« AnteriorContinuar »
engagements of the Seven Years' War and the War of Independence, and after the capture of Canada was placed in command of Montreal, and then of Three Rivers in the time of General Murray. His continuous employment by Britain in important positions shows him to have been a man of ability, and a late writer is no doubt too severe when he says: “Like Clinton, Haldimand was nervous and sank under the weight of responsibility, and never saw or rose to the occasion. He was a good professional officer, honest, trustworthy, but devoid of insight." It was under Haldimand that the settlement of the loyalists took place in Canada.
Elsewhere the condition of the loyalists in leaving the United States has been treated. Here a word as to their destination. From the seaboard States crowds of refugees fled to Nova Scotia. On the coast of Nova Scotia was built the temporary town of Shelburne, intended to be the Carthage of the fugitives, but it has long since disappeared. A strong and successful hold was taken of the river St. John by a military section of the loyalists. Here the feeling of desire for self-control became so strong that in 1784 a new
1 Ante, Vol. VII. p. 185. * (After a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, owned by W. L. Haldimand of Montreal, who kindly per. mitted it to be copied. There is a miniature likeness on ivory also owned in the family. I have traced these pictures through the aid of Mr. Brymner, the Dominion archivist. — Ed.]
province was set apart, and called New Brunswick. Already strongly military and patriotic, Nova Scotia, including the separated territory with the adjoining island of St. John, called afterward Prince Edward Island, received not less than twenty thousand of the refugees to be an element of strength in her population. And not only the maritime provinces, but inland Canada received its share of this patriotic element. In 1782 the irate officer Sir Guy Carleton had been soothed in feeling, and had been appointed to the command of New York in place of Sir Henry Clinton. The old friend of the Canadians naturally directed the eyes of the fugitives, many of whom had found a rendezvous in New York, to the banks of the St. Lawrence. Two ships, guarded by the brig "Hope" and laden with loyalists, left New York harbor in 1783, and sailed up the St. Lawrence to deposit these "pilgrim fathers” of Upper Canada at Sorel for the winter. Thither also, down the old military road along the Richelieu, came the soldiers of disbanded loyalist regiments, chiefly from the Johnson estates in New York State. The Sorel refugees in the next year took up their weary road and settled the country from Glengarry to the Bay of Quinté. By the Mohawk and past Oswego, another stream of loyalists made their way to settle along Lake Ontario, while the Niagara frontier was lined with the desperate Butler's rangers; and loyalist districts extended even to the neighborhood of Detroit along Lake Erie. Ten thousand loyalists, men and women of determination and principle, thus peopled STATUE OF BRANT AT BRANT
FORD, ONTARIO.* and gave tone to what is now the province of Ontario, the backbone of the Dominion. For a century to come, every homestead taken up by a loyalist or his descendant was a centre of British sentiment, whatever might be the variations of opinion in the new land. Even loyalist Indians of the Six Nations were not wanting in this seed-sowing of patriotism. Joseph Brant, who had declared himself ready to "sink or swim " with the British, led large numbers of his people to settle on the Grand River and along the Bay of Quinté. The influx of thirty thousand new colonists into British America, and most of them dependent upon the government even for daily bread, brought much anxiety to the strict-minded Governor Haldimand. The unsettled condition of the border States, especially of Vermont, and the possibilities of the untried system of republican government, gave rise to many complications. Haldimand saw everything from the soldier's standpoint. His first duty was to preserve Canada free of taint from republican opinion. No loyalist, with his permission, might settle immediately upon the frontier, and suspicious strangers must be closely supervised. A few restless spirits in Canada were in communication with the leading men of the United States. Among these was one Pierre du Calvet, a French Protestant, residing in Montreal and possessed of considerable means and property. Letters of his to General Washington were intercepted, and Du Calvet, with others, was promptly arrested. This proved a most troublesome matter, the French seignior carrying his case afterward to Britain, much to the distress of the governor. A most extraordinary person involved in the Du Calvet case, and a marplot in all Canadian affairs in the Colonial office, was a worthless Jesuit priest named Pierre Roubaud. The Du Calvet case, upon which much has been said, was ended by the principal being lost at sea on his return from Britain to Canada.
* After a photograph.
After eight years of turmoil and indefatigable, and let us say not unavailing, labor, the martinet governor returned to England, to be succeeded by the idol of the French-Canadian people, Sir Guy Carleton, but now with his services fully recognized, since he had been raised to the peerage as Lord Dorchester. A pressing work was awaiting the practical-minded governor on his return to Canada. Just as the masterful loyalists to the north of the Bay of Fundy could not be satisfied till they had secured New Brunswick as a province to be moulded after their own thought, so in a still stronger degree did the fathers of Upper Canada desire to be separated from their French fellow-subjects, and to found a new province and new institutions after their own heart. But in political rearrangements it is inevitable that the greater good to many may crush out the life of some. The English-speaking people who had gathered into Montreal and Quebec now formed, twenty-five years after the Treaty of Paris, a considerable body. They had hailed the coming of the loyalists to the province of Quebec as giving them support and countenance in the face of French ideas, but now to have, as the western loyalists wished, the province divided roused their strongest opposition. Lord Dorchester had, however, the penetration to see that not only would a loyalist province on the St. Lawrence strengthen British interests in America, but it was plain that the narrow Quebec Act of 1774 had served its purpose, and freer institutions might with advantage be given to the people, in response to the petitions which had been forwarded to London for representation. The English-speaking people of Montreal and Quebec were represented by a doughty champion, Adam Lymburner, a Quebec merchant, and he fought against the proposed change with Scottish pertinacity. The opposition was, however, to no purpose ; the die was cast; and the “Constitutional Act of 1791,” dividing Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada, became law, fixing for each province two houses of parliament, namely, a legislative council of appointed members and an assembly chosen by the people from fixed districts. Provision was made for the maintenance of a Protestant clergy, and the governors of the separate provinces were empowered to “erect parsonages and endow them, and to present incumbents of ministers of the Church of England." The chief features of the old “Quebec Act," except the government by the executive council, remained in force. The news of the passage of this act of 1791 was well received in Quebec. The city was en fête. All made the good resolution that the distinction of "old" and "new" subjects now be forgot ten. One hundred and sixty gentlemen - French and English - attended a public dinner in Quebec, and formed themselves into the “Constitutional Club."
