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been the rebellion in Lower Canada that it was but subsidizing the very aggressors in the troubles. At length, most unwillingly, a sum of nearly £10,000, to be met by a special fund, was granted, and this was not one twenty-fifth of the claim. Into this scene of turmoil came as governor one of the greatest administrators Canada has seen, James, Earl of Elgin, married to a daughter of Lord Durham, and of the same political school as his Lordship
Lord Elgin was possessed with the desire to work out the great scheme proposed by his father-in-law. Completely reversing the policy followed by Lord Metcalfe, the new governor won golden opinions as a constitutional
ruler, and by his affable manner recommended himself to the people. The principle of responsible government being now fully conceded, the LafontaineBaldwin ministry was formed, and this carried out justly the settlement of the rebellion losses in Lower Canada. This gave great offence to the loyalists of Upper Canada, whose rallying cry became, “No pay to rebels !” Great excitement prevailed in Montreal, at which place the assembly was then meeting. The oppositionists, with strange inconsistency, failing in every other expedient, signed a manifesto in favor of annexation
to the United States. The ministry, JOSEPH HOWE.*
strongly intrenched in the right, as they believed, carried the “Losses Bill." Then ensued a scene of wild disorder. Lord Elgin's carriage was beset by ruffians as he was returning from assenting to the bill. That evening the parliament-house was sacked, the speaker's chair was occupied by one of the rabble, and in the end the public buildings were burned to the ground. Montreal has never since been the meeting place of parliament. The French-Canadians were now revenged, for the ruffians concerned in the attack were not the “new” but the “old” subjects.
A serious land question next agitated the parliament of United Canada. The settlement of Lower Canada had taken place on the basis of a modified feudal system. A noblesse descended from the old French nobility, or in a few cases ennobled in Canada, owned the land, which was divided into seigniories. For this the “habitants,” or petty farmers, paid certain dues. A system so restrictive and burdensome seems inconsistent with the genius of the new world. Accordingly it became a serious public question how the “censitaires," as the farmers were called, might be relieved.
* After a photograph in Fannings Taylor's British Americans, vol. i. His father was a New England loyalist, who became Postmaster General of the Lower Provinces, dying in 1835, the son having been born in Nova Scotia in 1804.
Hincks ministry, which had proved itself unable to cope with the Clergy Reserve question, failed here also. Many in Upper Canada maintained that it was purely a question with which Lower Canada must deal, but the reply was made that the two provinces were now one, for “better and for worse.” The loyalist coalition ministry, led by MacNab and Morin, with rare boldness grappled with the question, and by a payment of two and a half millions of dollars relieved the struggling “ habitants,” and honorably compensated the seigniors. It was certain to rouse animosities among the English of Upper Canada to have so large a sum spent upon Lower Canada. Now began the cry of French domination, and the politicians urged that such large expenditures for Lower Canada could only arise from undue French influence in the cabinet and in the assembly.
The din of political strife was interrupted by great rejoicings on the part of Canada over the Reciprocity Treaty negotiated at Washington by Lord Elgin and his able minister, Mr. Francis Hincks. This removed restrictions in trade between the two neighboring countries so far as unmanufactured products of the “soil, the forest, the mine, and the sea” were concerned. Not only was the wealth of the two countries thus increased, but the difficult question of the fisheries was, for the eleven years during which the treaty stood, solved.
The fisheries dispute between the United States and the British provinces had begun so early as the treaty of 1783, at which time the New England colonies seem to have claimed the right to fish along the coast given by that treaty to Britain. In the convention of London in 1818, following the Treaty of Ghent, the British commissioners gained the point that no American fisherman should fish within three miles of the British coast, there being a dispute, however, as to the bays along the shore. The Treaty of Reciprocity gave to the two nations free use of all watercourses, canals, and fisheries belonging to both. The lapsing of the treaty in 1865, however, opened all the old questions again, and led to a new line of policy on the part of Canada. The Reciprocity Treaty has always been held by Canada to reflect great honor on Lord Elgin.
About this time came into prominence in Canada the son of a Scottish journalist, who had come to Canada in 1843. This was George Brown, a man of stalwart proportions, immense energy, and great logical and vituperative power as a public speaker. When the union of 1841 had taken place Lower Canada had a preponderance of population, but the representation in the house was only equal to that of Upper Canada. As years rolled on, Upper Canada became the more populous. The politicians, who raised the cry of undue French influence, maintained that this should be met by giving Upper Canada increased representation, and the strong agitation grew up in favor of what was called “representation by population.” The Lower Canadians contended that when the union was formed they had not representation based on numbers, and that the case was similar with Upper Canada now. The defence of their rights brought to the front, as a leader of the French, an ardent and successful lawyer, George Etienne Cartier, who claimed descent from the famous discoverer of Canada. The struggle became exceedingly bitter. Mr. Brown fulminated against the French in the well-known journal, his own creation, the Toronto Globe. Upper Canada, by a double majority in the house, demanded increased representation ; Lower Canada stood upon the constitution. The French feeling,
