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Canada, and a great proof of the justice and benevolence of their Government. The description which I have given of the singularly defective provision made for the discharge of the most important duties of both the general and the local govern ment will, I think, make it appear that this apparent saving of the pockets of the people has been caused by their privation of many of the institutions which every civilized community ought to possess. A people can hardly be congratulated on having had, at little cost, a rude and imperfect administration of justice, hardly the semblance of police, no public provision for education, no lighting, and bad pavement in its cities, and means of communication so imperfect that the loss of time, and wear and tear caused in taking any article to market, may probably be estimated at ten times the expense of good roads. If the Lower Canadians had been subjected, or rather had been taught to subject themselves, to a much greater amount of taxation, they would probably at this time have been a much wealthier, a much bettergoverned, a more civilized, and a much more contented people.”
We will add no remarks of our own upon the testimony thus borne by Lord Durham to the fearful pyramid of colonial misrule which has been gradually accumulated upon this unhappy Province of Lower Canada. His admissions do not amount to one-tenth of the earnest and indignant charges long vainly urged by the populat party; yet, even on the mere showing of this report, what descendant of the men of our Revolution can conscientiously blame any extremes of opposition into which a people, thus oppressed and outraged by the foreign dominion of an oligarchical faction, might be goaded. And when it is remembered that, for the exercise of the great popular right of "stopping the supplies," to extort from the "official" faction the very reforms of which the justice and the necessity are now fully conceded, the Home Government undertook to virtually annihilate the colonial constitution, and seize on the public revenue with the strong hand of power, backed by the bayonet and the cannon, and finally worthily consummated this long career of oppression, by arbitrarily and illegally arresting (with circumstances of the grossest indignity) the principal leaders of the popular party, so as to drive the unprepared and unarmed hasty assemblages of the peasantry into a seeming position to justify their sweeping the land with the bloody besom of martial law;when all this is remembered, we trust that, for very shame's sake, for the sake of a decent respect to the memories of the graves of our own sires, we shall hear no more of the heartless and miserable sneers from an American press upon the "unreasonableness" of the complaints and demands of the Canadians, upon their "ingratitude" in return for the paternal mildness of their yoke, and upon the "insufficiency of their pretended grievances" to justify their deep and intense abhorrence of British colonial government, and their yearning aspirations after the independence and republican institutions, of which the contiguity of the United States affords them so constant and stimulating an example.
2. The second section of the report relates to Upper Canada, and upon this we shall not feel compelled to dwell with so much detail as we have been induced to do in the preceding pages. The con
dition of UPPER CANADA, where the quarrel, we are told, "is one of an entirely English, if not British population," is described as, in truth, not much better than that of its sister Province. There we find, in like manner, "an unwise distribution of power," "financial disputes," [followed by the legitimate fruits of public bankruptcy,] irresponsibility in the Government, and the Provinces "entirely ruled by a party, commonly designated the family compact,'" which is bound together either by intermarriage, or the strongest bonds of common party interests, possessed, as they are, of all the highest public offices—of all the influence and patronage of the Executive. "The bench, the magistracy, the high offices of the Episcopal church, and a great part of the legal profession, are filled by the adherents of this party; by grant and purchase they have acquired nearly the whole of the waste lands of the Province; they are all-powerful in the chartered banks, and, till lately, shared among themselves almost exclusively all the offices of trust and profit."
Each Governor, as he arrives, falls into the hands of this Holy Alliance of placemen; and, no matter how anxious he may be to act independently, so general and so absolute is the power of this faction, that he dare not assert his independence of them. "The bulk of this party consists," says the report, " for the most part, of native-born inhabitants of the colony, and of emigrants who settled in it before the last war with the United States; the principal members of it belong to the Church of England, and the maintenance of the claims of that church has always been one of its distinguishing characteristics."
Against this "tory or official party," the Reformers repeatedly obtained a majority; but "at last discovered that success in the elections insured them very little practical benefit," their opponents constantly retaining the full possession of the Executive Government-controlling the popular body by the veto of their "secure majority in the Legislative Council"-choosing its proper moment for dissolving hostile assemblies, and retaining friendly ones in office through their full legal term of four years, &c. The Reformers finally concentrated their efforts on the one point of introducing the element of responsibility into the constitution of the Executive Council, in this respect exhibiting greater skill and tact than the corresponding popular party in Lower Canada-well knowing "that, if once they obtained possession of the Executive Council, and the higher offices of the Province, the Legislative Council would soon be unable to offer any effectual resistance to their meditated reforms." On this point, however, they met with a desperate resistance from the official party.
Each party, while in the ascendancy, has been accused by its opponents of having abused its power over the public funds in
those modes of local jobbing before mentioned as practised in Lower Canada, and throughout all the Provinces; and there has been, in fact, on the whole, a great deal of profusion, carelessness, and misapplication of the public funds in works of internal improve
These two parties were composed, for the most part, of nativeborn Canadians, American settlers, and emigrants of a very ancient date. The influx of emigration subsequent to 1825 suddenly doubled the population, and introduced a third class, who were looked upon with considerable jealousy, and by no means admitted to a fair and equal participation of civil and political privileges, by both of the former. The common distinctive characteristics of this third class is attachment to the British connection. They divided themselves off between the two respective parties, according to their natural predilections. All who had belonged to the Tory party at home, a large number of the higher class of emigrants, particularly the half-pay officers, naturally arrayed themselves on the side of the official party; while the mass of the humble order of emigrants as naturally fell into the hands of the popular and reforming party.
