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The Canadian Dominion, a Chronicle of our Northern Neighbor by Oscar D. Skelton

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Copyright, 1919, by Yale University Press


The history of Canada since the close of the French regime falls
into three clearly marked half centuries. The first fifty years
after the Peace of Paris determined that Canada was to maintain a
separate existence under the British flag and was not to become a
fourteenth colony or be merged with the United States. The second
fifty years brought the winning of self-government and the
achievement of Confederation. The third fifty years witnessed the
expansion of the Dominion from sea to sea and the endeavor to
make the unity of the political map a living reality--the
endeavor to weld the far-flung provinces into one country, to
give Canada a distinctive place in the Empire and in the world,
and eventually in the alliance of peoples banded together in
mankind's greatest task of enforcing peace and justice among

The author has found it expedient in this narrative to depart
from the usual method of these Chronicles and arrange the matter
in chronological rather than in biographical or topical
divisions. The first period of fifty years is accordingly covered
in one chapter, the second in two chapters, and the third in two
chapters. Authorities and a list of publications for a more
extended study will be found in the Bibliographical Note.

O. D. S.











Scarcely more than half a century has passed since the Dominion
of Canada, in its present form, came into existence. But thrice
that period has elapsed since the fateful day when Montcalm and
Wolfe laid down their lives in battle on the Plains of Abraham,
and the lands which now comprise the Dominion finally passed from
French hands and came under British rule.

The Peace of Paris, which brought the Seven Years' War to a close
in 1763, marked the termination of the empire of France in the
New World. Over the continent of North America, after that
peacee, only two flags floated, the red and yellow banner of
Spain and the Union Jack of Great Britain. Of these the Union
Jack held sway over by far the larger domain--over the vague
territories about Hudson Bay, over the great valley of the St.
Lawrence, and over all the lands lying east of the Mississippi,
save only New Orleans. To whom it would fall to develop this vast
claim, what mighty empires would be carved out of the wilderness,
where the boundary lines would run between the nations yet to be,
were secrets the future held. Yet in retrospect it is now clear
that in solving these questions the Peace of Paris played no
inconsiderable part. By removing from the American colonies the
menace of French aggression from the north it relieved them of a
sense of dependence on the mother country and so made possible
the birth of a new nation in the United States. At the same time,
in the northern half of the continent, it made possible that
other experiment in democracy, in the union of diverse races, in
international neighborliness, and in the reconciliation of empire
with liberty, which Canada presents to the whole world, and
especially to her elder sister in freedom.

In 1763 the territories which later were to make up the Dominion
of Canada were divided roughly into three parts. These parts had
little or nothing in common. They shared together neither
traditions of suffering or glory nor ties of blood or trade.
Acadia, or Nova Scotia, by the Atlantic, was an old French
colony, now British for over a generation. Canada, or Quebec, on
the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, with seventy thousand
French habitants and a few hundred English camp followers, had
just passed under the British flag. West and north lay the
vaguely outlined domains of the Hudson's Bay Company, where the
red man and the buffalo still reigned supreme and almost

The old colony of Acadia, save only the island outliers, Cape
Breton and Prince Edward Island, now ceded by the Peace of Paris,
had been in British hands since 1713. It was not, however, until
1749 that any concerted effort had been made at a settlement of
this region. The menace from the mighty fortress which the French
were rebuilding at that time at Louisbourg, in Cape Breton, and
the hostility of the restless Acadians or old French settlers on
the mainland, had compelled action and the British Government
departed from its usual policy of laissez faire in matters of
emigration. Twenty-five hundred English settlers were brought out
to found and hold the town and fort of Halifax. Nearly as many
Germans were planted in Lunenburg, where their descendants
flourish to this day. Then the hapless Acadians were driven into
exile and into the room they left, New Englanders of strictest
Puritan ancestry came, on their own initiative, and built up new
communities like those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode
Island. Other waves of voluntary immigration followed--Ulster
Presbyterians, driven out by the attempt of England to crush the
Irish woolen manufacture, and, still later, Highlanders, Roman
Catholic and Presbyterian, who soon made Gaelic the prevailing
tongue of the easternmost counties. By 1767 the colony of Nova
Scotia, which then included all Acadia, north and east of Maine,
had a prosperous population of some seven thousand Americans, two
thousand Irish, two thousand Germans, barely a thousand English,
and well over a thousand surviving Acadian French. In short, this
northernmost of the Atlantic colonies appeared to be fast on the
way to become a part of New England. It was chiefly New
Englanders who had peopled it, and it was with New England that
for many a year its whole social and commercial intercourse was
carried on. It was no accident that Nova Scotia later produced
the first Yankee humorist, "Sam Slick."

With the future sister province of Canada, or Quebec, which lay
along the St. Lawrence as far as the Great Lakes, Acadia or Nova
Scotia had much less in common than with New England. Hundreds of
miles of unbroken forest wilderness lay between the two colonies,
and the sea lanes ran between the St. Lawrence, the Bay of Fundy,
or Halifax and Havre or Plymouth, and not between Quebec and
Halifax. Even the French settlers came of different stocks. The
Acadians were chiefly men of La Rochelle and the Loire, while the
Canadians came, for the most part, from the coast provinces
stretching from Normandy and Picardy to Poitou and Bordeaux.

