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In the four years 1871-74 the yield of corn over the United States averaged 251⁄2 bushels to the acre. In the next four years it was 27.2 bushels; in the next four, 25 bushels; in 1883, 23.7 bushels; in 1884, 26 bushels. In 1886 it was 22 bushels; in 1887, 20 bushels; and the preliminary reports for 1888 put the probable yield below that of 1887. I have not the returns for 1885 by me. The annual average yield of wheat per acre in the ten years ending 1879 was 12.4 bushels per acre, while for the subsequent nine years it was 11.8 bushels. The average yield of oats for the ten years ending 1879 was 28.4 bushels per acre; in the eight years 1880-87 it was 26.5 bushels. Let it be remembered that during all this time a vast and constantly increasing area of virgin soil has been added yearly to the tilled land, the tendency of which is to keep up the average product per acre, and it will be conceded to be at least arguable that when the whole of the arable public domain has been divided up into farms, as will be the case within a little more than a decade, a permanent reduction in the yield per acre may be looked for, unless an improvement takes place in methods of cultivation and more attention is paid than is now given to keeping up the fertility of the soil.
From a paper published in the "Northwestern Miller" I gather that in the five years ending 1878 the export of wheat was, in round numbers, 300,000,000 bushels, that of Indian corn 266,000,000 bushels; in the five years ending 1883 the respective amounts were, of wheat 626,000,000 bushels, of Indian corn 358,000,000 bushels; and in the five years ending 1888, of wheat 374,000,000 bushels, of Indian corn 222,000,000 bushels.
500,000,000 acres of arable land exclusive of the mountain section not now utilized;
That at the close of the present century this area will be in the hands of private owners; That a large portion of it is below the line of profitable wheat culture, and is not adapted to successful stock raising.
Therefore, if Canada contains any great extent of fertile virgin soil, capable of profitably producing breadstuffs, beef, mutton, and other commodities of this class, the United States will probably become a very extensive purchaser of them, if the tariff is not absolutely restrictive; and in proportion as the commercial relations between the two countries are broadened and the interchange of commodities is facilitated, the demand for the products of Canada will be augmented.
Has Canada such a territory?
In considering this phase of the subject it is necessary to be on guard against "glittering generalities," to take no account of the fanciful figures and hasty conclusions in which political orators and even parliamentary committees sometimes indulge. Fifteen years ago the people of the Dominion had little idea of the resources of their country. Since then a vast mass of facts has been collected. Areas which less than a score of years ago were supposed to be a trackless waste of snow for the greater part of the year and a barren inhospitable wilderness for the remainder have been found to possess a summer climate of a highly favorable character. It has been shown that summer isotherms are independent of latitude; that the slight elevation of the Canadian North-west above the sea, the Chinook winds from the Pacific, and the alternate southerly winds, heated on the plains of the United States, cause a balmy temperature to extend during five months of the year to within twenty-five degrees of the Pole; so that wheat is a reasonably safe crop in the great Mackenzie Basin within a comparatively short distance of the Arctic Circle. The Canadian Senate committee in 1888, after examining over a hundred witnesses, either orally or by correspondence, felt warranted in reporting that there was in the great Mackenzie River Basin and north of the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude
From the facts above presented, the follow- an area of 800,000 square miles suitable for ing conclusions seem warranted:
That the population of the United States will be 120,000,000 by the year 1920;
That, to provide food for this number of people, to keep farm stock proportionate in number to what is now kept, and to maintain a relative position in the matter of exports of farm produce, 980,000,000 acres will be required for tillage land and pasture.
