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Full text of "New Canada and the new Canadians"

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6 ERKEILEyN 

LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF J 
CAUFOftNIA / 




^ 



NEW CANADA 

AND 

THE NEW CANADIANS 



First Edition, May igoy 
Second Edition, October igoy 











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Many thousands of people from 
the east of the Austrian Empire and 
the adjoining districts of Russia 
and Rumania, all known in Canada 
as Galicians, have settled in the 
Prairie Provinces. They are often 
too poor to buy even a plough, and 
this Russian is reaping with a 
"cradle"; but prosperity comes 
to them by leaps and bounds. 





new cana: 

AND 

THE NEW CANADIANS 




HOWARD ANGUS KENNEDY 

AUTHOR OP 
THE STORY OP CANADA," * THE NEW WORLD PAIRY BOOK," ETC. 



PREFACE BY 

LORD STRATHCONA 



COLOURED AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 
AND MAP 



HORACE MARSHALL & SON 
LONDON 



DEDICATED 

TO 
ALL WHO LOVE THEIR COUNTRY 

AND WHOSE COUNTRY IS 

THE BRITISH EMPIRE 






CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Preface, by Lord Strathcona ... 9 

Author's Foreword . . . .13 

The West in Time of War— ... 19 

The Hudson's Bay Company— The West taken over by 
Canada— The Red River Rebellion of 1870— The Saskatche- 
wan Rising of 1883 — Frog Lake Massacre— Siege and Relief 
of Battleford— Battle of Cutknife Hill— Pursuit of Big Bear 
to Beaver River. 

The Rush to the West— . . • 51 

Immigration Statistics— Emigration from the United 
States— What the West is— Railways—The Land Available 
— Wheat Possibilities. 

Modern Manitoba— .... 67 

Winnipeg — Icelanders — Wheat Cultivation — Mixed 
Farming— The Hudson's Bay Route. 

Middle Saskatchewan ; and the English- 
men— ...... 86 

Salvation Army and Foresters — Canadian Northern 
Railway— Prince Albert— The ''All-British" Colony — 
English Immigrants. 

The Park Lands; and the Americans— . 104 

Original and Adopted Nationality — Americanism and 
British Citizenship— Farm Speculation— The "Best Terri- 
tory on Earth." 

Middle Alberta ; and the Galicians— . 123 

How the Galicians live — Mild Winters — A Norwegian 
Colony — A Sanctuary for Big Game. 



332 



6 CONTENTS 

Edmonton, and the Far North— . . 131 

The Capital of Alberta — Urban Land Prices — Squatters 
— A great Railway Centre — Peace River — Wheat in Yukon. 

REGINA TO BATTLEFORD ; AND THE DUKHOBORS— 140 

The Capital of Saskatchewan — Provincial Rights— South- 
east Saskatchewan — Experimental Farm System — Germans, 
Jews, and Hungarians — North to Saskatoon — Dukhobor Life. 

A Battlefield Revisited— . . . 160 

Transformation ofBattleford—Nighton the Trail— Indian 
Warriors farming— Cutknife Hill twenty years after- 
Americanized French-Canadians — Religious Work. 

The Dry Patch— ..... 181 

The Prairie Primeval— Alkali and Antelope— Half-breeds 
of Sixty-mile Bush — A Waterless Waste— The South Sas- 
katchewan—Swift Current— Cypress Hills— The Drought 
Problem. 

Southern Alberta; The Cattle and Horse 
Ranchers — ..... 199 

The success of Wheat— Macleod — Big Ranches broken up 
— The Foot-hills — The Chinook Wind— Demand for Horses. 

Blackfoot Indians, and Latter-Day Saints— 214 

Condition of the Tribesmen— Viceroy and War-dance— 
The Mounted Police — Mormon Ways. 

A West Beyond the West— . . .235 

The Crow's Nest Pass, yesterday and to-day— A Glimpse 
of British Columbia. 

How the New Canadians Live— . . 241 

Food, Drink, Air, and Water — Religion and Recreation — 
Schooling and Taxes. 

The Future— . . . . .250 

More Knowledge wanted — More Communication — The use 
of cheap Postage — Emigration — Finance. 

Index .....•• 261 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



A Very New Canadian . 

Map of the Prairie Provinces 

The Fort Garry of 1870 

The Winnipeg of To-day 

Harvesting 

Threshing 

A Salvation Army Colonist 

In the Park Lands 

Coming in from the States 

Travelling by Ox-Team 

A Stern-Wheel Steamer on a 

River 
Urban Infancy : Milestone 
Urban Adolescence: Portage 
An Indian Brave as Farmer 
Dukhobors 
An Irrigation Canal in Alberta . 
Cattle and Horses at the Hay-stacks 
A Horse Ranch .... 
Ploughing a Prairie Wheat-field . 
A Blood Indian Dance 

Highland and Lowland in the 
Farthest West 



Frontispiece 

Opposite page 9 

24 

24 

64 

n 80 

88 

120 

120 

128 



Northern 



la Prairie 



136 

144 
144 
152 
152 
192 
200 
208 
224 
224 

240 



PREFACE 

I have been asked to write a few introductory 
remarks to Mr Kennedy's new volume, and I 
do so with much pleasure. Mr Kennedy knows 
Canada well, and, although he has now resided 
in England for some years, has kept up his 
connection with the Dominion by frequent 
visits. His book is especially interesting from 
his contrasts of the position of the country at 
different times and under different circumstances. 
My experience of the North-West goes back 
farther than Mr Kennedy's. When I first went 
there it was very difficult of access, and indeed 
could only be approached with any comfort, 
and not much of that, through the United States, 
or by canoes by the Ottawa River, Lake Huron, 
Lake Superior, and the rivers and lakes, with 
portages between, through what were then the 
wilds of Rupert's Land, on to Lake Winnipeg. 
At that time Winnipeg did not exist. Its present 
site was occupied by Fort Garry, a principal 
post of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the 
inhabitants were few in number. Between Fort 
Garry and the Rocky Mountains there was no 



10 THE DAYS OF THE BUFFALO 

settlement on the great prairies, except here 
and there another Hudson's Bay Post, or an 
Indian encampment. In those days the buffalo 
still roamed over the plains, although in de- 
creasing numbers. Like many other things, 
this picturesque animal, so valuable to the 
Indians, had eventually to go, first because of 
the value of its hide, and second because its 
existence was incompatible with the march of 
civilization and progress. 

The position of Western Canada to-day is 
very different. Now there are railways in every 
direction, and further lines are being built each 
year to accommodate the immense numbers of 
settlers who are making their homes on the 
prairies. The Territories are divided into the 
Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and 
Alberta, besides other districts. The population 
is rapidly increasing, but only the fringes of 
the fertile plains are occupied, and there are 
still less than a million people between the Great 
Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. They are, 
however, producing nearly two hundred million 
bushels of grain of all kinds annually at the 
present time, and will in the course of another 
five or ten years, if all goes well, raise a sufficient 
quantity to make the Motherland independent 
of foreign countries for her food supply. But 
this is not all. Large numbers of cattle are 



MEN AND MONEY n 

exported, as well as dairy produce, and the 
trade of the country generally is advancing by 
leaps and bounds. There is no reason why 
Western Canada should not become as important 
and as well populated as the western territories 
of the United States. And the fact that people 
are flocking across the boundary from the latter 
country is evidence of the advantages which are 
offered under the British flag. 

Western Canada, like other portions of the 
Dominion, wants two things badly — men and 
money. There are millions of acres of fertile 
land still unoccupied capable of providing happy 
homes for a very large population ; and the 
immigration is rapidly becoming a great move- 
ment. An immense amount of capital is being 
spent in providing new railways, in opening 
up the country and its many resources, and this 
will serve to make any slight depression in 
business, if it should come in the next few years, 
less felt than it would be under normal circum- 
stances. The increase in the population of 
Canada, and especially in the western portion, 
is a factor of strength in the Canadian situation, 
and will also tend to increase the wealth and 
power of the whole Empire. 

Canadians think Canada a great country now, 
— and so it is, and none of us can properly estimate 
what its position is going to be in the future. 



12 THE FUTURE 

It has an immense coast line on the Atlantic 
as well as on the Pacific. It is in close touch 
with the markets of South America on both 
oceans. 

The Canadian Pacific Railway provides a 
rapid alternative route between the United 
Kingdom, China, Japan and Australia, and 
two other trans-continental roads are being 
constructed. All these are indications of the 
rapid manner in which Canada must grow and 
develop, and of the opportunities that are at 
her doors for the expansion of her trade. Canada 
also furnishes a very favourable market for many 
of the staple manufactures of Great Britain, 
the imports of which, by the way, have rapidly 
increased since the preferential tariff came into 
force. As regards not only internal development 
and inter-provincial trade but external commerce, 
the prospects are of the brightest kind. This 
applies to every part of the country ; and I 
confidently refer those who wish to know some- 
thing of the great West, at first hand, from one 
who is very competent to give accurate and 
reliable information, to Mr Kennedy's volume. 

STRATHCONA. 

1st May 1907. 



AUTHOR'S FOREWORD 

Shall I go to Canada ? This question comes to 
me from every part of the country. 

Sometimes it is " Shall I send my son ? " — 
never, I am sorry to say, " my daughter," though 
the scarcity of women in Canada is more marked 
than their preponderance in the mother-country. 
Often it is not care for kindred, but philanthropic 
anxiety that asks, — " Do you think poor Smith 
should emigrate ? He's out of work and on his 
beam ends." Or " would you advise young 
Brown to go ? There's no future for him here." 
By way of variety, come the questions of those 
who have made up their minds. "I am going 
to Canada. What part of the country do you 
think I ought to make for ? What sort of a 
place is it ? What are my chances ? " And 
so on, to the end of a long chapter. Then there 
are people who think of investing money in 
Canada, and want to be assured of the lasting 
grounds for her prosperity. And, finally, there 
are the innumerable folk who have a relation 
out there already and want to hear more than 
he tells them of his new home. 

»3 



14 CANADA REDISCOVERED 

It is useless to say, u Ask the Canadian Govern- 
ment's emigration officials." The rejoinder is 
prompt, — " Yes, I have read their pamphlets, 
and I daresay they are all right. But you are 
not an official, and not even a Canadian, so you 
can give an independent opinion ; and you have 
lived a long while out there, so you ought to 
know all about it." 

I do not. Indeed, there is no man living who 
does. Canada is too huge, too varied, most of 
it too inaccessible. You might spend a life-time 
wandering over it without seeing it all. It is 
true, however, that I have known Canada for 
more than a quarter of a century ; that I lived 
nearly ten years in her commercial metropolis ; 
that my work as a journalist gave me oppor- 
tunities of seeing many parts not commonly 
visited ; and that since my return to England 
I have kept in close touch with Canadian affairs 
and repeatedly revisited the Dominion to witness 
the development of later years. This book does 
not profess to give categorical answers to the 
questions that are constantly asked, even about 
the particular part of Canada it describes. But 
if the writer's hope is fulfilled, the inquiring 
reader will find a good deal here that he wants 
to know. 

The people of the mother-country as a whole 
are at last beginning to realize that Canada's 



MAKING HISTORY 15 

existence is more than a dry geographical fact, 
— that it is a phenomenon which, if they do not 
take a short-sighted view of their own interest, 
will greatly and perhaps even vitally help to 
maintain the future prosperity of the mother- 
country itself. 

New Canada, the country I am now to describe, 
is commonly known as the North-West. It is 
really the South-West of Canada ; and it is 
coming to be known simply as the West. It is 
one of the great events of history that has just 
begun, the peopling of the West. Historians 
will one day rank it with other great migrations, 
— with the Aryan flood that laid the foundations 
of modern Europe ; with the taking of England 
by the Angles and Saxons. 

The opening up and settlement of the Western 
United States gave new homes and new life, 
prosperity and independence, to millions of the 
struggling poor of Europe ; it revealed and 
developed a vast new source of food supply for 
Europe and Asia ; and, with its stimulating 
effect on the older States, it involved the rapid 
rise of the United States to their present com- 
manding position in the politics of the globe. 
To-day the world stands witness to the first 
scenes of a national drama exactly similar in 
kind and almost certainly destined to have similar 
economical and political results ; with this differ- 



16 MAKING HISTORY 

ence, that to-day's event is unrolling itself with 
all its happy possibilities under the British flag. 

If Canada still consisted of the Eastern Provinces 
which alone bore that name at confederation, 
she would be a great and rich country ; but her 
enlargement to the Pacific in the west and the 
Arctic Ocean in the north has made her greater 
than all Europe, and opened before her a growth 
of population and power to which the coldest 
critic, in view of the facts already ascertained, 
hardly dares, to put a limit. It is, in fact, New 
Canada that lifts Old Canada from respectability 
to eminence. 

To appreciate the present we must be able to 
contrast it with the past. It was my fortune 
many years ago to see the new West not only 
in its infancy but struggling with the dogs of 
war ; and now I have seen it aglow with the 
life of a young giant. Side by side, then, I set 
the two scenes, — the West as I saw it on my first 
journey, as war correspondent of the Montreal 
Daily Witness, and the West as I saw it on my 
last journey, as special correspondent of The 
Times. 

For kind permission to reprint my recent 
articles in The Times I take this opportunity of 
thanking the proprietors. These articles I have 
carefully revised and largely re-written ; adding 
to them a hundred per cent., and giving the 



NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION 17 

latest information received from many private 
and official sources. 



NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

The Second Edition of this book has been called 
for so soon after the first that revision would be 
difficult if it were necessary. Happily, it does 
not seem to be necessary. The critics, many of 
whom have dealt with " New Canada " at con- 
siderable length, have been unanimously kind. 
One mistake, of a single word, has been pointed 
out to me, and has been corrected. One omission, 
too, has been brought to my notice. From the 
tale of the wild inhabitants of the prairie primeval, 
it seems, a most important member was left out. 
"lam surprised and gratified," an old Manitoban 
says, " to see that a writer has such a good grasp 
of his subject as you have in your most interesting 
book ; but I must rate you soundly for leaving 
out our friend the Jack Rabbit. I think he is 
the only one of the denizens of the plains you 
neglected." I apologize to Mr Jack Rabbit, and 
assure him that I could not possibly underrate 
his importance in the economy of the West, — 
if only because the skins of his brethren have 
kept me warm o' nights when buffalo robes were 
scarce. (Between ourselves, he is more popular 
dead than alive.) 

B 



1 8 NOTE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

The effect of the abnormally hard and long 
winter of 1906-07, to which reference is made 
in the book, has been, as was only to be expected, 
a reduction in the wheat yield for the year. The 
late spring prevented farmers not only from sowing 
as large an acreage as they had intended, but 
from reaping early enough to escape damage by 
frost. The flood-tide of Canadian prosperity, 
however, has set in too strongly to be affected 
by a momentary back- wash. In spite of grossly 
exaggerated reports of the severe winter, 216,865 
immigrants arrived in the first eight months of 
this year, — or 50,066 more than arrived in the 
corresponding period of last year. But for the 
extraordinary weather, which is unlikely to be 
soon repeated, the West should have raised this 
year over 100,000,000 bushels of wheat ; and with 
average weather the Westerners hope that the 
wheat harvest of 1908 will reach 150,000,000 
bushels. The prospects of Western Canada are 
not an atom less bright now than when I first 
took this book in hand. Meanwhile, — unfortun- 
ately for those parts of the world that have to 
buy wheat instead of growing it, — the price has 
so risen that the Canadian farmers are likely 
to make as much money by this year's poor crop 
as they did by last year's good one. 

H. A. K. 
London, October 1907. 



THE WEST IN TIME OF WAR 

The New West is one of the oldest possessions of 
the British race. The flag of England waved over 
the shores ol Hudson's Bay for generations before 
it took the place of the French flag in " Canada." 1 
It was an Englishman of Queen Elizabeth's time, 
Martin Frobisher, who in 1576 sailed out of the 
Thames in a little ship of twenty tons to find the 
North- West passage to Asia, and who, on a third 
attempt, discovered the inlet now known as 
Hudson's Strait. The great explorer Hudson, 
however, did not appear on the scene till 1610, 
when, passing through the strait and turning 
southward, he sailed out on the inland sea which 
still bears the modest name of Hudson's Bay. The 
country round the Bay was rich in furs ; and there 
were men in England who saw in Hudson's Strait 
and Hudson's Bay a way by which the wealth of 
the West might be won in spite of the French 
monopolists who held the keys of the St Lawrence 
route. In 1670, Charles the Second gave to his 

1 I ask forgiveness for plagiarizing from myself in the 
first part of this chapter having given the early history of 
the West in practically the same words, though more of 
them, in " The Story of Canada." 

*9 



20 THE HUDSON'S BAY COMPANY 

cousin, Prince Rupert, and a few others, forming 
" The Governor and Company of Adventurers of 
England trading into Hudson's Bay," the whole 
vast empire of forest and prairie stretching west- 
ward to the Rocky Mountains. As rent for 
2,500,000 square miles — though the extent of the 
territory was then unknown — the company was 
to pay his Majesty " two elks and two black 
beavers " per annum. " Forts " were set up on 
the shores of Hudson's Bay, and in later times 
along the river highways of the interior, to which 
the Indians brought their annual catch of furs. 
Every summer a single London ship sailed into the 
Bay, discharged her cargo of provisions for the 
white men and merchandise for the red, filled her 
hold with the precious " peltries," and sped away 
home before the winter barred the straits with ice. 
The vast distances to be travelled, and the 
primitive means of communication, canoe or 
dog-sleigh inland and sailing ship at sea, left 
the Hudson's Bay Company's men cut off from 
nearly all intercourse with their fellow-whites. 
Many of the fur-traders, therefore, married Indian 
wives, and their descendants are the half-breeds 
of the West to-day. The name half-breed conveys 
to the English mind the picture of a degenerate, 
with the faults of both ancestors and the virtues 
of neither. There are half-breeds of this kind ; 
but I know others who have no cause to shrink 



THE FIRST WHITE SETTLEMENT 21 

from comparison with pure-blooded white men. 
Many of the Scottish and English half-breeds are 
scarcely to be distinguished from other Scotsmen 
and Englishmen except by their complexion. 
Their paternal ancestors were men of some 
education — the company's officers — while the 
French half-breeds sprang as a rule from the 
humbler coureurs de bois in the Company's 
employ — men of little or no education, who fell 
more easily to the level of the red-skin community 
with which they allied themselves. 

For two centuries Western Canada was treated 
as a gigantic game preserve, and jealously guarded 
against the intrusion of settlers. In 181 1, it is 
true, the Earl of Selkirk, one of the chief pro- 
prietors of the Hudson's Bay Company, overcame 
for a time his partners' objection to an independent 
white population, and planted in what is now 
Manitoba a little colony of Scottish Highlanders. 
They had to come in by Hudson's Bay, and up 
the Nelson River. In fact, long after that time 
the West was so difficult of access from the East, 
that a stove made in Quebec had to be shipped 
home to England and thence out to Hudson's 
Bay before it could be delivered in Manitoba. 

For half a century and more, Lord Selkirk's 
colony lay forgotten in the heart of the con- 
tinent. Some of the settlers, disheartened by 
isolation, made their way down to Ontario. The 



22 "A PARADISE OF FERTILITY" 

others throve on what they grew, but production 
for the market was, of course, out of the question. 
The market might as well have been in the moon. 
And the rulers of the empire might also have been 
in the moon, for all they knew or cared about the 
richest land in their possession. 

Governments were actually persuaded that 
the West was an irreclaimable wilderness, in- 
capable of supporting a white population. But 
the wealth of the western soil, hidden only 
by a crop of grass, and revealed by the first 
touch of a plough, was bound to become 
famous. It was only a question of sooner or 
later. And as long ago as 1857, Mr S. J. 
Dawson, of the Canadian Geological Survey, 
wrote : "Of the valley of Red River I find it 
impossible to speak in any other terms than those 
which may express astonishment and admiration. 
I entirely concur in the brief but expressive de- 
scription given to me by an English settler on the 
Assiniboine, that the valley of Red River, includ- 
ing a large portion belonging to its great affluent, 
is a ' Paradise of fertility.' . . . Indian corn, if 
properly cultivated, and an early variety selected, 
may always be relied on. The melon grows with 
the utmost luxuriance without any artificial aid, 
and ripens perfectly before the end of August. 
Potatoes, cauliflowers, and onions, I have not seen 
surpassed at any of our provincial fairs. . . . The 



ANNEXATION TO CANADA 23 

character of the soil in Assiniboia [now Manitoba], 
within the limits of the ancient [Lake Agassiz] 
lake ridges, cannot be surpassed. It is a rich 
black mould, ten to twenty inches deep, reposing 
on a lightish coloured alluvial clay about four feet 
deep, which again rests on lacustrine or drift clay 
to the level of the water, in all the rivers and 
creeks inspected. As an agricultural country, 
I have no hesitation in expressing the strongest 
conviction that it will one day rank amongst the 
most distinguished." 

" A paradise of fertility." That judgment is 
now known to apply not only to the Red River 
Valley but to practically the whole prairie 
stretching away to the Rocky Mountains. 

In 1869 the Imperial Government transferred 
this territory to the two-year-old Canadian Con- 
federation, having bought out the company's 
monopoly for £300,000, 50,000 acres of land in 
blocks round the company's stations, and one- 
twentieth of what was then alone called the 
"fertile belt," lying between the United States 
frontier and the North Saskatchewan River, 
and stretching from the Lake of the Woods 
to the Mountains. The company was left 
with its charter, and with full liberty to go 
on trading in competition with others — which 
it continues to do, with handsome profits, to the 
present day. The chief officer of the company, 



24 THE RED RIVER RISING 

who held sway over a territory almost as large as 
Europe, and continued to administer its affairs 
till the first Canadian governor arrived, was no 
other than " the grand old man of Canada " 
to-day — the generous patriot honoured by the 
whole British Empire under the name of Lord 
Strathcona. 

When the Company's domain passed into the 
hands of the Canadian Government, and the 
surveyors sent up to map out the land in town- 
ships began to " run lines " of scientific precision 
through the country-side, the French Red River 
half-breeds thought their ill-defined farms were 
going to be taken from them. Friction be- 
tween the squatters and the authorities was 
followed by open insurrection, and a young half- 
breed named Louis Riel set himself up as " Pre- 
sident " of a " provisional government." A 
number of loyal settlers were imprisoned, and in 
the spring of 1870 a plain-spoken young loyalist 
was murdered under the authority of a rebel 
court-martial. A storm of helpless indignation 
swept over Canada — helpless because the rebels 
were separated from the seat of power and popula- 
tion in the East by more than a thousand miles of 
lake and river. An officer then known only as 
Colonel Wolseley was put in command of a boat 
expedition, which, after a three months' journey, 




Interior of Fort Garry, the Winnipeg of 1870 

The figure with outstretched arm is that of the Governor, Mr Donald Smith, 

now Lord Strathcona 





* i* » WmMr <m, w 






Street Scene in Modern Winnipeg 



TROUBLE ON THE SASKATCHEWAN 25 

arrived — to find the rebellion extinct. The 
government then recognized the rights of the 
half-breeds to the land they lived on. 

The Red River district was organized as the 
Province of Manitoba, and the white settlers 
swarming in to cultivate its marvellously fertile 
soil soon placed the half-breeds in the position of 
an insignificant minority. The wilder spirits sold 
their land and flitted to the banks of the Sas- 
katchewan, four or five hundred miles away to the 
north-west ; but even there the stream of white 
immigration followed, and the land-surveyors 
began to map out the country with ruthless 
regularity. In the autumn of 1884, it was plain 
that a storm was brewing. Louis Riel, after many 
years of exile, returned from the United States 
on his kinsmen's invitation, and put himself at 
the head of their agitation for the redress of 
grievances. Such grievances as actually existed 
might have been remedied, and the agitation 
easily allayed, if the central government had given 
a little attention to the matter. But in fourteen 
years, while the half-breeds had learnt nothing the 
authorities had forgotten everything. Two alter- 
natives seemed open to them — conciliation and 
repression. They might have, and should have, 
as their subsequent action confessed, paid atten- 
tion to the petitions and resolutions passed quite 
legitimately by the half-breeds in meetings over 



26 THE DUCK LAKE DEFEAT 

which Riel presided ; or they might have taken 
strong measures to prevent the rising which was 
otherwise threatened. They did neither ; they 
did nothing. Agitation was allowed to flame up 
in revolt, and Louis Riel was " President of the 
Saskatchewan " before the government machine 
began to stir. The half-breeds began, in the 
spring of 1885, by possessing themselves of the 
persons and property of their white neighbours at 
Duck Lake. A detachment of the Mounted 
Police — the soldiers of the north-west — went to the 
rescue, accompanied by some volunteers from the 
neighbouring town of Prince Albert, but were 
driven back, leaving eleven of their number dead 
or wounded on the snow. 

The rebels had beaten the white men. Imagine 
what that meant, in a country where the little 
white population of peaceful farmers lay thinly 
scattered among strong tribes of warlike Indians. 
The half-breeds were a mere handful compared 
to the pure-blooded red-skins, who numbered 
(omitting the tribes of the distant north) about 
25,000. Riel did his best, by threats and cajolery, 
to rally them under his flag. Adopting the name 
David, he claimed to be a new Messiah sent to 
drive out the white men and restore the land to the 
red. It says much for the sense of the Indians, 
for the fairness with which as a rule they had been 
treated by the Canadian Government and the 



THE FROG LAKE MASSACRE 27 

Hudson's Bay Company, and for the influence of 
missionaries in their councils, that the strongest 
tribes decided to sit still and mind their own 
business. The half-breed " Messiah's " persua- 
sions, however, were not without result. Two 
hundred miles north-west of Prince Albert, a 
particularly wild band of red-skins under Chief 
Big Bear swooped down upon the infant settlement 
of Frog Lake. It was the Wednesday of Holy 
Week, and two Roman Catholic priests were pre- 
paring to celebrate Mass. The Indians, there- 
fore, began by marching the whole white popula- 
tion, a dozen or so, to church. Never, perhaps, 
had such a service been held before. The savages, 
with muskets in their hands and yellow war-paint 
daubed over their faces, stood guard at the porch 
and occasionally knelt in the aisle : their prisoners, 
the clergy and congregation, expecting at any 
moment to be butchered in their prayers. The 
service ended, the people were taken back to their 
homes ; but in the afternoon they were ordered off 
to the neighbouring Indian camp, and nearly 
every man was shot down in cold blood before the 
camp could be reached. The bodies of the priests 
were thrown into the cellar of their church, which 
was then burnt down over them ; and the other 
victims were disposed of in the same way. There 
were two white women among the prisoners, but 
they were ransomed, at a cost of three dollars and 



28 SURRENDER OF FORT PITT 

four native ponies, by some generous half-breeds 
who for their own safety had joined the Indian 
camp. 

After gorging on stolen victuals for a fortnight, 
and keeping up their excitement by frenzied 
dancing, the Indians thought they would fly at 
higher game. Thirty miles south, on the banks 
of the North Saskatchewan, stood an old Hudson's 
Bay post called Fort Pitt, garrisoned by a score 
of Mounted Police, and now crowded with six and 
twenty white refugees. Before this fort, one 
spring morning, Big Bear appeared with his 
savage horde, and sent in his ultimatum : let the 
police go off down the river, and the civilians come 
into the Indian camp. There was no lack of 
courage in the fort ; even the girls, the daughters 
of the Hudson's Bay factor, themselves with 
Indian blood in their veins, shouldered rifles and 
" manned " loop-holes with the rest. But the 
besiegers were getting fire-arrows ready, and in a 
few hours the fort and its garrison might be a heap 
of ashes. The factor, trusting to his own popu- 
larity and that of the company among the 
Indians, decided that on the whole the balance 
of safety lay on the side of surrender. So the 
police reluctantly embarked in an old ferry scow 
for a journey of a hundred miles down the river to 
Battleford. The miseries of that inland voyage 
could only be matched by the sufferings of a 



THE CREES BESIEGE BATTLEFORD 29 

ship- wrecked crew in mid-ocean. The weather 
was bitterly cold, snowing and blowing hard, and 
the river was still blocked with floating slabs of 
ice. The scow leaked so fast that six men had to 
be constantly baling to keep her afloat. And 
when they got to Battleford at last, they had only 
exchanged one siege for another. 

The famous Cree Chief Poundmaker, when he 
heard magnified reports of Riel's first success, 
had gone on the war-path — probably against his 
inclination, but compelled by the traditions of his 
race to put himself at the head of his braves when 
they were resolved to fight. At the head of a 
combination of tribes he laid desultory siege to 
the little town of Battleford, where the whole white 
population for many miles round had fled for 
refuge. For weeks these unhappy settlers re- 
mained crowded within the stockade of the 
Mounted Police barracks, watching the columns 
of smoke that rose from their burning homes. It 
was all very well to be assured that the Indians 
would never come to close quarters ; but the 
farmers, and even more the farmers' wives, their 
nerves unhinged by the sudden ruin that had 
come upon them, might well be excused if they 
dreamt of a horde of painted savages swarming 
over the old stockade with murder in their eyes 
and scalping knives in their hands. 

To stand helpless on the shore while a ship is 



30 VOLUNTEERS TO THE RESCUE 

going down before your eyes — that was practically 
our position in Eastern Canada in the spring 
of 1885, as we listened to the cries for help that 
came over the telegraph wire (when the wire was 
not cut by the rebels) from our friends in deadly 
peril 1500 miles away. Our problem was a 
serious one indeed. We had no regular army, 
beyond a few companies at the Infantry 
Schools and an occasional battery of artillery. 
The rescue must be effected by volunteers, who 
were certainly keen enough but varied greatly in 
efficiency, and were utterly inexperienced in war. 
Worst of all, the only railway to the West was not 
yet finished ; and, even if it had been finished, it 
only passed within 200 miles of the scene of opera- 
tions. But there was no time to be wasted in 
regrets ; and within a few days of the Duck Lake 
defeat the volunteers were steaming away to the 
West. When they had gone as far as the railway 
could take them, they had to disembark and march 
across the frozen surface of Lake Superior to a 
point where an isolated section of the rails had 
been laid, and where the only rolling stock was a 
lot of open flat ballast trucks. On these exposed 
platforms the men had to huddle together and 
protect themselves by the natural heat of their 
bodies from the bitter cold. They were relieved, 
in fact, when the rails again came to an end, and 
they could restore their circulation by another 



SWIFT CURRENT 31 

march across the frozen lake. By the time they 
reached Winnipeg they looked as if they had gone 
through a campaign already, with ears and noses 
frost-bitten, and some of them snow-blind as 
well. 

It was this campaign that gave me an oppor- 
tunity of seeing the West, as it will never be seen 
again. The prairie section of the Canadian 
Pacific had been finished the year before, and one 
fine April morning I landed on the turf at a place 
called Swift Current, whence a flying column 
under Colonel Otter was to set out for the relief 
of Battleford, while another force, under General 
Middleton, was marching from a more easterly 
point against the half-breeds. Swift Current at 
that time was just a group of half a dozen little 
houses, near a beautiful lake with a flock of wild 
swans floating on its surface. A little snow still 
lay in sheltered nooks here and there — it was the 
9th of April — but otherwise the ground was dry 
and the weather magnificent. To reach the 
beleaguered town we knew we should have to cross 
180 miles of sheer desert ; not a desert of sand, to 
be sure, but a desert of thin dry grass without a 
human habitation. We had, therefore, to accumu- 
late a train of farm waggons to carry not only food 
for the troops, hay and oats for the horses, and 
wood for our camp fires, but the very troops 
themselves, who were nearly all infantry and 



32 THE CAYUSE 

were in far too great a hurry to walk. Many 
pioneer farmers of Manitoba and the Territories 
let their land lie fallow that year and spent the 
summer teaming at $10 A (about £2, is. 8d.) a day 
for the government. 

While the soldiers waited impatiently for their 
mounts, the war correspondent had to hunt for 
his. I had made a flying start, with no more 
baggage than I could carry on my horse ; but 
there was not a horse to be had. There were 
thousands of unbroken cayuses, or Indian ponies, 
roaming over the prairie, but the prairie was a 
thousand miles wide. The march had actually 
begun, and the flying column was out of sight, 
when at last I got astride of a bag-of-bones, 
paying about ten times what would have been its 
price in time of peace, and galloped off after the 
troops. 

A sturdy and intelligent beast is the cayuse, 
and patient up to a certain point, but undeniably 
lazy, so you have to keep your feet swinging 
against his sides, Indian fashion, to keep him 
awake. I could sympathize with my specimen, 
however, for I often went to sleep on his back 
myself, after writing a column or two as I jogged 
along in the sun. He is brave, too, or at any rate 
indifferent to what would send a common horse 

1 One dollar ($1) may be reckoned as roughly 4s., or, more 
correctly, 4s. 2d. 



COLD NIGHTS 33 

bolting to the horizon. You may fire a rifle 
between his ears and they will not twitch ; but if 
he sees a scrap of paper on the grass he will jump 
sideways half-way across the trail in fright. His 
gait is a comfortable lope, or canter, by which he 
keeps up with a bronco's trot, and so easy that you 
can ride bare-back without any serious risk of 
disablement. Not that I tried such an experiment 
with that first cayuse of mine ; his back-bone 
was like a sierra. As for bit and bridle, he needs 
neither — as I was happy to find when my own 
were stolen in the course of the campaign. All 
you have to do is to pat him on the right side of 
the neck if you want him to go to the left, and on 
the left side if you want him to go to the right. 
Let him alone and he will go straight on, never 
putting his foot in a hole, though the prairie is 
a-gape with the front doors of gophers and badgers 
and foxes. 

A prairie march in early spring is no picnic. 
For the first night I accepted the hospitality of 
the colonel and major in command of the Queen's 
Own Rifles of Toronto. While they snored away 
peacefully under mountains of buffalo robes, the 
unfortunate war correspondent lay on the ground 
wrapped up in a pair of military blankets, and by 
sunrise was almost in the state of a jug of water 
that had stood at his head at night and was a 
solid lump of ice before morning. That day, I 



34 HOT DAYS, AND HARD TACK 

got a volunteer, who in time of peace was a tailor, 
to sew up one of my blankets into a sleeping sack, 
and the next night I chipped in with a dozen 
privates of the Queen's Own. With our twenty- 
six feet hob-nobbing round the tent-pole, and all 
the clothes in our possession on our bodies, we 
made a warm and happy company. 

If the nights were cold, the days made up for 
them. The sloughs we passed in the morning 
were frozen almost hard enough to skate on ; 
but if there was a slough handy when we made 
our midday halt it made a very comfortable 
bath — for the rank and file, who had time for a 
dip before throwing themselves down for a nap in 
the shade of the waggons. For your war corres- 
pondent there was no such rest. Letters and 
telegrams, begun on horse-back, had to be 
finished and sent off by evening, and the horse 
had to be filled, even if its owner was still empty 
when the troops got under way again. To be sure, 
the regulation meal of fat salt pork or Chicago 
canned beef, washed down with stewed tea, and 
occasionally varied by stewed dried apples, could 
be forgone without much grief, so long as I could 
be sure of a pocketful of hard-tack — otherwise 
ship biscuit — to munch on the trail. Our biscuits 
were apparently what Noah had left over when he 
came out of the Ark. Split open and fried with the 
fat pork, they became palatable and almost tender. 



RELIEF OF BATTLEFORD 35 

Thirty miles north of Swift Current we en- 
countered another infuriating delay, for we came 
to the South Saskatchewan river and could not 
get across till a steamer arrived from Medicine 
Hat — one of those marvellous flat-bottomed 
stern- wheelers 1 that " will float in a heavy dew." 
She carried our waggons over twenty-five at a 
time, and at last we were on the march again, 
having taken five days to cover thirty miles. 
Hour after hour, day after day, the thin line of 
waggons and horsemen, four miles long from van to 
rear, rolled northwards up the trail. Not a human 
being did we see, nor sign of one. The plain was 
a broad brown desolation. Five days north of 
the river, however, we came to the edge of a wood, 
and closed our ranks, for we were in the enemy's 
country. Here we spied a little village of rough log 
huts which the Stoney Indians had been taught 
to build on their reserve. Even here there was no 
sign of life ; but behind one of the houses lay the 
murdered body of the Farm Instructor who had 
been trying to civilize the inhabitants. 

A few miles more, and we stood on the bank of 
the Battle River — and there, before our eyes, 
thank God, was the old Battleford stockade still 
sheltering the refugees we had come to save. 

The Indians vanished on our approach, and 

1 There is a picture of one in the chapter "Edmonton, 
and the Far North." 



36 ALL NIGHT ON THE TRAIL 

pitched their camp on Poundmaker's reserve, 
forty miles away in the west. So in the after- 
noon of the first of May, leaving half our little 
force to guard the town, but taking with us a 
company of the beleaguered white men who had 
organized themselves as a " Battleford Home 
Guard," we crossed back to the south shore and 
set out on the enemy's track, carrying five days' 
rations and little else. The westward trail ran 
at first through a charming bit of park-like 
country, of mingled woodland and prairie ; 
charming, but deadly if the Indians had lain in 
wait for us behind the trees. Now and then we 
had to cross a deep gully, which was a little hard 
on the artillery — two little brass seven-pounders, 
and a Gatling — but by all hands on the ropes we 
managed to drag them through. Halting at 
sunset in a beautiful meadow, we spent an idyllic 
evening round the camp fires, munching our hard- 
tack, and singing the songs of the East. That 
would be the last evening some of us would spend 
on earth, we knew pretty well ; but the know- 
ledge was not quite definite enough to take away 
our appetites. About midnight, when the moon 
was well up in the sky, we saddled up and pressed 
on to the west. On and on we rode, all through 
the night ; and the sun was sending its first rays 
up behind us when we saw at our feet a little 
valley where Cutknife Creek wound in and out 



CAUGHT ON CUTKNIFE HILL 37 

among bushes through a sandy bottom. From 
the other side of the creek rose a gentle slope of 
bare turf, flanked on either side by a gully. This 
was Cutknife Hill, where Poundmaker and his 
Crees had defeated Chief Cutknife and his Sarcees, 
many years before. A few hundred yards beyond 
the crest of the hill we knew that Poundmaker 
was now encamped, and we hoped he and all his 
men were still sound asleep. They were — all but 
one. 

The creek was deep enough to make fording 
awkward for the waggons ; and we were still 
negotiating the ford when the police scouts dashed 
back from the head of our line with the cry, " The 
Nichis are on us ! " We dashed up the hill ; but 
the Indians were dashing up from the other side, 
and our vanguard of Mounted Police reached the 
top only just in time to win the race. The guns 
were close on their heels, and in another minute 
were dropping shells wherever the enemy were 
supposed to be hiding ; for after the first onset, 
when blood was drawn on both sides at the top 
of the hill, most of the Indians spread down out 
of sight into the gullies to left and right of us. 
With the coast clear in front, some of our men 
rushed forward to storm the enemy's camp. 
That was our one move that gave the Indians a 
moment's alarm ; but our men were recalled, 
and Poundmaker breathed freely again. Mean- 



38 THE BAPTISM OF FIRE 

while a party of the enemy had crept round to 
our rear, lining the valley we had just crossed. 
We were surrounded. For five hours the soldiers 
lay in skirmishing order around the hill, firing 
down into the bushes whenever they saw anything 
to fire at, and exposed to a hail of bullets whistling 
up the slope from every side. There was no cover 
even on the middle of the hill, where the waggons 
had been hastily clustered ; and a ring-rampart 
built of full oat-sacks among the wheels was the 
only protection available even for the wounded. 