The first act of Sir Francis Head, on assuming the government of the colony, was to introduce into the Executive Council three new members, of whom two were Reformers, (Dr. Rolph and Mr. R. Baldwin,) in the place of some of the members who were most obnoxious to the House of Assembly. But in a short time after, as soon as the controlling influence of the "family compact" began to make itself felt on the new Governor, (which was no difficult task upon the weak and very foolish head of the author of the "Bubbles of Brunnen,") the same individuals, finding themselves treated with entire neglect and contempt, unconsulted in the administration of affairs, for which popular opinion still held them responsible, and, on their remonstrance being point-blank insulted by Sir Francis Head, were left no other choice than to resign.
On the dissolution of the Assembly, and the new election which then ensued, Lord Durham is very frank in putting the proceedings of Sir Francis Head and the Government party entirely in the wrong. He acknowledges that that election, by which Sir Francis Head succeeded in reversing the former reforming majority, was a gross fraud upon the people. He says that the issue was so misrepresented that "a great portion of the people really imagined that they were called upon to decide the question of separation [from the mother country] by their votes," and thus "the general support of the British [it should be remembered that the word is not used here in contradistinction from the French] determined the elections in favor of the Government; though very large and close
minorities, which in many cases supported the defeated candidates, marked the force which the Reformers could bring into the field, even in spite of the disadvantages under which they labored from the momentary prejudices against them, and the unusual manner in which the Crown, by its representative, appeared to make itself a party in an electioneering contest." Some further light is cast upon this "unusual manner" by the following paragraph a little below:
"In a number of other instances, too, the elections were carried by the unscrupulous exercise of the influence of the government, and by a display of violence on the part of the Tories, who were emboldened by the countenance afforded to them by the authorities. It was stated, but I believe without any sufficient foundation, that the government made grants of land to persons who had no title to them, in order to secure their votes. This report originated in the fact, that patents for persons who were entitled to grants, but had not taken them out, were sent down to the polling places, to be given to the individuals entitled to them, if they were disposed to vote for the government candidate.
The Report acknowledges that the pledges of administrative reform, in coöperation with the professed objects of the governor, and independently of either of the two parties, which had mainly constituted, together with the other influences thus significantly alluded to, to defeat the party of the "Reformers," soon proved entirely fallacious; that the present Assembly is in no respect entitled to claim the character of a fair representative body; and that he "must state that it is the general opinion, that never was the power of the "family compact" so extensive or so absolute as it has been from the first meeting of the existing parliament down to the present time." Indignant as the whole party of the Reformers (whom Lord Durham virtually acknowledges to constitute a large majority of the people) was rightfully made by these events, their dissatisfaction, the Report proceeds to state, "was carried to its height by an act that appeared, in defiance of all constitutional right, to prolong the power of a majority which, it was supposed, counted on not being able to retain its existence after another appeal to the people. This was the passing an act to prevent the dissolution of the existing, as well as any future Assembly, on the demise of the Crown. The act was passed in expectation of the approaching decease of his late Majesty; and it has in fact prolonged the existence of the present Assembly from the period of a single year to one of four."
This state of things brought on the outbreak commonly called Mackenzie's insurrection, which Lord Durham pronounces foolishly contrived, and as ill-conducted, as it was wicked and treasonable." He considers the general loyalty of the population attested by its defeat, as also, subsequently, "the little disposition that has been exhibited by any portion of it to accept of the proffered aid of the refugees and foreign invaders, and by the unanimity
with which all have turned out to defend their country." As for its "wicked and treasonable" character, the summary dictum of his British Lordship, to that effect, will hardly outweigh the evidence which his own admissions so amply bear, at least to every American reader, to the righteousness of that application of the principle that "resistance to tyrants is obedience to God." The remark that it was "foolishly contrived and ill-conducted" (the accidental mistake of the appointed day, together with the want of arms for the thousands who flocked to the insurgent standard, is the ample excuse assigned by its leaders) would seem to supply a better explanation of its failure than that "loyalty" upon which so much stress is laid, and which we are very much inclined to consider, to use a vulgar phrase, a mere humbug. A short distance below, Lord Durham virtually admits that unless the whole subject of controversy is given up to "the Reformers,"-this "loy alty" to the contrary notwithstanding,-they (viz. the party" which has commanded large majorities in different Houses of Assembly") may be "generally and decidedly desirous of separation." And that his confidence in this "loyalty" was no very certain or deeply fixed opinion, is sufficiently transparent through the admissions of the following paragraph; which, we must confess, together with the general tenor of the whole document, leaves no doubt on our mind of the truth of the representations constantly made by the refugees, to the effect that there is really a vast majority of the people of Upper, as well as of Lower Canada, anxious for separation, and fully sympathizing with the objects of the Reformers; and that it is only the present forcible ascendancy of the Executive power which represses the manifestation of that feeling, and gives rise to a delusive appearance of unanimity in the support of the government and the British connection:
"It has not, indeed, been exactly ascertained what proportion of the inhabitants of Upper Canada were prepared to join Mackenzie in his treasonable enterprise, or were so disposed that we may suppose they would have arrayed themselves on his side, had he obtained any momentary success, as indeed was for some days within his grasp. Even if I were convinced that a large proportion of the population would, under any circumstances, have lent themselves to his projects, I should be inclined to attribute such a disposition merely to the irritation produced by those temporary causes of dissatisfaction with the government of the province which I have specified, and not to any settled design on the part of any great number, either to subvert existing institutions, or to change their present connection with Great Britain for a junction with the United States."
And if such was the state of things at the time of the outbreak, the succeeding paragraph scarcely exhibits any very favorable change in public sentiment as produced by the subsequent course of events:
"It cannot, however, be doubted, that the events of the past year have greatly increased the difficulty of settling the disorders of Upper Canada. A degree of discontent, approaching, if not amounting, to disaffection, has gained considerable