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America, and those chiefly Basques, while hundreds of thousands annually emigrate from Great Britain.
Loyal Canadians, that is, loyal to Great Britain, must of necessity take into account this fact, which is of the very essence of British colonization in America. They are also compelled to regard another serious fact of the same order of ideas, namely, the con. tinual emigration from Canada to the United States, not only on the part of recent immigrants from Great Britain, but,—which is more noticeable as a sign of the times,—the emigration of old Canadians, natives of the soil, in spite of all the efforts of the Government to check and discourage it.
On the other hand, the history of all European colonization shows that a time comes when the Mother Country grows more or less indifferent to the fate of her Colonies, which time appears to have arrived in Great Britain as respects the Dominion.
When Canada complains (without cause] that her wishes have been disregarded and her interests prejudiced by the stipulations of the Treaty of Washington, the great organ of opinion in England replies:
From this day forth look after your own business yourselves: you are big enough, you are strong enough, you are intelligent enough, and, if there were any deficiency in either of these points, it would be supplied by the education of self-reliance. · We are both now in a false position, and the time has arrived when we should be relieved from it. Take up your freedom: your days of apprenticeship are over."
Instances might be cited of the expression of similar ideas in Parliament.
Loyalists in Canada must remember another thing. Montesquieu, with the singular penetration which distinguished him, perceives that England imparts to her Colonies “la forme de son Government," by means of which "on verroit se former de grands peuples dans les forêts mêmes qu'elle enverroit habiter." But the parliamentary form of Government, which has contributed so greatly to the growth and strength of British Colonies, gave to them facilities of successful rebellion,—that is, of separation from the Metropolis,—which no other form of government could impart, and the absence of which in Spanish America [and now in Cuba] has done so much to impede and obstruct their separation from Spain. We had experience of this in our Revolution, where each of the Colonies had a governmental organization so complete that, in order to be independent de facto, it needed only to ship off the British Governor. The same fact was apparent in our Secession War, as M. de Tocqueville had predicted. And, at this time, the Dominion of Canada needs only to substitute for a British Governor one of her own choice to become a sovereign State organized as completely as Great Britain herself.
There is another class of considerations of great importance.
War between the United States and Great Britain is now a contingency almost inadmissible as supposition, and so, of course, is war between the United
States and Canada, a possession of Great Britain. Nevertheless, the capability of a country to maintain itself by force, if need be, is one of the elements of its political life, and therefore can not be overlooked in considering the condition of the Dominion of Canada.
In regard to Canada the inquiry is the more important, seeing that military force depends in part on geographical facts, which, in her case, equally as to peace or war, and for the same reasons, place her at disadvantage on the side of the United States.
The British possessions in North America, beginning with Newfoundland on the Atlantic Ocean, and ending with Queen Charlotte's Island on the Pacific, extend across the continent in its broadest part, a distance of 80° of longitude, but in a high latitude, occupying the whole of the country north of the territory of the United States. The space thus described looks large on the map; but the greater part of it is beyond the limit of the growth of trees, and much of the residue is too cold to constitute a chosen residence for Europeans.
In a word, the Dominion stretches along thousands of miles, without capability of extension on the one side, where it meets the frozen north, or on the other, where it is stopped by the United States. country, it resembles à mathematical line, having length without breadth.
Meanwhile, owing to their internal position, their northern latitude, and the geographical configuration of the whole country, the two great Provinces of On
tario and Quebec have no access to the sea in the long winter, save through the United States.
Thus, if it be possible to conceive of two countries, which would appear to be naturally destined to constitute one Government, they are the United States and the British Provinces, to the special advantage of the latter rather than the former.
We therefore can afford to wait. We have nothing to apprehend from the Dominion Pacific Railway: if constructed, it will not relieve Ontario and Quebec from their transit dependence on the United States. We welcome every sign of prosperity in the Domin. ion. With the natural limitations to her growth, and the restricted capacity of her home or foreign mar. kets, her prosperity will never be sufficient to prevent her landowners and her merchants from looking wistfully toward the more progressive population and the more capacious markets of the United States. Her conspicuous public men may be sincerely loyal to the British Crown; many of the best men of Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia were so at the opening of the American Revolution ; but neither in French Canada, nor in British Canada, nor in the maritime Provinces, do any forces of sentiment or of interest exist adequate to withstand those potent natural and moral causes, or to arrest that fatal march of events, which have rendered nearly all the rest of America independent of Europe, and can not fail, sooner or later, to reach the same consummation in the Dominion of Canada.
The spirit of independence is a rising tide, in Can
ada as elsewhere in America, which you see in its results, if not in its progress. It is like the advancement of the sun in the sky, imperceptible as movement, but plain as to stages and ultimate destination. "It is not an effect actively produced by the United States. It is an event which we would not precipitate by violence if we could, and which we scarcely venture to say we wish for, lest in so doing we should possibly wound respectable susceptibilities; but which we nevertheless expect to hail some day with hearty gratulation, as an event auspicious alike to the Dominion and to the United States.
If Lord Milton's appreciation of the course of events be correct,—and no person has written more intelligently or forcibly on the British side of these questions than he,—the consummation is close at hand. Arguing from the British stand-point of the San Juan Question, he says:
" If Great Britain retains the Island of San Juan and the smaller islands of the archipelago lying west of the compromise channel proposed by Lord Russell, together with Patos Island and the Sucia group, she will preserve her power upon the Pacific, and will not in any way interfere with or menace the harbors or seas which appertain to the United States. If, on the other hand, these islands should become United States. territory, the highway from the British possessions on the mainland will be commanded by, and be at the mercy of that Power.
“Such a condition of affairs must inevitably force British Columbia into the United States federation; and the valuable district of the Saskatchewan
must, ex necessitate rei, follow the fortunes of British Columbia, Canada, excluded from the Pacific, and shut in on two sides by United States territory, must eventually follow the same course."