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beautiful and admirable in the constancy and devotion of the United Empire loyalists, yet their political principles savor of narrowness and tyranny. The governors Bernard and Hutchinson, and men of their stamp, who were strong factors in bringing on the American Revolution, made no secret of their belief that the interests of the governing class were superior to those of the people. To certain persons fitted for the trust is committed the duty of ruling those who have no such faculty. The Roman patrician believed himself a heaven-born ruler, and trampled on the plebs; the Jewish Pharisee, filled with the spirit of his order, asked with surprise in regard to the new teacher, “Have any of the rulers believed on him?" English cavaliers thought it their right to domineer over the sharp-bearded Puritans; Scottish Jacobites, holding themselves as the party constituted by divine right, even when overcome would not for generations surrender the lost cause; so the loyalists, coming with principles which had proved themselves untenable in the United States, sought to plant them in their newly formed colonies. They succeeded well in New. Brunswick; in Upper Canada, where the elements of population were more mixed, they struggled with desperation, and for many years maintained a disturbed sway. The military immigration from Britain fell in well with the loyalists. The soldier is ever the advocate of a privileged class. As the ruler exacts submission because he is born to command, so the soldier demands special recognition because it is his business to defend the state. In Upper Canada the first governor, Simcoe, had his period of rule shortened because he was not subservient to the behests of the domineering land-grasping class. His successor gave full opportunity for building up, at the expense of the province, a band of landed favorites. In the last year of the last century arrived in Canada, as governor, General Peter Hunter. In his time of six years the loyalist feeling strengthened greatly. As already noted, in 1804 there was passed an act which showed at the same time the fears of the loyalists that they would be outnumbered, and made clear the unflinching character of their leaders and the extreme measures they were ready to adopt. The “Sedition Act” gave power to arrest any person who had been less than six months in the province, and who had seditious intent to disturb the tranquillity of the country. A civilian governor, Francis Gore, in 1806 came to rule the disturbed province. He was a good-tempered but inactive man, and became a tool in the hands of the loyalist leaders. The oligarchy was not, however, to have all its own way. A high-minded and popular judge, who was disposed to sympathize with the people, and who was, contrary to the will of the ruling powers, elected to the legislative council, was severely taken to task by the government Gazette. It was to defend the right that the journal already mentioned, the Guardian, was begun. Its editor, a fiery Irishman, Joseph Willcocks, soon felt the power of the oligarchy by being cast into prison for libel ; while Judge Thorpe, the real object of the rulers' dislike, was taken from the evil by being recalled to England by the Colonial office. Even to express a favorable opinion of the party of liberty was a fault; as
an Englishman of property and position, who ventured to raise his voice in favor of justice, soon learned. Writing a pamphlet, not by any means of an outrageous character, brought down upon this offender's head an address of the legislature to the lieutenant-governor, which expressed “abhorrence and detestation of an infamous and seditious libel signed • John Mills Jackson.'” The temper thus displayed, while not able to injure the Englishman in his sea-girt isle, was a clear exhibition of the system of tyranny in vogue.
The war of 1812 hushed the noise of political strife, but, as has been said, produced political consequences of much importance. The loyalists and their military associates became the leaders in the defence of the country, and thus gained great influence. Accustomed to cooperate in war, their leaders from Kingston, Glengarry, Bay of Quinté, York, and the Niagara frontier were more firmly banded together after the war in their deter
mined scheme to rule the province. To raise a finger against those who had saved the country to Britain was construed into a breach of loyalty to be instantly repressed. This coöperation was much assisted by the strong, formative mind of a shrewd ecclesiastic. Among the leaders of public opinion during the war of 1812–15, at the capital of the province, was the active rector of York, — a Scotchman, John Strachan, — not yet forty years of age, but zealous and intense. Amid the disasters and sufferings of the war he had established a be
nevolent organization, called the “Loyal SIR JOHN BEVERLY ROBINSON.*
and Patriotic Society”; it was at the
earnest entreaties of the rector that the sparing of York from flames was granted by the Americans. This man was destined to become the dictator of Upper Canada. In the last year of the war so valuable was his aid that he was made a member of the executive council, and five years afterward he became a member of the legislative council. He was a thorough conservative in church and state ; he was ardent and sympathetic; was determined and subtle; had the faculty
of laying hold of promising young men and pushing them forward to be · useful to his party. Chief Justice Powell was a leader of the party; and in the year 1821 there was brought forward a young lawyer of promise, of
* [After a photograph in Fannings Taylor's British Americans (Montreal, 1868). Robinson was a descendant of Christopher Robinson, who came to Virginia as secretary to Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia. Sir John was the son of Christopher Robinson, who graduated at the College of William and Mary, and during the American Revolutionary War joined Simcoe's Rangers, and at the peace, settled with other loyalists in New Brunswick, whence in 1788 he removed to Canada, where Sir John was born, July 26, 1791, in the very year in which a Parliamentary act divided Canada into the Upper and Lower provinces, in the former of which he was destined to reach its highest judicial station as its Chief Justice (1829). He served under Brock at Detroit and Queenstown in the war of 1812. He died Jan. 31, 1863. – ED.]
