IT was a curious coincidence of history that France gave up to George II. the last of her Canadian dependencies at the very moment when, upon European soil, she was curbing the ambition of George’s natural ally, Frederick the Great. At first the conquest of Canada, in 1759, involved only a change of military rulers. From 1764 to 1774 there followed a mixed military and civil government,— the Canadian French, unlike the Acadians, being allowed to remain, with a guaranty to the people of their religion and to the clergy of their rights. Hence arose a most jealous feeling on the part of the English, a ridiculous minority, who claimed that they should have been chosen to man the new ship of state. A compromise was effected by the Quebec Act of 1774, which authorized the appointment of a council to govern “ the Province of Quebec,” — the maritime provinces not being included in that term. The old Coutume de Paris, of 1666 ; the edicts and ordinances of the French kings and colonial intendants; the feudal tenure, with the relations of seigneurs and censitaires; in a word, the civil (old Roman) law, and even the canon law, —all these still held as to property and civil rights. The innovations were, the English criminal law, including trial by jury, and the English form of wills, together with the rules respecting evidence in commercial cases.
So completely were the French satisfied with this arrangement that, during the American Revolution, they could be aroused to hostility against England neither by the eloquence of Franklin nor by the brave deeds of Montgomery. Conversely, the Quebec Act gave the utmost dissatisfaction to the English, both in Canada and in the New England colonies. The arrival in Canada of the Protestors and United Empire Loyalists, who had suffered for the expression of their opinions in the United States, tended to increase the opposition to the new constitution, and led to the Act of Separation, in 1791. The Province of Quebec was divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, now the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Each division had a house of assembly and a crown-nominated council.
Left to itself, the upper province at once made the most radical changes, by displacing the old French laws for the common law of England. General Simcoe, the first governor, proposed to found a government “ so honorable, effective. and dignified ” that he might welcome all who fled from the political uncertainties of the United States. “ The New England Americans,” he wrote, “ have an aristocratic spirit, and want the nobility. Let us show them what true nobility is.”
Notwithstanding the hopes of Pitt, then chancellor of the exchequer, the difficulties in Lower Canada continued to increase. The English barred the legislative council against the French, and the French kept the English from the House of Assembly. The resulting “ dead-lock ” led to arbitrary measures by Governor Craig, which availed little except to name his administration The Reign of Terror. Nor did these quarrels of race and religion have more than a temporary check during the war of 1812. The French attempted to starve the English out by refusing to employ them; while the English, looking wistfully at Upper Canada and the United States, appealed to the home government for protection. Dead - locks increased. Governors appropriated the revenue without sanction of the legislature, and the situation was made peculiarly aggravating by the annual division of seventy thousand dollars among seventeen of the fortunate councilors, who very naturally cared neither to conciliate nor to be conciliated. In 1834 the House of Assembly passed ninety-two resolutions against the governor and council. They were draughted by M. Papineau, afterwards the leader of the rebellion in that section. M. Parent, editor of the Gazette de Québec, declared that such a course would lead to war. Papineau asserted that, in such an event, the Yankees would cheerfully help forward a plan for annexation to the United States. Parent turned on his heel, avowing that the last man to desert Canada would be a French Canadian : “ Si cela arrive, tant pis, mais quant àa moi je ne désespererai jamais, et je serai, le cas échéant, Ie dernier Canadien.”
Upper Canada, also, was not free from trouble. The Act of Separation reserved one seventh of the public lands for the clergy of the Church of England. More than two million acres had been thus reserved, when the legislature, in 1819, attempted to provide endowments and rectories. The persistent opposition of other denominations led to the abandonment of the lands, although they were not finally secularized till 1854.
The government and the clergy were more successful in founding an aristocracy ; perhaps after the original suggestion of General Simcoe, but nevertheless distasteful to the people, who were fond of the Yankee school-master and the Methodist minister from the States. So frequently was the executive council selected from the members of the legislative council that the former body earned the sobriquet, The Family Compact; while public officers of all grades became less and less responsible to the people. Reform was defeated at the hustings, and the crisis brought on the rebellion of 1837—38. The Upper Canada Progressives and the Lower Canada French joined issue with the Upper Canada Tories and the Lower Canada English. The incongruity of such a union left no semblance of strength, save that the grievances of the patriots were synchronous.
