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Title: British Supremacy & Canadian Self-Government, 1839-1854
Author: Morison, J. L. (John Lyle), 1875-1952
Language: English
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[Frontispiece: Lord Elgin]

British Supremacy


Canadian Self-Government



J. L. Morison, M.A., D.Litt.

Professor of Colonial History in Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

Late Lecturer on English Literature in the University of Glasgow


S. B. Gundy

_Publisher in Canada for Humphrey Milford_




M. T.



The essay which follows had been printed, and was on the point of being
published, when the outbreak of war involved my venture in the general
devastation from which we are only now emerging.  More than four years
of military service lie between me and the studies of which this book
is the summary.  It was written under one dispensation; it is being
published under another.  My first impulse, therefore, was to ask
whether the change which has rendered so much of the old world obsolete
had not invalidated also the conclusions here arrived at.  But
reflection has simply confirmed me in the desire to complete the
arrangements for publication.  Self-government is the keynote of the
essay, and it is unlikely that self-government will cease to be the
central principle of sane politics either in the British Empire or in
the world outside.  I watched a Canadian division coming out of the
last great battle in France, battered and reduced in numbers, but with
all {viii} its splendid energy and confidence untouched.  The presence
of the Canadians there, their incomparable spirit and resolution, the
sacrifices they had just been making, with unflinching generosity, for
the Empire, seemed only the last consequences of the political struggle
for autonomy described in the pages which follow.  They would have been
impossible had the views of all the old imperialists from Wellington to
Disraeli prevailed.

The material on which this volume is based falls into three groups.
First in importance are the state papers and general correspondence of
the period, contained in the Canadian Archives at Ottawa.  In addition
to the correspondence, ordinary and confidential, between the
Secretaries of State for the Colonies, and the Governors-General, from
1839 to 1867, I read two very notable collections, designated in the
foot-notes the Bagot Correspondence and the Elgin-Grey Correspondence.
In the former are contained not only Bagot's private correspondence
with Lord Stanley, but also letters from Bagot's British friends and
Canadian political advisers.  These constitute the most important
evidence which exists for Bagot's year of office.  In the same way, the
private correspondence, carried on between Earl Grey and the Earl of
Elgin from {ix} 1847 to 1852, takes precedence of all other Canadian
material of that period; and is, indeed, the most enlightening series
of documents in existence on mid-Victorian Colonial policy.

The second group is composed of pamphlets and early newspapers, more
especially the admirable collection of pre-confederation pamphlets in
the Archives at Ottawa, and the Bell and Morris collections at Queen's
University.  Kingston.  I cannot pretend to have mastered all the
material supplied by the newspapers of the period; but I have attempted
to work through such representative journals as the _Toronto Globe_,
the _Montreal Witness_, and the Kingston papers published while
Kingston was capital of the united Provinces.  I consulted certain
others, French and English, on definite points of political interest,
such as the reappearance of Papineau in politics in 1847.

The _Canadiana_ of Queen's University Library gave me my third group of
documents: and the facts from books were confirmed or modified by
information gathered, chiefly in Kingston, from persons whose memories
of the period under discussion were still fresh and interesting.

As the work proceeded, certain impressions were {x} very definitely
created in my mind.  It seemed clear, in the first place, that no
statesman, whose experience was limited by unbroken residence in
Europe, quite understood the elements which, between 1839 and 1867,
constituted the Home Rule problem in Canada.  More especially on
fundamental points concerning Canadian opinion, and the general temper
of the populace, even the best men in England seemed singularly
ignorant.  A second impression was that, while the colony remained
throughout essentially loyal, and while the political leaders in Canada
displayed really great qualities of statesmanship at critical moments,
the general development of Canadian political life was seriously
delayed by the crudities and rudeness of provincial politicians.
British ignorance was not the only obstacle in the way.

The last impression was that the relations between Britain and Canada
depended then, as now, not on constitutional forms, or commercial
bargains, or armed protection, but on racial solidarity, and community
in social and moral ideals.  It was this solidarity, far more than
conscious statesmanship, which held Canada and Britain together.  These
impressions I have tried to analyse and elucidate in the chapters which


I have to thank the Dominion Archivist, Dr. A. G. Doughty, for many
kindnesses, and more especially for permitting me to read the
Elgin-Grey Correspondence.  To my friends, Mr. K. K. M. Leys, of
University College, Oxford, Dr. Adam Shortt, Ottawa, and Professor W.
D. Taylor, of Queen's University, Kingston, I am indebted for advice
and information.  Mr. James MacLehose and Dr. George Neilson made the
final stages of printing easy by their generous assistance.  The
opinions which I express are my own, occasionally in spite of my
friends' remonstrances.


  _May_, 1919.


CHAPTER                                                          PAGE

    I. INTRODUCTORY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1
   II. THE CANADIAN COMMUNITY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    8
  III. THE GOVERNORS-GENERAL: LORD SYDENHAM  . . . . . . . . . .   70
    V. THE GOVERNORS-GENERAL: LORD METCALFE  . . . . . . . . . .  158
   VI. THE GOVERNORS-GENERAL: LORD ELGIN . . . . . . . . . . . .  187
       INDEX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  347




There are antinomies in politics as in philosophy, problems where the
difficulty lies in reconciling facts indubitably true but mutually
contradictory.  For growth in the political world is not always
gradual; accidents, discoveries, sudden developments, call into
existence new creations, which only the generous logic of events and
the process of time can reconcile with pre-existing facts and systems.
It is the object of this essay to examine one of these political
antinomies--the contradiction between imperial ascendancy and colonial
autonomy--as it was illustrated by events in early Victorian Canada.

The problem was no new one in 1839.  Indeed it was coeval with the
existence of the empire, and sprang from the very nature of colonial
government.  Beneath the actual facts of the great {2} American
revolution--reaching far beyond quarrels over stamp duties, or the
differentiation between internal and external taxation, or even the
rights of man--was the fundamental difficulty of empire, the need to
reconcile colonial independence with imperial unity.  It was the
perception of this difficulty which made Burke so much the greatest
political thinker of his time.  As he wrote in the most illuminating of
his letters, "I am, and ever have been, deeply sensible of the
difficulty of reconciling the strong presiding power, that is so useful
towards the conservation of a vast, disconnected, infinitely
diversified empire, with that liberty and safety of the provinces,
which they must enjoy (in opinion and practice, at least), or they will
not be provinces at all.  I know, and have long felt, the difficulty of
reconciling the unwieldy haughtiness of a great ruling nation,
habituated to command, pampered by enormous wealth, and confident from
a long course of prosperity and victory, to the high spirit of free
dependencies, animated with the first glow and activity of juvenile
heat, and assuming to themselves as their birthright, some part of that
very pride which oppresses them."[1]


Dissatisfied as he ever was with merely passive or negative views,
Burke was led to attempt a solution of the problem.  He had never been
under any illusion as to the possibility of limiting colonial
constitutional pretensions.  A free government was what the colonists
thought free, and only they could fix the limit to their claims.  But
many considerations made him refuse to despair of the empire.  His
intensely human view of politics led him to put more trust in the bonds
of kindred and affection than in constitutional forms.  He hated the
petty quibbles of political legists and pedants--their dilemmas, and
metaphysical distinctions, and catastrophes.  In his opinion the bulk
of mankind was not excessively curious concerning any theories whilst
they were really happy.  But perhaps his political optimism depended
most on his belief that institutions, as living things, were
indefinitely adaptable, and that the logic of life and progress
naturally overcame all opposing arguments.  In his ideal state there
was room for many mansions, and he did not speak of disaster when
American colonists proposed to build according to designs not ratified
in Westminster.

I have dwelt on the views of Burke because here, as in Indian affairs,
he was the first of British {4} statesmen to recognize what was implied
in the empire, and because his views still stand.  But his
contemporaries failed utterly, either to see the danger as he saw it,
or to meet it as he bade them meet it.  Save Chatham, they had no
understanding of provincial opinion; in their political methods they
were corrupt individualists, and their general equipment in imperial
politics was contemptibly inadequate.

After the loss of the American colonies, the government in England
contrived for a time to evade the problems and responsibilities of
colonial empire.  The colonies which remained to England were limited
in extent and population; and such difficulties as existed were faced,
not so much by the government in London, as beyond the seas by
statesmen with local knowledge, like Dorchester.  At the same time, the
consequences of the French Revolution and the great wars drew to
themselves the attention of all active minds.  Under these
circumstances imperial policy lost much of its prestige, and imperial
problems either vanished or were evaded.  It was a period of "crown
colony" administration.[2]  The connexion, as it was called, was
maintained through oligarchic {5} institutions, strictly controlled
from Westminster; local officials were selected from little groups of
semi-aristocrats, more English than the home government itself; and the
only policy which recommended itself to a nation, which still lacked
both information and imagination, was to try no rash constitutional
experiments, and to conciliate colonial opinion by economic favours and
low taxation.

Yet the old contradiction between British ascendancy and colonial
autonomy could not for long be ignored; and as in the early nineteenth
century a new colonial empire arose, greater and more diversified than
the old, the problem once more recurred, this time in Canada.  It is
not the purpose of this book to discuss the earlier stages of the
Canadian struggle.  The rebellions under Mackenzie in the West and
Papineau in the East were abnormal and pathological episodes, in
considering which the attention is easily diverted from the essential
questions to exciting side issues and personal facts.  In any case,
that chapter in Canadian history has received adequate attention.[3]
But after Colborne's firmness had repressed the {6} armed risings, and
Durham's imperious dictatorship had introduced some kind of order,
there followed in Canada a period of high constitutional importance, in
which the old issue was frankly faced, both in England and in Canada,
almost in the very terms that Burke had used.  It is not too much to
say that the fifteen years of Canadian history which begin with the
publication, in 1839, of _Durham's Report_, are the most important in
the history of the modern British empire; and that in them was made the
experiment on the success of which depended the future of that empire.

These years are the more instructive, because in them there are few
distracting events drawing the attention from the main constitutional
question.  There were minor points--whether voluntaryism, or the
principle of church establishment, was best for Canada; what place
within the empire might safely be conceded to French-Canadian
nationalism; how Canadian commerce was to relate itself to that of
Britain and of the United States.  All of these, however, were included
in, or dominated by, the essential difficulty of combining, in one
empire, Canadian self-government and British supremacy.


The phrase, responsible government, appears everywhere in the writings
and speeches of those days with a wearisome iteration.  Yet the
discussion which hinged on that phrase was of primary importance.  The
British government must either discover the kind of self-government
required in the greater dependencies, the _modus vivendi_ to be
established between the local and the central governments, and the seat
of actual responsibility, or cease to be imperial.  Under four
governors-general[4] the argument proceeded, and it was not until 1854
that Elgin, in his departure from Canada, was able to assure the
British government that the question had been for the time settled.

The essay which follows will describe the character of the political
community within which the question was raised; the fortunes and policy
of the governors-general concerned in the discussion; the modifications
introduced into British political thought by the Canadian agitation;
and the consequences, in England and Canada, of the firm establishment
of colonial self-government.

[1] Burke, _Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol_.

[2] Sir C. P. Lucas, _Introduction to Lord Durham's Report_, p. 266.

[3] Its latest statement may be found in Sir C. P. Lucas's admirable
edition of _Lord Durham's Report_, Oxford, 1912.

[4] I omit from my reckoning the brief and unimportant tenure of office
by the Earl Cathcart, who filled a gap between Metcalfe's retirement
and Elgin's arrival.




To understand the political evolution of Canada it is essential to
begin with a study of the elements of Canadian society.  Canadian
constitutionalists would have written to better purpose, had they
followed the example of the Earl of Durham, in whose _Report_ the
concluding practical suggestions develop naturally from the vivid
social details which occupy its earlier pages, and raise it to the
level of literature.  In pioneering communities there is no such thing
as the constitution, or politics, _per se_; and the relation between
the facts, sordid and mean as they often are, of the life of the
people, and the growth of institutions and political theories, is

Canadian society, in 1839 and long afterwards, was dominated by the
physical characteristics of the seven hundred miles of country which
stretched from Quebec to the shores of Lake Huron, with {9} its long
water-front and timid expansion, north and south; its forests
stubbornly resisting the axes of the settlers; its severe extremities
of heat and cold; the innumerable inconveniences inflicted by its
uncultivated wastes on those who first invaded it; and the imperfect
lines of land communication which multiplied all distances in Canada at
least four-fold.  It was perhaps this sense of distance, and difficulty
of locomotion, which first impressed the settler and the visitor.  To
begin with, the colony was, for practical purposes, more than a month's
distance from the centre of government.  Steam was gradually making its
way, and the record passage by sailing ship, from Quebec to Portsmouth,
had occupied only eighteen days and a half,[1] but sails were still the
ordinary means of propulsion, and the average length of voyage of 237
vessels arriving at Quebec in 1840 was well over forty days.[2]  To the
immigrant, however, the voyage across the Atlantic was the least of his
troubles; for the internal communications of Canada left much to be
desired.  The assistance {10} of railway transportation might be
entirely ignored,--as late as 1847 only twenty-two miles of railway
lines had been laid and worked.[3]  There was, of course, during the
open season, the wonderful passage by river and lake into the heart of
the continent; although the long winter months broke into the
regularity of the traffic by water, and the St. Lawrence rapids added
to the traveller's difficulties and expenses.  Even the magic of a
governor-general's wand could not dispel the inconveniences of this
simplest of Canadian routes.  "I arrived here on Thursday week,"
grumbled Poulett Thomson, writing from Toronto in 1839.  "The journey
was bad enough; a portage to Lachine; then the steamboat to the
Cascades, twenty-four miles further; then road again (if road it can be
called) for sixteen miles; then steam to Cornwall forty miles; then
road, twelve miles; then, by a change of steamers on to Lake Ontario to
Kingston, and thence here.  I slept one night on the road, and two on
board the steamers.  Such, as I have described it, is the boasted
navigation of the St. Lawrence!"[4]  For military purposes there was
the alternative route, up the Ottawa to Bytown, {11} and thence by the
Rideau military canal to Kingston and the Lakes.  On land, progress was
much more complicated, for even the main road along the river and lake
front was in shamefully bad condition, more especially when autumn
passed into winter, or when spring once more loosened up the roads.
There is a quite unanimous chorus of condemnation from all--British,
Americans, and Canadians.  One lively traveller in 1840 protested that
on his way from Montreal, he was compelled to walk at the carriage side
for hours, ankle-deep in mud, with the reins in his hands, and that,
with infinite fatigue to both man and beast, he accomplished sixty
miles in two days--a wonderful performance.[5]  In the very heart of
the rebellion, W. L. Mackenzie seems to have found the roads fighting
against him, for he speaks of the march along Yonge Street as over
"thirty or forty miles of the worst roads in the world"; and attributes
part of the disheartening of his men to what one may term
mud-weariness.[6]  Local tradition still remembers with a sense of
wonder that Sydenham, eager to return to his work in Lower Canada, once
travelled by sleigh {12} the 360 miles from Toronto to Montreal in
thirty-six hours.

Off the main routes, roads degenerated into corduroy roads, and these
into tracks, and even "blazed trails "; while, as for bridges, cases
were known where the want of them had kept settlers who were living
within three miles of a principal town, from communicating with it for
days at a time.[7]  And, as the roads grew rougher, Canadian conditions
seemed to the stranger to assert themselves more and more offensively,
animate and inanimate nature thrusting man back on the bare elements of
things.  The early descriptions of the colony are crowded with pictures
of wretched immigrants, mosquito-bitten, or, in winter, half dead with
cold, struggling through mud and swamp, to find the land whither they
had come to evade the miseries of civilization, confronting them with
the squalor and pains of nature.  Far into the Victorian era Canada,
whether French or British, was a dislocated community, with settlements
set apart from each other as much by mud, swamp, and wood-land, as by
distance.  Her population, more particularly in the west, was engaged
not with political ideals, but in an incessant struggle {13} with the
forests; and the little jobs, which enabled the infant community to
build a bridge or repair a road at the public expense, must naturally
have seemed to the electors more important items of a political
programme than responsible government or abolition of the clergy
reserves.  No doubt, in the older towns and cities, the efforts of the
earlier settlers had gained for their sons leisure and a chance of
culture; yet even in Toronto, the wild lands were but a few miles
distant, and, as Richardson saw it, London was "literally a city of
stumps, many of the houses being still surrounded by them."

Straggling along these 700 miles, although here and there concentrated
into centres like Quebec, Three Rivers, Montreal, Kingston, and
Toronto, was a population numbering well over a million, which from its
internal divisions, its differences in origin and disposition, and its
relation to the British government, constituted the central problem at
the time in British colonial politics.  The French population formed,
naturally, the chief difficulty.  Thanks to the terms of the surrender
in 1763, and the policy of Dorchester, a unit which called itself _la
nation Canadienne_ had been formed, _nationalité_ had become a force in
Lower {14} Canada, imperfectly appreciated even by the leaders of the
progressive movement in England and Western Canada.  In the Eastern
townships, and in Quebec and Montreal, flourishing and highly organized
British societies existed.  The Rebellion had found sturdy opponents in
the British militia from the townships, and the constitutional
societies of Quebec and Montreal expressed, in innumerable resolutions
and addresses, the British point of view.  But Lower Canada was for
practical purposes a French unit, Roman Catholic in religion, and, in
structure, semifeudal.  In the cities, the national self-consciousness
of the French was most conspicuously present; and leaders like
Papineau, La Fontaine, and Cartier proved the reality of French culture
and political skill.  Below the higher classes, Durham and Metcalfe
noticed that in Lower Canada the facilities given by the church for
higher education produced a class of smaller professional men, from
whose number the ordinary politicians and agitators were drawn.  To the
church they owed their entrance into the world of ideas; but apparently
they were little more loyal to the clergy than they were to Britain.
"I am led to believe," wrote Metcalfe in 1845, "that the influence of
the clergy is not predominant, {15} among the French-Canadian people,
and that the avocat, the notary, and the doctor, generally disposed to
be political demagogues, and most of them hostile to the British
government, are the parties who exercise the greatest influence.
Whatever power the clergy might have acting along with these
demagogues, it would, I fear, be slight when exercised in opposition to

These active, critical, political groups were not, however,
representative of French Canada.  So long as their racial pride
remained unhurt, the French community was profoundly conservative.  It
was noticed that the rebels of 1837 and 1838 had received no support
from the Catholic priesthood; and in a country where the reverence for
that ancient form of Christianity was, in spite of Metcalfe's opinion
to the contrary, profound, it was unlikely that any anti-religious
political movement could make much permanent headway.  Devoted to their
religion, and controlled more especially in education by their
priests,[9] the _habitants_ formed the peculiar people of the American
continent.  Education flourished not at all among {16} the rank and
file.  Arthur Buller found the majority of those whom he met either not
able to write, or able to write little more than their names.[10]  The
women, he said, were the active, bustling portion of the _habitants_,
thanks to the admirable and yet inexpensive training to be had in the
nunneries.  As for the men, they farmed and lived as their fathers had
done before them.  They cleared their land, or tilled it where it had
been cleared, and thought little of improvement or change.  M'Taggart,
whose work on the Rideau Canal, made him an expert in Canadian labour,
much preferred French Canadians to the Irish as labourers, and thought
them "kind, tender-hearted, very social, no way very ambitious, nor
industrious, rarely speculative."[11]  To the Canadian commonwealth,
the French population furnished a few really admirable statesmen; a
dominant and loyal church; some groups of professional men,
disappointed and discontented sons of humble parents, too proud to sink
to the level of their uninstructed youth, and without the opportunity
of rising higher; and a great mass of men who hewed wood and drew
water, not for a master, but for themselves, {17} submissive to the
church, and well-disposed, but ignorant, and at the mercy of any clever
demagogue who might raise the cry of nationalism.  Still, when
nationality remained unchallenged, the French-Canadians were at least
what, till recently, they remained, the most purely conservative
element in Canada.

The second element, in point of stability and importance, in the
Canadian population was that of the United Empire Loyalists, the
remnants of a former British supremacy in the United States.  They had
proved their steadfastness and courage by their refusal to accept the
rules of the new republic; and their arrival in Canada gave that
country an aristocracy of Anglo-Saxon origin to counterbalance that of
the seigneurs on the Lower St. Lawrence.  The men had in many cases
been trained to arms in the revolutionary war, and they served a second
and perhaps a harder apprenticeship in the Canadian forests.  They had
formed the centre of resistance to American attacks in the war of 1812.
Their sons and grandsons had once more exhibited the hereditary loyalty
of the group, in resisting the rebels of 1837-38; and Metcalfe, who was
their best friend among the governors of the United Provinces, justly
{18} looked on them as the most conspicuous examples of devotion to
connection with the British Empire, and loyal subjection to the
Crown.[12]  Robinsons, Cartwrights, Ryersons, and a score of other
well-known families, proved, generation after generation, by their
sustained public capacity, how considerably the struggle for existence,
operating on sound human material, may raise the average of talent and
energy.  The tendency of the Loyalists to conservatism was, under the
circumstances, only natural.  Their possession, for a time, of all the
places in Upper Canada which were worth holding, was the consequence of
their priority in tenure, and of their conspicuous pre-eminence in
political ingenuity.  Critics of a later date forgot, and still forget,
in their wholesale indictment of the Family Compact, that the Loyalist
group called by that name had earned their places by genuine ability.
If, like other aristocracies, they found it hard to mark the precise
moment for retirement before the rise of democracy, their excuse must
be found in their consciousness of high public spirit and their
hereditary talents for administration.

Politically and socially one may include among the Loyalists the
half-pay officers, from both {19} navy and army, whom the great peace
after Waterloo sent to Canada, as to the other colonies; and certain
men of good family, Talbots or Stricklands, who held fast by English
conservative tradition, played, where they could, the English gentleman
abroad, and incidentally exhibited no mean amount of public spirit.
Conspicuous among these was Colonel Talbot, who had come to Upper
Canada with Simcoe in 1793, and became there an erratic but energetic
instrument of empire.  "For sixteen years," says Mrs. Jameson, writing
with a pardonably feminine thrill after a visit to the great man, "he
saw scarce a human being, except a few boors and blacks employed in
clearing and logging his land; he himself assumed the blanket coat and
axe, slept upon the bare earth, cooked three meals a day for twenty
woodsmen, cleaned his own boots, washed his own linen, milked his cows,
churned the butter, and made and baked the bread."[13]  Yet, as
Strickland confesses, in his _Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West_, there
were few Talbots.  "Many high-spirited gentlemen," he says, "were
tempted by the grants of land bestowed on them by the government, which
made actual settlement one of the conditions of {20} the grant.  It
followed, as a matter of course, that the majority of these persons
were physically disqualified for such an undertaking, a fact which many
deserted farms in the rear townships of the county in which I reside
painfully indicate."[14]

French Canadians and United Empire Loyalists constituted the stable
factors in Canadian public life; but the process of immigration, which
the years of rebellion checked only for a time, had by 1840 prepared
another element, and that the most incalculable and disturbing both
socially and politically.  Indeed the real problem of Canadian public
life lay simply in the influence of the humbler class of immigrants on
existing administration and opinion.  It was natural for the other
settlers and the governing class to regard the larger part of the new
population as beneath the political level.  The very circumstances of
the emigrating process carried with them a suggestion of degradation.
Durham had embodied in his _Report_ the more flagrant examples of the
horrors of emigration;[15] but a later review, written in 1841, proves
that many of the worst features of the old system still continued.
There were still the privations, the {21} filth and the diseases of
this northern "middle passage," the epidemics and disorders inflicted
on the Canadian community as ship-load after ship-load of poor wretches
passed ashore at Quebec.  On land their sorrows were renewed, for many
of them were paupers, and there was still no organized effort to
introduce the labourer to those who required his labour.  More than one
half of the 12,000 who, according to the report of 1841, passed in that
year through Bytown locks, were considered objects of charity.  Many of
them were common labourers with families, men who had little but their
physical strength as capital for the new venture; and cholera, typhus,
or smallpox had in many cases reduced even that to the vanishing point.
More especially among the Irish settlers, who, in these years and
later, fled in dismay from the distresses of Ireland, the misery
continued long after the first struggle.  M'Taggart, who had his
prejudices, but who had unusually good opportunities for observation,
thought that a tenth of the poorer Irish settlers died during their
first two years in the country.  He found them clumsy at their work,
accustomed to the spade and shovel, not to the axe, and maiming
themselves most fearfully, or even killing themselves, in their {22}
experiments in clearing the ground.[16]  Of all who came, the
immigration agents thought the Lowland Scots and the Ulster Irishmen
the best, and while the poorer class of settler lagged behind in the
cities of Lower Canada, these others generally pushed on to find a hard
earned living among the British settlers in the Upper Province.  Some
of them found their way to the United States.  Others, faced with the
intolerable delays of the land administration, took the risk of
"squatting," that is, settling on wild land without securing a right to
it--often to find themselves dislodged by a legal owner at the moment
when their possession _de facto_ seemed established.  The majority
settled as small farmers in the more frequented districts, or became
shop-keepers and artisans in the towns.  Politically their position was
curious.  The Reform Act of 1832 had extended the British franchise,
but the majority had still no votes; and the immigrants belonged to the
unenfranchised classes.  The Irish had the additional disability of
being reckoned disloyal, followers of the great Irish demagogue, and
disorderly persons until proved otherwise.[17] To government servants
and {23} the older settlers alike, it seemed perilous to the community
to share political power with them.  Yet they were British citizens;
many of them at once became active members of the community through
their standing as freeholders; the democratic influence of the United
States told everywhere on their behalf; and even where hard work left
little time for political discussion, the fact that local needs might
be assisted by political discussion, and the stout individualism bred
by the life of struggle in village, town, and country, forced the new
settlers to interest themselves in politics.  Many of the new arrivals
had some pretensions to education--more especially those from Scotland.
Indeed it is worthy of note that from the Scottish stream of
immigration there came not only the earlier agitators, Gourlay and
Mackenzie, but, at a later date, George Brown, the first great
political journalist in Canada, Alexander Mackenzie and Oliver Mowat,
future leaders of Canadian liberalism, and John A. Macdonald, whose
imperialism never lacked a tincture of traditional Scottish caution.
The new immigrants were unlikely to challenge the social supremacy of
the old aristocracy, but they formed so large an accession to the
population that they could not {24} long remain without political
power.  They must either be granted the rights of numerical majority or
be exasperated into destructive agitation.

It is not altogether easy to describe the community or chain of
communities created out of these diverse elements.  Distance, climatic
difficulties, and racial misunderstandings weakened the sense of unity
in the colony; and the chief centres of population were still too young
and unformed to present to the visitor the characteristics of a
finished civilization.

Everywhere, but more especially in the west, the town population showed
remarkable increases.  Montreal, which had, in 1790, an estimated
population of 18,000, had almost trebled that number by 1844; in the
same interval, Quebec increased from 14,000 to nearly 36,000.  In the
Upper Province, immigration and natural increase produced an even more
remarkable expansion.  In the twenty-two years between 1824 and 1846,
Toronto grew from a village of 1,600 inhabitants to be a flourishing
provincial capital of 21,000.  In the census of 1848, the population of
Hamilton was returned as 9,889; that of Kingston as 8,416; Bytown, the
future capital, had 6,275 inhabitants; while a score of villages such
as London, Belleville, {25} Brockville, and Cobourg had populations
varying from one to four thousand.[18]

Social graces and conveniences had, however, hardly kept pace with the
increase in numbers.  The French region was, for better or worse,
homogeneous, and Quebec formed a social centre of some distinction,
wherein the critical M'Taggart noted less vanity and conceit than was
to be met with in the country.[19]  But further west, British observers
were usually something less than laudatory.  The municipal franchise in
the cities of Lower Canada, being confined to the possessors of real
estate, shut out from civic management the more enterprising trading
classes, with the natural result that mismanagement and inefficiency
everywhere prevailed.  In Quebec there was no public lighting, the
community bought unwholesome water from carters who took it from the
St. Lawrence, and the gaol--a grim but useful test of the civilization
of the place--not merely afforded direct communication between the
prisoners and the street, but was so ill ordered that, according to a
clerical authority, "they who happily are {26} pronounced innocent by
law may consider it a providential deliverance if they escape in the
meantime the effects of evil communication and example."[20]  While
Montreal had a better water supply, it remained practically in darkness
during the winter nights, through the lapsing in 1836 of its earlier
municipal organization.[21]  Strangers were said to find the provincial
self-importance of its inhabitants irritating.  At the other extreme of
the province, Mrs. Jameson found fault with the citizens of Toronto for
their social conventionalism.  "I did not expect to find here," she
wrote, "in the new capital of a new country, with the boundless forests
within half a mile of us on almost every side, concentrated as it were,
the worst evils of our old and most artificial social system at home,
with none of its _agrémens_, and none of its advantages.  Toronto is
like a fourth or fifth rate provincial town with the pretensions of a
capital city."[22]

Everywhere, if contemporary prints of the cities may be taken as
evidence, the military element was very prominent, and the tone was
distinctly English.  The leaders of society looked {27} to London for
their fashions, and men like John Beverley Robinson moved naturally, if
a little stiffly, in the best English circles when they crossed to
England.  It was, indeed, a straining after a social standard not quite
within the reach of the ambitious provincial, which produced the
conventionalism and dullness, noticed by British visitors in Canadian

In the smaller towns or villages where pretensions were fewer, and
society accepted itself for that which it really was, there was much
rude plenty and happiness.  An Ayrshire settler writing in 1845, after
an orthodox confession that Canada, like Scotland, "groaned under the
curse of the Almighty," described his town, Cobourg, as a place where
wages were higher and prices lower than at home.  "A carpenter," he
writes, "asks 6s. sterling for a day's work (without board), mason 8s.,
men working by the day at labourer's work 2s. and board, 4s. a day in
harvest.  Hired men by the month, 10 and 11 dollars in summer, and 7
and 8 in winter, and board.  Women, 3 and 4 dollars per month, not much
higher than at home.  Provisions are cheaper here than at home.  Wheat,
4s. per bushel; oats 1s. 3d. and 1s. 6d per bushel; potatoes, 1s. 6d.;
beef and pork, 3d. and 4d. per {28} lb.; butter, 6d. per lb.; cheese,
6d.; tobacco, 1s. per lb.; whisky, 1s. 6d. per gallon; apples, 1s. 6d.
per bushel; tea from 2s. 6d. to 4s., and sugar, 6d. per lb....  A man
by honest industry here may live comfortably and support himself
decently--I can, I know--and save something too.  We live much better
here than at home."[23]

More especially in the smaller towns, the externals must have presented
a steady and dull monotony--the jail and court-house, three or four
churches, a varying number of mean-looking stores including a liberal
proportion of taverns, and the irregular rows of private houses.

If lack of efficient public spirit, and social monotony, marked the
towns, the settlers in the bush were hardly likely to show a vigorous
communal spirit.  They had their common life, building, clearing,
harvesting in local "bees," primitive assemblies in which work,
drinking, and recreation welded the primitive community together, and
the "grog-boss" became for a time the centre of society.[24]  But the
average day of the farmer was solitary, and, except where politics
meant {29} bridges, roads, and material gifts, his outlook was limited
by the physical strain of his daily life, and work and sleep followed
too closely on each other's track to leave time for other things.
M'Taggart has a quaint picture of a squatter, which must have been
typical of much within the colony in 1839.  He found the settler, Peter
Armstrong, "in a snug little cabin, with a wife, two children, some
good sleek grey cats, and a very respectable-looking dog.  He had but
few wants, his health was aye good; there was spring water plenty just
aside him, and enough to make a good fire in winter, while with what he
caught, shot, gathered and grew in the yard, he lived well enough."
His relation to the state, secular and ecclesiastical, is best gauged
by his admission that when it came to marriage, he and his
wife--Scottish like himself--"just took ane anither's word on't."[25]
Crime, on the whole, considering the elements out of which the
community had been formed, was surprisingly little in evidence.[26]  In
certain regions it had a natural fertility.  Wherever the white trader
met the Indian, or rival {30} fur-traders strove in competition, the
contact between the vices of the two communities bred disorder, and
Canadian trading success was too often marked by the indiscriminate
ruin of the Indians through drink and disease.[27]  At Bytown, where
the lumberers gathered to vary their labours in the bush with
dissipation, the community "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."[28]  Drunkenness seems to
have been a very prevalent vice, probably because whisky was so cheaply
produced; and where self-restraint was weak, and vast numbers of the
poorest classes from Britain formed the basis of society, drunkenness
was accompanied by bestial violence, or even death, in sudden and
dreadful forms.[29]  But it was the verdict of a Scottish clergyman,
who played his part in pioneer work round Perth, that "considering the
mixture of worthless persons, which our population formerly contained,
it was astonishing how few crimes had been committed."


Three powerful influences helped to shape the young Canadian community
and to give it some appearance of unity--education, religion, and
politics.  It now becomes necessary to examine these factors in
Canadian existence in the years prior to, and immediately after, the
visit of Durham to the colony.  In religion and education, however, our
analysis must concern Upper and British Canada rather than the French
region.  In the latter the existence and dominance of the Catholic
church greatly simplified matters.  Thanks to the eighteenth century
agreements with the French, Roman Catholicism had been established on
very favourable terms in Lower Canada, and dominated that region to the
exclusion of practically all other forms of religious life.  As has
already been shown, the church controlled not only religion but
education.  If the women of the Lower Province were better educated
than the men, it was because the convent schools provided adequately
for female education.  If higher education was furnished in
superabundance, again the church was the prime agent, as it was also in
the comparative neglect of the rank and file; and comment was made by
Durham's commissioners on the fact that the priesthood resented
anything which weakened {32} its control over the schools.  This
Catholic domination had a very notable influence in politics, for,
after the first outbursts of nationality were over, the Catholic laity
in politics proved themselves a steadily conservative force.  La
Fontaine, the first great French leader who knew how to co-operate with
the British Canadians, was only by accident a progressive, and escaped
from politics when the growth of Upper Canada radicalism began to draw
him into dangerous religious questions.[30]  But in the Upper Province,
education and religion did not show this stationary and consistent
character, and played no little part in preparing for and accentuating
the political agitation.

Education had a history rather of good intentions than of brilliant
achievement.  At different times in the earlier nineteenth century,
schemes for district grammar schools and general common schools were
prepared, and sums of money, unhappily not in increasing amounts, were
voted for educational purposes.  But, apart from the doubtful
enthusiasm of the legislators, the education {33} of the British
settlers was hampered by an absence of suitable teachers, and the
difficulty of letting children, who were often the only farm assistants
at hand, attend school for any length of time.  According to good
evidence, half of the true school population never saw the schools, and
the other half could give only seven months in the year to their

In most country districts, the settlers had to trust to luck both for
teachers and for schoolhouses, and beginnings which promised better
things too often ended in blank failure.  There is both humour and
romance in these early struggles after education.  In Ekfried, by the
Thames, in Western Canada, there had been no school, till the arrival
of an honest Scot, Robert Campbell, and the backwardness of the season
in 1842, gave the settlement a schoolmaster, and the new settler some
ready money.  "I get a dollar and a half, a quarter per scholar," he
wrote to his friends in Scotland, "and seeing that the wheat did
little, I am glad I did engage, for we got plenty of provisions."[32]
In Perth, a more ambitious start {34} met with a tragic end.  The
Scottish clergyman, appointed to the district by government, opened a
school at the request of the inhabitants.  All went well, and a
generous government provided fifty pounds by way of annual stipend;
until a licentiate of the Anglican Church arrived.  By virtue of the
standing of his church, the newcomer took precedence of the Scottish
minister and displaced him as educational leader.  But, says the Scot,
with an irony, unchristian but excusable, "the school under the
direction of my clerical successor, soon after died of a consumption,
and the school-house has been for sometime empty."[33]

The main difficulty in education was to provide an adequate supply of
competent teachers.  Complaints against those who offered their
services were almost universal.  According to a Niagara witness, not
more than one out of ten teachers in the district was competent to
instruct his pupils even in the humblest learning,[34] and the
commissioners who reported to the government of Upper Canada in 1839
both confirmed these {35} complaints, and described the root of the
offence when they said, "In this country, the wages of the working
classes are so high, that few undertake the office of schoolmaster,
except those who are unable to do anything else; and hence the
important duties of education are often entrusted to incompetent and
improper persons.  The income of the schoolmaster should, at least, be
equal to that of a common labourer."[35]  In so precarious a position,
it was unfortunate that sectarian and local feeling should have
provoked a controversy at the capital of the western district.  Much as
the education of the province owed to John Strachan, he did infinite
harm by involving the foundation of a great central school, Upper
Canada College, and of the provincial university, in a bitter religious
discussion.  It was not until the public capacity and unsectarian
enthusiasm of Egerton Ryerson were enlisted in the service of
provincial education, that Upper Canada emerged from her period of
failure and struggle.

Apart from provincial and governmental efforts, there were many
voluntary experiments, of which Strachan's famous school at Cornwall,
was perhaps the most notable.  After all, the colonists were {36}
Britons, many of them trained in the Scottish system of national
democratic education, and wherever the struggle for existence slackened
down, they turned to plan a Canadian system as like as possible to that
which they had left.  Kingston was notably enterprising in this
respect.  Not only were there schools for the more prosperous classes,
but attempts were made to provide cheap education for the poor, at
first supported by the voluntary contributions of ladies, and then by a
committee representative of the best Anglican and Presbyterian
sentiment.  Three of these schools were successfully conducted at very
small charges, and, in certain cases, the poorest received education
free.[36]  In higher education the period of union in Canada exhibited
great activity.  The generous provision made for a King's College in
Toronto had been for a long time stultified by the ill-timed sectarian
spirit of the Bishop of Toronto; but a more reasonable temper prevailed
after the Rebellion, and the second governor-general of the united
provinces, Sir Charles Bagot, spent much of his short time of service
in securing professors and seeing the provincial university
launched.[37] {37} At the same time, the two other Canadian colleges of
note, M'Gill University and Queen's College, came into active
existence.  In October, 1839, after many years of delay, Montreal saw
the corner-stone of the first English and Protestant College in Lower
Canada laid,[38] and in the winter of 1841-2, Dr. Liddell sailed from
Scotland to begin the history of struggle and gallant effort which has
characterized Queen's College, Kingston, from first to last.  It is
perhaps the most interesting detail of early university education in
Canada, that the Presbyterian College started in a frame house, with
two professors, one representing Arts and one Theology, and with some
twenty students, very few of whom, however, were "fitted to be

It is well to remember, in face of beginnings so irregular, and even
squalid, that deficiencies in Canadian college education had been made
good by the English and Scottish universities, and that Canadian higher
education was from the outset assisted by the genuine culture and
learning of the British colleges; for the main sources of university
inspiration in British North America {38} were Oxford and Cambridge,
Glasgow and Edinburgh.[40]

There were, of course, other less formal modes of education.  When once
political agitation commenced, the press contributed not a little to
the education of the nation, and must indeed be counted one of the
chief agencies of information, if not of culture.  Everywhere, from
Quebec to Hamilton, enterprising politicians made their influence felt
through newspapers.  The period prior to the Rebellion had seen
Mackenzie working through his _Colonial Advocate_; and the cause of
responsible government soon found saner and abler exponents in Francis
Hincks and George Brown.  At every important centre, one, two, or even
more news-sheets, not without merit, were maintained; and the secular
press was reinforced by such educational enterprise as the Dougalls
attempted in the _Montreal Witness_, or by church papers like the
Methodist _Christian Guardian_.[41] {39} Nothing, perhaps, is more
characteristic of this phase of Canadian intellectual growth than the
earlier volumes of the _Witness_, which played a part in Canada similar
to that of the Chambers' publications in Scotland.  The note struck was
deeply sober and moral; the appeal was made to the working and middle
classes who in Canada as in Scotland were coming into possession of
their heritage; and if the intellectual level attained was never very
high, an honest attempt was being made to educate the shop-keepers and
farmers of Canada into wholesome national ideals.

Little literary activity seems to have existed outside of politics and
the newspapers.  For a time cheap reprints from America assisted
Britons in Canada with their forbidden fruits, but government at last
intervened.  It is a curious fact that this perfectly just and natural
prohibition had a most unfortunate effect in checking the reading
habits of the colony.[42]  In the larger towns there {40} were
circulating libraries, and presumably immigrants occasionally brought
books with them; but newspaper advertisements suggest that school
books, and the like, formed almost the only stock-in-trade of the
book-shop; and the mercurial Major Richardson, after agitating the
chief book-sellers in Canada on behalf of one of his literary ventures,
found that his total sales amounted to barely thirty copies, and even
an auction sale at Kingston discovered only one purchaser, who limited
his offer to sevenpence halfpenny.  In speaking, then, of the Canadian
political community in 1839, one cannot say, as Burke did of the
Americans in 1775, that they were a highly educated or book-reading
people.  Their politicians, progressive and conservative alike, might
have shortened, simplified, and civilized certain stages in their
political agitations, had they been able more fully to draw on the
authority of British political experience; and their provincialism
would not have thrust itself so disagreeably on the modern student, had
Locke, Rousseau, Burke, and the greater leaders in modern political
science, been household names in early Victorian Canada.

As with other young communities, the church and religion had their part
to play in the shaping {41} of modern Canada.  And yet it would be
impossible to attribute to any of the Canadian churches an influence so
decisive as that which religion exercised through Presbyterianism in
the creation of the Scottish democracy, or through Independency in
moulding the New England character.  For while the question of a
religious establishment proved one of the most exciting issues in
politics, influences more truly religious suffered a natural
degradation and diminution through their over-close association with
secular affairs.

Once again the situation in Lower Canada was simplified by the
conditions prevailing among the French Canadians.  For Lower Canada was
whole-heartedly Catholic, and the Canadian branch of the Roman Church
had its eulogy pronounced in no uncertain fashion by the Earl of
Durham, who, after praising its tolerant spirit, summed up the services
of the priesthood in these terms: "The Catholic priesthood of this
Province have, to a 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 admired, and has been
productive of more beneficial consequences.  {42} 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 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."[43]

Upper Canada and the British community presented a somewhat different
picture.  Certain Roman Catholic elements among the Irish and the
Scottish Highlanders reinforced the ranks of {43} Catholicism, but for
the greater part Anglicanism and Presbyterianism were the
ecclesiastical guides of the settlers.  At first, apart from official
religion, the Church of England appeared in Canada in missionary form,
and about 1820 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel had
fifteen missionaries in Lower Canada, and seventeen in Upper Canada.
But under the fostering care of governors like Colborne, and the
organizing genius of Dr. Strachan, Rector, Archdeacon, and latterly
Bishop in Toronto, the Anglican Church in Canada became a
self-dependent unit.  The Bishop of Toronto was able to boast in 1842
that in his western visitation, which lasted from June till October, he
had "consecrated two churches and one burial ground, confirmed 756
persons at twenty-four different stations, and travelled, including his
journeys for the formation of District Branches of the Church Society,
upwards of 2,500 miles."[44]  In cities like Toronto and Kingston it
was on the whole the church of the governing class, and shared in the
culture and public qualities of that class.  Nor was it negligent of
the cure of poorer souls, for Anglicans co-operated with Presbyterians
in the {44} management of the poor schools in Kingston, and in that and
the other more prominent towns of the province, the English parish
church system seems to have been transplanted and worked most
efficiently.  Equal in importance, if not in numbers, Scottish
Presbyterianism claimed its section of the community.  Down to 1822,
there were but six organized congregations in Upper and Lower Canada
connected with the Church of Scotland,[45] but at the first
Presbyterian Synod held in Canada, in 1831, fourteen ministers and five
elders gathered at Kingston to represent the Church;[46] and by 1837
the number of congregations had grown to 37 in Upper Canada, and 14 in
Lower Canada.  Nor were these weak and struggling efforts.  The
Scottish Church at Kingston had in 1841 a membership of 350, and an
average attendance of 800.  Like its Anglican rival, it was simply a
parish church, and its minister, trained in Edinburgh, as the Anglican
cleric came naturally from an English college, visited, preached, and
disciplined according to the rules of Knox and Melville, and
maintained, perhaps more genuinely than either school or {45} newspaper
could, an educational influence on his flock not unworthy of the mother
country.  Here and there the ties, which still remained strong, between
Canadian settlements and the districts in Scotland whence the settlers
were drawn, proved useful aids in church extension.  Lanark, in Upper
Canada, owed its church to the efforts of friends in Lanarkshire, in
Scotland, who collected no less a sum than £290 for the purpose.[47]

But the religious life of Canada was assisted by another less official
force, the Methodist Church.  Methodism in its earlier days incurred
the reproach of being rather American than British, and, in one of his
most unjustifiable perversions of the truth, Strachan tried to make the
fact tell against the sect, in his notorious table of ecclesiastical
statistics.  Undoubtedly there was a stronger American element in the
Methodist connection than in either of the other churches; and its
spirit lent itself more readily to American innovations.  Its fervent
methods drew from the ranks of colder churches the more emotional, and
being freer and homelier in its ritual, it appealed very directly to a
rude and half-educated community.  Thus the Methodist preachers made
{46} rapid headway, more especially in regions untouched by the
official churches.

In the representative man of early Canadian Methodism, Egerton Ryerson,
qualities conspicuously British and conservative, appeared.  Through
him Methodism came forward as the supporter of the British connection
in the Metcalfe troubles, as through him it may claim some of the glory
of organizing an adequate system of provincial education.  But, after
all, the noblest work of the sect was done in informal and irregular
fashion.  They were the pioneers and _coureurs du bois_ of the British
province in the religious world.  Perhaps the most genuine tribute paid
to this earlier phase of Methodism was that of John Beverley Robinson,
when his fellow Anglicans blamed him in 1842 for granting a plot of
ground for a Methodist chapel.  "Frequently," he retorted, "in the most
lonely parts of the wilderness, in townships where a clergyman of the
Church of England had never been heard, and probably never seen, I have
found the population assembled in some log building, earnestly engaged
in acts of devotion, and listening to those doctrines and truths which
are inculcated in common by most Christian denominations, but which, if
it had not been for {47} the ministration of dissenting preachers,
would for thirty years have been but little known, if at all, to the
greater part of the inhabitants of the interior of Upper Canada."[48]
Still the Canadian Methodist Church did not occupy so conspicuous a
place in the official public life of Canada, and in Sydenham's
Legislative Council of 1841, out of twenty-four members, eight
represented Anglicanism, eight Presbyterianism, eight Catholicism, and
Methodism had to find lowlier places for its political leaders.[49]

Hitherto religion has been viewed in its social and spiritual aspects.
But Canadian history has, with perhaps over-emphasis, selected one
great controversy as the central point in the religious life of the
province.  It is not my intention to enter here into the wearisome
details of the Clergy Reserve question.  But the fight over the
establishment principle forms an essential factor in the social and
political life of Canada between 1839 and 1854, the year in which it
was finally settled.  It is first necessary to discriminate between
what may be called casual and incidental support to churches in Canada,
and the main Clergy Reserve {48} fund.  When Dr. Black challenged, in
the interests of Presbyterianism, certain monies paid to Anglican
churches in Upper and Lower Canada, he was able to point to direct
assistance given by the Imperial Parliament to the Anglican Church in
Canada.  He was told in answer that these grants were temporarily made
to individuals with whose lives they terminated, and that a pledge had
been given in 1832 that Britain should be relieved of such
expenses.[50]  In a similar fashion, when the district of Perth, in
Upper Canada, was settled by discharged soldiers and emigrants from
Scotland, "Government offered assistance for the support of a minister,
_without respect to religious denomination_," and, as a matter of fact,
the community thus assisted to a clergyman, received, not a minister of
the Church of Scotland, but one ordained by the Secession Church in
Scotland--a curious but laudable example of laxity on the part of

The root and ground of offending lay in the thirty-sixth and following
clauses of the Constitutional Act of 1791, which proposed to support
{49} and maintain a Protestant clergy in the provinces by grants of
land, equal in value to the seventh part of lands granted for other
purposes.  On the face of it, and interpreted by the clauses which
follow, the Act seems to bear out the Anglican contention that the
English Church establishment received an extension to Canada through
the Act, and that no other church was expected to receive a share.  It
is true that the legal decision of 1819, and the views of colonial
secretaries like Glenelg, admitted at least the Scottish Church to a
portion of the benefits.  But for the purposes of the situation in
1839, it is merely necessary to say that a British parliament in 1791,
ignorant of actual colonial conditions, and more especially of the
curious ecclesiastical developments with which the American colonies
had modified the British system before 1776, and probably forgetful of
the claims of the Church of Scotland to parliamentary recognition, had
given Canada the beginnings of an Anglican Church establishment; and
that the Anglicans in Canada, and more especially those led by Dr. John
Strachan, had more than fulfilled the sectarian and monopolist
intentions of the legislators.

Three schools of opinion formed themselves in {50} the intervening
years.  First and foremost came the establishment men, mainly Anglican,
but with a certain Presbyterian following, who claimed to monopolize
the benefits, such as they were, of the Clergy Reserve funds.  Canada
as a British colony was bound to support the one or two state churches
of the mother country; religious inequality was to flourish there as at
home; dissent was to receive the same stigma and disqualification, and
the dominant church or churches were to live, not by the efforts of
their members, but at the expense of all citizens of the state, whether
Anglican, Presbyterian, or Methodist.  This phase of opinion received
its most offensive expression from leaders like the Bishop of Toronto.
To these monopolists, any modification of the Anglican settlement
seemed a "tyrannical and unjust measure," and they adopted an
ecclesiastical arrogance towards their fellow-Christians, which did
much to alienate popular sympathies throughout the province.

