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39

OF THE

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

FOR THE YEAR 1887.

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

OTTAWA, 10th February, 1888. To the Honourable Thomas White, Minister of the Interior :

SIR,- I have the honour to submit the Annual Report of the Department of the Interior for 1887. This report, as usual, covers the transactions of the Departmont at all its agencies from Winnipeg to Now Westminster, to the 31st October, but it includes also a statement of everything of consequence which has transpired in relation to the business down to the close of the calendar year.

INSIDE SERVICE.

No change of any consequence bas occurred in the Inside Service of the Department, with the exception of the creation of the Mining Division of the Geological Survey, which will be referred to hereafter. I regret to have to record the death of six valued officers of the Department, namely, Mr. R M. Bonfellow, Sarveyor and Dravghtsman, Mr. W. B. Howlett, Draughtsman of the Timber and Vines Office, Mr. Martin Gormly, also of the Timber and Mines Office, and Mr. Thomas Anderson, Mr. W. Harkin and Mr. J. L. N. Duprat, clerks in the Secre. tary's Branch. This is rather a remarkable percentage of deaths in the course of one year, the more especially as all but Mr. Görmly and Mr. Anderson were poung men.

OUTSIDE SERVICE.

Finding it necessary to make such arrangements in regard to the business of the Rocky Mounta ns Park as would relieve Mr.Stewart, the Superintendent, of the office work, so that he might dovote himself wholly to the duties which the title of his office indicates, Mr. E. A. Nash, formerly the Agent of the Department at Battleford, has been transferred to Banff, where he performs the duties of Agent in respect of all building lots and other lands situated within the boundaries of the Park, Mr. Edwin Brokovski, who has rendered efficient service to the Department for several years as Intelligence Officer at Moosomin, on the line of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has been promoted to be Agent at Battleford. As the homestead lands in the Moosomin country have been very largely taken up, it has been found unnecessary to replace Mr. Brokovski at that point, but instead a simi.

lar office has been opened at Medicine Hat, which has been filled by the transfer thereto of Mr. Edwin Rochester, formerly a clerk in the Land Office at Calgary. Mr. E. Clementi Smith, for several years Agent of Dominion Lands at Brandon, has retired from the service on account of ill health, and Mr. W. H. Hiam, previously Agent of Dominion Lands at Manitou, has been transferred to the Brandon Agency, while the vacancy at Manitou has been filled by the promotion of Mr. George Young, a member of the Commissioner's staff at Winnipeg. The office of the Touchwood Agency has been transferred to Yorkton, and Mr. John Ferguson is temporary Agent. This office has, as usual, been olosed at the end of the immi. gration season ; Mr. Ferguson will perform his usual duties in the Commissioner's office during the winter, and the office will be opened again in the spring as formerly.

It has been found desirable to establish the office of Mr. William Pearce, Superintendent of Mines, permanently at Calgary. At this point he is within easy reach of the mining country to the west, his duties in connection with which are greatly increasing, and at the same time he is able to perform very important servicos in bis quality as a member of the Land Board, in the settlement of disputed cases and squatters' and other complicated claims to lands in the region lying between Medicine Hat and the Rocky Mountains. He of course makes occasional visits to Winnipeg for the purpose of sitting and acting with the Commissioner of Dominion Lands in the regular work of the Land Board. The removal of Mr. Pearce to Calgary bas necessitated a sligbt increase in the cost of administration of the out. side service, which, however, is more than compensated for by the iacreased efficiency of the service.

There are Agencies.

no changes to report in connection with the Crown Timber

HOMESTEAD AND PRE-EMPTION ENTRIES AND SALES.

The following statement of homestead and pre-emption entries and sales, made at the Agencies of the Department during the year, shows a reduction in the area disposed of as compared with 1886 :

Homesteads.....
Pre-emptions.....
Sales....

1886. 294,960 acres. 146,480 do 133,701 do

1887. 319,000 acres.

87,747 do 114,541 do

It will be observed that there has been a small incro se in the area taken up as bomsteads by actual settlers, and it is doubtful whether the decrease in the area taken up as pre-emptions is at all to be regretted. The opinion begins to gain favor with those who have paid close attention to the affairs of Manitoba and the North-West that, so far as relates to the grain growing portions of the country at least, 160 acres is the limit of the area which the average farmer can profitably work. The number of homesteaders who lately have not availed themselves of the privilege of pre-emption is an indication that this conviction is growing among the settlers themselves. I confess to some disappointment that the num. ber of homesteads entered during the year has not been more largely in excess of the entries for the previous year, the increase in area being 24,540 acres. The in. formation furnished to this Department by Mr. J. H. Metcalfe, the chief of the Intelligence Office at Winnipeg, shows that during the year about six thousand more immigrants arrived in Winnipeg that in the previous year. This increase is large in comparison with the incrouse in the area of land entered for homestead purposes,

and I have taken some trouble to ascertain how the difference is to be accounted for. There would appear to be two causos. In the first place, intending settlers arriving in the North-West during the past year have been to a greater extent than formerly impressed with the desirability of acquiring some experience of the modes of agriculture suitable to the country, and have not been in such a hurry to select and enter homesteads on their own account as those arriving in previous years. In the second place, the extraordinary grain crop, of which there was almost an assured prospect from the beginning of the season, made it necessary for the farmers to increase the number of their employés very largely, and the consequence was that now arrivals were in great demand, and the scale of pay offered them was quite tempting. In this way was absorbed a very much larger proportion than usual of the immigration of the season, and a smaller proportion than usual entered homesteads on their own account. If my conclusions in this matter are well founded (and as already stated, I have taken every available means at my command to assure myself that they are) there is, so far as I am able to judge, nothing in the circumstances to be regretted. There is much in the soil and climate of Manitoba and the North-West that requires to be studied by the Dewly arrived agriculturist, even assuming his former experience to have fitted bim in every respect for the pursuit of his calling, and it would be to his personal interest that he should acquire a little practical knowledge of the country and its methods of farming before finally taking up land on his own account. To those whose means are limited, there is the further advantage that a considerable sum of roady money will be added to what they may have available for the purpose of stocking and cultivating the land and erecting for themselves comfortable houses. Perhaps one of the chief difficulties experienced so far, by the farmers west of Lake Superior, has been the limited labour market and the extravagant wages required to pay for such assistance as it was possible to hire.

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