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North America: British Possessions.

America; Australasia.
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The importance of the great Canadian Dominion and of the United States must not be gauged by the amount of space which is devoted to their history in this record. That history has been mainly one of peaceful progress, happy in presenting few events needing notice in a work of this class, which can only be a summary of salient points. The flag of France, as the sign of rule, vanished from North America, except for a brief tenure, at a later period, of Louisiana, on October 10th, 1765, with the surrender of Fort Chartres, on the Mississippi, on the conclusion of the war with the Ottawa chief Pontiac, who had been incited by the French against the British The whole population of Canada, almost confined to the lower valley of the St. Lawrence, did not much exceed 60,000. The French Canadians passed from comparative serfdom to freedom, and the first printing-press in Canada was introduced in 1764, with the issue of the first number of the Quebec Gazette. In 1766 Sir Guy Carleton became governor, and ruled for four years with eminent moderation, ability, and justice, retaining the old French laws in civil cases, and introducing British law and jury-trial in criminal affairs. In 1774 the Quebec Act made Canada, then consisting only of Quebec province, include the country west of Pennsylvania and Virginia, the territory from north to south extending between the Hudson Bay Company's lands and the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi. Religious freedom, without any civil disabilities, was granted to the Catholics, mostly French Canadians; the maintenance of the French code of law for civil cases was greatly resented by the small British minority. In the same year Carleton returned from England to his duties as governor, and helped to defend Quebec during the unsuccessful siege, by the revolted American colonists, in the winter of 1775-76. The French Canadians remained loyal to the government during the revolt. The Treaty of Versailles, in 1783, deprived Canada of the fine country between the Ohio and the Mississippi, making the boundary between her territory and the United States consist of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence, the 45th parallel of north latitude, and a vague line in "the highlands dividing the waters falling into the Atlantic from those emptying themselves into the St. Lawrence," words which afterwards led to serious boundary-disputes. During the American revolutionary war, and after 1783, many thousands of British subjects, known as "United Empire Loyalists," passed into Canada from the south, and caused the creation of the new province styled Upper Canada or Ontario, they receiving large grants of land, and money to start them on a new career. In 1786, after resigning his post, Sir Guy Carleton, now as Lord Dorchester, became Governor-General of British North America, and did more good service to the country. In 1791 the Quebec Act of 1774 was repealed, and the country was divided, by the Constitutional Act, into two provinces, Upper Canada (afterwards Ontario), and Lower Canada (afterwards Quebec), the latter retaining its old feudal land-tenure and the French civil law. In both provinces representative institutions, without responsible government, were established, in the Legislative Assembly elected by the people, and a Legislative Council nominated by the Crown, with a separate governor for each province. Under this form of government Canada existed for the half-century ending in 1841. In 1797 Lord Dorchester resigned his post, leaving the colony fairly started on her career, with two European nationalities living side by side. At this time a great preponderance of French Catholics existed over the British and Protestants in a population which, in 179!) amounted to about 150,000, of whom six-sevenths were in Lower Canada or Quebec province.