It would be interesting to analyze the sensa- 
tions of those 300 men on finding themselves for 
the first time under fire. Some, no doubt, were 
afraid ; others, exhilarated by the joy of fight. 
Still others, and perhaps the majority, felt little 
but anxiety to do what they had to do as well as 
they could. But no man can really analyze any 
feelings but his own. I cannot say that fear was 
among mine. Nor was I affected by the sight of 
the killed and wounded, though some of them 
looked ghastly enough ; for my calling had 
hardened me to sights like that in time of peace. 
Though I realized perfectly that the whizzing 
bullets were brutally undiscriminating, and would 
kill a spectator as easily as a combatant, the 
feeling uppermost in my mind was simply a 
desire to understand what was going on, to gather 
up all the incidents and experiences of the field 



HOW VOLUNTEERS CAN FIGHT 39 

into an accurate and comprehensible description, 
so that others could realize what I had witnessed. 
I remember hoping that if I did get shot my 
wound would not be bad enough to keep me from 
writing an account of the battle ; and even 
feeling that to be wounded in moderation would 
add a rather interesting flavour to my report. 

The volunteers, whatever they felt, seemed in 
action to be as cool as veterans ; cool of nerve, 
that is, for the sun beat down upon them with all 
its western might. And there were brave deeds 
done among them that day ; deeds of positive 
as well as negative courage. Let me only instance 
one. Three of the Battleford Home Guard who 
had been trying to clear out the enemy from the 
creek bed in our rear were cut off by a bunch of 
Indians, and their only way of escape was by 
reaching and climbing a perpendicular earthen 
cut-bank. Two of the Queen's Own, theological 
students from Toronto, named Atcheson and 
Lloyd, who had themselves got separated from 
their company, caught sight of the Battleford 
men from the top of the bank and recognized their 
desperate strait. Atcheson stretched himself over 
the edge and hauled up the refugees by main 
force as soon as they reached the foot of the cut- 
bank, while Lloyd took aim in turn at every 
Indian that rose to fire at the rescuer — took aim, 
but dared not let fly, for he had only one cartridge 



40 HEROISM AND HUMOUR 

left. So hot was the Indian fire that every one 
of the three Battleford men was shot dead as 
soon as he reached the top of the bank. One of 
them got a second bullet in him while Atcheson 
was carrying him back, and they rolled over 
together. Atcheson was picking the man up 
again, when a half-breed scrambled up out of the 
gully and levelled his musket at the rescuer's 
back. Lloyd fired his last cartridge and knocked 
over the half-breed, whose body carried down 
with it half a dozen Indians who were scrambling 
up behind him. A moment after, a bullet pierced 
Lloyd's side, took off a piece of a vertebra, and 
stretched him paralyzed on the turf. Atcheson, 
all his ammunition gone, sprang to Lloyd's defence, 
and stood over him with clubbed rifle ; but 
neither of them would have lived another minute 
if a handful of their comrades had not come up in 
the nick of time and driven back their assailants. 

It is that same Lloyd, now Archdeacon of 
Saskatchewan, who is so well-known and grate- 
fully remembered in England for his indefatigable 
efforts to supply the spiritual needs of the new 
settlers, and whose name is immortalized by the 
town of Lloydminster. 

Grave as the situation was, it had its moments 
of humour. A bullet ripped open Major Short's 
cap, while he was directing the artillery, — a brave 
officer he was, and lost his life afterwards fighting 



THOSE GUNS 41 

a fire at Quebec. " It was a new cap, too," was 
his only remark as he mournfully held up the 
remains. Another bullet scraped the skin off 
Sergeant McKelTs temple. " Another good Irish- 
man gone ! " he cried as he fell — to pick himself 
up next minute on discovering that he was not 
killed. " What on earth have you been wearing 
that red tuque for ? " a rifleman asked as he 
met one of the Battleford men at the end of the 
fight : "I heard there was a half-breed with a 
red tuque on, and I've been firing at you all the 
morning." The guns were the grimmest joke of 
all. The Gating sprayed the prairie with a vast 
quantity of lead, with a noise that gave the 
Indians a bit of a scare at first ; but they soon 
got used to that. A Gatling may be all very well 
when your enen^ stands in front of it in a crowd ; 
but that is not the Indians' way. They had a 
wholesome respect for the seven-pounders, — 
which was more than the gunners had, for the 
wooden trails were rotten and gave way under the 
recoil, so that one of the guns fell to the ground 
after every shot and the other had to be tied to 
its carriage with a rope. 

Though we had planned to take the Indians 
by surprise, we were ourselves so surprised by 
their onset that scarcely a man had a biscuit in 
his pocket or a drop of water in his can when he 
sprang from his waggon and flung himself down 



42 OUR RETREAT 

in the firing line. Exhausted by the all-night 
ride and the hunger and thirst and heat of the 
day, many a man went to sleep under fire, while 
a comrade kept up the fight, — to take a nap in 
his turn later on. It was weary as well as bloody 
work. But at last, having charged the Indians out 
of the flanking coulees and the valley in our 
rear, we took advantage of the lull — to saddle 
up and go back the way we had come. The 
Indians, when driven out of the coulees, had 
fallen back, discouraged by the white men's 
bravery, and prepared to defend their camp, 
which in fact our men were eager to attack. 
Great was their surprise and joy when they 
found we were actually in full retreat, and they 
poured down that hill-side after us like a swarm 
of angry ants before half of us had recrossed the 
creek. Now, however, they were in the open, 
and a well-planted shell from our rope-swathed 
seven pounder — its companion had been put 
to bed in a waggon, — with the cool musketry 
of our rear-guard, held the pursuers in check 
till the last of our waggons had struggled through 
the creek. 

We halted for half an hour when we had got 
out of sight of the fatal hill, but as soon as we had 
swallowed a hasty meal we pressed on, the 
wounded men suffering horribly in their jolty 
waggons and all of us chafing under a sense of 



POUNDM AKER'S SURRENDER 43 

defeat. The Indians might have turned our 
defeat into disaster if they had circled round 
and caught us in the woods ; and that, as my 
enemy-friend Piacutch explains in another 
chapter, is exactly what they would have done 
if their chief had let them. As it was, we rode 
into Battleford at nine o'clock that night. In 
a day and a quarter we had ridden eighty miles 
and fought a six-hour fight. 

We had, it is true, taught the Indians a lesson ; 
but it was not exactly the lesson we had meant 
to teach them. Up to that time Poundmaker 
had resisted all Riel's persuasions to bring the 
tribes down and join forces with the half-breeds 
fighting further east, but now he could no longer 
resist the war spirit of his elated braves. The 
first notice we had of this was when he captured 
a train of waggons bringing supplies up from 
Swift Current. The relieving force and the town 
they had relieved were now alike cut off from the 
outside world. Happily for us, about this time 
Riel and his half-breeds were crushed at Batoche 
by the eastern wing of our army, and on hearing 
the news Poundmaker took the only course of 
surrendering. It was a solemn cavalcade of chiefs 
and head men, all the war-paint washed off their 
faces, that rode into Battleford that bright May 
morning for a pow-wow with the white com- 
mander. Two of the braves came forward and 



44 CONFESSIONS 

squatted at the general's feet to confess with 
perfect calmness that they had murdered white 
men. One, a gnarled old fellow with a ragged 
blanket and a wounded head, told how he had 
killed Mr Payne, the farm instructor whose body 
we had found in a pig-stye, — a plausible tale 
of a quarrel because Payne had refused him 
food : a tussle, when the white man tried to take 
away the red man's gun : and an accidental 
explosion. The other was an Indian dandy, 
gay with beads and feathers ; and he made no 
bones about it. He had come on a farmer greasing 
his waggon wheels and shot him down like a 
rabbit. Poundmaker, and a few other chiefs 
or head men, and the "first and second murderers," 
were ordered into custody ; and the rest of the 
Indians were sent back to repent on their bare 
reserves. Great was the joy of another Cree 
chief, Moosomin, who, having a little matter 
of $600 in the white men's bank, had left his 
reserve and taken his whole tribe flitting hither 
and thither among the northern wilds to avoid 
the insurgents' persistent demands for his aid. 
When I met him loafing happily on the outskirts 
of Battleford a few days after the pow-wow, he still 
wore the " very respectable top hat " of which 
he was tremendously proud ; but he and his men, 
having run short of gunpowder, had been reduced 
to a diet of gophers shot with bows and arrows. 



IN CHASE OF BIG BEAR 45 

The war was not over yet ; for Big Bear and 
his murderous men were still at large among 
those northern wilds, dragging about with them 
all the prisoners they had taken at Fort Pitt. 
To rescue these white folk the whole of our forces 
were split up into flying columns to search the 
maze of wood and river and lake and swamp that 
lay to the north of us. It seemed an almost 
hopeless enterprise ; but it gave promise of fresh 
adventures in a mysterious country very different 
from the scene of all the previous operations, and 
I attached myself to a troop of Mounted Police 
and scouts that seemed more likely than the rest 
to catch up with the runaways. Fortunately 
I had found a new cayuse by this time ; a hand- 
some well-fed beast to start with, and fat as butter 
before the end of a hard-riding campaign ; strong 
as an ox, too, though never an oat did he get, — 
the rich summer grass was all he wanted. 

Our experiences on that wild chase were varied 
and even entertaining ; it required a spice of 
the Mark Tapley in our dispositions to make them 
altogether satisfactory. At one time we were 
soaked in a good whole-hearted downpour of 
summer rain, and had to dry ourselves at night 
by huge bonfires of poplar and birch. At another, 
we had not too much water but too little, and, 
after riding about as far as our beasts could 
carry us, bivouacked at last beside a slough of 



46 FOREST AND SWAMP 

black liquid alive with crawling things, — too 
foul even to make tea with, especially as there 
was not an ounce of sugar left in the outfit. 

Fort Pitt we found nearly all burnt down ; 
but we soon left the ruins behind and struck away 
northward towards Beaver River. Sometimes we 
cantered over a fine open stretch of rolling prairie, 
no longer brown and dry, but soft and green with 
the rich new summer grass and ablaze with 
crimson patches of wild flowers. Sometimes 
we wound in and out among the poplar bluffs of a 
bit of beautiful park land : and it was in such a 
setting that we came upon the black burnt site of 
the Frog Lake settlement. We excavated from 
the mass of charred timber such remains as we 
could recognize as human, gave them a hurried 
Christian burial, and pressed on after the 
murderers. 

Leaving the sunlit prairie behind, we plunged 
into a forest broken only by innumerable lakes 
and sloughs and muskegs — a muskeg being a 
slough of exaggerated treachery, where if you 
once get in you may never get out. If a lake was 
shallow and had a reasonably firm bottom, we 
waded through it ; if not, we squeezed our way 
along the boggy edge between wood and water. 
One day, we covered only twelve miles. The 
only enemies we encountered were the insatiable 
tireless mosquito and the blood-letting bull-dog 



THE MOSQUITO 47 

fly. The bull-dog is a butcher, or rather a skilful 
surgeon, who drives his lancet in and takes his 
little fill of blood but leaves no sting behind. He 
attacked me now and then as I lay on the turf for 
a mid-day nap ; but he seemed to prefer the 
cayuse. In justice to the Canadian mosquito, 
I must say that he is quite free from the per- 
nicious habit of his southerly cousin who poisons 
you with malaria, — a disease unknown in Canada. 
In justice to the country I must add that the 
mosquito enjoys a short season, if a busy one ; 
and, much as he loves the white man, he retires 
by slow degrees as the white man settles up the 
country. 

All this time the prisoners ahead of us were 
being hurried on and on, leaving surreptitious 
scraps of paper stuck on bushes to show us which 
way their captors were travelling, and miserably 
disappointed as each day passed without a sound 
of our guns. The whites were quartered for the 
most part in the tents of some friendly Chip- 
pewayans, whom the Crees had forced to go 
along with them ; but more than once the Crees 
plotted to steal the white girls, who had to be 
smuggled from tent to tent under Indian blankets. 
Once a party of scouts came up with the red men's 
rear-guard crossing a swampy lake, and attacked 
them ; but by the time the rest of the white force 
arrived the Indians were far away on the other 



48 THE PRISONERS SET FREE 

side, and their ponies' hoofs had so broken up the 
frozen mud that the troopers could not go through 
after them. Spurred on by the hot pursuit, the 
Indians fled faster and faster, till they reached the 
Beaver River, which they crossed in hastily built 
cobles of hide stretched on willow frames. We, 
too, reached the Beaver River, a fine stream 
flowing through a deep valley between steep 
hillsides thickly wooded from the water to the 
sky-line ; and this northern forest was no longer 
a monotony of poplar, but richly mingled with 
pines. Some of us got over the river in a derelict 
canoe, and struck away north as far as Cold Lake, 
almost on the borders of Athabasca Territory, 
without finding any trace of an Indian. Big 
Bear had clearly given us the slip. As it turned 
out, soon after crossing the river the friendly 
Chippewayans plucked up courage, and, lagging 
behind one day on pretence of mending their 
harness, they set the prisoners free. With a 
couple of Indian guides, the white folk made a 
perilous passage of the river and began their 
hard tramp back through wood and swamp to 
Fort Pitt, with about four pounds of food among 
them. Next morning they trapped four small 
rabbits, which had to make a meal for thirty men 
and women and children. Happily, two of the 
men had secured guns, and managed to bring in a 
little game ; but the joy was great when an ox 



STERN- WHEELER AND SANDBANKS 49 

was found straying down the trail, and the party 
halted for a day while they dried its flesh for 
future use. At last they drew near the end of 
their pilgrimage, but in such a forlorn condition 
that the ladies, using the forest for a dressing- 
room, had to change their rags for clothes sent out 
to them before they could go on unabashed to 
meet their friends at Fort Pitt, — nearly ten weeks 
after they had marched out as prisoners to the 
Indian camp. 

Then at last the war was over, Big Bear being of 
no consequence without his captives. Parting 
reluctantly with my sturdy cayuse, I embarked 
in an old stern-wheeler at Battleford for a voyage 
to Prince Albert. This was an experience as 
curious as any the West had yet afforded. It 
was certainly the strangest bit of navigation, 
except running the St Lawrence rapids on a raft, 
that I have ever had. Anything less like the 
deep swift green St Lawrence than the Saskatche- 
wan, by the way, could hardly be imagined. 
The river was full of sand-banks, and though the 
ship drew only 20 inches of water she was con- 
stantly running aground. At one point we 
struggled for eight hours to get past a single 
island. When we stuck on the first shoal, we 
made the ship walk off on her wooden legs, — 
driving two poles into the bed of the river, and 
then, by pulleys and tackle fastened to their tops, 



50 BIG BEAR SURRENDERS 

hoisting the vessel a few inches into the air and 
driving her full steam ahead into deep water — or 
on to the next sand-bank, as the case might be. 
Another time, we fastened a hawser to a tree on 
the island and pulled for all our engines were 
worth, so that something had got to go, — the tree 
or the rope if not the ship. And all the time who 
was looking on from that very island but Big 
Bear, the chief whom all the Queen's horses and 
all the Queen's men had failed to catch. He told 
me about it himself when I interviewed him a few 
days later at Prince Albert ; for he had come in 
to give himself up, rejecting the dismal alternative 
of a fugitive old age in the great north wilderness. 
Big Bear and Poundmaker were sent to prison for 
a year or two ; while Riel was hanged, and so 
were the murderers. The principal demands of 
the half-breeds were granted, on the time- 
honoured principle of locking your stable-door as 
soon as you are sure the horse is stolen. Even 
before this redress, the rebels had settled down, 
quite as glad as we were to be done fighting. I 
wandered about among them, alone, while the 
troops went home to the East, and discovered no 
trace of ill-will to the white men. The earth was 
still fresh in the rifle pits of Batoche, and the 
bullet-scars raw on the trees of Duck Lake, but 
the rebellion was dead as a camp-fire after a 
rain-storm. 



THE RUSH TO THE WEST 

Not all statistics are bewildering. In even the 
dullest mind the emigration statistics of Canada 
conjure up a living vision of men, women, and 
children pouring out of old Europe, crowding into 
the ships and spreading over the prairies. For a 
quarter of a century Canada called in vain to the 
men of the old world — jostling each other in the 
fight for bread, and dropping by thousands into 
the ranks of the hungry and hopeless — called 
them to come and be filled. Some went, of course, 
but an insignificant number compared either to 
those who might have gone, or to the hundreds of 
thousands who passed by Canada on their way to 
the United States. It was only as the nineteenth 
century closed that the tide began fairly to set in 
the direction of Canada. In 1899, the total 
emigration had been 44,543, and in 1900, only 
2 3>895 . But in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 
1902, the arrivals numbered 67,379. In 1903, 
the figure went up to 128,364 ; in 1904, to 130,331 ; 
and in 1905, to 146,266. Then came a leap to 
189,064, which was the total for the fiscal year 
1905-06 ; and in the calendar year of January to 

5« 



52 ORGANIZED EMIGRATION 

December 1906 the arrivals numbered 215,912, 
or 71, 294 more than in the previous twelvemonth. 
Of the 189,064, the last total of which a complete 
analysis is available, 86,796 came from the 
United Kingdom, or 21,437 more than in the 
previous fiscal year, the proportions for the year 
1905-06 being 65,135 English, 797 Welsh, 15,846 
Scots, and 5018 Irish, while 44,349 arrived from 
other parts of Europe and 57,919 from the United 
States. Between the beginning of 1899 and the 
middle of 1906 there arrived 289,191 people from 
the United Kingdom, 261,136 from the United 
States, and 228,664 from continental Europe and 
other parts, making a total of 778,991. Adding 
82,326 who arrived in the latter half of 1906 
(57,463 by sea and 24,863 from the United 
States) we have altogether an immigration of 
861,317 in eight years. 

The Self-Help, the East London, the British 
Women's, and other emigration societies, have 
long done much to make easy the way for the 
workless man in the old country to the manless 
work in the new. In the last few years, the 
Salvation Army has organized emigration on an 
unprecedented scale, and with a method combin- 
ing the advantages of enthusiasm and common- 
sense. Thanks to the wide-spread organization 
of the Salvation Army in Canada, the emigrant 
who goes out under its flag is practically sure not 



EMIGRANT FARES 53 

only of a job as soon as he lands, but of another 
job if he loses the first through no fault of his own. 
The Church Army also has become a large emi- 
gration agency in recent years. 

A large proportion of the emigrants from the 
mother country cannot afford, even with the help 
of loans from the Salvation Army and other 
societies, to go all the way to the West. A third- 
class ticket from London to Quebec or Toronto 
only costs £5, 10s. or £7, 3s. o,d. But from London 
to Winnipeg the cost is £9, 5s. As practically none 
of the American emigrants settle in Eastern 
Canada, the proportion of Americans in the new 
population of the West is much larger than the 
immigration statistics show. But a great number 
of the old-country folk, who take what work they 
can get in the East to begin with, go on to the West 
when they have saved enough money for the 
railway ticket. A great many also take advantage 
of the special harvester excursions, by which, on 
agreeing to do not less than four weeks' reaping 
or threshing wherever they may be sent from 
Winnipeg, they are taken all the way from 
London to that city for £6. 

It is somewhat surprising to learn that the 
Canadian Government carries on an emigration 
campaign in the United States almost as vigor- 
ously as it does in the United Kingdom. The 
great republic, while it still attracts more immi- 



54 EMIGRATION FROM THE STATES 

grants than any other country, contains hundreds 
of thousands ready to leave it. 

To persuade these Americans that they will be 
better off in Canada than in the country of their 
birth or adoption, the Canadian Government has 
for years been distributing emigration literature, 
delivering lectures, exhibiting Canadian products 
at State and county fairs, and inserting pictorial 
advertizements in nearly 7000 American papers — 
chiefly rural weeklies and agricultural journals. 
One of these now before me catches the eye 
with : " Twenty-five bushels of wheat to the acre 
means a productive capacity in dollars of over 
sixteen dollars per acre. This, on land which has 
cost the farmer nothing but the price of tilling it, 
tells its own story. The Canadian Government 
gives absolutely free to every settler 160 acres of 
such land. Lands adjoining can be purchased at 
from $6 to $10 per acre, from railroads and other 
corporations. Already 175,000 farmers from the 
United States have made their homes in Canada.' ' 
In another I read : " Magnificent climate. Farmers 
ploughing in their shirt-sleeves in the middle of 
November. Coal, wood, water, hay in abundance. 
Schools, churches, markets convenient." Special 
efforts are made among the French Canadians, 
Scandinavians and Germans living in the States, 
agents able to speak their respective languages 
being employed. According to the Canadian 



COUNTER-ATTRACTIONS 55 

officer in charge of this propaganda in the United 
States, " advertising has been the keynote of the 
increasing success that we have been able to 
chronicle year after year." But the American, 
unless he is a very fresh immigrant indeed, does 
not take for granted all he reads in an advertise- 
ment. In many States the people have clubbed 
together, and sent delegates to spy out the pro- 
missory land and verify or otherwise the glowing 
accounts of the emigration agents. The satis- 
factory result of this independent investigation 
is evident from the enormous number of American 
citizens actually making their homes under the 
British flag. The Canadian propagandists are 
not allowed to work without opposition. Their 
chief reports : " Various State organizations 
have been brought into existence for the purpose 
of retaining their people ; newspapers have been 
subsidized to publish articles detrimental to 
Canada ; holders of large tracts of land in different 
parts of the States, especially in the south and 
west, have at their back the combined influences 
of railroads. They carry on a propaganda of 
advertizing. The opening up of large tracts of 
land suitable for irrigation has the assistance of 
the United States Government. In addition to 
this there are the Indian reservations which are 
being opened up from time to time .... In one 
day of last week, one thousand homeseekers 



$6 "YOU COULDN'T KEEP THEM OUT" 

passed through Sioux City, South Dakota, on their 
way to the vacant lands in that State. It is stated 
that one million acres of government land will be 
opened up there, very shortly. . . . Thus it will be 
seen that everything is not coming Canada- wards." 
The fact that in spite of all these counter-attrac- 
tions the Americans are flowing over the frontier 
in such a mighty stream is the highest possible 
testimony to the reality of the advantages that 
Canada has to offer. As an observer in Chicago 
says, " You couldn't keep them out with a club." 
It is not only Canadians who tempt Americans 
to Canada. Americans take a hand in the 
business themselves, There was a parcel of 
American speculators, for instance, who came into 
south-western Manitoba and bought about 160,000 
acres at $3 (12s. 6d.) an acre. Then they went 
back, and by judicious advertizing persuaded 
their fellow-countrymen to rush in and buy the 
same land from them in farm lots at $10 (£2, 
is. 8d.) an acre. The land is worth much more 
now, and I suppose not one of the buyers repents 
his bargain. I hear of a Polish Committee in 
Chicago who contemplate transplanting 50,000 
families of their fellow-countrymen to Canada. 
The object in this case is presumably philan- 
thropic rather than commercial. If the scheme 
is carried out, I hope the Poles will be well 
scattered over the prairie, where the fresh air of ^ 



NO HOMESTEADS FOR ALIENS $7 

heaven can blow every taint of Chicago out of 
them. 

It is well known by this time that any man may 
choose from the wild land of Western Canada a 
free " homestead " of 160 acres, on paying a 
registration fee of $10, or £2 ; and that at the end 
of three years he is given the ownership of his 
homestead if he has in each of those years lived 
there for at least six months, and brought five 
acres under cultivation. There is, however, 
another condition ; he must become a British 
subject if he is not one already. Now a great 
many of the American immigrants have capital, 
and can afford to buy land, which they can then 
hold without giving up their American citizenship. 
But most of them take free homesteads, even if 
they add to their acreage by purchase. In the 
year 1905-06 the number of free 160-acre home- 
steads granted was 41,869, of which 12,370 were 
taken up by Canadians, 47 by other British 
colonists, 8097 by men from the United Kingdom, 
and 12,485 by " Americans." These last must 
necessarily swear allegiance to the British Crown ; 
and most of those who are under no such obligation 
will probably do so of their own choice. 

The country to which all these Americans and 
many eastern Canadians and old-country folk 
are flocking is the great oblong lying between the 
Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, bounded 



58 THE COUNTRY SUMMED UP 

on the south by the United States and on the 
north by the ever-retreating edge of an almost 
uninhabited but not uninhabitable wilderness. 
This oblong, which has for administrative pur- 
poses been divided into the three Provinces of 
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, is a great 
plain, sloping quite imperceptibly up towards the 
west, till it reaches a height of 3000 feet above 
sea-level, though, so far as the eye can tell, it is 
no higher in the west than in the east. Parts of 
this plain are flat, especially in the south ; the 
rest is gently undulating. It is crossed by 
several great rivers, and, except in the south-west, 
is watered also by numberless streams, and lakes, 
and ponds — known locally as sloughs. Its land 
surface is covered by thin but most nourishing 
grass in the south, and by a happy alternation of 
grass and woods elsewhere. Its soil is almost all 
good, and the greater part is amazingly fertile. 
It grows practically anything produced by the 
temperate zone, and many things, such as the 
tomato, which England is too " temperate M to 
ripen. Its southern prairie yields the finest wheat 
in the world ; its cattle-ranches are famous, and 
deserve their fame ; and its dairy-farming is no 
less successful. It already sends vast quantities 
of meat and bread-stuffs over the Atlantic to the 
United Kingdom ; and in its shipments of wheat 
and butter to Japan there are the beginnings of 



THE RAILWAYS 59 

what should become an enormous trade across the 
Pacific. Its air is cold in winter, hot in summer, 
pure, dry, and invigorating. 

As only a few of its rivers are navigable, and 
then only by little flat-bottomed stern-wheel 
steamers, the country has had to be opened up 
entirely by railways, which are spreading fast in 
all directions. The Canadian Pacific came first, 
with a line right across the southern section of the 
plain, and, instead of resting on its oars while the 
younger lines go ahead, it has only been stirred up 
by their competition to more strenuous efforts to 
capture the trade of the new settlements springing 
up daily all over the West. " The Canadian 
Pacific never stops," as Sir Thomas Shaughnessy 
says. Then, about 200 miles further north, the 
plain is crossed by the Canadian Northern, a new 
line created by the enterprise of Messrs Mackenzie 
& Mann. Between the two the Grand Trunk 
Pacific is crossing the same plain on its way to the 
Pacific Ocean ; and finally we have Mr J. J. Hill 
promising (or threatening, as his competitors 
would say) to over-run the plain with a fourth 
line to connect with his Great Northern system in 
the United States. Trains in the West are few 
and slow, if judged by English standards ; and the 
Westerner has a yearly recurring grievance 
against his railways because their capacity is 
unequal to the gigantic task of carrying his 



60 RAILWAY GRIEVANCES 

bumper crops away to the East. It is the same 
grievance in another form that Londoners have 
against their suburban railways for incapacity to 
provide for the abnormal rush of passengers into 
and out of the City at certain times of the day. 
Then a complaint is sometimes heard that a com- 
pany spends on extending its mileage, energy and 
money which might be spent in perfecting its 
equipment ; but as long as there are vast blank 
spaces on the railway map of the "fertile belt," with 
settlers rushing in to live on them, there is much 
to be said for the policy of rapid extension. Once 
a railway is built and working, people can afford 
to wait a while for its improvement ; but the 
difference between the absence and presence of 
any railway is all the difference between stagna- 
tion and life. It is to be hoped that if ever the 
West is visited by such another snowing-up as 
that of the winter of 1906-07, when certain 
sections of line were practically non-existent for 
weeks, the railway companies will be better pre- 
pared for the emergency. 

The extension of railways is not so rapid as it 
should be, or as it would be if the railway com- 
panies could get the men to carry out their plans. 
Capital they can get in plenty ; and the wages 
offered for navvy ing are good, as navvies' wages go. 
The man employed on railway construction in the 
West commonly gets $2 a day, or 50s. a week, and 



NAVVIES WANTED 6\ 

can reckon on six months' continuous work during 
the season. He pays 18s. a week for his keep, and 
if he starts with a good outfit of stout clothing he 
can save as much of the remainder as he likes. 
But the men are simply not to be had in anything 
like the numbers required. In 1906, about 500 
miles of line which should have been under con- 
struction were not touched, for this reason. At 
the beginning of 1907, plans had been laid for the 
construction of 1500 miles during the year, 
which would give constant employment to 60,000 
men ; yet the men actually offering themselves 
were not expected even to approach that number, 
in spite of the expectation that 250,000 emigrants 
or more would arrive in the country. 

While Westerners often complain of high 
railway rates, there is no agitation in Canada 
comparable to that which excites the people of the 
United States for drastic legislation against 
railway companies. The people of Canada have 
already in their hands a very efficient instrument 
of self-defence in the Federal Railway Commission. 
Any line which comes under the Dominion 
Railway Acts must obtain the Commission's 
approval for its route, its plans, its very curves and 
gradients ; and its rates may be lowered if the 
Commission considers them unreasonable. Ac- 
cording to the learned judge who presides over the 
Commission, though certain provisions in the 



62 THE LAND TAKEN UP 

Canadian Pacific's charter give that line excep- 
tional freedom and may lead to some litigation, on 
the whole, Canada is likely to escape the great 
amount of litigation which has arisen in the United 
States. A corporation may have no soul, but it 
has a great deal of human nature, and is not likely 
to press its advantages so hardly as to discourage 
the settlement on which its own increased pro- 
sperity depends. 

" With all those land-hungry thousands rushing 
in," the question is sometimes asked, " is not the 
supply of land being fast exhausted ? " Now 
the estimates of the land originally available vary 
greatly ; but I see no reason seriously to question 
the deliberate judgment formed in 1904 by Dr 
Saunders, the Director of the Federal Government's 
Experimental Farms, that there were in Manitoba, 
Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta about 
171,000,000 acres suitable for profitable farming, 
out of a total (after deducting water areas) of 
232,000,000 acres. About 30,000,000 acres have 
been granted to settlers and 29,000,000 acres to 
railway companies ; while 4,200,000 acres re- 
main in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany, 5,000,000 acres were reserved as " school 
lands," and 7,620,000 acres have been alienated 
for special schemes of colonization and irrigation, 
or for other purposes. 



THE LAND STILL AVAILABLE 63 

Deducting this total of 75,820,000, there would 
still remain 95,180,000 acres in the government's 
hands, or more than enough for three times as 
many people as have taken homesteads since the 
system was started in 1874. At the rate recorded 
in 1905-06, when 6, 699,040 acres were taken up by 
41,869 homesteaders, the free land would be 
exhausted by the year 1920. However, a good 
deal of the land not classified by Dr Saunders as 
" suitable for profitable farming " will probably 
be taken up, and even found profitable, by the 
less exacting settlers from Europe. Thousands 
of the early Scottish emigrants to Eastern Canada 
made good farms for themselves on land which 
would not be reckoned profitable in the West 
to-day. Then it must also be remembered that 
the lands held by companies are open for settle- 
ment by purchase, though not for free home- 
steading. 

In the middle of 1906, the Canadian Pacific 
still held 9,840,975 acres in the three prairie pro- 
vinces — having in the year then ending sold 
1,012,322 acres at an average price of $5.84 
(24s. 4d.), and in the previous year 411,451 acres 
at $4.80 {£1). The price will doubtless be raised 
year by year, but not to a prohibitive degree. 
The Dominion Government also puts up certain 
of the school lands to auction from time to time ; 
in the year 1905-06 over 155,000 acres were sold, 



64 IRRIGATION 

the price averaging $12.14 (50s. yd.). Of the 
land companies, some have been selling for years 
but have a large area left ; and two have only just 
started, — the Western Canada Land Company, 
which took over 500,000 acres of Canadian Pacific 
land in the Edmonton district and has barely 
begun operations, having sold, up to April 30, 1907, 
38,752 acres (at an average of about $8.70, or 36s.); 
and the Southern Alberta Land Company, a still 
younger concern, which has an estate of 390,000 
acres in the Medicine Hat region, and is putting 
a large part of it under irrigation previous to sale. 
This process of irrigation is itself largely increasing 
the supply of " suitable " land. In Alberta, 
already 832 miles of canals and ditches have been 
constructed to irrigate 2,880,056 acres, and in 
Saskatchewan 189 miles, for 39,916 acres. Finally, 
I should add that the present Provinces of Alberta 
and Saskatchewan include not only the old 
Territories called by those names, and the Ter- 
ritory of Assiniboia, but about 135,000,000 acres 
formerly comprised in the Territory of Athabasca. 
It is quite uncertain how much of this northern 
area will be found " suitable for profitable farm- 
ing M ; but some of it is being successfully farmed 
already, and profits will come when railways do. 

The Surveyor-General of Canada states that 
about 124,800,000 acres in Manitoba, Saskatchewan 
and Alberta have hitherto been surveyed, and 



FOOD FOR THE OLD COUNTRY 65 

roughly estimates that in the two latter Provinces 
there are 185,600,000 acres of unsurveyed lands 
fit for settlement. The total land area of these 
two Provinces, after deducting 30,080,000 acres 
for water, is about 324,125,440 acres ; of which 
the Surveyor-General believes that 106,240,000 
are suitable for growing grain, while 46,720,000 
require irrigation ; and the remaining 141,085,440 
acres are suitable for ranches or other kinds of 
farming. 

When we think of the millions in the old 
country who have to be fed with imported wheat, 
it is good to know that this one Canadian plain 
could easily supply every ounce of bread we want. 
Dr Saunders points out that our imports of wheat 
and flour in 1902 were equivalent to about 
200,000,000 bushels of wheat. If only one fourth 
of the land which he considers " suitable " in 
Manitoba, and the southern parts of the two other 
Provinces, were annually under wheat, he shows 
that the total crop, at the Manitoba ten-years' 
average of 19 bushels an acre, would be over 
812,000,000 bushels. If Canada's population had 
risen to 30,000,000, this " would be ample to 
supply the home demand, and meet the present 
requirements of Great Britain three times over." 
As he has left out of count the wheat production 
of Eastern Canada, he concludes : "It would 
seem to be quite possible that Canada may be in a 



66 ALL WE WANT, AND MORE 

position within comparatively few years, after 
supplying all home demands, to furnish Great 
Britain with all the wheat and flour she re- 
quires, and leave a surplus for export to other 
countries." 

Note on Population. — The population of 
Manitoba in 1906 was 365,688. Its growth and 
composition are described in the next chapter. 
The population of Saskatchewan and Alberta in 
1906 numbered 257,763 and 185,412, making 
808,863 for the three prairie Provinces. The 
census of 1901 showed a population of 158,940 
(against 66,799 m I ^9 I an d 56,446 in 1881) for 
the area now practically represented by Saskat- 
chewan and Alberta, besides 52,709 in Yukon, 
Mackenzie, and other northerly parts. The 
158,940 of 1901 included 91,535 natives of 
Canada, 17,612 of other British countries, 13,877 
of the United States, 14,585 of Russia, 13,407 
of Austria-Hungary, 2093 of Norway and 
Sweden, 2170 of Germany, and 1023 of France. 



MODERN MANITOBA 

Manitoba is not so very juvenile as the new-born 
Provinces just beyond, yet she can hardly be 
ignored simply because she has reached the 
venerable age of thirty-seven. Her settlement 
really dates back, as we have seen, nearly sixty 
years before she attained the dignity of a Province. 
In 1870, when the Red River settlement 
became a Province, with the village round Fort 
Garry as its capital, there was still a population 
of only 18,995, Indians and half-breeds included, 
to occupy the whole region. But then came the 
first rush of homeseekers, and by 1881 the 
population had risen to 62,260. That was the 
year of the great " boom," when the price of land 
in Winnipeg went up like a rocket — and the higher 
the price, the more eager were men to buy — till it 
came down like a stick, and ruined those who had 
bought last. Winnipeg took many years to get 
over the exhaustion that followed its fever ; but 
even the unnatural boom prices of '81 have now 
been reached and passed in the natural course of 
events. The muddy little village of 1870 is 

67 



68 WINNIPEG TO-DAY 

to-day a city of about 100,000 inhabitants, who 
ride in electric cars, do business in sky-scraping 
offices, buy all they want at reasonable prices in 
metropolitan stores, and are altogether urban and 
up-to-date. 

That in a purely agricultural province nearly 
a third of the population should be found con- 
centrated in one city is a remarkable fact. But it 
must be remembered that Winnipeg is not only 
the capital of a Province, but the metropolis of the 
West. It is the distributing centre of men and 
merchandise for Saskatchewan and Alberta as 
well as Manitoba ; and practically all the grain of 
three Provinces pours through the city on its way 
to the East. It is here that the invading army of 
eastern immigration concentrates before spreading 
over the plains. It is here, too, that the army of 
harvesters, brought in from the East every autumn 
at low excursion rates, is organized in battalions 
and companies to reap and thresh the grain in 
every part of the West. In the fall of 1906 about 
23,000 such men arrived, 6515 more than the year 
before, yet far too few to supply the demand ; 
and, though most of them were not new-comers to 
Canada, about a third of them remained to swell 
the flowing tide of population in the West. Winni- 
peg calls itself the Chicago of Canada ; and the 
single fact that the clearing-house total of its 
banks in a single week has exceeded $10,000,000 



MANITOBAN POPULATION 69 

is enough to check the smile which such a bold 
comparison might provoke. 

This Province, having had a thirty years' start 
of its western neighbours, naturally contains a 
larger proportion of families living in really good 
houses and possessing accumulated wealth. The 
average farm has a higher percentage of its acres 
under actual cultivation. The disproportion of 
males to females in the population is not so 
tremendous, the census of 1906 showing 205,183 
of the former to 160,505 of the latter, while 
Saskatchewan has 152,793 males to 104,970 
females, and Alberta 108,281 males to 77,131 
females. Nor, of course, can you expect so rapid 
a rate of increase as in Provinces where a vastly 
greater proportion of the land is still to be had for 
little or nothing. Yet Manitoba, though neces- 
sarily showing a smaller percentage of growth, is 
still far ahead of either of the other two Provinces, 
her population having increased from 152,506 in 
1891 and 255,211 in 1901 to 365,688 in 1906. 
Among the towns, the population of Winnipeg 
increased between 1901 and 1906 from 42,340 to 
90,204, and that of its suburb across the river, 
St Boniface, from 2019 to 5 119 ; while Brandon 
went up from 5620 to 10,411, and Portage la 
Prairie from 3901 to 4985. 

The census takers of 1906 numbered the total 
population in every part of the three prairie 



70 BRITISH AND FOREIGN 

Provinces, but made no attempt to classify the 
people except by sex . The regular decennial census 
of 1901, however, gives the origins of the people ; 
and the figures are very instructive. Of the whole 
number in Manitoba, 70.87 per cent, or 180,859 were 
Canadians, 67,566 coming from Ontario and 99,806 
being natives of Manitoba itself ; 33,517, or 13.14 
per cent., came from other British lands, England 
contributing 20,036, Scotland 8099, and Ireland 
4537 ; and 6922, or 2.71 per cent., were natives of 
the United States. Of the 8492 natives of the 
Province of Quebec an uncertain number were 
French-Canadians. Roughly, 85 or 86 per cent, 
of the whole were English speaking people. 

There remain, however, 33,915 " foreigners," 
speaking among them at least a score of tongues. 
The largest single section, 11,570, came from 
Austria-Hungary ; being mostly Ruthenes from 
Galicia and Bukowina. Russia takes second 
place on the foreign list, with 8854, mostly from 
the districts just over the frontier from Galicia. 
These two groups, indeed, are commonly lumped 
together in the West as Galicians. The domestic 
service of Winnipeg, or at any rate what corres- 
ponds to domestic service in hotels and restaurants 
— for the real homes find it hard to get servants of 
any sort — is largely done by daughters of the 
foreigners, of whom we shall see something 
further west. 



BLESSING THE CANADIAN NEVA 71 

The Greek Church is strong enough to keep up a 
bishop, who repays the hospitality of the city with 
a yearly benediction of its Red River, when the 
Tsar performs the blessing of the Neva. The way 
in which this strikes the western mind may be 
gathered from the brief report of a local journalist 
last January : " The bishop, with 300 followers, 
assembled at the 'Scrap-iron Cathedral.' A pro- 
cession was formed, led by four men carrying an 
immense cross of ice, elaborately covered with 
silver. The bishop followed in his robes of office, 
and he was surrounded by the adherents of his 
church and throngs of spectators. The weird 
ceremony took place at the foot of Selkirk Avenue. 
By means of incantation and prayer, the depths of 
the Red River became holy water." Winnipeg 
should really be grateful to Bishop Seraphin, or 
any one else who adds a touch of colour and 
romance to the life of a city otherwise somewhat 
lacking in the picturesque. 

