In 1763, the French population amounted to about 65,000, occupying the immediate banks of the lower St. Lawrence and its tributaries. Excepting within the cities of Montreal and Quebec, the immigrants of a different origin, whether from the old colo nies or from the mother country, scarcely attempted to establish themselves among the ancient settlers; thus producing a kind of reciprocal isolation, which, even down Co the present day, has not been materially disturbed. Generally speaking, therefore, the two grand elements of the provincial population are locally distinguished from each other—a relative position which has happily excluded. as between them, nearly every difficulty as to education and religion. The settlers of French origin, almost entirely confined to lower C., occupy the banks of St. Lawrence and of the lower courses of its tributary streams: all the rest of lower C. and the whole of upper C., so far as they are reclaimed at all, belong to colonists of English race.
The origin of the name is most probably to be found in the assertion that Jacques Cartier, the discoverer of Canada, having heard the natives apply the Indian word Kannutha (village) to their settlements, mistook it for the name of the whole country.
Upper and lower C. have presented a striking contrast in their rates of progress. To take, for instance, the growth of towns: In lower C. there are only two towns with a pop. (1871) above 5,000—Levis, on the St. Lawrence, 6,691, and Sorel. at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and the Richelieu, 5,636—in addition to Quebec, Three Rivers, and Montreal, the three French foundations. The growth of Montreal and Quebec, remark able enough in itself, has been owing rather to their commercial facilities with regard to the country at large than to the agricultural resources of their immediate vicinities; while Toronto, London, Kingston, and Hamilton—each nurtured chiefly by its own locality—have an aggregate population of above 110,000. Great part of upper and lower C., more especially the shores of lake Superior, is valuable only for mineral resources, such as iron, zinc, lead, copper, silver, gold, cobalt, manganese, gypsum, marl, granite, sandstone, limestone, slate, and marbles of nearly every imaginable color. Considerable portions also, though heavily timbered, chiefly with pine, are yet but little adapted to settlement and cultivation. Towards the gulf of St. Lawrence, again, a considerable section derives importance mainly from the fisheries, being, with partial exceptions in Gaspe, comparatively worthless for every other object. Thus the area for the profitable production of ordinary cereals cannot materially exceed 40,000 sq.m., containing, how ever, within this space a singularly small proportion of irreclaimable surface. This cul tivable block increases in width and fertility from its commencement on the lower St. Lawrence to the shores of lake Huron. Below Quebec—to say nothing of the precari ous nature of the crops—there may always be seen, on one or on both sides, the primeval forest. Between that city, again, and the basin of the Ottawa, a gradual improvement shows itself, even on the n. side; and towards the s., there stretches away
to the frontier of the United States a broad belt of generally undulating character, probably the best field in the country for the blending of pasturage and agriculture. From the basin of the Ottawa inclusive, the parallel of the s. end of lake Nipissing may be said to cut off, towards the s.w., the entire residue of the practicable soil, in the shape of a roughly defined triangle, which, as a whole, is at least equal, in the growth of grain in general and of wheat in particular, to any region of the same extent in North America.
As C. slants southwards eight or nine degrees from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to that of the Detroit, which communicates between lakes St. Clair and Erie, the climate of the w. must be warmer than that of the cast. In addition to this cause of difference, it holds as a general law over the continent that the climate improves in advancing west ward, even on the same parallel. Besides, the lakes of upper C. appear, in a good measure, to neutralize and mitigate the extremes of a Canadian climate. While Quebec in winter ordinarily enjoys five or six months of sleighing, the corresponding season in Toronto ranges from five or six days to five or six weeks. As to summer, the difference in favor of Toronto is rather in point of duration than of intensity. As indications of the climate of C., it may be stated that the isle of Orleans, immediately below Quebec, is famous for its plums, and the island of Montreal for its apples; and from the neigh borhood of Toronto to the head of lake Erie, grapes and peaches ripen without any aid whatever. Melons, again, of large size, come to maturity, through the settled parts of the province, in the open air ; and pumpkins and squashes attain enormous size, some of them near Toronto havino. weighed 300 lbs. The climate of C., though, as a whole, vastly steadier than that of the British isles, is yet occasionally liable to such changes as among us are all but impossible. Montreal, for instance, may be said, on an average, to have an extreme cold of 24° below zero, and an extreme heat of 96° above it. Now, on short notice, a thaw may surprise the former temperature, and a frost the latter; so that there is room, in winter and summer respectively, for a comparatively sudden rise or fall of about 60°. In fact, it may be said that C. has the summer of Italy and the winter of Southern Russia or North Germany. The average summer temperature of Tor onto is 67.8°, of Paris, 64.5°, and of Rome, 74.2°; while the average winter temperature of Toronto is 24.5°, of Berlin, 31.4°, and of St. Petersburg, 18.1°. And, lying in the latitudes of the summer rains, and of the most valuable cereals and grasses, the latitude most favorable for animals which enhance domestic wealth—the ox, the sheep. and the horse--C. occupies one of the best positions in the world for rearing men and women. It lies in the latitude where man attains the greatest energy of body and mind, and from which have hitherto issued the conquering races. C. may thus be looked on as destined to influence the future of the world.