* A Distributed Proofreaders Canada eBook *

This eBook is made available at no cost and with very few restrictions. These restrictions apply only if (1) you make a change in the eBook (other than alteration for different display devices), or (2) you are making commercial use of the eBook. If either of these conditions applies, please contact a https://www.fadedpage.com administrator before proceeding. Thousands more FREE eBooks are available at https://www.fadedpage.com.

This work is in the Canadian public domain, but may be under copyright in some countries. If you live outside Canada, check your country's copyright laws. IF THE BOOK IS UNDER COPYRIGHT IN YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT DOWNLOAD OR REDISTRIBUTE THIS FILE.

Title: Lord Durham's Report on the Affairs of British North America, Volume 2

Date of first publication: 1912

Author: John George Lambton (Earl of Durham) (1792-1840)

Date first posted: Sep. 20, 2021

Date last updated: Sep. 20, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20210933

This eBook was produced by: Howard Ross & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net

This file was produced from images generously made available by Internet Archive/American Libraries.



























Lord Durham’s Commission3-5
Lower Canada13-145
Upper Canada145-193
The Eastern Provinces and Newfoundland193-202
Public Lands203-242
General Review and Recommendations259-333

















&c. &c. &c.









Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,

11 February 1839.



VICTORIA, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Queen, Defender of the Faith. TO Our right trusty and right well-beloved Cousin and Councillor, John George Earl of Durham, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Noble Order of the Bath, Greeting: Whereas, by five several Commissions under the Great Seal of Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, We have constituted and appointed you, the said John George Earl of Durham, to be Our Captain General and Governor-in-Chief in and over each of Our Provinces of Lower Canada, Upper Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and in and over Our Island of Prince Edward, in North America: And We have, by the said several Commissions, made provision for the administration of the government of Our said Provinces and of the said Island respectively, in the event of your absence, by authorizing the respective Lieutenant-Governors or Administrators of the Governments of the said Provinces and of the said Islands respectively, in that contingency, to exercise the powers by the said Commissions respectively granted to you: And whereas We have, by a Commission under the Great Seal of Our said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, constituted and appointed our trusty and well-beloved Henry Prescott, Esquire, Captain in Our Royal Navy, to be Our Governor and Commander-in-Chief in and over our Island of Newfoundland and its dependencies: And whereas there are at present certain weighty affairs to be adjusted in the said Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada: Now know you, That We, reposing especial trust and confidence in the prudence, courage and loyalty of you, the said John George Earl of Durham, have, of Our especial grace, certain knowledge, and mere motion, thought fit to constitute and appoint, and do hereby constitute and appoint you, the said John George Earl of Durham, to be Our High Commissioner for the adjustment of certain important questions depending in the said Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada respecting the form and future government of the said Provinces: And We do hereby give and grant unto you, the said John George Earl of Durham, as such High Commissioner as aforesaid, full power and authority in Our name and in Our behalf, by all lawful ways and means, to inquire into, and, as far as may be possible, to adjust all questions depending in the said Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, or either of them, respecting the Form and Administration of the Civil Government thereof respectively: And whereas, with a view to the adjustment of such questions, We have deemed it expedient to invest you with the further powers hereinafter mentioned: Now know you, That We do in like manner constitute and appoint you, the said John George Earl of Durham, to be Our Governor-General of all the said Provinces on the Continent of North America, and of the said Islands of Prince Edward and Newfoundland: And We do hereby require and command all Our Officers, Civil and Military, and all other Inhabitants of Our said Provinces, and of Our said Islands respectively, to be obedient, aiding and assisting unto you, the said John George Earl of Durham, in the execution of this Our Commission, and of the several powers and authorities herein contained: Provided nevertheless, and We do hereby declare Our pleasure to be, that in the execution of the powers hereby vested in you, the said John George Earl of Durham, you do in all things conform to such instructions as may from time to time be addressed to you for your guidance by Us, under Our Sign Manual and Signet, or by Our Order in Our Privy Council, or through one of Our Principal Secretaries of State: Provided also, and We do hereby declare Our pleasure to be, that nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to revoke or to abrogate the said Commission under the Great Seal of Our said United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland appointing the said Henry Prescott Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Our said Island of Newfoundland, and its dependencies, as aforesaid: And We do hereby declare, ordain and appoint that you, the said John George Earl of Durham, shall and may hold, execute and enjoy the said offices of High Commissioner and Governor-General of Our said Provinces on the Continent of North America, and of the said Islands of Prince Edward and Newfoundland, as aforesaid, together with all and singular the powers and authorities hereby granted unto you for and during Our will and pleasure. In witness whereof, We have caused these Our Letters to be made Patent. Witness Ourself at Westminster, the Thirty-first day of March, in the First year of Our Reign.

By Writ of Privy Seal.






May it please Your Majesty,

Your Majesty, in entrusting me with the Government Duties of the High Commissioner. of the Province of Lower Canada, during the critical period of the suspension of its constitution, was pleased, at the same time, to impose on me a task of equal difficulty, and of far more permanent importance, by appointing me ‘High Commissioner for the adjustment of certain important questions depending in the Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, respecting the form and future Government of the said Provinces’.[1] To enable me to discharge this duty with the greater efficiency, I was invested, not only with the title, but with the actual functions of Governor-General of all Your Majesty’s North American Provinces; and my instructions restricted my authority by none of those limitations that had, in fact, deprived preceding Governors of Lower Canada of all control over the other Provinces, which, nevertheless, it had been the practice to render nominally subordinate to them.[2] It was in addition, therefore, to the exclusive management of the administrative business of an extensive and disturbed Province, to the legislative duties that were accumulated on me during the abeyance of its representative government,[3] and to the constant communications which I was compelled to maintain, not only with the Lieutenant-Governors, but also with individual inhabitants of the other five Provinces, that I had to search into the nature and extent of the questions, of which the adjustment is requisite for the tranquillity of the Canadas; to set on foot various and extensive inquiries into the institutions and administration of those Provinces; and to devise such reforms in the system of their government as might repair the mischief which had already been done, and lay the foundations of order, tranquillity, and improvement.

The task of providing for the adjustment of questions Extension of the inquiry to all the North American Provinces. affecting the very ‘form and administration of Civil Government’, was naturally limited to the two Provinces, in which the settlement of such questions had been rendered matter of urgent necessity, by the events that had in one seriously endangered, and in the other actually suspended, the working of the existing constitution. But though the necessity only reached thus far, the extension of my authority over all the British Provinces in North America, for the declared purpose of enabling me more effectually to adjust the constitutional questions then at issue in two of them, together with the specific instructions contained in Despatches from the Secretary of State, brought under my view the character and influence of the institutions established in all.[4] I found in all these Provinces a form of government so nearly the same—institutions generally so similar, and occasionally so connected—and interests, feelings and habits so much in common, that it was obvious, at the first glance, that my conclusions would be formed without a proper use of the materials at my disposal, unless my inquiries were as extended as my power of making them. How inseparably connected I found the interests of Your Majesty’s Provinces in North America, to what degree I met with common disorders, requiring common remedies, is an important topic, which it will be my duty to discuss very fully before closing this Report. My object at present is merely to explain the extent of the task imposed on me, and to point out the fact, that an inquiry originally directed only to two, has necessarily been extended over all Your Majesty’s Provinces in North America.

While I found the field of inquiry thus large, and every Evils of present uncertainty. day’s experience and reflection impressed more deeply on my mind the importance of the decision which it would be my duty to suggest, it became equally clear that that decision, to be of any avail, must be prompt and final. I needed no personal observation to convince me of this; for the evils I had it in charge to remedy, are evils which no civilized community can long continue to bear. There is no class or section of Your Majesty’s subjects in either of the Canadas, that does not suffer from both the existing disorder and the doubt which hangs over the future form and policy of the Government. While the present state of things is allowed to last, the actual inhabitants of these Provinces have no security for person or property, no enjoyment of what they possess, no stimulus to industry. The development of the vast resources of these extensive territories is arrested; and the population, which should be attracted to fill and fertilize them, is directed into foreign states. Every day during which a final and stable settlement is delayed, the condition of the Colonies becomes worse, the minds of men more exasperated, and the success of any scheme of adjustment more precarious.

I was aware of the necessity of promptitude in my Plan not affected by resignation of Governor-General. decision on the most important of the questions committed to me at a very early period after my acceptance of the mission which Your Majesty was pleased to confide to me. Before leaving England, I assured Your Majesty’s Ministers that the plan which I should suggest for the future government of the Canadas, should be in readiness by the commencement of the ensuing Session;[5] and, though I had made provision that, under any circumstances, the measures which I might suggest should be explained and supported in Parliament by some person who would have had a share in the preparation of them, I added, that it was not improbable that I might deem it my paramount duty towards the Provinces entrusted to me to attend in my place in the House of Lords, for the purpose of explaining my own views, and supporting my own recommendations. My resignation of the office of Governor-General has, therefore, in nowise precipitated my suggestion of the plan which appears to me best calculated to settle the future form and policy of government in the Canadas. It has prevented, certainly, my completing some inquiries which I had instituted, with a view of effecting practical reforms of essential, but still of subordinate importance. But with the chief of my duties as High Commissioner, that of suggesting the future constitution of these Colonies, that event has interfered in no way, except in so far as the circumstances which attended it occasioned an undue intrusion of extraneous business on the time which was left for the completion of my labours.

In truth, the administrative and legislative business Weight of ordinary business. which daily demanded my attention could, with difficulty, be discharged by the most unremitting labour on my own part, and on that of all those who accompanied me from England, or were employed by me in Canada.

It is in these circumstances, and under such disadvantages, that this Report has been prepared. I may not therefore present as extended and as complete a foundation as I could have wished, for those measures of vast and permanent importance which Parliament will find it necessary to adopt. But it will include the whole range of those subjects which it is essential should be brought under Your Majesty’s view, and will prove that I have not rested content without fully developing the evils which lie at the root of the disorders of the North American Provinces, and at the same time suggesting remedies, which, to the best of my judgment, will provide an effectual cure.

The same reasons and the same obstacles have prevented me from annexing a greater amount of detail and illustration, which, under more favourable circumstances, it would have been incumbent on me to collect, for the purpose of rendering clear and familiar to every mind, every particular of a state of things, on which little correct, and much false information has hitherto been current in this country. I cannot, therefore, but deeply regret that such a drawback on its efficacy should have been a necessary consequence of the circumstances under which the Report has been prepared. I still hope that the materials collected by me, though not as ample as I could have desired, will, nevertheless, be found sufficient for enabling the Imperial Legislature to form a sound decision on the important interests which are involved in the result of its deliberations.

These interests are indeed of great magnitude; and Magnitude of interests involved. on the course which Your Majesty and Your Parliament may adopt, with respect to the North American Colonies, will depend the future destinies, not only of the million and a half of Your Majesty’s subjects who at present inhabit those Provinces, but of that vast population which those ample and fertile territories are fit and destined hereafter to support. No portion of the American Continent possesses greater natural resources for the maintenance of large and flourishing communities. An almost boundless range of the richest soil still remains unsettled, and may be rendered available for the purposes of agriculture. The wealth of inexhaustible forests of the best timber in America, and of extensive regions of the most valuable minerals, have as yet been scarcely touched. Along the whole line of sea-coast, around each island, and in every river, are to be found the greatest and richest fisheries in the world. The best fuel and the most abundant water-power are available for the coarser manufactures, for which an easy and certain market will be found. Trade with other continents is favoured by the possession of a large number of safe and spacious harbours; long, deep and numerous rivers, and vast inland seas, supply the means of easy intercourse; and the structure of the country generally affords the utmost facility for every species of communication by land. Unbounded materials of agricultural, commercial and manufacturing industry are there: it depends upon the present decision of the Imperial Legislature to determine for whose benefit they are to be rendered available. The Advantages derivable by the Mother Country from these Colonies. country which has founded and maintained these Colonies at a vast expense of blood and treasure, may justly expect its compensation in turning their unappropriated resources to the account of its own redundant population; they are the rightful patrimony of the English people, the ample appanage which God and Nature have set aside in the New World for those whose lot has assigned them but insufficient portions in the Old. Under wise and free institutions, these great advantages may yet be secured to Your Majesty’s subjects; and a connexion secured by the link of kindred origin and mutual benefits may continue to bind to the British Empire the ample territories of its North American Provinces, and the large and flourishing population by which they will assuredly be filled.[6]

[1] The term High Commissioner has been much in use in connexion with the British colonies, but there is no special virtue in the title. A High Commissioner is simply a man who has an important commission entrusted to him. The definition given by Festus of the Roman term Potestas would apply to his case. Cum Potestate est dicebatur de eo qui a populo alicui negotio præficiebatur (see Bruns, Fontes Juris Romani, p. 180). Lord Durham was pre-eminently a High Commissioner as well as a Governor, for he had to deal with a most important special problem, in addition to carrying on the administration from day to day. In latter times, however, the term ‘High Commissioner,’ as opposed to Governor, has been rather specially used to denote or imply the powers which the Imperial Government wish to be exercised on their behalf outside but on the borders of the colonies; and, with the growth of the protectorates under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, the High Commissioner has gradually assumed in various instances, in regard to protectorates, administrative functions such as in a Crown Colony are exercised by a Governor. Thus the Governor of Fiji is also High Commissioner for the Western Pacific, the Governor of the Straits Settlements is also High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States and Brunei, and in South Africa the term has for many years been used with a similar signification. To take a much earlier instance, it may be noted that, when the Ionian Islands were, by the treaty of November 5, 1815, placed under British protectorate, it was provided that ‘His Majesty will appoint a Lord High Commissioner to reside there invested with all the necessary powers and authorities’. The islands were not constituted a British possession, but only placed under British protection and general control. Therefore the term High Commissioner was used in preference to Governor.

[2] The Governor-in-chief of the British North American provinces had gradually become in fact Governor of Lower Canada only. When Lord Dalhousie was appointed Governor-in-chief, Sir Peregrine Maitland, then Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, asked the Secretary of State, Lord Bathurst, to define his relations to the Governor-in-chief, and Lord Bathurst, in a dispatch dated February 9, 1821, laid down that ‘So long as the governor-in-chief is not resident within the Province of Upper Canada and does not take the oaths of office in Upper Canada, he has no control whatever over any part of the civil administration, nor are you bound to comply with his directions or to communicate with him on any act of your civil government. To His Majesty you are alone responsible for the conduct of the civil administration’. At the time when Lord Durham went out to Canada, the independence of the Lieutenant-Governors under ordinary conditions was still further emphasized, as will be seen from Lord Glenelg’s dispatch to Lord Durham of April 3, 1838, which is given in vol. iii, pp. 311-4. Lord Glenelg says, ‘With the title of governor-general, he has, in fact, been governor of the Province of Lower Canada only. . . . The governor-general and the Lt.-Governors have severally conducted their respective administrations as separate and independent authorities.’

[3] On the other hand, a little lower down (p. 14) Lord Durham says that the suspension of the constitution of Lower Canada relieved him ‘from the burthen of constant discussions with the legislative bodies’.

[4] As to the wide extent to which Lord Durham was invited to make recommendations, see the latter part of Lord Glenelg’s dispatch to him of January 20, 1838, which is given in vol. iii, pp. 305-11. Lord Durham, however, it will be remembered, only visited Lower and Upper Canada.

[5] This passage is one which militates against full confidence in Lord Durham’s Report, as indicating that he had largely made up his mind, before he went out, as to what constitutional changes he would recommend. See below, p. 304, and see also Charles Buller’s Sketch of Lord Durham’s Mission (vol. iii, p. 362).

[6] In this fine passage it will be noted that no specific reference is made to the North-West, the opening of which came much later in time. 1876, 1886, 1896, and 1906 are given as years of great moves into the North-West, but its opening may perhaps be dated from 1885, when the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed.


The prominent place which the dissensions of Lower First Inquiries directed to Lower Canada. Canada had, for some years, occupied in the eyes of the Imperial Legislature, the alarming state of disorder indicated or occasioned by the recent insurrection, and the paramount necessity of my applying my earliest efforts to the re-establishment of free and regular government in that particular Colony, in which it was then wholly suspended, necessarily directed my first inquiries to the Province of which the local government was vested in my hands. The suspension of the constitution gave me an essential advantage over my predecessors in the conduct of my inquiries; it not merely relieved me from the burthen of constant discussions with the legislative bodies, but it enabled me to turn my attention from the alleged, to the real grievances of the Province; to leave on one side those matters of temporary contest, which accident, or the interests and passions of parties, had elevated into undue importance; and, without reference to the representations of the disputants, to endeavour to make myself master of the real condition of the people, and the real causes of dissatisfaction or suffering. It was also a great advantage to me in one respect, that the ordinary business of the government of the Province was combined with the functions of my inquiry. The routine of every day’s administrative business brought strongly and familiarly before me the working of the institutions on which I was called to judge. The condition of the people, the system by which they were governed, were thus rendered familiar to me, and I soon became satisfied that I must search in the very composition of society, and in the fundamental institutions of government, for the causes of the constant and extensive disorder which I witnessed.

The lengthened and various discussions which had for Erroneous views entertained in England. some years been carried on between the contending parties in the Colony, and the representations which had been circulated at home, had produced in mine, as in most minds in England, a very erroneous view of the parties at issue in Lower Canada.[1] The quarrel which I was sent for the purpose of healing, had been a quarrel between the executive government and the popular branch of the legislature. The latter body had, apparently, been contending for popular rights and free government. The executive government had been defending the prerogative of the Crown, and the institutions which, in accordance with the principles of the British Constitution, had been established as checks on the unbridled exercise of popular power. Though, during the dispute, indications had been given of the existence of dissensions yet deeper and more formidable than any which arose from simply political causes, I had still, in common with most of my countrymen, imagined that the original and constant source of the evil was to be found in the defects of the political institutions of the Provinces; that a reform of the constitution, or perhaps merely the introduction of a sounder practice into the administration of the government, would remove all causes of contest and complaint. This opinion was strengthened by the well-known fact, that the political dissensions which had produced their most formidable results in this Province, had assumed a similar, though milder, form in the neighbouring Colonies; and that the tranquillity of each of the North American Provinces was subject to constant disturbance from collision between the executive and the representatives of the people. The constitutions of these Colonies, the official characters and positions of the contending parties, the avowed subjects of dispute, and the general principles asserted on each side, were so similar, that I could not but concur in the very general opinion, that the common quarrel was the result of some common defect in the almost identical institutions of these Provinces. I looked on it as a dispute analogous to those with which history and experience have made us so familiar in Europe,—a dispute between a people demanding an extension of popular privileges, on the one hand, and an executive, on the other, defending the powers which it conceived necessary for the maintenance of order. I supposed that my principal business would be that of determining how far each party might be in the right, or which was in the wrong; of devising some means of removing the defects which had occasioned the collision; and of restoring such a balance of the constitutional powers as might secure the free and peaceful working of the machine of government.

In a Dispatch which I addressed to Your Majesty’s The real struggle not one of principles, but of races. Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies on the 9th of August last,[2] I detailed, with great minuteness, the impressions which had been produced on my mind by the state of things which existed in Lower Canada: I acknowledged that the experience derived from my residence in the Province had completely changed my view of the relative influence of the causes which had been assigned for the existing disorders. I had not, indeed, been brought to believe that the institutions of Lower Canada were less defective than I had originally presumed them to be. From the peculiar circumstances in which I was placed, I was enabled to make such effectual observations as convinced me that there had existed in the constitution of the Province, in the balance of political powers, in the spirit and practice of administration in every department of the Government, defects that were quite sufficient to account for a great degree of mismanagement and dissatisfaction. The same observation had also impressed on me the conviction, that, for the peculiar and disastrous dissensions of this Province, there existed a far deeper and far more efficient cause,—a cause which penetrated beneath its political institutions into its social state,—a cause which no reform of constitution or laws, that should leave the elements of society unaltered, could remove; but which must be removed, ere any success could be expected in any attempt to remedy the many evils of this unhappy Province. I expected to find a contest between a government and a people: I found two nations warring in the bosom of a single state: I found a struggle, not of principles, but of races; and I perceived that it would be idle to attempt any amelioration of laws or institutions until we could first succeed in terminating the deadly animosity that now separates the inhabitants of Lower Canada into the hostile divisions of French and English.

It would be vain for me to expect that any description Animosities between the French and English. I can give will impress on Your Majesty such a view of the animosity of these races as my personal experience in Lower Canada has forced on me. Our happy immunity from any feelings of national hostility, renders it difficult for us to comprehend the intensity of the hatred which the difference of language, of laws, and of manners, creates between those who inhabit the same village, and are citizens of the same state. We are ready to believe that the real motive of the quarrel is something else; and that the difference of race has slightly and occasionally aggravated dissensions, which we attribute to some more usual cause. Experience of a state of society, so unhappily divided as that of Lower Canada, leads to an exactly contrary opinion. The national feud forces itself on the very senses, irresistibly and palpably, as the origin or the essence of every dispute which divides the community; we discover that dissensions, which appear to have another origin, are but forms of this constant and all-pervading quarrel; and that every contest is one of French and English in the outset, or becomes so ere it has run its course.

The political discontents, for which the vicious system Exasperation of the two races against each other. of government has given too much cause, have for a long time concealed or modified the influence of the national quarrel. It has been argued, that origin can have but little effect in dividing the country, inasmuch as individuals of each race have constantly been enlisted together on the side of Government, or been found united in leading the Assembly to assail its alleged abuses; that the names of some of the prominent leaders of the rebellion mark their English, while those of some of the most unpopular supporters of the Government denote their French, origin;[3] and that the representatives, if not of an actual majority (as has occasionally been asserted), at any rate of a large proportion of the purely English population, have been found constantly voting with the majority of the Assembly against what is called the British party. Temporary and local causes have, no doubt, to a certain extent, produced such results. The national hostility has not assumed its permanent influence till of late years, nor has it exhibited itself every where at once. While it displayed itself long ago in the cities of Quebec and Montreal, where the leaders and masses of the rival races most speedily came into collision, the inhabitants of the eastern townships,[4] who were removed from all personal contact with the French, and those of the district below Quebec, who experienced little interference from the English, continued to a very late period to entertain comparatively friendly feelings towards those of the opposite races. But this is a distinction which has unfortunately, year after year, been exhibiting itself more strongly, and diffusing itself more widely. One by one the ancient English leaders of the Assembly have fallen off from the majority, and attached themselves to the party which supported the British Government against it. Every election from the townships added to the English minority. On the other hand, year after year, in spite of the various influences which a government can exercise, and of which no people in the world are more susceptible than the French Canadians; in spite of the additional motives of prudence and patriotism which deter timid or calm men from acting with a party, obviously endangering the public tranquillity by the violence of its conduct, the number of French Canadians, on whom the Government could rely, has been narrowed by the influence of those associations which have drawn them into the ranks of their kindred. The insurrection of 1837 completed the division. Since the resort to arms the two races have been distinctly and completely arrayed against each other. No portion of the English population was backward in taking arms in defence of the Government; with a single exception,[5] no portion of the Canadian population was allowed to do so, even where it was asserted by some that their loyalty inclined them thereto. The exasperation thus generated has extended over the whole of each race. The most just and sensible of the English, those whose politics had always been most liberal, those who had always advocated the most moderate policy in the provincial disputes, seem from that moment to have taken their part against the French as resolutely, if not as fiercely, as the rest of their countrymen, and to have joined in the determination never again to submit to a French majority. A few exceptions mark the existence, rather than militate against the truth of the general rule of national hostility. A few of the French, distinguished by moderate and enlarged views, still condemn the narrow national prejudices and ruinous violence of their countrymen, while they equally resist what they consider the violent and unjust pretensions of a minority, and endeavour to form a middle party between the two extremes. A large part of the Catholic clergy,[6] a few of the principal proprietors of the seignorial families, and some of those who are influenced by ancient connexions of party, support the Government against revolutionary violence. A very few persons of English origin (not more, perhaps, than fifty out of the whole number) still continue to act with the party which they originally espoused. Those who affect to form a middle party exercise no influence on the contending extremes; and those who side with the nation from which their birth distinguishes them, are regarded by their countrymen with aggravated hatred, as renegades from their race; while they obtain but little of the real affection, confidence or esteem of those whom they have joined.

The grounds of quarrel which are commonly alleged, Objects of the French Canadian not really democratic, nor of the English, conservative. appear, on investigation, to have little to do with its real cause; and the inquirer, who has imagined that the public demonstrations or professions of the parties have put him in possession of their real motives and designs, is surprised to find, upon nearer observation, how much he has been deceived by the false colours under which they have been in the habit of fighting. It is not, indeed, surprising, that each party should, in this instance, have practised more than the usual frauds of language, by which factions, in every country, seek to secure the sympathy of other communities. A quarrel based on the mere ground of national animosity, appears so revolting to the notions of good sense and charity prevalent in the civilized world, that the parties who feel such a passion the most strongly, and indulge it the most openly, are at great pains to class themselves under any denominations but those which would correctly designate their objects and feelings. The French Canadians have attempted to shroud their hostility to the influence of English emigration,[7] and the introduction of British institutions, under the guise of warfare against the Government and its supporters, whom they represented to be a small knot of corrupt and insolent dependents;[8] being a majority, they have invoked the principles of popular control and democracy, and appealed with no little effect to the sympathy of liberal politicians in every quarter of the world. The English, finding their opponents in collision with the Government, have raised the cry of loyalty and attachment to British connexion, and denounced the republican designs of the French, whom they designate, or rather used to designate, by the appellation of Radicals. Thus the French have been viewed as a democratic party, contending for reform; and the English as a conservative minority, protecting the menaced connexion with the British Crown, and the supreme authority of the Empire. There is truth in this notion in so far as respects the means by which each party sought to carry its own views of Government into effect. The French majority asserted the most democratic doctrines of the rights of a numerical majority. The English minority availed itself of the protection of the prerogative, and allied itself with all those of the colonial institutions which enabled the few to resist the will of the many. But when we look to the objects of each party, the analogy to our own politics seems to be lost, if not actually reversed; the French appear to have used their democratic arms for conservative purposes, rather than those of liberal and enlightened movement; and the sympathies of the friends of reform are naturally enlisted on the side of sound amelioration which the English minority in vain attempted to introduce into the antiquated laws of the Province.

Yet even on the questions which had been most recently the prominent matters of dispute between the two parties, it is difficult to believe that the hostility of the races was the effect, and not the cause, of the pertinacity with which the desired reforms were pressed or resisted.

The English complained of the Assembly’s refusal to Inconsistencies of both parties. establish Registry Offices,[9] and to commute the feudal tenures: and yet it was among the ablest and most influential leaders of the English that I found some of the opponents of both the proposed reforms. The leaders of the French were anxious to disclaim any hostility to these reforms themselves. Many of them represented the reluctance which the Assembly had exhibited to entertain these questions, as a result of the extraordinary influence which Mr. Papineau[10] exercised over that body; his opposition was accounted for by some peculiar prejudices of education and professional practice, in which he was said to find little concurrence among his countrymen; it was stated that even his influence would not have prevented these questions from being very favourably entertained by the Assembly, had it ever met again; and I received assurances of a friendly disposition towards them, which I must say were very much at variance with the reluctance which the leading men of the party showed to any co-operation with me in the attempts which I subsequently made to carry these very objects into effect. At the same time while the leading men of the French party thus rendered themselves liable to the imputation of a timid or narrow-minded opposition to these improvements, the mass of the French population, who are immediate sufferers by the abuses of the seignorial system, exhibited, in every possible shape, their hostility to the state of things which their leaders had so obstinately maintained. There is every reason to believe that a great number of the peasants who fought at St. Denis and St. Charles, imagined that the principal result of success would be the overthrow of tithes and feudal burthens; and in the declaration of independence which Dr. Robert Nelson[11] issued, two of the objects of the insurrection were stated to be the abolition of feudal tenures and the establishment of Registry Offices.[A] When I observe these inconsistencies of conduct among the opponents and supporters of these reforms; when I consider that their attainment was prevented by means of the censitaires,[12] the very persons most interested in their success, and that they were not more eagerly demanded by the wealthier of the English, than by the artisans and labourers of that race whose individual interests would hardly have derived much direct benefit from their success, I cannot but think that many, both of the supporters and of the opponents, cared less for the measures themselves, than for the handle which the agitation of them gave to their national hostility; that the Assembly resisted these changes chiefly because the English desired them; and that the eagerness with which many of the English urged them was stimulated by finding them opposed by the French.

Nor did I find the spirit which animated each party at Independent spirit of the English population. all more coincident with the representations current in this country, than their objects appeared, when tried by English, or rather European ideas of reforming legislation. An utterly uneducated and singularly inert population, implicitly obeying leaders who ruled them by the influence of a blind confidence and narrow national prejudices, accorded very little with the resemblance which had been discovered to that high-spirited democracy which effected the American Revolution. Still less could I discover in the English population those slavish tools of a narrow official clique, or a few purse-proud merchants, which their opponents had described them as being. I have found the main body of the English population, consisting of hardy farmers and humble mechanics, composing a very independent, not very manageable, and, sometimes a rather turbulent, democracy. Though constantly professing a somewhat extravagant loyalty and high prerogative doctrines, I found them very determined on maintaining in their own persons a great respect for popular rights, and singularly ready to enforce their wishes by the strongest means of constitutional pressure on the Government. Between them and the Canadians I found the strongest hostility; and that hostility was, as might be expected, most strongly developed among the humblest and rudest of the body. Between them and the small knot of officials, whose influence has been represented as so formidable, I found no sympathy whatever; and it must be said, in justice to this body of officials, who have been so much assailed as the enemies of the Canadian people, that however little I can excuse the injurious influence of that system of administration, which they were called upon to carry into execution, the members of the oldest and most powerful official families were, of all the English in the country, those in whom I generally found most sympathy with, and kindly feeling towards, the French population. I could not therefore believe that this animosity was only that subsisting between an official oligarchy and a people; and again, I was brought to a conviction that the contest, which had been represented as a contest of classes, was, in fact, a contest of races.

However unwilling we may be to attribute the disorders Dissimilarity of the races. of a country connected with us to a cause so fatal to its tranquillity, and one which it seems so difficult to remove, no very long or laboured consideration of the relative characters and position of these races is needed for convincing us of their invincible hostility towards each other. It is scarcely possible to conceive descendants of any of the great European nations more unlike each other in character and temperament, more totally separated from each other by language, laws, and modes of life, or placed in circumstances more calculated to produce mutual misunderstanding, jealousy and hatred. To conceive the incompatibility of the two races in Canada, it is not enough that we should picture to ourselves a community composed of equal proportions of French and English. We must bear in mind what kind of French and English they are that are brought in contact, and in what proportions they meet.

The institutions of France, during the period of the Characteristics of the French Canadians. colonization of Canada, were, perhaps, more than those of any other European nation, calculated to repress the intelligence and freedom of the great mass of the people. These institutions followed the Canadian colonist across the Atlantic. The same central, ill-organized, unimproving and repressive despotism extended over him.[13] Not merely was he allowed no voice in the government of his Province, or the choice of his rulers, but he was not even permitted to associate with his neighbours for the regulation of those municipal affairs, which the central authority neglected under the pretext of managing. He obtained his land on a tenure singularly calculated to promote his immediate comfort, and to check his desire to better his condition; he was placed at once in a life of constant and unvarying labour, of great material comfort, and feudal dependence. The ecclesiastical authority to which he had been accustomed established its institutions around him, and the priest continued to exercise over him his ancient influence. No general provision was made for education; and, as its necessity was not appreciated, the colonist made no attempt to repair the negligence of his government. It need not surprise us that, under such circumstances, a race of men habituated to the incessant labour of a rude and unskilled agriculture, and habitually fond of social enjoyments, congregated together in rural communities, occupying portions of the wholly unappropriated soil, sufficient to provide each family with material comforts, far beyond their ancient means, or almost their conceptions; that they made little advance beyond the first progress in comfort, which the bounty of the soil absolutely forced upon them; that under the same institutions they remained the same uninstructed, inactive, unprogressive people. Along the alluvial banks of the St. Lawrence, and its tributaries, they have cleared two or three strips of land, cultivated them in the worst method of small farming, and established a series of continuous villages, which give the country of the seignories the appearance of a never-ending street.[14] Besides the cities which were the seats of government, no towns were established; the rude manufactures of the country were, and still are, carried on in the cottage by the family of the habitant; and an insignificant proportion of the population derived their subsistence from the scarcely discernible commerce of the Province. Whatever energy existed among the population was employed in the fur trade, and the occupations of hunting, which they and their descendants have carried beyond the Rocky Mountains, and still, in great measure, monopolize in the whole valley of the Mississippi. The mass of the community exhibited in the New World the characteristics of the peasantry of Europe.[15] Society was dense; and even the wants and the poverty which the pressure of population occasions in the Old World, became not to be wholly unknown. They clung to ancient prejudices, ancient customs and ancient laws, not from any strong sense of their beneficial effects, but with the unreasoning tenacity of an uneducated and unprogressive people. Nor were they wanting in the virtues of a simple and industrious life, or in those which common consent attributes to the nation from which they spring. The temptations which, in other states of society, lead to offences against property, and the passions which prompt to violence, were little known among them. They are mild and kindly, frugal, industrious and honest, very sociable, cheerful and hospitable, and distinguished for a courtesy and real politeness, which pervades every class of society. The conquest has changed them but little. The higher classes, and the inhabitants of the towns, have adopted some English customs and feelings; but the continued negligence of the British Government[16] left the mass of the people without any of the institutions which would have elevated them in freedom and civilization. It has left them without the education and without the institutions of local self-government, that would have assimilated their character and habits, in the easiest and best way, to those of the Empire of which they became a part. They remain an old and stationary society, in a new and progressive world. In all essentials they are still French; but French in every respect dissimilar to those of France in the present day. They resemble rather the French of the provinces under the old régime.

I cannot pass over this subject without calling particular Their peculiar social condition. attention to a peculiarity in the social condition of this people, of which the important bearing on the troubles of Lower Canada has never, in my opinion, been properly estimated. The circumstances of a new and unsettled country, the operation of the French laws of inheritance, and the absence of any means of accumulation, by commerce or manufactures, have produced a remarkable equality of properties and conditions. A few seignorial families possess large, though not often very valuable properties; the class entirely dependent on wages is very small; the bulk of the population is composed of the hard-working yeomanry of the country districts, commonly called habitans,[17] and their connexions engaged in other occupations. It is impossible to exaggerate the want of education among the habitans; no means of instruction have ever been provided for them, and they are almost universally destitute of the qualifications even of reading and writing. It came to my knowledge that out of a great number of boys and girls assembled at the schoolhouse door of St. Thomas, all but three admitted, on inquiry, that they could not read. Yet the children of this large parish attend school regularly, and actually make use of books. They hold the catechism book in their hand, as if they were reading, while they only repeat its contents, which they know by rote.[18] The common assertion, however, that all classes of the Canadians are equally ignorant, is perfectly erroneous; for I know of no people among whom a larger provision exists for the higher kinds of elementary education,[19] or among whom such education is really extended to a larger proportion of the population. The piety and benevolence of the early possessors of the country founded, in the seminaries that exist in different parts of the Province, institutions, of which the funds and activity have long been directed to the promotion of education. Seminaries and colleges have been, by these bodies, established in the cities, and in other central points. The education given in these establishments greatly resembles the kind given in the English public schools, though it is rather more varied. It is entirely in the hands of the Catholic clergy. The number of pupils in these establishments is estimated altogether at about a thousand; and they turn out every year, as far as I could ascertain, between two and three hundred young men thus educated. Almost all of these are members of the family of some habitant, whom the possession of greater quickness than his brothers has induced the father or the curate of the parish to select and send to the seminary. These young men possessing a degree of information immeasurably superior to that of their families, are naturally averse to what they regard as descending to the humble occupations of their parents. A few become priests; but as the military and naval professions[20] are closed against the colonist, the greater part can only find a position suited to their notions of their own qualifications in the learned professions of advocate, notary and surgeon. As from this cause these professions are greatly overstocked, we find every village in Lower Canada filled with notaries and surgeons, with little practice to occupy their attention, and living among their own families, or at any rate among exactly the same class. Thus the persons of most education in every village belong to the same families, and the same original station in life, as the illiterate habitans whom I have described. They are connected with them by all the associations of early youth, and the ties of blood. The most perfect equality always marks their intercourse, and the superior in education is separated by no barrier of manners, or pride, or distinct interests, from the singularly ignorant peasantry by which he is surrounded.[21] He combines, therefore, the influences of superior knowledge and social equality, and wields a power over the mass, which I do not believe that the educated class of any other portion of the world possess. To this singular state of things, I attribute the extraordinary influence of the Canadian demagogues. The most uninstructed population any where trusted with political power, is thus placed in the hands of a small body of instructed persons, in whom it reposes the confidence which nothing but such domestic connexion, and such community of interest could generate. Over the class of persons by whom the peasantry are thus led, the Government has not acquired, or ever laboured to acquire, influence; its members have been thrown into opposition by the system of exclusion, long prevalent in the colony; and it is by their agency that the leaders of the Assembly have been enabled hitherto to move as one mass, in whatever direction they thought proper, the simple and ductile population of the country. The entire neglect of education by the Government has thus, more than any other cause, contributed to render this people ungovernable, and to invest the agitator with the power, which he wields against the laws and the public tranquillity.

Among this people, the progress of emigration has of Conduct of the English. late years introduced an English population, exhibiting the characteristics with which we are familiar, as those of the most enterprising of every class of our countrymen. The circumstances of the early colonial administration Of the officials. excluded the native Canadian from power, and vested all offices of trust and emolument in the hands of strangers of English origin. The highest posts in the law were confided to the same class of persons. The functionaries of the civil government, together with the officers of the army, composed a kind of privileged class, occupying the first place in the community, and excluding the higher class of the natives from society, as well as from the government of their own country.[22] It was not till within a very few years, as was testified by persons who had seen much of the country, that this society of civil and military functionaries ceased to exhibit towards the higher order of Canadians an exclusiveness of demeanor, which was more revolting to a sensitive and polite people than the monopoly of power and profit; nor was this national favouritism discontinued, until after repeated complaints and an angry contest, which had excited passions that concession could not allay. The races had become enemies ere a tardy justice was extorted; and even then the Government discovered a mode of distributing its patronage among the Canadians, which was quite as offensive to that people as their previous exclusion.

It was not long after the conquest, that another and Of English settlers. larger class of English settlers began to enter the Province. English capital was attracted to Canada by the vast quantity and valuable nature of the exportable produce of the country, and the great facilities for commerce, presented by the natural means of internal intercourse. The ancient trade of the country[23] was conducted on a much larger and more profitable scale; and new branches of industry were explored. The active and regular habits of the English capitalist drove out of all the more profitable kinds of industry their inert and careless competitors of the French race; but in respect of the greater part (almost the whole) of the commerce and manufactures of the country, the English cannot be said to have encroached on the French; for, in fact, they created employments and profits which had not previously existed. A few of the ancient race smarted under the loss occasioned by the success of English competition; but all felt yet more acutely the gradual increase of a class of strangers in whose hands the wealth of the country appeared to centre, and whose expenditure and influence eclipsed those of the class which had previously occupied the first position in the country. Nor was the intrusion of the English limited to commercial enterprizes. By degrees, large portions of land were occupied by them; nor did they confine themselves to the unsettled and distant country of the townships. The wealthy capitalist invested his money in the purchase of seigniorial properties; and it is estimated, that at the present moment full half of the more valuable seigniories are actually owned by English proprietors.[24] The seigniorial tenure is one so little adapted to our notions of proprietary rights, that the new seignior, without any consciousness or intention of injustice, in many instances exercised his rights in a manner which would appear perfectly fair in this country, but which the Canadian settler reasonably regarded as oppressive. The English purchaser found an equally unexpected and just cause of complaint in that uncertainty of the laws, which rendered his possession of property precarious, and in those incidents of the tenure which rendered its alienation or improvement difficult. But an irritation, greater than that occasioned by the transfer of the large properties, was caused by the competition of the English with the French farmer. The English farmer carried with him the experience and habits of the most improved agriculture in the world. He settled himself in the townships bordering on the seigniories, and brought a fresh soil and improved cultivation to compete with the worn-out and slovenly farm of the habitant. He often took the very farm which the Canadian settler had abandoned, and, by superior management, made that a source of profit which had only impoverished his predecessor. The ascendancy which an unjust favouritism had contributed to give to the English race in the government and the legal profession, their own superior energy, skill and capital secured to them in every branch of industry. They have developed the resources of the country; they have constructed or improved its means of communication; they have created its internal and foreign commerce. The entire wholesale, and a large portion of the retail trade of the Province, with the most profitable and flourishing farms, are now in the hands of this numerical minority of the population.

In Lower Canada the mere working class which depends Animosities of the working classes not the result of a collision of interests. on wages, though proportionally large in comparison with that to be found in any other portion of the American continent, is, according to our ideas, very small. Competition between persons of different origin in this class, has not exhibited itself till very recently, and is, even now, almost confined to the cities. The large mass of the labouring population are French in the employ of English capitalists. The more skilled class of artisans are generally English; but in the general run of the more laborious employments, the French Canadians fully hold their ground against English rivalry. The emigration which took place a few years ago,[25] brought in a class which entered into more direct competition with the French in some kinds of employment in the towns; but the individuals affected by this competition were not very many. I do not believe that the animosity which exists between the working classes of the two origins is the necessary result of a collision of interests, or of a jealousy of the superior success of English labour. But national prejudices naturally exercise the greatest influence over the most uneducated; the difference of language is less easily overcome; the differences of manners and customs less easily appreciated. The labourers, whom the emigration introduced, contained a number of very ignorant, turbulent and demoralized persons, whose conduct and manners alike revolted the well-ordered and courteous natives of the same class. The working men naturally ranged themselves on the side of the educated and wealthy of their own countrymen. When once engaged in the conflict, their passions were less restrained by education and prudence; and the national hostility now rages most fiercely between those whose interests in reality bring them the least in collision.

The two races thus distinct have been brought into the Points of opposition between the races. same community, under circumstances which rendered their contact inevitably productive of collision. The difference of language from the first kept them asunder. It is not any where a virtue of the English race to look with complacency on any manners, customs or laws which appear strange to them; accustomed to form a high estimate of their own superiority, they take no pains to conceal from others their contempt and intolerance of their usages. They found the French Canadians filled with an equal amount of national pride; a sensitive, but inactive pride, which disposes that people not to resent insult, but rather to keep aloof from those who would keep them under. The French could not but feel the superiority of English enterprize; they could not shut their eyes to their success in every undertaking in which they came into contact, and to the constant superiority which they were acquiring. They looked upon their rivals with alarm, with jealousy, and finally with hatred. The English repaid them with a scorn, which soon also assumed the same form of hatred. The French complained of the arrogance and injustice of the English; the English accused the French of the vices of a weak and conquered people, and charged them with meanness and perfidy. The entire mistrust which the two races have thus learned to conceive of each other’s intentions, induces them to put the worst construction on the most innocent conduct; to judge every word, every act, and every intention unfairly; to attribute the most odious designs, and reject every overture of kindness or fairness, as covering secret designs of treachery and malignity.

Religion formed no bond of intercourse and union. It is, indeed, an admirable feature of Canadian society, that it is entirely devoid of any religious dissensions. Sectarian intolerance is not merely not avowed, but it hardly seems to influence men’s feelings.[26] But though the prudence and liberality of both parties has prevented this fruitful source of animosity from embittering their quarrels, the difference of religion has in fact tended to keep them asunder. Their priests have been distinct; they have not met even in the same church.

No common education has served to remove and soften Education separate. the differences of origin and language. The associations of youth, the sports of childhood, and the studies by which the character of manhood is modified, are distinct and totally different. In Montreal and Quebec there are English schools and French schools; the children in these are accustomed to fight nation against nation, and the quarrels that arise among boys in the streets usually exhibit a division into English on one side, and French on the other.

As they are taught apart, so are their studies different.[27] Effects of difference of language. The literature with which each is the most conversant, is that of the peculiar language of each; and all the ideas which men derive from books, come to each of them from perfectly different sources. The difference of language in this respect produces effects quite apart from those which it has on the mere intercourse of the two races. Those who have reflected on the powerful influence of language on thought, will perceive in how different a manner people who speak in different languages are apt to think; and those who are familiar with the literature of France, know that the same opinion will be expressed by an English and French writer of the present day, not merely in different words, but in a style so different as to mark utterly different habits of thought. This difference is very striking in Lower Canada; it exists not merely in the books of most influence and repute, which are of course those of the great writers of France and England, and by which the minds of the respective races are formed, but it is observable in the writings which now issue from the Colonial press. The articles in the newspapers of each race, are written in a style as widely different as those of France and England at present; and the arguments which convince the one, are calculated to appear utterly unintelligible to the other.

The difference of language[28] produces misconceptions yet more fatal even than those which it occasions with respect to opinions; it aggravates the national animosities, by representing all the events of the day in utterly different lights. The political misrepresentation of facts is one of the incidents of a free press in every free country; but in nations in which all speak the same language, those who receive a misrepresentation from one side, have generally some means of learning the truth from the other. In Lower Canada, however, where the French and English papers represent adverse opinions, and where no large portion of the community can read both languages with ease, those who receive the misrepresentation are rarely able to avail themselves of the means of correction. It is difficult to conceive the perversity with which misrepresentations are habitually made, and the gross delusions which find currency among the people; they thus live in a world of misconceptions, in which each party is set against the other not only by diversity of feelings and opinions, but by an actual belief in an utterly different set of facts.

The differences thus early occasioned by education and Absence of social intercourse between the races. language, are in no wise softened by the intercourse of after-life; their business and occupations do not bring the two races into friendly contact and co-operation, but only present them to each other in occasional rivalry. A laudable emulation has of late induced the French to enter on the field previously occupied by the English, and to attempt to compete with them in commerce, but it is much to be lamented that this did not commence until the national animosities had arrived almost at the highest pitch; and that the competition has been carried on in such a manner as to widen the pre-existing differences. The establishment of the ‘Banque du Peuple’ by French capitalists,[29] is an event which may be regarded as a satisfactory indication of an awakening commercial energy among the French, and it is therefore very much to be regretted that the success of the new enterprise was uniformly promoted by direct and illiberal appeals to the national feelings of the race. Some of the French have lately established steam-boats to compete with the monopoly which a combination of English capitalists had for some time enjoyed on the St. Lawrence, and small and somewhat uncomfortable as they were, they were regarded with favour on account of their superiority in the essential qualities of certainty and celerity. But this was not considered sufficient to insure their success; an appeal was constantly made to the national feelings of the French for an exclusive preference of the ‘French’ line, and I have known a French newspaper announce with satisfaction the fact, that on the previous day the French steamers to Quebec and La Prairie had arrived at Montreal with a great many passengers, and the English with very few. The English, on the other hand, appealed to exactly the same kind of feelings, and used to apply to the French steam-boats the epithets of ‘Radical’, ‘Rebel’ and ‘Disloyal’. The introduction of this kind of national preference into this department of business, produced a particularly mischievous effect, inasmuch as it separated the two races on some of the few occasions on which they had previously been thrown into each other’s society. They rarely meet at the inns in the cities; the principal hotels are almost exclusively filled with English and with foreign travellers; and the French are, for the most part, received at each other’s houses, or in boarding houses, in which they meet with few English.

Nor do their amusements bring them more in contact. Instance of this. Social intercourse never existed between the two races in any but the higher classes, and it is now almost destroyed. I heard of but one house in Quebec in which both races met on pretty equal and amicable terms, and this was mentioned as a singular instance of good sense on the part of the gentleman to whom it belongs. At the commencement of Lord Aylmer’s administration, an entertainment was given to his Lordship by Mr. Papineau, the Speaker of the House of Assembly. It was generally understood to be intended as a mark of confidence and good-will towards the Governor, and of a conciliatory disposition. It was given on a very large scale, a very great number of persons were present; and of that number I was informed by a gentleman, who was present, that he and one other were the only English, except the Governor and his suite. Indeed the difference of manners in the two races renders a general social intercourse almost impossible.

A singular instance of national incompatibility was Instance of national incompatibility. brought before my notice, in an attempt which I made to promote an undertaking, in which the French were said to take a great deal of interest. I accepted the office of President of the Agricultural Association of the District of Quebec, and attended the show previous to the distribution of the prizes. I then found that the French farmers would not compete even on this neutral ground with the English; distinct prizes were given, in almost every department, to the two races; the national ploughing matches were carried on in separate and even distant fields.

While such is their social intercourse, it is not to be Intermarriages rare. expected that the animosities of the two races can frequently be softened by the formation of domestic connexions. During the first period of the possession of the Colony by the English, intermarriages of the two races were by no means uncommon. But they are now very rare; and where such unions occur they are generally formed with members of the French families, which I have described as politically, and almost nationally, separated from the bulk of their own race.

I could mention various slight features in the state of Marked division of society. society, which show the all-pervading and marked division of the races; but nothing (though it will sound paradoxical) really proves their entire separation so much as the rarity, nay almost total absence, of personal encounters between the two races. Disputes of this kind are almost confined to the ruder order of people, and seldom proceed to acts of violence. As respects the other classes, social intercourse between the two races is so limited,[30] that the more prominent or excitable antagonists never meet in the same room. It came to my knowledge that a gentleman who was for some years a most active and determined leader amongst the English population, had never once been under a private roof with French Canadians of his own rank in life, until he met some at table on the invitation of persons attached to my mission, who were in the habit of associating indifferently with French and English. There are therefore no political personal controversies. The ordinary occasions of collision never occur, and men must quarrel so publicly, or so deliberately, that prudence restrains them from commencing, individually, what would probably end in a general and bloody conflict of numbers. Their mutual fears restrain personal disputes and riots, even among the lower orders; the French know and dread the superior physical strength of the English in the cities; and the English in those places refrain from exhibiting their power, from fear of the revenge that might be taken on their countrymen, who are scattered over the rural parishes.

This feeling of mutual forbearance extends so far as to No combination for public objects. produce an apparent calm with respect to public matters, which is calculated to perplex a stranger who has heard much of the animosities of the Province. No trace of them appears in public meetings; and these take place in every direction, in the most excited periods, and go off without disturbance, and almost without dissent. The fact is, that both parties have come to a tacit understanding, not in any way to interfere with each other on these occasions; each party knowing that it would always be in the power of the other to prevent its meetings. The British party consequently have their meetings; the French theirs; and neither disturb the other. The complimentary addresses which I received on various occasions, marked the same entire separation, even in a matter in which it might be supposed that party feeling would not be felt, or would from mere prudence and propriety be concealed. I had from the same places, French and English addresses, and I never found the two races uniting, except in a few cases, where I met with the names of two or three isolated members of one origin, who happened to dwell in a community almost entirely composed of the other. The two parties combine for no public object; they cannot harmonize even in associations of charity. The only public occasion on which they ever meet, is in the jury-box; and they meet there only to the utter obstruction of justice.[31]

The hostility which thus pervades society, was some Political strife the result of such social feelings. time growing before it became of prominent importance in the politics of the Province. It was inevitable that such social feelings must end in a deadly political strife. The French regarded with jealousy the influence in politics of a daily increasing body of the strangers, whom they so much disliked and dreaded; the wealthy English were offended at finding that their property gave them no influence over their French dependents, who were acting under the guidance of leaders of their own race; and the farmers and traders of the same race were not long before they began to bear with impatience their utter political nullity in the midst of the majority of a population, whose ignorance they contemned, and whose political views and conduct seemed utterly at variance with their own notions of the principles and practice of self-government. Superior practical intelligence of the English, The superior political and practical intelligence of the English cannot be, for a moment, disputed. The great mass of the Canadian population, who cannot read or write, and have found in few of the institutions of their country, even the elements of political education, were obviously inferior to the English settlers, of whom a large proportion had received a considerable amount of education, and had been trained in their own country, to take a part in public business of one kind or another. With respect to the more educated classes, the superiority is not so general or apparent; indeed from all the information although greater refinement may be found among the French. that I could collect, I incline to think that the greater amount of refinement, of speculative thought, and of the knowledge that books can give, is, with some brilliant exceptions, to be found among the French. But I have no hesitation in stating, even more decidedly, that the circumstances in which the English have been placed in Lower Canada, acting on their original political education, have endowed the leaders of that population with much of that practical sagacity, tact, and energy in politics, in which I must say, that the bad institutions of the Colony have, in my opinion, rendered the leaders of the French deplorably deficient. That a race which felt itself thus superior in political activity and intelligence, should submit with patience to the rule of a majority which it could not respect, was impossible. At what time and from what particular cause the hostility between such a majority and such a minority, which was sure sooner or later to break out, actually became of paramount importance, it is difficult to say. The hostility between the Assembly and the British Government had long given a tendency to attacks, on the part of the popular leaders, on the nation to which that government belonged. It is said that the appeals to the national pride and animosities of the French, became more direct and general on the occasion of the abortive attempt to re-unite Upper and Lower Canada in 1822, which the leaders of the Assembly viewed or represented as a blow aimed at the institutions of their Province.[32] The anger of the English was excited by the denunciations of themselves, which, subsequently to this period, they were in the habit of hearing. They had possibly some little sympathy with the members of the provincial government of their own race; and their feelings were, probably, yet more strongly excited in favour of the connexion of the Colony with Great Britain, which the proceedings of the Assembly appeared to endanger. But the abuses existing under the provincial government, gave such inducements to remain in opposition to it, that the representatives of each race continued for a long time to act together against it. And as the bulk of the English population in the townships and on the Ottawa[33] were brought into very little personal contact with the French, I am inclined to think that it might have been some time longer, ere the disputes of origin would have assumed an importance paramount to all others, had not the Assembly come into collision with the whole English population by its policy with respect to internal improvements, and to the old and defective laws, which operated as a bar to the alienation of land, and to the formation of associations for commercial purposes.

The English population, an immigrant and enterprising Views of the English settlers. population, looked on the American Provinces as a vast field for settlement and speculation, and in the common spirit of the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of that continent, regarded it as the chief business of the Government, to promote, by all possible use of its legislative and administrative powers, the increase of population and the accumulation of property; they found the laws of real property exceedingly adverse to the easy alienation of land, which is, in a new country, absolutely essential to its settlement and improvement; they found the greatest deficiency in the internal communications of the country, and the utter want of local self-government rendered it necessary for them to apply to the Assembly for every road or bridge, or other public work that was needed; they wished to form themselves into companies for the establishment of banks, and the construction of railroads and canals, and to obtain the powers necessary for the completion of such works with funds of their own. And as the first requisite for the improvement of the country, they desired that a large proportion of the revenue should be applied to the completion of that great series of public works, by which it was proposed to render the Saint Lawrence and the Ottawa navigable throughout their whole extent.

Without going so far as to accuse the Assembly of Jealousy of the Assembly and dislike of improvements. a deliberate design to check the settlement and improvement of Lower Canada, it cannot be denied that they looked with considerable jealousy and dislike on the increase and prosperity of what they regarded as a foreign and hostile race; they looked on the Province as the patrimony of their own race; they viewed it not as a country to be settled, but as one already settled; and instead of legislating in the American spirit, and first providing for the future population of the Province, their primary care was, in the spirit of legislation which prevails in the old world, to guard the interests and feelings of the present race of inhabitants,[34] to whom they considered the new comers as subordinate; they refused to increase the burthens of the country by imposing taxes to meet the expenditure required for improvement, and they also refused to direct to that object any of the funds previously devoted to other purposes. The improvement of the harbour of Montreal was suspended, from a political antipathy to a leading English merchant who had been the most active of the Commissioners, and by whom it had been conducted with the most admirable success. It is but just to say that some of the works which the Assembly authorized and encouraged were undertaken on a scale of due moderation, and satisfactorily perfected and brought into operation. Others, especially the great communications which I have mentioned above, the Assembly showed a great reluctance to promote or even to permit. It is true that there was considerable foundation for their objections to the plan on which the Legislature of Upper Canada had commenced some of these works, and to the mode in which it had carried them on; but the English complained, that instead of profiting by the experience which they might have derived from this source, the Assembly seemed only to make its objections a pretext for doing nothing. The applications for banks, railroads and canals were laid on one side until some general measures could be adopted with regard to such undertakings; but the general measures thus promised were never passed, and the particular enterprizes in question were prevented. The adoption of a registry was refused on the alleged ground of its inconsistency with the French institutions of the Province, and no measure to attain this desirable end, in a less obnoxious mode, was prepared by the leaders of the Assembly.[35] The feudal tenure was supported, as a mild and just provision for the settlement of a new country; a kind of assurance given by a Committee of the Assembly, that some steps should be taken to remove the most injurious incidents of the seignorial tenure, produced no practical results; and the enterprizes of the English were still thwarted by the obnoxious laws of the country. In all these decisions of the Assembly, in its discussions, and in the apparent motives of its conduct, the English population perceived traces of a desire to repress the influx and the success of their race.[36] A measure for imposing a tax on emigrants,[37] though recommended by the Home Government, and warranted by the policy of those neighbouring states, which give the greatest encouragement to immigration, was argued on such grounds in the Assembly, that it was not unjustly regarded as indicative of an intention to exclude any further accession to the English population; and the industry of the English was thus retarded by this conduct of the Assembly. Some districts, particularly that of the Eastern Townships, where the French race has no footing,[38] were seriously injured by the refusal of necessary improvements; and the English inhabitants generally regarded the policy of the Assembly as a plan for preventing any further emigration to the Province, of stopping the growth of English wealth, and of rendering precarious the English property already invested or acquired in Lower Canada.

The Assembly of which they thus complained, and of Collision between the Executive and the Assembly. which they entertained apprehensions so serious, was at the same time in collision with the Executive Government. The party in power, and which, by means of the Legislative Council, kept the Assembly in check, gladly availed itself of the discontents of this powerful and energetic minority, offered it its protection, and undertook the furtherance of its views; and thus was cemented the singular alliance between the English population and the Colonial officials, who combined from perfectly different motives, and with perfectly different objects, against a common enemy. The English desired reform and liberal measures from the Assembly, which refused them, while it was urging other reforms and demanding other liberal measures from the Executive Government. The Assembly complained of the oppressive use of the power of the Executive; the English complained that they, a minority, suffered under the oppressive use to which power was turned by the French majority. Thus a bold and intelligent democracy was impelled, by its impatience for liberal measures, joined to its national antipathies, to make common cause with a government which was at issue with the majority on the question of popular rights. The actual conflict commenced by a collision between the Executive and the French majority; and, as the English population rallied round the Government, supported its pretensions, and designated themselves by the appellation of ‘loyal’, the causes of the quarrel were naturally supposed to be much more simple than they really were; and the extent of the division which existed among the inhabitants of Lower Canada, the number and nature of the combatants arrayed on each side, and the irremediable nature of the dispute, were concealed from the public view.

The treasonable attempt of the French party to carry Appeal to arms by the French. its political objects into effect by an appeal to arms, brought these hostile races into general and armed collision. I will not dwell on the melancholy scenes exhibited in the progress of the contest, or the fierce passions which held an unchecked sway during the insurrection, or immediately after its suppression. It is not difficult to conceive how greatly the evils, which I have described as previously existing, have been aggravated by the war; how terror and revenge nourished, in each portion of the population, a bitter and irreconcileable hatred to each other, and to the institutions of the country. The French population, who had for some time exercised a great and increasing power through the medium of the House of Assembly, found their hopes unexpectedly prostrated in the dust. The physical force which they had vaunted was called into action, and proved to be utterly inefficient. The hope of recovering their previous ascendancy under a constitution, similar to that suspended, almost ceased to exist. Removed from all actual share in the government of their country, they brood in sullen silence over the memory of their fallen countrymen, of their burnt villages, of their ruined property, of their extinguished ascendancy, and of their humbled nationality. To the Government and the English they ascribe these wrongs, and nourish against both an indiscriminating and eternal animosity. Nor have the English inhabitants forgotten in their triumph the terror with which they suddenly saw themselves surrounded by an insurgent majority, and the incidents which alone appeared to save them from the unchecked domination of their antagonists. They find themselves still a minority in the midst of a hostile and organized people; apprehensions of secret conspiracies and sanguinary designs haunt them unceasingly, and their only hope of safety is supposed to rest on systematically terrifying and disabling the French, and in preventing a majority of that race from ever again being predominant in any portion of the legislature of the Province. I describe in strong terms[39] the feelings which appear to me to animate each portion of the population; and the picture which I draw represents a state of things The French will not loyally submit to British Government, nor the English tolerate a French majority in the Assembly. so little familiar to the personal experience of the people of this country, that many will probably regard it as the work of mere imagination; but I feel confident that the accuracy and moderation of my description will be acknowledged by all who have seen the state of society in Lower Canada during the last year. Nor do I exaggerate the inevitable constancy any more than the intensity of this animosity. Never again will the present generation of French Canadians yield a loyal submission to a British Government; never again will the English population tolerate the authority of a House of Assembly, in which the French shall possess or even approximate to a majority.

Nor is it simply the working of representative government which is placed out of question by the present disposition of the two races; every institution which requires for its efficiency a confidence in the mass of the people, or co-operation between its classes, is practically in abeyance in Lower Canada. The militia, on which the main defence of the Province against external enemies, and the discharge of many of the functions of internal police have hitherto depended, is completely disorganized.[40] A muster of that force would, in some districts, be the occasion for quarrels between the races, and in the greater part of the country the attempting to arm or employ it would be merely arming the enemies of the Government. The course of justice is entirely obstructed by the same Obstruction of the course of justice. cause; a just decision in any political case is not to be relied upon; even the judicial bench is, in the opinion of both races, divided into two hostile sections of French and English, from neither of whom is justice expected by the mass of the hostile party.[41] The partiality of grand and petty juries is a matter of certainty; each race relies on the vote of its countrymen to save it harmless from the law, and the mode of challenging allows of such an exclusion of the hostile party that the French offender may make sure of, and the English hope for a favourable jury, and a consequent acquittal. This state of things, and the consequent impunity of political offences, is distinctly admitted by both sides. The trial of the murderers of Chartrand[42] has placed this disposition of the Acquittal of the murderers of Chartrand. French jurors in a most glaring light: the notes of the Chief Justice in this case were transmitted by me to the Secretary of State; and a perusal of them will satisfy every candid and well-ordered mind that a base and cruel assassination, committed without a single circumstance of provocation or palliation, was brought home by evidence which no man ever pretended to doubt, against the prisoners, whom the jury nevertheless acquitted. The duty of giving this dishonest verdict had been most assiduously and shamefully inculcated by the French press before the trial came on; the jurors are said to have been kept for some time previous in the hands of zealous partisans, whose business it was not only to influence their inclination, but to stimulate their courage; the array of the leaders of the party who were present at the trial was supposed to be collected for the same purpose: and it is notorious that the acquittal was celebrated at public entertainments, to which the jurors were invited in order that they might be thanked for their verdict.

But the influence of this animosity does not obstruct Another example of obstruction of justice. the course of justice in political cases alone. An example of obstruction of ordinary criminal justice recently occurred at Quebec. A person had been, during a previous term, indicted and tried for some offence seriously affecting his moral character. The charge had been supported by a witness whom the jury considered perjured, and the accused had been acquitted. Having reason to believe that the witness had been instigated by a neighbour, the acquitted person indicted this neighbour for subornation of perjury, and brought the witness, who had formerly appeared against himself, to prove the falsehood of his previous evidence, and the fact of his subornation. The proof of subornation appears to have rested, in some particulars, too much on the unsupported evidence of this witness; the jury differed in opinion, one portion of them believing the guilt of the accused to be on the whole satisfactorily established, the other refusing to believe that part of the case which depended solely on the evidence of a man who came into court to swear to the fact of his own previous perjury. This was a difference of opinion which might naturally divide a jury, but as all the parties were French, and as there is nothing in the circumstances which marks this as a case in which feelings of politics or origin could be supposed to operate, it will, I imagine, appear singular that the jury, being composed nearly equally of French and English, all the French were on one side, all the English on the other. After long discussion the jury came into court, and declared their inability to agree; and the foreman, on being told by the Judge that they must agree, answered that they were an equal number of French and English, and consequently never could agree. In the end they did not, and after being locked up for twelve hours, they were discharged without giving a verdict; so that even in a case in which no question of party or of race is concerned, the animosity of the races, nevertheless, appears to present an insurmountable barrier to the impartial administration of justice.

In such a state of feelings the course of civil government Evils to society from national animosities. is hopelessly suspended. No confidence can be felt in the stability of any existing institution, or the security of person and property. It cannot occasion surprise that this state of things should have destroyed the tranquillity and happiness of families; that it should have depreciated the value of property, and that it should have arrested the improvement and settlement of the country. The alarming decline of the value of landed property was attested to me by some of the principal proprietors of the Province. The continual and progressive decrease of the revenue, though in some degree attributable to other causes, indicates a diminution of the wealth of the country. The staple export trade of the Province, the timber trade, has not suffered; but instead of exporting grain, the Province is now obliged to import for its own consumption. The influx of emigrants, once so considerable, has very greatly diminished. In 1832 the number of emigrants who landed at the port of Quebec amounted to 52,000; in 1837 it had fallen to a few more than 22,000; and in 1838 it did not amount to 5,000. Insecurity begins to be so strongly felt by the loyal inhabitants of the seignories, that many of them are compelled, by fear or necessity, to quit their occupations, and seek refuge in the cities. If the present state of things continues, the most enterprising and wealthy capitalists of the Province will thus in a short time be driven from the seats of their present industry.

Nor does there appear to be the slightest chance of Hopelessness of putting an end to animosities at present. putting an end to this animosity during the present generation. Passions inflamed during so long a period cannot speedily be calmed. The state of education which I have previously described as placing the peasantry entirely at the mercy of agitators, the total absence of any class of persons, or any organization of authority that could counteract this mischievous influence, and the serious decline in the district of Montreal of the influence of the clergy, concur in rendering it absolutely impossible for the Government to produce any better state of feeling among the French population. It is even impossible to impress on a people so circumstanced the salutary dread of the power of Great Britain, which the presence of a large military force in the Province might be expected to produce. I have been informed by witnesses so numerous and so trustworthy, that I cannot doubt the correctness of their statements, that the peasantry were generally ignorant of the large amount of force which was sent into their country last year. The newspapers that circulate among them had informed them that Great Britain had no troops to send out; that in order to produce an impression on the minds of the country people, the same regiments were marched backwards and forwards in different directions, and represented as additional arrivals from home. This explanation was promulgated among the people by the agitators of each village; and I have no doubt that the mass of the habitans really believed that the Government was endeavouring to impose on them by this species of fraud. It is a population with whom authority has no means of contact or explanation. It is difficult even to ascertain what amount of influence the ancient leaders of the French party continue to possess. The name of Mr. Papineau is still cherished by the people; and the idea is current that, at the appointed time, he will return, at the head of an immense army, and re-establish ‘La Nation Canadienne’. But there is great reason to doubt whether his name be not used as a mere watchword; whether the people are not in fact running entirely counter to his counsels and policy; and whether they are not really under the guidance of separate petty agitators, who have no plan but that of a senseless and reckless determination to show in every way their hostility to the British Government and English race. Their ultimate designs and hopes are equally unintelligible. Some vague expectation of absolute independence still seems to delude them. The national vanity,[43] which is a remarkable ingredient in their character induces many to flatter themselves with the idea of a Canadian Republic;[44] the sounder information of others has led them to perceive that a separation from Great Britain must be followed by a junction with the great Confederation on their southern frontier. But they seem apparently reckless of the consequences, provided they can wreak their vengeance on the English. There is no people against which early associations and every conceivable difference of manners and opinions, have implanted in the Canadian mind a more ancient and rooted national antipathy than that which they feel against the people of the United States. Their more discerning leaders feel that their chances of preserving their nationality would be greatly diminished by an incorporation with the United States; and recent symptoms of Anti-Catholic feeling in New England, well known to the Canadian population, have generated a very general belief that their religion, which even they do not accuse the British party of assailing, would find little favour or respect from their neighbours. Yet none The Canadians would revenge themselves on the English by any aid. even of these considerations weigh against their present all-absorbing hatred of the English; and I am persuaded that they would purchase vengeance and a momentary triumph, by the aid of any enemies, or submission to any yoke. This provisional but complete cessation of their ancient antipathy to the Americans, is now admitted even by those who most strongly denied it during the last spring, and who then asserted that an American war would as completely unite the whole population against the common enemy, as it did in 1813. My subsequent experience leaves no doubt in my mind that the views which were contained in my Dispatch of the 9th of August[45] are perfectly correct; and that an invading American army might rely on the co-operation of almost the entire French population of Lower Canada.

In the Dispatch above referred to I also described the The English population will never tolerate the French pretensions to nationality. state of feeling among the English population, nor can I encourage a hope that that portion of the community is at all more inclined to any settlement of the present quarrel that would leave any share of power to the hostile race. Circumstances having thrown the English into the ranks of the Government, and the folly of their opponents having placed them, on the other hand, in a state of permanent collision with it, the former possess the advantage of having the force of Government, and the authority of the laws on their side in the present stage of the contest. Their exertions during the recent troubles have contributed to maintain the supremacy of the law, and the continuance of the connexion with Great Britain; but it would in my opinion be dangerous to rely on the continuance of such a state of feeling as now prevails among them, in the event of a different policy being adopted by the Imperial Government. Indeed the prevalent sentiment among them is one of anything but satisfaction with the course which has been long pursued, with reference to Lower Canada, by the British Legislature and Executive. The calmer view, which distant spectators are enabled to take of the conduct of the two parties, and the disposition which is evinced to make a fair adjustment of the contending claims, appear iniquitous and injurious in the eyes of men who think that they alone have any claim to the favour of that Government, by which they alone have stood fast. They complain loudly and bitterly of the whole course pursued by the Imperial Government, with respect to the quarrel of the two races, as having being founded on an utter ignorance or disregard of the real question at issue, as having fostered the mischievous pretensions of French nationality, and as having by the vacillation and inconsistency which marked it, discouraged loyalty and fomented rebellion. Every measure of clemency or even justice towards their opponents they regard with jealousy, as indicating a disposition towards that conciliatory policy which is the subject of their angry They complain of being the sport of parties at home. recollection; for they feel that being a minority, any return to the due course of constitutional government would again subject them to a French majority; and to this I am persuaded they would never peaceably submit. They do not hesitate to say that they will not tolerate much longer the being made the sport of parties at home, and that if the mother country forgets what is due to the loyal and enterprising men of her own race, they must protect themselves. In the significant language of one of their own ablest advocates, they assert that ‘Lower Canada must be English, at the expense, if necessary, of not being British.’

I have, in Dispatches of a later date than that to which Exasperation of the Loyalists against the Americans, I have had occasion so frequently to refer, called the attention of the Home Government to the growth of this alarming state of feeling among the English population. The course of the late troubles, and the assistance which the French insurgents derived from some citizens of the United States, have caused a most intense exasperation among the Canadian loyalists against the American Government and people. Their papers have teemed with the most unmeasured denunciations of the good faith of the authorities, of the character and morality of the people, and of the political institutions of the United States. Yet, under this surface of hostility, it is easy to detect a strong under current of an exactly contrary but with a current of contrary feeling. feeling. As the general opinion of the American people became more apparent during the course of the last year, the English of Lower Canada were surprized to find how strong, in spite of the first burst of sympathy, with a people supposed to be struggling for independence, was the real sympathy of their republican neighbours with the great objects of the minority. Without abandoning their attachment to their mother country, they have begun, as men in a state of uncertainty are apt to do, to calculate the probable consequences of a separation, if it should unfortunately occur, and be followed by an incorporation with the United States. In spite of the shock which it would occasion their feelings, they undoubtedly think that they should find some compensation in the promotion of their interests; they believe that the influx of American emigration would speedily place the English race in a majority; they talk frequently and loudly of what has occurred in Louisiana,[46] where, by means which they utterly misrepresent, the end nevertheless of securing an English predominance over a French population, has undoubtedly been attained; they assert very confidently that the Americans would make a very speedy and decisive settlement of the pretensions of the French; and they believe, that after the first shock of an entirely new political state had been got over, they and their posterity would share in that amazing progress, and that great material prosperity, which every day’s experience shows them is the lot of the people of the United States. I do not believe that such a feeling has yet sapped their strong allegiance to the British empire; but their allegiance is founded on their deep-rooted attachment to British as distinguished from French institutions. And if they find that that authority which they have maintained against its recent assailants, is to be exerted in such a manner as to subject them again to what they call a French dominion, I feel perfectly confident that they would attempt to avert the result, by courting, on any terms, a union with an Anglo-Saxon people.

