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British North America
The Province of Quebec


By HARRISON WATSON
(Curator for the Dominion of Canada at the Imperial Institute)

It might be considered somewhat of an anomaly that a considerable portion of a paper, forming part of a course which avowedly treats of the British Empire, should be devoted to the history of a colony under the rule of a foreign power.

The country about which I propose to speak this afternoon—the Province of Quebec—was, as everybody is doubtlessly aware, for over two hundred years a French possession. A glance at some of the main incidents of this French occupation affords the only means of explaining the reason why, after an interval of nearly a hundred and forty years, Quebec remains, both as regards its inhabitants and its institutions, to a very large extent essentially a French-Canadian province.

The space at my disposal prevents my doing anything like justice to the series of stirring struggles against terrible hardships and the many acts of personal bravery which form the earlier history of the country. To those persons who are accustomed to regard colonial history as a commonplace, if meritorious, record of commercial development and comparative statistics, the perusal of the admirable works of Francis Parkman would cause considerable surprise.

They will then understand the fascination which the quaintly romantic story of New France, with its strange blending of the old regime and the wild influences of the great unknown land, has commenced to exercise upon a modern school of picturesque writers. It is perhaps hardly surprising that the most distinguished of these should he a Canadian, Gilbert Parker, whose works at the moment command great popularity.

The history of Canada, its gigantic failure under French rule, and its subsequent almost equal prosperity when associated with British institutions, is perhaps the best example that can be shown of the superiority of British methods of colonisation.

An almost equally remarkable object lesson is provided by the present condition of Quebec. There the descendants of the two rival powers which, under Wolfe and Montcalm, struggled at the Gibraltar of America for the supremacy of the new world, now dwell peacefully side by side, each retaining the characteristics of distinct races, but united in interests and objects.

The discoveries of Columbus and John Cabot awakened the enterprise of the French, and Jacques Cartier, a native of St. Malo, sailing through the Strait of Belle Isle and past Newfoundland—visited thirty-seven years before by Cabot—on 1st July 1534, entered a large bay, which, on account of the extreme heat of the day, he named Baie des Chaleurs. Landing at the rocky headland of Gaspe, Cartier erected a wooden cross inscribed with the lily of France, and formally took possession of the new land in the name of his master, Francis I. The following year he returned to Canada with three vessels equipped by the king, and boldly navigated the mighty St. Lawrence until he reached the river now known as St. Charles, and under the rocky promontory which was later to be crowned by the city of Quebec, found the Indian village of Stadacona. Here he dropped anchor on 7th September, and was promptly visited by the Algonquin chief,

Donnacona, accompanied by 500 of his followers. The red men received the new-comers with natural curiosity, but were friendly. Further exploration meant wintering in the unknown country, but Cartier pushed on to the foot of the tremendous rapids, where, nestling below the height to which he gave the name of Mont Royal, was discovered the Indian settlement of Hoehe-laga. Here, later on, was to rise the prosperous and beautiful city of Montreal. The winter turned out to be most severe, and having neither adequate clothing nor provisions, the little band suffered intensely from cold and disease, many succumbing. The remnant, when returning to France in the spring, were guilty of an act of treachery towards the Indians which laid the foundation of much future trouble. Donnacona and nine of the chiefs were captured and conveyed to France, where they were baptized into the Roman Catholic faith. A third voyage of Cartier’s, in conjunction with Roberval, for the purpose of colonisation, proved unsuccessful, and fifty years later several other attempts made all ended in disaster.

The magnetic attractions of the fur-trade were principally responsible for the settlement eventually effected at Quebio or Quebec by Samuel Champlain, a man whose name is indissolubly connected with the history of Canada, for up till the end of the eighteenth century the history of Quebec is the history of Canada. Champlain was a hero of the mediaeval type. To ehivalrio courage and romantic enterprise he added intense religious enthusiasm. Winning the confidence of the Indians, he, with their assistance, carried out successive explorations which, under the circumstances, can be regarded as little short of marvellous. His principal achievement was the discovery of the great Lakes, which he attained by ascending the Ottawa, subsequently returning down the St. Lawrence, overcoming tremendous natural obstacles, in addition to having to undergo most terrible privations. The nominal control of New France was an association of merchants, who now early in the career of the country exhibited the fatal defects which checked its development. The pursuit of the fur-trade was their sole object of interest. As to the colonisation and development of the huge and fertile territory handed over to them by then charter, they cared absolutely nothing. Champlain’s activity and enthusiasm, however, attracted assistance in other quarters, and perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the period was the inauguration of the mission work, which was to be the story of the country for the succeeding fifty years, and the advent to Canada of the Jesuit fathers, who were to play so important a part in the future of the colony. Despite Champlain’s zeal and energy, New France made but feeble progress, and at his death in 1635, the entire colony consisted of but 250 persons and a few primitive houses and barricades at Quebec, and scattered huts upon the St. Lawrence.

