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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
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. The
stubborn energy in the character of a trade of the St Lawrence was also assisted
portion of that people, and, more than by the readmission, free, in 1826 (after four years' exclusion), of American timber all, there was given them 'a soil, and and ashes for the British market, and by natural facilities for its conversion into the reduction of the duty upon our flour
wealth — which, combined together, for the West India market, and therefore enabled them to surmount the diffirapidly recovered, and in 1830 far sur- culties and stumblingblocks thrown passed, its position of 1820.
in their way by anti-patriotic and * In 1831 there was a return to the policy bungling statesmanship. We have which existed previous to 1822. United stated that the population of Upper States' products of the forests and agri
Canada was, in 1830, 210,437 souls. enlture were admitted into Canada free, In 1842 it had reached 486,055 souls, and could be exported thence as Canadian produce to all countries, except the United being an increase during the twelve Kingdom; and an additional advantage
years of upwards of 130 per cent. was conferred by the imposition of a dif- The population of Lower Canada in. ferential duty, in our favour, upon foreign
creased from 511,922, in 1831, to lumber entering the West Indian and 690,782 in 1844, or a little over 34 South American possessions."
per cent in the thirteen years. For Notwithstanding some flactuations,
this striking disparity in the progress caused by abundant crops in England,
of the two provinces abundant reasons and a failing crop in Lower Canada,
can be adduced.
In the first place, the writer goes on to say —
the inhabitants of Lower Canada are
not of an enterprising race. If left « The shipping and commerce of the to them alone, the country would proSt Lawrence rapidly increased in import- bably have merged long ago into the ance and value, with no continued relapse United States Confederation. They down to the year 1842. The revulsion of held fast by the old laws and habi1842 was general, being one of those periodical crises which affect commerce,
tudes of the worst times of their parent but was aggravated in Canada by a repe- country; and their ambition seemed tition of the measures of 1822, not con
to be circumscribed within the limits fined this time to the provision trade only, of the soil which had been cultivated but attacking the great staple of Quebec for them by the early settlers, which - timber. The duties on Baltic timber was being divided and subdivided, as in Britain were reduced; the free impor- the natural increase of their populatation of American flour was stopped by tion required. The French were never the imposition of a duty thereon, and
a successful colonising people; and it our trade with the West Indies anni
is doubtful whether any people can hilated by the reduction of the duty upon American flour brought into those islands.
be so who cling to the tenets of a By imposing a duty of two shillings ster
Church, beyond whose immediate minling per barrel upon American flour im
istration they are deterred from liyported into Canada, and reducing it in ing, and dare not die. Besides, Lower the West Indies from five to two shillings, Canada suffered especially from the an improvement equal to five shillings changeable policy of the Imperial Govsterling per barrel was made in the new ernment, which had been playing fast position of American flour exported from and loose with the navigation of the the Mississippi, Baltimore, and New
St Lawrence, and the trade of its chief York. The ralue of our trade with the city, Quebec. In Upper Canada, on West Indies in 1830 (during the exclusion of the Americans) amounted to 906,000 tion, as we have stated, which tended
the contrary, influences were in operadollars; and in 1846 it was 4000 dollars!”
to neutralise the effect of the impediIt will very naturally be supposed ments thrown in the way of its hardy that a people whose interests were thus settlers by British legislation. The trifled with, and upon whom the im- wave of population from Europe and perial legislature blew hot and cold the Atlantic States of the American in a breath, were not likely to pro- Republic had begun, long before 1842, gress greatly in material wealth, or in to approach the great Lake District
bordering upon Upper Canada, and into navigable rivers downward, for bearan important frontier trade had been ing, in the cheapest and most expeditious established. The communications manner, the fruits of the lumberman's between the lakes and the Atlantic
winter labour to its market on tide-water. and Gulf seaports were open to the by the duration of the snow; but its ma
The commencement of vegetation is delayed Upper Canadian people, whose pro- turity is reached about the same period ductions were thus brought practi
as in the western country, because there cally and economically nearer to the has been a smaller loss of caloric during consuming countries of the Old World the winter, less retardation from a linthan those of Lower Canada. More- gering spring, and more rapid growth over, the immigration from Great from the constant action of a strong and Britain naturally tended towards the steady summer-heat. upper province, whether flowing “Whatever exceptions may be taken to through the St Lawrence or the Ato the climate of Eastern Canada, it must lantic ports, as to a territory in which be remembered that it embraces the settlers would find communities of a greater portion of the white-pine bear. common blood and country, speaking product of which can only be obtained
ing zone of North America, the invaluable the same mother tongue, and imbued by those conditions of climate (the abun. with the same associations, religion, dant ice and snow) which have given it domestic habits, and aspirations with such imaginary terrors. There is scarcely themselves, and acknowledging the one article, or class of articles, from any same allegiance and loyalty to the one country in the world which affords more same Sovereign and the same laws. outward freight, or employs more sea These circumstances, connected with tonnage, than the products of the forests their respective positions, combined of British North America.
“ While these conditions of climate and with the superior energy of character and habit inherent in the race by and manufacturing character to the East
production give necessarily a commercial which Upper Canada was being peo
ern province, the milder climate and pled, are sufficient to account for the
more extensive plains of Western Canada more rapid increase of the material afford a field for agriculture, horticulture, wealth and population of that pro- and pastoral pursuits unsurpassed in some vince, during a period when the whole respects by the most favoured sections of the North American colonies seem of the United States. The peninsula of to have been the subject of experi- Canada West, almost surrounded by many mental, if it may not even be called hos- thousand square miles of unfrozen water, tile, legislation by the Government of enjoys a climate as mild as that of northern the mother country. To a considerable New York. The peach tree, unprotected, extent Upper Canada has been fa- matures its fruit south and west of Ontario, voured by its climate as the recipient tivated for years on the peninsula be
whilst tobacco has been successfully culof a European population ; whilst, at tween lakes Erie and Huron. During the same time, the more frigid climate the last two years (1851 and 1852) Westof Lower Canada suits admirably the ern Canada has exported upwards of two wants of that country. Mr Andrews, millions of barrels of flour, and over three the consul of the United States for millions of bushels of wheat ; and at the Canada and New Brunswick, re- present moment the surplus stock on ports :
hand is greater than at any former period. “ It is true that in Eastern Canada
There is probably no country where there there are extremes of climate unknown
is so much wheat grown, in proportion to in the North-Western States (of America); vation, as in that part of Canada west of
the population and the area under cultibut it will be found that the mean temperature varies but little in the two re
Kingston." gions. The intense cold of the winter We may illustrate the concluding makes a highway to the operations of the paragraph of the above extract by the lumberman over and upon every lake and following statement from the Ameristream, whilst the earth and the germs
can Statistical Annual:of vegetation are jealously guarded from the injurious effects of severe frost by a “ The production (in bushels) of grains thick mantle of snow. The sudden tran. in the two provinces, as represented in sition from winter to summer, melting the census of 1851, and in the United the accumulations of ice and snow in States in that of 1850, gives the quantievery mountain stream, converts them ties per capita as follows :