Such is the lamentable and hazardous state of things Evils of conflict of races aggravated by the conduct of Government. produced by the conflict of races which has so long divided the Province of Lower Canada, and which has assumed the formidable and irreconcileable character which I have depicted. In describing the nature of this conflict, I have specified the causes in which it originated; and though I have mentioned the conduct and constitution of the Colonial Government as modifying the character of the struggle, I have not attributed to political causes a state of things which would, I believe, under any political institutions have resulted from the very composition of society. A jealousy between two races, so long habituated to regard each other with hereditary enmity, and so differing in habits, in language and in laws, would have been inevitable under any form of government. That liberal institutions and a prudent policy might have changed the character of the struggle I have no doubt; but they could not have prevented it; they could only have softened its character, and brought it more speedily a more decisive and peaceful conclusion. Unhappily, however, the system of government pursued in Lower Canada has been based on the policy of perpetuating that very separation of the races, and encouraging these very notions of conflicting nationalities which it ought to have been the first and chief care of Government to check and extinguish. From the period of the conquest to the present time, the conduct of the Government has aggravated the evil, and the origin of the present extreme disorder may be found in the institutions by which the character of the colony was determined.

There are two modes by which a government may deal Two modes of dealing with conquered territories. with a conquered territory.[47] The first course open to it is that of respecting the rights and nationality of the actual occupants; of recognizing the existing laws, and preserving established institutions; of giving no encouragement to the influx of the conquering people, and, without attempting any change in the elements of the community, merely incorporating the Province under the general authority of the central Government. The second is that of treating the conquered territory as one open to the conquerors, of encouraging their influx, of regarding the conquered race as entirely subordinate, and of endeavouring as speedily and as rapidly as possible to assimilate the character and institutions of its new subjects to those of the great body of its empire. In the case of an old and long settled country, in which the land is appropriated, in which little room is left for colonization, and in which the race of the actual occupants must continue to constitute the bulk of the future population of the province, policy as well as humanity render the well-being of the conquered people the first care of a just government, and recommend the adoption of the first-mentioned system; but in a new and unsettled country, a provident legislator would regard as his first object the interests not of the few individuals who happen at the moment to inhabit a portion of the soil, but those of that comparatively vast population by which he may reasonably expect that it will be filled; he would form his plans with a view of attracting and nourishing that future population, and he would therefore establish those institutions which would be most acceptable to the race by which he hoped to colonize the country. The course which I have described as best suited to an old and settled country, would have been impossible in the The first why unadvisable in Lower Canada. American continent, unless the conquering state meant to renounce the immediate use of the unsettled lands of the Province; and in this case such a course would have been additionally unadvisable, unless the British Government were prepared to abandon to the scanty population of French whom it found in Lower Canada, not merely the possession of the vast extent of rich soil which that Province contains, but also the mouth of the St. Lawrence, and all the facilities for trade which the entrance of that great river commands.

In the first regulations adopted by the British Government for the settlement of the Canadas, in the Proclamation Mistaken policy of the British Government. of 1763,[48] and the Commission of the Governor-in-Chief of the Province of Quebec, in the offers by which officers and soldiers of the British army, and settlers from the other North American Provinces, were tempted to accept grants of land in the Canadas, we perceive very clear indications of an intention of adopting the second and the wiser of the two systems. Unfortunately, however, the conquest of Canada was almost immediately followed by the commencement of those discontents which ended in the independence of the United Provinces. From that period, the colonial policy of this country appears to have undergone a complete change. To prevent the further dismemberment of the Empire became the primary object with our statesmen; and an especial anxiety was exhibited to adopt every expedient which appeared calculated to prevent the remaining North American Colonies from following the example of successful revolt. Unfortunately the distinct national character of the French inhabitants of Canada, and their ancient hostility to the people of New England, presented the easiest and most obvious line of demarcation. To isolate the inhabitants of the British from those of the revolted Colonies, became the policy of the Government; and the nationality of the French Canadians was therefore cultivated, as a means of perpetual and entire separation from their neighbours.[B][49] It seems also to have been considered the policy of the British Government to govern its Colonies by means of division, and to break them down as much as possible into petty isolated communities, incapable of combination, and possessing no sufficient strength for individual resistance to the Empire. Indications of such designs are to be found in many of the acts of the British Government with respect to its North American Colonies. In 1775[50] instructions were sent from England, directing that all grants of land within the Province of Quebec, then comprising Upper and Lower Canada, were to be made in fief and seigniory; and even the grants to the refugee loyalists, and officers and privates of the colonial corps, promised in 1786, were ordered to be made on the same tenure. In no instance was it more singularly exhibited than in the condition annexed to the grants of land in Prince Edward’s Island, by which it was stipulated that the Island was to be settled by ‘foreign Protestants’;[51] as if they were to be foreign in order to separate them from the people of New England, and Protestants in order to keep them apart from the Canadian and Acadian Catholics. It was part of the same policy to separate the French of Canada from the British emigrants, and to conciliate the former by the retention of their language, laws, and religious institutions. For this purpose Canada was afterwards divided into two Provinces, the settled portion being allotted to the French, and the unsettled being destined to become the seat of British colonization. Thus, instead of availing itself of the means which the extent and nature of the Province afforded for the gradual introduction of such an English population into its various parts as might have easily placed the French in a minority, the Government deliberately constituted the French into a majority, and recognized and strengthened their indistinct national character.[52] Had the sounder policy of making the Province English, in all its institutions, been adopted from the first, and steadily persevered in, the French would probably have been speedily outnumbered, and the beneficial operation of the free institutions of England would never have been impeded by the animosities of origin.

Not only, however, did the Government adopt the Continued inconsistency of British policy. unwise course of dividing Canada, and forming in one of its divisions a French community, speaking the French language, and retaining French institutions, but it did not even carry this consistently into effect; for at the same time provision was made for encouraging the emigration of English into the very Province which was said to be assigned to the French. Even the French institutions were not extended over the whole of Lower Canada. The civil law of France, as a whole, and the legal provision for the Catholic clergy were limited to the portion of the country then settled by the French, and comprised in the seigniories; though some provision was made for the formation of new seigniories, almost the whole of the then unsettled portion of the Province was formed into townships, in which the law of England was partially established, and the Protestant religion alone endowed. Thus two populations of hostile origin and different characters, were brought into juxtaposition under a common government, but under different institutions; each was taught to cherish its own language, laws and habits, and each, at the same time, if it moved beyond its original limits, was brought under different institutions, and associated with a different people. The unenterprising character of the French population, and, above all, its attachment to its church (for the enlargement of which, in proportion to the increase or diffusion of the Catholic population, very inadequate provision was made) have produced the effect of confining it within its ancient limits. But the English were attracted into the seigniories, and especially into the cities, by the facilities of commerce afforded by the great rivers. To have effectually given the policy of retaining French institutions and a French population in Lower Canada a fair chance of success, no other institutions should have been allowed, and no other race should have received any encouragement to settle therein. The Province should have been set apart to be wholly French, if it was not to be rendered completely English. The attempt to encourage English emigration into a community, of which the French character was still to be preserved, was an error which planted the seeds of a contest of races in the very constitution of the Colony; this was an error, I mean, even on the assumption that it was possible to exclude the English race from French Canada. But it was quite impossible to exclude the English race from any part of the North American continent. It will be acknowledged by every one who has observed the progress of Anglo-Saxon colonization in America, that sooner or later the English race was sure French nationality not preservable amidst Anglo-American States. to predominate even numerically in Lower Canada, as they predominate already, by their superior knowledge, energy, enterprise and wealth. The error, therefore, to which the present contest must be attributed, is the vain endeavour to preserve a French Canadian nationality in the midst of Anglo-American colonies and states.[53]

That contest has arisen by degrees. The scanty number The contest arose gradually. of the English who settled in Lower Canada during the earlier period of our possession, put out of the question any ideas of rivalry between the races. Indeed, until the popular principles of English institutions were brought effectually into operation, the paramount authority of the Government left little room for dispute among any but the few who contended for its favours. It was not until the English had established a vast trade, and accumulated considerable wealth, until a great part of the landed property of the Province was vested in their hands, until a large English population was found in the cities, had scattered itself over large portions of the country, and had formed considerable communities in the townships, and not until the development of representative government had placed substantial power in the hands of the people, that that people divided itself into races, arrayed against each other in intense and enduring animosity.

The errors of the Government did not cease with that, Continued errors and vacillations of Government. to which I have attributed the origin of this animosity. The defects of the colonial constitution necessarily brought the executive Government into collision with the people; and the disputes of the Government and the people called into action the animosities of race; nor has the policy of the Government obviated the evils inherent in the constitution of the Colony, and the composition of society. It has done nothing to repair its original error, by making the Province English. Occupied in a continued conflict with the Assembly, successive Governors and their councils have overlooked, in great measure, the real importance of the feud of origin; and the Imperial Government, far removed from opportunities of personal observation of the peculiar state of society, has shaped its policy so as to aggravate the disorder. In some instances it has actually conceded the mischievous pretensions of nationality, in order to evade popular claims; as in attempting to divide the Legislative Council, and the patronage of Government, equally between the two races, in order to avoid the demands for an elective Council, and a responsible Executive: sometimes it has, for a while, pursued the opposite course. A policy founded on imperfect information, and conducted by continually changing hands, has exhibited to the Colony a system of vacillation which was in fact no system at all. The alternate concessions to the contending races have only irritated both, impaired the authority of Government, and, by keeping alive the hopes of a French Canadian nationality, counteracted the influences which might, ere this, have brought the quarrel to its natural and necessary termination. It is impossible to determine precisely the respective effects of the social and political causes. The struggle between the Government and the Assembly, has aggravated the animosities of race; and the animosities of race have rendered the political difference irreconcileable. No remedy can be efficient that Good government impracticable whilst conflict of races lasts. does not operate upon both evils. At the root of the disorders of Lower Canada, lies the conflict of the two races, which compose its population; until this is settled, no good government is practicable; for whether the political institutions be reformed or left unchanged, whether the powers of the Government be entrusted to the majority or the minority, we may rest assured, that while the hostility of the races continues, whichever of them is entrusted with power, will use it for partial purposes.

I have described the contest between the French and Collisions between the executive and representative body in all the North American Colonies. English races in Lower Canada with minuteness, because it was my wish to produce a complete and general conviction of the prominent importance of that struggle, when we are taking into consideration the causes of those disorders which have so grievously afflicted the Province. I have not, however, during the course of my preceding remarks, been able to avoid alluding to other causes, which have greatly contributed to occasion the existing state of things; and I have specified among these the defects of the constitution, and the errors arising out of the system of government. It is, indeed, impossible to believe that the assigned causes of the struggle between the Government and the majority have had no effect, even though we may believe that they have had much less than the contending parties imagined. It is impossible to observe the great similarity of the constitutions established in all our North American Provinces, and the striking tendency of all to terminate in pretty nearly the same result, without entertaining a belief that some defect in the form of government, and some erroneous principle of administration, have been common to all; the hostility of the races being palpably insufficient to account for all the evils which have affected Lower Canada, inasmuch as nearly the same results have been exhibited among the homogeneous population of the other provinces. It is but too evident that Lower Canada, or the two Canadas, have not alone exhibited repeated conflicts between the executive and the popular branches of the legislature. The representative body of Upper Canada was before the late election, hostile to the policy of the Government; the most serious discontents have only recently been calmed in Prince Edward’s Island and New Brunswick; the Government is still, I believe, in a minority in the Lower House in Nova Scotia; and the dissensions of Newfoundland are hardly less violent than those of the Canadas. It may fairly be said, that the natural state of government in all these Colonies is that of collision between the executive and the representative body. In all of them the administration of public affairs is habitually confided to those who do not co-operate harmoniously with the popular branch of the legislature; and the Government is constantly proposing measures which the majority of the Assembly reject, and refusing its assent to bills which that body has passed.

A state of things, so different from the working of Such collisions show a deviation from sound constitutional principles. any successful experiment of representative government, appears to indicate a deviation from sound constitutional principles or practice. Though occasional collisions between the Crown and the House of Commons have occurred in this country since the establishment of our constitution at the Revolution of 1688, they have been rare and transient. A state of frequent and lasting collisions appears almost identical with one of convulsion and anarchy; and its occurrence in any country is calculated to perplex us as to the mode in which any government can be carried on therein, without an entire evasion of popular control. But, when we examine into the system of government in these colonies, it would almost seem as if the object of those by whom it was established had been the combining of apparently popular institutions with an utter absence of all efficient control of the people over their rulers. Representative assemblies were established on the basis of a very wide, and, in some cases, almost universal suffrage; the annual meeting of these bodies was secured by positive enactment, and their apparent attributes were locally nearly as extensive as those of the English House of Commons. At the same time the Crown almost entirely relied on its territorial resources, and on duties imposed by Imperial Acts, prior to the introduction of the representative system, for carrying on the government, without securing the assent of the representative body either to its policy or to the persons by whom that policy was to be administered.[54]

It was not until some years after the commencement Practical working of the Assembly in Lower Canada. of the present century that the population of Lower Canada began to understand the representative system which had been extended to them, and that the Assembly evinced any inclination to make use of its powers. Immediately, however, upon its so doing, it found how limited those powers were, and entered upon a struggle to obtain the authority which analogy pointed out as inherent in a representative assembly. Its freedom of speech immediately brought it into collision with the Governor; and the practical working of the Assembly commenced by its principal leaders being thrown into prison.[55] In course of time, however, the Government was induced, by its necessities, to accept the Assembly’s offer to raise an additional revenue by fresh taxes; and the Assembly thus acquired a certain control over the levying and appropriation of a portion of the public revenue. From that time, until the final abandonment in 1832 of every portion of the reserved revenue, excepting the casual and territorial funds, an unceasing contest was carried on, in which the Assembly, making use of every power which it gained, for the purpose of gaining more, acquired, step by step, an entire control over the whole revenue of the country.

I pass thus briefly over the events which have heretofore Administration remained free from its influence. been considered the principal features of the Canadian controversy, because, as the contest has ended in the concession of the financial demands of the Assembly, and the admission by the Government of the impropriety of attempting to withhold any portion of the public revenues from its control,[56] that contest can now be regarded as of no importance, except as accounting for the exasperation and suspicion which survived it. Nor am I inclined to think that the disputes which subsequently occurred are to be attributed entirely to the operation of mere angry feelings. A substantial cause of contest yet remained. The Assembly, after it had obtained entire control over the public revenues, still found itself deprived of all voice in the choice or even designation of the persons in whose administration of affairs it could feel confidence. All the administrative power of Government remained entirely free from its influence; and though Mr. Papineau appears by his own conduct to have deprived himself of that influence in the Government which he might have acquired, I must attribute the refusal of a civil list[57] to the determination of the Assembly not to give up its only means of subjecting the functionaries of Government to any responsibility.

The powers for which the Assembly contended, appear The public functionaries were independent of the Assembly. in both instances to be such as it was perfectly justified in demanding. It is difficult to conceive what could have been their theory of government who imagined that in any colony of England a body invested with the name and character of a representative Assembly, could be deprived of any of those powers which, in the opinion of Englishmen, are inherent in a popular legislature.[58] It was a vain delusion to imagine that by mere limitations in the Constitutional Act, or an exclusive system of government, a body, strong in the consciousness of wielding the public opinion of the majority, could regard certain portions of the provincial revenues as sacred from its control, could confine itself to the mere business of making laws, and look on as a passive or indifferent spectator, while those laws were carried into effect or evaded, and the whole business of the country was conducted by men, in whose intentions or capacity it had not the slightest confidence. Yet such was the limitation placed on the authority of the Assembly of Lower Canada; it might refuse or pass laws, vote or withhold supplies, but it could exercise no influence on the nomination of a single servant of the Crown. The Executive Council, the law officers, and whatever heads of departments are known to the administrative system of the Province, were placed in power, without any regard to the wishes of the people or their representatives; nor indeed are there wanting instances in which a mere hostility to the majority of the Assembly elevated the most incompetent persons to posts of honour and trust. However decidedly the Assembly might condemn the policy of the Government, the persons who had advised that policy, retained their offices and their power of giving bad advice. If a law was passed after repeated conflicts, it had to be carried into effect by those who had most strenuously opposed it. The wisdom of adopting the true principle of representative government and facilitating the management of public affairs, by entrusting it to the persons who have the confidence of the representative body, has never been recognized in the government of the North American Colonies. All the officers of government were independent of the Assembly; and that body which had nothing to say to their appointment, was left to get on as it best might, with a set of public functionaries, whose paramount feeling may not unfairly be said to have been one of hostility to itself.

A body of holders of office thus constituted, without Dependence of the Governor upon the official party. reference to the people or their representatives, must in fact, from the very nature of colonial government, acquire the entire direction of the affairs of the Province. A Governor, arriving in a colony in which he almost invariably has had no previous acquaintance with the state of parties, or the character of individuals, is compelled to throw himself almost entirely upon those whom he finds placed in the position of his official advisers.[59] His first acts must necessarily be performed, and his first appointments made, at their suggestion. And as these first acts and appointments give a character to his policy, he is generally brought thereby into immediate collision with the other parties in the country, and thrown into more complete dependence upon the official party and its friends. Thus, a Governor of Lower Canada has almost always been brought into collision with the Assembly, which his advisers regard as their enemy. In the course of the contest in which he was thus involved, the provocations which he received from the Assembly, and the light in which their conduct was represented by those who alone had any access to him, naturally imbued him with many of their antipathies; his position compelled him to seek the support of some party against the Assembly; and his feelings and his necessities thus combined to induce him to bestow his patronage and to shape his measures to promote the interests of the party on which he was obliged to lean. Thus, every successive year consolidated and enlarged the strength of the ruling party. Fortified by family connexion, and the common interest felt by all who held, and all who desired, subordinate offices, that party was thus erected into a solid and permanent power, controlled by no responsibility, subject to no serious change, exercising over the whole government of the Province an authority utterly independent of the people and its representatives, and possessing the only means of influencing either the Government at home, or the colonial representative of the Crown.[60]

This entire separation of the legislative and executive Impossibility of the working of the Colonial system of government. powers of a State, is the natural error of governments desirous of being free from the check of representative institutions.[61] Since the Revolution of 1688, the stability of the English constitution has been secured by that wise principle of our Government which has vested the direction of the national policy, and the distribution of patronage, in the leaders of the Parliamentary majority. However partial the Monarch might be to particular ministers, or however he might have personally committed himself to their policy, he has invariably been constrained to abandon both, as soon as the opinion of the people has been irrevocably pronounced against them through the medium of the House of Commons. The practice of carrying on a representative government on a different principle, seems to be the rock on which the continental imitations of the British Constitution have invariably split; and the French Revolution of 1830 was the necessary result of an attempt to uphold a ministry with which no Parliament could be got to act in concert.[62] It is difficult to understand how any English statesmen could have imagined that representative and irresponsible government could be successfully combined. There seems, indeed, to be an idea, that the character of representative institutions ought to be thus modified in colonies; that it is an incident of colonial dependence that the officers of government should be nominated by the Crown, without any reference to the wishes of the community, whose interests are entrusted to their keeping. It has never been very clearly explained what are the imperial interests, which require this complete nullification of representative government. But if there be such a necessity, it is quite clear that a representative government in a colony must be a mockery, and a source of confusion. For those who support this system have never yet been able to devise, or to exhibit in the practical working of colonial government, any means for making so complete an abrogation of political influence palatable to the representative body. It is not difficult to apply the case to our own country. Let it be imagined that at a general election the opposition were to return 500 out of 658 members of the House of Commons, and that the whole policy of the ministry should be condemned, and every Bill introduced by it, rejected by this immense majority. Let it be supposed that the Crown should consider it a point of honour and duty to retain a ministry so condemned and so thwarted; that repeated dissolutions should in no way increase, but should even diminish, the ministerial minority, and that the only result which could be obtained by such a development of the force of the opposition, were not the slightest change in the policy of the ministry, not the removal of a single minister, but simply the election of a Speaker of the politics of the majority; and, I think, it will not be difficult to imagine the fate of such a system of government. Yet such was the system, such literally was the course of events in Lower Canada, and such in character, though not quite in degree, was the spectacle exhibited in Upper Canada, and, at one time or another, in every one of the North American Colonies. To suppose that such a system would work well there, implies a belief that the French Canadians have enjoyed representative institutions for half a century,[63] without acquiring any of the characteristics of a free people; that Englishmen renounce every political opinion and feeling when they enter a colony, or that the spirit of Anglo-Saxon freedom is utterly changed and weakened among those who are transplanted across the Atlantic.

It appears, therefore, that the opposition of the Opposition of the Assembly to the Government unavoidable. Assembly to the Government was the unavoidable result of a system which stinted the popular branch of the legislature of the necessary privileges of a representative body, and produced thereby a long series of attempts on the part of that body to acquire control over the administration of the Province. I say all this without reference to the ultimate aim of the Assembly, which I have before described as being the maintenance of a Canadian nationality against the progressive intrusion of the English race. Having no responsible ministers to deal with, it entered upon that system of long inquiries by means of its committees, which brought the whole action of the executive immediately under its purview, and transgressed our notions of the proper limits of Parliamentary interference. Having no influence in the choice of any public functionary, no power to procure the removal of such as were obnoxious to it merely on political grounds, and seeing almost every office of the Colony filled by persons in whom it had no confidence, it entered on that vicious course of assailing its prominent opponents individually, and disqualifying them for the public service, by making them the subjects of inquiries and consequent impeachments, not always conducted with even the appearance of a due regard to justice; and when nothing else could attain its end of altering the policy or the composition of the colonial government, it had recourse to that ultima ratio of representative power to which the more prudent forbearance of the Crown has never driven the House of Commons in England, and endeavoured to disable the whole machine of Government by a general refusal of the supplies.

It was an unhappy consequence of the system which Popular leaders relieved of responsibility. I have been describing, that it relieved the popular of all the responsibilities of opposition. A member of opposition in this country acts and speaks with the contingency of becoming a minister constantly before his eyes, and he feels, therefore, the necessity of proposing no course, and of asserting no principles, on which he would not be prepared to conduct the Government, if he were immediately offered it. But the colonial demagogue bids high for popularity without the fear of future exposure. Hopelessly excluded from power, he expresses the wildest opinions, and appeals to the most mischievous passions of the people, without any apprehension of having his sincerity or prudence hereafter tested, by being placed in a position to carry his views into effect; and thus the prominent places in the ranks of opposition are occupied for the most part by men of strong passions, and merely declamatory powers, who think but little of reforming the abuses which serve them as topics for exciting discontent.

The collision with the executive government necessarily Collision also with the Legislative Council. brought on one with the Legislative Council. The composition of this body, which has been so much the subject of discussion both here and in the Colony, must certainly be admitted to have been such as could give it no weight with the people, or with the representative body, on which it was meant to be a check. The majority was always composed of members of the party which conducted the executive government; the clerks of each Council were members of the other; and, in fact, the Legislative Council was practically hardly any thing but a veto in the hands of public functionaries on all the acts of that popular branch of the legislature in which they were always in a minority. This veto they used without much scruple. I am far from concurring in the censure which the Assembly and its advocates have attempted to cast on the acts of the Legislative Council. I have no hesitation in saying that many of the Bills which it is most severely blamed for rejecting, were Bills which it could not have passed without a dereliction of its duty to the constitution, the connexion with Great Britain, and the whole English population of the Colony. If there is any censure to be passed on its general conduct, it is for having confined itself to the merely negative and defensive duties of a legislative body; for having too frequently contented itself with merely defeating objectionable methods of obtaining desirable ends, without completing its duty by proposing measures, which would have achieved the good in view without the mixture of evil. The national animosities which pervaded the legislation of the Assembly, and its thorough want of legislative skill or respect for constitutional principles, rendered almost all its Bills obnoxious to the objections made by the Legislative Council; and the serious evil which their enactment would have occasioned, convinces me that the Colony has reason to congratulate itself on the existence of an institution which possessed and used the power of stopping a course of legislation that, if successful, would have sacrificed every British interest, and overthrown every guarantee of order and national liberty. It is not difficult for us to judge thus calmly of the respective merits of these distant parties; but it must have been a great and deep-rooted respect for the constitution and composition of the Legislative Council, that could have induced the representatives of a great majority to submit with patience to the impediment thus placed in their way by a few individuals. But the Legislative Council was neither theoretically unobjectionable, nor personally esteemed by the Assembly; its opposition appeared to that body but another form of official hostility, and it was inevitable that the Assembly should, sooner or later, make those assaults on the constitution of the Legislative Council which, by the singular want of judgment and temper with which they were conducted, ended in the destruction of the Provincial Constitution.

From the commencement, therefore, to the end of the Purposes of the Assembly. disputes which mark the whole Parliamentary history of Lower Canada, I look on the conduct of the Assembly as a constant warfare with the executive, for the purpose of obtaining the powers inherent in a representative body by the very nature of representative government. It was to accomplish this purpose, that it used every means in its power; but it must be censured for having, in pursuit of this object, perverted its powers of legislation, and disturbed the whole working of the constitution. It made the business of legislation, and the practical improvement of the country, subordinate to its struggle for power; and, being denied its legitimate privileges, it endeavoured to extend its authority in modes totally incompatible with the principles of constitutional liberty.

One glaring attempt which was made directly and Attempt to alter the Constitutional Act. openly to subvert the constitution of the country, was, by passing a Rill for the formal repeal of those parts of the 31 Geo. 3, c. 31, commonly called the Constitutional Act, by which the constitution and powers of the Legislative Council were established. It can hardly be supposed that the framers of this Bill were unaware, or hoped to make any concealment of the obvious illegality of a measure, which, commencing, as all Canadian Acts do, by a recital of the 31 Geo. 3, as the foundation of the legislative authority of the Assembly, proceeded immediately to infringe some of the most important provisions of that very statute; nor can it be supposed that the Assembly hoped really to carry into effect this extraordinary assumption of power, inasmuch as the Bill could derive no legal effect from passing the Lower House, unless it should subsequently receive the assent of the very body which it purported to annihilate.[64]

A more dangerous, because, in some measure, more Claim of force of law for resolutions of the Assembly. effectual device for assuming unconstitutional powers, was practised by the Assembly in its attempts to evade the necessity of obtaining the assent of the other branches of the legislature, by claiming for its own resolutions, and that, too, on points of the greatest importance, the force of laws.[65] A remarkable instance of this was exhibited in the Resolution which the Assembly passed on the rejection of a Bill for vacating the seats of Members on the acceptance of offices under the Crown; and which, in fact, and undisguisedly, purported, by its own single authority, to give effect to the provisions of the rejected Bill. This Resolution brought the Assembly into a long dispute with Lord Aylmer, in consequence of his refusing to issue a writ for the election of a Member in place of Mr. Mondelet,[66] whose seat was declared vacant in consequence of his having accepted the office of executive councillor. The instance in which the Assembly thus attempted to enforce this principle of disqualification, happened to be one to which it could not be considered applicable, either from analogy to the law of England, or from the apparent intent of the Resolution itself; for the office which Mr. Mondelet accepted, though one of high importance and influence, was one to which no salary or emolument of any kind was attached.

But the evils resulting from such open attempts to Systematic abuses of constitutional forms. dispense with the constitution were small, in comparison with the disturbance of the regular course of legislation by systematic abuse of constitutional forms, for the purpose of depriving the other branches of the legislature of all real legislative authority. The custom of passing the most important laws in a temporary form, has been an ancient and extensive defect of the legislation of the North American Colonies, partially authorized by royal instructions to the Governors, but never sanctioned by the Imperial Legislature, until it was established in Lower Canada by the 1st Vict. c. 9.[67] It remained, however, for the Assembly of Lower Canada to reduce the practice to a regular system, in order that it might have the most important institutions of the Province periodically at its mercy, and use the necessities of the Government and the community for the purpose of extorting the concession of whatever demands it might choose to make. Objectionable in itself, on account of the uncertainty and continual changes which it tended to introduce into legislation, this system of temporary laws derived its worst character from the facilities which it afforded to the practice of ‘tacking’ together various legislative measures; a practice not unknown to the British constitution, and which has sometimes been found useful, because the prudence of the House of Commons has induced that body rarely to have recourse to it, but which the legislators of Lower Canada converted into the ordinary mode of legislation. By the abuse of this practice, any branch of the legislature had, during every session, the power, if it had the inclination, to make the renewal of expiring laws the means of dictating its own terms to the others; and to this end it was systematically converted by the Assembly. It adopted the custom of renewing all expiring laws, however heterogeneous in their character, in one and the same Bill. Having the first choice to exercise, it renewed, of course, only those Acts of which it approved, and left to the Legislative Council and the Governors only the alternative of rejecting such as had proved to be beneficial, or of passing such as, in their opinion, had proved to be mischievous. A singular instance of this occurred in 1836 with respect to the renewal of the Jury Law, to which the Assembly attached great importance, and to which the Legislative Council felt a strong repugnance, on account of its having in effect placed the juries entirely in the hands of the French portion of the population. In order to secure the renewal of this law, the Assembly coupled it in the same Bill, by which it renewed the tolls of the Lachine Canal,[68] calculating on the Council not venturing to defeat a measure of so much importance to the revenue as the latter, by resisting the former. The Council, however, rejected the Bill; and thus the Canal remained toll-free for a whole season, because the two Houses differed about a jury law.[69]

Nor was this custom of ‘tacking’ confined to the case of the renewal of expiring laws. A Bill for the independence of the Judges was coupled with the establishment of a new tribunal for trying impeachments, and with other provisions, to which it was known that the Crown was decidedly hostile; and thus, in the attempt to extort an objectionable concession, a most desirable guarantee for the pure administration of justice was sacrificed.

The system thus framed, was completed by the regulations with respect to a quorum, and the use which the majority made of them. A quorum of nearly half the whole House was required for the transaction of business. Towards the end of every recent session, the majority used to break up the quorum, and disperse to their respective homes, without waiting to be prorogued, immediately after sending up a number of Bills to the Council, thus leaving no means of considering or adopting any amendments which that body might make, and leaving it no option but that of rejecting or confirming by wholesale the measures of the Assembly.

But in describing the means by which the Assembly Parliamentary grants for local works. obtained, and attempted to consolidate, its power, I must not omit to direct particular attention to that which, after all, was the most effectual, and which originated in a defect common to the system of government in all the North American Colonies; it is, the practice of making Parliamentary grants for local works,—a system so vicious, and so productive of evil, that I believe that until it is entirely eradicated, representative government will be incapable of working well and smoothly in those Colonies.[70]

I know, indeed, of no difference in the machinery of Importance of public works in American legislation. government in the old and new world that strikes an European more forcibly than the apparently undue importance which the business of constructing public works appears to occupy in American legislation. In speaking of the character of a government, its merits appear to be estimated by the public works which it has carried into effect. If an individual is asked how his own legislature has acted, he will generally say what roads or bridges it has made, or neglected to make, in his own district; and if he is consulted about changes in a constitution, he seems to try their soundness by calculating whether his neighbourhood would get more and better roads and bridges under the existing, or the proposed system. On examining the proceedings of a legislature, we find that a great proportion of its discussions turns on such questions; and if we look to the budget, we find that a still greater proportion of the public money is applied to these purposes. Those who reflect on the circumstances of the New World, will not find it very difficult to account for the attention there paid to what is, necessarily, the first business of society, and is naturally made the first care of every responsible government. The provision which in Europe, the State makes for the protection of its citizens against foreign enemies, is in America required for what a French writer has beautifully and accurately called, the ‘war with the wilderness’.[71] The defence of an important fortress, or the maintenance of a sufficient army or navy in exposed spots, is not more a matter of common concern to the European, than is the construction of the great communications to the American settler; and the State, very naturally, takes on itself the making of the works, which are matters of concern to all alike.

Even the municipal institutions of the northern States Height to which abuse of grants has been carried. of the American Union have not entirely superseded the necessity of some interference on the part of their legislatures in aid of local improvements; though the main efforts of those States have been directed to those vast undertakings which are the common concern and the common glory of their citizens. In the southern States, where municipal institutions are less complete, the legislatures are in the habit of taking part more constantly and extensively in works which are properly of mere local interest;[72] and great complaints are made of consequent corruption and mismanagement. But in the British Colonies, in none of which is there any effectual system of municipal government, the evil has been carried to the greatest height, and exercises the most noxious influence. The great business of the assemblies is, literally, parish business; the making of parish roads and parish bridges. There are in none of these Provinces any local bodies possessing authority to impose local assessments, for the management of local affairs. To do these things is the business of the Assembly; and to induce the Assembly to attend to the particular interests of each county, is the especial business of its county member. The surplus revenue of the Province is swelled to as large an amount as possible, by cutting down the payment of public services to as low a scale as possible; and the real duties of government are, sometimes, insufficiently provided for, in order that more may be left to be divided among the constituent bodies. ‘When we want a bridge, we take a judge to build it,’ was the quaint and forcible way in which a member of a provincial legislature described the tendency to retrench, in the most necessary departments of the public service, in order to satisfy the demands for local works. This fund is voted by the Assembly on the motion of its members; the necessity of obtaining the previous consent of the Crown to money votes never having been adopted by the Colonial Legislatures from the practice of the British House of Commons.[73] There is a perfect scramble among the whole body to get as much as possible of this fund for their respective constituents; cabals are formed, by which the different members mutually play into each other’s hands; general politics are made to bear on private business, and private business on general politics; and at the close of the parliament, the member who has succeeded in securing the largest portion of the prize for his constituents, renders an easy account of his stewardship, with confident assurance of re-election.

The Provincial Assemblies being, as I have previously Funds dispensed by Commissioners named by the Legislature. stated, in a state of permanent collision with the Government, have never been in the habit of entrusting the executive with any control over these funds; and they have been wholly dispensed by commissioners named by the legislature. The Assemblies do not appear to have been at all insensible to the possibility of turning this patronage to their own account. An electioneering handbill, which was circulated by the friends of Government at the last dissolution in Upper Canada, exhibited, in a very strong light, the expense of the commissioners of the Assembly, contrasted with those of the officers of the executive government; but the Province of Nova Scotia has carried this abuse to an extent which appears almost inconceivable. According to a report presented to me by Major Head, an assistant commissioner of inquiry whom I sent to that Colony, a sum of 10,000l. was, during the last session, appropriated to local improvements; this sum was divided into 830 portions, and as many commissioners were appointed to expend it, giving, on an average, a commissioner for rather more than every 12l., with a salary of 5s. a day, and a further remuneration of two and a half per cent. on the money expended, to be deducted out of each share.

Not only did the leaders of the Lower Canadian Abuse of this patronage. Assembly avail themselves of the patronage thus afforded, by the large surplus revenue of the Province, but they turned this system to much greater account, by using it to obtain influence over the constituencies. In a furious political struggle, like that which subsisted in Lower Canada, it was natural that a body, wielding, with hardly any responsibility, this direct power of promoting the immediate interests of each constituency, should show some favour to that which concurred in its political views, and should exhibit its displeasure towards that which obstinately resisted the majority. But the majority of the Assembly of Lower Canada is accused by its opponents of having, in the most systematic and persevering manner employed this means of corrupting the electoral bodies. The adherents of Mr. Papineau are said to have been lavish in their promises of the benefits which they could obtain from the Assembly for the county whose suffrages they solicited. By such representations, the return of members of opposition politics is asserted, in many instances, to have been secured; and obstinate counties are alleged to have been sometimes starved into submission, by an entire withdrawal of grants, until they returned members favourable to the majority. Some of the English members who voted with Mr. Papineau, excused themselves to their countrymen by alleging, that they were compelled to do so, in order to get a road or a bridge, which their constituents desired. Whether it be true or false that the abuse was ever carried to such a pitch, it is obviously one, which might have been easily and safely perpetrated by a person possessing Mr. Papineau’s influence in the Assembly.

But the most bold and extensive attempt for erecting Grants for education. a system of patronage, wholly independent of the Government, was that which was, for some time, earned into effect by the grants for education made by the Assembly, and regulated by the Act, which the Legislative Council has been most bitterly reproached with refusing to renew. It has been stated, as a proof of the deliberate intention of the Legislative Council to crush every attempt to civilize and elevate the great mass of the people, that it thus stopped at once the working of about 1,000 schools, and deprived of education no less than 40,000 scholars, who were actually profiting by the means of instruction thus placed within their reach. But the reasons which induced, or rather compelled, the Legislative Council to stop this system, are clearly stated in the Report of that body, which contains the most unanswerable justification of the course which it pursued.[74] By that it appears, that the whole superintendence and patronage of these schools had, by the expired law, been vested in the hands of the county Members; and that they had been allowed to manage the funds, without even the semblance of sufficient accountability. The Members of the Assembly had thus a patronage, in this single department, of about 25,000l. per annum, an amount equal to half of the whole ordinary civil expenditure of the Province. They were not slow in profiting by the occasion thus placed in their hands; and as there existed in the Province no sufficient supply of competent schoolmasters and mistresses, they nevertheless immediately filled up the appointments with persons who were utterly and obviously incompetent. A great proportion of the teachers could neither read nor write. The gentleman whom I directed to inquire into the state of education in the Province, showed me a petition from certain schoolmasters, which had come into his hands; and the majority of the signatures were those of marksmen. These ignorant teachers could convey no useful instruction to their pupils; the utmost amount which they taught them was to say the Catechism by rote. Even within seven miles of Montreal, there was a schoolmistress thus unqualified. These appointments were, as might have been expected, jobbed by the members among their political partisans; nor were the funds very honestly managed. In many cases the members were suspected, or accused, of misapplying them to their own use; and in the case of Beauharnois, where the seigneur, Mr. Ellice,[75] has, in the same spirit of judicious liberality by which his whole management of that extensive property has been marked, contributed most largely towards the education of his tenants, the school funds were proved to have been misappropriated by the county member. The whole system was a gross political abuse; and however laudable we must hold the exertions of those who really laboured to relieve their country from the reproach of being the least furnished with the means of education of any on the North American continent, the more severely must we condemn those who sacrificed this noble end, and perverted ample means to serve the purposes of party.

I know not whether to ascribe the system which was Grants for relief from failure of harvests. adopted for the relief of the distress periodically occurring in certain districts to the same policy of extending the influence of the Assembly by local grants, or merely to the antiquated prejudices which seem to have pervaded many parts of the Assembly’s legislation, which dictated laws against hucksters and the maintenance of foundling hospitals. No general system for the relief of destitution, no poor-law of any kind was established, and the wants of the country hardly demanded it.[76] But when I arrived at Quebec, I received a number of petitions from parishes situated on the lower part of the St. Lawrence, praying for relief, in consequence of the failure of the harvest. I found, on inquiry, that relief had been granted to these districts for several successive years. The cause of the calamity was obvious; it was the unsuitableness of wheat crops under the wretched system of Canadian small farming, to the severe climate of that portion of the Province. By the side of the distressed parishes were large districts, in which a better system of farming, and, above all, the employment of the land for pasture and green crops, had diffused the most general comfort among the agricultural population, and completely obviated the occurrence of failure or distress. There were, in the vicinity of the distressed parishes, large tracts of rich and unsettled land, available for the permanent amelioration of the condition of this suffering people; and there were valuable and extensive fisheries in the neighbourhood, which might have supported it in comfort; yet no persevering attempt had been made to provide permanent relief by encouraging the population which was thus thrown on the legislature for support, either to adopt a better system of agriculture, or to settle on other portions of the country, or to avail itself of the fisheries. The Assembly met the evil by relieving the distress in such a way as to stave off its immediate results, and ensure its recurrence. It gave food for the season of scarcity, and seed to sow a crop even of wheat as late as the 20th of June, which was of course to fail in its turn; for it had thus relieved the same kind of distress, in precisely the same places, for several successive years; and its policy seemed to be to pension a portion of the people to sow wheat where it would not ripen.

It is melancholy to think of the opportunities of good Lost opportunities for good legislation. legislation which were sacrificed in this mere contest for power. No country in the world ever demanded from a paternal government, or patriotic representatives, more unceasing and vigorous reforms, both of its laws and its administrative system.[77] Lower Canada had, when we received it at the conquest, two institutions, which alone preserved the semblance of order and civilization in the community,—the Catholic church and the militia, which was so constituted and used, as partially to supply the want of better civil institutions. The beneficial influence of the Catholic church has been cramped and weakened; the militia is now annihilated, and years must elapse ere it can be revived and used to any good purpose.[78] Lower Canada remains without municipal institutions of local self-government, which are the foundations of Anglo-Saxon freedom and civilization; nor is their absence compensated by any thing like the centralization of France. The most defective judicial institutions remain unreformed. Alone, among the nations that have sprung from the French, Lower Canada remains under the unchanged civil laws of ancient France. Alone, among the nations of the American Continent, it is without a public system of education. Nor has it, in other respects, caught the spirit of American progress. While the Assembly was wasting the surplus revenues of the Province in jobs for the increase of patronage, and in petty peddling in parochial business, it left untouched those vast and easy means of communication which deserved, and would have repaid the application of the provincial revenues. The state of New York made its own St. Lawrence from Lake Erie to the Hudson,[79] while the Government of Lower Canada could not achieve, or even attempt, the few miles of canal and dredging which would have rendered its mighty rivers navigable almost to their sources. The time which should have been devoted to wise legislation, was spent in a contest for power between the executive and the people, which a wise executive would have stopped at the outset, by submitting to a legitimate responsibility, and which a wise people would have ceased to press when it had virtually attained its end. This collision, and the defective constitution were, in conjunction with the quarrel of the races, the causes of the mischiefs which I have detailed. It will be a ground, I trust, of permanent congratulation, that the contest terminated in the destruction of the impracticable constitution, which caused the strife; nor can I conceive any course of conduct which could so effectually have destroyed the previous system of mismanagement, and cleared the ground for future improvement, as that continued stoppage of supplies which the Assembly in its intemperance effected. It broke down at once the whole of that vicious appropriation of public funds, which was the great bane of provincial legislation, and has left the abuses of the Colony so long unfed, that a reforming Government may hereafter work upon an unencumbered soil.

The inevitable result of the animosities of race, and of Thorough disorganization of Institutions. the constant collision of the different powers of the State, which I have described, was a thorough disorganization of the institutions and administrative system of the country. I do not think that I necessarily cast any stigma on my predecessors in Lower Canada, or on the uniform good intentions which the Imperial Government has clearly evinced towards every class, and every race in the Colony, when I assert, that a country which has been agitated by these social and political dissensions, has suffered under great misgovernment. The blame rests not on individuals, but on the vicious system, which has generated the manifold and deep-rooted abuses that pervade every department of the public service, and constitute the real grievances of the Colony. These grievances are common to the whole people of Lower Canada; and it is not one race, or one party only, that suffers by their existence; they have hindered the prosperity, and endangered the security of all; though, unquestionably, the interests which have most materially been retarded by misgovernment, are the English. From the highest to the lowest officers of the executive government, no important department is so organized as to act vigorously and completely, throughout the Province; and every duty which a government owes to its subjects is imperfectly discharged.

The defective system of administration in Lower Canada, Want of vigorous administration of Royal Prerogative. commences at the very source of power; and the efficiency of the public service is impaired throughout, by the entire want in the Colony of any vigorous administration of the prerogative of the Crown. The fact is, that, according to the present system, there is no real representative of the Crown in the Province; there is in it, literally, no power which originates and conducts the executive government. The Governor, it is true, is said to represent the Sovereign, and the authority of the Crown is, to a certain extent, delegated to him; but he is, in fact, a mere subordinate officer, receiving his orders from the Secretary of State, responsible to him for his conduct, and guided by his instructions. Instead of selecting a Governor, with an entire confidence in his ability to use his local knowledge of the real state of affairs in the Colony in the manner which local observation and practical experience best prescribe to him, it has been the policy of the Colonial Department, not only at the outset, to instruct a Governor as to the general policy which he was to carry into effect, but to direct him, from time to time, by instructions, sometimes very precise, as to the course which he was to pursue, in every important particular of his administration. Theoretically irresponsible to the Colonial Legislature, the Governor was, in effect, the only officer in the Colony who was at all responsible; inasmuch as the Assembly, by centring their attacks on him, and making him appear the sole cause of the difficulties of the Government, could occasion him so much vexation, and represent him in so unfavourable a light at home, that it frequently succeeded in imposing on him the necessity of resigning, or on the Colonial Minister, that of recalling him. In order to shelter himself from this responsibility, it has inevitably, and I must say very justifiably, been the policy of Governors to take care that the double responsibility shall be as light as possible; to endeavour to throw it, as much as possible, on the home Government, and to do as little as possible without previously consulting the Colonial Minister at home, and receiving his instructions. It has, therefore, been the tendency of the local government to settle every thing by reference to the Colonial Department in Downing-street. Almost every question on which it was possible to avoid, even with great inconvenience, an immediate decision, has been habitually the subject of reference; and this applies not merely to those questions on which the local executive and legislative bodies happened to differ, wherein the reference might be taken as a kind of appeal, but to questions of a strictly local nature, on which it was next to impossible for the Colonial Office to have any sufficient information. It had become the habit of the Colonial Office to originate these questions, to entertain applications from individuals, to refer these applications to the Governor, and, on his answer, to make a decision. The Governor has been enabled by this system to shift responsibility on the Colonial Office, inasmuch as in every important case he was, in reality, carrying into effect the order of the authority to which he was responsible. But the real vigour of the executive has been essentially impaired; distance and delay have weakened the force of its decisions; and the Colony has, in every crisis of danger, and almost every detail of local management, felt the mischief of having its executive authority exercised on the other side of the Atlantic.[80]

Nor has any thing been gained, either in effectual Evils of committing details of Government to Colonial Department. responsibility or sound information, by thus transferring the details of executive government to the Colonial Department at home. The complete and unavoidable ignorance in which the British public, and even the great body of its legislators, are with respect to the real interests of distant communities, so entirely different from their own, produces a general indifference, which nothing but some great colonial crisis ever dispels; and responsibility to Parliament, or to the public opinion of Great Britain, would, except on these great and rare occasions, be positively mischievous, if it were not impossible. The repeated changes caused by political events at home having no connexion with colonial affairs, have left, to most of the various representatives of the Colonial Department in Parliament, too little time to acquire even an elementary knowledge of the condition of those numerous and heterogeneous communities for which they have had both to administer and legislate. The persons with whom the real management of these affairs has or ought to have rested, have been the permanent but utterly irresponsible members of the office. Thus the real government of the Colony has been entirely dissevered from the slight nominal responsibility which exists. Apart even from this great and primary evil of the system, the pressure of multifarious business thus thrown on the Colonial office, and the repeated changes of its ostensible directors, have produced disorders in the management of public business which have occasioned serious mischief, and very great irritation. This is not my own opinion Report from House of Assembly, Upper Canada. merely; for I do but repeat that of a Select Committee of the present House of Assembly in Upper Canada, who, in a Report dated February 8, 1838, say, ‘It appears to your Committee, that one of the chief causes of dissatisfaction with the administration of colonial affairs arises from the frequent changes in the office of Secretary of State, to whom the Colonial department is intrusted.[81] Since the time the late Lord Bathurst retired from that charge, in 1827, your Committee believe there has not been less than eight Colonial Ministers,[82] and that the policy of each successive statesman has been more or less marked by a difference from that of his predecessor. This frequency of change in itself almost necessarily entails two evils; first, an imperfect knowledge of the affairs of the Colonies on the part of the Chief Secretary, and the consequent necessity of submitting important details to the subordinate officers of the department; and, second, the want of stability and firmness in the general policy of the Government, and which, of course, creates much uneasiness on the part of the Governors, and other officers of the Colonies, as to what measures may be approved.

‘But undoubtedly’ (continues the Report) ‘by far the greatest objection to the system is, the impossibility it occasions of any Colonial Minister, unaided by persons possessing local knowledge, becoming acquainted with the wants, wishes, feelings and prejudices of the inhabitants of the Colonies, during his temporary continuance in office, and of deciding satisfactorily upon the conflicting statements and claims that are brought before him. A firm, unflinching resolution to adhere to the principles of the constitution, and to maintain the just and necessary powers of the Crown, would do much towards supplying the want of local information. But it would be performing more than can be reasonably expected from human sagacity, if any man, or set of men, should always decide in an unexceptionable manner on subjects that have their origin thousands of miles from the seat of the Imperial Government, where they reside, and of which they have no personal knowledge whatever;[83] and therefore wrong may be often done to individuals, or a false view taken of some important political question, that in the end may throw a whole community into difficulty and dissension, not from the absence of the most anxious desire to do right, but from an imperfect knowledge of facts upon which to form an opinion.

‘To these objections’ (adds the Report) ‘it may be answered, that although the Chief Secretary of State retires with a change of ministers, the Under Secretaries (or at least one of them) and the other subordinate officers of the department, remain and hold their offices permanently, and therefore information upon all subjects can be readily imparted to the superior by the gentlemen who are thus retained; and it may be admitted that the knowledge of this fact ought to lessen the force of the objections that rest on other grounds; but it cannot be disguised that there is a growing impatience and unwillingness on the part of the Colonists, especially in these extensive Provinces, to have the measures of Government, whether connected with their general system of government, legislation, or patronage, controlled by persons who are utter strangers to them, not responsible in any way to themselves or the British Parliament, and who perhaps, being advanced to their office from length of service, or other like cause, are not regarded as competent (perhaps unjustly) to manage and direct measures which they (the Colonists) deem of vital importance. Much of this feeling may be traced to pride; but it is a pride that springs from an honourable and laudable feeling, and always accompanies self-respect, true patriotism, and love of country, and it therefore ought not to be disregarded, nor should any attempt be made to lessen or control it, if it were possible to do so. But the imperfection that exists in the system of colonial government that prevails in England, is rendered more apparent by the want of that confidence that ought to be reposed in the distinguished officers, who from time to time are commissioned as Governors to different Colonies, than by any other fact that can be distinctly pointed out.’

I will now only point out one instance of these evils, Instance of these evils. and I select it because it is an instance occurring in relation to the most important function of the executive; namely, its exercise of the legislative prerogative of the Crown, and because its existence has been admitted by the present Secretary of State for the Colonies, in his instructions to my predecessor, Lord Gosford,—I mean the reservation of Bills for the Royal Assent. The ‘too frequent reservation of Bills’ is a ‘grievance,’ says his Lordship, ‘of which my inquiries lead me to believe the reality.’ And in a subsequent part of the same Despatch, his Lordship admits, that, owing to this cause, great mischief has been done, by the wholly unintentional delay in giving the Royal Assent to some perfectly unobjectionable Bills, having for their object the endowment of colleges by benevolent persons. This delay his Lordship describes as ‘chiefly attributable to political events, and the consequent changes of the Colonial Administration at home.’ I know not to what cause is to be attributed a delay, which produced, with respect to another Bill, the still more serious effect of a doubt of its legality, after it had been considered and acted on as law. This Bill[C] was reserved; and the Royal Assent was so long delayed, through mere inadvertence, that, when it was sent out to the Colony as an Act, the question was raised whether the Royal Assent had been delayed beyond the two years allowed by law, and whether, having been so delayed, it was valid.[84]

One of the greatest of all the evils arising from this Ignorance of the people as to the proceedings of their government. system of irresponsible government, was the mystery in which the motives and actual purposes of their rulers were hid from the colonists themselves. The most important business of Government was carried on, not in open discussions or public acts, but in a secret correspondence between the Governor and the Secretary of State. Whenever this mystery was dispelled, it was long after the worst effects had been produced by doubt and misapprehension; and the Colonies have been frequently the last to learn the things that most concerned them, by the publication of papers on the order of the British Houses of Parliament.

The Governor, thus slightly responsible, and invested Want of responsibility in other departments of the Government. with functions so ill-defined, found himself at the head of a system, in which all his advisers and subordinates had still less responsibility, and duties still less defined. Disqualified at first by want of local information, and very often, subsequently, by an entire absence of all acquaintance with the business of civil government,[85] the Governor, on his arrival in the Colony, found himself under the necessity of being, in many respects, guided by the persons whom he found in office. In no country, therefore, could there be a greater necessity for a proper demarcation of the business of each public officer, and of a greater responsibility resting on each. Now, I do not at all exaggerate the real state of the case when I assert, that there is no head of any of the most important departments of public business in the Colony. The limited powers of the local government in a Colony necessarily obviate the necessity of any provision for some of the most important departments which elsewhere require a superintending mind. But the mere ordinary administration of justice, police, education, public works and internal communications, of finance and of trade, would require the superintendence of persons competent to advise the Governor, on their own responsibility, as to the measures which should be adopted; and the additional labours which fall on the heads of such departments in other countries, in devising improvements of the system and the laws relating to each, would certainly afford additional occupation, growing out of the peculiarly defective legislation and administration of Lower Canada. Yet, of no one of these departments is there any responsible head, by whose advice the Governor may safely be guided. There are some subordinate and very capable officers in each department, from whom he is, in fact, compelled to get information from time to time. But there is no one to whom he, or the public, can look for the correct management and sound decision on the policy of each of these important departments.

The real advisers of the Governor have, in fact, been the Constitution of the Executive Council. Executive Council;[86] and an institution more singularly calculated for preventing the responsibility of the acts of Government resting on any body, can hardly be imagined. It is a body, of which the constitution somewhat resembles that of the Privy Council; it is bound by a similar oath of secresy; it discharges in the same manner certain anomalous judicial functions; and its ‘consent and advice’ are required in some cases in which the observance of that form has been thought a requisite check on the exercise of particular prerogatives of the Crown. But in other respects it bears a greater resemblance to a Cabinet, the Governor being in the habit of taking its advice on most of the important questions of his policy. But as there is no division into departments in the council, there is no individual responsibility, and no individual superintendence. Each member of the Council takes an equal part in all the business brought before it. The power of removing members being very rarely exercised, the Council is, in fact, for the most part composed of persons placed in it long ago; and the Governor is obliged either to take the advice of persons in whom he has no confidence, or to consult only a portion of the Council.[87] The secresy of the proceedings adds to the irresponsibility of the body; and when the Governor takes an important step, it is not known, or not authentically known, whether he has taken the advice of this Council or not, what members he has consulted, or by the advice of which of the body he has been finally guided. The responsibility of the Executive Council has been constantly demanded by the reformers of Upper Canada, and occasionally by those of the Lower Province. But it is really difficult to conceive how a desirable responsibility could be attained, except by altering the working of this cumbrous machine, and placing the business of the various departments of Government in the hands of competent public officers.

In the ordinary course of public business in the Colony, Civil Secretary’s office. almost all matters come, in fact, before the Governor, or his immediate assistant, the Civil Secretary of the Province. The Civil Secretary’s office is, in fact, the one general public office in which almost every species of business originates, or through which it passes in some stage or other. The applications which every day reach this office show the singular want of proper organization in the Province, and the great confusion of ideas respecting the functions of Government, generated in the minds of the people. A very considerable proportion consist of requests to the Governor to interfere with the course of civil justice. Every decision of subordinate officers is made matter of appeal; and no reference to the proper department satisfies the applicants, who imagine that they have a right to claim a personal investigation of every case by the Governor or the Civil Secretary. The appeals from the past are equally numerous; and it appears to be expected that every new Governor should sit in judgment on every decision of any or all of his predecessors, which happens to have dissatisfied the applicant.

But if such is the bad organization and imperfection No regular administration in the rural districts. of the system at the seat of Government, it may be easily believed that the remainder of the Province enjoyed no very vigorous or complete administration. In fact, beyond the walls of Quebec, all regular administration of the country appeared to cease; and there literally was hardly a single public officer of the civil government, except in Montreal and Three Rivers, to whom any order could be directed. The Solicitor General commonly resides at Montreal; and in each of the districts there is a Sheriff. In the rest of the Province there is no Sheriff, no Mayor, no constable, no superior administrative officer of any kind. There are no county, no municipal, no parochial officers, either named by the Crown, or elected by the people. There is a body of unpaid Justices of the Peace, whom I will describe more particularly hereafter. The officers of the militia used to be employed for purposes of police, as far as regarded the service of criminal warrants; but their services were voluntary, and not very assiduous; and the whole body is now completely disorganized.[88] In every case in which any information was required by the Government, or any service was to be performed in a remote part of the Province, it was necessary either to send some one to the spot, or to find out, by inquiry at the seat of Government, the name of some resident there whom it was advisable and safe to consult on the subject, or direct to do the act required. In the state of parties in the country, such a step could hardly ever be taken, without trusting to very suspicious information, or delegating power to persons who would be, or be suspected of being, likely to abuse it.

This utter want of any machinery of executive government French population incapable of aiding central authority. in the Province is not, perhaps, more striking than might be observed in some of the most flourishing portions of the American continent. But in the greater part of the States to which I refer, the want of means at the disposal of the central executive is amply supplied by the efficiency of the municipal institutions; and even where these are wanting, or imperfect, the energy and self-governing habits of an Anglo-Saxon population enable it to combine whenever a necessity arises. But the French population of Lower Canada possesses neither such institutions, nor such a character. Accustomed to rely entirely on the Government, it has no power of doing any thing for itself, much less of aiding the central authority.

The utter want of municipal institutions giving the Want of municipal institutions. people any control over their local affairs, may indeed be considered as one of the main causes of the failure of representative government, and of the bad administration of the country. If the wise example of those countries in which a free representative government has alone worked well, had been in all respects followed in Lower Canada, care would have been taken that, at the same time that a Parliamentary system, based on a very extended suffrage, was introduced into the country, the people should have been entrusted with a complete control over their own local affairs, and been trained for taking their part in the concerns of the Province, by their experience in the management of that local business which was most interesting and most easily intelligible to them. But the inhabitants of Lower Canada were unhappily initiated into self-government at exactly the wrong end, and those who were not trusted with the management of a parish, were enabled, by their votes, to influence the destinies of a State. During my stay in the Province, I appointed a commission to inquire into its municipal institutions, and the practicability of introducing an effective and free system for the management of local affairs. The gentlemen entrusted with this inquiry had, when they were interrupted in their labours, made considerable progress towards preparing a report, which will, I hope, develope, in a full and satisfactory manner, the extent of the existing evil, and the nature of the practicable remedies.[89]

There never has been, in fact, any institution in Lower No French institutions for administrative purposes. Canada, in which any portion of the French population have been brought together for any administrative purpose, nor is there among the divisions of the country any one which has been constituted with a view to such an end. The larger divisions, called ‘districts’, are purely judicial divisions. The counties may be called merely Parliamentary divisions; for I know of no purpose for which they appear to have been constituted, except for the election of members for the House of Assembly; and during the present suspension of representative government, they are merely arbitrary and useless geographical divisions. There are no hundreds, or corresponding sub-divisions of counties. The parishes are purely ecclesiastical divisions, and may be altered by the Catholic Bishops. The only institution in the nature of local management, in which the people have any voice, is the fabrique, by which provision is made for the repairs of the Catholic churches.[90]

The townships are inhabited entirely by a population of System of townships. British and American origin; and may be said to be divisions established for surveying, rather than any other purposes. The eastern townships present a lamentable contrast in the management of all local matters to the bordering state of Vermont,[91] in which the municipal institutions are the most complete, it is said, of any part even of New England. In any new settled district of New England, a small number of families settling within a certain distance of each other, are immediately empowered by law to assess themselves for local purposes, and to elect local officers. The settlers in the eastern townships, many of whom are natives of New England, and all of whom can contrast the state of things on their own with that which is to be seen on the other side of the line, have a serious and general cause of discontent in the very inferior management of all their own local concerns. The Government appears even to have discouraged the American settlers from introducing their own municipal institutions by common assent. ‘I understood,’ says Mr. Richards, in a Report to the Secretary of State of the Colonies, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed in March 1832,[92] ‘that the Vermonters had crossed the line, and partially occupied several townships, bringing with them their own municipal customs; and that when the impropriety of electing their own officers was pointed out to them, they had quickly given them up, and promised to conform to those of Canada.’

But the want of municipal institutions has been and Want of municipal institutions in Quebec and Montreal. is most glaringly remarkable in Quebec and Montreal. These cities were incorporated a few years ago by a temporary provincial Act, of which the renewal was rejected in 1836. Since that time these cities have been without any municipal government; and the disgraceful state of the streets, and the utter absence of lighting, are consequences which arrest the attention of all, and seriously affect the comfort and security of the inhabitants.[93]

The worst effects of this most faulty system of general Inefficient administration of justice. administration will be developed in the view which I shall hereafter give of the practices adopted with respect to the public lands, and the settlement of the Province, but which I postpone for the present, because I purpose considering this subject with reference to all the North American Provinces. But I must here notice the mischievous results prominently exhibited in the provision which the government of Lower Canada makes for the first want of a people, the efficient administration of justice.[94]

The law of the Province and the administration of justice are, in fact, a patch-work of the results of the interference at different times of different legislative powers, each proceeding on utterly different and generally incomplete views, and each utterly regardless of the other. The law itself is a mass of incoherent and conflicting laws, part French, part English, and with the line between each very confusedly drawn. Thus the criminal law is the criminal law of England as it was introduced in 1774, with such modifications as have since been made by the provincial legislature, it being now disputed whether the provincial legislature had any power to make any change whatever in that law, and it not being at all clear what is Civil law. the extent of the phrase ‘criminal law’. The civil law is the ancient civil law, also modified in some, but unfortunately very few, respects; and these modifications have been almost exclusively effected by Acts of the British Parliament and by ordinances of the Governor and Council constituted under the Quebec Act. The French law of evidence prevails in all civil matters, with a special exception of ‘commercial’ cases, in which it is provided that the English law is to be adopted; but no two lawyers agree in their definition of ‘commercial’.[95]

For judicial purposes, the Province is divided into four Judicial divisions. superior districts, having unlimited and supreme original jurisdiction, and one inferior, with limited jurisdiction. The four superior are those of Quebec and Montreal, Three Rivers and St. Francis;[96] the inferior, that of Gaspé.

The district of Gaspé[97] is subordinate to that of Quebec, District of Gaspé. with some special provisions for the administration of justice within it under a particular Provincial Act, which expires next May. I could obtain no very satisfactory information respecting this district, except that every body appeared to be of opinion that, from its distance and scanty population, it had always met with very little attention from either the legislature or the executive government. About the administration of justice therein, I could hardly obtain any information; indeed, on one occasion, it being necessary, for some particular purpose, to ascertain the fact, inquiry was made at all the public offices in Quebec, whether or not there was any coroner for Gaspé. It was a long time before any information could be got on this point, and it was at last in some measure cleared up, by the Accountant General discovering an estimate for the salary of such an officer. The only positive information, therefore, that I can give respecting the present administration of justice in Gaspé is, that I received a petition from the inhabitants, praying that the Act by which it is regulated, might not be renewed.

Each of the courts of Quebec and Montreal has a chief Judges. justice and three puisne judges; there is but one judge in each of the districts of Three Rivers and St. Francis. During term time judges from other districts make up the bench in these two.

In all civil cases these courts have original jurisdiction Jurisdiction. to an unlimited amount; and in spite of the immense extent of all, but particularly of the two greater districts, the parties are in almost all cases brought up to the chief towns for the trial of their causes.

An attempt, but of a very trifling and abortive character, Attempt at circuits. has been made to introduce the English system of circuits. The judges of these districts make circuits once a year, in order to try causes in which the disputed value is not more than £.10. sterling. The limitation of the value, the introduction of small-debt courts, and the consequent failure of attendance on the part of a bar during their progress, and the very insufficient time allotted for the stay at each place, have, I am informed, rendered these circuits almost useless; and even the suits which might be tried at the circuits are generally in preference carried up for trial to the chief places of these districts.

There are some complaints that excessive fees are taken Expensiveness of justice. in the courts of Montreal and Quebec.[98] The distribution of legal patronage is a matter of great, it is not easy to say, of how just complaint; but the substantial evil of the administration of civil justice consists in the practical denial of it caused by the utter inefficiency of the circuit system, and enormous expense and delay of carrying every suit, where the value in dispute is more than £.10. sterling, from the extremities of the three large and settled districts of the Province to the three district towns; in the vicious constitution of the inferior tribunals by which it has been attempted to supply the want of an effective system, either of circuits or local courts; and in the very faulty nature of the supreme appellate jurisdiction of the Province.

The minor litigation of the country is, in fact, carried Commissioners of small causes. on throughout these three districts in the courts of the Commissioners of Small Causes.[99] These courts are established in the different parishes by the Governor, on an application made by a certain number of the parishioners, according to forms prescribed by the provincial statute, in which this institution takes its rise, and have jurisdiction over all debts not exceeding 25 dollars, equal to 6l. 5s. currency. The Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, upon the recommendation of the petitioners; these are residents in the parish, and almost wholly unversed in law. The constitution of these courts is, in fact, nothing else in substance, but an elective judiciary, elected under the most irregular, fraudulent and absurd electoral system that could possibly be devised. I cannot better illustrate this description, than by narrating simply the mode in which the appointment is, in fact, made. It is, and has for a long time been, left almost entirely in the hands of a subordinate assistant in the Civil Secretary’s office. This gentleman stated that he took no steps, and indeed by law he could not, until he received a petition, with the requisite number of names attached. His impression was, that these signatures were generally obtained by assiduous canvassing in the parish, generally on the part of some person who wanted the appointment of clerk, which is paid, and who took this trouble, in order to secure the nomination of commissioners, from whom he expected to get the appointment. After some inquiry from any person whom this assistant secretary thought proper to consult respecting the characters of the persons proposed, they were, almost as a matter of course, appointed. After a short time, if some other person in the district happened to acquire more popularity, and to covet the office, a petition was got up containing charges against the occupant of the office, and praying for his removal, and the substitution of his rival. Upon most of the appointments also, there arose long controversies respecting the politics, qualification and character of the candidate for office; and a removal or new appointment was always attributed to some political causes by the newspapers of each party or race. The inquiry into the qualification of persons proposed, the investigation of the charges made, the defence urged in reply, and the distant and unsatisfactory evidence adduced in support of each, formed a large proportion of the business of the Civil Secretary’s office. Whatever appointment was made, the Government was sure to create dissatisfaction; and the administration of justice was left in the hands of incompetent men, whose appointment had been made in such a manner, as even, sometimes, to render their integrity suspicious, in the eyes, not only of those who had opposed, but also of those who had supported their nomination. I shall only add, that some time previous to my leaving the Province, I was very warmly and forcibly urged, by the highest legal authorities in the country, to abolish all these tribunals at once, on the ground that a great many of them, being composed entirely of disaffected French Canadians, were busily occupied in harassing loyal subjects, by entertaining actions against them, on account of the part they had taken in the late insurrection. There is no appeal from their decision; and it was stated that they had in the most barefaced manner given damages against loyal persons for acts done in the discharge of their duty, and judgments by default against persons who were absent, as volunteers in the service of the Queen, and enforced their judgment by levying distresses on their property.

I must now turn from the lowest to the highest civil Court of Appeal. tribunal of the Province. In a country in which the administration of justice is so imperfect in all the inferior stages, and in which two different and often conflicting systems of law are administered by judges whose professional education and origin necessarily cause different leanings in favour of the respective systems in which each is more particularly versed, the existence of a good and available appellate jurisdiction, which may keep the law uniform and certain, is a matter of much greater importance than in those countries in which the law is homogeneous, and its administration by the subordinate tribunals is satisfactory. But the appellate jurisdiction of Lower Canada is vested in the Executive Council, a body established simply for political purposes, and composed of persons in great part having no legal qualifications whatsoever. The Executive Council sits as a court of appeal, four times in the year, and for the space of ten days during each session; on these occasions the two Chief Justices of Quebec and Montreal were, ex officio, presidents, and each in turn presided when appeals from the other’s district were heard. The laymen who were present to make up the necessary quorum of five, as a matter of course, left the whole matter to the presiding Chief Justice, except in some instances, in which party feelings or pecuniary interests are asserted to have induced the unprofessional members to attend in unusual numbers, to disregard the authority of the Chief Justice, and to pervert the law. In the general run of cases, therefore, the decision was left to the President alone, and each Chief Justice became, in consequence, the real Judge of appeal from the whole court of the other district. It is a matter of perfect and undisputed notoriety, that this system has produced the results which ought to have been foreseen as inevitable; and that, for some time before I arrived in the Province, the two Chief Justices had constantly differed in opinion upon some most important points, and had been in the habit of generally reversing each other’s judgments. Not only, therefore, was the law uncertain and different in the two districts, but, owing to the ultimate power of the Court of Appeal, that which was the real law of each district, was that which was held not to be law by the Judges of that district. This is not merely an inference of my own; it is very clear that it was the general opinion of the profession and the public. The Court of Appeal, as re-modelled by me, at the only sitting which it held, reversed all but one of the judgments brought before it. This induced a member of the court to remark to one of the Chief Justices, that so general a reversal of the law of a very competent court below, by a tribunal so competent as the Court of Appeals then was, appeared to him utterly inexplicable, inasmuch as it could in nowise be attributed, as it was before, to the influence of a single Judge. The reply of the Chief Justice was, that the matter was easily accounted for; that the system previously adopted in the Court of Appeals had rendered the decision of the court below so complete a nullity, that the parties and counsel below often would not take the trouble to enter into the real merits of their case, and that the real bearing and law of the case were, generally, most fully stated before the Court of Appeals.

As the business of the Court of Appeals was thus of Re-organization of Court of Appeals. great extent and importance, it became necessary that, having, from political considerations, altered the composition of the Executive Council, I should re-organize the Court of Appeals. I determined to do this upon the best principle that I could carry into effect, under the circumstances of the case; for, as the constitution of the Court of Appeals is prescribed by the Constitutional Act, I could not vest the appellate jurisdiction in any other body than the Executive Council. I called, therefore, to the Executive Council the Chief Justice and one Puisne Judge from each of the two districts of Quebec and Montreal, and by summoning also the Judge of Three Rivers, I gave the members of the two conflicting tribunals an impartial arbiter in the person of M. Vallière de St. Real, admitted by universal consent to be the ablest French lawyer in the Province. But the regulations of the Executive Council, which it was supposed I could not alter in this case, required the presence of a quorum of five; and as no Judge could sit on an appeal from his own court, I had now only provided three for every appeal from the two greater districts. In order to make up the quorum, the court was therefore attended by two other executive councillors, one of whom, by his thorough knowledge of commercial law, and his general legal experience, was commonly admitted to have rendered essential service. I believe I may confidently say that the decisions of this court carried far greater weight than those of any previous court of appeals.[100]

The further appeal to the Privy Council allowed in Appeal to Privy Council. cases where the value was above £.500, is, from the great delay and great expense attendant on it, hardly ever resorted to.[101] The establishment of a good appellate jurisdiction for the whole of the North American Colonies is therefore greatly desired by every Province; and a competent tribunal for this purpose would spare the cost and delay of a resort to the Privy Council, and answer all the purposes proposed to be attained by the present double system of appeal.

The evils of the system of criminal justice are not so Faulty judicial divisions for purposes of criminal justice. various; but, from the faulty judicial division and administrative system of the Province, the defects which exist in the constitution of the courts of justice are even more severely felt in this department. For, except at the principal towns of the five districts, there is not the slightest provision for criminal justice; and to these places all prisoners must be brought for trial from the most remote parts, subject to their jurisdiction. Thus from the extreme settlements on the Ottawa, where is now the great seat of the lumber trade, and of the large and wild population which it brings together, all prisoners have to be carried a distance of 200 miles, by bad and uncertain means of conveyance, to Montreal for trial. On the left bank of the Ottawa the law has, according to a high legal authority, no power. It was but lately that a violent mob, called Shiners,[102] for a long time set the law at defiance, and had entirely at their mercy the large properties invested in that part of the country.

Besides those in the five places above mentioned, there Sheriffs, &c. are only three county gaols, one of which is in the district of Gaspé. There are no sessions held in any other than those places. At the Quebec, Montreal and Three Rivers quarter sessions there were, some years ago, professional and salaried chairmen, but the Assembly discontinued them. There are sheriffs only in the districts, and not in each county. They are named by the Crown for life, and are removable at pleasure. The offices are very lucrative, and are said to have been frequently disposed of from personal or political favouritism. It is also matter of complaint, that insufficient security has been taken from those appointed to them; and many individuals have consequently sustained very serious loss from the defalcation of sheriffs.

