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The Intellectual Development of the Canadian People
An Historical Review by John George Bourinot


This series of papers has been prepared in accordance with a plan marked out by the writer, some years ago of taking up, from time to time, certain features of the social, political and industrial progress of the Dominion. Essays on the Maritime Industry and the National Development of Canada have been read before the Royal Colonial Institute in England, and have been so favourably received by the Press of both countries, that the writer has felt encouraged to continue in the same course of study, and supplement his previous efforts by an historical review of the intellectual progress of the Canadian people.

February 17th, 1881.


Chapter I. - Effect of Social and Political Changes on Mental Development - Introductory Remarks--Conditions of Settlement in Canada--Her History divided into three Periods--First Period, under the French Regime; Second, from the Conquest to the Union of 1840; Third, from 1840 to 1867--New Period since Confederation--Intellectual Lethargy in New France--Influence of U. K. Loyalists on Political and Social Life of the Canadian Provinces--Formation of two Governments in the East and West--Effect of Parliamentary Institutions on the Public Intelligence --Remarkable impulse given to Canadian Communities by the Union of 1840--Difficulties of the Old Settlers--Results of the improvement of Internal Intercourse, the growth of Education and Political Progress--Population in 1760, 1840 and 1870--Rapid increase of the Professional and Educated Classes--Wider Field of Thought and Activity opened to Canadians by Confederation--Effect of Climatic Influences on National Development--Distinctive traits of French Canadians--Influence of Union of Races--Usefulness of Religious Teachers in early times--Labours of the Journalist--Influence of Political Discussion-- Development of Public Intelligence through the extension of Political Rights.

Chapter II. - Education
State of Education under the French Regime--Its slow progress after the Conquest--Schools in Upper Canada--Dr. Strachan's famous Academy --Stimulus given to Public Schools by the Union of 1840--Schools in the Maritime Provinces--Higher Education in Canada--The Quebec Seminary--King's College--Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Institutions--First Colleges in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick--Laval University--Kingston Military College and other Educational Experiments--Female Colleges--Statistics of Educational Progress-- Status of Teachers--Defects of the Public School System--Review of the University System--Advantages of Special Professional Courses as in Germany--A National University.

Chapter III. - Journalism
Influence of the Newspaper Press on the Intellect of the Country--First Newspapers in Canada--Review of Political Journalism up to 1840--Quebec Gazette, Montreal Gazette_, Quebec Mercury, Le Canadien, etc.--Journalists of mark in old times--Gary, Bedard, Neilson, Mackenzie, Horne, Fothergill, Gurnett, Dalton, Parnt--Mrs. Jameson on the Upper Canada Press--Advent of Joseph Howe--Journalism since 1840--Sir Francis Hincks--The Globe and Hon. George Brown--Le Journal de Quebec and Hon. Joseph Cauchon--The New Era and Hon. D'Arcy McGee--The Hamilton Spectator, Toronto Leader and other Journals of note established--Oldest Newspapers in Canada--Number of Papers, and their probable total Circulation--Influential Journals since 1867--Leading Journalists--The Religious Press--Illustrated Papers--Influence of the Press in Canada--Its Improvement in tone and its great Enterprise--The Old and New Times, as illustrated in two Toronto Papers.

Chapter IV. - Native Literature
Society in New France--Intellectual lethargy--First Books published after the Conquest--Bouchette's Works--New Era in French Canadian Letters--Periodicals, Histories, Poems--Garneau, Ferland, Cremazie, Frechette--Antiquarian Research--Canadian Ballads--Literary Progress of English-speaking People--Society previous to the Union of 1840--Early Libraries and Magazines--Authors of Repute--'Sam Slick'--Professor Dawson--Charles Heavysege--Poetry--Romance--History--Miscellaneous Works of Merit--Mr. Alpheus Todd's Constitutional Researches-- Contributions to Colonial Literature by Public Men--Talent in the Legislature--Results of a Century of Progress summed up--Mental Activity among the Intelligent and Educated Classes--Increasing Issue of Works and Pamphlets from Canadian Press--Signs of General Culture--Public Libraries--Literary and Scientific Societies--Mechanics' Institutes--School Libraries--A Grand Opportunity for the Rich Men of Canada--Literary, Artistic and Scientific Topics engaging greater Attention--Writers of Intellectual Power on the Increase--Encouraging Signs of Intellectual Development--Brighter Auguries for the Future.

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