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Title: Canada and its Provinces Vol 12 of 23

Date of first publication: 1914

Author: Adam Shortt (1859-1931) and Arthur G. Doughty (1860-1936) (editors)

Date first posted: Jan. 20, 2021

Date last updated: Jan. 20, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20210155

This eBook was produced by: Iona Vaughan, Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

Archives Edition




(Vols. 1 and 2)(Vols. 13 and 14)
(Vols. 3 and 4)(Vols. 15 and 16)
(Vol. 5)(Vols. 17 and 18)
(Vols. 6, 7, and 8)(Vols. 19 and 20)
(Vols. 9 and 10)(Vols. 21 and 22)
(Vols. 11 and 12)(Vol. 23)






Thomas ChapaisAlfred D. DeCelles
F. P. WaltonGeorge M. Wrong
William L. GrantAndrew Macphail
James BonarA. H. U. Colquhoun
D. M. DuncanRobert Kilpatrick
Thomas Guthrie Marquis

VOL. 12








Photogravure. Annan. Glasgow.

From an engraving in the Dominion Archives

Copyright in all countries subscribing to the Berne Convention


I.LITERARY ORIGINS, 1760-1840435
History—Poetry—Fiction—Political, Philosophical and Social Literature—Miscellaneous 
General Survey—History—Contemporary Painters—Portraiture—Black and White 


From an engraving in the Dominion Archives  
JOSEPH QUESNELFacing page440
From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay  
From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay  
From the painting by Albert Ferland  
From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay  
From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay  
From a drawing by W. H. Bartlett  
From the painting by J. W. L. Forster  
From the painting by J. W. L. Forster  
From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay  
From the portrait in 'The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford,' reproduced by permission of Mr J. W. Garvin, Toronto  
From the painting by Paul Peel  
From the painting by Lucius R. O'Brien  
From the painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, by courtesy of the owner, Mr Alex. Buntin, Toronto  
From the painting by O. R. Jacobi  
From the painting by John A. Fraser, by courtesy of the owner, Lieut.-Col. J. B. Miller, Toronto  




A Grecian temple and a Canadian Pacific railway have a common factor. They are alike the product of national intelligence. A Parthenon may conceivably, indeed, be the work of an inspired fool, but not of a nation 'mostly fools.' So, too, with the social, economic and political problems of our Western world. Far greater is the demand they make for trained and powerful intelligence. Neither passion for beauty, nor material resources and industrial energy, nor love of country and fellow-men is wholly sufficient for these things. In so far as the ultimate fund of power for great achievement is controllable by men, the sacred keep must be erected, in our modern world, in its highest institutions of learning and research. If culture—and we intend the word in no narrow sense—must remain the property of the few, it is not their privilege, but a prime necessity of a nation that would be great.

It is a simple plea for foundations that this chapter has to make. If 'we must educate our masters' we must find and train our leadership, that core of guidance and initiative which constitutes the soul of progress. For the supreme trial of our New World institutions is only now approaching. Were a Burke among us he would couple with chivalry obedience and rule as vanishing landmarks in the language of our race. Let us cherish the hope that they are being slowly transmuted by a new order of things into loyalty and authority. But should we ever enter upon a period of moral eclipse, authority will be the first to wane. For 'lead and I follow' is eternal in the hearts of men. The urgent call, then, is not for 'scientific efficiency' alone—it need not be thought that this will remain intact, if we drop to lower spiritual levels—but for intellectual leadership in the higher values of life, for sound knowledge, for the highest training, rigid, unstinted, of the highest natures wherever they may be found.

There is of course in Canada no intellectual tradition, no genuine product of revolt from an old social system, such as was the doctrine of laissez-faire, or such as is the long reaction which continues into the present century in the motherland. There has been no fresh struggle with secular antinomies, as was the Tractarian movement, nor any fruitage of an age of great action. Everything is still inchoate. To say this is not to neglect the literary activity of Quebec, nor a fine note in a group of young Ontarian poets, nor a sinewy intelligence in the Eastern provinces, which has produced a striking series of academic workers and public men. But the actual achievement which succeeding chapters will portray, however full of promise, may be set to one side in any broad and faithful survey of the character and possibilities of our intellectual life.

To be broad and faithful such a survey must be continental. For it cannot be too strongly insisted upon that, however conscious we may be of deep contrasts with the great people to the south of us, we share a common life. Our fundamental problem is the same, the problem of a commercial democracy feverishly busy in the development of half a continent. Where our neighbours have succeeded we too may hope to succeed, where they have failed we too shall fail at first. The toils in which they struggle to-day will be ours in large measure to-morrow. We stand where they stood a generation after they crossed the Ohio. If it is a great advantage that we have brought our institutions with us and are not creating our democracy anew, it is equally true that unconsciously we shall follow far in their steps. It is, indeed, not for nothing that we carry with us into our West our schools, and banks, and colleges, and religion and law. We may hope, against great odds, to escape thereby the long results of frontier life. But we too have opened an asylum for the nations and we give freely the sacred rights of citizenship as though we were treading the beaten track of history, while we lack as yet the tide of national sentiment in which the comers from all nations are submerged across the border with so astonishing success. But if we have been knit together by no great convulsion, we have made enormous efforts to create a united people, and, apart from commercial intercourse, it goes for much that the lines of religious and educational activity run east and west. A short study of the newspapers of fifty years ago, whose outside world lay mainly to the south, will bring home to any Canadian how profound a diversion of interest has been created by our great transcontinental lines.

Perhaps the sharpest intellectual contrast between Canada and her neighbours is in the national conception of law. When we reflect upon the long struggle of nations through the ages to erect an august impersonal authority, to detach a sacred deposit of rule for the intercourse of men, above the passion of the hour and the tug and sway of the human struggle, one cannot but feel that the inner meaning of law is but feebly developed with our neighbours as a people. This is not to make the easy reproach of their law's delay and uncertainty, or odious hints of the power of money and influence—we may yet know the bitterness of these faction cries—nor is it to comment upon the election and recall of judges, nor to smile from on high upon attempts to enforce habits by a show of hands, but it is to say that we neither conceive law as an experiment, a thing that we may try to-day, and if we like it not, change to-morrow, nor as the mere will of the many (how soon a mob!) which, at a pass, they may carry out themselves.

On the other hand, though the change which ten years have made in the United States in this regard is very hopeful, we share with them a sense of the futility of the expression of individual opinion. We need reflect on this alone to realise how deep is the unity of spirit in this North-American life. In leaving the motherland we brought with us our ideals of liberty and our institutions, to enter a land of immensities where, if the vastness of our heritage inspires the many with optimism, it likewise creates a kind of fatalism in the individual. Oppressed, as it were, by mere vastness of scale in these great democracies, we start at the sound of an isolated voice as at the discharge of a gun in our great solitudes, and cling fanatically to party and organization as to something human and tangible. The correspondence with which the great British newspapers are deluged appears to us as something quaint and inscrutable. The newspaper editorial replaces the spoken word and appeals more often to the crowd than to the man. To express personal conviction, to create public opinion, and to ascertain what public opinion is, constitute the great task for citizen and statesman, with ourselves as with our neighbours. To achieve it is to have transformed a crowd into a people.

We share again with our neighbours the danger of a great class-embitterment. He is, indeed, wilfully blind who cannot see the idealism with which that great people is imbued. Again and again we seem to hear among them the ancient doctrine that the state is not a commercial enterprise but a spiritual partnership, a moral organism for the making of men. We know nothing, it is true, of the ferocity with which the struggle of capital and labour is being waged across the border. But we do know the danger of class-division. It is a singular spectacle that the continent presents at the moment, with its marvellous agricultural resources worked extravagantly or listlessly, its stupendous increment in natural values intercepted by the drones and pirates of the industrial world, and its wealth of organizing ability assailed as the great menace of society. The demagogue had never a wider scope. If we are to escape a serious check to our civilization, it can be only through an education that does even more than diffuse information—that produces sane leadership.


But we too, as our neighbours, have fixed our hopes upon education, upon a state-system, co-educational, which proceeds from the common school to the university, which includes training for our greatest industry, farming, and which will, in the near future, not neglect a manifold technical and artistic training. With trivial deviations this education is throughout free. This was unerring instinct rather than reasoned theory, but it has crystallized into a first principle of the two democracies. We hold together a deeply seated belief, which, however it may at times or in sections be obscured, more and more affects our national life, in 'equality of opportunity'; and we believe in common that the state cannot leave education in any of its stages to private initiative. If the first results have been a chaos of standards recalling the compliment once paid to a railway magnate, that he had within a short time brought the stock of his railway within reach of the poorest inhabitant of the United States, both peoples are slowly reaching the point when they will demand that the education for which the state pays shall secure to the people the highest type of service and hallmark its products.

But it is not merely the state that does all this. Men of vast wealth and great religious bodies hasten to duplicate the system in its higher grades. So familiar is this spectacle to the people of North America, that we rarely stop to consider the idealism which this implies.

The chapters devoted to education will show that, as a result of government supervision and definite professional training, the qualifications of primary and secondary teachers are much more uniform in Canada than in the United States. But this professional training and state regulation raise questions of national importance. An observer must find indications that in England certain difficulties are slowly arriving which our North-American system develops. We cannot have centralized government control without the defects of its virtues. Something of vital spontaneity is lost beyond recall. But if we really face the inherent dangers we may greatly reduce them. The weakness of professional training is the development of a corporate consciousness and self-interest that come presently to seize control of the system. The danger of government control is that of all organization. It is quite possible to organize the life out of an educational system and to cut off the supply of teachers of any marked type of intelligence and character. These things are quite consistent with a very high level of skilful teaching, as a mere art, and given the end set up for achievement, but they may be slowly robbing a people of idealism and the power of initiative and adjustment to changing conditions. Canada has gone further than her neighbour in government regulation and possibly in the professional education of teachers. The great arguments for this professional training are not those of the generation of Squeers and Bradley Headstone, when primary teaching was largely given over to the failures of other walks in life. It may be speciously defended as magnifying the office of the teacher, raising salaries, and creating permanency. But it is possible for society to lament this permanency, if the final result is to merge the citizen in the teacher. There is little real analogy between the professional training of a teacher and that of a lawyer or physician. Professional training of teachers will have justified itself when it presents something to which an earnest teacher would voluntarily return for help after discovering the difficulties of his vocation and his special needs, in the only way in which he can ever discover them, by doing what physicians and lawyers do, plunging into his work. There is an element of unfairness in the naked statement of this position, for no system is quite devoid of common sense. But it is not as unfair as the analogy used to justify this training. More and more the professional qualifications tend to rise not in substance but in length, until an anæmic guild is created, jealous of intruders, and cut off from wider interests. This little world is further driven in upon itself by unconscious arrogance in the class above it. Like the absolute potentates of the Orient, its rulers withdraw themselves from men, with complete success, behind the mysteries of educational psychology. The only remedy is to open the doors of such a system at both ends. Demand any number of years of sound education sufficient to produce a thoughtful man or woman—nothing but generous education will produce such a man or woman—and take down artificial barriers to character and genuine culture from any part of the Dominion or Empire. Keep the direction of the system, primary and secondary, inspectorships and the like, in the hands of men of wide and liberal training, the best product obtainable from the highest education the country affords. This, too, is the sole safeguard against over-organization. Ministers of education and superintendents should be of the same high type and non-professional. It may well be that the higher education of a country cannot at times provide such leadership, but a country is then in the unhappy case of having no leadership. The Province of Ontario has taken the all-important step of handing over the professional training of the highest grade of teachers to the Universities of Queen's and Toronto—a tacit and wholesome admission that the guidance of primary and secondary education, so far as it is a matter of subjects and content, is no function of government. It remains to be seen how far these universities will realize their great opportunity.

'The power which controls the schools in this generation will control public opinion in the next,' said Coleridge. If ever a nation may be said to have deliberately embodied this Greek ideal in practice, it is the American people in their primary schools. We have much to learn from them. If public interest in the common school is less striking with us, it is because our problem is only beginning. It is a question not of subjects and grants of money, but of living spiritual forces, of the making of citizens. The young life of this continent is a living unit, a palpitating mass of nervous human energy which reacts from end to end with marvellous speed to a patter of language, a trick of sport, of dress, of vandalism, of jest. Can the influence of the schools prove stronger? But we must further remember that the given material is no longer our own. By the time this work is in the reader's hands one in every four of our population will have been an immigrant, and more than half of these will have come from the United States. The power of our national life must indeed be living and intense, our energies definite, if we are to absorb them. The fertility of device, the human enthusiasm and devotion with which our neighbours set themselves to the task of primary education especially, not merely of the child but of the adult, deserve our deep consideration. They strike at first principles: first the language, then the flag. With their practical ingenuity they abandon all language theories in teaching adults. They turn their rural schools into community centres. Their underlying idealism is manifested in the remarkable experiment now being made in illustrated lessons in morals. Yet there are not wanting signs that civic enthusiasm has been born in Canada, and that a great force only waits for leadership.

We have described the influences which tend to drive our primary and secondary systems into guilds. There is a further separating force operating in the latter, the effect of which may be seen over the whole continent. A genuine teacher, in proportion to his human instinct, feels that his work is in the main not to feed the university, but to give the widest training possible to his pupils, for the majority of whom education must now cease. He makes a mistake in demanding that the subjects with which he rounds out their training should find recognition in university examinations. Universities must be trusted to know what they want. There is no other hope for our higher intellectual life. The whole system suffers when once the bond of sympathy is broken. But the secondary teacher is right in considering his school as an end in itself. Those familiar with the extraordinary civic interest that centres in an American high school, whatever their criticism of it, must have reflected that we have a great force here lying comparatively unutilized. Our high schools and collegiate institutes should be the outposts of culture and national intelligence. It holds true here as elsewhere that, as all civic leaders know, leadership is conceded in a higher degree than it is even deserved. The naïve and unwholesome social functions of some of our city schools contrast poorly with the intelligent efforts at larger civic usefulness of which occasional note is made in small centres.

The organization of studies in the secondary system probably presents the most serious and unsettled questions in the whole range of education. Other provinces will do well here to study the system of Ontario, where the attempt is being made, while commencing language study three years later, to carry on in combination types of education which in Germany are allotted to three classes of schools. The total impression left is of a turbid fret of contending aims and subjects and standards and examinations, in which men forget to ask what education is. The system, from no fault of individuals, has become an intellectual and bureaucratic tyranny, which would exclude an Arnold or a Thring, unless he could pass successfully through some round of professional training. And in truth no Arnold or Thring could probably work in the system with the same skill as its best exponents. For it is not lack of skill from which the system suffers, but lack of humane and cultured leadership and dearth of men.

This dearth of men is a subject that should cause national concern. It is undoubted that the personnel of the teaching profession is deteriorating, and the difficulty of obtaining teachers at all is a commonplace. The difficulty extends to the churches and the universities and is a great continental question. In the United States it is a matter of common knowledge that important professorships have gone for years unfilled. The causes for this condition of things are not all on the surface. Undoubtedly the main cause is our commercialism and material prosperity. Not only do other walks of life present greater attractions and hold out higher material rewards, but our people as a whole are so immersed in developing the country that from pure lack of consideration they are slowly impoverishing mentally and starving out their teaching class. The astonishing rise in standards and cost of living leaves all efforts to grapple with the problem far behind. The Presbyterian Church in Canada is contemplating the raising of the minimum stipend of its married clergy to $1200. This is about the average salary of a secondary teacher in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and twice what the average secondary teacher in Ontario received ten years ago. The rhadamanthine character of the professional qualifications for teachers in Ontario is largely due to the deliberate belief that the problem of raising the type of teachers is, at bottom, a question of remuneration. The task set for itself by government is therefore to reduce the supply by steadily increasing the difficulty of entering the profession, and this policy has been adhered to honestly and courageously. But the result is that in the year 1911-12, out of 262 students in the faculty of education in the University of Toronto only 93 were men. The lure of the West is great. For years to come the male teacher especially will go to the West, only to be absorbed presently in some form of speculative activity. It is the same general process that denuded the Eastern States and is now operating in the American West. It is open to any one to say that if the average salary were doubled and communities were compelled by law to pay the same salary to women as to men, the problem would be solved. But insufficient remuneration, if the main, is not the only cause. There is, indeed, a minimum, which we are far from reaching yet, below which intellectual efficiency cannot be maintained. But it is the high distinction of teaching that it has never been in any age devoid of a spirit of service. The question is, at final analysis, one of driving men with the teaching instinct into other fields. Many a woman teacher or forlorn pedagogue in the outskirts of Quebec or our eastern provinces, urged by some fine human impulse, toils on a smaller income than that of a good domestic servant elsewhere. The church, perhaps, as well as the teaching profession, may well consider whether the office of the ministry and the teacher makes quite the same appeal as formerly to the whole man. It is undoubtedly the fact that such a system as that referred to in Ontario repels the most desirable men, but Ontario has taken a step, as we have pointed out, towards vitally connecting the whole system with the university and the highest culture of the province, the significance of which is not yet realized.

Women have a place in teaching which men cannot fill. But it is equally true that men have a place for which women are unfitted. This disproportionate influx of women into the profession of teaching cannot go on for another twenty-five years without having a distinct and serious effect upon national life. The rapid growth of residential schools outside the state system, particularly for boys, is significant. Their ideal is noble and human, but they cannot pay salaries sufficient to attract teaching equal to the best in the state system. There is always the difficulty, moreover, of retaining a good man beyond a certain age, and they raise in an acute form the question once asked by Balfour in an address before the Leys school in Cambridge: Is it the boys or the masters who make the school? They wage an unequal war against the spirit of the continent. One can understand how great is the temptation under this increasing pressure to surrender scholarship to character. If this were the alternative, a training-ship would be a still better school of discipline. But a man-of-war is not a school. The state system, on the other hand, draws from village and farm the soundest and most hopeful material that any educational system in the world has to deal with. From this material the city absorbs the best, to create in the next generation the problem, so intractable with our neighbours, of training the children of wealth without the traditions of culture. This will be more and more the educational problem of Canada. We may hope, however, that our problem will be less acute. For the purely intellectual side of school work is with us its strongest feature, and, even if we do not train the whole boy or girl, and if they are over-stimulated, they do respect learning. It would be interesting to speculate upon how much of the educational difficulties of our neighbours is traceable to the absence of intellectual competition which largely characterises their whole educational system and distinguishes it in a remarkable manner from that of Canada, but this would take us too far afield.

A tabular statement illustrating some of the foregoing features of primary and secondary education in the various provinces, which we conceive to have bearing upon an intellectual life, would be valuable. But it is impossible to make such a comparison with any degree of accuracy. The very words 'primary' and 'secondary' are not in general use, some of the provinces borrowing their terms from the American system, and all differing in countless details. The time may have arrived when a Dominion bureau of educational statistics might perform a useful service.

But it is to the university that a modern nation must look for the ultimate forces which shall mould its intellectual life. A Darwin, a Fabre, a Gauss, a Jacobi may appear to arise outside of the system, but without it they were impossible. It is here that democracy must find its highest direction and its ultimate justification. The student of popular government cannot watch the development of higher education on this continent during the last half-century without a certain exhilaration. Cut off from any vivid remembrance of what mighty movements have had their first beginnings in the university, we have continued the work begun by the church and by private initiative on a scale unparalleled. It is true that the direct connection between the university's activities in pure science and material progress is brought home to us in a thousand ways. There is no knowing when the work of some patient investigator in a laboratory may make its appearance in terms of wheat. But we are also conscious of his ideal value. As we follow this development in those laboratories of democratic institutions in the states to the south of us we see no failure of idealism. The people may be trusted to maintain the university and to give it what constitutes its very soul—freedom. State after state, province after province, repeats the process. Imitation, amour propre and the pride of prosperity are no explanation of this wonderful movement which disturbs in so many ways deep prejudices and convictions. They operate, for we are only men, but some may discern below the surface a democratic faith that, while authority may seem to melt away in a coming grey materialism, the unfettered pursuit of truth may yet be trusted to make a vaster synthesis in a spiritual interpretation of the world.

It must, however, be admitted, that in the United States signs are visible of disillusionment with the results of university education. Its many critics, however, are in the main attacking only symptoms. As a system of to-day it is deliberately borrowed. Aware of a certain 'condescension of foreigners,' our neighbours determined to have scholarship and science, and they have achieved a success that is the admiration of the world. It was natural that they should turn to Europe rather than England. The German university ideal, libertas docendi, fell into fertile ground. It seemed to carry the great assertion of the equality of men into the field of knowledge. Throughout the whole system of school and university, it may be broadly said, all attempt to discriminate values has been abandoned and helplessly replaced by a scheme of a minimum of units of teaching hours. Manifestly the animating idea is incapable of extreme extension in the high schools, but with isolated protests and attempts at some correction, it prevails in the universities and has reached the point in one great university when an 'arts' student may avoid Latin and mathematics entirely and take but one year of French. The field is swept from side to side by violent winds of doctrine. An extreme application of the 'vocational' idea, and the demand from high quarters that 'marked individuality' in high school teachers be allowed to choose its own subjects, would appear to complete a picture of educational anarchy. When the student repairs to the university he makes up his tale of 'hours' by some sense which enables him to judge of the unknown. In any real use of the word there is no competition. The system is throughout what the British university knows as that of the 'pass' man. It is a game that is done, not played, without medal play, bogey or par, the majority of the students looking at the curriculum with the critical judgment with which a hunter surveys the inequalities of a hedge. But the finer spirits work and presently fall under the power of an able instructor, it may chance, in some minute field, to disappear in the ranks of graduate workers and presently themselves become instructors and repeat the process. When a fine college, recently founded in the West under hopeful auspices, 'knows history too well to prescribe the essentials of a liberal education,' it need not dumbfound us that one of those humiliating travesties of learning which the American Bureau of Education is at present investigating should have expressed its understanding of the system in a programme which 'offers' astrology, aviation, Bahaism, bill-collecting and Esperanto. Every tragedy must have its fool.

Thoughtful Americans very well know that this description catches the general spirit of their system. It is a caricature only because it is in vacuo. If it were completely true it would imply that a people as a whole was cut off from critical standards and from the past that animates and explains and directs its social and political institutions. But great disciplines remain for the making of men, such as law, and it must be said at once that, if the guidance of primary and secondary education were frankly trusted to the university, if it were realized that the 'expert,' bred and thrown up by corporate systems detached from the highest culture of the country, is the last person to whom education can be safely entrusted, great educational forces would presently be released. For knowledge is one. It needs no muezzin to make this call to a great American university. Scholarship and scientific attainment have their sanity as well as genius, and men of real distinction do not stand far apart in ultimates. Some arrive at last, if the many fail in a system which leaves genuine culture to be, in the main, the uncertain by-product of the graduate school: uncertain, from the very nature of the work, but produced, as witnesses the splendid roll of scholars in so many fields, with whom Canada has few, as yet, to put in comparison.

In turning to the Canadian university we shall find strong reasons for believing that a system of higher education is quietly developing which is destined to exert a deeper influence upon the higher life of the Dominion than any other body of forces. Uniformity is not to be expected. To aim at it is to sow at once the seeds of future decay. Yet it may be asserted with reasonable confidence that a type of university has arisen in Toronto, as the result of seventy years' struggle, which is destined to prevail over a large part of the Dominion. The noble foundations of Queen's and McGill will be repeated, we earnestly hope, as the wealth of the Dominion increases. It is well that the state should have its competitors. They will form invaluable strongholds of political criticism. But the provincial universities will, we believe, conform more or less to the type of the University of Toronto, for the background of ideas and the general conditions that produced it are present everywhere except in Quebec. As a people we are deeply Puritan, and we have brought with us the age-long struggle of ideals that produces so deep a cleavage in the motherland. The Province of Ontario has only fused in education contending principles which make the history of education in Nova Scotia painful reading. The situation there to-day is what it was in Ontario two generations ago. Manitoba repeats in a most striking way conditions in Ontario on the eve of university federation. In Saskatchewan and Alberta (though in the latter there is some dissipation of energy) the framework of higher education is being laid far in advance of present conditions with the true statesmanship that will allow the ideals the people have carried with them full opportunity of embodiment, and we can already observe in these provinces in outline a foreshadowing of the Ontario plan. The scheme outlined in the recent act for British Columbia follows that of Ontario up to a certain point, without rendering impossible at some future time a feature of the Ontario system which is all-important. The growth of this feature in the great Western provinces will depend upon the vitality of the college ideal. If it is fundamentally sound, the unbounded resources of the West will make its realization a mere matter of time. Quebec, in spite of the great university of McGill, obviously presents difficulties so serious that its educational problem becomes European rather than American. But it is worth the consideration of other Canadian universities whether some interchange of academic life would not tend to bring together conflicting currents in our national life. Some of our academic pilgrimages might well be diverted from Europe to Laval, a seat of unworldly culture which we too contentedly ignore.

Another chapter will detail the long contention and debate which gave the University of Toronto its present form. But the essential meaning of what was accomplished in 1890, 1904 and 1906 is not too well understood by members of the university itself. Men do not lay aside their prepossessions in the first generation, and the inquirer would be happy who should come away with a satisfactory understanding. For the purposes of this chapter there are three features which claim the careful attention of all Canadians to whom the fostering of our intellectual life is a matter of deep concern—the grouping of theological schools about a university centre, the scheme of undergraduate studies in arts, and the confraternity of arts colleges.

If the system went no further than the plan outlined for the Province of British Columbia, it would be hard to overestimate the far-spreading results of this clustering of the theological schools of the great religious bodies, including the Roman Catholics, about a common university. The churches of Canada show unmistakable signs of having been too long cut off from the great currents of modern thought. The process of readjustment which is being accomplished in Great Britain, with renewal of spiritual life and activity, is hardly begun in Canada. It was high statesmanship which brought the theological school to the university. As the walls separating the sciences wear rapidly thinner, may we not likewise hope for some greater spiritual comprehension, a more vivid hold upon truth catholic? The immediate result cannot fail to be a wider citizenship and a more vital contact of the church with the flower of young manhood.

The principles upon which this tangle of conflicting ideals and interests, passionate loyalties and genuine fears, was solved were the paramount responsibility of the state and the academic autonomy of the university and colleges. The state asserted as fundamental that, whether it had discharged its duty in the past or not, it could not relinquish its right to support in a system of its own every step in the educational process from the primary school to the university. This much accepted by all parties, the colleges were then given an equal voice in working out the academical programme. The result is that liberal culture is practically entrusted to the 'Council of the Faculty of Arts,' an absolute democracy, where all members of the arts staff in the university and the arts colleges have a voice, and all above the grade of lecturers an equal vote. The various departments of study are organized in smaller groups upon the same footing of equality. It requires no prophet to forecast the difficulties of this academic democracy in the first generation: many an officious hand will be put out to stay the ark of learning, but it will achieve in the end an enforced continuous reflection upon the meaning of higher education of inestimable value.

This clear definition of first principles went little further. With the British instinct that destroys nothing, the former senate was retained with narrowed functions, which constitute it, in the main, a revising and registering board; but, as it gives representation to the various faculties, the federating units, the secondary system of education, and the graduate body, it provides a centre for debate on questions of large policy, and power is dormant in it which might on occasion find proper exercise.

The same thing is true of the division of subjects between the university teaching body and the arts colleges. The broad intention was to hand over the 'humanities' to the arts colleges, and to give to the university the sciences and some special subjects such as might be expected to attract a limited number of students. But the illogical inclusion of modern history, political science and philosophy among the university subjects must appear to the outsider to leave the arts colleges pretty much in the position of higher schools of language teaching. Whether this is true depends of course upon how the study of language is conceived. The more serious of these anomalies will doubtless slowly disappear. Victoria College is already contemplating the addition of tutorial work in modern history.

As we proceed, some influence of the American state university will appear. The university includes, besides arts, faculties of medicine, education, applied science and forestry, with affiliations in agriculture, music and other subjects for which it examines and grants degrees. It is matter for regret that, with such an outstanding precedent as the splendid school at Harvard, no faculty of law appears as yet. Ontario has thus placed herself in line with such a state as Wisconsin. But while the university has much to learn from the enlightened civic spirit of the institution of that state, it has something also to avoid. The final value of a university is incapable of being expressed in terms of material progress.

What has been said of education is equally true of the great professions of medicine and law. The growth of the corporate spirit is a weakness in the professions and a public danger. The emancipation of medicine in Ontario is still incomplete, and, while legal education in Ontario is much advanced, there are indications in the West of the rise of what may become nothing more or less than the guild. It is to the universities alone that the Dominion should turn for standards, and the public interest would be greatly served by the creation of professional qualifications valid throughout the Dominion. The temper that handicaps a higher training as against an inferior, either by heavy fees or by sophistical educational devices, is that of a mediæval guild, unworthy of a great people, and degrading to the professions themselves. For a professional body only too soon forgets that the privileges accorded to it by law are granted solely in the public interest.

But, to continue our attempt to detach the essence of the Toronto system, more vital is the second feature, the quite distinctive scheme of arts studies. It is manifestly an extension of the Oxford and Cambridge 'schools.' But of conscious borrowing there was none, for a 'nativism' inevitable to the lusty youth of a country, and still mindful of the days of the 'Family Compact,' would have rendered that impossible. Moreover, it is not the type of college training which was first imported into North America, and which still survives in many small institutions in Canada and the United States, the genius of which is mental discipline. Your ruthless modernist, who protests against the mediævalism which he sees in Oxford, would have assassinated Pompey for Cæsar. He takes fright in the wrong direction. For the two outstanding features in mediæval education were surely first, that it scoured the very hedges for ability; and second, that it treated the mind as a bundle of faculties, for each of which a special discipline could be devised. This discipline of the trivium and quadrivium nowhere persisted more unchallenged than in Scotland, where, in the form of a training in mathematics, Latin and philosophy, with some concession to science in the shape of natural philosophy, an education was given, the power of which is undeniable. But this is a mental training without content. Whether the man so trained becomes a social force depends upon what he afterwards analyses and digests. Moreover, if we put to one side the philosophy—the real power of the Scottish system—and the genius of the born teacher, this education of discipline fails to weigh sufficiently a first principle of the philosophy of education and of the world's general progress, that all great achievement starts from a core of interest.

Now the system which has grown up in Toronto began with a disciplinary scheme of studies for the 'pass' man, upon which it superimposed for the 'honour' man a gradually extending list of what is known in England as 'schools,' until a scheme of studies has been formed in which the student takes either a 'general' course, as it is now called, or as thorough a training as four years of undergraduate life permit in mathematics or classics or political science or modern history and so on, in some cases making combinations, as English and history with a basis of modern languages or classical studies, in other cases, such as the natural sciences, narrowing his field as his course proceeds. Obviously the departments differ in their social and educational value, but, when every deduction is made for failure, the failure cannot be complete, for the system has an organic life of its own. As we have seen, it differs toto caelo from the Germanized type of education prevailing in the United States, where knowledge spreads out her wares in random profusion. In essence it makes a simple but great affirmation: Immerse a student, when once the years of reflection begin, in a great and worthy subject of his choice. Let him follow it as it ramifies, adding what subsidiary studies he finds necessary, studies which are meaningless when pursued in isolation. He will slowly gather judgment, an energy of continuous inquiry, concentration, a sense of the unity of knowledge; and in the end you may hope for a serious reflecting man, generously critical, with power and outlook.

It may be asked with some justice, whether all this does not describe the essential characteristics of the graduate school in some fields of knowledge, if for a moment we may regard its ideal as educational. We must reply that, even so, this is to organize culture too late in a national system and to organize it simply for a professional class. Moreover, even if all roads lead to Rome, how few may hope to arrive, when it is of the essence of the itinerary that the point of departure shall never have been used before! But more than all, sophisticate the case as we will, the temper and motive of graduate work are different from that of any true scheme of liberal culture, which must follow the main march of humanity, the beaten road. The genius of the one is synthetic, synoptic; the other aims to advance knowledge.

It was only natural that, as the possibilities of this scheme of studies came to be better appreciated, the methods of Oxford in her schools of 'Greats' and 'Modern History' should come to be scrutinized more closely, and that some tentative efforts should be made to apply the Oxford tutorial methods. The question probably was never formulated, but in many quarters it is observable that the university is asking whether the unexampled power of Oxford 'Greats' is not capable of extension to other fields of study. For if the method of liberal culture is one, its application is, after all, a question of more or less. Such education can begin only when the powers of reflection assert themselves in early manhood, and the outlook upon life which it gives is conditioned by the depth to which it strikes its roots into the past. It is an enormous advantage to approach the great problems of the life of to-day in their simplest form, retracing them from the starting-point of the race. This is the genius of Oxford 'Greats,' but it requires a preparation attainable only by the very few. Indeed, of late years a project is said to have been discussed in Oxford to construct a new 'school,' which shall carry over the essential power of the old, but take a point of departure nearer ourselves. In any case, once admitted to a university, the student must be taken as he is. The system of Ontario (for Queen's practically repeats the Toronto plan) simply asserts that true culture is produced only by placing the student in a large and noble field and allowing his development to proceed from pivotal points, fundamental books, periods or ideas.

But manent vestigia ruris, the notion still persists in many quarters that this is specialization, so little is known in Canada as yet of the graduate school; and in the university itself, as a concession to supposed popular feeling, the term 'special' has been unfortunately applied to what has been heretofore known as 'honour' departments, and these carry with them in their early stages a trail of 'general' subjects, often unrelated, and, to the extent that they are compulsory, educationally valueless. But no belief is more deeply fixed in the university body than this, that any success which the university has attained is due to these 'special' courses, and there is no feature more characteristic of the student body than its aversion to the 'general' course, which by the latest statistics contains in the graduating year but twenty-seven per cent of the students of that year. The problem of the future would seem to lie in a study of the power, value and method of the various 'honour' courses.

We now come to the third outstanding feature of the Toronto system, the group of arts colleges. This detailed examination is given without apology, for if we are right in forecasting the reproduction of the system in greater or less detail throughout the West, its effect upon the intellectual life of the Dominion will be profound. This is the critical hour in our development. Ideals are happily combined in this product of genuine evolution, which in other countries still more or less contend with each other. In Oxford the college lacks the stimulus of a great centre of higher university activity, the smaller English universities tend to become the educational homes of nonconformity and to divide the national life, the students in the great German and American universities are lost in the crowd or gather in anti-social groups, the solitary college, in proportion to the very nobility and intenseness of its life, suffers somewhat in intellectual outlook.

Now we conceive the soul of the system which we have analysed to be the arts college. The college is an end in itself. It is here that we must organize the culture of the nation in a system maintained by the state. The college does not exist to feed the graduate school, to man the professions, to make scholars or experts, to teach mere languages, or to give four years of blissful life to its inmates, though some or all of these things it may also do, but to make men and citizens of all its students, and sane and noble leaders of a few. Quod semper quod ubique is the criterion of values in its scheme of studies. It teaches the great books for what they contain, not for their documentary antecedents, and literature, not literary literature or literary history. It is no breeding-ground for the doctrinaire or the 'intellectual.' It should devote great energy to historical and political studies, because as the child of the state it seeks the largest social returns, and because upon history and philosophy in some form or other all culture is ultimately based. It does all this amid the vital human relationships of a living social unit which is a fragment of life itself, instinct with activities, a nursery of citizenship, itself a member of a group where a generous competition intensifies the life of the whole. In short, it aims to impart not information, but wisdom. What remains in a few years to the man of scientific training, who does not pursue science through life, but the scientific method and spirit? In like fashion, the economics or political studies of liberal culture subside presently into platitudes in the eyes of the specialist or the commonplaces of the rhetorician. This is true of all the truth there is: once perceived, it is hopelessly obvious. But to the man so trained these platitudes have been reinforced by a wealth of experience and become permanently vitalized. This result is not achieved by text-books or the tepid effort of the average man, but only by teaching of the highest creative type and the 'souls well disposed' for which it calls.

The product of such a training has been called the amateur, and if, to put it simply, to have understood the aspirations of an age from a fundamental work in literature, to have felt the significance to our continent of the Reformation or the French Revolution, to have seen in the politics of Aristotle the primal human forces at work in our own democracy, constitute the amateur, may he abound! It is he who maintains the great monthlies and reviews of the motherland, who repairs to her foreign service, depleting the country of some of its best intellect, who finds his way into her cabinets, or, while engaged in the business of life, pursues learning or philosophy for its own sake, and who is altogether that which the political and intellectual life of this continent most sorely needs.

But will the college ideal in this system remain unshaken? The amazing growth of the university since federation of itself raises the question. With eleven hundred students the state college would already appear to have passed the bounds of corporate life, and Victoria with five hundred is confronted with similar difficulties. One can only register the conviction that the splendid vitality and idealism of the church colleges will lead to imitation and eventually enforce a duplication also of the state unit. It may, moreover, be predicted that the system of co-education is not destined to continue indefinitely. The creation of a college for women would give temporary relief.

What does the Province of Ontario not owe to the generous breadth of view that brought these denominational colleges into the common system! Nothing has so deeply imbedded the university in the affections and confidence of the people, nothing so humanized the university or strengthened its scientific efficiency. The American people are beginning to scrutinize more closely the power of the college. Of this there is no better evidence than the movements at Princeton and Amherst. The latter is an effort to reorganize the college on humanistic lines, but reverting overmuch possibly to the disciplinary ideal, and it is doubtful whether Princeton, in turning to the Oxford tutorial idea, really caught the whole genius of the tutor's activity at Oxford. There appears also to be growing up at Princeton a scheme of studies which foreshadows the 'schools' of Oxford and Cambridge, or the 'honour courses' of Toronto and Queen's.

One cannot dismiss the subject without a final word. Canada is, for its population, among the richest countries of the world. We are only beginning a period of immense growth in population and literally unparalleled material development. The danger that confronts education in the next twenty years is that the material will have run away with the system, that the pressure of the prospering multitude for the form of culture without the effort—for a culture that will come as quickly as wealth and comfort—will have so reacted upon educational methods as to endanger liberal culture and the highest pursuit of science alike. For science, pure and applied, is not less threatened than the so-called liberal arts. Moreover, while making every effort to bring the universities to the people, we may play the demagogue, and the revenge will be severe. The laboratory may, indeed, make vast material promises, but there will be barren years, when its output will dwindle into a thin rill. Men will then remember that they have souls. For, after all, the greatest aim which our educational system as a whole can have is the creation of national like-mindedness—in short, public opinion. The indictments of social injustice, of which we see the unhappy beginning, have no value in a society where all the members are pursuing the same ends. They are not opinion but sentiment—and mean sentiment. The public opinion which really preserves the state is a combination of character and knowledge, and created by leadership, and this leadership the higher education of the state must supply if it is to justify itself.

The Press

Apart from an educational system as an organized force in the creation of public opinion, the disciplined intelligence of a people, nothing would appear comparable in its possibilities to the Press. Probably no people of its size is better served by its Press. It must be said with satisfaction that, as a whole, it traffics little in scandal, and the invasion of the private life of a public man is an offence almost unknown. Its code of professional honour is high. Every prominent editor possesses information which he refuses to use. The first criticism passed by the British traveller is of the paucity of important news, particularly foreign news, and it must be confessed that the supply of news from abroad is very inadequate. Our greatest papers may be detected, in a crisis, referring to previous information which has never been chronicled. Some exception, however, must be made as to British news. The efforts made in recent years to keep the country in touch with British politics are noteworthy, and it is significant of our future that the average man is probably kept better informed of what is really important in British politics than in the politics of the United States. The faults of the Canadian newspaper are, on the whole, those of the average citizen. Apart from the disgusting comic supplement imported by some papers, which poisons society at the well-head, the country contains as yet no paper which exercises a force distinctly pernicious. The Press of Canada no more preaches publicity as its raison d'être with the naked absolutism of a Pulitzer or a Hearst, than its statesmen find it their sole function to give the people only what is good for them or only what the majority want. It may justly refuse to be impaled on the dilemma: lead or follow. To do both is the common lot of all professions, and for none is the task more difficult than for that of the Press, which is really called upon to find its material subsistence outside its actual work, that is in its advertising. For democracy will not pay enough for its newspapers to give them independence. They are asked to undertake a mission at their own charges. We need a party Press to preach those ultimate principles which, in conflict, maintain the life of society. But if the Press is partisan, so is the citizen. If it tends to keep out of public life the growing class of men who should be drawn into it, so do we, the public. Highly again as we must rate its moral force, its integrity and intelligence, we cannot fail to observe that its greatest failing is that of the politician. It accurately knows the crowd, but the nation not so well. It is a poor judge of public opinion and ineffective in producing it. In the last analysis, the politician believes with intensity that the great appeal is to immediate self-interest. Like the politician, the Press devotes its energies rather to converting the converted than to the question itself. Partly, as has been said before, this is a national characteristic. As a people we have yet little conception of how great is the power of deliberate opinion that has no personal ends to serve. Liberal or conservative, we do not believe in the possibility of persuading an opponent. Our first impulse is not to resort to the merits of the question. But more, perhaps, it is due to the lack of great issues. Since Confederation we have gone through a barren period, lit up, it is true, in 1878 by an appeal directed to the idealism of the country, but, on the whole, without the stuff in it which compels men to go to fundamentals. Our neighbours went through such a period after the Civil War. If we take our stand at the eve of the Spanish-American War, or perhaps the Venezuela episode, it would have seemed that the days of Webster, Clay, Calhoun and Lincoln were irretrievably gone. But splendid examples are again appearing of men who know the power of direct appeal on the ground of the public interest. For the force of such appeal is a matter not of belief, but of knowledge, and it is the secret of permanent power in a democracy. But it must further be said with regret that our newspapers, even the greatest, are not wholly exempt from the charge of demagogism. We cannot appeal to the prejudices of west as against east, of province against province, or producer against consumer, of farmer against manufacturer, of capital against labour, and that in a period of unexampled prosperity, without endangering our future and without ignoring the first two axioms of politics, that men are actuated by the same motives, and that they would not form into societies if they were not capable of working together.

As civilizing factors our best papers are immensely superior to any in the United States, with some few exceptions such as the New York Evening Post, the Boston Transcript and the Springfield Republican. It is doubtful whether the editorial page of some of them is not equal to that of the Evening Post. But no paper in Canada interpreted the results of the elections on the Reciprocity issue with the same acute political insight as that paper in its issue of September 22, 1911. This political insight is not quickly acquired, and if we ask the reason for the discouraging failure of a series of attempts at independent journalism—the Bystander, the Week, the News, all of Toronto—the answer must be that we have not yet developed a sufficient body of educated opinion either to conduct such an enterprise over a lengthened period or to support it. Democracy must pay the price, and those who lead such forlorn hopes must wait—and be able to wait—for the growth of the opinion they seek to create.

In the University Magazine we have at last produced a quarterly periodical which may have a future of much power. At times quite equal, if not superior, to the best work on the American continent, it reveals occasionally the limited circle of contributors from which it has to draw, and it is edited for the love of the thing. Independent journalism will begin in this missionary fashion. Its clientèle will be limited, but so is genuine opinion, and it is in opinion far more than interests that real power is vested.

Other Factors

Early in this chapter attention was called to the extreme importance of the fact that the life of the churches flows east and west. The project, which will be noted in this volume, to effect a union of the Presbyterian and Methodist bodies has equally great national significance. Men cannot unite on this vast scale for purposes which transcend themselves without quickening the intellectual life of the country. So too the civic enthusiast, the town-planner, the social worker have arrived, and will contribute each in his own degree. The affiliations of the higher range of professional workers are largely international, but the growth of societies such as the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Institute, the Literary and Scientific Society of Quebec, the Nova Scotia Historical Society, the Champlain Society, and the increasing interest in the great British scientific associations are all indications of accelerated national consciousness.

Nor should mention be omitted of the Young Men's Christian Association as a humble but genuine force in our intellectual development. This is particularly true from Ontario out to the Pacific. The statesmanship with which its leaders place these New World monasteries of manly development strikes the thoughtful traveller with admiration.

Finally, in the Canadian Club we have an indigenous institution destined to exert an increasing and continued influence in the Dominion. It is a curious example of how little a fertile idea depends upon mere organization. It has almost no organization. Conceived by C. R. McCullough and launched in Hamilton, it presently repeated itself in Toronto. Beginning as a group of young men, engaged mainly in active life, undertaking to lunch together weekly and discuss public questions without bringing in party issues, it has gradually spread, with absolutely no propaganda, from Halifax to Vancouver. In large centres mere numbers presently made debate impossible, and men of prominence began to be invited to address the clubs without discussion. With like rapidity youth ceased to be the characteristic of its members. It has now become a very remarkable instrument for the diffusion of intelligent opinion throughout the whole country. Its larger branches bring men of world-wide prominence, and the publicist, the philanthropist, the born leader find here an incomparable opportunity to 'state their case.'

Much of the best intellect of Canada will long continue to be drawn into commercial and financial and organizing activity. We need not lament this overmuch so long as it is the best intellect, much less need we sequester it by the play of petty instinct from which neither the professional man nor the man in the street is exempt. It lies with our universities and with all who have the instinct for affairs to forestall the arrival of the idle rich and barbarous profusion by the appeal to duty and the public interest, and by holding out ideals of simple and noble living. A witty Frenchman once expressed his admiration of the genius in the Anglo-Saxon that in the course of centuries had transformed his conquerors into public slaves. We shall be conquered on this continent by the exploiter of its unbounded resources only if we hive the genius and vision and incomparable energy of the captains of our industry and material development, instead of giving them scope in the field of public service. For it is a poor analysis of this activity which finds its only motive in mere wealth or even power. And we shall yet continue to lose young poets and artists and intellectual workers to the great republic to the south of us, and now also to the motherland—the tally of these is long—for the exhausting force of a neighbouring nation more than twelve times as large, and speaking our own language, is enormous.

But the turn of the tide has come. How far intellectual greatness is impossible apart from great issues and a sense of national responsibility may contain some matter for speculation, but it is idle to deny the connection. In this period of expectant pause we do well to inquire whether we have not been influenced more than we were aware by our history and the consciousness of membership in the greatest human family. One of the most vital characteristics of the English people is what has been called its 'clubbableness.' This perpetual conflict and interchange of ideas in natural groups keeps alive the soul of the nation. It is our task to give vitality to such diffusive centres of national life as have been described, to foster their growth, and to bring under their power the inpouring tide of immigrants from the sister democracy, with aspirations not wholly ours, from Great Britain, with much to unlearn, and from Europe, 'wild hearts' often 'and feeble wings that every sophister can lime.' The roll of names which have stood, and still stand, for higher life in the American Republic is a moving study in nationality. In Canada, too, British stock and the Puritan strain constitute the warp into which the web of our national life is to be woven if it is to endure.




The literary history of the French Canadians may be said to date from the year 1760, or, if one prefers, from the cession of Canada to England. Before that time, indeed, there had been certain manifestations of literary life in New France: there had been accounts of travel, like those of Champlain; interesting narratives, like the Relations of the Jesuits; histories like that of Charlevoix; studies of manners like those of the Père Lafitau; and instructive letters, full of shrewd observations, like those of the Mère Marie de l'Incarnation. But these works were, for the most part, written in France, and all were published there. Their authors, moreover, belong to France much more than to Canada, and France, rather than Canada, is entitled to claim their works as her patrimony.

During the hundred and fifty years of French domination in Canada the colonists were unable to devote much attention to intellectual pursuits. All the living forces of the nascent people were engrossed by the ruder labours of colonization, commerce and war.

Nor was it even on the morrow of 1760—the morrow of the treaty that delivered New France to England—that the first books were printed and the first notable works written. There was other work to be done, and the French under their new rulers betook themselves to action. While repairing the disasters to their material fortunes, they numbered themselves, consolidated themselves, and set themselves to preserve as intact as possible their ancient institutions and the traditions of their national life.

From this effort to preserve their nationality the first manifestations of their literary life were soon to spring; and it was through the newspaper—the most convenient vehicle of popular thought—that the French-Canadian mind first found expression. Only colonial literature could begin in the newspaper article. The older literatures were born on the lips of the ædes, the bards or the troubadours: it was the human voice, the living song of a soul, that carried to attentive ears these first untutored accents. But in Canada, in America, where machinery is at the beginning of all progress, the Press is naturally the all-important instrument for the spread of literary ideas. In the years immediately following the Cession there were established in Quebec and Montreal several periodicals, in which the unpretentious works of the earliest writers may be found.

The following are some of the journals that appeared at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth, and that mark the true origin of French-Canadian literature:

La Gazette de Québec (1764); La Gazette du Commerce et littéraire, of Montreal, named almost immediately La Gazette littéraire (1778); La Gazette de Montréal (1785); Le Magasin de Québec (1792); Le Cours du temps (1794); Le Canadien, of Quebec (1806); Le Courrier de Québec (1807); Le Vrai Canadien, of Quebec (1810); Le Spectateur, of Montreal (1813); L'Aurore, of Montreal (1815); L'Abeille canadienne, of Montreal (1818).

These journals were not equally fortunate. Most of them—La Gazette littéraire, L'Abeille canadienne, Le Magasin de Québec, Le Courrier de Québec, Le Vrai Canadien—struggled for life for a few months or a few years, and disappeared one after the other. With the exception of La Gazette de Québec, La Gazette de Montréal, Le Canadien, and Le Spectateur, the first newspapers succumbed after a valiant struggle for existence. To reach the greatest possible number of readers, several of these journals—La Gazette de Québec, La Gazette de Montréal, Le Magasin de Québec and Le Cours du temps—were written in both English and French.

The French newspapers may be divided into two distinct categories. There were those that were mainly political, or contained political news, like La Gazette de Québec and La Gazette de Montréal; and the periodicals that were distinctly literary, such as La Gazette littéraire of Montreal and Le Magasin de Québec. This last-named journal contained little but reproductions from foreign literature.

La Gazette littéraire of Montreal, published by Fleury Mesplet, on whose staff Valentin Jautard, a native of France, was an active collaborator under the pseudonym of 'Le Spectateur tranquille,' is noteworthy as having given the French Canadians their first opportunity of writing on literary and philosophical subjects. Much literary criticism, sometimes of a decidedly puerile nature, also appeared in it. In this paper, too, are encountered the first manifestations of the Voltairian spirit that had permeated many minds in Canada during the latter part of the eighteenth century.

The first political journals were literary in but a small degree, and it was seldom that they published French articles of any value. Apart from a few occasional poems—of little merit, however—the French contents of La Gazette de Québec were, for the most part, merely translations of its English articles. The political literature of this journal is dull and unimportant. William Brown, who, with Thomas Gilmour, was its founder, characterized his journal only too well when he wrote (August 8, 1776) that it 'justly merited the title of the most innocent gazette in the British dominions.'

Nevertheless it was Quebec that became, in 1764, the cradle of Canadian journalism. Before the end of the French régime Quebec was already the centre of a civilization that was polished, elegant—refined even—and often very fashionable. Peter Kalm, the Swedish botanist—who visited New France in 1749, and left such a curious, instructive and faithful record of his journey—observed that Quebec then contained the elements of a distinguished society, in which good taste was preserved, and in which the people delighted to make it govern their manners, their language and their dress. Quebec, moreover, prided herself not only on gathering within her walls the most important personages of the political and the ecclesiastical world, but also on being the chief seat of intellectual life in the new country. From Bougainville[1] we learn that in 1757, towards the end of the French régime, there was a literary club in Quebec. Besides this, the Jesuits' College and the Seminary had for more than a century drawn to Quebec the studious youth of the entire colony. Michel Bibaud, who visited the city in 1841, noted there 'the agreeable, affable manners of her leading citizens, and their French urbanity and courtesy.'[2] For this reason he called her 'the Paris of America.'

It was at Quebec, too, after 1791, when parliamentary government was accorded Lower Canada, that political oratory—timid at first, and modest in expression—was born. There the first groupings of intellectual forces were afterwards organized: the Club constitutionnel (1792); the Société littéraire (1809); the Société historique et littéraire (1824), founded at the Château Saint-Louis, under the presidency of Lord Dalhousie; and the Société pour l'encouragement des Sciences et des Arts (1827), which soon amalgamated, in 1829, with the Société historique et littéraire.

Montreal, in the nineteenth century, was not backward in seconding, propagating and developing those movements of intellectual life which were gathering force in Quebec. At Montreal people read both poetry and prose. Joseph Mermet, a French military poet, who came to Canada in 1813 and took part in the war then in progress, had a large number of admirers in the city. There Jacques Viger pursued his historical studies on Canada; and Denis Benjamin Viger, who at certain moments thought himself a poet, published his ponderous verses in Le Spectateur. In 1817 H. Bossange established in Montreal a fairly considerable bookselling business. The City Library is said to have contained eight thousand volumes in 1822.[3] The inhabitants might also nourish their intellectual curiosity in the newspapers and the literary miscellanies published about the middle of the nineteenth century, such as—La Minerve (1827), L'Ami du Peuple (1832), Le Populaire and La Quotidienne (1837), L'Aurore des Canadas (1839), and Le Jean-Baptiste (1840). To these may be added the miscellanies of Michel Bibaud—La Bibliothèque canadienne (1825 to 1830), L'Observateur (1830), Le Magasin du Bas-Canada (1832), and L'Encyclopédie canadienne (1842).

At this period Quebec and Montreal, with their associations, their journals and their literary miscellanies, were not as yet, of course, powerful centres of intellectual life, nor was the energy they radiated either very active or brilliant. In tracing the real origins of a literature, however, it is not unprofitable to indicate briefly the historical environment in which that literature was to have its birth. By this means the relative value of its earlier efforts is more justly appreciated.