But the most serious mischief in the administration of Perversion of juries. criminal justice, arises from the entire perversion of the institution of juries, by the political and national prejudices of the people.[103] The trial by jury was introduced with the rest of the English criminal law. For a long time the composition of both grand and petit juries was settled by the Governor, and they were at first taken from the cities, which were the chefs lieux of the district. Complaints were made that this gave an undue preponderance to the British in those cities; though, from the proportions of the population, it is not very obvious how they could thereby obtain more than an equal share. In consequence, however, of these complaints, an order was issued under the government of Sir James Kempt, directing the sheriffs to take the juries not only from the cities, but from the adjacent country, for fifteen leagues in every direction. An Act was subsequently passed, commonly called ‘Mr. Viger’s Jury Act’, extending these limits to those of the district. The principle of taking the jury from the whole district, to which the jurisdiction of the court extended, is undoubtedly in conformity with the principles of English law; and Mr. Viger’s Act, adopting the other regulations of the English jury law, provided a fair selection of juries. But if we consider the hostility and proportions of the two races, the practical effect of this law was to give the French an entire preponderance in the juries. This Act was one of the temporary Acts of the Assembly, and, having expired in 1836, the Legislative Council refused to renew it.[104] Since that period, there has been no jury law whatever. The composition of the juries has been altogether in the hands of the Government: Private instructions, however, have been given to the sheriff to act in conformity with Sir James Kempt’s ordinance; but though he has always done so, the public have had no security for any fairness in the selection of the juries. There was no visible check on the sheriff; the public knew that he could pack a jury wherever he pleased, and supposed, as a matter of course, that an officer, holding a lucrative appointment at the pleasure of Government, would be ready to carry into effect those unfair designs which they were always ready to attribute to the Government. When I arrived in the Province, the public was expecting the trials of the persons accused of participation in the late insurrection. I was, on the one hand, informed by the law officers of the Crown and the highest judicial authorities, that not the slightest chance existed under any fair system of getting a jury that would convict any of these men, however clear the evidence of their guilt might be; and on the other side, I was given to understand, that the prisoners and their friends supposed that, as a matter of course, they would be tried by packed juries, and that even the most clearly innocent of them would be convicted.

It is, indeed, a lamentable fact, which must not be The people have not confidence in criminal justice. concealed, that there does not exist in the minds of the people of this Province the slightest confidence in the administration of criminal justice; nor were the complaints, or the apparent grounds for them, confined to one party.

The French complain that the institution of both grand Complaint of French against tampering with juries. and petit juries have been repeatedly tampered with against them. They complain that when it has suited the interests of the Government to protect persons guilty of gross offences against the French party, they have attained their end by packing the grand jury. Great excitement has long existed among the French party, in consequence of a riot which took place at the election for the West Ward of Montreal, in May 1832,[105] on which occasion the troops were called out, fired on the people, and killed three of them. An indictment was preferred against the magistrates and officers who ordered the troops to fire. It was urged by the French that the grand jury was composed almost entirely of Englishmen; that 12 out of the 23 were taken from the parish of Lachine, the smallest in the whole island; a selection which, they said, could hardly be attributed to mere chance, and that they were not in the usual station in life of grand jurymen. The opposite party, it must be observed, however, argued that this apparent selection of a majority of the grand jury from a single parish was a necessary result of some ill-contrived provision of Mr. Viger’s Jury Act. The bill was thrown out, and all judicial investigation into the circumstances consequently quashed. I am merely mentioning the complaints of parties. I know not whether the preceding allegations were well founded, but there can be no doubt that such was the impression produced among the French Canadians by these proceedings, which, in their minds, completely destroyed all confidence in the administration of justice.

The French Canadians further complain that the favourable decision of a grand jury was of no avail to those who had fallen under the displeasure of the Government. There are several instances in the recent history of Lower Canada, in which an attorney-general, being dissatisfied with the conduct of the grand jury in ignoring a bill, either repeatedly preferred indictments for the same offence, until he obtained a grand jury which would find them, or filed ex-officio informations.

Nor are the complaints of the English population of Complaints of English against juries. a less serious nature. They assert, unhappily on too indisputable grounds, that the Canadian grand and petit juries have invariably used their power to insure impunity to such of their countrymen as had been guilty of political offences. The case of Chartrand is not the only one in which it is generally believed that this has been done. The murderers of an Irish private soldier of the 24th regiment, of the name of Hands, are asserted to have been saved by an equally gross violation of their oaths on the part of the jury. A respectable and intelligent member of the grand jury, which sat at Montreal in October 1837, informed the Government that nothing could be more proper than the behaviour of a great majority of the jurymen, who were French Canadians, while they were occupied with cases not connected with politics. They attended patiently to the evidence, and showed themselves well disposed to follow the opinion of the foreman, who was a magistrate of great competence; but it was added that the instant they came to a political case, all regard for even the appearance of impartiality vanished, and they threw out the bills by acclamation, without listening to the remonstrances of the foreman.

The trial by jury is therefore, at the present moment, Trial by jury at present bad. not only productive in Lower Canada of no confidence in the honest administration of the laws, but also provides impunity for every political offence.

I cannot close this account of the system of criminal The magistracy. justice, without making some remarks with respect to the body by which it is administered in its primary stages and minor details to the great mass of the people of the Province. I mean the magistracy; and I cannot but express my regret, that among the few institutions for the administration of justice throughout the country, which have been adopted in Lower Canada from those of England, should be that of unpaid Justices of the Peace. I do not mean in any way to disparage the character, or depreciate the usefulness, of that most respectable body in this country. But the warmest admirer of that institution must admit that its benefits result entirely from the peculiar character of the class from which our magistracy is selected; and that without the general education, the moral responsibility imposed by their high station in the eyes of their countrymen, the check exercised by the opinion of their own class, and of an intelligent and vigilant public, and the habits of public business, which almost every Englishman, more or less, acquires, even the country gentlemen of England could not wield their legally irresponsible power as Justices of the Peace to the satisfaction of their countrymen. What, then, must be conceived of the working of this institution in a colony, by a class over whom none of these checks exist, and whose station in life and education would alone almost universally exclude them from a similar office at home? When we transplant the institutions of England into our colonies, we ought at least to take care beforehand that the social state of the colony should possess those peculiar materials on which alone the excellence of those institutions depends in the mother country. The body of Justices of the Peace scattered over the whole of Lower Canada, are named by the Governor, on no very accurate local information, there being no lieutenants or similar officers of counties in this, as in the Upper Province. The real property qualification required for the magistracy is so low, that in the country parts almost every one possesses it; and it only excludes some of the most respectable persons in the cities. In the rural districts the magistrates have no clerks. The institution has become unpopular among the Canadians, owing to their general belief that the appointments have been made with a party and national bias. It cannot be denied that many most respectable Canadians were long left out of the commission of the peace, without any adequate cause; and it is still more undeniable, that most disreputable persons of both races have found their way into it, and still continue to abuse the power thus vested in them. Instances of indiscretion, of ignorance, and of party feeling, and accusations of venality, have been often adduced by each party. Whether these representations be exaggerated or not, or whether they apply to a small or to a large portion of the magistracy, it is undeniable that the greatest want of confidence in the practical working of the institution exists; and I am therefore of opinion, that whilst this state of society continues, and, above all, in the present exasperation of parties, a small stipendiary magistracy would be much better suited to both Upper and Lower Canada.[106]

The police of the Province has always been lamentably Police of Quebec. defective. No city, from the lawless and vicious character of a great part of its population, requires a more vigilant police than Quebec. Until May 1836,[107] the police of this city was regulated by an Act which then expired, and was not renewed, and it consisted of 48 watchmen, of whom half served every night for the whole town. The day police consisted of six constables, who were under no efficient control. On the expiration of this Act there was no night police at all; and murders occurring in the streets, the inhabitants formed a voluntary patrol for the upper town. Lord Gosford, in December 1837, appointed Mr. Young inspector of police, with eight policemen under him; a serjeant and eight men of the Volunteer Seamen’s Company were placed under his order; and another magistrate had a corporal and twelve men of the same company for the police of the lower town. Finding their force wholly insufficient, receiving daily complaints, and witnessing daily instances of disorder and neglect, and, above all, being much pressed to increase the police by the owners of vessels who had no power of restraining the desertion of their crews, I ordered a regular police of 32 men to be organized on the plan of the London police[108] in June last. This body was further augmented in October to 75; and this number is represented to me by the inspector as by no means more than sufficient.

In Montreal, where no approach to a general system Of Montreal. of police had been made, I directed Mr. Leclerc, who had been appointed a stipendiary magistrate by Lord Gosford, to organize a force similar to that of Quebec. The number of this is now carried, I think, as high as 100.

Throughout the rest of the Province, where the functions No rural police. of a police used to be discharged by the militia, that body being now disorganized,[109] there is, in fact, no police at all. In the course of the autumn, I was informed by Mr. Young, that at St. Catharine’s, 46 miles from Quebec, a man, after notoriously committing an assault with intent to murder, was still at large a fortnight after the act; and that no means had been found of executing a warrant issued against him by a county magistrate. As the only means of enforcing the law, Mr. Young was authorized to send policemen sworn in as special constables, the place being out of his jurisdiction; and by them the arrest was effected. When Theller and Dodge escaped from the citadel, and were supposed to have taken the direction of the Kennebec road, no means existed of stopping their flight, except by sending the police of Quebec to the very frontier of the United States.[110]

As there was no rural police, the same step had been taken in the case of a deserter.

In the course of the preceding account, I have already Defective means of education. incidentally given a good many of the most important details of the provision for education made in Lower Canada. I have described the general ignorance of the people, and the abortive attempt which was made, or rather which was professed to be made, for the purpose of establishing a general system of public instruction; I have described the singular abundance of a somewhat defective education which exists for the higher classes, and which is solely in the hands of the Catholic priesthood. It only remains that I should add, that though the adults who have come from the Old Country are generally more or less educated, the English are hardly better off than the French for the means of education for their children, and indeed possess scarcely any, except in the cities.[111]

There exists at present no means of college education No colleges for Protestants. for Protestants in the Province;[112] and the desire of obtaining general, and still more, professional instruction, yearly draws a great many young men into the United States.

I can indeed add little to the general information Inquiries of Commissioner. possessed by the Government respecting the great deficiency of instruction, and of the means of education in this Province. The commissioner whom I appointed to inquire into the state of education in the Province, endeavoured very properly to make inquiries so minute and ample, that the real state of things should be laid fully open; and with this view, he had with great labour prepared a series of questions, which he had transmitted to various persons in every parish. At the time when his labours were brought to a close, together with mine, he had received very few answers; but as it was desirable that the information which he had thus prepared the means of obtaining, should not be lost, a competent person has been engaged to receive and digest the returns. Complete information respecting the state of education, and of the result of past attempts to instruct the people, will thus, before long, be laid before the Government.

The inquiries of the commissioner were calculated to Population would submit to assessment for purposes of education. inspire but slender hopes of the immediate practicability of any attempt to establish a general and sound system of education for the Province. Not that the people themselves are indifferent or opposed to such a scheme. I was rejoiced to find that there existed among the French population a very general and deep sense of their own deficiencies in this respect, and a great desire to provide means for giving their children those advantages which had been denied to themselves. Among the English the same desire was equally felt; and I believe that the population of either origin would be willing to submit to local assessments for this purpose.

The inhabitants of the North American Continent, Provision in the United States. possessing an amount of material comfort, unknown to the peasantry of any other part of the world, are generally very sensible to the importance of education. And the noble provision which every one of the northern States of the Union has gloried in establishing for the education of its youth, has excited a general spirit of emulation amongst the neighbouring Provinces, and a desire, which will probably produce some active efforts, to improve their own educational institutions.

It is therefore much to be regretted, that there appear Obstacles to general system. to exist obstacles to the establishment of such a general system of instruction as would supply the wants, and, I believe, meet the wishes of the entire population. The Catholic Clergy, to whose exertions the French and Irish population of Lower Canada are indebted for whatever means of education they have ever possessed, appear to be very unwilling that the State should in any way take the instruction of youth out of their hands.[113] Nor do the clergy of some other denominations exhibit generally a less desire to give to education a sectarian character, which would be peculiarly mischievous in this Province, inasmuch as its inevitable effect would be to aggravate and perpetuate the existing distinctions of origin. But as the laity of every denomination appear to be opposed to these narrow views, I feel confident that the establishment of a strong popular government in this Province would very soon lead to the introduction of a liberal and general system of public education.

I am grieved to be obliged to remark, that the British Nothing done by Government. Government has, since its possession of this Province, done, or even attempted, nothing for the promotion of general education. Indeed the only matter in which it has appeared in connexion with the subject, is one by no means creditable to it. For it has applied the Jesuits’ estates, part of the property destined for purposes of education, to supply a species of fund for secret service; and for a number of years it has maintained an obstinate struggle with the Assembly in order to continue this misappropriation.[114]

Under the head of the Hospitals, Prisons and Charitable State of Hospitals, Prisons, &c. Institutions of Lower Canada, I beg to refer to some valuable information collected, by my direction, by Sir John Doratt, during the exercise of his office of Inspector-general of Hospitals and Charitable and Literary institutions, which will be found in a separate part of the Appendix to this Report.[115] I regret that the pressure of more urgent duties did not allow me time to institute into these subjects so searching and comprehensive an inquiry as I should have desired to make in other circumstances. But there are some points brought under my notice by Sir John Doratt, to which I think it important that the attention of Your Majesty’s Government should be directed without delay. I advert to the existing want of any public establishment for the reception of insane persons either in Lower or Upper Canada; to the bad state of the prisons in general, and especially the disgraceful condition of the gaol of the city of Quebec; to the defects of the quarantine station at Grosse Isle; to the low and ignorant state of the medical profession throughout the rural districts; and to the necessity of a change in the system of providing for the insane, the invalid poor, and foundlings, by payments of public monies to convents for that purpose. It is evident that considerable abuses exist in the management of several philanthropic institutions. I have adverted, in another part of my Report, to the subject of pauperism, as connected with emigration; and the evidence there cited is in some respects confirmed by the information communicated by Sir John Doratt.

It is a subject of very just congratulation, that religious Religion in Lower Canada. differences have hardly operated as an additional cause of dissension in Lower Canada; and that a degree of practical toleration, known in very few communities, has existed in this Colony from the period of the conquest down to the present time.[116]

The French Canadians are exclusively Catholics, and The Catholic church. their church has been left in possession of the endowments which it had at the conquest. The right to tithe is enjoyed by their priests; but as it is limited by law to lands of which the proprietor is a Catholic, the priest loses his tithe the moment that an estate passes, by sale or otherwise, into the hands of a Protestant.[117] This enactment, which is at variance with the true spirit of national endowments for religious purposes, has a natural tendency to render the clergy averse to the settlement of Protestants Virtues of the clergy; in the seigniories. But the Catholic priesthood of this Province have, to a very remarkable degree, conciliated the good-will of persons of all creeds; and I know of no parochial clergy in the world whose practice of all the Christian virtues, and zealous discharge of their clerical duties, is more universally admitted, and has been productive of more beneficial consequences. Possessed of incomes sufficient, and even large, according to the notions entertained in the country, and enjoying the advantage of education, they have lived on terms of equality and kindness with the humblest and least instructed inhabitants of the rural districts. Intimately acquainted with the wants and characters of their neighbours, they have been the promoters and dispensers of charity, and the effectual guardians of the morals of the people; and in the general absence of any permanent institutions of civil government, the Catholic church has presented almost the only semblance of stability and organization, and furnished recognition of their services. the only effectual support for civilization and order. The Catholic clergy of Lower Canada are entitled to this expression of my esteem, not only because it is founded on truth, but because a grateful recognition of their eminent services, in resisting the arts of the disaffected, is especially due to them from one who has administered the government of the Province in these troubled times.[118]

The Constitutional Act, while limiting the application Want of extension of Catholic institutions. of the clergy reserves in the townships to a Protestant clergy, made no provision for the extension of the Catholic clerical institution, in the event of the French population settling beyond the limits of the seigniories. Though I believe that some power exists, and has been in a few cases used, for the creation of new Catholic parishes, I am convinced that this absence of the means of religious instruction has been the main cause of the indisposition of the French population to seek new settlements, as the increase of their numbers pressed upon their resources. It has been rightly observed, that the religious observances of the French Canadians are so intermingled with all their business, and all their amusements, that the priests and the church are with them, more than with any other people, the centres of their little communities. In order to encourage them to spread their population, and to seek for comfort and prosperity in new settlements, a wise government would have taken care to aid, in every possible way, the diffusion of their means of religious instruction.

The Protestant population of Lower Canada have been Clergy reserves. Meaning of ‘Protestant clergy’. of late somewhat agitated by the question of the clergy reserves. The meaning of the ambiguous phrase ‘Protestant clergy’ has been discussed with great ardour in various quarters; and each disputant has displayed his ingenuity in finding reasons for a definition in accordance with his own inclination, either to the aggrandizement of his own sect, or the establishment of religious equality. Owing to the small numbers of the British population, to the endowment of the Catholic church in most of the peopled and important districts of the Colony, and, above all, to the much more formidable and extensive causes of dissension existing in the Province, the dispute of the various Protestant denominations for the funds reserved for a ‘Protestant clergy’, has not assumed the importance which it has acquired in Upper Canada. In my account of that Province I shall give a more detailed explanation of the present position of this much-disputed question. I have reason to know, that the apprehension of measures tending to establish the predominance of a particular creed and clergy, has produced an irritation in this Province which has very nearly deprived the Crown of the support of some portions of the British population, in a period of very imminent danger. I must therefore most strongly recommend, that any plan by which the question of clergy reserves shall be set at rest in Upper Canada, should also be extended to the Lower Province.[119] The endowments of the Catholic church, and the services of its numerous and zealous parochial clergy, have been of the greatest benefit to the large body of Catholic emigrants from Ireland, who have relied much on the charitable as well as religious aid which they have received from the priesthood. The priests have an almost unlimited influence over the lower classes of Irish; and this influence is said to have been very vigorously exerted last winter, when it was much needed, to secure the loyalty of a portion Importance of consideration for the Catholic clergy and people. of the Irish during the troubles. The general loyalty exhibited by the Irish settlers in the Canadas, during the last winter, and the importance of maintaining it unimpaired in future times of difficulty, render it of the utmost moment that the feelings and interests of the Catholic clergy and population should invariably meet with due consideration from the Government.[120]

Setting on one side the management of the Crown Financial system should be settled by local government. Lands, and the revenue derived therefrom, which will be treated of fully in another part, it is not necessary that I should, on the present occasion, enter into any detailed account of the financial system of Lower Canada, my object being merely to point out the working of the general system of Government, as operating to produce the present condition of the Province. I need not inquire whether its fiscal, monetary or commercial arrangements have been in accordance with the best principles of public economy. But I have reason to believe that improvements may be made in the mode of raising and expending the Provincial revenue. During my stay in Canada, the evils of the banking and monetary systems of the Province forced themselves on my attention.[121] I am not inclined, however, to regard these evils as having been in anywise influential in causing the late disorders. I cannot regard them as indicative of any more mismanagement or error than are observable in the measures of the best governments with respect to questions of so much difficulty; and though the importance of finding some sufficient remedy for some of these disorders has, as I shall hereafter explain, very materially influenced my views of the general plan to be adopted for the government of this and the other North American Colonies, I regard the better regulation of the financial and monetary systems of the Province as a matter to be settled by the local Government, when established on a permanent basis.

With the exception of the small amount now derived Sources of public revenue. from the casual and territorial funds, the public revenue of Lower Canada is derived from duties imposed, partly by imperial and partly by provincial statutes.[122] These duties are, in great proportion, levied upon articles imported into the Colony from Great Britain and foreign countries; they are collected at the principal ports by officers of the Imperial Customs.

The amount of the revenue has within the last four years diminished from about £150,000, to little more than £100,000 per annum. This diminution is ascribed principally to the decreased consumption of spirituous liquors, and some other articles of foreign import, in consequence of the growth of native manufactures of such articles. Nevertheless, as the permanent expenditure of the civil government only amounts to about £60,000 a year, there remains still a considerable surplus to be disposed of for local purposes, in the mischievous manner which I have described in the preceding pages. A vigorous and efficient government would find the whole revenue hardly adequate to its necessities; but in the present state of things, I consider the existence and application of this surplus revenue as so prejudicial, that I should, as the less of two evils, recommend a reduction of the duties levied, were it possible to do this without an equal diminution of the revenue of Upper Canada, which can by no means afford it.

The financial relations between these two Provinces Financial disputes between two Provinces. are a source of great and increasing disputes.[123] The greater part, almost the whole of the imports of Upper Canada entering at the ports of Lower Canada, the Upper Province has urged and established its claim to a proportion of the duties levied on them. This proportion is settled, from time to time, by Commissioners appointed from each Province. Lower Canada now receives about three, and Upper Canada about two fifths of the whole amount: nor is this the greatest cause of dissension and dissatisfaction. The present revenue of Upper Canada being utterly inadequate to its expenditure, the only means that that Province will have of paying the interest of its debt, will be by increasing its Customs’ duties. But as these are almost all levied in Lower Canada, this cannot be done without raising the taxation also of the Lower Canadians, who have, as it is, a large surplus revenue. It was for the better settlement of these points of difference, that the union of the two Canadas was proposed in 1822; and the same feeling produces a great part of the anxiety now manifested for that measure by a portion of the people of Upper Canada.

A considerable revenue is raised from all these Provinces Post Office. by the Post-office establishment common to all of them, and subordinate to the General Post-office in England. The surplus revenue, which appears from a Report to the House of Assembly to amount to no less than £10,000 per annum, is transmitted to England. The Assembly made it a matter of great complaint that an important internal public institution of the Provinces should be entirely regulated and administered by the rulers and servants of an English public office, and that so large an amount of revenue, raised entirely without the consent of the Colonies, in a manner not at all free from objections, should be transmitted to the mother country.[D] I cannot but say that there is great justice in these complaints, and I am decidedly of opinion that if any plan of an united government of these Provinces should be adopted, the control and revenue of the post-office should be given up to the Colony.[124]

For the reasons I have before explained, there is hardly Little direct taxation in Lower Canada. the semblance of direct taxation in Lower Canada for general and local purposes. This immunity from taxation has been sometimes spoken of as a great privilege of the people of Lower Canada, and a great proof of the justice and benevolence of their government. The description which I have given of the singularly defective provision made for the discharge of the most important duties of both the general and the local government will, I think, make it appear that this apparent saving of the pockets of the people has been caused by their privation of many of the institutions which every civilized community ought to possess. A people can hardly be congratulated on having had at little cost a rude and imperfect administration of justice, hardly the semblance of police, no public provision for education, no lighting, and bad pavements in its cities, and means of communication so imperfect, that the loss of time, and wear and tear caused in taking any article to market, may probably be estimated at ten times the expense of good roads. If the Lower Canadians had been subjected, or rather had been taught to subject themselves to a much greater amount of taxation, they would probably at this time have been a much wealthier, a much better governed, a much more civilized, and a much more contented people.

[1] See Introduction, pp. 127-9.

[2] This dispatch is given in vol. iii, pp. 319-31. As to the extent of race feeling in Lower Canada, see Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 273: ‘The great parent evil of Lower Canada is the hostile division of races, &c.’

[3] Among the leaders of the rising in Lower Canada were the brothers Nelson (Wolfred and Robert), Storrow Brown, and O’Callaghan, all of British or Irish origin. Among French Canadians who suffered on the Government side were Dr. Quesnel, a magistrate in the county of L’Acadie, whose house was mobbed to make him resign his commission of the peace, and Mr. Debartzch of St. Charles on the Richelieu, who, after having been a leading agitator, set himself against the movement to insurrection, and had to fly for his life to Montreal. A loyal proclamation, signed by French-Canadian magistrates, and issued just as the insurrection was breaking out, is given in Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iv, chap. xxxix, pp. 452-4. See also Kingsford, vol. x, p. 99.

[4] The townships or eastern townships formed and form the southern part of Lower Canada, situate to the south of the St. Lawrence, away from the river, and bordering upon the United States. On p. 50 Lord Durham speaks of them as ‘the Eastern Townships, where the French race has no footing’. On p. 69 he says that after the division of Canada into two provinces, ‘almost the whole of the then unsettled portion of the province [of Lower Canada] was formed into townships, in which the law of England was partially established, and the Protestant religion alone endowed.’ On p. 114 he says: ‘The townships are inhabited entirely by a population of British and American origin; and may be said to be divisions established for surveying, rather than any other purposes.’ See also p. 233. The origin of the townships is described by Charles Buller in his report on public lands, Appendix B, vol. iii, pp. 42-3. The separate grants were accumulated by means of a system of leaders and associates. ‘With this practice, in fact, the history of the settlement of the Townships of Lower Canada commences.’ The system began after the passing of the Constitutional Act of 1791, and in the evidence to which Buller refers, it is stated that there was most bona fide settlement on the American frontier, where land was applied for and obtained with a view to personal cultivation, and not for the purpose of handing it over to a leader and forming a township. The settlers generally, whether bona fide settlers, or leaders and associates, were largely, if not mainly, Americans.

In a petition from the townships to the House of Commons which was considered by the Select Committee of 1828, and which will be found in the Appendix to the Report (House of Commons Paper, July 22, 1828, No. 569, p. 323), the following account is given of the townships at that time. ‘The province of Lower Canada, according to its present condition, may be separated into two parts, viz. first, the Seigniories or French Lower Canada, which comprehends a narrow tract of land on each side of the river St. Lawrence, varying in breadth from ten to forty miles; and secondly the Townships, or English Lower Canada, which comprehends the remainder of the province, and is more extensive, and capable of containing a far greater population than the Seigniories, or French Lower Canada. . . . The Townships, or English Lower Canada, are peopled wholly by inhabitants of British birth and descent, and American loyalists, amounting at present to about 40,000 souls, who have no other language than that of their British ancestors, who inhabit lands, granted under the British tenure of free and common soccage, who have a Protestant clergy, for whose maintenance a portion of those lands are set apart.’ Lord Durham contemplated that the French race and language would become merged in the English; but as a matter of fact the townships at the present day have largely passed into the hands of French Canadians.

[5] I have not been able to ascertain to what this refers.—Ed.

[6] The Roman Catholic clergy, as a whole, were quite loyal to the Government, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Montreal in October 1837 issued a mandement or pastoral letter in support of the Government. See Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iv, pp. 406-10 and 415-19. One instance to the contrary was Chartier, the curé of St. Benoît, in the district of the Two Mountains, who took an active part in the rising, and in consequence came under the ban of the Church (see Kingsford, vol. x, p. 95, note).

[7] See below, p. 50, and what Charles Buller says in his Report on Public Lands and Emigration (Appendix B, vol. iii, p. 122). ‘With regard to the British Government, and the British North American colonies, the case is different. The former have stimulated emigration on the avowed ground that it is beneficial to the United Kingdom; and, except in the case of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, the latter have welcomed it.’ One of the famous ninety-two resolutions passed by the Quebec Assembly (No. 3) asserted that immigration was welcomed; but British immigration was undoubtedly regarded with suspicion by the French Canadians, hence in great measure their hostility to the British American Land Company, formed to take up land and introduce emigrants in the eastern townships (see Christie, vol. iii, pp. 493-7).

[8] It was not only the French Canadians who took a strong view about the bureaucracy, the ‘gens en place’. Writing of the condition of Canada in Sir James Craig’s time, 1807-11, Christie says: ‘In fine, the governor, however unconscious of it he may have been, really was in the hands of, and ruled by a clique of officials rioting on the means of the country, yet desiring nothing better than the privilege of tyrannizing it, and who, however obsequious to him in appearance, were nevertheless his masters. The government, in fact, was a bureaucracy, the governor himself little better than an hostage, and the people looked upon and treated as serfs and vassals by these their official lords. Such was the inverted order of the government in those times, anything, it must be avowed, but responsible in the English acceptation and meaning of the term’ (History of Lower Canada, vol. i, pp. 349-50). The above description of the administration was probably much exaggerated.

[9] As to the refusal to establish registry offices (see also below, p. 50), ‘The adoption of a registry was refused on the alleged ground of its inconsistency with the French institutions of the province.’ The subject is mentioned in an address from the Constitutional Association of Montreal to the inhabitants of British America, which forms the last enclosure to Appendix A (vol. iii, pp. 24-5), in the following terms: ‘In Lower Canada, from the absence of offices for the registration of real estate, and from the system of secret and general mortgages, not only is foreign capital excluded, but the colony is impoverished by the withdrawal of funds for profitable and secure investment in other countries. In tracing the motive of resistance to a measure that more than any other would advance the public welfare, we again encounter the pernicious influence of French exclusiveness. A general distrust of the titles and securities of landed estate is suffered to exist, in order to prevent the acquisition of real property by immigrants from the British Isles.’ The address goes on to specify among its demands ‘To introduce Registry offices, and put an end to the iniquitous frauds that grow out of the present system’ (p. 27). Lord Dalhousie had called attention to the importance of this matter in a message to the Quebec Assembly, dated February 4, 1823. ‘The governor-in-chief calls the attention of the House of Assembly to the expediency of enacting a law for the public registry of instruments conveying, charging, or affecting real property, with a view to give greater security to the possession and transfer of such property and to commercial transactions in general.’ He called attention to it again in opening the session for 1826. Registry offices were established in the eastern townships by a Lower Canada Act of 1830, 10 & 11 Geo. IV, cap. viii, ‘An Act to establish Registry offices in the Counties of Drummond Sherbrooke, Stanstead, Shefford, and Missiskoui’; but by the last section of the Act, it was made to expire after May 1, 1838. This point is referred to in the report of the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry (Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 147): ‘As special instances of the unseasonableness of temporary laws, we may mention the brief incorporation of Quebec and Montreal, and the act for establishing registry offices in the townships.’

Appendix E to Lord Durham’s Report (not reprinted) contains a letter from Lord Durham on the subject, dated May 31, 1839, with a report by Mr. Turton and the draft of an ordinance.

[10] Lewis Joseph Papineau was born in Montreal in 1786. He entered the Quebec Assembly in 1809. In 1815 he was chosen as Speaker. In 1820 Lord Dalhousie appointed him to the Executive Council, but he resigned almost immediately. He was a fugitive from Canada from 1837 to 1847, he then returned, and re-entered the Legislature of the United Provinces till 1854. He died in 1871 (see Dict. of Nat. Biog. s.v.)

[11] Robert Nelson, brother of the better known Dr. Wolfred Nelson, was at the general election of 1834 elected as Papineau’s colleague for the West Ward of Montreal. He joined with his brother in the rising of 1837, and, while Wolfred Nelson was taken prisoner, Robert Nelson escaped to the United States, and tried to levy war on Canada from that country, issuing a ridiculous proclamation of independence. He gave trouble in the second rising of 1838. Unlike his brother, when an amnesty was proclaimed, he did not take advantage of it and return to Canada. It is noteworthy that in 1838 he wrote of Papineau: ‘Papineau has abandoned us, and this through selfish and family motives regarding the seigniories, and inveterate love of the old French bad laws. We can do well without him, and better than if we had him—a man only fit for words but not for action’ (see House of Commons Paper of February 11, 1839, No. 2, p. 101, and see also Kingsford, vol. x).

[A] Among the few petitions, except those of mere compliment, which I received from French Canadians, were three or four for the abolition and commutation of the feudal tenures. But the most remarkable was one which was presented from the inhabitants of the county of Saguenay, and supported by Mr. Charles Drolet, late M.P.P. for that county. The petitioners, who represented themselves as suffering under a degree of distress of which the existence is too deplorably certain, prayed to be allowed to settle on the wild lands at the head of the Saguenay. They expressed their willingness to take the lands on any conditions which the Government might propose, but they prayed that it should not be granted on the feudal tenure.

[12] ‘The censitaire, the broad base of the feudal pyramid. The tenure en censive, by which the censitaire held of the Seignior, consisted in the obligation to make annual payments in money, produce, or both. In Canada these payments, known as cens et rente, were strangely diverse in amount and kind’ (Parkman, The Old Régime in Canada, Macmillan, 1885, p. 249). The censitaire usually held from the Seignior, but sometimes direct from the Crown (Parkman, ibid. p. 246). For an account of this tenure see Professor Munro’s Seigniorial System in Canada (Longman’s, 1907). ‘First in logical order among the remunerative obligations imposed by the Seignior upon his habitants was that of paying the annual cens et rentes. . . . The cens has been defined by a leading commentator on the Custom of Paris as “a moderate tax imposed in recognition of the Seignior’s direct authority” ’ (p. 85). It may be said that the censitaire was the habitant in his feudal relation to the Seignior.

[13] For an account of the lines on which the French colonized Canada see, among many other books, the two books referred to in the previous note, viz. The Old Régime in Canada and The Seigniorial System in Canada. Lord Durham is not fair to the system, which Louis XIV, Colbert, and Talon constructed, in calling it ‘ill-organized’. It was rather over-organized; and as against what he says as to the ‘feudal dependence’ in which the habitants lived, contrast what was said by Lieutenant-Governor Milnes in his dispatch of November 1, 1800. Milnes considered that the first and most important cause of the decline of the influence of the Canadian aristocracy was ‘the independent tenure by which the cultivators (who form the great body of the people and are distinguished by the appellation of habitants) hold their lands’ (Egerton and Grant, Canadian Constitutional Development, p. 111). Further on Lord Durham speaks again of the ‘central’ despotism of the old régime, and notes how it had disappeared without being replaced by any municipal institutions (see pp. 98-9). ‘Lower Canada remains without municipal institutions of local self-government, which are the foundations of Anglo-Saxon freedom and civilization; nor is their absence compensated by anything like the centralization of France.’

[14] Cf. what is said in the Report of the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry (Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 142): ‘The inhabitants of French origin are chiefly distributed along the banks of the St. Lawrence, as far up as Montreal. The land adjacent to this magnificent river exhibits the appearance of a continuous line of villages, a military mode of settlement, which presents obvious facilities for municipal organization.’

[15] As to the characteristics of the habitants or peasantry, see the Report of the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry, as above, p. 142. ‘The habitant is active, hardy, and intelligent, but excitable, credulous; and, being a stranger to everything beyond his own contracted sphere, he is peculiarly liable to be made the dupe of political speculators.’ See also the Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada, Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 267: ‘They are shrewd and intelligent, very moral, most amiable in their domestic relations, and most graceful in their manners; but they lack all enterprise; they have no notion of improvement, and no desire for it. Their wants are few and easily satisfied. They have not advanced one step in civilization beyond the old Bretons who first set foot on the banks of the St. Lawrence, and they are quite content to be stationary.’ General Murray reported in June 1762 that the Canadians might be ranked in four classes, the fourth being ‘The Peasantry or what is here styled Habitant’. ‘The fourth order is that of the Peasantry. These are a strong, healthy race, plain in their dress, virtuous in their morals, and temperate in their living. They are in general extremely ignorant, for the former government would never suffer a printing press in the country, few can read or write, and all receive implicitly for truth the many arrant falsehoods and atrocious lies, industriously handed among them by those who were in power’ (Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1759-1791, pp. 59, 60). The habitants were mainly of Norman or Breton descent. For the use of the word see note 1 on page 31.

[16] It will be seen that Lord Durham strongly blames the British Government for ‘continued negligence’ in regard to education in Lower Canada. On page 34 he speaks of ‘the entire neglect of education by the government’, and on p. 136 he says that ‘the British government has, since its possession of this province, done, or even attempted, nothing for the promotion of general education’; but in the Report of the Special Commissioner on Education, though the action or inaction of the British Government is condemned, it is pointed out that the intrusion of politics into educational matters, for which the Quebec Assembly was responsible, was the main obstacle to education in Lower Canada. ‘This it was that mainly contributed to reduce the province to the deplorable state in which it is at present found’ (App. D, vol. iii, p. 266). Lord Durham refers to the jobbery in connexion with education on pp. 94-6. The Governors of Canada at any rate were alive to the importance of education. Thus Lord Dalhousie, in opening the session of the Quebec Legislature in January 1826, said: ‘I scarcely need advert to the subject of education in this province. It has long occupied the public attention, and has acquired increasing interest by the increasing desire for its inestimable advantages.’ See also Introduction, pp. 232-6.

[17] In Professor Munro’s Seigniorial System in Canada, p. 39, note 2, it is stated that ‘The dependents of the seigniors in New France were not, as at home, known as “censitaires”; they were in their own language “habitants”, a term which they seem to have preferred because it did not necessarily involve the idea of dependence.’ Parkman says: ‘In fact, the Canadian settler scorned the name of peasant, and then, as now, was always called the habitant’ (The Old Régime in Canada, p. 253).

[18] The Annual Register for 1839 (p. 175), in referring to Lord Durham’s Report, lays special stress on his statements as to the want of education among the French Canadians, and quotes this particular passage.

[19] See the Report of the Commissioner of Enquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada (Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 270). ‘With regard to the means of higher education, persons of British origin have hardly any, while those of French origin have them in too great abundance.’ See also p. 134 of the Report, and Introduction, pp. 241-2.

[20] See also below, p. 292. ‘A spirit of exclusion has closed the higher professions on the educated classes of the French Canadians, more, perhaps, than was absolutely necessary.’ Carleton (Lord Dorchester), in earlier days, strongly pressed upon the home authorities the importance of taking the French Canadian gentlemen into the King’s service. Thus on January 20, 1768, he wrote to Lord Shelburne: ‘As long as the Canadians are deprived of all places of trust and profit, they never can forget, they no longer are under the dominion of their natural sovereign; and on November 20, 1768, to Lord Hillsborough: ‘I have not the least doubt of their secret attachments to France, and think this will continue as long as they are excluded from all employments under the British government, and are certain of being reinstated, at least in their former Commissions, under that of France, by which chiefly they supported themselves and families’ (see Documents Relating to the Constitutional History of Canada 1759-91, Shortt and Doughty, 1907, pp. 206, 227).

[21] The Canadian priesthood also, like the Irish priesthood, was largely recruited from among the habitants. Thus Murray reported in 1762: ‘The Clergy—most of the dignified among them are French, the rest Canadians, and are in general of the lower class of people’ (Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, p. 59).

[22] See above, p. 32, note 2.

[23] General Murray, in reporting upon the district of Quebec, which was under his command, in June 1762, wrote: ‘The traders of this colony under the French were either dealers in gross or retailers, the former were mostly French, and the latter in general natives of this country.’ The trade was mainly the fur trade. Thus General Gage, in reporting upon the district of Montreal, which he commanded, in the same year, wrote: ‘The only immediate importance and advantage the French King derived from Canada was the preventing the extension of the British colonies, the consumption of the commodities and manufactures of France, and the trade of pelletry’ (see Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional Development of Canada, pp. 60, 71). The fur trade diverted the more active part of the Canadian peasantry into a roving life, Indianized them, and produced the voyageurs and the Coureurs de Bois.

[24] An instance of a British seignior is given below (p. 96), viz. Mr. Ellice, owner of the seigniory of Beauharnois. The French-Canadian party contended that the effect of the two Imperial Acts of 1822 and 1825 (The Canada Trade Act and The Canada Tenures Act) was to convert the seignior into an English landlord, and thereby to deprive the censitaires or habitants of their rights. If this were so, a somewhat analogous case would be the conversion of the heads of clans in Scotland into modern landlords. As to French-Canadian feeling in the matter, see Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iv, pp. 226-7 and notes.

[25] As to British emigration to Canada before this time, see Introduction, pp. 189-93. The tide set in from about 1820 onwards. Lord Durham notes below (p. 57) the falling off of immigration into Canada owing to the political state of the Lower Province.

[26] Similarly Lord Gosford and his colleagues, in that part of their General Report on Lower Canada which relates to Education, wrote: ‘There is a deep sentiment of religion spread, we believe, over the whole population of the country, and we are happy to bear testimony so cordially as we can do, that it is accompanied with fewer feelings of acerbity of the followers of one creed towards another, and particularly of Protestants towards Catholics and Catholics towards Protestants, than perhaps in any country where distinctions so marked and so numerous exist’ (Reports of Commissioners on Grievances complained of in Lower Canada: House of Commons Paper, No. 50, February 20, 1837; General Report, p. 50).

[27] It is interesting to note how in the last thirty years literary and scientific Canadians, of both races and in both languages, have joined forces in ‘The Royal Society of Canada for the promotion of Literature and Science within the Dominion’. This Society, to which students of Canadian history owe much, was initiated at Montreal on December 29 and 30, 1881, on the invitation of the Marquess of Lorne (now the Duke of Argyll), then Governor-General. The first meeting was held at Ottawa in May 1882.

[28] From the first, when the Act of 1791 was passed, French and English ran side by side in the Quebec Legislature. ‘The use of both languages was accepted as a matter of course from the beginning of the constitutional change without any formal resolution by either house, and this applied also to bills introduced’ (Brymner’s Report on Canadian Archives for 1891, Introduction, p. xxix). Lord Dalhousie held the same views as Lord Durham as to the evil of the two languages. In a confidential dispatch of November 21, 1823, in which he expressed himself in favour of union of the two provinces, he wrote: ‘At present the use of two languages indiscriminately, in the Legislature and in the Courts of Justice, creates an extraordinary and absurd confusion, leads to immense additional labour and expense, and nourishes prejudice and separation of feelings between the two classes of people.’ At a much earlier date, in February 1789, Finlay, the Postmaster-General of Canada, wrote: ‘We might make the people entirely English by introducing the English language. This is to be done by free schools, and by ordaining that all suits in our courts shall be carried on in English after a certain number of years’ (Shortt and Doughty, p. 657). By the Union Act of 1840, section 41, the records of the Legislature of the United Province were to be in the English language only, but translations were allowed; and in debates both languages were allowed (see Houston’s Constitutional Documents of Canada, p. 183). It was due to Lord Elgin that the French Canadians were given full scope for the use of their own language; and by the Union Act amendment Act of 1848 this 41st section was repealed. By the 133rd section of the British North America Act of 1867 the two languages are placed on an equality in the legislatures and the law courts of the Dominion of Canada and of the Province of Quebec.

[29] A notice of La Banque du Peuple will be found in Walker’s History of Banking in Canada (Toronto, 1909), pp. 27-8. It was started in 1835 as a private banking firm, Viger De Witt et Cie, and subsequently became a chartered bank under special terms. This bank is no longer in existence.

[30] Years before, in a dispatch dated May 1, 1810, Sir James Craig wrote in much the same terms: ‘The line of distinction between us is completely drawn, friendship, cordiality are not to be found, even common intercourse scarcely exists. The lower class of people, to strengthen a term of contempt, add Anglois, and the better sort, with whom there formerly did exist some interchange of the common civilities of society, have of late entirely withdrawn themselves.’ Compare with what Lord Durham says, the similar testimony given by the Special Commissioner on Education (Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 273): ‘In private life, the intense hatred of the two races does not often show itself in violent collisions, but rather in a rigid non-intercourse.’

[31] On the perversion of juries caused by race animosity, see below, pp. 126-30.

[32] Thus Papineau wrote to Wilmot on December 16, 1822, with regard to the Reunion Bill: ‘By what they call Anglifying the country is meant the depriving the great majority of the people in this province of all that is dear to men, their laws, usages, institutions, and religion’ (see Brymner’s Report on Canadian Archives, 1897, note A, pp. 26-7).

[33] If the immediate neighbourhood of Montreal be excepted, the first settlement on the Ottawa was made in 1800 by Philemon Wright of Massachusetts at Hull, on the northern bank of the river. He initiated lumbering on the Gatineau River. On the opposite bank of the Ottawa, in the next twenty years, small settlements were made near the mouth of the Rideau, in addition to a military settlement at Richmond, some fifteen miles inland; and in 1826 Colonel By, the engineer of the Rideau canal, made the mouth of the Rideau the head-quarters for the works. Bytown then, now Ottawa, grew up. The construction of the Grenville canal at the Long Sault rapids of the Ottawa also brought a number of settlers; and among other colonists on the Ottawa were Highlanders brought in by the McNab, and handloom weavers sent out by the Glasgow Emigration Society, while various lumbering establishments were formed on both sides of the river. In the main, one bank of the Ottawa is in the province of Quebec and the other in that of Ontario, but the colonization of both banks was on similar lines. As to the lumbermen on the Ottawa, see below, p. 125, and note.

[34] Other instances might be given of the jealousy of outsiders, which was not peculiar to the Quebec Assembly, but is characteristic of representative Assemblies in all small colonial communities, and which militates against progress and development. Of the greater colonial communities at the present day, with the growing influence of labour, it may fairly be said that ‘their primary care’ is ‘to guard the interests and feelings of the present race of inhabitants’; and in ‘providing for the future population’, race exclusion, in the sense of excluding coloured men, plays a great part.

[35] See above, p. 23 and note.

[36] As evidence that the British Government had no wish to swamp the French Canadians by immigration may be taken Lord Dalhousie’s first address to the Quebec Legislature in the session of 1820-1. He urged the advisability of encouraging the settlement of the waste lands of the province, not only by British immigration, but also by enabling the French Canadians to spread further afield.

[37] This Act was passed in 1832. See Introduction, p. 195.

[38] The French Canadians were not wholly without footing in the eastern townships. Thus Christie writes of the general election of 1834: ‘The movement party in opposition to the government were everywhere successful except in the Eastern Townships, and partially so there’ (vol. iv, pp. 18, 19). At this date, the partial success can hardly have been due to British votes alone.

[39] The ‘strong terms’ might be called exaggerated terms. There were cases of partial burning of villages, but they were very few, and only in the Richelieu districts and in the county of the Two Mountains (see Introduction, pp. 93-6).

[40] As to the militia, see below, p. 98, note 2.

[41] As to the perversion of juries, see below, pp. 126-30.

[42] Christie (vol. iv, pp. 474-5) gives the following account of the murder of Chartrand in the insurrection of 1837: ‘Another still more barbarous deed was perpetrated on November 28, on the person of an unfortunate inhabitant of St. John’s, by the name of Chartrand, a Canadian of French origin, who, it seems, had enrolled himself at this place as a loyal volunteer, a circumstance that gave offence to his compatriots. He left his residence in the forenoon of this day for L’Acadie, a distance of five or six miles, to collect, it was said, a small debt due to him (a stone mason by trade) by an inhabitant of that parish. On returning home in the afternoon, he was intercepted by some ten or twelve men, five of them with loaded muskets, and conducted to a small building hard by, used as a school-house, where, after undergoing a mock trial by those who had arrested him, he was declared to be a spy, and sentenced to death as such. He was accordingly forthwith led out, tied to a tree, and mercilessly shot by the miscreants, who left the body attached to the tree by the rope with which they had pinioned him, and in which state it was found three or four days after. One ball had passed through his heart, and the several other marks showed the deadly aim which his savage murderers had taken to accomplish their horrid purpose. One of those implicated in it came forward, by the advice, it was said, of his confessor, and gave the shocking details of the murder. At the first discharge, the unfortunate Chartrand received three wounds, but was not killed. Another of the party then stepped up and shot him dead. The alleged ringleader of this ruthless gang was tried for the murder, but in the contradictory nature of the evidence, aided also by the passions of the jurors, for in the excitement of the times it was impossible to impanel a perfectly dispassionate jury, he escaped on this occasion, though, as will be seen, an avenging Providence pursued him till the forfeiture of his crime was paid’ (see also Introduction, pp. 94-5). Lord Durham wrote in a dispatch of September 12, 1838: ‘In the case of Chartrand, the most clear and indisputable evidence of the guilt of the prisoners was adduced, but the jury, French Canadians (all others upon the panel, as had been foreseen, having been got rid of by the challenges of the accused, allowed by the existing law) brought in a verdict of “Not Guilty” ’ (Parliamentary Paper No. 2, February 11, 1839, p. 165). On pp. 174-80 of this Paper will be found the notes of the Chief Justice of Montreal.

[43] Sir James Craig, who had a poor opinion of the French Canadians, commented on the ‘national vanity’ in his dispatch of May 1, 1810: ‘They are totally unwarlike and averse to arms or military habits, though vain to an excess, and possessing a high opinion of their prowess.’ Craig was very unfair to the French Canadians in describing them as unwarlike. Previous Governors had given a contrary view.

[44] There was much foolish vapouring about Canadian Independence and a Canadian Republic in 1837-8, e.g. by the ‘Sons of Liberty’ at Montreal, before the actual outbreak of the rising in 1837 (see Christie, iv. 395), and by Robert Nelson in 1838, when he was safe in the United States.

[45] See vol. iii, pp. 319-31.

[46] Louisiana is referred to at greater length below, pp. 299-303. It had been ceded by France to Spain by a secret treaty signed in 1762, and retroceded by Spain to France by a secret treaty of 1800. In 1803, when Jefferson was President of the United States, it was sold by Napoleon to the Americans for fifteen million dollars, and it was admitted as a State into the Union in 1812. Both in his Report and in his dispatch of August 9, 1838, Lord Durham quotes New York and Louisiana as instances of the English race absorbing foreign races in the way in which he wished French Canada to be Anglicized. It is interesting to contrast with Lord Durham’s view a present day view of a French Canadian. Mr. Lemieux, then Postmaster-General of the Dominion of Canada, in the Canadian House of Commons, on February 21, 1911, made the following reference to Louisiana: ‘We in the province of Quebec, French Canadians one and all, Conservatives and Liberals, are against any idea that smacks of annexation (to the United States). Why? Because of the privileges we enjoy under the British Crown, under the Quebec act of 1774, under which act our language, our faith, our laws, our customs, our usages have been respected in a privileged manner by His Majesty the King and by the Imperial government. We know what has been the fate of our fellow countrymen in Louisiana. . . .’

[47] The subject dealt with in this paragraph will be found referred to in Sir G. Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies (1891 ed.), p. 266. As to how far Lord Durham’s criticism of the Imperial Government in this part of his Report was justified by facts, see Introduction, pp. 277-81.

[B] This policy was not abandoned even at so late a period as the year 1816; as will appear by the following Despatch from Lord Bathurst to the Governor of Lower Canada:—

Downing-street, 1st July, 1816.


You are, no doubt, aware of the inquiries which have been made in the Province as to the practicability of leaving in a state of nature that part of the frontier which lies between Lake Champlain and Montreal; and you have, no doubt, had under your review the Report of the Surveyor-general on this subject, which was enclosed in Sir Gordon Drummond’s Despatch of 21st April 1816, No. 119. With the opinion which his Majesty’s Government entertains upon this subject, it cannot but be a matter of regret to think that any settlements should have been made in the districts of Hemingford, Sherrington, Goodmanchester or Hinchinbrook. But at the same time I cannot recommend the dispossession of the settlers, at the expense which must result from the purchase of the lands which they have cleared, and the improvements which they have made upon them, unless indeed that purchase could be effected by an adequate assignment of other waste lands of the Crown in other quarters. I must confine myself, therefore, to instructing you to abstain altogether from making, hereafter, any grants in these districts, and to use every endeavour to induce those who have received grants there, and have not yet proceeded to the cultivation of them, to accept uncleared lands in other districts more distant from the frontier of the United States. In some cases, where the lands have been long granted, they must, I apprehend, under the usual conditions of the grants, have become resumable by the Crown; and in such case you can have no difficulty in preventing their cultivation; and the expediency of making other grants, in lieu of those resumed, will depend upon the particular circumstances of each individual case.

It is also very desirable that you should, as far as lies in your power, prevent the extension of roads in the direction of those particular districts beyond the limits of that division of the Province referred to in the plan of the Surveyor-general as being generally cultivated; and if any means should present themselves of letting those which have been already made, fall into decay, you will best comply with the views of his Majesty’s Government, and materially contribute to the future security of the Province, by their adoption.

I have the honour, &c. &c.

(signed) Bathurst.

Lieutenant-General Sir J. C. Sherbrooke,

          &c. &c. &c.

[48] These documents will be found in Shortt and Doughty’s Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1759-91, published in 1907. See Introduction, pp. 203 and 278.

[49] This is a case in which Lord Durham misrepresented the policy of the Imperial Government. The great danger of Canada was the long extent of frontier, which was exposed to invasion from the United States. This danger had been amply illustrated by the war of 1812, and on March 18, 1815, Sir George Prevost wrote to the Secretary of State deprecating forming settlements on the American frontier, for the simple reason that he thought that Canada would be better protected from invasion by leaving a belt of wilderness in this direction. This was the origin of Lord Bathurst’s instructions: they were given entirely for military reasons and on military advice. Gordon Drummond and Sherbrooke took steps to carry out the policy, and it was not until 1821 that Lord Dalhousie, in a dispatch dated April 24 in that year, pointed out that the prohibition of settlement only resulted in unauthorized squatting, and in producing a kind of Alsatia, to which outlaws resorted both from Canada and from the United States. Lord Bathurst then cancelled his instructions; but nearly five years later Lieutenant-Colonel Cockburn, who had been superintendent of military settlements in Upper Canada, handed in a statement to the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Emigration, in which he said: ‘I have long regretted the encouragement which has of late been given to opening communications from the United States towards the south bank of the St. Lawrence; in the event of future wars the impolicy of having done so, will, I suspect, be felt. The barrier which the Bush afforded was the best which could be offered; it can no longer be said to exist’ (House of Commons Paper of 1826, No. 404, p. 220). The point is referred to in the evidence [not reprinted] given by Major Head in Charles Buller’s Inquiry into Public Lands and Emigration.

[50] These instructions were given in July 1771, and renewed in 1775 after the passing of the Quebec Act. See Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, pp. 295, 429.

[51] See below, p. 198, note. A much more likely reason than that given by Lord Durham, for encouraging the emigration of ‘foreign Protestants’ to Prince Edward Island, is that the Government of the day (1767) was not anxious to encourage British Protestants to leave Great Britain.

[52] The statement ‘the Government deliberately constituted the French into a majority’ is misleading. They divided Canada into two provinces, and thereby left the French Canadians in an overwhelming preponderance in Lower Canada, but at the time—1791—taking both Canadas together, the French Canadians greatly outnumbered the British. The division into two provinces was not designed to isolate the French Canadians. It was designed to prevent friction at the start of constitutional government. Thus, in sending to Lord Dorchester the first draft of the bill which subsequently became the Act of 1791, Grenville wrote that, as it had been decided to give representative institutions to Canada, ‘every consideration of policy seemed to render it desirable that the great preponderance possessed in the Upper district by the King’s ancient subjects, and in the Lower by the French Canadians, should have their effect and operation in separate legislatures, rather than that these two bodies of people should be blended together in the first formation of the new Constitution, and before sufficient time has been allowed for the removal of ancient prejudices, by the habit of obedience to the same government, and by the sense of a common interest’ (Grenville to Dorchester, October 20, 1789, Shortt and Doughty, p. 664). See also the evidence given by Wilmot Horton before the House of Commons Committee of 1828 as to Pitt’s views in passing the Act of 1791 (House of Commons Paper, July 22, 1828, Report on the Civil Government of Canada, p. 301). See Introduction, pp. 31-2 and 279. The policy of recognizing the distinct national character of the French Canadians, which Lord Durham here condemns, was precisely the policy which Lord Elgin a little later strongly favoured and carried out.

[53] With this and other passages, in which Lord Durham comments on ‘the vain endeavour to preserve a French Canadian nationality’, contrast the far truer estimate formed by Carleton seventy years before. Writing to Lord Shelburne on November 25, 1767, Carleton said: ‘Having arrayed the strength of His Majesty’s old and new subjects, and shown the great superiority of the latter, it may not be amiss to observe, that there is not the least probability, this present superiority should ever diminish; on the contrary ’tis more than probable it will increase and strengthen daily. . . . Barring a catastrophe shocking to think of, this country must, to the end of time, be peopled by the Canadian race, who already have taken such firm root, and got to so great a height, that any new stock transplanted will be totally hid and imperceptible amongst them, except in the towns of Quebec and Montreal’ (Shortt and Doughty, p. 198).

[54] This passage invites a threefold criticism (a) that if English history teaches anything, it is that the full development of popular liberties and constitutional government in England was a matter not of years but of generations and centuries; (b) that the grant of representative institutions without responsible government to Canada in 1791 was an intermediate stage, preparing for a further development in accordance with English precedents; (c) that the French Canadians had never had any training in any form of self-government whatever, which was all the more reason for going slowly.

[55] The reference is to the suppression of the anti-government paper, Le Canadien, by Sir James Craig, in March 1810. Craig imprisoned those who were principally connected with the paper, including three members of the Assembly, the most prominent of whom was M. Bedard.

[56] But Lord Durham himself proposed to withhold from the Canadian Legislature the control of the public lands, and to insist upon a Civil List, which was tantamount to withholding a portion of the public revenues. The date given above should be 1831 not 1832.

[57] In England, before King William IV came to the throne, the term ‘Civil List’ implied the provision made out of the hereditary revenues of the Crown, supplemented by the proceeds of certain taxes which were placed at the disposal of the reigning sovereign to cover the cost of the ordinary civil expenses of the State (other than debt charges), inclusive of the expenses of the Court and royal household. In the reign of George III the amount of the Civil List rose from £800,000 per annum to largely over a million. When George IV came to the throne, the Civil List was relieved of various services, and the amount was fixed at £850,000. When William IV became King, the Civil List was confined almost entirely to the ordinary expenses of the Crown and the royal household, and was reduced to £510,000. On the accession of Queen Victoria, other items for pensions, &c., were removed from the Civil List, and it was fixed at £385,000. The Act of 1901, which fixed the Civil List of King Edward VII, raised the amount to £470,000, but this included certain sums provided for the royal family by special Acts passed in Queen Victoria’s reign. In 1910, when the present King came to the throne, an Act was passed, fixing the Civil List at the same sum, £470,000. When it was intended by Sir Robert Peel’s Ministry in 1835 to send out Lord Amherst as Royal Commissioner to Canada, Lord Aberdeen, in his instructions to him, dated April 2, 1835, wrote: ‘At no period of the history of England has the King of this realm been dependent upon the votes of the House of Commons for the maintenance of those officers for whom at the present time provision is made by the Civil List’ (House of Commons Paper, No. 231, March 22, 1838, p. 2).

[58] The inaccuracy of this statement is pointed out in the Introduction, p. 277. The Assembly were not ‘deprived of’ the powers in question, because they had never been given them; and the powers in question are not necessarily inherent in a popular Legislature, as is shown by the case of the United States, where ‘the officers of government’, in the sense of the ministers who form the Cabinet, are independent of the Legislature.

[59] See the quotation from Christie’s History of Lower Canada, given above on p. 21, note 2.

[60] Lord Durham does not note that, as far back as 1821, Lord Dalhousie advocated putting four unofficial members, two Protestants and two Roman Catholics, into the Executive Council, and that he actually appointed to the Council Papineau, who was then the Speaker of the Assembly. Papineau, however, resigned almost immediately. It will be noted that he speaks of the Government clique being ‘fortified by family connexion’, but the term ‘Family Compact’ was only used in the case of Upper Canada, and there Lord Durham tells us (p. 148) that there was ‘in truth, very little of family connexion among the persons thus united.’

[61] On the contrary, this separation was, in Cornewall Lewis’s words, a constitutional contrivance for affording a security against arbitrary government (see Government of Dependencies, 1891 ed., pp. 41-8). See also Introduction, p. 140.

[62] This was the revolution which ended in the deposition of Charles X and the accession of Louis Philippe. The Ministry was Polignac’s Ministry.

[63] As has been suggested in a previous note, half a century is not a very long time of training for a people who, before they came under British rule, had never had any vestige of political and social freedom. The half-century dates from 1791, and the French Canadians had been British subjects since 1760, but in any case the analogy of England makes the time of probation for full constitutional government in Canada seem short, not long.

[64] Lord Durham is not quite correct (see Christie, vol. iv, pp. 226-9 and 343). The Bill in question was introduced in two successive sessions in 1836, but in neither case did it go through all the stages in the House of Assembly. On the other hand, a Bill of precisely the same nature, to repeal in part the Canada Tenures Acts passed by the Imperial Parliament, was carried through the House of Assembly and thrown out by the Legislative Council. Christie points out that the object of bringing in Bills which every one knew must be inoperative, was to show ‘in precise terms to the Home Government, the alterations and amendments which, in the view of the Assembly, it was desirable should be made by the Imperial Parliament to those acts’. The Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865, 28 & 29 Vic. cap. 63, sec. 2, enacts: ‘Any colonial law, which is or shall be in any respect repugnant to the provisions of any Act of Parliament extending to the colony to which such law may relate, or repugnant to any order or regulation made under authority of such Act of Parliament, or having in the colony the force and effect of such Act, shall be read subject to such act, order, or regulation, and shall, to the extent of such repugnancy, but not otherwise, be and remain absolutely void and inoperative.’

[65] With what Lord Durham says here as to the Quebec Assembly claiming for its resolutions the force of laws, compare what Aristotle says in the Politics, Book IV, chap. 4, as to the different kinds of democracy. The last and extreme kind of democracy, parallel to a tyranny, is, he says, when the chief power is in resolutions and not in the law (ὅταν τὰ ψηφίσματα κύρια ἦ ἀλλὰ μὴ ὁ νόμος). This passage of Aristotle’s will be found translated and annotated in Sir G. Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies, 1891 ed., pp. 29-32, and note B. As to the authority of resolutions passed by either House of the Imperial Parliament, see Professor Dicey’s Law of the Constitution, 6th ed., 1902, pp. 52, &c.

[66] The case of Mr. Mondelet was one of the most flagrant among the many episodes of the Quebec Assembly. An account of it will be found in Christie, vol. iii, pp. 444-9, 497-501, 523-6. Dominique Mondelet, a young French Canadian, who had lately been elected to the Assembly as one of the members for the county of Montreal, was in November 1832 appointed by the Governor-General to a seat on the Executive Council. The Assembly resolved that his seat in that House should be declared vacant under a resolution which they had passed in February 1831, and which laid down that any member accepting an office of profit from the Crown and becoming accountable for public money, should vacate his seat. It was held that the office of executive councillor was an office of profit, though as a matter of fact Mondelet received no pay; and the Speaker issued a warrant for a new writ of election. The Governor-General, Lord Aylmer, as Keeper of the Great Seal, was called upon to sign and issue the writ. This he refused to do; and in March 1833 the House of Assembly voted an address to him, asking the reason of the delay. He gave his reasons, said that being in doubt he had referred to the Secretary of State, and asked that the matter might stand over pending a reply. The Assembly then treated him as having violated the constitution, and made use of very insulting terms. In the following January 1834, Lord Aylmer communicated to the Assembly the answer from the Secretary of State, Mr. Stanley. The latter approved the Governor’s refusal to sign the writ in unusually plain language, said that the case was so clear that reference to him was unnecessary, censured the tone adopted by the Assembly, and commented severely upon the ‘fatal error’, which he said the House of Commons had never committed, ‘of arrogating to themselves the monstrous right of giving to their resolutions the force of law.’

[67] The Act 1 & 2 Vic. cap. 9, dated February 10, 1838, was entitled ‘An Act to make temporary provision for the government of Lower Canada’. For the period from the date when it should be proclaimed in the province to November 1, 1840, it repealed the constitutional Act of 1791, so far as the latter provided a Legislature for Lower Canada, and in lieu it authorized the Crown to constitute a Special Council for the affairs of Lower Canada. The Governor and this Council were empowered to make laws, but no such laws were to continue in force beyond November 1, 1842, ‘unless continued by competent authority.’ They were further precluded from imposing new taxes, and from any legislation embodying a constitutional change. This Imperial Act, therefore, was a very complete illustration of temporary legislation. As to the practice of temporary legislation on the part of the Quebec Assembly, see what is said in the Municipal Report (Appendix C, vol. iii, pp. 145-52) under ‘General Character of Provincial Legislation and see Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 263. ‘The House of Assembly knew well the power which they derived from their common habit of temporary legislation.’ For a good illustration of the great practical inconvenience which it caused, see the Introduction, p. 195, note.

[68] The Lachine canal, 8½ miles in length, with five locks—originally seven—was cut through the southern part of the island of Montreal, in order to facilitate navigation past the St. Louis or Lachine rapids of the St. Lawrence. It was a very early project, but nothing was done until after the second American war, when, in 1815, on the recommendation of the Governor, Sir George Prevost, the Quebec Legislature passed an Act, appropriating £25,000 in aid of its construction. The work, however, was not begun until 1821, and the canal was opened in 1825. It cost over £107,000, the money being provided from Lower Canada funds, with the exception of £10,000 contributed by the Imperial Government. Like other Canadian canals, it was subsequently reconstructed and enlarged (see the Historical Sketch of the Canals of Canada in the Report of the Canadian Canal Commission of 1871, Canadian Sessional Papers of 1871, No. 54).

[69] The following is what Erskine May says as to ‘Tacking’ (Parliamentary Practice, 11th ed., 1906, p. 585):

Tacks to bills of Supply. In former times, the Commons abused their right to grant supplies without interference from the Lords, by tacking to supply bills provisions which, in a bill that the Lords had no right to amend, must either have been accepted by them unconsidered, or have caused the rejection of a measure necessary for the public service. This is an invasion of the privileges of the Lords, no less than their interference in matters of supply infringes the privileges of the Commons, and has been met by the Lords by Standing Order No. 59, and by their resolution of December 9, 1702:—

‘ “That the annexing any clause or clauses to a bill of aid or supply, the matter of which is foreign to, and different from, the matter of the said bills of aid or supply, is unparliamentary, and tends to the destruction of the constitution of the government.” ’

Money Bills are now strictly defined by section 3 of the Parliament Act of 1911.

No definite provision was made against ‘tacking’ either in the Canadian Union Act of 1840 or in the British North America Act of 1867, but section 18 of the latter Act provided that the privileges, immunities, and powers of the two Houses of the Dominion Parliament respectively should be such as are defined from time to time by Act of the Dominion Parliament, but so as never to exceed the privileges, &c., of the British House of Commons at the time of the passing of the Act. These privileges, &c., were defined by the Canadian Senate and House of Commons Act of 1868. In 1875 a short Imperial Act was passed repealing the 18th section of the British North America Act, and re-enacting it in a different form, so as to provide that the privileges, &c., shall not exceed those enjoyed by the British House of Commons at the time of the passing of any defining Canadian Act. The net result is that while there is no legal provision against ‘tacking’ in Canada, the constitutional practice is as in the United Kingdom (see Todd, Parliamentary Government in the Colonies, 2nd ed., 1894, pp. 705-6).

The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act of 1900 contains very definite provisions against ‘tacking’. Section 54 provides: ‘The proposed law which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the government shall deal only with such appropriation’; and section 55 provides that ‘Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect’.

The South Africa Act of 1909 has the following safeguards against ‘tacking’. Section 61 provides: ‘Any Bill which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary services of the government shall deal only with such appropriation.’ With this section must be coupled section 60, subsection 2: ‘The senate may not amend any Bills so far as they impose taxation or appropriate revenue or moneys for the services of the government’, implying that, except in this respect, there is no restriction on the power of amendment by the senate.

[70] Lord Sydenham took entirely the same view on this point as Lord Durham. See Introduction, p. 218.

[71] I have been unable to verify this quotation.—Ed.

[72] It is not always easy, especially in the smaller colonies, to determine whether a particular item of expenditure shall be charged to municipal or to general funds, and in some colonies or dependencies, as e.g. in Hong-kong before the extension of its boundaries, the colony may mainly consist of what would in ordinary circumstances be a municipality. Mr. Chamberlain, in a dispatch to the Governor of the Leeward Islands, dated November 15, 1895, an extract from which was sent to the other Crown Colonies in a circular dispatch, dated December 23, 1895, condemned the practice of assisting purely local improvements or enterprises from general funds in the following terms:—

‘2. I am aware that in some instances my predecessors have allowed charges to be imposed upon general revenues of a Colony in order to provide for public works for the sanitation or other objects in the capital town or other large towns. I cannot however give my adhesion to such a practice, which I consider to be altogether opposed to the true principles of municipal and civil government, which require that those who spend the money and derive all the direct advantages of the expenditure should also provide the funds.

‘3. There may be good reason for charging the general revenue with the whole or part of the cost of Harbour Works or Port accommodation, although the works are local, because the whole community are interested, and because the cost of works of this description is partially recouped by dues levied from those who use them, but I can see no more reason for providing for the extension and improvement of the City of St. John at the expense of the whole Presidency, than for making the whole of the United Kingdom pay for the improvement of London.

‘4. Moreover the system of charging the community at large with the cost of a local scheme does not conduce to economy or prudence in the administration of that scheme, or to the fostering of a due sense of responsibility on the part of those who administer the affairs of the locality which is allowed to draw upon the whole community for contribution to local undertakings.

‘5. I am anxious to encourage and develop the municipal spirit in all the larger towns of Her Majesty’s Crown Colonies, but I hold it to be of the first importance that such a spirit should aim from the first at being self supporting.’

[73] See also vol. ii, p. 287 and p. 328, note. Both the Union Act and the British North America Act contained provisions against this abuse. See also the Introduction, p. 292.

[74] This Report is quoted with approval by Arthur Buller, the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada, Appendix D, vol. iii, pp. 259-61. It is also given at length in the Appendix to the General Report of the Commissioners on grievances complained of in Lower Canada (Lord Gosford and his colleagues), House of Commons Paper, No. 50, February 20, 1837, Appendix to the General Report, pp. 156-60.

[75] Edward Ellice the elder, commonly known as ‘Bear’ Ellice, because of his connexion with the Canadian fur companies, was born in 1781. His father had been a Loyalist, who removed from New York to Montreal, and subsequently established a branch of his firm in London. Edward Ellice was brought up and educated in the United Kingdom, and spent his life, partly as a merchant partly as a politician, partly in Canada and the United States, in both of which he had large estates, but mainly in the United Kingdom. He was largely instrumental in bringing about the amalgamation of the fur companies in 1821, and he inspired the attempt to reunite the two Canadas in 1822. He was a strong Liberal, but no lover of office. He was only in office from 1830 to 1834, first as whip in Lord Grey’s Ministry and then as Secretary at War. He lived till 1863. His son was Lord Durham’s private secretary (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[76] As to the subject of this paragraph, see what is said under the heading of Poor in the General Report of the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry (Appendix C, vol. iii, pp. 166-74). It will be seen that the Commissioners divide the poor of Lower Canada into two classes (1) such as are to be found in every country, and (2) ‘such multitudes of persons in particular localities as require aid to avert the consequences, whether present or prospective, of an alleged failure of the crops.’ An account is given of the measures taken by the Legislature to deal with this second class of cases. Sir John Sherbrooke acquired much popularity, soon after he became Governor-in-Chief of Canada, by taking the responsibility of making advances of money to meet distress caused by failure of crops on the banks of the St. Lawrence below Quebec in the autumn and winter of 1816.

[77] Lord Dalhousie had expressed much the same feeling in the speech with which on March 9, 1824, he closed a barren and controversial session of the Quebec Legislature: ‘Every inhabitant of it (the province) must see that the encouraging aid of the legislature is alone wanting to arouse powerful exertions and draw forth those resources which without that aid must in great measure be dormant and useless within its reach.’

[78] See above, p. 53. ‘The most important persons in a parish were the curé, the seignior, and the militia captain’ (Parkman, The Old Régime in Canada, 1885 ed., p. 387). In his dispatch to the Duke of Portland, November 1, 1800, Lieutenant-Governor Milnes writes: ‘It is necessary to inform your Grace how far under the dominion of France the body of the people were regulated in all public matters by the officers of Militia; the Captains of Militia and the Curés being the persons employed to issue and enforce the public ordinances, and, through the authority thus delegated to them by government, possessed considerable influence in their respective parishes’ (see Canadian Constitutional Development, Egerton and Grant, p. 117). By an ordinance of 1777 ‘for establishing Courts of Criminal Jurisdiction in the Province of Quebec’, the Captains of Militia were appointed peace officers in their respective parishes; and by another ordinance of 1787 the officers of Militia generally were declared to be public and peace officers within their parishes (see Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1907, pp. 472 and 585). Lord Durham says (p. 112): ‘The officers of the Militia used to be employed for purposes of police, as far as regarded the service of criminal warrants.’ And again (p. 133): ‘Throughout the rest of the province, where the functions of a police used to be discharged by the Militia. . . .’ The Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry say that ‘The Executive police of the province are the Captains, Subalterns, and Serjeants of Militia. The Militia itself being but a nominal force’ (Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 162). As a military force, the Militia became more or less obsolete after the British conquest of Canada. The habitants, when called out by Carleton to meet the American invasion of 1775, for the most part refused to obey; and in later years, in Lord Dalhousie’s time, the majority on the Quebec Assembly brought the militia laws into party politics, and, when they passed a new militia law in 1830, ‘An act to provide for the better defence of the Province and to regulate the militia thereof’ (10 and 11 Geo. IV, cap. iii), they passed it only as a temporary ordinance. Lord Durham was thus right in speaking of the Militia as ‘annihilated’ and ‘completely disorganized’, as compared with what it had been in French times. The essence of the old French régime, of which the militia was a part, was personal service and personal allegiance to the King, and thus, in the dispatch quoted above, Milnes laid stress on the great advantage which the Government would derive, if the captains of the militia could ‘be brought to consider themselves as the immediate officers of the Crown’.