At the other extreme was a solid mass of public sentiment which had
little interest in the ecclesiastical theories of the Bishop of
Toronto, and which resented alike attempts to convert the provincial
university into an Anglican college, and the cumbrous and unjust form
of church establishment, {51} the most obvious evidence of which lay in
the undeveloped patches of Clergy Reserve land scattered everywhere
throughout the settlements.  It was the undoubted desire of a majority
in 1840 that the Clergy Reserve system should be ended, the former
reserves sold, and the proceeds applied to educational and general
purposes; a desire which had been registered in the House of Assembly
on fourteen different occasions since 1826.[52]  The case for the
voluntary principle in Canada had many exponents, but these words of
Dr. John Rolph in 1836 express the spirit of the movement in both its
strength and its weakness: "Instead of making a State provision for any
one or more churches; instead of apportioning the Clergy Reserves among
them with a view to promoting Christianity; instead of giving pensions
and salaries to ministers to make them independent of voluntary
contributions from the people, I would studiously avoid that policy,
and leave truth unfettered and unimpeded to make her own conquests....
The professions of law and physic are well represented in this
Assembly, and bear ample testimony to the generosity of the people
towards them.  Will good, pious and evangelical ministers of our holy
religion be likely to {52} fare worse than the physicians of the body,
or the agents for our temporal affairs?  Let gospel ministers, as the
Scriptures say, live by the gospel, and the apostolic maxim that the
workman is worthy of his hire implies the performance of duty rewarded
temporarily by those who impose it.  There is no fear that the
profession will become extinct for want of professors."[53]

Between the extremes, however, there existed a group of moderate
politicians, represented, in the Upper Province by Baldwin, in the
Lower by La Fontaine, and among British statesmen apparently by both
Sydenham and Elgin.  Especially among its Canadian members, this group
felt keenly the desirability of supporting religion, as it struggled
through the difficulties inevitably connected with early colonial life.
But neither Baldwin, who was a devoted Anglican, nor La Fontaine, a
faithful son of his Church, showed any tinge of Strachan's bitterness
as they considered the question; and nothing impressed Canadian opinion
more than did La Fontaine's speech, in a later phase of the Clergy
Reserve troubles, when he solemnly renounced on behalf of his
coreligionists any chance of stealing an advantage while the
Protestants {53} were quarrelling, and when he stated his opinion that
the endowment belonged to the Protestant clergy, and should be shared
equally among them.  It was this school of thought---to anticipate
events by a year or two--which received the sanction of Sydenham's
statesmanship, and that energetic mind never accomplished anything more
notable than when, in the face of a strong secularizing feeling, to the
justification for which he was in no way blind, he repelled the party
of monopoly, and yet retained the endowment for the Protestant churches
of Canada.  "The Clergy Reserves," he wrote in a private letter, "have
been, and are, the great overwhelming grievance--the root of all the
troubles of the province, the cause of the Rebellion--the never-failing
watchword at the hustings--the perpetual source of discord, strife, and
hatred.  Not a man of any party but has told me that the greatest boon
which could be conferred on the country would be that they should be
swept into the Atlantic, and that nobody should get them.  My Bill[54]
has gone through the Assembly by a considerable majority, thirty to
twenty, and I feel confident that I can get it through the {54} Council
without the change of a word.  If it is really carried, it is the
greatest work that ever has been done in this country, and will be of
more solid advantage to it than all the loans and all the troops you
can make or send.  It is worth ten unions, and was ten times more

It is a melancholy comment on the ecclesiastical interpretation of
religion that, ten years later, when the firmly expressed desires of
all moderate men had given the Bishop of Toronto a good excuse for
acquiescence in Sydenham's _status quo_, that pugnacious ecclesiastic
still fought to save as much of the monopoly as could be secured.[56]

With the Clergy Reserve dispute, the region of politics has been
reached; and, after all, politics furnished the most powerful influence
in the young Canadian community.  But politics must be taken less in
the constitutional sense, as has been the custom with Canadian writers,
and more in the social and human sense.  It is important also to note
the broad stretches of Canadian existence {55} into which they hardly
intruded.  Political questions found few exponents among the pioneers
as they cleared the forests, or gathered lumber for the British market,
or pushed far to the west and north in pursuit of furs.  Even the
Rebellion, when news of it reached Strickland and his fellow-settlers
in the Peterborough country, came to them less as part of a prolonged
struggle in which they all were taking part, than as an abnormal
incident, to be ended outright by loyal strength.  They hardly seem to
have thought that any liberties of theirs were really endangered.  When
Mackenzie himself complained that instead of entering Toronto with four
or five thousand men, he found himself at the head of a poor two
hundred, he does not seem to have realized that, even had his
fellow-conspirators not mismanaged things, it would still have been
difficult to keep hard-working settlers keyed up to the pitch of
revolutionary and abstract doctrines.[57]  There must have been many
settlers of the temper of the humble Scottish janitor in Queen's
College, Kingston, who wrote, in the midst of the struggle of parties
in 1851: "For my part I never trouble my head about one of them.
Although the polling-house was just across {56} the street, I never
went near it."[58]  In the cities, however, and along the main lines of
communication, the interest must have been keen, and the country
undoubtedly attained its manhood as it struggled towards the solution
of questions like those of the Clergy Reserves, the financing of the
colony, the regulation of trade and immigration, and, above all others,
the definition of responsible government.

Something has already been said of the various political groups in the
colony, for they corresponded roughly to the different strata of
settlement--French, Loyalist, and men of the later immigration.  It is
true, as Sydenham and Elgin pointed out, that the British party names
hardly corresponded to local divisions--and that these divisions were
really too petty to deserve the name of parties.  Yet it would be
foolish to deny the actual existence of the groups, or to refuse to see
in their turbulence and strife the beginning of national
self-consciousness, and the first stage in a notable political

Most conspicuous among the political forces, because the bond of party
union was for them {57} something deeper than opinion, and must be
called racial, was the French-Canadian group, with the whole weight of
_habitant_ support behind it.  From the publication of Lord Durham's
_Report_, through the Sydenham regime, and down till Sir Charles Bagot
surrendered to their claims, the French politicians presented an
unbroken and hostile front to the British community.  Colborne had
repressed their risings at the point of the bayonet; a Whig government
had deprived them temporarily of free institutions; Durham--their
friend after his fashion--had bidden them be absorbed into the greater
British community; Sydenham came to enforce what Durham had suggested;
and, with each new check, their pride had grown more stubborn and their
nationalism more intense.  Bagot, who understood them and whom they
came to trust, may be allowed to describe their characteristics,
through the troubled first years of union: "On Lord Sydenham's
arrival," he wrote to Stanley, "he found the Lower Province deprived of
a constitution, the legislative functions of the government being
administered by a special council, consisting of a small number of
members nominated by the Crown.  A large portion of the people, at
least those of French origin, prostrate under {58} the effects of the
Rebellion, overawed by the power of Great Britain, and excluded from
all share in the government, had resigned themselves to a sullen and
reluctant submission, or to a perverse but passive resistance to the
government.  This temper was not improved by the passing of the Act of
Union.  In this measure, heedless of the generosity of the Imperial
government, in overlooking their recent disaffection, and giving them a
free and popular constitution, ... they apprehended a new instrument of
subjection, and accordingly prepared to resist it.  Lord Sydenham found
them in this disposition, and despairing, from its early
manifestations, of the possibility of overcoming or appeasing it,
before the period at which it would be necessary to put in force the
Act of Union, he determined upon evincing his indifference to it, and
upon taking steps to carry out his views, in spite of the opposition of
the French party....  They have from that time declared and evinced
their hostility to the Union ... and have maintained a consistent,
united, and uncompromising opposition to the government which was
concerned in carrying it into execution."[59]

To describe the French in politics, it has been {59} necessary to
advance a year or two beyond 1839, for the Rebellion had terminated one
phase of their political existence, and the characteristics of the next
phase did not become apparent till the Union Assembly of 1841 and 1842.
It was indeed an abnormal form of the national and racial question
which there presented itself.  French Canada found itself represented
by a party, over twenty in number, the most compact in the House of
Assembly, and with _la nation Canadienne_ solidly behind them.  In La
Fontaine, Viger, Morin and others, it had leaders both skilful and
fully trusted.  Yet the party of the British supremacy quoted Durham
and others in favour of a plan for the absorption of French Canada in
the British element; and the same party could recount, with telling
effect, the past misdeeds, or at least the old suspicions, connected
with the names of the French leaders.  Misunderstood, and yet half
excusably misunderstood; self-governing, and yet deprived of many of
the legitimate consequences and fruits of self-government; without
places or honours, and yet coherent, passionately French, and
competently led, the French party stood across the path of Canadian
peace, menacing, and with a racial rather than a party threat.


In the Upper Province, the party in possession, the so-called Family
Compact group, posed as the only friends of Britain.  They had never
possessed more than an accidental majority in the Lower House, and,
since Durham's rule, it seemed likely that their old supremacy in the
Executive and Legislative Councils had come to an end.  Yet as their
power receded, their language became the more peremptory, and their
contempt for other groups the more bitter.  One of the most respectable
of the group, J. S. Cartwright, frankly confessed that he thought his
fellow-colonists unfit for any extension of self-government "in a
country where almost universal suffrage prevails, where the great mass
of the people are uneducated, and where there is but little of that
salutary influence which hereditary rank and great wealth exercise in
Great Britain."[60]  Their position had an apparent but unreal
strength, because they knew that the older type of Colonial official,
the entire British Conservative party, and the Church of England, at
home and abroad, supported them.  As late as July, 1839, Arthur, the
representative of the Crown in Upper Canada, could write thus to his
government concerning more than half the {61} population under his
authority: "There is a considerable section of persons who are disloyal
to the core; reform is on their lips, but separation is in their
hearts.  These people having for the last two or three years made a
'responsible government' their watch-word, are now extravagantly elated
because the Earl of Durham has recommended that measure.  They regard
it as an unerring means to get rid of all British connection, while the
Earl of Durham, on the contrary, has recommended it as a measure for
cementing the existing bond of union with the mother country."[61]

Their programme was precise and consistent.  The influence of a too
democratic franchise was to be modified by a Conservative upper house,
and an executive council, chosen not in accordance with popular wishes,
but from the class--their own--which had so long been dominant in the
executive.  The British connection depended, in their view, on the
permanent alliance between their group and whatsoever representative
the British crown might send to Canada.  French Canadian feeling they
were prepared to repress as a thing rebellious and un-English, and the
{62} friends of the French in Upper Canada they regarded very much as a
South African might the Englishman who should be prepared to strengthen
his political position by an alliance with the native peoples; although
events were to prove that, when other elements of self-interest
dictated a different course, they were not unwilling to co-operate in
the interests of disorder with the French.  In ecclesiastical affairs,
they supported the establishment of an Anglican Church in Canada, and
insulted religion never found more eloquent defenders than did the
Clergy Reserve establishment at the hands of Sir Allan MacNab, the
Conservative leader, and his allies.  But events and their own factious
excesses had broken their power.  They had allowed nothing for the
possibilities of political education, in a land where the poorest had
infinite chances of gaining independence.  They scorned democracy at a
time when nothing else in politics had a stable future; and the country
naturally distrusted constitutional logicians whose conclusions
invariably landed them in the sole possession of emoluments and place.
Sydenham's quick eye foresaw the coming rout, and it was his opinion,
before the Assembly of 1841 came to make matters certain, that moderate
men would overturn the {63} sway of old Toryism, and that the wild
heads under MacNab would stultify themselves by their foolish

In Upper Canada, the Conservative and Family Compact group had to face
a vigorous Reforming opposition.  It is well, however, after 1838, to
discriminate between any remnants of the old Mackenzie school, and the
men under whom Canada was to secure unrestricted self-government.  The
truth is that the situation up to 1837 had been too abnormal to permit
the constitutional radicals to show themselves in their true character.
Mackenzie himself, in the rather abject letter with which he sought
reinstatement in 1848, admitted the falsity of his old position: "Had I
seen things in 1837 as I do in 1848, I would have shuddered at the very
idea of revolt, no matter what our wrongs might have been.  I ought, as
a Scotsman, to have stood by the government in America to the last;
exerted any energy I possessed to make it better, more just, more
perfect; left it for a time, if too oppressive, but never tried, as I
did, to put it down."[63]  Mackenzie's ideal, discovered {64} by him
too late to be very useful, was actually that of the Reforming
Loyalists who refused to indulge in treason in 1837, but who determined
to secure their ends by peaceful persuasion.  Their leader in public
affairs was Robert Baldwin, whose career and opinions may be more fitly
considered at a later point, and Francis Hincks expounded their views
in his paper _The Examiner_.  They were devoted adherents of the
Responsible Government school; that is, they desired to have provincial
cabinets, not simply chosen so that they might not conflict with public
opinion, but imposed upon the governor by public opinion through its
representatives in the House of Assembly.  They had for years protested
against the Clergy Reserves monopoly, and although Baldwin seems always
to have favoured the retention of some form of assistance to religion,
the ordinary reformer was vehement for absolute secularization.
Sydenham when he came, refused to admit that the British party names
were anything but misnomers in Canada; and yet Hincks was not singular
among the reformers when he said that he had been in favour of all the
measures advocated by the British progressives--Catholic Emancipation,
the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, Abolition of {65} Slavery,
and Parliamentary Reform.[64]  Their relation to the French was
curious.  Unlike the French, they were usually strong advocates of a
union of the two provinces, and they sympathized neither with
Papineau's doctrinaire republicanism, nor with the sullen negative
hatred of things British which then possessed so many minds in Lower
Canada.  But grievances still unredressed created a fellow-feeling with
the French, and from 1839 until 1842 the gradual formation of an
Anglo-French reforming _bloc_, under Baldwin and La Fontaine, was one
of the most notable developments in Canadian political life.

After the Union, as before it, the political life of Canada was
characterized by a readiness to resort to violence, and a lack of
political good manners, which contrasted painfully with the eloquent
phrases and professions of the orators on either side.  The earliest
impression which the first governor-general of the Union received of
politics in his province was one of disorder and mismanagement.  "You
can form no idea of the manner in which a Colonial Parliament transacts
its business," Poulett Thomson wrote from Toronto, in 1839.  "When they
came to their own affairs, {66} and, above all, to the money matters,
there was a scene of confusion and riot of which no one in England can
have any idea.  Every man proposes a vote for his own job, and bills
are introduced without notice, and carried through all their stages in
a quarter of an hour."[65]  The first efforts in the struggle for
responsible government were rendered needlessly irritating by the
absence of that spirit of courteous moderation which usually
characterizes the proceedings of the Imperial Parliament.  The
relations between the governor and his ministers, at the best
difficult, were made impossible for a man like Metcalfe by the
ill-mannered disdain with which, as all the citizens of his capital
knew, the cabinet spoke of their official head; and in debate the
personal element played far too prominent a part.  In all the early
Union assemblies, too, the house betrayed its inexperience by passing
rapidly from serious constitutional questions to petty jobs and
quarrels, and as rapidly back again to first principles.  There was a
general failure to see the risk run by too frequent discussions on
fundamentals, and much of the bitterness of party strife would have
been avoided if the rival parties could have prosecuted their {67}
adverse operations by slower and more scientific approaches.

The warmth of feeling and the disorder exhibited in the councils of
state and the assembly, met with a ready response in the country.  It
is only fair to say that many of the gravest disturbances were caused
by recent immigrants, more especially by the Irish labourers on the
canals in the neighbourhood of Montreal.[66]  But the whole community
must share in the discredit.  The days had not yet ceased when
political bills called on adherents of one or other party to assemble
"with music and good shillelaghs";[67] and indeed the decade from 1840
to 1850 was distinctly one of political rioting.  The election of 1841
was disgraced, more especially in Lower Canada, by very violent strife.
In 1843 an Act was deemed necessary "to provide for the calling and
orderly holding of public meetings in this province and for the better
preservation of the public peace thereat."[68]  In the Montreal
election of April, 1844, Metcalfe accused both his former
inspector-general and the reform candidate of using inflammatory and
reckless language, and {68} certainly both then and in November
disgraceful riots made the elections no true register of public
sentiment.  At the very end of the decade, the riots caused by the
passing of the "Rebellion Losses" Act, organized, it must be
remembered, by the so-called loyal party, endangered the life of a
governor-general, and made Montreal no longer possible as the seat of
government.  One may perhaps over-estimate the importance of these
details; for, after all, the communal life of Canada was yet in its
extreme youth, and in England itself there were still remnants of the
old eighteenth century disorders, with hints of the newer
revolutionism.  Their importance is rather that they complicated the
task of adjusting imperial standards to suit Canadian self-government,
and introduced unnecessary errors into the conduct of affairs by the
provincial statesmen.

It was obvious then that the United Provinces of Canada had, in 1839,
still some distance to travel before their social, religious, and
political organization could be regarded as satisfactory.  Individually
and collectively poor, the citizens of Canada required direct aid from
the resources of the mother country.  Material improvements in roads
and canals, the introduction of steam, {69} the organization of labour,
were immediately necessary.  Education in all its stages must receive
encouragement and recognition.  Religion must be freed from the
encumbrance of a vexatious controversy.  Municipal institutions and
local government had still to be introduced to teach the people the
elements of self-government; and a broader system of colonial
legislation and administration substituted for the discredited rule of
assemblies and councils at Toronto and Quebec.  There was racial hate
to be quenched; and petty party jealousies to be transmuted into more
useful political energy.  A nation was at its birth.  The problem was
whether in Great Britain there were minds acute and imaginative enough
to see the actual dangers; generous enough not to be dissuaded from
trying to avert them by any rudeness on the part of those who were
being assisted; prophetic enough to recognize that Anglo-Saxon
communities, whether at home or across the seas, will always claim the
right to govern themselves, and that to such self-government none but
the community actually affected may set a limit.

[1] Robinson, _Life of Sir John Beverley Robinson_, Bart., pp. 75-6.

[2] _Report of the Agent for Emigration_, Toronto, January, 1841.  "The
passage extended to seven complete weeks," writes a Scottish settler,
Robert Campbell, in 1840, "and to tell the truth we were weary enough
of it."  MS. letter, _penes me_.

[3] _Conditions and Prospects of Canada in 1854_, London, 1855.

[4] Poulett Scrope, _Life of Lord Sydenham_, pp. 141-2.

[5] Richardson, _Eight Years in Canada_, p. 117.

[6] See an interesting letter of January, 1838 in Christie, _History of
Lower Canada_, v. 109.

[7] _Lord Durham's Report_, Appendix B. (ed. by Lucas), iii. p. 84.

[8] Kaye, _Papers and Correspondence of Lord Metcalfe_, p. 453.
Metcalfe undoubtedly overestimates the influence of these men, as
compared with the church, over the habitant class.

[9] _Lord Durham's Report_ (ed. by Lucas), Appendix D, iii. p. 284.

[10] _Ibid_. p. 267.

[11] M'Taggart, _Three Years in Canada_, i. p. 249.

[12] Kaye, _op. cit._ p. 407.

[13] Mrs. Jameson, _States and Rambles in Canada_, vol. ii. p. 189.

[14] Strickland, _Twenty-Seven Years in Canada West_, vol. i. p. 135.

[15] _Lord Durham's Report_, ii. pp. 242-59.

[16] M'Taggart, ii. pp. 242-5.

[17] See a despatch of Lord Metcalfe on the effect of Irish agitation
on the tranquillity of Canada, Kaye, _op. cit._ pp. 432-4.

[18] Censuses of Canada (1665-1871), vol. iv.; _Appendix to the First
Report of the Board of Registration and Statistics_ (1849); _A
Statement of the Population of Canada_ (1848).

[19] M'Taggart, _op. cit._ i. p. 35.

[20] _Lord Durham's Report_, Appendix A.  Sir Charles Lucas has not
included this appendix in his edition.

[21] _Ibid._ (ed. Lucas), iii. p. 220.

[22] Mrs. Jameson, _Studies and Rambles in Canada_, i. p. 98.

[23] _A Long-treasured Letter_, from _Matthew Fowlds and Other Fenwick
Worthies_, Kilmarnock, 1910, pp. 205-11.

[24] Strickland, _Twenty Seven Years in Canada West_, i. p. 35.

[25] M'Taggart, _op. cit._ i. p. 201.

[26] This statement I modify below in dealing with the violence which
disfigured political life in Canada at this time.

[27] _Passim _in descriptions of the Canadian Indians, and the

[28] _Lord Durham's Report_, ii. p. 125 n.

[29] See local news in the early volumes of _The Montreal Witness_.

[30] I have accepted Durham's, rather than Metcalfe's estimate of the
influence of the Roman Catholic church in Canada.  The latter may be
found in a despatch to Stanley, entitled by Kaye, "State of Parties in
1845" (Kaye, _op. cit._ p. 449).

[31] Hodgins, _Documentary History of Education in Upper Canada_, iii.
p. 298.

[32] MS. letter, 5 December, 1842.

[33] Bell, _Hints to Emigrants_, p. 125.

[34] Hodgins, _Documentary History of Education in Upper Canada_, iii.
p. 266.

[35] _Ibid._ p. 249.

[36] _Memorials of the Rev. John Machar_, D.D., p. 62.

[37] Bagot Correspondence, in the Canadian Archives, _passim_.

[38] _Montreal Gazette_, 8 October, 1839.

[39] _Memorials of the Rev. John Machar_, p. 77.

[40] A strong, probably exaggerated, opinion exists among the older
members of the Canadian community that, while information and
specialization have grown, culture has retreated from the standards set
for it by the former school of English and Scottish college instructors.

[41] "The amount of postage paid by newspapers would be a fair
indication of their circulation....  The postage on the _Christian
Guardian_ was £228, which exceeded by £6 the aggregate postage on the
following newspapers: _Colonial Advocate_, £57; _The Courier_, £45;
_Watchman_, £24; _Brockville Recorder_, £16; _Brockville Gazette_, £6;
_Niagara Gleaner_, £17; _Hamilton Free Press_, £11; _Kingston Herald_,
£11; _Kingston Chronicle_, £10; _Perth Examiner_, £10; _Patriot_, £6;
_St. Catherine's Journal_, £6; _York Observer_, £3."--Egerton Ryerson,
_Story of My Life_, p. 144.

[42] _The Montreal Witness_, December, 1845.  "We do not mean to
criticize those prohibitory regulations, but, however good their
motives, the effect has been to girdle the tree of knowledge in Canada,
by shutting out the people from the only available supplies of books."

[43] _Lord Durham's Report_, ii. p. 138.

[44] Strachan, _A Journal of Visitation to the Western Portion of his
Diocese_ (1842).  Third edition, London, 1846.

[45] _Memorial of the Rev. E. Black, D.D., to the Secretary of State
for the Colonies_.

[46] _Memorials of the Rev. J. Machar, D.D._, p. 38.

[47] Bell, _Hints to Emigrants_, p. 86.

[48] Robinson, _Life of Sir J. B. Robinson_, p. 179.

[49] Dent, _The Last Forty Years_, i. p. 109.

[50] Sir G. Grey to the Rev. E. Black, 25 March, 1837, in
_Correspondence relating to the Churches of England and Scotland in
Canada_ (15 April, 1840).

[51] Bell, _Hints to Emigrants_, p. 101.

[52] Lord Sydenham to Lord John Russell, 22 January, 1840.

[53] Quoted from Dent, _The Last Forty Years_, ii. p. 192.

[54] That is, his bill for dividing the Reserves in certain proportions
among the churches.

[55] Poulett Scrope, _Life of Lord Sydenham_, pp. 160-1.

[56] See the Elgin-Grey Correspondence (Canadian Archives) for the year

[57] Christie, _History of Lower Canada_, v. pp. 113-14.

[58] _Faithful unto Death, a Memorial of John Anderson, late Janitor of
Queen's College_, p. 26.

[59] Sir Charles Bagot to Lord Stanley, 26 September, 1842.

[60] Bagot Correspondence: Cartwright to Bagot, 16 May, 1842.

[61] Arthur to Normanby, 2 July, 1839.

[62] Lord Sydenham to Lord John Russell, 23 February, 1841.

[63] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: W. L. Mackenzie to Major Campbell, 14
February, 1848.

[64] Hincks, _Reminiscences_, p. 15.

[65] Poulett Scrope, _Life of Lord Sydenham_, p. 165.

[66] See, for example, a despatch--Metcalfe to Stanley, 24 June,
1843--descriptive of troubles on the Beauharnois Canal.

[67] A bill of 1833, _penes me_.

[68] Metcalfe to Stanley, 23 December, 1843.




Between 1839 and 1854, four governors-general exercised authority over
Canada, the Right Honourable Charles Poulett Thomson, later Lord
Sydenham, Sir Charles Bagot, Charles, Lord Metcalfe, and the Earl of
Elgin.[1]  Their statesmanship, their errors, the accidents which
modified their policies, and the influence of their decisions and
despatches on British cabinets, constitute on the whole the most
important factor in the creation of the modern Canadian theory of
government.  In consequence, their conduct with reference to colonial
autonomy and all the questions therewith connected, demands the most
careful and detailed treatment.

When Lord John Russell, then leader of the House of Commons, and
Secretary of State for the {71} Colonies, selected a new
governor-general of Canada to complete the work begun by Durham, he
entrusted to him an elaborate system of government, most of it
experimental and as yet untried.  He was to superintend the completion
of that Union between Upper and Lower Canada, which Durham had so
strenuously advocated; and the Union was to be the centre of a general
administrative reconstruction.  The programme outlined in Russell's
instructions proposed "a legislative union of the two provinces, a just
regard to the claims of either province in adjusting the terms of that
union, the maintenance of the three Estates of the Provincial
Legislature, the settlement of a permanent Civil List for securing the
independence of the judges, and, to the executive government, that
freedom of action which is necessary for the public good, and the
establishment of a system of local government by representative bodies,
freely elected in the various cities and rural districts."[2]  In
attaining these ends, all of them obviously to the advantage of the
colony, the Colonial Secretary desired to consult, and, as far as
possible, to defer to Canadian public opinion.[3]


Nevertheless, Lord John Russell had no sooner entered upon his
administrative reforms, than he found himself face to face with a
fundamental constitutional difficulty.  He proposed to play the part of
a reformer in Canada; but the majority of reformers in that province
added to his programme the demand for executive councils, not merely
sympathetic to popular claims, but responsible to the representatives
of the people in a Canadian Parliament.  Now according to all the
traditions of imperial government a demand so far-reaching involved the
disruption of the empire, and ended the connection between Canada and
England.  To this general objection the British minister added a
subtler point in constitutional law.  To yield to colonial reforming
ideas would be to contradict the existing conventions of the
constitution.  "The power for which a minister is responsible in
England," he wrote to his new governor, "is not his own power, but the
power of the crown, of which he is for the time the organ.  It is
obvious that the executive councillor of a colony is in a situation
totally different....  Can the colonial council be the advisers of the
crown of England?  Evidently not, for the crown has other advisers for
the same functions, and with {73} superior authority.  It may happen,
therefore, that the governor receives, at one and the same time,
instructions from the Queen and advice from his executive council
totally at variance with each other.  If he is to obey his instructions
from England, the parallel of constitutional responsibility entirely
fails; if, on the other hand, he is to follow the advice of his
council, he is no longer a subordinate officer, but an independent
sovereign."[4]  The governor-general, then, was in no way to concede to
the Canadian assembly a responsibility and power which resided only in
the British ministry.

At the same time large concessions, in spirit if not in letter, helped
to modify the rigour of this constitutional doctrine.  "I have not
drawn any specific line," Russell wrote at the end of the despatch
already quoted, "beyond which the power of the governor on the one
hand, and the privileges of the assembly on the other, ought not to
extend....  The governor must only oppose the wishes of the assembly
when the honour of the crown, or the interests of the empire, are
deeply concerned; and the assembly must be ready to modify {74} some of
its measures for the sake of harmony, and from a reverent attachment to
the authority of Great Britain."

Two days later, an even more important modification than was contained
in this exhortation to charity and opportunism was proposed.  It had
been the chief grievance in both provinces that the executive positions
in Canada had been filled with men who held them as permanencies, and
in spite of the clamour of public opinion against them.  Popular
representative rights had been more than counterbalanced by entire
executive irresponsibility.  A despatch, nominally of general
application to British colonies, but, under the circumstances, of
special importance to the United Provinces of Canada, changed the
status of colonial executive offices: "You will understand, and will
cause it to be generally known, that hereafter the tenure of colonial
offices held during her Majesty's pleasure, will not be regarded as
equivalent to a tenure during good behaviour, but that not only such
officers will be called upon to retire from the public service as often
as any sufficient motives of public policy may suggest the expediency
of that measure, but that a change in the person of the governor will
be considered as a sufficient reason for any {75} alterations which his
successor may deem it expedient to make in the list of public
functionaries, subject of course to the future confirmation of the
Sovereign.  These remarks do not apply to judicial offices, nor are
they meant to apply to places which are altogether ministerial and
which do not devolve upon the holders of them duties in the right
discharge of which the character and policy of the government are
directly involved.  They are intended to apply rather to the heads of
departments, than to persons serving as clerks or in similar capacities
under them; neither do they extend to officers in the service of the
Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.  The functionaries who will be
chiefly, though not exclusively, affected by them are the Colonial
Secretary, the Treasurer or Receiver-General, the Surveyor-General, the
Attorney and Solicitor-General, the Sheriff or Provost Marshal, and
other officers who, under different designations from these, are
entrusted with the same or similar duties.  To this list must also be
added the Members of the Council, especially in those colonies in which
the Executive and Legislative Councils are distinct bodies."[5]


The importance of this general circular of October 16th is that, at a
time when the Colonial Secretary was exhorting the new governor-general
to part with none of his prerogatives, and in a colony where public
opinion was importuning with some persistence for a more popular
executive, one of the best excuses for withholding from the people
their desires was removed.  The representative of the crown in
consequence found himself with a new and not altogether comfortable
opportunity for exercising his freedom of choice.

It fell to Charles Poulett Thomson, President of the Board of Trade in
the Whig ministry, to carry out the Union of the two Canadian
provinces, and to administer them in accordance with this doctrine of
modified autonomy.  The choice of the government seemed both wise and
foolish.  Poulett Thomson had had an admirable training for the work.
In a colony where trade and commerce were almost everything, he brought
not Durham's aristocratic detachment but a real knowledge of commerce,
since his was a great mercantile family.  In Parliament, he had become
a specialist in the financial and economic issues, which had already
displaced the diplomatic or purely political questions of the last
generation.  {77} His speeches on the revision of taxes, the corn laws,
and British foreign trade, proved that, in a utilitarian age, he knew
the science of utilities and had freed himself from bureaucratic red
tape.  His parliamentary career too had taught him the secret of the
management of assemblies, and Canada would under him be spared the
friction which the rigid attitude of soldiers, trained in the school of
Wellington, had been causing throughout the British colonies for many

There were, however, many who doubted whether the man had a character
and will powerful enough to dominate the turbulent forces of Canadian
politics.  Physically he was far from strong, and almost the first
comment made by Canadians on him was that their new governor-general
came to them a valetudinarian.  There seemed to be other and more
serious elements of weakness.  Charles Greville spoke of him with just
a tinge of good-natured contempt as "very good humoured, pleasing and
intelligent, but the greatest coxcomb I ever saw, and the vainest dog,
though his vanity is not offensive or arrogant";[6] and a writer in the
_Colonial Gazette_, whose words reached Canada {78} almost on the day
when the new governor arrived, warned Canadians of the imbecility of
character which the world attributed to him.  "While therefore," the
article continues, "we repeat our full conviction that Mr. Thomson is
gone to Canada with the opinions and objects which we have here
enumerated, let it be distinctly understood that we have little hope of
seeing them realised, except through the united and steadfast
determination of the Colonists to make use of him as an instrument for
accomplishing their own ends."[7]  With such an introduction one of the
most strongly marked personalities ever concerned with government in
Canada entered on his work.

Strange as it may seem in face of these disparaging comments, the new
governor-general had already determined to make the assertion of his
authority the fundamental thing in his policy, although with him
authority always wore the velvet glove over the iron hand.  In Lower
Canada the suspension of the constitution had already placed
dictatorial powers in his hand; but, even in the Upper Province, he
seemed to have expected that diplomacy would have to be supported by
authority to compel it to come into {79} the Union; and he had no
intention of leaving the supremacy over all British North America,
which had been conferred on him by his title, to lie unused.  The two
strenuous years in which he remade Canada fall into natural
divisions--the brief episode in Lower Canada of the first month after
his arrival; his negotiations with Upper Canada, from November, 1839,
to February, 1840; the interregnum of 1840 which preceded the actual
proclamation of Union, during which he returned to Montreal, visited
the Maritime Provinces, and toured through the Upper Province; and the
decisive months, from February till September 19th, 1841, from which in
some sort modern Canada took its beginnings.

The first month of his governorship, in which he settled the fate of
French Canada, is of greater importance than appears on the surface.
The problem of governing Canada was difficult, not simply because
Britons in Canada demanded self-government, but because self-government
must be shared with French-Canadians.  That section of the community,
distinct as it was in traditions and political methods, might bring
ruin on the Colony either by asserting a supremacy odious to the
Anglo-Saxon elements of the population, or by {80} resenting the
efforts of the British to assimilate or dominate them.  When Poulett
Thomson landed, on October 19th, 1839, at Quebec, he was brought at
once face to face with the relation between French nationalism and the
constitutional resettlement of Canada.

Durham had had no doubt about the true solution.  It was to confer free
institutions on the colony, and to trust to the natural energy and
increase of the Anglo-Saxon element to swamp French _nationalité_.  "I
have little doubt," he said, "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."[8]  It was in
this spirit that his successor endeavoured to govern the French section
in Canada.  Being both rationalist and utilitarian, like others of his
school he minimized the strength of an irrational fact like racial
pride, and, almost from the first he discounted the force of French
opposition, while he let it, consciously or unconsciously, influence
his behaviour towards his French subjects.  "If it were possible," he
wrote in November, 1839, "the best thing for Lower Canada would be a
despotism for ten years {81} more; for, in truth, the people are not
yet fit for the higher class of self-government, scarcely indeed, at
present, for any description of it."[9]  A few months later, his
language had become even stronger:--"I have been back three weeks, and
have set to work in earnest in this province.  It is a bad prospect,
however, and presents a lamentable contrast to Upper Canada.  There
great excitement existed; the people were quarrelling for realities,
for political opinions and with a view to ulterior measures.  Here
there is no such thing as a political opinion.  No man looks to a
practical measure of improvement.  Talk to any one upon education, or
public works, or better laws, let him be English or French, you might
as well talk Greek to him.  Not a man cares for a single practical
measure--the only end, one would suppose, of a better form of
government.  They have only one feeling--a hatred of race."[10]

But at the outset his task was simple.  His powers in Lower Canada, as
he confessed on his first arrival, were of an extraordinary nature; and
indeed it lay with him, and his Special Council, to settle the fate of
the province.  Pushing on {82} from Quebec to Montreal, he lost no time
in calling a meeting of the Special Council, whose members, eighteen in
number, he purposely left unchanged from the regime of his predecessor
On November 13th and 14th, after discussions in which the minority
never exceeded three, that body accepted Union with the Upper Province
in six propositions, affirming the principle of union, agreeing to the
assimilation of the two provincial debts, and declaring it to be their
opinion "that the present temporary legislature should, as soon as
practicable, be succeeded by a permanent legislature, in which the
people of these two provinces may be adequately represented, and their
constitutional rights exercised and maintained."[11]  Before he left
Montreal, he assured the British ministry that the large majority of
those with whom he had spoken, English and French, in the Lower
Province were warm advocates of Union.[12]

Yet here lay his first mis judgment, and one of the most serious he
made.  It was true and obvious that the British inhabitants of Eastern
Canada earnestly desired a union which would promote {83} their racial
interests; true also that a group of Frenchmen took the same point of
view.  But the governor was guilty of a grave political error, when he
ignored the feeling generally prevalent among the French that Union
must be fought.  Colborne's judgment in 1839, that French aversion to
Union was growing less, seems to have been mistaken.[13]  The British
government, more especially in the person of Durham, had not disguised
their intention--the destruction of French nationalism as it had
hitherto existed.  They had taken, and were taking, the risk of
conducting the experiment in the face of a grant of self-government to
the doomed community; and the first governor-general of union and
constitutionalism was now to find that French racial unity, combined
with self-government, was too strong even for his masterful will,
although he had all the weight of Imperial authority behind him.  But,
for the time, Lower Canada had to be left to its council, and the
centre of interest changed to Toronto and Upper Canada.

There, although no racial troubles awaited him, the governor had to
persuade a popular assembly before he could have his way; and there for
the {84} first time he was made aware of the perplexing cross-currents
and side eddies, and confusion of public opinion, which existed
everywhere in Canadian politics.  So doubtful was the main issue that
he debated with himself whether he should venture to meet the Assembly
without a dissolution and election on the definite issue of the Union;
but the need for haste, and his natural inclination to take risks, and
to trust to his powers of management, decided him to face the existing
local parliament.  By the end of November he had arrived at Toronto,
and the Assembly met on December 3rd.  Two plain but difficult tasks
lay before him: to persuade both houses of Parliament to accept his
scheme of Union, and to arrange, on some moderate basis, the whole
Clergy Reserve question.  To complicate these practical duties, the
speculative problem of responsible government, long keenly canvassed in
Toronto, and the peculiar conditions and methods of local politics, lay
as dangerous obstacles in his path.  The manners and methods of the
politicians of Upper Canada drew him even in his despatches into vivid
criticism.  After a month's observation, he sent Russell a long and
very able description of the prevailing disorders.  In spite of a
general loyalty the people {85} had been fretted into vexations and
petty divisions, and for the most part felt deep-rooted animosity
towards the executive authorities.  Indeed, apart from the party bias
of the government, its inefficiency and uncertainty had destroyed all
public confidence in it.  Under the executive government, the authority
of the legislative council had been exercised by a very few
individuals, representing a mere clique in the capital, frequently
opposed both to the government and to the Assembly, and considered by
the people hostile to their interests.  In the lower chamber, the loss
of public influence by the ministry had introduced absolute legislative
chaos, and even the control over expenditure, and the examination of
accounts, were of the loosest and most irregular character.[14]  In a
private letter he allowed himself a freedom of expression which renders
his description the _locus classicus_ for political conditions before
the Union:--"The state of things here is far worse than I had expected.
The country is split into factions animated with the most deadly hatred
to each other.  The people have got into the way of talking so much of
_separation_, {86} that they begin to believe in it.  The
Constitutional party is as bad or worse than the other, in spite of all
their professions of loyalty.  The finances are more deranged than we
believed even in England.  The deficit, £75,000 a year, more than equal
to the income.  All public works suspended.  Emigration going on fast
_from_ the province.  Every man's property worth only half what it was.
When I look to the state of government, and to the departmental
administration of the province, instead of being surprised at the
condition in which I find it, I am only astonished it has been endured
so long.  I know that, much as I dislike Yankee institutions and rule,
I would not have fought against them, which thousands of these poor
fellows, whom the Compact call rebels, did, if it were only to keep up
such a Government as they got....  Then the Assembly is such a House!
Split into half a dozen parties.  The Government having _none--and no
one man_ to depend on!  Think of a house in which half the members hold
places, yet in which the Government does not command a single vote; in
which the place-men generally vote against the Executive; and where
there is no one to defend the Government when attacked, or {87} to
state the opinion and views of the Governor."[15]

With the eye of a political strategist, Poulett Thomson prepared his
alternative system, a curious kind of despotism, based, however, simply
on his own powers of influencing opinion in the House.  It was plain to
him that the previous governments had wantonly neglected public
opinion.[16]  It was also plain that the populace had regarded these
governments as consisting not of the governor with his ministers under
him, but of the Family Compact clique in place of the governor.[17]
The system which he proposed to substitute expressed very fully his
working theory.  Responsible government in the sweeping sense of that
term employed by the reforming party he resisted, holding that, whether
against his ministers, or the electors, he must be personally
responsible for all his administrative acts.  At the same time he
assured parliament that "he had received her Majesty's commands to
administer the government of these provinces in accordance with the
well-understood wishes and interests of the people, and to pay to their
feelings, {88} as expressed through their representatives, the
deference that is justly due to them."[18]  To secure this end, he
called public attention to the despatch from Russell, definitely
announcing the change of tenure of all save judicial and purely
ministerial places, thereby making it clear that no man would be
retained in office longer than he seemed acceptable to the governor and
the community.  Then he set to work to build up, out of moderate men
drawn from all groups, a party of compromise and good sense to support
him and his ministry; and finally, he claimed for himself the central
authority without any modifying conditions.  Concerning the ultimate
seat of that authority he never hesitated.  Whatever power he had came
from the Home Ministry as representing the Crown, and to them alone he
acknowledged responsibility.  For the rest, he had to carry on the
Queen's government; that is, to govern Canada so that peace and
prosperity might remain unshaken; and as a first condition he had to
defer to the wishes of the people.  But it cannot be too strongly
re-asserted that he refused to surrender one iota of his
responsibility, and that the ideal which he set for himself was a
combination of governor and prime-minister.  The efficiency {89} of his
system was to depend on the honestly benevolent intentions which the
governor-general cherished towards the people, and on the fidelity of
both the ministry and the parliamentary majority established and
secured through belief in those intentions.

The new system met with an astounding success.  The scheme of Union was
laid before both Houses.  On the thirteenth of December the Council,
which had hitherto been the chief obstacle, approved of the scheme by
fourteen votes to eight, the minority consisting of Toronto 'die-hards'
with the Bishop, recalcitrant as usual, at their head.  Ten days later,
the governor-general was able to assure Russell that the Lower House
had, after some strenuous debates and divisions, assented also; the
only change from his own outline being an amendment that "such part of
the civil list as did not relate to the salaries of the judges, and the
governor, and the administration of justice, which are made permanent,
should be granted for the lifetime of the Queen, or for a period of not
less than ten years."[19]  On one point, not without its influence in
embittering opinion among the French, {90} Parliament and Governor were
agreed, that while the debates in the Union parliament might be
conducted in either English or French, in the publication of all
records of the Legislature the English language only should be

Swept on by this great initial success, Poulett Thomson determined if
possible to settle the Clergy Reserve trouble out of hand.  As has been
shown above, this ecclesiastical difficulty affected the whole life of
the community; and its settlement would mean peace, such as Upper
Canada had not known for a generation.  The pacificator, however, had
to face two groups of irreconcilables, the Bishop of Toronto with his
extremist following, and the secularizing party resolute to have done
with any form of subsidy to religion.  As he himself confessed, he had
little hope of succeeding in the Assembly, but he trusted to his new
popularity, then at its spring tide, and he won.  Before the end of
January the question had been settled on a compromise, by a majority of
28 to 20 in the Assembly, and of 14 to 4 in the Council.  It was even
more satisfactory to know that out of 22 members of Assembly who were
communicants of the Church of England, only 8 {91} voted in favour of
the _status quo_.  There was but one set-back.  Legal opinion in
England decided that the local assembly had not powers to change the
original act of 1791; and in the Imperial legislation which this check
made necessary, other influences crept in, and the governor-general
bitterly complained that the monstrous proportion allotted to the
Church of England, and the miserable proportion set apart for other
churches, rendered the Act only less an evil than if the question had
been left unsettled.[21]  Still, the settlement retained existing
reserves for religious purposes, ended the creation of fresh reserves,
divided past sales of land between the Churches of England and of
Scotland, and arranged for the distribution of the proceeds of future
sales roughly in proportion to the numbers and importance of all the
churches in Canada.  It was not an ideal arrangement, but quiet men
were anxious to clear the obstacle from the way, and through such men
Poulett Thomson worked his will.  It is the most striking testimony to
the governor's power of management that, as a politician stated in
1846, three-quarters of the people believed the arrangement unjust and
partial, and acquiesced only because their political head desired it.
But {92} the end was not yet, and the uneasy ambition of the Bishop of
Toronto was in a few years to bring on his head just retribution for
the strife his policy continued to create.  Nothing now remained but to
close this, the last parliament of Upper Canada under the old regime,
and the governor, who never suffered from lack of self-appreciative
optimism, wrote home in triumph: "Never was such unanimity.  When the
speaker read my speech in the Commons, after the prorogation, they gave
me three cheers, in which even the ultras joined."[22]  It was perhaps
the last remnant of this pardonable exultation which swept him over the
360 miles between Toronto and Montreal in thirty-six hours, breaking
all records for long-distance sleighing in the province.

The primary duty of the governor had now been accomplished, for he had
persuaded both local governments to accept an Imperial Act of Union,
and it might seem natural to pass over the intervening months, until
Union had been officially proclaimed, and the first Union parliament
had been elected and had met.  But the _interregnum_ from February,
1840, to February, 1841, must not be ignored.  In these twelve short
months he turned {93} once again to the problem of Lower Canada,
hurried on a short visit to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to settle
constitutional difficulties there, returned in a kind of triumphal
procession through the English-speaking district of Lower Canada known
as the Eastern Townships,[23] and spent the autumn in a tour through
the Western part of the newly united colony.  It was only fitting that
a grateful Queen and Ministry should bestow on him a peerage;
henceforward he must appear as Baron Sydenham of Sydenham and Toronto.

But apart from these mere physical activities, he was preparing for the
culmination of his work in the new parliament.  It must be remembered
not only that he distrusted the intelligence and initiative of colonial
ministers too much to dream of giving place to them, but that his
theory of his own position--the benevolent despot, secured in his
supremacy through popular management--forced on him an elaborate
programme of useful administration.  He must face the new Parliament
with a good record, and definite promises.  The failure of the home
ministry to include the local government clauses, which formed a
fundamental {94} part of the Union Bill, made such efforts even more
necessary than before.  It had been plain to Durham and Charles Buller,
as well as to Sydenham, that, if an Act of Union were to pass, it could
only be made operative by joining to it an entirely new system of local
government.  Accordingly, when opposition forced Russell to omit the
essential clauses from his Act of Union, Sydenham penned one of his
most vigorous despatches in reply.  "Owing to this (rejection), duties
the most unfit to be discharged by the general legislature are thrown
upon it; powers equally dangerous to the subject and to the Crown are
assumed by the Assembly.  The people receive no training in those
habits of self-government which are indispensable to enable them
rightly to exercise the power of choosing representatives in
parliament.  No field is open for the gratification of ambition in a
narrow circle, and no opportunity given for testing the talents or
integrity of those who are candidates for popular favour.  The people
acquire no habits of self-dependence for the attainment of their own
local objects.  Whatever uneasiness they may feel--whatever little
improvement in their respective neighbourhoods may appear to be
neglected, afford grounds for complaint against the executive.  All
{95} is charged upon the Government, and a host of discontented spirits
are ever ready to excite these feelings.  On the other hand, whilst the
Government is thus brought directly in contact with the people, it has
neither any officer in its own confidence, in the different parts of
these extended provinces, from whom it can seek information, nor is
there any recognized body, enjoying the public confidence, with whom it
can communicate, either to determine what are the real wants and wishes
of the locality, or through whom it may afford explanation."[24]

Nothing could be done to remedy the evil in Upper Canada, until the new
parliament had met, but the temporary dictatorship still remained in
French Canada, and at once Sydenham set to work to create all that he
wanted there, recognizing shrewdly that what had been granted in the
Lower Province to the French must prove a powerful argument for a
similar grant to Upper Canada, when the time should come for action.
About the same time, he established by ordinance a popular system of
registry offices, to simplify the difficulties introduced into land
transfers by the French law--"all {96} the old French law of before the
Revolution, _Hypothèques tacites et occultes_, Dowers' and Minors'
rights, _Actes par devant notaires_, and all the horrible processes by
which the unsuspecting are sure to be deluded, and the most wary are
often taken in."[25]

Curiously enough, although his love of good government drove him to
amend conditions among the French, Sydenham's relations with that
people seem to have grown steadily worse.  He had made advances to the
foremost French politician, La Fontaine, offering him the
solicitor-generalship of Lower Canada; but La Fontaine, who never had
any enthusiasm for British Whig statesmanship,[26] regarded the offer
as a bribe to draw him away from his countrymen and their national
ideal, and declined it, thereby increasing the tension.  Thus, as the
time for the election drew near, the French were still further
hardening their hearts against the governor-general of United Canada,
and Sydenham, his patience now exhausted, could but exclaim in baffled
anger, "As for the French, nothing but time will do anything with them.
They hate British rule--British connection--improvements of {97} all
kinds, whether in their laws or their roads; so they will sulk, and
will try, that is, their leaders, to do all the mischief they can."[27]

Meantime he had prepared two other politic strokes before he called
Parliament: the regulation of immigration, and a project for raising a
British loan in aid of Canadian public works.  Immigration, more
especially now that the current had set once more towards Canada, was
one of the essential facts in the life of the colony; and yet the evils
attendant on it were still as obvious as the gains.  Most of the
defects so vividly portrayed by Durham and his commissioners still
persisted--unsuitable immigrants, over-crowded ships, disease which
spread from ship to land and overcrowded the local hospitals, wretched
and poverty-stricken masses lingering impotently at Quebec, and a
straggling line of westbound settlers, who obtained work and land with
difficulty and after many sorrows.[28]  Sydenham had none of Gibbon
Wakefield's doctrinaire enthusiasm on the subject; and, as he said, the
inducements, to parishes and landlords to send out their surplus
population were already {98} sufficiently strong.  But much could and
must be done by way of remedy.  It was his plan to regulate more
strictly the conditions on board emigrant ships, and to humanize the
process of travelling.  Government agents must safeguard the rights of
ignorant settlers; relief, medical and otherwise, should be in
readiness for the destitute and afflicted when they arrived; sales of
land were to be simplified and made easier; and a system of public
works might enable the local authorities to solve two problems at one
time, by giving the poorer settler steady employment, and by completing
the great tasks, only half performed in days when money and labour
alike were wanting.[29]  The final achievement of these objects
Sydenham reserved until he should meet parliament, but he had laid his
plans, and had primed the home authorities with facts long before that

In the same way he had foreseen the need of Canada for Imperial
assistance, both in her public works, and in her finance.  Assistance
in the former of these matters was peculiarly important.  Colonists,
more especially in the Upper Province, had undertaken the development
of Canadian natural resources, but poverty had called a halt {99}
before the development was complete, or, by preventing necessary
additions and improvements, had rendered useless what had already been
done.  Conspicuous among such imperfect works were the canals; and
Sydenham realized the strange dilemma into which provincial enterprise
seemed doomed to run.  The province, he told Russell, was sinking under
the weight of engagements which it could only meet by fresh outlay,
whilst that outlay the condition of its credit preventing it from
making.[30]  He was therefore prepared to come before the United
Parliament with a proposal, backed by the British Ministry, for a great
loan of £1,500,000 to be negotiated by the home government, and to be
utilized, partly in redeeming the credit of the province, and partly in
completing its public works.  "It will therefore be absolutely
necessary that Her Majesty's government should enable the governor of
the province of Canada to afford this relief when the Union is
completed, and the financial statement takes place; and I know of no
better means than those originally proposed--of guaranteeing a loan
which would remove a considerable charge arising from the high rate of
interest payable by the province on the debt already contracted, or
{100} which it would have to pay for raising fresh loans which may be
required hereafter for great local improvements."[31]

There remained now the last and greatest of Sydenham's labours before
his stewardship could be honourably accounted for and surrendered, the
summoning, meeting, and managing, of a parliament representative of
that Canada, English and French, which he had restored and irritated.
His reputation must depend the more on this political adventure,
because he had already determined that 1841 should be his last year in
Canada--he would not stay, he said, though they made him Duke of Canada
and Prince of Regiopolis.  And indeed the Parliament of 1841, in all
its circumstances, still remains one of the salient points in modern
Canadian history.