We now reach the most romantic period in the chequered career of the struggling nation. Despite his honesty and diplomacy, Champlain had, in order to effect his purposes, been obliged to invoke the aid of the friendly Indians. The Hurons and Algonquins had even been induced to accept Christianity, although it is to be feared that the alliance of the white man rather than any spiritual benefit dictated their action. This alliance aroused the fierce resentment of other tribes, particularly the bloodthirsty Iroquois, whose fiendish cruelty was for years to come centred upon the destruction of the invaders. From the death of Champlain up to 1663, although the rule of the 100 Associates continued, the true control of the country lay in the hands of the Jesuits. For the dreadful history of that period we are mainly indebted to the quaint relations which the Jesuit fathers sent home annually to the superior of the order. Even stripped of the element of the supernatural with which the almost fanatic zeal of these martyrs embellished the chronicles, the record of moral heroism and sublime self-sacrifice set forth must be almost without parallel. Often men of noble birth, education, and refinement, these pioneers of the faith, forsaking every comfort of civilisation, and exposing themselves to every danger, penetrated into the far wilderness. Heedless of the relentless war of extermination which the Indians waged, and oblivious to the horrible torture and certain death which must follow their capture, these fearless champions of Christianity doggedly forced their way through every obstacle. From Nova Scotia to Hudson’s Bay and the Far West, they paddled and carried their canoes, exposed to every rigour of the climate, often wholly without food, daily undergoing almost incredible hardships. The motto of the order founded by Ignatius Loyola, “For the greater glory of God,” never had more fervent exponents.

Some of the enthusiasm of the fathers extended to France, and men and women of noble birth, inspired with a desire to take part in the new crusade, proceeded to Canada. To the raising of nearly £15,000 by the Association of Our Lady of Montreal, was due the erection upon the uninhabited island of that name of a seminary, a hospital, and a college in 1642. Unfortunately, however, something more than the salvation of souls is needed to establish a prosperous colony, and the settlement made no real progress. Instead of making any efforts to assist the colonists and develop the natural resources of their possession, the association of merchants were only too eager to relegate such work to the Jesuits, who gradually began to obtain a hold upon the country in accordance with the aspirations of their order. This influence they were later on not readily inclined to cede. The next few years were veritable years of terror for the unhappy settlers. Conciliation and gentleness held no places in the code of morality of the savages, who, only too well aware of the pitiful weakness of the white men, pursued a relentless warfare. Massacre, plague, and famine in turn assailed the miserable people. Did a man dare to go outside of the palisade to tend his struggling crops, he might be cut down by the lurking savages, or dragged off to be despatched by slow torture accompanied by the most horrible mutilation. Still the records teem with deeds of heroism, none greater than what has been called “the Thermopyhe of Canada,” when Dulac des Ormeaux and sixteen young men of Montreal sacrificed their lives in the attempt to prevent the descent of a combined expedition of the Iroquois and their allies upon the three settlements of Montreal, Quebec, and Three Rivers. At the foot of the rapids of the Long Sault or Leap, the heroic little band held in check over 700 savages for five days and five nights. So deadly was the fire that they kept up against the invaders that the mortality was enormous, and although every one of the heroes perished, the Indians were so demoralised that they retired and New France was saved.

At this juncture appeared the greatest figure in the religious history of Canada, a man whose influence has descended to the present day. The Abbe Laval was a member of a princely house and devoted to the Jesuit party, whose nominee he was. The Jesuits, aware of the feeble, vacillating nature of the civil rule, apparently aspired to the dominion of the new France for which they had laboured so hard. Perhaps they had some inspired vision of a vast empire under the complete sway of the Church. Laval, a stern devotee and ascetic, brought to the countryman even stronger system of ecclesiastical despotism than it had previously known. Even the weak governor resented his claims to supremacy, and Laval replied by an appeal to court, which not only resulted in the recall of the official, but the institution of an entirely new form of government. The charter of the company of New France was cancelled, and the power, legislative, judicial, and executive, was vested in a supreme council, consisting of the governor, the bishop, the royal intend ant or steward, and four councillors, who, holding office for one year, were appointed jointly by the governor and bishop. Laval further had the advantage of practically choosing his own governor. Laval however, with his fixed idea of the subordination and submission of the State to the Church, was bound to defy any form of civil control, and his momentary triumph of supremacy, through the aid of the Crown, was succeeded by a period of intervention by the king and his ministers, which eventually greatly lessened the control which the Church had managed to obtain. Laval himself, later on, received the personal honour for which he long strove and schemed, that of being created the first Bishop of Quebec. The monument of his life was the establishment of the great seminary which was the foundation of the Canadian priesthood. Laval was thus the father of the Canadian Catholic Church.

