Diamond, but English voices are lost amid those of a people who still speak the language of France.
As we recall the story of these heights, we can see passing before us a picturesque procession: Sailors from the home of maritime enterprise on the Breton and Biscayan coasts, Indian warriors in their paint and savage finery, gentlemen-adventurers and pioneers, rovers of the forest and river, statesmen and soldiers of high ambition, gentle and cultured women who gave up their lives to alleviate suffering and teach the young, missionaries devoted to a faith for which many have died. In the famous old castle of Saint Louis, long since levelled to the ground—whose foundations are beneath a part of this very terrace—statesmen feasted and dreamt of a French Empire in North America. Then the French dominion passed away with the fall of Quebec, and the old English colonies were at last relieved from that pressure which had confined them so long to the Atlantic coast, and enabled to become free commonwealths with great possibilities of development before them. Yet, while England lost so much in America by the War of Independence, there still remained to her a vast northern territory, stretching far to the east and west from Quebec, and containing all the rudiments of national life—
"The raw materials of a State,
Its muscle and its mind."
A century later than that Treaty of Paris which was signed in the palace of Versailles, and ceded Canada finally to England, the statesmen of the provinces of this northern territory, which was still a British possession,—statesmen of French as well as English Canada—assembled in an old building of this same city, so rich in memories of old France, and took the first steps towards the establishment of that Dominion, which, since then, has reached the Pacific shores.
It is the story of this Canadian Dominion, of its founders, explorers, missionaries, soldiers, and statesmen, that I shall attempt to relate briefly in the following pages, from the day the Breton sailor ascended the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga until the formation of the confederation, which united the people of two distinct nationalities and extends over so wide a region—so far beyond the Acadia and Canada which France once called her own. But that the story may be more intelligible from the beginning, it is necessary to give a bird's-eye view of the country, whose history is contemporaneous with that of the United States, and whose territorial area from Cape Breton to Vancouver—the sentinel islands of the Atlantic and Pacific approaches—is hardly inferior to that of the federal republic.
Although the population of Canada at present does not exceed nine millions of souls, the country has, within a few years, made great strides in the path of national development, and fairly takes a place of considerable importance among those nations whose stories have been already told; whose history goes back to centuries when the Laurentian Hills, those rocks of primeval times, looked down on an unbroken wilderness of forest and stretches of silent river. If we treat the subject from a strictly historical point of view, the confederation of provinces and territories comprised within the Dominion may be most conveniently grouped into several distinct divisions. Geographers divide the whole country lying between the two oceans into three well-defined regions: 1. The Eastern, extending from the Atlantic to the head of Lake Superior. 2. The Central, stretching across the prairies and plains to the base of the Rocky Mountains. 3. The Western, comprising that sea of mountains which at last unites with the waters of the Pacific. For the purposes of this narrative, however, the Eastern and largest division—also the oldest historically—must be separated into two distinct divisions, known as Acadia and Canada in the early annals of America.
The first division of the Eastern region now comprises the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, which, formerly, with a large portion of the State of Maine, were best known as Acadie, a memorial of the Indian occupation before the French régime. These provinces are indented by noble harbours and bays, and many deep rivers connect the sea-board with the interior. They form the western and southern boundaries of that great gulf or eastern portal of Canada, which maritime adventurers explored from the earliest period of which we have any record. Ridges of the Appalachian range stretch from New England to the east of these Acadian provinces, giving picturesque features to a generally undulating surface, and find their boldest expression in the northern region of the island of Cape Breton. The peninsula of Nova Scotia is connected with the neighbouring province of New Brunswick by a narrow isthmus, on one side of which the great tides of the Bay of Fundy tumultuously beat, and is separated by a very romantic strait from the island of Cape Breton. Both this isthmus and island, we shall see in the course of this narrative, played important parts in the struggle between France and England for dominion in America. This Acadian division possesses large tracts of fertile lands, and valuable mines of coal and other minerals. In the richest district of the peninsula of Nova Scotia were the thatch-roofed villages of those Acadian farmers whose sad story has been told in matchless verse by a New England poet, and whose language can still be heard throughout the land they loved, and to which some of them returned after years of exile. The inexhaustible fisheries of the Gulf, whose waters wash their shores, centuries ago attracted fleets of adventurous sailors from the Atlantic coast of Europe, and led to the discovery of Canada and the St. Lawrence. It was with the view of protecting these fisheries, and guarding the great entrance to New France, that the French raised on the southeastern shores of Cape Breton the fortress of Louisbourg, the ruins of which now alone remain to tell of their ambition and enterprise.
Leaving Acadia, we come to the provinces which are watered by the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, extending from the Gulf to the head of Lake Superior, and finding their northern limits in the waters of Hudson's Bay. The name of Canada appears to be also a memorial of the Indian nations that once occupied the region between the Ottawa and Saguenay rivers. This name, meaning a large village or town in one of the dialects of the Huron-Iroquois tongue, was applied, in the first half of the sixteenth century, to a district in the neighbourhood of the Indian town of Stadacona, which stood on the site of the present city of Quebec. In the days of French occupation the name was more generally used than New France, and sometimes extended to the country now comprised in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, or, in other words, to the whole region from the Gulf to the head of Lake Superior. Finally, it was adopted as the most appropriate designation for the new Dominion that made a step toward national life in 1867.
The most important feature of this historic country is the remarkable natural highway which has given form and life to the growing nation by its side—a river famous in the history of exploration and war—a river which has never-failing reservoirs in those great lakes which occupy a basin larger than Great Britain—a river noted for its long stretch of navigable waters, its many rapids, and its unequalled Falls of Niagara, around all of which man's enterprise and skill have constructed a system of canals to give the west a continuous navigation from Lake Superior to the ocean for over two thousand miles. The Laurentian Hills—"the nucleus of the North