A commission of inquiry was sent from England. On their return, the constitution of 1791 was suspended so far as Lower Canada was concerned, and a special council of crown-appointed members ruled from 1838 to 1841. Lord Durham advised a union of the two provinces under a responsible government, it being futile to continue a mere personal government in such close proximity to the United States. The French of Lower Canada opposed a union, not only because they feared religious and political degradation, but because they declined to share the debts of Upper Canada. Their constitution having been revoked, it was held that they had no choice but to allow the special council to join with the legislature of Upper Canada in assenting to the Union Act of 1841, which gave to each of the old provinces an equal representation in the single elective legislature of the new Province of Canada. There was also a legislative council, consisting, till 1856, of life members appointed by the crown. After that date the members were elective.
For the first time the people of Canada, in 1841, found themselves possessed of all the responsibilities of government. For the first time the realm of politics gave opportunity for thought and action. Parties assumed the names of parties in the old country, regardless of the issues between them. Sometimes to one of these parties and sometimes to the other the French opposed a united front, and succeeded in defeating legislation long after they had become the minority of the population. There was a surfeit of politics. In twenty-three years (18411864) there were fourteen governments, or entire changes of cabinets and policies, besides the frequent forcing out of individual ministers. Five of these governments existed between May, 1862, and June, 1864. As a most natural sequence, the credit of Canada was damaged, and another rebellion was feared.
Although the country had outgrown the Union Act, still the old upper province gloried in the secularizing of the clergy reserves, the development of common-school education, and the release of Toronto University from the Church of England. The progress of the old lower province was marked by the decline of feudalism and the establishment of elementary instruction. As a provincial unit Canada had reason to feel proud of her titanic canals and her rapidly increasing railways.
The upper province, having distanced the lower in point of population, demanded a proportionate increase of representation in the legislative assembly. The lower province did not relish the threatened change. To preserve peace under the existing constitution, Hon. John A. Macdonald, at the head of the liberal conservatives, threw himself into the breach. But neither party had sufficient strength to hold the government for more than a few months at a time. At length, wearied by this political seesawing, Canada accepted an invitation to meet the representatives of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island in a friendly discussion regarding a union of the maritime provinces. The home government, under the GladstoneBright ministry, had favored a closer bond between the British colonies in North America; especially after the Trent affair, of November 8, 1861, had pointed to Canada as a possible field of battle with the United States. The convention met in Charlottetown on the 1st of September, 1864. A month later another meeting was held in Quebec. Resolutions were passed in favor of a union of all the provinces. The home government looked kindly upon the movement, and hoped it would not “ make any material addition to the taxation, and thereby retard industry or tend to impose new burdens on the commerce of the country.”
The Canadian legislature assembled in Quebec, January 19, 1865. In his speech from the throne, Lord Monck, the governor-general, said, “ With the public men of British North America it now rests to decide whether the vast tract of country which they inhabit shall he consolidated into a state, combining within its area all the elements of national greatness, providing for the security of its component parts, and contributing to the strength and stability of the empire, or whether the provinces shall remain in their present fragmentary condition.”
In the legislative council, Sir E. P. Taché, the premier, moved an address, — which was afterwards carried, — to the effect that the queen be pleased to submit to the imperial Parliament a measure for confederation upon the basis of the Quebec conference. The Hon. John A. Macdonald also moved a similar resolution in the legislative assembly. He showed that the vast expenses of maintaining separate governments would be saved ; that the prosperity of the country under confederation would much exceed its prosperity under the Union Act; and that the dependence of Canada upon England would gradually cease, until there should result an attitude of cordial alliance “ in peace or war.” The motion was carried on the 14th of May, by a vote of 91 to 33. A commission — consisting of Messrs. Macdonald, Cartier, Galt, and Brown — crossed the ocean to confer with the imperial authorities. Assurance was given of aid in case of war, and the Canadian Commons were informed that their wish for a renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty had been already anticipated.