With the French Canadians, song appears to have been the first form of poetry. Some verses written in 1757 and 1758[4] are still to be found; many may be read in the journals which made their appearance later. The popular song flew quickly from mouth to mouth when, in 1775, or again in 1812, the people were fired with a fine patriotic ardour to defend the soil of their invaded country. New Year's Day also supplied the rhymesters with matter for a few verses, mainly intended for newsboys' addresses. Needless to say, these poems—interesting as they are from the point of view of literary origins—have in themselves scarcely any literary value. The same may be said of many lyrical, pastoral and satirical pieces that appeared anonymously in the early journals.[5]

At this period, however, two poets stand out from all others—Joseph Quesnel and Joseph Mermet. Although they were of French origin, they so deeply impressed Canadians of their time, and exercised such an influence upon later writers of verse and men of letters, that we cannot but take account of them in a history of the beginnings of French-Canadian poetry.

Quesnel was born at St Malo in 1749, and died at Montreal in 1809. He came to Canada from France in 1779. He was a village merchant at Boucherville, and afterwards lived in Montreal. He employed much of his leisure in writing verses and music. His principal work consists of a large number of poems, epistles, hymns, epigrams and songs. He also left a dialogue in verse, Le Rimeur dépité; a comedy in verse, L'Anglomanie; and two prose comedies—Colas et Colinette, the text of which is embellished with ariettas, and Les Républicains français.

Quesnel's poetry was for the most part light and playful. His muse never tires of pleasantry, in which he often indulges with delicacy and grace. To fine badinage he readily adds a piquant irony. In his epistle to M. Généreux Labadie he pokes fun playfully both at the public, for not sufficiently encouraging literature, and at Labadie himself. Le Rimeur dépité is another example of this raillery, at once light and biting. In these two pieces, however, there is a lack of care in regard to form and of scholarly dignity.

Quesnel concerns himself more with the quality of his verse and the trueness of its tone when he writes idyllic poetry and sings of nature. He had a keen appreciation of that beauty of nature which the descriptive poets of the eighteenth century made popular. He was probably the first French-Canadian poet to sing in praise of running brooks and blossoming flowers.

Quesnel's two most important works, however, are Colas et Colinette, the text of which is preserved in Le Répertoire national, and l'Anglomanie, a little comedy in verse which has not been published, but has been included by Jacques Viger in his Saberdache.

From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay

Colas et Colinette is a comedy, and is French rather than Canadian. Traces of the customs of Canada are rare. Apart from certain psychological observations on love, which may be applicable to any country, the piece has little interest except as a picture of popular manners in provincial France. The old and gallant bailli, who wishes to rob the rude, rustic Colas of his delicate and graceful Colinette, resembles a Canadian magistrate but distantly; while Colas himself, with his strange and faulty speech, in no way represents a young peasant of Lower Canada.

Quesnel's L'Anglomanie, or Le Dîner à l'anglaise, is frankly Canadian in inspiration. The subject was suggested by a caprice that affected the upper ranks of French-Canadian society about the beginning of the nineteenth century. At that time certain families allowed themselves to be too easily fascinated by English fashions and customs. They abandoned the old French domestic traditions, in order to adopt the habits of their British compatriots. L'Anglomanie is not, of course, a powerful work, but it is nevertheless interesting. It is to be hoped that it may yet be printed and submitted to the curiosity of the public. Quesnel's light comedies and his copious poetic output led his contemporaries to regard him as the model of elegant and witty versifiers.

A few years after Quesnel's death another French poet arrived in Canada, and in turn succeeded in getting his work read and admired—sometimes with a too generous admiration. This was Joseph Mermet, lieutenant and adjutant of de Watteville's regiment. Mermet came to Canada in 1813 with his regiment, composed mainly of Swiss soldiers and officers. Watteville's regiment took a prominent part in the War of 1812-14. It was sent to Kingston, and in that town the poet-lieutenant employed his leisure in writing verse. There he made the acquaintance of Jacques Viger, and the two became friends. It was Viger who made the poet's work known to his friends in Montreal, and got his poems published in Le Spectateur.

In these poems Mermet sang of war—the war that American cupidity had just brought close to Canadian homes, and that had summoned the brave militia beneath the colours. Several of his pieces owed their success chiefly to the actuality of the subject treated rather than to their artistic merit—for example, the lyrical verses in which he essayed to sing the victory of Châteauguay.

The hymn of the 'Victory of Châteauguay' secured its author the friendship of the hero of that day. De Salaberry, wishing to meet the poet who had extolled his military deeds, invited him to his table. The soldier-poet went to Chambly; he passed a few hours in the colonel's retreat there, and on returning from the visit wrote his poem on 'Chambly.'

During his travels on Canadian soil Mermet could not but admire the magnificent spectacles presented by nature. He is, we believe, the first Canadian poet to sing of Niagara; he set himself to describe it, and his lines possess the special merit of precision.

It is not, however, in Mermet's poems of patriotism and war, nor even in his descriptive poetry, that the author's best and most characteristic spirit is to be found. The adjutant of de Watteville's regiment loved raillery above everything. This French soldier is merry. He loses no opportunity of throwing off a humorous couplet or of distributing impromptu rhymes among his friends. To him everything is matter for amusing or satirical verse. In the Saberdache of Jacques Viger many of these light and often carelessly written poems may still be found; although of little value, they were received enthusiastically by the readers of 1813.

Mermet returned to France in 1816. In Canada, therefore, he was merely a visitor. Nevertheless it is plain, from certain literary discussion in which he took part in Le Spectateur,[6] that his influence upon the poets of his time was considerable.

Mermet has given us several examples of that sprightly, bantering literature so long practised by Quesnel. He is not, of course, a great poet; he did not even take pains to be a second-rate poet. Yet he stimulated the ambition of those who at the beginning of the nineteenth century were endeavouring to make the new-born literature of Canada lisp in numbers.

In Quesnel and Mermet we see the expression of the French muse, which has become Canadian for a brief period. In their poems, too, we see a reflection—dim though it be—of those light, graceful and terse forms of poetry, frequently idyllic, that flourished in France during the eighteenth century.

While these poets were still making their influence felt at Quebec and Montreal, a Canadian poet—Canadian by birth—essayed to capture public attention. This was Michel Bibaud, who was born near Montreal, at the Côte des Neiges, in 1782, and died at Montreal in 1857. To Bibaud must be accorded the honour—if honour it be—of publishing the first miscellany of poems in the history of French-Canadian literature. This collection, which appeared in 1830, is entitled Épîtres, Satires, Chansons, Épigrammes, et autres pièces en vers. It is composed of pieces that had appeared several years previously, the first satire dating from 1817. It contains no poems that are really good. It was seldom given to Bibaud himself to be a poet; and the pieces he published are more interesting from the point of view of the history of manners and ideas than from that of art, which in him is usually commonplace.

Michel Bibaud and Denis Benjamin Viger, who contributed to Le Spectateur, were the representatives of French-Canadian poetry at the moment when it was venturing on its first flights. It is true these men were not great poets, but we must be thankful to those who, at the beginning of a country's history, venture to do something, and who, at the cost of their own failure, point the way to others who may yet follow and excel them.

The most important chapter of French-Canadian literary origins—dull though it often is—is composed of the prose matter in the early newspapers. Among the first to write for the journals and to influence the public mind in their diverse degrees were—Pierre Bédard and François Blanchet in Le Canadien; Jacques Labrie and Louis Plamondon in Le Courrier de Québec; Denis Benjamin Viger in Le Canadien and Le Spectateur; Michel Bibaud in L'Aurore des Canadas and later in his collected works; and Jacques Viger in Le Canadien and in the literary journals and miscellanies of Michel Bibaud. After these came Étienne Parent, who, by virtue of his forceful thought and the vigour of his articles, merits a place apart.

This newspaper prose was almost the only literary matter printed at the close of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century; it was also the only literature, or nearly so, that expressed Canadian thought. It was this literature that engaged the attention of the citizens, directed their political sympathies, and often moulded their judgment on public affairs. This prose is by turn passionate and calm, fiery and restrained, aggressive and patient. It is full of those agitations that at certain periods troubled the national life—when, for example, Craig was the dupe of the evil counsellors who surrounded him, and the French Canadians were at once irascible and bold in their demands. Throughout this political literature are to be found the deep traces of those increasing recriminations excited during nearly forty years by topics that so often irritated, such as supplies and the reform of the legislative council.

The political oratory of the first parliaments had naturally much of the qualities and defects of the journalism. Usually we find the same men speaking from the political platform and writing in the journals. Their style varies greatly: it is generally temperate, terse and precise; but frequently it is confused, ponderous and solemn. The oratory, like the written prose of the time, was substantial rather than artistic, vigorous rather than pliant, firm rather than passionate. The name of Louis Joseph Papineau stands out among all those who earned applause as political orators during the first half of the nineteenth century. Papineau's name is still popular among French Canadians, for he long embodied the highest aspirations of his countrymen. This is not the place to discuss the excesses into which he was sometimes led by his ardent patriotism. It is well worth remembering that, more than any other in his day, he was an orator and a political tribune. He knew and could use those expressions that strike the imagination of a people. From the platform, where he himself fought like a soldier, he impetuously sounded the charge, at once restraining and inflaming popular passions.

While Papineau was making speeches, a journalist was writing articles in which the very soul of the French-Canadian people was expressed with an eloquence by turns commanding, ironical, rugged and light. It may be said that Étienne Parent portrayed the most intimate thoughts of the people for a longer time than Papineau, and more faithfully. In Parent, indeed, we encounter the man who, during the period of the literary origins of French Canada, was the most sagacious of the politicians and the greatest of the writers.

Parent was born at Beauport, near Quebec, on May 2, 1802. On the completion of his classical studies at the College of Nicolet and the Seminary of Quebec, he entered the profession of journalism. In 1822 he became editor of Le Canadien in Quebec. After the temporary cessation of this journal in 1825, the young editor pursued his law studies, and was admitted to the bar in 1829. He was unable to devote himself long to the practice of law. His literary temperament, his well-stored mind, his desire to discuss ideas, and his taste for controversy drew him once more to journalism. In 1831 a group of young deputies demanded the establishment of a fighting journal, and suggested the revival of Le Canadien, whose very name was a watchword. Parent undertook the task of resurrecting it, and on May 7, 1831, the initial number appeared. On the first page a new device was inscribed: 'Our Institutions, our Language and our Laws!'

In Montreal, at that time, La Minerve—a very violent patriotic organ—was read. At Quebec, it was Le Canadien that undertook to scatter the seed of those political truths with which it was desired to imbue all minds.

The office of Le Canadien, in which Parent reigned, became a sort of centre where politicians gathered, and where the plans of attack and defence of the parliamentarians were arranged. Parent retained the conduct of his journal until 1842. In the preceding year he had been elected member for the county of Saguenay. In consequence of serious deafness, contracted in the state prisons in which he was confined with so many other patriots during the winter of 1837-38, he considered it necessary in 1842 to resign his seat. He accepted the post of clerk of the executive council. He ceased to direct Le Canadien, therefore, in the same year. He reappeared frequently, however, and still conducted lively controversies, in its columns.

From 1842 it was chiefly by means of lecturing that Parent sought to continue among his countrymen the educative ministry to which his journalistic activity had accustomed him. To the members of the Canadian Institute of Montreal and Quebec, at the reading-room of Saint-Roch, Quebec, and before the Society for the Early Closing of Shops, Quebec, he delivered courses of public lectures that testify to the extent of his knowledge, and especially to the philosophic penetration of his mind. He became under-secretary for the Province of Lower Canada in 1847, and retained substantially the same functions under Confederation, with the title of under-secretary of state. He retired from office in 1872, and died at Ottawa on December 22, 1874. On the day of his death Le Courrier de l'Outaouais declared that Parent 'created the journalistic style of this country.' This eulogy suggests the high and authoritative place that the editor of Le Canadien had won. By his brother journalists he was called 'the Nestor of the Press,' as a tribute to the prudence he generally exercised in his writings.

Moreover, Parent the journalist was more than any other of his contemporaries a courageous and clear-sighted patriot. A master-thought directed all his ideas. 'A pole-star led me,' he used to say in his later years.[7] This star—the guide of his spirit—was the motto which he inscribed at the head of Le Canadien: 'Our Institutions, our Language and our Laws!' Whatever had no concern with this patriotic programme was banished from the journal's columns. Parent had well-defined political principles, and it was upon these principles that he founded his journalistic activity, and sought to achieve the liberty of his compatriots. What were the principles he professed? Upon what rights did he wish to base the stability and progress of the nation?

He considered, in the first place, that in a country endowed with a parliamentary system the House of Assembly ought to have a certain and decisive influence upon the policy of the government. He could not conceive this influence being sufficient without the absolute control of supplies. This famous question of supplies, it will be remembered, was, in both Upper and Lower Canada, for more than thirty years the cause of the most violent public controversies. Parent combined this principle of the control of supplies by the assembly with the higher principle of the responsibility of the executive. The latter, he held, ought to be responsible to the people or to their deputies. It is especially interesting to note with what precision the editor of Le Canadien, in 1833, demands this responsible government:

We now ask that the Executive Council be assimilated to the cabinet in England.... Thus, instead of influential members of one Chamber or the other being summoned and made mere political councillors, we now desire that they be made heads of departments, severally and jointly responsible to the Chambers.[8]

It was to secure a more complete application of this governmental responsibility that Parent, and all the patriots of his day, conducted their agitation against the legislative council, then composed of members nominated by the crown. In place of irresponsible councillors he demanded elective councillors. He regarded the constitution of the legislative council, as defined by the constitution, as a great error on the part of Pitt. 'The minister,' he declared, 'ought to have seen that he was bringing into the lists against the people a class of men who could never have anything in common with them, since the former ran necessarily towards liberty, and the latter towards absolute power and privilege.'[9]

In the exposition and defence of his political principles Parent always displayed a calm and appropriate moderation. He was never a lover of excess, either in words or deeds. Although he long fought by Papineau's side, and was long one of 'the sullen guard of the agitators'—in the phrase of that day—he was unable to follow the leader of the patriots to the end. He broke away when it seemed to him that Papineau was about to abandon the paths of prudence and legality.

In his study of social questions, no less than in politics, Parent displayed the lucidity and penetration of his intellect. Both by taste and by virtue of his remarkable mental qualities he was a philosopher. His contemporaries did not hesitate to call him 'the Victor Cousin of Canada,' at a time when Cousin was exercising in France a very great influence on philosophic thought.

In his lectures Parent set himself to popularize those philosophical and social ideas, inspired by Christianity, towards which his sympathies and intellect naturally drew him. In order to present some idea of the wide range of his studies, it will suffice to cite the subjects of the speeches or lectures delivered by him in Montreal and Quebec. At the Institut Canadien, Montreal, he gave the following lectures: 'Industry as a Means of Preserving our Nationality' (January 22, 1846); 'The Importance of the Study of Political Economy' (November 19, 1846); 'Human Labour' (September 23, 1847); 'The Priest and Spirituality in their Relation to Society' (December 17, 1848); and 'Considerations on our System of Popular Education, on Education in general, and the Legislative Means of providing for it' (February 19, 1848). At the Institut Canadien of Quebec he delivered two lectures on 'Intelligence in its Relations to Society' (January 22 and February 7, 1852); before the Society for the Early Closing of Shops, Quebec, he spoke on 'The Importance of Commerce and its Duties' (January 15, 1852); and at the reading-room of Saint-Roch, Quebec, he lectured to an audience of workingmen on 'The Condition of the Working Classes' (April 15, 1852). This last lecture puts very happily, from a Christian standpoint, the necessary social conditions of labour, and formulates the principles that ought to regulate the relations of masters and men.

At this conference Parent thus exhorted his hearers to make Catholic doctrine the rule of all economic progress:

Ouvriers, mes amis, pour qui je parle, vous qui êtes les abeilles travailleuses de la ruche sociale, voulez-vous éviter les maux dont souffrent vos semblables ailleurs, tenez fort et ferme à votre système catholique, et à tout ce qui en fait l'essence. Repoussez les adeptes du jugement privé, qui cherchent à vous en éloigner. Le catholicisme, voyez-vous, c'est l'association dans sa plus haute et sa plus vaste expression, et cela au profit du pauvre et du faible, qui ne peuvent être forts que par l'association. Celle-ci en les réunissant en un faisceau saura les rendre plus forts que les forts. Je ne nierai pas que, humainement parlant, le principe du jugement privé, qui est, en pratique, l'individualisme appliqué aux choses morales, ne tende à augmenter la force des individualités; mais cela ne peut profiter qu'au petit nombre d'individus fortement trempés. L'individualisme est comme le vent qui anime un brasier, mais qui éteint une chandelle. Aux masses il faut l'association d'idées, l'unité, et par conséquent l'autorité. Je prie ceux de mes jeunes auditeurs qui seraient, comme on l'est trop souvent à leur age, enclins à se révolter contre toute espèce d'autorité, de bien réfléchir là-dessus, avant de jeter le doute et le trouble dans l'esprit du peuple, à l'endroit de ses anciennes institutions. Les anciennes institutions d'un pays, ses croyances religieuses surtout, il ne faut jamais l'oublier, sont à un peuple ce que sont à un individu sa constitution physique, ses habitudes, sa manière de vivre: en un mot, c'est sa vie propre. Et dire qu'il se trouve des hommes, de soi-disant patriotes, prêts à faire main-basse sur tout cela, sous le prétexte de réforme et de progrès! Les malheureux! ils ne voient pas que c'est la destruction et la mort. Réformons, mais ne détruisons pas: avançons, mais sans lâcher le fil conducteur de la tradition.

In these lectures, as in his articles in Le Canadien, may be seen the impressive, forceful and clear language of which he was master. True, it has not always the freedom and grace that might be wished; but it is often coloured by vivid and striking images that fix the idea in bold relief. It readily becomes ironical, incisive and caustic. In Le Canadien there are articles, directed against the Montreal Herald, the Mercury, and even L'Ami du Peuple, that are little masterpieces of invective and sound sense.

Parent's contemporaries did not fail to recognize his high intellectual value and his practised taste as a man of letters. He was often consulted, and his judgments were highly esteemed. He was not only a political leader, but also the literary leader of his time. He loved to welcome, encourage and stimulate talent; and, as Hector Fabre said in those days, 'no one dared to think himself a writer unless he had his patent from Parent's hands.'

It would be impossible, then, to accord this father of French-Canadian literature too large a place in the history of its origins. His is incontestably the finest, most worthy and most expressive figure of that time. While Parent belongs to the origins of the literature, he is also a prophet of the following period—that of more fruitful growth; he even merits a place beside the most illustrious in any period of the literary history of French Canada, for he is still recognized in the Dominion as one of the highest representatives of French thought and culture.

While Parent held the public mind by his journalism and lectures, another writer—at first by journalism and later by literature—was seeking to attract attention. This was Michel Bibaud, whose heavy and dull poems have been mentioned; but he succeeded better in prose than in verse. Public sympathy, however, was meted out to him but sparingly. We have already recalled the literary miscellanies that he successively edited between 1825 and 1842. Here must be mentioned the Histoire du Canada, which at first appeared fragmentarily in these miscellanies, and was afterwards published in three volumes, the first of which was given to the public in 1837, the second in 1844 and the third—long after the author's death—in 1878.

From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay

This Histoire du Canada comprises the whole course of the political life of the country from its first settlement until 1837. It had not the good fortune to please French-Canadian readers, and this explains the silence with which the work was received. Bibaud was not one of the patriotic school. He did not agree with such men as Papineau, Morin, Viger and Parent; in politics he held aloof from his French-Canadian fellow-citizens. He rather sided with those who at that time approved the conduct of the English functionaries, governors or councillors—collectively termed 'bureaucrats.' Bibaud, a bureaucrat, wrote the history of Canada from the point of view of a friend of the administration: on nearly every page of his narrative he censured the attitude and conduct of the patriots. He reproached them especially with their irreconcilability, complacently set forth certain errors in their tactics, and devoted himself, for the most part, to defending the policy of the oligarchy by which Lower Canada was governed. It will be readily understood that such a history could not be acceptable to the public. Although it occasionally contains judicious observations, it is evident that the work is written with prejudice. It was, therefore, condemned to failure at the outset.

The matter, especially in the second and third parts, is not well assimilated, or presented with sufficient skill. Bibaud is too often content merely to pile documents and official papers on the top of each other. Frequently confusion and obscurity are the result. The narrative might well have been freer, more spirited, and more precise.

Bougainville, Louis Antoine, Comte de (1729-1811), came to Canada in 1756 as Montcalm's aide-de-camp. He kept a careful journal of the campaign ending with the surrender of Quebec. He returned to France and joined the navy. He made a voyage round the world (1766-69), and later fought with distinction against the British during the Revolutionary War.

Encyclopédie canadienne, i. 309: 'Mon dernier voyage à Québec.'

Histoire du Canada, by Michel Bibaud, ii. 403.

Le Foyer canadien, 1865: article on 'Nos chansons historiques,' by Dr Hubert Larue, pp. 17-18.

On this subject see the author's work, Nos Origines littéraires, pp. 70-83 and 111-23, in which several extracts from these early poems are given.

Le Spectateur, September 16 and 23, and October 21, 1813.

Words quoted by Benjamin Sulte, in La Minerve, December 23, 1874.

Le Canadien, June 19, 1833.

Ibid., May 1, 1833.



Shortly after the publication of Michel Bibaud's Histoire du Canada, another work appeared which was at once to eclipse it and cause it to be forgotten—the Histoire du Canada (1845-48) by François Xavier Garneau. With this work the second period of French-Canadian literature opens—the period of its development. This book was soon to be followed by others, not less important, which were to make the years following 1840 a remarkable epoch from the point of view of progress in Canadian letters.

The conditions of the political life of the country were such as to bring about this literary growth. The struggles which the French Canadians had to maintain for the defence of their legitimate liberties, the bloody issue of that long agitation, the designs of diplomatic repression which the Act of Union of 1840 sufficiently disclosed—gave them to understand that they must more than ever concern themselves with strengthening their separate and distinctive public life. As nothing expresses better, or stimulates more effectually, the forces of national consciousness than literature—history, poetry, oratory, books and publications of every kind—several minds determined to devote themselves to the development of French-Canadian letters. Men felt a need to write the history of their past, the better to illumine the future; to sing the ancient glories in order to inspire new courage; to relate the old and venerable traditions, that their memory might be imprinted ineffaceably on the hearts of the young. François Xavier Garneau appears first on the list of those who then made the literature of French Canada shine with a fresh brilliance. National history has for him a distinct claim on the Canadian conscience.

Born at Quebec in 1809, Garneau belonged to a respectable artisan family, industrious but not well-to-do. His people were unable to give him the education he would have liked. He attended the day-schools of Quebec, but he was unable to enter the Petit Séminaire for his classical course. Entering the office of Archibald Campbell, notary, at the age of sixteen, young Garneau began his apprenticeship, studying Latin and French classical authors by himself in his spare time. It was while thus engaged that his vocation as historian was revealed to him. It was then, at least, that, moved by a natural feeling of irritation, he one day conceived the project of writing his history of Canada. There were some young English clerks in Campbell's office; and, as the rivalries of race were at that time warm, arguments frequently arose on questions of Canadian history. The young patriot's opponents did not scruple to offend his pride. After all, was he not but a son of the vanquished, and did not every one know that the French Canadians had no history? One day, driven beyond all bounds by some such insult, young Garneau retorted: 'Our history! Very well—I will tell it! And you will see how our ancestors were vanquished, and whether such a defeat was not as glorious as victory!' The work that Garneau wished to write demanded much labour and preparation. Unexpected circumstances occurred, however, to enable him to qualify himself gradually for the task.

Garneau became a notary in 1830. He employed his leisure in collecting historical notes on Canada; and soon, on June 20, 1831, by dint of stringent saving, he was enabled to go to England. There he applied himself to the study of English institutions, and attended the sittings of parliament. After a short visit to France he returned to London, and had the good fortune to become secretary to Denis Benjamin Viger, who was then diplomatic agent for the French Canadians to the English government. The young secretary spent two years in London. He had an opportunity of meeting some of the great men in the English and French world of letters; he learned at what cost the literary glories of Europe had been built up, and he was astonished at the influence and prestige accorded to intellectual authority in the enlightened Old World centres of culture. Returning to Quebec on June 30, 1833, Garneau endeavoured—but only for a short time—to pursue his profession as a notary. He then became an accountant in a bank, and was at length appointed translator to the legislative assembly of Lower Canada. It was in an official position that he was to find the time necessary for carrying into effect his project for a history of Canada.

The first volume appeared in 1845, the second in 1846 and the third in 1848. These volumes brought events down only to 1792. In 1852 the author published a second edition, in which the narrative reached the year 1840. In 1855 Garneau published his Voyage en Angleterre et en France. But already a serious malady, epilepsy, was gradually undermining his health. Since 1844 he had been secretary of the city of Quebec; he was obliged to resign in 1864, when his malady attacked him in a more violent form. He died at Quebec in 1866. The ashes of the 'national historian' of French Canada rest in the Belmont cemetery, at the gates of the city, near the battlefield of Ste Foy, the glory of which he has so eloquently told.

Garneau's Histoire du Canada gives the story of all the French colonies of North America from their origin to the treaty of 1763. From that date the author confines his narrative to Canada proper. The sustained effort necessary to the construction of a work so extensive and so fine cannot be overestimated. Garneau wrote at a time when it was very difficult to get access to the sources of the history of Canada. Obviously, his documentation could not be so abundant as that of later historians. But he set himself to turn to account all the materials and historical information he was able to collect. Out of these materials, hitherto rare, he made a work that, although incomplete and capable of improvement in many respects, excited the admiration of his contemporaries by its general excellence. Written during the political turmoil that came to a head in 1837, and published on the morrow of the insurrection and the establishment of the inacceptable union of the two Canadas, Garneau's work is plainly a work of defence and of attack. Yet the spirit of moderation by which it is animated deserves praise. Some of his contemporaries even reproached him for not having written panegyrics on the French Canadians. Garneau preferred, while honourably acquitting his compatriots in respect of certain historic accusations made against them, to indicate also the political errors into which they fell.

One of the most important sections of the Histoire du Canada, and one awaited with the greatest curiosity and impatience, was that devoted to the account of the conquest of Canada by England. Garneau had himself suffered from the accusations sometimes lightly cast at the conquered Canadians. Happily, and very justly, he brought out the value of such a conquest, and opportunely rectified the military history of those painful years.

From the painting by Albert Ferland

Garneau's chief aim was to write the political history of his country. Educated in the school of Augustin Thierry and Guizot, he took delight in philosophical speculations; he loved to trace the principles governing historical development, and his work clearly bears the mark of his intellectual sympathies. His history is not merely dramatic by reason of the stirring recitals it contains; it is also a work of philosophy.

Unfortunately, the philosophy of Garneau is not always very safe. Not having followed the lessons of the masters, and having acquired his ideas on government in the course of studies that were often ill-chosen, he sometimes allowed theories derived from French liberalism to find their way into his work—for example, the principle of the absolute freedom of conscience, for which he has been so keenly reproached. Garneau, moreover, did not sufficiently appreciate the part played in Canadian history by the Catholic Church or the clergy. He did not see with sufficient clearness the very special conditions under which the church's intervention in the political life of the colony took place. Nor did he sufficiently know or understand the efforts made by the clergy for the instruction of the people. These errors of the historian prevent his work from being as perfect as it might otherwise have been. If, however, we forget these defects and remember only the work as a whole, we are obliged to acknowledge that such a monument could have been conceived and executed only by a great mind.

The literary style, moreover, heightens the interest. Garneau's phraseology is free, ample and eloquent. On occasion it is warm and vibrating. If it is hampered at times by heaviness, it is incontestably capable of grace and vivacity. The study of the Histoire du Canada produced the greatest enthusiasm in the middle of the nineteenth century. The young especially were stirred as they turned the pages in which they felt the soul of their country throb. Garneau founded a school. Under his inspiration the historians and poets of the ensuing years worked.

Garneau was still alive when another historian essayed to rival him in public favour—the Abbé Jean Baptiste Antoine Ferland, who was born at Montreal in 1805. A diligent student at the Collège de Nicolet, and gifted with the most varied talents, he became in turn professor at Nicolet, vicar, curé, and finally, in 1850, a member of the archiepiscopal staff in Quebec. He devoted his later years to the study of Canadian history, and from 1856 to 1862 delivered at Laval University lectures which were well attended. These university lectures he began to publish in 1861. He was able to issue only one volume; the second was published by his friends. Illness and death prevented the continuation of his work. He died at Quebec in 1865.

Ferland's Cours d'Histoire du Canada comprises only the years of the French domination, and it is to be regretted that the author was unable to carry his work further. He possessed, indeed, the best qualities of the historian. He is specially distinguished by the most scrupulous scientific method; he was a tireless seeker for truth. He visited the archives of London and Paris to consult documents at first hand. The sole object of his stay in Europe, during the years 1856 and 1857, was to obtain materials for his history from original sources. In his work he did not sufficiently indicate his references to authentic documents, but he rarely wrote without basing his information on such documents. Thus he was able to rectify a great many dates which, before his history appeared, were uncertain, and to throw a fresh light upon incidents that had not always been properly judged. He understood better than Garneau the religious nature of the historical origins of Canada, and rendered greater justice in this regard to those who were their principal creators.

Ferland carefully examined the details of the life and manners of New France. He also made a very full study of the character and the curious customs of the Indians. He took special pains in his narration of the circumstances attending the establishment of the colony, and the first developments of its national life. After a preface dealing with the early inhabitants of America, and the explorers who were the first to touch the American coast, he addresses himself to the subject of his laborious study, and lays bare, with the most ample and interesting details, the foundations of Canadian history.

Ferland has not the brilliant literary enthusiasm of Garneau. He aims less at the development of general considerations, he has a better grasp of vital details, and he gets into his book more historical matter. The language he writes is thoroughly French, and is precise, clear and spirited, its one ornament being a fine and frank simplicity.

Certain of Ferland's smaller works and articles are of the greatest interest and deserve mention: Journal d'un Voyage sur les Côtes de la Gaspésie, Louis-Olivier Gamache, Le Labrador, and Notice biographique sur Mgr Joseph-Octave Plessis. These studies appeared in Le Foyer canadien between 1861 and 1863.

Contemporary with Ferland was Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, one of his admirers, who also wrote a considerable chapter of Canadian history. He was born at Yamachiche in 1824, and died at Ottawa in 1882. He was long known chiefly by his novel of colonization, Jean Rivard. But in 1888 a valuable work which he had left in manuscript, Dix ans d'Histoire du Canada, 1840-50, was published. This work is the best study we have of the period that witnessed the establishment of responsible government. The information is abundant and accurate. Possibly official documents are inserted too copiously in the text, and too frequently impede the course of the narrative. The style is temperate and easy. Although not an artist capable of making his figures stand out boldly, Gérin-Lajoie produced a work that may be read with great interest and profit.

The Abbé Henri Raymond Casgrain, who was born at Rivière-Ouelle in 1831 and died at Quebec in 1904, devoted his entire life to the study of his country's past. He was a most prolific and enthusiastic historian. With Gérin-Lajoie, Joseph Charles Taché and Dr Hubert Larue, he played a large part in the renaissance of French-Canadian letters that followed the year 1860. With them he founded Les Soirées canadiennes in 1861, and Le Foyer canadien in 1863. The works of Garneau and Ferland had excited his ardent interest, and it was his ambition to continue and complete their task.

In 1860 he began by publishing his Légendes, in which he set himself to revive Canadian customs. He then entered upon serious history, and wrote successively—Histoire de la Mère Marie de l'Incarnation (1864); Biographies canadiennes, which were collected in one volume; Histoire de l'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec (1878); Pèlerinage au Pays d'Evangéline (1885); Montcalm et Lévis (1891); Une Seconde Acadie (1894); Asile du Bon Pasteur de Québec (1896); and Les Sulpiciens et les Prêtres des Missions Étrangères en Acadie (1897). The work of Casgrain is therefore considerable. It gives evidence of great activity. Yet his eyes had been strained by overstudy, and he had to have recourse to a secretary to aid him in his search for and study of documents. His learning was great, and his books are full of information of the most varied nature. It is generally agreed, however, that he possessed an imagination and sensitiveness which at times injured the accuracy of his narrative and the justness of his judgment. He liked to find in history what he sought. Yet his books are imbued with warmth and life. The language is free and vivid, although sometimes rather overloaded with imagery—especially in his earlier works. It was, indeed, by his literary art that he captivated his readers. Casgrain's works have helped greatly in making Canada known abroad, especially in France.

In the first of his Légendes, le Tableau de la Rivière-Ouelle, Abbé Casgrain thus faithfully described in a most picturesque manner the home of the French-Canadian habitant:

Voyez-vous là-bas, sur le versant de ce coteau, cette jolie maison qui se dessine, blanche et proprette, avec sa grange couverte de chaume, sur la verdure tendre et chatoyante de cette belle érablière. C'est une maison canadienne.

Du haut de son piédestal de gazon, elle sourit au grand fleuve, dont la vague, où frémit sa tremblante image, vient expirer à ses pieds. Car, l'heureux propriétaire de cette demeure aime son beau grand fleuve et il a eu soin de s'établir sur ses bords....

From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay

Voulez-vous jeter un coup d'œil sous ce toit dont l'aspect extérieur est si riant? Je vais essayer de vous en peindre le tableau, tel que je l'ai vu maintes fois.

D'abord, en entrant, dans le tambour, deux sceaux pleins d'eau fraîche sur un banc de bois et une tasse de ferblanc accrochée à la cloison, vous invitent à vous désaltérer. A l'intérieur, pendant que la soupe bout sur le poêle, la mère de famille, assise près de la fenêtre, dans une chaise berceuse, file tranquillement son rouet. Un mantelet d'indienne, un jupon bleu d'étoffe du pays et une câline blanche sur la tête, c'est là toute sa toilette.

Le petit dernier dort à ses côtés dans son ber. De temps en temps, elle jette un regard réjoui sur sa figure fraîche qui, comme une rose épanouie, sort du couvre-pied d'indienne de diverses couleurs, dont les morceaux taillés en petits triangles sont ingénieusement distribués.

Dans un coin de la chambre, l'aînée des filles, assise sur un coffre, travaille au métier en fredonnant une chanson. Forte et agile, la navette vole entre ses mains; aussi fait-elle bravement dans sa journée sept ou huit aunes de toile du pays à grande largeur, qu'elle emploiera plus tard à faire des vêtements pour l'année qui vient.

Dans l'autre coin, à la tête du grand lit à courte-pointe blanche et à carreaux bleus, est suspendue une croix entourée de quelques images. Cette petite branche de sapin flétrie qui couronne la croix, c'est le rameau bénit.

Deux ou trois marmots nu-pieds sur le plancher s'amusent à atteler un petit chien. Le père, accroupi près du poêle, allume gravement sa pipe avec un tison ardent qu'il assujettit avec son ongle. Bonnet de laine rouge, gilet et culottes d'étoffe grise, bottes sauvages, tel est son accoutrement. Après chaque repas, il faut bien fumer une touche avant d'aller faire le train ou battre la grange.

L'air de propreté et de confort qui règne dans la maison, le gazouillement des enfants, les chants de la jeune fille qui se mêlent au bruit du rouet, l'apparence de santé et de bonheur qui reluit sur les visages, tout, en un mot, fait naître dans l'âme le calme et la sérénité.

After these distinguished authors, who created and developed the writing of history in French Canada, we need recall only three writers—of much less power, however—who left useful works: Louis Philippe Turcotte (1842-78), author of Canada sous l'Union; Théophile Pierre Bédard (1844-1900), author of L'Histoire de Cinquante Ans, and Joseph Royal (1837-1902), author of a Histoire du Canada (1841-67), which deals with the régime of the Union.

The field of history is still that which is most cultivated by French-Canadian writers of to-day. Among these may be mentioned—Benjamin Suite, who, in addition to his Histoire des Canadiens Français, wrote many articles and studies which have been collected in volume form; Joseph Edmond Roy, author of the Histoire de la Seigneurie de Lauzon; the Abbé Auguste Gosselin, the historian of the church in Canada (L'Église du Canada); Alfred DeCelles, the elegant monographist who wrote on Papineau, La Fontaine and Cartier; Thomas Chapais, the author of Jean Talon and the Marquis de Montcalm; N. E. Dionne, who gave an account of our colonial origins; Louis Olivier David, author of L'Union des Deux Canadas (1841-67) and the Histoire du Canada sous la Confédération (1867-87); the Abbé Amédée Gosselin, the erudite archivist of Laval University, who rewrote the history of L'Instruction au Canada sous le Régime Français; and Pascal Poirier, the historian of Acadia. Among the very numerous French-Canadian workers engaged in rewriting, correcting and continuing the history of their country these are distinguished from their fellows by a riper learning and a more perfect art.


In French Canada poetry was the daughter of history. It is true that, during the period of literary origins, poetry sang freely of all subjects, but it sang, for the most part, without either inspiration or craftsmanship. About 1840, however, it essayed to do better and to take a loftier flight. It was the breath of history that inspired its voice and sustained its wing. The work of François Xavier Garneau long supplied the verses of the poet-patriots with themes. It evoked before their eyes the image of a country which had never before appeared so great, heroic and beautiful—a country whose many wounds still bled. They set themselves to extol 'that glorious world in which our fathers dwelt.' Garneau himself was naturally the first to be fascinated by the spectacle of the heroic deeds of his ancestors, and he wrote some of the first pieces in the repertory of 1840.

Another influence, however, was about to modify profoundly French-Canadian poetry—the influence of the romantic school. The intellectual relations of Canada with France had long been maintained with difficulty; they suffered from the mere distance of the motherland, and from the political and social severance of New France from Old France. Thus the literary revolutions that agitated the mind of France were long in making themselves felt in Canada. About the middle of the nineteenth century, however, Octave Crémazie, the poet-bookseller, exerted himself to make the newer works of French poetry known in Quebec. He himself had felt the influence of his eager reading, and he was the first to tune his song to the note of romantic lyricism. Crémazie may justly be called the father of French-Canadian poetry.

Crémazie was born at Quebec on April 16, 1827. After completing his education at the Seminary of Quebec, he became associated with his two brothers, Jacques and Joseph, in their bookselling business. Anxious to instruct himself, and gifted with a fine imagination and keen sensitiveness, Crémazie loved to devote his leisure to reading his favourite authors, particularly the French poets whose works were in his bookshop. He was fond of inviting friends to talk literature in the back shop; among these were the Abbé Raymond Casgrain, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, Hubert Larue and Joseph Charles Taché.

About 1854 Crémazie published his first poems in Le Journal de Québec. These thrilling utterances of his soul stirred to their depths the hearts of his countrymen. Men felt them to be inspired by the profound emotion of a poet who loved Canada and France above everything. Unhappily, reverses of fortune, in which Crémazie found himself gravely compromised, obliged him to fly from the justice of his country into exile. In 1862 he took refuge in France. He lived there, poor and alone, under the name of Jules Fontaine, and died at Havre in 1879. During his exile he published no more poetry. He often confided to his friends that he had hundreds of poems in his mind, but he would not give them to the world. The only literary work remaining from these hard years, spent far from his native land, consists of a few letters to friends on questions of Canadian literature, some letters to his mother and brothers, and the detailed narrative, written from day to day, of the siege of Paris. This record is a journal which Crémazie used to write up every evening for his family, and in which he noted down such minor incidents, interesting gossip and fugitive impressions as do not usually figure in serious history.

In Crémazie's letters, and in his Journal du Siège de Paris, the whole heart and soul of the writer was disclosed. His letters give evidence of an alert and versatile mind, by turns serious and humorous, playful and sarcastic; capable of prompt and just judgments, but also of ideas that can with difficulty be accepted. His theories as to the impossibility of creating a Canadian literature, most disputable in principle, have been falsified by facts. In this long correspondence Crémazie displays all the delicate, wounded sensibility of his nature.

It was by the poems collected by his friends in book form that Crémazie was chiefly known, and it is these that still secure him so much lasting sympathy. Not that this poetry is really of a high quality, or that it constitutes a considerable achievement. Crémazie left scarcely more than twenty-five pieces, and one unfinished poem, La Promenade des Trois Morts. Into these two hundred pages of verse, however, he infused a generous, patriotic and Christian inspiration that moved Canadian readers. He was able to express so many of the things with which the heart of the people then overflowed, and which were the favourite subjects of popular thought; and for this he was awarded the warmest and most sincere admiration.

In Castelfidardo Crémazie sings of the papacy menaced by the Piedmontese and defended by the heroic zouaves; in the Chant du Vieux Soldat canadien and Le Carillon he celebrates the glorious memories of the history of New France; in the Chant des Voyageurs he recalls certain familiar features of Canadian life; in La Fiancée du Marin he relates, in the manner of Hugo's ballades, a legend of the country. Because, for the first time in the history of Canadian poetry, readers found in these verses of Crémazie something of themselves so fully expressed, they applauded the poet, and his name and his verse were soon on every lip.

Crémazie's work has one rare merit. This is the sincerity of inspiration, and the profound feeling that imbues his patriotic songs. But Crémazie suffers in that he came too soon—at a time, that is to say, when he had himself to discipline his talent and learn to fashion his verses without any master. It was very difficult for the poets of 1850 to perfect their art: they were sadly lacking in the implements necessary to enable them to excel. Crémazie was obliged to pick up the lessons he needed casually in the course of his reading. To this cause are attributable his sometimes rather naïve imitations of the masters of French poetry—for example, of Victor Hugo in his Orientales.

Crémazie, moreover, did not sufficiently concern himself with correcting his work and lightening its heaviness. He cared nothing about being an artist. He first composed his poems in his memory; thence he let them drop on paper without altering their often commonplace matter, and without recasting their somewhat ponderous construction. La Promenade des Trois Morts, which he left unfinished, is a varied medley of delicate, moving lyricism and of realistic tales which are at times gruesome.

It is noteworthy that Crémazie did not pause to sing of love and the ardour of passion. His lyricism excluded this favourite theme of Lamartine and Musset, and devoted itself to the expression of religious and patriotic sentiments. This lyricism, with its twofold object, religion and patriotism, fascinated Crémazie's young contemporaries, and was continued in some of their works. Most of the poets of this period and the following years were disciples of the author of the Chant du Vieux Soldat canadien. They form what may be termed the patriotic school of Quebec.

The first of Crémazie's disciples was Louis Fréchette, born at Lévis on November 16, 1839. He was a student at Quebec when Crémazie was issuing his first poems and gathering the studious of 1860 into his côterie of the Rue de la Fabrique. Fréchette did not attend these meetings in the back shop; but he read the poet's verses, he felt the enthusiasm which they excited in the readers of Quebec, and when he was twenty he began to write poetry himself. In 1863 he published his first collection of poems, Mes Loisirs. He soon became immersed in politics, a sphere in which he never succeeded. Often disillusioned and embittered by the struggle for life, Fréchette, then a voluntary exile in Chicago, published from 1866 to 1869 the Voix d'un Exilé. He returned to Canada, and having at length abandoned political life, after being a member of parliament at Ottawa for a few years, he devoted himself almost entirely to literary work, and published successively—Pêle-Mêle (1877); Fleurs boréales and Oiseaux de Neige (1879); La Légende d'un Peuple (1887); and Feuilles volantes (1891). Before his death he prepared a final edition of his poems. Under the title of Épaves poétiques he introduced, in addition to the finest poems that had already appeared in Mes Loisirs, Pêle-Mêle and Fleurs boréales, a few unpublished pieces and his great pathetic drama, Veronica.

In prose Fréchette published Originaux et Détraqués (1892), in which he delineated certain popular types, though sometimes with a little exaggeration; and his Noël au Canada (1900), in which he depicts in simple fashion the believing, faithful soul of the French-Canadian people. After a fuller poetical career than that of any other Canadian poet, he died at Montreal on May 31, 1908.

Fréchette devoted himself chiefly to lyrical poetry. Feeling rather than thought animates his verse. His inspiration, more versatile than that of Crémazie, touched upon nearly all the usual lyrical themes. Fréchette, however, like Crémazie, scarcely ever concerned himself with the passion of love. Crémazie shunned it altogether; Fréchette skimmed with a light wing over such ardent subjects. The bearing of his muse never ceased to be irreproachable. The author of Mes Loisirs, Pêle-Mêle and Fleurs boréales contents himself with singing of the most delicate ties of friendship and the family, and of all the precious memories which we accumulate in our lives. He sings, too, in praise of nature and her varying expressions. Having studied in the school of the romantic poets dear to his youth, he loved, like them, the spring, flowers, trees, rivers and landscapes, and he sought to portray their colours, lines, depths and harmonies. At times he succeeded well in expressing many of the feelings awakened in us by contact with persons and things, and his verses entitled 'Sursum Corda' in Pêle-Mêle and 'Renouveau' in Fleurs boréales are full of the most deep and delicate feeling. In these lyric poems of sentiment Fréchette diverges and differs from Crémazie; in his patriotic songs in La Légende d'un Peuple he approaches and resembles him. Like Crémazie, he was a patriotic poet. He shared with his master the readily accorded title of 'national poet.' In La Légende d'un Peuple he set himself to relate the epic of French Canada—to write in eloquent strophes the history of his race. From among the events of this history he chose those that seemed to him most representative of a moment or a period; he celebrates them one after another, without linking them sufficiently, and without sufficiently disclosing, by means of general and essential ideas, their powerful cohesion.

At the beginning of La Légende d'un Peuple Fréchette hails in eloquent strophes the America which its discoverers had revealed to the world:

Amérique!—salut à toi, beau sol natal!

Toi, la reine et l'orgueil du ciel occidental!

Toi qui, comme Vénus, montas du sein de l'onde,

Et du poids de ta conque équilibras le monde!


Quand, le front couronné de tes arbres géants,

Vierge, tu secouais au bord des océans

Ton voile aux plis baignés de lueurs éclatantes;

Quand, drapés dans leurs flots de lianes flottantes,

Tes grands bois, tout pleins d'oiseaux chanteurs,

Imprégnèrent les vents de leurs âcres senteurs;

Quand ton mouvant réseau d'aurores boréales

Révéla les splendeurs de tes nuits idéales;

Quand tes fleuves sans fin, quand tes sommets neigeux,

Tes tropiques brûlants, tes pôles orageux,

Eurent montré de loin leurs grandeurs infinies,

Niagaras grondants! blondes Californies!

Amérique! au contact de ta jeune beauté,

On sentit reverdir la vieille humanité!

All the poet's eloquence found vent in this collection; along with strongly inspired couplets there are pages throughout which rhetoric lavishes its pompous and easy periods. Rhetorical language and structure too often weaken poetry: under their sway verse constantly becomes commonplace and bombastic, particularly when the poet's native land and its traditional glories are the theme. Great originality alone can triumph over these temptations to swell one's voice, in order to dazzle the reader with grandiloquent words and make him forget the emptiness of sonorous constructions. Fréchette was not always proof against these dangerous temptations, and his lyricism, although often sustained by powerful inspiration, also degenerates, here and there, into mere declamatory harangues. Moreover, he was ambitious to imitate Victor Hugo in his Légende des Siècles, and he exposed himself to the charge of copying Hugo's least pardonable faults. Nevertheless, to Fréchette must be ascribed the honour of perfecting the form of French-Canadian verse. More concerned about variety of rhythm and harmonious cadences than Crémazie, he produced a more carefully wrought and more artistic poetry. It was with justice that, about 1880, French Canadians acknowledged Fréchette to be their greatest poet.

By Fréchette's side, sometimes separated from him, but always related to him by common tastes and an equal if not a rarer talent, another poet, Pamphile Le May, lived and wrote. Born at Lotbinière in 1837, he was older than Fréchette by two years. He too received, from that epoch of literary effervescence in which he passed his youth, an influence and an impetus that were soon to make him follow in the footsteps of Crémazie. In 1865 he published his Essais poétiques; in 1870 he translated, in verse, Longfellow's Evangeline; in 1875 he produced Les Vengeances, republished in 1888 under the title of Tonkourou, the Indian name of one of the chief personages of this romance in verse; in 1881 he published his Fables canadiennes, in 1883 Petits Poèmes, and in 1904 Gouttelettes. Le May still devotes his laborious old age to writing little comedies, poems that he will doubtless collect some day in volume form.

Le May was not so given to using the file as Fréchette, or, like him, careful to perfect as much as possible his poetical style. Yet he had, perhaps in a fuller measure, the ready inspiration, the vivid imagination, the profound sensibility, the mens divinior, that go to the making of true poets. He was also, like Fréchette, a national poet, yet in a different sense: he betook himself naturally, and with irrepressible spirit, to singing of the things that make Canadian life. Into the intimacy of that life he penetrated more deeply than Fréchette—into the details of the customs of the people, into all the picturesque manifestations of their rustic life. It was, indeed, to its charming pictures of country life that Les Vengeances owed its success; for, despite its rather hasty and careless workmanship, this poem derives value from its portrayal of Canadian customs.

It was Le May's wish to be the poet of the soil. He could not well be more 'regionalistic,' to adopt the French expression of to-day. Even while his art is being perfected he remains the friend of his country; he has not forsaken the source of his early inspiration. The best of his collected poems are the sonnets which he published under the title of Gouttelettes. These mark the truest progress in his career.

One of the finest poems in this collection is the sonnet in which Le May sings the return, the awakening of spring:

Laissons l'âtre mourir; courons à l'aventure.

Le brouillard qui s'élève est largement troué;

La fontaine reprend son murmure enjoué;

La clématite grimpe à chaque devanture.


Le ciel fait ondoyer les plis de sa tenture;

Une tiède vapeur monte du sol houé;

L'air doux est plein de bruits; les bois ont renoué,

Dans les effluves chauds, leur discrète ceinture.


L'aile gaîment s'envole à l'arbre où pend le nid;

L'enfant rit; le vieillard n'a plus de tons acerbes;

Les insectes émus s'appellent sous les herbes.


O le joyeux réveil! tout chante, aime, bénit!

Un élan pousse à Dieu la nature féconde,

Et le rire du ciel s'égrène sur le monde.

In these carefully wrought little pieces Le May has not confined himself to the artistic treatment of Canadian themes. There are biblical and evangelical sonnets; there are poems that breathe of religion and of love; but above all there are rustic sonnets, songs of the hearth and songs of history. The whole mind of the poet is found in this collection. Along with the poet of private life and domestic confidences we have the poet-patriot moved by the noblest inspirations of his race, and the Christian poet extolling that which is most dear to his faith and piety. Because Le May has thus expressed, often with charm and exquisite sweetness, so many things that fill the national consciousness with pride, he stands out as the most sympathetic poet of the school of 1860.

To this school belongs another poet who yields to no one in respect of the oratorical cast of his verse—William Chapman. He has published Les Québecquoises (1876), Feuilles d'Érable (1890), Aspirations (1904) and Les Rayons du Nord (1910). These works do not resemble those of Crémazie, Fréchette and Le May, except in their patriotic and religious inspiration—that correct and austere sentiment which above all characterizes the whole Quebec school. Chapman's verse is also less sincere and more grandiloquent than that of his rivals. He is the poet-rhetorician par excellence, who does not shrink from oratorical displays, however threadbare. Yet, as with all who flutter their wings, Chapman at times takes flight, and soars and hovers, bearing with him the reader's admiration. He has written some very fine verse, stately in movement and proportion. What he lacks is a more constant inspiration, a more fully fledged thought, a less flagging and less wordy versification. He too often delights in enveloping his ideas in needless amplification. Aspirations seems, so far, the culminating point of his work.

Adolphe Poisson and the Abbé Apollinaire Gingras, the former in Heures perdues (1894) and Sous les Pins (1902), the latter in the poems and songs entitled Au foyer de mon Presbytère (1881), gracefully carried on the traditions of the Crémazie school. Alfred Garneau and Nérée Beauchemin, although both were the precursors of a new art, may also be included among the poets of this group.

Alfred Garneau, son of the historian, was born at La Canardière, near Quebec, in 1836, and died at Montreal in 1904. He was hardly known as a poet during his lifetime; he published but little, keeping in his desk the poems that, after his death, were collected in a volume under the title of Poésies. He was at once sensitive, timid and artistic, and does not seem to have given out the full measure of his talent. Yet he was especially remarkable for an art more subtle than that of most of his contemporaries, for a more painstaking regard for form, and for a more refined delicacy of feeling.

Nérée Beauchemin, born at Yamachiche in 1851, possessed all the patriotism and piety of the Crémazie group. With these qualities he united a great regard for rhythm and harmony. His Floraisons matutinales (1879) contains some very beautiful pieces.

A new school, called 'L'École littéraire de Montréal,' was founded in that city in 1895. It gathered together a few active, enthusiastic spirits—for the most part poets—who sought to lead French-Canadian literature into new paths. The poets of this school, of which Alfred Garneau and Nérée Beauchemin may be regarded as the forerunners, are less circumscribed by patriotic and religious subjects than their predecessors. They may be said to have altogether abandoned these somewhat hackneyed themes, and to concern themselves mainly with the analysis of personal feeling, or the expression of the most diverse emotions of the human soul.

Emile Nelligan and Albert Lozeau are the two best known and most notable members of this group. Nelligan's poetry comes feverishly from an imagination and sensibility that are often morbid. It is inspired too readily by the works of the French school of Verlaine, Beaudelaire, or Rollinat. It does not retain the measure and equilibrium indispensable to enduring work. Yet it contains accents of profound sincerity and of poignant sadness, which provoke the most ardent sympathy.

In the Vaisseau d'or Nelligan describes at the outset the tragic shipwreck of his spirit:

Ce fut un grand Vaisseau taillé dans l'or massif;

Ses mâts touchaient l'azur, sur des mers inconnues;

La Cyprine d'amour, cheveux épars, chairs nues,

S'étalait à sa proue au soleil excessif.


