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Great Britain one empire. On the union of the dominions of Great Britain by inter-communication with… Synge, Millington Henry, 1823-1907 1852

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Preface ,    .    . p. v.
Introduction 27
The globe vs. Mercator's Projection—Isthmus of Central
America—The true shortest road to the Pacific and the
East—Gold regions—California, Australia, and Queen
Charlotte's Island—The resources of the empire of Great
■ Britain — Their systematic development — Mineral
wealth of British America — Fertility — Abundant
animal life — Intra-imperial communications — Their
proper characteristics—Principles superior to accidents
of geographical position—Vital integration of all the
dominions of the Crown—Bonds of national union—
Crisis and opportunity—Means of intercourse and their
effects—The Church in the colonies—Necessity of
policy of an imperial character—Value of the British-
American route—Great Britain viewed without it—
Condition of India—Progress of Russia—France—
Routes via America—Mr. Squiers—Policy of the
United States—Annexation—Bulwer and Clayton convention—Injustice of keeping British America in a
wilderness condition—Not much longer p'ossible—
Error of supposing the interests of Great Britain and
of the United States to be necessarily opposed to each
other—Instruction conveyed by the Confederation—
Mutual advantages—OLD England in the New World
—A hope.
1. The Aim and Unity of the various features of the
Enterprise 53
2. Important Bearing of Means of Communication on
Eastern Supremacy 54 IV
3. Imperial Character of the Proposal p. 55
4. The Route as connecting the Extremities ....
Distances—Speed—Winds—Currents—Electric telegraph
maritime, industrial, and colonizing results.
5. The Route in its Component Parts	
The Atlantic carried to the foot of the Rocky Mountains—
The WeUand Canal—The Erie Canal.
The Links 62
1. Falls of St. Mary—2. To Rainy Lake—3. To Lake
Winnipeg—4. The Rapids of the Saskatchewan—(The
Churchill and Saskatchewan rivers—Routes to Peace
river—Character of the navigation—Scenery—Country
and climate)—5. The passage of the Rocky Mountains
—Sources of chief rivers—Route of Sir Alexander
Mackenzie—The passes—Melting of the snow and ice—
Modelling of still-water navigation—Land passage—
General remarks—6. Descent to the Pacific—The East
reproduced in the West—Western terminations of the
Further Abbreviation of 1500 miles 71
Rivers and lakes emptying into Hudson Bay by Port Nelson
river—Actual use and value of the route.
Eastern  Terminations — The Route in the  existing
Provinces 73
Principle of westward progress applied to the development
of the eastern provinces—Superiority of the British-
American route equally characteristic of its several
parts—Position of the British-American seaports—Advantages frustrated—Necessity of railroads—System of
communication—1. From Lake Superior and Lake
Huron to the ocean—2. From Lake Erie to the ocean—
The Caughnawaga Canal—Supreme importance of superiority of intra-imperial communications—National allegiance affected by the system and balance of intercourse CONTENTS. V
—The local interest and highest ultimate development
of British America—Railroads throughout the Gulf
Provinces—The Quebec and Halifax railroad—The
St. Andrews and Quebec railroad—Central railroad—
System based upon maximum of proportionate effect
rather than minimum of cost.
Initiatory Measures and the Continuous Railroad, p. 83
Pre-arrangement—Comprehensive aims—Actual execution
—Value of the great waters—Necessity of accurate
topographical knowledge—Systematic supervision and
direct control—Under what circumstances necessary
and applicable—First principles and results—Initiatory communication—Branch frontier lines—Grand
trunk railroad and branches—Huron and Ottawa navigation—Bearing upon St. Lawrence, Welland, and
Rideau canals—Railroads in the Gulf Provinces.
Colonization 91
Involved in the construction of the route—Co-operation
and combination—Colonization of British character of
universal interest—Action and reaction between the
mother country and the colonies—Necessity of colonization—Inducements—Unity and uniformity—Simple
and elementary laws of—Applied to the circumstances
and opportunities of Great Britain. ;
Emigration, Labourers, and the Poor 98
Emigration—Its importance—Condition of a country dependent upon that of the labouring classes—Industrial
training—Its importance, and almost universal comparative neglect—Advantages of the route—Individual
elevation inferior to class amelioration—Slavery direct
and indirect, avowed and real—Necessity of reconciliation.
Ways and Means, and System of Execution .    .    .
Necessary qualifications of the system—Local resources
ultimately furnish the means of development—Rules
of valuation—Fundamental principles—Improved value,
reproduction, co-operation—Two classes of emigrants
102 VI
—Training and emigrational houses of reception—
Beneficial effects—Combination of instrumentalities—
The Gospel—Change of Prospects—Practicability—
Nature of system.
Computations .    .    p. 107
Section I.—The 'Homes?—Principles and preliminary
remarks—Table of income and expenditure—Expenses
of second year—Carried on for four years—Table of
income and expenditure, fifth year—Table of data.
Section H.—The Works.—Works carried out from the
labour and returns from the second class or reclaimed
emigrants—Number of emigrants—Amount of funds.
The Construction of the Works 115
Comprehension of aim, and co-operation in execution of the
essential principles—Comparison with the works, and
size, and circumstances of the Netherlands.
Summary of objects, inducements, facilities, and obstacles
—High aims, co-operation—Facilities and difficulties—
Relative aspect of—Resources—Fisheries—Bounties of
Divine Providence—Mackenzie's proposal—Increased
importance since his day—Indian appeal—National
duties—Divine judgment.
118 Bl
Map of North and Central America, showing various
methods in which it has been proposed to connect the
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
1. By the Atrato and San Juan rivers, South America=
2. From the Niapipi river to the Gulf of Cupica, South America.
3. Chagres to Panama, Central America; railroad constructing.
4. Chiriqui Lagoon to Golfo Dolce, Central America.
5. By the river and lake San Juan de Nicaragua, Central America,
(steamers ply upon them.)    Various terminations on the
6. Bay of Campeche to Tchuantepec, Central America—the most
eligible route in Central America.
7. New Orleans to the Pacific   }     United  States;   Mountains
8. San Louis to San Diego       j impracticable.
9. Chicago to Paget Sound.   The best line in the United States.
10. Continuous railway )    Through British America.     The
11. Continuous navigation    )        best routes on the Continent.
12. • Summer route through Hudson Bay.  PREFACE.
rpHE increase and improvement of the means of
-*- general intercommunication is essential to the
maintenance and progress of the commercial relations
of England. The subject involves that of colonization,
inasmuch as—independently of the considerations
which render it necessary to pay the first and principal attention to those channels which foster the
largest amount of commerce, and are the most secure,
—the most advantageous and complete system of
universal intercourse lies very principally through
British seas and territories, and the terminations
of many of its parts, and the most convenient and
profitable coaling, victualling, and commercial stations, are colonies and dependencies of England.
Three courses appear open to the empire which
possesses these facilities, and that which may be
pursued will in all probability largely affect her
future. It would not seem impossible to trace the
results beforehand, and that with some distinctness,
that would attend the adoption, or the non-adoption,
of a system of intra-imperial communications, and
which would be proportioned to the greater or less
degree of perfection with which it might be organized
in respect of extent, frequency, speed, and independence, and on its being accompanied, or not, by the
integration of the various dominions of the Crown,
so as to form one empire, characterized by unity of
policy, interest, and faith, in other words, by
Colonization, which is the generation of a new
community in the lineaments of an existing one,
requires first of all that the characteristics of the
parent stock should be understood and valued. To
be conducted successfully, it moreover calls for sufficient judgment to appreciate the broad though
delicate distinction between principles, duties, and
privileges, which admit of no variation, and their
external expressions, which are almost as little
compatible with uniformity in different localities.
Neither the greatness nor the excellency of an
enterprise will be questioned which contemplates
extended intercourse between the important, numerous, and widely-separated portions of the empire;
which comprises all the most distant and most
populous regions of the earth within its aim;
and which looks to so complete an incorporation of
the empire as to elevate the duties and birthrights
of an Englishman above accidents of place, virtually superseding the existence of colonists and
colonies, by the. practice of real colonization.
The stepping-stone is to sketch the system of
communication, and to show its feasibility; and it
is of this the following pages treat.
I was sailing, about nine years ago, under the
■^BBssBgigyFg"  ■•_	 PREFACE.
beautiful islands of the Azores, rapt in admiration
of their exquisite loveliness,—a day on which the
most brilliant effects of light and shade were rapidly
replacing each other, lent every heightening charm
to their rich colouring. Stifling, perhaps, a feeling
of regret that my destination was not before me, I
turned to my companion and only fellow-passenger,
a native of the island whither I was bound, and
asked whether Bermuda resembled the fairy land of
beauty and fertility we there beheld. ' Not quite/
was the reply.
Certainly the day on which we made its shores
was very different. A squall hid the land from our
view, our signals for a pilot were fluttering in vain,
the master's anxiety could scarcely be concealed,
and when at length we were boarded by the keen-
eyed negro who was to take us into port, it would
seem we had got within the reefs, and had to thank
the watchful care of Providence for our preservation.
The first tidings we received were of the havoc which
that periodical scourge, the yellow fever, had made,
and my inquiries for a connexion, the only friend I
expected to find upon the island, were met by the
reply that he had been carried to the grave on the
preceding day. The Eoyal Artillery were in command of a lieutenant, all the officers of senior ranks
having died, and my own corps lost thirty-seven
men from its scanty numbers.
The master of the freight ship proved a most
indifferent steersman in an open boat, and, the sea
being still rough, drenched us in going ashore.   In
b2 Vlll
the excitement of the moment, my bag had been
forgotten to be put into the boat, so that my landing
in the dreary and desolate scene presented by the
North Tanks, St. George's Island, was attended by
circumstances sufficiently saddening, and in a state
of bodily discomfort not calculated to remove these
impressions. The stolid indifference with which my
applications for directions to the barracks was
received,—and I had stumbled upon one of the
principal personages of the island,—was more
depressing than positive rudeness would have been.
The troops were, I found, scattered over the island
by the kind and thoughtful precautions of the commandant; and it was hoped the fever had run its
course at St. George's.
How much did I attribute to this visitation!
Barren grounds, and fallen fences, empty houses,
rudned gates, fields of sage-bush; I read effects of
fever in them all. I was soon to learn, that sad as
had been the havoc it had made within the garrison, it was no ways chargeable with the neglect
and desolation all around. In a land so singularly
favoured by nature, and so valuable from situation
that it ought to be a perfect, perhaps an unequalled,
garden,—the climate of which admits equally of
cereals, vegetables, and the choicest fruits coming to
perfection, in which most of the varieties of English
produce might be grown, and in which many West
India plants grow wild,—the culture of the earth
could find no favour! The most questionable speculations of the wharf, the ignoble occupations of PREFACE.
the mere retail of imported goods, presented more
attraction than the tillage of the soil! Even the
ploughing of the deep was passing from the hands
of these degenerate islanders, and the most numerous vessels and largest importations belonged to
citizens of the United States! That this proceeded
from no abstract indifference to gain, no sense of
luxurious, if indolent, enjoyment, the eager competition of the counter, and the petty bargains of the
store, too evidently showed.* The blame was thrown
on nature, and the productiveness of earth denied
where groves of orange, lemon, and of lime, scented
the air with their delicious fragrance,—where
peach and fig tree flourished, where birds alone
gathered the berries from dells of coffee trees, and
where tobacco, castor oil, and cotton, shed their
fruits upon the ground.
I began to fear that there might be possessions
belonging to Great Britain not altogether rightly
used; and populations of British subjects, without
altogether either national feelings or national characteristics.
. * The governor exerted himself to introduce a better state of
things, and with some success; but the inhabitants were utterly
wanting in an appreciation of the extended bearings of their resources and interests. How wide a field for their peculiar
products—cedar, arrowroot, tous les mois, plait, &c, &c, North
America would offer. What vast exchanges they might enter into!
It deserves remark, that during the worst ravages of the potato
disease, when good seed could nowhere be procured, it was at
last brought from Bermuda.
The whale trade, too, has almost fallen into neglect, but vessels
belonging to the United States are constantly to be seen in the
offing in prosecution of the fishery. PREFACE.
Placed where every natural advantage favours
exchange with the different products of Europe,
North America, and the more tropical "West Indies,
Bermuda should prize every spadeful of ground
inestimably, and supply the north with her golden
and downy and delicious fruits, and the south with
European growths. Whereas now, provisions paid
for in money are imported from New York, Baltimore, and New Orleans, and the very inferior
manufactures from the States mostly supply their
other wants, her beautiful harbours might be
crowded with heavy-laden shipping, and her own
sweet-scented cedar-vessels visit the far north-west.
Prosperity would then replace her present melancholy aspect, and healthy vigour praise the Source
of mercies where indolence now arraigns it.
From the land enshrined by Shakspeare, and
sung by Waller and by Moore, I sailed to the
shores of that mighty confederation, which, by too
much self-confidence, perhaps detracts somewhat
from its merits, and beheld a very different scene,
—activity abounded, though its directions might be
questioned. To me, however, it was still a land
sprung from one ancestral stock,—it was a further
lesson, and a warning voice from history, proclaiming how possible it had been for distant possessions
to be overlooked and undervalued, misunderstood
and lost. I travelled over scenes where English
armies, splendidly equipped, had more than once
surrendered, and where, on the king's ground, the
king's officer had been hanged for a spy. His execu- PREFACE.
tioner has gone down gloriously to fame though he
learned his military skill in the service of the
country and the master against which he turned
his arms; but he went down laurelled with success.
I saw the stalwart sinew of my native land crowding to the shores of the now severed country, and I
heard that greater source of strength and wealth
than broadest lands without them, affectedly despised. I found it building up their rival power,
and yet saw the children of my own immediate
race in emulation with the negro slave to do the
service of the native citizen. ' Your countrymen,'
was said to me, with true republican feeling, ' are
our hewers of wood and drawers of water;' and
harsher words were added still.
I felt their truth, and sighed for the sad degradation of my race, which was even seeking such a
fate, and wondered when the colonies of England
would be made a home for English subjects, and the
means of legitimate relief for British suffering.
How thankfully and gladly I beheld the broad
rivers, the bright air, the glorious loveliness of
Canada! I own I wandered through her cities in
astonishment, wondering to find them more attractive, more handsome; the quality if not the rate
of progress far more satisfactory. To see it
proved, that in peaceful times, free from political
excitement artificially implanted, even the speed
of her development kept pace with that of the
Atlantic seaboard of the United States; to hear
that temporary absentees—as it may be courteous Xll
now to call the former disturbers of her tranquillity,
—that even they marvelled at the advancement
made during the few years of their absence; to
see her noble public works, and study her statistics,
were all delightful, but proved quite at variance
with the depreciation she had undergone.
Why had she not, however, like her sister, though
now separated, colonies, new countries growing up
around her? Why should the vast territory on
her west be lying in unfruitful desolation, bringing
her no glory, sharing no commerce with her? Why
should not her land and the immense adjoining
regions be the home of those hated strangers of
British race and blood, which were raising up the
very strength that scorned them? Why should not
the fertile lands of British North America be opened
and brought into cultivation by their labour, and
these scenes be made the schools of their redemption?
A bridge was wanting to the intercourse between
Great Britain and her own possessions. There was
no direct swift communication; the line of post, the
road for passengers, went through the United States.
They carried the tide of popular impression with
them, and entailed the ebbing of Canadian settlement.
The British seaboard is nearest to Great Britain;
the far west, even of the United States, can only be
reached expeditiously through British territory.
Koads, therefore, from the seaboard to the west,
would prove the superior position of that territory, PREFACE.
and afford a vast labour-market, and the means of
settlement, to the melancholy hordes of angry and
suffering expatriated emigrants.
Pressed by the agonizing horrors which the tales
of Irish famine soon revealed, and by the scenes of
wretchedness which Canadian soil reflected, (emigrants who pursue the cheaper water-route throughout are the only practical proof of the geographical
superiority of the position of British America, they
pass in transitu to the United States,) I hastily
threw a few rough notes together, on the multifarious resources and broad lands that might be
made available with ease, and which were groaning
with wasted redundancy as much as Erin was pining
with distress.
Instant application of the remedy—each voice
raised that could bear testimony to a fact that
could supply relief—were all I thought of. I did
not doubt but that which might so palpably be
seen, would be made widely known by others. I
only thought to help a common cry. I did not
doubt but that England would, with such a proof
of want as Ireland then presented, open her vast
colonial resources upon some splendid plan, and
spread her groaning population over her solitary
hoards. So noble a field for talent, for investment,
for exertion, for philanthropy, would, I dreamt, be
filled to overflowing. I foresaw all arrangements
made, and the far waters of the west carrying their
crowded burdens to prosperity and gladness. I
only feared that amid all the various claims of
b3 XIV
British colonies, America must not demand too
much.    I had yet much to learn.
Kooin, relief, were the crying necessities that
seemed to admit of no delay, no long deliberation.
My first suggestions, framed for momentary use, and
hoping to rouse others to attention and more elaborate exposition, were confined to the requirements
of the hour.
They required no grand completeness, no impracticable preparation. A road (of course a railroad) through fertile land, to connect the traffic of
the interior of British America with its seaboard—
a road where the geography of distances demonstrates its obvious superiority—an abbreviation of
four hundred miles upon the frontier route of the
great lakes—and links, requiring comparatively little
labour, to open successive stages of new country, as
might be needed,—all severally complete and independent, were the whole simple scheme.
Little did I anticipate that, more than four years
later, I should still be hoping the same results
might be; less, that I should ever mix with it
again; and least of all, that, ever since, I should
have laboured, hoping in some measure to assist in
their eventual and more complete realization.
Nothing was done, and I was grieving with no
light disappointment, over most threatening news
from Canada. It seemed as though England never
should believe in the value of any portion of America until lost, and should raise it, when a rival,
into overwhelming preponderance.    I was almost PREFACE.
without hope. It was then that I received a little,
work On the Employment of the Capital and Population of Great Britain in her own Colonies, by
Major Robert Carmichael-Smyth.* That was evidently written full of hope. The cause had other
champions. Only those who in some cherished
cause have felt the gloom of the last setting of its
rays, can tell how cheering is the breaking of the
cloud, and the new dawn of hope, which has been
truly called the charm of every picture, and the life
of every prospect. It is given to guide us through
our pilgrimage, and to shed gladness over our path.
The scheme was boldly and brilliantly sketched.
No meeting miserable misapprehensions with faltering front and timid conciliation, but a full and bold
assertion of the imperial value of the British continent and communication in all its different aspects,
and from shore to shore. A railway from Halifax
to Nootka Sound; and now the tale was told. Its
objects, its advantages, its importance, its necessity,
all stated. The whole was there from end to end.
The pleasure which I then experienced was but
the preliminary to hope revived and efforts newly
entered on; and I have now the satisfaction of
numbering the author of that gallant and dashing
pamphlet, which was worthy of a soldier, among
my personal friends.
Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald's work on the Hudson's
* See also a Letter to Earl Grey, by the same author. XVI
Bay Company and Vancouver's Island, contains, in
its sixth chapter, a sketch of the proposed communication, based apparently on very much the same
views as were suggested in the little sketch entitled
Canada in 1848, &c.
Many others* have also either treated of, or
touched upon, the subject. Britain Redeemed and
Canada Preserved, by Captain Wilson and Mr. A.
