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IT cannot fail to be of interest to British readers to trace the growth, and to speculate upon the prospects, of colonies the bulk of whose population are of British extraction, and which promise to be the favoured recipients of a large portion of the industry and enterprise of the most valuable classes of our own fellowcountrymen, who are daily leaving the land of their birth in search of a wider field and a better reward for their labour. We propose, therefore, to review the progress which our North American colonies have made during the past ten or twenty years in population, in commerce, and in agriculture; and, whilst doing so, we believe we shall be enabled to show that, vast and rapid as has been the growth of the neighbouring "United States" in everything which can conduce to the greatness, the wealth, and the social happiness and worth of a people, the growth of British America, within the past few years, at all events, as been even more rapid, and almost wonderful. Within the memory of he comparatively young amongst our readers, the population of British America was chiefly an alien one, composed of the French "residents " of Lower Canada, chiefly located in the city of Quebec, and in the distrists bordering upon the Gulf of St erence, with a sprinkling of settlers this country engaged in the lumtrade of New Brunswick, and the
OL. LXXVI.-NO. CCCCLXV.
fisheries of Newfoundland and the Bay of Fundy. Upper Canada was an almost unexplored territory, into which only the adventurous trapper penetrated during the hunting season, returning at the fall to the Lower province to dispose of his peltries, and to locate himself for the winter months beyond the reach of attack from the Red Indians, whose cunning and revenge he had to dread in return for his trespasses upon their forests and prairies. Whilst, as late as 1831, the population of Lower Canada was 511,922 souls, that of Upper Canada numbered only, in 1830, 210,437 souls, of which the bulk were located in Montreal and along the banks of the St Lawrence to the mouth of Lake Ontario. The agricultural portion of this population were chiefly composed of small holders of partially cleared land on the lower banks of the Ottawa River energetic, but humble men, living in log-huts, and cultivating just as much land as would subsist them, aided by the game won by their rifles during the season when their lumbering operations could be pursued. A few insignificant villages, which have since grown into thriving towns, supplied stores, at which the surplus products of their industry could be exchanged for clothing, and the few articles of comfort and necessity required by Europeans embarked in such a life of perhaps unaccustomed toil and occasional privation, and to
which they could resort from time to time for those religious consolations which they had been wont to enjoy in the land which had given them birth: for the bulk of the population of Upper Canada at this period were of English or of Scottish extraction; and it is gratifying to find that provision for religious instruction and education has progressed, step by step, with the settlement of this and other provinces of our North American colonies. For many years subsequent to this period, moreover, there was little good feeling existing between the population of Upper and Lower Canada, differing, as they did, in religion and in race; and, as a natural consequence, the population of the former depended for its increase rather upon an accession of new settlers from Great Britain than upon immigration of the French inhabitants from the lower province, whose very loyalty to the crown was of a dubious character. A strong feeling of irritation, in fact, existed between the populations of Upper and Lower Canada, which was aggravated by the intermeddling and vacillating policy of successive colonial secretaries, by whom the agitating patriots (?) of the latter were shielded from the consequences of their turbulence and sedition, whilst the loyalists of the former, whose firmness ultimately saved its "brightest jewel" from being reft from the diadem of the British sovereign, had the cold shoulder of authority turned to them at every available opportunity, when such studied insult could serve to conciliate and flatter the disaffected. Upon both provinces imperial legislation was the means of inflicting serious discouragement. A constant tampering with the trade of the colony was carried on, alternately stimulating and depressing it, giving it now one direction and again another, until little certainty for the investment of capital could be said to exist.
Upon this subject Mr T. C. Keefer, of Montreal, in his prize essay upon the Canals of Canada, written in 1851, remarks:
Canadian origin; and those markets received not only our own, but a large share of American bread-stuffs and provisions. Our timber was not only admitted freely into the British markets, but excessive and almost prohibitory
duties were imposed upon importations
of this article from the Baltic, for the purpose of fostering Canadian trade and British shipping. The British market was closed by prohibition against our wheat until 1814, which was then only admitted when the price in England rose to about two dollars per bushel-a privilege in a great measure nugatory; but the West Indies and lower provinces gave a sufficient demand so long as a free export of American produce was permitted
by this route. In 1822 the Canada trade acts of the imperial parliament, by imposing a duty upon American agricultural produce entering the British American colonies and the West Indies, destroyed one-half of the export trade of the St Lawrence; and the simultaneous abundance of the English harvest forbade our exports thither."
