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I national consciousness
II foundation for hope
III the tie that binds
V why reciprocity was rejected
VI the coming of the English
VII the coming of the foreigner
VIII the coming of the Oriental
IX the Hindu
X what Panama means
XI to Europe by Hudson Bay
XII some industrial problems
XIII how governed
XIV the life of the people
XV emigration and development
XVII the domain of the north
XVIII finding herself
THE CANADIAN COMMONWEALTH
An empire the size of Europe setting out on her career of world history is a phenomenon of vast and deep enough import to stir to national consciousness the slumbering spirit of any people. Yet when you come to trace when and where national consciousness awakened, it is like following a river back from the ocean to its mountain springs. From the silt borne down on the flood-tide you can guess the fertile plains watered and far above the fertile plains, regions of eternal snow and glacial torrent warring turbulently through the adamantine rocks. You can guess the eternal striving, the forward rush and the throwback that have carved a way through the solid rocks; but until you have followed the river to its source and tried to stem its current you can not know.
So of peoples and nations.
Fifty years ago, as far as world affairs were concerned, Japan did not exist. Came national consciousness, and Japan rose like a star dominating the Orient. A hundred years ago Germany did not exist. Came national consciousness welding chaotic principalities into unity, and the mailed fist of the empire became a menace before which Europe quailed. So of China with the ferment of freedom leavening the whole. So of the United States with the Civil War blending into a union the diversities of a continent. When you come to consider the birth of national consciousness in Canada, you do not find the germ of an ambition to dominate, as in Japan and Germany. Nor do you find a fight for freedom. Canada has always been free—free as the birds of passage that winged above the canoe of the first voyageur who pointed his craft up the St. Lawrence for the Pacific; but what you do find from the very first is a fight for national existence; and when the fight was won, Canada arose like a wrestler with consciousness of strength for new destiny.
Go back to the beginning of Canada!
She was not settled by land-seekers. Neither was she peopled by adventurers seeking gold. The first settlers on the banks of the St. Lawrence came to plant the Cross and propagate the Faith. True, they found they could support their missions and extend the Faith by the fur trade; and their gay adventurers of the fur trade threaded every river and lake from the St. Lawrence to the Columbia; but, primarily, the lure that led the French to the St. Lawrence was the lure of a religious ideal. So of Ontario and the English provinces. Ontario was first peopled by United Empire Loyalists, who refused to give up their loyalty to the Crown and left New England and the South, abandoning all earthly possessions to begin life anew in the backwoods of the Great Lakes country. The French came pursuing an ideal of religion. The English came pursuing an ideal of government. We may smile at the excesses of both devotees—French nuns, who swooned in religious ecstasy; old English aristocrats, who referred to democracy as “the black rot plague of the age”; but the fact remains—these colonists came in unselfish pursuit of ideals; and they gave of their blood and their brawn and all earthly possessions for those ideals; and it is of such stuff that the spirit of dauntless nationhood is made. Men who build temples of their lives for ideals do not cement national mortar with graft. They build with integrity for eternity, not time. Their consciousness of an ideal gives them a poise, a concentration, a stability, a steadiness of purpose, unknown to mad chasers after wealth. Obstinate, dogged, perhaps tinged with the self-superior spirit of “I am holier than thou”—they may be; but men who forsake all for an ideal and pursue it consistently for a century and a half develop a stamina that enters into the very blood of their race. It is a common saying even to this day that Quebec is more Catholic than the Pope, and Ontario more ultra-English than England; and when the Canadian is twitted with being “colonial” and “crude,” his prompt and almost proud answer is that he “goes in more for athletics than esthetics.” “One makes men. The other may make sissies.”
With this germ spirit as the very beginning of national consciousness in Canada, one begins to understand the grim, rough, dogged determination that became part of the race. Canada was never intoxicated with that madness for Bigness that seemed to sweep over the modern world. What cared she whether her population stood still or not, whether she developed fast or slow, provided she kept the Faith and preserved her national integrity? Flimsy culture had no place in her schools or her social life. A solid basis of the three R’s—then educational frills if you like; but the solid basis first. Worship of wealth and envy of material success have almost no part in Canadian life; for the simple reason that wealth and success are not the ideals of the nation. Laurier, who is a poor man, and Borden,
In the West a something more entered into the national spirit. French fur-traders, wood-runners, voyageurs had drifted North and West, men of infinite resources, as much at home with a frying-pan over a camp-fire as over a domestic hearth, who could wrest a living from life anywhere. English adventurers of similar caliber had drifted in from Hudson Bay. These little lords in a wilderness of savages had scattered west as far as the Rockies, south to California. They knew no law but the law of a strong right arm and kept peace among the Indians only by a dauntless courage and rough and ready justice. They could succeed only by a good trade in furs, and they could obtain a good trade in furs only by treating the Indians with equity. Every man who plunged into the fur wilderness took courage in one hand and his life in the other. If he lost his courage, he lost his life. Indian fray, turbulent rapids, winter cold took toll of the weak and the feckless. Nature accepts no excuses. The man who defaulted in manhood was wiped out—sucked down by the rapids, buried in winter storms, absorbed into the camps of Indian degenerates. The men who stayed upon their feet had the stamina of a manhood in them that could not be extinguished. It was a wilderness edition of that dauntlessness which brought the Loyalists to Ontario and the French devotees to Quebec. This, too, made for a dogged, strong, obstinate race. At the time of the fall of French power at Quebec in 1759 there were about two thousand of these wilderness hunters in the West. Fifty years later by way of Hudson Bay came Lord Selkirk’s Settlers—Orkneymen and Highlanders, hardy, keen and dauntless as their native rock-bound isles.
These four classes were the primary first ingredients that went into the making of Canada’s national consciousness and each of the four classes was the very personification of strength, purpose, courage, freedom.
But Destiny plays us strange tricks. When Quebec fell in 1759, New France passed under the rule of that English and Protestant race which she had been fighting for two centuries; and when the American colonies won their independence twenty years later and the ultra-English Loyalists trekked in thousands across the boundary to what are now Montreal and Toronto and Cobourg, there came under one government two races that had fought each other in raid and counter-raid for two centuries—alien and antagonistic in religion and speech. It is only in recent years under the guiding hand of Sir Wilfred Laurier that the ancient antagonism has been pushed off the boards.
The War of 1812 probably helped Canada’s national spirit more than it hurt it. It tested the French Canadian and found him loyal to the core; loyal, to be sure, not because he loved England more but rather because he loved the Americans less. He felt surer of religious freedom under English rule, which guaranteed it to him, than under the rule of the new republic, which he had harried and which had harried him in border raid for two centuries. The War of 1812 left Canada crippled financially but stronger in national spirit because she had tested her strength and repelled invasion.
If mountain pines strike strong roots into the eternal rocks because they are tempest-tossed by the wildest winds of heaven, then the next twenty years were destined to test the very fiber of Canada’s national spirit. All that was weak snapped and went down. The dry rot of political theory was flung to dust. Special interests, pampered privileges, the claims of the few to exploit the many, the claims of the many to rule wisely as the few—the shibboleth of theorists, the fine spun cobwebs of the doctrinaires, governmental ideals of brotherhood that were mostly sawdust and governmental practices that were mostly theft under privilege—all went down in the smash of the next twenty years’ tempest. All that was left was what was real; what would hold water and work out in fact.
It is curious how completely all records slur over the significance of the Rebellion of 1837. Canada is sensitive over the facts of the case to this day. Only a few years ago a book dealing with the unvarnished facts of the period was suppressed by a suit in court. As a rebellion, 1837 was an insignificant fracas. The rebels both in Ontario and Quebec were hopelessly outnumbered and defeated. William Lyon MacKenzie, the leader in Ontario, and Louis Papineau, the leader in Quebec, both had to flee for their lives. It is a question if a hundred people all told were killed. Probably a score in all were executed; as many again were sent to penal servitude; and several hundreds escaped punishment by fleeing across the boundary and joining in the famous night raids of Hunters’ Lodges. Within a few years both the leaders and exiles were permitted to return to Canada, where they lived honored lives. It was not as a rebellion that 1837 was epoch-making. It was in the clarifying of Canada’s national consciousness as to how she was to be governed.
Having migrated from the revolting colonies of New England and the South, the ultra-patriotic United Empire Loyalists unconsciously felt themselves more British than the French of Quebec. Canada was governed direct from Downing Street. There were local councils in both Toronto and Quebec—or Upper and Lower Canada, as they were called—and there were local legislatures; but the governing cliques were appointed by the Royal Governor, which meant that whatever little clique gained the Governor’s
The point is—when the rebellion had passed, Canada had overthrown a system of government by oligarchy. She had ousted special interests forever from her legislative halls. In a blood and sweat of agony, on the scaffold, in the chain gang, penniless, naked, hungry and in exile, her patriots had fought the dragon of privilege, cast out the accursed thing and founded national life on the eternal rocks of justice to all, special privileges to none. Her patriots had themselves learned on the scaffold that law must be as sacredly observed by the good as by the evil, by the great as by the small. From the death scaffolds of these patriots sprang that part of Canada’s national consciousness that reveres law next to God. Canada passed through the throes of purging her national consciousness from 1815 to 1840, as the United States passed through the same throes in the sixties, but the process cost her half a century of delay in growth and development.
While the union of Upper and Lower Canada put an end to the evils of special privileges in government, events had been moving apace in the far West, where roving traders and settlers were a law unto themselves. Red River settlers of the region now known as Manitoba were clamoring for an end to the monopoly of the Hudson’s Bay Fur Company over all that region inland from the Great Northern Sea. The discovery of gold had brought hordes of adventurers pouring into Cariboo, or what is now known as British Columbia. Both Red River and British Columbia demanded self-government. Partly because England had delayed granting Oregon self-government, the settlers of the Columbia had set up their own provisional government and turned that region over to the United States. We are surely
Now, stand back and contemplate the situation confronting the new federation:
Canada’s population was less than half the present population of the state of New York; not four million. That population was scattered over an area the size of Europe. To render the situation doubly dark and doubtful the United States had just entered on her career of high tariff. That high tariff barred Canadian produce out. There was only one intermittent and unsatisfactory steamer service across the Atlantic. There was none at all across the Pacific. British Columbians trusted to windjammers round the Horn. Of railroads binding East to West there was none. A canal system had been begun from the lakes and the Ottawa to the St. Lawrence, but this was a measure more of national defense than commerce. Crops were abundant, but where could they be sold? I have heard relatives tell how wheat in those days sold down to forty cents, and oats to twenty cents, and potatoes to fifteen cents, and fine cattle to forty dollars, and finest horses to fifty dollars and seventy-five dollars. Fathers of farmers who to-day clear their three thousand dollars and four thousand dollars a year could not clear one hundred dollars a year. Commerce was absolutely stagnant. Canada was a federation, but a federation of what? Poverty-stricken, isolated provinces. Not in bravado, not in flamboyant self-confidence, rebuffed of all chance to trade with the United States,
Meanwhile, a country of less than four million people set itself to link British Columbia with Montreal, and Montreal with Halifax, and Ottawa with Detroit, and the Great Lakes with the sea. The story is too long to be related in detail, but on canals alone Canada has spent a hundred millions. Including stocks, bonds, funded debt and debenture stock, the Dominion railways have a capital of $1,369,992,574; and the country that had not a foot of railroads, when the patriots fought the Family Compact, to-day possesses twenty-nine thousand miles of trackage, three transcontinental systems of railroads and threescore lines touching the boundary. Five times more tonnage passes through the Canadian Soo Canal than is expected for Panama or has passed through Suez; but consider the burden of this development on a people whose farmers were scarcely clearing one hundred dollars a year. It is putting it mildly to say that during these dark days property depreciated two-thirds in value. Land companies that had loaned up to two-thirds the value of farm property found themselves saddled with farms which could not be sold for half they had advanced on the loan.
Three times within the memory of the living generation Canadian delegates sought trade concessions in Washington; and three times they came back rebuffed, with but a grimmer determination to work out Canada’s own destiny. Is it any wonder, when the fourth time came and Canada was offered reciprocity that she voted it down?
During the twenty dark years Canada lost to the United States one-fourth her native population. During the last ten years she has drawn back to her home acres not only many of her expatriated native born but almost two million Americans. In ten years her population has almost doubled. Uncle Sam has boasted his four billion yearly foreign trade from Atlantic ports. Canada with a population only one-twelfth Uncle Sam’s to-day has a foreign trade of almost a billion.
Take another look at Canada’s area! All of Germany and Austria spread over Eastern Canada would still leave an area uncovered in the East bigger than the German Empire. England spread out flat would just cover the maritime provinces. Quebec stands a third bigger than Germany, Ontario a third bigger than France; and you still have a western world as large again as the East. Spread the British Isles flat, they would barely cover Manitoba. France and Germany would not equal Saskatchewan and Alberta; and two Germanies would not cover British Columbia—leaving undefined Yukon and MacKenzie River and Peace River and the hinterland of Hudson Bay, an area equal to European Russia. If areas in Canada had the same population as areas in Europe, the Dominion would be supporting four hundred million people.
It would be assuming too much stoicism to say that Canadians are not conscious of a great destiny. For years they stuck so closely to their nation-building that they had no time to stand back and view the size of the edifice of their own structure, but all that is different to-day. When four hundred thousand people a year flock to the Dominion to cast in their lot with Canadians, there is testimony of worth. Canadians know their destiny is upon them, whatever it may be; and they are meeting the challenge half-way with faces to the front. In the words of Sir Wilfred Laurier, they know that “the Twentieth Century is Canada’s.” What will they do with it? What are their aims and desires as a people? Will the same ideals light the path to the fore as have illumined the long hard way in the past? Will Canada absorb into her national life the people who are coming to her, or will they absorb her?
 Canada’s area is 3,750,000 square miles. The area of Europe is 3,797,410 square miles.
 Canada’s railway mileage at the end of 1913 was 29,303.53. The land grants to Canadian railroads, Dominion and provincial, stand 55,256,429 acres. Cash subsidies to railroads in Canada up to June 30, 1913, stand thus: from the Dominion, $163,251,469.42; from the provinces, $36,500,015.16; from the municipalities, $18,078,673.60.
 The tonnage through both Canadian and U. S. canals at the “Soo” in 1913 was 72,472,676, of which 39,664,874 went through the Canadian canal.
 The U. S. Census reports place the number of Canadians in the United States at one and a quarter million; but this is obviously far below the mark. Canada’s loss of people shows that. For instance, from 1898 to 1908, Canada was receiving immigrants at a rate exceeding 200,000 a year, yet the census for this decade showed a gain of only a million. It was not till 1914 her census showed a gain of two million for ten years. Her immigrants either went back or drifted over the line. Port figures show that few went back to Europe.
FOUNDATION FOR HOPE
Canada at the opening of the twentieth century has the same population as the United States at the opening of the nineteenth century. Has the Dominion any material justification for her high hopes of a world destiny? Switzerland possesses national consciousness to an acute degree. Yet Switzerland remains a little people. What ground has Canada for measuring her strength with the nations of the world? Having remained almost stationary in her national progress from 1759 to 1859, what reason has she to anticipate a progress as swift and world-embracing as that which forced the United States to the very forefront of world powers? It takes something more than high hopes to build empire. Has Canada a foundation beneath her high hopes? No nation ever had a more passionate patriotism than Ireland. Yet Ireland has lost her population and retrogressed. Why will the same fate not halt and impede Canada?
It may be acknowledged here that Canadians have no answers for such questions and short shift for the questioner. They are too busy making history to talk about it. It is only the woman insecure of her social position who prates about it. It is only the nation uncertain of herself that bolsters a fact with an argument. Canada is too busy with facts for any flamboyant arguments. It is an even wager that if you ask the average well-informed business man in Canada how many miles of railways the Dominion has, he will answer on the dot “almost thirty thousand.” But if you ask if he knows that Germany, for instance, with nine times denser population has barely twice as much trackage—no, your Canadian business man doesn’t know it. He is too busy building his own railroads to care much what other nations are doing with theirs. Likewise of the country’s trade increasing faster almost than the Dominion can handle it. He knows that imports have increased one hundred and sixty-three per cent. in ten years, and that exports have increased almost fifty per cent.; but he doesn’t realize in the least that the Dominion with seven million people has one-fourth as large a foreign trade as the United States with a hundred million people. He knows that immigration has in ten years jumped from 49,000 a year to 402,000; but does he take in what it means that his country with only five million native born is being called on to absorb yearly a third as many immigrants as the United States with eighty million native born? He has been so busy handling the rush of prosperity that has come in on him like a tidal wave that he has not had time to pause over the problems of this new destiny—the fact, for instance, that in two more decades the newcomers will outnumber the native born.
Unless the edifice be top heavy, beneath it all must be the rock bottom of fact. Beneath the tide is the pull of some eternal law. What facts is Canada building her future on? What pull is beneath the tide of four hundred thousand homeseekers a year? What has doubled population and almost doubled foreign trade?
It is almost a truism that the farther north the land, the greater the fertility, if there be any fertility at all. There is first the supply of unfailing moisture, with a yearly subsoiling of humus unknown to arid lands. Canada is super-sensitive about her winter climate—the depth and intensity of the frost, the length and rigor of her winters; but she need not be. It should be cause of gratitude. Frost penetrating the ground from five to twelve feet—as it does in the Northwest—guarantees a subterranean root irrigation that never fails. Heavy snow—let us acknowledge frankly snow sometimes banks western streets the height of a man—means a heavy supply of moisture both in thaw and rain. There is second the long sunlight. An earth tilted on its axis toward the sun six months of the year gives the North a sunlight that is longer the farther north you go. When the sun sets at seven to eight in New York, it sets at eight to nine in Winnipeg, and nine to ten in Athabasca, and only for a few hours at all still farther north. It is the long sunlight that gives the fruit of Niagara and Quebec and Annapolis its “fameuse” quality; just as it is the sunlight that gives western fruit its finest coloring, the higher up the plateau it is grown. It is the long sunlight that gives Number One Hard Wheat its white fine quality so indispensable to the millers. So of barley and vegetables and small fruits and all that can be grown in the short season of the North. What the season lacks in length it gains in intensity of sunlight. Four months of twenty-hour sunlight produce better growth in some products than eight months of shorter sunlight.
These two advantages of moisture and sunlight, Canada possesses. What else has she? It doesn’t mean much to say that Canada equals Europe in area and that you could spread Germany and France and Austria and Great Britain over the Dominion’s map and still have an area uncovered equal to European Russia. Nor does it mean much more to say that in Canada you can find the climate of a Switzerland in the Canadian Rockies, of Italy in British Columbia, of England in the maritime provinces and of Russia in the Northwest. Areas are so great and diverse that you have to examine them in groups to realize what basis of fact Canada builds from.
Girt almost round by the sea are the maritime provinces—Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick—in area within sixty-seven square miles of the same size as England, and in climate not unlike the home land. Your impression of their inhabitants is of a quiescent, romantic, pastoral and sea-faring people—sprung from the same stock as the liberty-seekers of New England, untouched by the mad unrest of modern days, conservative as bed-rock, but with an eye to the frugal main chance and a way of making good quietly. They do not talk about the simple life in the maritime provinces because they have always lived it, and the land is famed for its diet of codfish, and its men
When gold was discovered in the Yukon and a hundred million dollars in gold came out in ten years, the world went mad. Yet Canada yearly mines from the silver quarries of the sea a harvest of thirty-four million dollars, and of that amount, fifteen million dollars comes from the maritime provinces. Conservationists have sung their song in vain if the world does not know that the fisheries of the United States have been ruthlessly depleted, but here is a land the area of England whose fisheries have increased in value one hundred per cent. in ten years. It is not, however, as the great resource of fisheries that the maritime provinces must play their part in Canada’s destiny. It is as the nursery of seamen for a marine power. No southern nation, with the exception of Carthage, has ever dominated the sea; partly for the simple reason that the best fisheries are always located in temperate zones, where the glacial silt of the icebergs feeds the finny hordes with minute infusoria; and the fisherman’s smack—the dory that rocks to the waves like a cockleshell, with meal of pork and beans cooking above a chip fire on stones in the bottom of the boat, and rough grimed fellows singing chanties to the rhythm of the sea—the fisherman’s smack is the nursery of the world’s proudest merchant marines and most powerful navies. Japan knows this, and encourages her fishermen by bounties and passage money to spread all over the world, and Japanese to-day operate practically all the fisheries of the Pacific. England knows this and in the North Sea and off Newfoundland protects her fishermen and draws from their ranks her seamen.
Japan dominates seventy-two per cent. of the commerce of the Pacific, not through chance, but through her merchant marine built up from rough grimed fellows who quarry the silver mines of the sea. England dominates the Seven Seas of the world, not through her superiority man to man against other races, but through her merchant marine, carrying the commerce of the world, built up from simple fisher folk hauling in the net or paying out the line through icy salty spray above tempestuous seas. No power yet dominates
Whether heavy subsidies to large liners will effect as much for a merchant marine for Canada as numerous small subsidies to small lines remains to be seen. The development of seamen from her fisheries is one of the dreams she must work out in her destiny, and that leads one to the one great disadvantage under which Canada rests as a marine power. She lacks winter harbors on the Atlantic accessible to her great western domain, whence comes the bulk of her commerce for export. True, the maritime provinces afford those harbors—Saint John and Halifax. A dozen other points, if need were, could be utilized in the maritime provinces as winter harbors; but take a look at the map! The maritime provinces are the longest possible spiral distance from the rest of Canada. They necessitate a rail haul of from two to three thousand miles from the west. What gives Galveston, New Orleans, Baltimore, Buffalo preeminence as harbors? Their nearness to the centers of commerce—their position far inland of the continent, cutting rail haul by half and quarter from the plains. Montreal has this advantage of being far inland; but from November to May Montreal is closed; and Canadian commerce must come out by way of American lines, or pay the long haul down to the maritime provinces. There can be no doubt that this disadvantage is one of the factors forcing the West to find outlet by Hudson Bay—where harbors are also closed by the ice but are only four hundred miles from the wheat plains. There can also be no doubt that the opening of Panama will draw much western commerce to Europe by way of the Pacific.
When one comes to consider Quebec under its new boundaries, one is contemplating an empire three times larger than Germany, supporting a population not so large as Berlin. It is the seat of the old French Empire, the land of the idealists who came to propagate the Faith and succeeded in exploring three-quarters of the continent, with canoes pointed ever up-stream in quest of beaver. All the characteristics of the Old Empire are in Quebec to-day. Quebec is French to the core, not in loyalty to republican France, but in loyalty to the religious ideals which the founders brought to the banks of the St. Lawrence three centuries
Outside Quebec City and Montreal, Quebec is the most reposeful region in all America. What matter wars and rumors of wars to these habitants living under guidance of the cure, as their ancestors lived two hundred years ago? They pay their tithes. They attend mass. At birth, marriage and death—the cure is their guide and friend. He teaches them in their schools. He advises them in their family affairs. He counsels them in their business. At times he even dictates their politics; but when you remember that French is the language spoken, that primary education is of the slimmest, though all doors are open for a promising pupil to advance, you wonder whether constant tutelage of a benevolent church may not be a good thing in a chaotic, confused and restless age. The habitant lives on his little long narrow strip of a farm running back from the river front. He fishes a little. He works on the river and in the lumber camps of the Back Country. He raises a little tobacco, hay, a pig, a cow, a little horse and a family of from ten to twenty. When the daughters marry—as they are encouraged to do at the earliest possible age—the farm is subdivided among the sons; and when it will subdivide no longer, there is a migration to the Back Country, or to a French settlement in the Northwest, where another cure will shepherd the flock; and the habitant, blessed at his birth and blessed at his marriage, is usually blessed at his death at the ripe age of ninety or a hundred. It is a simple and on the whole a very happy, if not progressive, life. Some years ago, when hard times prevailed in Canada and the manufacturing cities of New England offered what seemed big wages to habitants, who considered themselves rich on one hundred dollars a year—a great migration took place across the border; but it was not a happy move for these simple children of the soil. They missed the shepherding of their beloved cure, and the movement has almost stopped. Also you find Jean Ba’tiste in the redwoods of California as lumber-jack, or plying a canoe on MacKenzie River. The best fur-traders of the North to-day are half-breeds with a strain of French Canadian blood.
If you take a look at the map of Quebec under its new boundaries up into Labrador—it seems absurd to call a region three times the area of Germany “a province”—you will see that only the fringe of the river fronts has been peopled. This is owing to the old system of parceling out the land in mile strips back from the river—a system that antedated the railroads, when every man’s train was a paddle and the waterfront. Beyond, back up from the rivers, lies literally a no-man’s-land of furs plentiful as of old, of timber of which only the edge has been slashed, of water power unestimated and of mineral resources only guessed. It seems incredible at this late date that you can count on one hand the number of men who have ascended the rivers of Quebec and descended the rivers of Labrador to Hudson Bay. The forest area is estimated at one hundred and twenty million acres; but that is only a guess. The area of pulp wood is boundless.
Along the St. Lawrence, south of the St. Lawrence and around the great cities come touches of the modern—elaborate stock farms, great factories, magnificent orchards, huge sawmills. The progress of Montreal and the City of Quebec is so intimately involved with the navigation of the St. Lawrence route and the development of railroads that it must be dealt with separately; but it may be said here that nearly all the old seigneurial tenures—Crown grants of estates to the nobility of New France—have passed to alien hands. The system itself, the last relic of feudal tenure in Canada, was abolished by Canadian law. What, then, is the aim of Quebec as a factor in Canada’s destiny? It may be said perfectly frankly that with the exception of such enlightened men as Laurier, Quebec does not concern herself with Canada’s destiny. In a war with France, yes, she would give of her sons and her blood; in a war against France, not so sure. “Why are you loyal?” I asked a splendid scholarly churchman of the old regime—a man whose works have been quoted by Parkman. “Because,” he answered slowly, “because—you—English—leave us—alone to work out our hopes.” “What are those hopes?” I asked. He waved his hand toward the window—church spires and yet more spires far as we could see down the St. Lawrence—another New France conserving the religious ideals that had been crushed by the republicanism of the old land. Let it be stated without a shadow of doubt—Quebec never has had and never will have the faintest idea of secession. Her religious freedom is too well guaranteed under the present regime for her to risk change under an untried order of independence or annexation. The church wants Quebec exactly as she is—to work out her destiny of a new and regenerate France on the banks of the St. Lawrence.
A certain section of the French oppose Canada embroiling herself in European wars. They do this conscientiously and not as a political trick to attract the votes of the ultramontane French. One of the most brilliant supporters Sir Wilfred Laurier ever had flung his chances of a Cabinet place to the winds in opposing Canada’s participation in the Boer War. He not only flung his chances to the winds, but he ruined himself financially and was read out of the party. The motive behind this opposition to Canada’s participations in the Imperial wars is, perhaps, three-fold. French Canada has never forgotten that she was conquered. True, she is better off, enjoys greater religious liberty, greater material prosperity, greater political freedom than under the old regime; but she remembers that French prestige fell before English prestige on the Plains of Abraham. The second motive is an unconscious feeling of detachment from British Imperial affairs. Why should French Canada embroil herself and give of her blood and means for a race alien to herself in speech and religion? The Monroe Doctrine forever defends Canada from seizure by European power. Why not rest under that defense and build up a purely Canadian power? The third motive is almost subconscious. What if a European war should involve French-Catholic Canada on the side of Protestant England against French-Catholic France, or even Catholic Italy? Quebec feels herself a part of Canada but not of the British Empire; and it is a great question how much Laurier’s support of the British in the Boer War had to do with that partial defection of Quebec which ultimately defeated him on Reciprocity; for if there is one thing the devout son of the church fears more than embroilment in European war, it is coming under the republicanizing influence of the United States. Under Canadian law the favored status of the church is guaranteed. Under American law the church would be on the same footing as all other denominations.
When one comes to Ontario, one is dealing with the kitchen garden of the Dominion—in summer a land of placid sky-blue lakes, and amber-colored wooded rivers, and trim, almost garden-like farms, and heavily laden orchards, and thriving cities beginning to smoke under the pall of the increasing and almost universal factory. Under its old boundaries Ontario stood just eighteen thousand square miles larger than France. Under its new boundaries extending to Hudson Bay, Ontario measures almost twice the area of France. France supports a population of nearly forty millions; Ontario, of barely two and a half millions. Both Ontario and France are equally fertile and equally diversified in fertility. Along the lakes and clustered round Niagara is the great fruit region—vineyards and apple orchards that are gardens of perfection. North of the lakes is a mixed farm region. Parallel with the latitude skirting Georgian Bay begins the
The discovery of silver at Cobalt came by an almost similar chance. Grading an extension of a North Ontario railroad projected purely for the sake of prospective settlers, workmen came on surface deposits of “rose” silver—almost pure metal, some of it; and there resulted such a mining boom and series of quick fortunes as had made Klondike famous. And Cobalt and Sudbury are at only the southern edge of the unexplored hinterland of Ontario. Old records of the French regime, daily journals of the Hudson’s Bay Company fur-traders, repeatedly refer to well-known mines between Lake Superior and James Bay; but fur-traders discouraged mining; and this region is less known to-day than when coureur de bois and voyageur threaded river and lake and leafy wilderness. Ontario, like Quebec, is only on the outer edge of realizing her own wealth.
We sometimes speak as though Canada had had her boom and it was all over. She has had her boom, and the boom has exploded, and it is a good thing. When inflation collapses, a country gets down to reality; and the reality is that Canada has barely begun to develop the exhaustless mine of wealth which Heaven has given her. Ontario, complacent with a fringe of prosperity along lake front, is an instance; Quebec, with only a border on each bank of her great rivers peopled, is another instance; and the prairie provinces are still more striking illustrations of the sleeping potentialities of the Dominion. In our dark days we used to call those three prairie provinces between
In 1912 Canada raised one hundred and ninety-nine million bushels of wheat. In 1913, of grain products, Canada exported one hundred and ten million bushels; of flour products, almost twenty million dollars’ worth. Under stress of need or high prices these totals could easily be trebled. The figures are, indeed, bewildering in their bigness. In the three prairie provinces there were under cultivation in 1912 for all crops only sixteen and one-half million acres. At twenty bushels to the acre this area put under wheat would feed Great Britain. But note—only sixteen and one-half million acres were under cultivation. There have been surveyed as suitable for cultivation one hundred and fifty-eight million acres. The land area of the three prairie provinces is four hundred and sixty-six million acres. If only half the land surveyed as suitable for cultivation were put in wheat—namely seventy-nine million acres; and if it yielded only ten bushels to the acre (it usually yields nearer twenty than ten), the three prairie provinces of Canada would be producing crops equal to the entire spring wheat production of the United States. Grant, then, two bushels for reseeding, or one hundred and fifty-eight million bushels, and six bushels for food, or fifty million bushels, the three prairie provinces would still have for export more than five hundred million bushels. All this presupposes population. Granting each man one hundred and sixty acres, it presupposes 493,750 more farmers than are in the West; but coming to Canada yearly are four hundred thousand settlers; so that counting four out of every five settlers children, in half a decade at the least, Western Canada will have five hundred thousand more farmers—enough to feed Great Britain and still have a surplus of wheat for Europe.
In connection with wheat exports from the West one factor should never be ignored—the influence of the Great Lakes and the Soo Canal in reducing freight to the West. Great Lakes freight tolls are to-day the cheapest in the world, and their influence in minimizing the toll on the all-land haul must never be ignored. Freight can be carried on the Great Lakes one thousand miles for the same rate charged on rail rate for one hundred miles.
And wheat is not the only product of the three prairie provinces. On the borderland between Manitoba and Saskatchewan are enormous deposits of coal which have not yet been explored. Canoeing once through Eastern Saskatchewan and Northern Manitoba, I saw a piece of almost pure copper brought down from the hinterland of Churchill River by an Indian, from an unknown mine, which no white man has yet found. On the borderland between Alberta and British Columbia is a ridge of coal deposits which such conservative experts as the late George Dawson estimated would mine four million tons a year for five thousand years. These coal deposits seem almost nature’s special provision for the treeless plains.
It is well known that the decrease in white fish in the Great Lakes for the past ten years has been appalling. Northward of Churchill River is a region of chains of lakes—the Lesser Great Lakes, they have been called—and these are the only untouched inland fisheries in America. To the exporter they are ideal fishing ground. The climate is cool. The fish can be sent out frozen to American markets. Of Canada’s thirty-four million dollars’ worth of fish in 1912, one and one-half million dollars’ worth came from the three prairie provinces.
Under the old boundaries, the three prairie provinces compared in area respectively Manitoba with Great Britain; Saskatchewan with France; Alberta, one and a half times larger than Germany. Under the new boundaries extending the province to Hudson Bay, Manitoba is fifty-two thousand square miles larger than Germany; Saskatchewan extended north is fifty thousand square miles larger than France; and Alberta extended north is fifty thousand square miles larger than Germany. And north of the three grain provinces is an area the size of European Russia.
We talk of Canada’s boom as “done,” but has it even begun? Strathcona used to say that the three prairie provinces would support a population of one hundred million. Was he right? On the basis of Europe’s population the three provinces would sustain three times Germany’s sixty-five millions.
In British Columbia one reaches the province of the greatest natural wealth, the greatest diversity in climate and the most feverish activity in Canada. East of the mountains is a climate high, cold and bracing as Russia or Switzerland. Between the ranges of the mountains are valleys mild as France. On the coast toward the south is a climate like Italy; toward the north, like Scotland. Of Canada’s entire timber area—twice as great as Europe’s standing timber—three-quarters lie in British Columbia. Fruit equal to Niagara’s, fisheries richer than the maritime provinces, mines yielding more than Klondike—exist in this most favored of provinces. While the area is a half larger than Germany, the population is smaller than that of a suburb of Berlin. Of Canada’s thirty-four million dollars’ worth of fish, thirteen million dollars’ worth come from British Columbia; and of her products of forty-six millions of precious and fifty-six millions of non-metallic minerals in 1911 easily half came from British Columbia.
Instead of that repose which marks the maritime provinces, one finds an eager fronting to the future that is almost feverish. If Panama is turning the entire Pacific into a front door instead of a back door, then British Columbia knows the coign of vantage, which she holds as an outlet for half Canada’s commerce by way of the Pacific. It is in British Columbia that East must meet West and work out destiny.
 In 1800, the United States population was 5,308,483; in 1901, the Canadian population was 5,371,315.
 Ireland lost one-half her population from 1840 to 1900, Her population dropped in round numbers from eight millions to four millions.
 Total foreign trade of Canada, 1912, $1,085,264,000; of United States, $4,538,702,000.
 This presupposes immigration to the United States at a million and a quarter, as before the war.
 Speaking generally, there are few sections of the Northwest where the average rainfall is scanty.
 The areas of all the Canadian provinces except the maritime ones have been extended in recent years—Quebec to include Labrador—except the East Shore, which is under Newfoundland; Ontario to James Bay; Manitoba and Saskatchewan to Hudson Bay; Alberta to MacKenzie River. Northern British Columbia is not yet surveyed, which explains why its northern area is largely a matter of guess—closest estimates placing the whole province including Yukon as twice Germany; without Yukon as about one and two-thirds the area of Germany; but this is rough guesswork.
 Canada’s fisheries for 1912 yielded $34,667,872.
 Canada’s subsidies to steamships vary from year to year, but I do not think any year has much exceeded two millions.
 This is including Labrador.
 Under crop in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta 16,478,000 acres. Area surveyed available for cultivation 158,516,427 acres; land area, 466,068,798 acres.
 The rate from the head of the Lakes to Montreal is usually four to five cents. It has been as low as one cent, when grain was carried almost for ballast.
 British Columbia’s population in 1912 was 392,480.
 Canada, mineral production for 1911 stands thus: copper, $6,911,831: gold, $9,672,096; iron, $700,216; lead, $818,672; nickel, $10,229,623; silver, $17,452,128; other metal, $322,862; total, $46,197,428. Non-metallic production 1911: coal $26,378,477; cement, $7,571,299; clay, $8,317,709; stone, $3,680,361; in all, $56,094.258.
THE TIE THAT BINDS
It is easy to understand what binds the provinces into a confederation. They had to bind themselves into a unity with the British North America Act or see their national existence threatened by any band of settlers who might rush in and by a perfectly legitimate process of naturalization and voting set up self-government. At the time of confederation such eminent Imperial statesmen as Gladstone and Labouchere seriously considered whether it would not be better to cut Canada adrift, if she wanted to be cut adrift. The difference between the Canadian provinces and the isolated Latin republics of South America illustrates best what the bond of confederation did for the Dominion. The why and how of confederation is easy to understand, but what tie binds Canada to the Mother Country? That is a point almost impossible for an outsider to understand.
England contributes not a farthing to Canada. Canada contributes not a dime to England. Though a tariff against alien lands and trade concessions to her colonies would bring such prosperity to those colonies as Midas could not dream, England confers no trade favor to her colonial children. There have been times, indeed, when she discriminated against them by embargoes on cattle or boundary concessions to cement peace with foreign powers. Except for a slight trade concession of twenty to twenty-five per cent. on imports from England—which, of course, helps the Canadian buyer as much as it helps the British seller—Canada grants no favors to the Mother Country. In spite of those trade concessions to England, in 1913 for every dollar’s worth Canada bought from England, she bought four dollars’ worth from the United States.
Certainly, England sends Canada a Governor-General every four years; but the Cabinet of England never appoints a Governor-General to Canada till it has been unofficially ascertained from the Cabinet of the Dominion whether he will be persona grata. Canada gives the Governor-General fifty thousand dollars a year and some perquisites—an emolument that can barely sustain the style of living expected and exacted from the appointee, who must maintain a small viceregal court. The Governor-General has the right of veto on all bills passed by the Canadian government; and where an act might conflict with Imperial interests, he would doubtless exercise the right; but the veto power in the hands of the Imperial vicegerent is so rarely used as to be almost dead. Veto is avoided by the Governor-General working in close conference with the prevailing Cabinet, or party in power; and a party on the verge of enacting laws inimical to Imperial interests can be disciplined by dismissal from office, in which case the party must appeal to the country for re-election. That means time; and time allows passion to simmer down; and an entire electorate is not likely to perpetrate a policy inimical to Imperial interests. In practice, that represents
On the other hand, Canada’s dependence on England is even more tenuous. Does a question come up as to the “twilight zone” of provincial and federal rights, it is settled by an appeal to the Privy Council. Suits from lower courts reversed by the Supreme Court of Canada can be appealed to England for decision; and in religious disputes as to schools—as in the famous Manitoba School Case—this right of appeal to Imperial decision has really been the door out of dilemma for both parties in Canada. It is a shifting of the burden of a decision that must certainly alienate one section of votes—from the shoulders of the Canadian parties to an impartial Imperial tribunal.
If there be any other evidence of bonds in the tangible holding Canada to England and England to Canada—I do not know it.
What, then, is the tie that binds colony to Mother Country? Tangible—it is not; but real as life or death, who can doubt, when a self-governing colony voluntarily equips and despatches sixty thousand men—the choice sons of the land—to be pounded into pulp in an Imperial war? Who can doubt the tie is real, when bishops’ sons, bankers’, lawyers’, doctors’, farmers’, carpenters’, teachers’ and preachers’—the young and picked heritors of the land—clamor a hundred thousand strong to enlist in defense of England and to face howitzer, lyddite and shell? Why not rest secure under the Monroe Doctrine that forever forefends European conquest? It is something the outsider can not understand. President Taft could not understand it when his reciprocity pact was defeated in Canada partly because of his own ill-advised words about Canada drifting from United States interests. Canada was not drifting from American interests. In trade and in transportation her interests are interlinking with the United States every day; but the point—which President Taft failed to understand—is: Canada is not drifting because she is sheet-anchored and gripped to the Mother Country. We may like it or dislike it. We may dispute and argue round about. The fact remains, without any screaming or flag waving, or postprandial loyalty expansions of rotund oratory and a rotunder waist line—Canada is sheet-anchored to England by an invisible, intangible, almost indescribable tie. That is one reason why she rejected reciprocity. That is why at a colossal cost in land and subsidies and loans and guarantees of almost two billions, she has built up a transportation system east and west, instead of north and south. That is why for a century she has hewn her way through mountains of difficulty to a destiny of her own, when it would have been easier and more profitable to have cast in her lot with the United States.