The accession of Louis NIY. was followed by the brightest years in the French occupation of Quebec. Both the king and his great minister Colbert were impressed with the possibilities of a vast French empire which should rule the New World. Probably with the best of intentions was accordingly signed the edict of 1664, creating a gigantic monopoly to be called the Company of the West. It was at once decided that a properly supported attempt at colonisation should be made, and the aggressions of the native tribes checked by a severe lesson. Accordingly funds were contributed, and a large expedition of settlers, with stores and implements, accompanied by a magnificent body of soldiers, the celebrated Carignan-Salieres regiment, was despatched. The imposing spectacle which attended the arrival filled the colonists with joy, the savages with alarm. The fine company was larger than the colon}1- which it came to reinforce. For a time everything went well. The veteran Tracy scoured the country and inflicted severe punishment upon the hostile Indians. Talon, a man of great administrative capacity, was appointed as intendant, and strove hard to promote the welfare of the people. Unfortunately the gigantic monopoly given to the Company of the West bound the colonists hand and foot, and stifled all independence of trade, which was again placed entirely at the mercy of a league of merchants. Louis, in making radical changes in Canada, and inaugurating the executive machinery which was to last down to the end of the French occupation, had actually broken no new ground. The relics of the provincial feudal system were not destined to flourish upon Canadian soil. There, as in the French provinces, the governor was superior in rank to the steward. He commanded the troops, conducted foreign relations, and took precedence on occasions of ceremony. The intendant, usually of the legal class, controlled finance and general administration. He was required to send home long and minute reports of all occurrences, and was really a spy upon the governor. The idea was that each should be a check upon the other—the reality, that they became natural enemies, and their feuds often reached a condition which jeopardised the very existence of the country. The council issued decrees for the civil, commercial, and financial government of the colony, and for criminal causes according to the royal ordinance and the so-called “custom of Paris.” Thereby was inaugurated the system of civil justice which prevails in Quebec up to the present day.

Talon, although cramped by elaborate instructions, was the very man to galvanise the moribund colony into life. He inaugurated a general scheme of development. The proper cultivation of the land was encouraged, and trade in the natural resources developed. Roads were opened, explorations started, fortifications erected. The king sent out shipments of emigrants with supplies of goods and cattle. Even the soldiers were induced to remain as colonists, and to every man wad promised a grant of land and fifty livres in money. This military colonisation was to have a lasting influence upon the settlement of the Province. The names of the “Carignan-Salieres” regiment are handed down in the geography of the banks of the Richelieu and St. Lawrence. Nearly all the towns or villages still bear the names of the members of the corps.

The number of male settlers increased by leaps and bounds, but was encountered an obstacle that is always a stumbling-block in many countries. If the colony was to grow from within, the settlers must have wives. The Sulpieians had already sent out women for the needs of Montreal. The king continued the work. Large drafts were collected from the houses of refuge in the cities. As they were often unsuited for rough work, the demand arose for strong, healthy, country girls. Squads of these were secured and snapped up upon arrival. Even a few ladies of gentle birth were sent out for the officers and noblesse. The accounts of these matrimonial transactions furnish amusing reading. The marriage bazaar was divided into three classes, and there were brides to suit all tastes. The prospective Benedick applied to the directors, stated his means of livelihood and his possessions, and then made his selection. It is but fair to state that the ladies were accorded the usual privilege of rejecting any applicant who displeased them. Marriage was solemnised forthwith with the assistance of a priest and a notary, and the following day the governor caused the loving couple to be presented with an ox, a cow, a pair of swine, a pair of fowls, two barrels of salted meat, and eleven crowns. Despite the large demand for wives, every means was resorted to to stimulate marriage. Bounties were offered for early unions. Any father neglecting to marry his children when they had reached the respective ages of twenty and sixteen was heavily fined. No mercy was shown to bachelors. They were forbidden to hunt, fish, or trade with the Indians. Temporarily the population increased at a large rate, and I may incidentally mention that the French Canadians have since always been celebrated for the size of their families. In fact to this feature is largely due the concessions made to them, which have resulted in their still retaining so much of their individuality as a race.

Another important system inaugurated was the seigneurial tenure of land. For the double purpose of colonisation and protection against the Indians, the lands along the river Richelieu and elsewhere were divided into large grants among the officers of the Carignan regiment, who in their turn made grants to the soldiers. The officers thus became feudal chiefs, and the settlements military cantonments. These grants were held upon condition of paying annual fealty to the king and his representative. When a sale was made, one-fifth of the purchase-money was paid to the king. Each seigneur had to maintain order and administer justice on his own domain. The military settlers were known as mmtnires, and the lots generally had a small frontage upon the river, and often ran back over a mile. In the absence of roads, the river furnished the means of travel and mutual protection. The censilaire, had to pay the seigneur a nominal rent, and also an annual tribute in kind, such as a pair of fowls or a goose. He had to labour for the seigneur a certain number of clays, and to have his corn ground at the seigneur’s mill; to give one fish in every eleven caught, and in the case of sale of lands, to pay one-twelfth of the price realised. This system became later a public nuisance, but it was not entirely abolished until 1854. The rents were often absurdly small, half a sou and half a pint of wheat per acre.

Despite all Talon s efforts, the colony did not flourish. The trade restrictions with which the country was saddled crushed the life out of it. The Company of the West, with its huge monopoly, grew rich, and the colonists, entirely at its mere}7, remained poor. The austere, severe influence of the Church interfered with the individual freedom. The young men grew sick of their monotonous, unprofitable existence. Sighing for the freedom and excitement of the fur-trader’s life, they openly defied the laws and fled to the woods. Thus the best blood of the colony left it. Those who remained received scant encouragement. The king wearied of the continual drain upon his purse. The company looked after its own affairs. The clergy strove for the improvement of the morals of their flocks, but did little to instruct or improve their condition. The very men who should have taken the lead in the development of New France, devoted all their talents to the pursuit of the profitable fur-trade. Their hot natures rebelled against the trade restrictions and clerical interference with their pleasures. So arose a race of men peculiar to this wild western country, the curious combination of the old noblesse and t-hc rough pioneer, known as the coureur des bois or woodsman. This picturesque figure plays a prominent part in the explorations of the great continent and the border wars. A life of constant incident and bristling with dangers, it exacted the possession of high physical strength and courage. The constant intercourse with the Indians rendered the coureur as cunning as the savage, whilst he possessed a superior intellect.