But the confederation was not accomplished without opposition. In spite of urgent requests from the home government, the legislature of New Brunswick showed its hostility to the scheme by sending a protesting delegation to England. Prince Edward Island was obstinate until a subsidy was forthcoming to purchase the proprietary rights from non-residents. Nova Scotia resolved that confederation was impracticable, and insisted upon the original proposition, — the union of the maritime provinces ; but the home government gave the premier, Dr. Tupper, to understand that nothing short of a general union would be allowed. Newfoundland also declined, and still declines, to enter the confederation. The ground of all this opposition was the fear of the maritime provinces that such a union might work against their commercial interests, their trade being largely with the United States.
The Fenian invasion of 1866 also retarded the progress of the scheme; but the early months of 1867 found delegates from all the provinces (except Newfoundland) comfortably established in England to await parliamentary action. The Earl of Carnarvon, the secretary of state for the colonies, introduced the measure in the House of Lords, where it was finally passed on the 26th of February, the House of Commons following on the 8th of March; and by the royal assent, on the 29th of March, the British North America Act became a law, to take effect on the 1st of July. The senate of the new Dominion of Canada was also announced. On the appointed day the previous governor of Canada (Lord Monck) was sworn in as governor-general of the Dominion. Hon. John A. Macdonald was first knighted, and then called upon by Lord Monck to form a cabinet. His selection of political enemies, as well as friends, indicated a purpose not to repeat the excesses of political strife which marked the constitution of 1841.
The original provinces of the Dominion were, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The first House of Commons, elected in the fall of 1867, had a majority of unionists. Nevertheless the anti-unionists carried Nova Scotia, and the ministry of that province resigned. A series of concessions and an annual subsidy, which strained the new constitution, finally won this province over. After much delay in regard to its public lands, Prince Edward Island also entered the Dominion, in 1873. The troubles in the northwest territories were ended by the purchase of the entire tract from the Hudson’s Bay Company. From this tract the province of Manitoba was set apart in 1870, and the district of Keewatin in 1876. British Columbia entered the Dominion in 1871, under circumstances to be considered below.
Thus, after much tribulation, did the seven provinces constitute an actual confederation. Each province has its own requirements regarding the popular franchise, and each has its peculiar specimen of law. Quebec and Manitoba have substituted the code civil de Québec for the old French law; and they retain the English and statutory criminal law. The remaining provinces have the common law of England. There has been as yet no codification of the criminal or commercial laws by the government of the Dominion ; nor does there seem to be any present prospect of such action. The residuum of power rests with the general government, the authority and jurisdiction of the provinces being very much circumscribed. Doubtless this idea was borrowed from the developments of our own civil war.
Scarcely had the later provinces been admitted when the cry of “ secession ” was heard. British Columbia, with a white population of ten thousand, had been induced to enter the Dominion by a solemn promise that the Pacific railway should be completed within ten years from 1871. Although the agreement was made in the hey-day of Canada’s apparent prosperity, yet the Macdonald government would probably have progressed toward a fulfillment, even in more disastrous times, had it not been obliged to resign, in 1873, on account of alleged corruptions in letting contracts. The in-coming reform government, under the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, had never committed itself to the building of the road ; and it was not inclined to build further than to save the honor of the Dominion. Its policy was to construct the railway as far as the upper Great Lakes, and to depend upon wagonroads and water-ways for the remainder of the route to the Pacific. British Columbia demanded what was nominated in the bond, and sent a delegation to England to make complaint. Lord Carnarvon effected a compromise in 1874, by which the province agreed to wait sixteen years from that date for the completion of the road, — the Esquimault branch (a little strip in British Columbia) to be built at once. The failure of this measure in the Canadian Parliament revived the cry of secession. A bonus of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars was offered to the province for the abandonment of the proposed branch. It was indignantly refused ; and the inhabitants insisted upon something more tangible than the small army of surveyors which covered their hills. Lord Dufferin paid them a conciliatory visit in 1876; showed the physical and financial difficulties of the project, and assured them of the honest intentions of the government. A meeting of skeptics was held in Victoria on the evening of Lord Dufferin’s speech, and it was resolved “ that in case the Dominion government persist in ignoring the Carnarvon settlements it is the request of this meeting that our representatives in the provincial Parliament shall, at the next session, record their votes for the separation of British Columbia from the Dominion.”