What is the tie that binds? Is it the hope of an Imperial Federation, which shall bind the whole British Empire into such a world federation as now holds the provinces of the Dominion? Twenty years ago, if you had asked that, the answer might have been “Yes.” Canada was in the dark financially and did not see her way out. If only the Chamberlain scheme of a tariff against the world, free trade within the empire, could have evolved into practical politics, Canada for purely practical reasons would have welcomed Imperial Federation. It would have given her exports a wonderful outlet. But to-day Imperial Federation is a deader issue in Canada than reciprocity with the United States. No more books are written about it. No one speaks of it. No one wants it. No one has time for it. The changed attitude of mind is well illustrated by an incident on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, one day.
A Cabinet Minister was walking along the terrace above the river talking to a prominent public man of England.
“How about Imperial Federation?” asked the Englishman. “Do you want it?”
The Canadian statesman did not answer at once. He pointed across the Ottawa, where the blue shimmering Laurentians seem to recede and melt into a domain of infinitude. “Why should we want Imperial Federation?” he answered. “We have an empire the size of Europe, whose problems we must work out. Why should Canadians go to Westminster to legislate on a deceased wife’s sister’s bills and Welsh disestablishment and silly socialistic panaceas for the unfit to plunder the fit?”
It will be noticed that his answer had none of that flunkeyism to which Goldwin Smith used to ascribe much of Canadian pro-loyalty. Rather was there a grave recognition of the colossal burden of helping a nation the area of Europe to work out her destiny in wisdom and in integrity and in the certainty that is built up only from rock bottom basis of fact.
Has flunkeyism any part in the pro-loyalty of Canada? Goldwin Smith thought it had, and we all know Canadians whose swelling lip-loyalty is a sort of Gargantuan thunder. It may be observed, parenthetically, those Canadians are not the personages who receive recognition from England.
“Sorry, Your Royal Highness, sorry; but Canada is becoming horribly contaminated by Americanizing influences,” apologized a pro-loyalist of the lip-flunkey variety to the Duke of Connaught shortly after that scion of royalty came to Canada as Governor.
The Duke of Connaught turned and looked the fussy lip-loyalist over. “What’s good enough for Americans is good enough for me,” he said.
An instance of the absence of flunkeyism from the Dominion’s loyalty to the Mother Country occurred during the visit of the present King as Prince of Wales to the Canadian Northwest a few years ago. The royal train had arrived at some little western place, where a contingent of the Mounted Police was to act as escort for the Prince’s entourage. The train had barely pulled in when a fussy little long-coat-tailed secretary flew John-Gilpin fashion across the station platform to a khaki trooper of the Mounted Police.
“His Royal Highness has arrived! His Royal Highness has arrived,” gasped the little secretary, almost apoplectic with self-importance. “Come and help to get the baggage off—”
“You go to ——,” answered the khaki-uniformed trooper, aiming a tobacco wad that flew past the little secretary’s ear. “Get the baggage off yourself! We’re not here as porters. We’re here to execute orders and we don’t take ’em from little damphool fussies like you.”
Yet that trooper was of the company that made the Strathcona Horse famous in South Africa—famous for such daring abandon in their charges that the men could hardly be held within bounds of official orders. He is of the very class of men who have forsaken gainful occupations in the West to clamor a hundred-thousand strong for the privilege of fighting to the last ditch for the empire under the rain of death from German fire.
“How can Canadians be loyal to a system of government that acknowledges some fat king sitting on a throne chair like a mummy as ruler?” demanded an American woman of a Canadian man.
“Well,” answered the Canadian, “I don’t know that any ‘fat king’ was ever quite so fat as a gentleman named Mammon who plays a pretty big part in the government of all republics.” He drew a five-dollar bill from his pocket. “As a piece of paper that is utterly worthless,” he explained. “It isn’t even good wrapping paper. It’s a promise to pay—to deliver the goods, that gives it value. It’s what the system of government stands for, that rouses support—not this, that, or the other man—”
“But what does it stand for?” interrupted the American; and the Canadian couldn’t answer. It roused and held his loyalty as if of family ties. Yet he could not define it.
He might have explained that Canada has had a system of justice since 1837 never truckled to nor trafficked in, but he knew in his heart that the loyalty was to a something deeper than that. He knew that many republics—Switzerland, for instance—have as impartial a system of justice. He might have descanted on the British North America Act being to Canada what the Constitution is to the United States, only more elastic, more susceptible to growth and changing conditions; but he knew that the Constitution was what it was owing to this other principle of which law and justice were but the visible formula. He might easily have dilated on excellent features of the Canadian parliamentary system different from the United States or Germany. For instance, no party can hold office one day after it lacks the support of a majority vote. It must resign reins to the other party, or go to the country for re-election. Or he might have pointed to the very excellent feature of Cabinet Ministers sitting in the House and being directly responsible to Commons and Senate for the management of their departments to the expenditure of a farthing. A Cabinet member who may be quizzed
A few years ago the mistake would have been impossible; for there was, up to 1900, practically no movement of settlers from the British Isles to Canada; but to-day with an enormous in-rush of British colonists to the Dominion, a superficial observer might ascribe the loyalty to the ties of blood—to the fact that between 1900 and 1911, 685,067 British colonists flocked to Canada. Not counting colossal investments of British capital, there are to-day easily a million Britishers living on and drawing their sustenance from the soil of Canada. And yet, however unpalatable and ungracious the fact may be to Englishmen, the ties of blood have little to do with the bond that holds Canada to England. This statement will arouse protest from a certain section of Canadians; but those same Canadians know there are hundreds—yes, thousands—of mercantile houses in the Dominion where employers practically put up the sign—“No Englishman need apply.”
“I’ve come to the point,” said a wholesale hardware man of a Canadian city, “where I won’t employ a man if he has a cockney accent. I’ve tried it hundreds of times, and it has always ended the same way. I have to break a cockney’s neck before I can convince him that I know the way I want things done, and they have to be done that way. He is so sure I am ‘ownley a demmed ke-lo-neal’ that he is lecturing me on how I should do things before he is in my establishment ten minutes. I don’t know what it is. It may be that coming suddenly to a land where all men are treated on an equality and not kicked and expected to doff caps in thanks for the insolence, they can’t stand the free rein and not go locoed. All I know is—where I’ll employ an Irishman, or a Scotchman, or a Yorkshireman, on the jump, I will not employ a cockney. I don’t want to commit murder.”
And that business man voiced the sentiment of multitudes from farm, factory and shop. I’ll not forget, myself, the semi-comic episode of rescuing an English woman from destitution and having her correct my Canadian expressions five minutes after I had given her a roof. She had referred to her experience as “jolly rotten”; and I had remarked that strangers sometimes had hard luck because “we Canadians couldn’t place them,” when I was roundly called to order by a tongue that never in its life audibly articulated an “h.”
Before digging down to the subterranean springs of Canadian loyalty, we must take emphatic cognizance of several facts. Canada, while not a republic, is one of the most democratic nations in the world. Practically every man of political, financial or industrial prominence in Canada to-day came up by the shirt-sleeve route in one generation. If there is an exception to this statement—and I know every part of Canada almost as well as I know my own home—I do not know it. Sifton, Van Horne, MacKenzie, Mann, Laurier, Borden, Foster, the late Sir John Macdonald—all came up from penniless boyhood through their own efforts to what Canadians rate as success. I said “what Canadians rate as success.” I did not say to affluence, for Canadians do not rate affluence by itself as success. Laurier, Foster, Sir John Macdonald—each began as a poor man. Sifton began life as a penniless lawyer. Van Horne got his foot on the first rung of the ladder hustling cars for troops in the Civil War. MacKenzie of Canada Northern fame began with a trowel; Dan Mann with an ax in the lumber woods at a period when wages were a dollar and twenty-five cents a day; Laurier with a lawyer’s parchment and not a thing else in the world. Foster, the wizard of finance, taught his first finance in a schoolroom. And so one might go on down the list of Canada’s great. Unless I am gravely mistaken the richest industrial leader of Ontario began life in a little bake shop, where his wife cooked and he sold the wares; and the richest man in the Canadian West began with a pick in a mine. I doubt if there is a single instance in Canada of a public man whose family’s security from want traces back prior to 1867.
But the richest are not rated the most successful in Canada. There is an untold and untellable tragedy here. There is many a city in Canada which has a Mr. Rich-Man’s-Folly in the shape of a palatial house or castellated residence which failed to force open the portals of respect and recognition for himself. Folly Castle has been occupied in an isolation that was almost quarantine. Why? Because its foundations were laid in some financial mud, which Canada never forgets and never forgives. Instances could be multiplied of brilliant politicians retired to private life, of moneyed men who spent fortunes to buy a knighthood, a baronetcy, an earldom—and died disappointed because in early life they had used fiduciary funds or trafficked in politics. It may impart a seeming snobbery to Canadian life, an almost crude insolence; but it keeps a title from becoming the insignia of an envied dollar bill. It keeps men from buying what their conduct failed to win. It does more than anything else to keep down that envy of true success which is the curse of many lands. Canadian papers rarely trouble to chronicle whether a rich man wears the hair shirt of a troubled conscience, or the paper vest of a tight purse. They are not interested in him simply
Set down, then, two or three premises! Canada is under a monarchy, but in practice is a democratic country. Canada is absolutely impartial in her justice to rich and poor. Have we dug down to the fountain spring of Canadian loyalty? Not at all. These are not springs. They are national states of mind. These characteristics are psychology. What is the rock bottom spring? One sometimes finds the presence of a hidden spring by signs—green grass among parched; the twist of a peach or hazel twig in answer to the presence of water; the direction of the brook below. What are the signs of Canada’s springs? Signs, remember; not proofs. Of proofs, there is no need.
Perfectly impartially, whether we like it or dislike it, without any argument for or against, let us set down Canadian likes and dislikes as to government. These are not my likes and dislikes. They are not your likes and dislikes. They are facts as to the Canadian people.
Canadians have no faith in a system of government, whether under a Turkish Khan or a Lloyd George Chancellor, which delegates the rule of a nation to butchers and bakers and candlestick-makers and “the dear people” fakers. They do not believe that a man who can not rule his own affairs well can rule the nation well. They regard government as a grave and sacred function, not as a grab bag for spoils. If a party makes good in power, they have no fear of leaving that party in power for term after term. The longer their premier is in office the more efficient they think he will become. They have no fear of the premier becoming a “fat” tyrannical king. Long as the party makes good, they consider it has a right to power; and that experience adds to competency. Instantly the party fails to make good, they throw it out independent of the length of its tenure of office.
Canadians do not believe that “I-am-as-good-as-you-are-and-a-little-better.” They will accept the fact that “I-am-as-good-as-you-are” only when I prove it in brain, in brawn, in courtesy, in mental agility, in business acumen, in service—in a word, in fact. They are comparatively untouched by the theoretical radicalism of the French Revolution, by the socialism of a Lloyd George, by the war of labor and capital. They are untouched by theory because they are so intent on fact. The “liberty, equality and fraternity” cry of the French Revolution—they regard as so much hot air. Canadians since 1837 have had “liberty, equality, fraternity.” Why rant about it? And when they didn’t have it, they fought for it and went to the scaffold for it, and got it. The day’s work—that’s all. Why posturize and theorize about platitudes? Canadians are not interested in the Lloyd George theory of the poor plundering the prosperous, because every man or woman who tries in Canada can succeed. He may hoe some long hard rows. Let him hoe! It will harden flabby muscle and give backbone in place of jawbone! Help the innocent children—yes! There is a child saving organization in every province. But if the adult will not try, let him die! If he will not struggle to survive, let him die! The sooner the better! No theoretical parasites for Canada, nor parlor socialism! “Take off your coat! Roll up your shirt-sleeves! Stop blathering! Go to work!” says Canada.
“But I think—” protests the theorist.
“Thinks don’t pass currency as coin. Go to work, and pass up facts,” says Canada.
It may be objected that all this means the survival of the fit, the rule of the many by the few. That is exactly what it means. That is the fountain spring of Canada’s national idea, whether we like it or hate it. That is the belief that binds Canada’s loyalty to the monarchical idea—though Canada would as soon call it the presidential idea as the monarchical idea. She does not care what name you tag it by so long as she delegates to the selected and elected few the power to rule. She believes the selected few are better than the unwinnowed many as rulers. She would sooner have a mathematical school-teacher as finance minister than a saloon keeper or ward heeler. She believes that the rule of the select few is better than the rule of the thoughtless many. She delegates the right and power to rule to those few, lets them make the laws and bows to the laws as to the laws of God, as the best possible for the nation because they have been enacted by the best of her nation. If that best be bad, it is at least not so bad as the worst. She never says—“Pah! What is law! I made the law! If it doesn’t suit me, I’ll break it. I am the law.”
Canadians acknowledge they have delegated power to make law to men whom they believe superior to the general run. Therefore, they obey that law as above change by the individual. In other words, Canadians believe in the rule of the many delegated to the superior few. Those few do what they deem wise; not what the electorate tell them. They exceed instructions. They lead. They do not obey. But if they fail, they are thrown to the dogs without mercy, whether the tenure of office be complete or incomplete. It is the old Saxon idea of the Witenagemot—the council of a few wise men ruling the clan.
There is the fountain spring of Canadian loyalty to the monarchical idea. It is not the fat king. It is not any king. It is what the insignificant personality called “king” stands for, like the five-dollar bill worthless as wrapping paper but of value as a promise to deliver the goods.
“The Americanizing of Canada” is a phrase which has been much in vogue with a section of the British press ever since the attempt to establish reciprocity between the United States and the Dominion. It is a question if the glib users of the phrase have the faintest idea what they mean by it. It is a catchword. It sounds ominously deep as the owl’s wise but meaningless “too-whoo.” English publicists who have never been nearer Canada than a Dominion postage stamp wisely warn Canada against the siren seductions of Columbia’s republicanism.
If the phrase means that reciprocity might lead to annexation, Canada’s repudiation of reciprocity is sufficient disproof of the imputation. If it means increased and increasing trade weaving a warp and woof of international commerce—then—yes—there is an “Americanizing of Canada” as there is a Canadianizing of the United States through international traffic; but the users of the phrase should remember that the country doing the largest trade of all countries with the United States is Great Britain; and does one speak of the “Americanizing” of Great Britain? If it means that in ten years two-fifths as many Americans have settled in Western Canada as there are native-born Canadians in the West—then—yes—Canada pleads guilty. She has spent money like water and is spending it yet to attract these American settlers; and they, on their part, have brought with them an average of fifteen hundred dollars a settler, not counting money invested by capitalists. If in the era between 1900 and 1911, 650,719 American settlers came to Western Canada, and from 1911 to 1914, six hundred thousand more—or say, with natural increase, a million and a quarter in fifteen years; to counterpoise that consideration remember that in the era from 1885 to 1895 one-fifth of Canada’s native population moved to the United States.
There is not the slightest doubt that within ten years the balance of political power in Canada has shifted from the solidarity of French Quebec to the progressive West; but that can hardly be considered as of political import when two out of four western provinces rejected reciprocity.
What, then, is meant by the phrase “Americanizing of Canada”?
Consider for a moment what is happening!
Twenty years ago the number of American and Canadian railroads meeting at the boundary and crossing the boundary numbered some six. Ten years ago in the West alone there were sixteen branch lines feeding traffic into one another’s territory across the border. To-day, if you count all the American railroads reaching up from trunk lines north to Canada, and all the Canadian spurs reaching south from trunk lines into the United States, and all the great trunk lines having subsidiaries like the South Shore and “Soo” crossing the border, and all the lines having international running rights over one another’s roadbed, there are more than sixty railroads feeding Canadian traffic into the United States and American traffic into Canada. This explains why of all the export grain traffic from the Northwest forty-four per cent. only goes from Canada by all-Canadian routing, while fifty-six per cent. comes to seaboard over American lines; and all this is independent of the enormous American traffic through the Canadian “Soo” by the Great Lakes, in some years, reaching a total five times as large as the traffic expected through Panama. One can not contemplate this constant interchange of traffic without recalling the metaphor of the warp and the woof, of the shuttle weaving a fabric of international commerce that ignores dead reciprocity pacts and an invisible boundary. Yet England does three-fourths of the carrying trade for the United States across the Atlantic. Spite of high tariff on one side of the ocean and no tariff on the other side, spite of eagle and lion rampant, British ships weave like busy shuttles across the silver lanes of the sea an invisible warp and woof that are stronger than cables of steel, or political treaty.
So much for lines of traffic between Canada and the United States! What of the traffic carried?
American imports to Canada have doubled in three years; or increased from two hundred sixteen million dollars’ worth in 1910 to four hundred fifteen million dollars’ worth in 1913; and instead of the war causing a falling off, it is likely to cause an increase; for Canada’s purchases from Europe have been cut off and must be supplied by the United States. Of the imports to Canada, two-thirds are manufactured articles—motors, locomotives, cars, coffee, cotton, iron, steel, implements, coal. At time of writing exports from the United States now rank the United Kingdom first, Canada second, Germany third. When you consider that Canada’s purchasing power is that of seven million people, where the United Kingdom’s is forty-five and Germany’s sixty-five million, the significance of these comparative ranks is apparent.
From Canada to the United States, exports increased from $95,000,000 in 1910 to $120,000,000 in 1913, not because Canada’s producing power is so much smaller than her buying power, but because she is growing so fast that she consumes much of what she produces. To put it another way, of all Canada exports, the United States takes four-fifths of the coal, nine-tenths of the copper, four-fifths of the nickel, ten-elevenths of the gold, two-fifths of the silver, four-fifths of other minerals, one-third of the fish, one-third of the lumber, one-fourth of the animals and meat, one-tenth of the grain. It need not be told here that the other portions of Canada’s farm, mine and lumber exports go almost entirely to Great Britain.
It has been estimated that half a billion of American capital is invested in Canada. A moment’s thought reveals how ridiculously below the mark are these figures. Between 1900 and 1911 by actual count there entered Canada 650,719 American settlers. Averaging up one year with another by actual estimate of settlers’ possessions at point of entry, these settlers were possessed of fifteen hundred dollars each in cash. This represents almost a billion, and almost as many more American settlers have entered Canada since 1911. This represents not the investments of the capital class but of small savings. It takes no account of the nickel mines, the copper mines, the smelters, the silver mines, the coal lands, the timber limits, the fisheries, the vast holdings of agricultural lands in the West held for speculative purposes—for all of which spot cash was paid down in large proportion.
The largest steel plant in the East, the largest coal areas in the West, the only nickel mines in America, three-quarters of all the copper and gold reduction works of the West are financed by American capital. To be more explicit, when the MacKenzie-Mann interests bought one large coal area in British Columbia, the Hill interests of St. Paul bought the other large coal area. This does not mean there are not large coal areas owned by Canadian capital. There are—colossal areas; but for every big area being worked by Canadian capital there are two such being worked by American.
Before a single Canadian railroad had wakened up to the fact there were any mines in East and West Kootenay and the Slocan, American lines had pushed up little narrow-gauge lines to feed the copper and gold ores into Butte and Helena smelters. By the time Canadian and British capital came on the scene in Kootenay the cream had been skimmed from the profits, and the mines had reached the wildcat stage of beautifully gilded and engraved stock certificates taking the place of real profits—of almost worth-nothing shares in worthless holes in the ground selling on a face value of a next-door profit-yielding neighbor. The American is without a peer as pioneer on land,
What happened in Kootenay was largely repeated ten years later in Klondike and ten years yet later in Cobalt, and it must not be forgotten that when Canadian capital refused to bond the nickel mines of Sudbury, it was American capital that dared the risk.
What happened in the mining booms was only a faint foreshadowing of the furore that broke to a madness in real estate when American settlers began crossing the boundary in tens and hundreds of thousands a year. Canadians knew they had wonderfully fertile farming land. Hadn’t they been telling themselves so since confederation, when they pledged the credit of Canada to build a transcontinental? They knew they had the most fertile wheat lands on earth, but what was the use of knowing that when you could not sell those lands for fifty cents an acre? What was the use of raising forty bushels of wheat to the acre, when you burned it in the stack or fed it to cattle worth only ten dollars a head, because you could get neither wheat nor cattle to market? You really believed you had the best land on earth, but what good did the belief do you? Sons and daughters forsook the Canadian farmstead for the United States. Between the early eighties and the early nineties, of Canada’s population of five millions, over a million—some estimates place it at a million and a half—Canadians left the Dominion for the United States. You find the place names of Ontario all through Michigan and Wisconsin and Minnesota and the two Dakotas; and you find Jean Ba’tiste drifting from the lumber woods of Quebec to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and to the redwoods of California and to the yellow pine uplands of the Southwestern Desert. I have met men who worked for my brothers in the lumber woods of Wisconsin down among the yellow pines of the Arizona Desert. All that was back in the decrepit and languid and hopesick nineties. It was then you could see the skies of Southern Manitoba luridly aflame at night with wheat stacks it didn’t pay to thresh.
Came a turn of the wheel! Was it Destiny or Providence? We talk mistily of Cause and Effect, but who drops the Cause that turns the Wheel? Who of us that witnessed the crazy gold stampede to Kootenay and the crazier stampede to Klondike could guess that the backwash of those foolish tidal waves of gold-mad humanity would people the Northwest? Why, we were mad with alarm over the gold stampede!
But behold the unexpected Effect! Adventurers from all the earth rushing to the gold mines passed over unpeopled plains of seeming boundlessness. Land in the western states was selling at this time at from seventeen dollars in the remote sections to seventy-five dollars an acre near markets. Here was land in these Canadian plains to be had for nothing but the preemption fee of ten dollars and three years’ residence.
“I didn’t take up a homestead meaning to farm it,” said a disappointed fortune seeker to me on the banks of the Saskatchewan. “I did it because I was dead broke, and it seemed to me the easiest way to make three thousand dollars. I could earn three dollars a day well-driving, and then at the end of my homestead term sell this one hundred and sixty acres for three thousand dollars.”
Do you appreciate the amazing optimistic confidence of this bankrupt argonaut? We could not sell that land for fifty cents an acre. To use the words of a former Minister of the Interior, “We could not bring settlers in by the scruff of the neck and dump them on the land.” (There had been fewer than two thousand immigrants the year that minister made that apology for hard times to an audience in Winnipeg.) But this penniless settler had seen it happen in his own home state of Iowa. He had seen land increase in value from nothing an acre to ten dollars and twenty dollars and seventy-five dollars and one hundred dollars, and he sat him down on the bare prairie in a tar-papered shanty to help the same process along in Canada. He never had the faintest shadow of a doubt of his hopes materializing. He had gambled on the gold and he had lost; and behold him casting another throw of the dice in the face of Fate, and gambling on the land; and please note—he won out. He was one of the multitude who won out of the land what they had lost on gold—who plowed out of the prairie what they had sunk in a hole in the ground in a mine!
Another twist of the capricious Wheel of Fate! We didn’t send Clifford Sifton down from the West to boom Canada. We didn’t know a boom was coming. Nobody saw it. Clifford Sifton was one of the youngest Cabinet Ministers ever appointed in Canada. There was a fight on between the Province of Manitoba and the Dominion government as to the right of the province to abolish separate schools. Had the province exceeded its rights? The dispute
He saw the backwash of disappointed gold seekers. He realized the enormous possibilities of free advertising for Canada, and he launched such a campaign of colonization for Canada as the most daring optimist hardly dreamed. Agents were appointed in every hamlet and city and town in the western states—especially those states like Iowa and Illinois and Minnesota and Wisconsin, where land was becoming high priced. The personal testimony of successful farmers was bill-posted from station platform to remotest barb-wire fence. The country was literally combed by Sifton agents. Big land companies which had already exploited colonization schemes in the western states pricked up their ears and sent agents to spy out the land. Those agents may have deluded themselves that they went to Canada secretly; it is a safe wager that Sifton’s agents prodded them to activity at one end and Sifton’s agents caught and piloted and plied them with facts at the other end. I know of land that English colonization companies had failed to sell at fifty cents an acre that was sold at this time to these American companies at five dollars and resold by them at fourteen dollars to thirty dollars.
Such profits are the best advertisement for a propaganda. There followed a land boom compared to which the gold boom had been mild. American settlers came in special cars, in special trains, in relays of special trains. Before Canada had wakened up to it fifty thousand American settlers had trekked across the border. You met them in Peace River. You met them at Athabasca. You met them on far reaches of the Saskatchewan. And land jumped in value from five dollars to fifteen dollars, from fifteen dollars to thirty dollars an acre. When Canada’s yearly immigration reached the proportions of four hundred thousand—half Americans—it is not exaggerating to say the prairie took fire. Villages grew into cities overnight. Edmonton and Calgary and Moose Jaw and Regina—formerly jumping-off places into a no-man’s-land—became metropolitan cities of twenty-five to fifty thousand people. If every American settler averaged fifteen hundred dollars on his person at this period—as customs entries prove—it may be confidently set down that his value as a producer and worker was another fifteen hundred dollars. Wheat exports jumped to over one hundred million dollars a year. Flour mills and elevators financed by western American capital strung across the prairie like beads on a string.
If this was an “Americanizing of Canada,” it was not a bad thing. Every part of Canada felt the quickened pulse. Two more transcontinental railroads had to be built. All-red routes of round-the-globe steam ships were established; all-red round-the-world cables were laid. The quickened pulse was Canada’s passing from hobble-de-hoy adolescence with a chip on the shoulder and a tremor in the throat to big strong, silent, self-confident manhood.
John Bull is a curious and dour foster father in some of his moods. He never really wakened up to Canada as a desirable place for his numerous family to settle till he saw Jonathan’s coat tails going over the fence of the border—till somebody began to howl about “the Americanizing of Canada.” Then, in the words of the illustrious Governor-General, “what was good enough for Americans was good enough” for him. Clifford Sifton’s agents had been combing the United Kingdom as they had combed the western states. British immigration jumped from almost nothing to a total of 687,067 in ten years—with accelerating totals every year since.
If this was “the Americanizing of Canada,” it was a good thing for the Dominion.
There was another feature to the tidal wave of four hundred thousand immigrants a year. The American is a born pioneer, a born gambler, a born adventurer. The Englishman is a steady-going, dogged-as-does-it plodder. The American will risk two dollars on the chance of making ten dollars; he often loses the two dollars, and he often makes the ten dollars; from his general prosperity, I should say the latter results oftener than the former; but the American never in the least minds blazing the trail and stumping his toe and coming a hard fall. John Bull does. He takes himself horribly seriously. He will never risk two dollars to gain ten dollars. He will not, in fact, spend the two dollars till he is sure of four per cent. on it. Four per cent. on two dollars and ten dollars on two dollars do not belong to the same category of investment. Jonathan makes the ideal pioneer; John Bull, the ideal permanent settler who comes in and buys from the pioneer.
If this, too, be “the Americanizing of Canada,” it has been a good thing for the country.
To be sure, there have been hideous horrible abuses. The real estate boom reached the proportions of a fevered madness before it collapsed. Americans bought r_an_ches for five dollars an acre and resold them as r_awn_ches for fifty dollars to young Englishmen who will never make a cent on their investment; chiefly because fruit trees take from five to ten years to come to maturity, and because fruit must be near a market, and because only an expert can succeed at fruit.
If ever wildcat flourished in a gold camp or gambling joint, and that wildcat did not hie to Canada when the real estate boom broke loose, the wildcat species not in evidence was too rare to be classified. Property in small cities sold at New York and Chicago values. Suburban lots were staked out round small towns in areas for a London or a Paris, and the lots were sold on instalment plan to small investors, many of whom bought in hope of resale before payments could accrue. City taxes for these suburban improvements increased to a great burden. Fortunes were made and lost overnight. Railroad bonds were guaranteed plentifully enough to pave the prairie. All this applies chiefly to city real estate. Inflation beyond investment basis never touched farm lands; but as a prominent editor remarked, “No fool thing that ever failed was half as improbable as the fool things that have succeeded. Men have literally been kicked into fortunes; and the carefulest man has often been the biggest fool by not biting till the last.”
The boom, of course, burst of its own inflation; but it is worthy of note that the year the boom collapsed immigration reached its highest figure—four hundred thousand. Whether the boom was good or bad for Canada is hard to determine. It left a great many fortunes in its wake and a great many wrecks; but naturally it did for the country what years of hope, years of dogged silent work, years of self-confidence could not do—it jolted Canada and the world into a consciousness of the Dominion’s possibilities. It is like the true story of the finding of coal on Vancouver Island—a miner stubbed his toe and lo, a clod of earth split into a seam of shining worth!
Practically the very same story of the advent of American energy and daring and optimism into the lumber industry of Canada could be told; but it is the same story as of the mines and the land, except that the Canadians on the ground first reaped larger profits. A few years ago scarcely an acre in British Columbia was owned by interests outside the province. To-day as far north as Prince Rupert the great lumbermen of the United States own the timber limits. Canadians bought these lands round four dollars and five dollars an acre. They sold at from one hundred dollars to one thousand dollars. One understands why American lumbermen to-day demand low tariff on Canadian lumber. East of the Rockies from Edmonton to Port Arthur the fringe of timber along the great rivers and lakes is owned by operators of Wisconsin and Louisiana. In Quebec the most valuable pulp wood limits—the last of the great pulp wood limits on the continent—are owned by New York interests. Undoubtedly all this means “the Americanizing of Canada” industrially. Will it result in the entrance of Big Business into politics? That is hard to answer. The door is not wide open to Big Business in politics for reasons that will appear in an account of how Canada is governed. If Americans have entered so powerfully into Canadian industrial life, why was reciprocity rejected? That, too, is an interesting story by itself.
There is one subject on which Canada’s inconsistency regarding “Americanizing influences” is almost laughable. It is the subject of the influence of periodical literature. Canadians are great lip-loyalists, but in all the history of Canada they have never accorded support to a national magazine that enabled that magazine to become worthy of the name. Facts are very damning testimony here. Very well—then—let us have the facts! There is one American weekly which has a larger circulation in every city in Canada than any daily in any city in Canada. Of the American monthlies of first rank, there is hardly one that has not a larger circulation in Canada than any Canadian magazine has ever enjoyed. Even Canadian newspapers are served by American syndicates and press associations. The influence of this flood of American thought in the currents of Canadian thought can not be exaggerated. It is subtle. It is intangible. It is irresistible. What Americans are thinking about, Canadians unconsciously are thinking, too. The influence makes for a community of sentiment that political differences can never disrupt, and it is a good thing for the race that this is so. It helps to explain why there is no fort between the two nations for three thousand miles.
It may also be added that no Canadian writer can get access to the public in book form except through an American publisher. Unless the author assumes the cost or risk of publication, the Canadian publisher will rarely issue a book on his own responsibility. He sends the book to New York or to London, and from New York or London buys plates or sheets. This compels the Canadian book to have an Imperial or an American appeal. In literature, the modus operandi works; for the appeal is universal; but one might conceive of conditions demanding a purely national Canadian treatment, which New York or London publishers would not issue, when Canada would literally be damming the springs of her national literature. Canada considers her population too small to support a purely national literature. Not so reasons Belgium of smaller population; nor Ireland; nor Scotland. The fault here is primarily in the copyright law. A book published first in the United States gains international copyright. A book published first in Canada may be pirated in the United States or England; and on such printed editions no payment can be collected by the author. The profits in England and the United States were lost to authors on two of the most popular books ever published by Canadians. 
 Charles Gordon’s Black Rock, pirated from his own publisher, sale half a million; Kirby’s Chien d’Or, sale one million.
WHY RECIPROCITY WAS REJECTED
If American capital and American enterprise dominate Canadian mines, Canadian timber interests, Canadian fisheries; if American elevators are strung across the grain provinces and American flour mills have branches established from Winnipeg to Calgary; if American implement companies and packing interests now universally control subsidiaries in Canada—why was reciprocity rejected? If it is good for Canada that American capital establish big paper mills in Quebec, why is it not good for Canada to have free ingress for her paper-mill products to American markets? The same of the British Columbia shingle industry, of copper ores, of wheat and flour products? If it is good for the Canadian producer to buy in the cheapest market and to sell in the highest, why was reciprocity rejected? Implements for the farm south of the border are twenty-five per cent. cheaper than in the Canadian Northwest. Canadian wheat milled in Minneapolis enjoys a lower freight rate and consequently a higher market than Canadian wheat milled in Europe, as sixteen and twenty-two are to forty and fifty cents—the former being the freight cost to a Minneapolis mill; the latter, the freight cost to a European mill. Why, then, was reciprocity rejected?
From 1867, Canada had been intermittently seeking reciprocity with the United States. Now, at last, the offer of it came to her unsolicited. Why did she reject it by a vote that would have been unanimous but for the prairie provinces? Though the desire for reciprocity with the United States was exploited politically more by the Liberals—or low-tariff party—than by the Conservatives—the high-tariff party—both had repeatedly sent official and unofficial emissaries to Washington seeking tariff concessions. Tariff concessions were a plank in the Liberal platform from the days of Alexander MacKenzie. They were not a plank in the platform of the Conservative party for the sole reason that the high tariff on the American side forced a high tariff in self-defense on the Canadian side. Close readers of Sir John Macdonald’s life must have been amazed to learn that one of his very first visits to Washington—contemporaneous with the Civil War period, when the United States were just launching out on a high-tariff policy—was for the purpose of seeking tariff favors for Canada. Failing to obtain even a favorable hearing, he observed the high-tariff trend at Washington, took a leaf out of his rival’s book and returned to Canada to launch the high-tariff policy that dominated the Dominion for thirty years. Alexander MacKenzie, Blake, Mowat, George Brown, Laurier, Cartwright, Fielding—all the dyed-in-the-wool ultra Whigs of the Liberal party—practically held their party together for the thirty lean years out-of-office by promises and repeated promises of reciprocity with the United States the instant they came into office. They never seemed to doubt that the instant they did come into office and proffered
Well—Laurier came to power; and he gathered into his Cabinet all the grand old guard free-traders still alive. As soon as the Manitoba School Question was settled Laurier put his Manchester school of politics into active practice by granting tariff concessions on British imports. The act was hailed by free-trade England as a tribute of statesmanship. Laurier and Fielding were recognized as men of the hour. The next step was to carry out the promises of reciprocity with the United States. One can imagine Sir John Macdonald, the old chieftain of the high-tariff Conservatives, turning over in his grave with a sardonic grin—“Not so fast, my Little Sirs!” When twitted on the floor of the House over a high tariff oppressing farmers and favoring factories, Sir John had always disclaimed being a high-tariff man. He would have a low tariff for the United States, if the United States would grant Canada a low tariff—he had answered; but the United States would not grant Canada any tariff concessions. And the grand old guard of Whigs had jeered back that he was “a compromiser” and “a trimmer,” who tacked to every breeze and never met an issue squarely in his life.
If the Liberals had not been absolutely sincere men, they would not have ridden to such a hard and unexpected fall. They would, like Sir John, have trimmed to the wind; but they believed in free trade as they believed in righteousness; and they furthermore believed all they had to do was to ask for it to get it. Blake had retired from Canadian politics. George Brown of the Globe was dead; Alexander MacKenzie had long since passed away; but the old guard rallied to the reciprocity cry. International negotiations opened at Quebec. They were not a failure. They were worse than a failure. They were a joke. High tariff was at its zenith in the United States. Every one of the American commissioners was a dyed-in-the-wool high-tariff man. It would be an even wager that not one man among them had ever heard of the Cobden-Bright Manchester School of Free
This was the time that Uncle Sam rejected reciprocity.
Fielding, Laurier and Cartwright came home profoundly disappointed men; and—as stated before—old Sir John may have turned over in his grave with a sardonic grin.
When Sir John had launched the Canadian Pacific Railroad to link Nova Scotia with British Columbia, when his government to huge land grants had added cash loans, when he had offered bonuses for factories and subsidies for steamships—no one had sent home such bitter shafts of criticism as these old-guard Liberals hungry for office. Why give away public lands? Why push railroads in advance of settlement? Why build railroads when there were no terminals, and terminals when there were no steamships? Why subsidize steamships, when there were no markets? Was it not more natural to trade with neighbors a handshake across the way than with strange nations across the ocean? I have heard these barbed interrogations launched by Liberals at Conservatives with such bitterness that the wives of Conservative members would not bow to the wives of Liberal members met in the corridors of Parliament.
Now mark what happened when the free-trade Liberals found they could obtain no tariff concessions from the United States! They had gibed Sir John for committing the country to one transcontinental railroad. They now launched two more transcontinental railroads—east and west, not north and south. Subsidies were poured into the lap of steamship companies to attract them to Canadian ports; and thirty-eight millions in all were spent improving navigation in the St. Lawrence. Wherever Clifford Sifton sent agents to drum up settlers trade agents were sent to drum up markets. Then—as Sir Richard Cartwright acknowledged—the Liberals were traveling in the most tremendous luck. An era of almost opulent prosperity seemed to come over the whole world. Gold was discovered in Klondike. Germany opened unexpected markets for copper ores. Number One Hard Wheat became famous in Europe. Canadian apples, Canadian butter, Canadian meats began to gather a fame of their own. Canada was no longer dependent on American markets. There was more demand for Canadian products in European markets than could be filled. Then came the tidal wave of colonists. This created an exhaustless market for farm produce within Canada’s borders, and within three years—in spite of the tariff—imports of manufacturers from the United States doubled. American factories and flour mills and lumber mills sprang up on the Canadian side by magic. In this era Canada was actually importing ten million dollars’ worth of food a year for one western province, and the cost of living in ten years increased fifty-one per cent.
Came a turn in the wheel! The wheel has a tricky way of turning up the unexpected between nations. A new era had come to the United States. Kansas was no longer feeding wheat to hogs. In fact, the decrease in wheat exports had become so alarming that men like Hill of Great Northern fame and James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture, actually predicted that there would come a day of bread famine in the United States. The population of the United States had grown faster than the country’s production of food. There was an appalling decrease of meat animals. American packers were establishing branch houses all through Canada. As for metals, with the superabundance of gold from Yukon and Nevada, there did not seem any limit to the world’s power to absorb what was produced. The almost limitless timber lands of the northwestern states passed into the hands of the great trusts. Buyers of print paper in the United States became alarmed at the impending shortage of wood pulp.
It was not unnatural that the same thought came to many minds in the United States at once. “If we had free trade, we could bring Canada’s raw products in and build up our factories here instead of in Canada,” was the gist of the manufacturer’s argument. “If we had free trade, it would reduce the cost of living,” was the gist of the city consumer’s argument. Canadian lumber, Canadian meat, Canadian wheat could be brought across and manufactured on the American side. For the first time the American manufacturer became a free trader. Practically there was only one section in the United States opposed to reciprocity with Canada; that was the American farmer, and his opposition was more negative than positive.