The situation in Canada proper presented the British authorities
with a problem new in their imperial experience. Hitherto, save
for Acadia and New Netherland, where the settlers were few in
numbers and, even in New Netherland, closely akin to the
conquerors in race, religion, and speech, no colony containing
men of European stocks had been acquired by conquest. Canada held
some sixty or seventy thousand settlers, French and Catholic
almost to a man. Despite the inefficiency of French colonial
methods the plantation had taken firm root. The colony had
developed a strength, a social structure, and an individuality
all its own. Along the St. Lawrence and the Richelieu the
settlements lay close and compact; the habitants' whitewashed
cottages lined the river banks only a few arpents apart. The
social cohesion of the colony was equally marked. Alike in
government, in religion, and in industry, it was a land where
authority was strong. Governor and intendant, feudal seigneur,
bishop and Jesuit superior, ruled each in his own sphere and
provided a rigid mold and framework for the growth of the colony.
There were, it is true, limits to the reach of the arm of
authority. Beyond Montreal stretched a vast wilderness merging at
some uncertain point into the other wilderness that was
Louisiana. Along the waterways which threaded this great No Man's
Land the coureurs-de-bois roamed with little heed to law or
license, glad to escape from the paternal strictness that irked
youth on the lower St. Lawrence. But the liberty of these rovers
of the forest was not liberty after the English pattern; the
coureur-de-bois was of an entirely different type from the
pioneers of British stock who were even then pushing their way
through the gaps in the Alleghanies and making homes in the
backwoods. Priest and seigneur, habitant and coureur-de-bois were
one and all difficult to fit into accepted English ways. Clearly
Canada promised to strain the digestive capacity of the British

The present western provinces of the Dominion were still the
haunt of Indian and buffalo. French-Canadian explorers and fur
traders, it is true, had penetrated to the Rockies a few years
before the Conquest, and had built forts on Lake Winnipeg, on the
Assiniboine and Red rivers, and at half a dozen portages on the
Saskatchewan. But the "Company of Adventurers of England trading
into Hudson's Bay" had not yet ventured inland, still content to
carry on its trade with the Indians from its forts along the
shores of that great sea. On the Pacific the Russians had coasted
as far south as Mount Saint Elias, but no white man, so far as is
known, had set foot on the shores of what is now British

Two immediate problems were bequeathed to the British Government
by the Treaty of Paris: what was to be done with the unsettled
lands between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi; and how were
the seventy thousand French subjects in the valley of the St.
Lawrence to be dealt with? The first difficulty was not solved.
It was merely postponed. The whole back country of the English
colonies was proclaimed an Indian reserve where the King's white
subjects might trade but might not acquire land. This policy was
not devised in order to set bounds to the expansion of the older
colonies; that was an afterthought. The policy had its root in an
honest desire to protect the Indians from the frauds of
unscrupulous traders and from the encroachments of settlers on
their hunting grounds. The need of a conciliatory, if firm,
policy in regard to the great interior was made evident by the
Pontiac rising in 1763, the aftermath of the defeat of the
French, who had done all they could to inspire the Indians with
hatred for the advancing English.

How to deal with Canada was a more thorny problem. The colony had
not been sought by its conquerors for itself. It was counted of
little worth. The verdict of its late possessors, as recorded in
Voltaire's light farewell to "a few arpents of snow," might be
discounted as an instance of sour grapes; but the estimate of its
new possessors was evidently little higher, since they debated
long and dubiously whether in the peace settlement they should
retain Canada or the little sugar island of Guadeloupe, a mere
pin point on the map. Canada had been conquered not for the good
it might bring but for the harm it was doing as a base for French
attack upon the English colonies--"the wasps" nest must be smoked
out." But once it had been taken, it had to be dealt with for

The policy first adopted was a simple one, natural enough for
eighteenth-century Englishmen. They decided to make Canada* over
in the image of the old colonies, to turn the "new subjects," as
they were called, in good time into Englishmen and Protestants. A
generation or two would suffice, in the phrase of Francis
Maseres--himself a descendant of a Huguenot refugee but now
wholly an Englishman--for "melting down the French nation into
the English in point of language, affections, religion, and
laws." Immigration was to be encouraged from Britain and from the
other American colonies, which, in the view of the Lords of
Trade, were already overstocked and in danger of being forced by
the scarcity or monopoly of land to take up manufactures which
would compete with English wares. And since it would greatly
contribute to speedy settlement, so the Royal Proclamation of
1763 declared, that the King's subjects should be informed of his
paternal care for the security of their liberties and properties,
it was promised that, as soon as circumstances would permit, a
General Assembly would be summoned, as in the older colonies. The
laws of England, civil and criminal, as near as might be, were to
prevail. The Roman Catholic subjects were to be free to profess
their own religion, "so far as the laws of Great Britain permit,"
but they were to be shown a better way. To the first Governor
instructions were issued "that all possible Encouragement shall
be given to the erecting Protestant Schools in the said
Districts, Townships and Precincts, by settling and appointing
and allotting proper Quantities of Land for that Purpose and also
for a Glebe and Maintenance for a Protestant minister and
Protestant schoolmasters." Thus in the fullness of time, like
Acadia, but without any Evangelise of Grand Pre, without any
drastic policy of expulsion, impossible with seventy thousand
people scattered over a wide area, even Canada would become a
good English land, a newer New England.