The Mackenzie government lasted from 1873 to 1878, and was succeeded by the former conservative government under Sir John A. Macdonald. Its policy now dictates a vigorous prosecution of the work as nearly as possible after the original plans. The British Columbians seem always to have been dissatisfied. A secession memorial of the legislature was forwarded to Ottawa, and thence to the imperial government; and the first day of May, 1879, was fixed upon for a peaceable secession, which has never yet taken place. The new tariff is also disliked, because the interests of British Columbia suffer out of proportion to the rest of the Dominion. Even the taxation for public works is resisted, because such works are of no benefit unless the Pacific railway is built; and secession may yet be carried out on the ground that the Dominion has not fulfilled the contract. A resolution allowing the province to go was introduced in the Canadian Commons on the 8th of April, 1879 ; hut no one seemed inclined to second it. If the province should slip out from the Dominion yoke, the present government would be relieved of building the railway in these depressed times, a boon which a member of Parliament confessed would be appreciated; and added, significantly, “We will trade off British Columbia for Newfoundland.”
But would Newfoundland come ? Her revenues for five years have doubled the amount of her subsidy had she become an integral part of the Dominion. Her wealth of fisheries, mines, and forests is still within her control, and her public debt is insignificant. Drawing her supplies largely from the United States, she will be in no haste to enter a confederation committed to a protective tariff and burdened with debt. She has not yet forgotten the days of the American Revolution, when the Non-Intercourse Act sent starvation among her barren hills. Newfoundland will not come, in spite of Dr. Tapper’s assurances that she will. Dr. Tupper, it will be recalled, in 1865 most earnestly opposed the confederation so far as Nova Scotia was concerned. But the Intercolonial Railway bagged this province ; and now (as minister of public works) he affirms that a railway across Newfoundland will be a sufficient inducement for that island to share the privileges of confederation.
The actual relation of the several provinces to the Dominion government was very clearly shown by the Letellier case in 1878-79. The Hon. Luc Letellier de St. Just held his commission as lieutenant-governor of Quebec from the Mackenzie reform government. The politics of that province being decidedly conservative, he often found himself at variance with his own Parliament and ministry. A difference of opinion having arisen in regard to a tax affecting certain delinquent municipalities, he abruptly dismissed his ministry under the lead of M. de Boucherville, although it was backed by the constitutional majority in the Parliament of Quebec. Lord Dufferin would not interfere, because Letellier was responsible to the Dominion government; and of course the government of that day had no censure for him.
With the return of the conservatives to the control of the Dominion government, in September, 1878, the House of Commons sympathized with the De Boucherville ministry, and revived a vote of censure to M. Letellier which the former house had refused. The conservatives claimed that the lieutenant - governors are no longer responsible to the queen, but to the Parliament of Canada; that Parliament can dismiss them; and that the governor-general must take the initiative by the advice of Parliament through its committee, the cabinet of Canada. On the other hand, the reformers defended M. Letellier on the ground that his dismissal of the cabinet was constitutional, although he was not .sustained until a new Parliament had been elected, and that parliamentary action would endanger the autonomy of the provinces. In spite of this protest, the Commons voted the censure on the 13th of March, 1879. Under threats from the Quebec members, Sir John A. Macdonald was obliged to hint Letellier’s dismissal to Lord Lorne. The governorgeneral pleaded the want of precedents, and submitted the case to her majesty’s government for instructions.
