Comus. O foolishness of men! that lend their ears
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub,
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence!
Wherefore did nature pour her bounties forth
With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
Covering the earth with odors, fruits, and flocks,
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
But all to please and sate the curious taste?
And set to work millions of spinning worms,
That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk.
To deck her sons; and, that no corner might
Be vacant of her plenty in her own loins
She hutched the all-worshipped ore and precious gems,
To store her children with. If all the world
Should, in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse,
Drink the clear stream and nothing wear but frieze,
The All-giver would be unthanked, would be unpraised,
Not half his riches known, and yet despised;
And we should serve him as a grudging master,
As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
And live like Nature's bastards not her sons,
Who would be quit« surcharged with her own weight.
And strangled with her waste fertility;
The earth cumbered and the winged airdarked with plumes,
The herds would over-multitude their lords;
The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
And so bestud with stars, that they below
Would grow inured to light and come at last,
To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows. —Milton
Before the new world was known to the old or the old to the new, there lived, and, ruled, and fought, and died, in various parts, men and women of various kinds and colors, all enough alike to be regarded as beings of the same species, but with origin and destination alike unknown. Hence it is that at no time or place in the history of humanity is a better opportunity afforded for the study of men's actions under various conditions than in the seizure and occupation of the several parts of America by the different European powers. Given human nature as a whole, with considerations of the varied temperaments characteristic of the Spaniard, the Frenchman, the Englishman, and the aboriginal American, and the climate and other conditions in which they are severally placed, and their actions can be as completely analyzed and as readily explained as any reaction in chemistry. And the chief conclusion is this, that the more we look into the nature and attributes of the animal man, the less inherent differences we find artificial or actual differences arising almost altogether, from differences of environment and training. Nationality and sect have less to do with the making of the man than association and the teachings and training of parents and preachers. It is no question of individual intelligence or will; out of the same clay is molded a vessel for good or evil; of the same steel may be made plowshare or sword; of the same sect angels and devils. The ambitious Spaniard, priest or adventurer, permeated with a thousand-years effect of the example and teachings of Christ, turned loose among the naked adherents of another religion straightway became fiends; the puritans of old England fleeing from persecution, in New England in the prosecution of their own persecutions, in like manner became fiends, just as the aboriginal American manifests his native and instinctive fiendishness when he catches and tortures Spanish priest or English puritan. Little there is to choose between them, whether in regard to religion or superstition, cruelty or revenge.
The boundless wealth of the two Americas rapidly multiplies by European occupation and civilization. Though there is scarcely room here, and work, for all the world, as was once maintained, yet these first three or four centuries are only the beginning of what is to be. It was the mistake of Spain and her adventurers to strip the country of its surface wealth with so little regard to its future welfare.
Agricultural and grazing lands in their vast extent and productiveness were not of primary importance in the eyes of the conquerors. They wanted gold, which signified immediate opulence and a speedy home return. The English colonists took a different view. They came to stay, bringing home with them, and planting it in virgin soils where the increase would be without end. Therefore they valued land, liberty, and social and intellectual advancement, and were satisfied with a slower accumulation of material comforts and luxuries. In the north and west furs were the attraction, and so Canada came in for a share of attention. The treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants in these various parts was in accordance with the several views of the incomers. Thus the French, English, and Scotch companies, desirous of keeping their domains as a game preserve, with the men found there for hunters and trappers, made overtures of friendship, and were in the main friendlily received by the children of the forest. The English colonists wanted cultivated fields, with broad acres quickly cleared of forests and forest inhabitants; and so the wild beasts and wild men were killed or driven back to make room for the stronger race.
Proselyting, as a business or profession, was more pronounced in Spanish than in either French or English occupation. These last had their missionaries, it is true, and their fierce fanaticisms and other, foolishness, but the sacred and secular were less united than in the first instance. The French and English seemed to believe less in their religion, to make faith and works not so much one, the affairs of this world and the next not the same as did the Spanish friar and soldier. Nearest to the priest when he offered salvation to the savage was the conqueror; nearest to the conqueror, upholding him in his treacheries and cheering him on in his butcheries of the savages who would not receive the sacraments of a strange savior, was the priest. To those who would accept their plans of making the best of both worlds, both priest and soldier were kind and considerate, far kinder than ever were the English colonists of Great Britain. With the Spaniard the love of gold, accompanied by the love of God, and all intermingled with the love of glory, brought in the savage for special dispensation. First of all he must be theologically classified as something with a soul; not brute merely, but human, and heathen, thus affording good work and offering good spoils to Christian endeavor. The Spanish cavalier did not want the Indian injured; he might be put to better use than butchery after yielding up his possessions and accepting the imported faith. Unlike the English emigrant, the gentleman from Spain did not like work; he did not like the labor even of gathering the gold he so ardently desired. And when it came to broad plantations of maize, sugarcane, rice, and tobacco, the labor of the native was essential. True, slave-catching cruisers might help out, but civilized sentiment soon began to frown on human slavery, and to abolish it in Spain long before the Anglo-Americans set free their human chattels.
It is worthy of note how fate threw people from the several parts of Europe upon those several parts of America best suited to their habits and traditions. Had Columbus bent his course a little more northerly and struck the coast of New England, and had Cabot sailed a little more southerly, along through the islands and to the mainland of Honduras, the history of America would read quite differently. The Englishman fighting redundant nature in the tropics, under a burning sun, midst malaria and morass, poisonous reptiles and poisoned arrows, would cut no more graceful figure than the Spanish cavalier with belted sword and plumed helmet clearing the northern wilderness. And in the farther north, who so well as the mercurial Frenchman could have paved the way for the thrifty Scotchman in the forests of the fickle savages? With almost supernatural instinct the Spaniards scented from afar the treasures of Montezuma and Atahualpa, even as the pilgrims scented empire on the iron-bound shore of Massachusetts.
Again, the class of adventurers from Spain to the new world was quite different, socially, from that which came from England. The Spanish cavalier was of the species gentleman; the English colonist was not. Among the ironies of industry and wealth there is none greater than the maxim which makes labor less honorable than loafing; which makes the honest creation or accumulation of the wealth on which fatten the lazy aristocracy as nobility, and royalty, they are severally called less respectable or praiseworthy than to eat the bread of idleness and to live upon the labor thus despised. The nobility of Europe do not earn money, they only inherit; the nobility of America do not inherit, they create. On one side of the Atlantic a man is prized in this regard according to his worthlessness; on the other side, he who falls heir to great wealth is but a receptacle for certain millions, round which, if he does not squander them, he is permitted to wrap his name.
