« PreviousContinue »
also section is so definitely separated from section by natural barriers that groups are taking shape. The Maritime provinces lie far from the thickly settled parts of Quebec and Ontario; these again are cut off by a northern wilderness, hitherto but thinly occupied, from the provinces on the prairie, and British Columbia is withdrawn behind her mountains. Indeed, nothing buta powerful common purpose could have enabled Canadians to triumph over geography as they have done.
In considering the relationship between the United States and Canada it is necessary to restrict our view to the definite areas along the border where the people come into contact with one another. In a night the crossing is made from Nova Scotia to Boston; for many years a decision was in the balance which, if adverse, would have allowed New Brunswick no access to Quebec by the St John River except through the state of Maine; Quebec province lies athwart New England; Ontario looks at her neighbour on the further banks of navigable rivers or great lakes thronged by traffic; on the prairies an astronomical boundary separates the two countries; and the Rockies, the Selkirks and the Coast Range with their intervening valleys run north and south. In view of this easy passage and the similar geographical conditions, the reciprocal influences are chiefly felt in the northern states from the Atlantic to the Pacific, reaching on that coast as far south as California. In many respects the people of these sections resemble Canadians in character more than their own nationals in the South-East or the South-West.
Furthermore, for our purpose a separation must be made between the Americans of Anglo-Saxon origin who have been in the country for some generations, and the more recent arrivals from central, south or south-eastern Europe. Among the former are to be found, according to the Americans themselves, the genuine and dominating ideals of the nation, which were asserted, for example, after much searching of heart, when it entered the Great War in April, 1917. In so far as the two countries are in sympathy it is in respect of the similarity between this portion of the American people and the English-speaking Canadians. It is necessary, therefore, to estimate the proportion of the older Americans to the whole population of the country. Fortunately, a record of the first census taken in the United States, that of 1790, is available. The loyalists had then left or had been absorbed. The people were predominantly agriculturalist and poor, but cities were rising; Philadelphia with a population of 42,000, New York with 33,000 and Boston with 18,000. Of the total population of 3,930,000, there were 3,172,000 white and 757,000 coloured, and as shown by the names recorded almost the whole white population, except in sections of New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, was of English or Scottish origin. Immigration on a large scale began about 1810, and at the end of 1850 2,700,000 people had come in, but still nearly 86 per cent. of all the foreign-born were natives of either the British Isles or Germany. During the sixty years between 1790 and 1850, the most determining factor in the life of the country was the occupation of the West. Much of the best blood of the eastern states, together with immigrants from Britain and North Europe, was poured into Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, and to this day the people of these states retain many of the essential qualities of the oldest stratum of the nation. Thereafter during the four years of the Civil War this stock suffered severely, the flower of their youth being cut off.
When the census of 1890 was taken, General Walker observed that the enormous immigration of the preceding forty years had introduced a fundamental change into the character of the people; “It amounted not to a reinforcement of the population but to a replacement of native by foreign stock.” During the first twenty years of this century 10,700,000 of the 16,000,000 who entered the country came from Russia, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Poland and the Balkans. Unlike those from northern Europe and Britain, they settled in blocks in the industrial
centres and have swollen the cities with elements hard to assimilate.
In view of this immigration it is difficult to estimate exactly what proportion of the present population is descended from the original American stock, but "at the twelfth census (1890) the total white population of the continental United States appears to have been divided between descendants of persons enumerated at the second census and of persons who became inhabitants of the United States in the proportion of 35 to 32.” As we have seen, the immigration up to 1850 had probably a sufficiently large British infusion to give a long lead to those who maintained AngloSaxon ideals and civilization. In 1920 native whites of original stock probably numbered over 47,000,000 or about 50 per cent of the total white population. Estimating from the last two census reports
proportion of British and Canadian born of British origin living in the United States to the whole number of foreign-born whites at one-sixth, it is not hazardous to conjecture that at present over 56 per cent. of the white American people inherit and promote the Anglo-Saxon tradition".
This being, then, the proportion of their neighbours with whom English-speaking Canadians may regard themselves as having affinity, we may con
1 W. S. Rossiter, Increase of Population in the United States, 1910–20, chapters ix and x, and Appendix A.
sider the movements of population that have affected them both and severally. While it is true that there would probably have been at this day no British North American colonies had it not been for the immigration of the loyalists into Canada, there were, of course, before the Revolution, action and reaction between the old colonies and Quebec. Enmity had always existed. So well known are the untoward incidents both before and after the conquest of Quebec that it is needless to recall them. They were due to antagonisms of antipathetic types, and milder though they have become they still persist. No part of Canada would oppose more vehemently than Quebec any suggestion of absorption into the United States. Recently a Quebec Judge has written a charming series of sketches of peasant life in his province, and in one of these a boy asks his old uncle what he means by La Patrie. In answer he refers to the life and traditions of his people rooted in the soil, and afterwards as he knelt at prayer he glanced at his gun on the wall and murmured: “Oui! Je voudrais voir l'Américain qui viendrait prendre ma terre!-Au nom du Père, et du Fils et du Saint Esprit. Ainsi soit-il. Mettons nous en la presence de Dieu'.” “Il faut savoir que, pour l'oncle Jean, l'ennemi, quel qu'il fût, c'était l'Américain.” The province is out of sympathy with American 1 Judge Adjutor Rivard, Chez Nous, pp. 143, 141.