This was a terrible blow to the pride of the Canadians. They had hoped that they were in a semi-independent condition ; but now even the premier of Canada informed them that they were “ as much under the imperial authority as if in England.” Loud protests came from all parts of the Dominion, and a resolution was presented in the Commons to the effect that this reference to the home authorities “ is subversive of the principles of responsible government granted to Canada.” Finally, word was received from Sir M. Hicks-Beach, the colonial secretary, that the home government refused to interfere in the matter; and therefore the governor-general removed Letellier on the 25th of July, 1879.
Thus it became evident that any political party which is in power at Ottawa can remove the lieutenant-governor of a province if he happens to be of the opposite faith. Nay, more : the governorgeneral himself is the pliant tool in the hands of the premier. He may represent the queen ; but what does that signify't Bagehot’s work on the English constitution states that the sovereign is no longer a separate, coördinate authority with the House of Lords and the Commons. The right to encourage, to warn, and to be consulted exists, but not the right to veto. “ The queen must sign her own death-warrant if the two houses send it up to her.” Therefore, as the vicegerent of the queen, the governor-general is at the mercy of the Canadian Parliament; a fact which Lord Dufferin cared not at all to conceal as he delivered his speeches from the throne, at the dictation first of Macdonald, and then of Mackenzie.
His “ policy ” is the identical policy of the party in power for the time being ; and it may be changed in the twinkling of an eye by a single adverse vote in the Commons.
A writer in an English magazine foreshadowed the serious aspect of affairs in case the governor-general’s duty should " force him into conflict with the desires of the Canadian people.” A prominent journal replied that, were such the case, “ the people would not consider the niceties of ‘ sentimental loyalty,’ but would simply insist upon the privileges of selfgovernment guaranteed by the constitution.” No one predicted a crisis in the Letellier affair; but some anticipated imperial interference when announcement was made of the new protective tariff, which discriminates as well against England as the United States. The opposition press denounced the movement, because it had been made without England’s advice or consent. The ministerial press appealed to Lord Beaconsfield to settle the question for all time, after the manner of Lord Kimberly, — Gladstone’s colonial secretary, — who, some years ago, surrendered to Australia every power in regard to trade. Canada’s position was strengthened by quoting the action of England in 1847, when she adopted free trade, almost to the ruin of the West Indies and Canada, neither of which colonies had been consulted.
In England the effect of the new policy of protection was more marked. On the 8th of March, 1879, Sir George Campbell gave notice that he should ask the chancellor of the exchequer as to the information her majesty’s government had respecting the governor-general’s speech from the throne, a speech which advocated a policy of protection at a time when her majesty’s government was opposed to such policies; and also whether “ it is desirable to continue the connection of this country with Canada under such disadvantageous and humiliating terms.” Mr. Bright asked the secretary of state for the colonies “if it was intended to represent to the Canadian government the impolicy of a war of tariffs between the different portions of the empire.” The secretary replied that, much as the government regretted the changes in tariff, the matter was in the power of the Canadians, and that Lord Dufferin had not been required to reserve for the decision of the home government bills imposing differential duties, nor had Lord Lorne. Such widely divergent papers as the London Times and the Daily News admitted the independence of Canada, but suggested that the preferences of England should be consulted, because she must protect Canada against foreign countries. After weeks of debate, the tariff was finally carried through the Canadian Commons in March, 1879 ; and thus was severed the commercial link which bound the Dominion to the old country.
Revenons àci nos moutons. Even if there be no interference from abroad, the government of Canada by a ministry is open to serious objections. “ The Canadians,” said Lord Dufferin in 1874, “ are accustomed to see the popular will exercise an immediate and complete control over the country. No Canadian,” he added, referring to the United States, “ would breathe freely if he thought the ministers were removed beyond the supervision and control of the legislative assemblies.” With all deference to this opinion, it would be difficult to show that the mercurial changes in the government from 1841 to 1867 (already noticed above) did not stamp ministerial rule as a most dismal failure. This kind of rule may do for England, with its foreign policies and with a home territory fully developed ; but in Canada the case is quite different. An immense breadth of partially explored territory sends up a demand from all quarters for “sectional representation ” in the cabinet. The best men are not available, because, aside from silencing each section, each religious creed must be pacified. Can such a cabinet frame a policy which shall satisfy all sections and all creeds ? Can any cabinet, in a country like Canada, endure the losses of time and temper which arise from an opposition continually prodding with senseless questions, and constantly angry because it is at the left of the speaker? The “ outs ” want to enter, and the “ ins ” want to remain where they are.