Mais il vint une nuit frapper le grand écueil

Dans l'Océan trompeur où chantait la Sirène,

Et le naufrage horrible inclina sa carène

Aux profondeurs du Gouffre, immuable cercueil.


Ce fut un Vaisseau d'or, dont les flancs diaphanes

Révélaient des trésors les marins profanes,

Dégoût, Haine et Névrose, entre eux ont disputé.


Que reste-t-il de lui dans la tempête brève?

Qu'est devenu mon cœur, navire déserté?

Hélas! Il a sombré dans l'abîme du Rêve!

Albert Lozeau is more personal than Nelligan; he is less bookish, having formed himself by long and solitary meditations. He prefers to sing of what is external to him, although his songs are always the expression of the dream through which all things had to pass to reach his sick-room. His verses are also dictated by passion. Like external nature and the beauties of art, passion can assume in his lines a subtle accent, and sometimes a rather quaint form. In L'Ame Solitaire (1907) and also in his Billets du soir (1911), which resemble sonnets in prose, and in Le Miroir des Jours (1912), there are, however, the most delicate manifestations of a fine intellect.

In the following sonnet the poet thus describes the loneliness of his inward life:

Mon cœur est comme un grand paradis de délices

Qu'un ange au glaive d'or contre le mal défend;

Et j'habite mon cœur, pareil à quelque enfant

Chasseur de papillons, parmi les calices.


Gardé des chagrins fous et des mortels supplices;

En l'asile fleuri du jardin triomphant,

Pour me désaltérer, dans le jour étouffant,

J'ai ton eau, frais ruisseau du rêve bleu, qui glisses!


Je ne sortirai plus jamais du cher enclos

Où, dans l'ombre paisible, avec les lys éclos,

Par ses parfums secrets je respire la vie.


Car la nature a mis en moi l'essentiel

Des plaisirs que je puis goûter et que j'envie:

C'est en moi que je sens mon bonheur et mon ciel.[1]

Each year sees an increase in the disciples of the École littéraire de Montréal. They seem to be held together by no common doctrine: each develops in the direction of his personal aptitudes. Charles Gill, Albert Ferland and Paul Morin are among those most appreciated by readers. Paul Morin, who published Le Paon d'Émail (1912), gives more care to the form of his verse than other Canadian poets. He aims chiefly at producing sonorous lines in which the varied rhythm and rich rhymes charm the ear. From Greek and pagan antiquity he gathers much of his inspiration. He draws landscapes with a glowing pen. There is in his poems more colour than ideas. But his first collection of verse promises a still finer art. Let us hope that ideas may add to his muse the force necessary for true greatness.

Le Miroir des Jours: Le ciel intérieur, p. 196.


The novel appeared rather late in the history of French-Canadian literature. This branch of letters, which demands a well-disciplined imagination, a profound knowledge of life, and a most skilful art, suffered from the hard conditions that long affected the development of literature in French Canada. It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that any one ventured to enter a field in which such rare qualities of mind are necessary for success.

The novel of Canadian life and the historical novel were the first to be cultivated. Works of great merit are not very numerous. In 1853 Pierre Joseph Olivier Chauveau published Charles Guérin, which was merely a timid attempt at a novel of manners. Ten years later, in 1863, a work appeared that was to take a permanent place in the history of the Canadian novel—Les Anciens Canadiens, by Philippe Aubert de Gaspé.

Born in 1786 at Quebec, de Gaspé, a son of the seigneur of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, did not enter Canadian literature until late in life. After a career at first mingled with trials, afterwards tranquil and happy at the seigneurial manor, he was suddenly seized with a great longing to communicate to his fellow-countrymen his earliest recollections. It was then 1860, and de Gaspé was in his seventy-fourth year. The literary movement instituted by the intellectual activity of Crémazie, Garneau, Casgrain and Gérin-Lajoie had led to the establishment of Les Soirées canadiennes, on the first page of which was inscribed the saying of Charles Nodier: 'Let us hasten to relate the delightful tales of the people before they have forgotten them.' The septuagenarian took Nodier's counsel to himself, and began to write his romance.

Les Anciens Canadiens is at once a novel of manners and an historical novel. As a basis for his narrative the author has used some of the most interesting features of Canadian life. Two young men, one of whom, Jules d'Haberville, is a Canadian, and the other, Archibald Cameron of Lochiel, a Scotsman, become friends during college life. Separated by the necessity of earning their livelihood, they again come together, but under different flags, during the war in which France and England fought for the last time for the soil of Canada on the Plains of Abraham and the fields of Ste Foy. Their old friendship is broken, then resumed with reserve. The author turns to account all the incidents that he gathers about this main theme in relating the life led by his countrymen at the already distant period of the Conquest.

From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay

De Gaspé's work is less a novel than a series of historical pictures; it is, as it were, the first draught—the rough sketch—of a national epic. May not the novel be a veritable epic, and may not the epic, in its turn, be history?

Les Anciens Canadiens, moreover, was a species of chanson de geste in prose. De Gaspé blended history with legend; he related the heroic actions of the last battles of the Conquest, and their no less poignant dramas of conscience. He introduced the marvellous, without which there is no epic; he evoked a love-interest, too prudent, perhaps, to satisfy the canons of romance, but capable of recalling the mingled smiles and tears that pervade the Iliad, or the passion, ardent yet restrained, that breaks forth only to die at the end of the Song of Roland. Thus de Gaspé is at once the most eloquent, the most simple, the most charming narrator of Canada's past—the true epic singer of a marvellous phase of its history.

The life of the seigneurs, interwoven with that of the colonists, is described at length in de Gaspé's pages. The artless simplicity of popular manners is painted with truth. If Père José, as a type of the good old domestic, is a little exaggerated, M. d'Haberville and his son Jules are worthy representations of the seigneur of the old French régime. The scenes of the disaster of Saint Thomas, and the maypole dancing at Saint-Jean-Port-Joli; the tales of José, the evocation of the sorcerers of the Isle d'Orléans, and the nocturnal promenades of La Corriveau; the description of the costumes of the peasants, and the conversations, animated and true to the characters and their time—all reconstruct before the reader's eyes the life of a period whose traditions are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. De Gaspé even shows himself a philosopher: he depicts life and he depicts himself, for in describing the trials endured by the worthy seigneur of the story, d'Egmont, he evidently draws on his personal experience. The style of this novel, unique in French-Canadian literature, breathes simplicity and good-humour. At times there are eloquent passages into which all the author's patriotism is infused. Sometimes these hastily written pages are adorned with classical reminiscences which testify to the writer's culture.

Very different from Les Anciens Canadiens is the Jean Rivard of Antoine Gérin-Lajoie. This novel, while containing studies of Canadian manners, is also a social romance—a novel with a purpose. The author published the first part of the book in Les Soirées canadiennes in 1862, while de Gaspé was preparing Les Anciens Canadiens. He entitled it Jean Rivard: le défricheur; the second part, Jean Rivard, économiste, appeared in Le Foyer canadien in 1864. Gérin-Lajoie endeavoured in these successive works to persuade his compatriots to remain on their native soil of Canada instead of emigrating to the United States, as they were then largely doing; to cultivate the rich soil of the Province of Quebec; to clear the virgin forest without ceasing; to open up new parishes—in a word, to colonize.

Upon this very real theme of colonization Gérin-Lajoie built up the simplest of romances. As little intrigue and as much agricultural life as possible—such was the rule that this somewhat unromantic novelist imposed upon himself. This did not prevent him from writing a book that was widely read, and creating a type that has remained as an example for all colonists.

Jean Rivard is a young student, prevented by ill-fortune from finishing his classical studies. He passes, willingly enough, from his rhetoric into the forest, where he intends to cut himself out a domain. He becomes a pioneer tiller of the soil. Alone in the woods of Bristol, the forerunner of all his future companions and fellow-citizens, he fells the great trees, clearing them away by dint of the most patient efforts; he sows his roughly cleared field and builds himself a modest house in the virgin forest—a nest, soon to be brightened by the coming of Louise. The hard-working colonist becomes a rich and contented cultivator. Round about him other young men gather—men who have attacked the great trees with equal ardour. Rivardville is founded. Jean Rivard, who manages his farm with wisdom, is now an able economist after having been an indefatigable farmer. He offers the benefit of his practical experience to whoever will use it. He becomes the leading citizen of the newly colonized region, then the mayor of his village, and finally member of parliament for his county.

In this novel one must not look for profound psychology or an art practised in narrative. What the author wished chiefly to portray were pictures of colonization, scenes in which there passed before the vision, successively and realistically, the laborious stages, sometimes hard but on the whole happy, of the Canadian colonist's life. The tale is told in a simple style—a little dull, perhaps, but always interesting; it is enlivened, too, with most picturesque pages in which are clearly reproduced some of the most characteristic customs of the French-Canadian habitant's life.

Here, for example, is how Gérin-Lajoie draws the picturesque scene of the corvée:

Quand les matériaux furent prêts et qu'il ne fut plus question que de lever, Jean Rivard résolut, suivant la coutume canadienne, d'appeler une corvée....

Dans les paroisses canadiennes, lorsqu'un habitant veut lever une maison, une grange, un bâtiment quelconque exigeant l'emploi d'un grand nombre de bras, il invite ses voisins à lui donner un coup de main. C'est un travail gratuit, mais qui s'accomplit toujours avec plaisir.... Ces réunions de voisins sont toujours amusantes; les paroles, les cris, les chants, tout respire la gaieté. Dans ces occasions, les tables sont chargées de mets solides, et avant l'institution de la tempérance le rhum de la Jamaïque n'y faisait pas défaut.

Une fois l'œuvre accomplie, on plante sur le faîte de l'édifice, ce qu'on appelle le 'bouquet,' c'est-à-dire quelques branches d'arbres, dans la direction desquelles les jeunes gens s'amusent à faire des décharges de mousqueterie.

Quoique Jean Rivard n'eut invité, pour l'aider à lever sa maison, que les hommes de la famille Landry et quelques autres de plus proches voisins, il vit, le lundi matin, arriver avec eux plus de trente colons établis de distance en distance à quelques milles de son habitation....

Chacun avait apporté avec soi sa hache et ses outils, et l'on se mit de suite à l'œuvre. Le bruit de l'égouïne et de la scie, les coups de la hache et du marteau, les cris et les chants des travailleurs, tout se faisait entendre en même temps; l'écho de la forêt n'avait pas un instant de répit....[1]

While de Gaspé and Gérin-Lajoie were issuing their works, Georges Boucher of Boucherville (1814-98) published in La Revue canadienne another novel, which quickly attracted the attention of readers, Une de perdue et Deux de trouvées (1864-65). This was a novel of manners and adventure, and was very successful. The author transports his personages by turns to South America, Louisiana, the Antilles, and finally to Canada. His pictures and descriptions, especially in the first part of the book, are bright and animated. The extravagant and exciting situations that occur in the course of the tale contributed greatly to its popularity.

Joseph Marmette (1844-95), who was a most prolific novelist, devoted himself specially to the historical novel. His principal works were—Charles et Eva (1867), François de Bienville (1870), L'Intendant Bigot (1872), Le Chevalier de Mornac (1873), and Le Tomahawk et l'Épée (1877).

Marmette's historical studies are generally fascinating; they recreate dramatic periods of the past. In François de Bienville he depicts the siege of Quebec by Phips; in L'Intendant Bigot, the last years of the French régime. The author had a lively descriptive imagination, not, however, always under control; and his characters are lacking in originality.

The historical novel has had other representatives. In 1866 Napoléon Bourassa published Jacques et Marie, which recalls the dramatic story of the dispersion of the Acadians; 'Laure Conan' (Mlle Félicité Angers) wrote A l'Œuvre et à l'épreuve (1891) and L'Oublié (1902); and in 1909 Sir Adolphe Basile Routhier produced Le Centurion, an interesting attempt to reconstruct Jewish and Roman history in the time of our Lord.

Following the example of Gérin-Lajoie, Jules Paul Tardivel (1851-1905) attempted another novel with a purpose. His Pour la Patrie, published in 1895, is a work treating of religious thought; in it the author specially attacks the influence of freemasonry, which he denounces as the most dangerous and most subtle evil that can invade the national life of French Canada. Ernest Choquette, who published Les Ribaud (1898) and Claude Paysan (1899), and Hector Bernier, who wrote Au large de l'Écueil (1912), have given us pleasing romances of manners.

French Canadians still await writers in the field of fiction who will endow their literature with powerful and original works.

Jean Rivard, i. 180-2.

Political, Philosophical and Social Literature

Jules Paul Tardivel belongs to political rather than to imaginative literature. His novel, Pour la Patrie, was written chiefly for the purpose of gathering together and systematizing his political and religious ideas. Tardivel was before everything a journalist, and it was in La Vérité, the paper which he founded at Quebec in 1881, that he waged his ceaseless combats. He stood apart from political parties, and his one aim was to make the legal principles of the Catholic Church triumph in the conduct of public affairs. He was the irreconcilable enemy of liberalism and freemasonry, and in the three volumes of Mélanges, which contain his best articles, one may see his firm and uncompromising cast of thought.

Journalism has from time to time given us writers whose pens were both ready and fertile. The names of Joseph Charles Taché, Joseph Edouard Cauchon and Hector Fabre are well known in the history of French-Canadian journalism. Thomas Chapais, who abandoned journalism for history, collected in a volume of Mélanges a number of vigorously written articles, which possess interest in connection with the political history of the last years of the nineteenth century. Those who are incontestably the masters of French-Canadian journalism to-day, who instil most ideas into their writing, and give those ideas the most artistic form, are Henri Bourassa, managing director of Le Devoir, Omer Héroux, editor of the same journal, and the Abbé J. A. Damours, editor-in-chief of L'Action Sociale. These three journalists are true literary men, whose work undoubtedly bears the mark of high literary culture.

By the side of these journalists may be placed the orators. Journalists and orators frequently meet in discussing the same ideas; frequently, too, they make use of the same style. The political eloquence of French Canada, however, has nothing of a very high literary value to show. Among those who have disappeared, Honoré Mercier and Adolphe Chapleau were orators who were favourites of the populace, but whose eloquence was by no means uniform. To-day the eloquence that has often thrilled the hearers of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Thomas Chapais is found with similar intensity and vigour, and with a consummate art which compels admiration, in the speeches of Henri Bourassa.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, at Paris, in 1907, defined in the following manner the loyalty of the French Canadian:

Séparés de la France, nous avons toujours suivi sa carrière avec un intérêt passionné, prenant notre part de ses gloires, de ses triomphes, de ses joies, et de ses deuils, de ses deuils surtout. Hélas! Jamais nous ne sûmes peut-être à quel point elle nous était chère que le jour où elle fut malheureuse. Oui, ce jour-là, si vous avez souffert, j'ose le dire, nous avons souffert autant que vous....

J'aime la France qui nous a donné la vie, j'aime l'Angleterre qui nous a donné la liberté; mais la première place dans mon cœur est pour le Canada, ma patrie, ma terre natale.... Vous en conviendrez avec moi, le sentiment national d'un pays n'a de valeur que par l'orgueil qu'il sait inspirer à ses enfants. Eh bien! nous l'avons, nous, Canadiens, cet orgueil de notre pays....

The Hon. Thomas Chapais, in 1902, on the day of the national festival of the French Canadians, reminded his compatriots of the reasons that bound them more than all the other races to Canadian soil:

Mais où sont donc les citoyens du Canada qui sont plus canadiens que nous? Nous sommes attachés au sol de la patrie par toutes les fibres de notre cœur. Dieu merci, notre nationalité n'est pas ici un arbre sans racine. Pour plusieurs de nos détracteurs, le Canada n'est qu'un pays de passage et d'attente; pour nous, il est la terre des aïeux, la terre de toutes nos tendresses, de toutes nos espérances. La plupart de nos concitoyens d'origine étrangère à la nôtre ne voient dans le Canada qu'une patrie vieille de cinquante ans, de soixante ans, de cent ans à peine. Pour nous, c'est une patrie vieille de trois siècles. Dans nos vieux cimetières, à l'ombre de la croix plantée sur les rives canadiennes par Jacques Cartier, il y a plus de quatre cents ans, dorment six générations d'ancêtres.... Parcourez toutes les provinces de la Confédération: partout vous retrouverez la trace de nos héros et de nos apôtres qui ont jeté en terre, avec leur poussière et leur sang, une semence de civilisation chrétienne. Ah! oui, nous sommes les plus Canadiens des Canadiens.

Henri Bourassa has peculiarly devoted himself to defending the rights of the French-Canadian minority in the Confederation. At the Monument National in Montreal on May 9, 1912, he thus expresses himself with regard to secular legislation in the North-West:

Jusqu'aujourd'hui la Province de Québec a été le pivot de la Confédération. Jusqu'aujourd'hui les Canadiens français ont été le rempart infranchissable contre toute idée d'annexion aux États-Unis, contre tout projet de séparation de la Grande-Bretagne. Ne pensez-vous pas que cent cinquante ans de loyauté leur méritent un droit d'égalité politique dans toute l'étendue de cette confédération? Ne pensez-vous pas que les colons que nous pourrions envoyer sur les bords de la Saskatchewan ou de la Rivière-Rouge, pour continuer l'œuvre des ancêtres, mériteraient d'y être aussi bien traités, que vos co-religionnaires [l'orateur s'adresse aux Anglais protestants] et vos concitoyens sont traités dans la Province de Québec? Ne pensez-vous pas que des colonies françaises fortes et prospères, essaimant dans l'Ouest, préserveraient l'ouest canadien de la pénétration des idées américaines, comme la Province de Québec a sauvé le Canada, à trois ou quatre reprises, de l'annexion aux États-Unis?

Britanniques, nous le sommes autant que n'importe quelle autre race du Canada! Nous ne le sommes pas par le sang et par la langue, mais nous le sommes par la raison et par la tradition.

Les institutions britanniques, ce n'est pas la conquête qui les a faites nôtres, ou du moins ce n'est pas une seule conquête. Il a y huit cents ans, des hommes qui parlaient notre langue et dont les veines renfermaient le même sang que celui qui coule dans les nôtres, sont allés en Angleterre allier leur génie à celui des Anglo-Saxons. De cette alliance anglo-normande sont sorties ces institutions magnifiques qui nous sont revenues ici sept cents ans plus tard.

A ces institutions personne n'est plus attaché que nous. Mais nous ne sommes pas des chiens rampants; nous ne sommes pas des valets, et après cent cinquante ans de bons et loyaux services à des institutions que nous aimons, à une Couronne que nous avons appris à respecter, nous avons mérité mieux que d'être considérés comme les sauvages des anciennes réserves, et de nous faire dire: 'Restez dans Québec ... vous y êtes chez vous; mais ailleurs il faut que vous deveniez Anglais.'

Religious eloquence has been careless in preserving its records. Its utterances have often been powerful and full of feeling. The Abbé Holmes was one of the most admired pulpit orators on account of his Conférences de Notre-Dame de Québec. In our own day the sermons of Monseigneur Paul Eugène Roy, auxiliary Bishop of Quebec, display literary qualities of precision and grace of the highest order combined with the utmost dialectical power.

On September 29, 1908, addressing himself to French-Canadian farmers, sons of families who had occupied for at least two centuries the ancestral land, and to whom was restored the 'médaille des anciennes familles,' Mgr Roy expresses himself as follows:

Elle serait intéressante à raconter et à lire, messieurs, l'histoire de ces quelque deux cents familles, dont vous êtes ici les authentiques et heureux descendants! S'ils avaient eu le temps et la facilité d'écrire leurs mémoires, ces braves aïeux! Si leurs mains avaient su manier la plume comme elles savaient manier la hache et la charrue, quelles précieuses archives ils auraient laissées aux historiens de notre temps!

D'ailleurs, messieurs, la terre qu'ils vous ont transmise, après l'avoir fécondée de leurs sueurs, n'est-elle pas le plus beau livre d'histoire que vos mains puissent feuilleter et vos yeux parcourir? Et ce livre, n'est-il pas vrai que vous le lisez avec amour? que vous le savez par cœur?

La préface en fut écrite par ce vaillant chef de dynastie qui apporta ici, il y a plus de deux siècles, votre nom, votre fortune et votre sang. C'était un Breton, un Normand, un Saintongeois, que sais-je un Français, en tout cas, et un brave, a coup sûr. Avec cet homme et la femme forte qui vint avec lui ou qu'il trouva sur ces bords, une famille nouvelle venait fortifier la colonie naissante, civiliser le royaume de Québec, et enrichir, d'un sang généreux et de belles vertus, la noble race canadienne-française.

Et l'histoire commence, palpitante d'intérêt, débordante de vie. Que de fois vous les avez vus repasser dans votre imagination, ces premiers chapitres, écrits au fil de la hache, illuminés par les belles flambées d'abatis? et gardant encore aujourd'hui les âcres et fortifiantes senteurs des terres-neuves, que déchirent la pioche et la herse, et où germent les premières moissons! Ce sont les années rudes, mais combien fructueuses des premiers défricheurs; c'est la glorieuse épopée de la terre qui naît, de la civilisation qui trace pied à pied son lumineux sillon à travers l'inculte sauvagerie des hommes et des bois. Chaque coup de hache, alors, est une belle et patriotique action; chaque arbre qui tombe est un ennemi vaincu; chaque sueur qui arrose le sol est une semence.

Monseigneur Louis Adolphe Paquet and Father Louis Lalande have also delivered sermons and lectures that, in their ample and harmonious phraseology, bear the impress of true eloquence.

While some writers and orators propagated their ideas by means of journalism or speeches, and examined the religious and social questions of the day, others published books treating of the same subjects and reviewing the same problems. Philosophical and social literature has not yet many representatives; but there are a few writers who occupy a leading place in these fields.

Edmond de Nevers, who was born at Le Baie-du-Fèbvre in 1862, and died at Central Falls, in the United States, in 1906, published L'Avenir du Peuple canadien-français in 1896 and L'Ame américaine (2 vols.) in 1900. These two works, which show a wide acquaintance with original documents and are filled with critical observations, have placed Edmond de Nevers in the first rank of Canadian writers. In L'Ame américaine the author seeks to analyse the multifarious and dissimilar elements composing the American mind. He examines in turn the origins, the historical life, the immigration movements, and the development of the United States. While there is occasionally a little confusion in the plan, it must be acknowledged that the abundance of information, the ingenuity of the views, and the lofty inspiration of the whole make it a work worthy of preservation.

Among present-day writers Monseigneur Paquet, of Laval University, Quebec, is certainly the most authoritative representative of social and philosophical literature. Prepared for his literary career by long theological study and by his Commentaria on Saint Thomas—highly esteemed in theological faculties—he wrote his studies on Le Droit public de L'Église with all the competence of a professional. In the first volume he dealt with the 'General Principles' (1908), in the second with 'The Church and Education' (1909), and in the third with 'The Religious Organization and Civil Government' (1912). These two works are methodically planned and ably executed; they are written in free but carefully chosen language, sometimes eloquent and always well-balanced.

Read, for example, this page where Mgr Paquet demonstrates the necessity of putting religious and moral training at the foundation of instruction:

Veut-on que l'homme mûr, battu par le flot du doute, blasé, succombant peut-être sous le poids moral qui l'accable, puisse un jour en se retournant vers le passé, puiser dans ses souvenirs d'enfance, dans ses impressions de jeunesse, dans le spectacle d'années heureuses et pieuses, un renouveau de foi, un regain d'ardeur virile et de courage pour le bien? Qu'on fasse luire, au seuil même de sa vie, le flambeau des doctrines religieuses; qu'on verse dans son âme encore neuve, comme une coulée de riche métal, les notions élevées, les suggestions salutaires, les persuasions moralisatrices par lesquelles se forment les habitudes saines, se trempent les caractères généreux, se préparent les fières et triomphantes résistances aux assauts répétés de l'erreur et du mal. 'Le jeune homme, a dit l'Esprit Saint, suit sa voie; même lorsqu'il aura vieilli, il ne la quittera pas.' Cette voie peut être bonne ou mauvaise; il dépend beaucoup, il dépend principalement de l'éducateur et de ses leçons qu'elle soit une voie d'honneur, de probité et de justice.

La jeunesse est le printemps de la vie. Quand ce printemps donne toutes ses fleurs, il s'en exhale un parfum pénétrant de religion et de piété qui embaume toute l'existence humaine, qui fortifie dans le bien, console dans la douleur, prémunit l'âme inconstante et finale contre les enivrements du vice. Pour cela que faut-il? plonger l'enfant, l'adolescent, le jeune homme dans une atmosphère pleine de Dieu et des choses divines; purifier la sève qui court abondante dans ses veines; faire que toutes ses facultés s'ouvrent avidement à tout ce qui est bon, à tout ce qui est juste, à tout ce qui est noble. Saint Thomas cite comme un axiome cette sentence d'Aristote: 'Un vase garde toujours l'odeur de la première liqueur qu'il a contenue.' Le jeune chrétien qui, pendant des années, s'est nourri de la substance même de la foi; qui en a, par ses prières, par ses études, par tous ses actes, aspiré et absorbé les purs et spirituels éléments, garde, en effet, dans les plus intimes replis de son âme, même si son esprit se fausse, même si son cœur s'égare, un reste de bonté surnaturelle et de grandeur morale qui fera son salut.[1]

L'Église et l'Éducation, pp. 162-3.


French literature, to whatever climate it be transplanted, must produce its conteurs, its nouvellistes and its chroniqueurs, who express in a light form, generally humorous but sometimes dramatic, caprices of the imagination or picturesque aspects of popular life. In this varied class of literature the French genius has always found a field for the display of its sparkling wit.

The tellers of short stories have not, perhaps, sufficiently worked the fruitful vein that lies ready for their purpose. French Canada abounds in legends and tales worthy of literary preservation. In 1860 the Abbé Casgrain began the relation of his Canadian Légendes. His Jongleuse is still celebrated. Joseph Charles Taché (1821-94) continued this task, publishing Trois Légendes de mon Pays (1876) and Forestiers et Voyageurs (1884). In the latter the life of the woodmen with their merry evenings in camp is told in a style quaint and piquant—a true presentation of life in the shanties. P. J. O. Chauveau (1820-90) published in 1877 Souvenirs et Légendes. Pamphile Le May, who is an adept at discovering whatever poetry there is in the popular tale, published his Contes vrais in 1899, reissuing them in 1907.

Faucher de Saint Maurice (1844-97), a Gascon born near Quebec, took pleasure in relating the adventures of a life that he thought heroic. He was enamoured of military glory and longed to fight and travel. On leaving college at the age of twenty, he left Canada and placed his enthusiastic youth at the service of the Emperor Maximilian in Mexico. He published successively—De Québec à Mexico (1866), A la brunante: contes et récits (1873), Choses et Autres (1873), De tribord à babord: trois croisières dans le golfe du Saint-Laurent (1877), A la veillée (1878), Deux ans au Mexique (1878), En route: sept jours dans les provinces maritimes (1888), Joies et Tristesses de la Mer (1888) and Loin du Pays (1889).

Doctor Hubert Larue (1833-81), who wrote much in the reviews and journals of his time, left us in the department of the tale and chronicle: Voyage sentimental sur la rue Saint-Jean (1879), Voyage autour de l'Isle d'Orléans, and two volumes of Mélanges historiques, littéraires et d'économie politique (1870 and 1881).

A portion of the work of Sir Adolphe Basile Routhier may be included in this class. A travers l'Europe, 2 vols. (1881 and 1883), En Canot (1881), A travers l'Espagne (1889), and De Québec à Victoria (1893) contain impressions of travel recorded in a rapid but instructive fashion. Routhier also set himself to describe and paint Québec et Lévis (1900).

Ernest Gagnon, who in 1865 produced a valuable treatise on the Chansons populaires du Canada, also published, in 1905, his Choses d'Autrefois, in which many interesting recollections are brought together. Out of history Ernest Myrand, in Fête de Noël sous Jacques Cartier (1888), fashioned an attractive order of literature, possessing something of the novel and something of the true narrative. His Noëls anciens de la Nouvelle-France (1899) is also an entertaining monograph.

In the newspapers many chroniqueurs have written fugitive sketches—short miscellaneous articles—in which the impressions of daily life were currently recorded. In Canada the undisputed master of the chronique was Arthur Buies, who was born at the Côte des Neiges, near Montreal, in 1840. While he was still very young his parents went to settle in British Guiana, and he was left to the care of two aunts. He led a strange and most eventful life. During his youth he lived by turns in Quebec and British Guiana; he then went, against his father's wish, to study in Paris; and in 1859, to the great scandal of his aunts, he became one of Garibaldi's soldiers. He returned to Canada the same year to study law, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. The advocate immediately rushed into journalism, and committed the gravest extravagances in thought and language. Inspired by the influence of French journalists hostile to the church, he delighted in attacking the Canadian clergy in his writings. This portion of Buies' work is now forgotten, and may be ignored. Later the chroniqueur continued, in various journals that welcomed his collaboration, to write short and sprightly miscellaneous articles, which remain models of their kind in French-Canadian literature. These articles have been collected in book-form—Chroniques, Humeurs et Caprices (1873); Chroniques, Voyages (1875); and Petites Chroniques pour 1877 (1878).

On May 8, 1871, Buies began, in this half-jocular, half-serious tone, his chronicle, dated at Quebec:

Avez-vous jamais fait cette réflexion que, dans les pays montagneux, les hommes sont bien plus conservateurs, plus soumis aux traditions, plus difficiles à transformer que partout ailleurs? Les idées pénètrent difficilement dans les montagnes, et, quand elles y arrivent, elles s'y arrêtent, s'enracinent, logent dans le creux des rochers, et se perpétuent jusqu'aux dernières générations sans subir le moindre mélange ni la moindre atteinte extérieure. Le vent des révolutions souffle au-dessus d'elles sans presque les effleurer, et lorsque le voyageur moderne s'arrête dans ces endroits qui échappent aux transformations sociales, il cherche, dans son étonnement, des causes politiques et morales, quand la simple explication s'offre à lui dans la situation géographique.

Si une bonne partie du Canada conserve encore les traditions et les mœurs du dernier siècle, c'est grâce aux Laurentides. La neige y est bien, il est vrai, pour quelque chose, la neige qui enveloppe dans son manteau tout ce qui respire, et endort dans un silence de six mois hommes, idées, mouvements et aspirations. A la vue de cette longue chaîne de montagnes qui borde le Saint Laurent tout d'un côté, qui arrête la colonisation à ses premiers pas et fait de la rive nord une bande de terre étroite, barbare, presque inaccessible, on ne s'étonne pas de ce que les quelques campagnes glacées qui s'y trouvent et dont on voit au loin les collines soulever péniblement leur froid linceul, n'aient aucun culte pour le progrès, ni aucune notion de ce qui le constitue....

Je porte mes regards à l'est, a l'ouest, su sud, au nord; partout un ciel bas, chargé de nuages, de vents, de brouillards, pèse sur les campagnes encore à moitié ensevelies sous la neige. Le souffle furieux du nord-est fait trembler les vitres, onduler les passants, frémir les arbres qui se courbent en sanglotant sous son terrible passage, frissonner la nature entière. Depuis trois semaines, cet horrible enfant du golfe, éclos des mugissements et les tempêtes de l'Atlantique, se précipite en rafales formidables, sans pouvoir l'ébranler, sur le roc où perche la citadelle, et soulève sur le fleuve une plaine d'écume bondissante.... 'Ce vent souffle pour faire monter la flotte,' disent les Québecquois. Et, en effet, la flotte monte, monte, mais ne s'arrête pas, et nous passe devant le nez, cinglant à toutes voiles, vers Montréal.

Ainsi donc, Québec a le nord-est sans la flotte, Montréal a la flotte sans le nord-est; lequel vaut mieux? Mais si Québec n'a pas la flotte, en revanche il a les cancans, et cela dans toutes les saisons de l'année. Voilà le vent qui souffle toujours ici. Oh! les petites histoires, les petits scandales, les grosses bêtises, comme ça pleut! Il n'est pas étonnant que Québec devienne de plus en plus un désert, les gens s'y mangent entre eux. Pauvre vieille capitale![1]

He also employed his talent for observation in descriptive geographical studies. In this department he has left—L'Outaouais supérieur (1889), Le Saguenay et le Bassin du Lac Saint-Jean (1896), Récits de Voyages (1890), Les comtés de Rimouski, Matane et Témiscouata (1890), Au Portique des Laurentides (1891), and La Vallée de la Matapédiac (1895).

Buies died at Quebec in 1891. His name remains as that of a writer who well represented the Parisian spirit, ready-witted and facetious, censorious at times, but also capable of tenderness and subtle feeling. Buies particularly loved the French tongue. In Canada he wished to see it freed from the dangerous contributions of Anglicism. He wrote a pamphlet entitled Anglicismes et Canadianismes (1888), in which he indicated many new words deserving proscription. He is one of those who have most skilfully used the French language in Canada. His chroniques are composed of the impressions of each day, the reflections suggested by events, the judgments dictated by his wit and his sympathetic nature; in them are mirrored all the spectacles of daily life, and they contain some of the finest pages in the literature of French Canada.

With less vivacity, but also with wit, Napoléon Legendre (1841-1907) and Hector Fabre (1834-1910) wrote newspaper chroniques on all the subjects of the day. The former collected some of his best articles in two volumes entitled Échos de Québec (1877), and the latter published under the title of Chroniques (1877) pages in which are to be found the light and entertaining qualities of his ready talent.

Alphonse Lusignan (1843-92), who, at the outset of his career, was responsible for some very fiery journalism, left a volume of chroniques entitled Coups d'œil et coups de plume, which was much relished by readers. Oscar Dunn (1845-85) collected his reminiscences and his principal journalistic writings in Dix ans de Journalisme (1876) and Lectures pour tous (1878). The Abbé Camille Roy collected under the title Propos canadiens (1912) stories and studies dealing with Canadian life. These are in turn rustic, moral, patriotic, scholarly and literary in their tone and colour.

The chronique is also represented among us by two women, although their work is rather superficial: 'Françoise' (Mlle Robertine Barry), author of Chroniques du lundi (1891) and Fleurs champêtres (1895), and 'Madeleine' (Mrs Gleason-Huguenin), who in 1902 published her Premier péché.

Criticism was the last branch of literature to make its appearance, although in the chronique and newspaper article it had long been in evidence. P. J. O. Chauveau, whose mind was distinguished by delicacy and good taste, encouraged letters in his Journal de l'Instruction publique, and he himself published a literary monograph on François Xavier Garneau, sa vie et ses œuvres (1883). Edmond Lareau, in 1874, wrote a first Histoire de la Littérature canadienne, and Routhier wrote a study of Les Grands Drames (1889). But these were only isolated efforts. Of recent years French-Canadian literature is developing most abundantly, and literary criticism watches over the productions of the writers more assiduously, and especially with more method. The Abbé Camille Roy was one of the first to make a speciality of this branch of study; he published in 1907 a first series of Essais sur la Littérature canadienne, and in 1909 the history of Nos Origines littéraires. Henri d'Arles (Father Henri Beaudé), who had already entered upon art criticism in Propos d'art (1903) and Pastels (1905), applied himself in turn to literary criticism in his Essais et Conférences (1910). The Abbé Emile Chartier also devoted a portion of his Pages de Combat (1911) to literary criticism. Finally, in the Bulletin de la Société du Parler français au Canada, Adjutor Rivard, the learned general secretary of the society, assigned the writers of French Canada their meed of praise or blame, mingled with the wise counsels of his own trained mind.

Such is French-Canadian literature, viewed as a whole and in the persons of some of its best representatives. Intellectual masterpieces, it is true, are rare. We cannot demand of literatures in their infancy such works as can be the glory of old literatures alone. Nevertheless, French-Canadian writers have produced, in almost every branch except the drama, works that do honour to the spirit that conceived them, and that may still be read with profit.

The literature that we have been describing is chiefly notable for its method and clearness, and for the enthusiasm for ideas and the delicacy of feeling that are qualities of the French mind. Sometimes a little heavy, it goes on unburdening itself, freeing itself from cumbersome forms, and perfecting itself in proportion as the writers and their readers are able to devote themselves more and more to intellectual culture.

French-Canadian literature is eminently moral. It bears the stamp of the Christian spirit in which its works are conceived. In it catholic thought is expressed without timidity—with that apostolic boldness which is its characteristic. Further, it generally draws its inspiration from the abundant springs of the national life. At times it has sought unduly to imitate the artistic forms of French thought; it has often been too ready to reproduce that which is most characteristic, and least capable of assimilation, in the literature of the ancient motherland. Yet it must be acknowledged that, taken as a whole, the literature is indeed Canadian, and that in it the life of the people is reflected and perpetuated. Many of its works, the best in prose and in verse, breathe the perfume of the soil, and are the expression—original, sincere and profound—of the Canadian spirit.

Chroniques canadiennes: Humeurs et Caprices, i. pp. 11-12.




Has Canada a voice of her own in literature distinct from that of England? This question has attracted a good deal of attention in Canada and has been the subject of numerous discussions in home magazines and reviews. In Great Britain, however, the critical periodicals apparently have not yet recognized a purely Canadian[1] literature. While these periodicals have frequently reviewed the literatures of Norway, Sweden, Russia, the United States, Spain, Italy and other countries, no British critic so far seems to have thought Canadian literary achievement of sufficient importance to treat it seriously as a whole or to look for its distinctive note.

The United States has a literature fine and forceful, and though the language is the language of England the voice is her own: her writers have a vigorous national note, and narrate and sing the achievements of their ancestors and contemporaries in a manner characteristic of a nation that in so short a time has attained a giant's proportions. Has Canada such a voice? The answer is that she has—not one of great volume, it is true; but, as we shall see, in poetry at least, the Canadian note is clear and distinct and the performance is of good quality and of permanent value.

But, if we except such isolated writers as Richardson, Haliburton and Sangster, we shall find very little Canadian literature worthy of consideration that is not the product of the last fifty years. This should not be a source of surprise. Canada as a British country is only about one hundred and fifty years old. During the first thirty or forty years of the British régime few English people settled in the new colony, and these, for the most part, were of the official and military class, and scorned things colonial. They brought with them British traditions and British ideas, and remained satisfied with the literary productions of the Old World and treated lightly any attempt at literary achievement in the New. The Canadian-born as a force did not appear on the scene until near the close of the eighteenth or the beginning of the nineteenth century. When he did arrive he had but little leisure or inclination for literature. He had pioneer work to do—forests to cut down, stubborn lands to till, homes to build and roads to construct. It is only necessary to read the narratives of English travellers in Canada to appreciate how impossible it was for Canadians in the early days of British rule to turn their minds to creative effort, or indeed to devote much of their time to study. Moreover, until the first quarter of the nineteenth century had passed, there were no educational institutions in the country of a character likely to fit the inhabitants to interpret nature or life adequately, or to express their views in artistic form. King's College at Windsor, Nova Scotia, was the one striking exception. Its influence was early felt; it made Haliburton possible and gave him a small audience in his native province capable of appreciating his work.

During one hundred and fifty years before Canadians began to express themselves in prose and in verse, literature had been cultivated in the American colonies, and writers of such power as Benjamin Franklin had appeared to give models to the young nation. The people of the United States had, too, almost from the beginning of their colonial history, exceptionally fine educational institutions. Harvard and Yale were renowned centres of culture long before English settlers ventured in numbers into the unbroken wilderness of Upper Canada or to the rugged shores of the Maritime Provinces.

It is not surprising, then, to find that nearly all the noteworthy literature of Canada is of recent origin. We must expect, too, that the quantity, compared with that of older nations, will be small; and yet if quantity were the only test Canada might be said to have a significant literature. In verse alone she has had from three hundred to four hundred singers, who have piped their lays in every province from the Atlantic to the Pacific. But, as might be expected, most of this verse is crude and commonplace, and it is unfortunate that some compilers have seen fit to include such work in Canadian anthologies, and that pseudo-critics have given words of the highest praise to what are clearly very inferior performances. The time has arrived when the writers of Canada should be studied as English and American writers are studied; for in spite of its youthfulness, in spite of the disadvantages under which its people have laboured, the Dominion may lay claim to a creditable body of good prose and good verse. It is no longer necessary to pad out a review with encomiums of backwoods poets, or to claim, as Canadian, men and women of English or American birth and training who were mere 'birds of passage' in Canada, and whom Canada has no more right to claim than has the United States to claim Roberts, Carman and Duncan. Some of these 'birds of passage,' it is true, had a profound influence on Canadian writers, and early showed the wealth of material that lay at hand for the sons and daughters of Canada when they should arrive at maturity and take pride in their country and its builders. Any survey of Canadian literature should therefore include references to a number of non-indigenous authors who received their inspiration and did their work in Canada; but a distinction should be made between such writers and those who may properly be considered as native Canadians.

It is proposed to deal with Canadian literature in the following order: history, biography, travels and explorations, general literature, fiction and poetry. In some instances, as in the case of Haliburton and of Roberts, an author will be found in several of these classes, but the main study of his work will be given in the class where he has won peculiar distinction.[2]

To avoid repetition of the awkward and inexact expression English-Canadian, Canadian is used throughout this article to designate literature produced by writers using the English language. For a survey of French-Canadian literature see p. 435 et seq.

No attempt has been made to give a complete list of Canadian writers and their works. The aim has been to select for study those who appear to be most representative of the country and its people.


Canada is exceedingly rich in material for historical literature, yet no Canadian so far has produced a great history in the sense in which the works of Macaulay, Green, Prescott and Motley are great. The richest field, that of the old régime, was invaded by an American historian, Francis Parkman, whose histories have been an influence for growth and a storehouse on which hundreds of writers have drawn; short stories, studies innumerable, and many able novels have had as their inspiration incidents strikingly presented by Parkman; but his narratives ended with the conspiracy of Pontiac, and he left untouched all the later history of Canada. The chronicles of the pioneers of Upper Canada and of the Eastern Townships, the stirring events of that nation-making conflict, the War of 1812, and the annals of a long struggle for political freedom still await a Canadian historian of knowledge and constructive genius.

The first noteworthy Canadian historian writing in English was George Heriot (1766-1844). Heriot was born in the island of Jersey, but early in life he came to Canada, where he occupied a number of important government positions. He was deputy postmaster-general of British North America from 1799 until 1816. He served through the War of 1812 and was with Morrison and Harvey at the gallant fight of Chrystler's Farm. Heriot published in 1804 in London, England, the first volume of his History of Canada. The work was never completed, and was little more than a well-written digest of the Histoire Générale de la Nouvelle France by Charlevoix. Heriot is much better known to the student of Canadian affairs by his Travels Through the Canadas, published in 1807—a work that admirably describes the country and the hard conditions under which the pioneer laboured.

More important and far-reaching in his influence as a historian was William Smith, the son of an eminent New York lawyer. William Smith was born in New York. His father was a pronounced loyalist, and after the independence of the revolting colonies was recognized he moved with his family to Quebec. Shortly after his arrival in Canada he was appointed chief justice. His son took up the study of law and was clerk of the legislative assembly in Lower Canada and later master in Chancery. In 1814 he was appointed an executive councillor. For many years during his official life he had been making careful notes on Canadian history for his own use. He appears to have had no thought of publishing these, but was persuaded to do so by his friends. His History of Canada, front its First Discovery to the Year 1791, although printed in 1815, did not reach the public until 1826. These two volumes do not make interesting reading. The style is heavy and there is but little literary ease shown in telling the thrilling story of early Canada. The work is, however, very valuable. Smith had access to much first-hand material, and his appendices and notes add greatly to the usefulness of his history.

Robert Christie (1788-1856) had the honour of being the first Canadian-born English-speaking historian to do any important work. Christie was a native of Windsor, Nova Scotia, and studied law in Quebec. Shortly after beginning the practice of law he was elected to the assembly for Gaspe. In the stormy period prior to the Rebellion of 1837 he threw the weight of his influence on the governor's side and was on three different occasions expelled from the house by the popular party. On each occasion he was re-elected by his constituents, and he had the honour of being Gaspe's representative in the first parliament after the Union. He is now remembered solely by his History of Canada, a work in six volumes. The title-page of the first volume gives a very complete description of the contents of his history. It is A History of the late province of Lower Canada, Parliamentary and Political, from the commencement to the close of its existence as a separate province, embracing a period of fifty years, that is to say, from the erection of the province in 1791 to the extinguishment thereof in 1841, and its re-union with Upper Canada by Act of the Imperial Parliament, etc. The title-page is characteristic of the work. The style is dull, involved, almost unreadable; but Christie, though no stylist, was a conscientious workman and collected every available document bearing on the period, and studied and assiduously examined contemporary publications for historical material. This, added to the fact that he lived in Canada during the years covered by his history and played an active part in the events leading up to the Union, makes his work essential to any person desirous of gaining a true knowledge of the political struggle that took place in the Province of Quebec during the first half of the nineteenth century. Before producing his magnum opus Christie had published, in 1818, Memoirs of the Craig and Prevost Administration, 1807-1815, and, later, a study of Lord Dalhousie's administration. These he incorporated in his larger work.

John Charles Dent (1841-88) was a native of England; but he was brought as an infant to Canada, and he took such an active interest in Canadian affairs, and studied Canadian questions to such purpose, that it is not unfitting to place him among purely Canadian writers. Dent received his early education in Canada, and studied and practised law for a time in Ontario, but later went to London, England, and took up journalism. In 1867 he returned to America and worked at journalism in Boston for three years, coming to Canada in 1870 to join the staff of the Toronto Globe. Dent produced two notable Canadian histories—The Last Forty Years (1841-81) and The Story of the Upper Canadian Rebellion, both of which, from a literary and historical point of view, show a great advance on any previous Canadian historical work. Besides these two comprehensive works he edited and for the most part wrote The Canadian Portrait Gallery, an invaluable source of information regarding the important leaders in social and political life in Canada. Dent was conscientious, painstaking and fearless, though not always without bias. He had an attractive literary style—lucid, smooth-flowing and vigorous—and much of Macaulay's power without Macaulay's rhetorical or, better perhaps, oratorical exaggeration. Some of his characterizations of public men are particularly good; exceptions are noted in the case of William Lyon Mackenzie and of John Rolph in The Upper Canadian Rebellion. Dent, like many others, had a deep-seated dislike of Mackenzie, who was battling by fair means and foul that the old order might give place to the new, and an undue admiration for Rolph, Mackenzie's more timid associate in the struggle; and accordingly his narration of the events of the rebellion appears strained and, in some degree, untrue.

William Canniff (1830-1910), an eminent Ontario physician, found in his busy life time to devote to the writing of Canadian studies of an important character. Canniff was of United Empire Loyalist descent, and was born near Belleville, Upper Canada. He received his general education at Victoria University, Cobourg, and his medical training in Toronto and New York. Before beginning the practice of medicine in Canada he gained experience as an army surgeon in the Crimean War. He also acted in the same capacity with the army of the North during the Civil War in the United States. Canniff was not a literary artist, but his History of the Settlement of Upper Canada, his Sketch of the County of York, and his Upper Canadian Rebellion, 1837, afford a storehouse of facts that future historians will find exceedingly useful.

The most remarkable history so far produced in the Dominion is The History of Canada by William Kingsford (1819-98). Kingsford was born and educated in England, but came to Canada in 1837, when a mere boy, with the 1st Dragoon Guards, in which he had enlisted. He obtained his discharge in 1841 and took up engineering as a profession. He devoted much of his time to literary work, and wrote numerous essays and pamphlets on engineering and other questions. He was long impressed with the possibilities of a voluminous history of Canada, and when sixty-five years old he began the Herculean task of writing the story of the country from its discovery to the Union of 1841. He toiled laboriously at his vast undertaking for over thirteen years, and had the satisfaction of completing it shortly before his death. His ten massive volumes are a monument to individual industry. On account of the heaviness of his style his work can never become popular. No student of Canadian history can afford to ignore it, but it has to be used cautiously. When Kingsford had made up his mind on any question, he often seemed unable to recognize the value of evidence contrary to his view. His effort to prove that Champlain was a Huguenot is an excellent example of his historical method. While he was diligent to examine historical documents he does not seem to have been careful in making his notes, and his volumes bristle with errors of detail.

In 1901-2 there appeared a work in six large volumes entitled The Siege of Quebec. This work was the joint production of Arthur G. Doughty and George W. Parmelee. It stands by itself as a comprehensive study of a special period. Everything pertaining to the great siege of the battle-scarred city was examined, and documents and letters bearing on the period were faithfully reproduced. The authors had the advantage of working on the spot where the events narrated occurred. They were able, with the historical documents before them, to trace accurately the movements of the vessels and the troops taking part in the siege.

Doughty followed up this work with his shorter books, Quebec under Two Flags, The Fortress of Quebec and The Cradle of New France. In these there is true literary history; 'fancy, the one-fact more,' has coloured and given life to material that in the hands of many other historians would have made 'dry as dust' reading. Before undertaking these historical works, Doughty, in his Rose Leaves and Song Story of Francesca and Beatrice, had won distinction as a graceful poet.

William Wood of Quebec has produced a most able book, The Fight for Canada, wherein he covers the same ground dealt with by Parkman in Wolfe and Montcalm, and does not suffer by comparison. He has thrown much new light on the struggle between France and England for imperial control in North America, and his style is vigorous, swift and pictorial. His characterizations of Montcalm and Vaudreuil and the men surrounding them, of Wolfe and his officers and men show insight and judgment. In The Fight for Canada Wood emphasizes the importance of sea power. He shows most convincingly that without the wooden walls of England France could never have been driven from the American continent. In 1912 two little biographies, Wolfe and Montcalm, appeared from his pen. These were intended mainly for young readers, but they are so vigorous in treatment that any mature man or woman should enjoy them.

Thomas Chandler Haliburton as a force in literature is pre-eminent among Canadian writers. Haliburton, as we shall see later, was essentially a humorist, but he began his literary career with history, and his Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia, published in 1829, gave evidence of a master hand. Notwithstanding the title of his book, Haliburton was a historian of the romantic school. He examined such documents as were at hand, but the story interested him more than statistical detail or documentary evidence. He does not seem to have recognized that the discussions in popular assemblies, the commonplaces of political endeavour, have a human interest that is as entertaining and instructive, if properly handled, as the struggles between nations for empire. Two other works of a historical nature were produced by Haliburton, The Bubbles of Canada (1837) and Rule and Misrule of the English in America (1851).

Nova Scotia has produced several other important historians, such as Beamish Murdoch and Duncan Campbell. Both these men were little more than compilers, but tried honestly to do useful patriotic work. Campbell in his History of Nova Scotia and his History of Prince Edward Island showed greater historical accuracy than did Haliburton, but Campbell had nothing of Haliburton's illuminating personality or of the breadth and vigour of his outlook. Closely allied to Murdoch's History of Nova Scotia is James Hannay's The History of Acadia from its First Discovery to its Surrender to England by the Treaty of Paris. Hannay's work has vigour, but he was a man of strong prejudices and in his history is not always accurate or just. He had little sympathy with the Acadians or their leaders, and he had such a rooted dislike of the New Englanders who came in contact with them that he is not always fair to these sturdy colonists.

No event in Canadian history has received greater attention and study than the War of 1812. David Thompson (1796-1868) was one of the first to deal with this nation-making struggle. His War of 1812 gives, as far as he was able to do so, an accurate and unprejudiced account of the contest. Thompson's book is of peculiar value in that the author had a knowledge of military affairs—having been a soldier of the Royal Scots—and a personal acquaintance with the first seat of the war—having for a time taught school at Niagara. But, as might have been expected in a country where there was practically no reading public, the book was a financial failure. Thompson was unable to pay his printers' bills, and thus the first historian of the War of 1812 spent a term in gaol as a debtor as a result of his efforts to enlighten Canadians on their country's past.

Lieutenant-Colonel William F. Coffin (1808-78) published in Montreal in 1864, 1812: The War and its Moral; a Canadian Chronicle. Colonel Coffin's account is of little value, as it is exceedingly inaccurate. The material is badly organized and the numerous digressions detract from the narrative.

Gilbert Auchinleck's History of the War is more valuable, on account of the wealth of official documents it contains, but the writer, who was one of the editors of the Anglo-American Magazine, in which his history made its appearance serially, was possessed of an antagonism to the Americans that mars many of his chapters.

James Hannay (1842-1910), already referred to with regard to his History of Acadia, also wrote a comprehensive account of the War of 1812. Hannay was a journalist and had a facile pen and a trenchant style. His War of 1812 is a very readable book, but, for the average reader, a dangerous one. He had a hatred of the United States and its institutions, and as a consequence his judgment was sadly warped. The works of such writers as Coffin, Auchinleck and Hannay are chiefly significant as an antidote to the violently partisan histories of this period published in the United States.

In many ways the most important Canadian history of the War of 1812 is that by Major John Richardson. Richardson fought through the campaign from the capture of Detroit until he was taken prisoner at the battle of Moravian Town. It was his purpose to write a history of the entire war, but so apathetic was the public that he became discouraged and left his task unfinished. His history was a somewhat hurried performance, undertaken with the hope of increasing the circulation of his newspaper, The New Era, in which it appeared serially. But Richardson was a trained writer and soldier, and the events of the war during the years 1812 and 1813 were strongly presented. His characterizations of such men as Brock, Procter and Tecumseh are excellent. In 1902 his War of 1812 was brought out in a well-edited new edition by Alexander Clark Casselman. The full bibliography, the excellent biography, and the copious notes on men and incidents touched on in the work make this edition of Richardson's War of 1812 one of the valuable books published in the Dominion. Major Richardson likewise wrote Eight Years in Canada, a historical narrative covering the Durham, Sydenham and Metcalfe administrations.