Bates Eichards, and the works and pamphlets of
the Rev. C. G. Nicolay and Mr. Douall, C.E., may
be especially mentioned. I should be depriving
myself of a great pleasure, were I to omit making
my grateful acknowledgments of the kindness and
courtesy they have shown me.
Nor can I omit a tribute of grateful and affectionate remembrance to the memory of my late
esteemed and valued commanding officer in Upper
Canada, Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle, C.B., R.E.
His general information, lengthened local experience,
professional ability, and sound judgment, render his
opinion entitled to great weight and consideration.
Space will not allow me now to refer at length to
the identity of his views with regard to unity of
system in developing the communications across the
continent, nor to his important remarks on the
relative positions of those already formed, nor to his
advocacy of the Huron and Ottawa, and Trent in-
* See particularly Speech by Hon. Joseph Howe, Provincial
Secretary of Nova Scotia, at Southampton: The British Empire
and the Christian Faith, by Gv Troup, &c. PREFACE.
land navigation improvements. These subjects must
be reserved for a minuter investigation of detail. I
cannot, however, resist quoting a passage of singular
interest from his last work, entitled, Canada in
' Even in our own days, nearly four centuries after the Columbian era, the idea of reaching China by the North Pole has not
been abandoned, and is actively pursuing by the most enlightened
naval government in the world, and, very possibly, will be achieved j
and as coal exists on the northern frozen coasts, we shall have ports
established, where the British ensign will fly in the realms of eternal
' Nay, more; we shall yet place an iron belt from the Atlantic
to the Pacific, a railroad from Halifax to Nootka Sound, and thus
reach China in a pleasure voyage.
11 recollect that, about twelve years ago, Mr. Thomas Dalton (of
Toronto) was looked upon as a mere enthusiast, because one of his
favourite ideas was, that much time would not elapse before the
teas and silks of China would be transported direct from the shores
of the Pacific to Toronto, by canal, by river, by railroad, and by
\ He lived to see an uninterrupted steam-boat communication
from England to Lake Superior—a consummation which those who
laughed at him then never even dreamt of j and now a railroad all
the way to the Pacific is in progress of discussion.'
I would also, before leaving the subject of the
mention of those who have contributed to lay before
the country some intimation of the vast resources
of the empire, and of the duties which those resources
necessarily entail, speak in the highest terms of the
just and comprehensive views set forth in a most
able though unpretending lecture delivered at Glasgow, by Mr. George Troup, and printed at the
request of his audience. It grasps with calmness,
dignity, and truthfulness, the varied aspects of its
title, The British Empire and the Christian Faith.
I XV111
It will amply repay every one for its attentive
It should never be forgotten, however, and cannot be too strongly impressed, that whilst the subject is that which has from earliest times prompted
all western voyages of discovery, the very track
traversed, and the very substance of the proposition, are those of the heroic Sir Alexander Mackenzie.
Many curious coincidences have at various times
concurred to suggest the junction of its proposed
extremities. By no means amongst the least interesting, is the remembrance that Cook, whose
name and fame are identified with the Pacific terminations, should have begun his career and have
acquired his skill in seamanship, at Halifax.
The strange changes which even a very short interval of time witnesses, are singularly instanced
in the past and present feelings with regard to emigration. Whilst a few years ago every one who
advocated it was filled with lamentations over the
general apathy and indifference that prevailed upon
the subject, whilst statesman, pamphleteer, and
journalist were all alike complaining, all are now
as much amazed at the ceaseless roll of population
far away from Britain's shores. This continuous
draining movement now rather throws alarm into the
opposite scale; the senseless cry of \ surplus multitudes' is changed; the truth is felt and feared;
(The want of people is the destruction of the prince.'
Deportations, goings-out, are indeed very different PREFACE.
things from migrations to the colonies, and more
so still from national colonization.
Losing population from Ireland or England has
been found to be no element of national prosperity;
and proposals for systematized emigration are consequently in less disfavour than was formerly the
case. The real advantages of the position of
British America are also beginning to be received,
and, though with some simple astonishment, it is
being understood that the belt of the equator is
neither the shortest nor most eligible communication round the world. The juncture is therefore
favourable for showing the intimate relation which
subsists between the kindred enterprises of colonization and perfected communications, and the vast
scenes of productive labour that they would be
the means of calling into existence. At such a
time it is essentially important that the plans proposed should be eminently practicable, and framed
upon simple yet comprehensive principles; otherwise, the newly-awakened interest is in great danger of being appealed to by superficial plausibilities, and rash, if not designing, speculations
would inevitably end in ruin and disappointment.
An amusing illustration of this danger is to be
found in Mr. Tyndale's interesting work upon the
Island of Sardinia. He gives a prospectus, which
appeared during the height of the railway mania,
proposing the formation of one in that island, in
order to develop its manifold resources.    Notwith-
•y*'.* XX
standing the entire groundlessness of its pretended
statements, the imposture was more plausible than
its wild impracticability would seem to warrant.
The railway excitement was at its very height, the
island well known to be abounding in many resources, all grievously neglected, and to be so
naturally favoured as to have been ardently desired
by Lord Nelson for the stronghold of Great Britain
in the Mediterranean. Railways, there was no disputing, were admirable means for developing resources; and what combination of circumstances
could be more favourable than a country naturally
so wealthy, so extraordinarily cheap, in the very
centre of civilization, and yet up to that time so
entirely overlooked? It thus appealed to vague
generalities, and there was no reason why it should
not be successful in what were probably its only
objects, the victimizing of its dupes. It is almost
superfluous to add, that though the island does
abound in multifarious resources, they are neglected
to. this day.
Such reasons have influenced me to endeavour
to arrange the whole plan here submitted in such a
manner as to facilitate its complete investigation
under every aspect; and to frame it so that it may
be executed as well from a small beginning as on a
. scale commensurate with its importance, its objects,
and the honour of Great Britain. I would refer
the reader especially to those portions of the work
which show how completely the whole route is
formed of severally perfect links, and request him PREFACE.
to bear in mind, that the complete scheme of land,
water, and telegraphic communication, is kept constantly in view, although I think the reasons unanswerable, both in number and weight, for, in the
first instance, advancing as quickly as possible to
the shores of the Pacific, opening the country by
water or by land, according to the physical conformation of each peculiar part.
Perhaps it may be well at once to add a few
words with, respect to the climate, and the impediment which winter presents to the use of the lakes
and rivers. The climate of the region throughout
nowhere interferes with the most profitable agriculture, and is incomparably milder as the western
shores are approached. Happily in both respects
there is no need to appeal to reason or probabilities,
however strong; Canada affords an actual proof in
both instances. The Lower Province is in many
parts less favoured, both in climate and soil, than
any portion of country to the west, and the existing
development of the whole is, up to this hour, with
very trifling exceptions, entirely the result of water
communications. Yet it is not proposed to confine
the routes to the west to the improvement of the
great waterpaths; but, on the contrary, to use them
for the very purpose of forming a continuous railway from shore to shore, so soon as it can possibly
be carried out, so as to obtain those benefits which
it ought to be the means of bringing about. Great
stress is sometimes laid upon the changes of temperature which result from inhabitation and culti-
"ill XX11
vation, but there is no need to do so. The waters,
open or frozen, form the best initiatory roads, and
the railroad follows to increase the speed alike in
summer or in winter. The occupation of a country
does indeed greatly modify the effects of frost and
snow. Meteorological registers refute any such
erroneous ideas as that the maximum or minimum
temperature of the season or day are affected
thereby; but the practical effect is the same where,
by the clearing and cultivation of the soil, the power
of the sun is brought to bear more directly upon the
ground. The depth of the snow and the penetration of the frost are thereby diminished; and as the
atmosphere is warmed through the heat absorbed by
the earth, and not by the direct rays of the sun, the
length of the warm periods is extended, and the
coldness of the nights diminished.
With regard to the salubrity of the climate, I
would refer those who may be in any doubt about
the matter, to the accumulated evidence upon the
subject, which maybe found in topographical and
medical notices of the country. The accounts that
will there be found, and the extraordinary health-
fulness and ordinary longevity that are there on
record, run no small risk of quickly filling the land
with the invalids and valetudinarians of the world.
I will quote one evidence:—
' The fevers and diseases of the States,' writes
Mr. Stewart, of Prince Edward's Island, ' are
unknown here; pulmonary consumptions, which are
so very common and so very destructive in the. PREFACE. XxiU
northern and central States, are not often met
with; probably not ten cases have arisen since the
settlement of the colony. A very large proportion
bf the people Jive to old age, and then die of no
lacute disease, but by the gradual decay of nature.'
On the subject of the proper system of practical
execution of the artificial navigation, or the various
(precedents that guide thereto, I have not thought
lit advisable to enter. These and many other
details,* accumulated during years of watchfulness and waiting, or studied amidst the scenes
themselves, while employed upon the grand inland
navigation of the country, would extend far beyond
the limits of the present outline, which, as has been
said, is confined to that which must be the stepping-
stone to any ultimate measures. Neither have I
entered upon the arrangement and supervision, or
other matters connected with those who may be the
actual labourers upon the work. These, and the
high aims of pure Christian colonization, as it might
be exemplified by the empire of Great Britain, are
indeed the objects which I have ever held in
view in the whole plan, and to which I have gladly
devoted all spare moments of a life that is being
spent in a branch of the service which, whatever its
various occupations, is seldom an idle one.    These
* The aspects of the communication, as a whole, and a few
points in the characteristics of some of its component parts, have
formed the subject of papers read before the Royal Geographical
Society, on the 24th of January, and 9th of February. XXIV
details, are, however, necessarily ulterior in poinifl
of time, though immeasurably superior in import!
ance, to the task of proving the merits and feasiM
bility of the British-American route to the Pacific!
and the East.
I committed my first hopes and efforts to Him tol
whose glory the whole creation ought rejoicingly to I
minister; and again, I would do so now, more ear-!
nestly and humbly, if, by His. grace, I may. I would
lay no sacrilegious hand upon the treasures of the \
sanctuary to adorn a human hope with rays that are j
divine; but deeply persuaded, both that coloniza- j
tion is eminently a Christian duty, and that to be \
successful it must be carried out on principles of j
Christian faith; and that the development of such a
variety of most valuable resources, and the use of
so wonderful a combination of favouring circum-1
stances as will, I think, be fully proved to exist, i
are weighty talents, to be diligently used and ac-1
counted for; I hope they may be ruled to the increase
of God's glory, the honour of our Sovereign, the welfare of her subjects, and the good of all mankind.
Now, reader, if you have kindly borne so long in]
patience with me, I think I can promise that my
subject only, and not myself, will, in the remaining
pages, be intruded on you. Circumstances which
need not be repeated, have induced me to give
the foregoing explanation of my entering upon
the matter. When carried out, I hope the precepts
of the Saviour will be exemplified, in these vast
resources being used to ameliorate the physical, PREFACE.
mental, and spiritual condition of all, and especially
of the lower classes.
' Love,' says the Oxford Graduate, ' is the
secret of all success;' but not its only requisite, or
I should not have to crave indulgence for the shortcomings of the following sketch; but the blame
must wholly fall on me, for the subject owns no just
Guildford Battery, Dover  INTRODUCTION.
A GLOBE and a glance at it, a string round the
-£*- surface of the earth, a visit to Leicester-
square, or a little attention to absolute geography,
suffice sadly to disturb ideas which incorrect delineation and the gold of California have combined
to throw around the great system of intra-hemi-
spherical communications.
That convenient distortion of the surface of the
earth, called Mercator's Chart, or Projection, shows,
indeed, in an instant, the admirable abbreviation
that is effected on the intercourse between Europe
and the Pacific, by crossing the isthmus of Central
America. And what can be more desirable than
the simple expedient of completing the union of the
great oceans of the world where they so nearly join?
If anything be wanting, the modern El Dorado
would seem to fill up the measure of advantages,
.and cause the inducements to overflow. Opportunities abound, from the Atrato and San Juan of
South America to Tehuantepec. Rivers, bays,
lakes, and narrow necks of land, have been successively explored, and successively commended.
Panama, Nicaragua, and the Coatzacoalcos, seem 28
to invite, by the facilities they afford, the removal
of the last comparatively trifling obstacles. Still the
tide of commerce and communication flows not yet
unchecked from hemisphere to hemisphere.
Alas! Mercator's convenient table surface, easy
chart of a rectangular flat, is but a distortion and
a delusion after all. Notwithstanding all its attractive charms, the direct and even line that can be
traced so smoothly and so facilely between London
and its antipodes, is a deceitful phantom, without
reality, and suggestive only of error and deception.
Alas, the obstinacy of the globe, which persists
in its rotundity, proving it, without compunction
or remorse, the worst of all the ways to the Pacific
and the East!
The sphere continues to exhibit the straight and
simple road, according to the chart, a causeless and
confusing circuit! The currents and the winds
combine against the conformation of the continent,
seeming to declare that, even were the isthmus
swept away, trade should still seek another route,
and climate chiming in, also condemns the false
though fascinating fancy. The sphere, the currents, the climate, and the winds, are facts—Mercator's chart, the would-be scientific exponent of
the earth's surface, the baseless fabric of a vision.
The globe, pushing its contradiction to extremities,
forces the line of shortest distance farther and
farther north, till palpably coming to irreconcile-
able issue with the chart, the really direct and
shortest line is found to be through British North INTRODUCTION.
America, exactly where the projection of Mercator
shows two sides of the triangle it would fain complete by a right line from London to Australia!
California and its gold, however! The surface
and the sand, the river and the rock, the mountain
and the mine—all, all teeming with the precious
Alas! the experience of ages, the analogy of
nature, are against the southern clime and southern
seat of gold. Treasure-laden South America, with
inexhaustible stores of silver and of gold, of gem
and costly stone, gives warning, trumpet-tongued,
by her distracted and desperate condition. The
fairest regions of the earth, where buried treasures
of the mine, the most prolific productiveness of
waters, and the richest fertility of soil, vie in forestalling every human want, and ministering to
every earthly dream of luxury, are melancholy
beacons of mercies miserably abused. The gold
of that land may be good, but man misuses it;
nature's richest scenes are also the most exquisitely
lovely, but man resigns himself to indolence amongst
them; the glowing clime with balmy breeze and
grateful shade is that of the cradle of his race, but
there he sinks into the slothful Sybarite. Redundant
and luxuriant resources are blessings in themselves;
but they enslave and lead into captivity under the
enervating influences of the seductions of the south.
The masters of the universe are trained in sterner
In the north, amid scenes of comparative sterility,
c 30
under a harder clime, is the home of industry and
labour; and the mastery of the world is the reward
of steadier toil and hardier vigour. Deeper buried
lie the mines of truest wealth.
Regions of literal golden treasure are not, however, wanting to the attractions of the true road to
the Pacific and the East. Although not the spoils
of annexation, neither baptized in blood—not
peopled by adventurers the most reckless, nor the
most ruthless worshippers of the golden idol,—
Australia freely offers up her costly store, and
once despised Queen Charlotte's island bids fair to
surpass the vaunted land of California in the purity
of her metal. Within the pale of order and of law,
the bounty of divine Providence has revealed a
proportionate supply of the medium of exchange,
while population and general resources have been
multiplying in prodigal profusion. The evils of a
scarcity of gold* are obviated by the timely discovery of long-concealed supplies: the alarm of
ruinous depreciation proves unfounded while corresponding riches of every various kind are abundantly poured forth.
How vain the fears, and how foolish the terrorist
denunciations of the wise, who foreboded inevitable
ruin from over-population; how eternal the counsels of the Most High, who joined the fruitfulness
and blessing of mankind!
' In the multitude of people is the king's honour.'
* See Alison's beautiful remarks upon this subject. INTRODUCTION.
Situated exactly where the dangers of their corrupting abuse are least, and can best be guarded
against, these auriferous deposits complete that
perfect independence of all other nations of the
earth, which must strike every one who weighs the
circumstances of the wide empire committed to
Great Britain, and which, if pondered over, can
scarcely fail to create an overpowering conviction,
that a fabric at once so vast, so fully fitted, so
wondrously equipped, so variously endowed, must
have some corresponding offices, some mighty
mission, to fulfil.
To point to a few of her resources, and to sketch
the application of rapidity of communication, the
great instrumentality of the age, to their development, upon the broad and comprehensive principles
that are alone commensurate with their grandeur,
and to leave her duty and her destiny to be
gathered from them, form the object of these
Many related, indeed many intimately connected,
subjects, are necessarily omitted; the allusion to
many others scarcely extends to their enumeration;
but it may be hoped the day has passed away when
it might be said even of those that have been
touched upon, as it has been of kindred suggestions
by a valuable and a valued friend,* that the very
magnitude of the scheme was one of the difficulties
in the way of its success.
* Major Robert Carmichael-Smyth.
c2 32
The chain of mineral wealth extends from shore
to shore, literally from one ocean boundary to the
other. The minerals of Nova Scotia reappear on
the Pacific seaboard. The interior of the country
furnishes the same valuable products; Lake Superior, the Rocky Mountains, and the Arctic regions,
the mountains and the islands of the west, repeat
them. Gold, silver, copper, iron, lead, white lead,
and plumbago, tin, zinc, nickel, sulphur, and
cobalt, and many other metals, might be named.
Granites, porphyry, containing chromate of iron,
marbles of every variety and colouring, including
statuary marble, rivalling that of Carrara in purity,
but surpassing it in quantity; limestones, sandstones, freestones, flagstones, grindstones, slate, and
whetstones, are all actually being quarried. Lithographic stone, hitherto supposed to be confined
to Solenhofen on the Danube, is found upon Lake
Simcoe. Fine porcelain, plastic, pottery, brick,
and fine clays abound. Gypsum, hydraulic lime,
phosphate of lime, and shell-marl, furnish inexhaustible supplies of invigorating power to the soil.
Salt springs and rock salt are plentifully found.
Mineral waters, of healing efficacy, have already
given rise to many lovely watering places. The
more precious stones are represented by opal, amethyst, jasper, cornelian, garnet, sardonyx, chalcedony, verde antique, serpentine, agates, zeolites,
and others.
The fertility and beauty of these regions have
excited the wonder and admiration of succeeding
travellers and writers, who appear to labour under
the sense of inadequate powers of expression. Florid
picturesque description and tabular statistical re-
Capitulation have in turn been tried to represent
the veiled glories of the vast abandoned hunting
ground. Blocks of copper weighing 250 tons and
valued at 17,000Z., shiploads of the same useful metal,
and mountains of iron ore waiting for increased
facilities of transport, are produced or proclaimed
in favour of its mines. Almost incredible returns
of wheat, successive crops during a term of years
equally beyond ordinary European apprehension;
fields of sweetest flowers blossoming in wild luxuriance, and spreading their delicious fragrance
throughout a mourning solitude; gardens in the
58th parallel of north latitude, and farmsteads in
the 61st,—are the well-attested evidence preferred to
prove its agricultural capabilities. Herds of wild
cattle, giving to whole districts the appearance of a
stallyard, troops of slaughtered buffalo tainting the
air with their decay, piles of wasted animals with
only the delicate morsels of the tongue extracted,
varieties of deer in countless numbers, flocks of
divers kinds of mountain sheep,—show the inexhaustible supplies of animal life. Waters so full of
finny tribes that cakes of roe form the habitual food
of Indian nations, exhibit the elements in emulation
to shower forth their riches. Lakes and rivers
intersecting every portion of the country, offer the
natural and easy giant paths, by summer or in winter,
to the exploration of its every part.    Navigable, 34
with only comparatively trifling interruptions, and
of depth not always to be sounded, they carry the
rival oceans from shore to shore throughout the
continent, and place the open seas beyond the
frozen regions of the north within reach of the
Atlantic. Stately primeval forests upon their borders
are as it were the living ships waiting to be fashioned
to the use of man. Flocks of wild fowl, winged and
feathered creatures of many different kinds, present
the tribute of the air; and the testimony afforded
by the presence of restless, pretty little fluttering
humming-birds, and of gaily-plumaged denizens of
southern climes, divests the Rocky Mountains of their
fabled hyperborean terrors.
