Postal.—Canada is one of the dependencies of Great Britain that adopted the 2 cents per oz. inter-imperial postage in force on 25th December 1898, and on 1st January 1899 the United States and Canada agreed to a uniform rate of 2 cents between the two countries. On the 1st June 1899 the internal rate of Dominion postage was reduced from 8 to 2 cents per oz. The growth of the postal business may be seen by comparing the estimated figures of the last two decades :— Books, Newspapers not from Parcels. No. Post per Letters. Office of Cards. Circulars, Head. &c. Publication. 1878 44,000,000 6,455,000 5,090,000 6,252,740 1888 80,200,000 16,586,000 17,810,000 10,850,000 1898 134,975,000 28,153,000 5,186,0001 26,595,000
107,800 763,900 349,4141
11-02 18-22 20-27
Telegraphs.—The telegraph lines are principally owned and operated by public companies, though the Government owns 2751 miles of land wire and 239 miles of cable which combined carry about 42,550 messages yearly. The bulk of the telegraph business is done by three companies, namely, the Canadian Pacific railway operating 8385 miles of wire, carrying in 1898, 1,650,000 messages; the Great North-Western, operating 18,228 miles, carrying 2,400,185 messages; and the Western Union (chiefly in the Maritime Provinces), 2935 miles, carrying 357,080 messages; the total being 29,548 miles, 4,407,265 messages. The telephone is in general use throughout the settled parts. Banking.—The banking system has some peculiar features of its own, but is found to work admirably. Every chartered bank may issue notes to the extent of its unimpaired capital. It must hold 40 per cent, of its cash reserves in Dominion (Government) notes, and the shareholders are liable to the amount of twice that represented by the shares they hold. A person may call himself a banker, but may not call his business a bank or banking institution, unless duly chartered. A chartered bank, whether Canadian or otherwise, is required to deposit with the Government a sum of money, equal to 5 per cent, of its note circulation, to provide a fund for the redemption of the notes of any chartered bank that may suspend payment. On this amount it receives 3 per cent, per annum interest. When a bank fails, should its assets be insufficient to redeem its note issue—which is the first liability to be protected—the circulation redemption fund, or so much of it as may be necessary, is applied to redeem the notes, which until redeemed bear 3 per cent, interest. The banks are required to make the necessary arrangements to ensure the circulation of their notes at par, and are compelled to have agencies at the chief commercial city in each province for this purpose. The banks are required by law to make monthly returns to the finance minister, showing the condition of their business, and these are in due course published monthly in the official gazette. Once in every ten years the Banking Act is revised, for any amendments that experience may have shown to be necessary. There are 37 banks with 641 branches, besides unenmnerated small private bankers in the lesser towns. The chartered banks had at the end of 1898 an aggregate paid-up capital of $62,571,920, with an average for the year of $37,873,934 in note circulation. Their liabilities were $281,076,656, with assets $370,583,991, a percentage of 75‘86. The discounts given by the banks have steadily increased from $175,000,000 in 1888 to $245,670,000 in 1898. The reserve fund accumulated hy the banks from earnings showed a total of $27,955,807 at the end of 1898. Clearing Houses were established in Halifax in 1887, Montreal in 1889, Toronto in 1891, Winnipeg in 1893, St John in 1896, and in Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., in 1898. The largest amount of banking business is done in Montreal, which in 1898 showed $731,264,677, or more than half of the whole clearings. Toronto comes next with $439,489,336, Winnipeg $90,754,276, Halifax $62,523,827, Hamilton $35,637,864, and St John with $30,349,264. Savings Banks.—There are four kinds of savings banks in Canada: (1) the Post Office savings banks; (2) the Government savings banks of the Maritime Provinces taken over at confederation and being gradually merged with the other; (3) two special savings banks in the cities of Montreal and Quebec ; (4) the savings bank departments of the chartered banks. The rate of interest allowed by the Government is now 3 per cent, (it was higher), and the chartered banks usually follow the Government rate. The amount deposited in the Government savings hanks during 1898 was $14,121,630. The total amount of deposits held by the Government and the special savings banks at the end of the fiscal year 1898 was $65,593,219. This does not include the savings departments of the chartered banks, their returns not specifying the deposits on savings bank account. 1 Prior to this year some change of regulation as to parcels, &c., affects the comparison. The subsidies paid for carrying the mails in 1898 amounted to $589,773.