In 1672 Talon retired, and in the same year came out the most celebrated of all the governors, the Count de Frontenac. Impetuous, courageous, and despotic, Frontenac continued the vigorous policy of Talon. He aided the explorations of the continent, and to his time are linked the pioneers of the west, La Salle, Marquette, and Joliet. Whilst Frontenac was friendly to the Jesuits where they were aiding his projects of development, he bitterly opposed their policy of encroachment upon the rights of the Crown. In the council was inaugurated a series of perpetual disputes and cabals. Frontenac defied everybody, and fought tooth and nail against the interference of the Church.

All this time the English colonists in the neighbouring New England settlements had been steadily progressing, and with their progress gradually approached the inevitable great struggle for the ultimate control of the continent.

The English colonies undoubtedly attracted the most desirable settlers. Untrammelled by the narrowminded restrictions of the dark ages as to trade and liberty, the English colonists made splendid progress. The unfortunate Canadians stood still or retrograded.

The value attached to the possession of the fur-trade brought matters to a crisis. Frontenac, aware of the encroaching march of his neighbours, assumed the aggressive, and now began the massacres, border skirmishes, and guerilla warfare which disgraced the relations of the two opposing powers. Each party profited by the perpetual feuds of the Indians, and played one tribe against another. If the white leaders did not actually instigate the scenes of fiendish cruelty which disfigured every campaign, they stood on one side and used 110 effort to restrain the frenzied Indians from the dreadful slaughters and orgies which terminated every engagement. Instead, the French in particular, encouraged the Indian braves and aroused their worst passions. Frontenac temporarily made headway, but the history of the period is the gradual weakening and concentration of French influence before the better organisation and more enlightened methods of the English. Feudalism had had its day both in the old anti the new France. The Government had simply become the vehicle of corruption, bribery, and every conceivable scandal. The steward and the council fattened like vultures upon the poverty-stricken colonists. France, convulsed with European wars, could lend Canada no aid. Little wonder that the net was drawing ever more tightly round the doomed country. Individual acts of heroism prevailed little when the life-blood of the country was being sucked by those who should have laid down their lives to protect it. In the hour of need Ave And the notorious steward Bigot exhibiting almost incredible rapacity. Settlers’ grain and cattle were seized upon any pretext. Bribery, corruption, robbery, and force were resorted to in order to help the steward and his friends to amass wealth. At length the French were reduced to the stronghold of Quebec, and on 13th September 1759 the British, by one of the most brilliant feats in military history, captured the almost impregnable fortress. The story of the heroism of the rival commanders, Wolfe and Montcalm, is a household one. A common monument marks the field where the two great soldiers fell. On- 18th September Canada passed for ever into British hands. The blow was a severe one to France, and oh his return home Bigot was forced to disgorge no less than 12,000,000 francs of plunder.

The conquest of Canada by the British was the most fortunate event in its history. The institutions of the Middle Ages were at once exchanged for the methods of modern civilisation. Abject submission to a foreign, corrupt court was replaced by local self-government. The Habeas Corpus Act and trial by jury succeeded the dark methods of feudalism. Freed from the attacks of the Indians and the rascality of the debauched government, the “habitant” or settler could till the soil. Trade was freed from the clutches of monopolists, and some impetus lent to the development of the natural resources of Canada. Although purely French by race and language, the conquered people realised that they had improved their condition. The enormous superiority of the French in numbers was however then, and has always continued to be, a feature that required the most delicate handling. Whilst proud of their country and loyal to its government, the French Canadians, like all other conquered races, have been exceedingly sensitive regarding any encroachment, imaginary or real, upon what they consider their rights, and it has required from time to time all the common sense and diplomacy of the conquerors to steer clear of obstacles which have arisen in this direction.

The first form of government was a military one, Canada being divided into three districts, Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers. A council of officers administered justice. This rule, although firm and honest, grew distasteful to the colonists. Although the British were wise enough not to interfere with the deep religion of the “habitants,” the overthrow of all the laws, customs, and judicial forms was resented by a people who have ever been conservative and slow to adopt new methods. As was natural, all public offices were given to British-born subjects, and the English language Has the sole medium of official communication. Outside of the military, there were under four hundred Englishmen in the colony, although after the formal annexation by the Treat)' <>f Paris in 1763, inducements were held out to encourage settlement. The French were almost ignorant of the English language, and countless misunderstandings arose.

At length, after seventeen years of military rule, the unsuccessful system was replaced by the “Quebec Act.” This bill, passed in 1774, was of a most sweeping nature, and whilst it certainly ameliorated a distinct grievance, it must on the other hand be held largely responsible for the marked racial individuality which the French Canadians still maintain, and which has undoubtedly been an obstacle to the progress of the Province. All the Acts relative to civil government and justice were annulled. The Act released the Roman Catholics in Canada from all penal restrictions; their former connection with the Church as to tithes, &c., was renewed. The French laws were declared to be the rules for decisions relative to property and civil rights, whilst the English criminal law was established in perpetuity. A governor and council were appointed by the Crown, its affairs being limited to the control of internal matters. The Act >vas a great concession to the French Canadians, and probably won their loyalty and devotion, both in the war of American Independence and the subsequent war with the Americans in 1812, in which they, shoulder to shoulder with their fellow-colonists of British extraction, gallantly opposed the American invasion. The retention of French civil law, however, has proved of doubtful benefit., as being quite different from that subsequently in force in the other portions of a British colony. The concessions made to the Church, which, it is true, represented the faith of almost the entire population of the Province, have contributed to a continuance of the enormous influence which the priests have always exercised. A large proportion of the people have always been rural by occupation, and as such, poorly educated and slow to keep up with the progress of modern civilisation. This ecclesiastical influence, if in some ways advantageous, has undoubtedly seriously handicapped the efforts both of English and educated French Canadians for the better development of the Province.

The Quebec Act, however, lasted only seventeen years, when, owing to the influx of the loyal refugees from the recently lost American colonies, Upper Canada was founded. The dislike of these loyal colonists to French habits and institutions led to the passing of the Constitution Act, by which Canada was divided into two distinct provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, separated both as to government and laws. This movement, however desirable it may have seemed at the time, was a great mistake, tending as it did to perpetuate the differences of race and institutions between the inhabitants of the same colony.

Despite gradual development, the two provinces encountered many obstacles. In Quebec the country was torn by the dissensions of the French and English speaking citizens. Superior in numbers, as a rule intensely ignorant, church-ridden, and unprogressive, the “habitants” sought to abuse the concessions made to them by the conquering race. The English, better educated and possessing better methods of cultivation and commerce, bitterly resented the assumption of power and authority which the French endeavoured to arrogate to themselves. In both provinces there was a constant struggle for the rights of the people to have a larger share in the government of their country. As in all cases where the actual control is from outside the country, and regulated by persons often ignorant of the necessities of the inhabitants, the original methods needed reform and alteration as the country grew. In Canada the direction of public affairs was centred in officials often directly at variance with popular public opinion. Quarrels and riots disfigured Upper Canada: actual revolt, known as Papineau’s rebellion, broke out in in Lower Canada, and the prosperity and very existence of the Province were in jeopardy.

At this juncture (1838) Lord Durham was sent out, and his celebrated report has had much to do with the subsequent progress and prosperity of the country. Amongst other suggestions, Lord Durham recommended the federal union of all the provinces, an intercolonial railway, and an executive council responsible to the Assembly. The immediate result of the report was the union of the two Canadas, which was effected by a bill on February 10, 1841. This consolidation of Canada was beset with many obstacles and difficulties. Its result was on the whole satisfactory, as the bill made great concessions to public opinion, although it did not actually grant the elective legislative council which had been agitated for. The Act of Union created one legislative council and one legislative assembly, in which each province should be equally represented. The council was to be appointed by the Crown, the assembly elected by the people. An executive council was formed of eight members, any of whom who held seats in the assembly had to go back to the people for re-election. The control of all the revenues was entrusted to the people and the judiciary, by a permanent civil list made independent of the assembly. This Act prevailed until, in response to the general necessity which was apparent for the consolidation of the whole of the provinces, and of which previous lectures will have given full details, the Confederation Bill of 1867 was passed, and the Dominion of Canada created.

Having, I fear at great length, passed in review the leading incidents, an acquaintance with which seemed to me to be necessary in order to thoroughly understand the institutions and inhabitants of Quebec at the present day, I must, before passing on to the natural and commercial features of the Province, make a brief reference to the actual government. Quebec is represented in the Federal Parliament by twenty-four members of the Senate and sixty-five of the House of Commons. Like the other provinces, it possesses an elaborate system of local government. In the case of Quebec this consists of a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by the Governor-General for a term of five years, and of two Houses, the Legislative Council of twenty-four members appointed by the Crown for life, and the Legislative Assembly elected by the people for a term of five years. The system is similar to that adopted at Ottawa, and an executive council or ministry is responsible to the legislature. The local Houses have jurisdiction over direct taxation, provincial loans, the appointment and maintenance of provincial officers, the management of provincial lands, prisons, hospitals, and asylums; municipal institutions, local improvements, education, and matters affecting property and civil rights. Regarding the administration of justice, the Governor-General appoints the judges of the superior, district, and county courts, their salaries, &c., being fixed and paid by the Dominion Government. The judges of the court of Quebec must, however, be selected from the bar of that Province. The administration of justice, regarding the constitution, maintenance, and organisation of provincial courts, both civil and criminal, is left to the Provincial Government, and there are also county courts with limited jurisdiction. Police magistrates and justices are appointed by the Provincial Government. In Quebec, the distinction between barristers and solicitors does not exist. Both practise under the common title of advocate. Both in Parliament and law, the use of the dual languages is allowed; and in law particularly, French is more generally resorted to. Admission to practise rests entirely in the hands of the General Council of the Bar of the Province of Quebec, and all applicants, including even those already possessing a degree, must serve a term articled to a practising advocate. The old French law is widely different from that found in other parts of Canada, Regarding marriage, community of property between man and wife exists, unless a stipulation is made to the contrary by special deed.