The Icelanders also, you might think, would help 
to break the commonplace level of an Anglo- 
Saxon community, especially as there are — or 
were, when the census was taken — 5403 of them 
in the Province. They do, it is true, form an 
interesting group of fisher-folk on the western 
shore of Lake Winnipeg, where you come across 
places called Hecla and Gimli, and whence they 
send great quantities of white-fish, pickerel and 



72 THE ICELANDERS 

sturgeon in ice to Winnipeg and other towns. 
But even here they can hardly be called primitive. 
Most of the young folk can speak English, and like 
to. In the city of Winnipeg alone there are now 
over 3000 Icelanders, and you could scarcely pick 
them out from the rest of the population. Now 
and then they let the world know who they are. 
Their annual festival in August commemorates 
the granting of a constitution to Iceland by the 
Danish King in 1874 ; but the festival consists 
largely of the athletic sports familiar to us all. 
To be sure, there are speeches and choruses in 
Icelandic ; but these chant the praises of the new 
land, the " foster-home," as well as the old. The 
people are more than satisfied with their trans- 
plantation ; and with good reason. The winter 
is colder in Manitoba than in Iceland — which 
causes some surprise — but the summer is so much 
warmer and brighter as to put all comparison 
out of the question. Indeed, the race already 
shows signs of distinct physical improvement in 
the bracing West. A Winnipeg minister declares 
that he has seen distinct mental improvement too. 
In the house where he first lived, there was a little 
tow-headed Icelandic servant-girl, so stupid that 
she was only put up with because no one better 
could be found. Some years afterwards he met a 
handsome, stylish woman, bright and capable, blest 
with a good husband and beautiful children, and 



THE ICELANDERS 73 

taking a prominent part in the work of her church. 
It was the stupid little tow-headed slavey, 
mellowed by the warmth and toned up by the 
keenness of the western air. 

The Icelanders are a sober, industrious, intelli- 
gent, and progressive people. They are living up 
to the splendid reputation that Scandinavians 
generally enjoy, as among the most reliable and 
valuable elements of the western population. The 
Commissioner of Immigration at Winnipeg, in his 
last report, which deals with the settlement not 
only of Manitoba but of the other prairie pro- 
vinces, says : " Icelanders continue to come to us 
direct from Iceland and from the United States. 
Those from the States bring with them more or 
less means, live stock, farming implements, and 
household effects. The Icelandic people are 
maintaining their excellent reputation for working 
hard and saving, which enables them to settle on 
a homestead at an early date. Some engage in 
business, and their success in educational achieve- 
ments is very marked. The settlers in the 
Icelandic colony at Thingvalla, Saskatchewan, 
arrived about eighteen years ago with little means. 
They are now to be found in comfortable circum- 
stances, many of them having acquired a whole 
section (640 acres). The country is well adapted 
for stock raising, and considerable dairying is 
carried on, there being a first-class creamery at 



74 A BOUNDLESS WHEATFIELD 

Churchbridge Station. Three of the settlers have 
in partnership purchased a first-class threshing 
outfit.' ' Of the new Scandinavian immigrants as 
a whole he says : " It is estimated that 75 per 
cent, have settled on land ; the balance have 
readily found work as labourers and domestic 
servants, at good wages. This class of settler is 
generally prosperous all over Western Canada, and 
thousands more could be immediately placed at 
remunerative labour on railway construction or 
other works, if they could be obtained." 

The country around the capital, and indeed 
Southern Manitoba as a whole, is almost as poor 
to the casual eye as it is rich to the informed 
understanding. And that is saying a great deal. 
I have gone a whole day, which means about 
200 miles, by one of the innumerable railways 
that radiate from Winnipeg, seeing nothing but 
wheat. The land seemed one great flat harvest- 
field. My companions, who were business men, 
talked about the view with the enthusiasm of an 
artist enraptured by an ineffable sunset or an 
Alpine range. Well, they must not be charged 
with lack of imagination on that account. On 
the contrary, any one can be impressed by a 
flaming sky or a snow-capped sierra. It takes 
more imagination to see the glory in a dead level 
two hundred miles' monotony of " No. 1 hard." 

Now wheat is after all the most essential item 



WHEAT AND ITS ENEMIES 75 

in the white man's bill of fare ; and Manitoba's 
" No. 1 hard " is the very finest wheat the world 
has yet succeeded in growing. It is satisfactory 
to know, therefore, that the Manitoban farmer 
finds wheat so profitable that he is largely in- 
creasing its cultivation year by year. Wheat 
growing in that region used to be spoken of as a 
solemn sort of gambling. But the risk of serious 
damage by autumn frosts, which gave rise to that 
opinion, is a thing of the past. There is a charm- 
ing belief that the breaking up of millions of acres 
of hard prairie has caused a perceptible increase 
of the warmth radiating from the soil, so that 
autumn lingers, staving off the advent of frost. 
Prosaic folk hold that farmers have learnt to put 
in the seed earher, and so avoid late ripening — 
that is all. 

The wheat has still its dangers. In the autumn 
of 1905, there was such a scarcity of workers at 
harvest that in some districts the grain could not 
be got in before much of it had fallen out of the 
ears ; on many farms the army of weeds — wild 
oats, stinkweed and thistles — threatens to get the 
upper hand because the farmer has so small a 
force to take the field against it. Really good 
experienced Canadian farm-workers coming west 
are hard to get, and impossible to keep, as they 
want to take farms of their own and can do so 
with very little capital. When they are obtain- 



76 FARM WAGES 

able, they command from $25 to $35 (£5 to £y) 
a month, for a season of six or seven months, with 
board, lodging and washing. A harvester gets 
$2 or $2.50 (8s. or 10s.) a day, and all found. A 
farmer of long experience, Mr John Dale of 
Glenborough, says he has partially solved the 
difficulty for himself and some of his neighbours 
by getting ploughmen out from Scotland. 
But then he guarantees them a full year's work, 
instead of hiring them for six months only. It is 
one advantage of mixed farming over mere wheat- 
growing, that it gives men more steady and 
regular work and justifies their engagement for a 
year at a time. It is also better for the land. 
Dogmatic assertions that you can go on taking 
heavy wheat crops off the land year after year 
without exhausting the soil are not convincing, 
extraordinarily rich though that soil is. Many of 
the farmers themselves are becoming healthily 
sceptical on this point, and either alternate their 
wheat with timothy and other grasses or allow 
the land to recuperate in summer fallow every 
year or two, with the best possible results. One 
of the most experienced, the owner of a thousand- 
acre farm, tells me that he has reaped 40 bushels 
per acre on land thus rested, while an adjoining 
field, where the grain had simply been sown on 
the ploughed-up stubble, only yielded half that 
quantity. 



THE YIELD OF WHEAT 77 

In spite of everything, the garnered yield of 
wheat in 1905 was 47,565,707 bushels, from 
2,718,888 acres ; which was nothing to complain 
of, remembering that as lately as 1900 the total 
was only 18,350,893 bushels. In 1906, there was 
trouble of another sort, intense heat and dry 
winds having checked the filling of the ears. Yet 
when we turn to the actual net yield, we find that 
after all it was 61,250,413 bushels, or 13,684,706 
bushels more than the year before. The acreage 
had risen to 3,141,537, and the average wheat 
yield for the province was 19.49 bushels per acre, 
as compared with 21.07 bushels in 1905. The 
lowest average wheat yields on record are 8.9 
bushels in 1900 and 12.4 in 1889 ; the highest is 
27.86 in 1895 ; and the average for twenty-three 
years is nearly 18.90 bushels. 

Forgive the statistics. They mean so much 
when read with imagination. If they cannot be 
forgiven, I may as well " be hanged for a sheep 
as for a rabbit " and give more of them ; and 
shamelessly, in the text, not in a furtive footnote. 

I have said that wheat-growing is profitable. 
An official pamphlet puts the cost of ploughing, 
seeding, harvesting and marketing, at $7.50 or 
$8 an acre — say 33s. — and this is a fair estimate. 
In fact, a careful farmer, reckoning every cent, 
gives me his expenditure as $7.33 on an acre not 
of 19, but 29 bushels. At 60 cents. (2s. 6d.) a bushel, 



78 THE PROFITS OF WHEAT 

the average of 19 bushels would fetch $11.40, or 
47s. 6d. ; leaving a margin of $3.90 or $3.40 
(16s. 3d. or 14s. 4d.) per acre. My friend who 
harvested 29 bushels of wheat for $7.33 sold it at 
63 cents a bushel, and thus made a profit of $10.94 
or 45s. 7d. an acre. In this district, one of the 
best in the Province, farms have been sold for 
$40 (£8) an acre ; but even there the average is 
only $25 (£5). Deducting $2 an acre, being 8 
per cent, on $25, as interest on invested capital, 
there still remains a profit of $8.94 or 37s. 3d. an 
acre. At the lower yield of 19 bushels, but with 
the higher cost of $7.50 an acre, and only allowing 
60 cents a bushel as the price of wheat, a man who 
gives $25 for his land can pay 8 per cent, interest 
on the purchase money, and still be $1.90 or 
7s. 1 id. an acre to the good ; while every year his 
land is increasing in value. 

As a matter of fact, many of these Manitoban 
farmers came in when the land was going a- 
begging, and got it for nothing, so their present 
earnings for a single year are many times more 
than the whole capital they had to invest. 

Here is a man whose experience has been 
quoted by some of the advertising pamphlets, 
but is not less remarkable on that account. " I 
came from Iowa," he says, "where the ague got 
into my bones." That was in 1882. His capital 
amounted only to £15, and the first steps in 



OLD-TIMERS' EVIDENCE 79 

Manitoba were hard enough. To market his 
wheat in the early days he had to haul it 60 miles, 
and he was glad to take 45 cents (is. io£d), a 
bushel. But he had left the ague where it 
belonged, in the States, and work was no longer 
a pain. That was the greatest gain of all ; but 
the financial profit was great enough, and can be 
more easily represented in words. " Since then," 
he says, " I have sold wheat as high as $1.30 
(5s. 5d.), and the biggest yield I ever got was 50 
bushels to the acre. The average yield, year in 
year out, gives 25 bushels to the acre." Besides 
320 acres which he rents for pasture and hay, he 
has 200 acres, freehold of course, under actual 
cultivation, with plenty of horses, cattle, swine 
and poultry. Well may he say, " My 75 dollars 
proved a good investment ! " 

One need not be an " old-timer " to have a 
wonderful story of progress to tell. Mr John Dale, 
whom I have quoted already, has been over twenty 
years in the country, but, as he says, there has 
been more advance in the last five years than in 
the previous fifteen. Land which he bought 
seven years ago at 14s. 6d. an acre is worth £4, 
while land that he gave 32s. an acre for three 
years ago has now a market value of £5. On one 
section of land that he bought for £600 he has 
netted 50 per cent, on the purchase price, the 
returns on it having been £300, and there are still 



80 THE ELEVATORS 

200 acres to break up. He owns two and three- 
quarter sections, and he has gained, in the in- 
creased value of the land alone, £5000. " You 
can see," he says, " that we are doing pretty well 
in the West." 

If you have to haul your wheat 60 miles, like 
the man from Iowa, or 100 miles, like many 
another then — well, it does not pay. But now, 
thanks to the spread of railways, the average 
wheat-grower in this Province has a station and 
elevator within five miles of his door. The 
elevator is the most conspicuous feature in the 
landscape — and an ugly thing it is. Its hulking 
dark-red mass towers above the plain like a 
deformed light-house in a sea of grass and grain. 
But it is a blessing in disguise. Wheat-farming 
would be practically impossible without it. The 
farmer can either sell his grain outright, to the 
elevator company, at a figure regulated by the 
price of the day at Winnipeg, or deal direct with 
buyers at a distance. In the latter case, he simply 
pays the elevator company at the rate of ij cent 
per bushel for taking in and cleaning the grain, 
storing it for 15 or 20 days, and putting it on 
board the train. All he has to do then is to send 
the elevator company's receipt by mail to the 
buyer or agent of his choice. The railway 
company is bound to allot grain cars to farmers 
in the order in which they have made application ; 



MIXED FARMING 81 

and any station-master who allots a car to any 
customer, no matter how influential, out of his 
proper turn, is liable to a heavy fine. 

The whole grain crop of Manitoba for 1906, 
including 50,692,978 bushels of oats, 17,532,554 
of barley, and sundries like rye, peas, corn (that 
is, maize) and flax, came to 129,918,256 bushels, 
on 14,054,895 more than in the previous year. 

Superlatively good as his grain may be, the 
Manitoban farmer by no means confines himself 
to cereal crops — as witness these following 
figures. The census shows that in 1906 the people 
of this Province owned 215,819 horses, 170,543 
milch cows and 350,969 other cattle, 28,975 
sheep, and 200,509 pigs. The Province raised 
that year as many as 4,702,595 bushels of potatoes, 
being nearly 188 bushels to the acre, and 3,446,432 
bushels of roots, being 265 to the acre. Nor is 
the Manitoban content with the nourishing but 
thin prairie hay ; for he mowed that year 133,510 
tons of cultivated grasses. Still more striking is 
the way he has branched out into dairying, and 
the success of this comparatively recent enter- 
prise. He marketed, in the same season, 4,698,882 
pounds of butter, at an average price of 17.8 
cents, or ninepence, a pound. Add to this 
1,552,812 pounds of creamery butter at 22 cents 
(nd.), and 1,501,729 pounds of factory cheese at 
13 cents (6Jd.), and you find that a single year's 

F 



82 THE FARMER'S CUSTOMERS 

dairying has brought him in $1,377,746, or about 
£276,000. One effect of the high prices obtain- 
able for butter and cheese was a scarcity of milk 
in the cities. The town-dwellers make their 
living, directly or indirectly, out of the country- 
folk's prosperity, but the advantage is not all 
on one side ; the farmers already find an appreci- 
able source of income in the town consumption of 
country produce such as turkeys, geese, and 
chickens. They have even taken to bee-keeping. 
The bees thrive in the dry western air, if well 
protected during hibernation ; and there is no 
lack of demand for their honey. 

" There is a splendid demand for the products 
of mixed farming," says a man who has tried it. 
" We get men coming to our very door and buying 
everything we can raise, at good prices. There is 
a good demand for all kinds of live stock, and 
particularly for heavy draught horses, of which 
we can't raise anything like enough. They sell 
now, the good ones, for an average of $225 each " 
—or £47. 

Whether the money comes from far or near — 
it comes. The Manitoban farmers were able to 
spend in 1905 nearly £800,000 on new farm 
buildings, and another £900,000 in 1906 — a year, 
by the way, in which as many as 2648 steam 
threshing outfits were at work in the province. 

So much has been said — and boasted — of the 



CLIMATE AND SURFACE 83 

dryness of the western climate that Manitoba's 
success in dairying and root-growing comes as a 
surprise to many people. Well, her climate is 
dry compared with England's, and the Manitoban 
farmer thanks heaven it is ; but drought is as 
rare there as here. So far is this M dry " province 
from aridity that even in the south, the great 
wheat plain of the south, wide areas are found so 
swampy as to be almost useless. Here, therefore, 
the provincial Government has been constructing 
a network of main and lateral surface drains, each 
district concerned paying the interest and sinking 
fund by an assessment on the farming population. 
Then the swamp becomes a wheatfield. 

It is a great mistake to imagine that all Manitoba 
is like the great flat treeless plain, that the cursory 
visitor sees from a Canadian Pacific railway car. 
If you strike north from Winnipeg, you soon 
escape from the bareness of the " bald-headed 
prairie " ; and as far as you like to go you will 
find the Province well wooded and well watered. 
There are even a number of gently sloping hills, 
which neighbourly affection honours with the 
name of mountains. Nature here is not sensa- 
tional. For cliffs and cataracts you sigh in vain. 
Yet the current of the Winnipeg River already 
supplies electricity to work the tramways of the 
capital, 60 miles away, and is capable of gener- 
ating a million horsepower whenever it is wanted. 



84 NORTH TO HUDSON'S BAY 

Before you have gone 200 miles north from 
Winnipeg, however, you are out of the Province 
altogether. Manitoba's great grievance is that 
she is " a postage-stamp Province." If she is 
really a postage-stamp she would do credit to any 
collection, as she covers 73,732 square miles, and 
is nearly five times as large as Switzerland. But 
she declines to compare herself with Switzerland. 
What rankles in her breast is that when her 
two new neighbours, Saskatchewan and Alberta, 
were each created and endowed with a territory 
about as large as France or Germany, she pled in 
vain to be made their equal. What she wants is 
to extend herself northward, over the unorganized 
territory of Keewatin, to Hudson's Bay. The 
Director of the Geological Survey of Canada, Mr 
A. P. Low, says that " much of this land, where 
hunters and fur-traders roam in solitude to-day, 
as they have since the days of Prince Rupert, 
is fit for agricultural settlement." Another 
authority, Professor Tyrrell, says that north of 
Lake Winnipeg, and west of Nelson River, there 
is a tract of magnificent agricultural land about 
200 miles wide, and 600 miles from east to west — 
crossing the whole of northern Saskatchewan, in 
fact — and endowed with a fine climate. 

Manitoba covets the country, however, not 
only for its own sake, but because it would give 
her access to the sea, at Fort Churchill on Hudson's 



THE HUDSON'S BAY ROUTE 85 

Bay. The Dominion Government is likely 
before long to build or to get built a railway 
connecting the present north-western lines with 
Hudson's Bay ; and for the three or four months 
a year during which Hudson Straits are generally 
clear of ice Churchill should be a most valu- 
able sea-port. The distance from Winnipeg to 
Liverpool by Hudson's Bay is only about 3576 
miles, or 848 miles less than the distance 
between the same points by Ontario and 
the St Lawrence. Saskatchewan and Alberta, 
at any rate the central and northern parts of those 
Provinces, would gain even more than Manitoba 
would by the opening of the Hudson's Bay route. 
Saskatchewan claims, indeed, that she herself 
should be extended to the mouth of the Churchill 
River. 



MIDDLE SASKATCHEWAN ; AND THE 
ENGLISHMEN 

The charms of Manitoba are great, but without 
any depreciation of her buxom maturity I turned 
my face to the west in search of her younger 
sisters. To the north-west I should say, at first, 
for on this occasion I took the new route opened 
up by the Canadian Northern Railway Company. 
For the first 250 miles the railway is still in the 
" Premier Prairie Province/ ' with Lake Manitoba, 
Lake Dauphin and Lake Winnipegosis far away 
on the right, and the slopes of Riding Mountain 
on the left. The land is practically all good, but 
a large part of it is covered with scrubby poplar, 
and as long as there is plenty of open prairie to be 
had the new settler naturally lets the scrub land 
severely alone — unless, that is, he is a Galician. 
The Galician may be a poor farmer when he first 
comes to the country, but the country owes him 
no little gratitude for the contented way in which 
he makes his home on the scrub-land that better 
farmers despise. Nor is the better farmer at all 
uncommon in this region, and the prosperity of 

M 



SALVATION ARMY AND CO-OPERATION 87 

the ten-year-old town of Dauphin only reflects the 
prosperity of the country around. 

Here the railway forks. If you take the right 
hand line, to the north-west, you reach the very 
corner of Manitoba before turning west into 
Saskatchewan. This line goes on to Prince 
Albert, close to the rebel headquarters of 1885, 
and about 540 miles from Winnipeg. This Prince 
Albert branch has opened up a vast amount of 
fine country in the Carrot River Valley and 
elsewhere, and the old-timers who have been 
waiting fifteen years for a railway, raising cattle 
till it was worth their while to raise crops, now 
see their solitude invaded by thousands of 
homesteading neighbours. It is on this line, 
at Tisdale, about 100 miles west of Manitoba, that 
the Canadian Order of Foresters own a tract of 
land which they have asked the Salvation Army 
to people with carefully selected families, to whom 
farms are being sold at from $7 to $10 (29s. 2d. 
to 41s. 8d.), an acre. By organizing their forces 
in co-operative gangs, and jointly hiring a steam 
plough, the Salvation Army settlers have made 
as much progress at the end of their first year as 
many of their neighbours have at the end of their 
third. Instead of spending several years in rough 
log shacks, they find themselves installed in four 
or five-roomed cottages before beginning their 
first winter in the country. 



88 PRINCE ALBERT 

Prince Albert, the western terminus of this line, 
about 30 miles west of where the North and 
South Saskatchewan rivers join, is one of the very 
few towns or villages off the line of the Canadian 
Pacific that already had something more than a 
fur-trading history when I went through the 
country in 1885. White men had already been 
farming in that district for a dozen years, and 
though they were more than 200 miles north of 
the latitude of Winnipeg one of them assured me 
that his grain had never been touched by autumn 
frost. After a long period of slow growth the 
district is going ahead fast. Agriculture is not 
the only industry here, though it is the chief, 
and a very prosperous one. The forests lying 
north of the rivers give employment in winter to 
a large number of " lumber-jacks," who come 
down into the settlements for farm-work in 
summer. 

The main line of the Canadian Northern, how- 
ever, strikes west from Dauphin. The last station 
before we leave Manitoba is called Makaroff, and 
the first station in Saskatchewan is Togo, by 
which the future historian may fix the dates 
of their foundation without much trouble. The 
railway godfather who gave them those names 
had no malevolent intention. The maiden 
triumphs of Saskatchewan are not being won at 
the expense of matronly Manitoba^ 





t/3 





SASKATCHEWAN ENTERED 89 

There is no change in the landscape to impress 
you with the fact that you have left one Province 
for another. By degrees, to be sure, you notice 
that the cultivated land is a smaller proportion 
of the whole than it was a few hours ago, but the 
wheat and the oats that you see are as good as 
anything you have seen. At Canora, about 50 
miles over the border, there has been so large an 
immigration of " well-heeled " American farmers, 
that the acreage under crop doubled in the single 
year 1905-6. " Fifty car-loads of effects," the im- 
migration officer says, " accompanied 800 settlers 
arriving at this point during the year, and most 
of them were able to commence farming operations 
without being obliged to hire out beforehand." 
The next railway divisional point, called Hum- 
boldt, is in the heart of a district largely settled 
by German- Americans, who in their second or 
third year have each from 80 to 100 acres under 
crop. South of Humboldt there is a settlement 
of Mennonites, who may be described as German- 
Quakers from Russia ; and some of these people 
at the end of two years' work have 100 to 150 
acres under crop. 

Nearly 500 miles from Winnipeg the train 
comes to a great river, the south branch of the 
Saskatchewan. Instead of the wooden trestle 
which the earlier railway builders threw across 
the streams that came in their path, the 



90 AN INFANT TOWN 

Canadian Northern crosses the valley on a 
magnificent steel bridge. The first town beyond 
the river, Warman, was but an infant of three 
months when I stepped into its hotel ; but 
already the owner found that the business had 
outgrown his accommodation, and a new wing 
was going up with prairie speed. The tables in 
the big dining-room were embellished with 
flowers — a delicate hint that Warman was within 
the limits of civilization, — and the charge for board 
and lodging, $1.50 (6s. 3d.) a day, could hardly 
be called a pioneer price. Meat, ducks, and 
geese I found were plentiful, and eggs only cost 
10 or 15 cents a dozen. As for supplies that were 
not produced on the spot, their prices had come 
down with a run when the first train arrived. 
Salt, for instance, which in the spring had cost 
$7.50 (31s. 3d.) a barrel, had promptly fallen to 
$2.95 (12s. 3d.). Another great steel bridge crosses 
the north branch of the Saskatchewan. A burly 
American who boarded the train at the next 
stopping place assured me that the country south 
of this point was the best he had seen. He, by 
the way, is a commerical traveller, taking orders 
for school books — a fact which " speaks volumes," 
considering that hereabouts you see, or did see 
then, few adults and no children. 

At the 573rd mile, I found myself at North 
Battleford. The " Lucknow of Canada " is three 



NORTH BATTLEFORD & LLOYDMINSTER 91 

or four miles away on the left, across the river, 
and rather grudges the importance conferred on 
its upstart neighbour ; for North Battleford is a 
divisional centre with railway work-shops, and 
will presently no doubt be calling itself a city. 
At the age of three months, though most of the 
houses were still of unpainted yellow plank, and 
some of the inhabitants were living in tents, real 
estate was changing hands at an enormous ad- 
vance. One gentleman who had bought a town 
site for $600 (£120), turned up his nose at an 
offer of $1200 for the same. I am not particular 
about the figures ; if I have made a mistake I 
have put the profit too low. 

A few miles further on the railway got back to 
the south side of the river, and presently I became 
aware, having a map in my hand — I certainly 
should not have known it otherwise — that the 
train was crossing the Indian Reserves of Mooso- 
min and Thunderchild ; Moosomin, whose pos- 
session of $600 in the bank kept him prudently 
loyal when his neighbour Poundmaker went on 
the war-path. It was almost impossible to 
realize that I was rolling along in a comfortable 
railway car through " the enemy's country." 
The impossibility was intensified when the train 
pulled up at Lloydminster, the chief town of the 
all-British colony associated with the name of 
Barr. With the unadulterated English accent 



92 THE ALL-BRITISH COLONY 

of the townsfolk in my ears, with a bank manager 
telling me of the hundred thousand dollars he had 
on deposit, and the residence of an archdeacon 
before my eyes, I had to make a great effort to 
realize that just over the prairie was the deserted 
site of Fort Pitt, and but a step further north 
the scene of the Frog Lake massacre. 

More has been heard of Lloydminster in this 
country, for obvious reasons, than of any other 
place of its size in the West. I hope it is un- 
necessary now to say that the all-British colony is 
prosperous. It is really very prosperous indeed. 
To be sure, it is no longer all-British. Whatever 
Mr Barr's mistakes may have been, the choice of 
a site for his colony was certainly not one of them. 
Americans, Scandinavians, and Canadians, are 
flocking in — and not empty-handed. A single 
party of Norwegians from the State of Minnesota, 
for instance, arrived in the summer of 1906 with 
six big railway car-loads of effects, with which 
they struck out to the south and formed a little 
colony of their own about 30 miles from the 
town. 

The arrival of American and Canadian neigh- 
bours has been in most respects an advantage to 
the first-comers, most of whom began with a 
rather hazy idea of the ways of the country. 
Happily, the disadvantage of inexperience was so 
impressed upon the Englishmen by their early 



ISOLATION GONE 93 

trials that they were willing to learn ; which 
cannot always be said for our countrymen in 
Canada. 

The great difficulty that checked the progress 
of the colony for the first two or three years was 
its distance from the source of supply, and also 
therefore from the market. Saskatoon, on the 
Regina and Prince Albert Railway, was the 
nearest railway station, and freighting by carts 
over 200 miles of trail is terribly expensive. When 
I visited the town, however, it had had a railway 
station for three weeks, and the colonists already 
felt that the old era was far behind them. " You 
can't buy a bit of land round my homestead," 
said an old-timer of 1903, " for less than $10 an 
acre. Yes, we did have a hard time at first, but, 
after all, we didn't come out here for beer and 
skittles. We were misled in one thing. If a man 
had £5, they told us, that would be enough to 
start with ; but the man who only had £5 had to 
go off and get work somewhere else to keep himself, 
and to raise what was really necessary for im- 
plements and so on, so his homestead had to be 
neglected. However, that's all over now, and 
before long we shan't have any fear of comparison 
with any American or Canadian in the country." 
Several of the colonists carry on little shops in the 
town as well as their homesteads in the country — 
such as the man from Birkenhead who has started 



94 THE COLD 

a butcher's shop on the strength of an acquaint 
ance with Canadian cattle formed in the lairages. 

As for the severity of the climate, the English 
men laugh at it. They have certainly felt the 
worst it can do. The winter of 1906-07 was 
exceptionally hard all over the West. The cold 
was intense, and what upset the new-comers most 
of all was the extraordinary fall of snow. Any 
man living out on a treeless part of the plains, 
without even a poplar bluff or a wooded valley 
at hand, who had not had the foresight to lay in a 
proper supply of wood, was bound to suffer for 
lack of fuel. But on the whole there is no doubt 
that a hard winter in England causes much more 
suffering than a hard winter in the West, where 
scarcely any one lacks the necessary clothing and 
fuel and shelter on account of poverty, and where 
a dry zero is more tolerable by far than a damp 
English freezing-point. A Lloydminster man 
assured me that he had never worn an overcoat, 
even at 40 below zero ; and though in that detail 
he was a little eccentric, the fact is very significant. 
Another Englishman, who, however, does not 
despise a jacket lined with sheepskin, declares 
that 40 below zero is not so cold as 10 degrees 
of frost in England. 

The Englishmen have not merely learnt such 
western ways as were better than their own. 
They have refused to unlearn certain English 



A COMPLIMENT TO ENGLISHMEN 95 

ways that are better than the ways of the West. 
Life at first was reduced to its primitive elements ; 
but since the pioneer strain has been relieved the 
little refinements of an older world are beginning 
to bloom again. A western observer speaks 
more strongly on this point than I should have 
dared to. " There are very few corners of this 
western land that I have not penetrated," he 
says, " and there is none where kindliness, good- 
breeding, and honourable instincts prevail to a 
greater degree in Canada. Many of the men who 
have most to say, and say it loudest, by way of 
criticism of these people would be vastly profited 
by a sojourn among them. Lloydminster might 
well lay claim to the honour of being the most 
aesthetic town in Western Canada. It is the home 
of good taste, and a conservatory of the fine arts." 

There is one English institution, by the way, 
which does not seem to flourish at Lloydminster, 
in spite of the efforts of enthusiasts, and that is 
cricket. It takes too long. Football is more 
reasonable in its demands on a busy Westerner's 
time. 

The Englishman in Canada, it has often been 
remarked, is neither so popular nor so successful 
as the Scot. So far as popularity is concerned, 
it is partly due to the greater reticence of the Scot. 
He is on the whole more cosmopolitan than the 
Englishman ; and even when he feels just as 



96 EFFECT OF THE NEW HABITAT 

strongly that his ways are better than Canadian 
ways, he more often keeps that opinion to himself 
— till he changes it. As for success, the average 
Scot is better educated, more accustomed to 
discipline, and fonder of work. 

We have unhappily sent out to Canada a great 
many Englishmen, and even some Scotsmen, of the 
wrong sort. By an emigrant of the right sort I do 
not mean simply a man who is used to work on 
the land. Experience in agriculture and the care 
of live stock gives an emigrant a start of his in- 
experienced companion ; but experience can soon 
be gained — by " emigrants of the right sort." 
The man who emigrates need not be either brilliant 
in mind or over the average in bodily strength ; 
though, of course, Canada would like the pick of 
our home population in both respects. Canadian 
air, and especially the air of the West, with food 
and work in plenty, has a marvellous effect in 
toning up the health of those who do not counter- 
act it by the wretched drinking habit and other 
avoidable influences ; and the effect of the 
energetic life on sluggish intellects is sometimes 
equally marked. The essential quality, the first 
of the essential qualities, in an emigrant is moral 
courage ; the spirit that will resolutely learn the 
ways and perseveringly do the work of his new 
home, undaunted either by strangeness or by 
hardship. The new country makes a large draft 



THE WRONG SORT OF EMIGRANTS 97 

on a man's store of character ; but, if he meets her 
demand, she repays him generously, with in- 
dependence and prosperity and the promise of 
still greater bounty for his children. We must all 
be sorry for the man who fails, or " just manages 
to scrape along," owing to local and exceptional 
circumstances that might beat the bravest ; but 
long experience has convinced me that nearly all 
the failures are due to the emigrant's own defects ; 
his indisposition to learn, his helplessness when 
called on to do for himself what others always did 
for him in England, his incapacity or unwilling- 
ness to work hard and steadily for long at a time, 
and his craving for the mental stimulants of noise 
and glitter, if not for the physical stimulant of 
alcohol. Many weak ones have been crushed 
simply by the disappointment of finding the 
country below the level of their quite unreason- 
able expectations. Now, however, Englishmen 
know a vast deal more about Canada than they 
did even a couple of years ago, and you meet in 
Canadian cities comparatively few of the people 
who (I quote from the Montreal Daily Witness, 
but I know the species very well myself) " seem to 
expect to be met at the landing wharf by a 
carriage and pair and to be driven around till they 
have picked out the job that suits them, at their 
own price." There are two classes of Englishmen 
in Canada, the same writer says, " which are very 

G 



98 EMIGRANTS IMPROVING 

sharply defined. The one is sterling, adaptable, 
modest, able, sober, enterprising ; the other — 
well, the other is an infliction." In view of the 
bad name these " inflictions " give to Canada when 
they get back to England, and the equally bad 
impression of England that they give while in 
Canada, it is good to know that their number is 
being greatly reduced. It is actually stated that 
the Englishmen who arrived in the West for the 
last harvest were considered equal, if not superior, 
to the men who came up from Eastern Canada. 

Whatever part of the kingdom he comes from, 
the emigrant of to-day is a more industrious, a 
better educated and a more sober man, than the 
emigrant of yesterday. This is partly due no 
doubt to the greater strictness of the Canadian 
Government in shutting out undesirables, who are 
accordingly refused assistance by the emigration 
organizations at home. But, whatever the cause, 
the percentage of failures now is extraordinarily 
small. 

Neither lack of experience nor lack of capital 
is more than a temporary handicap if a man is 
resolved to earn both. Many a young fellow with 
neither has been able to take a homestead of his 
own and farm it successfully, after a couple of 
years' work for a farmer of the country. I have 
come across some very striking cases of success 
won by men for whom failure had been con- 



TOWN BOYS' SUCCESS 99 

fidently foretold. There were three young 
Englishmen, for instance, who went out together, 
— one raised on a farm, the others factory boys, 
whose occupation in England had been entirely 
sedentary and non-muscular. One of these did as 
his upbringing would lead you to expect. He 
found his first job on a farm too hard, and threw 
it up ; drifted into another job, and threw that up 
too ; and at last accounts was still drifting. His 
agricultural comrade naturally did well enough ; 
but factory -boy No. 2 did best of all. He 
simply resolved to succeed and threw himself into 
his work. His first year as a homesteader saw him 
the proud possessor of a house of his own building 
and nine or ten acres under crop. Another young 
Englishman of poor physique, used only to indoor 
work, made up his mind to go farming in Canada 
for the sake of his health. The remedy was a 
drastic one, for he had no money and had to hire 
himself out as a farm labourer ; but it succeeded. 
" I worked harder than I should ever have 
thought possible," he says. " I went to bed every 
night with all my limbs aching, and they were still 
aching when I got up in the morning ; but I just 
went out and worked it off, and by the end of the 
year, I was able to work with the best of them." 
The next season, he and three comrades took a 
farm of their own. One of their two cows fell 
sick, and their only horse died, which was a heavy 



ioo NO "CLASSES" 

blow ; but to make good the loss the young 
Englishman went off to a lumber camp for the 
winter, to work as time-keeper and clerk at $9 
(37s. 6d.), a week and all found ; and when spring 
came he was a capitalist on a small scale and start- 
ing to work his farm again with every prospect of 
success. 

The men of whom I have been speaking would 
be described in England as " working class," or 
in some cases " lower middle class." There is only 
one class on the plains, and that is the working 
class. Here and there you meet a gentleman of 
leisure, but he is called a tramp. 

Social distinctions as we know them in England 
and in the older cities of Canada have no existence 
on the plains. The farmer may have belonged 
to " the classes " and his man to " the masses," 
but they do the same work and eat at the same 
table. Or it may be the other way round, and the 
public school boy may find himself earning his 
experience and his wages from his father's ex- 
coachman. 

Unhappily there are certain members of the 
English leisured class who find themselves in 
Canada without either the necessity or the in- 
clination to work for their living. I remember 
twenty years ago visiting the home, if home it 
must be called, of an Englishman of this class. 
Outwardly it resembled an over-grown packing 



THE MISERY OF BACHING 101 

case, rather knocked about on its travels. In- 
wardly it was a nest of disorder and discomfort. 
A tumbled heap of blankets on a home-made 
bedstead, a greasy plate on a dirty table, miscel- 
laneous provisions scattered over the unswept 
floor, and a cinder-path from the door to the little 
sheet-iron stove, — these were the surroundings 
of the " baching " life to which the owner had 
come from an English public school. Skipping a 
few years, I might tell of another interior — a big 
room with a little bed which was never made ; 
a table loaded with a mixture of pipes, tools, and 
sundries ; a hunk of " sure-death," which is the 
bach's apology for bread ; a cup yellow with tea, 
having never been washed ; plates coated with 
the bacon-fat of a long succession of monotonous 
meals ; on the floor, in one corner onions, in 
another clothes, in a third potatoes. Yet the 
walls were covered with a valuable library, and the 
owner always turned up in faultless evening dress 
at every dance in the nearest town. Here and 
there you can find something like this in the West 
at the present day ; but my fortune has led me 
for the most part into homes civilized by wives 
or mothers or sisters — who are certainly doing 
more for their race and empire, and probably 
more for themselves, than if they had devoted 
their lives to the enjoyment of ready-made com- 
fort and luxury in England. 



102 THE REMITTANCE MAN 

It is generally admitted that the educated and 
athletic old-countryman, if he will adapt himself 
to the nature and needs of the country, and if he 
throws himself whole-heartedly into his work, 
makes as fine a settler as there is in the West. 
But these two " ifs " are very large. Many of 
these young Englishmen fail simply because they 
are not compelled to succeed. Born with the 
curse of money upon them, they know they can 
live whether they work or not, and the knowledge 
numbs their energy. Describing a time when the 
English-born formed a larger proportion of the 
western pioneers than they do now, a friend says : 
" It makes one blush, as an Englishman, the 
things done by fellows sent out often because they 
are unmanageable in England. The most useless 
men I ever saw were young fellows who were said 
to have had ' the best education ' but were 
positive fools. They were so bull-headed, they 
would not learn ; they would not buckle down 
to work, but lived out among themselves on their 
ranches in filthy shacks, and came into town to 
drink. They really got lower than any other 
class in the country." Yet there was a great deal 
of good in these black sheep ; and many of them, 
after flinging away their money, were dragged 
out of the mire by the stern grip of necessity and 
driven along the road of hard work, to a goal of 
brilliant success. Happy for them if their money 



THE REMITTANCE MAN 103 

could be lost, instead of clinging to them like the 
chain of cash-boxes on Marley's ghost. There 
are exceptions ; but the average " remittance 
man," who knows that his allowance will come as 
surely as one month follows another, and expects 
that one of these days the capital producing this 
allowance will fall into his hands, is by universal 
testimony a failure. 



THE PARK LANDS ; AND THE 
AMERICANS 

" If you'd seen this road before it was made 
You'd lift up your hands and bless General Wade." 

I was fortunate enough to see and to travel over 
the Canadian Northern Railway before it was 
made. The rails were laid to a point about forty 
miles west of Lloydminster, and over that section 
no passenger or freight train was yet supposed to 
run, but our train did ; that is to say, it began by 
running, then it dropped to a walk, and long before 
we came to the " head of steel " we were creeping 
along at six or seven miles an hour, and rolling as 
if it was sixty. Having come to the jumping off 
place, we jumped off. Just ahead of us was 
a construction train of open platform cars from 
which the rails were being dragged by a swarm of 
navvies, to be pinned down on the ties at the rate 
of three miles a day. 