true U. E. loyalist stock, — John Beverly, afterwards chief justice, Robinson. These and others of like opinions and of much influence formed themselves into a cabal, probably apprehensive of the changes in political opinion or in religion that seemed to be threatening. This was rendered all the easier by the return as governor for three years, after the war, of the willing servant of the oligarchy – Francis Gore. The thorough conviction and earnestness of the loyalists gave their party its force, and while this does not carry our sympathy it wins our respect. By the year 1820 the dominant party was definitely formed, and for many years was known as the “ Family Compact.” In 1817 there had come to Canada a Scottish gentleman, of erratic disposition and changing fortune, — Robert Gourlay. He established himself as a land agent, and in the pursuit of his business circulated a list of queries throughout Upper Canada, which were regarded as an attack on the ruling powers. Gourlay became the object of the hatred of the junto. At Kingston, and again at Brockville, the agitator was arrested and tried, but acquitted; with singular animosity he was followed, and again arrested and tried, at Niagara, under the Sedition Act of 1804. The offender was certainly not within the range of that law, but a loyalist judge and jury found him guilty, and in the end the unfortunate man, worn out with persecution, was driven from the province. The executive council was supreme; it was not subject to either legislative council or assembly. Patronage was dispensed with lavish hands on the favorites of the rulers. The condemnation of Gourlay was an act of unpardonable tyranny, and sent a thrill of disgust through the hearts of the people. His cause they knew to be theirs; and so in 1824 there was elected a house of assembly hostile to the dominant cabal. This people's assembly was only laughed at by the oligarchy.
In the mean time the pliable governor had been replaced by Sir Peregrine Maitland, a man of high English connection and strong oligarchic tendencies. The people's assembly contained, as friends of freedom and enemies of the government, the polished American Bidwell, the people's tribune, Perry, and the astute Englishman, Dr. John Rolph. These did yeoman service for the popular cause. In the same year was begun the Colonial Advocate, a popular newspaper, conducted by one of the men who most largely influenced his time, and of whom we must know more — William Lyon Mackenzie. This newspaper became a chief instrument in exposing grievances and helping the popular ferment. It became in consequence the main object of loyalist hatred, so that in two years it brought upon itself the wrath of the younger members of the loyalist party, who entered the office, tore the paper to shreds, and threw the type into Toronto Bay. The editor, Mackenzie, hitherto as poor as he was ardent and abusive, succeeded in recovering heavy damages, which gave new life to his newspaper enterprise. In two years more the persecuted editor was elected a member of the assembly. At the same time when Mackenzie was elected to the house, a gentleman of pure life and singularly attractive
qualities, named Robert Baldwin, was chosen to represent the popular cause by the town of York, the very centre of the government party. The struggle continued with unabated fury. The dominant party was greatly assisted by a headstrong British officer, Sir John Colborne, sent at this time to replace Governor Maitland. Various cases of oppression were collected by the agitators, and the most made of them. A British officer who had espoused the popular cause was charged with disloyalty for having, in a time of hilarity, called on a band of strolling players for a selection of American airs; a judge who refused to become a member of the ruling faction was removed from his position; an innkeeper of Niagara had his buildings torn down by the hands of the military under the direction of the cabal ; while a fierce libel case against a vituperative Irish radical editor raised popular feeling to the highest pitch.
