"If the Maritime Provinces [of Britain] would join us,
spontaneously, to-day - sterile as they may be in the soil under a sky
of steel - still with their hardy population, their harbours, fisheries,
and seamen, they would greatly strengthen and improve our position,
and aid us in our struggle for equality upon the ocean. If we would
succeed upon the deep, we must either maintain our fisheries or
ABSORB THE PROVINCES."
E. H. DERBY, Esq, Report to the Revenue Commissioners of the United
In the absence of any formal Dedication, I feel that to no one could
the following pages be more appropriately inscribed than to Lady Watkin.
On her have fallen the anxieties of our home life during my many
long absences away on the American Continent - which Continent she once,
in 1862, visited with me. My business, in relation to Canada, has, from
time to time, been undertaken with her knowledge, and under her good
advice; and no one has been animated with a stronger hope for Canada,
as a great integral part of the Empire of the Queen, than herself.
E. W. WATKIN.
ROSE HILL, NORTHENDEN,
2nd May, 1887.
The following pages have been written at the request of many old
friends, some of them co-workers in the cause of permanent British rule
over the larger part of the Great Northern Continent of America.
In 1851 I visited Canada and the United States as a mere tourist, in
search of health. In 1861 I went there on an anxious mission of
business; and for some years afterwards I frequently crossed the
Atlantic, not only during the great Civil War between the North and
South, but, also, subsequent to its close. In 1875 I had to undertake
another mission of responsibility to the United States. And, last year,
I traversed the Dominion of Canada from Belle Isle to the Pacific. I
returned home by San Francisco and the Union Pacific Railways to
Chicago; and by Montreal to New York. Thence to Liverpool, in that
unsurpassed steamer, the "Etruria," of the grand old Cunard line. I
ended my visits to America, as I began them, as a tourist. This passage
was my thirtieth crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
Within the period from 1851 to 1886, history on the North American
Continent has been a wonderful romance. Never in the older stories of
the world's growth, have momentous changes been effected, and,
apparently, consolidated, in so short a time, or in such rapid
Regarding the United States, the slavery of four millions of the negro
race is abolished for ever, and the black men vote for Presidents. A
great struggle for empire - fought on gigantic measure - has been won for
liberty and union. Turning to Canada, the British half of the Continent
has been moulded into one great unity, and faggotted together, without
the shedding of one drop of brothers' blood - and in so tame and quiet a
way, that the great silent forces of Nature have to be cited, to find a
In this period, the American Continent has been spanned by three main
routes of iron-road, uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans: and one
of these main routes passes exclusively through British territory - the
Dominion of Canada. The problem of a "North-west Passage" has been
solved in a new and better way. It is no longer a question of threading
dark and dismal seas within the limits of Arctic ice and snow, doubtful
to find, and impossible, if found, to navigate. Now, the two oceans are
reached by land, and a fortnight suffices for the conveyance of our
people from London or Liverpool to or from the great Pacific, on the
way to the great East.
Anyone who reads what follows will learn that I am an Imperialist - that
I hate little-Englandism. That, so far as my puny forces would go, I
struggled for the union of the Canadian Provinces, in order that they
might be retained under the sway of the best form of government - a
limited monarchy, and under the best government of that form - the
beneficent rule of our Queen Victoria. I like to say our Queen: for no
sovereign ever identified herself in heart and feeling, in anxiety and
personal sacrifice, with a free and grateful people more thoroughly
than she has done, all along.
In this period of thirty-six years the British American Provinces have
been, more than once, on the slide. The abolition of the old Colonial
policy of trade was a great wrench. The cold, neglectful, contemptuous
treatment of Colonies in general, and of Canada in particular, by the
doctrinaire Whigs and Benthamite-Radicals, and by Tories of the
Adderley school, had, up to recent periods, become a painful strain.
Denuding Canada of the Imperial red-coat disgusted very many. And the
constant whispering, at the door of Canada, by United States
influences, combined with the expenditure of United States money on
Nova Scotian and other Canadian elections, must be looked to, and
stopped, to prevent a slide in the direction of Washington.
On the other hand, the statesmanlike action of Sir Edward Bulwer
Lytton, Colonial Minister in 1859, in erecting British Columbia into a
Crown Colony, was a break-water against the fell waves of annexation.
The decided language of Her Majesty's speech in proroguing Parliament
at the end of 1859 was a manifesto of decided encouragement to all
loyal people on the American Continent: and, followed as it was by the
visit - I might say the triumphal progress - of the Prince of Wales,
accompanied by the Colonial Minister, the great Duke of Newcastle,
through Canada, in 1860, the loyal idea began to germinate once more.
Loyal subjects began to think that no spot of earth over which the
British flag had once floated would ever, again, be given up - without a
fight for it.