LOUIS RIEL, THE CANADIAN REBEL.
[ST JAMES'S GAZETTE.]
There is something startling in the news from Canada, but it will only surprise those who thought that with Colonel Wolseley's " smashing " of the head of the Red River revolt they had heard the last of Louis Riel. For nearly fourteen years this remarkable man has been practically an outlaw in his own country; yet do Government of Canada during those years has dared to lay hands on him. When, as President of the Provincial Government of the Red River Territory, he sanctioned the execution of the Orangeman Scott, he turned against himself the fiercest animosity of the powerful body of which he was a member. Whem Manitoba was constituted a province of the Dominion, Riel was rcturnod to Ottawa as one of its representatives. At great risk— for Ottawa swarmed with Orangemen when it was known he was coming to affix his signature to the roll of legally-elected meaibers — he came to the capital and signed his name in the Parliament building. He left Ottawa unharmed and went back to the United States. The failure to carry out their threats discredited the Orange body and grertly diminished theirpolitical influence , Those who feel interested in the details of the Red River Expedition will find them attractively put forth in Butler's " Great Lone Land " and Huyshe's " Red River Expedition." The movement now going on in Canada is one of more significance than appears on the surface, and has several clauses, each in itself important. The first is that the Kedßiver people have never forgotten that they were transferred, without eyor being consulted, from a regime in which they enjoyed freedom in its widest sense to another they knew nothing of, and which restricted both the individual and collective liberty to which they had been accustomed. Then the French portion of the community knew that with the change of system the predominance they had enjoyed must in a very brief period disappear ; and they were right. Another class looked with disfavor on the transfer of the Hudson's Bay territory to Canada; that was the Roman Catholic clergy in that country. They had hoped, with the surplus French Catholic population of the province of Quebec, to found in the centre of the Dominion a powerful French and Catholic community to counterbalance the rapidly-increasing English speaking population of the other provinces, particularly ' Ontarib. Here, then, were causes enough of dissatisfaction; but there were otheis yet even more important. The unprecedented rush of speculation in the north-west, the taking up of all the fertile lands, the construction of railways all combined, disturbed the Indians and the game on which they depended for subsistence, 'and drove them and the half-breeds into the great wild north. And yet another element was added to all those above -mentioned— namely, the emigrants who, decoyed beyond the settlements by contractors' agents by promises of extravagant wages, found themselves either compelled to work for starvation pay, or, as the latest reports show, received no pay at all for work performed.
Hero were grand materials for disturbance, which skilful men are turning to account. Since last summer Kiel and the others who are with him in this movement have been in close communication with the Fenian leaders in the States and with the heads of the revolutionary organisations which extended their branches to Canada during last autumn. Kiel aims at nothing less than the upsetting of tho present Government in the northwest, and the establishment of an independent Republic. If he is as successful in his first movements as he is reported to have been, we must be prepared to hear of bands of sympathisers crossing from the neighboring States of the Union to his assistance ; and the forces at the disposal of the Canadian Government are inadequate to guard a line of frontier over 1500 miles, which can be crossed at as many points.
Whatever the results of this Canadian business may be, it will be as well to understand that it is only part of a concerted plan of action directed against this country. If it be true, as stated, that Indians have joined Kiel in any numbers — and there is nothing improbable in it — then we may look for wild work among the scattered settlements of that great territory, and of attacks on the CanadaPacific railway line at many points.