Say, Mr. Speaker! shall we shut the door
And keep him out ? Or let him in,
And take our chance to get him out again ?”
The worst feature of ministerial rule is this very instability of the government; and instability is a most serious drawback to political or commercial prosperity. It was many years after the conquest before England learned the needs of Canada ; and during that time there were frequent changes in the constitutional government of Canada : I. A military government (1759—1764). II. A mixture of military with civil authority (17G41774). III. A more purely civil administration under a governor and crownappointed council (1774-1791). IV. A government popularized by the addition of an elective assembly (1791-1841). V. A government responsible to the people (1841—1867). VI. The present government, both responsible and representative (since 1867). That is to say, in a space of one hundred and twenty years, six different constitutions were given to Canada; an average duration of twenty years for each. Twenty-three governors-general ruled in the sixty-six years in which the colony was under one government, averaging less than three years for each. Twenty lieutenant-governors in Lower Canada and sixteen in Upper Canada administered the affairs of those provinces during the half century of their separation (1791-1841). Through all these phases of government five different cities have had the honor of being the capital: Quebec (till 1791) ;
Toronto, in Upper Canada, and Quebec, in Lower Canada (1791-1841) ; Kingston (1841-1844) ; Montreal (18441849) ; Toronto and Quebec, alternately (1849-1858) ; Ottawa (since 1858).
If the object of this article were to institute comparisons favorable to the United States, we might, at this point, very appropriately refer to our own constitution, which has remained comparatively intact for over ninety years; to the average terms of our presidents; and to the remarkably infrequent succession of political parties to the control either of the executive or of the legislative departments, as the most convincing proof that a form of government which is not easily changed by a party vote in the popular legislative body is better adapted to the wants of a new country than any other form less stable and less conservative. What could have been a greater strain upon our constitution than the days of de facto and de jure, from November, 1876, to March, 1877 ? And yet, in the midst of that trouble, Lord Dufferin gave this most sincere and genuine compliment: “ If we look across the border, what do we see ? A nation placed in one of the most trying and difficult situations which can be imagined; two hostile and thoroughly organized camps arrayed against each other in the fiercest crisis of a political contest. Yet in spite of the enormous personal and public interests at stake, there is exhibited by both sides a patriotic self-restraint, a moderation of language, and a dignified and wise attitude of reserve which is worthy not only of our admiration, but of the imitation of the civilized world.”
Although Joseph Cook considers an elective judiciary one of the best features in his Ultimate America, still it is a serious question whether a system of wise appointments would not be better. The difference, after all, appears trivial between electing a judge, in the American manner, and electing some one to appoint him as a reward for party services, after the Canadian manner. It is yet to be proved, however the selection has been made, that our judiciary is a whit behind that of our neighbors, either in ability or in worth.
The civil service of Canada is not what it once was. Formerly, the employee of the government felt so secure in his position as to call Ottawa his permanent home. Promotion might be slow, but it would always follow good behavior. A superannuation fund stood ready for him in case he became incapacitated, and a half-pay pension was his after twenty-five or thirty years of constant service. Wisely eschewing all activity in politics he kept his place, whether this party or that party held the reins of government. The civil service is still most efficient and praiseworthy under the fostering care of the board of civilservice examiners. But we already hear the rival parties in Parliament charging each other with applying to their civil service the American motto, “ To the victors belong the spoils ; ” and it is even said that Sir John A. Macdonald provided for certain of his followers in new offices and increased salaries to the amount of nearly half a million dollars, when he was obliged to surrender the premiership in 1873.