That there are in round numbers about
grazing, of which 316,000 square miles were adapted to the cultivation of wheat.1
This conclusion is so startling, so out of keeping with the preconceived ideas of almost everybody, that it will be received with hesitation; yet it seems fully borne out by the testimony given before the committee. The Canadian North-west is full of surprises, pre1 Appendix to the Journal of the Senate of Canada, Vol. XXII., p. 10.
senting a most inviting field for exploration; but the region spoken of above-that is, the country north of the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude-may be disregarded for the purposes of the present article, as, in view of the large unoccupied area south of that parallel, it is doubtful if the more northerly area will play any considerable part in international commerce during the next thirty years. As showing the probable ultimate development of Canadian agriculture, the following estimate may be given of what is officially claimed to be either arable or grazing land:
For the reason given above, the last item will be eliminated from the present calculation, leaving 398,000,000 acres of tillable or pasture land in Canada south of the fifty-fourth parallel. Of this not more than 60,000,000 acres are now embraced in farms, so that 338,000,000 acres are yet to be occupied. One hundred million acres, principally in the North-west Territories, may be regarded as more especially adapted to grazing than to cultivation; so that we arrive at the conclusion that there is in Canada, south of the fifty-fourth parallel, 238,000,000 acres of vacant tillage land. Or, to state the case in general terms, the area of arable land in Canada within the well-ascertained limits of profitable wheat culture is about equal to the arable public domain in the United States. I am satisfied that this is a moderate estimate. Canadians generally will be inclined to think it far below the mark. Adding to the Canadian area the vacant arable land in the United States, we get a total of over 500,000,000 acres, or sufficient to provide for the wants of the people of this continent, at the present rate of increase and under present methods of cultivation, for the next quarter of a century, without calling for any large increase in the product of existing farms.
Taking up the several parts of the Dominion in detail, the Maritime Provinces may be first considered. These are Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The whole area set down to their credit in the foregoing statement may be treated as fit for agriculture. Only about one-tenth of it, or 1,800,000 acres, is under cultivation; so that, making a reasonable allowance for pasturage, their yield of farm produce may be increased fivefold without any improvement upon existing methods of farming. They furnish the New England States with horses, sheep, potatoes, eggs, hay, and some other articles.
The principal export of agricultural produce from Quebec to the United States consists of hay and potatoes, the aggregate value of the two items being about $1,000,000 annually. This will probably increase from year to year gradually, but no very great stress ought to be laid upon the part which this province will play in supplying the market of the Republic. French-Canadians, at least the agricultural part of the population, are not aggressive in a business sense, and not likely to be formidable competitors in any foreign market. What the habitants would do if spurred up by an active demand for the products of their farms remains to be seen. The province is adapted to much the same class of farming as the Maritime Provinces.
Ontario is a great agricultural province. Its wheat crop in 1881, 20,406,091 bushels,1 had in 1884 risen to over 31,000,000 bushels.2 This last amount was exceeded in 1887 by only four of the United States (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Minnesota) and one Territory (Dakota). The average yield per acre of wheat in Ontario, as taken from returns to the Provincial Bureau of Agriculture, extending over a period of six years, is 181⁄2 bushels. This is exceeded only by the yield of California and Colorado. After supplying the demand from the eastern part of the Dominion, Ontario has annually a large surplus of wheat; and as only about 1,700,000 acres of its available area have been sown to this grain, it is evident that the wheat-producing capacity of the province has not nearly been reached. Ontario also produces a surplus of barley, of which 9,365,724 bushels were sold to the United States in 1887. Its yield of this grain can be enormously augmented. The province also exports largely of horses, cattle, and sheep, the first and last to the United States principally, by far the greater number of the horned stock finding a sale in Great Britain. The total area of Ontario is 128,000,000 acres, of which, up to 1885, 22,000,000 acres had been granted to private owners. Of the remainder 12,000,000 must be deducted for water surface, leaving 94,000,000 acres to be drawn upon for new farms. With a liberal allowance for non-arable land, it is evident that Ontario agriculture and stock-raising are capable of great expansion; and as the people of the province are energetic and enterprising, they will be sharp competitors in any market open to them.
I have estimated the arable and pasture land of British Columbia at 50,000,000 acres, exclusive of the Peace River region. The climate of this province and its luxuriant and
1 Census of 1881.
2 Report of Bureau of Agriculture, 1885.
nutritious grasses adapt it especially to stockraising.