The Union came into force on the tenth of February, but long before
that time all the diverse political interests in Canada had organized
themselves for the fray.  Sydenham himself naturally occupied the
foremost place.  He was acting now, not merely as governor-general, but
as the prime minister of a new cabinet, and as a party manager, {101}
whose main duty it was to secure parliamentary support for his men and
his measures by the maintenance of a sound central group.  By the
beginning of the year he thought he had evidence for believing that, in
Upper Canada, a great majority of the members would be men who had at
heart the welfare of the province, and the British connection, and who
desired to make the Act of Union operate to the advantage of the
country.[32]  But even in Upper Canada there were doubtful elements.
The Family Compact men, few as they might be in number, were unlikely
to leave their enemy, the governor-general, in peace; nor were all the
Reformers prepared to acquiesce in Sydenham's very restrained and
limited interpretation of responsible government.  Late in 1840, and
early in 1841, the Upper Canadian progressives had organized their
strength; and additional significance was given to their action by
their communications with Lower Canada.[33]  There, indeed, was the
crux of the experiment.  The French Canadians, already organized in
sullen opposition, had just received what they counted a fresh insult.
But Sydenham may be allowed to {102} explain his own action.  "There
were," he wrote to Russell in March, 1841, "attached to the cities,
both of Montreal and Quebec, very extensive suburbs, inhabited
generally by a poor population, unconnected with the mercantile
interests to which these cities owe their importance.  Had these cities
been brought within the electoral limits, the number of their
population would have enabled them to return one, if not both, of the
members for each city.  But such a result would have been directly at
variance with the grounds on which increased representation was given
by Parliament to these cities.  On referring to the discussions which
took place in both houses when the Union Bill was before them, I find
that members on all sides laid great stress on the necessity of
securing ample representation to the mercantile interests of Canada....
Feeling myself, therefore, bound in duty to carry out the views of the
British parliament in this matter, _I was compelled in fixing the
limits of Quebec and Montreal to transfer to the county a large portion
of the suburbs of each_."[34]  Whatever Sydenham's intentions may have
been, the actual result of his action was to secure for his party four
seats in the very heart of the enemy's country; {103} and the French
Canadians, naturally embittered, resented the governor's action as a
piece of gerrymandering, which had practically disfranchised many
French voters.  Already, in 1840, under the active leadership of
Neilson of Quebec, a British supporter of French claims, an anti-union
movement had been started.[35]  In July of the same year La Fontaine
visited Toronto, to canvass, said scandal, for the speaker's chair in
the united assembly; and in any case he was able to assure his
compatriots that they had sympathizers among the British in the West.
The Tory paper in Sydenham's new capital, Kingston, in a review and
forecast of the situation, settled on this Anglo-French co-operation as
one of the serious possibilities of the future;[36] and Sydenham as he
watched developments in the Lower Province, found himself growing
unwontedly pessimistic.  "In Lower Canada," he wrote, "the elections
will be bad.  The French Canadians have forgotten nothing and learnt
nothing by the Rebellion, and the suspension of the constitution, and
are more unfit for representative government {104} than they were in
1791.  In most of the French counties, members, actuated by the old
spirit of the Assembly, and without any principle except that of
inveterate hostility to British rule and British connection, will be
returned without a possibility of opposition."[37]

The elections began on the 8th of March, and the date on which
parliament was to meet was postponed, first from April 8th to May 26th,
and then, in consequence of the continued lateness of the season,[38]
from May 26th to June 14th.  The result of the elections, known early
in April, gave matter for serious thought to many, Sydenham himself not
excluded.  Absolute precision is difficult, but Sydenham's biographer
has tabulated the groups as follows:

  Government Members - - - -  24
  French Members - - - - - -  20
  Moderate Reformers - - - -  20
  Ultra Reformers  - - - - -   5
  Compact Party  - - - - - -   7
  Doubtful - - - - - - - - -   6
  Special Return - - - - - -   1
  Double Return  - - - - - -   1


In the confusion of groups, Sydenham still trusted to the centre--a
party almost precisely similar to that which in 1867 was called
Liberal-Conservative.  This centre he hoped to create out of moderate
Conservatives who had enlarged their earlier views, and moderate
Reformers who anxiously desired to see Sydenham's proposed improvements
carried out.[40]  A shrewd observer, himself a member, and
appreciatively critical of Sydenham's work, counted at least five
parties in the new parliament.  Three of these groups came from Upper
Canada--the Conservatives under Sir Allan MacNab; the Ministerialists,
that is the Reformers and moderate Conservatives, under the
Attorney-General Draper, and the Secretary Harrison, and the
ultra-reformers who looked to Robert Baldwin for guidance.  From Lower
Canada came the French nationalists, with some British supporters,
under Morin, Neilson, and Aylwin, and the defenders of the Union
policy, chiefly British, but with a few conservative French allies.
"The division lists of the session 1841," writes the same observer,
"cannot fail to strike anyone acquainted with the state of parties, as
extraordinary.  Mr. Baldwin on several occasions voted with
considerable {106} majorities in opposition to the Government, while as
frequently he was in insignificant minorities.  There was a decided
tendency towards a coalition with the Reformers of French origin, on
the part of Sir Allan MacNab and the Upper Canada Conservatives.  The
Ministerial strength lay in the support which it received from the
British party of Lower Canada, and from the majority of the Upper
Canada Reformers."[41]  Well might Sydenham speak of the delusive
nature of the party nicknames borrowed by his legislators from England.

Whatever were the characteristic faults of the parliament in 1841,
sloth was not one of them.  All through the summer it worked with
feverish energy.  Writing to his brother at the end of August, Sydenham
boasted--"The five great works I aimed at have been got through--the
establishment of a board of works with ample powers; the admission of
aliens; a new system of county courts; the regulation of the public
lands ceded by the Crown under the Union Act; and lastly the District
Council Bill.  I think you will admit this to be pretty good work for
one session, especially when superadded to half a dozen minor measures,
as well {107} as the fact of having set up a government, brought
together two sets of people, who hated each other cordially, and
silenced all the threatened attacks upon the Union, which were expected
to be so formidable....  What do you think of this, you miserable
people in England, who spend two years upon a single measure?"[42]

But the chief significance of the session lies in the persistent
warfare waged between Sydenham and the advocates of a more extended
system of autonomy.  The result, as will be shewn, was indecisive, but,
under the circumstances a drawn battle was equivalent to defeat for the

Sydenham had never before flung himself so completely into the fight.
"I actually breathe, eat, drink, and sleep nothing but government and
politics," was his own description of life in Kingston.  He had
accomplished with little resistance from others all that his opening
speech had promised.  His ministry owned him as their actively
directing head.  His power of managing individuals in spite of
themselves passed into a jest.  Playing with men's vanity, tampering
with their interests, their passions and their prejudices, placing
himself in a position of familiarity with those from whom {108} he
might at once obtain assistance and information--such, according to an
eccentric writer of the day, were the secrets of Sydenham's
success.[43]  Few men ever played the part of benevolent despot more
admirably, and his achievements were the more creditable because he
could count on no allegiance except that which he induced by his
persuasive arts, and by the proofs he had given of a sincere desire to
promote Canadian prosperity.

Nevertheless, throughout the summer months, there occurred a series of
sharp encounters with a half-organized party of reform; and the end of
the session, while it saw Sydenham successful, saw also his adversaries
as eager as ever, and much more learned than they had been in the ways
of political opposition and agitation.  The opposition leaders massed
their whole strength on one fundamental point--the claim to possess as
fully as their fellow-citizens in Great Britain did, the cabinet and
party system of government.  In other words, if any group, or coalition
of groups, should succeed in establishing an ascendency in the popular
assembly, that ascendency must receive acknowledgment by the creation
of a cabinet, and the appointment of {109} a prime minister, approved
by the parliamentary majority and responsible to them; and Sydenham's
ingenious device of an eclectic ministry responsible to him alone was
denounced as unconstitutional.  The first encounter came, two days
before the session started, and Robert Baldwin of Toronto was the
leader of the revolt.  In February, 1840, Sydenham had invited Robert
Baldwin to be his Solicitor-General in the Upper Province.  Baldwin,
although his powers were not those of a politician of the first rank,
was perhaps the soundest constitutionalist in Western Canada.  He had
been from the first a reformer, but he had never encouraged the wild
ideas of the rebels of 1837.  Sir F. B. Head had called him to his
councils in 1836, as a man "highly respected for his moral character,
moderate in his politics and possessing the esteem and confidence of
all parties,"[44] and only Head's impracticability had driven him from
public service.  There is not a letter or official note from his pen,
which does not bear the stamp of unusual conscientiousness, and a very
earnest desire to serve his country.  So little was he a self-seeker,
that he earned the lasting ill-will of his eldest son by passing a bill
abolishing primogeniture, and thus {110} ending any hopes that existed
of founding a great colonial family.  The Earl of Elgin, who saw much
of him after 1847, regarded him not merely as a great public servant,
but as one who was worth "two regiments to the British connection," and
perhaps the most truly conservative statesman in the province.[45]  In
his quiet, determined way, he had made up his mind that responsible
government, in the sense condemned by both Sydenham and Russell, must
be secured for Canada, and Sydenham's benevolent plans did not disguise
from him the insidious attempt to limit what he counted the legitimate
constitutional liberty of the colony.  It cannot justly be objected
that his acceptance of office misled the governor-general, either in
1840 or in 1841.  "I distinctly avow," he wrote publicly in 1840,
"that, in accepting office, I consider myself to have given a public
pledge that I have a reasonably well-grounded confidence that the
government of my country is to be carried on in accordance with the
principles of Responsible Government which I have ever held....  I have
not come into office by means of any coalition with the
Attorney-General,[46] or with any others now in {111} the public
service, but have done so under the governor-general, and expressly
from my confidence in him."[47]  In the same way, when Sydenham chose
him for the Solicitor-Generalship of Upper Canada in the Union
Ministry, Baldwin, who had no belief in Sydenham's cabinet of all the
talents, wrote bluntly to say that he "had an entire want of political
confidence in all of his colleagues except Mr. Dunn, Mr. Harrison, and
Mr. Daly."[48]  In view of his later action, his critics charged him
with error in thus accepting an office which placed him in an
impossible position; but Baldwin's ready answer was: "The head of the
government, the heads of departments in both provinces, and the country
itself, were in a position almost anomalous.  That of the head of the
government was one of great difficulty and embarrassment.  While he
(Baldwin) felt bound to protect himself against misapprehensions as to
his views and opinions, he also felt bound to avoid, as far as
possible, throwing any difficulties in the way of the governor-general.
At the time he was called to a seat in the Executive Council, he was
already one of those public servants, the political character {112}
newly applied to whose office made it necessary for them to hold seats
in that Council.  Had he, on being called to take that seat, refused to
accept it, he must of course have left office altogether, or have been
open to the imputation of objecting to an arrangement for the conduct
of public affairs which had always met with his most decided
approbation."[49]  At worst, the Solicitor-General can only be blamed
for letting his abnormally sensitive conscience lead him into political
casuistry, the logic of which might not appear so cogent to the
governor as to himself, when the crisis should come.  How sensitive
that conscience was, may be gathered from the fact that his acceptance
of office in 1841 was accompanied with an avowal of want of confidence,
made openly to those colleagues with whom he disagreed.  It was further
illustrated when he made a difficulty with Sydenham over taking the
Oath of Supremacy, which, in a country, many of whose inhabitants were
Roman Catholics protected in their religion by treaty rights, declared
that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or
ought to have any jurisdiction, {113} power, superiority, pre-eminence
of authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm."[50]

The crisis came, as Baldwin expected it to come, when parliament met.
Already, as has been seen, the French Canadians had organized their
forces and formed the most compact group in the Assembly, while the
little band of determined reformers from Upper Canada made up in
decision and principle what they lacked in numbers.  Hincks, who was
one of the latter group, says that, before parliament met, the two
sections consulted together concerning the government, and although La
Fontaine had lost his election through a display of physical force on
the other side, Baldwin was able to lead the combined groups into
action.  On June 12th, he wrote to Sydenham stating that the United
Reform Party represented the political views of the vast majority of
Canadians, that four ministers--Sullivan, Ogden, Draper, and Day--were
hostile to popular sympathies and ideals, and that he thought the
accession of Lower Canada Reformers absolutely essential to a sound
popular administration.  It was a perfectly consistent, if somewhat
unhappily executed, attempt to secure {114} the absolute responsibility
of the Executive Council to the representatives of the people; and a
week later, in the Assembly, when no longer in office, he defended his
action.  He believed that when the election had determined of what
materials the House of Assembly was to be composed, it then became his
duty to inform the head of the government that the administration did
not possess the confidence of the House of Assembly, and to tender to
the representative of his sovereign the resignation of the office which
he held, having first, as he was bound to do, offered his advice to his
Excellency that the administration of the country should be

It was the directest possible challenge to Sydenham's system.
Baldwin's claim was that, once the representatives of the people had
made known the people's will, it was the duty of the ministry to
reflect that will in their programme and actions, or to resign.  As for
the governor-general, he must obviously adjust whatever theories he
might have, to a situation where colonial ministers were content to
hold office only where they had the confidence of the people.

The action of the governor-general was {115} characteristically
summary.  His answer to Baldwin reproved him for a "proposal in the
highest degree unconstitutional, as dictating to the crown who are the
particular individuals whom it should include in the ministry";
intimated the extreme displeasure of his Excellency, and assumed the
letter to be equivalent to resignation.[52]  To the home government he
spoke of the episode with anger and some contempt: "Acting upon some
principle of conduct which I can reconcile neither with honour nor
common sense, he strove to bring about this union (between Upper and
Lower Canadian reformers), and at last, having as he thought effected
it, coolly proposed to me, on the day before Parliament was to meet, to
break up the Government altogether, dismiss several of his colleagues,
and replace them by men whom I believe he had not known for 24
hours--but who are most of them thoroughly well known in Lower Canada
as the principal opponents of any measure for the improvement of the

The crisis once passed, Sydenham hoped, and not without justification,
that Baldwin would carry few supporters over to the opposition, and
{116} that the Assembly would settle quietly down to enact the measures
so bountifully set out in the opening speech.  The first day of
Assembly saw the party of responsible government make a smothered
effort to state their views in the debate on the election of a speaker.
On June 18th, an elaborate debate, nominally on the address, really on
the fundamental point, found the attorney-general stating the case for
the government, and Baldwin and Hincks pushing the logic of responsible
government to its natural conclusion.  Baldwin once more grappled with
the problem of the responsibility of the members of council, and the
advice they should offer to the governor-general.  He admitted freely
that unless the representative of the sovereign should acquiesce in the
measures so recommended, there would be no means by which that advice
could be made practically useful; but this consideration did not for a
moment relieve a member of the council from the fulfilment of an
imperative duty.  If his advice were accepted, well and good; if not,
his course would be to tender his resignation.[54]


The government came triumphantly out of the ordeal, and all amendments,
whether affecting the Union, or responsible government, were defeated
by majorities, usually of two to one.  "I have got the large majority
of the House ready to support me upon any question that can arise,"
Sydenham wrote at the end of June; "and, what is better, thoroughly
convinced that their constituents, so far as the whole of Upper Canada
and the British part of Lower Canada are concerned, will never forgive
them if they do not."[55]

But the enemy was not so easily routed.  There had been much violence
at the recent elections; and, among others, La Fontaine had a most just
complaint to make, for disorder, and, as he thought, government
trickery had ousted him from a safe seat at Terrebonne.  Unfortunately
the protests were lodged too late, and a furious struggle sprang up, as
to whether the legal period should, in the cases under consideration,
be extended, or whether, as the government contended, an inquiry and
amendments affecting only the future should suffice.  It was ominous
for the cause of limited responsibility, that the government had to own
defeat in the Lower House, and saved itself only {118} by the veto of
the Legislative Council.  Nor was that the end.  A mosaic work of
opposition, old Tories, French Canadians, British anti-unionists, and
Upper Canada Reformers, was gradually formed, and at any moment some
chance issue might lure over a few from the centre to wreck the
administration.  Most of the greater measures passed through the ordeal
safely, including a bill reforming the common schools and another
establishing a Board of Works.  The critical moment of the latter part
of the session, however, came with the introduction of a bill to
establish District Councils in Upper Canada, to complete the work
already done in Lower Canada.  The forces in opposition rallied to the
attack, Conservatives because the bill would increase the popular
element in government, Radicals because the fourth clause enacted that
the governor of the province might appoint, under the Great Seal of the
province, fit and proper persons to hold during his pleasure the office
of Warden of the various districts;[56] and, as Sydenham himself
hinted, there were those who regretted the loss to members of Assembly
of a great opportunity for jobbery.  One motion passed by the
chairman's casting vote; {119} and nothing, in the governor-general's
judgment, saved the bill but the circumstance of his having already
established such councils in Lower Canada.[57]

There was one more attack in force before the session ended.  On
September 3rd, Baldwin, seconded by a French Canadian, moved "that the
most important as well as the most undoubted of the political rights of
the people of the province, is that of having a provincial parliament
for the protection of their liberties, for the exercise of a
constitutional influence over the executive departments of the
government, and for legislation upon all matters, which do not on the
ground of absolute necessity constitutionally belong to the
jurisdiction of the Imperial parliament, as the paramount authority of
the Empire."[58]  The issue was stated moderately but quite directly,
and there are critics of Sydenham who hold that his answer--for it was
his voice that spoke--surrendered the whole position.  That answer took
the form of resolutions, moved by the most moderate reformer in the
Assembly, S. B. Harrison:

(i) That the head of the provincial executive {120} government of the
province, being within the limits of his government the representative
of the Sovereign, is not constitutionally responsible to any other than
the authority of the Empire.

(ii) That the representative of the Sovereign, for the proper conduct
and efficient disposal of public business, is necessarily obliged to
make use of the advice and assistance of subordinate officers in the
administration of his government.

(iii) That in order to preserve the harmony between the different
branches of the Provincial Parliament which is essential to the happy
conduct of public affairs, the principal of such subordinate officers,
advisers of the representative of the Sovereign, and constituting as
such the provincial administration under him ... ought always to be men
possessed of the public confidence of the people, thus affording a
guarantee that the well-understood wishes and interests of the people,
which our gracious Sovereign has declared shall be the rule of the
Provincial Government, will on all occasions be faithfully represented
and advocated.

(iv) That the house has the constitutional right of holding such
advisers politically responsible for every act of the Provincial
Government of a local {121} character sanctioned by such government
while such advisers continue in office."[59]

Of Sydenham's own doctrine of colonial government the outlines are
unmistakeable.  A governor-general existed, responsible for his actions
solely to the imperial authority.  Under that government the people had
full liberty to elect their representatives, through whom their desires
could be made known.  It was the duty of the governor-general to
consult, on every possible detail, the popular will.  Sydenham
therefore held it essential that the governor-general in Canada should
be one trained in the Imperial Parliament to interpret and to guide
popular expression of opinion; and he believed that in such
parliamentary diplomacy the governor-general would have to make many
minor surrenders.  But he never recoiled from a position, which was
also that of Durham, that, as the proclamation of Union asserted, the
grant of local autonomy was subject to certain limitations, and that
these limitations no action of the Provincial Legislature could affect.
Nor did he admit that his own responsibility to the Crown could be
modified by the existence of a responsibility on the {122} part of his
ministers to the Canadian people.  Moreover, his own imperious temper
and sense of superior enlightenment made him act in the very spirit of
his doctrine with a resolution which few imperial servants of his time
could have surpassed.  It may be then that the final resolutions, and
especially the last of them, were marked by a gentler mode of
expression than before, but they were actually a reaffirmation of
Sydenham's early views, and were quite consistent with the initial
despatch of the colonial secretary.

The end was now near.  Sydenham had already applied for and received
permission, first to leave Canada, should his health require that step,
and then, to resign.  He had delayed to act on this permission, until
he should see the end of the session, and the accomplishment of his
ambitions.  But, on September 4th, a fall from horseback inflicted
injuries which grew more complicated through his generally enfeebled
condition, and he died on Sunday, September 19th.  On the preceding
day, one of the most useful and notable sessions in the history of the
Canadian Parliament came to an end.

Both by his errors, and by his acts of statesmanship, Sydenham
contributed more than any other {123} man, except Elgin, to establish
that autonomy in Canada which his theories rejected.  Before
self-government could flourish in the colony, there must be some solid
material progress, and two years of incessant legislation and
administrative innovation, all of it suggested by Sydenham, had turned
the tide of Canadian fortunes.  It was necessary, too, that some larger
field than a trivial provincial assembly with its local jobs should be
provided for the new adventure in self-government; and Sydenham not
only engineered a difficult Act of Union past all preliminary
obstacles, but, of his own initiative, gave Canada the local
institutions through which alone the country could grow into
disciplined self-dependence.

But even his errors aided Canadian development.  Acting for a
government in whose counsels there was no hesitation, Sydenham
expounded in word and practice a perfectly self-consistent theory of
colonial government.  It was he who, by the virility of his thought and
action, forced those who demanded responsible government to test and
think over again their own position.  The criticism which Elgin passed
on him in 1847 is final: "I never cease to marvel what study of human
nature, or of history, led him to the conclusion {124} that it would be
possible to concede to a pushing and enterprising people, unencumbered
by an aristocracy, and dwelling in the immediate vicinity of the United
States, such constitutional privileges as were conferred on Canada at
the time of Union, and yet restrict in practice their powers of
self-government as he proposed."[60]  Yet he had raised the question,
for both sides, to a higher level, and his adversaries owed something
of their triumph, when it came, to the man who had taught them a more
spacious view of politics.

But it may be urged that he roused the French, insulted them, excluded
them, and almost precipitated a new French rising.  Undoubtedly he was
an enemy to French claims, but, at the time, most of these claims were
inadmissible.  The French had brought the existing system of local
government to a standstill.  Few of those who took part in the
Rebellion had any reasonable or adequate conception of a reformed
constitution.  As a people they had set themselves to obstruct the
statesmen who came to assist them, and to oppose a Union which was
doubtless imperfect as an instrument of government, but which was a
necessary stage in the construction of a {125} better system.  Here
again Sydenham aimed at carrying out a perfectly clear and consistent
programme, the political blending of the French with the British
colonists.  Unfortunately that programme was impossible.  It had been
constructed by men who did not understand the racial problem, and who,
even if they had understood it, would not have accepted the modern
solution.  Yet French nationalism, between 1839 and 1841, had certain
negative lessons still to learn.  As, in Upper Canada, Robert Baldwin
discovered from his opposition to the governor-general the methods and
limits of parliamentary opposition, so La Fontaine, the worthiest
representative of French Canada, began in these years to substitute
constitutional co-operation with the reformers of the West, for the old
sullen negative nationalism which had failed so utterly in 1837, as the
most suitable means for maintaining the rights of his people.

[1] I disregard Cathcart's tenure of office.  For all practical
purposes it was merely that of an acting governor.

[2] Instructions to the Right Hon. C. Poulett Thomson, 7 September,

[3] _Ibid._

[4] Lord John Russell to the Rt. Hon. C. Poulett Thomson, 14 October,

[5] Lord John Russell to the Right Hon. C. P. Thomson, 16 October, 1839.

[6] Greville, _A Journal of the Reigns of George IV. and William IV._,
iii. p. 330.

[7] Quoted from _The Kingston Chronicle and Gazette_, 19 October, 1839.

[8] _Lord Durham's Report_ (Lucas), ii. p. 307.

[9] Poulett Scrope, _Life of Lord Sydenham_, p. 148.

[10] Poulett Scrope, p. 168.

[11] _Journals of the Special Council of Lower Canada_, 13 November,

[12] The Right Hon. C. P. Thomson to Lord John Russell, 18 November,

[13] Sir John Colborne to Lord Normanby, 19 August, 1839.

[14] The Right Hon. C. P. Thomson to Lord John Russell, 15 December

[15] Poulett Scrope, pp. 148-9.

[16] The Right Hon. C. P. Thomson to Lord John Russell, 15 December,

[17] _Ibid._

[18] Poulett Scrope, p. 163.

[19] _Correspondence relative to the Reunion of Upper and Lower Canada_
(23rd March, 1840), p. 20.

[20] _Ibid._ p. 33.

[21] Sydenham to Russell, 13 January, 1841.

[22] Poulett Scrope, p. 164.

[23] Poulett Scrope, p. 183.  "I have done nothing for two days, but
pass under triumphal arches, and receive addresses of thanks and

[24] Correspondence relative to the Affairs of Canada (1841): The Right
Hon. C. P. Thomson to Lord John Russell, 16 September, 1840.

[25] Poulett Scrope, p. 198.

[26] Baldwin Correspondence: La Fontaine to Baldwin, 26 July, 1845,
"You know that I do not like the Whigs."

[27] Poulett Scrope, p. 181.

[28] See a report from the agent for emigration at Toronto, made to
Sydenham, 6 January, 1841.

[29] Sydenham to Russell, 26 January, 1841.

[30] Sydenham to Russell, 22 February, 1841.

[31] The Right Hon. C. P. Thomson to Lord John Russell, 27 June, 1840.

[32] Sydenham to Russell, 26 February, 1841.

[33] Merritt, _Life of the Hon. W. H. Merritt, M.P._  See under the
years 1840 and 1841.

[34] Sydenham to Russell, 6 March, 1841.  The italics are my own.

[35] Poulett Scrope, p. 205.

[36] _The Kingston Chronicle and Gazette_, 12 February, 1841.  "A
powerful struggle will be made at the next election to secure the
return of representatives, who will coincide with the views of the
French party in the Lower Province."

[37] Sydenham to Russell, 26 February, 1841.

[38] _Ibid._, 1 June, 1841.

[39] Poulett Scrope, p. 217.  As the Canadian portion of the biography
was the work of Sydenham's secretary, Murdoch, it carries with it
considerable authority.  Murdoch was, indeed, one of the most competent
of the men round Sydenham.

[40] Sydenham to Russell, 26 June, 1841.

[41] Hincks, _Lecture on the Political History of Canada_, 1840-1855,
pp. 22-23.

[42] Poulett Scrope, p. 243.

[43] Richardson, in his curious characterization of the man in _Eight
Years in Canada_.

[44] Sir F. B. Head to Lord Glenelg, February, 1836.

[45] The references to Baldwin in the Elgin-Grey Correspondence are,
without exception, most cordial, and usually complimentary.

[46] The Hon. W. H. Draper, a moderate Conservative.

[47] Quoted in Hincks, _Lecture on the Political History of Canada_, p.

[48] _Ibid._ pp. 18-19.

[49] Baldwin's own explanation, furnished to a volume _The Irishman in
Canada_.  He was peculiarly fond of memoranda or declarations, written
in the third person.

[50] Sydenham to Russell, 28 May, 1841.  Sydenham dispensed with the
oath on the advice of his legal officials.

[51] _The Mirror of Parliament_ (published in Kingston), 23 June, 1841.

[52] Sydenham to Baldwin, 13 June, 1841.

[53] _Ibid._, 23 June, 1841.

[54] _The Mirror of Parliament_, reporting Baldwin's speech of 18th
June.  I have chosen to give Baldwin's own language in all its
awkwardness and stiffness.

[55] Poulett Scrope, p. 233.

[56] District Municipal Council Act (1841), Cl. IV.

[57] Sydenham to Russell, 28 August, 1841.

[58] _Journals of the House of Assembly_, 3 September, 1841.

[59] I have used as my chief authority here the reports in _The Quebec
Gazette_, more especially the issue of Friday, 10 September, 1841.

[60] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 26 April, 1847.




Sir Charles Bagot, the second governor-general of United Canada,
contrasted strangely with his predecessor in character and political
methods.  He was a man of the Regency, and of Canning's set.  Since
1814 he had occupied positions of considerable importance in the
diplomatic world, not because of transcendent parts, but because of his
connections.  He had been ambassador at Washington, St. Petersburg, and
the Hague; and in the United States, where, to the end, his friends
remembered him with real affection, he had rendered service permanently
beneficial both to Britain and to America by negotiating the Rush-Bagot
treaty, which established the neutralization of the great lakes.  In
Europe, he had been known to fame mainly as the recipient of George
Canning's rhyming despatch; and for the rest, he allowed the great
minister to make him, as he had made all {127} his other agents, a pawn
in the game where he alone was player.  In his correspondence he stands
out as an old-fashioned, worldly, cultured, and unbusiness-like
diplomatist, worthy perhaps of a satiric but kindly portraiture by
Thackeray--a genuine citizen of Vanity Fair.  Apart from his
correspondence, his friendships, and his American achievements, he
might have passed through life, deserving nothing more than some few
references in memoirs of the earlier nineteenth century.  But by one
freak of fortune he found himself transported to Canada in 1842, and,
by another, he became one of the foremost figures in the history of
Canadian constitutional development.  There have been few better
examples of the curious good-fortune which has attended on the growth
of British greatness than the story of Bagot's short career in Canada.
When a very eminent personage demanded from the existing government
some explanation of their selection of Bagot, Stanley, who was then
Secretary of State for the Colonies, pointed, not to administrative
qualifications, but to his diplomatic services in the United States.
Relations with the American Republic do not here concern us, but it may
be remembered that the situation in 1841 and 1842, just before the
{128} Ashburton Treaty, was full of peril; and Bagot was sent to Canada
as a person not displeasing to the Americans, and a diplomatist of
conciliatory temper.  But his work was to be concerned with domestic,
not international, diplomacy.

Three factors must be carefully studied in the year of political
turmoil which followed: the Imperial government, the Canadian political
community, and the new governor-general.

During this and the following governor-generalship, the predominant
influence at the Colonial Office was Lord Stanley, almost the most
distinguished of the younger statesmen of the day.  Peel's judicial and
scientific mind usually controlled those of his subordinates; but even
Peel found it hard to check the brilliant individualism of his colonial
secretary; and this most interesting of all the great failures in
English politics exercised an influence in Canadian affairs, such as
not even Lord John Russell attempted.  Judged from his colonial
despatches, Stanley seems to have found it very hard to understand that
there could be another side to any question on which he had made up his
mind.  His party had consented to a modification of the old oligarchic
rule in Canada; but they were intent upon limiting the scope of the
{129} change, and upon conducting all their operations in a very
conservative spirit.  Stanley's instructions to Bagot had been drawn up
in no ungenerous fashion.  Bagot was to know no distinctions of
national origin or religious creed, and in so far as it might be
consistent with his duty to his Sovereign, he was to consult the wishes
of the mass of the community.[1]  Their happiness it was his main duty
to secure.  In ecclesiastical matters, Stanley, who had changed his
party rather than consent to weaken the Anglican Church in Ireland, was
willing to acknowledge "that the habits and opinions of the people of
Canada were, in the main, averse from the absolute predominance of any
single church."[2]  But the theory inspiring the instructions was one
which denied to the colonists any but the most partial responsibility
and independence, and which regarded their party divisions as factious
and at times treasonable.  This disbelief in the reality of Canadian
parties was, however, discounted, and yet at the same time rendered
more insulting to the reformers, because the colonial secretary
regarded the fragments of old Family Compact Toryism as still the best
guarantee in Canada for the British connection.  "Although {130} I am
far from wishing to re-establish the old Family Compact of Upper
Canada," he wrote, at a later date, "if you come into difficulties,
that is the class of men to fall back upon, rather than the
ultra-liberal party."[3]  Confidence in political adventurers and the
disaffected French seemed to him a kind of madness.  In addition to
this attitude towards existing parties, Stanley held stiffly to every
constitutional expedient which asserted the supremacy of the Imperial
government.  The Union had, by fixing a Civil List, taken the power of
the purse within certain limits from Canadian hands, and this Civil
List Stanley regarded as quite essential to the maintenance of British
authority.[4]  In fact, any discussion of the subject seemed to him the
"reopening of a chapter which has already led to such serious
consequences, and in the prosecution of which I contemplate seriously
the prospect of the dismemberment of the Empire."[5]  Holding views so
resolute, he could not, like Russell, trust his representative on the
spot; and, from the first, the troubles of the new governor-general
were multiplied by Stanley's {131} determination to make the views of
the Colonial Office prevail in Canada.  "I very much doubt," wrote
Murdoch, Sydenham's former secretary, "how far Lord Stanley is really
alive to the true state of Canada, and to the necessity of governing
through the assembly."[6]

Local influences provide the second factor in the situation.  As has
been seen, the Canadian political community was demanding both
responsible government, and the admission of the French to a share in
office.  Sydenham had exhibited the most wonderful skill in working an
anomalous system of government, and he had found himself on the brink
of failure.  His Council, which Bagot had inherited, "might be said to
represent the Reform or popular party of Upper Canada, and the moderate
Conservatives of both provinces, to the exclusion of the French and the
ultra-conservatives of both provinces,"[7] but the compromise
represented less a popular demand for moderation, than Sydenham's own
individual idea of what a Canadian Council should be.  There had been
uneasiness in adjusting the opinions of individual members; there was a
steady decline in the willingness of the Assembly {132} and the country
to support them; and a determined constitutional opposition found
additional strength through the support of the French party, whom the
governor had alienated not simply as a political division but as a
race.  In a sense, there was no imminent danger, as there had been in
1837, for Sydenham's sound administration had given the country peace
and prosperity.  English money and immigrants were flowing in; the
woods were ringing with the axes of settlers too busy in clearing the
ground to trouble much with politics; the lines of communication were
being improved and transportation simplified; and, thanks to Ashburton,
the war-cloud to the south had vanished over the horizon.  Yet the
politicians held the central position--everything depended on them; and
the crisis for Bagot would arise, first, when he should be called on to
fill certain places in the Executive Council, and then, when Parliament
met.  It is often assumed that public opinion was seriously divided on
the question of the responsibility of the ministry to the Assembly, and
of the extent of the concessions to be made to the French; and that the
opposition to reform was almost equal in the numbers of its supporters
to the progressive party.  But this is to over-estimate the forces of
{133} reaction.  The Family Compact men had fallen on evil days.
Strachan with his church party, and MacNab with his tail of Tory
irreconcilables, had really very little substantial backing; and honest
Tory gentlemen, like J. S. Cartwright, who openly advocated an
aristocratic administration, were unlikely to attract the crowd.  The
work of Sydenham had contributed much to the political education of
Canada; popular opinion was now firmer and more self-consistent, and
that opinion went directly contrary to the views of Stanley and his
supporters.  One may find evidence of this in the views of moderates on
either side.

Harrison, who represented the moderate reforming party in Sydenham's
ministry, held that responsible government, in some form or other, was
essential, and that French nationalism must also receive concessions.
"Looking at the present position of parties," he wrote to Bagot in
July, "it may, I think, be safely laid down that, to obtain a working
majority in the House of Assembly, it is absolutely necessary that the
government should be able to carry with it the bulk of the
French-Canadian members....  There is no disguising the fact that the
French members possess the power of the country; and he who directs
that {134} power, backed by the most efficient means of controlling it,
is in a situation to govern the province best."[8]  It was his opinion
that Bagot should anticipate the coming crisis by calling in Baldwin
and the French, before events forced that step on him.

On the Conservative side, a moderate man like W. H. Draper, the
attorney-general for Upper Canada in Sydenham's ministry, argued in
favour of a policy almost identical.  While his views tended to
oscillate, now to this side, now to that, their general direction was
clear.  He felt that the ideal condition was one of union between the
parties of Western Canada, which would "render the position of the
government safer in its dealings with the French-Canadians."  But no
such union was possible, and Draper, with that honest opportunism which
best expressed his mind and capacity, assured Bagot that action in the
very teeth of his instructions was the only possible course.  "One
thing I do not doubt at all," he wrote in July 1842, "and that is that,
with the present House of Assembly, you cannot get on without the
French, while it is necessary for me at the same time to declare
frankly that I cannot sit at the {135} council-board with Mr.
Baldwin."[9]  In other words, since Draper admitted that the opposition
leaders must receive office, and at the same time declared the
impossibility of his holding office with them, he was consenting to
Cabinet government, not in the restricted form permitted in Lord John
Russell's despatches, but after the regular British fashion.

Outside the sphere of party politics moderate opinion took precisely
the same stand.  Murdoch had been Sydenham's right-hand man, and was
still the fairest critic of Canadian politics.  That he distrusted
Stanley's methods is apparent in his letters to Bagot; and it was his
suggestion that the Imperial position should be modified, and that some
concession should be made to French national feeling.  "No half
measures," he told Bagot, "can now be safely resorted to.  After the
Rebellion, the government had the option, either of crushing the French
and anglifying the province, or of pardoning them and making them
friends.  And as the latter policy was adopted, it must be carried out
to its legitimate consequences."[10]


The situation in Canada during the spring and summer of 1842 stood
thus.  A governor-general, entirely new to the work of domestic
administration, and to the province which had fallen to his lot, faced
a curious dilemma.  The British cabinet, the minister responsible for
the colonies, and all those in Canada who claimed to be the peculiar
friends of the British connection, bade him govern for, but not by the
people, and exclude from office almost all the French-Canadians, on the
ground that they were devotedly French in sympathies.  Another group,
at times aggressive, and very little accustomed to the orthodox methods
of parliamentary opposition, bade him venture and trust; and warned him
that no half measures would satisfy the claims of constitutional
liberty and nationality.

The administration of Bagot occupied a single year, and its more
important episodes were crowded into a few weeks in the autumn of 1842.
Yet there have been few years of equal significance in the history of
Canadian political development.  There were intervals in which Bagot
had time to reveal to Canada his genius for making friends; and the
foundation of a provincial university in Toronto deeply interested one
who had something of {137} Canning's wit and literary inclinations.
But politics usually claimed all his attention.  The Union of the
Provinces, and the Imperial supremacy, had to be defended against their
assailants; the vacant places in the Executive Council had to be
filled, as nearly as was possible in harmony with the wishes of the
community; and whatever the character of that council might be, it
would have to face the test of criticism from an Assembly, which had
already striven not unsuccessfully with Sydenham.  In his attempt to
answer these various problems, Bagot was at his worst in finance.  He
had not the requisite business training, and entirely lacked Sydenham's
knowledge, boldness, and precision.  In the correspondence over the
mode in which the province should dispose of the British loan of
£1,500,000, Stanley's views show a clearness and force, lacking in
those of Bagot; and in the one really unfortunate episode of the year,
his want of financial skill drew on the governor-general's head the
remonstrances of both Stanley and the Treasury authorities.  To escape
financial difficulties in Canada, Bagot had anticipated the loan, by
drawing on British funds for £100,000, and the Treasury did not spare
him.  "He ought," wrote the Chancellor of the Exchequer, "to have {138}
considered those (difficulties) which must arise here from the
presentation of large drafts at the Treasury, for which Parliament had
made no provision; and for which, as Parliament was not sitting, no
regular provision could be made.  The situation to which the Treasury
is reduced is this: either to protest the bills for want of funds, or
to accept the bills, and find within thirty days the means of paying
them."[11]  This incident furnished to Stanley fresh proof, if any were
needed, of Bagot's inexperience.  An anxious and mistrustful temper
appears in all his despatches to Bagot; but, in fact, with little
justification.  He never learned how completely the governor for whom
he trembled was his master in the art of governing a half-autonomous

As early as March, Bagot had begun to feel that the views of the
Cabinet in Britain were impracticable: and that even the Civil List
might not be so easily defended as Stanley imagined.  "I know well by
what a slender thread the adhesion of the colony will hang whenever we
consent to leave the matter entirely in its own hands....  But the
present supply is not sufficient for its purposes.  We must always be
dependent on the Legislature for provision to meet its excess; and I
cannot but {139} think that the sooner the Legislature succeeds, if
they are to succeed, in carrying the point, the more generous they may
possibly be in the use of their victory."[12]  Bagot was already
defining the policy which was to be peculiarly his own.  He had a
singularly clear eye for facts, even when they contradicted his
preconceived ideas; and, being a man of the world, he saw that
compromise with the opposition was as natural in Canada as in Britain.
But in answer to his despatches, proposing such a compromise, Stanley,
with his dogmatic omniscience, and eloquent certainty, had nothing but
regrets to express, and difficulties to suggest.  England, he thought,
had dealt generously with Canada in the terms of the Act of Union, and
sound statesmanship lay in resolute defence of that measure.  And,
since there always seems to be in such imperialists a sense of
political pathos--the _lacrymae rerum politicarum_--he began to have
pessimistic views of the permanence of the connection: "I am very far
from underrating the value to Great Britain of her extensive and
rapidly improving North American possessions, but I cannot conceal from
myself the fact that they are maintained to her at no light cost, and
at no {140} trifling risk.  To all this she willingly submits, so long
as the bonds of union between herself and her colonies are strengthened
by mutual harmony, good will, and confidence; and it would be indeed
painful to me to contemplate the possibility that embarrassments,
arising from uncalled for and unfounded jealousies on the part of
Canada, might lead the people of England to entertain a doubt how far
the balance of advantages preponderated in favour of the continuance of
the present relations."[13]  The Civil List raised the fundamental
question, but it was a simple issue, and it lay still far in the
future.  The constitution of the ministry, however, and its relation to
the coming parliament, could be neither evaded nor delayed.

Bagot's instructions gave him a certain scope, for he was permitted to
avail himself of the advice and services of the ablest men, without
reference to the distinction of local party.  In making use of this
liberty, Bagot had to consider chiefly the need of finding a majority
in the Lower House--happily he could postpone their meeting till
September.  Of the probable tone of that Assembly the estimates varied,
but Murdoch, who knew the situation as well as any man, calculated that
while {141} the government party would number thirty, the French, with
their British Radical friends, would be thirty-six strong, the old
Conservatives eight, and some ten or so would "wait on providence or
rather on patronage."[14]  In Sydenham's last days, the government
majority, which he had so subtly, and by means so machiavellian, got
together, had vanished.  Reformers, not all of them so scrupulous as
Baldwin, were ready to ruin a government which kept them from a
complete triumph.  Sir Allan MacNab with his old die-hards, fulminating
against all enemies of the British tradition, was still willing to make
an unholy alliance with the French, if only he could checkmate a
governor-general who did not seem to appreciate his past services to
Britain.  And the French themselves, alienated and insulted by
Sydenham, sat gloomily alone, restless over the Union, seemingly on the
threshold of some fresh racial conflict.  Everything was uncertain,
save the coming government defeat.[15]

At the very outset, Bagot had this question of French Canada thrust
upon him.  From the moment of his arrival his council advised the {142}
admission of the French Canadians to a share in power.  He refused, for
Stanley had very carefully instructed him on that subject.  The
Colonial Secretary had spoken of the wisdom of forgetting old
divisions, but he never permitted himself to forget that the French
leaders--La Fontaine, Viger, Girouard--had all been, in some fashion or
other, involved in the troubles of 1837.  He believed that there still
existed in Lower Canada a gloomy, rebellious, French Canadian party,
which no responsible British statesman could afford to recognize.
Sober-minded Canadian statesmen told him that it was useless to attempt
to detach from the party individuals--_les Vendus_ their compatriots
called them.  He answered that he would like to multiply such _Vendus_;
and he hoped for a day when the anglicising of the Lower Province
should have been completed.  It was his intention to break down all
forces tending in the opposite direction.  He was conscious of a
repulsion, equally strong, in his feelings towards Baldwin, and the
Reform party.  Whether it came by French racial hate, or Upper Canadian
republicanism, which was the name he gave to all views of a reforming
colour, the ruin of the Empire would follow hard on concession to
agitation.  In his heart, he trusted only {143} the old Tories, and not
all his disgust at MacNab's interested advances could alter his
conviction that one party alone cared for Britain--the former Family
Compact men.  When he bade Bagot disregard party divisions in his
choice of ministers, he was unconsciously limiting Bagot's choice to a
very little circle, all of them most unmistakably displeasing to the
populace, whose wishes he professed to be willing to consult.  He
claimed to be a man of principle--mistaking the clearness of
doctrinaire ignorance for the certainty of honest knowledge.

Happily the governor-general of Canada was not in this sense a man of
principle.  He observed, took counsel, and began to shape his own
policy.  It is not easy to describe that policy in a sentence, or even
to make it absolutely clear.  He had come out to Canada, forewarned
against Baldwin and the school of constitutionalists associated with
him; and the warning made him reluctant to consent to their ideas.  He
had been advised to draw his councillors from all directions, and his
naturally moderate spirit approved a policy of judicious selection.
But the noteworthy feature in the line of action which he ultimately
followed was that he allowed his diplomatic instincts to overbalance
the advice imposed on him by the British ministry.  {144} In selecting
individuals for his councils, he almost unconsciously followed the
wishes of Baldwin and his party, until, at the end, he found himself in
the hands of resolute advocates of responsible government, and did
nothing to withstand their doctrine.  But this is to anticipate events,
and to simplify what was actually a process involved in some confusion.
He filled two vacant places--one with the most brilliant of reforming
financiers, Francis Hincks, whose merits he saw at once; the other,
after a gentlemanly refusal from Cartwright, with Sherwood, a sound but
comparatively moderate Conservative from Upper Canada.  In an admirable
letter to Stanley at the beginning of the summer, he outlined his
policy.  Stanley, ever fearful of rash experiments, warned him that a
combination of black and white does not necessarily produce grey.  To
this he answered: "My hope is that, circumstanced as I am, I possibly
may be able to do this, that is, to take from all sides the best and
fittest men for the public service....  The attempt to produce such a
grey, whether it succeed or not, must, I think, after all that has
passed, and at this particular crisis in which I find myself here, be
the safest line."[16]  Stanley, then, limited his {145} choice of men,
and in the event of a crisis, was prepared that he should risk a defeat
and the violent imposition of an alien ministry, on the chance that
such a reverse might provoke a loyalist uprising to defend the British
connection.  Baldwin dreamed of a consistently Radical cabinet.
MacNab, with his eyes shut to the consequences, seems to have
considered a leap in the dark--a coalition between his men and the
French Canadians.  Bagot, as opportunist as the Tories, but opportunist
for the sake of peace, and some kind of constitutional progress, laid
aside lofty ideals, and said, as his most faithful advisers also said,
that the future lay with _judicious selection_, no party being barred
except where their conduct should have made recognition of them
impossible to a self-respecting governor.

It is difficult to name all the influences which operated on Bagot's
mind.  He corresponded largely and usefully with Draper, the soundest
of his conservative advisers.  His own innate courtesy led him to end
the social ostracism of the French, and taught him their good
qualities.  Being quick-witted and observant, his political instincts
began almost unconsciously to force a new programme upon him.  Before
August, he had conciliated moderate reforming opinion through Hincks;
he {146} had proved to the French, by legal appointments, which met
with a stiff and forced acquiescence in Stanley, that at least he was
not their enemy.  He had begun to question the certainty of Stanley's
wisdom on the Civil List, and various other subjects.  Then, between
July 28th and September 26th, the date of two sets of despatches,
which, if despatches ever deserve the term, must be called works of
genius, he completed his plan, brought it to the test of practice, and
challenged the home government to acquiesce, or recall him.  With his
ministry constituted as it was in July, he had to face the certainty of
a vote of no confidence as soon as parliament met.  Were he to do
nothing, some unholy alliance of groups would defeat the government.
In that case, his ministers, pledged as they were to constitutionalism
by the resolutions of September, 1841, had warned him beforehand, that
they would resign in a body.  All hold over the French would be lost,
and responsible government, whether he and Stanley willed it or not,
would be established in its most obnoxious form.  To fill the vacant
places, or to reconstruct the ministry, the field of choice was very
small, even if men of every connection were included.  "Out of the 84
members of the House of {147} Assembly," he told Stanley, "not above
30, as far as I can judge, are at all qualified for office, by the
common advantages of intelligence and education, and of these, ten at
least are not in a position to accept it."[17]  In the case of the
French he seemed to have reached an absolute deadlock.  He found offers
to individual Frenchmen useless, for he did not gain the party, and he
ruined the men whom he honoured.  The Assembly was to meet on the 8th
of September, and as that date drew near, the excitement rose.  It was
a crisis with many possibilities both for England and for Canada.