We were still over 160 miles from the terminus 
at Edmonton, and we had to cover the distance in 
two days, for the third day was to be the greatest 
in Edmonton's history. The Province of Alberta 
was about to be born, and proclamation of the 



TRAVELLING BY TRAIL 105 

fact was to be made by the Governor-General. 
A hundred and sixty miles in two days over a 
road varying from middling to villainous would 
seem to the European a feat somewhat doubtful of 
accomplishment. But we did it. The middling 
part of the road consisted of two fairly smooth, 
broad, black ruts across the rolling prairie, and 
there our spring-waggons made capital speed 
behind fresh horses. Sometimes the trail was a 
sort of switchback, where we soon discovered the 
urgent importance of coming down straight after 
being shot up into the air. Occasionally the 
road-bed consisted of mud-holes, and that was the 
worst of all, because no pair of horses will draw a 
waggon through mud-holes at a trot. 

The country we were now rolling through was a 
typical specimen of the " park lands " which 
compose nearly the whole central area of both 
Saskatchewan and Alberta, and which in my 
humble judgment are on the whole the best parts 
of the West to live in. The country has plenty of 
wood and water, and the water is good. The 
country is not monotonously flat, and the hills 
while pleasant to the eye offer no hindrance to 
cultivation. The winter climate as you go west 
becomes steadily milder, till in Alberta it is in 
striking contrast with that of Manitoba. 

Twenty miles from the head of steel we came to 
a little place named Mannville, after the vice- 



io6 DISCONTENTED 

president of the railway that was to come. It 
had commenced existence three months before in 
the shape of a small tent. By the end of August 
it might be considered a village, consisting of a 
post-office, blacksmith's shop, and two other 
stores, with a travelling land agent's office, 
bearing the inscription " Snaps in Farm Land " 
on its waggon-cover. A snap, I may say, is a 
bargain ; but there were no bargains in land to 
be had thereabouts. As for free land, every 
homestead for ten miles on either side of the line 
where the railway was to run had been taken up 
already. 

The " Americans " form a large proportion of 
the new-comers here, though not so large a pro- 
portion as in the drier and less wooded prairie 
further south. In fact, the only discontented 
immigrant whom I met in the West was an 
American in this very district. I asked him what 
was the matter. He reflected a little, and then 
said : " Well, I was raised on the prairie, and I 
guess I can't be happy anywhere else." He 
meant the " bald-headed prairie," where not a 
tree breaks the monotony of the sky-line, and you 
can plough a furrow for a hundred miles or more in 
any direction, for all that nature does to hinder you. 

Of the 779,991 immigrants to Canada whose 
arrival was recorded from the beginning of 1899 
to the middle of 1906, as many as 261,136, or more 



ORIGIN OF THE "AMERICANS" 107 

than one-third, have come in from the United 
States, and most of these technically have been 
citizens of that republic ; but when you come to 
close quarters with them you find that about half 
of them are not really American born, and that 
a great proportion even of the other half are 
the children of non-American parents. A very 
large number of the so-called Americans are 
natives of the United Kingdom, Eastern Canada, 
Germany, Norway, and Sweden, who have 
migrated in earlier days to the United States to 
better themselves, just as now they have left the 
United States for the same reason. Some of 
them have lived practically all their lives under 
the Stars and Stripes, quite long enough to become 
permeated — if receptive and adaptable by nature 
—with the sentiment of American nationality ; 
and I have taken particular trouble to discover if 
this sentiment exists among the new Canadians 
in a degree likely to prevent their whole-hearted 
adoption of British citizenship ; but I have 
found nothing of the kind. Once, indeed, I 
thought I had succeeded. On the prairie section 
of the Canadian Pacific Railway, I dropped into a 
car full of men who had evidently been travelling 
to see whether they would like the country. A 
Canadian from Ontario having boasted at large 
of the Dominion's superiority over her southern 
neighbour, a goatee-bearded American took the 



108 "THE POOR MAN'S FRIEND" 

floor, and sang the praises of Uncle Sam with all 
the enthusiasm of a devotee. " I take off my 
hat whenever I mention Uncle Sam/' said he, 
suiting the action to the word, " for there's no 
country under heaven has given the poor man a 
chance like Uncle Sam ! " In private conversa- 
tion with this gentleman afterwards, I discovered 
that he had the heartiest contempt for the men — 
a quite insignificant minority in his part of the 
country, by the way — who suffered from Anglo- 
phobia, or even spoke of the British form of 
government as less free than the American. He 
frankly admitted the superiority of certain 
features of Canadian life, especially the com- 
paratively thorough and impartial administration 
of the law ; and under all his admiration for 
Uncle Sam as the " poor man's friend " lay a 
conviction that this honour was passing from the 
United States to Canada. In fact, he had just 
decided, as a result of his inspection of the 
Canadian West, to become a British citizen himself ! 
There is a hope cherished in some quarters of 
the United States that these American emigrants 
to Canada, if lost for a while to the Republic, will 
by-and-by use their power to bring the Dominion 
under the Stars and Stripes. Well, the future is a 
free field for the prophets. So far as my ex- 
perience goes, the Americans in Western Canada 
are perfectly content with the political institutions 



GOOD AMERICANS MAKE GOOD BRITONS 109 

they have adopted, and certainly not inclined to 
act as missionaries of the annexation doctrine. 
They have personally annexed as much of the 
country as they want. Those Americans who are 
afflicted by the thought that the whole continent 
is not ruled from Washington appear to have 
stayed at home, and their emigrant kinsmen seem 
rather glad of it. " How are you going to vote ? " 
one of the new-comers was asked. " I don't care 
which side," said he with brutal candour. " What 
I want to vote for is to keep them darned Yankees 
out ! " 

With the vast majority of these folk American- 
ism is not a skin they have inherited and cannot 
get out of, but a garment which they are perfectly 
ready and able to change. An Englishman who 
settled at Melfort, in central Saskatchewan, as far 
back as 1883, and whose first neighbours were 
Americans, tells me that at first they not only did 
what Canadians criticize Englishmen for doing — 
constantly saying " We do so-and-so on the other 
side," but were always waving the Stars and 
Stripes, and celebrated the " glorious Fourth " 
with ostentatious devotion. But " now they 
keep the 1st of July, Dominion Day, and the 24th 
of May, Queen's Birthday, and their flag is never 
seen. Not one of them shows any wish to return 
to the United States." It is largely owing to the 
early arrival of these Americans, who " set the 



no TWO SORTS OF AMERICAN 

pace " to the later comers, that the Melfort 
district is ahead of others that were settled before 
it. They brought in better and quicker methods 
of farming ; they were most untiring workers ; 
most of them were men of high character, hardly 
one of them drank or even smoked, and they have 
all prospered exceedingly. 

An old Scottish-Canadian, who has watched the 
Americans closely ever since their invasion of the 
West began, says : u You'll find exceptions, of 
course ; but taking them all round they're as 
well-behaved a lot as any of us, and they're a 
great people for a new country like this, — far 
ahead of our old-country folk. They come right 
in with a tent, and plough up a big slice of land 
before they bother about putting up even a shack 
to live in. You can always tell an American 
settler by the way he begins. Yes, sir, they're 
a great people ! " 

A very deplorable creature is the " exception " 
whose existence is here admitted. His power of 
screwing the last ounce of wheat out of his land 
and the last cent out of his wheat is undoubted ; 
but there his life begins and ends. He may not 
be a rowdy ; but his moral qualities are merely 
negative. He is a human farming-machine ; 
an automatic money-maker. He talks wheat 
and dollars, dollars and wheat, with expectoral 
punctuation ; and that is all. He has no interests 



WHY THE AMERICANS COME in 

on earth, and certainly none in heaven, beyond his 
crop and what it will fetch. To his British neigh- 
bours he seems a mere animal. It is pleasant to 
turn from such a specimen to the God-fearing, 
wide-minded, thinking and reading man who 
comes in by the same train from the same country. 
It is generally known that many of the American 
farmers now coming over into British territory are 
doing so because the land which they got for little 
or nothing many years ago in the Western States 
can now be sold for high prices. They sell, not 
merely as a speculator sells shares which he has 
been holding for a rise, but because with the price 
of their land alone they can buy in Canada much 
larger farms, of richer soil, with cattle and horses 
to boot. Many of them make this exchange 
because it enables them to establish their sons on 
farms close by their own at a net cost of nothing ; 
but the motive of others is simply to get more 
elbow room for themselves. They have been 
used to spaciousness, and as settlement grows 
thick around them they feel uncomfortably 
crowded, though we in England should feel lonely 
enough. I am not speaking now of the hardened 
and incorrigible pioneers — the men who pull up 
stakes whenever civilization comes within shouting 
distance, who must always have the rest of the 
human race behind them and the untouched 
wilderness in front. These are the men whom the 



U2 A FARMING SPECULATOR 

Mounted Police patrol and the Hudson's Bay fur- 
trader discover building log huts beside the lakes 
and rivers of the distant north. I speak of the 
ordinary farmer from Minnesota or Kansas, who 
loves space, but only endures solitude — endures 
it with cheerful indifference, knowing that it 
will soon be mitigated by neighbours, and hoping 
for its ultimate abolition by a railway. 

The American immigrants, as a whole, come in 
simply to make homes for themselves and their 
children. Some of them, however, while they come 
in as farmers and do their duty by the land, do 
so with the deliberate intention of selling out as 
soon as they can do so at a high enough profit. 
One of these men took a free quarter-section, and 
bought a whole adjoining section from the 
Hudson's Bay Company for $2624, or $4.10 per 
acre. Three years later, in 1905, he sold this 
purchased section, including a $1200 house, 
perhaps $400 worth of fences, and 200 acres under 
fall wheat, for $14,400, or $22.50 per acre. He 
then bought back the standing crop for a lump 
sum of $2500, and threshed 7000 bushels out of 
it, adding largely to his profit on the original sale. 
At last accounts he was ready to sell his 160 acres 
of homestead. Having " made his pile " in this 
easy way he will either try to double it by similar 
operations further afield or return to a life of 
modest but comfortable retirement in the United 



A "STOPPING-PLACE" 113 

States. There is still another class of Americans, 
as may be imagined, who simply use Canadian soil 
as an article to speculate in, buying it only to sell 
again when the market price of land has been 
increased by the peopling of neighbouring sections 
or by the advent of a railway. 

An admirable example of the best class of 
American settler was our host at the " stopping- 
place " where we dined, about 40 miles after 
leaving the head of steel. He was not an inn- 
keeper — far from it — but, as he found himself on 
the main trail between Battleford and Edmonton, 
he had laid himself out to put up travellers. 
This is a common practice among farmers on 
trails where inns are lacking ; nor do they take 
advantage of their position to charge exorbitant 
rates. Fifteen cents for a " noon " and 25 
cents for a full meal seem the regular tariff. A 
dinner of meat, bread, and vegetables, pie, stewed 
fruit, and tea, with the host's daughter fanning 
away the flies — if you grumble at that you are 
not fit for a traveller. 

The migrations of that man and his ancestors 
form a strange story to the ears of an Englishman 
who lives and dies in the village where his Saxon 
forebears settled a thousand years ago ; but in 
America, far from being strange, his experience is 
familiar and even typical. It is the story of 
thousands of families and individuals who settle 

H 



U4 AN EMIGRANT FROM OKLAHOMA 

on the Atlantic seaboard, pull up stakes and 
strike inland, pull them up again and settle in 
one of the central States, and so on indefinitely — 
in some cases halting for a generation or more, in 
others for a year or two, but always moving on at 
last, and always to the west. Our host on the 
Edmonton trail had a French name, and his first 
American ancestor was probably a Huguenot, 
who settled in the Carolinas. He himself was 
brought up in Tennessee ; moved north-west to 
Illinois, where he married ; west again to Kansas, 
where his children were born ; south-west into 
Oklahoma ; and north-west at last to Alberta, 
where he was so much better satisfied than in any 
of his former homes that he was ready to sing 
" Here all my wanderings cease." He had no 
very high opinion of Oklahoma, though when 
that territory was thrown open there was such a 
rush for land that you would have thought its soil 
was gold. " The average yield of wheat," he 
said, " was about ten bushels an acre ; and 
sometimes the drought was dreadful. Last year 
one of my neighbours only got 200 bushels off 
his whole farm, and another didn't think it worth 
while to reap at all. I had no land of my own, 
so I took a bit of the ' school lands ' ; but in the 
see-saw of Democratic and Republican administra- 
tions a new governor changed all the officials and 
they raised my rent— after I had put up a nice 



A WESTERN HOME 115 

two-storey house and fenced the whole place. 
So one night I said to my wife, ' Let's try to get 
a place of our own.' I'd heard of a lot of people 
finding good land in Canada, so I came over the 
border, and as I was driving through the country, 
I hit on this place and liked it. That was in the 
middle of June. I didn't dare to go back and 
fetch the family ; I had to squat on the place to 
keep somebody else from picking it up. I lived 
in a little tent till I could get a bit of prairie 
broken and a house built ; and I just held on till 
the rest of us came in December." He was 
clearly a man of taste. The quarter-section he had 
chosen sloped down to a lake in the north and up to 
a wooded hill in the south. His children and 
grand-children had already found time, in the 
intervals of household chores and attendance on 
hungry travellers, to lay out a garden, where 
asters, poppies and mignonette bloomed in a 
setting of wapiti horns and buffalo skulls ; and 
in the parlour of his comfortable log house was a 
well-used eclectic library of about a hundred 
volumes, including Dickens, Kipling, E. P. Roe, 
and a strong contingent of religious authors. 

The navvies had " graded " the railway line 
past his front door, and a town had begun to rise. 
That is to say, there was one house beside his own 
— a store and post office, kept by a pair of Irish- 
Canadian brothers. All supplies had to be 



Ii6 VERMILION 

freighted in waggons from Edmonton, 120 miles 
away, and it was interesting to note the prices of 
goods on which 4s. 2d. per 100 lbs. weight had 
been paid for this service in addition to the charge 
for railway freight all the way from Manitoba, 
British Columbia, or even far Ontario. Flour 
stood at S3. 60 to $4 (15s. to 16s. 8d.) per 100 lbs. ; 
molasses, 25 cents for a 3-lb. tin ; apples, 20 cents 
a pound. A " hand ■' of tobacco, the plant dried 
whole on the French-Canadian farm where it was 
grown, could be got at the rate of 30 cents a pound. 
Having seen a road before it was made, I was 
not altogether unprepared to visit a town before 
it was built. Imagine a miraculous plant that 
springs up in a night like a mushroom with all the 
vigour of an oak, and you have grasped the 
characteristics of a town in New Canada. When 
I passed Vermilion, it was not there. It was on 
the railway-builders' map, though, and that was 
enough. Vermilion in posse was like a word 
written in invisible ink. Only a touch of steel, 
and it became Vermilion in esse. A month after 
my visit the town became visible to the naked 
eye, standing erect with its face to the shining 
rail wand that had conjured it out of the void, 
and its back to the river from which it had taken 
its brilliant name. Two months after that, I 
read in a Winnipeg paper a casual statement from 
its Vermilion correspondent that " the town lots 



AN INFANT TOWN 117 

have been on the market for sale for the past six 
weeks, and fully $80,000 worth of property has 
been disposed of. The building at this point has 
been most phenomenal, there being fully 100 
substantial buildings erected in this short time. 
Many settlers are going into this well-known 
Vermilion Valley country, and the town of 
Vermilion is unquestionably destined to become 
one of the Ten Towns of Western Canada.' ' 

That was in the beginning of winter. Before 
Vermilion entered its first summer its citizens had 
organized a Board of Trade, with President, 
Secretary, Treasurer, and all complete, and the 
Board of Trade had published a description of 
the town which is enough to take away your 
breath. By this time it possessed a Methodist 
Church (with Anglicans and Presbyterians about 
to build), a public school, a bank, a newspaper, 
three hotels, three restaurants, three lumber 
yards, a drug store, a furniture store, two hard- 
ware stores, four implement warehouses, a jewelry 
store, two butcher's shops, a flour and feed store, 
a steam laundry, two livery stables, a liquor store, 
a stationer's, a bakery, a boot and shoe shop, 
three barbers, four real estate offices, two doctors, 
a lawyer, a dentist, an auctioneer, four contractors, 
a tinsmith, a plasterer, a photographer, two 
pool-rooms, and a bowling alley. Vermilion, we 
learn, is " a coming railway centre," being 



n8 THE VERMILION VALLEY 

already a divisional point on the Canadian 
Northern ; is " a future county seat " ; polled 
more votes at the Dominion by-election on April 
5 than any other town in the constituency except 
Strathcona ; and, in brief, is " the bull's-eye of 
the best territory on earth." 

The remarkable thing about this is that there is 
no reason to doubt its truth — though of course 
there are many other " best territories on earth M 
in Canada ! 

In its description of this particular " best 
territory on earth/' the Board of Trade says : 
" The crop statistics of the Canadian Northern 
Railway for last year give the palm for yield to 
the Vermilion valley, with 50 bushels of wheat 
and 100 bushels of oats to the acre. Growth is 
very rapid, wheat ripening in from 90 to 100 
days. The winters are not severe, though there 
are brief periods of cold. Snowfall is light. The 
summers are delightful. The days are long and 
warm, with abundant sunshine, and the nights 
pleasantly cool. The warm weather lasts until 
October. Streams are common, and lakes and 
ponds abound. Springs which never freeze are 
found in many places along the valleys. Vege- 
tables of all kinds are successfully raised, in- 
cluding potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets, parsnips, 
cabbage, celery, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes. 
Small fruits grow wild in abundance, and include 



VEGREVILLE 119 

strawberries, currants, cranberries, plums, 
cherries, saskatoon berries, and numerous other 
varieties. Experiments in the growing of apples 
have been attended with such encouraging results 
that it is believed to be only a question of time 
until thriving orchards are found scattered over 
the country. There is no undesirable or un- 
progressive element among the population, and 
English is the only language heard on the streets. 
Feathered game, including wild geese, ducks, 
prairie chickens and partridges, is abundant, while 
deer, moose, and bear may be frequently met with 
in certain districts. Rabbits are everywhere 
plentiful. White fish and pike swarm in the 
larger lakes." In the first year of Vermilion's 
existence, according to a government report, 800 
settlers arrived — " all first-class in every respect, 
with sufficient means to enable them to settle on 
land almost immediately/' 

Vegreville is venerable beside Vermilion ; yet 
Vegreville, when I made its acquaintance in its 
twelfth year, was but a feeble infant compared to 
Vermilion at the age of six months. Vegreville 
had been brought into existence, by French- 
Canadian settlers, before there was a railway — 
and had languished. The advent of the railway 
pioneers, " grading " for the new line with horse- 
drawn shovels, had created a good market for 
oats, at 60 cents a bushel ; but there was a fly 



1 20 FRENCH-CANADIANS 

in the Mackenzie-and-Mann ointment, for the line 
was to pass the town at a distance of 3 \ miles. 
" There's some talk of moving the town to the 
railway, as the railway won't come to the town," 
said the oldest inhabitant ; " but my son has got 
a store here, and he won't move." A new Vegre- 
ville has now sprung up, on the railway, but 
whether the old Vegreville concluded to stay 
where it was I cannot say. Some of us would 
be thankful if a railway never came within 3 J 
miles of us ; but then we do not " keep store." 
The French origin of the town is still recalled 
by the names of many of its citizens and the 
language you hear now and then on the streets ; 
but the French-Canadian pioneers, for lack of 
sufficent reinforcements from Quebec, are being 
surrounded by a rising tide of the English-speak- 
ing race. Here, for example, is a tall young 
American. That is to say, he was born in the 
States, and so were his parents ; but he is a 
Norwegian all the same. He has been up here for 
three years, and his enthusiasm for the country is 
unabated. He could have got as much land as he 
wanted on the paternal domain. He deliberately 
preferred Canada as offering better land, and at a 
price which gave a far surer prospect of future 
wealth. " My father had lots of land in Iowa," 
he says, " but instead of taking my share of it I 
took its value in cash, $40 an acre, and came up 



In the Park Lands 




American Settler bringing in his Famtly 



THE PROCESSION OF INCOMERS 121 

here with my wife. I picked out a free homestead 
of 160 acres, and bought 1280 acres at $3." That 
is, by investing £770 he acquired a freehold 
estate of 1440 acres in one of the most productive 
areas of the earth's surface. And his hunger for 
land was evidently no keener than his appetite 
for work. Before he had been three years on the 
soil he had got 100 acres of it under cultivation, 
and he was bent on doubling that acreage before 
another twelvemonth went by. 

On that ride through to Edmonton we by no 
means had the trail to ourselves. At one point 
we met a lady from Oregon driving in state, her 
little boy beside her in the buggy, while her 
husband brought up the rear with a waggon-load 
of household stuff. The sheet-iron stove pro- 
jecting from the rear of the waggon showed that 
even on the march they were resolved to have a 
little home comfort in their nightly camp. A few 
miles further on, a less luxurious party came in 
sight — a single waggon, a rolled-up tent crowning 
the load, with the homesteader driving in 
front, and his wife and baby sitting behind him 
on a bundle, while a foal trotted in front of its 
harnessed mother, and a spare team followed close 
in the rear. Round the next bluff rolled a 
genuine old prairie schooner, cart and tabernacle 
combined, the family chattering invisibly within, 
while its head trudged along chewing a straw 



122 BRINGING IN THE FAMILY 

beside the cattle. These parties, however, were 
not home-seekers. In each case the man had come 
in to find a home, and now, after getting it into 
shape by a summer of lonely toil, he had been 
down to the States to bring in his family. 



MIDDLE ALBERTA ; AND THE GALICIANS 

Autumn is not the best time to see the country, 
if it is beauty you seek. The grass is no longer 
green, but yellowish-brown ; it is, in fact, a 
standing crop of hay ; and as such it will remain 
for the horses and cattle to graze on all winter. 
The trees may be still green, or they may be 
turning yellow ; but the poplar and birch are poor 
and homely compared with the maple and sumach 
whose gorgeous autumn robes make the woods 
of Eastern Canada a blaze of colour. A belated 
dwarf wild rose may still be in bloom ; the 
" autumn flower," or Michaelmas daisy, is common 
enough, and so is the tall pink fox-tail ; but these 
are almost all that strike the eye. 

Of human interest, however, there is no lack ; 
and foreign settlements in this district, east and 
north-east of Edmonton, have in them an element 
of the picturesque which you miss among the men 
of your own race. It was only in 1894 that the 
first Galicians arrived, nine families in all. They 
sent home such good reports of the country that 
to-day there are about 75,000 of them thriving 
there. 

123 



124 A GALICIAN BOTHY 

The Norwegians and Germans are not discover- 
able at a glance by the traveller, for their dwellings 
are generally log or frame-houses built on the 
pattern set by the English-speaking inhabitants. 
The Galicians, however, put their own architectural 
mark on the landscape. The typical Galician 
house is a little one-storey affair, rough or tidy 
according to the individuality of the owner ; its 
walls of poplar trunks, filled in and outwardly 
faced with smooth white-washed mud, and 
thickly thatched, the high-pitched roof often 
rising in a series of steps at the corners. In the 
little field surrounding one of these dwellings, 
I found the owner, with a red fez on his head, 
reaping his oats with the primitive device of a 
" cradle/' a scythe with three or four sticks pro- 
jecting at as many points from the handle and 
catching the stalks as they fall. Another of these 
primitive folk I found inhabiting a long low hovel, 
not unlike the dwellings you may still see in 
backward parts of Ireland or in the Scottish 
Highlands. One end was built of poplar logs 
roughly plastered over with brown mud ; the 
other and longer portion was simply built of sods, 
with tufts of grass sprouting from every joint, as 
well as growing freely all over the roof. The 
master of the house, a tall, unkempt but good- 
humoured Galician, came out to meet me, having 
to stoop considerably in doing so. He was a 



AN INTERIOR 125 

bachelor, and was occupied just then in spinning 
linen thread, with the distaff under his arm. He 
could only speak a word or two of English, but he 
made me heartily welcome to his dwelling. The 
only door led into the stable, one side of which 
was fenced off by a sort of hurdle of plaited willow 
to make a manger. Turning sharp to the right, 
we stepped into the dwelling-room, an apartment 
about 10 feet square, almost the only furniture 
being a home-made bedstead of round poplar 
logs, covered with a few scraps of blanket. The 
under side of the roof was formed of young poplars 
laid close together, plastered with mud, and 
supported in the middle by a single log of the 
same kind, the central ridge-pole resting on its 
forked top. 

A little Russian church stands beside the trail, 
with a tiny cemetery, each grave enclosed in its 
own fence and bearing its own solid cross of 
unpainted wood. For the bulk of the Galician 
population, however, you must go further afield, 
to districts where practically all the land was 
free. Here the free sections were chess-boarded 
among those held for sale by railway companies. 
Galicians can afford no land that is not free, when 
they first arrive. The village of Star, about 30 
miles north-east of Edmonton, is a good starting 
point for excursions among these people, of whom 
about 20,000 live together in the district. 



126 BEGINNING ON NOTHING . 

The Galician first arrives in the country with 
about as few worldly possessions as when he first 
arrived in this planet ; but poverty, combined — 
as in his case it generally is — with industry as well 
as patience, is no serious drawback. The man 
of the family puts up a house, or hovel if you like 
to call it so, installs his wife and children, and then 
goes off to work, probably as a navvy on a railway 
line. During his absence his wife and such of his 
children as are not mere infants set to work to 
make the farm. Having neither horse, ox, nor 
plough, they do the best they can with the humble 
spade, and raise a little crop of rye, oats, or 
potatoes. The frugal father returns in the fall 
of the year with every cent he has been able to 
save out of his earnings, and the ox and plough 
that he is thus able to buy mean a vast increase 
of cultivation and production in the second year. 
Many a Galician farmer to-day has from 20 to 
200 acres under crop, and from 10 to 100 head 
of live stock. The farm may be many miles from 
any town or railway station, but the Galician 
does not say it is no use trying to grow grain for 
sale. In the winter he loads his produce on a 
rough sleigh, and sets out for the nearest market, 
no matter what the distance may be. At night 
he saves hotel or " stopping-place " charges by 
sleeping on the snow beside his sleigh. I have 
heard of men who thought nothing of a fortnight's 



GALICIAN CUSTOMS AND HEALTH 127 

journey under these conditions. It can easily be 
imagined that in three or four years such a man 
is poor no longer. These people necessarily eat 
little meat. They live largely on the vegetables 
that they raise, diversified by eggs and even 
chickens when they have reached the poultry- 
raising stage. They are fond of garlic ; also of 
sour milk ; and a favourite dish is a vegetable 
soup kept till it has fermented. Their require- 
ments in the way of clothing are few and simple. 
They go bare-foot all summer, and in winter they 
only wear shoes out of doors — sometimes not 
then. Their raiment, to tell the truth, consists 
chiefly of a loose cotton shirt, with skirt or 
trousers according to sex. As in their native 
land, they construct large clay ovens with flat 
tops on which they sleep. Of ventilation they 
know nothing except as something cold to be shut 
out. In spite of this, and no doubt because of 
their hard out-door work, the women as a rule are 
very healthy. They have plenty of children — 
whose arrival gives them little trouble. A 
Galician matron who has had an addition to her 
family in the morning may often be seen out and 
about by evening, though more commonly she 
will take two or three days' rest, The men are 
decidedly less healthy than the women. They are 
heavy smokers, and they suffer a good deal from 
rheumatism ; which is only to be expected if 



128 THE CLIMATE 

they sleep at one time in a hot and totally un- 
ventilated room, and at another time out on the 
snow; their lack of woollen under-clothes being 
no doubt a contributory cause. As for the 
climate, the winter is not nearly so severe as that 
of Manitoba, and is sometimes broken into by 
spells of extraordinarily mild weather. A doctor 
at Star, pointing to a hammock slung from his 
verandah, said to me : "My wife was sitting out 
here, sewing in the sun, in February ; and the 
snow had not come till December. That, of 
course, was exceptional ; but the winter before, 
when the snow stayed till late in March, was 
exceptional too." The climate is less rheumatic 
in tendency than that of the East, and it is de- 
cidedly good for lung troubles and catarrh. In 
this respect it resembles the climate of Southern 
Alberta, but so far as the total amount of moisture 
is concerned the two regions differ widely. In 
this northern section, in fact, I have heard com- 
plaints of rather too much rain in spring and early 
summer. This condition is naturally adverse 
to wheat growing, and other cereal crops could 
sometimes do with less moisture than they get, 
for the straw continues to grow when the grain 
ought to be ripening. Stalks of rye have been 
measured over 7 feet 7 inches high, and oats nearly 
6 feet. The evidence of this abundant rainfall 
is patent in the comparative luxuriance of 




Railways are spreading on every 
hand over the prairie, as fast as 
men can be got to lay them ; but 
until the railway comes everything 
has to be freighted in over the trail. 
The ox team, which covers about 
three miles an hour, is much used 
both for transport and for ploughing. 



NEW NORWAY 129 

vegetation, and in the large number of sloughs 
and little lakes. But this is a draw-back that can 
be remedied by surface drainage works, as it has 
been remedied in Manitoba. Such works are 
already in progress in Central Alberta, and even 
without their aid crops of oats and barley have 
been reaped which thresh out 56 and 63 bushels 
to the acre respectively. 

One of the most interesting and progressive 
of the special groups to whom Central Alberta 
is indebted for its new population is that of 
the Scandinavians in " New Norway " ; but 
that is sixty-five miles south of Star, in the 
Hinterland of Wetaskiwin, on the Canadian 
Pacific line running south from Edmonton. 
You would hardly suppose from a pure Indian 
name like Wetaskiwin that you had arrived in a 
settlement of Norwegians. Yet the names over 
the stores, the complexions and voices of the 
people you meet in the street, leave you in no 
doubt as to the fact, and a short excursion into 
the Hinterland carries you into New Norway 
itself. Most of these people when they first left 
their native land settled in the Western States, 
and are, therefore, classified in the Canadian 
emigration returns as American. They are 
genuine Norwegians ; and a fine lot of people 
they are, and a fine piece of land they have chosen 
for their home. " I believe it is the garden spot 



130 SANCTUARY FOR WILD LIFE 

of Alberta,' ' a leading member of the community 
said to me. Roughly speaking, the settlement 
covers about four townships, or 144 square miles. 
It is a rolling park-like land, lightly wooded here 
and there, dotted with a moderate number of 
sloughs, and traversed by the Battle River. The 
country is well suited for both grain and cattle, 
and the Norwegians take large advantage of its 
capacity in both directions. Oats, which were 
at first the favourite crop, give a yield of from 
30 to 75 and occasionally even 100 bushels to the 
acre, while barley runs from 30 to 40 bushels. 
Both the winter and spring varieties of wheat are 
grown, producing from 20 to 40 bushels an acre. 
The wild animals are not to be swept off the 
face of the West by the human flood. Like their 
Indian brothers, they are to have their sanctuaries. 
The first of these, the Banff National Park in the 
Rocky Mountains, is well known. Now the 
Federal and Alberta Governments are establishing 
" Elk Park " in the Beaver Hills, south of Star. 
At Banff, a little remnant of the bison tribe — 
commonly known as buffalo — that once thundered 
over the plain in its millions, is thriving and 
increasing in semi-captivity. Far away in the 
north-west, another bunch of bison roam wild. 
It is to be hoped that they can be saved from 
extinction and brought down to multiply either 
at Banff or in the Beaver Hills. 



EDMONTON, AND THE FAR NORTH 

Crossing the river at Fort Saskatchewan, after 
supping under the guidance of a decorative menu 
card in an ambitious hotel, we turned south and 
drove through a well-wooded and little inhabited 
country — the land being largely held by specu- 
lators " for the rise " — towards what seemed to 
be an aurora borealis in the wrong quarter of the 
heavens. The aurora proved to be the lights of 
Edmonton, for the morrow was Alberta's natal 
day, and the capital city was brilliantly 
illuminated. 

It seems really absurd to think of Edmonton as 
a city — the fur-trading outpost in the wilderness. 
But in 1901 the town had 2626 inhabitants, and 
five years later that figure had risen to 11,167 ; 
while Strathcona, on the south side of the river, 
contained another 2921. To this day, furs to 
the value of a million dollars (£200,000) every 
year pour into Edmonton from a multitude of 
outposts in the north, to be sorted and packed for 
the markets of the civilized world ; but there is 
nothing furry or wild in the city's appearance. 

131 



132 A CAPITAL CITY 

The Hudson's Bay Company itself is represented 
to the outward eye not by a log fort but by a 
large department store, with the wares of Regent 
Street or Westbourne Grove displayed in plate- 
glass windows. There are about a dozen banks, 
some of them very creditable to their architects, 
and doing such an amount of business that they 
have had to establish a clearing house. There are 
at least half-a-dozen churches — Methodist, Pres- 
byterian, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Roman 
Catholic — and probably more. There are good 
schools, one of which would hardly be criticized — 
unless by extreme economists — if reared in 
London, and is at present used, after school hours, 
as a Parliament House by the Provincial Legis- 
lature. There is positively a municipal electric 
tramway at Edmonton — or will be, before this 
book is many months old, as the contract for its 
construction has been signed. The roads — well, 
the less said about roads the better, when you 
write about a Canadian town ; but Edmonton is 
now paving its streets with wood blocks from 
British Columbia. There are other points on 
which western townsmen generally preserve a dis- 
creet silence ; but the Edmontonians are so bent 
on avoiding the common ailments of municipal 
infancy that before long I expect to see perfect 
drainage and water supply figuring in large type 
in the municipal advertisements. 



THE COW-BOY A CURIOSITY 133 

The city is ideally placed, on high but level 
ground along the edge of the winding and beauti- 
fully wooded valley of the Saskatchewan. Better 
still, the people are resolved that their city's 
beauty shall not be spoiled. Down in the valley, 
for nine miles along each side of the river, a drive 
is to be laid out in accordance with the plans of 
a landscape gardener from the east ; and where 
the valley widens a Parliament House is being 
built on the flats at a cost of a million or even two 
million dollars. 

The scene on those flats on the 1st of September 
1905 was quite extraordinary. The occasion was 
remarkable enough — the proclamation by the 
Viceroy that a new star had been kindled in the 
federal constellation — but the crowd was more 
remarkable still. Among all those twelve or 
fifteen thousand people you would look in vain 
for a beaded Indian or shaggy fur-hunter. I 
saw just one cow-boy, got up for the occasion, in 
the regulation buckskin jacket and fringed leather 
trousers ; but he was unique, like an old-world 
figure in long drab coat and knee breeches in 
an assembly of modern Quakers. And side by 
side with the cowboy's bronco stood — a motor 
car ! If there was any difference between that 
crowd in the far west of Canada and the crowd 
which any pageant gathers in an English town, 
the advantage would lie on the side of the " wild 



134 CITY LAND PRICES 

and woolly West." The people were not less 
intelligent looking, or less well behaved, or even 
less well dressed. 

I am told that town lots, bought in 1903 for 
$300 or $400 (£60 or £80) a-piece, were selling in 
1906 for $15,000 or $20,000 (£3000 or £4000). 
Some people shake their heads and wonder when 
the bottom will fall out of the " boom." Edmon- 
tonians would probably disclaim the idea that a 
boom, in the censurable sense of unreasonably 
inflated prices, has yet arrived, though they 
boast that everything is " booming." Edmonton 
is going to be a far more important place than it is 
now. It is the centre of a peculiarly rich district, 
a paradise of the " mixed " farmer. The number 
of immigrants who make this the end of their 
pilgrimage is exceptionally large, and most of the 
recent arrivals have been men with experience 
and capital — including 50 families attracted 
even from " golden California " by the glowing 
reports of a single family settled north-west of 
the city ; many good Dutch farmers from 
Pennsylvania ; a quantity of prairie folk from 
Kansas and Oklahoma, settling north-east of 
the city ; and a greatly increased number of 
immigrants from Germany, France, Belgium and 
Austria. At St Albert, a few miles to the north- 
west, there has been a settlement of French half- 
breeds for more than sixty years. A good many 



COST OF FARM IMPLEMENTS 135 

of their pure-blooded French cousins from Quebec 
have come up to join them, and a Roman Catholic 
cathedral is rising in their little town. A young 
English farmer who went out exploring in this 
direction for a homestead says that "as far as 
the country is surveyed, 80 miles out of town, it 
is good land, but all taken up except the heavy 
bush. In fact, settlers are squatting 20 miles 
beyond the survey. The Government guarantee 
nothing, but usually let the squatter file his claim 
as soon as the land is surveyed. This seems the 
only way to get a good one now, unless you hear 
of one being abandoned." 

Here, by way of parenthesis, let me give an 
idea of what a man beginning to farm on his own 
account would spend on the implements of his 
trade. A waggon would cost from $75 to $85 
(£15 to £17) ; harness, $32 to $40 (£6, 10s. to 
£8) ; sleigh, $25 to $32 (£5 to £6, 10s.) ; plough, 
$20 to $28 (£4 to £5, 15s.) ; set of harrows, 
$16 to $20 (£3, 5s. to £4) ; disc harrow, $25 to 
S32 (£5 to £6, 10s.) ; miscellaneous tools, etc., 
$50 (£10). A seeder would cost from $85 to 
$115 (£iy to £23), but is hardly necessary for 
the first year. A mower and rake would cost 
about $95 (£19) ; but two neighbours will some- 
times own these jointly, or else one buy a mower 
and the other a rake. A reaper and binder 
is another expensive article ($135 to $155, or 



136 A GREAT RAILWAY CENTRE 

£27 to £31) which can very well be shared with 
a neighbour, for it cuts twelve acres a day ; 
and it can be dispensed with till the young farmer 
has more land under crop than he is likely to 
have before his second year. Credit is commonly 
given for all these articles, except perhaps the 
waggon. As for live stock, a team of horses 
would cost from $250 to $400 (£50 to £80) ; 
cows, $35 to $40 each (£y to £8) ; pigs, $15 
(£3) ; and sheep $5 (£1). 

Edmonton, too, is becoming the centre of a 
great web of railways stretching over the con- 
tinent in all directions. The Canadian Pacific, 
the Canadian Northern, and the Grand Trunk 
Pacific, from the south, the east, and the south- 
east, all come together at Edmonton ; from this 
point the third of these lines, and possibly the 
second, will start on the final stage of their 
westward course to the Pacific Ocean ; and in 
the course of time a railway will almost certainly 
be built from Edmonton to the Far North. 

The Far North ! If there is a spark of the 
adventurous in your nature, it flames up when 
you turn your back on Edmonton and look away 
to the north. What you see with your mortal 
eyes is merely a beautiful picture of river and 
meadow and woodland, but if you look beyond 
the visible you see an illimitable expanse of 
country where you might travel week after week, 




w 

S fc 

< w 

w w 

w 
w 
H 



ON THE PEACE RIVER 137 

month after month, even year after year, always 
exploring and always discovering something new. 
There is a distant sound even about Athabasca 
Landing, but that is only the first little step of 
100 miles on the northward trail. You would have 
to go another 400 miles as the crow flies before 
quitting the Province of Alberta and launching 
out on the unorganized wilderness of Mackenzie 
Territory. On the Peace River, about 400 miles 
north of Edmonton, you would find a fair sprink- 
ling of settlers. Some, no doubt, have taken land 
there as a speculation, and look year by year for 
the railway that is sure to follow, sooner or later. 
Others are men saturated with the pioneer spirit, 
who would probably migrate to another planet, 
if they could get it all to themselves. A great 
part of this region is not merely habitable, but 
habitable with comfort, and as fertile as any 
farmer could wish. The influence of the Pacific 
Ocean is so powerful in the far west that in winter 
Northern Alberta is no colder than Southern 
Manitoba. Still more remarkable is the fact 
that the average summer temperature at Dun- 
vegan, on the Peace River, and nearly as far north 
as Athabasca Lake, is as high as that of Paris or 
south Germany. Indeed, as far north as the 
Great Slave Lake, and Fort Simpson on Mackenzie 
River, the average summer temperature is nearly 
as high as in Dublin, and higher than it is in 



138 WHEAT IN THE FAR NORTH 

Edinburgh. At Fort Vermilion, on the Peace 
River, 650 miles north of the United States, the 
Hudson's Bay Company has for years had a flour 
mill, grinding wheat grown on the spot. If 
time is no object you may wander on, in a north- 
westerly direction, down the Mackenzie River and 
into Yukon Territory. When the gold discoveries 
of the Klondike first brought this region to the 
notice of the world, the miners who went in were 
classed with the explorers of the Arctic regions, 
and it is an undeniable fact that the Arctic Circle 
cuts right across Yukon Territory. It is equally 
undeniable, however, and a good deal more 
upsetting to current beliefs as to the climate of 
Northern Canada, that in this very Territory, on 
the 63rd parallel of latitude, or about as far north 
as Iceland and Archangel, wheat of the finest 
quality ripens without difficulty. I have heard 
of an Englishman who complains that Canadians 
do a day and a half's work in the day. They are 
only following the example of the sun, who knows 
that the farming season is short, and makes the 
most of it. Up there, in Yukon, the days are 
so long and the sun rays so powerful that wheat 
sown in May is ready for reaping in July. 