Such a man among people of sense, is but the measure of money; his name in America signifies nothing noble, nothing useful; he and his millions are but a machine for the making of more millions. He is not permitted even the silly satisfaction of wearing a title. No one calls him count or don; no place is kept open for him in social or political circles by reason of his heirship. He is neither useful nor ornamental, a thing out of place, a man turned into a money-bag. It is in imitation of the gods that men achieve distinction. There are gods who inherit; but these are not greatest. The creators stand at the head of the universe, inferior deities bowing before them. The nobility of Europe are descendants of the gods, but they are not gods. In all that is worth living for they are as worthless as the windy title to which they attach superlative importance. This title is not only superior to the man, but it is all there is of the man, all there is to stand in the place of a man. It is a relic of the idiotic and barbaric significant of brute force and imposition now worn as children and savages wear a worthless bauble, not being a true jewel or anything real or genuine. It is in no sense a mark of merit, or a thing to lift a man above his fellows as is, intended, except in societies as effete and mind-enslaved as itself. And as among men, so in the mountains. Gold in the soil, like wealth inherited by the son, too often breeds poverty. Look at the metalliferous districts throughout the world, the places where gold has most abounded; compare them with agricultural and manufacturing countries, and see which are the most prosperous and wealthy today. Then among men; those who have inherited wealth, what are they? As a rule the dudes and dummies of society, the imitation and sham of progress and not the substance. Whereas those who have had to carve their own fortune out of earth or air or water, or other elemental substance; who have had to work out their own destiny, perhaps under great tribulation, these are the men of which civilization is made.
Before the coming of the Europeans the metals were comparatively little used by the natives as money. Such of them as were known were easily obtainable, and of no great value. Very sensibly the savages when they saw iron were ready to exchange an equal weight of gold for a knife or an ax. Nor aside from the civilized nations of Mexico and Peru, did the American aboriginals possess much of what the European calls wealth. There were first of all the skins of fur-bearing animals, which the fine ladies of Christendom do not to this day disdain wearing; gold in places they could gather, but the mere possession of it they valued little, and the use of it as money they scarcely seemed to think of, as I have said. Furs were a valuable consideration in their exchanges; shells were largely used as money, and later the glass beads of Europe. Blankets were prized, likewise horses, guns, and whiskey, but these were of later development. The antiquities of Mexico, Central America, and Peru show signs of grandeur somewhat greater perhaps than that existing at the time of the conquest, but not necessarily evidence of greater wealth. Little of value was found left by the mound builders of the northeast, though there have been found vases of earthenware and copper, personal ornaments of shell and mica, and weapons of stone, copper, and obsidian. The Pueblos, or town builders, of Arizona and New Mexico show in their manufactures of cloth and earthen and willow ware, in their domesticated animals and their agricultural productions, further advancement than had been attained by the American Indian of the north. It is among the cunninger but not more noble Nahuas, Mayas, and Quiches of Mexico and Central America, and the Peruvians of South America that we must look for the highest aboriginal development.
The Casas grandes of Chihuahua, the edificios of Zacatecas, the pyramid of Jalisco, the hieroglyphic sculptures of Mexico and Tula, the mounds and monoliths of Teotihuacan, the bridge at Huejutla, the mythological carvings and the calendar and sacrificial stones, the pyramids of Xochicalco and Cholula, the relics at Cuernavaca and Nativadad, and the antiquities of Vera Cruz and Oaxaca bear witness to an aboriginal culture second only to that in and around the hypothetical cradle of the human race—Assyria, Chaldea. and Egypt.
As we proceed southward the monuments become yet more massive, as I have shown in the preceding chapters. There are the remains of four palaces at Mitla, with carved facades, stone columns, mosaic grecques, and roof structures which command the admiration alike of artist and antiquarian. Palenque displays among its numerous palaces and pyramids beautiful bas-reliefs in stucco, arched corridors, sculptured figures and groups, carved temples and tablets, and hieroglyphic writings on stone. In Yucatan are many ruined cities, as at Uxmal, with its magnificent casas del Gobernador, the Tortugas, Palomas, and Monjas. On the court facades of the last named building, the Nunnery, are exquisite carvings in detail, with high vaulted rooms within. Guatemala can show aboriginal copper medals, fortifications, statues, and the relics and ruined palaces of Utatlan, Peten, Tikal, Patinamit, Petapa, Rosario, Chapulco, Chinamita, and Quirigua. The ruins of Copan are famous, with its great temple, pyramids, sculptured obelisks, statues, idols, and sacrificial and temple altars, the last named bearing elaborate hieroglyphics. Passing the pottery and carved idols of the Isthmus, and coming to Peru, we find copper implements, golden and silver vases, fine pottery, not to mention the towns and temples, the cities of the Incas, and the gardens and palaces with profuse manifestations of wealth on all sides. But the people who wrought these great works were no better in any respect than the forest-dwellers of the north. Indeed, as society regulates its admiration now, they were much worse. Citizens of the southern civilizations were largely laborers, food-producers, clothes-makers, house-builders, and wealth-creators. The lordly aboriginals of the north were all of the aristocracy and nobility; not one of them would work; labor was not for men, only for women. Like the European gentlemen, the Indian scorned labor, and would follow no trade or occupation save that of butcher, butcher of beasts and men.
Canada at present comprises the whole of British North America, an area of 3,500,000 square miles, with a population of 4,000,000, one-quarter of which is of French descent, and 85,000 Indians. Soil and climate here are not so varied as the vast extent of territory might lead one to suppose. Hyperborean in situation, in the main, and excepting the Laurentian and Rocky ranges, the country is low and level, the temperature except on the Pacific being higher in summer and lower in winter than in corresponding transatlantic latitudes. Over a large part of the level surface are spread alluvial deposits thirty or forty feet deep, good for growing wheat; also good soil with substrata of limestone, trap, serpentine, and red sandstone; and again gravel overlaid by rich loam and covered with forests. Large areas consist of prairie lands interspersed with groves, belts of timber marking the course of rivers, and forests interspersed with prairies. The whole region is well watered by thousands of lakes and streams, not to mention the bay of Hudson and the great lakes emptying into the ocean through the River St. Lawrence.
All the fruits vegetables and grains incident to northern climes grow well in Canada, and in places even rice and tobacco. Indigenous here are fruits berries and the vine in many varieties; then the forest and prairie has each its own wealth of flora. White and red pine are plentiful, and in places ash elm beech walnut and birch, also the maple, which yields in sugar sometimes 20,000,000 pounds in one season. To the dominion the forests are worth $30, 000,000 a year, the total of all exports being some $80,000,000. Among the fauna are almost all the fur-bearing animals, and in the waters are every kind of fish, the latter an inexhaustible source of wealth while the former are constantly diminishing in numbers. The annual fish product is $12,000,000, while furs yield less than $2,000,000. Silver is found at Lake Superior, gold in abundance west of the Rocky Mountains, and coal in Manitoba and British Columbia.