There remain to be considered Manitoba and the North-west Territories, south of the fifty-fourth parallel, embracing within the limit of wheat cultivation 276,000,000 acres. Of this area the late Hon. Horatio Seymour of New York is quoted by the Canadian Department of Agriculture as saying: "There is a country owned by England with greater grain and stock-raising capacity than all the lands on the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean combined." United States Vice-Consul Taylor, in a letter to be found at length in the Appendix to the Journal of the Canadian Senate for 1888, Vol. XXII., says:
I can add nothing to the demonstration, by innumerable explorations and reports, that the navigable channels of the Mackenzie and Mississippi are connected by a territory of 1500 miles in extent north-west of St. Paul, Minnesota, having an average width of 800 miles (1,200,000 square miles), which is substantially identical in climate and natural resources. There is a great variety of illustrations, but I shall confine myself to one-a flower. The prairie's firstling of spring has the popular designation of "crocus," but it is an anemone. It is often gathered on the Mississippi bluffs near the Falls of St. Anthony on the 15th of April. It appears simultaneously on the dry elevation near Winnipeg. It was observed even earlier, on the 13th of April, during the Saskatchewan campaign of 1885, and is reported by Major Butler as in profusion on Peace River, 1500 miles from St. Paul, on the 26th of April. Even 1000 miles beyond, on the Yukon, within the Arctic Circle, Archdeacon Macdonald, a missionary of the Church of England, has gathered the flower on the 14th of May. Equally significant as this delicate herald of spring are the records of ice obstruction in rivers-their emancipation being simultaneous from Fort Snelling, Minnesota, to Fort Vermilion, Athabasca.
A fair estimate would perhaps take from the area of the district now under consideration, which does not include the whole country referred to by Mr. Taylor, 76,000,000 acres as adapted to neither agriculture nor grazing, and divide the remainder equally between those two industries.1 In other words, there is in the Canadian North-west, south of the fifty-fourth parallel, 100,000,000 acres of land admirably adapted to wheat culture. The average yield per acre over the whole district, as given by the census of 1886 (a local census), was, of wheat, 18.4 bushels; of barley, 22.5 bushels; and of oats, 32.4 bushels. By far the greater part of this region is unoccupied ; indeed, immigration has only of recent years begun to find its way into it. It lies adjacent to existing and projected railways, and may be regarded as im1 The area of arable land in this part of the Northwest is equally put at 140,000,000 acres, but this seems
mediately available for the production of breadstuffs for the markets of the world.
What may be regarded as the probable wheat-producing capability of this district? The area in farms in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Iowa was in round numbers 100,000,000 acres in 1880, or about equal to the acreage of arable land in Manitoba and the Canadian North-west, south of latitude 54°. Of the area of the States named sufficient was sown to wheat and corn in that year to have produced if sown to wheat alone 320,000,000 bushels. Indian corn will not assume especial importance as a field crop in the Canadian North-west for some time, if ever; certainly not until years of acclimatization have produced a variety which will come to perfection with great rapidity. It is otherwise with wheat, which is essentially a northern grain, growing in its greatest perfection during the long days of the high latitudes. Therefore it is reasonable to presume that the Canadian farmer will sow in wheat alone an area corresponding to that which his neighbor in Iowa and the other States named sows in corn and wheat. But the average yield of wheat per acre in the virgin soil of Manitoba and the Canadian North-west is one-third greater than in the old-settled States to the south; hence the probable wheat production of this part of Canada, which may be described as lying west of Lake Superior, east of the Rocky Mountains, north of the United States boundary, and south of the fifty-fourth parallel of latitude, is 426,000,000 bushels. This, however, will only be possible when the population of the country has reached 8,000,000, the population of the States named in 1880 necessitating a home consumption of 60,000,000 bushels, which leaves the probable surplus wheat production of the district 366,000,000 bushels annually, an amount equal to the total probable increase in the annual consumption of wheat in the United States at the expiration of thirty years from the present date.
So much for the trade in one direction. What of that in the other direction? Will Canada continue to increase her purchases of the products of United States farms? No reason can be assigned why she should not. No important item of her agricultural imports from her southern neighbor can be replaced by home-raised articles. The trade between the two countries rests upon the natural and legitimate foundation of an interchange of products between a southern and a northern region.
