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- The Intellectual Development of the Canadian People - 1/16 -

Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions.





This series of papers has been prepared in accordance with a plan marked out by the writer, some years ago of taking up, from time to time, certain features of the social, political and industrial progress of the Dominion. Essays on the Maritime Industry and the National Development of Canada have been read before the Royal Colonial Institute in England, and have been so favourably received by the Press of both countries, that the writer has felt encouraged to continue in the same course of study, and supplement his previous efforts by an historical review of the intellectual progress of the Canadian people.

HOUSE OF COMMONS, OTTAWA, February 17th, 1881.




Introductory Remarks--Conditions of Settlement in Canada--Her History divided into three Periods--First Period, under the French Regime; Second, from the Conquest to the Union of 1840; Third, from 1840 to 1867--New Period since Confederation--Intellectual Lethargy in New France--Influence of U. K. Loyalists on Political and Social Life of the Canadian Provinces--Formation of two Governments in the East and West--Effect of Parliamentary Institutions on the Public Intelligence --Remarkable impulse given to Canadian Communities by the Union of 1840--Difficulties of the Old Settlers--Results of the improvement of Internal Intercourse, the growth of Education and Political Progress--Population in 1760, 1840 and 1870--Rapid increase of the Professional and Educated Classes--Wider Field of Thought and Activity opened to Canadians by Confederation--Effect of Climatic Influences on National Development--Distinctive traits of French Canadians--Influence of Union of Races--Usefulness of Religious Teachers in early times--Labours of the Journalist--Influence of Political Discussion-- Development of Public Intelligence through the extension of Political Rights.



State of Education under the French Regime--Its slow progress after the Conquest--Schools in Upper Canada--Dr. Strachan's famous Academy --Stimulus given to Public Schools by the Union of 1840--Schools in the Maritime Provinces--Higher Education in Canada--The Quebec Seminary--King's College--Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian Institutions--First Colleges in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick--Laval University--Kingston Military College and other Educational Experiments--Female Colleges--Statistics of Educational Progress-- Status of Teachers--Defects of the Public School System--Review of the University System--Advantages of Special Professional Courses as in Germany--A National University.



Influence of the Newspaper Press on the Intellect of the Country--First Newspapers in Canada--Review of Political Journalism up to 1840--Quebec _Gazette_, Montreal _Gazette_, Quebec _Mercury_, _Le Canadien_, etc.--Journalists of mark in old times--Gary, Bedard, Neilson, Mackenzie, Horne, Fothergill, Gurnett, Dalton, Parent--Mrs. Jameson on the Upper Canada Press--Advent of Joseph Howe--Journalism since 1840--Sir Francis Hincks--The _Globe_ and Hon. George Brown--_Le Journal de Quebec_ and Hon. Joseph Cauchon--The _New Era_ and Hon. D'Arcy McGee--The Hamilton _Spectator_, Toronto _Leader_ and other Journals of note established--Oldest Newspapers in Canada--Number of Papers, and their probable total Circulation--Influential Journals since 1867--Leading Journalists--The Religious Press--Illustrated Papers--Influence of the Press in Canada--Its Improvement in tone and its great Enterprise--The Old and New Times, as illustrated in two Toronto Papers.



Society in New France--Intellectual lethargy--First Books published after the Conquest--Bouchette's Works--New Era in French Canadian Letters--Periodicals, Histories, Poems--Garneau, Ferland, Cremazie, Frechette--Antiquarian Research--Canadian Ballads--Literary Progress of English-speaking People--Society previous to the Union of 1840--Early Libraries and Magazines--Authors of Repute--'Sam Slick'--Professor Dawson--Charles Heavysege--Poetry--Romance--History--Miscellaneous Works of Merit--Mr. Alpheus Todd's Constitutional Researches-- Contributions to Colonial Literature by Public Men--Talent in the Legislature--Results of a Century of Progress summed up--Mental Activity among the Intelligent and Educated Classes--Increasing Issue of Works and Pamphlets from Canadian Press--Signs of General Culture--Public Libraries--Literary and Scientific Societies--Mechanics' Institutes--School Libraries--A Grand Opportunity for the Rich Men of Canada--Literary, Artistic and Scientific Topics engaging greater Attention--Writers of Intellectual Power on the Increase--Encouraging Signs of Intellectual Development--Brighter Auguries for the Future.