* The Royal Proclamation of 1763 set the bounds of the new
colony. They were surprisingly narrow, a mere strip along both
sides of the St. Lawrence from a short distance beyond the Ottawa
on the west, to the end of the Gasps peninsula on the east. The
land to the northeast was put under the jurisdiction of the
Governor of Newfoundland, and the Great Lakes region was included
in the territory reserved for the Indians.

It is questionable whether this policy could ever have achieved
success even if it had been followed for generations without rest
or turning. But it was not destined to be given a long trial.
From the very beginning the men on the spot, the soldier
Governors of Canada, urged an entirely contrary policy on the
Home Government, and the pressure of events soon brought His
Majesty's Ministers to concur.

As the first civil Governor of Canada, the British authorities
chose General Murray, one of Wolfe's ablest lieutenants, who
since 1760 had served as military Governor of the Quebec
district. He was to be aided in his task by a council composed of
the Lieutenant Governors of Montreal and Three Rivers, the Chief
Justice, the head of the customs, and eight citizens to be named
by the Governor from "the most considerable of the persons of
property" in the province.

The new Governor was a blunt, soldierly man, upright and just
according to his lights, but deeply influenced by his military
and aristocratic leanings. Statesmen thousands of miles away
might plan to encourage English settlers and English political
ways and to put down all that was French. To the man on the spot
English settlers meant "the four hundred and fifty contemptible
sutlers and traders" who had come in the wake of the army from
New England and New York, with no proper respect for their
betters, and vulgarly and annoyingly insistent upon what they
claimed to be their rights. The French might be alien in speech
and creed, but at least the seigneurs and the higher clergy were
gentlemen, with a due respect for authority, the King's and their
own, and the habitants were docile, the best of soldier stuff.
"Little, very little," Murray wrote in 1764 to the Lords of
Trade, "will content the New Subjects, but nothing will satisfy
the Licentious Fanaticks Trading here, but the expulsion of the
Canadians, who are perhaps the bravest and best race upon the
Globe, a Race, who cou'd they be indulged with a few priviledges
wch the Laws of England deny to Roman Catholicks at home, wou'd
soon get the better of every National Antipathy to their
Conquerors and become the most faithful and most useful set of
Men in this American Empire."*

* This quotation and those following in this chapter are from
official documents most conveniently assembled in Shorn and
Doughty, "Documents relating to the Constitutional History of
Canada, 1759-1791", and Doughty and McArthur, "Documents relating
to the Constitutional History of Canada, 1791-1818".

Certainly there was much in the immediate situation to justify
Murray's attitude. It was preposterous to set up a legislature in
which only the four hundred Protestants might sit and from which
the seventy thousand Catholics would be barred. It would have
been difficult in any case to change suddenly the system of laws
governing the most intimate transactions of everyday life. But
when, as happened, the Administration was entrusted in large part
to newly created justices of the peace, men with "little French
and less honour," "to whom it is only possible to speak with
guineas in one's hand," the change became flatly impossible. Such
an alteration, if still insisted upon, must come more slowly than
the impatient traders in Montreal and Quebec desired.

The British Government, however, was not yet ready to abandon its
policy. The Quebec traders petitioned for Murray's recall,
alleging that the measures required to encourage settlement had
not been adopted, that the Governor was encouraging factions by
his partiality to the French, that he treated the traders with "a
Rage and Rudeness of Language and Demeanor" and--a fair thrust in
return for his reference to them as "the most immoral collection
of men I ever knew"--as "discountenancing the Protestant Religion
by almost a Total Neglect of Attendance upon the Service of the
Church." When the London business correspondents of the traders
backed up this petition, the Government gave heed. In 1766 Murray
was recalled to England and, though he was acquitted of the
charges against him, he did not return to his post in Canada.