The Canadian Government, however, wisely 
discourages any large movement of population 
into the north while the settlement of the south 
is still only beginning. For in spite of the flood 



ONLY A BEGINNING 139 

of men and women spreading out over the prairies 
and park-lands of Southern and Central Sas- 
katchewan and Alberta, the whole population of 
this area — as large as the German Empire — is only 
about half a million. 



REGINA TO BATTLEFORD ; AND THE 
DUKHOBORS 

When I first went to Canada, in 1881, there was 

a little spot on the desert face of the central plain 

known as Pile-of-Bones. A quarter of a century 

later, I alighted from a Canadian Pacific train at 

a handsome garden-girt station in the city of 

Regina ; and it was the same spot. In that short 

interval Pile-of-Bones had become the seat of 

government of the three provisional territories, 

Assiniboia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and the 

headquarters of the North- West Mounted Police ; 

and had finally blossomed out as the capital of the 

self-governing Province of Saskatchewan, in which 

three-fourths of Assiniboia had been merged. 

It is a city plentifully endowed with schools, 

churches, banks, hotels, telephones, electric light, 

and other commonplaces of civilized life. 

As a capital city, Regina, like Edmonton and 

Winnipeg, has a political importance ; but the 

Westerner is too busy establishing himself on his 

new farm to trouble his head much about politics. 

Each of the three Provincial Legislatures is 

divided into two parties ; and in Manitoba the 
140 



PROVINCIAL RIGHTS 141 

ministerial majority is called Conservative, while 
in Alberta and Saskatchewan it is Liberal. But 
to the American or Galician immigrant these 
names mean little or nothing, and to the old- 
countryman they mean something quite different 
from what they mean to the man from Eastern 
Canada. The opposition in Saskatchewan, by 
the way, has decided to drop the name Conser- 
vative altogether, and to call itself the Provincial 
Rights party, its chief demand being that the 
Provincial instead of the Federal Government 
shall control the public lands, timber, minerals 
and water supply, as in the Provinces of the East. 
This question will become acute when the people 
of the West are numbered by the million instead 
of the hundred thousand, — unless, as may happen, 
the demand is agreed to before. At present, the 
Federal Government argues that its credit is 
pledged for the financing of the Grand Trunk 
Pacific railway scheme, which is largely for the 
benefit of the West, and that until this scheme 
is carried out the national land-asset should 
remain in federal hands. 

The country east and south-east of Regina has 
the same characteristics as the adjoining or 
south-western section of Manitoba, and the most 
important of these is a reliable rain-fall. Here, 
accordingly, you find many well-established settle- 
ments, and comparatively few free homesteads for 



142 MOOSE JAW AND INDIAN HEAD 

new comers. The new comers are still flocking in, 
but they are mostly Americans who can afford to 
pay for land. At Moosomin, for instance, not far 
from the Manitoban border, wild lands are reported 
as selling at from $8 to $14 an acre, and partly 
improved farms at $15 to $27. Moose Jaw, a 
city of 6249 inhabitants in 1906, or rather more 
than Regina, is about 40 miles west of that city, 
and on the verge of the " semi-arid " region ; 
but the aridity has not been seriously felt for 
several years, and settlers have been coming in 
at such a rate that few good homesteads are 
left within 25 miles of the town. 

Indian Head, about as far east of Regina as 
Moose Jaw is west, prides itself on turning out 
more grain than any other primary grain-shipping 
centre in the world. At its railway station stand 
at least a dozen elevators, with capacity for 
350,000 bushels. The five years' average wheat 
yield in this district is 26.4 bushels per acre ; and 
on the experimental farm, under the best system 
of fallow and rotation of crops, the average is as 
high as 46.12 bushels. 

Probably no other branch of government 
activity has conferred such immense and direct 
benefits on the population of any country, as the 
experimental farm system of Canada. There at 
Ottawa, at Brandon in Manitoba, at Indian Head 
in Saskatchewan, experiments are constantly 



EXPERIMENTAL FARM RESULTS 143 

being made by men of the highest skill to discover, 
and even to produce, such varieties of plant life 
as can be grown with the greatest success and the 
highest profit in all the various climates and soils 
with which Canadian farmers have to grapple. 
Not only is the information thus obtained put 
freely at the disposal of every farmer in the 
Dominion, but the seeds and plants raised and 
tested at the experimental farms can be obtained 
by any farmer who is willing regularly to report 
the results he gets from them. Perhaps the most 
difficult task yet presented to the authorities of 
these experimental farms is to produce trees, and 
especially fruit trees, hardy enough to live, and in 
the case of fruit to yield profitable crops, on the 
great treeless plain I am now describing. Yet 
this task has been undertaken, and the degree of 
success already achieved in the production of 
marketable apples, by grafting on a Siberian crab- 
apple stock, gives solid ground for hope that 
treelessness and fruitlessness will not be per- 
manent features of the prairie. The West is con- 
stantly surprising even those who know it best. 
At Strassburg, about 50 miles north of Regina, 
on a Canadian Pacific branch line, is a settlement 
formed almost exclusively of Germans direct from 
the Fatherland. This, like the rest of the German 
settlements, is making excellent progress. On 
the same line, a little further east, in the Lipton 



144 JEWS AND HUNGARIANS 

district, is rather a curiosity in the shape of a 
Jewish agricultural colony. " Very few of the 
Hebrew immigrants of the past year," says the 
chief emigration commissioner at Winnipeg, 
" have settled on land permanently, but persist 
in remaining in towns or peddling goods about the 
country. For this reason they cannot be classed 
as likely homesteaders or extensive producers 
in an agricultural country like Western Canada." 
The Jewish farmers about Lipton, however, are 
doing very well by their land, and raised over 
40,000 bushels of grain in 1906. A little north 
of Lipton is one of a number of settlements formed 
in the last few years by Hungarians. Most of the 
Hungarians now arriving have come through the 
United States, where they worked and saved 
money to set themselves up as independent 
farmers. These people, the commissioner says, 
come to farm, and are unhappy when obliged by 
poverty to stay in towns till they can earn money 
enough to take up land. The colony of Esterhazy, 
the first-born Hungarian settlement, is very 
prosperous, with large herds of cattle, and the 
original settlers are now hiring help and enlarging 
their operations. 

Regina was my starting point for a sort of 
circular tour over the great prairie of South- 
western Saskatchewan. For the first 160 miles, 
as far as Saskatoon, I took advantage of a 



7i'iin»- 8 rA ,,*■.£.■. 




Urban Infancy. Milestone, Saskatchewan, two Years old 




Urban Adolescence. Portage la Prairie, Manitoba 



NORTHWARD FROM REGINA 145 

railway that runs 90 miles beyond that to Prince 
Albert. The land was now prairie pure and simple, 
covered with short dry grass and as yet appar- 
ently almost uninhabited. The appearance was 
deceitful. The land beside the line was held by 
speculators, and the settlers were out of sight on 
either hand. There were about a score of stopping 
places between Regina and Saskatoon, but at 
some the only building in sight was the railway 
station, and at least one possessed not even that. 
Here and there a beginning of settlement was to be 
seen — a farmhouse of logs or raw planks, with a 
lonely ploughman furrowing up the turf primeval, 
— while now and then we passed a man setting fire 
to the dry grass on the windward side of the track, 
to prevent those larger fires which if unchecked 
sweep over many square miles, and destroy the 
winter pasture of cattle and horses. But the only 
living creatures at all common along the greater 
part of the way were the gophers, sitting bolt 
upright beside their holes to watch the train go by, 
and sometimes crouching on the sleepers and 
letting the cars pass over their heads. 

Fifty-six miles up the track was the town, or the 
germ of a town, of Chamberlain, consisting of a 
fit tie group of cottages and a railway station. 
At the 123rd mile we came to Hanley, a com- 
paratively old town ; that is to say, it was founded 
in 1902, and already has several hundred citizens, 



146 NORTHWARD FROM REGINA 

living for the most part in little shacks, but some 
of them putting up good frame houses. The 
first settlers here came from North Dakota and 
Minnesota, and included many half-Americanized 
Norwegians ; but in the last year or two a good 
many Eastern Canadians have arrived, as well as 
Old-Country folk. The next station, 14 miles 
further north, is the village of Dundurn, as youthful 
as Hanley. The line from the one to the other 
goes through wide stretches of cultivated land, 
producing heavy crops of wheat and oats. Here 
at Dundurn lives a German who a few years ago 
was not only an American citizen but a Senator 
of the State of Minnesota. He only came over 
the border in 1901 ; but in 1905 he reaped 
45,000 bushels of wheat off his new Canadian 
estate ; and one of his neighbours, another 
German who has been a legislator in Minnesota, 
is a farmer of equally large ideas, having broken 
5000 acres of prairie in his first two years. The 
country so far has been almost level, and wide 
flat stretches are still frequent ; but north of this 
the prairie has a rolling and humpy appearance, 
with patches large and small of willow copse, and 
many young poplars. The town of Haultain, 
next to Dundurn but ten miles further on, is named 
after the ex-premier of the Territories under the 
old regime, who now leads the opposition in 
Saskatchewan Province. 



SASKATOON 147 

Saskatoon, a couple of years ago, was the 
jumping-off place where settlers bound for the 
western parts of the Province left the track for the 
trail. The opening of the Canadian Northern 
Railway, which crosses this Prince Albert line a 
little further north on its way west to Edmonton, 
has changed all that, and Saskatoon has lost some 
of its trade. It is still, however, a town of im- 
portance, with a population (in 1906) of 3031, 
against only 113 five years before, and growing 
fast. It is the supply centre for a large district, 
and the point of departure for many parties bound 
for points in the south-west, where railways exist 
only on paper or in the embryonic form of sur- 
veyors' trails through the grass. 

It was from Saskatoon that the Barr colony of 
Englishmen and Englishwomen set out, three or 
four years ago, on that long, miserable, muddy 
drive which gave them so unpleasant a first im- 
pression of their adopted colony. The home- 
hunters whom I came across in the Saskatoon 
district, however, were chiefly Americans. Here, 
for instance, was a native of Iowa — though his 
mother, by the way, was Scotch-Irish. He was 
brought up on a farm, but took to brick-laying 
in a city because of the wages. When he married, 
he determined that rather than bring his 
children up in a town he would become a farmer 
again. This was more easily said than done, 



148 ON THE WESTWARD TRAIL 

in Iowa. At the prices asked for agricultural 
land in that State the best he could hope was 
to become a tenant, and dependence on the will 
of a landlord was a condition he could never 
abide. So away he came to Canada, where 
he and his sons could get farms of their own. 
His travelling companion was a more independent 
gentleman, the possessor of a good ranch in 
the State of Washington ; but " it won't be 
twelve months before he is in Canada, you'll 
see," said the Iowan ; and the Washingtonian 
did not deny it. 

A drive of 90 or 100 miles westward from 
Saskatoon across the prairie enabled me to visit 
an unusual variety of settlers. Most of them had 
begun to fence in their land ; and the result, to 
a traveller, was to say the least inconvenient. 
Again and again the old trail led us charging into 
a wire fence, and we had to turn aside and make 
a circuit of the farm. While the old winding trail 
had been thus cut off, the new straight trail, on 
the " road allowance " marked out by the govern- 
ment's land surveyors, was not yet made. 

Turning out of our way at one of these obstruc- 
tions, we found nestling in a poplar bluff a little 
log shack, measuring about 10ft. by 12 ft. — the 
first year's home — with a slightly larger frame- 
house built on at one end in the second year. The 
lady of the house, who was scraping potatoes for 



THE DUKHOBORS 149 

dinner, could speak no English, but the eldest of 
her five children knew enough to tell me that they 
were a German family who had come north to 
Canada after spending three years in Dakota. 

About 30 miles along the trail we came upon a 
village of Dukhobors. There is a general im- 
pression that the " Dooks," as their neighbours 
call them, are a troublesome lot ; that, in addition 
to the outlandish ways you would expect to find 
among foreigners, they take crazy fits of starting 
out on pilgrimages to nowhere in particular, with- 
out any clothes on. This has certainly happened ; 
and on one occasion fourteen men who had led the 
march, and had therefore been arrested, adopted 
the policy of the hunger-strike. As they refused 
to eat, the police simply stretched them on the 
ground while a doctor pumped liquid food down 
their throats. It is only an insignificant minority 
of the Dukhobors, however, that has made the 
community notorious ; and this village on the 
Battleford trail has been entirely free from centri- 
fugal eccentricities. 

The western settlers as a rule do not congregate 
in villages but live each on his own farm ; and an 
ordinary western village, when it does come into 
existence, is a mere collection of separate units, 
no one house being built with any thought of 
general harmony. The Dukhobor ideal is com- 
munistic, and shows itself in the style and arrange- 



150 PRACTISING SOCIALISTS 

merit of the village as much as in the life of the 
inhabitants. The houses are symmetrically 
arranged in two long rows with a broad avenue 
between. Each house, standing in its own 
ground, comprises a but and a ben, as we say in 
Scotland. The gable of the better end faces the 
street, while the doors open sideways into the 
yard. The walls, substantially built of logs, 
present to the eye a neatly smoothed surface of 
white-washed mud. The roofs are also of mud, 
but even they are tidy. A raised ledge of earth 
runs along the foot of the wall, and forms, with 
the widely overhanging eaves, a sort of verandah- 
seat. A little pattern over each window, done in 
red and green, adds a pleasant dash of colour 
without gaudiness to the whole. Every house I 
visited was as neat within as without ; so 
marvellously clean, in fact, that you might eat 
your dinner off the floor. A spotless wooden 
bench ran round the room, and jutting out from 
one corner was the great clay oven, opening into 
the next apartment, with sleeping accommodation 
on the top. 

These people are, as a rule, honest, inoffensive, 
and industrious. Most of them carry into practice 
their communistic ideal, with common ownership 
of the means of production, including work oxen 
and milch kine, and of the proceeds of their labour. 
Some, however, prefer to farm entirely on their 



FLAX ; FOOD ; DRESS 1 5 1 

own account, and are not excommunicated for 
their individualism. The Dukhobors grow grain, 
but flax is one of their principal crops. Just 
outside the village is a great ring of hard smooth 
earth, with a mound in the middle ; and this is 
the flax-breaking floor, the flax being broken by 
dragging over it a big wooden roller with smaller 
logs nailed lengthwise on its surface like cogs on 
a wheel. This breaking is done by a horse, but 
the grain is threshed by steam. The Dukhobors 
are strict vegetarians ; or rather they are strict 
abstainers from anything killed, for in other 
respects their diet resembles that of their neigh- 
bours, including milk as well as tea and coffee and 
oatmeal and flour. A few of them speak good 
English. Large numbers of the men have worked 
on railway construction and have had other 
opportunities of learning the language of the 
country. Such instruction as the children get in 
the village seems to be entirely conveyed in 
Russian. 

The Dukhobors are already losing most of their 
distinctive features, so far as dress is concerned. 
I saw just one elderly woman wearing the great 
sheepskin coat, with the wool outside. Even on 
a Sunday only a very few of the boys and young 
men whom you meet strolling about the village 
and eating pea-nuts or sunflower seeds have a 
little red and green flower pattern embroidered 



152 A DUKHOBOR PARLIAMENT 

on their waistcoats to distinguish them from the 
Tom, Dick, and Harry of the commonplace world 
outside. The girls, however — whose Sabbath 
amusement seems identical with that of their 
brothers — look very pleasant and comfortable in 
soft white dresses, perfectly plain and evidently 
concealing nothing in the shape of a corset, with 
white kerchiefs over their heads. The girls as a 
rule are decidedly good-looking, and the same in a 
less degree may be said of the men, though these 
are rather more spare in habit. They all take a 
Saturday night bath of the Russian variety, and 
there is no doubt that, from whatever cause, they 
are a healthy community. On Sunday morning 
at seven o'clock they assemble in a large room for 
a service that lasts about two hours and consists 
of singing, prayer, and addresses from the older 
men. There are 44 of these Dukhobor villages 
scattered over the eastern part of the plain, and 
every year their delegates come together to hold 
a little parliament of their own. At the last 
annual meeting quite remarkable progress was 
reported. During the year, for instance, nearly 
$60,000 (£12,000) had been spent on implements 
and machinery of the most modern type, and a 
banker's loan of $50,000 had been paid off. These 
people are naturally inclined to use machinery 
because they have doubts as to their right to 
impose compulsory labour on horses. This point 




One of Poundmaker's Braves, now a Peaceable Farmer 
(See page 164) 




A Group of Dukhobors 



CO-OPERATION 153 

was considered by the conclave, which resolved 
that at any rate horses should not be worked 
when the temperature was below 13 degrees. The 
meeting decided on the community's behalf to 
take a number of contracts for railway con- 
struction — this having been one of the chief 
sources of the prosperity already achieved. The 
Dukhobors have by their co-operative system 
saved about $150,000 (£30,000) in three years 
on purchases amounting to something over 
$600,000 (£120,000). They make their own 
bricks and cement blocks ; they have built their 
own flour mill ; and they now propose to instal 
electric light, to connect their villages by a 
communal telephone system, and to build in every 
centre a school where the children will get an 
English education. Unfortunately, while the 
Dukhobors have been away earning money for 
the better equipment of their farms, many of 
these homesteads have not had the minimum of 
cultivation required by the law. In one of their 
settlements, also, their failure to pay taxes brought 
down on them a bailiff, who seized a quantity of 
cattle. The Dukhobors took up pitchforks, 
recaptured their cattle, and put the bailiff and his 
deputies to flight. The incident has its humorous 
side, considering that these militant non-taxpayers 
underwent much persecution in Russia, and finally 
went into exile, rather than take up arms. 



154 THE EAGLE CREEK 

The country we are now passing through 
somewhat resembles that which I have described 
in Central Alberta, but is rather more open, and 
the sloughs, if not the patches of woodland, are 
perhaps less frequent. Running water is ex- 
tremely scarce ; in fact only one stream is crossed 
in the hundred miles. This Eagle Creek, accord- 
ingly, has an importance out of all proportion to 
its size, which to tell the truth is insignificant. 
It is a mere trickle in comparison with those three 
noble rivers, the North and South Saskatchewan 
and the Battle, which, rising in the Rocky 
Mountains, cross the whole width of the two 
Provinces, and, having joined, finally discharge 
their muddy waters into Hudson's Bay. Even 
the Eagle Creek, however, has cut out for itself a 
quite respectable valley, in whose shelter the 
poplar, cottonwood, willow, and birch attain a 
growth far larger than any you meet with on the 
plains above. The spot where the trail crosses the 
creek has been chosen for the site of a post office 
and store, kept by a Scotch-Canadian from Ontario. 
He migrated to Manitoba six years ago, and his 
experience is instructive. In Manitoba he could 
find no good land available for free homesteads 
within reasonable distance of a railway, and, after 
working a farm on shares, he pulled up stakes 
once more and finally settled on the banks of the 
distant Eagle Creek. In a couple of years, he 



POSTMASTER, AND BLACKSMITH 155 

has seen a considerable change — not all for the 
better, from one point of view. The first year, 
the trail was alive with freighters going to and 
from Battleford. Now, the Canadian Northern 
Railway has put the freighters out of business, 
and they have either taken up homesteads and 
settled down to the more prosaic occupation of 
growing wheat or have struck out new routes for 
themselves further west and north. Still, a mail 
waggon passes four times a week each way ; and 
the table of times and fares has quite the flavour 
of an old coaching advertisement in Dickens's 
England. The postmaster and his two sons have 
between them five quarter-sections, or 800 acres, 
and at the end of two years 80 acres were actually 
under crop. 

In a log hut close by, the only other human 
habitation to be seen, I found a very different 
type of settler ; or rather a settler at a very 
different stage of his career. A neatly painted 
sign on the rough log wall of a smithy proclaimed 
his trade — " Horse-shoer and General Black- 
smith." He was a sturdy and swarthy Scot from 
Kirkcudbright, and he had only taken his home- 
stead in November — it was now September. He 
and his family had come in as poor as Galicians, 
and endowed with the same patient persevering 
industry that lifts them out of poverty — when 
they get the Canadian chance. Being Scots, they 



156 NO GOING BACK 

were endowed also with some education ; and 
my first thought as I talked with them was that 
education and its offspring refinement must have 
made them feel their hardships more keenly. 
I presently came to the conclusion, however, that 
this effect was more than neutralized by its very 
cause ; that the possession of mental resources 
enabled them to rise above their material 
hardships. 

Having no capital or reserve fund, this man had 
had to work at his trade — there had been a fair 
amount of it, while the freighters were thick on the 
trail — to earn a little ready money, so he could not 
put in as much work as he should on his farm. 
Three acres under oats and potatoes, that was all 
he had to show for his first season. But he had 
spent the winter working as blacksmith at a 
lumber camp in the forest north of the Sas- 
katchewan, and he was going to spend another 
winter in the same way, earning $50 (£10) a 
month. When he came back in the spring he 
would " make things hum " on that homestead — 
as he would have said had he been an American. 

I asked him if, speaking frankly, he would 
rather go back to Scotland. No, not he ! I put 
the same question to his wife, who sat rocking her 
child to sleep. It is the woman who generally 
keeps a man back when he talks of emigrating ; 
and it is the woman who most feels the solitude 



HOMESTEAD RIGHTS CANCELLED 157 

of the pioneer life and most often wants to go 
back. Here was a woman who had spent a whole 
winter husbandless, alone with her infants in a 
one-roomed prairie hut, with another lonely 
winter ahead of her. Did she not wish herself 
back in Scotland ? Never ! She was even more 
emphatic than her husband. They were all so 
much better out there, as well as bound to be better 
off before long. " And as for that lassie," she 
said, brightening up and pointing to a delicate 
little girl on the bed, " she'd have been dead if we'd 
stayed at home, and now she's nearly strong." 

There is indeed no such medicine in all the 
pharmacies as the air of the Canadian plains. 

A paper, fastened to the wall of the post office, 
giving notice that at the end of 60 days the home- 
stead rights granted to Mr So-and-so will be 
cancelled, is a reminder that this, though a land 
of promise, is a land where the promise has to be 
kept on both sides. The country gives the settler 
his 160 acres ; but, as I have already said, 
before he can have the decree made absolute, he 
must have lived on his farm at least six months 
out of the twelve for three years, and must have 
put five acres a year under cultivation. The 
conditions are not enforced too rigidly. If, for 
instance, a young man is living with his father 
on a neighbouring homestead, cultivation without 
residence is allowed to suffice ; and even the 



158 KEEPING OPEN HOUSE 

minimum of cultivation is not insisted on, if the 
new-comer can show good reason for its non- 
fulfilment. It is to be feared, however, that the 
homestead inspectors, whose duty it is to travel 
up and down the country seeing that the settlers 
keep their bargain, are sometimes lax without 
legitimate reason ; and, without endorsing the 
charge, I feel bound to report a suspicion prevalent 
among some of the bona fide settlers that settlers 
of another description, or rather non-settlers, are 
allowed to keep land to which they have no right, 
thus shutting out men who are ready not only to 
take up land but to live on it and cultivate it in 
earnest. It is only fair to say, at the same time, 
that the officials in the land department at 
Ottawa profess readiness to investigate and 
remedy this and other abuses of the country's 
hospitality by lazy homesteaders and by certain 
land agents and their dummy representatives. 

There was no one to receive us when we came 
to the " stopping-place,' * kept by an ex-trooper 
of the Mounted Police, where we were to pass the 
night. But this matters little in the West. You 
stable your horses, find the key of the house in 
its usual place over the door, walk in, and make 
yourself at home, foraging on shelves and in 
cupboards and making delightful discoveries of 
scones and potatoes and berries, not to speak of 
mere bread and bacon and tea. You make a 



BATTLEFORD ONCE MORE 159 

fire in the stove, splitting up a log for the purpose 
if there is no pile of firewood handy, and it is 
your own fault or misfortune if with all this you 
cannot produce a good meal, before the lady and 
gentleman of the house return from their toils or 
their travels. As for sleeping room, it is astonish- 
ing how much there is in what seems from the 
outside to be only a little log-house. On occasion 
you may even find a spring bed to sleep on ; 
though after a day's ride through Canadian air 
you must be delicate indeed if you could not 
sleep on the soft side of a plank. 

We were still a good many miles from Battle- 
ford when we first caught sight of the Saskatche- 
wan River away on the right. From this point 
the trail not only follows the river but remains on 
what may be called its southern bank — a strip, 
sometimes a mile or two wide, of rough, often 
sandy, and generally wooded land, sloping in 
irregular and broken terraces from the prairie 
on the left down to the river. Then, on a height 
far ahead, we caught sight of Battleford itself : 
the fort, or the remains of the fort, on the point of 
a high plateau between the Battle and the North 
Saskatchewan, where these two rivers join. At 
last we plunged down the valley side, drove right 
through the Battle River, and climbed the steep 
ascent to the fort, as I had climbed it twenty years 
before with the relieving army. 



A BATTLEFIELD REVISITED 

The Lucknow of Canada has been almost totally 
transformed since the famous siege in the Rebellion 
of '85. The old stockade and bastions, the only 
protection of the beleaguered population, have 
vanished, and even the line where the stockade 
ran can only be guessed at. The only easily 
recognizable ante-bellum structure is the officers' 
house, on the point of the promontory that juts 
out in front of the town — looking eastward down 
the valleys of the Battle River and North Sas- 
katchewan, on the right and left, to the point 
where they join, a mile or so below. Of the town 
itself as it stood when our column came to its 
relief not a trace remains visible, though I believe 
one or two fragments of the old buildings are 
built into the new. The town has certainly grown 
since 1885, but not remarkably. 

A few hours after my arrival I again took the 
trail for Cutknife Hill, at about the same hour 
in the afternoon, when on May 2, 1885, our little 
force, having raised the siege, set out for the same 
destination — to find the besiegers, who had 
pitched their camp on Poundmaker's reserve, 
160 



LOADED FOR THE TRAIL 161 

40 miles away to the west. My comrades now, 
as then, were Mounted Police — a couple of them 
— but they had been infants when I took that 
trail before with Herchmer's men and the volun- 
teers. Not even now were we merely on pleasure 
bent. The battlefield was only to end the first 
stage of a long trek over country that was still 
a Great Lone Land, and we loaded our waggons 
with a fortnight's rations for man and beast; 
a shot-gun and rifle — not for defence, by any 
means, but for aggression upon such feathered 
and four-footed inhabitants as might enrich our 
bill of fare ; a military tent ; and wolf-skin 
" robes " to wrap ourselves in on the cold 
autumnal nights. 

There was no need of secrecy now, no call for 
an all-night march ; and we camped as darkness 
fell, in one of the gullies that gave our artillery so 
much trouble in '85. There was good drinking 
water in the creek : very different from the slough 
liquid which we should have to put up with at 
later stages in the Bad Lands. We were well 
supplied with bread, at any rate for the first few 
days, as well as with hard tack ; but the " soft 
tack" brought back painful recollections of the 
comrade, an Ottawa Civil Service man, who shared 
his bread with me — a delightful relief after the 
stony biscuit to which we were accustomed — on 
that weary night march before the battle. It was 

L 



1 62 THE SOUNDS OF NIGHT 

the last thing he ate. When I saw him next 
he lay on Cutknife Hill with an Indian ball 
through his head ; and the flying bullets sang his 
requiem. 

The night was dark, and it was hard to find a 
spot moderately level and free from dog-rose 
bushes to sleep on ; dark till the Northern Lights 
began to play. It was also quiet — at intervals. 
Now and then our broncos, having finished their 
oats, came nuzzling among our tins and rations, 
or even turning up the corners of our robes to 
see if we had any hidden edibles about us, before 
they settled down to their regular night's work 
on the standing prairie hay. As we dozed off 
again, the silence of the wood was pierced and 
torn by the long-drawn scream of a coyote, the 
prairie wolf. Another answered him, with a 
ghastly yell as of a woman in torment ; and then 
the whole pack gave tongue in chorus, like an 
orchestra of steam sirens and fog-horns pitched 
in many keys. The horses went on munching, for 
the coyote is a coward despised by all his brother 
beasts above the rank of a sheep or a sickly calf. 
The screaming ended as suddenly as it began. 
Presently the wind rose, and for half an hour or 
more a rushing blast whistled through the wood 
and hissed along the grass. This, too, died 
suddenly away, and a dead calm followed, broken 
only by spasmodic outbursts from despairing 



NEW-COMER AND OLD-TIMER 163 

wolves, till daylight roused us to breakfast and 
the road. 

A lovely country this, sloping down to the 
Battle River, with many a lake and stream among 
its meadow glades and wooded hills. Several 
considerable tracts are held by the Indians under 
treaty — it was on the Yellow-grass reserve we had 
pitched our camp — but the rest of the land is fast 
being taken up by settlers. Here, for instance, 
we came on a Lancashire man, an ex-official from 
the Manchester Post Office. He had been out 
three or four years, and though he had found the 
unaccustomed work hard at first he would not 
think of going back. He had 20 acres under 
grain, besides garden stuff. And here by way of 
contrast was an old-timer who had joined the 
Mounted Police more than 30 years ago and had 
now been farming 25 years. His experience, 
therefore, was worth having. On one field he had 
been growing wheat from the beginning, and its 
yield now averaged 25 to 30 bushels an acre. So 
far as grain was concerned, or such vegetables as 
potatoes and beans, he had rarely had trouble 
from frost. He bore a French name — his great 
grandfather fought under Napoleon — but spelt 
it in an English way to accommodate his English- 
speaking neighbours. 

When we crossed this reserve before dawn on 
that fatal May morning in 1885, Poundmaker 



164 THE CREE BRAVE AS FARMER 

and his men were a horde of hostile savages with 
yellow war-paint on their faces. To-day these 
warriors and huntsmen are a peaceful community 
of farmers ; and the first of them I met was a 
pleasant-looking gentleman, in what we have the 
conceit to call civilized clothing, driving a farm 
waggon with a good team of horses, and apparently 
differing only in complexion from any of his 
European neighbours. On the edge of a poplar 
bluff I met another Cree brave, who came 
forward with a smile to have his photograph 
taken as soon as he had put up his horses in their 
log stable. His summer dwelling stood close by 
— a genuine old tepee, but made of canvas instead 
of buffalo-skin, — and in front of the door were a 
couple of factory chairs, and, mirabile dictu, a 
wash-tub. The wash-tub stage of civilization is 
not a low or contemptible one. Still more remark- 
able, when interpreted, was the steady whir of 
machinery that fell upon the ear. A little 
further on we looked over a log fence and saw 
in the middle of a wide stubble-field a modern 
steam threshing outfit, with a great stack of 
wheat going in at one end, and a fountain of straw 
spouting out at the other. The whole outfit, 
engine and all, had been bought by the tribe with 
their own earnings, and the whole of the work was 
being done by the Indians themselves. The land 
is held in common by the tribe ; but any Indian 



CUTKNIFE HILL 165 

who wants to fence off part of it for a farm is free 
to do so. The average yield of these Indians' wheat 
crop in a good season is at least 35 bushels per 
acre, and they have often had more ; though in 
1904, after rather a cold and wet season, the 
average was only about 22 bushels. Oats run 
as high as 80 bushels to the acre. The two 
hundred Indians on this reserve have about 500 
head of cattle, owned individually, not tribally. 
The government, in fulfilment of its treaty with 
the Indians, pays them a yearly subsidy of $5 
a head. It also distributes a little food, as a 
matter of policy, to encourage them while at work, 
and, as a matter of charity, helps those who are 
old and infirm ; but the tribe as a whole may 
claim to be self-supporting and prosperous. 
There are two missions, Roman Catholic on 
Poundmaker's and Anglican on Little Pine's 
reserve, each with a day-school attached. The 
health of the Indians is pretty good, and their 
number is steadily though slowly increasing. 

Just now, however, our interest perforce was 
less in the wheat-fields of to-day than in the 
battlefield of twenty years ago — and there it was, 
sloping up to the west from the other side of 
Cut knife Creek. The creek itself was now 
invisible from the plain, its valley having been 
almost filled up since the year of the rising by a 
thick growth of poplar and willow — one of many 



166 ONE OF THE VICTORS 

indications that the forest, where not artificially 
checked, tends to spread over the prairie from 
north to south. On the turfy wind-swept slope 
where we had been caught by the rebels we now 
met Colonel MacDonnell of the Mounted Police, 
who had ridden over on the previous afternoon, 
(a forty-mile canter is nothing out there), to hunt 
up some old Indian who had been in the fight. 
With him was Mr Warden, the Indian agent, and 
his son, who talked Cree like a native, and, last 
but not least, a swarthy, good-humoured tribes- 
man with long black hair and a blanket suit. 
This was Piacutch, one of Poundmaker's men who 
had done his best or his worst to defeat us, and 
who now quietly chuckled whenever he recalled 
their victory over " the Police." But, I explained, 
there were only a handful of police in the outfit ; 
most of us were not even regular soldiers, but just 
clerks and working men and such like who had 
never fought before. Piacutch did not contradict 
me, though it is one of the cherished traditions of 
the tribe that they " beat the police.* ' He just 
smiled and said, " No matter ; if you had all been 
police we would have beaten you just the same." 
Plainly, however, his feeling in the matter was 
purely academical ; he bore no sort of a grudge 
against either white men in general or the 
police in particular ; and we went over the 
field together comparing notes and correcting 



REMINISCENCES OF THE FIGHT 167 

each other's recollections, in the friendliest 
fashion. 

There, in the middle of the slope, I mentioned 
that some of our horses had been bunched together, 
and one of them was killed. " Yes," said 
Piacutch, " its bones were there a long time ; and 
down there " — pointing into one of the flanking 
coulees — " we found a dead policeman." He was 
not a policeman at all, by the way, but that was a 
detail. At the top of the slope we identified the 
spot where the guns were planted — the poor little 
brass 7-pounders, whose carriages collapsed early 
in the fray, and the Gatling, bravely handled by 
Captain Howard (who afterwards fought for us 
in South Africa), but as good as useless when the 
Indians had taken cover. The Indians did not 
all take cover, Piacutch was careful to explain. 
Walking westward a piece along the almost level 
plateau which had separated the guns from the 
Indian camp, he suddenly stopped and said, 
u There was an Indian here, sitting up, not lying 
down, and firing at the police all the time ; and 
the police couldn't hit him " But close by he 
paused at a little hollow in the ground and said, 
" There was a Stoney hit here, and buried here." 
Unhappily the Stoney was not allowed to rest in 
peace. By whom the thing was done I know not, 
nor why ; but the body had been removed : only 
Piacutch, poking in the ground with his foot, 



168 HOW NAPATEKISIK WAS KILLED 

unearthed a broken piece of skull. The Crees, I 
should observe, have no affection for the Stoney 
Indians, dead or alive, though they were glad 
enough of their help in time of battle. 

" And where were you ? " I asked. Piacutch 
led me down the hillside into the coulee on the 
south of our position, turned round, and began 
stealing slowly up the slope, stooping low and 
pointing an imaginary gun at about the point 
from which I well remembered watching the 
progress of events. " Poundmaker was down 
here," he says, " with the biggest band, and it 
was here that old Napatekisik (Man-with-one-eye) 
was killed. He was Coming-day's father, and 
he was an old man. All the Indians were going to 
show their heads, and he said ' Don't show till 
I see.' He put his head up, and a bullet went into 
his chest." 

My new friend and old enemy insisted that he 
and his comrades did not take shelter in the 
bushes lining the trough of the little valley ; their 
only cover was the curve of the hill ; nor had they, 
as we believed, prepared for our reception by 
digging rifle-pits in the coulees, half-breed fashion. 
After the fight, he admitted, the women dug holes 
there, in case of another attack. 

Pointing to the hill crest on the far side of the 
coulee, I said I remembered having seen Indians 
firing at us from that exposed position. " Yes," 



WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN 169 

said Piacutch, after thinking a little, " that's 
true ; they were trying to hit the police who were 
going for our camp. When a man came from 
the tents telling Poundmaker that the camp was 
in danger, Poundmaker brought most of us up the 
coulee to save it." That, in fact, was the critical 
moment of the whole affair, as the Indians 
evidently recognized. And Piacutch, for all his 
certainty that we were bound to be defeated, con- 
firmed what was the strong belief of the force at 
the time, that if we had pressed on, instead of 
halting cooped up on the hill, not only should we 
have got out of a most unpleasant situation our- 
selves, but we could have captured the enemy's 
camp and compelled the Indians, if they wanted 
to defend it, to come up into the open. " If the 
police had stayed on their horses," Piacutch 
confessed, " they could have got through to the 
camp, for the Indians could only have fired one 
shot as they passed." But the chance was thrown 
away, and there was nothing for us left but 
retreat as soon as the enemy could be turned out 
of the valley in our rear. When asked how the 
Indians knew we were coming that morning, 
Piacutch said : " There was an old Indian 
named Jacob-with-long-hair who always got up 
before everybody else. He went out over the 
hill, and his horse put up its ears, and then he 
listened and heard waggons coming ; so he galloped 



I/O POUNDMAKER'S WHIP 

back and told us, and we strung out as quick as 
we could, one by one." 

" And when we went away," I asked, " were 
you one of the lot that followed us ? " Well, 
all he was willing to admit was that when we were 
going down the hill they went down after us to 
gather up the biscuits and cartridges " and rifles." 
In one spot, it appeared, they found quite a pile of 
biscuits— I only wish I had known where to get one 
or two that day — and cartridges were thick on the 
ground as wild strawberries. As for empty 
cartridge cases and Canada Militia buttons, there 
are plenty of them on the hill to this day. 

" So you did not really mean to pursue us ? " 
" The young men wanted to," answered Piacutch, 
" to catch you as you went home through the 
woods, but Poundmaker held them back out of 
pity for you." In describing this incident 
another old Indian asserts that Poundmaker 
brandished his whip and threatened to flog any 
Indian who dared to go after the white man. 

So the enemies of twenty years ago sat down 
and took pot-luck together on the battlefield, — 
pot-luck being a couple of prairie chicken 
brought down from a tree-top beside the trail, — 
and while the red man went back to his farm the 
white man set out on a long ride of 250 miles 
southward across the great central plain of 
Southern Saskatchewan. 



