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   Chapter 7 A NEW ERA OF COLONIAL GOVERNMENT (1839—1867).

Canada under British Rule 1760-1900 By John George Bourinot Characters: 58561

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


SECTION I.-The union of the Canadas and the establishment of responsible government.

Lord Durham's report on the affairs of British North America was presented to the British government on the 31st January, 1839, and attracted an extraordinary amount of interest in England, where the two rebellions had at last awakened statesmen to the absolute necessity of providing an effective remedy for difficulties which had been pressing upon their attention for years, but had never been thoroughly understood until the appearance of this famous state paper. A legislative union of the two Canadas and the concession of responsible government were the two radical changes which stood out prominently in the report among minor suggestions in the direction of stable government. On the question of responsible government Lord Durham expressed opinions of the deepest political wisdom. He found it impossible "to understand how any English statesman could have ever imagined that representative and irresponsible government could be successfully combined….To suppose that such a system would work well there, implied a belief that the French Canadians have enjoyed representative institutions for half a century, without acquiring any of the characteristics of a free people; that Englishmen renounce every political opinion and feeling when they enter a colony, or that the spirit of Anglo-Saxon freedom is utterly changed and weakened among those who are transplanted across the Atlantic[3]."

[3: For the full text of Lord Durham's report, which was laid before Parliament, 11 February, 1839, see English Parliamentary Papers for 1839.]

In June, 1839, Lord John Russell introduced a bill to reunite the two provinces, but it was allowed, after its second reading, to lie over for that session of parliament, in order that the matter might be fully considered in Canada. Mr. Poulett Thomson was appointed governor-general with the avowed object of carrying out the policy of the imperial government. Immediately after his arrival in Canada, in the autumn of 1839, the special council of Lower Canada and the legislature of Upper Canada passed addresses in favour of a union of the two provinces. These necessary preliminaries having been made, Lord John Russell, in the session of 1840, again brought forward "An act to reunite the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and for the government of Canada," which was assented to on the 23rd of July, but did not come into effect until the 10th of February in the following year.

The act provided for a legislative council of not less than twenty members, and for a legislative assembly in which each section of the united provinces would be represented by an equal number of members-that is to say, forty-two for each or eighty-four in all. The number of representatives allotted to each province could not be changed except with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members of each house. The members of the legislative council were appointed by the crown for life, and the members of the assembly were chosen by electors possessing a small property qualification. Members of both bodies were required to hold property to a certain amount. The assembly had a duration of four years, subject of course to be sooner dissolved by the governor-general.

Provision was made for a consolidated revenue fund, on which the first charges were expenses of collection, management and receipt of revenues, interest of public debt, payment of the clergy, and civil list. The English language alone was to be used in the legislative records. All votes, resolutions or bills involving the expenditure of public money were to be first recommended by the governor-general.

The first parliament of the United Canadas was opened on the 14th June, 1841, in the city of Kingston, by the governor-general, who had been created Baron Sydenham of Sydenham and of Toronto. This session was the commencement of a series of parliaments which lasted until the confederation of all the provinces in 1867, and forcibly illustrated the capacity of the people of Canada to manage their internal affairs. For the moment, I propose to refer exclusively to those political conditions which brought about responsible government, and the removal of grievances which had so long perplexed the imperial state and distracted the whole of British North America.

In Lord John Russell's despatches of 1839,-the sequence of Lord Durham's report-we can clearly see the doubt in the minds of the imperial authorities whether it was possible to work the system of responsible government on the basis of a governor directly responsible to the parent state, and at the same time acting under the advice of ministers who would be responsible to a colonial legislature. But the colonial secretary had obviously come to the opinion that it was necessary to make a radical change which would insure greater harmony between the executive and the popular bodies of the provinces. Her Majesty, he stated emphatically, "had no desire to maintain any system of policy among her North American subjects which opinion condemns", and there was "no surer way of gaining the approbation of the Queen than by maintaining the harmony of the executive with the legislative authorities." The new governor-general was expressly appointed to carry out this new policy. If he was extremely vain, at all events he was also astute, practical, and well able to gauge the public sentiment by which he should be guided at so critical a period of Canadian history. The evidence is clear that he was not individually in favour of responsible government, as it was understood by men like Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Howe, when he arrived in Canada. He believed that the council should be one "for the governor to consult and no more"; and voicing the doubts that existed in the minds of imperial statesmen, he added, the governor "cannot be responsible to the government at home" and also to the legislature of the province, if it were so, "then all colonial government becomes impossible." The governor, in his opinion, "must therefore be the minister [i.e. the colonial secretary], in which case he cannot be under control of men in the colony."

When the assembly met it was soon evident that the Reformers in that body were determined to have a definite understanding on the all-important question of responsible government; and the result was that the governor-general, a keen politician, immediately recognised the fact that, unless he yielded to the feeling of the majority, he would lose all his influence. There is every reason to believe that the resolutions which were eventually passed in favour of responsible government, in amendment to those moved by Mr. Baldwin, had his approval before their introduction. The two sets of resolutions practically differed little from each other, and the inference to be drawn from the political situation of these times is that the governor's friends in the council thought it advisable to gain all the credit possible with the public for the passage of resolutions on the all-absorbing question of the day, since it was obvious that it had to be settled in some satisfactory and definite form. These resolutions embodying the principles of the new constitution of Canada, were as follows: (1) "That the head of the executive government of the province, being within the limits of his government the representative of the sovereign, is responsible to the imperial authority alone, but that, nevertheless, the management of our local affairs can only be conducted by him with the assistance, counsel, and information of subordinate officers in the province. (2) That, in order to preserve between the different branches of the provincial parliament that harmony which is essential to the peace, welfare and good government of the province, the chief advisers of the representative of the sovereign, constituting a provincial administration under him, ought to be men possessed of the confidence of the representatives 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. (3) That the people of this province have, moreover, the right to expect from such provincial administration, the exertion of their best endeavours that the imperial authority, within its constitutional limits, shall be exercised in the manner most consistent with their well-understood wishes and interests."