The struggle had settled down to a life-and-death contest between executive council and legislative assembly. Fuel to the flame was supplied by a religious question, which in even the shortest sketch of Canadian history must have a chief place. This is what is known as the Clergy Reserve controversy. It was the thirty years' religious war of Upper Canada. The union of church and state was a prominent tenet of the loyalists. It was no wonder that the “Constitutional Act of 1791,” obtained by the loyalist leaders from a sympathetic parliament, and in the face of the strong French and Roman Catholic element of the province of Quebec, should contain a provision allotting one seventh of all the crown lands for “the support and maintenance of a Protestant clergy.” It seemed to anxious souls the only safeguard when political power was being entrusted to the aliens of Lower Canada. The unorganized state of the country and the trifling value of the wild lands of the province led to this potent germ of dissension lying inactive for wellnigh thirty years, though shortly after 1791 two and a half millions of acres of the public domain in Upper Canada and about one million in Lower Canada were set apart for this purpose. Murmurs of discontent had been heard in Lower Canada ; the radical Gourlay had called attention to the matter in Upper Canada ; a member of the legislature had moved to have a portion of the lands sold, but Governor Gore shelved the question by a sudden prorogation ; the case of a Scottish Presbyterian congregation in Niagara, which had lost its church during the late war, had raised a temporary building, and then proffered a request to the government for £100 from the clergy reserve fund, however brought up the question which was to be a bone of contention, and to ruin government after government. Lord Bathurst, the British colonial secretary, gave it as the opinion of the law officers that the expression “Protestant clergy” might apply to the ministers of the national Church of Scotland as well as to that of England, but not to dissenters, inasmuch as the last were not recognized by law. What the original intention of the act was has been much debated. It was even a matter of perplexity at the time of its passage. Lord Grenville then declared that the bill “meant to provide for any clergy that was not Roman Catholic.” There can be no doubt that many members of parliament on the other hand took it to be simply a provision for the Church of England. The further clause in the act, giving power to “erect parsonages and endow them, and to present incumbents of ministers of the Church of England,” is a pretty clear indication that the original intention debarred Presbyterians and all others outside the Episcopal Church. Sir Peregrine Maitland, though possessed of the opinion of Lord Bathurst, concealed this from the knowledge of the public. Other applications were made by the ministers of the Scottish Church in Canada for assistance. Early in 1823, the redoubtable leader Dr. Strachan, as chairman of the Upper Canada clergy reserves corporation, forwarded to Earl Bathurst a strong plea for the endowment of the Church of England alone. The tone of this petition may be seen from its opening sentiment : “That the province of Upper Canada was settled by loyalists from the United States, who were chiefly Episcopalians, ever distinguished in the colonies on account of their affection for the parent state and their incorruptible attachment to the king.” To the petition was attached an “Ecclesiastical Chart,” whose claims were indignantly contradicted by all the Canadians outside the pale of the doctor's own Church. Late in the same year, the Hon. William Morris, a member of the assembly, succeeded in carrying a series of resolutions, declaring the right of the Church of Scotland in the province to participate in the govern
BISHOP STRACHAN.* ment provision for religion ; the address was, however, by a narrow majority, rejected by the legislative council. Governor Maitland sent despatches to the Colonial office strenuously upholding the claim of the Church of England. This was soon followed by a visit of Dr. Strachan to England, which resulted in a decision to sell part of the lands to the Canada Company, then about to be established. On the occasion of the funeral of Bishop Mountain, of Quebec, Dr. Strachan took the opportunity in his sermon to speak in behalf of his own narrow position. Among other things the fiery partisan said: “The religious teachers of the other denominations of Christians, a very few acceptable ministers of the Church of Scotland excepted, come almost universally from the Republican States of America, where they gather their knowledge and form their sentiments.” The charge of disloyalty covertly contained in these words was mainly directed against the Methodist itinerants who were zealously advancing their cause. This unwarrantable attack drew forth an impassioned reply
* After a photograph in Fannings Taylor's Brit. Americans, vol. iii.