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146   HISTORY OF CANADA.

largely in the hands of the English-speaking traders living in the towns of Quebec and Montreal. At Quebec the ship-building industry was becoming extensive. Great Britain, in those days, took much Canadian timber for her navy. Montreal was the centre of the revived fur trade. For a few years after the fall of New France the traffic had languished, but traders from the older colonies and from Great Britain (particularly from Scotland) had soon taken it up. After a short period of individual effort they had, as already mentioned, formed the celebrated North-West Company, for many years the great rival of the Hudson's Bay Company for the fur trade of the North-West. The Canadian voyageurs and coereurs de hods fell naturally into their old life, and to this day, though the glory of the fur trade has long since departed from Montreal and the furs find their way to Europe chiefly by way of Hudson Bay, the half-breed descendants of these French-Canadians still bear a large part in the traffic. At this time, too, the wholesale trade of Montreal had its beginning, the Loyalist settlements of Upper Canada drawing their supplies largely from the merchants of that town.

Land Policy.—Governor Prescott, during his four years' active tenure of office (1796-1799) took a stand in reference to the land-granting policy of the province which drew upon him the strong opposition of his executive council. The dispute attracted much attention, and for this reason the gradual concentration of power in the hands of the English-speaking population was not very much noticed in Prescott's time. The shores of the St. Lawrence and the Richelieu were occupied by the old seigneuries, which extended inland to a depth varying from ten to forty miles. To the east of the seigneuries of the Richelieu lay a rich tract of country known to this day as the Eastern Townships. Up to the time of Prescott's arrival no patents had been issued to the new settlers in this region, many of whom had "squatted" upon the lots for which they had applied. Prescott's council, ignoring the wide invitation contained in the proclamations, desired to exclude all but approved Loyalists. It was charged that their action was due to a desire to secure large blocks of land for themselves and their friends, rather than to any real concern for the character of the immigration. Prescott insisted that the spirit of the proclamation should be observed, and that


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