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has been that the duty I had undertaken would be imperfectly executed if I failed in the essential fact of creating a record which would prove a safe guide for the future. The date to which I purpose to continue my labours is the time when the unlimited influence of the colonial office ceased to prevail. In 1841 Canada became a self-governing province as far as her municipal institutions are affected, her home policy in the future being determined by a ministry responsible to the vote of the legislature. Thus, the class of officials responsible in theory to the governor-general only, but depending greatly on the influence they could command in London, passed away from all active direction of our affairs.
It is important that we correctly know the working of this control exercised by the central home authority, which, if it did not impede, certainly did not advance the progress and prosperity of the province. There grew up in London a distrust of what was asked in the colony at variance with the theories there entertained of what was expedient. These home opinions were obstinately adhered to, not as a consequence of the colonial relation itself, but because colonial sentiment and its requirements were not understood.
No man of capacity in public life in Canada can at this hour suppose that what we may describe as imperial interests ought at any time to be unduly sacrificed to assure the weal of the dominion. On the other hand, it must be plainly understood by imperial statesmen, and by British office holders, many of whom cling to past traditions, that our just and fair claims are not to be set aside in subordination to the party exigencies of the ministry in power in England. Nor should these interests fail to claim consideration owing to the intervention of powerful influences, having the support of imperial officials from motives it is no use weighing or even examining. Any history of the past should clearly trace, as far as it is possible, the relations which existed in the period of our political tutelage, so that we may attribute the disturbing influences then experienced to the right causes, and draw the moral by which in future they may be avoided.
The population of the dominion at the present date is five millions, nearly four times that of the United States at the declaration of independence in 1776. For the last half century the dominion has possessed self-government, accorded in the most liberal spirit, and we have matured within that period many of the theories affecting our political relationship, which, prior to this time, were either imperfect or unformed. We have learned to estimate better our rights and our responsibilities. Our knowledge of the practical science of government has taught us that mere acknowledgment of the existence of a wrong from which we suffer cannot be accepted as the rectification of it. Moreover, as an important element of the imperial system of Great Britain, we understand what we may with propriety ask, the form in which the request may be couched, and the persistence with which the demand may be repeated.
If we desire rightly to act upon this principle, a knowledge of our history, with all the influences having relation to it, is indispensable to the teaching both of ourselves and the imperial authorities. Such a history becomes of value in modern political relationships, not by adding wearisome and often inapposite citations concerning admitted facts, but by so presenting a fair and general view of former times that it may guide us in our future diplomacy. This is the chief point I have kept in view while engaged on these volumes. In this spirit, I have endeavoured to present a record, with its attendant circumstances, which may hereafter prove of practical utility.
In some instances remarks have been made upon the number of these volumes, as if it were a matter of wonder that Canada had any history at all. Such a criticism presupposes the idea that the received examplar of what chronicle we possess should be contained in a small volume of a few pages, in which dates should figure as prominently as events; the latter being related almost as briefly as they would appear in the summary of an almanac. Humbly believing that a very different work is required, not only in the dominion, but by imperial statesmen, and by members of the British parliament who desire to deal fairly and justly with Canada, and generally by the British student of our history, I have devoted the last eight years of my life to the production of this work, sustained by the hope that it will achieve its purpose, and lead to a just consideration, both of imperial and of dominion obligations on the part of the home government and of Canadians.
Although my labours have been generously and kindly noticed by many of the leading public journals of Great Britain, and attention has been forcibly directed to the volumes which have appeared, and I can acknowledge much sympathy and kindness in Canada in very many quarters, the work itself has in England been considered worthy of notice by an extremely limited number of those who have to safeguard the union of the component parts of the empire. I do not wish to sustain this remark by any statistical statement, but I may express the hope that the interest felt towards Canada and the recognition of her importance as the protagonist province of the outer empire of Great Britain, are in no way typified by the reception which these volumes have received in the mother country, which, in Canada, we still call, and long hope to call, “Home.”
W. K. OTTAWA, CANADA,
10th September, 1894.
CONTENTS OF THE SEVENTH VOLUME.
Threatened invasion of Canada
La Fayette's address to the In-
Canadian canals the first on con..
Du Calvet's action against Haldi.
Severe treatment of Sherwood 81