Sailing from Bristol in 1497 under patent of Henry VII, John and Sebastian Cabot ran against land at or near the mouth of the St. Lawrence, and the year following Sebastian the son made a second voyage, and examined the coast between latitudes 67 degrees, 30’ and 38 degrees.
France also desiring a slice of the newly found lands authorized a voyage of discovery by a Florentine navigator,Verazzano, who in 1524 coasted Florida and along to Cape Breton, claiming what he saw for Francis I, and calling it La Nouvelle France. Then came Jacques Cartier and explored the coasts of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, and planted there the first European settlement in 1535. For two and a quarter centuries thereafter, Acadie and Canada were provinces of France, and when in 1759 the English took possession, 65,000 Frenchmen were forced to change their allegiance or leave the country. Many of the old colonial French laws and customs remained; rights of property and religious freedom were respected.
England and France worked each after its own way for possessions in America, only to fight it out in the end, when he who could endure should possess the whole. Thus while James I was establishing colonies in Virginia and elsewhere, Champlain was planting French settlements at Quebec and Tadousac. And a little later, while the New England puritans were hanging Quakers, burning witches, and preaching the Indians to death, the English and French in Canada were saving the savages to help white men in the butcheries which should end in the extermination of both wild men and beasts. In the war of 1628 between France and England Canada suffered severely; Champlain was forced to surrender to Kirke and returned home to die. La Salle ascended the river above the falls of Niagara, crossed lakes Erie and St. Clair and came to lakes Huron and Michigan, whence Hennepin penetrated to the sources of the Mississippi, down which stream La Salle floated, securing vast pretensions to France. Meanwhile the work of crushing and converting continued, new camps were established and the old ones fortified, churches and prison-houses were built, and the horrible human manglings and massacres with hellish fire-water and imported diseases, all in the name of Christ and civilization, were continued.
As the French and English fancied they had something to fight about at home, so the French and English in America felt it incumbent on them to kill one another as they were able. Frontenac, with such Indians and Frenchmen as he could command attacked the English colonists in New England and New York, who with their Indians fought back, both sides swinging sword and scalping-knife according to creed and custom. Frontenac wrought no great damage, while a Boston expedition against Canada in 1710 failed entirely. Fighting in America continued—even after the peace of Utrecht in 1713, and when war was again declared in 1745, it was quite natural to continue the fight in the wilderness where they had left it off. Another peace was followed by more war, until at Quebec, in 1759, was fought the battle which made Canada forever after English.
In the war of 1812 between the United States and England there was a little more fighting in Canada. While the Americans were victorious on the lakes, Hull surrendered Detroit to Brock.
Van Rensselaer failed in his attack at Queenstown. Dearborn was obliged to retire his forces from Lower Canada, and Smith failed at Fort Erie. So the foolishness continued. Washington falling and 2,000 British soldiers meeting their death at New Orleans for nothing. England meanwhile being occupied with more momentous affairs at home, both sides were glad to quit, and for a long time the English and French in America had peace.
New France, or the Canada of the French, was confined for the most part to a strip three or four hundred miles wide extending from the great lakes eastward to the gulf of St. Lawrence, and was later known as Lower Canada, the region north of this strip being settled exclusively by the English and called Upper Canada. In 1791 a constitution with an elective legislature took the place of the governor and council provided by the crown, which up to this time had ruled the country, and two years afterward a protestant bishop of Quebec was named, and later a cathedral was erected. Under the name Dominion of Canada, all the provinces of British North America, in 1867-72, united into one legislative confederation, the provinces thus uniting being those of Upper and Lower Canada, now called respectively Ontario and Quebec. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and British Columbia, provision being made likewise for the admission of Newfoundland.
With executive authority vested in the sovereign of England, represented in the colony by a governor-general and privy council, the dominion constitution further provides for the exercise of legislative power a parliament, consisting of a senate or upper house and a house of commons, the former nominated for life, and the latter elected by the several provinces according to population.
Had England made the conquest of Canada earlier than she did, say by half a century, she would have been treated by her benign mother as were the thirteen colonies, and would undoubtedly have joined them in their declaration of independence in 1776. But now the time has past when English colonies are governed in London, or exist solely for the advantage of the mother country. The crown, as a rule, merely supplies a chief executive officer, leaving them to elect their own parliament, which is usually done by universal suffrage. Neither are the colonies great burdens to the crown, but bear the expenses of government and defense themselves; nor yet specially advantageous to the parent state, imposing at pleasure protective duties on its products as upon those of any other nation. One advantage in the alliance is that the colony receives protection from a great power without the expense of a large standing army.
The province of Quebec presents a surface of great variety and beauty. Hills and mountains rich meadow lands, and stately forests, all diversified by lakes and rivers cascades, and waterfalls, and bordered by verdant isles display a hundred charms peculiarly their own. Along the south side of the St. Lawrence extend the Appalachian Mountains, flattening at the gulf into a broad tableland. Vessels of 5,000 tons ascend the noble river to Montreal, above which point navigation is impeded by rapids, but continued through canals with suitable locks. Geologically, the Laurentian system obtains in the northern part of the province, giving way in the west to Potsdam sandstone overlaid by dolomitic limestone, and on this the fossiliferous limestones of the lower Silurian. It is from these limestones and the Potsdam sandstone that the best stone for building purposes is obtained.
The city of Quebec, once a walled town, stands on an elevated headland, on the left bank of the St. Lawrence, the elevation crowned by a citadel covering forty acres, which besides picturesque effect gives the city a strong fortification. The harbor is spacious, and the docks and tidal basin complete. A steep winding street, with narrow steps and elevator, connect the upper and lower parts into which the city is divided, the latter being mostly devoted to business and the former to residence, religion, and government. On the plains of Abraham is a column forty feet high erected to General Wolfe on the spot where he died victorious in 1759. Wolfe and Montcalm have a column 65 feet high in the governor's garden overlooking the river. Occupying prominent positions are four martello towers; in St. Foye road is a bronze statue on an iron pillar given by Prince Napoleon. A fine promenade is the Dufferin terrace which includes the site of the old chateau St. Louis, burned in 1834. On the Grand allee are the parliamentary and departmental buildings, custom-house, court-house and post-office, and the houses of many political, literary, religious, and charitable societies, besides churches, cathedral, and synagogue. The city is supplied with water from Lake St Charles, and has gas and electric lights. Samuel Champlain discovered the lake which bears his name in 1609; at the outlet now stands Fort Montgomery.
