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I have thought it most convenient to the reader to unite with the text, as it passes in description from place to place, what knowledge of the agricultural and other resources of the country was obtainable at the time. The reader is probably weary of description by this time; but, should he make a similar journey, I am convinced he would not weary of the reality. Travellers, however, differ strangely in perception. Some are observers, with imagination to brighten and judgment to weigh, and, if need be, correct, first impressions; whilst others, with vacant eye, or out of harmony with novel and perhaps irksome surroundings, see, or profess to see, nothing. The readiness, for instance, of the Eastern “fling” at Western Canada thirty years ago is still remembered, and it is easy to transfer it to the North.

Those who lament the meagreness of our records of the fur-trade and primitive social life in Ontario, for example, before the advent of the U. E. Loyalists, can find their almost exact counterpart in Athabasca to-day. For what that Province was then, viz., a wilderness, Athabasca is now; and it is safe to predict that what Ontario is to-day Athabasca will become in time. Indeed, Northern Canada is the analogue of Eastern Canada in more likenesses than one.

That the country is great and possessed of almost unique resources is beyond doubt; but that it has serious drawbacks, particularly in its lack of railway connection with the outer world, is also true. And one thing must be borne in mind, namely, that, when the limited areas of prairie within its borders are taken up, the settler must face the forest with the axe.

Perhaps he will be none the worse for this. It bred in the pioneers of our old provinces some of the highest qualities: courage, iron endurance, self-denial, homely and upright life, and, above all, for it includes all, true and ennobling patriotism. The survival of such qualities has been manifest in multitudes of their sons, who, remembering the record, have borne themselves manfully wherever they have gone.

But modern conditions are breeding methods new and strange, and keen observers profess to discern in our swift development the decay of certain things essential to our welfare. We seem, they think, to be borrowing from others for they are not ours by inheritance their boastful spirit, extravagance, and love of luxury, fatal to any State through the consequent decline of morality. The picture is over-drawn. True womanhood and clean life are still the keynotes of the great majority of Canadian homes.

Yet very striking is the contrast with the old days of household economies, the days of the ox-chain, the sickle, and the leach-tub. All of these, some happily and some unhappily, have been swept away by the besom of Progress. But in any case life was too serious in those days for effeminate luxury, or for aught but proper pride in defending the country, and in work well done. And it is just this stern life which must be lived, sooner or later, not only in the wilds of Athabasca, but in facing everywhere the great problems of race-stability the spectres of retribution which are rapidly rising upon the white man’s horizon.

For the rest, and granting the manhood, the future of Athabasca is more assured than that of Manitoba seemed to be to the doubters of thirty years ago. In a word, there is fruitful land there, and a bracing climate fit for industrial man, and therefore its settlement is certain. It will take time. Vast forests must be cleared, and not, perhaps, until railways are built will that day dawn upon Athabasca. Yet it will come; and it is well to know that, when it does, there is ample room for the immigrant in the regions described.

The generation is already born, perhaps grown, which will recast a famous journalist’s emphatic phrase, and cry, “Go North!” Well, we came thence! Our savage ancestors, peradventure, migrated from the immemorial East, and, in skins and breech-clouts, rocked the cradle of a supreme race in Scandinavian snows. It has travelled far to the enervating South since then; and, to preserve its hardihood and sway on this continent, must be recreated in the high latitudes which gave it birth.