Before taking leave of such matters, it may be stated that there is also a very elaborate system of municipal government in towns and villages for the control of purely local matters. The system of education in force is that of separate schools for Protestants and Catholics.

Educational matters arc under the control of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, assisted by a council, and divided into committees, for the management of the Roman Catholic and Protestant schools respectively. The schools are maintained partly by local taxation and partly by Government grants, and are individually controlled by local boards or by the local clergy. Religion is assumed to be the basis of education, and the various Roman Catholic bodies are largely interested in these matters. Indeed they originally started education in the Province, and the system of education always maintained has undoubtedly contributed to the very great influence which the Church continues to hold over the people. The educational institutions are decidedly good, and McGill University at Montreal, thanks largely to private munificence, is one of the most complete on the American Continent; Laval University, at Quebec, has also a high reputation.

As regards natural features, Quebec has an area of 230,000 square miles, or nearly double that of the United Kingdom. Commanding as it does the entrance to the great natural inland waterway of North America, formed by the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, the Province is of great commercial importance, quite apart from its own resources, hi so large an area, naturally considerable variety of climate and conditions is encountered, but lumbering, farming, and fishing are most generally carried on. The seen cry is most varied, ranging from the grandeur of the Laurentian hills and the silence of the primeval forest to the almost Brittany-like picturesqueness of the agricultural districts.

As to population, according to the census of 1891 Quebec had 1,488,535 inhabitants, of which almost 1,200.000 were returned as French-speaking, and 94^ per cent, as being born in Canada. To those who visit Montreal, with its commercial activity and evidences of the adoption of modern improvements of every kind, the preponderance of the French population which exists in country districts is not apparent. Under the circumstances, the proportion of trade controlled by the small English-speaking minority is remarkable, and a striking proof of the possession of those commercial qualities which have contributed so largely to the foundation of the British Empire. Until quite recently, however, the Church and legal profession acquired the best educated amongst the French. Latterly, many French business houses of high standing are to be found in commercial circles. The French furnish the greater part of the labour throughout the Province. They are industrious, sober, and steady-going, although as a rule unprogressive, and a contented people.

The climate of Quebec, whilst subject to a wide range of temperature, is decidedly healthy. The summers are slightly hotter than in England. The autumn is the most pleasant season of the year, the wonderful display of colour afforded by the turning of the leaves being truly beautiful. The winters are decidedly cold, and in the northern districts severe. Of spring, there is practically none, the weather often becoming quite warm before the snow has all disappeared. Winter commences about Christmas, and lasts until the beginning of April. To Canadians this is the most enjoyable time of the year. The cold is dry and exhilarating. The people dress according to the requirements of the climate, and all houses and public buildings are heated—often to excess. Snow falls to a considerable depth, providing splendid hard roads which are of great benefit to country trade. Outdoor sports of all kinds, such as sleighing, skating, snow-shoeing, tobogganing, and curling all flourish, and winter is the season of general social enjoyment. Its arrival and departure are unpleasant, the country roads often being quite impassable.

The great disadvantage of the winter to Canada is the compulsory cessation of navigation for over five months of each year as regards the St. Lawrence water. During that period a large amount of freight is diverted to American ports. With an open sea the year round, Montreal would presumably by this time have a population of over a million.

The population of the Province of Quebec is mainly rural, and agriculture the staple industry. Whilst the Province was originally covered with forests, many of which still remain and are a source of great wealth, the soil in many sections is very fertile, particularly in the eastern townships. The French Canadian “habitant” is a natural pioneer. Easily contented, and industrious if slow, he loves freedom. The blessings of modern civilisation hold out few charms to him. He is not anxious to be enlightened, but prefers to be let alone. No sooner, therefore, does a settlement become sufficiently large to dabble in education and polities, than he gets rid of his farm, pushes further into the bush, and regains the liberty dear to his heart. Inured to the hardships of the bush, the “habitant” soon makes himself and his family comfortable, erects a log house, clears sufficient land for the provision of vegetables and grain, and gradually converts the forest primeval into smart little villages. Both the Government and the clergy encourage these colonising tendencies, and new districts are constantly being opened up. In order to encourage large families, an Act of 1892 gives a free grant of 100 acres to the head of a family of twelve living children. On the other hand, these large families undoubtedly keep the French-speaking Canadians poorer than their English fellow-citizens, and have been responsible for the very considerable exodus into the United States which has taken place.