1 Cf. ante, Vol. VII.
which had lingered even from the conquest, was fanned into a flame; it was a national enthusiasm to preserve existence; "les lois, la langue, et les institutions” were in danger, and Cartier led a solid phalanx of his race, albeit, in a furore of patriotism, he declared himself to be “an English man speaking French." In 1862 Cartier's government was defeated ostensibly on a Militia Bill, but it was the burning question of representation which brought his fall. The compact French party made any stable government impossible. One government after another was defeated, and the parties came back from the country almost equally balanced. A dead
lock had come. At this STATUE OF GEORGE BROWN, AT TORONTO.*
juncture an act of patriot
ism, rarely exceeded, was seen. The leaders of the opposing political parties - Mr. Brown on the one hand, and Messrs. John A. Macdonald and Cartier on the other - came to an understanding to deliver the country by a combination ministry. This was in 1864, and the country was electrified by the news, and generally overjoyed. The policy of the coalition ministry was to bring in a measure to introduce the union principle into Canada, coupled with such provision as would admit the maritime provinces and the Northwest into the union. It was the grand conception of a British North America, “to be connected under a general legislature, based upon the federal principle."
* From a photograph. There is also a likeness in F. Taylor's British Americans (vol. i.).
During these years of agitation the attention of all parties was twice diverted by threatenings of international complication with the United States. The breaking out of the Civil War in the United States in 1861 drew upon the sympathies of the Canadian people. The majority of Canadians were opposed to the Southern Confederacy on account of its institution of slavery, and large numbers of Canadians joined the Northern army. An act of invasion of the British steamer “Trent” on the high seas by the United States steamer “San Jacinto," and the capture from it of two Southern gentlemen, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, roused the British people, and caused great excitement in Canada. The angry discussion which ensued seemed to forebode war, and thousands in Canada who had never seen a company drilled were enrolled, prepared for the worst. The horrors of war were happily averted through the efforts of diplomacy.
The conclusion of the American Civil War had its perils both for the United States and for Canada. The enforced idleness of many thousands of discharged soldiers caused much anxiety. Many of them were Irishmen, and in their dislike of Britain and lack of occupation there were organized what were called “Fenian Associations" for the relief of Ireland. Canada was again and again threatened by bands of these desperadoes. In June, 1866, some hundreds of them effected a landing on the Niagara peninsula, and, after several skirmishes, returned to Buffalo, where the forces of the United States arrested them. Attacks were also made at various other points.
STATUE OF SIR
GEORGE CARTIER, Returning to an account of the political
AT TORONTO.* difficulties of Canada, it may be stated that not only Upper and Lower Canada, but the maritime provinces also, impressed by the fact of their like environment as provinces, sought union with one another, and the latter met to consider the question at Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island. The Canadian coalition ministry now suggested the feasibility of sending representatives to this meeting in the lower provinces, and also commissioners to England to obtain the imperial assistance. Accordingly eight delegates from Canada sailed down the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and sought admission to the con
From a photograph kindly furnished by George Mercer Adam, Esq., of Toronto. Cf. portrait in B. Sulte's Hist. des Canadiens-Françaises.
ference of the representatives of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The meeting was hopeful, and it was decided to hold a future conference; and this took place in Quebec in October, 1864. This was a remarkable gathering. “They came together for friendly conference on the historic ground of old Quebec, where French Catholic and French Huguenot, Champlain's colonists and Kirke's invaders, Frontenac's regiments of old France and New England militia, Montcalm's veterans and Wolfe's troops and Highlanders, Carleton's medley and Montgomery's borderers, had met in conflict." It was, moreover, remarkable as a great con stitution-forming gathering. Less than a hundred years before, a conference of British colonies had met in congress in New York, but then under the imperial frown; now the consulting provinces are assembled under the smile of the mother country. Thirty years before, in this very city, the anti-British French-Canadians had passed, amid great excitement, ninetyeight resolutions of a hostile nature; here, with their British compatriots, they are now agreeing to a confederation of the northern American colonies under the British flag. The conference ended with an agreement in the form of seventy-two resolutions, to be submitted to the various legislatures. After much discussion and the passage of the agreement by Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, though in the last-named seemingly without due consideration so far as the people were concerned, an imperial measure was carried called “The British North America Act,” and the four provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia entered upon their new life as a confederation on July 1, 1867, to be joined by Manitoba in three years, by British Columbia in the year following, and by Prince Edward Island in three years more.
Thus the seven sister provinces are united together, and the Dominion of Canada has just passed the year of its majority.
CRITICAL ESSAY ON THE SOURCES OF INFORMATION.
HE important period from the conquest of Canada in 1763 to the passing of the
Constitutional Act of 1791 is somewhat lacking in original documents of value, arising, especially in its earlier years, from the unsettled and unhappy state of the country. The period has been spoken of in French Canada as “Le temps de malaise et de confusion.” The Abbé Verreau in 1870 edited a number of valuable official documents under the auspices of the Société Historique of Montreal, these having been collected by the Hon. Jacques Viger. To Baron Masères, for three years the legal adviser of Sir Guy Carleton, must be assigned the credit of giving the views of the British residents of Quebec, and of gathering valuable information. An account of the proceedings of the inhabitants of Quebec, published in 1775; Additional papers, in 1776; three most interesting volumes of the periodical known as The Canadian Freeholder ; besides a Collection of Commissions, etc., in 1771; a Review of the government and grievances of the province of Quebec since the conquest, published in 1788; and Occasional Essays, in 1809, — all bear testimony to the industry of the clear-headed adviser of the ruler of the province of Quebec.1 An inter
1 [Cf. ante, VI. p. 104. – ED.]