THE FIRST STAGE OF SETTLEMENT 171 

The country round Cut-knife Hill is probably 
as fertile as any in the West. Travelling south 
across the prairie from the battlefield, how- 
ever, the impression conveyed to the eye, which is 
incapable of analyzing soils, is simply that of 
immense and solitary space. For many miles 
at a stretch the plain is almost perfectly flat, and 
often we found it most inconveniently dry, yet 
it was rapidly being taken up by settlers. Now, 
the process of settlement was here to be seen in 
its very first stage, but it was all the more interest- 
ing on that account. The trail, or rather the 
track which we struck out for ourselves across the 
prairie, — for regular trails had not yet come into 
existence, — led us every now and then to a patch 
of newly broken ground. The turf had just been 
turned over by a first ploughing ; and sometimes 
on the edge of this brown patch stood a brand new 
little box of a house, of yellow planks ; but the 
owners, after doing as much as this in compliance 
with the homestead law, had gone home to the 
States for the winter, intending doubtless to come 
back for good in the spring. This was a little 
awkward when we wanted to camp for the night, 
or even for our nooning, as surface water was 
scarce and most of these beginners had not yet 
taken the trouble to dig wells. On the first 
afternoon after leaving Cut-knife we rode for 
hour after hour looking for at least a slough with 



1/2 WATER AT LAST 

a puddle in it to give our horses their nightly 
drink. Sloughs there were in plenty, but all 
utterly dry, and even the grass which had over- 
grown their beds was rapidly losing its greenness. 

Ahead of us in the south-east rose a little 
square dot on the horizon, — evidently a house, 
for nothing rose from that horizon in the shape 
of a tree or other natural landmark. When we 
got up to it we found the windows boarded over, 
and not even the beginnings of a well outside. 
Half a mile across the prairie to the north there 
was another house, and beside it we could just 
distinguish a few moving figures. Wheeling to 
the left, we raced over the turf, only to find that 
dwelling also shut up for the winter. The men 
we had seen were probably the owner and his son, 
who after finishing their day's work had gone off 
to spend the night on a farm still farther north. 
The worst of it was that though they had begun 
to dig a well they had only got seven or eight feet 
down, and had found no water. It was nearly 
dark, and, rather than go on in our right direction 
with the chance of finding no water all night, we 
turned round and pelted back the way we had 
come : for there, rising from the chimney of a 
little log house we had passed some while before, 
a column of blue smoke cut the red sunset sky in 
two. 

Here, at any rate, was a man, ploughing with a 



THE FRENCH-CANADIAN EXODUS 173 

yoke of oxen ; and he had a well, but there was 
little left in it, and his cattle had to drink. In 
fact, he said, every few days he had to hitch up 
and haul a couple of barrels from the nearest 
creek, three miles away ; still, we were welcome 
to what we needed. With intense relief we 
pitched our camp within the charmed circle — the 
ploughed strip ten or twelve feet wide — which 
every careful settler draws round his home as a 
guard against possible prairie fires. 

That log house and its humble inhabitants form 
as pleasant a picture as anything I witnessed in 
the whole journey. The man and his wife were 
both French-Canadians, and their presence on 
that far northern plain was a hopefully significant 
fact. One of the most painful features in the 
history of Canada for the last 30 years has 
been the exodus of French-Canadians from the 
Province of Quebec. It is believed that at least 
half a million of the two million French-Canadians 
are now to be found under the Stars and Stripes, 
though you might find it hard to identify a Jean 
Baptiste Lajeunesse and Dominique Lafortune 
under their new names of John Young and 
Washington Lucky. The greater number of these 
expatriated French-Canadians are to be found in 
the New England States, where they have supplied 
the labour for the cotton mills and shoe factories 
of many a Massachusetts town. There was also, 



174 AMERICANIZED FRENCH-CANADIANS 

however, a large French-Canadian emigration, 
less permanent in intention, to the American 
North- West, and especially to Illinois andMichigan. 
Thousands of the habitants were, and still are, 
expert lumbermen, spending their winters, even 
when they have farms of their own in the St 
Lawrence valley, cutting and drawing timber 
from the northern forests. Such men as these 
found a great and profitable market for their 
labour in Michigan, a State which indeed may be 
said to have-been transformed from forest to farm- 
land by French-Canadian hands and axes. A 
large proportion of these French-Canadians, 
whatever their intentions were, settled down in 
the State they had cleared. Hundreds, if not 
thousands, of them are now being brought back 
into Canada, though not chiefly into their native 
Province, by the same economic force that is 
drawing northward hundreds of thousands of 
English-speaking Americans. These American- 
ized Frenchmen speak English perfectly, though 
most, if not all, of them speak French as well, 
and their names are generally spelt in the old 
French way, though pronounced in English 
fashion. 

The typical pair of French-Canadians who now 
came to our rescue had only returned to their 
native land a few months before, and though 
they had got twenty acres of prairie broken they 



GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 175 

had not had time to get any of it under crop. In 
the Province of Quebec a good deal of the field 
work is still done by the women ; but madame 
had been brought up more in the American style, 
and found her hands pretty well occupied by the 
care of her house and her children, in addition to 
such trifles as making the butter and looking after 
the poultry. The house was a perfect model of 
cleanliness and good order. It consisted of one 
room only, but it was well if plainly furnished, 
and every kitchen utensil, bright as a new pin, 
hung from its proper hook on the neatly plastered 
log-wall, which was otherwise decorated with 
conventional coloured prints of the Holy Family. 
The husband had made that house, from door-step 
to chimney top, with his own hands, after drawing 
every stick of timber from the Cut-knife valley. 
He confessed that he had had to pay $30 (£6) for 
the window sashes and the planed wood forming 
the floor and the door, but otherwise the whole 
edifice had cost him in cash only the 25 cents 
charged by the Government for permission to 
cut logs. He had brought in a year's rations for 
his family from the United States, besides his 
eight oxen, his milch cow, and his farm imple- 
ments, so he was well able to wait till the second 
year for his wheat crop. Up here a team of work 
oxen would have cost him $200 (£40). Madame 
was thriftily packing all the eggs and butter she 



176 GOOD SPIRITS 

could gather and make, for winter use, but she 
was quite willing to sell us some of each, as well as 
a little sugar, at an extremely low price. Mon- 
sieur's habit was to rise about three, and put in at 
least six hours' work on the land before 10 a.m., 
returning to the plough or harrow in the afternoon 
and sticking hard at it till dark. Hard work 
seemed not only to agree with him physically but 
to leave him plenty of spirit for a tune and a chat 
in the evening. Between them, moreover, they 
found time to read three weekly papers, — one 
French, and the others English of the Canadian 
and American varieties respectively. 

" I suppose you are a little lonely out here as 
yet," I remarked. 

" Lonely ? " said our host, " O, dear no ; we 
had a couple of dances last summer in my father's 
house, and all the girls came to it from 20 miles 
round." 

It turned out that his father had taken the next 
homestead, that his brother was settling over 
there, his cousin over yonder, and sundry other 
Americanized French-Canadians close by, so that 
in a few months there would be a very respectable 
little French colony in that township. " There's 
a store opened five miles west," he added, " and 
a man says he's going to open one right here in a 
few weeks, and keep everything." 

Not very far south of the French-Canadian 



NO TRAIL 177 

homestead a colony of Germans has sprung up, 
beside Tramping Lake. Leaving this away on our 
right, we struck out in a south-easterly direction, 
hoping to pick up the old Swift Current trail by 
which we had marched north to the relief of 
Battleford more than 20 years before. Our 
task, however, was far from easy. Not one of the 
settlers could tell us the way, having come in by 
the trail from Battleford and knowing no other. 
There was, as we soon discovered, no other to 
know. Here and there a pair of parallel lines ran 
faintly through the grass, where some settler's 
waggon had passed, a week or maybe a month 
before ; but it generally ended on the edge of 
some deep and wooded coulee where the settler 
had merely gone to cut logs for his house-building. 
All we could do was to steer by compass across 
the sea of grass a course which must ultimately 
strike the old historic trail : and now and then 
we were able to verify our bearings by an iron 
stake, projecting from a little mound, and stamped 
with the number of the range and township. Our 
progress was not rapid in these circumstances, 
but, as we made a point of inquiring at every 
house we saw, we were rewarded by a good deal 
of information bearing on the chief object of our 
voyage. 

Here, for instance, on a little rise, which in that 
immensity of flatness might almost be called a 



178 A PARSONAGE 

hill, lived a man from Ontario. Like the French- 
Canadian, he was evidently one of those whom 
diligence maketh rich. Though he had bought 
his logs from the Indians, he had not only built 
the house himself but had made the very lime for 
its foundations, by burning the stones that 
drifting ice-bergs in some remote geological epoch 
had scattered thinly over the plain. His next 
neighbour, whom we found harrowing with three 
oxen abreast, was so bent on getting every possible 
acre under cultivation that he had only put up 
for his own habitation a tiny sod shack. The 
walls were of turf piled on turf, and the roof of 
the same primitive material supported by the 
trunks of young poplar trees. A few miles 
further on was a more comfortable looking 
establishment surrounded by a fine garden full of 
carrots, swedes, and other homely vegetables. 
The proprietor, hard at work among his roots, 
dashed into the house and out again with a letter 
which he begged us to post at the nearest post 
office ; but, as we were not likely to light on a 
post office for a week or so, he thought he would 
wait for a better opportunity. He, by the way, 
was nominally an American, but really a native 
of the Isle of Man. His next neighbour was a 
Methodist minister, one of the large number — 
large absolutely, but ridiculously small in pro- 
portion to the territory they have to serve — 



A PICTURESQUE HOMESTEAD 179 

of clergymen, chiefly Methodist, Presbyterian, 
and Anglican, who by incessant journeying in 
the saddle, the waggon or the sleigh, attempt to 
keep alive the habit of public worship and the 
spirit of religion among their vastly scattered 
parishioners. We found the reverend gentleman 
and his wife living in what can only be called a 
box, of rough planks covered with black felt paper 
inside to keep out the wind, and not very much 
larger than the packing case outside in which their 
piano had come up from Ontario. They had 
been so busy with the care of others that little 
time had been left for their own affairs, and, 
though they had some faint hope of being able to 
build a real house in the fall, they would most 
likely have to pass the whole of the western 
winter in that box. 

After a long morning's ride we found our path 
barred by a hill, a real hill, which had gradually 
been rising from the horizon ahead. Swerving 
to the north we plunged steeply down from the 
plain into a lovely valley, here chock-full of a 
jungle growth, poplar and willow and birch, but 
soon widening out and giving room for a pleasant 
meadow cut in two by a clear and rapid stream 
called the Bull-dog. High up on the eastern bank 
an old Ontario farmer and his sons, with an eye 
for the picturesque as well as the profitable, had 
built their primitive mansion. Between them 



i8o THE SWIFT CURRENT TRAIL 

they had taken up a whole section, 640 acres, and 
the eldest son was hard at work ploughing with a 
team of four oxen. They, at any rate, would have 
no lack of wood and water, and the soil they were 
ploughing was at least as good as that of the bare 
and monotonous dry plain. And now for a while 
we traversed a country which, if not flowing with 
milk and honey, at any rate left less of its richness 
to the imagination : a stretch of parkland, dotted 
by lakes and sloughs, divided by streams which 
if small had the great merit of being always wet, 
and plentifully endowed with timber. 

At last our long search was rewarded, and we 
camped for the night by the side of the Swift 
Current trail. In the morning, after laying in a 
supply of rarities such as sugar and eggs at the 
house of a French-Canadian from Minnesota, we 
set our faces to the south, and started on our last 
long ride of 180 miles to the nearest point on the 
Canadian Pacific Railway. 



THE DRY PATCH 

When I first knew it, the Swift Current trail was 
a sort of grand trunk road over which all supplies 
for the Battleford region had to be freighted. Its 
life and glory departed on the opening of the rail- 
way from Regina to Saskatoon ; but by that time 
the two parallel ruts forming the trail had been 
worn deep and smooth in the black prairie soil, 
and, judging by the survival of buffalo tracks 
meandering across the prairie in every direction 
30 years after the disappearance of the buffalo, the 
trail might remain both visible and passable for an 
indefinite period, so gently does the weather touch 
the landscape hereabouts, even if the settlement 
of the great plain between the South Saskatchewan 
and the Battle River were indefinitely postponed 
and the trail left traffickless. 

That settlement had already begun, we soon had 
evidence, but very little of it. Only once, and that 
while we were still in the Battleford district, 
a sapling laid across the trail warned us that land 
had been taken up and fenced in just ahead, and 
forced us to make a circuit by a new and rough 
track through the grass for half a mile or so. We 

181 



1 82 THE PRAIRIE PRIMEVAL 

were still among the park lands when we met a 
couple of waggons lumbering northward behind 
yokes of sleepy brown oxen. The owners, it 
appeared, had taken up land at a place still 
destitute of a name but lying about a score of 
miles south of Sixty-mile Bush, and they were 
going into Battleford — a four days' journey, if 
they made 20 miles a day — for household belong- 
ings that had come up from the States by rail. 

We entered now a land where no man dwelt ; 
the prairie primeval, untouched and unchanged, 
sleeping on as it had slept when the first silent red 
man stole out of the woods and shaded his eyes to 
scan its sunlit sea of grass. 

As we left the valley of the Battle River further 
and further behind, the bluffs of willow and poplar 
became smaller and thinner, and their trees 
dwindled to shrubby insignificance, while longer 
and longer intervals passed between the sloughs. 
The prairie chicken, plentiful enough at first, 
gradually disappeared, and even the wild duck, 
which had risen in scores from every patch 
of water as we rode by, grew more and more 
scarce. Very soon the park lands of the north 
were all behind us, and the rolling, dry, illimitable 
plain stretched out to the horizon in front. The 
slender stunted stalks of the wild rose and the 
stubborn whip-like stems of the grey-leaved 
buck-brush scarcely relieved the monotony of the 



ANIMAL LIFE 183 

smooth brown turf, and after a while even the 
sloughs lost their accustomed fringe of willow 
bushes. High over head flew steadily southward 
a flock of wavies, or cranes, in perfect arrowhead 
formation of two long lines converging on their 
leader, or an irregular bunch of wild duck travel- 
ling from slough to slough, while the little greyish 
shore lark hopped about everywhere. The 
ubiquitous gopher sat bolt upright on the edge of 
its hole, vanishing downward like a shot when it 
thought audacity had reached the point of fool- 
hardiness. Twenty yards ahead, beside the 
trail, a fountain of earth spouted up where a 
big striped badger was digging himself a new 
home or enlarging his old one. He turned and 
stared at us, motionless, till a rifle was aimed at 
him, — then vanished. Now and then a snake 
slipped across the trail, — Twining's garter-snake, 
the zoologists call it, a greenish-yellow animal 
with a black stripe along the back. It is a harm- 
less creature. There are said to be rattle-snakes 
here and there in Canada, but in many years and 
much travel I have never come across one. 

The sun set and the coyotes began to howl as 
the trail ran down a rough and stony slope 
towards the middle of a charming little lake. The 
blue water was daintily edged with ring within 
ring of snowy white alkali and vivid red weeds. 
Alas, it was only charming to the eye, and we held 



1 84 "STINKING LAKE" 

our nostrils tight as we passed across the middle 
of the lake by a stony natural causeway. A 
large proportion of the sloughs and lakes on this 
prairie are alkaline, though in varying degrees, — 
some being quite drinkable ; others drinkable in 
small quantities, and with a risk of internal 
consequences ; others, like this " Stinking Lake/' 
abominable beyond words. Happily, before the 
twilight died away the smooth sky-line ahead 
began to wear a slightly serrated look, and as 
darkness fell we entered Sixty-mile Bush. This 
is a curious stretch of rather thickly if not heavily 
wooded land suddenly occurring in the midst of 
the bare plain, and interspersed, like the park 
lands of the north, with many sloughs, some of 
them perfectly fresh. 

The bush is inhabited, so far as human beings 
go, only by two French half-breed families. 
Beside one of these we camped for the night, and 
I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance, 
now more than 20 years old, with a race that has 
played a not unimportant and often a useful, if 
sometimes an unhappy, part in the history of 
the West. These isolated denizens of Sixty-mile 
Bush seemed prosperous enough, with herds of 
cattle, good log farm buildings, and large stacks 
of rich natural hay from the prairies and sloughs. 
In the log house beside which we camped, compar- 
ing favourably with the shacks that satisfy many 



HALF-BREEDS OF SIXTY-MILE BUSH 185 

white settlers for their first few years in the 
country, we found two married sisters. One of 
them could only speak the Cree Indian language, 
and a French patois ; the other had been educated 
in a convent and spoke English pretty well. Their 
eight little children, black-eyed, swarthy, and 
very Indian-looking, rolled and tumbled over 
each other on the floor, — active and jolly, though 
remarkably quiet in their play. The good women 
were as kind and hospitable as travellers could 
wish. Did we want wood for our camp fire ? We 
might have as much as we wanted from their log 
pile. Were we tired of sleeping on the prairie ? 
Their stable was dry, and not in use till winter, 
and there was plenty of hay in the stacks. Had 
we had enough (and we certainly had) of slough 
water ? Here was a pailful of the best from their 
well. To be sure, they had no bread, but we could 
have for a reasonable consideration one of their 
mighty bannocks, — great oval slabs, measuring 
about 18 inches by 12, and an inch thick — with 
a big lump of butter and a jug of milk. 

Presently arrived the father-in-law of the 
English-speaking dame : a pleasant-faced man, 
as dark as any Indian, but wearing a considerable 
beard ; a man of seventy, but without a white 
hair in his head. Not a word of English could he 
speak, though 40 years ago he had gone with an 
English hunter as guide all through the Rocky 



186 A MAN OF 1885 

Mountains. More interesting still, he had been at 
" Batoche/' — the three days' fight which broke 
the back of the rebellion in 1885. It was not, 
however, about Batoche that he was most inclined 
to speak, but rather of his share in the proceedings 
at an earlier and less tragic stage. He had been 
well acquainted with Louis Riel, the leader of the 
Red River rebellion in 1870, as well as of the 
Saskatchewan rising 15 years later. When the 
Saskatchewan half-breeds, tired of petitioning the 
Government in vain to recognize their right to 
their own farms, invited Riel to come back and 
put himself at their head, our friend of the Sixty- 
mile Bush was one of those who opposed the 
invitation. M I got up in meeting," said he, 
" and told them that in 1870 Riel had the country 
in the hollow of his hand, and what did he do ? 
He ran away like a coward." The invitation was 
sent nevertheless, and was accepted. You know 
the result. 

We had a visit from a skunk, in that farmyard. 
It was only a flying visit, but it was enough. The 
air was full of him long after he left. Gordon 
Cumming says that skunk meat is delicious, when 
skilfully dressed. If the dressing and the eating 
took place in the same township, Gordon Cumming 
must have had an impregnable appetite. 

For 20 miles after leaving the Sixty-mile Bush 
we saw no sign of man. Our trail lay as before 



A BEGINNING OF SETTLEMENT 187 

over a bleak and hilly, or rather hillocky, plain, 
with here and there a little slough, or more 
commonly a hollow where a slough had been, 
now filled with dry, rustling, cream-coloured 
grass ; and from one or two heights we saw 
in the middle distance the blue waters of a lake 
many miles in length. At last we came upon 
the only settlement between the park lands of 
the Battle River Valley and the South Saskatche- 
wan. Here we found a hovel built of sods, — 
next to the bark shelter of an aboriginal Aus- 
tralian, the most primitive habitation in the world. 
It was the first western home of a farmer from 
Ontario, whose wife and children were not coming 
up from the East till spring. On the next home- 
stead, however, stood a good frame-house of sawn 
planks ; merely an unpainted and unfurnished 
shell so far, but giving promise of genuine comfort, 
and indicating taste and means which would not 
take shelter even for a time within sod walls. This 
also belonged to a born Briton from Ontario. A 
third settler whose acquaintance we made was a 
Perthshire Highlander. He had spent twelve 
years in Manitoba, but gained little except 
experience, having given too much for his farm. 
Too much, that is, at the time. Now, prices had 
risen so far that he had sold out at a profit ; and 
he had come far afield for a free homestead. The 
result of his Manitoban apprenticeship was 



1 88 A HIGHLANDER'S ENERGY 

evident all round. In this first season in the new 
Province, he had got 50 acres broken and ready 
for the next year's crop. He had planted a sack 
of potatoes, but had only got a pailful in return 
for his labour. " That," he said, " was the 
gophers' doing ; but we will settle them next 
year." He had dug three wells, to a depth of 40 
or 50 feet, but they were as dry at the bottom as 
they were at the top. At present, therefore, 
he was hauling five barrels of water every second 
day for his eight horses from a slough a mile and a 
half away ; " but," he said, M my neighbours 
here have only had to dig from 24 to 40 feet deep, 
and they have 8 or 10 feet of water in their wells." 
A most cheery and hopeful man, this Highlander. 
In addition to his own work he had acted as baker 
for all the settlers coming in ; and although what 
we saw appeared to be simply an isolated knot of 
farmhouses, it was really part of a long thin line. 
These settlers had come off the railway at 
Saskatoon, and, finding the land about there all 
taken up, they had come on and on in a south- 
westerly direction, till, after driving 85 miles, 
they had at last found land without an owner. 
Others following them had gone on in the same 
direction, until at the time of our visit the thread 
of settlement stretched out to a length of 100 
miles from the nearest station. Of course these 
people were confident that railways would come 



ANTELOPE IN THE BAD HILLS 189 

in after them ; and before long the Grand Trunk 
Pacific will have opened up a great part of that 
untouched plain. 

We halted for dinner that day beside the Eagle 
Creek, the only stream of any account which the 
traveller sees in the whole 160 miles from the 
Battle River to the South Saskatchewan. It is 
here an easily fordable little stream, from 10 to 
20 feet wide and a couple of feet deep, and the 
only trees discoverable in its valley are scarcely 
more than bushes. Here we passed a stack or 
two of prairie hay, guarded from fire by ploughed- 
up circles of brown soil ; but there was no other 
sign of human beings, the haymakers being pro- 
bably the immigrants whose line of settlement we 
had crossed earlier in the day. Ascending from 
the Eagle Valley to a narrow table-land, we 
dipped almost at once into another and similar 
valley, threaded by a mere rivulet ; and then, 
after a long and gentle ascent, we entered upon 
the Bad Hills, a vast rolling dry plain to which 
there seemed no end. 

On the crest of a hillock, silhouetted against the 
sky, a great buzzard sat watching us till we came 
near, and then soared away on the other side. A 
coyote stole swiftly over the plain, stopping 
occasionally to have a good look at the invaders. 
Every now and then as we swung round a hillock 
we disturbed a bunch of antelope, who flew off, 



IQO A WATERLESS WASTE 

stepping along in a leisurely way to all appear- 
ance, but really getting out of range with some- 
thing like the speed of an express train. From 
one or two points as we mounted the crest of an 
earth wave we caught a distant glimpse of a large 
alkali lake, with an unpleasant reputation, but 
when the sun set — in a gorgeous heaven-wide 
illumination of purple and red and gold — we had 
not seen a drop of water near the trail since three in 
the afternoon ; and that had been only the last 
surviving puddle in the middle of an old slough. 
As the twilight died away we were cheered by the 
watery gleam in a hollow half a mile away on our 
left ; but when we got down to the spot the 
gleaming surface turned out to be merely whitish 
yellow grass rooted in hard baked mud. We 
threw cartridges from the shore — as there were no 
stones, and the prairie soil was too hard to yield a 
clod without a spade, — but no splash followed, 
nothing but the dullest of dull thuds. On we 
went, repeating this experiment over and over 
again, but always finding we had been deceived, 
until long after dark, we resolved to put up with 
a " dry camp " for the night. We tied up all our 
horses, lest they should wander off in search of 
the water their masters could not find, and after 
a scratch supper we rolled ourselves up in wolf- 
skins and went to sleep under the stars. Happily 
the grass was covered with hoar frost before the 



GUMBO, AND WHITE BEAR "LAKE" 191 

night was old, and the horses got moisture enough 
with their food to keep them from suffering from 
thirst. It was just as well, for we had to travel 
ten or twelve miles more in the morning before 
we saw a drop of water ; and a mere drop it was, 
trickling out of a stony gorge known as Devil's 
Gully. 

Again and again we startled bunches of antelope, 
which scampered off at our approach ; and for 
eight or nine miles a wild horse, with a broken 
lasso round its neck, led our procession in mockery 
along the trail. The prairie soil was now com- 
posed of " gumbo," so dry that the surface of the 
ground was cracked in all directions, but so sticky 
that it made a hard lumpy ridge all round the 
tires of our waggon wheels. It is rich stuff, this 
gumbo, and if the rain could only be depended upon 
the region would be one of the most productive 
in the West. As it is, the only purpose for which 
it can be confidently recommended is the grazing 
of cattle and horses. 

After travelling about three and a half hours, — 
that is to say about twenty five miles, for the 
gradients are sometimes fairly steep — we arrived 
at what the maps call White Bear Lake — a sheet 
of water, according to the surveyors, about 12 
miles long and perhaps a mile wide, with the trail 
making a circuit round its western end — in reality 
a dried-up waste with the trail running right across 



192 "WERE CANUCKS NOW" 

it through weeds and grass. We now ascended 
a little winding gully, through which a stream 
once ran to feed the lake, and still adorned with 
one or two genuine trees, — genuine, if only ten 
feet high. It was well on in the afternoon before 
we reached water again and were able to camp for 
dinner. This little creek is known as Fifteen-mile 
Springs, — fifteen miles, that is, coming north from 
the South Saskatchewan River, — and here we 
met the first human beings we had seen since 
crossing the line of settlement north of Eagle 
Creek, 50 miles back. The new-comers were a 
couple of farmers from Minnesota, genuine 
Americans from birth ; wise men, with a keg of 
good water in their waggon. 

" And don't you want to be Americans any 
longer ? " I asked. " No," said they most 
emphatically, " we're Canucks now." They, 
it appeared, had first come in by way of Hanley, 
on the railway south of Saskatoon. Thence they 
had struck west across the prairie to a point 
somewhat east of Sixty-mile Bush, where they 
and twenty one others from the same State had 
founded a little Minnesotan colony. When I 
asked them about their prospects they admitted 
the land was rather dry ; but it was good, they 
affirmed ; and as for drinking water, so long as 
they could get it at a depth of a hundred feet, 
they would be satisfied, if only they could grow 




to 



THE SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN 193 

crops. There was a lot of land in Minnesota 
where the people had had to go much deeper. 

" If we can grow crops." That seems a pretty 
large "if." Even supposing that for some years 
to come enough rain falls to make agriculture 
profitable, the record of rainfall in that region 
is so poor that to attempt farming here must 
be a rather risky speculation. 

Two hours more of gumbo and we drew a long 
breath of relief as the grand valley of the South 
Saskatchewan lay at our feet, the broad river 
flowing between strips of meadow. The sight of 
the river, however, recalled associations not of the 
pleasant est, for here, in 1885, our march to the 
relief of Battleford had suffered a most intolerable 
delay. At that time the only dwelling in the 
valley was a ferryman's hut, and the ferryman 
had fled from the Indians ; but now there stands 
on the south shore amid lawns and flowerbeds 
a large and handsome house, comparing favour- 
ably not merely with the common frame dwelling 
of the west, but with the more ambitious farm- 
house of the old-established east. This, in fact, 
is more than a farmhouse. It was put up by a 
well-to-do rancher a few years ago, when there 
was any quantity of free range for his cattle ; but 
so many settlers have come in, and, wisely or 
unwisely, taken up homesteads on the free 
range, that the proprietor has turned his house 



194 FROM RIVER TO RAILWAY 

into an hotel, and has also established a little 
store. 

The climb from the valley up to the high prairie 
south of the Saskatchewan is a stiff one, through 
scenery which might almost be described as 
mountainous ; and the gorges running down 
through this rugged escarpment are full of trees 
that really deserve the name. 

Once the prairie level is reached, however, the 
country is bare and monotonous to a degree, and 
the soil is the stiff est gumbo. For the whole 30 
miles forming the last stage of our southward 
journey, from the river to the railway, the trail 
runs through land which has been " homesteaded," 
mostly by English-speaking immigrants of a very 
good class from the United States, who take the 
land at its face value and ignore its somewhat 
droughty record. At the time of my visit, how- 
ever, few of these settlers had yet taken up 
residence ; in fact, there was no building of any 
sort to be seen till we had covered 15 miles, and 
then only a rough " half-way shack " put up as a 
shelter for the mail carrier in case of need. Be- 
yond that again the untouched wilderness con- 
tinued to within a couple of miles of Swift Current, 
where our roughing it came to an end. 

When, in the first year of the Canadian Pacific 
Railway's existence, we disembarked at this 
point for our long northward march to the relief 



THE CYPRESS HILLS 195 

of Battleford, Swift Current consisted of three or 
four boxes — it would be flattery to call them 
houses. One or two of these still stand, but they 
are in the middle of a substantial little town. 
Until the last few years little use had been made 
of the country lying south of this, between the 
railway and the United States frontier, except 
for cattle ranching ; and that industry still 
flourishes in the Cypress Hills, a narrow range 
about 100 miles long and bearing timber enough 
to supply a local sawmill. Thirty miles east of 
Swift Current, too, there is a big ranch stocked 
with perhaps 15,000 head of cattle, established 
four or five years ago by a pair of Americans — 
one, by the way, of Canadian birth. 

In the latter years of the nineteenth century 
many settlers who came into this region went out 
again, ruined or disheartened by the drought. 
Nevertheless, for several years now the tide of 
population has been flowing in again, stronger and 
stronger ; and there seems no part of the " semi- 
arid area " that the home-seekers despise. Old- 
timers shake their heads at the rashness of the 
new-comers, saying, " Wait till the dry years 
come ! " It is greatly to be hoped, but hardly 
to be expected, that the old-timers will prove false 
prophets, and that the new-comers' persistent 
belief that rainfall increases with the spread of 
cultivation will prove in the course of years to have 



196 THE DIMINUTION OF DROUGHT 

some foundation which scientists profess them- 
themselves unable to discern. I should like to 
quote here a recent expression of opinion, based 
on twenty years' experience at the other end of 
this dry region, in South-western Alberta. The 
Rev. Dr Gaetz, who settled at Red Deer as far 
back as 1884, made this statement when visiting 
Montreal in 1906 : — 

" I certainly used to think years ago that there 
were considerable areas of inferior land, but of late 
years I have so frequently been compelled to 
change my opinion, on witnessing the result of 
cultivation on these same areas, that my mental 
condition may be described as one of chronic 
optimism regarding almost all the land I once 
thought inferior. For example, there is a section 
of country lying between Olds and Calgary that, 
when driving over in my buckboard years ago, I 
found scorched as brown as a berry in July and 
August. I made up my mind that that section 
of country was a good place for grain-growers to 
stay away from. And when settlers began to 
pour in there in the rainy seasons in 1900 and two 
following years I wasted a good deal of very 
generous sympathy upon them. I frequently 
heard it said, ' Wait till the dry years come, and 
you will see these poor fellows pull out/ Well, 
we have just had a pretty dry summer following a 
snowless winter, and on my way here last week I 



MENNONITES FROM MANITOBA 197 

saw in some of those very sections some of the 
grandest wheat fields I ever saw in any part of 
Eastern or Western Canada. The only reasonable 
theory to my mind is that this bald prairie, for 
centuries tramped by buffalo and annually swept 
by fire, became so parched and hard that very 
little moisture ever penetrated the surface ; the 
melting snow and falling rain alike fell quickly 
down in the low places, forming the sloughs 
everywhere to be seen in the earlier years. To-day 
these have almost entirely disappeared, for no 
other reason that I can conceive than that the 
wide area of well cultivated soil absorbs the 
moisture and retains it foi; the production of the 
splendid crops that are to be seen there to-day. 
I think there is good ground for believing that as 
these broad and apparently barren plains, which 
as yet are barely touched by the plough, are more 
widely and thoroughly cultivated, we shall see 
results we have not yet dreamed of." 

Whatever the risk may be, thousands of men 
are taking it who are not new to western con- 
ditions. A remarkable feature of the immigration 
to the Swift Current district in the last year or 
two has been the predominance of Mennonites, 
who have deliberately given up their farms in 
Manitoba to settle in this drier region. The 
immigration officer at Herbert, 28 miles east of 
Swift Current, says that this district until a year 



198 ARTESIAN AND OTHER IRRIGATION 

or two ago was considered within the semi-dry 
belt, but now it contains a large and rapidly 
increasing settlement of Mennonites. The first 
year very little grain was sown, but in 1905, 
2000 acres were in crop, and in 1906 the acreage 
leapt up to 8000, while the price of wild land 
increased from $6.50 to $10 (27s. to 41s. 8d.) an 
acre, and timber merchants could not keep up 
with the demand for building material. Among 
the old-country folk planting themselves near 
Swift Current, by the way, I heard of a Scot who 
had bought 1000 acres out of hand. 

If another cycle of dry years comes upon the 
new settlements, it is proposed by some to try 
irrigation from artesian wells ; but there is no 
evidence as yet that under this dry plain any 
water supply exists comparable to that which has 
been tapped by artesian boring in Kansas ; and, 
even if water were thus found in sufficient 
quantity, the question arises whether in quality it 
would not be too alkaline to do the land any good. 

I cannot emphasize too strongly the fact that 
the speculative region of which I am now speaking 
is, though absolutely large, small in comparison 
with the vast well-watered regions encircling it 
in Manitoba, Eastern and Central Saskatchewan 
and Northern Alberta, not to speak of the great 
plains of Southern Alberta where natural irriga- 
tion from the mountains is easy. 



SOUTHERN ALBERTA ; THE CATTLE AND 
HORSE RANCHERS 

Twenty years ago Southern Alberta was a wilder- 
ness. The population consisted chiefly of Indians, 
little removed in time or temper from their scalping 
and tomahawking days ; of strong detachments 
of the North- West Mounted Police, to control as 
much as to protect the Indians ; and of a sprink- 
ling of pioneers engaged in, or dependent on, 
cattle ranching. As for agriculture, few had any 
idea that crops would grow upon these arid plains. 
The cattle-kings to whom great ranges had been 
leased by the Federal Government on easy terms 
were the undisputed and unenvied monarchs of 
the prairie. To-day the uninhabited prairie is 
dotted with homesteads, villages, and towns. The 
arid immensities of brown bunch-grass and grey 
sage-bush are chequered with yellow fields of 
wheat. The cowboy is a curiosity. The cattle- 
king has abdicated, and the farmer reigns in his 
stead. 

Twenty years ago Calgary, the starting point of 
my journey through this part of the country, 
was a little village which the Canadian Pacific 

'99 



200 SOUTH FROM CALGARY 

Railway, then only just completed, had taken as 
its westernmost divisional centre before entering 
the Rocky Mountains. To-day it is a city, with 
handsome stone stores, banks, and hotels, and the 
population (in 1906) of 11,967 growing fast. The 
branch line to the south, until a very few years 
ago, passed through only two or three little 
villages in its whole course of 108 miles. To-day 
there are nine towns and villages between the 
terminal points, and each of them serves a con- 
siderable and rapidly increasing population. A 
mere glance at the quantity and variety of the 
goods discharged on to the railway platforms was 
enough to show this, had I known nothing more. 
Cases of clothing, dozens of stoves, and expensive 
agricultural implements, from the factories of 
Eastern Canada ; fruit from British Columbia and 
California ; preserved provisions, generally from 
Ontario but including well-known English brands ; 
and so on, through a long list. At one station, I 
noticed a great case clearly containing a cottage 
piano. It was the twenty-fifth piano delivered 
at the village that summer, and two years before 
the village had not begun to exist ! 

I have said that few dreamed twenty years ago 
of what has come to pass ; but the few existed, 
and they did more than dream. They were not 
merely voices crying in the wilderness, — they 
were too hopeful to cry, and too busy turning the 



WHEAT FOR JAPAN 201 

wilderness into a garden. I know a man in 
Southern Alberta who has been growing wheat 
near Macleod for a quarter of a century. His 
experience is most instructive. He has known 
dry seasons ; but only once, in 1892, did the 
drought cause an almost total failure of crops. 
In 1896, the wheat yield was again very light ; 
but that was both preceded and followed by 
enormous crops. Another " old-timer " occupy- 
ing a responsible position further south confirms 
this declaration that, taking a series of five and 
twenty years, the moisture available in Southern 
Alberta, though small, is sufficient. 

It is Japan that a good many South Albert ans 
expect to provide the great future market for 
their wheat. The Japanese are taking to wheat 
instead of rice ; and the Americans have been 
supplying what they want in enormous quantities. 
Owing to the treatment of their fellow-countrymen 
in California, and to their cordial relations with 
the United Kingdom, the Japanese would natur- 
ally prefer to get their supplies from Canada. 
Unfortunately, the only Canadian wheat growers 
near enough to the Pacific sea-board to compete 
with the Americans have barely begun to develop 
their land, and their trans-Pacific trade is still 
but trifling in amount. The crop record for 1906 
shows that the winter wheat in which the dry 
South trusts was only sown on 43,661 acres in the 



202 THE MACLEOD POLICE 

whole Province, and produced 907,421 bushels, 
or nearly 21 bushels per acre ; and even the spring 
wheat, with its handsome average of about 34 
bushels an acre from 97,760 acres, could only 
produce 3,332,292 bushels. (The other grain 
crops of the year were 13,192,150 bushels of oats, 
from 322,923 acres, or 40 bushels an acre, and 
2,201,179 bushels of barley, from 75,678 acres, 
or 29 bushels an acre. The whole area under 
grain in Alberta was expected to increase from 
540,022 acres in 1906, to 830,000 acres in 1907.) 

When I first visited Macleod it was little more 
than a stronghold of the semi-military North- West 
Mounted Police ; a " fort," consisting of a 
quadrangle of barracks and stables and officers' 
dwellings. The force had to keep order among 
the war-like Indians of the Blackfoot nation, and 
to guard a long stretch of invisible frontier 
against smugglers and horse-thieves. This they 
did most effectively. The protection of their own 
flag, by the way, was quite beyond their powers. 
Macleod may be called the capital of Windland. 
The west wind blows almost continuously a long 
and not too gentle blast from January to December. 
A new Union Jack was no sooner hoisted than its 
unravelment and disintegration began, and the 
flag had to be renewed about 30 times in the year. 

To-day Macleod is a town of some importance, — 
at the junction of the Canadian Pacific branch 



COW-CATCHER AND BRONCO 203 

railway coming south from Edmonton and 
Calgary with the same company's Crow's Nest 
line, which forks off the main line near Medicine 
Hat and strikes almost due west till it crosses the 
Rocky Mountains by the Crow's Nest Pass and 
descends into the Kootenay mining district of 
Biitish Columbia. 

By the time I reached Macleod, I had made use 
of almost every conceivable conveyance in my 
western wanderings, — waggons on the trail, and 
anything on the track, from a railway president's 
private car to a cow-catcher. The cow-catcher 
is perhaps the most exciting means of transit, 
especially when it starts catching cows, — or rocks. 
It also gives the finest view and the freshest air. 
How many hundreds of exhilarating miles I have 
covered on a cow-catcher I should hardly like to 
guess. But even the airiest of cow-catchers, 
thundering along the dizziest precipices and flying 
over the deepest gorges, cannot compare for sheer 
enjoyment with the back of a fresh bronco. It 
was on such a mount, with a constable and some- 
times an Indian scout as guide, that I roamed 
over the ranching plains of Southern Alberta. 

On the borders of the Blood Indian Reserve, 
in a little wayside store about 25 miles south of 
Macleod, I met a rancher whose experience is 
worth telling. A Lincolnshire boy, he came out 
early in life to the United States and was brought 



204 TWO MEN FROM THE STATES 

up on a western farm. After five or six years of 
copper and gold mining, he took to stock-raising 
in South Dakota, at a time when " free range " 
for cattle was unlimited and the owning or leasing 
of land was unnecessary. In 1899, the conditions 
were changed by the arrival of sheep, and owing 
to the conflict — which seems to have been 
sufficiently violent — between the cattle men and 
the sheep men, he " cleared up and walked out." 
In Southern Alberta he bought a large tract of 
land for $3.10 an acre ; land now worth $12 to $15 
an acre. When I met him, he had on his 3000 
acres about 50 horses and 600 head of cattle. His 
wheat crop for the year averaged 55 or 56 bushels 
per acre, and his oats 60 bushels ; while he also 
grew, on irrigated land, large crops of timothy and 
other grass for winter feed. The wheat yield, I 
should observe, was unusually high, his previous 
averages having run from 20 to 40 bushels ; but, 
even so, he was more than satisfied, and declared 
that he knew of no State in the Union with fewer 
crop failures to its debit. A neighbour of his, 
on slightly higher and drier land, had just threshed 
an average of 50 bushels of wheat per acre. 