On the 4th September, 1841, Lord Sydenham met with a serious accident while riding, and as his constitution had been impaired for years he died a fortnight later, to the regret of all political parties. He was succeeded by Sir Charles Bagot, a Conservative and High Churchman, whose brief administration was notable for the display of infinite discretion on his part, and for his desire to do justice to the French Canadians even at the risk of offending the ultra-loyal party, who claimed special consideration in the management of public affairs. Responsible government was in a fair way of being permanently established when Sir Charles Bagot unhappily died in 1843 of dropsy, complicated by heart-disease; and Lord Metcalfe was brought from India to create-as it soon appeared-confusion and discord in the political affairs of the province. His ideas of responsible government were those which had been steadily inculcated by colonial secretaries since 1839, and were even entertained by Lord Sydenham himself, namely, that the governor should be as influential a factor as possible in the government, and should always remember that he was directly responsible to the crown, and should consider its prerogatives and interests as superior to all local considerations.

When Lord Metcalfe assumed the responsibilities of his post, he found in office a Liberal administration, led by Mr. Baldwin, the eminent Reform leader of Upper Canada, and Mr. Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine, afterwards chief justice of Lower Canada and a baronet, who had been at the outset, like all his countrymen, opposed to the union, as unjust to their province. What originally excited their antagonism were the conditions exacted by the legislature of Upper Canada: an equality of representation, though the French section had a population of two hundred thousand more than the western province, the exclusion of the French language from the legislature, and the imposition of the heavy debt of Upper Canada on the revenues of the united provinces. But unlike Mr. Papineau, with whom he had acted during the political struggles in Lower Canada, Mr. Lafontaine developed a high order of discreet statesmanship after the union, and recognised the possibility of making French Canada a force in government. He did not follow the example of Mr. John Neilson, who steadily opposed the union-but determined to work it out fairly and patiently on the principles of responsible government.

Lord Metcalfe, at the very outset, decided not to distribute the patronage of the crown under the advice of his responsible advisers, but to ignore them, as he declared, whenever he deemed it expedient. No responsible ministers could, with any regard to their own self-respect, or to the public interests, submit to a practice directly antagonistic to responsible government, then on its trial. Consequently, all the members of the Baldwin-Lafontaine government, with the exception of Mr. Daly, immediately resigned, when Lord Metcalfe followed so unconstitutional a course. Mr. Dominick Daly, afterwards knighted when governor of Prince Edward's Island-who had no party proclivities, and was always ready to support the crown in a crisis-became nominally head of a weak administration. The ministry was only completed after a most unconstitutional delay of several months, and was even then only composed of men whose chief merit was their friendliness to the governor, who dissolved the assembly and threw all the weight of the crown into the contest. The governor's party was returned with a very small majority, but it was a victory, like that of Sir Francis Bond Head in 1835, won at the sacrifice of the dignity of the crown, and at the risk of exciting once more public discontent to a dangerous degree. Lord Metcalfe's administration was strengthened when Mr. Draper resigned his legislative councillorship and took a seat in the assembly as leader. Lord Metcalfe's conduct received the approval of the imperial authorities, who elevated him to the peerage-so much evidence that they were not yet ready to concede responsible government in a complete sense. The result was a return to the days of old paternal government, when the parliamentary opposition was directed against the governor himself and the British government of which he was the organ. Lord Metcalfe had been a sufferer from cancer, and when it appeared again in its most aggravated form he returned to England, where he died a few months later (1846). The abuse that followed him almost to the grave was a discreditable exhibition of party rancour, but it indicated the condition to which the public mind had been brought by his unwise and unconstitutional conduct of public affairs-conduct for which his only apology must be the half-hearted, doubtful policy of the imperial authorities with regard to the province, and his own inability to understand the fundamental principles of responsible government.

Lord Metcalfe's successor was Lord Cathcart, who had served with distinction in the Peninsular War, and was appointed with a view to contingencies that might arise out of the dispute between England and the United States on the Oregon boundary question, to which I shall refer in another chapter. He pursued a judicious course at a time when politics were complicated by the fact that the industry and commerce of the country were seriously deranged by the adoption of free trade in England, and the consequent removal of duties which had given the preference in the British market to Canadian wheat, flour and other products. What aggravated the commercial situation was the fact that the navigation laws, being still in force, closed the St. Lawrence to foreign shipping and prevented the extension of trade to other markets so as to compensate Canadians for the loss of that with the parent state. Lord Cathcart was recalled within less than a year, when all prospect of war with the United States had disappeared, and was followed (1847) by a civil governor, the Earl of Elgin, who was chosen by the Whig ministry, in which Lord John Russell was prime minister, and Earl Grey the secretary of state for the colonies. It had dawned upon English statesmen that the time had come for giving the colonists of British North America a system of responsible government without such reserves as had so seriously shackled its beginnings. In all probability they thought that the free-trade policy of England had momentarily weakened the ties that had bound the colonies to the parent state, and that it was advisable to follow up the new commercial policy by removing causes of public discontent in the province.