"A wise and liberal policy was adopted with regard to our exports previous to 1822. The products of either bank of the St Lawrence were indifferently exported to the sister colonies, as if of
It will be naturally inferred from the above that Canada had not, up to 1822, been an extensive exporter of agricultural produce of her own growth. growth. Her population, however, were largely engaged in milling pursuits, in the manufacture of pot and pearl ashes, &c.; and the existing railways and canals of the United States not having then been formed, and afforded routes for shipment of the agricultural produce of their western territory from the Atlantic seaboard, such produce could be forwarded only by the St Lawrence, as if of Canadian origin-the people of Canada, and especially the shipowners, profiting largely by the trade. But to proceed with our essayist :
"As a recompense for the damage done by the Trade Act of 1822, our flour and wheat in 1825 were admitted into the United Kingdom at a fixed duty of five shillings sterling per quarter. The opening of the Erie and Champlain canals at this critical juncture gave a permanent direction to those American exports which had before sought Quebec, and an amount of injury was inflicted upon the St Lawrence which would not have been reached had the British Action of 1825 preceded that of 1822. The accidental advantages, resulting from the differences which arose between the United States and Great Britain, on the score of reciprocal navigation (which differences led to the
trade of the St Lawrence was also assisted by the readmission, free, in 1826 (after four years' exclusion), of American timber and ashes for the British market, and by the reduction of the duty upon our flour for the West India market, and therefore rapidly recovered, and in 1830 far surpassed, its position of 1820.
"In 1831 there was a return to the policy which existed previous to 1822. United States' products of the forests and agriculture were admitted into Canada free, and could be exported thence as Canadian produce to all countries, except the United Kingdom; and an additional advantage was conferred by the imposition of a differential duty, in our favour, upon foreign lumber entering the West Indian and South American possessions."
interdiction of the United States' export population. To a certain extent the trade to the West Indies, and reduced it supposition is correct. The growth from a value of 2,000,000 dollars, in 1826, of Canada was retarded; but there to less than 2000 dollars in 1830), restored were influences at work-there was a for a time our ancient commerce. portion of that people, and, more than stubborn energy in the character of a all, there was given them a soil, and natural facilities for its conversion into wealth-which, combined together, enabled them to surmount the difficulties and stumblingblocks thrown in their way by anti-patriotic and bungling statesmanship. We have stated that the population of Upper Canada was, in 1830, 210,437 souls. In 1842 it had reached 486,055 souls, being an increase during the twelve years of upwards of 130 per cent. The population of Lower Canada increased from 511,922, in 1881, to 690,782 in 1844, or a little over 34 per cent in the thirteen years. For of the two provinces abundant reasons this striking disparity in the progress the inhabitants of Lower Canada are can be adduced. In the first place, not of an enterprising race. If left to them alone, the country would probably have merged long ago into the United States Confederation. They held fast by the old laws and habitudes of the worst times of their parent country; and their ambition seemed to be circumscribed within the limits of the soil which had been cultivated for them by the early settlers, which was being divided and subdivided, as the natural increase of their population required. The French were never a successful colonising people; and it is doubtful whether any people can be so who cling to the tenets of a Church, beyond whose immediate ministration they are deterred from living, and dare not die. Besides, Lower Canada suffered especially from the changeable policy of the Imperial Government, which had been playing fast and loose with the navigation of the St Lawrence, and the trade of its chief city, Quebec. In Upper Canada, on the contrary, influences were in operation, as we have stated, which tended to neutralise the effect of the impediments thrown in the way of its hardy settlers by British legislation. The wave of population from Europe and the Atlantic States of the American Republic had begun, long before 1842, to approach the great Lake District
Notwithstanding some fluctuations, caused by abundant crops in England, and a failing crop in Lower Canada, the writer goes on to say :
"The shipping and commerce of the St Lawrence rapidly increased in importance and value, with no continued relapse down to the year 1842. The revulsion of 1842 was general, being one of those periodical crises which affect commerce, but was aggravated in Canada by a repetition of the measures of 1822, not confined this time to the provision trade only, but attacking the great staple of Quebec -timber. The duties on Baltic timber in Britain were reduced; the free importation of American flour was stopped by the imposition of a duty thereon, and our trade with the West Indies annihilated by the reduction of the duty upon American flour brought into those islands. By imposing a duty of two shillings sterling per barrel upon American flour imported into Canada, and reducing it in the West Indies from five to two shillings, an improvement equal to five shillings sterling per barrel was made in the new position of American flour exported from the Mississippi, Baltimore, and New York. The value of our trade with the West Indies in 1830 (during the exclusion of the Americans) amounted to 906,000 dollars; and in 1846 it was 4000 dollars/"
It will very naturally be supposed that a people whose interests were thus trifled with, and upon whom the imperial legislature blew hot and cold in a breath, were not likely to progress greatly in material wealth, or in
into navigable rivers downward, for bearing, in the cheapest and most expeditious manner, the fruits of the lumberman's winter labour to its market on tide-water. The commencement of vegetation is delayed by the duration of the snow; but its ma
turity is reached about the same period as in the western country, because there has been a smaller loss of caloric during the winter, less retardation from a lingering spring, and more rapid growth from the constant action of a strong and steady summer-heat.
