I think it is just as well that we should not hasten too rapidly over this item. It is a very interesting one, as is anything connected with the history of our country. I would like to learn from the minister how far down the copying of these records has proceeded-whether it has reached the beginning of the last century, or the middle of it. For my part, I have always regarded the archives as rather dry reading, and have spent very little time over them. I do not doubt the desirability of a proper and sufficient record of interesting historical facts being made and preserved in our vaults. I do not suppose it is the intention of the minister to continue the work from year to year down to the present time, because it seems to me that when you reach a certain period, the records which we have will be amply sufficient for the purpose ; or is it the purpose to continue this work from year to year in order to give persons employment and to spend a little more of the money of the tax-payers of this country ?
The MINISTER OB' AGRICULTURE. I can assure the hon. gentleman that this work is not going on for any such purpose, but for the purpose of obtaining information which Dr. Brymner, the Dominion archivist, who has been at the head of this branch since its inception and, whose reputation is very high both inside and outside of Canada because of the work he has done, thinks it necessary to obtain. These documents are not available to Canadians ordinarily. I may refer to my annual report which states :
The state papers for Lower Canada published in this report, including the years 1836 and 1837, contain the correspondence of the Earl of Gosford, who was sent out as the head of the commission to investigate grievances. Those for Upper Canada contain the final correspondence of Sir John Colborne, afterwards Lord Seaton, and the appointment of Sir F. B. Head, who succeeded him, with copies of dispatches addressed to him in 1835 and 1836.
The House will see, therefore, that the work which is covered by the report of this year deals chiefly with the troublous times of 1835-6-7, a time sufficiently removed to be called historic in the young life of this nation.