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Title: A Canadian History for Boys and Girls

Date of first publication: 1900

Author: Emily P. Weaver

Date first posted: Dec. 21, 2014

Date last updated: Dec. 21, 2014

Faded Page eBook #20141248

This ebook was produced by: Marcia Brooks, Paulina Chin & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net






















Entered, according to Act of the Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand nine hundred, by The Copp, Clark Company, Limited, and William Briggs, at the Department of Agriculture.


The arrangement of this history is generally chronological. There are a few exceptions to avoid unnecessarily breaking the narrative. The book is divided into three parts in order to mark changes of great importance. The First Part deals with the period of French rule; the Second with that of English rule till 1867; and the Third with the History of the Dominion since Confederation. These great divisions have been subdivided into Books, with the object of emphasizing the importance of different epochs in the history of the country. At the close of each Book is a chapter upon the Social Conditions of the period.

At the end of the volume are placed lists of important dates and of the more difficult proper names used in the History, with the pronunciation indicated as closely as possible by phonetic spelling. For this guide to the pronunciation of foreign proper names I am indebted to the kindness of Archibald MacMechan, Esq., B. A., Ph. D., now of Dalhousie University, Halifax.

I have endeavored to tell the story of Canada simply, and to choose subjects for illustration which would help boys and girls to understand the conditions of life prevailing in former times and in different parts of our widely-extended country.

During the preparation of this little book I have received much help and courtesy from the librarians of the Public Libraries of Toronto and Halifax, the Normal School, Toronto, Dalhousie University, and the Legislative Library, Halifax.

I have also to thank the following gentlemen for their courtesy in allowing my sister to copy or adapt illustrations from books published by them:—Judge Prowse, St. John’s, Newfoundland, for illustrations from his “History of Newfoundland” of Eskimos (p. 26 of this volume), A Newfoundland Fisherman (p. 69), Cod Fishing (p. 236), and Laying an Atlantic Cable (p. 264); Messrs. Charles Scribners’ Sons, New York, Washing for Gold (p. 295), from Palmer’s “In the Klondike”; the editor of “The Canadian Magazine,” The Sick Children’s Hospital (p. 300); Messrs. George Bell and Sons, London, for drawings (on pp. 16, 47, 82, 125 and 154) from Fairholt’s “Costume in England”; Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, for illustrations from Winsor’s “Narrative and Critical History of America,” Queenston Heights (p. 160), Fort Nelson (p. 63), Fort Douglas, (p. 177), Fort Garry (p. 271), A French Gentleman of the Seventeenth Century (p. 19), A Ship of the Seventeenth Century (p. 29), Canadian Soldier (p. 53), French Soldier, (p. 85), English Soldier (p. 93). For several pictures we are indebted to Catlin’s “North American Indians.” Two, The Indian Mask (p. 140), and The Bison (p. 176), are copied by permission from the Reports of the United States National Museum at Washington. Many other people have most kindly aided us in the illustration of the book by lending photographs, sketches, and old books.

E. P. W.




Book I.—The Rule of the Trading Companies.

I.The Native Races7
II.A Century of Discovery12
III.The Settlement of Acadia18
IV.Canada Under Champlain23
V.The French and English at War28
VI.The Indians and the Missionaries31
VII.Events in Acadia from 1632 to 166739
VIII.Social Conditions Under the Companies43

Book II.—New France and Its Royal Governors.

I.De Tracy and Talon46
II.Frontenac and La Salle52
III.La Barre and Denonville57
IV.Strife in Acadia and on Hudson Bay62
V.Count De Frontenac Again65
VI.Queen Anne’s War71
VII.Troublous Times in Acadia74
VIII.The War of the Austrian Succession77
IX.The Boundary Quarrels81
X.The Four-Fold Plan of Attack84
XI.Opening of the Seven Years’ War87
XII.The Fall of Quebec92
XIII.The Capitulation of Canada96
XIV.Social Conditions Under the French Kings99




Book I.—French and English Laws.

I.The Indian War and Chief Pontiac105
II.The King’s Proclamation and the Quebec Act109
III.The American Invasion114
IV.The End of the War121
V.Events in Nova Scotia124
VI.The United Empire Loyalists127
VII.The Founding of New Brunswick131
VIII.Canada Divided134
IX.Explorers and Fur-Traders138
X.Social Conditions About 1791141

Book II.—The Struggle for Responsible Government.

I.The Assemblies and Their Work145
II.The Growing Power of the Councils149
III.Political Strife153
IV.The War with the United States, 1812156
V.War with the United States, 1813163
VI.The End of the War, 1814171
VII.Lord Selkirk’s Settlements175
VIII.The Maritime Provinces After the War178
IX.Upper Canada After the War182
X.Mackenzie and Colborne186
XI.Stormy Years in Lower Canada189
XII.Upper Canada on the Brink of Rebellion196
XIII.The Rebellion, 1837199
XIV.Lord Durham205
XV.The Union of Upper and Lower Canada210
XVI.Struggle for Reform in the Maritime Provinces213
XVII.Social Conditions, 1791-1841218

Book III.—Steps Towards Confederation.

I.The Working of the New Plan of Government222
II.Boundary Troubles226
III.The Rebellion Losses Bill230
IV.Trade and Railways233
V.Troublous Times237
VI.Vancouver and British Columbia243
VIII.The Quebec Scheme of Confederation250
IX.A Waiting Time254
X.Confederation Accomplished257
XI.Social Conditions, 1841-67261



I.The Red River Rebellion267
II.From East to West273
III.The Mackenzie Ministry277
IV.Under Lord Lorne’s Rule280
V.The North-West Rebellion283
VI.The Closing Years of Macdonald’s Ministry288
VII.Recent Events292
VIII.Social Conditions297
Dates to be Remembered303
An Aid to the Pronunciation of Some Difficult Names305



The history of Canada, from the close of the sixteenth century to the year 1760, is the story of a long struggle between the French and English for the possession of a great part of this continent. It became more intense as the colonies of the rival nations grew stronger, and it was embittered by the quarrels of the Mother-countries in the Old World, and by the plan, followed alike by French and English, of using the warlike Indians as a weapon against their foes. The Indians were gradually driven northward and westward, and became of less importance as constant warfare drained away their strength, and the number of the Europeans in America increased. The rivalry of France and England is, therefore, the great central fact round which are grouped all the lesser incidents of the story of Canada, from the founding of Quebec in 1608 to the surrender of Montreal a century and a half later.



The Old and the New Worlds.

You all know that the continents of Europe and America are divided from each other by the great Atlantic Ocean. We still sometimes call Europe the Old, and America the New World, but the ease with which we can send news, or travel from one to the other, prevents our thinking much of the great distance between them. Swift steamships cross the ocean in less than a week, and every day messages are telegraphed from one side to the other, so that we can read in the newspapers of events that happened in London or Paris only a few hours before.

An Unknown Land.

A little more than four hundred years ago, however, the people who lived in Europe did not know that there was such a continent as America. If one of them had been asked to draw a map of the world, he would have drawn it something like the sketch shown on page 8. What lay beyond the great ocean to the west no one knew. There were traditions, indeed, from very early times, that sailors from Iceland and other places had discovered strange countries beyond the ocean; but most people had never heard these stories, and very likely those who had did not believe them.

The Indians.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the wide Atlantic, the black-haired, copper-coloured people of America were hunting and fishing and fighting in their woods and wilds, probably thinking that they were the only people in the world. These Indians, as they were afterwards called, were thinly scattered all over America, but in this chapter I shall tell you only a little about those who lived in what is now Canada and the United States.


They were divided into many tribes, having different languages and customs. These wasted their strength in constant fighting, each tribe making war upon its neighbours. They did not often make alliances with one another, but the five kindred “nations” of the Iroquois wisely agreed to help each other, and thus became so strong that they were a terror to all within their reach.

Indian Fish-Hooks.

Mode of Life.

Hunting and fighting were the chief employments of the men, and all hard and heavy work was left to the women. Most of the Indians lived entirely on fish, wild creatures, and the fruit that they could gather in the woods; but a few grew Indian corn and kept pigs. Some tribes lived in pointed tents covered with skin. Others built long bark houses, large enough to shelter ten or twelve families at once. They did not understand how to make iron tools, but used clumsy stone hatchets and shell knives. With such tools it was difficult to work in wood, but some tribes made beautiful canoes and other articles of bark, whilst others made rough boats of great tree-trunks, hollowed out by burning. The women of some of the tribes wove mats of rushes, spun twine from hemp, and made bowls and pots of clay.


The warriors, as well as the women, generally allowed their hair to grow long, plaiting it in many little tails, or dressing it in some still odder fashion. In winter they wore leggings and short loose dresses of deerskin, and robes of beautiful fur. In war-time the men decked their heads with feathers and painted their faces and bodies in strange patterns. Both men and women adorned themselves with beads, which were made from shells and bones, until Europeans brought glass beads into the country.

Wampum Belt.


The Indians did not know how to write, but some of the shell-beads, called wampum, were made into collars and belts of curious patterns, and were used as reminders of important events. For instance, when one tribe made a treaty with another, a belt of wampum was given at the end of each clause; and these belts were put into the charge of old men, who were expected to remember and explain their meaning. To a certain extent, the Indians also used picture-writing,—that is, they made rough sketches instead of writing words.

Indian Medicine-Man.


The Indians had very strange ideas about God and religion. They believed in a great Good Spirit and a great Bad Spirit. They did not pay much attention to the Good Spirit, but tried to frighten the Bad Spirit by wearing charms, and to put him in good humour by making strange sacrifices to him. They believed, also, that a host of unseen beings peopled the woods and mountains and streams, and affected their fate for good or ill. The “medicine-men,” who professed to be able to make rain and to control evil spirits, had great influence. When a man fell ill he was thought to be possessed by a demon, and was often cruelly tortured in the attempt to drive it out. The good, after death, were supposed to go to the “happy hunting-grounds”; but the journey thither was held to be long and perilous. Food and cooking-pots, weapons and garments were laid beside the dead, with the idea that his spirit would need the spirits of these things.

Indians of To-day.

The Indians living now are few in number, and, in Canada, are found chiefly on lands set apart for them by government and in the unsettled regions of the north and west.

The Eskimos.

Near the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay live the Eskimos, who are of a different race from the Indians. Their habits have probably changed little since America was discovered. They are said to be honest and good-humoured, but very dirty. They live by hunting and fishing, often eating their food raw. They dress from head to foot in fur. In winter they live in houses half underground, made of earth, turf, or even bones; but when they need shelter suddenly they build a round hut of snow.


European Traders.

Though the people of Europe knew nothing of what lay beyond the great ocean to the west, they did know a little about the countries to the east. In those days people were more ready to travel by land than by water. For hundreds of years traders had brought gold, gems, and rich stuffs overland from India. But there were many difficulties and dangers in this long journey, and at last adventurous men began to seek a new way to the countries of the east. A Portuguese seaman sailed along the coast of Africa, rounded the cape of Good Hope, and thus found a way to India by sea.

Christopher Columbus.

Meanwhile, it had occurred to an Italian, Christopher Columbus, that India might be reached by sailing due west. But he had neither ships nor money, and several years passed before he could persuade anyone to help him to try his plan. At last, in 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella, the king and queen of Spain, gave him three small ships and promised to make him governor of any new countries he might discover. His troubles were not at an end, however. As they sailed over the unknown ocean, farther and farther from home, his men became so frightened and angry that they threatened to kill him. At length they reached one of the islands now called the West Indies, and Columbus carried back to Spain six Indians, a little gold, and some strange plants and animals. He was received with great honour, but was afterwards used ungratefully. He made three more voyages, but till the day of his death, in 1506, he thought that he had only found a new way to India, and had no idea that he had discovered a new continent.

John and Sebastian Cabot.

Other navigators now turned towards the west. In 1497, the year before Columbus first visited the mainland of America, John Cabot, a Venetian, who had settled at Bristol, explored some part of the coast of North America. Upon this England afterwards grounded a claim to a large part of the continent. With Cabot sailed his son Sebastian. He was then only twenty years of age, but in the following year he set out to search for a north-west passage to India.

French Explorers.

About this time vessels from France and other countries began to visit the shores of Newfoundland for the sake of the fisheries. Frenchmen also explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in 1524 their king, Francis I, sent out an Italian, Verrazano, who sailed along part of the coast of North America, and gave to a great stretch of country the name of New France.

Jacques Cartier.

Ten years later Francis sent Jacques Cartier, a hardy Breton sailor, to seek a passage to Asia. He sailed through the Straits of Belle Isle and landed at Gaspé, where he set up a cross bearing the words, “Long live the King of France!” He took back with him two young savages. The next year Cartier again set sail for the New World from his native town, St. Malo. Before they started he and his crew confessed their sins in the cathedral, and were solemnly blessed by the bishop. This time he made his way far up the St. Lawrence, which the Indians called “the Great River of Hochelaga.”

Donnacona and His People.

An Indian village, Stadacona, stood at the foot of the rock now crowned by the buildings of Quebec. Its chief, Donnacona, was friendly; but when Cartier wished to go higher up the river, some of the Indians pretended to be bad spirits, thinking to frighten him from his purpose. But Cartier laughed at them, and pushed on. Soon he reached another Indian town, defended by a tall fence, called a palisade, and surrounded by fields of ripe corn. Behind it rose a great hill, which he named “Mont Royale.” The Indians had never seen white people before, and Cartier said they watched him as if he “had been going to act a play.” And he really did some very strange things. He touched and prayed over the sick, who had gathered round, and read aloud some portions of the gospels in French, which of course the Indians could not understand. But, to their delight, after the reading there was a great giving of presents and blowing of trumpets. The Frenchmen now returned to Stadacona, where they spent a miserable winter. They lived in constant dread of the Indians, whose friendship they had lost, and many fell sick and died. When spring came Cartier deceitfully beguiled Donnacona and nine other Indians on board his ship, and sailed away to France, where the poor savages soon died.

A gentleman of
Elizabeth’s reign.


Five years later Cartier agreed to help a French nobleman, the Sieur de Roberval, to found a colony in Canada. Cartier went on first, but again he and his men suffered much during the winter; and, when spring opened, they set sail for France. On the way they met Roberval. He ordered them to return to Canada, but they escaped in the night, and though Roberval went on, he soon had to come back. For many years after this no one tried to found a colony in Canada, but the fishermen still sailed regularly to Newfoundland.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

In the year 1583 Sir Humphrey Gilbert set up the royal banner of England on a hill overlooking St. John’s harbour, Newfoundland, and took possession of the island in the name of his queen, Elizabeth. But on his return voyage he was lost in a storm, and for forty years no settlement was made.


The Exiles of Sable Island.

By this time people had discovered that they could make much money by trading in the furs of the beavers and other wild animals, which were then so plentiful in Canada. In 1598 the Marquis de la Roche, another French nobleman, engaged to found a colony in return for the sole right of trading in furs. It was difficult to persuade people to go to Canada, however, and criminals were taken from the prisons to make up the required number. They were carried across the ocean in a ship so small that it was said they could wash their hands in the water from its sides. Forty of these men were landed on Sable Island, while their companions went to explore the neighbouring coasts. But the ships were driven back to France by terrible storms, La Roche was cast into prison by his enemies, and for five years the wretched exiles were left on their lonely island. They lived on wild cattle and berries. But they quarrelled and fought with one another, and when a ship was sent to rescue them, all but twelve had died or been killed. These twelve were taken before the king in their shaggy garments of fur, and in pity for their sufferings he pardoned all their offences, and gave them money to start in the fur trade.

Discoveries in the West.

In the meantime explorers made their way round Cape Horn, and the Spaniards took possession of Mexico and California. In 1578 Sir Francis Drake, an Englishman, followed them into the Pacific Ocean, doing their towns and ships as much damage as he could. He sailed northward along the west coast of America, claiming it for Elizabeth, but it is uncertain how far he went. Fourteen years afterwards Juan de Fuca, a Greek in the service of the Spaniards, visited the coast of what is now British Columbia; but for nearly two hundred years little was learned about that country.


Samuel de Champlain.

About the year 1603, a company of Frenchmen banded together for the colonization of Canada and the conversion of the Indians to Christianity. In return the king gave them a monopoly of the fur trade—that is, he said that they, and no one else, might buy and sell furs in Canada. One member of this company did so much for Canada that he has been called the Father of New France. His name was Samuel de Champlain. He was now thirty-six years of age. He had been a soldier, a captain in the Royal Navy of France, and a traveller. On his journeys he kept a diary in which he drew curious pictures of the things he saw.

Champlain was chosen to explore the country, so he crossed the ocean in a tiny vessel, and sailed up the St. Lawrence as far as Cartier’s Mont Royale. He found no trace of the Indian towns Cartier had described. He tried to make his way up the rapids above Mont Royale, and eagerly questioned the few Indians he met concerning the country beyond. But several years passed before he was able to make use of what he learned about Canada.

A French
Gentleman, 1600.

A Settlement in Acadia.

In 1604 a nobleman named De Monts became head of the company. Instead of sending settlers to the St. Lawrence, he wished to found a colony in Acadia, as the country now forming Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and part of Maine was then called. The rival fur-traders were invited to join the company, but if any dared to trade on their own account their ships were seized or driven away.

St. Croix.

After exploring the Bay of Fundy, De Monts set his men to make a garden and to build houses and a chapel on a little cedar-covered island at the mouth of the River St. Croix, which takes its name from that given to the settlement. As winter came on it appeared that the post had not been wisely chosen. On the island there was neither wood to burn nor water to drink, and in stormy weather it was often impossible to cross to the mainland. During the winter nearly half the settlers died, and many of the rest suffered terribly from a painful disease called scurvy.

Port Royal.

In the spring forty new settlers arrived, and De Monts moved to Port Royal, a beautiful spot which he had granted to Baron de Poutrincourt. The new buildings were scarcely well begun when De Monts was obliged to return to France, but in the following year he sent out a number of labourers and skilled workmen. Port Royal was healthier than St. Croix, and the winter passed cheerfully. All was flourishing, when De Monts lost his monopoly of the fur trade. Without it he could not afford to support the colonists, so they were suddenly obliged to leave Port Royal.

The neighbouring Indians were deeply grieved at this, for the Frenchmen had treated them with unfailing kindness, and had given them many a meal when hungry. In fact their old chief, Membertou, had been a daily guest at Poutrincourt’s table.

For three years the buildings were deserted. But they were not destroyed, and in 1610 Poutrincourt returned to Port Royal, bringing with him a priest to teach the Indians. They received the French joyfully, and several soon consented to be baptized. Foremost among these was Membertou, who was called Henri after the king of France, while his squaw (as the Indians call their wives), received the name of Marie in honour of the queen. The old chief even wished to go to war with the neighbouring tribes to force them to become Christians too.

The Jesuits.

A short time later several Jesuit missionaries were sent to Acadia. Their order was at this time in high favour at the court of France. The king and queen and other noble persons gave them money for their work, but they had many difficulties in their way. For instance, the Indians misled them when they were learning the language, by telling them wrong names for things; and they could not agree either with Poutrincourt or his son, Biencourt, who was left in charge at Port Royal. Poutrincourt himself had much trouble, and at last was thrown into prison in France, while his unfortunate people were almost starving in Acadia.

Port Royal Attacked.

About this time the English, who had settled farther south, in Virginia, suddenly bethought themselves of an old claim to Acadia, and sent a man named Argall to drive away the French. He first attacked a little settlement at the mouth of the Penobscot, and carried off a number of prisoners; but, on a second journey, he fell upon Port Royal itself, which proved an easy prey. Its owners, unaware that any foe was near, were all busy gathering in their harvest, and before they returned their houses were in flames. Poutrincourt, who had regained his liberty, made one more journey across the ocean with supplies, but returned to France in despair when he found the buildings in ashes. His son refused to leave Port Royal, and led a wild life in the woods till he died, eight or nine years later. Charles de la Tour, a Huguenot, or French Protestant, of noble family, became governor of Acadia in his stead. He soon moved from Port Royal to a spot near Cape Sable, where he built the Fort of St. Louis.

English Grant of Acadia, 1621.

In the meantime King James I of England had granted the whole of Acadia to a Scotch knight, Sir William Alexander. He called it Nova Scotia, and the king allowed him to give the title of baronet to gentlemen willing to help in colonizing the country. A number of men accordingly received titles and large grants of land, but few settlers were brought out.

The Newfoundland Colony.

In the year 1623, Lord Baltimore took a number of people to Newfoundland, settling them at a place called Verulam, or Ferryland. Soon afterwards a few Frenchmen settled near, but they acknowledged that the country belonged to the English, and paid a small sum for leave to fish.


Quebec Founded, 1608.

We must now go back to the year 1608, and see what Champlain was doing. De Monts had regained his monopoly for one year, and, in the hope of making larger profits than before, turned to the St. Lawrence. The task of exploring was again given to Champlain, while another man traded with the Indians.

Champlain sailed up the river till he came to rugged Cape Diamond—so called from the glistening bits of quartz found there. At this place he decided to settle, and during the hot July days his wooden houses and fortifications rose quickly on what is now the market-place of the lower town of Quebec. He was untiring in his labours, but some of his men wearied of their hard work and poor food, and planned to murder him. Fortunately for New France, one of them betrayed the plot, and the ring-leaders were punished.

The French managed to make their quarters warm and comfortable, but knew of no remedy for the dreadful scurvy, and before spring two-thirds of their number were dead. During the winter bands of Algonquin Indians camped beside the little fort, hoping perhaps for help against their terrible enemies, the Iroquois or Five Nation Indians. The Algonquins never sowed corn, so were generally short of food in the cold season.

Indian Wars.

When the snow melted, Champlain set out to explore the country to the west. He hoped to find an easy way to China, which he thought much nearer than it really is. But the war-parties of the Iroquois forced him to turn back, for, though their homes were in what is now New York State, they made cruel raids every spring on the weak Algonquins, and even on the Hurons, who were of the same race as themselves. To the great delight of the tribes near Quebec, Champlain offered to help to fight their dreaded foes; but the Iroquois never forgave him, and in after years the French colonists suffered terribly at their hands.

Champlain took with him eleven Frenchmen and a number of Indians. For many days they marched through the wilderness. At last they came upon a party of Iroquois who carried shields of skin and wore curious armour of twigs interwoven with cords. But it was of no use against the French bullets, and, terrified by the dreadful smoke and noise of the guns, they fled, leaving their dead and wounded behind them. Champlain tried to prevent any cruelty, but, as usual, the Indian victors scalped and tortured their helpless foes.

Champlain’s Difficulties.

In the midst of all his other business, Champlain was often obliged to go to France. He was beset with difficulties, arising chiefly from the state of the fur trade, which was sometimes free to everybody, and sometimes under the control of a single man or company. At this time the king generally put some great noble, who was called the viceroy, in charge of the colony. There were many different viceroys within a few years, and though Champlain acted as governor under them all, the frequent changes added to his troubles.

In the year 1613, Champlain made a journey up the Ottawa River, hoping to reach “the Northern Sea.” He took as guide a young Frenchman who professed to have found his way to this sea before, but it soon appeared that he had not told the truth, and Champlain turned back.

Henry Hudson.

Probably the man had heard from the Indians of Hudson Bay, as we call it. It had been discovered three years earlier by an English seaman, Henry Hudson, who lost his life there. After spending a winter in the bay, some of his men became so angry with him that they set him adrift in an open boat with his son and several sailors. They were never heard of afterwards, and their murderers had great difficulty in reaching England.

Récollet Father.

The First Missionaries, 1615.

All the men who had undertaken to colonize Canada professed to be anxious that the Indians should become Christians. Yet, of the two hundred Frenchmen at this time in the country, most cared only for making money, and not one was a missionary. At last a new trading company agreed to send out teachers for the savages, and in 1615 four Franciscan friars, or Récollets, came with Champlain to Canada. Some of them at once began to hold services at the trading posts, and one travelled so far north that he fell in with some wandering Eskimos, while another carried the Gospel into the country of the Hurons, near the Georgian Bay.

Champlain Tries to Form an Indian League.

This missionary, Le Caron, was the first white man to visit the Hurons; but the governor soon followed him, journeying as much as possible by lake and stream, to avoid the untracked woods. Champlain tried to persuade the Canadian Indians to give up fighting amongst themselves, and to help one another against the warriors of the Five Nations. But though the Hurons and Algonquins liked him, he could not induce them to follow his advice.


After staying some time amongst them, Champlain led the Hurons into the Iroquois country. They were more than a month on the march, and when they attacked one of the palisaded towns of the Iroquois, they were beaten off. Champlain himself was hurt, and being unable to walk, was packed into a basket like the rest of the wounded, so that he could be carried on the back of one of his Indian friends. He was obliged to spend the winter with them. His people in Quebec gave him up as dead, so there was great rejoicing when he returned early in the following summer, alive and well.

Chief Events 1616-28.

The history of the next twelve years may be summed up very briefly. The growth of the colony was slow, owing to the greediness and the quarrels of the rival fur-traders. The chief events were the first attacks of the terrible Iroquois on the French themselves, and the coming of the Jesuits to help the Récollets to teach the savages.

A Time of Scarcity.

Champlain made several voyages to France during this period. But in spite of all he could do, Canada was neglected, and the colonists suffered greatly, as they depended almost entirely on supplies from home. There was indeed but one farmer amongst them—Louis Hébert. During the winter of 1627-8 they were allowed only a few ounces of food a day. When spring came they were forced, like the Indians, to live on what they could find in the woods, and we can fancy how anxiously they must have looked down the river for the yearly ships from France. But no ships came, and they seemed to be utterly forgotten in their lonely wilderness.

The Hundred Associates.

The king of France was engaged in a fierce conflict with his Huguenot or Protestant subjects, but his great minister, Cardinal Richelieu, was forming a new company at this very time to colonize and govern Canada in return for a monopoly of the fur trade. It was called the Company of New France, or the Company of the Hundred Associates. Under its rule none but Roman Catholics were to be allowed to come to Canada.


Kirke’s Fleet.

In 1628 Charles I of England began to help the Huguenots to fight against their king. He sent a fleet, under Sir David Kirke, to attack the French settlements in America. Kirke captured a small fleet, took Port Royal, and sailed for the St. Lawrence. At first the French mistook his vessels for the long-expected ships from France, but they were soon undeceived. Kirke demanded the surrender of Quebec. Champlain had few men, and only fifty pounds of powder in the place, but he answered so boldly that Kirke, instead of attacking the town, merely tried to prevent French vessels going up the river. One small ship contrived to pass, however, carrying the bad news that there was no hope of help from France for many months to come. The people of Quebec were worse off than before, but Champlain did not lose heart. He set his men to sow what little land was cleared, and to catch fish and game to cure for the coming winter. He also tried to get food from the Indians, but in this hour of trial many of them threatened and insulted him.

Surrender of Quebec, 1629.

A miserable year went by. Then the English ships again sailed up to Quebec, and Champlain sorrowfully surrendered. Louis Kirke, a brother of the English admiral, now became governor. He was much liked, even by the French, and many remained in the town, though some chose to live with the Indians in the woods. Champlain and some others were taken as prisoners to England, but they were soon allowed to go back to their own country. On their way down the St. Lawrence they must have been very sorry to be present at the capture of a ship, which, too late, was bringing them help.

A Ship of the time.

Claude de la Tour.

Meanwhile, in Acadia, the English were getting the worst of the struggle. An English fort on Cape Breton Island, but lately built, was captured by the French, whilst a plot to get hold of the French fort of St. Louis came to nothing. Claude de la Tour, who had been made prisoner by Kirke, and had been sent to England, so pleased his captors that he was soon set free. He married an English court lady, and the names of himself and his son Charles were put on the roll of baronets of Nova Scotia. In return Claude promised that Fort St. Louis should be put into English hands; but Charles, who was in command, firmly refused to play the traitor. Claude then tried to take the fort by force, but in spite of all he could do the French flag still floated over St. Louis. He did not now know where to turn, but at last made friends with his son.

Treaty of St. Germain-en-laye, 1632.

Some of his countrymen thought Canada worthless, but Champlain was very anxious that it should be restored to France, and Cardinal Richelieu agreed with him. At length Charles I, who had quarrelled with his Parliament and was in woeful need of money, consented, by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, to give up Canada, Acadia, and his claim on the Hudson Bay territory. In return for this he was promised the payment of some money which had long been owing to him.

Champlain’s Return, 1633.

A year later Champlain returned to Quebec with a number of fresh settlers sent out by the Hundred Associates. He was received with the greatest joy. His first task was to regain the goodwill of the Indians, for upon their friendship depended the success of the fur trade, which was still the life of the colony. With this object he attended many feasts and councils, some of which lasted for several days. In the following summer five hundred Hurons came down to Quebec, bringing a hundred and fifty canoes laden with furs. They were followed by Indians of other tribes. Trade was good, and many colonists were attracted to Canada.

His Last Days.

Champlain now gave much of his time to religious duties. Life at Fort St. Louis, where the black-robed Jesuits were always welcome, was very quiet and orderly. But as much could not be said for the out-lying posts. The traders, who themselves drank too much brandy, gave the Indians “fire-water” for their furs, and soon they liked this payment better than any other. Champlain and the missionaries set their faces against this wicked way of trading, but they could not put it down. The raids of the Iroquois also caused anxiety, and Champlain was planning another attack on them when he was struck by paralysis, and, after lingering for ten weeks, died on Christmas Day, 1635. His death caused general mourning in Quebec, and he well deserved the love and honour of his people.


The Iroquois.

After Champlain’s death the Iroquois became more and more daring. Indeed it seemed for a time as if they might utterly destroy the colony. They lay in wait for travellers; they killed men at work in the fields; they carried off children; and they ruined the fur trade by preventing other Indians from coming to Quebec.

The new governor, Montmagny, a brave soldier, begged for help from France, but the Hundred Associates would not listen to him. Their great object was to make money, and, in spite of their promises, they neither sent out fresh settlers nor took care of those already in the colony.

The Religious Orders.

The religious people of France, however, took a great interest in Canada. During these years of danger and misery many priests and nuns crossed the sea and came to live in the wilds. One rich lady, Madame de la Peltrie, brought out six nuns at one time. Three gave themselves to teaching, and three to looking after the poor and the sick, beginning their noble work when smallpox was raging amongst the Christian Indians near Quebec.

The Jesuits.

Meanwhile, far in the wilderness, the Jesuits were labouring to win the war-like Hurons to Christianity. At first they treated the missionaries kindly, building them a long bark house, which was divided into chapel, store-room, and living-room. For a time the priests were followed all day long by curious crowds who wished to see their handmill grinding corn, or to hear the ticking of their clock. They patiently taught all who would listen, bribing the children with peas-porridge to learn hymns and the catechism; but it was slow and painful work. The “medicine-men,” or “rainmakers,” hated them. In times of drought or sickness they pretended that the crosses of “the black-robes” frightened away “the Bird of Thunder,” and that their witchcrafts brought the smallpox. If the priests baptized a dying child, as they often did, the “medicine-men” said that they had charmed away its life. Many a time they were in danger of being tortured to death, but at length they gained the love of the savages, and made many converts.

Huron House.

Montreal Founded, 1642.

About this time, the town of Montreal was founded by a society formed for the conversion of the Indians. When the new settlers arrived at Quebec, the people there begged them to go no farther. But they believed that they had been commanded by God to go to Montreal, so they pressed on under the leadership of Sieur de Maisonneuve. The new settlement was named Ville Marie, in honour of the Virgin Mary. Happily it was not discovered by the Iroquois till the colonists had had time to fortify it. The savages were then afraid to attack the place, though they lingered near it for months, killing any one who ventured outside the gates. One day Maisonneuve, who had been unjustly accused of cowardice, led a party of men to hunt the Indians from their lurking-places with dogs. The French were driven back with loss; but Maisonneuve, with a pistol in each hand, covered the retreat of his men, and was the last to re-enter the gates. This took place on the spot, now in the heart of Montreal, called the Place d’Armes.

Fear of the Iroquois.

One of the Iroquois nations, named the Mohawks, now began to obtain fire-arms from the Dutch colony on the Hudson, and of course its warriors were more to be dreaded than before. To guard against them, the French built a fort at the mouth of the Richelieu, and tried to persuade some of the friendly Indians to settle near Quebec. They also gave guns and gunpowder to those who became Christians. But the fear of the Iroquois had broken the spirit of the Algonquins. Nothing could overcome their terror, though they told stories of old times when they had driven the Iroquois southward. The Hurons boldly continued the struggle; but their cunning foes, not content with battle and murder, tried to set them and the French against one another, and to ruin both by deceptive treaties.

Father Jogues.

At last the Five Nations made peace for a short time, and the Mohawks even consented to receive a Jesuit missionary. Father Jogues, though he had suffered cruelly whilst a prisoner in their hands, undertook the dangerous task. For a little while he was kindly treated. But when a terrible disease attacked the tribe, and a plague of caterpillars destroyed their crops, he was accused of having caused these evils by witchcraft, and was cruelly murdered. Then the young braves took the war-path, and once more French settlements and Indian villages ran red with blood.

Jesuit Missionary.

The Huron Missions.

During these trying years of warfare the Jesuit missions to the Hurons had done well. Eighteen priests, besides a number of laymen, laboured amongst them. The missions were like well-stocked farms, with good buildings, herds of cattle, and fields of Indian corn. At one of them the fathers had been able, in a time of famine, to feed three thousand people. But though everything seemed so bright, a terrible blow was about to fall, fatal alike to the savages and their instructors.

Mission Villages Destroyed.

In July 1648, during the absence of the warriors of the village, St. Joseph was attacked by an Iroquois war-party. Young and old were mercilessly slain. Amongst them fell the Jesuit, Father Daniel, in the act of baptizing a dying convert. Late in the following winter the Iroquois destroyed the missionary villages of St. Louis and St. Ignace, putting their people to death with frightful cruelty. The fathers Brébœuf and Lalemant suffered with their flock, bearing agonizing tortures with a patience and courage that seemed wonderful even to their murderers. The horrid work was scarcely done when a panic seized the Iroquois. They fled in haste, hotly pursued by Huron warriors from other villages. But the latter were too late to save their friends or overtake their foes.

Flight of the Hurons.

The proud spirit of the Hurons was almost broken by these disasters. They fled in terror from their homes; and, with sad hearts, their priests burnt the mission village of Ste. Marie, which had not fallen with the others, and went with them. Some sought shelter with neighbouring tribes, and about seven thousand found a refuge on St. Joseph’s Island in Lake Huron. Here a strong fort was built. But there was not food for so great a multitude, and they died by hundreds from hunger. Then a terrible disease broke out among them. Still their cruel enemies did not leave them. They hovered in the neighbourhood, shooting or carrying off the poor wretches who ventured to the mainland in search of food. In the spring the Jesuits led some of the survivors to Quebec, and they settled on the island of Orleans, whilst others fled toward the north.

Other Wars.

The Iroquois had not yet had enough of cruelty and slaughter. After ruining the Hurons they fell savagely on other tribes of Indians, and attacked the French more fiercely than before. In all this fighting they lost many men; but they had a curious plan for supplying themselves with fresh warriors, by adopting their conquered foes, whom they afterwards treated as if they really belonged to their tribes. Some of the Hurons were thus adopted.

The different governors of New France, who at this time rarely held the position long, were often at their wits’ end to protect the colony. The settlers were too few to hold the savages in check, and their earnest entreaties for aid from France were not heeded. Year after year the merciless raids went on, though the cunning Iroquois often tried to deceive the French, as they deceived their Indian foes, by pretending to wish for peace.

Teachers Sent to the Onondagas.

Once, for instance, one of the Five Nations, the Onondagas, asked for teachers to show them how to do different kinds of work. Their request was granted, but it was only a plot to get some of the French into their power. The Onondagas had hardly left Quebec with their teachers when the Mohawks, another Iroquois tribe, carried off some Hurons, and plundered several houses near Quebec; but the townspeople dared not fire a shot lest their countrymen should be murdered. The latter soon discovered their danger, and made a plan to escape, secretly preparing some boats for the purpose. A Frenchman then pretended to be ill, and, according to a strange Indian custom, invited the Onondagas to a “medicine feast,” which was supposed to cure the sick man if each man ate all that was set before him. This time each guest was provided with an enormous quantity of food, and long before the feast was over the French got out their boats and slipped quietly away. When morning dawned, and the Indians discovered that they had gone, they were far on their way towards Quebec and safety.

Defence of the Long Sault, 1660.

Several years after this it was rumoured that the Iroquois, many of whom had wintered on the Ottawa, were preparing to attack the French from several points at once. But the danger was turned aside by the heroism of sixteen young Frenchmen, under one named Dollard des Ormeaux. They were joined by a few Indians, but some of these went over to the enemy. Before leaving Montreal the young men made their wills, took the sacrament, and bade their friends farewell, for they believed that they were going to their deaths. And so it proved. For eight terrible days they held a rough fort at the foot of the rapids, called the Long Sault, against many hundred Iroquois. At last they were overpowered. Not a single Frenchman lived to tell the tale, which was carried to Montreal by three Indians. But they had not died in vain, for the Iroquois had lost so many of their braves that they put off their intended attack on the colony.


In 1659, Francois de Laval, afterwards the first bishop of Quebec, came from France to be the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Canada. He agreed with the Jesuits in many of their ideas, and was a man of strong will and great influence over others. He was exceedingly anxious that both the French and Indian children of the colony should be well taught, and that young men should be properly trained for the priesthood; and for these purposes he founded a school or seminary at Quebec, giving up several large grants of land to help in its support. In private he lived a simple, self-denying life; but in public he insisted on being treated, as head of the Church, with more honour than the governor. This gave rise to many quarrels.

The Brandy Traffic.

Another long-standing cause of dispute was the sale of “fire-water” to the Indians. When once the passion for drink seized them they would part with all they had to obtain it. Some even sold their children for the sake of getting “French milk,” as they called it. When drunk they often committed the most dreadful crimes, but the traders insisted on giving them brandy, declaring that without it they would not sell their furs. The different governors generally sided with them, though they were openly breaking the law; but Laval did his utmost to force them to obey it.

The dispute was at its height when one day there was a severe earthquake. Bells rang, walls cracked, and houses and steeples swayed to and fro like trees in a strong wind. The people were terribly frightened. They thought it a token of God’s anger, and went in crowds to confess their sins. But they were soon at their old work of selling brandy again.

A Change of Government.

Laval had gone to France to beg the king to stop the brandy traffic, and when Louis XIV heard how poorly the Hundred Associates had kept their promises, he decided to break up the company, and to take the government of New France upon himself.


Boundary Quarrels.

While the Iroquois were trying to ruin the French colony on the St. Lawrence, exciting events were taking place in Acadia. When the English gave up that country, by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, no boundary line was agreed upon, and the French and English colonists quarrelled bitterly. Twice within a very short time the English traders were robbed and driven from Penobscot, and the second time the French kept the English fort.

De Razilly.

In 1632, Isaac de Razilly, who had been sent out by the Hundred Associates, took possession of Port Royal. A few of the Scotch settlers remained in the country, and soon became almost as French as the French themselves. De Razilly brought with him a number of skilled workmen and labourers. He worked hard for the good of Acadia, but did not live long.

Strife for Power.

After his death two men at once began a violent struggle for the chief power. One was Charles de la Tour, who has already been mentioned. The other was D’Aulnay Charnisay, a relation of de Razilly’s. Both were fur-traders and lieutenants of the king, and each held a grant of land under the government of the other. D’Aulnay, who had most influence at court, obtained an order for La Tour to go to France, but he refused to obey. At last war broke out between them. D’Aulnay almost ruined himself by borrowing large sums of money to fit out vessels for the destruction of his enemy, and La Tour obtained help from Boston.

Lady La Tour.

La Tour’s wife, a brave Huguenot lady, made a perilous journey to France to get assistance for her husband. On her return voyage D’Aulnay boarded the vessel, but she hid in the hold and he did not find her. A short time later, during the absence of her husband, he attacked Fort la Tour. For several days Lady la Tour held out against him. At last he induced her to open the gates by promising that her men should go free. But he basely broke his word. He ordered all to be killed except one, whom he obliged to hang the rest, while Lady la Tour stood by, with a rope about her neck, forced to watch the cruel deed. Three weeks later she died in prison. D’Aulnay robbed the fort of all it contained, and La Tour gave up the struggle and went to Quebec.

