to the construction and maintenance of an all-rail route for the whole year round, through Canadian territory, in which it was sustained, and the great wisdom of this policy was made apparent during the recent outbreak in the North-West.
In Sir Garnet Wolseley's expedition, in 1870, Canadians were for a time debarred from making use of the Sault St. Marie Canal, an important link in the navigation of Lake Superior, constructed on American territory, and it was only upon Sir Edward Thornton, the British Ambassador, assuring the American authorities that the mission of Sir Garnet Wolselev was one of peace, that the Canadian steamers were allowed to go through the Canal. Indeed, had not the Canadian Government taken the precaution of keeping the Chicora upon the Lake Superior side of the canal the expedition might have been entirely blocked by the delay that ensued. Similarly, had the Canadian Pacific road not been built by the north shore of Lake Superior, it is more than probable that the Government could not have transported the necessary troops for the suppression of the late rebellion, without great delay and difficulty, and possibly national humiliation.
This railway was constructed by Canadian capitalists, largely subsidized by the Government in land and money, and the present year witnesses the completion of a transcontinental railway from ocean to ocean. It is an evidence of the enterprise, ambition and ability of the Canadian people. After taking into account the short life, of the Dominion, it is wonderful that this great work has this year been brought to a successful completion. Its merits have been so much appreciated by the Imperial Government that their attention has been drawn to it as a mail route to China and Australia; and it is likely to prove a valuable auxiliary to the military strength and unity of the empire.
To give an idea of the magnitude of the work, it may be said that at one time twenty-three thousand men were on the pay roll of the company and that of their contractors, while eight hundred tons of dynamite were used in its construction; it is three thousand three hundred miles long, from Montreal to Port Moody, in one continuous line, and in addition it has one thousand miles of branches, all under the control of one company. The time by this road is shortened between England and China, by six days over any other trans-continental route. The road will make Canada a connecting link between Australia and England, which will in time create a marked effect upon the political relations of the British Empire; and in international commerce, there is no doubt that it will become a powerful competitor for the trade of the Pacific.
To the credit of Mr. Stephen (who has lately had the honour of a Baronetcy conferred upon him by Her Majesty), Mr. Angus, Mr. Donald A. Smith, and Mr. McIntyre, all of whom emigrated to Canada in l852-3 as young men, to seek their fortunes in this country, is due the successful carrying out of this undertaking, which they now control in the interests of Canada. But more than all is the credit due to Sir John Macdonald, veteran leader of the Government, who used his great political influence to persuade Parliament to pledge the credit of the country in order that this great nation, work might be completed from ocean to ocean, without which the efforts of the company would have met with failure; and for this the country owes him a debt it can never repay.
The construction of this railway has given a great impetus to the development of the North-West Territories and the Province of Manitoba, for by its means a magnificent domain is opened up, and facilities given to developed tracts of country which are capable of providing comfortable homes for a large population.
In 1885 the earnings of the Canadian Pacific Railway including its branches, were upwards of eight million dollars, most of which was distributed among the Canadian people, adding to their earnings and adding to their property; and it is an evidence of the future importance of the carrying trade in Canada, and the advantage of developing our eastern and western connections to the fullest extent.
There is yet one main artery which remains to be constructed in the North-West, and that is the Hudson's Bay Railway, from Winnipeg to the mouth of the Churchill or Nelson rivers, to give an outlet for produce by this short ocean route. To testing the practicability of this route the Dominion Government have sent up a steamer, two years running, and placed observatories, where they left officers for a year, to report on the meteorological and other influences affecting the navigation of the Hudson's Bay and Straits. For scientific purposes these reports will no doubt prove valuable, but for practical purposes the same value cannot be attached to them. It is sufficient to know that for two hundred years the Hudson's Bay Company have used this route annually with sailing vessels to supply the interior of the country, and to bring back their furs, with rarely a mishap. By the superior appliances of steam amid navigation, the same practical benefits will be attained for the more extended commerce consequent upon the development of the country. When a railway is constructed it will shorten the route to Europe materially, during the open season, which would probably be for about three or four months, and the construction of the Hudson's Bay Railway would immensely stimulate the development of the North-\Vest. As an aid in the construction of this railway, a free port might advantageously be established at the terminus of the railway. It would repay the' Dominion for the concession by opening up large fishing and mineral interests, and would foster a trade between the Maritime Provinces and the Hudson's Bay, and give the east a (heap route to the markets of the North-West.
The chief value of this region is its agricultural 1 capabilities, and the wealth that is now being produced from the soil will yearly attract a large number of people, who wish to throw off the restraints and confinements of the thickly populated countries in the old world an seek new fields for their labour.
As an evidence of the future of Manitoba, which is only a small portion of the North-West Territory, I might mention that the area which is at present settle only upon the even-numbered sections, there are fifteen million acres. Half of this, or the odd-numbered sections, are held for sale and are still unsettled. Every acre of it, generally speaking, consists of the best agricultural land, all ready for the plough. The settled portion is not vet cultivated to one-tenth of its capacity for want of labour, capital and experience ; and with the increase of population will come a large increase in the production and export of wheat As an evidence of progress. the city of BrandOn, which in 1881 was unknown and unlocated, is now the largest farmers delivery grain market in Canada. For dairy products, the capabilities of the country are unrivalled, and with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Manitoba and North-Western Railway, and the Manitoba and South-Western Railway, and other branch lines, every acre in the Province of Manitoba is now within reasonable distance of railway communication, the one thing needful to make agriculture successful.