Montreal, or Mount Royal, takes its name from a mass of trap rock which rises through a limestone stratum to a height of 700 feet behind the series of terraces on which the city is built. The city now covers eight square miles, the principal streets running parallel with the river. Conspicuous among the works of man is the Victoria Bridge which here spans the river; it is of tubular iron resting on 24 stone piers, and made to withstand a severe pressure of ice. The descent of the rapids above the city may be safely made in boats, which must return however to Lake St. Louis, nine miles above Montreal, by the Lachine canal, the fall of water in which supplies power to several, wood, iron, and sugar mills. Owing to the many creeds of its mixed population, the city swarms with churches, convents, hospitals, and colleges, each denomination seeking to outdo the rest in securing for itself the best in this world and the next. Here we have in the metropolitan cathedral a St. Peter, in imitation of the great structure in Rome. Ten thousand people worship in the parish church of Notre Dame; the Jesuits have a large church with elaborate interior decorations, and near it is the college of St. Mary. In Christchurch the Protestants have a fine specimen of Gothic in limestone, lined within with Caen stone. French and English asylums of every kind abound, and among the civic buildings the city hall and court house, standing between the Champ de Mars and Jacques Cartier square, command attention. In St. Paul Street is Bonsecours market, the dome of which is seen from ever square, and prominent among the educational institutions is the McGill College.
For those who fancy Winter sports, Canada offers an inviting field. There are ice yachting, tobogganing, Curling, skating, sleighing, snowshoeing, and the ice palace and carnival gaieties at Montreal and elsewhere which tend to make this region the winter playground of America. It is then that the native appears in his characteristic winter dress of blanket coat and deerskin moccasins, ready to defy the whistling north wind and meet with favor the flashing sun and crisp inspiring snow, the latter covering the ice in Quebec five feet by Christmas, thus limiting the time for ice yachting in that locality.
At Montreal skating, coasting, sliding, curling, tobogganing, and snow-shoeing are entered into with hearty zest by the inhabitants, while the winter carnivals attract visitors from every quarter. There is a heavy fall of snow and sharp winds, yet the air is usually dry and bracing; the summer is warm, though the temperature is seldom above 90 degrees. Vegetation in the spring develops rapidly, and the agricultural lands are prolific. Extensive tracts are covered by dense forests; lumbering is a great industry, large quantities of dressed lumber and square timber finding their way to Europe. Shipbuilding has fallen off, since iron has so largely taken the place of wood in the construction of vessels. The St. Lawrence fisheries are of great importance, yielding cod mackerel halibut haddock shad herrings white-fish lobsters and seals, while in the lakes and other rivers, besides some of these, are salmon trout and bass. At Tadousac is a government fish-breeding establishment yielding good results. On the banks of the Chaudière and elsewhere are gold copper iron and lead. The wagon roads are good in the settled districts.
Lumbering in the several localities where it is carried on gives rise to certain characteristics. In Canada the various provinces grant licenses to cut timber in the more remote forests. Shanties are set up for the men, and feed provided for the cattle to haul the logs to the streams. Small rafts are then constructed, and bound into one large raft, on which are several shanties, with earthen hearths on which fires are burning; then with banners flying, with boat song and wild halloo, they float down the great rivers to their place of destination. In the coves above Quebec are the booms of the great Canadian timber merchants.
The province of Ontario, though somewhat distant from the gray nunnery ocean, is blest with a long enough water frontage, lakes Huron, St. Clair, Erie, Ontario, and Nipissing, Georgian and Nottawasaga bays, and the rivers Niagara, St. Lawrence, and Ottawa, all contributing thereto. The region is rich in agricultural lands and minerals, among the latter being iron near Lake Ontario and elsewhere, copper near Lake Huron, and silver, gold, and salt, marble and mica in various localities. Petroleum is plentiful in the western part of the province. Apples and pears are extensively raised; after these as important products are the peach plum and grape. All the grains are grown, likewise tobacco and sugar in places. Cattle raising and dairy farming are carried on extensively. Honey is an important article of commerce; the lumber trade is very large; among the manufactures are woolen and cotton goods, leather soap paper and hardware.
Toronto, capital of Ontario, and second largest city in Canada, has the usual government, parliament, and provincial and religious and educational buildings, among which are the King’s college and observatory, university, Osgood hall where are the law courts, free library, and the insane asylum with its 700 occupants. Among the industries are furniture, stove, and shoe making, foundries, tanneries flour-mills and, breweries. Toronto has a fine sheltered bay on the shore of Ontario Lake, and opposite the mouth of Niagara River in the midst of a rich, agricultural district, thus enjoying every requisite of commerce and general prosperity.
One of the greatest and most beautiful pieces of engineering work in the world is the suspension bridge at Niagara Falls, the combined effort of Englishmen and Americans. The spot chosen was the narrowest between banks of any along the whole waterline from the lakes to the mouth of the St. Lawrence; and the river here is about as deep as it is broad, and rushing forward in such fury that no boat could carry across the first of the innumerable threads of which the structure was to be made.
Resort was thereupon had to kites; in air the bridge must hang when finished and in, air should it be woven, the very fine thread the kite carried over was able to draw after it a stronger one, which in turn could pull over a larger wire, and then another and another, until the rope thickened so that it would bear a man in a basket, and the roadway would sustain a loaded team, and finally trains of cars might safely cross; but care must be taken against vibration, against men marching in step, a child being thus able by repetition of regular motion to create more strain than the heaviest of traffic.
The province of New Brunswick, at St. Lawrence bay, has a flat marshy seaboard, fertile interior and forest-clad hills in the northwest. Quantities of lumber are floated down the rivers, and the smelt salmon, bass, lobster, and, trout fisheries are especially valuable. There are in this region large coal and iron deposits some, gold, besides copper, lead, antimony, zinc, and nickel. Metamorphic slates and Silurian rocks obtain in the north, Laurentian, Huronian, and Cambrian rocks in the south; in the west the Carboniferous and Devonian systems prevail, and elsewhere grow sandstones, trap, porphyry granite, shales, gneiss, and conglomerates. At Fredricton, the capital, the mean temperature is 42 degrees variations from with 35 degrees to 100 degrees. St. John is the chief commercial city.