It is hard to say who voiced the desire for reciprocity first. Possibly the buyers of print paper. At all events, there was at Ottawa a Governor-General of the Manchester School of Free Trade. There was editing the Toronto Globe—the main Liberal organ—a worthy successor of George Brown as an exponent of the Manchester School of Free Trade. Shortly after this editor—a man of brilliant forceful character—had met President Taft and Joe Cannon in Washington, the Governor-General of Canada was the guest of Governor Hughes at Albany and there met President Taft. Of the old guard of free traders, there were still a few in Laurier’s Cabinet, and Laurier himself was as profoundly and sincerely a free trader in power as he had been out of office. Enemies aver that the Laurier government now launched reciprocity to divert public attention from criticism of the railroad policy, in which there had undoubtedly been great incompetency and gross extravagance—an extravagance more of a recklessly prosperous era than of dishonesty—but this motive can hardly be accepted. If Laurier had launched reciprocity as a political dodge, he would have sounded public opinion and learned that it was no longer with him on tariff concessions; but because he was absolutely sincere in his belief in the Cobden-Bright Gospel of Free Trade, he rode for a second time to a humiliating fall. A trimmer would have sounded public opinion and pretended to lead it while really following. Laurier believed he was right and launched out on that belief.
There was probably never at any time a more conspicuous example of politicians mistaking a rear lantern for a headlight. I had come East from a six months’ tour of the northwestern states and Northwestern Canada. I chanced to meet a magazine editor who for twenty years had been the closest exponent of Republican politics in New York. The Canadian elections were to be held that very day. In Canada a party does not launch a new policy like reciprocity without going to the country for the electorate’s approval or condemnation. The editor asked me if I would mind reading over a ten-page advance editorial congratulating
It had happened because it could not have happened otherwise, though neither President Taft nor Premier Laurier, neither the editor of the Globe nor the free-trade Governor-General seemed to have the faintest idea what was happening. Canada rejected reciprocity now for precisely the same reason that Uncle Sam had rejected reciprocity ten years before—because Uncle Sam had no quid pro quo, no equivalent in values to offer, which Canada wanted badly enough to make trade concessions. Said Canada: you have exhausted your own lumber; you want our lumber; pay for it. You want it so badly that you will ultimately put lumber on the free list without any concession from us. Meanwhile, for us to remove the tariff would simply lead to our lumber going across the line to be manufactured. It would build up your mills instead of ours. The higher you keep the tariff against our lumber the better pleased we’ll be; for you will have to build more and more mills on our side of the line. We are even prepared to put an export duty on logs to compel you to keep on building mills on our side of the line. This was the argument that swayed and won the vote in British Columbia and Quebec. A similar argument as to wheat and meat swayed the prairie provinces and Ontario.
From Montreal to Vancouver there is hardly a hamlet that has not some American industry, packing house, lumber mill, flour mill, elevator, machine shop, motor factory, which operates on the Canadian side of the border because the tariff wall compels it to do so. These industries have doubled and trebled the populations of cities like Montreal, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Moose Jaw. Would removal of the tariff bring more industries to these cities or move them south of the border? The cities voted almost to a man against reciprocity.
Allied with the cities were the great transportation systems running east and west. Reciprocity to divert traffic north and south seemed a menace to their receipts. To a man these systems were against reciprocity.
You have forced us to work out our own Destiny, said Canada. Very well—now that we are at the winning post, don’t divert us from the goal! We love you as neighbors; we welcome you as settlers; we embrace you as investors; but when we came to you, you rejected us. Now you must come to us!
Deep beneath all the jingoism these were the economic factors that rejected reciprocity. It is all a curious illustration of the difference between practical and theoretical politics. Theoretically both parties have been free traders in Canada. Practically free trade had thrown them both down. Theoretically Canada rejects reciprocity. Practically trade across the boundary has increased one hundred per cent. since she rejected reciprocity. Theoretically Canada was protecting her three transcontinental systems when she rejected reciprocity. Practically the growth of lines with running rights across the boundary has increased from sixteen to sixty-four in ten years.
When American industries have become rooted in Canadian soil beyond possibility of transplanting, no doubt the fear will be removed; and at the present rate of the increase of trade between the two countries the tariff wall must become an anachronism, if it be not worn down by sheer force of trade attrition.
Comical incidents are related of the Canadian fear in individual cases. There was a Scotch school trustee in Calgary. He had voted Whig-Liberal-dyed-in-the-wool free trade for forty years—from the traditions of reciprocity under Alexander Mackenzie. A Canadian flag was flying above the fine new Calgary school. The Scotchman was going to the polls by street-car. An excursion of American home seekers had just come in, and one of the variety to essay placing an American flag on the pyramids had taken a glass too much. He began haranguing the street-car. “So that’s the old Can-a-day flag,” said he. “You jus’ wait till to-morrow and, boys, you’ll see another flag above that thar school ’ouse!”
Now a Scotchman is vera’ serious. The Scotch trustee gave one glowering look at that drunken prophet; and he rang the street-car bell; and he went at the patter of a dead run to the polling place; and for the first time in his life he voted, not Whig, not free trade, not reciprocity and Laurier, but Tory and high tariff. 
It should be added here that the tariff reductions on food under President Wilson have justified Canada’s rejection of reciprocity. Canadian farm products have gained freer access to the American market without a quid pro quo.
 Opponents of reciprocity in the United States made skilful use of Canadian touchiness on such matters, and not all such expressions as that quoted above were spontaneous.—THE EDITOR.
THE COMING OF THE ENGLISH
For a hundred years England’s colonies have been distinctively dependencies—self-governing dependencies, if you will, in the case of Canada and Australia—but distinctively dependent on the Mother Country for protection from attack by land and sea. Has the day come when these colonies, are to be, not lesser, but greater nations—offshoots of the parent stock but transcending in power and wealth the parent stock—a United Kingdom of the Outer Meres, becoming to America and Australasia what Great Britain has been to Europe?
Ten years ago this question would have been considered the bumptious presumption of flamboyant fancy. It isn’t so considered to-day. Rather than a flight of fancy, the question is forced on thinking minds by the hard facts of the multiplication table. Between 1897 and 1911 there came to Canada 723,424 British colonists; and since 1911 there have come half a million more. At the outbreak of the war settlers of purely British birth were pouring into Canada at the rate of two hundred thousand a year. A continuation of this immigration means that in half a century, not counting natural increase, there will be as many colonists of purely British birth in Canada as there are Americans west of the Mississippi, or as there were Englishmen in England in the days of Queen Elizabeth. It means more—one-fourth of the United Kingdom will have been transplanted overseas. If there be any doubt as to whether the transplanting be permanent, it should be settled by homestead entries. In one era of something less than three years out of 351,530 men, women and children who came, sixty thousand entered for homesteads. In other words, if each householder were married and had a family of four, almost the entire immigration of 351,530 was absorbed in permanent tenure by the land. The drifters, the floaters, the disinherited of their share of earth became landowners, proprietors of Canada to the extent of one hundred and sixty acres. From 1897 to 1911 the Canadian government spent $2,419,957 advertising Canada in England and paying a bonus of one pound per capita to steamship agents for each immigrant; so that each colonist cost the Dominion something over three dollars. I have heard immigration officials figure how each colonist was worth to the country as a producer fifteen hundred dollars a year. This is an excessive estimate, but the bargain was a good one for Canada. In 1901, when Canada’s population was five millions, there were seven hundred thousand people of British birth in the Dominion; so that of Canada’s present population of 7,800,000, there are in the Dominion a million and a half people of British birth. Averaging winter with summer for ten years, colonists of British birth have been landing on Canada’s shores at the rate of three hundred a day. Canada’s natural increase is under one hundred thousand a year. British colonists are to-day yearly outnumbering Canada’s natural increase.
Only two other such migrations of Saxon blood have taken place in history: when the Angles and Jutes and Saxons came in plunder raids to English shores at the dawn of the Christian Era; when in the seventeenth century Englishmen came to America; and both these tides of migration were as a drop in an ocean wave compared to the numbers of English born now flooding to the shores of Canada.
Knowing the Viking spirit that rode out to conquer the very elements in the teeth of death, it is easy to look back and realize that these Angles and Jutes and Saxons were bound to found a great sea empire. So, too, of the New England Puritans! Men who sacrificed their all for a political and religious belief were bound to build of such belief foundation for a sturdy nation of the future. It is easy to look back and realize. It is hard to look forward with eyes that see; but one must be a very opaque thinker, indeed, not to wonder what this latest vast migration of Saxon blood portends for future empire. The Jutes and Angles and Saxons poured into ancient Albion for just one reason—to acquire each for his own freehold of land. Look at the ancient words! Freehold of land! For what else have a million and a half British born come to the free homesteads of Canada? For freehold of land—land unoppressed by taxes for war lords; land unoppressed by tithes for landlord; land absolutely free to the worker. That such a migration should break in waves over Canadian life and leave it untouched, uninfluenced, unswerved, is as inconceivable as that the Jutes and Angles and Saxons could have settled in ancient Albion and not made it their own.
For years Canada was regarded chiefly in England as a dumping ground for slums. “You have broken your mother’s heart,” thundered an English magistrate to a young culprit. “You have sent your father in sorrow to the grave. Why—I ask you—do you not go to Canada?” That such material did not offer the best fiber for the making of a nation in Canada did not dawn on this insular magisterial dignitary; and the sentiments uttered were reflected in the activities of countless philanthropies that seemed to think the porcine could be transmogrified into the human by a simple transfer from the pig-sty of their own vices and failure to the free untrammeled life of a colony. Fortunately Canada has a climate that kills men who won’t work. Men must stand on their own feet in Canada, and keep those feet hustling in winter—or die. It is not a land for people who think; the world owes them a living. They have to earn the living and earn it hard, and if they don’t earn it, there are neither free soup kitchens nor maudlin charities to fill idle stomachs with some other man’s earnings.
“Why do you think so many young Englishmen fail to make good in Canada?” I asked a young Yorkshire mill hand who had come to Canada with his five brothers and homesteaded nearly a thousand acres on the north bank of the Saskatchewan. The house was built of logs and clay. There was not a piece of store furniture in it except the stove. The beds were berths extemporized ship-fashion, with cowhides and bear-skins for covering. The seats were benches. The table was a rough-hewn plank. These young factory hands had things reduced to the simplicity
“Why do I think so many young Englishmen fail to make good settlers?” he repeated, changing my question a little. “Because, up to a few years ago, the wrong kind of people came. The only young Englishmen who came up to a few years ago were no-goods, who had failed at home. They were the kind of city scrubs who give up a job when it is hard and then run for free meals at the soup kitchen. There aren’t any soup kitchens out here, and when they found they had to work before they could eat, they cleared out and gave the country the blame. Men who are out of work half the time at home get into the habit of depending on charity keeping them. When you are a hundred miles from a railroad town, there isn’t any charity to keep you out here; you have to hustle for yourself. But there is a different class of Englishmen coming now. The men coming now have worked and want to work.”
And yet—at another point a hundred miles from settlement I came on a woman who belonged to that very type that ought never to emigrate. She was a woman picked out of the slums by a charity organization. She had presumably been scrubbed and curried and taught household duties before being shipped in a famous colony to Canada. The colony went to pieces in a deplorable failure on facing its first year of difficulties, but she had married a Canadian frontiersman and remained. She wore all the slum marks—bad teeth, loose-feeble-will in the mouth, furtive whining eyes. She was clean personally and paraded her religion in unctuous phrase; but I need only to tell a Canadian that she had lived in her shanty three years and it was still bare of comfort as a biscuit box, to explain why the Dominion regards this type as unsuitable for pioneering. The American or Canadian wife of a frontiersman would have had skin robes for rugs, biscuit boxes painted for bureaus, and chairs hand-hewn out of rough timber upholstered in cheap prints. But the really amazing thing was the condition of her children. They were fat, rosy, exuberant in health and energy. They were Canadians. In a decade they would begin to fill their place as nation makers. Back in England they would have gone to the human scrap heap in hunger and rags. Ten years of slums would have made them into what their mother was—an unfit; but ten years of Canada was making them into robust humans capable of battling with life and mastering it.
The line is a fine one and needs to be drawn with distinction. Canada does not begrudge the down-and-outs, the failures, the disinherited, the dispossessed, a chance to begin over again. She realizes that she has room, boundless room, for such as they are to succeed—and many more; but what she can not and will not do is assume the burden of these people when they come to Canada and will not try and fail. What she can not and will not do is permit Europe to clean her pig-sties of vice and send the human offal to Canadian shores. Children, strays, waifs, reforms—who have been taken and tested and tried and taught to support themselves—she welcomes by the thousands. In fact, she has welcomed 12,260 of them in ten years, and the cases of lapses back to failure have been so small a proportion as to be inconsiderable.
In the early days, “the remittance man”—or young Englishman living round saloons in idleness on a small monthly allowance from home—fell into bad repute in Canada; and it didn’t help his repute in the least to have a title appended to his remittance. Unless he were efficient, the title stood in his way when he applied for a job, whether as horse jockey or bank clerk. Canadians do not ask—“Who are you?” or “What have you?” but “What can you do?” “What can you do to add to the nation’s yearly output of things done—of a solid plus on the right side of the yearly balance?” It is a brutal way of putting things. It does not make for poetry and art. It may be sordid. I believe as a people we Canadians, perhaps, do err on the sordid side of the practical, but it also makes for solidity and national strength.
Ten years have witnessed a complete change in the class of Englishmen coming to Canada. The drifter, the floater, the make-shift, rarely comes. The men now coming are the land-seekers—of the blood and type that settled England and New England and Virginia—of the blood and type, in a word, that make nations. Hard on the heels of the land-seekers have come yet another type—the type that binds country to country in bonds tighter than any international treaty—the investors of surplus capital.
It is possible to keep a record of American investments in Canada; because possessions are registered more or less approximately at ports of entry and in bills of incorporation; but the English investor has acted through agents, through trust and loan companies, through banks. He is the buyer of Canada’s railway stocks, of her municipal, street railway, irrigation and public works bonds. Of Canadian railroad bonds and stocks, there are $395,000,000 definitely known to be held in England. Municipal and civic bonds must represent many times that total, and the private investments in land have been simply incalculable. The Lloyd George system of taxation was at once followed by enormous investments by the English aristocracy
It would be untrue to say that these investments have all been wisely made. One wonders, indeed, at what the purchasing agents were aiming in some cases. I know of small blocks in insignificant railroad towns bought for sixty thousand dollars, for no other reason, apparently, than that they cost ten thousand dollars and had been sold for twenty thousand dollars. The block, which would yield twenty per cent. on ten thousand dollars, yields only three per cent. on sixty thousand dollars. Held long enough, doubtless, it will repay the investor; or if the investor is satisfied with three per cent., where Canadians earn twenty per cent.—it may be all right; but Canadians expect their investments to repay capital cost in ten years, and they do not buy for profits to posterity but for profits in a lifetime.
Similarly of many of the r_an_ches bought at five dollars an acre by Americans and resold as r_awn_ches at twenty-five dollars to forty dollars to Englishmen. If the Englishmen will be satisfied with two and three per cent., where the American demands and makes twelve to twenty per cent.—the investment may make satisfactory returns; but it is hard to conceive of enormous tracts two and three hundred miles from a railroad bought for fruit lands at twenty-five dollars an acre. Fruit without a market is worse than waste. It is loss. When questioned, these English investors explain how raw fruit lands that sold at twenty-five dollars an acre a few years ago in the United States to-day sell for five hundred dollars and one thousand dollars an acre. The point they miss is—that these top values are the result of exceptional conditions; of millionaires turning a region into a playground as in the walnut and citrus groves of California; or of nearness to market and water transportation; or of peculiarly finely organized marketing unions. If the rich estates of England like to take these risks, it is their affair; but they must not blame Canada if their investment does not give them the same returns as more careful buying gives the Canadian and American.
Not all investments are of this extravagant character. Hundreds of thousands of acres and city properties untold have been bought by English investors who will multiply their capital a hundredfold in ten years. I know properties bought along the lines of the new railroads for a few hundred dollars that have resold at twenty thousand and thirty thousand and fifty thousand. It is such profits as these that lure to wrong investment.
Horse and cattle ranching has appealed to the Englishman from the first, and as great fortunes have been realized from it in Canada as in Argentina. However, the day of unfenced pasture ground is past; and in reselling ranches for farms, many English investors have multiplied their fortunes. In the outdoor life and freedom from conventional cares—there has been a peculiar charm in ranch life. In no life are the grit and efficiency of the well-bred in such marked contrast with the puling whine and shiftlessness of the settler from the cesspool of the city slums. I have gone into a prairie shanty where an Englishwoman sat in filth and rags and idleness, cursing the country to which she had come and bewailing in cockney English that she had come to this; and I have gone on to an English ranch where there presided some young Englishman’s sister, who had literally never done a stroke in her life till she came to Canada, when in emergency of prairie fire, or blizzard, or absent ranch hands, she has saddled her horse and rounded to shelter herds of cattle and droves of ponies. She didn’t boast about it. She probably didn’t mention it, and when winter came, she would go off for her holiday to England or California. Having come of blood that had proved itself fit in England, she proved the same strain of blood in Canada; and to this class of English Canada gives more than a welcome. She confers charter rights.
Lack of domestic help will long be the great drawback for English people on the prairie. You may bring your help with you if you like. If they are single, they will marry. If they are married, they will take up land of their own and begin farming for themselves. It is this which forces efficiency or exterminates—on the prairie. Let no woman come to the prairie with dolce far niente dreams of opalescent peaks, of fenceless fields and rides to a horizon that forever recedes, with a wind that sings a jubilate of freedom. All these she will have; but they are not ends in themselves; they are incidental. Days there will be when the fat squaw who is doing the washing will put all the laundry in soap suds, then roll down her sleeves and demand double pay before she goes on. Prairie fires will come when men are absent, and women must know how to set a back fire; and whether the ranch hands are near or far, stock must never be allowed to drive before a blizzard. The woman with iron in her blood will meet all fate’s challenges halfway and master every emergency. The kind that has a rabbit heart and sits down to weep and wail should not essay adventures in the Canadian West.
I said that England’s colonies depended on the Mother Country for protection from attack by land and sea. Of the vessels calling at Canadian ports, three-fifths are British, one-fifth foreign, and one-fifth Canadian. Whore England is the great sea carrier for Europe, Canada has not wakened up to establish enough sea carriers for her own needs.
Canada’s exports to the whole British Empire are almost two hundred millions a year. Her aggregate trade with the British Empire has increased three hundred per cent. since confederation, or from one hundred and seven to three hundred and sixteen millions. With the United States, her aggregate trade has increased from eighty-nine to six hundred and eight millions. For one dollar’s worth she buys in England, she buys four dollars’ worth in the United States. Here trade is not following the flag, and the flag is not following trade. Trade is following its own channels independent of the flag.
What is the future portent of the great migration of Englishmen of the best blood and traditions to Canada? There can be only one portent—a Greater Britain Overseas, and Canada herself has not in the slightest degree wakened to what this implies. She knows that her railroads are a safe and shorter path to the Orient than by Suez; and in a cursory way she may also know that the nations of the world are maneuvering for place and power on the Pacific; but that she may be drawn into the contest and have to fight for her life in it—she hardly grasps. If you told Canada that within the life of men and women now living her Pacific Coast may bristle with as many forts and ports as the North Sea—you would be greeted with an amused smile. Yet all this may be part of the destiny of a Greater Britain Overseas.
With men such as Sir John Macdonald and Laurier and Borden on the roster roll of Canada’s great, one dislikes to charge that Canadian statesmen have not grown big enough for their job. The Aztec Indians used to cement their tribal houses with human blood. Canada’s part in the Great War may be the blood-sign above the lintel of her new nationality.
 I have variously referred to Canada’s population as five million, seven million, and over seven million. Five million was Canada’s population before the great influx of colonists began. The census figures of 1911 give Canada’s population as 7,204,838. Add to this the immigration for 1912, and you get the Department of Labor figures—7,758,000. If you add the immigration for 1913 the total must be close on 8,000,000.
 The figures are from the official Trade and Commerce Report, Part I, 1914: They tabulate the trade of 1913 thus: Imports from United Kingdom, $138,741,736; imports from United States, $435,770,081. Average duty imports United Kingdom, 25.1. Average duty imports United States, 24.1. Per cent. of goods from U. K., 20.1; per cent. of goods from U. S., 65.1.
Exports to United Kingdom, $177,982,002; exports to United States, $150,961,675. Percentage goods exported U. K., 47.1; percentage goods exported U. S., 40.1.
THE COMING OF THE FOREIGNER
So far scarcely a cloud appears on the horizon of Canada’s national destiny. Like a ship launched roughly from her stays to tempests in shallow water, she seems to have left tempests and shallow water behind and to have sailed proudly out to the great deeps. In ’37 she settled whether she would be ruled by special interests, by a plutocracy, by an oligarchy. In ’67 she settled forever what in the United States would be called “states’ rights.” That is—she gathered the scattered members of her fold into one confederation and bound them together not only with the constitution of the British North America Act, but with bands of iron and steel in railways that linked Nova Scotia with British Columbia. By ’77 she had met the menace of the American high tariff, which barred her from markets, and entered on a fiscal system of her own. By ’87 her system of transportation east and west was in working order and she had begun the subsidizing of steamships and the search for world markets which have since resulted in a total foreign trade equal to one-fourth that of the United States. By ’97 she was almost ready for the preferential tariff reduction of from twenty-five to thirty-three per cent. on British goods which the Laurier government later introduced, and she had established her right to negotiate commercial treaties with foreign powers independent of the Mother Country. By 1907 she was in the very maelstrom of the maddest real estate boom and immigration flood tide that a sane country could weather.
In a word, Canada’s greatest dangers and difficulties seem to have been passed. The sea seems calm and the sky fair. In reality, she is close to the greatest dangers that can threaten a nation—dangers within, not without; dangers, not physical, but psychological, which are harder to overcome; dangers of dilution and contamination of national blood, national grit, national government, national ideals.
These are strong statements! Let us see if facts substantiate them!
Canada’s natural increase of population is only one-fourth her incoming tide of colonists. In a word, put her natural increase at eighty to one hundred thousand a year, and it is nearer eighty than one hundred thousand. Her immigration exceeds four hundred thousand. If that immigration were all British and all American there would be no problem; for though there are differences in government, both people have the same national ideal—utter freedom of opportunity for each man to work out the best in him. It is an even wager that the average Canadian coming to the United States is unaware of any difference in his freedom, and the average American coming to Canada is unaware of any difference in his freedom. Both people have fought and bled for freedom and treasure it as the most sacred thing in life.
But this is not so of thirty-three per cent. of Canada’s immigrants who do not speak English, much less understand the institutions of freedom to which they have come. If they had been worthy of freedom, or capable of making right use of it, they would have fought for it in the land from which they came, or died fighting for it—as Scotchmen and Irishmen and Englishmen and Americans have fought and bled for freedom wherever they have lived. A people unused to freedom suddenly plunged in freedom need not surprise us if they run amuck.
“This is mos’ won’erful country,” writes Tony to his brother in Italy. “They let us vote and they pay us two dollars to do it.”
“Yah, yah,” answered a foreign mother in North Winnipeg to a school-teacher, trying to recall why her young hopeful had played truant. “Dat vas eelection—my boy, he not go—because Jacob—my man—he vote seven time and make seven dollar.” (The whole family had been on a glorious seven-dollar drunk.)
“Does this man understand for what he is voting?” demanded the election clerk of a Galician interpreter who had brought in a naturalized foreigner to vote.
“Oh, yaas; I eexplain heem.”
“Can he write?”
An indeterminate nod of the head; so the voter marks his ballot, and his vote counts for as much as that of the premier or president of a railroad.
For years Canadians have pointed the finger of scorn at the notorious misgovernment of American cities, at the manner in which foreigners were herded to the polls by party bosses to vote as they were paid. The cases of a Louisiana judge impeached for issuing bogus certificates of citizenship to four hundred aliens and of New York courts that have naturalized ignorant foreigners in batches of twenty-five thousand in a few months have all pointed a moral or adorned a tale in Canada.
Yet what is happening in Canada since the coming of hordes of ignorant immigrants? I quote what I have stated elsewhere, an episode typical of similar episodes, wherever the foreign vote herds in colonies. An election was coming on in one of the western provinces, where reside twenty thousand foreigners almost en bloc. The contest was going to be very close. Offices were opened in a certain block. Legally it requires three years to transform a foreigner into a voting Canadian subject. He must have resided in Canada three years before he can take out his papers. The process is simple to a fault. The newcomer goes before a county judge with proof of residence and two Canadian witnesses. He must not be a criminal, and he must be of age. That is all that is required to change a Pole or a Sicilian or a Slav into a free and independent Canadian fully competent to apprehend that voting implies duties and fitness as well as rights. The contest was going to be very close. A few of the party leaders
It may be said that the fault here was not in the poor ignorant foreigner but in the corrupt Canadian politicians. That is true of Canada, as it is of similar practices in the United States; but the presence of the ignorant, irresponsible foreigner in hordes made the corruption possible, where it is neither possible nor safe with men of Saxon blood, with German, Scandinavian or Danish immigrants, for instance.
It is futile to talk of the poor and ignorant foreigner as a Goth or a Vandal—to talk of excluding the ignorant and the lowly. The floating “he-camps”—as these floating immigrants are called in labor circles—are to-day doing much of the manual work of the world. Canadian railways could not be built without them. Canadian industrial and farm life could not go on without them. They are needed from Halifax to Vancouver, and their labor is one of the wealth producers for the nation.
And do not think for a moment that the wealth they produce is for capital—for the lords of finance and not for themselves. When Montenegrins, who earn thirty cents a day in their own land, earn eleven dollars a day on dynamite work constructing Canadian railroads, it is not surprising that they retire rich, and that the railroad for which they worked would have gone bankrupt if the Dominion had not come to its aid with a loan of millions. Likewise of Poles and Galicians in the coal mines. When Charles Gordon—Ralph Connor—was sent to investigate the strike in these mines he found
From the national point of view Canada needs these foreign settlers. She needs their labor. Every man to her is worth fifteen hundred dollars in productive work. The higher wages he earns on piecework the more Canada is pleased; for the more work he has done. But at the present rate of peopling Canada these foreign born will in twenty years outnumber the native born. What will become of Canada’s national ideals then? In one foreign section of the Northwest I once traveled a hundred miles through new settlements without hearing one word of English spoken; and these Doukhobors and Galicians and Roumanians and Slavs were making good. They were prospering exceedingly. Men who had come with less than one hundred dollars each and lived for the first years in crowded tenements of Winnipeg or under thatch-roof huts on the prairie now had good frame houses, stables, stock, modern implements. The story is told of one poor Russian who, when informed of the fact that the land would be his very own, fell to the earth and kissed the soil and wept. Such settlers make good on soil, whatever ill they work in a polling booth. Except for his religious vagaries, the Doukhobor Russian is law abiding. The same can not be said of the other Slav immigrants. Crime in the Northwest, according to the report of the Mounted Police, has increased appallingly. The crimes are against life rather than against property—the crimes of a people formerly kept in order by the constant presence of a soldier’s bayonet run amuck in Canada with too much freedom. And the votes of these people will in twenty years out-vote the Canadian. These poverty-stricken Jews and Polacks and Galicians will be the wealth and power of Canada to-morrow. If you doubt what will happen, stroll down Fifth Avenue, New York, and note the nationality of the names. A Chicago professor carefully noted the nationality of all the names submitted in Chicago’s elections for a term of years. Three-quarters of the names were of nationalities only one generation away from the Ghetto.
Man to man on the prairie farm, in the lumber woods, your Canadian can out-do the Russian or Galician or Hebrew. The Canadian uses more brains and his aggregate returns are bigger; but boned down to a basis of who can save the most and become rich fastest, your foreigner has the native-born Canadian beaten at the start. Where the Canadian earns ten dollars and spends eighty per cent. of it, your foreigner earns five dollars, and saves almost all of it. How
The question is—will Canada remain Canada when these new races come up to power? And Canada need not hoot that question; or gather her skirts self-righteously and exclusively about her and pass by on the other side. The United States did that, and to-day certain sections of the foreign vote are powerful enough to dictate to the President.
Take a little closer look at facts!
Foreigners have never been rushed into Canada as cheap labor to displace the native born, so they have not, as in great American industrial centers, lowered the standard of living for Canadians. They have come attracted by two magnets that give them great power: (1) wages so high they can save; (2) land absolutely free but for the ten-dollar preemption fee.
In 1881 there were six hundred and sixty-seven Jews in Canada.
In 1901 there were sixteen thousand. To-day it is estimated there are twenty thousand each in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg. These Jews have not gone out to the land. They have crowded into the industrial centers reproducing the housing evils from which they fled the European Ghetto. There are sections of Winnipeg and Montreal and Toronto where the very streets reek of Bowery smells. When they go to the woods or the land, these people have not the stamina to stand up to hard work. Yet in the cities, by hook or crook, by push-cart and trade, they acquire wealth. On the charity organization of the cities they impose terrible burdens during Canada’s long cold winter.
In one section of the western prairie are 150,000 Galicians. Of Austrians and Germans—the Germans chiefly from Austria and Russia—there are 800,000 in Canada, or a population equal to the city of Montreal. Of Italians at last report there were fully 60,000 in Canada. In one era of seven years there took up permanent abode in Canada 121,000 Austrians, 50,000 Jews, 60,000 Italians, 60,000 Poles and Russians, 40,000 Scandinavians. When you consider that by actual count in the United States in 1900, 1,000 foreign-born immigrants had 612 children, compared to 1,000 Americans having 296 children, it is simply inconceivable but that this vast influx of alien life should not work tremendous and portentous changes in Canada’s life, as a similar influx has completely changed the face of some American institutions in twenty years. Immigration to Canada has jumped from 54,000 in 1851-1861 to 142,000 in 1881-1891, and to 2,000,000 in 1901-1911. It has not come in feeble rivulets that lost their identity in the main current—as in the United States up to 1840. It has come to Canada in inundating floods.
Chief mention has been made of the races from the south of Europe because the races from the north of Europe assimilate so quickly that their identity is lost. Of Scandinavians there are in Canada some fifty thousand; of Icelanders, easily twenty thousand; and so quickly do they merge with Canadian life that you forget they are foreigners. I was a child in Winnipeg when the first Icelanders arrived, and their rise has been a national epic. I do not believe the first few hundreds had fifty dollars among them. They slept under high board sidewalks for the first nights and erected tar-paper shanties on vacant lots the next day. In these they housed the first winter. Though we Winnipeggers did not realize it, it must have been a dreadful winter to them. Their clothing was of the scantest. Many were without underwear. They lived ten and twenty to a house. The men sawed wood at a dollar and a half a day. The women worked out at one dollar a day. In a few weeks each family had bought a cow and rudiments of winter clothes. By spring they had money to go out on their homesteads. During winter some of the grown men attended school to learn English. Teachers declared they never witnessed such swift mastery of learning. To-day the Icelanders are the most prosperous settlers in Manitoba. The same story could be told of German Mennonites driven from Russia by religious persecution and of Scandinavians driven abroad by poverty. Of course, the weak went to the wall and died, and didn’t whine about the dying, though some mother’s heart must have broken in silence. I recall one splendid young fellow who walked through every grade the public schools afforded, and then through the high school, and was on the point of graduating in medicine when he died from sheer mental and physical exhaustion. This type of settler will build up Canada’s national ideals. It is the other type that gives one pause.
Well—what is Canada going to do about it? Bar them out! Never! She needs these raw brawny Vandals and Goths of alien lands as much as they need Canada. She needs their hardy virility. They are the crude material of which she must manufacture a manhood that is not sissified, and one must never forget that some of the most honored names in the United States are from these very races. One of the greatest mathematicians in the United States, the greatest copper miners, the richest store keepers, one of the most powerful manufacturers—these sprang from the very races that give Canada pause to-day.
It is on the school rather than on the church that Canada must depend for the nationalizing of these alien races. Nearly all the colonists from the south of Europe have brought their church with them. In one foreign church of North Winnipeg is a congregation of four thousand, and certainly, in the case of the Doukhobors, the influence of the foreign priest has not been for the good of Canada. But none of these races has brought with them a school system, and that throws on the public school system of Canada the burden of preserving national ideals for the future. Will the schools prove equal to it? I wish I could answer unequivocally “yes”; for I recall some beautiful episodes of boys and girls—too immature to realize the importance of their work—“baching” it in prairie shanties, teaching at forty dollars a month; amid the isolation of Doukhobor and Galician and Ruthenian settlement preserving Canada’s national ideals for the future; little classes of foreigners in the schools of North Winnipeg reading lessons in perfect English with flower gardens below the window kept by themselves—the little girls learning sewing and housekeeping in upper rooms, the boys learning technical trades in the basement. All this is good and well; but how about the recognition Canada gives these teachers who manufacture men and women out of mud, who do more in a day for the ideals of the nation than all the eloquence that has been spouted in Houses of Parliament? In Germany, they say—once an army man always an army man; for though the pay is ridiculously small, social prestige and recognition are so great that the army is the most desirable vocation. Canada’s teachers in the schools among foreigners are doing for the Dominion what the German army has aimed to do for the empire. Do the Canadian teachers receive the same recognition? The question needs no answer. They receive so little recognition that the majority throw aside the work at their twenty-first year and crowd into other over-crowded professions. Meanwhile time moves on, and in twenty years the foreign vote will outnumber that of the native born.
THE COMING OF THE ORIENTAL
If the coming of the foreigner has been Canada’s greatest danger from within, the coming of the Oriental has been one of her most perplexing problems from without. It is not only a perplexity to herself. It is a perplexity in which Canada involves the empire.
Take the three great Oriental peoples! With China, Great Britain is in friendly agreement. With Japan, Great Britain is in closest international pact. To India, Great Britain is a Mother. Yet Canada refuses free admission to peoples from all three countries. Why? For the same reason as do South Africa and Australia. It is only secondarily a question of labor. The thing goes deeper than that.
Consider Japan first: Panama is turning every port facing west into a front door instead of a back door. Within twenty years, the combined populations of American ports on the Pacific have jumped from a few hundreds of thousands at San Francisco and nothing elsewhere to almost two million, with growth continuing at an accelerated rate promising within another quarter of a century as many great harbors of almost as great population on the Pacific as on the Atlantic. The Orient has suddenly awakened. It is importing something besides missionaries. It is buying American and Canadian steel, American and Canadian wool, American and Canadian wheat, American and Canadian machinery, American and Canadian dressed lumber. Ship owners on the Pacific report that the docks of through traffic are literally jammed with goods outward bound—“more goods than we have ships,” as the president of one line testified.
When the reason for building Panama has been shorn of highfalutin metaphors, it concentrates down to the simple bald fact that the United States possessions on the Pacific had grown too valuable to be guarded by a navy ten thousand miles away around the Horn. True, Roosevelt sent the fleet around the world to show what it could do, and the country howled its jubilation over the fact. But the Little Brown Brother only smiled; for the fleet hadn’t coal to steam five hundred miles without hiring foreign colliers to follow around with supply of fuel. “Fine fleet! To be sure we have the ships,” exploded a rear admiral in San Diego Bay a few years ago; “but look here!” He pointed through the port at an insignificant coaling dock such as third-rate barges use. “See any coal?” he asked. “If trouble should come”—it was just after the flight of Diaz—“we haven’t coal enough to go half-way up or down the coast.”
Sometimes we can guess the game from the moves of the chess players. With facts for chessmen, what are the moves?
It was up in Atlin, British Columbia, a few years after the Klondike rush. Five hundred Japs had come tumbling into the mining camp, seemingly from nowhere, in reality from Japanese colonies in Hawaii. The white miners warned the Japs that “it wouldn’t be a healthy camp,” but mine owners were desperate for workers. Wages ran at from five to ten dollars a day. The Japs were located in a camp by themselves and put to work. On dynamite work, for which the white man was paid five to ten dollars, the Jap was paid three and five dollars. Still he held on with his teeth, “dogged as does it,” as he always does. Suddenly the provincial board of health was notified. There was a lot of sickness in the Jap camp—“filthy conditions,” the mine owners reported. The board of health found traces of arsenical poisoning in all the Jap maladies. The Japs decamped as if by magic.
Simultaneously there broke out from Alaska to Monterey the anti-Jap, anti-Chinese, anti-Hindu agitation. California’s exclusion and land laws became party planks. British Columbia got round it by a subterfuge. She had the Ottawa government rush through an order-in-council known as “the direct passage” law. All Orientals at that time were coming in by way of Hawaii. Ships direct from India were not sailing. They stopped at Hong Kong and Hawaii. The order-in-council was to forbid the entrance of Brown Brothers unless in direct passage from their own land. That effectually barred the Hindu out, till recently when a Japanese line, to test the Direct Passage Act, brought a shipload of Hindus direct from India to Vancouver. Vancouverites patrolled docks and would not let them land. A head tax of five hundred dollars was leveled at John Chinaman. That didn’t keep John Chinaman out. It simply raised his wages; for the Chinese boss added to the new hand’s wages what was needed to pay the money loaned for entrance fee. A special arrangement was made with the Mikado’s government to limit Japanese emigration to a few hundreds given passports, but California went the whole length of demanding the total exclusion of Brown Brothers.
Why? What was the Pacific Coast afraid of? When the State Departments of the United States and Canada met the State Department of the Mikado, practically what was said was this. Only in very diplomatic language:
Whiteman: “We don’t object to your students and merchants and travelers, but what we do object to is the coolies. We are a population of a few hundred thousands in British Columbia, of less than three million in the states of the Pacific. What with Chink and Jap and Hindu, you are hundreds of millions of people. If we admit your coolies at the present rate (eleven thousand had tumbled into one city in a few months), we shall presently have a coolie population of millions. We don’t like your coolies any better than you do yourself! Keep them at home!”
This conversation is paraphrased, but it is practically the substance of what the representative of the Ottawa government said to a representative of the Mikado.
Brown Brother: “We don’t care any more for our coolies than you do. We don’t in fact, care a hoot what becomes of the spawn and dregs of no-goods in our population. We are not individualists, as you white men are! We don’t aim to keep the unfit cumbering the earth! We don’t care a hoot for these coolies; but what we do care for is this—we Orientals refuse to be branded any longer as an inferior race. We’ll restrain the emigration of these coolies by a passport system; but don’t you forget it, just as soon as we are strong enough, in the friendliest, kindest, suavest, politest, most diplomatic way in the world, we intend not to be branded any longer as an inferior race. We intend to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in the management of the world’s affairs. If we don’t stand up to the job, throw us down! If we stand up to the job—and we stood up moderately in China and Russia and Belgium—we don’t intend to ask you for the sop of that Christian brotherhood preached by white men. We intend to force recognition of what we are by what we do. We ask no favors, but we now serve you notice we are in to play the game.”
Neither is this conversation a free translation. Shorn of diplomatic kotowing and compliments and circumlocutions, it is exactly what the Mikado’s representative served to the representatives of three great governments—Uncle Sam’s, John Bull’s, Miss Canada’s. If you ask how I know, I answer—direct from one of the three men sent to Japan.
Can you see the white men’s eyes pop out of their heads with astonishment? They thought they were up against a case of labor union jealousy, and they found themselves involved in a complex race problem, dealing with three aggressive applicants for places at the councils of rulers governing the world. California was ordered to turn on the soft pedal and do it quick, and officially, at least, she did for a time. Canada was ordered to lay both hands across her mouth and never to speak above a whisper of the whole Brown Brother problem; and England—well—England openly took the Jappy-Chappy at his word—recognized him as a world brother and entered into the famous alliance. And the coming of coolies suddenly stopped to the United States and Canada. It didn’t stop to South America and Mexico, but that is another play of the game with facts for chessmen.