D’Aulnay sole Governor.

D’Aulnay now ruled Acadia as if he were its king. He would have no rivals, so he drove out of the country a fur-trader named Denys, who had once been his friend. Nevertheless, he did some good things for Acadia. He built several mills and small vessels, and, by making dykes or banks of tree-trunks and earth along the marshes to keep out the water, he won two large farms from the sea. He did not long enjoy his power, however, for in 1650, about three years after he took Fort la Tour, he was drowned in the river at Port Royal.

La Tour soon afterwards became governor of Acadia in his stead, and married the widow of his rival. Denys also returned. But they were not long left in peace.

Le Borgne.

In 1654 a man named Le Borgne, to whom D’Aulnay had owed large sums of money, claimed the whole of Acadia. He brought with him several armed vessels, and was threatening to use force, when an English fleet suddenly appeared on the scene and obliged both La Tour and Le Borgne to surrender.

The English Fleet.

England, when at war with Holland, had sent this fleet to aid the people of New England in an attack on the neighbouring Dutch colony, afterwards known as New York. But peace was declared before the attack could be made. Wishing to fight some one, the colonists then proposed to attack the French instead of the Dutch. France and England were at peace, but perhaps an excuse was found for the invasion in the old quarrel over the boundaries. The whole of Acadia was soon in the hands of the English.

La Tour’s Last Days.

Having again lost his property, La Tour bethought himself of the title and lands that had been offered to him by the English in his father’s lifetime, and, in spite of his former refusal of these favours, he now requested that they might be given to him. Accordingly a portion of Acadia, larger than Great Britain, was given to him and two English gentlemen. One of these, Sir Thomas Temple, spent large sums of money on improving his lands; but La Tour soon sold his rights, and from that time till his death lived quietly at St. John.

Acadia Restored to France.

For twelve years Acadia was under English rule; but during this time nothing remarkable happened, and in 1667 the country was restored to France by the Treaty of Breda.

Prince Edward Island.

Four years earlier, the Company of the Hundred Associates had granted Prince Edward Island, then called Isle St. Jean, to a captain in the navy. He started a few fishing stations, but did little or nothing for the regular settlement of the island.


Many years earlier, the larger island of Newfoundland had enjoyed a short period of prosperity under the wise rule of Sir David Kirke. By this time, however, a number of wealthy merchants, who made much money from the fisheries, had begun to think that Newfoundland would be spoiled as a fishing station if colonists were allowed to go there, so they did everything in their power to keep it wild and unsettled. Meanwhile the little French settlement at Placentia was growing stronger every day.


The Population.

Throughout this period, as we have seen, nearly all the early attempts at settlement were made by trading companies. This plan was followed by other nations as well as by France. But the companies did not keep their promises to bring out settlers. Twenty years after the foundation of Quebec there were only two hundred white people in Canada. The Hundred Associates began well, but when the company was broken up, in 1663, the whole white population of Canada numbered about 2,500, and could easily have found shelter in one small town.

At first only fur-traders and missionaries came to New France, but after a while a few families settled in the country. Most of the people belonged to the lower classes, but a few were untitled noblemen, who in France had many privileges. Some of these “gentilhommes” did good duty as soldiers and explorers, but others were useless and idle. Many were exceedingly poor, but thought it beneath them to trade or work with their hands. At last the king gave them leave to open shops without losing their rank, and in time many ceased to pride themselves upon being noblemen.


During this period the few private houses were small and mean. They were roofed with pine boards or thatched with grass, and were often surrounded with palisades as a defence against the Indians. In spite of great fire-places they were very cold. The snow drifted through the cracks in the log walls, and sometimes had to be shovelled out of the sleeping-rooms. The beds of the nuns at Sillery were “closed up with boards, like great chests.” When they arrived at Quebec, the only furniture of their lodgings was a rough table and two benches. In those days the tide washed nearly to the foot of the rock at Quebec, and the religious houses, the hospital, and the church were all on the heights. Amongst them rose Champlain’s turreted fort of St. Louis, built of stone, with lime brought from France, and surrounded by thick walls of logs and earth. In Montreal the mill was fortified, and served to protect the settlement as well as to grind its corn.


No doubt the governors and their attendants tried to follow in their dress the ever-changing fashions of the cities they had left. So we may picture Quebec, on holidays at least, gay with gentlemen in gorgeous silks and velvets; Indians in furs, wampum and feathers; and traders in finery almost as savage, contrasting sharply with the black and grey gowns of the missionaries.


The colonists, both in Canada and Acadia, preferred hunting and fishing to farming. It was indeed difficult to clear the land. Till 1628 there was not a plough in the country. Both bread and vegetables were dear, and settlers were advised to bring with them enough flour to last for two years. Near the St. Lawrence, eels were much used, especially by the poor. They sold in the market at about twenty-five cents per hundred, and were often smoked in the Indian fashion for winter.

Domestic Animals.

A few sheep, cows and pigs were sent to Canada in 1608. Forty years later one of the governors brought out a horse. For seventeen years there was not another one in the country, so it must have been regarded as a curiosity. As there were no horses or railways, the people travelled by canoes in summer and on snowshoes in winter.

Money and Trade.

All manufactured articles were sent from France, and the only exports were furs and fish. Gold or silver money was very scarce. Wheat and beaver-skins were sometimes used in its place, but people generally exchanged one kind of goods for another. The wages of a man for a year equalled about twenty dollars of our present money. There were no female servants in the colony—indeed there were very few women of any rank.

Religion and Morals.

The missionaries, who were the teachers of the few children in the colony, had also great influence over their elders. The church festivals were the great days for amusement. For instance, that of St. Joseph, the patron saint of New France, was marked by a great display of fireworks. In Quebec and Montreal the priests sternly put down drunkenness and bad language, but the fur-traders in the woods often led a wild, wicked life. It was easy to commit crimes and to escape punishment. The governor was supposed to have great authority, but his power really depended on his own tact and good sense. Under the rule of the different companies there was no regular system of justice. Often terrible wrongs were committed, and on this account alone it was well that the king had at last decided on making a change in the government.



The Sovereign Council, 1663.

Canada had now become a royal province, and Louis XIV put the government into the hands of a council which had to account only to himself for its actions. Its three chief members were the governor, the bishop, and the intendant. The governor had control of the soldiers of the colony, and was regarded as its head. But the intendant had as much real power. It was his duty to see that the public money was spent properly, and that the laws were obeyed; and he was allowed, if he chose, to try cases instead of leaving them to the regular courts. The council was to be guided by the French laws known as the Custom of Paris. From the first the plan of dividing the chief power amongst several persons caused bitter quarrels.

The Marquis de Tracy.

The Iroquois were as troublesome as ever; but Canada was no longer neglected and forgotten. The king sent out two thousand persons at his own cost, and the Marquis de Tracy, the viceroy of all the colonies of France, himself came to Canada in 1665 to force the savages to submit. He is described as a tall, stout old gentleman; and was remarkable for zeal and humility in religious matters. He brought with him a large number of pages and young noblemen, gorgeous in “lace and ribbons, and great flowing wigs.” With him there came, too, the Carignan regiment, the first regular soldiers ever sent to Canada.

A Gentleman
of the Time.

Invasion of the Iroquois Country.

Before winter set in three forts were built on the Richelieu, or Iroquois River, by which the Five Nations generally made their way into Canada. This frightened them, and three of the tribes sent chiefs to beg for peace. But the Mohawks sent no messengers; and, to increase the desire for peace, a strong force was ordered to attack them. It was January when the little army left Quebec, led by the new governor, de Courcelle. The soldiers, who had lately arrived from France, suffered terribly on the march. Heavily burdened with provisions, unused to walking in snowshoes, and too thinly clothed, many fell behind to die. The rest pushed on. After weeks of hardship they came upon the English, who had lately made themselves masters of the Dutch colony—from that time called New York—and were forced to turn back without striking a blow. Later in the year de Tracy led a larger force into the Iroquois country. The march was difficult; and the viceroy, too old to walk, and unable to ride for want of roads, was carried in a chair at the head of his troops. The Mohawks fled into the woods, but to show them that they were not beyond the reach of punishment, the French burnt their houses. Soon they sent to beg for peace, and a treaty was made, which was kept for many years, though the Indians still quarrelled amongst themselves.

The First Intendant.

The first intendant of New France was named Jean Talon. He worked hard, visiting the settlements and hearing all about the “little affairs” of the colonists. In this way he learned much which he turned to account for the good of New France. He also examined the woods and plants and minerals of the country, and sent specimens home to France. Another good thing was that he made it easier than before for rich and poor alike to obtain justice. But both he and his master, Colbert, the chief minister of France, held ideas that would be thought very strange now-a-days. They did not believe in giving the colonists more freedom than they could help, but took care of them and their country as if they were children.

Many of the soldiers who had served under de Tracy were persuaded to settle in the country, so that they might act as a check on their old enemies, the Iroquois; and the king continued to send out settlers at his own expense. Amongst them came several large parties of young women to be wives for the colonists; and sometimes thirty marriages took place at Quebec in a single day.

Seigneurial Tenure.

The king gave large grants of land to gentlemen, and sometimes to companies of traders or churchmen, who held them by what was called Seigneurial Tenure. It was something like the old Feudal System, which had once been followed in Europe. The gentlemen receiving grants were called seigneurs. In return for them they undertook to clear their lands in a certain time, and, going through a curious ceremony known as paying homage, promised to be true to the king. Instead of cutting down the trees and clearing the soil themselves, they divided their land amongst men willing to work it and to pay a small rent. Sometimes this rent was paid in money; oftener in grain, or live fowls, or some other farm produce. The seigneur might also demand a certain portion of the fish caught by his tenants, and might require them to use and pay for the use of his mill and oven. But if the tenants paid the rent and kept to their agreements, the seigneur could not oblige them to give up their farms; while if he did not see that his grant was cleared in proper time, it might be taken away from him.

The First Settlements.

The lands along the St. Lawrence were settled first, as the colonists all preferred farms bordering on the river; and the grants were generally divided into narrow strips, which often were ten times as long as they were broad. The tenants usually built their houses close to the water, in a row, like a straggling village; but in places exposed to the attacks of the Indians, the cottages were clustered together, and were surrounded by a palisade.

Generosity of Louis XIV.

At this time the king’s generosity knew no bounds. He gave the new settlers food and tools, and cattle to stock their farms. He also encouraged the colonists to start factories by granting them money, or by giving orders that the goods when finished should be used in the royal service. In this way ship-building was begun, and the making of cloth, salt, rope, hats, and other articles; but the people became almost too ready to run to the intendant for help.

The Fur Trade.

The fur trade was still the most important business in the colony. About a year after the Company of the Hundred Associates was broken up, another company obtained a monopoly. But it was soon taken away, for the plan, as usual, failed.

Talon and the Explorers.

Talon did his utmost to strengthen New France in every possible way. He tried to persuade the king to buy New York from the English, and planned to make a road between the settlements on the St. Lawrence and those in Acadia. But neither of these ideas bore fruit. He also sent explorers to seek an overland route to Hudson Bay. Meanwhile the fur traders and missionaries were pushing their way westward, and in 1671 the French formally took possession of the region of the Great Lakes, planting a cross at Sault Ste. Marie.

Talon was eager to send explorers farther into the wilds, but his health failed, and in 1672 he returned to France. De Courcelle, with whom he had always been on good terms, left Canada at the same time.


Count de Frontenac, 1672.

Louis de Buade, Count de Frontenac, now became governor. He had been a soldier since he was fifteen, and was poor, proud and hot-tempered. He quarrelled constantly with those whose duty it was to help him to govern Canada, but he showed a wonderful talent for managing the savages.

Soon after his arrival at Quebec, Frontenac formed a little parliament or assembly, chosen from the three different classes of clergy, nobles, and commons. He also set the people to elect a mayor and two aldermen for the government of the city. But Louis XIV did not like these proceedings at all. He forbade the count ever again to call the assembly together, and said that “it was important that no man should speak for all, but each only for himself.”

Fort at Cataraqui.

By this time the Indians had found that they could get better prices for their furs from the English than from the French. They had therefore begun to carry them to Albany; but Frontenac thought that if a French fort were built at Cataraqui, where Kingston now stands, much of the old trade might be regained. He accordingly required Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers each to provide him with a certain number of labourers, and in July he went to meet the Iroquois at Cataraqui. He took with him four hundred men, two gorgeously painted boats, and a great number of canoes. He called the Indians “children,” threatened them with punishment if they dared to disobey him, and delighted their hearts with presents. Then he set his men to build, and before he left, only a few days later, a strong wooden fort had risen in the wilderness before the wondering eyes of the savages.

A Canadian

The Coureurs de Bois.

The French were forbidden to go into the woods unless they had received from the government special leave to trade with the Indians; but many cared nothing for the law. Perrot, the governor of Montreal, was one of these. He employed a number of coureurs de bois, as the men who traded without leave were called, and he even sold brandy to the Indians with his own hands. There were great disorders in Montreal, and at last Frontenac threw Perrot into prison. When this came to the ears of the king, he blamed Perrot, but also blamed the governor for being too high-handed, and sent out a new intendant, Duchesneau, to be a check on him.

This only made matters worse. Duchesneau and Frontenac each accused the other of unlawfully employing coureurs de bois, and found numberless other causes of dispute, in which Laval sometimes joined. Amongst these was the old question of the brandy trade, which the governor would not put down.


Frontenac was as anxious as Talon to encourage the explorers. During his rule many discoveries were made. Louis Joliet and the Jesuit Marquette found their way to the Mississippi; and Du Luth, the daring leader of a band of coureurs de bois, explored the regions about Lake Superior.

La Salle.

A still more notable discoverer was La Salle. He belonged to a rich old French family, and was educated in the schools of the Jesuits. He came to Canada at the age of twenty-three, and received a grant of land near Montreal, which, in allusion to his hope of finding the long-sought western passage to China, was named “La Chine.” He soon wearied of improving his grant, and went exploring and trading instead. Then the governor gave him another grant at Cataraqui, where he built a stone fort in place of Frontenac’s wooden one. A little later he went to France and obtained leave to build forts in the west, and to search for a way to Mexico by the Mississippi. For his expenses he was to have the sole right of trading in buffalo hides.

From the first La Salle was unfortunate. He tried to build a fort at Niagara and failed; his vessels were wrecked, and his creditors, pretending to think him dead, seized his property at Fort Frontenac. He was so much disappointed that he gave the name of Crévecoeur, or Heartbreak, to a fort which he built on the Illinois. From that place he made a terrible journey on foot, through spring floods and half-melted snow, to obtain fittings for a ship he was building. He was sixty-five days in reaching Fort Frontenac. Soon afterwards he heard that his own men had destroyed Fort Crévecoeur and carried off his goods.

Still La Salle kept on trying to make his way to the mouth of the Mississippi. At last, in the spring of 1682, after a toilsome journey down the river, he had the joy of standing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed the country for the king of France, calling it Louisiana in his honour, the name afterwards used for the whole region lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Alleghanies.

Frontenac Recalled, 1682.

Meanwhile great changes were taking place in Canada. Tired of their quarrels, Louis XIV recalled both Frontenac and Duchesneau. The new governor, La Barre, proved a bitter enemy to La Salle. He seized Fort Frontenac, and gave the Iroquois leave to kill the explorer.

La Salle’s Colony.

But La Salle again went to France, and was put in command of an expedition to plant a colony on the Mississippi. Unhappily everything went wrong. The leaders of the party quarrelled, and missing the mouth of the river, sailed far past it. At last La Salle built a fort on the coast of Texas, but afterwards he tried again and again to reach the Mississippi. In the meantime his ships were lost, and, after three years of misery, he set out by land to try to bring help to his colonists from Canada. Once he was forced to return. On making a second attempt he was murdered by his men, whom he had sometimes treated harshly. But two or three of his companions managed to reach Canada, and Tonty, one of his few faithful friends, made a brave attempt to rescue the unfortunate colonists on the Gulf of Mexico. He failed to reach them, however, and they were all murdered or made captive by the Indians.


La Barre and the Iroquois.

La Barre, the new governor, seems to have hoped to make a fortune from the fur trade. Soon he had a number of coureurs de bois in his own service. He used the king’s canoes to carry his goods, and left Fort Frontenac so defenceless that the Iroquois robbed it of all it contained. The Indian wars still continued, and La Barre did not try to stop them so long as they did no harm to the fur trade. But when the Iroquois attacked a party of his own traders, and seized their canoes, he raised a great force to punish them. A large number of Indians joined him, some of whom travelled hundreds of miles in the hope of seeing the Iroquois humbled. Dongan, the governor of New York, warned the Five Nations of the intended attack, but offended them by claiming that they were under his government.

After working hard to get ready for war, La Barre’s courage all melted away. Without striking a blow, he made a disgraceful treaty with the Iroquois, leaving at their mercy the tribes living near the Illinois River, who looked to the French for protection. Upon this his Indian allies went home in disgust. The colonists were no better pleased, and in the following year La Barre was recalled and his treaty declared not binding on the French.


The Marquis de Denonville, who was appointed governor in 1685, appears to have been really anxious for the good of Canada. He did not soil his hands with unlawful trade, but was too ready, like the Indians themselves, to try to gain his ends by cunning. Soon after his arrival he met some of the Iroquois at Cataraqui, hoping to persuade them to make peace with the Illinois Indians. They refused, so he asked for more troops from France. In the meantime he sent the Jesuit Lamberville to the Five Nations to talk of peace, deceiving him as well as them.

Peace Pipe.

A short time later Denonville committed a shocking act of treachery. He invited nearly a hundred of the Iroquois living near Cataraqui, who had taken no part in the war, to a feast at Fort Frontenac. On their arrival they were bound to posts in the courtyard, and after being kept for several days without food or shelter, were sent in chains to France to work as slaves, rowing the king’s great boats.

Lamberville’s Escape.

Lamberville, who was still living with the Onondagas, was now in great danger, but he had won the love of the old men, and it is said that this saved his life. The young warriors were absent when the news of Denonville’s treachery reached the tribe, and their elders sent Lamberville back to his own people in haste, lest on their return the hot-blooded young braves should slay him for the wrong in which he had had no hand.

Invasion of the Seneca Country.

Denonville, at the head of a host of French soldiers, coureurs de bois, and wild Indians from the west, now pushed into the Iroquois country. But Dongan had again put them on their guard. The Senecas fled to the woods, and the French destroyed their dwellings and their crops of growing corn, in the hope that hunger would force them to submit. The other Iroquois nations and the English supplied them with food, however, and Dongan, declaring that Denonville had invaded English territory, prepared to help the Senecas to defend themselves.

Iroquois Outrages.

But merely defending themselves did not suit the Iroquois. For two terrible years they prowled through the country, preventing the western Indians bringing down their furs to Montreal, and murdering and scalping the settlers who ventured into the fields. It was impossible to till the ground. Food was sold at famine prices. New France was threatened with ruin, and Denonville’s courage failed. He agreed, like La Barre, to a treaty in which his Indian allies were not mentioned. But a Huron chief named Kondiaronk, or “The Rat,” found a way, as he said, “to kill the peace.”

The Rat’s Plot.

He lay in wait for a party of Iroquois, and slew several, pretending that he had never heard of the treaty, and was acting by Denonville’s orders. When told of the treaty, he professed the utmost horror at the governor’s treachery, and set all his captives at liberty except one, whom he said he intended to adopt. But instead of adopting him, he took him to the fort at Michillimackinac, and he was shot by the French, who really had not heard of the peace. The wily Rat next sent home an old Iroquois who had been imprisoned in the fort, bidding him tell his people what he had seen of the treachery and cruelty of the French. He obeyed, and his countrymen prepared in silence for a frightful revenge.

Massacre of Lachine, 1689.

On the night of August 4th, 1689, the people of the long, straggling village of Lachine went quietly to rest, little thinking that under cover of the darkness and of a raging storm fifteen hundred Senecas were gathering about their homes. Before morning dawned a terrific war-whoop rent the air. Doors and windows were battered in, and a horrible slaughter began. Strong men, gray-haired women, and little children were heartlessly slain. The Indians maddened themselves with the brandy they found in the village, and after robbing its houses of all they contained, they set them on fire. For seven miles and a half a line of blazing buildings lit the dark waters of the St. Lawrence, while the people of Montreal looked on helplessly, in agonizing fear and rage. At daybreak a French officer, Subercase, started in pursuit of the savages, but Denonville sent after him in hot haste, forbidding him to attempt the rescue of the wretched prisoners. Unopposed, the Iroquois now spread themselves over twenty miles of open country, slaying and destroying without hindrance. For weeks they lingered in the neighbourhood. At last, after burning five prisoners opposite Lachine, where the fires could be seen by the friends of the sufferers, they paddled past Montreal uttering frightful yells to tell the number of their captives. Two hundred are believed to have perished in the massacre, while one hundred and twenty were captured alive, to endure untold tortures on reaching the Indian villages, or to become the bond-slaves of the savages.

The people had lost all faith in Denonville, and in October Frontenac again took the reins of government from his feeble hands.


Sir Thomas Temple.

Though Acadia had been given up to France by the treaty of Breda, in 1667, Sir Thomas Temple tried hard to keep the grant on which he had spent so much money. He was forced to loose his hold, however, and in 1670 he left Acadia a ruined man.

St. Castin.

At this time there were only 450 white people in Acadia, and Penobscot was the only fortified place. Once it was taken by the Dutch, but it was afterwards held for many years by a Frenchman of good family, the Baron de St. Castin. He married an Indian princess, and became rich in the fur trade. He was chief of a band of coureurs de bois, who made his house their head-quarters. He kept a priest or two to teach the Indians, over whom he had great influence, but he himself led a wild, savage life.

The Governors of Acadia.

At this time the governors of Acadia were so anxious to make money that they took no notice of the laws. Perrot, formerly governor of Montreal, was one of them. They unlawfully sold brandy to the Indians, and fishing licenses to the English. As a rule the French government left them to do as they liked, only now and then troubling them by a sudden and inconvenient interest in their doings.

Attacks on Penobscot.

In 1688 Penobscot was taken by the governor of New York, who held that it was within the English boundary line. St. Castin fled to the woods, and appealed for help to his Indian friends. Some years earlier a terrible war had raged between them and the people of New England. It had left behind a feeling of bitter hatred, so the Indians were ready enough to fight. They retook Penobscot, killing a number of persons who gave themselves up on promise of mercy, and for many months they made frequent raids on the English borders.

Fort Nelson.

The English at Hudson Bay.

During these years the traders near Hudson Bay had led an exciting life. Though the country had been given to France by the Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, Charles II, king of England, granted it in 1670 to some of his subjects, who formed the famous Hudson’s Bay Company, which is still in existence. Prince Rupert, the king’s cousin, was its first head, and in his honour the country was called Rupert’s Land. The company built several little forts on the shores of the great bay, and the Indians began to carry their furs to them instead of to the French trading-post at Tadoussac.

Radisson and des Groselliers.

Upon this the French remembered their long-neglected claim to the Hudson Bay country, and formed what was called the Company of the North. In 1682 this company sent two vessels to the Bay, commanded by Radisson and des Groselliers, two Frenchmen who had been in the service of the English traders. They built a fort, which they called Bourbon, robbed and burned one of the English trading-posts, and returned to Canada with a great quantity of furs. Not being pleased with the treatment they received, however, they again deserted to the English, putting Fort Bourbon into the hands of the latter as a peace-offering.

The English Driven from the Bay.

A little later two Frenchmen found their way by streams and lakes from Hudson Bay to the Ottawa, and thence to the St. Lawrence. The French and English were supposed to be at peace, but a force was promptly sent by this new route to attack the English posts on the Bay. Taken by surprise, their garrisons were easily overpowered, and were packed off to England in a small vessel. They were very angry, but James II, then king of England, was so taken up by a struggle with his own subjects that he had no wish to quarrel with the French. Thus for several years they were left in undisturbed possession of the forts.

The Revolution in England, 1688.

Soon, however, James II was driven from the throne of England, and was succeeded by his son-in-law, William of Orange, the untiring foe of the French king. Louis stirred up a rebellion in Ireland, and made plans for wresting New York from the English; but they were no longer hampered by the indifference of their king, and the strife was fierce and long.


New France in Danger.

When Frontenac returned to New France in 1689 the colony seemed to be on the brink of destruction. England was at war with France, the Iroquois were as insolent as ever, and the Hurons and Ottawas were threatening to desert the French, and to make a treaty with their foes.

Frontenac had brought back all of Denonville’s captives who were still alive. He succeeded in winning their friendship, but they could not persuade their kinsmen to lay down their arms.

The Three War Parties.

Determined to regain the respect of the Indians, Frontenac followed their own savage plans and made up three war parties, of Frenchmen, Canadians, and Indians, to attack the border villages of New England.

After a toilsome winter march of seventeen days, one of these parties reached Schenectady, near Albany. Finding it unguarded they waited till dark, then stealthily surrounded the houses and shrieked the war-whoop. The defenceless people started from their beds to be brutally murdered or carried away captive. A few indeed escaped to Albany, but before they could bring help Schenectady was in ashes. Many of the prisoners died on the hurried march through the snow. The other war parties followed the same plan. They spared neither young nor old, and took many prisoners, a number of whom they gave to the Indians; but later they bought back some of them and treated them kindly.

Effect of the Raids.

These cruel raids restored Frontenac’s influence, over the Indians. The Iroquois became less insolent, and in the summer the tribes of the upper lakes brought down to Montreal an immense quantity of furs. A great Indian council was held. Frontenac loaded the chiefs with presents, and himself led the war-dance and song. A solemn feast followed, of dogs’ flesh, beef, and prunes, all boiled together. Both the Indians and the colonists were now in high good humour with the governor, and his council bowed slavishly to his will. But his war parties had enraged the English, and, expecting an attack, he strengthened the defences of Quebec.

Invasion of Acadia.

It was not a moment too soon. A fleet from Boston had already taken all the French forts in Acadia, and had made the settlers swear to obey King William III. It was commanded by Sir William Phips, who had made a fortune by recovering the cargo of a Spanish treasure-ship sunk fifty years before. He now carried back to Boston enough plunder to pay the cost of the expedition, and the English colonists proudly planned to conquer Canada.

The Attempt on Canada, 1690.

Phips, with the fleet, was ordered to attack Quebec, while a land force marched on Montreal. But the whole scheme failed. The army, rendered powerless by smallpox, bad management, and the squabbles of its officers, never reached Montreal; and though Phips sailed up to Quebec, and summoned Frontenac to surrender, he met with such a hot reception from the great guns of the town that he quickly made his way home again.

Church of Notre Dame
des Victoires.

Had Phips stayed a little longer, hunger would have forced the French to surrender. As he sailed down the river the yearly store-ships from France were sailing up; but under cover of a fog they escaped up the Saguenay, where the English dared not follow. There was great rejoicing when they arrived at Quebec. A flag, shot from Phips’ mast-head, was hung in the cathedral, and the church of “Notre Dame des Victoires,” as it is now called, was built in memory of the defence of the town.


A little after this a clever Canadian named Villebon was appointed governor of Acadia. He soon regained Port Royal, but built a new fort for himself some distance up the St. John River. Thirteen Indian chiefs had made a treaty with Phips; but Villebon persuaded them to break it, and many times during the next six years they cruelly raided the New England borders.

Iroquois Raids.

On the other hand, even Frontenac could not put a stop to the attacks of the Iroquois. But his stern spirit seemed to move his people, and more than once fortified houses were boldly defended by women and children, who had learned in those troublous times to use fire-arms almost as well as their brothers and fathers.

The Defence of Fort Verchères.

For several days a large fortified house at Verchères was held by a girl of fourteen, with a garrison of two women, two little boys and two men, who had only been anxious to escape till emboldened by Madeleine’s courage. Outside prowled a host of savage Iroquois; but through the long dark nights the cry of “All’s well!” rang from bastion to bastion, and the Indians dare not try to enter.

The Fur Trade.

For three years after the great council held at Montreal, the western Indians did not venture to bring down their furs. At last Frontenac engaged a great company of coureurs de bois to protect them on their journey, and thus two hundred fur-laden canoes reached Montreal. Some time later Frontenac again invaded the country of the Iroquois, and destroyed their crops, but as usual they fled before him.



In the same year the French tried to drive the English from Newfoundland. Le Moyne d’Iberville, a Canadian of noble birth, burnt St. John’s, and destroyed most of the settlements along the coast, depriving the fishermen of food and shelter in the bitter winter weather.

In the following spring he sailed to attack the English forts on Hudson Bay. They had already changed hands many times; and d’Iberville, who had himself captured them twice, wrote to King Louis that he “was tired of retaking them every year.” This time the French had a bad voyage. Their store-ship sank, and their other vessels were separated in the ice, but d’Iberville again succeeded in driving the English traders from the Bay.

The Treaty of Ryswick, 1697.

A treaty of peace between France and England was now signed at Ryswick, but this was not known in America till 1698. Much to the disgust of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the French were allowed to keep the forts they had taken.

Frontenac’s Death.

The Iroquois were losing their strength in the long wars, and were at last beginning to wish for peace; but before a treaty could be made, Frontenac fell ill and died. He was nearly eighty, but to the end his mind was clear and his energy untiring.

Indian Totems.

Peace with the Iroquois.

Soon afterwards peace was made with the Five Nations, and in 1701 another great council was held at Montreal. To it came Indians of many different tribes, and instead of writing their names their chiefs signed the treaty with totems or rude drawings of birds, animals, and trees.

No one denounced the war more earnestly than old Kondiaronk, the Rat, who had once “killed the peace.” But he was very ill, and died the night after the treaty was concluded. He was buried with great ceremony, and was followed to the grave by a long procession of Indians and Frenchmen, including the governor and all his attendants.

Growth of French Possessions.

Louis XIV seems to have thought that New France was becoming too large, for at one time he ordered his subjects to leave the forts in the west. But he did not insist on this, and his dominions went on growing.

About the year 1700 d’Iberville founded a colony near the mouth of the Mississippi. His people suffered woefully from disease, famine and the enmity of the Indians, but they stayed in Louisiana; and, as we shall see, the founding of this colony had an important effect on the history of Canada.

To strengthen their hold on the Great Lakes, the French built a fort at Detroit in 1701, though both the Iroquois and the English tried to prevent it.


Outbreak of War.

In 1702 France and England again went to war, for reasons that did not concern the American colonies. But the latter immediately joined in the strife, which is known in Canadian history as “Queen Anne’s War,” because it raged throughout her reign.

De Vaudreuil, the governor of New France, afraid of provoking the Iroquois, sent no war parties against New York; but he stirred up the Abenaki tribes to desolate the New England borders with fire and sword. In revenge a fleet from Boston destroyed the villages, and broke down the dykes on the Bay of Fundy. But all the while the English colonists continued to trade with the Acadians and to catch fish along their coasts.

In 1707 the people of New England tried twice to take Port Royal. Neither soldiers nor officers, however, knew anything of war, and they were easily beaten off. But they only planned greater things.

Plan to Attack Canada.

Once more they proposed to conquer Canada, if only to stop the dreadful Indian raids. England promised a fleet, and the different colonies engaged to raise men and money. Some of the troops were sent at once towards Lake Champlain to be ready to attack Montreal. But they passed several dreary weeks cooped up in a hastily-built fort where many sickened and died. At last they were obliged to return home without doing anything. Meanwhile the rest of the forces idled away their time in Boston, till in the autumn came news that the promised fleet had been sent elsewhere. The colonists were vexed and disappointed, but asked that they might be aided to capture Port Royal in the following year.

An English Gentleman
of the Time.

Port Royal Taken, 1710.

Again help was promised, but delay followed delay, and autumn had once more come round before the English fleet sailed into the harbour of Port Royal. The garrison was small and the fortifications poor. It surrendered in a week. Its name was changed to Annapolis Royal in honour of the queen, and with it the whole country came under the rule of England.

Attempt on Canada, 1711.

Next year a large force was sent from England to conquer Canada. Counting the colonists, twelve thousand men sailed from Boston to attack Quebec, while a smaller force again marched towards Montreal. De Vaudreuil had less than three thousand five hundred fighting men, and all Canada waited in breathless anxiety. But the English leaders had been chosen, not because they were good soldiers, but because they were in favour at court, and they met with nothing but disaster and disgrace. A storm overtook them in the St. Lawrence, and through carelessness ten vessels were shattered on the rocks and nine hundred men lost their lives. Still the English far outnumbered the defenders of Quebec; but their disheartened leaders would go no farther. On hearing this news the troops on the way to Montreal angrily returned home, for they could do nothing alone. To the Canadians their deliverance seemed almost miraculous, and every month for a year the priests of Quebec chanted the song of Moses on the overthrow of the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

Peace of Utrecht, 1713.

In Europe the English Duke of Marlborough had won a number of splendid victories. Louis XIV had at last become anxious for peace, and in 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. By it the French king gave up all claim to the Hudson Bay territory, Newfoundland and Acadia, but kept the little uninhabited Island of Cape Breton. It was also agreed that the French might catch and dry fish along the shores of Newfoundland. This afterwards gave rise to trouble. So did the want of a clear boundary line between the French and English provinces. The French said that the name Acadia only meant the southern part of Nova Scotia, while the English claimed that it stood for the whole of what is now Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and part of Maine.


Louisbourg Founded, 1713.

The French king, who had been most unwilling to give up Acadia, evidently meant to take the first chance of getting it back. On the south-east of his little Island of Cape Breton was a harbour where a whole fleet of men-of-war could ride safely at anchor. On this was built a strongly fortified town, which was called Louisbourg.

Old Lamp from

The Acadians.

The Acadians were now much to be pitied. They were simple, hard-working folk, living on the low-lying coast-lands, which at high tide had been covered with salt water, till great banks of tree-trunks and clay were built to keep it out. There is little doubt that, left to themselves, they would have contentedly obeyed their new rulers. This, however, was not what their former governors wanted. They tried to induce the Acadians to leave their rich farms and go to Louisbourg; but they would not.

The Oath of Allegiance.

In 1714, when George I came to the throne of England, the Acadians were required to take the oath of allegiance to him—that is, to swear to obey him—but de Vaudreuil threatened to set the Indians upon them if they did so. Accordingly they refused to take the oath, and the governor of Nova Scotia, having few English soldiers or even colonists at his back, was too weak to force them to obey. Another governor, Philips, had no better success; and soon they refused to sell food to the garrison. In 1720 they began to make a road by which to take their cattle out of the country, but Philips stopped the work, and forbade any family to take away more than two sheep. At last a few of the people near Annapolis consented to take the oath On condition that they were not to be asked to fight for King George. The rest refused to do even this, and some left their homes and accepted grants of land from the French in the country north of the Bay of Fundy, which was claimed both by France and England.

The Debatable Lands.

Meanwhile English colonists were pushing into other parts of the debatable lands, and de Vaudreuil, not caring to attack them openly in time of peace, hounded on the Indians against them. He gave the warriors guns and gunpowder, and provided food for their families while they were away.

On the other hand, the assemblies of the English colonies grudged the cost of defending the outlying settlements, and it was only when roused by some unusually horrible outrage that they made any serious attempt to check the raids. At last the Indians themselves grew tired of war and made peace.

New Forts.

In the year 1725 the French built a fort at Niagara. Soon afterwards the English built one at Oswego, on Lake Ontario, in the hope of increasing their trade with the western Indians. Not to be outdone, the French next built a trading-post where Toronto now stands, and another, some time later, at Crown Point, on Lake Champlain.

La Vérendrye and his Sons.

About the same year (1731) Sieur de la Vérendrye set out with three of his sons to trade and to seek a way to the western ocean. They explored a wide stretch of country, two of the young men even reaching the Rocky Mountains; and they built trading posts on Lake Winnipeg and Lake Athabasca, and at other places in the wilderness. But they were all unfortunate, and received little reward for their toil.


War in Europe.

In 1741 the War of the Austrian Succession broke out in Europe. France and England took opposite sides, though they did not formally declare war upon each other till 1744. Their colonies in America then tried to settle the vexed question of the boundary line by force of arms.

The French Attack Nova Scotia.

News of the declaration of war reached Louisbourg before it reached Boston, and a strong force was quickly sent to attack Nova Scotia. The fort at Canso was taken and burnt. The invaders next turned to Annapolis, expecting an easy victory, for its defences were crumbling into ruins, its garrison was weak, and the French thought that the Acadians would rise and help them. But the Acadians did nothing, and the governor held out till a force from Boston came to his aid.

Siege of Louisbourg, 1745.

In return the English colonists boldly decided to attack Louisbourg, which was now the strongest fortress in America. The town was surrounded by great stone walls and a wide, deep ditch.

The expedition was planned by Shirley, the governor of Massachusetts, but it was led by a merchant named William Pepperell. He was brave, sensible, and a favourite with his men, but had never seen a cannon fired “in anger.”

Pepperell’s force consisted of about 4,000 untrained men. His guns were small, but trusting to obtain more from the enemy, he carried balls to fit heavier cannon. He re-took Canso, and waited there, drilling his raw troops on the shore, till he was joined by a small English fleet under Commodore Warren.

Louisbourg was garrisoned by 2,000 soldiers, but was ill-supplied with food, and its commander was unequal to his task. Almost before a blow had been struck, he ordered a large battery to be given up. His enemies thus obtained thirty heavy guns, and found a use for their large cannon balls. The unskilful gunners burst many of the cannon, but kept up a brisk fire. At last, to the great joy of the colonists, Louisbourg surrendered. Pepperell was made a baronet, and England paid the cost of the expedition. But the garrison left in the shattered town suffered cruelly from cold and hunger.

Invasion of Canada Planned.

In the following year the New Englanders raised a large force, hoping with help from England to conquer Canada. But no help was sent, and news came that a French fleet was crossing the ocean, so the colonists stayed at home to defend their own shores.

The French Fleets.

But this French fleet was terribly unfortunate. It was delayed first by contrary winds, then by a calm. A fearful tempest sank some of the ships and disabled others. Food fell short, and many of the sailors became ill. On reaching Nova Scotia, the admiral died suddenly, the second in command killed himself, and La Jonquière, upon whom the leadership now fell, returned to France in despair, though he had been appointed governor of Canada.

Next year La Jonquière sailed from France with another fleet, but had hardly put to sea when he was met and defeated by the English under Anson. Many of his ships were captured, and he was made prisoner.

The English Surprised by the French.

During this year, however, a body of Canadians, after marching for eighteen days through deep snow-drifts, surprised a large party of New Englanders encamped at Grand Pré, killed many, and forced the rest to leave the province. This made the Acadians more difficult to manage than before. But the British rulers still neglected to strengthen their governor’s hands, and the assemblies of New England took little trouble to prevent the raids of the French and Indian scalping parties, which were again causing frightful misery on their borders.

William Johnson.

The French tried to persuade their old enemies, the Iroquois, to take part in these raids; but they were held firm to the English cause by a young Irishman, William Johnson. He was a great favourite with them, and the Mohawks adopted him as a chief.

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 1748.

At last the war came to an end, but, to the great vexation of the English colonists, Louisbourg was restored to France by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.


La Galissonière.

During La Jonquière’s captivity, Count de la Galissonière, also a naval officer, acted as governor of Canada. He made collections of the products of the country, encouraged La Vérendrye’s north-western explorations, and tried to take possession of the Ohio valley for France. He begged that forts might be built and colonists sent to people the great west. The forts were built, but they only provoked the English, and the colonists never came.

La Galissonière also tried to persuade or to frighten the Acadians to move into the debatable land which we now call New Brunswick. One of his most active agents was a Jesuit named Le Loutre; but many of the Roman Catholic fathers had a higher idea of their duty. The priest at Grand Pré, for instance, refused to mix himself up with the governor’s plots.

The British Government.

During these years, though the French were so eager to regain the country, Nova Scotia was utterly neglected by its British rulers. But at last they suddenly became anxious to make it into a British province in fact as it was in name; and soldiers, farmers, merchants, and skilled workmen were persuaded, by the offer of free lands and free living for a whole year, to go out thither.