The triumph of the English merchants was short. They had jumped
from the frying pan into the fire. General Guy Carleton, Murray's
successor and brother officer under Wolfe, was an even abler man,
and he was still less in sympathy with democracy of the New
England pattern. Moreover, a new factor had come in to reenforce
the soldier's instinctive preference for gentlemen over
shopkeepers. The first rumblings of the American Revolution had
reached Quebec. It was no time, in Carleton's view, to set up
another sucking republic. Rather, he believed, the utmost should
be made of the opportunity Canada afforded as a barrier against
the advance of democracy, a curb upon colonial insolence. The
need of cultivating the new subjects was the greater, Carleton
contended, because the plan of settlement by Englishmen gave no
sign of succeeding: "barring a Catastrophe shocking to think of,
this Country must, to the end of Time, be peopled by the Canadian

To bind the Canadians firmly to England, Carleton proposed to
work chiefly through their old leaders, the seigneurs and the
clergy. He would restore to the people their old system of laws,
both civil and criminal. He would confirm the seigneurs in their
feudal dues and fines, which the habitants were growing slack in
paying now that the old penalties were not enforced, and he would
give them honors and emoluments such as they had before enjoyed
as officers in regular or militia regiments. The Roman Catholic
clergy were already, in fact, confirmed in their right to tithe
and toll; and, without objection from the Governor, Bishop
Briand, elected by the chapter in Quebec and consecrated in
Paris, once more assumed control over the flock.

Carleton's proposals did not pass unquestioned. His own chief
legal adviser, Francis Maseres, was a sturdy adherent of the
older policy, though he agreed that the time was not yet ripe for
setting up an Assembly and suggested some well-considered
compromise between the old laws and the new. The Advocate General
of England, James Marriott, urged the same course. The policy of
1768, he contended eleven years later, had already succeeded in
great measure. The assimilation of government had been effected;
an assimilation of manners would follow. The excessive military
spirit of the inhabitants had begun to dwindle, as England's
interest required. The back settlements of New York and Canada
were fast being joined. Two or three thousand men of British
stock, many of them men of substance, had gone to the new colony;
warehouses and foundries were being built; and many of the
principal seigneuries had passed into English hands. All that was
needed, he concluded, was persistence along the old path. The
same view was of course strenuously urged by the English
merchants in the colony, who continued to demand, down to the
very eve of the Revolution, an elective Assembly and other rights
of freeborn Britons.

Carleton carried the day. His advice, tendered at close range
during four years' absentee residence in London, from 1770 to
1774, fell in with the mood of Lord North's Government. The
measure in which the new policy was embodied, the famous Quebec
Act of 1774, was essentially a part of the ministerial programme
for strengthening British power to cope with the resistance then
rising to rebellious heights in the old colonies. Though not, as
was long believed, designed in retaliation for the Boston
disturbances, it is clear that its framers had Massachusetts in
mind when deciding on their policy for Quebec. The main purpose
of the Act, the motive which turned the scale against the old
Anglicizing policy, was to attach the leaders of French-Canadian
opinion firmly to the British Crown, and thus not only to prevent
Canada itself from becoming infected with democratic contagion or
turning in a crisis toward France, but to ensure, if the worst
came to the worst, a military base in that northland whose
terrors had in old days kept the seaboard colonies circumspectly
loyal. Ministers in London had been driven by events to accept
Carleton's paradox, that to make Quebec British, it must be
prevented from becoming English. If in later years the solidarity
and aloofness of the French-Canadian people were sometimes to
prove inconvenient to British interests, it was always to be
remembered that this situation was due in great part to the
deliberate action of Great Britain in strengthening
French-Canadian institutions as a means of advancing what she
considered her own interests in America. "The views of the
British Government in respect to the political uses to which it
means to make Canada subservient," Marriott had truly declared,
"must direct the spirit of any code of laws."

The Quebec Act multiplied the area of the colony sevenfold by the
restoration of all Labrador on the east and the region west as
far as the Ohio and the Mississippi and north to the Hudson's Bay
Company's territory. It restored the old French civil law but
continued the milder English criminal law already in operation.
It gave to the Roman Catholic inhabitants the free exercise of
their religion, subject to a modified oath of allegiance, and
confirmed the clergy in their right "to hold, receive and enjoy
their accustomed dues and rights, with respect to such persons
only as shall confess the said religion." The promised elective
Assembly was not granted, but a Council appointed by the Crown
received a measure of legislative power.

On his return to Canada in September, 1774, Carleton reported
that the Canadians had "testified the strongest marks of Joy and
Gratitude and Fidelity to their King and to His Government for
the late Arrangements made at Home in their Favor." The "most
respectable part of the English," he continued, urged peaceful
acceptance of the new order. Evidently, however, the respectable
members of society were few, as the great body of the English
settlers joined in a petition for the repeal of the Act on the
ground that it deprived them of the incalculable benefits of
habeas corpus and trial by jury. The Montreal merchants, whether,
as Carleton commented, they "were of a more turbulent Turn, or
that they caught the Fire from some Colonists settled among
them," were particularly outspoken in the town meetings they
held. In the older colonies the opposition was still more
emphatic. An Act which hemmed them in to the seacoast,
established on the American continent a Church they feared and
hated, and continued an autocratic political system, appeared to
many to be the undoing of the work of Pitt and Wolfe and the
revival on the banks of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi of a
serious menace to their liberty and progress.