Insurance.—The law governing insurance requires foreign fire insurance companies to deposit with the Government $100,000 as a protection for their policyholders, and life insurance offices $50,000. Canadian fire or life offices deposit $50,000. On these amounts interest at the rate of 3 per cent, per annum is allowed. A license is granted by the Dominion, but some of the provinces further tax insurance companies doing business in the province by a license or registration fee of $200 per annum. During 1898 there were 6 Canadian, 21 British, and 7 United States fire insurance companies doing business in Canada. The total amount of business done was $680,160,689, and premiums charged thereon amounted to $5,564,124. The total amount at risk on 31st December 1898 was $895,394,107. Of life insurance companies there were 15 Canadian, 8 British, and 10 United States, besides several mutual assessment companies and 26 companies for miscellaneous insurance, such as accident, guarantee, plate glass, &c. In 1898, life policies in force amounted to $368,523,982, against which latter business there was paid in death losses, endowments, dividends to policyholders, &c. $6,782,006. Several of the fire insurance companies do an inland marine insurance business, but ocean marine insurance is confined to two Canadian companies. Weights and Measures.—The legal weights and measures are the imperial yard, imperial pound avoirdupois, imperial gallon, and the imperial bushel. The imperial gallon is equal to 4-54174 litres; the wine gallon used in the United States being equal to 3785 litres. The capacity of a bushel measure varies according to the article measured, and is fixed by Act of parliament. In contracts a bushel measure, unless otherwise specially provided in the contract, means, of wheat 60 lb ; indian corn, 56 fb ; rye, 56 lb -, pease, 60 lb ; barley, 48 lb ; malt, 36 lb ; oats, 34 lb ; beans, 60 lb ; flax seed, 56 lb ; hemp, 44 lb ; blue grass seed, 14 lb ; lime, 80 lb ; castor beans, 40 lb ; potatoes, 60 lb ; turnips, 60 lb ; carrots, 60 lb ; parsnips, 60 lb ; beets, 60 lb ; onions, 50 lb ; bituminous coal, 70 lb ; clover seed, 60 lb; timothy seed, 48 lb ; buckwheat, 48 lb. The statute fixing these weights abolished the English hundredweight of 112 lb, and the ton of 2240 lb, and declared the ton to be 2000 lb avoirdupois and the hundredweight 100 lb, thus assimilating the weights of Canada and the United States, a change of great convenience in view of the railway and other interchange of freights. Public Lands.—The public lands are owned and administered by the several provinces, exceptin Manitoba, the North-West Territories, and in the railway belt of British Columbia. These are under the control of the Dominion. The public or “Crown” lands of the Dominion are open to actual settlers free, under certain conditions of settlement and the payment of a nominal registration fee. The mining rights in such lands, however, are reserved and are dealt with under different regulations. Large grants of Crown lands have from time to time been made to railways, and these are sold to settlers on liberal terms of deferred payments. Public lands are surveyed on the rectangular system in sections of 1 square mile each, with an allowance for roads, and these are again divided into quarter sections of 160 acres each—the amount a settler is allowed to enter free. Two sections in each township of 6 miles square are reserved for school purposes, i.e., the proceeds of their sale belong to the school funds. Authorities.—The annual reports to the Governor-General (blue books) of the several departmental ministers, and the census returns, together with the sessional papers or any particular subject, supply detailed information on the matters with which they deal. Amongst these are the trade and navigation returns, the public accounts, public works, railways and canals, fisheries, &c., but comprising the gist of all publications of the kind is the Statistical Year Book of Canada, and Forest Wealth of Canada, by George Johnson, Statistician of the Dominion, Ottawa, and the various reports and publications of the geological survey of the Dominion. For tides, currents, mean sea-level and the bore on the Bay of Fundy, see Reports of Marine Department 1894 to date, also Trans. Royal Soc. Can. vol. iii. sect. 3, p. 51. Amongst non-official publications are the Handbook of Canada, 1897 (Toronto); J. G. Bourinot’s Manual of the Constitution of Canada (London, 1895); G. Bryce’s Manitoba (London, 1882); W. Kingsford’s History of Canada, 9 vols. (London, 1887-98); Canon Mockridge’s The Bishops of the Church of England in Canada and Newfoundland (Toronto, 1897); A. J. Morgan’s Canadian Parliamentary Companion (1897); Dominion Annual Register and Review (Ottawa, 1878-97); G. R. Parkin, The Great Dominion (London, 1895). Parkman’s Works—Pioneers of France in the New World, The Old Regime in Canada, Montcalm and Wolfe, The Jesuits in North America in the YUh Century, Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV. (London, 1885); Warburton Pikes’s Barren Grounds of Northern Canada (London, 1896); A. R. Selwyn’s and G. M. Dawson’s Descriptive- Sketch of the Physical Geography and Geology of the Dominion of Canada (Montreal, 1854); A. B. Willmott’s Mineral Wealth of Canada (London, 1897); Beccles Willson’s Great Company (the A. B. C.’s) (Toronto, 1899). (m. ST. J.)