As certainly as Stanley, with all the wisdom of Peel's cabinet behind
him, was wrong, and fatally so, Bagot's conduct between September 10th
and September 14th was precisely right.  In a correspondence with Peel,
just before the crisis, Stanley sought to get his great leader to take
his view.  Even Peel's genius proved incompetent to settle a problem of
local politics, three thousand miles away from the scene of action.
The wisdom of his answer lay, not in its suggestions, which were
useless to Bagot, but in its hint "that much must be left to the
judgment and discretion of those who have to act at a great distance
from the supreme {148} authority."[18]  Stanley himself, from first to
last, was for allowing Bagot to face defeat, although he always thought
it possible that stubborn resistance to what he counted treason would
rally a secure majority to Bagot and the Crown.  Time and again after
assuring Bagot that he and the ministry acquiesced, which, to do them
justice, they did like men, he harked back to the idea of allowing
events to prove that the government was indeed powerless, before it
made a definitive surrender.  Long before Parliament met, the situation
had been discussed in all its bearings; and the only doubt that
remained was concerning which out of three or four foreshadowed
catastrophes would end the existence of the government.  The ministers
themselves had their negative programme ready; for, having consented to
the constitutional resolutions of September, 1841, they forewarned
Bagot that if they were left in a minority, or in a very small
majority, they should feel themselves compelled to resign, and they
added that, if Bagot did not accept their recommendation to admit the
French Canadians, they would insist upon his accepting their


When the Assembly met, events moved very rapidly.  On the opening day,
Neilson brought forward the exciting question of amnesty; and the air
was filled with rumours and schemes, of which the most ominous for
government was the project of coalition between Conservatives and
French Canadians.  The time had come for action--if anything could
really be done.  To understand the boldness of Bagot's tactics, it must
be remembered that they went "in the teeth of an almost universal
feeling at home ... certainly in opposition to Lord Durham's recorded
sentiments, and as certainly to Lord Sydenham's avowed practice"--to
say nothing of Stanley's own wishes.  La Fontaine was definitely
approached on the tenth, and, seemingly, Bagot was not quite prepared
for the greatness of his claims--"four places in the Council, with the
admission of Mr. Baldwin into it."[20]  But he had no alternative, for
on the 12th he received a plain statement from his cabinet that, if he
failed, they were not prepared to carry on the government.[21]  To his
dismay, the surrender, if one may so term it, which he signed next day,
was not accepted, since Baldwin could not {150} countenance the
pensioning of the ministers, Ogden and Davidson, who had been
compulsorily retired, and, although MacNab was at hand with the offer
of sixteen Conservative stalwarts, the plan was useless, and, in view
of MacNab's general conduct at this time, irritating.  When Bagot wrote
that night to Stanley it was as a despairing man, for the attack had
begun at 3 o'clock, Baldwin leading off with an address, as usual
pledging the House to responsible government, and there was every
chance that he would defeat the ministry.  At this point Bagot took the
strange and daring plan of allowing Draper to read his letter to La
Fontaine in the House, that the Lower Canadians might "learn how
abundantly large an offer their leaders have rejected, and the honest
spirit in which that offer was made."[22]  His unconventionality won
the day, by convincing the House that the governor-general was in
earnest.  Successive adjournments staved off the debate on the address;
and by September 16th, terms had been settled.  La Fontaine, Small,
Aylwin, Baldwin, and Girouard if he cared to take office, were to
enter, Draper, Davidson, Ogden and Sherwood passing out.
Unfortunately, since neither Ogden nor Sherwood happened to be {151}
present, Bagot had to accept their resignations on his own initiative,
and without previous consultation with them.  Not even that dexterous
correspondent could quite disguise the awkwardness of his position when
he wrote to tell both men that they had ceased to be his ministers.[23]
So the crisis ended.

The address was carried by fifty-five votes to five, the malcontents
being MacNab, foiled once more in his ambitions; Moffat and Cartwright,
representing inflexible Toryism; Neilson, whose position as a
recognized opponent of the Union tied his hands, and Johnstone, a
disappointed place man.  Peace ruled in the Assembly, and the battle
passed to the province, the newspapers, and most ominous of all for the
governor, to the cabinet and public in Britain.  A storm of abuse,
criticism, and regrets broke over Bagot's devoted head.  The opposition
press in Canada called him "a radical, a puppet, an old woman, an
apostate, a renegade descendant of old Colonel Bagot who fell at Naseby
fighting for his King."[24]  MacNab, in the House, led a bitterly
personal opposition.  At least one {152} cabinet meeting in England was
called specially to consider the incident, and for some months Stanley
tempered assurances that he and the government would support their
representative, with caustic expressions of regret.  The necessity of
the change, he reiterated, had not been fully proven.  The French
members and Baldwin were doubtful characters.  If the worst must be
accepted, and a ministry constructed, containing both Baldwin and the
French, then Bagot had better obtain from the new cabinet some
assurance of "their intention of standing by the provisions of the Act
of Union, including the Civil List, and every other debatable
question."  Then, fearing lest the very citadel of responsibility and
control should be surrendered, he set forth his theory of government in
an elaborate letter which revealed distinct distrust of his
correspondent's power of resistance.  "Your position is different from
that of the Crown in England.  The Crown acts avowedly and exclusively
on the advice of its ministers, and has no political opinions of its
own.  You act in concert with your Executive Council, but the ultimate
decision rests with yourself, and you are recognised, not only as
having an opinion, but as supreme and irresponsible, except to the Home
government, for {153} your acts in your executive capacity.
Practically you are (influenced) by the advice you receive, and by
motives of prudence, in not running counter to the advice of those who
command a majority in the Legislature; but you cannot throw on them the
onus of your actions in the same sense that the Crown can in this

Yet, so far as Canada was concerned, Bagot had reason to feel
satisfied.  Threatened with half a dozen hostile combinations, he had
forestalled them all, and found the Assembly filled with friends, not
enemies.  He had approached a sullen French nation--and thereafter the
French party formed as solid an accession to Canadian political
stability as they had once been dangerous to Imperial peace; and their
union with the moderate reformers in government, while it gave them all
they asked, enabled the governor to exercise a natural restraint on
them, should they again be tempted to nationalist excesses.  He had not
explicitly surrendered to any sweeping doctrine of responsible
government.  There was peace at last.  The Assembly which passed over
thirty acts, reaffirmed the rights of the royal prerogative, and {154}
was dismissed in the most amiable temper with itself, and the

One may discern, however, a curious contradiction between the
superficial consequences of the crisis, as described by Bagot, and the
fundamental changes the beginnings of which he was able to trace in the
months which followed.  On the face of it, Bagot's policy of frank
expediency had saved Stanley and his party from a crushing defeat and a
humiliating surrender to extreme views.  So far, he had assisted the
cause of conservatism.  But the disaster and the humiliation would have
come, not from the grant of responsible government, but from the misuse
of it to which a victory, won against a more resolute governor, might
have tempted Baldwin and La Fontaine, and from the false position in
which the imperial government would have stood, towards the men who had
challenged imperial authority and won.  It is interesting to follow the
process by which Bagot came to see all that lay in his action.
Yielding to Canadian autonomy, he went on to new surrenders.  He had
already warned Stanley that the agitation over the Civil List would
certainly reawaken; to the end he seems to have been considering the
advisability of a complete surrender {155} on that point.  When he
wrote communicating to the minister the Assembly's acknowledgment of
the royal prerogative, in recognizing the right of the Crown to name
the capital, he pointed out that, prerogative or no prerogative, the
possessor of the purse had the final voice.  He rebuked his new
minister, Baldwin, for tacking on question-begging constitutional
phrases to a legal opinion, but he told Stanley, quite frankly, that,
"whether the doctrine of responsible government is openly acknowledged,
or is only tacitly acquiesced in, _virtually it exists_."[26]  During
the remainder of his tenure of office, partly because of his own
ill-health, but partly also, I think, from conviction, he gave his
ministers the most perfect freedom of action.  And, although he did not
gain the point, he was willing to make sweeping concessions in answer
to the call for an amnesty for the rebels of 1837.  He recognized the
force of trusting, in a self-governing community, even those who had
once striven against the British rule with arms--the final proof in any
man that he has come to understand the secrets, at once of Empire, and
of constitutional government.

There is little more to tell of Bagot's rule, for {156} the last months
of his life were spent in a struggle to overcome extreme bodily
sickness in the interest of public duty; and Stanley himself, in the
name of the Cabinet, expressed his admiration for the gallantry of his

To the end, he held himself justified in his political actions, and if
there were moments when he questioned whether Stanley would see things
in a reasonable light, he possessed the perfect confidence of his
Canadian ministers, who did not neglect his injunction to them to
defend his memory.[27]

Nevertheless the irritation of the Colonial Secretary was neither
unnatural nor unjustifiable.  He confidently expected that separation
from England would be the immediate consequence of a surrender to the
reform party in Canada; and he believed that Bagot had made that
surrender.  In the latter opinion he was correct.  There are times when
the party of reaction sees more clearly than their opponents the scope
and consequences of innovation, however blind they may be to the
developments which by their parallel advance check the obvious dangers;
and Sir Charles Metcalfe, whom Stanley sent to Canada to stay the
flowing tide, has furnished the most accurate negative criticism of
{157} the Bagot incident: "The result of the struggle naturally
increased the conviction that Responsible Government was effectually
established, new Councillors were forced on the governor-general....
The Council was no longer selected by the governor.  It was thrust on
him by the Assembly of the people.  Some of the new members of the
Council had entered it with extreme notions of the supremacy of the
Council over the governor; and the illness of Sir Charles Bagot, after
this change, threw the current business of administration almost
entirely into their hands, which tended much to confirm these
notions."[28]  It fell to the lot of this critic to attempt to correct
Bagot's mistakes.

[1] Stanley to Bagot, 8 October, 1841.

[2] _Ibid._

[3] Bagot Correspondence: Stanley to Bagot, 17 May, 1842.  The term
_Bagot Correspondence_ is used to denote the letters to and from Bagot,
other than despatches, in the possession of the Canadian Archives.

[4] Stanley to Bagot, 8 October, 1841.

[5] _Ibid._

[6] Bagot Correspondence: Murdoch to Bagot, 18 October, 1842.

[7] Bagot to Stanley, 26 September, 1842.

[8] Bagot Correspondence: Harrison to Bagot, 11 July, 1842

[9] Bagot Correspondence: W. H. Draper to Bagot, 18 May, and 16 July,

[10] Bagot Correspondence: Murdoch to Bagot, 3 September, 1842.

[11] Goulburn to Stanley, 16 September, 1842.

[12] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 26 March, 1842.

[13] Stanley to Bagot, 27 May, 1842.

[14] Bagot Correspondence: Stanley to Bagot, describing an interview
with Murdoch, 1 September, 1842.

[15] See Bagot's admirable analysis of French conditions in his public
and confidential despatches, 26 September, 1842.

[16] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 12 June, 1842.

[17] Bagot to Stanley: 26 September, 1842--confidential.

[18] Peel to Stanley, 28 August, 1842.

[19] Bagot to Stanley, 26 September, 1842--confidential.

[20] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 28 July, 1842.

[21] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 13 September, 1842.

[22] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 13 September, 1842.

[23] Bagot Correspondence: letters to Sherwood 16 September, and to
Ogden 19 September.  Dismissal is far too blunt a term in which to
describe the transaction.

[24] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 28 October, 1842.

[25] Bagot Correspondence: Stanley to Bagot, 3 November and 3 December,

[26] Bagot Correspondence: Bagot to Stanley, 28 October, 1842.

[27] Hincks, _Reminiscences of his Public Life_, p. 89.

[28] Kaye, _Papers and Correspondence of Lord Metcalfe_, p. 416.




A surrender of the official Imperial position so unexpected and so
contrary to the intentions of the Colonial Office, as that which Bagot
had made, provoked a natural reaction.  Bagot's successor was one of
those men of principle who are continually revealing the flaws and
limitations implicit in their principles by earnest over-insistence on
them.  It is unfortunate that Sir Charles Metcalfe should appear in
Canadian history as the man whose errors almost precipitated another
rebellion, for among his predecessors and successors few have equalled
him, none has outstripped him, in public virtue or experience.  He had
earned, throughout thirty-seven years in India, a reputation for
efficiency in every kind of administrative work.  As a lad of little
more than twenty he had negotiated with Ranjit Singh the treaty which,
for a generation, kept Sikhs and British at peace.  In the {159}
residency at Hyderabad he had fought, in the face of the
governor-general's displeasure, a hard but ultimately successful battle
for incorrupt administration.  After Bentinck had resigned, Metcalfe
had been appointed acting governor-general, and he might have risen
even higher, had not the courageous act, by which he freed the press in
India from its earlier disabilities, set the East India Company
authorities against him.  He was something more than what Macaulay
called him--"the ablest civil servant I ever knew in India"; his
faculty for recommending himself to Anglo-Indian society on its lighter
side, and the princely generosity which bound his friends to him by a
curious union of reverence and affection, combined with his genius for
administration to make him an unusual and outstanding figure in that
generation of the company officials in India.  Led by the sense of duty
which ever dominated him, he had passed from retirement in England to
reconcile the warring elements in Jamaica to each other; and his
success there had been as great as in India.  In English politics, in
which he had naturally played little part, he identified himself with
the more liberal wing of the Whigs, although his long absence from the
centre of affairs, and the inclination natural to {160} an
administrator, to think of liberalism rather as a thing of deeds and
acts than of opinion, gave whatever radicalism he may have professed a
bureaucratic character.  He described himself not inaptly to a friend
thus: "A man who is for the abolition of the corn laws, Vote by Ballot,
Extension of the Suffrage, Amelioration of the Poor-laws for the
benefit of the poor, equal rights to all sects of Christians in matters
of religion, and equal rights to all men in civil matters...; and (who)
at the same time, is totally disqualified to be a demagogue--shrinks
like a sensitive plant from public meetings; and cannot bear to be
drawn from close retirement, except by what comes in the shape of real
or fancied duty to his country."[1]  Outside of the greater figures of
the time, he was one of the first citizens of the Empire, and Bagot, as
he thought of possible successors, only dismissed the suggestion of
Metcalfe's appointment because it seemed too good news to be true.
Nevertheless Sir Charles Metcalfe had one great initial disadvantage
for work in Canada.  Distinguished as were his virtues, a very little
discernment in the home government might have discovered the obstacles
which must meet an absolutely efficient, {161} liberal administrator in
a country where democracy, the only possible principle of government
for Canada, was still in its crude and repulsive stage.  The
delimitation of the frontier between Imperial control and Canadian
self-government required a subtler and more flexible mind than
Metcalfe's, and a longer practice than his in the ways of popular
assemblies.  Between March, 1843, when he assumed office, and the end
of 1845, when he returned to die in England, Metcalfe's entire energy
was spent in grappling with the problem of holding the balance level
between local autonomy and British supremacy.  His real contribution to
the question was, in a sense, the confusion and failure with which his
career ended; for his serious practical logic reduced to an absurdity,
as nothing else could have done, the position stated so firmly by
Russell in 1839.

Sir Charles Metcalfe came to Canada at a moment when responsible
government in its most extended interpretation seemed to have
triumphed.  In Upper and Lower Canada the reforming party had accepted
Bagot's action as the concession of their principle, and the two chief
ministers, Baldwin and La Fontaine, were men resolute to endure no
diminution of their share of responsibility.  Bagot's {162} illness had
given additional strength to their authority, and Gibbon Wakefield, who
was then a member of Assembly, believed that Baldwin had already taken
too great a share of responsibility to be willing to occupy a secondary
place under an energetic governor.[2]  Indeed an unwillingness to allow
the governor-general his former unlimited initiative becomes henceforth
a mark of the leaders of the Reformers, and La Fontaine, who had
resented Sydenham's activity as much as his anti-nationalist policy,
protested against the suggestion that Charles Buller should be sent to
Canada, because he "apprehended that Buller would be disposed to take
an active part himself in our politics."[3]  There seemed to be no
obstacle in the way of a complete victory for reforming principles.
The French remained as solidly as ever a unit, and under La Fontaine
they were certain to continue to place their solidarity at the disposal
of the Upper Canada reformers.  The latter, _ultras_ and moderates
alike, were too adequately represented, in all their shades and
aspects, in the cabinet, to be willing to shake its power; and {163}
the sympathetic co-operation between Irishmen in Canada, and those who
at that time in Ireland were beginning another great democratic
agitation, made the stream of Hibernian immigration a means of
reinforcing the Canadian progressives.  One of the best evidences of
the growth of Reform was the persistent agitation of the Civil List
question.  Following up their action under Bagot, the reformers
demanded the concession of a completer control than they seemed then to
possess over their own finances, and a more economical administration
of them.  The inspector-general, in a report characterized by all his
admirable clearness, stated the issue thus: "It is impossible for any
government to support a Civil List to which objections are raised, and
with justice, by the people at large; first, on the ground that its
establishment was a violation of their constitutional rights; second,
that the services provided for are more than ought to be placed on the
permanent Civil List; third, on the ground that the salaries provided
are higher than the province can afford to pay with a due regard to the
public interests, and more especially to the maintenance of the public


Metcalfe, then, found in Canada a ministry not far from being
unanimous, supported by a union of French and British reformers; and he
ought to have realized how deeply the extended view of self-government
had affected the minds of all, so that only by a serious struggle could
Sydenham's position of 1839 be recovered.  But Metcalfe was an
Anglo-Indian, trained in the school of politics most directly opposed
to the democratic ways of North America.  He was entirely new to
Canadian conditions; and one may watch him studying them
conscientiously, but making just those mistakes, which a clever
examination candidate would perpetrate, were he to be asked of a sudden
to turn his studies to practical account.  The very robustness of his
sense of duty led him naturally to the two most contentious questions
in the field--those which concerned the responsibility of the colonial
executive government, and the place of party in dictating to the
governor-general his policy and the use to be made of his patronage.

His study of Sydenham's despatches revealed to him the contradiction
between that statesman's resolute proclamation of Russell's doctrine,
and the course of practical surrender which his actions seemed to have
followed in 1841.  "In adopting {165} the very form and practice of the
Home Government, by which the principal ministers of the Crown form a
Cabinet, acknowledged by the nation as the executive administration,
and themselves acknowledging responsibility to Parliament, he rendered
it inevitable that the council here should obtain and ascribe to
themselves, in at least some degree, the character of a cabinet of
ministers."[5]  In a later despatch, Metcalfe attempted to demonstrate
the inapplicability of such a form of government to a colony: "a system
of government which, however suitable it may be in an independent
state, or in a country where it is qualified by the presence of a
Sovereign and a powerful aristocracy, and by many circumstances in
correspondence with which it has grown up and been gradually formed,
does not appear to be well adapted for a colony, or for a country in
which those qualifying circumstances do not exist, and in which there
has not been that gradual progress, which tends to smooth away the
difficulties, otherwise sure to follow the confounding of the
legislative and executive powers, and the inconsistency of the practice
with the theory of the Constitution."[6]


To his mind, what Durham had advocated was infinitely sounder--"that
all officers of the government except the governor and his secretary
should be responsible to the united Legislature; and that the governor
should carry on his government by heads of departments, in whom the
United Legislature repose confidence....  The general responsibility of
heads of departments, acting under the orders of the Governor, each
distinctly in his own department, might exist without the destruction
of the former authority of her Majesty's Government."[7]  So set was he
in his opposition to cabinet government on British lines in Canada,
that he prophesied separation as the obvious consequence of concession.
It was natural that one so distrustful of cabinet machinery in a colony
should altogether fail to see the place of party.  It must always be
remembered that party, in Canada, had few of those sanctions of
manners, tradition, and national service, which had given Burke his
soundest arguments, when he wrote the apologetic of the eighteenth
century Whigs.  Personal and sometimes corrupt interests, petty ideas,
ignoble quarrels, a flavour of pretentiousness which came from the
misapplication of British terms, and a {167} lack of political
good-manners--in such guise did party present itself to the British
politician on his arrival in British North America.  Metcalfe, from his
previous experience, had come to identify party divisions with
factiousness, a political evil which the efficient governor must seek
to extirpate.  His triumph in Jamaica had secured the death of party
through the benevolent despotism of the governor, and there can be no
doubt that he hoped in Canada to perform a precisely similar task.
"The course which I intend to pursue with regard to all parties," he
wrote to Stanley in April, 1843, "is to treat all alike, and to make no
distinctions, as far as depends on my personal conduct."  But since
parties did exist, and were unlikely to cease to exist, the
governor-general's distaste for party in theory merely forced him to
become in practice the unconscious leader of the Canadian
conservatives, who, under men like MacNab and the leaders of the Orange
Lodges, differed only from other parties in the loudness of their
loyalist professions, and the paucity of their supporters among the
people.  Metcalfe complained that at times the whole colony must be
regarded as a party opposed to her Majesty's Government.[8]  He might
have {168} seen that what he deplored proceeded naturally from the
identification of himself with the smallest and least representative
group of party politicians in the colony.

The radical opposition between the governor and the coalition which his
executive council represented led naturally to the crisis of November
26th, 1843.  For months the feeling of mutual alienation had been
growing.  On several occasions, more notably in the appointment to the
speakership of the legislative council, and in one to a vacant
clerkship of the peace, the governor's use of patronage had caused
offence to his ministers; and, towards the end of November, the entire
Cabinet, with the exception of Daly, whose nickname "the perpetual
secretary" betokened that he was either above party feeling or beneath
it, handed in their resignations.  The motives of their action became,
as will be shown, the subject of violent controversy; but the statement
of Sir Charles Metcalfe seems in itself the fairest and most probable
account of what took place.  "On Friday, Mr. La Fontaine and Mr.
Baldwin came to the Government House, and after some irrelevant matters
of business, and preliminary remarks as to the course of their
proceedings, demanded of {169} the Governor-general that he should
agree to make no appointment, and no offer of an appointment, without
previously taking the advice of the Council; that the lists of
candidates should in every instance be laid before the Council; that
they should recommend any others at discretion; and that the
Governor-general in deciding, after taking their advice, shall not make
any appointment prejudicial to their influence."[9]

At a slightly later date the ministers attributed their resignation to
a serious difference between themselves and the governor-general on the
theory of responsible government.  To that statement Metcalfe took
serious exception, but he admitted that "in the course of the
conversations which both on Friday and Saturday followed the explicit
demand made by the Council regarding the patronage of the Crown, that
demand being based on the construction put by some of the gentlemen on
the meaning of responsible government, different opinions were elicited
on the abstract theory of that still undefined question as applicable
to a colony."[10]  There can be no doubt that the _casus belli_ was an
absolute assertion of the right of the council to control patronage,
but it is, at the same time, {170} perfectly clear that in the opinion
of the ministers the disposal of patronage formed part of the system of
responsible government, and that they were quite explicit to Metcalfe
in their statements on that point.  The incident, striking enough in
itself, gave occasion for an extraordinary outburst of pamphleteering;
and the reckless or incompetent statements of men on either side make
it necessary to dispel one or two illusions created by the partizan
excitement of the time.  On the side of the council, Hincks, the
inspector-general, then and afterwards contended that the incident was
only an occasion and a pretext; that Stanley had sent Metcalfe out to
wreck the system of responsible government, so far conceded by Sydenham
and Bagot; and that the episode of 1843 was part of a deeper plot to
check the growth of Canadian freedom.[11]  Apart from the absurdities
contained in Hincks' statement of the case, the only answer which need
be made to the charge is that, if Stanley could have descended to such
ignoble plotting, Metcalfe was the last man in the world to act as his
dishonoured instrument.  On the other side, Gibbon Wakefield believed
that {171} the council chose the occasion to escape from a defeat
otherwise inevitable, in the hope that a renewed agitation for
responsible government might reinstate them in public favour.  As
Metcalfe gave the suggestion some authority by accepting it
provisionally in a despatch,[12] the details of Wakefield's charge may
be given.  The ministry, he held, had been steadily weakening.  Two
bills, advocated by them, had been abandoned owing to the opposition of
their followers.  The French solidarity had begun to break up, and La
Fontaine had found in Viger a rival in the affections of his adherents.
The ministers, intoxicated by the possession of a little brief
authority, had offended the sense of the House by their arrogance; and
the debates concerning the change of the seat of government from
Kingston to Montreal had been a cause of stumbling to many.  With their
authority weakened in the House, doubtful in the country, and more than
doubtful with the governor-general, the resignation of the ministers,
in Wakefield's view of the case, "upon a ground which was sure to
obtain for them much popular sympathy, was about the most politic of
their ministerial acts."[13]


But the ministry possessed and continued to possess a great
parliamentary majority; and a dissolution could not in any way have
improved their position.  Besides this, the alienation of the
councillors from the governor-general had developed far more deeply
than was generally supposed; indeed it is difficult to see how common
action between the opposing interests could have continued with any
real benefit to the public.  On May 23rd, that is six months before the
resignation, Captain Higginson, the Governor's civil secretary, had an
interview with La Fontaine, to ascertain his views on the appointment
of a provincial aide-de-camp, and on general topics.  The accuracy of
Higginson's _précis_ of the conversation was challenged by La Fontaine,
but its terms seem moderate and probable, and do not misrepresent the
actual position of the Executive Council in 1843--a determined
opposition to the governor-general's attempt to destroy government by
party: "Mr. La Fontaine said, 'Your attempts to carry on the government
on principles of conciliation must fail.  Responsible government has
been conceded, and when we lose our majority we are prepared to retire;
to strengthen us we must have the entire confidence of the
Governor-general exhibited most {173} unequivocally--and also his
patronage--to be bestowed exclusively on our political adherents.  We
feel that His Excellency has kept aloof from us.  The opposition
pronounce that his sentiments are with them.  There must be some acts
of his, some public declaration in favour of responsible government,
and of confidence in the Cabinet, to convince them of their error.
This has been studiously avoided.'"[14]  The truth is that the ministry
felt the want of confidence, which, on the governor's own confession,
existed in his mind towards them.  Believing, too, as all of them did
more or less, in party, they must already have learned the views of
Metcalfe on that subject, and they suspected him of taking counsel with
the conservatives, whom Metcalfe declared to be the only true friends
to Britain in Canada.  Matters of patronage Metcalfe had determined, as
far as possible, to free from party dictation; and so he and his
ministers naturally fell out on the most obvious issue which their
mutual differences could have raised.  There was nothing disingenuous
in the popular party claiming that the patronage question stood in this
case for the broader issue.  Indeed Metcalfe's own statement that "he
objected to the {174} exclusive distribution of patronage with party
views and maintained the principle that office ought, in every
instance, to be given to the man best qualified to render efficient
service to the State" was actually a challenge to the predominance of
the party-cabinet system, which no constitutionalist could have allowed
to pass in silence.  Egerton Ryerson, to whom in this instance the
maxim about the cobbler sticking to his last is applicable, erected a
ridiculous defence for Metcalfe, holding that "according to British
practice, the councillors ought to have resigned on what Metcalfe had
done, and not on what he would not promise to do.  If the Crown
intended to do just as they desired the governor-general to do, still
the promise ought not to be given, nor ought it to have been asked.
The moment a man promises to do a thing he ceases to be as free as he
was before he made the promise."[15]  The actual struggle lay between
two schools directly opposed in their interpretation of responsible
government; and since Sir Charles Metcalfe definitely and avowedly set
himself against cabinet government, the party system, and the place of
party in allocating patronage, the ministers were not free to allow him
to {175} appoint men at his own discretion.  For the sake of a theory
of government for which many of them had already sacrificed much, they
were bound to defend what their opponents called the discreditable
cause of party patronage.

The line of action which the members of council followed had already
been sketched out by Robert Baldwin in his encounter with Sydenham.  In
the debate of June 18th, 1841, Baldwin had admitted that should the
representative of the Crown be unwilling to accept the advice offered
to him by his council, it would be impossible by any direct means to
force that advice upon him.  But he also held that this did not relieve
the members of council for a moment from the fulfilment of an
imperative duty.  "If their advice," he said, "were accepted--well and
good.  If not, their course would be to tender their resignations."[16]

This indeed was battle _à outrance_ between two conflicting theories of
government.  Russell, Sydenham, and Metcalfe, had refused to admit
self-government beyond a certain limit, and Metcalfe, in accepting the
situation created by the resignation of his ministers, was battling
very directly for his view.  On the other side, Baldwin and the {176}
colonial politicians had claimed autonomy as far as it might be granted
within the empire.  By resigning their offices, they called on their
opponents to make the alternative system work.  For two years Metcalfe
occupied himself with the task they set him.

It is not necessary to enter into all the details of those years.  The
relevant facts group themselves round three centres of interest--the
painful efforts put forth by Metcalfe to build up a new council, the
general election through which he sought to find a party for his
ministers, and the attitude of the colony towards the new ministers,
and of both toward the representative of the Crown on the eve of his
departure for England in 1845.

The struggle to reconstruct the ministry was peculiarly distressing,
and ended in a very qualified success.  Daly, Metcalfe's one remaining
councillor, carried no weight in the country.  Baldwin and his group
could not be approached; and Harrison, the most moderate of the
reformers, had previously resigned over the question of the removal of
the seat of government from Kingston.  In Lower Canada, Metcalfe found
himself almost as much the object of French hatred as Sydenham had
been, and it was with great difficulty that he {177} secured Viger to
represent the French Canadians in his council--at the expense of
Viger's influence among his compatriots.[17]  By the end of 1843,
Metcalfe had secured the services of three men, "Viger representing the
French party, and Mr. Daly and Mr. Draper representing in some degree
as to each both the British and moderate Reform parties."[18]
Officious supporters, of whom Egerton Ryerson was chief, did their best
to introduce to the governor competent outsiders, and Draper used his
reputation for moderation in the effort to secure suitable candidates.
Even after the election of 1844 was over, Draper, and Caron, the
Speaker in the Upper House, actually attempted an intrigue with La
Fontaine; and although the episode brought little credit to any of the
parties concerned, La Fontaine at least recognized how much was
involved in acceptance or rejection of the proposals of
government--when he said: "If under the system of accepting office at
any price, there are persons, who, for a personal and momentary
advantage, do not fear to break the only bond which constitutes our
strength, union among ourselves, I do not wish to be, and I never will
be, of the {178} number."[19]  Eventually a patchwork ministry was
constructed, but its pitiable weakness proved how difficult it was to
create a council, except along orthodox British party lines.  It was a
_reductio ad absurdum_ of the eclectic principle of cabinet building.

The reconstruction of the council involved a dissolution of Parliament.
The late councillors had a steady and decisive majority in the existing
Assembly; and the governor-general found it necessary to face the risk
of an appeal to the country.  The fate of Lower Canada he could imagine
beforehand; nothing but accident could prevent the return of an
overwhelming majority against his men.  Even among the western British
settlers an unprejudiced observer reported early in 1844 that more than
nine-tenths of the western voters were supporters of the late Executive
Council.[20]  Montreal, which, thanks to Sydenham's manoeuvres, counted
among the British seats, returned an opponent of the new Ministers at a
bye-election in April, 1844, although the {179} government party
explained away the defeat by stories of Irish violence.  But Metcalfe's
extraordinary persistence, and his belief that the battle was really
one for the continuance of the British connection, gave him and his
supporters renewed vigour, and, even to-day, the election of November,
1844, is remembered as one of the fiercest in the history of the
colony.  Politics in Canada still recognized force as one of the
natural, if not quite legitimate, elements in the situation, and it was
eminently characteristic of local conditions that, early in his term of
office, Metcalfe should have reported that meetings had been held near
Kingston at which large numbers of persons attended armed with
bludgeons, and, in some cases, with firearms.[21]  Montreal, with all
its possibilities of conflict, and with its reputation for disorder to
maintain, led the-way in election riots.  In April, 1844, according to
the loyalists, the reformers had won through the use of Irish labourers
brought in from the Lachine canal.  However that may be, the military
had been called in, and at least one death had resulted from the
confused rioting of the day.[22]  In November, the loyalists in their
turn organized {180} a counter demonstration, and the success of the
loyal party was not altogether disconnected with physical force.[23]
From the west came similar stories of violence and trickery.  In the
West Riding of Halton, the Tories were said to have delayed voting,
which seemed to be setting against them, by various stratagems,
including the swearing in of old grey-headed men as of 21 years of age,
and among the accusations made by the defeated candidate was one that
certain deputy returning officers had allowed seven women to vote for
the sitting member.[24]  On the whole the election went in favour of
the governor-general, although Metcalfe took too favourable a view of
the situation when he reported the avowed supporters of government as
46, as against 28 avowed adversaries.  At best his majority could not
rise above six.  Yet even so, the decision of the country still seems
astonishing.  There was the unflinching Tory element at the centre; and
the British members from Lower Canada.  Ryerson had used his great
influence among the Methodists, and, since the cry was one of loyalty
to the Crown, many waverers {181} may have voted on patriotic grounds
for the government candidates.  Metcalfe's reputation, too, counted for
him, for he had already become known as more than generous, and one of
his successors estimated that he spent £6,000 a year in excess of his
official income.  "It must be admitted," he himself wrote to Stanley,
"that this majority has been elected by the loyalty of the majority of
the people of Upper Canada, and of those of the Eastern townships in
Lower Canada."[25]

The government, and presumably also the governor-general, were accused
of having secured their victory by doubtful tactics, and Elgin reported
in 1847 that his Assembly, which was that of the 1844 election, had had
much discredit thrown on it on the ground that the late
governor-general had interfered unduly in the elections.[26]  Neither
side had been perfectly scrupulous in its methods of warfare, and it is
not necessary to blame Metcalfe for the misguided zeal and cunning of
his Ministers and his country supporters.  Be that as it may, the
governor-general had won a hard-fought victory--Pyrrhic as it proved.

Throughout this political warfare, Metcalfe had {182} been sustained by
the strong support of the home government.  The cabinet announced
itself ready to give him every possible support in maintaining the
authority of the Queen, and of her representative, against unreasonable
and exorbitant pretensions.[27]  In the debate on the troubles, which
Roebuck introduced on May 30th, 1844, all the leading men on either
side, Stanley, Peel, Russell, and Buller, warmly supported the
governor, Russell and Buller being as strong in their reprobation of
the demands of the council as Stanley himself.[28]  And the chorus of
approval culminated in the letters from Peel and Stanley, which
announced the conferring of a peerage on Metcalfe "as a public mark of
her Majesty's cordial approbation of the judgment, ability, and
fidelity, with which he had discharged the important trust confided to
him by her Majesty."[29]  In a sense the honours and praise were not
altogether out of place.  Metcalfe had been sent out to conduct the
administration of Canada on what we now regard as an impossible system;
and unlike his immediate predecessors he had conceded not one point to
the other side.  In spite of all that his enemies could say, his {183}
personal honour and dignity remained untarnished.  The nicknames and
cruel taunts flung at him, in the earlier months, apparently by his own
ministers, recoil now on their heads, as the petty insults of
unmannerly politicians; indeed, the accusations which they made of
simplicity and honesty, simply reinforce the impression of quixotic
high-mindedness, which was not the least noble feature in Metcalfe's
character.  His generosity had been unaffected by his difficulties; and
there are few finer things in the history of British administration
than the sense of duty exhibited throughout 1845 by Lord Metcalfe,
when, dying of cancer in the cheek, almost blind, and altogether unable
to write his despatches, he still clung to his post "to secure the
preservation of this colony and the supremacy of the mother country."
It is easy to separate the man from the official, and to praise the
former as one of the noblest of early Victorian administrators.

But even before Lord Metcalfe's departure at the end of 1845, the
inadequacy of his system stood revealed.  He had indeed a majority in
the Assembly, but a small and doubtful majority; and since its members
had been elected rather to support Metcalfe than to co-operate with his
ill-assorted {184} ministry, difficulties very soon revealed
themselves.  There were causes of dissension, chief among them the
University question in Upper Canada, which threatened to wreck the
government party.  But the most ominous sign of coming defeat was the
incompatibility of temper which rapidly developed between loyal
ministers and loyal Assembly.  "It is remarkable," Metcalfe wrote in
May, 1845, "that none of the Executive Council, although all are
estimable and respectable, exercise any great influence over the party
which supports the government.  Mr. Draper is universally admitted to
be the most talented man in either House of the Legislature, and his
presence in the Legislative Assembly was deemed to be so essential,
that he resigned his seat in the Upper House, sacrificing his own
opinions in order that he might take the lead in the Assembly;
nevertheless he is not popular with the party that supports the
government, nor with any other, and I do not know that, strictly
speaking, he can be said to have a single follower.  The same may be
remarked of every other member of the Executive Council; and although I
have much reason to be satisfied with them, and have no expectation of
finding others who would serve her Majesty better, still I do not {185}
perceive that any of them individually have brought much support to the

That is the confession of a man who has attempted the impossible, and
who is being forced reluctantly to witness his own defeat.  The
ministry which he had created lacked the authority which can come only
from the best political talent of a people acting in sympathy with the
opinions of that people.  He had, with great difficulty, found a House
of Assembly willing by a narrow majority to support him, but personal
support is not in itself a political programme, and the fallacy of his
calculations appeared when work in detail had to be accomplished.  He
had reprobated party, and he found in a party--narrower in practice
even than that which he had displaced--the only possible foundation for
his authority.  He had come to Canada to complete the reconciliation of
opposing races within the colony, and, when he left, the French seemed
once more about to retreat into their old position of invincible
hostility to all things British.  The governor-generalship of Lord
Metcalfe is almost the clearest illustration in the nineteenth century
of the weakness of the doctrinaire in practical politics.
Unfortunately, the {186} doctrine which Metcalfe had strenuously
enforced was backed by the highest of imperial authorities, and
sanctioned by monarchy itself.  In less than ten years after the
Rebellion, the renovated theory of colonial autonomy had produced a new
dilemma.  It remained with Metcalfe's successor to decide whether
Britain preferred a second rebellion and probable separation to a
radical change of system.

[1] Kaye, _Life of Lord Metcalfe_, revised edition, ii. p. 313.

[2] _A View of Sir Charles Metcalfe's Government of Canada_, by a
member of the Provincial Parliament, p. 29.

[3] Baldwin Correspondence: La Fontaine to Baldwin, 26 July, 1845.

[4] _Parliamentary Paper concerning the Canadian Civil List_ (1 April,
1844), p. 5.

[5] Metcalfe to Stanley, 5 August, 1843.

[6] Metcalfe to Stanley, 13 May, 1845.

[7] Metcalfe to Stanley, 6 August, 1843.

[8] Metcalfe to Stanley, 13 May, 1845.

[9] Kaye, _Life of Lord Metcalfe_, ii. pp. 367-8.

[10] _Ibid._ ii. p. 369.

[11] See Hincks, _Lecture on the Political History of Canada_; and
Dent, _The Last Forty Years_.  The latter work was written under the
influence of Sir Francis Hincks, whose comments on it are contained in
the inter-leaved copy in the possession of the Canadian archives.

[12] Metcalfe to Stanley, 26 December, 1843.

[13] _A Letter on the Ministerial Crisis, by the old Montreal
Correspondent of the Colonial Gazette_, Kingston, 1843.

[14] Quoted from Ryerson, _Story of my Life_, pp. 332-3.

[15] Ryerson, _op. cit._ p. 323.

[16] See above, p. 116.

[17] Viger was defeated in the election of 1844.

[18] Kaye, _Papers and Correspondence of Lord Melcalfe_, p. 426.

[19] See, for the whole intrigue, _Correspondence between the Hon. W.
H. Draper and the Hon. B. E. Garon; and, between the Honbles. L. H. La
Fontaine and A. N. Morin_, Montreal, 1840.

[20] The Rev. John Ryerson to Egerton Ryerson, February, 1844, in _The
Story of my Life_.

[21] Metcalfe to Stanley, 23 December, 1843.

[22] Montreal Gazette, 23 April, 1844.

[23] _Montreal Daily Witness_, 7 March, 1896, containing reminiscences
by Dr. William Kingsford.

[24] Young, _Early History of Galt and Dumfries_, p. 193.

[25] Metcalfe to Stanley, 23 November, 1844.

[26] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 9 December, 1847.

[27] Stanley to Metcalfe, 18 May, 1844.

[28] _Hansard_, 30 May, 1844.

[29] Kaye, _Life of Lord Metcalfe_, ii. pp. 405-9.

[30] Metcalfe to Stanley, 13 May, 1845.




The year which intervened between Metcalfe's departure and the arrival
of Lord Elgin at the beginning of 1847, may be disregarded in this
inquiry.  Earl Cathcart, who held office in the interval, was chosen
because relations with the United States at that time were serious
enough to make it desirable to combine the civil and the military
headship in Canada in one person.  In domestic politics the
governor-general was a negligible quantity, as his successor confessed:
"Lord Cathcart, not very unreasonably perhaps, has allowed everything
that required thought to lie over for me."[1]

But the arrival of Elgin changed the whole aspect of affairs, and
introduced the most {188} important modification that was made in
Canadian government between 1791 and the year of Confederation.  Since
1839, governors-general who took their instructions from Britain, and
who seldom allowed the Canadian point of view to have more than an
indirect influence on their administration, had introduced the most
unhappy complications into politics.  Both they and the home government
were now reduced to the gloomiest speculations concerning the
permanence of the British connection.  In place of the academic or
official view of colonial dependence which had hitherto dominated
Canadian administration, Elgin came to substitute a policy which
frankly accepted the Canadian position, and which as frankly trusted to
a loyalty dependent for none of its sanctions upon external coercion or
encouragement.  With 1846, Great Britain entered on an era of which the
predominating principle was _laissez faire_, and within twelve months
of the concession of that principle in commerce, Elgin applied it with
even more astonishing results in the region of colonial Parliamentary

The Canadian episode in Elgin's career furnishes the most perfect and
permanently useful service rendered by him to the Empire.  Although he
{189} gathered laurels in China and India, and earned a notable place
among diplomatists, nothing that he did is so representative of the
whole man, so valuable, and so completely rounded and finished, as the
seven years of his work in Canada.  Elsewhere he accomplished tasks,
which others had done, or might have done as well.  But in the history
of the self-governing dominions of Britain, his name is almost the
first of those who assisted in creating an Empire, the secret of whose
strength was to be local autonomy.

He belonged to the most distinguished group of nineteenth century
politicians, for with Gladstone, Canning, Dalhousie, Herbert, and
others, he served his apprenticeship under Sir Robert Peel.  All of
that younger generation reflected the sobriety, the love of hard fact,
the sound but progressive conservatism, and the high administrative
faculty of their great master.  It was an epoch when changes were
inevitable; but the soundest minds tended, in spite of a powerful party
tradition, to view the work in front of them in a non-partizan spirit.
Gladstone himself, for long, seemed fated to repeat the party-breaking
record of Peel; and three great proconsuls of the group, Dalhousie,
Canning, and Elgin, found in imperial administration a more {190}
congenial task than Westminster could offer them.  Elgin occupies a
mediate position between the administrative careers of Dalhousie and
Canning, and the parliamentary and constitutional labours of Gladstone.
He was that strange being, a constitutionalist proconsul; and his chief
work in administration lay in so altering the relation of his office to
Canadian popular government, as to take from the governor-generalship
much of its initiative, and to make a great surrender to popular
opinion.  Between his arrival in Montreal at the end of January, 1847,
and the writing of his last official despatch on December 18th, 1854,
he had established on sure foundations the system of democratic
government in Canada.

Never was man better fitted for his work.  He came, a Scotsman, to a
colony one-third Scottish, and the name of Bruce was itself soporific
to the opposition of a perfervid section of the reformers.  His wife
was the daughter of Lord Durham, whom Canadians regarded as the
beginner of a new age of Canadian constitutionalism.  He had been
appointed by a Whig Government, and Earl Grey, the new Colonial
Secretary, was already learned in liberal theory, both in politics and
economics, and understood that Britons, abroad as at home, {191} must
have liberty to misgovern themselves.  Elgin's personal qualities were
precisely those best fitted to control a self-governing community.  Not
only was he saved from extreme views by his caution and sense of
humour, but he had, to an extraordinary degree, the power of seeing
both sides, and more especially the other side, of any question.  In
Canada too, as later in China and India, he exhibited qualities of
humanity which some might term quixotic;[2] and, as will be illustrated
very fully below, his gifts of tact and _bonhomie_ made him a
singularly persuasive force in international affairs, and secured for
Britain at least one clear diplomatic victory over America.

Following on a succession of short-lived and troubled governorships,
under which, while the principle of government had remained constant,
nothing else had done so, Elgin had practically to begin Durham's work
afresh, and build without much regard for the foundations laid since
1841.  The alternatives before him were a grant of really responsible
government, or a rebellion, with annexation to the United States as its
probable end.  The {192} new Governor saw very clearly the dangers of
his predecessor's policy.  "The distinction," he wrote at a later date,
"between Lord Metcalfe's policy and mine is twofold.  In the first
place he profoundly distrusted the whole Liberal party in the
province--that great party which, excepting at extraordinary
conjunctures, has always carried with it the mass of the
constituencies.  He believed its designs to be revolutionary, just as
the Tory party in England believed those of the Whigs and Reformers to
be in 1832.  And, secondly, he imagined that when circumstances forced
the party upon him, he could check these revolutionary tendencies by
manifesting his distrust of them, more especially in the matter of the
distribution of patronage, thereby relieving them in a great measure
from that responsibility, which is in all free countries the most
effectual security against the abuse of power, and tempting them to
endeavour to combine the role of popular tribunes with the prestige of
ministers of the crown."[3]

The danger of a crisis was the greater because, as has been shown,
Metcalfe's anti-democratic policy had been more than the expression of
a personal {193} mood.  It was the policy of the British government.
After Metcalfe's departure, and Stanley's resignation of the Colonial
office, Gladstone, then for a few months Colonial Secretary, assured
Cathcart that "the favour of his Sovereign and the acknowledgment of
his country, have marked (Metcalfe's) administration as one which,
under the peculiar circumstances of the task he had to perform, _may
justly be regarded as a model for his successors_."[4]  In truth, the
British Colonial office was not only wrong in its working theory, but
ignorant of the boiling tumult of Canadian opinion in those days;
ignorant of the steadily increasing vehemence of the demand for true
home rule, and of the possibility that French nationalism, Irish
nationalism, and American aggression, might unite in a great upheaval,
and the political tragedy find its consummation in another Declaration
of Independence.

But Elgin was allowed little leisure for general reflections; the
concrete details of the actual situation absorbed all his energies.
Since Metcalfe's resignation, matters had not improved.  There was
still an uncertain majority in the House of Assembly, although, in the
eyes of probably a {194} majority of voters, the disorders of the late
election had discredited the whole Assembly.  But the ministry had gone
on from weakness to further weakness.  Draper, who did his best to
preserve the political decencies, had been forced to ask Cathcart to
assist him in removing certain of his colleagues.  Viger had been a
complete failure as President of the Council, and performed none of the
duties of his department except that of signing his name to reports
prepared by others.  Daly was of little use to him; and, as for the
solicitor-general for Upper Canada, Sherwood, "his repeated absence on
important divisions, his lukewarm support, and occasional (almost)
opposition, his habit of speaking of the Members of your Excellency's
Government and of the policy pursued by them, his more than suspected
intrigues to effect the removal of some members of the council, have
altogether destroyed all confidence in him."[5]  Draper himself had
seemingly grown tired of the dust and heat of the struggle, and, soon
after Elgin's assumption of authority, resigned his premiership for a
legal position as honourable and more peaceful.


Elgin, then, found a distracted ministry, a doubtful Assembly, and an
irritated country.  His ministers he thought lacking in pluck, and far
too willing to appeal to selfish and sordid motives in possible
supporters.[6]  He was irritated by what seemed to him the petty and
inconsistent divisions of Canadian party life: "In a community like
this, where there is little, if anything, of public principle to divide
men, political parties will shape themselves under the influence of
circumstances, and of a great variety of affections and antipathies,
national, sectarian, and personal....  It is not even pretended that
the divisions of party represent corresponding divisions of sentiment
on questions which occupy the public mind, such as voluntaryism, Free
Trade, etc., etc.  Responsible Government is the one subject on which
this coincidence is alleged to exist."[7]  The French problem he found
peculiarly difficult.  Metcalfe's policy had had results disconcerting
to the British authorities.  Banishing, as he thought, sectarianism or
racial views, he had yet practically shut out French statesmen from
office so successfully, that, when Elgin, acting through Colonel Taché,
{196} attempted to approach them, he found in none of them any
disposition to enter into alliance with the existing ministry.[8]
Elgin, who was willing enough to give fair play to every political
section, could not but see the obvious fault of French Canadian
nationalism.  "They seem incapable of comprehending that the principles
of constitutional government must be applied against them, as well as
for them," he wrote to Grey.  "Whenever there appears to be a chance of
things taking this turn they revive the ancient cry of nationality, and
insist on their right to have a share in the administration, not
because the party with which they have chosen to connect themselves is
in the ascendant, but because they represent a people of distinct
origin."[9]  Most serious of all, because it hampered his initiative,
he found every party except that in office suspicious of the governor's
authority, and newspapers like Hincks' _Pilot_ grumbling over Imperial

One sweeping remedy, he had, within a few months of his arrival, laid
aside as impossible.  Lord John Russell and Grey had discussed with
{197} him the possibility of raising Canadian politics out of their
pettiness by a federal union of all the British North American
colonies.  But as early as May 1847, Elgin had come to doubt whether
the free and independent legislatures of the colonies would be willing
to delegate any of their authority to please a British ministry.[10]
It was necessary then to fall back on the unromantic alternative of
modifying the constitution of the ministry; and here French solidarity
had made his task difficult.  Yet the amazing thing in Elgin was the
speed, the ease, and the accuracy, with which he saw what none of his
predecessors had seen--the need to concede, and the harmlessness of
conceding, responsible government in Baldwin's sense of the term.
Within two months of his accession to power, he declared, "I am
determined to do nothing which will put it out of my power to act with
the opposite party, if it is forced upon me by the representatives of
the people."[11]  Two months later, sick of the struggles by which his
ministers were trying to gain here and there some trivial vote to keep
them in office, he recurred to the same idea as not merely harmless but
sound.  That ministers {198} and opposition should occasionally change
places struck him not merely as constitutional, but as the most
conservative convention in the constitution; and in answer to the older
school to whom a change of ministers at the dictation of a majority in
the Assembly meant the degradation of the governor-generalship, he
hoped "to establish a moral influence in the province, which will go
far to compensate for the loss of power consequent on the surrender of
patronage to an executive responsible to the local parliament."[12]

To give his ministers a last fair chance of holding on to office, he
dissolved parliament at the end of 1847, recognizing that, in the event
of a victory, their credit would be immensely increased.  The struggle
of December 1847, to January 1848, was decisive.  While the French
constituencies maintained their former position, even in Upper Canada
the discredited ministry found few supporters.  The only element in the
situation which disturbed Elgin was the news that Papineau, the
arch-rebel of 1837, had come back to public life with a flourish of
agitating declarations; and that the French people had not condemned
with sufficient decisiveness his seditious utterances.  Yet he need
have {199} had no qualms.  _La Revue Canadienne_ in reviewing the
situation certainly refused to condemn Papineau's extravagances, but
its conclusion took the ground from under the agitator's feet, for it
declared that "cette modération de nos chefs politiques a puissamment
contribué à placer notre parti dans la position avantageuse qu'il
occupe maintenant."[13]  Now Papineau was incapable of political

The fate of the ministry was quickly settled.  Their candidate for the
speakership of the Lower House was defeated by 54 votes to 19; a vote
of no confidence was carried by 54 to 20; on March 23rd parliament was
prorogued and a new administration, the first truly popular ministry in
the history of Canada, accepted office, and the country, satisfied at
last, was promised "various measures for developing the resources of
the province, and promoting the social well-being of its

The change was the more decisive because it was made with the approval
of the Whig government in England.  "I can have no doubt," Grey wrote
to Elgin on February 22nd, "that you must accept {200} such a council
as the newly elected parliament will support, and that however unwise
as relates to the real interests of Canada their measures may be, they
must be acquiesced in, until it shall pretty clearly appear that public
opinion will support a resistance to them.  There is no middle course
between this line of policy, and that which involves in the last resort
an appeal to parliament to overrule the wishes of the Canadians, and
this I agree with Gladstone and Stanley in thinking impracticable."[15]
The only precaution he bade Elgin take was to register his dissent
carefully in cases of disagreement.  Having conceded the essential, it
mattered little that Grey could not quite rid himself of doubts as to
the consequences of his previous daring.  The concession had come most
opportunely, for Elgin, who feared greatly the disturbing influences of
European revolutionism, Irish discontent, and American democracy in its
cruder forms, believed that, had the change not taken place, "we should
by this hour (November 30th, 1848) either have been ignominiously
expelled from Canada, or our relations with the United States would
have been in a most precarious condition."