Behind the rock-bound shores of Newfoundland are rolling hills, with an undulating plateau in the interior, where feed herds of reindeer. Lakes and ponds occupy no small portion of the surface, which with rivers and bays make almost as much water as land. In the pine forests the trees attain a large growth. At Notre Dame bay copper mines are successfully worked. With the chilling influence of the Arctic current comes an enormous wealth of fishes, while the gulf stream renders the climate salubrious; mean temperature at St. Johns 41 degrees ranging from 7 degrees to 83 degrees; rainfall 58 inches. Chief among the indigenous animals are the caribou and reindeer, with their regular annual migrations to browse in the northeast during winter and enjoy the mountain air and grass in the northwest during summer. There are also the native bear and wolf, the fox and the beaver; in fact the island abounds in beasts and birds, while for fish, the place is in some respects nowhere else equaled. The cod comes first, of which there are annually taken in North American waters 3,700,000 quintals or 150,000,000 fish, worth $15,000,000. The time for cod-fishing is from June till October. The coming of the cod from the deep sea to the warmer waters of the seaboard for spawning purposes is heralded by shoals of the little caplin, which are good bait, as is also later the squid. Hook and line, seine, and other contrivances are used in cod-fishing, which employs 5,000 men and 1,800 boats. Notwithstanding the vast quantities taken during the past 380 years there appears to be no diminution in numbers. The seal-fishery, worth $1,000,000 a year, stands next to the cod in importance. Herring yield about $500,000 a year, and lobster $100,000. Agriculture on the island is subordinated to the fish interest. Cape Breton island, besides its fishery interests, has some metals, marble, and stone; coal and iron being abundant there are here good manufacturing facilities; the soil readily grows grain, and there is some ship-building.
St. Johns, the capital of Newfoundland, occupies a little niche in the iron-bound coast 1,640 miles from Ireland, and 1,000 miles nearer than New York to England.
A lighthouse, a dry-dock which will admit the largest ships, government house, colonial building containing government offices and legislative’s halls the athenaeum with library, museum, and bank, iron foundries, machine-shops, tobacco, furniture, soap, oil, and other factories, fish-stores warehouses and wharves, with a little nest of shops, are among the leading features of the place. The site is hilly and stony, and the streets of the city are narrow. To dig a trench for pipes there must be blasting. The absence of trees and lawns adds to the aspect of barren desolation. But the people are by no means gloomy, and their hearty and hospitable speech and manner make ample amends for the imperfections of soil and climate. Speech has three distinct accentuations, English, Scotch, and native Newfoundlander. Having no use for a yard, the houses are built on the street line. Good roads lead hence to the coves by which the irregular coast is broken.
Prince Edward Island is a crescent of verdure in the gulf of St. Lawrence—"tight little isle," some call it, and again "garden of the gulf." The undulatory surface was once covered with a forest of fir, cedar, larch, hemlock, spruce, poplar, maple, birch, and beech. Smallest of the provinces, being 150 miles long and from five to thirty-five miles wide, it is nevertheless large enough to have in its capital of Charlottetown a government house and a governor. Its summer climate and scenery are those of southern England. The isle has had existence only since 1763, that is to say English existence; if anything was there before that date it was French or Indian and does not count. It was a fine fishing station in early times, and is now just as fine a farming country, though the whole of it would not make more than one good sized farm in the eyes of some people. Charlottetown has a large market ground and market building; the beautiful Queen's square gardens and adjacent elegant edifices; post office and provincial building; and the fine thoroughfare Victoria row.
The industries of Nova Scotia the Acadia of the French, are fisheries, which rank next in importance to those of Newfoundland; manufactures, which comprise cloth and sugar making, tanning and working in leather, and making furniture, agricultural implements woodenware, and wagons.
There are some 1,200 sawmills, besides grist-mills and various factories and there is some ship-building. Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, rests upon a hillside, above which is a strong citadel a mile in circumference. Among the buildings are the government house, somber-looking but solid, and the official residence of the lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia; the provincial building, in which are the post-office, museum, and city library; admiralty house, courthouse, parliament, and exchange; the cathedral, asylums, houses Dalhousie and other colleges, houses of English bishop and catholic archbishop, not to mention the good harbor defenses and the lighthouse. Pictou exports coal and has a marine railway capable of taking vessels of 1,500 tons.
The peninsula of Labrador is a desolate tableland strewed with boulders covered with caribou moss, stunted spruce, birch, and aspen filling the ravines. The forbidding interior, with its rivers, lakes, and marshes, has been but partially explored, but on the rugged seaboard are some fishing stations, as Battle Harbor, where all men do not refuse to live and gather fish and furs. There are even politicians who will accept office in Labrador, preferring to rule Eskimos than serve Englishmen.
Nowhere in the world can be found so magnificent a system of navigable inland waters as we have in the great lakes and their outlet the river St. Lawrence. From the source of this system, the head waters of the St. Louis River which flows into Fond du Lac at the head of Lake Superior, to the mouth of the St. Lawrence is 2,100 miles. What a wealth of commerce is here afforded to the two great nations which border on either side of this great opening into the very heart of the continent! Then the rapids and waterfalls of this mighty flow, Saulte St. Mary and Niagara, the verdure clad banks and the thousands of beautiful islands and islets! Into Lake Superior alone 200 rivers pour their waters, the other lakes likewise having their feeders.
Lake Superior has a mean depth of 900 feet; Erie of only 90 feet; Huron and Michigan 700 feet and more. Where rapids and waterfalls occur in the connecting streams, as in St. Mary and Niagara, canals are dug through which ships may pass. All the accumulated waters above tumble over Niagara at the rate of 41,000,000 tons an hour, the fall meanwhile working its way up stream at the rate of one foot a year, which makes its journey from Queenstown to cover a period of 35,000 years.
The capital, Ottawa, the seat of the dominion government and residence of the governor-general is a city of hills skirted by waterways. Here also is the supreme court, and the catholic and protestant bishops. The government buildings are on Parliament hill, by which passes the Rideau Canal, separating the lower from the upper part of the town. Commerce centers in the district south of Parliament hill; east of the canal is Majors hill laid out as a park; beyond the Rideau River is the suburb of New Edinburgh, where is Rideau hall, the official residence of the governor-general. Another suburb of the capital is Hull, across the river, connection being by a suspension bridge. The parliament house is a fine specimen of Gothic architecture, of Potsdam sandstone, 470 feet long, with a middle tower 180 feet high, and cost $5,000,000. Ottawa has also a cathedral, nunnery, university, besides hospitals, convents, and the rest.
The Canadian northwest is a granary of not less than 100,000,000 acres, specially adapted to wheat growing, and with an outlet from North Saskatchewan. Edmonton, and Prince Albert, through Hudson Bay to Europe, ample elevator facilities being placed at the principal ports upon the bay, this region will prove an important source of the world's food supply.
The work of the Canadian Pacific railway company was to connect Winnipeg with Kamloops lake, a distance of 1,920 miles, for which it received from the government $25,000,000 in money and 25,000,000 acres of land. By the purchase of other roads the company obtained in time a continuous line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which with feeders finally reached 6,000 miles of railway. Steamers to Japan and China carried the traffic of the company across the Pacific.
Manitoba presents a somewhat monotonous surface of treeless plain, part of which is covered with a summer growth of exuberant vegetation. On the higher rolling lands and along the streams are some trees, aspen maple and willow being conspicuous. Certain fruits and berries are indigenous. The native prairie grasses grow luxuriantly and make good hay. Wheat is the principal crop; potatoes grow large. Winnipeg, the chief city, has quite a little commerce. A warm wind, called the Chinook is felt north of Montana and Idaho which so modifies the temperature as to make productive the soil, which in its virgin fertility yields readily forty bushels of wheat to the acre, and grows grass seven feet high.