National considerations, too multifarious to be
enumerated, and too obvious to require it, point out
the advantages, indeed the duty, of making use of
resources such as these, and of rendering them of
general avail. That very intercourse between all
parts of the earth which they incalculably facilitate,
and which the tendency of the age is sure to bring
about, would multiply their value many hundred
fold, and the system of carrying it into execution
would prove the most perfect instrument for their
It is almost superfluous to point out the importance of having a secure, an independent, and a
complete system of quick communication between
the several parts of the empire—that empire extends through every division of the earth; its system
of communication, whilst it should be imperial, and INTRODUCTION.
must obviously be universal, differs in no respect, in
principle, from the intercourse between one parish
and another.
Geography can never justly affect or limit principle. Residence within the boundaries of the same
empire should never possibly involve a virtual expatriation. In equity, birthrights must be beyond the
sport of circumstances; the adoption of a colonial
career may be the very highest order of patriot
devotion, and should by no possibility, far less by
invariable fact, be punished with the forfeiture of
loved ancestral honour, and of rights which sanctified
the cradle.
The subject, therefore, embraces within its scope
all that can be implied by the highest and most
complete vital integration of all the dominions of
the crown,—the entire unity of all,—all that the
widest and fullest import of colonization signifies;
all the -industrial and alleviating results which can
attend the emigration of specific super-redundant
classes of existing population.
This incorporation, which may startle by its vast-
ness, and be despised for its simplicity, is ultimately
unavoidable; yet is its persevered-in abnegation
possible. The paradox is true; but the results of
its rejection would be calamitous indeed. Intercommunication of the most rapid and continual
description will assuredly take place between all the
several portions of the British empire. It may be
made the means of solving all difficulties in the way
of her imperial integrity.    England at present may I
create, control, and guide it; but if she fail to do so,
even though precisely the same amount of intercourse should take place between precisely identical
localities, it would no longer be between the magnificent appanages of her crown and sway. There
are but three principal bonds of national union—
language, faith, and interest. Her language is
already that of her most encroaching rival, of, in
some respects, her most inveterate foe, and her most
watchful adversary; her religion she has ceased to
elevate with the deep devotion and singleness of
true belief, which are alone compatible with faith;
the supposititious interests of her several dominions
are now in frequent actual antagonism, in downright subjection and inferiority to advantages
lavished upon strangers with incomprehensible
Carefully avoiding the exaggeration and enthusiasm with which we are apt to view the circumstances of the age in which we live, we cannot
hide it from our eyes that the most portentous issues
seem to hang on her decision. She may consolidate
her vast possessions, and virtually rule the world,
not less by example—the example of unparalleled
peace, prosperity, and virtue,—than by power; or
she may scatter her empire to the winds, breaking
it into fragments and perpetuating angry animosities.
To trace the weakening influences that are undermining the stability of the colonial empire were
a subject in itself, and an important one it is; the INTRODUCTION.
total absence of national imperial unity of spirit,
which is but too apparent under every form, leaves
nothing to resist them. Under such circumstances,
contrary interests must at length prevail, to the
passing away of that empire which even the enemies
of England acknowledge the noblest as well as the
greatest that has yet been seen on earth. A disruption, or a dissolution even, were not less prejudicial to the interests of the colonies, empires in
themselves, than to those of the mother country;
and that great system of mutual intercourse which
may now be extended between the mighty parts of
the same great national family, would be deprived
of half its value, if, indeed, it remained a practicable problem.
The powerful action and reaction of means of
communication upon the interests of a commercial
people demand that the channels of intercourse
should be continually fostered, guarded, facilitated,
and watched over with jealous solicitude. So long
as they are maintained in a position of intranational superiority, the higher the development
that foreign exchanges may attain, the greater the
increase of prosperity; but wherever and whenever
intra-national communications are suffered to fall
below the intercourse maintained with other countries, an element of weakness is at work, proportioned to the strength, zeal, activity, and encroaching propensities of foreign powers.
These facts apply with peculiar force to the circumstances of the British empire, and especially to
c 3 38
those of British America. At the present moment,
although, contrary to every natural feature of absolute and physical geography, the main communications both of Great Britain and British America
are with the United States; the advantages of a
hundred years' start in the race of development,
and the amazing energy and determined self-reliance
which the circumstances of the breach aroused, and
rendered indispensable, have combined to bring this
result about. It has been followed, and again reacted
upon with ever-increasing effect, by the covering
of the thirteen older colonies with a network of
steam communications, by land and water, while
the British continent remains without a single
independent line from the seaboard to the immense
interior! Such is ever the effect of a first step,
whether for good or evil; action and reaction ensue,
and magnify the results of the initiatory measure
to which it is so often difficult to gain attention.
Left uncontrolled in the present instance, they
must go on perpetually adding to the evil, and
hastening the solution. An overruling of the
present state by systematic effort and upon a prearranged plan, is indispensable to the healthy
tone, if not to the continued existence, of
British nationality upon the western world. The
interests of the whole empire are involved, and
the wisdom and assistance of the government and
legislature of the empire should be earnestly appealed to.
There is one peculiar circumstance in no little INTRODUCTION.
danger of being overlooked, but which gives warning that the time for decision and action is at
So long as interests only, or even interests and
passions only, were arrayed  against the mother
country, however unsafe such a condition, however
unwise to leave it so, they would at least be
opposed, even in the colonists themselves, by the
last lingering longings  after the associations  of
home, of ancestry, of tradition, and of love.    The
infant church of America was the last stronghold of
England, south of her present boundary, and who
can say how much she has availed to soften the
asperities, bitter as they still are, against her?
The churches in the colonies are rapidly becoming
churches of the colonies, rather than branches of
the imperial church.    The proceedings of assemblies of bishops and clergy in Australia, Tasmania,
the Cape, and America, have assumed much of a
metropolitan character, and many of the clergy
themselves  have at once perceived the insidious
danger, not to  outward ecclesiastical uniformity
only, but to national connexion and imperial unity.
There needs but the effect of time to give a colonial,
rather than an imperial tone to the clergy and their
congregations,—and not one high or holy tie would
then be left to fight against blindness, passion, or
self-interest,whenever, unfortunately, any misunderstanding might arise between the mother country
and the colony.    The time is come when it would
be wise to act upon the simple principle, not less
«#* 40
reasonable than just, and elevate the privileges of
the subject above the accidents of geographical
position, and endow laws, administration, and
commercial regulations, with inherently expansive
powers co-extensive with the limits of the empire.
An imperial policy—and it is no great marvel that
it should be so—is essential to the well-being, or
even the continued existence, of a great empire, and
no time could be more opportune or favourable
to its establishment, than that which alike increases its necessity, the carrying out of perfected
communications between its widest limits.
The position of Great Britain, were she deprived
of it, can alone give an adequate appreciation of the
benefits which she may reap from the development
of the British-American route. India, if left in sole
dependence upon those by the Mediterranean for
quick and frequent intercourse, is in an isolated
condition, which forms a continual incentive to
intrigues against the power of England in the East.
Just when most urgently required, these routes must
always fail. It is unnecessary to insist at length
upon the progress of Russia, and the formidable
power of an empire, led by a single and that a
master will, and which extends over three divisions
of the earth. In Western Europe her influence
has become decided; throughout Asia, it advances,
and is rapidly closing upon our most unsettled
frontier. Her armies join those of her Austrian
ally, upon the borders of Turkey, and all the coasts
of the Black Sea are commanded by a splendid INTRODUCTION.
fleet. From Turkey, almost at her mercy, she
would quickly cross the Bosphorus, and the children
of Assur might revive the pride of their progenitors, and reawaken the alarms and dangers of
universal dominion, on the scenes of the ancestral
glories of their race.
France, too, might lend her aid to humble us at
our most vulnerable point. In short, the more
absolute dependence is increased upon the Suez or
Euphrates routes, the greater the provocation to
their interruption, the more disastrous its results.
A communication independent of the possible
commotions of Europe or of Asia, is, therefore, of
the first importance. It can only be found across
the continent of America. Many ways have been
proposed, from those in Columbia in South America, up to the very British frontier. An actual
communication, though on a very limited scale,
exists between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, by
means of the Atrato; but contrary winds prevent
its being made either a serviceable or an expeditious one to any westward point. The lines between
the gulfs of Darien and San Miguel, or the Chiriqui
Lagoon and Golfe Dolce, are inferior in facilities for
execution to those of Chagres and Panama, of San
Juan de Nicaragua and the Gulf of Fonseca, of the
Coatzacoalcos and Tehuantepec. The two latter
favour the carrying out of a water communication,
the former, the construction of a railroad, which
ere long will probably be completed. The Nicara-
guan river presents what are deemed insuperable 42
difficulties to an oceanic ship canal; and the Pacific
approach by the port of Salinas is inferior to that
of the Gulf of Fonseca. The alarms of Russia and
the dangers of Europe might perhaps be avoided
here; but slight, after all, would be the gain.
The line of approach, though indeed in a measure
supported by ruined and disaffected West-India
islands, is along the coast of another rival power,
the pretensions and affections of which are not concealed. Even for steamers the advantage in distance is questionable; | while for sailing vessels it is,
in some respects, positively inferior to the routes
of Cape Horn and of Good Hope. The climate,
too, and other difficulties, would render, it of very
questionable benefit, or rather, a decided source of
weakness, not of strength; a harbinger, not of victory, but of defeat. Were it, however, even ever
so desirable abstractedly, the alternative in point
of national security were but the choice between
Scylla and Charybdis.
Mr. Squiers's narrative was scarcely- needed to
reveal the cherished hopes of the democratic party
of his country. The policy of the Confederation has
never swerved from the sentiments he openly announces—'America for the United States;' 'predominance on the Pacific;' ^every where maritime and
commercial ascendancy;' 'dominion in the New
World'—'control over the Old.' Colonies of England,
fare ye well!
Cuba, Canada, and California were called, not
many years ago, the three coveted C's of the Confederation.    One has been obtained; the attempts to INTRODUCTION.
allure or seize the others have as yet been thwarted;
but the covetous desire burns strongly as ever. Her
Majesty's territory has already been freely parcelled out; even the present provinces of British
America are, with Oregon and Yancouver's Island,
' to furnish ten states to our confederacy!' Newfoundland, Labrador, and Oregon, are to be exalted
into £ territories;' and, with some truth, they add,
' Oregon, from the forty-ninth degree to the Russian
boundary, is the New England of the Pacific, [in
all save the rigour of the eastern climate,] and
capable of supporting as much population and industry as the New England of the Atlantic' Meanwhile the eye rolls over the West-India islands,
where the energetic citizens would quickly solve
the problem of renewed prosperity, either by tariff
or slavery; it scans the southern sister continent,
looking upon Mexico and Central America as tributary provinces already; and the annexating appetite
is soothed, or whetted, by the 'tranquil absorption' of the Sandwich Islands. Japan is threatened
with invasion, and no unintelligible signs appear
of a desire to supersede the power of England in
the East.
No doubt there are numbers in the republic whose
gentler spirit and quiet mind cause them still to
regard the land of their origin with affection, and
who, though proud of their own unequalled progress,
can afford a space in other realms for other nations
and other powers—Honi soit qui mal y pense;
but as their influence never yet prevailed to ward
off war, repudiation, annexation, hostile invasions 44
of the territories of allies, piratical descents, or
boldest boundary claims, they were an insecure support to build upon, and likely to become continually
of less avail against the sterner dealings of less
scrupulous compatriots.
The Report of the United-States Committee on
Naval Affairs is quite as explicit, but far more
formidable, than the amusing national and personal
egotism of the ex-charge d'affaires. It expresses
state policy, not individual animosity.
'We shall have,' writes the committee, 'the advantage ....
admitting that European ships will come freighted to the railroad
on this side of the Isthmus, with, cargoes intended for the markets
of the Pacific and China. That, however, will not be the case.
The large number of vessels bound to the ports of the United
States for cotton, rice, tobacco, lumber, flour, provisions, &c, &c,
will bring the freights for those markets as ballast or cargoes, when
they will be conveyed to the railroads in our own fast-sailing coasting
vessels' and steamers, which will also bring to us the commerce of
the Pacific.
'This is very obvious, because if European ships were to sail
with full cargoes direct to the railroad, they would run the risk of
being compelled to return without freight, or come to the United
States for it.
' We are so much nearer to the Isthmus than [are] the ports of
Europe, and our means of communication and information will be
so frequent and certain, our lines of steamers and coasting-vessels
so constantly on the alert, that heavy European freighting vessels
will find it quite impossible to compete with them.
' The construction of this railroad will throw into our warehouses
and shipping, the entire commerce of the Pacific.
' The spirit and genius of the American [anglice, United States]
people and the extent of our territory proclaim clearly enough that
we are to become the legitimate heirs of a vast commerce, that shall
spread fleets of steam-ships over the bosom of the peaceful ocean.
' The commerce from Europe to the East Indies, China, and the
west coast of this continent, will be forced to ... . fall into our
Vires acquiret eundo! INTRODUCTION.
' Whether any considerations of this nature have been the secret
cause of the failure of all efforts hitherto made to open a communication across the Isthmus of Panama, we pretend not to say;
but we think it by no means improbable that men who now hold
in their hands the pursestrings of the world, would decline taking
any steps which would so evidently deprive them of their commanding position, and transfer the seat of the money power to our
So far as the influences of Central American
routes can extend, it remains no longer a question
of contingent and possible policy, but of policy
already in action.
It is true the violent pretensions of Mr. Squiers
failed of their full success, and the Bulwer and
Clayton treaty happily obviated sthe alternative of
a war or a most calamitous capitulation.
Even the convention will scarcely bear minute
investigation. The guaranteed neutrality, however
fair-sounding, is as unequal in its results as the
concessions by which it was established.
Great Britain surrendered the advantages resulting from her long connexion with Mosquito, and
the virtual possession of Grey-town, the Atlantic
port of the proposed canal. She yielded those
accruing from the previously-made concession to
her of the route through Costa Rica, with the outlet
of Salinas. She gave up a fair and honourable
opportunity of completing the chain of her com?
munications round the globe, by an important link,
over which she might have secured to herself, simply
by its construction, and without injustice, an absolute control.
The United States, on the other hand, yielded a
contract made with the state of Nicaragua, pre- 46
tending to bestow rights and property belonging to
the kingdom of Mosquito, and joint rights of the
state of Costa Rica!
To have attempted to enforce a claim so preposterous would have been tantamount to a declaration
of war—a war which Great Britain could only have
avoided by abandoning her old ally. To have
done so would have proved the deathblow of her
influence throughout Central America, and of her
commerce with the adjoining countries, and have
merited the strong censure that has been applied to
the contingency.*
I The government that would propose so cowardly an abandonment of an inoffensive and honest people, struggling for their
rights, would, with justice, be held up to the execration of mankind.'
As to the neutrality, Great Britain alone was
interested in completing her naval and military communication with the Pacific. The ocean is her
means, and her only means, of access to the incom-
* See a very able and interesting article on Squiers's Nicaragua,
in Bentley's Miscellany for April. It must have been an irksome
task to expose so unvarying a tissue of calumnious misstatement,
very frequently of individual slander; but the more thanks are
due to those who undertook a labour they were so well qualified to
execute. The amiable efforts made to draw attention to the more
interesting portions of Mr. Squiers's work, in which there was no
scope for his animosity or vanity,—no easy undertaking,—add the
greater weight to the unqualified contradictions and condemnations
which his assertions meet with on the authority of eye-witnesses.
The aspersions cast,* with singular bad taste and cruelty, upon
the memory of Mr. Walker,  are refuted in a talented article in
Eraser's Magazine for the same month.    It is entitled ' The EastJ
and the West.' INTRODUCTION.
parably preponderating parts of her empire. The
United States possess no isolated oceanic dependencies. It is, on the contrary, their positive
interest to foster the completion and perfection of
the internal communications within their own states.
In time of war they can, without requiring the
military use of any communication through another
country, make hostile descents upon the British
Pacific empires from the ports of those countries
bordering upon that ocean which have recently been
delivered into their hands.
Such a condition and policy show how slight
indeed would be the advantage, either in security or
in commercial relations, that England might obtain
by avoiding the dangers of Europe and Asia to fall
into the hands of the United States.
Routes actually through that country would of
course be even worse in these respects than those
through Central America.
Those proposed have been from New Orleans
across Texas; from St. Louis along the Gila river;
from the Missouri, or Lake Michigan, to Puget's
Sound. The southern routes are considered not
even desirable, and all but impossible; and beyond
the 49th parallel of latitude and within the territories
of Great Britain, lies a route better and more easy
of execution than the northern ones.
The considerations that have been reviewed fully
exhibit its importance and its value: it is the
binding link of England's power.    Nor should any 48
time be lost in its development; the interests of
Great Britain require its immediate use.
It is neither fair, nor would it be much longer]
possible, to keep the immense territories of British
America as an unfruitful hoard, for the mere purpose, as it were, of tantalizing a neighbour with
avowed purposes of annexation. How far may not
the successive diminutions and concessions of the
boundary be explained by moral feebleness caused
by the consciousness of reckless waste? It is a
provocation to cupidity, an invitation to aggression.
Such a condition is alike injurious to Great Britain
and to the United States. A true appreciation on
the part of England of her immense American
resources would not only disarm the encroaching
tendencies of the confederation of their power, but
it would most probably entirely remove them.
Far from being driven by conflicting interests to
war or bitter rivalry, these great powers can be
much more benefited by their mutual prosperity.
The confederation has proved how quickly an unexampled state of material prosperity may be raised,
and how strong a spirit of nationality may be evoked;
out of the most heterogeneous masses, by Oneness of
System, and organization of a definite character.
They have carried on unprecedented colonization
without its even being named. The newest state is
One, in rights, privileges, and duties, with the oldest.
The whole territory knows but one commercial law.
Yet this policy of cohesion, far from proving injurious to foreign commercial relations, has seen the INTRODUCTION.
steady unswerving increase of their trade, shipping,
power, and influence, in every region of the globe.
And what is the great empire which is achieving
such a destiny but a portion of the colonies of
England, once despised and disregarded, and still
peopling with the pariahs of her race! If such is
the power of unity of system, that it can create a
nationality without the ties of ancestry or childhood, who can measure its capacity, or what limit
shall be set to its attendant blessings, when sanctified by the bonds of faith and duty, and hallowed
by the earliest associations and the entire history
of a race!
Britain thus established in America would prove
a source of greater security, prosperity, and glory,
even to the United States, than they could ever
reap even were they enabled to realize the boastful
threat and sweep her off their (/) continent.