It is not necessary to follow Elgin through all the details of more
than seven busy years.  It will suffice to watch him at work on the
three great allied problems which combined to form the constitutional
question in Canada; the character of the government to be conceded to,
and worked along with, the colonists; the recognition to be given to
French nationalist feeling; and the nature of the connection between
Britain and Canada which would exist after concessions had been made on
these points.  The significance of his policy is the greater, because
the example of Canada was certain, _mutatis mutandis_, to be followed
by the other greater colonies.  Elgin's solution of the question of
responsible government was so natural and easy that the reader of his
despatches forgets how completely his task had baffled all his
predecessors, and that several generations of colonial secretaries had
refused to admit what in his hands seemed a self-evident truth.  At the
outset Elgin's own mind had not been free from serious doubt.  He had
come to Canada with a traditional suspicion of the French Canadians and
the progressives of Upper Canada; yet within a year, since the country
so willed it, he had accepted a cabinet, composed entirely of these two
sections.  On his {202} way to the formation of that cabinet he not
only brushed aside old suspicions, but he refused to surrender to the
seductions of the eclectic principle, which allowed his predecessors to
evade the force of popular opinion by selecting representatives of all
shades of that opinion.  He saw the danger of allowing responsible
government to remain a party cry, and he removed "that most delicate
and debatable subject" from party politics by conceding the whole
position.  The defects of the Canadian party system never found a
severer critic than Elgin, but he saw that by party Canada would be
ruled, and he could not, as Metcalfe had done, deceive himself into
thinking he had abolished it by governing in accordance with the least
popular party in the state.  With the candour and the discriminating
judgment which so distinguished all his doings in Canada, he admitted
that, notwithstanding the high ground Lord Metcalfe had taken against
party patronage, the ministers favoured by that governor-general had
"used patronage for party purposes with quite as little scruple as his
first council."[16]

Since the first general election had proved beyond a doubt that
Canadians desired a {203} progressive ministry, he made the change with
perfect success, and remained a consistent guide and friend to his new

There was something dramatic in the contrast between the possibilities
of trouble in the year when the concession was made, and the peace
which actually ensued.  It was the year of revolution, and the men whom
he called to his assistance were "persons denounced very lately by the
Secretary of State to the Governor-General as impracticable and
disloyal";[17] but before the year was out he was able to boast that
when so many thrones were tottering and the allegiance of so many
people was waxing faint, there is less political disaffection in Canada
than there ever had been before.  From 1848 until the year of his
recall, he remained in complete accord with his liberal administration,
and never was constitutional monarch more intimately and usefully
connected with his ministers than was Elgin, first with Baldwin and La
Fontaine, and then with Hincks and Morin.

Elgin gave a rarer example of what fidelity to colonial
constitutionalism meant.  In these years of liberal success, "Old
Toryism" faced a new strain, and faced it badly.  The party had {204}
supported the empire, when that empire meant their supremacy.  They had
befriended the representative of the Crown, when they had all the
places and profits.  When the British connection took a liberal colour,
when the governor-general acted constitutionally towards the
undoubtedly progressive tone of popular opinion, some of the tories
became annexationists.  Many of them, as will be shown later,
encouraged a dastardly assault on the person of their official head;
and all of them, supported by gentlemen of Her Majesty's army, treated
the representative of the Crown with the most obvious discourtesy.[18]
Nevertheless, when opinion changed, and when a coalition attacked and
unseated the Progressive ministry of 1848-1854, Elgin, without a
moment's hesitation, turned to the men who had insulted him.  "To the
great astonishment of the public, as well as to his own," wrote
Laurence Oliphant, who was then on Elgin's staff, "Sir Allan MacNab,
who had been one of his bitterest opponents ever since the Montreal
events, was sent for to form a ministry--Lord Elgin by this act
satisfactorily disproving the charges of {205} having either personal
or political partialities in the selection of his ministers."[19]

But the first great constitutional governor-general of Canada had to
interpret constitutionalism as something more than mere obedience to
public dictation with regard to his councillors.  He had to educate
these councillors, and the public, into the niceties of British
constitutional manners; and he had to create a new vocation for the
governor-general, and to exchange dictation for rational influence.  He
had to teach his ministers moderation in their measures, and,
indirectly, to show the opposition how to avoid crude and extreme
methods in their fight for office.  When his high political courage, in
consenting to a bill very obnoxious to the opposition, forced them into
violence, he kept his temper and his head, and the opposition leaders
learned, not from punishment, but from quiet contempt, to express
dissent in modes other than those of arson and sticks and stones.  For
seven years, by methods so restrained as to be hardly perceptible even
in his private letters to Grey, he guided the first experimental
cabinets into smooth water, and when he resigned, he left behind him
politicians {206} trained by his efforts to govern Canada according to
British usage.

At the same time his influence on the British Cabinet was as quiet and
certain.  He was still responsible to the British Crown and Cabinet,
and a weaker man would have forgotten the problems which the new
Canadian constitutionalism was bound to create at the centre of
authority.  Two instances will illustrate the point, and Elgin's clear
perception of his duty.  They are both taken from the episode of the
Rebellion Losses Bill, and the Montreal riots of 1849.  The Bill which
caused the trouble had been introduced to complete a scheme of
compensation for all those who had suffered loss in the late Rebellion,
whether French or English, and had been passed by majorities in both
houses; but while there seemed no valid reason for disallowing it,
Elgin suspected trouble--indeed, at first, he viewed the measure with
personal disapproval.[20]  He might have refused permission to bring in
the bill; but the practical consequences of such a refusal were too
serious to {207} be accepted.  "Only imagine," he wrote, "how difficult
it would have been to discover a justification for my conduct, if at a
moment when America was boiling over with bandits and desperadoes, and
when the leaders of every faction in the Union, with the view of
securing the Irish vote for the presidential election, were vying with
each other in abuse of England, and subscribing funds for the Irish
Republican Union, I had brought on such a crisis in Canada by refusing
to allow my administration to bring in a bill to carry out the
recommendation of Lord Metcalfe's commissioners."[21]  He might have
dissolved Parliament, but, as he rightly pointed out, "it would be
rather a strong measure to have recourse to dissolution because a
Parliament, elected one year ago under the auspices of the present
opposition, passed by a majority of more than two to one a measure
introduced by the Government."  There remained only the possibility of
reserving the bill for approval or rejection at home.  A weaker man
would have taken this easy and fatal way of evading responsibility; but
Elgin rose to the height of his vocation, when he explained his reason
for acting on his own {208} initiative.  "I should only throw upon her
Majesty's Government, or (as it would appear to the popular eye here)
on Her Majesty herself, a responsibility which rests, and ought I think
to rest, on my own shoulders."[22]  He gave his assent to the bill,
suffered personal violence at the hands of the Montreal crowd and the
opposition, but, since he stood firm, he triumphed, and saved both the
dignity of the Crown and the friendship of the French for his

The other instance of his skill in combining Canadian autonomy with
British supremacy is less important, but, in a way, more extraordinary
in its subtlety.  As a servant of the Crown, he had to furnish
despatches, which were liable to be published as parliamentary papers,
and so to be perused by Canadian politicians.  Elgin had therefore to
reckon with two publics--the British Parliament, which desired
information, and the Canadian Parliament, which desired to maintain its
dignity and freedom.  Before the Montreal outrage, and when it was
extremely desirable to leave matters as vague as possible, Elgin simply
refrained from giving details to the Colonial Office.  "I could not
have made my official communication to {209} you in reference to this
Bill, which you could have laid before Parliament, without stating or
implying an irrevocable decision on this point.  To this circumstance
you must ascribe the fact that you have not heard from me
officially."[23]  With even greater shrewdness, at a later date, he
made Grey expunge, in his book on Colonial Policy, details of the
outrage which followed the passing of the Act; for, said he, "I am
strongly of opinion that nothing but evil can result from the
publication, at this period, of a detailed and circumstantial statement
of the disgraceful proceedings which took place after the Bill
passed....  _The surest way to arrest a process of conversion is to
dwell on the errors of the past, and to place in a broad light the
contrast between present sentiments and those of an earlier date_."[24]
In constitutional affairs manners make, not merely the statesman, but
the possibility of government; and Elgin's highest quality as a
constitutionalist was, not so much his understanding of the machinery
of government, as his knowledge of the constitutional temper, and the
need within it of humanity and common-sense.


Great as was Elgin's achievement in rectifying Canadian constitutional
practice, his solution of the nationalist difficulty in Lower Canada
was possibly a greater triumph of statesmanship; for the present _modus
vivendi_, which still shows no signs of breaking down, dates from the
years of Elgin's governorship.  The decade which included his rule in
Canada was pre-eminently the epoch of nationalism.  Italy, Germany, and
Hungary, with Mazzini as their prophet, were all struggling for the
acknowledgment of their national claims, and within the British Islands
themselves, the Irish nationalists furnished, in Davis and the writers
to _The Nation_, disciples and apostles of the new gospel.  It is
always dangerous to trace European influences across the Atlantic; but
there is little doubt that as the French rebellion of 1837 owed
something to Europe, so the arch-rebel Papineau's paper, _L'Avenir_,
echoed in an empty blustering fashion, the cries of the nationalist
revolution of 1848.[25]

Elgin found on his arrival that British administration had thrown every
element in French-Canadian politics into headlong opposition to itself.
How dangerous the situation was, one may infer from {211} the
disquieting rumours of the ambitions of the American Union, and from
the passions and memories of injustice which floods of unkempt and
wretched Irish immigrants were bringing with them to their new homes in
America.  In Elgin's second year of office, 1848, he had to face the
possibility of a rising under the old leaders of 1837.  His solution of
the difficulty proceeded _pari passu_ with his constitutional work.  In
the latter he had seen that he must remove the disquieting subject of
"responsible government" from the party programme of the progressives,
and the politic surrender of 1847 had gained his end.  Towards French
nationalism he acted in the same spirit.  As has already been seen, he
was conscious of the political shortcomings of the French.  Yet there
was nothing penal in his attitude towards them, and he saw, with a
clearness to which Durham never attained, how idle all talk of
anglicizing French Canada must be.  "I for one," he said, "am deeply
convinced of the impolicy of all such attempts to denationalize the
French.  Generally speaking, they produce the opposite effect from that
intended, causing the flame of national prejudice and animosity to burn
more fiercely."[26]


But how could the pathological phase of nationalism be ended?  His
first Tory advisers suggested the old trick of making converts, but the
practice had long since been found useless.  His next speculation was
whether the French could be made to take sides as Liberals or Tories,
apart altogether from nationalist considerations.  But the political
solidarity of the French had been a kind of trades-unionism, claiming
to guard French interests against an actual menace to their very
existence as a nation within the empire; and they were certain to act
only with Baldwin and his friends, the one party which had regarded
them as other than traitors or suspects, or at best tools.

No complete solution of the problem was possible; but when Elgin
surrendered to the progressives, he was making concessions also to the
French--by admitting them to a recognized place within the
constitution, and doing so without reservation.  The joint ministry of
La Fontaine and Baldwin was, in a sense, the most satisfactory answer
that could be made to the difficulty.  From the moment of its creation
Elgin and Canada were safe.  He remained doubtful during part of 1848,
for Papineau had been elected by acclamation to the Parliament which
held its first session that year; and he "had {213} searched in vain
... through the French organs of public opinion for a frank and decided
expression of hostility to the anti-British sentiments propounded in
Papineau's address."[27]  He did not at first understand that La
Fontaine, not Papineau, was the French leader, and that the latter
represented only himself and a few _Rouges_ of violent but
unsubstantial revolutionary opinions.  Nevertheless, he gave his French
ministers his confidence, and he applied his singular powers of winning
men to appeasing French discontent.  As early as May, 1848, he saw how
the land lay--that French Canada was fundamentally conservative, and
that discontent was mainly a consequence of sheer stupidity and error
on the part of England.  "Who will venture to say," he asked, "that the
last hand which waves the British flag on American ground may not be
that of a French Canadian?"[28]

His final settlement of the question came in 1849, and the introduction
of that Rebellion Losses Bill which has been already mentioned.  The
measure was, in the main, an act of justice to French sufferers from
the disturbances created by the Rebellion; for they had naturally
shared but slightly {214} in earlier and partial schemes of
compensation; and the opposition to the bill was directed quite frankly
against the French inhabitants of Canada as traitors, who deserved, not
recompense, but punishment.  Now there were many cases of real
hardship, like that of the inhabitants of St. Benoit, a village which
Sir John Colborne had pledged himself to protect when he occupied it
for military purposes, but which, in his absence, the loyalist
volunteers had set on fire and destroyed.  The inhabitants might be
disloyal, but in the eyes of an equal justice a wrong had been done,
and must be righted.  The idea of the bill was not new--it was not
Elgin's bill; and if his predecessors had been right, then the French
politicians were justified in claiming that the system of compensation
already initiated must be followed till all legitimate claims had been

It would be disingenuous to deny that Elgin calculated on the pacific
influence which his support of the bill would exert in Lower Canada.
"I was aware of two facts," he told Grey in 1852: "Firstly, that M. La
Fontaine would be unable to retain the support of his countrymen if he
failed to introduce a measure of this description; and secondly, that
my refusal would be taken by him and his friends {215} as a proof that
they had not my confidence."  But his chief concern was to hold the
balance level, to redress an actual grievance, and to repress the fury
of Canadian Tories whose unrestrained action would have flung Canada
into a new and complicated struggle of races and parties.  "I am firmly
convinced," he told Grey in June, speaking of American election
movements at this time, "that the only thing which prevented an
invasion of Canada was the political contentment prevailing among the
French Canadians and Irish Catholics"; and that political contentment
was the result of Elgin's action in supporting his ministers.  A happy
chance, utilized to the full by Elgin's cautious wisdom, had enabled
him to do the French what they counted a considerable service; and the
rage and disorder of the opposition only played the more surely into
the hands of the governor-general, and established, beyond any risk of
alteration, French loyalty to him personally.[29]

From that day, with trivial intervals or incidents of misunderstanding,
the British and the French in Canada have played the political game
together.  It was in the La Fontaine-Baldwin ministry that {216} the
joint action, within the Canadian parties, of the two races had its
real beginning; and while the traditions and idiosyncrasies of Quebec
were too ingrained and fundamental to admit of modification beyond a
certain point, Canadian parliamentary life was henceforth based on the
free co-operation of French and English, in a party system which tried
to forget the distinction of race.  From this time, too, Elgin began to
discern the conservative genius of the French people, and to prophesy
that, when Baldwin's moderate reforming influence should have been
withdrawn, the French would naturally incline to unite with the
moderate Conservatives--the combination on which, in actual fact, John
A. Macdonald based his long control of power in Canada.

The nationalist question is so intermingled with the constitutional
that it is not always easy to separate the two issues.  The same
qualities which settled the latter difficulty ended also French
grievances--saving common-sense which did not refuse to do the obvious
thing; _bonhomie_ which understood that a well-mannered people may be
wooed from its isolation by a little humouring; a mind resolute to
administer to every British subject equal rights; and an austere
refusal to let an {217} arrogant and narrow-minded minority claim to
itself a kind of oligarchic glory at the expense of citizens who did
not belong to the Anglo-Saxon stock.

There is a third aspect of Elgin's work in Canada of wider scope than
either of those already mentioned, and one in which his claims to
distinction have been almost forgotten--his contribution to the working
theory of the British Empire.  Elgin was one of those earlier sane
imperialists whose achievements it is very easy to forget.  It is not
too much to say that, when Elgin came to Canada, the future of the
British colonial empire was at best gloomy.  Politicians at home had
placed in front of themselves an awkward dilemma.  According to the
stiffer Tories, the colonies must be held in with a firm hand--how
firm, Stanley had illustrated in his administration of Canada.  Yet
Tory stiffness produced colonial discontent, and colonial discontent
bred very natural doubts at home as to the possibility of holding the
colonies by the old methods.  On the other hand, there were those, like
Cobden, who, while they believed with the Tories that colonial
home-rule was certain to result in colonial independence, were
nevertheless too loyal to their doctrine of political liberty to resist
colonial claims.  They looked to an immediate but {218} peaceful
dissolution of the empire.  It seemed never to strike anyone but a few
radicals, like Durham and Buller, that Britons still held British
sentiments, even across the seas, and that they desired to combine a
continuance of the British connection with the retention of all those
popular rights in government which they had possessed at home.  A
Canadian governor-general, then, had to deal with British Cabinets
which alternated between foolish rigour and foolish slackness, and with
politicians who reflected little on the responsibilities of empire,
when they flung before careless British audiences irresponsible
discussions on colonial independence--as if it were an academic subject
and not a critical issue.

Elgin had imperial difficulties, all his own, to make his task more
complicated.  Not only were there French and Irish nationalists ready
for agitation, but the United States lay across the southern border;
and annexation to that mighty and flourishing republic seemed to many
the natural euthanasia of British rule in North America.  Peel's
sweeping reforms in the tariff had rekindled annexationist talk; for
while Lord Stanley's bill of 1843 had attracted all the produce of the
west to the St. Lawrence by its grant of preference to the {219}
colony, "Peel's bill of 1846 drives the whole of the produce down the
New York channels of communication ... ruining at once mill-owners,
forwarders and merchants."[30]  And every petty and personal
disappointment, every error in colonial office administration, raised a
new group to cry down the British system, and to call for a peaceful
junction with the United States.

Elgin had not been long in Canada before he saw one important
fact--that the real annexationist feeling had commercial, not political
roots.  Without diminishing the seriousness of the situation, the
discovery made it more susceptible of rational treatment.  A colony
suffering a severe set-back in trade found the precise remedy it looked
for in transference of its allegiance.  "The remedy offered them,"
wrote Elgin, "is perfectly definite and intelligible.  They are invited
to form part of a community which is neither suffering nor free-trading
... a community, the members of which have been within the last few
weeks pouring into their multifarious places of worship, to thank God
that they are exempt from the ills which affect other men, from those
more especially which affect their despised neighbours, the inhabitants
of North {220} America, who have remained faithful to the country which
planted them."[31]  With free-trade in the ascendant, and, to the
maturest minds of the time, unanswerably sound in theory, Elgin had to
dismiss schemes of British preference from his mind; and, towards the
end of his rule, when American policy was irritating Canada, he had
even to restrict the scope within which Canadian retaliation might be
practised.  There could be no imperial Zollverein.  But he saw that a
measure of reciprocity might give the Canadians all the economic
benefits they sought, and yet leave to them the allegiance and the
government which, in their hearts, they preferred.  The annexationist
clamour fell and rose, mounting highest in Montreal, and reaching a
crisis in the year of the Rebellion Losses disturbance; but Elgin,
while sometimes he grew despondent, always kept his head, and never
ceased to hope for the reciprocity which would at once bring back
prosperity and still the disloyal murmurs.  Once or twice, when the
annexationists were at their worst, and when his Tory opponents chose
support of that disloyal movement as the means of insulting their
governor, he took stern measures for repressing an unnatural evil.  "We
intend," {221} he wrote in November, 1849, after an annexation meeting
at which servants of the State had been present, "to dismiss the
militia officers and magistrates who have taken part in these affairs,
and to deprive the two Queen's Counsels of their silk gowns."  But he
relied mainly on the positive side of his policy, and few statesmen
have given Canada a more substantial boon than did Elgin when, just
before his recall, he went to Washington on that mission which Laurence
Oliphant has made classic by his description, and concluded by far the
most favourable commercial treaty ever negotiated by Britain with the
United States.

There is perhaps a tendency to underestimate the work of his
predecessors and assistants in preparing the way, but no one can doubt
that it was Elgin's persistence in urging the treaty on the home
Cabinet, and his wonderful diplomatic gifts, which ultimately won the
day.  Oliphant, certainly, had no doubt as to his chief's share in the
matter.  "He is the most thorough diplomat possible--never loses sight
for a moment of his object, and while he is chaffing Yankees, and
slapping them on the back, he is systematically pursuing that
object";[32] and again, "There was concluded in {222} exactly a
fortnight a treaty, to negotiate which had taxed the inventive genius
of the Foreign Office, and all the conventional methods of diplomacy,
for the previous seven years."[33]

It was a long, slow process by which Elgin restored the tone of
Canadian loyalty.  Frenchmen who had dreamed of renouncing allegiance
he won by his obvious fairness, and the recognition accorded by him to
their leaders.  He took the heart out of Irish disaffection by his
popular methods and love of liberty.  Tory dissentients fell slowly in
to heel, as they found their governor no lath painted to look like
iron, but very steel.  To desponding Montreal merchants his reciprocity
treaty yielded naturally all they had expected from a more drastic
change.  It is true that, owing to untoward circumstances, the treaty
lasted only for the limited period prescribed by Elgin; but it tided
over an awkward interval of disaffection and disappointment.

He did more, however, than cure definite phases of Canadian
disaffection; his influence through Earl Grey told powerfully for a
fuller and more optimistic conception of empire.  With all its virtues,
the bureaucracy of the Colonial Office did not understand the
government of colonies such {223} as Canada; and where colonial
secretaries had the ability and will, they had not knowledge sufficient
to lead them into paths at once democratic and imperial.  Even Grey
relapsed on occasion from the optimism which empire demands of its
statesmen.  It was not simply that he emphasized the wrong
points--military and diplomatic issues, which in Canada were minor and
even negligible matters; but at times he seemed prepared to believe
that the days of the connection were numbered.[34]

In 1848 he had impaled himself on the horns of one of those dilemmas
which present themselves so frequently to absentee governments and
secretaries of state--either reciprocity and an Americanized colony, or
a new rebellion as the consequence of a refusal in Britain to consent
to a reciprocity treaty.[35]  In 1849, "looking at these indications of
the state of feeling in Canada, and at the equally significant
indications as to the feeling of the House of Commons respecting the
value of our colonies," he had begun to despair of their retention.[36]
But there were greater sinners than those of the Colonial Office.
While Elgin {224} was painfully removing all the causes of trouble in
Canada, and proving without argument, but in deeds, that the British
connection represented normal conditions for both England and Canada,
politicians insisted on making foolish speeches.  At last, an offence
by the Prime Minister himself drove Elgin into a passion unusual in so
equable a mind, and which, happily, he expressed in the best of all his
letters.  "I have never been able to comprehend why, elastic as our
constitutional system is, we should not be able, now more especially
when we have ceased to control the trade of our colonies, to render the
links which bind them to the British Crown at least as lasting as those
which unite the component parts of the Union....  You must renounce the
habit of telling the colonies that the colonial is a provisional
existence....  Is the Queen of England to be the sovereign of an
empire, growing, expanding, strengthening itself from age to age,
striking its roots deep into fresh earth and drawing new supplies of
vitality from virgin soils?  Or is she to be for all essential purposes
of might and power monarch of Great Britain and Ireland merely, her
place and that of her land in the world's history determined by the
productiveness of 12,000 square miles of a coal {225} formation which
is being rapidly exhausted, and the duration of the social and
political organization over which she presides dependent on the annual
expatriation, with a view to its eventual alienization, of the surplus
swarm of her born subjects?"[37]  That is the final question of
imperialism; and Elgin had earned the right not only to put it to the
home government with emphasis, but also to answer it in an affirmative
and constructive sense.

The argument forbids any mention of the less public episodes in Elgin's
Canadian adventure; his whimsical capacity for getting on with men,
French, British, and American; the sly humour of his correspondence
with his official chief; the searching comments made by him on men and
manners in America; the charm of such social and diplomatic incidents
as Laurence Oliphant has related in his letters and his _Episodes in a
Life of Adventure_.  But it may be permitted to sum up his qualities as
governor, and to connect his work with the general movement towards
self-government which had been proceeding so rapidly since 1839.

He was too human, easy, unclassical, and, on {226} the other hand, too
little touched with Byronic or revolutionary feeling, even to suggest
the age of Pitt, Napoleon, Canning; he was too sensible, too orthodox,
too firmly based on fact and on the past, to have any affinity with our
own transitionary politics.  Like Peel, although in a less degree, he
had at once a firm body of opinions, a keen eye for new facts, and a
sure, slow capacity for bringing the new material to bear on old

He was able, as few have been, to set the personal equation aside in
his political plans, holding the balance between friends and foes with
almost uncanny fairness, and astonishing his petty enemies by his
moderation.  His mind could regard not merely Canada but also Britain,
as it reflected on future policy; and, in his letters, he sometimes
seems the one man in the empire at the time who understood the true
relation of colonial autonomy to British supremacy.  Not even his most
foolish eulogist will attribute anything romantic to his character.
There was nothing of Disraeli's "glitter of dubious gems" about the
honest phrases in which he bade Russell think imperially.  Unlike
Mazzini, it was his business to destroy false nationalism, not to exalt
that which was true, and {227} for that cool business the glow and
fervour of prophecy were not required.  We like to see our leaders
standing rampant, and with sulphurous, or at least thundery,
backgrounds.  But Elgin's ironic Scottish humour forbade any pose, and
it was his business to keep the cannon quiet, and to draw the lightning
harmless to the ground.  The most heroic thing he did in Canada was to
refrain from entering Montreal at a time when his entrance must have
meant insult, resistance, and bloodshed, and he bore quietly the taunts
of cowardice which his enemies flung at his head.

He was far too clear-sighted to think that statesmanship consists in
decisions between very definitely stated alternatives of right and
wrong.  "My choice," he wrote in characteristic words, "was not between
a clearly right and clearly wrong course--_how easy is it to deal with
such cases, and how rare are they in life_--but between several
difficulties.  I think I chose the least."[38]  His kindly, shrewd, and
honest countenance looks at us from his portraits with no appeal of
sentiment or pathos.  He asked of men that which they find it most
difficult to give--moderation, common-sense, a willingness to look at
both sides, and to {228} subordinate their egoisms to a wider good; and
he was content to do without their worship.

It is now possible to summarize the movement towards autonomy so far as
it was affected by the governors-general of the transition period.

The characteristic note in the earlier stages had been the domination
of the governor-general's mind by a clear-cut theory--that of Lord John
Russell.  That theory was in itself consistent, and of a piece with the
rest of the constitution; and its merits stood out more clearly because
Canadian progressives had an unfortunate faculty for setting themselves
in the wrong--making party really appear as faction, investing
self-government with something of the menace of independence, and
treating the responsibility they sought in the most irresponsible way.
The British theory, too, as guaranteeing a definitely British
predominance in Canada, brought into rather lurid relief the mistaken
fervour of French-Canadian nationalism.

Yet Sydenham, who never consciously, or at least openly, surrendered
one detail of the system entrusted to him by Russell, found events too
much for him; and that which conquered Sydenham's resolution made short
work of any resistance Bagot may have dreamed of offering.  Metcalfe
was wrong {229} in suspecting a conscious intention in Sydenham's later
measures, but he was absolutely right when he wrote, "Lord Sydenham,
whether intending it or not, did concede Responsible Government
practically, by the arrangements which he adopted, although the full
extent of the concession was not so glaringly manifested during his
administration as in that of his successor."[39]

Canadian conditions were, in fact, evolving for themselves a new
system--Home Rule with its limits and conditions left as vague as
possible--and that new system contradicted the very postulates of
Russell's doctrine.  It was only when the system of Russell became
incarnate in a governor, Lord Metcalfe, and when the opposing facts
also took personal form in the La Fontaine-Baldwin ministry, that both
in Canada and Britain men came to see that two contradictory policies
faced each other, and that one or other alternative must be chosen.  To
Elgin fell the honour not merely of seeing the need to choose the
Canadian alternative, but also of recognizing the conditions under
which the new plan would bring a deeper loyalty, and a more lasting
union with Britain, as well as political content to Canada.

[1] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 24 February, 1847.  It
would be wrong to call Cathcart the "acting governor-general"; yet
apart from military matters that term describes his position in civil
matters not inadequately.

[2] Walrond, _Letters and Journals of Lord Elgin_, p. 424.  "During a
public service of twenty-five years I have always sided with the weaker

[3] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey on Grey's Colonial Policy,
8 October, 1852.

[4] Gladstone to Cathcart, 3 February, 1846.  The italics are my own.

[5] W. H. Draper to the Earl Cathcart, in Pope, _Life of Sir John
Macdonald_, i. pp. 43-4.

[6] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 24 February, 1847.

[7] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 26 April, 1847.

[8] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, enclosing a note from
Col. Taché, 27 February, 1847.

[9] _Ibid._: Elgin to Grey, 28 June, 1847.

[10] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 7 May, 1847.

[11] _Ibid._: Elgin to Grey, 27 March, 1847.

[12] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 13 July, 1847.

[13] _La Revue Canadienne_, 21 December, 1847.

[14] The speech of the governor-general in proroguing Parliament, 1848.

[15] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 22 February, 1848.

[16] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 17 March, 1848.

[17] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 5 February, 1848.

[18] Elgin refers (11 June, 1849) to "military men, most of whom, I
regret to say, consider my ministers and myself little better than

[19] _Episodes in a Life of Adventure_, p. 57.

[20] The obvious point, made by the Tories in Canada, and by Gladstone
in England, was that the new scheme of compensation was certain to
recompense many who had actually been in arms in the Rebellion,
although their guilt might not be provable in a court of law.  See
Gladstone in _Hansard_, 14 June, 1849.

[21] Elgin to Grey, concerning Grey's _Colonial Policy_, 8 October,
1852.  Metcalfe's policy in the matter had really forced Elgin's hand.

[22] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 14 March, 1849.

[23] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 12 April, 1849.

[24] Elgin's letter of 8 October, 1852, criticizing Grey's book.  The
italics are my own.

[25] Elgin kept very closely in touch with the sentiments of the
Canadian press, French and English.  See his letters _passim_.

[26] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 4 May, 1848.

[27] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 7 January, 1848.

[28] _Ibid._: Elgin to Grey, 4 May, 1848.

[29] See an interesting reference in a letter to Sir Charles Wood,
written from India.  Walrond, _op. cit._ pp. 419-20.

[30] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 16 November, 1848.

[31] Walrond, p. 105.

[32] Mrs. Oliphant, _Life of Laurence Oliphant_, i. p. 120.

[33] L. Oliphant, _Episodes in a Life of Adventure_, p. 56.

[34] For Grey's mature position, see below, in Chapter VII.

[35] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 27 July, 1848.

[36] _Ibid._: Grey to Elgin, 20 July, 1849.

[37] The letter, which may be found in Walrond's _Life of Lord Elgin_,
pp. 115-20, ought to be read from its first word to its last.

[38] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 7 October, 1849.

[39] Kaye, _Papers and Correspondence of Lord Metcalfe_, p. 414.




While these great modifications were being made in the form and spirit
of Canadian provincial government, corresponding changes were taking
place in British opinion.  In the present chapter, it is proposed to
examine these as they operated during the first two decades of the
Victorian era.  But an examination of early Victorian imperialism
demands, as a first condition, the dismissal of such prejudices and
misjudgments as are implicit in recent terms like "Little-Englander"
and "Imperialist."  It is, indeed, one of the objects of this chapter
to show how little modern party cries correspond to the ideas prevalent
from 1840 to 1860, and to exhibit as the central movement in imperial
matters the gradual development of a doctrine for the colonies, and
more especially for Canada, not dissimilar to that which dominated the
economic theory of the day under the title of _laissez faire_.


It is important to limit the scope of the inquiry, for the problem of
Canadian autonomy was strictly practical and very pressing.  There is
little need to exhibit the otiose or irresponsible opinions of men or
groups of men, which had no direct influence on events.  Little, for
example, need be said of the views of the British populace.  No doubt
Joseph Hume expressed views in which he had many sympathizers
throughout the country; but his constituents were too ill-informed on
Canadian politics to make their opinions worthy of study; and their
heated debates, carried on in mutual improvement societies, had even
less influence in controlling the actions of government than had the
speeches of their leader in Parliament.[1]  After the sensational
beginning of the reign in Canada, public opinion directed its attention
to Canadian affairs only when fresh sensations offered themselves, and
usually exhibited an indifference which was not without its advantages
to the authorities.  "People here are beginning to forget Canada, which
is the best thing they can do," wrote Grey {232} to Elgin after the
Rebellion Losses troubles had fallen quiet.

The British press, too, need claim little attention.  On the confession
of those mainly concerned, it was wonderfully ignorant and misleading
on Canadian subjects.  Elgin, who was not indifferent to newspaper
criticism, complained bitterly of the unfairness and haphazard methods
of the British papers, neglecting, as they did, the real issues, and
emphasizing irritating but unimportant troubles.  "The English press,"
he wrote, after an important viceregal visit to Boston in 1851, "wholly
ignores our proceedings both at Boston and Montreal, and yet one would
think it was worth while to get the Queen of England as much cheered in
New England as she can be in any part of Old England."[2]  Grey in turn
had to complain, not merely of indifference, but of misrepresentation,
and that too in a crisis in Canadian politics, the Rebellion Losses
agitation; "I am misrepresented in _The Times_ in a manner which I fear
may do much mischief in Canada.  I am reported as having said that the
connexion between Canada and this country was drawing rapidly to a
close.  This is {233} the very opposite of what I really said."[3]  How
irresponsible and inconsistent a great newspaper could be may be
gathered from the treatment by _The Times_ of the Annexationist
movement in 1849.  Professing at first a calm resignation, it refused
for the country "the sterile honour of maintaining a reluctant colony
in galling subjection"; yet, shortly afterwards, it took the high
imperial line of argument and predicted that "the destined future of
Canada, and the disposition of her people" would prevent so unfortunate
an ending to the connection.[4]  The fact is that in all political
questions demanding expert knowledge, newspaper opinion is practically
worthless; except in cases where the services of some specialist are
called in, and there the expert exercises influence, not through his
articles, but because, elsewhere, he has made good his claims to be
heard.  Canadian problems owed nothing of their solution to the British

Another factor, irresponsible and indirect, yet closer to the scene of
political action than the press, was assumed in those years to have a
great {234} influence on events--the permanent element in the Colonial
Office, and more especially the permanent under-secretary, James
Stephen.  Charles Buller's pamphlet on _Responsible Government for the
Colonies_ formulates the charge against the permanent men in a famous
satiric passage.  Buller had been speaking of the incessant change of
ministers in the Colonial Office--ten secretaries of state in little
more than so many years.  "Perplexed with the vast variety of subjects
presented to him--alike appalled by the important and unimportant
matters forced on his attention--every Secretary of State is obliged at
the outset to rely on the aid of some better informed member of his
office.  His Parliamentary Under-Secretary is generally as new to the
business as himself: and even if they had not been brought in together,
the tenure of office by the Under-Secretary having on the average been
quite as short as that of the Secretary of State, he has never during
the period of his official career obtained sufficient information to
make him independent of the aid on which he must have been thrown at
the outset.  Thus we find both these marked and responsible
functionaries dependent on the advice and guidance of another; and that
other person must of course be one of the permanent {235} members of
the office....  That mother-country which has been narrowed from the
British Isles into the Parliament, from the Parliament into the
executive government, from the executive government into the Colonial
Office, is not to be sought in the apartments of the Secretary of
State, or his Parliamentary Under-Secretary.  Where you are to look for
it, it is impossible to say.  In some back-room--whether in the attic,
or in what storey we know not--you will find all the mother-country
which really exercises supremacy, and really maintains connexion with
the vast and widely-scattered colonies of Britain."[5]

The directness and strength of the influence which men like Sir Henry
Taylor and Sir James Stephen exercised, both on opinion and events, may
be inferred from Taylor's confessions with regard to the slave question
in the West Indies, and the extent to which even Peel himself had to
depend for information, and occasionally for direction, on the
permanent men.[6]  It seems clear, too, that up till the year when Lord
John Russell took over the Colonial Office, Stephen had a great {236}
say in Canadian affairs, especially under Glenelg's regime.  "As to his
views upon other Colonial questions," says Taylor, "they were perhaps
more liberal than those of most of his chiefs; and at one important
conjuncture he miscalculated the effect of a liberal confidence placed
in a Canadian Assembly, and threw more power into their hands than he
intended them to possess."[7]  On the assumption that he was
responsible for Glenelg's benevolent view of Canadian local rights, one
might attribute something of Lord John Russell's over logical and
casuistical declarations concerning responsible government to Buller's
"Mr. Mother-country."  But it is absurd to suppose that Russell's
independent mind operated long under any sub-secretarial influence;
more especially since the rapid succession of startling events in
Canada made his daring and unconventional statesmanship a fitter means
of government than the plodding methods of the bureaucrat.  After 1841,
Stanley and Stephen were too little sympathetic towards each other's
methods and ideas, and Gladstone too strongly fortified in his own
opinions, for Stephen's influence to creep in; while the Whig
government which entered as he left the Colonial Office, had, {237} in
Grey, a Secretary of State too learned in the affairs of his department
to reflect the last influences of his retiring under-secretary.
Whatever, then, Mr. Over-Secretary Stephen did to dominate Lord
Glenelg, and to initiate the concession of responsible government to
Canada, his influence must speedily have sunk to a very secondary
position, and the independent and conscious intentions of the
responsible ministers held complete sway.  It is interesting to note
that, according to his son, he seems to have come to share "the
opinions prevalent among the liberal party that the colonies would soon
be detached from the mother-country."[8]

The actual starting-point of the development of British opinion with
regard to Canadian institutions is perfectly definite.  It dates from
the co-operation and mutual influence of a little group of experts in
colonial matters, of whom Charles Buller and Gibbon Wakefield were the
moving spirits, and the Earl of Durham the illustrious mouthpiece.  The
end of the Rebellion furnished the occasion for their propaganda.

The situation was one peculiarly susceptible to {238} the treatment
likely to be proposed by these radical and unconventional spirits.  It
was difficult to describe the constitutional position of Canada without
establishing a contradiction in terms, and neither abstract and logical
minds like that of Cornewall Lewis, nor bureaucratic intelligences like
Stephen's, could do more than intensify the difficulty and emphasize
it.  The _deus ex machina_ must appear and solve the preliminary or
theoretic difficulties by overriding them.  There are some who describe
the pioneers of Canadian self-government as philosophic radicals; but
they were really not of that school.  It was through the absence of any
philosophy or rigid logic that they succeeded.

Foremost in the group came Edward Gibbon Wakefield, one of those
erratic but creative spirits whose errors are often as profitable to
all (save themselves) as their sober acts.  It is not here necessary to
enter on the details of his emigration system; in that he was, after
all, a pioneer in the south and east rather than in the west.  But in
the stirring years of colonial development, in which Canada, Australia,
and New Zealand took their modern form, Wakefield was a leader in
constitutional as well as in economic matters, and Canada was favoured
not only with his opinions, but with {239} his presence.  In the _Art
of Colonization_ he entered into some detail on these matters.  There
was a certain breezy informality about his views, which carried him
directly to the heart of the matter.  He understood, as few of his
contemporaries did, that in all discussions concerning the "connexion,"
the final argument was sentimental rather than constitutional; and he
accepted without further argument the incapacity of Englishmen for
being other than English in the politics of their colony.  "There would
still be hostile parties in a colony," he wrote as he planned reforms,
"yes, parties instead of factions: for every colony would have its
'ins' and 'outs,' and would be governed as we are--as every free
community must be in the present state of the human mind--by the
emulation and rivalries, the bidding against each other for public
favour, of the party in power and the party in opposition.  Government
by party, with all its passions and corruptions, is the price that a
free country pays for freedom.  But the colonies would be free
communities: their internal differences, their very blunders, and their
methods of correcting them, would be all their own; and the colonists
who possessed capacity for public business would govern in turns far
better on the whole than {240} it would be possible for any other set
of beings on earth to govern that particular community."[9]  He was,
then, for a most entire and whole-hearted control by colonists, and
especially Canadians, of their own affairs.  But when he came to define
what these affairs included, he had limits to suggest, and although he
was aware of the dangers implicit in such a limitation, he was very
emphatic on the need of imperial control in diplomacy and war, and more
especially in the administration of land.[10]  How practical and
sincere were his views on the supremacy of the home government, he
proved by supporting, in person and with his pen, Sir Charles Metcalfe
in his struggle to limit the claims of local autonomy.

Powerful and suggestive as Wakefield's mind was, he had, nevertheless,
to own a master in colonial theory; for the most distinguished, and by
far the clearest, view of the whole matter is contained in Charles
Buller's _Responsible Government for the Colonies_, which he published
anonymously in 1840.  Buller was indeed the ablest of the whole group,
and his early death was one of the greatest losses which English
politics sustained in the nineteenth {241} century--"an intelligent,
clear, honest, most kindly vivacious creature; the genialist Radical I
have ever met,"[11] said Carlyle.  The ease of his writing and his gift
for light satire must not be permitted to obscure the consistency and
penetration of his views.  Even if Durham contributed more to his
Report than seems probable, the view there propounded of the scope of
Responsible Government is not nearly so cogent as that of the later
pamphlet.  Buller, like the other members of his group, believed in the
acknowledgment of a supremacy, vested in the mother country, and
expressed in control of foreign affairs, inter-colonial affairs, land,
trade, immigration, and the like; but outside the few occasions on
which these matters called for imperial interference, he was for
absolute non-interference, and protested that "that constant reference
to the authorities in England, which some persons call responsibility
to the mother country, is by no means necessary to insure the
maintenance of a beneficial colonial connexion."[12]  His originality
indeed is best tested by the vigour and truth of his criticisms of the
existing administration.  First of all representation had been given
without {242} executive responsibility.  Then for practical purposes
the colonists were allowed to make many of their own laws, without the
liberty to choose those who would administer them.  Then a colonial
party, self-styled the party of the connexion, or the loyal party,
monopolized office.  To Buller the idea of combining a popular
representation with an unpopular executive seemed the height of
constitutional folly; and, like Wakefield, he understood, as perhaps
not five others in England did, the place of party government and
popular dictation in colonial constitutional development.  "The whole
direction of affairs," he said, "and the whole patronage of the
Executive practically are at present in the hands of a colonial party.
Now when _this is the case, it can be of no importance to the mother
country in the ordinary course of things, which of these local parties
possesses the powers and emoluments of office_."[13]  Unlike the
majority of his contemporaries, he believed in assuming the colonists
to be inspired with love for their mother country, common sense, and a
regard for their own welfare; and it seemed obvious that men so
disposed were infinitely better qualified than the Colonial Office to
manage their own affairs.  Nothing but evil {243} could result "from
the attempt to conduct the internal affairs of the colonies in
accordance with the public opinion, not of those colonies themselves,
but of the mother country."[14]  It may seem a work of supererogation
to complete the sketch of this group with an examination of the
opinions expressed in Lord Durham's Report; yet that Report is so
fundamental a document in the development of British imperial opinion
that time must be found to dispel one or two popular illusions.[15]  It
is a mistake to hold that Durham advocated the fullest concession of
local autonomy to Canada.  Sir Francis Hincks, a protagonist of
Responsible Government, once quoted from the Report sentences which
seemed to justify all his claims: "The crown must submit to the
necessary consequences of representative institutions, and if it has to
carry on the government in union with a representative body, it must
consent to carry it on by means of those in whom that representative
body has confidence"; and again, "I admit that the system which I
propose would in fact place the internal government of the colony in
the hands of the {244} colonists themselves, and that we should thus
leave to them the execution of the laws of which we have long entrusted
the making solely to them."[16]  Public opinion in Canada also put this
extreme interpretation on the language of the Report.

Yet, as a first modification, it was Lord Metcalfe's confident opinion
that the responsibility of ministers to the Assembly for which Durham
pled, was not that of a united Cabinet, but rather of departmental
heads in individual isolation,[17] and certainly one sentence in the
Report can hardly be interpreted otherwise: "This (the change) 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_."[18]

In the second place, while Durham did indeed speak of making the
colonial executive responsible to a colonial Assembly, he discriminated
between the internal government of the colony and its {245} imperial
aspect.[19]  In practice he modified his gift of home rule, by placing,
like Wakefield and Buller, many things beyond the scope of colonial
responsibility, for example, "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."[20]  There is too remarkable a
consensus of opinion on this point within the group to leave any doubt
as to the intention of Durham and his assistants; that an extensive
region should be left subject to strictly imperial supervision.
Durham's career ended before his actions could furnish a practical test
of his theories, but Buller, like Wakefield, gave a plain statement of
what he meant by supporting Metcalfe against his council, at a time
when the colonial Assembly seemed to be infringing on imperial rights.
"No man," said Buller, of the Metcalfe affair, "could seriously think
of saying that in the appointment of every subordinate officer in every
county in Canada, the opinion of the Executive Council was to be


To pass from controversy to certainty, there was one aspect of the
Report which made it the most notable deliverance of its authors, and
which set that group apart from every other political section in
Britain, whether Radical, Whig, or Tory--I mean its robust and
unhesitating imperialism.  How deeply pessimism concerning the Empire
had pervaded all minds at that time, it will be the duty of this
chapter to prove, but, in the Report at least, there is no doubt of its
authors' 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."  This
confident imperial note, then, was the most striking contribution of
the Durham Radicals to colonial development; and the originality and
unexpectedness of their confidence gains impressiveness when contrasted
with general contemporary opinion.

They contributed, too, in another and less simple fashion, to the
constitutional question.  Nowhere so clearly as in their writings are
both sides of the theoretic contradiction--British supremacy and
Canadian autonomy--so boldly stated, and, in spite of the
contradiction, so confidently accepted.  They would trust implicitly to
the sense and {247} feelings, however crude, of the colony: they would
surrender the entire control of domestic affairs: they would sanction,
as at home, party with all its faults, popular control of the
executive, and apparently the decisive influence of that executive in
advising the governor in internal affairs.  Yet, in the great imperial
federation of which they dreamed, they never doubted the right of the
mother country to act with overmastering authority in certain crises.
That right, and the unquenchable affection of exiles for the land
whence they came, constituted for them "the connexion."

These were the views which came to dominate political opinion in
Britain, for Molesworth was right when he declared that to Buller and
Wakefield, more than to any other persons, was the country indebted for
sound views on colonial policy.  The interest of the present inquiry
lies in tracing the development of these views into something unlike,
and distinctly bolder than, anything which these rash and
unconventional thinkers had planned.

Whatever might be the shortcomings of the Radical group, the daring of
their trust in the colonists stands out in high relief against a
background of conservative restriction and distrust.  It was natural
for the Tories to think of colonies as {248} they did.  Under the
leadership of North and George III. they had experienced what might
well seem to them the natural consequences of the old constitutional
system of colonial administration.  After 1782 they were disinclined to
experiment in Assemblies as free as those of Massachusetts and
Connecticut had been.  The reaction caused by the French Revolution
deepened their distrust of popular institutions; and the war of 1812
quickened their hatred of the United States--the zone of political no
less than military danger for Canada.  The conquests which they made
had given them a second colonial empire, and they had administered that
empire with financial generosity and constitutional parsimony, hoping
against hope that a fabric so unexpected and difficult as colonial
empire might after all disappoint their fears by remaining true to
Britain.  Developing in spite of themselves, and with the times, they
had still learned little and forgotten little.  So it was that Sir
George Arthur, a Tory governor _in partibus infidelium_, was driven
into panic by Durham's frank criticisms, and expounded to Normanby, his
Whig chief, fears not altogether baseless: "The bait of responsible
government has been eagerly taken, and its poison is working most
mischievously....  {249} The measure recommended by such high authority
is the worst evil that has yet befallen Upper Canada":[22] and again,
"since the Earl of Durham's Report was published, the reform party, as
I have already stated, have come out in greater force--not in favour of
the Union, nor of the other measures contemplated by the Bill, that has
been sent out to this country, but for the daring object so strenuously
advocated by Mackenzie, familiarly denominated responsible

The distrust and timidity of Arthur's despatches are shared in by
practically the entire Tory party in its dealings with Canada, after
the Rebellion.  The Duke of Wellington opposed the Union of the
provinces, because, among other consequences, "the union into one
Legislature of the discontented spirits heretofore existing in two
separate Legislatures will not diminish, but will tend to augment, the
difficulties attending the administration of the government;
particularly under the circumstances of the encouragement given to
expect the establishment in the united province of a local responsible
administration of government."[24]  He {250} was greatly excited when
the news of Bagot's concessions arrived.  Arbuthnot describes his
chief's mood as one of anger and indignation.  "What a fool the man
must have been," he kept exclaiming, "to act as he has done! and what
stuff and nonsense he has written! and what a bother he makes about his
policy and his measures, when there are no measures but rolling himself
and his country in the mire."[25]

During these years, and until late in 1845, Lord Stanley presided at
the Colonial Office.  Naturally of an arrogant and unyielding temper,
and with something of the convert's fanatic devotion to the political
creed of his adoption, he administered Canada avowedly on the lines of
Lord John Russell's despatch to Poulett Thomson, but with all the
emphasis on the limitations prescribed in that despatch, and in a
spirit singularly irritating.  His conduct towards Bagot exhibited a
consistent distrust of Canadian self-government; and the fundamental
defects of his advice to Bagot's successor cannot be better exhibited
than in the letter warning Metcalfe of "the extreme risk which would
attend any disruption of the present Conservative party of Canada.
Their own steadiness {251} and your own firmness and discretion have
gone far towards consolidating them as a party and securing a stable
administration of the colony."[26]  In spite of the warnings of Durham
and Buller, Stanley was aiming at restoring all the ancient
landmarks--an unpopular executive, a small privileged party "of the
connexion," and a colony quickly and surely passing from the control of
Britain.  Even after Stanley's resignation, and the accession of an
avowed Peelite and free-trader, Gladstone, to his office, the change in
commercial theory did not at first effect any change in the Colonial
Office interpretation of the Canadian constitution.  No doubt Gladstone
recommended Cathcart to ascertain the deliberate sense of the Canadian
community at large, and pay respect to the House of Assembly as the
organ of that sense, but he committed himself and the new
governor-general to a strong support of Metcalfe's system, and put him
on his guard against "dishonourable abstract declarations on the
subject of what has been termed responsible government."[27]

It would be tedious to follow the subject into every detail of Canadian
administration; but all {252} existing evidence tends to prove that the
representative men of the British Tory party opposed the new
interpretation of Canadian rights at every crisis in the period.  In
the Rebellion Losses debate in 1849, Gladstone, taking in this matter a
view more restricted than that of his leader Peel, held that Elgin
should have referred to the Home Government at the very first moment,
and before public opinion had been appealed to in the colony.[28]  The
fall of the Whig ministry in 1851 was followed by the first of three
brief Derby administrations: and the Earl of Derby proved himself to be
more wedded than he had been as Lord Stanley to the old restrictive
system.  The Clergy Reserve dispute was nearing its end, but Derby and
Sir John Pakington, his colonial secretary, intervened to introduce one
last delay, and to give the Bishop of Toronto his last gleam of hope.
The appointment of Pakington, which, according to Taylor, was treated
with very general ridicule, was in itself significant: even an ignorant
and retrograde politician was adequate for his task when that task was
obstruction.  After the short-lived Derby administration was over,
Pakington continued his defence of Anglican rights in Canada, and
although {253} Canadian opinion had declared itself overwhelmingly on
the other side, he refused to admit that "the argument of
self-government was so paramount that it ought to over-rule the sacred
dedication of this property."