Chinese exclusion, Japanese exclusion, Hindu exclusion suddenly became party shibboleths—always for the party out of power, never for the party in power. The party in power kept a special Maxim silencer on the subject of Oriental immigration. The politician in office kept one finger on his lip and wore rubber-soled shoes whenever an almond-eyed was mentioned. With that beautiful consistency which only a politician has, a good British Columbia member, who rode Oriental exclusion as his special hobbyhorse, employed a Jap cook. In the midst of his stump campaign against Orientals he found in the room of his cook original drawings of Fort Esquimalt, of Vancouver Harbor and of Victoria back country. I was in British Columbia at the time. The funny thing to me was—all British Columbia was so deadly in earnest it didn’t see the funny side of the inconsistency.
I was up and down the Pacific the year the Mikado died, and chanced to be in San Diego the month that a Japanese warship put into port because its commander had suicided of grief over the Emperor’s death. The ship had to lie in port till a new commander came out from Japan. Japanese coolies were no longer coming; but the Japanese middies had the run and freedom of the harbor; and they sketched all the whereabouts of Point Loma—purely out of interest for Mrs. Tingley’s Theosophy, of course.
Diaz’s ministry had been very hard pressed financially before being ousted by Madero. Some Boston and Pacific Coast men had secured an option from the Diaz faction of the sandy reaches known as Magdalena Bay in Lower California. The Pacific Coast is a land of few good natural harbors; especially harbors for a naval station and target practice. Suddenly an unseen hand blocked negotiations. Within a year Japan had almost leased Magdalena Bay, when Uncle Sam wakened up and ordered “hands off.”
Nicaragua has never been famous as a great fishing country. Yet Japanese fishermen tried to lease fishing rights there and may have, for all the world knows. In spite of exclusion acts, they already dominate the salmon fishing of the Pacific.
Coaling facilities will be provided for the merchantmen of the world at both ends of Panama. Yet when England and France began furbishing up colonial stations in the Caribbean, Japan forthwith made offers for a site for a coaling station in the Gulf of Mexico.
But it was in South America and Mexico that the most active colonization proceeded. There is not an American diplomat in South America who does not know this and who has not reported it—reported it with one finger on both lips and then has seen his report discreetly smothered in departmental pigeon-holes. Up to a few years ago Mexico and South America were enjoying marvelous prosperity. Coffee had not collapsed in Brazil. Banks had not blown up from self-inflation in Argentina. Revolution at home and war abroad had not closed mines in Mexico. All hands were stretched out for colonists. Japan launched vast trans-Pacific colonization schemes. Ships were sent scouting commercial possibilities in South America. To colonists in Chile and Peru, fare was in many cases prepaid. Money was loaned to help the colonists establish themselves, and an American representative to one of these countries told me that free passage was given colonists on furlough home if they would go back to the colony. There is no known record outside Japan of the numbers of these colonists. And Japan asks—why not? Does not England colonize; does not Germany colonize; does not France colonize? We are taking our place at the world board of trade. If we fail to make good, throw us out. If we make good, we do not ask “by your leave.”
When a shipping investigation was on in Washington a year ago, many members of the committee were amazed to learn that Japan already controls seventy-two per cent. of the shipping on the Pacific. Ask a Chilean or Peruvian whether he prefers to travel on an American or a Japanese ship. He laughs and answers that American ships to the western coast of South America would be as tubs are to titanics—only until the new registry bill passed there were hardly any ships under the United States flag on the Southern Pacific. Each of these Japanese ships is so heavily subsidized it could run without a passenger or a cargo; high as one hundred thousand dollars a voyage for many ships. Its crews are paid eight to ten dollars a month, where American and Canadian crews demand and get forty to fifty dollars. In cheapness of labor, in efficiency of service, in government aid and style of building no American nor Canadian ships can stand up against them. And again Japan asks—why not? Atlantic commerce is a prize worth four billions a year. When the Orient fully awakens, will Pacific commerce total four billions a year? Who rules the sea rules the world. Japan’s ships dominate seventy-two per cent. of the Pacific’s commerce now.
So when the war broke out, Japan shouldered not the white man’s burden but the Brown Brother’s and plunged in to police Asia. Again—why not? As Uncle Sam polices the two Americas, and John Bull the seas of the world, so the Mikado undertakes to police the sea lanes of the Orient. The Jappy said when he met the diplomats on the subject of coolie immigration that he would prove himself the partner of the white man at the world’s council boards—or step back.
Is it a menace or a portent? Certainly not a menace, when accepted as a matter of fact. Only the fact must be faced and realized, and the new chessman’s moves recognized. Uncle Sam has the police job of one world, South America; Great Britain of another—Europe. Will the little Jappy-Chappy take the job for that other world, where the Star of the Orient seems to be swinging into new orbits? The Jappy-Chappy isn’t saying much; but he is essentially on the job for all he is worth; and Canada hasn’t wakened up to what that may mean to her Pacific Coast.
Is it, then, that Canada fears the growth of Japan as a great world power? No, the thing is deeper than that. We have come to the place where we must go deeper than surface signs and use neither rose water nor kid gloves. The question of the Chinese and the Japanese is entirely distinct from the Hindu.
If you think that shutting your eyes to what you don’t want to know and stopping your nostrils to the stench and gathering your garments up and passing by on the other side ever settled a difficult question, then the Pacific Coast wishes you joy to your system of moral sanitation; but don’t offer the people of the Pacific Coast any platitudinous advice about admitting Asiatics. They know what they are doing. You don’t! Theoretically the Asiatic should have the same liberty to come and go with Canada as Canadians have to come and go with the Orient. Theoretically, also, the colored man should be as clean and upright and free-and-equal and dependable as the white man; but practically—in an anguish that has cost the South blood and tears—practically he isn’t. The theory does not work out. Neither does it with the Asiatic. That is, it does not work out at close range on the spot, instead of the width of half a continent away.
Canada is being asked to decide and legislate on one of the most vital race problems that ever confronted a nation. She is also being asked to be very lily-handed and ladylike and dainty about it all. You must not explore facts that are not—“nice.” You must not ask what the Westerner means when he says that “the Asiatic will not affiliate with our civilization.” Is it more than white teeth and pigments of the skin? Is it more than skin deep? Had the Old Book some deep economic reason when it warned the children of Israel against mixing their blood with aliens? Has it all anything to do with the centuries’ cesspools of unbridled vice? Is that the reason that women’s clubs—knowing less of such things—rather than men’s clubs—are begged to pass fool resolutions about admitting races of whose living practices they know absolutely nothing?
If it isn’t the labor unions and it isn’t the fear of new national power that prejudice against the Oriental—what is it? Why has almost every woman’s club on the Pacific passed resolutions against the admission of the Oriental, and almost every woman’s club in the East passed resolutions for the admission? Why did the former Minister of Labor in Canada say that “a minimum of publicity is desired upon this subject”? What did he mean when he declared “that the native of India is not a person suited to this country”? If the native Hindu is “not a person suited to Canada”—climate, soil, moisture, what not?—why isn’t that fact sufficient to exclude the Oriental without any legislation? Italians never go to live at the North Pole. Nor do Eskimos come to live in the tropics.
You may ask questions about Hindu immigration till you are black in the face. Unless you go out on the spot to the Pacific Coast, the most you will get for an answer is a “hush.” And it would not be such an impossible situation if the other side were also going around with a finger to the lip and a “hush”; but the Oriental isn’t. The Hindu and his advocates go
South Africa and Australia “hushed” so very hard and were so very careful that after a very extensive experience—150,000 Hindus settled in one colony—both colonies legislated to shut them out altogether. At least South Africa’s educational test amounted to that, and South Africa and Australia are quite as imperial as Canada. Why did they do it? The labor unions were no more behind the exclusion in those countries than in British Columbia. The labor unions chuckled with glee over the embarrassment of the whole question.
Each side of the question must be stated plainly, not as my personal opinions or the opinions of any one, but as the arguments of those advocating the free admission of the Hindu, and of those furiously opposing the free admission.
A few years ago British Columbia was at her wit’s ends for laborers—men for the mills, the mines, the railroads. India was at her wit’s ends because of surplus of labor—labor for which her people were glad to receive three, ten, twenty cents a day. Her people were literally starving for the right to live. It does not matter much who acted as the connecting link,—the sawmill owners, the canneries, the railroads, or the steamships. The steamship lines and the sawmill men seem to have been the combined sinners. The mills wanted labor. The steamship lines saw a chance to transport laborers at the rate of twenty thousand a year to and from India. The Hindus came tumbling in at the rate of six thousand in a single year, when, suddenly, British Columbia, inert at first, awakened and threatened to secede or throw the newcomers into the sea. By intervention of the Imperial government and the authorities of India a sort of subterfuge was rigged up in the immigration laws. The Hindus had been booked to British Columbia via Hong Kong and Hawaii. The most of the Japs had come by way of Hawaii. To kill two birds with one stone, by order-in-council in Ottawa, the regulation was enacted forbidding the admission of immigrants except on continuous passage from the land of birth. Canada’s immigration law also permits great latitude in interpretation as to the amount of money that must be possessed by the incoming settlers. Ordinarily it is fifty dollars for winter, twenty-five dollars for summer, with a five hundred dollar poll tax against the Chinaman. The Hindus were required to have two hundred and fifty dollars on their person.
One wonders at the simplicity of a nation that hopes to fence itself in safety behind laws that are pure subterfuge. The subterfuge has but added irritation to friction. What was to hinder a direct line of steamships going into operation any day? As a matter of fact, to force the issue, to force the Dominion to declare the status of the Oriental, a Japanese ship early in 1914 did come direct from India with a cargo of angry armed Hindus demanding entrance. Canada refused to relent. The ship lay in harbor for months unable to land its colonists, and a Dominion cruiser patrolled Vancouver water to prevent actual armed conflict. When the final decision ordered the colonists on board deported, knives and rifles were brandished; and Hopkinson, the secret service man employed by British authorities, was openly shot to death a few weeks later in a Vancouver court room by a band of Hindu assassins. “We are glad we did it,” declared the murderers when arrested. Hopkinson himself had come from India and was hated and feared owing to his secret knowledge of revolutionary propaganda among the Vancouver Hindus, who were posing as patriots and British subjects. The fact that many thousands of Sikhs and Hindus had just been hurried across Canada in trains with blinds down to fight for the empire in Europe added tragic complexity to an already impossible situation.
The leaders of the Hindu party in Canada had already realized that more immigration was not advisable till they had stronger backing of public opinion in Canada, and a campaign of publicity was begun from Nova Scotia to the Pacific Coast. Churches, women’s missionary societies, women’s clubs, men’s clubs were addressed by Hindu leaders from one end of Canada to the other. It did not improve the temper of some of these leaders posing in flowing garments of white as mystic saints before audiences of women to know that Hopkinson, the secret agent, was on their trail in the shadow with proofs of criminal records on the part of these same leaders. These criminal records Hopkinson would willingly have exposed had the Imperial government not held his hand. When I was in Vancouver he called to see me and promised me a full exposure of the facts, but before speaking cabled for permission to speak. Permission was flatly refused, and I was told that I was investigating things altogether too deeply. I can see the secret agent’s face yet—as he sat bursting with facts repressed by Imperial order—a solemn, strong, relentless man, sad and savage with the knowledge he could not use. Without Hopkinson’s aid, it was not difficult to get the facts. Canada is a country of party government. One party had just been ousted from power, and another party had just come in. While I was waiting for permission from Ottawa to obtain facts in the open, information came to me voluntarily with proofs through the wife of a former secret agent.
It did not make things easier for Hopkinson that the whole dispute as to Hindu immigration was relegated into that doubtful resort of all ambiguous politics—“the twilight zone”—or the doubtful borderland where provincial powers end and federal powers begin and Imperial powers intervene. England was shoving the burden of decision on the Dominion, and the Dominion was shoving the burden on the Province of British Columbia, and to evade responsibility each government was shuttling the thing back and forward, weaving a tangle of hate and misunderstanding which culminated in Hopkinson’s assassination in 1914.
As “the twilight zone” between provincial and federal rights comes up here, it should be considered and emphasized; for it is the one great weakness of every federation. Who is to do what—when neither government wants to assume responsibility? Who is to enforce laws, when neither government wants to father them? It was this gave such passion to Vancouver’s resentment in Hindu immigration. Indeed this very question of “a twilight zone” gives pause to many an Imperial Federationist. In a dispute of this sort, involving the parts of the empire, could England give force to an exclusion act without losing the allegiance to her British Empire?
Every conceivable argument has been used in this Hindu dispute. I want to emphasize—they are arguments, used for argument’s sake—not reasons. The plain brutal bald reasons on each side of the dispute are British Columbia does not want the Hindus. The Hindus want British Columbia. Simultaneously with the campaign for publicity action was taken: (1) to force the resident Hindu on the voters’ list; (2) to break down the immigration laws by demanding the entrance of wives and families; (3) to force recognition of the status of the Oriental by bringing them in the ships of Japan—England’s ally.
If the resident Hindu had a vote—and as a British subject, why not?—and if he could break down the immigration exclusion act, he could out-vote the native-born Canadian in ten years. In Canada are five and one-half million native born, two million aliens. In India are hundreds of millions breaking the dykes of their own national barriers and ready to flood any open land. Take down the barriers on the Pacific Coast, and there would be ten million Hindus in Canada in ten years. The drawing of Japan into the quarrel by chartering a Japanese ship was a crafty move. Japan is the empire’s ally. Offense to Japan means war.
The arguments from both sides I set down in utter disinterest personally. Here they are:
We need room for colonization—says the Hindu. Let England lose India, and she loses five-sixths of the British Empire. By refusing admission to the Hindu, Canada is endangering British dominion in India. Moral conditions there are appalling, of course; but say the missionaries—give these people a chance, and they will become as good as any of us. Are we not sprung from the same Aryan stock?
British Columbia has immense tracts of arable land. Why not give India’s millions a chance on it as colonizers?
There is not so much sedition among the Hindus of British Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists, who rant of the flag as “the bloody rag.”
The vices of the Hindu are no worse than the vices of the low whites.
They are British subjects and have a right to admission. Admission is not a privilege but a right.
How can we expect good morals among three to five thousand men who are forcibly separated from wives and children? Admit their wives to prevent deterioration. This argument was used by a Hindu addressing audiences in Toronto.
What right have Canadians to point the finger of scorn at the reproach of the child wife when the age of marriage in one province is twelve years?
In the days of the mutiny the Sikh proved his loyalty. To-day the Indian troops are proving their loyalty by fighting for the empire in Europe.
Many of the Canadians now denouncing the Hindu made money selling them real estate in Vancouver, and expropriation is behind the idea of exclusion.
The admission of the Hindu would relieve British Columbia’s great need for manual laborers.
Canadian missionaries to India are received as friends. Why are the Hindus not received as friends in Canada?
Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman as one did in Vancouver? This question was asked by the official publication of the Sikhs in Vancouver.
If Canada shuts her doors to the Hindus, let the Hindus shut doors to Canadians.
These are not my arguments. They are the arguments of the people advocating the free admission of people from India to Canada.
To these arguments the Pacific Coast makes answer. Likewise, the answer is not mine:
We know that you as a people need room for colonization; but if we admit you as colonists, will your presence drive out other colonists, as it has done in Australia and South Africa; as the presence of colored people prevents the coming of other colonists to the southern states? If we have to decide between having you and excluding Canadians, or excluding you and having Canadians, we can not afford to hesitate in our decision. We must keep our own land for our own people.
Australia and South Africa have excluded the Hindu—South Africa’s educational test amounts to that—and that has not imperiled British dominion in India. Why should it in Canada? The very fact there are millions ready to come is what alarms us. Morals are low—you acknowledge—and your people would be better if they had a chance; but would the chance not cost us too dearly, as the improvement of the blacks has cost the South in crime and contaminated blood? We are sorry for you, just as we are sorry for any plague-stricken region; but we do not welcome you among us because of that pity.
There may not be so much sedition among the Hindus of British Columbia as among Canadian-born Socialists, who rant of the flag as “a bloody rag”; but our Socialistic seditionists have never yet been accused of collecting two million dollars to send home to India to buy rifles for the revolution. Canadian Socialists have never yet collected one dime to buy rifles. These are not my accusations. They are accusations that have been in the very air of Vancouver and San Francisco. If they are true, they ought to be proved true. If they are untrue, they ought to be proved untrue; but in view of the shoutings over patriotism and of Hopkinson’s assassination, they come with a rude jar to claims grounded on loyalty. Could Hindus who landed in British Columbia destitute a few years ago possibly have that amount of money among them? At last census they had property in Vancouver alone to the amount of six million dollars, held collectively for the whole community.
Their vices may be no worse than the vices of the low whites, but if immigration officials find that whites low or high have vices, those whites are excluded, be they English, Irish, Scotch, or Greek.
The Hindus are British subjects, but Canada does not admit British subjects unless she wants them—unless they can give a clean bill of health and morals.
Canada does not regard admission as a right to any race, European, Asian, African. She considers her citizenship a privilege and reserves to herself the right to extend or not to extend that privilege to whom she will.
That separation from families will excuse base and lewd morals is a view that Canada will never admit. Her sons go forth unaccompanied by wives or sisters to lumber camps and mines and pioneer shacks, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred come back clean as they went forth, and manlier. That women should be victims on an altar of lust is an argument that may appeal to the Asiatic—the sentiment all draped in wisteria and lilies, of course; but it isn’t an argument that will prove anything in Canada but the advocate’s unfitness for citizenship.
What reason have Canadians to point the finger of reproach at the institution of the child wife, when the age of marriage in one province is low as twelve? And that brings up the whole question of the child wife. Because one province has the marriage age criminally low does not prove that that province approves of marriages at twelve. In the whole history of that province marriages at that age have been as rare as the pastime of skinning a man alive, and that province has no specific law against skinning a man alive. It has no such law because that type of crime is unknown. But can it be said that the institution of child marriage is an unknown or even a rare crime in India? The Hindu wives for whom loud outcry is being made are little girls barely eight years of age, whom before marriage the husbands have
I asked a British Columbia sawmill owner why the Hindu could not speed up with a Pole or Swede.
“No stamina,” he answered. “Too many generations of vice! Too many generations of birth from immature mothers; no dower of strength from birth.”
The advocates of Hindu colonization in Canada glibly advise “prohibiting child wives.” To bar out child wives sounds easy. How are you to know they are child wives and not daughters? If one thing more than another has been established in Vancouver about Hindus, not excepting the leaders, it is that you can not believe a Hindu under oath. Also British law does not allow you to bar out a subject’s wife unless she be diseased or vicious. If you let down the bar to any section of the Hindu, teeming millions will come—with a demand to vote.
That Canada’s continuous passage law is immoral and intolerable no one denies. It is a subterfuge and a joke. The day the Japanese steamship tested the law by bringing passengers direct from land of birth the law fell down and Canada had to face squarely the question of exclusion. As the world knows, the shipload of human cargo after lying for months in Vancouver Harbor was sent back, and Hindu leaders proved their claims of a right to citizenship by assassinating Hopkinson.
To the claim that the Sikhs are loyal, Canada answers—“for their own sake.” If British protection were withdrawn from India to-morrow, a thousand petty chiefs would fly at one another’s throats. The idea that expropriation is behind exclusion could be entertained only by an Oriental mind. Expropriation is possible under Canadian law only for treason. Imperial unity is no more threatened in Canada by exclusion than it was threatened in South Africa and Australia. The Hindus are adapted to the cultivation of the soil, but if they come in millions, will any white race sit down beside them? Why does immigration persistently refuse to go to the southern states? Because of a black shadow over the land. Does Canada want such a shadow?
The missionary argument can hardly be taken seriously. Missionaries do not go to India to colonize. They do not introduce white vices. They go at Canada’s expense to give free medical and social service to India.
“Why should a Sikh not marry a white woman?” There, again, you are up against a side of the subject that is neither violet water nor pink tea; but—it is a vital side of the subject. For the same reason that the South objects to and passes laws against mixed unions of the races. These laws are not the registration of prejudice. They are the registration of terrible lessons in experience. It is not a matter of opinion. It is a matter of fact. What is feared is not the marriage of a Sikh who is refined to a white woman who knows what she is doing. What is feared is the effect of that union on the lewd Hindu; the effect on the safety of the uncultured white woman and white girl. Any one on the Coast who has lived next to Asiatics, any one in India or the Philippines knows what this means in terms of hideous terrible fact that can not be set down here. Vancouver knows. “I’ll see,” said an officer in the Philippines of his native valet, “that the—dog turns up missing;” and every man present knew why; and when the officer set out on an unnamed expedition with his valet, the valet did “turn up missing.” There are vices for which a white man kills. “Have not the English carried vices to India?” a Hindu protagonist asked me. Yes, answered British Columbia, but we do not purpose poisoning the new young life of Canada to compensate the vices of English soldiers who have gone to pieces morally in India.
As to shutting Canadians out of India, Canada would accept that challenge gladly. When Canadians carry vices to India—says Canada—shut them out.
These are the reasons given for the Pacific Coast’s aversion to the Hindu, and even with the arguments stated explicitly, there is a great deal untold and untellable.
For instance, some of the leaders talking loudest in Eastern Canada in the name of the Sikh are not Sikhs at all, and one at least has a criminal record in San Francisco.
For instance again, when the coronation festivities were on in England, there was a very peculiar guard kept round the Hindu quarters. It would be well for some of the eastern women’s clubs to inquire why that was; also why the fact was hushed up that two white women of bad character were carried out of that compound dead.
Said a mill owner, one who employs many Hindus, “If the East could understand how some of these penniless leaders grow rich, they would realize that the Hindu has our employment sharks beaten to a frazzle. I take in a new man from one of these leaders. The leader gets two dollars or five dollars for finding this fellow a job. I have barely got the man broken in when the leader yanks him off to another job and sends me a new man, getting, of course, the employment agent fee for both changes.”
“But why not let them come out here and work and go back?” asks the East.
Because that is just what the Hindu will not do. When he comes, he fights for the franchise to stay. That is the real meaning behind the fight over cases now in the courts.
“They are curious fellows, poor beggars,” said a police court official to me. “They have no more conception of what truth means than a dog stealing a bone. We had a Hindu come in here as complainant against another man, with his back hacked to beef steak. We had very nearly sent the defendant up for a long term in the ‘pen,’ when we got wind that these two fellows had been bitter enemies—old spites—and that there was something queer about the complainant’s shanty. We sent out to examine. The fellow had stuck bits of glass all over the inside of his shack walls and then cut his own back to pay an old grudge against the other man. Another fellow rushed in here gesticulating complaint, who was literally soaked in blood. We had had our experience and so sending for an interpreter, we soused this fellow into a bathtub. Every dab came off and there was not a scratch under.”
“You say the Hindu is the negro problem multiplied by ten, plus craft,” said a life-long resident of India to me. “That is hardly correct. The Hindu is different from the negro. He is intellectual and spiritual as well as crafty and sensuous. You will never have trouble with the Hindu, if you keep him in his place—”
“But do you think a democratic country can what you call ’keep a race in its place’? The very genius of our democracy is that we want each individual to come up out of his place to a higher place.”
“Then you will learn a hard lesson here in Canada.”
What kind of a lesson? Again, let us take facts, not opinions!
A clergyman’s wife in Vancouver, full of missionary zeal for India, thought it her duty to accord the Hindu exactly the same treatment as to an American or English immigrant. She took a man as general house servant and treated him with the same genial courtesy she had treated all other help in her home. You know what is coming—don’t you? The man mistook it for evil or else failed to subdue the crimes of the centuries in his own blood. Had he not come from a land where a woman more or less did not matter, and hundreds of thousands of little girls are yearly sacrificed on the altars of Moloch? I need not give details. As a
Personally I think that resolution would have been a great deal more enlightening to the average Easterner if the ministerial association had plainly called a spade a spade.
With the Chinaman conditions are different. In the first place, since China obtained freedom from the old cast-iron dynasty, Chinamen have not wanted to colonize in Canada. The leaders of the young China party laid their plots and published their liberty journals from presses in the basement of Vancouver and Victoria shops, but having gained their liberty, they went back to China. The Chinaman does not want to colonize. He does not want a vote. He wants only to earn his money on the Pacific Coast and hoard it and go home to China with it. The fact that he does not want to remain in the country but comes only to work and go back has always been used as an argument against him. Neither does he consider himself your equal. Nor does he want to marry your daughter, nor have you consider him a prince of the royal blood in disguise—a pose in which the little Jap is as great an adept as the English cockney who drops enough “h’s” to build a monument, all the while he is telling you of his royal blue blood. If you mistake the Chinaman for a prince in disguise, the results will be just what they were with a poor girl In New York four or five years ago. The results will be just what they always are when you mistake a mongrel for a thoroughbred.
All the same, dismiss the idea from your mind that labor is behind the opposition to Chinese immigration! A few years ago, when Oriental labor came tumbling into British Columbia at the rate of twelve thousand in a single year—when the Chinese alone had come to number fifteen or sixteen thousand—labor was alarmed; but a twofold change has taken place since that time. First, labor has found that it can better control the Chinaman by letting him enter Canada, than by keeping him in China and letting the product of cheap labor come in. Second, the Chinaman has demonstrated his solidarity as a unit in the labor war. If he comes, he will not foregather with capital. That is certain! He will affiliate with the unions for higher wages.
“If the Chinaman comes in here lowering the price of goods and the price of labor,” said the agitator a few years ago, “we’ll put a poll tax of five hundred dollars on and make him pay for his profit.” The poll tax was put on every Chinaman coming into Canada, but do you think John Chinaman pays it? It is a way that unjust laws have of coming back in a boomerang. The Chinaman doesn’t pay it! Mr. Canadian Householder paid it; for no sooner was the poll tax imposed than up went wages for household servant and laundryman and gardener, from ten to fifteen dollars a month to forty and forty-five and fifty dollars a month. The Italian boss system came in vogue, when the rich Chinaman who paid the entrance tax for his “slaves” farmed out the labor at a profit to himself. The system was really one of indentured slavery till the immigration authorities went after it. Then Chinese benevolent associations were formed. Up went wages automatically. The cook would no longer do the work of the gardener. When the boy you hired at twenty-five dollars had learned his job, he suddenly disappeared one morning. His substitute explains he has had to go away; “he is sick;” any excuse; with delightful lapses of English when you ask questions. You find out that your John has taken a job at forty dollars a month, and you are breaking in a new green hand for the Chinese benevolent association to send up to a higher job. If you kick against the trick, you may kick! There are more jobs than men. That’s the way you pay the five hundred dollars poll tax; comical, isn’t it; or it would be comical if the average white householder did not find it five hundred dollars more than the average income can spare? So the labor leaders chuckle at this subterfuge, as they chuckle at the “continuous” passage law.
For a time the indentured slavery system worked almost criminally; for if the newcomer, ignorant of the law and the language, got wise to the fact that his boss was doing what was illegal under Canadian law, and attempted to jump his serfdom, he was liable—as one of them expressed it—“to be found missing.” It would be reported that he had suicided. Among people who did not speak English, naturally, no details would be given. It seems almost unbelievable that in a country wrestling with the whole Asiatic problem the fact has to be set down that the government has no interpreter among the Chinese who is not a Chinaman, no interpreter among the Japanese who is not a Jap. As it chances, the government happens to have two reliable foreigners as interpreters; but they are foreigners.
Said Doctor Munro, one of the medical staff of the Immigration Department: “Even in complicated international negotiations, where each country is jockeying to protect its rights, Canada has to depend on representatives of China or Japan to translate state documents and transmit state messages. Here we are on the verge of great commercial intercourse with two of the richest countries in Asia, countries that are just awakening from the century’s sleep, countries that will need our flour and our wheat and our lumber and our machinery; and we literally have not a diplomatic body in Canada to speak either Chinese or Japanese. I’ll tell you what a lot of us would like to see done—what the southern states are doing with the Latin-Spanish of South America—have a staff of translators for our chambers of commerce and boards of trade, or price files and lists of markets, etc. How could this be brought about? Let Japan and China send yearly, say twenty students to study international law and English with us. Let us send to China and Japan yearly twenty of our postgraduate students to be trained up into a diplomatic body for our various boards of trade, to forward international trade and help the two countries to understand each other.
“When trouble arose over Oriental immigration a few years ago,” continued Doctor Munro, “I can tell you that it was a serious matter that we had to have the translating of our state documents done at that time by representatives of the very nations we were contesting.”
Unless I am misinformed, one of the men who did the translating at that time is one of the Orientals who has since “suicided,” and the reason for that suicide you might as well try to fathom as to follow the windings of a ferret in the dark. Certain royal clans of Japan will suicide on order from their government for the good of their country.
“The trouble with these foolish raids on Chinatown for gambling,” said an educated Chinaman in Vancouver to me, “is that the city police have no secret service among the Chinese, and they never raid the resorts that need most to be cleaned out. They raid some little joint where the Chinese boys are playing fan-tan for ten cents, when they do not raid up-town gambling hells where white men play for hundreds of dollars. If the police employed Chinese secret service, they could clean out every vice resort in a week. Except in the segregated district, which is white, there would not be any vice. They need Chinese police or men who speak Chinese, and there would be no Chinese vice left in this town.”
To go back to the matter of the poll tax and the system of indentured slavery, the bosses mapped out every part of the city and province in wage areas. Here, no wages under twenty-five dollars, to which green hands were sent; here, a better quarter, no wages under forty dollars; and so on up as high as sixty dollars for mill work and camp cooking. About this time riots turned the searchlight on all
All the same, some evils of the boss system still exist. The boss system taught the Chinaman organization, and to-day, even with higher wages, your forty-five dollars a month cook will do no gardening. You ask him why. “They will cut my throat,” he tells you; and if he goes out to mow the lawn, he is soon surrounded by fellow countrymen who hoot and jeer him.
“Would they cut his throat?” I asked a Chinaman.
“No; but maybe, the benevolent association or his tong fine him.”
So you see why labor no longer fears the Chinaman and welcomes him to industrial unionism, a revolution in the attitude of labor which has taken place in the last year. Make a note of these facts:
The poll tax has trebled expenses for the householder.
The poll tax has created industrial unionism among the Chinese.
The poll tax has not kept the Chinaman out.
How about the Chinese vices? Are they a stench to Heaven as the Hindu’s? I can testify that they certainly are not open, and they certainly are not aggressive, and they certainly do not claim vice as a right; for I went through Vancouver’s Chinatown with only a Chinaman as an escort (not through “underground dens,” as one paper reported it) after ten at night; and the vices that I saw were innocent, mild, pallid, compared to the white-man vices of Little Italy, New York, or Upper Broadway. We must have visited in all a dozen gambling joints, two or three midnight restaurants, half a dozen opium places and two theaters; and the only thing that could be remotely constructed into disrespect was the amazement on one drunken white face on the street that a white woman could be going through Chinatown with a Chinaman.
WHAT PANAMA MEANS
It now becomes apparent why British Columbia was described as the province where East meets West and works out Destiny.
On the other side of the Pacific lies Japan come to the manhood of nationality, demanding recognition as the equal of the white race and room to expand. Behind Japan lies China, an awakened giant, potent for good or ill, of half a billion people, whose commerce under a few years of modern science and mechanics is bound to equal the commerce of half Europe. It may in a decade bring to the ports that have hitherto been the back doors of America an aggregate yearly traffic exceeding the four billion dollars’ worth that yearly leave Atlantic ports for Europe. Canada is now the shortest route to “Cathay”; the railroads across Canada offer shorter route from China to Europe than Suez or Horn, by from two to ten thousand miles. Then there is India, another awakened giant, potent for good or ill, of three hundred million people—two hundred to the square mile—clamoring for recognition as British subjects, clamoring for room to expand.
The question is sometimes asked by Americans: Why does Canada concern herself about foreign problems and dangers? Why does she not rest secure under the aegis of the Monroe Doctrine, which forever forfends foreign conquest of America by an alien power? And Canada answers—because the Monroe Doctrine is not worth the ink in which it was penned without the bayonet to enforce the pen. Belgium’s neutrality did not protect her. The peace that is not a victory is only an armed truce—a let-live by some other nation’s permission. Without power to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, that doctrine is to Canada but a tissue-paper rampart.
To add to the complication involving British Columbia comes the opening of Panama, turning the Pacific Ocean into a parade ground for the world’s fleets both merchantmen and war. Commercially Panama simply turns British Columbia into a front door, instead of a back door. What does this mean?
The Atlantic has hitherto been the Dominion’s front door, and the Canadian section of the Atlantic has four harbors of first rank with an aggregate population of nearly a million. Canada has, besides, three lake harbors subsidiary to ocean traffic with an aggregate population of half a million. One may infer when the Pacific becomes a front door, that Vancouver and Victoria and Port Mann and Westminster and Prince Rupert will soon have an aggregate population of a million.
Behind the Atlantic ports, supplied by them with traffic, supplying them with traffic, is a provincial population of five millions. Behind the Pacific ports in British Columbia and Alberta, one would be justified in expecting to find—Strathcona said a hundred million people, but for this generation put it at twelve million.
Through the Atlantic ports annually come two hundred and fifty thousand or more immigrants, not counting the one hundred and fifty thousand from the United States. What if something happened to bring as many to the Pacific, as well as those now coming to the Atlantic?
Then a century of peace has a sleeping-powder effect on a nation. We forget that the guns of four nations once boomed and roared round old Quebec and down Bay of Fundy way. If the Pacific becomes a front door, the guns of the great nations may yet boom there. In fact, if Canada had not been a part of Greater Britain four or five years ago when the trouble arose over Japanese immigration, guns might easily have boomed round Vancouver long before the Pacific Coast had become a front door. Front door status entails bolt and strong bar. Front door means navy. Navy means shipbuilding plants, and the shipyards of the United States on the Atlantic support fifty thousand skilled artisans, or what would make a city of two hundred and fifty thousand people. The shipyards of England support a population equal to Boston. In the United States those shipyards exist almost wholly by virtue of government contracts to build war vessels, and in Great Britain largely by virtue of admiralty subsidies. Though they also do an enormous amount of work on river and coastal steamers, the manager of the largest and oldest plant in the United States told me personally that with the high price of labor and material in America, his shipyard could not last a day without government contracts for war vessels, torpedoes, dredges, etc. Front door on the Pacific means that to Canada, and it means more; for Canada belongs to an empire that has vaster dominions to defend in Asia than in Europe.
But isn’t all this stretching one’s fancy a bit too far in the future? How far is too far? The Panama Canal is open for traffic, and there is not a harbor of first rank in the United States, Atlantic, Pacific, or Gulf of Mexico, that does not bank on, that is not spending millions on, the expectation of Panama changing the Pacific from a back into a front door. Either these harbors are all wrong or Canada is sound asleep as a tombstone to the progress round her. Boston has spent nine million dollars acquiring terminals and water-front, and is now guaranteeing the bonds of steamships to the extent of twenty-five million dollars. New York has built five new piers to take care of the commerce coming—and the Federal government has spent fifty million dollars improving the approaches to her harbor. Baltimore is so sure that Panama is going to revive shore-front interests that she has reclaimed almost two hundred acres of swamp land for manufacturing sites, which she is leasing out at merely nominal figures to bring the manufacturers from inland down to the sea. In both Baltimore and Philadelphia, railroads are spending millions increasing their trackage for the traffic they expect to feed down to the coast cities for Panama steamers.
Among the Gulf ports, New Orleans has spent fifteen million dollars putting in a belt line system of railroads and docks with steel and cement sheds, purely to keep her harbor front free of corporate control. This is not out of enmity to corporations, but because the prosperity of a harbor depends on all steamers and all railroads receiving the same treatment. This is not possible under private and rival control. Yet more, New Orleans is putting on a line of her own civic steamships to South America. Up at St. Louis and Kansas City, they are putting on civic barge lines down the rivers to ocean front.
At Los Angeles twenty million dollars have been spent in making a harbor out of a duck pond. San Francisco and Oakland have improved docks to the extent of twenty-four million dollars. Seattle attests her expectation of what Panama is going to do on the Pacific by securing the expenditure of fifteen million dollars on her harbor for her own traffic and all the traffic she can capture from Canada; and it may be said here that the Grand Trunk Pacific of Canada—a national road on which the Dominion is spending hundreds of millions—has the finest docks in Seattle. Portland has gone farther than any of the Pacific ports. Portland is Scotch—full of descendants of the old Scotch folk who used to serve in the Hudson’s Bay Company. If there is a chance to capture world traffic, Portland is out with both hands and both feet after that flying opportunity. Portland has not only improved the entrance to the Columbia to the extent of fifteen million dollars—this was done by the Federal government—but she has had a canal cut past bad water in the Columbia, costing nearly seven millions, and has put on the big river a system of civic boats to bring the wheat down from an inland empire. There is no aim to make this river line a dividend payer. The sole object is to bring the Pacific grain trade to Portland. Portland is already a great wheat port. Will she get a share of Canada’s traffic in bond to Liverpool? Candidly, she hopes to. How? By having Canadian barges bring Alberta wheat down the Columbia.
And now, what is Canada doing? Canada is doing absolutely nothing. Canada is saying, with a little note of belligerency in her voice—What’s Panama to us? Either every harbor in the United States is Panama fool-mad; either every harbor in the United States is spending money like water on fool-schemes; or Canada needs a wakening blast of dynamite ’neath her dreams. If Panama brings the traffic which every harbor in the United States expects, then Canada’s share of that traffic will go through Seattle and Portland. Either Canada must wake up or miss the chance that is coming.
Two American transcontinentals have not come wooing traffic in Vancouver for nothing. The Canadian Pacific is not double tracking its roadbed to the Coast for nothing. The Grand Trunk has not bought terminals in Seattle for nothing. Yet, having jockeyed for traffic in Vancouver, the two American roads have recently evinced a cooling. They are playing up interests In Seattle and marking time in Vancouver. Grand Trunk terminals in Seattle don’t help Vancouver; but if Canada doesn’t want the traffic from the world commerce of the seas, then Portland and Seattle do.
One recalls how a person feels who is wakened a bit sooner than suits his slumbers. He passes some crusty comments and asks some criss-cross questions. The same with Canada regarding Panama. What’s Panama to us? How in the world can a cut through a neck of swamp and hills three thousand miles from the back of beyond, have the slightest effect on commerce in Canada? And if it has, won’t it be to hurt our railroads? And if Panama does divert traffic from land to water, won’t that divert a share of shipping away from Montreal and St. John and Halifax?
There is no use ever arguing with a cross questioner. Mr. Hill once said there was no use ever going into frenzies about the rights of the public. The public would just get exactly what was coming to it. If it worked for prosperity, it would get it. If it were not sufficiently alert to see opportunity, it certainly would not be sufficiently alert to grasp opportunity after you had pointed it out. Your opinion or mine does not count with the churlish questioner. You have to hurl facts back so hard they waken your questioner up. Here are the facts.
How can Panama turn the Pacific Coast into a front door instead of a back door?
Almost every big steamship line of England and Germany, also a great many of the small lines from Norway and Belgium and Holland and Spain and Italy, have announced their intention of putting on ships to go by way of Panama to the Orient and to Pacific Coast ports. Three of those lines have explicitly said that they would call at Pacific ports in Canada if there were traffic and terminals for them.
The steamers coming from the Mediterranean have announced their intention of charging for steerage only five to ten dollars more to the Pacific Coast ports than to the Atlantic ports. It costs the immigrant from sixteen to twenty-five dollars to go west from Atlantic ports. It can hardly be doubted that a great many immigrants will save fare by booking directly to Pacific ports. Of South-of-Europe immigrants, almost seven hundred thousand a year come to United States Atlantic ports, of whom two-thirds remain, one-third, owing to the rigor of winter, going back. Of those who will come to Pacific ports, they will not be driven back by the rigor of winter. They will find a region almost similar in climate to their own land and very similar in agriculture. Hitherto Canada has not made a bid for South-of-Europe immigrants, but, with Panama open, they will come whether Canada bids for them or not. They are the quickest, cheapest and most competent fruit farmers in the world. They are also the most turbulent of all European immigrants. We may like or dislike them. They are coming to Canada’s shores when the war is over, coming in leaderless hordes.