Bent from their proud eminence on perpetual
acquisition, they would doubtless smile to scorn the
very thought of carrying with them the elements of
dissolution. This is not the time to trace their
origin; but are there not only too many symptoms
of the danger? Is it not fearful to see inordinate love of gain cherished for its own sake, rather
than the fruits of industry desired ?—to see the mine,
the market, and the wharf, peopled by those to
whom the gratification of the passion of acquisition
is object enough? So long as unfilled territory
abounds, so long as annexation may be possible, the
evil day may be put off; but the time must come
11 50
when the land is filled, however wide its boundaries; and then will have arrived the hour which
will test the wisdom of having broken, not the yoke
only, but those fundamental principles of England
which preserve the holy treasure of the nation's
faith. May not the very instinctive fear of the
fulness of her borders have aroused her anxious
ambition of perpetual extension? Have the terrors
of lawlessness no share in calling into existence the
'Native American' party, who seek to interpose
some barrier to the free citizenship of thousands
of annually arriving immigrants? Has not the
I Rensellaer war' proved that the true causes of
popular commotions are not removed? Does it
throw no ominous light on the insecurity of property whenever it may become more difficult of
acquisition? Are the cabals of parties, and the
animosities of north and south, of abolition or of
slavery, devoid of all just grounds for alarm? Are
not the Celts already held in awe; the negro in
If principle be the basis of prosperity and the
secret of national security, then it may be asserted
with tolerable confidence, that an OLD England
extending along the length of their northern frontier would promote both the stability and prosperity of the United States. Not only would she
exert a most powerful influence by the example of
the magnificent prosperity she might elicit, and
sway by the inherent truth of her vital principles;
but the indirect effect of her moral weight would INTRODUCTION.
maintain the comparative ascendancy of the friends
of moderation; whilst the signal of her fall upon the
continent would be the triumph of the wild advocates of anarchy and licence.
How far nobler would it be to see this interchange of mutual advantage: Great Britain following the example of the United States in the
complete integration of the several parts of her
empire, and adopting unity of system ; and the
republic endeavouring to accompany and secure
her material prosperity by greater external moderation and higher internal aims.
How glorious were the hope to see these kindred
nations walking agreed-together, and* uniting their
influence to spread throughout the world the bless
ings of civilization and the Christian faith.  ON
It. ii
1. The Aim and Unity of the various features
of the Enterprise.
TO bring about a system of complete and rapid intercommunication between the metropolitan kingdoms
and the most remote outlying portions of the empire of
Great Britain, and to form by this instrumentality a
real unity of its heterogeneous component parts, is a
proposal of which it is not easy at once to grasp the
various bearings and distant hmits.
It arises, however, almost of necessity, and gradually
fashions itself before the mind, as the inevitable results
of the increasing means of rapid communication are perceived, and the all-important subject of the vital integration of the several portions of the empire is adequately
appreciated under its varied aspects.
Should, for instance, colonization be the primary
object, it is, when rightly understood, indissolubly bound
up with imperial relations, laws, traditions, and affec-
I 54
tionsj and to be carried out commensurately with its
importance, requires the aid of imperial and universal
intercommunications. Whether the chief interest be
directed to the national inhabitation of territory now
waste, or to the reclamation of a self-alienizing and self-
expatriating population, the result still leads to intercommunications as the means. Should, on the other hand,
the means of rapid intercourse be in themselves the
principal aim, they require for their perfect execution,
a regard, not only to the colonization of territory, and
the organized settlement of multitudes, but to the
systematic guidance of that change in imperial relations,
which must inevitably result from the development of
quick and frequent communications between the most
extreme limits of the empire. If these premises be
correct, the means of communication become in every
instance the initiatory measure. For convenience of
arrangement, therefore, their correctness may be first
assumed, and subsequently proved.
2. Important Bearing of Means of Communication
on Eastern Supremacy.
It is well known how, almost from the earliest ages,
the secure dominion of the East has been the object of
the highest ambition. To that dominion, difficulty and
insecurity of access were the insuperable obstacles.
When, however, the attack was made by commerce,
rather than by force of arms, the stormy and the peaceful oceans both lent their aid to the invader. The hope
yet to improve upon that highway fired the genius of
Columbus, and the redoubled name of ' Indies' still commemorates his incomplete, but rightly pioneered, adventure. The Russians, too, endeavoured to penetrate
northward of their gigantic, but inclement and inhospit- THE  DOMINIONS  OF GREAT BRITAIN.
able Asiatic empire, to the rich regions of the East.
The most heroic efforts of maritime discovery adorn the
history of our own otherwise melancholy and unprofitable labours in a similar direction—efforts far from being
altogether fruitless, since we are indebted to them for
very much of that information which points unhesitatingly and unmistakeably to the right path to the Pacific
and to the East. It is to the second great discoverer
of the continental boundaries of the New World, to Sir
Alexander Mackenzie, that we owe the clearest demonstration of the practicability of realizing this long-cherished desire of so many successive nations, by means of
a short, secure, and speedy access to the East. The
progress of the world's history, and the discoveries of
science during that lengthened period of peace, for which
our thanksgivings are due to Him that ruleth in the
heavens and on earth, have but given fresh value to
Mackenzie's brilliant achievements, and to the clear and
forcible exposition which he has left of the national
prosperity and glory to be obtained by following up the
advantages of the enterprise which gives lustre to his
3. Imperial Character of the Proposal.
It might at first sight be supposed, and would doubtless be very generally assumed, that because British
America is the scene on which the great proposed communication must be carried into effect, it must therefore be of local, rather than of imperial national importance ; and it may be well briefly to vindicate the general
arid equal value of the proposal, in its bearings on every
portion of the empire. The general benefit is, indeed,
implied, if it can be proved to be the best way of
approach to countries washed by the Pacific; but it can
be exemplified in greater comparative detail.
d 2 56
It is the shortest route to China, Japan, Australia,
and New Zealand, and to all the countries contiguous
to them: to India it affords the only invulnerable
approach, and to all it opens the most comprehensive,
salubrious, and profitable one. Now none of these considerations affect British America directly, and the indirect influences of commerce operate equally upon all.
Neither do they relate pre-eminently to the interests of
the peopled portion of British America; the local effect
of the proposed route, in this respect, would be essentially
imperial, by giving a British and national direction to
the trade and commerce of the existing British provinces,
instead of allowing it to deflect daily more and more
towards the United States. Humanly speaking, it
would prevent the disruption of the colonial empire in
this direction, and thereby perhaps obviate the dangers
of its total dissolution.
These are considerations eminently imperial; that is,
of importance to the whole empire, arid based upon its
interests. Again; the new empire, and the new local
commerce that would be called into existence by means
of the construction of the route, would be upon territory
west of Upper Canada, upon territory now wholly,
utterly, wretchedly, and sinfully waste and wasted. The
existing countries east and west of that gigantic but
reclaimable desert, would equally be gainers; the countries of the Pacific specially so; since to them a new
seaboard, with very numerous and admirable harbours,
would be opened. To the east, an inland country only,
with only an inland' (though an unrivalled inland) navigation, would be added. Lastly, it is scarcely a question
that admits of an alternative. The country which
occupies the American seaboard of the Pacific, will and
must command the commerce and supremacy of the
Pacific and the East. Our nominal sovereignty of the
remnant of our North-American possessions, especially THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN.
of our portion of the Pacific seaboard, may very safely
be left undisturbed by the United States, so long as we
ourselves bury it in the darkness of the tomb. Indeed,
the continued neglect of the British Pacific seaboard,
contemporaneously with the unparalleled development of
that of the United States, would be the 'symptom and
cause' that British suprefnacy had virtually passed away
even from British India. Those who may develop the
western coasts of America will be the merchants and
masters of the East. All these are points of imperial
importance, not of local partiality.
4. The Route as connecting the Extremities.
As a mere question of means of communication, the
features of the route are such as to involve interests of
the utmost magnitude, and require that comprehensiveness of view which can alone justly, or successfully,
deal with the internal and external relations of the
whole empire.
It has been already stated that it is the shortest route
to the Pacific and the East; this is the case both geographically and practically. Thus the distances and
time are as follow :—
To New
To Hong
xo ayciney.
By Central America <
By   the   Cape   of  1
Good Hope          j
By the Indian route <
V 15,590
By British America
11,490 58
To Shanghae and Japan the distance is less by 400
and 1400 miles respectively.
The time by the British-American route is reckoned
at the rate of 10^ knots the hour upon the oceanic, and
of 30 miles the hour upon the land, portions of the route ;
rates less, than those of steamers now plying to British
America, and of those of railway speed respectively.
Two full days are allowed for coaling in the Pacific.
The times of the three old routes are those tendered;
for at the time of the competition for the first steam
communication with Australia; and they suffice for a
basis of comparison, though framed upon less moderate
data than those of the proposed route. The time to
Sydney only is given; but it is evident that the other
distances being relatively even more favourable, would
be performed with a proportionately greater economy
of time.
Moreover, in the comparison of length, the longer
rather than the shorter distances of the three older
routes, compete with those by British America, inasmuch as they offer other attractions outweighing the
disadvantages of greater length. Thus the Select Committee of the House of Commons gave the preference to
the route by the Cape of Good Hope, by which the
distance to Sydney varies from 12,634 to 14,655 miles.
With a paddle-wheel steamer at eight and a half knots,
and a land transit at the rate of only twenty miles the
hour, the distance to Sydney by British America would
be performed in fifty-two days, again allowing two full
days for coaling in the Pacific. Excepting by the
British-American route, the distances would be very
considerably increased for sailing vessels by those routes
which are open to them.
For example, supposing a ship-canal to be constructed
in Central America, the best sailing course from Sydney THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
to England would still be 15,848 miles long on account
of trade winds and currents.
From China to England by the same route, a vessel
would add the distance from Vancouver's Island to
Panama, in the Pacific, and on the Atlantic, that from
Panama to Halifax^ to very nearly the same course as
one proceeding by British America.
By the Cape of Good Hope, the sailing course to
Sydney would be 13,566 miles, and to China 14,530,
and the return voyage 13,330 miles long.
Between Vancouver's Island and every important
port of the Pacific, the trade winds afford a wind either
fair or favourable, or which can be crossed on a wind.
Since, moreover, the relative effects of these advantages.
can never be affected by any future employment of the
auxiliary screw-steamer, however general it may become,
Vancouver's Island will ever retain the superiority it
derives from its numerous harbours, and from its position
both with regard to trade winds, currents, and great
circle sailing.
The electric telegraph, also, for the purposes to which
it is applicable, would practically annihilate 3000 miles
of the shortest of the distances that have been named.
Thus, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are
brought within 8490, 8600, 8058, and 7090 miles
Asia, besides, points out. the means, either northwards
in continuation from St. Petersburg, or along its southern
coast in prolongation of the line to Calcutta, by which
the whole habitable earth may be girdled by the electric
wire; the only unexecuted submerged portions being
across the Straits of Constantinople and the Behring's
The superiority in point of salubrity scarcely needs
demonstration.    Hot climates, long sea voyages,  and n$i
transhipments under a tropical sun, are injurious to
man, and destructive to products. The climate of
British America guarantees the preservation of the latter,
and is admitted to be highly favourable to the most
healthful condition of man.
Although the advantages of this connexion of the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans have been too briefly and
insufficiently set forth, they are yet clearly palpable. If
to these advantages be added those of an inviolable and
national communication with India and every portion of
the empire, rendering Great Britain independent of the
commotions of the world; those of the creation of a new
commerce, and of a new empire, such as would be called
into existence, and their effects upon the maritime and
general power and prosperity of Great Britain; it is
surely not too much to say that no opportunity can
exist for the profitable employment of labour, capital,
and science, so eligible as that which the boundaries of
our own empire present. Need its advantages be
enhanced by contrast, or by calling to mind the disastrously ruinous consequences which have too frequently
followed upon foreign investments ? Shall the resources
of our own mighty possessions be for ever disregarded,
because their development seems most unfortunately not
only to offer the highest possible reward, but is also the
clear path of duty ?
5. The Route in its Component Parts.
Those results which depend on the completion of the
enterprise, or, at least, on the union of the oceans by a
complete and continuous communication between them,
may now be left, and the component parts of the route
be successively examined. The result will be the same;
the same  comprehensive   and  imperial principles are THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
essential to the component portions of the route. It
will, again, appear that no other means of communication
offer any inducements comparable to those under consideration. The improvement of the navigation at the
Falls of Saint Mary, a communication between Lakes
Superior and Winnipeg, and a canal to overcome the
single rapid of the Saskatchewan river, are the whole
amount of labour or of artificial aid required to open
the vast interior of British America to the influences of
civilization, cultivation, and commerce, and, virtually,
to carry the Atlantic seaboard to the foot of the Rocky
Mountains. A distance of 300 miles is all that
would then remain to separate the opposite oceans,
or the unrivalled harbours of Nova Scotia from those
of Vancouver's Island, the grand ' wharves' of the
Atlantic and Pacific seaboards respectively. An improvement of the navigation to the extent of a lift of
between 800 and 900 feet, would open the grandest
feature of the route to vessels from the ocean, and form
the great initiatory measure of the whole, extending for
a distance of about 2700 miles, or seven-eighths of the
entire trans-continental length!
The Welland canal, an accomplished fact, surmounts
an altitude of 334 feet within a length of three and
thirty miles, and practically obliterates the Falls of
The important and beneficial effects of this canal
call for more minute examination, but may be concisely
sketched in few words.
The Erie canal is the medium of a vast proportion of
the importing and exporting trade even of States
actually situated upon the Missisippi and its tributaries. In eighteen years it was the means of very nearly
tripling the population and the wealth of New York.
The Welland canal, by substituting thirty-three miles
d 3 62
of enlarged navigation for 154 miles of tow-boating,
and by other advantages, has so far practically superseded the western portion of the Erie canal, as to have
been the means of transferring a large proportion of the
trade from Buffalo upon Lake Erie, to Oswego on
Lake Ontario.
Here then is a precedent, a proof from fact, if any
be needed, to show that far greater works can be,
and have been, most profitably undertaken and carried
out, with incomparably inferior inducements.
The Links.
1. Slight as the whole amount of labour is, that
would be required to carry the first step of the route
to the base of the mountain chain, that labour is. subdivided among separate links. The route that would
render that extent of country accessible, consists of
component parts severally complete in themselves.
Each is independent of those more westward; each
would open a great and a distinct feature of the country;
each would be dependent only upon local resources, and
be in itself a reproductive and profitable work.
Thus, the Falls of St. Mary unite the waters, but
divide the navigation of Lake Superior from those of
Lake Huron. The height of fall is only from eighteen
to twenty-two feet. This is positively all that has to
be done to extend the most magnificent inland navigation in the world by 400 miles, to place the region
of the immense mineral wealth of Lake Superior upon
the seaboard, and to open to the plough the fertile
and exquisite country irrigated by the Kamenis
2. The improvement of the navigation, or the opening
of a road, to Rainy Lake, would  open a considerable THE  DOMINIONS  OF GREAT BRITAIN.
extent of country of great fertility and of the most exquisite beauty. Language appears to have been nearly
exhausted in the attempt to set forth the attractions
of the country of the Kamenis Toquoih, of the Lake
of the Thousand Lakes, of the Rainy Lake, and River,
and of the Lake of the Woods.
3. The romantic scenery of the Winnipeg river is of
a more sterile character, and its navigation is frequently
interrupted by falls and rapids: but by English river,
routes are afforded, opening other communications, and
traversing extensive tracts of tributary country;—viz.,
a second communication with Lake Superior, by English
river and Lakes Sal and St. Joseph, arid one with
Hudson Bay, by the Nippegan waters and Albany
It would appear very probable that by the Rat and
Red rivers, the difficulties of the route between Lake
of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg would be diminished,
and a considerable extent of natural navigation be found
available, traversing a country of superior agricultural
capabilities. The trappers of the Hudson Bay Company
adopt the route by the Winnipeg river, on account of the
connected communications by English river with Albany
Factory, James's Bay. The Red river is best known
from the settlement of that name upon its banks, which,
even under the unfavourable circumstances of its isolation, has maintained a long continued, and, in some
respects, a prosperous existence. All testimony unites
in favour of the productiveness of the country, and of
the ease with which a population might at once be supported on the produce of the soil.
4. The improvement of the navigation so as to overcome the rapids of the Saskatchewan (rapids only, and
but three miles in length) would open the whole breadth
of country from the frontier to the most northern tribu- 64
taries of that noble river, to the tide of settlement and
civilization, which would reach the very foot of the Rocky
Mountains without a check I The country throughout
would appear to be of the most luxuriant fertility.
Descriptions seem inadequate to represent it, and proofs
of its productiveness abound.
Sir George Simpson, governor-in-chief of the territories of the Hudson Bay Company, speaks of ' the rank-
ness of vegetation savouring of the torrid zone.' The
ground is covered for what may be termed whole fields,
with tiger lilies, roses, bluebells, sweetbriers, violets, and
hyacinths. Wood and water diversify the scene. The
swampy land requires only drainage, and the parched
prairie systematic irrigation, to burst forth into the most
abundant richness. Herds of cattle give to the country,
the appearance of a stall-yard ; fish and wild fowl are
everywhere in the greatest profusion. Coal, in thick
seams and great beds, is found easily accessible upon
the very banks of the Saskatchewan, which is navigable
from its mouth to Rocky Mountain House, (with the
single exception of the rapid already mentioned,) and
which can be descended from the mountains to Lake
Winnipeg without an obstacle.
Thus, by four distinct and severally independent
works, which form together a connected whole, the entire
tract of country between the 49th and 54th parallels
of latitude, and extending to the 115th degree of west
longitude, may be thoroughly opened; and surely the
preliminary labour, energy, and capital, required, have
been shown to be comparatively exceedingly insignificant.
The next links in regular succession would be, the
Passage of the Rocky Mountains, and the Descent to
the Pacific, but this concise and hasty glance at the
principal features of the intervening country will be
more complete if the great rivers of the adjoining region THE DOMINIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
which are not immediately connected with the Saskatchewan, be first very briefly touched upon.
A chain of rivers and lakes brings the waters
of the Saskatchewan and Churchill rivers within a
carrying place of 370 yards. The country between the
Churchill and Peace rivers is opened by three principal
branches of great waters; namely, by the Beaver river
and Upper Athebasca or Elk river, and Lesser Slave
lake; by the Clear Water river, and then, either up the
Athebasca and by Lesser Slave Lake, or down the
Athebasca into the Peace river.
The navigation, though in some places frequently
interrupted, contains immense reaches wholly unobstructed, and much of the country is fextolled in the
highest terms by Sir A. Mackenzie, who, even in his
day, lamented its neglected condition. Nothing can
surpass the glowing language in which he speaks of the
Valley of the Clear Water, yet he adds, ' I will not presume to give an adequate description of the scene which
I enjoyed.' 'Upon the banks of the Elk river,' he
writes, f I saw as fine a kitchen garden as I ever saw
in Canada !'    And this in the year 1787 !
A magnificent reach of natural and unobstructed
navigation extends from the head of the Clear Water,
by the Elk and Peace rivers, until the foot of the Rocky
Mountains is again attained. The only interruption
is a fall of about twenty feet, at the confluence of the
Loon river with the Unjugah, or Peace river.
The range of mountains which forms the La Loche
portage extends so as to divide the waters of the Beaver
lake and river from those of the Athebasca, but is
there of diminished altitude, and finally disappears in
the neighbourhood of the Saskatchewan.