Lord Elgin was happily chosen to inaugurate a new era of colonial self-government. Gifted with a judicial mind and no ordinary amount of political sagacity, able to originate as well as carry out a statesmanlike policy, animated, like Lord Durham-whose daughter he had married-by a sincere desire to give full scope to the aspirations of the people for self-government, so far as compatible with the supremacy of the crown, possessed of eloquence which at once charmed and convinced, Lord Elgin was able to establish on sure foundations the principles of responsible government, and eventually to leave Canada with the conviction that no subsequent representative of the crown could again impair its efficient operation, and convulse the public mind, as Lord Metcalfe had done. On his arrival he gave his confidence to the Draper ministry, who were still in office; but shortly afterwards its ablest member was elevated to the bench, and Mr. Sherwood became attorney-general and head of a government, chiefly interesting now for the fact that one of its members was Mr. John Alexander Macdonald, who, on becoming a member of the assembly in 1844, had commenced a public career which made him one of the most notable figures in the history of the colonial empire of England.

Parliament was dissolved, and the elections were held in January, 1848, when the government were defeated by a large majority and the second Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry was formed; a ministry conspicuous for the ability of its members, and the useful character of its legislation during the four years it remained in power. It is noteworthy here that Lord Elgin did not follow the example of his predecessors and select the ministers himself, but followed the strict constitutional usage of calling upon Mr. Lafontaine as a recognised leader of a party in parliament to form a government. It does not fall within the scope of this chapter to go into the merits of this great administration, whose coming into office may be considered the crowning of the principles adopted by Lord Elgin for the unreserved concession of responsible government, and never violated from that time forward by any governor of Canada.

We must now direct our attention to the maritime provinces, that we may complete this review of the progress of responsible government in British North America. In 1836 the revenues of New Brunswick had been placed at the disposal of the legislature, and administrative power entrusted to those who possessed the confidence of the assembly. The lieutenant-governor, Sir John Harvey, who had distinguished himself in the war of 1812-15, recognised in Lord John Russell's despatches "a new and improved constitution," and by an official memorandum informed the heads of departments that "thenceforward their offices would be held by the tenure of public confidence"; but after his departure (in 1841) an attempt was made by Sir William Colebrooke to imitate the example of Lord Metcalfe. He appointed to the provincial secretaryship a Mr. Reade, who had been only a few months in the province, and never represented a constituency or earned promotion in the public service. The members of the executive council were never consulted, and four of the most popular and influential councillors soon resigned. One of them, Mr. Lemuel A. Wilmot, the recognised leader of the Liberals, addressed a strong remonstrance to the lieutenant-governor, and vindicated those principles of colonial government "which require the administration to be conducted by heads of departments responsible to the legislature, and holding their offices contingently upon the approbation and confidence of the country, as expressed through the representatives of the people." The colonial secretary of state disapproved of the action of the lieutenant-governor, and constitutional government was strengthened in this province of the Loyalists. From that time there was a regularly organised administration and an opposition contending for office and popular favour.

In Nova Scotia a despatch from Lord Glenelg brought to a close in 1838 the agitation which had been going on for years for a separation of the executive from the legislative functions of the legislative council, and the formation of two distinct bodies in accordance with the existing English system. In this state paper-the first important step towards responsible government in the province-the secretary of state, Lord Glenelg, stated that it was her Majesty's pleasure that neither the chief justice nor any of his colleagues should sit in the council, that all the judges should entirely withdraw from all political discussions; that the assembly's claim to control and appropriate all the revenues arising in the province should be fully recognised by the government; that the two councils should be thereafter divided, and that the members of these bodies should be drawn from different parts of the province-Halifax previously having obtained all the appointments except one or two-and selected without reference to distinctions of religious opinions. Unfortunately for Nova Scotia there was at that time at the head of the executive a brave, obstinate old soldier, Sir Colin Campbell, who had petrified ideas on the subject of colonial administration, and showed no disposition to carry out the obvious desire of the imperial authorities to give a more popular form to the government of the province. One of his first official acts was to give to the Anglican Church a numerical superiority to which it had no valid claim. As in Upper Canada, at that time, there was a combination or compact, composed of descendants of English Tories or of the Loyalists of 1783, who belonged to the Anglican Church, and were opposed to popular government. Two men were now becoming most prominent in politics. One of these was Mr. James William Johnston, the son of a Georgia Loyalist, an able lawyer, gifted with a persuasive tongue which chimed most harmoniously with the views of Sir Colin. On the other side was Mr. Joseph Howe, the son of a Loyalist printer of Boston, who had no such aristocratic connections as Mr. Johnston, and soon became the dominant influence in the Reform party, which had within its ranks such able and eloquent men as S.G.W. Archibald, Herbert Huntington, Lawrence O'Connor Doyle, William and George R. Young, and, very soon, James Boyle Uniacke. Sir Colin Campbell completely ignored the despatches of Lord John Russell, which were recognised by Sir John Harvey as conferring "an improved constitution" upon the colonies. In February, 1840, Mr. Howe moved a series of resolutions, in which it was emphatically stated that "no satisfactory settlement of questions before the country could be obtained until the executive council was remodelled," and that, as then constituted, "it did not enjoy the confidence of the country." The motion was carried by a majority of eighteen votes, in a house of forty-two members, and indeed, so untenable was the position of the executive council that Mr. James Boyle Uniacke, a member of the government, retired, rather than vote, and subsequently placed his resignation in the hands of the lieutenant-governor, on the ground that it was his duty to yield to the opinions of the representative house, and facilitate the introduction of a better system of government, in accordance with the well-understood wishes of the people. From that time Mr. Uniacke became one of Mr. Howe's ablest allies in the struggle for self-government. Sir Colin, however, would not recede from the attitude he had assumed, but expressed the opinion, in his reply to the address of the legislature, that he could not recognise in the despatch of the colonial secretary of state "any instruction for a fundamental change in the colonial constitution." The assembly then prayed her Majesty, in a powerful and temperate address, to recall Sir Colin Campbell. Though Lord John Russell did not present the address to the Queen, the imperial government soon afterwards appointed Lord Falkland to succeed Sir Colin Campbell, whose honesty of purpose had won the respect of all parties.