[79] The Erie canal connects Lake Erie at Buffalo with the Hudson River at West Troy and Albany. It runs through what was once the country of the Six Nation Indians. It is 352 miles in length. The importance attached to it, when it was made, may be judged from the terms of an article on the United States in the Quarterly Review for January 1828, vol. xxxvii, pp. 265-71. That article gives the whole length of the canal as 363 miles, and the difference of the levels between Lake Erie and the Hudson River as 564 feet. ‘The canal is 40 feet wide on the surface, 28 feet at the bottom, and 4 feet deep.’ It cost, according to the article, about 10 millions of dollars, and was completed within 8 years. ‘It is the first in this young nation on so magnificent a scale, but it will certainly not be the last.’

[80] With regard to the criticisms which Lord Durham makes on the Colonial Office and colonial administration in this passage and on pp. 192-3, see Introduction, pp. 266-75.

[81] Similarly at a later date, in 1848, Sir William Molesworth, in a speech in the House of Commons on colonial expenditure, complained that the Secretaries of State for the Colonies ‘are generally chosen haphazard from the chiefs of the two great political parties in this or the other House of Parliament; and they retain their office, on the average, some eighteen months or so. During the last nine years there have been no less than six colonial secretaries’ (Selected Speeches of Sir William Molesworth, edited by H. E. Egerton, p. 202).

[82] The eight ministers, as given in the Colonial Office list were:—


F. R. Robinson, afterwards Earl of Ripon.


W. Huskisson.


Sir George Murray.


Viscount Goderich, afterwards Earl of Ripon.


E. G. Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby.


Thomas Spring Rice, afterwards Lord Monteagle.


Earl of Aberdeen.


Charles Grant, afterwards Lord Glenelg.

Making eight changes of office, and seven different individuals.

[83] Even in the case of the self-governing dominions demand for more personal knowledge in the Colonial Office of the Dominions has been freely made. Thus at the Imperial Conference of 1907, Mr. Deakin, then Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, moved a resolution to the effect ‘that the Secretary of State for the Colonies be invited to frame a scheme which will create opportunities for members of the permanent staff of the Colonial Office to acquire more intimate knowledge of the circumstances and conditions of the colonies with whose business they have to deal, whether by appointments, temporary interchanges, or periodical visits of officers, or similar means’ (Cd. 3523, May 1907, p. 611).

[C] The 9 & 10 Geo. 4, c. 77. The period began to run in March 1829, and the Royal Assent was not given till May 1831.

[84] As to the reservation of Bills in the self-governing Dominions, see Keith’s Responsible Government in the Dominions, part v, chap. i: ‘Imperial Control over Dominion Administration and Legislation.’ Two years is still the limit within which the Royal Assent must be given to a Reserved Bill, in the case of legislation passed by the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada, if the Bill is to become law (see section 57 of the British North America Act).

[85] When Lord Durham speaks of the Governors as being very often disqualified ‘by an entire absence of all acquaintance with the business of civil government’, he does not notice the fact, referred to in the Introduction (p. 17), that not so many years had passed since war had been the normal condition of the British Empire, and that the Governors had therefore necessarily been soldiers. Lord Gosford was the first civilian who was Governor of Canada. No civilian Governors, however, could have done better for Canada than e.g. Carleton or Sherbrooke.

[86] As to the relation of the Executive Council to the Cabinet in the Dominions, see Keith’s Responsible Government in the Dominions, part i, chap. ii: ‘The Legal Basis of Responsible Government’ and part ii, chap. vii: ‘The Cabinet System in the Dominions,’ and compare what Sir William Anson says as to the relations of the Privy Council and the Cabinet in the United Kingdom: Law and Custom of the Constitution, 3rd ed., 1907, vol. ii, The Crown, part i, chap. ii, ‘The Councils of the Crown.’

It may be said in general terms that the Executive Council, in its origin, was simply the Council which was constituted under the instructions of the King to advise the Governor, and whose advice and consent the Governor was obliged within specified limits to obtain. The advice might obviously be given either in executive, or in legislative, or in judicial matters, and therefore one and the same Council had originally executive, legislative, and judicial powers. Thus the Quebec Act of 1774 empowered the Crown to appoint a Council ‘for the affairs of the province of Quebec’, which Council might make ordinances with the consent of the Governor. In other words, it was at once an executive and a legislative Council, and the Royal Instructions to Governor Carleton in the following year, 1775, provided that ‘any five of the said Council shall constitute a Board of Council for transacting all business, in which their advice and consent may be requisite, acts of legislation only excepted’. The same instructions directed that the Governor and Council should be constituted a Court of Appeal in civil matters, and ‘that any five of the said Council with the Governor, Lt.-Governor, or Chief Justice shall constitute a Court for that purpose’, and this was provided by an ordinance which the Council passed in 1777 (see Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, pp. 420-4 and 464-5). Thus the Council created by the Quebec Act had at once executive, legislative, and judicial functions.

These different functions only gradually became entrusted to wholly different bodies. The evolution of the Court of Appeal in Canada is given below, pp. 123-4, note: With the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Executive Council became differentiated from the Legislative Council, which latter now became the Second Chamber of the Legislature in each of the two provinces, but the Legislative Council and the Executive Council in either province largely consisted of the same individuals, while in Nova Scotia they were wholly the same down to Lord Durham’s time (see Introduction, pp. 83-5).

In the 1791 Act the Executive Council is only referred to incidentally, e.g. ‘Such Executive Council as shall be appointed by His Majesty for the Affairs of such Province’ (section 34); and the same is the case in the Union Act of 1840, e.g. section 45; but the 11th section of the British North America Act definitely lays down that ‘There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada’. Thus the Executive Council of the Dominion of Canada, as in some other cases, is now styled the Privy Council.

In Canada all the members of the Dominion Cabinet are, as in the United Kingdom, members of the Privy Council, and Privy Councillors in Canada, as in the United Kingdom, retain their position after they have ceased to be ministers.

The Governor-General does not sit in Council with his ministers, and such powers as must be exercised by the Governor-General in Council are put into effect by minutes of the Cabinet, which are submitted to and approved by the Governor-General.

[87] In the preceding note reference has been made to the royal instructions to Governor Carleton in 1775, which provided that any five of the Council created by the Quebec Act should form a Board of the Council for executive business. Carleton read this as enabling him to select a standing committee of five members to form an Executive Council, but his interpretation was challenged by the Chief Justice Livius, who contended that the meaning of the instruction simply was that executive business might be transacted by any five members of the Council who happened to be present at the time. This latter view was uphold by the Imperial Government, who in March 1779 issued an additional instruction to Carleton’s successor, Haldimand, to the effect that the article in question ‘shall not be understood to delegate authority to you our governor to select and appoint any such persons by name as you shall think fit to make such quorum, terming the same a Privy Council’ (Shortt and Doughty, p. 476 and note).

[88] As to the unpaid magistracy, see below, pp. 130-1 and note, and pp. 325-6, note; and as to the militia, see above, p. 98, note 2.

[89] As to the want of municipal institutions in Canada, see Introduction, pp. 212-3, and Merivale’s Lectures on Colonization and Colonies, 1861 ed., Appendix to Lecture xxii, pp. 651-4. This passage shows that the Report was written before the Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the Municipal Institutions of Lower Canada, which form Appendix C, had been received.

[90] See also Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 155, and Appendix D, vol. iii, pp. 249-50.

[91] Contrast, however, with this what is said in Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 144. As to the Eastern Townships, see above, p. 18 note.

[92] Parliamentary Paper 334, Canada Waste Lands, March 30, 1832. ‘Copy of the Report of Mr. Richards to the Colonial Secretary respecting the Waste Lands in the Canadas and Emigration.’ This paper gives a great deal of information valuable for historical purposes.

[93] See below, pp. 132-3, and see Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iv, p. 413: ‘The acts incorporating the cities of Quebec and Montreal, passed in 1831, but reserved for the Royal pleasure, did not come into force until June in 1832, and, limited in their duration to May 1, 1836, had not been renewed in the Session of that year, being allowed to expire expressly, it is probable, with the view to increase the general disorganization and disorders of the times, so that in the universal dissolution of municipal as well as political government, the minds of men might be the better prepared for the new order in the proposed revolution. The consequence accordingly was a total annihilation of the police in those cities, exceedingly alarming to the peaceable inhabitants, who could not, in safety, walk the streets after nightfall.’

[94] As to the administration of justice in Lower Canada, see Introduction, pp. 223-31.

[95] This paragraph is referred to more than once in Sir G. Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies, see pp. 188-9, 202, 251, 257 (1891 ed.). It is specially referred to in order to illustrate ‘the peculiar liability of the laws of a dependency to technical objections’, which Lewis gives as one of the disadvantages arising to a dependency from its dependence on the dominant country.

Lord Durham is incorrect in his statement: ‘The criminal law is the criminal law of England as it was introduced in 1774.’ The Quebec Act of 1774 did not introduce the criminal law of England into the province, it continued it (section 11). The criminal law of England had been introduced by the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and the ordinance of 1764. Lord Durham does not notice the allegation made by the opponents in Canada of the Quebec Act—without any valid foundation—that it deprived them of the privilege of the Habeas Corpus Act. As to this point, see the Editor’s History of Canada, 1763-1812, p. 88, note.

[96] The district of St. Francis included the eastern townships: it was originally an inferior district. In 1823, on the recommendation of Lord Dalhousie, the Quebec Legislature passed an Act giving the eastern townships a provincial court, with a resident judge, the area being styled for judicial purposes the inferior district of St. Francis. The measure was only passed after repeated complaints from the inhabitants of these townships, and Christie suggests that the Quebec Assembly were induced to listen to the representations in consequence of the reunion of the two Canadas having come under the consideration of the Imperial Parliament (Christie, vol. iii, pp. 12, 13).

[97] The Gaspé constituency was the most distant and inaccessible in Lower Canada, and consequently fifty additional days were allowed in this case for the return of a member, just as in the case of the Orkney and Shetland constituency the member is not returned until long after the other polls have been declared. In 1820, when Sir Peregrine Maitland was acting as Governor-in-Chief, pending Lord Dalhousie’s arrival, the newly-elected Assembly tried to embarrass the Government by refusing to transact business until the member for Gaspé had been returned. Mr. Christie was member for Gaspé when, in 1829 and later, he was repeatedly expelled from the Assembly.

The Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry suggested that this district should be annexed to New Brunswick (Appendix C, vol. iii, pp. 153 and 234).

[98] The excessive amount of the fees charged by lawyers and officials in Canada, or at any rate in Lower Canada, was an old story. Both Carleton and Haldimand wrote very strongly on the subject. Haldimand, who passed a temporary ordinance to regulate fees, wrote in 1780 to the Secretary of State that ‘The fees in general are by far too high, and more than the people of this province can bear’ (Shortt and Doughty, Papers relating to the Constitutional History of Canada, p. 486).

[99] As to these Small Cause Courts, see Appendix C, vol. iii, pp. 158-9, where they are not condemned in such wholesale terms.

[100] See also Lord Durham’s dispatch to Lord Glenelg, September 29, 1838, in which he reported what steps he had taken in order to make the Executive Council more efficient as a Court of Appeal. ‘The Executive Council is still the Court of Appeals. The only alteration in practice is, in having sworn in as Executive Councillors an additional number of judges, and not having summoned to the Council, when it sat as a Court of Appeals only, such members as had received no legal education’ (House of Commons Paper, British North America, No. 2, Feb. 11, 1839, p. 194).

[101] The ordinance of September 1764, which established Courts of Judicature for the Province of Quebec, provided that there should be a Superior Court of Judicature or Court of King’s Bench, and an inferior Court of Judicature or Court of Common Pleas; that in either case, ‘where the matter in contest is above the value of Three Hundred pounds Sterling’, an appeal should lie to the Governor and Council, and ‘where the matter in contest is of the value of Five hundred Pounds Sterling or upwards’, an appeal should lie from the Governor and Council to the King and Council. This was over and above the right of appeal from the Court of Common Pleas to the Court of King’s Bench, ‘where the matter in contest is of the value of Twenty Pounds and upwards’ (Shortt and Doughty, Documents relating to the Constitutional Development of Canada, pp. 149-52). After the Quebec Act of 1774 had been passed, an ordinance was enacted in 1777 ‘for establishing Courts of Civil Judicature in the Province of Quebec’. This ordinance constituted the Governor and Council a Court of Appeals in all cases where the value of the matter in dispute exceeded the sum of ten pounds sterling, and in all cases where the value exceeded £500 allowed a further appeal to ‘His Majesty in His Privy Council’ (Shortt and Doughty, pp. 464-5).

After the Constitutional Act of 1791 had been passed, dividing the Province of Quebec into Lower and Upper Canada, under the 34th section of that Act, an Act was passed in Lower Canada in 1793 (34 Geo. III, cap. 6) ‘for the division of the Province of Lower Canada, for amending the judicature thereof, and for repealing certain laws therein mentioned.’ By this Act, when the value of the matter in dispute exceeded £20, an appeal lay to the Provincial Court of Appeals, which consisted of ‘The governor, Lieutenant-governor, or person administering the government, the members of the Executive Council of this province, the Chief Justice thereof, and the Chief Justice to be appointed for the Court of King’s Bench at Montreal, or any five of them’. When the value of the matter in dispute exceeded £500, a further appeal lay to ‘His Majesty in his Privy Council’.

A similar Act was passed in Upper Canada in 1794 (34 Geo. III, cap. 2) ‘to establish a Superior Court of Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction and to regulate the Court of Appeal.’ Under this Act, when the value of the matter in dispute exceeded £100, an appeal lay to ‘the Court of the governor and Executive Council’. This Court consisted of ‘The governor, Lieutenant-governor or person administering the government of this province, or the Chief Justice of the province, together with any two or more members of the Executive Council of the Province’. When the value exceeded £500, a further appeal lay to ‘His Majesty in his Privy Council’.

When the two provinces were reunited by the Union Act of 1840, the 44th section of that Act laid down that, until it should be otherwise provided by an Act of the Canadian Legislature, the appellate jurisdiction which had been vested in the Governors and Executive Councils of the two provinces, should be vested in the Governor and Executive Council of the United Province.

The 101st section of the British North America Act of 1867 authorized the Parliament of Canada to provide for a General Court of Appeal for Canada, and in 1875, by Act of the Dominion Parliament, the Supreme Court of Canada was created with appellate jurisdiction throughout the Dominion. But the right of appeal to the Privy Council was not thereby abolished, and at the present day, under the Code of Civil Procedure of the Province of Quebec (1897), an appeal lies to the Privy Council from the Court of King’s Bench in the province, where the value of the matter in dispute exceeds the limit originally fixed, i.e. £500.

[102] The ‘Shiners’ were mainly raftsmen on the Ottawa River, who terrorized Ottawa and the neighbourhood, more especially in the Forties of the last century, i.e. after Lord Durham’s mission. Quarrels between the French Canadian and the English-speaking lumbermen led to much disturbance and lawlessness. ‘For many years Ottawa was under the control of a very dangerous class of roughs, who drank, gambled, and fought continually, and were the terror of all well-disposed citizens. Any one who incurred the wrath of “the Shiners” or other desperadoes, was in daily danger of his life’ (from the Canadian Monthly, vol. vii, 1875). Mr. Richards, who visited Canada in 1830, wrote: ‘Above 2,000 lumbermen and rafters were employed upon the Ottawa alone’ (copy of the Report of Mr. Richards to the Colonial Secretary respecting the Waste Lands in the Canadas and Emigration. See above, p. 115 and note). See also in this connexion Appendix C, General Report of the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry (vol. iii, p. 164), in which a complaint of the want of proper police by three inhabitants of the township of Hull, opposite Ottawa, is quoted as follows: ‘You are no doubt aware that our situation is immediately on the Chaudière Falls, where pass yearly above 160,000 pieces of timber for the Quebec market. In consequence of the obstruction of the navigation, the whole of the people employed in this branch of business are, from time to time, collected in this vicinity. Frequent breaches of the peace occur, offenders pass with impunity, &c.’

[103] See also above, pp. 54-6. The Quebec Act of 1774, by restoring French law and custom in civil matters, abolished trial by jury in such cases, and this was made a ground of complaint against the Act by its opponents. English criminal law and trial by jury in criminal matters was retained by the Act.

[104] Christie, writing of the year 1829, when Sir James Kempt was Governor, says: ‘Hitherto the grand and petty jurors attending the criminal assizes at Quebec and Montreal were taken from the cities, but a new plan was now adopted, and they were at the March term summoned from the body of the district, several travelling upwards of thirty leagues from the country parishes, to attend as grand jurors the courts on this onerous duty. The petty jurors were respectable inhabitants from the country parishes in the neighbourhood of those cities, but who, unused to the new duties which they were called upon to perform, in general complained of being taken from their homes for the performance of such, and acquitted themselves but indifferently thereof, as it was but natural they should from their inexperience’ (vol. iii, p. 261). The Act referred to, as having been subsequently passed, seems to have been an Act not of Sir James Kempt’s time, but of 1832 (2 Will. IV, cap. 22), ‘to regulate the qualification and summoning of jurors in civil and criminal matters.’ It expired on May 1, 1835 (not in 1836), and was not renewed.

[105] For an account of this riot, see Christie, vol. iii, pp. 396-407. Papineau tried to induce the Governor-in-Chief, Lord Aylmer, to interfere, but the latter very properly left the matter entirely to the law courts. The riot took place on May 21, 1832, and at the beginning of the following September, at the Montreal criminal assizes, bills of indictment against two magistrates and two military officers were thrown out by the grand jury.

[106] See Appendix C, vol. iii, pp. 159-60, where the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry point out, as Lord Durham also suggests, that the real property qualification operated against the British section of the community in Lower Canada, who were mainly to be found in the towns. As to the unsuitability of certain English institutions for the colonies, see below, pp. 325-6, note.

[107] See above, p. 115 and note 2.

[108] The Act ‘for improving the police in and near the metropolis’ (10 Geo. IV, cap. 44) was passed in the year 1829, following on a House of Commons Committee in the year 1828. It substituted a metropolitan police under the direct control of the Home Office for the old local system of watchmen. The author of the change was Sir Robert Peel, when he held the office of Home Secretary in the Duke of Wellington’s Government. Hence the nicknames ‘Bobbies’, ‘Peelers’. In their Report (see vol. iii, p. 197) the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry write of Quebec and Montreal when incorporated under the temporary Act: ‘The guardianship of the night was intrusted to a meagre selection of the class of veteran servitors, of whose impotency for all useful purposes the people of London were cognizant before the establishment of the “New Police” ’. It will be noted that Peel’s reform was one of centralization, and directly opposed to the principle of local self-government. It was much criticized at the time as interfering with popular liberties.

[109] See above, p. 98, note 2.

[110] Theller was a leading man among a band of men who attempted to organize an invasion of Upper Canada on the line of the Detroit River. According to Kingsford (vol. x, p. 451), ‘he was an Irish American, claiming to be a doctor who had practised his profession in some of the country parishes of Lower Canada.’ The schooner on which he threatened a landing, drifted within reach of the Canadian militia in January 1838, and was taken. He was tried and sentenced to transportation, but with another prisoner, Dodge, escaped from his prison in the citadel of Quebec, and reached the State of Maine. A good account of his escape is given by Kingsford (vol. x, pp. 465-8).

[111] See above, pp. 30-2 and notes and pp. 94-6. See also Appendix D, (vol. iii) especially pp. 269-72, and see Introduction, pp. 232-44. As Lord Durham states below, the Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada (Arthur Buller) had not been completed when he (Lord Durham) wrote his own Report.

[112] The Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada wrote: ‘The only Protestant endowment in the province is that of McGill’s College. . . . The college is not yet open; indeed, the building not yet erected’ (Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 272). See Introduction, pp. 243-4.

[113] Cp. what the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada says (Appendix D, vol. iii, p. 268): ‘The bishop himself intimated to me, that the education of the Catholic population was the business of their Church, and one with which the Government had no right to interfere.’

[114] The same charge against the British Government of neglecting education is made above, pp. 30-4. See p. 30, note 8, and see Introduction, pp. 232-4. As to the Jesuits’ estates, see Appendix D, and Introduction, pp. 165-7 and 232, 236.

[115] This has not been reprinted. As to the establishment of a quarantine station at Grosse Isle, see Introduction, p. 194.

[116] As to religious toleration in Lower Canada, see above, p. 39 and note 1. It was a contrast to Upper Canada in this respect, see below, pp. 179-82 and notes.

[117] Under the Capitulation of Montreal in 1760, the obligation of the French Canadians to pay tithes to the priests was reserved by Amherst for the King’s pleasure. By the 5th section of the Quebec Act of 1774 it was provided that the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church ‘may hold, receive, and enjoy their accustomed dues and rights with respect to such persons only as shall profess the said religion’. This provision was confirmed by the 35th section of the Constitutional Act of 1791.

[118] A strong tribute to the loyalty of the Roman Catholic clergy in Lower Canada is given in the Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the State of Education in Lower Canada (Appendix D): ‘It is impossible to pay too high a tribute to the merits of this most exemplary Church. Its existence has ever been beneficially felt, and its career has been marked throughout by the most faithful discharge of its sacred duties, and the most undeviating allegiance to the British Crown’ (vol. iii, p. 241), and again, ‘the Catholic Church, whose ministers have been the only men of station among the French Canadians who never forfeited their fidelity to the Mother Country’ (vol. iii, p. 277).

[119] It may be noted that in 1824 the Quebec Assembly addressed the King in favour of giving to the Established Church of Scotland and to the dissenting Protestant bodies a share in the clergy reserves of Lower Canada. ‘This address from the Assembly, consisting chiefly of Roman Catholics, gave great offence to the Clergy and members of the established Church of England, who deemed it an improper interference in their concerns on the part of the Assembly’ (Christie, History of Lower Canada, vol. iii, pp. 45-6).

[120] As to the large amount of Irish emigration to Canada, see Introduction, p. 190, and note.

[121] For an account of banking in Canada, see the article on ‘Banks Canada’ in the Dictionary of Political Economy, vol. i, pp. 100-2. See also Shortt, Early History of Canadian Banking, and Walker, History of Banking in Canada (Toronto, 1909). The successful establishment of banks in Canada dates from 1817-25. The Articles of Association of the Bank of Montreal were signed in 1817, and its charter received the royal assent in 1822. In 1837, the year before Lord Durham went out, there was a business panic in the United States, which resulted in the banks in Lower Canada, and subsequently those in Upper Canada, temporarily suspending specie payments. A special session of the Upper Canada Legislature was called to deal with the crisis, and reference is made on p. 170 to legislation then passed. At the present day the banking system of Canada is very strong and sound, as compared with that of the United States.

[122] As to the casual and territorial funds, see Introduction, pp. 40 and 182-5. The duties imposed by Imperial Statutes were mainly those imposed by the Quebec Revenue Act of 1774 (14 Geo. III, cap. 88). This Act was still in force, though the appropriation of the net revenues raised under the Act had been handed over to the local Legislatures by the Canadian Revenue Control Act of 1831.

[123] One of the disadvantages of the Act of 1791 was that it created a purely inland colony in Upper Canada, which imported and exported either through a foreign country, the United States, or through another British colony, Lower Canada. The main avenue of trade being the St. Lawrence, Upper Canada could only collect a customs revenue, either by establishing customs houses on the borders of Lower Canada, or by making an arrangement with Lower Canada by which Lower Canada would collect the customs and hand over a proportion to Upper Canada. The second alternative was taken, but constant friction resulted, and there were perpetual commissions appointed by the two provinces resulting in temporary arrangements. At first, by an agreement expiring at the end of 1796, one-eighth of the customs receipts was assigned to Upper Canada; in 1818 one-fifth was assigned; then there was a deadlock, to meet which the Imperial Canada Trade Act was passed in 1822, which restrained the Legislature of Lower Canada from arbitrary action crippling the revenue of Upper Canada. By arbitration under that Act, the proportion assigned to Upper Canada was in 1824 raised to one-fourth, and Lord Durham tells us that in his time it was about two-fifths. The dispute was only settled by the reunion of the two provinces. An account of the different temporary arrangements which were made is given in the evidence of Mr. (afterwards Sir James) Stephen before the House of Commons Committee of 1828, pp. 250-1. See also below, p. 188-92.

[D] The privilege of franking possessed by a few public officers in this Province, is of a singular kind. For, as it is necessary for the public service that such a privilege should be exercised, and as the English office accords no immunities to the functionaries of a Colonial Government, the postage is charged on all franked letters, and the Provincial Treasury has to pay the amount over to the Post Office. This, in fact, destroys in a great measure the utility of the privilege for public purposes; because public officers are unwilling to use the post for their communications, when their doing so diminishes the revenues of the Province.

[124] The post offices in Upper and Lower Canada were taken over by the colonial authorities on April 5, 1851, and in the Maritime Provinces on July 6, 1851.


The information which I have to give respecting the State of Upper Canada. state of Upper Canada not having been acquired in the course of any actual administration of the government of that Province,[1] will necessarily be much less ample and detailed than that which I have laid before Your Majesty respecting Lower Canada. My object will be to point out the principal causes to which a general observation of the Province induces me to attribute the late troubles; and even this task will be performed with comparative ease and brevity, inasmuch as I am spared the labour of much explanation and proof, by being able to refer to the details which I have given, and the principles which I have laid down, in describing the institutions of the Lower Province.

At first sight it appears much more difficult to form an Difficulty of ascertaining real objects of struggles. accurate idea of the state of Upper than of Lower Canada. The visible and broad line of demarcation which separates parties by the distinctive characters of race, happily has no existence in the Upper Province. The quarrel is one of an entirely English, if not British population. Like all such quarrels, it has, in fact, created, not two, but several parties; each of which has some objects in common with some one of those to which it is opposed. They differ on one point, and agree on another; the sections, which unite together one day, are strongly opposed the next; and the very party, which acts as one, against a common opponent, is in truth composed of divisions seeking utterly different or incompatible objects. It is very difficult to make out from the avowals of parties the real objects of their struggles, and still less easy is it to discover any cause of such importance as would account for its uniting any large mass of the people in an attempt to overthrow, by forcible means, the existing form of Government.

The peculiar geographical character of the Province Isolation of districts. greatly increases the difficulty of obtaining very accurate information. Its inhabitants scattered along an extensive frontier, with very imperfect means of communication, and a limited and partial commerce, have, apparently no unity of interest or opinion. The Province has no great centre with which all the separate parts are connected, and which they are accustomed to follow in sentiment and action;[2] nor is there that habitual intercourse between the inhabitants of different parts of the country, which, by diffusing through all a knowledge of the opinions and interests of each, makes a people one and united, in spite of extent of territory and dispersion of population. Instead of this, there are many petty local centres, the sentiments and the interests (or at least what are fancied to be so) of which, are distinct, and perhaps opposed. It has been stated to me by intelligent persons from England, who had travelled through the Province for purposes of business, that this isolation of the different districts from each other was strikingly apparent in all attempts to acquire information in one district respecting the agricultural or commercial character of another; and that not only were very gross attempts made to deceive an inquirer on these points, but that even the information which had been given in a spirit of perfect good faith, generally turned out to be founded in great misapprehension. From these causes a stranger who visits any one of these local centres, or who does not visit the whole, is almost necessarily ignorant of matters, a true knowledge of which is essential to an accurate comprehension of the real position of parties, and of the political prospects of the country.

The political contest which has so long been carried on Features of the contest in the Assembly, &c. in the Assembly and the press appears to have been one, exhibiting throughout its whole course the characteristical features of the purely political part of the contest in Lower Canada; and, like that, originating in an unwise distribution of power in the constitutional system of the Province. The financial disputes which so long occupied the contending parties in Lower Canada, were much more easily and wisely arranged in the Upper Province;[3] and the struggle, though extending itself over a variety of questions of more or less importance, avowedly and distinctly rested on the demand for responsibility in the Executive Government.

In the preceding account of the working of the constitutional The ‘family compact’. system in Lower Canada, I have described the effect which the irresponsibility of the real advisers of the Governor had in lodging permanent authority in the hands of a powerful party, linked together not only by common party interests, but by personal ties. But in none of the North American Provinces has this exhibited itself for so long a period or to such an extent, as in Upper Canada, which has long been entirely governed by a party commonly designated throughout the Province as the ‘family compact’,[4] a name not much more appropriate than party designations usually are, inasmuch as there is, in truth, very little of family connexion among the persons thus united. For a long time this body of men, receiving at times accessions to its numbers, possessed almost all the highest public offices, by means of which, and of its influence in the Executive Council, it wielded all the powers of government; it maintained influence in the legislature by means of its predominance in the Legislative Council; and it disposed of the large number of petty posts which are in the patronage of the Government all over the Province. Successive Governors, as they came in their turn, are said to have either submitted quietly to its influence, or, after a short and unavailing struggle, to have yielded to this well-organized party the real conduct of affairs. The bench, the magistracy, the high offices of the Episcopal Church, and a great part of the legal profession, are filled by the adherents of this party: by grant or purchase, they have acquired nearly the whole of the waste lands of the Province; they are all-powerful in the chartered banks, and, till lately, shared among themselves almost exclusively all offices of trust and profit. The bulk of this party consists, for the most part, of native-born inhabitants of the Colony, or of emigrants who settled in it before the last war with the United States; the principal members of it belong to the church of England, and the maintenance of the claims of that church has always been one of its distinguishing characteristics.

A monopoly of power so extensive and so lasting could Opposition of reformers and results. not fail, in process of time, to excite envy, create dissatisfaction, and ultimately provoke attack; and an opposition consequently grew up in the Assembly which assailed the ruling party, by appealing to popular principles of government, by denouncing the alleged jobbing and profusion of the official body, and by instituting inquiries into abuses, for the purpose of promoting reform, and especially economy. The question of the greatest importance, raised in the course of these disputes, was that of the disposal of the clergy reserves; and, though different modes of applying these lands, or rather the funds derived from them, were suggested, the reformers, or opposition, were generally very successful in their appeals to the people, against the project of the Tory or official party,[5] which was that of devoting them exclusively to the maintenance of the English Episcopal Church. The reformers, by successfully agitating this and various economical questions, obtained a majority. Like almost all popular colonial parties, it managed its power with very little discretion and skill, offended a large number of the constituencies, and, being baffled by the Legislative Council, and resolutely opposed by all the personal and official influence of the official body, a dissolution again placed it in a minority in the Assembly. This turn of fortune was not confined to a single instance; for neither party has for some time possessed the majority in two successive Parliaments. The present is the fifth of these alternating Houses of Assembly.[6]

The reformers, however, at last discovered that success Objects and conduct of the reformers. in the elections insured them very little practical benefit. For the official party not being removed when it failed to command a majority in the Assembly, still continued to wield all the powers of the executive government, to strengthen itself by its patronage, and to influence the policy of the colonial Governor and of the Colonial Department at home. By its secure majority in the Legislative Council, it could effectually control the legislative powers of the Assembly. It could choose its own moment for dissolving hostile Assemblies; and could always insure, for those that were favourable to itself, the tenure of their seats for the full term of four years allowed by the law. Thus the reformers found that their triumph at elections could not in any way facilitate the progress of their views, while the executive government remained constantly in the hands of their opponents. They rightly judged that, if the higher offices and the Executive Council were always held by those who could command a majority in the Assembly, the constitution of the Legislative Council was a matter of very little moment, inasmuch as the advisers of the Governor could always take care that its composition should be modified so as to suit their own purposes. They Contrast with the French majority. concentrated their powers, therefore, for the purpose of obtaining the responsibility of the Executive Council; and I cannot help contrasting the practical good sense of the English reformers of Upper Canada with the less prudent course of the French majority in the Assembly of Lower Canada, as exhibited in the different demands of constitutional change, most earnestly pressed by each. Both, in fact, desired the same object, namely, an extension of popular influence in the Government. The Assembly of Lower Canada attacked the Legislative Council; a body, of which the constitution was certainly the most open to obvious theoretical objections, on the part of all the advocates of popular institutions, but, for the same reason, most sure of finding powerful defenders at home. The reformers of Upper Canada paid little attention to the composition of the Legislative Council, and directed their exertions to obtaining such an alteration of the Executive Council as might have been obtained without any derangement of the constitutional balance of power; but they well knew, that if once they obtained possession of the Executive Council, and the higher offices of the Province, the Legislative Council would soon be unable to offer any effectual resistance to their meditated reforms.

It was upon this question of the responsibility of the Question as to Executive Council. Executive Council that the great struggle has for a long time been carried on between the official party and the reformers; for the official party, like all parties long in power, was naturally unwilling to submit itself to any such responsibility as would abridge its tenure, or cramp its exercise of authority. Reluctant to acknowledge any responsibility to the people of the Colony, this party appears to have paid a somewhat refractory and nominal submission to the Imperial Government, relying in fact on securing a virtual independence by this nominal submission to the distant authority of the Colonial Department, or to the powers of a Governor, over whose policy they were certain, by their facilities of access, to obtain a paramount influence.

The views of the great body of the Reformers appear Views of reformers in general. to have been limited, according to their favourite expression, to making the Colonial Constitution ‘an exact transcript’ of that of Great Britain; and they only desired that the Crown should in Upper Canada, as at home, entrust the administration of affairs to men possessing the confidence of the Assembly. It cannot be doubted, however, that there were many of the party who wished to assimilate the institutions of the Province rather to those of the United States than to those of the mother country. A few persons, chiefly of American origin, appear to have entertained these designs from the outset; but the number had at last been very much increased by the despair which many of those who started with more limited views conceived of their being ever carried into effect under the existing form of Government.

Each party, while it possessed the ascendancy, has been Local jobbing. accused by its opponents of having abused its power over the public funds in those modes of local jobbing which I have described as so common in the North American Colonies. This, perhaps, is to be attributed partly to the circumstances adverted to above, as increasing the difficulty of obtaining any accurate information as to the real circumstances of the Province. From these causes it too often happened that the members of the House of Assembly came to the meeting of the legislature ignorant of the real character of the general interests entrusted to their guardianship, intent only on promoting sectional objects, and anxious chiefly to secure for the county they happen to represent, or the district with which they are connected, as large a proportion as possible of any funds which the legislature may have at its disposal. In Upper Canada, however, the means of doing this were never so extensive as those possessed by the Lower Province; and the great works which the Province commenced on a very extended scale, and executed in a spirit of great carelessness and profusion, have left so little surplus revenue, that this Province alone, among the North American Colonies, has fortunately for itself been compelled to establish a system of local assessments, and to leave local works, in a great measure, to the energy and means of the localities themselves. It is asserted, however, that the nature of those great works, and the manner in which they were carried on, evinced merely a regard for local interests, and a disposition to strengthen party influence. The inhabitants of the less thickly peopled districts complained that the revenues of the Province were employed in works by which only the frontier population would benefit. The money absorbed by undertakings which they described as disproportioned to the resources and to the wants of the Province, would, they alleged, have sufficed to establish practicable means of communication over the whole country; and they stated, apparently not without foundation, that had this latter course been pursued, the population and the resources of the Province would have been so augmented as to make the works actually undertaken both useful and profitable. The carelessness and profusion which marked the execution of these works, the management of which, it was complained, was entrusted chiefly to members of the ruling party, were also assumed to be the result of a deliberate purpose, and to be permitted, if not encouraged, in order that a few individuals might be enriched at the expense of the community. Circumstances to which I shall hereafter advert, by which the further progress of these works has been checked, and the large expenses incurred in bringing them to their present state of forwardness, have been rendered unavailing, have given greater force to these complaints, and, in addition to the discontent produced by the objects of the expenditure, the governing party has been made responsible for a failure in the accomplishment of these objects, attributable to causes over which it had no control. But to whatever extent these practices may have been carried, the course of the Parliamentary contest in Upper Canada has not been marked by that singular neglect of the great duties of a legislative body, which I have remarked in Useful reforms. the proceedings of the Parliament of Lower Canada. The statute book of the Upper Province abounds with useful and well-constructed measures of reform, and presents an honourable contrast to that of the Lower Province.

While the parties were thus struggling, the operation Third party of recent emigrants. of a cause, utterly unconnected with their disputes, suddenly raised up a very considerable third party,[7] which began to make its appearance among the political disputants about the time that the quarrel was at its height. I have said that in Upper Canada there is no animosity of races; there is nevertheless a distinction of origin, which has exercised a very important influence on the composition of parties, and appears likely, sooner or later, to become the prominent and absorbing element of political division. The official and reforming parties which I have described, were both composed, for the most part, and were almost entirely led, by native-born Canadians, American settlers, or emigrants of a very ancient date; and as one section of this more ancient population possessed, so another was the only body of persons that claimed, the management of affairs, and the enjoyment of offices conferring emolument or power, until the extensive emigration from Great Britain, which followed the disastrous period of 1825 and 1826,[8] changed the state of things, by suddenly doubling the population, and introducing among the ancient disputants for power, an entirely new class of persons. The new-comers, however, did not for a long time appear as a distinct party in the politics of Upper Canada. A large number of the higher class of emigrants, particularly the half-pay officers, who were induced to settle in this Province, had belonged to the Tory party in England, and, in conformity with their ancient predilections, naturally arrayed themselves on the side of the official party, contending with the representatives of the people. The mass of the humbler order of emigrants, accustomed in the mother country to complain of the corruption and profusion of the Government, and to seek for a reform of abuses, by increasing the popular influence in the representative body, arrayed themselves on the side of those who represented the people, and attacked oligarchical power and abuses; but there was still a great difference of opinion between each of the two Canadian parties and that section of the British which for a while acted with it. Each of the Canadian parties, while it differed with the other about the tenure of political powers in the Colony, desired almost the same degree of practical independence of the mother country; each felt and each betrayed in its political conduct a jealousy of the emigrants, and a wish to maintain the powers of office and the emoluments of the professions in the hands of persons born or long resident in the Colony. The British, on the contrary, to whichever party they belong, appear to agree in desiring that the connexion with the mother country should be drawn closer. They differ very little among themselves, I imagine, in desiring such a change as should assimilate the Government of Upper Canada, in spirit as well as in form, to the Government of England, retaining an executive sufficiently powerful to curb popular excesses, and giving to the majority of the people, or to such of them as the less liberal would trust with political rights, some substantial control over the administration of affairs. But the great common object was, and is, the removal of those disqualifications to which British emigrants are subject, so that they might feel as citizens, instead of aliens, in the land of their adoption.

Such was the state of parties, when Sir F. Head,[9] on Proceedings of Sir F. Head. assuming the government of the Colony, dismissed from the Executive Council some of the members who were most obnoxious to the House of Assembly, and requested three individuals to succeed them. Two of these gentlemen, Dr. Rolph,[10] and Mr. R. Baldwin,[11] were connected with the reforming party, and the third, Mr. Dunn, was an Englishman, who had held the office of Receiver General for nearly 14 years, and up to that time had abstained from any interference in politics. These gentlemen were, at first, reluctant to take office, because they feared that, as there were still three of the former Council left, they should be constantly maintaining a doubtful struggle for the measures which they considered necessary. They were, however, at length induced to forego their scruples, chiefly upon the representations of some of their friends, that when they had a Governor who appeared sincere in his professions of reform, and who promised them his entire confidence, it was neither generous nor prudent to persist in a refusal which might be taken to imply distrust of his sincerity; and they accordingly accepted office. Among the first acts of the Governor, after the appointment of this Council, was, however, the nomination to some vacant offices of individuals, who were taken from the old official party, and this without any communication with his Council. These appointments were attacked by the House of Assembly, and the new Council, finding that their opinion was never asked upon these, or other matters, and that they were seemingly to be kept in ignorance of all those public measures, which popular opinion nevertheless attributed to their advice, remonstrated privately on the subject with the Governor. Sir Francis desired them to make a formal representation to him on the subject; they did so, and this produced such a reply from him, as left them no choice but to resign. The occasion of the differences which had caused the resignation, was made the subject of communication between the Governor and the Assembly, so that the whole community were informed of the grounds of the dispute.

The contest which appeared to be thus commenced on Real question decided by general election of 1836. the question of the responsibility of the Executive Council, was really decided on very different grounds. Sir F. Head, who appears to have thought that the maintenance of the connexion with Great Britain depended upon his triumph over the majority of the Assembly, embarked in the contest, with a determination to use every influence in his power, in order to bring it to a successful issue. He succeeded, in fact, in putting the issue in such a light before the Province, that a great portion of the people really imagined that they were called upon to decide the question of separation by their votes. The dissolution, on which he ventured, when he thought the public mind sufficiently ripe, completely answered his expectations. The British, in particular, were roused by the proclaimed danger to the connexion with the mother country; they were indignant at some portions of the conduct and speeches of certain members of the late majority, which seemed to mark a determined preference of American over British Institutions. They were irritated by indications of hostility to British emigration, which they saw, or fancied they saw, in some recent proceedings of the Assembly. Above all, not only they, but a great many others, had marked with envy the stupendous public works which were at that period producing their effect in the almost marvellous growth of the wealth and population of the neighbouring state of New York; and they reproached the Assembly with what they considered an unwise economy, in preventing the undertaking or even completion of similar works, that might, as they fancied, have produced a similar development of the resources of Upper Canada. The general support of the British determined the elections in favour of the Government; and though very large and close minorities, which in many cases supported the defeated candidates, marked the force which the reformers could bring into the field, even in spite of the disadvantages under which they laboured from the momentary prejudices against them, and the unusual manner in which the Crown, by its representative, appeared to make itself a party in an electioneering contest, the result was the return of a very large majority hostile in politics to that of the late Assembly.

It is rather singular, however, that the result which Failure of result aimed at by Sir F. Head. Sir F. Head appears really to have aimed at, was by no means secured by this apparent triumph. His object in all his previous measures, and in the nomination of the Executive Councillors, by whom he replaced the retiring members, was evidently to make the Council a means of administrative independence for the Governor. Sir F. Head would seem to have been, at the commencement of his administration, really desirous of effecting certain reforms which he believed to be needful, and of rescuing the substantial power of the Government from the hands of the party by which it had been so long monopolized. The dismissal of the old members of the Executive Council was the consequence of this intention; but though willing to take measures for the purpose of emancipating himself from the thraldom in which it was stated that other Governors had been held, he could not acquiesce in the claims of the House of Assembly to have a really responsible Colonial Executive.[12] The result of the elections was to give him, as he conceived, a House of Assembly pledged to support him, as Governor, in the exercise of the independent authority he had claimed. On the very first occasion, however, on which he attempted to protect an officer of the Government, unconnected with the old official party, from charges which, whether well or ill founded, were obviously brought forward on personal grounds, he found that the new House was even more determined than its predecessor to assert its right to exercise a substantial control over the Government; and that, unless he was disposed to risk a collision with both branches of the legislature, then composed of similar materials, and virtually under one influence, he must succumb. Unwilling to incur this risk, when, as he justly imagined, there was no party upon whose support he could rely to bear him safely through the contest, he yielded the point. Although the committee appointed to inquire into the truth of the charges made against Mr. Hepburn refused to adopt a report confirming these charges prepared by their chairman (by whom the accusation had been brought forward, and by whom the committee was virtually nominated), Sir F. Head persuaded the individual in question to resign his office,[13] and to take one of very inferior emolument. From that time he never attempted to assert the independence which the new House of Assembly had been elected to secure. The Government consequently reverted in effect to the party which he had found in office when he assumed the Governorship, and which it had been his first act to dispossess. In their hands it still remains; and I must state that it is the general opinion, that never was the power of the ‘family compact’ so extensive or so absolute as it has been from the first meeting of the existing Parliament down to the present time.

It may, indeed, be fairly said, that the real result of Real result of Sir F. Head’s policy. Sir F. Head’s policy was to establish that very administrative influence of the leaders of a majority in the Legislature which he had so obstinately disputed. The Executive Councillors of his nomination, who seem to have taken office almost on the express condition of being mere ciphers, are not, in fact, then, the real government of the Province. It is said that the new officers of Government whom Sir F. Head appointed from without the pale of official eligibility, feel more apprehension of the present House than, so far as can be judged, was ever felt by their predecessors with regard to the most violent of the reforming Houses of Assembly. Their apprehension, however, is not confined to the present House; they feel that, under no conceivable contingency, can they expect an Assembly disposed to support them; and they accordingly appear to desire such a change in the colonial system as might make them dependent upon the Imperial Government alone, and secure them against all interference from the Legislature of the Province, whatever party should obtain a preponderance in the Assembly.

While the nominal Government thus possesses no real Legislature does not possess sufficient popular confidence. power, the Legislature, by whose leaders the substantial power is enjoyed, by no means possesses so much of the confidence of the people, as a Legislature ought to command, even from those who differ from it on the questions of the day. I say this without meaning to cast any imputation on the Members of the House of Assembly, because, in fact, the circumstances under which they were elected, were such as to render them peculiarly objects of suspicion and reproach to a large number of their countrymen. They were accused of having violated their pledges at the election. It is said that many of them came forward, and were elected, as being really reformers, though opposed to any such claims to colonial independence as might involve a separation from the mother country. There seems to be no doubt that in several places, where the Tories succeeded, the electors were merely desirous of returning members who would not hazard any contest with England, by the assertion of claims which, from the proclamation of the Lieutenant-Governor, they believed to be practically needless; and who should support Sir F. Head in those economical reforms which the country desired, far more than political changes—reforms, for the sake of which alone political changes had been sought. In a number of other instances, too, the elections were carried by the unscrupulous exercise of the influence of the Government, and by a display of violence on the part of the Tories, who were emboldened by the countenance afforded to them by the authorities. It was stated, but I believe without any sufficient foundation, that the Government made grants of land to persons who had no title to them, in order to secure their votes. This report originated in the fact, that patents for persons who were entitled to grants, but had not taken them out, were sent down to the polling places, to be given to the individuals entitled to them, if they were disposed to vote for the Government candidate. The taking of such measures, in order to secure their fair right of voting to the electors in a particular interest, must be considered rather as an act of official favouritism, than as an electoral fraud. But we cannot wonder that the defeated party put the very worst construction on acts which gave some ground for it; and they conceived, in consequence, a strong resentment against the means by which they believed that the representative of the Crown had carried the elections, his interference in which in any way was stigmatized by them as a gross violation of constitutional privilege and propriety.

It cannot be a matter of surprise, that such facts and Exasperation of the people. such impressions produced in the country an exasperation and a despair of good Government, which extended far beyond those who had actually been defeated at the poll. For there was nothing in the use which the leaders of the Assembly have made of their power, to soften the discontent excited by their alleged mode of obtaining it. Many even of those who had supported the successful candidates, were disappointed in every expectation which they had formed of the policy to be pursued by their new representatives. No economical reforms were introduced. The Assembly, instead of supporting the Governor, compelled his obedience to itself, and produced no change in the administration of affairs, except that of reinstating the ‘family compact’ in power. On some topics, on which the feelings of the people were very deeply engaged, as, for instance, the clergy reserves, the Assembly is accused of having shown a disposition to act in direct defiance of the known sentiments of a vast majority of its constituents. The dissatisfaction arising from these causes, was carried to its height, by an Act, that appeared in defiance of all constitutional rights, to prolong the power of a majority which, it was supposed, counted on not being able to retain its existence after another appeal to the people. This was the passing an Act preventing the dissolution of the existing, as well as any future Assembly, on the demise of the Crown.[14] The Act was passed in expectation of the approaching decease of his late Majesty; and it has, in fact, prolonged the existence of the present Assembly from the period of a single year to one of four. It is said that this step is justified by the example of the other North American Colonies. But it is certain that it nevertheless caused very great dissatisfaction, and was regarded as an unbecoming usurpation of power.

It was the prevalence of the general dissatisfaction thus Proximate causes of the insurrection. caused, that emboldened the parties who instigated the insurrection to an attempt, which may be characterized as having been as foolishly contrived and as ill-conducted, as it was wicked and treasonable. This outbreak, which common prudence and good management would have prevented from coming to a head, was promptly quelled by the alacrity with which the population, and especially the British portion of it, rallied round the Government. The proximity of the American frontier, the nature of the border country, and the wild and daring character, together with the periodical want of employment of its population, have unfortunately enabled a few desperate exiles to continue the troubles of their country, by means of the predatory gangs which have from time to time invaded and robbed, under the pretext of revolutionizing the Province. But the general loyalty of the population has been evinced by the little disposition that has been exhibited by any portion of it to accept of the proffered aid of the refugees and foreign invaders, and by the unanimity with which all have turned out to defend their country.

It has not, indeed, been exactly ascertained what Mackenzie’s treasonable enterprize. proportion of the inhabitants of Upper Canada were prepared to join Mackenzie[15] in his treasonable enterprize, or were so disposed that we may suppose they would have arrayed themselves on his side, had he obtained any momentary success, as indeed was for some days within his grasp. Even if I were convinced that a large proportion of the population would, under any circumstances, have lent themselves to his projects, I should be inclined to attribute such a disposition merely to the irritation produced by those temporary causes of dissatisfaction with the government of the Province which I have specified, and not to any settled design on the part of any great number, either to subvert existing institutions, or to change their present connexion with Great Britain for a junction with the United States. I am inclined to view the insurrectionary movements which did take place as indicative of no deep-rooted disaffection, and to believe that almost the entire body of the reformers of this Province sought only by constitutional means to obtain those objects for which they had so long peaceably struggled before the unhappy troubles occasioned by the violence of a few unprincipled adventurers and heated enthusiasts.

It cannot, however, be doubted, that the events of the Difficulties of adjustment increased by late events. past year have greatly increased the difficulty of settling the disorders of Upper Canada. A degree of discontent, approaching, if not amounting, to disaffection, has gained considerable ground. The causes of dissatisfaction continue to act on the minds of the reformers; and their hope of redress, under the present order of things, has been seriously diminished. The exasperation caused by the conflict itself, the suspicions and terrors of that trying period, and the use made by the triumphant party of the power thrown into their hands, have heightened the passions which existed before. It certainly appeared too much as if the rebellion had been purposely invited by the Government, and the unfortunate men who took part in it deliberately drawn into a trap by those who subsequently inflicted so severe a punishment on them for their error. It seemed, too, as if the dominant party made use of the occasion afforded it by the real guilt of a few desperate and imprudent men, in order to persecute or disable the whole body of their political opponents. A great number of perfectly innocent individuals were thrown into prison, and suffered in person, property and character. The whole body of reformers were subjected to suspicion, and to harassing proceedings, instituted by magistrates, whose political leanings were notoriously adverse to them. Severe laws were passed, under colour of which, individuals very generally esteemed were punished without any form of trial.

The two persons[16] who suffered the extreme penalty of Irritation excited. the law unfortunately engaged a great share of the public sympathy; their pardon had been solicited in petitions signed, it is generally asserted, by no less than 30,000 of their countrymen. The rest of the prisoners were detained in confinement a considerable time. A large number of the subordinate actors in the insurrection were severely punished, and public anxiety was raised to the highest pitch by the uncertainty respecting the fate of the others, who were from time to time partially released. It was not until the month of October last that the whole of the prisoners were disposed of, and a partial amnesty proclaimed, which enabled the large numbers who had fled the country, and so long, and at such imminent hazard, hung on its frontier, to return in security to their homes. I make no mention of the reasons which, in the opinion of the local government, rendered these different steps advisable, because my object is not to discuss the propriety of its conduct, but to point out the effect which it necessarily had in augmenting irritation.

The whole party of the reformers, a party which I am Feelings of the reform party. inclined to estimate as very considerable, and which has commanded large majorities in different Houses of Assembly, has certainly felt itself assailed by the policy pursued. It sees the whole powers of Government wielded by its enemies, and imagines that it can perceive also a determination to use these powers inflexibly against all the objects which it most values. The wounded private feelings of individuals, and the defeated public policy of a party, combine to spread a wide and serious irritation; but I do not believe that this has yet proceeded so far as to induce at all a general disposition to look to violent measures for redress. The reformers have been gradually recovering their hopes of regaining their ascendancy by constitutional means; the sudden pre-eminence which the question of the clergy reserves and rectories has again assumed during the last summer, appears to have increased their influence and confidence; and I have no reason to believe that any thing can make them generally and decidedly desirous of separation, except some such act of the Imperial Government as shall deprive them of all hopes of obtaining real administrative power, even in the event of their again obtaining a majority in the Assembly. With such a hope before them, I believe that they will remain in tranquil expectation of the result of the general election which cannot be delayed beyond the summer of 1840.

To describe the character and objects of the other Difficulty of classifying parties. parties in this Province would not be very easy; and their variety and complication is so great, that it would be of no great advantage were I to explain the various shades of opinion that mark each. In a very laboured essay,[17] which was published in Toronto during my stay in Canada, there was an attempt to classify the various parties in the Province under six different heads. Some of these were classified according to strictly political opinions, some according to religion, and some according to birthplace; and each party, it was obvious, contained in its ranks a great many who would, according to the designations used, have as naturally belonged to some other. But it is obvious, from all accounts of the different parties, that the nominal Government, that is, the majority of the Executive Council, enjoy the confidence of no considerable party, and that the party called the ‘family compact’, which possesses the majority in both branches of the Legislature, is, in fact, supported at present by no very large number of persons of any party. None are more hostile to them than the greater part of that large and spirited British-born population, to whose steadfast exertions the preservation of the Colony during the last winter is mainly attributable, and who see with indignation that a monopoly of power and profit is still retained by a small body of men, which seems bent on excluding from any participation in it the British emigrants. Zealously co-operating with the dominant party in resisting treason and foreign invasion, this portion of the population, nevertheless, entertains a general distrust and dislike of them; and though many of the most prominent of the British emigrants have always acted and still invariably act in opposition to the reformers, and dissent from their views of responsible government, I am very much inclined to think that they, and certainly the great mass of their countrymen, really desire such a responsibility of the government, as would break up the present monopoly of office and influence.

Besides those causes of complaint which are common Peculiar complaints of British settlers. to the whole of the Colony, the British settlers have many peculiar to themselves. The emigrants who have settled in the country within the last ten years, are supposed to comprise half the population. They complain that while the Canadians are desirous of having British capital and labour brought into the Colony, by means of which, their fields may be cultivated, and the value of their unsettled possessions increased, they refuse to make the Colony really attractive to British skill and British capitalists. They say that an Englishman emigrating to Upper Canada, is practically as much an alien in that British Colony as he would be if he were to emigrate to the United States. He may equally purchase and hold lands, or invest his capital in trade in one country as in the other, and he may in either exercise any mechanical avocation, and perform any species of manual labour. This, however, is the extent of his privileges; his English qualifications avail him little or nothing. He cannot, if a surgeon, licensed to act in England, practise without the license of a Board of Examiners in the Province. If an attorney, he has to submit to an apprenticeship of five years before he is allowed to practise. If a barrister, he is excluded from the profitable part of his profession, and though allowed to practise at the bar, the permission thus accorded to him is practically of no use in a country where, as nine attornies out of ten are barristers also, there can be no business for a mere barrister. Thus, a person who has been admitted to the English bar, is compelled to serve an apprenticeship of three years to a Provincial lawyer.[18]

By an Act passed last Session, difficulties are thrown in Obstacles in the way of settlers. the way of the employment of capital in banking, which have a tendency to preserve the monopoly possessed by the chartered banks of the Colony, in which the Canadian party are supreme, and the influence of which is said to be employed directly as an instrument for upholding the political supremacy of the party.[19] Under the system, also, of selling land pursued by the Government, an individual does not acquire a patent for his land until he has paid the whole of the purchase-money, a period of from four to ten years, according as his purchase is a Crown or clergy lot; and until the patent issues, he has no right to vote. In some of the new states of America, on the contrary, especially in Illinois,[20] an individual may practise as a surgeon or lawyer almost immediately on his arrival in the country, and he has every right of citizenship after a residence of six months in the state. An Englishman is, therefore, in effect less an alien in a foreign country than in one which forms a part of the British Empire. Such are the superior advantages of the United States at present, that nothing but the feeling, that in the one country he is among a more kindred people, under the same laws, and in a society whose habits and sentiments are similar to those to which he has been accustomed, can induce an Englishman to settle in Canada, in preference to the States; and if, in the former, he is deprived of rights which he obtains in the latter, though a foreigner, it is not to be wondered at that he should, in many cases, give the preference to the land in which he is treated most as a citizen. It is very possible that there are but few cases in which the departure of an Englishman from Upper Canada to the States can be traced directly to any of these circumstances in particular; yet the state of society and of feeling which they have engendered, has been among the main causes of the great extent of re-emigration to the new states of the Union. It operates, too, still more to deter emigration from England to the Provinces, and thus both to retard the advance of the Colony, and to deprive the mother country of one of the principal advantages on account of which the existence of Colonies is desirable—the field which they afford for the employment of her surplus population and wealth. The native Canadians, however, to whatever political party they may belong, appear to be unanimous in the wish to preserve these exclusive privileges. The course of legislation, since the tide of emigration set most strongly to the country, and while under its influence the value of all species of property was rising, and the resources of the Province were rapidly, and (for the old inhabitants) profitably developed, has been to draw a yet more marked line between the two classes, instead of obliterating the former distinctions. The law excluding English lawyers from practice is of recent origin. The Speaker of the reforming House of Assembly, Mr. Bidwell,[21] was among the strongest opponents of any alteration of that law which might render it less rigidly exclusive, and, on more than one occasion, gave his casting vote against a Bill having for its object the admission of an English lawyer to practise in the Province without serving a previous apprenticeship. This point is of more importance in a Colony than it would at first sight appear to any one accustomed only to such a state of society as exists in England. The members of the legal profession are in effect the leaders of the people, and the class from which, in a larger proportion than from any other class, legislators are taken. It is, therefore, not merely a monopoly of profit, but, to a considerable extent, a monopoly of power, which the present body of lawyers contrive, by means of this exclusion, to secure to themselves. No man of mature age emigrating to a Colony, could afford to lose five years of his life, in an apprenticeship from which he could acquire neither learning nor skill. The few professional men, therefore, who have gone to Upper Canada have turned their attention to other pursuits, retaining, however, a strong feeling of discontent against the existing order of things. And many who might have emigrated remain at home, or seek some other Colony where their course is not impeded by similar restrictions.

But as in Upper Canada, under a law[22] passed immediately The country should be made attractive to emigrants. after the last war with the States, American citizens are forbidden to hold land, it is of the more consequence that the country should be made as attractive as possible to the emigrating middle classes of Great Britain, the only class from which an accession of capital, to be invested in the purchase or improvement of lands, can be hoped for. The policy of the law just referred to, may well be doubted, whether the interests of the Colony or of the mother country are considered, since the wealth and activity, and consequent commerce of the Province, would have been greatly augmented, had its natural advantages of soil and position been allowed to operate in attracting those who were most aware of their existence, and eminently fitted to aid in their development; and there is great reason to believe that the uncertainty of the titles which many Americans possess to the land on which they have squatted since the passing of this law, is the main cause of much of the disloyalty, or rather very lukewarm loyalty, evinced by that population in the western district. But when this exclusion had been determined upon, it would at least have been wise to have removed every thing that might have seemed like an obstacle in the way of those for whom the land was to be kept open, instead of closing the principal avenues to wealth or distinction against them in a spirit of petty provincial jealousy.

The great practical question, however, on which these Question of clergy reserves. various parties have for a long time been at issue, and which has within a very few months again become the prominent matter in debate, is that of the clergy reserves.[23] The prompt and satisfactory decision of this question is essential to the pacification of Canada; and as it was one of the most important questions referred to me for investigation, it is necessary that I should state it fully, and not shrink from making known the light in which it has presented itself to my mind. The disputes on this subject are now of long standing. By the Constitutional Act a certain portion of the land in every township was set apart for the maintenance of a ‘Protestant’ clergy. In that portion of this Report which treats of the management of the waste lands, the economical mischiefs which have resulted from this appropriation of territory, are fully detailed; and the present disputes relate solely to the application, and not to the mode of raising, the funds, which are now derived from the sale of the clergy reserves. Under the term ‘Protestant Clergy’ the clergy of the Church of England have always claimed the sole enjoyment of these funds. The members of the Church of Scotland have claimed to be put entirely on a level with the Church of England, and have demanded that these funds should be equally divided between both. The various denominations of Protestant Dissenters have asserted that the term includes them, and that out of these funds an equal provision should be made for all Christians who do not belong to the Church of Rome. But a great body of all Protestant denominations, and the numerous Catholics who inhabit the Province,[24] have maintained that any such favour towards any one, or even all of the Protestant sects, would be most unadvisable, and have either demanded the equal application of those funds to the purposes of all religious creeds whatsoever, or have urged the propriety of leaving each body of religionists to maintain its own establishment, to repeal or disregard the law, and to apply the clergy funds to the general purposes of the Government, or to the support of a general system of education.

The supporters of these different schemes having long Proceedings of Provincial Legislatures. contended in this Province, and greatly inconvenienced the Imperial Government, by constant references to its decision, the Secretary of State for the Colonies proposed to leave the determination of the matter to the provincial Legislatures, pledging the Imperial Government to do its utmost to get a Parliamentary sanction to whatever course they might adopt. Two Bills, in consequence, passed the last House of Assembly, in which the reformers had the ascendancy, applying these funds to the purposes of education; and both these Bills were rejected by the Legislative Council.

During all this time, however, though much irritation Effect of Sir J. Colborne’s establishment of rectories. had been caused by the exclusive claims of the Church of England, and the favour shown by the Government to one, and that a small religious community, the clergy of that church, though an endowed, were not a dominant, priesthood. They had a far larger share of the public money than the clergy of any other denomination; but they had no exclusive privileges, and no authority, save such as might spring from their efficient discharge of their sacred duties, or from the energy, ability or influence of members of their body. But the last public act of Sir John Colborne, before quitting the Government of the Province in 1835,[25] which was the establishment of the fifty-seven Rectories,[26] has completely changed the aspect of the question. It is understood that every rector possesses all the spiritual and other privileges enjoyed by an English rector; and that though he may have no right to levy tithes (for even this has been made a question), he is in all other respects in precisely the same position as a clergyman of the Established Church in England. This is regarded by all other teachers of religion in the country as having at once degraded them to a position of legal inferiority to the clergy of the Church of England; and it has been resented most warmly. In the opinion of many persons, this was the chief pre-disposing cause of the recent insurrection, and it is an abiding and unabated cause of discontent. Nor is this to be wondered at. The Church of England in Upper Canada, by numbering in its ranks all those who belong to no other sect, represents itself as being more numerous than any single denomination of Christians in the country. Even admitting, however, the justice of the principle upon which this enumeration proceeds, and giving that Church credit for all that it thus claims, its number could not amount to one third, probably not a fourth, of the population. It is not, therefore, to be expected that the other sects, three at least of whom, the Methodists, the Presbyterians and the Catholics, claim to be individually more numerous than the Church of England, should acquiesce quietly in the supremacy thus given to it.[27] And it is equally natural that the English Dissenters and Irish Catholics, remembering the position which they have occupied at home, and the long and painful struggle through which alone they have obtained the imperfect equality they now possess, should refuse to acquiesce for themselves in the creation of a similar establishment in their new country, and thus to bequeath to their children a strife as arduous and embittered as that from which they have so recently and imperfectly escaped.

But for this act, it would have been possible, though highly impolitic, to have allowed the clergy reserves to remain upon their former undetermined and unsatisfactory footing. But the question as to the application of this property, must now be settled, if it is intended that the Province is to be free from violent and perilous agitation. Indeed, the whole controversy, which had been in a great measure suspended by the insurrection, was, in the course of the last summer, revived with more heat than ever by the most inopportune arrival in the Colony of opinions given by the English Law Officers of the Crown in favour of the legality of the establishment of the rectories. Since that period, the question has again absorbed public attention; and it is quite clear that it is upon this practical point that issue must sooner or later be joined on all the constitutional questions to which I have previously adverted. I am well aware that there are not wanting some who represent the agitation of this question as merely the result of its present unsettled character, and who assert, that if the claims of the English Church to the exclusive enjoyment of this property were established by the Imperial Parliament, all parties, however loud their present pretensions, or however vehement their first complaints, would peacefully acquiesce in an arrangement which would then be inevitable. This might be the case if the establishment of some dominant church were inevitable. But it cannot be necessary to point out that, in the immediate vicinity of the United States, and with their example before the people of Canada, no injustice, real or fancied, occasioned and supported by a British rule, would be regarded in this light. The result of any determination on the part of the British Government or Legislature to give one sect a predominance and superiority, would be, it might be feared, not to secure the favoured sect, but to endanger the loss of the Colony, and, in vindicating the exclusive pretensions of the English Church, to hazard one of the fairest possessions of the British Crown.

I am bound, indeed, to state, that there is a degree of State of society adverse to the principle of a dominant church. feeling, and an unanimity of opinion, in the question of ecclesiastical establishments over the northern part of the continent of America, which it will be prudent not to overlook in the settlement of this question. The superiority of what is called ‘the voluntary principle’ is a question on which I may almost say that there is no difference of opinion in the United States; and it cannot be denied, that on this, as on other points, the tone of thought prevalent in the Union has exerted a very considerable influence over the neighbouring Provinces. Similar circumstances, too, have had the effect of accustoming the people of both countries to regard this question in a very different light from that in which it appears in the Old World; and the nature of the question is indeed entirely different in old and new countries. The apparent right which time and custom give to the maintenance of an ancient and respected institution cannot exist in a recently settled country, in which every thing is new;[28] and the establishment of a dominant Church there is a creation of exclusive privileges in favour of one out of many religious denominations, and that composing a small minority, at the expense not merely of the majority, but of many as large minorities. The Church, too, for which alone it is proposed that the State should provide, is the Church which, being that of the wealthy, can best provide for itself, and has the fewest poor to supply with gratuitous religious instruction. Another consideration, which distinguishes the grounds on which such a question must be decided in old and new countries, is, that the state of society in the latter is not susceptible of such an organization as is necessary for the efficiency of any Church Establishment of which I know, more especially of one so constituted as the Established Church of England; for the essence of the Establishment is its parochial clergy. The services of a parochial clergy are almost inapplicable to a colony, where a constantly varying population is widely scattered over the country. Any clergy there must be rather missionary than parochial.

A still stronger objection to the creation of a Church Members of Anglican church likely to remain a minority. Establishment in this Colony is, that not merely are the members of the Church of England a small minority at present; but, inasmuch as the majority of emigrants are not members of the Church of England, the disproportion is likely to increase, instead of disappearing, in the course of time. The mass of British emigrants will be either from the middle classes of Great Britain, or the poorer classes of Ireland; the latter almost exclusively Catholics, and the former in a great proportion either Scotch Presbyterians or English Dissenters.

It is most important that this question should be settled, Mode of settlement suggested. and so settled as to give satisfaction to the majority of the people of the two Canadas, whom it equally concerns. And I know of no mode of doing this but by repealing all provisions in Imperial Acts that relate to the application of the clergy reserves, and the funds arising from them, leaving the disposal of the funds to the local legislature, and acquiescing in whatever decision it may adopt. The views which I have expressed on this subject sufficiently mark my conviction, that, without the adoption of such a course, the most mischievous practical cause of dissension will not be removed.[29]

I feel it my duty also, in this as in the Lower Province, Policy towards the Catholics. to call especial attention to the policy which has been, and which ought to be, pursued towards the large Catholic population of the Province. On this subject I have received complaints of a general spirit of intolerance and disfavour towards all persons of this creed, to which I am obliged to give considerable credit, from the great respectability and undoubted loyalty of those from whom the complaints were received. Bishop M‘Donnell, the venerable Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston,[30] and Mr. Manahan, M.P.P. for the county of Hastings, have made representations in letters, which will be given in the Appendix to this Report. The Catholics constitute at least a fifth of the whole population of Upper Canada. Their loyalty was most generally and unequivocally exhibited at the late outbreak. Nevertheless, it is said that they are wholly excluded from all share in the government of the country and the patronage at its disposal. ‘In Upper Canada,’ says Mr. Manahan, ‘there never was one Irish Roman Catholic an Executive or Legislative Councillor; nor has one been ever appointed to any public situation of emolument and profit in the Colony.’[31]

The Irish Catholics complain very loudly and justly of Complaints of Orangeism. the existence of Orangeism in this Colony. They are justly indignant that, in a Province which their loyalty and bravery have materially contributed to save, their feelings are outraged by the symbols and processions of this association. It is somewhat difficult to understand the nature and objects of the rather anomalous Orangeism of Upper Canada. Its members profess to desire to uphold the Protestant religion, but to be free from those intolerant feelings towards their Catholic countrymen, which are the distinctive marks of the Irish Orangemen. They assert, that their main object, to which the support of the English Church is subsidiary, is to maintain the connexion with Great Britain. They have sworn, it is said, many ignorant Catholics into their body; and at their public dinners, after drinking the ‘pious, glorious and immortal memory’, with all the usual formality of abuse of the Catholics, they toast the health of the Catholic Bishop, M‘Donnell. It would seem that their great purpose has been to introduce the machinery, rather than the tenets of Orangeism; and the leaders probably hope to make use of this kind of permanent conspiracy and illegal organization to gain political power for themselves. In fact, the Catholics scarcely appear to view this institution with more jealousy than the reformers of the Province. It is an Irish Tory institution, having not so much a religious as a political bearing. The Irish Catholics who have been initiated have entered it chiefly from its supposed national character, and probably with as little regard to the political as to the religious objects with which it is connected. Still the organization of this body enables its leaders to exert a powerful influence over the populace; and it is stated that, at the last general election, the Tories succeeded in carrying more than one seat by means of the violence of the organized mob thus placed at their disposal. It is not, indeed, at the last election only that the success of the Government candidate has been attributed to the existence of this association. At former elections, especially those for the county of Leeds, it is asserted that the return of the Canadian Deputy Grand Master, and of the then Attorney General, his colleague, was procured by means of a violent and riotous mob of Orangemen, who prevented the voters in the opposition interest from coming up to the poll. In consequence of this and other similar outrages, the Assembly presented an address to Sir Francis Head, begging ‘that his Excellency would be pleased to inform the House whether the Government of the Province had taken, or determined to take, any steps to prevent or discourage public processions of Orange societies, or to discourage the formation and continuance of such societies’. To this Address the Governor made the following reply:—‘The Government of this Province has neither taken, nor has it determined to take, any steps to prevent or discourage the formation or continuance of such societies.’ It is to be presumed that this answer proceeded from a disbelief of the truth of those charges of outrage and riot which were made the foundation of the address. But it can excite no surprise that the existence of such an institution, offending one class by its contemptuous hostility to their religion, and another by its violent opposition to their politics, and which had been sanctioned by the Governor, as was conceived, on account of its political tendencies, should excite among both classes a deep feeling of indignation, and add seriously to the distrust with which the Government was regarded.[32]

In addition to the irritation engendered by the position Impediments to industrial progress. of parties, by the specific causes of dispute to which I have adverted, and by those features in the Government of the Colony which deprive the people of all power to effect a settlement of the questions by which the country is most deeply agitated, or to redress abuses in the institutions, or in the administration of the Province, there are permanent causes of discontent, resulting from the existence of deep-seated impediments in the way of its industrial progress. The Province is without any of those means by which the resources of a country are developed, and the civilization of a people is advanced or upheld. The general administration of justice, it is true, appears to be much better in Upper than in Lower Canada. Courts of Justice, at least, are brought into every man’s neighbourhood by a system of circuits; and there is still some integrity in juries. But there are general complaints of the union of political and judicial functions in the Chief Justice;[33] not because any suspicion attaches to that Judge’s discharge of his duties, but on account of the party grounds upon which his subordinates are supposed to be appointed, and the party bias attributed to them. Complaints, too, similar to those which I have adverted to in the Lower Province, are made against the system by which the Sheriffs are appointed. It is stated, that they are selected exclusively from the friends or dependents of the ruling party; that very insufficient securities are taken from them; and that the money arising from executions and sales, which are represented as unhappily very numerous in this Province, generally remains in their hands for at least a year. For reasons also which I have specified in my account of the Lower Province, the composition of the Magistracy appears to be a serious cause of mischief and dissatisfaction.