So far nothing unexpected has been revealed in the early Victorian
colonial policy of the Tories.  The party naturally and logically
opposed all forms of democratic control; they stood for the strict
subordination of the outlying regions to the centre in the
administration of dependencies; they were, as they had always and
everywhere been, the party of the Church, and of church endowment.  But
it is surprising to find that the party of Wellington and of British
supremacy varied their doctrine of central authority with very
pessimistic prophecies concerning the connection between mother country
and colonies.

Stanley has already been exhibited, during the Bagot and Metcalfe
incidents, as a prophet of pessimism; and at the same period, Peel
seems to have shared in the views of his Colonial Secretary.  "Let us
keep Nova Scotia and New Brunswick," he said, "but the connection with
the Canadas _against their wills_, nay without the cordial co-operation
of the predominant party in Canada, is {254} a very onerous one.  The
sooner we have a distinct understanding on that head the better.  The
advantage of commercial intercourse is all on the side of the colony,
or at least is not in favour of the mother country.  Why should we go
on fighting not our own battle (I speak now of a civil battle) but
theirs--in a minority in the Legislature, the progress of the contest
widening daily old differences and begetting new ones!  But above all,
if the people are not cordially with us, why should we contract the
tremendous obligation of having to defend, on a _point of honour_,
their territory against American aggression?"[29]

Ten years later, Tory pessimists still talked of separation.  Lord John
Manners, in an oration which showed as much rhetorical effort as it did
little sense and information, was prepared for disaster over no more
tragic an issue than the Clergy Reserves.  Concession to local demands
on that point for him involved something not far from disruption of the
Empire.  "Far better than this, if you really believe it to be
necessary to acknowledge the virtual independence of Canada, recall
your Governor-General, call back your army, call home your fleet, and
let Canada, if she be so {255} minded, establish her independence and
cast off her character as a colony, or seek refuge in the extended arms
of the United States."[30]  But perhaps it is not fair to confront a
man with his perorations.

The most remarkable confession of Tory doubt still remains to be told.
It is not usually noticed that Disraeli's famous phrase "these wretched
colonies will all be independent too in a few years, and are a
mill-stone round our necks,"[31] was used in connection with Canadian
fishery troubles, and belongs to this same region of imperial
pessimism.  There is, however, another less notorious but perfectly
explicit piece of evidence betraying the fears which at this time
disturbed the equanimity of the founder of modern imperialism.  He had
been speaking of the attempts of liberalism to effect the
disintegration of the Empire; but the speech, which contained his
counter-scheme of imperial consolidation, was itself an evidence of
doubt deeper than that harboured by his opponents.  "When those subtle
views were adopted by the country, under the plausible plea of granting
{256} self-government to the Colonies, _I confess that I myself thought
that the tie was broken_.  Not that I for one object to
self-government.  I cannot conceive how our distant colonies can have
their affairs administered except by self-government.  But
self-government, in my opinion, when it is conceded, ought to have been
conceded as part of a great policy of Imperial consolidation."[32]
Disraeli was speaking of the views on colonial government, which he had
held, apparently at the time when Grey and Elgin introduced their new
system.  That system had since been developed under Gladstone's
supervision; and, in 1872, the date of Disraeli's speech, it presented
not fewer, but more decided signs of colonial independence.  Yet the
statesman who accused the Whigs and Liberals of planning the disruption
of the Empire, never attempted, when in office, to stay the decline of
imperial unity by any practical scheme of federation, and must be
counted either singularly indifferent to the interests of the empire,
or sceptical as to its future.  A few years later, when the Imperial
Titles Bill was under discussion, Disraeli again revealed a curious
disbelief in, or misunderstanding of, the character of the
self-governing colonies.  He had been {257} challenged to defend his
differentiation of the royal title in India from that authorized in the
rest of the British Empire.  It would have been easy to confess that an
imperial dignity, appropriate to the East, would have been singularly
out of place in communities more democratic than Britain herself.  But
he chose to argue from the unsubstantiality of separate colonial
existence, and the natural inclination of prosperous colonists to make
for England, the moment their fortunes had been made.  "The condition
of colonial society," he said, "is of a fluctuating character....
There is no similarity between the circumstances of our colonial
fellow-subjects and those of our fellow-subjects in India.  Our
colonists are English; they come and go, they are careful to make
fortunes, to invest their money in England; their interests are
immense, ramified, complicated, and they have constant opportunities of
improving and enjoying the relations which exist between themselves and
their countrymen in the metropolis.  Their relations to their Sovereign
are ample, they satisfy them.  The colonists are proud of those
relations, they are interested in the titles of the Queen, they look
forward to return when they {258} leave England, they do return--in
short they are Englishmen."[33]

It seems fair to argue from these instances that Disraeli, with all his
imagination and insight, did not, even in 1876, understand the
constitutional and social self-sufficiency of the greater colonies; or
the nature of the bond which held them fast to the mother country.  His
consummate rhetorical skill persuaded the nation to be imperial, while
he himself doubted the very possibility of permanence in an empire
organized on the only lines--those of strict autonomy--which the
colonists were willing to sanction.

So the party of the earlier British Empire distrusted the foundations
laid by Durham and his group for a new structure; and behind all their
proclamations of authority, there were ill-concealed fears of another
declaration or succession of declarations of independence.

It is now time to turn to the central body of imperial opinion--that
which used Durham's views as the foundation of a new working theory of
colonial development.  Its chief exponents were the Whigs of the more
liberal school, who counted {259} Lord John Russell their
representative and leader.

It was only at the end of a period dominated by other interests that
Lord John Russell was able to turn his attention to colonies, and more
particularly to Canada.  Even in 1839, the leader of the House of
Commons, and the politician on whom, after all, the fate of the Whig
party depended, had many other claims on his attention.  He was no
theorist at general on the subject, and his interest in Canada was
largely the product of events, not of his own will.  But he came at a
decisive moment in Canadian history; his tenure of the Colonial Office
coincided with the period in which Durham's Report exercised its
greatest influence, and Russell, who had the politician's faculty for
flinging himself with all his force into the issue dominating the
present, inaugurated what proved to be a new regime in colonial

In attributing so decisive a part to Russell's work at the Colonial
Office, one need not estimate very highly his powers of initiative or
imagination.  It was Lord John Russell's lot, here as in Parliamentary
Reform, to read with honest eyes the defects of the existing system, to
initiate a great and useful change, and then to predicate finality
{260} of an act, which was really only the beginning of greater
changes.  But in Canadian politics as in British, he must be credited
with being better than his words, and with doing nothing to hinder a
movement which he only partially understood.

His ideas have in part been criticized in relation to Lord Sydenham's
governor-generalship: in a sense, Sydenham was simply the Russell
system incarnate.  But it is well to examine these ideas as a whole.
Russell was a Durhamite "with a difference."  Like Durham he planned a
generous measure of self-government, but he was a stricter
constitutional thinker than Durham.  He reduced to a far finer point
the difficulty which Durham only slightly felt, about the seat of
ultimate authority and responsibility; and his instructions to Sydenham
left no doubt as to the constitutional superior in Canada.  With
infinitely shrewder practical insight than his prompter, he refused to
simplify the problem of executive responsibility, by making the council
subject to the Assembly in purely domestic matters, and to the Crown
and its representative in external matters.  "Supposing," he said,
"that you could lay down this broad principle, and say that all
external matters {261} should be subject to the home government, and
all internal matters should be governed according to the majority of
the Assembly, could you carry that principle into effect?  I say, we
cannot abandon the responsibility which is cast upon us as Ministers of
the Executive of this great Empire."[34]  Ultimately the surrender had
to be made, but it was well that Russell should have refused to consent
to what was really a fallacy in Durham's reasoning.  In consequence of
this position, the Whig leader regarded Bagot's surrender as one,
difficult perhaps to avoid, but unfortunate in its results, and he was
an unflinching supporter of Metcalfe.  He further declared that he
thought Metcalfe's council had an exaggerated view of their power, and
that to yield to them would involve dangers to the connection.[35]  The
novelty involved in his policy lay, however, outside this point of
constitutional logic: it was a matter of practice, not of theory.  Not
only did he support Sydenham in those practical reforms in which the
new political life of Canada began, but in spite of his theory he
really granted all save the form of full responsibility.  So completely
had he, and his agent Sydenham, undermined their own imperial {262}
position, that when Peel's ministry fell in 1846, it was one of the
first acts of Lord John Russell, now prime minister, to consent to the
demolition of his own old theories.  If he may not dispute with Grey
the credit of having conceded genuine responsibility to Canada, at
least he did not exercise his authority to forbid the grant.

It seems to me, indeed, that Russell definitely modified his position
between 1841 and 1847.  At the earlier date he had been a stout
upholder of the supremacy of Britain in Canada, for he believed in the
connection, and the connection depended on the retention of British
supremacy.  In the debate of January 16th, 1838, he argued thus for the
Empire: "On the preservation of our colonies depends the continuance of
our commercial marine; and on our commercial marine mainly depends our
naval power; and on our naval power mainly depends the strength and
supremacy of our arms."[36]  It is worthy of note that Charles Buller
took occasion to challenge this description of the pillars of
empire--it seemed a poor theory to him to make the empire a
stalking-horse for the commerce and interests of the mother country.
But as events taught Russell surely that the casuistry of 1839 {263}
was false, and that Responsible Government was both a deeper and a
broader thing than he had counted it, and yet inevitable, he accepted
the more radical position.  At the same time, he either came to lay
less stress on the unity of Empire, or he was forced to acknowledge
that, since Home Rule must be granted, and since with Home Rule
separation seemed natural, Britain had better practise resignation in
view of a possible disruption.  The best known expression of this phase
in Russell's thought is his speech on Colonial Administration in 1850:
"I anticipate, indeed, with others that some of the colonies may so
grow in population and wealth that they may say, 'Our strength is
sufficient to enable us to be independent of England.  The link is now
become onerous to us; the time is come when we think we can, in amity
and alliance with England, maintain our independence.'  I do not think
that that time is yet approaching.  But let us make them as far as
possible fit to govern themselves ... let them increase in wealth and
population; and whatever may happen, we of this great empire shall have
the consolation of saying that we have contributed to the happiness of
the world."[37]  It is possible to {264} argue that because Russell
admitted that the time for separation was not yet approaching he was
therefore an optimist.  But the evidence leans rather to the less
glorious side.  It was this speech which kindled Elgin into a passion
and made him bid Grey renounce for himself and his leader the habit of
telling the colonies that the colonial is a provisional existence.  The
same speech, too, extorted complaints from Robert Baldwin, the man whom
Sydenham and Russell had once counted half a traitor.  "I never saw him
so much moved," wrote Elgin, to whom Baldwin had frankly said about a
recent meeting.  "My audience was disposed to regard a prediction of
this nature proceeding from a Prime Minister, less as a speculative
abstraction than as one of that class of prophecies which work their
own fulfilment."[38]  The speech was not an accidental or occasional
flash of rhetoric.  The mind of the Whig leader, acquiescing now in the
completeness of Canadian local powers, and reading with disquiet the
signs of the times in the form of Canadian turbulence, seems to have
turned to speculate on the least harmful form which separation might
take.  Of this there is direct evidence in a private letter from Grey
to Elgin: "Lord {265} John in a letter I had from him yesterday,
expresses a good deal of anxiety as to the prospects of Canada, and
reverts to the old idea of forming a federal union of all the British
provinces, in order to give them something more to think of than their
mere local squabbles;[39] and he says that if to effect this a
separation of the two Canadas were necessary he should see no objection
to it.  His wish in forming such a union would be to bring about such a
state of things, that, _if you should lose our North American
provinces, they might be likely to become an independent state, instead
of being merged in the Union_."[40]

Russell moved then at this period through a most interesting
development of views.  His initial position was a blend of firm
imperialism and generous liberal concession, the latter more especially
inspired by Durham.  As his genuine sympathies with liberty and
democracy operated on his political views, these steadily changed in
the direction of a more complete surrender to Canadian demands.  But,
since, in spite of his sympathies, he still remained logical, and since
he had believed the connection to depend on {266} the
governor-general's supremacy, the modification of that supremacy
involved the weakening of his hopes of empire.  If the change seem
somewhat to his discredit, his best defence lies in the fact that Peel,
who made a very similar modification of his mind on Canadian politics,
was also contemplating in these years a similar separation.  "The
utility of our connexion with Canada," he said in 1844, "must depend
upon its being continued with perfect goodwill by the majority of the
population.  It would be infinitely better that that connexion should
be discontinued, rather than that it should be continued by force and
against the general feeling and conviction of the people."[41]  Indeed,
Russell seems to have been accompanied on his dolorous journey by all
the Peelites and not a few of the Whigs.  "There begins to prevail in
the House of Commons," wrote Grey to Elgin in 1849, "and I am sorry to
say in the highest quarters, an opinion (which I believe to be utterly
erroneous) that we have no interest in preserving our colonies and
ought therefore to make no sacrifice for that purpose.  Peel, Graham,
and Gladstone, if they do not avow this opinion as openly as Cobden and
his friends, yet betray very clearly that they {267} entertain it, nor
do I find some members of the Cabinet free from it."[42]

Meanwhile, the direction of colonial affairs had fallen to the writer
of the letter just quoted: from the formation of the Russell ministry
in 1846 until its fall, Earl Grey was the dominant force in British
colonial policy.  Unlike Russell, Grey was not so much a politician
interested in the great parliamentary game, as an expert who had
devoted most of his attention to colonial and economic subjects.
Consciously or unconsciously, he had imbibed many of Wakefield's ideas,
and in that period of triumphant free trade, he came to office resolute
to administer the colonies on free-trade principles.  It said much for
the fixity and consistency of his ideas of colonial administration
that, unlike Russell, Buller, and others, he had not been misled by the
Metcalfe incident.  "The truth is," he said of Metcalfe, "he did not
comprehend responsible government at all, nor from his Indian
experience is this wonderful."[43]

The most comprehensive description of the Grey regime is that it
practised _laissez faire_ principles in colonial administration as they
never had been {268} practised before.  Under him Canada first enjoyed
the advantages or disadvantages of free trade, and escaped from the
shackles of the Navigation Laws.  Grey and Elgin co-operated to bring
the Clergy Reserve troubles to an end, although the Whigs fell before
the final steps could be taken.  Grey secured imperial sanction for
changes in the Union Act of 1840, granting the French new privileges
for their language, and the colony free control of its own finances.
But all these were subordinate in importance to the attitude of the new
minister towards the whole question of Canadian autonomy, and its
relation to the Imperial Parliament.  That attitude may be examined in
relation to the responsibility of the Canadian executive, the powers of
the Imperial Parliament, the occasions on which these powers might be
fitly used, and the bearing of all the innovations on the position of
Canada within the British Empire.

Grey's policy with regard to Responsible Government was simple.  As
Canadians viewed the term, and within the very modest limits set to it
by them, he surrendered the whole position.  So much has already been
said on this point in connection with Elgin, that it need not be
further elaborated.  Yet, since there might linger a suspicion that the
{269} policy was that rather of the governor than of the minister,
Grey's position may be given in a despatch written to Sir John Harvey
in Nova Scotia, before Elgin went to Canada.

"The object," wrote Grey, "with which I recommend to you this course is
that of making it apparent that any transfer, which may take place, of
political power from the hands of one party to those of another is the
result, not of an act of yours, but of the wishes of the people
themselves, as shown by the difficulty experienced by the retiring
party in carrying on the government of the Province according to the
forms of the Constitution.  To this I attach great importance; I have
therefore to instruct you to abstain from changing your Executive
Council until it shall become perfectly clear that they are unable with
such fair support from yourself as they have a right to expect, to
carry on the government of the province satisfactorily, and command the
confidence of the Legislature....  In giving all fair and proper
support to your Council for the time being, you will carefully avoid
any acts which can possibly be supposed to imply the slightest personal
objection to their opponents, and also refuse to assent to any measures
which may be {270} proposed to you by your Council, which may appear to
you to involve an improper exercise of the authority of the Crown for
party rather than for public objects.  In exercising however this power
of refusing to sanction measures which may be submitted to you by your
Council, you must recollect that this power of opposing a check upon
extreme measures, proposed by the party for the time in the Government,
depends entirely for its efficacy upon its being used sparingly and
with the greatest possible discretion.  A refusal to accept advice
tendered to you by your Council is a legitimate ground for its members
to tender to you their resignation--a course they would doubtless
adopt, should they feel that the subject on which a difference had
arisen between you and themselves was one upon which public opinion
would be in their favour.  Should it prove to be so, concession to
their views must sooner or later become inevitable, since it cannot be
too distinctly acknowledged that it is neither possible nor desirable
to carry on the government of any of the British Provinces in North
America, in opposition to the opinion of the inhabitants."[44]

In strict accordance with this plan, Grey gave {271} Elgin the most
loyal support in introducing responsible government into Canada, and,
in a note written not long after Papineau had once more awakened the
political echoes with a distinctly disloyal address, he expressed his
willingness to include even the old rebel in the ministerial
arrangement, should that be insisted on by the leaders of a party which
could command a majority.[45]

Complete as was the concession made by Grey to local claims, it would,
nevertheless, be a grave error to think that he left no space for the
assertion of imperial authority.  No doubt it was part of his system to
reduce to a minimum the occasions on which interference should be
necessary, but that such occasions might occur, and demand sudden and
powerful action from Britain, he ever held.  Even in matters of a
character purely domestic, he believed, with Lord John Russell, that
intervention might be necessary, and he desired to prevent danger, not
by minimizing the powers of the imperial authority, but by exercising
them with great discretion.[46]  It was perhaps with this conservation
of central power in view that {272} he was willing to transfer to the
British treasury the responsibility of paying the salary of the
governor-general, provided the colonists would take over some part of
the expenses and difficulties of Canadian defence.  But the extent to
which he was prepared to exalt the supremacy is best illustrated in the
control of imperial commerce.  A great change had just been made in the
economic system of Britain.  Free trade was then to its adherents not
an arguable position, but a kind of gospel; and men like Grey, who had
something of the propagandist about them, were inclined to compel
others to come in.  Now, unfortunately for Canada, free trade appeared
there first rather as foe than as friend.  As has already been seen,
the measures of 1846 overturned the arrangement made by Stanley in
1843, whereby a preference given to Canadian flour had stimulated a
great activity in the milling and allied industries; and the removal of
the restrictions imposed by the Navigation Acts did not take place till
1849.  At the same time the United States, the natural market for
Canadian products, showed little inclination to listen to talk of
reciprocity; and the Canadians, seemingly deprived of pre-existing
advantages by Peel's action, talked of retaliation as a means of {273}
bettering their position, at least in relation to the United States.
Grey, however, was an absolute believer in the magic powers of free
trade.  "When we rejected all considerations of what is called
reciprocity," he wrote to Elgin, "and boldly got rid of our protective
duties without inquiring whether other nations would meet us or not,
the effect was immediately seen in the increase of our exports, and the
prosperity of our manufactures."[47]  Canada, then, in his opinion
could retaliate most effectively, not by setting up a tariff against
the United States, but by opening her ports more freely then before.
He had a vision, comparable although in contrast, to that of believers
in an imperial tariff, of an empire with its separate parts bound to
each other by a general freedom of trade.  Besides all this, he had a
firm trust that the evils which other nations less free than Britain
might for a time inflict on her trade by their prohibitions, would
shortly end, since all would be convinced by the example of Britain and
would follow it.  Under these circumstances he set imperial policy
against local prejudice, and wrote to his governor-general: "I do trust
you will be able to prevent the attempt to enter upon that silliest of
all silly policies, the {274} meeting of commercial restrictions by
counter restrictions; _indeed it is a matter to be very seriously
considered, whether we can avoid disallowing any acts of this kind
which may be passed_."[48]

In spite, then, of the present thoroughness of Grey's conversion to the
Canadian position with regard to Home Rule, there was for him still an
empire operating through the Houses at Westminster and the Crown
ministers, and striking in, possibly on rare occasions, but, when
necessary, with a heavy hand.  To such a man, too, belief in the
permanence of empire was natural.  There are fewer waverings on the
point in Grey's writings than in those of any of his contemporaries,
Durham, Buller, and Elgin alone excepted.  He had, indeed, as his
private correspondence shows, moments of gloom.  Under the strain of
the Montreal riots, and the insults to Elgin in 1849, he wrote: "I
confess that looking at these indications of the state of feeling
there, and at the equally significant indications to the feelings in
the House of Commons, respecting the value of our colonies, I begin
almost to despair of our long retaining those in North America; while I
am persuaded that to both parties a hasty separation will be a very
serious {275} evil."[49]  Elgin's robust faith, and perfect knowledge,
however, set him right.  Indeed, in tracing the growth of Grey's
colonial policy, it is impossible for anyone to mistake the evidences
of Elgin's influence; and the chapter on Canada in his _Colonial
Policy_ owes almost more to Elgin than it does to the avowed author.
His final position may be stated thus.  The empire was to the advantage
of England, for, apart from other reasons, her place among the nations
depended on the colonies, and the act of separation would also be one
of degradation.  The empire was an unspeakable benefit to the colonies:
"To us," he once wrote in a moment of doubt, "except the loss of
prestige (no slight one I admit) the loss of Canada would be the loss
of little but a source of heavy expense and great anxiety, while to the
Canadians, the loss of our protection, and of our moderating influence
to restrain the excesses of their own factions, would be one of the
greatest that can be conceived."[50]  But, apart from these lower loss
and gain calculations, to Grey the British Empire was a potent
instrument, essential to the peace and soundness of the world, and he
expected the {276} provinces to which he had conceded British rights,
to rally to uphold British standards through a united and loyal
imperial federation.  Those were still days when Britain counted
herself, and not without justification, a means of grace to the less
fortunate remainder of mankind.  "The authority of the British Crown is
at this moment the most powerful instrument, under Providence, of
maintaining peace and order in many extensive regions of the earth, and
thereby assists in diffusing among millions of the human race, the
blessings of Christianity and civilization.  Supposing it were clear
(which I am far from admitting) that a reduction of our national
expenditure (otherwise impracticable) to the extent of a few hundred
thousands a year, could be effected by withdrawing our authority and
protection from our numerous Colonies, would we be justified, for the
sake of such a saving, in taking this step, and thus abandoning the
duty which seems to have been cast upon us?"[51]

Such, then, was the imperial policy of Britain under the man who
carried it farthest forward, before the great renaissance at the end of
Queen Victoria's reign.  To Grey, Canada was all that it had meant to
Durham--a province peopled by {277} subjects of the Queen, and one
destined by providence to have a great future--a fundamental part of
the Empire, and one without which the imperial whole must be something
meaner and less glorious.  Like Durham he planned for it a constitution
on the most generous lines, and conferred great gifts upon it.  And, in
exchange, he claimed a loyalty proportionate to the generosity of the
Crown, and a propriety of political behaviour worthy of citizens of so
great a state.  In the last resort he held that in abnormal crises, or
in response to great and beneficial policies, Canadians must forget
their provincial outlook, or, if they could not, at least accept the
ruling of an imperial parliament and a crown more enlightened and
authoritative on these matters than a colonial ministry or people could
be.  Having conceded all the rights essential to a free existence, he
mentioned duties, and called the sum of these duties Empire.

The concluding stage in the evolution of mid-Victorian opinion
concerning Canada, which must now be described, differs essentially
from the earlier stages, although, as it seems to me, the chief factor
in the development is still Durham and his group.  It is the period of

One thing has appeared very prominently in the {278} foregoing
argument--the prevalence of a fear, or even a fixed belief, that the
connection between Britain and Canada must soon cease.  Excluding, for
the present, the entire group of extreme radicals, there was hardly a
statesman of the earlier years of Victoria, who had not confessed that
Canada must soon leave England, or be left.  Many instances have been
already cited.  Among the Tories, Stanley thought that Bagot had
already begun the process of separation, and that Metcalfe's failure
would involve the end of the connection.  Peel, ever judicial, gave his
verdict in favour of separation, should Canadians persist in resenting
imperial action.  As Lord John Russell's view of autonomy expanded, his
hopes for continued British supremacy contracted; and, on the evidence
of a letter from Grey quoted above, Russell was not alone among the
Whigs in his opinion, nor Peel among his immediate followers.  The
reckless and partizan use of the term Little-Englander has largely
concealed the fact that apart from Durham, whose faith was not called
upon to bear the test of experience, and Buller, Grey, and Elgin, who
had special grounds for their confidence, all the responsible
politicians of the years between 1840 and 1860 moved steadily towards a
"Little England" position.  {279} The reasons for that movement are
worthy of examination.

So far as the Tories were concerned, the change, already traced in
detail, was not unnatural.  In the eighteenth century, the colonies,
possessed of just that responsible government for which Canadian
reformers were clamouring, had with one accord left the Empire.  The
earlier nineteenth century had witnessed in the British American
colonies a steadily increasing demand for the liberties, formerly
possessed by the New England states.  Representative assemblies had
been granted; then a modified form of responsibility of the executive
to these assemblies; then the complete surrender of executive to
legislature.  Attempts had been made to gain some countervailing powers
by bargain; but, in Canada, the civil list had now been surrendered to
local control, the endowment of the Church of England was practically
at an end, patronage was in the hands of the provincial ministry, and
all the exceptions which the central authority had claimed as essential
to its continued existence followed in the wake of the lost executive
supremacy.  Neither Whigs nor Tories quite understood how an Empire was
possible, in which there was no definite federating principle; or, if
there {280} were, where the federating principle existed only to be
neutralized as, one by one, the restrictions imposed by it were felt by
the colonists to be annoying to their sense of freedom.  Empire on
these terms seemed to mean simply a capacity in the mother country for
indefinite surrender.  The accomplishment of the purpose proclaimed by
Durham, Russell, and Grey, would, to a Tory even less peremptory than
the Duke of Wellington, mean the end of the connection; and as they
felt, so they spoke and acted.  They were separatists, not of
good-will, but from necessity and the nature of things.

Among the Whigs, an even more important process was at work.  By 1850
the disintegration of the Whig party was already far advanced.
Finality in reform had already been found impossible, and Russell and
the advanced men were slowly drawing ahead of conservatives like
Melbourne and Palmerston.  After 1846, the liberalizing power of Peel's
steady scientific intelligence was at work, transforming the ideas of
his allies, as he had formerly shattered those of his old friends, and,
of Peel's followers, Gladstone at least seemed to be looking in the
same direction as his master--towards administrative liberalism.  The
{281} Whig creed and programme were in the melting pot.  Now, what made
the final product not Whig, but Liberal, was on the whole the
increasing influence of the parliamentary Radicals; and in colonial
matters the Radicals, who told on the revived and quickened Whig party,
were pronouncedly in favour of separation.  It is too often assumed
that the imperial creed of Durham and Buller was shared in by their
fellow Radicals.  That is a grave mistake.  One may trace a descent
towards separatism from Molesworth to Roebuck and Brougham.  In
Molesworth, the tendency was comparatively slight.  No doubt in 1837,
under the stress of the news of rebellion, he had proclaimed the end of
the British dominion in America as his sincere desire.[52]  But he
believed in a colonial empire, if England would only guarantee good
government.  "The emancipation of colonies," he said, in a cooler mood,
"must be a question of time and a question, in each case, of special
expediency ... a question which would seldom or never arise between a
colony and its mother country if all colonies were well governed"; and
he explained his language about Canada on grounds of bad government.
"I hope that the people of {282} that country (Lower Canada) will
either recover the constitution which we have violated, or become
wholly independent of us."[53]  It is not necessary to quote Hume's
confused but well-intentioned wanderings--views sharing with those of
the people whom Hume represented, their crude philanthropy and
imperfect clearness.  But Roebuck marked a definite stage in advance;
for, while he was willing to keep "the connexion," where it could be
kept with honour, he seems to have regarded separation as
inevitable--"come it must," he said--and his best hopes were that the
separation might take place in amity and that a British North American
federation might counterbalance the Union to the south.[54]  Grote's
placid and facile radicalism accepted the growing breach with Canada as
the most desirable thing which could happen both to the mother country
and the colony; and Brougham directed all his eccentric and ill-ordered
energy and eloquence, not only to denounce the Whig leaders, but to
proclaim the necessity of the new Canadian republic.  "Not only do I
consider the possession as worth no breach of the Constitution ... but
in a national view I really hold those colonies to {283} be worth
nothing.  I am well assured that we shall find them very little worth
the cost they have entailed on us, in men, in money, and in injuries to
our trade; nay, that their separation will be even now a positive gain,
so it be effected on friendly terms, and succeeded by an amicable

Separation was indubitably a dogma of philosophic radicalism; and yet
it was not so much the influence of this metaphysical and doctrinaire
belief which moved Whig opinion.  It was rather the plain business-like
and matter-of-fact radicalism of the economist statesmen, led by Bright
and Cobden.  Of the two forces represented by Peel and by Cobden, which
completed the formation of a modern Liberal party, the latter was on
the whole the stronger; and Bright and Cobden took the views of their
Radical predecessors, and out of airy and ineffectual longings created
solid political facts.  "I cannot disguise from myself," wrote Grey to
Elgin in 1850, "that opinion in this country is tending more and more
to the rejection of any burden whatever, on account of our colonies";
and the reason for the tendency was certainly the purely economic views
to which {284} Cobden was accustoming Britain, and the cogency of the
arguments by which he was driving amateur politicians from their
earlier indefensible positions.  That trade was all-important, and that
the operations of trade disregarded the irrelevant facts of nationality
and race; that no one community could interfere in the social and
political life of another without disaster to both; that the defence of
colonies was not only dangerous to peace as provoking suspicious
neighbours, but needless expense to the mother country; in short that
_laissez-faire_ was the dominating principle in politics, and that
_laissez-faire_ shattered the earlier dreams of imperial supremacy and
colonial dependency--these were the views introduced by Cobden and
Bright into a newly awakened and imperfectly educated England; and they
played just such havoc with earlier political ideas, as Darwin and
evolution did with pre-existing theological orthodoxy.[56]

It was hardly wonderful then that the Whigs moved steadily onward until
they almost acquiesced in the idea of imperial disruption; and, since
Peel {285} had left his party moved almost wholly by Cobden's economic
propaganda, it was not unnatural that the Peelites should share the
views of their Whig allies.  It is indeed possible to find some cold
consolation in Gladstone's Chester speech in 1855, when he predicted
that if only the colonies were left freedom of judgment, it would be
hard to say when the day of separation might come.[57]  But Grey had
already suspected Gladstone of pessimism on the point, and we now know
that as an imperialist Gladstone's course from 1855 had a downward
tendency.  He could not resist the arguments of his Radical friends and

Almost all the important relevant facts and events which concerned the
connection after 1846 assisted these party movements towards belief in

Grey, whose confidence in the beneficial results of free trade
challenged that of Cobden himself, believed that with Protection there
vanished an awkward enemy of the connection between Canada and
Britain.[58]  But Grey was unmistakably doctrinaire on the point.
Elgin warned him, again and again, of "the uneasy feeling which the
{286} free-trade policy of the mother country ... has tended to produce
in the colonial mind,"[59] and that uneasiness passed gradually over to
Britain.  It would be to trespass unduly beyond the limits prescribed
in this essay to deal with the introduction of the Canadian tariff in
1858 and 1859; yet the statements of Galt who introduced the budget in
the latter year strike the reader now, as they must have struck the
British reader then, with a sense that the connection was practically
at an end: "The government of Canada cannot, through those feelings of
deference which they owe to the Imperial authorities, in any measure
waive or diminish the right of the people of Canada to decide for
themselves both as to the mode and extent to which taxation shall be
imposed....  The Imperial government are not responsible for the debts
and engagements of Canada.  They do not maintain its judicial,
educational, or civil service.  They contribute nothing to the internal
government of the country; and the Provincial Legislature, acting
through a ministry directly responsible to it, has to make provision
for all these wants.  They must necessarily claim and exercise the
widest latitude, as to the nature, and {287} the extent of the burdens,
to be placed upon the industry of the people."[60]  There was almost
everything to be said in favour of this enlightened selfishness; and
yet a growing coolness on the part of British legislators was, under
the circumstances, very comprehensible.  It was all the more so,
because the innovations in Canada influenced British diplomacy in its
relations with the United States; and between 1854, the date of Elgin's
Reciprocity Treaty, and 1867, British statesmen learned some of the
curious ramifications of their original gift of autonomy to Canada.  In
diplomacy as in economic relations, their appreciation of the value of
the connection did not increase.

Parallel with this disruptive tendency in the new economic policy,
another in military matters began to make itself felt.  As Canada
received her successive grants of liberties, and ever new liberties,
the imperial authorities began to consider the advisability of
withdrawing imperial troops by degrees, and of leaving Canada to meet
the ordinary demands of her own defence.  Grey and Elgin had
corresponded largely on the point; and the result had been a very
general reduction of British troops {288} in Canada, the assumption
being that Canada would look to her own protection.  To discover the
character of the change thus introduced, and its bearing on imperial
politics, it again becomes necessary to travel beyond the limit set,
and to examine its results between 1860 and 1867.  In these years the
military situation developed new and alarming possibilities for Canada.
The re-organization of the Canadian tariff excited much ill-feeling in
the United States, for it seemed an infringement of the arrangements
made by Elgin in 1854.[61]  Then followed the _Trent_ episode, the
destruction created by the _Alabama_, the questionable policy both of
England and of Canada in taking sides, no matter how informally, in the
war.  In addition, the Irish-American section of the population, which
had furnished its share, both of rank and file, and of leaders, to the
war, was in those years bitterly hostile to the British Empire, and
plotted incessantly some secret stroke which should wound Britain
through Canada.  The gravest danger threatening British peace and
supremacy at that time lay, not in Europe, but along the Canadian {289}
frontier, nor would it be fair to say that Britain alone, not Canada,
had helped to provoke the threatened American attack.  Under these
circumstances, partly because of the expense, but partly also through
factiousness and provincial shortsightedness, the Canadian assembly
rejected a scheme for providing an adequate militia, and left a
situation quite impossible from the military point of view.  Instantly
a storm of criticism broke over the heads of the colonies, so bitter
and unqualified that there are those who believe that to this day the
mutual relations of Britain and Canada have never quite recovered their
old sincerity.[62]  A member of the Canadian parliament, who was
travelling at the time in England, found the country in arms against
his province: "You have no idea of the feeling that exists here about
the Militia Bill, and the defences of Canada generally.  No one will
believe that there is not a want of loyalty among the Canadians, and
whenever I try to defend Canada, the answer is always the same, that
'the English look for actions not assertions'; many hard and unjust
things are now said about the country, all of which add strength to the
Goldwin Smith party, which, after {290} all, is not a very small one;
and the Derbyites make no secret of what they would do if they were in
power,--let Canada take her chance."[63]  Even Earl Grey was prepared,
at that crisis, to submit to the British and Canadian parliaments a
clear issue, calling on the latter to afford adequate support to the
British forces left in British North America, or to permit the last of
them to leave a country heedless of its own safety.[64]  From that time
forth, more especially after Lee, Jackson, Grant, and Sherman had
revealed the military possibilities of the American Republic, even
military men began to accept the strategic arguments against the
retention of Canada as unanswerable, and joined the ranks of those who
called for separation.  Richard Cartwright, who had opportunities for
testing British opinion, more especially among military officers, found
a universal agreement that Canada was indefensible, and that separation
had better take place, before rather than after war.[65]  So John
Bright and the leaders of the British army had at last found a point in
diplomacy and strategy on which they might agree.


A considerable portion of authoritative British opinion has now been
traversed; and beneath all its contradictions and varieties a deep
general tendency has been discovered.  That tendency made for the
separation of Canada from England and the Empire.  It is strange to see
how resolutely writers have evaded the conclusion, and yet, if the
views discussed above have been fairly stated, only four men of note
and authority, Durham, Buller, Elgin, and Grey remained unaffected by
the growing pessimism of the time, and of these, the last seemed at the
end to find it difficult to maintain the confidence of 1853 under the
trials of 1862.  Britain was, in fact, undergoing a great secular
change of policy.  She had been driven, step by step, from the old
position of supremacy and authority.  As in commerce the security of
protection had been abandoned for the still doubtful advantages of free
trade, so, in the colonies, the former cast-iron system of imperial
control had been abandoned for one of _laissez-faire_ and
self-government.  It would have been impossible for British statesmen
to follow any other course than that which they actually chose.
Self-government, and self-government to the last detail and corollary
of the argument they must perforce concede.  But {292} in the stress of
their imperial necessities, it was not strange that they should discern
all the signs of disruption, rather than the gleams of hope; and men
like Disraeli who claimed at a later date that they had never despaired
of the Empire, did so at the expense of their sincerity, and could do
so only because the false remedies they prescribed were happily
incapable of application.  Little Englandism, if that unfortunate term
may be used to describe an essential and inevitable phase of imperial
expansion, was the creed of all but one or two of the most capable and
daring statesmen of the mid-Victorian age.

Strangely enough, while they had exhausted the materials for their
argument so far as these lay in Britain, they had all failed to regard
the one really important factor in the situation--the inclinations of
the Canadian people.  For the connection of Britain with Canada
depended less on what the ministers of the Crown thought of Canada than
on what the Canadians thought of their mother country.

[1] In Fenwick (Scotland), the Improvement of Knowledge Society
discussed Canadian affairs on 1 January, 1839, when James Taylor
proposed the sentiment, "The speedy success of the Canadian struggle
for emancipation from British thraldom."  The toast, according to the
minute book, was enthusiastically honoured.

[2] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 1 November, 1851.

[3] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 11 May, 1849.

[4] Allin and Jones, _Annexation, Preferential Trade, and Reciprocity_,
Chap. IX.

[5] _Responsible Government for the Colonies, London_, 1840.  See the
extract made by Wakefield in his _View of the Art of Colonization_, p.

[6] _The Autobiography of Sir Henry Taylor, passim._

[7] _Ibid._ ii. pp. 302-3.

[8] Leslie Stephen, _Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen_, p. 49.  "On
the appointment of a Governor-general of Canada, shortly before his
resignation of office, he observes in a diary, that it is not unlikely
to be the last that will ever be made."

[9] Wakefield, _Art of Colonization_, p. 317.

[10] _Ibid._ pp. 312-3.

[11] Froude, _Early Life of Carlyle_, ii. p. 446.

[12] _Responsible Government for the Colonies_, p. 65.

[13] _Responsible Government for the Colonies_, p. 37.

[14] _Responsible Government for the Colonies_, p. 98.

[15] I am inclined to accept John Stuart Mill's account of the
authorship--"written by Charles Buller, partly under the influence of

[16] Quoted by Hincks in _A Lecture on the Political History of
Canada_, p. 9.

[17] Kaye, _Papers and Correspondence of Lord Metcalfe_, pp. 414-15.

[18] _Lord Durham's Report_ (Lucas), ii. p. 280.

[19] See an admirable discussion of the point in Lucas's edition of the
_Report_, i. p. 146 and ii. p. 281.

[20] _Ibid._ ii.  p. 282.

[21] A speech by Charles Buller in _Hansard_, 30 May, 1844.

[22] Arthur to Normanby, 21 August, 1839.

[23] _Ibid._ 15 October, 1839.

[24] Protest of the Duke of Wellington against the Third Reading of a
bill, etc., 13 July, 1840.

[25] Parker, _Life of Sir Robert Peel_, iii. pp. 382-3.

[26] Stanley to Metcalfe, 18 June, 1845.

[27] Gladstone to Cathcart, 3 February, 1846.

[28] Gladstone's speech in Hansard, 14 June, 1849.

[29] Parker, _Life of Sir Robert Peel_, iii. p. 389.

[30] _Hansard_, 4 March, 1853.

[31] _Memoirs of an Ex-Minister_, i. p. 344: Disraeli to Malmesbury, 13
August, 1852.

[32] _The Speeches of the Earl of Beaconsfield_, ii. p. 530.

[33] _Hansard_, 9 March, 1876.  The whole speech is an admirable
example of Disraeli's gift of irresponsible paradox.

[34] _Hansard_, 3 June, 1839.

[35] _Ibid._ 30 May, 1844.

[36] _Hansard_, 16 January, 1838.

[37] Walpole, _Life of Lord John Russell_, pp. 339-40.

[38] Walpole, _Life of Lord John Russell_, pp. 339-40.

[39] The reference is to the Rebellion Losses Act riots.

[40] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 8 August, 1849.

[41] _Hansard_, 30 May, 1844.

[42] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 18 May, 1849.

[43] _Ibid._: Grey to Elgin, 6 April, 1849.

[44] Earl Grey to Sir John Harvey, 3 November, 1846.

[45] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 22 February, 1848.

[46] Grey, _Colonial Policy_, i. p. 25.

[47] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 5 December, 1850.

[48] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 25 October, 1849.

[49] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Grey to Elgin, 20 July, 1849.

[50] _Ibid._: Grey to Elgin, 22 March, 1848.

[51] Grey, _Colonial Policy_, i. pp. 13-14.

[52] Molesworth in _Hansard_, 22 December, 1837.

[53] Molesworth in _Hansard_, 6 March, 1838.

[54] Roebuck before the House of Commons, 22 January, 1838.

[55] Brougham in _Hansard_, 18 January, 1838.

[56] See, for a very complete statement of Bright's views on the point,
his speech on _Canadian Fortifications_, 23 March, 1865.  Cobden's
colonial policy is scattered broadcast through his speeches.

[57] Morley, _Life of Gladstone_, i. p. 269.

[58] See the preliminary chapter in his _Colonial Policy_.

[59] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 6 December, 1848.

[60] See Galt, _Canada from_ 1849 _to_ 1859, and his memorandum of 25
October, 1859.

[61] See a despatch from Lord Lyons respecting the Reciprocity Treaty,
Washington, 28 February, 1862: enclosing a copy of the report of the
committee of the House of Representatives on the Reciprocity Treaty.

[62] See Dent, _The Last Forty Years_, ii. p. 426.

[63] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, i. p. 242.

[64] Earl Grey, in _Hansard_, 18 July, 1862.

[65] Sir Richard Cartwright, _Reminiscences_, p. 55.




A change so informally achieved, and yet so decisive, as the completion
of a system of self-government in Canada could not but have
far-reaching and unexpected secondary consequences.  It is the object
of this chapter to trace the more important of these as they appeared
in the institutions and public life of Canada, and in the modification
of Canadian sentiment towards Great Britain.

The most obvious and natural effect of Elgin's concessions was a
revolution in the programmes of the provincial parties, and in their
relations to each other and to government.  It may be remembered that
all the governors of the period agreed in reprobating the factiousness
and pettiness of Canadian party politics.  Even Elgin had been unable
to see very much rationality in their methods.  There was, he held,
little of public principle to divide {294} men, apart from the
fundamental question of responsible government.[1]  But it is possible
to underestimate the reality and importance of the party system as it
existed down to 1847.  To have admitted that men differed on the
principle of responsible government, was to have admitted that party
strife had some justification; and all the other details--affections
and antipathies, national, sectarian, and personal--were the
circumstances natural to party life as that life has everywhere come
into existence.  Burke himself sought no higher ground for the grouping
of men into parties than that of family connection, and common
friendships and enmities.  No doubt the squalor and pettiness of early
Canadian party life contrasted meanly with the glories of the
eighteenth century Whigs, and the struggles of Fox and Pitt.  But a
nation must begin somewhere, and these trivial divisions received a
kind of consecration when they centred round the discussion of colonial
self-government.  After all, so long as autonomy was only partially
conceded, and so long as men felt impelled to take opposite sides on
that subject, it was foolish to deny that there were Canadian parties,
and that their differences were of some importance.


Moreover, before 1847 there were other good reasons for the existence
of two distinct parties.  It was true, as Sydenham had said, that the
British party names were not quite appropriate to the parties in Canada
who had adopted them.  Yet there were some links between British and
Canadian parties.  The British and the Canadian Tories had, in 1840,
many views in common.  In a time of change both stood for a pronounced
distrust of democracy; both regarded the creation of responsible
government in Canada as disastrous to the connection; both were the
defenders of Church and State.  On the other hand, it was not
unnatural, as Elgin came to see, to compare the party led by Baldwin
and La Fontaine with the Reformers in England who looked to Lord John
Russell as their true leader.  Until the political traditions, which
most of the recent immigrants had brought with them from Britain, had
disappeared or been transformed into a new Canadian tradition, and so
long as certain grave constitutional defects which cried for remedy
remained unaltered, Canadian Tories and Reformers must exist, and
government, as Metcalfe discovered, was impossible, unless it
recognized in these provincial divisions the motive power of local


But between 1847 and 1854 the foundations of these earlier parties had
been, not so much undermined, as entirely removed.  "The continuance of
agitation on these intensely exciting questions," wrote Elgin in his
latest despatch from Canada, "was greatly to be deprecated, and their
settlement, on terms which command the general acquiescence of those
who are most deeply interested, can hardly fail to be attended with
results in a high degree beneficial."[2]  Elgin had removed the reason
for existence of both parties by settling the issues which divided
them.  At the same time, the growth of a political life different from
that of Britain, had, year by year, made the British names more
inappropriate.  John A. Macdonald, the leader of those who had once
called themselves Tories, was confessing the change when he wrote, in
1860, "While I have always been a member of what is called the
Conservative party, I could never have been called a Tory, although
there is no man who more respects what is called old-fogey Toryism than
I do, so long as it is based upon principle."[3]  The fierce battles
over constitutional theories, {297} which a series of British governors
and governments had so long deprecated, had at last been eliminated by
the natural development of Canadian political life.

The same natural development provided a substitute for the older party
system.  Elgin, as has been seen, belonged to the group of Peelites,
who, during the lifetime of their leader and long after it, endeavoured
to solve the new administrative problems of the nineteenth century
without too strict an adherence to party programmes and lines of
division.  Curiously enough, he was the chief agent in stimulating a
similar political movement in Canada.  There was, however, this
difference, that while in Peel's case, and still more in that of his
followers, the British party tradition proved overwhelmingly powerful,
in Canada, where tradition was weaker, and the need for sound
administration far more vital, the movement became dominant in the form
of Liberal-conservatism.  In other words, in place of small violently
antagonistic parties, moderate men inclined to come together to carry
out a broad, non-controversial, national programme.

There are few more remarkable developments in Canada between 1840 and
1867 than this tendency {298} towards government by a single party.  It
was Sydenham's shrewd insight into the Canadian political situation,
even more than his desire to rule, which led him to govern Canada by a
coalition of moderate men.  His only mistake lay in trying to force on
the province what should have come by nature.  The Baldwin-La Fontaine
compact, which really dominated Canadian politics from 1841, was a
partial experiment in government by an alliance of groups; and when the
great exciting questions, Responsible Government and Church
Establishment, had been settled, and the end in view seemed simply to
be the carrying on of the Queen's government, Liberal-conservatism
entered gradually into possession.  When Baldwin and La Fontaine made
way for Hincks and Morin in 1851, the change was recognized as a step
towards the re-union of the moderates.  For, in the face of George
Brown, and his advocacy of a more provocative radical programme,
Francis Hincks declared for some kind of coalition: "I regret to say
there have been indications given by a section of the party to which I
belong, that it will be difficult indeed, unless they change their
policy, to preserve the Union.  I will tell these persons (the
anti-state church reformers of Upper Canada) {299} that if the Union is
not preserved by them, as a necessary consequence, other combinations
must be formed by which the Union may be preserved.  _I am ready to
give my cordial support to any combination of parties by which the
Union shall be maintained_."[4]  Three years later, the party of
moderate reform which had co-operated with Elgin in creating a system
of truly responsible government, and which had done so much to restore
Canadian political equanimity, fell before a factious combination of
hostile groups.  But the succeeding administration, nominally
Conservative, was actually Liberal-Conservative, and it remained in
power chiefly because Francis Hincks, who had led the Reformers,
desired his followers to assist it, as Peel and his immediate disciples
kept the British Whigs in office after 1846.  Robert Baldwin had been
the leader of opposition during Sydenham's rule, and before it; indeed,
he may be called the organizer of party division in the days before the
grant of responsible government.  Yet when the opponents of the compact
of 1854 quoted his precedent of party division against Hincks'
principle of union, Baldwin disowned his would-be supporters: "However
disinclined myself to {300} adventure upon such combinations, they are
unquestionably, in my opinion, under certain circumstances, not only
justifiable, but expedient, and even necessary.  The government of the
country _must_ be carried on.  It ought to be carried on with vigour.
If that can be done in no other way than by mutual concessions and a
coalition of parties, they become necessary."[5]  In consequence, the
autumn of 1854 witnessed the remarkable spectacle of a Tory government,
headed by Sir Allan MacNab, carrying a bill to end the Clergy Reserve
troubles, in alliance with Francis Hincks and their late opponents.
The chief dissentients were the extreme radicals, who were now
nicknamed the Clear-Grits.[6]

After 1854, and for ten years, the political history of Canada is a
_reductio ad absurdum_ of the older party system.  Government succeeded
government, only to fall a prey to its own lack of a sufficient
majority, and the unprincipled use by its various opponents of casual
combinations and {301} alliances.  Apart from a little group of
Radicals, British and French, who advocated reforms with an absence of
moderation which made them impossible as ministers of state, there were
not sufficient differences to justify two parties, and hardly
sufficient programme even for one.  The old Tories disappeared from
power with their leader, Sir Allan MacNab, in 1856.  The Baldwin-Hincks
reformers had distributed themselves through all the parties--Canadian
Peelites they may be called.  The great majority of the representatives
of the French followed moderate counsels, and were usually sought as
allies by whatever government held office.  The broader principles of
party warfare were proclaimed only by the Clear-Grits of Upper Canada
and the _Rouges_ of Lower Canada.  The latter group was distinct enough
in its views to be impossible as allies for any but like-minded
extremists: "Le parti rouge," says _La Minerve_, "s'est formé à
Montreal sous les auspices de M. Papineau, en haine des institutions
anglaises, de notre constitution déclarée vicieuse, et surtout du
gouvernement responsable regardé comme une duperie, avec des idées
d'innovation en religion et en politique, accompagnées d'une haine
profond pour le clergé, et avec l'intention {302} bien formelle, et
bien prononcée d'annexer le Canada aux Etats-Unis."[7]

As for the original Clear-Grits, their distinguishing features were the
advocacy of reforming ideas in so extreme a form as to make them
useless for practical purposes, an anti-clerical or extreme Protestant
outlook in religion, and a moral superiority, partly real, but more
largely the Pharisaism so inevitably connected with all forms of
radical propaganda.  They proved their futility in 1858, when George
Brown and A. A. Dorion formed their two-days' administration, and
extinguished the credit of their parties, and themselves, as
politicians capable of existence apart from moderate allies.  Until
Canadian politics could have their scope enlarged, and the issues at
stake made more vital, and therefore more controversial, it was obvious
that the grant of responsible government had rendered the existing
party system useless.