In Ontario, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, British Columbia, and elsewhere are experimental farms conducted, under the auspices of the government, covering the departments of agriculture, horticulture, and arboriculture, which assist in the elevation and extension of these industries. Prince Edward Island has a government stock farm, in which shorthorn cattle and Southdown sheep play conspicuous parts.
The first Pacific coast voyages north, like the first voyages along the Atlantic coast of America, were made in the hope of finding a waterway through or around the continent. And as this Anian or other strait could not be found, and navigators disliked admitting failure, they began to set down in their charts an imaginary strait, and to swear they had seen it, or had even sailed through it. Following the voyages made by Espinosa in 1519 with the ships of Balboa to Nicoya, and which Nino continued in 1522 to Fonseca, or perhaps to Tehuantepec, were the explorations of the mariners of Cortes in the gulf of California in 1532-1536, the coastings of Cabrillo to Point Conception in 1542, the adventures of Drake, in 1579, who probably reached latitude 43, the voyage of Vizcaino, who with more careful scrutiny gained the same point in 1602, and the appearance of the Philippine treasure-ships by the northern route which struck the California coast above San Francisco bay. Henry Hudson entered the inland sea that bears his name in 1610. The Russians came down from Alaska and joined their discoveries to those of the Spaniards; Yankee traders and whalers appeared in these seas; English circumnavigators put in an appearance, and the discovery of the coast was complete. In evidence of the imaginary geography of those days are the still existing maps of Munster, 1545, showing a large strait in the north and an open sea beyond; Homem, 1558, in which the whole northern part of America is broken into islands with the open sea between; Ortelius, 1574, showing the land of Quivira, and near it the great strait of Anian; and even as late as 1768 Jefferys made a map which carries the broad strait of Fuca across the Rocky mountains to Hudson bay.
Meanwhile land journeys were made, by Cabeza de Vaca from Texas to Sonora in 1536, by Niza Coronado and Onate to New Mexico and Quivira, in 1539-1598, by Champlain to lakes Erie and Huron, by Nicolet in 1634 to Lake Michigan, by Hennepin and La Salle up and down the Mississippi in 1680-1682 as before mentioned. The Verendryes and others planted forts round lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, and ascended the Missouri and Yellowstone, penetrating as far as Montana. Hearne descended the Coppermine river in 1770; Mackenzie in 1789 explored to the Arctic Ocean the river which bears his name, and in 1793 crossed the mountains to the shore of the Pacific.
But before this last named memorable journey, the philosophic savage, Moncacht Ape, dwelling in the interior of the continent, ascended the Missouri river in the spring of 1746, and crossing to the head-waters of the Columbia, floated down that stream to the ocean. In 1766 Jonathan Carver made an excursion from Fort Michilimackinac to the head-waters of the Mississippi, and the land of the Docatahs, who told him of the shining mountains, the river of the west, an interoceanic strait, the mountains of bright stones, and many other things which were and were not. In 1805 Lewis and Clarke crossed from the Missouri to the Columbia, and following the track of Moncacht Ape to the ocean, returned the following year. In 1806 Pike came upon the peak in Colorado which bears his name, and Long made his camp at Council Bluffs in 1819. Meanwhile, during this same time, from 1797 to 1811, explorations by Scotch fur traders were being made in the far north and northwest, James Finlay on Peace River. McDougall at McLeod lake, Fraser and Stuart on the rivers, which bear their names, Thompson and Harmon in New Caledonia, Williams on the Yellowstone; and for further ocean voyages there were the expeditions of Winship and of Astor’s men to the mouth of the Columbia, the ship Tonquin in Nootka Sound, and finally the establishing of Fort Vancouver, for the Northwest company, under the auspices of John McLoughlin.
The great traffic in pelts of the fur-bearing animals of northernmost America was quite different in different parts of the country, methods being regulated by time, place, and people. There were the fisherman and fur-takers of Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence, forming one class; the voyageurs and coureurs des bois of New France another class; and yet others, the great monopolists of the Hudson's Bay company and their fighting rivals of the Northwest company, the free trappers and traders of the United States, the seal-catchers of the northern seaboards and the maritime fur-trade of the Pacific.
In the commerce last mentioned the sea-otter was conspicuous, its home being in the waters of the Northwest Coast, Alaska, and the Siberian isles. Then there were the seal the sea-lion, and the numerous land animals which contributed to the comfort of man by giving him their skins and making large contributions to the wealth of the world. The existence of this wealth was first revealed to the eastern states and Europe by navigators like Juan Perez, Cook, La Perouse, and Russian explorers and American whalers. Vessels trading to California for hides often extended their voyages up the coast for furs. From 1741 the Russians crossed over from Siberia in their crazy craft, and gathering the products of their voyages in Kamchatkan ports, thence transported a part by land to Russia, and sent part to Kiakhta, on the frontier, where the furs were exchanged for Chinese goods, which were carried overland to Europe. Notwithstanding the distance, the trade was profitable, for the Chinese were extravagantly fond of furs, wealthy celestials paying cheerfully $500 or $1,000 for a suit of the coveted clothing.
Then in 1788 and subsequently came creeping up the coast Boston vessels, with a good supply of Yankee notions, glass beads, little looking-glasses, cheap knives, and other trinkets catching to the eye of the child-like savage, which they were willing to trade, giving what cost three cents for what would yield them three dollars. It was the old story of the Spanish dealings with the simple savage for gold repeated by the solid men of Boston in their dealings with the simple savage for furs. Men are much alike in these matters whether Celt or Anglo-Saxon, auto-da-fe Jew-burning Catholics, or witch-burning and Quaker-hanging protestants.
The current of trade in the last years of the eighteenth century, from the New England coast to the northwest coast of America and China was mainly as follows; a New Bedford Salem, or, Boston craft would put in a cargo of trinkets, glass beads, cheap hardware, brilliant colored calico, plenty of rum and tobacco, and with these and like valuables would sail away around Cape Horn, and on until they came to a people whose eye their worthless trash would catch, when they would begin to peddle it out. The senoritas of South and Central America, Mexico, and California, loved colors in their adornments; hence they were glad to buy bright scarfs, dress goods, imitation jewelry, and the like and induce their husbands, fathers, and lovers to deal out liberally from their stores of hides and tallow in payment for the same. Or if this were too dirty a traffic, or too circumscribed for the advanced ideas, the ships might pass by these gross attractions, and proceed to the gathering of the softer goods of the north. There they would play back and forth between the coasts of Oregon and Alaska and the Hawaiian islands, trafficking in the summer in the colder latitudes and resting in the winter in the balmy airs of the south; finally, when this happy state of things had been going for two or three years, well laden with a rich cargo, the honest spoils of civilization, away would go the vessel to China, where a half civilized people stood ready to give the solid Boston man a good profit on his savage goods in half savage merchandise for his very civilized market.