But, independently of these sources of complaint, are Want of means of communication, &c. the impediments which I have mentioned. A very considerable portion of the Province has neither roads, post-offices, mills, schools, nor churches. The people may raise enough for their own subsistence, and may even have a rude and comfortless plenty, but they can seldom acquire wealth; nor can even wealthy land-owners prevent their children from growing up ignorant and boorish, and from occupying a far lower mental, moral and social position than they themselves fill. Their means of communication with each other, or the chief towns of the Province, are limited and uncertain. With the exception of the labouring class, most of the emigrants who have arrived within the last ten years, are poorer now than at the time of their arrival in the Province. There is no adequate system of local assessment to improve the means of communication; and the funds occasionally voted for this purpose are, under the present system, disposed of by a House of Assembly which represents principally the interests of the more settled districts, and which, it is alleged, has been chiefly intent in making their disposal a means of strengthening the influence of its members in the constituencies which they represent. These funds have consequently almost always been applied in that part of the country where they were least needed; and they have been too frequently expended so as to produce scarcely any perceptible advantages. Of the lands which were originally appropriated for the support of schools throughout the country, by far the most valuable portion has been diverted to the endowment of the University, from which those only derive any benefit who reside in Toronto, or those who, having a large assured income, are enabled to maintain their children in that town at an expense which has been estimated at £50 per annum for each child.[34] Even in the most thickly peopled districts there are but few schools, and those of a very inferior character; while the more remote settlements are almost entirely without any.

Under such circumstances there is little stimulus to Contrast between Upper Canada and the United States. industry or enterprise, and their effect is aggravated by the striking contrast presented by such of the United States as border upon this Province, and where all is activity and progress. I shall hereafter, in connexion with the disposal of the public lands, advert to circumstances affecting not Upper Canada merely, but the whole of our North American Colonies in an almost equal degree, which will illustrate in detail the causes and results of the more prominent of these evils. I have referred to the topic in this place in order to notice the inevitable tendency of these inconveniences to aggravate whatever discontent may be produced by purely political causes, and to draw attention to the fact, that those who are most satisfied with the present political state of the Province, and least disposed to attribute economical injuries or social derangement to the form or the working of the Government, feel and admit that there must have been something wrong to have caused so striking a difference in progress and wealth between Upper Canada and the neighbouring states of the Union. I may also observe, that these evils affect chiefly that portion of the people which is composed of British emigrants, and who have had no part in the causes to which they are attributable. The native-born Canadians, as they generally inhabit the more settled districts of the Province, are the owners of nearly all the waste lands, and have almost exclusively had the application of all public funds, might be expected to have escaped from the evils alluded to, and even to have profited by the causes out of which they have sprung. The number of those who have thus profited is, however, comparatively small; the majority of this class, in common with the emigrant population, have suffered from the general depression, and share in the discontent and restlessness which this depression has produced.

The trade of the country is, however, a matter which Prohibitory revenue laws. appears to demand a notice here, because so long as any such marked and striking advantages in this respect are enjoyed by Americans, as at present arise from causes which Government has the power to remove, it is impossible but that many will look forward with desire to political changes. There are laws which regulate, or rather prohibit, the importation of particular articles, except from England, especially of tea, which were framed originally to protect the privileges of monopolies here; but which have been continued in the Province after the English monopoly has been removed. It is not that these laws have any appreciable effect in raising the price of the commodities in question: almost all used in the Province is smuggled across the frontier, but their operation is at once injurious to the fair dealer, who is undersold by persons who have obtained their articles in the cheaper market of the United States, and to the Province which can neither regulate the traffic, nor make it a source of revenue. It is probable, indeed, that the present law has been allowed to continue through inadvertence; but, if so, it is no very satisfactory evidence of the care or information of the Imperial Government that it knows or feels so little the oppressive influence of the laws to which it subjects its dependencies.[35]

Another and more difficult topic connected with this New York desired as a port of entry. subject, is the wish of this Province that it should be allowed to make use of New York as a port of entry. At present the rate of duty upon all goods coming from the United States, whatever may be their nature, or the port in Europe from which they have been shipped, is such as to compel all importers to receive the articles of their trade through the Saint Lawrence, the navigation of which river opens generally several weeks later than the time at which goods may be obtained in all the parts of Upper Canada bordering upon Lake Ontario, by way of Oswego. The dealer, therefore, must submit to an injurious delay in his business, or must obtain his goods in the autumn, and have his capital lying dead for six months. Either of these courses must lessen the amount of traffic, by diminishing the quantity, or increasing the price, of all commodities; and the mischief is seriously enhanced by the monopoly which the present system places in the hands of what are called the ‘forwarders’ on the Saint Lawrence and the Rideau Canal.[36] If goods might be shipped from England to be landed at New York in bond, and to be admitted into Upper Canada free of duty, upon the production of a certificate from the officer of customs at the English port from which they are shipped, this inconvenience would be removed, and the people of the Province would in reality benefit by their connexion with England, in the superior cheapness of their articles, without paying for it as highly as they do at present in the limitation of their commerce.[37]

I have already stated, in my account of Lower Canada, Spirit of improvement impeded by financial relations with Lower Canada. the difficulties and disputes which are occasioned by the financial relations of the two Provinces.[38] The state of affairs, however, which causes these disputes is of far greater practical mischief to Upper Canada. That Province some years ago conceived the very noble project of removing or obviating all the natural impediments to the navigation of the Saint Lawrence; and the design was to make these works on a scale so commensurate with the capabilities of that broad and deep river, as to enable sea-going vessels to navigate its whole course to the head of Lake Huron. The design was, perhaps, too vast, at least for the first effort of a State at that time comparatively so small and poor; but the boldness with which the people undertook it, and the immense sacrifices which they made in order to achieve it, are gratifying indications of a spirit which bids fair hereafter to render Upper Canada as thriving a country as any State of the American Union. The House of Assembly, with this object in view, took a large portion of the shares of the Welland Canal,[39] which had been previously commenced by a few enterprising individuals. It then commenced the great ship canal, called the Cornwall Canal,[40] with a view of enabling ships of considerable draught to avoid the Long Sault Rapids; and this work was, at an immense outlay, brought very far towards a completion. It is said that there was great mismanagement, and perhaps no little jobbing, in the application of the funds, and the execution of the work.[41] But the greatest error committed was undertaking the works in Upper, without ensuring their continuation in Lower Canada. For the whole of the works in the Upper Province, when completed, would be comparatively, if not utterly, useless, without the execution of similar works on that part of the St. Lawrence which lies between the Province line and Montreal. But this co-operation the Lower Canadian Assembly refused or neglected to give; and the works of the Cornwall Canal are now almost suspended, from the apparent inutility of completing them.

The necessary expense of these great undertakings was Upper Canada denied the means of completing local works. very large; and the prodigality superadded thereto, has increased it to such an extent, that this Province is burthened with a debt of more than a million of pounds; the whole revenue, which is about £60,000, being hardly adequate to pay the interest. The Province has already been fortunately obliged to throw the whole support of the few and imperfect local works which are carried on in different parts of the Province on local assessments; but it is obvious that it will soon be obliged to have recourse to direct taxation to meet its ordinary civil expenditure. For the custom duties cannot be increased without the consent of Lower Canada; and that consent it is useless to expect from any House of Assembly chosen under the suspended constitution. The canals, of which the tolls would, if the whole series of necessary works were completed, in all probability render the past outlay a source of profit, instead of loss, remain in a state of almost hopeless suspension: the Cornwall Canal being unfinished, and the works already completed daily falling into decay, and the Welland Canal, which has been a source of great commercial benefit, being now in danger of becoming useless, from want of money to make the necessary repairs. After all its great hopes, and all the great sacrifices which it has made to realize them, Upper Canada now finds itself loaded with an enormous debt, which it is denied the means of raising its indirect taxation to meet, and mocked by the aspect of those unfinished works, which some small combined efforts might render a source of vast wealth and prosperity, but which now are a source of useless expense and bitter disappointment.[42]

It may well be believed that such a state of things is not Discontent of the colonists. borne without repining by some of the most enterprising and loyal people of the Province. It is well known that the desire of getting over these difficulties has led many persons in this Province to urge the singular claim to have a convenient portion of Lower Canada taken from that Province, and annexed to Upper Canada;[43] and that it induces many to desire an union of the Provinces as the only efficient means of settling all these disputes on a just and permanent footing. But it cannot be a matter of surprise, that in despair of any sufficient remedies being provided by the Imperial Government, many of the most enterprising colonists of Upper Canada look to that bordering country, in which no great industrial enterprise ever feels neglect, or experiences a check, and that men the most attached to the existing form of government would find some compensation in a change, whereby experience might bid them hope that every existing obstacle would be speedily removed, and each man’s fortune share in the progressive prosperity of a flourishing State.

A dissatisfaction with the existing order of things, British policy has disregarded the wants of the Province. produced by causes such as I have described, necessarily extends to many who desire no change in the political institutions of the Province. Those who most admire the form of the existing system, wish to see it administered in a very different mode. Men of all parties feel that the actual circumstances of the Colony are such as to demand the adoption of widely different measures from any that have yet been pursued in reference to them. They ask for greater firmness of purpose in their rulers, and a more defined and consistent policy on the part of the Government; something, in short, that will make all parties feel that an order of things has been established to which it is necessary that they should conform themselves, and which is not to be subject to any unlooked for and sudden interruption consequent upon some unforeseen move in the game of politics in England. Hitherto the course of policy adopted by the English Government towards this Colony, has had reference to the state of parties in England, instead of the wants and circumstances of the Province; neither party could calculate upon a successful result to their struggles for any particular object, because though they might be able to estimate accurately enough their strength in the Colony, they could not tell how soon some hidden spring might be put in motion in the Colonial Office in England which would defeat their best laid plans, and render utterly unavailing whole years of patient effort.[44]

[1] ‘His lordship’s personal observation was confined to his passing up the river St. Lawrence, and crossing Lake Ontario, in a steamboat occupied exclusively by his family and suite; a four days’ sojourn at the Falls of Niagara, and a twenty-four hours’ visit to the Lieutenant-Governor at Toronto.’ From the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada, dated April 30, 1839. Parliamentary Paper No. 289, of June 1839, ‘Copies or Extracts of Correspondence relative to the Affairs of Canada,’ p. 22. This Report contains a detailed and most damaging criticism of the statements made by Lord Durham in the following pages.

[2] It is not always an advantage for a colony or province to have one great centre overweighting all the rest of the territory in wealth and population. New Zealand has probably gained by having three or four different centres, none of them overshadowing the others, and the same may be said of the Canadian Dominion at the present day.

[3] By an Act of 1831, the Legislature of Upper Canada granted a Civil List of £6,500 per annum, to come into force as soon as the revenues raised under the Quebec Revenue Act of 1774 were placed under the control of the Provincial Legislature. This was done by an Imperial Act of the same year. Thus the Upper Canada Legislature responded to the invitation of the Imperial Government, while the Quebec Assembly refused to do so, and gained control of the revenues in question without giving a quid pro quo (see Introduction, pp. 60 and 76). Sir John Colborne was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada at the time.

[4] The name ‘Family Compact’ is said to have been first applied by William Lyon Mackenzie in 1833. See the Life of Sir J. Beverley Robinson, pp. 191-4. The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada, referred to in the note on p. 145 above, speaks of it as ‘a newspaper soubriquet’. The very powerful leader of the Church of England in the ‘Compact’ was Dr. Strachan, who in the same year in which Lord Durham’s report appeared, 1839, became the first Bishop of Toronto.

[5] It will be noted that Lord Durham applies the terms of political conflict at home, ‘Tories’ and ‘Reformers’, to Upper Canada.

[6] For the political alternations in Upper Canada, see the Introduction, pp. 75-81.

[7] The statements in this paragraph as to a third party and their disabilities are most vigorously contradicted in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly. ‘It is with no common satisfaction, that your committee find among their number three gentlemen well known throughout the province, the representatives of three distinct constituencies, and who, being of the number of those who his lordship states are regarded as aliens in this portion of their Sovereign’s dominions, are best able to pronounce upon the accuracy of His Lordship’s statements . . . the three members of your committee, to whom special reference has been made, conceive that they are bound in justice, calmly but unequivocally, to deny that Lord Durham has been correctly informed with respect to the feeling of the original settlers in Upper Canada towards them’ (p. 23).

[8] The latter part of 1825 and the earlier part of 1826 was a time of disastrous bank failures and consequent distress. The legislation of 1826 authorized the constitution of joint-stock banks of issue, and prohibited the issue of bank-notes in England and Wales for a smaller sum than £5. In 1826 and 1827 there were House of Commons Committees on Emigration (see Introduction, pp. 190-3.)

[9] The Right Hon. Sir Francis Bond Head, Bart., K.C.H., was born in 1793. He was an officer in the Royal Engineers, and was present at Waterloo. He went on half-pay in 1825, and, as manager of a mining association, visited what is now the Argentine Republic and Chili. He crossed and recrossed the Andes, and wrote a book on his experiences. In 1828 he finally retired from the army. In 1834 he was appointed as Assistant Poor-Law Commissioner in Kent, and in 1835 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, being sworn in in January 1836. He was made a baronet in 1837, tendered his resignation in September of that year, and was replaced by Sir George Arthur in March 1838. He wrote various books, and contributed much to the Quarterly Review. He was made a Privy Councillor in 1867, and died in 1875 (see the Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v., and for a friendly account of him, see the Life of Sir J. Beverley Robinson). The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada points out (p. 24) that the statement that Sir F. Head ‘dismissed some of the members’ of the Executive Council is incorrect. He did not dismiss any of the Council, but appointed Rolph, Baldwin, and Dunn as additional members.

[10] John Rolph was born at Thornbury in Gloucestershire in 1793, and went out to Canada with his father before the war of 1812. He served in the war, and was taken prisoner. Subsequently he went to England, and studied both medicine and law. He returned to Canada about 1820, settled in Upper Canada, was called to the Bar, first entered the Assembly in 1825, and in 1836 was for a short time, with Robert Baldwin, a member of the Executive Council. After the abortive rising in 1837 he took refuge, with Mackenzie, in the United States. He returned to Canada, under amnesty, in 1843, practised medicine at Toronto, and became the founder of the Toronto School of Medicine. He re-entered public life in 1845, served in office, retired after some ten years of parliamentary life, and eventually died in 1870.

[11] Robert Baldwin was born in 1804, and died in 1858, having withdrawn from public life at the early age of 47. ‘Baldwin’s name is inseparably connected with the introduction and establishment in Canada of parliamentary government.’ He was as wise and temperate a reformer as Mackenzie was the opposite. He grasped clearly and adhered tenaciously to the principle of parliamentary government and, with Lafontaine, put it into effect for United Canada. It is interesting to note that he was a strong Churchman and a pupil of Bishop Strachan, who was so powerful a member of the Family Compact (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[12] In not acquiescing in these claims, Sir Francis Head was only acting in accordance with the instructions given him by Lord Glenelg. In those instructions, dated December 5, 1835, Lord Glenelg had dealt with the complaint which the Assembly had made, ‘that the Executive Government of Upper Canada is virtually irresponsible,’ and had emphasized the fact that the Governor was directly responsible to the Home Government, not to the Commons of Upper Canada. ‘To His Majesty and to Parliament the governor of Upper Canada is at all times most fully responsible for his official acts. . . . It is the duty of the Lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada to vindicate to the King and to Parliament every act of his administration. . . . The responsibility to His Majesty and to Parliament is second to none which can be imposed on a public man, and it is one which it is in the power of the House of Assembly at any time, by address or petition, to bring into active operation’ (House of Commons Paper, No. 113, March 22, 1836, p. 64).

[13] This statement as to Mr. Hepburn was criticized as follows in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly (pp. 24-5); the side-note to the passage being ‘His lordship’s inaccuracy in the case of Mr. Hepburne’: ‘A second inaccuracy occurs in that part of the High Commissioner’s Report which relates to the proceedings of the new House of Assembly, in the case of Mr. Hepburne. His lordship says that, in consequence of these proceedings, Sir F. Head succumbed to the Assembly, and persuaded Mr. Hepburne to resign his office, and to take one of very inferior emolument; and that this was done to avoid collision with the Assembly, who are represented as having been influenced by exceedingly discreditable, if not base, motives in their proceedings against Mr. Hepburne. The truth of this case is simply this, that Mr. Hepburne did not resign his office for the reason mentioned, but retained it until within a few months of Sir Francis Head’s departure from the country, and then voluntarily relinquished it for appointments far more desirable than the one he gave up.’

Mr. William Hepburn was acting trustee for the Six Nation Indians. On a petition by a man named W. J. Kerr, his conduct was inquired into by a committee of the House of Assembly in 1836-7, and he was ‘admonished’ by the Speaker. He seems to have been subsequently nominated as Clerk of Committees to the House.

[14] This Act (cap. xvii, 7 Will. IV) was entitled ‘An Act to prevent the Dissolution of the Parliament of this Province in the event of a Demise of the Crown’. It was dated March 4, 1837, the day on which the Legislature was prorogued. The Legislature met again on the following June 19, and on June 20 King William IV died.

The Imperial Parliament originally was dissolved ipso facto on the death of the sovereign whom the Houses had been summoned to advise. By the Act 7 & 8 Will. III, cap. 15, it was provided that Parliament should last for six months after the demise of the Crown, unless sooner dissolved by the new sovereign. The Act 37 Geo. III, cap. 127, sections 3 and 4, provides for the case where there is a demise of the Crown after a dissolution, and before the date fixed for a new Parliament. The old Parliament meets and sits for six months, unless sooner dissolved. An Act of 1867 (30 & 31 Vic., cap. 102, section 51) now provides that the duration of Parliament shall not be affected by a demise of the Crown, but the Act of 1797 (37 Geo. III) still provides for the case when a demise takes place after dissolution.

[15] William Lyon Mackenzie was born at Dundee in 1795. He emigrated to Canada in 1820. He established the Colonial Advocate in 1824, and was first elected to the Assembly of Upper Canada in 1828. In 1834 he was elected as the first mayor of Toronto. After the rising in 1837 he escaped to the United States, and, trying to make the States a basis for war against Canada, was put into prison for a time in that country. He was amnestied in 1849, and returned to Canada, where he went again into politics for some time, and died in 1861.

[16] The two persons were Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews. Lount had been born in the United States, and from 1834 to 1836 had been a member of the Assembly of Upper Canada; he was a prominent colleague of Mackenzie. Matthews was a farmer of Upper Canada. They both took an active part in the armed rising of 1837. They were hung in April 1838. Sir George Arthur’s Report upon these cases, with the minutes of the Executive Council, will be found in the House of Commons Paper, No. 524, of June 21, 1838. The Lieutenant-Governor (Sir George Arthur), the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, and the members of the Executive Council all concurred in thinking that the sentence of death should be carried out. Lord Durham’s statement that a petition for their reprieve had been, it was asserted, signed by 30,000 of their countrymen was contradicted by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Legislative Council, and the Assembly (see the Parliamentary Paper, No. 289 of June, 1839, pp. 28, 32-4, and Canadian Constitutional Development, Egerton and Grant, 1907, pp. 187-8). The actual number of those who petitioned was 4,574.

[17] I have not been able to trace the essay referred to.—Ed.

[18] On page 171 below Lord Durham says with regard to the law in question: ‘The law excluding English lawyers from practice is of recent origin,’ and presumably he is referring to an Upper Canada Act of 1837 (7 Will. IV, cap. 15), entitled ‘An act to amend the law for the admission of barristers and attorneys, &c.’

With regard to attorneys, this Act admitted duly qualified attorneys from the United Kingdom to practise in the province after three years’ articled service to a practising attorney in the province, or, if a graduate of a university, after two years. Lord Durham therefore seems to be wrong in specifying five years.

With regard to barristers, it provided that any one whose name had stood on the books of the Law Society of Upper Canada for three years might be called and admitted to practise as a barrister. Lord Durham implies that an English barrister was allowed to practise at the Bar of the province, though he could not act as an attorney. This, however, does not seem to have been correct. An Upper Canada Act of 1797 provided that none but members of the Law Society of the province could practise, but an English barrister was allowed to join the society at once, whereas ordinary persons had to be entered as students and stand on the books of the society for five years; but an Act of 1822 made reciprocity of recognition of qualifications necessary, and this appears to have been tantamount to refusing to recognize the English qualification. It does not therefore appear that the Act of 1837 did more than substitute three years for five years as the qualifying period for membership of the Law Society.

At present in Ontario a British barrister would only be admitted if belonging to an Inn of Court extending reciprocal privileges to Ontario barristers.

The comment of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada upon this passage in their Report of May 11, 1839, was as follows: ‘The High Commissioner next endeavours to show, that all persons of education, and more especially members of the learned professions, ought rather to settle in the United States than in Canada, a surgeon, for instance, because he must show that he is duly qualified, before he can be permitted to practise within this province; an attorney, because he is not permitted to practise therein as a barrister; and a barrister, because he is not allowed to act as an attorney.

‘Your Committee are of opinion that, in all these regulations, the legislature has shown a proper and praiseworthy desire to prevent ignorant pretenders to medical and legal knowledge, disturbing the animal economy or social condition of Her Majesty’s subjects.’ (See Canadian Constitutional Development, Egerton and Grant, p. 175.)

[19] This must be a reference to the Upper Canada Act of 1838 (1 Vic., cap. 22), entitled ‘An act to repeal and amend part of an act passed in the last session, entitled “An act to authorize the Chartered Banks in this province to suspend the redemption of their notes in specie under certain regulations for a limited time and for other purposes therein mentioned” ’.

This Act authorized any chartered bank in the province which suspended specie payment under the authority of the amended Act, to have in circulation paper up to the amount of twice its paid up capital. This provision gave so much advantage to the existing chartered banks that it must have discouraged the investment of capital in new banks.

[20] Between 1816 and 1820 there was a great stream of emigration to the West in the United States, and in 1818 Illinois was admitted as a State into the Union, Indiana having been admitted two years previously.

[21] Marshall Spring Bidwell, son of Barnabas Bidwell, was born in Massachusetts in 1799. He came with his father to Upper Canada in or about 1810. He practised as a barrister in Upper Canada, and became a member of the Assembly in 1825. He was one of the leaders of the Reform party, and was Speaker of the Assembly in 1829 and again in 1835. His name was connected with Mackenzie’s rising in 1835, though he took no active part in it, and disclaimed all complicity with the movement. After the collapse of the rebellion, in December 1837, at Sir Francis Bond Head’s instance, he left Upper Canada for the United States, and never came back to live in Canada. He settled in New York, and died in 1872 (see Kingsford, vol. x).

[22] As was pointed out in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly (p. 25), no such law was passed. What happened was that, after the war of 1812, the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, under instructions from the Secretary of State, enforced two Imperial Statutes of 1740 and 1790. The effect of the first was to require foreigners to reside seven years in Upper Canada before they could hold land, and of the second to require incoming American citizens, who wished to settle, to take the oath of allegiance to the British Crown. Charles Buller seems to have made the same mistake as Lord Durham, for he writes of ‘the Alien law, which was passed shortly after the last war with the United States’ (see Appendix B, vol. iii, p. 106).

[23] As to the Clergy Reserves, see above, pp. 139-40, below, pp. 220-1, &c., and vol. iii, pp. 1-6, 45-50, 56-7, 102-4, &c. See also Introduction, pp. 162-5 and 294-6. The Parliamentary Papers and Reports bearing on the subject are legion.

[24] As to the views of the Roman Catholics in the Lower Province, see above, p. 140, note 1. The Roman Catholics in Upper Canada consisted mainly of Irish, Scotch Highlanders, notably the Glengarrys, and French Canadians over against Detroit. Reference should be made to Bishop McDonnell’s letter in Appendix A (vol. iii, pp. 18-21).

[25] Colborne was succeeded by Sir Francis Bond Head in January 1836. Sir John Colborne was born in 1778, and entered the army in 1794. His war experience began in 1799, and he was constantly on active service from that date until Waterloo. He served under Sir John Moore, was at Corunna, and subsequently served with great distinction throughout the Peninsular War. He received command of the 52nd regiment after the battle of Albuera, and commanded it in the famous charge at Waterloo. He was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada from 1828 to 1836; then was Commander-in-chief of the forces in North America; and, after Lord Durham’s resignation in 1838, acted as Governor-General. He was gazetted as Governor-General in December 1838, and left Canada, after Poulett Thomson’s arrival to take up that post, in October 1839. In December 1839 he was created Lord Seaton. In the forties he was High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. He retired from the army in 1860 as Field Marshal, and died in 1863. Colborne’s presence in Canada in 1837-9 probably contributed more than any other cause to the fact that the armed risings were not more serious.

[26] Sir John Colborne did not relinquish the government of Upper Canada until Sir Francis Bond Head arrived in the fourth week of January 1836, and he signed the documents constituting the rectories in that month, just before Head’s arrival; he signed forty-four out of fifty-nine, the number originally named, the remainder not having been completed when the new Lieutenant-Governor arrived. Colborne’s action was taken in accordance with instructions given by Lord Goderich in 1832, and its legality, though challenged, was upheld (see Kingsford, vol. x, pp. 335-7).

[27] In the Province of Ontario, at the 1901 census, out of a population of 2,182,947, there were 666,388 Methodists, 477,386 Presbyterians, 390,304 Roman Catholics, 367,937 Anglicans, 116,281 Baptists, the denominations being numerically in the same order in which they are here given by Lord Durham.

[28] See pp. 325-6.

[29] Eventually, in 1853, an Imperial Act was passed ‘to authorize the Legislature of the province of Canada to make provision concerning the Clergy Reserves in that province, and the proceeds thereof’, and, under the authority conferred by that Act, the Canadian Parliament, in the following year, 1854, passed an Act by which the Clergy Reserves were secularized. Thus Lord Durham’s recommendation was carried into effect (see Introduction, pp. 294-6).

[30] Alexander Macdonnell, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Upper Canada, was born in 1762, one of the Macdonnells of Glengarry, who were Roman Catholic Highlanders; he was brought up to the priesthood, and was instrumental in the formation of the Glengarry regiment, to which he acted as chaplain, in or about 1794. When they were disbanded after the Peace of Amiens in 1802, he procured for them lands in Canada and emigrated with them. They settled in Glengarry county in Upper Canada, on the frontier of Lower Canada, and the Glengarry regiment played a leading part in the war of 1812. Macdonnell became Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston in 1826, and died in 1840. He was a man of conspicuous loyalty and patriotism, and one of the most single-minded and noblest characters in Canadian history. Charles Buller, in his Report on Public Lands (Appendix B, vol. iii, p. 57), speaks of ‘the Catholic bishop, Macdonnell, eminent for his loyalty’. A letter from Bishop Macdonnell is given in Appendix A. As to the Glengarry regiment and Bishop Macdonnell, see the editor’s Canadian War of 1812, pp. 11-15. Special books have been written on the Macdonnells in Canada.

[31] Mr. Manahan’s letter was included in Appendix A, but has not been reprinted. The Select Committee of the House of Assembly maintained ‘that no portion of the inhabitants of the province are more fully aware than the Catholics themselves, that no invidious policy has ever been designed or acted upon towards them’, and that ‘no portion of the people of this province have been more ready to fulfil the duties of faithful subjects, and none are more deserving of the protection and patronage of the Crown’ (p. 25).

[32] Reference should be made to two little House of Commons Papers, fathered apparently by Joseph Hume, one No. 571 of August 16, 1836, headed ‘Orange Lodges Canada’, and the other, No. 352, of June 1, 1837, headed ‘Orange Lodges Upper Canada’. The first contains a circular dispatch from Lord Glenelg to the colonies, dated February 27, 1836, which encloses an address to the King from the House of Commons, with a favourable reply, ‘for the effectual discouragement of Orange Lodges, and generally of all political societies excluding persons of a different religious faith, using secret signs and symbols, and acting by means of associated branches.’ Bishop Macdonnell in his letter of June 22, 1838, which is included in Appendix A, makes strong reference to the spread of Orangeism in Upper Canada.

[33] The Chief Justice in question was Sir John Beverley Robinson, who was born in 1791, the son of a United Empire Loyalist. He served in the war of 1812, became Solicitor-General of Upper Canada in 1815, Attorney-General in 1818, and Chief Justice in 1829. In 1854 he was created a baronet of the United Kingdom. In 1862 he retired from the Chief Justiceship of Upper Canada, and was appointed President of the Court of Error and Appeal; he died in 1863. The Chief Justice of Upper Canada, before the Union Act, was ex officio President of the Executive Council and Speaker of the Legislative Council, but Sir John Robinson resigned the Presidency of the Executive Council about 1832, and never actually sat in the Legislative Council after 1838 (Life of Sir John Beverley Robinson, by his son, Major-General Robinson, 1904, pp. 199-200). He was a great friend of Sir Francis Head and a leading member of the so-called ‘Family Compact’, the strength of which largely consisted in the high character and marked ability of himself and his old tutor and lifelong friend, Bishop Strachan.

[34] In 1797 the Legislature of Upper Canada petitioned the King to the effect that a certain proportion of the Crown lands of the province might be appropriated to the establishment of grammar schools in the districts, and of a college or university. The petition was complied with in the terms that free grammar schools should be established in the districts where they were called for, and in due course of time ‘other seminaries of a larger and more comprehensive nature’. Under this authority, in 1798 and 1799, about 550,000 acres were set aside for these purposes. Of this total some 225,000 acres, or the equivalent, were assigned to the endowment of King’s College at Toronto, which received a Royal Charter in 1827, mainly as a Church of England institution, but was more or less secularized by a provincial Act of 1837, was opened in 1843, and in 1849 renamed the University of Toronto. (Reference should be made to Sir George Arthur’s dispatch of June 8, 1839, Parliamentary Paper of 1840: Correspondence relative to the Affairs of Canada, pt. iii, p. 50, &c.) See Introduction, pp. 245-7.

[35] The ‘prohibitory revenue laws’ were the Navigation Laws, which were finally swept away in 1849 by 12 & 13 Vic., cap. 29. Reference should especially be made to two statutes of 1833, 3 & 4 Will. IV, cap. 59, ‘An act to regulate the trade of the British Possessions abroad,’ and 3 & 4 Will. IV, cap. 101: ‘An act to provide for the collection and management of the duties on tea.’ The East India Company had the exclusive right of trading in tea up to April 22, 1834. In view of the termination of their monopoly on that date, the latter of the above two Acts was passed. The second section of the Act provided ‘that it shall be lawful to import any tea into any of the islands of Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, and Sark, or into the British possessions of America, from the Cape of Good Hope and places eastward of the same to the Straits of Magellan, or from the United Kingdom, and not from any other place, in such and the like manner as if the same was set forth in an act passed in the present Session of Parliament to regulate the trade of the British possessions abroad’. Thus tea might be imported into Canada direct from China, and therefore Lord Durham’s statement that it could not be imported except from England was not strictly accurate; but as there was no direct trade at this time between the East and Canada, it could practically only be imported from England, and might not pass through the United States. The case illustrates rather powerfully the difference between the Canada of to-day and the Canada of Lord Durham’s time. At the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign a Canada which should embrace the Pacific coast and trade direct with China across the Pacific was not even dreamed of.

[36] As to the Canadian canals, see the Introduction, pp. 206-7. The Rideau Canal, rather over 126 miles long from Ottawa to Kingston, with 47 locks, was constructed by the Imperial Government as a military work, at a cost of £803,000, the Duke of Wellington giving it his support. The object was to secure water communication between Upper and Lower Canada at a safe distance from the American frontier. The work was carried out with marked ability by Colonel By, after whom Bytown, now Ottawa, was called. By arrived in Canada in 1826, and began the preliminary arrangements for the canal. The actual construction began in 1827, and in May 1832 a steamboat went through the canal from end to end. Very interesting correspondence as to the commencement and proposed dimensions of the canal will be found in Appendix D to the Report on the Canadian Archives for 1890. See also Kingsford’s History of Canada, vol. ix, pp. 221-2 and 493-4.

[37] The following criticism on Lord Durham’s suggestion to make New York a port of entry is contained in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly (p. 27): ‘It is most singular that his lordship should, when drawing up his final report, have overlooked the fact, that, if his scheme of importing goods free of duty by the way of New York were adopted, our magnificent canals would be rendered almost, if not entirely, useless, and the whole advantage arising from the transportation of our imports would be transferred to the boats and canals of the State of New York.’

[38] See above, pp. 142-3 and note, and see below, p. 308.

[39] The Welland Canal, 27 miles long, connecting Lakes Ontario and Erie, and using the Welland or Chippawa River, is said to have been begun in 1818 by private effort. A Welland Canal Company was incorporated in 1824, and went to work in 1825, and the canal was practically completed, apart from enlargements and repairs, in 1833. Writing on June 8, 1839, Sir George Arthur said: ‘The private stock holders of the Welland Canal Company have expended on the work £117,000, the British Government £73,000, and Lower Canada £25,000. Besides these sums, £275,000 have been expended on the work, which belong to the public debt of this province, making a total of £490,000.’ (Correspondence relating to the Affairs of Canada, part iii, 1840, p. 39.) In 1841 the canal was bought up by the Government for £463,000. Unlike the Rideau Canal, the Welland Canal has been of very great political and commercial importance, as overcoming the break of communication caused by the Falls of Niagara, and competing with the Erie Canal. The Duke of Wellington was a shareholder in the Welland Canal, and gave his shares to found the Wellington scholarships at King’s College—afterwards at Trinity College. (See the Life of Sir John Beverley Robinson, pp. 352-5.)

[40] The Cornwall Canal, at the Long Sault Rapids, was begun in 1834. Financial difficulties and the rebellion delayed its completion. The first steamer went through its locks in December 1842, and it was formally opened for traffic in June 1843.

[41] This statement was much resented in Upper Canada. The following passage occurs in the Report of the Select Committee of the House of Assembly of Upper Canada (p. 27): ‘In referring to the great works undertaken by this province, Lord Durham has truly ascribed the inability of the province to complete them to the impediments arising from the political condition of Lower Canada, and its unwillingness to contribute its aid in works in which they are equally interested; but your committee regret that this statement should have been accompanied by most unmerited and ungenerous insinuations against the gentlemen who have gratuitously, and at great personal inconvenience, acted as commissioners in superintending the outlay of the public money. There is something so offensive and unbecoming in these passages of the report, as to induce the committee, from that and other internal evidence, to believe that that portion of it which relates to Upper Canada was not written by and never received the careful revision of his lordship.’

[42] The following passage gives a good account of the public works policy of Upper Canada: ‘In 1833—after having extended the navigation of the St. Lawrence nearly 1,000 miles into the interior by the opening of the Welland Canal—Upper Canada voted £70,000 for the improvement of the river between Prescott and the Eastern boundary of the Province; this being an object “highly important to the agricultural and commercial interests of this Province”, as stated in the Preamble to the Act; and in 1834 the Legislature authorized a loan of the munificent sum of £350,000 for this purpose, and dictated the grand dimensions of 200 feet by 55 feet breadth for the locks, with not less than nine feet of water. In 1837 the canal mania reached its height in the Upper Province; £245,000 additional stock was authorized for the permanent completion of the Welland Canal, the wooden locks of which were rapidly giving way—and in the session of that year the enormous sum of £930,000 was voted by Upper Canada for internal improvements. These magnificent “resolves” were rendered in a great measure nugatory by the political crisis which followed shortly after’. (From the Prize Essay on the Canals of Canada, by T. C. Keefer, Civil Engineer, Toronto, 1850, pp. 17-18.)

[43] In 1832 a committee was formed in Upper Canada to prepare and circulate an address to the King in favour of annexing the island of Montreal to that province (see Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iii, pp. 423-7). The House of Commons Paper, No. 292, May 9, 1837, contains an address to the King from the House of Assembly of Upper Canada, dated January 17, 1837, and asking for the annexation of Montreal ‘so as to give the Legislature of this province the entire control of a seaport which of right they should long since have possessed’. A reference to the Life of Sir J. Beverley Robinson, pp. 260-1, will show that he considered the annexation of Montreal to Upper Canada preferable to union of the two provinces. It is difficult to understand why Lord Durham speaks of the ‘singular claim’. It was the most natural thing in the world for the people of Upper Canada to desire an outlet to the ocean under their own control: and the absence of it had caused the greatest practical difficulties. Moreover, the proposal to unite Montreal to Upper Canada, and thereby to split up to some extent the French Canadians, would at least have done something to remedy what Lord Durham considered to be the mistaken policy of the Act of 1791 in isolating the French Canadians. (See vol. iii, p. 363).

[44] See Introduction, p. 272.


Though I have stated my opinion that my inquiries Inquiries into the other North American Colonies. would have been very incomplete, had they been confined to the two Canadas, the information which I am enabled to communicate with respect to the other North American Colonies is necessarily very limited. As, however, in these Provinces, with the exception of Newfoundland, there are no such discontents as threaten the disturbance of the public tranquillity, I did not think it necessary to institute any minute inquiries into the details of the various departments of Government. It is only necessary that I should state my impression of the general working of the Government in these Colonies, in order that if institutions similar to those of the disturbed Provinces should here appear to be tending to similar results, a common remedy may be devised for the impending as well as for existing disorders. On this head I have obtained much useful information from the communications which I had with the Lieutenant-Governors of these Colonies, as well as with individuals connected with them, but, above all, from the frequent and lengthened discussions which passed between me and the gentlemen who composed the deputations sent to me last autumn from each of the three Eastern Provinces, for the purpose of discussing the principles as well as details of a plan of general government for the whole of the British North American Colonies.[1] It was most unfortunate that the events of temporary, but pressing importance which compelled my return to England, interrupted those discussions; but the delegates with whom I had the good fortune to carry them on, were gentlemen of so much ability, so high in station, and so patriotic in their views, that their information could not fail to give me a very fair view of the working of the Letter from Mr. Young. colonial constitution under somewhat different circumstances in each. I insert in the Appendix a communication which I received from one of those gentlemen, Mr. Young, a leading and very active Member of the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, respecting that Province.[2]

It is not necessary, however, that I should enter into Working of the government of these Provinces. any lengthened account of the nature or working of the form of government established in these Provinces, because in my account of Lower Canada I have described the general characteristics of the system common to all, and adduced the example of these Provinces in illustration of the defects of their common system. In all these Provinces we find representative government coupled with an irresponsible executive; we find the same constant collision between the branches of the Government; the same abuse of the powers of the representative bodies, owing to the anomaly of their position, aided by the want of good municipal institutions, and the same constant interference of the imperial administration in matters which should be left wholly to the Provincial Governments. And if in these Provinces there is less formidable discontent and less obstruction to the regular course of Government, it is because in them there has been recently a considerable departure from the ordinary course of the colonial system, and a nearer approach to sound constitutional practice.

This is remarkably the case in New Brunswick, a New Brunswick. province which was till a short time ago one of the most constantly harassed by collisions between the executive and legislative powers; the collision has now been in part terminated by the concession of all the revenues of the Province to the Assembly.[3] The policy of this concession, with reference to the extent and mode in which it was made, will be discussed in the separate Report on the disposal and management of public lands; but the policy of the Government in this matter has at any rate put an end to disputes about the revenue, which were on the point of producing a constant Parliamentary conflict between the Crown and the Assembly in many respects like that which has subsisted in Lower Canada; but a more important advance has been made towards the practice of the British constitution in a recent change which has been made in the Executive and Legislative Councils of the Colony, whereby, as I found from the representatives of the present official body in the delegation from New Brunswick, the administrative power of the Province had been taken out of the hands of the old official party, and placed in those of members of the former liberal opposition. The constitutional practice had been, in fact, fully carried into effect in this Province; the Government had been taken out of the hands of those who could not obtain the assent of the majority of the Assembly, and placed in the hands of those who possessed its confidence; the result is, that the Government of New Brunswick, till lately one of the most difficult in the North American Colonies, is now the most harmonious and easy.

In Nova Scotia some, but not a complete approximation Nova Scotia. has been made to the same judicious course. The Government is in a minority in the House of Assembly, and the Assembly and the Legislative Council do not perfectly harmonize. But the questions which divide parties at present happen really to be of no very great magnitude; and all are united and zealous in the great point of maintaining the connexion with Great Britain. It will be seen from Mr. Young’s paper, that the questions at issue, though doubtless of very considerable importance, involve no serious discussion between the Government and the people. The majority of the opposition is stated by the official party to be very uncertain, and is admitted by themselves to be very narrow. Both parties look with confidence to the coming general election; and all feel the greatest reliance on the good sense and good intentions of the present Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Colin Campbell.[4]

I must, however, direct particular attention to the Constitution of Executive and Legislative Councils. following temperate remarks of Mr. Young on the constitution of the Executive and Legislative Councils:

‘The majority of the House of Assembly is dissatisfied with the composition of the Executive and Legislative Councils, and the preponderance in both of interests which they conceive to be unfavourable to reform; this is the true ground, as I take it, of the discontent that is felt. The respectability and private virtues of the gentlemen who sit at the two Council Boards are admitted by all; it is of their political and personal predilections that the people complain; they desire reforming and liberal principles to be more fully represented and advocated there, as they are in the Assembly.

‘The majority of the House, while they appreciate and have acknowledged the anxiety of his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor to gratify their just expectations, have also expressed their dissatisfaction, that the Church of England should have been suffered to retain a majority in both councils, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the House, and the precise and explicit directions of the Colonial Secretary. Religious dissensions are happily unknown among us, and the true way to prevent their growth and increase, is to avoid conferring an inordinate power on any one sect, however worthy it may be of respect or favour.’

The political history of Prince Edward’s Island is Prince Edward’s Island. contained in the system pursued with regard to its settlement, and the appropriation of its lands, which is fully detailed in the subsequent view of that department of government in the North American Colonies; and its past and present disorders are but the sad result of that fatal error which stifled its prosperity in the very cradle of its existence, by giving up the whole Island to a handful of distant proprietors.[5] Against this system, this small and powerless community has in vain been struggling for some years: a few active and influential proprietors in London have been able to drown the remonstrances, and defeat the efforts of a distant and petty Province: for the ordinary evils of distance are, in the instance of Prince Edward’s Island, aggravated by the scantiness of its population, and the confined extent of its territory. This island, most advantageously situated for the supply of the surrounding Colonies, and of all the fisheries, possesses a soil peculiarly adapted to the production of grain; and, from its insular position, is blessed with a climate far more genial than a great part of the continent which lies to the southward. Had its natural advantages been turned to proper account, it might at this time have been the granary of the British Colonies, and, instead of barely supporting a poor and unenterprising population of 40,000,[6] its mere agricultural resources would, according to Major Head, have maintained in abundance a population of at least ten times that number. Of nearly 1,400,000 acres contained in the island, only 10,000 are said to be unfit for the plough. Only 100,000 are now under cultivation. No one can mistake the cause of this lamentable waste of the means of national wealth. It is the possession of almost the whole soil of the island by absentee proprietors, who would neither promote nor permit its cultivation, combined with the defective government which first caused and has since perpetuated the evil. The simple legislative remedy for all this mischief having been suggested by three successive Secretaries of State, has been embodied in an Act of the local legislature, which was reserved for the Royal Assent; and the influence of the proprietors in London was such, that that assent was for a long time withheld.[7] The question was referred to me during my stay in Canada; and I believe I may have the satisfaction of attributing to the recommendation which I gave, in accordance with the earnest representations of the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy,[8] the adoption at last of a measure intended to remove the abuse that has so long retarded the prosperity of this Colony.

The present condition of these Colonies presents none Backward state of these Colonies. of those alarming features which mark the state of the two Canadas. The loyalty and attachment to the mother country which animate their inhabitants, is warm and general. But their varied and ample resources are turned to little account. Their scanty population exhibits, in most portions of them, an aspect of poverty, backwardness and stagnation; and wherever a better state of things is visible, the improvement is generally to be ascribed to the influx of American settlers or capitalists. Major Head describes his journey through a great part of Nova Scotia as exhibiting the melancholy spectacle of ‘half the tenements abandoned, and lands every where falling into decay’; ‘and the lands,’ he tells us, ‘that were purchased 30 and 40 years ago, at 5s. an acre, are now offered for sale at 3s.’ ‘The people of Prince Edward’s Island are,’ he says, ‘permitting Americans to take out of their hands all their valuable fisheries, from sheer want of capital to employ their own population in them.’ ‘The country on the noble river, St. John’s,’ he states, ‘possesses all that is requisite, except “that animation of business which constitutes the value of a new settlement.” ’ But the most striking indication of the backward state of these Provinces, is afforded by the amount of the population. These Provinces, among the longest settled on the North American Continent, contain nearly 30,000,000 of acres, and a population, estimated at the highest, at no more, than 365,000 souls, giving only one inhabitant for every 80 acres. In New Brunswick, out of 16,500,000 acres, it is estimated that at least 15,000,000 are fit for cultivation; and the population being estimated at no more than 140,000, there is not one inhabitant for 100 acres of cultivable land.[9]

It is a singular and melancholy feature in the condition Comparison with United States. of these Provinces, that the resources rendered of so little avail to the population of Great Britain, are turned to better account by the enterprising inhabitants of the United States. While the emigration from the Province is large and constant, the adventurous farmers of New England cross the frontier, and occupy the best farming lands. Their fishermen enter our bays and rivers, and in some cases monopolise the occupations of our own unemployed countrymen; and a great portion of the trade of the St. John’s is in their hands. Not only do the citizens of a foreign nation do this, but they do it with British capital.’ Major Head states, ‘that an American merchant acknowledged to him that the capital with which his countrymen carried on their enterprises in the neighbourhood of St. John’s, was chiefly supplied by Great Britain; and,’ he adds, as a fact within his own knowledge, ‘that wealthy capitalists at Halifax, desirous of an investment for their money, preferred lending it in the United States to applying it to speculation in New Brunswick, or to lending it to their own countrymen in that Province.’

I regret to say, that Major Head also gives the same account respecting the difference between the aspect of things in these Provinces, and the bordering State of Maine. On the other side of the line, good roads, good schools, and thriving farms afford a mortifying contrast to the condition in which a British subject finds the neighbouring possessions of the British Crown.[10]

With respect to the Colony of Newfoundland, I have Newfoundland. been able to obtain no information whatever, except from sources open to the public at large. The Assembly of that Island signified their intention of making an appeal to me respecting some differences with the Governor, which had their immediate origin in a dispute with a Judge.[11] Owing, probably, to the uncertain and tardy means of communication between Quebec and that Island, I received no further communication on this or any other subject, until after my arrival in England, when I received an Address expressive of regret at my departure.

I know nothing, therefore, of the state of things in Newfoundland, except that there is, and long has been, the ordinary colonial collision between the representative body on one side, and the executive on the other; that the representatives have no influence on the composition or the proceedings of the executive government; and that the dispute is now carried on, as in Canada, by impeachments of various public officers on one hand, and prorogations on the other. I am inclined to think that the cause of these disorders is to be found in the same constitutional defects as those which I have signalized in the rest of the North American Colonies. If it be true, that there exists in this island a state of society which renders it unadvisable that the whole of the local government should be entirely left to the inhabitants, I believe that it would be much better to incorporate this Colony with a larger community, than to attempt to continue the present experiment of governing it by a constant collision of constitutional powers.[12]

[1] The delegates from the Maritime Provinces, who came to Quebec to discuss matters with Lord Durham in September 1838, were four from Nova Scotia, six from New Brunswick, and three from Prince Edward Island. The Nova Scotia delegates included Johnstone and Young, but not Joseph Howe, who had opposed the appointment of a committee to confer with Lord Durham (see Three Premiers of Nova Scotia, by E. M. Saunders, 1909, pp. 87-8).

[2] For this letter, see Appendix A, vol. iii, pp. 12-18. William Young, one of the reformers in Nova Scotia, was born in Scotland, in 1799, and died in Halifax in 1887. After Lord Durham’s time he became Speaker of the House of Assembly, Premier, and eventually, in 1860, Chief Justice. He was knighted in 1868 (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[3] As to constitutional changes in the Maritime Provinces prior to Lord Durham’s mission, see Introduction, pp. 81-6. In 1837 Sir Archibald Campbell, who was Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, and who was not in harmony with the Legislature with regard to the passing of the new Civil List Bill, resigned and was succeeded by Sir John Harvey, who, both in New Brunswick and at a later date in Nova Scotia, carried out the more liberal policy which had been approved by the Imperial Government, with great tact and goodwill. The New Brunswick Civil List Act was passed by the Legislature of the province in July 1837. It was entitled ‘An act for the support of the Civil Government in this province’ (8 Will. IV, cap. i). The preamble stated ‘Whereas His Most Gracious Majesty has been pleased to signify to His faithful Commons of New Brunswick that His Majesty will surrender up to their control and disposal, the proceeds of all His Majesty’s Hereditary, Territorial, and Casual revenues and of all His Majesty’s woods, mines, and Royalties, &c.’, in return for a Civil List; and the Act provided that this surrender should last during the continuance of the Act (see House of Commons Paper, No. 297, June 21, 1870, Crown Lands, &c. (Colonies), pp. 16-19). In March 1839 another short Act was passed by the Provincial Legislature making the Civil Government Act perpetual. The Civil Government Act left the management of the Crown lands to the Lieutenant-Governor acting on the advice of the Executive Council, but the 5th section provided that leases and grants were only to be made to the highest bidders at public auctions; and an Act passed immediately afterwards—also in July 1837—modified this section, being entitled ‘An act to restrain the provisions of the 5th section of an act entitled “An act for the support of the Civil Government of this province”, and to establish sundry regulations for the future disposal of Crown Lands and Timber in certain cases.’ This Act also was made perpetual in September 1839. Thus the Legislature controlled not only the proceeds but the management of the Crown lands. Lord Durham says that ‘the policy of this concession, with reference to the extent and mode in which it was made, will be discussed in the Separate Report on the disposal and management of public lands’. There is not much discussion of it in Buller’s Report, but possibly the reference is to what is said on the subject in vol. iii, p. 39. Lord Durham, on p. 209 of his own Report, says ‘The Provincial Assemblies, except quite recently in New Brunswick and Upper Canada, have never had any voice in this matter; nor is the popular control in those two cases much more than nominal’. On the other hand, Lord John Russell in his Instructions to the newly-formed Board of Land and Emigration Commissioners in January 1840, wrote: ‘In Upper Canada and in New Brunswick, the sale and management of waste lands is vested by local enactments in certain local authorities, with whom the Crown has no right of interference’ (House of Commons Paper, No. 35, February 4, 1840, Colonial Land Board, p. 5).

[4] Sir Colin Campbell, G.C.B., was born in 1776. He served for many years and with much distinction under the Duke of Wellington, in India, in the North of Europe, in the Peninsula, and at Waterloo. He was a close friend of the Duke. He succeeded Sir Peregrine Maitland as Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia in 1834. He was attacked rather unfairly by Joseph Howe, who carried a motion for his recall in the Assembly in 1840, the question at issue being responsible government and Lord John Russell’s Instructions on the subject. He was replaced in Nova Scotia by Lord Falkland in the latter part of 1840, and was appointed Governor of Ceylon. He held that post from 1841 to 1847, when he returned to England and died (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[5] See also above, p. 67. As is stated on p. 219, the whole of the Crown lands in Prince Edward Island were, with the exception of 2,000 or 3,000 acres, alienated in one day. This was in the year 1767. The lands were allotted to sixty-seven proprietors, chiefly Scotch, on condition that they settled foreign European Protestants or British Americans on their lands. The condition was not carried out. Giving evidence at Charles Buller’s Inquiry into Crown Lands, Mr. Le Lacheur, a resident in the island, said: ‘The whole island was divided into 67 townships, containing about 20,000 acres each, the whole of which were granted in one day to different individuals, in lots of from a whole to a quarter township, subject to the payment of a quit rent of from 2s. to 6s. sterling per 100 acres, and to the obligation of settling the land granted, within 10 years from the date of the grant, with foreign Protestant settlers, in proportion of one person to every 200 acres.’ He added that the conditions ‘were not fulfilled in a single instance, nor does any attempt appear to have been made to fulfil them, as not one foreign Protestant was introduced by any of the grantees’ (see Buller’s Report, Appendix B, and see also Lord Durham’s dispatch of October 8, 1838, House of Commons Paper, of February 11, 1839, British North America (pp. 196-201)).

[6] The population of Prince Edward Island at the last (1911) census was 93,722.

[7] The measure referred to was an Act of 1837 (7 Will. IV, cap. 31), entitled ‘An act for levying an assessment on all lands in the island’. This Act was to be in force for ten years from the date of its allowance by the Crown. In 1848 it was repealed by another Act entitled, ‘An act for levying further an assessment on all lands in this colony and for the encouragement of education’. The rights of landowners and tenants in Prince Edward Island were the subject of a Royal Commission, which reported in 1861, one of the commissioners being Joseph Howe; but the land difficulties were not settled until after the island had entered the Dominion.

[8] Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy was born in 1796; he was an officer in the Horse Guards and was at Waterloo. In 1837 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island, in 1841 Governor of the Leeward Islands, and in 1846 Governor of New South Wales in succession to Sir George Gipps. He left in 1855, and died in 1858. He was one of the many successful soldier-governors (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[9] Major Head gave evidence before the Public Lands Commission with regard to the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada, and Buller in his Report (vol. iii, p. 68) speaks of him as having visited Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the capacity of Assistant Commissioner, and as being a native of Nova Scotia, but his evidence as to the condition of the Maritime Provinces does not appear to have been printed in the Appendices. At the 1911 census the population of Nova Scotia was 461,847, and of New Brunswick 351,815.

[10] See below, p. 211, note 1.

[11] The judge was presumably the Chief Justice Boulton, who was President of the Legislative Council (see Introduction, pp. 86-8).

[12] Though Newfoundland did not, as a matter of fact, come within Lord Durham’s Inquiry, it was included within the scope of his commission. Similarly it was included at a later date in the proposals for the confederation of British North America, and the last two sections of the British North America Act of 1867 provide for its future admission into the Dominion of Canada. The address from the House of Assembly to Lord Durham on hearing that he was returning to England, to which he refers, and which was printed in Appendix A, but has not been reprinted, contains the following passage: ‘We have observed, with unmixed satisfaction, the repeatedly expressed opinions of your lordship, not only of the possibility, but of the practicability of permanently uniting these provinces with the parent State. In these opinions we fully participate, and we see no good reason why Newfoundland and the other provinces should not form part of the United Kingdom as much as Yorkshire, Edinburgh, or Cork.’


I have mentioned the peculiar importance which, in Worst method of disposing of public lands. newly-settled societies, is attached to works for creating and improving the means of communication. But in such communities, and especially when only a small proportion of the land has been occupied by settlers, there is a still more momentous subject of public concern. I allude to an operation of Government, which has a paramount influence over the happiness of individuals, and the progress of society towards wealth and greatness. I am speaking of the disposal, by the Government, of the lands of the new country. In old countries no such matter ever occupies public attention; in new colonies, planted on a fertile and extensive territory, this is the object of the deepest moment to all, and the first business of the Government. Upon the manner in which this business is conducted, it may almost be said that every thing else depends. If lands are not bestowed on the inhabitants and new comers with a generous hand, the society endures the evils of an old and over-peopled state, with the superadded inconveniences that belong to a wild country. They are pinched for room even in the wilderness, are prevented from choosing the most fertile soils and favourable situations, and are debarred from cultivating that large extent of soil, in proportion to the hands at work, which can alone compensate, in quantity of produce, for the rude nature of husbandry in the wilderness. If, on the other hand, the land is bestowed with careless profusion, great evils of another kind are produced. Large tracts become the property of individuals, who leave their lands unsettled and untouched. Deserts are thus interposed between the industrious settlers; the natural difficulties of communication are greatly enhanced; the inhabitants are not merely scattered over a wide space of country, but are separated from each other by impassable wastes;[2] the cultivator is cut off or far removed from a market in which to dispose of his surplus produce, and procure other commodities; and the greatest obstacles exist to co-operation in labour, to exchange, to the division of employments, to combination for municipal or other public purposes, to the growth of towns, to public worship, to regular education, to the spread of news, to the acquisition of common knowledge, and even to the civilizing influences of mere intercourse for amusement. Monotonous and stagnant indeed must ever be the state of a people who are permanently condemned to such separation from each other. If, moreover, the land of a new country is so carelessly surveyed that the boundaries of property are incorrectly or inadequately defined, the Government lays up a store of mischievous litigation for the people. Whatever delay takes place in perfecting the titles of individuals to lands alienated by the Government, occasions equal uncertainty and insecurity of property. If the acquisition of land, in whatever quantities, is made difficult or troublesome, or is subjected to any needless uncertainty or delay, applicants are irritated, settlement is hindered, and immigration to the colony is discouraged, as emigration from it is promoted. If very different methods of proceeding have effect in the same colony, or in different parts of the same group of colonies, the operation of some can scarcely fail to interfere with or counteract the operation of others; so that the object of the Government must somewhere, or at some time, be defeated. And frequent changes of system are sure to be very injurious, not only by probably displeasing those who either obtain land just before, or desire to obtain some just after, each change, but also by giving a character of irregularity, uncertainty, and even mystery, to the most important proceeding of Government. In this way settlement and emigration are discouraged; inasmuch as the people, both of the colony and of the mother country, are deprived of all confidence in the permanency of any system, and of any familiar acquaintance with any of the temporary methods. It would be easy to cite many other examples of the influence of Government in this matter. I will mention but one more here. If the disposal of public lands is administered partially—with favour to particular persons or classes—a sure result is, the anger of all who do not benefit by such favouritism (the far greater number, of course), and consequently, the general unpopularity of the Government.

Under suppositions the reverse of these, the best, instead Best method of disposing of lands. of the worst, effects would be produced; a constant and regular supply of new land in due proportion to the wants of a population increasing by births and immigration; all the advantages to which facilities of transport and communication are essential; certainty of limits and security of title to property in land; the greatest facilities in acquiring the due quantity; the greatest encouragements to immigration and settlement; the most rapid progress of the people in material comfort and social improvement, and a general sense of obligation to the Government. What a contrast do the two pictures present! Neither of them is over coloured; and a mere glance at both suffices to show that in the North American Colonies of England, as in the United States, the function of authority most full of good or evil consequences has been the disposal of public land.[3]

Impressed, before my departure from England, with Measures taken for inquiry. a sense of the great importance of this subject, and indulging a hope, founded on the very remarkable success of a new method of disposing of public lands in Your Majesty’s Australian Colonies, that I might be able to recommend beneficial reforms in the North American Provinces, I took precautions for instituting a thoroughly efficient inquiry into the whole subject generally, and in detail. And I was the more disposed to do this, because while an inquiry by a Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1836 furnished abundant information on the subject, as respects most parts of Your Majesty’s Colonial Empire, the North American Provinces had been specifically excluded from that inquiry;[4] and I could not obtain in England any authentic or, at least sufficient, information as to the disposal of public lands in any of them. Within a very short time after my arrival in Canada, the expediency of a searching inquiry into the subject became more than ever apparent to me. A common belief in the great extent of my powers revived innumerable complaints of abuse, and applications for justice or favour, which had slumbered during previous years. During my residence in the Canadas, scarcely a day passed without my receiving some petition or representation relating to the Crown Lands’ Department; and matters belonging to this branch of Government necessarily occupied a far larger proportion than any other of my correspondence with the Secretary of State. The information which I now possess was chiefly obtained by means of a commission of inquiry, which, having regard to the probable advantages of an uniform system for the whole of British North America, and to the deep and universal interest taken in this subject by the colonists, Commission, Appendix (B) I issued in Your Majesty’s name, and made applicable to all the Provinces. Minutes of the Evidence given before the Commissioners are appended to the present Report,[5] together with a separate Report, containing the outline of a plan for the future administration of this all-influential department of Government. If that plan, or any other founded on similar principles, should be adopted by Your Majesty and the Imperial Legislature, I do firmly believe that an impulse will be given to the prosperity of Your Majesty’s North American possessions, surpassing what their most sanguine well-wisher, if unacquainted with the facts, would be capable of imagining; and more calculated than any other reform whatever to attach the people of British North America to Your Majesty’s Throne, and to cement and perpetuate an intimate connexion between the colonies and the mother country. I shall have to return to this point hereafter. I have mentioned it here, for the purpose of inviting Your Majesty’s attention, and awakening that of Your Ministers and of Parliament to a theme which, however little it has hitherto interested the Imperial Government, is the object of constant and earnest discussion in the colonies.

In the United States,[6] ever since the year 1796, the Practice of United States; disposal of public land not already appropriated to particular states, has been strictly regulated by a law of Congress; not by different laws for the various parts of the country, but by one law for the whole of the public lands, and a law which we may judge to have been conducive to the prosperity of the people, both from its obvious good effects, and from its almost unquestioned of Great Britain. continuance for so many years. In the British North American Colonies, with one partial exception,[7] there never has been, until quite recently, any law upon the subject. The whole of the public lands have been deemed the property of the Crown, and the whole of the administration for disposing of them to individuals, with a view to settlement, has been conducted by officers of the Crown; under instructions from the Treasury or the Colonial Department in England. The Provincial Assemblies, except quite recently in New Brunswick and Upper Canada, have never had any voice in this matter; nor is the popular control in those two cases much more than nominal.[8] The Imperial Parliament has never interfered but once, when, leaving all other things untouched, it enacted the unhappy system of ‘Clergy Reserves’. With these very slight exceptions, the Lords of the Treasury and Colonial Secretary of State for the time being have been the only legislators; and the provincial agents of the Colonial Secretary, responsible to him alone, have been the sole executors.

The system of the United States appears to combine Efficiency of system of United States. all the chief requisites of the greatest efficiency. It is uniform throughout the vast federation; it is unchangeable save by Congress, and has never been materially altered; it renders the acquisition of new land easy, and yet, by means of a price, restricts appropriation to the actual wants of the settler; it is so simple as to be readily understood; it provides for accurate surveys and against needless delays; it gives an instant and secure title; and it admits of no favouritism, but distributes the public property amongst all classes and persons upon precisely equal terms. That system has promoted an amount of immigration and settlement, of which the history of the world affords no other example; and it has produced to the United States a revenue which has averaged about half a million sterling per annum, and has amounted in one twelvemonth to above four millions sterling, or more than the whole expenditure of the Federal Government.[9]

In the North American Colonies there never has been No system in the American Colonies. any system. Many different methods have been practised, and this not only in the different colonies, but in every colony at different times, and within the same colony at the same time. The greatest diversity and most frequent alteration would almost seem to have been the objects in view. In only one respect has there been uniformity. Every where the greatest profusion has taken place, so that in all the colonies, and nearly in every part of each colony, more, and very much more land has been alienated by the Government, than the grantees had at the time, or now have the means of reclaiming from a state of wilderness; and yet in all the colonies until lately, and in some of them still, it is either very difficult or next to impossible for a person of no influence to obtain any of the public land. More or less in all the colonies, and in some of them to an extent which would not be credited, if the fact were not established by unquestionable testimony, the surveys have been inaccurate, and the boundaries, or even the situation of estates, are proportionably uncertain. Every where needless delays have harassed and exasperated applicants; and every where, more or less, I am sorry but compelled to add, gross favouritism has prevailed in the disposal of public lands.[10] I have mentioned but a part of the evils, grievances, and abuses, of which Your Majesty’s subjects in the colonies justly complain, as having arisen from mal-administration in this department. Those evils remain wholly unremedied, most of those grievances are unredressed, and not a few of those abuses are unreformed at this hour. Their present existence has been forced on my conviction by indisputable evidence. If they had passed away, I should scarcely have alluded to them. If I had any hope of seeing them removed, otherwise than by means of giving them authentic publicity, I should have hesitated to speak of them as I have done. As it is, I should ill perform the duty which Your Majesty was pleased to confide to me, if I failed to describe them in the plainest terms.

The results of long misgovernment in this department Contrast with United States. are such as might have been anticipated by any person understanding the subject. The administration of the public lands, instead of always yielding a revenue, cost for a long while more than it produced. But this is, I venture to think, a trifling consideration when compared with others. There is one in particular which has occurred to every observant traveller in these regions, which is a constant theme of boast in the States bordering upon our colonies, and a subject of loud complaint within the colonies. I allude to the striking contrast which is presented between the American and the British sides of the frontier line in respect to every sign of productive industry, increasing wealth, and progressive civilization.[11]

By describing one side, and reversing the picture, the Picture of the American side. other would be also described. On the American side, all is activity and bustle. The forest has been widely cleared; every year numerous settlements are formed, and thousands of farms are created out of the waste; the country is intersected by common roads; canals and railroads are finished, or in the course of formation; the ways of communication and transport are crowded with people, and enlivened by numerous carriages and large steam-boats. The observer is surprised at the number of harbours on the lakes, and the number of vessels they contain; while bridges, artificial landing-places, and commodious wharves are formed in all directions as soon as required. Good houses, warehouses, mills, inns, villages, towns and even great cities, are almost seen to spring up out of the desert. Every village has it school-house and place of public worship. Every town has many of both, with its township buildings, its book stores, and probably one or two banks and newspapers; and the cities, with their fine churches, their great hotels, their exchanges, courthouses and municipal halls, of stone or marble, so new and fresh as to mark the recent existence of the forest where they now stand, would be admired Of the British side. in any part of the Old World. On the British side of the line, with the exception of a few favoured spots, where some approach to American prosperity is apparent, all seems waste and desolate. There is but one railroad in all British America, and that, running between the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain, is only 15 miles long.[12] The ancient city of Montreal, which is naturally the commercial capital of the Canadas, will not bear the least comparison, in any respect, with Buffalo, which is a creation of yesterday. But it is not in the difference between the larger towns on the two sides that we shall find the best evidence of our own inferiority. That painful but undeniable truth is most manifest in the country districts through which the line of national separation passes for 1,000 miles. There, on the side of both the Canadas, and also of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, a widely scattered population, poor, and apparently unenterprising, though hardy and industrious, separated from each other by tracts of intervening forest, without towns and markets, almost without roads, living in mean houses, drawing little more than a rude subsistence from ill-cultivated land, and seemingly incapable of improving their condition, present the most instructive contrast to their enterprising and thriving neighbours on the American side.[13] I was assured that in the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada, bordering upon the line, it is a common practice for settlers, when they wish to meet, to enter the State of Vermont, and make use of the roads there for the purpose of reaching their destination in the British Province. Major Head, the Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands’ Inquiry, whom I sent to New Brunswick, states, that when travelling near the frontier line of that Province and the State of Maine, now on one side and then on the other, he could always tell on which side he was by the obvious superiority of the American settlements in every respect. Where the two countries are separated by the St. Lawrence and the Lakes, this difference is less perceptible; but not less in fact, if I may believe the concurrent statements of numerous eye-witnesses, who had no motive for deceiving me. For further corroboration, I might refer indeed to numerous and uncontradicted publications; and there is one proof of this sort so remarkable, that I am induced to notice it specially. A highly popular work, which is known to be from the pen of one of Your Majesty’s chief functionaries in Nova Scotia, abounds in assertions and illustrations of the backward and stagnant condition of that Province, and the great superiority of neighbouring American settlements. Although the author, with a natural disinclination to question the excellence of government, attributes this mortifying circumstance entirely to the folly of the people, in neglecting their farms to occupy themselves with complaining of grievances and abuses, he leaves no doubt of the fact.[14]

This view is confirmed by another fact equally indisputable. Throughout the frontier, from Amherstburg to the ocean, the market value of land is much greater on the American than on the British side. In not a few parts of the frontier this difference amounts to as much as a thousand per cent., and in some cases even more. Difference in value between British Provinces and United States. The average difference, as between Upper Canada and the States of New York and Michigan, is notoriously several hundred per cent. Mr. Hastings Kerr, of Quebec, whose knowledge of the value of land in Lower Canada is generally supposed to be more extensive and accurate than that of any other person, states that the price of wild land in Vermont and New Hampshire, close to the line, is five dollars per acre, and in the adjoining British townships only one dollar. On this side of the line a very large extent of land is wholly unsaleable, even at such low prices; while on the other side property is continually changing hands. The price of two or three shillings per acre would purchase immense tracts in Lower Canada and New Brunswick. In the adjoining States it would be difficult to obtain a single lot for less than as many dollars. In and near Stanstead, a border township of Lower Canada, and one of the most improved, forty-eight thousand acres of fine land, of which Governor Sir R. S. Milnes[15] obtained a grant to himself in 1810, was recently sold at the price of two shillings per acre. Mr. Stayner, the Deputy Postmaster General, one of the largest proprietors of wild land in Lower Canada, says:—‘Twenty years ago, or thereabout, I purchased wild land at what was then considered a low price, in the natural hope that it would be gradually increasing in value, and that, whenever I might choose to sell, it would be at such a profit as would afford me a fair return for the use of the money employed. So far, however, from realizing this expectation, I now find, after the lapse of so many years, when the accumulated interest upon the money invested has increased the cost of the land 150 per cent.—I say I find that I could not, if compelled to sell this land, obtain more for it than it originally cost me.’ I learned from others besides Mr. Kerr, but quote his words, that ‘the system pursued in granting Crown Lands in Lower Canada has been such as to render it impossible to obtain money on mortgage of land, because there is no certainty as to the value: when a sale is forced, there may be a perfect glut in the market and no purchasers.’ Similar statements might be cited in abundance. It might be supposed by persons unacquainted with the frontier country, that the soil on the American side is of very superior natural fertility. I am positively assured that this is by no means the case; but that, on the whole, superior natural fertility belongs to the British territory. In Upper Canada, the whole of the great peninsula between Lakes Erie and Huron, comprising nearly half the available land of the Province, consists of gently-undulating alluvial soil, and, with a smaller proportion of inferior land than probably any other tract of similar extent in that part of North America, is generally considered the best grain country on that continent.[16] The soil of the border townships of Lower Canada is allowed, on all hands, to be superior to that of the border townships of New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire; while the lands of New Brunswick, equal in natural fertility to those of Maine, enjoy superior natural means of communication. I do not believe that the universal difference in the value of land can any where be fairly attributed to natural causes.

Still less can we attribute to such causes another Re-emigration from British Colonies to the border states. circumstance, which in some measure accounts for the different values of property, and which has a close relation to the subject of the public lands. I mean the great amount of re-emigration from the British Colonies to the border States.[17] This is a notorious fact. Nobody denies it; almost every colonist speaks of it with regret. What the proportion may be of those emigrants from the United Kingdom who, soon after their arrival, remove to the United States, it would be very difficult to ascertain precisely. Mr. Bell Forsyth, of Quebec, who has paid much attention to the subject, and with the best opportunities of observing correctly in both the Canadas, estimates that proportion at sixty per cent. of the whole. Mr. Hawke, the chief agent for emigrants in Upper Canada, calculates that out of two-thirds of the immigrants by the St. Lawrence who reach that Province, one-fourth re-emigrate chiefly to settle in the States. It would appear, however, that the amount of emigration from Upper Canada, whether of new comers or others, must be nearer Mr. Forsyth’s estimate. The population was reckoned at 200,000 in January 1830. The increase by births since then should have been at least three per cent. per annum, or 54,000. Mr. Hawke states the number of immigrants from Lower Canada, since 1829, to have been 165,000; allowing that these also would have increased at the rate of three per cent. per annum, the whole increase by immigration and births should have been nearly 200,000. But Mr. Hawke’s estimate of immigrants takes no account of the very considerable number who enter the Province by way of New York and the Erie Canal. Reckoning these at only 50,000, which is probably under the truth, and making no allowance for their increase by births, the entire population of Upper Canada should now have been 500,000, whereas it is, according to the most reliable estimates, not over 400,000.[18] It would therefore appear, making all allowance for errors in this calculation, that the number of people who have emigrated from Upper Canada to the United States, since 1829, must be equal to more than half of the number who have entered the Province during the eight years. Mr. Baillie, the present Commissioner of Crown Lands in New Brunswick, says, ‘a great many emigrants arrive in the Province, but they generally proceed to the United States, as there is not sufficient encouragement for them in this Province.’ Mr. Morris, the present Commissioner of Crown Lands, and Surveyor General of Nova Scotia, speaks in almost similar terms of the emigrants who reach that Province by way of Halifax.

I am far from asserting that the very inferior value of Public opinion against the present mismanagement. land in the British Colonies, and the re-emigration of immigrants, are altogether occasioned by mismanagement in the disposal of public lands. Other defects and errors of government must have had a share in producing these lamentable results; but I only speak the opinion of all the more intelligent, and, let me add, some of the most loyal of Your Majesty’s subjects in North America when I say that this has been the principal cause of these great evils. This opinion rests upon their personal acquaintance with numerous facts. Some of these facts I will now state. They have been selected from a much greater number, as being peculiarly calculated to illustrate the faults of the system, its influence on the condition of the people, and the necessity of a thorough reform. I may add, that many of them form the subject of Despatches which I have addressed to Your Majesty’s Secretary of State.[19]

I have observed before that nearly all of the different Much wild land out of control of Government. methods pursued by the Government have had one mischievous tendency in particular; they have tended to place a vast extent of land out of the control of government, and yet to retain it in a state of wilderness. This evil has been produced in all the Colonies alike, to what extent, and with what injurious consequences, will be made apparent by the following illustrative statements.