A Lady of the Time.

Halifax Founded, 1749.

In the summer 1749, 2,500 English colonists entered Chebucto Harbour. Landing at the foot of a hill, so thickly wooded that “no clear spot was to be seen or heard of,” they began to cut down the trees and to put up shelters for themselves. Most of these were rude log huts, but amongst them were a few frame houses built of boards brought from Boston. Numerous as they were, the colonists suffered from the ill-will of the Indians. Every night some men had to mount guard while the others slept, but before winter their dwellings were securely enclosed by a strong wooden palisade. The town was named Halifax, and from, the first was the seat of government for the province.

Old St. Paul’s Church, Halifax.


Colonel Edward Cornwallis, the new English governor who came out with the settlers, was energetic and painstaking. During his three years in Nova Scotia he built forts, formed a militia, and set up courts of justice. He also tried to persuade the Acadians to take the oath of allegiance, but the agents of the French governor were still busy amongst them, and they refused. When the English built Fort Lawrence, at Beaubassin, Le Loutre persuaded the Acadians to flee to the French fort of Beauséjour, on the opposite side of the River Missiguash, and to prevent their return he set fire to their houses. The men of the two forts were constantly coming to blows. Indeed the French and English quarrelled wherever they met in America, for, though the home governments tried to decide on a boundary line, they could not agree, and both French and English colonies took by force as much land as they could.

The French, though neither so rich nor numerous as their rivals, acted with decision, for all owned one head. But the English colonies were so jealous of one another that none would put forth its full strength, and often all seemed powerless.


In 1753 the Marquis Duquesne, who had lately become governor of Canada, sent a strong force into the Ohio valley. They drove off the English traders and built several forts.

George Washington.

In the following year the governor of Virginia sent troops into the valley. They were led by George Washington, who afterwards became so famous, but were beaten in a skirmish and were obliged to retreat. The Indians, always anxious to be on the winning side, now tried to make friends with the French. Meanwhile the mother countries continued to talk of peace, but were really preparing for war.


English Plans, 1755.

On hearing of Washington’s defeat the British Government did not declare war, but sent to the aid of the colonists Major-General Braddock and two regiments of soldiers. It was decided to attack the French at four different points. One force, led by Braddock himself, was to march into the Ohio valley; two others were to attack the forts at Niagara and on Lake George; and a fourth was to drive the French from the St. John. But scarcely any part of this plan was successfully carried out.

General Braddock.

Braddock was a hot-tempered man, and before enough horses and waggons could be got together to carry the supplies for the army, he had lost all patience. He would not listen to the warnings of the colonial officers, but pushed forward without proper care, hoping to reach Fort Duquesne before its garrison could be strengthened by the French.

He was close to the fort when he was surprised by a body of Frenchmen and Indians, who, from behind rocks and trees, poured a merciless fire upon his men. At last, in spite of all Braddock could do, they broke their ranks and fled. The general received his death wound, many of his officers were slain, and a quantity of valuable stores was left on the field. Worst of all, this disaster exposed the frontier settlements of the English to the fury of the Indians.


French Reinforcements.

France, like England, had sent aid to her colonies, and the Marquis de Vaudreuil, a Canadian who had become governor of Canada, was thus able to send more troops to some important posts. The garrison of Niagara was strengthened, and the English force sent to attack it turned back on reaching Oswego.

Johnson’s Victory.

Meanwhile Johnson, with a body of backwoodsmen and Mohawks, was advancing towards Crown Point. But before he reached it he was attacked by the French in his camp on Lake George. After a long, fierce fight they were beaten off, and their general, Baron Dieskau, was wounded and made prisoner. Johnson built a fort on Lake George, which he called William Henry, but did not venture to attack Crown Point. Nevertheless he was rewarded for his victory with the title of baronet and a grant of £5,000.

Discontent in Nova Scotia.

We must now turn to Nova Scotia. Its new governor, Major Lawrence, a stern, strong-willed man, found the Acadians most troublesome. Some Germans who had settled at Lunenburg were also dissatisfied and uneasy.

Fall of Beauséjour.

In June, with the help of a small force from Massachusetts, the English attacked Beauséjour. The shells thrown into the fortress frightened the Acadians. Many deserted, and in a few days the commandant surrendered. Soon afterwards the French from the St. John retired to Louisbourg.

Acadian Girl.

Removal of the Acadians.

At last the whole country was in the hands of the English, and the Acadians were told that they must take the oath of allegiance or leave the province. Judging by the way they had been treated before, they thought this an empty threat, and again refused. Upon this the men were ordered to come to the churches to hear a message from the governor, and they and their families were put on board ships and were carried off to the other English colonies. They were allowed to take their money and a little furniture, but not their cattle. Some escaped, but several thousands were exiled. The other colonies received them with anything but pleasure, and they must have suffered grievously, especially during the first winter. In the end, however, nearly two-thirds of them came back to Nova Scotia. They were much to be pitied, though some of them, by their unruliness, had helped to bring this cruel treatment on themselves. Unhappily the innocent suffered with the guilty.

The First Assembly.

Lawrence now had a struggle with the English settlers. They had been promised a representative government, that is, that they should be allowed to choose men from amongst themselves to help to make the laws and govern the country. Lawrence did not want their help, but at last the British Government ordered him to tell the colonists to choose representatives, and a House of Assembly met at Halifax for the first time in October, 1758.


War Declared

In 1756 a great war broke out in Europe. France, Spain, Russia, and Austria banded together against England and Prussia. To make matters worse for England, the king’s ministers were not ready for the struggle, and they put poor officers in command of the British armies. In America, Shirley, the governor of Massachusetts, was again preparing to attack the French from several points at once, but before he could carry out his plans Lord Loudon, a most undecided man, was made commander-in-chief.


Meanwhile the Marquis de Montcalm had arrived at Quebec to take command of the French regular soldiers. Strangely enough, the Indians and Canadians were still left under de Vaudreuil’s control. Montcalm was a small, lively-looking man of forty-four years of age. He had a quick, eager temper, and found it difficult to live at peace with the vain and selfish governor. A few more soldiers and several clever officers came with him to Canada.

At this time the Canadians were in a most miserable condition. They were shamefully cheated by the government officials, and were nearly starving. De Vaudreuil did not himself rob his king and his country, but he took little pains to prevent others doing so.


One of the worst of these cheats was the intendant, Bigot. He was a clever man, with a witty tongue and a gracious manner, and the people liked him; but his devices for making money were endless and shameless. He bribed the officers at different posts to say that they had received goods which he had really taken for his own use; he bought up the king’s stores at a low price, and sold them back for the public service at a high one; he forced the farmers to sell their wheat to him below its value, and then sold it at an immense profit. While those he robbed were starving, he lived like a prince and wasted his ill-gotten gains in gambling. But after Canada was lost to France, Bigot was tried by the French authorities and was put in prison for his crimes.


The first thing Montcalm did was to attack Oswego, which after a few days’ siege he took, with a large number of prisoners and much booty. To please the Iroquois the fort was pulled down, and Johnson had great trouble to prevent their going over to the French.

Fort William Henry.

Fort William Henry was the next to fall. Early in 1757 the French tried to take it by surprise, but failed. Its defenders asked for help, but Loudon, busy getting ready for an attack on Louisbourg (which was never made), sent few troops to their aid. When the French returned small-pox had broken out at Fort William Henry, and its commander surrendered on condition that his men should be allowed to go to another British fort. But with Montcalm were many hundred Indians, and they fell suddenly on the disarmed Englishmen and brutally murdered more than fifty of them. Montcalm did his utmost to save them, but he has been much blamed for not giving the British a strong guard of his own soldiers.

Distress in Canada.

In spite of Montcalm’s successes Canada was becoming more wretched every month. British ships cut off supplies from France, and trade was ruined. By the end of 1757 no flour could be bought in Montreal. Both townsfolk and soldiers, to their intense disgust, were fed on horse-flesh, and at one time there was danger of a serious rising against the government.


In England there had been changes amongst the king’s ministers, and the affairs of the colonies were now managed by a great statesman named William Pitt, afterwards Earl of Chatham. He gave the army in America good leaders, and soon the fortunes of war turned. General Amherst was made commander-in-chief, and, with Admiral Boscawen, was ordered to attack Louisbourg.

James Wolfe.

Under Amherst served James Wolfe, afterwards famous for the capture of Quebec. He was a tall narrow-shouldered young man, with red hair, a pale skin, and a receding chin and forehead. His body was weak, but his will was firm and strong.

Capture of Louisbourg.

After some difficulty the English succeeded in landing at Gabarus Bay. Wolfe was amongst the first to go ashore, and armed only with a cane led the way up the rocks against a hot fire of bullets. Louisbourg was well manned, but the fortifications were unfinished and badly built. The English soon surrounded the town, destroyed the ships in the harbour, and shattered the houses with shot and shell. But the garrison held out gallantly till a breach was made in the walls. Then the commandant surrendered, his soldiers became prisoners of war, and the whole of Cape Breton Island and Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island) submitted to the English.

A French Success.

Meanwhile another British force was slowly making its way towards Lake Champlain. But its general, Abercrombie, was no match for Montcalm. In trying to drive him from his camp at Ticonderoga, on Lake George, Abercrombie lost many brave men, and was at last obliged to retreat.

English Successes.

The next events of the war were in favor of the British. Colonel Bradstreet captured Fort Frontenac and destroyed a number of French ships on Lake Ontario. At the same time General Forbes was marching on Fort Duquesne. He took a different way to that by which Braddock had travelled, and in spite of the attacks of the French and Indians safely reached his journey’s end. He found the fort deserted and partly destroyed. He rebuilt it, naming it Fort Pitt, after the great statesman, and the city which now stands on the spot is called Pittsburg. This success inclined the Indians to make friends again with the British.


English Plans, 1759.

It was now planned that General Amherst should take Ticonderoga, Crown Point, and Montreal, and should then join Wolfe before Quebec. But the French did not mean to give up Canada without a struggle; and, though Niagara, Ticonderoga, Crown Point and several other forts were soon in the hands of the English, Amherst spent so much time in repairing the old forts and building new ones that he did not reach Montreal that year.

At Quebec.

Wolfe, with a force of eight thousand five hundred well-trained soldiers, sailed up the St. Lawrence towards the end of June, 1759. He was aided by a powerful fleet under Admiral Saunders. The troops landed on the Isle of Orleans, a little below Quebec. On the following night a fearful storm sank some of the smaller vessels, and the French vainly tried to set the rest on fire by sending burning ships down the stream. Soon afterwards Wolfe began to throw shells and red-hot shot into Quebec. They set the Lower Town on fire, but did not harm the fortifications.


Montcalm on Guard.

Some of Wolfe’s men encamped just below the Falls of Montmorenci, but they could not land anywhere near Quebec. For a long distance above the city the banks of the St. Lawrence are high and rocky, while below, Montcalm, with fourteen thousand men, was grimly watching every movement of his foe. At last Wolfe tried to land his men in spite of him, but they were beaten back with terrible loss. The summer dragged slowly on. Montcalm was never off his guard. Wolfe had begun to fear that bad weather would drive him home before Quebec was taken, when one of his officers suggested that part of the army should try to land above the town while the rest pretended to attack Montcalm’s camp. Wolfe thought this a good plan, and immediately set to work to carry it out.

The French Deceived.

By the night of September 12th all was ready Wolfe, though he had been very ill, himself led the troops. They went a little way up the river in ships which, several weeks earlier, had managed to pass the guns of Quebec. When darkness fell the rest of the fleet began to fire upon Montcalm’s camp, and a number of men pretended that they meant to land below the city.

It was a little after midnight when Wolfe and his men got into the boats that were to carry them ashore. The night was fine; the sky starlit; the muffled oars made no sound in the water. The soldiers did not speak a word, but Wolfe repeated in a low voice some lines from Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard.” As they dropped down the river a soldier on guard spoke to them, but an officer who knew French answered his questions, and he let them pass, thinking that the boats carried food for the city.

They landed at a spot now called Wolfe’s Cove in memory of that night, and made their way quietly up a narrow sloping ravine to the top of the cliffs. Some French soldiers who ought to have been on the watch were surprised and overpowered; and soon a little army of four thousand five hundred men had gathered on the Plains of Abraham, within a mile of the city.

The Battle.

When daylight broke the French were horrified see the English there. In hot haste a messenger galloped to Montcalm, and he hurried to the Plains with all the men he could muster. As they came near the French fired again and again, but the British waited till their foes were close at hand. Then they fired all together, and in a few moments more the battle was lost for Montcalm.

Wolfe’s Death.

Wolfe was terribly wounded, but tried not to let his soldiers know. As he lay gasping for breath some one cried out, “They run, they run!” “Who run?” asked Wolfe. “The enemy, sir; they give way everywhere.” The dying general roused himself to give one last order, then saying, “Now God be praised, I die in peace,” he passed away.

Montcalm’s Last Hours.

His gallant enemy, Montcalm, had also received his death wound. His last act was to write begging the English general to show mercy to the French prisoners and to the Canadians. He died early on the morning after the battle, and was buried at night beneath the Ursuline chapel, in a hole made by the bursting of a shell.

Surrender of Quebec.

A few days later Quebec was given up to the English. All over the British colonies there was wild rejoicing, but England hardly knew whether to triumph over the victory or to sorrow at its cost, for the gallant young general, Wolfe, was the favourite hero of the nation.


The English in Quebec.

When the English fleet sailed for home seven thousand men under General Murray were left to guard Quebec. They suffered much from cold. Many fell ill, and by spring only half of them were fit for duty. Murray treated the citizens well, and many became British subjects.

The war had prevented the Canadians gathering in their crops, and many died of want. De Vaudreuil, in Montreal, found it difficult to get food for the soldiers whom he had gathered there to be ready to fight the English in the spring.

Second Battle for the City.

In April ten thousand of these men, under de Lévis, marched towards Quebec. Its defences on the land side were crumbling away, and Murray came out to meet the French, though he had but one man to their three. For an hour and a half the battle raged, then the English were driven back into the city. But their courage did not fail, and even the wounded tried to help in the defence. For several days the roar of the cannon scarcely ever stopped. Then some British ships sailed up the river and took or burned a few French vessels that were helping de Lévis. He was in despair, and when night came he hurried off towards Montreal, leaving guns and tents and food behind. Murray marched after him, but could not overtake him.

France now sent a fleet to aid the men who were trying so bravely to save Canada for her, but it was met and utterly defeated by an English fleet in the Bay of Chaleurs.


Surrender of Canada, 1760.

Meanwhile Amherst from one side, and Murray from the other, were marching on Montreal. De Vaudreuil’s men were fast deserting him, the fortifications were poor, and knowing that an attempt to defend the town would only cause a useless waste of life, he gave up Montreal and all Canada on September 8th, 1760. Thus the long struggle between France and England came to an end at last.

The regular soldiers became prisoners of war, and, after promising not to fight any more during the war, were sent back to France. The militia-men were also allowed to go home. A few Canadians belonging to the upper class chose to go to France, but the rest, on receiving a promise that their property should not be taken from them, and that they should be allowed to worship God in their own way, became British subjects. General Murray now ruled Quebec and its neighborhood with the help of his chief officers, and other officers became governors of Montreal and Three Rivers. Murray took great pains to follow the French customs as far as possible, and the Canadians liked him.

Nova Scotia.

Till Quebec was taken the Acadians and Indians on the borders of Nova Scotia were exceedingly troublesome to the English governor. But when they knew that they could expect no more help from Canada, they settled down and soon became happy and contented under British rule. A little earlier than this a great many people from Ireland and New England had come to live in Nova Scotia, and the country was improving fast.


The Population.

Nearly a hundred years had gone by since the king of France took the government of Canada upon himself. During this time great changes had taken place. Instead of only two thousand five hundred white people, there were in 1760 about sixty thousand in what was then called Canada, and perhaps twenty thousand more in the rest of the country now forming the Dominion.


Few of the Canadians could either read or write, and hardly any had studied history or geography. The priests and nuns were still the only teachers. There was no printing press in Canada, and even the laws made by the governor were written out by hand.

Manners and Dress.

The people had free-and-easy manners; the children were spoiled and unruly. All classes were fond of gaiety, and there were many public holidays. New Year’s Day and the seven following days were spent in visiting. The ladies were bright and clever, and when in company wore very fine clothes. At one time it was the custom for both men and women to cover their hair with white powder, so that even young people looked as if they had grey heads.


No one might keep a servant without leave from the government, and if the servants displeased their masters or mistresses they had to beg for pardon on their knees. Instead of servants some people kept negro or Indian slaves.


As soon as roads were made, driving in calèches, or low carriages, became a favourite amusement. The roads were at first so narrow that a pair of horses was harnessed one before the other instead of side by side; and it was not till 1734 that a wheeled carriage was driven all the way from Montreal to Quebec.

The Priests.

The priests were always travelling about, by canoes in summer and on snowshoes in winter, and they did not often have houses of their own. They tried hard to teach the Canadians to lead better, purer lives, and to persuade them to give up drinking, of which there was a great deal. In 1682, when there were only twenty-five houses in Three Rivers, brandy could be bought at eighteen of them.


Louis XIV gave much money for mission work, but many parishes had tumble-down wooden churches, or none at all. The town churches, however, were decorated with richly worked cloths and imitation flowers made by the nuns, and with woodwork carved by the boys of Laval’s seminary.

Work and Trade.

Till 1705, except for a short time under Talon’s rule, the Canadians manufactured scarcely anything; but in that year a store-ship was lost on its way to Quebec, and the people set about making clothes and other needful things for themselves.

About 1713 the Canadians began to send to other countries wheat, fish, and lumber, as well as furs. The fur trade was still very badly managed, and many people were ruined by it. The government fixed the prices at which goods were to be sold. This sometimes prevented their selling at all, and more than once a great quantity of furs had to be burned.

Early in the century a labourer’s wages were twenty-five sous (or cents) a day, but with this as much could be bought as with seventy-five cents now. Sometimes the settlers were obliged to fight or to work for the government without pay, though they received food.

Taxes and Money.

They paid few taxes, however, and if the government had managed trade and money matters better they would not have been badly off. Playing cards, cut into four and marked by the governor, were used for money instead of gold or silver. It was promised that real money should be given for these bits of card, but it was so difficult to get that the people were afraid to sell their goods.

Old French House.

The Towns.

The towns, which were often visited by smallpox, were dirty. In Montreal the earth from making new cellars, and far worse rubbish, was left in the streets till at last the citizens were set to work with horses and carts to clear it all away. Many fires took place, and when the alarm sounded people ran with buckets from all parts of the town. But the burning of the old buildings was not an unmixed evil, for much better ones were often put up in their places. After a great fire in Montreal the governor ordered that only stone houses should be built, and that if the owner could only afford one storey at first he must add a second within two years.

Courts of Justice.

The laws against evil-doers were terribly severe. Death was the punishment for many small offences. The accused person was not tried by a jury, but was completely at the mercy of the judge. He had no lawyers to help him, and sometimes men were cruelly tortured to make them confess their guilt.



During the century following the downfall of French rule, the several provinces now forming the Dominion of Canada took shape, and gradually increased in population, wealth, and importance. The revolt of the older British colonies, which are now the United States, had a great influence on the growth of those which remained under British rule.

Perhaps the most marked characteristic of the time was the earnest and unceasing struggle for political liberty, not in one province only, but in all. At last the people gained control of their own government. But unforeseen difficulties arose in the working of the new constitution; and it seemed as if Responsible Government would prove a failure. Troubles and quarrels, however, only led to the union of the British American colonies under one flag and one government.



Treaty of Paris, 1763.

In 1762 the Seven Years’ War came to an end. By a treaty signed at Paris early in the following year France gave up to Britain all claim upon Canada and Acadia, and at the same time ceded Louisiana to Spain, keeping of all her North American possessions only two little islands near Newfoundland—St. Pierre and Miquelon—as fishing stations. England was now mistress of the eastern part of North America from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.

The people of Quebec and Montreal were well satisfied with their new rulers, but the French at Detroit and the other western forts were angry when they had to give them up to the English, for they had hoped that Canada would be given back to France when peace was made. Some wise Frenchmen, however, pleased themselves with the thought that England’s own colonies would soon break away from her now that they no longer needed her help against New France.

Indian Squaw.

The Indians in the west were also disappointed, for they did not like the English as well as the French. The English treated them roughly and settled on their hunting-grounds, but the French treated them like equals and sometimes lived in the Indian way and married Indian women.

The Delaware Prophet.

About this time a Delaware Indian, claiming to be a prophet, tried to rouse his countrymen to fight the British. He cried shame on all who followed the customs of the white men, or even used white men’s tools or arms. The British soon found out that the Indians were plotting to take different forts, but they took little trouble to prevent a rising.


The Indians at this time had a very clever leader, an Ottawa chief, named Pontiac. Other tribes besides his own looked up to him. But he was a thorough savage in his way of thinking and acting, and, like the prophet, hated the customs of the white men. When news of the treaty came, he sent the war-belt to many tribes, and by the end of April, 1763, a host of warriors had gathered near Detroit.


Detroit then contained about a hundred houses, a church, and two or three other buildings, surrounded by a palisade. To defend the place there were only one hundred and twenty soldiers and a few fur-traders, mostly French; but Major Gladwin, who was in command, was a good and clever officer.

Several times Pontiac tried to take the town by cunning, but he could not cheat Gladwin. At last, after murdering a number of white people who lived outside the palisade, the Indians attacked the town openly, though they were generally afraid to attack any kind of fort. They could not force their way in, but they surrounded it on all sides, and the British were nearly starved. They themselves were short of food, but they kept Gladwin shut up in Detroit till cold wintry weather forced them to give up the siege.


The Western Forts.

During that summer the Indians attacked one British fort after another. Fort Pitt, like Detroit, held out, but no less than nine trading posts were destroyed, and a party of one hundred soldiers was surprised and cut to pieces near Niagara. Then the Indians, still thirsting for blood, turned savagely on the border settlements.

Colonel Bouquet.

The English colonies, as usual, were slow to raise men for their own defence, and even General Amherst, at New York, could not believe that the rising was dangerous till he heard that fort after fort had fallen. Then he sent men in all haste to relieve Fort Pitt. They were led by Colonel Bouquet, a Swiss who was used to the Indian way of fighting. He defeated a great host of savages and saved Fort Pitt. This greatly discouraged the Indians.

In the spring, however, Pontiac again besieged Detroit. But the scarcity of bullets and gunpowder, and the bad effect of the war on the fur trade, made his Indians half-hearted, and before the end of June Pontiac gave up the struggle. Three or four years later he was murdered when drunk by another savage.

Peace, 1764.

Meanwhile Sir William Johnson, the adopted chief of the Mohawks, had been trying to persuade the Indians to lay down their arms, and two large bodies of troops under Bradstreet and Bouquet had marched into the wilds to frighten them into peace. Bradstreet was deceived by the promises of the wily redmen; but Bouquet marched through deep forests, far beyond Fort Pitt, and without needing to fight, forced the Indians to give up all the prisoners they had taken. Strange to say, many of them were unwilling to go back to their white friends, especially those who had been captured when children, and had married Indians. The families who had adopted them were equally unwilling to part with them, and when they had to go the Indian women wept and wailed as if some great trouble had befallen them.

In the following year British troops took possession of Fort Chartres, on the Illinois River, till then held by Frenchmen, and from that time the Indians in the west were less difficult to manage.


Canada under Martial Law.

During the three years since the surrender of Montreal, Canada had been under martial law, that is to say, it had been governed by officers of the army without the help of any parliament or judges. The officers had been so kind and fair to the Canadians that they did not wish for any change. But when France gave up her claims on Canada, George III and his advisers felt that the country ought to have a more settled form of government, and judges and courts of justice.

The Proclamation, 1763.

Accordingly King George made what was called a proclamation, giving many orders with regard to America. Amongst other things, he commanded that Canada, or the Province of Quebec as it was now named, should have a new government, and that the islands of Cape Breton and St. John should be put under the government of Nova Scotia. He also forbade people to drive the redmen from their hunting-grounds, and ordered that when lands were needed for settlement, the governments of the different colonies should buy them fairly from the Indians.

The Promised Assembly.

General Murray, who was made governor of the new province of Quebec, soon found that a hard task had been laid upon him. He appointed a council to help him to govern, but did not call together an assembly, as he had been told to do, because all the Canadians were Roman Catholics, and under the English law of that time no Roman Catholic might sit in parliament. If he had called an assembly, a very few English traders and government officials would have had power to make laws for the Canadians, whose language and customs they did not understand. As it was, Murray was obliged by the laws against Roman Catholics to choose all magistrates and other public officers from the English Protestants; and he complained that so many of them were ignorant or wicked that it was difficult to find men fit for such positions. On the other hand, the English-speaking people, or “old subjects” as they were called, declared that they would never have settled in the country if they had not been promised an assembly. They wrote again and again begging the king to give them one, and insisted that the orders of the governor and his council ought not to be obeyed.

The First Canadian Newspaper.

But though the English people gave the governor a great deal of trouble, they did some good things for Canada. Most of the French Canadians had been quite content without books or newspapers—indeed many could not read—but the “old subjects” had only been a short time at Quebec when some of them set up a printing press and began to publish a newspaper called The Quebec Gazette. The printers came from Philadelphia, and the type and press were brought from England. Halifax, however, had had a newspaper for over ten years.


Meanwhile there was endless trouble over the laws. After the king’s proclamation, the new judges followed English laws for a while; but though the Canadians were satisfied with the laws against crime they did not like the civil laws, as those were called which had to do with property, marriages, wills, and such matters. They objected to the plan of having a jury of twelve men, who had not been specially trained in law, to decide cases about land and money, and preferred to trust to the wisdom and honesty of the judge alone. Then the plan was tried of following the English laws in some things and the French in others; and at last the judges went by whichever laws happened to suit their fancy. Of course this uncertainty was very bad for the people in general, and very good for cheats and rogues; but it was allowed to go on for years.

Trouble in the Older Colonies.

While there was all this difficulty in Canada, trouble was also brewing in the older British provinces. At that time the statesmen of England tried to make the colonies bring in money to the mother-country in ways that would now be thought very unwise. For instance, they forbade the making of certain articles in America so that the colonists would be forced to buy from British merchants, and ordered that goods must always be carried to and from America in British ships. Besides having to obey these unfair laws, the colonists had been greatly offended by the rude and scornful bearing of the British officers who had fought in America.

A Lady of the Time.

To make matters worse, in 1765 the English parliament passed a law, called the Stamp Act, taxing the colonies in a way to which they had never been used; and, though the tax was soon taken off, it caused bitter anger and excitement in most of the colonies. The people of Canada and Nova Scotia paid it quietly, however.

A New Governor.

Soon after this, to the delight of the English settlers in Quebec, Murray was recalled; but the new governor, Sir Guy Carleton, who was also a soldier, pleased them no better. He too was determined that the French Canadians should be treated well. Fortunately he understood their language. He tried to put a stop to some of the evils which had arisen out of the confusion about the laws, but could do little to improve matters as long as it was not decided which laws were to be followed.

The English still continued to demand a share in the government; but Carleton, who had as bad an opinion of them as Murray, set his face against it. They then once more petitioned the king to give them an assembly, to restore their old laws, and to enlarge the boundaries of Canada to what they had been under French rule.

The Quebec Act.

At last, in 1774, the affairs of Canada were settled for the time by the passing of the Quebec Act. An assembly was not granted, but the government was placed in the hands of the governor and a council to be chosen from the people in Canada by the king. This council was to be allowed to make laws, but was not to lay taxes on the people. By the same act, the laws against Roman Catholics were made milder, and they were allowed to sit in the council; the judges were ordered to guide themselves by the English criminal and the French laws; and the country between the Mississippi and the Alleghany Mountains was put under the Canadian government. The French seigneurs were much pleased by this act, but the British settlers were both angry and disappointed.


War with England.

A party in the older British colonies had long been displeased at the way in which they were governed and soon after the passing of the Quebec Act they began to fight for their rights. Canada was forced to take part in the war, and, as we shall see, it had a marked effect on her history. We must therefore go back a little to see how it began.

After the British ministers had found that the Americans would not submit to the Stamp Act, they tried putting a small duty or tax upon tea and some other articles entering the country. But many of the colonists said that while their representatives were not allowed to sit in the British parliament, they would not pay taxes ordered by it; and they banded together not to buy goods sent from England till the taxes were taken off. Several times and in different places the people became so angry that they mobbed the government officials, broke the windows of those who sided with them, and did other lawless things.

The “Boston Tea Party.”

At last the British parliament took the duties off all kinds of goods except tea, but left it on that to show that England had a right to tax her colonies if she chose. This made the colonists more angry than before; and when, in the last month of 1773, three ships laden with tea sailed into Boston harbour, the towns-people met together and declared that the tea should not be landed. But the ships did not go back, and two or three evenings later fifty men, dressed and painted like Indians, went on board the vessels, broke open the chests, and flung the tea into the salt water. This has been called the “Boston Tea Party.” When the English ministers heard of this they were furious; and to punish Boston they passed several severe acts which nearly ruined the trade of the town, and caused much suffering to many poor people who had had no hand in throwing away the tea. Both sides now prepared for war. The British government sent more soldiers to Boston, and the angry colonists made gunpowder and practised shooting.

English Soldier.

The Siege of Boston.

A few months later the war began with a skirmish at Lexington, in which the colonists were victorious. Soon afterwards a terrible battle was fought on Bunker’s Hill, near Boston, where the Americans were then besieging the British.

Throughout the war the British had very poor leaders. Their ill-success seems to have been chiefly owing to this, for their soldiers were better trained, better armed and better clothed than the ragged, shoeless American armies who never could be made to see the necessity for obedience.

The siege of Boston lasted all winter. The British, through carelessness, were short of food and of wood to burn. George Washington, who had been chosen commander-in-chief of the revolutionary armies, soon gained control of the country round Boston. But the English had plenty of ships in the harbour, and at last they sailed away to New York, leaving behind food and guns and horses, which all became very useful to their enemies.

Invasion of Canada.

While the siege of Boston was still going on two forces were sent by different ways to invade Canada. In spite of the unkind things the Americans had said of the French Roman Catholics, they seem to have expected that when their army entered Canada the people would flock to join it.

Montgomery’s Army.

One force, aiming at Montreal, went by the old Iroquois way up Lake Champlain. This had been opened to the invaders by the daring of Ethan Allan and his “Green Mountain Boys,” who in the spring had surprised and taken the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. The Americans were led by General Montgomery, an Irishman who had fought under Wolfe at Quebec.

In this time of danger the Canadian seigneurs and priests stood firm for the British. But the lower classes did not wish to fight on either side; and when Sir Guy Carleton called on them for aid only a few hundred men came forward. With these few, however, and a handful of British soldiers, Carleton gallantly prepared to fight to the last.

Fort Chambly.

Montgomery was at first successful. He captured the forts on the Richelieu at Chambly and St. John’s, though the latter held out against him for forty-five days.

Ethan Allan had been sent forward to try to persuade the Canadians to join the army, but instead of being content to do as he was told, he tried with one hundred and fifty men to take Montreal, which contained twelve thousand people. Allan himself was captured and was sent in chains to England to be tried as a rebel.

Arnold’s Force.

Meanwhile another body of American troops was slowly marching through the wilds from Casco Bay towards Quebec. Food was scarce, and the men suffered terribly. Their leader was Benedict Arnold, who afterwards turned traitor to the colonies. When the Americans came within sight of Quebec they still had to cross the St. Lawrence before they could attack the city. But their enemies had taken away all the boats from the south bank of the river, and for several days Arnold could do nothing. Meanwhile a hundred Newfoundland men had come to help the English, who were strengthening themselves all the time. At last the invaders were joined by some Indians who had a few birch-bark canoes, and in these they all paddled across to Wolfe’s Cove. Arnold boldly demanded the surrender of the town, but his message was treated with scorn, and as he had no cannon he decided not to attack the city till Montgomery could join him.

Montreal Taken.

By this time Quebec was the only stronghold in Canada left in British hands. When Montgomery advanced towards Montreal, Carleton and his soldiers left the city, for they knew that they could not hope to defend it. They sailed down the St. Lawrence as far as Sorel, but there they were stopped by the Americans; and the soldiers, with their ships, arms and provisions, were obliged to surrender. The night before, however, Carleton himself had slipped quietly down the river in a boat rowed with muffled oars, and he reached Quebec in safety.

He turned everyone out of the city whom he thought likely to wish to help the Americans, and he did his utmost to put all his defences in good order. Many of Montgomery’s men had only promised to serve in the army for a short time, and some of them refused to go to Quebec; but the rest sailed down the river in the captured English vessels, and early in December the siege began in earnest.

The Siege of Quebec, 1775-76.

Carleton would not listen to anything the Americans had to say, for he counted them all rebels, so Montgomery set his Indians to shoot arrows into the town with letters tied to them advising the citizens to rise against the governor. The ground was frozen hard, and though Montgomery made batteries of ice and snow, his guns were too small to damage the walls. Soon many of his troops lay dying of smallpox, others deserted, and Montgomery, fearing that his army would only become weaker every day, decided to try without delay to force a way into the town by a night attack from several points at once.

Old St. John’s Gate, Quebec.

The time fixed for the attempt was the first hours of the last day of 1775. The Americans left their camp an hour or two after midnight, and a wild blustering night it was. Montgomery, at the head of one party, eagerly hurried along a narrow path between the rocks and the river. It was almost blocked up with drifted snow, but the Americans made their way without mishap to within fifty yards of a battery commanding the path. Then the leader halted his force and sent on an officer to reconnoitre. He heard no sound, and Montgomery, hoping to surprise the British, ordered his men to dash forward. But the defenders were on the alert. Suddenly a storm of bullets burst from the battery. Montgomery himself fell dead. The two officers next in command were also shot down, and the soldiers had to retreat. Meanwhile Arnold’s men had forced their way into the lower town, but their leader was wounded, and they too were obliged to retreat, leaving behind many dead and many prisoners. Montgomery was buried by his enemies within the defences.

Beaten, wounded, and short of money, Arnold doggedly continued the siege all through the long cold winter. In April he went to Montreal; but another general took his place at Quebec, and more American troops arrived. Soon afterwards they tried to set fire to the British vessels by sending burning ships amongst them. They intended to try to climb the city walls in the confusion, but the fireships did no harm, and the whole plan was a failure.

Retreat of the Americans.

A few days later several British ships having many soldiers on board sailed up to Quebec, and the Americans retreated in such haste that they left their sick and wounded behind them. Carleton treated them kindly, however.

The American leaders had many difficulties in carrying on the war. One of the worst was the want of money. They found it almost impossible to get supplies, for the Canadians became less and less friendly towards them. In trying to re-take Three Rivers, which was again in the hands of the British, the Americans were defeated and one of their generals and many soldiers were taken prisoners. Soon the rest of the army retreated to Crown Point. Carleton followed. After much fighting Arnold was driven to Ticonderoga, and after this the United Colonies sent no more armies to invade Canada.


The Declaration of Independence.

On July 4th, 1776, the Thirteen Colonies then fighting against England made a Declaration of Independence—that is, they declared themselves to be entirely free from their mother-country—and since then they have been called the United States of America. The British, however, refused to recognize their independence, and the war was continued for some years longer.

Events in Canada.

The Revolutionary War, as it is known in history, delayed the trial of the new plans laid down in the Quebec Act for the government of Canada. In 1777 the legislative council (as it was called because it had the power to legislate or make laws) sat for the first time; the English trade laws came into force; and courts of justice were set up. The people were told that when they were not satisfied with what the judges of these courts had done, they might ask the legislative council to try their cases again. But the councillors knew so little of the French laws that they were not fit to decide difficult cases; and sometimes even yet there was great confusion over the two kinds of law, French and English.

Burgoyne’s Surrender.

A British army was sent from Canada to invade New York. The command was given to General Burgoyne, who had lately come from England. He was a brave man, but not a good leader. At first, however, he had a little success. He took Ticonderoga. After this he pushed on far into the enemy’s country, hoping to be met by General Howe with a British army from New York. But Howe did not come, and Burgoyne, when trying to retreat, was hemmed in by his enemies at Saratoga, and he and all his troops were forced to yield as prisoners of war. Soon afterwards England sent out men to try to make up the quarrel with the Americans, but it was too late. The colonies would be satisfied with nothing less than complete freedom, though they had great difficulty in continuing the war.

But France had not forgiven the loss of Canada, and now she began to help the Americans with ships, men and money. A little later Spain and Holland joined in the war against England.

Governor Haldimand.

In June, 1778, Sir Guy Carleton returned to England, and General Haldimand, a Swiss, became governor of Canada. Some people thought him harsh, but he was obliged to be strict, for the province was in danger both from within and without. When France joined in the war, papers were fixed on the doors of the churches throughout Canada urging the French Canadians, by their love for France, to rise against their English rulers. On the other hand, the English-speaking people were still angry about the Quebec Act, and Americans from the revolted colonies were trying to stir them up to rebel. Haldimand built several new forts to guard Canada from invasion, and put in prison a number of persons suspected of plotting against England. He obliged the habitants to work for the government, as in French times, but paid them for their labour. So that the people might travel more easily up the St. Lawrence, he made several small canals by which boats could pass the rapids above Montreal. These were the first canals made in Canada.

Taking a Bateau up the
St. Lawrence.

The End of the War.

After the loss of Burgoyne’s army England sent out fifteen thousand more men to America. The war was now raging most fiercely in the south, where the Royalists were very strong. The Americans suffered one misfortune after another, and their cause seemed nearly ruined. But Washington’s courage and patience did not fail, and his hour of triumph came at last.

Lord Cornwallis, with a strong British force, had entrenched himself at Yorktown, in Virginia. But Washington, with the help of a French fleet, surrounded the town and obliged him to surrender with all his men.

This was a heavy blow to England. The people were tired of the war, and in 1783 peace was made. By the Treaty of Versailles England acknowledged the independence of the United States, and gave up to the new nation the Ohio valley, that had been put, in 1774, under the government of Canada. The boundary line between Canada and the United States was not clearly drawn, however, and in after years this nearly caused another war.


Spinning Wheel.

Unfair Trade Laws.

The people of Nova Scotia were true to Great Britain all through the war, though they were closely connected with New England and suffered much from unfair trade laws. For instance, the British government forbade the working of the coal mines in Cape Breton Island for fear that English merchants might lose some of their profits. At one time, indeed, no grants of land were given in the island lest some one should dare to dig up the coal. About the time when the passing of the Stamp Act caused so much trouble in Boston, the governor of Nova Scotia wrote to England, as if it were something to be proud of, that though some of the people made coarse cloth, and linen and yarn for their own use, no one in the country made a trade of weaving. In our times most governors would feel sorry to have to say such a thing.

When the war began the governor forbade his people to send away fire-arms without special leave, or to have anything to do with the rebels. Meanwhile American vessels sailed along the coast doing much mischief and capturing many small ships. At last a few British war-ships were sent to drive them away.

Settlers from England.

The Island of St. John.

In 1767 almost the whole Island of St. John (afterwards Prince Edward Island) was divided in one day amongst a few persons in England to whom the government wished to give something. Many of these people never even came to see their lands; and though they promised to send out one settler for each two hundred acres, and to pay yearly to the government a small sum of money called a quit-rent, few kept their word. A little land was held back for the support of churches and schools.

A Separate Government.

Though there were only about one hundred and fifty families in the island, they wished to have a government of their own instead of being under that of Nova Scotia. In 1769 Captain Walter Patterson, a large land-owner, became governor of the island, and four years later the people were allowed to choose members for a House of Assembly, but at first it did not meet very often.

An American Raid.

In 1776, during the war, a few Americans landed at Charlottetown, and after robbing it of every thing they fancied, carried off the government officials. Fortunately General Washington heard of the raid and obliged the robbers to give up the stolen goods and to set their prisoners free. Nearly all the men had gone to the war, so after this a few soldiers were sent from New York to guard the island, and the Americans disturbed its peace no more.