Canada purchases $13,000,000 worth of the products of her neighbor's farms every year, including both animal and vegetable products,
but exclusive of articles manufactured from
material raised on the farms; that is, about three dollars' worth per head. In the future the several items will of course vary from year to year; but there will be a constant increase even under existing tariffs. An important influence which will affect and stimulate the Canadian importation of United States farm produce is to be found in the constant improvement in the condition of the people. The number of those who eat little except what they raise themselves, and wear nothing except the products of their flocks and the little patch of flax before the door, has greatly decreased and is becoming less every year. In part this is due to a general improvement in the condition of the people, who are advancing beyond the pioneer stage, and in part to the opening of the country by railways.
Certain lines of Canadian imports from the United States may be considered as necessaries; such, for example, as Indian corn and meal, and cotton, raw and manufactured. Portions of the Dominion are adapted to the successful growth of Indian corn, but there is no probability of its being cultivated in those localities in sufficient quantity to affect appreciably the foreign supply. Hence also pork, which can be grown cheaper in a corn-producing country than elsewhere, will always be imported largely into Canada.
Raw and manufactured cotton may both be classed among the products of the farms of the United States in this connection. The Canadian import of these articles from the States in 1887 was valued at $8,404,430. The first point to be noted is that of the $2,933,078 worth of raw cotton imported by Canada in 1887, all but $799 worth came from her southern neighbor. The second is that of the $5,471,352 worth of manufactured cottons imported by Canada in the same year, the United States furnished goods to the value of $915,126 only, the bulk of the remainder coming from Great Britain. There is no reason to anticipate that Canada will buy her raw cotton outside of the continent. It is now admitted into Canada duty free; the import is steadily increasing, and as large amounts of capital have been invested in mills and the cost of manufacturing is not greater than in the United States, it is probable that, no matter how intimate the trade relations of the two nations become, the amount of raw cotton needed in the Dominion will grow larger from year to year. There can also be no doubt that if the Canadian duty were removed from manufactured cottons coming from the United States, that country would furnish more than one-sixth of the Dominion's purchases in foreign markets. It would seem indeed not unreasonable to anticipate that if continental free trade became
established, the larger part of the Canadian importation of raw and manufactured cottons would be supplied by the United States.
Next in value to farm products in this international trade come the products of the forest; but in this line the purchases made by the one country from the other do not nearly balance each other, the United States paying Canada over five dollars for wood and wood goods for every dollar that Canada pays in return. Perhaps there is no one line in which consumption is increasing more rapidly in the United States than in this; and there certainly is none in which the source of supply is in such danger of being exhausted. It can be only a few years at the most before the principal source of the wood supply of the United States will be the forests of Canada. No approximation can be given of the resources of the Dominion in this particular. Practically every acre of unimproved land in the five eastern provinces, or, in round numbers, 300,000,000 acres, is covered with a forest growth of some commercial value. The North-west Territories contain an immense area covered with forest. Captain Craig, in his evidence before the Senate committee, said the forest extended from the head of Lake Manitoba to the Rocky Mountains, a distance of a thousand miles. How wide the timber belt is, it is impossible to say with accuracy; but the committee felt justified in reporting that the growth was "far in excess of the needs of the district, and of great prospective value to the treeless regions of Canada and the United States." The principal woods in this region are spruce and poplar, which grow as large as two feet in diameter; not large certainly when compared with the trees of British Columbia or of the great pine regions of the Northern States, yet of sufficient size to make valuable timber. The forests of British Columbia are very extensive and the growth is of the highest quality. Speaking in general terms, the forests of Canada can probably meet any demand likely to be made upon them for many years to come. The Canadian export of forest products averages from $20,000,000 to $25,000,000 in value annually, of which considerably less than a half finds its way to the United States market, the greater part of the remainder being sold in Great Britain, in competition with stock brought from Scandinavia and the Baltic. It is conceded by the best authorities in the trade that a very slight change in existing conditions would divert Canadian lumber largely from European channels, and hence the means are at hand to more than double the lumber trade between the Dominion and the Republic the moment the pressure of circumstances renders it necessary that the foreign wood supply of the latter
country should be increased by removing the duty from the imported article.