The old circle of the British provinces had been rent by the American Revolution, but a new congeries of dependencies was rapidly forming, for there were now the four maritime provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick, and there were the newly constituted Upper and Lower Canadas. These all, ruling their own local affairs, found their bond of connection to the mother country through the governor-general, the commander-in-chief of the forces, and a governor for each province appointed by the Home office. The proclamation made by George III in 1763, for the purpose of inducing loyal settlers by generous and free gifts of land, was continued with modifications after the coming of the loyalists. The unsettled condition of the several States along the Canadian border gave hope that a large immigration would, if encouraged, follow in the wake of the loyalists; for even Washington and the other leaders of the young republic were not blind to its besetting dangers, while it was quite a foregone conclusion among the governing class in Canada that the new government by the people must be a disastrous failure.
The officials chosen to rule the British provinces were, in the main, able men, though of intensely strong national prejudices. Over Nova Scotia was set as lieutenant-governor the sturdy old apostle of force, Sir John Wentworth. Sir John was a colonist born, had held high office, even that of governor in his native colony of New Hampshire. Trained in the old colonial official school, he was, though somewhat despotic, a good executive officer. For sixteen years he governed Nova Scotia. The pomp and show of the former days were fully maintained, and with his courtly manners he played his part well. As governor he had a horror of popular gatherings, on the ground that, being made up of “uneducated tradesmen, laborers, and farmers,” they could only end in vulgar babble. The popular leader, Mr. Cottnam Tonge, was a thorn in the side of the oligarchist governor, and probably the mean of truth lay between the contention of the narrow but good-hearted ruler and the vigorous tribune of the people. During Sir John Wentworth's régime a large immigration came to Nova Scotia. Begun by the imperial colony of Halifax, Nova Scotia had shortly after received some two thousand German colonists, and even before the Revolution a considerable population had come from Boston, Philadelphia, and Rhode Island to fill up the vacant Acadian lands. A stream of Celtic immigration had set in to the since famous county of Pictou in the company brought by the ship "Hector" in 1773; and this, stimulated by the agricultural distress in Scotland, led to an enormous increase of population, not only in this county, but in Cape Breton also. This sturdy people have always since vied with the loyalists in their devotion to the crown. A less desirable element of population, consisting of thousands of freed negroes from the colonies and of Jamaica maroons, vexed the soul of bluff Sir John, and his “thorough” plan of dealing with them resulted in the exportation of the bulk of these vicious and troublesome settlers to the negro rendezvous of Sierra Leone in Africa. Nothing more than the usual irritating features of infantile colonial life characterized the history of the other provinces encircling the Gulf of the St. Lawrence, although indications were not wanting thus early in Prince Edward Island of the worrying contest, to extend over three generations, as to the land tenure of the island.
Meanwhile, in Lower Canada, under General Prescott, who had succeeded the veteran Lord Dorchester, the French population were learning to accept British institutions. A considerable English-speaking element was also gathering in Lower Canada, especially in the districts known as the Eastern Townships. Undoubtedly the task of governing Lower Canada and of converting an alien race into British subjects was greatly promoted by the great gulf formed between the Canadians and their mother country by the French Revolution. French Canada was unmoved by the atheism of Voltaire or the philosophy of Rousseau ; it was, in truth, in opinion the France of Louis XIV. The Churchmen of Canada were thus wrenched suddenly round from a French allegiance, and they brought with them their trustful flocks. It does not surprise us to find the French Bishop of Quebec, five years after the French Revolution, “thanking God the colony was English.” When the strong hand of Prescott, however, had given place, in the early years of this century, to weak administrators, jealousy and desire for place led to the establishment of the first French newspaper, Le Canadien, in 1806, and in the heat of passion incited the French-Canadians to call their British fellow-colonists "étrangers et intrus." A conciliatory ruler could even yet have quieted the rising storm, but two years after the founding of Le Canadien there arrived in Quebec the stern old Scottish soldier Sir James Craig as governor-general. The firm disciplinarian, who had led his troops through the Peninsula, India, and Egypt in the French wars, had only contempt for the French clatter in the little parliament at Quebec, and dismissed the house to their constituents to learn wisdom. The new assembly was, as might have been expected, more fierce than
The governor took the summary method of throwing the violent editor of Le Canadien into prison, and along with him the more prominent and, as the governor considered; seditious members of the house.
The war cloud looming up in the west, however, led the British authorities to prefer the recall of the honest old soldier as governor, to having the "dignity of the king's government” upheld in so unskilful a manner.