The war brought much trouble on Newfoundland. Armed American vessels prowled along the coasts and destroyed the goods and houses of the fishermen. Food, too, was scarce, for the war stopped the usual supplies from New England. In 1775 a terrible storm added to the misery of the people by wrecking numbers of boats and sweeping away the houses and the raised wooden platforms or stages built along the shore for drying fish.


The Loyalists.

The Americans who fought on the British side were afterwards named the United Empire Loyalists, because they had been true or loyal to the king, and had tried to prevent any division of the British empire. But their enemies called them traitors, and passed laws during the war taking away their lands and goods, and even ordering that they should be put to death. It is only fair to say, however, that some of the loyalists, when they had the chance, were just as cruel to the men who fought against England.

Their Losses.

When peace was made England tried to make an agreement that the loyalists should be paid for what they had lost. But instead of doing this, most of the states used them very harshly. They would not even allow them to collect money that had been owing to them for years. Many of the loyalists became very poor, and their neighbours were so unkind to them that, even while the war lasted, hundreds left the country to seek happier homes in Canada and other places. After peace was made still larger numbers left the United States.

They Come to Canada.

Many went to Nova Scotia, travelling in little uncomfortable trading-ships. Others went to Canada, often spending two or three months on the journey. Some walked all the way through New York State, which was then almost a wilderness, driving sheep and cattle and carrying a few household goods on the backs of pack-horses. Others came by lake and stream in flat-bottomed boats. Still others, waiting till the ground was covered with snow, brought their goods and their little ones in long, narrow sleighs, with horses harnessed one before the other.

A Lady of
the Time.

But the hard journey was only the beginning of their troubles. Men and women who had once been rich went about half-starved and in rags. They came so suddenly and in such numbers that the earlier settlers were quite unable to help them all. Churches and school-houses were used as shelters, and rough huts were quickly built, but during the winter many suffered terribly from cold and hunger.

Helped by England.

To make up in part for their losses the British government gave the loyalists thousands of acres of land and about fifteen million dollars in money, but it took a very long time to decide what sum ought to be given to each. When they were settled on their farms the government helped them for a little while with food, tools, clothing and other things, but in spite of this they were very poor.

Good Settlers.

Their coming strengthened Canada greatly, and they actually founded two provinces of the Dominion, New Brunswick and Upper Canada, or Ontario. In many ways they were good settlers for a new country. They had plenty of courage and strength of character, as they had shown by choosing to suffer great hardships rather than do what they thought wrong; and on the whole they knew better than most colonists from the Old World how to meet the difficulties of life in the woods. But they were of all classes—clergymen, doctors, teachers, soldiers, and backwoodsmen; and some who had been brought up in the cities of the older colonies found the change to the loneliness and roughness of their new surroundings almost unbearable.

A Loyalist

The Mohawk Loyalists.

Amongst the loyalists came the Mohawk Indians, who had been faithful to England all through the war and had suffered like the rest. They had a good and clever chief, Thayendanegea, or Joseph Brant, as the English called him. He had been so well educated that he helped to translate the New Testament into Mohawk, and he did his best to stop the cruel Indian way of fighting. A large grant of land was given to the Mohawks along the Grand River, and George III gave money towards building them a church near where the city of Brantford now stands. It was the first Protestant church built in Upper Canada. It had a bell to call the people to service, and a set of silver communion vessels given by Queen Anne to some Mohawk chiefs who had once visited her.

Land Grants.

In these early days the government gave away thousands of acres of wild land to many people besides the loyalists who had lost their homes. Large grants were made to all officers who had fought under the British flag in the Revolutionary war, and also to many friends of the government officials. Many of these people really cared little for the land. Sometimes it was hard even to find out who owned it. At times grants were sold for almost nothing. One, for instance, was sold for a saddle, and another for a quart of rum! Some men bought up large quantities of land and kept it unused for years, till they could sell it at a large profit. This was soon found to be very bad for Canada. Blocks of this land which could not be used came between the lands open to settlement, often obliging the colonists to live far apart. This made it difficult for them to build schools or churches, or even to make good roads.



In Nova Scotia many of the loyalists settled along the St. John River, perhaps because a few families who had left Boston before the war had founded a thriving little colony there. The chief settlement was at the mouth of the river, on a rocky point of land, almost surrounded by salt water. At first it was called Parrtown, in honour of the governor of Nova Scotia, but soon its name was changed to St. John.


Poor as the loyalists were, their coming did much good to the thinly settled British provinces. But it also caused some difficulties and disturbances. In Nova Scotia they quarrelled with the early settlers, and complained of the way in which the governor treated them.

New Brunswick Founded, 1784.

They wished to be allowed to send members of their own to the assembly, and when Governor Parr said that he had no power to order the election of more members, they asked the British government to divide the province, and to give them an assembly for themselves. This was done; and in 1784 the country north of the Bay of Fundy became the Province of New Brunswick. At the same time Cape Breton Island, where many loyalists had settled, was also put under a government of its own; but in 1820 it was again joined to Nova Scotia.

The first governor of New Brunswick was Colonel Thomas Carleton, Sir Guy Carleton’s brother. He had fought in the American war, and this inclined the loyalists to like him.

The Government.

The governor was to be helped by a council of twelve members and an assembly of twenty-six. But it soon appeared that all the real power had been given to the council, and though the assembly was allowed to give advice, no one paid much heed to it. Twenty-three members of the first assembly were loyalists; but they were not men to be satisfied with a mere pretence of having a share in the government. Very soon there began a hard struggle for power between the assembly and the council. It lasted for many years, and in the end, as we shall see, the council had to give way.


In 1788 the little inland village of St. Ann’s, now called Fredericton, was made the seat of government instead of St. John. A number of disbanded soldiers had settled there, but the new capital grew very slowly.

The Island of St. John.

Several hundred loyalists went to the Island of St John, and were settled on certain lands which had been taken from their former owners because they had not paid the quit-rents.

The population was still very small, for hardly any colonists had been brought out even yet; and a violent quarrel had sprung up, in which Governor Patterson, the assembly, and the former land-owners all took part. The latter wanted to have their lost grants given back to them. They had powerful friends in England, and at last the king was persuaded to listen to their complaints. He ordered the governor, who seems to have acted unfairly, to leave the island, but would not give back the land to its old owners, for it was quite clear that they had broken their agreement. Meanwhile other land-owners who had not been obliged to give up their great estates continued to cause trouble. Many lived in England, and most of them did nothing for the country. They let their land lie waste, and prevented its settlement by those who would have made good use of it.


Loyalists in Canada.

A large number of loyalists settled in Canada; but they much disliked being under French laws and having no share in the government of the country. Soon they joined the other English-speaking people in demanding an assembly, but for a long time no change was made.

Lord Dorchester.

At last Sir Guy Carleton, or Lord Dorchester, as he had now become, was made governor-general of all the British provinces of North America. He returned to Canada in 1786, and received a warm welcome from all classes. He at once tried to find out what reason there was for the complaints of the people.

A Bad State of Affairs.

Lord Dorchester soon saw that there was good reason for complaint. It was difficult to obtain justice. There were no schools, for, when Canada became part of the British Empire, those of the Jesuits were closed, and none had been opened in their place. Trade was seriously injured by unwise laws and by the uncertain state of the government, and was very bad. But though most of the people were dissatisfied, they had different opinions as to what should be done. Some wanted an assembly; others thought it better not to have one. Both parties besieged the king with petitions, and took every means in their power to have the question of government settled as they wished.

The Province Divided.

The British ministers at last saw that it was needful to make some change. In 1791 they advised the king to divide the old province of Quebec into two, and to fix the boundary line between the new provinces in such a way that most of the French people should be on one side and most of the English on the other. Some clever men thought it a mistake to make this division, but Lord Dorchester and William Pitt, who was the son of the famous Earl of Chatham, and was himself a great statesman, thought it the best way of preventing quarrels between the French and English Canadians.

The Constitutional Act, 1791.

Before the province was actually divided the British parliament passed what is called the Constitutional Act, arranging for the government of the new provinces.

In imitation of the government of Great Britain, the new governments were each to consist of a governor, to represent the king; a legislative council, to take the place of the House of Lords; and an assembly, instead of the House of Commons. The legislative councillors were to be chosen by the governor, and were to hold their seats for life; but the members of the assembly were to be elected by the people, and a new assembly was to be elected at least once in every four years. No member of the legislative council or minister of any church might sit in the assembly; but under the new law Roman Catholics were as free as Protestants to become members or to vote for them.

The governor in each province was to have the right to call the assembly together, but was never to allow more than twelve months to pass between its sessions, as the times of continuous sitting day after day are called. He might also prorogue the assembly, or put a stop to its sittings till he chose to call its members together again; or he might dissolve it—that is, he might order a new election of its members before the four years had passed.

Making Laws.

Before a bill, as a proposed act is called, could become law, the members of the legislative council and the assembly were to vote upon and agree to it three times, and the governor had also to agree to it. In most things the new Canadian governments tried to follow the same plans as the British government; but it soon appeared that they were not nearly so like it as seemed at first.

Many Governments.

After the division of Canada there were six governments in British North America, not counting Cape Breton Island. The governor of Lower Canada was called the Governor-General, and was supposed to be the head of all, but each province had its own lieutenant-governor, and was practically independent of the rest. This was bad for trade, for most of the provinces tried, by putting duties on all goods coming into the country, to keep out what their neighbours made or grew. Fortunately, however, an arrangement was made which prevented either Upper or Lower Canada charging duties on the goods of the other.

The few English people of Lower Canada were much displeased by the division of the province, for though the long-desired house of assembly had been granted, they were so completely outnumbered by the French that they had no power in it. On the other hand, in the legislative council they outnumbered the French.

The Clergy.

Under the Constitutional Act the Roman Catholics continued to pay tithes for the support of their priests as before; while one-seventh of the lands not yet granted to settlers was set apart as Clergy Reserves for the benefit of the Protestant clergy. This, with the large grants given earlier to persons who made no use of them, prevented the settlement of much good land, and in after years was the cause of much trouble and discontent, especially in Upper Canada.


The North-West Passage.

While the American war was raging, explorers were searching in the north for a way by water between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. But the North-West Passage was not found for over fifty years, and it is so blocked with ice as to be useless.

Ship Amongst Icebergs.

Cook and the Traders.

In 1778 Captain Cook, a famous explorer, sailed along the coast of what is now British Columbia and Alaska. He hoped to discover the North-West Passage, but was stopped in his voyage by ice. The Indians of the Pacific coast were anxious for beads, knives and such things, and soon after Cook’s visit fur-traders flocked to this new region, where some of them made large sums of money.

In 1788 one of these traders, Captain Meares, brought out ninety men to Nootka, on the west coast of the island we call Vancouver. He built and fortified a house large enough for all his men. But his defences were not strong enough, and in the following summer a Spanish war-ship took both his house and his ships.

Spanish Claims.

Spain claimed the whole Pacific coast, though her nearest settlement was many hundred miles south of Nootka. But the English were very angry, and talked of war till the Spaniards promised to give up Nootka and to pay Captain Meares for his losses. It was also agreed that either Spaniards or Englishmen might settle on any unoccupied lands.

In 1792 the British government sent Captain Vancouver to explore the Pacific coast. He gave the names which they still bear to many capes, bays, and inlets; and Vancouver Island is called after him.

A Trapper.

The Fur-traders.

During these years the fur-traders from Montreal were pushing their way westward and northward. Six or eight men generally went together. They were supplied by Montreal merchants with goods, for which they paid on their return. They usually stayed away a year or longer, and often spent the profits of their journeys in drinking and gambling.

The Hudson’s Bay Company.

Meanwhile the traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company were also pushing farther into the wilds. One of them, Samuel Hearne, went by the Coppermine River to the Arctic Ocean in 1771. A little later he travelled far west up the Saskatchewan.

Here and there these adventurous traders built little forts. Some were nothing more than small log-houses; others were groups of buildings surrounded by high palisades, with bastions or low towers of squared logs on which small cannon were mounted. A mere handful of men could hold one of these forts against a whole tribe of angry Indians. But as a rule the Hudson’s Bay officers managed the redmen so well that the strength of their defences was not tried.

Indian Mask from
the Pacific Coast.

The North-West Company.

About 1783 the fur-trading merchants of Montreal formed the North-West Company, and it soon became very important. Its trading-posts were often built close beside those of the older company, and its traders also did good service in exploring the country.

Alexander Mackenzie.

A notable man amongst them was Alexander Mackenzie, a Scotch Highlander. In 1789 he made a journey of over two thousand miles from Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca to the Arctic Ocean and back. He travelled with a few Indians in a birch-bark canoe, by Slave Lake and the great Mackenzie River (called after him), and was away less than four months.

Mackenzie now made up his mind to cross the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, but before starting he went to London to learn how to find the latitude and longitude of the unknown places he intended to visit. Late in the autumn of 1792 he reached the source of the Peace River, and there he and his men spent the winter in a hastily-built little fort. In the spring they succeeded in crossing the trackless mountains. When they reached the Pacific they made a sort of paint of soot and grease, and their leader wrote on a rock, “Alexander Mackenzie, from Montreal by land, July 22nd, 1793.” Afterwards he was knighted for his services.



In 1791 there were about twelve thousand people in Upper, and nearly one hundred and fifty thousand in Lower Canada, of whom less than one-tenth were of British descent. The population had much more than doubled since 1760; while that of the Maritime Provinces (as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are sometimes called) had also greatly increased.

The French Canadians disliked change. Their manners and customs had altered little during the thirty years of British rule, and this chapter will deal chiefly with those of the loyalists.

After the government ceased to help them most of the loyalists, in the country at least, made almost everything for themselves. When heavy work had to be done neighbours helped one another, holding what was called a “bee.”


In this way a rough log house was often built in five or six days. The floor was made of logs split and laid flat side uppermost. Instead of a stove was a “fire-back,” or wall of small boulders or stones, built with clay for mortar, and a hearth of flat stones upon which great logs were burnt. The chimney was made of round poles plastered with mud, or of a flour barrel with the bottom knocked out. Often the furniture was also home-made, down to the spoons moulded of pewter or cut out of basswood. Sometimes no barn was put up for years, and the grain had to be stacked and threshed outside on ground beaten hard and smooth.

Handmill for
Grinding Corn.


The women learned to weave and spin as soon as they could get sheep and grow flax, but even then deerskin was used for blankets and for all sorts of garments, from coats and dresses to coverings for the feet. It wore well and was cheap, whilst the poorest stuffs and calicoes were too dear to buy except perhaps for a wedding-dress. A plain white muslin cost at least two dollars a yard. Some of the loyalists had indeed a few remains of former splendour, such as feathered hats, gowns of brocaded silk, and shoes with silver buckles; but these were carefully saved for very great occasions.

Making Maple Sugar.


For years the people lived almost entirely on fish, game, and wild fruits, which were all plentiful. Wheat was not much grown, for without proper mills it was difficult to grind, and pounded Indian corn was used instead of flour. Real tea was dear, but people drank tea made from sassifras or the “tea-plant,” and sweetened it with maple sugar from the trees growing on their own land. The sap was boiled down in big black kettles, hung over great fires in the open air, and the boys and girls of those old days seem to have thought sugar-making one of the best frolics of the year.

The Hungry Year.

Soon after the coming of the loyalists the crops failed, and in Upper Canada there was such terrible distress that 1788 was long called “the hungry year.” Several people died of starvation, and others were poisoned by eating roots unfit for food. A few people, better supplied than the rest, made large profits, but others at the risk of their own lives shared all they had with their starving neighbours.


Wild Beasts.

In parts of Canada rattlesnakes were common; and soon after this a reward was offered of four dollars for each wolf and two dollars for each bear killed in the Upper Province.


In the newly-settled districts footpaths were marked through the woods by “blazing” the trees or chopping bits of bark off them. Later, roads were cut through the forests, rough wooden bridges were thrown across the streams, and logs were laid in marshy places to make them firm if not even. There were not many wheeled carriages, and oxen were generally used instead of horses.


The young people were fond of dancing, generally to the music of a fiddle. “Quilting-bees,” “barn-raisings,” and other gatherings for work often ended in regular merry-makings, and after a wedding the festivities lasted for several days. Unfortunately, at these times especially, there was much drunkenness amongst both French and English, and too often the feast closed with a fight.


Books were scarce; but there were few schools in Canada, and many of the people could not read. In this way the Maritime Provinces were better off. Schools had been started many years earlier by an English missionary society, and in 1788 a college for young men was founded at Windsor.


At this time there were few ministers belonging to any Protestant church in British America, and as late as 1794 only two or three had found their way farther west than Montreal. By the kindness of the priests the first regular services of the Church of England in Canada were held in a Roman Catholic chapel at Sorel. The government was at first inclined to favour the Church of England more than other Protestant churches. For instance, no Protestant minister except a clergyman of the Church of England was allowed to perform the marriage ceremony. This was very inconvenient; and in 1793 magistrates also received permission to marry people. But still a wedding-party often had to ride fifteen or twenty miles through the woods.



Lower Canada. The New Government.

The first parliament of Lower Canada met at Quebec in December, 1792. Some of its members spoke only English, others only French, and every man wished all business to be done in his own language. But at last it was decided that members might speak in either language, but that motions or questions to be decided must be read in both before being voted on.

Under the wise rule of Lord Dorchester the new government worked smoothly. During these years the money received from the taxes was not nearly enough to pay the expenses of government, but the British government paid what was short.

War with France.

In 1793 a war broke out between France and England. The assembly sent an address to the king, assuring him of the loyalty of his Canadian subjects. A French fleet was at New York, and it was feared that Halifax would be attacked. The militia from all parts of Nova Scotia hurried to defend the town, but the French ships sailed away without doing any mischief.

Upper Canada. Simcoe.

Meanwhile the government of Upper Canada was getting well under way. Colonel Simcoe, who had commanded a body of loyalists during the American war, was appointed lieutenant-governor. There were no towns in the province, and only two villages, Newark and Kingston. As governor, Simcoe liked ceremony, but in private he lived simply. His house at Newark, Navy Hall, was a small wooden building which had been intended for a storehouse.

Where the Upper Canadian
Parliament first met.

The First Parliament.

In September, 1792, the first parliament of Upper Canada met at Newark, now Niagara. It was harvest-time, and only eight members altogether were present. But Colonel Simcoe, dressed in silk and attended by fifty soldiers, opened parliament with much ceremony. The first session was short, but several useful acts were passed. The first declared British laws “with regard to property and civil rights” to be in force. The next year the little parliament passed an act forbidding slavery in the province. It had the honor of being the first assembly in the British Empire to forbid this terrible wrong.

Preparation for War.

Simcoe, expecting another war between England and the United States, did his utmost to strengthen Upper Canada. He formed companies of militia to defend the country, and equipped a small fleet with which he hoped to keep control of Lake Ontario. He tried, too, by the offer of free grants, to persuade the loyalists who had remained in the United States to come to Canada. Many came, and Simcoe settled them along the frontiers to defend the country in case of need. A number of loyalists and other newcomers also took up land in the eastern townships of Lower Canada.

The British still held several forts in the western territory now belonging to the United States, on the ground that the American government had not kept its promise to see that the property of the loyalists was restored to them. This made the Indians hope for help from the British, and at last they took up arms to prevent American settlers pressing into their hunting-grounds. But to their disappointment the British did not join in the war. Indeed, at this time both they and the Americans seemed anxious to be at peace.

The Jay Treaty.

In 1794 an American statesman named Jay went to England, and many matters were settled over which there had long been disputes. The United States government promised to pay something towards the losses of the loyalists, and in return the British gave up Niagara and the other western forts in 1796. Men were appointed by both nations to decide on a boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick, but they could only agree upon part of it, and later the question caused much trouble.

A New Capital.

After Fort Niagara was given up, Simcoe wished to remove the government from Newark, which was within range of the American guns. At last it was decided to build a town where Toronto now stands, though the ground was swampy and only a solitary Indian wigwam stood on the spot. During the first winter Simcoe lived in a tent once belonging to Captain Cook, but soon a little village, named York in honor of one of the king’s sons, sprang up by the lake.

Indian Wigwam.

Simcoe set his soldiers to cut roads through different parts of the province, but several of those he planned were never finished. He also tried to encourage the people to farm in a better way, and to break up more land.


He wished the children to be well taught, but the schools, with the exception of one at Kingston, were very poor. Often the teacher was a disabled soldier who himself knew little, and sometimes the only books used were a New Testament and a spelling book.

In 1796 both Lord Dorchester and Colonel Simcoe left Canada. They had done their utmost for the good of the country, and had won the love and respect of the people.

Prince Edward.

At this time Prince Edward, the father of Queen Victoria, was commander-in-chief at Halifax. He found the soldiers there disorderly, and soon obliged them to behave better; but in spite of his strictness he was well liked. The Island of St. John changed its name to Prince Edward in his honor.


The governments of Great Britain and her colonies were sometimes said to be on the same plan. But, as we shall see, there was a great difference between them.

The British Government.

The head of the British government under the sovereign is called the prime minister, and he chooses other statesmen, who are called his cabinet, to fill the great offices of government. It is the duty of one, for instance, to plan how money is to be raised for the expenses of government, of another to look after the navy, and so on. These ministers are responsible—that is, are obliged to account for their actions—to the sovereign and the people. A prime minister resigns, or gives up his office, if the sovereign refuses to take his advice, or if he fails to carry some important bill through the House of Commons. Sometimes, however, he may think that the people in general approve of his actions, even though the members of parliament have voted against him. He then asks the sovereign to dissolve the house, and does not resign until the people have elected new members. But if the majority (that is, more than half) of these new members are against him, he and his cabinet resign. The sovereign then asks the leader of the opposite party to form a government.

Power of the House of Commons.

The prime minister cannot go on governing against the will of a majority in the House of Commons, because it has the power of stopping the supplies of money, and no government can be carried on without money. On the other hand, to prevent ministers continuing to rule by means of a majority in parliament against the will of the people, there is a rule that a general election must take place every seven years. Sometimes, however, one party has a majority in several successive elections, and so it governs the country for many years. The present Canadian system of government is founded on the British plan, but the old Canadian system was very different.

The Executive Councils.

The place of the prime minister and his cabinet was taken in Upper and Lower Canada by an executive council, whose duty it was to see that the laws were executed or carried out. The councillors were appointed by the governors, and stayed in office even if the assemblies disapproved of all they did. Many of them also obtained seats for themselves and their friends in the legislative councils. Thus the two councils generally worked together, while in each of the Maritime Provinces there was only one body, which did duty both as a legislative and an executive council. In consequence, the assemblies and legislative councils were always quarrelling. The latter voted against the bills passed by the assemblies, and they in return tried to stop the supplies of money; but at that time only a small part of the money needful for the government depended on their votes.

The Governor and the Councils.

The governor generally acted as his councillors wished, but if there was a difference of opinion between him and them, he usually had to give way. A new governor naturally looked to his councillors—who had, perhaps, spent most of their lives in the country—for information and advice, and thus often fell completely under their control. To make matters worse, the councillors generally had influence with the British Government, and so were able to prevent inquiries into their doings.

New Brunswick.

The struggle began early in New Brunswick There was a long fight over the question whether or not members of the assembly should be paid, but at last the assembly carried its point.

In 1803 Carleton returned to England, and for a number of years the government was very unsettled. Carleton had spent nineteen years in New Brunswick, and had seen great changes. Shipbuilding and the trade in lumber were becoming important. But churches and schools were scarce, and there were no good roads. Little land was farmed and food was dear. The moose-deer, which had been most useful to the early settlers, were nearly all killed.

Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia was now under the rule of Sir John Wentworth, and he strongly objected to the people holding meetings or discussing the affairs of the country. During the French war privateers did some mischief along the coasts, but at Halifax the coming and going of troops and fleets made trade brisk and money plentiful.

Lower Canada.

Meantime, in Lower Canada discontent was slowly rising, for the French complained that they had few members in the legislative and none in the executive council. But in spite of their grievances the French Canadians were very loyal to the king.

During this time a number of good measures were passed, including acts to improve the prison and postal systems. In 1800 Judge Osgoode declared slavery contrary to British law, and three hundred slaves were accordingly set free.

Upper Canada and Peter Russell.

In Upper Canada the executive and legislative councillors were beginning to take advantage of their position to obtain large grants of land. Peter Russell, who had charge of the government for three years after Simcoe’s departure, set a very bad example. He granted lands to his friends, and even to himself!

There were now in the province five or six times as many people as in 1791. Some had come from the United States, some from England and Scotland, and many from Ireland, where there had recently been terrible troubles which drove the people to seek new homes in Upper Canada.


Sir James Craig.

In 1807 Sir James Craig became governor-general. He was a good soldier, but his manners were harsh, and he took no trouble to please the French Canadians. This widened the division between them and the English.

Judges in Parliament.

Soon after Craig’s coming there was a bitter struggle as to the right of judges to sit in parliament. It was thought their decisions were less likely to be fair if they mixed in party strife; but judges sat in the assemblies of both Canadas. In 1808 a bill was brought into the assembly of Lower Canada to shut out the judges. They fought fiercely for their seats. Craig twice dissolved the assembly, but the people would not give way. At last the British government declared that the judges were not to sit in parliament.

Payment of the Officials.

While the quarrel about the judges was still going on, Craig asked the assembly to provide more money for the expenses of government. It promptly offered to pay the government officials, hoping thus to gain control over them. But the offer was not accepted, and the salaries were paid, as before, from money received from the sale of wild lands and from duties placed by the British government on goods brought into Canada. With this the assembly could not interfere, but to meet the cost of making bridges and roads, and putting up public buildings, it was allowed to tax the people.

Craig’s Suggestions.

Craig thought that it would be less difficult to govern Canada if the French Canadians had less instead of more power. He therefore suggested a plan by which fewer French Canadians would be able to vote for or to become members of parliament. He also advised that the governor should be allowed to appoint new priests to vacant parishes and to stop the printing of anything which he thought likely to do harm.

“Le Canadien.”

In 1806 the publication of the first entirely French newspaper, Le Canadien, was begun at Quebec. It never ceased to criticize the government, and in 1809 Craig sent soldiers to seize both the printer and his type. He also arrested several leading French Canadians who had sat in the assembly. But he was blamed for this, and was obliged to set them free without trying them. Soon afterwards he left Canada.

Ladies of a Hundred
Years Ago.

Sir George Prevost.

He was succeeded by Sir George Prevost, who was also a soldier, but was a very different man from Sir James Craig. He had spent some time in Nova Scotia, where he was very popular. He did his utmost to soothe and please the French Canadians. To those who had been harshly treated he showed special kindness, and he added several French Canadians to the number of his executive councillors.

The Government of Upper Canada.

The officials of Upper Canada were still doing their utmost to get rich. At one time it was not an unusual thing for a member of the executive council to obtain a grant of 5,000 acres for himself and 1,200 for each of his children; but in 1807 the British government forbade this.

The officials were often related to each other or connected by marriage, and at a later time they were called “the Family Compact.” Most of the judges, lawyers, bankers, and rich merchants belonged to it, and they held together so closely that to interfere with one was to provoke the anger of all. Some, no doubt, were able and respectable men, but most were blinded by self-interest to all considerations of justice and honesty, and hotly resisted all attempts at reform.

Judge Thorpe.

In 1805 Robert Thorpe, an Englishman, was appointed to a judgeship in Upper Canada. By his fair decisions he won the confidence of the people, and he tried to persuade the governor to look into the many grievances of which complaints were made. But he would not listen, and Thorpe was dismissed from his office. One or two other officials also got into trouble through protesting against the wrong-doing of their class.


Two Kinds of Strife.

We have now come to a time when the struggle for political liberty was interrupted by a more dreadful kind of strife. While the people and the officials, the French and the English, were struggling for power in Canada, some of the Americans were preparing to take their country from them altogether. The attempt was partly due, as we shall see, to anger at Great Britain.

A great war had been raging in Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican of humble birth, had raised himself through his wonderful talents for managing men and leading armies, to the position of Emperor of the French. He had a passion for conquest, and soon a great part of Europe was at his feet. England, however, strained every nerve to overthrow him, and do what he would he could not force her to her knees. He tried to cripple her trade by ordering the seizure of all ships that carried British goods or had touched at any port under British rule. In return the English government issued what were called orders-in-council, forbidding any nation to trade with France or her dependencies.

The effect of all this was to damage the trade, not only of the countries actually at war, but of others which had taken no part in the quarrel. Many of the ships of the United States were seized. At last the American government forbade all trade with either France or England. This made things worse than ever for the American merchants.

The Right of Search.

The ill-feeling of the Americans towards the British was increased by the latter’s insisting on their right to search all American vessels, except those belonging to the navy, for runaway sailors. In 1807 the commander of a British ship, the Leopard, when refused leave to search the United States frigate Chesapeake, fired upon it, killed several of its crew and carried off three or four deserters by force. The British government promptly tried to make amends for this act, but the Americans naturally felt very angry.

English Sailor.

In June, 1812, war was declared against Great Britain, professedly on account of the injustice done to neutral nations by the orders-in-council. But the New England States did not wish to go to war, and in Boston harbour the flags on the vessels were hung half-mast high as a sign of disapproval.

Canada Threatened.

Three armies were quickly prepared to cross the border, and to many people it seemed that Canada must be conquered. The population of the United States was about fifteen times that of Canada, and England, still engaged in her life and death struggle with Napoleon, was not at first able to send much help to her colonies. On the other hand, the United States had only a small navy, and her armies consisted chiefly of new soldiers, who were neither well-trained nor well-armed.

Canadians Ready to Fight.

Misled, perhaps, by the noisy struggle for political liberty, the Americans expected that many of the Canadians would join their armies. But they were grievously disappointed. In Upper and Lower Canada alike the different parties ceased to quarrel, and turned with one consent upon the common enemy. The assemblies voted supplies of money, and everywhere men offered themselves for the defence of the country. The Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland also raised men and money. Had it not been for the courage and promptness of her own people, Canada must have been lost to the British Empire, for in all the provinces at the outbreak of the war there were less than 4,500 regular soldiers.

Sir George Prevost, who with all his good qualities was not a clever general, was commander-in-chief. But the troops in Upper Canada had an excellent leader in Major-General Sir Isaac Brock, who also had charge of the civil government. He was born in the Island of Guernsey in 1769. He had fought in the European wars; but the force at his command was altogether too small for the defence of the long frontier of Upper Canada.

Americans Cross the Border.

Shortly after the declaration of war an American force led by General Hull crossed the Detroit river into Canada. Hull tried to persuade the people not to defend their country, even if they would not help him. But they scorned his threats and his promises, and flocked to Brock’s banner in such numbers that he could not find arms for all.

Fall of Michillimackinac.

The first blow was struck in the far west. Fort Michillimackinac, on a little island in the strait between Lakes Huron and Michigan, was an important American trading post, but its commandant was not informed of the outbreak of war till a British force from a little post forty miles away suddenly appeared before his gates. Not being ready to fight, he was obliged to surrender.

The Indians.

The western Indians now took up arms for the British. Hull had declared that no mercy would be shown to white men fighting by the side of Indians. But Brock replied that they had a right to defend their homes from invasion, and gladly accepted their offers of service, though he tried to prevent their committing any cruelty.

On August 4th a party of Americans carrying provisions to Hull’s camp was surprised in the woods near Detroit and put to flight by a band of warriors under the Shawanoe chief, Tecumseh. This noted chief clung in many things to the old habits of his people, but he was honourable and merciful, and tried to prevent his followers ill-using their wounded foes.

Hull’s Surrender.

After spending nearly four weeks on Canadian soil and doing nothing, Hull retreated to Detroit. Brock followed, and was preparing for an attack on the fort when, to his great surprise, Hull surrendered with all his force, which had been proudly named “The Grand Army of the West.” He also gave up the whole territory of Michigan. His angry countrymen afterwards had him tried by court-martial—that is, by the officers of the army—and he was condemned to be shot for cowardice, but was pardoned by the president.

A Truce.

Upper Canada was still in danger, however, for another American army, as large as that which had surrendered, had gathered near Lewiston, and invasion again seemed threatening. But before this force had crossed the river, Sir George Prevost and General Dearborn, the commanders-in-chief of the British and American armies, agreed upon a truce. It appeared that the orders-in-council had been withdrawn just before war was declared, and it was thought that the Americans might wish to withdraw their declaration of war. But the two nations could not come to an agreement, and in October the fighting began again.

Queenston Heights.

Queenston Heights.

The Americans, who had been waiting so long at Lewiston, now tried to force their way into Upper Canada. Before daybreak on October 13th, a body of their troops crossed the Niagara river, and after a sharp fight took possession of Queenston Heights. General Brock, at Fort George, seven miles away, heard the firing, hurried to the scene of action, and rallying the retreating British, led them up the hill again to the charge. The Americans were forced to the edge of the precipice above the roaring river. “Push on, brave York volunteers!” cried Brock, but at that instant he fell mortally wounded, and his men were driven back to the shelter of some houses. A lofty stone pillar in memory of the hero now marks the field of battle on the Heights. A few hours later a fresh body of British troops arrived, under the command of General Sheaffe, and there was another hot fight. This time the Americans were beaten, and Sheaffe took so many prisoners that he hardly knew how to keep them safely.


Invasion of Lower Canada.

A month later General Dearborn, who had been inactive all summer, crossed the boundary as if to march upon Montreal. But the Canadian militia sprang to arms, and after a few skirmishes Dearborn retreated to Plattsburg.

Smyth’s Failure.

In the same month the Americans again tried to get a footing in Canada, this time near Niagara. They were now under the command of a general named Smyth, who boasted loudly of the great things he would do. But he succeeded in nothing; his men lost faith in him, and he was at length dismissed from the army in disgrace.

British Losses at Sea.

But though the British were victorious on land, they had been beaten at sea. Several battles had taken place between single ships, and in each the British had to strike their flag, for their vessels were not so well armed, nor so good in any way as those of the small American navy. At last the British ministers saw that they must fit out better ships.

A Naval Duel.

The English commanders were eager to regain their lost laurels. In June, 1813, the British ship Shannon challenged the Chesapeake, then in Boston harbour, to come out and fight. The battle was short but terrible. In less than half an hour the Chesapeake was taken by the English. Its captain died soon after the battle, and was buried by his foes at Halifax with military honours.



At the end of 1812 there was a short breathing-time, but both sides used it to make preparations for going on with the war. Before the close of January an American army advanced towards Detroit. Colonel Proctor, in command there, marched out to meet it, and, attacking the Americans suddenly when they were resting at Frenchtown, captured their general and five hundred men. This saved Michigan to the British for a time.

Ogdensburg Attacked.

During the winter, parties of Americans often crossed the St. Lawrence on the ice and plundered the Canadian settlements. On one occasion a party from Ogdensburg burnt several houses in Brockville, and carried off fifty of the townspeople as prisoners. Determined to repay them for this, a body of the militia called the Glengarry Fencibles crossed the ice to Ogdensburg, and in spite of a hot fire from the Americans, struggled up the slippery bank. They then swept their foes from their position, burnt the barracks, and returned to their own side of the river with a train of sleighs laden with captured arms and stores.

Martello Tower, Halifax.

Help from the Maritime Provinces.

British ships were now regaining the control of the ocean, and the Maritime Provinces, fearing no attack more serious than the raids of privateers along their coasts, sent both men and money to help in the defence of Canada. In March a few regular troops, raised in New Brunswick, marched on snowshoes through the wilderness that lay between the settled parts of that province and Lower Canada. A short time later, seamen from Nova Scotia took the same way to Canada. New ships had been lately built, and a few British sailors came out to Canada with a naval officer, Sir James Yeo.

York Captured.

In April an American fleet under Commodore Chauncey bore down on York, which was then a village of only a thousand inhabitants. The Americans landed close to a little fort west of the town, and were pressing eagerly forward to drive out its defenders, when a great store of powder exploded and killed a number of men on both sides. General Sheaffe was at York, but after destroying the military stores he retreated with the few regular soldiers to Kingston. York then surrendered. The Americans plundered it of everything of value, set its public buildings on fire, and then sailed away.

A little later their fleet joined with Dearborn’s forces in an attack on Fort George. The British under General Vincent resisted doggedly, but were at last forced to leave the Niagara frontier in the possession of the enemy.

Attack on Sackett’s Harbour.

While Chauncey and his fleet were at Fort George, Prevost and Yeo attacked Sackett’s Harbour, the great stronghold of the American navy on Lake Ontario. They succeeded in forcing a landing, and the Americans, thinking that all was lost, set fire to everything likely to be of use to the British. But to the disgust of his soldiers, Prevost suddenly ordered a retreat, and the Americans tried to put out the fires that they had kindled. The British leaders were blamed for bad management, but soon the hearts of the Canadians were cheered by better fortune.

Fort George.

Stoney Creek.

On the night of June 5th, a strong body of Americans, on the way to attack Vincent in his camp on Burlington Heights, rested at Stoney Creek; but before dawn they were surprised by a small British force under Colonel Harvey. After a brief and confused fight, over a hundred Americans, including two generals, were taken prisoners. The rest fled towards Fort George, and on the following day many of them were captured by Sir James Yeo as they were trying to carry off some stores in flat-bottomed boats.

Beaver Dams.

This success was quickly followed by an other. The Americans were much annoyed by small parties of British troops who attacked their foraging parties and advanced posts. At last Colonel Boerstler was ordered to surprise one of these parties posted at Beaver Dams and commanded by Lieutenant FitzGibbon. But the surprise was on the other side.

Laura Secord.

Rumors of the intended attack reached the ears of a wounded militiaman at

Queenston named Secord. He could not walk the long distance to Beaver Dams, but his wife determined to warn FitzGibbon. For a whole day she toiled through the woods, afraid of being stopped or questioned, but reached her journey’s end in time to put FitzGibbon on his guard. Boerstler’s men had been sorely harassed on the way by a band of Indians under Captain Kerr and a son of Joseph Brant, and as they neared Beaver Dams musket shots, shouts, and terrible war-whoops sounded from every side. They fancied themselves surrounded by a superior force, and when FitzGibbon rode out to reconnoitre he found them drawn up in an open space in the woods, uncertain whether to advance or retreat. Though he had less than fifty men, FitzGibbon boldly summoned the five hundred Americans to surrender, and in a panic they laid down their arms without striking a blow. Fortunately, reinforcements came before the prisoners discovered how greatly they out-numbered the British. This was one of the most brilliant exploits of the war.


During the summer there was no important battle, but raids were made on both sides which caused much loss and suffering. York was again plundered. On the same day a British force was doing as much mischief as possible at Plattsburg.

Fighting on the Lakes.

The Americans, intending to attack Montreal, had begun to build hospitals, storehouses, and barracks for the soldiers on Lake Champlain, but British vessels captured their ships and destroyed their buildings. This delayed the invasion of Lower Canada. British fleets had now blockaded the American seaports, and the government, instead of keeping their sailors idle on board the ocean vessels, sent them to man the lake boats. The American vessels on Lake Erie were cooped up in Presqu’ile Harbour by an English fleet; but at last the commander, Barclay, carelessly allowed them to escape, and soon they captured or disabled all his ships.

Loss of Michigan.

Proctor, at Detroit, fearing that his supplies would be cut off, now retreated up the river Thames. He was hotly pursued by an American army, but did not even try to prevent their following him by breaking down the bridges over which he passed.


At last, amongst the woods and swamps near the Indian village of Moraviantown, he turned to bay. The ground was hardened by a frost, and at the first charge of a troop of American horsemen the weary, dispirited British surrendered or fled. But a number of Indians under Tecumseh fought on till the great chief himself and more than a hundred of his warriors lay dead upon the field. Proctor escaped to Burlington, but was disgraced for this disaster.

Lower Canada Threatened.

Meanwhile two American forces, under Generals Hampton and Wilkinson, were preparing to make a combined attack on Montreal. Fortunately their plan of meeting miscarried, but in this hour of danger the Canadians rose loyally and bravely to defend their country. Hampton crossed the boundary at Odelltown, but the road to Montreal lay for fifteen miles through a dense swamp, and it was so well guarded that he quickly recrossed the boundary and moved westward. A body of French Canadians, the Voltigeurs, led by Colonel de Salaberry, moved westward also.