Lord Falkland was a Whig, a lord of the bedchamber, and married to one of the Fitzclarences-a daughter of William IV and Mrs. Jordan. He arrived at Halifax in September, 1840, and his first political act was in the direction of conciliating the Liberals, who were in the majority in the assembly. He dismissed-to the disgust of the official party-four members of the executive who had no seats in either branch of the legislature, and induced Mr. Howe and Mr. James MacNab to enter the government, on the understanding that other Liberals would be brought in according as vacancies occurred, and that the members of the council should hold their seats only upon the tenure of public confidence. A dissolution took place, the coalition government was sustained, and the Liberals came into the assembly with a majority. Mr. Howe was elected speaker of the assembly, though an executive councillor-without salary; but he and others began to recognise the impropriety of one man occupying such positions, and in a later session a resolution was passed against the continuance of what was really an un-British and unconstitutional practice. It was also an illustration of the ignorance that prevailed as to the principles that should guide the words and acts of a cabinet, that members of the executive, who had seats in the legislative council, notably Mr. Stewart, stated openly, in contradiction of the assertions of Mr. Howe and his Liberal colleagues, that "no change had been made in the constitution of the country, and that responsible government in a colony was responsible nonsense, and meant independence." It was at last found necessary to give some sort of explanation of such extraordinary opinions, to avert a political crisis in the assembly. Then, to add to the political embarrassment, there was brought before the people the question of abandoning the practice of endowing denominational colleges, and of establishing in their place one large non-sectarian University. At this time the legislature voted annual grants to five sectarian educational institutions of a high class. The most important were King's College, belonging to the Anglican Church, and Acadia College, supported by the Baptists. The Anglican Church was still influential in the councils of the province, and the Baptists had now the support of Mr. Johnston, the able attorney-general, who had seceded from the Church of England. This able lawyer and politician had won the favour of the aristocratic governor, and persuaded him to dissolve the assembly, during the absence of Mr. Howe in the country, though it had continuously supported the government, and the people had given no signs of a want of confidence in the house as then constituted. The fact was, Mr. Johnston and his friends in the council thought it necessary to lose no time in arousing the feelings of the supporters of denominational colleges against Mr. Howe and other Liberals, who had commenced to hold meetings throughout the country in favour of a non-sectarian University. The two parties came back from the electors almost evenly divided, and Mr. Howe had an interview with Lord Falkland. He consented to remain in the cabinet until the assembly had an opportunity of expressing its opinion on the question at issue, when the governor himself precipitated a crisis by appointing to the executive and legislative councils Mr. M.B. Almon, a wealthy banker, and a brother-in-law of the attorney-general. Mr. Howe and Mr. MacNab at once resigned their seats in the government on the ground that Mr. Almon's appointment was a violation of the compact by which two Liberals had been induced to join the ministry, and was most unjust to the forty or fifty gentlemen who, in both branches, had sustained the administration for several years. Instead of authorising Mr. Johnston to fill the two vacancies and justify the course taken by the governor, the latter actually published a letter in a newspaper, in which he boldly stated that he was entirely opposed to the formation of a government composed of individuals of one political party, that he would steadily resist any invasion of the royal prerogatives with respect to appointments, and that he had chosen Mr. Almon, not simply on the ground that he had not been previously engaged in political life to any extent, but chiefly because he wished to show his own confidence in Mr. Johnston, Mr. Almon's brother-in-law. Lord Falkland had obviously thrown himself into the arms of the astute attorney-general and his political friends.

It was now a political war à outrance between Lord Falkland and Mr. Howe, from 1842 until the governor left the province in 1846. Lord Falkland made strenuous efforts to detach Mr. MacNab, Mr. Uniacke and other Liberals from Mr. Howe, and induce them to enter the government, but all to no purpose. He now gave up writing letters to the press, and attacked his opponents in official communications addressed to the colonial office, which supported him, as it did Lord Metcalfe, under analogous circumstances. These despatches were laid without delay on the tables of the houses, to be used far and wide against the recalcitrant Liberals. Mr. Howe had again renewed his connection with the press, which he had left on becoming speaker and councillor, and had become editor of the Nova Scotian, and the Morning Chronicle, of which Mr. Annand was the proprietor. In these influential organs of the Liberal party-papers still in existence-Mr. Howe attacked Lord Falkland, both in bitter prose and sarcastic verse. All this while the governor and his council contrived to control the assembly, sometimes by two or three votes, sometimes by a prorogation when it was necessary to dispose summarily of a troublesome question. Public opinion began to set in steadily against the government. The controversy between Lord

Falkland and Mr. Howe reached its climax on the 21st February, 1846, when a despatch was brought down to the house, referring to the speaker, Mr. William Young, and his brother, George R. Young, as the associates of "reckless" and "insolvent" men-the reference being to Mr. Howe and his immediate political friends. When the despatch had been read, Mr. Howe became greatly excited, and declared amid much disorder that if "the infamous system" of libelling respectable colonists in despatches sent to the colonial office was continued, "without their having any means of redress … some colonist would by-and-by, or he was much mistaken, hire a black fellow to horsewhip a lieutenant-governor."