The East has awakened and is moving west. The West has always been awake and is moving east. The East is sending her teas and her silks to the West, and the West is sending her wheat and her lumber to the East. When these two currents meet, what? If two currents meet and do not blend, what? Exactly what has happened before in the world, impact, collision, struggle; and the fittest survives. This was the real reason for the building of the Panama Canal—to give the American navy command of her own shores on the Pacific. Now that Panama is built it means the war fleets of the whole world on the Pacific. Canada can no more grow into a strong nation and keep out of the world conclave assembling on the Pacific than a boy can grow into strong manhood and keep out of the rough and tumble of life, or a girl grow to efficient womanhood and play the hothouse parasite all her life. Fleets, naval stations, coaling stations, dry docks, whole cities supported by shipyards are bound to grow on the Pacific just as surely as the years come and go. The growth has begun already. Nothing worth having can be left undefended and be kept. Poor old China tried that. So did Korea. We may talk ourselves black in the face over peace and pass up enough platitudes to pave the way to a universal brotherhood of heaven on earth, but in the past good intentions and platitudes have paved the way to an altogether different sort of place. In the whole world history of the past (however much we might wish this earth a different place) the nation most secure against war has been the nation most prepared against war. Canada can’t dodge that fact. With Panama open come the armaments of the world to the Pacific!
How about a merchant marine for Canada? This question was important to the maritime provinces, but the maritime provinces are well served by British liners. On the Pacific seventy-two per cent. of the carrying trade is already controlled by Japan. Now Canada can buy her ships in the cheapest market, Norway or England.
She can herself build ships as cheaply as any country in the world. She can operate her ships as cheaply as any country in the world.
She has no restrictions as to the manning of her crews and, as far as I know, has never had a case of abuse arising from this freedom which her laws permit.
Except for the St. Lawrence after October, there is no foreign discrimination in the insurance of her ships.
Canada can go into the race for world-carrying trade unhampered.
She has yet another advantage. With only two or three exceptions—a fishing bounty, one or two mail contracts—the United States has not given and may never give government aid to ships. The Canadian government does and does wisely! Ocean traffic may be as requisite to prosperity as rail traffic, and you can’t give land subsidies to the sea.
It is when one comes to consider Panama’s influence on rail traffic that it becomes apparent the Canal may divert half the Dominion’s traffic to seaboard by Pacific routes. Why do you suppose that the big grain companies of the Northwest want to reverse their former policy? Formerly the biggest elevators were built east, the medium-sized at the big gathering centers, the smaller scattered out along the line anywhere convenient to the grower. To-day, as far as Alberta is concerned, the biggest elevators are going up farthest west. Why? Why do you suppose that the big traction companies of Birmingham, Alabama, the big wire companies of Cleveland and Pittsburgh are looking over the Canadian West for sites? One Birmingham firm has just bought the site for a big plant in Calgary. Why do you suppose that the Canadian Pacific Railway is building big repair shops at Coquitlam, and the Canada Northern at Port Mann? Why are both these roads also stationing big repair plants at inland points, one at Calgary, the other supposed to be for Kamloops? It is not to help along the townsite lot booms in these places. No one deprecates these town lots running out the area of Chicago more than the railroads do. “Wild oats” hurt trade more than they advertise the legitimate opportunities of a new country.
Take a look at them!
From Fort William to Alberta is one thousand two hundred miles, to Calgary one thousand two hundred eighty, to Edmonton one thousand four hundred fifty-one miles. From Alberta to Vancouver is slightly over six hundred miles. Port William navigation is open only half the year. The Pacific harbors are open all the year. Manitoba and Saskatchewan wheat may be rushed forward in time for shipment before the close of navigation. Because Alberta is farther west and must wait longest for cars, very little of her wheat can be rushed forward in time; so Alberta wheat must go on down to St. John, another one thousand two hundred miles. Look at the figures—six hundred and fifty miles from Alberta to the seaboard at Vancouver, two thousand four hundred miles from Alberta to sea-board at St. John! In other words, while a car is making one trip to St. John and back with wheat, it could make four trips to Vancouver.
One year the crop so far exceeded the rolling stock of all the railroads in America that millions of dollars were lost in depreciation and waste waiting for shipment. This state of affairs does not apply to wheat alone nor to Canada alone. It was the condition with every crop in every section of America. I saw twenty-nine miles of cotton standing along the tracks of a southern port exposed to wet weather because the southern railroads had neither steamers nor cars to rush shipments forward for Liverpool. In New York State and the belt of middle west states thousands of barrels of fruit lay and rotted on the ground because the railroads could not handle it. In an orchard near my own I saw two thousand barrels
The same thing almost happened in Canada one fall, though conditions were aggravated by the coal strike.
Now, then, where does Panama come into this story? What if the railroads did not carry the crop two thousand four hundred miles to seaboard in order to ship forward to Liverpool? What if they carried some of the big crops only six hundred miles west to sea-board on the Pacific? They would have four times as many cars available to handle the crop, or they could make just four times as many trips to Vancouver with the same cars as to the Atlantic seaboard after the close of navigation in the East. It is apparent now why the Pacific ports have gone mad over the possibilities from Panama and are preparing for enormous traffic. Of course there are features of this diversion of traffic to new channels which the lay mind will miss and only the traffic specialist appreciate. For instance, there is the question of grade over the mountains. The Canadian Pacific Railroad meets this difficulty with its long tunnel through Mount Stephen. The Grand Trunk declares that it has the lowest mountain grade of all the transcontinentals. The Great Northern uses electric power for its tunnels, and Los Angeles will tell you how its new diagonal San Pedro road up through Nevada puts it in touch with the inland empire of the mountain states by running up parallel with the mountains and not crossing a divide at all.
Take a look at the subject from another angle! At the present rate of homesteading in the West, within twenty years the three prairie provinces will be producing seven to nine hundred million bushels of wheat a year. Possibly they will not do so well as that, but suppose they do; the three grain provinces of Canada will be producing as much as the wheat produced in all the United States. Now, the United States to take care of its crop has practically seven transcontinentals and a host of allied trunk lines like the Illinois Central, the New York Central and the Pennsylvania; but when a big crop comes, the United States roads are paralyzed from a shortage of cars. Canada has only three big transcontinentals and no big trunk lines to take care of a crop that may be as large as the whole United States crop. Panama promises, not a menace, but the one possible avenue of relief to the railroads.
Of course eastern cities may fight a diversion of traffic to the seaboard of the West, but they can not stop it. Portland is already one of the big grain shippers and will bid for a share of Canada’s west-bound grain, if Vancouver and Prince Rupert do not prepare for the new conditions.
Not only terminals but elevators must be prepared on the Pacific. Terminals mean more than railroad company tracks. They mean city-owned trackage, so that the tramp steamer seeking cargo at cheap rates shall have every inducement and facility for getting cargo. They mean free sites for manufacturers, not sky-rocket boom prices that keep new industries out of a city. Elevators and terminals have been announced time and again for Vancouver, but up to the present the announcements have not materialized. Regular grain steamers must be put on, steamers good for cargo of three hundred thousand and four hundred thousand bushels, as on the lakes, and with devices for such swift handling as have made Montreal one of the best grain ports in the world, in spite of high insurance rates and half-season. As long as there are no elevators at Vancouver, grain must be sacked. Sacking costs from five to six cents extra a bushel, and more extra in handling. The remedy for this is for the Pacific ports to build elevators; and even when they haven’t elevators, the saving in rates over and above the extra sacking has already been from eight to fourteen cents a bushel on grain billed for Liverpool via the one hundred ninety miles of rail over Tehuantepec, or via the Panama railroad, where bulk need not be broken twice.
An objection is that in the humid Pacific Coast winter climate there is danger of grain heating. This has been overcome at Portland, and against this must be set the incalculable advantage that Pacific Coast ports are open all the year round. One year, of 65,000,000 bushels of grain from the prairie provinces that passed over the Great Lakes forty-three per cent. went out by way of Buffalo to American ports. Why? Because the glut was so great, the facilities so inadequate for the enormous crop, the insurance so high, that the grain could not be rushed seaward fast enough before close of navigation. Through Vancouver during this very period there passed only 750,000 bushels of wheat. Why not more? No facilities.
“We could have shipped millions of bushels of wheat to Liverpool by way of Vancouver,” said the head of one of the largest grain companies in Calgary, “but there were simply no facilities to take care of it. On 16,000 bushels, which we shipped by way of Vancouver and Tehuantepec, we saved eight cents a bushel, as against Atlantic rates. You know how much handling the Tehuantepec route requires. Well, you can figure what we should save the farmer when Panama opens and the cargo never breaks bulk to Liverpool from our shore.”
Rates, not heating nor sacking, are the real cloud in the Canadian mind regarding Panama; and if Canada continues to stand twiddling her hands over rates when she should be hustling preparations, the inevitable will happen—Portland, which sends millions of bushels of her own wheat to Liverpool, is ready to take care of Canada’s traffic; so is Seattle. There is nothing these cities hope more than that Canada will continue to shun the question of rates.
Let us look at this question of rates!
Ordinarily the rate on wheat from Chicago to New York is about ten to twelve cents a bushel; from New York to Liverpool about three to seven cents. That is, for one thousand miles (roughly) the rate by rail is ten cents. For three thousand miles the rate by water is three cents. That is, one cent buys the shipper one hundred miles by rail. One cent buys him one thousand miles by water. Get out a chart and figure out for yourself what the saving means on wheat via Panama to Liverpool on a crop—we’ll say—of one hundred million bushels, Alberta’s future share alone, leaving Saskatchewan and Manitoba crops to continue going to Liverpool by Fort William and Montreal. You can figure the distance to Liverpool via Panama twice or even three times as far as via Atlantic ports, long as water rates are to rail, as one to ten, the saving on a one-hundred-million-bushel crop for a single year is enough to buy terminals, build elevators and run civic ships as Boston and New Orleans and St. Louis and Kansas City and Portland are doing. Via Tehuantepec the saving was eight cents a bushel. At that rate your saving in a year would be eight million dollars for Alberta wheat alone, not counting dairy products, which are bound to become larger each year, and coal, which will yet bring the same wealth to Alberta as to Pennsylvania, and lumber, on which the saving is as one to four.
Please note one point! It is a point usually ignored in all comparisons of water and rail rates. While sea and lake are the cheapest method of transportation in the world, canals (unless some other nation builds them as the United States built Panama) are not so cheap as sea and lake. When you add to the cost of canals, the interest on cost, the maintenance, and charge that up against traffic—for it doesn’t matter, though the government does maintain canals; you pay the bill in the end—canal rates come higher than rail rates. But in Canada’s use of Panama, Canada is not paying for the building of the canal; and the Lord pays the upkeep of the canal of the sea.
Take this question of Vancouver rates, from which Canada is standing back so inertly! Take the latest rates issued! These are subject to change and correction, but that does not affect final conclusions. It costs Manitoba and Saskatchewan from twelve to nineteen cents a hundred weight to send grain to Fort William, then during open navigation from four to five cents to reach seaboard at Montreal. It costs Alberta, being farther west, twenty-five cents to reach Fort William; but, as a matter of fact, her wheat can seldom reach Fort William before the close of navigation; so she must pay twenty-five cents more to send her wheat on down to St. John, and five to six cents from St. John to Liverpool, or in all fifty-five cents. The Alberta rate is twenty-two cents plus a fraction to Vancouver, or forty-five cents to Liverpool. Now, Alberta wants to know: Why is she charged twenty-two and a fraction cents for six hundred fifty miles west, and only twenty-five cents for one thousand two hundred miles east?
There is the nub and the rub and the hub of the whole thing, and the discrimination bears just as vitally on fruit and dairy products and lumber and coal as on wheat. It is a question that has to be settled in Canada within the next few years, or her west-bound traffic will build up Portland and Seattle instead of Vancouver and Prince Rupert.
The whole problem of the effect of Panama is so new in Canada that data do not exist to make comparisons; but details have been carefully gathered by American ports, and the cases are a close enough parallel to illustrate what Panama means in the world of traffic to-day. Freight on a car of Washington lumber to New York is from three hundred ninety-five to four hundred eleven dollars; by water, the freight is from one hundred to one hundred and seventy-five dollars. To bring a car of Washington fir diagonally across the continent to Norfolk costs eighty-five cents a hundred weight. To bring it round by Panama costs twenty cents, or to ship the very same cargo from Norfolk to England—which many southern dealers are now doing—costs twelve to fifteen cents, including the handling at both ends. Dry goods from New York to Texas by water cost eighty-nine cents; by rail, one dollar and eighty-two cents. Oranges by rail from the Pacific to the Atlantic cost twenty-three dollars a ton; by water before the canal opened, breaking bulk twice, ten dollars, and through the canal, when bulk is not broken, will cost only five to eight dollars. On oranges alone California will save twenty million dollars a year shipping via Panama. The Balfour-Guthrie firm of Antwerp can ship a ton of groceries from Europe to Los Angeles round the Horn for the same amount the Southern Pacific ships that ton from Los Angeles to San Francisco—namely, six dollars plus. The rail rate on salt in Washington is eight dollars seventy cents for eighty-eight miles; the river rate one dollar fifty cents. I could give instances in the South where cotton by rail costs two dollars a bale; by water, twenty-five cents.
If Panama works this great reduction, this revolution, in freights, will that not hurt the railroads? Ask the railroads whether they make their profit on the long or the short haul. Ask them whether high rates and sparse population or dense population and low rates pay the better dividends! Compare New York Central traffic receipts and Southern Pacific on the average per mile! Now ships that are to use Panama plan pouring twenty million people into the Pacific Coast in twenty years.
Will Canada share the coming tide of benefits? Only two things can prevent her: first, lack of preparation—too much “hot air” and not enough hustle; too much after-dinner aviating in the empyrean and not enough muddy mess out on the harbor dredge with “sand hogs” and “shovel stiffs”; then, second, lack of adequate labor to prepare. After-dinner speeches don’t make the dirt fly. Canada wants fewer platitudes and a great deal more of good old-fashioned hard hoeing.
TO EUROPE BY HUDSON BAY
It must have become apparent to the most casual observer that transportation has been to Canada more than a system of exploitation by capital. Transportation has been to Canada an integral part of her very national life—which, perhaps, explains how with the exception of extravagance incident to a period of great prosperity her railroad systems have been founded on sound finance from bed-rock up. In spite of huge land grants—in all fifty-five million acres—and in the case of one railroad wild stock fluctuations from forty-eight to three hundred dollars—it is a question if a dollar of public money has ever been diverted from roadbed to promoters’ pockets. Certainly, in the case of the strongest road financially in Canada, no director of the road has ever juggled with underground wires to unload worthless securities on widows and orphans. Railroad stocks have never been made the football of speculators. Charters in the old days were juggled through legislatures with land grants of eight and twelve thousand acres per mile; but at that time these acres were worthless; and the system of land grants has for the last ten years been discontinued. Because railroads are a necessary part of Canada’s national development, state aid of late has taken the form of loans, cash grants and guarantee of bonds by provincial and federal governments. This has given Canada’s Railway Commission a whip handle over rates and management, which perhaps explains why railroads in Canada have never been regarded as lawful game by the financial powers that prey. Including municipal, provincial and federal grants, stocks and bonds, Canada has spent on her railroads a billion and a half. Including capital cost and maintenance, Canada has spent on her canals $138,000,000. On steamship subsidies, Canada’s yearly grants have gradually risen from a few hundred thousands to as high as two millions in some years. Nor does this cover all the national expenditure on transportation; for besides the thirty-eight millions spent on dredging and improving navigation on the St. Lawrence, twelve millions have been appropriated for improving Halifax Harbor; and only recently federal guarantee for bonds to the extent of forty-three millions was accorded one transcontinental. This road was so heavily guaranteed by provincial governments that if it had failed it would have involved four western provinces. Its plight arose from two causes—the extravagant cost of labor and material in an inflated era, and the depression in the world money markets curtailing all extension. Workmen on this road were paid three to seventeen dollars a day, who would have received a dollar and a half to four dollars ten years ago. In fact, the owners of the road themselves received those wages thirty years ago. Sections cost
Canada’s transportation system has been a national policy from the first. Her first transcontinental she built to unify and bind confederation. Her second two transcontinentals she launched to carry commerce east and west, because the United States had built a tariff wall which prevented Canada moving her commerce north and south. Her canal system to cut the distance from the Great Lakes to the seaboard and to overcome the rapids at “the Soo,” at Niagara and on the St. Lawrence—has simply resolved itself into an effort to move seaboard inland, on the principle that the farther inland the port the shorter the land haul and the lower the traffic toll. Owing to the enormous increase in the cargo capacity of lake freighters in recent years, grain ships reach Buffalo carrying three hundred thousand bushels of western wheat, and Canada’s Welland Canal has worked at a handicap. Until the Canal is widened, the big cargo carriers can not pass through it, and the necessity to break bulk here is one explanation of more than half Canada’s western traffic going to seaboard by way of Buffalo instead of Montreal.
For years the proposal has been under consideration to connect the Great Lakes with the St. Lawrence by way of a canal from Georgian Bay through Ottawa River. This would be a colossal undertaking; for the region up Mattawa River toward Georgian Bay is of iron rock, and to build a canal wide enough for the big cargo carriers would out-distance anything in the way of canal construction in the world. Both parties in Canada have endorsed what is known as the Georgian Bay Ship Canal; and estimates place the cost at one hundred and twenty-five millions; but traffic men of the Lakes declare if the big cargo carriers are to have cheap insurance on this route, the canal will have to be wide enough to guarantee safe passage; and the cost would be twice this estimate.
On no section of her national transportation has Canada expended more thought and effort than improving navigation on the St. Lawrence. This, in its way, has been as difficult a problem for a people of seven millions as the construction of Panama for a people of ninety millions. Consider the geographical position of the St. Lawrence route! It penetrates the continent from eight hundred to nine hundred sixty miles. Montreal, the head of navigation on the St. Lawrence, is the farthest inland harbor of America with the exception of two ports—Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico and Port Nelson on Hudson Bay.
When Canada began dredging the St. Lawrence in 1850, the channel averaged a depth of ten feet. By 1888, the channel averaged twenty-seven and one-half feet at low water. To-day a depth of thirty to thirty-one feet has been attained. At its narrowest points the St. Lawrence has a steamship channel four hundred and fifty feet wide and thirty feet deep from side to side. In the days when high insurance rates were established against the St. Lawrence route, there was practically not a lighthouse nor channel buoy from Tadousac to the Straits of Belle Isle. To-day between Montreal and Quebec are ninety-nine lighted buoys, one hundred and ninety-five can buoys; between Quebec and the Straits, three light ships, eighty gas buoys, one whistling buoy, seventy-five can buoys, four submarine bell ships, and a line of lighthouses. Telegraph lines extend to the outer side of Belle Isle, and hydrographic survey has charted every foot of the river. In spite of these improvements, insurance rates are four to six per cent. for lines to Canada, where they are one and one-half to two and one-half to American ports.
What with three transcontinentals, a complete canal system from seaboard to the Great Lakes and an outlet for western traffic through Panama, one would think that Canada had made ample provision for transportation; but she has only begun. If she is to be the shortest route to the Orient, she must keep traffic in Canadian channels and not divide it with Panama and Suez. If she is to feed the British Empire, she must establish the shortest route from her wheat fields to the United Kingdom; and if she is to overcome the disadvantage of harbors open only half the year, she must secure to herself some other advantage—such as access to the harbor having the shortest land haul and therefore the lowest freight rates in America. There is another consideration. If when Canada is raising less than three hundred million bushels of wheat her transcontinentals are glutted with traffic and her harbors gorged, what will happen when her wheat fields raise eight hundred million bushels of wheat? So Canada has cast about for a shorter route to Europe by Hudson Bay, and both parties in Dominion politics have backed the project.
At a time when the food supply of Great Britain must be drawn almost solely from her colonial possessions and the United States and Argentina, when her very national existence depends on the sea lanes to that food supply being kept open—a route which shortens the distance to that food supply by from one thousand five hundred to three thousand miles becomes doubly interesting.
Take a mental look at the contour of North America! All the big export harbors of the Atlantic Coast are situated at the broadest bulge of the continent—Halifax, St. John, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore are all where the distance across the continent from the grain fields is widest. That means a long land haul.
Take another look at the map—this time at a revolving globe! Any schoolboy knows that a circle round a top is shorter at the ends than around its middle. The same of the earth. East and west distances are shorter the nearer you are to the Pole, the farther you are from the Equator.
To England from Eastern Asia by Suez is fourteen to eighteen thousand miles. To England from Asia by San Francisco is eleven thousand miles, by Seattle ten thousand miles, by Prince Rupert and Hudson Bay seven to eight thousand miles—representing a saving by the northern route of almost half round the world.
Another point—take a compass! Stick the needle on Hudson Bay and swing the leg down round New York and up through the wheat plains of the Northwest. Draw lines to the center of your circle—to your amazement, you find the lines from the wheat plains to New York are twice and thrice as long as the lines from the wheat plains to Hudson Bay. In other words, Mr. Hill’s wheat empire is one thousand miles nearer tidewater to Hudson Bay than to New York. The three prairie provinces of Northwestern Canada are from four hundred (for Manitoba) to eight hundred miles (for Alberta) distant from ocean front on Hudson Bay. They are from one thousand two hundred to two thousand four hundred miles distant from tidewater at Montreal and New York and Philadelphia.
That is—if land rates were the same as water rates—the Hudson Bay route to Europe would cut rates to England from the Orient by half, and from the wheat plains by the difference between one thousand two hundred miles and four hundred, and two thousand four hundred miles and eight hundred. But land rates are not water rates. From Alberta to the Great Lakes is roughly one thousand two hundred miles. From the Great Lakes to tidewater is roughly another one thousand two hundred miles—either by way of Chicago-Buffalo, or Lake Superior-Montreal. For the one thousand two hundred miles from Alberta to the Great Lakes, grain shippers at time of writing pay a rate of twenty-two to twenty-five cents a bushel. For the one thousand two hundred miles from the head of the Lakes to Buffalo, the rate is three cents, from the head of the Lakes to Montreal five to six cents. In other words, the rate by land is just five to eight times higher than the rate by water.
To the argument—shorter distances by half by the northern route—is added the argument cheaper rates as eight to one.
That is why for twenty years Canada has gone sheer mad over a Hudson Bay route to Europe. For obvious reasons the ports in Eastern Canada have fought the idea and ridiculed the whole project as “an iron tonic from rusting rails” for the cows. That has not stopped the West. Grading is under way for the railroad to Hudson Bay from the grain plains. The Canadian government is the backer and the builder. Construction engines, dredges, steamers now whistle over the silences of the northern inland sea; and Port Nelson, which for three centuries has been the great fur entrepot of the wintry wastes, now echoes to pick and hammer and blowing locomotive intent on the construction of what is known as the Hudson Bay Railroad. Should the war last for years as wars of old, and Port Nelson become a great grain port as for three centuries it has been the greatest fur port of the world, the navies of Europe may yet thunder at one another along Hudson Bay’s shallow shores, as French and English fought there all through the seventeenth century.
The Hudson Bay railroad hung in mid-air for almost a quarter century. It was regarded by the East as one of the West’s mad impossible “boom” projects. Hadn’t Canada, a country of seven million population, a railroad system of 29,000 miles? Hadn’t the Dominion spent $138,000,000 on canals heading traffic to the St. Lawrence? Why divert half that traffic north to Hudson Bay? Surely three great transcontinental systems for a country with a population not larger than New York State were enough. So argued the East, and a great many conservative people in the West. Better make haste slowly, especially as it was becoming more and more evident that Canada would have to come to the aid of two of the transcontinentals or see them go bankrupt.
Then something happened. In fact, two or three things happened.
The population, which had remained almost stationary for half a century, jumped two million in less than ten years. Immigrants began pouring in at the rate of four hundred thousand a year—they were coming literally faster than the railroads could carry them.
It sometimes takes an outsider’s view of us to make us realize ourselves. Do you realize—they asked—that your three grain provinces alone are three times the area of the German Empire? Here is a grain field as long as from Petrograd to Paris and of unknown width north and south. You have 480,000,000 acres of wheat lands. (The United States plants only 50,000,000 acres a year to wheat.) You are cultivating only 16,000,000 acres. If there is a grain blockade now, what will there be when you cultivate 100,000,000 acres? Yes—we know—you may send Alberta grain west by Panama to Liverpool; but even with half going by Panama,
Two other comparatively unpondered facts were the hammers that drove the argument for a Hudson Bay route home and forced the Canadian government, irrespective of party, to back the project. The two facts were these—of Canada’s agricultural exports eighty per cent. went to Great Britain. In spite of Canada spending a billion on her transportation system, look at the fact well—it is a poser—only from thirty-two to forty per cent. of her export trade went out by Canadian routing. Why was that? The Department of Railroads and Canals in its annual report explains elaborately that sixty per cent. of Western Canadian grain went out by the Duluth-Buffalo route instead of Ft. William-Montreal because the lake rate of the former was cheaper as three to six cents a bushel; but there is nothing in this argument because Montreal is tidewater. Buffalo is not. To the cheaper Buffalo rate you must add five cents to New York, proving the American routing really two cents a bushel higher. Yet sixty per cent. of Western Canadian wheat went out by the costlier routing. Why? For the same reason that if you jam a bag too full it bursts. Because the Canadian trans-continentals simply could not take care of the traffic blockading tracks and ports and elevators.
So in spite of the funny man’s jokes about a Hudson Bay route being “iron tonic for the cows,” Canada launched on another all-red, to-the-sea railroad project.
What of the road itself?
I camped in the region a few years ago when the venture was still in air. The wheat plains terminate just west of Lake Winnipeg in an interminable swamp region that has been the home of small furs from the beginning of time. Saskatchewan River here literally widens to seventy miles of swamp, where you can barely find foot room dry soled except in winter, when the marsh turns to iron ice twelve feet thick. Through this swamp country runs a ridge of rock northeasterly to Hudson Bay. Down this ridge run Nelson and Hayes and Churchill Rivers in a succession of rapids and lakes, wild rough barren country, where you can paddle in summer or course by dog-train in winter for four hundred miles without sight of arable land or human dwelling. Along this ridge the railroad
The western terminal connecting with the wheat railroads is the Pas, an old, very old fur post of the French wood-runner days, on the Saskatchewan west of Lake Winnipeg. Here the railroad touches the Canada Northern and will doubtless later connect with the Canadian Pacific Railroad and Grand Trunk. To any one who knows the region well it seems almost a pity that the western terminus could not have been Grand Rapids just northwest of Lake Winnipeg. Here is a fine wooded high park country with the unlimited water power of nine miles of a continental river walled into a canyon half a mile wide. But the country west of Lake Winnipeg is as yet untouched by a railroad, though one can hardly conceive of a city not some day springing up at this the head of Manitoba navigation. Eastward from the Pas to Hudson Bay it is four hundred miles plus. Construction presents no great difficulties except bridging, and that can hardly be compared to the difficulties of canyons in the Rockies and drouth in the desert.
For years there was sharp contest whether the terminus on the Bay should be Nelson or Churchill. Churchill is one of the best harbors in the world, land locked, rock protected and fathomless; and Nelson is probably one of the worst—shallow, with sand bars caused by the confluence of the two great rivers emptying here, exposed to open sea. But the balance of favor on the Bay is how long can navigation be kept open. Navigation is open a month earlier and a month later at Nelson than at Churchill; so the Dominion dredges have gone to work to make Nelson a fit harbor.
How long is navigation open on the Bay? The Dominion government has sent three expeditions to ascertain this, though data might have been obtained from the Archives of the Hudson’s Bay Fur Company covering the record of over two hundred years. Both the Archives and the official expeditions record the same—navigation opens between the middle of May and the first of June, and closes about the end of October. Seasons have been known when navigation remained open till New Year’s, but this was unusual. So as far as the opening and closing of navigation is considered, the Hudson Bay route is not far different from the Great Lakes.
Hudson Bay itself is in area about the size of the Mediterranean. Because it is so far north the impression prevails that it is afloat with ice. This is a false impression. Hudson Bay lies in the same latitude as the North Sea and the Baltic, which are freighted with Russian and German commerce, but the climate, of course, is colder. The ice, which has given the great inland sea its ill repute, comes from the Pole and goes out through the Straits, seldom coming down the Bay in the season of navigation.
The Straits are the real crux of the Hudson Bay route to Europe, and there is no narrow neck of land to cut a way of escape through to open sea as at Kiel and Cape Cod. The Straits have been navigated by fur-traders since 1670, but the fur-traders could take a week or a month to the four hundred and fifty miles of Straits. They could afford the time to float back and forward with the ice packs for six weeks, and as many as seven vessels have been wrecked in ten years. To this tale of wreckage in the Straits, friends of the Hudson Bay route answer as follows:
First, the fur-traders’ vessels were little discarded admiralty vessels of small tonnage and rickety construction. Give us ice jammers such as the Russians use on the Baltic, built narrow and high of oak, not steel, to ride and crush down through the ice; and we can take care of high insurance rates. Second, the Straits are still an utterly uncharted sea four hundred and fifty miles long and from seventy to one hundred and fifty wide. This is not so long as the passage up the St. Lawrence. In such an inland sea as these Straits there must exist safe as well as unsafe channels, shelters, smooth reaches. Let us get the Straits charted and marked with buoys, with telegraph and cable points, and we shall navigate these four hundred and fifty miles. The questions of lighthouses need not bother the Straits, for the season of navigation is also the season of long daylight.
Three advantages must be put on the credit side of the Hudson Bay route:
Distances to tidewater cut by half.
Distances to Europe cut by a third.
Rates reduced on grain as eight to one.
Against these advantages must be placed three handicaps:
The danger of an uncharted sea in the Straits.
Necessity for enormous elevator and storage room.
Mr. Hill’s wheat country may begin wheat cutting in July. The Canadian Northwest is lucky if it cuts before the eighth of August. Consider the area of the big wheat farms! The whole of August is taken up with cutting and threshing. It is September or October, before the wheat is hauled to market, and it is November before it reaches seaboard. In November navigation on the Bay closes, and one hundred, perhaps two hundred million bushels of wheat must be held by the farmers, or the elevators, till May. This means interest on money out of the farmer’s pocket for six months, or storage charges. On the other hand, there will be no danger of stored wheat “heating” on the Bay. The cold there is of too sharp a type, but this is a danger in many of the all-the-year-round open harbors.
For twenty years the Hudson Bay railroad has been a project up in air. It is now a project on graded roadbed. Before these words are in print Hudson Bay Railroad will be on wheels and tracks. Then the real difficulty of the Straits will be faced, and probably—as Russia has overcome the difficulties of the Baltic—so will the Canadian Northwest overcome the difficulties of this hyperborean sea.
SOME INDUSTRIAL PROBLEMS
The contest between capital and labor in Canada has never become that armed camp divided by a chasm of hatred known in other lands. This for two reasons: First, the labor of yesterday is the capital of to-day, and the labor of to-day is the capital of to-morrow. Second, from the very nature of Canada’s greatest wealth—agricultural lands—the substantial proportion of the population consists of land owners, vested righters, respecters of property interests because they themselves are property holders. The city dweller in Canada has been from the very nature of things the anachronism, the anomaly, the parasite, the extraneous outgrowth on the main body of production.
To take the first reason why capital and labor has not been divided in hostile camps in Canada, because the labor of yesterday is the capital of to-day—I am not dealing with speculative arguments and opinions. I am trying to set down facts. The owner of the largest fortune west of the Rocky Mountains in Canada began life with a pick and shovel. The owner of the richest timber limits in British Columbia began at a dollar and twenty-five cents a day piling slabs. The wealthiest meat packer east of the Rocky Mountains was “bucking” and “breaking” bronchoes thirty years ago at twenty-five dollars a month. The packer who comes next to him in wealth began life in Pt. Douglas, Winnipeg, loading frozen hogs. The richest newspaper man in Canada began life so poor that he and his father hauled the first editions of their paper to customers on a hand sled. The four men who are to-day the greatest powers in the railroad world of the Dominion began life, one as a stone mason, another as a lumber-jack, a third as a store keeper, a fourth as a telegraph operator. I do not think I am wrong in saying that the richest wholesaler in Canada reached the scene of his present activities with his entire earthly possessions in a pocket handkerchief and a tin lunch pail. Of two of the most powerful men who ever came out of the maritime provinces, one swept a village store for his living at a dollar and fifty cents a week; another reached St. John, New Brunswick, from his home in the backwoods, dressed in a home-made suit, which his mother had spun and carded from their own wool. The fact that the door of opportunity is open to the talented tends to prevent the opening of a chasm of hatred between capital and labor, though it must be admitted that the warfare of capital and labor in the States was developing in the era when Rockefeller and Carnegie were lifting themselves from penury to the heights of financial power.
Infinitely more important is the second reason. For a long time at least the stanchest, strongest and stablest part of Canada’s people must be rooted to the soil. Up to the present half her population has been rural, and less than three per cent. absorbed by the factory, the railway, the labor union. Of her population of 7,800,000, only 176,000 workers belong to labor organizations, and ninety per cent. of these have never been on strike. These figures alone explain why class hatred has never widened into a chasm dividing society in Canada.
Why Big Business has never dominated government in Canada will be dealt with in a later chapter, but if Big Business can not violate law with impunity at one end of the social scale, it may be safely said that anarchy will never violate law at the other end of the scale.
At the same time there are symptoms appearing in the industrial conditions of Canada as gravely dangerous as anything in her immigration problems. These need only be stated to be apparent. Where wages have increased only ten per cent. in a decade, the cost of living has increased fifty-one per cent.—according to an official commission appointed by the Ottawa government to report. Though Canada is an agricultural country, in food products alone, she pays ten million dollars duty yearly. In one farming province ten million dollars’ worth of food is yearly imported. Why is this? Why is Canada not producing all the food she consumes? Because in certain sections only one settler goes out to the farm for four that live in the town.
In the West, if you add up the population of all the cities, you will find that one-fourth as many people live in the cities as in the country. In one province you will find that out of half a million population, three hundred thousand are living in cities and towns. This is the province that imports such quantities of food. It is also the province that has more labor trouble than all the other sections of the Dominion put together. Demagogues harangue the city squares for “the right to work,” “the right to live;” and mill owners, farmers, ranchers, railway builders go bankrupt for lack of men to work. It is the province where the highest wages in the world are paid for every form of labor. It is also the province where the greatest number of people are idle, and neither you nor I nor anybody else, can convince the idle stone mason who demands eight dollars a day that he keeps himself idle by not accepting half that figure. He is not dealing with “the robber baron” capitalistic class. He is dealing with the humble householder who wants to build but can not afford workmen at eight dollars to five dollars a day, when he could afford workmen at four dollars to a dollar and fifty cents a day.
In 1800 only four per cent. of the United States population was urban, and ninety-six per cent. was rural. By 1910 only fifty-three per cent. of the population was rural. Similarly of France and Great Britain. Sixty-five per cent. of France’s population is rural, and France is prosperous, and her people are the thriftiest and most saving in the world. They with their tiny savings are the world’s bankers. In the United Kingdom, the rural population has decreased from twenty-eight per cent. to twenty-three per cent. of the total population. How about Canada? In 1891 thirty-two per cent. of Canada’s people lived in towns and cities. By 1901 thirty-eight per cent. were town dwellers. By 1914 the proportion in towns and cities is almost fifty per cent.
The entire movement of population from country to city is reflected in the astounding growth of the cities. In 1800 Montreal had a population of seven thousand; in 1850, sixty thousand; by 1914, almost half a million. Similarly of Toronto, of Winnipeg, of Vancouver. From nothing in 1800, these cities have grown to metropolitan centers of three hundred thousand, and their growth is the subject of fevered civic pride. It ought to be cause of gravest alarm. In the history of the world, when men began to hive in a crowded cave life, those nations began to decline. The results are always the same—an extortionate rise in the cost of food, the long bread line, charity where there ought to be labor and thrift, food riots, terrible tragic contrasts of the very rich and the very poor, all the vices that go with crowded housing. When charity workers investigated in Toronto and Montreal and Winnipeg, they found foreigners living forty-three in five rooms, twenty-four and fifteen and ten in one. Wherever such proportions exist as to rural and urban population, ground rentals and values ascend in price like overheated mercury. Men begin to build perpendicularly instead of latitudinally. The cave life of the skyscraper takes the place of the trim home garden, and so greed of gain—interest on extortionate real estate values—takes its toll of human life and virtue, clean living and clean thinking. In one section of Canada during ten years, where there had been an increase of 574,878 in the country population, there was an increase of 1,258,645 in the city population. Between 1901 and 1911, where 39,951 newcomers settled in the country districts of Quebec, 313,863 settled in the cities. For one who chose life in the open, eight chose the tenement and the sweatshop. In 1901 Canada had 3,349,516 people living in the country, and 2,021,799 living in the cities. By 1911 there were 3,924,394 living in the country, and 3,280,440 living in the cities.
All this signifies but one thing to Canada—a swift transition from agricultural status to industrial life; and whether such an artificial transition bodes good or ill for a land whose greatest wealth lies in forest and mine and farm remains to be seen. For the time it has resulted in a cost of living almost prohibitive to the very poor. The sweatshop, the tenement, the Ghetto, the cave life hovel of Europe have been reproduced in the crowded foreign quarters of Canadian cities. It means more than physical deterioration and moral contamination and degeneration of national stamina. It means if Canada is to become a great manufacturing country, feeding the human into the hopper of the machine that dividends may pour out, then she, the youngest of the nations, must compete against the oldest and the strongest—Germany, England, France, the United States; but if she is to be a great agricultural country, then she has few peers in the whole world. Neither need she have any fear. The nations of the world must come to her, as they went down to Egypt, for bread. The man on his own land, be his work good or ill owns his own labor and takes profit or loss from it and can blame no one but himself for that profit or loss. With the renting out of a man’s labor to some other man for that other man’s profit or loss come all the discontent and class strife of industrial warfare. Of industrial strife, of labor riots, of syndicalism, of social revolution, of the few plundering the many, and the many threatening reprisal in the form of legislation for the many to plunder the few—of this dog-eat-dog, internecine industrial strife—Canada has hitherto known next to nothing; but she is at the parting of the ways. The day that a preponderance of her population becomes urban instead of rural, that day a preponderance of her population must ask leave to live from some other man—must ask leave to work for some other man, must ask leave to put the collar of the industrial serf on the neck as the sign of labor owned by some other man. That day the preponderance of Canada’s population will cease owning their own vested rights and will begin attacking the vested rights of other men. That day plutocracy will begin plundering democracy, and the unfit will begin plundering the fit, and the many will demand the same rewards as the few, not by winning those rewards and rising to the plane of the few, but by expropriating those rewards and pulling the few down to the level of the many. To me it means the sickling over a robust nationhood with the yellowing hue of a dollar democracy, the yellowing hue of gnashing social jealousy, the yellowing hue of moral putridity and decadence and rot. Hitherto every man has stood on his own legs in Canada. There has been no weak-kneed, puling greedy mob bellowing for pap from the breasts of a state treasury—demanding the rewards of industry and thrift which they have been too weak and shiftless and useless to earn. But Canada is at the parting of the ways. The day more men live in the cities demanding food than live on the soil producing it—which God forfend—that day Canada goes down in the welter of industrial war and social upheaval.