I cannot do better here than to give a page out of my History of the Northwest Coast. "It is not possible from existing sources of information to form a statistical statement of the fur trade south of Alaska. It was carried on by individual adventurers or private companies; and only fragmentary reports of prices, profits, or quantities of furs obtained were incidentally made public in connection with special voyages. From 1785 to 1787, not including the operations of Meares, according to Dixon's statement 5,800 sea otter skins were sold in China for $160,700, an average price of not quite $30 each." Mr. Swan gives the total shipments of sea otter skins from the Northwest Coast in 1799-1802 as 48,500. "More than once, “said Sturgis, "have I known an outlay of $40,000 return over $150,000." Sixteen ships were on the coast in 1801, when 18,000 sea otter skins were obtained, one vessel in one instance securing 560 in half a day.
The Columbia River region afforded a vast field for furs, but California was rather too far south, although the free trappers and traders of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada secured many packages of valuable pelts in those parts. The French, however, were the first great fur-hunters in America, and their history is the history of the fur-trade in New France. At the beginning of the last quarter of the sixteenth century French fisherman from Newfoundland ascended the St. Lawrence with trinkets to exchange for furs. Letters patent conveying exclusive rights were granted at various times by the sovereigns of France, first to Cartier, then to his nephews Noel and Chaton, and afterward to La Roche, Chauvin, and others.
After the colonization of Acadie early in the seventeenth century, missions were established by the Jesuits throughout the interior, forts built, and trading companies organized, each ever seeking to overthrow the others and maintain a monopoly. While Champlain was building a fort at Quebec, and making acquaintance with the Ottawas and Nipissings, Waymouth was trading with the natives of Maine, the Dutch were picking up skins along the Hudson, and John Smith was making up a company to trade for furs in New England. La Salle had a fur-trading at Lachine, near Montreal, and made excursions to lakes Ontario and Erie previous to his notable voyages on the Mississippi. Among the companies in the field at this time, and later, were those of St. Malo and Rouen, the Cent Associes, West India Company, the Western company, and the attempted monopolies of Oudiette, Roddes, and others, whose voyageurs penetrated to the heart of the continent. In 1698 was formed the Santo Domingo association; the rich fur-dealer, Antoine Crozat, was French governor of Louisiana in 1712; and during the first half of the century, before the fall of Quebec, there were in the field the John Law Mississippi company, with 100,000,000 livres capital, the Senegal, Guinea, Chinese, and Canada companies.
The Russians likewise had their fur merchants and monopolies in Alaska and New York and St. Louis, controlled large areas, the Astor expeditions across the continent emanating from the former city; Laclede Maxan and company held sway at New Orleans, and from the fort of Auguste and Pierre Chouteau, standing where now stands St. Louis besides several, large companies having operations beyond the Rocky mountains hundreds of free trappers scattered themselves out over the prairies and into the forests, disputing with the red man over his prey.
But the greatest of all great fur companies was that chartered by Charles II in 1670 under the name of the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay and commonly called, the Hudson’s Bay Company. First governor of this company was Prince Rupert and among its members, were dukes earls knights and gentlemen, while the domain over which extended their jurisdiction was not less than 1,000 by 2,000 miles in extent, being bounded by Hudson Bay and the Arctic and Pacific oceans. The £10,500 original stock was increased finally to about £2,000,000. They had forty posts, frequented by 80,000 Indians, whom as a rule they treated fairly, such a course being necessary to their trade. The 2,000 Scotch English and French officers and servants of the company comprised a governor, chief factors, chief traders, masters, and clerks of forts.
For a Iong time this monster monopoly held sway over a territory as large as all Europe. until there arose a fierce opposition in the Northwest company of Montreal, composed also of Scotch, French, and English traders, many of its members having formerly been in the service of the Hudson’s Bay company. Inspired with the spirit of rivalry, the new associates pushed enterprise beyond the lake region to the Arctic and the Pacific oceans, engaging in frequent and fierce hand to hand fights with their brethren of the Hudson's Bay company, and not resting from their efforts until they had possession of the whole Northwest Coast with even Astor's men driven from the Columbia river. Their principal posts were Fort William in the east and Vancouver in the west. Michilimackinac remaining the headquarters of the Hudson's Bay company in the vicinity of the lakes.
A picture of Fort William in its palmy days, representative of a hundred other less important posts, revives m memory a great traffic forever passed away. In the center of some ten acres of ground enclosed in palisades stood the principal building of the fort, comprising caravansary and council-chamber, where were the spacious dining-hall and rooms of the officers. Surrounding the main building were storehouses and factories, where goods were sold and pelts bought and packed, besides many other smaller houses for the use of the servants of the company, clerks, mechanics, and boatmen. "Outside the stockade," and on either side of it, continuing the, description from the History of the Northwest Coast, "during the summer fortnight of business festivity were two encampments of three or four hundred men each, the one on the east side of the fort being the mangeurs de lard, or pork-eaters, comers and goers between Montreal and Fort William, and those on the west side the hivernants, or winterers in the field." A banqueting scene is thus described. "It was the hour for dining, when, the sober business of the day accomplished, like old feudal barons the wintering partners, each surrounded by his retainers, had entered the great banqueting hall, there to meet the still more august magnates from the city, that the glories of the fortress shone resplendent. Running parallel down the hall were two large tables loaded with the combined products of forest and field, prepared by skilled cooks and served by experienced stewards from London. At the head of each table a proprietor-agent, the highest officer of the association, took his seat, and on either side partners, clerks, guides, and interpreters arranged themselves according to their several pretensions. The Montreal partners were nabobs richly attired, and with the surroundings, whether at home, en voyage, or at the rendezvous, of luxury and wealth. In the city they kept open house and entertained like lords, and in the field, though they should sleep upon the ground, they slept soundly, and were attended like monarchs." In 1821, the two companies having laid down their arms, a union was effected, the name Hudson’s Bay company being retained to cover both associations. By act of parliament exclusive privileges were granted, which continued in force with certain changes until in 1859, the country being invaded by gold-seekers and settlers, the license of exclusive trade was not renewed, British Columbia was erected into a crown colony, and the great fur-company became a private trading corporation.