By official returns which accompany this Report, it Quantity of public land already alienated. appears that, out of about 17,000,000 of acres comprised within the surveyed districts of Upper Canada, less than 1,600,000 are yet unappropriated, and this amount includes 450,000 acres the reserve for roads, leaving less than 1,200,000 acres open to grant; and of this remnant, 500,000 acres are required to satisfy claims for grants founded on pledges by the Government. In the opinion of Mr. Radenhurst, the really acting Surveyor General, the remaining 700,000 consist for the most part of land inferior in position or quality. It may almost be said therefore, that the whole of the public lands in Upper Canada have been alienated by the Government. In Lower Canada, out of 6,169,963 acres in the surveyed townships, nearly 4,000,000 acres have been granted or sold; and there are unsatisfied but indisputable claims for grants to the amount of about 500,000. In Nova Scotia, nearly 6,000,000 of acres have been granted, and in the opinion of the Surveyor General only about one-eighth of the land which remains to the Crown, or 300,000 acres, is available for the purposes of settlement. The whole of Prince Edward’s Island, about 1,400,000 acres was alienated in one day. In New Brunswick, 4,400,000 acres have been granted or sold, leaving to the Crown about 11,000,000, of which 5,500,000 acres are considered fit for immediate settlement.

Of the lands granted in Upper and Lower Canada, Clergy reserves. upwards of 3,000,000 acres consist of ‘Clergy Reserves’, being for the most part lots of 200 acres each, scattered at regular intervals over the whole face of the townships, and remaining, with few exceptions, entirely wild to this day. The evils produced by the system of reserving land for the clergy have become notorious, even in this country; and a common opinion I believe prevails here, not only that the system has been abandoned, but that measures of remedy have been adopted. This opinion is incorrect in both points. In respect of every new township in both Provinces, reserves are still made for the clergy, just as before; and the Act of the Imperial Parliament, which permits the sale of clergy reserves, applies to only one-fourth of the quantity. The Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Civil Government of Canada reported, in 1828, that ‘these reserved lands, as they are at present distributed over the country, retard more than any other circumstance the improvement of the Colony, lying as they do in detached portions in each township, and intervening between the occupations of actual settlers, who have no means of cutting roads through the woods and morasses, which thus separate them from their neighbours.’ This description is perfectly applicable to the present state of things. In no perceptible degree has the evil been remedied.[20]

The system of clergy reserves was established by the The Constitutional Act. act of 1791, commonly called the Constitutional Act, which directed that, in respect of all grants made by the Crown, a quantity equal to one-seventh of the land so granted should be reserved for the clergy. A quantity equal to one-seventh of all grants would be one-eighth of each township, or of all the public land. Instead of this proportion, the practice has been, ever since the Act passed, and in the clearest violation of its provisions, to Violation of law for benefit of the Clergy in Upper Canada. set apart for the clergy in Upper Canada a seventh of all the land, which is a quantity equal to a sixth of the land granted. There have been appropriated for this purpose 300,000 acres, which, legally, it is manifest, belong to the public. And of the amount for which clergy reserves have been sold in that Province, namely £317,000 (of which about £100,000 have been already received and invested in the English funds), the sum of about £45,000 should belong to the public.

In Lower Canada, the same violation of the law has The same violation in Lower Canada. taken place, with this difference—that upon every sale of Crown and clergy reserves, a fresh reserve for the clergy has been made, equal to a fifth of such reserves. The result has been the appropriation for the clergy of 673,567 acres, instead of 446,000, being an excess of 227,559 acres, or half as much again as they ought to have received. The Lower Canada fund already produced by sales amounts to £50,000, of which, therefore, a third, or about £16,000, belong to the public. If, without any reform of this abuse, the whole of the unsold clergy reserves in both Provinces should fetch the average price at which such lands have hitherto sold, the public would be wronged to the amount of about £280,000; and the reform of this abuse will produce a certain and almost immediate gain to the public of £60,000. In referring, for further explanation of this subject, to a paper in the Appendix which has been drawn up by Mr. Hanson, a member of the Commission of Inquiry which I appointed for all the Colonies,[21] I am desirous of stating my own conviction that the clergy have had no part in this great misappropriation of the public property, but that it has arisen entirely from heedless misconception, or some other error, of the civil government of both Provinces.

The great objection to reserves for the clergy is, that Objection to clergy reserves. those for whom the land is set apart never have attempted, and never could successfully attempt, to cultivate or settle the property, and that, by that special appropriation, so much land is withheld from settlers, and kept in a state of waste, to the serious injury of all settlers in its neighbourhood. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that this is the only practice by which such injury has been, and still is, inflicted on actual settlers. In the two Canadas, especially, the practice of rewarding, or attempting to reward, public services by grants of public land,[22] has produced, and is still producing, a degree of injury to actual settlers which it is difficult to conceive without having witnessed it. The very principle of such grants is bad, inasmuch as, under any circumstances, they must lead to an amount of appropriation beyond the wants of the community, and greatly beyond the proprietor’s means of cultivation and settlement. In both the Canadas, not only has this principle been pursued with reckless profusion, but the local executive governments have managed, by violating or evading the instructions which they received from the Secretary of State, to add incalculably to the mischiefs that would have arisen at all events.

In Upper Canada, 3,200,000 acres have been granted to Grants of land in Upper Canada; ‘U. E. Loyalists’, being refugees from the United States who settled in the Province before 1787, and their children; 730,000 acres to militiamen, 450,000 acres to discharged soldiers and sailors, 255,000 acres to magistrates and barristers, 136,000 acres to executive councillors and their families, 50,000 acres to five legislative councillors and their families, 36,900 acres to clergymen as private property, 264,000 acres to persons contracting to make surveys, 92,526 acres to officers of the army and navy, 500,000 acres for the endowment of schools, 48,520 acres to Colonel Talbot,[23] 12,000 acres to the heirs of General Brock,[24] and 12,000 acres to Doctor Mountain, a former Bishop of Quebec; making altogether, with the clergy reserves, nearly half of all the surveyed land in the Province. In Lower Canada, exclusively of grants to refugee loyalists, in Lower Canada. as to the amount of which the Crown Lands’ Department could furnish me with no information, 450,000 acres have been granted to militiamen, to executive councillors 72,000 acres, to Governor Milnes about 48,000 acres, to Mr. Cushing and another upwards of 100,000 acres (as a reward for giving information in a case of high treason), to officers and soldiers 200,000 acres, and to ‘leaders of townships’ 1,457,209 acres, making altogether, with the clergy reserves, rather more than half of the surveyed lands originally at the disposal of the Crown.

In Upper Canada, a very small proportion (perhaps less Small portion of land occupied by settlers. than a tenth) of the land thus granted has been even occupied by settlers, much less reclaimed and cultivated. In Lower Canada, with the exception of a few townships bordering on the American frontier, which have been comparatively well settled, in despite of the proprietors, by American squatters, it may be said that nineteen-twentieths of these grants are still unsettled, and in a perfectly wild state.

No other result could have been expected in the case of Land-jobbers. those classes of grantees whose station would preclude them from settling in the wilderness, and whose means would enable them to avoid exertion for giving immediate value to their grants; and, unfortunately, the land which was intended for persons of a poorer order, who might be expected to improve it by their labour, has, for the most part, fallen into the hands of land-jobbers of the class just mentioned, who have never thought of settling in person, and who retain the land in its present wild state, speculating upon its acquiring a value at some distant day, when the demand for land shall have increased through the increase of population.

In Upper Canada, says Mr. Bolton, himself a great Abuses of grants. speculator and holder of wild land, ‘the plan of granting large tracts to gentlemen who have neither the muscular strength to go into the wilderness, nor, perhaps, the pecuniary means to improve their grants, has been the means of a large part of the country remaining in a state of wilderness. The system of granting land to the children of U. E. loyalists has not been productive of the benefits expected from it. A very small proportion of the land granted to them has been occupied or improved. A great proportion of such grants were to unmarried females, who very readily disposed of them for a small consideration, frequently from 2l. to 5l. for a grant of 200 acres. The grants made to young men were also frequently sold for a very small consideration; they generally had parents with whom they lived, and were therefore not disposed to move to their grants of lands, but preferred remaining with their families. I do not think one-tenth of the lands granted to U. E. loyalists has been occupied by the persons to whom they were granted, and in a great proportion of cases not occupied at all.’ Mr. Radenhurst says, ‘the general price of these grants was from a gallon of rum up to perhaps 6l., so that while millions of acres were granted in this way, the settlement of the Province was not advanced, nor the advantage of the grantee secured in the manner that we may suppose to have been contemplated by Government.’ He also mentions amongst extensive purchasers of these grants, Mr. Hamilton, a member of the Legislative Council, who bought about 100,000 acres; Chief Justices Emslie and Powell, and Solicitor General Grey, who purchased from 20,000 to 50,000 acres; and states that several members of the Executive and Legislative Councils, as well as of the House of Assembly, were ‘very large purchasers.’

In Lower Canada, the grants to ‘Leaders and Associates’ Evasion of regulations by ‘leaders and associates’. were made by an evasion of instructions which deserves a particular description.[25]

By instructions to the Local Executive immediately after the passing of the Constitutional Act, it was directed that, ‘because great inconveniences had theretofore arisen in many of the Colonies in America from the granting of excessive quantities of land to particular persons who have never cultivated or settled the same, and have thereby prevented others, more industrious, from improving such lands: in order, therefore, to prevent the like inconveniences in future, no farm-lot should be granted to any person being master or mistress of a family in any township to be laid out, which should contain more than 200 acres.’ The instructions then invest the Governor with a discretionary power to grant additional quantities in certain cases, not exceeding 1,000 acres. According to these instructions 200 acres should have been the general amount, 1,200 the maximum, in special cases, to be granted to any individual. The greater part, however, of the land (1,457,209 acres) was granted, in fact, to individuals at the rate of from 10,000 to 50,000 to each person. The evasion of the regulations was managed as follows:—A petition, signed by from 10 to 40 or 50 persons, was presented to the Executive Council, praying for a grant of 1,200 acres to each person, and promising to settle the land so applied for. Such petitions were, I am informed, always granted, the Council being perfectly aware that, under a previous agreement between the applicants (of which the form was prepared by the then Attorney General, and sold publicly by the law stationers of Quebec), five-sixths of the land was to be conveyed to one of them, termed the leader, by whose means the grant was obtained. In most cases the leader obtained the whole of the land which had been nominally applied for by 50 persons. A Report of a Committee of the House of Assembly, known to have been drawn up by the present Solicitor General,[26] speaks of this practice in the following terms: ‘Your Committee, unwilling to believe that the above-mentioned evasions of His Majesty’s gracious instructions had been practised with the knowledge, privity or consent of His Majesty’s servants, bound by their oaths, their honour and their duty to obey them, instituted a long and patient investigation into the origin of these abuses. They have been painfully but irresistibly led to the conclusion, that they were fully within the knowledge of individuals in this Colony, who possessed and abused His Majesty’s confidence. The instruments by which this evasion was to be carried into effect were devised by His Majesty’s Attorney General for the time being, printed and publicly sold in the capital of this Province; and the principal intermediate agent was His Majesty’s late Assistant Surveyor General.’

In order to reward militiamen in Lower Canada, who Rewards to militiamen. had served on the frontier during war, the Duke of Richmond, acting, as it would appear, under instructions from the Home Government, but of which no copy is extant in the public offices at Quebec, promised grants of land to many thousand persons inhabiting all parts of the Province. The intentions of the Home Government appear to have been most praiseworthy. How effectually they have been defeated by the misconduct of the Local Executive will appear from a Report on the subject in Instructions to Commissioners. the Appendix (A.),[27] and the following copy of the instructions given to Commissioners whom I appointed in order to expedite the settlement of militia claims. I would also refer to the evidence of Mr. Kerr, Mr. Morin, Mr. Davidson, and Mr. Langevin.

To the Commissioners of unsettled Militia Claims.

Castle of St. Lewis, Quebec, 12 Sept. 1838.


I am directed by his Excellency the Governor General, in furnishing you with some instructions for your guidance in disposing of unsettled militia claims, to state the view which he takes of this subject, and has represented to Her Majesty’s Government.

His Excellency is of opinion that, if any reliance is to be placed on the concurrent testimony of all from whom he has derived information on the subject, the report of the Commissioner of Crown Lands and Emigration, on which his recent proclamation is founded, contains but a faint description of the injury inflicted on this Province, and of the cruel injustice done to the militiamen, by the manner in which the intentions of the Home Government with respect to these claimants have been defeated by the local executive.

It appears to his Excellency that the intentions of the Prince Regent in awarding land to those officers and men of the militia who had loyally and gallantly served during the last American war, were, in part, to promote the settlement of wild lands, and the consequent prosperity of the Province, but chiefly, there can be no doubt, to bestow upon that body of loyal and gallant men some extraordinary recompense for the privations and dangers which they had cheerfully incurred in defence of the country. His Excellency is satisfied that neither result was obtained in any but so slight a degree as to be scarcely worth notice. But the Governor General perceives, on the other hand, that results occurred, as to the great majority of cases, precisely opposite to those which the Home Government had in view. The official delays and obstacles interposed between the militia claimants and the grants to which they were entitled—the impossibility, in many cases, of ever obtaining a grant, even after the most vexations impediments and delays—the mode of allotting the land in such a manner, that the grant, when obtained, was often worth nothing at all, and seldom worth the trouble and expense of obtaining it—the necessity of employing and paying agents acquainted with the labyrinths of the Crown Lands and Surveyor General’s departments—the expense, uncertainty and harassing trouble attendant upon the pursuit of such a claim; all these circumstances, for which his Excellency is compelled to believe that the public offices were alone to blame, had the effect, he is convinced, in the majority of cases, of converting what the Prince Regent had intended as a boon into a positive injury to the militiamen. He is assured, as might have been expected, that the militiamen disposed of their claims, often for a mere trifle, to land speculators, who never intended to settle upon the grants, and who have for the most part kept the land in a state of wilderness; thereby defeating the only other intention with which the Home Government could have determined on making these grants. From a careful inspection of the evidence taken on this subject from official gentlemen, as well as others, his Excellency is led to concur entirely in that part of the Commissioners’ report, which states, that ‘there has been the maximum of injury to the Province, with the minimum of benefit to the militiamen’.

This crying grievance his Excellency finds has been over and over again, and in various forms, represented to the Government, but without any attempt, as far as he can discover, to provide an adequate remedy for it. He is encouraged to hope that the measure on which he has determined, may, as respects the claims yet unsettled, be the means of carrying into effect, however tardily, the objects of the Prince Regent, by conferring a considerable boon on these meritorious but long disappointed claimants, and conducing to the settlement of the lands which may thus be alienated by the Crown.

The Governor General further directs me to make you acquainted with his confident expectation that you will proceed, with the utmost despatch not incompatible with accuracy, to determine all unsettled claims; that, in awarding orders to persons whose claims could not have been admitted under the original proclamation, but will now be held valid, you will take care not to admit any claims except those of the six battalions, and of others who actually served for the same period, and precisely in the same manner as the six battalions. His Excellency cannot doubt, moreover, that you will spare no pains in endeavouring to secure to the class of militiamen the advantage which was intended for them alone, and which they ought long since to have received. As one means of this most desirable end, his Excellency is of opinion that you should explain to all claimants that the orders for a nominal amount of money which you may award, will have the full value of money at future sales of Crown lands, and ought therefore to be exchangeable for money, if not for the whole sum named in them, still for one of nearly the same amount.

     I am, &c.

Chas Buller, Chief Secretary.

The purposes of the Home Government, judging by the Instructions of 1827, for discontinuance of grants. general instructions which they gave to the local executive, would seem to have been dictated by a sincere, and also an enlightened, desire to promote the settlement and improvement of the country. As respects Upper Canada, instructions, dated July 1827, established as a general rule for the disposal of public lands in future, that free grants should be discontinued, and that a price should be required for land alienated by the Crown. The quantity of land disposed of by sale since those instructions were given amounts to 100,317 acres; the quantity disposed of during the same period by free grant, all in respect of antecedent claims, is about 2,000,000 acres, being above 19 times as much as has been disposed of according to the new rule.

The instructions were obviously prepared with care for Intention to establish a new system. the purpose of establishing a new system, and placing the whole of the disposal of Crown lands in the hands of a Commissioner, then for the first time appointed. The Commissioner never assumed the control of any other portion of these lands than such as were included in returns made to him by the Surveyor General, amounting to no more than about 300,000 acres. All the rest of the land open for disposal remained, as previously, under the control of the Surveyor General as an agent of the Government for locating free grants. The salary of the Commissioner was £.500 a year, besides fees; the whole service during ten years was the superintendence of the sale of 100,000 acres of wild land. The same person was also Surveyor General of Woods and Forests, with a salary of £.500 a year, and agent for the sale of Clergy Reserves, with £.500 a year.

In Lower Canada, under instructions from the Treasury, Lord Goderich’s regulations of 1831. dated in November 1826, which were confirmed and further enforced by Lord Goderich in 1831, who manifestly intended to supersede the old system of free grants by an uniform system of sale, 450,469 acres have been sold, and 641,039 acres have, in respect of antecedent claims, been disposed of by free grant; and the object of the new rule of selling was defeated by the large amount of free grants. Even at this moment, in the two Provinces, where I was assured before I left England that the system of selling had been uniformly established by Lord Goderich’s regulations of 1831, there are unsettled, but probably indisputable claims for free grants, to the amount of from 1,000,000 to 1,300,000 acres. The main alteration which Lord Goderich’s regulations would have made in the system intended to have been established by the Treasury Instructions of 1826, was to render the price more restrictive of appropriation, by requiring payment in less time, and the payment of interest in the meanwhile. This Disregard of direction as to payment. direction appears to have been totally disregarded in both Provinces. As respects Lower Canada, the head of the Crown Lands Department gives the following evidence on the subject:

Q. How did it happen that this instruction was not acted upon?—A. In consequence of a representation from Mr. Felton,[28] the Commissioner of Crown Lands to Lord Aylmer, the Governor of the Province, stating that the terms imposed were too severe, and amounted, in fact, to exacting the whole purchase-money down. Lord Aylmer, upon this, authorized Mr. Felton to continue the former practice, and, it is understood, reported the circumstance to the Home Government. This was in 1832, and the system of longer credit without interest continued to be acted upon until the receipt of Lord Glenelg’s Despatch of 1837, which required payment in ready money at the time of sale.’

I have already pointed out the importance of accurate Importance of accurate surveys. surveys of the public land. Without these there can be no security of property in land, no certainty even as to the position or boundaries of estates marked out in maps or named in title deeds. In Nova Scotia, says the present Surveyor General, ‘there are very many instances of litigation in consequence of inaccurately defined boundaries.’ Mr. M‘Kenzie, a draftsman of the Surveyor General’s office at Halifax, who is also employed to conduct surveys in the field, says, he ‘has found it impossible to make correct surveys in consequence of inaccuracy as to former lots of land, from which of necessity he measures, and also from surveys being inaccurately made by persons not qualified. In many cases, also, the boundaries of land granted have never been surveyed or laid out at all. The present state of surveys is inadequate and injurious to the settlement of the land’. In New Brunswick, says the present Surveyor General, ‘no survey of the Province has ever been made, and the surveys of the old grants are extremely erroneous, and expose errors and collisions which could not have been supposed to exist. It frequently has occurred that different grants are made for the same lot of land. I think this system pernicious, and it will some day be very injurious. The usual practice cannot be relied on as giving a settler a grant of land that cannot be disturbed, without great care and a greater expense than a poor settler can afford.’ In Upper Canada, Mr. Radenhurst asserts that ‘the surveys throughout the Province generally are very inaccurate. This inaccuracy was produced in the first instance by the deficiency of competent persons, and the carelessness with which the surveys were conducted. Latterly the practice introduced by Sir Peregrine Maitland, in spite of the results being pointed out by the then Surveyor General, of letting out the surveys to any person who was willing to contract for them for a certain quantity of land, produced extreme carelessness and inaccuracy. The surveyors just hurried through the township, and of course made surveys, which, on the ground, are found to be very inaccurate. There are instances in which scarcely a single lot is of the dimensions or in the position actually assigned to it in the diagram. The consequences of this have been confusion and uncertainty in the possessions of almost every man, and no small amount of litigation’. As to Lower Canada, the evidence is still more complete and unsatisfactory. The Commissioner of Crown Lands says, in answer to questions, ‘I can instance two townships, Shefford and Orford (and how many more may prove inaccurate as questions of boundary arise, it is impossible to say), which are very inaccurate in their subdivision. On an actual recent survey it has been found, that no one lot agrees with the diagram on record. The lines dividing the lots, instead of running perpendicularly according to the diagram, actually run diagonally, the effect of which is necessarily to displace the whole of the lots, upwards of 300 in number, from their true position. The lines dividing the ranges are so irregular as to give to some lots two and a half times the contents of others, though they are all laid down in the diagram as of equal extent; there are lakes also which occupy nearly the whole of some lots that are entirely omitted: I have heard complaints of a similar nature respecting the township of Grenville. I have no reason for believing that the surveys of other townships are more accurate than those of Shefford and Orford, other than that in some parts of the country the same causes of error may not have existed, whether physical causes, such as that of magnetic attraction, where there really was a survey, or, in cases where there was no actual survey, the negligence of the surveyor. The inaccuracy of which I have spoken is confined to that part of the Province which is divided into townships.[29] There are 109 townships of about 100 square miles each, including all the land which has been disposed of by the British Government, except the seigniories which were erected by that Government shortly after the conquest. Similar difficulties to those which might arise in settling a question of title between the Crown and an alleged squatter, arising from the inaccuracy of the township surveys, would extend to all grants and sales by the Crown, and also to all questions of title between persons claiming to have a grant, or to have purchased from the Crown, and alleged squatters on the land asserted to be theirs, and more or less to all cases in which different persons should claim to have received or purchased the same piece of land from the Crown. It is a general observation that this state of the Crown surveys must prove a source of interminable litigation hereafter; it is impossible to say how many cases may arise of double grants of the same land under different designations, arising from the defective state of the surveys. None of such cases have come before me in an official shape, but I apprehend that questions of that nature are waiting in great numbers until lands shall have become more valuable, when the Crown will be called in upon every occasion to defend its own grant, and, considering the state of the surveys, will be without the means of such defence, unless measures to prevent the evil should be adopted before its occurrence. In common with every person who has ever reflected on the subject, I consider this a subject of very high importance, and demanding the immediate attention of Government.’ Mr. Daly, the secretary of the Province, says:—‘An accurate survey of the whole of the ungranted lands in the Province I believe to be extremely desirable and necessary to quiet doubts that have arisen in the minds of many new settlers as to the correctness of their boundaries.’ Mr. Patrick Daly, commissioned surveyor of the Province, gives the following evidence:—

You are just come to Quebec to make a representation as to the state of the township of Durham?—I am.

What is the point which you wish to ascertain?—Whether I can have authority to establish a new line between the 6th and 7th ranges of the township of Durham.

What would be the consequence of such a change?—In consequence of a part of the old range-line being found incorrect to the extent of 60 perches, whereby the 7th would lose about one-fifth of its dimensions, and the same amount would be improperly added to the 6th; the change I wish to make would set this right.

How did you discover that the line was incorrect?—In consequence of having been employed by Capt. Ployart, of Durham, to run the side lines of lot No. 15, in the 6th range, in order to determine the extent of his property, he being the proprietor of that lot, I discovered that the line was incorrect, as I have described already; and I cannot proceed to rectify the error without authority from the Governor, or some person appointed by the Governor, as we have not any laws in the Province to enable me to make a new range-line, as the old range-line is not to be found, with the exception of a small part, which is in the wrong place, as I have described.

Would a new line have the effect of taking away land, in actual possession, from any person, and giving it to another?—Yes, it would.

Do you suppose that the other range-lines in this township are correct or incorrect?—Some are correct, but they are generally incorrect; my attention, however, has not been particularly called to them.

Are not the proprietors of the other lots which are incorrect anxious to have the limits of their property settled?—Yes, very anxious; more particularly the inhabitants of the 3d range, about one quarter of whose property is taken by the inhabitants of the 2d range, through the means of an erroneous old range-line, as has been proved by various subsequent surveys duly sworn to. I am requested by all the inhabitants of the 3d range to take steps to obtain a new range-line.

Have they ever applied before for this rectification of the survey?—Yes; they applied to the Surveyor General’s department, by a statement made by me, and now in the Surveyor General’s office; but the answer was, that there was no law in the province to authorize the changing of a range-line, however incorrect, without the consent of all the parties concerned.

Then all parties did not concur in this case?—No, they did not.

Why not?—Because many of those who improperly gained by the error wished to retain what rightly belonged to their neighbour.

As the former application was fruitless, upon what ground do you now proceed?—Upon the confidence that as Lord Durham has greater powers than other Governors, he may be pleased to consider this great loss of property to the people, and give orders to correct the evil.

Are you acquainted with other townships?—Yes.

Have you found the surveys of them generally correct or incorrect?—I have found the surveys of the township of Windsor as incorrect, or even more so, than that of the township of Durham, which can be proved by the most reliable testimony. Generally, with the exception of the township of Wickham, I have found them quite incorrect. I speak only from my personal experience, and not from what I have heard.

Mr. Sewell, recently Chief Justice of the Province,[30] says:—‘I have known of many defects in the surveys, which have appeared in many cases before me, and am apprehensive that they are very numerous. I can only state, from my own opinion, two remedies by which these defects may be in some degree remedied: the one is by running anew the outlines of the several townships; the other an Act to give quiet possession, such as has been heretofore passed in other provinces. I am afraid that running the outlines of the townships would not be of any great benefit beyond exposing the errors.’ Mr. Kerr says:—‘It is generally understood the surveys in many of the various townships are very inaccurate; and many of the surveys have been found to be so. I had in my hand the other day a patent for four lots in the township of Inverness, three of which did not exist, granted to a Captain Skinner. Three of the lots were decided not to be in existence; and I received compensation for them in another township. A great error was discovered in the original survey of the township of Leeds. The inaccuracy of the surveys is quite a matter of certainty. I could cite a number of townships, Milton, Upton, Orford, Shefford, &c., where the inaccuracy has been ascertained. Inconvenience from the inaccuracy of the surveys has been felt; but it is only now beginning to be so seriously. As the settlement of the country advances, and land acquires a greater value, great inconvenience must arise in the shape of endless questions of title: and of this many people are so well aware, that they refuse to sell with a guarantee of title.’

I may add, generally, that I found the surveying Inefficiency of Surveying Department. department in Lower Canada so thoroughly inefficient in its constitution, as to be incapable of any valuable improvement; and that I therefore abstained from interfering with it, trusting that the whole future management of the public lands would be placed on a new footing, calculated to remedy this, as well as all the other evils of the present system.

Another of those evils requires some notice here. In Delays in completing Titles. the United States, the title to land purchased of the Government is obtained immediately and securely on payment of the purchase-money. In all the British Colonies, there is more or less of useless formality and consequent delay in procuring a complete title to land which has been paid for. Dr. Baldwin, speaking of Upper Canada, says:—‘I do not know that there was any more constant subject of complaint on the part of individuals, against the Government, than the delays of office, especially in connexion with land-granting. It frequently happened to myself, and I believe to others also, that, during the time when free grants of land, of small amount, were made to actual settlers, persons who had spent their money in waiting for the completion of the grant, have applied to me for employment while the patent was being perfected, and I have furnished it for a short time. The most striking instance that occurred in my knowledge, in which an individual was injured by the delay to which he was exposed in this respect, was that of a man of the name of Burnes, who, in Sir Peregrine Maitland’s time, having fallen in debt to some persons whom he had employed, was pressed by them for the money. At this time, a patent was in progress through the offices for him. He applied to his creditors to give him time till his patent was completed, which would enable him to raise money to pay them. The creditors were willing, and waited for some time, but at last became impatient, and they arrested him, and he was compelled to go to prison. The patent had passed through the offices, but he was compelled to remain in prison a fortnight, while the patent was sent over to the Governor for his signature, at his residence, near the Falls of Niagara.’ A recent Act of the Legislature of Upper Canada[31] has greatly mitigated this evil, which however remains in full force in Lower Canada. Mr. Kerr says, ‘As soon as the purchaser has paid the last instalment, he is referred by the Crown Lands’ Officer, to whom the payment is made, for patent, to the Surveyor General for the necessary specification. Then the specification, with the reference, is sent to the Commissioner of Crown Lands. These documents are next sent to the Secretary of the Governor or Civil Secretary, who directs the Provincial Secretary to engross the patent. The fees are then levied, and, upon the payment of fees, the Provincial Secretary engrosses. On engrossment being made, the Governor signs the patent, and the great seal of the Province is attached to it. This signature is procured by the Provincial Secretary. The patent is then sent to the Commissioner of Crown Lands to be audited. At present one of the Commissioners audits: this used to be done by the Auditor, but the office of Auditor has been abolished. When the audit is made, the title is said to be perfected. The effect of having to refer to so many persons has been the total loss of many references, and the papers connected with them, in one or other of the offices. There have been cases in which I was referred three times for the same patent, all the papers having been lost twice successively. In some cases the papers are found again, but at too late a period to be available. The shortest time within which I have known a title to be perfected is about six weeks, and the longest about eight years. More than ordinary diligence was used in the case of six weeks. I obtained an order from the Governor for a special reference for my patent, to take priority of all others then in the office. The average period required for completing a title, after the purchase has been completed by the payment of the whole of the purchase-money, is full 15 months. I am satisfied that the present system is a serious impediment to the settlement of the country; and that no extensive measure for that purpose can work well, unless the mode of obtaining titles, after purchase, be rendered much more simple. Immediate despatch with title is what is required to encourage purchasers, and prevent uncertainty and discontent. I have been directed by purchasers to apply for the return of their purchase-money from the Crown, because of the delay which has occurred. The present system is so profitable to agents, that, speaking as an agent, I should be sorry to see it abolished. One of the inconveniences to the public is the necessity of employing agents acquainted with the labyrinths through which each reference has to pass.’

The results of this general mismanagement are thus illustrated by the chief agent for emigrants in Upper Canada.

‘The principal evils to which settlers in a new township Illustration of results of mismanagement. are subject result from the scantiness of population. A township contains 80,000[32] acres of land; one-seventh is reserved for the clergy and one-seventh for the Crown; consequently five-sevenths remain for the disposal of Government, a large proportion of which is taken up by grants to U. E. loyalists, militiamen, officers and others: the far greater part of these grants remain in an unimproved state. These blocks of wild land place the actual settler in an almost hopeless condition; he can hardly expect, during his lifetime, to see his neighbourhood contain a population sufficiently dense to support mills, schools, post-offices, places of worship, markets or shops; and without these, civilization retrogrades. Roads under such circumstances can neither be opened by the settlers, nor kept in proper repair, even if made by the Government. The inconvenience arising from want of roads is very great, and is best illustrated by an instance which came under my own observation in 1834. I met a settler from the township of Warwick on the Caradoc Plains, returning from the grist mill at Westminster, with the flour and bran of thirteen bushels of wheat; he had a yoke of oxen and a horse attached to his waggon, and had been absent nine days, and did not expect to reach home until the following evening. Light as his load was, he assured me that he had to unload wholly or in part several times, and, after driving his waggon through the swamps, to pick out a road through the woods where the swamps or gullies were fordable, and to carry the bags on his back and replace them in the waggon. Supposing the services of the man and his team to be worth two dollars per day, the expense of transport would be twenty dollars. As the freight of wheat from Toronto to Liverpool [England] is rather less than 2s. 6d. per bushel, it follows that a person living in this city could get the same wheat ground on the banks of the Mersey, and the flour and bran returned to him at a much less expense than he could transport it from the rear of Warwick to Westminster and back—a distance less than 90 miles. Since 1834 a grist-mill has been built in Adelaide, the adjoining township, which is a great advantage to the Warwick settlers; but the people in many parts of the Province still suffer great inconvenience from the same cause.’

Mr. Rankin, Deputy Land Surveyor, says, ‘The system Large waste grants have caused the abandonment of settlements. of making large grants to individuals who had no intention of settling them, has tended to retard the prosperity of the colony, by separating the actual settlers, and rendering it so much more difficult, and in some cases impossible, for them to make the necessary roads. It has also made the markets more distant and more precarious. To such an extent have these difficulties been experienced, as to occasion the abandonment of settlements which had been formed. I may mention, as an instance of this, the township of Rama, where, after a trial of three years, the settlers were compelled to abandon their improvements. In the township of St. Vincent, almost all the most valuable settlers have left their farms from the same cause. There have been numerous instances in which, though the settlement has not been altogether abandoned, the most valuable settlers, after unavailing struggles of several years with the difficulties which I have described, have left their farms.’ This witness, who was for ten years employed by Government as Deputy Surveyor in the western district, which I have before described as the finest grain country in North America,[33] states that ‘nine-tenths of the land granted by the Crown in that district are still in a state of wilderness.’

For illustration of the same kind as respects Lower Canada, I would refer to the testimony of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Mr. Kerr, the Deputy Postmaster General, Mr. Russell, Major Head, Mr. Keough, the late Chief Justice, and Mr. Lemesurier.

Mr. Kerr says, ‘The main obstacle to the speedy Settlers have sold their farms for a third or a fourth of the money expended in improving them. settlement and cultivation of all the more fertile parts of the Province is private land remaining wild; inasmuch as the land of the Crown is open to purchase, which is not generally the case with that of private individuals, excepting at too exorbitant a price. So injurious is the existence of this quantity of wild land, in the midst or in the neighbourhood of settlement, that numerous cases have occurred in which a settler, after several years’ residence upon his property, and having expended, in money and labour, from £.20 to £.50 in clearing part of it and building his house, has been driven to abandon the farm, and to sell it for one-third or even one-fourth of the sum that he had expended upon it. I have myself bought farms which have been abandoned in this way for the merest trifle. One, I recollect now, consisted of 100 acres, in the township of Kingsey, a beautiful part of the district of Three Rivers, with rather more than 20 acres cleared, and a good house and outhouses erected upon it, for which I paid under £.30. I could give very many instances of a similar kind, where I have either purchased myself, or have had a personal knowledge of the circumstances.’

One of the most remarkable instances of evils resulting Profusion of Grants in Prince Edward’s Island. from profuse grants of land is to be found in Prince Edward’s Island.[34] Nearly the whole of the island (about 1,400,000 acres) was alienated in one day, in very large grants, chiefly to absentees, and upon conditions which have been wholly disregarded. The extreme improvidence which dictated these grants is obvious: the neglect of the Government as to enforcing the conditions of the grants, in spite of the constant efforts of the people and the legislature to force upon its attention the evils under which they laboured, is not less so. The great bulk of the island is still possessed by absentees, who hold it as a sort of reversionary interest, which requires no present attention, but may become valuable some day or other through the growing wants of the inhabitants. But in the mean time, the inhabitants are subjected to the greatest inconvenience, nay, to the most serious injury, from the state of property in land. The absent proprietors neither improve the land, nor will let others improve it. They retain the land, and keep it in a state of wilderness. I have in another place adverted to the remedy proposed, and the causes, which have long retarded its adoption. The feelings of the colonists on the subject are fully expressed in the evidence of Mr. Lelacheur, Mr. Solicitor General Hodgson, and the Governor, Sir Charles Fitzroy. I may add, that their testimony was confirmed by that of the delegates from the Island who visited me at Quebec.

In the above enumeration of facts, I do not profess to Influence of disposal of lands on public prosperity. have exhausted the long catalogue of evils and abuses which were brought to my notice. But I have stated enough, I trust, to establish the position with which I set out,—that the disposal of public lands in a new country has more influence on the prosperity of the people than any other branch of Government; and further to make it evident, that the still existing evils which have been occasioned by mismanagement in this department, are so great and general as to require a comprehensive and effectual remedy, applied to all the Colonies, before any merely political reform can be expected to work well.

[1] As to this part of the Report which deals with public lands and emigration, see Introduction, pp. 152-98. Those who wish to study the subject should refer to Merivale’s Lectures on Colonization and Colonies, 1861 ed.

[2] The evil of having waste tracts interposed between settled lands, which is commented on here and on pp. 219-22 below, was constantly being pointed out in connexion with the crown and clergy reserves. In a dispatch to Lord Bathurst, dated December 20, 1823, dealing with the subject of crown and clergy reserves in Lower Canada, Lord Dalhousie wrote: ‘These (Crown) Reserves also produce a farther and most curious disadvantage to the country, in the impediments they present to the making of new roads. They chequer the face of the country, and remain as masses of wilderness or impassable swamps, which no person can be compelled to improve, and those who do it feel it to be a most heavy and unfair tax upon them.’ In 1828 the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Civil Government of Canada, as quoted by Lord Durham on p. 220 below, reported, with regard to the clergy reserves in Upper Canada, that they entertained no doubt ‘that these reserved lands, as they are at present distributed over the country, retard more than any other circumstance the improvement of the colony, lying as they do in detached portions in each Township, and intervening between the occupations of actual settlers, who have no means of cutting roads through the woods and morasses, which thus separate them from their neighbours’ (Report July 22, 1828, p. 9). In the evidence given before the House of Commons Committee of 1836 on Disposal of Lands in the British Colonies (p. 8), one of the witnesses, Mr. Whitmore, spoke of ‘the clergy reserves in Canada, remaining desert in the midst of spreading cultivation, and thereby retarding the general improvement of the country’ (see also Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 187, Mr. Panet’s evidence before the Municipal Inquiry Commission).

[3] The more Lord Durham emphasized the supreme importance of the disposal of public lands in the colonies, the more he laid himself open to the criticism at the present day of having coupled the recommendation of self-government for the British North American colonies with withholding from their Legislatures ‘the function of authority most full of good or evil consequences’.

[4] The South Australian Act was passed in 1834, and South Australia, intended to be a field for applying the Wakefield system, was founded in 1836. Reference should be made to Lecture XVI of Merivale’s Lectures on Colonization and Colonies. The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on ‘Disposal of Lands in the British Colonies’ was dated August 1, 1836. House of Commons Paper, No. 512. Though the scope of the inquiry only included the Australian colonies, the Cape of Good Hope, and the West Indies, and excluded British North America, much reference was made to the British North American provinces in the evidence, and still more to the United States. Among the witnesses were Gibbon Wakefield and R. D. Hanson, who was afterwards Assistant Commissioner of Crown Lands and Emigration to Charles Buller in Lord Durham’s Inquiry (see p. 221 below), and who wrote the special Report on the Clergy Reserves which forms the first document in Appendix A. One member of the House of Commons Committee was Mr. Gladstone.

[5] The Minutes of the Evidence have not been reprinted.

[6] The public domain of the United States, i.e. the public lands controlled by the Federal Government, consisted of: (i) lands ceded by foreign powers, notably the enormous tract which, under the title of Louisiana, was bought from the French in 1803; (ii) lands ceded by the Indians; (iii) the hinterland of the old Atlantic States, which was handed over to the Federal Government by the separate States, mainly between 1780 and 1787, the States retaining, of course, the public lands within their narrowed borders. A full account of the lands and the land system of the United States in 1836 will be found in the evidence given in that year by George Stevenson before the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the Disposal of Lands in the British colonies. On p. 22 of that Blue Book, Stevenson gives an account of the Act of Congress of May 18, 1796, to which Lord Durham refers, and which fixed the price of land at ‘two dollars an acre with credit given’. The Report of the Committee (p. iii) contains the following paragraph relative to the land system of the United States: ‘That the land sales in the United States appear to be conducted upon an uniform and well-organized system, which is applied to the whole Federation; there being a General Land Office established at Washington, under separate and responsible officers, who have no political duties whatsoever, with forty subordinate district land offices, in other parts of the Union: that these land offices are connected with a surveying department, upon so extensive a scale, that the land actually surveyed amounts to 110,000,000 of acres, over and above the 40,000,000 of acres already disposed of: that all land is offered for sale by auction, at an upset price, fixed by the Legislature; and that purchasers have the security of an Act of Congress both for the performance of the conditions upon which they buy the land; and for the permanence of the system under which they acquire it.’ See also Merivale’s Lectures on Colonization and Colonies, Lecture XV, pp. 443-50.

[7] Presumably the ‘partial exception’ refers to the Clergy Reserves clauses of the Constitutional Act of 1791, referred to a few lines lower down.

[8] See above, p. 195, note.

[9] At the time when Lord Durham wrote his Report the revenue from government land in the United States had increased enormously. ‘Before the year 1834 the annual sales of land had never amounted to $3,000,000; but in 1835 they rose to $14,757,000, and in 1836 to $24,877,000’ (Cambridge Modern History, vol. vii: The United States, p. 384).

[10] Delays and land-jobbing were an old story in Canada. General Robert Prescott, who succeeded Lord Dorchester as Governor-in-Chief of the Canadas in 1797, became involved in a quarrel with his Executive Council on the land question, which ended in his recall in 1799. The surveys had not kept pace with the demand for land. Consequently a large number of squatters had occupied land without legal title and begun settlement, while others had been granted land but had not occupied it. Prescott proposed to confirm those who were actually occupying land, in full, and those who had acquired land but not used it, only in part; and in future to dispose of land only at public auction. He was opposed by the members of his Council, some of whom were said to be concerned in land-jobbing, which according to his own account he wished to prevent.

[11] Lord Durham constantly contrasts the backwardness of the British North American provinces with the progressiveness of the United States (see e.g. above, p. 201, and below, pp. 261-3). Similarly the Report on Public Lands and Emigration speaks of ‘the mortifying inferiority to the neighbouring states, which is at present everywhere apparent’ (Appendix B, vol. iii, p. 109). Again, Mr. William Young, in his letter on the state of Nova Scotia, writes: ‘We admire the enterprise, activity, and Public Works of the United States, and would wish that they were more largely imitated in our own possessions’ (Appendix A, vol. iii, p. 13). On the other hand Mr. Young criticizes ‘the American Union, with its outrages on property and real freedom, its growing democratic spirit and executive weakness’; and the Assistant Commissioners of Municipal Inquiry quote to the effect that ‘Here (in Lower Canada) the method of making and repairing roads is infinitely preferable to any other—to that especially of the United States’, and again state in a note, ‘Persons who are disposed to regard the local administration of the United States as a model for other countries, will probably be unwilling to believe that in the State of New York, whose prosperity has been immensely increased by its canal and railway communications, the management of the roads is extremely defective’ (Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 144, and p. 194 note). See also Introduction, pp. 262-6.

[12] The railway ran from Laprairie on the St. Lawrence to St. John’s on the Richelieu river. It was begun in 1835, opened with horses in 1836, and worked with locomotives in 1837. The capital raised for constructing it was £50,000, or a little over £3,000 per mile. See Mr. Castell Hopkins’s Canada, an Encyclopaedia, vol. ii, p. 225.

[13] That Wakefield had a hand in writing this part of Lord Durham’s Report may be judged by the evidence which he gave before the Select Committee of 1836 on the Disposal of Lands in the British colonies. On page 68 of the Blue Book is the following question and answer: ‘699. Chairman. Can you give the Committee any example of the benefits arising from the sale of land, as contrasted with the results arising from gratuitous grants? I think there is a very striking example of that contrast in the two sides of the St. Lawrence. All travellers in that part of America agree in describing the United States side of the St. Lawrence as a cultivated country, having roads, and ports on the lakes, and ships, and carriages, and towns, and all other signs of wealth and civilization; but in describing the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence, they tell of a barbarous country, but half cultivated, with a common practice among the settlers of exhausting portions of land, and then leaving those portions and running over other portions of virgin soil; and thus presenting altogether a very remarkable contrast with the American side in point of wealth and civilization.’

[14] The writer referred to here is Thomas Chandler Haliburton, ‘Sam Slick,’ said to have been the father of the American School of Humour. The notice of him in the Dictionary of National Biography says that he was born in 1796 in Windsor, Nova Scotia, and died in England in 1865. He was the son of a Nova Scotia judge, practised at the Nova Scotia bar, and in 1828 became Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas in Nova Scotia. He resigned judicial office in 1856, and went to England. In 1825 and 1829 he published histories of Nova Scotia. In 1835 he began a series of newspaper articles under the name of ‘Sam Slick’, and in 1837, 1838, 1840, he published a collection of them anonymously under the name, The Clockmaker, or Sayings and Doings of Sam Slick of Slickville. In 1839 he published The Bubbles of Canada, by the Author of ‘The Clockmaker’, suggested by Lord Durham’s Report, and also A Reply to the Report of the Earl of Durham by a Colonist.

[15] Sir Robert Shore Milnes was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada in 1799. He returned to England in 1805 and, though he never went back to Canada, he continued to hold his appointment till late in 1808. He was never Governor-in-Chief of the Canadas.

[16] Many years elapsed after this was written, before the grain-growing capacity of the north-west became known to the world.

[17] The British residents in Lower Canada attributed the re-emigration from that province to the attitude of the French Canadian majority in the Quebec Legislature. Thus, in a petition for reunion of the two Canadas, forwarded from the townships in 1823 and printed as an Appendix to the Report of the Select Committee on the Civil Government of Canada in 1828 (pp. 323-6), it is stated: ‘Of the many thousand emigrants who, within the last few years, have arrived from Great Britain, scarcely 1,000 have settled in the townships of Lower Canada; but great numbers of them have gone into the United States, considering, possibly, that they should there find themselves in a less foreign country than in this British colony under its present circumstances, and under the foreign aspect of the representative branch of its Legislature.’

[18] According to the census of 1839 the population of Upper Canada in that year was 409,048.

[19] These dispatches will be found in the House of Commons Paper of February 11, 1839, No. 2. See the dispatches of June 29, 1838 (pp. 135-7); July 31, 1838 (pp. 149-51), as to the British American land company; September 17, 1838 (pp. 166-70), as to militia claims to land; October 8, 1838 (pp. 196-201), as to land in Prince Edward Island; October 20, 1838 (pp. 226-8), as to a case of sale of lands in the Gaspé district; October 30, 1838 (pp. 235-7), as to squatters on Crown lands in Lower Canada; and October 30, 1838 (p. 239), as to the British American land company.

[20] See above, p. 204 and note.

[21] This is the first paper in Appendix A.

[22] Mr. Richards, in his Report on Waste Lands in the Canadas and Emigration, printed for the House of Commons in March 1832, wrote (p. 4) that ‘the province of Upper Canada appears to have been considered by Government as a land fund, to reward meritorious servants.’ Land grants to officers and soldiers dated as far back as the Proclamation of 1763. See above, p. 65. As an illustration of the claims put forward, in 1797-8 Benedict Arnold asked for nearly 20,000 acres of land in Canada as a reward for his services to the British Government.

[23] Colonel Thomas Talbot was a very prominent figure in the early history of Upper Canada. He was one of the Talbots of Malahide, who went out to Upper Canada with General Simcoe, and settled himself and many others on the shore of Lake Erie, where he gave his name to Port Talbot. He lived till 1853 (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v., and see also the reference to him in the Life of Sir John Beverley Robinson).

[24] The hero of the war of 1812, killed at Queenston Heights.

[25] As to the practice here referred to see Appendix B, vol. iii, pp. 42-3, where it is stated that ‘with this practice in fact, the history of the settlement of the townships of Lower Canada commences’. See also above, p. 18, note.

[26] The ‘present Solicitor-General’ was Andrew Stuart, who had lately been appointed to that office by Lord Durham. See below, p. 294, note.

[27] This is the second paper included in Appendix A. It was also given to Parliament in the Blue Book of February 11, 1839, pp. 166-9, having been sent home by Lord Durham in a separate dispatch.

[28] William Bowman Felton was Commissioner of Crown Lands in Lower Canada and member of the Legislative Council. He seems to have been conspicuous in malpractices with regard to lands, and three (Imperial) Parliamentary Papers are concerned with him, two in 1836 and one in 1837. The Quebec Assembly in 1836 presented an address to the Governor-in-Chief, asking that Felton should be removed from office. The Governor-in-Chief, Lord Gosford, suspended him in August 1836, and in the following November the Secretary of State, Lord Glenelg, confirmed the suspension and dismissed him from the service.

[29] As to the townships, see above, p. 18, note.

[30] Jonathan Sewell was born in June 1766 at Cambridge, Massachusetts, being the son of the Attorney-General of that State. He was educated in England at Bristol Grammar School, and in 1785 went with his father to New Brunswick. He was called to the bar in Lower Canada, and served the Crown in that province for 48 years, 18 years as Solicitor-General and Attorney-General, and 30 years as Chief Justice. He was appointed Chief Justice in 1808, and retired in October 1838, when Lord Durham appointed, as his successor, James Stuart, who, in 1814, when in opposition to the Government, had taken the lead in impeaching Sewell in the Quebec Assembly. The charges were referred to England, and a committee of the Privy Council upheld Sewell on all points. The judges were a favourite subject of attack by the democratic party in the Quebec Assembly, and Sewell, who, as Chief Justice, was also Speaker of the Legislative Council, incurred much popular hostility. He was a man of high standing and distinction and a friend of the Duke of Kent. He died at Quebec in 1839.

[31] The Act was presumably 7 Will. IV, cap. 118, ‘An act to provide for the disposal of the Public Lands in this Province and for other purposes therein mentioned.’ It was passed in 1837, and the Royal Assent was published in 1838. As to delays in giving legal title to lands, see above, p. 210, note 2.

[32] The figure given in the evidence is 60,000, not 80,000.

[33] See above, p. 216. In his quotations Lord Durham rather boils down the evidence.

[34] See above, p. 198 and note, and p. 219.


I now proceed to another subject, which, though ultimately connected with the colonization and improvement of the Provinces, must yet be considered separately; for it is one in which not the colonial population only, but the people of the United Kingdom have a deep and immediate interest. I allude to the manner in which the emigration of the poorer classes from Great Britain and Ireland to the North American Colonies has hitherto been conducted.

About nine years ago, measures were for the first time Number arriving at Quebec. taken to ascertain the number of immigrants arriving at Quebec by sea. The number during these nine years has been 263,089; and there have been as many in one year (1832) as 51,746. In the year before, the number was 50,254; in 1833, 21,752; in 1834, 30,935; in 1835, 12,527; in 1836, 27,728; in 1837, 22,500; and in 1838, only 4,992.[1] The great diminution in 1838 was occasioned solely, I believe, by the vague fears entertained in this country of dangers presented by the distracted state of the Colonies. I am truly surprised, however, that emigration of the poorer classes to the Canadas did not almost entirely cease some years ago; and that this would have been the case, if the facts which I am about to state had been generally known in the United Kingdom, there can, I think, be no rational doubt.

Dr. Morrin, a gentleman of high professional and Diseases and deaths on board of Emigrant Ships. personal character, Inspecting Physician of the Port of Quebec, and Commissioner of the Marine and Emigrant Hospital, says:—‘I am almost at a loss for words to describe the state in which the emigrants frequently arrived; with a few exceptions, the state of the ships was quite abominable; so much so, that the harbour-master’s boatmen had no difficulty, at the distance of gun-shot, either when the wind was favourable or in a dead calm, in distinguishing by the odour alone a crowded emigrant ship. I have known as many as from 30 to 40 deaths to have taken place, in the course of a voyage, from typhus fever, on board of a ship containing from 500 to 600 passengers; and within six weeks after the arrival of some vessels, and the landing of the passengers at Quebec, the hospital has received upwards of 100 patients at different times from among them. On one occasion, I have known nearly 400 patients at one time in the Emigrant Hospital of Quebec, for whom there was no sufficient accommodation; and in order to provide them with some shelter, Dr. Painchaud, the then attending physician, with the aid of other physicians, incurred a personal debt to the Quebec Bank to a considerable amount, which, however, was afterwards paid by the Provincial Legislature.’ Miserable state of Emigrants when landed. . . . ‘The mortality was considerable among the emigrants at that time, and was attended with most disastrous consequences; children being left without protection, and wholly dependent on the casual charity of the inhabitants of the city. As to those who were not sick on arriving, I have to say that they were generally forcibly landed by the masters of vessels, without a shilling in their pockets to procure them a night’s lodging, and very few of them with the means of subsistence for more than a very short period. They commonly established themselves along the wharfs and at the different landing-places, crowding into any place of shelter they could obtain, where they subsisted principally upon the charity of the inhabitants. For six weeks at a time from the commencement of the emigrant-ship season, I have known the shores of the river along Quebec, for about a mile and a half, crowded with these unfortunate people, the places of those who might have moved off being constantly supplied by fresh arrivals, and there being daily drafts of from 10 to Infectious diseases spread into the City. 30 taken to the hospital with infectious disease. The consequence was it spread among the inhabitants of the city, especially in the districts in which these unfortunate creatures had established themselves. Those who were not absolutely without money, got into low taverns and boarding-houses and cellars, where they congregated in immense numbers, and where their state was not any better than it had been on board ship. This state of things existed within my knowledge from 1826 to 1832, and probably for some years previously.’

Dr. Morrin’s testimony is confirmed by that of Dr. Skey, Contagious diseases annually imported into Quebec by Emigrants. Deputy Inspector General of Hospitals, and President of the Quebec Emigrants Society.[2] He says, ‘Upon the arrival of emigrants in the river, a great number of sick have landed. A regular importation of contagious disease into this country has annually taken place; that disease originated on board ship, and was occasioned, I should say, by bad management in consequence of the ships being ill-found, ill-provisioned, over-crowded, and ill-ventilated. I should say that the mortality during the voyage has been dreadful; to such an extent that, in 1834, the inhabitants of Quebec, taking alarm at the number of shipwrecks, at the mortality of the passengers, and the fatal diseases which accumulated at the Quarantine Establishment at Grosse Isle and the Emigrant Hospital of this city, involving the inhabitants of Quebec in the calamity, called upon the Emigrants Society to take the subject into consideration, and make representations to the Government thereon.’

The circumstances described took place under the Operation of the Passengers Act. operation of the Act 9th Geo. 4, commonly called the Passengers Act, which was passed in 1825, repealed in 1827, and re-enacted in 1828. In 1835, an amended Passengers Act was passed, the main features of which, so far as they differed from the former Act, are stated to have been suggested by the Quebec Emigrants Society. Mr. Jessopp, Collector of Customs at the Port of Quebec, speaking of emigration under the last Act, says, ‘It very often happens that poorer emigrants have not a sufficiency of provisions for the voyage; that they should have a sufficiency of provisions, might be enforced under the Act, which authorizes the inspection of provisions by the Neglect of Emigrant Agents. outport agent for emigrants. Many instances have come to my knowledge in which, from insufficiency of provisions, emigrants have been thrown upon the humanity of the captain, or the charity of their fellow-passengers. It will appear, also, from the fact that many vessels have more emigrant passengers than the number allowed by law, that sufficient attention is not paid at the outport to enforce the provisions of the Act, as to the proportions between the numbers and the tonnage. Such instances have not occurred this season [1838], emigration having almost ceased, in consequence, I presume, of the political state of the Province; but, last year, there were several instances in which prosecution took place. Vessels are chartered for emigration by persons whose sole object is to make money, and who make a trade of evading the provisions of the Act. This applies particularly to vessels coming from Ireland. We have found, in very many instances, that, in vessels chartered in this way, the number was greater than allowed by law; and the captains have declared, that the extra numbers smuggled themselves, or were smuggled, on board, and were only discovered after the vessel had been several days at sea. This might be prevented by a stricter examination of the Frauds and evasions. vessel. The Imperial Act requires that the names, ages, sex and occupation of each passenger should be entered in a list, certified by the customs officer at the outport, and delivered by the captain with the ship’s papers to the officers of the customs here. Lists, purporting to be correct, are always delivered to the tide-surveyor, whose duty it is to muster the passengers, and compare them with the list; and this list, in many instances, is wholly incorrect as to names and ages.’ . . . ‘The object of the falsification of the ages is to defraud the revenue by evading the tax upon emigrants.’ . . . ‘The falsification of names produces no inconvenience; and I have only referred to it for the purpose of showing the careless manner in which the system is worked by the agents in the United Kingdom.’ But Dr. Poole, Inspecting Physician of the Quarantine Station at Grosse Isle, further explains the fraud, saying, ‘These falsifications are, first, for the purpose of evading the emigrant tax, which is levied in proportion to age, and the common fraud is to understate the age; and, secondly, for the purpose of carrying more passengers than the law allows, by counting grown persons as children, of which last, the law allows a larger proportion to tonnage than of grown persons. This fraud is very common, of frequent occurrence, and it arises manifestly from want of inspection at home.’

From this and other evidence, it will appear that the Measures by which evils have been mitigated. Amended Passengers Act alone, as it has been hitherto administered, would have afforded no efficient remedy of the dreadful evils described by Dr. Morrin and Dr. Skey. Those evils have, however, been greatly mitigated by two measures[3] of the Provincial Government: first, the application of a tax upon passengers from the United Kingdom, to providing shelter, medical attendance, and the means of further transport to destitute emigrants; secondly, the establishment of the Quarantine Station at Grosse Isle, a desert island some miles below Quebec, where all vessels arriving with cases of contagious disease are detained; the diseased persons are removed to an hospital, and emigrants not affected with disease are landed, and subjected to some discipline for the purpose of cleanliness, the ship also being cleaned while they remain on shore. By these arrangements, the accumulation of wretched paupers at Quebec, and the spread of contagious disease, are prevented. An arrangement, made only in 1837, whereby the Quarantine physician at Grosse Isle decides whether or not an emigrant ship shall be detained there or proceed on its voyage, has, to use the words of Dr. Poole, ‘operated as a premium to care and attention on the part of the captain, and has had a salutary effect on the comfort of the emigrants.’

I cordially rejoice in these improvements, but would Quarantine Establishment. observe that the chief means by which the good has been accomplished indicates the greatness of the evil that remains. The necessity of a Quarantine Establishment for preventing the importation of contagious disease from Britain to her Colonies, as if the emigrants had departed from one of those Eastern countries which are the home of the plague, shows beyond a doubt either that our very system of emigration is most defective, or that it is most carelessly administered.[4]

It is, I know, contended in this country that, though State of present arrangements. great defects existed formerly, present arrangements are very different and no longer objectionable. For example, in the Report of the Agent General for Emigration from the United Kingdom, ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 14th May 1838,[5] it is stated, with reference to that emigration to the Canadas before the year 1832, which has been described by Dr. Morrin and Dr. Skey, eye-witnesses of the miseries and calamities that took place, that ‘these great multitudes had gone out by their own means, and disposed of themselves through their own efforts, without any serious or lasting inconvenience.’ . . . ‘A practice,’ it is added, ‘which appeared to thrive so well spontaneously.’

The same Report states, with reference to the present Duties of Emigration Agents. operation of the Passengers Act, and the officers employed by the Colonial Department to superintend its execution, that ‘their duty is to give ease and security to the resort to the Colonies, and to promote the observance of the salutary provisions of the Passengers Act. In all that relates to emigration they constitute, as it were, in every port, the appointed poor man’s friend. They take notice whether the ship offered for his conveyance is safe, and fit for its purpose; they see to the sufficiency of the provisions on board; they prohibit over-crowding; and they make every effort to avert or to frustrate those numerous and heartless frauds which are but too constantly attempted, at the moment of departure, upon the humbler classes of emigrants.’ ‘Every effort,’ adds the Reporter, speaking of emigrants to North America, ‘is made for the ease and safety of their transit.’

At Quebec, at least, where are landed the great majority Real state of Emigrants landed at Quebec. of emigrants to the North American Colonies, an opinion prevails which is greatly at variance with the above representation. Nobody in the Colony denies that the Passengers Act, and the appointment of agents to superintend its execution, is a considerable improvement upon the utterly lawless and unobserved practices of former times; nor, I should imagine, would any one in this country object to such an approach, however distant, to the systematic and responsible management of emigration, which has been repeatedly urged upon the Government of late years; but that there is still great room for further improvement, as respects emigration to the Colonies in North America, is, I think, established by Mr. Jessopp, and the following evidence of Dr. Poole.

Dr. Poole holds an important office, of which I am Vessels with Emigrants destitute of provisions on their arrival. enabled to state that he has performed the duties with great skill and exemplary diligence. He did not volunteer the information which he has supplied. He was summoned to give evidence before the Commissioners of Inquiry on Crown Lands and Emigration; and it was in answer to questions put to him that he said, ‘I have been attached to the Station at Grosse Isle for the last six years. My description applies down to the present year. We had last year upwards of 22,000 emigrants. The poorer class of Irish, and the English paupers sent by parishes,[6] were, on the arrival of vessels, in many instances, entirely without provisions, so much so, that it was necessary immediately to supply them with food from shore; and some of these ships had already received food and water from other vessels with which they had fallen in. Other vessels, with the same class of emigrants, were not entirely destitute, but had suffered much privation from having been placed on short allowance. This destitution, or shortness of provisions, combined with dirt and bad ventilation, had invariably produced fevers of a contagious character, and occasioned some deaths on the passage; and from such vessels numbers, varying from 20 to 90 each vessel, had been admitted to hospital with contagious fevers immediately on their arrival. I attribute the whole Disease produced by defective arrangements. evil to defective arrangements: for instance, parish emigrants from England receive rations of biscuit and beef, or pork, often of bad quality (of this I am aware from personal inspection); they are incapable, from seasickness, of using this solid food at the beginning of the passage, when, for want of small stores, such as tea, sugar, coffee, oatmeal and flour, they fall into a state of debility and low spirits, by which they are incapacitated from the exertions required for cleanliness and exercise, and also indisposed to solid food, more particularly the women and children; and, on their arrival here, I find many cases of typhus fever among them.’ . . . ‘I also wish to mention, as loudly calling for remedy, a system of extortion carried on by masters of vessels, chiefly from Ireland, whence come the bulk of our emigrants. The captain Extortions of Masters of Vessels. tells emigrants the passage will be made in three weeks or a month, and they need not lay in provisions for any longer period, well knowing that the average passage is six weeks, and that it often extends to eight or nine weeks. When the emigrants’ stores are exhausted, the captain, who has laid in a stock for the purpose, obliges them to pay often as much as 400 per cent. on the cost price for the means of subsistence, and thus robs the poor emigrant of his last shilling. Such cases are of frequent occurrence, even down to the present year.’ . . . ‘Parish emigrants are generally at the mercy of the captain or mate, who serve out the provisions, and who frequently put emigrants on short allowance soon after their departure. Complaints Provisions insufficient; of short weight and bad quality in the provisions are frequently made.’ . . . ‘The captains have, in many instances, told me that the agents only muster the passengers on deck, inquire into the quantity of provisions, and, in some cases, require them to be produced, when, occasionally, the same bag of meal or other provisions was shown as belonging to several persons in succession. This the captain discovered after sailing. The mere mustering of the passengers on deck, without going below where the provisions are kept, is really no inspection at all; and it frequently happens that passengers are smuggled on board without any provisions.’ . . . ‘Very few of these and water. vessels have on board a sufficient quantity of water, the casks being insufficient in number, and very many of them old oak casks, made up with pine heads, which therefore leak, if they do not fall to pieces, which often happens. I have had many similar cases from Liverpool.’ . . . ‘That Height between decks not such as required by Act. part of the law which regulates the height between decks of emigrant ships is frequently evaded in the smaller class of vessels, by means of a false deck some distance below the beams, bringing the passengers nearly in contact with the damp ballast, pressing them into the narrow part of the ship, and the beams taking an important part of the room allotted to them by law. It is quite impossible that such fittings should escape observation in the port of departure, if that part of the vessel intended for emigrants be visited.’ . . . ‘There is another evil which might be readily obviated by a proper selection of vessels at Vessels selected which are scarcely sea-worthy. home, that of employing as emigrant-ships vessels that are scarcely sea-worthy; and which, consequently, being unable to carry sail, make very long passages. As the tonnage of the best class of vessels coming to Canada is more than sufficient to bring all the emigrants in any year, the employment of these bad ships ought not to be permitted.’ . . . ‘The reports made to me by the class of captains and surgeon-superintendents now bringing passengers are seldom to be relied upon. In illustration, I beg leave to mention a case that occurred last year. It was a vessel with about 150 passengers on board, from an Irish port. The captain assured me that they had no sickness on board; and the surgeon produced a list, Concealment of disease by Surgeons. which he had signed, of certain slight ailments, such as bowel complaints and catarrhs, which had occurred during the passage, and which appeared on the list with the remark “cured” to all of them. On making my usual personal inspection, I found and sent to hospital upwards of forty cases of typhus fever, of which nine were below in bed. These nine they had not been able to get out of bed. Many of the others were placed against the bulwarks, to make a show of being in health, with pieces of bread and hot potatoes in their hands. As there are many most respectable captains in the lumber trade, a proper selection by the emigrant agents at home would prevent this abuse.’ . . . ‘The medical superintendence on board vessels obliged by the Passengers Act to carry a surgeon is very defective. The majority of such persons, called surgeons, are unlicensed students and apprentices, or apothecaries’ shopmen, without sufficient medical knowledge to be of any service to the emigrants, either for the prevention or cure of diseases. On board a ship the knowledge of the means Ignorance of Surgeons. of preventing disease in such a situation is the first requisite in a medical man, and in this the medical superintendents are lamentably deficient. It is not much better as to the cure of diseases. I boarded a ship last year, of which the captain and three passengers, who had met with accidents, had their limbs bandaged for supposed fractures, which, upon examination, I found were only simple strains or bruises. On examining the captain’s arm, I said that there had been no fracture. The surgeon, so called, replied—“I assure you the tibia and fibula are both broken”. It happens that the tibia and fibula are bones of the leg. This is an extreme case, apparently; but it is not an unfair illustration of the ignorance and presumption of the class of men appointed to comply with that part of the Act which is intended to provide for the medical care of emigrants during the voyage.’

The Agent General’s Report, which was laid before Want of provision for Emigrants after arrival. Parliament last year, does not even allude to another feature of our system of emigration, on which I have yet to offer some remarks. However defective the present arrangements for the passage of emigrants, they are not more so than the means employed to provide for the comfort and prosperity of this class after their arrival in the Colonies. Indeed, it may be said that no such means are in existence. It will be seen, from the very meagre evidence of the Agent for Emigrants at Quebec, that the office which he holds is next to useless. I cast no blame on the officer, but would only explain, that he has no powers, nor scarcely any duties to perform. Nearly all that is done for the advantage of poor emigrants, after they have passed the Lazaretto, is performed by the Quebec and Montreal Emigrants Societies—benevolent associations of which I am bound to speak in the highest terms of commendation; to which, indeed, we owe whatever improvement has taken place in the yet unhealthy mid-passage,[7] but which, as they were instituted for the main purpose of relieving the inhabitants of the two cities from the miserable spectacle of crowds of unemployed and starving emigrants, so have their efforts produced little other good than that of facilitating the progress of poor emigrants to the United States, where the industrious of every class are always sure of employment at good wages. In the Report on Emigration,[8] to which I have alluded before, I find favourable mention Objection to entrusting conduct of Emigration to Charitable Committees. of the principle of entrusting some parts of the conduct of emigration rather to ‘charitable committees’ than to ‘an ordinary department of Government.’ From this doctrine I feel bound to express my entire dissent. I can scarcely imagine any obligation which it is more incumbent on Government to fulfil, than that of guarding against an improper selection of emigrants, and securing to poor persons disposed to emigrate every possible facility and assistance, from the moment of their intending to leave this country to that of their comfortable establishment in the Colony. No less an obligation is incurred by the Government, when, as is now the case, they invite poor persons to emigrate by tens of thousands every year. It would, indeed, be very mischievous if the Government were to deprive emigrants of self-reliance, by doing every thing for them: but when the State leads great numbers of people into a situation in which it is impossible that they should do well without assistance, then the obligation to assist them begins; and it never ends, in my humble opinion, until those who have relied on the truth and paternal care of the Government, are placed in a situation to take care of themselves. How little this obligation has been regarded, as respects emigration to Your Majesty’s North American Colonies, will be seen from the following evidence:—

Mr. Buchanan, the chief agent for emigrants at Quebec, No rules for guidance of Emigrant Agent at Quebec. says, ‘I have had no communication from the agent-general of emigration;’ and, ‘The instructions I have mentioned as regulating the proceedings of my office do not, I conceive, contain any specific directions as to the duties I have to perform. In fact they were not addressed to my office at all. I suppose that they were transmitted to my predecessor, in order that he might be acquainted with the views of the Home Government on the subject.’ ‘There may have been specific instructions for the guidance of the agent for emigrants, but I am not aware of any. I have myself followed the routine that I found established.’

Dr. Skey says, ‘A pauper emigrant on his arrival in Emigrants ignorant of the country. this Province is generally either with nothing or with a very small sum in his pocket; entertaining the most erroneous ideas as to his prospects here; expecting immediate and constant employment, at ample wages; entirely ignorant of the nature of the country; and of the place where labour is most in demand, and of the best means by which to obtain employment. He has landed from the ship, and from his apathy and want of energy, has loitered about the wharfs, waiting for the offer of employment; or, if he obtained employment, he calculated upon its permanency, and found himself, at the beginning of the winter, when there is little or no employment for labour in this part of the country, discharged, and without any provision for the wants of a Canadian winter. In this way emigrants have often accumulated in Quebec at the end of summers, encumbered it with indigent inhabitants, and formed the most onerous burthen on the charitable funds of the community.’

Mr. Forsyth says, ‘Emigration has improved of late Total want of system produces re-emigration to the States. years with regard to the destitute sick, and to the totally destitute, by means of the emigrant society, and the fund raised by the emigrant tax; but with regard to the main body of emigrants, the evil results of a total want of system are as conspicuous as ever. The great evils that have hitherto existed have arisen from the want of system, and especially from the want of all adequate means of information, advice and guardianship. This want of information necessarily gives a vagrant character to their movements. Unable to obtain information as to the best mode of proceeding in this Province, they move onward to Toronto, and find the same want there; they become disgusted, and leave the Province in large numbers, to become citizens of the American Union. My observation on the subject has led me to estimate the proportion of emigrants from Britain who proceed to the United States, at 60 in 100 during the last few years.’[9]

Mr. Stayner says, ‘Many of those poor people have Leads to great suffering. little or no agricultural knowledge, even in a general way; and they are all ignorant of the husbandry practised in the country. The consequence is, that, after getting into “the bush”, as it is called, they find themselves beset by privations and difficulties which they are not able to contend with, and, giving way under the pressure, they abandon their little improvements to seek a livelihood elsewhere. Many resort to the large towns in the Provinces, with their starving families, to eke out by day-labour and begging together a wretched existence; whilst others of them (more enterprising) are tempted, by the reputed high wages and more genial climate of the United States, to try their fortunes in that country. Now and then, some individual better gifted, and possessing more energy of character than the mass of the adventurers who arrive, will successfully contend with those difficulties, and do well for himself and family; but the proportion of such is small.’

Mr. Jessopp says, ‘Emigrants sent out by parishes are Emigrants from parishes generally of an improper class. very generally inferior, both morally and physically, to those who have found their own way out. The parishes have sent out persons far too old to gain their livelihood by work, and often of drunken and improvident habits. These emigrants have neither benefited themselves nor the country; and this is very natural, for, judging from the class sent out, the object must have been the getting rid of them, and not either the benefit of themselves or the colony. An instance occurred very recently, which illustrates this subject. A respectable settler in the Eastern Townships lately returned from England in a vessel, on board of which there were 136 pauper passengers, sent out at the expense of their parishes; and out of the whole number he could only select two that he was desirous of inducing to settle in the Eastern Townships. The conduct of the others, both male and female, was so bad, that he expressed his wish that they might proceed to the Upper Province, instead of settling in this district. He alluded principally to gross drunkenness and unchastity. . . . The inhabitants of Quebec and Montreal are subject to constant appeals from persons who arrive here, and linger about in a state of total destitution.’