bordering upon Upper Canada, and an important frontier trade had been established. The communications between the lakes and the Atlantic and Gulf seaports were open to the Upper Canadian people, whose productions were thus brought practically and economically nearer to the consuming countries of the Old World than those of Lower Canada. Moreover, the immigration from Great Britain naturally tended towards the upper province, whether flowing through the St Lawrence or the Atlantic ports, as to a territory in which settlers would find communities of a common blood and country, speaking the same mother tongue, and imbued with the same associations, religion, domestic habits, and aspirations with themselves, and acknowledging the same allegiance and loyalty to the same Sovereign and the same laws. These circumstances, connected with their respective positions, combined with the superior energy of character and habit inherent in the race by which Upper Canada was being peopled, are sufficient to account for the more rapid increase of the material wealth and population of that province, during a period when the whole of the North American colonies seem to have been the subject of experimental, if it may not even be called hostile, legislation by the Government of the mother country. To a considerable extent Upper Canada has been favoured by its climate as the recipient of a European population; whilst, at the same time, the more frigid climate of Lower Canada suits admirably the wants of that country. Mr Andrews, the consul of the United States for Canada and New Brunswick, reports:
"It is true that in Eastern Canada there are extremes of climate unknown
in the North-Western States (of America); but it will be found that the mean temperature varies but little in the two regions. The intense cold of the winter makes a highway to the operations of the lumberman over and upon every lake and stream, whilst the earth and the germs of vegetation are jealously guarded from the injurious effects of severe frost by a thick mantle of snow. The sudden transition from winter to summer, melting the accumulations of ice and snow in every mountain stream, converts them
"Whatever exceptions may be taken to the climate of Eastern Canada, it must be remembered that it embraces the greater portion of the white-pine bearing zone of North America, the invaluable product of which can only be obtained by those conditions of climate (the abundant ice and snow) which have given it such imaginary terrors. There is scarcely one article, or class of articles, from any one country in the world which affords more outward freight, or employs more sea tonnage, than the products of the forests of British North America.
"While these conditions of climate and production give necessarily a commercial and manufacturing character to the Eastern province, the milder climate and more extensive plains of Western Canada afford a field for agriculture, horticulture, and pastoral pursuits unsurpassed in some respects by the most favoured sections of the United States. The peninsula of Canada West, almost surrounded by many thousand square miles of unfrozen water, enjoys a climate as mild as that of northern New York. The peach tree, unprotected, matures its fruit south and west of Ontario, whilst tobacco has been successfully cultivated for years on the peninsula between lakes Erie and Huron. During the last two years (1851 and 1852) Western Canada has exported upwards of two millions of barrels of flour, and over three millions of bushels of wheat; and at the present moment the surplus stock on hand is greater than at any former period. There is probably no country where there is so much wheat grown, in proportion to vation, as in that part of Canada west of the population and the area under cultiKingston."
We may illustrate the concluding paragraph of the above extract by the following statement from the American Statistical Annual:-
"The production (in bushels) of grains in the two provinces, as represented in the census of 1851, and in the United States in that of 1850, gives the quantities per capita as follows: