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Canada and its Provinces
General Editors: Adam Shorty and Arthur G. Doughty

Editors Introduction

SELDOM in the history of a nation has there been such rapid economic development as Canada has enjoyed during the last two decades. Within that time the Dominion has felt the throb of a new industrial life from ocean to ocean. Railroads have opened up to the settler vast stretches of fertile soil. Immigration has proceeded vigorously, and the country has received a large influx of population from both Europe and the United States. Wide tracts of prairie land, which twenty years ago were uninhabited and which appalled the traveller by their unbroken solitude, are now dotted with the buildings of the settler. Cities and towns have sprung up, as in a night, equipped with the conveniences of modem civilization. The increase in the production of gold and silver has been no less phenomenal—the fame of the Yukon and of the Cobalt region has gone all over the world. From Sydney on the Atlantic to Prince Rupert on the Pacific the signs of rapid advancement are everywhere visible. Vacant lands are being settled, mineral resources exploited, great rivers bridged and mountains scaled or tunnelled. The shifting of population from the older and historic settlements to the new sections and from rural districts to urban centres is also a feature of the present situation. While European nations have been devoting much of their energy to navies and armies, Canada has been concentrating all her forces on the conquest of nature for the use of man.

But, in the enthusiasm of commercial and industrial activity, of increasing wealth and population, it is not to be forgotten that the national character is not moulded exclusively by economic causes. Flung over an enormous geographic range, the Canadian communities are not yet bound together by continuity of settlement. There remain differences of environment, of local interest, of language and race. Under such conditions the danger of sectionalism, in spite of material success, is greatly to be feared, unless this destructive tendency is met by the positive and constructive idea of the Nation.

To the end that a broad national spirit should prevail in all parts of the Dominion, it is desirable that a sound knowledge of Canada as a whole, of its history, traditions and standards of life, should be diffused among its citizens, and especially among the immigrants who are peopling the new lands. Commercial and industrial ambition, so strong a motive in every new country, will naturally lead men to inform themselves concerning its business advantages, but mere wealth-making is not the chief essential of citizenship. Good citizenship grows out of a patriotic interest in the institutions of one’s country and a sympathy with the people who dwell there. Such interest and sympathy are possible in large measure only to those who are familiar with their country’s past. Now, Canada’s past, though brief compared with that of the Motherland or other European countries, is full of interest, instruction, and even romance. The story of the early centuries is fascinating and dramatic. It has its conspicuous examples of high endeavour and brave accomplishment—such as the heart of youth always delights in—in defence, in business enterprise, in education, in religion and in statecraft. Without exaggerating its favourable features or minimizing or ignoring those that are less attractive, the record of the stages through which Canada’s various provinces have passed, from the state of nature in which they were found by the first European explorers and settlers to their present condition of civilization, may be so presented as to awaken not only the interest but the patriotic pride of every intelligent citizen. With this story every Canadian should be acquainted, both for his own enlightenment and for the good of the state.

The work which is here presented to the public has been planned and undertaken on a comprehensive scale, both in the sense that it covers the entire history of Canada and its provinces, and in the sense that those who write represent all parts of the Dominion and their more or less diverse points of view. The range of facts is so wide and the topics so various and complex that no one author could possibly compass them. The work, therefore, has been apportioned among many writers, each of whom has some special sympathy and aptitude for the topic with which he deals. In adopting this co-operative plan the Editors have followed not merely the logic of their theme, but the practice of modern historians in other and older countries.

The co-operative method, while involving the Editors in some difficulties, has obvious advantages to the reader. Although two or more writers may deal with the same event or personality, they do so from different angles, and what sometimes appears to be duplication serves to clarify a complex situation by presenting it from more than one point of view. A financial measure, for instance, having as a direct object the raising of revenue, is dealt with in that aspect by the writer on public finance. But the same measure in its course through parliament may have proved the occasion of a political crisis; in that phase it is treated by one of the writers dealing with political history. The measure may also have affected domestic trade or foreign trade relations, raising questions for the consideration of a third writer whose subject is economic history. From each of the three standpoints new light is given, and a comprehensive view of the whole matter is thus afforded.

The plan of the work embraces twelve main divisions or sections as follows :

I. New France, 1534-1760.
II. British Dominion, 1760-1840.
III. United Canada, 1840-1867.
IV. The Dominion: Political Evolution
V. The Dominion: Industrial Expansion
VI. The Dominion: Missions, Arts and Letters
VII. The Atlantic Provinces.
VIII. The Province of Quebec
IX. The Province of Ontario
X. The Prairie Provinces
XI. The Pacific Province
XII. Documentary Notes, General Index

It will be observed that these titles indicate two distinct classes of history—one general or national, and the other local or provincial. A recital here of all the considerations which led the Editors to adopt this system would be of little service to the reader. It is enough to say that the Editors arrived at this method after much study and experiment, and that in their judgment it appears to be the only way in which a complete historical survey can be made of the Canadian people and their institutions. Broadly, the first six sections cover New France, the two Canadas, United Canada, and the Dominion. The topics treated in the five provincial sections may be generalized as (1) Pioneer Settlement, (2) Provincial Political History since Confederation, (3) Provincial and Municipal Government, (4) Education, and (5) Resources. In general it may be said that all matters of Canadian history not covered by one of these heads are to be looked for in the first six sections, although there are necessarily deviations from this rule. The pre-Confederation history of the Atlantic Provinces, for instance, has little connection with that of the Canadas, and it is therefore given in the provincial section. The same is true of British Columbia.

Although the normal historical order is followed as closely as possible, the work is arranged on topical rather than on chronological lines. This makes it possible and convenient to institute comparisons, if desired, between one province and another in the same matter. Thus it will be seen that the work may serve the reader in a variety of ways: (1) as a general history of Canada, (2) as a special history of any one of the provinces, (3) as a comparative history of similar institutions in the different provinces, or (4) as an independent study of any leading historical topic relating to Canada. For specific events or facts the General Index will supply a full and ready guide. The Documentary Notes in the final volume will traverse the text of the narratives and cite authorities.

The average citizen cannot be expected to know the story of his country in every detail, but- he should know its outstanding events, personalities and tendencies, while those who are creating and guiding public opinion should have at their command at all times the fullest possible information for use as each new occasion may demand. With knowledge, the prejudice and narrowness of sectionalism give way to an enlightened patriotism which vibrates to the sentiment of nationality and holds high above all else the welfare of the whole commonwealth. For these and other reasons the preparation of a comprehensive history of Canada at the present time may be regarded as a contribution to the development of the Dominion.

Volume I. New France, 1534-1760 Part I.
Volume II.  New France, 1534-1760 Part II.
Volume III. British Dominion 1760 -1840 Part I.
Volume IV. British Dominion 1760 -1840 Part II.
Volume V. United Canada 1840-1867
Volume VI. The Dominion: Political Evolution Part I.
Volume VII. The Dominion: Political Evolution Part II.
Volume VIII. The Dominion: Political Evolution Part III.
Volume IX. The Dominion: Industrial Expansion Part I.
Volume X. The Dominion: Industrial Expansion Part II.
Volume XI. The Dominion: Missions; Arts and Letters Part I.
Volume XII. The Dominion: Missions; Arts and Letters Part II.
Volume XIII. The Atlantic Provinces Part I.
Volume XIV. The Atlantic Provinces Part II.
Volume XV. The Province of Quebec Part I.
Volume XVI. The Province of Quebec Part II.
Volume XVII. The Province of Ontario Part I.
Volume XVIII. The Province of Ontario Part II.
Volume XIX. The Prairie Provinces Part I.
Volume XX. The Prairie Provinces Part II.
Volume XXI. The Pacific Province Part I.
Volume XXII. The Pacific Province Part II.
Volume XXIII. General Index, Manuscript Sources, Bibliography

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