While Eastern Canada has had its historians the West has not been neglected. Alexander Ross produced several works which, both as history and literature, rank high. Ross was for a time a clerk in the service of the North-West Company. He joined Astor's Pacific Fur Company in 1810, but returned to the service of the North-West Company in 1814. At the time of the union of the fur companies in 1821 he entered the service of the Hudson's Bay Company and settled in the Red River colony. He consequently knew the West at first hand, and his Fur Hunters of the Far West, his Adventures on the Columbia and his Red River Settlement depict the struggles of the Western pioneer fur traders and settlers. The Red River Settlement is a particularly strong book. The description of the fight of the first inhabitants against flood, famine, the rigours of the western winter, and human enemies, if at times rough and crude in style, is graphic and impressive.

Alexander Begg (1840-98) published several histories of the North-West and a controversial work entitled The Creation of Manitoba. Begg lived in Manitoba during the formative period of the province, and his account of the causes and course of the first Riel rebellion is valuable. He had very little literary power, and his books are useful only for the information they contain.

Another Alexander Begg (1824-1904) of Victoria, British Columbia, wrote the History of British Columbia from its Earliest Discovery to the Present Time. Other works of importance on the West are: Sir W. F. Butler's Great Lone Land, J. C. Hamilton's The Prairie Province, R. G. Macbeth's The Selkirk Settlers and The Making of the Canadian West, G. M. Adam's The North-West, Donald Gunn's The Province of Manitoba, Captain Huyshe's Red River Expedition, Alexander Morris's The Treaties of Canada with the Indians of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, John Macoun's Manitoba and the North-West, and George Bryce's Manitoba; Its Infancy, Growth and Present Condition, Lord Selkirk's Colonists and The Remarkable History of Hudson's Bay Company.

Agnes Laut has done more than any living writer to make the work of the pioneer explorers and traders of Canada known to the world. Her books, The Conquest of the Great North-West, Pathfinders of the West, and Vikings of the Pacific, prepared after conscientious research in the archives of the Old World and the New, and after the author had personally traced the wanderings of many of the explorers, give illuminating accounts of the heroic days of Canadian history.

Not the least among Canadian writers was Adolphus Egerton Ryerson (1803-82). Ryerson won a wide reputation as a controversial writer and played an important part in moulding public opinion in the struggle leading up to Confederation. When over seventy years old he undertook to write a history of the Loyalists of America and Their Times. His work contains valuable information, but the vigour he displayed in his early literary work is lacking.

There have been many short popular histories of Canada; among the best of these are: John Mercier McMullen's History of Canada, George Bryce's Short History of the Canadian People, Henry H. Miles's History of Canada under the French Régime, W. H. Withrow's Popular History of Canada, J. Castell Hopkins's Story of the Dominion, Sir John George Bourinot's Story of Canada, Charles G. D. Roberts's History of Canada, and W. H. P. Clement's History of the Dominion of Canada.

The histories by Roberts and Bourinot have literary qualities of a high order, but, like all the writers of popular histories, these authors have not paid sufficient attention to their sources, and have relied too much on books and too little on documentary evidence for their facts.

There are, besides, a number of works dealing with special phases of Canadian affairs. Useful books are: John Hamilton Gray's Confederation—an unfinished production, Nicholas Flood Davin's The Irishman in Canada, W. J. Rattray's The Scot in British North America, George Stewart's Canada under the Administration of the Earl of Dufferin, Joseph Edmund Collins's Canada under the Administration of Lord Lorne, A. G. Morice's The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia and The Great Déné Race, W. O. Raymond's The History of the River St John, 1604-1784, and W. R. Harris's The Catholic Church in the Niagara Peninsula. Gray's book is of peculiar value, coming as it does from the pen of a man who played an essential part in the Confederation movement. Rattray's and Stewart's books show a distinct advance in style and treatment on previous Canadian histories.

There are, too, numerous local histories that have great value for the general historian. There is scarcely a district, in old Canada at any rate, that has not had its historian: James Croil's Historical Sketch of Dundas, H. Scadding's Toronto of Old, T. W. H. Leavitt's Counties of Leeds and Grenville, J. Ross Robertson's Landmarks of Toronto, E. A. Owen's Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement, Calnek and Savary's History of Annapolis County, James Young's History of Galt and Dumfries, Mrs C. M. Day's The Eastern Townships, R. Cooney's History of Northern New Brunswick, and many others, should be studied by the historian to enable him to grasp the details of the story of the making of the Dominion.

All Canadian historians, however, have worked at a disadvantage. Until recently original sources were in a large measure unavailable to the general public, and writers had to depend for the most part on second-hand evidence. Thus errors have been repeated and multiplied. Now, fortunately, the Dominion Archives and several of the provincial archives have been placed on a sound basis, and the future historian will have the material at his hand to enable him to deal with any period fully and accurately.


The subject of biography is one that is quite as interesting and important in any nation's development as the mere narration of the facts and incidents of history. The movements of troops in battle, the passing of acts in assemblies, are simply manifestations of the personalities of the strategists and tacticians who inspire the forces in the field, and of the statesmen and politicians who mould the opinions and fashion the ideals of the nation.

The writing of Canadian biography has been too often left to personal friends or pronounced partisans with no literary training; and in many instances the result has been collections of excerpts from diaries, of extracts from letters and political speeches, strung together by a thin and commonplace thread of narrative.

William Hamilton Merritt was one of the most important figures in early British-Canadian history. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, a pioneer of Upper Canada, a man high in the councils of his country, and the chief force in carrying to completion the construction of the fine system of canals that connect the Great Lakes with the ocean. The preparation of his biography was entrusted to a relative, who threw together a mere compilation of bald facts, badly arranged. The biographer forestalled criticism by remarking in his preface that 'No efforts have been made to render the work attractive by sensationalism, or to introduce the finer arts known to those who write for effect.' It is never necessary to be sensational, but to produce a book of any permanent value it is essential that the author should know his art. Books are written that they may be read, and only literature that appeals at once to the heart and to the mind can ever find a wide audience. Unfortunately the majority of Canadian biographers, like the author of the Life of William Hamilton Merritt, have been inadequately equipped for the work they undertook.

To the same class belongs The Life and Speeches of the Honourable George Brown, by the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, a former prime minister of Canada and an honest, conscientious statesman. But fighting political battles and administering the affairs of a nation do not peculiarly fit a man for literary work, and Mackenzie's biography of George Brown is not a strong book. An excellent contrast is afforded in the recently published George Brown by John Lewis, an experienced writer and a close student of the political development of Canada. The author of this book shows a thorough grasp of national events and a sympathetic insight into the character of the distinguished statesman and the men, both friends and foes, who surrounded him.

A book that stands out with peculiar prominence in Canadian biographical literature is The Life and Times of William Lyon Mackenzie, by his son-in-law, Charles Lindsey. Lindsey, if not the outstanding Canadian writer of his time, at least occupied a particularly high place as a littérateur. Although closely related to Mackenzie, he did not agree with all his political tenets, and having his historical conscience highly developed, he was able to produce a work of the very greatest value. The matter is well arranged, the style is vigorous and in keeping with the subject, and the important political and social questions touched on are skilfully handled. This biography was republished in 1908 with a valuable introduction, numerous notes, and some additions by G. G. S. Lindsey.

John Fennings Taylor (1820-82) did much to perpetuate the memory of eminent Canadians. Taylor was born in London, England, but came to Canada when nineteen years old. He held several clerical offices in the assembly and council of Canada under the Union, and was deputy-clerk of the Dominion Senate after Confederation. He wrote numerous essays and reviews and three notable biographical works: Portraits of British Americans, The Last Three Bishops appointed by the Crown in British North America and The Life and Death of the Honourable Thomas D'Arcy McGee.

David Breckenridge Read, a lawyer by profession, devoted much of his life to presenting to his countrymen the lives of their notable men. He has enriched Canadian biographical literature by his The Lives of the Judges of Upper Canada, The Life and Times of General John Graves Simcoe, The Life and Times of Major-General Sir Isaac Brock and The Lives of the Lieutenant-Governors of Upper Canada and Ontario. He likewise wrote a careful account of the Rebellion of 1837. Read was painstaking, but many of his pages have but little direct bearing on the subject under treatment. His Life of Brock often looks as though he deliberately took up side issues for the purpose of padding his book.

The Life of James Fitzgibbon, by Mary Agnes Fitzgibbon, is valuable both for its subject-matter and the manner in which this is presented. Fitzgibbon was one of the most picturesque figures in the early history of Canada, and he is admirably drawn in this biography. He was a veteran of the War of 1812, and in studying the character and conduct of Fitzgibbon the author has thrown much new light on that nation-making period of Canadian history.

Sir John A. Macdonald, the most striking figure that has appeared on the political stage of British North America, naturally attracted biographical writers. J. Edmund Collins, G. Mercer Adam, J. P. Macpherson, George R. Parkin and Sir Joseph Pope have all written extended biographies of the great statesman. Sir Joseph Pope's is the standard, and is indeed probably the best example of biographical writing that has been produced in Canada, its only weakness being that the writer is not always just to Macdonald's great opponent, George Brown. Pope was for ten years Sir John's private secretary, and having had the confidence of Sir John and of Sir John's friends, he was well equipped to give a full and accurate account of the early life and of the political struggles of the foremost of the Fathers of Confederation. In two large volumes the political story, extending over forty years, is told with truth, fulness and vigour; and in all discussions the central figure, Macdonald, stands out prominently—the author never losing touch with the main subject of his work.

A companion production to Pope's Memoirs of the Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald is Sir John Stephen Willison's Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party. Willison, through his journalistic experiences in the press gallery of the House of Commons in Ottawa and his thorough training on the Toronto Globe, of which he ultimately became editor-in-chief, was well fitted to deal with the distinguished leader who has latterly controlled the destinies of the Liberal party, and, until very recently, of Canada. Willison was handicapped in that he was writing the life-story of a man still living. It is difficult to view a contemporary with proper historical perspective or to judge of contemporary questions without some bias. The work, however, is remarkably free from prejudice, and the style is at once graceful and elevated. Pope's Sir John Alexander Macdonald and Willison's Sir Wilfrid Laurier give an excellent insight into the political history of Canada during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The one supplements the other, and they should be read together.

There is no adequate study of the life of Joseph Howe, the great Nova Scotian. Though lacking in the practical wisdom of Macdonald or Laurier, Howe is perhaps the only Canadian-born parliamentarian who in intellectual power and breadth of view may be classed with the great men of the British Isles—Cobden, Bright and Gladstone. George E. Fenety has given a chatty anecdotal life of Howe, but it has little literary or historical value. Principal Grant's Joseph Howe is brilliant, brief and sketchy, a bit of hero-worship, and leaves much to be said; but when Grant speaks of Howe as 'Nova Scotia incarnate' he sums up in a compelling phrase the secret of Howe's influence in his native province. He was not merely the leader of the popular party; he was the popular party. Judge Longley, in his Joseph Howe, has given an interesting and vigorous account of the orator, poet and statesman, but this work is inadequate—a sketch that requires much filling in.

Edward Manning Saunders in his Three Premiers of Nova Scotia has given a graphic account of the lives of the three most notable politicians of his native province—J. W. Johnstone, Joseph Howe and Sir Charles Tupper. Edward Ermatinger wrote a readable biography of that most picturesque of pioneers in Upper Canada, Colonel Talbot. A. N. Bethune gave a commonplace and somewhat biased study of Bishop Strachan. George M. Wrong's Life of Lord Elgin is one of the latest and best of Canadian biographical productions. J. Castell Hopkins is a voluminous writer on Canadian questions, and, judging by the circulation of his books, a very popular one. His work usually shows traces of hurried preparation, but his Life and Work of Mr Gladstone and his Life and Work of Sir John Thompson indicate superior gifts for biographical and historical narrative.

George Monro Grant, by his son, William Lawson Grant, in collaboration with Charles Frederick Hamilton, is in every way a worthy presentation of the career of the eminent divine, publicist and educationist.

Any one who desires an intimate acquaintance with a number of strong men who played important parts in the drama of nation-making in Canada will find the following works of non-Canadian authors valuable: Stone's Life of Joseph Brant (Thayendanegea) and Life of Sir William Johnson, Scrope's Life of Lord Sydenham, Kaye's Life of Lord Metcalfe, and Walrond's Life and Letters of Lord Elgin. These books, written by men born and trained under other skies, are free from the provincialism and local prejudice that mar many of the biographies by Canadian-born writers.

At the beginning of the twentieth century an important series of Canadian biographies, The Makers of Canada, began to make its appearance. Many of the books in this series are good, and some are of exceptionally high quality. Jean N. McIlwraith's Sir Frederick Haldimand gives an excellent insight into the character of that early governor of Canada, and is peculiarly valuable for the sidelights it throws on life in Canada in the period immediately after the Revolutionary War. In Duncan Campbell Scott's John Graves Simcoe is found the best modern study of the pioneer life of the loyalists in Upper Canada. Adam Shortt's Lord Sydenham is a scholarly study of the man who, by consummating the Union, paved the way for responsible government and Confederation. W. D. Le Sueur's Frontenac is a sympathetic treatment of the history of the greatest of the governors of New France. It is sober in judgment and has a literary finish and a historical accuracy that make it at once entertaining and instructive.

While The Makers of Canada series and the works of Pope and Willison have done much to elevate the tone of Canadian biographical literature, there yet remains room for improvement in this field. The public will in the future demand of Canadian biographers a high standard and will not be satisfied, as they apparently have been in the past, with compilations pitchforked together regardless of workmanship or historical truth.


The possibilities of stirring adventure tempted many daring spirits to penetrate the vaguely known region stretching from Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes to the Pacific and the Arctic. Traders in search of beaver skins, travellers lured on through curiosity, explorers eager to extend geographical and scientific knowledge, invaded in numbers the mighty rivers of the east and west and north, and the plains and mountain regions haunted by buffalo, grizzly bears and savages. Journals were kept, and many, such as those of Samuel Hearne, of Thomas Simpson and of Daniel Williams Harmon, are of great interest. Even though these journals have small literary value, they are storehouses of information and observation on which the trained writer can draw. But there are a few books of Canadian exploration that rank high, in passages at least, as literature.

One of these explorers, Alexander Henry the elder (1739-1824), produced a remarkable book. Henry was born in New Jersey. After many years spent as a fur trader in the region of the Great Lakes, he settled as a merchant in Montreal. He occupied his leisure time writing an account of his explorations, under the title Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories. This book was published in New York in 1809, and nearly a century later, in 1901, a new edition with an adequate biography and copious notes was brought out under the editorship of James Bain of Toronto. Henry was a man of great powers of observation. He was more than a mere trader, and he gives much valuable information about the regions he visited. The flora and fauna of the country and the savage tribes are all carefully described by him. He traded in the West during the time of Pontiac's War, and his thrilling experiences at Michilimackinac, where he was at the time the massacre of the garrison took place, are related with the skill of a literary artist. Henry's powerful pen-picture of Minavavana, the Ojibwa chief, and his painted warriors, the dramatic report of the chief's speech defending the attitude of the Indians towards the English, are in the manner and have some of the force of the father of history, Herodotus. So good was Henry's narrative that Francis Parkman, who usually clothed the accounts of traders and historians in his own glowing language, saw fit, when dealing with the massacre of Michilimackinac in his Conspiracy of Pontiac, to quote at great length from Henry's book, and there is nothing finer in Parkman's works than the passage of thrilling narrative taken from Henry's Travels and Adventures.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie (1755-1820) was another trader and explorer who had literary power in a high degree. Mackenzie was born at Stornoway, Island of Lewis, Scotland. He came as a young man to Canada and joined the North-West Company. In its service he soon rose to high rank; but with him the fur trade was chiefly a means to an end. The north and west of the American continent were still unexplored, and his great aim was to penetrate to the farthest north and to the Pacific Ocean. Both of these feats he ultimately accomplished, reaching the Arctic in 1789 and the Pacific in 1793. On his return from his last great exploring expedition he wrote his Voyages from Montreal through the Continent of North America, 1789-1793. This work was published in London, England, in 1801. His narrative is the simple direct relation of a man of action. The hardships he endured in his great undertakings, the determination not to be overcome, make stimulating reading. Like Henry he was a keen observer. The awe-inspiring and sublime scenes that he passed through on his way to the Arctic, down the lordly river that has since borne his name, and that met him on every hand as he courageously toiled through the hitherto impenetrable Rocky Mountains, are depicted with wonderful clearness and strength. The wanderings of the heroic Ulysses are commonplace compared with the travels of this Scottish explorer who was his own Homer. Mackenzie's account of the Peace River country and his pen-picture of the Methye Portage and of the Rockies rank with the best descriptive literature. For his eminent achievements he was honoured with knighthood shortly after the publication of his Voyages.

In the first half of the nineteenth century a number of travellers, some of them of exceptional literary ability, visited Canada and embodied their impressions of the country and its people in books. While these books are not to be classed as Canadian literature, they are of such importance to those who desire to know the early struggles of the pioneers and the conditions of the formative period of Canada, that they cannot be passed by without a word of comment.

John Howison visited Canada in 1819-20, and published in 1821 his Sketches of Upper Canada. Howison's travel sketches are of 'a domestic and personal nature.' His journey through Upper Canada was made shortly after the War of 1812, and shows in a convincing manner the results of the war on the growth of the country and on the character of the people. The picture he gives is not a pleasing one; but it is undoubtedly a true one. Ignorance and poverty abounded, and hardship was the common lot. Howison wrote with a vigorous pen, and many of his descriptive touches are very fine. His account of Niagara Falls gives one of the earliest pictures we have of that stupendous cataract, and it still ranks among the best.

Anna Brownell Jameson (1794-1860), who had already won a high place in British literature, spent a part of 1836-37 in Upper Canada, and in 1838 published in London, England, three volumes entitled Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada. She was in ill-health; the hard conditions and lack of genial companionship in Toronto made her lot during the first period of her sojourn far from a happy one, and her mental and physical condition coloured her work. She saw little beauty in the settled part of the country, and sought escape from ennui in studying masterpieces of modern literature. No finer appreciative criticism has been written in Canada than that in her 'winter studies.' But she is at her best in her 'summer rambles.' She was a brave woman, who courageously endured the rude conditions in the primitive inns and the rough journeys over forest roads in her eagerness to know at first hand the character of this, at that time, out-of-the-way and sadly neglected corner of the British Empire. Every page of her three volumes is delightful, and her nature sketches and her characterizations are incomparable. Mrs Jameson completely shakes off her depression when she is once in the presence of primeval nature in the vast forests and by the broad sea-like lakes. She has an artist's eye for nature and a fine sympathy with the pioneers in their toil and isolation. Her descriptions, too, of the Indians and their customs throw much light on the aboriginal tribes inhabiting the Great Lakes region, and on their relationship to the Canadian government. Her journey through Western Canada from Toronto to Sault Ste Marie and return was a rapid one; but every point of interest is described with a graphic pen and a trained observer's insight.

Sir R. H. Bonnycastle (1791-1848) wrote two books on Canada—The Canadas in 1841 and Canada and the Canadians (1846). Bonnycastle spent a number of years in Canada and was familiar with the country from the Labrador coast 'to the far solitudes of Lake Huron.' He had visited 'the homes of the hard-working pioneers in the vast forests' and the wigwams 'of the wandering and savage Indians.' He was a lieutenant-colonel in the Royal Engineers and had served as a lieutenant-colonel of militia in Upper Canada during the Rebellion of 1837. His work has therefore the double interest of being that of an observer of this outpost of empire and of one who had helped to hold it true to British connection in a time of storm and stress. He had a genuine love of the country. His descriptions are all inspired by affection, and his characterizations of the people are done with sympathy. His portrayal of the French-Canadian boatmen who managed the boats in which he ascended the St Lawrence from Montreal to Kingston is particularly good, and his books are of exceeding interest for the sidelights they throw on Canadian social and political conditions.

A somewhat remarkable book was published in London in 1853. It was entitled Pine Forests and Hacmatack Clearings. From the title one would naturally expect to find an account of the forest wealth and the lumbering industry of Canada; but there is little in it about either. It is a story of 'travel, life and adventure,' in which the pine forests and hacmatack clearings occasionally appear incidentally. This book was written by Lieutenant-Colonel Sleigh, who, as an officer of the 77th Regiment, had seen service in Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton and in Lower Canada. He later served as a field-officer of militia, a lieutenant-colonel commanding a regiment, and a justice of the peace. His military and official career in British North America, together with extensive travel in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and the Canadas, enabled him to speak with more or less authority on the country and its people. He was, moreover, one of the proprietors of Prince Edward Island, and a pioneer steamship owner in British North America, for he had a steamer, the Albatross, of 1100 tons burden, which ran between New York and the ocean ports of the Maritime Provinces and Canada. Sleigh was a man of strong views, and his account of the movement for reciprocity, which he vehemently opposed, shows the opposition that Lord Elgin had to contend with in consummating that important trade measure. But it is not as a soldier, landed proprietor, steamship owner or political writer that Sleigh is interesting; it is as an observer of conditions in Canada in the middle of the nineteenth century. His graphic account of the ice-passage of the Straits of Northumberland, his scathing remarks on the 'anti-renters' and the council of Prince Edward Island, his chatty accounts of manners and conditions in primitive Cape Breton, and his appreciation of work done by French Canadians on behalf of Great Britain in 1775 and again in 1812, all make an excellent contribution to Canadian history.

There are many other works somewhat similar, in whole or in part dealing with Canada and Canadians, by travellers and sojourners in the country, that are important to the student of Canadian literature and history. Historians generally lay stress on war and exploration, on parliaments and legislators. This is essential: but the people at their meetings, in their homes and workshops, on the farms and in the inns should be studied and understood; and the Canadian writer who wishes to make his history, poetry or romance a living thing must draw largely on the literary productions of the men and women who wrote from personal observation of pioneer life in the provinces of British North America.

In 1859 Paul Kane (1810-71), the celebrated Canadian artist, whose career as a painter is dealt with elsewhere in this volume,[1] published in London, England, his Wanderings of an Artist among the Indian Tribes of North America. His literary effort proved to be no less interesting than the important series of paintings produced as a result of his three years' wanderings among the western tribes. The trained eye of the artist is seen on every page. The habits, customs and mode of life of the savages of the plains and of the Pacific slope are faithfully delineated. The picturesque scenery of the Far North and West—the towering mountains, the tumbling streams and the broad plains—is portrayed with a 'great painter's clear and exact vision.' His account of British Columbia in the forties made that country for the first time familiar to the world.

In the summer of 1872 Sandford (afterwards Sir Sandford) Fleming, engineer-in-chief of the Dominion government, made an overland journey to the Pacific to study the country in the interests of the projected railway, which was to be a physical bond of union between old Canada and the western provinces. On this expedition he took with him as his private secretary the Rev. George Monro Grant (1835-1902). The literary result of this journey was Grant's book Ocean to Ocean. Principal Grant (as he was afterwards known) was born at Albion Mines, Nova Scotia, and was educated for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church at the University of Glasgow. In 1877 he was chosen principal of Queen's University, Kingston; and, by his organizing ability and his indefatigable industry, he made that institution one of the notable seats of learning in the Dominion. He was an ardent Canadian and a pronounced imperialist, and wrote much in the interests of Canada and the Empire. His busy public life prevented him from devoting his energies to creative literary work, but his Ocean to Ocean shows that he might easily have won as high a place in letters as he achieved as an educationist, publicist, and platform and pulpit orator. Ocean to Ocean is in the form of a journal. It was written from day to day at hotels, by camp fires and in trading posts. It abounds in humour and pathos. Breadth of judgment and keenness of observation illuminate its pages; and in the presence of nature—vast, rugged and inspiring—Grant had a lyrical force and fire that make many of his pages read like prose poems. One of his touches of description, dealing with the Rocky Mountains, will serve as an example of his power:

We had come inside the range, and it was no longer an amphitheatre of hills, but a valley ever opening and at each turn revealing new forms, that was now before us. Roche Ronde was to our right, its stratification as distinct as the leaves of a half-opened book. The mass of the rock was limestone, and what at a distance had been only peculiarly bold and rugged outlines, were now seen to be different angles and contortions of the strata. And such contortions! One high mass twisting up the sides in serpentine folds; another pent in great waving lines, like petrified billows. The colouring, too, was all that artist could desire. Not only the dark green of the spruce in the corries, which turn into black when far up, but autumn tints of red and gold, as high as vegetation had climbed on the hillside; and above that, streaks and patches of yellow, green, rusty red and black, relieving the grey mass of limestone; while up the valley every shade of blue came out according as the hills were near or far away, and summits hoary with snow-bounded horizon.

George Monro Grant was deeply impressed with the richness and possibilities of the Dominion, and his book did much to awaken thinking Canadians to the potential greatness of their country. In Ocean to Ocean he foretold with prophetic insight the Great West of to-day, with its broad cultivated plains, its great cities, and its hundreds of towns and villages.

One of the most entertaining and instructive books of exploration written by a Canadian is J. W. Tyrrell's Across the Sub-Arctics of Canada. The author made three journeys (in 1885, 1893 and 1900) through the wilderness region west of Hudson Bay. The narrative of his trip in 1893 is as thrilling as Mackenzie's account of his overland journey to the Pacific. The plunge into the unknown wilderness, the hunting of cariboo and musk-ox, adventures with polar bears and the wild leap down the unfamiliar rapids make stirring reading.

Samuel Edward Dawson is a Canadian author who has done good work in several fields, but is best known by his writings dealing with discovery and exploration. His voluminous work, entitled The St Lawrence Basin and its Border-Lands, is the result of many years of historical investigation. In it there is given an exhaustive account of 'the discovery and exploration of the north-east coast of North America and of the great transverse valley of the St Lawrence which searches the continent to its very heart.' It was intended to be mainly a contribution to geographical literature, but the ground traversed is full of 'historic interest and abounds with romantic adventure'; and Dawson, while handling his subject with scientific exactness, is never dull. The pages are illuminated with glowing touches of description, and he occasionally pauses in his narrative to depict the characters of the explorers and colonizers. With a stroke of his pen such a man as Champlain is revealed: 'Champlain, while practical and efficient in his daily duties, aimed at establishing a settled industrial colony which should hold for France the gateway of the golden East. With unflagging perseverance and with imperturbable patience he devoted his whole life to this patriotic task—the most single-hearted and single-eyed servant France ever possessed.' The St Lawrence Basin and its Border-Lands, both by its exact information and its literary finish, will doubtless long hold an unrivalled place as an authoritative work on the early exploration of what are now the eastern provinces of British North America.

In 1908 Lawrence J. Burpee published his The Search for the Western Sea. This is in many ways the ablest historical account of the work done by explorers of the Great West and North from the days of Henry Hudson to those of Simon Fraser, David Thompson and Sir John Franklin. There is in Burpee's book little effort after rhetorical effect. The work is admirably organized. The multiplicity of detail is given with the care and accuracy of a skilled investigator, and the personalities of the explorers are presented with sympathy and fidelity. The Search for the Western Sea is an essential book to the student of the early history of the great North-West.

In the matter of travels and exploration the reports of scientists working in the interests of the Canadian government, such as Henry Youle Hind, J. B. Tyrrell, Robert Bell and A. P. Low, will be found to be of interest, from both a scientific and a literary point of view. The army of workers sent out by the government year by year to the ends of the great Dominion bring back with them notes that, when thrown into the form of an official report, serve in many instances as excellent raw material for literature. Indeed there are at times in these reports passages that are in themselves true literature.

See p. 602.


British North America had as its first settlers men from the British Isles and from the thirteen colonies. In the Old World, during the latter half of the eighteenth century, agitations for reform were in the air and the battle for the freedom of the Press was being waged. Magazines and newspapers were beginning to make their influence felt. In the thirteen colonies education was highly valued, and American inquisitiveness was making the newspaper a necessity in the homes of the settlers. It thus happened that when the English-speaking people began to pour into the provinces by the sea and along the St Lawrence and Great Lakes, printing presses were soon at work in their midst.

Three years after the founding of Halifax the Halifax Gazette made its appearance. It was published 'at the printing office in Grafton Street' by John Bushnell, and was first issued on March 23, 1752. It had a hard struggle for existence; it suspended publication after several months, and did not appear regularly until late in the year 1760. The first number of the Quebec Gazette was printed on June 21, 1764; for seventy-eight years this paper was published in both French and English, and for thirty-two years longer was continued as an English newspaper. In 1783, the year of the great migration of the United Empire Loyalists to St John, and before the Province of New Brunswick was organized, the Royal St John Gazette and Nova Scotia Intelligencer was issued. The name was changed in the following year to that of Royal Gazette and New Brunswick Advertiser. Montreal had a newspaper, the Gazette, in 1785, Charlottetown one in 1791, Newark (Niagara) one in 1793, Fredericton one in 1806, and Kingston one in 1810. The papers of the widest influence in the early part of the nineteenth century were the Montreal Herald, the Nova Scotian at Halifax, and the Colonial Advocate at Toronto.

The establishment of these newspapers had the good effect of widely disseminating a desire for education. Every man was ambitious to get at first-hand news and politics—particularly the latter. The times were rough, and the style of the writers for the most part was in keeping with the conditions of life. From the beginning of the nineteenth century until the establishment of responsible government there was in the Canadas and in the Maritime Provinces a sharp line drawn between the party favouring executive control of affairs and its opponents, and the papers supporting either of these factions presented their views with a fanatical vigour and a vituperative force that often descended to the coarsest Billingsgate. The general reading public of British North America may be said to have been cradled in satire and abuse, exaggeration and party vindictiveness. But there were a number of early writers who rose to a higher plane. Some of the letters to the Press have been preserved in book form, and show their authors to have been men of seriousness, insight and lofty powers of expression. The letters of three of these writers are of great value for the light they throw on the times in which they were written. They are Nerva (1815), The Letters of Veritas (1815) and The Lower Canadian Watchman (1825).

The first magazine published in Canada was the Nova Scotia Magazine in 1789. This was followed by the Quebec Magazine published by Samuel Neilson, of which the first number was issued on August 1, 1792. With few exceptions Canadian magazines have been short-lived. The reading population of Canada—that is, the population that cares for serious reading—has been, until recent years, comparatively small. Moreover, British and American magazines have been available at small cost, and it has been difficult for a Canadian publisher to compete with them. But several of the magazines while they lasted gave the public substantial reading. Chief among those published in the Canadas were the Canadian Magazine (1823-24), the Canadian Review (1824-26), the Anglo-American Magazine (1852-55), the British American Review and the Literary Garland (1838-51), the last having as contributors such able writers as William Dunlop, Charles Sangster, Susanna Moodie and Catharine Parr Traill. Later in the century George Stewart for five years (1867-72) conducted at St John Stewart's Quarterly, in which the articles were of a high order. The Canadian Monthly (1872-82) and Belford's Magazine (1876-79) were high-class magazines that had a wide influence in their day. These early magazines had among their contributors a number of well-known writers who had received their training in Great Britain, and many of their articles compare favourably with those appearing at the same period in the British reviews. In the Bystander[1] Goldwin Smith gave the public brilliant studies of current events. In the Week (1884-96), promoted and, at any rate in its first year, largely maintained by him, he fostered the literary spirit, and placed the paper in the front rank of Canadian literary journals. But the public demand was insufficient, and, like every similar venture, the Week, after a few years' battling, was forced to cease publication.

Latterly Canadian magazines have been in lighter vein, aiming to please rather than to instruct. Caught by the spirit of the time, publishers now devote more of their attention to the pictorial than to the literary side of their publications. In a commercial age, too, business and finance occupy much attention, and many of the leading periodicals give more space to the literature of the dollar than to anything else. Reviews that appeal to the serious-minded are, however, still published in Canada. The University Magazine—brilliantly edited by Andrew Macphail at Montreal—and Queen's Quarterly—conducted by a group of able men at Kingston—are worthy exponents and interpreters of current investigation and opinion.

There are several other important Canadian works that should properly come under the head of periodical literature. Since 1896 the Review of Historical Publications Relating to Canada, edited by George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton and published annually by the University of Toronto, has been giving excellent criticism by specialists on books relating to the Dominion. The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, founded in 1901 by J. Castell Hopkins, and written wholly by him, is an exceedingly valuable work. It is a yearly register of current Canadian history, but, unlike other annuals or year-books, it is written in so broad a spirit and with so fluent a pen that interest is given to the very commonplaces of political, social and business life.

Two large Canadian publications of the 'monumental' kind should be mentioned. The first, Picturesque Canada, was edited by Principal Grant. The magnificent and diversified scenery of the Dominion from ocean to ocean, the varied types of life, the romantic interest that surrounds the birth and growth of the provinces and hallows such spots as Annapolis Royal, Quebec, Niagara, Winnipeg, and the Pacific coast give writers and artists admirable opportunities for creative work. It is doubtful if Picturesque Canada is or ever was much read, but the reader who turns to it will find a number of descriptive passages well worthy of perusal. The second, Canada: an Encyclopædia of the Country, edited by J. Castell Hopkins, covers a great variety of topics and contains much valuable information. Many of the contributions are well written, others are faulty and immature, and the whole shows evidence of hasty compilation. The editor gives numerous valuable notes on Canadian affairs; but even here the hurried workmanship leaves much to be desired.

Canada presents a rich field for scientific writers. The sea-fretted provinces, the polar world, the prairie region, the tumbled hills, have all attracted Canadian writers of exact scientific knowledge and no small degree of literary skill. Four at least have won a world-wide reputation by their studies—Sir William Logan, Henry Youle Hind, Sir Daniel Wilson and Sir John William Dawson.

Sir William Logan (1798-1875) was born in Montreal and was of United Empire Loyalist descent. He was educated in the Royal Grammar School in his native city, and at Edinburgh High School and University. In 1829, after completing his university studies, he returned to Canada and remained for a brief period, but he went back to Great Britain and laboured in a scientific capacity in Swansea, Wales. He again returned to North America in 1841, and after investigating the coal-fields of Nova Scotia and Pennsylvania he accepted the position of first director of the Geological Survey of Canada. He wrote extensively on science, his articles appearing chiefly in technical journals and in the proceedings of scientific societies. The Geology of Canada was his chief literary-scientific work, and has been the basis for the studies of all subsequent geological investigators.

Henry Youle Hind was born in England in 1823 and came to Canada in 1847. He occupied important positions as teacher of science in the Toronto Normal School and Trinity College, and he conducted important exploring expeditions in the prairie country drained by the Red and Saskatchewan Rivers. Hind wrote a number of works of a scientific character, chief among which are—Narrative of the Canadian Red River Exploring Expedition of 1857, The Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Expedition of 1858, Sketch of the Overland Route to British Columbia and Explorations of the Interior of the Labrador Peninsula. Between the years 1852 and 1855 he edited the Canadian Journal, a periodical in the interests of science and art, and in 1864 brought out an ambitiously planned work entitled Eighty Years' Progress of British North America, 1781-1861. This work contains a number of articles by Hind and by such other eminent authorities of the day as T. C. Keefer, J. C. Hodgins and the Rev. William Murray. Its statistics on transportation, resources, education and population are very valuable. All that Hind touched he made interesting, and he did much to make Canada known to the world. He possessed a ready pen, and by his literary skill and scientific insight made the driest facts attractive.

Sir Daniel Wilson (1816-92) was a Scotsman whose influence as a scientist, littérateur and educationist was felt in every part of the Dominion. He came to Canada in 1853, and his most valuable scientific production, Prehistoric Man, was published in 1862. While he was a prolific writer on scientific subjects, he devoted much of his time to general literature. His Chatterton, a Biographical Study (1869) gives an illuminating and sympathetic account of the life of the half-mad boy poet. The Missing Link (1871) is an entertaining venture into the Shakespearean field. His scientific labours did not dull his imagination, and he found time for poetry, and his Spring Wild Flowers (1873) is a volume of graceful verse. But Sir Daniel is chiefly remembered as an educationist. He occupied for many years the chair of English Literature in University College, Toronto, and in 1887 became president of the University of Toronto. For his work as a scientist, educationist and littérateur he was knighted by the queen in 1888.

Sir John William Dawson (1820-99) holds easily the first place among native Canadian scientific writers. Dawson was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, and received his early training in Pictou Academy. After leaving the Academy he went to Edinburgh, and in that city devoted himself to the study of science. He early attracted the attention of Sir Charles Lyell, and while a student and after graduation assisted that eminent scientist in his explorations in Nova Scotia. In 1850 Dawson was appointed superintendent of education for Nova Scotia and did much to put on a sound basis the educational system of the province. In 1855 he was chosen principal of McGill University, Montreal, and for thirty-eight years remained at the head of that institution. Under him, and largely by his work, it became one of the most conspicuous seats of learning in the British Empire. Although absorbed in educational work, he found time to continue his scientific studies and investigations and to produce a number of able books on geology and palæontology. While he handled his subjects with scientific exactness, he had a facile pen, and he breathed the breath of life into the driest scientific themes. Among his chief works are Acadian Geology, Story of the Earth and Man, Science of the Bible, Dawn of Life, Origin of the World, Egypt and Assyria, The Meeting-Place of Geology and History and The Ethics of Primeval Life. He was an uncompromising opponent of the more advanced school of scientific writers represented by such men as Darwin, Wallace, Huxley and Haeckel, and although somewhat narrow in his views he commanded the respect of the scientific world to the end of his career, and was highly esteemed both at home and abroad. When the Royal Society of Canada was organized Dawson was chosen as its first president; and in 1884 he was knighted by Queen Victoria for his achievements in education and science.

Some of the best literary work done in Canada has been in nature studies. This northern land, teeming with animal life, has proved a rich field for a number of nature writers, chief among whom are Ernest Thompson Seton and Charles G. D. Roberts. There is a similarity in the respective attitudes of the writers just mentioned towards the brute world, and yet between them there is a difference. Thompson Seton is the more scientific of the two and has the trained eye of the specialist. His Lives of the Hunted, The Biography of a Grizzly, The Biography of a Silver Fox and Krag, the Kootenay Ram show him at his best, combining as they do the exact knowledge of the scientific observer with a fine sympathy for the lives of the hunted who always have, in his phrase, 'a tragic end.' His point of view is admirably stated in Wild Animals I Have Known: 'We and the beasts are kin. Man has nothing that the animals have not at least a vestige of; the animals have nothing that man does not in some degree share. Since, then, the animals are creatures with wants and feelings differing in degree only from our own, they surely have their rights. This fact, now beginning to be recognized by the Caucasian world, was first proclaimed by Moses and was emphasized by the Buddhist over two thousand years ago.'

Even more valuable than his romantic studies of animal life are his purely scientific studies: Mammals of Manitoba, Birds of Manitoba, Art Anatomy of Animals and The Life History of North America. The Arctic Prairies of Canada is a travel book dealing with every phase of nature in the Far North of the Dominion, and is an admirable and useful study of the region drained by the Peace and Mackenzie Rivers. The geology of the country, and plant and animal life are all described in this work in minute detail.

Ernest Thompson Seton was born in South Shields, England, on August 14, 1860, but as he came to Canada when five years old, and spent ten years of his life in the backwoods of the country and was trained in Canadian schools, it is proper to claim him as an exclusively Canadian writer, even though, like many other recent Canadian littérateurs, he has been drawn away from the country of his adoption to the United States. But so long has he lived with Canadian nature in the mountain regions of the West and in the vast prairie country, so saturated is his mind with Canadian life, colour and atmosphere, that he can never be anything but a Canadian.

Charles G. D. Roberts, who, as we shall see later, has gained high rank as a poet, is a prolific writer of animal stories. In Earth's Enigmas (1896) he first appealed to the public in this rôle, and since that time he has won wide popularity with such books as The Heart of the Ancient Wood, The Kindred of the Wild, Watchers of the Trail, Red Fox and Haunters of the Silences. Roberts lacks the scientific exactness with regard to nature of Thompson Seton, but he has the same general point of view towards the animal kingdom; to him 'we and the beasts are kin.' His studies of the life-habits of birds, animals and fishes are written with knowledge and sympathy. Red Fox is his most perfect animal story, but Earth's Enigmas contains a number of animal stories that are typical of all his work. The stories in this volume, 'Do Seek their Meat from God,' 'The Young Ravens that call upon Him,' dealing with the mystery of the struggle for existence in the animal world, and the powerful piece of word-painting, 'Strayed,' touch upon enigmas that appeal to all thoughtful minds. In these the writer is finely serious; he is in the presence of the mysteries of life, and he handles them as only a man with a poet's imagination and creative genius could. In his workmanship, too, he shows the same characteristics that mark his poetical productions. His artistic conscience never slumbers, and he carves and chisels his stories with the care of a Daudet or a de Maupassant. Nothing could be finer than his drawing of the ewe wildly rushing after the eagle that is fleeing to its rocky eyrie with the ewe's young lamb; 'the lamb hung limp from his talons, and with piteous cries the ewe ran beneath, gazing upward and stumbling over the hillocks and juniper bushes.'

The main fault with the nature stories of Thompson Seton, Roberts and indeed the great majority of writers who make studies of animal life is that their animals are too human. Landseer in his masterpieces of animal life put a human eye in every animal he painted, and Roberts and Thompson Seton and their fellow-writers put a human brain in their animals: but their work is salutary; it creates sympathy with nature and refines the human heart.

Margaret Marshall Saunders of Halifax has written many short stories and a number of excellent novels, but her chief strength is as a student of domestic animal life. Her Beautiful Joe is already a classic and has had the distinction of being translated into many foreign languages.

These are the best known of Canadian popular students of nature, but there are many others. No country is richer in this kind of work, and in all the leading journals articles and stories dealing with nature frequently appear and are widely appreciated.

Literary criticism has little place in a young country, and quite naturally there has been a dearth of critical writers in Canada. Until very recent years criticism was done in a very haphazard manner, but there are now, mainly in the universities, a number of men who are exerting a wide influence by giving sound critical standards and thus elevating literary taste in the Dominion. One of the strongest of these is James Cappon of Queen's University, Kingston. Cappon is a Scotsman, educated in the universities of his native land, of England and of the Continent. He has been in Canada since 1888 and has shown an appreciation of Canadian effort. Before coming to the Dominion he published an exhaustive study of Victor Hugo entitled Victor Hugo: a Study and Memoir. He found at least one Canadian author worthy of the most serious examination, and in his Roberts, and the Influence of His Times has pointed the way for Canadian critics. This work is scholarly, sympathetic and discerning. It is to be regretted that Cappon stopped with Roberts. Lampman, Carman, Campbell and Isabella Valancy Crawford are worthy of similar treatment, and an adequate presentation of their strength and weakness would tend to shape the character of Canadian letters; and no one seems to be so well fitted to give this presentation as is James Cappon.

W. J. Alexander in his Introduction to the Poetry of Robert Browning shows insight into that 'subtlest asserter of the soul in song.' Archibald MacMechan by his editing of Carlyle's Sartor Resartus and Heroes and Hero-Worship has achieved excellent critical work. He has likewise done much by his appreciative studies of James de Mille's prose and verse to make that distinguished Nova Scotian known to a large public. Andrew Macphail of McGill University is an essayist of power. Pelham Edgar and Theodore Arnold Haultain have both done excellent work in the field of the essay and review. George M. Wrong and H. H. Langton and their associates in the Review of Historical Publications, already mentioned, have contributed not a little to the elevation of literary standards in Canada. For some years Martin Griffin has contributed an excellent column of literary comment and criticism, 'At Dodsley's,' to the Montreal Gazette. George Murray was long the most forceful critic in Montreal, and John Reade of the same city has devoted much of his literary skill and mature judgment to appreciative criticism of Canadian work. Recently several able articles on Canadian poetry have been contributed by J. D. Logan to the Canadian Magazine. These show good critical judgment. Criticism is needed. Authors and publishers would both be the better for it. Until Canada has literary standards of judgment, born of criticism, the trivial, commonplace, melodramatic and even vulgar will continue to usurp the place of serious, dignified, artistic literature.

Canadians, like all northern people, take life seriously. There is a marked lack of humour in poets, novelists and dramatists—and without humour there can be no true greatness. Haliburton, indeed, has it to a pre-eminent degree, but since the day of Haliburton Canadian literature has been woefully deficient in humour. Among the poets William Henry Drummond, and among the novelists Sara Jeannette Duncan, both of whom will be dealt with later, have a keen sense of humour, but they are exceptions. Since the death of Haliburton, for some sixty odd years, Canadian literary work has had a very sober tinge. Recently a humorist has arrived in the person of Stephen Leacock. Leacock is an Englishman by birth, but as he came to Canada when only seven years old, Canadians can claim him, if not as a product of the soil, at least as a graft on the Canadian literary tree. While writing such sober biography as his Baldwin, La Fontaine and Hincks, and such dry economics as his Elements of Political Science, he has found time to write three purely humorous works—Literary Lapses, Nonsense Novels and Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. But Leacock is not so much a humorist as a wit. It is not the atmosphere of his work but the absurd situations and incidents that attract us. He is purely of the American school of humorists, and while enjoying his 'nonsense'—to use his own word—a sentence of that celebrated critic Sainte-Beuve is worth reflecting upon: 'The first consideration is not whether we are amused and pleased, but whether we were right in being amused and in applauding it.' Leacock is one of the most promising of Canadian writers. He has a graphic and brilliant style, and is a close observer of character.

Several Canadian writers have won a high place by their studies of constitutional history and parliamentary institutions. Two stand out with peculiar prominence—Alpheus Todd and Sir John George Bourinot. Alpheus Todd (1821-1884) was one of the most scholarly, painstaking and exact writers of Canada. He was born in England but came to America when a boy. He early entered the service of the legislative assembly of Upper Canada, and after the Union was assistant librarian and later librarian. At Confederation he became Dominion librarian and held this important office till his death. His works, The Practice and Privileges of the Two Houses of Parliament, A Treatise on Parliamentary Government in England: its Origin, Development and Practical Operation and Parliamentary Government in the British Colonies are largely technical in nature, but are written in a masterly style and are most highly valued as exhaustive treatises on their subjects.

Sir John George Bourinot (1837-1902) occupied for many years a leading place in Canadian letters. He was born in Nova Scotia and was educated in that province and at Trinity College, Toronto, Ontario. This dual training gave him a broad national attitude free from provincialism. He was at once a historian, a biographer, an essayist and a writer of works of a more or less technical character, but his fame rests chiefly on his exhaustive studies of Canadian parliamentary practice and procedure and of the constitution of Canada. In Canada Under British Rule, Builders of Nova Scotia, The Story of Canada and Lord Elgin he presents Canadian affairs with strength and with not a little grace of style. Among his best efforts were his Intellectual Development of the Canadian People and Canada's Strength and Weakness. As clerk of the House of Commons, Ottawa, a position which he held for thirty-two years, he had ample opportunities to study Canadian national affairs and men, and he made full use of them. He was a man of sympathetic nature, discriminating judgment and wide learning.

The life and political career of Joseph Howe (1804-73) will be fully dealt with in the section of this work on the Atlantic provinces. But that eminent statesman cannot be passed by without notice in this general review of Canadian literature. Howe was a journalist who for many years was without a peer in his native province, Nova Scotia. He moulded popular opinion and created a literary taste that has had its influence to the present day. As an orator he was without an equal in British North America, and some of his orations, inspired by passing events and local conditions, have still power to thrill the reader, even though the man with the flash of eye and telling gesture that mean so much in oratory, that ephemeral art, is absent. Howe's speeches and letters, edited by his friend William Annand and first published in 1858, hold a place by themselves in Canadian literature. In the two volumes are included his letters to Lord John Russell written in 1839. These letters have a vigour and a dignity, a temperate tone and a literary finish, a statesmanlike grasp of provincial and imperial questions, that place Howe in a class by himself among eminent Canadian parliamentarians. They are, too, models of style that might advantageously be studied by every Canadian student of national and imperial questions. His lectures are somewhat too rhetorical, and to be appreciated must be read in the light of the times in which they were uttered.

But for his busy political and journalistic life Howe might have won distinction as a poet. A volume of his poems and essays was published in Montreal in 1874, one year after his death; and while these poems lack finish and are for the most part echoes of the music of such masters as Scott, Byron and Moore, they are the spontaneous utterance of a full heart and have a fine singing quality and abundant humour. Among Howe's other literary efforts were a tale, The Locksmith of Philadelphia, and a political lampoon, The Lord of the Bedchamber. Howe did much to foster Canadian letters, and to him is due the honour of having, through the columns of his paper, introduced Thomas Chandler Haliburton to the public.

William Henry Withrow (1839-1908) was a theological writer of power and a historian capable of presenting the driest facts in a pleasing manner, but in this latter rôle he depended too much on secondary sources for his information. He was born in Ontario and was educated at Victoria College, Cobourg, and University College, Toronto, and entered the ministry of the Methodist Church. His grasp of living questions and his literary ability were soon recognized, and he was appointed editor of the Canadian Methodist Review. As an editor his tolerant pen was a force for Christian unity. He wrote one exceptionally scholarly work, The Catacombs of Rome and Their Testimony Relative to Primitive Christianity. The catacombs of Rome have attracted many writers, but Withrow's study of them has never been surpassed.

Goldwin Smith (1823-1910), to whom reference has already been made, spent the last thirty-nine years of his life in Canada, but he lived apart from Canadians, and never came thoroughly into touch with Canadian ideals. He is in no sense of the word a Canadian author, but he had a wide influence on Canadian opinion and Canadian literature. Through the Bystander, the Week, the Farmer's Sun and other papers in which he was interested, he did much to cultivate a higher taste in journalism, and even his most bitter antagonists (and he won the dislike of not a few men) acknowledged his pre-eminence as a writer. He encouraged Canadian literature while contending that, from its situation and traditions, Canada could never have a literature separate from that of the United States or of Great Britain. He had in the beginning hoped otherwise, and there is a pathos in the words given in his Reminiscences at the close of his career: 'My Oxford dreams of literary achievement never were or could be fulfilled in Canada.'

But Canada is awakening, and there is a growing national sentiment that demands national expression; and when Canadians have learned that money-making is not the most important thing in life, native writers may find a fit audience in their homeland and may not be forced to go to the markets of the United States or of Great Britain to win distinction before they receive recognition at home.

The Bystander was begun in January 1880 and appeared monthly for eighteen months. It was revived as a quarterly in January 1883, and continued for one year; again revived as a monthly in October 1889 and continued to September 1900.


The novel has been to the modern world for over one hundred years what the drama was to the Elizabethan age. The average reader desires knowledge with a sugar coating, and, as a result, men and women of imaginative bent of mind and literary skill find the story the best means of giving pleasure and instruction. History, politics, manners and customs, psychology, pathology, science and even theology have all been served up with the sauce of fiction.

The novel, as we know it, had its origin about the middle of the eighteenth century. Samuel Richardson, when he published his Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded in 1740, disclosed a new field for English literary talent. Pamela was in the form of letters, connected by plot interest, and to this form Richardson adhered in his other works. His style was widely imitated, and one of the ablest of his followers was Mrs Frances Brooke, the wife of the Rev. John Brooke, a chaplain of the forces at Quebec in the days of Guy Carleton.

Mrs Brooke, before coming to Canada, had published a romance entitled Lady Julia Mandeville, and while a resident of the Province of Quebec she wrote the first Canadian novel, The History of Emily Montague. This story was dedicated to Guy Carleton 'to whose probity and enlightened attention the colony owes its happiness, and individuals that tranquillity of mind, without which there can be no exertion of the powers of either the understanding or the imagination.' Mrs Brooke was a bird of passage in Canada, but her romance faithfully depicts Canadian life and glowingly pictures Canadian scenes, and it is essential that every student of Canadian literature should have some acquaintance with it.

Emily Montague was first published in 1769, and so popular was it that a second edition, at least, was issued in four volumes in 1777. The story is told, after the manner of Richardson, in the form of letters, which are so skilfully presented that a pleasing and uninterrupted plot is woven throughout. The letters are full of enthusiasm for Canada, a country where 'one sees not only the beautiful but the great sublime to an amazing degree.' The descriptions of wild nature, of the glories of such cataracts as Montmorency, are well done, while with a rapid pen the beau monde of Quebec—the officers and noblesse—and the Canadians, 'gay, coquettish and sprightly,' are faithfully reproduced. In the letters the characters of the writers are admirably revealed. Emily Montague, the typical fair maiden of early English fiction, and Edward Rivers, an ideal English gentleman, the heroine and hero of the piece; Arabella Fermor, a vivacious, sprightly coquette, and her father Captain William Fermor, a serious-minded, thoughtful officer; Major Melmoth and Captain Fitzgerald; Madame des Roches, a French lady of noble type; and Sir George Clayton, a conceited coxcomb—are all distinct personalities. Arabella Fermor is as finely drawn as any character in eighteenth-century fiction, while her lover, Fitzgerald, is as good as the best of Lever's gallant Irish soldiers. In an age when literature was broad, when vulgar jests often marred the written page, the first Canadian novel made its appearance—a strong, clean, healthy romance.

During the next fifty years no Canadian novel of importance was published. In 1832 the publication of Wacousta, by Major John Richardson, marked the true beginning of Canadian fiction. There were, it is true, such books as Comparison for Caraboo (1817) by Walter Bates (1760-1842), sheriff of King's County, New Brunswick; and Mrs Julia Catharine Hart's (1796-1867) St Ursula's Convent; or, the Nun of Canada (1824), the first book printed in Upper Canada,—but these were not true novels and are scarcely worthy of notice in a literary review. Major Richardson is, therefore, entitled to be called the first Canadian novelist.

