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Canada under British Rule 1760-1900   By: (1837-1902)

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Author of 'Parliamentary Procedure and Practice', 'Constitutional History of Canada,' 'The Story of Canada,' etc





Honorary Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Late Professor of History in the University of Edinburgh.


The aim of this series is to sketch the history of Modern Europe, with that of its chief colonies and conquests, from about the end of the fifteenth century down to the present time. In one or two cases the story commences at an earlier date: in the case of the colonies it generally begins later. The histories of the different countries are described, as a rule, separately, for it is believed that, except in epochs like that of the French Revolution and Napoleon I, the connection of events will thus be better understood and the continuity of historical development more clearly displayed.

The series is intended for the use of all persons anxious to understand the nature of existing political conditions. "The roots of the present lie deep in the past"; and the real significance of contemporary events cannot be grasped unless the historical causes which have led to them are known. The plan adopted makes it possible to treat the history of the last four centuries in considerable detail, and to embody the most important results of modern research. It is hoped therefore that the series will be useful not only to beginners but to students who have already acquired some general knowledge of European History. For those who wish to carry their studies further, the bibliography appended to each volume will act as a guide to original sources of information and works more detailed and authoritative.

Considerable attention is paid to political geography, and each volume is furnished with such maps and plans as may be requisite for the illustration of the text.



I devote the first chapter of this short history to a brief review of the colonisation of the valley of the St. Lawrence by the French, and of their political and social conditions at the Conquest, so that a reader may be able to compare their weak and impoverished state under the repressive dominion of France with the prosperous and influential position they eventually attained under the liberal methods of British rule. In the succeeding chapters I have dwelt on those important events which have had the largest influence on the political development of the several provinces as British possessions.

We have, first, the Quebec Act, which gave permanent guarantees for the establishment of the Church of Rome and the maintenance of the language and civil law of France in her old colony. Next, we read of the coming of the United Empire Loyalists, and the consequent establishment of British institutions on a stable basis of loyal devotion to the parent state. Then ensued the war of 1812, to bind the provinces more closely to Great Britain, and create that national spirit which is the natural outcome of patriotic endeavour and individual self sacrifice. Then followed for several decades a persistent popular struggle for larger political liberty, which was not successful until British statesmen awoke at last from their indifference, on the outbreak of a rebellion in the Canadas, and recognised the necessity of adopting a more liberal policy towards their North American dependencies. The union of the Canadas was succeeded by the concession of responsible government and the complete acknowledgment of the rights of the colonists to manage their provincial affairs without the constant interference of British officials. With this extension of political privileges, the people became still more ambitious, and established a confederation, which has not only had the effect of supplying a remarkable stimulus to their political, social and material development, but has given greater security to British interests on the continent of North America... Continue reading book >>

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