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The Washington Treaty of 1871 has already been referred to. Its clauses dealing with the fisheries and trade lasted for fourteen years, and were then abrogated by the action of the United States. Various proposals on the part of Canada for a renewal of the reciprocity were not entertained. After 1885 Canada was therefore compelled to fall back upon the treaty of 1818 as the guarantee of her fishing rights. It became necessary to enforce the terms of that convention, under which the fishermen of the United States could not pursue their avocations within the three miles’ limit, tranship cargoes of fish in Canadian ports, or enter them except for shelter, water, wood or repairs. On account of infractions of the treaty many vessels were seized and some were condemned. In 1887 a special commission was appointed to deal with the question. On this commission Mr Joseph Chamberlain, Sir Sackville West and Sir Charles Tupper represented British and Canadian interests; Secretary T. F. Bayard, Mr W. le B. Putnam and Mr James B. Angell acted for the United States. The commission succeeded in agreeing to the terms of a treaty, which was recommended to Congress by President Cleveland as supplying “a satisfactory, practical and final adjustment, upon a basis honourable and just to both parties, of the difficult and vexed questions to which it relates.” This agreement, known as the Chamberlain-Bayard treaty, was rejected by the Senate, and as a consequence it became necessary to carry on the fisheries under a modus vivendi renewed annually.

In 1886 a difference about international rights on the high seas arose on the Pacific coast in connexion with the seal fisheries of Bering Sea. In that year several schooners, fitted out in British Columbia for the capture of seals in the North Pacific, were seized by a United States cutter at a distance of 60 m. from the nearest land, the officers were imprisoned and fined, and the vessels themselves subjected to forfeiture. The British government at once protested against this infraction of international right, and through long and troublesome negotiations firmly upheld Canada’s claims in the matter. The dispute was finally referred to a court of arbitration, on which Sir John Thompson, premier of the Dominion, sat as one of the British arbitrators. It was decided that the United States had no jurisdiction in the Bering Sea beyond the three miles’ limit, but the court also made regulations to prevent the wholesale slaughter of fur-bearing seals. The sum of $463,454 was finally awarded as compensation to the Canadian sealers who had been unlawfully seized and punished. This sum was paid by the United States in 1898.

As the result of communications during 1897 between Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Secretary Sherman, the governments of Great Britain and the United States agreed to the appointment of a joint high commission, with a view of settling all outstanding differences between the United States and Canada. The commission, which included three members of the Canadian cabinet and a representative of Newfoundland, and of which Lord Herschell was appointed chairman, met at Quebec on the 23rd of August 1898. The sessions continued in Quebec at intervals until the 10th of October, when the commission adjourned to meet in Washington on the 1st of November, where the discussions were renewed for some weeks. Mr Nelson Dingley, an American member of the commission, died during the month of January, as did the chairman, Lord Herschell, in March, as the result of an accident, soon after the close of the sittings of the commission. The Alaskan boundary, the Atlantic and inland fisheries, the alien labour law, the bonding privilege, the seal fishery in the Bering Sea and reciprocity of trade in certain products were among the subjects considered by the commission. On several of these points much progress was made towards a settlement, but a divergence of opinion as to the methods by which the Alaskan boundary should be determined put an end for the time to the negotiations.

In 1903 an agreement was reached by which the question of this boundary, which depended on the interpretation put upon the treaty of 1825 between Russia and England, should be submitted to a commission consisting of “six impartial jurists of repute,” three British and three American. The British commissioners appointed were: Lord Alverstone, lord chief justice of England; Sir Louis Jette, K.C., of Quebec; and A. B. Aylesworth, K.C., of Toronto. On the American side were appointed: the Hon. Henry C. Lodge, senator for Massachusetts; the Hon. Elihu Root, secretary of war for the United States government; and Senator George Turner. Canadians could not be persuaded that the American members fulfilled the condition of being “impartial jurists,” and protest was made, but, though the imperial government also expressed surprise, no change in the appointments was effected. The commission met in London, and announced its decision in October. This was distinctly unfavourable to Canada’s claims, since it excluded Canadians from all ocean inlets as far south as the Portland Channel, and in that channel gave to Canada only two of the four islands claimed. A statement made by the Canadian commissioners, who refused to sign the report, of an unexplained change of opinion on the part of Lord Alverstone, produced a widespread impression for a time that his decision in favour of American claims was diplomatic rather than judicial. Later Canadian opinion, however, came to regard the decision of the commission as a reasonable compromise. The irritation caused by the decision gradually subsided, but at the moment it led to strong expressions on the part of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and others in favour of securing for Canada a fuller power of making her own treaties. While the power of making treaties must rest ultimately in the hands that can enforce them, the tendency to give the colonies chiefly interested a larger voice in international arrangements had become inevitable. The mission of a Canadian cabinet minister, the Hon. R. Lemieux, to Japan in 1907, to settle Canadian difficulties with that country, illustrated the change of diplomatic system in progress.

Under the British North American Act the control of education was reserved for the provincial governments, with a stipulation that all rights enjoyed by denominational schools at the time of confederation should be respected. Provincial Education. control has caused some diversity of management; the interpretation of the denominational agreement has led to acute differences of opinion which have invaded the field of politics. In all the provinces elementary, and in some cases secondary, education is free, the funds for its support being derived from local taxation and from government grants. The highly organized school system of Ontario is directed by a minister of education, who is a member of the provincial cabinet. The other provinces have boards of education, and superintendents who act under the direction of the provincial legislatures. In Quebec the Roman Catholic schools, which constitute the majority, are chiefly controlled by the local clergy of that church. The Protestant schools are managed by a separate board. In Ontario as well as in Quebec separate schools are allowed to Roman Catholics. In Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and British Columbia the public schools are strictly undenominational. This position was only established in New Brunswick and Manitoba after violent political struggles, and frequent appeals to the highest courts of the empire for decisions on questions of federal or provincial jurisdiction. The right of having separate schools has been extended to the newly constituted provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Secondary education is provided for by high schools and collegiate institutes in all towns and cities, and by large residential institutions at various centres, conducted on the principle of the English public schools. The largest of these is Upper Canada College at Toronto. Each province has a number of normal and model schools for the training of teachers. For higher education there are also abundant facilities. M‘Gill University at Montreal has been enlarged and splendidly endowed by the munificence of a few private individuals, Toronto University by the provincial legislature of Ontario; Queen’s University at Kingston largely by the support of its own graduates and friends. University work in the maritime provinces, instead of being concentrated, as it might well be, in one powerful institution, is distributed among five small, but within their range efficient universities. The agricultural college at Guelph and