Battle of Chateauguay.

Several weeks later General Hampton again crossed the border near the river Chateauguay, but soon discovered that this road to Montreal was also well defended. De Salaberry had chosen a very strong position in the woods, and when the Americans appeared in sight, on the morning of October 26th, he posted his men so cleverly that his enemies never guessed how few they were. When the fight was hottest he ordered ten or twelve buglers to sound the advance in different parts of the woods, and the Americans thought that reinforcements were gathering against them from all sides. At last they retreated in confusion, and soon afterwards went into winter quarters at Plattsburg.

Chrysler’s Farm.

On November 1st Wilkinson’s army set sail from Sackett’s Harbour and landed on the Canadian shore below Prescott. But they were followed by Colonel Morrison with a small British force, and on Chrysler’s farm, a few miles above Cornwall, a fierce battle took place. The British, though far outnumbered, in the end drove the Americans to their boats, and when Wilkinson heard of Hampton’s defeat, he also gave up the attempt to reach Montreal.

Newark Burnt.

Early in December General Drummond, then commanding the troops in Upper Canada, sent a force to attack Fort George. But the American general retreated to Niagara, after ordering Newark to be set on fire, though it was bitter wintry weather. A little later the British surprised Fort Niagara, drove the Americans from Black Rock and Buffalo, and in cruel revenge for a cruel deed, burnt every house along the frontier from Niagara to Buffalo. Then Drummond declared that he would not in future make war upon those unable to fight, unless the Americans again set the bad example of burning villages and homesteads.


Lacolle Mill.

The people of Lower Canada were overjoyed with their success in driving back the invaders, and the assembly promptly voted supplies to carry on the war. But the Americans still hoped to conquer Canada. In March an army again crossed the frontier, and tried to take Lacolle Mill, a strong stone building defended by 500 men. But their guns were too light to batter down the walls. They were beaten off with loss, and soon recrossed the boundary.

French Canadians
of the Time.

Oswego Captured.

The Americans had collected great quantities of stores at Oswego for the supply of their fleet on Lake Ontario, but in May the British naval commander, Yeo, attacked and took the fort. The Americans, however, had put most of the stores beyond his reach.

England was at last able to send out large bodies of troops to Canada, for Napoleon had been beaten and was shut up in the little island of Elba. The Americans were again threatening the upper province, and reinforcements were most sorely needed there.

Battle of Chippewa.

Early in July an American army crossed the Niagara River and took possession of Fort Erie, which the British did not try to defend. They then marched towards Chippewa Creek, but were met by a body of British troops under General Riall, and a fierce fight took place. Both sides lost many men, and General Riall, whose force was the smaller, was obliged to retreat towards Fort George. The Americans followed him, but after this both armies received reinforcements, and the Americans in their turn retreated towards Chippewa Creek.

The Battle of Lundy’s Lane.

The British marched after them, and took up a strong position at the end of a narrow road called Lundy’s Lane, near the Falls of Niagara. Their guns commanded the lane, but General Drummond had hardly placed his men when they were furiously attacked by the enemy. The battle began at six in the evening, and raged unceasingly for three hours. Charge followed charge. The British closed around their guns, and the Americans brought up theirs so near that the opposing cannon were almost mouth to mouth. About nine there was a lull in the fight, and the roar of the great waterfall close at hand sounded through the gloom. Suddenly the battle began again and now black darkness added to its horrors, save when a fitful gleam of moonlight broke through the heavy clouds. Till midnight the struggle went on, but the British could not be forced from their position. Finally the Americans retreated to their camp beyond the Chippewa. In this battle more lives were lost and more men wounded than in any other during the war.

Siege of Fort Erie.

The Americans, after throwing some of their heavy baggage into the rapids above the falls, retired to Fort Erie. Drummond then besieged the fort. He battered it day after day with his cannon, and one August morning, before it was light, a number of his men forced their way into the fort. They were beginning to fire upon the Americans with their own guns when a powder magazine blew up beneath their feet and wrought terrible destruction among them. Their comrades, pressing forward to join in the attack, fled in dismay. After this the Americans tried to break through the British lines whilst a dreadful storm was raging; but they were driven back into the fort, and Drummond did not give up the siege till his batteries were almost washed away by the heavy autumn rains. A little later the Americans blew up the fortifications and returned to their own country.

Attacks on the United States.

During this year Washington, the capital of the United States, was captured by a British army. Several towns in Maine were also taken, and part of that state, once belonging to Acadia, was declared to be under British rule.

In September Prevost attacked Plattsburg. He had 13,000 men under his command; but after a hard fight his fleet was defeated on Lake Champlain, and he thought it wise to order a retreat. His officers were very angry, and a court-martial was appointed to enquire into his conduct. But he died a week before the day fixed for his trial. As a general, Prevost was unfortunate; but there is little doubt that his gracious tact and good sense strengthened the loyalty of the French Canadians and made them all the more willing to give their money and their lives for the defence of their country.

The End of the War.

The attack on Plattsburg was almost the last act in the war, and on Christmas Eve, 1814, a treaty of peace was signed at Ghent, in Holland. By it everything was arranged, as far as possible, as it had been before the war. The peace was hailed with equal joy by the Canadians and by the many Americans who had thought the war wrong and unjust from the first. Help was sent from England, Nova Scotia, and other parts of Canada to the people of those towns which had suffered most grievously during the war, but nothing could make up for all the misery it had caused.


Lord Selkirk.

While the war with the United States was still going on, the foundations of a new British colony were being laid in the far west by a Scotch nobleman, the Earl of Selkirk. In 1803 he had brought out eight hundred Highlanders to Prince Edward Island, where they did well. He had also settled a number of families in Upper Canada, near where Chatham now stands; but the land was swampy, and the colony did not flourish.

The Red River Colony.

Intending to plant a colony on the Red River, Selkirk obtained a large tract of land from Hudson’s Bay Company, of which he was a member. But the rival fur-traders of the North-West Company declared that the English company had no right to this land, and a bitter quarrel broke out between them. No doubt both were in fault, but the Nor’-westers, as they were often called, used Selkirk’s unfortunate colonists most cruelly.

First Colonists.

Late in 1811, ninety Scotch and Irish settlers sailed into Hudson Bay. They spent the winter at a trading-post on its dreary shores, and in the spring pushed on to the Red River. They quickly built a little fort named Douglas, for fear of the Indians, but the Nor’-westers were really more to be dreaded. They tried to frighten away the new-comers by every means in their power. It is said, for instance, that they drove away the herds of bisons, or buffaloes, as they are generally called, upon which the settlers at first depended chiefly for food. They were thus obliged to follow them to their distant pastures, but returned in the spring to the Red River.

A Buffalo.

Buffalo Meat.

When fresh meat was not to be had they ate “pemmican.” This was buffalo meat dried, ground to powder, and made solid with melted fat. Stored in bags made from skins of the beasts, it was often kept for years, and though it sometimes tasted like “bad tallow,” it was said to be wholesome. It was easily carried and convenient for travellers, and was very useful in the early days of the colony.


Though the life was hard, more settlers, including a few women and children, soon joined the little colony. They were ill-provided with tools for working the soil, but managed to break it up with hoes, and in 1814 sowed a little wheat. Soon afterwards the Nor’-westers persuaded or forced them all to leave the country, but some came back with another band of settlers who reached the Red River in 1815.

Fort Douglas.


With them came Semple, who had been appointed governor of the country by the Hudson’s Bay Company; but the Nor’-westers would not obey him. At last they shot him and twenty of his men, took possession of Fort Douglas, and once more drove the settlers from their homes.

Selkirk’s Visit.

When Selkirk heard of this disaster he was on the way to visit his colony. Having with him a large body of canoe-men and disbanded soldiers, to whom he had promised grants of land, he went at once to Fort William, an important post of the North-West Company on Lake Superior, and seizing several leading officials, sent them to be tried in Upper Canada. Upon this the colonists again returned to the Red River. Selkirk made treaties with the Indians, planned for roads to be made, and tried to settle his people comfortably, but for many years they had a hard struggle. On returning to Upper Canada, the earl was tried and fined for having imprisoned the Nor’-westers, but the men who had killed Semple went unpunished. In 1821 the rival companies united under the old name of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and in 1838 Selkirk’s heirs gave up to it the control of the Red River colony.


“The Great Immigration.”

During the twenty-five years following the war, thousands of immigrants, or new settlers, poured into the British provinces. The change from war to peace caused great distress in England, for many soldiers were disbanded, and numbers of men who had long been making guns and other things needed in war were thrown out of work. To help these people to make a living, the government now began to send them out to British America. Year after year they came from England, Scotland, and Ireland. By 1841 the population was three times what it had been in 1815, and the conditions of life had greatly improved; but at first the peace hardly seemed an unmixed benefit to several of the provinces.

Settler’s Hut.

Bad Trade in Nova Scotia.

In Nova Scotia many people were thrown out of work, and trade generally became very bad for a time. A number of workmen left the country, and the farmers were greatly distressed. As a class they were very ignorant, and slow to adapt themselves to changing circumstances. To rouse them John Young, a Scotchman, calling himself “Agricola,” wrote letters to the papers, and in 1818 an agricultural society was formed to bring in better plans of farming.

Lord Dalhousie.

The Earl of Dalhousie, now lieutenant-governor, was eager to encourage improvements in education and road-making, as well as in farming. During his rule a large sum of money, obtained from duties collected during the war at the American town of Castine, was set apart to found Dalhousie College.

Harvesting Scene.


In Nova Scotia, as in Prince Edward Island, some lands had been granted on condition of the payment of a small quit-rent. But it had not been collected, and now claims were made for the rent of many years together. This caused great discontent, but after a long dispute the government gave up the claim and promised that quit-rents should not again be demanded.

Money Bills.

At the same time the assembly and the council were quarrelling bitterly. In England, when the House of Commons passed a bill for the raising or spending of money, the House of Lords might either pass or reject, but could not alter it. The same rule was supposed to hold good in Nova Scotia, and the assembly sometimes forced the council to pass a clause that they did not like by putting it in the same bill with something that they could not well reject. At last the councillors insisted that they had the right to make changes; and in 1830, as the assembly would not admit this, they refused to pass the money bills, and road-making, bridge-building and other improvements came to a standstill. Next year, however, they gave way and passed the bills unaltered.

Driving Logs.

New Brunswick’s Trade.

In New Brunswick the change from war to peace had no ill effect. Many ships were built, and for a while there was a great trade in lumber with England. But from various causes it soon became less profitable, and the governor, Douglas, tried to induce the people to pay more attention to farming.

The Miramichi Fire.

The summer of 1825 was very hot and dry, and in autumn a frightful fire swept through the forests along the banks of the Miramichi. It left behind thousands of square miles of black desolation, killing the fish in the smaller streams, and utterly destroying many flourishing little towns and villages. Worst of all, nearly two hundred people perished in the flames or were drowned in flying from them. Most of those who escaped had lost everything, but the people of England, the United States, and the neighbouring provinces came generously to their help.

Prince Edward Island.

At this time Prince Edward Island had a governor named Smith who wished to have his own way in everything. If the assembly displeased him he promptly dissolved it, and indeed for several years he ruled without calling the assembly together at all. He also caused much distress by trying to collect from the tenants the large sums due on the quit-rents which ought to have been paid years before by the owners of the land. At last the people met together and begged the king to recall the tyrannical governor. Much alarmed, Smith tried to arrest the bearer of the petition, but he reached England safely and Smith was recalled. After this no attempt was made to enforce the payment of quit-rents.


During the war-time the people of Newfoundland had had the fisheries all to themselves, and had obtained good prices for their fish. But when peace was made the French and Americans again took part in the fisheries, wages fell, and the islanders suffered so terribly that some were sent to Halifax and some to Ireland. To make matters worse, three very bad fires occurred at St. John’s in less than two years. In 1832 the people were allowed, after a long struggle for a share in the government, to elect an assembly.

Laws on Religion.

About this time the laws preventing Roman Catholics having any voice in the government of the Maritime Provinces were repealed. In 1829 Nova Scotia gave them the same right to vote and hold offices under government as Protestants, and a year later Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland followed her example.


Since the beginning of the war Upper Canada had had many different governors, but most of them had quickly fallen under the influence of the Family Compact, and every year the people grew more discontented with their rulers.

Robert Gourlay.

In 1817 Robert Gourlay, a Scotchman, going into business as a land agent, sent a number of questions to the principal people in each township of Upper Canada. The answers showed how badly the country was governed, and Gourlay began to stir up the people to demand reform. At last he called a meeting at York to petition the British government to look into the matter. This was more than the Compact could bear. Twice they had Gourlay tried for libel, but each time he was declared not guilty. Then they thought of an old law called the Alien Act, by which foreigners suspected of plotting against the government could be forced to leave the province. Gourlay, though a British subject, was ordered to leave Upper Canada. Not obeying, he was arrested and kept for over six months shut up in Niagara jail. Then he was brought to trial, but the hardships he had suffered had broken his health and bewildered his mind so much that he was utterly unable to defend himself. A jury, unfairly chosen by the men in power, declared him guilty, and he was ordered, on pain of death, to leave Upper Canada within twenty-four hours. This time he obeyed, but though the officials were rid of him, they could not long silence the angry people.

Oppressive Acts.

While Gourlay was in prison a letter from him was published in the Niagara Spectator, but for daring to print it the editor was sentenced to be heavily fined and imprisoned. At this time the officials, who had many ways of influencing the elections, were supported by a majority in the assembly, and if old laws would not serve their turn, they passed new ones. For instance, they made a new law so as to force Bidwell, a member of the assembly who had offended them, to give up his seat.

A Reform Assembly.

In 1818 an Act had been passed giving power to the magistrates to forbid the holding of meetings for the discussion of grievances. It was repealed in 1820, but such laws as this only made the people more eager for some change, and in the general election of 1824 a majority of Reformers, as the people who wished to improve the government called themselves, was sent up to the assembly.

William Lyon Mackenzie.

A Reformer who, though not in Parliament, was beginning to attract attention, was a wiry, eager, restless little man named William Lyon Mackenzie. He earned the hatred of the officials by bringing out a newspaper which never ceased to criticize them and their doings. It was a costly undertaking, and he was in great difficulties about money when a number of young men, related to the officials, broke into his office at York in broad daylight, injured his press, and cast his type into the bay. The culprits were not punished, and when Mackenzie went to law and was awarded a large sum as damages, their friends, including some of the officials themselves, subscribed to pay it. This enabled Mackenzie to continue the publication of his paper.

Judge Willis.

A short time later Judge Willis, an Englishman, publicly accused a leading official, named Robinson, of neglecting his duty. Robinson was one of the cleverest members of the Compact, and in after years won the respect of all parties as a wise and upright judge. Willis was soon dismissed from his position, and though he had given the officials just cause for complaint, the people regarded him as a martyr to their cause. In some other cases arising at this time, however, there is no doubt that they were grievously in the wrong.

The Canada Company.

A great number of the incoming settlers chose Upper Canada as their new home; and in 1826 some rich men in England formed what was called the Canada Company. It bought from the government over 2,000,000 acres of wild land in Upper Canada, and engaged to make roads and build mills. Much of the land was quickly resold to new colonists; but for many years an immense block of land known as the Huron tract, which belonged to the company, remained unsettled.

The Cholera.

In 1832 an emigrant ship brought to Quebec dread disease of cholera. It swept through the Canadian towns and villages, carrying off thousands of victims. Two years later there was a second terrible outbreak. This checked the coming of new settlers for a while.

The Clergy Reserves.

In 1819 the Presbyterian Church was allowed to share with the Church of England in the benefit of the clergy reserves, but still the other churches received no share, and the Reformers began to press for a fairer division of the proceeds of these lands.

Dr. Strachan.

On the other hand, Dr. Strachan, an energetic clergyman of the Church of England, and a leading member of the Family Compact, did his best to prevent any division at all. He held that the reserves had been set apart for his own church and no other. He was a Scotchman, born and educated at Aberdeen. He had come to Canada when a very young man, and before becoming a clergyman had kept a school at Kingston. He afterwards became the first Anglican bishop of Toronto.

Egerton Ryerson.

Dr. Strachan sometimes gave grievous offence by fiercely attacking other churches; and on one occasion a young Methodist minister, Egerton Ryerson, answered his sermon by a long review, which was very widely read. He was the son of a United Empire Loyalist, and, like Dr. Strachan, took much interest in all the affairs of the country. He wrote a “History of the Loyalists of America.” He had great sympathy with their devotion to the king and the British Empire, but he was anxious to see a reform of the many abuses in the government of Upper Canada.

Religious Reforms.

The Methodists, Lutherans, and other dissenters now joined in the effort to pass laws authorizing the use of the clergy reserves for the support of schools instead of churches; but the question remained unsettled for years, and again and again gave trouble. In 1831 a law was passed allowing the ministers of all Christian sects to perform marriages; and, a little later, the right was given to all the churches to hold lands for burying grounds and other purposes.


The New Governor.

Sir John Colborne, who became lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada in 1828, had won honour as a soldier, but his temper was so stern that he was unfitted to make the people think better of their government. Soon after his arrival a great number of people begged him to pardon an editor named Collins, who had been fined and thrown into prison for having, as it was said, libelled one of the officials; but Colborne was most unwilling to show him any mercy.


William Lyon Mackenzie now had a seat in assembly. With untiring zeal he dragged to light abuses in the government, small and great, and as a rule he was supported by a great majority. But the executive councillors, having no need to ask the assembly for money, held calmly on their way, and the governor, when begged to dismiss them, disdained even to answer. On the death of the king (according to an old English custom) the house was dissolved, and the officials made a great effort to secure a majority in the next election.

The violence of some of the Reformers had alarmed many sober people, who hated disorder even more than oppression, and many Reformers lost their seats. But Mackenzie was elected by the town of York, and continued to call attention to all kinds of grievances. The officials, thoroughly tired of him, at last accused him of libelling the assembly, and a majority voted that he should be expelled from it. This made the people very angry. York promptly re-elected him. Again he was expelled; but York would have no other member. He now visited England, and the colonial secretary promised certain reforms. The councillors managed to go on in their old ways, however, and soon there was a new colonial secretary, who was inclined to uphold them. Mackenzie found that a third time his seat had been declared vacant, and a third time he had been re-elected; but when he took his place in the house he was dragged from his seat by force.


In 1834 York was incorporated as a city, under the old Indian name of Toronto, and Mackenzie was elected as its first mayor. In the same year there was another general election, and as the Reformers now had the majority, Mackenzie was at last allowed to take his seat.

Report of Grievances, 1835.

This assembly drew up a long report concerning the bad government of Upper Canada, complaining that it was due to the system which enabled the Compact to rule the country year after year without regard to the wishes of the people. When the report reached England a reform was promised.

Colborne’s Last Act.

To smooth the way for a change Colborne was recalled. His last act added to his unpopularity. Though at this very time a hot dispute was going on concerning the use of the clergy reserves, he suddenly set apart seventeen thousand acres of land for the support of forty-four rectories. By the Constitutional Act he had a right, as governor, to do this, but the use at such a time of a power which had never been acted on before enraged the Reformers.

Sympathy between the Provinces.

Though in those days communication between the different provinces was slow and difficult, they had much influence upon one another. This was the case especially with Upper and Lower Canada. To strengthen the tie between them, Mackenzie had lately visited Lower Canada. At the same time the Reformers of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were struggling for responsible government; but they did not approve of the violence of Mackenzie and other Canadian Reformers.


Hard Times.

In Lower Canada the period after the war was dark and stormy. At first trade was bad and the harvests were poor, while for many years abuses of all sorts flourished under the rule of the Compact. The wild lands had been largely taken up by men who only hoped to make money by selling them, and so took no trouble to clear or improve them. This made it difficult in many parts of the country for useful settlers to obtain good land. Some of the judges were accused of breaking the laws, and many of the officials did little to earn their salaries.

Strife for Power.

The assembly, composed chiefly of Frenchmen, was eager for reform, but the officials, nearly all of whom were English, were determined to keep their power. The struggle between them took different forms, but raged longest and most fiercely over the question whether the officials or the people’s representatives were to control the supplies,—for whoever had command of the money really ruled the country.

Little by little the assembly obtained more power. The number of officials gradually increased, and the governor was obliged to ask for extra grants of money. But the assembly would give them only on condition of being informed how they were to be used.

Reform Leaders.

A leading spirit amongst the Reformers was a young French Canadian barrister named Louis Joseph Papineau. He was fine looking and a brilliant speaker, and had great influence upon other young men.

Another notable Reformer, Wolfred Nelson, was a wealthy doctor of English descent; he joined heartily with the French Canadians in the struggle against the tyranny of the officials. Both he and Papineau had served against the Americans in the war of 1812.

The Governors.

In 1816 Sir John Sherbrooke, who had ruled Nova Scotia for five years, became governor-general. By his wise management he calmed, to some extent, the strife between the two political parties, but his health failed, and, at his own desire, he was recalled. The next governor, the Duke of Richmond, though courteous and hospitable, had high ideas of his rights as the king’s representative, and thought the assembly altogether in the wrong. In his time, when asked for an unusually large grant, the assembly tried to lower the salaries of the officials, and voted the grant in such a way that the council angrily rejected the bill. The governor took the side of the council, and sharply rebuked the lower house.

Lord Dalhousie.

Soon afterwards the duke died of a terrible illness brought on by the bite of a tame fox; and in 1820 the Earl of Dalhousie took his place. The dispute about the supplies still continued, and when the two chambers could not agree upon a bill arranging for the payment of the officials, the governor used the public money without their leave.

English Laws for Canada.

Besides these difficulties within the province, a quarrel had long been going on with Upper Canada concerning the duties collected in the lower province. Upper Canada complained that for years it had not received a fair share of this money. In 1822 a bill was brought into the British parliament for reuniting the two provinces, but the suggestion did not please either. Indeed it raised such a storm of opposition in Lower Canada that the idea was given up.

In the following year, however, the British parliament passed the Canada Trade Act to settle the dispute about the duties. It also ordered that certain taxes, levied by the parliament of Lower Canada for a term of years, should be continued for five years longer. If they had ceased to be paid the governor would have been unable to lay his hands on any fund for the payment of the officials when they quarrelled with the assembly. In any case he had no right to use the public money without the consent of the assembly, and his doing so increased the bitterness of the quarrel so much that for several years scarcely any bills of any kind were passed by the parliament of Lower Canada.


One event after another added to the excitement in Lower Canada. In 1825 it was found that one of the officials, named Caldwell, had robbed the country of many thousands of pounds. Two years later the assembly refused to grant supplies, and Lord Dalhousie dissolved parliament with angry reproaches. All over the country the excitement was intense. Papineau and his friends held up the governor to the scorn of the people, and in the general election scarcely any supporters of the officials were chosen.

Papineau, Speaker.

Papineau, who had been speaker of six parliaments, was again elected to that office. This annoyed the governor so much that he prorogued or dismissed the assembly for the time, without allowing it to do any business. Many editors were tried about this time for libel, but the newspapers only became more violent, and petitions were sent to London signed by a vast number of people begging for a new system of government.

Grievances Inquired Into.

The British ministers were at last alarmed at the disturbances in all the different North American colonies. Lord Dalhousie was recalled, and Sir James Kempt was sent from Nova Scotia to govern Lower Canada in his stead. A committee was also appointed by the Imperial parliament to inquire what reason there was for the complaints of the colonists. It advised a number of reforms; and the British government promised, on certain conditions, to give up to the assembly the control of almost all the public money. Meanwhile Kempt tried in every possible way to soothe the Canadians. Papineau was allowed to act as speaker, and a number of useful acts were passed during the session. But an address was sent to the British parliament asking for greater reforms.

Control of the Supplies.

Late in 1830 Lord Aylmer was made governor. A few months afterwards the British government offered to give up to the assembly all control of the revenues of the province, on condition that it should vote what was called a civil list, that is, a fixed sum for the salaries of certain officials. The sum asked was not large, and the moderate Reformers wished to accept the offer, but Papineau and his party would have nothing to do with it, because other reforms were not granted also. For several years after this no supply bills were passed, and as the governor had now no funds at his command, the judges and other officials received no salaries. This was called the “Officials’ Famine.”

The Ninety-two Resolutions.

In 1834 ninety-two resolutions were passed by the assembly, repeating the old complaints against the officials, and urging, as it had been urged many times before, that the members of the legislative council should be elected by the people, which would, of course, have put them under the power of the people. In the debate which followed, Papineau and many of his followers spoke most wildly and recklessly. The house voted money for local improvements and charitable purposes, but none for the expenses of government, and at last the members went home without waiting for the governor to dismiss them.

General Agitation.

Lord Aylmer had declared that the people were quiet, and that the members of the assembly were to blame for all the trouble; but soon the whole country was in a blaze of excitement. Committees were formed in all the towns to keep up the agitation and to correspond with the Reformers of the other provinces, and the people were urged not to buy British goods. But this violence alarmed the more moderate Reformers, and the official party still petitioned the king to allow no change to be made.

A Royal Commission.

The British ministers decided, however, to send out men to Canada to inquire into the cause of all the trouble. One of them, Lord Gosford, was made governor in place of Lord Aylmer. He appointed several moderate Reformers to government offices, and tried generally to calm and please the people, but the legislative council rejected nearly every bill sent up by the assembly, and again no supply bills were passed. Moreover, the report of the commissioners, as they were called, was most disappointing to all the Reformers. When it was received by the imperial parliament, early in 1837, Lord John Russell passed resolutions refusing to make the legislative council elective, or the executive council responsible to the assembly, and threatening, if the assembly of Lower Canada did not vote the desired grant for the officials’ salaries, to empower the governor to use the public money for the expenses of government and for paying what was then owing to the officials, without reference to the assembly. In those days, though little more than half a century ago, few British statesmen thought it possible to give to colonists the same privileges of self-government as those enjoyed in the Motherland; and men who, had they been colonists, would have been amongst the leading agitators for reform, were inclined to think that the desire of the Canadians to control the public money showed a want of loyalty.

Increased Excitement.

As it was thought likely that the passing of these resolutions might raise a storm in Canada, Lord Gosford was directed to draw troops from the Maritime Provinces. The news did raise a storm. Papineau and many of the newspapers recklessly stirred up the people, and the whole country seemed rushing into rebellion. But Lord Gosford still tried to preserve the peace. Once more he called the assembly together, but it was in such an angry temper that he was obliged to prorogue it in a week.

Preparing for the Struggle.

Some of the agitators began to drill and to make other preparations for rising, but Papineau, alarmed at the flames he had done so much to kindle, now tried to discourage the violence of his followers. Meanwhile Sir John Colborne, who had been governor of Upper Canada and was now commander of the forces, was also preparing for the struggle. He sent to New Brunswick for soldiers, and armed a number of Canadian volunteers. In this time of danger the Roman Catholic clergy came to the help of the government, as they had done twenty-five years earlier, and induced many of their people to remain quiet. Their bishops also tried to persuade the executive council to join in asking the imperial government for changes which would satisfy the moderate Reformers, but in this they were not successful.


Sir Francis Head.

Late in 1835 Sir Francis Bond Head was made lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada. He had been a soldier, and had written several amusing books of travel, but boasted that he knew no more of politics than the horses that drew his carriage. The Reformers had fancied that he would sympathize with them, and were grievously disappointed to find that he did not. In his speech on opening parliament, he declared that no change would be made in the Canadian system of government, and he soon fell completely under the influence of the Family Compact.

Papineau’s Letter.

Sir John Colborne had said that the agitation in Lower Canada was injuring the country, and Papineau wrote to the speaker of the assembly of Upper Canada defending those who had taken part in it. Upon this the supporters of the government accused him of trying to stir up strife in the upper province, where bad harvests and bad trade had lately added to the discontent of the people.

The Executive Council.

Early in 1836, however, the Reformers began to think that better days were dawning, for three of their number were invited to enter the executive council. But it soon appeared that the governor did not think it necessary to consult his council, and a few weeks later all its members, Tories and Reformers alike, resigned their seats. Sir Francis chose new councillors belonging to the Compact, and the assembly, in its anger and disappointment, refused to grant supplies for carrying on the government. Head soon dissolved it and, forgetful that as governor he had no right to mix himself up with party strife, used every means in his power to influence the elections in favour of the official party. The result was that the Compact again had a majority in the assembly, and many well-known Reformers, including Mackenzie, lost their seats.

Mackenzie at Work.

Unable to rest at this exciting time, Mackenzie began to publish a newspaper which he called The Constitution, and again the province was stirred from one end to the other by his wild appeals to the people in the name of liberty.

In the summer of 1837 he began to form societies to work against the government and to keep in touch with the Reformers of Lower Canada. He threw prudence to the winds, and openly ventured to discuss whether “the Canadians should shoulder their muskets and declare independence.”

Queen Victoria.

A Rising Threatened.

Soon afterwards some of the more violent Reformers secretly drew up and signed a Declaration of Independence. Lord John Russell’s resolutions roused as much anger in Upper as in Lower Canada, for they were held to threaten the liberty of both alike; and a number of the people began to prepare in earnest for a rising. They had no arms except those used for hunting, but a number of pikes were made, and shooting at marks became a popular amusement.

In spite of the many signs that trouble was brewing, Head sent all the troops out of the country to help to keep order in the lower province. This, he explained, was to test the loyalty of the people of Upper Canada.

Queen Victoria.

A few months earlier, in June, 1837, William IV had died, and his niece, our good Queen Victoria, then a girl of eighteen, began her long and glorious reign over an empire upon which it is said the sun never sets.


Riot in Montreal.

Early in November, 1837, there was a fight in the streets of Montreal between some of Papineau’s followers, calling themselves “Sons of Liberty,” and a club formed to support the government. Several people were wounded, and the office of a violent Reform newspaper was attacked; but the soldiers dispersed the rioters before very much mischief was done.

Other Outbreaks.

The government now offered large rewards for capture of Papineau, Nelson, and other leading Reformers. Dr. Nelson took refuge in a strong stone building at St. Denis, and managed, after several hours’ hard fighting, to beat off the soldiers who came to take him, though most of his followers were armed only with pitch-forks or thick sticks.

This success encouraged the rebels, but two days later a number of half-armed countrymen, who had occupied a large house at St. Charles, were attacked by a few British troops and some loyal volunteers. Many were killed or wounded, and the rest fled. Nelson’s followers then deserted him, and the doctor was captured before he could cross the boundary. Papineau had already left the country. Other bodies of rebels had gathered at different places, but were easily dispersed.

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island all offered help to the government in putting down the rising in Lower Canada. But in Upper Canada it was the signal for a general movement of the disaffected.

The Rising in Upper Canada.

The object of the leaders was to obtain arms, and Sir Francis Head’s imprudence in having sent away the troops seemed likely to render this easy. A quantity of muskets lay unguarded in the City Hall at Toronto, and a night attack was planned for the seizure of these arms and of the governor and his advisers.

A few days earlier Mackenzie had published in his paper a plan for a “Constitution for the State of Upper Canada.” But though the officials had been ready enough to proceed against him in days when his loyalty was unquestioned, they now seemed determined not to interfere with his plans till he had led his followers into open rebellion. He professed to believe that the government could be overturned and a new one set up without bloodshed; but many of the moderate Reformers would have nothing to do with his schemes.

Toronto Threatened.

The plans of the rebel leaders were not well laid. It was first decided that Toronto should be attacked on December 7th; then the day was changed to December 4th. This caused great confusion, and by the 4th so few men had gathered at the place of meeting (Montgomery’s tavern, a few miles north of Toronto), that the attack had to be put off again.

Late that night Colonel Moodie, a supporter of the government, was fatally wounded while trying to force his way through the rebel guards to carry news to Toronto. One of the insurgent leaders was also shot by a prisoner whom he was taking to the tavern.

Colonel Van Egmond, an experienced soldier who was to lead the attack on the city, had not arrived, and the excitable Mackenzie undertook to lead it himself.

Meanwhile great confusion reigned within Toronto. On December 5th Head put his family on board a vessel in the bay, and then to gain time sent Mr. Baldwin and Dr. Rolph with a flag of truce to ask the demands of the rebels. Both were well-known Reformers, and Rolph is said to have been mixed up in the plot. The insurgents demanded nothing less than the independence of Canada.

When night fell Mackenzie marched on the city. But after a slight skirmish with a little company of its defenders, his ill-armed, undisciplined force fled in a panic back to Montgomery’s tavern. Next day they captured a mail coach, but, waiting for reinforcements which did not appear, made no further attempt on the city. On the other hand, many men came to the support of the government, and on the 7th Sir Francis ordered an attack upon the rebels, which was led by Lieut.-Colonel FitzGibbon, the “hero of Beaver Dams.”

The Rebels Defeated.

The insurgents had taken up a position on Gallows’ Hill, at a little distance from the inn, but after a few minutes’ fighting, in which one man is said to have been killed, they gave way and fled from the field. Many of the prisoners taken that day were pardoned on the spot, but their leaders were hotly pursued. With great difficulty Mackenzie escaped to the United States.

A few days later some rebels who had gathered at St. Eustache were beaten by Sir John Colborne. He had a force of 2000 men and several small cannon. On his approach many of the rebels deserted, but the rest obstinately defended themselves in the village church and some other buildings for two hours. To punish the rebels Colborne ordered the villages of St Eustache, St. Denis, and St. Benoit to be burnt.

The prisons in both provinces were soon crowded with men suspected of plotting against the government. The first effect of the revolt was to strengthen the hands of the Compact; and the loyalty of all the Reformers was doubted, in many cases most unjustly.

Mackenzie on Navy Island.

Meanwhile Mackenzie and a few kindred spirits, who had received a warm welcome from some American sympathizers, were collecting men in the United States for the invasion of Canada. In less than a week after his flight from Gallows’ Hill, Mackenzie ventured again into British territory, taking possession of Navy Island, in the Niagara River. He set up what he called “a provisional government” for Canada, offered a reward of $500 for the capture of Sir Francis Head, and promised land and money to all who would help to conquer Canada. The “Patriot army,” as Mackenzie called his force, was left in undisturbed possession of the island for several days, but Colonel MacNab with a band of loyal volunteers closely watched it from the Canadian shore.

The “Caroline.”

To carry their supplies the rebels had hired from an American a well-built little steamer called the Caroline, and MacNab determined to capture it. Accordingly, after dark on December 29th, a few bold Canadians crossed the dangerous river to the wharf where the Caroline lay moored. They forced its crew ashore, set fire to the vessel, and towed it out into the current. For a time it blazed up brightly, casting a red light on the rushing waters, then it sank suddenly, and all was black again. Colonel MacNab was knighted for this exploit; but it caused a great outcry in the United States, and if England had not apologized for the deed there would probably have been another war between the two nations.

The rebels left Navy Island after holding it for a month, for Sir John Colborne had sent up heavy guns from the St. Lawrence, and they knew that the woods, which had been a good protection against musket shot, would be useless against cannon-balls and bomb-shells. Van Rensselaer, whom Mackenzie had engaged to act as general, was arrested on his return to his own country for breaking the neutrality laws, which forbade anyone living in the United States to make attacks on a friendly nation; but when allowed to go free on bail he again employed himself in trying to disturb the peace of Canada.

Attacks in the West.

Some signs of discontent amongst the people in the west of Upper Canada led the rebel leaders to make a feeble attempt at invasion in that quarter. They tried to get a foothold at Amherstburg, Sandwich, and Point Pelee Island, in Lake Erie, but the loyal militia were as ready to defend the country now as in 1812, and the invaders, most of whom were rascals and vagabonds of the lowest kind, were driven back with heavy loss.


New Governors.

On the outbreak of the rebellion the constitution of Lower Canada was suspended, that is, the power of the assembly was for a time taken away, and the government was put into the hands of the governor and a special council. Lord Gosford had resigned, and Sir John Colborne took his place, while Sir Francis Head was succeeded by Sir George Arthur, lately governor of Van Dieman’s Land, where criminals were sent for punishment. Both men were stern and harsh, and their appointment alarmed the Reformers. But the British Government had begun to believe that the Canadians must have some real grievances, and they soon afterwards sent the Earl of Durham to inquire into the reason of the trouble, appointing him Governor-General of the British North American colonies and Lord High Commissioner.

The Prisoners in Upper Canada.

In both provinces the jails were crowded. In Upper Canada the judges were busy for weeks trying the prisoners, though Sir George Arthur was empowered by parliament to pardon persons asking for mercy on such conditions as he thought fit. A number of persons were condemned to death, but the stern sentence was carried out only in the case of Lount and Matthews. After the fight at Gallows’ Hill, Matthews had hidden for two wintry days and nights in the ravines of Rosedale, near Toronto, and Lount had tried to cross Lake Erie in an open boat, but after suffering terribly from cold and hunger had been driven back by the wind to the Canadian shore. The governor was besieged with petitions in their favour, but nothing moved him, and in April they were hanged at Toronto.

The Governor-General.

Lord Durham reached Quebec in May, 1838. He had great abilities, but was hot-tempered, irritable, and fond of pomp and show. He held office for only six months, but no governor-general has done more for Canada. He at once set his secretary and several other gentlemen to make careful inquiries concerning the condition of the people and the state of the country.


Scarcely a week after his arrival a little Canadian steamer, calling for wood at an island in Lake Ontario, was attacked at night by a gang of ruffians. They robbed all on board, set fire to the vessel, and took refuge amongst the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence, sallying forth now and then to rob some lonely farm-house. Others followed this bad example, keeping the Canadian borders in alarm, but the watchfulness of the government prevented any great mischief.

The Prisoners.

In Lower Canada the captured rebels had been kept in prison till Lord Durham arrived. He was most unwilling to treat them harshly, and at last decided to let most of them go without further punishment than the imprisonment they had already suffered. Accordingly, on June 28th, 1838, the day of Queen Victoria’s coronation, he proclaimed a general pardon, but excepted from its benefits a few of the leaders. Papineau and several others who had escaped from the province were forbidden to return without leave on pain of death. The rest, including Dr. Wolfred Nelson, were still in prison, and, with their own consent, were banished to Bermuda.

But in England there was a loud outcry against Lord Durham for having banished these men on his own authority. This made him so angry that he refused to govern Canada any longer. Before returning home he pardoned all the men whom he had excepted from his former pardon.

Lord Durham’s Advice.

Angry as he was, however, the earl was most anxious that all the colonies should be governed on a better plan. He laid before the British parliament a full account of their many grievances, and declared that to grant responsible government would be the best and simplest way of curing these evils and satisfying the just demands of the Reformers.

He also advised uniting the two Canadas under one government. He had at first thought of a confederation, or union under one central government, of all the British-American colonies, and had even held a meeting of the lieutenant-governors at Quebec to discuss the plan; but at that time it did not seem possible to carry out the idea.

Early in 1839 a bill was brought into the British parliament for the reunion of Upper and Lower Canada; but it was not passed during that session, so that there might be time to gain the consent of the people.

Hunters’ Lodges.

While Lord Durham was trying to lay a foundation for the peace and good government of Canada, the enemies of the country were busy on the other side of the boundary. They formed many secret societies, called “Hunters’ lodges,” professedly with the object of setting up a republican form of government in Canada. But many of the members were of bad character, and probably their real object was plunder.

Fresh Outbreaks.

After Lord Durham’s sudden departure there was another attempt at revolt. On the first Sunday in November a party of rebels tried to seize some arms and stores at the Indian settlement of Caughnawaga, but the warriors, rushing out of church, took sixty prisoners and put the rest to flight.

Dr. Robert Nelson, a younger brother of the rebel leader, had gathered a number of insurgents at Napiersville, but Colborne’s troops soon drove them across the boundary. Many persons were arrested, some without much reason, and their property was destroyed by the troops.

An Old Windmill.

Von Schultz.

The members of the Hunters’ lodges now threatened Canada at different points. On November 11th about two hundred men crossed the St. Lawrence and took possession of a strong stone windmill near Prescott. They were led by a Pole named Von Schultz, who thought that the Canadians were terribly oppressed. They held out bravely for several days, till the walls of the mill were shattered with cannon balls. They then surrendered, and Von Schultz was tried and hanged at Kingston with several of his companions. He was defended by a young barrister, John Alexander Macdonald, who afterwards became famous in the history of the Dominion.