Some anthracite coal is found in Canada, but there are no reliable data as to the extent of the known deposits; nothing indicates a probability of their being sufficient to lessen the importation of this mineral from the United States, which in 1887 was of the value of nearly $4,500,000. This line of trade will increase steadily, especially as the cities and towns in Canada grow larger. Of bituminous coal both countries have a supply essentially inexhaustible, the development of the international trade in it depending altogether upon the cheapness at which it can be delivered at the place of consumption. Ontario buys nearly $4,000,000 worth of bituminous coal annually in the United States and pays the duty upon it, presumably for the reason that it comes as cheaply this way as the Nova Scotia article, which is, of course, free of duty. In like manner California imports largely of British Columbia coal. If the duty were removed, the New England States would undoubtedly become large purchasers of Nova Scotia coal, as it could be brought from the mines by water. Immense coal-fields are found in nearly every part of the Canadian North-west, from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the international boundary. Their existence, while having an important bearing upon the settlement of the country, and indirectly upon the timber supply of the future, is not material at present in connection with international commerce.
The effect which continental free trade would have upon the trade in metallic ores between the United States and Canada must be a matter of mere conjecture, and the same may be said of the probable trade in the crude metals themselves. It is interesting to note the presence of excellent iron ore in Nova Scotia in close proximity to large coal deposits; of great beds of Bessemer iron ore in Ontario, in the immediate vicinity of a part of country which is an extensive consumer of Pennsylvania coal; of manganese, antimony, building stone, and other minerals of value; but these have more bearing upon the internal development of Canada than upon the interchange of natural products between the two countries.
In her extensive and productive fisheries Canada possesses what must be of inestimable advantage to her in the future. There is no measure of her wealth in this particular; for in addition to her seaboard fishing-grounds, there are thousands of miles of river and lakes teeming with food fishes. In recent years a large trade in fresh frozen fish has been done between the gulf shore of New Brunswick and the cities of New England, the fish being shipped in refrigerator cars, the demand keeping pace
with the supply. In like manner, as population increases in the central plain of the continent, the great northern rivers and lakes of Canada will be drawn upon as a source of food supply. It may not be within a quarter of a century, but the time cannot be far distant when the enterprise of Canadians will provide railway communication as far north as the Great Slave Lake, an immense body of water, little, if any, smaller than Lake Superior, and with the Mackenzie River, which during five months of the year affords a navigable channel on which for over a thousand miles large steamers can safely float to the Polar Ocean.1 Considerable progress has already been made in this direction. A railway from Winnipeg to Hudson's Bay is also projected, and its early construction appears probable.
The masterly way in which Canada has set about the herculean task of utilizing her vast domain will, when it is better understood, challenge the admiration of the world. It is impossible to read the long reports of explorers and the voluminous testimony of residents, or to reflect upon the magnitude of the great enterprises completed, undertaken, or contemplated, without feeling that the men who have gone into the Canadian North-west are worthy to be the founders of a nation. To hear of railways projected into a region which, only twenty-five years ago, we were told in school was given up to the dominion of the Polar bear and the reindeer; to read of successful farming in a latitude so northerly that during the summer months there is scarcely any night at all; to be told that the navigation of Hudson's Bay and even of the Arctic Ocean, by way of Behring Strait to the mouth of the Mackenzie and thence up that stream, two thousand miles into the heart of the continent, to a land capable of producing millions upon millions of bushels of wheat, of pasturing almost countless herds of cattle, of supplying the petroleum market of the world and abounding with gold and other valuable mines-to realize that this not only is feasible, but likely soon to become a reality, is to get a new insight into the probable future of the continent and of the race which is taking possession of the northerly but by no means less valuable half of it. The purview of this paper does not embrace the discussion of the future of Canada; but it may be asked whether, in view of the great natural advantages hereinbefore referred to, the Dominion cannot claim to possess the elements necessary to the establishment of an independent nationality; by which I mean, not politically independent, but commercially. I wish to avoid the political side of the question at present. The 1 Report of Canadian Senate Committee, 1888, pp. 56-60.