Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next



settlements. There were no large towns ; Cornwall, Kingston, York, Newark and Amherstburg were but villages in which the official classes formed as yet the predominant element. An active trade grew up with the United States, and the " pedlar's pack " became a well-known visitor at the settlers' clearings. This traffic became so extensive that it was found necessary to establish custom houses at various points upon the frontier.

Early Newspapers.—Man's natural thirst for news was not left wholly unsatisfied. As early as 1793, Simcoe established an official newspaper known as The Upper Canada Gazette or American Oracle. After the removal of the seat of government to York it became the York Gazette, and was for many years the only news-paper in the province. It was the organ of the official class who during these years were almost supreme in the government of the province. Willcocks, for a short time, published an opposition paper. The Kingston Gazette dates from' 1810. Delivery was difficult, postal charges were enormous, and our early newspapers had a hard struggle to gain a foothold.

Education.—The assembly was not unmindful of the educational interests of the province, and in 1807 a Grammar School was established in each of the four districts into which Upper Canada was divided. Simcoe, who was an ardent Anglican, desired that the Church of England should be recognized as the " Established Church " of Canada, and that to it, as in England, the control of education should be given. At his instance, the Rev. John Strachan, afterwards so well known as the first Bishop of Toronto, came out to Canada to take charge of a state school. From the first, however, the Anglicans were but a small minority of the population, and the plan failed of adoption. Dr. Strachan, therefore, started a private school at Kingston, removing it after-wards to Cornwall, and finally to York. In this school many of the men most distinguished in the history of Upper Canada during the first half of the present century received their education.

Marriage Laws.--There was "a sad lack of religious instruction " during these early years owing to the small number of clergymen in the province. Many irregular marriages had been entered into from the same cause, and one of the earliest Acts of the provincial assembly was passed to validate marriages per-formed by the military officers. For the future, in places more

Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next