The whole tract of country, in its width from the
frontier to the most northern tributaries of the Peace ;
river, which is thus opened by the numerous and
gigantic waterpaths by which it is intersected, presents
many inducements to inhabitation and settlement. The
soil is, generally speaking, alluvial, and covered with decayed vegetation, the country clothed with wood, relieved
with intervening meadows of grass. Much of it is of
romantic beauty and exuberant fertility. The isothermal
line which traverses the midland counties of England,
passes midway between the southern point of James's
Bay (Hudson Bay), and the northern shores of Lake
Superior; but it then rapidly rises, and on the west
coast it runs nearly parallel with the Russian boundary,
at a considerable distance within the British territory.
Moreover, the navigation of the Peace river in the
fifty-eighth degree, opens earlier and closes later than
that of Canada, and consequently, in a still greater
degree, than that of the Erie canal, of which the effe**5-
upon the State of New York have already been feriefry"'
A line of road, probably railroad, from the frontier,
or about the confluence of the Bull Pound and Mocoatch
rivers to the Peace river, or to the Turnagain or
Itzechadzue, and skirting the foot of the Rocky Mountains, would give compactness, union, and solidity to the
progress thus far effected. It would also be the means of
rendering the first pass that might be opened through
the Rocky Mountains accessible and useful to all parts.
5. From Central America to within a comparatively
short distance of the present British frontier, the mountain ranges present an impenetrable barrier between the
easternand western shores of the continent. The passes on
the direct line of the British-American route concerning
which the most information has been collected, are three
in number. Still further to the north, the mountain chain
becomes an interrupted  succession of  hills, gradually THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
diminishing in height. The sources of the north-west
branch of the river Turnagain, or Itzechadzue, are in
about 131°, those of the Peace river in about 127°, and
those of the Athabasca in about 118°, west longitude.
Thus the sources of the more northern rivers approach
nearer to the Pacific. They have their rise amid the
Peak and Babine Mountains, ranges parallel to the
Rocky Mountains, and whose bases are covered with
dense forest. The Athabasca has its source amid the
Rocky Mountains, and the waters of the same lake flow
in opposite directions, a portion finding their way through
the magnificent course of the Athabasca, the Slave, and
the Mackenzie rivers, into the Arctic Ocean, and another
portion flowing rapidly into the Pacific, by the comparatively short and tortuous course of the Columbia.
The route of Sir Alexander Mackenzie adheres to the
course of the Peace and Frazer's rivers, until the confluence of the river Western Road is arrived at. From
Rocky Mountain House, on the Peace river^ in about
120° W. long., which is the head of the long unobstructed navigation eastward, the westward progress by
water is, for a time, so frequently interrupted, that as a
natural watercourse it is scarcely available. The waters
flow with great rapidity between steep, narrow, and
often precipitous banks. After a while, however, continual reaches of easily navigable, and almost still water,
from twenty to thirty miles in length, re-occur. Beautiful
and extensive sheets of water burst suddenly upon the
view. The summit level, so far from being a pinnacle
of eternal snow, is clothed with wood, and enlivened by
bright-coloured birds, and humming birds, the denizens
of a southern clime. The mountains are covered with
varieties of timber, specified as of unusual size.
The characteristics of the southern pass between
latitude' 50° and 51° are very similar. 68
The central pass, between 53° and 54° N. L., is more
gradually approached. The valleys are wider, and the
character of the scenery less precipitous.
The sudden rapidity with which the snow melts, and
the ice breaks up in these and similar countries, is well
known. In the spring season, the narrow valleys of
the northern and southern passes are sometimes completely choked by natural dams formed by timber and
fragments of rock which are carried away by the impetuous torrents. When the accumulated waters have
acquired sufficient weight, these temporary obstacles are
borne away before them, and the rivers and streams
gradually retire within their ordinary channels.
This operation of nature is indicative of the mode by
which a great transit of traffic may be effected across
the mountains. The narrow valleys are the river beds,
the rocky banks and bottoms present the abutments
and chambers of the masonry, the temporary dams only
require to be made permanent, and then navigable
rivers, steps of still water, will replace the furious and
impracticable falls and rapids. The largest bodies of
water admit of being regulated without danger, by providing outlets increasing in size in full proportion to the
accumulated quantities of the successive descents.
The central pass, as being less precipitous, and wider,
and having a more gradual approach, would appear to
be best suited to land communications. There does
not seem to be any reason why the principle of steps
Hmd the elevation of freighted carriages should not be
applied, if necessary or advantageous, ,and with the
further aid of tunnels, the passage of the Rocky Mountains would cease to be attended by the difficulties, far
less the impossibilities, with which it has been hitherto
It is but reasonable to infer that the various circum- THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
stances which have contributed to shroud the country in
the mysteries of complete neglect, have also combined
here, as elsewhere, in causing the difficulties which may
at present attend crossing it, to be greatly over-estimated,
and its real value to be equally underrated. Wherever
the rude hand of actual trial, and the prying gaze of
personal inquiry have reached, this has proved to have
been the case, and the fabulous or grossly exaggerated
rumours previously prevailing against every portion of
the continent have been ruthlessly dispelled. It has
been asserted that far more favourable passes exist than
those that have been mentioned; it is sufficient to know
that those which are explored are practicable in the
condition in which they are represented.
The stream of civilization, flowing, by means of the
great waters above described, through the whole extent of
country for a breadth of from seven to ten degrees, to the
very foot of the mountains, and connected by the road
already indicated, cannot fail to cause the best passes to
become known; and, if the plan be systematically and
wisely carried out, the fullest and most perfect information will be collected while the great tide of settlement
and inhabitation is approaching the mountain borders.
It is worthy of remark that a party of poor unaided
emigrants, whom the governor of these territories, travelling with the resources of the country at his disposal,
overtook on the plains of the central region, had arrived
on the western slopes of the mountains with their wagons, families, &c, before the party proceeding by the
route through which the governor conducted his guests
and companions. (Vide Journal of Sir G. Simpson.)
In. estimating the supposed impracticability of the
mountains, it is important to bear in mind that they
have been thus traversed whilst entirely without roads !
It is only necessary to think for a moment what the
Simplon would be without, or with, a road. 70
6. The route once adopted, the Pacific seaboard would
possess all the interest now exclusively attached to that
of the Atlantic; the great cities and crowded marts of
Eastern America would be reproduced upon its western
shores; and the scenes of activity and enterprise which
the sea-ports of the Atlantic now behold, would be
repeated amid the deep and spacious bays and harbours
of the distant West. It is a coincidence not a little
remarkable, that the characteristics of the extremities
of the British route should be in many important
respects very similar and so admirably adapted to
form the terminal stations of a great universal system
of communication. Thus the harbours of Nova Scotia
and of Vancouver's Island are equally unrivalled, both
in quality and position. Both countries possess large
deposits of coal; both, as it were, jut into the sea, and
form the jj wharves' of their respective co-terminal and
adjacent countries. They alike abound in local sources
of wealth, in minerals, metals, &c.; and to both, their
position within the empire is essential for the highest
development of their capabilities, whilst they equally
confer upon the empire opportunities for brilliant prosperity which would be utterly unattainable without
Every approach to and from the Pacific seaboard
would require eventual development, and should therefore be duly regarded in forming the plan of the system
of execution. Simpson's river in the north, the route
of Mackenzie in about 52°, or 52° 30" N. L., and
Frazeris river, all point out directions for means of communication between the seaboard and the passes. The
productiveness of the soil and the excellence and mildness of the climate are proverbial; and although the*
banner of St. George no longer waves over the smiling
and beautifully fertile valleys of the Cowlitz and the
Wallamette, of the  Cootoonay and the Columbia, the EB
boundary does not divide their exuberant richness from
a wilderness. British Oregon is agriculturally attractive:
Mackenzie speaks of the timber (hardwood deciduous
trees, well known as indications of superior land) as of
the largest he had ever beheld. He wril||| of soil (a
black rich mould,' and longs for cultivation. He was
never south of Point Menzies more than a degree north
of the most northern extremity of Vancouver's Island,
and about three degrees north of the boundary.
Further Abbreviation of 1500 Miles.
The European commerce of the immense region thus
briefly reviewed, at present gives employment to two
ships annually. These sail during the summer months
to Fort York, situated at the mouth of the Nelson
river, Hudson Bay, whence their cargoes are transported
to the interior. Nelson river is in fact the main river,
which, by its numerous and widely extending ramifications, irrigates the vast interior of British America, being
the channel by which thewaters of the Saskatchewan river,
and of Lakes Winnipeg, Winnipegoose, and Mannetoo-
woopow, of the Assiniboine and Red rivers, of Rainy Lake,
and Lake of the Woods, and their several tributaries,
find their outlet to the sea. It is, so to speak, the
great St. Lawrence of the central region. The exit of
the waters from Lake Winnipeg is into Playgreen Lake,
whence they flow through Cross Lake into the Katche-
wan river, which is joined by the Burntwood river at
the head of Split Lake. At the foot of this lake the
river takes the name of the Port Nelson river, and
becomes a single body of water. The Burntwood river
very nearly unites the waters of the Nelson river with
those of Churchill river. From the height of land
called the Cranberry carrying-place, chains of rivers and 72
lakes flow into the Saskatchewan, Churchill, and Port
Nelson rivers, which severally point out still shorter
means of communication, and afford a remarkable illustration of the wonderful and complete manner in which
the country is intersected by natural waterpaths in all
directions, greatly facilitating its exploration, and providing the best primary mode of intercourse. The
chain of rivers and lakes between the Katchewan and
Burntwood rivers, extends nearly in a direct line from
Split Lake to Pine-Island Lake, which joins the Saskatchewan by Cumberland House. That Hudson Bay
and the Port Nelson river form a practicable and convenient means of communication between Great Britain
and the interior of British America is sufficiently proved
by the fact that it is actually in use, and that it is the
route selected by the Hudson Bay Company. Its
further development and proper relative position with
regard to the great transcontinental route, are therefore
subjects necessarily connected with the proper employment of the resources of the country, and with the best
means of opening it. It is also evident, from its present
actual use, that the more limited period of the year
during which it is available, forms no barrier to its
utility. Even its natural and unimproved condition
presents no obstacle to its being the road by which the
whole European trade of the immense territory over
which the Hudson Bay Company now exercises control, is carried on. The importance of these facts is
considerably enhanced when this route is viewed as part
of the great system of intercourse now under consideration. It would still farther shorten the distances between
England and the West by 1500 miles, and effect that
additional amount of abbreviation to all parts of the
Eastern Terminations—The Route in the
existing Provinces.
TX7HATEVER means would most speedily, and at the
» » least cost, open the largest extent of country on the
direct route to the Pacific, would unquestionably be also
the best for rendering the communication across the
continent available and successful at the shortest interval
of time. Accordingly, the foregoing brief examination
of iriitiatory measures for breaking ground upon a
route which must traverse unoccupied, and at present
scarcely accessible territories, has been based upon that
principle. It has been shown that this object would be
effected by completing the navigation of a portion of the
great inland waters of the continent, and the principal
directions in which the system of water communication
might be further developed and extended naturally
attracted attention. The most speedy attainmerit of
the entire enterprise, consisting of the triple features of
improved navigation, a continuous railway, and the
electric telegraph, is, however, the grand object constantly in view.
The same principle, which, in the West, renders the
quickest opening of new country of paramount importance in the first instance, demands an equally careful
consideration of the means for obtaining the utmost degree of excellence in the various communicatioris through
the existing provinces, which form the eastern portion of 74
the route. It has already been stated that it is the
shortest and quickest route connecting Europe and the
Pacific. An examination of the globe renders it
evident that the more northerly the route is, the shorter
it must be. Thus, besides the national and other
advantages that have been pointed out, one across
British America is shorter than one through the United
States. The same facilities existing for crossing
the respective transcontinental portions of these routes,
the shortest can necessarily be most quickly traversed;
and if the examination be extended to the several
component parts of the transcontinental portions,
additional and important marks of superiority will
be found to characterize the British route. The best
route which could be opened in the United States is
incontestably that which, adopting the same principle
of starting from the head of the great navigable waters
of the East, has its western termination at Puget's
Sound. As a communication from Europe, therefore,
it would bear the same relation to that by British
America, which the arc of a circle does to the chord
of that arc, or the remainder of the perimeter of an
irregular figure to one of its sides.
Neither does the route through the United States
consist of distinctive, separate, and complete component
parts. It is not favoured by any great lateral system
of navigable waters extending to the 115th and 120th
degrees of west longitude. Instead of meeting the
mountain chain in the same degrees, it has to encounter
them in the 109th degree, and has a correspondingly
greater quantity of difficult country to surmount. Instead of opening an almost illimitable extent of tributary
territory without effort or outlay, it could only open
the land immediately adjacent to the railway, or road, THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
to which it must remain restricted. Instead of having
inerely to cross short mountain passes of unproductive
country, it has, in addition, to traverse a portion of the
American desert. Nevertheless it is the road universally
allowed in the United States to be the best, as being the
most northerly of those proposed,, and Commodore
Wilkes seems to regard it as the only practicable or
advisable one afforded by their country.
The comparison of the existing means of communication eastward, exhibits the same superiority, resulting in
the same manner from relative geographical position, and
physical advantages. Thus the seaports of British
America are considerably nearer Europe. Halifax lies
upon the very track of the steamers between New York,
Boston, and England; and Quebec, although much nearer
the west, is no further from England than New York.
The ports of the British provinces are, moreover, upon
the natural direct line of traffic. These are incontestable
advantages, only requiring due development. So practical are their effects even now, that the European
tidings, first carried (according to the present course of
travel) past the very ports of the seaboard of Nova
Scotia, actually re-enter the British territory in Canada
in order to reach the western States of the Union more
expeditiously! It is manifest, however, that these advantages are worse than neutralized, so long as the
British Atlantic seaboard remains severed from the
interior through the undeveloped condition of the intermediate country, and so long as the tide of travelis
artificially turned through the United States. The
eastern terminations of the route are therefore of the
utmost and most pressing importance. The immediate
co-operation of land routes (railroads) is indispensable to
securing the traffic and prosperity which of right apper- 76
tain to the channel possessing the greatest natural advantages. They are equally essential to the quickest
development of the through route to the Pacific, and
should therefore be constructed simultaneously with the
pioneering western links already described. Every
instant is of value in perfecting these communications
with the seaboard. The whole superiority of the material
prosperity of the United States resolves itself into the
fact of their having been enabled, by the advantage of
one hundred years' start, to deflect the course of trade
from its best and natural channels, to the great prejudice
of the possessions of that very country to whose commerce and population they owe their sudden and
stupendous growth.
• The importance of this connexion with the seaboard
is being partially appreciated in Canada, and accordingly
railroads are either projected, or in actual progress, which
will extend from Sandwich (opposite Detroit), upon
Lake Erie, to Quebec, at the foot of the inland navigation,
and branches will unite Lake Huron and the Georgian
Bay. It depends on the connexion of Quebec with
Halifax, and with the other seaports of Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick generally, whether the seaboard of the
United States or that of British America is to profit by
the increased commerce and wealth which will thereby
be created.
A more definite view of the question will be obtained
by examining the whole general system of communication eastward of Lake Superior, and dividing it into the
links of which it is composed. THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN.
1. From Lake Superior and Lake Huron to the Ocean.
The opening of a communication between Lake
Huron and the St. Lawrence by French river, Lake
Nepissing, and the Ottawa would effect an abbreviation
of 400 miles. It would therefore command all the
through traffic of the westward country. The comparison and result would be the same whether made
between the railroads or the navigation of these respective directions.
2. From Lake Erie to the Ocean.
It has already been said that the Erie canal is the
-channel of trade for many of the States situated upon
the Mississippi, to which route it is found superior; and
that the Welland canal (between Lakes Erie and Ontario)
has had the effect of transferring a great proportion of the
-trade from Buffalo upon the former, to Oswego upon the
latter lake.
The Caughnawaga canal, between Montreal and
Lake Champlain, would afford an eastern extremity of
similar superiority, and secure to the St. Lawrence canals
the trade which passes through the Welland canal.
The Welland canal substitutes thirty-three miles of
enlarged navigation for 154 of tow-boating; the Caughnawaga canal would replace 130 miles of tow-boating by
twenty miles of ship canal. The advantages of the former
amount, in speed, to a difference of ten days, and from
twelve to fourteen in the opening and close of the navigation ; and in economy, to 40 per cent. By the latter,
instead of two transhipments there would be none, which
would effect a saving of a week in time, and of sixpence
upon every bushel of wheat.
The construction  of this   canal must lead  to the
E 78
enlargement of the 'Northern Canal' between Lake
Champlain and Hudson river, and thus afford a second
mouth and outlet to the great waters and inland navigation of the St. Lawrence. Unless the State of New
York construct that link on a corresponding scale, so as
to avoid the necessity of transhipment, the rival railroads
from Burlington to Boston would divert the chief proportion of the trade to the great injury of the city of
New York. The free navigation of Lake Champlain is
secured to Canada by treaty.
This perfected communication between Montreal and
New York would render the latter city in a measure
tributary to the former; or rather, the present New York
Erie canal trade would very principally pursue the St.
Lawrence route as far as Caughnawaga. It might, however, render Montreal tributary to New York, to a very
different extent. It is, in fact, but one of the many
examples in which the inland and lake ports of British
America are becoming directly connected with the seaports of the United States. So long as these are not
counterbalanced by the development of the better direct
British communications, trade is rendered more and more
dependent on the United States; their priority in the
market, with all its contingent advantages, is fostered
and increased, and the inferior position of the British
colonies perpetuated.
These considerations point in the strongest manner to
the supreme importance of superiority of direct trunk
communication by land and water, vid British-American
territory. This is to be secured, not by any injury to,
or diminution of, the traffic between the United States
and British America, but by simultaneously developing
the independent resources of the Gulf provinces and of
the British seaboard proportionately to their real value.
The rivalry is between legitimate natural advantages, and' THE DOMINIONS  OF GREAT BRITAIN.
the adventitious results of priority of development. The
seaboard of British America is the most favourably
situated; but so long as she remains content to receive
her European intelligence through the circuitous channels
of more remote ports of the United States, the inevitable
result must be a secondary instead of a leading position.
The Gulf provinces are most immediately and palpably
interested; but the difference is of such vital importance
that Canada, England, and even the whole empire, are
scarcely less concerned. National ties are most powerfully acted upon by those of interest—that is, by commercial relations; and these again, in America especially,
are chiefly influenced by means of communication.
Thus the national allegiance of the country may depend
upon the system and balance of intercourse; and one
mighty blow, wherever struck, may endanger the whole
fabric of the colonial empire. Indeed, the multiplicity
of terminations of Canadian fines within the territory of
the United States has been widely advocated, with these
very objects in view.
The future as well as present welfare of British America
must equally suffer, unless the ports of the Atlantic seaboard be connected with the interior by independent railroads, and thus become the chief ports of the continent.
The development of the route is the highest attainable
prosperity of the country. The supreme value of the
route depends as much upon the national as the geographical position of British America. It results, indeed,
from her situation upon the surface of the earth; but it
depends upon her station in the British empire. Commercial, national, political, and geographical considerations are all involved; and all unite in favour of the
route. Its advantages as a whole have been already
seen. Through the superior position of the British ports
it would be the means of establishing superiority of com- 80
munication through British channels, so far as relates to
the through traffic between Europe and the Pacific.