The election laws of Canada are probably as effective for the prevention of bribery as any laws can be. Still, we read in the Canadian papers of stuffed ballot-boxes, the buying of voters, and the payment of money to influential electors. In the Kingston election of 1874, it was decided that Sir John A. Macdonald had been guilty of bribery through his agents; but that he could not be holden, because it did not appear that they were “ his authorized agents for that purpose.” In July, 1872, Sir George E. Cartier wrote to Sir Hugh Allan for money to carry the elections in the interest of the conservative party; while in 1876 it is stated that Mr. George Brown wrote to an honorable senator to ask if he could not “ come down handsomely,” or at least contribute something toward the success of the reform party. With all our complaints of fraudulent voting in the United States, it is seldom that such scenes are exhibited as are common to Canadian villages on election days, each party keeping “ open house ” in a tavern hired for its special use.
When the Dominion was formed the debts of the several provinces were assumed to the amount of sixty-two and one half million dollars. The amount finally assumed, on account of misunderstandings, was a much larger sum. According to Sir Francis Hincks, the public debt in April, 1872, was eighty millions. The debt now exceeds one hundred and fifty millions, and an increase of more will give the Canadians a public debt as large, per capita, as that of the United States. The appropriations for railways and canals have been enormous, no less than three hundred millions having been used in this manner during the past thirty years. The fact that the debt is no larger shows that Canada must have partially paid for these great improvements out of the ordinary revenue. Although the debt has been incurred for better facilities for transportation, yet it may be pertinent to inquire if it pays to extend public works which may not take care of themselves for many years to come. The Intercolonial Railway, for instance, has run behind a million dollars within the short time it has been in operation, — and that, too, under the most experienced management. As a whole, the railways in Canada have paid on their capital and bonded debt scarcely one half of the percentage paid by the railways in the United States.
The combined revenues of Upper Canada and Lower Canada were one million dollars in 1841. In 1867 the revenue of the new Canada was fourteen millions ; at present it is about twenty-three millions. The ordinary expenses of the government do not unreasonably exceed this sum; although there are large appropriations for legislation, immigration, and the militia, including a totally superfluous military school at Kingston. But there are expenses of government, available for reduction, which might be called ‘‘extraordinary.” The governor-general receives a salary of $47,517.55, besides the expenses of the Government House. Eight lieutenant-governors receive from eight thousand to fourteen thousand dollars each. Fourteen legislative bodies (in the Dominion and provinces) aggregate 661 members, at a cost of half a million dollars. Then there are sixtyfive executive councilors, which, added to those already enumerated, make one representative to every six thousand people in Canada. At the same rate, the United States would have 7260, and Great Britain six thousand ! Concerning this the Toronto Mail says: “ The total cost of government, Dominion and provincial, — exclusive of the amounts spent on immigration, police, penitentiaries, debt management and interest, hospitals and charities, Indians, public works maintenance, etc., — is upwards of $10,750,000 a year, or over $2.50 per head of the population. In addition to this load, moreover, we have to carry our municipal governments, of the cost of which it is impossible to form an estimate.”
If there were great results from this phenomenal expense, there might be less complaint. The cost of legislation for the Parliament of last year was $618,000; of which $303,000 was an indemnity to members. An honorable senator has recently made the statement that the “ country would not give ten cents on the dollar for all the legislation representing that indemnity and those salaries.” In the Province of Ontario it costs three hundred thousand dollars — more than is required in most of the States in the Union — for the legislature to pass a few unimportant bills and disburse three million dollars. Surely the Mail is justified in calling a halt. “No country in the world pays so dearly for government, and if Ossa is to be piled on this Pelion either the people’s back will break under the burden, or they will unload and try a change, which would, in effect, be a revolution, — a quiet but still a disastrous one for Canada.”
The true Yankee will not be satisfied without asking after the amount of business transacted by Canada with foreign countries, as a basis for such enormous expenses. He will note that her exports were fifty-eight millions in 1868 ; ninety millions in 1873 and 1874; and seventynine millions in 1878. The imports of 1860 were seventy-three millions ; they rose to one hundred and twenty-eight millions in 1874, but fell off to ninetyone millions in 1878. During the past six years Canadian exports to Great Britain have risen from forty-three to fifty-eight per cent, of the total amount exported ; while exports to the United States have fallen from forty-seven to thirty-two per cent. In the same period Canadian imports from Great Britain have fallen from fifty-four to fortyone per cent. ; and imports from the United States have risen from thirtyseven to fifty-three per cent. Since the date of confederation (1867) Canada has managed to import more than three hundred and fifty millions in excess of her exports ; and the Yankee cannot blame her for trying to keep her men and her money at home by the newly executed policy of protection.