During the war between England and the United States in 1812-1815, both the French and the British colonists, then numbering less than 300,000, defended the country, having a frontier 1,000 miles in length, with the utmost loyalty and general success, against attacks from the south. In October, 1812, the battle of Queenston Heights, near Niagara, on the Canadian side, was won by a small British, colonial, and Indian force, the gallant and skilful Sir Isaac Brock, governor of Upper Canada, receiving a mortal wound. Other victories were won on land in 1813, but the States vessels had much success in conflicts on Lakes Erie and Ontario. In 1814 the battle of Lundy's Lane, near Niagara Falls, was a victory for the British and Canadian forces, but the American commodore Perry, on Lake Erie, gained successes over Canadian vessels. When we turn to the civil history of the colony, we find both provinces subject, after the war, to political unrest. In Lower Canada (Quebec), the Legislative Assembly, mostly of French members, was at issue with the mainly British Executive Council. Under the rule of the earl of Dalhousie as Governor-General (1820-1828), a French Canadian named Papineau came to the front as the assailant of the executive. In Upper Canada discontent was due to the monopoly of power, in the Legislative Assembly and in the Legislative and Executive Councils, by an oligarchy known as the "Family Compact," composed of members of a few families descended from the "Loyalists" who had migrated from the States, and recruited by the immigration of well-born men from the British Isles. In 1824 the elections in Upper Canada, in spite of the Family Compact, for the first time gave a majority to the reforming party, and a new popular leader and agitator arose in William Lyon Mackenzie, a native of Dundee who became, at Toronto, a very effective journalist, and was returned as member of the Assembly in 1828. The cause of the reformers, with ebbs and flows of the political tide, made general progress, and it was clear that a crisis was approaching. In Lower Canada the chief desire was not for. "responsible government," or the control of the executive by the elected bodies, but for French supremacy over the British element. In 1830 only n members, or one-eighth of the whole, in the Legislative Assembly, were British, and that body took the bold course of refusing to vote supplies. Papineau led the way, as Speaker of the Assembly, in the French disloyal movement, and French Canadians were secretly drilling, while the British party formed bodies of volunteers for maintaining the actual state of affairs. In 1837, when the British Parliament, by large majorities, rejected the demands for elective Legislative Councils in Canada, an appeal to arms was made, and some fighting occurred between the insurgents and the British troops, militia, and volunteers in both provinces. Papineau promptly fled to the United States; Dr. Wolfred Nelson, another leader of rebellion, was smartly defeated and taken; Sir John Colborne, the British commander-in-chief, routed a body of rebels at St. Eustache, near Montreal, and the movement in Lower Canada ended at the close of 1838. In Upper Canada a general feeling of loyalty existed, and only a few extreme men gave trouble, being defeated under the command of Mackenzie, who fled to the States, and thence organised a contemptible frontier-warfare, aided by some American citizens, whose action was disavowed and forbidden by the United States President Van Buren.

The small Canadian rebellion brought a change of rule, founded on the report made by the earl of Durham, sent from England as Governor-General and High Commissioner to investigate all causes of discontent. The Canadian Union Act of 1840 appointed a Legislative Council of members nominated by the Crown; a Legislative Assembly elected by the people; and an Executive Council to hold office, like a ministry, only so long as its measures were sanctioned by a majority of the Assembly. The provinces were now united, and the above and other changes gave the people control of all the public revenues, and made the judges independent. The new machinery of government was well started under the direction, as Governor-General, of Mr. Charles Powlett Thompson, a statesman of liberal views, a skilled financier, a man of excellent tact and sound judgment. Raised to the peerage as Lord Sydenham, he opened the first united Parliament of Canada, on June 13th, 1841, at Kingston, on the north-east shore of Lake Ontario, and died, all too early, in the following September, from the effects of a horse-accident. An able ruler came into office in 1847. This was the earl of Elgin, whom we have seen in India as Governor-General. During a term of office extending over nearly eight years, he dealt in a masterly way with difficulties arising between the reforming and the "old British" parties, the latter of whom, in 1849, promoted riots at Montreal, the seat of government since 1844, during which the Parliament-house was burned to the ground, with the loss of the public records and the splendid library. The colony was greatly benefited by the repeal of the Corn-laws, and by the Free-trade system. In 1854 the French Canadians in Quebec (Lower Canada) were conciliated by the abolition of the seigneurial tenure of land, with its feudal restrictions on tillage, and in the same year Lord Elgin concluded the Reciprocity Treaty with the United States, giving free trade, for ten years from 1855, between the countries, and opening the fisheries on both sides. In 1858 Ottawa was adopted as the seat of government, chosen by the Queen, at the request of both Houses of the Canadian Legislature, as a place suitable in its geographical position, removed from the local jealousies of Upper and Lower Canada.