Then came the clash at Lexington, and the War of American
Independence had begun. The causes, the course, and the ending of
that great civil war have been treated elsewhere in this series.*
Here it is necessary only to note its bearings on the fate of

* See "The Eve of the Revolution" and "Washington and His
Comrades in Arms" (in "The Chronicles of America").

Early in 1775 the Continental Congress undertook the conquest of
Canada, or, as it was more diplomatically phrased, the relief of
its inhabitants from British tyranny. Richard Montgomery led an
expedition over the old route by Lake Champlain and the
Richelieu, along which French and Indian raiding parties used to
pass years before, and Benedict Arnold made a daring and
difficult march up the Kennebec and down the Chaudiere to Quebec.
Montreal fell to Montgomery; and Carleton himself escaped capture
only by the audacity of some French-Canadian voyageurs, who,
under cover of darkness, rowed his whaleboat or paddled it with
their hands silently past the American sentinels on the shore.
Once down the river and in Quebec, Carleton threw himself with
vigor and skill into the defense of his capital. His generalship
and the natural strength of the position proved more than a match
for Montgomery and Arnold. Montgomery was killed and Arnold
wounded in a vain attempt to carry the city by storm on the last
night of 1775. At Montreal a delegation from Congress, composed
of Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll of
Carrollton, accompanied by Carroll's brother, a Jesuit priest and
a future archbishop, failed to achieve-more by diplomacy than
their generals had done by the sword. The Canadians seemed,
content enough to wear the British yoke. In the spring, when a
British fleet arrived with reenforcements, the American troops
retired in haste and, before the Declaration of Independence had
been proclaimed, Canada was free from the last of its ten
thousand invaders.

The expedition had put Carleton's policy to the test. On the
whole it stood the strain. The seigneurs had rallied to the
Government which had restored their rights, and the clergy had
called on the people to stand fast by the King. So far all went
as Carleton had hoped: "The Noblesse, Clergy, and greater part of
the Bourgeoisie," he wrote, "have given Government every
Assistance in their Power." But the habitants refused to follow
their appointed leaders with the old docility, and some even
mobbed the seigneurs who tried to enroll them. Ten years of
freedom had worked a democratic change in them, and they were
much less enthusiastic than their betters about the restoration
of seigneurial privileges. Carleton, like many another, had held
as public opinion what were merely the opinions of those whom he
met at dinner. "These people had been governed with too loose a
rein for many years," he now wrote to Burgoyne, "and had imbibed
too much of the American Spirit of Licentiousness and
Independence administered by a numerous and turbulent Faction
here, to be suddenly restored to a proper and desirable
Subordination." A few of the habitants joined his forces; fewer
joined the invaders or sold them supplies--till they grew
suspicious of paper "Continentals." But the majority held
passively aloof. Even when France joined the warring colonies and
Admiral d'Estaing appealed to the Canadians to rise, they did not
heed; though it is difficult to say what the result would have
been if Washington had agreed to Lafayette's plan of a joint
French and American invasion in 1778.

Nova Scotia also held aloof, in spite of the fact that many of
the men who had come from New England and from Ulster were eager
to join the colonies to the south. In Nova Scotia democracy was a
less hardy plant than in Massachusetts. The town and township
institutions, which had been the nurseries of resistance in New
England, had not been allowed to take root there. The
circumstances of the founding of Halifax had given ripe to a
greater tendency, which lasted long, to lean upon the mother
country. The Maine wilderness made intercourse between Nova
Scotia and New England difficult by land, and the British fleet
was in control of the sea until near the close of the war. Nova
Scotia stood by Great Britain, and was reserved to become part of
a northern nation still in the making.

That nation was to owe its separate existence to the success of
the American Revolution. But for that event, coming when it did,
the struggling colonies of Quebec and Nova Scotia would in time
have become merged with the colonies to the youth and would have
followed them, whether they remained within the British Empire or
not. Thus it was due to the quarrel between the thirteen colonies
and the motherland that Canada did not become merely a fourteenth
colony or state. Nor was this the only bearing of the Revolution
on Canada's destiny. Thanks to the coming of the Loyalists, those
exiles of the Revolution who settled in Canada in large numbers,
Canada was after all to be dominantly a land of English speech
and of English sympathies. By one of the many paradoxes which
mark the history of Canada, the very success of the plan which
aimed to save British power by confirming French-Canadian
nationality and the loyalty of the French led in the end to
making a large part of Canada English. The Revolution meant also
that for many a year those in authority in England and in Canada
itself were to stand in fear of the principles and institutions
which had led the old colonies to rebellion and separation, and
were to try to build up in Canada buttresses against the advance
of democracy.

