In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS 197 opment of Canada's twomajorcities. It isto behoped thattheywill seta precedent forbadly needed accounts ofourother metropolitan areas andfrom these wemayseesome overallexaminations of Canadian urbandevelopment. Professor Glazebrook deserves greatcreditfor takingonsuchan exacting topic and completing histasksowell. FREDERICK I-I. ARMSTRONG University o[ Western Ontario TheRoyal NavyandtheNorthwest Coast o[NorthAmerica •8•o-•9•4: .4Study o[ BritishMaritimeAscendancy. •m•¾ M. oouoH.Vancouver, Universityof British Columbia Press, 197 I. Pp.xvi,•94, maps, illus.$i •.oo. Fiftyyears agoJohnHollandRoseadvanced thereasonable proposition that British strength at seamadethenorthwest coast of NorthAmericaa havenfor Britishinterests in the nineteenthcentury.This bookis the first full-length scholarly examination of thatclaim.Assuch, it isa landmark of considerable interest, because it attempts tobringa navalstudy intothemainstream ofCanadianhistoriography - a timelyundertaking. Professor Gough hasdrawntogether a number ofelusive strands into'a geographical focalpoint.'He restricts himself to 'explaining Britishpolicygenerally,' and concentrates on the Royal Navy asan institution ratherthanonpersonalities. There ismuchto besaidfor this approach, eventhough it demands some prettyfundamental assumptions about the nature of the institution. The trinityof ships, trade,andcolonies isnot necessarily an articleof faith in thisbook,buta greatdealof evidence hasbeenamassed to showthat ships were decisive instruments of trade and colonization on the northwest coast. From I8Io to I85o shipsof the PacificSquadronmadesporadic visitsto the Columbia River,PugetSound, andVancouver Island.Suchvisits weredirectly relatedto theprotection of British interests. After I85o thegrowing complexity of thesituation ashore exerteda growing influence on themannerin whichsea powerwasexercised. Then theevents of the CrimeanWar in the Pacific confirmed ,'in a curious fashionperhaps typicalof the calamities and unexpected occurrences thatthesquadron experienced,' themutualdependence of ships and thecolony. From I85Oto i868 thegoldrushes imposed a heavyburdenon the minisculenaval forceavailableto preserve order in the absence of adequate garrisons andpoliceforces ashore. The establishment of the colonyof British Columbia in I858 ledtheAdmiraltytoinstruct thecommander-in-chief, Pacific, that'nopart of hisstation wasmoreimportantthan,.' Professor Goughhas beenableto substantiate C.J. Bartlett'sfindingthat redistribution of shipsin the mid-Victorianera, like the reductionof colonialgarrisons, wasa conscious retreatfrom Palmerstonian policy.The measures takenin I859-6o by Captain Geoffrey Phipps HornbyandRearAdmiralRobertL. Baynes in theSanJuan boundary dispute reflected favourably on navalrestraint, compared to therambunctious ambitions of Sir JamesDouglas,who 'wasignorantof a largerconsequence ofhispolicy- warbetween rivalmaritimepowers ...' Anglo-American antagonism in the Civil War yearsimposed continuing burdens on the corn- 198 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW mander-in-chief, Pacific;and after BCenteredConfederation in x87xthe needs of imperialcommunications enhanced thestrategic importance of theprovince. Esquireair had become headquarters of thePacificStationin x86• (not x865, as historianshave assumed from the date of the Order-in-Council); when it declined in navalimportance laterin the decade, Confederation agreements ensuredthepreservation of thenavalbase;by •873 thecrg broughtit a newlease onlife.Lateinthecentury Esquimalt became infact,if notin name,theprincipal baseof the PacificSquadron. Dreadnought navies,the Anglo-Japanese alliance of x9o4,and Fisher's concentration of the fleet in homewatersfinallyspelled theendof thePacificStationin x9o5 . By x9x• Esquimalt, likeHalifax,hadbeen transferred from imperialto dominioncontrol.In •9•4 it was the Japanese ratherthantheRoyalNavy that providedsecurity againstenemynavalattacks in strength. Thiscarefulanalysis ismorethanadequate towarranttheconclusion that 'theexercise of seapowerby theRoyalNavyconstituted a determining influence in Canada's possession of a Pacificshore...' The scope of thisbook,particularlyin view of thevarietyof source material consulted on bothsides of theAtlantic,givesa newdimension to the historyof BritishColumbia. The perspective affordedbytheRoyalNavy'sPacificStation wasverydifferentto that of the Hudson's Bay Company,or of the decisionmakers at Ottawa,andit wasjustasimportant.Canadianhistorians haveoften paid lip-service to the importance of Britishnavalsupremacy in the nationmakingprocess . There have beenuseful (but infrequent) articlesin learned journals thattouchuponnavalaffairsoneithercoast. Professor Cough,whohas madefull useofsuchsources, hasproduced thefirstmonograph on thesubject. In doingso,hehasprovided a solidframework for furtherresearch. We should like to knowa greatdealmoreaboutthe organization of the PacificStationa subjectrelegatedto the appendices and not woveninto the main narrative. There is a needto examinethe interaction between shipsand the colonyin moredetail- andin hisprefacetheauthorindicates that he hassucha study inmind.The activities of theRoyalNavyin oneoutpost ofempire canyieldup important information onthethinking ofnineteenth-century navalofficers. It was an erawhenseamanship and'polish' aresupposed to havesupplanted strategic thought. Whatmadethese professional seamen tick?WastheAdmiraltycontent toaccept theirviews ontheNorthwest coast? Andif so,why?Professor Cough haswrittenanimportant andwelcome pioneer study - themorewelcome for its pleasing format.It opens thewaytofurthermonographs in Canadianmaritime history, a fieldthathasbeenneglected byprofessional historians. W.A.B. DOUGLAS Departmentof NationalDefence HuttonofHastings: TheLife andLettersof WilliamHutton, z8o•-•86•. GERALD Ig. BOYGE. Belleville, Hastings CountyCouncil, I97•. Pp.x, 259,illus.$5.85. Of books published in recent years ascommemorative projects byhistoricallyminded localgroups, HuttonofHastings...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 197-198
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.