We have seen, during our inquiry, that Canada has always been a peculiarly hard country to govern ; that this has been partially owing to a series of experiments by the home government; that no responsibility to the people existed before the year 1841; and that subsequently the government by a ministry has proved too unstable for the wants of a new country. We have also noticed the immense expense of carrying on so many coördinate branches of the government, while the public debt is constantly increasing at an alarming ratio. If time and space did not fail us, we might inquire into the statements which are made to the effect that Canada receives no money from England; that England does not even pay her own officer, the governor-general; that she neither builds nor repairs her own fortifications, nor does she pay for the armament of the military forces in Canada ; and that she did not assist in suppressing the Fenian raids for which Canada was in no sense responsible. These and kindred complaints in connection with the results which we have already examined in detail lead us briefly to consider the most apparent tendencies of the confederation : —
I. In the first place, we may safely assert that the tendency of Canada is to depart from English domination. This is true, in spite of Beaconsfield’s eulogies upon the Dominion at the expense of the United States. The English liberals have a more realizing sense of the true attitude of the colonies toward the mother country ; for their dictum would bind these satellites to England, as Lord Granville says, " by a silken cord, and not by an iron chain.” Lord Derby, their latest acquisition, recently said that " Canada and Australia must soon become separate nations.” The late under-secretary of state for the colonies, Lord Blatchford, predicts that " as the colonies develop they must either become separate nations, or they must have a share in the government of the British confederacy,” — an alternative which he believes to be highly visionary. Indeed, the very threats of the ministerial press in Canada, when the new tariff was enacted, show that the Dominion would rather protect itself, even against England, than to have the empty honor of being a British colony, " socially recognized” by the imperial government. The Letellier affair, also, shows that loyalty in the concrete is still a bete noir to the Canadian, if it means full submission to the home authorities.
II. The tendency of Canada being thus evident, and the question of her independence having been virtually settled in 1875 by the decision that no appeal should lie from her supreme court to the English courts, we may dismiss all attempts to imperialize with a mere passing mention. Earl Grey favors a quasi-government for the colonies by a committee of the privy council; but he threatens them with a total separation in case they act too independently, — a most dangerous treatment with a people who have already tasted the fruits of colonial liberty. Still less is there the possibility that Canada will become a part of an imperial federation, with her representatives in the British Parliament, and with the right of her citizens to be recognized as citizens of any other imperial colony. Such results are hardly possible ; although the recent calling of Sir John A. Macdonald to the British privy council might seem to lead the Dominion towards the vortex of imperialism.
III. Whether the separation of Canada from England is a matter of years or of decades, it is evident that the constitution of 1867 does not meet the requirements of the country. The great expense of confederation must be reduced either by the formation of a legislative union of the provinces, or by the extinction of the legislative councils. The duties of the several lieutenantgovernors of provinces might be readily performed by an additional minister of the Dominion government, with supervisory power to approve or to refer to the cabinet. The number of provinces might also be reduced, with great benefit to all concerned. The precise nature of the changes that are coming is not ours to suggest, or even to prophesy. It is safe to assume that the Canadians are abundantly able to take care of themselves when the occasion shall be given. Left to themselves, they must naturally drift toward a government more democratic in its constitution and more popular in its execution than any they have yet enjoyed. But this natural drifting democracy-ward does not by any means argue that they will finally tie up alongside the United States. That is a question to be decided in the future. It cannot be decided now. In the mean time the American people will watch coming events across the border with a kindly interest. The Canadian people have already accomplished wonders, in spite of continual drawbacks ; and the future will show their capabilities in a larger field.
Frederic G. Mather.