The British statesmen who helped to frame the Peace of 1783 were
men with broad and generous views as to the future of the
seceding colonies and their relations with the mother country. It
was perhaps inevitable that they should have given less thought
to the future of the colonies in America which remained under the
British flag. Few men could realize at the moment that out of
these scattered fragments a new nation and a second empire would
arise. Not only were the seceding colonies given a share in the
fishing grounds of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, which was
unfortunately to prove a constant source of friction, but the
boundary line was drawn with no thought of the need of broad and
easy communication between Nova Scotia and Canada, much less
between Canada and the far West. Vague definitions of the
boundaries, naturally incident to the prevailing lack of
geographical knowledge of the vast continent, held further seeds
of trouble. These contentions, however, were far in the future.
At the moment another defect of the treaty proved to be Canada's
gain. The failure of Lord Shelburne's Ministry to insist upon
effective safeguards for the fair treatment of those who had
taken the King's side in the old colonies, condemned as it was
not only by North and the Tories but by Fox and Sheridan and
Burke, led to that Loyalist migration which changed the racial
complexion of Canada.

The Treaty of 1783 provided that Congress would "earnestly
recommend" to the various States that the Loyalists be granted
amnesty and restitution. This pious resolution proved not worth
the paper on which it was written. In State after State the
property of the Loyalists was withheld or confiscated anew. Yet
this ungenerous treatment of the defeated by the victors is not
hard to understand. The struggle had been waged with all the
bitterness of civil war. The smallness of the field of combat had
intensified personal ill-will. Both sides had practiced cruelties
in guerrilla warfare; but the Patriots forgot Marion's raids,
Simsbury mines, and the drumhead hangings, and remembered only
Hessian brutalities, Indian scalpings, Tarleton's harryings, and
the infamous prison ships of New York. The war had been a long
one. The tide of battle had ebbed and flowed. A district that was
Patriot one year was frequently Loyalist the next. These
circumstances engendered fear and suspicion and led to nervous

At least a third, if not a half, of the people of the old
colonies had been opposed to revolution. New York was strongly
Loyalist, with Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the Carolinas closely
following. In the end some fifty or sixty thousand Loyalists
abandoned their homes or suffered expulsion rather than submit to
the new order. They counted in their ranks many of the men who
had held first place in their old communities, men of wealth, of
education, and of standing, as well as thousands who had nothing
to give but their fidelity to the old order. Many, especially of
the well-to-do, went to England; a few found refuge in the West
Indies; but the great majority, over fifty thousand in all,
sought new homes in the northern wilderness. Over thirty
thousand, including many of the most influential of the whole
number (with about three thousand negro slaves, afterwards freed
and deported to Sierra Leone) were carried by ship to Nova
Scotia. They found homes chiefly in that part of the province
which in 1784 became New Brunswick. Others, trekking overland or
sailing around by the Gulf and up the River, settled in the upper
valley of the St. Lawrence--on Lake St. Francis, on the Cataraqui
and the Bay of Quinte, and in the Niagara District.

Though these pioneers were generously aided by the British
Government with grants of land and supplies, their hardships and
disappointments during the first years in the wilderness were
such as would have daunted any but brave and desperate men and
women whom fate had winnowed. Yet all but a few, who drifted back
to their old homes, held out; and the foundations of two more
provinces of the future Dominion--New Brunswick and Upper
Canada--were thus broadly and soundly laid by the men whom future
generations honored as "United Empire Loyalists." Through all the
later years, their sacrifices and sufferings, their ideals and
prejudices, were to make a deep impress on the development of the
nation which they helped to found and were to influence its
relations with the country which they had left and with the
mother country which had held their allegiance.

Once the first tasks of hewing and hauling and planting were
done, the new settlers called for the organization of local
governments. They were quite as determined as their late foes to
have a voice in their own governing, even though they yielded
ultimate obedience to rulers overseas.

In the provinces by the sea a measure of self-government was at
once established. New Brunswick received, without question, a
constitution on the Nova Scotia model, with a Lieutenant
Governor, an Executive Council appointed to advise him, which
served also as the upper house of the legislature, and an
elective Assembly. Of the twenty-six members of the first
Assembly, twenty-three were Loyalists. With a population so much
at one, and with the tasks of road making and school building and
tax collecting insistent and absorbing, no party strife divided
the province for many years. In Nova Scotia, too, the Loyalists
were in the majority. There, however, the earlier settlers soon
joined with some of the newcomers to form an opposition. The
island of St. John, renamed Prince Edward Island in 1798, had
been made a separate Government and had received an Assembly in
1773. Its one absorbing question was the tenure of land. On a
single day in 1767 the British authorities had granted the whole
island by lottery to army and navy officers and country
gentlemen, on condition of the payment of small quitrents. The
quitrents were rarely paid, and the tenants of the absentee
landlords kept up an agitation for reform which was unceasing but
which was not to be successful for a hundred years. In all three
Maritime Provinces political and party controversy was little
known for a generation after the Revolution.

