1902 Encyclopedia > Canada > Canada - Commerce and Wealth: Summary

(Part 11)

Summary. – The evidence of the prosperity, and growing wealth of Canada may be completed in a tabular view of its exports and imports for two successive years, as derived from the latest official returns. The immediate result of confederation was a rapid progress in many ways. New railways were projected and brought into operation; new lines of steamships were established; fresh avenues of native and foreign trade were diligently sought out; and a succession of prosperous years was marked by a steady commercial expansion which attained its maximum in 1873. since the date various causes, and especially the difficulties created by an unredeemable paper currency in the neighboring United States, have tended to bring – about a reaction; but it is a mere temporary ebb of the advancing tide, in which the commercial world at large has shared.

The following is a reproduction of a condensed comparative statement of the Commissioner of Customs, as given in the trade and navigation tables for 1874; to which are added from more recent unpublished returns, those of the year 1875, showing the influence of a period of reaction and great depression, alike on the exports and imports of the country.


The apparent annual increase shown in the above table, is modified by the following elements, which must be taken into account. The first three years represent the business only of the first provinces of the Dominion. Manitoba was received into the confederacy in 1871; and the statistic of that year include six months’ returns from the new province, amounting to $254,063 total imports, $286,357 entered for consumption, and $15,723.22 duty collected. In 1872 the exports of Manitoba were valued at $85,541, the imports at $942,247, and entered for consumption, $1,020,172, on which $46,839.90 duty was collected. In the same year the returns for British Columbia appears as follows: - exports, $1,912,107; imports, $1,790,352; entered for consumption, $1,767,068; duty collected, $342,400.48. In 1874 the return of Prince Edward Island give the following additional elements to swell the aggregate amount: - exports $722,129; imports, &1,908,522; entered for consumption, $1,913,696; duty collected $219,458.07. Deducting those sums and values from the years named, there remains abundant evidence of a steady and rapid increase in the commerce of the four older province up to the year 1874, when the depression prevailing in the United States, in part due to reaction resulting from the effects of the southern war, began to be felt in Canada as well as in other countries. The great expansion which has taken place in the commerce of Canada since 1867, and the influence of the reaction of 1874, are shown in the following consecutive statement of the joint value of exports and imports for the years from 1868 to 1875 inclusive.-

Exports and Imports

1867–68 ………………….$31,027,532

The relative wealth and progress of the different provinces of the Dominion will be illustrated by the following comparative table, showing the last year of early unchecked progress and the first of reaction. It shows the value of the goods exported from, and entered for consumption in the Dominion during the years ending the 30th June 1874 and 1875;-


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