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upon the whole, so very small, and the mode of instruction so defective, that a Canadian who can read is a sort of phenomenon. From the major part of these schools being governed by nuns and other women, the number of the latter who can read is, contrary to the custom of other countries, much greater in Lower Canada than that of men.
"The English Government is charged with designedly keeping the people of Lower Canada in ignorance; but were it sincerely desirous of producing an advantageous change in this respect, it would have as great obstacles to surmount on this head as in regard to agricultural improvements."
Hear also Professor Silliman, a distinguished American scholar:
"It is questionable whether any conquered country was ever better treated by its conquerors than Canada; the people were left in complete possession of their religion, and revenues to support it-of their property, laws, customs, and manners; and even the defence of their country is without expense to them; and it is a curious fact, that (unless by the great counterbalancing advantages it produces), so far from being a source of revenue, it is a charge on the treasury of the empire. It would seem
as if the trouble and expense of government was taken off their hands, and as if they were left to enjoy their own domestic comforts without a drawback. Such is certainly the appearance of the population; and it is doubtful whether our own favoured communities are politically more happy ;-they are not exposed in a similar manner to poverty and the danger of starvation, which so often invade the English manufacturer, and which, aided by their demagogues, goad them on to every thing but open rebellion. Lower Canada is a fine country, and will hereafter become populous and powerful, especially as the British and AngloAmerican population shall flow in more extensively, and impart more vigour and activity to the community. The climate, notwithstanding its severity, is a good one, and very healthy and favourable to the freshness and beauty of the human constitution. All the most important comforts of life are easily and abundantly obtained."
This, you will observe, is but the evidence of opinion; produce your facts. Agreed. To the facts then let us proceed.
By the treaty of peace in the year 1763, Canada, the conquest of which had been achieved on the plains of Abraham, by General Wolfe, was ceded, in full sovereignty and right, to his Britannic Majesty by the King of France, and the French inhabitants who chose to remain in the country became subjects of Great Britain, and were secured in the enjoyment of their property and possessions, and the free exercise of their religion. Thus terminated the power of France in that portion of North America; and here it may be useful to pause and consider, with this vast addition of territory, how extensive and important are our transatlantic possessions.
They may be computed, in round numbers, to comprise upwards of four millions of geographical square miles, extending across the whole Continent, from the Atlantic in the east, to the shores of the North Pacific Ocean on the west; on the parallel of the 49° of north latitude their extreme breadth is about 3,066 geographical miles, and their greatest depth from the most southern point of Upper Canada in
Lake Erie, to Smith's Sound in the Polar regions, rather more than 2,150, thus embracing a large portion of the Arctic Seas, and of the Atlantic and Pacific.
The population of this country may be estimated at little short of two millions; while the export trade to it exceeds that to Russia, Prussia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and France collectively, and nearly equals that to the United States, the most commercial country in the world next to Great Britain. These exports have increased above 40 per cent. in three years.
In carrying on this trade, about seven thousand British vessels are employed; the tonnage of those inwards and outwards being each way nearly 1,000,000 tons annually, either to Great Britain or her other colonies, all of them, be it remembered, navigated by her own seamen, and employing British capital; and seveneighths of the whole produce so transported being paid for in labour to her own people, and all the profits, agencies, and brokerages of this enormous trade divided among her own subjects. Can the possible loss of such a trade be contemplated, without apprehending consequences serious to the manufacturing interests, and prejudicial to national prosperity?
In four years not less than £300,000 has
been paid by emigrants as passage-money to her ship-owners; and if out of the number of 170,000 who emigrated during that period, only 20,000* had become burdensome at home, and had cost their parishes only £4 per head per annum, the expenses to the community (which have been saved) would have been £320,000.
Such are the interests now at stake, and which you are called upon to surrender. My Lord Brougham, the advocate " for the diffusion of useful knowledge," thus sanctions the doctrine that colonies though large are unwieldy, and though possessing intrinsic value, cost more for their support and protection, than counterbalances any advantage to be derived from them. I have always held (he observed on the 2d of February last, when speaking on the Canada question), the severance of a colony to be a benefit and no loss, provided it can be effected in peace, and leave only feelings of kindness on either side." At the same time he "hurled defiance (I use his own words) at the head of the premier," to point out where he had ever changed his principles. The noble viscount was silent, the challenge was not accepted, and his consistency remained unimpeached. I am more interested in colonial
* See Letter to E. Baines, Esq., M.P.