Precisely the same characteristics mark its several
component parts from whatever point within the limits of
the continent the comparison may be instituted. The
.principal supplies of wheat, flour, &c, are grown in the
western states, which now use the Erie canal. The
river St. Lawrence, and land routes to the British seaboard in the same direction, possess manifest advantages
for the traffic between them and England, Europe, the
West Indies, the Gulf provinces themselves, the States
of Maine, Vermont, and parts of New York and Massa-
chusets. This forms a vast proportion of the export
corn trade of the United States; that with Great Britain
and the Gulf provinces alone amounts to one-third of
the whole. The British West Indies are the next chief
consumers. The adoption of the route, and consequent
inhabitation and development of country, would, moreover, rapidly enable British America to be, not the
carrier only, but the producer of these supplies.
These prominent considerations, which are here concisely stated, are enough to show that the Gulf provinces require to be thoroughly covered by a complete
system of railroads extending to all the chief ports, and
that there is abundant traffic for them all; indeed, when
the whole route is in operation, probably far greater than
could be accommodated without an increased number of
tracks. Neither are there any obstacles to the immediate construction of such lines. The local resources of
the country are happily such as to render them reproductive works, independently of all the considerations
that have been now adduced, upon the same principle of
development of local resources which has been shown
to apply to that part of the great route west of Lake
Thus the primary object of the Quebec and Halifax
line is to unite these extremities at a minimum of cost,
with chief regard to the greatest traffic return from an
existing population, so far as is compatible with its
prominent military objects.
The St. Andrew's and Quebec line traverses a rich
and beautiful country, and the company is favoured by
an extensive grant of land. The line may be divided
into three sections: the first, between St. Andrew's and
Woodstock, opens the first direct route to Woodstock;
the existing one being by St. John and Fredericton.
Woodstock possesses mines and iron foundries, and this
portion of the line is capable of isolated yet prosperous
existence. The same may be said of the section between
Woodstock and Grand Falls. The completion of the
hne would fully compensate for the somewhat greater
difficulties of the remaining portion ; and being a second,
and private one, it is under no necessity to avoid the
frontier. The supreme object of a national, secure, and
independent railway, available for every purpose, is
secured by that between Halifax and Quebec.
So far from being injurious rivals to each other,
these lines, useful and necessary as they are, cannot
satisfy the wants of New Brunswick or of Nova Scotia.
Each will materially conduce to local settlement and
local development, each will help to attract the stream
of commerce and traffic to the Gulf provinces, and each
can rely upon the fulfilment of the objects it has in
The one will effect the establishment of a mihtary
and postal communication between England and the
interior of America at a minimum of cost, commercial,
provincial, and local results being only secondary
The principal aim of the other is not so much to 82
afford the advantages of quick communication throughout New Brunswick, as to develop resources more
restrictedly local, and to obtain a share of the existing
commerce of inland America. This is sought to be
effected by a route wholly within British territory, yet
shorter by about 250 miles than that from Nova Scotia
to Quebec, thereby compensating for the respective
positions of St. Andrew's and Halifax upon the seaboard.
Situated along the eastern and western boundaries
respectively, they leave the centre of the province trackless, and no portion of Nova Scotia, excepting the
country between Halifax and Bay Verte, provided with
a railroad.
Railroads are, however, elements and means of growth
in an uninhabited and favourable country. They differ
in no respect from the long approved construction of
common roads for the same purpose.
New Brunswick is an eminently favourable country,
but it would be needless, and within these narrow limits
impossible, to enter with sufficient brevity upon its well-
known and almost immeasurable capabilities. In an
unoccupied and fertile country, railroads can be profitably constructed with a sole view to the development of
the country traversed. The most brilliant development
ensues where the elements of settlement exist in the
highest degree, and where means of communication
bring about that settlement. The United States furnish
the most complete illustration and proof of this assertion in all its fulness. The multiplication of traffic and
intercourse wherever well-chosen means of communication have been opened, bears witness to the same principles. The greater proportion of 18,000 miles of railroad
in the United States preceded the population and traffic
which have rendered them so remarkably remunerative!
That the local development of the soil of New Bruns- THE DOMINIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
wick and Nova Scotia would be followed by similar
success, and is urgently required, is sufficiently attested
by the fact, that they each pay about 200,0002. annually
for provisions, which they might raise at their own door
out of their own land !
A system of railroads based upon maximum of proportionate effect rather than upon minimum of cost, and
affording the benefits of rapid communication to all the
ports and parts of the Gulf provinces, is a measure of
the greatest importance in furtherance of the prosperity
they are legitimately entitled to enjoy; it is required
by the exigencies of the great route, which would incalculably add to its value; and it would obviously react
most favourably on the whole of British America.
Initiatory Measures and the Continuous Railroad.
The network of railroads at the eastern terminations,
the successive links from Lake Huron to the Pacific,
and the improvement of the Ottawa and Huron abbreviations, may be simultaneously executed. The Gulf provinces being countries comparatively known and inhabited,
the system of railways so imperatively demanded by
their circumstances requires to be immediately begun.
Such a system, however gradually carried out, should
be minutely prearranged; but the prearrangement need
in no wise interfere with any modifications which may
be found expedient when in course of execution. The
communications of a country cannot even approximate
to its real requirements unless they be planned upon a
unity of system and a scale commensurate with its
whole-extent and circumstances. To bring forward the
extraordinary and overwhelming evidence which might
be adduced in corroboration of these statements, would 84
be greatly beyond the scope of a mere epitome. Unity,
and system, in all their fulness, are indispensable to the
judicious selection and best execution of means of communication. These again are the keystone to the
opening out the resources of a country, and consequently to its material prosperity. As it is most essential, so this prearrangement is most practicable in an
uninhabited territory.
These considerations show the great practical value of
the magnificent waters which open so large an extent of
country both in length and breadth, and indicate with
precision and correctness the right direction of the
means of communication, the proper posts for the first
employment of labour, and the most advantageous order
in the succession of the various works required to execute the complete scheme.
Were it proposed to confine the undertaking to, or to
begin it with, the construction of a continuous railway,
it could not possibly advance more quickly than it could
carry inhabitation along its course. It could not, under
any circumstances, open a comparable extent of country,
or consequently cause a comparable amount of inhabitation. Neither could its direction be determined, far
less its execution be begun, consistently with ultimate
and perfect success, unless the whole territory had been
previously minutely and accurately mapped. Examples
abound in every sphere of the evils of precipitate action
upon incomplete data, of procrastinated beginning and
hurried execution, more especially perhaps in matters of
engineering, civil and mihtary. Minute topographical
knowledge is the most powerful auxiliary of substantial
schemes, while it is the most effectual guardian of public
enterprise against private knavery, dulness, or incapacity.    Nor are the advantages of minute geographical THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
delineatiori confined exclusively to the system of intercommunication, although these are amply sufficient to
call for and require it. The social, political, and civil,
as well as the military organizations of the new countries that would be formed out of British America,
will have to be determined; and to each, and all, a map
is one of the first requisites. Each and all can be adjusted and defined in exact proportion to the accuracy
and minuteness of such map.
The French and the United States well appreciate
this point. The best map of Italy records the era of its
conquest; and geological and mapping votes are among
the first passed by the rising states of the politic confederation.
The links in the great westward chain of communications and their succession have been already given.
Nature has marked out the whole—the line of country,
and the general direction of the road, the levels, and the
position of the stations. The variations are necessarily
few, and confined within comparatively narrow limits.
The work may therefore extend over the whole country,
and the whole of it be opened without an hour's delay, while
the reconnaissance and survey can be made at the same
time. Doubtless, the development and prosperity which
will ensue will cover the country with railroads, and
especially in the neighbourhood of the rivers, which will
be its wealthiest portions; but the great trunk line of
railway should be laid down from ocean to ocean, where
it would most perfectly realize the utmost benefits to be
derived from the intra-oceanic connexion of the distant
extremities in opposite hemispheres. The completion of
the enterprise should in this respect be determined by
precisely opposite considerations to those which are the
proper guides to the first opening of the country.
e 3
It is 86
the trunk or main communications, which require direct
regulation.     The  circumstances   of the   Halifax  and
Quebec railway call for it; but the frontier line, extending  from Sandwich to  Quebec, will result from the
previous development of the country through its canals.
In the same manner the improvement of the navigation
between Lake Superior and the Pacific will be followed
by the gradual construction of railroads throughout the
region of the navigable waters without the immediate
agency of direct control being required.    Such works
result from the creation of wealth, and are the consequences   of   local   activity,—the   consequences  rather
than the causes of prosperity,—the abbreviations and
improvements   required   by   a   commerce   already  in.
existence, and not the great arteries of a world-wide
In first opening the country, it is obvious that the
principle of reaching across the continent as quickly as
is consistent with inhabitation, in other words, as quickly
as possible, is correct. To wait at any one link until
the works there were completed, would be to break
through and disregard that principle. A road is therefore necessary to the construction of the works at each
interruption of the navigation, and should be of such a
character as to be also available for traffic. The result
would be a railroad portage, or carrying place. A mixed
route, therefore, would be the firstfruits of these proposals. The first communication across the continent
would consequently be approximately as follows:—
1. Water  communication to the head  of Lake
Huron, (or existing land routes, or mixed).
2. Railroad portage (for a short time) round the
Falls of St. Mary.
3. Water communication to the first impediment
in the navigation of the Kamenis Toquoih. THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
4. Railroads thence to Rainy lake, past the several
impediments, using the chain of lakes for
water communications.
5. Water communication to the head of Lake of
the Woods.
6. Railroad to the head of the navigation of the
Rat river.
7. Water  communication to  the  rapids of the
8. Railroads round the rapids of the Saskatchewan.
9. Water communication, to the foot of the Rocky
10. Passage of the Mountains, and descent to the
Pacific upon the same plan.
Railroads are named instead of common roads, because
in the execution of works extending over so large a
country, and upon such a scale, the use of rails and
steam would be found the most advantageous. Very
trifling additional expense would convey the traffic by
the same means.
The land improvement that should probably, in point
of time, accompany the completion of the work for
perfecting the navigation, would be—
1. A continuous railway from the head of Lake
Superior to Rainy lake.
2. One from the head of the navigable waters of
the Calling river to the elbow of the south
branch of the Saskatchewan.
Wherever the advantages of a portion of the road
would otherwise be inferior, foresight and system must
be more especially brought to bear. Along the great
waters, railroads will assuredly follow, but they will only
reap half their benefit, unless completed through the I
intermediate tracts by the aid of pre-arrangement upon
unity of system.
In attempting to sketch the general direction of the
continuous railway from ocean to ocean, the want of
more minute and definite topographical knowledge is
felt at once, and by contrast the full advantages of the i
great waters.
It is obvious, however, that neither the directions of
the frontier route to Sandwich by Montreal, Kingston,
and Toronto, nor of the links just reviewed, are those
best adapted to carry out the purposes and principles
already stated.
These roads should be connected by branch lines;
and it must depend upon fuller information how much
further north a course is practicable and advantageous.
From Quebec it should strike some point upon the
Ottawa, either keeping to the northern or southern
watershed. The latter has been long proposed as the
direction of a line for opening a very fertile country, and
should a more northern course be practicable, should
form a secondary, and, if not, the main line. In the
first case, the approximate direction of the line would
be between the head waters of the Ottawa and the foot
of Lake Temiscaming; in the second, it would follow the
course of the Ottawa until it reached the watershed of
the rivers flowing into Lake Superior, which would be its
further course in either case. Thence it would pursue
the direction of the chain of waters between Nippegan
and Sturgeon lakes, or of those between Lake St. Joseph
and Lake Sal. In the former case the continuation
would be across the head of the Winnipeg river to Fort
Garry; or in the latter, it would follow the course of
English river to the same place.
From Fort Garry it would run in a direct line to the
most practicable pass in the Rocky  Mountains,  and THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN.
guided by the same considerations, descend to the shores
of the Pacific.
In the east, branches from the head waters of the
Ottawa will probably extend along the watershed to the
Pickonagamis, and down the magnificent river Saguenay
to the noble harbours at its mouth. Others will hereafter open the valley of the Peribonea, and extend along
the watershed to Ance Sablon Harbour. The Saguenay
river abounds in various resources, and the country of
the rivers flowing into Lake St. John increases in fertility the further they are ascended. Ance Sablon Harbour is only 1650 miles-from the west coast of Ireland,
reducing the sea-voyage to six-and-a-half days, at the
moderate rate of ten-and-one-third knots the hour.
It is scarcely necessary to enter at length into the
abbreviation of the main water route by the construction
of the link by Lake Huron and the Ottawa. It formed
the subject of legislative inquiry and approval so long
ago as the governorship of Sir George Arthur, when Upper
Canada was an independent province. By carrying it
out on a sufficiently grand scale, and completing the
navigation between Lakes Ontario and Huron by Lake
Shncoe and the Severn, the great lakes would be accessible to every sized craft indifferently, and superiority of
maritime development. would be restored to British
American shipping there as well as throughout the route.
The St. Lawrence, Welland, and Rideau canals would
become doubly valuable when thus connected with the
great trunk communication. Had prearrangement and
system been earlier brought to bear upon the development of the country, it would not now be necessary still
to advocate the extension of the boundaries of commerce
and civilization. The sums expended on the various
modes of connecting Montreal and Kingston would have
opened the country to the head of Lake Superior, and 90
the tide of travel would long ago have rolled on to the
The system of railways in the Gulf provinces, planned
upon the same comprehensive principles, would in like
manner be carried out gradually. The more prominent
branches required in Nova Scotia would appear to be, to
Windsor, Annapolis, and Digby, westward; and eastward to the Gut of Canso, with a branch to Whitehaven;
in Cape Breton Island, from Inhabitant's Harbour to
Aspy Bay and Cape North, and again in Nova Scotia,
from Picton to Mines Basin, round the Cobequid Mountains. The central line of New Brunswick might be
formed of two branches in the southern part, one from
St. John and Fredericton, and one from Bay Verte, both
to the confluence of the Otell and Tobique rivers, thence
in a single line up the valley of the Tobique, and either
by the Pseudy river to Trois Pistoles, or by the Guda-
maquochoui to Rimouski, to join the great coasting line
of the south bank of the St. Lawrence. A cross line from
St. John to Shediac harbour up the valley of the Ken-
nebecasis is already proposed. COLONIZATION.
IT is clear that the inhabitation of at least a certain
tract of the adjacent country is essential to the practical utility, and indeed to the very construction, of the
route, while, on the other hand, no measure could be
more conducive to the best settlement of the whole
country than the development of the communication
between its opposite oceans. Colonization and the construction of the route may therefore be regarded as
branches of one undertaking having the same interests.
The various bearings of an enterprise under contemplation should all be examined. Sound wisdom, bearing
in mind the importance of great aims in the execution
of great works, will study the fullest combination of
results, and secure the widest co-operation by considering
every interest for which common advantages can be
obtained. Where'results are combined, the necessary
instrumentahty is proportionably less, more numerous
interests are united, and obstacles that might otherwise
endanger success are guarded against and overcome.
The colonization of British America, rather than the
mere indispensable settlement of an attenuated tract of
land, is therefore the more profitable as well as higher
Colonization signifies something far nobler and more
important than the mere planting of man upon an uninhabited or uncivilized soil. It is the reproduction by
an ancient race of every characteristic of its ancestral 92
stock upon new soil, with every human and religious
safeguard for the perpetual preservation of its hereditary
features. It requires, therefore, an intelligent appreciation, both of national hereditary principles, and of
their social and political safeguards; it calls for wisdom,
that outward manifestation may not be confounded
.with life-giving principles, lest in the very propagation
of an external uniformity unity of spirit be destroyed.
British colonization more especially should form a
subject of the most solemn deliberation, and the most
complete investigation. If the construction of the route
is of interest to the empire, and of advantage to the
world, the colonization that may be carried on by Great
Britain concerns its highest well-being. To her' is
more peculiarly committed the custody of Truth. The
main-stay of true religion, she is thereby the guardian
of the freedom of the world. The measure of civil and
religious freedom is, and must ever be, proportionate to
the purity of faith. Every nation is therefore interested
in the maintenance of her principles and in their diffusion throughout the legitimate sphere of the wide bounds
of her own empire. The task is not so difficult as it
might seem. Nationality and patriotism consist in
attachment to hereditary principles; where, therefore,
these exist, there must not only be a corresponding
intelligent affection for the laws on which they are
founded, but also for the truths from which they
It is no new privilege to be won, but an ancient
duty to be at length performed. Hereditary principles
are the birthright of a subject, and cannot rightly be
restricted by geographical position.
Neither is it a duty that can be safely disregarded.
It were inconsistent with faith in, or attachment tor
either the religious or national privileges of England, to THE DOMINIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
be regardless of the maintenance Of the same blessings
in the colonies. The effects of the condition of the
colonies in their reaction for good or evil upon the
interests of the mother country cannot be overlooked.
But there is no need to wait for that reaction. Faith
and love, the only preservatives of principles, can only
five by practical exercise. It were vain to dream of
maintaining the principles of England, and yet confining
them within her bounds; it is essential to their stability
that her principles and privileges should be coextensive
with her dominion. Other countries have lost their
colonial empire, and have merely dwindled into insignificance. The circumstances of Great Britain would
entail more serious consequences. With her, propagation is an unavoidable law. The very fact of the language of England being the tongue of the New World
indissolubly connects her welfare with the condition of
that world, and with the aspects of the multitudes that
share her speech. If she fail to colonize, she will still
inevitably people, the territory of America over which
she now holds sway. If she fail to render the empire
which her vital energy will nevertheless create, an integral portion of herself, it will exercise upon her future
an influence, different indeed, but scarcely less. The
great rival she herself would have nursed into overwhelming preponderance, would rob her first of opportunities unimproved, then of the commerce of the Pacific,
of her colonies even there, would speedily undermine
her Eastern trade, and shatter her Indian rule. The
colonial, commercial, and maritime fabric of her power
would be dissolved; but the evil would not be ended.
Opinion is even more powerful than commerce. Her
political and social system would be overthrown amidst
the tumult of discontent aroused by such Calamities.
An unpractised theory, however beautiful, could find no 94
effectual defence against the incessant cries of hostility
uttered from the vantage ground of higher material
prosperity, by a kindred but alienated race. The system,
not its slumber, would be condemned; destruction, not
awakening, would be the result.
It ought not to be necessary to urge the fatal consequences of neglect, the punishment of sloth. It
should be sufficient to prove the duty. Duties were
never yet neglected with impunity. Great Britain possesses both unbounded territory and a teeming population, and the command of God from the beginning has
been to f replenish the earth/
It is more pleasing to view the duty as solemnly yet
cheerfully and hopefully undertaken, surrounded as it
is by innumerable inducements and facilities. In this
fight the highest duties will take at once the highest
ground, and the benefits obtained will assume their true
position of rewards.
The great mission of England is the guardianship of
truth; her church and people are the earthly bulwarks
of the truth of God; her constitution the human ark of
freedom. All who understand the true secret of prosperity, or appreciate the responsibility of duties and of
privileges, will desire the promulgation of the pure spirit
of her rule.
To enter upon the details of the duty of colonization
based upon such principles, or on the means of carrying
it out, or on the necessity, of not mistaking uniformity
for unity, is impossible in an abridgment. The same
restricted limits preclude even a brief enumeration
of the manifold inducements to colonization, nor is it
necessary for those who have rightly considered the
Even the highest colonization assumes, however, distinctive and remarkable attractions as an undertaking THE DOMINIONS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
identified with the route. To carry it out upon its
loftiest, widest, and holiest principles, to organize into a
unity of system the splendid and numerous outlying
portions of the empire, and to guide the new directions
of the great streams of traffic, caused by the peopling of
the Pacific and of Western America, into channels that
will not only maintain but elevate the commercial preeminence of Great Britain, are objects of which the
varied aspects offer the grandest inducements to all
ranks, classes, and conditions. Religion, agriculture, and
commerce, industry of every form and kind, can be carried on with a fulness hitherto without example. The
statesman and the patriot, the landlord and the farmer,
the merchant and the manufacturer, the miner, fisherman, and craftsman, would all find the widest field for
their pursuits. It is' not the mere providing of more
space, the more complete fulfilment of the ordinary
advantages of colonization, nor even the mere transplanting of a complete community upon new and
attractive ground, but the highest combination of every
inducement to all classes, and the strongest arousing of
their activity and interest.