The Last Raid.

Early in December several hundred men crossed from Detroit to Windsor, murdered four men, burnt a steamer, and did other mischief. But they were soon defeated by a body of militia under Col. Prince. He ordered four of the prisoners to be shot without trial. For this he was severely blamed. This was the last raid on Canada. The invaders were becoming disheartened, for the British forces had lately been strengthened, and the United States government was at last taking strong measures to prevent such outrages.

The Maine Boundary Dispute.

But war with the United States itself seemed threatening. There were several causes of dispute. Amongst them was the still unsettled boundary line between Maine and New Brunswick. At the beginning of 1839 a few lawless fellows from the British province began to cut timber in the debatable land. Men were sent from Maine to drive them away, and from New Brunswick to protect them. Next, troops were ordered into the country. Some people on each side clamoured for war, but happily those in authority were anxious to keep the peace, and three years later the boundary question was settled.


Charles Poulett Thompson.

In the autumn of 1839 Sir George Arthur and Sir John Colborne were both recalled to make way for a new governor-general, the Hon. Charles Poulett Thompson. He has been described as a clear-sighted business man, clever in managing those about him, and for this reason was sent out to obtain the consent of the Canadians to the union of the upper and lower provinces.

Responsible Government.

The British government had decided to follow Lord Durham’s advice and grant the colonies responsible government. Lord John Russell accordingly instructed the governor to take as councillors those who were trusted by the people. A little later the members of the executive councils in the different provinces were informed that they were no longer to hold office for life, but might be removed if a change seemed for the public good. This, of course, opened the way for their removal whenever they lost the confidence of the assembly. The judges, however, were still to be appointed for life.

But some time passed before the governors and officials in the different provinces settled down to follow the new plan, and in Upper and Lower Canada much had to be done before it could even be fairly tried.

Union Agreed to.

Thompson tried earnestly to gain the goodwill of the French Canadians, but they looked on him with suspicion. There was, however, no assembly to oppose the union of the Canadas, and the special council readily gave its consent to the plan.

In Upper Canada the Family Compact stoutly objected to the proposed change, fearing that it would undermine its power. But when the assembly passed a bill asking for union, Thompson persuaded the legislative council to agree to it as a matter of loyalty.

The Act of Union.

The British parliament then passed an Act of Union, and in February, 1841, the two provinces became one.

The Act provided that Upper and Lower Canada should each be represented in the assembly by forty-two members, and in the legislative council by ten members, appointed for life by the governor.

All the public money of the province was to be under the control of parliament, except £75,000, which was to be used for the payment of certain officials. To prevent grants being given recklessly, a rule was made that only members of the government might bring in money bills.

The new province was made responsible for the debts of both the old ones. That of Lower Canada was small; but Upper Canada had borrowed large sums for making canals and other improvements. These canals were of some benefit to the lower province, but the French Canadians naturally objected to sharing debts for works about which they had never been consulted; and they thought it unfair that the lower province, with a much larger population than Upper Canada, should have only the same number of members in the new parliament. They were also annoyed because all the records of the parliament were to be kept in English. In fact they did not like the Act of Union at all.

The Executive Council.

There were to be eight members in the new executive council, and those having seats in the assembly were to follow the English plan and to be re-elected after taking office.

Thompson, or Lord Sydenham, as he had lately become, chose his first executive council from all the different political parties, of which there were five or six. William Henry Draper, a member of the Family Compact, and Robert Baldwin, the leader of the Reformers of Upper Canada, both had seats, but the latter soon resigned.

The First Parliament.

In June, 1841, the first parliament of united Canada met at Kingston, which had been chosen as the capital.

During its first session it passed a number of useful bills. One of the most important was a Municipal Act, as it was called, giving power to the towns and townships of Upper Canada to elect councils for the management of their local affairs. This plan saved the time of the assembly, and the local councils knew better than the assembly what roads and bridges, for instance, were needed in their own districts.

While parliament was still sitting, Lord Sydenham was thrown from his horse, and soon afterwards died from the effects of the accident.


Need for Reform.

During the years of agitation and revolt in Canada the battle for liberty was also being fought, though rather less fiercely, in the Maritime Provinces. The selfish tyranny of the officials and the mismanagement of the public lands and public money caused endless complaints.

A Judge.

The assembly of New Brunswick had no control over the revenue or government money, for the large sums derived from the sale of the crown lands were more than enough for the payment of the governor, judges, and other officials. In 1832 it demanded an account of the way in which this money was spent, but the governor-general, Sir Archibald Campbell, was opposed to reform, and no account was given.

New Brunswick.

In 1833 separate legislative and executive councils were formed in New Brunswick. But as all the members of the new executive council belonged to the Family Compact, this step neither satisfied the Reformers nor gave more power to the assembly.

Lemuel Allan Wilmot.

About this time a lawyer named Lemuel Allan Wilmot entered the assembly and became the leader of the Reformers, though he was related to some of the officials. He belonged to a loyalist family, and was well educated and a brilliant speaker.

In 1836 the assembly again demanded an account of the public money. It was again refused, and Wilmot and another member of parliament named Crane were sent to England to appeal to the colonial secretary.

The Civil List Bill.

The result was that the revenues from the crown lands were put under the control of parliament on condition that it should vote certain sums to be paid yearly to the officials for their services. This Civil List Bill, as it was called, was passed both by the assembly and the legislative council. The governor, disliking the reform, refused his assent, and secretly sent a messenger to London to try to bring over the colonial secretary to his way of thinking. But the assembly, finding out what he had done, again sent Crane and Wilmot to England, and the governor was recalled.

Sir John Harvey.

He was succeeded by Sir John Harvey, the victor of Stoney Creek, who did much to calm the strife between the different parties, but earned the dislike of the extreme Tories by his desire for reform. On receiving Lord John Russell’s despatch in favour of responsible government, he at once read it to the assembly. But, strangely enough, a resolution to adopt the plan was defeated by the casting vote of the speaker.

The Compact in Nova Scotia.

In Nova Scotia the council was even more out of sympathy with the people than in New Brunswick. All the councillors lived in Halifax, many of them were related, and nearly all were chosen from the Church of England, though a great many of the people belonged to other churches.

Joseph Howe.

As in Upper Canada, the people found a leader in the editor of a newspaper, but Joseph Howe was not so imprudent and excitable as Mackenzie. He was the son of a loyalist. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to a printer, and a few years later began to publish the Nova Scotian newspaper. He gave offence by the energy with which he demanded reform, and in 1835 was prosecuted for an attack on the magistrates of Halifax county. But he was acquitted, and soon afterwards was elected to the assembly.

The Council Condemned.

He had not been long in parliament when he brought in twelve resolutions, which were passed by the assembly, accusing the council of being self-interested, and opposed to liberty and the education of the people.

The council angrily threatened not to pass the supply bills unless these resolutions were withdrawn. The assembly gave way, but afterwards prepared an address to the king complaining of the council, and begging that it might be made elective, or be reformed in some way.

The British Government would not make the council elective, but promised to divide it, as in New Brunswick, into executive and legislative branches, and to give the assembly control of the revenues on the condition it should vote a fixed sum for the payment of the officials.

Sir Colin Campbell.

At this time Nova Scotia was ruled by a stern old soldier, Sir Colin Campbell. Like his namesake in New Brunswick, he strongly disapproved of reform, and was determined to support the Compact.

On the outbreak of rebellion in Canada, the Reformers of Nova Scotia took great pains to show their loyalty both to the Queen and the British Empire. Yet they hailed with delight Lord Durham’s report and the promise of responsible government in Lord John Russell’s despatches. But Sir Colin Campbell took no notice of the latter, and in the next session of the assembly Howe and his friends passed resolutions declaring their firm belief in the principle of responsible government and their want of confidence in the executive council.

Campbell calmly replied that he was satisfied with his advisers if they were not. This caused the wildest excitement all through the country. The Reformers petitioned for the recall of the governor, and held meetings to stir up the people to insist on responsible government, and the Tories held meetings in support of Sir Colin and the old order of things.

The Governor-General.

In July, 1840, the governor-general visited Halifax. He advised that several executive councillors, who had no seats in parliament, should be dismissed, that Reformers should be appointed in their stead, and that all the councillors should hold office only while they had the confidence of the people. This advice was followed, but the plan did not work smoothly, for Howe and the other new councillors often differed in opinion from James W. Johnston, the able and eloquent leader of the Tories.

Prince Edward Island.

The agitation for the separation of the legislative and executive councils, and for responsible government, had begun in Prince Edward Island some years earlier. In 1839 the council was divided, and the chief justice retired from political life, but responsible government was not granted. Some reform was greatly needed, for money matters were very badly managed; but the islanders had to persist in their demands for several years longer before the desired change was made.


Meanwhile, Newfoundland had its own political troubles. The quarrels between the legislative council and the assembly were fierce and constant. But the agitation for responsible government did not begin there till some time after the principle was generally followed in the other provinces.


Number of People.

During the half century following the passing of the Constitutional Act, the population had greatly increased. In 1841 there were about 630,000 people in Lower Canada, 470,000 in Upper Canada, and rather more than 400,000 in the Maritime Provinces.

Their Occupations.

In the latter the people gained their living chiefly by fishing, mining, or lumbering, but in Canada their chief occupation was farming. In a great part of Lower Canada the farmers were poor, for so many crops had been raised in the same fields, and so little had been done to improve the soil, that it was almost exhausted. In Lower Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia much ship-building was carried on. In 1841 sixty-four sea-going vessels were built at Quebec alone. There were hardly any other important manufactures.

Lumber Boom.

The fur trade, though no longer the chief source of wealth in the older colonies, still held its own in the northern and western wilds, and the traders were the unwilling means of opening new regions to settlers.

One of the chief exports of Upper Canada was potash. It was obtained from the ashes of trees burnt to clear the land, and was almost the only article which could be sold for cash in the new settlements.

New Settlers.

In the older towns and villages many of the people lived in great comfort. But the newcomers, pushing on into the uncleared forests, had to depend nearly as much on making what they needed for themselves as had the loyalists before them. Some, indeed, unused to hard work, ill-provided with food, and living in rough, badly-built little shanties, suffered grievously during the first winter or two.

Old Stage Coach.

Means of Travelling.

The roads were generally poor. Indeed, the “main streets” of some towns were so badly made that, in the spring, oxen were often hired to help to draw a heavily-laden waggon over a muddy spot. In 1816 the stage-coach leaving Toronto on Monday was thought to have made good speed if it reached Niagara on Thursday. In the same year a coach began to run between Halifax and Windsor in Nova Scotia. It took nearly a month to send letters from Halifax to Toronto, so it is not surprising that the news published in the paper was sometimes several weeks old.

First Railway Engine
used in Nova Scotia.

The people, however, were trying to improve the means of travelling. Before 1830 the Welland Canal, between Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Rideau Canal, from the Ottawa to Lake Ontario, and several other canals, had been made. They were a great benefit to many of the farmers, enabling them to send their grain to better markets than they could reach by road.

In 1836 the first Canadian railway, fourteen miles long, was opened between Laprairie, near Montreal, and St. John’s, on the Richelieu. Three years later a steam engine was used to draw coal from the Albion mines to New Glasgow. These two little lines were then the only railways in British North America.

The “Royal William.”

But though steam engines were so little used on land, many steamboats were already afloat. The second steamboat ever seen in America was launched at Montreal in 1809. About twenty years later the Royal William, which was the first ship to cross the Atlantic under steam during the whole passage, was built at Quebec, and in 1840 Samuel Cunard, a native of Nova Scotia, established a line of mail steamers between England and America.

Schools and Churches.

In Lower Canada few of the habitants could read or write, and sometimes even the school trustees were unable to sign their names. In the other provinces things were not so bad as this. But not one of them had a really good system of schools such as we have now.

Many places of worship had been built in all the provinces, but the outlying settlements, as in the present day, were greatly in need of both ministers and churches.


All over the country there was much drunkenness, but great efforts were being made to check it, and many temperance societies were formed. In the early years of Toronto, or York, drunkards were punished by being made to dig up one of the stumps which disfigured the main street.

The punishments of those days were often very severe. In 1826 a lad was hanged in New Brunswick for stealing a few pence. In 1834 Mackenzie put a man in the stocks at Toronto for being drunk and disorderly. This was the last time that they were used.

The prisons generally were badly managed. For instance, boys undergoing punishment for some trifling offence were often locked in with hardened criminals, who soon taught them to be as bad as themselves. The jail at Toronto was wretchedly dirty, cold, and damp. There was, indeed, no plan for warming it, even in the bitterest weather; yet lunatics as well as criminals were sometimes shut up in it.



Sir Charles Bagot.

In 1842 Sir Charles Bagot became governor-general. He encouraged all improvements, such as road-making, and soon won popularity with French and English alike. Though a Conservative at home, he made no attempt to go back to the old way of governing. During this year the Reformers passed a vote of want of confidence in the ministry or executive council, and its members resigned. Bagot then invited Baldwin and Lafontaine, a French Canadian Reformer, to form a ministry.

Soon afterwards Bagot asked to be recalled, on account of ill-health, but died at Kingston on his way home.

Sir Charles Metcalfe.

The next governor, Sir Charles (afterwards Lord) Metcalfe, thought responsible government in a colony a mistake. He paid little heed to the wishes of his councillors, and made appointments to government offices against their advice. At last all except one resigned. As they had a majority in the assembly, the governor found it difficult to fill their places, and for several months ruled without any regular council. This caused great excitement, but the Reformers were beaten in the elections of 1844.

The new parliament met at Montreal instead of Kingston. Amongst its members was John A. Macdonald.

During the following summer two fires at Quebec rendered twenty thousand people homeless. Lord Metcalfe, and other persons in England, Canada, and the United States, gave generous help to the sufferers.

Metcalfe was slowly dying from a dreadful disease, and he left Canada in 1845. In private life he was kind and generous, and had made many friends, in spite of his attack on the hard-won liberty of the colonists.

Nova Scotia.

Meanwhile a struggle of the same kind was going on in the Maritime Provinces. Viscount Falkland, the new governor of Nova Scotia, had little tact, and was often put into difficult positions by the disagreements of his councillors. The disputes were especially hot over certain important questions of education.


One party wished parliament to continue the old plan of giving grants to colleges controlled by the Baptists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and Church of England; the other wished the money to be used for one provincial university for students of all religious opinions. In the midst of the dispute Lord Falkland dissolved the assembly, and a small majority was returned in favour of the Conservatives and separate colleges.

The New Councillor.

Soon afterwards Falkland appointed a new executive councillor without consulting those members of his council who were Reformers. Upon this Howe and his friends angrily resigned. The Conservative majority in the assembly was so small, however, that it was difficult to pass any bills, and soon most of the Reformers were asked to re-enter the council. But they refused. Falkland blamed Howe for all the trouble, and Howe insulted the governor.

Sir John Harvey.

At last the great peace-maker, Sir John Harvey, was sent to take Lord Falkland’s place. But he could not persuade the Reformers and Conservatives to work together, and the latter remained in power till the election of 1847 gave the Reformers a great majority. This forced the Conservatives to resign, and from that time responsible government by party, as it is called, has been the rule in Nova Scotia.

New Brunswick.

We must now turn to New Brunswick. In 1842 the Conservatives were in power, and the governor, Sir William Colebrook, like Falkland and Metcalfe, thought it his right to give government offices to whom he chose. But when he made his son-in-law—an Englishman—provincial secretary, several of the councillors resigned. In 1848, however, the Reformers gained a majority in the assembly, and both parties agreed to be guided by the principles of responsible government.

Prince Edward Island.

In 1847 several people were killed in an election riot in Prince Edward Island. Elections were then held on different days, in different places, and rough, disorderly men often went from one to another. To prevent this an Act was passed in 1848, ordering all elections to be held on the same day. In the previous year a similar Act had been passed in Nova Scotia.

Drying Cod.

Responsible Government.

The people continued to ask for responsible government, but it was refused on the ground that it was only suited to richer and more populous countries. At the same time the islanders were asked to pay all the government expenses except the governor’s salary. But the assembly would agree to this only on condition that the public money and crown lands should be put under its control, and that responsible government should be granted. The British Government still refused responsible government, but agreed to the other conditions. The Reformers persisted, however, and after their leader, George Coles, had moved a vote of want of confidence in the executive council, the assembly refused to go on with the ordinary business of the session. The result was that responsible government was granted in 1851.


The people of Newfoundland began to agitate for responsible government about 1847, and obtained it in 1855. In 1846 there was a terrible fire at St. John’s. A few weeks later a frightful storm caused the loss of many lives, and wrecked ships, fish-stages, and houses along the shore.


Difficulty with the States.

About 1841 serious disputes arose between England and the United States. England claimed the right of searching slave-ships from Africa, even if they ran up the American flag; the Americans insisted that the British ought to give up run-away slaves who had taken refuge under the Union Jack; and the Maine boundary question had again become troublesome.

The Ashburton Treaty.

But instead of going to war, the two nations wisely settled these disputes peaceably by the Ashburton Treaty, signed in 1842. It was agreed that the African slave trade should be put down, and that persons suspected of certain crimes, who escaped from one country to the other, should be given up; but Great Britain would not promise to give up runaway slaves. It was also decided that the disputed territory should be divided between Maine and New Brunswick in such a way that the larger and more valuable portion fell to the former.

Western Boundaries.

Another boundary quarrel soon occurred, however. The dividing line between British territory and the United States was only settled as far as the Rocky Mountains, and a great part of the Pacific coast was claimed by both nations, though for many years it had been occupied only by Indians and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s traders. Their forts were widely scattered through the wilderness; and in 1839 a few Scotch and Canadian farmers were brought out to supply the traders with necessaries, hitherto brought across the Rockies from Canada or round by Cape Horn from England.

Chief’s House,
British Columbia.

By and by, however, American settlers pushed across the mountains, and the United States demanded the whole Pacific coast. “Fifty-four forty, or fight!” was the popular cry. This meant that the Americans wanted fifty-four degrees, forty minutes, north latitude, to be the boundary. Their territory would then have touched Alaska—at that time belonging to Russia—and the British would have had none of the sea-coast at all. Upon this the British Government prepared for war, and sent Lord Cathcart, an experienced soldier, to take Metcalfe’s place.

The Treaty of Oregon, 1846.

But again the countries made a peaceful agreement instead of fighting. By the Treaty of Oregon it was decided that the forty-ninth parallel, which was the dividing line across the prairies, should also be the boundary from the mountains to the sea; but that Vancouver Island should belong to the British. This obliged the Hudson’s Bay Company to give up some of its southern posts.

Trade Laws.

In 1845 and for several successive years the potato crop failed in Ireland, causing a dreadful famine amongst the poor. This and other reasons induced the British government to take off the taxes on grain in 1846, so that foreign nations might send larger quantities to England. This displeased the colonies, and injured their trade for a time; for, as a lower duty had been charged on their grain than on that from foreign countries, they had been able to sell cheaper than the latter, and British merchants had consequently bought from them rather than from foreigners.

On the other hand, the imperial government gave the colonies leave to put what duties they pleased on both British and foreign imports. From this time they were also allowed to pay their officials what they thought right.


In 1846 a new system of education was given to Upper Canada. It was planned by Dr. Egerton Ryerson, after he had carefully studied the systems of other countries. Three years later the University of Toronto was opened to young men of all churches.



During the last few years many new settlers from the British Isles had come to British America. After the potato famine thousands of people left Ireland for Canada and the other provinces. Hundreds died at sea of a terrible fever, hundreds more sickened on reaching land, but in the end many made for themselves happy homes in the New World.


Lord Elgin.

In 1847 the Earl of Elgin became governor-general. He had married a daughter of the Earl of Durham, and agreed with his views on colonial government.

A Reform Government.

In 1848 the Conservatives were beaten in the general elections, and the Reform leaders, Lafontaine and Baldwin, again formed a ministry.

In 1849 a bill was passed for the pardon of those concerned in the rebellion of 1837. Mackenzie now returned to Canada, but nearly all the other leaders had already received special pardons. While in the United States Mackenzie had suffered much. He had been exceedingly poor, and had spent many months in prison for breaking the neutrality laws.

Rebellion Losses.

The rebellion had caused great loss of property both in Upper and Lower Canada. Acts had been passed authorizing the government to pay for the losses of the people of Upper Canada; but little had been done for the sufferers in Lower Canada. At last, in 1849, the Reform government brought in a bill proposing to raise £100,000 to pay for the destruction of property in the lower province. Rebels who had been sent to Bermuda or convicted of high treason were to receive nothing, but the loyalty of other losers was not to be questioned. This bill met with fierce opposition. “No pay to rebels!” was the cry. The Reformers answered with fiery speeches, and the whole country went wild with excitement.

But the bill was passed by both chambers, and Lord Elgin was urged in vain to refuse his assent, for he held that it was a matter on which the parliament of Canada had a right to decide. As he left the parliament buildings in Montreal, after assenting to the bill, a mob flung stones and rotten eggs at his carriage.

The Parliament Buildings Burnt.

That same night a great crowd gathered in the Champ de Mars. At last some madman raised the shout, “To the parliament buildings!” and the mob rushed thither, and threw sticks and stones into the hall where the assembly was sitting. The members fled in dismay, as hundreds of ruffians burst into the building, shattering lamps, smashing furniture, and at last setting all on fire. A valuable library and all the public records of the province were destroyed by the flames.

Next day the assembly met in Bonsecours Market, and, while the mob hooted and howled outside, passed resolutions approving of Lord Elgin’s action.

Doings of the Mob.

Later in the day an angry crowd again met on the Champ de Mars to petition the Queen to disallow the bill and recall the governor. When night fell bands of ruffians broke the windows of the Reformers’ houses, and destroyed Lafontaine’s library, out-houses, and fruit-trees; but fortunately soldiers arrived in time to save the house.

A few days later Lord Elgin was again mobbed. The back of his coach was broken in with stones, and some members of his party were wounded; but he treated the rioters with great forbearance, though he would not give way to their demands.

Disturbances in Upper Canada.

The same violent spirit was shown in Upper Canada. Mobs broke the windows of well-known Reformers, and burnt stuffed figures representing them in great bonfires. Some of the Conservatives, who had loudly accused others of disloyalty, now talked of making Canada part of the United States. Others joined a league of which one object was to break up the union between the two provinces. Amongst other schemes, a confederation of all the provinces was suggested, but the league soon fell to pieces.


Trade Laws.

In 1849 the British parliament repealed the navigation laws, giving the colonies liberty to trade in any part of the world. In the same year control of their postal arrangements was given up to them. Some of them wished to have free trade amongst themselves; but for several years longer each little province continued to lay import duties on the goods of its neighbours.


The improvement of the canals was still going on, but people were beginning to think of making railways; and from this time, as we shall see, they play a most important part in the history of our country. Many were planned, both in Canada and the Maritime Provinces. In Canada several lines were in working order by 1853, and the people were so eager to have more that, through making them, many towns and townships burdened themselves with debts that hung like a weight on them for years. In 1855 a railway was opened from Halifax to Windsor, in Nova Scotia. One was also begun in New Brunswick between St. John and Shediac.

Meanwhile a plan for a great railway to connect Canada and the Maritime Provinces was being eagerly discussed. Lord Durham had advised the building of this “Intercolonial Railway,” as it was called, and the Imperial government held out hopes of aid. But from various causes no help was given, and for many years the plan could not be carried out.

Divided Parties.

We are now coming to a time when responsible government seemed almost a failure. The difficulty arose from the number of parties in the assembly, all wanting different things. For instance, the ideas and plans of the Reformers of Upper Canada were often quite unlike those both of the Conservatives and of the Reformers of Lower Canada. Besides this, there were extreme Reformers and moderate Reformers, and extreme Conservatives and moderate Conservatives. Now, any one of these parties, if it stood alone, was certain to be outvoted by the others; and it sometimes happened that several parties would join to turn out a government, but would not join to support a new ministry. Upon the whole, the Lower Canadians agreed better amongst themselves than the Upper Canadians, and this gave them greater power.

New Leaders.

In 1851 Francis Hincks and Augustin Morin became leaders of the ministry, instead of Baldwin and Lafontaine.

Several great questions—amongst them that of the Clergy Reserves—were agitating the people. It will be remembered that in earlier years the Reformers had been chiefly anxious to obtain a fair division of the funds from the reserves amongst the different religious bodies; but now a large party demanded that the reserves should be sold, and that the money should be used, not for the support of churches, but for education and public improvements.

George Brown, a Scotchman, was the leader of this party. He had lived in Toronto for a number of years, and in 1844 had begun to publish a Reform newspaper called the Globe. His forcible articles gave him great influence, but he made many enemies, especially amongst the French Canadians. He entered parliament in 1852.

Representation by Population.

In 1853 the number of members of the assembly was increased from forty-two to sixty-five for each of the old provinces of Canada. Brown and his followers opposed this act on the ground that Upper Canada, which now had a larger population than Lower Canada, ought to have more members. Thus began an agitation, which lasted for years, for representation by population, or “rep. by pop.,” as it was often called. The French Canadians naturally thought that a change would not be fair, for at first they had outnumbered the people of Upper Canada.

The Crimean War.

Early in 1854, for reasons not belonging to this history, England, France, and Turkey began to fight against Russia, a great grain-growing country. This interfered with England’s usual food supplies, and caused a great demand for colonial farm produce. The result was that prices rose high, and trade prospered in all the provinces.

Cod Fishing.

The Reciprocity Treaty.

In the same year, 1854, the Reciprocity Treaty, as it is generally called, was arranged between the United States and Canada. Its chief provisions were that each country was to admit from the other farm produce, fish, and certain other articles, duty free; that both Americans and Canadians might fish on the sea-coasts of both countries, and land to dry their nets and cure their fish; and that British vessels might ply on Lake Michigan, and American vessels use the St. Lawrence and the canals connected with it. The treaty was to remain in force for ten years, but after that either nation might end the arrangement, on giving a year’s notice to the other. The Earl of Elgin did much to bring about this treaty. The Canadians were much pleased with it, but the people of the Maritime Provinces thought that the Americans had received the right of fishing in their waters too cheaply.

A little later the Hincks-Morin ministry resigned. It had passed many useful acts, including one, in 1853, ordering that money should be reckoned by the decimal system, that is, in dollars and cents instead of pounds, shillings, and pence.


The Macnab-Morin Ministry.

The Conservatives and the moderate Reformers, or Liberals, joined, in 1854, to support a government of which the heads were Sir Allan MacNab and Augustin Morin. But its leading spirit was John A. Macdonald.

The Clergy Reserves.

The new ministry promptly brought in a bill authorizing the sale of the clergy reserves, and arranging that, after provision had been made for certain clergymen who had special claims, the money so raised should be divided amongst the townships according to their population.

A Habitant.

Seigneurial Tenure.

In the same year an act was passed to bring another great grievance to an end. As Lower Canada became more settled, the seigneurs charged their tenants higher rents, and many of the latter became exceedingly anxious to buy instead of renting their farms. At last, in 1854, a bill was passed to abolish certain feudal rights and duties bearing both on seigneurs and habitants; and parliament voted a large sum to make up to the former what they would lose by this act. It was arranged, moreover, that the habitants were to be allowed to buy their farms at any time on paying a fixed sum to the seigneurs. But the tenants did not all take advantage of this, and in many cases the annual rent is still paid.

Lord Elgin left Canada in the last month of 1854. He was afterwards made viceroy of India, where he died in 1863. Sir Edmund Head, the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, became governor-general in his place.

Double Majorities.

During the next three years there were many changes in the ministry. The union of Upper and Lower Canada had made it difficult to follow the rule of responsible government. Some people said that a ministry need not resign unless it were outvoted by a majority of the whole house. Others said that it ought to resign if outvoted by a majority of the members representing the half of the province (either Upper or Lower Canada) which would be most affected by the motion in question. As a rule, the government did not resign so long as it was supported by a majority of the whole house; and the Upper Canadians complained that measures which concerned them alone were forced on them by the votes of Lower Canadians. For instance, a number of separate schools for the Roman Catholics were then firmly established in Upper Canada.

A Gloomy Year.

One of the last events in the Crimean war was the brilliant defence of Kars by General Williams, a Nova Scotian. He was at length obliged to surrender, but Russia had suffered severely in other quarters, and peace was made in 1856.

In Canada the peace brought hard times. The high prices of the war-time had caused general extravagance, and when they fell many people were ruined. In 1857 a bad harvest and two terrible disasters added to the general gloom. Seventy people lost their lives in a railway accident between Toronto and Hamilton. It was caused by the breaking of a bridge over the Desjardins canal. A few weeks later two hundred and fifty people perished in the burning of a boat on the St. Lawrence.

The Capital.

After the riots at Montreal in 1849, it was arranged that the government should be carried on at Quebec and Toronto, turn about, for four years each. But this plan was costly and inconvenient, and, in 1857, the Queen was asked to name a permanent capital. She chose Ottawa, but her choice did not please the Canadian Reformers.

The Double Shuffle.

Soon afterwards the Macdonald-Cartier ministry, which was then in power, resigned, though it had a small majority in the assembly, and George Brown was asked to form a government. But after holding office for only two days he was forced to resign, and the former ministers again took the reins of government. They ought now to have gone back to the country for re-election, but there happened to be a rule that a minister who resigned one office and accepted another within a month might retain his seat, so they all took different offices from those which they had held before. A little later they changed again to get back to their former positions. The rule was clearly not intended for a case like this, and it was afterwards altered to prevent another “double shuffle,” as it was called.

New Plan of Government.

The Reformers complained that the union of the two Canadas caused waste of the public money. When a grant was made for some public work in one province, an equal amount, whether needed or not, was generally voted to the other. In fact the government was in a very bad state altogether. It was at last suggested that Upper and Lower Canada should each have a government to make laws on local matters, while the parliament of united Canada should still control all affairs in which both were interested.

It will be remembered that at first it was the French Canadians who had objected to the union; but the tables were turned, and it was now the people of Upper Canada who were eager for a change.

A Larger Plan.

Several years before this some people, both in Nova Scotia and Canada, had begun to think of a larger plan. This was the confederation, or union, of all the British American colonies under one central government, which should manage matters common to all, while all local business should still be left to the provincial governments. Both Canada and Nova Scotia had lately sent representatives to England to discuss the plan with the British government, but they were told that the colonies must themselves agree on some plan of union before England could do anything; and nothing was done for several years. Meanwhile the state of affairs in Canada became worse and worse.

The Prince of Wales.

In 1860 the Prince of Wales, then only nineteen years old, came to open the great Victoria Bridge, which had been built across the St. Lawrence at Montreal. He received a loyal and hearty welcome in all the British provinces. He next visited the United States and met with a most cordial reception from our kindred across the line.


The American Civil War.

A few months later a terrible war, which lasted for four years, broke out between the Northern and Southern States of the Union.

In Canada it raised the prices of all farm produce, and trade prospered. But there was danger that England might be drawn into the conflict, and in that case Canada would almost certainly have been the battleground. Early in the war the captain of a Northern man-of-war forcibly took two Southerners, on their way to England, from a British ship. Upon this British troops were promptly sent across the Atlantic, but before they landed the American president, Lincoln, gave up the captured Southerners.

On the other hand, some of the Americans were very angry with England because she had not prevented the escape of the Alabama and several other vessels from her ports, where they had been fitted up by Southerners to injure the trade of the Northern States. Again, in the autumn of 1864, some Southerners who had taken refuge in Canada attacked two American vessels on Lake Erie. A little later they made a sudden raid on St Alban’s, in Vermont, and robbed several banks. They returned to Canada with their plunder, and as they were not punished it is not surprising that the Americans were indignant with Canada for sheltering them.

The danger of war inclined the British provinces to think all the more seriously of union; but before we go on with the story of how Confederation came about, we must turn our attention to the west.


The Hudson’s Bay Company.

In 1849 the Hudson’s Bay Company received a grant of the Island of Vancouver, on condition of settling it within five years. But instead of trying to bring in colonists the company tried to keep them away. It set so high a price upon the land that hardly anyone would buy. In 1854 only five hundred acres had been broken up, and there were scarcely five hundred white people in the island, counting the fur-traders. Nevertheless the company was allowed to keep it for some years longer.


The first governor, Blanshard, finding that all power was in the company’s hands, soon left Vancouver. He was succeeded by James Douglas, an officer of the company. The new governor was ordered to call an assembly of seven members, and with some difficulty he found seven men qualified to become members. But the House did little except provide for its own expenses. There was also a council of three members.

Mountain Road in
British Columbia.

Gold Discovered.

In 1857 gold was discovered along several rivers in New Caledonia, as British Columbia was then called. The news spread quickly, and in the spring thousands of gold seekers arrived in Vancouver. The little town of Victoria was soon surrounded by a huge encampment of rude huts and tents. But the new comers did not stay there. They swarmed across to the mainland in boats of all sorts and sizes. Some tried to cross in wretched makeshift contrivances and were drowned. Numbers of store-keepers and adventurers followed the miners, and often managed to possess themselves of the lion’s share of their earnings, for it was difficult to carry necessaries into the mountains, and everything was dear. Soon after the rush began the government tried to open roads to the gold-fields, but the work was slow and costly.

A New Colony.

In 1858 the British government bought back Vancouver and took away the privileges of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the country west of the Rocky Mountains, and New Caledonia became the province of British Columbia. Its first ruler was the governor of Vancouver, James Douglas, who now broke off his connection with the Hudson’s Bay Company. Money was raised for the expenses of government and for road-making and other public works from the sale of crown lands. In 1859 the first buildings were put up in the capital, which was afterwards named New Westminster.


At this time life in the colony was rough and wild. In the mining camps there was much drinking, gambling, and quarrelling, and many of the white men were as lawless as the Indians, who tried to prevent their going up the rivers. But in 1858 Matthew Begbie was appointed chief justice of British Columbia, and by his fairness and firmness soon taught the people to respect the law.


A season of disappointment followed the first great excitement, though a few men made fortunes. Within six months a number of the adventurers had left British Columbia; but the roads made to the mining camps opened up the country, which is rich in many things besides gold. In 1861 the discovery of new gold-fields revived the excitement.

San Juan.

Another boundary dispute had arisen between England and the United States. The Treaty of Oregon had left uncertain the ownership of the little island of San Juan, between Vancouver and the mainland. Several attempts to settle the question had failed; and in 1859 the quarrel of an American and an Englishman over a trespassing pig nearly brought on war. American soldiers were landed on the island, and several British war-ships appeared on the scene. But at last the commanders agreed to occupy the island jointly until its ownership could be settled. This was not done till 1872, when Emperor William of Germany, who had been asked to arbitrate concerning it, decided in favor of the United States.

The Red River Colony.

Meanwhile the Red River Colony, in the heart of continent, had been growing slowly stronger. Since Selkirk’s time the settlers had several times suffered severely from sudden floods and plagues of grasshoppers, and wars had raged on their borders amongst the Sioux and other neighbouring tribes; but they had lived in peace. At last, largely through the efforts of a newspaper editor, William Macdougall, the people of Canada suddenly awakened to the value of the country. Remembering that it was said in French times to be part of their province, they sent Chief Justice Draper to England to claim it. But though the settlers on the Red River would rather have been under the government of Canada than that of the Hudson’s Bay Company, no change was made for many years.


Party Strife.

In 1861 a census was taken in Canada, that is, the people were counted; and it was found that the upper province had 300,000 more people than the lower province. The Reformers now agitated more strongly than before for “rep. by pop.” In the summer there was a general election, but the Reformers and Conservatives were still nearly equal in number, and the government was as difficult as ever. The next two years and a half were a gloomy time in our history. But when the prospect seemed blackest a new light dawned, and out of the darkness and confusion sprang the beginnings of a truer national life.

Lord Monck.

In October, 1861, Lord Monck, an Irish nobleman, was appointed governor-general. When he reached Canada the danger of war between the United States and England was very great.

A Gloomy Outlook.

Meanwhile the bitter though bloodless strife between the political parties of Canada grew ever hotter. In 1862 the Conservatives resigned, after being defeated on a bill providing for the defence of the country. Then the Reformers tried to carry on the government, but, after a few troublous months, during which parliament was dissolved, though it had not sat out half its time, they in their turn were driven from power.

At the beginning of 1864, Sir Etienne Taché and John A. Macdonald formed a Conservative government. But even at first their supporters barely outnumbered those against them, and in a very short time they were outvoted by a majority of two. The ministers did not know what to do, for it seemed that a regular dead-lock had been reached. It was almost certain that if they resigned, any government which took their place would soon be in the same helpless position.

At last they decided to ask Lord Monck to dissolve parliament, in the faint hope that though scarcely a year had passed since the last general election, they might this time gain a majority strong enough to enable them to carry on the government.

George Brown’s Proposal.

Happily a better way out of the difficulty appeared. Seeing that the long-continued strife threatened the country with ruin, George Brown came to the rescue, and promised for himself and his followers that they would support the Conservative ministers if they would set themselves earnestly to find some way of removing the jealousy between Upper and Lower Canada, which lay at the root of all the trouble.

Macdonald and his brother ministers met their old enemies half-way. Brown and two of his supporters were invited to enter the government, and it was decided to try to form a federal union, either between the two provinces of Canada or between all the British North American provinces. This, as already explained, would leave each province free to manage its own local affairs.

The Maritime Provinces.

At this time the people in the east were thinking of a union amongst themselves. No doubt the speeches and writings of statesmen in one province in favour of union influenced public opinion in the others. But while Canada was almost driven into Confederation by the stormy current of events, the wish for union in the Maritime Provinces arose chiefly from a sense of the weakness and inconvenience of so many small governments.

The Charlottetown Convention.

In September, 1864, delegates from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island met at Charlottetown to talk over the union of the three provinces. Thinking that when both groups of colonies were considering a change of government the time must be ripe for a larger plan, the Canadian ministry sent a deputation to this convention. The result was that the delegates of the Maritime Provinces, instead of going on with their own scheme, promised to go to Quebec a few weeks later to discuss the Confederation of all the provinces.


Before leaving the provinces “down by the sea” the delegates and Canadian visitors were royally feasted at Charlottetown, Halifax, and St. John. At each place they spoke of Confederation and gradually roused the interest of the people in the great scheme.


The Meeting at Quebec.

Early in October, 1864, thirty-three gentlemen, representing the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland, gathered in the picturesque old city of Quebec to discuss plans of union. They met day after day for nearly three weeks. At the end of that time they had prepared a scheme of Confederation to lay before the parliaments of the different provinces. No outsider had been allowed to listen to their discussions, and it was intended that the plan should be kept secret till the several parliaments met. But in some way the secret escaped, and soon the people everywhere were talking of Confederation.

The Plan.

In this history it is impossible to give more than a very short account of the plan of union. It was proposed that there should be one central parliament to control matters in which all the provinces were interested, and that each province should also have a parliament to control its own local affairs. To improve the communication between the provinces, which was most important if there was to be any true union, it was agreed that the much talked of Intercolonial Railway should be built.

The Central Parliament.

The central parliament was to make laws for the whole country concerning trade; the raising of money for expenses of government by duties or taxes; defence; the postal service; railways, canals, and other public works for the general benefit; marriage; the prevention and punishment of crime; Indians and their lands; and generally, all matters not put specially under the control of the provincial parliaments. In this last particular there is a marked difference between the government of Canada and that of the United States; for in that country the central government has a right only to make laws on matters specially put under its control, and the governments of the several states deal with all other affairs.

The Provincial Parliaments.

The provincial parliaments were to make laws concerning the raising of money for provincial purposes by direct taxes; education; public lands; property and civil rights; courts of justice; local public works, and a number of other matters.

Representation in Parliament.

So that there might be no more trouble over the question of “representation by population,” it was proposed that in the assembly, or House of Commons, of the united provinces, a fixed number of members (sixty-five) should be given to Lower Canada, and that each of the other provinces should have a number of members which bore the same proportion to their population as sixty-five bore to the population of Lower Canada. Every ten years a census was to be taken, and if the population of any other province had increased faster than that of Lower Canada, it was to have an additional number of members.