The significant moment in this period of Canadian history came in 1864,
when all the responsible politicians in the country, and more
especially the two great personal enemies, John A. Macdonald and George
Brown, came together to carry out a scheme of confederation, which was
too great to {303} be the object of petty party strife, and which
required the support of all parties to make it successful.  Both
political parties, as George Brown confessed, had tried to govern the
country, and each in turn had failed from lack of steady adequate
support.  A general election was unlikely to effect any improvement in
the situation, and the one hope seemed to lie in a frank combination
between opponents to solve the constitutional difficulties which
threatened to ruin the province.  "After much discussion on both
sides," ran the official declaration, "it was found that a compromise
might probably be had in the adoption either of the federal principle
for the British North American provinces, as the larger question, or
for Canada alone, with provisions for the admission of the Maritime
Provinces and the North-Western Territory, when they should express the
desire": and to secure the most perfect unanimity the ministers, Sir E.
P. Taché and Mr. Macdonald, "thereon stated that, after the
prorogation, they would be prepared to place three seats in the Cabinet
at the disposal of Mr. Brown."[8]

It is not within the scope of this essay to discuss {304} developments
after Confederation, yet it is an interesting speculation whether, up
to a date quite recent, the grant of responsible government did not
continue to make a two-party system on the British basis unnatural to
Canada.  Between 1847 and 1867, the destruction of the dual system, and
the creation of government by coalition, were certainly the dominant
facts in Canadian politics, and both were the products of the gift of
autonomy.  Since 1867, it is possible to contend that, while two sets
of politicians offer themselves as alternative governments to the
electors, their differentiation has reference rather to the holding of
office than to a real distinction in programme.  Alike in trade,
imperial policy, and domestic progress, the inclination has been
towards compromise, and either side inclines, or is forced, to steal
the programme of the other.  Responsible government was the last issue
which arrayed men in parties, neither of which could quite accept a
compromise with the other.  It remains to be seen whether questions of
freer trade, imperial organization, and provincial rights, will once
more create parties with something deeper in their differences than
mere rival claims to hold office.

If the creation of a Liberal-Conservative party {305} was a direct
result of the grant of autonomy, so also was the policy which led to
Confederation.  It is no part of the present volume to trace the growth
of the idea of Confederation, or to determine who the actual fathers of
Confederation were.  The connection between Autonomy and Confederation
in the province of Canada was that the former made the latter

Earlier chapters have dealt with the French Canadian problem, and the
difficulty of combining French _nationalité_ with the Anglo-Saxon
elements of the West.  In one sense, Elgin's regime saw nationalism
lose all its awkward features.  Papineau's return to public life in
1848, and the revolutionary stir of that year had left Lower Canada
untouched, save in the negligible section represented by the _Rouges_.
The inclusion of La Fontaine and his friends in the ministry had proved
the _bona fides_ of the governor, and the French, being, as Elgin said,
"quiet sort of people," stood fast by their friend.  "Candour compels
me to state," he wrote after a year of annexationist agitation, "that
the conduct of the Anglo-Saxon portion of our M.P.Ps contrasts most
unfavourably with that of the Gallican....  The French have been
rescued from the false position into which they {306} have been driven,
and in which they must perforce have remained, so long as they believed
that it was the object of the British government, as avowed by Lord
Sydenham and others, to break them down, and to ensure to the British
race, not by trusting to the natural course of events, but by dint of
management and state craft, predominance in the province."[9]

But while French nationalism had assumed a perfectly normal phase, the
operations of autonomy after 1847 made steadily towards the creation of
a new nationalist difficulty.  That difficulty had two phases.

In the first place, while the Union of Upper and Lower Canada had been
based on the assumption that from it a single nationality with common
ideals and objects would emerge, experience proved that both the French
and the British sections remained aggressively true to their own ways;
and the independence bred by self-government only quickened the sense
of racial distinction.  Now there were questions, such as that of the
Clergy Reserves, which chiefly concerned the British section; and
others, like the settlement of the seigniorial tenure, of purely
French-Canadian {307} character.  Others again, chief among them the
problem of separate schools, in Lower Canada for Protestants, in Upper
Canada for Catholics, seemed to set the two sections in direct
opposition.  Under the circumstances, a series of conventions was
created to meet a situation very involved and dangerous.  The happy
accident of the dual leadership of La Fontaine and Baldwin furnished a
precedent for successive ministries, each of which took its name from a
similar partnership of French and English.  Further, although the
principle never received official sanction, it became usual to expect
that, in questions affecting the French, a majority from Lower Canada
should be obtained, and in English matters, one from Upper Canada.  It
was also the custom to expect a government to prove its stability by
maintaining a majority from both Upper and Lower Canada.  Nothing, for
example, so strengthened Elgin's hands in the Rebellion Losses fight as
the fact that the majority which passed the bill was one in both
sections of the Assembly.  Yet nearly all cabinet ministers, and all
the governors-general, strongly opposed the acknowledgment of "the
double majority" as an accepted constitutional principle.  "I have told
Colonel Taché," wrote Head, in 1856, "that I {308} expect the
government formed by him to disavow the principle of a double
majority";[10] and both Baldwin, and, after him, John A. Macdonald
refused to countenance the practice.  Unfortunately, while the idea was
a constitutional anomaly, threatening all manner of complications to
the government of Canada, there were occasions when it had to receive a
partial sanction from use.  When the Tories were sustained by a
majority of 4 in 1856, government suffered reconstruction because there
had been a minority of votes from Upper Canada.  As the new Tory leader
explained, "I did not, and I do not think that the double majority
system should be adopted as a rule.  I feel that so long as we are one
province and one Parliament, the fact of a measure being carried by a
working majority is sufficient evidence that the Government of the day
is in power to conduct the affairs of the country.  But I could not
disguise from myself that it (the recent vote) was not a vote on a
measure, but a distinct vote of confidence, or want of confidence; and
there having been a vote against us from Upper Canada, expressing a
want of confidence in the government, I felt that it was a sufficient
indication that the measures of the government {309} would be met with
the opposition of those honorable gentlemen who had by their solemn
vote withdrawn their confidence from the government."[11]  The practice
continued in this state of discredit varied by occasional forced use,
until a government--that of J. S. Macdonald and Sicotte--which had
definitely made the double majority one of the planks in its platform,
found that its principal measure, the Separate Schools Act of R. W.
Scott, had to be carried by a French majority, although the matter was
one of deep concern to Upper Canada.  It was becoming obvious that
local interests must receive some securer protection than could be
afforded by what was after all an evasion of constitutional practice.

Meanwhile complications were arising from another movement, the
agitation for a revision of parliamentary representation.  The twelfth
section of the Union Act had enacted that "the parts of the said
Province which now constitute the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada
respectively, shall be represented by an equal number of
representatives."  At the time of Union the balance of population had
inclined decisively towards {310} Lower Canada; indeed that part of the
province might fairly claim to have a constitutional grievance.  But
between 1830 and 1860 the balance had altered.  In Lower Canada a
population, which in 1831 had been 511,922, had increased by 1844 to
almost 700,000; while in Upper Canada the numbers had increased from
334,681 to well over 700,000 in 1848;[12] and each year saw the west
increase in comparison with the east, until George Brown, speaking no
doubt with forensic rather than scientific ends in view, estimated that
in 1857 Upper Canada possessed a population of over 1,400,000, as
against a bare 1,100,000 in Lower Canada.[13]  These changes produced a
most interesting complication.  The representation after 1840 stood
guaranteed by a solemn act--the more solemn because it had been the
result of a bargain between Sydenham and the provincial authorities in
Upper and Lower Canada.  It had the appearance rather of a treaty than
of an ordinary Act of Parliament.  On the other hand, since
self-government had been secured, and since self-government seemed to
involve the principle of representation in proportion {311} to the
numbers of the population, it was, according to the Upper Canadian
politicians, absurd to give to 1,100,000 the same representation as to
1,400,000.  So George Brown, speaking from his place in Parliament, and
using, at the same time, his extraordinary and unequalled influence as
editor of _The Globe_, flung himself into the fray, seeking, as his
motion of 1857 ran, "that the representation of the people in
Parliament should be based upon population, without regard to a
separating line between Upper and Lower Canada."[14]  His thesis was
too cogent, and appealed too powerfully to all classes of the Upper
Canada community, to be anything but irresistible.  Even Macdonald,
whose political existence depended on his alliance with the French,
knew that his rival had made many converts among the British
Conservatives.  "It is an open question," he wrote of representation by
population, in 1861, "and you know two of my colleagues voted in its

Yet nothing was better calculated to rouse into wild agitation the
quiescent feeling of French nationalism.  The attempt of Durham and his
successors to end, by natural operation, the separate {312} existence
of French nationality was now being renewed with far greater vigour,
and with all the weight of a normal constitutional reform.  If George
Brown was hateful to the French electorate because of his Protestant
and anti-clerical agitation, he was even more odious as the statesman
who threatened, in the name of Canadian autonomy, the existence of old
French tradition, custom, and right.  It was in answer to this twofold
difficulty that Canadian statesmen definitely thought of Confederation.
There were many roads leading to that event--the desire of Britain for
a more compact and defensible colony; the movement in the maritime
provinces for a local federation; the dream, or vague aspiration,
cherished by a few Canadians, of a vaster dominion, and one free from
petty local divisions and strifes.  But it was no dream or imperial
ideal which forced Canadian statesmen into action; it was simply the
desire, on the one hand, to give to the progressive west the increased
weight it claimed as due to its numbers; and on the other, to safeguard
the ancient ways and rights of the French community.  From this point
of view, it was George Brown, the man who preached representation by
population in season and out of season, who actually forced {313}
Canadian statesmen to have resort to a measure, the details of which he
himself did not at first approve; and the argument used to drive the
point home was not imperial, but a bitter criticism of existing
conditions.  After the great Reform convention of 1859, Brown moved in
Parliament "that the existing legislative union between Upper and Lower
Canada has failed to realize the anticipations of its promoters: has
resulted in a heavy debt, burdensome taxation, great political abuses,
and universal dissatisfaction; and it is the matured conviction of this
Assembly, from the antagonisms developed through difference of origin,
local interests, and other causes, that the union in its present form
can be no longer continued with advantage to the people."[16]  In 1864
a distracted province found itself at the end of its resources.  Its
futile efforts at the game of political party had resulted in the
defeat of four ministries within three years; its attempt to balance
majorities in Upper and Lower Canada had hopelessly broken down; and
the moment in which the stronger British west obtained the increased
representation it sought, the French feeling for nationality would
probably once more produce rebellion.


So Confederation came--to satisfy George Brown, because in the Dominion
Assembly his province would receive adequate representation--to
satisfy, on the other hand, a loyal Frenchman like Joseph Cauchon,
because, as he said, "La confédération des deux Canadas, ou de toutes
les provinces, en nous donnant une constitution locale, qui sauverait,
cependant, les priviléges, les droits acquis et les institutions des
minorités, nous offrirait certainement une mesure de protection, comme
Catholiques et comme Français, autrement grand que l'Union actuelle,
puisque de minorité nous deviendrons et resterons, à toujours, la
majorité nationale et la majorité religieuse."[17]  That was the
second, and perhaps the greatest of all the results of self-government.

Before passing to inquire into the influence of autonomy on Canadian
loyalty, it may prove interesting to note the political manners and
morals of the statesmen who worked the system in its earlier stages.
In passing judgment, however, one must bear in mind the newness of the
country and the novelty of the experiment; the fact that a democratic
constitution far more daring than {315} Britain allowed herself at
home, was being tested; and the severity of the struggle for existence,
which left Canadians little time and money to devote to disinterested
service of their country.  In view of all these facts, and in spite of
some ugly defects, the verdict must be on the whole favourable to the

Of direct malversation, or actual sordid dishonesty, there was, thanks
probably to a vigorous opposition, far less than might have been
expected.  The _cause célèbre_ was that of Francis Hincks, premier from
1851 to 1854, who was accused, among other things, of having profited
through buying shares in concerns with which government had dealings--a
fault not unknown in Britain; of having induced government to improve
the facilities of regions in which he had holdings, and generally of
having used his position as minister to make great private gains.  A
most minute inquiry cleared him on all scores, but the committee of the
Legislative Council, without entering further into the questions,
mentioned as points worthy of consideration by Parliament, "whether it
is beneficial to the due administration of the affairs of this country
for its ministers to purchase lands sold at public competition, and
Municipal Debentures, also {316} offered in open market or otherwise;
whether the public interests require an expression of the opinions of
the Two Houses of Parliament in that respect; and whether it would be
advisable to increase the salaries of the Members of the Executive
Council to such a figure, as would relieve them from the necessity of
engaging in private dealings, to enable them to support their families
and maintain the dignity of their position, without resorting to any
kind of business transactions while in the service of the crown."[18]
Canada was passing through an ordeal, which, sooner or later, Britain
too must face.  Her answer, in this case, to the dilemma between
service of the community and self-aggrandisement was not unworthy of
the mother country.

Still, in spite of the acquittal of Hincks, there were cases of
complicated corruption, and a multitude of little squalid sins.  Men
like Sir Allan MacNab, who had been bred in a system of preferments and
petty political gains, found it difficult to avoid small jobbery.  "He
has such an infernal lot of hangers on to provide for," wrote one
minister to another, concerning the gallant knight, "that he finds it
difficult to do the {317} needful for them all."[19]  It is clear, too,
that when John A. Macdonald succeeded MacNab as Tory leader, purity did
not increase.  It was no doubt easy for George Brown to criticize
Macdonald's methods from a position of untempted rectitude, and no
doubt also Brown had personal reasons for criticism; but he was
speaking well within the truth, when he attacked the Tory government of
1858, not only for grave corruption in the late general election, but
for other weightier offences.  It was elicited, he said, by the Public
Accounts Committee that £500,000 of provincial debentures had been sold
in England by government at 99¼, when the quotation of the Stock
Exchange was 105 @ 107, by which the province was wronged to the extent
of £50,000.  It was elicited that a member of Parliament, supporting
the government, sold to the government £20,000 of Hamilton debentures
at 97¼ which were worth only 80 in the market....  It was elicited that
large sums were habitually drawn from the public chest, and lent to
railway companies, or spent on services for which no previous sanction
of Parliament had been obtained.[20]  It is, perhaps, the gravest
charge {318} against Macdonald that, at the entrance of Canada into the
region of modern finance and speculation, he never understood that
incorrupt administration was the greatest gift a man could give to the
future of his country.

In a young and not yet civilized community it was natural that the
early days of self-government should witness some corruption among the
voters, the more so because, at election times "there were no less than
four days, the nomination, two days' polling, and declaration day, on
all of which, by a sort of unwritten law, the candidates in many
constituencies were compelled to keep open house for their supporters,"
while direct money bribes were often resorted to, especially on the
second day's polling in a close contest.[21]

Apart from jobbery and frank corruption, Canadian politicians
condescended at times to ignoble trickery, and to evasions of the truth
which came perilously near breaches of honour.  The most notorious
breach of the constitutional decencies was the celebrated episode
nicknamed the "Double Shuffle."  Whatever apologists may say, John A.
Macdonald sinned in the very first essentials of political fair-play.
He had already {319} led George Brown into a trap by forcing government
into his hands.  When Brown, too late to save his reputation,
discovered the sheer futility of his attempt to make and keep together
a government, and when it once more fell to the Conservatives to take
office, Macdonald saved himself and his colleagues the trouble of
standing for re-election by a most shameful constitutional quibble.
According to a recent act, if a member of Legislative Council or
Assembly "shall resign his office, and within one month after his
resignation, accept any other of the said offices (enumerated above),
he shall not vacate his seat in the said Assembly or Council."[22]  It
was a simple, and a disgraceful thing, for the ministers, once more in
power, to accept offices other than those which they had held before
resignation, and then, at once, to pass on to the reacceptance of the
old appropriate positions.  They saved their seats at the expense of
their honour.  In spite of Macdonald's availability, there was too much
of the village Machiavelli about his political tactics to please the
educated and honest judgment.

It was very natural too that, in these early struggles towards
independence and national {320} self-consciousness, the crudities
inseparable from early colonial existence should be painfully apparent.
In Canada at least, vice could not boast that it had lost half its evil
by losing all its grossness.  According to Sir Richard Cartwright, the
prolonged absence from domestic associations, led to a considerable
amount of dissipation among members of parliament.  The minister who
dominated Canadian politics for so many years before and after
Confederation set an unfortunate example to his flock; and many of the
debates read as though they drew their heat, if not their light, from
material rather than intellectual sources.  Apart from offences against
sobriety and the decalogue, there can be no doubt that something of the
early ferocity of politics still continued, and the disgrace of the
Montreal riots which followed Elgin's sanction of the Rebellion Losses
bill was rendered tenfold more disgraceful by the participation in them
of gentlemen and politicians of position.  Half the success of
democratic institutions lies in the capacity of the legislators for
some public dignity, and a certain chivalrous good nature towards each
other.  But that is perhaps too high a standard to set for the first
colonial Assembly which had exercised full {321} powers of
self-government since 1776.  After all, there were great stretches of
honesty and high purpose to counterbalance the squalid jobs and tricks.
If Macdonald sinned in one direction, Alexander Mackenzie had already
begun his course of almost too austere rectitude in another.
Opposition kept a keen eye on governmental misdoings, and George Brown,
impulsive, imprudent, often lacking in sane statesmanship, and, once or
twice, in nice honour, still raised himself, the readers of his
newspaper, and the Assembly which he often led in morals, if not in
politics, to a plane not far below that of the imperial Parliament.
But the highest level of feeling and statesmanship reached by Canadian
politicians before 1867 was attained in those days of difficulty in
1864, when the whole future of Canada was at stake, and when none but
Canadians could guide their country into safety.  There were many
obstacles in the way of united action between the leaders on both
sides; the attempt to create a federal constitution was no light task
even for statesmen of genius; and the adaptation of means to end, of
public utilities to local jealousies, demanded temper, honesty, breadth
of view.  George Brown, who with all his impracticability and lack of
restraint, behaved with {322} notable public spirit at this time, spoke
for the community when he said, "The whole feeling in my mind is one of
joy and thankfulness that there were found men of position and
influence in Canada, who, at a moment of serious crisis, had nerve and
patriotism enough to cast aside political partizanship, to banish
personal considerations, and unite for the accomplishment of a measure
so fraught with advantage to their common country."[23]  In the debate
from which these words are taken, Canadian statesmen excelled
themselves, and it is not too much to say that whether in attack or
defence, the speakers exhibited a capacity and a public spirit not
unworthy of the imperial Parliament at its best.[24]

It would, however, be a mistake to exhibit the Canadian Assembly of
early Victorian days as characterized for long by so sublime and
Miltonic a spirit as is suggested by the Confederation debates.  After
all, they were mainly provincial lawyers and shrewd uncultured business
men who guided the destinies of Canada, guilty of many lapses from
dignity in their public behaviour, and exhibiting {323} not
infrequently a democratic vulgarity learned from the neighbouring
republic.  That was a less elevated, but altogether living and real
picture of the Canadian politician, which Sir John Macdonald's
biographer gave of his hero, and the great opposition leader, as they
returned, while on an imperial mission, from a day at the Derby:
"Coming home, we had lots of fun: even George Brown, a covenanting old
chap, caught its spirit.  I bought him a pea-shooter and a bag of peas,
and the old fellow actually took aim at people on the tops of busses,
and shot lots of peas on the way home."[25]

It now becomes necessary to answer the question which, for twenty
years, English politicians had been putting to those who argued in
favour of Canadian self-government.  Given a system of local
government, really autonomous, what will become of the connection with
Great Britain?  So far as the issue is one purely constitutional and
legal, it may be answered very shortly.  Responsible government in
Canada seriously diminished the formal bonds which united that province
to the mother country.  For long the pessimists in Britain had been
proclaiming that the diminution of the governor-general's authority and
{324} responsibility would end the connection.  After the retirement of
Lord Elgin, that diminution had taken place.  It is a revelation of
constitutional change to pass from the full, interesting, and
many-sided despatches and letters of Sydenham, Bagot, and Elgin, to the
perfunctory reports of Head and Monck.  Elgin had contended that a
governor might hope to establish a moral influence, which would
compensate for the loss of power, consequent on the surrender of
patronage to an executive responsible to the local parliament;[26] but
it was not certain that either Head or Monck possessed this indirect
control.  In 1858 Sir Edmund Head acted with great apparent
independence, when he refused to allow George Brown and his new
administration the privilege of a dissolution; and the columns of _The
Globe_ resounded with denunciations which recalled the days of Metcalfe
and tyranny.  But, even if Head were independent, it was not with an
authority useful to the dignity of his position; and the whole affair
has a suspicious resemblance to one of John A. Macdonald's tricks.  The
voice is Macdonald's voice, if the hands are the hands of Head.  Under
Monck, the most conspicuous assertion of independence was the {325}
governor's selection of J. S. Macdonald to lead the ministry of 1862,
instead of Foley, the more natural alternative for premier.
Nevertheless Monck's despatches, concerned as they are with diplomatic
and military details, present a striking contrast to those of Sydenham
and Elgin, who proved how active was the part they played in the life
of the community by the vividness of their sketches of Canadian
politics and society.  So sparing, indeed, was Monck in his
information, that Newcastle had to reprove him, in 1863, for sending so
little news that the Colonial Office could have furnished no
information on Canada to the Houses of Parliament had they called for
papers.[27]  During the confederation negotiations, the governor made
an admirable referee, or impartial centre, round whom the diverse
interests might group themselves: but no one could say that events were
shaped or changed by his action.  The warmest language used concerning
Her Majesty's representative in Canada may be found in the speech of
Macdonald in the confederation debate: "We place no restriction on Her
Majesty's prerogative in the selection of her representative.  The
Sovereign has unrestricted freedom of choice.  Whether in making {326}
her selection she may send us one of her own family, a Royal Prince, as
a Viceroy to rule us, or one of the great statesmen of England to
represent her, we know not....  But we may be permitted to hope that
when the union takes place, and we become the great country which
British North America is certain to be, it will be an object worthy the
ambition of the statesmen of England to be charged with presiding over
our destinies."[28]

Apart from the viceregal operations of the governor, the direct action
of the Crown was called for by the province in one notable but
unfortunate incident, the choice of a new capital.  Torn asunder by the
strife of French and English, Canada was unable, or at least unwilling,
to commit herself to the choice of a definitive capital, after Montreal
had been rendered impossible by the turbulence of its mobs.  So the
Queen's personal initiative was invited.  But the awkwardness of the
step was revealed in 1858, when a division in the House practically
flung her decision contemptuously aside--happily only for the moment,
and informally.  George Brown was absolutely right when he said: "I
yield to no man for a single {327} moment in loyalty to the Crown of
England, and in humble respect and admiration of Her Majesty.  But what
has this purely Canadian question to do with loyalty?  It is a most
dangerous and ungracious thing to couple the name of Her Majesty with
an affair so entirely local, and one as to which the sectional feelings
of the people are so excited."[29]  It had become apparent, long before
1867, that while the loyalty of the province to the Sovereign, and the
personal influence of her representative were bonds of union, real, if
hard to describe in set terms, the headship over the Canadian people
was assumed to be official, ornamental, and symbolical, rather than

In other directions, the formal and legal elements of the connection
were loosening---more especially in the departments of commerce and
defence.[30]  The careers of men like Buchanan and Galt, through whom
the Canadian tariff received a complete revision, illustrate how little
the former links to Britain were allowed to remain in trade relations.
There was a day when, as Chatham himself would have contended, the
regulation of trade was an indefeasible right of the Crown.  That
contention {328} received a rude check not only in the elaboration of a
Canadian tariff in 1859, but in the claims made by the minister of
finance: "It is therefore the duty of the present government,
distinctly to affirm the right of the Canadian Legislature to adjust
the taxation of the people in the way they judge best, even if it
should meet the disapproval of the Imperial ministry.  Her Majesty
cannot be advised to disallow such acts, unless her advisers are
prepared to assume the administration of the affairs of the colony,
irrespective of the views of the inhabitants."[31]  Similarly, the
adverse vote on the militia proposals of 1862, which so exercised
opinion in Britain, was but another result of the spirit of
self-government operating naturally in the province.  It was not that
Canadians desired consciously to check the military plans of the
empire.  It was only that the grant of autonomy had permitted
provincial rather than imperial counsels to prevail, and that a new
laxity, or even slipshodness, had begun to appear in Canadian military
affairs, weakening the formal military connection between Britain and
{329} Canada.  Canadian defence, from being part of imperial policy,
had become a detail in the strife of domestic politics.  "There can be
no doubt," Monck reported, "that the proposed militia arrangements were
of a magnitude far beyond anything which had, up to that time, been
proposed, and this circumstance caused many members, especially from
Lower Canada, to vote against it; but I think there was also, on the
part of a portion of the general supporters of government, an intention
to intimate by their vote the withdrawal of their confidence from the

Even before 1867, then, it had become apparent that the imperial system
administered on Home Rule principles was something entirely different
from a federation like that of the United States, with carefully
defined State and Federal rights.  All the presumption, in the new
British state, was in favour of the so-called dependency, and the
British Tories were correct, when they prophesied a steady
retrogression in the legal rights possessed by the mother country.  But
the element which they had ignored was that of opinion.  Public feeling
rather than constitutional law was to be the new foundation of empire.
How did the {330} development of Canadian political independence affect
public sentiment towards Britain?

The new regime began under gloomy auspices.  In 1849 Lord Elgin gave
the most decisive proof of his allegiance to Canadian autonomy; and in
1849 a violent agitation for annexation to the United States began.[33]
Many forces assisted in the creation of the movement, and many groups,
of the most diverse elements, combined to constitute the party of
annexation.  There was real commercial distress, in part the result of
the commercial revolution in Britain, and Montreal more especially felt
the strain acutely.  "Property," wrote Elgin to Grey in 1849,[34] "in
most of the Canadian towns, and more especially in the Capital, has
fallen 50 per cent. in value within the last three years.
Three-fourths of the commercial men are bankrupt.  Owing to free trade
a large proportion of the exportable produce of Canada is obliged to
seek a market in the States.  It pays a duty of 20 per cent. on the
frontier.  If free navigation, and reciprocal trade with the Union be
not secured for us, the worst, I fear, will come, {331} and at no
distant day."  Now, for that distress there seemed to be one natural
remedy.  Across the border were prosperity and markets.  A change in
allegiance would open the doors, and bring trade and wealth flowing
into the bankrupt province.  Consequently many of the notable names
among the Montreal business men may be found attached to annexation

Again, in spite of the great change in French opinion wrought by
Elgin's acceptance of French ministers, there was a little band of
French extremists, the _Rouges_, entirely disaffected towards England.
At their head, at first, was Papineau.  Papineau's predilections,
according to one who knew him well, were avowedly democratic and
republican,[35] and his years in Europe, at the time when revolution
was in the air, had not served to moderate his opinions.  The election
address with which he once more entered public life, at the end of
1847, betrays everywhere hatred of the British government, a decided
inclination for things American, and a strong dash of European
revolutionary sentiment, revealed in declamations over _patriotes_ and
_oppresseurs_.[36]  Round him gathered a little band {332} of
anti-clericals and ultra-radicals, as strongly drawn to the United
States as they were repelled by Britain.  Even after Papineau had
reduced himself to public insignificance, the group remained, and in
1865 Cartier, the true representative of French-Canadian feeling, spoke
of the _Institut Canadien_ of Montreal as an advocate, not of
confederation, but of annexation.[37]

After the years of famine in Ireland, there was more than a possibility
that, in Canada, as in the United States, the main body of Irish
immigrants would be hostile to Britain, and Elgin watched with anxious
eyes for symptoms of a rising, sympathetic with that in Ireland, and
fostered by Irish-American hatred of England.  Throughout the province
the Irish community was large and often organized--in 1866 D'Arcy M'Gee
counted thirty counties in which the Irish-Catholic votes ranged from a
third to a fifth of the whole constituency.[38]  Now while, {333} in
1866, M'Gee spoke with boldness of the loyalty of his countrymen, it is
undoubtedly true that, in 1848 and 1849, there were hostile spirits,
and an army of Irish patriots across the border, only too willing to
precipitate hostilities.

For the rest, there were Americans in the province who still thought
their former country the perfect state, and who did not hesitate to use
British liberty to promote republican ends; there were radicals and
grumblers of half a hundred shades and colours, who connected their
sufferings with the errors of British rule, and who spoke loosely of
annexation as a kind of general remedy for all their public ills.  For
it cannot be too distinctly asserted that, from that day to this, there
has always been a section of discontented triflers to whom annexation,
a word often on their lips, means nothing more than their fashion of
damning a government too strong for them to assail by rational

The annexation cry found echoes throughout the province, both in the
press and on the platform, and it continued to reassert its existence
long after the outburst of 1849 had ended.  Cartwright declares that,
even after 1856, he discovered in Western Ontario a sentiment both
strong and {334} widespread in favour of union with the United States.
But the actual movement, which at first seemed to have a real threat
implicit in it, came to a head in 1849, and found its chief supporters
within the city of Montreal.  "You find in this city," wrote Elgin in
September, 1849, "the most anti-British specimens of each class of
which our community consists.  The Montreal French are the most
Yankeefied French in the province; the British, though furiously
anti-Gallican, are with some exceptions the least loyal; and the
commercial men the most zealous annexationists which Canada

Two circumstances, apparently unconnected with annexationism,
intensified that movement, the _laissez faire_ attitude of British
politicians towards their colonies, and the behaviour of the defeated
Tory party in Canada.  Of the first enough has already been said; but
it is interesting to note that _The Independent_, which was the organ
of the annexationists, justified its views by references to "English
statesmen and writers of eminence," and that the Second Annexation
Manifesto quoted largely from British papers.[40]  The second fact
{335} demands some examination.  The Tories had been from the first the
party of the connection, and had been recognized as such in Britain.
But the loss of their supremacy had put too severe a strain on their
loyalty, and it has already been seen that when Elgin, obeying
constitutional usage, recognized the French as citizens, equally
entitled to office with the Tories, and passed the Rebellion Losses
Bill in accordance with La Fontaine's wishes, the Tory sense of decency
gave way.  Many of them, not content with abusing the governor-general,
and petitioning for his recall, actually declared themselves in favour
of independence, or joined the ranks of the annexation party.  In an
extraordinary issue of the _Montreal Gazette_, a recognized Tory
journal, the editor, after speaking of Elgin as the last governor of
Canada, proclaimed that "the end has begun.  Anglo-Saxons!  You must
live for the future.  Your blood and race will now be supreme, if true
to yourselves.  You will be English at the expense of not being
British."[41]  But other journals and politicians were not content with
the half-way house of independence, and the majority of those who
signed the first annexation manifesto belonged to the Tory party.[42]
John {336} A. Macdonald, who was shrewd and cool-headed enough to
refuse to sign the manifesto, admitted that "our fellows lost their
heads"; but he cannot be allowed to claim credit for having advocated
the formation of another organization, the British-American League, as
a safety-valve for Tory feeling.[43]  Unfortunately for his accuracy,
the League was formed in the spring of 1849; it held its first
convention in July; and the manifesto did not appear till late autumn.
Still, it is true that the meetings of the League provided some
occupation for minds which, in their irritable condition, might have
done more foolish things, and Mr. Holland MacDonald described the
feelings of the wiser of his fellow-leaguers when he said at Kingston:
"I maintain that there is not an individual in this Assembly, at this
moment, prepared to go for annexation, although some may be suspected
of having leanings that way."[44]  It was a violent but passing fit of
petulance which for the moment obscured Tory loyalty.  When it had
ended, chiefly because Elgin acted not only with prudence, but with
great insight, in pressing for a reciprocity treaty with the United
States, the British American {337} League and the Annexation Manifesto
vanished into the limbo of broken causes and political indiscretions.

The truth was that every great respectable section of the Canadian
people was almost wholly sound in its allegiance.  Regarded even
racially, it is hard to find any important group which was not
substantially loyal.  The Celtic and Gallic sections of the populace
might have been expected to furnish recruits for annexation; and
disaffection undoubtedly existed among the Canadian Irish.  Yet Elgin
was much more troubled over possible Irish disaffection in 1848 than he
was in 1849; the Orange societies round Toronto seem to have refused to
follow their fellow Tories into an alliance with annexationists; and,
as has been already seen, D'Arcy M'Gee was able, in 1866, to speak of
the Irish community as wholly loyal.

The great mass of the French-Canadians stood by the governor and
Britain.  Whatever influence the French priesthood possessed was
exerted on the side of the connection; from Durham to Monck there is
unanimity concerning the consistent loyalty of the Catholic Church in
Canada.  Apart from the church, the French-Canadians, when once their
just rights had been conceded, {338} furnished a stable, conservative,
and loyal body of citizens.  Doubtless they had their points of
divergence from the ideals of the Anglo-Saxon west.  It was they who
ensured the defeat of the militia proposals of 1862, and there were
always sufficient _Rouges_ to raise a cry of nationality or annexation.
But the national leaders, La Fontaine and Cartier, were absolutely true
to the empire, and journalists like Cauchon flung their influence on
the same side, even if they hinted at "jours qui doivent nécessairement
venir, que nous le voulions ou que nous ne le voulions pas"--to wit, of

Of the English and Scottish elements in the population it is hardly
necessary to say that their loyalty had increased rather than
diminished since they had crossed the Atlantic; but at least one
instance of Highland loyalty may be given.  It was when Elgin had been
insulted, and when the annexation cause was at its height.  Loyal
addresses had begun to pour in, but there was one whose words still
ring with a certain martial loyalty, and which Elgin answered with
genuine emotion.  The Highlanders of Glengarry county, after assuring
{339} their governor of their personal allegiance to him, passed to
more general sentiments: "Our highest aspirations for Canada are that
she may continue to flourish under the kindly protection of the British
flag, enjoying the full privilege of that constitution, under which the
parent land has risen to so lofty an eminence; with this, United Canada
has nothing to covet in other lands; with less than this, no true
Briton would rest satisfied."[46]

As all the distinctive elements in the population remained true to
Britain, so too did all the statesmen of eminence.  It would be easy to
prove the fact by a political census of Upper and Lower Canada; but let
three representative men stand for those groups which they led--Robert
Baldwin for the constitutional reformers, George Brown for the
Clear-Grits and progressives, John A. Macdonald for the conservatives.
Robert Baldwin was the man whom Elgin counted worth two regiments to
the connection, and who had expressed dismay at Lord John Russell's
treason to the Empire.  When the annexation troubles came on, he made
it perfectly clear to one of his followers, who had trifled with
annexation, that he must change his views, or remain outside the
Baldwin connection.  {340} "I felt it right to write to Mr. Perry,
expressing my decided opinions in respect of the annexation question,
and that I could look upon those only who are in favour of the
continuance of the connection with the mother country as political
friends; those who are against it as political opponents....  I believe
that our party are hostile to annexation.  I am at all events hostile
to it myself, and if I and my party differ upon it, it is necessary we
should part company.  It is not a question upon which a compromise is

Loyalty so strong as this seems natural in a Whig like Baldwin, but one
associates agitation and radicalism with other views.  The progressive,
when he is not engaged in decrying his own state, often exhibits a
philosophic indifference to all national prejudice--he is a
cosmopolitan whose charity begins away from home.  There were those
among the Canadian Radicals who were as bad friends to Britain as they
were good friends to the United States, but the Clear-Grit party up to
confederation was true to Britain, largely because their leader, after
1850, was George Brown, and because Brown was the loyalest Scot in
Canada.  Brown was in a sense the most remarkable figure of the time in
{341} his province.  Fierce in his opinions, a vehement speaker, an
agitator whose best qualities unfitted him for the steadier work of
government, he committed just those mistakes which make the true
agitator's public life something of a tragedy, or at least a
disappointment.  But Brown's work was done out of office.  His
passionate advocacy of the policy of Abraham Lincoln and the abolition
of slavery kept relations with the United States calm through a
diplomatic crisis.  He it was who made confederation not possible, but
necessary, by his agitation for a sounder representation.  His work as
opposition leader, and as the greatest editor known to Canadian
journalism, saved Canadian politics from becoming the nest of jobs and
corruption which--with all allowance for his good qualities--John A.
Macdonald would have made them.  Never before, and certainly never
since his day, has any Canadian influenced the community as Brown did
through _The Globe_.  "There were probably many thousand voters in
Ontario," says Cartwright,[48] "especially among the Scotch settlers,
who hardly read anything except their _Globe_ and their Bible, and
whose whole political creed was practically dictated to them {342} by
the former."  Now that influence was exerted, from first to last, in
favour of Britain.  In his maiden speech in parliament Brown protested
against a reduction of the governor's salary, and on the highest
ground: "The appointment of that high authority is the only power which
Great Britain still retains.  Frankly and generously she has one by one
surrendered all the rights which were once held necessary to the
condition of a colony--the patronage of the Crown, the right over the
public domain, the civil list, the customs, the post office have all
been relinquished ... she guards our coasts, she maintains our troops,
she builds our forts, she spends hundreds of thousands among us yearly;
and yet the paltry payment to her representative is made a topic of
grumbling and popular agitation."[49]  In the same spirit he fought
annexation, and killed it, among his followers; and, when confederation
came, he helped to make the new dominion not only Canadian, but
British.  In that age when British faith in the Empire was on the wane,
it was not English statesmanship which tried to inspire Canadian
loyalty, but the loyalty of men like Brown which called to England to
be of better heart.  "I am much concerned {343} to observe," he wrote
to Macdonald in 1864, "that there is a manifest desire in almost every
quarter that ere long, the British American colonies should shift for
themselves, and in some quarters, evident regret that we did not
declare at once for independence.  I am very sorry to observe this, but
it arises, I hope, from the fear of invasion of Canada by the United
States, and will soon pass away with the cause that excites it."[50]

Of Sir John Macdonald's loyalty it would be a work of supererogation to
speak.  His first political address proclaimed the need in Canada of a
permanent connection with the mother country,[51] and his most famous
utterance declared his intention of dying a British subject.  But
Macdonald's patriotism struck a note all its own, and one due mainly to
the influence of Canadian autonomy working on a susceptible
imagination.  He was British, but always from the standpoint of Canada.
He had no desire to exalt the Empire through the diminution of Canadian
rights.  For the old British Tory, British supremacy had necessarily
involved colonial dependence; for Macdonald, the Canadian Conservative,
the glory of the Empire lay in the {344} fullest autonomous development
of each part.  "The colonies," he said in one of his highest flights,
"are now in a transition stage.  Gradually a different colonial system
is being developed--and it will become, year by year, less a case of
dependence on our part, and of over-ruling protection on the part of
the Mother Country, and more a case of healthy and cordial alliance.
Instead of looking upon us as a merely dependent colony, England will
have in us a friendly nation--a subordinate but still a powerful
people--to stand by her in North America in peace or in war.  The
people of Australia will be such another subordinate nation.  And
England will have this advantage, if her colonies progress under the
new colonial system, as I believe they will, that though at war with
all the rest of the world, she will be able to look to the subordinate
nations in alliance with her, and owning allegiance to the same
Sovereign, who will assist in enabling her again to meet the whole
world in arms, as she has done before."[52]

These words serve as a fitting close to the argument and story of
Canadian autonomy.  A review of the years in which it attained its full
strength {345} gives the student of history but a poor impression of
political foresight.  British and Canadian Tories had predicted
dissolution of the Empire, should self-government be granted, and they
described the probable stages of dissolution.  But all the events they
had predicted had happened, and the Empire still stood, and stood more
firmly united than before.  British progressives had advocated the
grant, while they had denied that autonomy need mean more than a very
limited and circumscribed independence.  But the floods had spread and
overwhelmed their trivial limitations, and the Liberals found
themselves triumphant in spite of their fears, and the restrictions
which these fears had recommended.  Canadian history from 1839 to 1867
furnishes certain simple and direct political lessons: that communities
of the British stock can be governed only according to the strictest
principles of autonomy; that autonomy, once granted, may not be
limited, guided, or recalled; that, in the grant, all distinctions
between internal and imperial, domestic and diplomatic, civil authority
and military authority, made to save the face of British supremacy,
will speedily disappear; and that, up to the present time, the measure
of local independence has also been the measure of local loyalty {346}
to the mother country.  It may well be that, as traditions grow
shadowy, as the old stock is imperceptibly changed into a new
nationality, and as, among men of the new nationality, the pride in
being British is no longer a natural incident of life, the autonomy of
the future may prove disruptive, not cohesive.  Nothing, however, is so
futile as prophecy, unless it be pessimism.  The precedents of
three-quarters of a century do not lend themselves to support counsels
of despair.  The Canadian community has, after its own fashion, stood
by the mother country in war; it may be that, in the future, the
attempt to seek peace and ensue it will prove a more lasting, as it
must certainly be a loftier, reason for continued union.

[1] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 26 April, 1847.

[2] He was reporting (18 December, 1854) the passing of acts dealing
with the Clergy Reserves, and Seigniorial Tenure.

[3] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, i. p. 151.

[4] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, pp. 47-48.

[5] Baldwin to Hincks, 22 September, 1854: in Hincks, _Lecture on the
Political History of Canada_, pp. 80-81.

[6] The Clear-Grits are thus described in _The Globe_, 8 October, 1850:
"disappointed ministerialists, ultra English radicals, republicans and
annexationists....  As a party on their own footing, they are powerless
except to do mischief."  Brown had not yet transferred his allegiance.

[7] Quoted from Dent, _The Last Forty Years_, ii. p. 190.

[8] Ministerial explanations read to the House of Assembly, by the Hon.
John A. Macdonald, on Wednesday, 22 June, 1864.

[9] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 2 August, 1850.

[10] Head to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, 26 May, 1856.

[11] Statement of the Hon. John A. Macdonald in the Assembly, 26 May,

[12] See _Appendix to the First Report of the Board of Registration and
Statistics_, Montreal, 1849.

[13] _Life of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 263.  This is undoubtedly an
overestimate--prophetic rather than truthful.

[14] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 267.

[15] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, p. 234.

[16] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 72.

[17] Cauchon, L'Union des provinces de l'Amerique Britannique du Nord,
p. 45.

[18] _Report from the Select Committee of the Legislative Council_, p.
xiv., Quebec, 1855.

[19] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, p. 149.

[20] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 271.

[21] Sir Richard Cartwright, _Reminiscences_, pp. 20-21.

[22] The Independence of Parliament Act--20 Victoria, c. 22.

[23] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 299.

[24] See the volume containing the Parliamentary Debates on
confederation, in 1865.

[25] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, i. p. 283.

[26] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 13 July, 1847.

[27] The Secretary of State for the Colonies to Monck, 10 July, 1863.

[28] _Confederation Debates_ (1865), p. 34.

[29] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 272.

[30] See the previous chapter, pp. 283-290.

[31] See the most important statement by Galt, dated 25 October, 1859,
and contained in _Sessional Papers of the Canadian Parliament_, vol.
xviii., No. 4.

[32] Monck to Newcastle, 28 July, 1863.

[33] See, on the Annexation movement, Allin and Jones, _Annexation,
Preferential Trade, and Reciprocity_, a useful summary of Canadian
opinion in 1849 and 1850.

[34] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 23 April, 1849.

[35] Christie, _History of Lower Canada_, iv. p. 539.

[36] See _La Revue Canadienne_, 21 December, 1847.

[37] _Confederation Debates_, p. 56.  In answer to Cartier, "the Hon.
Mr. Dorion said that was not the case.  The honorable gentleman had
misquoted what had passed there (_i.e._ at the _Institut_).  The Hon.
Mr. Cartier said he was right.  If resolutions were not passed,
sentiments were expressed to that effect.  Then the organ of the
Institute--_L'Ordre_ he thought--had set forth that the interests of
Lower Canada would be better secured by annexation to the United States
than by entering into a Confederation with the British American

[38] _The Irish Position in British, and in Republican North
America_--a lecture, p. 13.

[39] Elgin-Grey Correspondence: Elgin to Grey, 3 September, 1849.

[40] Allin and Jones, _op. cit._ pp. 91 and 164.

[41] _Montreal Gazette_, 25 April, 1849.

[42] Allin and Jones, _op. cit._ p. 115.

[43] Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, i. p. 71.

[44] _Convention of the British American League_, 1849, p. li.

[45] Joseph Cauchon, _L'Union des provinces de L'Amerique Britannique
du Nord_, p. 51.

[46] _Further Papers relative to the Affairs of Canada_ (7 June, 1849),
p. 25.

[47] Quoted from Dent, _The Last Forty Years_, ii. pp. 181-2.

[48] Sir Richard Cartwright, _Reminiscences_, pp. 9-10.

[49] _Life and Speeches of the Hon. George Brown_, p. 50.

[50] Written from England.  Pope, _Life of Sir John Macdonald_, ii. p.

[51] _Ibid._ p. 32.

[52] _Confederation Debates_, p. 44.