In carrying out the religious, political, and social
organization of the new countries which would be called
into existence, it would undoubtedly in the abstract be
desirable to employ those forms which the wisest and
best men of successive generations have united to rear
and to maintain. The unreasonableness of division is
patent in every phase of life, and would be much more
readily and widely believed, if it were more simply and
generally taught. Yet attachment to such forms, however important, is but a secondary point, the great principles on which they are founded, are unalterably
and eternally true. These no power whatever is at
liberty to modify, but their external expression may be 96
changed by lawful power, according to the exigencies of
• ever-varying circumstances.
Thus, though unquestionably the promulgation of the
pure spirit of British religious and civil rule, under its
best and purest forms, will be desired just in proportion
as these are understood, so to the same extent will external uniformity be readily yielded for greater unity of
England and Scotland present examples of unity of
spirit under widely differing forms of religious or of
civil life. The United States are the widest illustration
of intelligent colonization. New states, eighteen in
number, and daily being added to, and forming the
strongest instance of modern nationality of feeling,
attest the wisdom of the course they have pursued.
Unparalleled growth and prosperity are their reward.
The system is very simple, and admirably practical and
practicable. Capital for the development of waste land
is obtained upon a partial mortgage of its resources. The
capital thus obtained is employed in proving, developing,
and exhibiting those resources, and a political decree
determines that the mere inhabitation of a certain tract
of country elevates it at once to a defined position in the
confederation. This is, in fact, merely elevating national birthright above geographical position, and giving
to the institutions of a country that inherently expansive
power which the British constitution unfortunately lacks.
It is the secret of the absolute contrast between the
condition of the integrated colony states of the American
confederation, and the colonial portion of the British
empire. Were the laws, privileges, and customs of Great
Britain similarly co-extensive, and inherently co-expansive with her empire, the colonies would soon, become as
little distinguishable from the mother country, as the
new states, the colonies of the confederation, from the THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
thirteen parent stems. Even under most disadvantageous
circumstances, Oneness is sufficient to create an almost
irresistible nationality, and if employed to spread the
blessings of British principles and of the constitution of
Great Britain, would help to form the noblest as well as
firmest empire in the world. The commercial prosperity
of the United States is attributable to precisely the
same principle. Wherever the flag of the confederation
waves, the same freedom of trade prevails, whilst all
her foreign relations are made subservient to the development of the varied and extensive branches of her
domestic resources of trade, agriculture, commerce, and
navigation. By adoption of a similar course, Great
Britain would give an irresistible cohesion to her
empire; and every portion of it would be raised to unapproachable prosperity. The unbounded resources
and extent of her dominions in every clime and region
of the earth, afford the means of supplying every want ;
and a real freedom of trade would be established, combining the truths, and avoiding the errors, of the supposed irreconcilable systems of free trade and protection.
The most complete unrestrictedness of trade would in
itself be the most decided protection, for it would be
the common interest of all to pursue and to promote
every branch of industry in the sphere most favourable
to it.
Interest, quite as much as duty, points to the complete integration of the colonies. Men, not localities,
are the proper boundaries of principles or of privileges,
and wherever subjects of the same empire dwell under
one flag, unity should reign in commerce, as in duty,
law, and right. si
Where the inducements to settle in a new country
preponderate in favour of a particular class, or the pressure of present evils weighs most heavily upon a
part of the community, emigration affords the remedy,
and is the natural result. Such are precisely the circumstances under which we live. The redundant multitudes, who entirely depend upon wages, and therefore,
also, upon the rate of wages, have long engaged attention. The numbers and condition of the poor, using
the term to designate all that are out of employment,
whatever the cause, are saddening to contemplate. If
this subject appear at first sight less grand, it is in no
measure less important than that which colonization
suggests. Upon the condition of these preponderating
classes, the permanence of society depends, and they
certainly have the first claim upon us. Duty and interest are here, as ever, inseverable. Competition in
its present form is ever seeking to supply at a rate continually lower. The sufferings of the working classes, as
well as the numbers of the poor, must increase so long
as it continues. The more this system thrives, the lower
their condition sinks. Emigration, in connexion with
a scheme which would afford a fully adequate labour-
market, would replace this grinding competition by an
ever-increasing demand for labour; that labour would,
. moreover, be employed upon resources, the development
of which would redouble the demand. The route
admits of being carried out by a combination of many
systems, in which the capitalist and the contractor
would find ample room; but it offers a far greater and
higher boon to the labouring classes and the poor, and
thus to all who indirectly depend upon their well-being. THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
It presents an unparalleled opportunity for forming
what would virtually be a great school of industry, but
in which the tuition itself would be reproductive, and
directly forward the construction of the works.
Practical instruction in handicraft and in various
ways of earning an independent livelihood, is by far the
most suitable to the wants and necessities of the labouring classes and the poor. It would not only elevate
their physical condition, but their moral state as well,
rendering them a truly valuable portion of the community, with the general welfare of which they would
themselves perceive their interests to be identified.
Though the advantages of industrial training are self-
evident, and it is obvious that the most valuable instruction is that which will give greater skill in the daily
occupations of life, the difficulties and expense attending
it have caused it to be almost wholly overlooked. The
route, however, affords the opportunity for carjcying out
such a system of instruction in the most complete manner, without in any degree interfering with other
methods of executing the work. There is room enough
for all. Upon the portions carried out industrially, all
ages, abilities, and degrees of strength could be employed and trained. The mode of carrying this into
effect involves the proposed system of execution rather
than the present subject, but the two are scarcely
separable, if a proper esthnate be formed of either the
duties or advantages of emigration.
The mental, bodily, and spiritual amelioration of the
lower classes is the first necessity as well as duty of the
day: the theme would be inexhaustible, but due reflection must lead to this conviction. A community can
have no stronger human safeguard for its stability, than
the peacefulness and contentment which are engendered,
where the improvement of the several classes is a gradual,
but a natural and progressive work.    It has been made
B 100
a happy boast of England, that the highest offices are
open to the abilities and energies of the lowest original
position; but though this may be a principle especially
acknowledged in English law, there is no country
or form of government under which the fortunes and
skill of individuals have not elevated them to the foremost rank. It is a far more healthy sign, and more
essential to the well-being of a nation, that the several
bodies of which it is composed should find their condition as masses to be a naturally improving one. No
one will deny in theory that the interests of the members or branches of a community are identical, and that
no one class can assume an antagonistic attitude to
another, without injury to the whole. The theory, how
correct soever, is nevertheless valueless, unless its truth
appear in the condition and conduct of the classes of that
community. Such undoubtedly is not the case amongst
us. We perceive and blame the contradiction which
upholds equality and slavery alike; and which, while it
justifies rebellion on the plea of a supposed inherent
right of all men to liberty and freedom, can see in
difference of colour sufficient grounds to hold a race in
bondage, and to traffic in mankind. Yet the unavowed
and unintended yoke of slavery presses far more heavily
and cruelly, where endless toil is too often not hopeless
only, but proves absolutely ineffectual; and where life
itself, from which every ray of joy or consolation had long
departed, at last sinks under accumulated wretchedness.
In the matter of life and death the interests of the slave
and master are clearly identical; but the employer may
be fearfully indifferent to, or actually perceive an element
of power in, the most prostrate condition of the class
whence he draws his free and independent servants.
How can these things be remedied ?    How can the
master be constrained to see his real interests?    Or THE  DOMINIONS  OF GREAT BRITAIN.
rather, how can they again become so ? How can the
two be reconciled? How can the bitterness of the
oppressed be made to pass away? Who will provide
sound teaching ? How can the poor be taught, unless
the hours of toil be shortened ? And how can they be
shortened, while a too circumscribed market and the
controlling laws of trade compel continually sterner
competition? When shall they be taught; and how
shall they be made to listen? The elevation of the
condition of the lower classes cannot be accomplished
for them; but they may be guided and assisted to accomplish this great work themselves.
It is clear a system is required which can answer
these conditions; and that to be effectual, it must provide space and create a demand for labour. It must
rekindle hope, furnish inducements, and combine interests. It must include industrial and mental training,
and be based upon and practise the precepts of Christ's
holy commandments. It must embrace the gospel, and
preach its saving, healing, life-giving, and joyous doctrines. 102
It has been already intimated that the route would
open a large field to the capitalist and contractor. It
is unnecessary to enter into the more ordinary ways of
performing extensive works; but it cannot reasonably be
doubted, that the enterprise which has now been briefly
sketched in its principal features, would prove highly
remunerative, and consequently it only requires to be
known in order to be undertaken. It is also needless
to dwell upon the various ways in which territorial settlement (whether aiming at colonization or simple emigration) has been, and may be, carried out, or to describe
the application of the same rules to the similar conditions of industrial settlement connected with mines,
fisheries, ship-building, or other branches of labour.
Neither contract, construction, nor settlement, can, however, in themselves accomplish the great and important
ends that have been pointed out. A system competent to do so is therefore essential, in addition to
any use that may be made of these means of hastening
the work and of interesting other classes.
It has been shown that the several portions of the
route can be reproductively constructed, irrespective of
the grand results attending its completion. This characteristic renders its execution simple, and establishes
the practicability of a system which will make it as
beneficial during construction as it can prove when
Thus carried out in dependence on the local resources
of the country traversed, those resources must be the THE DOMINIONS  OF GREAT BRITAIN.
ultimate fund whence the cost of execution is provided.
A sufficient portion of them must therefore be secured
to those who undertake their development.
The chief resources are, land, the route itself, branches
of industry that may be associated with it, mines, and
fisheries. The preliminary expenses would therefore be
secured by a portion of land, or by shares in these
respective features. A free grant of a sufficient portion
of the territory would greatly facilitate the startine of
so comprehensive a scheme, but it is not indispensable.
The system is independent of every consideration, except
that of relative or improved value. All civilization is a
monumental proof that the development of natural
resources, judiciously directed, amply repays original
cost and contingent expenses. It is scarcely possible,
nor indeed does it appear essential, to enter into the
more minute particulars of the necessary preliminary
measures, with the brevity consistent with an abridgment.
The peculiar circumstances of the country, owing to
the charter of the Hudson's Bay Company, might be
obviated by private purchase, or by parliamentary acts,
home or colonial, similar to those by which the rights
of private property are superseded for the general advantage, when canals, railroads, or measures .of a similar
nature are determined upon. The proper rules of valuation, the approximate rates of value, the probable amount
of improved value, the computations, and the data on
which they are based, are all points of the utmost importance, and require to be minutely and attentively
examined, in order to obtain an adequate comprehension
of the merits and proper scale of the proposal. These
particulars are not, however, indispensable to its grand
principles, to which it is preferable to confine an epitome
rather than to  enter  superficially  into  minutiae.    A
r 2 104
scheme of which the reproductive features are based
upon improved value, and the results of combination or
co-operation, is adapted to any circumstances in which
it may be employed, but its powers will increase in proportion to the extent of co-operation and the amount of
improved value.
In order to carry out the views proposed for the
benefit of the labouring classes and the poor, regard
must be had to two classes of emigrants, The first
would comprise all who might emigrate upon their own
means, the second those entirely dependent upon the
Association. The former wculd be at once and directly a
source of remuneration, the other, in the first instance, an
expense, though also ultimately profitable to the Society.
The formation of depots at the principal ports of
North-American trade, or in other convenient localities,
for the reception of the first class, and supplied with
every necessary for families or individuals, would be the
first measure required. These depots should also be
prepared for the reception and training of the second
class of emigrants, which would include all who might
present themselves. In order to carry out the principles already stated, and to accomplish the objects in
view, industrial tuition of every description, and religious
and secular instruction, must be provided. The ameliorative objects will be attained in the proportion in which
the agency may reach the most helpless, abject, and degraded class. A course of training would be indispensable for such as these, in order to render their
reclamation possible and their employment profitable,
and to avoid giving occasion of offence to new or existing colonies, if such a population were recklessly cast upon
their shores. It would accordingly be necessary to subject
every individual who might be admitted on mere personal presentation without   means,  to a probationary THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN. 105
period of not less than two years, but liable to any
desirable prolongation, unless he should be enabled to
establish a previous good character from his parish or
known abode.
The expenses of the first class need only be limited
by moral obligations, but those of all who might be
settled in a degree on credit or bond, should, for their
own sakes,* as well as that of the Association, be kept at
the lowest amount consistent with the full attainment of
the objects in view. Means of transport, and conveyance
to the various localities in British America, and similar
homes or depots in that country, must be provided.
Whether the first-class emigrant merely resorted to
such a home as a temporary abode, or availed himself
of the means of transport, or of all the facilities afforded,
he would have benefited the Association in some degree,
and himself infinitely more. He would, at the least, have
obtained a friendly shelter and the best means of information, and have escaped the cruelty, cheating, and ill-usage
to which he is too often subjected at the hands of
merciless speculators.
Nor can the effects which might be hoped for in the
majority of cases of the second class be easily overrated.
Every inducement would combine to incite and facilitate
good conduct; and in how many instances would sound
instruction and the saving truths of the gospel be heard
for the first time! After a short while, too,. here
would be the animating and encouraging examp.e of
others who would have passed through a similar career
to an honourable independence.
The system would, therefore, combine all the various
instrumentalities that have been found most effectual in
reclaiming the degraded, and in removing the causes of
misery and vice. Hope would be revived by the direct
and visible rewards set before diligence and good con- 106
duct. The highest stimulant would be afforded to exertion. The labour of the emigrant, according to his
ability, would be received in lieu of payment, and the
best instruction in every kind of industry be provided,
whilst the surplus of earnings would be applied to purchasing shares in the associated enterprise. There would
be complete identity between individual and common
interests. The foresight, wisdom, and wealth of the
educated would be combined in effecting the most perfect
pre-arrangement for the benefit of the poor, who would
perceive in an immediately tangible and practical form,
that labour is the stepping-stone to capital. All but the
most obdurately insensible hearts would open under such
influences, and would be prepared also to receive and love
the instruction in righteousness.
It were to deny the goodness and long-suffering of
God, and to disbelieve His promises, were we to doubt
that by such means the hearts of all classes might not
again be knit together, and peace on earth prove the
forerunner of the eternal love of heaven. Who would
not rejoice for himself or for others to exchange for
such a prospect of hope, activity, and healthfulness, the
scenes of misery and wretchedness which the crowded
and filthy dens of the poor too often present in the huge
ill-drained, ill-ventilated, and dark and gloomy clusters
of their sad abodes, tenanted amidst oaths, drunkenness,
impurity, and discontent, until at last death releases
from a life but too frequently embittered by aggravated
sickness, and hurries the victims of sin and misery to the
grave, which knows no change and no repentance.
It remains to show that these objects can be reproduc-
tively accomplished.
The following computations can only be approximate,
unless much more vast and detailed calculations are THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
entered into than appears desirable in the present paper.
As there is a balance in favour of every part, an isolated
instance may illustrate the system, though it must fail
to show the power conferred by the aggregate amount.
The one thousand first-class emigrants and the price
of land per acre are merely taken as convenient units of
computation. It is immaterial whence the funds for the
support, of the second-class emigrants, for the works, or
for the Association generally, may be, in the first instance,
So, too, the rate of repayment in the second table is
assumed as a just and reasonable one, and, as in every
other instance, the rates of irlcome have been taken at
lower, and those of expenditure at higher figures, than
are actually in practice. The extent of power only, not
the practicability of the Association, depends on any of
these amounts, and they would only affect the numbers
that could be reclaimed from utter indigence in proportion to that of emigrants of the first class settled through
its agency.
Section I.—The 'Homes'
It will be perceived that the calculations of Table I.
are based on the assumption that the sum produced by
the first land settled with first-class emigrants through
the agency of the Association, should be devoted to the
support of the Homes. The proportion in which this
would be necessary would obviously be very small after
the first beginning, the only expenses increasing in direct
proportion to numbers being those of superintendence. ON  THE  UNION  OF
As. from the first introduction of the emigrant he is
req .ired to earn the means of his subsistence by labour,
the sum allowed for buildings, &c, probably very much
exceeds the actual cost. Nor is it an amount that would
continue, enlargement and repair being executed by
local labour; but it has been deemed best to rate it
highly in the first instance, on account of the uncertainty
which must attach to the cost of ground in the various
situations required. But even with a rented house and
painted board a beginning would be possible, only it
would be necessary, if no land were held as security or
bank, to confine the first operations to the reception
of the present class of emigrants, until from the advantages of pre-arrangement and combination on even so
restricted a scale, the means of extension were gradually
secured. Small as these means might be, they would
contain the germ of reproduction, and the epitome of the
whole scheme.
Table I.—Computed Expenses of 2000 individuals,—viz. 1000
emigrants from each class,—calculated for the period of One
Year of the commencement, {the income from 1000first-class
emigrants being merely taJcen as a scale of computation.)
Profits on maintenance of 1000 individuals of the
first class, taken at Id. per day per head   .    ,^1,520
Profit on their transport to British North America,
and to the place of ulterior destination, 11. per
head 1,000
Price of territorial settlement, at 25 acres per
head, 11. per acre 25,000
Profits on rations supplied up to period of the
first harvest 1,520
Expenses of maintenance of 1000 individuals of the
second class, at 151* per head per annum .    £15,000
1 Superintendent £500
2 Clergymen 800
4 Lay assistants and schoolmasters .   400
10 Masters of various crafts    .    .    .   800
1 Surgeon 300
1 Apothecary 100
One half f chargeable to second class   .     .     .    1,450
Expenses of ground, buildings, including
church, schools, hospital, baths, wash-
houses, &c 20,000
One half chargeable to second class      .     .     . 10,000
To obtain, however, some more adequate idea of the
working of the system when in full operation, it may
be well to examine a similar table, computed after the
supposed working of the Association for several years.
In the second year no building expenses need be
allowed, (the labour paid for by maintenance, and thus
already computed, being amply sufficient,) but the expenses of transport begin.    So that
To 26,450?. less 10,000?., (see Table I.), that is, to £16,450
Must be added
The expenses of transport to British North America,
and to places of ulterior destination, at 71- 10s. per
head! 7,500
* From 101. to 13Z. per annum is the cost at Unions,
t The other half being included in the charges to the first class.
This may be perhaps extravagantly high, when it is consi
dered that provisions are already reckoned in the tables. 110
In the second year, therefore, 1000 first-class emigrants yielding an income of 29,040/., would support 1210
of the second class at 241. per head.
It will be sufficient to exemplify the plan, to assume
that half the number of individuals admitted may be able
to obtain the necessary character to qualify for immediate
Table I. has been entirely confined to the elucidation
of the Homes. The expenses of transport have therefore
not been introduced into it; but the amount will be the
same, if the proportion of that year is included in the
following one. On this supposition 1105 emigrants, or
half of 1000 +1210 would be shipped the second year.