It was time that this unhappy conflict should end. The imperial authorities wisely transferred Lord Falkland to Bombay, where he could do no harm, and appointed Sir John Harvey to the government of Nova Scotia. Like Lord Elgin in Canada, he was discreetly chosen by the Reform ministry, as the sequel showed. He was at first in favour of a coalition government like his predecessors, but he wisely dissolved the assembly when he found that the leading Liberals positively refused to go into an alliance with the members of the executive council, or any other set of men, until the people had decided between parties at the polls. The result was a victory for the Liberals, and as soon as the assembly met a direct motion of want of confidence was carried against the government, and for the first time in the history of the country the governor called to his council men exclusively belonging to the opposition in the popular branch. Mr. Howe was not called upon to form a cabinet-his quarrel with Lord Falkland had to be resented somehow-but the governor's choice was Mr. James Boyle Uniacke, who gave a prominent position in the new government to the great Liberal, to whom responsible government owed its final success in this maritime province.

Responsible government was not introduced into Prince Edward Island until 1851, when an address on the prosperous state of the island was presented to the imperial authorities, who at once consented to concede responsible government on the condition that adequate provision was made for certain public officers affected by the new order of things. The leader of the new government was the Honourable George Coles.

In the history of the past there is much to deplore, the blunders of English ministers, the want of judgment on the part of governors, the selfishness of "family compacts," the arrogance of office-holders, the recklessness of Canadian politicians. But the very trials of the crisis through which Canada passed brought out the fact, that if English statesmen had mistaken the spirit of the Canadian people, and had not always taken the best methods of removing grievances, it was not from any studied disposition to do these countries an injustice, but rather because they were unable to see until the very last moment that, even in a colony, a representative system must be worked in accordance with those principles that obtained in England, and that it was impossible to direct the internal affairs of dependencies many thousand miles distant through a colonial office, generally managed by a few clerks.

Of all the conspicuous figures of these memorable times, which already seem so far away from Canadians of the present day, who possess so many political rights, there are several who stand out more prominently than all others, and represent the distinct types of politicians, who influenced the public mind during the first half of the nineteenth century, when responsible government was in slow process of evolution from the political struggles which arose in the operation of representative institutions. Around the figure of Louis Joseph Papineau there has always been a sort of glamour which has helped to conceal his vanity, his rashness and his want of political sagacity, which would, under any circumstances, have prevented his success as a safe statesman, capable of guiding a people through a trying ordeal. His eloquence was fervid and had much influence over his impulsive countrymen, his sincerity was undoubted, and in all likelihood his very indiscretions made more palpable the defects of the political system against which he so persistently and so often justly declaimed. He lived to see his countrymen enjoy power and influence under the very union which they resented, and to find himself no longer a leader among men, but isolated from a great majority of his own people, and representing a past whose methods were antagonistic to the new régime that had grown up since 1838. It would have been well for his reputation had he remained in obscurity on his return from exile in 1847, when he and other rebels of 1837 were wisely pardoned, and had he never stood again on the floor of the parliament of Canada, as he did from 1848 until 1854, since he could only prove, in those later times, that he had never understood the true working of responsible government. While the Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry were in power, he revived an agitation for an elective legislative council and declared himself utterly hostile to responsible government; but his influence was at an end in the country, and he could make little impression on the assembly. The days of reckless agitation had passed, and the time for astute and calm statesmanship had come. Lafontaine and Morin were now safer political guides for his countrymen. He soon disappeared entirely from public view, and in the solitude of his picturesque chateau, amid the groves that overhang the Ottawa River, only visited from time to time by a few staunch friends, or by curious tourists who found their way to that quiet spot, he passed the remainder of his days with a tranquillity in wondrous contrast to the stormy and eventful drama of his life. The writer often saw his noble, dignified figure-erect even in age-passing unnoticed on the streets of Ottawa, when perhaps at the same time there were strangers, walking through the lobbies of the parliament house, asking for his portrait.

William Lyon Mackenzie is a far less picturesque figure in Canadian history than Papineau, who possessed an eloquence of tongue and a grace of demeanour which were not the attributes of the little peppery, undignified Scotchman who, for a few years, played so important a part in the English-speaking province. With his disinterestedness and unselfishness, with his hatred of political injustice and oppression, Canadians who remember the history of the constitutional struggles of England will always sympathise. Revolt against absolutism and tyranny is permissible in the opinion of men who love political freedom, but the conditions of Upper Canada were hardly such as justified the rash insurrection into which he led his deluded followers, many to misery and some to death. Mackenzie lived long enough to regret these sad mistakes of a reckless period of his life, and to admit that "the success of the rebellion would have deeply injured the people of Canada," whom he believed he was then serving, and that it was the interest of the Canadian people to strengthen in every way the connection with England. Like Papineau, he returned to Canada in 1849 to find himself entirely unequal to the new conditions of political life, where a large constitutional knowledge, a spirit of moderation and a statesmanlike conduct could alone give a man influence in the councils of his country. One historian has attempted to elevate Dr. Rolph at his expense, but a careful study of the career of those two actors will lead fair-minded readers to the conclusion that even the reckless course followed at the last by Mackenzie was preferable to the double-dealing of his more astute colleague. Dr. Rolph came again into prominence as one of the founders of the Clear Grits, who formed in 1849 an extreme branch of the Reform party. Dr. Rolph's qualities ensured him success in political intrigue, and he soon became a member of the Hincks-Morin government, which was formed on the reconstruction of the Lafontaine-Baldwin ministry in 1851, when its two moderate leaders were practically pushed aside by men more in harmony with the aggressive elements of the Reform party. But Mr. Mackenzie could never win such triumphs as were won by his wily and more manageable associate of old times. He published a newspaper-The Weekly Message-replete with the eccentricities of the editor, but it was never a financial success, while his career in the assembly from 1851 until 1858 only proved him almost a nullity in public affairs. Until his death in 1861 his life was a constant fight with poverty, although his closing years were somewhat soothed by the gift of a homestead. He might have received some public position which would have given him comfort and rest, but he would not surrender what he called his political freedom to the men in office, who, he believed, wished to purchase his silence-the veriest delusion, as his influence had practically disappeared with his flight to the United States.

Joseph Howe, unlike the majority of his compeers who struggled for popular rights, was a prominent figure in public life until the very close of his career in 1873. All his days, even when his spirit was sorely tried by the obstinacy and indifference of some English ministers, he loved England, for he knew-like the Loyalists, from one of whom he sprung-it was in her institutions, after all, his country could best find prosperity and happiness. It is an interesting fact that, among the many able essays and addresses which the question of imperial federation has drawn forth, none can equal his great speech on the consolidation of the empire in eloquence, breadth, and fervour. Of all the able men Nova Scotia has produced no one has surpassed that great tribune of the people in his power to persuade and delight the masses by his oratory. Yet, strange to say, his native province has never raised a monument to his memory.

One of the most admirable figures in the political history of the Dominion was undoubtedly Robert Baldwin. Compared with other popular leaders of his generation, he was calm in council, unselfish in motive, and moderate in opinion. If there is any significance in the political phrase "Liberal-Conservative," it could be applied with justice to him. The "great ministry," of which he and Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine-afterwards a baronet and chief justice-were the leaders, left behind it many monuments of broad statesmanship, and made a deep impression on the institutions of the country. In 1851 he resigned from the Reform ministry, of which he had been the Upper Canadian leader, in consequence of a vote of the Reformers of that province adverse to the continuance of the court of chancery, the constitution of which had been improved chiefly by himself. When he presented himself as a candidate before his old constituency he was defeated by a nominee of the Clear Grits, who were then, as always, pressing their opinions with great vehemence and hostility to all moderate men. He illustrated the fickle character of popular favour, when a man will not surrender his principles and descend to the arts of the politician. He lived until 1858 in retirement, almost forgotten by the people for whom he had worked so fearlessly and sincerely.

In New Brunswick the triumph of responsible government must always be associated with the name of Lemuel A. Wilmot, the descendant of a famous United Empire Loyalist stock, afterwards a judge and a lieutenant-governor of his native province. He was in some respects the most notable figure, after Joseph Howe and J.W. Johnston, the leaders of the Liberal and Conservative parties in Nova Scotia, in that famous body of public men who so long brightened the political life of the maritime provinces. But neither those two leaders nor their distinguished compeers, James Boyle Uniacke, William Young, John Hamilton Gray and Charles Fisher, all names familiar to students of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick history, surpassed Mr. Wilmot in that magnetic eloquence which carries an audience off its feet, in versatility of knowledge, in humorous sarcasm, and in conversational gifts, which made him a most interesting personality in social life. He impressed his strong individuality upon his countrymen until the latest hour of his useful career.

In Prince Edward Island, the name most intimately connected with the struggle for responsible government is that of George Coles, who, despite the absence of educational and social advantages in his youth, eventually triumphed over all obstacles, and occupied a most prominent position by dint of unconquerable courage and ability to influence the opinions of the great mass of people.

SECTION 2.-Results of self-government from 1841 to 1864.

The new colonial policy, adopted by the imperial government immediately after the presentation of Lord Durham's report, had a remarkable effect upon the political and social development of the British North American provinces during the quarter of a century that elapsed between the union of the Canadas in 1841 and the federal union of 1867. In 1841 Mr. Harrison, provincial secretary of the upper province in the coalition government formed by Lord Sydenham, brought in a measure which laid the foundations of the elaborate system of municipal institutions which the Canadian provinces now enjoy. In 1843 Attorney-General Lafontaine presented a bill "for better serving the independence of the legislative assembly of this province," which became law in 1844 and formed the basis of all subsequent legislation in Canada.