Should the title of this review come by any chance under the notice of some of those learned gentlemen who are delving among Greek roots or working out abstruse mathematical problems in the great academic seats on the banks of the Cam or Isis, they would probably wonder what can be said on the subject of the intellectual development of a people engaged in the absorbing practical work of a Colonial dependency. To such eminent scholars Canada is probably only remarkable as a country where even yet there is, apparently, so little sound scholarship that vacancies in classical and mathematical chairs have to be frequently filled by gentlemen who have distinguished themselves in the Universities of the parent state. Indeed, if we are to judge from articles and books that appear from time to time in England with reference to this country, Englishmen in general know very little of the progress that has been made in culture since Canada has become the most important dependency of Great Britain, by virtue of her material progress within half a century. Even the Americans who live alongside of us, and would be naturally supposed to be pretty well informed as to the progress of the Dominion to their north, appear for the most part ignorant of the facts of its development in this particular. It was but the other day that a writer of some ability, in an organ of religious opinion, referred to the French Canadians as a people speaking only inferior French, and entirely wanting in intellectual vigour. Nor is this fact surprising when we consider that there are even some Canadians who do not appear to have that knowledge which they ought to have on such a subject, and take many opportunities of concealing their ignorance by depreciating the intellectual efforts of their countrymen. If so much ignorance or indifference prevails with respect to the progress of Canada in this respect, it must be admitted--however little flattering the admission may be to our national pride--that it is, after all, only the natural sequel of colonial obscurity. It is still a current belief abroad--at least in Europe--that we are all so much occupied with the care of our material interests, that we are so deeply absorbed by the grosser conditions of existence in a new country, that we have little opportunity or leisure to cultivate those things which give refinement and tone to social life. Many persons lose sight of the fact that Canada, young though she is compared with the countries of the Old World, has passed beyond the state of mere colonial pupilage. One very important section of her population has a history contemporaneous with the history of the New England States, whose literature is read wherever the English tongue is spoken. The British population have a history which goes back over a century, and it is the record of an industrious, enterprising people who have made great political and social progress. Indeed it may be said that the political and material progress that these two sections of the Canadian people have conjointly made is of itself an evidence of their mental capacity. But whilst reams are written on the industrial progress of the Dominion with the praiseworthy object of bringing additional capital and people into the country, only an incidental allusion is made now and then to the illustrations of mental activity which are found in its schools, in its press, and even in its literature. It is now the purpose of the present writer to show that, in the essential elements of intellectual development, Canada is making not a rapid but certainly at least a steady and encouraging progress, which proves that her people have not lost, in consequence of the decided disadvantages of their colonial situation, any of the characteristics of the races to whom they owe their origin. He will endeavour to treat the subject in the spirit of an impartial critic, and confine himself as closely as possible to such facts as illustrate the character of the progress, and give much encouragement for the future of a country even now only a little beyond the infancy of its material as well as intellectual development.

It is necessary to consider first the conditions under which the Dominion has been peopled, before proceeding to follow the progress of intellectual culture. So far, the history of Canada may be divided into three memorable periods of political and social development. The first period lasted during the years of French dominion; the second, from the Conquest to the Union of 1840, during which the provinces were working out representative institutions; the third, from 1840 to 1867, during which interval the country enjoyed responsible government, and entered on a career of material progress only exceeded by that of the great nation on its borders. Since 1867, Canada has commenced a new period in her political development, the full results of which are yet a problem, but which the writer believes, in common with all hopeful Canadians,

The Intellectual Development of the Canadian People - 1/16

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