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278   HISTORY OF CANADA.

enrichment of the farming community. The Reciprocity Treaty gave free access to American markets. As a result, there was over-speculation. Railways were built which could pay no dividends. The close of the Crimean \Var finally brought on in 1857 a commercial crisis of extreme severity. This disaster, following upon the Desjardins canal railway accident, by which about seventy were killed, and the burning of a steamer on the St. Lawrence, with a loss of about 250 lives, marked this year as one to be long and sadly remembered. The commercial recovery, however, was remarkably rapid, giving evidence of the stability of our resources. Trade with the United States reached large proportions. When the American Civil War broke out (April, 1861) prices rose to figures almost fabulous, and so remained throughout the four years of that momentous struggle.

Tariff Control Fully Conceded.—For a time, indeed, the colonial office at the instance of British merchants—showed a desire to keep Canadian tariffs within lines favorable to British trade. In 1859, however, the Canadian finance minister, Mr. Galt—afterwards Sir A. T. Galt in answer to objections to the Canadian Tariff Act of that year, strongly affirmed "the right of the Canadian legislature to adjust the taxation of the people in the way they deem best, even if it should, unfortunately, happen to meet the disapproval of the Imperial ministry." Since that time no attempt has been made to interfere with our tariff legislation. Even in 1879, when a tariff was adopted—conmionly known as the National Policy or N. P. tariff—confessedly based on the principle of protection to native industries, the colonial office declined even to send a protest to Canada. "However mach Her Majesty's government," they said, "may regret the adoptioii of a protective system, they do not feel justified in opposing the wishes of the Canadian people in this matter."

CHAPTER XLIV.

COMMERCIAL EXPANSION.

The Victorian Age. —In all the provinces there was a common desire to profit by those remarkable developments in the use of


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