The most striking example, however, of the want of Case of the commuted pensioners. system and precaution on the part of Government is that of the old soldiers, termed Commuted Pensioners,[10] of whom nearly 3,000 reached the colonies in the years 1832 and 1833. A full description of the fate of these unfortunate people will be found in the evidence of Mr. Davidson and others. Many of them landed in Quebec before the instructions had been received in the colony to pay them the sums to which they were to be entitled on their arrival, and even before the Provincial Government knew of their departure from England. Many of them spent the amount of their commutation money in debauchery, or were robbed of it when intoxicated. Many never attempted to settle upon the land awarded to them; and of those who made the attempt, several were unable to discover whereabouts in the wilderness their grants were situated. Many of them sold their right to the land for a mere trifle, and were left, within a few weeks of their arrival, in a state of absolute want. Of the whole number who landed in the colony, probably not one in three attempted to establish themselves on their grants, and not one in six remain settled there at the present time; the remainder generally lingered in the vicinity of the principal towns, where they contrived to pick up a subsistence by begging and occasional labour. Great numbers perished miserably in the two years of cholera, or from diseases engendered by exposure and privations, and aggravated by their dissolute habits. The majority of them have at length disappeared. The situation of those who survive calls loudly for some measure of immediate relief: it is one of extreme destitution and suffering. Their land is almost entirely useless, and they cannot obtain any adequate employment either as farm labourers or as domestic servants. At the commencement of every winter, therefore, they are thrown upon the charity of individuals. In the Upper Province their situation is equally deplorable, and numbers must have perished from absolute starvation if they had not been fed by the Provincial Government. I confidently trust that their pensions may be restored, and that, in future, whenever the Government shall interfere directly or indirectly in promoting the emigration of poor persons to these colonies, it will be under some systematic arrangements calculated to prevent the selection of classes disqualified from gaining by their removal, and to guard the other classes from the misfortunes, into which they are now apt to fall through ignorance of the new country, and the want of all preparation for their arrival.

It is far from my purpose, in laying these facts before Valuable emigration field in these colonies. Your Majesty, to discourage emigration to Your North American colonies. On the contrary, I am satisfied that the chief value of those colonies to the mother country consists in their presenting a field where millions even, of those who are distressed at home, might be established in plenty and happiness.[11] All the gentlemen whose evidence I have last quoted, are warm advocates of systematic emigration. I object, along with them, only to such emigration as now takes place—without forethought, preparation, method or system of any kind.

[1] For purposes of comparison the figures of 70 years later are interesting. The total immigrants by sea direct into Canadian ports (excluding immigrants coming through the ports of the United States) were for the year ended March 31, 1907, 138,591, of whom 83,904 were credited to the port of Quebec; and for the year ended March 31, 1908, 174,849, of whom 112,324 were credited to the port of Quebec. The number credited to Quebec includes the whole of the immigrants via the St. Lawrence. Dr. Morrin’s evidence is not quoted quite correctly.

[2] Dr. Skey in his evidence says of the Quebec Emigrants Society, that ‘the existence of the Society can be traced imperfectly as far back as the year 1820’; but, as a matter of fact, the Society seems to have been formed in 1819 in consequence of the large amount of emigration in that year, especially from Ireland, and the great destitution of the emigrants.

[3] These steps were taken in 1832 under two Acts passed by the Legislature of Lower Canada in the spring of that year (see Introduction, pp. 194-6). Of the Act which imposed a tax on immigrants, Christie says that it was ‘afterwards the subject of much undue opprobrium from Upper Canada, as a tax prejudicial to the influx of British immigrants, and consequently, it was said, to the prejudice of that province’ (vol. iii, p. 383).

[4] This is one of the passages in which Lord Durham uses somewhat exaggerated terms. It is difficult to imagine what his verdict would have been on the very stringent laws and regulations which are enforced by the Canadian Government at the present day with regard to vaccination, quarantine, and immigration generally.

[5] The writer of this interesting Parliamentary Report was Mr. (afterwards Sir) T. P. Elliot of the Colonial Office. He had been Secretary of a Commission on Emigration appointed by Lord Ripon in 1831, and he subsequently, in 1835, went to Canada with Lord Gosford and his colleagues as Secretary to Lord Gosford’s Commission. On his return to England he was, in 1837, appointed Agent-General for Emigration, and the Report here referred to was his first Report. In 1840 he was nominated as one of the three members of the newly-constituted Board of ‘Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners’, in which his previous appointment was merged.

[6] The Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Emigration from the United Kingdom in 1826 shows, that before that date there had been instances of parishes supplying money from the Poor Rates to facilitate emigration; but the first statutory provision enabling the ratepayers to raise money for the purposes of emigration, is section 62 of the great Poor Law Act of 1834. This section, and the provisions of subsequent Acts relating to Emigration by Boards of Guardians and to Emigration and Colonization by County Councils, will be found in the annual Emigration Statutes and General Handbook published by the Emigrants Information Office.

[7] Lord Durham seems purposely to use the term ‘middle passage’, which was familiar in connexion with the slave trade.

[8] As to this Report and its author, Sir Thomas Elliot, see above, p. 248, note 2, and see also what Buller says in his Report (vol. iii, pp. 118-21). The Government Commission on Emigration, appointed in 1831, held that Government interference was not required in any great measure in regard to emigration to British North America, and Elliot, who had been their secretary, seems to have inherited their views. He says in this Report of 1838: ‘The Commissioners contented themselves, in regard to the North American colonies, with collecting, publishing, and diffusing as widely as possible, correct accounts of prices and wages; and with pointing out in the same notices the impositions against which Emigrants to those colonies should be most on their guard. Officers were at the same time appointed both there and in this country to watch over the interests of Emigrants, to advocate their rights gratuitously before the magistrates, and to furnish them with every information that might seem conducive to their welfare. And, at the instance of the Government, a small tax of 5/- per head was imposed by the Provincial Legislatures upon Emigrants, the proceeds being appropriated to maintain hospitals for the sick, and to provide a conveyance for the indigent to those places where their labour appeared most in request. With these auxiliary and precautionary measures, designed to give facility and security to Emigration, the expense of the transit itself was left to be defrayed, as before, from private resources.’ Similarly, at a much later date, in the eighties, when the Government, at a time of distress, was pressed to give State aid to emigration, they refused to do more than establish, in 1886, the present Emigrants Information Office for the purpose of supplying intending emigrants with accurate information respecting emigration to the British colonies. Lord Durham advocated a wholly different policy, involving a regularly organized system of State-aided and State-regulated emigration.

[9] See above, p. 217.

[10] At the present time retired soldiers are allowed to commute part of their pensions for such purposes as emigration. Warrant officers are allowed to commute any portion of their army pension in excess of two shillings a day, and non-commissioned officers and men any portion in excess of one shilling a day, but in every case it must be proved that the commutation will be of distinct and permanent advantage to the pensioner and that he is in good health. On the subject of military settlements and of sending out old soldiers as emigrants, see Cornewall Lewis, Government of Dependencies, 1891 ed., pp. 116-7 note. It used to be argued that old soldiers do not make the best material for settlers in a new country: (a) because their army training has not suited them for solitary life; (b) because they have always been accustomed to be housed and fed instead of housing and feeding themselves.

[11] Cf. what Lord Durham says above at the beginning of his Report (p. 13) on ‘Advantages derivable by the Mother Country from these Colonies’. ‘They are the rightful patrimony of the English people, the ample appanage which God and Nature have set aside in the New World for those whose lot has assigned them but insufficient portions in the Old.’

General Review and Recommendations

I have now brought under review the most prominent features of the condition and institutions of the British Colonies in North America. It has been my painful task to exhibit a state of things which cannot be contemplated without grief by all who value the well-being of our colonial fellow-countrymen, and the integrity of the Grievous results exhibited. British Empire. I have described the operation of those causes of division which unhappily exist in the very composition of society; the disorder produced by the working of an ill-contrived constitutional system, and the practical mismanagement which these fundamental defects have generated in every department of Government.

It is not necessary that I should take any pains to prove Existing state of things cannot continue. that this is a state of things which should not, which cannot continue. Neither the political nor the social existence of any community can bear much longer the operation of those causes, which have in Lower Canada already produced a long practical cessation of the regular course of constitutional government, which have occasioned the violation and necessitated the absolute suspension of the provincial constitution, and which have resulted in two insurrections, two substitutions of martial for civil law, and two periods of a general abeyance of every guarantee that is considered essential for the protection of a British subject’s rights. I have already described the state of feeling which prevails among each of the contending parties, or rather races; their all-pervading and irreconcileable enmity to each other; the entire and irremediable disaffection of the whole French population, as well as the suspicion with which the English regard the Imperial Government; and the determination of the French, together with the tendency of the English to seek for a redress of their intolerable present evils in the Disorders of Lower Canada admit of no delay. chances of a separation from Great Britain. The disorders of Lower Canada admit of no delay; the existing form of government is but a temporary and forcible subjugation. The recent constitution is one of which neither party would tolerate the re-establishment, and of which the bad working has been such, that no friend to liberty or to order could desire to see the Province again subjected to its mischievous influence. Whatever may be the difficulty of discovering a remedy, its urgency is certain and obvious.

Nor do I believe that the necessity for adopting some Those of Upper Canada also press for a remedy. extensive and decisive measure for the pacification of Upper Canada, is at all less imperative. From the account which I have given of the causes of disorder in that Province, it will be seen that I do not consider them by any means of such a nature as to be irremediable, or even to be susceptible of no remedy, that shall not effect an organic change in the existing constitution. It cannot be denied indeed that the continuance of the many practical grievances, which I have described as subjects of complaint, and, above all, the determined resistance to such a system of responsible government as would give the people a real control over its own destinies, have, together with the irritation caused by the late insurrection, induced a large portion of the population to look with envy at the material prosperity of their neighbours in the United States, under a perfectly free and eminently responsible government;[1] and, in despair of obtaining such benefits under their present institutions, to desire the adoption of a Republican constitution, or even an incorporation with the American Union. But I am inclined to think that such feelings have made no formidable or irreparable progress; on the contrary, I believe that all the discontented parties, and especially the reformers of Upper Canada, look with considerable confidence to the result of my mission. The different parties believe that when the case is once fairly put before the mother country, the desired changes in the policy of their government will be readily granted: they are now tranquil, and I believe loyal; determined to abide the decision of the Home Government, and to defend their property and their country against rebellion Consequences of disappointing present hopes. and invasion. But I cannot but express my belief, that this is the last effort of their almost exhausted patience, and that the disappointment of their hopes on the present occasion, will destroy for ever their expectation of good resulting from British connexion. I do not mean to say that they will renew the rebellion, much less do I imagine that they will array themselves in such force as will be able to tear the government of their country from the hands of the great military power which Great Britain can bring against them. If now frustrated in their expectations, and kept in hopeless subjection to rulers irresponsible to the people, they will, at best, only await in sullen prudence the contingencies which may render the preservation of the Province dependent on the devoted loyalty of the great mass of its population.

With respect to the other North American Provinces, No imminent danger in other North American Provinces. I will not speak of such evils as imminent, because I firmly believe that whatever discontent there may be, no irritation subsists which in any way weakens the strong feeling of attachment to the British Crown and Empire. Indeed, throughout the whole of the North American Provinces there prevails among the British population an affection for the mother country, and a preference for its institutions, which a wise and firm policy, on the part of the Imperial Government, may make the foundation of a safe, honourable and enduring connexion. But even this feeling may be impaired, and I must warn those in whose hands the disposal of their destinies rests, that a blind reliance on the all-enduring loyalty of our countrymen may be carried too far. It is not politic to waste and cramp their resources, and to allow the backwardness of the British Provinces every where to present a melancholy contrast to the progress and prosperity of the United States. Throughout the course of the preceding pages, I have constantly had occasion to refer to this contrast.[2] I have not hesitated to do so, though no man’s just pride in his country, and firm attachments to its institutions, can be more deeply shocked by the mortifying admission of inferiority. But I should ill discharge my duty to Your Majesty, I should give but an imperfect view of the real condition of these Provinces, were I to detail mere statistical facts without describing the feelings which they generate in those who observe them daily, and daily experience their influence on their own fortunes. The contrast which I have described, is the theme of every traveller who visits these countries, and who observes on one side of the line the abundance, and on the other the scarcity of every sign of material prosperity which thriving agriculture and flourishing cities indicate, and of that civilization which schools and churches testify even to the outward senses. While it excites the exultation of the enemies of British institutions, its reality is more strongly evinced by the reluctant admission of Your Majesty’s most attached subjects. It is no true loyalty to hide from Your Majesty’s knowledge the existence of an evil which it is in Your Majesty’s power, as it is Your Majesty’s benevolent pleasure, to remove. For the possibility of reform is yet afforded by the patient and fervent attachment which Your Majesty’s English subjects in all these Provinces still feel to their allegiance and their mother country. Calm reflection and loyal confidence have retained these feelings unimpaired, even by the fearful drawback of the general belief that every man’s property is of less value on the British than on the opposite side of the boundary. It is time to reward this noble confidence, by showing that men have not indulged in vain the hope that there is a power in British institutions to rectify existing evils, and to produce in their place a well-being which no other dominion could give. It is not in the terrors of the law, or in the might of our armies, that the secure and honourable bond of connexion is to be found. It exists in the beneficial operation of those British institutions which link the utmost development of freedom and civilization with the stable authority of an hereditary monarchy, and which, if rightly organized and fairly administered in the Colonies, as in Great Britain, would render a change of institutions only an additional evil to the loss of the protection and commerce of the British Empire.

But while I count thus confidently on the possibility Mischief of retaining these Colonies in disorder. of a permanent and advantageous retention of our connexion with these important Colonies, I must not disguise the mischief and danger of holding them in their present state of disorder. I rate the chances of successful rebellion as the least danger in prospect. I do not doubt that the British Government can, if it choose to retain these dependencies at any cost, accomplish its purpose. I believe that it has the means of enlisting one part of the population against the other, and of garrisoning the Canadas with regular troops sufficient to awe all internal enemies. But even this will not be done without great expense and hazard. The experience of the last two years furnishes only a foretaste of the cost to which such a system of government will subject us. On the lowest calculation, the addition of a million a year to our annual colonial expenditure will barely enable us to attain this end. Without a change in our system of government, the discontent which now prevails, will spread and advance. As the cost of retaining these Colonies increases, their value will rapidly diminish. And if by such means the British Nation shall be content to retain a barren and injurious sovereignty, it will but tempt the chances of foreign aggression, by keeping continually exposed to a powerful and ambitious neighbour a distant dependency, in which an invader would find no resistance, but might rather reckon on active co-operation from a portion of the resident population.

I am far from presenting this risk in a manner calculated No proximate danger of collision with United States. to irritate the just pride which would shrink from the thoughts of yielding to the menaces of a rival nation. Because, important as I consider the foreign relations of this question, I do not believe that there is now any very proximate danger of a collision with the United States, in consequence of that power desiring to take advantage of the disturbed state of the Canadas. In the Dispatch of the 9th of August[3] I have described my impression of the state of feeling with respect to the Lower Canadian insurrection, which had existed, and was then in existence, in the United States. Besides the causes of hostile feeling which originate in the mere juxta-position of that power to our North American Provinces, I described the influence which had undoubtedly been exercised by that mistaken political sympathy with the insurgents of Lower Canada, which the inhabitants of the United States were induced to entertain. There is no people in the world so little likely as that of the United States to sympathize with the real feelings and policy of the French Canadians; no people so little likely to share in their anxiety to preserve ancient and barbarous laws, and to check the industry and improvement of their country, in order to gratify some idle and narrow notion of a petty and visionary nationality. The Americans who have visited Lower Canada, perfectly understand the real truth of the case; they see that the quarrel is a quarrel of races; and they certainly show very little inclination to take part with the French Canadians and their institutions. Of the great number of American travellers, coming from all parts of the Union, who visited Quebec during my residence there, and whose society I, together with the gentlemen attached to my mission, had the advantage of enjoying, not one ever expressed to any of us any approbation of, what may be termed, the national objects of the French Canadians, while many did not conceal a strong aversion to them. There is no people in the world to whom the French Canadian institutions are more intolerable, when circumstances compel submission to them. But the mass of the American people had judged of the quarrel from a distance: they had been obliged to form their judgment on the apparent grounds of the controversy; and were thus deceived, as all those are apt to be who judge under such circumstances, and on such grounds. The contest bore some resemblance to that great struggle of their own forefathers, which they regard with the highest pride. Like that, they believed it to be a contest of a Colony against the Empire, whose misconduct alienated their own country: they considered it to be a contest undertaken by a people professing to seek independence of distant control, and extension of popular privileges; and, finally, a contest of which the first blow was struck in consequence of a violation of a colonial constitution, and the appropriation of the colonial revenues without the consent of the colonists.[4] It need not surprise us, that such apparently probable and sufficient causes were generally taken, by the people of the United States, as completely accounting for the whole dispute; that the analogy between the Canadian insurrection and the War of Independence was considered to be satisfactorily made out; and that a free and high-spirited people eagerly demonstrated its sympathy with those whom it regarded as gallantly attempting, with unequal means, to assert that glorious cause which its own fathers had triumphantly upheld.

In the case of Upper Canada, I believe the sympathy Sympathy stronger in Upper Canada. to have been much more strong and durable; and though the occasion of the contest was apparently less marked, I have no doubt that this was more than compensated by the similarity of language and manners, which enabled the rebels of the Upper Province to present their case much more easily and forcibly to those whose sympathy and aid they sought. The incidents of any struggle of a large portion of a people with its Government, are sure, at some time or another, to elicit some sympathy with those who appear, to the careless view of a foreign nation, only as martyrs to the popular cause, and as victims of a Government conducted on principles differing from its own. And I have no doubt that if the internal struggle be renewed, the sympathy from without will, at some time or another, reassume its former strength.[5]

For it must be recollected that the natural ties of Strong ties of sympathy between English and Americans of the Frontier. sympathy between the English population of the Canadas and the inhabitants of the frontier States of the Union are peculiarly strong. Not only do they speak the same language, live under laws having the same origin, and preserve the same customs and habits, but there is a positive alternation, if I may so express it, of the populations of the two countries. While large tracts of the British territory are peopled by American citizens, who still keep up a constant connexion with their kindred and friends, the neighbouring States are filled with emigrants from Great Britain, some of whom have quitted Canada after unavailing efforts to find there a profitable return for their capital and labour;[6] and many of whom have settled in the United States, while other members of their families, and the companions of their youth, have taken up their abode on the other side of the frontier. I had no means of ascertaining the exact degree of truth in some statements which I have heard respecting the number of Irish settled in the State of New York; but it is commonly asserted that there are no less than 40,000 Irish in the militia of that State.[7] The intercourse between these two divisions of what is, in fact, an identical population, is constant and universal. The border townships of Lower Canada are separated from the United States by an imaginary line; a great part of the frontier of Upper Canada by rivers, which are crossed in ten minutes; and the rest by lakes, which interpose hardly a six hours’ passage between the inhabitants of each side. Every man’s daily occupations bring him in contact with his neighbours on the other side of the line; the daily wants of one country are supplied by the produce of the other; and the population of each is in some degree dependent on the state of trade and the demands of the other. Such common wants beget an interest in the politics of each country among the citizens of the other. The newspapers circulate in some places almost equally on the different sides of the line; and men discover that their welfare is frequently as much involved in the political condition of their neighbours as of their own countrymen.

The danger of any serious mischief from this cause No present serious danger from the sympathisers. appears to me to be less at the present moment than for some time past. The events of the last year, and the circulation of more correct information respecting the real causes of contention, have apparently operated very successfully against the progress or continuance of this species of sympathy; and I have the satisfaction of believing that the policy which was pursued during my administration of the government, was very efficient in removing it. The almost complete unanimity of the press of the United States, as well as the assurances of individuals well conversant with the state of public opinion in that country, convince me, that the measures which I adopted met with a concurrence that completely turned the tide of feeling in favour of the British Government. Nor can I doubt, from the unvarying evidence that I have received from all persons who have recently travelled through the frontier states of the Union that there hardly exists, at the present moment, the slightest feeling which can properly be called sympathy. Whatever aid the insurgents have recently received from citizens of the United States, may either be attributed to those national animosities which are the too sure result of past wars, or to those undisguised projects of conquest and rapine which, since the invasion of Texas,[8] find but too much favour among the daring population of the frontiers. Judging from the character and behaviour of the Americans most prominent in the recent aggressions on Upper Canada, they seem to have been produced mainly by the latter cause: nor does any cause appear to have secured to the insurgents of Lower Canada any very extensive aid, except that in money and munitions of war, of which the source cannot very clearly be traced. Hardly any Americans took part in the recent disturbances in Lower Canada. Last year, the outbreak was the signal for numerous public meetings in all the great cities of the frontier States, from Buffalo to New York. At these the most entire sympathy with the insurgents was openly avowed; large subscriptions were raised, and volunteers invited to join. Since the last outbreak no such manifestations have taken place: the meetings which the Nelsons[9] and others have attempted in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and elsewhere, have ended in complete failure; and, at the present moment, there does not exist the slightest indication of any sympathy with the objects of the Lower Canadian insurgents, or of any desire to co-operate with them for political purposes. The danger, however, which may be apprehended from the mere desire to repeat the scenes of Texas in the Canadas, is a danger from which we cannot be secure while the disaffection of any considerable portion of the population continues to give an appearance of weakness But the federal Government cannot wholly repress attempts. to our Government. It is in vain to expect that such attempts can wholly be repressed by the federal Government; or that they could even be effectually counteracted by the utmost exertion of its authority, if any sudden turn of affairs should again revive a strong and general sympathy with insurrection in Canada. Without dwelling on the necessary weakness of a merely federal Government[10]—without adverting to the difficulty which authorities, dependent for their very existence on the popular will, find in successfully resisting a general manifestation of public feeling, the impossibility which any Government would find in restraining a population like that which dwells along the thousand miles of this frontier, must be obvious to all who reflect on the difficulty of maintaining the police of a dispersed community.

Nor is this danger itself unproductive of feelings which Indignation of the Canadian Loyalists. are in their turn calculated to produce yet further mischief. The loyal people of Canada, indignant at the constant damage and terror occasioned by incursions from the opposite shore, naturally turn their hostility against the nation and the government which permit, and which they accuse even of conniving at the violation of international law and justice. Mutual recriminations are bandied about from one side to the other; and the very facilities of intercourse which keep alive the sympathy between portions of the two populations, afford at the same time occasions for the collision of angry passions and national antipathies. The violent party papers on each side, and the various bodies whose pecuniary interests a war would promote, foment the strife. A large portion of each population endeavours to incite its own government to war, and at the same time labours to produce the same result by irritating the national feelings of the rival community. Rumours are diligently circulated by the Canadian press; and every friendly act of the American people or government appears to be systematically subjected to the most unfavourable construction. It is not only to be apprehended that this state of mutual suspicion and dislike may be brought to a head by acts of mutual reprisals, but that the officers of the respective governments, in despair of preserving peace, may take little care to prevent the actual commencement of war.

Though I do not believe that there ever was a time in Disturbances in the Canadas injurious to the United States. which the specific relations of the two countries rendered it less likely that the United States would imagine that a war with England could promote their own interests, yet it cannot be doubted that the disturbed state of the Canadas is a serious drawback on the prosperity of a great part of the Union. Instead of presenting an additional field for their commercial enterprise, these Provinces, in their present state of disorder, are rather a barrier to their industrial energies. The present state of things also occasions great expense to the federal Government, which has been under the necessity of largely augmenting its small army, on account chiefly of the troubles of Canada.

Nor must we forget, that whatever assurances and Existing subjects of dispute with United States Government. proofs of amicable feeling we may receive from the Government of the United States, however strong may be the ties of mutual pacific interests that bind the two nations together, there are subjects of dispute which may produce less friendly feelings. National interests are now in question between us, of which the immediate adjustment is demanded by every motive of policy.[11] These interests cannot be supported with the necessary vigour, while disaffection in a most important part of our North American possessions appears to give an enemy a certain means of inflicting injury and humiliation on the Empire.

But the chances of rebellion or foreign invasion are not Prospects of depopulation and impoverishment. those which I regard as either the most probable or the most injurious. The experience of the last two years suggests the occurrence of a much more speedy and disastrous result. I dread, in fact, the completion of the sad work of depopulation and impoverishment which is now rapidly going on. The present evil is not merely, that improvement is stayed, and that the wealth and population of these Colonies do not increase according to the rapid scale of American progress. No accession of population takes place by immigration, and no capital is brought into the country. On the contrary, both the people and the capital seem to be quitting these distracted Provinces. From the French portion of Lower Canada there has, for a long time, been a large annual emigration of young men to the northern states of the American Union, in which they are highly valued as labourers, and gain good wages, with their savings from which they generally return to their homes in a few months or years. I do not believe that the usual amount of this emigration has been increased during the last year, except by a few persons prominently compromised in the insurrection, who have sold their property, and made up their minds to a perpetual exile; but I think there is some reason to believe that, among the class of habitual emigrants whom I have described, a great many now take up their permanent residence in the United States. But the stationary habits and local attachments of the French Canadians render it little likely that they will quit their country in great numbers. I am not aware that there is any diminution of the British population from such a cause. The employment of British capital in the Province is not materially checked in the principal branch of trade; and the main evils are the withdrawal of enterprizing British capitalists from the French portion of the country, the diminished employment of the capital now in the Province, and the entire stoppage of all increase of the population by means of immigration. But from Upper Canada the withdrawal both of capital and of population has been very considerable. I have received accounts from most respectable sources of a very numerous emigration from the whole of the Western and London districts. It was said by persons who professed to have witnessed it, that considerable numbers had, for a long time, daily passed over from Amherstburg and Sandwich to Detroit; and a most respectable informant stated, that he had seen, in one of the districts which I have mentioned, no less than 15 vacant farms together on the road-side. A body of the reforming party have avowed, in the most open manner, their intention of emigrating, from political motives, and publicly invited all who might be influenced by similar feelings to join in their enterprize. For this the Mississippi Emigration Society has been formed with the purpose of facilitating emigration from Upper Canada to the new territory of the Union, called Iowa,[12] on the west bank of the Upper Mississippi. The prospectus of the undertaking, and the report of the deputies who were sent to examine the country in question, were given in the public press, and the advantages of the new colony strongly enforced by the reformers, and depreciatingly discussed by the friends of the Government. The number of persons who have thus emigrated is not, however, I have reason to believe, as great as it has often been represented. Many who might be disposed to take such a step, cannot sell their farms on fair terms; and though some, relying on the ease with which land is obtained in the United States, have been content to remove merely their stock and their chattels, yet there are others again who cannot at the last make the sacrifices which a forced sale would necessitate, and who continue, even under their present state of alarm, to remain in hopes of better times. In the districts which border on the St. Lawrence, little has in fact come of the determination to emigrate, which was loudly expressed at one time. And some even of those who actually left the country are said to have returned. But the instances which have come to my knowledge induce me to attach even more importance to the class than to the alleged number of the emigrants; and I can by no means agree with some of the dominant party, that the persons who thus leave the country, are disaffected subjects, whose removal is a great advantage to loyal and peaceable men. In a country like Upper Canada, where the introduction of population and capital is above all things needful for its prosperity, and almost for its continued existence, it would be more prudent as well as just, more the interest as well as the duty of Government to remove the causes of disaffection, than to drive out the disaffected. But there is no ground for asserting that all the reformers who have thus quitted the country, are disloyal and turbulent men; nor indeed is it very clear that all of them are reformers, and that the increasing insecurity of person and property have not, without distinction of politics, driven out some of the most valuable settlers of the Province. A great impression has been lately made by the removal of one of the largest proprietors of the Province, a gentleman who arrived there not many years ago from Trinidad; who has taken no prominent, and certainly no violent part in politics; and who has now transferred himself and his property to the United States, simply because in Upper Canada he can find no secure investment for the latter, and no tranquil enjoyment of life. I heard of another English gentleman, who, having resided in the country for six or seven years, and invested large sums in bringing over a superior breed of cattle and sheep, was, while I was there, selling off his stock and implements, with a view of settling in Illinois. I was informed of an individual who, 30 years ago, had gone into the forest with his axe on his shoulder, and, with no capital at starting, had, by dint of patient labour, acquired a farm and stock, which he had sold for £2,000, with which he went into the United States. This man, I was assured, was only a specimen of a numerous class, to whose unwearied industry the growth and prosperity of the Colony are mainly to be ascribed. They are now driven from it, on account of the present insecurity of all who, having in former times been identified in politics with some of those that subsequently appeared as prominent actors in the revolt, are regarded and treated as rebels, though they had held themselves completely aloof from all participation in schemes or acts of rebellion. Considerable alarm also exists as to the general disposition to quit the country which was said to have been produced by some late measures of the authorities among that mild and industrious, but peculiar race of descendants of the Dutch, who inhabit the back part of the Niagara district.[13]

Such are the lamentable results of the political and Difficulties of providing against the dangers described. social evils which have so long agitated the Canadas; and such is their condition, that, at the present moment, we are called on to take immediate precautions against dangers so alarming as those of rebellion, foreign invasion, and utter exhaustion and depopulation. When I look on the various and deep-rooted causes of mischief which the past inquiry has pointed out as existing in every institution, in the constitutions, and in the very composition of society throughout a great part of these Provinces, I almost shrink from the apparent presumption of grappling with these gigantic difficulties. Nor shall I attempt to do so in detail. I rely on the efficacy of reform in the constitutional system by which these Colonies are governed, for the removal of every abuse in their administration which defective institutions have engendered. If a system can be devised which shall lay in these countries the foundation of an efficient and popular government, ensure harmony, in place of collision, between the various powers of the State, and bring the influence of a vigorous public opinion to bear on every detail of public affairs, we may rely on sufficient remedies being found for the present vices of the administrative system.

The preceding pages have sufficiently pointed out the How to make Colonial Government work harmoniously. nature of those evils, to the extensive operation of which, I attribute the various practical grievances, and the present unsatisfactory condition of the North American Colonies. It is not by weakening, but strengthening the influence of the people on its Government; by confining within much narrower bounds than those hitherto allotted to it, and not by extending the interference of the imperial authorities in the details of colonial affairs, that I believe that harmony is to be restored, where dissension has so long prevailed; and a regularity and vigour hitherto unknown, introduced into the administration of these Provinces. It needs no change in the principles of government, no invention of a new constitutional theory,[14] to supply the remedy which would, in my opinion, completely remove the existing political disorders. It needs but to follow out consistently the principles of the British constitution, and introduce into the Government of these great Colonies those wise provisions, by which alone the working of the representative system can in any country be rendered harmonious and efficient. We are not now to consider the policy of establishing representative government in the North American Colonies. That has been irrevocably done; and the experiment of depriving the people of their present constitutional power, is not to be thought of. To conduct their Government harmoniously, in accordance with its established principles, is now the business of its rulers; and I know not how it is possible to secure that harmony in any other way, than by administering the Government on those principles which have been found perfectly efficacious in Great Britain. I would not impair a single prerogative of the Crown; on the contrary, I believe that the interests of the people of these Colonies require the protection of prerogatives, which have not hitherto been exercised. But the Crown must, on the other hand, submit to the necessary consequences of representative institutions; and if it has to carry on the Government in unison with a representative body, it must consent to carry it on by means of those in whom that representative body has confidence.

In England, this principle has been so long considered an Responsibility of Government in England. indisputable and essential part of our constitution, that it has really hardly ever been found necessary to inquire into the means by which its observance is enforced. When a ministry ceases to command a majority in Parliament on great questions of policy, its doom is immediately sealed; and it would appear to us as strange to attempt, for any time, to carry on a Government by means of ministers perpetually in a minority, as it would be to pass laws with a majority of votes against them. The ancient constitutional remedies, by impeachment and a stoppage of the supplies, have never, since the reign of William III., been brought into operation for the purpose of removing a ministry. They have never been called for, because, in fact, it has been the habit of ministers rather to anticipate the occurrence of an absolutely hostile vote, and to retire, when supported only by a bare and uncertain majority. If Colonial Legislatures have frequently stopped the supplies, if they have harassed public servants by unjust or harsh impeachments, it was because the removal of an unpopular administration could not be effected in the Colonies by those milder indications of a want of confidence, which have always sufficed to attain the end in the mother country.

The means which have occasionally been proposed in Objection to elective Executive Council. the Colonies themselves appear to me by no means calculated to attain the desired end in the best way. These proposals indicate such a want of reliance on the willingness of the Imperial Government to acquiesce in the adoption of a better system, as, if warranted, would render an harmonious adjustment of the different powers of the State utterly hopeless. An elective executive council would not only be utterly inconsistent with monarchical government, but would really, under the nominal authority of the Crown, deprive the community of one of the great advantages of an hereditary monarchy. Every purpose of popular control might be combined with every advantage of vesting the immediate choice of advisers in the Crown, were the Colonial Governor to be instructed to secure the co-operation of the Assembly in his policy, by entrusting its administration to such men as could command a majority; and if he were given to understand that he need count on no aid from home in any difference with the Assembly, that should not directly involve the relations between the mother country and the Colony. This change might be effected by a single dispatch containing such instructions; or if any legal enactment were requisite, it would only be one that would render it necessary that the official acts of the Governor should be countersigned by some public functionary. This would induce responsibility for every act of the Government, and, as a natural consequence, it would necessitate the substitution of a system of administration, by means of competent heads of departments, for the present rude machinery of an executive council. The Governor, if he wished to retain advisers not possessing the confidence of the existing Assembly, might rely on the effect of an appeal to the people, and, if unsuccessful, he might be coerced by a refusal of supplies, or his advisers might be terrified by the prospect of impeachment. But there can be no reason for apprehending that either party would enter on a contest, when each would find its interest in the maintenance of harmony; and the abuse of the powers which each would constitutionally possess, would cease when the struggle for larger powers became unnecessary. Nor can I conceive that it would be found impossible or difficult to conduct a Colonial Government with precisely that limitation of the respective powers which has been so long and so easily maintained in Great Britain.

I know that it has been urged, that the principles which How far the Home Government should interfere in Colonial concerns and appointments. are productive of harmony and good government in the mother country, are by no means applicable to a colonial dependency. It is said that it is necessary that the administration of a colony should be carried on by persons nominated without any reference to the wishes of its people; that they have to carry into effect the policy, not of that people, but of the authorities at home; and that a colony which should name all its own administrative functionaries, would, in fact, cease to be dependent. I admit that the system which I propose would, in fact, place the internal government of the colony in the hands of the colonists themselves;[15] and that we should thus leave to them the execution of the laws, of which we have long entrusted the making solely to them. Perfectly aware of the value of our colonial possessions, and strongly impressed with the necessity of maintaining our connexion with them, I know not in what respect it can be desirable that we should interfere with their internal legislation in matters which do not affect their relations with the mother country. The matters, which so concern us, are very few. The constitution of the form of government,—the regulation of foreign relations, and of trade with the mother country, the other British Colonies, and foreign nations,—and the disposal of the public lands, are the only points on which the mother country requires a control. This control is now sufficiently secured by the authority of the Imperial Legislature; by the protection which the Colony derives from us against foreign enemies; by the beneficial terms which our laws secure to its trade; and by its share of the reciprocal benefits which would be conferred by a wise system of colonization. A perfect subordination, on the part of the Colony, on these points, is secured by the advantages which it finds in the continuance of its connexion with the Empire.[16] It certainly is not strengthened, but greatly weakened, by a vexatious interference on the part of the Home Government, with the enactment of laws for regulating the internal concerns of the Colony, or in the selection of the persons entrusted with their execution. The colonists may not always know what laws are best for them, or which of their countrymen are the fittest for conducting their affairs; but, at least, they have a greater interest in coming to a right judgment on these points, and will take greater pains to do so than those whose welfare is very remotely and slightly affected by the good or bad legislation of these portions of the Empire. If the colonists make bad laws, and select improper persons to conduct their affairs, they will generally be the only, always the greatest, sufferers; and, like the people of other countries, they must bear the ills which they bring on themselves, until they choose to apply the remedy. But it surely cannot be the duty or the interest of Great Britain to keep a most expensive military possession of these Colonies, in order that a Governor or Secretary of State may be able to confer colonial appointments on one rather than another set of persons in the Colonies. For this is really the only question at issue. The slightest acquaintance with these Colonies proves the fallacy of the common notion, that any considerable amount of patronage in them is distributed among strangers from the mother country.[17] Whatever inconvenience a consequent frequency of changes among the holders of office may produce, is a necessary disadvantage of free government, which will be amply compensated by the perpetual harmony which the system must produce between the people and its rulers. Nor do I fear that the character of the public servants will, in any respect, suffer from a more popular tenure of office. For I can conceive no system so calculated to fill important posts with inefficient persons as the present, in which public opinion is too little consulted in the original appointment, and in which it is almost impossible to remove those who disappoint the expectations of their usefulness, without inflicting a kind of brand on their capacity or integrity.

I am well aware that many persons, both in the Colonies Loyalty of the British population of these Colonies. and at home, view the system which I recommend with considerable alarm, because they distrust the ulterior views of those by whom it was originally proposed, and whom they suspect of urging its adoption, with the intent only of enabling them more easily to subvert monarchical institutions, or assert the independence of the Colony. I believe, however, that the extent to which these ulterior views exist, has been greatly overrated. We must not take every rash expression of disappointment as an indication of a settled aversion to the existing constitution; and my own observation convinces me, that the predominant feeling of all the English population of the North American Colonies is that of devoted attachment to the mother country. I believe that neither the interests nor the feelings of the people are incompatible with a Colonial Government, wisely and popularly administered. The proofs, which many who are much dissatisfied with the existing administration of the Government, have given of their loyalty, are not to be denied or overlooked. The attachment constantly exhibited by the people of these Provinces towards the British Crown and Empire, has all the characteristics of a strong national feeling. They value the institutions of their country, not merely from a sense of the practical advantages which they confer, but from sentiments of national pride; and they uphold them the more, because they are accustomed to view them as marks of nationality, which distinguish them from their Republican neighbours.[18] I do not mean to affirm that this is a feeling which no impolicy on the part of the mother country will be unable to impair; but I do most confidently regard it as one which may, if rightly appreciated, be made the link of an enduring and advantageous connexion. The British people of the North American Colonies are a people on whom we may safely rely, and to whom we must not grudge power. For it is not to the individuals who have been loudest in demanding the change, that I propose to concede the responsibility of the Colonial The Crown should consult the popular wishes in choice of its servants. administration, but to the people themselves. Nor can I conceive that any people, or any considerable portion of a people, will view with dissatisfaction a change which would amount simply to this, that the Crown would henceforth consult the wishes of the people in the choice of its servants.

The important alteration in the policy of the Colonial How discontent, in Upper Canada, might be dispelled. Government which I recommend, might be wholly or in great part effected for the present by the unaided authority of the Crown; and I believe that the great mass of discontent in Upper Canada, which is not directly connected with personal irritation, arising out of the incidents of the late troubles, might be dispelled by an assurance that the government of the Colony should henceforth be carried on in conformity with the views of the majority in the Assembly. But I think that for the well-being of the Colonies, and the security of the mother country, it is necessary that such a change should be rendered more permanent than a momentary sense of the existing difficulties can ensure its being.[19] I cannot believe that persons in power in this country will be restrained from the injudicious interference with the internal management of these Colonies, which I deprecate, while they remain the petty and divided communities which they now are. The public attention at home is distracted by the various and sometimes contrary complaints of these different contiguous Provinces. Each now urges its demands at different times, and in somewhat different forms, and the interests which each individual complainant represents as in peril, are too petty to attract the due attention of the Empire. But if these important and extensive Colonies should speak with one voice, if it were felt that every error of our colonial policy must cause a common suffering and a common discontent throughout the whole wide extent of British America, those complaints would never be provoked; because no authority would venture to run counter to the wishes of such a community, except on points absolutely involving the few imperial interests, which it is necessary to remove from the jurisdiction of Colonial legislation.[20]

It is necessary that I should also recommend what Money votes should not be proposed without consent of the Crown. appears to me an essential limitation on the present powers of the representative bodies in these Colonies. I consider good government not to be attainable while the present unrestricted powers of voting public money, and of managing the local expenditure of the community, are lodged in the hands of an Assembly. As long as a revenue is raised, which leaves a large surplus after the payment of the necessary expenses of the civil Government, and as long as any member of the Assembly may, without restriction, propose a vote of public money, so long will the Assembly retain in its hands the powers which it every where abuses, of misapplying that money. The prerogative of the Crown which is constantly exercised in Great Britain for the real protection of the people, ought never to have been waived in the Colonies; and if the rule of the Imperial Parliament, that no money vote should be proposed without the previous consent of the Crown, were introduced into these Colonies, it might be wisely employed in protecting the public interests, now frequently sacrificed in that scramble for local appropriations, which chiefly serves to give an undue influence to particular individuals or parties.[21]

The establishment of a good system of municipal Good municipal institutions should be established. institutions throughout these Provinces is a matter of vital importance. A general legislature, which manages the private business of every parish, in addition to the common business of the country, wields a power which no single body, however popular in its constitution, ought to have; a power which must be destructive of any constitutional balance. The true principle of limiting popular power is that apportionment of it in many different depositaries which has been adopted in all the most free and stable States of the Union. Instead of confiding the whole collection and distribution of all the revenues raised in any country for all general and local purposes to a single representative body, the power of local assessment, and the application of the funds arising from it, should be entrusted to local management. It is in vain to expect that this sacrifice of power will be voluntarily made by any representative body. The establishment of municipal institutions for the whole country should be made a part of every colonial constitution; and the prerogative of the Crown should be constantly interposed to check any encroachment on the functions of the local bodies, until the people should become alive, as most assuredly they almost immediately would be, to the necessity of protecting their local privileges.[22]

The establishment of a sound and general system for Land management. the management of the lands and the settlement of the Colonies, is a necessary part of any good and durable system of government. In a report contained in the Appendix to the present, the plan which I recommend for this purpose, will be fully developed.[23]

These general principles apply, however, only to those Lower Canada should be made English, changes in the system of government which are required in order to rectify disorders common to all the North American Colonies; but they do not in any degree go to remove those evils in the present state of Lower Canada which require the most immediate remedy. The fatal feud of origin, which is the cause of the most extensive mischief, would be aggravated at the present moment by any change, which should give the majority more power than they have hitherto possessed. A plan by which it is proposed to ensure the tranquil government of Lower Canada, must include in itself the means of putting an end to the agitation of national disputes in the legislature, by settling, at once and for ever, the national character of the Province.[24] I entertain no doubts as to the national character which must be given to Lower Canada; it must be that of the British Empire; that of the majority of the population of British America; that of the great race which must, in the lapse of no long period of time, be predominant over the whole North without violence to the French. American Continent. Without effecting the change so rapidly or so roughly as to shock the feelings and trample on the welfare of the existing generation, it must henceforth be the first and steady purpose of the British Government to establish an English population, with English laws and language, in this Province, and to trust its government to none but a decidedly English Legislature.

It may be said that this is a hard measure to a conquered Objections anticipated. people; that the French were originally the whole, and still are the bulk of the population of Lower Canada; that the English are new comers, who have no right to demand the extinction of the nationality of a people, among whom commercial enterprize has drawn them. It maybe said, that, if the French are not so civilized, so energetic, or so money-making a race as that by which they are surrounded, they are an amiable, a virtuous, and a contented people, possessing all the essentials of material comfort, and not to be despised or ill-used, because they seek to enjoy what they have, without emulating the spirit of accumulation, which influences their neighbours. Their nationality is, after all, an inheritance; and they must be not too severely punished, because they have dreamed of maintaining on the distant banks of the St. Lawrence, and transmitting to their posterity, the language, the manners, and the institutions of that great nation, that for two centuries gave the tone of thought to the European Continent. If the disputes of the two races are irreconcileable, it may be urged that justice demands that the minority should be compelled to acquiesce in the supremacy of the ancient and most numerous occupants of the Province, and not pretend to force their own institutions and customs on the majority.

But before deciding which of the two races is now to Prudence of inquiring which race must ultimately prevail. be placed in the ascendant, it is but prudent to inquire which of them must ultimately prevail; for it is not wise to establish to-day that which must, after a hard struggle, be reversed to-morrow. The pretensions of the French Canadians to the exclusive possession of Lower Canada, would debar the yet larger English population of Upper Canada and the Townships from access to the great natural channel of that trade which they alone have created, and now carry on. The possession of the mouth of the St. Lawrence concerns not only those who happen to have made their settlements along the narrow line which borders it, but all who now dwell, or will hereafter dwell, in the great basin of that river.[25] For we must not look to the present alone. The question is, by what race is it likely that the wilderness which now covers the rich and ample regions surrounding the comparatively small and contracted districts in which the French Canadians are located, is eventually to be converted into a settled and flourishing country? If this is to be done in the British dominions, as in the rest of North America, by some speedier process than the ordinary growth of population, it must be by immigration from the English Isles, or from the United States,—the countries which supply the only settlers that have entered, or will enter, the Canadas in any large numbers. This immigration can neither be debarred from a passage through Lower Canada, nor even be prevented from settling in that Province. The whole interior of the British dominions must ere long, be filled with an English population, every year rapidly increasing its numerical superiority over the French. Is it just that the prosperity of this great majority, and of this vast tract of country, should be for ever, or even for a while, impeded by the artificial bar which the backward laws and civilization of a part, and a part only, of Lower Canada, would place between them and the ocean? Is it to be supposed that such an English population will ever submit to such a sacrifice of its interests?

I must not, however, assume it to be possible that the English immigration cannot be checked. English Government shall adopt the course of placing or allowing any check to the influx of English immigration into Lower Canada, or any impediment to the profitable employment of that English capital which is already vested therein. The English have already in their hands the majority of the larger masses of property in the country; they have the decided superiority of intelligence on their side; they have the certainty that colonization must swell their numbers to a majority; and they belong to the race which wields the Imperial Government, and predominates on the American Continent. If we now leave them in a minority, they will never abandon the assurance of being a majority hereafter, and never cease to continue the present contest with all the fierceness with which it now rages. In such a contest they will rely on the sympathy of their countrymen at home; and if that is denied them, they feel very confident of being able to awaken the sympathy of their neighbours of kindred origin. They feel that if the British Government intends to maintain its hold of the Canadas, it can rely on the English population alone; that if it abandons its colonial possessions, they must become a portion of that great Union which will speedily send forth its swarms of settlers, and, by force of numbers and activity, quickly Isolation of the French in an Anglo-Saxon world. master every other race. The French Canadians, on the other hand, are but the remains of an ancient colonization, and are and ever must be isolated in the midst of an Anglo-Saxon world. Whatever may happen, whatever government shall be established over them, British or American, they can see no hope for their nationality. They can only sever themselves from the British Empire by waiting till some general cause of dissatisfaction alienates them, together with the surrounding colonies, and leaves them part of an English confederacy; or, if they are able, by effecting a separation singly, and so either merging in the American Union, or keeping up for a few years a wretched semblance of feeble independence, which would expose them more than ever to the intrusion of the surrounding population. I am far from wishing to encourage indiscriminately these pretensions to superiority on the part of any particular race; but while the greater part of every portion of the American Continent is still uncleared and unoccupied, and while the English exhibit such constant and marked activity in colonization, so long will it be idle to imagine that there is any portion of that Continent into which that race will not penetrate, or in which, when it has penetrated, it will not predominate. It is but a question of time and mode; it is but to determine whether the small number of French who now inhabit Lower Canada shall be made English, under a Government which can protect them, or whether the process shall be delayed until a much larger number shall have to undergo, at the rude hands of its uncontrolled rivals, the extinction of a nationality strengthened and embittered by continuance.[26]

And is this French Canadian nationality one which, Hopeless inferiority of the French Canadian race. for the good merely of that people, we ought to strive to perpetuate, even if it were possible? I know of no national distinctions marking and continuing a more hopeless inferiority. The language, the laws, the character of the North American Continent are English; and every race but the English (I apply this to all who speak the English language) appears there in a condition of inferiority. It is to elevate them from that inferiority that I desire to give to the Canadians our English character. I desire it for the sake of the educated classes, whom the distinction of language and manners keeps apart from the great Empire to which they belong. At the best, the fate of the educated and aspiring colonist is, at present, one of little hope, and little activity; but the French Canadian is cast still further into the shade, by a language and habits foreign to those of the Imperial Government. A spirit of exclusion has closed the higher professions on the educated classes of the French Canadians, more, perhaps, than was absolutely necessary;[27] but it is impossible for the utmost liberality on the part of the British Government to give an equal position in the general competition of its vast population to those who speak a foreign language. I desire the amalgamation still more for the sake of the humbler classes. Their present state of rude and equal plenty is fast deteriorating under the pressure of population in the narrow limits to which they are confined. If they attempt to better their condition, by extending themselves over the neighbouring country, they will necessarily get more and more mingled with an English population:[28] if they prefer remaining stationary, the greater part of them must be labourers in the employ of English capitalists. In either case it would appear, that the great mass of the French Canadians are doomed, in some measure, to occupy an inferior position, and to be dependent on the English for employment. The evils of poverty and dependence would merely be aggravated in a ten-fold degree, by a spirit of jealous and resentful nationality, which should separate the working class of the community from the possessors of wealth and employers of labour.

I will not here enter into the question of the effect of the Economical obstacle to perpetuation of their nationality. mode of life and division of property among the French Canadians on the happiness of the people. I will admit, for the moment, that it is as productive of well-being as its admirers assert. But, be it good or bad, the period in which it is practicable, is past; for there is not enough unoccupied land left in that portion of the country in which English are not already settled, to admit of the present French population possessing farms sufficient to supply them with their present means of comfort, under their system of husbandry. No population has increased by mere births so rapidly as that of the French Canadians has since the conquest. At that period their number was estimated at 60,000; it is now supposed to amount to more than seven times as many. There has been no proportional increase of cultivation, or of produce from the land already under cultivation; and the increased population has been in a great measure provided for by mere continued subdivision of estates. In a Report from a Committee of the Assembly in 1826, of which Mr. Andrew Steuart[29] was chairman, it is stated, that since 1784 the population of the seigniories had quadrupled, while the number of cattle had only doubled, and the quantity of land in cultivation had only increased one-third. Complaints of distress are constant, and the deterioration of the condition of a great part of the population admitted on all hands. A people so circumstanced must alter their mode of life. If they wish to maintain the same kind of rude, but well-provided agricultural existence, it must be by removing into those parts of the country in which the English are settled; or if they cling to their present residence, they can only obtain a livelihood by deserting their present employment, and working for wages on farms, or in commercial occupations under English capitalists. But their present proprietary and inactive condition is one which no political arrangements can perpetuate. Were the French Canadians to be guarded from the influx of any other population, their condition in a few years would be similar to that of the poorest of the Irish peasantry.

There can hardly be conceived a nationality more The French nationality is destitute of invigorating qualities. destitute of all that can invigorate and elevate a people, than that which is exhibited by the descendants of the French in Lower Canada, owing to their retaining their peculiar language and manners. They are a people with no history, and no literature. The literature of England is written in a language which is not theirs; and the only literature which their language renders familiar to them, is that of a nation from which they have been separated by eighty years of a foreign rule, and still more by those changes which the Revolution and its consequences have wrought in the whole political, moral and social state of France. Yet it is on a people whom recent history, manners and modes of thought, so entirely separate from them, that the French Canadians are wholly dependent for almost all the instruction and amusement derived from books: it is on this essentially foreign literature, which is conversant about events, opinions and habits of life, perfectly strange and unintelligible to them, that they are compelled to be dependent. Their newspapers are mostly written by natives of France, who have either come to try their fortunes in the Province, or been brought into it by the party leaders, in order to supply the dearth of literary talent available for the political press. In the same way their nationality operates to deprive them of the enjoyments and civilizing influence of the arts. Though descended from the people in the world that most generally love, and have most successfully cultivated the drama—though living on a continent, in which almost every town, great or small, has an English theatre, the French population of Lower Canada, cut off from every people that speaks its own language, can support no national stage.

In these circumstances, I should be indeed surprised Character of the Province should be immediately altered. if the more reflecting part of the French Canadians entertained at present any hope of continuing to preserve their nationality. Much as they struggle against it, it is obvious that the process of assimilation to English habits is already commencing. The English language is gaining ground, as the language of the rich and of the employers of labour naturally will. It appeared by some of the few returns, which had been received by the Commissioner of the Inquiry into the state of Education,[30] that there are about ten times the number of French children in Quebec learning English, as compared with the English children who learn French. A considerable time must, of course, elapse before the change of a language can spread over a whole people; and justice and policy alike require, that while the people continue to use the French language, their Government should take no such means to force the English language upon them as would, in fact, deprive the great mass of the community of the protection of the laws. But, I repeat that the alteration of the character of the Province ought to be immediately entered on, and firmly, though cautiously, followed up; that in any plan, which may be adopted for the future management of Lower Canada, the first object ought to be that of making it an English Province; and that, with this end in view, the ascendancy should never again be placed in any hands but those of an English population. Indeed, at the present moment this is obviously necessary: in the state of mind in which I have described the French Canadian population, as not only now being, but as likely for a long while to remain, the trusting them with an entire control over this Province, would be, in fact, only facilitating a rebellion. Lower Canada must be governed now, as it must be hereafter, by an English population: and thus the policy, which the necessities of the moment force on us, is in accordance with that suggested by a comprehensive view of the future and permanent improvement of the Province.

The greater part of the plans which have been proposed Plans for absolute government in Lower Canada. for the future government of Lower Canada, suggest either as a lasting or as a temporary and intermediate scheme, that the Government of that Province should be constituted on an entirely despotic footing, or on one that would vest it entirely in the hands of the British minority. It is proposed either to place the legislative authority in a Governor, with a Council formed of the heads of the British party, or to contrive some scheme of representation by which a minority, with the forms of representation, is to deprive a majority of all voice in the management of its own affairs.

The maintenance of an absolute form of government Importance of preserving the sympathy of the United States. on any part of the North American Continent, can never continue for any long time, without exciting a general feeling in the United States against a power of which the existence is secured by means so odious to the people; and as I rate the preservation of the present general sympathy of the United States with the policy of our Government in Lower Canada, as a matter of the greatest importance,[31] I should be sorry that the feeling should be changed for one which, if prevalent among the people, must extend over the surrounding Provinces. The influence of such an opinion would not only act very strongly on the entire French population, and keep up among them a sense of injury, and a determination of resistance to the Government, but would lead to just as great discontent among the English. In their present angry state of feeling, they might tolerate, for a while, any arrangement that would give them a triumph over the French; but I have greatly misunderstood their character, if they would long bear a Government in which they had no direct voice. Nor would their jealousy be obviated by the selection of a Council from the persons supposed to have their confidence. It is not easy to know who really possess that confidence; and I suspect that there would be no surer way of depriving a man of influence over them, than by treating him as their representative, without their consent.

The experience which we have had of a Government The Legislature should represent public opinion. irresponsible to the people in these Colonies, does not justify us in believing that it would be very well administered. And the great reforms in the institutions of the Province which must be made, ere Lower Canada can ever be a well-ordered and flourishing community, can be effected by no Legislature which does not represent a great mass of public opinion.

But the great objection to any government of an An irresponsible Government necessarily weak. absolute kind is, that it is palpably of a temporary nature; that there is no reason to believe that its influence during the few years that it would be permitted to last, would leave the people at all more fit to manage themselves; that, on the contrary, being a mere temporary institution, it would be deficient in that stability which is the great requisite of government in times of disorder. There is every reason to believe that a professedly irresponsible government would be the weakest that could be devised. Every one of its acts would be discussed, not in the Colony, but in England, on utterly incomplete and incorrect information, and run the chance of being disallowed without being understood. The most violent outcry that could be raised by persons looking at them through the medium of English and constitutional notions, or by those who might hope thereby to promote the sinister purposes of faction at home, would be constantly directed against them. Such consequences as these are inevitable. The people of England are not accustomed to rely on the honest and discreet exercise of absolute power; and if they permit a despotism to be established in their Colonies, they feel bound, when their attention happens to be directed towards them, to watch its acts with vigilance. The Governor and Council would feel this responsibility in all their acts: unless they happened to be men of much more than ordinary nerve and earnestness, they would shape their policy so as merely to avoid giving a handle to attacks; and their measures would exhibit all that uncertainty and weakness which such a motive is sure to produce.

With respect to every one of those plans which propose Objection to unfair means of securing an English majority. to make the English minority an electoral majority by means of new and strange modes of voting or unfair divisions of the country, I shall only say, that if the Canadians are to be deprived of representative government, it would be better to do it in a straightforward way than to attempt to establish a permanent system of government on the basis of what all mankind would regard as mere electoral frauds. It is not in North America that men can be cheated by an unreal semblance of representative government, or persuaded that they are out-voted, when, in fact, they are disfranchised.

The only power that can be effectual at once in coercing A numerical English majority will alone obliterate French nationality. the present disaffection, and hereafter obliterating the nationality of the French Canadians, is that of a numerical majority of a loyal and English population; and the only stable government will be one more popular than any that has hitherto existed in the North American Colonies. The influence of perfectly equal and popular institutions in effacing distinctions of race without disorder or oppression, and with little more than the ordinary animosities of party in a free country, is memorably exemplified in the history of the state of Louisiana, the laws and population of which were French at the time of its cession to the American Union. And the eminent success of the policy adopted with regard to that State, points out to us the means by which a similar result can be effected in Lower Canada.

The English of Lower Canada, who seem to infer the Case of Louisiana. means from the result, entertain and circulate the most extraordinary conceptions of the course really pursued in this instance. On the single fact, that in the constitution of Louisiana it is specified that the public acts of the State shall be ‘in the language in which the constitution of the United States is written,’ it has been inferred that the federal Government in the most violent manner swept away the use of the French language and laws,[32] and subjected the French population to some peculiar disabilities which deprived them, in fact, of an equal voice in the government of their State. Nothing can be more contrary to the fact. Louisiana, on its first cession was governed as a ‘district’; its public officers were appointed by the federal Government; and, as was natural under the circumstances of the case, they were natives of the old States of the Union. In 1812, the district, having the requisite population, was admitted into the Union as a State, and admitted on precisely the same terms that any other population would have or has been. The constitution was framed so as to give precisely the same power to the majority as is enjoyed in the other States of the Union. No alteration was then made in the laws. The proof of this is afforded by a fact familiar to every person moderately acquainted with the jurisprudence of the age. The code, which is the glory of Louisiana and Mr. Livingstone,[33] was subsequently undertaken under the auspices of the legislature, in consequence of the confusion daily arising in the administration of the English and French system of law in the same courts. This change of laws, effected in the manner most consonant to the largest views of legislation, was not forced on the legislature and people of the State by an external authority, but was the suggestion of their own political wisdom. Louisiana is not the only State in the Union which has been troubled by the existence of conflicting systems of law. The State of New York, till within a few years, suffered under the same evil, which it remedied in the same way, by employing a commission of its ablest lawyers to digest both systems of law into a common code. The contending populations of Lower Canada may well imitate these examples; and if, instead of endeavouring to force their respective laws upon each other, they would attempt an amalgamation of the two systems into one, adopting what is really best in both, the result would be creditable to the Province.

Every provision was made in Louisiana for securing Provision for both races. to both races a perfectly equal participation in all the benefits of the Government. It is true that the intention of the federal Government to encourage the use of the English language was evinced by the provision of the constitution with respect to the language of the records; but those who will reflect how very few people ever read such documents, and how very recently it is that the English language has become the language of the law in this country, will see that such a provision could have little practical effect. In all cases in which convenience requires it, the different parties use their respective languages in the courts of justice, and in both branches of the legislature. In every judicial proceeding, all documents which pass between the parties are required to be in both languages, and the laws are published in both languages. Indeed the equality of the two languages is preserved in the legislature by a very singular contrivance; the French and English members speak their respective languages, and an interpreter, as I was informed, after every speech, explains its purport in the other language.

For a long time the distinction between the two Distinction of races long a cause of jealousy. races was the cause of great jealousy. The Americans crowded into the State in order to avail themselves of its great natural resources, and its unequalled commercial advantages; there, as every where else on that continent, their energy and habits of business gradually drew the greater part of the commercial business of the country into their hands; and though, I believe, a few of the richest merchants, and most of the owners of plantations, are French, the English form the bulk of the wealthier classes. Year after year their numbers have become greater, and it is now generally supposed that they constitute the numerical majority. It may be imagined that the French have borne this with a good deal of dissatisfaction; but as the advantages gained by the English were entirely the result, not of favour, but of their superiority in a perfectly free competition, this jealousy could excite no murmurs against the Government. The competition made the two races enemies at first, but it has gradually stirred the emulation of the less active race, and made them rivals. The jealousies in the city of New Orleans were so great at one time, that the Legislature of the State, at the desire of the English, who complained of the inertness of the French, formed separate municipalities for the French and English parts of the city. These two municipalities are now actuated by a spirit of rivalry, and each undertakes great public works for the ornament and convenience of their respective quarters.

The distinction still lasts, and still causes a good deal Present state of society. of division; the society of each race is said to be in some measure distinct, but not by any means hostile; and some accounts represent the social mixture to be very great. All accounts represent the division of the races as becoming gradually less and less marked; their newspapers are printed in the two languages on opposite pages; their local politics are entirely merged in those of the Union; and instead of discovering in their papers any vestiges of a quarrel of races, they are found to contain a repetition of the same party recriminations and party arguments, which abound in all other parts of the federation.

The explanation of this amalgamation is obvious. Explanation of amalgamation. The French of Louisiana, when they were formed into a state, in which they were a majority, were incorporated into a great nation, of which they constituted an extremely small part. The eye of every ambitious man turned naturally to the great centre of federal affairs, and the high prizes of federal ambition. The tone of politics was taken from those by whose hands its highest powers were wielded; the legislation and government of Louisiana were from the first insignificant, compared with the interests involved in the discussions at Washington. It became the object of every aspiring man to merge his French, and adopt completely an American nationality. What was the interest of individuals, was also the interest of the State. It was its policy to be represented by those who would acquire weight in the councils of the federation. To speak only a language foreign to that of the United States, was consequently a disqualification for a candidate for the posts of either senator or representative; the French qualified themselves by learning English, or submitted to the superior advantages of their English competitors. The representation of Louisiana in Congress is now entirely English, while each of the federal parties in the State conciliates the French feeling, by putting up a candidate of that race. But the result is, that the Union is never disturbed by the quarrels of these races; and the French language and manners bid fair, in no long time, to follow their laws, and pass away like the Dutch peculiarities of New York.

It is only by the same means,—by a popular government, in which an English majority shall permanently predominate, that Lower Canada, if a remedy for its disorders be not too long delayed, can be tranquilly ruled.

On these grounds, I believe that no permanent or Disorders of Lower Canada only remediable by fusion with another Province. efficient remedy can be devised for the disorders of Lower Canada, except a fusion of the Government in that of one or more of the surrounding Provinces; and as I am of opinion that the full establishment of responsible government can only be permanently secured by giving these Colonies an increased importance in the politics of the Empire, I find in union the only means of remedying at once and completely the two prominent causes of their present unsatisfactory condition.

Two kinds of union have been proposed,—federal and Two kinds of union proposed, federal and legislative. legislative. By the first, the separate legislature of each Province would be preserved in its present form, and retain almost all its present attributes of internal legislation; the federal legislature exercising no power, save in those matters of general concern, which may have been expressly ceded to it by the constituent Provinces.[34] A legislative union would imply a complete incorporation of the Provinces included in it under one legislature, exercising universal and sole legislative authority over all of them, in exactly the same manner as the Parliament legislates alone for the whole of the British Isles.

On my first arrival in Canada, I was strongly inclined Federal union considered; to the project of a federal union, and it was with such a plan in view, that I discussed a general measure for the government of the Colonies, with the deputations from the Lower Provinces, and with various leading individuals and public bodies in both the Canadas. I was fully aware that it might be objected that a federal union would, in many cases, produce a weak and rather cumbrous government; that a Colonial federation must have, in fact, little legitimate authority or business, the greater part of the ordinary functions of a federation falling within the scope of the imperial legislature and executive; and that the main inducement to federation, which is the necessity of conciliating the pretensions of independent states to the maintenance of their own sovereignty, could not exist in the case of Colonial dependencies, liable to be moulded according to the pleasure of the supreme authority at home. In the course of the discussions which I have mentioned, I became aware also of great practical difficulties in any plan of federal government, particularly those that must arise in the management of the general revenues, which would in such a plan have to be again its difficulties. distributed among the Provinces. But I had still more strongly impressed on me the great advantages of an united Government; and I was gratified by finding the leading minds of the various Colonies strongly and generally inclined to a scheme that would elevate their countries into something like a national existence. I thought that it would be the tendency of a federation sanctioned and consolidated by a monarchical Government gradually to become a complete legislative union; and that thus, while conciliating the French of Lower Canada, by leaving them the government of their own Province and their own internal legislation, I might provide for the protection of British interests by the general government, and for the gradual transition of the Provinces into an united and homogeneous community.[35]

But the period of gradual transition is past in Lower Period of federation past in Lower Canada. Canada. In the present state of feeling among the French population, I cannot doubt that any power which they might possess would be used against the policy and the very existence of any form of British government. I cannot doubt that any French Assembly that shall again meet in Lower Canada will use whatever power, be it more or less limited, it may have, to obstruct the Government, and undo whatever has been done by it. Time, and the honest co-operation of the various parties, would be required to aid the action of a federal constitution; and time is not allowed, in the present state of Lower Canada, nor co-operation to be expected from a legislature, of which the majority shall represent its French Legislative Union recommended. inhabitants. I believe that tranquillity can only be restored by subjecting the Province to the vigorous rule of an English majority; and that the only efficacious government would be that formed by a legislative union.

If the population of Upper Canada is rightly estimated The French, when in a legitimate minority, would abandon vain hopes of nationality. at 400,000, the English inhabitants of Lower Canada at 150,000, and the French at 450,000, the union of the two Provinces would not only give a clear English majority, but one which would be increased every year by the influence of English emigration; and I have little doubt that the French, when once placed, by the legitimate course of events and the working of natural causes, in a minority, would abandon their vain hopes of nationality. I do not mean that they would immediately give up their present animosities, or instantly renounce the hope of attaining their end by violent means. But the experience of the two Unions in the British Isles may teach us how effectually the strong arm of a popular legislature would compel the obedience of the refractory population;[36] and the hopelessness of success, would gradually subdue the existing animosities, and incline the French Canadian population to acquiesce in their new state of political existence. I certainly should not like to subject the French Canadians to the rule of the identical English minority with which they have so long been contending; but from a majority, emanating from so much more extended a source, I do not think they would have any oppression or injustice to fear; and in this case, the far greater part of the majority never having been brought into previous collision, would regard them with no animosity that could warp their natural sense of equity. The endowments of the Catholic church in Lower Canada, and the existence of all its present laws, until altered by the united Legislature, might be secured by stipulations similar to those adopted in the Union between England and Scotland.[37] I do not think that the subsequent history of British legislation need incline us to believe, that the nation which has a majority in a popular legislature, is likely to use its power to tamper very hastily with the laws of the people to which it is united.

The union of the two Provinces would secure to Upper Advantages of union to Upper Canada. Canada the present great objects of its desire. All disputes as to the division or amount of the revenue would cease.[38] The surplus revenue of Lower Canada would supply the deficiency of that part of the upper Province; and the Province thus placed beyond the possibility of locally jobbing the surplus revenue, which it cannot reduce, would, I think, gain as much by the arrangement as the Province, which would thus find a means of paying the interest of its debt. Indeed it would be by no means unjust to place this burthen on Lower Canada, inasmuch as the great public works for which the debt was contracted, are as much the concern of one Province as of the other. Nor is it to be supposed that, whatever may have been the mismanagement, in which a great part of the debt originated, the canals of Upper Canada will always be a source of loss, instead of profit. The completion of the projected and necessary line of public works would be promoted by such an union. The access to the sea would be secured to Upper Canada. The saving of public money, which would be ensured by the union of various establishments in the two Provinces, would supply the means of conducting the general Government on a more efficient scale than it has yet been carried on. And the responsibility of the executive would be secured by the increased weight which the representative body of the United Province would bring to bear on the Imperial Government and Legislature.

But while I convince myself that such desirable ends Advantages of legislative union to all the British Provinces. would be secured by the legislative union of the two Provinces, I am inclined to go further, and inquire whether all these objects would not more surely be attained, by extending this legislative union over all the British Provinces in North America; and whether the advantages which I anticipate for two of them, might not, and should not in justice be extended over all. Such an union would at once decisively settle the question of races; it would enable all the Provinces to co-operate for all common purposes; and, above all, it would form a great and powerful people, possessing the means of securing good and responsible government for itself, and which, under the protection of the British Empire, might in some measure counterbalance the preponderant and increasing influence of the United States on the American continent. I do not anticipate that a Colonial Legislature thus strong and thus self-governing, would desire to abandon the connexion with Great Britain. On the contrary, I believe that the practical relief from undue interference, which would be the result of such a change, would strengthen the present bond of feelings and interests; and that the connexion would only become more durable and advantageous, by having more of equality, of freedom, and of local independence. But at any rate, our first duty is to secure the well-being of our colonial countrymen; and if in the hidden decrees of that wisdom by which this world is ruled, it is written, that these countries are not for ever to remain portions of the Empire, we owe it to our honour to take good care that, when they separate from us, they should not be the only countries on the American continent in which the Anglo-Saxon race shall be found unfit to govern itself.

I am, in truth, so far from believing that the increased A legislative union would counterbalance existing tendencies to separation. power and weight that would be given to these Colonies by union would endanger their connexion with the Empire, that I look to it as the only means of fostering such a national feeling throughout them as would effectually counterbalance whatever tendencies may now exist towards separation. No large community of free and intelligent men will long feel contented with a political system which places them, because it places their country, in a position of inferiority to their neighbours.[39] The colonist of Great Britain is linked, it is true, to a mighty Empire; and the glories of its history, the visible signs of its present power, and the civilization of its people, are calculated to raise and gratify his national pride. But he feels, also, that his link to that Empire is one of remote dependence; he catches but passing and inadequate glimpses of its power and prosperity; he knows that in its government he and his own countrymen have no voice. While his neighbour on the other side of the frontier assumes importance, from the notion that his vote exercises some influence on the councils, and that he himself has some share in the onward progress of a mighty nation, the colonist feels the deadening influence of the narrow and subordinate community to which he belongs. In his own, and in the surrounding Colonies, he finds petty objects occupying petty, stationary and divided societies; and it is only when the chances of an uncertain and tardy communication bring intelligence of what has passed a month before on the other side of the Atlantic,[40] that he is reminded of the Empire with which he is connected. But the influence of the United States surrounds him on every side, and is for ever present. It extends itself as population augments and intercourse increases; it penetrates every portion of the continent into which the restless spirit of American speculation impels the settler or the trader; it is felt in all the transactions of commerce, from the important operations of the monetary system down to the minor details of ordinary traffic; it stamps, on all the habits and opinions of the surrounding countries, the common characteristics of the thoughts, feelings and customs of the American people. Such is necessarily the influence which a great nation exercises on the small communities which surround it. Its thoughts and manners subjugate them, even when nominally independent of its authority. If we wish to prevent the extension of this influence, it can only be done by raising up for the North American colonist some nationality of his own; by elevating these small and unimportant communities into a society having some objects of a national importance; and by thus giving their inhabitants a country which they will be unwilling to see absorbed even into one more powerful.

While I believe that the establishment of a comprehensive It would provide scope for elevating the ambition of aspiring men. system of Government, and of an effectual union between the different Provinces, would produce this important effect on the general feelings of their inhabitants, I am inclined to attach very great importance to the influence which it would have in giving greater scope and satisfaction to the legitimate ambition of the most active and prominent persons to be found in them. As long as personal ambition is inherent in human nature, and as long as the morality of every free and civilized community encourages its aspirations, it is one great business of a wise Government to provide for its legitimate development. If, as it is commonly asserted, the disorders of these Colonies have, in great measure, been fomented by the influence of designing and ambitious individuals, this evil will best be remedied by allowing such a scope for the desires of such men as shall direct their ambition into the legitimate chance of furthering, and not of thwarting, their Government. By creating high prizes in a general and responsible Government, we shall immediately afford the means of pacifying the turbulent ambitions, and of employing in worthy and noble occupations the talents which now are only exerted to foment disorder. We must remove from these Colonies the cause to which the sagacity of Adam Smith traced the alienation of the Provinces which now form the United States: we must provide some scope for what he calls ‘the importance’ of the leading men in the Colony, beyond what he forcibly terms the present ‘petty prizes of the paltry raffle of colonial faction’.[41] A general Legislative Union would elevate and gratify the hopes of able and aspiring men. They would no longer look with envy and wonder at the great arena of the bordering federation, but see the means of satisfying every legitimate ambition in the high offices of the Judicature and Executive Government of their own Union.