A different plan was to be followed in the upper house, or Senate. Its members were to be appointed for life by the governor-general; and 24 were to be chosen from Upper Canada, 24 from Lower Canada, and 24 from the Maritime Provinces, taken together, without regard to population.

Money Matters.

It was proposed that the central government should undertake the debts of each province, and that it should make an annual grant for the expenses of the provincial governments. The two provinces of Canada were more deeply in debt than the others, and the question of money was hard to arrange; but at last the delegates hoped that they had found a way out of all difficulties.

Reception of the Plan.

The Quebec conference was followed, like that of Charlottetown, by banquets and speeches, in which the delegates set forth many good reasons for Confederation. The people of Canada were generally in favour of it; and in the last month of the year the unionists were gladdened by the news that the British government approved of their scheme. But it still had to be laid before the parliaments of the provinces.

In February, 1865, the parliament of Canada met, and after a long debate resolutions in favour of the Quebec scheme were passed through both houses by large majorities.

But the scheme was not received so well in the other provinces. The delegates from Newfoundland could not persuade the islanders to take any interest in the plan; and the assembly of Prince Edward Island declared against it by a vote of more than four to one. New Brunswick also seemed strongly against Confederation, for in the general election, which occurred in March, before the plan had been submitted to the assembly, most of the men in favour of union lost their seats, and an “anti-confederate government” was formed. All this chilled the enthusiasm of Nova Scotia, which had once seemed so eager for union; and the assembly, instead of supporting the Quebec scheme, passed resolutions in favour of going back to the plan of a union of the Maritime Provinces alone.

But Canada was determined to carry out the scheme if possible; and early in 1865 four of the ministers, Macdonald, Galt, Brown, and Cartier, went to England to make arrangements for Confederation. The British government used every means in its power to persuade the Maritime Provinces to consent to the plan. The lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, who had been strongly against it, was recalled. In his stead was appointed the gallant soldier Sir Fenwick Williams, and he used all his influence to convince his countrymen of the wisdom of Confederation.


End of the American War.

The terrible civil war in America ended early in 1865. The Northern States were victorious, the Union was unbroken, and the fearful curse of slavery had been swept from the land; but a few days after the Southern States laid down their arms, President Lincoln was basely murdered. In Canada bells were tolled, and flags hung half-mast high, in token of sympathy for the sorrowing nation.

Nevertheless, the relations between Canada and the United States were still not altogether friendly. The claims of the Americans against England for injuries done to their trading ships by the Alabama and other piratical vessels were still unsettled, and there was some danger that war might result.

The Reciprocity Treaty.

No doubt it was partly owing to anger against England that the American government now gave notice of its wish to put an end to the Reciprocity Treaty, which had been in force since 1855. A great trade between the United States and the British provinces had sprung up, and the threatened change seemed likely to have a most disturbing effect on the business of the latter. Some people, indeed, talked as if it meant utter ruin. But, though the governments of the British provinces joined in an attempt to obtain a renewal of the agreement, they were not successful, and in March, 1866, the treaty came to an end.

Owing to a difference of opinion with the other ministers in connection with this matter, George Brown resigned his place in the government in 1865.

The Fenians.

Meanwhile, a number of Irishmen in the United States, who belonged to what was called the Fenian Brotherhood, were drilling and making other preparations for the invasion of Canada. They believed that their country had been cruelly wronged by England, and in revenge determined to conquer the British American colonies. When the civil war ended, a number of restless, lawless men, who had been in the American armies, found themselves out of employment; and many of these joined the Fenians in the hope of more fighting.

Rumours of intended attack kept the Canadian borders in alarm. St. Patrick’s day, 1866, was to be marked, it was said, by a great invasion of Canada, but it never took place; and when, a week or two later, a few Fenians crossed the boundary into New Brunswick, they fled as soon as they heard that troops were advancing to meet them.

A “Queen’s Own”


In another quarter there was a more serious raid. In the early summer nine hundred Fenians crossed the Niagara river and took possession of the village of Fort Erie, tearing up the railway tracks and cutting the telegraph wires in the neighbourhood. A few regular soldiers, and several companies of the “Queen’s Own” and other volunteers, were sent from Toronto and Hamilton to drive back the invaders. Through some mistake or bad management, the volunteers were hurried forward too quickly, and before the regular troops could come up they fell in with the Fenians at Ridgeway, and were ordered to attack them. Under the first fierce onslaught of the Canadians the Fenians wavered. Then they rallied and poured upon their assailants a hot fire, which killed nine, wounded thirty, and forced the rest to retreat. But when O’Neil, the leader of the marauders, heard that the regular troops were close at hand, he fell back to Fort Erie, and that same night he and his army made the best of their way out of Canada.

Soon afterwards a monument was put up in Queen’s Park, Toronto, in memory of the gallant young volunteers who died in defence of their country.


New Brunswick.

While the events recorded in the last chapter were taking place, the people of New Brunswick were beginning to look with more favour on the idea of Confederation. The governor, as well as the legislative council, desired a union of the provinces, but the governor’s advisers still strongly objected to it. Under these circumstances it was difficult to carry on the government. Early in 1866 the ministers resigned, and Mr. Leonard Tilley, who had been one of the representatives of New Brunswick at the Quebec conference, formed a government. Soon afterwards there was another general election, and the people, who had entirely changed their minds since the election of the year before, sent up to parliament an overwhelming majority of unionists.

Nova Scotia.

A few weeks later the assembly of Nova Scotia passed resolutions in favor of union, but as there had been no general election since the question arose, the action of parliament in this case did not show the real feeling of the people; and afterwards there were loud complaints that Nova Scotia had been forced into Confederation. Joseph Howe, though he had once been inclined to approve of a union of all the provinces, took this view.

Meanwhile, Prince Edward Island steadily refused to be drawn into the scheme on any consideration whatever.

The Provincial Parliaments.

The statesmen of Canada, however, were already making arrangements for the provincial parliaments which were to control the local affairs of Upper and Lower Canada after Confederation. It was decided that Upper Canada should be governed by a lieutenant-governor and a legislative assembly only, and that Lower Canada should have in addition a legislative council of twenty-four members. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were, of course, already provided with provincial parliaments. New Brunswick afterwards abolished its legislative council, and now Quebec and Nova Scotia are the only provinces of the Dominion which have two chambers in their local parliaments.

The B. N. A. Act.

Before the close of the year delegates from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada met in England to help to frame a bill for uniting the several provinces. Howe also went to England to protest against the passing of any act of Confederation.

After “weeks of constant and anxious labour,” the delegates drew up a bill, founded, with little alteration, on the Quebec scheme of 1864, of which an account has already been given. This bill was passed by the Imperial parliament without change, and became law on March 29th, 1867. It is called “The British North America Act,” or sometimes “The B. N. A. Act.”

The First Dominion Day.

July 1st, 1867, was named by a royal proclamation as the day on which the several provinces were to unite as the Dominion of Canada. To prevent confusion, the new names of Ontario and Quebec were given to Upper and Lower Canada.

Lord Monck, who had laboured earnestly in the cause of Confederation, was sworn in as governor-general of the Dominion, and Sir John Macdonald (as he now became) was the first prime minister.


A great effort was made to prevent jealousy between the different parties. Of Macdonald’s colleagues, or brother ministers, some came from each of the four provinces, and half were Liberals and the other half Conservatives. The same plan was followed in choosing the senators—half were from each party. Had it not been for one or two little clouds in the sky it might have seemed that the happy day had dawned when “none was for a party,” and “all were for the state.” Conservatives and Reformers alike may look back with pride to that first Dominion Day—the birthday of our nation. Happier than many countries, she came into being, not by war, but by peace; and she owes her present strength and her hope of future greatness to the fact that in the hour of trial her public men set aside party differences, and worked shoulder to shoulder for the common good.


A Lady of the
Confederation Period.


During the last quarter of a century the number of people in the British provinces had more than doubled. The population of the four provinces which first entered Confederation was nearly three and a quarter millions in 1867, while that of all the provinces which now form the Dominion of Canada was not very far short of three and a half millions.


In case of war, according to George Brown’s reckoning, half a million men would have been ready and willing to defend their country. Regiments of volunteers had been formed in the different provinces, and military schools had been founded for the instruction of their officers.

The Indians.

The number of Indians in the four confederated provinces was believed to be increasing slightly, and, owing chiefly to the faithful labours of missionaries from the different churches, their habits were becoming more civilized. Their dwellings, food, and clothing all showed signs of improvement. In the far North-West, however, the Indians still followed their old customs, though missionaries, travelling by canoes in summer and dog-trains in winter, were finding their way to the haunts of the wildest and most savage tribes.



Of all the occupations of the people, farming was the most important. During this period the government, instead of giving enormous grants of land to persons who let it lie idle, had generally followed the better plan of giving small farms to men who intended to cultivate them. In most places, the system of farming was poor and careless, but it was improving, and agricultural papers and fairs (large and small) were doing good service in calling the attention of the farmers to wiser ways of working.

The habitants in Lower Canada generally disliked change, and lived in many respects as their fathers had lived before them; but the homes of the settlers of Upper Canada were luxurious compared to what they had been twenty-five years earlier. Wages were high and labourers scarce, however, so that it was still the custom for the farmers and their families to do all that they could for themselves.

Other Industries.

This state of things caused a great demand for labour-saving machines, and soon many factories for making them were set up in different parts of the country. Woollen and other manufactures were also becoming important; and in most of the provinces ship-building was carried on. In the year 1863 no less than six hundred and twenty-eight vessels of various sizes were built. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick fishing and lumbering held the front rank in the occupations of the people, though in the latter province much new land had lately been broken up for farming.


Trade, both with other countries and amongst the British provinces themselves, had wonderfully increased during these years.

Laying an Atlantic Cable.

Means of Communication.

One reason for this increase was the improvement in the means of travelling, and of sending news from one place to another. Instead of one railway line sixteen miles long, as in 1841, there were now fourteen railways, which, taken together, were nearly two thousand three hundred miles long. Steam vessels of all sizes plied on the great lakes and crossed the ocean. The Allan Line, which began with four ships in 1856, had twenty-three in 1868.

The postal service had greatly improved. Before 1851 half-ounce letters were carried at the rate of 14 cents for one hundred miles; but at that time it was agreed that letters should be carried in Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, at the rate of 6 cents for any distance within those provinces. This soon increased the number of letters threefold.

In 1847 the telegraph was first used in Canada, and by 1867 there were telegraph lines in every province. After many difficulties and failures, a telegraph cable was laid across the Atlantic in 1858. Unhappily this cable broke soon after its first trial; but in 1866 another was laid, and since then telegraphic communication between the New and the Old Worlds has never been broken.



Though Confederation was a most important step in the progress of our country, a glance at the map will show that the Dominion of Canada was small in 1867 compared to what it is in 1900. How the North-West, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island became part of it remains to be told, and is of deep importance, for the control of the fertile and boundless West has increased immeasurably the possibilities that lie before “the youngest of the nations.”

Something must also be said of Canada’s growth in self-government, wealth, and social advantages; but we stand too near the events of the last few years to see them clearly in their bearing on one another. It has seemed best, therefore, to touch on them very briefly.




The Dominion Parliament.

The first Dominion parliament was opened at Ottawa on November 6th, 1867. Sir John Macdonald was supported by a strong majority, and set to work at once to make certain needful changes in the laws concerning the government officials, the import duties, the post office, and many other matters. Resolutions were also passed asking the British government to add to the Dominion the great regions in the north and west, then ruled by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Nova Scotia Dissatisfied.

Meanwhile Nova Scotia was exceedingly anxious to withdraw from Confederation. Of her nineteen members in the Dominion House of Commons, Dr. Tupper was the only unionist; and one of the first acts of the provincial assembly was to send Joseph Howe and three other gentlemen to England with a petition for the repeal of the union so far as Nova Scotia was concerned. The request was refused, but shortly afterwards a larger yearly allowance for provincial expenses was promised to Nova Scotia. This did much to satisfy the people, and early in 1869 Joseph Howe became a member of the Dominion ministry. Four years later he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, but died at Government House, Halifax, after holding office for about a month.

The North-West.

In 1869 the Hudson’s Bay Company consented to give up its trade monopoly and its right to govern Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territory for £300,000 in money and many thousand acres of land.

Red River Cart.

There were now about 12,000 persons (chiefly half-breeds) in the Red River country. Of these the French half-breeds, who formed rather a majority, were agitated by rumours of the surrender of Rupert’s Land to Canada, on which the people of the country had not been consulted. Their alarm was increased by the actions of some members of a party of surveyors (sent, in 1869, by the Dominion government) who surveyed lands adjacent to the farms of the French half-breeds, and put up stakes supposed to be for future claims. The Hudson’s Bay Company had allowed the settlers along the river to use the lands behind their lots for hay—a privilege afterwards adjudged of such value that the Dominion government gave the settlers a freehold title to the hay-lands.

Louis Riel.

Louis Riel, a young man who had been educated at Montreal, was the leading agitator. A stop was put to the surveying, and, when Hon. W. Macdougall arrived to assume the office of lieutenant-governor on December 1st (the proposed date of the transfer to the Dominion), he was informed that he would not be allowed to enter the country. He crossed the boundary, but was soon obliged by a body of armed men to return to the United States.

Meanwhile Riel occupied Fort Garry, and set up a “provisional government,” with himself as president. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s officers were powerless to prevent these lawless proceedings, having no force at their command. On December 1st Macdougall called the friendly settlers to arms, but as the transfer of the Red River country was delayed, he had no real authority. On discovering this, he returned to Ottawa in disgust.

A small party had gathered at his call, under Dr. (afterwards Sir) John Schultz, who in later years was lieutenant-governor of Manitoba. But they were forced by Riel to surrender, and were imprisoned in Fort Garry. Several, including Dr. Schultz, escaped. Shortly afterwards three commissioners (one of whom, Mr. Smith, is now Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal) arrived from the Dominion government, to discuss with the half-breeds their grievances, and to invite them to send delegates to Ottawa. About this time changes were made in the “provisional government,” but Riel remained at its head.

Fort Garry.

A considerable body of Canadians, English half-breeds, and Indians assembled with the view of forcing the release of the remaining prisoners. Dr. Schultz took a prominent part, but Colonel Boulton was in command. After some negotiations all the prisoners were released, but Colonel Boulton and a few of his men, when on their way home, were pursued and captured by order of Riel. Among these was a young Irishman from Ontario, Thomas Scott. He offended Riel, and, after a form of trial, was brutally shot. The news of this crime roused a storm of indignation in Canada. Dr. Schultz, now feeling his life in danger, walked hundreds of miles, with a single companion, through the snow-covered wilderness to Fort William.

Bishop Taché.

A few days after Scott’s death, Bishop Taché, the Roman Catholic bishop of St. Boniface, who had been attending the Council at Rome, returned to his diocese at the urgent request of the Dominion government, in the hope that his influence might help to restore peace. He was authorized to offer a free pardon to all who would lay down their arms. It took weeks to communicate with the government at Ottawa, and Bishop Taché, notwithstanding the changed circumstances, thought himself justified in still offering the promised pardon. The half-breeds were calmed by the assurances of the Dominion government. Meanwhile a force of regular troops and militiamen, under the command of Colonel (now Lord) Wolseley, was being hurried forward. The journey was arduous, and the troops, which left Toronto in June, did not reach Fort Garry till August. They were not opposed. Riel felt doubtful of his position and fled on their approach. The regular soldiers soon returned to Quebec, but the militiamen spent the winter in Manitoba, and many finally settled there.

The Manitoba Act, 1870.

Meanwhile an act had been passed by the Dominion parliament making the Red River colony and the surrounding country into the new province of Manitoba. It was to be represented in the Dominion parliament by two senators and four members of the House of Commons, and its local affairs were to be managed by a lieutenant-governor, a small legislative council, and an assembly of twenty-four members. The lieutenant-governor, with the help of a council, was also to govern the North-West territories.

The Fenians Again.

In May, 1870, the Fenians had made a raid into Lower Canada, but were quickly driven back across the border. In the following year they threatened Manitoba, and gathered in the United States near the frontier. The governor, Mr. Archibald, set about raising armed settlers, but they were not needed, as Colonel Wheaton, the American commander at Fort Pembina, crossed the boundary, scattered the Fenians, and, arresting the leaders, took them back to the United States to be tried for breaking the neutrality laws. Riel, on this occasion, offered his services to defend the country, and the governor, perhaps fearing another half-breed rising, accepted his offer.

Canada was now thought able to provide for her own defence, and in 1870 all British troops except a small force at Halifax were withdrawn from the country.


Disputes with the United States.

Though the Americans had refused to renew the Reciprocity Treaty, many of them continued to catch fish along the shores of the Maritime Provinces, as if the treaty were still in force. The Canadians naturally objected to this, and there were many quarrels amongst the fishermen. At last the British and Canadian governments sent armed vessels to the fishing grounds, and several American boats were seized.

A number of other questions also caused trouble between the British and American governments. The Alabama claims and the ownership of San Juan were still unsettled, and there was a dispute concerning the right of the Americans to use the St. Lawrence and the Canadian canals.

The Treaty of Washington, 1871.

At last commissioners were appointed by the British and American governments to settle all these matters, and in 1871 a treaty was arranged at Washington. Sir John Macdonald was one of the British commissioners, though a Canadian had never before been asked to help to make a treaty with a foreign nation.

It was agreed that for ten years the fisheries of the United States and Canada should be open to the people of both countries, but as the Canadian fisheries were the more valuable, the Americans should pay in addition a sum of money, which was fixed later at $5,500,000. The navigation of Lake Michigan, the St. Lawrence, and the Canadian canals was declared free to the inhabitants of both countries. It was also agreed, as has already been mentioned, that the Emperor of Germany should be asked to decide the San Juan dispute, and that the Alabama claims should be settled by an arbitration board, which met in Switzerland in the following year and awarded to the United States a sum of over $15,000,000.

A Saw-Mill in
British Columbia.

British Columbia.

In 1866 the two provinces of Vancouver and British Columbia had become one. But the united province had no assembly, and the people soon began to agitate for some change which would give them a larger share in the government. Many, indeed, wished for a union with Canada, in spite of the immense distance between British Columbia and the older provinces, and late in 1870 delegates were sent to Ottawa to discuss terms of union. The result was that British Columbia was admitted into Confederation in July, 1871.

One of the conditions agreed upon was that the Dominion government should build a railway across the continent to the Pacific coast. This great work was to be begun within two years, and finished within ten; but many people shook their heads and declared that it was impossible.

The new province was to be represented in the Canadian parliament by three senators and six members in the House of Commons; and shortly before the union its local affairs were put under the control of an assembly elected by the people, in place of the legislative council, which had ruled since 1866.

A Giant Tree.

British Columbia has many sources of wealth in its coast fisheries, its rivers swarming with salmon, and its forests of giant trees, as well as in its coal mines and gold-fields; but in 1871 there were only 36,000 people in the province, and of these two-thirds were Indians. Since that time, however, the population has increased with great rapidity.

Lord Dufferin.

In 1872 Lord Lisgar, who had been governor-general of Canada since 1868, returned to England, and his place was taken by the Earl of Dufferin. Lord Dufferin was an eloquent speaker, and he took a warm interest in all that concerned the welfare of Canada.

Prince Edward Island.

On July 1st, 1873 Prince Edward Island, after long resisting all invitations to join Confederation, became part of the Dominion. The provincial government had grievously burdened itself with debt in building a railway, and union with Canada seemed the best way out of the difficulty.

A large sum of money was now granted by the Dominion parliament to help to settle the land question, which had troubled the island for over a hundred years. From time to time the government had bought the estates of large owners; but few were willing to sell, and all attempts to change the system had hitherto failed. At last, in 1875, an act was passed obliging the estate-owners to sell at a fair price, and arrangements were made by which those who held rented farms could become their owners on easy terms. Since that time Prince Edward Island has prospered greatly.


The Pacific Railway.

In 1872 there was a general election. Sir John Macdonald’s majority in the House of Commons was much lessened, and, in 1873, during the first session of the new parliament a storm arose which wrecked his government altogether.

Several different companies had been anxious to build the railway to British Columbia. At last the contract had been given to a company formed by Sir Hugh Allan, the head of the great steamship line. But a member of the House suddenly accused the ministers of having taken bribes from this company, and it was found that, whether or not any wrong agreement had been made, some of the ministers had certainly received large sums from Sir Hugh Allan for “election expenses,” upon which both political parties often spent vast amounts of money. All summer this affair kept the country in excitement, and in the autumn Sir John Macdonald resigned.

Alexander Mackenzie.

Alexander Mackenzie then formed a government. He was born in Scotland in 1822, and from the age of fourteen, when he was left an orphan, had had to depend entirely on his own exertions. He learned the trade of a stonemason, and afterwards became a builder and contractor. He came to Canada when he was twenty, entered parliament in 1861, and six years later became leader of the Liberal party.

Early in 1874 there was another general election. “The Pacific Railway scandal” was the all-important subject of discussion, and Sir John Macdonald received a crushing defeat. Riel was elected as one of the members for Manitoba, but was not allowed to take his seat.

British Columbia Dissatisfied.

Meanwhile, British Columbia was very angry, and threatened to withdraw from the union if the building of the railway was not speedily begun. At last, in 1875, the Dominion government began itself to build the railway; but some people complained that the work was badly managed, and it went on far too slowly to suit the western province. In 1876 Lord Dufferin visited British Columbia, but even his tact and eloquence could not charm away the discontent of its people.

Work of the Government.

An act was passed in 1874 requiring that the voting for members of parliament should be secret, or by ballot. In the following year the Supreme Court of Canada was established as a court of appeal for persons dissatisfied with the decisions of the provincial courts. In 1878 an important temperance law was passed. It is generally known as the “Scott Act,” and it provides that any municipality may forbid the sale of intoxicating liquors within its bounds.

An Indian Travelling.

In 1875 an act was passed giving a government, separate from that of Manitoba, to the North-West Territories. About this time, too, a number of treaties were made with the Indians of a part of those regions, by which they gave up their claims to the soil in return for supplies of food and certain annual sums of money. A vast quantity of fertile land was thus opened for settlement, but large “reserves”, as they are called, were set apart for the Indians. Very recently (in 1899) the Indians of Athabasca have entered into “treaty.”

Macdonald’s Return to Power.

During the years while Mackenzie was premier trade was bad, not only in Canada but all over the world, and his ministers found it exceedingly difficult to raise sufficient money for the expenses of government. Upon this Sir John Macdonald began to talk of a plan, which he called the “National Policy,” for putting heavy duties on all imported manufactured goods which could be made in Canada. This, he said, would bring in more money for carrying on the government, and would encourage Canadians to manufacture goods for themselves.

Having lasted its full term of five years, parliament was dissolved in August, 1878, and the elections turned in favour of Sir John Macdonald and his “National Policy.”

A little later Lord Dufferin and his equally popular wife left Canada. The Marquis of Lorne, who had married the Queen’s daughter, Princess Louise, then became governor-general, and he and his royal wife received a warm and hearty welcome from all classes of the people.


Closer Relations with England.

During the summer of 1870 Sir John Macdonald visited England and was sworn in as a member of the Imperial Privy Council. In the following year the Canadian parliament passed a bill providing for the appointment of a high commissioner, or agent for Canada, who was to live in England. Sir Alexander Galt was the first to fill this office.

During this year Mackenzie resigned to Mr. Edward Blake the leadership of the Liberal party. A few days later Mackenzie’s old friend and former leader, George Brown, died from the effects of a wound received at the hands of a printer whom he had dismissed for some misconduct.

A New C. P. R. Company.

Work upon the great railway was going on slowly, but in 1881 a charter was given to a new Canadian Pacific Railway Company. All that part of the line already built was handed over to it. It was also to receive large grants of land and money, and in return was to complete the road within ten years. Three years later the Dominion government lent the company a large sum (which was duly repaid) to enable it to finish the road in a shorter time.

Forest Fires.

The summer of 1881 was hot and dry, and terrible forest fires broke out in the dense woods of Muskoka and the wild country north of Kingston. The people of the more fortunate districts gave generous help to the sufferers. At the same time there were even more dreadful fires in Michigan, which caused great loss both of life and property.

Making a Tunnel on the C. P. R.


A time of prosperity followed the long years of bad trade. The harvest was plentiful, and the work on the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was at last being pushed on quickly enough to please even British Columbia, caused the spending of large sums in Canada, and made business brisk. The Conservatives declared the improvement in trade was due, partly at least, to the “National Policy,” and for several years the revenue of the country was more than enough to meet the expenses of government. This surplus, as it is called, was often spent in helping to build new railways.


During this year and the previous one there was a great rush of people from the older provinces to Manitoba and the North-West. Numerous towns were laid out on paper, and some people rashly paid high prices for lots in them. Wages were high, and for a while business was exceedingly good. Then a period of disappointment followed, and some men who had hoped to make fortunes returned to the eastern provinces poorer than when they left them. But many stayed on, and soon won a good living from the rich wheat-lands of the new province.

In 1881 the Dominion parliament had added to Manitoba a large district to the east. But this land was claimed by Ontario, and a hot dispute arose between the two provinces. Both appointed magistrates and constables for the same district; and the latter, it is said, chiefly employed themselves in arresting each other. At last, however, the two provinces agreed to ask the Imperial Privy Council to decide between them, and the disputed district was given to Ontario.

Bad Trade.

An unusually large number of settlers came to Canada in 1883, but the season of prosperity was nearing its end. The harvests of 1883 and 1884 were poor, and the country was beginning to suffer from the rash speculation of the last few years. Several banks and many business houses failed.

In October, 1883, the Marquis of Lansdowne succeeded the Marquis of Lorne as governor-general.


Discontent of the Half-breeds.

We must now turn our attention to events in the North-West. After the Red River rebellion, many half-breeds had left Manitoba and had settled in the territories further west, but for some time they had been growing restless and uneasy.

The making of railways in the United States had opened the country to white hunters and settlers. The result was that the buffaloes, upon which both Indians and half-breeds largely depended for food and clothing, were slaughtered by thousands. The half-breeds received neither presents nor reserves to reconcile them to the settling of white men on their hunting-grounds; and the arrival of surveyors in the country caused the same alarm as in Manitoba fourteen years earlier. The half-breeds had asked the government to give them legal titles to their lands, but no notice was taken of their request, and, after some months of agitation, they invited their old leader, Louis Riel, who was living in the United States, to come to their help.


At first Riel merely held meetings and aided the half-breeds to draw up a petition to government asking that they should be allowed to elect an assembly, that legal titles to their lands should be granted to all actual settlers, that the Indians should be better provided for, and that lands should be set apart for the support of schools and hospitals.

A Mounted Policeman.

But the government at Ottawa still paid no heed to their desires, and in the spring of 1885 Riel set up a “provisional government” at Batoche. He began his rule by plundering a store in the village and imprisoning several loyalists.

Not content with rousing the half-breeds, who were comparatively few, Riel did his utmost to persuade the Indian tribes also to rebel. Their warriors might still be counted by thousands. Happily most of them refused to rise at Riel’s bidding, or it would have gone hard with the scattered settlers, whose only protection was about 500 men of the Mounted Police force, which had been formed in 1873 to keep order in the North-West.

Duck Lake.

Riel had given the command of his followers to a half-breed named Gabriel Dumont, and towards the end of March this man seized the government stores and the Indian agent at a little settlement called Duck Lake. A day or two later a few Mounted Policemen and volunteers, who had been sent too late to guard the stores, fell in unexpectedly with Dumont’s men. Twelve of the loyalists were killed, and the rest, many of whom were seriously wounded, were forced to retreat.

Indian War-Clubs.

The Indian Rising.

The success of the rebels had a bad effect on the Indians. On April 2nd a band of Cree warriors cruelly shot ten people at Frog Lake and took a number of prisoners. About the same time several settlers were murdered at other places.

The Indians next marched on Fort Pitt, which they hoped to plunder easily, for its defences were weak. But they found the stores guarded by a few determined Mounted Policemen, who beat them off after a hot fight and then destroyed the stores and retreated to Battleford.

Several hundred men, women, and children, leaving their homes to be robbed or burned by the Indians, had fled for refuge to the fort at Battleford. But even there they were in great danger, and as the rebels had destroyed the telegraph wires, the settlers seemed terribly cut off from the outside world.

To the Rescue.

But help was on the way. A few days after news of the outbreak reached the older provinces, 2,000 volunteers, under the command of a British officer, General Middleton, were ready to go to the front. Quebec, Kingston, Toronto, Winnipeg and many other places sent their citizen-soldiers. The Maritime Provinces also offered men, and the loyal enthusiasm of all proved once more that the sons of Canada are ever ready to defend her in time of need.

Though the North-West could be reached far more quickly than in the days of the Red River rebellion, there were long gaps in the still unfinished railway, and the volunteers were obliged to tramp many weary miles through fast-melting snow. The last part of the journey was the worst. Batoche, to which the main body of troops was bound, was over two hundred miles from the railway, and the prairie trails were almost impassable with mud.

After a toilsome march of many days, the volunteers came suddenly upon a body of half-breeds posted in a ravine called Fish Creek. Both sides fought obstinately. The volunteers, who had never before been under fire, lost a number of men, and General Middleton waited two weeks for supplies and reinforcements before attacking Batoche.

Cut Knife Creek.

On the day of the fight at Fish Creek another body of troops, under Colonel Otter, reached Battleford, where they found the half-breeds plundering and burning the houses in the village. After resting his men for a day or two, Colonel Otter, believing that the Cree chief, Poundmaker, was preparing to attack the white settlers, marched against him. Poundmaker had hitherto taken no part in the rising, but when he was attacked he defended himself bravely and beat off his assailants with heavy loss.


Five days afterwards, General Middleton left Fish Creek for Batoche, and on May 9th attacked the rebels in their camp. They were so strongly posted that he could not dislodge them for three days, and in the long fight nine of the volunteers were killed and thirty wounded. But Batoche was taken at last, and its fall put an end to the rebellion.

Punishment of the Rebels.

Dumont escaped to the United States. Riel also fled, but was captured three days later and was tried and hanged at Regina for his crimes. Eight Indians who had taken part in the Frog Lake murders were also hanged. A number of other Indians and half-breeds were imprisoned, but most of the rebels, on laying down their arms, were pardoned.


The C. P. R. Finished, 1885.

The builders of the Canadian Pacific Railway had begun to work at the same time from its eastern and western ends, and on November 7th, 1885, Sir Donald Smith (now Lord Strathcona) drove in the last spike to join the two parts. The company had finished the work five years before they had engaged to do so. The line from Montreal to the Pacific Ocean is nearly three thousand miles long, and in many districts the nature of the country through which it passes taxed to the utmost the skill of the engineers. Tunnel after tunnel was bored through the grim rocks along the north shore of Lake Superior, and in the Rocky Mountains chasms were bridged with miles of trestle work, and zigzag grades were cut up the steep sides of mountains, whose towering heads are ever crowned with snow.

A Snow-Shed on the C. P. R.

This line helps to bind together the whole British Empire, for it has strangely fulfilled the dreams of the old explorers by opening a new pathway from Europe to China and India.

All along the railway little towns and villages sprang up as if by magic. But the people of Manitoba were angry because the Dominion government had engaged to forbid, for a term of years, the building of railways which might interfere with the trade of the C. P. R. They kept up an unceasing agitation against this restriction, and in 1888 the Dominion government made a new agreement with the C. P. R. Company by which it was removed.

The Fisheries.

Since the arrangement under the Treaty of Washington had come to an end, fresh disputes had arisen concerning the right of the Americans to fish along our shores. In 1887 a new fisheries treaty was drawn up at Washington, but the Senate of the United States refused its assent to it, and for a time the American fishermen caused much trouble. At length, however, the Canadian government decided that until another treaty could be made American fishermen should be charged a small sum for a license.

A Seal.

The Behring Sea Dispute.

At the same time another dispute was going on between Canada and the United States. The Canadians claimed a right to catch seals in the Behring Sea; but the Americans said that the sea belonged to Alaska, and that only Americans had the right to take the seals found there. They even seized several British sealing ships, and there was great danger that the quarrel might lead to war; but instead of fighting, the two nations agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration, and, in 1893, it was decided that the Behring Sea did not belong to the Americans and that they ought to pay for the ships they had seized. The money was paid in 1898. Meanwhile, so many seals were being killed every year that it was feared they would all soon be destroyed, and representatives of the two powers met several times to try to agree on some plan of protecting them; but the question has not yet been finally settled.

The Jesuits’ Estates Bill.

In 1888 the parliament of Quebec passed a bill granting $400,000 to make up to the Roman Catholic Church the loss of lands which had been taken from the Jesuits of Canada in 1760. This bill was hotly discussed in the other provinces, and in 1889 a motion was brought forward in the Dominion parliament asking Lord Stanley, who had lately become governor-general, to disallow the bill. But the majority thought it a case which concerned Quebec alone, and Lord Stanley refused to interfere.

Death of Sir John Macdonald.

Early in 1891 there was another general election. Sir John Macdonald, though now an old man, addressed one political meeting after another, and once more the people sent up to parliament a majority of Conservatives. A few months later Sir John fell ill, and, after lingering between life and death for eight days, breathed his last on June 6th, 1891.

He has well been called the “Father of Confederation,” and though there must be differences of opinion concerning many of his actions, even his rivals admit that through his long political life he showed an untiring “devotion to Canada’s welfare, Canada’s advancement, and Canada’s glory.”

Sir John Abbott now became head of the government.


Dishonesty in High Places.

In 1891 it was discovered that, in order to obtain contracts for public works, certain unprincipled men had given large sums for election expenses to supporters of the Dominion government, and the laws were speedily altered so as to prevent such iniquity.

A little later it was found that the province of Quebec was being cheated in much the same way. Several of the cabinet ministers were so mixed up with the wrong-doing that the lieutenant-governor, Angers, dismissed them from office, and, as the next general election showed, the people approved of his course.

Explorations in Canada.

In 1893 an expedition was sent out by government to explore the unknown country lying between Hudson Bay and the Mackenzie River basin. The explorers travelled over three thousand miles in canoes and on foot, and discovered several lakes and a river as large as the Ottawa. The interior of Labrador was explored by another party about the same time.

In September, 1893, the Earl of Aberdeen became governor-general.

The Colonial Conference.

In June, 1894, delegates representing Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Cape Colony, and Canada met at Ottawa to consider plans for improving trade and the means of communication between the different parts of the British Empire.

Death of Sir John Thompson.

Late in 1894 Sir John Thompson, who had become prime minister in 1892, visited England and was sworn in as a member of the Imperial Privy Council, but died suddenly while in Windsor Castle. The news caused general sorrow throughout the Dominion. His body was sent back to Canada in the war-ship “Blenheim,” and he was buried at Halifax with public honours.


Sir Mackenzie Bowell took his place as first minister. The rights granted to the French fishermen on the coasts of Newfoundland in 1763 had grievously hindered the progress of the whole island. At the best of times many of the people were poor, and in 1895 one business house after another failed, and there was terrible distress. In that year the island ministry began to think of entering Confederation, but they and the Dominion government could not agree upon terms of union.

Since that time a railway has been opened across Newfoundland, which is rich in copper and other valuable ores, and the people are now (in 1900) enjoying a season of prosperity. There is good hope, too, that some arrangement may soon be made with France that will settle forever the vexed question of the “French shore.”

Manitoba Separate Schools.

For some years the question of separate schools for the Roman Catholic children in Manitoba was a source of trouble to the Dominion government. When the province was founded, a great proportion of the people had belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, and at first there were separate schools for the children of Roman Catholics and of Protestants. But after a time the latter far outnumbered the former, and an act was passed by the provincial parliament in 1890 providing for one general system of public schools, without regard to difference of religion. The Roman Catholics objected to the change, and asked the governor-general to interfere. His ministers tried in vain to persuade the provincial assembly to alter the law, then brought a bill into the Dominion parliament to give back to the Roman Catholics their separate schools. Parliament had sat for very nearly its full term of five years, however, and before the bill could be passed the House of Commons had to be dissolved. Sir Charles Tupper became prime minister instead of Sir Mackenzie Bowell; but in the general election of 1896 the Conservatives were defeated and the leader of the Liberal party, Hon. (now Sir) Wilfrid Laurier, became head of the government. Soon afterwards an arrangement was made by which, though there were to be no separate schools, such religious teaching as the parents of the pupils approved was to be given in the public schools of Manitoba.

The Tariff.

In 1897 great changes were made in the tariff, that is, in the rates of import and export duties. On many imported articles the duties were lowered, and as far as possible lower duties were laid on goods coming from Great Britain than from foreign countries.

“The Diamond Jubilee.”

On June 20th, 1897, Queen Victoria had reigned for sixty years. This was longer than any other British sovereign. Her “Diamond Jubilee,” as it was called, was hailed with rejoicing in every part of her vast empire, and it had the good effect of drawing closer the tie that binds the mother country to her colonies, and the colonies to each other.

New Gold Fields.

For years the gold-seekers in the far west had been slowly pushing northward, and in 1896 gold in large quantities was discovered along the Klondike river, in the Yukon district, north of British Columbia. The new gold-fields were almost within the Arctic circle. But in spite of the great distance from more habitable lands, and in spite of all the terrors of its dreary climate, thousands of miners hurried into the country, and within a few months after the news of the first great finds of gold reached the outer world, a little town of log huts and canvas tents, called Dawson City, had risen in the swamp beside the river. In 1898 gold to the value of about $10,000,000 was brought out of the country, and the rush of fortune-seekers still continues.

Washing for Gold.

The boundary line between the Dominion of Canada and Alaska is unfortunately open to question, but in 1899 a temporary boundary was agreed upon.

The High Commission.

In August, 1898, commissioners appointed by the British and American governments met, first at Quebec and afterwards at Washington, to try to arrange all disputes between the two governments. The commission had to adjourn without accomplishing this, but the attempt to reach a peaceful settlement of all difficulties has not been given up.

In November, 1898, the Earl of Minto became governor-general.

War in South Africa.

In October, 1899, war broke out between Great Britain and the South African Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Canada now showed that she was ready to prove her loyalty to the great Empire of which she forms a part, by offering men to help the British soldiers. The Australian colonies and New Zealand did the same. These offers were accepted, and a Canadian contingent was speedily equipped and placed under the command of Colonel Otter. It numbered 1,000 men, recruited from all parts of the Dominion, and hundreds of volunteers had to be refused. The Canadians reached Cape Town before the end of November, and received a most enthusiastic welcome.

In December the offer of a second Canadian contingent was accepted by the Imperial government; and now (while this book is in the press) 1,000 artillerymen and mounted riflemen are on their way to South Africa. They are soon to be followed by a troop of mounted men from the West, raised and equipped by Lord Strathcona. Whatever the result in South Africa may be, this war will always be looked upon as a most memorable event in British history, for it is the first time that the daughter-nations of the Empire have given their sons to fight the battles of the Queen in distant lands.



When the last census was taken, in 1891, the population of the Dominion was 4,833,000. Thus it had increased by rather more than a million since Confederation. Many immigrants have, however, recently come to Canada, and it is expected that the next census will show a very large increase in the population.


Since 1867 the trade of the country has increased (proportionately) faster than the population. The value of the exports and imports, taken together, was nearly twice as great in 1897 as in 1868, and a great quantity and variety of goods are now manufactured in Canada.

At the Centennial Exposition, held at Philadelphia in 1876, Canadians won a number of prizes, but their success was much more marked at the World’s Fair in Chicago, in 1893.

In spite of the advance in mining and manufactures, agriculture is still the most important industry. To improve the system of farming five farms were established by government in 1886, for the purpose of trying new kinds of seed and different plans of draining and working the soil. Four years later a commissioner was appointed to lecture in different parts of the country on dairy work, and to show the people how butter and cheese should be made.

There is a large British market for these dairy products if they arrive in prime condition; so in 1897 the Canadian government arranged to have certain warehouses, railway cars, and compartments in the steamships kept ice-cold for storing and carrying these and other perishable articles. The result is a very largely increased sale in Great Britain of Canadian farm and dairy produce.