Mixed farming of the best class is, however, conducted very largely throughout Quebec, and in the eastern townships many of the best farmers are English-speaking. Indeed, the wonderful development of dairying within the last few years is a most noteworthy feature. Farms that were relics of the old seigneurial days, and in appearance and natural advantages recalled the homesteads of Normandy and Brittany, had through ignorance and negligence become quite exhausted. The most primary rules of modern farming were not attended to. Happily, thanks to the vigorous intervention of the Dominion and Provincial Governments, these evils have now been remedied. Expert instructors have been sent through the country to teach the most approved methods of dairying. Stock-raising has been studied. Crops are raised in proper rotation. A dairy school has been opened. Farmers’ clubs have been organised and lectures given periodically. An agricultural journal circulates amongst 52,000 subscribers. I have just been reading a speech recently delivered by the Minister of Agriculture, from which it appears that in 1895 Quebec possessed 1417 cheese factories and 302 creameries, the value of the product being over £1,500,000. As a result the condition of the farmers has vastly improved, and with it the welfare of the whole Province. Many of the villages being quite close to the rivers, have practically during the season of navigation a direct water connection with Europe, and in winter good rail connection with Halifax, St. John, and Portland.

Land can still be obtained in the townships. Un- _ improved farms, which require clearing, cost from 8s. to 2os. an acre. Improved farms, the holdings generally comprising ioo acres, cost from £2 to £6 per acre. Farms can also be rented, generally on sharing system. These figures apply only to the English-speaking districts.

Labour is cheap, and the constant arrival of immigrants who come to Quebec on account of its being the cheapest point to reach from Great Britain, tends to render remuneration to farm-1abourers less than in other parts of Canada. All immigrants are handled by the Government officials, who are of great help in securing situations. Speaking generally, with their vicinity not only to Canadian but to European markets, the eastern townships offer inducements to practical farmers with some capital which are hardly at present taken full advantage of. Cereals of all kinds flourish. Flax, wheat, oats, buckwheat, Indian corn, and roots, are all good crops. The market gardens, particularly those upon the island of Montreal, are of very high grade. Fruit grows abundantly, the apples being particularly good. The celebrated “faineuse” apple now comes over here in large quantities. Tomatoes flourish with other vegetables. The “habitants” all raise tobacco, which they cure and consume. A peculiar product is “maple sugar.” Every spring the sugar maples are tapped and the sap collected. This sap is then boiled down, and the product, which is most delicious, used either as sweetmeat or by the country people as a substitute for sugar. Agricultural shows are held annually, and the exhibition of cattle, sheep, pigs, &c., is very creditable.

Nature has been lavish with her water supply nearly everywhere, which, whether for irrigation, sport, or motive power, is an immense natural advantage.

Lumbering is another very important industry, the white and spruce pine forests being exceedingly valuable. The ownership is vested in the Provincial Government, which grants licences to lumbermen, and it is estimated that 30,000,000 acres still remain untouched. Spruce, cedar, birch, maple, tamarac, and cypress, with pine, are the leading species. Lumbering upon the St. Maurice, Lower Ottawa, Lake St. .John, and in other regions, is conducted upon a very large basis. The unlimited supply of soft woods suitable for the manufacture of wood-pulp, the modern constituent of paper-making, should be a source of enormous wealth to Quebec. Already several very large pulp-mills are working, and nearly every village has its saw-mill. As in other parts of Canada, Americans own a good many of the timber limits, and the logs are sent oh' to the United States. Quebec has, however, a very extensive timber trade with Great Britain.

Formerly the city of Quebec was the most important shipping centre, but to-day the greater portion of deals and lumber is loaded at Montreal, although Quebec retains her position as the shipping port for square timber. The value of timber exports from Canada in 1891 was nearly £1 7,000,000.

The fisheries are another valuable item, about 11,700 persons being engaged in this occupation in Quebec. Cod, herring, salmon, and lobsters are the principal fish. The yield in 1894 was valued at about £500,000.

The Province possesses great mineral resources. The deposits of asbestos, mica, and apatite or phosphate of lime are extensive, and their working employs a large number of men. Of both magnetic and chromic iron there are large quantities. Copper, gold, and silver arc all produced, and tlie supply of marble, granite, and building stone is varied. Pig-iron is made, and there are two blast-furnaces in operation.

Quebec is also an industrial province of great importance. Montreal and Quebec are the chief manufacturing centres, but there are extensive factories also at Sherbrooke, Magog, St. John’s, and St. Hyacinthe. Pew people who have not visited the Province have any idea of the number and extent of its industrial establishments. Cotton and woollen mills, rolling-mills, nail and tack works, foundries, paper-mills, flour-mills, boot and shoe factories, sugar refineries, carriage works, wall paper, cutlery, saw, tool, and implement works, I enumerate as a few. Furniture and all kinds of woodwork form another important branch. As the virtual centre of these varied manufactures, and the principal shipping port of the whole Dominion, it is not surprising that Montreal is a city of great commercial wealth and importance.

Whilst two-thirds of the population of Quebec is rural, there are several large cities and towns. Montreal, with its suburbs, must possess about 300,000 inhabitants; Quebec has over 63,000; Hull, 11,200; Sherbrooke, 10,100, and Levis, St. Hyacinthe, and Sorel, each about 6000. Quebec City is the centre of the leather and boot and shoe trades, and does a large general trade with the fishing villages of the Lower St. Lawrence. To the magnificence of its natural situation I have already referred. As a tourist resort, with its relics of the old world, it is one of the most popular upon the American Continent. The breakneck descent in the two-wheeled caleches, down the steep hills which connect the upper with the lower town, fills the stranger with terror. Quebec is also the starting-point for the seaside summer resorts and the beautiful Saguenay River. At certain seasons there is much gaiety. As the capital, Quebec is, of course, the seat of government of the Province.