The number in the third year would be the same; in the
fourth it would rise to 1210, and so far as the proceeds
from 1000 first-class emigrants alone are concerned, it
would remain at that point.
Year 1.   Tear 2.    Year 3.   Year 4.    Total.
.    .    .    1000    1210    1210    1210    4630
Admitted     .    .
On establishment of character, 1105
On expiration of probation,
605    2305
605    1105
Thus in four years 4630 individuals would be admitted,
through the instrumentahty of the four one-thousand
first-class emigrants, leaving in each year a balance of
upwards of 800Z. for contingencies; 3415 of these would
be either already | settled/ or on the works of the Association. Granting the privilege of settlement on bond
or credit, to those who might have been enabled to prove
a good character, 2415 would, according to the proportion assumed, be established, either territorially, or in
branches of industry connected with the Association.
Such persons would be indebted to the Association for
maintenance, transport, land, rations, &c; the title deeds
or shares being retained as security for the payment of THE DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
the interest and instalments. The repayment would
begin when the fruits of the first harvest should be
gathered. It will be a sufficiently near approximation to
reckon the number at 2400, and to consider them as
settled at equal intervals of time, or 800 annually. On
the assumption that the actual emigration should begin
with the second season, the repayments will begin to be
available in the third year. Making the rate of interest
5 per cent., the computations for the fifth year, accruing
from the continuance in the system, would be somewhat
as follows:—
Table II.—Showing the Income of the Homes computed for the
Fifth Year ,• 1000 first-class emigrants having been settled in
each of the Four preceding Years, and second-class emigrants,
supported as per foregoing statements.
Profits and land sale on 1000 first-class emigrants (see Table I.)* £29,040
Third instalment and interest from second-class
. emigrants, settled in the second year'.    .    .   5,280
Second instalment and interest from second-class
emigrants, settled the third year   ....   5,520
First instalment and interest from second-class
emigrants, settled the fourth year ....   5,760
Expenses of second-class emigrants, per thousand, at 241. per head £24,000
As the objects in view are of a far higher intention
than the ordinary purposes of a poor-law union, the staff
* The sums derived from the first-class emigrants can be reckoned upon for the year current, as they would be received immediately : repayments would only fall due at the expiration of the
year. 112
expenditure has been rated far above the usual practice.
The cost of maintenance, though also at a high rate,
admits of a further increase of 21. 10s. 6d. per head,
without causing any excess. Thus the resources of the
first twelve months, necessarily the most expensive time,
show a favourable balance on the receipts and expenses
of 1000 emigrants from each class. And, as has been
said, by proportioning the number of the second class
supported to the receipts derived from the first class, a
self-regulating balance is at once given to the funds of
the Institution.
These respective sums would be thus derived :
Debt of 800 emigrants, at 24Z. per head, £19,200
Interest at 5 per cent £960
First instalment of 61. per head 4800
Interest on remainder—viz .
Second instalment of 61. per head
Interest on remainder—viz.
Third instalment of 61. per head
9600      480
.     .    4800
Interest on remainder—viz 4800
Fourth and last instalment of 61. per head   .
In the fifth year, therefore, 1900 ernigrants would be
supported through the same instrumentality which in
the first and following years supported between 1000
and 1200, exhibiting the amply fructifying powers of
Section II.—The Works.
It is proposed to defray the expenses of the works by
the proceeds of the agricultural or industrial settlement
of the second-class emigrants, or those reclaimed, supported, and finally settled through the agency of the
The funds of the f Homes/ when in full operation,
admit (as appears from the preceding table) of the number of these latter being in the proportion of two to
one to the first-class emigrant. Continuing to reckon
twenty-five acres as the size of the most eligible farm on
which a labourer can begin his career as an independent farmer, and 5 J. per head as the additional sum
required for seed, implements of husbandry, &c, every
one-thousand first-class emigrants supplying the means
of relief for two thousand second-class emigrants, would
furnish also, through the latter, 60,000Z. for the construction of the Works.
And, as by the previous supposition one-half are
allowed direct agricultural settlement, and the capital is
repaid by instalments with interest, there would be a
farther sum of 42501.* Irom every 2000 persons, there-
* Derived in the following manner:
Debt of 1000 labourers on agricultural settlement, £30,000
First instalment at SI. per cent. .
First instalment at 51. per share .
Second year's interest on remainder
Second instalment	
Third year's interest on remainder
Third instalment of 10?. per share
Fourth year's interest on remainder
Fourth instalment of 10?. per share
£4250 114
fore, that might be received into the Homes as vagrants,
and that were brought to the scenes of operation, from
60,000Z. to 64,000Z. would be ultimately derived for
carrying on the works.
To obtain a just insight into the bearings of this
part of the subject, it is necessary to compute the probable number of emigrants, for although it has been
shown from how small a beginning the entirety of the
proposals may be accomplished, their highest efficiency
depends no less upon the co-operation of numbers than
upon the combination of purposes and that of instruments.
In 1847,* the emigration to the British-American colonies, was 109,680
To the United States 142,000
It is certainly not too much to expect that as soon
as the principles of the Association are understood,
emigration from Great Britain and Ireland to the United
States would cease; numbers of recent emigrants would
return thence to the soil of their native empire; but,
assuming the present effect to be only to diminish the
actual emigration to a foreign land by one-half, the
computed number may still be the same, not only on
account of the very great and general recent increase of
emigration, but also because of the great stimulus to it
which the proposed enterprise would necessarily afford.
Upon this supposition there would thus be 251,680
emigrants of the first class proceeding to British
America, supplying, as has been seen by Table I., the
funds for double that number, or for 503,360 second-
class emigrants, and these, according to Table II., and
* In 1849, the number of emigrants exceeded that of the preceding years by one-sixth. The impulse it has of late received is
universally known, but an average year has been purposely selected. THE  DOMINIONS  OF GREAT  BRITAIN. 115
the corollarative remarks to it, would yield the labour
of 251,680 men, and 15,604,1602. as the fruits of one
year's emigration towards the execution of the works.
None of these calculations embrace the multiplying
remuneration from the great route itself, a perpetually
increasing source of revenue; nor the enhanced and
perpetually increasing value of alternate reserved lots, by
which, in the very first instance, a property equal to that
sold to the emigrants is retained; nor the dividends or
repayments of capital on the mining, fishing, manufacturing, and other branches of the Association.
The foregoing computations are the legitimate, and
indeed the inevitable, deductions which flow from very
moderate data; from data lower, in fact, than the profitable returns on similar investments actually made, independently of all idea of rendering the country the great
scene and thoroughfare of the commerce between the
Allowing, however, almost any amount of disagreement as to the degree of approximate correctness which
these figures may present, it is still evident that no narrow limit need be assigned to the scale on which the
whole scheme may be carried out. Comprehensiveness
of aim, and co-operation in execution, are its essential
Suffice it here to say, that all failure, all shortcoming,
may be attributed to a contrary course. Defects of
system, errors of plan, and faults of execution, may all
be traced either to isolation or timidity of aim. Existing
works in almost every country testify to the wasteful
extravagance thereby really entailed. A work, and a
great work too, may be most admirably carried out
to fulfil its design, but if that design fail to embrace 116
common and related interests, it must, to a greater or
less extent, end in comparative failure. If, for instance,
a communication be required for military purposes, it
should at the same time be adapted to the commercial
wants of its locality and terminations. Is its situation
such as to form a link in a series of communications,
future or existing? The scale of its execution should
at once render it suitable to these circumstances. Does
it lie within an imperfectly mapped region? The
most accurate and minute survey for general purposes
should form part of the enterprise. Is it to be within
a country yet unpeopled, and of which the existing
intercourse between its parts or its extremities is insufficient to defray the expenses or to yield a fair return
upon them ? A portion of the resources that it would
be the means of developing ought to be secured to repay
the cost and afford remunerative interest.
These and kindred rules could all be supported by
innumerable instances in which failure, or success, has
been connected with their observance, or their violation.
Precedents, however, to be valuable and acceptable as
proofs, must be minute, and the principle is scarcely
disputable, or likely to be disputed, however generally
disregarded in practice.
"Whatever difficulties may in ordinary cases, especially
in those of private enterprise, interfere with its more
general adoption, none of them apply to the planning or
execution of a scheme of the magnitude and varied
aspects1 of the present one, of which the different parts
and interests, however diverse in character, blend and
combine so intimately and so harmoniously as to be
inseverable without general injury to all.
If, for instance, a comparison be made between the
stupendous works of the country of the Netherlands, its
circumstances and size, and those of the country and
route before us, the conviction becomes irresistible and THE  DOMINIONS  OF GREAT  BRITAIN. 117
overwhelming, that no labour which man is capable of
performing could fail to be abundantly remunerative,
when executed under all the favouring circumstances that
unite in the grand field of British America, viewed as
the connecting link between Europe and the Pacific,
and the East.
The Netherlands had nothing but local resources to
rely upon. It formed no connecting link between one
country and another, much less between one world and
another; and far from boasting of rich and abundant resources, its condition was that of a pestilent and barren
marsh. It had no fine table lands and no magnificent
rivers to assist in its reclamation. It has been rescued
from a nearly submarine existence, and abides, so to
speak, only by the sufferance of the waves. Its inhabitants possessed no varied store of mechanical skill; the
rudest manual labour was their only art; yet, by
indefatigable industry, they raised a country of which
two kingdoms and several provinces still attest the
historical greatness. Though now shorn of maritime
pre-eminence and of colonial possessions, their decadence
can certainly not be attributed to their splendid works
of utility, or to their astounding industry. It is, however, worthy of remark, that since the loss of their
colonial dependencies, they have lost their naval superiority, and have dwindled into insignificance.
Holland, notwithstanding her decay, still expends
2,000,000 florins annually upon her dykes, and is at this
moment engaged, at great expense, in endeavouring to add
to her territory a portion of the Haarlem Sea.
The inference is irresistible, and renders it unnecessary to show, step by step, from the shores of one ocean
to the other, how feasible and how desirable is the adoption of the most complete and comprehensive system and
of the grandest scale, that it can entirely rely upon that
perfection of development which it alone could ehcit. 118
The arithmetical aspect of the comparison between the
respective circumstances attending the development of
the originally submerged portion of the Netherlands and
of British America is curious. It will scarcely be considered too favourable an assumption to state the local
resources of the two countries at that of their respective
areas, and the general inducements, and also the difficulties attending their improvement, inversely in the same
ratio, yet if these premises be allowed, the result would
be, to exhibit the development of British America as
16563: l3, or 4,541,308,416 times more profitable and
important than that of Holland.
However strange such an array of figures, it is unnecessary to speculate on its approximate correctness or improbability. The precedent afforded by the Netherlands
cannot be invalidated, or the resources of British North
America denied. It places them in striking contrast, let
the error in the amount of relative proportion be almost
what it may.
Little remains to be added. The route has been shown
to be the shortest, quickest, and best situated, the most
healthy and the most comprehensive, that can be found
between the hemispheres.
It is also inviolable, and therefore of the utmost
national importance. It would connect the most
distant and most densely-populated regions of the globe,
and knit together all the various parts of the British
empire in a complete and indissoluble union by identity
of interests. It would be the means of peopling British
America, and render it for the first time of practical
value in some measure commensurate with its intrinsic
worth.    That vast territory would be rescued from the THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT BRITAIN.
condition of a wilderness scarcely trodden by civilized
man, and be transformed into an empire teeming with
activity and life. A commerce would be called into
existence, which even the quickest tracings of mental
activity cannot easily follow. Its only hmits would be
those of the zeal and energy brought to bear on its development. The aspects of the whole colonial policy and
practice of Great Britain would be placed upon the firm
basis of imperial: unity, and the maritime supremacy of
the empire, under the effects of influences such as these,
would not only be secured, but immeasurably elevated.
It is important to a due appreciation of the whole enterprise, to keep these results vividly before the mind. They
are the end to be contended for, the object to be gained.
Otherwise the more extended bearings of the question
might be lost sight of in the close and minute inquiry
into the details; and it is only by the correct appreciation
of the relative proportion of the work to be done to the
results which would attend it, that a right opinion can
be formed of the practicability, and consequently of the
real value, of the scheme proposed.
It has, indeed, been shown, that the practicability of
the details does not depend upon the magnificent results
of the whole communication, however vastly these may
multiply the inducements to its being undertaken; but
that striking feasibility, which is manifested in every
feature of the work, is established by the abounding
preponderance of result over preliminary effort.
Obstacles do truly intervene which require a proportionate instrumentality to overcome them: difficulties
great in themselves, indeed so much so, that unless they
are regarded in connexion with the results of the whole
enterprise, they assume something of that fabulous impossibility, and might be regarded with something of
that dread with which timidity ever invests distant
objects of unfamiliar form. 120
It cannot but be that the formation of communications
of such a character and comprehensiveness should be
attended by serious difficulties. These are, moreover,
vastly increased, because the line of communications extends for a length of 3000 miles through a country for
the most part uninhabited, at least by civilized man, and
for ages strangely shrouded in the mysteries of supposed
To found an empire surpassing the extent of the
known world in former days out of materials such as
these, and to give new communications to the commerce
of the world, to alter the directions of existing intercourse, to apply the experience of preceding ages, and
the brilliant discoveries of art and science, made during
the period of lengthened tranquillity with which God has
blessed the boundaries of this nation, are undertakings
that must be fraught with difficulty, and that, to be
carried out successfully, must command patience, wisdom,
zeal, and courage.
It is not by underrating the obstacles that will inevitably oppose themselves that they can ever be surmounted, but by the well-considered co-operation of the
available means; and the goal, the crowning triumphs
of the perfected achievement, should be kept constantly
in view, to animate in that contest which awaits the
outset of every great and arduous enterprise.
Thus regarded, the preliminary labour necessary
receives its just proportions. It is far from formidable
when placed beside the inducements and facilities which
abound, and equally characterize the component links
and the entire communication.
It has been seen that the route stands alone, not only
in its general attractions, but in this singular feature, of
consisting of a whole system of minuter parts, each
forming a complete and independent means of intercourse,
but all uniting in one grand and continuous whole. This THE  DOMINIONS  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN.
remarkable and admirable circumstance is the great
leveller of all obstructing difficulties; but it does not
sum up all the facilities, nor comprise all the inducements, which exist. If the country is uninhabited, it is
intersected by countless navigable streams, opening its
fertile districts in every direction. Is it in a wilderness
and untenanted condition? Its cultivation and ownership point out the means by which at once to people it,
and to cross it with the required communications. Are
inhabitants wanted? Have we been losing wealth of
infinitely greater value than even the most extended
empty territory, in the flight, rather than the emigration,
of thronging multitudes? The route offers labour's
best market to the world; the soil, a home to every one
in need.
Amidst the multifarious resources, the development
of the mineral and metallic wealth of the country must
not be overlooked.
Varieties of marble, of precious stones, of pottery,
and colouring earths, of marls, of limes, manure, plasters,
of ores, of copper, iron, and a diversity of metals, abound.
The coal mines, situated along the route, but especially
at its terminations throughout the Gulf provinces and
upon the seaboard of the Pacific, deserve especial notice.
They do more than facilitate the route; they appear to
unite with the other indications afforded by nature in
pointing out a decisive intention. The metallic wealth
of Lake Superior has recently attracted great attention
and interest. Masses of copper ore have been exhibited,
of great purity, and extraordinary weight and size, and
of proportionate value. The mines extend in almost
unbroken succession along the greater part of the coast.
Whole cargoes are brought down, consisting of huge
masses of native copper ore. The yield is, generally
speaking, quite unusual, amounting to upwards of 65
per cent., and increasing in richness in proportion to 122
the depth of the working. Iron ore is in similar
abundance, and facility of transport is the great indispensable to the further development of these abundant
sources of wealth.
The mineral and metallic wealth of the Eocky Mountains would alone amply repay their minute and elaborate
survey, and if the improvement of the Churchill river
route be proceeded with, comparatively few and trifling
obstacles are all that remain to render the great copper-
mine region of the north accessible. Coal is in the immediate vicinity, and this amazing metallic deposit,
which has been supposed to be for ever shut out from
practicable use, would become readily accessible during
a considerable portion of the year.
The fisheries, which extend from one extremity of
the route to another, afford also most interesting and
wonderful inducements to the immediate and simultaneous prosecution of the whole enterprise, and a corroboration of the facility with which it may be undertaken. It is well known that the l British bank fishery
of Newfoundland is,' to use the words of Sir Gaspar
Le Marchant, governor of that colony, I destroyed.^
The route, however, and the maritime activity which it
would inevitably create, point out the ready means by
which it might be quickly restored, and British waters
and fisheries would cease to be an exclusive mine of
wealth, and an exclusive naval school to her most dangerous foes and most inveterate enemies. The fisheries,
however, extend through all the waters of the route;
by sea, in rivers, or in lakes, they equally abound, and
render the simultaneous colonization of the whole
country a possibility unattended with danger. Combined with the wild herds scattered in countless numbers
in the vast plains of the interior, and the profusion of
game and wild fowl, they obviate all the possible catastrophes which might otherwise ensue from the simul- S&M
taneous occupation of so vast an extent of territory.
Blights and. failures in the crops are singularly liable to
spread in countries altogether newly reclaimed; similar,
but often unfathomable, causes seem to carry desolation
through tracts immensely wide; but the partial failure,
or even the destruction, of the crops, assuming these
possible evils to occur, are deprived of their attendant
horrors by the abundance of independent resources.
This extraordinary combination of facilities appears to
bespeak the intention of an All-wise, Almighty, and
All-bounteous Providence, that the stream of civilization
should burst at once from shore to shore, through the wide
domain, without danger, difficulty, or delay. They are
unquestionably provisions of overruling love, which
render such a course consistent with unparalleled advantage and glory to the empire.
It has already been said that Mackenzie's vigorous
mind, which descried the distant shores of the Pacific
from the opposite coasts of the Atlantic, and which
grasped successfully all the difficulties of crossing the
then unknown continent almost alone, and which enabled him to discover both the far western and the
northern oceanic boundaries of the continent, did not
fail to perceive and to point out the universal and
supreme national importance of this enterprise, though
hitherto in vain. Every day's experience and progress
since his time has only added urgency and value to his
correct and truthful testimony. Art, science, and the
impending changes of the commercial relations of the
world, combine to render the adoption of his suggestions
scarcely optional. The East, the empire and the stability of England herself, depend upon the issue.
Humanity herself adds a yet unnoticed claim upon our
eriergies. The Indians have appealed to the compassion
and generosity of their white brethren and their ' Great
Chief/ to send them more of the messengers of mercy, 124
the heralds of the gospel. Experience has proved that
they gladly become tillers of the soil; trial has disproved the blasphemous assertion that the extinction of
any race of men before the progress of another is an
inevitable law. Cruelty and madness have rendered it
a fact; but it has never been a law of God. The admirable prison discipline which now happily distinguishes
England, can also be thoroughly and fully carried out
in many portions of the scheme, and this so far from in
the slightest degree interfering with free labour, with
very great advantage to every species of industrial development.
This combination has been brought about by no purposeless fortuity. No mere imaginary chance has bestowed these advantages upon Great Britain, and given
her a mastery over the seas, and territory in every
region of the earth. They are talents entrusted to her
care for use. This world is the scene of national judgments and of national rewards. If England refuse her
mission, how can she escape her fate ? But while she
retains the opportunity, she may surpass her former
glory upon that continent, of which the history warns
her how, by duties too long disregarded, the lustre of
her glory may be dimmed.       /
THE   END.     


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