Modern Steamship
“The Bavarian.”


A great increase has taken place since Confederation in the number of vessels entering Canadian ports, but fewer ships have been built in the Dominion since iron and steel vessels came into use.

Since 1867 much work has been done in deepening the canals and navigable rivers, and in making new canals. Ocean steamers now come up the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal, instead of being obliged to stop at Quebec, and large vessels can come down to the sea from Port Arthur on Lake Superior. Between Lake Erie and Montreal the depth of the canals, in the shallowest places, has lately been increased from nine to fourteen feet. This is a great advantage in shipping grain from the west, and vessels 255 feet long may now be built at the ports on Lakes Erie and Ontario, and taken by these canals to the ocean.

A Lock at Sault Ste. Marie.

To make the navigation of our rivers, lakes, and coast waters safer, more than five hundred lighthouses have been built during the last quarter of a century, and numbers of light-ships, foghorns, and bell-buoys have been provided to warn sailors of sunken rocks or other dangers.


Throughout this period Canada has spent over one hundred and forty million dollars on building railways. At Confederation there were, it will be remembered, about 2,300 miles of railway lines in working order; in 1898 there were over 16,700.

Letters are now carried at a very low rate. For two cents a letter can be sent to any part of Canada, the United States, the British Isles, India, and the British colonies in Africa.

A Lighthouse.


Many thousand miles of telegraph lines and submarine cables have been made since 1867. In July, 1894, a new Atlantic cable was laid between Newfoundland and Ireland. In 1877 the first telephone ever used for business purposes was put up in Hamilton, Ontario; and now telephones are in use all over the country. All the chief towns and many villages are now lighted with electricity.

Social Improvements.

During the last thirty years there have been many improvements of another kind. The census of 1891 showed that a far larger proportion of the people were able to read and write than in 1871, and the system of education is still improving in all the provinces. The University of Manitoba and a large number of schools and colleges have been founded since Confederation.

The Royal Canadian Academy to encourage art, and the Royal Society to encourage science and literature, were founded by the Marquis of Lorne.

In many branches of science, art, and literature, Canadians have done excellent work; and Canada, though so young a country, has already some names on the roll of fame.

Sick Children’s Hospital,

Since 1867 many churches have been built, and many societies founded to help the poor, the weak, and the outcast.

Of late years fewer persons, in proportion to the population, have been convicted of crime; and efforts to further the cause of temperance have met with much success. Late in 1898 the people of the Dominion were asked to vote on the question as to whether the sale of intoxicating liquors should be prohibited or forbidden throughout the country, and of those who voted the larger number were in favour of prohibition.

The Honour of our Country.

As we have seen, Confederation has done much to strengthen the Dominion and to cultivate broader views amongst its statesmen, and a national spirit in its people. But the story of Canada has its warnings as well as its encouragements. Dishonesty, bribery, and violent party spirit have at times had a place in our annals; and it is still true that only “righteousness exalteth a nation.”

We should never forget, moreover, that the history of the nation is coloured by the lives of its people, and that each son of Canada may do his part to bring shame or honour on his motherland. If Canadians are honest, truthful, brave, and pure, the Dominion of Canada will be honoured wherever her name is heard, or the flag of her united provinces is carried.


Columbus discovers America1492
Cabot visits America1497
Cartier enters the St. Lawrence1534, 1535
Port Royal (Annapolis) founded1605
Quebec founded by Champlain1608
Company of the Hundred Associates formed1627
Port Royal taken by the English1628
Quebec taken1629
Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye1632
Montreal founded1642
Jesuit Missions amongst the Hurons destroyed1648-9
English take possession of Acadia1654
Defence of the Long Sault1660
Peace of Breda1667
Hudson Bay Company formed1670
Frontenac becomes governor of New France1672
La Salle reaches mouth of the Mississippi1682
Massacre of Lachine1689
Raids of Frontenac’s war parties1690
Port Royal captured and Quebec attacked by Phips1690
Treaty of Ryswick1697
Port Royal again taken1710
Treaty of Utrecht1713
Louisbourg captured by Pepperell1745
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle1748
Halifax founded1749
Halifax Gazette first published1752
Braddock’s defeat1755
Acadians exiled1755
Louisbourg taken again1758
Meeting of first Assembly of Nova Scotia1758
Capture of Quebec1759
Montreal and all Canada surrendered to the English1760
Treaty of Paris1763
Pontiac’s war1763-4
Island of St. John (P. E. I.) becomes a separate Province1769
Quebec Act passed1774
American Invasion and Siege of Quebec1775
Treaty of Versailles1783
Coming of many U. E. Loyalists1784
Province of New Brunswick founded1784
Mackenzie reaches the Arctic Ocean by the Mackenzie River1789
Constitutional Act passed1791
Mackenzie crosses the Rocky Mountains1793
The Jay Treaty1794
First Canadian steamboat launched1809
Selkirk’s settlement on Red River founded1812
War with the United States, British capture Detroit,
  Battle of Queenston Heights1812
York captured by Americans; battles on Lake Erie and at
  Stoney Creek, Moraviantown, Chateauguay, and
  Chrysler’s Farm; Americans surprised at Beaver Dams1813
Battles at Lacolle Mill, Lundy’s Lane, and Plattsburg1814
Treaty of Ghent1814
First Canadian Railway opened1836
Queen Victoria’s accession1837
Rebellion in Canada1837-8
Lord Durham’s report1838
Upper and Lower Canada united1841
Ashburton Treaty1842
Treaty of Oregon1846
Reciprocity Treaty1854
Gold discovered in British Columbia1857
Conventions at Charlottetown and Quebec1864
Battle of Ridgeway1866
Atlantic cable laid1866
Confederation of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia1867
Red River rebellion1869-70
Province of Manitoba formed1870
Treaty of Washington1871
British Columbia enters Confederation1871
Prince Edward Island enters Confederation1873
The North-West rebellion1885
The Canadian Pacific Railway completed1885
Gold discovered on the Klondike1896
Outbreak of the South African War1899


NOTE.—It is of course only possible to give the pronunciation of foreign names approximately by means of phonetic spelling; ñ stands for the nasal n, and where no syllable is specially marked, all the syllables of a word should be accented about equally.

Aix-la-Chapelle (Aiks-lah-sha-pél).

Algonquin (Al-góng-kwin).

Augustin Morin (O-goo-stan-mo-rañ).

Bagot (Bagg-ett).

Batoche (Ba-tŏsh).

Beauséjour (Boh-say-zhóor).

Behring (Bear-ing).

Bigot (Bee-gó).

Bonsecours (Boñ-seh-coór).

Bouquet (Boo-káy).

Brebœuf (Bray-beff).

Cabot (Ka-bó).

Calèche (ca-laysh).

Carignan (Car-ree-nyoñ).

Cataraqui (Cat-ar-ac’k-wee).

Chaleurs (Shall-eur).

Chambly (Shoñ-blée).

Champ de Mars (Shoñ-duh-mar).

Champlain (Shañ-plañ).

Chartres (Shartr).

Chateauguay (Shat-o-gay).

Colbert (Col-bair).

Coureurs de bois (coor-eur-duh-bwaw).

Crévecœur (Krave-kyoor).

D’Aulnay Charnisay (Dōle-nay-zhar-nee-zay).

De Buade (Duh-bwad).

De Courcelle (Duh-coor-sell).

De la Vérendrye (Duh-lah-vair-oñ-dree).

De Lévis (Duh-lay-vee).

De Monts (Duh-moñ).

Denonville (Duh-noñ-veel).

Denys (Duh-née).

De Razilly (Duh-ra-zeel-yee).

Des Groseilliers (Day-groz-ayl-yay).

De Vaudreuil (Duh-vah-drail).

Dieskau (Dee-ess-kō).

Dollard des Ormeaux (Doll-ar-days-or-mō).

Donnacona (Don-a-con-a).

Duchesneau (Du-shay-no).

Du Luth (Du-luh-t).

Dumont (Du-moñ).

Duquesne (Du-kàin).

Etienne Taché (Ay-tyen-ta-shay).

François de Laval (Froñ-swaw-duh-lah-vall).

Frontenac (Fronte-nác or Fron-te-nác).

Gaspé (Gas-pay).

Gentilhomme (zhon-teel-um).

Grand Pré (Groñ-práy).

Hochelaga (Hosh-eh-láh-gah).

Huguenot (Huh’-ge-noh).

Iroquois (Eér-o-kwāw).

Isle St. Jean (Eel-sañ-zhoñ).

Jean Talon (Zhoñ-ta-loñ).

Jogues (Zhōg).

Joliet (Jo’le-et or zhol’-e-et).

Juan de Fuca (Hwan-de-fooca).

Kondiaronk (Kon-dee-a-ronk).

La Chine (La-sheén).

La Fontaine (Lah-fon-táin).

La Galissonnière (Lah-gal-eess-oñ-yair).

La Jonquiére (La-zhoñ-kee-air).

Lalemant (Lall-mañ).

Lamberville (Loñ-bair-veel).

La Roche (Lah-rosh).

La Tour (La-tóor).

Le Borgne (Luh-born).

Le Caron (Luh-ka-roñ).

Le Loutre (Lu-lootr).

Le Moyne d’Iberville (Luh-mwen-dee-bair-veel).

Louis Hébert (Loo-eez-ay-bair).

Marquette (Mar-kèt).

Maisonneuve (May-zoñ-nyuve).

Membertou (Mem’-ber-to).

Michillimackinac (Mik’-il-i-mak’-in-aw).

Miquelon (Meek-loñ).

Miramichi (Mir-a-ma-shée).

Missiguash (Miss-i-gwásh).

Montmagny (Moñ-ma-nyee).

Montmorenci (Moñ-mor-oñ-see).

Mont Royale (Moñ rwa-yal).

Notre Dame des Victoires (Notr-dam-day-vic-twār).

Onondagas (On-on-day-ges).

Orleans (Or-lay-ōn).

Papineau (Pa-pee-no).

Penobscot (Pen-ób-scot).

Perrot (Per-o).

Place d’Armes (Plass-darm).

Placentia (Pla-sén-shee-a).

Poutrincourt (Poo-tran-coor).

Presqu’Isle (Presk-eel).

Radisson (Ra-dees-son).

Récollects (Ray-coll-ay).

Richelieu (Reesh-lee-yu).

Riel (Ree-él).

Ryswick (Rice-wik).

Saguenay (Sàg-en-ay).

St. Benoit (Sañ-ben-wáw).

St. Castin (Sañ-kas-tañ).

St. Croix (Sañ-krwaw).

St. Denis (Sañ-den-ée).

St. Eustache (Sañ-teus-tásh).

St. Germain-en-Laye (Sañ-zhair-mañ-oñ-lay).

St. Ignace (Sañ-teen-yáss).

St. Malo (Sañ-mal-o).

St. Pierre (Sañ-pee-err).

Sault (So).

Schenectady (Sken-ék-ta-dee).

Seigneur (Say-n-yure).

Shawanoe (Sháw-wan-oh).

Sieur de Roberval (See-yure-de-ro-bair-val).

Strachan (Strawn).

Tadousac (Tad-oo-sáck).

Tecumseh (Te-kúm-seh).

Ticonderoga (Ty-con-der-ō’-ga).

Van Egmond (Van-egg’-mond).

Van Rensselaer (Van-renn’-sell-er).

Verchères (Vair-shair).

Verrazano (Ver-rat-sáño).

Verulam (Vér-u-lam).

Villebon (Veel-boñ).

Ville Marie (Veel-ma-rée).

Voltigeurs (Vol-tee-zhyure).

Von Schultz (Fon-shoolts).

Utrecht (Oó-trekt).


Abbott, Sir John, 291.

Abercrombie, General, 90;

  defeated at Ticonderoga, 91.

Aberdeen, Earl of, 292.

Abraham, Heights of, battle on, 95.

Acadia, first colony in, 19;

  English grant of, 22;

  events in, 39-42;

  restored to France, 42, 62;

  English invasion, 66;

  ceded to England, 73.

  (See Nova Scotia.)

Acadians, habits of, 74;

  refuse oaths, 74, 75;

  unruly, 79;

  stirred up by French, 81, 82;

  expulsion of, 86.

Alabama, 241, 254, 273, 274.

Alexander, Sir William, 22.

Algonquins, 23, 33.

  (See Indians.)

Alien Act, 182.

Allan, Ethan, 116, 117.

Allan, Sir Hugh, 277.

Amherst, General, 90, 92, 97, 107.

Amusements, 45, 99, 100, 143.

Angers, Governor of Quebec, 292.

Annapolis, attacked, 77.

  (See Port Royal.)

Archibald, A., 272.

Argall, attacks French in Acadia, 21, 22.

Arnold, B., besieges Quebec, 117-120.

Arthur, Sir George, 205, 206, 210.

Assembly, petitions from Canada for, 110, 112;

  granted, 135, 136;

  first in Nova Scotia, 86;

  in Prince Edward Island, 125;

  in New Brunswick, 132;

  in Lower Canada, 145;

  in Upper Canada, 146;

  in Newfoundland, 181;

  of United Canada, 212.

  (See Councils.)

Aylmer, Lord, 192, 193.


Bagot, Sir C., governor, 222.

Baldwin, Robert, 201, 212, 222, 234.

Baltimore, Lord, in Newfoundland, 22.

Barclay, Commander, 167.

Batoche, rebels at, 284, 286, 287.

Battleford, 285, 287.

Beauséjour, fort, 82;

  fall of, 85.

Beaver Dams, Americans captured at, 165-167.

Begbie, Chief Justice, 245.

Behring Sea Dispute, 290.

Biencourt, 21, 22.

Bigot, Francis, 88.

Blanshard, Governor of Vancouver, 243.

Blake, Edward, 280.

Boerstler, Colonel, 165-167.

Boscawen, Admiral, 90.

Boston, siege of, 115.

Boundaries, quarrels over, 83;

  Acadian, 39, 75;

  Maine, 147, 209, 226;

  Western, 226, 227, 245;

  Manitoba, 282;

  Alaskan, 295.

Bouquet, Colonel, 107, 108.

Bowell, Sir Mackenzie, premier, 294.

Braddock, Gen., defeated, 84.

Bradstreet, Colonel, 91;

  deceived by Indians, 108.

Brandy trade, 30, 37, 38, 53, 62.

Brant, Chief, 129.

Brébeouf, Father, 34.

British Columbia (New Caledonia or Pacific Coast), visited, 17;

  rival claims on, 139, 226, 227;

  immigration into, 227, 245;

  gold discovered, 243;

  new government, 244;

  Vancouver joined with, 274;

  enters Confederation, 274, 275;

  difficulties about C. P. R., 278.

British North America Act, 258.

Brock, Sir I., 158-160.

Brown, George, 235, 239, 248, 253, 255;

  death, 280.

Buffaloes, 176.

Burgoyne, Gen., surrenders, 121, 122.


Cabot, John and Sebastian, 13.

Campbell, Sir A., 213.

Campbell, Sir Colin, 216.

Canada (New France), early settlements in, 23;

  change of government in, 38, 46;

  invasion threatened, 72, 73, 79;

  distress in, 87, 89, 90;

  ceded to England, 97, 105;

  divided, 135, 136.

  (See Province of Quebec.)

Canada Company, 184.

Canada, Lower (Quebec), first parliament of, 145;

  discontent in, 151-154;

  struggle for reform, 189-195;

  union with Upper Canada, 207, 210-212.

Canada, Upper, 146;

  new capital, 147, 148;

  land grants, 152, 155;

  settlers in, 147, 152, 175, 184;

  discontent in, 182-188;

  union with Lower Canada, 207, 210-212;

  riots, 232.

Canadian Pacific Railway, see Railways.

Canals, 123, 211, 220, 233, 274, 298.

Canso, 77, 78.

Cape Breton Island, 73, 74;

  submits to England, 90;

  changes of government, 109, 131, 132;

  coal mines of, 124.

Carignan regiment, 47.

Carleton, General, see Lord Dorchester.

Carleton, Thomas, 132, 151.

Caroline, destruction of the, 202, 203.

Cartier, Jacques, 13-15.

Cartier, Sir George, 253.

Castine, 179.

Cathcart, Earl, 227.

Champlain, Samuel de, 18, 23-30.

Charlottetown, P. E. I., raid on, 125, 126;

  convention at, 249.

Charles I, of England, helps Huguenots, 28;

  renounces claims on Acadia, etc., 29.

Chateauguay, battle of, 168, 169.

Chatham, settlement at, 175.

Chesapeake, Leopard and, 157;

  Shannon and, 162.

Chippewa, battle of, 172.

Cholera, 184.

Chrysler’s Farm, battle of, 169.

Churches, treated unequally, 184, 185.

Clergy Reserves, set apart, 137;

  agitation against, 184, 185, 188, 234;

  secularization of, 237.

Colbert, colonial policy of, 48.

Colborne, Sir John, 186, 188, 195, 196, 202, 208, 210.

Colebrook, Sir William, 224.

Coles, George, 225.

Collins, editor, 186.

Colonial Conference, 292.

Columbus, Christopher, 12, 13.

Company of Hundred Associates (of New France), 27, 30, 31, 38, 42, 43.

Confederation, suggested, 207, 232, 240, 248;

  Charlottetown Convention, 249;

  Quebec scheme, 250, 253;

  accomplished, 257-260;

  Nova Scotia dissatisfied with, 258, 268;

  British Columbia enters, 274;

  Prince Edward Island enters, 276;

  Newfoundland and, 293.

Constitutional Act, 135-137, 188.

Cook, Captain, 138, 148.

Commission, high, 295.

Cornwallis, Col., 82.

Council, Sovereign, 46;

  Canadian Legislative, 121, 135, 136;

  Reformers enter Upper Canadian executive, 196, 197.

Councils, legislative and executive, quarrel with assemblies, 150-152, 179, 180;

  separated in New Brunswick, 213;

  in Nova Scotia, 215;

  in Prince Edward Island, 217;

  changes in executive councils, 210.

Craig, Sir J., 153, 154.

Crown Point, fort at, 75, 85, 92.

Cunard, S., 220.

Cut Knife Creek, fight at, 287.


Dalhousie, Earl of, 179, 190-192.

D’Aulnay Charnisay, 39, 40.

Dawson City, 295.

Dearborn, Gen., 160, 161.

De Courcelle, 47, 51.

De la Vérendrye, explorer, 76, 81.

De Levis, 96, 97.

De Monts, Sieur, 19, 20, 23.

Denonville, Marquis de, 58-61.

Denys, 40, 41.

De Razilly, Isaac, 39.

De Salaberry, Col., 168.

Des Groselliers, 63, 64.

Desjardins canal disaster, 239.

De Tracy, Viceroy, 46-48.

Detroit, fort at, 70, 105, 106;

  surrendered to British, 159;

  abandoned, 167.

De Vaudreuil, Marquis, 72, 74, 75.

De Vaudreuil, Marquis (son of preceding), 85, 87, 96, 97.

D’Iberville, Le Moyne, 68, 69, 70.

Dieskau, defeated, 85.

Dollard des Ormeaux, defends the Long Sault, 37.

Dominion Day, first, 258.

Dongan, Gov., New York, 57, 59.

Donnacona, Chief, 14, 15.

Dorchester, Lord (Gen. Carleton), 112, 116, 118-120, 122, 134, 135, 145, 148.

Double Shuffle, 239.

Douglas, Sir James, 243, 244.

Drake, Sir Francis, 17.

Draper, William, 212, 246.

Dress, Indian, 9;

  early French, 44, 47, 99;

  loyalists’, 142.

Drummond, General, 170, 173.

Duchesneau, Intendant, 53, 56.

Duck Lake, fight at, 284.

Dufferin, Earl of, 275, 278, 279.

Du Luth, explorer, 54.

Duquesne, Marquis, 83.

Dumont, Gabriel, 284, 287.

Durham, Lord, 205-207.

Dutch Colonies, 41, 47.

Duties, import, 294.

Dwellings, Indian, 9;

  Eskimo, 11;

  French Canadian, 43, 44;

  loyalists’, 141, 142.


Earthquake, 38.

Education, in early days, 45, 99;

  in Canada, 134, 144, 148, 220, 221, 229;

  in New Brunswick, 151;

  in Nova Scotia, 179, 223;

  in Manitoba, 293, 294;

  general improvement in, 300.

Elgin, Earl of, 230-232, 236, 238.

Eskimos, 11, 26.

Explorers, early, 12-17;

  encouraged by Talon, 51;

  by Frontenac, 54;

  in west, 76, 138-140.


Falkland, Lord, 223, 224.

“Family Compact,” 155, 182, 189, 196, 197, 213.

Farmer, the first, 27.

Farming, in early times, 44, 45;

  in Nova Scotia, 178, 179;

  in New Brunswick, 180;

  in Canada, 218, 220;

  improvements in, 262, 297, 298.

Fenians, 255, 256, 272.

Fires, 101;

  Miramichi, 180;

  St. John’s, 225;

  Quebec, 223;

  Montreal parliament buildings, 231;

  forest, 281.

Fish Creek, battle of, 287.

Fisheries, Newfoundland, 181;

  importance of, 218;

  trouble with Americans over, 273, 289;

  British Columbia, 275.

FitzGibbon, Colonel, 165-167, 201.

Food, in early times, 44;

  of loyalists, 142, 143.

Forbes, General, 91.

Fort Douglas, 175, 177.

Fort Duquesne (afterwards Pitt), 91, 107.

Fort Erie, 173.

Fort Frontenac (Cataraqui), 52, 54, 58, 91.

Fort Garry, 269, 271.

Fort George, 160, 164, 170.

Fort Lawrence, 82.

Fort Pitt, N. W. T., 285.

Fort St. Louis, Cape Sable, 22, 29.

Fort St. Louis, Quebec, 30, 44.

Fort Verchères, 68.

Fort William Henry, 85, 88, 89.

Francis I., of France, 13.

Franciscans, see Récollets.

Fredericton, 132.

Frenchtown, battle at, 163.

Frontenac, Count de, 52-54, 56, 61, 65-69.

Fuca, Juan de, 17.

Fur trade, monopolies of, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 27;

  flourishing, 30, 51, 68;

  competition between French and English in, 52;

  in west, 138-140, 218, 219.


Gallows Hill, fight at, 201.

Galt, Alexander, 253, 280.

George III., 109.

“Gentilhommes,” 43.

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 16.

Gladwin, Major, 106, 107.

Gold, in British Columbia, 243-245;

  in the Yukon district, 295.

Gosford, Earl of, 193, 194, 205.

Gourlay, Robert, 182, 183.

Government, British plan, 149, 150, 179;

  colonial plan, 150, 151.

Grand Pré, English surprised at, 79.

Grievances, Canadian, 112.


Halfbreeds, discontented, 268, 283.

Haldimand, General, 122, 123.

Halifax, founded, 82;

  in war time, 145, 151.

Hampton, General, 168, 169.

Harvey, Sir John (Col.), 165, 214, 224.

Head, Sir Edmund, 238.

Head, Sir Francis, 196-198, 200-202, 205.

Hearne, Samuel, 139.

Hincks, Sir Francis, 234, 236.

Hochelaga, River (St. Lawrence), 14.

Howe, Joseph, 215, 216, 224, 257, 258, 268.

Hudson Bay, discovered, 25.

Hudson Bay Territories, rival claims on, 30, 63, 64;

  ceded to England, 73;

  explorations in, 292.

Hudson, Henry, 25.

Hudson’s Bay Company, 63, 139, 140, 175;

  in British Columbia, 227, 228, 243;

  gives up Vancouver, 244;

  surrenders trade monopoly in North-west, 268.

Huguenots, 27, 28.

Hunters’ lodges, 208.

Hurons, 24;

  missions to, 26, 32, 34, 35;

  Iroquois attack, 33, 34;

  flight of, 35.

  (See Indians.)


Immigration, 229, 282, 297.

  (See Population.)

Indians, customs, 8-11, 36;

  villages, 14, 15;

  revolt of, 105-108;

  in older provinces, 261, 262;

  treaties, 278, 279.

Intendant, duties of, 46.

Iroquois, alliance, 9;

  attacked by Champlain, 24, 26;

  attack French, 30, 31;

  obtain firearms, 33;

  destroy Jesuit missions, 34, 35;

  raids, 36, 37, 46, 65, 68;

  La Barre’s treaty with, 57;

  Denonville’s treachery towards, 58;

  peace with, 69;

  loyalist (Mohawk), 129.

Isle St. Jean, see Prince Edward Island.


James II, of England, 64.

Jesuits, arrive in Acadia, 21;

  arrive in Canada, 27;

  at Quebec, 30;

  missions to Hurons, 31, 32, 34, 35;

  to Iroquois, 33, 34;

  murdered, 35;

  influence of, 45;

  Estates Bill, 290.

Jogues, Father, 33, 34.

Johnson, Sir William, 80, 85, 108.

Joliet, explorer, 54.

Judges, 189, 210.

Jury, trial by, 111.

Justice, administration of, 102.


Kempt, Sir James, 192.

Kingston, 146, 148, 164, 212.

Kirke, Louis, 28.

Kirke, Sir David, 28, 42.

Klondike, 295.


Labrador, explorations in, 292.

La Barre, 56, 57.

Lachine, 54;

  massacre of, 60, 61.

Lacolle Mill, battle at, 171.

Lafontaine, L., 222, 230, 234.

La Gallissonière, Count de, 81.

La Jonquière, 79.

Lalemant, Father, 34.

Lamberville, Father, 58.

Land grants, reckless, 129, 130, 155, 189.

Languages, French and English, in parliament, 145.

Lansdowne, Marquis of, 282.

La Salle, explorer, 54-56.

La Tour, Charles de, 22, 39-41.

La Tour, Claud de, 29.

La Tour, Lady, 40.

Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 294.

Laval, Bishop, 37, 53.

Lawrence, Governor, 85, 86.

Laws, French and English, in Quebec, 110-113, 121.

Le Borgne, claims Acadia, 41.

Le Caron, Father, 26.

Le Loutre, Father, 81, 82.

Lighthouses, 299.

Lisgar, Lord, 275.

Long Sault, defence of, 36, 37.

Lorne, Marquis of, 279, 282.

Loudon, Lord, 87.

Louisiana, 56, 70, 105.

Louisbourg, founded, 74;

  captured, 77-79;

  restored to France, 80;

  again captured, 90.

Louis XIV, 38, 46, 49, 52, 64, 70, 73, 100.

Lount, hanged, 206.

Loyalists, United Empire, 127-134;

  compensation to, 128, 147;

  settle in Nova Scotia, 127, 131;

  in Canada, 127, 128, 141.

Lundy’s Lane, battle of, 172.


Macdonald, Sir John, 209, 223, 248, 253, 259, 267, 273, 277-280;

  death, 290, 291.

MacDougall, William, 246, 269.

Mackenzie, Alexander, explorer, 140.

Mackenzie, Alexander, premier, 277-279.

Mackenzie, W. L., 183, 184, 186-188, 197, 198, 200-204, 230.

MacNab, Sir A. (Col.), 202, 203, 237.

Maisonneuve, Sieur de, 32, 33.

Manufactures, early, 50, 100;

  forbidden, 111, 124;

  few, 218;

  increasing, 263, 297.

Manitoba (see Red River Colony);

  province set apart, 271;

  settlers in, 281;

  boundary dispute, 282;

  railway question, 289;

  separate schools, 293, 294.

Marquette, Father, explorer, 54.

Matthews, hanged, 206.

Meares, Captain, 138, 139.

Membertou, Chief, 21.

Metcalfe, Lord, 222, 223.

Michigan, surrendered to British, 159;

  abandoned, 167.

Michillimackinac, 159.

Middleton, General, 285, 287.

Militia, organized in Nova Scotia, 82;

  in Upper Canada, 147;

  defends country, 204.

  (See War of 1812 and Fenians.)

Minto, Earl of, 296.

Miquelon, 105.

Mississippi, explored, 54-56.

Mohawks, 33, 47, 48, 80, 85, 129.

  (See Iroquois.)

Monck, Lord, 247, 259.

Money, substitutes for, 45, 101;

  decimal system of, 236;

  control of public, 145, 189-192, 194, 211, 213, 214, 225.

Montcalm, Marquis de, 87-95.

Montgomery, General, 116-119.

Montgomery’s Tavern, 200.

Montmagny, Charles de, 31.

Montreal (Mont Royale), Cartier visits, 15;

  Champlain visits, 18;

  city founded, 32, 33;

  mill at, 44;

  disorders in, 53;

  threatened attack on, 71, 72;

  surrender of, 97;

  condition of, 101, 102;

  taken by Americans, 118;

  parliament at, 223;

  riots at, 231.

Morin, A., 234, 236, 237.

Morrison, Colonel, 169.

Mounted Police, 284, 285.

Municipal Act, 212.

Murray, General, 96-98, 109, 110, 112.


National Policy, 279, 281.

Navigation, safety of, 299.

Navy Island, 202-204.

Nelson, Dr. Robert, 208.

Nelson, Dr. Wolfred, 190, 199, 207.

Neutrality Laws, 204, 272.

Newark, first capital of Upper Canada, 146, 147;

  burnt, 170.

New Brunswick, Acadians in, 81;

  province created, 131, 132;

  trade, 151;

  political strife, 213, 214;

  against Confederation, 253;

  in favor of, 257.

New England, raids on, 67, 71, 75, 79;

  objects to war of 1812, 157.

Newfoundland, England takes possession of, 16;

  settlers in, 22, 42;

  fisheries, 13, 15, 73;

  raids on, 68, 69;

  distress in, 126, 181;

  political strife, 217, 225;

  against Confederation, 253, 293;

  progress in, 293.

Newspapers, early, 110, 154;

  criticize government, 183, 192, 194, 197, 235.

New Westminster, 244.

New York, English at, 47, 64.

Niagara, fort at, 75, 85;

  taken, 92;

  given up to Americans, 147.

Nootka, 138, 139.

North-West Company, 140;

  opposed to settlement, 175-177.

North-West Territories, separate government, 278;

  settlers in, 281;

  rebellion in, 283-287.

Nova Scotia, early settlements in, 19-22;

  baronets of, 22;

  ceded to England, 73;

  French invade, 77;

  settlers arrive in, 81, 82, 98;

  discontent in, 85;

  prosperity, 151;

  land grants in, 179;

  bad trade, 178;

  quarrels in legislature, 179, 180, 215, 216;

  against Confederation, 253, 257, 258;

  reconciled to it, 268.

Nuns, Hospital and Ursuline, 31.


“Officials’ Famine,” 193.

Ogdensburg, 163.

Ohio Valley, 81, 83, 84, 123.

“Old Subjects,” 110.

Onondagas, teachers sent to, 36.

Ontario (see Upper Canada), 259;

  boundary, 282.

Oswego, fort at, 75, 88, 171.

Ottawa, capital, 239.

Ottawa, River, Champlain explores, 25.

Otter, Colonel, 287, 296.


Papineau, L. J., 190-195, 199.

Parliament, Dominion, 251, 252;

  first, 267.

Parr, Governor, 131.

Patterson, Governor, 125, 132, 133.

Peltrie, Madame de la, 31.

Pemmican, 176.

Penobscot, 22, 39, 62, 63.

Pepperell, William, 77, 78.

Perrot, Governor, 53, 62.

Philips, Governor, 75.

Phips, Sir William, 66, 67.

Pitt, W. (Earl of Chatham), 90.

Pitt, W. (son of preceding), 135.

Placentia, 42.

Plattsburg, British attack, 167, 173.

Population, 43, 62, 99, 141, 178, 218, 261, 297.

Pontiac, Chief, 106, 107.

Port Royal, 19-22, 39, 67, 71, 72.

  (See Annapolis.)

Post Office, 219, 233, 264, 299.

Poundmaker, Chief, 287.

Poutrincourt, Baron de, 19, 21, 22.

Premier (prime minister), duties of, 149, 150.

Prevost, Sir George, 154, 155, 158, 160, 173.

Prince Edward (Duke of Kent), 148.

Prince Edward Island (St. Jean or St. John), fishing station in, 42;

  submits to England, 90;

  annexed to Nova Scotia, 109;

  separate government, 125;

  quit-rents, 125, 132, 133, 181, 276;

  name changed, 148;

  immigration to, 175;

  election riots, 224;

  enters Confederation, 276.

Prince of Wales, visit of, 240.

Printing, introduced into Canada, 110.

Proctor, Colonel, 163, 167, 168.

Punishments, 221.


Quebec, founded, 23;

  scarcity in, 27;

  surrenders to England, 28;

  attacked by Phips, 66, 67;

  siege of, 92-96;

  French try to retake, 96, 97;

  besieged by Americans, 118-120;

  fires at, 223.

Quebec, Province of, set apart, 109;

  difficulty of governing, 110-113.

Quebec Act, 112, 113, 121, 122.

Queenston Heights, battle of, 160.

Quit-rents, in Prince Edward Island, 125, 132, 133, 181, 278;

  in Nova Scotia, 179.


Rat, The (Kondiaronk), 59, 60, 70.

Radisson, 63, 64.

Railways, first, 220, 233;

  Intercolonial, 234, 250;

  Canadian Pacific promised, 274;

  scandal, 277;

  government begins to build C. P. R., 278;

  new C. P. R. company, 280, 281;

  C. P. R. completed, 288, 289;

  at Confederation, 264;

  in Prince Edward Island, 276;

  increase in mileage, 299.

Rebellion of 1837-8, 199-208;

  Losses Bill, 230-232.

Rebellion, North-west, 283-287.

Rebellion, Red River, 268-271.

Récollets, missions of, 25, 26.

Red River Colony, 175-177, 245, 246, 268.

Representation by population, 235, 247.

Resolutions, Ninety-two, 193.

Responsible government, struggle for, in Lower Canada, 189-196;

  in Upper Canada, 182-188, 222, 223;

  in Nova Scotia, 179, 180, 223;

  in New Brunswick, 224;

  recommended by Durham, 207;

  granted, 210, 214, 216;

  refused to Prince Edward Island, 217;

  granted, 225;

  in Newfoundland, 225;

  difficulty in working, 238.

Riall, General, 172.

Richelieu, Cardinal, 27, 29.

Richelieu, River, forts on, 47.

Richmond, Duke of, 190.

Ridgeway, battle of, 255, 256.

Riel, Louis, 269-272, 278, 283, 284, 287.

Right of Search, 157.

Roads, 100, 143, 148, 151, 219, 244, 245.

Roberval, Sieur de, 15.

Robinson, Chief Justice, 184.

Roche, Marquis de la, 16.

Rocky Mountains, reached, 76;

  crossed, 140.

Rolph, Dr., 201.

Roman Catholics, laws against, 110;

  repealed, 181;

  position in Quebec, 113, 135, 137.

Rupert’s Land, 63.

Russel, Lord John, despatches of, 194, 198, 210, 214, 216.

Ryerson, Egerton, 185, 229.


Sable Island, exiles of, 16, 17.

Sackett’s Harbour, 164, 165.

San Juan I., 245, 274.

Sault Ste. Marie, claimed by France, 51.

Saunders, Admiral, 92.

Schenectady, massacre of, 65, 66.

Schultz, Dr., 269.

Scott Act, 278.

Scott, T., murdered, 270, 271.

Secord, Laura, 165.

Seigneurs, privileges of, 49.

  (See Tenure of Land.)

Selkirk, Earl of, 175-177.

Semple, murdered, 177.

Senecas (Iroquois), 59.

Sheaffe, General, 161, 164.

Sherbrooke, Sir J., 190.

Ship-building, 218, 263, 298.

Shirley, Governor, 77, 87.

Simcoe, Colonel, 146-148.

Slaves, 146, 152;

  trade in, 226.

Smith, Governor, 181.

Smyth, General, 161.

Stadacona, 14, 15.

St. Alban’s, raid on, 242.

Stamp Act, 111, 112.

Stanley, Lord, 290.

St. Benoit, 202.

St. Castin, Baron de, 62, 63.

St. Charles, 199.

St. Croix, settlement at, 19.

St. Denis, 199, 202.

Steamboats, 220, 264, 298.

St. Eustache, 202.

Stoney Creek, battle of, 165.

St. Pierre, 105.

St. John, N. B. (Parrtown), 131.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, 16, 68, 181, 225.

Strathcona, Lord, 288, 296.

Supreme Court, 278.

Sydenham, Lord (C. P. Thompson), 210-212.


Taché, Bishop, 271.

Taché, Sir E., 248.

Tadoussac, 63.

Talon, Intendant, 48, 51.

Taxation of British Colonies, 114, 115.

Tecumseh, 159, 168.

Telegraph lines, 264, 299.

Telephones, 299.

Temperance (see brandy traffic), 100, 221, 278, 300.

Temple, Sir Thomas, 41, 62.

Tenure of land, 48, 49, 237, 238.

Thompson, C. P. (See Lord Sydenham.)

Thompson, Sir John, 293.

Thorpe, Judge, 155.

Ticonderoga, 91, 92.

Tilley, Sir Leonard, 257.

Tonty, 56.

Toronto (York), fort at, 75;

  capital of Upper Canada, 148;

  taken by Americans, 164, 167;

  incorporated, 187;

  threatened by rebels, 200, 201.

Trade, in early times, 44, 100;

  unfair laws, 124, 134;

  in New Brunswick, 151, 180;

  in Nova Scotia, 178;

  in Lower Canada, 189, 196;

  in Upper Canada, 219;

  Bonaparte interferes with, 156, 157;

  greater freedom of, 228, 233;

  increase in, 263, 209.

Traveling, means of, 100, 128, 143, 219, 220, 298, 299.

Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 80.

Treaty, Ashburton, 226.

Treaty (Peace), of Breda, 42, 62.

Treaty (Peace), of Ghent, 174.

Treaty, Jay, 147.

Treaty of Oregon, 227.

Treaty of Paris, 105.

Treaty, Reciprocity, 235, 236, 254, 255, 273.

Treaty (Peace), of Ryswick, 69.

Treaty of St. Germain-en-Laye, 30, 39, 63.

Treaty (Peace), of Utrecht, 73.

Treaty of Versailles, 123.

Treaty of Washington, 273.

Troops, British, withdrawn, 272.

Tupper, Sir Charles (Dr.), 268, 294.


Union, Act of, 211, 212.

United States, independence of, 121, 123;

  west given up to, 147;

  trouble with, 226, 227, 247, 273, 289.


Vancouver, Captain, 139.

Vancouver Island, 138, 139, 227, 243, 244.

  (See British Columbia.)

Van Rensselaer, “General,” 302.

Verrazano, explorer, 13.

Viceroys, 24.

Victoria, Queen, 198, 207, 294.

Victoria, B. C., 244.

Villebon, 67.

Vincent, General, 165.

Voltigeurs, 168.

Volunteers, Queen’s Own, 255, 256;

  regiments of, 261;

  in North-west Rebellion, 285-287;

  in South African War, 296.

Von Schultz, 208, 209.


Wampum, 10.

War, American Civil, 241, 242, 254.

War, American Revolutionary, 114-123.

War, Crimean, 235, 238.

War of Austrian Succession, 77-80.

War, Queen Anne’s, 71-73.

War of 1812, 156-174.

War, Seven Years’, 87-98.

War, South African, 296.

War, with France, 145, 156.

War-parties, Frontenac’s, 65, 66.

Warren, Commodore, 78.

Washington, George, 83, 116, 123.

Wentworth, Sir J., 151.

Wilkinson, General, 168, 169.

William III (of Orange), 64.

Williams, Sir W. Fenwick, 238, 253.

Willis, Judge, 184.

Wilmot, Lemuel, 214.

Wolfe, General, 90, 92, 95.

Wolseley, Lord (Colonel), 271.


Yeo, Sir J., 164, 171.

York, see Toronto.

Young, John, 179.

Transcriber’s Notes

Obvious printing errors have been silently corrected.

Inconsistencies in hyphenation, spelling and punctuation have been preserved.

The locations of certain images have been adjusted slightly to improve the reading experience on digital devices, and consequently, page number references have been updated to reflect these changes.


[The end of A Canadian History for Boys and Girls by Emily P. Weaver]