The question of federal union of our North American states now became prominent, and, after much discussion, in Canada and in the British Parliament, the matter was settled in 1867 by the passing of the "British North America Act," whereby the two Canadas, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick formed one Dominion, under the name of "Canada." The Act came into force on July 1st, observed as "Dominion Day" in a public holiday throughout the whole of the Queen's dominions in North America, save only in Newfoundland. In 1870 the new province called Manitoba joined the Dominion; followed, in 1871, by British Columbia, with Vancouver Island; in 1873 by Prince Edward Island; in 1876 by the North-West Territories; and in 1880, under an "Order in Council," by all British provinces in North America (except Newfoundland) not previously included in the Dominion. The new Canadian constitution was unique in the history of the British Empire as combining federal principles with monarchy. The Governor-General has the aid of a body styled the Queen's Privy Council, acting as ministers or heads of departments, and dependent for tenure of office on the support of a parliamentary majority. The Governor-General represents, and has the power, of the British sovereign. The Parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Commons. The former is composed of life-members nominated by the Crown, all at least 30 years of age, removable for misconduct, and representative, in fixed numbers, of special districts. The House of Commons is quinquennial in term of sitting; elected under a uniform franchise, except in the North-West Territories, consisting of a vote for every adult male with a moderate qualification as owner, tenant, or occupier of houses or land, or as receiver of income from earnings or investments, or as son of an owner of real property sufficient to qualify two persons, or as a fisherman owning real property and fishing-gear together worth 30 pounds. Each province has also, for local government, its separate parliament and administration, as in the several states of the great country beyond the Canadian border. The history of the Dominion, under successive able governor-generals, including Lord Monck, Lord Dufferin, and the marquis of Lome, has been one of peace, with the slight exceptions of some "Fenian" raids from the States in 1865, and of some troubles in the North-West Territories to be shortly noticed, A few eloquent figures show the progress of the Dominion. In 1841 the population of Upper and Lower Canada was estimated at about 1,100,000. In 1851 the two provinces had nearly 2,000,000. In 1861 the number exceeded 2,500,000; and in 1871 the Dominion, as then constituted (the Canadas, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia), reached nearly 3,500,000. In 1898 the population of the whole Dominion, with its eight provinces, certainly exceeded 5,250,000; the total imports and exports, of nearly equal value, were worth about 45,000,000 pounds sterling; and the people, as a ship-owning community, came fourth in the world, next to Great Britain, the United States, and Norway, with -vessels of nearly 1,000,000 tons, including 1,800 steamers of 250,000 tons. The canals and railways, including the magnificent Canadian Pacific Railway, show some marvels, of engineering. The loyalty of this great self-governing nation to the British Crown has been too often and too recently displayed to need comment here.

The North-Western Territories of the Dominion include regions, extending up to the Arctic Ocean, explored during the 19th century, under the auspices of the British government and of the Hudson Bay Company, by Franklin, Back, Richardson, Rae, and other enterprising men. The historical events connected with the vast territory may be briefly noted. In 1885 a rebellion occurred among the half-breeds, dissatisfied with new arrangements made concerning their lands in 1882. They were headed by Louis Riel, the former leader of the Red River rebellion, and some successes were gained over the North-West Mounted Police and some volunteer troops. A large body of Canadian militia then took the field, under the command of Major-General Middleton, an officer who had done good service in New Zealand and during the Sepoy war in India. A difficult campaign ended in the discomfiture of the rebels, with the surrender of Riel, who was hanged after a vain appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, The latest event in the North-West was the discovery of gold in the Klondike district on the Yukon river, with an auriferous region as large as France. The first gold was found there in August, 1896, and a "rush" took place in the following year.

The province of Manitoba, formerly known as "Red River Settlement," was a part of the vast region once called "Rupert's Land," so named from the Cavalier prince who helped to found the Hudson Bay Company. In 1783 a rival to that company arose in Montreal as the North-West Fur Company, and the competition and hostility reached their height early in the 19th century, when an enterprising and benevolent Scottish noble, the earl of Selkirk, governor of the Hudson Bay Company, planted settlements of Highlanders near the Red River, These people were attacked, in 1814 and subsequent years, by the forces of the North-West Company, and driven off with bloodshed from their lands. Lord Selkirk took measures to restore their position, with ultimate success, and after many failures due to the climate and other natural causes, the colony was finally established with the help of new emigrants from Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland. The two great fur-companies were united in 1821; in 1859 the trade was thrown open; in 1869 the company ceded its territorial claims for the sum of 300,000 pounds, retaining its "forts" or trading-posts; and in 1870, as we have seen, Manitoba became a province of the Dominion. It was this event which caused the "Red River rebellion" amongst settlers in fear for their titles to lands, Fenians, Americans desiring annexation to the States, and other political and religious elements of disorder. Fort Garry' now Winnipeg, was seized by the insurgents, and the leader, Louis Riel, a French half-breed born in Manitoba, declared, in February, 1870, the establishment of a "provisional government," with the issue of a "Bill of Rights" demanding local self-government, representation in the Dominion legislature, and amnesty for the leaders of revolt A force of 1,200 British troops and Canadian militia was dispatched under the command of Colonel (now Lord) Wolseley, and, after a difficult and arduous march of 400 miles, reached the scene of intended operations and found that Riel and his associates had fled. He was outlawed, and, being elected to the Dominion House of Commons by a Manitoban constituency in 1874, was riot permitted to take his seat. His subsequent fate has been recorded.

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