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The Dominion in 1983   By:

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This etext was produced by Andrew Sly


The Dominion in 1983 was first published as a thirty page booklet in 1883 under the pseudonym Ralph Centennius. (The author's real name is unknown.) This edition has been proof read word by word against a copy of the original on microfiche. (Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions no. 00529)

In this text, a mixture of American and British spelling can be found. (For example "harbour" and "favor" are both used.) The phrase "rocket car" is hyphenated twice, while appearing three times as two individual words. There are also some instances of unusual spelling and capitalization of words. With the exception of a few small emendations, spelling, capitalization and punctuation have been preserved as in the original.


by Ralph Centennius

Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year 1883, by Toker & Co., Publisher on behalf of the Author, in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.


"Before the curing of a strong disease, "Even in the instant of repair and health, "The fit is strongest; evils that take leave, "On their departure most of all show evil." King John, Act III.

In the present advanced and happy times it is instructive to take a retrospective glance at the days of our forefathers of the nineteenth century, and to meditate upon the political struggles and events of the past hundred years, that by so doing we may gain a clear insight into the causes which have led to the present wonderful developments. We, in the year of Grace 1983, are too apt to take for granted all the blessings of moral, political and physical science which we enjoy, and to pass over without due consideration the great efforts of our ancestors, which have made our present happy condition possible.

Let us try to contrast the Dominion of to day with the Dominion of 1883. To begin with population. Our population at the last census in 1981, was just over 93,000,000. A hundred years ago a scant 5,000,000 represented this great Canadian nation, which has since so mightily increased and proved itself such a beneficent factor in human affairs. Seven provinces and some sparsely peopled and only partially explored territories formed all that the world then knew as Canada. To day have we not fifteen provinces for the most part thickly peopled, and long since fully explored to the shores of the Arctic Ocean?

In the present days of political serenity it is hard to realize the animosity and extreme bitterness of the past century. The two parties into which men formerly divided themselves, viewed each other as enemies, and each party opposed on principle whatever measures the other proposed. From a careful study of the principal journals of the time, fyled(sp.) at Ottawa, we gather that the party, self styled "Reformers," frequently opposed progressive measures, and even attempted to hinder the construction of railroads, while the other party called "Conservatives" considered railroads as the best means of opening up the enormous tracts of country then lying untrodden by man, and useless to civilization. Such are certainly the inferences to be drawn from the records at our command, though it is hard to believe in opposition to railroads or to advancement in any form in these days, when new channels of communication and new industries are viewed with favor by the whole nation. Each party seems strangely to have belied its title, for the Reformers, after the confederation of the provinces in 1867, endeavored with singular perverseness to frustrate or retard reform and improvement of all kinds, while the Conservatives did not desire to preserve things in the old ruts and grooves, but strove hard for beneficial advancement of every sort.

In 1883 the United States was one of the leading nations of the world. With a population of over 50,000,000, and an almost illimitable extent of territory still open for settlement by the fugitives from troubled Europe; with exhaustless wealth, developed and undeveloped, it seemed reasonable to suppose that a nation so placed should be able to attain the foremost position and be able to keep it... Continue reading book >>

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