John Richardson was the son of Robert Richardson, a Scottish surgeon in the Queen's Rangers stationed at Niagara. In 1793 the young surgeon married Madeline Askin, daughter of Colonel John Askin, a wealthy merchant of Detroit. In 1796 their son John was born. From 1801 until the outbreak of the War of 1812 young Richardson lived in the vicinity of Detroit. This was a historical spot, the scene of many Indian combats, and replete with grim, ghastly and heroic events. Richardson's grandmother, who vividly recalled the Pontiac siege, entertained her imaginative grandson with thrilling stories of the romantic and tragic days of her youth. These tales had a twofold impulse; they created the martial spirit in the boy and impelled him, when his mind was mature, to give the world stories of his country's heroic past.

When the Americans declared war against Britain and marched their soldiers across the Canadian border, Richardson was one of the first to enlist in Brock's army. With the 41st Regiment he was present at the capture of Detroit, and he was in every important fight with the right division of the army until the fatal battle of the Thames (Moravian Town), when he was taken prisoner and held captive for nearly a year in a United States prison. After the war ended he received a commission in the 8th (King's) Regiment, and sailed from Quebec, hoping to play a part in the European struggle in which England was engaged against Napoleon; but before his vessel reached Europe Wellington and Napoleon had met at Waterloo, and the great European war was at an end.

In 1816 Richardson went to the Barbados with the 2nd (Queen's) Regiment, but the climate so affected his health that he returned invalided to England within two years. For some ten years he lived in London on his half-pay, supplemented by what he could earn with his pen. He seems to have written mainly on Canadian and West Indian subjects. It was at this period that he wrote the only poem by him that has come down to us, Tecumseh, a correct but somewhat stilted performance. In 1828 his first important novel appeared, Ecarté; or, The Salons of Paris. This story was so severely and unjustly criticized that Richardson lost heart, and for several years attempted no sustained literary work. Ecarté is in some ways a striking book, depicting in lurid colours the evils of gambling.

Wacousta; or, The Prophecy is the novel by which Richardson is best known. In this story he deals with a heroic theme. It is based on the tales he had heard while living near Detroit and on his own knowledge of the region where the events he describes are supposed to have taken place. In Wacousta we have characters similar to those that move through Cooper's romantic pages. It has been said that Richardson is a mere imitator of Cooper, and his own statement, that he had 'absolutely devoured three times' The Last of the Mohicans, would seem to show that he had been influenced by the popular American novelist. But Richardson's Indians are his own and are in many ways more natural than Cooper's 'noble red men.' Richardson knew Indians at first-hand, and had fought side by side with such warriors as Tecumseh in the War of 1812. Wacousta has a well-woven plot and is packed with thrilling incidents. British soldiers, fur traders, habitants and Indians figure in it and are all distinctly drawn. True, it has much that is melodramatic, and the language at times is utterly out of keeping with the position and circumstances of the speakers; but Wacousta has lived and can still be read with interest.

Richardson spent a part of 1835-36 in Spain with the British Auxiliary Legion. His experiences in Spain were the occasion for two interesting works: Movements of the British Legion and Personal Memoirs of Major Richardson.

When the Rebellion of 1837 threatened to disrupt the Empire, Richardson hurried to Canada to give his military experience to his country, but all danger was passed before his arrival. The writing impulse once more possessed him, and he set to work on a new story—this time dealing with events and characters with which he had become familiar in the War of 1812. The Canadian Brothers; or, The Prophecy Fulfilled was published in Montreal in 1840. It was not a profitable venture, and eleven years later Richardson wrote of it as a book 'I published in Canada—I might as well have done so in Kamschatka.' But Canada was hardly to be censured for not consuming a large edition: it had then a very limited reading population, and this population was engaged in hewing down the forests and breaking soil and had little time for novels. The Canadian Brothers is weakly constructed. In the story Richardson introduces historical figures under their own names, and takes unwarranted liberties with historical facts. Some years later The Canadian Brothers was published in the United States under the title Matilda Montgomery.

During the next ten years Richardson was engaged largely in journalism and in the writing of historical works, but he went back to fiction in 1850, and in that year published Hard Scrabble; or, The Fall of Chicago, and in 1852 Wannangee; or, The Massacre of Chicago. Several years after his death The Monk Knight of St John: a Tale of the Crusade and Westbrook; or, The Outlaw appeared with his name on their title-pages. These novels were written in New York city, to which Richardson had moved in 1848 or 1849. The close of his life was a most unhappy one. He was an exile from the land he loved, and had a hard struggle in New York city against disease and extreme poverty. He died in 1852 and lies buried in an unknown grave. There is something pathetic in the fate of this first Canadian novelist who ended his days seeking to earn his bread among a people against whom he had valiantly fought.

While Richardson was engaged in historical studies and fiction in England and in Upper Canada, down by the sea in Nova Scotia a much greater genius was at work. Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) occupies a unique place in Canadian literature, and stands undoubtedly as the foremost writer of British North America. Haliburton was the son of Henry Otis Haliburton, a judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas. He was born in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and was educated at King's College in that place, from which institution he graduated in 1815. He was called to the Bar in 1820 and practised law in the historic old town of Annapolis (Port Royal). He had a pleasing personality and in early life a fine gift of oratory. This won him a seat in the legislative assembly, but he remained in the assembly for only three years, and seemed to take much to heart a reprimand he received from the council for calling that venerable body 'twelve dignified, deep-read, pensioned old ladies, but filled with prejudices and whims like all other antiquated spinsters.' In 1829 he was appointed to the judgeship formerly held by his father, and moved from Annapolis to Windsor. Here, with leisure and an ideal spot for a creative genius, he began his literary work. In 1841 he became a judge of the Supreme Court. This office he resigned in 1856 and went to England, where he was to spend the rest of his life. In 1859 he entered the British House of Commons as representative for Launceston. It was a time when the Little England idea held a place in parliament; colonies were looked on as a burden and many of the statesmen deemed that it would be wise to let them shift for themselves. Haliburton, an ardent imperialist, battled against this doctrine to the end of his parliamentary career, and did much to keep alive the imperial idea in both Great Britain and Canada.

Haliburton as a historian has already been noticed in reference to his history of Nova Scotia. The Bubbles of Canada and Rule and Misrule of the English in America show him to have been able to illuminate the past and to throw much light on contemporary political problems. An aristocrat by training and bent of mind, he feared mob rule, and was strongly opposed to responsible government, the panacea Lord Durham recommended for the ills of British North America. Time has proved Durham right and Haliburton wrong; but Haliburton's judicial analysis in the Bubbles of Canada of the situation in Canada, particularly of the Ninety-Two Resolutions, is still worthy of perusal by students of Canadian political history.

While Haliburton has been included among writers of fiction, a novelist in the generally accepted sense of the word he was not. There is only the thinnest thread of plot in his works, but his characters are among the best imaginative creations of modern times, one of them, Sam Slick, taking rank with such immortals as Pickwick, Tartarin of Tarascon and Huckleberry Finn. Indeed he is, in a way, better done than any of these, for while he is drawn with fine humour, his language sparkles with wit and wisdom that are lacking in the creations of Dickens, Daudet and Mark Twain. Sam Slick, while 'dressed in cap and bells' by his creator, is, like Touchstone and the other 'fools' of Shakespeare, a preacher of wisdom and righteousness by means of extravagant drollery. The Clockmaker; or, The Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick of Slickville, The Attaché; or, Sam Slick in England, Wise Saws and Modern Instances and Nature and Human Nature are the 'Sam Slick' books proper. The Clockmaker first made its appearance serially in Joseph Howe's Nova Scotian in 1835-36. It is in three series, the first published at Halifax in 1837, the second and third in London in 1838 and 1840 respectively. In 1840-42 The Clockmaker was translated into German and published at Brunswick.

The Attaché was published in 1843-44; Sam Slick's Wise Saws and Modern Instances in 1853 and Nature and Human Nature in 1855. The main interest of these books is 'Sam Slick.' This shrewd Yankee pedlar is the medium through which Haliburton, with penetrating humour, analyses society, impales hypocrisy, studies life and lays bare the weaknesses of humanity. Aphorism and epigram abound, and wisdom is crystallized in phrases that have not perished with the passage of time. Many, very many, of Sam Slick's flashes of wit and bits of wisdom have become incorporated into our everyday speech. Such cannot be said of any other Canadian author. The first book of the 'Sam Slick' group is the best. The hero of the piece is on familiar soil, and his antics, his humorous hyperbole, his odd manner of speech, his quaint turns of thought, are in keeping with his environment. As the 'Attaché' he is not so good, and his manners and language while moving in English aristocratic circles strike one as being decidedly grotesque; but even here in his nonsense there is much sense. Haliburton found the name 'Sam Slick' such a popular one that when he published the Bubbles of Canada (1839) and The Letter Bag of the Great Western; or, Life in a Steamer (1840) he made Sam Slick the nominal author. His other important works are—The Old Judge; or, Life in a Colony (1847), a work that was translated into both French and German; The Season Ticket (1860), which appeared first in Dublin University Magazine; and Traits of American Humour and Americans at Home, two works made up of extracts from contemporary American literature and merely edited by Haliburton.

Judge Haliburton is the one early writer of Canada who has won a place in English literature. He was not only the creator of a distinct character and the utterer of words that live; he was also in a sense the creator of a school of writers. American humour received its impulse from 'Sam Slick,' and Haliburton was, moreover, the first writer to use the American dialect in literature. Artemus Ward, Josh Billings and Mark Twain are, in a way, mere imitators of Haliburton, and he is their superior. He has not, it is true, Mark Twain's power of telling a story and literary art, but as a humorist, in the best sense of the word, he was greater than that distinguished American writer. American humorists produce their effects largely by exaggeration. Haliburton produced his by genial humour, by kindly satire (he smiles even when most sarcastic), by penetrating wit, and most of all by the illuminating wisdom of his detached utterances. His satire is not so much against individuals, to whom he is kindly, as against types; but at times, when punishment is deserved, he directs his caustic satire against individuals, and he has drawn several characters with the power of a Hogarth, a Cruikshank or a Gillray. He had an affection for Nova Scotia and an ardent hope for a united British Empire, and in satirizing the 'inertia' of Nova Scotians and the 'narrowness' of the people of Great Britain, he did it for the purpose of rousing them to action and to breadth of mind. While it is in aphorism that he is at his best, he could draw a character with inimitable strength. Nothing could be finer than his sketch of Captain Barkins, with countenance weather-beaten but open, good-natured and manly; and of Elder Stephen Gran, with face 'as long as the moral law, and perhaps an inch longer,' who seemed to feel that 'he had conquered the Evil One and was considerable well satisfied with himself.'

How packed with wit and wisdom are some of Haliburton's sentences! What could be better than the following?

'You may stop a man's mouth by crammin' a book down his throat, but you won't convince him.'

'We find it easy enough to direct others to the right road, but we can't always find it ourselves when we're on the ground.'

'Whenever you make an impression on a man, stop; your reasonin' and details may ruin you.'

'It is in politics as in horses; when a man has a beast that is near up to the notch, he had better not swap him.'

'Power has a nateral tendency to corpulency.'

'A joke, like an egg, is never no good except it is fresh.'

What a world of tender feeling, admirably expressed, we have here:

'A woman has two smiles that an angel might envy; the smile that accepts a lover before words are uttered, and the smile that lights on the first-born baby and assures him of a mother's love.'

Thomas Chandler Haliburton, despite much careless, hurried work, coarseness of expression and diffuseness of language, stands high above all other Canadian writers. He possesses to an extraordinary degree that informing personality which makes for greatness. Of him we can say as Ben Jonson said of Shakespeare: 'He was not of an age but for all time.'

From a drawing by W. H. Bartlett

The Rev. J. C. Abbott (1789-1863) emigrated to Canada in 1818, and for many years laboured as a missionary of the Church of England in what is now the Province of Quebec. Abbott had the interest of his adopted country much at heart, and was the first enthusiastic advertiser of British North America. He published two works with regard to the country: The Emigrant to North America, from Memoranda of a Settler, which appeared in the Quebec Mercury (1842) and as a pamphlet in Montreal in the same year; and Philip Musgrave; or, The Adventures of a Missionary in Canada, printed in London in 1843. The latter work is a story based on the facts and incidents of The Emigrant to North America. Philip Musgrave was popular in its day and attracted the attention of two of Canada's governors-general, who distributed hundreds of copies of the book among people seeking information about British North America. Abbott's desire was to give information that would be valuable to Old World farmers coming to a country where they would have to face new conditions, and he clothed his information in language and in a manner that are at once strong and pleasing.

About the middle of the last century readers of the Literary Garland were familiar with the initials R. E. M. These stood for Rosanna Eleanor Mullins (1832-79) of Montreal, who in 1851 married Dr Leprohon of her native province. This talented authoress wrote a number of excellent stories dealing with Canadian life and manners. Her first novel was published in 1848. It is entitled Ida Beresford, and is a remarkable production for a girl only sixteen years old. There are in all some eight novels from her pen, four of which, Ida Beresford, The Manor House of De Villerai, Antoinette de Mirecourt—in many ways her best book—and Armand Durand were translated into French. Mrs Leprohon was a graceful writer and a skilful portrayer of character. She is particularly strong when moved by the pathos of a situation she has created. From a Canadian point of view The Manor House of De Villerai and Antoinette de Mirecourt are her most important works. The first appeared in 1859 in the Family Herald of Montreal, whose staff Mrs Leprohon joined in 1860. The scene was Canada at the period of the Cession, and the characters are largely the habitants of the Province of Quebec. The simple, kindly lives of these people are sympathetically portrayed; their quaint, homely manners and customs are given with fulness and exact knowledge.

Mrs Catharine Parr Traill (1802-99) was a member of the famous Strickland family, of which five daughters achieved distinction in literature; and one son, Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Strickland (1804-67), although without pretensions to literary power, produced one of the most valuable descriptive works dealing with Canadian life in pioneer days—Twenty-seven Years in Canada West; or, The Experiences of an Early Settler.

Mrs Traill was born in the county of Kent, England, and when thirty years old came with her husband to Canada. Her home was first in the primeval forest near Rice Lake. The conditions of life were hard in the wilderness, but they in no way blunted Mrs Traill's perception of the beautiful in nature and life or detracted from her power of presenting to others what she saw with an artist's eye. She produced two readable novels: Lady Mary and Her Nurse; or, A Peep into Canadian Forests and The Canadian Crusoes: A Tale of the Rice Lake Plains, published in London, England, in 1850 and 1852 respectively. These books are better known under the modern titles of Afar in the Forest and Lost in the Backwoods.

Mrs Traill, however, achieved greater distinction as a writer on nature than as a novelist. Her Studies in Plant Life; or, Gleanings from Forest, Lake and Plain is the best popular Canadian botanical book written by a resident of Canada. Trees, animals, birds and flowers were her familiar friends; it was her faith 'that every flower enjoys the air it breathes.' Her scientific labours received recognition. Lady Charlotte Greville, who was greatly impressed by collections of Canadian ferns and mosses made by Mrs Traill, induced Lord Palmerston to secure for her a grant of £100 for her services as a naturalist, and the Canadian government presented her with an island in the Otonabee River. She continued to write with unimpaired vigour until the end of her long life. Her last two works, Pearls and Pebbles (1894) and Cot and Cradle Stories (1895), gave insight into the workings of nature, the latter being an excellent collection of simple, imaginative tales for children.

Mrs Susanna Moodie (1803-85), a sister of Catharine Parr Traill, began her literary career at the early age of fifteen. In 1831 she married John W. D. Moodie, a half-pay officer of the 21st Fusiliers, and with him came to Canada in 1832. She and her husband by training and education were totally unfitted for the rough conditions of Upper Canada; and their struggle for existence, first near the town of Port Hope and later in the unbroken forest ten miles north of Peterborough, makes pathetic reading; all the more so as it was the lot of hundreds of people of similar birth and training, who came to Canada in search of riches during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Although a novelist and a contributor of stories to Canadian and American magazines, Mrs Moodie's fame rests largely on her two descriptive works, Roughing it in the Bush; or, Life in Canada (1852) and Life in the Clearings versus the Bush (1853)—the former being published later under the title, Life in the Backwoods. These works were written largely for the purpose of counteracting the pernicious influence of the extravagant immigration literature that was being spread broadcast through Great Britain by immigration agents and land companies. Thousands of men and women had been induced to come to Canada, there to meet conditions with which they were unable to battle; and in many instances they had succumbed to the struggle and their lives had been hopelessly wrecked. Roughing it in the Bush, in particular, painted in a realistic manner Upper Canada as it really was, and had a salutary influence. It has much literary merit, and, even though the motive that inspired it no longer exists, it still remains a valuable book, a veritable Canadian classic. In it the times are faithfully reproduced. The stories scattered through the pages still entertain, and the characters introduced are depicted with droll humour and tender pathos, and show the author to have had a deep insight into life. Mrs Moodie's novels have not stood the test of time as well as her descriptive works on Upper Canada; but Mark Hurdlestone, the Gold Worshipper, Flora Lindsay; or, Passages in an Eventful Life, Matrimonial Speculation, Geoffrey Moncton; or, The Faithless Guardian and Dorothy Chance can yet be read with enjoyment.

Mrs Moodie was, too, one of the best of the early Canadian poets. Imaginative, keenly alive to the beauties of nature, sympathetic with suffering, patriotic, she wrote a number of poems which—at least during her lifetime—had a wide appreciation. Some of them were set to music and were popular in Canadian homes sixty years ago.

James de Mille (1836-80) was one of the most voluminous of Canadian writers of fiction. De Mille was born in St John, New Brunswick, and died in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He had an excellent grounding in the ancient and modern languages, and taught classics for some years in Acadia College, and, during the closing years of his life, English and rhetoric in Dalhousie College, Halifax. He wrote in all twenty-eight or twenty-nine stories, besides numerous short stories, and at least one poem, Behind the Veil. This poem was found among his papers after his death, and was published under the editorship of Archibald MacMechan in 1893. In artistic and imaginative qualities Behind the Veil was much in advance of the poetical work done in British North America before the modern school of Canadian poets began their work, about 1880, the year of de Mille's death.

De Mille's first important book, The Martyrs of the Catacombs, was published in 1865, and his last, A Castle in Spain, thirteen years later. It is hardly correct to say his last, for ten years after his death, when such weirdly imaginative tales as H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines and She were attracting attention, de Mille's A Strange Manuscript found in a Copper Cylinder made its appearance. This extravagant tale of adventure, quite as good as many others of its class, had the usual fate of such stories—it was momentarily popular, and then forgotten. De Mille's genius had a wide range. In The Dodge Club; or, Italy in 1859 he showed a humorous vein. His six volumes in the B.O.W.C. Series and the three in the Dodge Club Series prove him capable of writing healthy, vigorous stories for the young. Novels with a mysterious setting, romances sentimental in character, and fiction interesting by its thrilling incidents, he wrote with equal ease.

From the painting by J. W. L. Forster

William Kirby (1817-1906), through his book The Golden Dog (Le Chien d'Or), has deservedly won a high place among Canadian novelists. The Golden Dog in a way marked the beginning of a new era in Canadian literature. In time it turned the attention of writers to the rich material to be found in the past of Canada for fiction, and it has been followed by a number of romances with a historical foundation. In many respects it still holds the first place among Canadian historical novels.

William Kirby was born at Kingston-upon-Hull and came to Canada with his parents in 1832. For five years the Kirbys resided in Montreal; they then moved to Niagara, where the rest of William Kirby's long life was spent. For over twenty-five years he edited and published the Niagara Mail, and for nearly a quarter of a century longer held the office of collector of customs at Niagara. Kirby was a thorough Canadian and an ardent imperialist, and ever showed a deep interest in the history of the country in which his lot was cast. His first production was a historical poem, The U.E.; a Tale of Upper Canada (1859). In 1888 he published a collection of poems entitled Canadian Idylls, a second edition of which was issued in 1894. He is also the author of a historical work, The Annals of Niagara, and of several other volumes of prose. But he is remembered solely by his historical romance, The Golden Dog, first published in 1877.

For his novel he selected the most magnificent theme this continent afforded—the final struggle between the French and the English for empire in America. His stage is the rocky citadel of Quebec, and his actors are governors and intendants, officers and merchants, noble ladies of New France and the humble habitants. He had a genuine admiration for the French, and his characters are all sympathetically drawn. No French writer could have shown more feeling than did Kirby in his presentation of the unhappy country surrounded by foreign foes and plundered by Bigot and his henchmen, Cadet and de Péan. Kirby had thoroughly saturated his mind with the history of Old France and New France in the days of Louis xv, and his vivid imagination enabled him to give a faithful picture of the times. The officials of Quebec, the seigneurs and their dependants are all faithfully portrayed. Count Philibert and his son Pierre are presented in the grand manner, and the father is probably the best-drawn and best-sustained character in Canadian fiction, while Amélie de Repentigny and Angélique des Meloises—as wide as the poles apart in character—are strongly depicted women. The Golden Dog is a mixture of the manner of Scott and the manner of Dumas. At times the story drags, largely due to the desire of the author to give local colour and to detail fully the life of the period with which he is dealing; but the well-conceived plot and the stirring incidents with which the work is packed sustain interest. The Golden Dog is a great book—a book that has turned the feet of thousands of pilgrims towards Quebec. As a historical novel, however, it is not without its blemishes. Many of the characters were not as black as they are painted, and some of the noble Frenchmen who move through its pages are—as the documents that have come down from the times prove—far from being as noble as they are pictured. The Golden Dog is highly thought of by French Canadians, and was translated into French by two of the most distinguished writers of the Province of Quebec, Louis Fréchette and Pamphile Le May.

Among other Canadian novelists of the earlier period worthy of consideration are: Mrs May Agnes Fleming (1840-80), who was the author of twenty-two novels of a highly sensational character; John Lesperance, who, in The Bastonnais: a Tale of the American Invasion in Canada, 1775-1776, produced a useful and accurate story of the times; the Hon. Lucius Seth Huntington, whose Professor Conant gives an excellent study of English and American political and social life; Mrs Mary Ann Sadlier, a prolific writer of fiction, biography and essays; and Louisa Murray, one of the most graceful writers of prose and verse who have ever appealed to the Canadian public.

As we shall see later, a new movement took place in Canadian poetical literature about the year 1880; some ten years after this date Canadian fiction entered upon a new stage in its development. It would be quite within the mark to take the definite year 1890 as the dividing line between the early writers, more or less provincial in their art, and the modern school, influenced by world standards. In that year Gilbert (afterwards Sir Gilbert) Parker took up his residence in London, England, and began the stories, many of them dealing with Canadian life in the past and present and with Canadian colour and atmosphere, that were to make him easily the first of Canadian novelists. Two years later his volume of short stories, Pierre and his People, was published, and a Canadian writer of more than ordinary force took his place in the world of fiction. It was in 1890, too, that Sara Jeannette Duncan (Mrs Everard Cotes) began her career as a writer of books with A Social Departure. In 1891 Lily Dougall's first novel, Beggars All, was published, and in 1889 Margaret Marshall Saunders's My Spanish Sailor had appeared. During the next decade Charles W. Gordon, Charles G. D. Roberts, Norman Duncan, William McLennan, Blanche Lucile Macdonell, Joanna E. Wood, Allan Richard Carman, Edward W. Thomson and other strong writers of fiction appeared in the Canadian field, producing well-constructed stories, artistic in treatment, and showing a power to make characters of the past and present live on the written page.

Sir Gilbert Parker occupies a high place among writers of fiction. He was born in Camden East, Ontario, in 1860, and spent the first twenty-five years of his life in Canada. His literary training was unique. It was his original intention to enter the ministry, but after studying arts and theology for a brief period at Trinity College, Toronto, he followed his literary bent and took up letters as a profession. In 1885, after some experience as a writer of poems and sketches and as a lecturer on literary subjects, he went to Australia, and for a time was on the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald. He has been a persistent traveller, visiting the outlying portions of Europe and every corner of the Empire—Northern Canada, the South Sea Islands, Egypt and the Far East—and wherever he has gone he has been a close observer of life. His books show him to have been influenced largely by his Canadian home and training, and his earlier works all have a Canadian colour and atmosphere; but while he is spoken of as a Canadian, it would be more correct to regard him as a literary product of the British Empire. Canada, the Channel Islands, Egypt, South Africa—he has studied them all and makes them the stages on which his characters move. Incidentally he was in his youth an ardent student of Shakespeare, and knew by heart the greater part of a number of the poet's dramas. This may account for the fact that his first ambitious literary efforts were dramas, of which he wrote three during 1888-89; but he seems to have been discouraged by the reception accorded to his adaptation of his historical romance, The Seats of the Mighty, and concluded that it would be wise to give all his energies to the novel.

He first appealed, as already stated, to lovers of fiction in a volume of short stories entitled Pierre and his People—a very excellent collection showing much promise. 'Pretty Pierre,' the titular hero, the link that binds the various stories together, a half-breed with whom card-playing was 'a science and a passion,' is not as well done as some of the other characters. Pierre lacks reality and is the creation of the writer's imagination rather than a type of the life to be found in the early days in the Far West. Parker's Indians, too, are either idealized or brutalized, and lack realistic truth. But Sergeant Fones, 'the little Bismarck of the Mounted Police,' who had 'the fear o' God in his heart, and the law of the land across his saddle, and the newest breech-loading rifle at that'; and Sergeant Tom Gellatly, a blood-brother of Kipling's 'Mulvaney,'—are powerfully created. The half-breeds, the Hudson's Bay Company's factors and employees, and the men of the Mounted Police are sketched in a comprehensive way, and the moving incidents by flood and field sustain interest. However, Pierre and his People can only be considered a tentative effort on the part of the author. Much of the work is slipshod. It is, for example, difficult to imagine that the author of The Judgment House could have ended a tragic story with such a sentence as this: 'The hands were wrinkled; the face was cold; the body was wet; the man was drowned and dead.'

During the next three years Parker produced six novels—Mrs Falchion, The Trespasser, The Translation of a Savage, The Trail of the Sword, When Valmond came to Pontiac, and An Adventurer of the North—and one volume of poems, A Lover's Diary. In The Trail of the Sword he wrote with a verve and dash that remind one of Weyman and Doyle; but the book was too packed with incident, and the sudden and wide changes of scene marred its construction. In When Valmond came to Pontiac he attempted to depict life in a French-Canadian village; but the life is of his own imagination. Only at times is the habitant truly presented, and on the whole the study is a caricature. All these earlier novels may be considered the work of Parker's apprentice hand; but in 1896 a powerful and sustained novel appeared from his pen—The Seats of the Mighty. In this book, which is not without its faults, there is an artistic repose, a mastery, a fulness of treatment that bespeak the mature artist. The story is of the period of the conquest of Quebec and has a strong plot and vigorously drawn characters. Captain Robert Moray, the hero, obstinate, self-confident, somewhat of a boaster; Doltaire, with 'the one gift of the strong man,' inexorable when he made for his end, a fine study in contradictions, a heartless roué, yet moved by a true and noble passion, a flippant admirer of the excesses and trivialities of the court, yet a thinker with a penetrating intellect, a man whose self-consciousness is at once his strength and his weakness; Gabord, a rough soldier, one of nature's poets and gentlemen the Chevalier de la Darante, the soul of truth and honour,—are all striking creations.

Bigot, Vaudreuil, Montcalm, Wolfe, and the other historical characters in the piece are sketched in with rapid, vigorous touches. The book is packed with thrilling incidents, sometimes impossible and sometimes highly exaggerated, it is true, but on the whole kept within bounds. There was in this work still something lacking. It has the fault of many historical novels. Parker was unable to project his spirit entirely into the time about which he wrote, and the men and women, despite their dress and manners, are all of the present rather than the past.

In 1897 Parker published The Pomp of the Lavillettes and in the following year The Battle of the Strong. The latter book was a distinct advance on any of his previous works. In it he shifted the scene of his story from Canada to the Channel Islands, and his descriptions and character sketches are truer to life than in any of his Canadian books. He had evidently studied exhaustively the islands and their inhabitants, which had changed but little since the time portrayed in his story—the close of the eighteenth century. Philip d'Avranche and Ranulph Delagarde, Jean Tousel and Dormy Jamais, Guida Landresse and Maîtresse Aimable Tousel are sympathetically drawn, and the book has touches of true humour, totally absent in his other stories save in isolated passages in Pierre and his People. In construction, in workmanship, in descriptive fineness, in its interpretation of life and in ethical value The Battle of the Strong showed a distinct advance in power and the artistic handling of his historical and romantic material.

In 1901 came The Right of Way. Here the author dealt with a pathological subject. Although the book has been highly praised, it has two leading defects. The scene is laid in the Province of Quebec, but the life is lacking in truth, while the hero is an impossibility. A careful analysis of his character and action will show that no one could possibly have been so clever and resourceful in so many odd directions as was Charley Steele.

In the meantime Parker entered on a new career. In 1900 he was elected in the Unionist interest for Gravesend and has since held a seat in the British House of Commons. His work done in literature received recognition from his sovereign, and in 1902 he was honoured with knighthood.

From the painting by J. W. L. Forster

Parker's next truly great work, The Weavers, was published in 1907. The scene of this story is mainly in Egypt, and the book was written evidently after a most thorough study of the country, its problems and its people. The climax of Parker's art was reached in 1912, in the important creation, undoubtedly his masterpiece, The Judgment House. The scene of this great story is laid in London and in South Africa. The time is the period before and during the South African War. 'The Partners,' a group of men exploiting South Africa, coarse and strong characters; Krool, the Hottentot-Boer, patriotic, vindictive, yet to his master as docile as a tamed animal; Byng, a diamond in the rough, who in the end turned out to be a polished gem; Jigger, the newsboy, and his sister Lou; Ian Stafford, philanthropist and statesman, familiar with the international game, with the defects of his qualities; Jasmine and Al'mah, the heroines of the piece,—are all living beings, men and women of flesh and blood. Parker in The Judgment House has attained the heights. He has proved himself capable of giving 'in the man of the day the eternal man,' and he takes his place among the truly great writers of fiction. But in this work he is no longer Canadian: The Judgment House is the result of his imperial training and of years spent in the social and political atmosphere of Great Britain.

The Rev. Charles W. Gordon, D.D. (Ralph Connor), was born in 1860 at Indian Lands, Glengarry, Ontario, and his early life was spent among the sturdy Highlanders who did so much of the pioneer work of the Dominion. Gordon is, in every way, a Canadian writer. He was educated in Canada; he has spent his whole life, save for a very short period as a student in Scotland, in the Dominion; he has devoted his entire attention to the study of Canada and Canadian men and women. He was educated at the University of Toronto and at Knox College. The mission field attracted his earnest, vigorous nature, and between 1890 and 1893 he worked among the miners and lumbermen of the North-West Territories. He began his literary career in 1897 with a brief sketch entitled Beyond the Marshes. In 1898 Black Rock won him a wide audience. It touched the popular heart with its rapid, terse style and its mingled humour and pathos, its sympathy with men half brutalized by their work and environment, and its admiration for the noble and self-sacrificing in life.

In his introduction to Black Rock Professor George Adam Smith wrote: 'He [Ralph Connor] has seen with single eye the life which he describes in this book, and has himself, for some years of hard and lonely toil, assisted in the good influences which he traces among its wild and often lonely conditions.' And he adds that he 'writes with the freshness and accuracy of an eyewitness ... with the tenderness and hopefulness of a man not only of faith but of experience.'

The heroes of Gordon's books, whether in the mines or the lumber camps, in the pulpits or the universities, in the cities or on the prairies, are all, each in his own way, 'fighting out that eternal fight for manhood, strong, clean, and God-conquered.'

In Black Rock, and in The Sky Pilot produced in the following year, the details of life in lumber and mining camps are well given, and the motley crews of vigorous, sometimes brutal manhood—Irish, Highland, French-Canadian, English—and the missionaries—Craig, Moore and Father Goulet—pious, manly, self-sacrificing, are portrayed with sympathy and insight. There is invariably the typical feminine guardian angel in all Gordon's books, but the weakness is that the author never varies her; and Mrs Mavor of Black Rock and Mrs Murray, the mistress of the Glengarry manse, are one and the same woman under different names. In these two early books the author shows that he understands French-Canadian life, at least in the lumber camps: Baptiste and Latour are quite as true to life as are the faithfully drawn characters of William Henry Drummond. In the 'strange medley of people of all ranks and nations' Gordon finds men with vices due rather to the circumstances of their lives than to the natural tendencies of their hearts. To him sin is largely 'energy gone wrong,' and evidently the purpose in his books is by their presentation of life and action to direct this energy properly.

Gordon, in his romances, is a teacher of ethics; a preacher by profession—in his novels he merely makes mankind at large his congregation. In The Man from Glengarry (1901) the characters are the men he was familiar with in his boyhood days, now playing their parts in the lumbering operations on the Ottawa River and the Gatineau. In the introduction to his book he has very clearly given his main reason for writing it: 'Not wealth, not enterprise, not energy, can build a nation into true greatness, but men and only men with the fear of God in their hearts and no other, and to make this clear is also a part of the purpose of this book.' Theoretically Gordon is something of a Calvinist, but even a casual reading of his stories will show that by fear of God he really means love of God—love is made the impelling force for good in all his books. In The Man from Glengarry the characters Big Macdonald, Dannie Ross, Findlay Campbell, Louis Le Noir are men of 'hardness of frame, alertness of sense, readiness of resource, endurance, superb self-reliance, a courage that grew with peril, and withal a certain wildness which at times deepened into ferocity.' This book has preserved in vital form rough conditions and characters that are rapidly passing away under the influence of civilization and education.

In Glengarry School Days the crude conditions of life and education in the backwoods of Canada in the middle of the nineteenth century and even later are faithfully reproduced. In The Prospector (1904) and The Doctor (1906) the lives of a healer of souls and a healer of bodies in a new country where hardships have to be faced in the performance of duty are convincingly presented.

In 1909 Gordon hit on a happy title, The Foreigner. Admirable material for tragic and romantic use lies ready at hand for the investigator who will take the trouble to look into the lives of the foreign element in the cities or 'in the melting-pot of nations,' the Canadian North-West. The author of The Foreigner set out with high aims: 'Out of breeds diverse in traditions, in ideals, in speech, and in manner of life, Saxon and Slav, Teuton, Celt and Gaul, one people is being made. The blood strains of a great nation will mingle in the blood of a race greater than the greatest of them all.' There is much that is realistic, indeed, much that is after the manner of Zola and his followers of the naturalistic school, in The Foreigner; at times it is even repulsive in its details, but it has purple patches of great power.

In Corporal Cameron (1912) the action begins in Scotland, moves to the Province of Quebec and then to the North-West. The characters are largely repetitions, under other names, of the men and women of the early books, as are the incidents, save for the well-described Highland games.

Gordon's power lies not so much in his ability as a constructive artist as in his strong, isolated passages. His gentler action is commonplace; but his incidents, such as football matches and bar-room brawls, are masterly bits of work.

Norman Duncan is one of the Canadian authors who, at an early age of their literary career, were drawn away by the larger and more profitable markets of the United States. Duncan was born in Brantford, Ontario, in 1871, and was educated in that city and at the University of Toronto. In 1896, when twenty-five years old, he took a position on the New York Evening Post, and until 1901 he did all his best work for that journal. He first proved himself a master of the short story, and in his volume The Soul of the Street gave a series of sketches which for insight into life and for character drawing are as fine as anything done in the short story in America, and indeed compare favourably with the short-story work of the greatest of British short-story writers. These sketches, dealing with one section of the foreign element in New York city, show the author at the outset of his career to have had a genius for interpreting life. He presents in a masterly manner one phase of New York life, and he was able to do so because he had gone down into the street and into the homes and studied at first-hand the men and women he depicted.

But Duncan was soon to work in a new field. As a special writer he went to Newfoundland, a region he has made peculiarly his own. Hardy fisher-folk, traders and seamen—hospitable, tender, simple, willing for toil—and sturdy lads 'who know hardship and peril when the boys of the city still grasp a hand when they cross the street,' appealed to him, and he has drawn them with fidelity and strength, with tender pathos and grim humour. The rocky, rugged, storm-beaten shores of Newfoundland and the Labrador coast gripped his imagination. The North Atlantic ocean, with its icebergs, field-ice and 'growlers,' with its 'frothy fangs' and 'soapy seas,' has never been presented so 'deeply and faithfully '—to use the words of Frank Bullen, himself a master in portraying the ocean and the characters of the men who go down into the deep.

Dr Luke of the Labrador gave Duncan a distinct place in modern literature. In it the life of a hardy people playing their part on a hard stage is exhaustively treated. He found, too, the heroic in commonplace life; a healer of men working among humble, grateful, illiterate folk gave him as fine an opportunity for his genius as others have found amid the clash of arms and in the courts of nations.

Norman Duncan produced in The Adventures of Billy Topsail, The Cruise of the Shining Light and Billy Topsail and Company a series of healthy, manly books for boys. They abound in adventures on rocky coasts, in blinding fogs and in the ice-pack. Through all there is a sea movement that is unexcelled by the best work of such trained seamen turned novelists as Russell and Bullen. In Duncan's books Newfoundland and the Labrador coast have been given a prominent place in literature. The Measure of a Man (1912) is laid in a different field. The hero, John Fairmeadow, is a reformed drunkard, a recruit from Jerry McAuley's mission in Water Street, New York. Fairmeadow had chosen for his work, in the capacity of a lay missionary, the lumber camps of Minnesota. He is a well-drawn, virile character who, when occasion demanded it, was quite capable of stepping from his pulpit and thrashing a disturber in his congregation into a respectful attitude. But Duncan has lost something of his power in this new field and with these new characters. There is not the definiteness, the reality in his landsmen that is to be found in his sea-folk. There is a vagueness in his character studies in this book, a lack of firmness of touch and an extravagance in incident that detract from its merits. He handles, it is true, the elemental passions with power. From the rough human rock there can be carved either a brute or an angel, and he has brought out both. But, though John Fairmeadow in this book appears 'in the measure of his service, in the stature of his soul, a Man,' he impresses one rather as a product of the author's imagination than a being of flesh and blood.

Charles G. D. Roberts has already been considered as a writer of animal stories, and will later be dealt with as a poet, but it is also necessary to consider him briefly as a writer of fiction. He has worked mainly in a somewhat narrow field, the Maritime Provinces, but, so far as external nature is concerned, he has treated that region exhaustively. In The Raid from Beauséjour, The Forge in the Forest, A Sister to Evangeline, The Prisoner of Mademoiselle, and a volume of short stories, The Marshes of Minas, he has graphically pictured the 'romantic period in Canadian history when the French were making the very last struggle to retain their hold upon the peninsula of Acadie—now called Nova Scotia.'

Roberts is without an equal in Canadian literature as a writer of mellifluous prose; sea, sky, landscape—he has caught their rhythm and colour and described them in exquisite passages that read like a succession of lyrical poems; but his pictures of Acadian life are couleur de rose. The characters he draws in A Sister to Evangeline are not borne out by history. He lacks dramatic force, and the language of his men and women, in the light of the times in which they lived, is unnatural; but his style is inimitable and the local colour of his descriptions of such regions as Annapolis Basin, Minas Basin and the Isthmus of Chignecto would be hard to excel. Apart from his character portrayal, he has, in his Nova Scotian stories, as truly pictured the face of that part of the Dominion as has Hardy his Wessex coast or Egdon Heath.

In his short stories, each a prose poem, he has been influenced largely by the modern French school of whom Daudet and de Maupassant are the ablest representatives; but some of his work is distinctly original. In his studies in Earth's Enigmas dealing with lumber camps and lumbering operations he is peculiarly good. His residence on the St John and Miramichi—great lumber rivers—has well fitted him to handle these themes. In 'Within the Sound of the Saws' he has succeeded in making the mill town a reality to any one born within the sound of the saws, to whom the news that the mills were to close down was very much as if the sun were about to be removed for a season; and who measured the return of the spring, not by the first robin, but by the buzz of the saws, the dull clang of the deal on the piles, and the heavy clatter of the mill carts. No second-hand observation could ever have produced the following paragraph:

In the middle of the mill worked the 'gang,' a series of upright saws that rose and fell swiftly, cleaving their way with a pulsating, vicious clamour through an endless and sullen procession of logs. Here and there, each with a massive table to itself, hummed the circulars, large and small; and whenever a deal, or a pile of slabs, was brought in contact with one of the spinning discs, upon the first arching spirt of sawdust-spray began a shrieking note, which would run the whole vibrant and intolerable gamut as the saw bit through the fibres from end to end. In the occasional brief moments of comparative silence, when several of the saws would chance to be disengaged at the same instant, might be heard, far down in the lower storey of the mill, the grumbling roar of the great turbine wheels, which, sucking in the tortured water from the sluices, gave life to all the wilderness of cranks and shafts above.

It is the same with 'The Butt of the Camp' and 'At the Rough-and-Tumble Landing.' In the one Roberts has given with great truth the boisterous life of a lumber camp; in the other, with graphic power, the most perilous task—breaking a log jam—that an ax-man can tackle.

William Wilfred Campbell,[1] another of Canada's widely known and appreciated poets, has been drawn aside from a field in which he peculiarly excelled and has written several descriptive works and two excellent novels—Ian of the Orcades and A Beautiful Rebel. The latter is on a Canadian theme, the War of 1812, but is not as good as the former, which has Scottish ground for its stage and Celtic characters as actors. Ian of the Orcades had not the enthusiastic reception it deserved. Had S. R. Crockett, for example, written it, it would have been hailed as an exceptionally powerful historical novel. The style is elevated, the characters are strongly drawn, the incidents are striking, given with intensity but without exaggeration; and, as in Roberts's work, where the author is interpreting nature the story abounds in prose poems. There are in it passages of profound thought, and what has been said of Campbell's poetry might with equal appropriateness be said of this novel—through the tragic story 'there runs a deep undertone of haunting, mysterious suggestiveness which naturally links the restless phenomena of nature with the joys and sorrows of the human heart.'

Campbell is a Celt, and in Ian of the Orcades there are passages abounding in natural magic, that peculiar gift of Celtic writers. The dramatic passages, too, are well done; there is in them a naturalness, a vigour and truth that are lacking in many Canadian books that have had a wider audience.

No writer has possessed more enthusiasm for Canada or greater hope in Canada's future in material and spiritual things than William Douw Lighthall of Montreal, and no one has done more to make known to the world Canada's past and what Canadians of the present have been doing. His collection of poems, Songs of the Great Dominion, with his excellent introduction and notes, showed that a fine body of poetical work was being produced in Canada. Lighthall has also done much historical and antiquarian work, and has written three books of fiction of a high quality—The Young Seigneur, The False Chevalier and The Master of Life.

The Young Seigneur is not properly a novel, but rather a race and politico-sociological study. Its chief aim was, as the author says in his preface, the 'perhaps too bold one—to map out a future for the Canadian nation, which has been hitherto drifting without any plan.' Lighthall's plan evidently was not widely accepted. The Young Seigneur was published in 1888 under the nom de plume 'Wilfred Chateauclair,' and 'the Canadian nation' continued to drift, and, judging from the parliamentary discussions during 1913, it is still drifting. Another aim of the author was to make the 'atmosphere of French Canada understood by those who speak English.' Few, we imagine, for whom the book was intended, have benefited by the study, but that is the fault of the reading public and not of the author. The False Chevalier was published in 1898 and is a distinctly abler book. It has a well-worked plot, and the historical material both of Old France and of New France is skilfully handled. Several of the characters are drawn with dramatic insight. It would be hard to find in Canadian fiction a better or more truthfully portrayed character than the merchant Lecour of St Elphège, a fine type of prosperous habitant—simple-minded, honest, generous, industrious—or than his wife—romantic and ambitious for her son. Germaine Lecour, the son, is likewise well portrayed, but there is a disappointing unreality about him while he plays his part on the European stage. Lighthall is only at his best when on the firm and familiar ground of Canada. The Master of Life is an exceptional book, a unique book. It is a novel of Indian life without a white man in it; a story 'of woods and water and prehistoric times.' The central figure is Hiawatha, the founder of the League of the Five Nations, and the main interest of the story for Canadians centres round the destruction of Hochelaga, the town vividly described by Jacques Cartier in 1535, which had been wiped out of existence by the beginning of the seventeenth century. It is the destruction of Hochelaga that forms the principal theme of the book. The Master of Life is the product of years of study and reflection. It displays extensive archaeological research; and the primitive manners, the customs and mode of life of the Indians are reproduced with a fidelity that convinces. No other work that we know shows so well the stoicism, the melancholy, the fatalism, the poetical imagination, the indifference to life of the Indians, to whom all nature was a living thing through which and over which was the Master of Life.

William McLennan (1856-1904) was the author of three notable books of fiction, of an excellent volume of translations, Songs of Old Canada, and of original stories and essays of a high order. His collection of short stories, In Old France and New, portrays French character on two continents, subtly distinguishing between the life in France and in Canada. Spanish John is his best-known book; the style is good, the characters possess reality; it is crowded with stirring incidents and the life of the time dealt with is faithfully reproduced. The Span o' Life, a historical novel of the days of Prince Charlie, was written in collaboration with Jean N. McIlwraith. It is a most readable story, with a romantic colour that is heightened by the bursts of song scattered through its pages.

W. A. Fraser first appealed to the public in his book, The Eye of a God and Other Stories, published in 1892, and has since produced many short stories and several novels. He is strongest in his short stories, several of which take rank among the best of modern times. The influence of Kipling is to be found in his work, and evidently he has closely studied the method of that master. Fraser has made the race-track his peculiar field. Among his best-known books are Mooswa and Others of the Boundaries, The Outcast, Thoroughbreds, Brave Hearts and Sa'Zada Tales.

Edward W. Thomson is a Canadian writer of varied experience. In 1865 Thomson, then a mere boy, enlisted in the American army and served with the Federal forces on the Potomac. In the following year, 1866, he was at Ridgeway doing duty against the Fenian invaders. He began his business career as an engineer and later joined the staff of the Toronto Globe. He is widely known as a sound writer on political questions, and also as a writer of excellent verse. He is seen at his best in his stories: Old Man Savarin and Other Stories, Walter Gibbs, The Young Boss and Other Stories, Between Earth and Sky and Peter Ottawa, while being mainly for boys, can be enjoyed by both young and old. The characters are types of vigorous Canadian boyhood and manhood. Canadian forests, fields and streams are the theatre, and the incidents are depicted with a strength that could only be given to them by a man of action.

Robert Barr (1850-1912) was born in Glasgow and received his early education in Ontario, and for a few years taught school in that province. From 1876 until 1888 he was on the staff of the Detroit Free Press; and after that, until the time of his death, he lived in England. He could not be called a great novelist, nor is there in his work much Canadian atmosphere. Indeed, his only story on a Canadian theme is In the Midst of Alarms, a story of the Fenian raid. He depends not so much on plot as on incident and on touches of humour that brighten his pages. His brother, James Barr (Angus Evan Abbott), was born in 1862 in Wallacetown, Ontario, but has since 1883 lived in England, where he has been engaged in journalism. He has written several excellent novels, which, however, are not widely known in his native land.

James Macdonald Oxley (1855-1907) wrote numerous boys' stories based on historical incidents, travels and adventures. These stories cover a wide range of territory. Fife and Drum at Louisburg deals with the siege of the fortress conducted by the New England troops under William Pepperrell and the British fleet under Admiral Warren in 1745. Archie of Athabasca takes the reader into the Far North of the Dominion, and Up among the Ice-floes gives thrilling adventures in the Arctic regions. All of Oxley's books are virile and healthy—excellent stories, fine in their descriptive passages and character drawing.

Arthur J. Stringer was born in London, Ontario, in 1876. After studying at the University of Toronto and at Oxford, he served his apprenticeship to literature in that excellent school, journalism, and was for a year on the staff of the Montreal Herald. In 1898 he moved to the United States, and, while still remaining a summer resident of Canada, has made New York city his home, and has written verse and prose largely in a manner suited to the taste of the magazine-reading public of the United States. He has produced much dainty verse, fine in thought and excellent in technique. Several of his novels, such as The Silver Poppy and The Wire Tappers, have been very popular, but they have little of the permanent value of Parker's Battle of the Strong or The Judgment House or of Duncan's Dr Luke of the Labrador.

One of the latest to enter the field of romance is the Rev. Robert Knowles, pastor of Knox Church, Galt, Ontario. He is a writer of the religio-sentimental school, and though his books are widely read they do not appeal to thoughtful men and women. St Cuthbert's, The Undertow, The Attic Guest, etc., lack variety. Incidents, situations, characters are too often mere repetitions.

Mrs Everard Cotes (Sara Jeannette Duncan), who began her literary career under the nom de plume 'Garth Grafton,' was born in Brantford, Ontario. Mrs Cotes is the most voluminous of Canadian women writers, having written in all nearly twenty volumes. She first attained distinction in 1890 by her delightfully humorous travel book, A Social Departure; or, How Orthodocia and I went round the World by Ourselves. This book is vivid in its description, kindly in its humour, delightful in its genial sarcasm. Mrs Cotes has long lived in India, and has done much to make the native and official life of that important part of the Empire known to the world. Her books have not Canadian themes or Canadian characters: An Imperialist, published in 1904, is her only story with a Canadian setting. She has a place well towards the front rank of modern humorists. Mrs Cotes is a keen observer of life, with exceptional descriptive powers, and a style that sparkles and scintillates, her pages bubbling over with incisive wit. She holds easily the first place among women writers of fiction born in the Dominion.

In the little fertile island province washed by the waters of the Atlantic and inhabited by a people of simple manners and customs, a novelist appeared in the closing years of the nineteenth century who was to make Prince Edward Island, its inhabitants and external nature, known to the world as they never had been before. Lucy Maud Montgomery, at that time a school-teacher in the province, sprang suddenly into fame by her first book, Anne of Green Gables. In 1911 Miss Montgomery married the Rev. Ewen McDonald, and has since resided in Ontario. Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908, took the reading public by storm. It won eulogies from such appreciative critics as Mark Twain—who called it the 'sweetest creation of child life yet written'—and Bliss Carman, who said that Anne, the heroine, must 'always remain one of the immortal children of fiction.' Other books by this author are Anne of Avonlea, Kilmeny of the Orchard and The Story Girl. Sympathy with child life and humble life, delight in nature, a penetrating, buoyant imagination, unusual power in handling the simple romantic material that lies about every one, and a style direct and pleasing, make these books delightful reading for children and, indeed, for readers of all ages.

Alice Jones, daughter of the late lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, A. G. Jones, is one of the noteworthy women writers of fiction in the Dominion. Her naturally fine intellect was sharpened and broadened by study in France and Italy. She first won a place in public estimation by her story, A Hazard of Hearts—which appeared in Frank Leslie's Monthly. This author has written five other stories: The Night Hawk—which she wrote under the nom de plume 'Alix John,' Bubbles We Buy—issued in England under the name Isabel Broderick, Gabriel Praed's Castle, At the Harbour's Mouth and The Consul's Niece. Gabriel Praed's Castle, published in 1904, is undoubtedly her strongest book both in plot construction and character portrayal.

Joanna E. Wood was born in Scotland, but came with her parents to Canada when a child. Her home is on the picturesque heights of Queenston, a spot unexcelled for beauty in Canada and replete with historical and romantic material. This author has produced in all seven novels: Judith Moore, The Untempered Wind, The Lynchpin Sensation, A Daughter of Witches, Where Waters Beckon, Farden Ha' and Unto the Third Generation. In her works she shows an intimate acquaintance with early conditions in Canada, and treats her subjects with artistic fineness and praiseworthy seriousness.

Lily Dougall, formerly of Montreal but now for over twenty years a resident of Great Britain, should, like Robert Barr, be classed among purely British writers. She is one of the most cultured women writers of the day; all her novels have a purpose and have as their motifs social or moral problems.

Among other Canadian women worthy of special note who have written novels are: Blanche Lucile Macdonell, Agnes Maule Machar ('Fidelis'), Jean N. McIlwraith, Emily P. Weaver and Mrs S. F. Harrison.

See pp. 578-9.


The chief glory of Canadian literature is its poetry. Scarcely had the guns ceased thundering against the walls of Louisbourg and Quebec before Canadian themes attracted the attention of writers. But the first poets who dealt with Canadian subjects were Canadian in no true sense of the word, and it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that Canadian-born writers began to express themselves in verse. In 1759 a poem entitled The Reduction of Louisbourg was published, and in 1766 another appeared under the name of The Conquest of Canada; or, the Siege of Quebec: a Tragedy. These heroic themes stirred the imagination of sojourners in Canada.

There is much in British North America to inspire poets. No country in the world offers material for more varied themes. Broad rivers, leaping rapids, vast forests, fertile plains, eternal hills—every variety of scene is to be found in the Dominion of Canada and all have had their singers. The struggles of the pioneers against the savage wilderness, the dangers experienced by the hardy fisher-folk by the sea, the battling of the first inhabitants against the Indians, the fight for national existence during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, offer many themes. Poets, for the most part inadequately equipped, have essayed in humble, faltering verse to deal with every phase of Canadian nature and Canadian life.

It is not easy to say who was the first strictly Canadian poet worthy of mention. The honour would seem to belong to Oliver Goldsmith—a significant name. Goldsmith was a Nova Scotian, a distant connection of the immortal Oliver, and was born in Annapolis County in 1787. He held several important government positions in his native province, and died in Liverpool, England, in 1861. His poem, The Rising Village, published in 1825, is in many ways a remarkable one. It deals very fully with pioneer life in Canada. The struggle with rude nature is admirably described. From the breaking of the soil until the peaceful village, prosperous and happy, stands fair to the eye, each step is told in verse, showing perhaps no high degree of art, but vigorous and correct. The poem is an imitation of Goldsmith's Deserted Village, and is eighteenth-century in manner and feeling. The following passage will serve to show its character:

Here the broad march extends its open plain,

Until its limits touch the distant main;

There verdant meads along the uplands spring,

And grateful odours to the breezes fling;

Here crops of grain in rich luxuriance rise,

And wave their golden riches to the skies.