Hitherto no statesman has arisen in Canada who remotely sensed the impending evil, much less made an effort to avert the doom that has come like a cloud above the well-being of every modern country. The man who makes it a national policy in Canada to attract the settler to the soil rather than to the city hovel will in the future annals of this great nation be rated above a Napoleon or a Bismarck. This to me is the crux of the very greatest and most acute problem confronting the Dominion’s future destiny.
In a country where organized labor numbers only 176,000 out of 7,800,000, labor problems can hardly be set down as acute. They do not split society asunder as they do elsewhere. I am glad of it. I am glad that in Canada up to the present labor is only capital in the inchoate. I should be sorry if the day ever came when labor was the serf, and capital the robber baron, as—let us frankly acknowledge—it is elsewhere.
In this connection three points should be emphasized. Whether they should be praised or blamed I do not know; but the points are these:
The Senate in Canada being appointed for life has acted as a breakwater of adamant and reinforced concrete against all labor or capital legislation that has arisen from the passions of the moment. More than once when labor or capital, holding the whip handle in the Commons, would have forced through hasty legislation as to compensation, as to liability, as to non-liability—the leaders in the Commons have said frankly in caucus to the Senate: We are dependent on the vote for our places here. You are not. We are letting this fool bill through, but we are letting it through because we know you will kill it. Kill it!
In the next place, “the twilight zone” between federal and provincial power in matters of labor has proved an unmitigated curse. When the syndicalists of Europe, known in America as the Industrial Workers of the World, succeeded in tying up railroad construction and almost ruining the contractors of two transcontinental systems in British Columbia a few years ago, endless delay in terminating an impossible situation occurred through the province trying to throw the burden of dealing with the matter on the Dominion, and the Dominion trying to throw the burden on the province. Both province and Dominion were afraid of the labor vote. The losses caused during that three months’ strike in the construction camps indirectly afterward fell on the Canadian people; for the embarrassed transcontinentals had to come to the Dominion government for aid; and the Dominion government is, after all, the people.
“I pray God,” said a Cabinet Minister in Ottawa to me at the time, “that Imperial Federation may never come; if it adds to our woes another ‘twilight zone’ as to Dominion and Imperial powers.”
It seems almost ungracious in this connection to say that Canada’s far-famed Arbitration Act has been overrated. That it has accomplished some good and settled many controversies no reasonable person will deny, but it is not a panacea for all ills.
Here is the difficulty as to arbitration. It is not unlike the situation of Belgium regarding Germany in the great war. Arbitration depends on “a scrap of paper.” What if some one tears up “the scrap of paper”? What if one side says there is nothing to arbitrate? Twenty years ago—yes—wages, hours, conditions of labor—could have been arbitrated; but to-day the contest in the industrial world is often not for wages and hours of labor.
“Demand three dollars a day for an eight-hour day, to-day,” I heard an Industrial Worker of the World shout in a Vancouver strike. “Demand four dollars a day to-morrow, till you secure four dollars a day for a four-hour day—till your ascending wages expropriate capital—take over capital and all industry to be operated for labor.”
In the great struggle between the railroads and the I. W. W.’s in British Columbia, Canada’s Arbitration Act fell down hopelessly simply because there was nothing to arbitrate. Labor said: We shall paralyze all industry, or operate all industry for labor’s profit solely. Capital said—you shall not. There the two tied in deadlock for months, and there all arbitration acts must often tie in deadlock in industrial warfare. That is why I hope industrial warfare will never become a part of Canada’s national life. That is why I hope and pray every Canadian settler will become a vested righter by owning and operating his own acres till Death lays him in God’s Acre.
In a country where the public debt is only $350,000,000 or forty-five dollars per head, and the national income is $1,500,000,000 from farm, factory, forest and mine—or two hundred dollars per head and that fairly well distributed—for the present there is little to fear of social revolution. It is not the social revolution that I fear for Canada. It is the canker of social hate and jealousy preceding revolution. If fifty per cent. of the population can be kept owning and operating their own land, that social canker will never infect Canada’s national life as a whole.
 Thomas Jefferson desired such a rural future for the United States and deplored the day of cities and industrialism. It came, nevertheless.—THE EDITOR.
Reference has been made to the facts that Big Business has up to the present been unable to get control of the reins of government in Canada, that the courts have been kept comparatively free of political influence and that the doors of underground politics are not easily pried open by corruption. Why is this? Canadians would fain take unction to themselves that it is owing to their superior national integrity, but this is nonsense.
Exuberant forest growth is always characterized by some fungus and dry rot. How has Canada escaped so much of this fungus excrescence of representative government? To get at the reason for this it is necessary to trace back for a little space the historic growth of Canada’s form of government. We speak of Canada’s constitution being the British North America Act. As a matter of fact, Canada’s constitution is more than an act—more than a dry and hard and inflexible formula to which growth must conform. Rather than plaster cast into which growing life must fit itself, Canada’s constitution is a living organism evolved from her own mistakes and struggles of the past and her own needs as to the present. Canada’s constitution is not some pocket formula which some doctrinaire—with apologies to France—has whipped out of his pocket to remedy all ills. Canada’s constitution is like the scientific data of empirical medicine; it is the result of centuries’ experiments, none the less scientific because unconscious.
One need not trace the growth of government to the days prior to English rule. When England took over Canada by the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the main thing to remember is that the French-Canadian was guaranteed the free exercise of his religion. This—and not innate loyalty to an alien government—was the real reason for Quebec refusing to cast in her lot with the revolting American colonies. This was the reason for Quebec remaining stanch in the War of 1812, and this is the reason for Quebec to-day standing a solid unit against annexation. We must not forget what a high emissary from Rome once jocularly said of a religious quarrel in Canada—Quebec was more Catholic than the Pope.
Following the military regime of the Conquest came the Quebec Act of 1774.—Please note, contemporaneous with the uprising of the American colonies, Canada is given her first constitution. The Governor and legislative council are to be appointed by the Crown, and full freedom of worship is guaranteed. French civil law and English criminal law are established; and the Church is confirmed in its title to ecclesiastical property—which was right when you consider that the foundations of the Church in Quebec are laid in the blood of martyrs. Just here intervenes the element which compelled the reshaping of Canada’s destiny. When the American colonies gained their independence, there came across the border to what are now New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and Ontario some forty thousand Loyalists mainly from New England and the South. These Loyalists, of course, refused to be dominated by French rule; so the Constitutional Act was passed in 1791 by the Imperial Parliament. The people of Canada were represented for the first time in an assembly elected by themselves, The Governor-General for Quebec—Lower Canada—and the Lieutenant-Governor for Ontario—Upper Canada—were both appointed by the Crown. The Executive, or Cabinet, was chosen by the Governor.
Hopelessly at sea as to the cause of the continual unrest in her colonies and undoubtedly sad from the loss of her American possessions, England now sent out a commissioner to investigate the trouble; and it is to the findings of this commissioner that the United Kingdom has since owed her world-wide success in governing people by letting them govern themselves. People sometimes ask why England has been so successful in governing one-fifth of the habitable globe. She does not govern one-fifth the habitable globe. She lets much of it govern itself; and it was Lord Durham, coming out as Governor-General and high commissioner at this time, who laid the foundations of England’s success in colonizing. His report has been the Magna Charta and Declaration of Independence of the self-governing colonies of the British Empire.
First of all, government must be entrusted to the house representing the people. Second, the granting of moneys must be controlled by those paying the taxes. Third, the Executive must be responsible not only to the Crown but to the representatives of the people. It is here the Canadian system differs from the American. The Secretary, or Cabinet Minister, can not hold office one day under the disapproval of the House, no matter what his tenure of office.
The Act of 1840 resulted from Durham’s report. Upper and Lower Canada were united under one government—which was really the forerunner of confederation in ’67. The House was given exclusive control of taxation and expenditure. Nothing awakened Canada so acutely to the necessity of federating all British North America as the Civil War in the United States, when the States Right party fought to secede. Red River and British Columbia had become peopled. The maritime provinces settled by French from Quebec and New England Loyalists were alien in thought from Upper and Lower Canada. The cry “54-40 or fight,” the setting up of a provisional government by Oregon, the Riel Rebellion in Manitoba, the rush of California gold miners to Cariboo—all were straws in a restless wind blowing Canada’s destiny hither and whither. Confederation was not a pocket theory. It was a result born of necessity, and the main principles of confederation embodied in the
By the British North America Act of 1867, passed by the Imperial Parliament, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick came into the Union. Later Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories and British Columbia joined. Up to the present Newfoundland has stood aside. Under the British North America Act, Canada is ruled to-day.
There is first the Imperial government represented by a Governor-General. The commandant of Canada’s regular militia is also an Imperial officer.
There is second the federal government with executive, legislative and judicial powers; or a cabinet, a parliament, a supreme court.
There are third the provincial governments with executive, legislative and judicial powers.
Details of each section of government can not be given here; but several facts should be noted; for they explain the practical workings of Canada’s system.
The Witenagemot—or Saxon council of wise men—stands for Canada’s ideal of a parliament. It is not so much a question of spoils. It is not so much a case of “the outs” ejecting “the ins.” I have never heard of any party in Canada taking the ground, “Here—you have been in long enough; it’s our turn.” I have never heard a suggestion as to tenure of office being confined to “one term” for fear of a leader becoming a Napoleon. If a leader be efficient—and it is thought the more experienced he is, the more efficient he will be—he can hold office as long as he lives if the people keep on electing him.
The Cabinet—or inner council of advisers to the Governor-General—must be elected by the people and directly responsible to the House. At its head stands the Premier.
Within her own jurisdiction Canada’s legislature has absolute power. If her treaties or acts should conflict with Imperial interests, they would be disallowed by the Imperial Privy Council as unconstitutional, or ultra vires. Likewise of the provinces, if any of their acts conflicted with federal interests, they would be disallowed as ultra vires.
Should the Governor-General differ from the Cabinet in office, he must either recede from his own position or dismiss his advisers and send them to the country for the verdict of the people. Should the people endorse the Ministry, the Governor-General must either resign or recede from his stand. I know of no case where such a contingency has arisen. A Governor-General is careful never to conflict with a Ministry endorsed by the electorate.
Once a man has received an appointment to a position in the civil service of Canada he must keep absolutely aloof from politics. This is not a law but it is a custom, the violation of which would cost a man his position.
The Parliament in the Dominion consists of the Commons and the Senate. The Commons are elected by the people. The Senators are appointed by the Governor-General, strictly under advice of the party in office, for life. Senators must be thirty years of age and possess property over four thousand dollars in value above their liabilities. The Senator resides in the district which he represents. The Commoner may represent a district in which he does not reside, and, on the whole, this is more of an advantage than a disadvantage. It permits a district that has special needs to choose a man of great character and power resident in another district. If he fails to meet the peculiar needs of that district, he will not be reelected. If he meets the needs of the district which he represents he has the additional prestige of his influence in another electoral district. A Senator can be removed for only four reasons: bankruptcy, absence, change of citizenship, conviction of crime.
At a time when the United States is so generally in favor of the election of Senators by direct vote, when England is trending so preponderately in favor of curbing the veto power of the House of Lords, it seems remarkable that Canada never questions the power of the Senator appointed for life.
Though officially supposed to be appointed by the Governor-General, the Senator is in reality never appointed except on recommendation of the prevailing Cabinet which means—the party in power. The appointments being for life and the emolument sufficient to guarantee a good living conformable with the style required by the official position, the Senator appointed for life—like the judge appointed for life—soon shows himself independent of purely party behests. He is depended upon by the Commoners to veto and arrest popular movements, which would be inimical to public good, but which the Commoner dare not defeat for fear of defeat in reelection. For instance, a few years ago a labor bill was introduced in the Commons as to compensation for injuries. In theory, it was all right. In practice, it was a blackmail levy against employers. The Commoners did not dare reject it for fear of the vote in one particular province. What they did was meet the Senate in unofficial caucuses. They said: We shall pass this bill all three readings; but we depend on you—the Senate—to reject it. We can go to the province and say we passed the bill and ask for the support of that province; but because the bill would be inimical to the best interests of other provinces, we depend on you, the Senate, to defeat it. And the Senate defeated it.
When older democracies are curtailing the strength of veto power in upper houses, it is curious to find this dependence of a young democracy on veto power. Instead of the life privileges leading to an abuse of insolence and Big Business, up to the present in Canada, life tenure independent of politics has led to independence. The appointments being for life guarantees that many of the incumbents are not young, and this imparts to the Upper House that quality of the Witenagemot most valued by the ancient Saxons—the council of the aged and the experienced and the wise.
Active, aggressive power, of course, resides chiefly with the Commons. Representation here is arranged according to the population and must be readjusted after every census. “Rep. by Pop.” was the rallying cry that effected this arrangement. No property qualification is required from the member of the House of Commons, but he must be a British subject. He must not have been convicted of any crime, minor or major.
Franchise in Canada is practically universal suffrage. At least it amounts to that. Voters must be registered. They must be British subjects. They must be twenty-one years of age. They must not be insane, idiots or convicts. They must own real property to the value of three hundred dollars in cities, two hundred dollars in towns, one hundred and fifty dollars in the country; or they must have a yearly income of three hundred dollars. A farmer’s son has the right to vote without these qualifications, evidently on the ancient Saxon presumption that a free-holder represents more vitally the interests of a country than the penniless floater, who neither works nor earns. In other words, the carpet-bag voter does not yet play any part in Canadian politics. Bad as the corruption is in some cases among the foreigners, when votes are bought at two dollars to five dollars, the point has not yet been reached when a carpet-bag gang of boarding-house floaters and saloon heelers can be transferred from a secure ward to a doubtful ward and so submerge the political rights of permanent residents.
Judges can not vote in Canada. In fact, they can take no part, direct or indirect, by influence or speech, in politics. This was one of the things fought out in the ’37 Rebellion and forever settled. Canada could not conceive of a man who had been a judge being nominated for the premiership or as Governor. Of course, when Liberals are in power, as advisers of the Governor-General, they recommend more Liberals for judgeships than Conservatives; and when Conservatives are in power, they recommend for judgeships more Conservatives than Liberals. I think of attorneys who were penniless strugglers in the Liberal ranks of my childhood days in Winnipeg who are to-day dignified judges; and I think of other attorneys, who were penniless strugglers in Conservative ranks who have been advanced under the Borden regime to judgeships; but the point is, having been so advanced, they pass a chasm which they can never retrace without impeachment—the chasm is party politics. They are independent of popular favor. They can be impeached and displaced. They are forever disgraced by defalcation in office. By observing the duties of office, they are secure for life and held in an esteem second only to that of the Governor-General.
You will notice that it is all more a matter of public sentiment than a law; of custom than of court. That is what I mean when I say that Canada’s constitution is a vital, living, growing thing, not a dead formula by which the Past binds and impedes the Present and the Future.
There must be a session of the Dominion Parliament once every year. Five years is the limit of any tenure of office by the Commons. Every five years the Commoners must go to the country for reelection. Usually the government in power goes to the country for reendorsement before the term of Parliament expires.
Laws on corrupt practices are very strict and what is more—they are generally enforced. The slightest profit, direct or indirect of a member, vacates his seat. Corruption on the part of underlings, of which they have known nothing, vacates an election. A member of Parliament can not participate directly or indirectly in any public work benefiting his district. He is not in it for what he can get out of it. He is in it for what he can give to it. Expenses of election to a postage stamp must be published after election.
The methods of conducting business in Parliament need not be discussed here, except to say that any member can introduce a bill, any member can present a petition from the humblest inhabitant of the commonwealth, and any member can speak on a motion provided he gains the floor first.
Judges are appointed and paid by the Dominion government, not by the provincial. Decisions by provincial judges—appointed by the Dominion government—can be appealed to a Supreme Court of Canada. Judges can be removed only on petition to the Governor-General for misbehavior.
Dominion taxes in Canada are indirect—on imports. As stated elsewhere, the main power in Canada is vested in federal authorities. Only local affairs—education, excise, municipal matters, drainage, local railroads, etc.—are left to the provinces.
Every man in Canada is supposed to be liable for military training if called on, but the number of men annually drilled is about fifty thousand. Hitherto a man appointed from the Imperial Forces has been the commanding general in Canada. It need scarcely be said that if Canada is to hold her own in Imperial plans, if she is to become a power in the struggle for ascendency on the Pacific, her equipment both as to land forces and marine are ridiculously inadequate. They are the equipment of a member in Imperial plans who is skulking his share.
Provincial courts are, of course, administered by provincial officers; but these are appointed by the Governor-General advised by the Cabinet of the federal party in power. The Lieutenant-Governor of the province is appointed by the Governor-General advised by the party in power. He is paid by the Dominion. Judges of superior courts must be barristers of ten years’ good standing at the bar of their provinces.
Juries are not so universal in Canada as in the United States. In civil cases, where the points of law are complicated, the tendency is to let the judge guide the verdict of the court.
There is one feature of Canadian justice which sentimentalists deplore. It is that the lash is still used for crimes of violence against the person and for bestiality. This is not a relic of barbarism. It is the result of careful thought on the part of the Department of Justice—the thought being that it is useless to speak to a man capable of bestiality in terms not articulate to his nature; and the fact remains that criminals of this class seldom come back for second terms of punishment for the same sort of crimes.
If you ask why few homicides are punished in the United States, and few escape in Canada—I can not answer. Political expediency, party heelers, technicalities—the dotting of an i, the crossing of a t, the omission of a comma—have no effect whatsoever on Canadian justice. The courts are never defied, and the law takes its course.
The law not only takes its course relentlessly but the pursuit of crime literally never desists. This feature of Canadian justice is a rude sharp shock to the unruly element pouring in with the new colonists. A Montana gunman blew into a Canadian frontier town and in accordance with custom began “to shoot up” the bar rooms. In twenty-four hours he awakened from his spree under sentence of sixty days’ hard labor. “Let me out of this blamed Can-a-day,” he cursed. “Who’d ‘a’ thought of takin’ any offense from touchin’ up this blamed dead town?”
A Texas outlaw succeeded in inducing a young Englishman of the verdantly bumptious and moneyed sort to go homestead hunting with him. The Indians saw the two ride into the back country. In spring only the Texan came out. I forget what his explanation of the Englishman’s disappearance was. In any other country under the sun, who would have ridden two hundred miles beyond nowhere to investigate the story of an outlaw about a young fool, who had plainly been a candidate for trouble? But an old Indian chief meandered into the barracks of the nearest Mounted Police station, sat him down on the
Instances of this kind could be retailed without number, but this one case is typical. It is something more than relentlessness. It is more than keeping politics out of the courts. It is a tacit national recognition of two basic truths: that the protection of innocence is the business of the courts more than the protection of guilt; that having delegated to the Department of Justice the enforcement of criminal law, Canada holds that Department of Justice responsible for every infraction of law. The enforcement is greatly aided by the fact that criminal law in Canada is under federal jurisdiction. An embezzler can not defalcate in Nova Scotia, lightly skip into Manitoba and put both provinces to expense and technical trouble apprehending him. In the States I once was annoyed by a semi-demented blackmailer. When I sent for the sheriff—whose deputy, by the way, hid when summoned—the lunatic stepped across the state border, and it would have cost me two hundred dollars to have apprehended him. As the culprit was a menace more to the community than to me, I went on west on a trip to a remote part of Alberta. I had not been in Alberta twenty-four hours before the chief constable called to know if this blackmailer of whom he had read in the press, could be apprehended in Canada. The why of this vigilance on one side of the line and remissness on the other, I can no more explain than why American industrial progress is so amazingly swift and Canadian industrial progress is so amazingly slow.
There is very little wish-washy coddling of the criminal in Canada. While in the penitentiary he is cared for physically, mentally and spiritually. When released, he is helped to start life afresh; but if he keeps falling and falling, he is put where he will not propagate his species and hurt others in his back-sliding.
“I regret,” said a judge in a Winnipeg court, “to sentence such a youthful offender.” The prisoner was a young foreigner who attacked another man viciously in a drunken brawl. “But foreigners must learn that Canadian law can not be broken with impunity,” and he sent the young man to what was practically a life sentence.
“Hard on the poor devil,” said a court attendant.
“Yes,” retorted a westerner who lived in the foreign settlement, “but it’s an all-fired good thing for Canada.”
The case of a judge in British Columbia is famous on the Pacific Coast. It was in the old days of murder and robbery on the trail to the gold diggings of Cariboo. In the face of the plainest evidence the jury had refused to convict. The astounded judge turned amid tense silence in fury on the prisoner.
“The jury pronounces the prisoner not guilty,” he said, “and I strongly recommend him to go out and cut their throats.”
Reference has been made to an Imperial court official assassinated by an angry Hindu conspirator in a Vancouver court room. The assassin was sentenced to death nine days from the commission of the crime, and if any newspaper had attempted to make a head-line affair out of it, or “to try the jury” for trying the prisoner, the editors and owners of that paper would have been sent to jail for contempt.
The gradual rise of the two political parties dates from the adoption of a high tariff by the Conservatives after confederation. Prior to 1837 Canadian parties consisted simply of the Outs and the Ins. The advanced Radicals, who formed themselves into a party to oust the Family Compact, called themselves Liberals. The entrenched oligarchy called themselves Conservatives. After confederation, by force of circumstances, namely the refusal of tariff concessions from the United States, the Conservatives, who were in power, became the high tariff party. The Liberals, when out of power, advocated tariff for revenue only. Also by force of circumstances until the transfer of the balance of power from Quebec to the New West, the party in office had a tendency to play for the French Catholic vote of Quebec; the party out of office coquetted with the ultra-Protestant vote of Ontario. This naturally worked toward the provincial governments being Liberal, when the federal government was Conservative; and vice versa. The Liberal in provincial politics was Liberal in federal politics, and the Conservative in federal politics was Conservative in provincial politics; but the policy has always been for the Outs first to attack the Ins provincially—to win the outposts before attacking the entrenched power of the federal government. Before Sir John Macdonald’s Conservative administration was defeated there was a long series of victories by the Liberals in the provinces, and before Sir Wilfred Laurier’s Liberal government was defeated the
At time of writing, to an outsider, there is in practice no difference between the two parties; but this can hardly remain a permanent condition. As long as the war lasts both parties will be a unit in support of Imperial defense. The day the war is over Canada may have to consider, not Imperial, but Dominion defense; and this is bound to split the parties up on entirely new lines. The French Nationalists are for standing aside from all European entanglements and resting secure under the Monroe Doctrine. The two million Americans in the West may be expected to advocate the same policy. The British and the Canadians of British descent in Canada may be expected to take an aggressive stand for active self-defense; for defense may be one of Canada’s next big problems.
Up to the present, Canadians have considered it a superiority that their constitution—the British North America Act—could be so easily amended. As long as Canada is peopled by Canadians, it is an advantage to work under a constitution that may be modified to suit the growing need of a growing nation, but one is constrained to ask what if Galicians and Germans ever acquired the balance of voting power in Canada? There are half as many German-born Germans in the United States as there are native-born Canadians in Canada. What if such a tide of German immigration came to Canada? Would it be an advantage or a disadvantage that the country’s constitution could be so easily amended by the Imperial Parliament? Or more striking still, suppose the Hindu, a British subject, began peopling Western Canada by the million. Suppose the Hindu, a British subject, voted in Canada for a change in the constitution! Can one conceive for one minute of the Imperial government refusing to amend the British North American Act? Canadians sometimes refer to the American Constitution as too
THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE
Some one has said that the life of a nation is but the shadow of the units composing it; or the life of a nation is but the replica of the life of the individuals in it. Massed figures on gross exports are but the total thrift of a multitude of toiling men. Wheat production to feed a hungry empire is but one farmer’s tireless vigilance multiplied by hundreds of thousands of other farmers. What manner of man is the Canadian behind all these figures attesting material prosperity? What manner of being is the Canadian woman, his partner? Is the Canadian a Socialist, or an Individualist? Does he believe that each man should stand upon his own feet or lean upon a state crutch? There is no state church in Canada. Then, what part does religion play? Is it a shadow, or a substance? Is it a refuge for the unfit and the weak to shift the responsibility for their own failure to the fatalism of the will of God; or is religion a terrible and dynamic force that compels right for right’s sake independent of compromise? How does the Canadian live in his home? Is he beer-drinking, lethargic, dreamy and flabby in will power; or is he whisky-drinking, fiery, practical and pugnacious? Why hasn’t he a distinctive literature, a distinctive art? Nature never was more lavish to any people in beautiful landscape from the quiet rural scenery of the maritime provinces, Quebec and Ontario, to the far-flung epic of the fenceless prairies and the Homeric grandeur of the mountains. Why are quiet rural beauty and illimitable freedom and lofty splendor not reflected in poem and novel and ballad and picture? The Canadian may answer—We go in more for athletics than aesthetics: we are living literature, not writing it. In our snow-covered prairies edged by the violet mist, lined in silver and pricked at night by the diamond light of a million stars, we are living art, not painting it. That our mountains are dumb and inarticulate, that our forests chant the litany of the pines untranslated to the winds of heaven, and that our cataracts thunder their diapasons inimitable to art—is no proof that though we are dumb and inarticulate, we are not lifted and transported and inspired by the wondrous beauties of the heritage God has given us. The Canadian may say this theoretically, but is he strengthened in body and made greater in soul by the mystic splendors
Has Canada found herself?
Without any brief for or against Socialism as a system, it may be said that for many years Socialism will play little part in Canadian affairs. In areas like Germany, where the population is three hundred and ten per square mile; or France, where the population is one hundred and eighty-nine per square mile; or England, where the population is over five hundred per square mile; or Saxony, where the population is eight hundred and thirty per square mile—one can understand the claim of the most rabid and extreme Socialist that the great proportion of the people can never by any chance own their own freehold; that the great proportion of the toilers are not having a fair chance in an open field; but in Canada where there are millions of acres untaken, where the population is not quite two to the square mile, it is impossible to raise the cry that every man, and any man, can not have all the freehold he is manly enough to go out and take. The grievance becomes preposterous and a joke. There is more land uninhabited and open to preemption in Canada than is owned in freehold. There are more forests standing in Canada than have been cut. There are more mines than there are workmen, and only the edge of Canada’s mineral lands have been explored. There are more fish uncaught than have ever been hooked. I have heard soap-box orators in Canada rant about the plutocrats gobbling the resources of the country; and I have gone to their offices and shown them on the map that any man could become a plutocrat by going out and gobbling some more, provided he had brains and brawn and gobbled hard enough instead of gabbled; and I have been answered these very words: “But we don’t want that. We want to inflame the masses with hatred for the classes so that the laborer will take over all industry.” When I have pointed out that there are “no masses” nor “classes” in Canada—that all are laborers, I have been met with a blank stare.
The case is a standing joke in one province of a man who as an agitator used to rave at “the British flag as a bloody rag.” The police were never quite sure whether to arrest him for treason or let him blow off steam and exhaust. They wisely chose the latter course. Prosperity came to the town. The man sold his small bit of real estate for something under a hundred thousand. He didn’t stay to divide his unearned increment among his fellow agitators. He hied him to retire to the land where “the flag was a bloody rag.” This, of course, proves nothing for or against Socialism as a system. There was a Judas among the apostles; but it illustrates the point that Canada is still at the stage where every man may become a capitalist, a vested righter, the owner of his own freehold. When every man may have a vested property right in a country—not as a gift but as the reward of his own effort in a fair field with no favors—it is a fairly safe prophecy that the vested rights earned and held by the fit and the strong will never be handed over as a gift to the unfit and the weak and the don’t-trys. The savings of the man who has not squandered his earnings on saloons and reckless living will never be taxed to support in idleness—even an idle old age—the feckless who have spent on stomach and lust what other men save. Sounds hard; doesn’t it, in the face of almost universal nostrums for the salvation and propagation of the useless? But it is like Canada’s climate. Perhaps the climate has a good deal to do with it. Hard it may be; but the issue is clean-cut and crystal clear—work, or starve; be fit, or die; make good, or drop out; here is a fair field and no favors! Gird yourself as a man to it, and no puling puny whining for pity!
Can Canada keep a fair field and no favors? Her destiny as a power depends on the answer to that question. In every city in Canada to-day are growing up crowded foreign quarters peopled by men and women who have never had a fair field—with class hate in their hearts for inherited social wrongs; derelicts, no-goods, unfits, born unfit through no fault of their own. Have they no claim? Can Canada as a foster mother redeem such as these? Her destiny as a power depends on the answer to this question, too. These people are coming to her. In every city are tens of thousands of them. She needs these people. They need her. Will it be a leveling down process for Canada or a leveling up process for them? Before the nineties the average number of inhabitants per house in urban Canada was three. By 1901 the average was up to four. By 1911 it was up to five. In the crowded centers as many as twenty a room have been found. If this sort of thing continue and increase, Socialism will become a factor in Canada. It will become a factor because every man or woman who has not had a fair chance has a right to demand a change to a system that will give a fair chance. Canada’s economic stability and freedom from social unrest will depend on getting her foreign denizens out to the land. Unfortunately high tariff fosters factory; and factory fosters cheap foreign labor; and cheap foreign labor as inevitably leads to social ferment as heat sours milk.
What part does religion play in Canada? In marked distinction to the United Kingdom and the United States, Canada is a church-going nation. You hear a great deal of the orthodoxy of the Britisher; but if you go to England and go to his church, even to a festal service such as Christmas, you will find that he leaves the orthodoxy mostly to the clergy and the women. I have again and again seen the pews of the most famous churches in England with barely a scattering of auditors in them. Of churches where the hard-working manual toiler may be found side by side with the cultured and the idle and the leisured—there is none. You also hear a great deal about the heterodoxy of the American; but if you go to his church—with the exception of the Catholic—you find that he, too, is leaving his heterodoxy to the clergy and the women. A few years ago it was almost impossible to gain entrance to a metropolitan church in the United States, where the preacher happened to be a man of ability or fame. Try it to-day! Though church music has been improved almost to the excellence of oratorios or grand opera, unless it be a festal service like Easter or Christmas, the pews are only sparsely filled. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say this is as true of the country districts as of the city. All through New England are countless country churches that have had to be permanently closed for lack of attendance. But between the churches of the United Kingdom and the United States is a marked difference—it is the air of the preacher. The Englishman is positively sublime in his unconsciousness of the fact that he had lost a grip of his people. The American knows and does not blink the fact and is frantically endeavoring by social service, by popular lectures, by music, by current topics, by vehement eloquence to regain the grip of his people; and it must cut a live manly man to the quick to know that his best efforts on salvation are too often expended on dear old saintly ladies, who could not be damned if they tried.
Now the curious thing about Canada, which I don’t attempt in the least to explain, is this: whether the preacher pules, or whines, or moons, or shouts to the rafters, or is gifted with the eloquence to touch “the quick and the dead”; whether the music be a symphony or a dolorous horror of discords; whether there be social service or old-fashioned theology; whether, in fact, the preacher be some raw ignorant stripling from the theological seminary, or a man of divine inspiration and power—whatever is or is not, if the church is a church, from Halifax to Vancouver, you find it full. I have no explanation of this fact. I set it down. Canadians are a vigorously virile people in their church-going. They do it with all their might. I sometimes think that the church does for Canada what music does for continental nations, what dollar-chasing and amusement
Understand—the Canadian is no more religious than the American or the Britisher. He drinks as much whisky as they do light wines and beer. He “cusses” in the same unholy vernacular, only more vigorously. He strikes back as quickly. He hits as hard. He gives his enemy one cheek and then the other, and then both feet and fists; but the Canadian goes to church. One of the most amazing sights of the new frontier cities is to see a church debouching of a Sunday night. The people come out in black floods. In one foreign church in Winnipeg is a membership of four thousand. I think of a little industrial city of Ontario where there is a church—one of three—with a larger membership than any single church in the city of New York.
Canadians not only go to church but they dig down in their pockets for the church. In little frontier cities of the West more is being spent on magnificent temples of worship than has been spent on some European cathedrals. Granted the effects are sometimes garish and squarish and dollar-loud. This is not an age when artisans spend a lifetime carving a single door or a single facade; but when a little place—of say seventeen thousand people—spends one hundred thousand dollars on a church, somebody has laid down the cash; and the Canadian is not a man who spends his cash for no worth. That cash represents something for which he cares almightily in Canadian life. What is it? Frankly I do not know, but I think it is that the church visualizes Canada’s ideal in a vision. We love and lose and reach forward to the last. Where? We toil and strive and attain. To what end? Our successes fail, and our failures succeed. Why? And love lights the daily path. But where to? Religion helps to visualize the answers to those questions for Canada.
Another characteristic about religion in Canada, which is very remarkable in an era of decadence in belief, is that the church is a man’s job. Unless in some of the little semi-deserted hamlets in the far East, you will find in Canada churches as many men as women. In the West you will find more men than women. The church is not relegated to “the dear sisters.” Shoulder to shoulder men and women carry the burden joyfully together, which, perhaps, accounts for the support the church receives from young men. An episode concerning “the dear sisters” will long be remembered of one synod in Montreal. A poor little English curate had come out as a missionary to the Indians of the Northwest. Such misfits are pitiable,
The virile note in religious life is one of the chief reasons for its support in Canada; and I have been amused to watch English and American friends who have gone to Canada first indifferent to the church-going habit, then touched and finally caught in the current. Does the habit react on public life? Undoubtedly and most strongly! Catholic Quebec and Protestant Ontario for years literally dictated provincial and federal policies; but, with the shift of the balance of power from East to West, that shuffling of Catholic against Protestant and vice versa has ceased in Canadian politics; and those newspapers that gained their support playing on religious prejudice have had to sell and begin with a new sheet. At the same time no policy could be put forward in Canada, no man could stay in public life against the voice of the different churches. If it were not invidious, examples could be given of public men relegated to private life because they violated the principles for which
Deeply grounded, then, so deeply that the Canadian is unconscious of it, put the belief in the economic principle of vested rights! Still more deeply grounded, put a belief in religious ideals as a working hypothesis! Does any other factor enter deeply in Canadians’ every-day living? Yes—next to economic beliefs and religious beliefs, I should put love of outdoor sport as a prime factor in determining Canadian character.
Professional sport has comparatively little place in Canada, though professional baseball has gained a firm foothold in the Northwest, where the American influence is strong, while the International League reaches over the boundary in the East. But it is the amateur who enjoys most favor. If a picked team of bank clerks and office hands and young mechanics in Winnipeg practises up in hockey and comes down from Winnipeg and licks the life out of a team in Montreal or Ottawa, or gets licked, the whole population goes hockey mad. This churchly nation will gamble itself blue in the face with bets and run up gate receipts to send a professional home sick to bed, and I have known of employers forgiving youngsters who bet and lost six months’ salary in advance. Montreal will cheer Winnipeg just as wildly when Winnipeg wins in Montreal, as Winnipeg will cheer Montreal when Montreal wins in Winnipeg. It is not the winning. It is the playing of clean good sport that elicits the applause. The same of curling, of football, of cricket, of rowing, of canoeing, of snowshoeing, of yachting, of skeeing, of running. When an Indian won the Marathon, he was lionized almost to his undoing. When hardest frost used to come, I knew a dear old university professor, who would have considered it sin to touch the ace of spades, who used to hie him down to the rink with “bessom” and “stane” and there curl on the ice till his toes almost froze on his feet; and one Episcopal clergyman used to have hard work holding back hot words of youthful habit on the golf links; and his people loved him both because he golfed and because he almost said things, when he golfed. They would rather have a clergyman who golfed and knew “a cuss word” when he saw it, than a saint who couldn’t wield a club and might faint at such words as golf elicits.
In one of Canada’s best rowing crews, a millionaire merchant was the acting captain of the crew and among his men were a printer, an insurance canvasser, a bank clerk, a clerk in a dry goods store. In one of the most famous hockey teams was a bicycle repairer. Sport in Canada, as in the United States, is the most absolute democracy. I can think of no man in Canada who has attained a permanently good place in social life through catering to women’s favor with dandified mannerisms, though not a few have got a leg up to come most terrible croppers; but I do think of many men to whom all doors are permanently open because they are such clean first-rate sportsmen. Until the last ten years of opulent fevered prosperity came to the Dominion, Canada might have been described as a nation of athletes. This does not mean that Canada neglected work for play. It means that she worked so robustly because she had developed strength on the field of play. Three truths are almost axiomatic about nations and sport. It is said that a nation is as it spends its leisure; that nations only win battles as their boys have played in their youth; that man’s work is only boy’s sport full grown. The religious little catechist may win prizes in the parochial school; but if he doesn’t learn to take kicks and give them good and hard, in play, he will not win life’s prizes. Fair play, nerve, poise, agility, act that jumps with thought, the robust fronting of life’s challenge—these are learned far more on the toboggan slide where you may break your neck, in a snowshoe scamper, than poring over books, or in a parlor. I do not know that Canada has analyzed it out, but she lives it. Young Canada may be bumptious, raw, crude. Time tones these things down; but she is not tired before she has begun the race. She is not nerve-collapsed and peeved and insincere.
As to why Canada has no distinctive and great literature—I confess frankly I do not know. England had only Canada’s population when a Shakespeare and a Milton rose like stars above the world. Scotland and Ireland both have a smaller population than Canada, and their ballads are sung all over the world. Canada has had a multitude of sweet singers pipe the joys of youth, but as life broadened and deepened their songs did not reach to the deeps and the heights. Something arrested development. They did not go on. Why? It may be that literature rises only as high as its fountain springs—the people; and that the people of Canada have not yet realized themselves clearly enough to recognize or give articulation to a national literature. It may be that Canada is living her literature rather than writing it. If Scott had not found appreciation for his articulation of Scottish life and history in poems and novels, he would not have gone on. In fact, when Byron eclipsed Scott in public favor as a poet, Scott stopped writing poetry. It
One sometimes hears Canadians—particularly in England—accused of crudity in speech. I confess I like the crudities, the rawness, the colloquialisms. They smack of the new life in a new land. I should be sorry if Canadians ever began to Latinize their sentences, to “can” their speech and pickle it in the vinegar pedantry of the peeved study-chair critic. Because it is a land of mountain pines and cataracts and wild winds, I would have their speech smack always of their soil; and I would bewail the day that Canadians began to measure their phrases to suit the yard stick of some starveling pedant in a writer’s attic, who had never been nearer reality than his own starvation. I can see no superiority in the Englishman’s colloquialisms of “runnin’,” “playin’,” “goin’,” to the Canadian’s “cut it out,” “get out,” “beat it.” One is the slovenliness of languor. The other is the rawness of vigor.
When one comes to consider woman in a nation’s life, it is always a little provoking to find “woman” and “divorce” coupled together; for there never was a divorce without a man involved as well as a woman. The marriage tie is not easily dissolved in Canada. Divorce pleas must go before a committee of the Federal Senate. Without legal fees, it costs five hundred dollars to obtain a divorce in Canada; with fees, one thousand dollars; so that Canada’s divorce record is 1,530 for 7,800,000 of population in 1913; or one divorce for every 5,000 people. This seems a laudably low record, and Canada takes great credit to herself for it. I am not sure she should, for her system makes divorce a luxury available only to the rich. Divorce is not a cause. It is a result. I am not sure that people ill-mated do not do more harm to their children staying together than separating; and marriage is not for the man or the woman, but for the race. This opinion, however, would be considered heresy in Canada, and a great many factors conspire to help woman’s status in the Dominion. To begin with, there are half a million more men than women. A woman need never give herself so cheaply as to spend her life paying for her precipitancy. She is not a superfluous. Another point in which some other countries could emulate Canada is in the protection of women and children. A woman ill-mated has the same protection under the law as though she were single. Infringement of her rights is punishable with penalties varying from seven years and the lash to death. A man living on a woman’s illicit earnings is not coddled by ward heelers and let off with light bail, as in certain notorious California cases. He is given the lash and seven years. Such offenders seldom come up for sentence twice.