The name of another American in this region 
occurs to me whose experience varies in certain 
respects from the ordinary fine. He came in 
from Iowa in 1900 ; and he acts on the principle 
of doing nothing himself that he can get others 



COMING BACK TO KING EDWARD 205 

to do for him. He bought a considerable amount 
of land, but there his capital expenditure ceased. 
Four years later he had 800 acres under crop ; 
but his ploughing and seeding and threshing, as 
well as the hauling of his grain to the railway, 
were done by hired labour and hired machinery. 
After paying for all this, he banked a sum equal 
to $9 or $10 (37s. 6d. to 41s. 8d.) per acre. As the 
result of a single season's work, — or, rather, a 
single season's sitting still and looking on, — 
he cleared a good deal more than the capital 
he had invested in the business. 

As the sun set we came on a tall grizzled good- 
natured old fellow getting ready to camp. His 
long heavy waggon was covered with a low 
canvas awning stretched over a central ridge- 
pole. Built up on the back of the waggon was 
his store-cupboard, which he opened to show us 
a freighter's kitchen, displaying a tidy assortment 
of big tins and jars full of everything that a hardy 
traveller could want. He carried no furniture or 
stove ; a few blazing sticks on the ground would 
fry his pork and boil his tea ; and, for the rest, 
he was a nomadic patriarch whose possessions 
consisted of the herd of ponies munching the dry 
grass around him. " No," said he, when I asked 
if he was an American, " I'm a true-blue Canuck, 
born in Ontario. I've spent my life freighting, 
over the border ; but I'm coming back to King 



206 END OF A GREAT RANCH 

Edward at last ! " I met the same old gentleman 
more than once circling round on that trip. He 
was looking for a homestead, but was in no hurry, 
and clearly meant to see a good deal of the 
country before choosing a home for himself ; and 
I daresay the old nomad was a little reluctant to 
settle down at all, 

But — revenons a nos bceufs. 

From the mention of the ex-Dakotan's herds 
of cattle and horses it may be gathered that 
Albertan stock-ranching, though shorn of its 
glory, is far from extinct. The livestock census 
of 1906 showed that there were 375,686 head of 
cattle in the Province, besides 93,001 horses, 
80,055 sheep and 46,163 pigs. As a matter of 
fact, while the cattle industry is now carried on in 
a smaller way, its total output is larger than ever. 
The famous Cochrane ranch near Macleod, with 
its lordly domain of 66,000 acres, has been bought 
by a Mormon syndicate for subdivision into farms 
at a price ($6, or 25s., per acre) five times what 
Senator Cochrane paid for the land 20 years ago ; 
and when I visited the place I met the two gentle- 
men, one English and the other Irish, who had 
just bought the remaining live-stock, about 
10,000 head, for a matter of $250,000 (£50,000). 
This big herd, it is interesting to know, was to 
be not dispersed but transferred bodily to a range 
of land let by the Government for this purpose, 



RANCHING IN THE FOOTHILLS 207 

as being at present unlikely to be coveted for any 
other, many miles away to the north, near Gleichen 
and the Blackfoot Reserve. There remain in 
Southern Alberta a few ranches of considerable 
size, though much smaller than the Cochrane ; 
but the fact remains that, while the yearly ship- 
ments of beef-cattle from this district tend to 
increase rather than diminish, they are the output 
not of a few patriarchal herds, but of a great many 
" bunches " numbering from 150 to 600 head. In 
1906, about 130,000 head of cattle reached 
Winnipeg from the west ; and 85,000 of these, 
or 26,000 more than in the previous year, were 
exported to the United Kingdom. The average 
price received by the ranchers for these export 
cattle was estimated at over $47, or nearly £10, 
a head. The value of a whole herd, however, 
taking young and old together, would be between 
$20 and $25 a head. 

The picturesque impressiveness of cattle-ranch- 
ing has certainly somewhat faded in the transfer 
of that industry from the few big capitalists and 
companies to the many small individuals. And 
yet the working of a small stock ranch is full of 
interest. A good many young educated English- 
men have embarked in this business in South- 
western Alberta, up among the foot-hills of the 
Rocky Mountains. Much of this region, though 
hilly, is as bare and dry looking as the " bald-head 



208 HIGH AND HEALTHY 

prairie" below; but among those hills I have 
visited as charming a home, in as beautiful a 
situation, as an Englishman could wish to rest in. 
From the flower-fringed verandah we looked out 
over a rich valley, with its little river winding 
among the willow-brush, to a magnificent back- 
ground of pine-capped hills on the western side. 
The house itself, outwardly, was an old and grey 
one-storey log building ; but in the great drawing- 
room, with its pictures and books, its artistic 
furniture, its piano and pianola, and a hundred 
little signs of taste and refinement, to realize that 
we were not in an English town, but 6000 miles 
away in a Canadian wilderness, was almost 
impossible. The master of the house, an Oxonian, 
had a nice little estate of about 1500 acres, of 
which 160 acres were under grain, though his 
principal source of income was a herd of 300 or 
400 head of cattle. Curiously enough, the 
exceptional severity of the past winter all over the 
plain was not felt up here among the foot-hills at 
a height of 4000 feet above sea-level. 

The climate of Southern Alberta, I may here 
observe, is one of the healthiest and most invigor- 
ating in the world. It is dry and it is high, even 
Macleod down on the plain being over 3000 feet 
above sea-level. Many consumptives who would 
simply die in the East live very comfortably 
here, — though, on the other hand, the high 




The south-western plain of Sas- 
katchewan and Alberta has for many 
years been the great cattle-ranching 
country. The big ranches are now 
being cut up for ordinary farming, 
and some of the ranchers are re- 
placing their herds by horses. The 
picture is from a photograph of a 
horse ranch in the Cypress Hills. 



THE MIRACLE OF THE CHINOOK 209 

altitude and almost constant wind are not good 
for nervous patients. Malaria is unknown, and 
so should typhoid be, but, with new towns spring- 
ing up and inhabited long before they are furnished 
with drainage, typhoid claims and will claim its 
victims in the healthy West. 

The winter is not nearly so cold as that of 
Manitoba, the " chinook " wind from over the 
mountains having a remarkable lifting power on 
the temperature. A Calgary correspondent some 
years ago, describing the extraordinary effect of 
a sudden chinook one January night, wrote : 
" The day was an ordinary winter day, clear, 
bright, and frosty. About 8 p.m., without sign 
or warning, a gale sprang up in an instant. Those 
inside rushed outside to see a blizzard ; but instead 
they were met by a clear sky and a hot soft wind. 
In a few minutes the thermometer jumped from a 
few degrees above zero to 48. The wind was from 
a point or two north of west. A change so sudden, 
though unusual, has occurred before. But what 
seems strange is that all this time the thermometer 
was 40 degrees below zero at Laggan, a little over 
100 miles west of here and in the mountains. Yet 
the wind, which was blowing a gale and at times 
almost a hurricane, was blowing directly from 
Laggan. The wind and the heat were maintained 
during the greater part of the night, and the cold 
was intense at the other point for all that time.'* 
o 



210 THE "FREE RANGE" 

In the middle of February, 1907, when we in 
England were sympathetically shivering at the 
tales of arctic rigour telegraphed from the 
Canadian West, a Macleod correspondent was 
writing: " Everybody in Alberta rejoices in the 
magnificent weather. At the time of sending this 
dispatch, football and baseball matches are in 
progress on the town's square. The fair sex, clad 
in light spring clothing, turned out in force to 
attend the matches and to applaud the victors. 
The thermometer at this hour registers 49 degrees 
above zero. The air is clear and balmy, and 
farmers are only waiting the drying up of the fields 
to begin their spring work. Men are employed on 
five large public buildings in town, and the sounds 
made by the hammer and saw are heard in all 
directions." 

On the ranches among the foot-hills good 
springs that never freeze are fairly common, and 
the comparatively high temperature of the water 
is a great boon to the cattle and their owners ; 
while the grass, brown as it is, makes fine pasture. 
Most of the ranchers own a certain amount of 
land ; but, as cattle need about 15 acres a head 
if they have to forage for themselves all the year 
round, the freehold has to be supplemented by 
" free range " on the public land. A good deal of 
this is still available on the steep slopes and hill- 
tops, and some of it is never likely to be wanted 



FROM CATTLE TO HORSES 211 

for agriculture ; but astonishingly unlikely spots 
are sometimes chosen for homesteads by rash new- 
comers. The rancher may awake any day to find 
a fenced farm cutting his herd off from their 
accustomed range on the hills unless he has 
managed to get a cattle lease from the Government, 
and such a lease, though nominally for 21 years, 
is not likely to be granted without a proviso that 
it is terminable at perhaps two years notice. 
Failing a lease, the rancher can only protect 
himself by buying more land from a railway 
company or by growing or buying hay for winter 
feed so as to accommodate his herd on a diminished 
area. A prudent rancher, it may be said, lays in 
a supply of prairie hay, no matter how large a 
range he has for his cattle ; for if the snow lies 
deep they starve, lacking the horses' sense to paw 
their food from under cover. 

Some ranchers, I find, are inclined to sell 
most of their cattle and go in for breeding horses, 
a far smaller number of which bring in an equal 
return. There is no doubt that a horse, besides 
appealing to the sentimental side of the average 
Englishman, is a very profitable creature when 
successfully raised. Let me quote the experience 
of an Irish gentleman whom I visited in a beauti- 
fully wooded river valley a day's ride from 
Macleod. His 51 " general purpose " mares 
presented him with 50 foals the first season, 46 



212 THE HORSE MARKET 

the second, and 45 the third ; and in the three 
years he only lost one mare. He was offered 
$40 (£8), a piece for his sucking foals, but wisely 
resolved not to sell till they were of an age to bring 
the full price of farm-horses. An independent 
authority valued the brood mares at $80 (£16), a 
head, the young stock at an average of $75 (£15), 
the shire stallion at $850 (£170), and the land at 
$14 (58s.), an acre. This rancher, I should say, 
was no stranger either to the land or to the 
animal ; and not every herd would show such a 
rate of increase. Still, his experience shows what 
can be done in an ideal country for horse-breeding. 
If he should lose the free range behind his ranch, 
he could replace his mares by half their number of 
a heavier breed, whose offspring would be twice as 
valuable. 

The cattle rancher's difficulty is the horse 
rancher's opportunity. The settlers who annex 
the free range for their homesteads want horses 
to work the homesteads with, and are willing to 
give $350 (£70), for a satisfactory team, while 
higher grades fetch $400 (£80) and even $500 
(£100) a pair. Incidentally, I may say that the 
Albertans see no money in thorough-breds, nor 
are they tempted to breed cavalry horses on the 
chance of a remount buyer accepting one or two in 
a season. It is, of course, a question how far the 
future development of automobiles, steam ploughs, 



MEAT-PACKING 213 

and so forth may affect the situation ; but just 
now the horse market is decidedly good. On the 
other hand, the cattle market is depressed, and to 
change from cattle to horses means selling cheap 
and buying dear. Besides, to tell the truth, the 
demand for beef seems to have some elements of 
permanence which are not so plain in the case of 
horseflesh. The establishment of first-class meat- 
packing houses, such as are now projected at con- 
venient centres, may yet restore the prosperity, 
if they can not maintain the pre-eminence, of what 
is still one of the most important industries in 
Alberta. 



BLACKFOOT INDIANS, AND LATTER- 
DAY SAINTS 

The Indians can hardly be classed as New 
Canadians ; but it is not unimportant to know 
in what position they stand, with the tide of new 
life surging in around them. On the map, other- 
wise covered with a neat little chess-board pattern 
of townships six miles square — each of these 
forming a miniature chess-board of 36 " sections " 
— are about 40 undivided blocks of varying size 
showing the reserves held under treaty by Indian 
tribes. The largest tribe, known collectively as 
the Blackfoot nation, and speaking one language, 
occupies three reserves, the Blood and the Peigan, 
south of Macleod, and the Blackfoot reserve propei 
60 miles further north near Gleichen. In 1885, 
when some of the Cree and Stoney tribes in the 
north went on the war-path against us and harried 
the country at the bidding of the half-breed leader, 
men held their breath for fear lest the warrior 
bands of the Blackfeet might plunge into the fray. 
If they had, the suppression of the Riel Rebellion 
would have been ten times bloodier than it was. 
The Blackfeet resisted every temptation, and 



INDIAN RIGHTS 215 

kept the peace, thereby laying the Canadian 
people under an incalculable debt of gratitude. 
In spite — let us hope in ignorance — of this, the 
suggestion has been made that the Indians who 
occupy land now thought desirable by white 
men should be " persuaded " to give up the last 
fragments of their ancestral plains and allow 
themselves to be transplanted to some uncoveted 
region in the far north. At present, I trust, this 
idea is not cherished by any serious politician ; 
but the greed inspiring it is likely to increase as 
the good lands round the reserves are taken up, 
and the guardians of the nation's honour should 
be on the watch to prevent the first steps towards 
a repetition — with variations and aggravations — 
of the story of Naboth's vineyard. 

Inasmuch as 30 years ago these Indians were 
still in a state of primitive barbarism, and relieved 
by the abundance of buffalo from the slightest 
necessity for work, the extent to which they have 
adapted themselves to new conditions is really 
to their credit. A constant effort is made to bring 
over to the self-supporting list those who have 
been living on Government rations — a pauperizing 
process made necessary when the buffalo vanished. 
When I splashed through the Belly River and 
rode up on to the Blood reserve, I found them in 
possession of about 5000 head of cattle. They 
mow and stack a large amount of prairie hay, not 



216 INDUSTRY 

only for their own winter use, but for the neigh- 
bouring ranchers. A good many of them own 
waggons, which they buy from the Government at 
$71 (over £14, 10s.) a-piece and pay for in cattle, 
which the Government agent needs in order to 
feed the poorer members of the tribe, or in wages 
earned by freighting and haymaking. Cultiva- 
tion of the soil is almost unknown among them, 
as it was almost unknown till lately among their 
white neighbours ; but now there is talk of an 
irrigation scheme, involving the construction of a 
50-mile ditch through the reserve from the Belly 
River. This would be a big business ; but most 
of the cost would be defrayed from the tribal fund 
held in trust by the Government — a fund now 
being largely increased by the dollar a head per 
annum received from a ranching company for the 
grazing of a large herd of cattle on the reserve. 
If this scheme is carried out, the industrial pro- 
gress of these Indians, already satisfactory, should 
become much more rapid. Of their moral state 
it is less pleasant to speak. A large majority of 
the children are sent to one or other of the board- 
ing and industrial schools maintained by Anglican 
and Roman Catholic missions, the Government 
making a yearly grant of $72 per scholar ; and 
these scholars are kept more or less continuously 
under Christian influence till the age of 18. But 
those who afterwards prove more than nominal 



BLOOD CUSTOMS 217 

adherents of Christianity are few ; and these 
Indians as a whole are in the loose condition of 
transition from the old system they have outgrown 
to the new system, which they have not assimi- 
lated. However, so far as offences against the 
country's law are concerned, the Indians can 
challenge comparison with their white fellow- 
citizens. Drunkenness, to be sure, tends to 
increase. It is naturally easier for Indians to 
get liquor now that short hair and white men's 
clothing make them almost indistinguishable 
from the half-breeds, to whom prohibitory laws 
do not apply. To check this evil a few constables 
have been appointed from among the Indians 
themselves, a step which the chiefs have long been 
urging. 

The Bloods still keep up some of their most 
notable customs, such as the great yearly sun- 
dance, and the dog-feast, when a dog is cere- 
moniously boiled and eaten. They have their 
secret society, with its proper initiation and 
degrees. They have even their medicine-man, 
who has some knowledge of herbs, but still uses 
noise as a remedy, and who gets magnificent 
prices (in currency of horseflesh) for his medicinal 
charms when he retires from business. Even a 
church-going Indian will sometimes call in the 
medicine-man in case of illness, though a qualified 
physician is maintained on the reserve by the 



218 DISEASE 

Government. In knowledge of or respect for the 
laws of health the tribesmen have made little 
enough progress. If a child is hot with fever, 
the parents let it run naked in the snow. Many 
a patient who could be easily cured at the mission 
hospital is doomed if kept at home. A few years 
ago an epidemic of measles caused 90 deaths on this 
one reserve. The total population is over 1200, — 
females being in the majority, as on most of the 
reserves. Tuberculosis is the great cause of 
mortality, however, beginning as a skin or bone 
disease and finally fastening on the lungs. The 
power of such a scourge over these people is 
naturally increased by their modern habit of 
living in crowded loghouses all winter. 

The primitive tent is still the habitation of the 
Blood Indian in summer. It is a convenient 
edifice. I was fortunate enough to be present 
one day when practically all the Bloods and 
Peigans rode in to Macleod, bringing their houses 
with them rolled up in waggons or on the ancient 
travoy — two poles crossed over a pony's back, 
and trailing wide apart on the ground behind, with 
cross-sticks to carry the load. The next morning 
Macleod awoke to find itself neighboured by a 
large canvas suburb. The cause of this sudden 
migration was an announcement that Governor- 
General and a circus were to visit the town that 
day. 



A WAR DANCE 219 

When his Excellency had been received in the 
formal and commonplace white way, with silk 
hats and bouquets and addresses, the Indians 
rode into the square and, dismounting, entertained 
him much more picturesquely with a dance. 
This might be more accurately described as a 
prance. The motion was a little monotonous, 
prancing round and round and in and out, with 
a single step ; and the music still more so, being 
the shrill shout of the dancers and the dull 
thump-thump of half a dozen Indians squatting 
round a drum in the middle of the dancing-ring. 
The dancers' costumes, on the other hand, were 
bewildering in variety. The basis was generally 
a suit of leather coat (or gaudy calico shirt), 
leggings and moccasins ; but the material was 
often hidden under masses of bead- work, blue 
and white and red, and the form disguised by 
flowing fringes of black-tipped white weasel-skins, 
or by miscellaneous attachments of feather and 
ribbon ; while the head-dress might be a pair 
of buffalo-horns gay with coloured streamers, 
on a proud structure of erect eagle-feathers 
with a feather tailpiece streaming down to the 
heels behind. One particularly gleeful redskin 
sported the national flag, cloak fashion, and his 
face was painted red with blue spots. Another 
wore one red stripe across the nose and cheeks 
and three down his chin, the facial ground- work 



220 THE WOMEN'S DANCE 

being yellow ; but a commoner countenance 
consisted of round red spots on the natural brown. 
One brave had clothed his lower limbs in red 
paint as an airier substitute for leggings, his 
companions being rather over than under-clad. 

At last the performers fell back and their 
places were taken by women, the musicians 
rising to their feet and drumming on in that 
respectful position. The women's dance had 
even less variety than the men's, for they simply 
made a ring facing inwards to the drummers, 
shoulder to shoulder, and danced round sideways. 
Some of them wore nothing more picturesque 
than a perfunctory bunch of ribbon stitched on 
to plain black skirt and bodice ; but other 
dresses, though modern enough in shape and 
material, were of the gorgeous tints and patterns 
commonly manufactured in England for the ladies 
of Central Africa. Their smooth black hair 
was generally uncovered, but in one or two cases 
hidden by a handsome feather head-dress. 

In the afternoon, — having gloated over the 
circus, — some of the Bloods gave a musical ride, 
which was effective enough, though little more 
than a horse-back repetition of the morning's 
dance. Then the chiefs, " Crop-eared Wolf," 
" Thunder Chief," and lesser potentates, gathered 
round the Governor-General for a pow-wow, or 
a heckling. They, for the most part, wore sober 



POW-WOW WITH THE VICEROY 221 

suits of black or navy-blue. They wanted more 
food distributed among their people. Lord Grey 
advised them to encourage their people to earn 
food by working. Then there was the question 
of the rent paid by the ranching company for the 
right to graze its cattle on the reserve. This the 
chiefs wanted distributed regularly among the 
tribe, like the yearly $5 per head paid by the 
Government under the treaty, instead of being 
capitalized in the " Indian Fund " for use in an 
indefinite future. Lord Grey could only reply 
that this was a matter for his Ministers. The 
chiefs next begged for the release of an Indian 
then in prison — that is, in the Mounted Police 
guard-room — for horse-stealing : but the 
Governor-General assured them that the culprit 
had only received half the sentence a white man 
would have got for a similar crime. As the answers 
were interpreted to them the chiefs showed no 
sign of impatience or discontent ; but I met four 
of them a few weeks later in a Canadian Pacific 
train — paying their first visit to Eastern Canada, 
by the way, and two of them enjoying their 
first experience of a railway journey — and they 
were bent on laying their demands before any 
official who might have power to grant them. 
I should add that the Macleod pow-wow festivities 
ended gloriously, from a Blood's point of view, 
with the shooting down on the prairie of half a 



222 THE MOUNTED POLICE 

dozen steers, which were skinned, cut up, dis- 
tributed, cooked and eaten with the utmost 
promptitude. Also that the Governor-General 
supplemented this provision with a largesse of 
tea and real tobacco, — what the Indians commonly 
smoke being " kinikinik," the dried inner bark 
of the willow. 

It is doing no injustice to the good qualities 
of the Indians to say that the absence of serious 
crime among them is partly due to their respect 
for the North-West Mounted Police. Let me 
give an illustration. About ten years ago, a 
hundred or more Indians who had fled to the 
United States after the suppression of the Riel 
Rebellion were returning to their native Canada. 
They were carefully escorted by a whole troop 
of American cavalry to the frontier. There 
stood a corporal of police, one private constable, 
and an interpreter. The American officer looked 
round in bewilderment. " Who is in command ? " 
said he. " Myself," said the corporal. " But 
where is your troop ? " asked the officer. " Here 
they are," replied the corporal, pointing to his 
two comrades. The officer presently found breath 
to ask what the corporal proposed to do if the 
Indians turned sulky. " They won't," said the 
corporal decisively ; "we shall have no trouble 
with them." Nor had they ; the tribesmen going 
quietly back to their reserves as a matter of course. 



THE MOUNTED POLICE 223 

The chief authority on a reserve is the Indian 
Agent, who not only exercises the authority of 
two ordinary magistrates, but is constantly 
appealed to by tribesmen for the settlement 
of private differences, matrimonial and other. 
If, however, a police sergeant or corporal is nearer, 
the Indians will often confidently bring their 
troubles to him instead. Twenty years ago the 
police had to protect the white man from the 
Indian. To-day, they have to protect the Indian 
from the white man. This they do perhaps as 
well as their numbers allow, but in at least one 
respect — more easily imagined than described — 
the protection is inadequate, and the danger 
naturally tends to increase with the growth of 
the surrounding white population. The same 
growth of white settlement has made necessary 
a vast change in the police force itself. Instead 
of being concentrated in large numbers at Battle- 
ford, Macleod, and a few other posts, they are 
scattered over the country in a multitude of 
small detachments. At this town you will find 
a commissioned officer, a constable, and a scout ; 
at that, a corporal and one other. Their military 
character survives in the rifle and the uniform, 
but their duties, in the region lately organized into 
the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, are 
becoming more and more those of civilian police- 
men. In the course of time the greater part 



224 THE MORMONS 

of the force, as such, will possibly move out to 
the still unorganized territories in the north; 
but many of its present members are likely to 
stay where they are, transferring themselves 
to the new police which will have to keep order 
in the new Provinces. It is devoutly to be hoped 
that the new force will take over the spirit as 
well as the duties of the magnificent corps now 
under Commissioner Perry's command. Mean- 
while, for five years, an agreement has been made 
by which the Federal Government continues to 
maintain the force, reduced from a strength 
of 600 to 500, in the two new Provinces, each 
provincial Government paying $75,000 (£15,000) 
a year for their services. 

The police, old or new, will not be unaided 
in case of need. A corps of dragoons is now 
being raised by the Federal Government, under 
Colonel MacDonnelTs command, and will form 
not only an addition to the little standing army 
of Canada, but a nucleus and training school 
for a great mounted volunteer force, which should 
be easily raised among the young plainsmen of 
the West. 

The name of Mormon has an almost Blue- 
beardish horror for the general ear ; and yet 
what struck me most in going about among the 
Mormons of Southern Alberta was their extra- 




Ploughing a Prairie VVheatfield 




A Blood Indian Dance. {See page 219) 



POLYGAMY 225 

ordinary ordinariness. I imagine it would be 
hard to find among them either great heights 
of intellect or great depths of depravity. Some 
of their Gentile neighbours express a strong 
conviction that the Mormons practise polygamy 
in Canada, as they do, or did, in the United 
States ; but the evidence seems of the slightest, 
and the accusation, if true at all, is probably 
true in a very small number of cases. To be sure, 
these are " orthodox " Mormons — not like the 
94 sectarians " who accept the primal revelation 
of Joseph Smith but reject the polygamous 
teaching of Brigham Young as an innovation. 
Some of them thought, when they crossed the 
Canadian frontier, that by so doing they would 
escape the tyrannous decree of the United States 
Government forbidding them to have more than 
one wife a-piece. They were, however, promptly 
undeceived ; and any one possessing a second 
family had to make arrangements for its support 
in Utah while he brought the wife he preferred 
to Canada. Apart from the expense of keeping 
up two establishments, many a Mormon husband 
must have been considerably relieved when his 
better two-thirds were separated from each other 
by several hundred miles. A staunch defender 
of polygamy, at any rate in principle, said to me 
" My father and my wife's father were both 
polygamous children " — meaning, doubtless, 



226 MORMON BEGINNERS 

children of polygamous parents — " but I saw 
there was so much trouble with a second wife 
that I only married one." Another Mormon 
more pungently observed, — " A neighbour of 
mine had five or six wives, and they fit like 
hell ! " 

It was about twenty years ago that the first 
half dozen Mormon families settled in Canada. 
Since then they have been coming in by the 
thousand, and they are still coming in, not only 
from Utah, but from Illinois, Arizona, New 
Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, and Idaho. 
Their motive, whatever some of the first-comers 
may have expected in the way of freedom from 
law, is just that which brings Gentile Americans 
north — a hope of bettering their material con- 
dition. A few had land round Salt Lake City 
which they could sell at high prices. Others, 
however, were stranded in high and frosty 
valleys or in the domain of drought. Few of 
the early arrivals had any money to speak of ; 
and few, even to-day, come in " well-heeled." 
The poor Mormon would leave his family in a 
tent or " shack " and go off to earn a little money 
by hauling logs from the mountains or freighting 
goods from Lethbridge till his first crop was ripe. 
If he could not get a free homestead near his 
brother saints, he would buy land on the ten-year 
plan, paying six or seven per cent, interest on 



MOISTURE 227 

the unpaid instalments. These land payments 
are still a burden on the community, and a 
good many of the debtors have had to ask an 
extension of time. Yet it would be a great 
mistake to think the Mormons an exception to 
the general rule of Albertan prosperity. Till 
recently their farming was on a small scale, but 
now farms of five or six hundred acres are common 
enough. The agriculture is not always of the 
thriftiest kind, but the wiser members of the 
community see the need of giving their land 
a summer fallow at regular intervals. 

The two chief Mormon colonies or " stakes " 
have as their centres the towns of Cardston and 
Raymond, both in the south-western corner of 
the province and within a few miles of the inter- 
national frontier. Mrs Card, by the way, who 
came in with her husband in 1887, was one of 
Brigham Young's daughters. In the more 
westerly colony, named after her, the settlers 
declare that they can grow fine crops of fall, or 
winter, wheat without irrigation. Some, indeed, 
appear to have left their American farms and come 
to Canada partly to escape the extra labour 
which irrigation entails. Two of the earliest 
pioneers, not Mormons, who have lived in the 
district over twenty years, assert that in that 
time only one season has been marked by in- 
sufficient moisture. When I rode down from 



228 CARDSTON STAKE 

the plateau of the Blood Reserve, and found myself 
at once in the town of Cardston, I learnt that 
a couple of hailstorms on two consecutive days 
in July had cut a lane of devastation through the 
settlement, breaking every northern or western 
window in Cardston and wiping every trace of 
harvest clean out of their path ; but the last 
recorded hail-storm had been 16 years before, 
and the people were inclined to take the chance 
of another coming within the next 16 years 
rather than subscribe to the government's hail 
insurance fund. One farmer, whose whole crop 
had been destroyed, told me he could easily 
afford it, having had bumper crops several years 
running. 

The Mormons who planned the town site of 
Cardston did so apparently in a belief that it 
would become a Canadian rival to the parent 
Salt Lake City. The main street is an avenue 
of lordly breadth, and on the average " lot " a 
Brigham Young might build a house to accom- 
modate his whole family. If the plan is not 
spoiled by sub-division, Cardston may in time 
become a beautiful garden city ; but in its infancy, 
with its little houses standing forlorn on great 
squares of land, it rather reminds you of a small 
boy in his father's clothes. 

The Mormons are a clannish folk, as is natural 
with any peculiar people who know that their 



MORMON ORGANIZATION 229 

peculiarity is not admired by the rest of the 
world. The kind of freemasonry that runs 
through their whole system tends certainly to 
exclusiveness. Their members are " advised " — 
and this may mean a great deal — not to join 
such Gentile friendly societies as the Foresters 
or Oddfellows, on the ground that their church 
is itself an efficient friendly society. Yet their 
intercourse with their neighbours is friendly 
and free enough ; they unite with Gentiles in 
political organization, though they would probably 
not vote for a Gentile if any Mormon candidate 
aspired to represent their district in the Provincial 
Legislature ; and their leaders warmly resent the 
charge of inhospitality brought against Mormon 
farmers by some of their Gentile neighbours. 
I have even heard of an old ex-Mormon who, 
far from being persecuted for his apostasy, not 
only continued to live at peace with his Mormon 
friends in the States, but followed them to Canada 
and settled among them near Cardston. 

Apostasy, it seems, the Mormon Church does 
not greatly fear. At any rate, one powerful 
safeguard against it exists in the fact that a very 
large proportion of the men hold some sort of 
ecclesiastical office. As expounded to me at 
length by the president (a storekeeper) and the 
bishop (a farmer) of the " stake," only intemper- 
ance or some other moral defect should debar 



230 MORMON SERVICES 

any male Mormon from the priesthood, and he 
can attain the dignity of deacon at the age of 
twelve. It is the duty of " teachers " to keep 
iniquity out of the brotherhood. A Gentile 
will tell you indeed that Mormons try to shield 
each other from the law of the land, so long as 
the offender satisfies the law of the church. This 
the President emphatically denies. " I myself," 
he says, " have reported a Mormon criminal 
to the police. We do try to settle quarrels without 
going to law ; and an offender has to make re- 
paration before the church ; but we don't shield 
him from the law." Even Gentiles in search 
of justice, it is claimed, have sometimes applied 
to the Mormon Church courts. 

The beginnings of a tabernacle to seat 1600 
had been made, and the building was to cost 
$30,000 (£6000), which had been already sub- 
scribed. Meanwhile public worship was con- 
ducted in an assembly room which was also 
used for " mutual improvement " meetings, 
theatricals, and other entertainments, includ- 
ing a dance every Friday night in winter. A 
Sabbath school is held from ten to twelve every 
Sunday morning ; and the regular service (with 
the sacrament) from two to four in the afternoon. 
At the latter the bishop presides, but he does 
not necessarily give the address. There is no 
" temple " in Canada yet ; so any Mormon 



MISSIONS AND SCHOOLING 231 

wanting to get married with the rites of his 
church must journey to Salt Lake City or one 
of the three other temples in the United States. 
There is a " tithing house," and any Mormon 
who fails to bring the bishop one-tenth of his 
produce or income can neither enter a temple 
nor receive any promotion in the church. The 
bishop — who, like the rest, is an unpaid official 
— has to send the whole produce of the tithe, 
amounting to more than $12,000 (£2400), in 
Cardston " stake " in 1905, to the presiding 
bishop of the church at Salt Lake. A certain 
amount may be sent back for local purposes, 
but in this matter the colony is entirely at the 
mercy of headquarters. Whether the Canadian 
Mormons can afford to export a tenth of their 
income every year is a matter for themselves 
to decide ; but the country from which the money 
is sent has also a little interest in the matter. I 
may say that the Mormon community, which 
numbers in all about 420,000, spends a large 
amount in attempts to win over the world ; 
and that the Cardston " stake " alone sends 
out annually 15 or 20 amateur missionaries for 
campaigns of two or three years. 

The school at Cardston has about 500 children 
on the roll. It is a public school, but the children 
are nearly all Mormons, there is a Mormon 
principal, and the church supplements the taxes 



232 DIET, IDEAL AND REAL 

by a subscription. The religious teaching is 
confined to the last half -hour, from 3.30 to 4, and 
some at any rate of the Gentiles appear to find 
it quite unobjectionable. The Mormon Church 
has its own " religion class organization," with 
special teachers, who, however, only take the 
children in hand once a week. According to 
the president and bishop, politeness is one of the 
virtues most insistently taught to the little 
Mormons, — I hope with more success than attends 
the spelling lesson, if a certain shop sign at Card- 
ston is a fair test : " Kandy and fruit ; Kand 
goods ; plain and fancy biskits." I am also 
assured that plain and healthy living is not only 
urged as a duty, but enforced as an ecclesiastical 
obligation. Tobacco, alcohol, and even such 
stimulants as tea and coffee are forbidden to the 
pious Mormon. The rule, however, is not of 
cast iron, allowances being made for the elderly 
and feeble ; and the community as a whole 
scarcely lives up to its ideal. There is much 
dyspepsia among the Mormons as among the other 
immigrants from the Western States, where the 
rudiments of healthy feeding are even less under- 
stood than in the dyspeptic East. Coffee, black 
enough to write with ; tea, thoroughly stewed ; 
hot " biscuit," the very opposite of " twice- 
cooked " ; and a constant succession of fried 
beef-steaks, — these are some of the favourite 



BEET-SUGAR AND IRRIGATION 233 

scourges of the West. The deadly frying-pan is 
always at hand, and easily used. You will find 
Americans, otherwise sane, frying the dough 
instead of baking it, and calling the result bread. 

The orthodox Mormon, when ill, calls for 
the elders of his church, who come and pray and 
lay their hands on him and anoint him with holy 
oil ; but there are not many now who refuse to 
call in a doctor besides ; and there is a doctor of 
their own religious persuasion in Cardston, as 
well as a Gentile physician to whom a good many 
Mormons have now independence enough to 
resort. 

The Mormon colony at Raymond has, as I have 
said, risen like Cardston to the dignity of a 
" stake." The town is about half as large again 
as Cardston, which has a population of 1000. 
Raymond is chiefly distinguished by its possession 
of a beet-sugar factory, the beets being cultivated 
under irrigation with great success. 

There is a large number of Mormons near 
Claresholm also ; and, as I have said, on the 
old Cochrane ranch still another colony is springing 
up. Claresholm is a station on the Canadian 
Pacific running north from Macleod ; and Card- 
ston and Raymond have a railway to Lethbridge, 
on the Canadian Pacific further east. As to the 
future of these people, there seems no reason 
to doubt they that will contribute a very fair 



234 FUTURE OF MORMONISM 

share to the trade of the country, as they are 
already doing much to increase its agricultural 
productiveness. They will also mingle more and 
more with their fellow-Canadians, in spite of their 
isolating system of mass settlement ; and this 
will almost certainly have a loosening effect on 
the mass, both socially and ecclesiastically, in 
spite of all the elaborate church harness in which 
they are held. Like the Jews, they were welded 
together by persecution ; but the comparative 
brevity of the welding period, and the lack of 
roots in a heroic past, make the analogy of very 
little value, so far as encouragement to hope for 
permanence is concerned. Joseph Smith's plates 
of gold are sadly handicapped in a durability 
competition with Moses and his tables of stone. 
However, I do not suggest that the dissolution 
of Mormonism is near at hand ; and meanwhile the 
Mormons may find some delicate internal problems 
coming up for solution, one of these being the 
question whether the Canadian branch shall 
continue taking orders from and paying tribute 
to the parent organization in another country. 



A WEST BEYOND THE WEST 

Beyond the foot-hills, the mountains. For 
Alberta, though a prairie province, runs up to 
the summit and watershed of the Rockies to find 
her western limit. One glimpse, and only one, 
may I give of this rugged edge of the New West. 
A drive of 60 miles west from Macleod, over 
the plain and up through the foot-hills, brought 
me to the mouth of the Crow's Nest Pass, a 
narrow opening where the Old Man River rushed 
out between two mountains which resembled a 
lion and turtle. Gushing out of a rock in the 
turtle's hind foot came a milky-white sulphur 
stream. The beavers had used this spot as a 
sanatorium ; their dam still obstructed the 
stream a few yards from its source, and the 
stumps of the trees they had felled stood all 
along the banks. Plunging through the sulphur- 
ous gorge, I found the pass widening into a 
valley, with a comparatively level bottom, shut 
in by mountains on every side. The turtle 
rose in the rear, shutting out the sunrise ; on 
the left, a dense pine forest sloped up from the 
southern bank of the river, clothing with green 

235 



236 IN THE CROW'S NEST PASS 

the foot-hills of a snow-streaked sierra. Another 
sharp-toothed ridge, grey but dashed with 
glistening white, seemed to bar the way to the 
west. Far off on the right, looking over the 
heads of all the intervening heights, the Crow's 
Nest towered in stony solitude, — a huge dome 
of naked rock, holding proudly aloof from clusters 
of peaks around. 

The road was bad beyond the reach of ad- 
jectives. In ten miles it forded the Old Man's 
River six times and smaller streams as many 
more. Then there was a brief interval of passable 
travelling. The woods retreated, and an enter- 
prising Scot had found the strath just wide 
enough to establish himself in a tent as the first 
and only settler in the Crow's Nest Pass. But a 
couple of miles further west the waggon trail came 
to a sudden end on the shores of a lake, which 
stretched from side to side of the pass. There 
was a bunch of horses roaming about the valley, 
and coming up to their owner's tent every night 
for a lick at a lump of rock salt ; but they had 
not yet learnt a horse's duty to a man, and after 
a wild experience on the backs of two of them 
I judged them hardly fit for the delicate work of 
negotiating precipices. I therefore went on up 
the pass on foot. 

The scene now became exquisitely beautiful. 
A gentle breeze came wandering down the pass, 



LAKE AND MOUNTAIN 237 

and the ripples plashing on the eastern beach 
made harmony with the tapping of the wood- 
peckers. Other sound there was none, nor sign 
of man's existence. A rocky bridle path struck 
off to the right, but, narrow as it was, it found no 
room to pass along the shore, and had to climb 
over a shoulder of the mountain. Up and 
down it went, at most impracticable angles, now 
overtopping the fir trees that sprang from the 
edge of the lake, then dipping almost into the 
clear green water beside their roots. Here the 
footing was of solid rock, and there it lay among 
sharp loose fragments brought down with the 
winter avalanches. As the trail came round 
a mountain spur and fell once more to the level 
of the lake, a vague and distant murmur broke 
into a deafening roar, and a torrent crossed the 
path. A single tree- trunk carried me safely 
over. Pouring out of a cave in the overhanging 
cliff the little river thundered down in a waterfall. 
The path now rose, steeper and rockier than 
ever, till I was glad to climb with hands as well 
as feet, marvelling that a fingerless pony with 
500 lb. of freight on his back should be able to make 
the ascent at all. Now and then, even a sure- 
footed Indian cayuse had failed in the attempt, 
and toppled over into the lake. After another 
sharp descent the trail lost itself in a jungle. 
Mountains, lake, sky, all were hidden by the 



238 BURNT FOREST 

dense brush that threatened to put out the 
traveller's eyes and made it hard to distinguish 
the path under his feet. On this path, or close 
to it, an Indian hunter not long before had come 
upon his quarry before he could aim his gun, 
and perished in the embrace of a grizzly bear. 