.     .     .     .     .     .     .


The farmer's cottage, bosomed 'mong the trees,

Whose spreading branches shelter from the breeze:

The winding stream that turns the busy mill

Whose clanking echoes o'er the distant hill;

The neat white church beside whose walls are spread

The grass-clad hillocks of the sacred dead,

Where rude-cut stones or painted tablets tell,

In laboured verse, how youth and beauty fell.

In these simple yet finely descriptive lines English-Canadian poetry may be said to have had an appropriate beginning. In humble verse Oliver Goldsmith recorded the hopes and fears, the struggles and victories, of the pioneer settlers in Canada.

John Fleming of Montreal was even earlier in verse-making than Oliver Goldsmith, but he was not Canadian-born, and his verse (it can hardly be called poetry) was in no sense of the word Canadian. The only poem by which he is remembered is 'An Ode on the Birthday of King George iii.' This poem is stiff, wooden, stilted. It has little poetical feeling and abounds in hackneyed poetical phrases.

Robert Sweeny, a native of Ireland, published in 1826 Odds and Ends, a volume containing many dainty lyrics. Adam Kidd, born in Ireland in 1802, published in 1830, one year before his death in Quebec, a volume The Huron Chief and Other Poems. The theme makes this volume distinctively Canadian. Kidd sang the sorrows of the unfortunate Hurons, and his lines prove him to have been an enthusiastic admirer of the sublime and beautiful in Canadian scenery. In his minor poems he shows the influence of Tom Moore and echoes his music.

Charles Dawson Shanly (1811-75) and James McCarroll (1815-96) both did excellent work in verse. Shanly was born and educated in Dublin, Ireland, and remained for only a brief period in Canada. McCarroll was likewise an Irishman, born in the county of Longford. He came as a boy of sixteen to Canada, and during a busy official and journalistic career, 'amid the thunder of the presses and the myriad-voiced confusion of public office life, he has found a quiet place within himself full of flowers and sunlight, the notes of birds and the murmur of streams.'[1] McCarroll's 'The Humming Bird,' 'The Grey Linnet' and 'The Vesper Hymn' are worthy of a place in any collection of Canadian verse.

It was not, however, until 1856 that a poet of more than ordinary skill in art, and one who was to hold a prominent place in Canadian literature, appeared. In this year Charles Sangster (1822-93) published by subscription The St Lawrence and the Saguenay and Other Poems. Sangster was born in Kingston, Upper Canada. He held a position in the ordnance office in his native town and for a period was engaged in newspaper work in Amherstburg and Kingston—two places which from their historical associations could not but stir the national pride and the imagination of a man of talent.

Sangster's early volumes showed an intense love of Canada and Canadian institutions, a pleasing poetical taste and fine singing qualities, but a lack of imagination and vigour. In 1860, in Hesperus and Other Poems and Lyrics, he struck a loftier note. He showed a deeper insight into nature and her moods, and in his patriotic poems, 'Brock,' 'Wolfe' and 'A Song for Canada,' did much to foster the national sentiment that seven years later culminated in Confederation.

Although even his most enthusiastic admirers could hardly call his work great, Sangster will ever be valued by Canadians. His poetry is simple, humble, unpretentious, patriotic; but so thin is the vein he worked that during the last twenty years of his life he wrote but very little poetry. It could hardly have been otherwise. He had a small stock of ideas on which to draw; his early education had been very limited, and he was without the energy that gave such men as Burns and Whittier the power of educating themselves. They had, too, what he had not—the contact with literary minds more widely cultivated than their own. However, one of his poems at least has had a wider acceptance than any other by a Canadian poet. His stirring lyric on 'The Rapid' is a vivid, rousing bit of work. In language and rhythm it is splendidly imitative of the rush and sweep of the tumbling, leaping stretch of water so characteristic of Canadian streams.

In 1857 a poem that was to attract the attention of scholars in Canada, in England, and in the United States was published in Montreal. Saul was as much apart from other Canadian literary efforts as was Saul in Israel from the men of his time. It had a vigour, an intensity, a dramatic excellence that no other Canadian poem before its time, or indeed until the closing years of the nineteenth century, approaches. Saul was from the pen of Charles Heavysege, who, at the time of its publication, was a cabinet-maker working at his trade in Montreal. Heavysege was born in Huddersfield, England, in 1816 and did not come to Canada until 1853. While in England he had already tried his hand at literature and had published one book, The Revolt of Tartarus. Four years after his arrival in Canada Saul appeared. It was a drama—the purest and most difficult form of literary composition—a massive piece of work, divided into three parts of five acts each, and contained in all about ten thousand lines. The poetry throughout was in the grand manner. Heavysege was not educated in the ordinary sense of the word, but had saturated his mind with the Bible and Shakespeare's dramas, and his ideas, borrowed largely from these sources and his own broodings over the problems of life and death, were presented with a dignity, austerity, epic grandeur and dramatic intensity such as are to be found in few poetic compositions first published in Canada, or, for that matter, on the American continent.

The characters in the drama, such as Saul, Malzah (Saul's evil spirit), David and Samuel, are magnificently sustained. Heavysege had thoroughly grasped the Hebrew spirit, and his language, if somewhat prolix, has a prophet-like majesty, a seer-like intonation which helped to give Saul a place among the few really powerful dramas in English literature since the age of the great Elizabeth. It was never intended for the stage, but it has at times—though rarely, it is true—a force that recalls some of Shakespeare's most dramatic passages. Saul's vision, during his visit to the Witch of Endor, on the eve of his death is not unworthy of a place beside Richard III's on the eve of Bosworth Field. His sword had slain many; his victims rise before him and he vainly strives to shut out the spectacle with the words:

Who comes before me yonder, clothed in blood?

Away, old man, so sad and terrible;—

Away, Ahimelech, I slew thee not!—

Nor these—nor these thy sons, a ghastly train.

Nay, fix not here your dull, accusing eyes,

Your stiff tongues move not, your white lips are dumb;

You give no word unto the ambient air;

You see no figure of surrounding things;

You are as stony, carven effigies....

Out, vipers, scorpions, and ye writhing dragons!

Hydras, wag not your heads at me, nor roll

At me your fiery eyes.

Of Saul the North British Review said: 'Indubitably one of the most remarkable English poems ever written outside of Great Britain.'

From a portrait in the Château de Ramezay

Heavysege is commonly classed as a Canadian author, but erroneously so. The circumstance of his residence in Canada and the fact that his work was printed there are in no way essential; he might have resided anywhere and have written the same book. He was thirty-seven years old when he arrived in Canada. Saul, as we have seen, was published four years later. The length of the poem and its general characteristics and finish would indicate that years were spent in its preparation. It is probable that it took shape in Heavysege's mind early in life and that the poem was composed before he left England; but, even granting that it may have been written in Canada, Heavysege was an English rather than a Canadian writer.

Besides Saul Heavysege published a volume of sonnets in 1855, Jephthah's Daughter and in 1860 Count Filippo; or, The Unequal Marriage. During the later period of his life he was engaged in journalism. He died in Montreal in 1879, lamented by all who knew him.

Alexander McLachlan (1818-96) was a poet of a very different stamp. He was a native of Scotland and came to Canada in 1840 at the age of twenty-two. He was a tailor, and while working at his trade composed poems that gained him an appreciative audience. His first volume of verse appeared in 1845 and was followed by Lyrics in 1858, The Emigrant and Other Poems (1861), and Poems and Songs (1874). In 1900 a complete edition of his poems, carefully edited and with numerous notes and a glossary, was published. McLachlan's love of man and of nature won him many admirers, but, while his verse appeals to the heart, every poem he penned has serious flaws due to a lack of education and of the power of self-criticism. Had he devoted much of the time he gave to composition to studying the masters of English verse, he might have achieved something really fine in poetry, but his work as it stands is commonplace and defective and adds nothing to Canadian literature, even though, from the great heart of the poet and the mind eager to enjoy nature and to cause others to enjoy it with him, he will continue to find readers among those who care much for feeling and little for art.

Thomas D'Arcy McGee (1825-68) was a poet of considerable power, despite the fact that he was a busy publicist and a hard-working politician. He spent only eleven years of his life in Canada, and, although he was one of the Fathers of Confederation and a minister of the crown, and published a volume of poems entitled Canadian Ballads and Occasional Verses, Canadians have no right to claim him as one of their poets. His volume of verse was published one year after he arrived in Canada. D'Arcy McGee, therefore, must be classed as an Irish poet. An Irishman he was by birth and at heart. His work is steeped in Irish feeling and his poetry has in it much of the music of Moore.

The year 1880 marks what has not unfittingly been called by J. D. Logan the Canadian Renaissance. A new era began with the publication of Orion and Other Poems. This volume was the work of a mere boy, Charles G. D. Roberts, who was born in New Brunswick in 1860, and at the time of its publication was teaching school in Chatham, in that province.

Orion and Other Poems attracted wide attention on its appearance, for it differed from all previous attempts at poetry in Canada. Here was verse of a high order, carefully done, showing scholarship and with something of the atmosphere of Shelley, Keats and Tennyson. There was nothing provincial about it. It was rich in itself and rich in promise. The themes were largely classical; the young poet had not dared to venture into original fields. It was serious verse throughout, and was free from the crudities that had marred the greater portion of Canadian poetry. Except for a too evident striving after literary conceits, a superabundance of epithets and an ornateness to be expected of a youth under twenty, the poems were, indeed, almost flawless.

Six years later Roberts's second volume, In Divers Tones, appeared. In this volume the poet showed a vast step in advance of his earlier work. His style was more subdued. He had largely broken away from classical subjects, and had his eye fixed on nature as he saw it about him. In 1893 his Songs of the Common Day was given to the world. This collection of poems showed still further growth: the art was finer and more mature, and inspiration was found largely 'in common forms' and 'the soul of unregarded things.' The volume Songs of the Common Day contains Roberts's most ambitious and sustained effort in verse—'Ave' (published separately in 1892), an elegy written to commemorate the death of Shelley. Not only is this ode great as a Canadian poem, but it is also important as an English elegy and is worthy of study alongside of such a poem as Matthew Arnold's 'Thyrsis.' 'Ave' has a virile force, a sensuous splendour, an artistic excellence that make it compare favourably with the best work done in the United States and with the work of any of the recent singers of Great Britain. Its power can be judged from the following stanza:

Thyself the lark melodious in mid-heaven;

  Thyself the Protean shape of chainless cloud,

Pregnant with elemental fire, and driven

  Through deeps of quivering light, and darkness loud

With tempest, yet beneficent as prayer;

  Thyself the wild west wind, relentless strewing

The withered leaves of custom on the air,

  And through the wreck pursuing

O'er lovelier Arnos, more imperial Romes,

Thy radiant visions to their viewless homes.

While this poem is in memory of Shelley, and while it characterizes with power and fidelity the work and life of that master genius, it is of peculiar interest as a truly Canadian poem with Canadian atmosphere and colour. Shelley had been an inspiration to Roberts, and with Shelley was associated in the poet's mind the spot in nature that first lifted his heart above the material aspect of things and made song vibrate in his brain. Those vast Westmoreland flats, 'miles and miles, level, and grassy, and dim'; that red sweep of weedy shore, the blue hills, the sea mists, 'the sting of buffeting salt'—his life is full of them. Shelley strikes 'with wondering awe his inward sight,' and these are the very words he uses to describe the influence of the Tantramar marshes on his being. 'Ave' to be appreciated must be studied as a whole, but there are in it many passages that stand out with peculiar lyrical prominence. A few will serve to show the poetic gems it contains:

And speechless ecstasy of growing June.


                Again I heard the song

Of the glad bobolink, whose lyric throat

Pealed like a tangle of small bells afloat.


The common waters, the familiar woods,

And the great hills' inviolate solitudes.


But all about the tumult of his heart

Stretched the great calm of his celestial art.

The other poems in Songs of the Common Day are all worthy of close study. About his nature verse there will be found an aroma of marsh and salt sea air, a delight in Canadian woods and Canadian fields.

In The Book of the Native, published in 1897, Roberts made a still further advance. The influence of the years that bring the philosophic mind was manifest, for the author now grappled with deeper problems. In such a poem as 'Origins' he showed the action of the modern scientific spirit upon him. In this study he brings man into vital, physical contact with nature, and poetically awakens the mind to the influence of heredity and the kinship of all created things.

In 1898 New York Nocturnes was published; and in 1901 a volume of collected verse appeared containing all his poems written before 1898 that Roberts wished to preserve. The Book of the Rose was given to the public several years later, and showed that though he was devoting himself largely to the writing of fiction and animal stories, he had lost none of his delicate art or his refined fancy. It must be said of Roberts, however, that his work has not an ethical centre, nor is he to be considered as an interpreter of life. But his poetry is something that should give pride to his fellow-countrymen. In Roberts and the Influence of his Time, already mentioned, James Cappon unhesitatingly says of Roberts that he 'is certainly the most distinguished of our Canadian poets, those, at any rate, who use the English language.' In commenting on a number of passages selected to show the genius of the poet, Cappon remarks: 'If these passages were found in Wordsworth, say in the series of sonnets on the Duddon, they would be quoted by every one as fine and subtle renderings of the moods of Nature.' This is high praise from a critic of acknowledged authority, and ought to bring Canadians to study the work of Roberts; but this money-worshipping age, this age of prose and reason, is impatient of poetry.

Archibald Lampman was a spirit of the rarest excellence. Of him William Dean Howells wrote: 'His pure spirit was electrical in every line; he made no picture of the Nature he loved in which he did not supply the spectator with the human interest of his own genial presence, and light up the scene with the lamp of his keen and beautiful intelligence.' And again: 'The stir of leaf, of wind, of foot; the drifting odours of the wood and the field; the colours of the flowers, of skies, of dusty roads and shadowy streams and solitary lakes, all so preciously new, give his reader the thrill of the intense life of the northern solstice.' On account of the beauties that Howells found in Lampman's work many critics have given that poet the first place in Canadian literature.

Archibald Lampman was born in Morpeth, Ontario, in 1861. He was of United Empire Loyalist stock on both his mother's and father's side. His father was a clergyman of the Anglican Church, a scholar, and himself no mean poet. From his earliest days Archibald Lampman was delicate. While a child his parents moved to Gore's Landing, a small village on the shore of Rice Lake. Here in his seventh year young Lampman contracted rheumatic fever, which left him a cripple for four years and physically weak for the rest of his too short life. He received his education at Trinity College School, Port Hope, and at Trinity College, Toronto. In these institutions he laid the sound foundation of the scholarship that marks his poetical achievement. For a brief period after graduation he taught school, and then entered the civil service at Ottawa, where he spent the remainder of his days faithfully doing the drudgery of office work, but ever keeping his sunrise aim, devotion to poetry. In February 1899, while the winter blasts swept his loved Ottawa valley, Lampman's spirit went to its eternal rest. His death at the age of thirty-eight was a most severe loss to Canadian literature. He was the one poet who had been altogether faithful to his art. He was a dreamer of poetical dreams and would allow nothing to turn him aside from clothing his dreams in exquisite verse forms.

During Lampman's lifetime he published two volumes: Among the Millet and Other Poems in 1888 and Lyrics of Earth in 1896. At the time of his death another volume, Alcyone, was in press. In 1900 his complete poems were brought out. The work of editing this volume was entrusted to his friend and fellow-poet, Duncan Campbell Scott. The excellent memoir by the editor is in itself a fine piece of work, both as biography and as appreciative literary criticism.

Archibald Lampman undoubtedly ranks high as a nature poet. Every season, every month in the year, every phase of nature seen along the Ottawa valley has been interpreted by him. He saw beauty in life's commonest things. Even the harsh croaking of the frogs gave him a subject for most melodious verse. A selection from the poem 'Heat' will serve to show his genius better than could any descriptive notes:

From plains that reel to southward, dim,

  The road runs by me white and bare;

Up the steep hill it seems to swim

  Beyond, and melt into the glare.

Upward, half-way, or it may be

  Nearer the summit, slowly steals

A hay cart, moving dustily

  With idly clacking wheels.


By his cart's side the wagoner

  Is slouching slowly at his ease

Half-hidden in the windless blur

  Of white dust puffing to his knees.

This wagon on the height above,

  From sky to sky on either hand,

Is the sole thing that seems to move

  In all the heat-held land.


Beyond me, in the fields, the sun

  Soaks in the grass and hath his will;

I count the marguerites one by one;

  Even the buttercups are still.

On the brook yonder not a breath

  Disturbs the spider or the midge.

The water-bugs draw close beneath

  The cool gloom of the bridge.

With a rapid pencil the poet has here limned a common Canadian country scene with the vigour and truth of a Millet. Lampman continually lived close to the heart of nature, and nature revealed herself to him and gave him the power to reveal her to others with a natural magic. He was, too, a consummate artist. He knew the value of words, and an examination of the passage quoted will show with what aptness, with what imaginative force he was able to use language. There is a pictorial splendour in such a poem as 'Heat,' a power of painting a broad landscape and giving at the same time its minutest details. Nor is it without its humanistic touch. That wagoner 'slouching slowly at his ease' adds human interest to the scene. In the background of it all there is ever the poet himself with his illuminating mind—'his keen and beautiful intelligence.'

Lampman was a master of the sonnet. Through this little instrument he breathed out some of his most beautiful and serious thoughts. Such sonnets as 'Truth,' 'Prayer,' 'Knowledge' and 'Sight' show the intense earnestness of the poet. His first desire was to be true; his prayer was for power to do worthy work and for the knowledge that gives insight. Lampman's work has not the splendid sensuousness of Carman's verse, nor has he handled as many and varied themes as Roberts; he lacks, too, the moral profundity of William Wilfred Campbell in that poet's inspired moments, but as an interpreter of nature in all her gentler phases he stands by himself. A knowledge of his verse will open the eyes and ears of all who read it to the marvellous beauties of the fields and streams and woods that lie about them.

William Wilfred Campbell is another of the recent Canadian poets who have attracted many readers. He was born in Ontario in 1860, and was educated in Toronto and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1885 he was ordained to the ministry of the Church of England. He gave up the ministry in 1891 and entered the civil service at Ottawa. He first came into literary prominence by his volume Lake Lyrics and Other Poems, published in 1889. This was followed by The Dread Voyage and Beyond the Hills of Dream, volumes showing no great advance in art but a firmer grip on the problems of existence. His tragedies Mordred and Hildebrand are powerful in thought. Although both dramas are somewhat loosely constructed, they have the distinction of being the ablest dramatic work produced in Canada. In Mordred the poet deals with an Arthurian theme, but he was unhappy in his selection of a subject. The unspeakable crime of Arthur does not make pleasant reading. Again, in a field so thoroughly exploited by such a master poet as Tennyson, it was difficult to avoid imitation. The Tennysonian note is prominent throughout the drama, and characters and manner are often little more than echoes. Dramatic force is frequently lacking, and in its place there is the epic note. In 1905 Campbell published his Collected Poems, a volume of some three hundred and fifty pages. He is undoubtedly a poet of power. He has a profundity of thought, a seriousness and an ethical purpose which no other Canadian poet possesses to the same degree. To him art is secondary.

One of his poems at least is pre-eminently great in idea and workmanship. 'The Mother' ranks with the very finest poems of modern times. 'A Present Day Creed,' 'The Blind Caravan,' 'Soul,' 'The Glory of the Dying Day' are among his most characteristic lyrics. 'Lazarus' is one of his strongest and most typical poems. The thought in it is the essential thing. Whittier, in 'The Cry of a Lost Soul,' has in his simple manner developed the same idea—the cry of a lost soul reaching the ears of a spirit in heaven would cause suffering where it is generally supposed no suffering can be. Lazarus, in Campbell's poem, as he listens to an agonized voice rising suppliant, says:

This is no heaven with all its shining hosts;

This is no heaven until that hell doth die.

In 'Lazarus,' as in most of his other poems, the poet is so much preoccupied with the idea beating in his brain that he is not always careful of his art, and there are lines that need polishing and thoughts that need recasting; but these are the knots in the oak.

Bliss Carman is a Canadian poet who is held in the highest repute in the United States. By many he is considered the most eminent lyrical poet of the North American continent, and not a few agree with Arthur J. Stringer when he calls him 'the sweetest lyrist of America.'

Carman was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1861 and is of United Empire Loyalist descent. He received his early education under George R. Parkin at the collegiate institute in his native city. After a brilliant career in the provincial university he spent several years in post-graduate work in Edinburgh and Harvard Universities. In 1890 he began his literary career in New York city as literary editor of the Independent. He was afterwards connected with the Atlantic Monthly and the Cosmopolitan, and in 1894 published the Chap Book in Chicago. He later engaged in literary work in Europe, and his experience in Old World cities and scenes has done not a little to colour his verse. In everything his equipment is an ideal one for a poet: he is a good scholar; he has had wide experience with life in the New World and the Old, and excellent opportunities for studying nature in all her moods. His first volume of verse appeared in 1893, and between that date and 1913 he has given the world nearly thirty volumes in verse and prose. His first book was entitled Low Tide on Grand Pré. This was followed by three volumes entitled Songs from Vagabondia, written in partnership with Richard Hovey. His more important volumes of verse are Behind the Arras (1895), Ballads of Lost Haven (1897), and the series of five volumes under the general title Pipes of Pan, which contained his best work done between 1897 and 1905. He has also written several prose works which from the point of view of style are admirable.

Carman has a song for every mood, and passes with ease from the grim, ghastly, grotesque force of 'The Red Wolf' to the rich beauties of the songs of the Pipes of Pan series or the exquisitely suggestive, longing plaintiveness of 'Exit Anima.' He has not written, save in his early tentative efforts, on distinctively Canadian themes, but the colour of much of his work is Canadian. Even in Pipes of Pan, Greek in tone and colour, when he deals with nature, the voices of the birds and beasts that reach his ear, the colours that flash before his eyes from meadow, forest and hillside, are those with which he was familiar in his New Brunswick home. In 'Beyond the Gamut' his two lines,

Dared the unknown with Blake and Galileo,

Fronted death with Daulac's seventeen,

show how his heart feels towards Canada. Instead of Daulac we might have expected some such name as Leonidas in this combination, but the hero of New France appealed to Bliss Carman with more force than the hero of Thermopylae.

It is not an easy task to characterize Carman's work. He is a sort of twentieth-century blend of Omar Khayyam, Shelley and Robert Browning, with Tennyson's art thrown in to give delicate flavour to the whole. Not that he is as supremely great as any of these, but his thought and manner of expression suggest no lesser creative artists. He has Omar's love of sensuous beauty, Shelley's lyrical power, Browning's force and often his vagueness, and something of Tennyson's skill in concentrating an idea or scene into a uniquely obtrusive word or phrase. At times he combines imaginative power with realistic force. There is also a Norse atmosphere to much of his work. 'The Yule Guest,' 'The Last Watch,' parts of 'Outbound,' and 'The Tidings to Olaf' have something of the feeling inspired by the Norse sagas. 'Marsyas and 'Beyond the Gamut' are exquisite pieces of lofty music and compare favourably with Browning's masterpiece in music, 'A Toccata of Galuppi's.' They have much of Browning's manner, while they are at the same time the distinctive product of Carman's own individuality. But the poem 'Pipes of Pan' in From the Book of the Myths is in many ways his supreme effort. It is Greek, pagan, and gives an excellent interpretation of nature. The poet has entered thoroughly into the spirit of the early world in which men saw naiads, nymphs, dryads and oreads in every stream, grove, tree and mountain. It has, too, a colour and movement that suggest the Elizabethan renaissance, and is in many ways not unlike Milton's 'L'Allegro' and 'Il Penseroso.' Although the groundwork of the poem is Greek, Pan in this poem is wandering through and piping in Canadian scenes. 'Pipes of Pan' is of its kind a perfect piece of work; no jarring note is heard; thought, rhythm and language make a harmonious whole.

George Frederick Cameron (1854-85) is one of the most spontaneous of Canadian singers. Cameron was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, but when fifteen years old he became a resident of Boston, and the greater part of his literary life was spent in that United States centre of culture. Even before going to Boston he had produced some excellent verse. The lyrical cry is to a marked degree present in every line he wrote. When pleasure or pain smote upon his spirit he burst into song. Love, liberty, the mysteries of life and death—these were his themes. There is nothing of a dramatic character in his work and but little that is descriptive. Characteristic of his best work are the two stanzas entitled 'Standing on Tiptoe,' which appeared in the volume Lyrics, published after his death:

Standing on tiptoe ever since my youth,

  Striving to grasp the future just above,

I hold at length the only future—Truth,

  And Truth is Love.


I feel as one who, being a while confined,

  Sees drop to dust about him all his bars:—

The clay grows less, and leaving it, the mind

  Dwells with the stars.

Much of his work was written in the cause of liberty. Wherever he saw oppression—in Ireland, Russia, or Cuba—he raged in song against it. There is a lyrical force and fire in his songs written between 1868 and 1872 on Spanish oppression in Cuba that may have done something to keep alive the fire of indignation which burst into flame twenty-five years later, and this humble Canadian singer may have played his part in driving Spain from the American continent. These poems were popular when published and are the best lyrics written on suffering Cuba. Cameron returned to Canada in 1882, and during the last three years of his too brief life did some of his best work—calmer in tone, deeper in thought and finer in workmanship than his early verse, yet with all its lyrical rush and sweep and spontaneity.

Robert Service is one of the most popular of the poets who have written in the Dominion, and though he is not a Canadian, his poems are distinctly a product of Canada and have to be considered in any review of Canadian verse. Service is of Scottish descent and was born in England in 1876. He came to Canada in 1897, and, while in the employment of the Bank of Commerce in the Yukon, was inspired by the grandeur and tragedy of that region to write three volumes of verse: Songs of a Sourdough, Ballads of a Cheechako and Rhymes of a Rolling Stone. His power lies in depicting rugged mountain scenery, the awful sublimity of the Arctic world, the vast beauty of such natural phenomena as the 'silver dance of the mystic Northern Lights,' and the rough, brutal, vicious life of a primitive mining region. There are in his work isolated passages of great power. The masculine force and dramatic intensity of his lines, the strong music of his stanzas, the admiration for the heroic in man attracted the public, and he found wide appreciation. He has nothing of the artistic fineness of the work of Roberts, Carman or Lampman, but he drives home some eternal truths with sledge-hammer blows. Other Canadian poets play pleasing songs on their rustic pipes, but Service has a whole anvil chorus. He has, however, the defects of his qualities to a marked degree. He too often forgets that vulgarity is not strength, that brutality is not force. Some of his subjects are unspeakable, and many of his best poems are marred by unnecessary coarseness.

William Henry Drummond (1854-1909) was born in Ireland, but at an early age he came to Canada, and the whole of his literary work is Canadian. His distinction lies in his having created, or rather discovered, a striking and, in many respects, an original character in literature. True, the habitant had been presented in prose and verse before his day, but although such writers as William McLennan had made careful studies, charming in their simplicity and truth, of this picturesque figure of Canadian life, Drummond made him his own, and gave an exhaustive interpretation of his homely, kindly character. The broken English of the habitant is used as the vehicle for the poet's expression, and Drummond handles it with skill and makes his characters living beings. He had a genuine affection for the French-Canadian peasants, and, while presenting them in verse inimitable for its humour, he never caricatures them. He studied them on their farms and in their homes, and, through his sympathy, he was able to depict their lives with great fidelity.

During his lifetime Drummond published four volumes of verse: The Habitant and Other French-Canadian Poems, Johnny Courteau and Other Poems, Phil O'-Rum's Canoe and Madeline Verchères and The Voyageur and Other Poems. In 1909, shortly after his death, another volume was issued. The public never tired of Drummond's work. His wit and humour, the kindly smile that played through every line, and his tender pathos when dealing with the sorrows of the habitants gave him a wide audience of enthusiastic admirers. The habitant of Drummond will live in Canadian literature. Johnny Courteau, the members of the Laramie family, and the crew of the wood-scow Julie Plante will go down the ages hand in hand with 'Sam Slick.'

Charles Mair as a poet is as old as the Dominion. He was born in Ontario in 1840 and in 1868 published his first volume of verse, Dreamland and Other Poems. He is best known as the author of Tecumseh, a drama in five acts, first published in 1886. Tecumseh abounds in noble sentiments and shows insight into Indian life and character. The language of the Indians, however, is not natural; sentiments and form of speech are those of a cultivated Englishman rather than of such Indians as Tecumseh and the Prophet. The movement of the verse has not the freedom, the conversational overflow essential to dramatic utterance. Too much of it is in the epic rather than the dramatic manner, but it has many fine passages and striking lines. Mair's poems 'A Ballad for Brave Women,' in which he sings the courage and patriotism of Laura Secord, and 'The Last Bison' are in many ways finer than Tecumseh. His description of the bison is most impressive:

                          His shining horns

Gleamed black amidst his fell of floating hair;

His neck and shoulders, of the lion's build,

Were framed to toss the world.

Frederick George Scott of Quebec has been one of the most persistent of Canadian poets, having published six or seven volumes of verse. His work has no distinctive note. He is a careful artist, and writes almost exclusively in a lyrical vein. Once or twice, as in 'The Frenzy of Prometheus' and 'Justin,' he strikes an epic note, and Miltonic and Tennysonian echoes are heard in his lines. He is at his best in such a poem as 'A Song of Triumph,' where he sings man's conquest of his environment.

In his hands are the sands of the ages, and gold of unperishing youth,

On his brow, even now, is the shining of wisdom and justice and truth;

His dower was the power to prevail, on the lion and dragon he trod,

His birth was of earth, but he mounts to a throne in the bosom of God.

Among other men who have a prominent place in Canadian song are John Reade, author of The Prophecy of Merlin, a poem showing imagination, scholarship and culture; Arthur Weir (1864-1902), author of three volumes of verse rich in music and good in their interpretation of the changing moods of nature; John Hunter-Duvar (1830-99), of Prince Edward Island, who wrote several dramas with lyrical interludes, quaint and sweet, and having a mediæval tone and colour; and Duncan Campbell Scott, the author of several collections of lyrics, Canadian in colour and with a music rich in tone and splendidly interpretative of nature.

In 1884, on the receipt of Isabella Valancy Crawford's Old Spookses' Pass, Malcolm's Katie, and Other Poems, Lord Dufferin wrote the author a letter in which were the following words: 'It is time now that Canada should have a literature of its own, and I am glad to think that you have so nobly shown us the way.'

Isabella Valancy Crawford (1850-87) was born in Dublin, Ireland, and came with her father, a physician, to Canada in 1858. Dr Crawford settled with his family first in the village of Paisley on the Saugeen River, and later at Lakefield, near the Kawartha Lakes—picturesque spots, where the father, a man of 'wide reading and culture, waged an unsuccessful war against poverty.' His daughter had a keen, well-stored mind and a penetrating imagination. She saw poetry in life's common things and is, in a sense, the best of the interpreters of the typical life of pioneer days who have yet written prose or verse in Canada. As J. W. Garvin, the editor of her collected poems (1905), remarks, 'a great poet dwelt among us and we scarce knew her.' She died at the early age of thirty-six and she did her work among a people caring little for art, but she left behind her a body of work that is seldom commonplace, and which at times has a sincerity and a virility that are the gifts of only the greatest singers. 'The Helot' is a fine example of her genius. In it music, diction and ideas are in perfect harmony. Not one of its ninety-seven stanzas is weak. Its power is best shown by an example:

Bruteward lash thy Helots, hold

  Brain and soul and clay in gyves,

Coin their blood and sweat in gold,

  Build thy cities on their lives,—


Comes a day the spark divine

  Answers to the gods who gave;

Fierce the hot flames pant and shine

  In the braised breast of the slave.

'Old Spookses' Pass' is a dialect poem possessed of great dramatic force, rugged humour and good character interpretation. The sublimity of the elements at war in a mountain region and the wild rush of a herd of frightened cattle are depicted with a power and truth all the more astonishing as they are described by a woman unfamiliar with such scenes and are purely the product of an intense creative imagination. Through it all, too, thoughts such as are contained in the following stanza pulsate:

An' yer bound tew listen an' hear it talk,

  Es yer mustang crunches the dry, bald sod,

Fur I reckon the hills an' stars an' crick

  Are all uv 'em preachers sent by God.'

An' them mountains talk tew a chap this way:

  'Climb, if ye can, ye degenerate cuss!'

An' the stars smile down on a man, an' say,

  'Cum higher, poor critter, cum up tew us!'

From the portrait in 'The Collected Poems of Isabella Valancy Crawford,' reproduced by permission of Mr J. W. Garvin, Toronto

'Malcolm's Katie,' a pastoral idyll, is the only Canadian poem of any length that has taken as its subject the struggle of the pioneer with the primeval forest. It abounds in nature touches, its imagery is rich and in keeping with the characters and their environment, and the dramatic passages are varied and strong. The delicate love-song beginning 'O, Love builds on the azure sea' is as artistic as some of the lyrics with which Tennyson brightens his idylls; and nothing stronger has been done in Canadian verse than the song in which the pioneer is shown doing 'immortal tasks':

Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!

What doth thy bold voice promise me?


I promise thee all joyous things

That furnish forth the lives of kings;


For every silver ringing blow

Cities and palaces shall grow.


Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!

Tell wider prophecies to me.


When rust hath gnawed me deep and red

A nation strong shall lift his head.


His crown the very heavens shall smite,

Æons shall build him in his might.


Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree!

Bright seer, help on thy prophecy!

Isabella Valancy Crawford's poetry has vigour and artistic excellence; it evinces a deep insight into nature in all her moods, faithfully interprets life, and is a worthy, if slight, contribution to the poetical literature of the English-speaking peoples.

E. Pauline Johnson (1862-1913) has a unique place in Canadian letters. In her veins was the blood of the Mohawks, the most renowned among the Indians of the Six Nations. She published in all three volumes of verse: The White Wampum, Canadian Born and Flint and Feathers, the last including the poems published in the earlier volumes.

Pauline Johnson was born on the Grand River Indian Reserve, and was the daughter of Chief Johnson of the Mohawks. Though her mother was an Englishwoman, the poetess ever prided herself on her Indian origin. She is at her best when portraying the savage instincts of the Indian heart, and such poems as 'A Cattle Thief' and 'A Cry from an Indian Wife' have much dramatic force. Her volumes abound in verse distinctively Canadian in subject; nor is she limited to one district. All the vast Dominion from Halifax to the Pacific Ocean was her 'stamping ground.' The tide-fretted shores of the Atlantic, the rapids and streams of the east and west, the cattle country, the Rockies, the Arctic regions have all had tributes from her. 'The Song my Paddle Sings' is one of her finest and best-known lyrics, a delightful bit of music with thought and rhythm in perfect harmony.

The beauty of Canadian scenery, the varied seasons, and the aspirations of a pioneer people have produced an astonishingly large number of women writers. Among those who have published volumes of verse are: Sarah Anne Curzon (1833-98), whose drama Laura Secord, a somewhat heavy and stilted performance, has given permanent form to one of the most heroic deeds of the War of 1812; Agnes Ethelwyn Wetherald, who has to her credit no fewer than four books of poetry, all of which are rich in art and thought; Agnes Maule Machar ('Fidelis'), whose peculiar poetic domain is the Thousand Islands, and in whose verse there is a fine rendering of the restful beauty of that summer dreamland; Jean Blewett, strong in her portrayal of domestic life and homely scenes and incidents; S. Frances Harrison ('Seranus'), a maker of verses refined in colour, music and language; Kate Seymour MacLean, whose work is serious in thought and who has more than usual skill in expression; and Marjorie L. C. Pickthall, whose volume, The Drift of Pinions, published in 1913, shows subtle and delicate music and pictorial distinctness. At times—too frequently, indeed—Miss Pickthall's meaning is obscured by the fervour of her imagination, but one lyric at least, 'Dream River,' is a perfect bit of work. Its closing lines give an excellent idea of its qualities:

O, every morn the sparrow flings

His elfin trills athwart the hush,

And here unseen at eve there sings

One crystal-throated hermit thrush.

From this rapid review it will be seen that a body of literary work distinctively national and worthy of serious consideration has been produced by Canadians. When the recent settlement of British North America is considered, when account is taken of the backward condition of education for many years and the exceedingly limited reading public that native authors have had to appeal to, the literary achievement must appear remarkable. Moreover, Canadian authors have been handicapped in having to compete in their own market with—it must be admitted—better creations than theirs by British and American authors. Again, as has been shown, many Canadian writers secure an appreciative audience in the United States and ultimately take up their residence in the republic; others are attracted to the mother country. In either case these self-expatriated Canadians shape their style and feelings into harmony with their new conditions. They in time lose their Canadian colour and atmosphere and become a literary part of the country in which they have made their home. Parker, Carman and Duncan have lost to a large extent their Canadian identity.

The Canadian literary domain, too, has been invaded by foreign writers, and much of it has been worked by mere visitors to the Dominion. Parkman has written the early history of Canada with a fulness and in a manner that make it difficult, though not impossible, for any writer to do original historical work in the same field. Much of the storehouse of romance has been exploited by American and British writers of fiction. Mary Hartwell Catherwood, Conan Doyle, Jack London, Silas Weir Mitchell, Kirk Monroe, Mary N. Murfree ('Charles Egbert Craddock'), Charles Dudley Warner, Stewart Edward White, Mrs Humphry Ward and Henry Van Dyke have dealt with Canadian material better than have most Canadian-born novelists. But there are still rich literary fields to be cultivated; and with the increase of wealth and the consequent increase of leisure, with better educational establishments, Canadian authors will have a home market for their productions, and will doubtless be able to do as good work as is done in other parts of the English-speaking world.

From Charles L. Hildreth's Introduction to McCarroll's Madeline and Other Poems, 1889.





General Survey

Canada is too young a country to give evidence as yet of a distinctively national note in painting. Like much of its scenery, its painters are individual units, distinguished only by personal characteristics. Occasionally one sees, in travelling over the Dominion, meadows that for beauty and pastoral quiet rival the numberless green fields of England. There are mountains and lakes far exceeding in grandeur the romantic landscapes and waters of Switzerland. The prairies are finer than, but not so diversified as, the low-lying lands of Holland. The forests are more magnificent than those of France, and more varied than the natural woods of Russia or Germany. But there is not that unified result which comes from the centuries of civilization or settlement which distinguish the surface of Europe and are produced only through long ages of progress, development and evolution. In a hundred years from now Canada will be solidified, and the national character as well as the topographical conditions will be distinguished by an ultimate general outcome of the many forces at work in every direction. Until this happens she will have a country and people of diversified character and dissimilar components, and art as expressive of her national and psychological elements must necessarily be personal and to some extent local in its language. Canada has no such generic types as the poor of London, or the highest examples of nobility, as these have been portrayed by the British artists. The peasants of Millet and the humble sons or daughters of toil painted by Israels do not exist as representatives of a class. The individual Canadian is not yet an integral part of a great community. He stands in a marked degree alone and detached. He has nothing in himself which when developed or portrayed stamps him as the characteristic type of a national class. The work and genius of the Canadian artist are therefore circumscribed. That which is represented to-day on canvas is blotted out by the evolution of to-morrow, and in a few years the conditions will be so completely changed that Canadians will not be able to recognize either the country they lived in or the community of which they formed a mere fragment.

From the painting by Paul Peel

The glory of the Canadian autumn as painted forty years ago by Daniel Fowler remains to some extent, but the massing and richness of colour are missing, owing to the clearing away of the forests. There are still the sunsets of Jacobi, but the picturesque surroundings of tree and stream are vanishing before the hands of the spoiler. L. R. O'Brien found many charming natural solitudes in the northern parts of Ontario, most of which are now disfigured by the houses of the summer resident. Even the fine glades and uplands of the Grand River, the special art property of Homer Watson, have disappeared to give place to the farms and barns of the agriculturist. In view of such facts, and for many other apparent reasons, landscape artists find themselves confined every year more and more to the fragments of continually changing conditions and limited by a feeling that their pictures are practically and necessarily a passing record of their present surroundings. Time adds largely to the mystery and magic of nature, and where the face of nature is constantly changing it becomes difficult to idealize or interpret on lines that involve continuity of the subject or its character. Even the evidences of humanity, and the moving springs of life as expressed in grief or joy, in toil or luxury, have no settled characteristics which repeat themselves from generation to generation. The grooves of the national machinery and the streams of human passion are not yet worn or well defined in Canada, and until her people are moulded into a homogeneous condition she cannot hope for a distinctive note in the work of her artists.

In addition to the lack of a purely national atmosphere in landscape there is in Canadian painting an absence of atmosphere of a physical character owing to the clear skies and distinct lines of the things painted. The artists of every time and country must look at nature and life as they appear by reason of immediate surroundings and material impressions. The influence of the church in Italy gave us the beautiful decorative quality of the ornamental. The Dutch in their freedom after the wars of independence went back to nature and light and air, and we have as a result the wonderful works of Rembrandt. France during her artificial period produced great naturalness in art by reason of the beauty and charm of the airy, graceful and vivacious character of her people. The essence of art must be the manner in which the subject is presented to the art vision of the painter, and as the subject changes so must the method and ideas of the painter change accordingly. The brightness and clearness of physical Canada and the externals of the life of its people must indicate the character of the artist's expression. A picture full of that atmosphere which dominates the works of the Dutch masters would be wanting in truth as applied to Canada, and when it is urged that Canadian works of art are hard and more or less realistic, it should not be forgotten that the artist must paint the country as he finds it, and not as he might wish to make it, otherwise his pictures will be unreal and wholly artificial. Aerial perspective and, to some extent, form are therefore dependent on local or climatic conditions. Truth and beauty are fundamentals, but the reading of the book of nature in the spirit in which she presents herself is equally important. Winter in Canada is full of colour and character. The atmospheric condition is then more marked than at any other period of the year, and that this is impressing itself on some of the best landscape painters is evidenced by the fact that most of the sympathetic and subtle pictures at Canadian exhibitions are now winter scenes.

Whilst there is not, strictly speaking, a national phase of art in Canada, it may be stated that a laudable attempt has been made at different times to render through the medium of the painter's vision some important features of a national character.

Among those who have in no small degree given a national cast to their work may be mentioned the names of Paul Kane, Cornelius Krieghoff, John Innes and Edmund Morris. Paul Kane painted the native Indian, his manners, habits and mode of life. His admirable pictures were in great measure acquired by George W. Allan, from whom they passed to Sir Edmund B. Osier of Toronto, who in turn donated them to the people of the Province of Ontario. Krieghoff, the painter of the wilds of Canada, with the Indians and their camps and canoes, found many of his subjects in Quebec, then Lower Canada. In later times Innes represented on canvas many of the incidents of the freedom of prairie life. At the present day Edmund Morris has sought out the haunts and homes of the pure and aboriginal types of the native races and has preserved for all time some splendid examples of the chiefs and warriors of the fast diminishing tribes of the Crees and Blackfeet. These records of primitive life now hang in the legislative halls of Ontario and the western provinces. The subjects chosen by these artists are to some extent national, and the pictures show careful and appreciative knowledge of the characteristics of an early national condition. But for these examples it would be difficult to select any phase of art which could be said to represent any features of national life or character. The bulk of the work has been along the lines of specific and not generic representation, and whilst the artists earnestly sought to give individual interpretation of the wider thoughts of nature and humanity, and often most successfully, there is a lack of breadth and an absence of feeling in much of what was painted during the years when art was neither a factor in the life of the country nor a source of intelligent pleasure in the homes of the people.

The environment of the artist in Canada, as in all young countries fettered by the struggle for existence, is not conducive to the highest order of pictorial merit. It is indeed a wonder that Canadian artists have achieved so much in pictorial art, compelled to work, as they have been, not for the sake of art alone, but for a living dependent on their efforts. Up to within the past few years they have not had much, if any, opportunity of seeing what the great painters of the world had done or were doing. They had to content themselves with observing the efforts of their fellow-craftsmen. The encouragement from their public was very limited. There was no wealthy leisured class or enlightened criticism to help them on in a life which essentially requires encouragement, sympathy and material assistance. The incentive was crippled by lack of financial support and the power of expression limited by want of artistic intercourse. Canada was devoid of that art atmosphere and colour which surround the artists in England, France and Holland. There were no art centres. Taste and appreciation in matters pertaining to pictures did not exist. All this is now very materially changed, and the immediate future doubtless holds much in store for the advancement of art in Canada, and the artist who is possessed of genius may look forward to practising his profession in his native country instead of being expatriated because of lack of support and encouragement from his fellow-Canadians.

Landscape, requiring less technical training than figure painting, has always been a favourite subject in Canada. Genre painting depends largely on human characteristics and associations not heretofore readily available to the Canadian artist. Figure and portrait painting have been confined to a limited number. Humorous and satirical works in colour are almost unrepresented, and save for the artists who have contributed black-and-white drawings to the press, chiefly political, there is no one who has reached any degree of prominence in general subjects to compare with such modern Englishmen as Hassall, Phil May, Heath Robinson, Lawson Wood and many others. No attempt will be made, therefore, to deal with this branch of art, except merely to refer to such well-known cartoonists as Bengough, McConnell, Jefferys and other earnest workers for the press, whose productions show that greater results would have been accomplished if their surroundings had been different and the scope of their talent more extended and diversified.

It is perhaps more advantageous to deal with artists in Canada in two classes: those who are deceased and those at present alive. It would be neither profitable nor practicable to classify schools, for the reason that there is not, and never has been, any distinctive school of art in Canada. Art in Canada does not warrant a classification of schools or periods. Indeed, the birth and life of Canadian art are both within the memory of man, and it will be more satisfactory to treat the subject of painting as it relates to Canada in a personal and biographical manner than to attempt to distinguish periods or schools which have no true existence.

From the painting by Lucius R. O'Brien

The early Canadian painters largely confined their efforts to the study and expression of nature as viewed from the standpoint of the academic. In the earlier part of the last century the influence of the conventional English painter was strongly felt. The breadth, simplicity and feeling of the Barbizon men had not found a sympathetic medium through the palettes of the pioneer artists of Canada. The landscapes were often fairly rendered, but the spirit of nature was not always caught, nor was there much evidence that her ever-changing moods influenced the mind of the artist. A pleasing composition and some refinement in colour were sought for and often obtained, but nothing was attempted approaching in any degree the power and pathos of any of the great men who painted nature, not as they saw it with the casual vision of the uninspired, but as they felt its influence in sympathetic unison with its many moods and varied expressions. Among the figure painters, the likeness in the portrait was considered of more value than the character of the subject. There was no characterization of the individual as part of humanity in a general sense. He was represented only as the individual from a purely objective point of view, and the result is that we find few portraits which appeal to us with convincing force as real works of art. Apart from the fact that the picture may be an excellent semblance of the sitter, there is little to arrest the eye or to appeal to the sympathy. We search in vain among the earlier productions for pictures that mark a phase of life common to mankind or social conditions that represent the national character. Colour, that very essential quality in a portrait, is often flat and uninteresting, and the arrangement is too often of the purely conventional. With landscapes it is somewhat different. Occasionally in the pictures of the early artists there will be found a landscape showing close communion with nature's secrets. A pastoral, simple and poetic, or a woodland interior expressive of solitude and dignity common to the forests of all countries will be found, showing that, notwithstanding lack of technical knowledge, the artist had gone to the fountainhead for counsel and discovered, however limited in extent, wonderful truth and feeling, which are only revealed to us through the genius of the great painter. But compared with the state of literature it may safely be said that, with the exception of the creations of Thomas Chandler Haliburton, the work of the early artists ranks much higher than the production of the literary pioneers. For a long time Canadian writers gave but little evidence of intellectual power. This field, until a few years ago, was very barren, whereas from the very earliest period in Canadian history there were at various intervals artists who have left records of true feeling and a creditable appreciation of the fundamental principles of beauty and truth, and whose pictures, although often lacking in technical excellence, give cogent evidence that the painter was a searcher after truth and did not search in vain.

Societies for the promotion and encouragement of art have existed for many years in Canada, and were strong features in the development of a taste and knowledge of things artistic. With no demand for pictures, and at a time when the objective point of Canadian life was far removed from any thought of the beautiful, an energetic little band of painters formed the Ontario Society of Artists, which received inspiration and encouragement from Lord Dufferin, who at the time of its formation took office as governor-general of Canada. The annual exhibitions and management were confined to Toronto, although there were many members of the society scattered throughout the province. It was and always has been a government-aided institution. The provincial grants were not large, but with such assistance as they afforded the society was enabled to inaugurate and continue a vigorous policy. It is interesting to note the names of its founders and promoters.[1] The fact that a number still survive and are active in the field of art shows what a comparatively young element art is in Canada. These early members gathered together at the annual exhibitions of the society the works of practically all artists worthy of the name. Some of them won meritorious places for themselves in the wider sphere of that higher art plane which is not bounded by geographic lines or provincial limitations. Paul Peel, Blair Bruce and many others achieved distinction in their calling by reason of a genius which can neither be fettered by local environment nor restricted by limited conditions. There are painters who may be treated as belonging to a city or county, and are purely local; others extend to the limits of their own province and become provincial; but those who break the lines of restriction and become true exponents of the mysteries and subtle workings of either nature or humanity are entitled to a seat within the sanctuary of that art which is independent of all ages and all countries.

Coming now to the work and personality of the artists who may be regarded as representing art in Canada, one is somewhat surprised at the number of painters who followed art at an early stage in Canadian history. Like the true poets, they responded to the call of beauty, sometimes without much result, but with a yearning to accomplish more; and in reviewing their work it would not be fair to test their skill by the standards of men who were born and lived in countries where art flourished and was the breath of life. Canadian artists should be judged and measured according to their conditions and opportunities, and not by the laws which govern only the highest and most sublime methods of expression. The writer on Canadian art and letters must accept the facts as he finds them, remembering that there is only one Shakespeare and one Rembrandt. In this spirit the merits or shortcomings of Canadian artists should be dealt with, and a just tribute paid to those who have done much to increase pleasure in life and reveal the beauty of their home surroundings.

See 'Art Societies,' part iii of this article.


But little is known of the history of the earliest Canadian artists. In some instances even the dates of their birth and death cannot be discovered. The first four of whom we have any mention were members of religious orders.

The first painter in Quebec was Father André Pierron, whose work was produced between the years 1660 and 1673, the time of his death. Another artist, François Luc, a Récollet, died in 1685. Hughes Pommier, who died in 1686 in France, painted many pictures in Canada. Crequi painted a number of pictures, but as they were principally for churches they are not known to the public. It is said that he was a man of considerable genius as an original painter. There were apparently no secular artists in New France during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries if we except de Beaucourt, who was born about 1735 and was the first native Canadian painter who studied art in France.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century a man named Roy is named as a painter, but his work seems to have been of a trivial character. Antoine Plamandon was born near Quebec in the early part of the last century. He studied in Paris and returned to Quebec. He painted a number of prominent Canadians, and did a good deal of decorative and ecclesiastical painting in his native province. Louis de Longpré (1747-1818), although not a Canadian by birth, was a resident of Canada for many years. He was well known as a portrait painter in the Province of Quebec, and his works are in the possession of many of the old French-Canadian families. William von Moll Berczy was born in Saxony in 1748 and painted for a number of years in Montreal. Joseph Legare, a member of the Quebec legislature, who was born in 1795, painted various subjects, but his work is not of any great moment from an art point of view. Another Quebec artist was Théophile Hamel (1814-70). Hamel studied art under Plamandon and acquired some further knowledge of painting by a visit to Europe. He is remembered chiefly for his portraits and church pictures. Antoine Sebastian Falardeau, born in 1822 in the Province of Quebec, found work suited to his genius in Florence and devoted himself to copying some of the old masters. Very little of his work is original. Gilbert Stuart Newton was born in Halifax about the year 1793. His work is not of a high character from an art standpoint, but is very interesting as work of illustration. He spent a good deal of his time in England and was a member of the Royal Academy. His pictures are not very well known in this country, nor can they be classed as works of a purely Canadian character.

Paul Kane (1810-71) was one of the earliest painters in what is now the Province of Ontario. His father settled in Toronto when it was known by the name of York. The country at that time was in a very primitive condition. At an early age Kane left Toronto, but returned to it in 1845. He became enthusiastic on subjects connected with Indian life and travelled through the greater part of the North-West and portions of the northern part of the United States. His paintings dealing with Indian life have a peculiar interest as ethnological studies, and show in many cases a considerable degree of talent. Judging by the modern standards of art, it cannot be said that his work was either original or prominent. His pictures were painted to represent the important scenes and the well-recognized types of Indians met by him on his travels, and many of them appeared as illustrations in his book The Wanderings of an Artist among the Indians of North America.[1]

From the painting by Cornelius Krieghoff, by courtesy of the owner, Mr Alex. Buntin, Toronto

Cornelius Krieghoff (1812-72) was born at Düsseldorf, his mother being a native of Holland. He joined the United States army, and while in this service made drawings of military scenes, copies of which were prepared for the War department of the United States government. He afterwards went to Toronto and lived there for a short time, but removed to Montreal, where he began to exhibit such pictures as 'An Indian Wigwam' and 'Views of the Habitant Life.' In 1853 he went to Quebec, where he painted many interesting landscapes. He sought strong colours and understood the art of conveying by broad masses the characteristic qualities of his subject. His sense of humour was considerable. Two of his important works are in the Memorial Hall, Philadelphia.