It was more difficult to decide what form of government should be
set up in Canada, now that tens of thousands of English-speaking
settiers dwelt beside the old Canadians. Carleton, now Lord
Dorchester, had returned as Governor in 1786, after eight years'
absence. He was still averse to granting an Assembly so long as
the French subjects were in the majority: they did not want it,
he insisted, and could not use it. But the Loyalist settlers, not
to be put off, joined with the English merchants of Montreal and
Quebec in demanding an Assembly and relief from the old French
laws. Carleton himself was compelled to admit the force of the
conclusion of William Grenville, Secretary of State for the Home
Department, then in control of the remnants of the colonial
empire, and son of that George Grenville who, as Prime Minister,
had introduced the American Stamp Act of 1765: "I am persuaded
that it is a point of true Policy to make these Concessions at a
time when they may be received as a matter of favour, and when it
is in Our own power to regulate and direct the manner of applying
them, rather than to wait till they shall be extorted from us by
a necessity which shall neither leave us any discretion in the
form nor any merit in the substance of what We give."
Accordingly, in 1791, the British Parliament passed the
Constitutional Act dividing Canada into two provinces separated
by the Ottawa River, Lower or French-speaking Canada and Upper or
English-speaking Canada, and granting each an elective Assembly.

Thus far the tide of democracy had risen, but thus far only. Few
in high places had learned the full lesson of the American
Revolution. The majority believed that the old colonies had been
lost because they had not been kept under a sufficiently tight
rein; that democracy had been allowed too great headway; that the
remaining colonies, therefore, should be brought under stricter
administrative control; and that care should be taken to build up
forces to counteract the democracy which grew so rank and swift
in frontier soil. This conservative tendency was strengthened by
the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.* The rulers of
England had witnessed two revolutions, and the lesson they drew
from both was that it was best to smother democracy in the

* It will be remembered that in the debate on the Constitutional
Act the conflicting views of Burke and Fox on the French
Revolution led to the dramatic break in their lifelong

For this reason the measure of representative government that had
been granted each of the remaining British colonies in North
America was carefully hedged about. The whole executive power
remained in the hands of the Governor or his nominees. No one yet
conceived it possible that the Assembly should control the
Executive Council. The elective Assembly was compelled to share
even the lawmaking power with an upper house, the Legislative
Council. Not only were the members of this upper house appointed
by the Crown for life, but the King was empowered to bestow
hereditary titles upon them with a view to making the Council in
the fullness of time a copy of the House of Lords. A blow was
struck even at that traditional prerogative of the popular house,
the control of the purse. Carleton had urged that in every
township a sixth of the land should be reserved to enable His
Majesty "to reward such of His provincial Servants as may merit
the Royal favour" and "to create and strengthen an Aristocracy,
of which the best use may be made on this Continent, where all
Governments are feeble and the general condition of things tends
to a wild Democracy." Grenville saw further possibilities in this
suggestion. It would give the Crown a revenue which would make it
independent of the Assembly, "a measure, which, if it had been
adopted when the Old Colonies were first settled, would have
retained them to this hour in obedience and Loyalty." Nor was
this all. From the same source an endowment might be obtained for
a state church which would be a bulwark of order and
conservatism. The Constitutional Act accordingly provided for
setting aside lands equal in value to one-seventh of all lands
granted from time to time, for the support of a Protestant
clergy. The Executive Council received power to set up rectories
in every parish, to endow them liberally, and to name as rectors
ministers of the Church of England. Further, the Executive
Council was instructed to retain an equal amount of land as crown
reserves, distributed judiciously in blocks between the grants
made to settlers. Were any radical tendencies to survive these
attentions, the veto power of the British Government could be
counted on in the last resort.

For a time the installment of self-government thus granted
satisfied the people. The pioneer years left little leisure for
political discussion, nor were there at first any general issues
about which men might differ. The Government was carrying on
acceptably the essential tasks of surveying, land granting, and
road building; and each member of the Assembly played his own
hand and was chiefly concerned in obtaining for his constituents
the roads and bridges, they needed so badly. The
English-speaking settlers of Upper Canada were too widely
scattered, and the French-speaking citizens of Lower Canada were
too ignorant of representative institutions, to act in groups or

Much turned in these early years upon the personality of the
Governor. In several instances, the choice of rulers for the new
provinces proved fortunate. This was particularly so in the case
of John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from
1792 to 1799. He was a good soldier and a just and vigorous
administrator, particularly wise in setting his regulars to work
building roads such as Yonge Street and Dundas Street, which to
this day are great provincial arteries of travel. Yet there were
many sources of weakness in the scheme of government--divided
authority, absenteeism, personal unfitness. When Dorchester was
reappointed in 1786, he had been made Governor in Chief of all
British North America. From the beginning, however, the
Lieutenant Governors of the various provinces asserted
independent authority, and in a few years the Governor General
became in fact merely the Governor of the most populous province,
Lower Canada, in which he resided.

In Upper Canada, as in New Brunswick, the population was at first
much at one. In time, however, discordant elements appeared.
Religious, or at least denominational, differences began to cause
friction. The great majority of the early settlers in Upper
Canada belonged to the Church of England, whose adherents in the
older colonies had nearly all taken the Loyalist side. Of the
Ulster Presbyterians and New England Congregationalists who
formed the backbone of the Revolution, few came to Canada. The
growth of the Methodists and Baptists in the United States after
the Revolution, however, made its mark on the neighboring
country. The first Methodist class meetings in Upper Canada, held
in the United Empire Loyalist settlement on the Bay of Quinte in
1791, were organized by itinerant preachers from the United
States; and in the western part of the province pioneer Baptist
evangelists from the same country reached the scattered settlers
neglected by the older churches.