Montreal is certainly one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. At the foot of the so-called mountain from which it takes its name, Montreal faces the splendid sweep of the broad St. Lawrence, and is connected with the southern shores by the Victoria railway bridge, still one of the most remarkable of modern engineering feats. In the mountain it possesses one of the loveliest natural parks in existence, and whilst the residential portion contains fine broad streets flanked with handsome houses, the commercial quarter includes some splendid examples of architecture. As the port of the Dominion, the harbour and shipping of the city are one of its main features, and the following details, taken from the harbour-master’s report for the year 1896, afford some idea of the trade: 709 seagoing and 4832 inland vessels arrived in port during the season, or a total of 5541 vessels of all classes. There arc regular lines to Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Bristol, Newcastle, Dublin, Antwerp, Hamburg, Havre, and occasional communication with many others. By the St. Lawrence and a system of canals, Montreal harbour has direct communication with all the ports on the Great Lakes, and when the canals have been deepened to a uniform measurement, ocean vessels will be able to reach Lake Superior. At the opening and closing of navigation there is great bustling and activity. To give an idea of the export trade alone, in 1896 were shipped from Montreal 18,000,000 bushels of grain, 750.000 barrels of flour, 1,722,000 boxes of cheese, 158,000 packages of butter, 725,000 barrels of apples, 97.000 head of cattle, 76,000 sheep, 10,000 horses, 12,500 tons of hay, and 230,000,000 feet of lumber, to mention just a few of the principal articles.

Montreal is the head-quarters of the Canadian Pacific Railway, die longest railway in the world, and such an important factor in the development of Canada. The Grand Trunk Railway, its famous rival, and several other important lines, all start from here. The Bank of Montreal, one of the most important financial institutions in the world, has its head office in the city, and many other banks, insurance companies, and other institutions occupy imposing buildings. The churches, hospitals, and Catholic seminaries are all worthy of mention. The advent of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and more recently the construction of a very elaborate system of electrical tramways, seem to have given Montreal a new lease of life, and the latter has done much to open up the outlying districts of the island.

Montreal, however, really consists of two distinct cities, separated by St. Lawrence Main Street. Eastwards lies a purely French-Canadian city, architecturally and otherwise differing from the western or English city. For if the French have the numbers, the English and Scotch have a great proportion of the money, and just as eagerly embrace new inventions and conveniences as the French are inclined to regard them with mistrust.

Now, whilst I have aimed at showing the reasons of such differences as still separate the English and French-speaking Canadian, differences of race and customs, 1 must, in order to dispel any misapprehension, also clearly state that the French Canadian of to-day has almost nothing in common with the modern Frenchman. The proverbial lightness of temperament, mercurial disposition, and love of variety which characterise the Parisian of this end of the century are foreign to the stolid, steady, typical French Canadian. That love of amusement, music, and painting, which is universal in France, finds but slight echo in the serious, hard-working Canadians of the educated classes. The habitants,” or country people, remain largely what their ancestors were, two hundred and fifty years ago—thrifty, shrewd, and hard-headed Norman peasants. The descendants of the seigneurs, many of whom bear names that are amongst the most honoured in the annals of France, still retain many of the characteristics of a bygone age. Even the language is the French of other days—a kind of patois with a plentiful addition of local expressions, often direct translations of English phrases.

I know many French Canadians of all classes, and know them well. They are wonderfully conservative, and I do not think that any portion of the somewhat varied population scattered over the vast Dominion is more attached to Canada than Her Majesty’s French Canadian subjects. It must not be forgotten that as the original settlers of Canada they can look a long time back, and have traditions of which they are proud unto sensitiveness. Like many other people who have been taught to dumbly accept the dictum of their religious advisers, the rural population, unused to thinking for themselves,- are occasional!}" led away by the visionary eloquence of some inflammatory demagogue, but taken altogether I am confident that the French Canadians are proud of Canada and satisfied at its connection with this great empire.

With the progress of education comes greater freedom of thought and the sweeping away of ideas which are opposed to the advance of civilisation. How marked a revolution is daily being carried on in the Province of Quebec, is apparent to any one familiar with the Province revisiting it after the lapse of a few years.

Circumstances have caused more attention in recent years to be directed to the Far West, which only needs population to become prosperous. To people who, however, possess some capital, a mere trifle in a financial centre like England, but of treble value in a new country, the eastern and older portions of Canada possess advantages that are apt to be overlooked. A large country like Quebec still offers many admirable opportunities for investment. Close to the world’s markets, and rich in natural resources, it is bound to increase in prosperity.

Montreal even now is a city which is practically second to none in Greater Britain, and from the point of solidity stands unique in Canada, and not very far behind the largest city in the United States.

The Province of Quebec, with its magnificent forests, pastures, and minerals, and its splendid natural advantages in the possession of the great St. Lawrence, must have a great future. And there is no more hopeful sign for the realisation of the objects for which its people toil, than the ever-increasing tendency of its citizens to forget their petty differences in a united effort to promote the welfare of their joint heritage.


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