Gold was discovered on Eraser River in 1857, and history begins anew. The presence of the metal on Vancouver and Queen Charlotte islands, on the Keena and Thompson rivers, and elsewhere in British Columbia had long been known to the fur-traders, and the fact kept carefully concealed, lest their business should be ruined by inrushing adventurers. But prospectors from California and Oregon could not be prevented from quietly ascending the streams of the far northwest in pursuit of their particular game, nor when found could the inroads of diggers be checked. The only thing for government and the fur-company to do was to accept the situation and make the best of it, which after all was to prove a blessing to the country in hastening its settlement. About 300 ounces were obtained from the gold-fields in the latter part of 1857, and during the first three months of the year following 500 ounces more were brought in. As the news spread southward, and specimens were shown at Portland, San Francisco, the excitement ran high. Many thought the British Columbia mines would rival those of California and Australia, and a general rush, overland and by sea, set in for Fraser River. Victoria suddenly assumed metropolitan proportions, being filled with adventurers of every class, color, and nationality, fur-traders, gold-seekers, merchants, gamblers, preachers, and law-manipulators. Before the decline on Fraser River, important mines were discovered in the caribou country, and later in northern regions yet more remote.
Gold deposits on the tributaries of the Columbia and Fraser rivers were found in the beds and on the banks of the streams, the latter often rising in terraces to a considerable distance above and away from the water. Naturally the metal most easily obtained was first gathered, such as was found in crevices or lodged in the sand-bars which frequently are formed at the bend of the river. After this came the dry diggings of the gravel-beds and banks, where the dirt must be brought to the water or the water earned on to the ground many through ditches or otherwise.
The terrace deposits covered an area several thousand square miles, but in many places the metal was not present in paying quantities. In the dry diggings, as a rule, the gold was found in rather small particles, while that of the river bars consisted of fine flat scales. Yet in some districts this order of things was reversed, the coarse gold being found in the terraces, and the fine gold in the riverbeds. The yield of the Fraser river mines the first year was about $2,000,000, falling off rapidly during the decade, and amounting in all to probably not more than $10,000,000, while the Caribou country and contiguous districts gave out during a period of twenty years some $30,000,000.
Valuable coal deposits were found at various places on or near the sea cost, the most important being at Nanaimo. At the mouth of Fraser river, where terminates the Canadian Pacific railway, is laid out on a vast scale the town of Vancouver, with suitable docks for the use of the trans-Pacific steamships. The custom house is at Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia, while at Esquimalt are the government works, fortifications, naval station, dry-dock, and arsenal.
Miscellany—Cartier was thinking of gold and diamonds, rather than of a vast region of red men and wild animals, when he ascended the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga.
Newfoundland has a seacoast of 1,000 miles, and an area of 23,000,000 acres; New Brunswick 400 miles of seaboard and 22,000,000 acres: Nova Scotia 12,000,000 acres.
The estimated value of farms in Upper Canada, in 1865, was £60,000,000, live stock £9,000,000, timber, £2,000,000, total exports forest and farm produce £10,000,000.
In the olden time a skin was the unit of value, not a real but a theoretical skin. Doubtless this standard of currency was fixed when the Indian knew no difference between a beaver worth $3, and a silver fox worth $300. At all events this imaginary settled itself down to a currency value of about half a dollar, so that an average beaver was worth ten skins, a musk ox thirty skins, and so on, small change being made in muskrats, one-tenth of a skin, mink two skins, lynx four skins, wolverine sixteen skins.
Manitoba claims a yield of forty bushels to the acre in cereals of which the valley of the Mississippi will produce but fourteen bushels; indeed it has been said that cultivated, plants obtain their maximum of productiveness near the northern limit of their growth.
So great has become the cattle trade of Manitoba, that the firm of Gordon and Ironside sometimes gives the railway an order at one time for 1,000 cars for shipment to Montreal.
The $50,000,000 worth of Catholic Church property in Canada is not taxed by the government.
The St. Mary canal, which connects lakes Superior and Huron, cost about $4,000,000, the lock measuring 900 by 60 feet, and 20 feet deep. It is said that more freight passes through this than through the Suez Canal, reaching sometimes 15,000,000 tons a year, in ships carrying each from 50,000 to 100,000 bushels of wheat.
The total mineral production of Canada is about $20,000,000 a year.
The estimate for the Canadian Pacific cable from Vancouver island to Australia and maintenance for three years was $10,000,000.
The Nova Scotia coal product is about 2,000,000 tons a year, of which Cape Breton contributes 1,225,000 tons Cumberland, 475,000 tons, and Pictou the remainder.
The freestone quays of Montreal cost $15,000,000.
Canada exports 100,000,000, pounds of cheese annually.
Canadian asbestos is produced to the value of $1,000,000 a year.
British Columbia has given out gold to the value of nearly $50,000,000.
The Canadian Pacific railway is an important factor in Canadian polotics, as well as in the development of the country.
Late developments of placer gold on the upper Yukon and its tributaries point toward the possibilities of vast wealth in the New Northwest. We have here the confluence, or perhaps the point of departure, of the three great chains, the Rocky Mountains the Cascade-Nevada range, and the Coast range, in all of which precious and base metals are profusely scattered; and the theory has been advanced by some that here in this frozen land beside a frozen sea the furnace fires once burned winch prepared and sent forth the metals on their course, all along the lines through North and South America to Tierra del Fuego.
The gold product of the world for 1896 has been estimated at $205,000,000, and for 1897, $240,000,000. Of this Canada gave $3,000,000 to the former and $10,000,000 to the latter year, $6,000,000 being brought in from the newly discovered mines of the Klondike country.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century the gold product of the world may be fairly estimated at $4,000,000,000, while the probability for the output during the first quarter of the twentieth century is much greater. This enormous addition to the world's standard currency must necessarily affect values in no small degree.
Prior to the recent discoveries in the Yukon-Klondike region the Canadian mines gave to the world in gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, coal, gypsum, manganese, mineral oil, salt, slate, and stone values to the amount of $4,000,000 or $5,000,000.
Half the population of Canada are engaged in agriculture, who handle yearly 200,000,000 of bushels of products.
Half the surface of Canada is covered with forests from, which $30,000,000 worth of timber is exported annually. Conspicuous among the forest trees are white and red pine, ash, beech, elm maple, walnut, cedar, birch, and tamarack.
Revenue and expenditure of the dominion of Canada are about $40,000,000 annually.
Canada exports annually products to the amount of $100,000,000 and imports $120,000,000. From the fisheries come $20,000,000 a year, $8,000,000 of which are exported. To her magnificent natural waterways, the finest facilities are added to the transportation system of Canada in canals and railroads. Up from the ocean by the St. Lawrence and its lakes, aided by the Cornwall, Rideau Welland, and other canals the revenue from which reaches $400,000 annually, penetrating the interior farther by way of the great lakes and the lakes and rivers above and, well nigh half of the vast continent may be traversed by ships and boats.
The railroads connecting with and branching out from the water-system are fast covering the country, and leave little to be desired in the way of facilities for transportation in Canada.