On the other hand, compared to punishments for property violations, the protection of women and children is ridiculously inadequate. A man abducting a girl is liable to sentence of five years; a man stealing a cow, to sentence of fourteen years. Counterfeiting coin is punished by life imprisonment. Misusing a ward or employee is punished by two years’ imprisonment. This remissness is no index to a subordinate position by women in Canada. It is rather simple testimony to the fact that before the influx of alien peoples certain types of crime were unknown.
There is little of sex unrest in Canada. In fact, sex as sex is not in evidence, which is a symptom of wholesome relationships. Perhaps I should say there is little of that feminine discontent and revolt so strident in older lands. This I attribute to two facts: an overplus of men, and boundless opportunity and freedom for the expenditure of unused energies. In certain sections of England, women over-balanced men before the war as ten to one. What the over-balance will be after the war, one can only guess. When women who want to marry are not married, or married to types different from themselves—which must happen when the sexes are in disproportion—unhappiness must result. Woman is at war, she knows not with what. When women who are full of energy and ability have nothing to do, there is bound to be unhappiness. In Canada a woman has perfect freedom to do anything she chooses. Her opportunity is limited only by her own personality. What she wills, she may, if she can. If she can’t, then her quarrel must be with self, not with life. Children can not choose their parents; but a woman can choose the parent of her child; and when her choice is high and wide and happy, it bodes better for the race than when conditions have forced her into an alliance that must be more or less of an armed truce on a low plane.
As an example of the fairness of marriage laws in Canada, if a fur-trader marry an Indian woman—according to the custom of the tribe, simply taking her to wife without ceremony, she is his legal heir, and her children are his legal heirs. This was established in a famous trial in the courts of Quebec. A trader became contractor and politician. When prosperity came, he discarded his Indian wife and married an English girl. On his death the Indian wife and children sued for his estate. It was awarded to them by the courts and established a precedent that guaranteed social status to the children of such unions. This is one of the things that easterners can not comprehend. I have never heard the opprobrious phrase “squaw man” used on the Canadian frontier; and descendants of the MacKenzies, the Isbisters, the Hardistys, the Strathconas, the Macleans, the MacLeods—blush, not with shame but pride, in acknowledging the Indian strain of blood.
The fact that some of the western provinces notoriously ignore a woman’s property rights in her husband’s estate—is sometimes quoted to prove the unfairness of Canada’s laws to women. I am no defender of those lax property laws. They ought to, and will soon, be changed; but let us give even the devil his dues; and the devil in this case was the mad real estate speculation. When thousands of adventurers poured in from everywhere and began buying and selling and reselling property, it impeded quick turn overs to reserve the absent wife’s third. Sometimes, as in the case of a famous actor, the wives numbered four. Ordinarily in Canada—certainly in eastern provinces—a third is the wife’s reserve unless she sign it away. How four wives could each have a third was a poser for the speculator and the knot was cut by ignoring the wife’s claims. Now that the fevered mad mania of speculation is over this remissness of the law in two provinces will doubtless be remedied.
EMIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
You can ascribe the different characteristics of different nations to the topography of their native land—up to a certain point only. Beyond that the difference becomes one of psychology and soul rather than geography, and that is why nations hold to a large extent their destiny in their own hands. Undoubtedly the unfenced illimitable reaches of the prairie have reacted on the human soul, unshackling it from the discouragements of failure in the past and have given a sense of freedom that explains the dauntless optimism of the West; but if the people who went to the West had not had the courage to face the hardships of the pioneer, their optimism could not have triumphed over difficulties. The very qualities that sent pioneers forth on the trail to the setting sun guaranteed their success as empire builders.
Japan was long an island empire, but it was only when the soul of that empire awakened to the Western Renaissance that Japan became a world power. The German people existed on the map many centuries before they came into existence as a nation. It was only when the national idea came that Germany became a power. Likewise of England as mistress of the seas—the source of her commerce and wealth. England had been a seagirt nation from the beginning of time. It was only when by the defeat of the Armada England learned what mastery of the sea meant that she shot into front rank as a great world power.
How does all this bear on Canada? It is a puzzling question. Ask the average Canadian why the development of Canada has been slow; and he denies that it has been slow; or he proves that it is a good thing it has been slow; or he compares Canada’s progress with that of some other country which has gone too fast, or too slow. All this is a mere clever dodging of fact. Blinking one’s eyes to a fact doesn’t eliminate the fact.
What are the facts?
De Monts’ first charter to Arcadia dates 1605. The first charter for Virginia plantations comes in 1606, and the first New England charter dates the same year. The United States and Canada are both fertile. They have almost the same area in square miles. One has a population of over ninety millions and a foreign commerce of four billions. The other has a population of about eight millions and a foreign commerce of one billion. One raises from seven hundred to nine hundred million bushels of wheat; the other, from two hundred to three hundred millions. One produces thirty million metric tons of steel a year; the other, less than a million tons; one is worth a hundred and fifty billion dollars, the other perhaps ten billions.
It is explained that the northern belt of Canada lying in a semi-arctic zone should hardly be included in comparisons with the area of the United States lying altogether in a temperate zone; but if cultivation is proving one thing more than another, it is that Canada’s arctic region recedes a little every year, and her isothermal lines run a little farther north every year. To put it differently, it is being yearly more and more proved that the degree of northern latitude matters less in vegetable growth than heretofore thought, if the arable land be there; for the simple reason that twenty hours of sunlight from May to September force as rapid a growth as twelve to fifteen hours’ sunlight from March to September, and the product grown in the North may be superior to that grown farther south. Wheat from Manitoba is better than wheat from Georgia. Apples from Niagara have a quality not found in apples—say from the Gulf states. All things will not grow in northern latitudes. You can’t raise corn. You can’t raise peaches. I doubt if any apple will ever be found suitable for the northwestern prairie. At any rate, it has not yet been found.
Half a century ago the Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company in perfectly good faith testified before a committee of the Imperial Commons that farming could never be carried on in Rupert’s Land, or what are now known as Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. He proved that grain could not be grown there. I recall the day when the idea of fall wheat west of Lake Superior elicited a hoot of derision. I have lived to wander through fields of six hundred acres north of the Saskatchewan. Thirty years ago any one suggesting settlement on Peace River, or at Athabasca, would have been regarded as a visionary fool. Yet wheat is ground into flour on Peace River, and the settler is at Athabasca; and soft Kansas fall wheat sent to Peace River has by a few years’ transplanting been transformed into Number One Hard spring wheat. Canada’s arctic belt has shrunk a little each year, and her isothermal lines gone a little farther north. The only limit to growth in the North Country is the nature of the soil.
With this argument—you come back just where you began. The two countries were first settled almost contemporaneously. Their area is not far different. They are both fertile. Each has great belts—having spent months in each belt, I hesitate to call them barren—of land that can not be plowed. Why has one country progressed with such marvelous rapidity; and the other progressed in fits and starts and stops? Why did a million and a half Canadians—or one-fourth the native population—leave Canada for the United States? The Canadian retort always is—for the same reason that two million Americans have left the United States for Canada—to better their position. But the point is—why was it these million and a half Canadians found better opportunities in the United States than in Canada? Opportunities knock at every man’s door if he has ears to hear, but they are usually supposed to knock loudest and oftenest in the new land. It is a truism that there are ten chances on the frontier for a man to rise compared to one in the city. One can understand American settlers thronging to Canada. They have used and made good the opportunities in their own land. Now they are sending their sons to a land of more opportunities. The Iowa farmer who has succeeded on his three hundred and twenty acres sends forth his sons each to succeed on his one hundred and sixty acres in Canada; or he sells his own land for one hundred dollars an acre and forthwith buys a thousand acres in Canada. When the farmers of Ontario flocked to Wisconsin and Michigan and Minnesota and the two Dakotas, their land was worth thirty per cent. less than when they bought it. To-day that same land is worth one hundred per cent. more than for what they sold it.
It is easy to look over another land and diagnose its ills. Any Canadian will acknowledge that Ireland’s population dropped from 8,500,000 in 1850 to 4,400,000 in 1908 solely owing to mismanagement, if not gross misgovernment; but he will not acknowledge that his own country lost a million and a half people from the same cause. Ireland lost her population at the rate of one hundred thousand a year for forty years, and that lost population helped to build up some of the greatest cities in the United States. The Irish vote is to-day a dominant power solely owing to that population lost to Ireland. It is no exaggeration to say that from 1880 to 1890 Canada lost her population to the United States at a higher rate than one hundred thousand a year. Why?
Go back a little in history! The most pugnacious United Empire Loyalist that ever trekked from the American colonies to Ontario and Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would hardly deny that Canada was grossly misgoverned under the French regime. Laborers were forced to work unpaid on fortifications, on roads, on governors’ palaces. The farmer was taxed to death in tithes to the seignior. Shipping was confined to French vessels owned by royal favorites. Fishing was permitted only under a license. The fur trade was a corrupt monopoly held by a closed ring round the Royal Intendant. New France was so mis-governed that the sons of the best families took to the woods and the Pays d’en Haut—to which fact we owe the exploration of three-quarters of the continent.
And the most pugnacious Loyalist will hardly deny that under the British regime from 1759 to Durham’s Report in 1840 the mismanagement was almost as gross as the misgovernment under the French. If any one entertain doubts on that score, let him look up the record on grants of thousands of acres to favorites of the Family Compact; on peculations of public funds in Quebec by irresponsible executives; on mistrials of disorders in the Fur Country, when North-Wester and Hudson’s Bay traders cut each other’s throats; on the constant bicker and bark between Protestant Ontario and Catholic Quebec, which kept the country rent by religious dissensions when men should have been empire-building.
Set down the cause of Canada’s slow progress up to 1840 to misgovernment. Durham’s Report remedied all that; and confederation followed in 1867. Was Canada’s progress as swift after 1867 as it ought to have been? Examine a few figures:
In 1790 the United States population was four millions.
In 1800 the United States population was five millions.
In 1914 the United States population was ninety-eight millions.
In 1891 Canada’s population was five millions.
In 1900 Canada’s population was five million three hundred thousand.
In 1914 Canada’s population was seven million eight hundred thousand.
In point of population Canada is just one hundred years behind the United States. Why? Granted her foreign trade is one-fourth as great as that of the United States. How is it that a people with such a genius for success in foreign trade have been so dilatory in their work of nation-building? Slow progress can no longer be ascribed to misgovernment. Her system of justice is one of the most perfect in the world. Her parliamentary representation could hardly be more complete. No people has stricter bit and rein on executive ministers. Through an anguish of travail Canada has worked out an excellent system of self-government. Why is her progress still slow?
Of course one reason for her slow progress in the past was the impression that long prevailed regarding Canada’s climate and agricultural possibilities. The officials of the Hudson’s Bay Company contended that the Northwest was unfit for settlement, and it was only within recent times that the contrary view gained a hearing and proved to be true. With vast tracts of unoccupied land in the milder climate of the United States still open to settlement and with Canadians themselves denying that the great Northwest could be cultivated, it is not strange that most immigrants passed Canada by. Furthermore in those days the glamour of democracy fascinated dissatisfied Europeans who swarmed to the New World. Canada was practically as free as the United States, but she was a possession of the British Crown, and many emigrants, especially from the Emerald Isle, preferred to try the experiment of living in a republic.
But there are other reasons. It was after the Civil War that the American high tariff struck Canada an unintended but nevertheless staggering blow. She had no market. She had to build up transportation system and trade routes, but this was well under way by 1890. Has her progress since 1890 kept pace with the United States? One has but to compare the population between the Mississippi and Seattle with the population between Red River and Vancouver to have the answer to this question.
Is it something in the soul; a habit of discouragement; of marking time; of fighting shy on the defensive instead of jumping into the aggressive; of self-derogation; of criticism instead of construction; of foreshortened vision? A diagnosis can be made from symptoms. I set down a few of the symptoms. There may be many more, and the thinker must trace up—a surgeon would “guess”—his own diagnosis.
If it were not such a tiresome task, it could be shown from actual quotations that there is not a paper published in Canada that at some time during the year does not deliver itself of sentiments regarding the United States which may be paraphrased thus: “We thank God we are not as Thou art!” Now the point may be well taken; and Canada should be thankful to God (and keep her powder dry) that crimes are punished, that innocence is protected, that vice is not a factor in civic government; but it is a dangerous attitude for any people to assume toward another nation. It does not turn the soul-searchings in on self. It does not get down beneath the skin of things; down, for instance, beneath a hide of self-righteousness to meanness or nobility of motive. A big ship always has barnacles; the United States is a big ship, and she keeps her engine going and her speed up and in the main her prow headed to a big destiny. It ill becomes a little ship to bark out—but let it be left unsaid!
While this curious assumption of superiority exists internationally, there is the most contradictory depreciation nationally. “We,” they say, “are only a little people.” So was Switzerland. So was Greece. So was Belgium. So, indeed, were the Jews.
You never mention a Jim Hill, a Doctor Osler, a Schurman, a Graham Bell—or a host of similar famous expatriates—in a Canadian gathering but some one utters with a pride of gratulation that fairly beams from the face: “They are Canadians.” Canada is proud these famous men are Canadians. It has always struck me as curious that she wasn’t ashamed—ashamed that she lost their services from her own nation-building. To my personal knowledge three of these men had to borrow the money to leave Canada. Their services were worth untold wealth to other lands. Their services did not give them a living in Canada.
At time of writing—with only three exceptions—Canada imports the presidents of her great universities; though she exports some of the greatest presidents and deans who have ever graced Princeton, Cornell, Oxford. She thinks she can not afford to keep these men. Is it a matter of money, at all; or of appreciative intelligence? No matter what the cost, can Canada afford to lose them from her young nationals?
It is a truism that to my knowledge has not a single exception that Canada has never given the imprimatur of her approval to a writer, to an inventor, to a scholar, to an artist, till he has gone abroad and received the stamp of approval outside his own land. By the time Paul Peel was acclaimed in Paris and Horatio Walker in New York each was lost to his own land. It is an even wager nine Canadians out of ten do not know who these men were or for what they were acclaimed. Try it as an experiment on your first train acquaintance.
You can not read early records of Congress without the most astounding realization that Washington, Monroe, Jefferson, Adams, big statesmen and little politicians, voicing solemn convictions or playing to the gallery—all were deadly in earnest and serious about the business of building up a nation. They never lost sight of the idea of conserving, up-building, protecting, extending their country. The national idea is in Canada so recent that most men have not grasped it. “Build a navy?” Canada hooted and made the vote a party football. “Canada should have her own shipyards?” Men look at you! What for? “Panama will reverse the world conduits of trade.” Bah! Hot-air! I have heard these and similar comments not once but a thousand times.
Americans say of opportunity—“How much can we make of it?” Canadians say—“How little can we pay for it?” And each takes out of opportunity exactly the amount of optimism put into it.
So one could go down the list enumerating symptoms, but beneath them all, it is plain, lies a cause psychological, not physical. It may be a psychology of discouragement and disparagement from long years of hardship, but whatever it is, if Canada is to be as big nationally as she is latitudinally, as great in soul as in area, she must get rid of this negative thing in her attitude to herself and life. It makes for solidity,
And the Voice is the verdict of destiny to every nation that has taken its place at the world’s council board.
Having spent a hundred years working out a system of government almost perfect in its democracy, and having spent fifty more years working out a system of trade and transportation that gives Canada sixth rank in the gross foreign trade of the world nations—one would think the Dominion entitled to lie back resting on her laurels reaping the reward that is undoubtedly hers.
But nations can no more rest in their development than men. To stop means to go back. To rest means to rust, and Canada to-day must face one of the most serious problems in her national history. What is worth having is worth holding, and what is worth holding must always be defended. The strong man does not go out challenging a fight. The very fact that he is strong prevents other men challenging him to a fight, and Canada must face the need of national defense.
So remote did the need of national defense seem to Canada that as late as May of 1913 the Senate rejected Premier Borden’s plan for Canada to contribute her quota in cost to the British navy. The Laurier government had proposed building a small navy for the Dominion. This was hooted by the French Nationalists, and when the Borden government came into power, the policy was modified from building a small navy to bearing a quota of the cost of a navy built and equipped by Imperial power. In the rejection of this policy, the composition of the Senate and Commons should be observed. The Commons were Conservative, or supporters of Premier Borden, and the Government Navy Bill passed the Commons by one hundred and one to sixty-eight. The Nationalists voted with the opposition or the Liberals. The Nationalists are the small French party pledged against Canada’s intervention in European affairs. Laurier having been in power for almost two decades, the Senate was, of course, tinged with the Liberal policy. They could not completely reject a naval policy without repudiating Laurier’s former policy; so they rejected the Borden Naval Bill on the ground that it ought to have been submitted to the electorate. The vote in the Senate was fifty-one to twenty-seven. In the Senate were fifty-four Liberals—or supporters of Laurier—and thirty-two Conservatives, or supporters of Borden. In other words, so remote did the possible need of defense seem that both parties played politics with it.
For a hundred years Canada had been at peace. The Rebellion of 1837 can hardly be called a war. In 1870 the Indian unrest known as the First Riel Rebellion had occurred, but this amounted to little more than a joy jaunt for the troops under Lord Wolseley to Red River. The Riel Uprising of 1885 was more serious; but every Canadian who gave the matter any thought at all knew there had been genuine cause for grievance among the half-breeds; and fewer lives were lost in this rebellion than in many a train or mine accident. Canada sent to the South African War troops who distinguished themselves to such an extent as to give a feeling of almost false security to the Dominion. On every frontier are men born to the rifle and the saddle—ready-made troopers; but as the frontier shrinks, this class deteriorates and softens.
For a hundred years Canada has been at peace with the outside world. For three thousand miles along her southern border dwells a neighbor who has often been a rival in trade and with whom Canada has had many a dispute as to fisheries and boundaries and tariff, but along this borderland of three thousand miles exists not a single fort, points not a single gun, watches not a single soldier. It is a question if another such example of international friendship without international pact exists in the history of the world. Where international boundaries in Europe bristle with forts and cannon, international boundaries in America are a shuttle of traffic back and forth of great migrations of population, of great waves of friendship and good feeling which all the trade rivalries and hostile tariffs of a half century have failed to stem. The pot shot of some fishery patrol across the nets of a poacher on the wrong side of the international line fails to excite anybody. Even if some flag lunatic full of whisky climbs a flagstaff and tears down the other country’s national emblem—the boundary does not go on fire. The authorities cool such alcoholic patriotism with a water hose, or ten days in the lock-up. The papers run a half column, and that is all there is about it.
So why should Canada become excited over national defense? On the south is a boundary without a fort, without a gun, guarded by a powerful nation with a Monroe Doctrine challenging the world neither to seize nor colonize in the Western Hemisphere. On the east for three thousand miles washes the Atlantic, on the west for five thousand miles the Pacific—what has Canada to fear? “Why,” asked the Conservatives, “should we support the Laurier policy of building a tin-pot navy?” “Why,” retorted the Liberals when Laurier went out and Borden went in, “should we support the Borden Navy Bill to contribute good Canadian cash to a British navy?”
Besides, in the back of Canada’s collective head—as it were—in a sort of unspoken consciousness was the almost religious conviction that the Dominion had contributed her share toward Imperial defense in her transportation system. Had she not granted fifty-five million acres of land for the different transcontinentals and spent far over a billion in loans and subsidies and guarantees? Value that land at ten dollars an acre. That was tantamount to an expenditure of two hundred dollars per capita for a transportation system of use to the empire in Imperial defense. Seventy trainloads of Hindu troops were rushed across Canada in cars with drawn blinds and transported to Europe before the enemy knew such a movement was contemplated. Should Turkey ever cut off Suez, Canada and Panama would be England’s route to India. In addition, Canada considers herself the granary of the empire. Should Suez ever cut off the path to India and Australia, what colony could feed England but Canada?
You will note that Canada’s thought concerned the empire, not herself. The reason for the navy bills proposed by both parties has been Imperial defense. That Canada might some day be compelled to fight for her own existence—and fight to the death for it—never dawned on her legislators; and their unconsciousness of national peril is the profoundest testimony to the pacific intentions of the United States that could be given. It seems almost treason at this era of world war to call Canada’s attention to the fact that the greatest danger is not to Imperial defense. It is to Canada’s national defense. Uncle Sam has been Canada’s big brother, but what if when the danger came, his arms were tied in a conflict of his own? Whatever comes to menace the United States will menace the safety of Canada; and with swift cruisers, Europe and Asia are nearer Canada to-day than Halifax is near Vancouver. Either city could be attacked by foreign powers before military aid could be transported across the width of Canada. We are nearer Europe to-day than the North was near the South in the Civil War. It takes a shorter time to transport troops across Atlantic or Pacific than it formerly took to send a Minnesota regiment to Maryland. Including Quebec, Montreal, old Port Royal, Annapolis, Louisburg and the forts on Hudson Bay, Canada’s chief strongholds of defense have been taken and retaken seven times by European enemies in one hundred and sixty years—between 1629 and 1789. Day was when Quebec fortifications cost so much that the King of France wanted to know if they were laid in gold. Before the fall of Quebec in 1759, Louisburg—a forgotten fortress of Cape Breton—was considered one of France’s strongholds. Have Canadians forgotten the frightful wreck of the British fleet in the St. Lawrence in 1711 under Sir Havender Walker; or the defeat of the admiralty ships manned by the Hudson’s Bay fur-traders up off Port Nelson in 1697 by Lemoyne d’ Iberville?
Her regular forces ordinarily consist of less than three thousand men; her volunteer forces of forty-five to sixty thousand. By law it is provided that the Dominion militia consist of all male inhabitants of the age of eighteen and under sixty, divided into four classes: from eighteen to thirty years of age unmarried or widowers; from thirty to forty-five unmarried or widowers; from eighteen to forty-five married or widowers; men of all classes between forty-five and sixty. In emergency, those liable to service would be called in this order. The period of service is three years. Up to the present service has been voluntary, and the period of drill lasts sixteen days. Except for fishing patrols and insignificant cruisers, Canada has no marine force, absolutely none, though she can requisition the big merchant liners which she subsidizes. Canada has an excellent military school in Kingston and a course of instruction at Quebec, but the majority of graduates from these centers go into service in the British army simply because there is no scope for them in their own land. At Esquimalt off Victoria, British Columbia, and at Halifax, Nova Scotia, before the outbreak of the present war, were Imperial naval stations; but these were being reduced to a minimum. Perhaps to these defenders should be added some thirty thousand juvenile cadets trained in the public schools, but if one is to set down facts not fictions, much of the training of the volunteers resolves itself into a yearly picnic. One wonders on what Canada is pinning her faith in security from attack in case disaster should come to the British navy. Whether Canada is conscious of it or not, her greatest defense is in the virility of her manhood. Her men are neither professorial nor an office type. They are big outdoor men who shoot well because they have shot from boyhood and lived a life in the open. All this, however, is not national defense. It is unused but splendid material for national defense.
Up to the outbreak of the present war Canada has not spent ten million a year on national defense. That is—for the security of peace for a century, she has spent less than one dollar and fifty cents per head a year. A year ago naval bills were rejected. To-day there are few people in Canada who would not acknowledge that Canada is spending too little on defense. Stirred profoundly but, as is the British way, saying little, the Dominion is setting herself in earnest to the big new problem. To the European War, Canada has sent sixty thousand men; and she has promised one hundred thousand more. A nation that can unpreparedly deliver on such promises to the drop of the hat can take care of her defense, and that may be Canada’s next national job.
Would any power have an object in crippling Canada? The question is answered best by another. If Suez were cut off and Canada were cut off, where would England look for her food supply? And if it were to the advantage of a hostile power to cripple Canada, could she be conquered? Any one familiar with Canada will answer without a moment’s hesitation. She could be attacked. Her coastal cities could be laid waste as the cities of Belgium. To reach the interior of Canada, an enemy must do one of three things, all next to impossible: penetrate the St. Lawrence—a treacherous current—for a thousand miles exposed to submarine and mine and attack from each side; cross the United States and so violate American sovereignty, cross the Rockies to reach inland. Any one of these feats is as impossible as the conquest of Switzerland or the Scottish Highlands. Canada could be attacked and laid waste; she could be financially ruined by attack and set back fifty years in her progress; but she could no more be conquered than Napoleon conquered Russia. The conquest would be at a cost to destroy the conqueror, and the conqueror could no more stay than Napoleon stayed in Moscow. Canada has a vast, an illimitable back country—the area of all Russia; and to the lakes and wild rivers and mountain passes of that country her people are born and bred. To her climate her people are born and bred. The climate would take care of the rest. You can’t exactly despatch motors and motor guns down swamps for a hundred miles and over cataracts and through mountain passes on the perpendicular. Canada’s back country is her perpetual city of refuge. Nevertheless, the day of dependence on false security is past. National status implies national defense, and at time of writing the indications are that the whole military system of the Dominion will be put on a new basis, training to patriotism and defense and service from the public school up through the university.
“Then what becomes of your co-eds and woman movement?” a militarist asked.
The question can be answered in the words of a great doctor—more men die on the field of battle from lack of women nurses than ever die from the bullet of the enemy. The time seems to have come for woman’s place on the firing line. That womanhood which gives of life to create life now claims the right to go out on the field of danger to conserve and protect life; and in the embodiment of military training in public education that, too, may be part of Canada’s new national defense.
When an admiral’s fleet is sunk within ten days’ sail of Victoria and Vancouver, Laurier’s naval policy to build war vessels, and Borden’s to contribute to their purchase for service in the British Navy take on different aspect to Canada; and the Dominion enters a new era in her development, as one of the dominant powers in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. That is—she must prepare to enter; or sit back the helpless Korea of America. A country with a billion dollars of commerce a year to defend cuts economy down to the danger line when she spends not one per cent. of the value of her foreign commerce to protect it. Like the United States, Canada has been inclined to sit back detached from world entanglements and perplexities. That day has passed for Canada. She must take her place and defend her place or lose her identity as a nation. The awakening has gone over Canada in a wave. One awaits to see what will come of it.
Much, of course, depends upon the outcome of the great war. If Britain and her allies triumph—and particularly if peace brings partial disarmament—the urgency of preparation on Canada’s part will be lessened. But should Germany win or the duel be a draw, then may Canada well gird up her loins and look to her safety.
THE DOMAIN OF THE NORTH
Canada does not like any reference to her fur trade as a national occupation. Of course, it is no longer a national occupation. It occupies, perhaps, two thousand whites and it may be twenty or thirty thousand Indians. More Indians in Canada earn their living farming the reserves than catching fur, but the Indians north of Athabasca and Churchill and in Labrador must always earn their living fur hunting. Of them there is no census, but they hardly exceed thirty thousand all told. The treaty Indians on reserves now number a hundred thousand. Yet, though only two thousand whites are fur-trading in Canada, no interpretation of Canadian life is complete without reference to that far domain of the North, where the hunter roams in loneliness, and the night lights whip unearthly through still frosty air, and no sound breaks leagueless silence but the rifle shot, crackle of frost or the call of the wolf pack. It will be recalled that Canada’s first settlers came in two main currents from two idealistic motives. The French came to convert the Indians, not to found empire, and the English Loyalists came from the promptings of their convictions. Both streams of settlers came from idealistic motives, but both had to live, and they did it at first by fur hunting. Jean Ba’tiste, the Frenchman, who might have been a courtier when he came, promptly doffed court trappings and donned moccasins and exchanged a soldier’s saber for a camp frying-pan and kept pointing his canoe up the St. Lawrence till he had threaded every
While all this is of the past, the heritage of a fur-hunting ancestry has entered into the very blood and brawn and brain of Canada in a kind of iron dauntlessness that makes for manhood. Some of her greatest leaders—like Strathcona and MacKenzie—have been known as “Men of the North”; and whether they have fur-traded or not, nearly all those “Men of the North” who have made their mark have had the iron dauntlessness of the hunter in their blood. It is a sort of tonic from the out-of-doors, like the ozone you breathe, which fills body and soul with zest. Canada is sensitive to any reference to her fur trade for fear the world regard her as a perpetual fur domain. Her northern zones are a perpetual fur domain—we may as well acknowledge that—they can never be anything else; and Canada should serve notice on the softer races of the world that she does not want them. They can stand up neither to her climate nor to her measure of a man, but far from cause of regret, this is a thing for gratulation. Canada can never be an overcrowded land, where soft races crowd for room, like slugs under a board. She will always have her spacious domain of the North—a perpetual fur preserve, a perpetual hunting ground, where dauntless spirits will venture to match themselves against the powers of death; and from that North will ever emerge the type of man who masters life.
The last chapter of the fur trade has not been written—as many assert. The oldest industry of mankind, the most heroic and protective against the elements—against Fenris and Loki and all those Spirits of Evil with which northern myth has personified Cold—fur hunting, fur-trading, will last long as man lasts. We are entering, not on the extermination of fur, but on a new cycle of smaller furs. In the days when mink went begging at eighty cents, mink was not fashionable. Mink is fashionable to-day; hence the absurd and fabulous prices. Long ago, when ermine as miniver—the garb of nobility—was fashionable and exclusive, it commanded fabulous prices. Radicalism abolished the exclusive garb of royalty, and ermine fell to four cents a pelt, advanced to twenty-five cents and has sold at one dollar. To-day, mink is the fashion, and the little mink is pursued; but to-morrow fashion will veer with the caprices of the wind. Some other fur will come into favor, and the little mink will have a chance to multiply as the ermine has multiplied.
In spite of the cry of the end of fur, more furs are marketed in the world than ever before in the history of the race—forty million dollars’ worth; twenty millions of which are handled in New York and Chicago and St. Louis and St. Paul; some five millions passing through Edmonton and Winnipeg and Montreal and Quebec; three millions for home consumption, two millions plus for export. Some years ago I went through all the Minutes of the Hudson’s Bay Company in London from 1670 to 1824 and have transcripts of those Minutes now in my library. In not a single year did the fur record exceed half a million dollars’ worth. Compare that to the American traffic to-day of twenty millions, or to the three and four hundred thousand dollar cargoes that each of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Revillons’ ships bears to Europe from Canada yearly.
“How much can a good Indian hunter make in a season?” I asked a fur-trader of the Northwest, because in nearly all accounts written about furs, you read a wail of reproach at milady for wearing furs when trapping entails such hardship and poverty on the part of the hunter.
“A good hunter easily earns six hundred dollars or seven hundred dollars a winter if he will go out and not hang around the minute he gets a little ahead. It takes from three thousand dollars to four thousand dollars to outfit a small free-trader to go up North on his own account. This stock he will turn over three or four times at a profit of one hundred per cent. on the supplies. For example, ten dollars cash will buy a good black otter up North. In trade, it will cost from twelve dollars to fifteen dollars. On the articles of trade, the profit will be fifty per cent. The otter will sell down at Edmonton for from twenty dollars to thirty dollars. It’s the same of muskrat. At the beginning of the season when the kits are plentiful and small, the trader pays nine cents for them up North. Down at the fur market he will get from twenty-five to sixty cents for them, according to size. There were one hundred and thirty-two thousand muskrat came to one firm of traders alone in Edmonton one year, which they will sell at an advance of fifty per cent.”
“How much fur comes yearly to Edmonton?” I asked an Edmonton trader. If you look at the map you will see that Edmonton is the jumping off place to three of the greatest fur fields of North America—down MacKenzie River to the Arctic, up Peace River to the mountain hinterland between the Columbia and the Yukon, east through Athabasca Lake to the wild barren land inland from Churchill and Hudson Bay.
“Well, we can easily calculate that. I know about how much is brought in to each of the traders there.”
I took pencil while he gave me the names. It totaled up to six hundred thousand dollars’ worth for 1908. When you consider that in its palmiest old days of exclusive monopoly the Hudson’s Bay Company never sold more than half a million dollars’ worth of furs a year, this total for Edmonton alone does not sound like a scarcity of furs.
The question may be asked, do not these large figures presage the hunting to extinction of fur-bearing animals? I do not think so.
Take a map of the northern fur country. Take a good look at it—not just a Pullman car glance. The Canadian government has again and again advertised thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of square miles of free land. Latitudinally, that is perfectly true. Wheat-wise, it isn’t. When you go one hundred miles north of Saskatchewan River (barring Peace River in sections) you are in a climate that will grow wheat all right—splendid wheat, the hardest and finest in the world. That is, twenty hours of sunlight—not daylight but sunlight—force growth rapidly enough to escape late spring and early fall frosts; but the plain fact of the matter is, wheat land does not exist far north of the Saskatchewan except in sections along Peace River. What does exist? Cataracts countless—Churchill River is one succession of cataracts; vast rivers; lakes unmapped, links and chains of lakes by which you can go from the Saskatchewan to the Arctic without once lifting your canoe; quaking muskegs—areas of amber stagnant water full of what the Indians call mermaid’s hair, lined by ridges of moss and sand overgrown with coarse goose grass and “the reed that grows like a tree,” muskrat reed, a tasseled corn-like tufted growth sixteen feet high—areas of such muskeg mile upon mile. I traversed one such region above Cumberland Lake seventy miles wide by three hundred long where you could not find solid camping ground the size of your foot. What did we do? That is where the uses of a really expert guide came in; we moored our canoe among the willows, cut willows enough to keep feet from sinking, spread oilcloth and rugs over this, erected the tents over all, tying the guy ropes to the canoe thwarts and willows, as the ground would not hold the tent pegs.
It doesn’t sound as if such regions would ever be overrun by settlement—does it? Now look at your map, seventy miles north of Saskatchewan! From the northwest corner up by Klondike to the southeast corner down in Labrador is a distance of more than three thousand miles. From the south to north is a distance of almost two thousand miles. I once asked a guide with a truly city air—it might almost have been a Harvard air—if these distances were “as the crow flies.” He gave me a look that I would not like to have a guide give me too often—he might maroon a fool on one of those swamp areas.
“There ain’t no distances as the crow flies in this country,” he answered. “You got to travel ’cording as the waters collect or the ice goes out.”
Well, here is your country, three thousand by two thousand miles, a great fur preserve. What exists in it? Very little wood, and that small. Undoubtedly some minerals. What else exists? A very sparse population of Indians, whose census no man knows, for it has never been taken; but it is a pretty safe guess to say there are not thirty thousand Indians all told in the north fur country. I put this guess tentatively and should be glad of information from any one in a position to guess closer. I have asked the Hudson’s Bay Company and I have asked Revillons how many white hunters and traders they think are in the fur country of the North. I have never met any one who placed the number in the North at more than two thousand. Spread two thousand white hunters with ten thousand Indians—for of the total Indian population two-thirds are women and children—over an area the size of two-thirds of Europe—I ask you frankly, do you think they are going to exterminate the game very fast? Remember the climate of the North takes care of her own. White men can stand only so many years of that lonely cold, and then they have “to come out” or they dwarf mentally and degenerate.
Take a single section of this great northern fur preserve—Labrador, which I visited some years ago. In area Labrador is 530,000 square miles, two and a half times the size of France, twice the size of Germany, twice the size of Austria-Hungary. Statistical books set the population down at four thousand; but the Moravian missionaries there told me that including the Eskimo who come down the coast in summer and the fishermen who come up the coast in summer the total population was probably seventeen thousand. Now Labrador is one of the finest game preserves in the world. On its rocky hills and watery upper barrens where settlement can never come are to be found silver fox—the finest in the world, so fine that the Revillons have established a fur-breeding post for silver fox on one of the islands—cross fox almost as fine as silver, black and red fox, the best otter in the world, the finest marten in America, bear, very fine Norway lynx, fine ermine, rabbit or hare galore, very fine wolverine, fisher, muskrat, coarse harp seal, wolf, caribou, beaver, a few mink. Is it common sense to think the population of a few thousands can hunt out a fur empire here the size of two Germanies? Remember it was not the hunter who exterminated the buffalo and the beaver and the seal and the otter! The poacher destroyed one group of sea furs; the railway and the farm supplanted the other. West of Mackenzie River and north of British Columbia is a game region almost similar to Labrador in its furred habitat, with the exception that the western preserve is warmer and more wooded. Northward from Ontario is another hinterland which from its very nature must always be a great hunting ground. Minerals exist—as the old French traders well knew and the latter-day discoveries of Cobalt prove—and there is also heavy timber; but north of the Great Clay Belt, between the Clay Belt and the Bay, lies the impenetrable and—I think—indestructible game ground. Swamp and rock will prevent agricultural settlement but will provide an ideal fur preserve similar in climate to Labrador.
Traveling with Indian guides, it is always a matter of marvel and admiration to me how the fur companies have bred into the very blood for generations the careful nurture of all game. At one place canoeing on Saskatchewan we heard of a huge black bear that had been molesting some new ranches. “No take now,” said the Indian. “Him fur no good now.” Though we might camp on bare rocks and the fire lay dead ash, it was the extra Indian paddler who invariably went back to spatter it out. You know the white’s innate love for a roaring log fire in front of the camp at night? The Indian calls that “a-no-good-whitemen-fire-scare-away-game.”
Now take another look at the map. Where the Saskatchewan makes a great bend three hundred miles northeast of Prince Albert, it is no longer a river—it is a vast muskeg of countless still amber water channels not twice the width of your canoe and quaking silt islands of sand and goose grass—ideal, hidden and almost impenetrable for small game. Always muskeg marks the limit of big game and the beginning of the ground of the little fellows—waupoos, the rabbit; and musquash, the muskrat; and sakwasew, the mink; and nukik, the otter; and wuchak or pekan, the fisher. It is a safe wager that the profits on the millions upon millions of little pelts—hundreds of thousands of muskrat are taken out of this muskeg alone—exceed by a hundredfold the profits on the larger furs of beaver and silver fox and bear and wolf and cross fox and marten.
Look at the map again! North of Cumberland Lake to the next fur post is a trifling run of two hundred and fifty to three hundred miles by dog-train to Lac du Brochet or Reindeer Lake—more muskeg cut by limestone and granite ridges. Here you can measure four hundred miles east or west and not get out of the muskeg till you reach Athabasca on the west and Hudson’s Bay on the east. North of Lac du Brochet is a straight stretch of one thousand miles—nothing but rocks and cataracts and stunted woods, “little sticks” the Indians call them—and sky-colored waters in links and chains and lakes with the quaking muskeg goose grass and muskrat reed, cut and chiseled and trenched by the amber water ways.
If you think there is any danger of settlement ever encroaching on the muskegs and barrens, come with me on a trip of some weeks to the south end of this field.
We had been pulling against slack water all day, water so slack you could dip your hand down and fail to tell which way the current ran. Where the high banks dropped suddenly to such a dank tangle of reeds, brush wood, windfall and timbers drifted fifteen hundred miles down from the forests of the Rocky Mountains—such a tangle as I have never seen in any swamp of the South—the skeleton of a moose, come to its death by a jump among the windfall, marked the eastern limit of big game; and presently the river was lost—not
“You old fool,” said our head man, “your wing is no more broken than mine is. We’re not going to hurt your babies. Shut up there and stop that lying.”
Spite of which the old duck kept up her pantomime of deceit for more than a mile; when she suddenly sailed up over our heads back to her hidden babies, a very Boadicea of an old duck girl. When we drew in for nooning, wild geese honked over our heads near enough to be hit by the butt of a gun. Drift chips, lodged in the goose grass, kindled fire for kettle, but oilcloth had to be spread before you could get footing ashore. I began to wonder what happened as to repairs when canoes ripped over a snag in this kind of region, and that brought up the story of a furtrader’s wife in another muskeg region north of Lac La Ronge up toward Churchill River, who was in a canoe that ripped a hole clean the size of a man’s fist. Quick as a flash, the head man was into the tin grub box and had planked on a cake of butter. The cold water hardened it, and that repair carried them along to the first birch tree affording a new strip of bark.