The essentials for the comfort of the population in a northern clime are no longer a problem. I refer to fuel and light. The western portion of the North-West is one large bed of coal. Practical results have already been attained in the production of coal by the Gait mines, which have been opened, arid a branch line of railway one hundred and ten miles long, on the narrow gauge principle, has this year been constructed to Lethbridge, where these mines are worked, and coal can now be distributed at a cheap rate to all parts reached by railway communication. Coal oil has also been discovered in large quantities in two places and cheap light will soon follow. Iron is abundant in Lake Winnipeg, and in the Rocky Mountains, and extensive salt wells exist at the foot of Lake Winnipegoosis and elsewhere. I have lived in the interior of this territory, far removed from railway communication, for the past six years with my family, and can bear willing testimony to the great advantages of this country, for all those who desire to seek new homes for large and growing families: I can conscientiously assure those who have the ambition and hardihood to develop new homes for themselves, that it can be done at a less cost and with a greater certainty of success than in most countries that offer like inducements.
There is no doubt that in a northern clime the difficulties and hardships are for a time greater; but when man's home is comfortable, and he is within easy distance of railway communication, his progress towards com- petency is sure. As an evidence of what this part of Canada can accomplish, the Eastern Provinces of the Dominion can be pointed to; those who in the early history of the country came and obtained free grants of land which were then available, their descendants are now among the most independent.
The progress of the Province of Manitoba has been very rapid since its acquisition by Canada. In addition to the Canadian Pacific Railway it has several lines of railway branching out into the interior, notably the Manitoba and North-Western, which is projected to run on the route originally surveyed by the Dominion Government to Prince Albert. This branches off in a north-westerly direction from Portage la Prairie, through a most fertile district, well watered, with large tracts of timber and a most productive soil. It has this year reached as far as the Bird Tail Creek, seven miles north of Birtle, and it is expected next year to reach Shell Mouth, on the Assiniboine River, the north-western boundary of the Province of Manitoba. The whole district traversed by this railway is well settled on the even-numbered sections-the odd-numbered sections generally, throughout the country, being for sale at an average price of from three to five dollars per acre. I might here say to those people who turn their attention to this country, that if they have the means, it is better to settle within five or ten miles of a railway station, paying a moderate price for their lands, than to go a greater distance to obtain free grants. It might also be said, that it is even better to settle for a year upon a rented place before determining upon a permanent location, and above all not to spend their money on purchases until they know their wants. I have known people come in, and before they have gone on to their land, expend a large portion of their means on agricultural machinery which would not be required for two or three years.
Shellmouth is situated on the Assiniboine River, and it is expected that it will occupy the same position on the Manitoba and North-Western Railway, when it is constructed, that the city of Brandon occupies on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It has the magnificent water-powers of the Shell River, which are being developed at Asessippi, in the neighbourhood The celebrated farm belonging to the Scottish Ontario and Manitoba Land Company is not far distant, and the Wolverine Farming Company has also selected this neighbourhood on account of the luxuriant vegetation. The village of Russell, not far distant, is the centre of a fine agricultural district. Good schools are established. Clergymen of the various denominations hold regular services every Sunday throughout the country, and the foundation is laid for one of the most prosperous communities that can anywhere be met with.
This district is not singular in the country, but is a fair sample of what may be found in any part of the Province of Manitoba. Being my own neighbourhood, I have more particularly mentioned it as a most desirable place for intending emigrants to reach.
The difficulties which have to be overcome by pioneer settle is are greater than those experienced by others who come after; but the advantages gained by coming early, are, that they get free land, or by purchase at a low price, and they gain the experience which is absolutely necessary to the progress of individuals in new districts, where much has to he unlearned, and much new acquired. In the early settlement of a new country the competition people are subject to is not so keen as in older countries; but those who have families to bring up, with the experience necessary for their advancement, and those who make up their minds to emigrate, must leave the luxuries and refinements of the Old World very largely behind; though the charms of freedom of life, which is offered to the new-comer on the boundless prairie, compensates very largely for the loss of them. I have found that this is the experience of most of those who come here. For myself, after roaming round the world for many years, I have cast anchor at last in the Province of Manitoba, and have nothing to regret in the choice I have made. In making these observations on the social and political life of the Canadian people, I do so that I may give some honest, trustworthy information to those who desire to move to some part of England's great Colonial Empire, to assist in making her greater, and to aid in preserving the natural ties of national kinship which I trust may never be broken.
I have now to bring to a close my narrative of these momentous events which concerned the welfare of Canada, and, in concluding, I would recall the words of Lord Dufferin, who realized from his intimate study of the Canadian people, their hopes, aspirations and realities, and expressed them in the following words:-
"In a world apart, secluded from all extraneous influences, nestling at the feet of her majestic mother, Canada dreams her dream and forebodes her destiny - a dream of ever-broadening harvests, multiplying towns and villages, and expanding pastures; of constitutional self-government and a confederated empire; of page after page of honourable history, added as her contribution to the annals of the mother country, and to the glories of the British race; of a perpetuation for all time upon this continent of that temperate and well-balanced system of government which combines in one mighty whole, as the eternal possession of all Englishmen, the brilliant history and traditions of the past with the present and most untrammelled liberty of action in the future."