  Agriculture of the _Habitants_, 16

  "Alabama" affair, the, 288

  Alien Admission Bill, 106

  America, United States of, Bagot's diplomatic services in, 126, 127-8
    and Canadian Annexation, 204, 218, 219
    and Canada, Federation in, differences between, 329
    Elgin's skilful Diplomacy with, 191
    Politics in, as affecting Canadian (1852), 200, 207, 215
    Relations with Great Britain as affected by Canadian Autonomy, 287
    Tory feeling to, after 1812, 248
    Trade of, with Canada as affected by Free Trade, 272, Grey's
      views on, 273

  American Aggression, and the Defence of Canada, Peel on, 254
    Education, Burke on, 40
    Immigrants, Annexation views of, 333
    War, the, attitude to, of Canada and Great Britain, 288;
      Military power shown by, 290

  Amnesty, Bagot's attitude to, 155

  Anderson, John, political indifference of, 55-6 _&n._

  Anglicanism (_see also_ Clergy Reserves), in Canada, 43-4, 47;
      Imperial support to, 48, 49

  Anglicization of French Canada, views on, of various Governors,
      57, 59, 83, 142, 211, 306, 311-12

  Anglo-French Reforming _bloc_, evolution of, 65, 161
    Attitude of, on Metcalfe's arrival, 161 _et sqq._

  Annexation, Federation as alternative to, Russell on, 265
    Manifestoes on, 334, 337
    Movement in favour of, activity in 1849, 330;
      Inconsistencies on, of _The Times_, 233; Opposition to, of
      Brown, 342; Supporters of, 204, 330 _et sqq._; _Rouges_
      views on, 302
    Risk of, on Elgin's arrival, 191
    Tory views on, 204, 254, 255

  Anti-Union attitude of French Canadians, 124

  Ashburton Treaty, the, Difficulties solved by, 127-8, 132

  Armstrong, Peter, Typical Squatter, 29

  _Art of Colonization_, by Wakefield, 239

  Arthur, Sir George, Governor-General, Timid despatches of, 249
    on Colonial Disloyalty, 60-1
    on the Durham Report and its effect, 248-9

  Autonomy, Canadian, the Struggle for, _passim_
    British opinion on, changes in, 230 _et sqq._
    Conditions demanded by, 277
    Limitations on, views of Durham and Sydenham on, 119-21
    Macdonald's views on, 344
    Movement towards, as affected by Successive Governors, 122-5,
      138, 228, by Elgin, 228-9, and by Grey, 268-71
    Natural outcome of _Laissez-faire_, 291
    Results, as affecting Anglo-American relations, 287;
      Confederation, 305; Connexion of Canada and Great Britain,
      323 _et sqq._; Party system, 302-5; Summary of, 345-6

  Aylwin, T. C., in office, 150


  Bagot, Sir Charles, Governor-General, 70, 126 _et sqq._, 156, 163;
      as Financier, 237-8; and King's College, Toronto, 36; Political
      antecedents of, 126-7; Political opportunism of, 138 _et sqq._,
      143-6, wisdom of his methods, 147; the practical surrender of
      Responsible Government by, 158, 161, 228-9; Russell's view on,
      261, Stanley's view on, 278; Relations with French-Canadians,
      57, 146-7, 149-50; Stanley's instructions to, 129, and relations
      with, 127 _et sqq._
    Work of his period of office, three factors of, 128 _et sqq._
    on Autonomy, Separation, and Loyalty, 138; on the Crown's right
      to name the Capital, 155; on the French Canadians after the
      Union, 57-8

  Baldwin, Robert, Leader of Reforming Loyalists, 64, 105, 125, 197,
      295; Anti-annexation actions of, 339; Averse to the "Double
      majority," 308; Bagot and, 143, 144; Challenge by, to Sydenham's
      system, 143-6; Character and Politics of, 109 _et sqq._, 141;
      Check to, 155; and the Clergy Reserve question, 52; and Elgin,
      203; Harrison's views on, and Draper's, 134; Insistence by, on
      Responsible Government, 113-5, 116, 119, 150, 161-2, 176; Loyalty
      of, 339; Motion by, demanding a Provincial Parliament, 119;
      Office claimed for, 149; and the Patronage crisis, 168; as
      Solicitor-General of Upper Canada, 109 _et sqq._; Stanley's
      attitude to, 142.
    on Coalition government, 299-300; on Patronage, and the position of
      the Council, 175; on Russell's Colonial Administration Speech
      (1850), 264

  Baldwin-Hincks Reformers, in Politics, 301

  Baldwin-La Fontaine Ministry, the, 161, 212, and the origin of
      Anglo-French Solidarity, 215-6, 229, 295, 298; Precedent provided
      by, 307

  Belleville, Population (1846), 24

  Bentinck, Lord William, Governor-General of India, 159

  Black, Dr., and the Clergy Reserve question, 48

  Board of Works for Canada set up, 106, 118

  Boston, Elgin's official visit to (1851), 232

  Bridges, Lack of, 12

  Bright, John, and Separation, 283, 290

  British aid to Canada, need of (1839), and Sydenham's Loan Scheme,
      68-9, 97 _et sqq._
    Approval of Metcalfe's methods, and those of earlier Governors,
      170, 175, 180, 182, 186, 193
    Colonial Empire, maintenance of, views on, 275, 277 _et sqq._
    Communities, Government of, Lesson on, from Canadian history, 345
    Community, attempted absorption in, of French-Canadians, 57, 59,
      83, 142, 211, 306, 311-12
    Empire, permanence of, some firm believers in, 274; World-value of,
      Grey's view on, 275-6

  British Half-pay Officers as Colonists, 18-20
    Opinion on Canadian Autonomy, changes in, 235 _et sqq._
    Predominance, passim; Russell's theory of, effects of, 228-9
    Universities, relations of, with Canadian College Education, 37-8
    Views on Imperialism, early Victorian, 230, gradual change in, 230
      _et sqq._

  British-American League, aims of, 336-7

  British-Canadian connexion, on what chiefly dependent, 292

  Brockville, Population (1846), 25

  Brougham, Lord, and Separation, 281, 282-7

  Brown, George, pioneer of Political journalism, Scottish origin of,
      23; Characteristics of, 323, 340-3; and the Clear-Grits, 300
      _&n._2, 340-1; and Confederation, 312-14, 341, 342; as Editor,
      and Leader, 341; Loyalty of, 339; and Macdonald's federation
      scheme, 302 _&n._ _et sqq._; Macdonald's unfairness to, 319;
      Political rectitude of, 321; Political views of, 298; Why
      disliked by the French, 312
    on Canadian loyalty, 326-7; on Canadian population distribution
      (1857), 310-11, and Parliamentary representation, 310-11; on
      Political corruption, 317; on Public spirit connected with
      Confederation, 322

  Brown-Dorion two days' administration, the, 302

  Buchanan, Isaac, and Canadian Tariff, 327

  Buller, Arthur, on the Illiteracy of the _Habitants_, 16

  Buller, Charles, characteristics of, 241; as Educator in sound
      Colonial policy, 247, 251; Imperialism of, 162, 245; La Fontaine's
      objection to, 162; and Local Government, 94; Non-belief of, in
      Separation, 278, 281; Views of, on Colonial affairs, 94, 162, 234-5,
      236, 237, 240-3, 247, 251, 278, 281, 291
    famous pamphlet by, 234-5, 236, 240-3
    on Permanent Officials and Changing Heads at the Colonial Office,
      234-5, 236; on Russell's Imperialism, 262

  Burke, Edmund, on American Education and Book-reading, 40; on
      Colonial Independence and Imperial Unity, 2, 3; on Party, 294;
      on the Whigs, 166

  Bytown (Ottawa), and the Immigrants, 21; Population (1846), 24;
      Social conditions at, 30


  Campbell, Robert, as School-master, 33

  Canada, Autonomy of, _see_ Autonomy.
    Communications in, and to, in early days, 9 _et sqq._
    Disaffection in, how cured by Elgin, 222
    as Envisaged by Grey and by Durham, 276-7
    History of, Political lessons from, 345-6
    Loyalty of, as affected by Autonomy, 203, 229, 314, 323 _et sqq._,
      342; Mistrust of, over Militia Bill, 289
    Relations of, with Great Britain, as affected by Autonomy, in
      anticipation (Stanley's), 139-40, 156, and in fact, 156, 323
      _et sqq._; true basis of, 239
    Social and Physical conditions in (_circa_ 1839), 8 _et sqq._
    Tariff reorganisation in, difficulties created by, with U.S.A., 288

  Canal-works, condition in 1841, 99

  Canning, George, 189; and Bagot, 126, 137

  Capital, the, Crown's right to name, Bagot on, 155; Brown on, 326-7

  Carlyle, Thomas, on Buller, 241

  Caron, Réné Edouard, Speaker of Upper House, and La Fontaine, 177

  Cartier, Sir George Étienne, French-Canadian Leader, 14; and
      French-Canadian feeling, 332 _&n._; Loyalty of, 338

  Cartwright, J. S., 144; Political views of, 60, 133, 151

  Cartwright, Sir Richard, and British views on Separation, 290
    on Annexation views after 1856, 333-4; on Personal Morals of Members
      of Canadian Assemblies, 320; on the Political influence of _The
      Globe_, 341-2

  Cathcart, Earl of, as interim Governor-General, 7 _n._, 70 _n._,
      187 _&n._

  Cauchon, Joseph, and Confederation, 314; Loyalty of, 338

  Chatham, Earl of, 4

  China, Elgin's work in, 189, 191

  _Christian Guardian, The_, 38 _&n._2

  Church of England in Canada (_see also_ Clergy Reserves), 43-4, 47, 49

  Church Support, Voluntary principle of, Rolph on, 51-2

  Civil List difficulties, 138, 140, 146, 154, 155, 163; Grey's
      attitude as to, 272; Stanley's views on, 130; the Surrender,
      154-5, 163, 279

  Clear-Grit party, Loyalty of, 339; Politics of, 300 _&n._2, 301, 302

  Clericalism in French Canada, 14, 15, 17; and School Control, 31-2

  Clergy Reserve Question, dispute on, 47-54, 62, 64, 252-3, 254-5,
      268; Settlement of, by compromise, 90-2, 279, 306

  Coalition Governments in Canada (_see_ Baldwin-Hincks _& others_),
      298-9, 304

  Cobden, Richard, and Separation, 217, 283, 284, 285

  Coburg, Population (1846), 25; Social conditions and prices at
      (1845), 27-8

  Colborne, Sir John, Acting Governor, and the Anglican Church, 43;
      French risings quelled by, 5, 57, 214; on the French and the
      Union, 83

  Colleges and Universities, Canadian, 35-8, 136

  Colonial Administration, Russell's speech on, 1850, 263
    Autonomy (_see also_ Autonomy, Canadian), MacDonald's views on, 344
    Connexion with the Empire, Continuance of, various views on (_see
      also_ Annexation, Separation, _&c._), 2, 3, 277 _et sqq._,
      323 _et sqq._
    Government, Conflicting views on, _passim_
    Independence, Burke's view on, 2, 3
    Parliaments, Defects of, 65-6, 289
    Unity, Conditions adverse to, 24

  Colonial Office, the, Elgin's influence on, 222-5; Permanent officials
      of, Buller on, 234-5, 236

  _Colonial Advocate_, The, 38

  _Colonial Gazette_, on Poulett Thomson, 77-8

  _Colonial Policy_, by Earl Grey, Canada chapter in, inspired by
      Elgin, 275

  _Colonies, Responsible Government for_, Buller's famous pamphlet,
      234-5 _&n._, 236, 240

  Colonies, Secretaries of State for, _see also under_ Names
    Lord J. Russell, 1839
    Lord Stanley, 1841
    Gladstone, 1846
    Earl Grey, 1846
    Sir J. Pakington, 1852
    Duke of Newcastle, 1852
    Sir George Gray, 1854
    Views on, of British Politicians, 2, 3, 217, 230 _et sqq._, 255-8,
      262, 264, 283, 284, 285, 290, 292 _et alibi_

  Colonists, Buller's views on, 242; Cartwright's opinion of, 60

  _Colonization, The Art of_, by Wakefield, 239

  Commercial crisis, Canadian, in 1849, Elgin on, 331
    Marine, as a pillar of Empire, 262
    Relations, Peel on, 254
    Treaty, _see_ Reciprocity Treaty

  Compromise, Bagot's views on, and Stanley's, 139-40

  Confederation of British North American Colonies, various Schemes
      for, 196-7; the result of Autonomy, 305; Difficulties connected
      with, 279-80, 312; Russell's aim in furthering, 265; Scheme of
      Brown and Macdonald for, 302 _et sqq._, 312-14, 341, 342

  "Connexion," the Basis of, sentimental rather than practical, 239;
      Effect on, of Autonomy, 323 _et sqq._

  Conservative Party, Canadian (see also Family Compact, & Tory Party),
      in 1841, 105; Loyalty of, 339

  Conservatism of the French Canadians, 15, 17, 32, 41
    United Empire Loyalists, 18

  Constitutional Act of 1791, and the Clergy Reserve question, 48-9

  Constitutional Question in Canada, three allied problems forming,
      Elgin's mode of dealing with, 201 _et sqq._

  Convent Education of Women, 16, 31

  Copyright prohibition, effect on Reading habits, 39 _&n._, 40

  Corduroy Roads, 12

  Cornwall, Strachan's School at, 35

  Corruption, political, in Canada, 315 _et sqq._; Brown's salutary
      counteraction of, 341

  County Courts, Canadian, new system set up, 106

  Crime, in early days, 29 _&n._2, 30

  Crown, the, and the Case of a Governor-General, compared by
      Stanley, 152-3

  Crown Colony administration, period of, 4-5


  Dalhousie, Earl of, Governor-General, 189-90

  Daly, Sir Dominick, the "perpetual secretary," 168, 176, 177

  Darwin, and Bright & Cobden, parallel between, 284

  Davidson, John, retirement of, 150

  Day, Charles Dewey, 113

  Debate in House of Commons on Canadian affairs (1844), 182

  Defence of Canada (_see also_ Militia Bill), British views on, 254,
      272, 287 _et sqq._

  Democracy, attitude to, of the Family Compact, 60 _et sqq._

  Democratic Government in Canada, established by Elgin, 190
    Institutions, Elements of Success in, 320

  Derby, Earl of (_see_ for earlier references, Stanley, Lord), 252

  Derbyites, and Separation, 290

  Despatches of Elgin and later Governors, 208-9, 249, 325

  Diplomacy, and Separation, 287 War, and Land as matters for
      Imperial Control, in Wakefield's view, 240

  District Councils for French Canada set up, 98, 118, 119

  Draper, Hon. H. W., Attorney-General, leader of Ministerialists,
      105, 111 _&n._, 113, 150, 177; Metcalfe on, 184; Resignation
      of, 194
    on the Political crisis of 1842, 134-5

  Disraeli, Benjamin (Earl of Beaconsfield), Imperialism of,
      misgivings in, 255-8, 292

  District Council Bill (Canadian), passed, 106, 118

  Doctrinaire, the, in Practical Politics, position of Metcalfe as
      illustrating, 185,

  Domestic Colonial affairs, Imperial Intervention in, views of
      Russell, and of Grey, 271-2, 274

  Dorchester, Earl of, and Colonial affairs, 4; and the French
      Canadians, 13

  Dorion, A. A., _see_ Brown-Dorion ministry

  "Double majority," evolution of, 307-8

  "Double Shuffle" episode, 318-9

  Dougalls, the, and the _Montreal Witness_, 38-9

  Drunkenness, among Whites and Indians, 30; among Members of
      Parliament, 320

  Durham, Earl of, Governor-General, 6, 14, 71, 76, 190, 191, 251;
      Canadian views on, 190; and the Change in British views on
      Canadian affairs, 237; and the Destruction of French Nationalism,
      57, 59, 83, 211, 311-2; and Immigration, 97; Responsible Colonial
      government as advocated by, 61, 149, 166, 244-5; non-Separationist
      views, 281; Visit of, to Canada, 31
    on the Catholic clergy of Lower Canada, 41-2; on Local Government, 94

  _Durham's Report_, 4 _n._, 5 _n._, 6, 57; Effects of, 249; Fallacy in,
      260-1; Illusions on, dispelled, 243-4; Imperial note of, 246-7


  Economics, and Separation, 220, 285-6, 330-1

  Education, French-Canadian, 14, 15, 16
    by Newspaper, 38-9
    School and College, 31 _et sqq._, 136
    of Scottish immigrants, 23

  Ekfried, Early Education at, 33

  Elgin, Countess of, 190

  Elgin, Earl of, Governor-Generalship of, 7, 56, 70, 187 _et sqq._
    Character and Politics of, 188 _et sqq._, 190, 191, 209, 221, 225
      _et sqq._, 256, 297; Chief result of his rule, 190, 268-71;
      Despatches of, 325, Influence of, on Autonomy movement, 188 _et
      sqq._, 228-9, and on Grey's Colonial policy, 275; Insult to, 204,
      208-9, 227, 320, Scottish loyal address on, 328-9; and Irish
      disaffection, 200, 337; Non-Separationist views of, 278, 281;
      Relations with French Canada, 193, 195-6, 198, 210 _et sqq._, 222
    Later career of, 188-9, 191
    on Baldwin, 110, 339; on British Press methods, 232; on Canadian
      attitude to Free Trade, 220, 285-6; on Canadian Party Politics,
      56, 195, 293, 295; on the elections of 1844, 181; on French
      Canadian Nationalism, 196, and Loyalty (1850), 305-6; on
      Metcalfe's policy, 192, 202; on Montreal, its inhabitants and
      Annexation views at (1849), 334; on Moral influence of
      Governors, 324; on Sydenham's attitude to Autonomy, 123-4; on
      True and False Imperialism, 224-5

  Emigration and its horrors, 20-1; Wakefield's system of, 238

  English Canadians, loyalty of, 338

  English character of Colonists, Disraeli's views on, 257-8

  English tone in Canadian Society (_circ._ 1846), 26-7

  _Episodes in a Life of Adventure_, by Oliphant, referred to, 225

  _Examiner, The_, Politics of, 64

  Executive Council, British and Canadian views on, 71 _et sqq._
    Sydenham's, inherited by Bagot, 131; Stanley's advice on, 129,
      136, 143, 144-5, actual Composition of, 144; La Fontaine's
      demands and the upshot, 149 _et sqq._; Stanley's sarcasm, 152-3

  Executive Responsibility, as conceived by Durham, 244-5


  "Family Compact," the, Political views, and position of, 18, 60 _et
      sqq._, 101, 129-30, 133

  Farmers, Life and work of (_circa_ 1845), 28-9

  Federation, _see_ Confederation

  Finance, Canadian (see also Civil List, Clergy Reserves, Tariffs,
      Taxation), in 1839, 86; Bagot's action concerning, 137-8; Grey on,
      in 1846, 272

  Foley, ----, 325

  Forests, difficulties due to, 9, 12-13

  Fowlds, Matthew, on Life at Coburg (1845), 27-8 _&n._1

  Franchise conditions (1832), 22

  Free-Trade, effects of, in Canada, 220, 285-6, 330; Views on, of
      Elgin, 220, 285-6, and of Grey, 267, 272-4, 285

  French, the, in Canada, _see_ French-Canadians

  French-British Political  solidarity (_see also_ Anglo-French
      _bloc_), birth of, 215 _et sqq._

  French Canadians of Lower Canada (_see also_ Papineau, Rebellions,
      _&c._), 13-17
    Anti-Union movement among, 103
    District Councils set up for, 95, 118, 119
    Fate settled by Poulett-Thomson, 79-90
    Importance of, in 1842, 131, 132, 133-6, 141, 148, need for
      Conciliating, Harrison on, 133-4; Admission of, to Office,
      problem of, and struggle for, 133 _et sqq._, the climax, 148-51,
      the aftermath, 151 _et sqq._
    Influence of the Roman Catholic clergy in, 15, 32-3, 337
    Language question and, 90
    Loyalty of, 337-8
    Nationalism, and the Nationalist Party among, Anglicization of,
      efforts towards, 57, 59, 83, 142, 211, 306, 311-12; Obvious
      fault of, 196; Problem of, on Elgin's arrival, 193, 195-6, 198,
      Elgin's solution of the difficulties, 210 _et sqq._, 305;
      Irritation of, over Parliamentary Representation, 311-13;
      Confederation favoured by, 314
    Political views of (_see also_ Conservatism, Nationalism _supra_,
      Rouges), 15-17, 32, 41, 57-9, 105, 143, 196, 210 _et sqq._, 301,
      302, 305, 331, 338
    Privileges accorded to, by Grey, 268
    Relations with Bagot, 57, 146-7, 149-50; with Elgin, 193, 195-6,
      198, 215, 222, 305-6; with Metcalfe, 176-7, 195-6; with
      Sydenham, 79 _et sqq._, 125, 132-5, 176

  French Revolution, the, Effects of, 4, 248

  Fur-trade, Social drawbacks of, 29-30


  Galt, Alexander Tilloch, and Canadian Tariffs, 327; on Separation,

  George III., and the Colonies, 248

  Girouard, John Joseph, and the rebellion, 142; Office open to, 150

  Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., trained by Peel, 189-90, 200; and
      Administrative Liberalism, 280; as Colonial Secretary, 251, 256
    on British approval of Metcalfe's methods, 193; on Rebellion
      Losses Bill, 206 _n._; on Separation, 266-7, 285

  Glenelg, Lord, at the Colonial Office, 236; and the Clergy Reserve
      question, 49; on Canadian local rights, 236

  _Globe, The_, Brown's newspaper, on the Clear-Grits, 300 _n._2;
      Influence of, 311, 341-2

  Good Government essential to Colonial Empire, Molesworth on, 281-2

  Gourlay, Robert, agitator, Scottish origin of, 23

  Governor-General and Assembly, Russell's instructions concerning,
      72 _et sqq._
    and Colonial Executive, relations between, as sketched by Grey, 269
    in relation to Confederation, 325
    Diminution of importance of, after Autonomy, 324 _et sqq._
    Duties of, Sydenham's views on, 119-21
    Salary of (_see also_ Civil List), Brown's attitude on, 342

  Governors-General referred to, in order of date, _see also
      under_ Names
    Dalhousie, Earl of, 1820
    Colborne, Sir John (acting), 1830
    Thomson, C. Poulett, 1833; _later_ Lord Sydenham, 1841
    Durham, Earl of, 1838
    Colborne, Sir John, 1838
    Bagot, Sir Charles, 1842
    Metcalfe, Lord, 1843
    Cathcart, Earl of, 1846
    Elgin, Earl of, 1847
    Head, Sir Edmund W., 1854
    Monck, Viscount, 1861

  Grant, General Ulysses, 290

  Great Britain (_see also_ British), and the Colonies, future
      relations between, MacDonald on, 344
    Imperial policy of, under Grey, 275-6 _et proevi_; Change in,
      process and progress of, 291
    Relations with Canada as affected by Autonomy, 323 _et sqq._;
      Basis of, 239

  Greville, Charles, on Poulett Thomson, 77

  Grey, Earl, as Colonial Secretary, 196, 222, 237; Characteristics
      of the man and his ideas, 267 _et sqq._; Events of his term of
      office, 268 _et sqq._
    Colonial policy of, 190-1, 196, 199, 256, 267-8 _et sqq._;
      Elgin's influence on, 209 _&n._2, 275; and Federation, 196-7;
      Free Trade with Canada urged by, 267-8, 272-4; and the Militia
      Bill crisis, 290; Views of, on Separation, 278, 281, occasional
        misgivings, 223, 283
    on Attitude of a Governor of a Self-governing Colony, 269-70; on
      British indifference to Canada (1851), 232; on Elgin's best
      attitude to the Canadian Executive of 1848, 200; on Newspaper
      misrepresentation, 232; on Separationist views at Westminster,

  Grey, Sir George, on the Clergy Grants, 48 _&n._1

  Grote, George, and Separation, 282


  _Habitants_, the, Characteristics of, 15-17

  Hamilton, Population (1846), 24

  Harrison, S. B., Secretary, 105, Moderate Reform views of, 119,
      176; Resolutions moved by, on Provincial Parliaments, 119-20
    on the Need for Responsible Government, and for Conciliation of
      the French Canadians, 133-4

  Harvey, Sir John, Grey's letter to, on attitude of Governors of
      Self-Governing Colonies, 269-70

  Head, Sir Edmund W., as Governor-General, 324; Averse to the "Double
      majority," 307-8

  Head, Sir F. B., on Baldwin, 109

  Herbert, Sydney (Lord Herbert of Lea), 189

  Higginson, Captain, and La Fontaine, 172

  Hincks, Sir Francis, Advocate of Responsible Government, 38; Press
      exponent of Reforming Loyalist views, 64, 196; in Bagot's
      Executive, 144; Interpretation by, of Durham's Report, 243-4;
      Political morality of, attacked, 315
    on the Civil List difficulty, 163; on Coalitions, 298-9; on the
      Patronage Crisis, 170; on the Reformers, 113

  Hincks-Morin Ministry, the, and Moderate re-union, 298

  Home Rule (_see also_ Autonomy), Evolution of, in Canada,
      antithesis of, to Russell's theory, 229

  Hume, Joseph, and Canadian politics, 231, 282

  Hyderabad, Metcalfe at, 159


  Immigration and its Problems, 20 _et sqq._, 97-8, 238

  Imperial Aid to Religious bodies in Canada, _see_ Anglican Church,
      _and_ Clergy Reserve question
    Control, Struggle for, 1-229, _et passim_; Views of various
      British  politicians, 230 _et sqq._
    Creed of Durham and Buller, not that of their party, 281
    Government, and the French Canadians, 136
    Note of Durham's Report, 246-7
    Solidarity, some staunch believers in, 274
    Sentiment, and Bagot's action, antagonism between, 149
    Tariff, 273
    Unity, Burke's view on, 2, 3, 6

  Imperial Parliament, Courtesies of, 66; Over-ruling by, of
      Canadian wishes, various views on, 200; as Training school for
      Colonial Governors, 121

  Imperial Titles Bill, Disraeli's speech on, 255-8

  Imperialism, British, Early Victorian, 230
    Disraeli's, the gaps in, 253 _et sqq._
    Durham's, 281
    Elgin's, 217 _et sqq._
    True basis of, Feeling rather than Laws, 329

  Independence, Colonial, Russell on, 263
     and Loyalty, ratio between, 345-6

  Independence of Parliament Act, as affecting Resignations, 319

  Independency, as moulding New England Character, 41

  Indian Career of Elgin, 189, 191, and of Metcalfe, 158-9

  Indians, Canadian, Trade and Drink as affecting, 29-30

  _Institut Canadien_, Annexationist advocate, 332 _&n._1

  Internal government, and Imperial matters, Durham's distinction
      concerning, 244-5

  Irish Agitation, as affecting Canada, 22 _&n._2, 200, 337
    Immigrants; as Colonists, 21, 22, 23; Political trend of, 163;
      Turbulence of, 22, 67, 179; won by Elgin, 222; Arriving after
      the Famine, anxieties caused by, 332-3

  Irish-American hostility to Great Britain as affecting Canada,
      288-9, 332, 333

  Irish Republican Union, 207


  Jackson, General ("Stonewall"), 290

  Jamaica, Metcalfe's success in, 159, 167

  Jameson, Mrs., on Colonel Talbot as Colonist, 19; on Toronto and
      its Conventionalism, 26


  King's College, Toronto, 36

  Kingston, Anglicanism in, 43, 44; as Capital, 103; Educational
      efforts at, 36; Election riots near (1844), 179; Population
      of (1839-46), 13, 24; Presbyterianism in, 44; Removal from,
      of the Seat of Government, 171, 176

  _Kingston Chronicle and Gazette_, on the Anglo-French Anti-Union
      Movement, 103 _&n._2

  Knox, John, & Melville, Canadian followers of, 44


  Lachine, portage to, 10

  Lachine Canal, 179

  La Fontaine, Sir Louis, Leader of French Canadians, 14, 32, 59, 65,
      295; and Anglo-French cooperation, 125, 162; and the Anti-Union
      movement, 103; Claims of, as to Office, 149, Bagot's action,
      150-1; and the Clergy Reserve troubles, 52-3; Loss of Election
      by, 113, 117; Loyalty of, 338; Office refused by (1845), 96;
      accepted (1848), effects of, 305; and the Patronage Crisis,
      168, 171; and the Rebellion of 1837, 142; and the Rebellion
      Losses Bill, 214; Restrictive attitude to Governors-General,
      162; on the Importance of the Anglo-French Union, 177; on
      Patronage, 172-3

  La Fontaine-Baldwin Ministries, 161, 212, 215-16, 229, 295, 298

  _Laissez faire_ doctrine, in British colonial politics, 188, 230;
      Autonomy the natural result of, 291; and Home Control, in
      Colonial affairs, Grey's views on, 267 _et sqq._; as
      Influencing Annexationism, 334

  Lake Ontario, 10

  Lake-neutralization Treaty, _see_ Rush-Bagot Treaty

  Lanark, Scottish and Canadian, ties between, 45

  Land transfers, under French law, Sydenham's efforts to simplify,
      95-6, 306

  Languages for Debates and Records, 90

  Lee, General, 290

  Legislative and Executive powers of Canadian Government, views on,
      of Russell, and of the Canadians, 71 _et sqq._

  Lewis, Cornewall, 238

  Liberal-Conservatism Canadian, evolution of, 297

  Liddell, Dr., and Queen's College, 37

  Lincoln, President, Brown's support of, 341

  Literary Inactivity, Canadian, some causes, 39 _&n._, 40

  "Little Englanders," Early Victorian, 278 _et sqq._, 292

  Local government, Absence of Provision for, in Act of Union, 93-5;
      in French Canada, Bagot on, 57; as Training for higher politics,
      94; Sydenham's views on, 94, and efforts for, 106

  London, and Early Canadian Society, 27

  London (Ontario), in early days, 13; population of (1846), 24

  Lower Canada, French-Canadians of (_q.v._), Clericalism, Politics
      and Society among, 14-17; Priestly control of Schools in, 31-2
    Municipal Franchise limitations in; results, 25
    Union with Upper, difficulties in, 82

  Lowland Scots, as Settlers, 21

  Loyalist electioneering practices (1844), 179-80

  Loyalty, Canadian, as affected by Autonomy, 203, 229, 314, 323
      _et sqq._
    Inspiration given to, by Brown and such men, 342-3
    Mistrust of, begotten over the Militia Bill, 289

  Lyons, Lord, on Elgin's Reciprocity Treaty, 288 _n._

  Lucas, Sir C. P. _cited_, 4 _n._, 5 _n._

  Lumberers, Wild life among, 30


  Macaulay, Lord, on Metcalfe, 159

  MacDonald, Rolland, on Annexation, 336

  Macdonald-Sicotte Ministry, and the "Double majority," 309

  Macdonald, Sir John A., and Annexation, 336; Averse to the "Double
      majority," 308-9; Basis of his control of power, 216; and
      Brown's scheme of Confederation, 302 _et sqq._; Imperialism
      of, 23; Leadership of, 325; Loyalty of, 339, 343-4; Political
      Morality of, 317-19, 321, 324, 341
    and Representation by Population, 316
    on Canada's Governors-General, 325-6; on Change of Political
      views, 296

  M'Gee, D'Arcy, on the Irish-Catholic vote in Canada (1866), 332-3;
      on Loyalty of Irish Canadians, 333, 337

  M'Gill University, 37

  Mackenzie, Alexander, Liberal leader, 23; Political rectitude of, 321

  Mackenzie, William Lyon, Press organ of, 38; Rebellion under, 5, 11,
      55, recognition by, of its error, 63

  MacNab-Hincks Ministry, the, 300

  MacNab, Sir Allan Napier, Tory leader, 62, 63, 105, 133, 143, 167,
      300, 301; and Bagot, 141, 143, 150, 151; Defender of the Clergy
      Reserves, 62, 63; Invited by Elgin to form a Ministry, 204; and
      Political jobbery, 316-7

  M'Taggart, --, on French Canadians, 16; on Irish settlers, 16, 21;
      on Quebec as Social Centre, 25; on Squatter life, 29

  Manners, Lord John, on the Future of Canada, 254-5

  Marriage and the Squatter, 29

  Melbourne, Earl of, 280

  Metcalfe, Lord (Sir Charles Metcalfe), as Governor-General, 7 _n._,
      70, 158 _et sqq._; Character and qualifications of, 158-61, 164,
      181, 183; earlier career, 159-60, 267
    Attitude of his Cabinet, 66; Despatches _cited_, 164-5; Dislike
      or party, results of, 167-8; and the La Fontaine-Baldwin
      Ministry, 229; Last days in harness, 183; and Local
      administration, 295; and the  Patronage crisis of 1843, 168-70,
      202; Policy of, Elgin on, 192, 202, Grey on, 267; Struggles of,
      to balance Autonomy and Supremacy, 161 _et sqq._; Supporters of,
      182, 240, 249, 261; and the United Empire Loyalists, 17-18
    on Demagogues in Lower Canada, 14-15; on Durham's view of
      Executive Responsibility, 244; on Electioneering Language, 67;
      on the Influence of the Roman Church in Canada, 32 _n._; on
      Irish agitation and its effects on Canada, 21 _n._2; on the
      Parliament of 1844, 181; on Results of Bagot's administration,
      157; on Sydenham's concession of Responsible Government, 229

  Methodism in Canada, 15-17; and Education, 46

  Military attitude to Elgin, 204 _&n._
    Prominence in Canadian Society, 26
    Settlers, 18, 20
    Views on Separation, 290

  Militia Bill, Canadian rejection of, and the effects, 289-90; True
      inwardness of the affair, 328-9

  Mill, John Stuart, on the Authorship of Durham's Report, 243 _n._2

  _Minerve, La_, on the _Rouges_, 301

  Ministerial Responsibility to the Crown, and to a Governor, Stanley
      on, 152-3

  Ministerialist Party (1841), 105

  Ministers, Loyal, and the Assembly, difficulties between (1845), 184

  Moffat, George, Politics of, 151

  Molesworth, ----, on Separation, 281

  Monck, Viscount, as Governor, 324; scanty Despatches of, 325; on
      the Militia Bill, 329

  Montreal, British and French views in, 14; and the Election of
      1844, 178, 179-80; Merchants of, and the Reciprocity Treaty,
      222; zealous Annexationists, 334; Population of, 13, 24; Riots
      at, 67, 68, 179-80, 206, 208, 227, 320, 326; Roads near (1840),
      11; as Seat of Government, 68, 171; Social conditions at (1840),
      26; Suburbs of, 102

  _Montreal Gazette_, on Independence, 335

  _Montreal Witness_, The, characteristics and value of, 38-9

  Moral Influence of Governors, _versus_ Political Patronage, Elgin
      on, 198, and as exercised by him, 205 _et sqq._

  Morin, Augustin Norbert, French Canadian politician, 59, and the
      Nationalists, 105

  Mowat, Oliver, Liberal leader, 23

  Murdoch, T. W. C., 104 _n._, 140-1; the Need for Conciliating the
      French, 135; on Stanley's view of Canadian autonomy, 131


  _Nation Canadienne, La_, 13; as represented in the Union Assembly, 59

  Navigation Acts, Restrictions of, abolished by Grey, 267, 272

  Neilson, ----, and the Anti-Union movement, 103, 105, 151; and
      the Amnesty question, 149

  Newcastle, Duke of, and Monck's scanty Despatches, 325

  Newspaper Opinion, real value of, 233

  Newspapers, Educational and Political influence of, 38-9 _&nn._,
      311, 341-2

  Non-Separationists, the four, 278, 491

  Normanby, Earl of, 248

  North, Lord, and the Colonies, 248

  Nova Scotia, 269


  Oath of Supremacy, Baldwin's difficulty concerning, 112; Dispensed
      with, by Sydenham, 113 _n._

  O'Connell, Daniel, 22

  Office, Colonial, Change in Tenure of, 74-5

  Ogden, ----, Political views of, 113; retirement of, 150

  "Old Toryism" after concession of Responsible Government, 203
      _et sqq._

  Oliphant, Laurence, on Elgin in Canada, 204-5, 221, 222, 225

  Orange Lodge, the, Politics of, 167

  Ottawa, _see_ Bytown

  Ottawa River route, 10


  Pakington, Sir John, and the Clergy Reserves dispute, 252-3

  Palmerston, Viscount, 280

  Papineau, Louis, French-Canadian Leader, 14, 301, 331; Rebellion
      led by, 3; Republicanism of, 65, 271; Return of, to Public Life
      (1847-8), 198-9, 212-13, 271, 305, 331-2; as Leader of the
      _Rouges_, 301, 331

  Parliament, British, _see_ Imperial Parliament
    Canadian characteristics of, 65, 289; First Union, 59, composing
      group, 104, 113, Crisis in, on Responsible Government, 113-22,
      Five great measures carried by, 106

  Parliamentary Representation after the Union, Proportionalism in,
      309-11, attempted reform, 311 _et sqq._

  Party Government, and Colonial Constitutional development, views
      on, of Wakefield, 239-40, and of Buller, 242
    Names, as used in Canada, 56, 106, 195, 295
    Politics in Canada, before and after Autonomy, 56, 106, 166-7,
      173, 185, 195, 293 _et sqq._, 302-5 _et sqq._

  Patronage, Crisis concerning, 168-70; Surrender of, by Elgin,
      198, 279

  Peel, Sir Robert, 262, 283; and Elgin, a comparison, 226; and "the
      Man on the spot," 147-8; and the Permanent Staff of the Colonial
      Office, 235; Political pupils of, 189; and Stanley, 128;
      Transforming influence of, on the Whigs, 280; Views of, on
      Separation, 253-4, 266-7, 278

  Peelites, the, and Party ties, 297; Views of, on Separation, 266, 285
    Canadian, 301

  Permanent Officials, and Transitory Chiefs, 234-5

  Perry, Peter, Baldwin's letter to, on Annexation, 340

  Personalities and Politics, 66

  Perth (Canada), Early Educational efforts at, 33-4; and its
      Minister, 48

  Pessimism of British opinion on the Colonies _circa_ 1844, 246

  _Pilot, The_, 196

  Pioneers, the, of Canadian Self-government, 237-8 _et sqq._

  Political Groups,  Canadian--British Early days, 14, 56; (_a_)
      United Empire Loyalists, 17, 20; (_b_) Half-Pay Officers, 18;
      (_c_) Immigrants, 20, 56
        Later days--Anglo-French bloc, 65, 161; Liberal-Conservatives,
    French-Canadian, 14, 15, 20; importance of, 56-9

  Political Manners and Morals, after Autonomy, 314 _et sqq._

  Political and Material conditions and Needs of Canada in 1839, 68-9

  Politics in early days, 13 _et sqq._, 64 _et sqq._; _per_ Newspaper,
      38; Questions of chief concern, 56; Turbulence in (_see_
      Montreal riots), 65-8 _et alibi_

  Population, Canadian, Composition of, and Problems of, 13 _et
      sqq._; Changes in distribution, 1830-60, in reference to
      Parliamentary Representation, 310-11; Town, growth of, 24

  Preference, and Retaliation, Elgin's difficulties as to, 220

  Presbyterianism in Canada, 43, 44-5, 47; Influence of, on Scottish
      democracy, 41

  Press, British, and Canadian Politics, 232-3
    Canadian, _see_ Newspapers
    Indian, Disabilities of, relieved by Metcalfe, 159

  Progressives, Canadian, Loyalty of, 339

  Protection as enemy to Canadian-British  connexion, Grey's view
      on, 285

  Provincial Parliament, Baldwin's motion for, 119; Resolutions
      replying to, 119-21

  Provincialism, and its causes, 26, 27, 40

  Public Lands Regulation enacted, 106
    Opinion, Canadian, development and trend of, 133; as affected
      by Autonomy, 292, 329 _et sqq._; Sydenham's attitude to, 87
    Works, Canadian, condition in early days, 25-6; British loan
      for, projected by Sydenham, 97 _et sqq._

  Purse-holding and Prerogative, Bagot on, 165


  Queen's College, Kingston, 55; history of, 37

  Quebec, British, and British views in, 14; Immigrant miseries at,
      97; Length of voyage to, 9; Population-Centre, 13, increase in
      population of (1790-1844), 24; as Social Centre, 25; Suburbs
      of, 102; Urban conditions in, 25


  Racial Distinction, intensified by Autonomy, 306

  Radical party, Separation anticipated by, 278, 281

  Radicals of the Durham brand, views of, on the Colonies, _circa_
      1844, 246 _et proevi_

  Ranjit Singh, Metcalfe's Treaty with, 158

  Reactionaries, Insight of, as to results of Innovations, 166-7

  Reading-habits how checked (1839), 39, 40

  Rebellion, Risk of, from Metcalfe's methods, 158, 186, 191, 193

  Rebellion Losses Act, effects of, 68, 213, 214, 215, Annexation
      agitation connected with, 220-1, 232-3, 265 _&n._1; and the
      "Double majority, " 307; Elgin's action concerning, 206-9,
      214, 220-1, 335; Gladstone on, 250; and the Tories, 335

  Rebellions in Canada, 5, 11, 14, 15, 36, 38, 55-6, 57, 59, 103,
      124, 186; After-effects, 135, 213-15; Change in British opinion
      after, by whom directed, 237 _et sqq._; Mackenzie on (1848), 63;
      Molesworth's views on, 281; Settlers' attitude to, 55-6

  Reciprocity, Grey on, 273
    and Loyalty, Elgin's view on, 220

  Reciprocity Treaty, Elgin's, 221-2, 287, 336; Benefits of, 222,
      272; as affected by Canadian Autonomy, 288 _&n._; Cessation of
      (cf. Free Trade), effects on Canadian Trade, 272

  Reform, Colonial, Stanley's mistrust of, 142

  Reform Parties, Canadian and British, 295

  Reform Party, Canadian (Reformers, Reforming Loyalists, Reforming
      Opposition), Acceptance by, of Bagot's action, as concession to
      their views; consequences in Metcalfe's Governor-Generalship,
      161 _et sqq._; Attitude to the French, 65; Civil List control
      desired by, 163; Demand for Executive Council, Russell's
      objections and concessions, 72-5; in Early Assemblies, 63,
      Methods and Leaders of, 64; Measures favoured by, 64-5; and
      Responsible Government, 101; in the Second Union Parliament,
      141; Faculty for setting themselves in the wrong, 228
    Constitutional, Loyalty of, 339
    Intransigeant, 301

  Religion in Canada, Forms prevalent; _see_ Anglicanism, Methodism,
      Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism

  Representation Act, the, 310

  Responsible Government (_see also_ Autonomy), the Struggle for,
    Baldwin on, 110-11
    Conflict over, in first Union Parliament, 107 _et sqq._
    Durham in favour of, 61
    Effect on Struggle of admission of French to Office, 148 _et sqq._
    Elgin's work for, 191, 197 _et sqq._
    Grey's attitude to, 268-71, and views on British Intervention, 271
    Hindrances to, 65-8
    Impetus given to, by the Durham Report, 249
    Limitations on, views of Russell and others, 101, 135, 175
    Opponents of, 60
    Patronage crisis in relation to, 169-70
    Practical concession of, by Sydenham and Bagot, 146, 155, 157,
      175, 228-9
    Russell's policy and, 101, 135, 175, 260-2, final upshot of, 262
    Stanley's attitude to, 129, 130-1
    Supporters of, 61, 64, 178, 268-71
    Views on, of Arthur, Cartwright, and the Family Compact, 60-1 _et
      sqq._; of Bagot, 139 _et sqq._; of Elgin, 123-4, 192, 202; of
      Metcalfe, 164 _et sqq._, 175; of Sydenham, 87, 88, 101
    Training for, Russell on, 263

  _Responsible Government for the Colonies_, Buller's pamphlet on,
      234-5, 236, 240-3

  Retaliation, as Trade weapon, 272, Grey's views on, 273-4

  _Revue Canadienne, La_, on Papineau, and Political Moderation
      (1847), 199

  Richardson, Major, on Sydenham's success, 107-8 _&n._
    Book-sales of, 40

  Rideau Military Canal route, 11

  Rioting, Political, 65-8, 179-80, 206, 208, 227, 320, 326

  Road and River Communication in early days, 9 _et sqq._

  Robinson, John Beverley, 27; tribute by, to Methodism, 46-7

  Roebuck, John Arthur, M.P., Debate on Canada introduced by, 182;
      and Separation, 281, 282

  Rolph, Dr. John, on the Clergy Reserves, 51-2

  Roman Catholicism in Lower Canada, 14-17, 31-2, 41-2; of Scottish
      and Irish Settlers, 42

  _Rouges_, the, of Lower Canada, Politics of, and Annexation views,
      301, 302, 305, 331, 338

  Rush-Bagot Treaty, the, 126

  Russell, Lord John, as Colonial Secretary, policy of, 128, 164,
      235, 259-67; and the Act of Union, 94; Baldwin on, 339; and
      Federation, 196-7; and the Government of Canada, 70 _et sqq._,
      110, 228-9; Leader of British Reformers, 295; Political
      evolution of, 262-6, 280; Separation anticipated by, 278

  Russellite Whigs, use made by, of the Durham Report, 258 _et sqq._

  Ryerson, Egerton, and Canadian Education, 35; in Defence of
      Metcalfe, 174; and Methodism, 180

  Ryerson family, value of, to Canada, 18


  St. Benoit, Village of, and the Rebellion Losses Bill, 214

  St. Lawrence River, Rapids on, 10

  Salaries of Executive, in relation to Political purity, 316

  Schools, early, 32 _et sqq._
    Convent, 16, 31
    Problem of, 307, 309

  Scott, R. W., and the Separate Schools Act, 309

  Scotsmen as Settlers, 23, 27-9, 42, 45; Keenness for Education,
      33-7; Links of, with Scotland, 44, 45; Loyalty of: a
      striking instance, 338; Noteworthy names among, 23

  Sectarianism and Education, 34, 35, 36

  Secularization, Advocates of, 64, 90

  Seignorial tenure difficulties, 95-6, 306

  Self-government, Colonial, _see_ Autonomy, _and_ Responsible

  Separate Schools Act (Scott's), how carried, 307

  Separation, Anticipations of, 166, 200, 231, 248, 266, 274, 278
      _et sqq._, 282, of British Tories, 253, 254, 255, 256
    Four disbelievers in, 278, 291
    Military views on, 290
    Possibility as affected by Autonomy, 323 _et sqq._
    Russell's views at different times, 262, 263, 265

  Settlers, _see_ Half-pay officers, Irish, Population, Scotsmen,
      Squatters, United Empire Loyalists, _&c._

  Sherman, General, 290

  Sherwood, Henry, Solicitor-General, Bagot and, 144; Elgin and,
      194; Retirement of, 250

  Sicotte-Macdonald Ministry, and the "Double majority," 309

  Simcoe, Lieut.-General John Graves, 19

  Single-party Government, Canadian tendency to, 298-9

  Small, J. E., in Office, 150

  Smith, Professor Goldwin, and his party, Separationists, 289

  Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in Canada, 43

  Sovereign, the, True relations with Canadian people, 327

  Squatters, 22, 29

  Stanley, Lord, as Colonial  Secretary, relations with Bagot and
      Canada, 127, 128 _et sqq._, 156, 217, 236, 250-2; Hincks'
      indictment of, 170; Separation anticipated by, 278
    on Bagot's diplomatic services, 127; on the Tie between Great
      Britain and the Colonies, 139-40

  Statesmanship, Elgin's conception of, 227

  Statesmen, Canadian, Loyalty of the more eminent, 339 _et sqq._

  Stephen, Sir James Fitzjames, Influence of, at the Colonial Office,
      234-7, 238; Views of, on Separation, 237 _&n._

  Stephen, Sir Leslie, 236 _&n._

  Strachan, Dr. John, Bishop in Toronto, 36, 89, 133; and the
      Anglican Church, 43; and the Clergy Reserve question, 49, 50,
      52, 54, 90, 92; and Education, 35, 36; and Methodism, 45

  Strickland family, the, as Colonists, 19

  Strickland, Lieut.-Colonel Samuel, and Mackenzie's Rebellion, 55;
      on Unsuitable Colonists, 19-20

  Sullivan, Robert Baldwin, 113

  Suburbs, and the Electorate, 102

  Sydenham, Lord (Rt. Hon. Charles Poulett Thomson), as
      Governor-General, 54, 57, 65, 70; Raised to Peerage, 53;
      Characteristics, 76-8, 107-8, 131, 141; and his Coalition of
      Moderates, 113, 141, 298; Debt to, of Canada, 122-5, 132, 133;
      Despatches of, 325; Episodes and course of his rule, 78 _et sqq._;
      the Fall of the Family Compact, 63; Practice of, Bagot's action
      contrasted with, 149; Relations with French Canadians, 58, 141,
      162; Religious distribution of members of his Council (1841),
      47; Responsible Government practically granted by, 107, 228-9,
      his own views as worded by Harrison, 119-20, Metcalfe on, 164-5;
      and Russell's system, 260; Settlement by, of Clergy Reserve
      Question, 53, 54; Sleigh-journey, record breaking 11-12, 92;
      Success with the Act of Union, 92
    on Baldwin's action in the First Union Parliament, 44-5; on
      Business in a Colonial Parliament, 65-6; on the Clergy Reserve
      question, 53-4; on Early Travel in Canada, 10; on the French
      Anti-Union movement, 103-4; on Party names, 56, 295


  Taché, Colonel Sir Étienne Pascal, 195, 307; and Federation, 303

  Talbot, Colonel, in Canada, 19

  Tariffs, Canadian, and the Home country, 327-8

  Taxation, Canadian, Independence in, asserted, 287, 328

  Taylor, Sir Henry, Influence of, at the Colonial Office, 235; on
      Russell as Chief Secretary, 236

  Teachers, Lack of, in early days, 33-5

  Terrebonne, and La Fontaine's election, 117

  Thomson, Poulett, _see_ Sydenham, Lord

  Three Rivers, 13

  _Times, The_, and Canadian affairs, 232-3

  Toronto, 65; Anglicanism in, 43; Journey to (1839), 10; King's
      College at, 36; Population of (1824-46), 13, 24; Social
      characteristics (_circ._ 1846), 26

  Toronto, Bishop in, _see_ Strachan

  Toronto University, set on foot by Bagot, 36, 136

  Tory Party
    British, and Colonial aspirations, 217, 247 _et sqq._; Separation
      anticipated by, 278, 279, 329; Views analogous to those of
      Canadian Tories, 295
    Canadian (_see also_ Family Compact), Annexationist views of,
      204, 220, Elgin's methods with, 221, 222, 295-6, 334 _et sqq._

  Toryism of the French Canadians, _see_ French Canadians, Political
      views of

  Towns, Large and Small, Characteristics of (_circa_ 1846),
      25 _et sqq._

  Trade between Canada and the U.S.A., as affected by Free Trade, 272,
      Grey's views on, 273
    and Colonial relations, Views on, of Bright and Cobden, 284

  Trade-regulation, formerly Controlled by the Crown, 327

  Trade-relations of Canada with Great Britain after Autonomy, 327-8

  _Trent_ episode, 288


  Ulstermen as Settlers, 21

  Ultra-Reformers party (1841), 105

  Union, Act of, Acceptance by both Provincial governments, 92;
      French-Canadian attitude to, 57-8; Guarantees, desired by
      Stanley, 152; Grey's Changes in, as affecting the French,
      268; Serious Omission in, 93-5

  Union of Canada, Lord John Russell's instructions on, 71
    First Parliament of, 100; Elections (and other preliminaries),
      101; Results, 104; Groups in, 59, 100, 104-5; Sydenham's
      successes, and struggles against the Autonomy party, 106
      _et sqq._; Work of the First Session, 106
    Second, Bagot's, forecasts on, 140-1

  United Empire Loyalists, origin, characteristics, and views of,

  United Reform Party, Baldwin on, 113

    Forces conducing to Education, 16, 31 _et sqq._; Politics, 31;
      Religion, 31, 32, 40 et seq.
    Forces retarding, Physical, 8-13, 24, 28-9; Racial, 13, 20-3,
      24; Religious, 34-5; Social, 24

  University Question, in Upper Canada (1845), 184

  Universities of Canada, 36-8 _&n._1, 136

  Upper Canada, Arrested Development of, Sydenham's plans in aid,
      98-100; Educational Efforts in, 33 _et sqq._; Methodism in,
      45-7; Population increase of, 24; Radicalism of, 32; and
      the Union, 83-9

  Upper Canada College, 35, 50


  _Vendus, Les_, 142

  Viger, Jacques, French Canadian politician, 59; and the Rebellion,
      142; Rival to La Fontaine, 171; in Metcalfe's Council, 177, 194

  Voluntary Principle in matters Ecclesiastical, pros and cons of,


  Wakefield, Edward Gibbon, _Art of Colonization_ by, 239; Enthusiasm
      of, for Immigration, 97; Influence of, on British views on
      Colonization, 237 _et sqq._; Influence on Grey, 267
    on Baldwin's position at Metcalfe's arrival, 162; on the Patronage
      crisis, 170-1

  Wardens, Canadian, appointment of, 118

  Washington, Elgin's diplomacy at, 221

  Wellington, Duke of, opposition of, to Canadian Union, 249-50, 280

  West Indies Slave question, 235

  Whig party, Evolution from, of the Liberal Party, 280-1; Separation
      views of, 266, 278, 280

  Women of the _habitants_, 16, 31


[Transcriber's note: In the index entry "Non-Separationists, the four,
278, 491", "491" is clearly incorrect since there are not that many
pages in the book.  It is unknown what this number should have been.]

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