Where an occasional ridge of limestone cut the swamp we could hear the laughter and the glee of the Indian children playing “wild goose” among the trembling black poplars and whispering birches, and where we landed at the Indian camps we found the missionaries out with the hunters. In fact, even the nuns go haying and moose hunting with the Indian families to prevent lapses to barbarism.
Again and again we passed cached canoes, provisions stuck up on sticks above the reach of animal marauders—testimony to the honesty of the passing Indian hunters, which the best policed civilized eastern city can not boast of its denizens.
“I’ve gone to the Rockies by way of Peace River dozens of times,” declared the head of one of the big fur companies, “and left five hundred dollars’ worth of provisions cached in trees to feed us on our way out, and when we came that same way six months afterward we never found one pound stolen, though I remember one winter when the Indians who were passing and repassing under the food in those trees were starving owing to the rabbit famine.”
In winter this region is traversed by dog-train along the ice—a matter of five hundred miles to Lac du Brochet and back, or six hundred to Prince Albert and back. “Oh, no, we’re not far,” said a lonely-faced Cambridge graduate fur-trader to me. “When my little boy took sick last winter, I had to go only fifty-five miles. There happened to be a doctor in the lumber camp back on the Ridge.”
But even winter travel is not all easy in a fifty-below-zero climate where you can’t find sticks any larger than your finger to kindle night fire, I know the story of one fur-trader who was running along behind his dog sleigh in this section. He had become overheated running and had thrown his coat and cap across the sleigh, wearing only flannel shirt, fur gauntlets, corduroy trousers and moccasins. At a bend in the iced channel he came on a pack of mangy coyotes. Before he had thought he had sicked the dogs on them. With a yell they were off out of sight amid the goose grass and reeds with the sleigh and his garments. Those reeds, remember, are sixteen feet high, stiff as broom corn and hard on moccasins as stubble would be on bare feet. To make matters worse, a heavy snowstorm came on. The wind was against the direction the dogs had taken and the man hallooed himself hoarse without an answering sound. It was two o’clock in the morning before the wind sank and the trader found his dogs, and by that time between sweat and cold his shirt had frozen to a board.
Such a thing as an out and out pagan hardly exists among the Indians of the North. They are all more or less Christian with a curious mingling of pagan superstition with the new faith. The Indian voyageurs may laugh but they all do it—make offerings of tobacco to the Granny Goddess of the River before setting out. In vain we threw biscuit and orange peel and nuts to the perverse-tempered deity supposed to preside at the bottom of those amber waters. The winds were contrary, the waters slack, sluggish, dead, no responsive gurgle and flap of laughter and life to the slow keel.
One channel but opened on another. Even the limestone ridges had vanished far to rear, and the stillness of night fell with such a flood of sunset light as Turner never dreamed in his wildest color intoxications. There would be the wedge-shaped line of the wild geese against a flaming sky—a far honk—then stillness. Then the flackering quacking call of a covey of ducks with a hum of wings right over our shoulders; then no sound but the dip of our paddles and the drip and ripple of the dead waters among the reeds. Suddenly there lifted against the lonely red sunset sky—a lob stick—a dark evergreen stripped below the tip to mark some Indian camping place, or vow, or sacred memory. We steered for it. A little flutter of leaves like a clapping of hands marked land enough to support black poplars, and we rounded a crumbly sand bank just in time to see the seven-banded birch canoe of a little old hunter, Sam Ba’tiste Buck—eighty years old he was—squatting in the bottom of the birch canoe, ragged almost to nakedness, bare of feet, gray-headed, nearly toothless but happier than an emperor—the first living being we had seen for a week in the muskegs. We camped together that night on the sandbars—trading Sam Ba’tiste flour and matches for a couple of ducks. He had been storm-stead camping in the goose grass for three days. Do you think he was to be pitied? Don’t! Three days’ hunting will lay up enough meat for Sam for the winter. In the winter he will snare some small game, while mink and otter and muskrat skins will provide him flour and clothes from the fur-trader. Each of Sam’s sons is earning seven hundred dollars a year hunting big game on the rock ridge farther north—more than illiterate, unskilled men earn in eastern lands. Then in spring Sam will emerge from his cabin, build another birch canoe and be off to the duck and wild geese haunts. When we paddled away in the morning, Sam still camped on the sand bank. He sat squat whittling away at kin-a-kin-ic, or the bark of the red willow, the hunter’s free tobacco. In town Sam would be poverty-stricken, hungry, a beggar. Here he is a lord of his lonely watery domain, more independent and care-free than you are—peace to his aged bones!
Another night coming through the muskegs we lost ourselves. We had left our Indian at the fur post and trusted to follow southwest two hundred miles to the next fur post by the sun, but there was no sun, only heavy lead-colored clouds with a rolling wind that whipped the amber waters to froth and flooded the sand banks. If there was any current, it was reversed by the wind. We should have thwarted the main muskeg by a long narrow channel, but mistook our way thinking to follow the main river by taking the broadest opening. It led us into a lake seven miles across; not deep, for every paddle stroke tangled into the long water weed known as mermaid’s hair but deep enough for trouble when you consider the width of the lake, the lack of dry footing the width of one’s hand, and the fact that you can’t offer the gun’l of a canoe to the broadside of a big wave. We scattered our dunnage and all three squatted in the bottom to prevent the rocking of the big canoe. Then we thwarted and tacked and quartered to the billows for a half day.
Nightfall found us back in the channel again scudding before thunder and a hurricane wind looking for a camping place. It had been a back-breaking pace all day. We had tried to find relief by the Indian’s choppy strokes changing every third dip from side to side; we had tried the white man’s deep long pulling strokes; and by seven in the evening with the thunder rolling behind and not a spot of dry land visible the size of one’s foot, backs began to feel as if they might break in the middle. Our canoe and dunnage weighed close on seven hundred pounds. Suddenly we shot out of the amber channel into a shallow lagoon lined on each side by the high tufted reeds, but the reeds were so thin we could see through them to lakes on each side. A whirr above our heads and a flock of teal almost touched us with their wings. Simultaneously all three dropped paddles—all three were speechless. The air was full of voices. You could not hear yourself think. We lapped the canoe close in hiding to the thin lining of reeds. I asked, “Have those little sticks drifted down fifteen hundred miles to this lagoon of dead water?”
“Sticks,” my guide repeated, “it isn’t sticks—it isn’t drift—it’s birds—it’s duck and geese—I have never seen anything like it—I have lived west more than twenty years and I never heard tell of anything—of anything like it.”
Anything like it? I had lived all my life in the West and I had never heard or dreamed any oldest timer tell anything like it! For seven miles, you could not have laid your paddle on the water without disturbing coveys of geese and duck, geese and duck of such variety as I have never seen classified or named in any book on birds. We sat very still behind the hiding of reed and watched and watched. We couldn’t talk. We had lost ourselves in one of the secluded breeding places of wild fowl in the North. I counted dozens and dozens of moult nests where the duck had congregated before their long flight south. That was the night we could find camping ground only by building a foundation of reeds and willows, then spreading oilcloth on top; and all night our big tent rocked to the wind; for we had roped it to the thwarts of the canoe. Next day when we reached the fur post, the chief trader told us any good hunter could fill his canoe—the big, white banded, gray canoe of the company, not the little, seven banded, birch craft—with birds to the gun’l in two hours’ shooting on that lake.
That muskeg is only one of thousands, when you go seventy miles north of the Saskatchewan, sixty miles east of Athabasca Lake. That muskeg and its like, covering an area two-thirds of all Europe, is the home of all the little furs, mink and muskrat and fisher and otter and rabbit and ermine, the furs that clothe—not princes and millionaire, who buy silver fox and sea otter—but you and me and the rest of us whose object is to keep warm, not to show how much we can spend. Out of that one muskeg hundreds of thousands of little pelts have been taken since 1754 when Anthony Hendry, the smuggler, came the first of the fur-traders inland from the Bay. And the game—save in the year of the unexplained rabbit pest—shows no sign of diminishing.
Does it sound very much to you like a region where the settler would ultimately drive out the fur trade? What would he settle on? That is the point. Nature has taken good care that climate and swamp shall erect an everlasting barrier to encroachment on her game preserves.
To be sure, if you ask a fur-trader, “How are furs?” he will answer, “Poor—poorer every year.” So would you if you were a fur-trader and wanted to keep out rivals. I have never known a fur-trader who did not make that answer.
To be sure, seal and sea otter, beaver and buffalo have been almost exterminated; but even to-day if the governments of the world, especially Canada and the United States, would pass and enforce laws prohibiting the killing of a single buffalo or beaver, seal or sea otter for fifty years, these species would replenish themselves.
“The last chapter of the fur trade has been written?” Never! The oldest industry of mankind will last as long as mankind lasts.
I read also that “the last chapter of the fur romance has been written.” That is the point of view of the man who spends fifty weeks in town and two weeks in the wilds. It is not the point of view of the man who spends two weeks in town and fifty in the wilds; of the man who goes out beyond the reach of law into strange realms the size of Russia with no law but his own right arm, no defense but his own wit. Though I have written history of the Hudson’s Bay Company straight from their own Minutes in Hudson’s Bay House, London, I could write more of the romance of the fur trade right in the present year than has ever been penned of the company since it was established away back in the year 1670.
Space permits only two examples. You recall the Cambridge man who thought it a short distance to go only fifty-five miles by dog-train for a doctor. A more cultured, scholarly, perfect gentleman I have never met in London or New York. Yet when I met his wife, I found her a shy little, part-Indian girl, who had almost to be dragged in to meet us. That spiritual face—such a face as you might see among the preachers of Westminster or Oxford—and the little shy Indian girl-wife and the children, plainly a throw-back to their red-skin ancestors, not to the Cambridge paternity! What was the explanation? Where was the story of heartache and tragedy—I asked myself, as we stood in our tent door watching the York boat come in with provisions for the year under a sky of such diaphanous northern lights as leave you dumb before their beauty and their splendor? How often he must have stood beneath those northern lights thinking out the heartbreak that has no end.
I did not learn the story till I had come on down to civilization and town again. That Cambridge man had come out from England flush with the zeal of the saint to work among the Indians. In the Indian school where he taught he had met his Fate—the thing he probably scouted—that fragile type of Indian beauty almost fawn-like in its elusiveness, pure spirit from the very prosaic fact that the seeds of mortal disease are already snapping the ties to life. It is a type you never see near the fur posts. You have to go to the far outer encampments, where white vices have not polluted the very air. He fell in love. What was he to do? If he left her to her fate, she would go back to the inclement roughness of tepee life mated to some Indian hunter, or fall victim to the brutal admiration of some of those white sots who ever seek hiding in the very wilderness. He married her and had of course to resign his position as teacher in the school. He took a position with the company and lived no doubt in such happiness as only such a spiritual nature could know; but the seeds of the disease which gave her such unearthly beauty ripened. She died. What was to become of the children? If he sent them back to England, they would be wretched and their presence would be misunderstood. If he left them with her relatives, they would grow up Indians. If he kept them he must have a mother for them, so he married another trader’s daughter—the little half-breed girl—and chained himself to his rock of Fate as fast as ever martyr was bound in Grecian myth; and there he lives to-day. The mail comes in only once in three months in summer; only once in six in winter. He is the only white man on a watery island two hundred miles from anywhere except when the lumbermen come to the Ridge, or the Indian agent arrives with the treaty money once a year.
And “the last chapter of the fur romance has been written”?
“The last chapter of the fur romance” will not have been written as long as frost and muskeg provide a habitat for furtive game, and strong men set forth to traverse lone places with no defense but their own valiant spirit.
The other example is of a man known to every fur buyer of St. Louis and Chicago and St. Paul—Mr. Hall, the chief commissioner of furs for the Hudson’s Bay Company. I wish I could give it in Mr. Hall’s own words—in the slow quiet recital of the man who has spent his life amid the great silent verities, up next to primordial facts, not theorizing and professionalizing and discretionizing and generally darkening counsel by words without knowledge. He was a youth somewhere around his early twenties, and he was serving the company at Stuart Lake in British Columbia—a sort of American Trossachs on a colossal scale. He had been sent eastward with a party to bring some furs across from MacLeod Lake in the most heavily wooded mountains. It was mid-winter. Fort MacLeod was short of provisions. On their way back travel proved very heavy and slow. Snow buried the beaten trail, and travel off it plunged men and horses through snow crust into a criss-cross tangle of underbrush and windfall. The party ran out of food. It was thought if Hall, the youngest and lightest, could push ahead on snowshoes to Stuart Lake, he could bring out a rescue party with food.
He set off without horse or gun and with only a lump of tallow in his pocket as food. The distance was seventy-five miles. At first he ran on winged feet—feet winged with hunger; but it began to snow heavily with a wind that beat in his face and blew great gusts of snow pack down from the evergreen branches overhead; and even feet winged with hunger and snowshoes clog from soft snow and catch derelict branches sticking up through the drifts. By the time you have run half a day beating against the wind, reversing your own tracks to find the chipped mark on the bark of the trees to keep you on the blazed trail—you are hungry. Hall began to nibble at his tallow as he ran and to snatch handfuls of snow to quench his thirst. At night he kindled a roaring big white-man fire against the wolves, dried out the thawed snow from his back and front, dozed between times, sang to keep the loneliness off, heard the muffled echo come back to him in smothered voice, and at first streak of dawn ran on, and on, and on.
By the second night Hall had eaten all his tallow. He had also reefed in his belt so that his stomach and spine seemed to be camping together. The snow continued to fall. The trees swam past him as he ran. And the snowdrifts lifted and fell as he jogged heavily forward. Of course, he declared to himself, he was not dizzy. It was the snow blindness or the drifts. He was well aware the second night that if he would have let himself he would have dug a sleeping hole in the snow and wrapped himself in a snow blanket and slept and slept; but he thrashed himself awake, and set out again, dead heavy with sleep, weak from fatigue, staggering from hunger; and the wings on his feet had become weighted with lead.
He knew it was all up with him when he fell. He knew if he could get only a half hour’s sleep, it would freshen him up so he could go on. Lots of winter travelers have known that in the North; and they have taken the half hour’s sleep; and another half hour’s; and have never wakened. Anyway, something wakened Hall. He heard the crackle of a branch. That was nothing. Branches break to every storm, but this was like branches breaking under a moccasin. It was unbelievable; there was not the slightest odor of smoke, unless the dream odor of his own delirious hunger; but not twenty paces ahead crackled an Indian fire, surrounded by buckskin tepees, Indians warming themselves by the fire.
With an unspeakable revulsion of hope and hunger, Hall flung to his feet and dashed into the middle of the encampment. Then a tingling went over his body like the wakening from death, of frost to life—blind stabbing terror obsessed his body and soul; for the fire was smokeless, the figures were speechless, transparent, unaware of his presence, very terribly still. His first thought was that he had come on some camp hopeless from the disaster of massacre or starvation. Then he knew this was no earthly camp. He could not tell how the
“I don’t know these modern theories about hallucination and delusions and things,” concluded Mr. Hall, gazing reflectively on the memories of that night. “I’m not much on romance and that kind of thing! I don’t believe in ghosts. I don’t know what it was. All I know is it scared me so it saved my life, and it saved the lives of the rest, too; for the relief party got out in time, though they didn’t see a sign of any Indian camp. I don’t know what to make of it, unless years ago some Indian camp had been starved or massacred there, and owing to my unusual condition I got into some clairvoyant connection with that past. However, there it is; and it would take a pretty strong argument to persuade me I didn’t see anything. All the other things I thought I saw on that trip certainly existed, and it would be a queer thing if the one thing which saved my life did not exist. That’s all I know, and you can make anything you like of it.”
So while Canada resents being regarded as a fur land, her domain of the North sends down something more than roaring winds—though winds are good things to shake dead leaves off the soul as well as off trees. Her domain of the North rears more than fur-bearing animals. It rears a race with hardihood, with dauntlessness, with quiet dogged unspeaking courage; and that is something to go into the blood of a nation. A man who will run on snowshoes eighteen hundred miles behind a dog-train as a Senator I know did in his youth, and a woman of middle life, who will “come out”—as they say in the North—and study medicine at her own expense that she may minister to the Indians where she lives—are not types of a race to lie down whipped under Fate. Canada will do things in the world of nations shortly. She may do them rough-handed; but what she does will depend on the national ideals she nurtures to-day; and into those ideals has entered the spirit of the Domain of the North.
One of the questions which an outsider always asks of Canada and of which the Canadian never thinks is—Why is Newfoundland not a part of Canada? Why has the lonely little Island never entered confederation? On the map Newfoundland looks no larger than the area of Manitoba before the provincial boundaries were extended to Hudson Bay. In reality, area has little to do with Newfoundland’s importance to England’s possessions in North America. It is that part of America nearest to Europe. If you measure it north to south and east to west it seems about two hundred and fifty by three hundred and fifty miles; but distance north and south, east and west, has little to do with Newfoundland’s importance to the empire. Newfoundland’s importance to the empire consists in three fundamental facts: Newfoundland is the radiating center for the fisheries on the Grand Banks, that submarine plateau of six hundred by one hundred and fifty miles, where are the richest deep-sea fisheries in the world; Newfoundland lies gardant at the very entrance to Canada’s great waterways; and Newfoundland’s coast line is the most broken coast line in the whole world affording countless land-locked, rock-ribbed deep-sea harbors to shelter all the fighting ships of the world.
What have the deep-sea fisheries of the Grand Banks to do with a Greater Britain Overseas? You would not ask that question if you could see the sealing fleets set out in spring; or the whaling crews drive after a great fin-back up north of Tilt Cove; or the schooners go out with their dories in tow for the Grand Banks fisheries. Asked what impressed him most in the royal tour of the present King of England across Canada and Newfoundland several years ago, a prominent official with the Prince answered: “Newfoundland and the prairie provinces.” “Why?” he was asked. “Men for the navy and food for the Empire.” That answer tells in a line why Newfoundland is absolutely essential to a Greater Britain Overseas. You can’t take landlubbers, put them on a boat and have seamen. Sailors are bred to the sea, cradled in it, salted with it for generations before they become such mariners as hold England’s ascendency on the seas of the world. They love the sea and its roll and its dangers more than all the rewards of the land. Of such men, and of such only, are navies made that win battles. Come out to Kitty Vitty, a rock-ribbed cove behind St. John’s, and listen to some old mother in Israel, with the bloom of the sea still in her wilted cheeks, tell of losing her sons in the seal fisheries of the spring, when men go out in crews of two and three hundred hunting the hairy seal over the ice floes, and the floes break loose, and the blizzard comes down! It isn’t the twenty or thirty or fifty dollar bonus a head in the seal hunt that lures them to death, in darkness and storm. It is the call, the dare, the risk, the romance of the sea born in their own blood. Or else watch the fishing fleets up off the North
Perhaps, if the present war had not broken out, Canada would never have realized Newfoundland’s second importance to a Greater Britain Overseas as the outpost sentinel guarding entrance to her waterways. It would require shorter time to transport troops to Newfoundland than to Suez. Should Canada ever be attacked, Newfoundland would be a more important basis than Suez. Two centuries ago, in fact, for two whole centuries, St. John’s Harbor rang to the conflict of warring nations. If ever war demanded the bottling up and blockading of Canada, the basis for that embargo would be Newfoundland.
It may as well be acknowledged that Canada’s east coast affords few good land-locked harbors. Newfoundland’s deep-sea land-locked harbors are so numerous you can not count them. Your ship will be coasting what seems to be a rampart wall of sheer black iron towering up three, four, six hundred feet flat as if planed, planed by the ice-grind and storms of a million years beating down from the Pole riding thunderous and angry seas. You wonder what would happen if a storm caught your ship between those iron walls and a landward hurricane; and the captain tells you, when the wind sheers nor’-east, he always beats for open sea. It isn’t the sea he fears. It is these rock ramparts and saw-tooth reefs sticking up through the lace fret. Suddenly you twist round a sharp angle of rock like the half closed leaf of a book. You slip in behind the leaf of rock, and wriggle behind another angle—“follow the tickles o’ water” is, I believe, the term—and there opens before you a harbor cove, land-locked, rock-walled from sea to sky, with the fishermen’s dories awash on a silver sea, with women in brightly colored kirtles and top-boots and sunbonnets busy over the fishing stages drying cod. Dogs and hogs are the only domestic animals visible. The shore is so rocky that fences are usually little sticks
“Why should we pay for railroads?” the people asked late as 1898. “Our fathers used boats and their own legs.” And one hamlet came out and stoned a passing train. “Checks—none of your checks for me,” roared an out-port fisherman taking the train for the first time and lugging behind him a huge canvas bag of clothes. “Checks—not for me! I know checks! When the banks busted, I had your checks; and much good they were.” This was late as ’98, and back from the pulp mills of the interior and the railroad you will find conditions as antiquated to-day.
If Newfoundland is absolutely essential to a Greater Britain Overseas, why is she not part of Canada? Because Canada refused to take her in. Because Canada had not big enough vision to see her need of this smallest of the American colonies. For the same reason that reciprocity failed between Canada and the United States—because when Newfoundland would have come in, Canada was lethargic. Nobody was big enough politically to seize and swing the opportunity. Because when Canada was ready, Newfoundland was no longer in the mood to come in; and nobody in Newfoundland was big enough to seize and swing an opportunity for the empire.
It was in the nineties. Fish had fallen to a ruinous price and for some temporary reason the fishing was poor. There had been bank kiting in Newfoundland’s financial system. She had no railroads and few steamships. Her mines had not been exploited, and she did not know her own wealth in the pulp-wood areas of the interior. In fact, there are sections of Northern Newfoundland not yet explored inland. Every bank in the colony had collapsed. Newfoundland emissaries came to Ottawa to feel the pulse for federation. The population at that time was something under two hundred thousand.
Now Canada has one very bad British characteristic. She has the John Bull trick of drawing herself up to every new proposal with an air of “What is that to us?” At this time Canada herself was in bad way. She had just completed her first big transcontinental. Times were dull. The Crown Colony of Newfoundland did not come begging admission to confederation. No political party could do that and live; for politics in Newfoundland are a fanatical religion. I have heard the warden of the penitentiary say that if it were not for politics he would never have any inmates. It is a fact that out-port prisons have been closed for lack of inmates, but long as elections recur, come broken heads. So the Crown Colony did not seek admission. It came feeling the Ottawa pulse, and the Ottawa pulse was slow and cold. “What’s Newfoundland to us?” said Canada. One of the commissioners told me the real hitch was the terms on which the Dominion should assume the Crown Colony’s small public debt; so the chance passed unseized. Newfoundland set herself to do what Canada had done, when the United States refused reciprocity. She built national railways. She launched a system of national ships. She nearly bankrupted her public treasury with public works and ultimately handed her transportation system over to semi-private management. Outside interests began buying the pulp-wood areas. Pulp became one of the great industries. The mines of the east shore picked up. There was a boom in whaling. World conditions in trade improved. By the time that the Dominion had awakened to the value of Newfoundland no party in Newfoundland would have dared to mention confederation, and that is the status to-day. One can hardly imagine this status continuing long. The present war, or the lessons of the present war, may awaken both sides to the advantages of union. Sooner or later, for her own sake solely, Canada must have Newfoundland; and it is up to Canada to offer terms to win the most ancient of British colonies in America. British settlement in Newfoundland dates a century prior to settlement in Acadia and Virginia. Devon men came to fish before the British government had set up any proprietary claim.
And now eliminate the details of Canada’s status among the nations and consider only the salient undisputed facts:
Her population has come to her along four main lines of motive; seeking to realize religious ideals; seeking to realize political ideals; seeking the free adventurous life of the hunter; seeking—in modern day—freehold of land. One main current runs through all these motives—religious freedom, political freedom, outdoor vocations in freedom, and freehold of land. This is a good flavor for the ingredients of nationality.
Conditioning these movements of population have been Canada’s climate, her backwoods and prairie and frontier hardship—challenging the weakling, strengthening the strong. No country affords more opportunity to the fit man and none is crueler to the unfit than Canada. I like this fact that Canada is hard at first. It is the flaming sword guarding the Paradise of effort from the vices of inert softened races. Diamonds are hard. Charcoals are soft, though both are the very same thing.
Canada affords the shortest safest route to the Orient.
Canada has natural resources of mine, forest, fishery, land to supply an empire of a hundred million; to supply Europe, if need arose.
She must some day become one of the umpires of fate on the Pacific.
She yearly interweaves tighter commercial bonds with the United States, yet refuses to come under American government. It may be predicted both these conditions will remain permanent.
Panama will quicken her west coast to a second Japan.
Yearly the West will exert greater political power, and the East less; for the preponderance of immigration settles West not East.
As long as she has free land Canada will be free of labor unrest, but the dangers of industrialism menace her in a transfer of population from farm to factory.
In twenty years Canada will have as many British born within her borders as there were Englishmen in England in the days of Queen Elizabeth.
In twenty years Canada will have more foreign-born than there are native-born Canadians.
Her pressing problems to-day are the amalgamation of the foreigner through her schools; a working arrangement with the Oriental fair to him as to her; the development of her natural resources; the anchoring of the people to the land; and the building of a system of powerful national defense by sea and land.
Her constitution is elastic and pliable to every new emergency—it may be, too pliable; and her system of justice stands high.
She has a fanatical patriotism; but it is not yet vocal in art, or literature; and it is—do not mistake it—loyalty to an ideal, not to a dynasty, nor to a country. She loves Britain because Britain stands for that ideal.
Stand back from all these facts! They may be slow-moving ponderous facts. They may be contradictory and inconsistent. What that moves ever is consistent? But like a fleet tacking to sea, though the course shift and veer, it is ever forward. Forward whither—do you ask of Canada?
There is no man with an open free mind can ponder these facts and not answer forthwith and without faltering—to a democratised edition of a Greater Britain Overseas. Only a world cataclysm or national upheaval displacing every nation from its foundations can shake Canada from that destiny.
Will she grow closer to Britain or farther off? Will she grow closer to the United States or farther off? Will she fight Japan or league with her? Will she rig up a working arrangement with the Hindu?
Every one of these questions is aside from the main fact—England will not interfere with her destiny. The United States will not interfere with her destiny. Canada has her destiny in her own hands, and what she works out both England and the United States will bless; but with as many British born in her boundaries anchored to freehold of land as made England great in the days of Queen Elizabeth, unless history reverse itself and fate make of facts dice tossed to ruin by malignant furies, then Canada’s destiny can be only one—a Greater Britain Overseas.
ALBERTA: size of, 16, 39; coal deposits of, 38; investment of British capital in, 104; distance from seaboard, 180; rate from on wheat to Fort William, 187-188; distance from Montreal, 195; from Great Lakes, 199.
“AMERICANIZING OF CANADA,” discussion of, 61-79.
AMERICANS: emigration of to Canada, 65, 72, 273; investments of in Canada, 66, 80, 92; as pioneers, 74, 76; sell ranches as rawnches, 105; trade of with Canada, 128; attitude of Americans in Canadian Northwest to Monroe Doctrine, 244; view of opportunity, 280. See also UNITED STATES.
ARBITRATION ACT, defects of, 220.
BELL, GRAHAM, a Canadian, 278.
BIG BUSINESS, does not dominate government in Canada, 212, 223.
BORDEN, ROBERT: social prestige of, 4; a self-made man, 53; new premier, 91; one of Canada’s great men, 109; naval policy of, 283, 285.
BRITISH COLUMBIA: demands self-government, 11; railway to planned, 14; larger than two Germanies, 16; climate of, 22; coal deposits of, 38; description of, 40-41; investment of British capital in, 104; opposes Oriental immigration, 129-133; coming of Hindus into and problem of, 141 et seq.
BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT: the Canadian Constitution, 11; mentioned, 42, 111, 245; elasticity of, 51; constitution of Canada, 223; provisions of, 228.
BROWN, GEORGE, favors reciprocity, 82.
CABINET, how chosen and to whom responsible, 229.
CANADA NORTHERN: builds repair shops at Port Mann, 179; uses electric power in tunnels, 182; aided by government, 193.
CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY: builds repair shops at Coquitlam, 179; tunnel of through Mount Stephen, 182; aided by government, 193.
CANADIAN SOO CANAL; tonnage passing through, 14; influence of in reducing freight rates, 38.
CHINA, an awakened giant, 168.
CHINESE: agitation against on West Coast, 129; head tax upon, 130,164; a separate problem from that of the Hindu, 138; in British Columbia, 159-167.
CHURCHES, well attended in Canada, 252-255.
COBALT: discovery of silver at, 34; boom in, 67.
“COBDEN-BRIGHT SCHOOL,” mentioned, 82, 84.
COCKNEYS, Canadian hostility toward, 52.
CONNAUGHT, DUKE OF, rebukes lip-loyalist, 48.
CONSERVATIVES: tariff views of, 81-86; and appointment of judges, 234; support Family Compact, 242; principles of, 242-244; support Navy Bill, 283; oppose Laurier’s naval program, 285.
DAWSON, GEORGE, on coal deposits of Alberta and British Columbia, 38.
“DIRECT PASSAGE” LAW: enacted, 130, 142; attempt to evade, 143, 153.
DIVORCE, low rate of, 264.
DOUKHOBORS: are accumulating wealth, 117; law-abiding, 118; influence of priests upon, 124.
DURHAM, LORD: work of in Canada, 226-228; report of, 274.
ENGLAND, see GREAT BRITAIN.
“FAMILY COMPACT”: a governing clique, 9; mentioned, 14, 226, 242.
FRANCHISE, in Canada, 232-233.
FUR TRADE, account of, 294-322.
GEORGE, LLOYD: mentioned, 56, 57; Canada not interested in theories of, 58; effects of tax system of upon investment in Canada, 104.
GEORGIAN BAY SHIP CANAL, proposed, 194.
GLADSTONE, EDWARD E., attitude of toward colonies, 42.
GORDON, CHARLES, investigates mining strike, 117.
GOVERNOR-GENERAL: appointment and powers of, 43-44, 228-230; appoints provincial judges, 236.
GRAND BANKS, mentioned, 323.
GRAND TRUNK PACIFIC: has dock in Seattle, 173, 174; its low mountain grade, 182.
GREAT BRITAIN: withholds self-government from Oregon region, 11; food requirements of, 36; grants no trade favors to her colonies, 43; dependence of Canada upon, 43-45; trade of with the United States, 62-63; her dependencies, 95; immigration from, 95-110; allied with Japan, 127, 132; as a world policeman, 137; shipyards of, 171; need of shortest wheat route to, 197; eighty per cent. of Canada’s agricultural products go to, 202; acquires Canada, 224; secret of her success as a colonial power, 269; overplus of women in, 265; rise of as a world power, 269; her navy Canada’s chief defense, 289; what defeat of her navy would mean to Canada, 292-293; importance of Newfoundland to her possessions in America, 323; will not interfere with Canada’s destiny, 333.
GREAT CLAY BELT; described, 33; mentioned, 303.
HENDRY, ANTHONY, first white fur-trader in Saskatchewan country, 314.
HILL, JAMES: he and associates buy large coal areas, 66; predicts bread famine in United States, 88; on rights of the public, 175; on western fruit crop, 181; wheat empire of, 198, 208; a Canadian, 278.
HINDUS: agitation against in British Columbia, 129; problem of in Canada, 138-167; possible effects on constitution of unlimited immigration of, 245; troops rushed across Canada, 286.
HOPKINSON: murder of, 144; had secret information regarding Hindus, 144, 153.
HUDSON BAY RAILROAD, account of, 191-209.
HUDSON’S BAY COMPANY; monopoly of, 11; journals of mention mineral deposits, 35; governor of testifies that farming can not succeed in Rupert’s Land, 271; effect of contentions regarding Northwest, 276; trade of, 297-298; former monopoly of, 299; mentioned, 302.
HUDSON STRAITS, the crux of the Hudson Bay route, 206-209.
HUNTERS’ LODGES, raids of, 8.
ICELANDERS, story of in Manitoba, 122-123.
IMMIGRATION: increase in ten years, 20; from Great Britain, 51, 95-110; American immigration into Canada, 61-79; from continental Europe, 111-126; from the Orient, 127-167; probable effect of Panama Canal upon, 176.
IMPERIAL FEDERATION, a dead issue in Canada, 47.
INDIANS: number of in the fur trade, 294; rights of Indian wives married to white men, 266.
INDUSTRIAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD: in Canada, 219; program of, 221.
JAPAN: dominates fishing industry of the Pacific, 24; alliance of with Great Britain, 127; attitude of on equality question, 130-132; activity of on West Coast, 134-136; controls seventy-two per cent. of the shipping of the Pacific, 136, 178; future influence of, 137; attempt to draw into Hindu quarrel, 146; demands room to expand, 168; becomes a world power, 269; future relations of with Canada, 333.
JAPANESE: inrush of into British Columbia, 129; limitations on immigration of, 130; exclusion of becomes party shibboleth, 133; a separate problem from that of the Hindu, 138.
JUDGES, position and powers of, 233-236.
KOOTENAY, mining boom in, 66-67.
LABRADOR, as a fur country, 302-304.
LABRODOR, THE, under jurisdiction of Newfoundland, 327
LAURIER, SIR WILFRED: social prestige of, 4; helps allay racial antagonisms, 7; prediction of as to Canada’s future, 17; supports Boer War, 31-32; a self-made man, 53; a free-trader, 82; and reciprocity, 89-91; one of Canada’s great men, 109; and a Dominion navy, 283, 285; mentioned, 243.
LESSER GREAT LAKES, fisheries of, 39.
LIBERALS: favor free trade, 82; seek reciprocity agreement, 83-85; launch two more transcontinentals, 86; and appointment of judges, 234; organize to oust Family Compact, 242; principles of, 242-244; oppose Naval Bill, 283, 285.
LITERATURE: no great national in Canada, 262; Canadians slow to recognize writers, 279; most Canadian books first published out of Canada, 79.
LORD SELKIRK’S SETTLERS, come to Canada, 6.
LOYALISTS, see UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS.
MACDONALD, SIR JOHN: influence of upon Canadian constitution, 11-12; comes up from penury, 53; seeks tariff concessions from the United States, 81; tariff views of, 83; launches Canadian Pacific Railway, 86; one of Canada’s great men, 109; mentioned, 243.
MACKENZIE, ALEXANDER: comes up from penury, 53; mentioned, 81; a free-trader, 82; a man of the North, 295.
MACKENZIE, WILLIAM LYON, a leader in rebellion of 1837-8, 226.
MANITOBA: almost as large as British Isles, 16, 39; coal deposits in, 38; distance of from Montreal and Hudson Bay, 195.
MANITOBA SCHOOL CASE, mentioned 44, 83.
MANN, DAN, comes up from penury, 53,
MARITIME PROVINCES, described, 221.
MONROE DOCTRINE: mentioned, 32, 45, 285; Canadian opinion of, 169, 288; attitude of French Nationalists toward, 244.
MOUNTED POLICE: say crime in Northwest is increasing, 118; efficiency of, 238-240.
MUNRO, DOCTOR, quoted regarding Oriental immigration, 162-163.
NATIONALISTS; oppose Navy Bill, 283, 285; and outside entanglements, 244.
NAVY BILL: defeated, 284.
NEW BRUNSWICK, mentioned, 22.
NEWFOUNDLAND; mentioned, 195; description of, 323-328; why not a part of Canada, 323-330.
NEW FRANCE, conquest of, 6.
NORTH AMERICA ACT, see BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT.
NOVA SCOTIA, mentioned, 22.
ONTARIO: first settlement of, 3; more ultra-English than England, 4; description of, 33-35.
OSLER, WILLIAM, a Canadian, 278.
PANAMA CANAL; mentioned, 14; influence of upon commerce, 27; turns Pacific into a front door, 41; what it means to Canada, 168-190; will reverse conduits of trade, 280.
PAPINEAU, LOUIS, a leader in the rebellion of 1837-8, 226.
PARLIAMENT: composition and powers of, 230-233; a session every year, 234.
PEACE RIVER COUNTRY: mentioned, 16; wheat grown in, 271; wheat lands of, 300.
PEEL, PAUL: lost to Canada, 279.
PRAIRIE PROVINCES: resources of, 350; probable wheat production of in twenty years, 183.
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, mentioned, 22.
QUEBEC, PROVINCE OF: more Catholic than the Pope, 4; size of, 16; description of, 27-32.
QUEBEC ACT, first constitution of Canada, 225.
REBELLION OF 1837: significance of, 8.
RECIPROCITY: Canadians seek, 15; why rejected, 80-94.
RED RIVER, demands self-government, 11.
RELIGION, influence of in Canada, 252-259.
REVILLONS: yearly fur trade of, 298; inquiry made of as to number of white hunters, 302.
RIEL REBELLION, mentioned, 227, 284.
ROOSEVELT, THEODORE, sends fleet round the world, 128.
ROYAL NORTHWEST MOUNTED POLICE, absence of flunkeyism among, 49.
SASKATCHEWAN: area of, 16, 39; coal deposits in, 38.
SCHURMAN, JACOB G., a Canadian, 278.
SIFTON, CLIFFORD: a self-made man, 53; campaign for immigrants, 70-74, 87.
SMITH, GOLDWIN, opinion of Canadian loyalty, 47-48.
SOCIALISM: plays little part in Canadian affairs, 248-251; in Canada, 210, 222.
SOCIALISTS, have never collected money to buy rifles, 149.
SPORT, interest in and forms of, 259-262.
ST. LAWRENCE RIVER, improvements along, 192-196.
STRATHCONA, LORD: prophecy of regarding the prairie provinces, 39, 170; once a fur-trader, 295.
STRATHCONA HORSE, daring of in South Africa, 49.
SUDBURY, nickel mines of, 34.
TAFT, WILLIAM H., and reciprocity, 45, 89-91.
TEACHERS, lack of recognition of services of, 125-126.
“TWILIGHT ZONE”: borderland between Dominion and provincial powers, 145; embarrassing in labor disputes, 219.
UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS: first people Ontario, 3; mentioned, 6, 7, 9, 225, 274, 295.
UNITED STATES: effects of Civil War upon unity of, 2; emigration to from Canada, 15; population of compared with that of Canada, 18, 269, 275; absorption of immigration by, 20; spring wheat production of, 37; government of compared with that of Canada, 50-51; transportation facilities between Canada and the United States, 64; trade of with Canada, 64-65; lumbermen from our timber lands in Dominion, 76; and reciprocity, 81-94; increase in value of fruit lands in, 105; similarity to Canada, 113; political corruption in, 116; why she built Panama Canal, 128, 187; problems of immigration in, 120, 130, 176; emigration to Canada from, 170; shipyards in, 171; expectations of Panama, 174; little aid given by to shipping, 179; how it transports its wheat crop, 183; a source of the British wheat supply, 197; acreage of wheat in, 201; increase of urban population in, 214; as a competitor of Canada, 216; churches of poorly attended, 252; friendly relations of with Canada, 273; comparison of with Canada, 269-277; Canadians grateful they are not as, 277; a “big ship,” 278; what menaces United States menaces Canada, 287; foreign policies of two countries similar, 292; even closer commercial relations of with Canada, 332; will not interfere with Canada’s destiny, 332.
VAN HORNE, SIR WILLIAM C, comes up from penury, 53.
WALKER, HORATIO, lost to Canada, 279.
WAR OF 1812, cripples Canada financially, 7.
WELLAND CANAL, not wide enough, 194,
WILSON, WOODROW, tariff reductions under, 94.
YUKON: mentioned, 16; gold discovered in, 23.