Daniel Fowler, one of the original members of the Royal Canadian Academy, was born in England in 1810 and died in Canada in 1894. Fowler at first thought of entering the legal profession and was for a time articled in London, but after the death of his father he gave up the study of law and turned his attention to art, for which he had manifested a strong liking. He early showed considerable talent in drawing, and as a young man spent a good deal of time on the Continent making numberless sketches, which he afterwards utilized to a great extent in painting many of his most beautiful landscapes. Owing to ill-health he left England for Canada and settled on Amherst Island, near Kingston. His health was such that for some years he gave up all idea of painting, but, having paid a visit to England, his former association with art induced him to return to Canada to commence painting once more. At the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, 1876, he received a medal for water-colour work, and in 1886 a diploma and medal at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London. He was also one of the chief contributors in the Canadian section at the World's Fair, Chicago, 1893. While he never painted any so-called important works, his medium-sized productions were in their own way absolutely without rivals in Canada. There is a brilliancy about his work that is equal to the finest drawings of the best of the modern painters of Europe. His play of sunlight and his treatment of shadows show that he was not only a strict observer of nature, but a very truthful exponent of some of her most difficult phases. No one painted still life better than he did—this is particularly true of his pictures of dead game, which are characterized by exquisite colour and marvellous drawing. Some of the best of his works are to be found in private collections in Toronto.

O. R. Jacobi (1812-1901) was born in Königsberg, Prussia, but occupies a place among the foremost artists of Canada. His brush-work is of the most minute character. It might be described as stippled, yet the result is of great breadth and wonderful massing of colour. Nothing exceeds in glow and strength his many sunsets, which always afforded him a congenial theme; but perhaps finer than these splendid drawings, filled with palpitating atmosphere and subtle colour, are his grey and green combinations. These are so elusive as to colour itself, so delicately and suggestively expressed, with perfect tonality and with a kind of lingering sadness, as if in sympathy with the last touches of the artist, and yet so strong and emphatic as a whole, that it becomes difficult indeed to convey in words any fair appreciation of their high quality. Many of Jacobi's rich, warm sunsets are to be found in Canadian collections. They do not possess that high quality of art which his greyer landscapes show in tone and composition, but they are much sought after and are becoming somewhat rare. In his earlier work there is much greater breadth and rugged vitality than in the productions of later years. A number of Jacobi's earlier works include figures, chiefly groups of gipsies or children, as accessories to the landscape. He reversed the method of the modern Dutch masters, who began with more or less attention to severe details and exactness of line, but gradually broadened out in thought and technique as they grew older. Jacobi, however, while entirely changing his technique, never degenerated into hardness. His results are broad, strong and effective, even in his most minutely painted pictures. The pictures of Jacobi and Fowler are perhaps the finest examples Canadian art has yet produced.

From the painting by O. R. Jacobi

Henri Perré has left us reminders of a strong and sympathetic admiration for the woods and streams of Canada, and as a painter of studies of individual trees he has few equals. His landscapes as a whole are not so pleasing as those to which reference has been made above, but no Canadian artist better understood the characteristics and individual beauties of the graceful elms or the wide-spreading beeches of Canada. Perré was born at Strassburg, Alsace, in 1828, and died in Toronto in 1890. He became a soldier during the Saxony disturbances, and later going to America joined the Confederate army, and after the Civil War moved to Canada, where much of his work is preserved in the National Gallery at Ottawa. During his later years he lived a very secluded life, and notwithstanding his ability his work degenerated.

Lucius R. O'Brien (1832-1900), with a gentler touch than Daniel Fowler or Homer Watson, although not as strong a painter as either, has left much to be studied and admired. Preferring water-colour as a medium, he devoted his talents to the simple and beautiful phases of nature. The lake district of Muskoka was for many years a favourite resort of O'Brien. The smooth surface of the small stretches of water, with their changing and delicate colour framed in the dark green of the fir and pine and lit up by the tender sky, appealed to him with a strange fascination. His work is for the eye seeking rest and beauty, and while he is sometimes deficient in the drawing of animals incidental to the picture, he must always be considered as one of the most delightful and artistic painters Canada has produced. Born at Shanty Bay, Ontario, in 1832, he was educated at Upper Canada College and became a civil engineer. He was vice-president of the Ontario Society of Artists and became in 1880 the first president of the Royal Canadian Academy, a position which he held for ten years. 'Sunrise on the Saguenay,' his diploma picture, hangs in the National Gallery, Ottawa. He did much fine work in the way of drawings for Picturesque Canada. He was self-taught, but was considerably influenced by the English painters of the beginning of the nineteenth century.

As Wyatt Eaton (1849-96) resided abroad during the most of his life not much is known by Canadians of his work or career. Eaton studied art in New York and was a pupil of Gérôme in Paris from 1872 to 1876. He did a good deal of work for the Century Magazine, and painted the portraits of many celebrated American literary men, most of which were engraved by Timothy Cole. Eaton was the first secretary of the Society of American Artists. He was a brilliant painter in both landscape and figure work. His portrait of Garfield is owned by the Union League of New York. 'The Man with the Violin,' a portrait of the engraver, Timothy Cole, is a well-known picture and is now in the Art Museum of Toronto. Eaton is of such importance as an artist as to be classed among the leading American painters of the last century. He did very little painting in Canada, but several admirable Canadian portraits stand to his credit. He painted, among other Canadians, Sir William Dawson for McGill University, Lord Strathcona, Sir William Macdonald, Lord Mount Stephen, and Sir William and Lady Van Horne.

In this review of Canadian art reference may properly be made to Harlowe White, who, though not a Canadian, lived for a long time in Canada as his adopted country. His art is of a very high order, and few of the English painters of the last century excelled him in his drawings of mill and stream, of cottage and glade, or in his fine colour and striking compositions.

Of Paul Peel (1860-92) much might be said, not only as to his reputation as a painter, but as to the genius which manifests itself throughout nearly all his work. He painted landscapes equally well with figure subjects, although it is by the latter that he will be chiefly remembered. His conception of the human form in relation to art was very keen and rational. He died at the early age of thirty-two, while his art was still in a sense immature, but in such pictures as 'After the Bath' there is strong evidence of power and originality. He showed a complete mastery of his subject, combined with delicate colour and certainty in drawing. His landscapes are marked by a fine sensitiveness and subdued colour, whilst his figures are strongly painted and full of vitality. Peel studied under Gérôme, Boulanger and other French masters, and in 1889 his 'Venetian Bather' was exhibited at the Salon Exhibition. Many of his works are in galleries and private collections.

From the painting by John A. Fraser, by courtesy of the owner, Lieut.-Col, J. B. Miller, Toronto

W. Blair Bruce (1859-1906) may be considered one of the foremost painters of Canada. Bruce studied in Paris, where he received his instruction and training from two well-known French artists—Fleury and Bouguereau. His genius was of a very versatile character. Many of his canvases are somewhat realistic, but his power of delineating form and representing action relieve them of that formal appearance that so often marks the work of realists. Light and space appealed strongly to his mind, and his pictures impress one with the feeling that he viewed art with a wide and comprehensive vision. He died at an early age, and certainly did not develop his talent to the extent he would have done had he been in vigorous health during the last few years of his life. He is one of the few Canadian painters who devoted some attention to mythological subjects.

Another well-known and fine painter is John A. Fraser (1838-97). Beginning as a photographer and advancing to the somewhat mechanical art of colouring photographs, Fraser turned his observation to nature and became a landscape painter. No one has in a simpler or more impressive manner conveyed to the mind the greatness and magnificence of the Rocky Mountains, or given better examples of the beauty of Canadian everyday surroundings. He saw clearly the beauty as well as the grandeur of mountain scenery. In all his work there is a reserve force, making itself felt by its innate power rather than by the aggressive assertion that is frequently too apparent in the pictures of vigorous painters. The value of space dominated his view, and even in his smaller works one is much impressed with the sense of atmosphere and space which characterizes his execution. Fraser had, perhaps, the distinction of being the first to suggest and promote the organization of an art body in Ontario.

Allan Edson (1846-88) is another well-known painter belonging to the Fraser group. Edson was born at Stanbridge, Quebec, and in his early days was engaged in commercial pursuits, but finding himself interested in drawing and painting, soon left his position in a large mercantile house and devoted himself entirely to art. He visited Europe and spent a considerable time in France, where he made the acquaintance of Pelouse and became his pupil. Edson was essentially a landscape painter, and while a good deal of his work savours of the Pelouse influence, he had strikingly original ideas, which had just begun to develop along lines of his own when, unfortunately, he died, leaving a number of unfinished works of great merit. His pictures were received with much favour in the Salon in Paris. Many good judges of painting looked upon him as one of the best landscape painters in Canada. Edson was one of the original members of the Royal Canadian Academy and also a member of the Ontario Society of Artists. His pictures were much admired by the Marquis of Lorne, when governor-general of Canada, and by the Princess Louise, who sent two of them to Her late Majesty Queen Victoria.

William N. Cresswell was born in England in 1822 and died in the county of Huron, Ontario, in 1888. His art education was acquired in England. The subjects which he painted were chiefly coast scenes with flat beaches and low tide. Many of his water-colours are very pleasing, but do not show any great strength or variety.

Henri Julien (1846-1908) is best known as an illustrator, but some of his paintings show good drawing and composition. The action of his figures is often very fine. The habitant with his peculiarities will live as long as Julien's pictures exist. For many years he was the chief illustrator of the Montreal Star.

Charles E. Moss (1860-1901) was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy. His landscapes, chiefly of Quebec subjects, are broadly and, in many cases, well painted, but he lacked individuality. His work as a painter of figures and portraits was always conscientiously done. Perhaps in this branch he succeeded better than in landscape painting. His landscapes are too decorative and the strong features of his subject are not always sufficiently pronounced, but his language is clear and simple.

Forshaw Day (1837-1903) was born in England, but came to Canada in 1862. He painted for a time at Halifax and later on at Kingston. His 'The Grand Pré' was exhibited in Paris.

W. D. Blatchley (1843-1903), an Englishman by birth, was a designer, but also a painter of more than ordinary ability. He painted pictures which appeared at the regular exhibitions of the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy. He was a very painstaking worker, but while many of his smaller subjects show considerable talent, no important work came from his brush.

Henry Sandham (1842-1910), another of the Fraser group, dealt in a light key and has a cheerful outlook in his pictures. He painted vigorously and with considerable variety of expression. His landscapes are perhaps lacking in the subtle feeling pervading Fraser's best work, but they are truthfully and freely handled, and technically show considerable skill. His groups in water-colour are delightfully drawn and arranged, and in many of them there is a transparent brilliancy of colour that relieves them from becoming merely decorative. The great American magazines—Harper's, Scribner's and the Century—were largely indebted to him for illustrations of a high character. Being a draughtsman, his talents tended towards black-and-white drawings, but some of his oils are well worthy of notice. The portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald in the Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, and the 'Dawn of Liberty' in Lexington Town Hall, Massachusetts, are two of his notable pictures. Sandham was one of the original members of the Royal Canadian Academy.

Sydney Strickland Tully (1860-1911) was a daughter of Kwas Tully, C.E., architect for the Ontario government for many years. She was a pupil of W. Cruikshank, and also attended the Slade School and worked under Professor Legros. In 1886 she went to Paris and received the advantage of working under Constant. She was a frequent and acceptable exhibitor at all the exhibitions for several years, and at St Louis obtained a medal for 'The Twilight of Life,' a picture she bequeathed to the Art Museum of Toronto. A portrait of the late Professor Goldwin Smith by her finds a home in Cornell University. Her talents were varied, including portraiture and genre subjects, interiors and landscapes, together with a considerable amount of decorative work.

See pp. 516-17.

Contemporary Painters

William Brymner, president of the Royal Canadian Academy, was born at Greenock, Scotland, in 1855. He is a son of Douglas Brymner, the first Dominion archivist. Brymner went to Paris in 1887 and studied in the school of Julien and Robert-Fleury. He has had work hung in the Salon and in English exhibitions, and received a gold medal at the Pan-American Exhibition and a silver medal at the St Louis Exhibition. He paints portraits as well as landscapes, and is particularly fond of purely Canadian scenes. His pictures are distinguished by naturalness and a remarkably fine treatment of light. His 'Moonlight in September' is in the National Gallery, Ottawa, and other works by him are in the best collections of Canada.

Horatio Walker was born at Listowel, Ontario, in 1858. He does much of his work in the St Lawrence River district, especially on the Island of Orleans, where he finds many of the striking rural subjects which he delights to paint. He is recognized as one of the foremost artists in America. His compositions are simple, but convey, by reason of their fine execution, ideas and impressions of the greatest magnitude. While a painter of the objective, he embodies the finest sympathetic qualities. Nothing could be better than his fields, his woods and his strong feeling for light and beauty. There is much in Walker's pictures that is in harmony with the best type of the Barbizon school. His pictures have been acquired by the leading museums of art in America, and he is represented by a fine example in the National Gallery at Ottawa. A member of the Canadian Art Club, he exhibits frequently at its exhibitions held in Toronto. His work is so well known and recognized that it is needless to give examples; it is sufficient to say that he has a high place among the best of the world's modern artists.

In the front rank of Canadian painters there is one who stands out so prominently that he is entitled to be included in the history of modern art—James Wilson Morrice. Morrice was born in Montreal in 1864, and began the study of art in Toronto, but later found his way to the Continental schools. He was early recognized by J. McNeill Whistler, who greatly appreciated his genius, and he became one of the members of the well-known International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, London, England, of which Whistler was president, and the now celebrated John Lavery vice-president. Morrice is also a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts and the Société Nouvelle, of which the great sculptor Rodin has been president, and to which only one other Anglo-Saxon painter belongs—Sargent. The work of Morrice has also the honour of being represented in the Luxembourg. The striking qualities of this painter are absolute freedom combined with a fine regard for detail, light, emotion, breadth and harmony. Morrice lives in France, where his pictures are looked upon as the highest expression of art. He was one of the founders of the Canadian Art Club, of which he is still an active and exhibiting member.

William Cruikshank was born in Scotland in 1848 and is a grand-nephew of the famous English caricaturist. He came to Canada with his parents when he was quite young, but returned to his native land when he was about sixteen years old and entered the Royal Scottish Academy. He studied under Hugh Cameron and subsequently became a pupil of the Royal Academy. In 1871 he exhibited at the Royal Academy. During 1877 he was mainly engaged in illustrating for some of the leading American magazines. In 1878 he returned to Toronto and became associated with the Art School there, and many of the best artists in Canada have studied under Cruikshank. His knowledge of the technical requirements of painting is undoubtedly beyond that of any other Canadian artist. He has of late devoted himself to portraiture and has taken a high place in art in Canada by reason of his work, which is bold, vigorous and characteristic. His draughtsmanship, always excellent, is seen to great advantage in his later portraits. He has no patience with painting that is merely ornamental. There is directness and simplicity in his work with which mere wall decorativeness has nothing to do. The portraits of A. E. Boultbee and of President Loudon of Toronto University are significant contributions to Canadian art. A number of clever drawings he donated to the Art Museum of Toronto is one of the most valuable collections of the kind in America.

A faithful student of the dignity of Canadian woods and of that powerful influence which Canadian landscapes exercise on the mind of him who sees a strange and unknown force and charm beneath the mere externals is Homer Watson of the little village of Doon, Ontario, where he was born in 1856. There is a fine sense of freedom and space in his rendering of Canadian landscape. The banks and rolling countryside contiguous to the Grand River, with their natural woods and broad cleared spaces, find in this painter a keen appreciation of their beauty and an admirable conception and expression of their charms. Watson feels the dignity of the quiet yet impressive character of the country. The grouping, foliage and vigour of the trees and woods of the Grand River district are feelingly expressed by him. In many of his smaller works one finds passages of wonderful harmony. He responds to the power of the masses of beech and maple, and the grandeur of the rising storm, and has worked at the greater problems of landscape painting with successful results. Within his limits he speaks of the mystery of nature in a very comprehensive sense and intelligently presents the message she has to convey. As a pure landscape painter he stands at the head of his profession. Watson has exhibited in Europe and America, as well as in Canada, and ranks favourably with the strongest landscape painters of England. Among his principal works are 'The Edge of the Clearing,' 'A Frosty Morning'—the last-named in the possession of the Duke of Argyll—'the Village under the Hill,' and others relating to the Grand River locality.

Paul Wickson is a distinctive character in Canadian painting. His horses and cattle are always striking features, and there is no one who excels him in grouping animals in such a way as to make landscapes and figures a harmonious unity. He seizes upon the salient points of action, especially in his horses. Another strong feature of his work is simplicity. Many of his fellow-artists crowd their compositions in order to make, if possible, a full picture. Wickson, on the contrary, gains strength and directness by elimination, and nothing could be more forceful or delightful than his wide horizons, broad prairie stretches and vital animals, which he works out on canvas, not as individual units, but as parts of the whole scheme present to his mind. Whilst the horses, for example, in 'The March of Civilization,' as well as the chief figure, are in themselves dominating and powerfully drawn, they do not overbalance the rest of the subject, but bear their relative value without destroying or weakening the landscape. He feels the force of the summer day and the poetic influence of autumn sunshine. The thought given to his pictures is serious and well considered; and the human interest displayed in such admirable compositions as 'The Promised Land!' and 'The First-born in the Settlement' is unexcelled by any other Canadian artist.

A. Curtis Williamson, born near Brampton but now of Toronto, is a vigorous painter, and is one of the virile artists who are making themselves felt in the world of Canadian art. Whether we regard his landscapes or his portraits, his art is worthy of serious thought and appreciation. It is not only powerful and at times brilliant, but also original and impressed with strong character. His portraits of D. R. Wilkie, William Cruikshank and Archibald Browne are fine examples of portraiture. Two of his most characteristic landscapes are scenes in Newfoundland, both bold and striking examples of individuality. Some of his interiors and figures, savouring of the methods of the old Dutch masters, are splendid productions. They are perhaps a little obscure in colour, but the strength of character and solid results which they show more than compensate for any drawback in that respect. His later work shows a greater appreciation of light without detracting from the quality of the picture. He was awarded a medal at the St Louis Exhibition for his 'Klaasje,' which now belongs to the Dominion government.

Edmund Morris,[1] another of the restless spirits seeking new ideas and finding them, is forging his way upwards with a fine sense for the magnitude and variety of nature's teachings. His portraits of Indian chiefs from life are valuable contributions to Canadian records, in addition to the fact that they are strongly and intelligently painted with a firm and certain hand. His landscapes are full of vigorous thought and true feeling for the more rugged elements of Canadian compositions. Broad, strong brush-work and skilful execution carry out his ideas of space, and a close study of nature enables him to give that convincing expression of landscape which is one of the chief objects of a picture. He is often dramatic in his realism, but there is a note of sympathetic feeling even in his most vigorous painting. Many of his most striking compositions were painted from motifs found in the Province of Quebec, where the landscapes appealed sympathetically to his virile sense of art. His 'Cap Tourmente' is in the National Gallery, and his 'Spinners' is owned by the Ontario government.

John Hammond, born in Montreal in 1843, paints delightful harbours and the low-lying coasts of the eastern provinces. He has also given us many well-painted scenes from the Rockies. Some of his pictures are large conceptions fittingly carried out. His evening effects are often full of a rich sunset glow, and his shipping scenes painted in a low key are admirably composed. His colour is never brilliant, and his technique shows that he strives to obtain a result by careful and painstaking work rather than by suggestive or striking notes. Looking at his pictures carefully, one comes to the conclusion that his self-restraint and care have militated against his freedom, and that if he had given himself a freer brush he would have gained largely in the expression of his very sympathetic ideas in regard to both art and nature.

A young man who has rapidly risen to prominence is John Russell, a native of Hamilton, Ontario. He studied abroad and is influenced by the ideas and execution of some of the modern masters. He is a careful draughtsman and has a very fine idea of colour. His figures are delightfully painted and possess a great deal of charm, and although he is apt to indulge in little eccentricities of the brush and to exaggerate, he is undoubtedly painting sincerely and with conviction, and will take a very high position in his profession. His picture 'Mother and Son,' a large canvas exhibited in Toronto and elsewhere, is unmistakably a strong creation. This picture is now in the Canadian National Gallery. A very striking bit of work is called 'The Willow Plume,' admirably drawn and well developed notwithstanding the strong effects in the black-and-white arrangement. Another powerful creation is 'The Absinthe Drinker,' distinguished by a vigorous sense of character and suggestive of keen observation.

William Smith, of St Thomas, Ontario, is a painter who delights in strong and stormy moods of nature, although he has painted some very excellent landscapes with effective sunlight and an admirable play of colour. His best-known work, however, deals with the sea in motion and the action of boats in stormy weather. Many of his subjects are taken from the coasts of England, and possess a great deal of that earnest, vigorous Dutch expression which is found in the work of the modern school of Holland. His broad masses of cloud and sky and his grey days are very atmospheric, and show sympathetic appreciation and acute perception of nature's gloomier phases. He paints very broadly and sometimes loses the subtlety of his sky effect, but on the whole he is one of the most vigorous of Canadian painters.

Archibald Browne left the dull routine of financial work to engage in art and to become the 'Poet Painter of Canada.' For poetic conception, harmony of colour and as a painter of nature's dreamland he is striving towards a high plane. The spirit of romance is felt in many of his landscapes. Moonlight is rendered with that subtlety which only those who feel its fascination can appreciate. The mere landscape has no attraction for Archibald Browne; he clothes it with an elusive atmosphere and breathes into it the music of the singer. He never paints from the objective or realistic point of view. Browne was born in Liverpool and educated in Scotland, and passed his boyhood at Blantyre, where he was much impressed with the great natural beauties of the Clyde. Originally a bank clerk, he came to Canada and was engaged in commercial work, when he decided to commence painting. His work is entirely the result of self-training and observation, and shows him to be one of the most active and observant members of his profession. His pictures are finding their way to England, where they meet with companionship among the pastoral subjects of well-known British artists. 'Moonrise' is owned by the Ontario government and 'Midsummer Night' hangs in the National Gallery, Ottawa.

Amongst the Canadian artists who reside abroad F. C. V. Ede stands out prominently, not that he is a great painter, but because his work, as far as it goes, possesses some of the finest qualities of artistic beauty. At a comparatively early age Ede left Toronto for Paris, where he studied for some time, and finally took up his residence in Montigny-sur-Loing, where he still lives. His work is peculiarly adapted to French landscape, and he continues to paint in the same brilliant manner as he did in Canada, although under different conditions and surroundings. He stands foremost as a painter of cattle and sheep. His knowledge of these animals, his grouping, and his power to express the difficult phases of animal life and its action are very remarkable. His dominating colour is of a delicate yet convincing character. He, however, stops short of matured completeness and gives us the feeling of brilliant work not carried sufficiently far to be accepted as a finished production. He is still a young man, and may yet develop the necessary completeness in his work to make it as important as its other fine qualities would warrant.

George A. Reid studied in Philadelphia and for some time in Paris. He has resided in Toronto for a number of years, and has occupied various positions in connection with art bodies. He first won popularity by painting subjects of a narrative character, illustrative of some episode, the most important of which are 'A Story' and 'Mortgaging the Homestead.' He was for a time president of the Ontario Society of Artists, at whose exhibitions for some years past his best work has been seen. He was awarded a medal at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition, London, also at the Columbia Exhibition, Chicago, in 1893, and received the Julien prize at the Academy in 1889. Reid has devoted considerable attention to mural decoration, some good examples of which are to be seen in the Municipal Building, Toronto. Portraits and ideal subjects have been successfully painted by him, as well as landscapes, the latter being distinguished by a sensitive glow of light. Reid has not of late pursued the course he originally indicated some years ago, but he is a thoughtful and careful painter, and his present work appeals to those who are not influenced by realism on the one hand or post-impressionism on the other.

E. W. Atkinson, who was born in Toronto in 1862 and was a pupil of Thomas Eakins of Philadelphia and the Académie Julien, Paris, delights in quiet communion with peaceful pastoral scenes. Of an unobtrusive temperament, his themes are peculiarly a reflex of the man. Quiet, dignified and charming, illustrating various phases of everyday surroundings and the peaceful scenes of Canadian and English landscape, these pictures have a wonderful reserve force and convey in a truly poetic spirit the artist's interpretation of his subject. He delights in pastoral scenes wherein sheep figure, and lingers with much tenderness over the old mill, the hazy moonlight and the tumbling stream. With the exception of F. C. V. Ede, he is the only artist here who paints sheep with their characteristics truthfully expressed, and his grouping, always carefully thought out, is one of the many admirable qualities of his pictures. Although not a virile painter, his work appeals strongly to the lover of the simple beauty and dignity of art, and conveys to the mind a suggestiveness that is as delightful to the onlooker as it is modestly and tenderly expressed.

J. W. Beatty is a rising landscape painter. Beatty was born in Toronto in 1862, and studied art under Jean Paul Laurens and Benjamin Constant at the Académie Julien, Paris. Commencing his manhood as a member of the police force of Toronto, he was later drawn to the studio by an irresistible desire to gratify his artistic inclinations, and in a remarkably short time astonished art lovers by his affinity for nature, which was shown in his delightful landscapes. He appreciates to the fullest extent the moods as well as the forms of nature, and in all his work there is noticeable a fine observation and intuitive perception of truth and harmony.

Reginald Guy Kortright, a young artist formerly of Barrie, Ontario, is now painting in the vicinity of St Ives, Cornwall, England. He shows highly decorative treatment and delicate colour schemes in much of his work. Portraits are engaging his attention, together with book illustrations in colour—many of the latter being of a very high type. His pictures of gardens are delicate and rich in effect, and his rendering of masses of bloom is marked by sensitive perception of the illusive colour of the flower. He also produces marine and seashore pictures, some of which have lately been exhibited and well hung at the Royal Academy exhibitions.

Clarence Gagnon, of the Province of Quebec, is not only a clever painter, but a very fine etcher. Many of his etchings will compare favourably with the work of some of the best of the great etchers. He is the first Canadian of any prominence who has found ready expression in black and white. He is a member of the Canadian Art Club, and not only as an etcher but as a painter adds very largely to the interest of the club's exhibitions. Particularly effective in winter scenes, he has given to the public pictures of these subjects full of feeling of a searching and sympathetic character. He is still a young man, and has a future in the history of art in Canada and elsewhere. His work is represented in the National Gallery, Ottawa, and his etchings are much appreciated by lovers of that branch of his profession, which numbers in its followers many of the great artists from Rembrandt to the present time.

Ernest Lawson is a member of the Canadian Art Club and an associate of the National Academy of Design. He is represented in the National Gallery, Ottawa, and also in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Telfair Academy of the Arts and Sciences, Savannah, Georgia, the Montclair Art Association, New Jersey, and the Engineers' Club and the City Club, New York. He was awarded a silver medal at the Universal Exposition, St Louis, 1904; the Sesnan gold medal, Pennsylvania, at the Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1907; and the first Hallgerten prize, National Academy of Design, New York. Ernest Lawson is the son of Archibald Lawson, M.D., of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was born there in 1873. The first years of his life were spent in Halifax and in Kingston, Ontario. He studied art in the city of Mexico, where his father was living. Later he took a course at the Students' League of New York, and spent a year in Paris. He returned to New York about fifteen years ago, and is well known in art circles there and in Paris. He is more or less a follower of the impressionist school of painting, delighting in sunlight and brilliant colour. His figure accessories are always fine and his interpretation of light admirable. The darker phases of nature have no charm for his brush, and if his pictures sometimes lack variety of colour, the deficiency is more than made up by the splendid quality of the sunshine which pervades them.

J. Kerr Lawson, a native of Edinburgh, lived for a number of years in Canada. He painted figures and landscapes equally well. Finding art to be somewhat unprofitable in the Dominion, Lawson went to London and became an intimate friend of the late G. F. Watts, R.A., in whose studio he held an important exhibition. This introduction to the English public brought him into prominence as a painter. His pictures were spoken of as excellent examples of refined and sensitive art. He is one of the founders of the Senefelder Club of London, which was formed to revive lithography as a fine art, as distinguished from mere mechanical productions. Lawson's series of ten litho-tints of Italian palaces and other buildings are considered very valuable. Recently he has been engaged in large decorative works. He paints Italian buildings with landscape, and shows remarkable tone in these subjects.

George B. Bridgman was born in Toronto, where his father, the late John Bridgman, was one of the early portrait painters. The son studied in Paris, and on his return to America settled in Buffalo, subsequently removing to New York. Among other pictures exhibited by him in the Salon were 'Boy Over-Board' and 'The Magic Circle,' the latter having a wonderful play of light and impressed with a feeling of mystery both in subject and in colour. 'The Magic Circle' is the property of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. His drawing is always excellent, and his pictures are full of that atmosphere which lends itself to the proper envelopment of figures.

Maurice G. Cullen was born at St John's, Newfoundland, in 1866, but at an early age took up his residence in Montreal. He went to Paris in 1888, and entered the Beaux Arts under Delanny and afterwards studied with Roll. Cullen exhibited for the first time in the New Salon in 1894. He is an associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. He returned to Canada and now resides in Montreal. He has painted many Newfoundland landscapes and winter scenes, the latter being particularly excellent. One of his pictures is in the National Gallery, Ottawa, and some are now owned by the government of Newfoundland. His work is vigorous and his individuality is of a very marked character.

William Hope was born in Montreal in 1863. He spent some years studying art in Paris and shortly after his return to Canada was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy. He paints landscapes with trees, devoting considerable attention to detail. His colour effects are simple and somewhat limited, but his expression is clear and his rendering more or less poetic.

T. Mower Martin and Marmaduke Matthews are two veteran Canadian painters. Their names have been associated with painting for many years. They are best known by their pictures of the Rocky Mountains, many of which are in galleries and private collections. They are perhaps the principal survivors of the pioneer painters of Canada.

F. M. Bell-Smith is a member of the older art societies and is an artist of varied attainments. He was born in London, England, in 1846, but moved to Canada when twenty years old. Immediately on his arrival in Canada he made his influence felt in art circles and founded, and was the first president of, the Canadian Society of Artists, Montreal. For over twenty-five years he has been a member of the Royal Canadian Academy. He has painted some very effective pictures of the Rockies, and has added to his reputation by a successful work, 'Lights of a City Street.' He has painted a number of portraits, and many striking mountain scenes by him are in galleries, public and private. There is often brilliant colour and always freedom in his best work. His water-colours have long been a strong feature at the exhibitions of the Ontario Society of Artists, of which he is a prominent member.

Charles P. Gruppe, who was born at Picton, Ontario, in 1860, studied in Holland, but was chiefly self-taught. He has received a number of honours, among which may be named Gold Medallist at Rouen, the American Art Association, and Paris. He paints Dutch scenery and is represented in many art galleries in America and Europe. One of his pictures is in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen of Holland. Gruppe is a member of the Pulchri Studio at The Hague, Arti in Amsterdam, and of the American Water Color Society.

Edmund Dyonnet was born in France in 1859, but came to Canada at the age of fifteen and later went to Italy to study, and spent a year studying art in Turin. He returned to Canada after a period of study in Paris, and devoted himself principally to landscape, although some of his portraits are of great merit. In 1901 he was awarded a silver medal at the Buffalo Pan-American Exhibition, and also at St Louis in 1904. He is a good landscape painter, subdued but effective.

J. L. Graham is a painter of landscape with animals, and in this field shows an intimate knowledge of cattle and their actions. The landscape in his hands does not, however, become subordinate. On the contrary, many of his landscapes are remarkably well painted and the cattle are always drawn with skill and certainty. In the handling of his animals he is one of the best Canadian painters, and while he does not possess the facility or freedom shown in Ede's drawings, his compositions show more solidity and completeness.

W. A. Sherwood is a painter of portraits, ideal compositions, heads, etc. He lives in Toronto, and has written considerably on art matters in the press and magazines.

Montague Castle, of Montreal, studied art in Paris and Holland and exhibited in the Salon. He went to New York and devoted his time largely to making designs for stained-glass windows, having educated himself by the study of this branch of art as found in the cathedrals of France.

Ernest Thompson Seton[2] was born in England in 1860. He has illustrated numerous books dealing with animal life and was one of the chief illustrators of the Century Dictionary. He was for a time government naturalist to the Province of Manitoba. His book Art Anatomy of Animals is highly prized by animal painters and sculptors. His life has been of late years devoted to literature, and while he decorates his volumes with bright and often amusing sketches illustrating the text, he is not now seriously to be regarded as a painter.

C. M. Manly, whose home is in Toronto, paints landscapes with a feeling of appreciation for the quiet, restful and more or less objective aspects of nature. He exercises great care in his drawing and has done a good deal of work for reproduction purposes, for which his pictures are admirably adapted.

Carl Ahrens, of Toronto, paints landscapes. He avoids the clear skies and well-defined objects as seen through a Canadian atmosphere, preferring to paint in a low key and obtaining his results by masses of subdued colour.

F. McGillivray Knowles, a descendant of artists, is equally successful in figures and landscapes. His pictures have been well received at all the exhibitions. He shows an individuality in his work which is very gratifying, as there is a tendency among many Canadian artists to follow the conventional.

F. S. Challener is an artist who has perhaps the keenest sense of the light and brilliancy of colour of any of the Canadian painters. His work tends to a decorative quality. He has produced some very clever and important decorations. Nearly all his pictures are impressed with a sense of sunlight, and while they are not the most virile examples of art, they possess a wonderful charm and are delightful from a purely decorative point of view. He is a comparatively young man, but he has painted several important pictures of outdoor life, harvest scenes and the like.

C. S. Millard is a painter whose works show an admirable appreciation of the beauty of certain limited phases of nature. His subjects are somewhat peculiar, but his treatment is often of a subtle character, and there are many collectors who prize his work. He lived for many years in England, where his home still is, but at one time his pictures were well known in Canada.

William H. Clapp, of Montreal, is a good figure painter. His productions indicate sincerity and sound knowledge and show marked growth. Although somewhat of an impressionist he is very orthodox in his colour schemes, and there is a fine quality of the decorative in his work.

A. M. Fleming, of Chatham, Ontario, paints landscapes and shore scenes, and has done excellent work on important canvases representing subjects such as life in Scottish fishing villages. His compositions are kept well under control, even in his largest works, and he has a proper appreciation of space and light in painting.

F. A. Verner is now a resident of England, but lived many years in Canada. Prairie scenes with Indians and wigwams are favourite subjects with him, and he will doubtless long continue to be known for his paintings of the buffalo, once a feature of prairie life, but now almost extinct.

C. W. Jefferys, president of the Ontario Society of Artists, was born at Rochester, England, in 1869, but came to Canada early in life. He is best known as an artist in black and white, but has painted pioneer life effectively. In this branch he is clever and shows certainty and strength in his drawings.

L. S. Harris studied in Germany and is making rapid progress in his profession. Already he has produced some strong work, and is quite original in his methods. A sense of realism dominates his pictures. His winter subjects are splendid examples of strong and rugged expression, and in some of his work, where he strikes a minor key, there is wonderful power and an almost tragic sentiment in colour as well as composition. Simplicity dominates his finest productions, and the difficult element of tonality is always in evidence whether we regard his winter streets or his boldly painted landscapes.

Franklin Brownell, who was born in New Bedford, Mass., in 1857, studied art at the Boston Museum of Art School, and at Paris under Bouguereau and Fleury. He finally settled in Ottawa, where he now resides. He is a most sympathetic landscape painter, his work being noted for its purity of colour. His groups of nude figures are admirably composed and painted with much tender feeling. He likewise excels as a portrait painter.

J. M. Barnsley is a well-known Canadian artist, who until a few years ago practised his profession in the Province of Quebec. His work is remarkably fine in colour and well drawn, and in many of his pictures there is a highly effective treatment of light, particularly in his shore scenes. There is a quality in his work which always commends it to intelligent collectors. His picture 'The Entrance to Dieppe Harbour' is regarded by eminent critics as a masterpiece.

Among other men who have won distinction in Canada as painters are: Owen Staples, a pupil of Thomas Eakins of Philadelphia; W. Cutts, who now practises his profession in St Ives, Cornwall, England; F. H. Brigden, a painter of many carefully executed Muskoka scenes and pleasing landscapes; G. Bruenech, a native of Norway, who delights in the sun's effect on the fjords of his homeland and finds the atmospheric landscapes of Norway more congenial than those of Canada; C. J. Way and P. F. Woodcock, who have worked so long abroad that they are, in a sense, lost to Canada; Harry Britton and James E. H. Macdonald, young men with matured conceptions and vigorous execution; Herbert S. Palmer, a landscape painter, excelling in his decorative qualities; W. G. Storm, who paints decorative subjects and has a good appreciation of colour; Alfred E. Mickle, a landscape painter, original in the treatment of his subjects; George Chavignaud, an effective depicter of Dutch scenes representing grey, cloudy weather; Fred Haines, whose paintings of animals show knowledge and strength of execution; Gustav Hahn, excelling in the decorative quality of his work; Ernest Fosbery, a sound and convincing painter of portraits and figure compositions; J. C. Pinhey, whose allegoric pictures delight by their broad colour effects; R. Holmes, with art limited in scope but important as showing and recording a large number of the wild flowers of Canada; and H. Ivan Neilson, whose landscapes are exceedingly poetic.

Laura Muntz, whose studio was for many years in Toronto, but is now in Montreal, is an artist of great talent. Her oils and water-colours possess breadth and freedom; and all her work has a character of its own, not only as a matter of mere painting, but as regards the inner feeling and moving forces of the subjects themselves. To her the likeness of her sitters is not of so much importance as the character of which they give evidence. Children are favourite models, and there are very few painters who can so effectively and almost unconsciously express the characteristics of childhood. As a flower painter she has achieved success, but wisely prefers the more serious subject—portraiture—for which she is so well qualified. Many portraits of children in Toronto and Montreal attest her ability as an artist, and pictures by her of other subjects are to be found in all prominent collections in Canada.

Florence Carlyle, of Woodstock, is a brilliant and facile painter. Her figures depend to a considerable extent upon the fine massing of rich colour, and frequently the value of line in long sweeping curvature is better illustrated in her work than in that of any other Canadian artist. One always finds in her pictures combined decorative and pictorial elements, and while they may not appeal to the critics as evincing any great subtlety or power to paint from the subjective point of view, it is quite beyond question that her art shows talent of a high order.

Elizabeth A. Forbes, daughter of William Armstrong of the Civil Service, Ottawa, married Stanhope Forbes, R.A., exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the Paris Salon and other leading exhibitions. Mrs Forbes now lives in England and is known as a very gifted artist. Her figure painting is full of action and has a delightful sense of rhythm. Her colour is brilliant and of a singularly pure quality.

Mrs Charlotte Schreiber, formerly of Springfield, Ontario, was a well-known artist during her residence in Canada. Her pictures of children and women, although not strong, are exceedingly graceful in arrangement.

Mrs M. H. Reid, wife of George A. Reid,[3] has an exquisite sense of colour and arrangement. Her flower pieces are exceedingly delicate and beautiful. She paints very charming landscapes. While there is a refined feminine sense of colour in her pictures, she rises far above the average painter of mere prettiness. Poetic and full of character, her landscapes are vigorous and her technical execution is firm and very excellent. Her compositions are always delightful and are entitled to rank among the best productions of Canadian painters.

Clara Hagarty, of Toronto, is a clever artist, and one who understands and appreciates the sympathetic side of nature. She is a constant exhibitor at the leading exhibitions. Her work is very thorough and exceedingly good in quality and character.

Mrs M. E. Dignam, of Toronto, is the principal figure in the Women's Art Association, of which she has always been the president. Her painting is much influenced by the modern Dutch expression. Her furtherance of a taste in ceramics and other kindred art products is well known. She not only takes a deep interest in all matters artistic, but is most active in their promotion.

Harriet Ford paints decorations in an effective manner. Her Spanish scenes, including town views, are beautiful in their refinement and colour. Figures by her are also well painted, partaking of decorative quality, but done in a very convincing manner.

Mrs Agnes Chamberlain, daughter of Susanna Moodie,[4] the distinguished Canadian author, is well known as an exquisite flower painter, having painted a greater variety of Canadian wild flowers than perhaps any other artist. Her book on this subject, illustrated by herself, is a valuable study of Canadian wild flowers. She also illustrated that justly celebrated book, Studies of Plant Life, by her aunt Mrs Traill.[5]

Mary E. Wrinch is a painter of landscapes and miniatures. Her miniatures, delicate in execution and fine in colour, are very faithful likenesses.

Among the other women painters of Canada who deserve recognition are: Dorothy Stevens, Henrietta M. Shore, Estelle M. Kerr, Beatrice Hagarty, H. N. Vickers, Elizabeth McGillivray Knowles, Mrs C. Spurr Cutts and Helen McNicoll.

This promising artist was drowned while on a sketching tour in the Province of Quebec in August 1913.

See pp. 526-7.

See pp. 616-17.

See pp. 544-5.

See pp. 543-4.


The list of portrait painters in Canada is not large. One of the best known of the deceased portrait painters is George Theodore Berthon (1806-92), who was born in Vienna and studied under David. He painted a great many Canadian portraits, among which are several, now to be found in Osgoode Hall, Toronto, of the earlier judges of Ontario. His work is more or less academic, and though his colour is not brilliant or his execution at all vigorous, he often delineates character with power and insight.

Bennoni Irwin was an art student in Toronto about the time of Confederation, subsequently going to Paris and the Continent, where he remained for about four or five years. He returned to America, and among other commissions painted a portrait of Brigham Young and several of his wives. Some of his work is very creditable, but he never attained any great prominence as a portrait painter in Canada; this was perhaps to some extent due to the fact that his work was largely confined to the United States.

Hoppner Meyer painted portraits in water-colour and made drawings in chalk, and was also an engraver for the reproduction of his own work. He exhibited in Toronto as early as 1847, and was a member of the old Toronto Society of Arts.

Turning to the portrait painters now living, we find that Robert Harris stands among the highest. Perhaps no other artist in Canada has painted as many eminent men and women, and it is doubtful if any one has such a uniformly high level of excellence. Great care and acute observation make his portraits very valuable as works of art. At times he tends towards the academic, but there is a quality of colour and such excellent draughtsmanship that one readily overlooks the conventional features, which do not as a rule dominate his work but make themselves manifest in some unimportant details. Among his well-known portraits is the large group of the Fathers of Confederation, representing thirty-four figures of the most prominent Canadian statesmen of Confederation days. Portraits of Chief Justice Sir Henry Strong, Sir Hugh Allan, Lord Mount Stephen, the Earl of Aberdeen, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Oliver Mowat are among his best works. His picture of Mrs Porteous and her children and the portraits of Mrs W. R. Riddell and Mrs E. F. B. Johnston are to be reckoned as of the highest types amongst his pictures of women. He was for a considerable time a director of the Art School of the Montreal Art Association, and was president of the Royal Canadian Academy from 1893 until 1898. Harris was born in North Wales in 1849, but came with his parents to Prince Edward Island in 1856. He studied art in the Slade Department of University College, London, and was a pupil of Bonnat in Paris.

E. Wyly Grier, another of the leading portrait painters of Canada, was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1862, but came to Canada when fourteen years old. As a skilled and thoroughly trained artist he is undoubtedly an eminent painter, and his work shows in a marked manner a distinction and quality which can be obtained only by careful and technical groundwork in the schools. Instead of remaining under the restraint of the conventional, he sought for freedom and vitality. Careful in his drawing, fine in colour and composition, he has reached a very high standard of painting in the difficult field of portraiture. His portraits of his father, Goldwin Smith, John Ross Robertson, and a number of other Canadians prominent in various callings and professions are examples of sound and permanent art. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy, and the possessor of a gold medal awarded at the Salon Exhibition, Paris, for his large painting, 'Bereft.' He was for five years president of the Ontario Society of Artists.

A. Dickson Patterson, son of the late Mr Justice Patterson, is a prominent Canadian portrait painter. One of the best of his works is the well-known portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald. This work shows the artist at his best. His methods for many years were perhaps a little academic, but he broke away from the scholastic restrictions and subsequently painted some very free and strong examples of portraiture in accord with his own individual interpretations. The portrait of his mother is one of his finest works, both as to colour and characterization.

J. W. L. Forster resides in Toronto, where he has a large connection as a portrait painter. One of his strong points consists in the fact that he always obtains an excellent likeness of the sitter, a quality which is often overlooked by greater artists.

J. C. Forbes, who was born in Toronto in 1846, studied at the South Kensington Museum and at the Royal Academy. He painted a full-length portrait of the Earl of Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada, and also portraits of Sir John A. Macdonald, the Hon. Alexander Mackenzie, Sir Charles Tupper and other political celebrities. He also had the honour of painting a portrait of the Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, which was presented to the National Liberal Club in London, England.

Robert Whale came from England to Canada and lived for many years in Brantford, Ontario, where he painted portraits of a number of prominent citizens in that district. He received a silver medal at the International Exhibition, London, in 1862. His work is largely of the conventional class.

Black and White

In Canada there is very limited scope for black-and-white work; there are in the Dominion no illustrated magazines that can compare with those of the United States, consequently Canadian illustrators drift to American centres.

The first Canadian to become prominent in black and white was Wyatt Eaton, before referred to as a painter. Eaton was a fine pen-and-ink draughtsman, and many of his drawings were made for the Century Magazine.

In the early days of Toronto, Hoppner Meyer and his associate, F. C. Low, the engraver, were engaged in black-and-white work, but in reality this branch of art started in Canada about 1878, mainly under the guidance of William Cruikshank. Cruikshank had previously illustrated in London and in New York, where he formed a pen-and-ink class in connection with the Academy of Design, and this developed into the now famous Art Students' League of New York. The leaves from the sketch-book of Cruikshank, which he gave to the Art Museum of Toronto, will influence future illustrators. Cruikshank made many remarkable drawings of life in the lumber camps. Among his pupils in Canada who have reached distinction is Charles Broughton, now of New York, who has been for many years associated with Life and has also worked for Harper's Monthly and Scribner's Magazine. His drawings, made in New York, of beggars and others of that class are among his best work.

William Thompson of Toronto, another of Cruikshank's pupils, whose etchings were recently purchased by the Dominion government for the National Gallery at Ottawa, is prominent in black-and-white work. John Conacher of New York, H. Graham of Toronto, an engraver of ability, Charles Henry White of Hamilton, etcher, and Newton McConnell of Toronto, cartoonist, were all students under Cruikshank. Three others of his pupils—Norman Price, Martin and Wallace—went to London, and after a heroic struggle with poverty formed the Carlton Studio, a bureau of illustrators well known in London, and having a branch in New York.

Other artists in black and white who at one time worked or are still working in Canada are the late Henry Sandham, who for years contributed drawings to the American magazines, some of his early ones being engraved by Timothy Cole; and Boardman Robinson, a native of Nova Scotia, a cartoonist for the New York Tribune and one of the ablest of Canadian illustrators. Clarence Gagnon, before referred to as a painter, and Maclauchlin are both Canadian etchers living in Paris. In the Province of Quebec the first to become prominent was Henri Julien of Montreal.[1] Another who devotes himself to various phases of habitant life and who illustrated the works of the late Dr Drummond is Frederick Simpson Coburn. Others prominent in black and white are: J. W. Bengough of Toronto, cartoonist, of the well-known former publication Grip, which for many years held a unique place among Canadian journals; Dorothy Stevens, etcher, whose work shows great promise; C. W. Jefferys, J. W. Beatty, Fergus Kyle, William Brymner, John Innes, John Russell, Ernest Thompson Seton and Arthur Heming, all of whom have done good service in this branch of art.

See p. 608.


While sculpture in Canada has not been prominent as a branch of art; nevertheless it has not been neglected, and a number of sculptors have now recognition both at home and abroad.

The earliest Canadian sculptor, Jean Baillairge of Quebec, who died in 1805, is known by his statues in several of the chapels.

Anatole Parthenais (1839-64) of Joliette; Charles Dawham, a producer of religious statues, emotional in character; Ainsi Boule, Louis Freret, Van Lippens and St Arnaud, all more or less given to religious subjects; and Napoleon Bourassa, who executed several important busts, chief among them being a bronze of Papineau—are all worthy of mention.

One of the strongest of the native Canadian sculptors is Louis Philippe Hébert, C.M.G., and Knight of the Legion of Honour, who was born in 1850 in the Province of Quebec, and spent his early days on a farm. As a youth he showed great aptitude for wood-carving. He studied for six years with Bourassa in Montreal and had fifteen years further study in Paris, where he did some splendid work, one of his subjects being a full-length statue of Sir Georges É. Cartier. He is perhaps the most prolific of the Canadian sculptors, and some very magnificent examples of his skill may be seen in Montreal, where the statue of Maisonneuve adds dignity to the Place d'Armes. Statues of General Wolfe, Montcalm, Frontenac and other prominent men by him are to be found in Quebec, and statues of Queen Victoria, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Georges É. Cartier in Ottawa.

A. Phimister Proctor, of New York, and a member of the Canadian Art Club, was born in Ontario, and subsequently removed to Michigan, and thence to Denver, Colorado. Proctor spent a great deal of his time in the wilds and mountains of Colorado and in Alberta sketching wild animals for figures to be used in the construction of the buildings of the World's Columbia Exposition at Chicago, and also executed the equestrian statues 'The Indian Scout' and 'Mounted Cow-Boy' for the Art Building for that exhibition. 'The Indian Scout' was awarded two gold medals. Proctor won the yearly prize and medal for sculpture at the Académie Julien, and was a member of the jury at the Paris Exhibition, 1900. At this exhibition he received a gold medal. Two magnificent casts of lions were presented by him to the Art Museum of Toronto in 1911. He designed and executed the four colossal sleeping lions in marble for the McKinley Memorial in Buffalo. His works are to be found in every large public collection, some of the finest specimens being in the Metropolitan Museum and the public parks of New York.

Walter S. Allward, a well-known sculptor born in Toronto, has shown great skill, poetry and force in his productions. He always exhibits a very high sense of art in line and composition. There is a quiet dignity partaking of the Renaissance in the general scope, design and feeling of his work. Among his well-known achievements are: a monument to the soldiers who fell in the Rebellion of 1885; the South African memorial in Toronto; and statues of Governor Simcoe, Sandfield Macdonald and Sir Oliver Mowat.

Hamilton MacCarthy, born in England in 1847, was the son of Hamilton Wright MacCarthy, a distinguished sculptor. MacCarthy studied with his father and on the Continent. He came to Canada in 1885, and has since practised his profession first in Toronto and afterwards in Ottawa. He has executed portrait busts of many of Canada's leading men—Professor Goldwin Smith, Hon. Edward Blake, Sir Daniel Wilson, Sir John Thompson, etc. Among his best-known works are the monument to de Monts at Annapolis Royal, the monument to Champlain at St John, N.B., and the bronze monuments, to the Canadian heroes who fell in the South African War, erected in Halifax, Charlottetown, Quebec, Ottawa, Canning and Brantford.

Among other sculptors worthy of note are F. A. Dunbar, whose busts of Cardinal Taschereau and Dr Workman are the most successful of his works; Ulric Dunbar, brother of the last mentioned, now living in Washington, who has a fine bust of President Garfield in the Cochrane Gallery; George William Hill, of Montreal, whose bust of the poet Drummond for the Carnegie Institute, N.Y., and statues of George Brown and T. D'Arcy McGee, gave him high rank; Henri Hébert, a son of Louis Hébert, who, although only twenty-six years of age, has done some very beautiful studies; A. Laliberte, of Montreal, a young French Canadian of great promise; and W. Tate Mackenzie, formerly of Montreal, now of Philadelphia, who has produced some interesting figures of athletes.


The first artists' society in Ontario was formed in 1834 at Toronto, and the first exhibition was held in the old Parliament Buildings under the patronage of Lieutenant-Governor Colborne and Dr John Strachan, afterwards Bishop of Toronto. The president was Captain Bonnycastle,[1] and the honorary secretary was Charles Daley. The Toronto Society of Arts was formed in 1847. The patrons included the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Chief Justice Robinson and W. H. Boulton, of the 'Grange,' then mayor of Toronto. J. G. Howard was vice-president, and Hoppner Meyer, F. C. Low, G. T. Berthon, Cornelius Krieghoff and Paul Kane were among the exhibitors.

The present Ontario Society of Artists was organized in 1872, one of the prime movers being John A. Fraser. M. Matthews, T. Mower Martin, R. F. Gagen, C. S. Millard and others were present at its inception. W. H. Howland was elected its first president. The society became incorporated and formed an Art Union, at which holders of certain tickets were entitled to receive a small picture, subsequently called coupons. The first annual exhibition was held in 1873 in Notman and Fraser's Art Gallery, King Street West, under the patronage of Lord Dufferin. It is interesting to note some of the original exhibitors—John Bridgman, F. Darling, J. C. Forbes, D. Fowler, J. A. Fraser, J. Griffith, R. F. Gagen, H. Martin, T. M. Martin, C. S. Millard, M. Matthews, L. R. O'Brien, F. A. Verner and R. Whale. It is said that there were two hundred and fifty works on exhibition on this occasion. The Art Union expired in 1894. In 1875 and 1876 the School of Art and Design was organized under Adam Crooks, then minister of Education. The name became the Central School of Art and Design, affiliated with the Ontario Society of Artists, and out of this, in 1912, grew the Ontario College of Art.

During the period when the Marquis of Lorne was governor-general of Canada the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts was founded, L. R. O'Brien, one to whom art owes much for his efforts in promoting the interests of Canadian painters, being the first president. O. R. Jacobi succeeded O'Brien; then followed Robert Harris of Montreal and G. A. Reid of Toronto, the present president being William Brymner.