The question of the clergy reserves continued for some years after the union to perplex politicians and harass governments. At last in 1854 the Hincks government was defeated by a combination of factions, and the Liberal-Conservative party was formed out of the union of the Conservatives and the moderate Reformers. Sir Allan MacNab was the leader of this coalition government, but the most influential member was Mr. John A. Macdonald, then attorney-general of Upper Canada, whose first important act was the settlement of the clergy reserves. Reform ministers had for years evaded the question, and it was now left to a government, largely composed of men who had been Tories in the early part of their political career, to yield to the force of public opinion and take it out of the arena of political agitation by means of legislation which handed over this property to the municipal corporations of the province for secular purposes, and at the same time made a small endowment for the protection of the clergy who had legal claims on the fund. The same government had also the honour of removing the old French seigniorial system, recognised to be incompatible with the modern condition of a country of free government, and injurious to the agricultural development of the province at large. The question was practically settled in 1854, when Mr. Drummond, then attorney-general for Lower Canada, brought in a bill providing for the appointment of a commission to ascertain the amount of compensation that could be fairly asked by the seigniors for the cession of their seigniorial rights. The seigniors, from first to last, received about a million of dollars, and it also became necessary to revise those old French laws which affected the land tenure of Lower Canada. Accordingly in 1856 Mr. George Cartier, attorney-general for Lower Canada in the Taché-Macdonald ministry, introduced the legislation necessary for the codification of the civil law. In 1857 Mr. Spence, post-master-general in the same ministry, brought in a measure to organise the civil service, on whose character and ability so much depends in the working of parliamentary institutions. From that day to this the Canadian government has practically recognised the British principle of retaining public officers without reference to a change of political administration.

Soon after the union the legislating obtained full control of the civil list and the post-office. The last tariff framed by the imperial parliament for British North America was mentioned in the speech at the opening of the Canadian legislature in 1842. In 1846 the British colonies in America were authorised by an imperial statute to reduce or repeal by their own legislation duties imposed by imperial acts upon foreign goods imported from foreign countries into the colonies in question. Canada soon availed herself of this privilege, which was granted to her as the logical sequence of the free-trade policy of Great Britain, and, from that time to the present, she has been enabled to legislate very freely with regard to her own commercial interests. In 1849 the imperial parliament repealed the navigation laws, and allowed the river St. Lawrence to be used by vessels of all nations. With the repeal of laws, the continuance of which had seriously crippled Canadian trade after the adoption of free trade by England, the provinces gradually entered on a new career of industrial enterprise.

No part of the constitution of 1840 gave greater offence to the French Canadian population than the clause restricting the use of the French language in the legislature. It was considered as a part of the policy, foreshadowed in Lord Durham's report, to denationalise, if possible, the French Canadian province. The repeal of the clause, in 1848, was one evidence of the harmonious operation of the union, and of a better feeling between the two sections of the population. Still later, provision was made for the gradual establishment of an elective legislative council, so long and earnestly demanded by the old legislature of Lower Canada.

The members of the Lafontaine-Baldwin government became the legislative executors of a troublesome legacy left to them by a Conservative ministry. In 1839 acts had been passed by the special council of Lower Canada and the legislature of Upper Canada to compensate the loyal inhabitants of those provinces for the loss they had sustained during the rebellions. In the first session of the union parliament the Upper Canadian act was amended, and money voted to reimburse all persons in Upper Canada whose property had been unnecessarily, or wantonly, destroyed by persons acting, or pretending to act, on behalf of the crown. An agitation then commenced for the application of the same principle to Lower Canada, and in 1845 commissioners were appointed by the Draper administration to inquire into the nature and value of the losses suffered by her Majesty's loyal subjects in Lower Canada. When their report was presented in favour of certain claims the Draper ministry brought in some legislation on the subject, but went out of office before any action could be taken thereon. The Lafontaine-Baldwin government then determined to set the question at rest, and introduced legislation for the issue of debentures to the amount of $400,000 for the payment of losses sustained by persons who had not been convicted of, or charged with, high treason or other offences of a treasonable nature, or had been committed to the custody of the sheriff in the gaol of Montreal and subsequently transported to the island of Bermuda. Although the principle of this measure was fully justified by the action of the Tory Draper government, extreme Loyalists and even some Reformers of Upper Canada declaimed against it in the most violent terms, and a few persons even declared that they would prefer annexation to the United States to the payment of the rebels. The bill, however, passed the legislature by a large majority, and received the crown's assent through Lord Elgin on the 25th April, 1849. A large crowd immediately assembled around the parliament house-formerly the St. Anne Market House-and insulted the governor-general by opprobrious epithets, and by throwing missiles at him as he drove away to Monklands, his residence in the country. The government and members of the legislature appear to have been unconscious of the danger to which they were exposed until a great crowd rushed into the building, which was immediately destroyed by fire with its fine collection of books and archives. A few days later, when the assembly, then temporarily housed in the hall of Bonsecours Market, attempted to present an address to Lord Elgin, he was in imminent danger of his life while on his way to the government house-then the old Chateau de Ramesay in N?tre-Dame Street-and the consequences might have been most serious had he not evaded the mob on his return to Monklands. This disgraceful affair was a remarkable illustration not simply of the violence of faction, but largely of the discontent then so prevalent in Montreal and other industrial centres, on account of the commercial policy of Great Britain, which seriously crippled colonial trade and was the main cause of the creation of a small party which actually advocated for a short time annexation to the United States as preferable to the existing state of things. The result was the removal of the seat of government from Montreal, and the establishment of a nomadic system of government by which the legislature met alternately at Toronto and Quebec every five years until Ottawa was chosen by the Queen as a permanent political capital. Lord Elgin felt his position keenly, and offered his resignation to the imperial government, but they refused to entertain it, and his course as a constitutional governor under such trying circumstances was approved by parliament.

