Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 395 pages of information about Canada under British Rule 1760-1900.
and that gave to England a mighty empire in Asia and America.  Wolfe’s signal victory on the heights of the ancient capital was the prelude to the great drama of the American revolution.  Freed from the fear of France, the people of the Thirteen Colonies, so long hemmed in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian range, found full expression for their love of local self-government when England asserted her imperial supremacy.  After a struggle of a few years they succeeded in laying the foundation of the remarkable federal republic, which now embraces forty-five states with a population of already seventy-five millions of souls, which owes its national stability and prosperity to the energy and enterprise of the Anglo-Norman race and the dominant influence of the common law, and the parliamentary institutions of England.  At the same time, the American Revolution had an immediate and powerful effect upon the future of the communities that still remained in the possession of England after the acknowledgement of the independence of her old colonies.  It drove to Canada a large body of men and women, who remained faithful to the crown and empire and became founders of provinces which are now comprised in a Dominion extending for over three thousand miles to the north and east of the federal republic.

The short review of the French regime, with which I am about to commence this history of Canada, will not give any evidence of political, economic, or intellectual development under the influence of French dominion, but it is interesting to the student of comparative politics on account of the comparisons which it enables us to make between the absolutism of old France which crushed every semblance of independent thought and action, and the political freedom which has been a consequence of the supremacy of England in the province once occupied by her ancient rival.  It is quite true, as Professor Freeman has said, that in Canada, which is pre-eminently English in the development of its political institutions, French Canada is still “a distinct and visible element, which is not English,—­an element older than anything English in the land,—­and which shows no sign of being likely to be assimilated by anything English.”  As this book will show, though a hundred and forty years have nearly passed since the signing of the treaty of Paris, many of the institutions which the French Canadians inherited from France have become permanently established in the country, and we see constantly in the various political systems given to Canada from time to time—­notably in the constitution of the federal union—­the impress of these institutions and the influence of the people of the French section.  Still, while the French Canadians by their adherence to their language, civil law and religion are decidedly “a distinct and visible element which is not English”—­an element kept apart from the English by positive legal and constitutional guarantees or barriers of separation,—­we

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