Nor would an union of the various Provinces be less Reasons for union in common foreign relations. advantageous in facilitating a co-operation for various common purposes, of which the want is now very seriously felt. There is hardly a department of the business of Government which does not require, or would not be better performed, by being carried on under the superintendence of a general Government; and when we consider the political and commercial interests that are common to these Provinces, it appears difficult to account for their having ever been divided into separate governments, since they have all been portions of the same Empire, subject to the same Crown, governed by nearly the same laws and constitutional customs, inhabited, with one exception, by the same race, contiguous and immediately adjacent to each other, and bounded along their whole frontier by the territories of the same powerful and rival State. It would appear that every motive that has induced the union of various Provinces into a single State, exists for the consolidation of these Colonies under a common legislature and executive. They have the same common relation to the mother country; the same relation to foreign nations. When one is at war, the others are at war; and the hostilities that are caused by an attack on one, must seriously compromise the welfare of the rest. Thus the dispute between Great Britain and the State of Maine,[42] appears immediately to involve the interests of none of these Colonies, except New Brunswick or Lower Canada, to one of which the territory claimed by us must belong. But if a war were to commence on this ground, it is most probable that the American Government would select Upper Canada as the most vulnerable, or, at any rate, as the easiest point of attack. A dispute respecting the fisheries of Nova Scotia would involve precisely the same consequences. An union for common defence against foreign enemies is the natural bond of connexion that holds together the great communities of the world; and between no parts of any Kingdom or State is the necessity for such an union more obvious than between the whole of these Colonies.

Their internal relations furnish quite as strong motives Reasons for union in internal relations. for union. The Post Office is at the present moment under the management of the same imperial establishment.[43] If, in compliance with the reasonable demands of the Colonies, the regulation of a matter so entirely of internal concern, and the revenue derived from it, were placed under the control of the Provincial Legislatures, it would still be advisable that the management of the Post Office throughout the whole of British North America should be conducted by one general establishment. In the same way, so great is the influence on the other Provinces of the arrangements adopted with respect to the disposal of public lands and colonization in any one, that it is absolutely essential that this department of Government should be conducted on one system, and by one authority.[44] The necessity of common fiscal regulations is strongly felt by all the Colonies; and a common custom-house establishment would relieve them from the hindrances to their trade, caused by the duties now levied on all commercial intercourse between them.[45] The monetary and banking system of all is subject to the same influences, and ought to be regulated by the same laws. The establishment of a common colonial currency is very generally desired.[46] Indeed, I know of no department of Government that would not greatly gain, both in economy and efficiency, by being placed under a common management. I should not propose, at first, to alter the existing public establishments of the different Provinces, because the necessary changes had better be left to be made by the united Government; and the judicial establishments should certainly not be disturbed until the future legislature shall provide for their re-construction, on an uniform and permanent footing. But even in the administration of justice, an union would immediately supply a remedy for one of the most serious wants under which all the Provinces labour, by facilitating the formation of a general appellate tribunal for all the North American Colonies.[47]

But the interests which are already in common between New interests would be called into existence by an union. all these Provinces are small in comparison with those which the consequences of such an union might, and I think I may say assuredly would, call into existence; and the great discoveries of modern art, which have throughout the world, and no where more than in America, entirely altered the character and the channels of communication between distant countries, will bring all the North American Colonies into constant and speedy intercourse with each other. The success of the great experiment of steam navigation across the Atlantic, opens a prospect of a speedy communication with Europe, which will materially affect the future state of all these Provinces.[48] In a Despatch which arrived in Canada after my departure, the Secretary of State informed me of the determination of Your Majesty’s Government to establish a steam communication between Great Britain and Halifax; and instructed me to turn my attention to the formation of a road between that port and Quebec.[49] It would, indeed, have given me sincere satisfaction, had I remained in the Province, to promote, by any means in my power, so highly desirable an object; and the removal of the usual restrictions on my authority as Governor-General, having given me the means of effectually acting in concert with the various Provincial Governments, I might have been able to make some progress in the work. But I cannot point out more strikingly the evils of the present want of a general government for these Provinces, than by adverting to the difficulty which would practically occur, under the previous and present arrangements of both Executive and Legislative authorities in the various Provinces, in attempting to carry such a plan into effect. For the various Colonies have no more means of concerting such common works with each other, than with the neighbouring States of the Union. They stand to one another in the position of foreign States, and of foreign States without diplomatic relations. The Governors may correspond with each other: the Legislatures may enact laws, carrying the common purposes into effect in their respective jurisdictions; but there is no means by which the various details may speedily and satisfactorily be settled with the concurrence of the different parties. And, in this instance, it must be recollected that the communication and the final settlement would have to be made between, not two, but several of the Provinces. The road would run through three of them; and Upper Canada, into which it would not enter, would, in fact, be more interested in the completion of such a work than any even of the Provinces through which it would pass. The Colonies, indeed, have no common centre in which the arrangement could be made, except in the Colonial Office at home; and the details of such a plan would have to be discussed just where the interests of all parties would have the least means of being fairly and fully represented, and where the minute local knowledge necessary for such a matter would be least likely to be found.

The completion of any satisfactory communication Improved communications desirable. between Halifax and Quebec, would, in fact, produce relations between these Provinces, that would render a general union absolutely necessary. Several surveys have proved that a railroad would be perfectly practicable the whole way.[50] Indeed, in North America, the expense and difficulty of making a railroad, bears by no means the excessive proportion to those of a common road that it does in Europe. It appears to be a general opinion in the United States, that the severe snows and frosts of that continent very slightly impede, and do not prevent, the travelling on railroads; and if I am rightly informed, the Utica railroad, in the northern part of the State of New York, is used throughout the winter. If this opinion be correct, the formation of a railroad from Halifax to Quebec would entirely alter some of the distinguishing characteristics of the Canadas. Instead of being shut out from all direct intercourse with England during half the year, they would possess a far more certain and speedy communication throughout the winter than they now possess in summer. The passage from Ireland to Quebec would be a matter of 10 or 12 days, and Halifax would be the great port by which a large portion of the trade, and all the conveyance of passengers to the whole of British North America, would be carried on. But even supposing these brilliant prospects to be such as we could not reckon on seeing realized, I may assume that it is not intended to make this road without a well-founded belief that it will become an important channel of communication between the Upper and Lower Provinces.[51] In either case, would not the maintenance of such a road, and the mode in which the Government is administered in the different Provinces, be matters of common interest to all? If the great natural channel of the St. Lawrence gives all the people who dwell in any part of its basin such an interest in the government of the whole as renders it wise to incorporate the two Canadas, the artificial work which would, in fact, supersede the lower part of the St. Lawrence, as the outlet of a great part of the Canadian trade, and would make Halifax, in a great measure, an outport to Quebec, would surely in the same way render it advisable that the incorporation should be extended to Provinces through which such a road would pass.

With respect to the two smaller Colonies of Prince Union desirable to Prince Edward’s Island and Newfoundland. to Prince Edward’s Island and Newfoundland, I am of opinion, that not only would most of the reasons which I have given for an union of the others, apply to them, but that their smallness makes it absolutely necessary, as the only means of securing any proper attention to their interests, and investing them with that consideration, the deficiency of which, they have so much reason to lament in all the disputes which yearly occur between them and the citizens of the United States, with regard to the encroachments made by the latter on their coasts and fisheries.[52]

The views on which I found my support of a comprehensive Opinion of H.R.H. the late Duke of Kent. union have long been entertained by many persons in these Colonies, whose opinion is entitled to the highest consideration. I cannot, however, refrain from mentioning the sanction of such views by one whose authority Your Majesty will, I may venture to say, receive with the utmost respect. Mr. Sewell, the late Chief Justice of Quebec,[53] laid before me an autograph letter addressed to himself by Your Majesty’s illustrious and lamented father,[54] in which his Royal Highness was pleased to express his approbation of a similar plan then proposed by that gentleman. No one better understood the interests and character of these Colonies than his Royal Highness; and it is with peculiar satisfaction, therefore, that I submit to Your Majesty’s perusal the important document which contains his Royal Highness’s opinion in favour of such a scheme:—

‘Kensington Palace, 30 Nov. 1814.

‘My dear Sewell,

‘I have this day had the pleasure of receiving your note of yesterday, with its interesting enclosure: nothing can be better arranged than the whole thing is, or more perfectly I cannot wish; and, when I see an opening, it is fully my intention to hint the matter to Lord Bathurst, and put the paper into his hands, without, however, telling him from whom I have it, though I shall urge him to have some conversation with you relative to it. Permit me, however, just to ask you whether it was not an oversight in you to state that there are five Houses of Assembly in the British Colonies in North America? for if I am not under an error, there are six, viz. Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Islands of Prince Edward and Cape Breton. Allow me also to beg of you to put down the proportions in which you think the thirty members of the representative Assembly ought to be furnished by each province; and, finally, to suggest whether you would not think two Lieutenant Governors, with two Executive Councils, sufficient for the Executive Government of the whole, viz. one for the two Canadas and one for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, comprehending the small dependencies of Cape Breton and Prince Edward’s Island; the former to reside at Montreal, and the latter at whichever of the two situations may be considered most central for the two Provinces, whether Annapolis Royal or Windsor. But at all events, should you even consider four Executive Governments and four Executive Councils requisite, I presume there cannot be a question of the expediency of comprehending the two small islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with Nova Scotia.[55]

‘Believe me ever to remain, with the most friendly regard,

‘My dear Sewell, yours faithfully,

            (signed) ‘Edward.’

I know of but one difficulty in the way of such an union; Difficulty in the way of union. and that arises from the disinclination which some of the Lower Provinces might feel to the transference of powers from their present Legislatures to that of the Union. The objection to this would arise principally, I imagine, from their not liking to give up the immediate control which they now have over the funds by which their local expenditure is defrayed. I have given such a view of the evils of this system, that I cannot be expected to admit that an interference with it would be an objection to my plan. I think, however, that the Provinces would have a right to complain, if these powers of local management, and of distributing funds for local purposes, were taken from Provincial Assemblies only to be placed in the yet more objectionable hands of a general legislature. Every precaution should, in my opinion, be taken to prevent such a power, by any possibility, falling into the hands of the Legislature of the Union. In order to prevent that, I would prefer that the Provincial Assemblies should be retained, with merely municipal powers. But it would be far better, in point both of efficiency and of economy, that this power should be entrusted to the municipal bodies of much smaller districts; and the formation of such bodies would, in my opinion, be an essential part of any durable and complete Union.

With such views, I should without hesitation recommend Legislative union should have the consent of the colonial people. the immediate adoption of a general legislative union of all the British Provinces in North America, if the regular course of Government were suspended or perilled in the Lower Provinces, and the necessity of the immediate adoption of a plan for their government, without reference to them, a matter of urgency; or if it were possible to delay the adoption of a measure with respect to the Canadas until the project of an union could have been referred to the Legislatures of the Lower Provinces. But the state of the Lower Provinces, though it justifies the proposal of an union, would not, I think, render it gracious, or even just, on the part of Parliament to carry it into effect without referring it for the ample deliberation and consent of the people of those Colonies. Moreover, the state of the two Canadas is such, that neither the feelings of the parties concerned, nor the interests of the Crown or the Colonies themselves will admit of a single Session, or even of a large portion of a Session of Parliament, being allowed to pass without a definite decision by the Imperial Legislature as to the basis on which it purposes to found the future government of those Colonies.

In existing circumstances, the conclusion to which the Recommendations of the High Commissioner. foregoing considerations lead me, is that no time should be lost in proposing to Parliament a Bill for repealing the 31 Geo. 3;[56] restoring the union of the Canadas under one Legislature; and re-constituting them as one Province.

The Bill should contain provisions by which any or Voluntary admission of the other Provinces into the Union. all of the other North American Colonies may, on the application of the Legislature, be, with the consent of the two Canadas, or their united Legislature, admitted into the union on such terms as may be agreed on between them.[57]

As the mere amalgamation of the Houses of Assembly Objection to plans giving equal representation to the two Provinces. of the two Provinces would not be advisable,[58] or give at all a due share of representation to each, a Parliamentary Commission should be appointed, for the purpose of forming the electoral divisions, and determining the number of members to be returned on the principle of giving representation, as near as may be, in proportion to population. I am averse to every plan that has been proposed for giving an equal number of members to the two Provinces, in order to attain the temporary end of out-numbering the French, because I think the same object will be obtained without any violation of the principles of representation, and without any such appearance of injustice in the scheme as would set public opinion, both in England and America, strongly against it; and because, when emigration shall have increased the English population in the Upper Province, the adoption of such a principle would operate to defeat the very purpose it is intended to serve. It appears to me that any such electoral arrangement, founded on the present provincial divisions, would tend to defeat the purposes of union, and perpetuate the idea of disunion.

At the same time, in order to prevent the confusion and Power to the Governor of suspending writs. danger likely to ensue from attempting to have popular elections in districts recently the seats of open rebellion, it will be advisable to give the Governor a temporary power of suspending by proclamation, stating specifically the grounds of his determination, the writs of electoral districts, in which he may be of opinion that elections could not safely take place.[59]

The same commission should form a plan of local Local Government by elective bodies. government by elective bodies subordinate to the general legislature, and exercising a complete control over such local affairs as do not come within the province of general legislation. The plan so framed should be made an Act of the Imperial Parliament, so as to prevent the general legislature from encroaching on the powers of the local bodies.[60]

A general executive on an improved principle should General Executive and Supreme Court of Appeal. be established, together with a Supreme Court of Appeal, for all the North American Colonies.[61] The other establishments and laws of the two Colonies should be left unaltered, Appeal, until the Legislature of the Union should think fit to change them; and the security of the existing endowments of the Catholic Church in Lower Canada should be guaranteed by the Act.

The constitution of a second legislative body for the Constitution of Legislative Councils united Legislature, involves questions of very great difficulty. The present constitution of the Legislative Councils of these Provinces has always appeared to me inconsistent with sound principles, and little calculated to answer the purpose of placing the effective check which I consider necessary on the popular branch of the Legislature. The analogy which some persons have attempted to draw between the House of Lords and the Legislative Councils seems to me erroneous. The constitution of the House of Lords is consonant with the frame of English society; and as the creation of a precisely similar body in such a state of society as that of these Colonies is impossible, it has always appeared to me most unwise to attempt to supply its place by one which has no point of resemblance to it, except that of being a non-elective check on the elective branch of the Legislature.[62] The attempt to invest a few persons, distinguished from their fellow-colonists neither by birth nor hereditary property, and often only transiently connected with the country, with such a power, seems only calculated to ensure jealousy and bad feelings in the first instance, and collision at last. I believe that when the necessity of relying, in Lower Canada, on the English character of the Legislative Council as a check on the national prejudices of a French Assembly shall be removed by the Union, few persons in the Colonies will be found disposed in favour of its present constitution. Indeed, the very fact of union will complicate the difficulties which have hitherto existed; because a satisfactory choice of councillors would have to be made with reference to the varied interests of a much more numerous and extended community.

It will be necessary, therefore, for the completion of any should be revised. stable scheme of government, that Parliament should revise the constitution of the Legislative Council, and, by adopting every practicable means to give that institution such a character as would enable it, by its tranquil and safe, but effective working, to act as an useful check on the popular branch of the Legislature, prevent a repetition of those collisions which have already caused such dangerous irritation.[63]

The plan which I have framed for the management of Management of public lands. the public lands being intended to promote the common advantage of the Colonies and of the mother country, I therefore propose that the entire administration of it should be confided to an imperial authority.[64] The conclusive reasons which have induced me to recommend this course, will be found at length in the separate Report on the subject of Public Lands and Emigration.

All the revenues of the Crown, except those derived Crown Revenues. from this source, should at once be given up to the United Legislature, on the concession of an adequate civil list.[65]

The responsibility to the United Legislature of all Responsibility of Officers of Government. officers of the Government, except the Governor and his Secretary, should be secured by every means known to the British Constitution. The Governor, as the representative of the Crown, should be instructed that he must carry on his government by heads of departments, in whom the United Legislature shall repose confidence; and that he must look for no support from home in any contest with the Legislature, except on points involving strictly Imperial interests.

The independence of the Judges should be secured, by Independence of Judges. giving them the same tenure of office and security of income as exist in England.

No money-votes should be allowed to originate without Money-votes. the previous consent of the Crown.[66]

In the same Act should be contained a repeal of past Clergy reserves. provisions with respect to the clergy reserves, and the application of the funds arising from them.

In order to promote emigration on the greatest possible Measures to promote emigration. scale, and with the most beneficial results to all concerned, I have elsewhere[67] recommended a system of measures which has been expressly framed with that view, after full inquiry and careful deliberation. Those measures would not subject either the colonies or the mother country to any expense whatever. In conjunction with the measures suggested for disposing of public lands, and remedying the evils occasioned by past mismanagement in that department, they form a plan of colonization to which I attach the highest importance. The objects, at least, with which the plan has been formed, are to provide large funds for emigration, and for creating and improving means of communication throughout the provinces; to guard emigrants of the labouring class against the present risks of the passage; to secure for all of them a comfortable resting-place, and employment at good wages immediately on their arrival; to encourage the investment of surplus British capital in these colonies, by rendering it as secure and as profitable as in the United States; to promote the settlement of wild lands and the general improvement of the colonies; to add to the value of every man’s property in land; to extend the demand for British manufactured goods, and the means of paying for them, in proportion to the amount of emigration and the general increase of the colonial people; and to augment the colonial revenues in the same degree.

When the details of the measure, with the particular Legislation should consult the unusual exigencies of the case. reasons for each of them, are examined, the means proposed will, I trust, be found as simple as the ends are great; nor have they been suggested by any fanciful or merely speculative view of the subject. They are founded on the facts given in evidence by practical men; on authentic information, as to the wants and capabilities of the colonies; on an examination of the circumstances which occasion so high a degree of prosperity in the neighbouring States; on the efficient working and remarkable results of improved methods of colonization in other parts of the British Empire; in some measure on the deliberate proposals of a Committee of the House of Commons; and, lastly, on the favourable opinion of every intelligent person in the colonies whom I consulted with respect to them. They involve, no doubt, a considerable change of system, or rather the adoption of a system where there has been none; but this, considering the number and magnitude of past errors, and the present wretched economical state of the colonies, seems rather a recommendation than an objection. I do not flatter myself that so much good can be accomplished without an effort; but in this, as in other suggestions, I have presumed that the Imperial Government and Legislature will appreciate the actual crisis in the affairs of these colonies, and will not shrink from any exertion that may be necessary to preserve them to the Empire.

By the adoption of the various measures here recommended, Possibility of arresting present disorders. I venture to hope that the disorders of these Colonies may be arrested, and their future well-being and connexion with the British Empire secured. Of the certain result of my suggestions, I cannot, of course, speak with entire confidence, because it seems almost too much to hope that evils of so long growth, and such extent, can be removed by the tardy application of even the boldest remedy; and because I know that as much depends upon the consistent vigour and prudence of those who may have to carry it into effect, as on the soundness of the policy suggested. The deep-rooted evils of Lower Canada will require great firmness to remove them. The disorders of Upper Canada, which appear to me to originate entirely in mere defects of its constitutional system, may, I believe, be removed by adopting a more sound and consistent mode of administering the government. We may derive some confidence from the recollection, that very simple remedies yet remain to be resorted to for the first time. And we need not despair of governing a people who really have hitherto very imperfectly known what it is to have a Government.

I have made no mention of emigration, on an extended Benefits of a judicious system of colonization. scale, as a cure for political disorders, because it is my opinion, that until tranquillity is restored, and a prospect of free and stable government is held out, no emigrants should be induced to go to, and that few would at any rate remain in, Canada. But if, by the means which I have suggested, or by any other, peace can be restored, confidence created, and popular and vigorous government established, I rely on the adoption of a judicious system of colonization as an effectual barrier against the recurrence of many of the existing evils. If I should have miscalculated the proportions in which the friends and the enemies of British connexion may meet in the United Legislature, one year’s emigration would redress the balance. It is by a sound system of colonization that we can render these extensive regions available for the benefit of the British people. The mismanagement by which the resources of our Colonies have hitherto been wasted, has, I know, produced in the public mind too much of a disposition to regard them as mere sources of corruption and loss, and to entertain, with too much complacency, the idea of abandoning them as useless. I cannot participate in the notion that it is the part either of prudence or of honour to abandon our countrymen when our government of them has plunged them into disorder, or our territory, when we discover that we have not turned it to proper account. The experiment of keeping colonies and governing them well, ought at least to have a trial, ere we abandon for ever the vast dominion which might supply the wants of our surplus population, and raise up millions of fresh consumers of our manufactures, and producers of a supply for our wants. The warmest admirers, and the strongest opponents of republican institutions, admit or assert that the amazing prosperity of the United States is less owing to their form of government, than to the unlimited supply of fertile land, which maintains succeeding generations in an undiminishing affluence of fertile soil. A region as large and as fertile is open to Your Majesty’s subjects in Your Majesty’s American dominions. The recent improvements of the means of communication will, in a short time, bring the unoccupied lands of Canada and New Brunswick within as easy a reach of the British Isles, as the territories of Iowa and Wisconsin[68] are of that incessant emigration that annually quits New England for the Far West.

I see no reason, therefore, for doubting that, by good government, and the adoption of a sound system of colonization, the British possessions in North America may thus be made the means of conferring on the suffering classes of the mother country many of the blessings which have hitherto been supposed to be peculiar to the social state of the New World.

In conclusion, I must earnestly impress on Your Majesty’s advisers, and on the Imperial Parliament, the paramount necessity of a prompt and decisive settlement of this important question, not only on account of the extent and variety of interests involving the welfare and security of the British Empire, which are perilled by every hour’s delay, but on account of the state of feeling which exists in the public mind throughout all Your Majesty’s North American possessions, and more especially the two Canadas.

In various Dispatches addressed to Your Majesty’s Secretary of State, I have given a full description of that state of feeling, as I found it evinced by all classes and all parties, in consequence of the events which occurred in the last Session of the British Parliament. I do not allude now to the French Canadians, but to the English population of both provinces. Ample evidence of their feelings will be found in the Addresses which were presented to me from all parts of the North American Colonies, and which I have inserted in an Appendix to this Report.[69] But, strong as were the expressions of regret and disappointment at the sudden annihilation of those hopes which the English had entertained of seeing a speedy and satisfactory termination of that state of confusion and anarchy under which they had so long laboured, they sunk into insignificance when compared with the danger arising from those threats of separation and independence, the open and general utterance of which was reported to me from all quarters. I fortunately succeeded in calming this irritation for the time, by directing the public mind to the prospect of those remedies which the wisdom and beneficence of Your Majesty must naturally incline Your Majesty to sanction, whenever they are brought under Your Majesty’s consideration. But the good effects thus produced by the responsibility which I took upon myself, will be destroyed; all these feelings will recur with redoubled violence; and the danger will become immeasurably greater, if such hopes are once more frustrated, and the Imperial Legislature fails to apply an immediate and final remedy to all those evils of which Your Majesty’s subjects in America so loudly complain, and of which I have supplied such ample evidence.

For these reasons, I pray Your Majesty’s earnest attention to this Report. It is the last act arising out of the loyal and conscientious discharge of the high duties imposed upon me by the Commission with which Your Majesty was graciously pleased to entrust me. I humbly hope that Your Majesty will receive it favourably, and believe that it has been dictated by the most devoted feeling of loyalty and attachment to Your Majesty’s Person and Throne, by the strongest sense of public duty, and by the earnest desire to perpetuate and strengthen the connexion between this Empire and the North American Colonies, which would then form one of the brightest ornaments in Your Majesty’s Imperial Crown.

All which is humbly submitted to Your Majesty.



London, 31st January 1839.

[1] As is pointed out in the Introduction, pp. 139-41, Lord Durham, when speaking of the ‘eminently responsible government’ of the United States, ignored the fact that in the United States the Executive is not responsible to the Legislature, though responsible to the people.

[2] See especially above, pp. 211-12 and note.

[3] See vol. iii, pp. 319-31.

[4] One of the resolutions moved by Lord John Russell in the House of Commons on March 6, 1837, empowered the Governor-General of Canada to apply the revenues of the Lower Province to paying arrears of the official salaries. Sir John Colborne commented on this as ‘seizing money which does not belong to us’. See Introduction, p. 73.

[5] In connexion with what Lord Durham says here as to the danger of Upper Canada coming under American influence, reference should be made to the letter which Sir John Sherbrooke wrote on March 14, 1822, after his retirement, to Lord Bathurst, and which is reprinted on pp. 123-5 of Canadian Constitutional Development (Egerton and Grant): ‘I could not avoid remarking when I was in Upper Canada, that in many instances a stronger bias prevailed in favour of the American than of the British form of government; whereas the Catholics in Lower Canada have a rooted antipathy to the government of the United States, and have no dread equal to that of one day falling under its dominion.’

[6] See above, pp. 217 and 256.

[7] According to the 1900 census, there were then 275,102 Irish in the City of New York and 425,553 in the State.

[8] Texas, in which a number of citizens of the United States had settled, seceded from Mexico in 1836. Civil war followed, and in April of that year the Texans defeated the Mexicans at the battle of San Jacinto, and captured the Mexican leader, Santa Anna. In 1837 Texas applied to be admitted into the Union of the United States, and it was formally admitted in 1845, the immediate result being war between Mexico and the United States. Lord Durham makes much use of the illustration of Texas, in order to point out the danger of a weak and disunited Canada being invaded by American frontiersmen. Thus, in his dispatch of August 9, 1838 (see vol. iii, p. 327), he writes: ‘It is well that I should remind Her Majesty’s government of the invasion of Texas by a body of American citizens, who, without the least aid from their government, have seized an extensive country, defeated armies, got possession of the soil, and established themselves as a nation;’ and again in a dispatch dated October 20, 1838, he refers to ‘the aspect of the weakness of the government in these provinces, which has latterly been presented to the bordering population, and which offers to the ambition or avarice of the bold and lawless settlers of the American wilderness the ample and fertile lands which appear to invite occupation by the strongest. They think to repeat the conquest of Texas from a nobler foe, with proportionably greater means of aggression; and if they know that they will have to contend with something more than a Mexican army, they count on an internal aid, which was not found in the solitary wilds of Texas’ (House of Commons Paper, No. 2, February 11, 1839, p. 222).

Similarly The Annual Register for 1838, p. 12, with reference to the raids in that year on Upper Canada across the American frontier, says: ‘There were few, if any, to be found amongst the large bodies of men, who were organized on different points, with a view to the invasion of Canada, who could plead a higher motive than was suggested by their rapacity, and a desire to repeat, at the expense of the hardy Britons of Canada, the experiment so successfully made in the Texas.’

[9] Of the brothers Nelson, Robert Nelson has been referred to above on p. 24. He escaped to the United States after the rising of 1837, and tried to raise war against England. His better known brother, Dr. Wolfred Nelson, was born at Montreal in 1792. He qualified as a doctor in 1811, and established himself in practice at St. Denis, on the Richelieu river. He took the popular and French Canadian side in politics, and in 1827 carried the borough of William Henry or Sorel against the then Attorney-General, James Stuart. He was a strong adherent of Papineau. After his defence of St. Denis and armed resistance to the Government, he tried to escape to the United States, but was intercepted and imprisoned. In 1838 Lord Durham exiled him, with others, to Bermuda. The sentence having been cancelled by the Home Government, he was set free and went to the United States. After the amnesty, he returned to Canada in 1842, went into Parliament again in 1845, and subsequently held Government appointments. He died in 1863. He seems to have been one of the bravest and most honest of the insurgents, and in private life a kindly, humane, and much-loved man (see Dict. of Nat. Biog., s.v.).

[10] As to the weakness of a Federal Government, see what Lord Durham says below as to a contemplated Federal Union of Canada, pp. 304-5.

[11] About the beginning of 1839, when Lord Durham’s Report was published, the Maine Boundary question was in its most acute form, and the disputes between the frontiersmen of Maine and New Brunswick nearly brought on war between Great Britain and the United States. The matter was finally settled by the Ashburton Treaty of 1842. See also below, p. 313 and note.

[12] From 1836 to 1838 Iowa was part of the territory of Wisconsin. In 1838 it was made a separate territory, and in 1846 it was admitted as a State into the Union. As to the amount of emigration from Upper Canada to the United States, see above, pp. 217, 256, 267.

[13] The reference is to the Pennsylvania Germans, commonly known as Pennsylvania Dutch. They were mainly Mennonites, akin to the Quakers in their tenets, and they settled in Pennsylvania in the later years of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth centuries. Germantown, now a suburb of Philadelphia, and the scene of one of Washington’s battles in the War of Independence, was so called after the first of these settlers. After the War of Independence, a good many of these German colonists, following after an interval the steps of the United Empire Loyalists, migrated into Ontario in the last few years of the eighteenth and the early years of the nineteenth centuries. They formed three main settlements, the Niagara colony, the Markham colony, and the Waterloo colony. The last was in the valley of the Grand River and included Berlin. A German newspaper was published here in 1835 (see the article on the Pennsylvania Germans of Waterloo County by the Rev. A. B. Sherk in the Papers and Records of the Ontario Historical Society, vol. vii, Toronto, 1906). In the House of Commons Paper of 1832, already referred to, ‘Copy of the Report of Mr. Richards to the Colonial Secretary respecting the Waste Lands in the Canadas, and emigration’, the writer, who visited the British North American provinces in 1830, stated (p. 5) that near Lake Simcoe ‘there was a settlement of a species of Quakers, from some part of Pennsylvania, of about 30 years old’. At the date of the 1901 census there were 12,000 Mennonites in the Province of Ontario.

[14] One of the most interesting points about the grant of responsible government is that so vital a change could be effected without any legislation. Thus Lord Durham says, p. 280: ‘This change might be effected by a single dispatch containing such instructions;’ and on p. 285 he speaks of it as ‘a change which would amount simply to this, that the Crown would henceforth consult the wishes of the people in the choice of its servants’. Similarly Merivale in his Lectures on Colonization and Colonies, 1861 ed., p. 636, Appendix to Lecture XXII, writes: ‘The change to responsible government was one which required no legislative process to effect it, and scarcely rendered necessary the change even of a few words in the governor’s “Commission and Instructions”, the organic instruments of colonial government.’ See also Keith’s Responsible Government in the Dominions, Part I, chap, ii, ‘The Legal Basis of Responsible Government,’ Sec. I, Responsible Government in Canada, pp. 59-60. Although, as a matter of fact, some legislation has usually accompanied the grant, in Canada no law precluded the introduction of responsible government, and it came into being gradually, being fully adopted by Lord Elgin in or about the year 1848, no specific date having been fixed for its introduction. The fact that no formal change of machinery was necessary to bring about responsible government must be borne in mind, in comparing what Lord Durham says on these pages with what Lord John Russell said on responsible government in his dispatch of October 14, 1839 (reprinted in vol. iii, pp. 332-5). Lord John Russell saw ‘insuperable objections to the adoption of the principle’ of responsible government, but he saw none ‘to the practical views of colonial government recommended by Lord Durham’; and he used similar terms to those employed by Lord Durham, when he enjoined ‘maintaining the harmony of the Executive with the Legislative authorities’. What he was not prepared to concede was a Parliamentary Executive, i.e. a system by which the chief Executive officers would be members of the Legislature, standing or falling with the majority in the Legislature. This Lord Durham was prepared to concede, for he speaks on pp. 279-80 of ‘entrusting its administration to such men as could command a majority’. If it had been necessary to embody the principle of responsible government in a law before it could be put into practice, the difference of views would have been more clearly defined. See also Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies, pp. 299, 300 and note.

[15] The whole basis of Lord Durham’s views on responsible government was that a line could be drawn between matters of colonial or ‘internal’ concern and matters of imperial concern. Similar views were put forward by Sir William Molesworth in a speech in the House of Commons on the Australian Government Bill, May 6, 1850 (Selected Speeches of Sir William Molesworth, edited by Professor Egerton, 1903, pp. 365-401). Molesworth, like Durham, was quite clear that a permanent line could be drawn between the sphere of the Colonial and that of the Imperial Government. He said (p. 378): ‘I maintain that, whenever the local circumstances of a colony will admit the existence of a colonial parliament, the colonial parliament ought to possess powers corresponding with those of the British parliament, with the necessary exception of Imperial powers. For, if it were to possess Imperial powers, it would become an Imperial parliament; and, as there cannot be two Imperial parliaments in one empire, the British Empire would be dissolved.’ Further on in the same speech (p. 391) he says that, as the United States is a system of States clustered round a central republic, so ‘Our colonial Empire ought to be a system of colonies clustered round the hereditary monarchy of England. The hereditary monarchy should possess all the powers of government with the exception of that of taxation, which the Central Republic possesses. If it possessed less, the Empire would cease to be one body politic.’ Thus he evidently contemplated the retention of very considerable powers by the Imperial Government. Lord John Russell, on the other hand, in his dispatch of October 14, 1839, which is reprinted in vol. iii, pp. 332-5, contended that the Governor of a colony could not at once serve two masters, on the one hand the Crown with its imperial advisers, and on the other hand a Colonial Ministry; and that it was impossible to draw the line between matters of imperial and matters of colonial or ‘internal’ concern. ‘There are some cases of internal government, in which the honour of the Crown, or the faith of Parliament, or the safety of the State, are so seriously involved, that it would not be possible for Her Majesty to delegate her authority to a Ministry in a colony.’ The evolution of colonial self-government has proved the correctness of Lord John Russell’s view that it is not possible permanently to draw the line between ‘internal’ and imperial matters.

Reference should be made to Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies, 1891 ed., chap. x, p. 299, &c. The present position as between the Imperial Government and the self-governing Dominions is given fully in various books; see e.g. Part V of Keith’s Responsible Government in the Dominions, on ‘Imperial Control over Dominion Administration and Legislation’, and the chapter on ‘The Powers of Colonial Legislatures’ in The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, by Harrison Moore, 2nd ed., 1910.

[16] It will be noted how very limited were the powers which Lord Durham proposed to give to the colonies under responsible government, and to what extent the limits have been swept away. Under foreign relations he presumably included army and navy. With regard to trade the following passage is interesting, taken from Keefer’s prize essay on The Canals of Canada, written in 1850, p. 27, ‘In 1847 the control of our Customs was abandoned by the Imperial legislature, and the last and most important measure which has relieved us from the baneful effects of the British Navigation Laws came into operation with the commencement of the present year.’ Keith (Responsible Government in the Dominions, 1909 ed., p. 190) writes: ‘In 1846 an Act was passed by the Imperial Government to enable the colonies in North America to reduce or repeal duties placed on foreign imports by Acts of the Imperial Parliament. In 1849 this concession was followed by the repeal of the Navigation Acts, which restricted the trade of Canada, and in 1857 and 1869 full power was given to colonial legislatures to regulate their customs establishments and the coasting trade.’ The adoption of Free Trade by Great Britain, not contemplated in Lord Durham’s Report, had a most powerful effect in widening the sphere of colonial self-government.

[17] In the Government of Dependencies Sir George Cornewall Lewis enumerates, among the disadvantages arising to a dependency from its dependence on the dominant country, the exclusion of natives of the dependency from offices in their own country, and the appointment of natives of the dominant country to offices in the dependency without a due regard for their qualifications. He quotes from authorities on Jamaica under British Government, and on the French and Spanish dependencies (see Government of Dependencies, pp. 270-5 and notes, and pp. 137, 148-9, and notes). He does not, however, notice the case, to which Lord Durham here refers, i.e. appointing natives of a colony to posts in the colony, but keeping the nomination in the hands of the Home Government. See also below, pp. 312-3.

[18] It will be noted what stress Lord Durham lays here and elsewhere on the monarchy, and to what extent his views have been borne out by later experience. Most people would agree that at the present day the Crown is the one great bond of union in the Empire.

[19] This passage is not easy to follow. Lord Durham seems to argue (a) that though responsible government could be conceded by simple instructions from the Crown, it would be well that the charge should be embodied in some law, and (b) that the law should provide for some form of British North American Union.

[20] Compare with this passage the noteworthy letter of February 5, 1790, which William Smith, Chief Justice of Canada, wrote to Lord Dorchester, and in which he urged that steps should be taken ‘to put what remains to Great Britain of her ancient dominions in North America under one general direction, for the united interests and safety of every branch of the Empire’. Referring to the old North American colonies, the Chief Justice continued: ‘To expect wisdom and moderation from near a score of petty Parliaments, consisting in effect of only one of the three necessary branches of a Parliament, must, after the light brought by experience, appear to have been a very extravagant expectation. . . . And it belonged to the Administrations of the days of our fathers to have found the cure, in the erection of a Power upon the continent itself, to control all its own little republics, and create a Partner in the Legislation of the Empire, capable of consulting their own safety and the common welfare’ (Egerton and Grant, Canadian Constitutional Development, pp. 104-10).

[21] See also above on pp. 93, 328 and notes, and Introduction, p. 292.

[22] See Introduction, pp. 152 and 219.

[23] See Appendix B (vol. iii, pp. 34-130) and Introduction, pp. 176-88.

[24] In what follows, Lord Durham amplifies his views as to the necessity of ‘Anglifying’ French Canada, which was one of the main theses of his Report. In preceding passages of the Report it has been abundantly insisted on, as well as in Appendix D. The view is discussed in the Introduction, pp. 129-36 and 281-4. Reference should also be made to Cornewall Lewis’s Government of Dependencies, 1891 ed., chap. ix, on the ‘Disadvantages arising to a Dependency from its Dependence on the Dominant Country’. See especially p. 266 of that chapter.

[25] See above, p. 142, note. On the second reading of the Reunion Bill in the House of Lords on June 30, 1840, the Duke of Wellington, who was strongly opposed to the Bill, said that the two provinces ‘could be considered, in point of fact, as having no one common interest whatsoever except the great river’.

[26] See above, p. 70, note.

[27] See above, p. 32, note 2.

[28] Lord Durham’s forecast has not proved correct. The French Canadians have extended over ‘the neighbouring country’ without losing their nationality.

[29] Mr. Andrew Stuart had been one of the members for the town of Quebec in the Assembly of Lower Canada, and apparently a very popular member. He was enthusiastic on exploration of the northern part of the Province of Quebec between the settlements and the Hudson Bay territory, from the Saguenay and Lake St. John to the Ottawa (see Christie, vol. iii, pp. 203-11. On p. 211 Christie speaks of ‘The splendid daydreams of the late Mr. Andrew Stuart, whose foresight and capacious mind none who knew him will make light of’). He was the first chairman of the Quebec Constitutional Association founded in November 1834 (Christie, vol. iv, p. 23). In a dispatch dated October 25, 1838 (see House of Commons Paper, British North America, February 11, 1839, p. 234) Lord Durham reported that he had appointed Mr. Andrew Stuart to be Solicitor-General of Lower Canada, adding that he ‘is at the head of the bar here, and pre-eminently qualified for the office to which he has been appointed’.

[30] The Report of the Commissioner of Inquiry into the state of Education in Lower Canada (Appendix D) insists in almost identical terms with those used by Lord Durham on the necessity of ‘Anglifying’ the province, e.g. on p. 273 of vol. iii: ‘Until Canada is nationalized and Anglified, it is idle for England to be devising schemes for her improvement,’ and iii, 289: ‘The colony will not be worth our keeping unless it is Anglified.’

[31] This, with other passages in the Report, e.g. ii. 264-5, shows how powerfully Lord Durham was influenced in making his recommendations by the desire to maintain good relations with the United States. His efforts in this direction at a time of great international tension were of the greatest service to England.

[32] As to Louisiana, see above, pp. 61-2, note. In a dispatch to Lord John Russell of January 22, 1840, from Poulett Thomson, Lord Sydenham, in which the latter summarized his recommendations for a Union Bill, he wrote: ‘4. The language. I recommend that, in the publication of all records of the Legislature, the English language only should be adopted. Great inconvenience and embarrassment have been experienced in Lower Canada from the necessity of using the two languages; and in the United Legislature there can be no good ground for continuing the practice. The debates, of course, may be conducted either in French or English, according to the discretion of the Speaker. The constitution of Louisiana affords a precedent for this regulation’ (House of Commons Paper, No. 147, March 23, 1840, p. 33).

[33] Edward Livingston was born in the State of New York in 1764, and became a barrister in that State, a member of Congress, and mayor of the City of New York. After the cession of Louisiana to the United States he settled in New Orleans, and was a leading supporter of General Jackson in the defence of New Orleans against the English in 1814. He was a member of the Louisiana Legislature, and in 1821 was charged with the work of preparing a criminal code for the State. This resulted in the highly-esteemed Livingston code, which was adopted in several other States of the Union, and much consulted in other countries. He subsequently became Secretary of State under President Jackson, and in 1833 was American minister at Paris. He died in 1836.

[34] A reference to Lord Glenelg’s dispatch to Lord Durham of January 20, 1838, when the latter was first appointed, will show that Lord Glenelg contemplated some kind of Federal Legislature for the two provinces. The dispatch is reprinted in vol. iii, pp. 305-11.

[35] In connexion with this passage it may be well to compare the main features of the Constitutions of the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Union of South Africa. The Union of South Africa most nearly approaches Lord Durham’s ideal. The main points of difference between the Constitutions of the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Union of South Africa are as follows:—

(1) Under the Constitution of Canada, for all external purposes the Dominion represents the provinces, which deal solely with so much of internal affairs as is not reserved for the Dominion. The provincial Lieutenant-Governors are appointed, and if need be dismissed, by the Governor-General on the advice of the Dominion ministers; the laws of the provinces are subject to disallowance by the Governor-General on the advice of his ministers; and correspondence between the Colonial Office and Canada is carried on through the Governor-General alone. Further, the Dominion Parliament and Government have all the powers necessary to perform obligations, whether of the Dominion or of a province, arising out of treaties between His Majesty and foreign powers, even in cases where the Dominion Parliament has normally no general legislative authority, though in practice this power is very rarely used.

The Commonwealth of Australia, on the other hand, though it represents the States for external affairs, does not do so completely. The State Governors are appointed, and if need be, dismissed by His Majesty on the advice of his Imperial ministers; the laws of the States are subject to His Majesty’s disallowance; and the State Governors retain the right of direct communication with the Secretary of State even in certain matters of external affairs. The Commonwealth of Australia has apparently no power to enforce treaties affecting matters upon which it has no power of general legislation, and has to obtain the consent of State Governments to adhere to treaties dealing with matters within the exclusive legislative competence of the States.

In the case of South Africa, the Union Government represents South Africa in all external affairs; it exercises a complete control over the provinces by its power to veto their legislation, and to legislate over the heads of the Provincial Councils, and by its having in its hands the appointment and dismissal of the Administrator of the Province and the control of the audit of the provincial accounts. All correspondence regarding provincial affairs passes through the Governor-General’s hands. It is expressly provided that rights and obligations under conventions affecting the colonies before union will devolve on the Union Government.

(2) Under the Canadian Constitution the Dominion Government has full powers of legislation for the peace, good order, and good government of Canada, but certain limited powers of legislation in regard to matters of local concern are vested exclusively in the Provincial Legislatures, all residuary power being in the hands of the Dominion Parliament. In the Commonwealth of Australia in certain matters, limited in number, the Commonwealth Parliament has exclusive powers of legislation; in many others it has concurrent, but paramount, powers with the State Parliaments; in matters not expressly specified the States alone have power. In this respect the Commonwealth follows the model of the United States Constitution, but the practical difference between the powers of the Provinces of Canada and the States of Australia are not very great.

The legislative powers of the Union Parliament of South Africa are paramount and unlimited. It can therefore legislate on any topic on which a Provincial Council can legislate, and its legislation will override that of a province. A Provincial Council has certain restricted powers of legislation with regard to purely local concerns, but these powers can at any time be reduced by the Union Parliament.

(3) The Constitution of Canada can, save in minor details, be amended only by the Imperial Parliament; while in the Australian Constitution definite provision is made for amendment by the Parliament and people of Australia. The rigidity of the Canadian Constitution is more in consonance with the conception of a federation, as it ensures that no change shall be made against the wish of a State save with the approval of His Majesty’s Government, whereas in many matters an Australian State could be overridden by the wishes of the majority of the States.

The Constitution of the Union of South Africa can be altered by a simple Act, only a few points requiring even a special majority, and provision being made for the reservation of Bills abolishing Provincial Councils or abridging their powers. The provinces are thus quite without protection against the Union, but that is only natural as the Union Constitution is intended to be a real union, in which local bodies in the shape of the Provincial Councils are retained with strictly subordinate functions, not a federation in which the members retain in a greater or less degree a real individuality.

(4) The Canadian Constitution entrusts to the care of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council the question of the interpretation of the Constitution as it affects the respective rights of the Dominion and the provinces. The Australian Constitution leaves the decision of such questions to the final judgement of the High Court of the Commonwealth, unless that Court chooses to allow an appeal to the Privy Council.

In South Africa, such disputes as may arise as to the limits of provincial and Union powers will be disposed of by the Supreme Court of South Africa, subject to an appeal by special leave of the Privy Council to that body. But, in view of the supreme legislative powers of the Union, any decision of the Privy Council can be in effect reversed by Union legislation.

The Constitutions differ also in countless points of detail.

Reference should be made to Federations and Unions in the British Empire, by Professor H. E. Egerton (1911).

[36] The subsequent history of Ireland has hardly borne this out.

[37] The 25th section of the Act of Union of 1706 (5 Anne, cap. 8) embodied the articles securing ‘The Protestant religion and Presbyterian church government in Scotland’.

[38] See above, pp. 142-3 and note.

[39] This is one of the passages which make Lord Durham’s Report such a great work. It forecasts the substitution of ‘dominions’ for ‘colonies’, and of political equality and partnership for subordination.

[40] In the war of 1812, the Treaty of Ghent, which put an end to the war, was signed a fortnight before the battle of New Orleans was fought, and the news of the treaty did not reach the British army before Mobile, until rather more than seven weeks after the treaty had been signed. It is true that the Southern States of the American Republic are more distant from Europe than Canada is, and that a good many years had passed between the end of 1814 and the date of Lord Durham’s Report, but this gives an illustration of the slowness of communication between Europe and North America before steam and telegraphy had made themselves felt.

[41] It will be remembered that Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations in 1776, i.e. a year after the beginning of the War of American Independence. The passage in question will be found in part iii of the chapter on Colonies, but it is not quite correctly quoted by Lord Durham, the exact words being, ‘the little prizes which are to be found in what may be called the paltry raffle of colony faction.’ The whole passage is quoted and examined by Cornewall Lewis in The Government of Dependencies, chap. x, pp. 289-94 (1891 ed.). Reference should also be made to Lewis’s comments on the kindred subject of the disadvantages under which a dependency labours from its liability to ‘exclusion of natives of the dependency from offices in their own country’ (pp. 270-2). See above, p. 283, note.

[42] See above, p. 272, note. Maine was admitted as a State into the Union in 1820, and its admission naturally had the consequence of making the Maine boundary question not only a national, but also more than before a State question. The Ashburton treaty of 1842, which settled the international boundary, was followed by an arbitration between Canada and New Brunswick as to the frontier between the two provinces. The award was given in 1851, and embodied in an Imperial Act of that year.

[43] See above, p. 144, note.

[44] This reads as if, in the event of a union of all British North America, Lord Durham might have been prepared to hand over the public lands to the Union Government, instead of keeping them under the control of the Imperial Government, but the above interpretation would not be consistent with what is said elsewhere, e.g. on ii. 282, 327, and he probably only indicates the necessity for one land policy.

[45] See above, p. 282, note.

[46] The currency of the different British North American provinces was at this time in complete chaos. The following is condensed from Chalmers’s History of Currency in the British Colonies (1893):

In the 18th and earlier part of the 19th century a variety of coins, British, Spanish, and French, were admitted to legal circulation in Canada at fixed rates, but the Spanish dollar, or its subdivision the pistareen, being over-rated, became the real standard of value.

The country had been flooded with paper money ever since it was taken over from the French, and it was almost impossible to retain gold. In 1816 the currency of the United Kingdom was established on a gold basis, and practically for the first time silver token money remained in circulation here. The shortage of dollars resulting from the revolt of the Spanish colonies, and the success of the token coinage in the United Kingdom, induced the British government in 1825 to attempt to introduce British silver throughout the Empire. The attempt, however, met with no practical success in Canada, a nominal adherence to sterling being maintained pari passu with a circulation of non sterling coins.

In 1819 French gold and silver struck since 1792 were admitted to unlimited legal tender in Lower Canada, but the over-rating of the Spanish dollar by law left this latter coin as the standard of value, and in 1826 it was said that ‘the circulating medium of both provinces is paper. British coin is rarely seen, and, except among the Canadians below Quebec, rarely a silver dollar’.

In 1830 Upper Canada passed an act demonetizing the pistareen and French silver coins, and Lower Canada reduced the rating of the pistareen about the same time. ‘The result was to establish the dollar, in lieu of the pistareen, as the standard of value in Upper, if not in Lower Canada. In the latter province the worn écu still held the field, but growing scarcity of these old coins allowed South American dollars and United States half dollars to circulate.’

In 1834 the United States passed to a gold standard, and in Upper Canada the consequent drain of gold and silver coin was severely felt. In 1836 an Act was passed in Upper Canada providing for a fresh rating of currency, but the quarter-dollar, being over-valued, drove out all other coins, and the Province, being practically left without either gold or silver, asked for a special silver coinage to be legal tender above its bullion value. The proposal was rejected by the Home Government.

In Lower Canada an ordinance had to be passed in 1838 to allow certain banks to suspend specie payments of their notes, and in 1837 in Upper Canada the Act of 7 Will. IV limited the privilege of note issue to authorized banks, the act being copied in Lower Canada in 1839.

In 1841 the united legislature repealed all past currency legislation, and the new ratings practically established the silver dollar of the United States as the real standard of value in Canada.

In Nova Scotia, despite efforts to introduce British currency, the real standard of value had also been the Spanish dollar or the pistareen, though it was not actually declared legal tender; nor did provincial legislation in 1834 and 1836 do away with the over rating of the Spanish money, British coins remaining very difficult to procure in the ordinary course of trade, and there was a good deal of irredeemable paper. Similar currency to that of the United States was not adopted in Nova Scotia before its inclusion in the Dominion.

In New Brunswick the pistareen was the standard of value until 1821, when the province practically adopted the currency of the United States.

In Prince Edward Island the 18th century rating of the Spanish dollar was not corrected till 1849, when the United States silver dollar was made the insular standard. The province suffered from an irredeemable issue of treasury notes which began in 1825.

[47] See above, pp. 123-4 and note.

[48] With this cp. Appendix C, vol. iii, p. 237: ‘Steam navigation has so far reduced the distance between England and her North American colonies, that the affairs of these most valuable dependencies are capable of being conducted with as much efficiency as those of the remoter sections of the United Kingdom.’ See also the Introduction, pp. 15-16 and 201. The first steam passage across the Atlantic, that of the Royal William, was in 1833.

[49] Writing of the session of the Quebec Legislature which was opened by Lord Dalhousie in January 1826, Christie says: ‘An address had been sent up in the session of 1824, respecting a road between this province and New Brunswick, to which it was thought the Imperial Government as well as the provinces ought to contribute, it being the route by which His Majesty’s mail from and to England passed and repassed between Quebec and Halifax. His Excellency now by message acquainted them that, having while in England had communication with His Majesty’s Government relative to it, he was authorized to inform the legislature that, although the government could not hold out expectation of direct aid, by parliamentary grant for such purpose, it had no objection to advance as a loan any sum of money that might be required, either for this object or any other undertaking of the like nature, in this or the neighbouring provinces of His Majesty’s North American dominions, if the provincial legislatures would respectively, and in their several just proportions, guarantee the payment of an interest of three per cent. on such advances, and provide a sinking fund for the gradual liquidation of the loan’ (Christie’s History of Lower Canada, vol. iii, pp. 86-7; see also Kingsford, vol. ix, pp. 325-6). No advantage was taken of this offer.

[50] The project of an intercolonial railway, i.e. of railway connexion between Quebec and New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, so as to give Canada a port not icebound in winter, dates from the thirties, prior to Lord Durham’s mission and his Report; but all the three provinces began their lines independently, and the intercolonial railway as a single undertaking did not come into existence until the British North America Act of 1867 had been passed. Section 145 of that Act laid down that the construction of the intercolonial railway was considered essential to the consolidation of the Union, and that a railway connecting the St. Lawrence with Halifax should be begun within six months after the Union. This Act was immediately followed by another Imperial Act, guaranteeing the interest on a Canadian loan for the construction of the railway, and the whole line was opened in 1876. See an interesting Historical Sketch of the Intercolonial Railway, by Sir Sandford Fleming in the second volume of Mr. Castell Hopkins’s Canada, an Encyclopaedia.

[51] The feasibility, as well as the great desirability, of good land communication between Halifax and Quebec had been emphasized by the war of 1812. Both in the winter of 1812-13, and in that of 1813-14, a regiment was sent up overland to Quebec from Fredericton in New Brunswick. It was regarded as a great feat at the time.

[52] These disputes, arising out of the interpretation of the terms of the Fisheries Convention of 1818, were the subject of arbitration before the Hague Tribunal in 1910.

[53] As to Chief Justice Sewell, see above, p. 235, note.

[54] The Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria, served in Canada for several years between 1791 and 1800. He commanded the forces in Canada for rather over a year in 1799-1800. He died in 1820.

[55] No mention is made of Newfoundland in this letter. By the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island (the Island of St. John), were annexed to Nova Scotia, which thereby, as New Brunswick had not then been made a separate colony, included the whole of the present Maritime Provinces. In 1770 Prince Edward Island, and in 1784 Cape Breton, were again separated from Nova Scotia, but in 1820 Cape Breton was once more annexed to Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island, under the French régime known as the Isle St. Jean, was called by its present name after the Duke of Kent in 1798.

[56] The Constitutional Act of 1791.

[57] No such permissive clauses appeared in the Union Act of 1840, but the two last sections of the British North America Act of 1867 provided for the admission into the Dominion of Canada of other provinces than the original contracting parties.

[58] In objecting to ‘the mere amalgamation of the Houses of Assembly of the two Provinces’ Lord Durham had in view the abortive Union Bill of 1822, which provided that at the outset the joint Legislative Council should consist of the members of the two existing Legislative Councils, and the joint Assembly should consist of the members of the two existing Assemblies. Under the Bill the maximum number of representatives of each province was not to exceed sixty.

[59] Lord John Russell’s comment upon this proposal of Lord Durham’s, as given in his speech in the House of Commons on June 3, 1839, was: ‘This does appear to us a very objectionable power to be given to the Governor. The Governor might, indeed, state the grounds of his determination fairly, but it would always be suspected that the real grounds were to give an advantage to one party over another’ (Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, third series, vol. xlvii, p. 1266).

[60] See Introduction, pp. 151-2 and 217.

[61] The Supreme Court of Canada, being a Court of Appeal for the whole Dominion, was first established in 1875. See pp. 123-4, note, above.

[62] Similarly, Sir William Molesworth, in a speech on the Australian Government Bill, March 22, 1850, said: ‘As individuals the Members of the House of Lords are respected; in fact, that respect is proverbial, for it is founded on tradition and old historical associations. Those traditions and associations have been the slow growth of centuries; they adhere to the institution, and cannot be suddenly created by the act of any legislature; and it is idle to attempt to copy the forms of such an institution’ (Selected Speeches of Sir William Molesworth, edited by Professor Egerton, p. 338).

When the Bill, which finally became the Constitutional Act of 1791, was being considered. Lord Dorchester expressed himself as follows: ‘Many advantages might result from an hereditary Legislative Council, distinguished by some mark of honour, did the condition of the country concur in supporting this dignity, but the fluctuating state of property in these provinces would expose all hereditary honours to fall into disregard’ (Dispatch of February 8, 1790, Shortt and Doughty, p. 675, and Egerton and Grant, pp. 100-1). Many years before, in a dispatch to Shelburne of January 20, 1768, Dorchester, then Carleton, had expressed himself to the same effect: ‘It may not be improper here to observe, that the British form of government, transplanted into this continent, never will produce the same fruits as at home, chiefly because it is impossible for the dignity of the Throne or Peerage to be represented in the American Forests’ (Shortt and Doughty, p. 206). By section 6 of the 1791 Act the King was empowered to annex to hereditary titles of honour the right of being summoned to the Legislative Council, but the section remained a dead letter. As to the unsuitability of certain English institutions for the colonies, cp. what Lord Durham says as to the unpaid magistracy (above, pp. 130-1): ‘When we transplant the institutions of England into our colonies, we ought at least to take care beforehand that the social state of the colony should possess those peculiar materials on which alone the excellence of those institutions depends in the mother country.’ And again, as to an established Church (above, p. 178): ‘The apparent right which time and custom give to the maintenance of an ancient and respected institution cannot exist in a recently settled country, in which everything is new’ (see also Introduction, pp. 227-9).

[63] It will be noted that Lord Durham confines himself to generalities as to the Second Chamber, and gives no specific recommendation as to its constitution. A return showing the constitution of the various Second Chambers in the self-governing dominions was given to the House of Commons on March 30, 1910, No. 81.

[64] See above, p. 314, note 2.

[65] See above, pp. 75-6, where Lord Durham says: ‘I must attribute the refusal of a Civil List to the determination of the Assembly not to give up its only means of subjecting the functionaries of government to any responsibility.’ Having given responsible government, Lord Durham proposed to insist upon a Civil List, and upon independent tenure by the judges, both of which the Quebec Assembly had year after year refused.

[66] This recommendation was carried out by the 57th section of the Union Act of 1840. The British North America Act of 1867 (section 54); the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act of 1900 (section 56); and the South Africa Act of 1909 (section 62), all provide that money votes and bills must be recommended by the Government before being passed, but the South Africa Act is the only one which forbids their being originated without such recommendation. The following is an extract from a dispatch written by Lord Glenelg to the Governor of Newfoundland on February 1, 1838 (House of Commons Paper, No. 579, August 27, 1839, p. 126):

‘The Constitution of the Legislature of Newfoundland is avowedly modelled on that of the Imperial Legislature. With regard to money grants, however, a distinction prevails. In the House of Commons no grant of money can be initiated except by the Crown. This rule practically does not exist in the House of Assembly, nor indeed in the Houses of Assembly of the British Provinces on the continent in North America. In the latter a substitute has been devised, not less effectual in its operation, and more consonant with the general spirit of the provincial constitution. It consists in the practice of either granting the supplies for the year by a series of Bills, each of which is in turn sent up to the Council for acceptance, or in granting the supplies by separate resolutions, in each of which successively the concurrence of the Council is obtained, before it is included in the General Appropriation Act. In this respect the Assemblies are subject to a restriction from which the House of Commons is exempt, a restriction which has still in view the same object, that of affording to the people a security against the misuse of that high trust which the constitution commits to their representatives.’

[67] In Appendix B (vol. iii), see above, pp. 203 note 1, and 206 note 2, and Introduction, pp. 152-98.

[68] For Iowa see above, p. 274, note. In 1836 Wisconsin, including Iowa, was made a separate territory, having before been included with Michigan. Iowa was separated from Wisconsin in 1838, and in 1848 Wisconsin was admitted as a State into the Union.

[69] These addresses were included in Appendix A, but have not been reprinted.


Americans, see United States.


Baldwin, Robert, 156 and note.

Banque du Peuple, 41-2 and note.

Beauharnois Seigniory, 36 note, 96.

Bidwell, Marshall, 171 and note.

Brock, General, 223 and note.


Campbell, Sir Colin, 197 and note.

Canada, Lower, 13-145, 260, 288-99, 303-9 et passim.

Canada, Upper, 145-93, 261, 266-7, 273-5, 285, 308-9 et passim.

Cape Breton Island, 321-2.

Chartrand, 54 and note 2, 129.

Colborne, Sir J., 175 and note.

Cornwall Canal, 189 and note, 190.


Dodge, 133 and note.

Doratt, Sir John, 136-7.

Dunn, Mr., 156.


Eastern Townships, 18 and note, 50 and note, 114 and note, 213, 257, 289, &c.

Ellice, ‘Bear,’ 36 note, 96 and note.

English in Lower Canada, 16-27, 34-56, 59-62, 68-70, 81, 288-96, 307-8 et passim.

Erie Canal, 99 and note, 189 note, 217.


Felton, Mr., 230 and note.

Fitzroy, Sir Charles, 200 and note, 242.

French Canadians, 16-72, especially 27-34, 112-13, 265, 289-99, 306-8 et passim.


Gaspé, district of, 117 and note, 118, 126.

Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, 137, 245-7, 250.

Haliburton, Judge (‘Sam Slick’), 214 note.

Halifax, 201, 218, 317-20, &c.

Hanson, Mr., 207 note, 221.

Head, Sir Francis Bond, 155-61, 182.

Head, Major, 93, 199-201, 214, 241.

Hepburn, Mr., 159-60 and note.


Illinois, 170 and note, 275.

Iowa, 274 and note, 331 and note.

Ireland and Irish, 140 and note, 174 note, 179-82, 242, 245 note, 250-1, 267, 294, 319, &c.


Kempt, Sir James, 126-7.

Kent, Duke of, H.R.H., 320-1 and note.


Lachine Canal, 88 and note.

Livingston, Edward, 300 and note.

Louisiana, 61 and note, 208 note, 299-303.

Lount, Samuel, 165 note.


McDonnell, Bishop, 179-81 and notes.

Mackenzie, William Lyon, 148 note, 164 and note.

Maine, 201, 214, 216, 272 note, 313 and note.

Maitland, Sir Peregrine, 237.

Maritime Provinces, The, 193-201.

Matthews, Peter, 165 note.

Michigan, 215, 331 note.

Milnes, Sir R. S., 215 and note, 223.

Mondelet, Mr., 85-6 and note.

Montreal, 49, 57, 112, 115, 117, 126, 128, 133, 213, 253, 257, &c.


Nelson, Robert, 17 note, 24 and note, 270 and note.

Nelson, Wolfred, 17 note, 24 note, 270 and note.

New Brunswick, 73, 117 note, 195-6, 200-1, 209, 213-16, 218-9, 231, 314, 321-2, 331, &c.

New England, 59, 65, 67, 201, 331.

Newfoundland, 73, 193, 202, 320-1.

New Hampshire, 215-16.

New Orleans, 302.

New York City, 187-8, 217, 269-70, &c.

New York State, 99, 158, 215-16, 267, 301, 303, 319, &c.

Nova Scotia, 73, 93, 194, 196-8, 200, 213, 218-19, 231, 314, 321, &c.


Orangeism in Upper Canada, 180-2 and note.

Ottawa, The, 47 and note, 125 and note.


Papineau, Louis, 24 and note, 43, 47 note, 58, 75, 78 note, 94.

Pennsylvania Dutch, 276 and note.

Prince Edward Island, 67, 73, 198-200, 219, 241-2, 320-2.


Quebec, 42, 112, 115, 117, 126, 133, 243-5, 247, 249, 253, 255-8, 317-20, &c.


Richmond, Duke of, 226.

Rideau Canal, 187 and note.

Robinson, Sir John Beverley, 183 note.

Rolph, Dr., 156 and note.


St. Charles, 24.

St. Denis, 24.

St. Francis, District of, 117-18.

St. John’s City, 201.

St. John’s River, 200-1.

St. Lawrence, 28, 42, 48, 64, 99, 187-90, 213-14, 217, 289-90, 319-20, &c.

St. Real, M. Vallière de, 123.

Scotch in Upper Canada, 174, 179.

Sewell, Chief Justice, 235 and note, 320-1.

‘Shiners,’ The, 125 and note.

Strachan, Bishop, 148 note, 156 note, 183 note.

Stuart, Andrew, 226 note, 294 and note.


Talbot, Colonel, 223 and note.

Texas, 269 and note, 270.

Theller, 133 and note.

Three Rivers, 112, 117-18, 126, 241.

Toronto, 167, 184 and note, 240, 256, &c.


United States, 58-9, 61-2, 65, 91, 112, 151, 164, 168, 170-1, 178, 206, 208-11, 217-18, 264-75, 290-1, 297, 299-301, 309, 311-13, 319-20, 329, 331, &c.

United States, contrast to Canada, 91-2, 99-100, 112-13, 135, 185-6, 201, 211-16, 261-3.


Vermont, 114-15, 214-15.

Viger’s Act, 127, 129.


Welland Canal, 189 and note, 190.

Wisconsin, 274 note, 331 and note.


Young, William (Nova Scotia), 194, 197.


Absentee Proprietors in Prince Edward Island, 198-9, 241-2.

Ambition, Scope for, 312-3.

Appeals, see under Judicial.

Assembly, House of:

  General, 92-3, 286, &c.

  Lower Canada, 17-19, 23-5, 46-53, 71-8, 81-90, 92-100, 126-7, 190, 307, 326, &c.

  Upper Canada, 147-53, 157-63, 166, 182, 184, 189, &c.

  Maritime Provinces, 194-7.

  Newfoundland, 202.


Banks and Banking, 41-2, 48, 141 and note, 148, 154 note, 170 and note, 315.

Bureaucracy, 21 and note, 34, 75-81, 101-11, 147-9, &c.


Cabinet, 109-10 and note.

Canals, 99-100 and note, 187-91 and notes, 212.

Casual and Territorial Revenues, 75, 141 and note.

Censitaire, 25 and note, 31 note, 36 note;

  see also Habitant.

Centralization, French, 27-8 and note, 98-9.

Church of England, see Religion.

Civil List, 75 and note, 147 note, 327 and note.

Civil Secretary, 111.

Clergy Reserves, 139-40, 149, 162, 167, 173-9, 204 note, 209, 220-2, 328.

Colonial Office, 101-7, 150-1, 193, 249, 318.

Commissioners of Small Causes, 119-21.

Communication by land and water, 12-13, 99-100, 184, 204, 212-14, 316-20, &c.

Corruption and Jobbery, 90-100, 151-3, 184, 189, 210-11 and note, 223-6, 286-7, 308, 322.

Councils, Executive, 77, 78 note, 109-11 and notes, 148, 150-1, 156-60, 197, 279-80, &c.

  As Courts of Appeal, 109-10, 121-5 and notes.

  Legislative, 51, 82-3, 94-5, 150-1, 196-7, 325-6, &c.

  See also Privy Council.

Crown, 278-9, 284-5 and notes et passim;

  see also Prerogative, and Monarchy.

Crown Lands, see Public Lands, and Casual and Territorial Revenues.

Crown Revenues, 327.

Currency, 141, 315 and note.


Dissolution on Demise of the Crown, 163 and note.


Education, 28, 30-4 and notes, 39, 57, 94-6, 133-6, 144, 184-5.

Emigrants and Emigration, 37 and note, 50-1, 57, 153-5, 168, 171, 216-18, 242-59, 273-4, 324, 328-31, &c.

Established Church, 176, 178-9;

  see also under Religion, and Institutions, Old.

Exclusion of Canadians from Government employment, 32 and note-34, 36, 292.

Executive, collision of, with popular representatives, 15, 51, 71-84, 100, 147-61, 194-6, 202, 276, &c.

Executive Councils, see Councils.

Executive, General, 325.


Family Compact, 78 note, 148 and note, 160, 162, 167, 183 note.

Federation, as opposed to Union, 270, 304-7.

Fees, legal and official, 118 and note.

Feudal Tenures, 24-5 and note, 27-31, 36, 50, 67, 69, 96, 99, 139, 233, 265, 294, &c.

Financial disputes between Lower and Upper Canada, 142-3 and note, 188-92, 308.

Fisheries Disputes, 314, 320 and note.

Foreign Relations, 264, 282.

Franking Letters, 144 note.


Governor-in-Chief, relations to Lieutenant-Governor, 8 and note.

Governor, position of, 77-8, 101-2, 104, 106-11, 279-80, 298, 327, &c.

Grants of land, 222-30.


Habitant, 25 note, 27-33 and notes, 36, 57-8, &c.;

  see also Censitaire.

High Commissioner, 7 and note.

House of Lords, 325 and note;

  see also Institutions, Old.


Inquiry, extent of Lord Durham’s, 9 and note.

Institutions, disorganization of, 100-1.

Institutions, Old, in new countries, 130-1, 178, 325-6 and note.

Interference by Home Government, 101-7, 192-4, 277, 280-5.

Intercolonial Railway, 318-19 note;

  see Railways.



  Administration of Justice in Lower Canada, 116-31.

    Upper Canada, 183-4.

  Appeals, 121-5, 316, 325 and note;

    see also Councils, Executive.

  Judges, Independence of, 327.

  Juries, Perversion of, 45 and note, 54-6, 126-30.

  Justices of the Peace, 112, 130-1, 184.


Land Registration, see Registry Offices.

Lands, see Public Lands.

Language and Literature Question, 39-41 and notes, 292, 295-6.

Lawyers, qualifications for, in,

  Upper Canada, 169 and note, 172.

Leaders and Associates, 225-6;

  see also Townships.

Local Government, 28 and note, 91-2, 99, 112-15, 184, 190, 194, 287, 324-5.


Magistrates, see Justices of the Peace, under Judicial.

Military pensioners as colonists, 257-9 and note.

Militia in Lower Canada, 53, 98 and note, 112, 133.

Militia, land claims, 226-9.

Monarchy, 279, 281 note, 284 and note, 305, &c.

Money Votes, initiating of, 92-3, 286-7, 328 and note.

Municipal Institutions, see Local Government.


Nationality, French Canadian, 27-31, 59-60, 70 and note, 289-95, &c.

Navigation Acts, 186 and note.


Officials, see Bureaucracy.


Passengers Acts, 245-9, 252-3.

Patronage, 94, 106, 148-9, 283, 312, &c.

Police, 132-3.

Post Offices, 143-4 and note, 314.

Prerogative of the Crown, 101, 106, 110, 278, 287.

Priests, Roman Catholic, see Religion, Roman Catholic Church.

Privy Council, 109-10 and note, 123-5 and note.

Protestants and Protestant Clergy, see Religion.

Public Lands, 185, 203-42, 282, 288, 314, 327-9, &c.

  in United States, 206, 208 and note-210.

Public Works, 49, 90-4, 188-91, &c.


Quarantine, 137, 247-8.


Race animosity in Lower Canada, 16-63, 260, 265, 288, &c.

Railways, 212-13 and note, 318-19.

Rectories, establishment of, 167, 175, 177.

Regime, Old, in Canada, 27-31.

Registry Offices, 23 and note, 25, 50.

Relief Grants, 96-8.


  Church of England, 148-9, 174-9, 181, 197-8, &c.;

    see also Established Church, &c.

  Church of Scotland, 174, 179.

  Intolerance in Upper Canada, 179-82.

  Protestants and Protestant Clergy, 39 note, 67, 69, 137, 139-40, 173-4, 180-1, &c.

  Roman Catholic Church and Roman Catholics, 20 note, 28, 32-3, 39 note, 57, 59, 69, 98, 134-5, 137-40, 179-81, 308, &c.

  Tolerance in Lower Canada, 39, 59, 137.

Representative Institutions and Responsible Government, 76-82, 84, 150-1, 168, 194, 196, 261, 277-85, 304, 309, 327, &c.

Reservation of Bills, 106-7 and note.

Resolutions of Assembly treated as having force of laws, 85-6.


Secretary of State for the Colonies, 101-7, 209.

Seigniors and Seigniories, see Feudal Tenures.

Steam navigation, 316-17.

Surveys, Land, 231-6.


‘Tacking,’ 87-9 and note.

Temporary legislation, evil of, 86-7.

Territorial Revenues, see Casual and Territorial Revenues.

Titles to Land, 236-9.

Townships, 18-19 and note, 36, 69, 71, 114-15, 213, 225-6, 233-6, 239, 267, 289, &c.


Uncertainty of policy, evil of, 10, 60, 69-71, 104, 107, 192-3, 205.

Union, Legislative, 304, 307-23.



Transcriber’s Notes

In the original, each of the footnotes here marked with a letter (A, B, C, D) was marked with an asterisk (*). These appear to be those added by Durham while the numbered footnotes were added by the editor.

Headings have been added to make explicit the beginnings of the last two sections, ‘Emigration’ and ‘General Review and Recommendations’.

A modest number of small words, mostly articles, have been added or removed to correct apparent printing errors. Other simple typographic errors have been corrected. Variation in spelling has otherwise been retained.

[The end of Lord Durham's Report on the Affairs of British North America, Volume 2 by John George Lambton (Earl of Durham)]