The Toronto Art Students' League was founded in 1890. The Canadian Society of Applied Art and the Society of Graphic Art have their headquarters in Toronto. The Arts and Crafts of Hamilton was organized in 1894. The Canadian Art Club was brought into existence in 1907, and incorporated in 1909, with D. R. Wilkie as honorary president, Homer Watson as president, and Edmund Morris as honorary secretary. The object of this club is to encourage its members to paint from a purely subjective point of view.

There are now various art schools in the different cities in both Ontario and Quebec. In 1826 there was an art society in Montreal, and in 1847 the Montreal Society of Artists, as it was called, held its first exhibition, at which Krieghoff was one of its exhibitors. In 1867 the Society of Canadian Artists was formed at Montreal, but did not continue long in existence, owing to lack of co-operation. The Art Association of Montreal was founded in 1870. The gallery of pictures belonging to the association is, with the exception of the National Gallery in Ottawa, the only public collection of note at the present time in Canada. But Montreal has a number of exceptionally fine private galleries—the Greenshields, Van Horne, Angus and Ross collections being among the finest on the continent.

The Pen and Pencil Club of Montreal is an active and useful body, and has done much to foster the art spirit of that city.

The Art Museum of Toronto was founded in 1910 and became incorporated under an act of the local legislature. By the generosity of the late Goldwin Smith and his wife of the 'Grange' this fine property was bequeathed to the Art Museum, and active steps are now being taken to build suitable galleries and make a collection of fine works of art that will be a credit to the Dominion.

The Art Museum has already held several important exhibitions—among others one of representative works of deceased Canadian artists. The president is Sir Edmund Walker, and the vice-president the author of these notes. The council is composed of a number of leading citizens, and already good progress has been made in the work undertaken by the organization.

See p. 515.


In a consideration of the future of art in Canada, many elements necessarily present themselves. To say that the future is either promising or the reverse, without a knowledge of present conditions and a careful estimate of the life and progress of the people, would be merely speculative and uncertain guess-work. No one looked for the Barbizon group of modern masters before they arose, and certainly the world of art did not expect the brilliant galaxy of the nineteenth-century Dutch artists to follow almost immediately on the death of the Barbizon painters. A few years ago American artists were comparatively unknown, and, with the exception of that great landscape painter, George Innes, the art genius of the United States was a negligible quantity in the public appreciation of the progress art was making. Holland is becoming commonplace in her art, and England, with a few notable exceptions, has been retrogressing.

To deal with the probabilities of Canadian art it is necessary to consider the changes which have taken place since art began to be felt in Canada. At first the artist was a reproducer of what he saw. There was no creative power exercised: it was sufficient if his picture was a faithful topographical presentation of the landscape or a likeness of his sitter. The subtlety of art was entirely lacking. The picture was purely material. Character it often had, but not the character imparted through the medium of genius. People who looked at these productions had not reached a stage of thought or reflection beyond an appreciation of the material elements of which life, cultivation and action are composed. As the public mind expanded, and mutual intercourse, reading and travel became wider and more frequent, men commenced to complain of the hardness and lifeless character of the Canadian painter's work. Artists began to look abroad, to discuss a newer and more sympathetic vision of art and nature, and they were not long in appreciating the fact that tone, expression and subjective qualities were more important than the mathematical exactness which they had observed in the making of what appealed formerly to them as the perfect picture. Foreign works of high quality—works which were indeed created by genius—opened up a line of vision and disclosed phases of art which had not up to that time been apparent, even to the advanced observer. The people of Canada began to buy pictures. Having in due course acquired a few really good examples of art in the higher sense, it did not require much time for the owners to see and feel the difference between the true and the false. Weeding out the commonplaces became necessary, and the standard of art in the home of the buyer or collector rapidly became higher, and a different test naturally came to be applied to pictures, whether painted by Canadian or foreign artists.

At the present time the art produced in Canada, as well as the art purchased in other countries, is easily distinguished from what pleased or satisfied a former public. It may be stated as quite within the fact that art is now at the highest point as affecting the public which it has yet reached. It must not be forgotten that this great change has taken place within thirty or forty years, and conveys to us a convincing and instructive lesson as regards the future. The mental vigour and clearness of vision which are characteristic of the educated Canadian have made their influence felt. Strong, vital powers of appreciation and a receptive mental capacity mark the relation and capacity of the average Canadian with reference to his externals. With these qualities cultivated, and having before us the record already established, there seems to be good ground for the opinion that in the next quarter of a century much greater development in art and an infinitely keener and more critically intelligent appreciation of pictures will be the result. Naturally, under such conditions artists themselves must advance, and must paint with all the power and skill within their limitations, in order to maintain a high level in their profession. Demand for high art will produce this result just as men have always responded to the demands of a great occasion.

One important element to be considered is the beauty of Canadian scenery. Every one is more or less influenced by his physical environment, especially in matters pertaining to observation. The condition of his material surroundings will develop a standard of things beautiful or the reverse, by which he will judge according to his capability. The Canadian who at all intelligently observes the features of his immediate world must be guided largely by the mind as developed by what he sees or feels. If this is so, art must advance and become more prominent in the daily life of the people of a country marked by natural beauty. The demand for the highest qualities in art must be supplied with pictures equal in merit to what is asked for, and greater efforts will be made by artists to develop that genius which alone can produce great results. The best examples of England, France and Holland make up the important collections of pictures in Canada, and people are therefore brought into closer relationship with fine pictures, and must be more or less influenced and educated by them. There is, too, a strong mental vitality in the Canadian character. Ambition follows as a result of this condition, and it may be reasonably predicted that as wealth increases in the hands of the patron opportunities of improvement and advancement will accrue to the artist.

There is no doubt that at some time or other, and perhaps in the immediate future, there will be found in Canada a body of strong, sympathetic painters, whose works, if at all an index to Canadian character, or a result of it, will be considered by intelligent and competent critics to be equal to the best of modern masters. There is no reason why such should not be the case. There are many grounds for believing that true art will come into its own heritage in Canada. The struggling for more feeling and finer expression as compared with twenty years ago is evidenced in a marked manner by what may to-day be seen at any exhibition, and those who know not the secrets of art are gradually falling out of the ranks, leaving the field to those who are earnestly digging for those treasures which can only be found by the serious and thoughtful followers of art in its highest sense and application. The younger artists are struggling to achieve success in their own way and in defiance of the purely academic. They are not content with being mere followers in the footsteps of others. The influence of any particular school is not felt, except in matters of an elementary character. The picture is no longer the mere handwriting of the student. He seeks to give his work character, thought and feeling, and to express in colour the sympathy which exists between himself and the offspring of his brush. The picture must be more than a mere decoration. The poetry of the landscape, the character of the man in portraiture, the imagery and grace and beauty unobserved by the ordinary eye until revealed by the magic of the painter, are the objects of the artist. The exhibitions tell us of his struggles to accomplish this, and to realize on canvas something of the inner thoughts and passion which actuate his mind. This being so, there can be no doubt as to the result. Time and thoughtful application, with that encouragement to which every worthy labourer in the vineyard, be he artist or any one else, is entitled, must produce results, and in this way the future of art in Canada will be determined.





Canada from the beginning has been so much a workshop that pre-eminence among her people in contemplative or artistic pursuits is not to be expected. The noise of the loom, the hum of the threshing machine, the rush and stir of enginery, so necessary in a new and widespread country, are disturbing as well as inspiring. While this sweep of life is abundantly worthy of the most facile brush or the most rhythmical pen, no great artistic interpreters of this new civilization have arisen. Perhaps Canadians see things at too close a range. They may miss the soft haze of romance which graces this new life and which is apparent to European observers. Dvořák caught some of its beauty in his New World Symphony. But whether the native artists be poets, musicians or painters, so far they have been fascinated rather by certain isolated aspects of nature than inspired by the breadth and variety of Canadian life. There is no Canadian school of painting. There is no Canadian drama; no Canadian school of composers. But there are painters, actors and musicians, walking in the wheat fields, sitting in the shanties, listening to the throb of mining machinery, seeing the miles of belt and shafting in the expanding cities, and trying to read the secret of their beauty, the romance of their variety and power.

Creative energy in any of the fine arts is the product of centuries of civilization, of decades of appreciation. To know and to love the beautiful is in itself an art; to express it in terms of his technique is the artist's supreme achievement.

So it would be unwise, in a country that is just beginning to find itself, to look for the immediate appearance of any great creative musicians. Their coming would be premature. Creation in all art needs the atmosphere of a settled national life.

Only yesterday Ontario was a wilderness of gloomy pine. The three hundred years of Quebec are insignificant when compared with the hoary antiquity of Salzburg, Nürnberg, and the Gothic fanes of England. However, although creative effort has been relatively unimportant in Canada, the love for music has grown, and on the interpretative side excellent work is being done. In tracing the development of musical and dramatic art there is no desire on the part of the writer to express judgments ex cathedra or to give a wearisome catalogue of names.

Pioneer days in Ontario developed no striking or original folk-melody. Ontario settlers were not possessed of the quick fancy and the mercurial temperament of the French Canadians. In Quebec there were occasional flashes of the true fire in such melodies as that of O Carillon. But Ontario was musically inarticulate. The rugged religion of the people, stimulated by the stern circuit-riders, was in any case squarely hostile towards any 'ungodly songs.' The child who dallied with the forbidden sweets of Lucy Lee or other 'devilish' melodies, brought to the farm perhaps by an itinerant tinker, was likely to regret it. The only music recognized as legitimate was that provided for the singing of psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Even the country singing schools established themselves on 'The New Lute of Zion,' and drifted with uneasy reluctance into profane part-songs.

In the towns there was some attempt at music-teaching, but at best it was happy-go-lucky. Sixty years ago a pianoforte was a rarity. Those fortunate enough to own one were not generally inclined towards serious study. The men of the household were seized of the notion that piano-playing and embroidery were upon the same plane—accomplishments for languishing young women.

It is undoubtedly true that the present status of music in Ontario is mainly due to the churches. The men who did the early work of awakening the people to appreciation and interest were church organists. The growth of prosperity in towns and cities made the installation of pipe organs in the churches a common thing. The training given to volunteer choirs stimulated the singers to study, and thus by slow degrees a demand for better music, and for a coordinate, systematized method of piano and organ teaching, was created. Many of the organists were Englishmen, trained in European schools and impatient of the crudity of the art in their new environment. They did brave work, often under ungrateful conditions, and are deserving of tender remembrance by all who in these days can sit through a Brahms symphony or a Debussy tone-picture with real interest and intelligent understanding.

The establishment of conservatories in various parts of the province, notably in Toronto, was a bold step, but one fully justified by results. Not only was the teaching of music placed upon a better basis, but these institutions became centres of influence moulding in no small degree the taste of the community.

It was natural, in view of the pre-eminence of church music, that oratorio should be essayed. The works of Handel and Haydn, the masters who first swayed the musical public, required large choruses for their interpretation. Thus began a movement that has culminated in the international recognition of Toronto as 'the choral capital of North America.' One must mention Dr F. H. Torrington, a pioneer of determination and virility. He laid foundations, in a career of nearly forty years, by kindling in the singers a love for choral work and by awakening the general public.

Progress has been gradual but constant. Other choruses arose and in time were dissolved. Finally Dr A. S. Vogt formed the Mendelssohn Choir, an organization designed at its inception to present small compositions of tried excellence in the best possible manner. This was the ideal from 1894 to 1897. After three years' suspension the choir was reorganized on broader principles, and from the first concert in 1900 public interest was thoroughly aroused. The ideals of Dr Vogt were very high. He believed it possible to coordinate all the voices in his chorus, to compel uniformity of 'production,' and thus to secure an ensemble of rare possibility in the graces of expression. He has fully demonstrated his capacity to do all this and more.

After several seasons of artistic and financial success the choir in 1907 went to New York and won instant acclaim. Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Boston also have approved of the Mendelssohn Choir in an unstinted measure that should be most gratifying to every Canadian. In Boston, visited in 1912, appreciation was more than gracious. When Canada can take a musical message to critical and cultivated New England, the accomplishment is assuredly worthy of the fullest recognition. This is evidence that there is the possibility of an atmosphere of culture in the Dominion. Materialistic and utilitarian gods will not rule for ever.

Dr Vogt is magnetic, virile and progressive. His masterfulness compels singing with the intellect as well as with the voice. He breaks up the languor and carelessness so common in choristers who do not feel a personal sense of responsibility. He notes the smallest details with sympathetic and penetrating mind. He possesses in a marked degree the critical temperament and a mellowed and catholic taste to justify it.

While the leading figure in the musical life of Canada is so notable, something must be said for his choristers. They are willing to endure hardness for music's sake. Discipline is accepted willingly. Self-conceit is suspended. Sacrifice of time and money is cheerfully made. Competent observers have said that this willingness to sink individuality for the sake of the ensemble, to accept without question the vigorous and keen criticism of a conductor, is an index to the Canadian temperament. It is questionable if choristers in any of the large cities in the United States could endure this partial suppression of the ego for the credit of a conductor, no matter how eminent, and for the good of choral art.

Many of the noblest compositions of the masters in music were written for chorus and orchestra. For this reason it was soon found necessary by the Mendelssohn Choir and by other similar choirs to bring bands of the first rank to Toronto. This stimulated or rather created an interest in symphonic works and considerably widened the musical horizon. One result was the establishment under Frank Welsman of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the maintenance of which was guaranteed by a group of business men under the leadership of H. C. Cox. From the beginning in 1908 the band has drawn large and appreciative audiences, and the effectiveness of the organization grows appreciably from season to season. Thus the people in the chief city of Ontario are reaching out towards the knowledge that comes from familiarity with the larger forms of musical composition. The building of a musical taste in Canada must come by training the appreciation of each individual city. Toronto, so far, is on the right path. A 'music-loving public' is being steadily and surely created. One must not forget the enormous assistance given to the cause of music in Toronto by the late Hart A. Massey in the erection for the public benefit of Massey Music Hall, one of the finest large auditoriums in America and admirable as to its acoustics.

London, Ontario, has had for twenty-five years an efficient conservatory. The staff is well selected and the work reasonably well done. In the churches also the music has always been of a high character. Nearly thirty years ago Carl Verrinder, then organist of the old Queen's Avenue Methodist Church, gave on one evening Mozart's Twelfth Mass and Handel's Dettingen Te Deum, a fashionable and satisfying programme in that day and generation. Various attempts have been made to organize for choral work, but nothing of permanent value has been done. In general the musical average of the city is good. Hamilton, Kingston and Ottawa are cities of similar type. It grows more and more fashionable for men and women alike to have a groundwork of musical knowledge. Hamilton has a fine chorus of moderate size in the Elgar Choir, conducted by Bruce A. Carey. The recognition of music as a subject worth teaching in the Ontario public schools has done not a little to awaken public interest.

Music in the Province of Quebec has been the habitant's heritage. His red-capped ancestors, the sailors of Brittany, sang at the capstan and on watch. Love-songs, home-songs were their delight—dainty trifles in dancing rhythm, less important for their matter than for their manner. All this wealth of traditional melody was the birthright of the early settlers of New France. As years went on and the life of the people was coloured by their environment, new songs were evolved. But though the verse may be Canadian in theme, the melodic structure is at one with the folk-songs of Northern France.

In general the chansons populaires are anonymous, both as to verse and music. Like all folk-songs they are the product of a national temperament. They are not written; they happen. Ernest Gagnon, in his fascinating collection of these chansons, quotes a verse which, he says, has been sung over every cradle in French Canada:

C'est la poulette grise

  Qui pond dans l'église.

Elle va pondre un p'tit coco

  Pour le p'tit qui va faire dodo.

This may serve as a type of the gay and charming trifles that are woven into the very life of the Quebec people.

From the academic musical standpoint the melodies have little interest. They are unconventional to excess. Many of them are not to be classified either in the major or the minor mode. There is more than a trace of Gregorian in them. What would a modern composer do with a theme like 'Ah, qui me passery le bois,' which ends on the second of the major diatonic scale? As Gagnon very properly says, harmonization of these folk airs is too great a task.

The close relations of all the people with the church gives them generally the keenest life-interest in the canticles, psalms and hymns. At Christmas time the beautiful 'Noël' songs are common property in every village. Ernest Myrand's collection of these songs is curious and interesting.

Serious music study when engrafted upon so responsive a temperament succeeds. Most convent schools throughout the province give careful and thorough grounding in piano and vocal music for all girls who care to study. Possibly the opportunity for the boys is not so great. It takes time to eradicate the old idea that music is an 'accomplishment' rather than an art worthy of masculine attention.

At least two grand-opera singers of distinction came from the Province of Quebec—Mme Albani and Mme Donalda. But after all we must remember that their technical training was received abroad. They took from Quebec to Covent Garden and the Grand Opera in Paris the sensitive and responsive temperament that thrills at A la Claire Fontaine and weeps at Malbrouck.

Choral music is not cultivated extensively. The Choir of St Louis de France, conducted by Professor Alexander Clark, has a local reputation in Montreal, but there is no popular movement in any other part of the province towards production of the great works of the masters. Even oratorio is neglected, save by the choirs of the Protestant churches.

Semi-professional orchestras in Quebec and Montreal do pleasing work. Professor J. J. Goulet's efforts in this direction have been admirable, but guarantors have been hesitant. A musician named Lavigne had for some years also in Montreal an excellent concert band—playing in a summer amusement garden.

The one achievement so far in the province has been the establishment on a permanent basis of the Montreal Opera Company. This is due to the inspirational generosity of Colonel Meighen and a number of other social and financial leaders in the community. Sixteen weeks are guaranteed. The artists are engaged in Europe, and only French and Italian opera is undertaken. Charpentier's Louise, Massenet's Manon, and all the tried popular operas are produced with a wealth of detail equal to that bestowed upon them at La Scala, Milan, or at the Royal Opera, Berlin. It may be said that this is not a Canadian organization. But opera is international. The patronage has been most satisfying; and that is the test. While on the subject of opera, it is interesting to note in the journal of Frances E. O. Monck, My Canadian Leaves, that The Barber of Seville was produced in Quebec City on June 10, 1864. The sprightly journalist did not attend, but on the next day regretted it. One Quebec composer of great promise has appeared, Calixte Levallée, the man who wrote the music of O Canada. His native land was not kind to him, and most of his life was spent around Boston and New York.

In music, as in so many other affairs of life, the Maritime Provinces have leaned hard upon Boston. Students from Halifax, St John and Charlottetown have found their way to the New England Conservatory of Music and have brought back with them something of the fine spirit that prevails in that excellent institution. It would be too much to say that the atmosphere of Massachusetts has been transferred to Eastern Canada. But undoubtedly, in his attitude towards education and culture, the Nova Scotian has not a little of the Boston manner. For many years facilities for musical instruction in Halifax were not of a high order. It was 'a young country,' as Captain W. Moorson of the 52nd Light Infantry explained in 1830. In his stilted book, Letters from Nova Scotia, he said: 'The exquisite powers of musical concert are here almost unknown, and except in two or three solitary instances hardly attempted.'

Much has been done in eighty years. Maritime Canada now has her conservatories and a well-instructed corps of teachers. It must be said, however, that while individual knowledge of music is on a higher plane than ever before, there has been no outstanding development. Halifax, of course, has the Orpheus Society, which is reasonably efficient. Nova Scotia produces theologians and educators of international reputation. Some day, perhaps, musicians of similar calibre will awaken and compel recognition.

The West had a better start in music than the older provinces. Prairie pioneers coming mainly from Ontario had the taste produced by a hundred years of progress. Part of the money received from their first 'bumper crops' of 'Manitoba Hard' went for upright pianos. In 1873, the year of the incorporation of Winnipeg, there was a pipe organ in Grace Church, and a Glee Club was established as early as 1876, with D. Ramage as conductor. Winnipeg has an active and ardent musical colony, critics of keen appreciation and fearless pen, and a steadily growing patronage for concerts of the best type. Orchestral music is well received and the churches keep alive an interest in choral music. Calgary has its choral society giving an annual series of concerts under Percy Newcombe, and scores of other towns and cities between Winnipeg and the Pacific are on the way towards achievement in musical art.

To summarize: Music in Canada is no longer an unimportant or negligible subject. Generally the quality of the teaching has been vastly improved and in the leading cities is on a par with the best in the United States. Public taste has grown amazingly. The Dominion has produced at least two composers of commanding importance, Calixte Levallée and Clarence Lucas. Katherine Parlow, the violinist, is a Canadian. So also is Nora Clench, who leads a string quartette in England. Several opera singers claim Canada as their birthplace. International fame has come to the Mendelssohn Choir. There is permanent opera in Montreal and a permanent orchestra in Toronto. Surely Canadians have reason for encouragement in contemplating the future.


British army officers have been inveterate devotees of private theatricals. Do we not remember one of Lever's Irish captains forgetting to 'wash up' and appearing on dress parade in the Moorish make-up of Othello? That was in the toddling days of the nineteenth century. The remarkable dramatic revival in London which began with Garrick around 1750 had its effect in kindling enthusiasm in every direction. For a hundred years at least tender subalterns were expected to be 'up' in Portia, Desdemona and Rosalind, whatever became of their drill. Even commanding officers occasionally laid aside their dignity to play the part of stern fathers.

Theatricals became an army tradition, like 'peaking oars' in the navy. It is not surprising, therefore, that the regiments at the outposts of the Empire, such as Halifax, Quebec and Montreal, should beguile the tedium of garrison duty by elaborate 'productions' in which society revelled. Scores of these amateur efforts were made from 1820 onward. One of historic importance is recorded in detail in Forster's Life of Charles Dickens. On Wednesday evening, May 25, 1842, the gentlemen of the Coldstream Guards presented in the Theatre Royal, Montreal, A Roland for an Oliver, Two O'Clock in the Morning and Deaf as a Post. The stage manager was Dickens, who appeared as Alfred Highflyer, Mr Snobbington and Gallop. The novelist said in a letter to his biographer: 'I never saw anything so perfectly touch-and-go as the first two pieces.' The story of the frolic is told by 'the inimitable' with a flaming self-satisfaction which is in itself a delight.

Another glimpse at military drama takes us twenty-two years forward, almost to modern times. The irrepressible Frances Monck records, under Friday, October 21, 1864, a benefit performance at Quebec by the officers of the 25th Regiment for the Canadian Military Asylum. After dancing on the previous evening with 'Dr Tupper, the Premier of Nova Scotia,' and approving of him, she writes: 'We drove to the 25th Plays. They took place at the Music Hall. As you know, there is no theatre at Quebec. They never replaced the burnt-down one. The actors were soldiers of the K.O.B.'s and acted so very well with such nice voices. The women's parts were done by men. The house was crowded and very demonstrative.... Capt. E. said when Col. C. at Montreal is acting and does not know his part, he walks up to the Prompter and says in a loud, hoarse voice: "What is it?" He acted an Admiral, wearing his moustaches and walking with a cavalry strut.'

So much for Quebec and Montreal. Captain Moorson said of Halifax in 1830: 'There are no regular public assemblies at Halifax. A Theatre conducted by amateurs is opened five or six times during the season, but a dearth of female performers renders it not peculiarly attractive.'

It might be said with some reason that Canada's infant drama was nurtured on pipe-clay and cradled in a sentry-box.

But the whole range of amateur theatricals ancient and modern is of very little moment in examining the status of the drama in Canada. In general it is true that only the playing of trained professional actors and actresses ever approaches the artistic and interests the general public. The proof of the pudding is the eating: the proof of the acting is the box-office receipts. Men and women who are willing to pay to witness amateur performances may be moved by sympathy, or social considerations, ennui, or even despair: seldom are they clamorous to enter because of the fineness of the acting. In one sense, therefore, the Earl Grey competitions for amateurs could have but little influence upon the growth of dramatic art in Canada, nor could they form in any appreciable degree the taste of the community. We do not look for supreme attainment in the young women who decorate china for amusement. We go to the man who has lived with his technique for a lifetime, whose colour-box is not a toy, but a means of self-expression.

While, therefore, it may be entertaining to glance at the stage gambols of the gentlemen amateurs who wore the king's scarlet in British America, it may be more profitable to turn to the professional stock companies who were willing, men and women, to tempt Fortune with borrowed eloquence, to tread in sock and buskin the rocky road to success, to live on short commons in Vagabondia.

Albany gossip of 1786 records the arrival in the Hudson of a company of English comedians, six men and four women, under a Mr Moore. There was no enthusiasm in Albany for Englishmen, least of all for English actors. The Declaration of Independence was only ten years old. It is specifically stated that the party after a few unpleasant days went north to Montreal, doubtless by way of Lake Champlain to St Johns, thence by road to Laprairie, nearly opposite Montreal. There is no Montreal record of their performances, but it is known that they had in their repertoire The Taming of the Shrew, George Barnwell, The Countess of Salisbury and Venice Preserved. For these facts we are indebted to a remarkable series of newspaper articles by Frank T. Graham—clipped, pasted and bound in octavo cloth. The book is called Histrionic Montreal, and probably the copy in the Carnegie Library, Toronto, is unique.

Albany and Philadelphia were the theatrical bases of supplies for Canada. Indeed, Canada has always been indebted either directly or indirectly to the United States for her drama. Even the English plays and players go to the Dominion to-day by way of New York. Nor is this a cause for complaint. It is a natural condition.

In 1804 a Mr Ormsby, a Scottish actor, went from Albany to Montreal and established a theatre in the loft of a building in St Sulpice Street. It was opened on November 19 with The Busybody and The Sultan. A year later Lambert reports a performance of Petruccio and Katherine when the play was rendered ridiculous by the intoxication of Katherine, which was all too apparent.

But in 1808 a Mr Pigmore and his company visited Canada. Here is a description by Lambert of the genial impresario, whom we may salute with due respect: 'We met Mr P. in a huge sleigh near Trois Rivières. He was wrapped up in a buffalo robe, a bonnet rouge was on his head, such as the Canadian peasantry wear, a wampum belt was buckled around his waist, and Indian moccasins were on his feet. With his red face, he appeared like one of the ancient French landed proprietors or like one of the half-breed chiefs. He had some three or four persons with him whom he called his "company" and was then en route to play at Quebec.'

In general the theatrical history of Quebec is that of Montreal. When possible the metropolitan companies served the Rock City. Otherwise Quebec society depended upon the garrison amateurs.

J. Bernard played in Montreal in Mr Alport's company in 1829, the piece being Mrs Inchbald's Lovers' Vows. Bernard, the son of a naval officer, was an actor of no inconsiderable ability. He returned to England and was the associate of such gay sparks as Sheridan, Selwyn and Fox, and attained immortality by being elected secretary of the Beefsteak Club of London.

As an additional proof of Canada's dependence upon the United States for theatrical pabulum, no plays were presented during the War of 1812-14. But at 2 College Street, Montreal, on February 18, 1818, a theatre was opened by John D. Turnbull and his company. Another house in Notre Dame Street began business in 1821 with C. W. Blanchard as manager. Blanchard three years later had a circus in Craig Street, where he gave equestrian drama. But the first real house of entertainment was the old Theatre Royal, erected in 1825 near Bonsecours Market at a cost of £7500. John Molson was the chief shareholder, and Frederick Brown, the tragedian, was manager. The theatre opened on November 21, 1825, with The Dramatist by Reynolds. Brown's reputation was excellent and his company intelligent. Thenceforward the travelling 'stars' made Montreal a port of refuge. Thomas Hamblin played Hamlet with this company, and then came the greatest Gloucester in the history of the stage, Edmund Kean. In Albany Kean had offended the tender sensibilities of the Americans and had had a hard time. Montreal must have seemed like a paradise to him. He presented on July 31, 1826, Richard III. On August 2 he appeared as Shylock, the following night as Othello, and on August 9 as King Lear. His success was a notable one and he was honoured by a public dinner.

One need but mention Clara Foster, who in 1829 sang for Montrealers The Dashing White Sergeant. Dickens enthusiasts will recollect this as the title of the song that Mrs Micawber was wont to sing when 'home with her mamma.' James H. Hackett played in Montreal in 1831 and Charles Kean in 1833. Thomas Ward, the lessee of the theatre in 1836, had in his company John Nickinson, who afterwards became manager of a Toronto company of special excellence. In this season William Dowton, the English comedian, appeared as Sir Anthony Absolute, Falstaff and Sir Peter Teazle.

Passing over the Rebellion years, during which there were no performances, we come to the engagement in 1840 of Margaret Davenport, an 'Infant Phenomenon' who at the age of twelve played Richard iii, Shylock, Norval and Sir Peter Teazle with amazing power. In later years she created the part of Camille in America.

Another famous engagement was that of J. B. Buckstone, who played on September 9, 1841, in his own piece A Kiss in the Dark. Buckstone was one of the 'characters' of the English stage and for years was a prominent figure at the Haymarket in London.

In 1844 the old Theatre Royal was torn down to make way for the Bonsecours Market. During the last season before its demolition Macready appeared in Richelieu, Werner and Macbeth. The engagement was only moderately successful.

In 1852 the new Theatre Royal in Côté Street was opened with J. W. Buckland as manager and Mrs Buckland as the leading lady. The piece on July 15 was The Rivals. Other plays heard that season were The Heir at Law, London Assurance, The School for Scandal, The Lady of Lyons, The Ladies' Battle, The Country Squire and She Stoops to Conquer.

Dion Boucicault appeared in 1853, Charles Mathews in 1858 and Barry Sullivan in 1859. Of the erratic genius and ready wit of Sullivan all play-lovers are aware. On one night in Montreal while playing Richard iii he gave the lines, 'A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse,' with special fervour. Suddenly a man in the gallery shouted, 'Would an ass do?' 'Yes,' retorted the actor, thoroughly aroused. 'Come to the stage door.'

The Prince of Wales, afterwards King Edward vii, was in Montreal in 1860. He and Adelina Patti made a first appearance contemporaneously. The prima donna sang to enormous audiences in a special building constructed for the purpose in St Catherine Street.

During the seasons of 1863 and 1865 John McCullough, the tragedian, was leading man of the Montreal Company. The Holman Opera Company came in 1871 with Alice Oates as chief soprano, and W. H. Crane in the cast. In 1876, on May 25, E. A. Sothern made his Canadian début as Lord Dundreary.

Since that time, when the present system of moving whole companies instead of 'stars' from place to place began to become effective, Montreal has had the best that England and the United States could afford. The old Royal was deposed, for first-class companies, by the Academy of Music, and later by His Majesty's in Guy Street. Stock companies still flourish, generally during the summer months. A French company plays in St Catherine Street East during the whole season.

It is interesting to note that in the old days the theatrical season began in June and ran through till August. It was not uncommon for heavy tragedy to be played when the mercury was in the nineties. Perhaps our fathers were less worried about the weather than we are. This generation would shudder at the prospect of Virginius, Macbeth or Hamlet in the scorching heat of a Montreal midsummer.

Before 1830 there was a theatre in Toronto. Frank's hotel at the corner of King Street and Market Lane had a large low-ceiled room which was used for dramatic performances. The place was reached by an outside stairway and would be contemplated with horror by a modern building inspector. The proscenium was narrow and low and the scenery was makeshift, but the companies of Mr Archbold, Mr and Mrs Talbot and Mr Vaughan were welcomed. Dr Scadding tells us of the appearance of Mrs Talbot on one evening in Pizarro and Little Pickle. Other plays produced in this house were Barbarossa, or The Siege of Algiers—two garrison men formed the 'army'—Ali Baba, or The Forty Thieves, The Lady of the Lake and The Miller and his Men.

The backsliding of a Wesleyan chapel in King Street gave the drama a better opportunity. The building having been abandoned by the denomination, it became, in 1833, the Theatre Royal, where for a number of years the players had reasonable accommodation. Generally there was a close relation between Montreal and Toronto in dramatic matters. John Nickinson and his wife, who had played in Montreal, took the Royal Lyceum Theatre in 1852, and until 1858 won a deserved success. The travelling 'stars' did not fail to come, and some excellent performances were given. In later years Mrs Morrison, daughter of the Nickinsons, an actress of marked ability, was the lessee of the same theatre, which was situated in King Street. Up to the day when travelling companies began to replace the old system the Nickinsons, father and daughter, were the most important of a long line of managers. Charles Albert Fechter was in Toronto in 1868 playing a round of Shakespearean parts. On one occasion there was some difficulty with the company and some of the actors refused to go on. Hamlet was the bill. Bernardo entered before the castle with the famous salutation, 'Who's there?' There was no reply. He repeated the question twice. Then came a voice from the 'gods': 'Darned if I know. Go on with the play.' Toronto to-day is well served with theatres and patronizes them with great liberality.

Actors came occasionally to Halifax from Boston. Some others, just out from England to try their fortunes in an American tour, sojourned at Halifax and strutted their brief hour with reasonable satisfaction to 'a cheerful and convivial people.' But there particularly the Garrison Dramatic Corps, like everything else military or naval, held always a first place in the affections of society. Of late years the Maritime Provinces have been fairly well served, but not so well as they might be. Summer stock is generally popular in the East.

Winnipeg in 1870 was only the germ of a city. But the Theatre Royal was established by the First Ontario Rifles in the rear of a store belonging to Mr Bannatyne. On December 16 the regimental company played a burlesque in three acts, A Child of Circumstances, or The Long-lost Father. So the West, opened up under other and more favourable conditions than those attending the opening of the East, had for its entertainment the same meek and lowly beginning—soldier boys playing in a room behind a shop. A year later an amateur dramatic club was organized, and ever since amateur acting has been a common and pleasant social diversion in the Queen City of the Plains. The first important professional engagement was that of the McDowell Company in 1879. Since then Winnipeg and the Great West have fared as well as could be expected, St Paul and Minneapolis being the American base. In like manner the coast cities depend upon Seattle and San Francisco.

A book of some rarity dealing with early theatrical conditions in Canada has been acquired lately by the Archives at Ottawa. In 1861 Captain Horton Rhys of the English army made a wager. In pursuance of its terms he and Catherine Lucette, a Covent Garden soprano, toured the Eastern States and Canada, acquiring within six months a net profit of £500. Rhys, in addition, seems to have acquired a persistently bad temper. He wrote an account of his experience.[1] It is in a sense a literary curiosity, for the author has a villainous style. Further, it is plainly inaccurate, and it exhales a snobbishness gloriously complete. The book is amusing in the serious parts and deadly serious in the humorous parts. Perhaps it deserves some slight attention on this account.

The Canadian part of the tour began at Quebec in the Music Hall on July 25, 1861, under the patronage of Colonel Munro, C.B., commandant, and the officers of the garrison. The band of the 39th Regiment assisted. On the programme was a one-act sketch by Captain Rhys, a series of operatic airs sung by Miss Lucette, and a 'Ballad, by desire' entitled Ever of Thee. Those familiar with the works of Artemus Ward, a contemporary, will remember his occasional bright references to this piece of musical sentimentality.

Rhys found the Music Hall 'a wretched contrivance, rent 40 dols, a night,' but, as he also said the River St Lawrence at Quebec was three miles wide, one may be politely incredulous. The Mercury said that his facial power and volubility of speech placed him beyond criticism—'as an amateur.'

In Montreal he appeared at Nordheimer's Hall; in Kingston, at the Sons of Temperance Hall. He was at Belleville, Peterborough, Cobourg, Port Hope, Hamilton, Niagara Falls and London, and cursed the accommodation everywhere. But he did fairly well, picking up the money, and glowering upon the country.

His experience in Toronto was amusing. He had forwarded from Kingston to the Hon. George Brown of the Globe an order for some posters. When he arrived the order had not been executed. 'I was not in a good temper,' he says. 'After some five minutes' conversation in the Globe office with a hungry-looking, bald-headed individual in his shirt sleeves, and nails in mourning, I desired to see the Honorable Brown himself. Much to my surprise, I found that he stood before me. He said that owing to the printers in general being constantly "done" by the "travelling profession" they had determined on giving no more credit.'

It is extraordinary that Captain Rhys should have felt aggrieved, for in an earlier portion of the book he himself asserts: 'Actors in Canada are a little too much of the Fly by Night order to hold a high Social status.'

But of course there was a vast gulf fixed between a professional actor and a gentleman amateur, with his name in the Army List, 'travelling incognito on a wager.'

Cynics say that any one can write a play, but that scarcely any one can sell one. Canadians have been writing in the dramatic form for years. Perhaps Charles Mair began it in 1880 with Tecumseh, a drama, duly heroical and embalmed for our inspection in printers' ink. Others who have essayed the impossible include J. Mackenzie, who wrote Thayendanegea, a historic-military drama, John Hunter Dewar, author of De Roberval, Sarah Ann Curzon, who dramatized the story of Laura Secord, and L. O. David, whose play Le Drapeau de Carillon is well worth reading. Frederick George Scott and William Wilfred Campbell, known generally for their lyrics, have each essayed the poetic drama. W. A. Tremayne has written plays to some purpose. His Lost Twenty-four Hours, produced by Robert Hilliard, was a New York success.

One might give a list of Canadian-born players who have attained distinction in the profession, but nearly all of them had their training in the United States and are to all intents American rather than Canadian actors. Even Margaret Anglin, the most eminent of our stage women, looks to Broadway for her highest felicity, and should do so. There is no Canadian Drama. It is merely a branch of the American Theatre, and, let it be said, a most profitable one.

A Theatrical Trip for a Wager: Through Canada and the United States, by Captain Horton Rhys (Morton Price), author of Tit for Tat, Folly, All's Fair in Love and War, etc. etc., London, published for the author by Charles Dudley, 4 Agar Street, West Strand, 1861.



General Conditions

A review of the architecture of Canada may conveniently be divided as follows: the consideration, on the one hand, of monuments manifesting exotic or imported traditions such as the French classic of the late Renaissance, the later Georgian classic, the revived Gothic of the Victorian era, the various vogues of recent development in the United States and the modern academic of Parisian inspiration; and, on the other hand, of truly Canadian characteristics in building, indigenous growths or evolutions of type modifying almost out of recognition the imported traditions. Architecture in Canada as elsewhere has thus served her monumental or ethnographic purpose as a true reflection of historic facts and racial instincts.

While the most important buildings on Canadian soil must undoubtedly be classed as examples of imported tradition, a few only are of sufficient technical merit to warrant a student's attention. On the other hand, the buildings representing local traditions that are to be found in some of the older parts of the country are extremely interesting and evince distinctive character, invention and true style. As might be expected, climate has dominated these evolutions or ameliorations of types originally European. Distinctively native types of building were restricted for the most part to humble efforts, and by the beginning of the present century had ceased to be. This is not to be wondered at, considering: firstly, that increase of population by immigration has reached such phenomenal proportions; secondly, that standards of living developed outside the Dominion have become possible within it through the rapid development of natural resources; thirdly, that a steady deterioration of craftsmanship in the building trades (which must be accepted as a 'sign of the times') has marked the nineteenth century here as elsewhere; and, fourthly, that the advent has taken place of the modern Canadian architect with a 'training'—academic, neo-Gothic or secessionist—obtained either overseas or in the United States.

In spite, however, of the distinct break with the excellent local traditions, which even in 1850 still dominated the design of buildings in favoured parts of Upper and Lower Canada, the same inexorable practical causes are ever at work, and it is not difficult for the discerning to imagine a truly Canadian architecture again evincing itself; for in architecture—the most democratic of the arts—the artificialities of schools and fashions must ever give way to the climate, the materials available, the needs of the community and the state of the labour market. For thus have all the national types of building been evolved since building as an art began to be.

In describing briefly the characteristics of that portion of Canadian building that may fairly be entitled to rank as architecture, it will be found convenient, for the sake of chronological order, to deal with the exotic and the native styles together. Where there is little that is truly great the names of artists and the dates of buildings are difficult to ascertain with precision, and as such names and dates as are available and authentic do not necessarily refer to the best examples, it would be manifestly unfair to unknown artists to give undue prominence in cases where the facts of authorship have survived almost by accident. The periods and styles of Canadian architecture will therefore be assigned to localities rather than to personalities. This treatment will leave more space for descriptive and critical remarks. The great architecture of mediæval Europe is practically anonymous to-day, and the writer very much doubts whether the discussion of any phase of art is elucidated by personal reference to artists unless there is both space and material for careful delineation of individual character. As the best of what can truly be called Canadian architecture is essentially vernacular in spirit, precise chronology and attribution of authorship can the more readily be dispensed with.

French-Canadian Architecture

The early settlers of the Province of Quebec brought with them the building traditions of France at a time when Gothic building methods may be said to have just become extinct. Their requirements were for the most part of the simplest character, and stout walls of well-set rubble with wooden casement windows and shutters, steep roofs with a pronounced bellcast, stone gables carried up to skews well above the roof, and stout chimneys were the main characteristics of their work. If this strong house-building has a prototype elsewhere, it is in the cottages and farmhouses of the north coast of France. How soon the French learned to build with logs it is difficult to say. The Swiss of the period had a highly developed wood architecture based on log construction, as had the Scandinavians and the Slavonic peoples. Old France was, however, a stone-building country, though, as in England, 'half-timberwork' in oak was in use in the forest districts. The stud wall lined on the inside and weather-boarded on the outside, which has played so great a part in the colonial architecture of New England and was adopted with modifications by the French in Canada, hails from the south coast of England, where oak was scarce and pine plentiful. Certain it is that the early French settlers soon learned to build walls with logs set horizontally and notched and bonded at the quoins. It is very remarkable, however, that the French settlers in Canada have never achieved a log architecture in the sense in which the Swiss, the Scandinavians and the Slavs have; their efforts at stud and 'balloon' frame construction are to this day intensely unscientific and crude, and amount to nothing more than a jerry-builder's device for making a partition in wood serve the purpose of a stone wall. A handy man as the Quebecer of the back blocks undoubtedly is, and resourceful as a sailor, it is strange how little the practical and æsthetic possibilities of wood construction have appealed to his inventiveness. Except in adhering tenaciously to the bellcast roof of the early Renaissance and exaggerating it into an unsupported covering of the gallery in front of his cottage, he has done little with wood in evolving architectural forms. The older seigniories and forts were little more than glorified cottages and their interest is archæological only. In the cottages and farmhouses of parts of the province, particularly below Quebec and in the immediate vicinity of Montreal, a very charming type of country architecture was, however, evolved. The walls are usually in rough rubble squared at the corners only, and heavily pointed, almost smothered, in lime mortar. The door is nearly always formally placed in the centre of the front, with one, two or three windows regularly spaced on each side. These are invariably folding casements opening inwards and are divided into small square panes in true French sixteenth- and seventeenth-century fashion. The window frames in wood are set flush with the outside of the wall and the joint is covered with a moulding forming a neat architrave. In eighteenth-century cottages very delicate mouldings are often to be met with. The openings in the main walls are nearly always symmetrically arranged and are excellently proportioned. In country work the outer walls are as a rule one storey in height, the main floor being two to four feet above the ground, while in the city of Quebec and the smaller towns three- and even four-storey buildings of this kind are not uncommon. The gable parapets or skews taken up above the roof lines in the older examples are planked on top and shingled or coped in sheet metal. In the larger houses the gable walls carry two chimneys with a parapet wall between them. In ordinary cottages chimneys occurring elsewhere than at the apexes of the gables are rare. The chimneys often have delicately moulded stone copes of a somewhat Gothic character. The gable skew puts are as a rule carried out on heavily moulded corbels to stop the eaves and bellcast when these are of moderate proportions. In the later examples the gable skews are not found, the roof being carried over the gable wallhead—a decided improvement in a roof, however steep, that is designed to withstand snow and ice.

In these later examples the bellcast over the front gallery is often exaggerated to the limit of construction. In the case of some of the log cottages on the Ottawa River this immense bellcast and the eaves are taken all round the house. The roofs of the French-Canadian cottages are usually over 40° in pitch and are broken as a rule by a row of gablets or storm windows with pitched roofs, the main ridge being so high that it gives an unbroken sky-line.

Internally many of these cottages and farmhouses are well finished, the walls and ceilings of the older ones being lined in pine, the lining consisting of wide boards with moulded fillets over the joints. As for the furnishings, these often present an odd mixture of old French taste with primitive ideals. Woven rag matting, often in excellent colouring, and summer-killed skins cover the floors. Chairs, tables, dressers and armoires faintly reminiscent of the Henry IV period and made by the tenant or his ancestors, are of frequent occurrence, and now and then a real old piece from France. A box stove from Three Rivers, if made prior to 1840, is a thing of wonderful durability and beauty; sparingly adorned with crisp anthemions, daintily moulded, refined in form and proportion, what a contrast it presents to its hideous modern successor with its amorphous rotundity exuding burnished monstrosities of Byzantine 'ornament.'

Many a farmhouse on the North Shore road below Quebec can still testify by its appointments that country life in Canada had its amenities in the old days.

No review of the architecture of the Province of Quebec would be complete without some reference to the ecclesiastical buildings of the Roman Church. The relations of the church in Quebec with the church in France have naturally been close and continuous, and so we find a reflection of the French developments of classic architecture evidenced in connection with ecclesiastical buildings in this province and particularly during the eighteenth century. The churches at Pointe aux Trembles, Ste Rose and Ste Geneviève, all in the vicinity of Montreal, plainly show the influence of this tradition. The older parish churches throughout the province have usually some striking quality of design, and in many cases are adorned with charming spires and flêches sheeted in tin. This material, which weathers to a lustrous golden tint and was used for the roofing of all the more substantial buildings before the advent of galvanized iron, gave character to the towns and villages of the province. Perhaps the finest group of buildings for which we have to thank the church in the Province of Quebec is that known as the Hôtel-Dieu—a hospital in Montreal. Extreme simplicity and breadth characterize the group, which is regular and symmetrical though naïvely unaffected in style. The central chapel is surmounted by a lantern or dome of moderate dimensions, admirable in itself and in the happiest relation to the group that it dominates.

Very different in temper from the work of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth century is the more recent achievement in building of the French-Canadian people and their church. Some fatuous efforts at revived Gothic may be noted, and these are sad enough, and if a foreign inspiration must be cited by way of relieving from responsibility the authors of the more recent abominations, the banalities of French architecture under Louis-Philippe may be mentioned. General conditions referred to at the beginning of the chapter must, however, be regarded as the causes for a phase of design that would be called a decadence had it corresponded with a languishing activity, but which must, considering its quantity and exuberance, deserve a less apologetic description.

Even down to 1860 there were built in Montreal by French-speaking builders many dignified residences and city blocks with a distinct neo-Greek tendency, which in virtue of good proportion, reserved and delicate detail, and excellent workmanship were well able to hold their own without any historic style designation. But the second half of the nineteenth century shows a rapid abandonment of all restraint and a culmination of vulgarity in the rankly fertile galvanized-iron excrescences of 1900 which deform both Montreal and Quebec. Since that date the forces of the academic school of Paris have again mustered in some strength, and French-Canadian architecture as such has ceased to be, for the mixed blessing of the bondage of the modern academic school allows but little scope for local traditions, whether sane, worthy and beautiful or merely erratic and untutored.

English-Canadian Architecture

If French-Canadian architecture has absorbed the bulk of this chapter, it is not because the older English-speaking provinces have less to show, but because what they have differs in no material way from the older work of the northern New England States, and that has a literature of its own, while architecture in Quebec is a thing apart. If less important, at least it has a more interesting and a stronger local character.

In the Maritime Provinces and Ontario old houses may here and there be seen that afford illustration and plain evidence of seventeenth-century Scottish tradition. Rubble walls with dressed margins, sash windows, dormer gablets cutting through the wallhead line in the Scots style, and occasionally even crow-stepped gables occur, but such houses are comparatively rare.

Generally speaking, the lower provinces, the Eastern Townships of Quebec, the St Lawrence and Ottawa valleys and Ontario shared their architectural history with New York and Massachusetts. That is to say, the English south-coast wood construction in studding and clapboarding with shingled roofing was developed on a scale that the southern counties never knew, until the forms natural to such a construction (with a little classicism added in the matter of mouldings and the conversion of posts into columns) became crystallized in the great colonial tradition. Of course brick and stone were often used, but what really distinguishes the colonial architecture of the eighteenth century from its parent, the late classic tradition in England, is the prevalence of wood—the dominating material.

This vernacular architecture (the cottages, farmhouses and town dwellings) of the English was distinguished from that of the French by a less regular grouping of openings and less severe massing of the unit. Even in small houses the English used two storeys below the eaves, while the French delighted in gigantic steep roofs over a low wallhead. The bellcast, it has already been pointed out, is not a very good snow form, and was a tradition and not an invention with the French in Canada; the English used it, when at all, in a very modified and tame way. But perhaps the most vital difference between English and French building in Canada may be found in the use of the Dutch sash—called an 'English window'—by the English; and the use by the French of the casement opening in—in Canada called a 'French window.' The real English window, which is a casement to open out, has never found favour, for obvious climatic reasons. The writer has visited a valley in Western Quebec where French and English have settled on opposite sides of a river, and there is not a casement on the one side nor a sash on the other for fifteen miles of fertile populous country.

But even racial traditions give way before the methods of modern production, and the French and English housebuilder in rural districts to-day buys both sashes and casements at a mill, and builds boxes with lids covered with tar and gravel in place of the comely characteristic houses of a bygone generation. And, alas! in many districts where the builders of seventy years ago created real architecture without the intervention of an architect and finished their work with a nice taste and sense of fitness, to-day, even with professional aid, the builders' best efforts too frequently result in a butchery of the design, while in point of tradesmanship and materials each decade marks an ever lower standard. So much for the phase of architecture that really matters most—the building of houses.

Turning now to the efforts of a more serious kind by English architects in Canada, it may be observed that there is but little that can take its place beside contemporary work in England, previous to the advent of the 'Adams' or late Georgian style, but of that period there are many fine examples in the old government buildings and lawcourts, etc. At Halifax, for instance, the influence of the Adams is plainly visible in the beautiful building of golden-brown sandstone that enshrines the government offices. Typical of the best of its period with its rusticated basement and Ionic order embracing two storeys, the delicacy and refinement of proportion and the originality of the detail make this building a real masterpiece, as well as a historic monument of the greatest interest. And this is by no means an isolated example. All the older towns from the ocean to the Lakes have their relics of the Georgian period, but they are fast disappearing and little interest in their preservation is manifest.

The decay of classic architecture in England during the Victorian period and the advent of the Victorian Gothic affected Canada, as might be expected, and to the credit of the Gothic revival must be placed the parliament buildings at Ottawa, which, however open to criticism in the matter of detail and treatment, constitute as fine a group of buildings in the picturesque sense as any on this continent.

Christchurch Cathedral, Montreal, is a fine and typical example of the work of English church builders of the middle of the nineteenth century, but it is designed without sufficient regard for climatic conditions. Many other churches more or less Gothic in intention, built between 1850 and 1900, are to be found in the older cities of Canada. As architecture they are almost without exception lamentable failures. The architects of this period knew enough about the forms of Gothic art to select models with some discretion, but in the spirit of Gothic inventiveness they were so deficient that their structures have no visible relation to the climate or the materials available and their efforts cannot properly be classed as architecture at all.

In recent domestic work of the better class, if anywhere, we may see the beginning of a new and really Canadian architecture with a rational relation to English traditions and Canadian conditions. The architects of Toronto must be given the chief credit for what has been done so far for good in that direction, and much of their work, viewed in due perspective, has the qualities of a distinctive school.

Elsewhere in Canada domestic work is still in a very experimental stage, a great variety of types competing with one another. This is notably the case in the vicinity of Montreal, where the quality of the work of the last twenty-five years has been very uneven, in spite of some excellent examples achieved throughout that period.

In the West architecture of all sorts is hampered by the conditions of labour, but in spite of adverse circumstances recent domestic architecture of the better class shows some improvement and local conditions are producing distinctive types, though the bandbox with a false gable at one end is still the vernacular ideal for ordinary purposes.

The influence of the highly developed and specialized architecture of the United States on work in the Canadian cities is the most important fact in the history of Canadian architecture thus far. Practical identity of requirements, conditions and climate on both sides of the line, coupled with the fact that in all that pertains to development the people of the United States have a start of about a generation's progress, renders it obvious that the solution of building problems to the south of the border will be made full use of to the north of it.

Whether Canadian architecture will ultimately tend to have a character of its own, either retrospective and traditional or through the development of distinctive Canadian genius, time alone will show. At the date of writing there is little in the outward conditions to warrant the assumption that the architecture of the Northern States and of Canada will be materially different in character.

Supposing, however, that such a thing as Canadian genius is a possibility, the time for its fruition in works of art of a distinctive national character is not likely to be materially hastened while the most important works in the country continue to be handed over to the genius of New York, as is at present the fashion. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the full fruits of American experience are thus gained and the solutions of Canadian problems are accelerated thereby.

With regard to the question of a Canadian architecture, it must be borne in mind that there are many climates in Canada and that conditions of life vary greatly in the different provinces. The population is moreover very heterogeneous in character, and this polyglot people will probably evince a cosmopolitan eclecticism for a generation or two before any national expression in art can become possible. The historic traditions of English architecture were evolved under conditions so radically different that they afford little foundation for Canadian practice. In the confusion of Babel the ultimate aspect of the tower must have been difficult to foresee—and so it is with Canadian architecture.

Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty

at the Edinburgh University Press

Transcriber’s Notes

Minor changes to spelling and punctuation have been made silently to achieve consistency.

Illustrations and footnotes have been relocated due to using a non-page layout.

The title Petites Chroniques pour 1877 on p. 485 was corrected.

[The end of Canada and its Provinces Vol 12 of 23 edited by Adam Shortt and Arthur G. Doughty]