The bushes drew back and the trail passed out 
into a desolate stretch of burnt forest, where the 
click of a grasshopper and the momentary gleam 
of his yellow wings alone enlivened the scene of 
death. The mountains on the other side of the 
pass reappeared, so close and so high that they 
seemed ready to fall upon the invading mortal. 
The climbing sun peeped over the jagged edge 
and illuminated the snow he could not melt ; but 
the beautiful vision was marred by the rake of 
blackened stems through which it appeared. 
Unhappily, such devastation as this is not rare 
in Canada, east or west. A few miles further 
south I had seen a mountain of valuable timber 
on fire for a week, and I left it burning. 

The grimy desert was left behind, and the land 
lived again. A rivulet babbled down the trail, 
careless of passengers' rights. Streams innumer- 
able crossed the path, of water most temptingly 
cold and exquisitely pure. Grouse fluttered up 
in disgust from under my feet. Squirrels and 
chipmunks chattered protests against the intru- 
sion. Another lake appeared, exquisitely beautiful 



COAL MINES 239 

like the first, with an eagle soaring overhead and 
a flock of wild duck breaking the reflection of the 
mountains on the shining surface. A few miles 
beyond this point rose the sources of the Old 
Man's River, and the next little stream was 
flowing west — to the Pacific instead of the 
Atlantic. Behind lay Alberta ; ahead, British 
Columbia. It was the top of the Crow's Nest Pass. 

That is what the pass looked like when I went 
up into it first, as lately as 1893. When I went 
next it was by railway, a Canadian Pacific line 
running right over into the Kootenay mining 
region of British Columbia. The mountains were 
still there, and the lakes, and the waterfall — you 
can see its picture in a guide-book — but through 
the pass runs a string of mining towns, coking 
ovens, sidings, stations, and other unfortunate 
necessities of civilization. The Crow's Nest Pass, 
in fact, is one of the richest sources of coal supply 
in Canada. People who must have their mountain 
scenery unalloyed have after all a tremendous 
field to choose from in the West. They can spare 
the Crow's Nest to the utilitarian coal-burning 
world. 

I should like to take my readers over the 
" great divide " and down into British Columbia. 
That Province, when not summarily sentenced 
asa" sea of mountains," is commonly supposed 
to produce little but minerals and timber. Never- 



240 FRUIT RANCHING 

theless, west of the mountains, and even in the 
midst of them, there is a vast amount of first-rate 
farming land. Lord Aberdeen has a great ranch 
in the Okanagan Valley where apples and plums 
are grown to perfection, under irrigation, and he 
is cutting up part of the estate into small holdings. 
Further down the valley, but still in the " sea of 
mountains," peaches are the favourite crop. 
These and many other successes and experiments 
promise to make British Columbia a rival of 
California. 

British Columbia, however, demands a book 
to itself. It is a Province apart, unique, magni- 
ficent, and will not be crushed into the same 
pair of covers with the prairie home of the New 
Canadians. 





m - - 1 ^^^^^ 


n 

, 

e 
e 
e 
d 

r 
r 
s 
e 


r*~> 


The ranching country of Souther 
Alberta slopes up through the fool 
hills to the Rocky Mountains. Ther 
as the traveller goes west by th 
Canadian Pacific Railway, rang 
follows range, of indescribabl 
variety and grandeur, intersperse 
with fertile and beautiful valleys 
This is a scene in the Fraser Rive 
Valley, in the far south-west corne 
of the Dominion, only forty mile 
from the Pacific Ocean, and on th 
frontier of the United States. 



HOW THE NEW CANADIANS LIVE 

The Westerner " lives well." That is to say, 
he has plenty of good food ; but he does not always 
make the best use of it, and in feeding if in little 
else I should not advise old-country folk to adopt 
the new-country ways in a hurry. The American, 
and the Canadian also, generally take too much 
meat, made as indigestible as possible in the frying 
pan ; and they scarcely draw that distinction 
between summer and winter diet which the climate 
suggests. They also take too much tea. I have 
travelled over the prairie with an old freighter 
who fed himself — and me, as I remember with pain 
— at every halt, making five times a day, on fried 
salt pork, bread, and boiled tea. The western 
farmer is not a primitive barbarian like that, 
but he still boils his tea, and the copper-bottomed 
tea-pot is left simmering indefinitely on the stove 
for casual use. 

As a rule, however, there is plenty of variety 
in the farmer's bill of fare. He takes porridge 
and milk for breakfast as well as his fried pork 
or beef -steak, salt pork being chiefly used in 
summer and fresh frozen beef in winter. Many 

Q 3 4» 



242 FOOD AND DRINK 

of the Americans come in with a habit of taking 
coffee, but soon fall in with the ways of the country 
and give it up for tea. Bread making is not as 
common an art as it should be, and thick bannocks 
or scones are commonly used when there is no 
baker within reach. For dinner, besides the 
regulation meat and potatoes, and bread and 
butter and tea, the Canadians, and of course 
the Americans, will have their round flat pies, 
containing fruit sandwiched between the upper 
and under crust, — an article known distinctively 
as American, but exactly similar to the pies I 
have seen exposed for sale by market women 
in the old country. There will also be plenty of 
stewed fruit; either the fresh barrelled apples 
bought by the well-to-do farmer, or dried apples 
and apricots, or the small fruits that grow wild 
almost all over the West, such as strawberries, 
raspberries, black and red currants, gooseberries, 
choke-cherries, huckleberries, and cranberries. 
The supper, taken as soon as the day's work is 
done, is practically a repetition of the breakfast 
or dinner, with the porridge perhaps left out. 
Alcoholic drinks are very seldom used or even 
kept in the house ; and, though many a Westerner 
who abstains at home will not refuse a nip when 
he goes to town, total abstinence is much more 
common out there than in the old country. Many 
Englishmen develop into abstainers when they 



VENTILATION AND BATHING 243 

emigrate ; which is just as well, as alcohol has 
an even speedier and worse effect in the dry 
western air than it has in the moister atmosphere 
of the United Kingdom. In the matter of ventila- 
tion, the Canadian is behind even the Englishman, 
— which is saying a good deal. I know a western 
farmer who always sleeps with his window 
slightly open even in the depth of winter ; but 
on the whole, the people think of fresh air simply 
as something cold to be kept out, and with this 
object a vast number of them go the length of 
pasting up every crack. Increase of knowledge 
as to the bad effect of second-hand air on the 
health is leading to some improvement ; scientific 
systems of ventilation will be adopted by and by ; 
and meanwhile some of the better-informed old- 
timers are advising new-comers to build all 
living and sleeping rooms with high ceilings. 
As for bathing, which the Englishman — thanks 
to a small minority of his race — is supposed to 
make a daily religious practice, it is customary 
in varying degrees. One Westerner assures me 
that it is " practically unknown except among 
the British settlers " ; another, that there is 
" not enough of it among average settlers " ; 
while others declare that the weekly " tub " is 
common, and nearly all agree that if there is a 
lake or river near, the young fellows go in either 
daily or at any rate very often, in summer. 



244 HARD WORK 

There is a ridiculous legend, started by the 
" slacker " and spread by the credulous, that the 
Canadian farmer is a sort of slave-driver or sweater. 
Such a man is to be found here and there ; and 
the Salvation Army is compiling a black list of 
rascals who will hire a man " on trial " for a month, 
pick a quarrel with him just before the month is 
out, send him off without a dollar of wages, and 
repeat the operation on the next new-comer. 
But there is no country where all the rascals 
are behind bars ; and in Canada, where there is 
keen competition for farm hands, the average 
farmer would treat his men well from selfish 
motives even if he was not, as he is, an honest 
man. It is just as well, to be sure, that an 
emigrant should be warned not to expect too 
easy a life. The season for work on the land is 
comparatively short, so that you have to take 
advantage of every hour and be ready to work 
from early in the morning till late at night. But 
in England I know many farmers, not to speak of 
farm labourers, who seem to work nearly as long 
and nearly as hard, not only in summer but almost 
all the year. You will find men here and there, 
even in the West, who take life easily. Content, I 
suppose, with a very moderate return, they spend 
their toil at a very moderate rate. The average 
farmer, however, is neither a sweater nor a 
sluggard. A good farmer, a man of prairie 



SUNDAY 245 

experience, will get up about five, feed the horses, 
have his breakfast, and be at work on the land 
with his team by seven. He will dine at noon, 
get to work again at half-past one, and knock off 
for the night about six. Many a farmer, however, 
perfers to rise earlier, start on the land about six, 
take a long rest in the heat of the day, — say 
from eleven to three or even four, — and then 
go back to his work and keep it up till twilight 
fades into darkness. Whichever his plan, the 
master expects his man to do as he does. After 
such a full day of hard out-door work, neither 
of them wants to stay long out of bed when 
supper is despatched, and there is little thought 
of recreation beyond the evening pipe. Sunday, 
apart from necessary attention to live stock, is 
kept as a day of rest. There is, in fact, a strong 
sentiment throughout the West against Sunday 
labour ; and even railway construction, urgent 
as it is, has to pause from Saturday to Monday. 
Some farmers spend at any rate part of the day 
doing petty repairs, while their wives go to church ; 
but many men, quite unused to church-going 
in the old home where there is a church at every 
man's door, adopt the habit in a half-settled 
country where churches are few and far between 
and a religious service is an event of some rarity. 
In some localities it is remarked that nearly all 
the settlers attend service whenever one is 



246 RECREATION 

announced, and whatever the denomination may 
be that gives them the opportunity. Some of 
them, at any rate, whether they would subscribe 
to any creed or none, are grateful for the influence 
that lifts them every now and then from the 
rut of material interests and ambitions ; and the 
rest at any rate appreciate the variety that a 
weekly or fortnightly or monthly service brings 
into their lives, not to speak of the oppor- 
tunity of meeting their often distant neighbours. 
When no service is held, or when, as is common 
there is only one service because the minister 
has to visit two or three centres every Sunday, 
a part of the day is given up to social intercourse, 
a recreation all the more enjoyed when every 
visit means a drive of several miles. Visiting 
and reading, in fact, are the staple recreations 
of the West, all the year round. Few have any 
large store of literature ; but the books are being 
constantly lent. In summer and autumn, except 
in the very busiest seasons, there is always a 
certain amount of baseball, football, and more 
rarely cricket, wherever settlement has grown 
out of its earliest and sparsest stage. I find that 
next to the climate the loneliness of prairie life 
is what the English emigrant most dreads. To 
a townsman or towns woman, of course, life in 
the country is always lonely, and even the English 
farm labourer will find less company on his 



WINTER OCCUPATIONS 247 

Canadian homestead than in his native home ; 
but in the districts now being settled up the 
isolation is steadily lessening. It is true that the 
English and Canadian farmers live on their own 
farms, and not in villages like the Dukhobors ; 
but unless the settler has gone particularly far 
afield, he is not likely to be many months without 
neighbours, and neighbours out there are neigh- 
bourly. 

In winter, though there is always a certain 
amount of work to be done, — and appreciably 
more where there are cattle than on a purely 
grain-growing farm, — there is plenty of time for 
recreation. The boys make a skating rink on the 
nearest slough ; and their elders make up moon- 
light sleighing parties. With the pure white 
country snow covering the ground, the moon 
and stars shining down through the clearest 
atmosphere in the world, and a frequent display 
of aurora, the night is often so light that you can 
shoot a coyote at a range of a quarter of a mile. 
Dances and card parties are common in farm- 
houses, — gambling, by the way, being rare either 
then or at any other time. In a village, the 
churches are centres of communal life ; as in other 
parts of the English-speaking world, the church 
" social " or concert is a most popular institution, 
and in many places these are supplemented by 
debating societies and reading circles. The 



248 SCHOOLS 

Sunday School, of course, must have its annual 
picnic ; and picnics are also a common way of 
celebrating " Queen's Birthday " and Dominion 
Day. The yearly visit of a circus attracts the 
whole population from a radius of many miles ; 
and a theatrical company sometimes goes the 
round of the larger towns. Some of the English 
ranchers hunt the coyote with dogs ; but hunting, 
even in its western sense of shooting, is not a very 
common form of sport, though a farmer may 
now and then take his gun and bring home a 
few prairie chicken or wild duck. 

As cheerful a sight as meets your eye as you 
travel through the West is the little prairie school 
house. Wherever there are twelve children in 
an area five miles square the Government forms 
a school district. The school is managed by 
three local trustees. The Government pays a 
large part of the cost, the remainder being raised 
by a school tax, which varies from $4 to $15 (16s. 
8d. to 62s. 6d.) a year on a farm of 160 acres, 
the average being perhaps $6 (25s.). Attendance 
at school is compulsory, but in many districts 
so far the enforcement of this law has been rather 
lax, and, as generally happens elsewhere, the 
children from homes where education is most 
needed are most likely to be irregular in attend- 
ance. This, however, is but a passing phase. 
Even the most ignorant Gajicians are coming 



SCHOOL AND OTHER RATES 249 

to see the value of schooling, and such is the 
spirit of the West that the educational interests of 
New Canada are in no danger whatever of being 
neglected either by the Governments or by the 
people at large. By the end of 1906 there had 
been organized 1399 school districts in Manitoba, 
1190 in Saskatchewan, and 742 in Alberta, and 
the Saskatchewan Legislature has already made 
provision for a Provincial University. 

The only direct tax levied on the settler, in 
addition to the education rate, is a local improve- 
ment tax, for the up-keep of roads, bridges being 
generally built and maintained by the Government. 
The local improvement tax in a new district 
amounts to about $4 (16s. 8d.) a year on the 
quarter section ; two days' personal work on the 
road, or one day if a man brings his team, being 
taken as equivalent to the cash. 



THE FUTURE 

The future of the great territory I have attempted 
to describe should be made a subject of earnest, if 
not anxious, thought by all who desire the welfare 
of our Empire and our race. So far as material 
things go, there is no cause for anxiety about 
the future of the country in general. Here and 
there, now and then, damage may be caused 
by drought and other accidents of weather, or 
by disease among live stock and crops ; but 
Canada is less subject to these scourges than 
most other countries, and it is unlikely in the 
extreme that the districts affected will at any 
time be more than a small fraction of the whole 
Dominion. Over-speculation may cause a tem- 
porary set-back in commerce ; but the natural 
resources of the country are so varied and so 
vast that speedy recovery is as certain as any- 
thing in human affairs can be. Land may be 
" boomed " up to a point above its value ; but 
that point is still far out of sight. The choice 
land in possession of the Western Canada Com- 
pany, to give only one instance, has fetched 

during the past season an average of about $9 

250 



THE NEED OF THE FUTURE 251 

an acre ; but the land — probably inferior, and 
certainly not superior — in the Western States of 
the neighbouring republic, from which many of 
the purchasers come, is fetching $40, $50, or 
even more. It is not, however, of material 
prosperity that I am chiefly thinking. 

Amid all the exhilaration and satisfaction caused 
by a sight of hundreds of thousands of human 
beings transforming a wilderness into a garden 
under the British flag, the question constantly 
arises, and with growing insistency, " What are 
the British people going to do about it ? " 
Children now at school may live to see a time 
when the Canadian part of our Empire will contain 
a larger population than the Motherland itself. 
How can we in the United Kingdom and the 
Dominion to-day, the present guardians of the 
Imperial destiny, help to ensure that the future 
population of Canada, with its fast increasing 
influence in our councils, and possibly destined 
to be the predominant partner, shall grow not 
only in material and moral prosperity, but in 
solidarity and brotherhood with the Motherland 
and all other lands now joined together under 
the British flag ? It is not enough to put aside 
with a smile the extravagant visions of certain 
American prophets who think that the American 
farmers, to-day deserting the United States for 
Canada, will to-morrow insist on Canada's be- 



252 GOVERNMENT AND FARMER 

coming a part of the United States ; or of those 
who imagine that the western half of the Dominion 
will at any rate secede from the eastern half, and 
set up a separate commonwealth of its own. The 
question is, how to strengthen those feelings and 
those interests which tend to keep such extrava- 
gant dreams from ever becoming the ideal of any 
appreciable section of the Canadian people. 

Obviously, the Canadian people and Govern- 
ments can do far more to ensure a satisfactory 
solution to this problem than the people and 
Government of the Motherland, especially in the 
direction of material prosperity. They have done 
much already. The western farmer enjoys, it 
is true, great advantages in the shape of virgin 
soil, freedom from rent, and very low direct taxa- 
tion ; he is, moreover, an enterprising person, 
capable of making the most of his advantages ; 
yet the federal and provincial authorities have not 
allowed this consideration to make them fold their 
arms and let the farmer paddle his own canoe. 
The experimental farm system, which I have 
already described, is one of the most effective 
means yet devised by the Federal Government 
for helping the farmer. The provincial Govern- 
ments also are entering into partnerships with 
their farming constituents in a way to which we 
in England are unaccustomed. The Albertan 
Department of Agriculture, for instance, en- 



THE TARIFF 253 

courages the dairy industry by marketing the 
butter which it produces. The direction, how- 
ever, in which Government, the Federal Govern- 
ment in this case, may find it hard to satisfy 
the farmers' demands is indicated by the word 
tariff. In framing any national Customs tariff 
the Canadian Government is confronted by the 
obvious fact that such protection as the manu- 
facturing East would like would be far from 
agreeable to the agricultural West. But this 
conflict of interests occurs in almost every 
country, and there is no serious reason to suppose 
that a compromise which the two interests will 
accept cannot be arrived at. Of the greater 
tariff question, that concerning a preferential or 
reciprocal trade arrangement between the different 
countries of the Empire, I shall venture to say 
no more than that the increase of Canadian 
population, and especially of that section of it 
which produces what we want and consumes what 
we can supply, must strengthen the argument in 
favour of safeguarding and increasing by every 
practicable means the trade between the Mother 
Country and the Dominion. 

Vastly important as such material considera- 
tions are, there are moral — sentimental if you 
like — considerations which are hardly less urgent. 
The people who emigrate to Canada from the 
United Kingdom, even when they know they 



254 KNOWLEDGE OF THE EMPIRE 

are driven to do so because the United Kingdom 
has not given them a chance of work for them- 
selves or prospect of work for their children, 
have naturally a feeling of affection for the 
Mother Country which you cannot expect to find 
among immigrants of other races. It is in the 
power of the Canadian Governments, by just laws 
and their just enforcement, greatly to foster the 
devotion of all new-comers to the institutions of 
their adopted land, and indirectly, of course, to 
the Empire of which that land forms a more and 
more valued part. A great deal might be done, 
however, and perhaps more by individual than 
Government means, to create and foster among 
these new-comers a knowledge of the Empire to 
which they have come, and especially of the Old 
Country, which for many years must hold the 
headship of the great British Confederacy — a 
knowledge which ought to produce appreciation, 
and perhaps a feeling even stronger than that. 
The Government of Manitoba, as is well known, 
has set an admirable example — which we in 
England would follow, if our authorities were 
not so fearful of being thought " demonstrative " 
— by decreeing that the country's flag shall be 
flown over every school. Whether a similar 
law has yet been passed in the newer Provinces 
I am not aware ; but I know that the flag is 
flying over many of their schools, law or no law, 



CHEAP POSTAGE TO BE USED 255 

and that in still more of these schools, if not in 
all, the children are being taught what the 
privileges and the duties of British citizenship 
mean to them and to the world's life in which 
this Empire should always be a beneficent factor. 
One of the most hopeful methods yet invented 
with the object of fostering brotherhood among 
the British nations is the system of inter-com- 
munication between schools in different parts of 
the British world, initiated by the League of the 
Empire. But it has to be remembered that people 
nowadays, and this to a greater extent through- 
out the North American continent than even in 
Europe, depend for their information, and un- 
consciously for their opinions, largely on the 
newspaper press. The reduction of postage 
rates on newspapers and other forms of litera- 
ture from this country to the Dominion is there- 
fore a step of no little consequence ; and even 
now that this reform has been secured, there 
is need of an organized effort to make full use of 
its advantage. Many people in this country, 
I know well enough, send newspapers regularly 
to their friends who have gone to Canada ; but 
the great majority of immigrants find themselves 
dependent for their news entirely on the local 
Press, which is necessarily most concerned with 
local affairs and gets most of its news of Old 
Country matters filtered through American 



256 OPEN COMMUNICATION 

agencies. I should like to commend to such 
organizations as I have already mentioned, and to 
individuals throughout the land, the Imperial 
advantage and the imperious need of seeing as far 
as possible that every one who leaves these 
shores is kept in regular communication with 
those who remain. To establish such communica- 
tion with people who have gone into Canada from 
the United States or from Continental Europe 
would be more difficult, but, being also even more 
desirable, should be carried out in spite of the 
difficulty. 

The task of preserving, strengthening, and, 
where it does not yet exist, creating a sense of 
brotherhood between the inhabitants of the Old 
Country and the new is one that must surely 
commend itself as an imperative duty to the 
Churches, whose very foundation is brotherhood. 
The authorities of the Church of England, and 
especially of such organizations as the Society 
for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the 
Colonial and Continental Church Society, have 
shown that they realize the need, and are doing 
much, though little in proportion to the wealth 
of their communion — endeavouring chiefly to 
establish churches and provide clergymen and 
lay workers among the settlers who have gone 
out from England. The Nonconformists are 



EMIGRATION 257 

also doing something in this direction, though 
they might do much more. They probably 
feel that most of the settlers coming into Canada 
from the United States have been connected 
with Methodist, Presbyterian, and other non- 
Episcopal Churches — Nonconformist is happily 
an unmeaning and obsolete word in America — 
and that they are better off financially than 
the emigrants who leave these shores. But 
this very fact, though rendering the need of 
church-building less urgent, offers British Non- 
conformists a magnificent opportunity for opening 
fraternal communication with the American 
element in the New West. Nor should it be 
forgotten that in the aggregate a very large 
number of the immigrants from this side have 
been more or less closely connected with Noncon- 
forming or, in Scotland, Presbyterian Churches. 

If it is said that any of these suggestions 
involve a new departure of perhaps an uncon- 
ventional kind, the reply is simply that the 
situation to be dealt with is novel, and con- 
ventionality is not going to solve the problem. 

The subject of emigration I have already 
dealt with ; but, as it is most closely connected 
with that of racial and Imperial unity, I am com- 
pelled to emphasize, in closing, the desirability, 
in the interest of this country and the Empire 
as a whole, of encouraging would-be emigrants 

R 



258 FOREIGNERS WANTED 

of the right sort to make new homes for themselves 
within the borders of the Empire. If, however, 
both the quality and the number of British emi- 
grants go on rising as they are rising now, while 
our birth-rate goes on falling, the most doggedly 
conservative of our people, whether they call 
themselves Liberal or Tory, will demand that 
" something must be done " to make the Old 
Country's life more attractive and her industries 
more lucrative. " We cannot lose all our best 
blood," people are saying already ; and, though 
it is emphatically true that emigration is simply 
a movement from one part of " our country " to 
another, it is also true that defective social condi- 
tions or short-sighted fiscal policy may drive our 
able-bodied and able-minded men across the sea to 
an extent positively injurious to that part of the 
Empire which they leave. And, even if no check 
is put on the emigration movement, it is quite 
evident that these islands alone cannot supply 
anything like the amount of humanity that the 
vast spaces of Canada are waiting and thirsting 
for. I should not fear a considerable influx even 
of Japanese and other Asiatics, though I am well 
aware of the special arguments against such a 
movement, and therefore I do not press the point. 
As to the Continental races of Europe, even the 
most backward of them, it would be the height 
of folly to discourage their emigration to Canada. 



FINANCE 259 

With any rational and patriotic system of educa- 
tion in their new home, these people will in a 
generation or less be intelligent English-speaking 
citizens ; and they will reinforce the stock from 
which the future British race must be produced. 
In emigrationfrom the United Kingdom to Canada, 
though the new country gains more than the old 
loses, the local loss must be taken into account. 
The immigration of foreigners — of course not those 
of the undesirable and unimprovable type — is 
a clear gain to the Empire. 

One word more. Canada, as the High Com- 
missioner has said in the preface, needs money as 
well as men for her development. Mr Courtney, 
till lately the Deputy Minister of Finance at 
Ottawa, warned us some time ago against " wild- 
cat " schemes ; and every honest Canadian 
emphatically echoes his words. Unfortunately, 
however, people over here, in their comparative 
ignorance of conditions over there, may be 
tempted to shun all Canadian schemes, for fear 
they should find themselves unawares in a " wild- 
cat's " claws. Here, then, is an occupation ready 
made for some trustworthy financial authority, 
with no suspicion of having an axe to grind, 
who will help British investors to discriminate 
clearly between Canadian schemes which are 
hopeless and insane and those which are at 
any rate sane and hopeful ; or between purely 



260 A LAST WORD 

speculative projects and those which, being 
based on the fertile land itself, are " as good as 
the bank." It is a pity that, through fear born 
of ignorance, the British investor keeps out of 
Canadian fields into which the American investor 
pours his money with confidence ; and I say this 
knowing very well that many millions of British 
money are invested in Canadian Government 
stocks and other gilt-edged securities. It is a pity 
also that a great representative Canadian con- 
cern like the Canadian Pacific Railway, with its 
almost fabulous possessions in land, should be 
treated on the New York and even on the London 
Stock Exchange as if it were merely one of the 
bunch of " American rails M that seem to exist 
for speculators to juggle with. The moral of 
which is, like the moral of everything I have 
attempted to say in these pages, that the 
people of this old centre of the British State 
should seriously study the problems of Greater 
Britain ; and, in the power of knowledge, should, 
while there is time, take such individual and 
collective action as will preserve, develop, and 
unify the King's whole realm. 



INDEX 



Aberdeen, Earl of, 240 

Alberta Province, 104, 133 ; cli- 
mate, 105, 118, 128, 137, 208 ; 
population, 66, 69; produce, 
129, 130; water question, 196, 
201, 227 

American immigrants, 53, 89, 92, 
194, 195 ; statistics, 54, 70, 106 ; 
origins, 107, 129, 134; character, 
no; Americanism and British 
citizenship, 57, 107, 109 ; specu- 
lation, 112 ; Iowans, 78, 120, 
147, 204 ; a stopping - place 
keeper, 1135a dissatisfied plains- 
man, 106 ; bringing in the family, 
12X ; Californians, 134 ; Minne- 
sotans, 146, 192 ; Manxman, 
178 ; Mormons, 224 

Animals, wild, 119, 182, 189 ; 
mosquito and bull-dog fly, 46, 
47; coyote, 162, 183, 189, 248; 
skunk, 186 ; birds, 170, 182, 183, 
189, 239; gopher, badger, fox, 
33, 145, 183 ; snake, 183 ; ante- 
lope, 189, 191 ; bear, 238 

Asiatics, 258 

Assiniboia, 64 

Athabasca, 48, 64 ; Landing, 137 ; 
River, 137 

"Baching," 100 

Bad Hills, 189 

Bathing, 34, 243 

Batoche, 43, 50 

Battlefield : Cutknife Hill in 1885, 

36; to-day, 91, 160 
Battleford in 1885, 29, 35 ; to-day, 

160 
Battleford, North, 90 
Battle River, 35, 130, 159 
Beaver dam, 235 
Beaver Hills, 130 
Beaver River, 46, 48 
Bee-keeping, 82 
Beet sugar, 233 
Brandon, 69 

British Columbia, 203, 239 
Buffalo (bison), 10, 130 



Bull-dog Creek, 179 

Calgary, 199, 209 

Canora, 89 

Capital, need of, xi, 259 

Cardston, 227 

Carrot River, 86 

Cattle and horses : in Manitoba, 
81, 82 ; Saskatchewan, 195 ; 
Alberta, 199, 204, 206 ; ranch 
leases, 206, 211 ; Cochrane 
ranch, 206 ; prices, 207 ; free 
range, 210 ; horse-breeding, 
211 ; horses in Crow's Nest 
Pass, 236 

Cayuse and bronco, 32, 45, 203 

Chamberlain, 145 

Church Army, 53 

Churches, work of, 117, 132, 178, 
245, 256; foreign, 71, 125; a 
parsonage, 179 

Churchill, 84 

Claresholm, 233 

Climate, 33, 45. 54, 7». 75. 83, 105, 
118, 137, 138; winter, 60, 94, 
128, 210; and health, 47, 127, 
157, 208 ; long days, 138 ; rain- 
fall question, 195 ; wind, 202, 
209 ; hail, 228 

Coal, 239 

Cold Lake, 48 

Communication and travel : early 
ways, 9, 20, 21 ; stern- wheel 
steamboat, 35, 49, 59 ; by trail 
to Edmonton, 105 ; rail from 
Regina to Saskatoon, 144 ; trail 
to Battleford, 148 ; to Cutknife, 
162; across country, 171, 177; 
Swift Current trail, 181 ; dry 
camp, 190; the cow-catcher, 
203 ; freighter's waggon, 205 ; 
cost of freighting, 116 

Co-operation among settlers, 87, 

135, 153 
Country, character of: soil and 
capacity, 22, 23, 62, 76, 118 ; 
general summary, 57; treeless 
prairie, 31, 83, 182, 199; park 
361 



262 



INDEX 



lands, 36, 46, 104, 163, 182 ; 
valleys, 48, 154, 159, 193 ; water, 

45, 171, 191, 195 ; alkali lakes, 
183, 190 ; forest and swamp, 

46, 48 ; the prairie in autumn, 
123 ; the Far North, 137 ; prairie, 
primeval, 182 ; semi-arid area, 
181, 190 ; wells, 172, 173, 188 ; 
gumbo, 191 ; mountains, 235 

Cow-boy, the, 133 

Crow's Nest Pass, 203, 235 

Cypress Hills, 195 

Dairy produce, 81, 253 
Dragoons, new force, 224 
Drainage works, 83, 129 
Drink, 242 
Duck Lake, 26, 50 
Dukhobors, 149 
Dundurn, 146 
Dun vegan, 137 
Dutch settlers, 134 

Eagle Creek, 154, 189 

Edmonton : Alberta's capital, 
104, 130 ; Proclamation Day, 
133 ; as a railway centre, 136 

Education: 248,249; school lands, 
62, 63 ; school-book traveller, 90 

Elevators, 80 

Elk Park, 130 

Emigrants : questions of, 13 ; right 
and wrong sort, 96, 257 ; emi- 
gration societies, 52 ; fares, 53. 
See also Immigration 

English people, 91, 163, 203 ; 
the all-British colony, 91 ; and 
climate, 94 ; town boys' success, 
98 ; Alberta ranchers, 207 

Esterhazy, 144 

Expansion of Canada, 16 

Farm implements, prices of, 135 

Farm speculation, 112 

Farmers and Government, 142, 

252 
Farmers and their men, 244 
Farming, mixed, 81 
Farms, experimental, 142 
" Fertile Belt," 23 
Fires, precautions against, 145, 

I 73» 189 ; burnt forest, 238 
Fish, 71 
Flag, the, 254 
Flowers, wild, 46 



Food: 34, 113, 158, 241; 

Galicians', 127 ; Mormons', 232 
Foresters, Order of, 87 
Fort Garry, 9, 67 
Fort Pitt in 1885, 28, 46 ; to-day, 

92 
Fort Saskatchewan, 131 
Fort Simpson, 137 
Fort Vermilion, 138 
Freighting, cost, 116, 155 ; an old 

freighter, 205 
French Canadians, 54, 119, 135, 

173, 180 
Frog Lake massacre, 27, 46, 92 
Fruit, 119, 143, 240, 242 
Fur trade, 20, 131 
Future of the West, 10, 65, 250 

Galicians : in Manitoba, 70, 
86; in Alberta, 123; a bothy, 
124 

Geological Survey, 22, 84 

Germans, 54, 89, 143, 149, 177 

Gimli, 71 

Great Slave Lake, 137 

Grey, Earl, at Edmonton, 133; 
at Macleod, 219 

Hal f-b reeds: ancestry and 
character, 20 ; Riel's rebellions, 
24, 25, 185; St Albert, 134; 
Sixty-mile Bush, 184. See also 
Risings 

Hanley, 145 

Haultain, 146 

Hecla, 71 

Herbert, 197 

Holidays, 109, 248 

Horses. See Cattle, and Cayuse 

Hotels, 90; and "stopping- 
places," 113, 158 

Houses of settlers : log house, 175, 
187 ; sod house, 178, 187 ; plank 
shack, 179 ; a rancher's home 
208 ; Galicians', 124 ; Duk- 
hobors', 150 ; ventilation, 243 

Hudson's Bay Company: early 
history of territory, 19 ; terms 
of annexation to Canada, 23 ; 
Company's land holding, 62 ; 
Edmonton store, 132 ; Fort 
Vermilion flour mill, 138 

Hudson's Bay Route, 84 

Humboldt, 89 

Hungarians, 144 



INDEX 



263 



Icelanders, 71 

Immigrants: statistics, 51 ; 
harvesters, 68 ; effect of the 
West on new-comers, 72 

Imperial questions, 251, 254 

Indian Head, 142 

Indians: early trade with, 20; 
treatment of, 26 ; Big Bear, 27 ; 
Poundmaker, 29, 170; Mooso- 
min, 44, 91 ; Chippewayans, 
47 ; Cree farmers, 164, 199 ; 
Blackfoot, Blood, and Peigan, 
214 ; coveted reserves, 215 ; self- 
support, 215; education and 
morality, 216; Blood customs, 
217 ; disease, 218 ; war-dance 
at Macleod, 219 ; and Mounted 
Police, 222 

Irish horse-rancher, 211 

Irrigation : in U.S., 55, 198, 227 ; 
in Western Canada, 64, 198 

Japan, trade with, 58, 201 
Jews, 144 

Keewatin Territory, 84 

Labour : nawying, 60 ; farm 
work, 68, 75, 244 

Lake Dauphin, 86 

Lake Manitoba, 86 

Lake Winnipeg, 71 

Lake Winnipegosis, 86 

Land available for cultivation, 
estimate of, 63, 84 

Land, for sale, 54, 63, 64, 87, 142; 
land companies, 64 

Land, free, 54, 106, 135; home- 
stead conditions, 57, 157 ; 
abuses, 158 ; homestead statis- 
tics, 57, 62 

Land, division of, 214 

Land booms, 67 

Lands, school, 62, 63 

Lipton, 143 

Literature, 115, 246, 255 

Lloyd, Archdeacon, 39, 40 

Lloydminster, 91 

MacDonnell, Col., 224 
Mackenzie Territory and River, 137 
Macleod, 202 
Makaroff, 88 

Manitoba : first settlement, 21, 
67; Province formed, 25; the 



Province to-day, 67; popula- 
tion, 69 ; farming, 74 ; surface, 
83 ; extension of boundaries 
wanted, 84 ; Dauphin region, 
86 ; the flag, 254 

Mannville, 105 

Melfort, 109 

Mennonites, 89, 197 

Migrations, the great, 15 

Money : Dollars and £ s. d., 32 

Moose Jaw, 142 

Moosomin, 142 

Mormons in Alberta, 224 ; poly- 
gamy, 225; organization, 229; 
education, 231 ; diet and health, 
232 ; future, 234 

Newspapers, 117, 176, 255 
North, the Far, 136 
Norwegians, 9a 

Old Man River, 235 
Ontarians, 178, 179, 187, 205 
Otter, Col., 31 

Park lands, 36, 46, 104, 163, 
182 

Past and present, 16 

Peace River, 137 

Perry, Commissioner, 224 

Pianos, 200 

Pioneers, 137 

Poles, 56 

Police, N.W. Mounted : in war 
time, 26, 28, 37 ; headquarters, 
140; Macleod, 202 ; and Indians, 
222 ; present duties, 223 

Politics, Provincial, 140 

Population : need of, 11 ; statis- 
tics, 66, 69 

Portage la Prairie, 69 

Postage, 255 

Prince Albert, 26, 87, 88 

Provisions, prices of, 90, 116 

Railways: ii, 12; Canadian 
Pacific in 1885, 30, 31 ; and 
to-day, 59, 136, 140, 199, 202, 
233, 239, 260 ; Canadian North- 
ern, 59, 86, 89, X04, 136, 147; 
Grand Trunk Pacific, 59, 136, 189; 
Mr Hill's plans, 59 ; grievances, 
59 ; navvies wanted, 60 ; Federal 
Railway Commission, 61 ; grain 
cars, 80 ; Southern Alberta, 233 



264 



INDEX 



Raymond, 233 

Recreations, 95, 176, 246 

Red Deer, 196 

Red River Valley: first settle- 
ment, 21 ; fertility, 22 ; blessing 
the river, 71 

Regina, capital of Saskatchewan, 
140 

Remittance man, 100 

Riding Mountain, 86 

Risings, the : Red River Rebel- 
lion of 1870, 24 ; Saskatchewan 
Rising of 1885, 25 ; rebel success 
at Duck Lake, 26 ; Indians 
on war-path, 27; Frog Lake 
massacre, 27 ; Fort Pitt sur- 
rendered, 28 ; siege of Battle- 
ford, 29 ; Relief Expedition, 30 ; 
cold and heat on the prairie, 33 ; 
siege raised, 35 ; Cutknife Hill 
fight, 36 ; feelings under fire, 38 ; 
volunteers' bravery, 39 ; rising 
suppressed, 43 ; Poundmaker's 
surrender, 43 ; pursuit of Big 
Bear, 45 ; escape of his prisoners, 
48 

Rocky Mountains, 203, 235 ; foot- 
hills, 207 

St Albert, 134 
Salvation Army, 52, 87 
Saskatchewan Province: Central, 

88, 147 ; Southern, 141 ; popula- 
tion, 66, 69 

Saskatchewan River, North, 49, 

I3L 159 
Saskatchewan River, South, 35, 

89. 193 
Saskatoon, 93, 147 
Saunders, Dr, 62 
Scandinavians, 54, 71, 74, 92, 129 
Scotsmen, 95, 154, 187, 198 
Selkirk, Lord, 21 
Settlement, the first, 21 
Sixty-mile Bush, 184 

Social distinctions, 100 

Soil, nature and capacity of, 22, 

33 

Sports, 95, 246, 248 
Squatters, 135 
Star, 125 
Strassburg, 143 



Strathcona, 118 

Strathcona, Lord, Preface by, 9 ; 

position in 1870, 24 
Sunday, 245 
Swift Current in 1885, 31 ; to-day, 

195 

Tariff, 253 

Taxation, 248, 249 

Thingvalla, 73 

Tisdale, 87 

Togo, 88 

Towns and villages : rapid growth 

of, 91, 117, 200 ; land prices, 91, 

131 ; a Dukhobor village, 149 ; a 

Mormon town, 227 
Trade, external, 12 ; with Japan, 

58, 201 

United Kingdom, food for, 10, 
65 

United States: settlement of the 
West, 15 ; Canadian emigration 
campaign, 53 ; counter-attrac- 
tions, 55 ; causes of emigration, 
in; westward migrations, 113; 
experience in Oklahoma, 114 ; 
French-Canadians in, 173. See 
also Americans 

Vegreville, 119 
Vermilion, 116 

War correspondent's experiences, 
17, 32, 38 

War man, 90 

Water-power, 83 

Wetaskiwin, 129 

Wheat : possible production, 65; 
average crops, 65, 77 ; quality 
and cultivation, 75 ; profit, 77, 
205 ; in the Far North, 138 ; in 
Saskatchewan, 142, 146, 163 ; in 
Alberta, 114, 128, 201, 204, 205, 
227 ; and other grain, 81, 128, 
202 

White Bear " Lake," 191 

Winnipeg in 1870, 67 ; to-day, 68, 
69 

Wolseley, Lord, 24 

Yukon and Klondike, 138 



TURNBULL AND SPEAR*, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH 



I