The material condition of the provinces-especially of Upper Canada, which now became the first in population and wealth-kept pace with the rapid progress of the people in self-government. The population of the five provinces had increased from about 1,500,000, in 1841, to about 3,200,000 when the census was taken in 1861 The greatest increase had been in the province of Upper Canada, chiefly in consequence of the large immigration which flowed into the country from Ireland, where the potato rot had caused wide-spread destitution and misery. The population of this province had now reached 1,396,091, or nearly 300,000 more than the population of Lower Canada-an increase which, as I shall show in the next chapter, had important effects on the political conditions of the two provinces. The eastern or maritime provinces received but a small part of the yearly immigration from Europe, and even that was balanced by an exodus to the United States. Montreal had a population of 100,000, or double that of Quebec, and was now recognised as the commercial capital of British North America. Toronto had reached 60,000, and was making more steady progress in population and wealth than any other city, except Montreal. Towns and villages were springing up with great rapidity in the midst of the enterprising farming population of the western province. In Lower Canada the townships showed the energy of a British people, but the habitants pursued the even tenor of ways which did not include enterprise and improved methods of agriculture.

The value of the total exports and imports of the provinces reached $150,000,000 by 1864, or an increase of $100,000,000 in a quarter of a century. The great bulk of the import trade was with Great Britain and the United States, but the value of the exports to the United States was largely in excess of the goods purchased by Great Britain-especially after 1854, when Lord Elgin arranged a reciprocity treaty with the United States. Lord Elgin represented Great Britain in the negotiations at Washington, and the Congress of the United States and the several legislatures of the Canadian provinces passed the legislation necessary to give effect to the treaty. Its most important provisions established free trade between British North America and the United States in products of the forest, mine, and sea, conceded the navigation of the St. Lawrence to the Americans, and the use of the canals of Canada on the same terms as were imposed upon British subjects, gave Canadians the right to navigate Lake Michigan, and allowed the fishermen of the United States to fish on the sea-coasts of the British provinces without regard to distance from the shore, in return for a similar but relatively worthless privilege on the eastern shores of the republic, north of the 30th parallel of north latitude. During the thirteen years the treaty lasted the trade between the two countries rose from over thirty-three million dollars in 1854 to over eighty million dollars in 1866, when it was repealed by the action of the United States government itself, for reasons which I shall explain in a later chapter.

The navigation of the St. Lawrence was now made continuous and secure by the enlargement of the Welland and Lachine canals, and the construction of the Cornwall, Williamsburgh, and Beauharnois canals. Railways received their great stimulus during the government of Sir Francis Hincks, who largely increased the debt of Canada by guaranteeing in 1852 the bonds of the Grand Trunk Railway-a noble, national work, now extending from Quebec to Lake Michigan, with branches in every direction, but whose early history was marred by jobbery and mismanagement, which not only ruined or crippled many of the original shareholders, but cost Canada eventually twenty-three million dollars. In 1864 there were two thousand miles of railway working in British North America, of which the Grand Trunk Railway owned at least one-half. The railways in the maritime provinces were very insignificant, and all attempts to obtain the co-operation of the imperial and Canadian governments for the construction of an Intercolonial Railway through British American territory failed, despite the energetic efforts of Mr. Howe to bring it about.

After the union of the Canadas in 1841, a steady movement for the improvement of the elementary, public, or common schools continued for years, and the services of the Reverend Egerton Ryerson were engaged as chief superintendent of education with signal advantage to the country. In 1850, when the Lafontaine-Baldwin government was in office, the results of the superintendent's studies of the systems of other countries were embodied in a bill based on the principle of local assessment, aided by legislative grants, for the carrying on of the public schools. This measure is the basis of the present admirable school system of Upper Canada, and to a large extent of that of the other English-speaking provinces. In Lower Canada the history of public schools must be always associated with the names of Dr. Meilleur and the Honourable Mr. Chauveau; but the system has never been as effective as in the upper province. In both provinces, separate or dissentient schools were eventually established for the benefit of the Roman Catholics in Upper or Protestant Canada, and of the Protestants in Lower or Catholic Canada. In the maritime provinces satisfactory progress was also made in the development of a sound school system. In Nova Scotia Dr. Tupper, when provincial secretary (1863-1867), laid the foundations of the excellent schools that the province now enjoys.

During this period the newspaper press increased remarkably in influence and circulation. The most important newspaper in the Dominion, the Globe, was established at Toronto in 1844 by Mr. George Brown, a Scotchman by birth, who became a power from that time among the Liberal politicians of Canada. No notable books were produced in the English-speaking provinces except "Acadian Geology," a work by Dr. Dawson, who became in 1855 principal of McGill University, and was, in later years, knighted by the Queen; but the polished verses of Crémazie and the lucid histories of Canada by Ferland and Garneau already showed that French Canada had both a history and a literature.

Towards the close of this memorable period of Canadian development, the Prince of Wales, heir-apparent to the throne, visited the British American provinces, where the people gave full expression to their loyal feelings. This was the third occasion on which these communities had been favoured by the presence of members of the royal family. Prince William Henry, afterward William IV, visited Nova Scotia during the years 1786-1788, in command of a frigate. From 1791 until 1797 Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, father of the present sovereign, was in command of the imperial forces, first at Quebec, and later at Halifax. The year 1860 was an opportune time for a royal visit to provinces where the people were in the full enjoyment of the results of the liberal system of self-government extended to them at the commencement of the Queen's reign by the mother-country.

A quarter of a century had passed after the union of the Canadas when the necessities of the provinces of British North America forced them to a momentous constitutional change, which gave a greater scope to the statesmanship of their public men, and opened up a wider sphere of effort to capital and enterprise. In the following chapter I shall show the nature of the conditions which brought about this union.

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