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PREFACE. The events recounted in this book group themselves in the main about a single figure, that of Count Frontenac, the most remarkable man who ever represented the crown of France in the New World. From strangely unpromising beginnings, he grew with every emergency, and rose equal to every crisis. His whole career was one of conflict, sometimes petty and personal, sometimes of momentous consequence, involving the question of national... more...

CHAPTER I THE COMING OF THE RAILWAY The Coming of the Railway—The Iron Road—The New Power—Engine and Rail—The Work of the Railway On the morning of October 6, 1829, there began at Rainhill, in England, a contest without parallel in either sport or industry. There were four entries: Braithwaite and Ericsson's Novelty.Timothy Hackworth's Sans-pareil.Stephenson and Booth's Rocket.Burstall's Perseverance. These were... more...

CHAPTER I CANADA IN 1672 The Canada to which Frontenac came in 1672 was no longer the infant colony it had been when Richelieu founded the Company of One Hundred Associates. Through the efforts of Louis XIV and Colbert it had assumed the form of an organized province. [Footnote: See The Great Intendant in this Series.] Though its inhabitants numbered less than seven thousand, the institutions under which they lived could not have been more... more...

THE 'ARGONAUTS' Early in 1849 the sleepy quiet of Victoria, Vancouver Island, was disturbed by the arrival of straggling groups of ragged nondescript wanderers, who were neither trappers nor settlers. They carried blanket packs on their backs and leather bags belted securely round the waist close to their pistols. They did not wear moccasins after the fashion of trappers, but heavy, knee-high, hobnailed boots. In place of guns over their... more...

A GREAT TRADITION A few years ago I was away north of Edmonton on the trail of Alexander Mackenzie, fur trader and explorer, who a century and a quarter before had made the amazing journey from the prairies over the mountains to the Pacific Coast. We looked with something like awe and wonder at the site of the old fort near the famous Peace River Crossing, from which, after wintering there in 1792, he had started out on that unprecedented... more...


Having at different times collected what information I could obtain relating to the Province of New-Brunswick, I intended whenever I had a sufficient fund of correct materials, to publish them in such a shape as to diffuse a general knowledge of the Country, its productions, sources of wealth, &c. For this reason I had kept the different Counties, as well as the several subjects of which I intended to treat, separate, in order to receive such... more...

PREFACE. The discovery of the "Great West," or the valleys of the Mississippi and the Lakes, is a portion of our history hitherto very obscure. Those magnificent regions were revealed to the world through a series of daring enterprises, of which the motives and even the incidents have been but partially and superficially known. The chief actor in them wrote much, but printed nothing; and the published writings of his associates stand wofully in... more...

About twelve years after the first Spanish caravel had touched the shores of North America, we find the French putting forth efforts to share in some of the results of the discovery. In the year 1504 some Basque, Breton and Norman fisher-folk had already commenced fishing along the bleak shores of Newfoundland and the contiguous banks for the cod in which this region is still so prolific. The Spanish claim to the discovery of America is disputed... more...

When a man poses before the world—even the Canadian world—in the role of an author, he is expected to step up to the footlights, and explain his purpose in presenting himself before the public in that capacity. The thoughts of the world are sown broadcast, very much as the seed falls from the sweep of the husbandman's hand. It drops here and there, in good ground and in stony places. Its future depends upon its vitality. Many a fair... more...

A LAND OF WATERWAYS Canada is the child of the sea. Her infancy was cradled by her waterways; and the life-blood of her youth was drawn from oceans, lakes, and rivers. No other land of equal area has ever been so intimately bound up with the changing fortunes of all its different waters, coast and inland, salt and fresh. The St Lawrence basin by itself is a thing to marvel at, for its mere stupendous size alone. Its mouth and estuary are both... more...