Nor was it in religion alone that diversity grew. Simcoe had set
up a generous land policy which brought in many "late Loyalists,"
American settlers whose devotion to monarchical principles would
not always bear close inquiry. The fantastic experiment of
planting in the heart of the woods of Upper Canada a group of
French nobles driven out by the Revolution left no trace; but
Mennonites, Quakers, and Scottish Highlanders contributed diverse
and permanent factors to the life of the province. Colonel Thomas
Talbot of Malahide, "a fierce little Irishman who hated Scotchmen
and women, turned teetotallers out of his house, and built the
only good road in the province," made the beginnings of
settlement midway on Lake Erie. A shrewd Massachusetts merchant,
Philemon Wright, with his comrades, their families, servants,
horses, oxen, and 10,000 pounds, sledded from Boston to Montreal
in the winter of 1800, and thence a hundred miles beyond, to
found the town of Hull and establish a great lumbering industry
in the Ottawa Valley.

These differences of origin and ways of thought had not yet been
reflected in political life. Party strife in Upper Canada began
with a factional fight which took place in 1805-07 between a
group of Irish officeholders and a Scotch clique who held the
reins of government. Weekes, an Irish-American barrister, Thorpe,
a puisne judge, Wyatt, the surveyor general, and Willcocks, a
United Irishman who had become sheriff of one of the four Upper
Canada districts, began to question the right to rule of "the
Scotch pedlars" or "the Shopkeeper Aristocracy," as Thorpe called
those merchants who, for the lack of other leaders, had developed
an influence with the governors or ruled in their frequent
absence. But the insurgents were backed by only a small minority
in the Assembly, and when the four leaders disappeared from the
stage,* this curtain raiser to the serious political drama which
was to follow came quickly to its end.

* Weekes was slain in a duel. Wyatt and Thorpe were suspended by
the Lieutenant Governor, Sir Francis Gore, only to win redress
later in England. Willcocks was dismissed from office and fell
fighting on the American side in the War of 1812.

In Lower Canada the clash was more serious. The French Canadians,
who had not asked for representative government, eventually
grasped its possibilities and found leaders other than those
ordained for them. In the first Assembly there were many
seigneurs and aristocrats who bore names notable for six
generations back Taschereau, Duchesnay, Lotbiniere, Rouville,
Salaberry. But they soon found their surroundings uncongenial or
failed to be reelected. Writing in 1810 to Lord Liverpool,
Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, the Governor, Sir
James Craig, with a fine patrician scorn thus pictures the
Assembly of his day.

"It really, my Lord, appears to me an absurdity, that the
Interests of certainly not an unimportant Colony, involving in
them those also of no inconsiderable portion of the Commercial
concerns of the British Empire, should be in the hands of six
petty shopkeepers, a Blacksmith, a Miller, and 15 ignorant
peasants who form part of our present House; a Doctor or
Apothecary, twelve Canadian Avocats and Notaries, and four so far
respectable people that at least they do not keep shops, together
with ten English members compleat the List: there is not one
person coming under the description of a Canadian Gentleman among

And again:

"A Governor cannot obtain among them even that sort of influence
that might arise from personal intercourse. I can have none with
Blacksmiths, Millers, and Shopkeepers; even the Avocats and
Notaries who compose so considerable a portion of the House, are,
generally speaking, such as I can nowhere meet, except during the
actual sitting of Parliament, when I have a day of the week
expressly appropriated to the receiving a large portion of them
at dinner."

Leadership under these conditions fell to the "unprincipled
Demagogues," half-educated lawyers, men "with nothing to lose."

But it was not merely as an aristocrat facing peasants and
shopkeepers, nor as a soldier faced by talkers, but as an
Englishman on guard against Frenchmen that Craig found himself at
odds with his Assembly. For nearly twenty years in this period
England was at death grips with France, end to hate and despise
all Frenchmen was part of the hereditary and congenial duty of
all true Britons. Craig and those who counseled him were firmly
convinced that the new subjects were French at heart. Of the
250,000 inhabitants of Lower Canada, he declared, "about 20,000
or 25,000 may be English or Americans, the rest are French. I use
the term designedly, my Lord, because I mean to say that they are
in Language, in religion, in manner and in attachment completely
French." That there was still some affection for old France,
stirred by war and French victories, there is no question, but
that the Canadians wished to return to French allegiance was
untrue, even though Craig reported that such was "the general
opinion of all ranks with whom it is possible to converse on the
subject." The French Revolution had created a great gulf between
Old France and New France. The clergy did their utmost to bar all
intercourse with the land where deism and revolution held sway,
and when the Roman Catholic Church and the British Government
combined for years on a single object, it was little wonder they
succeeded. Nelson's victory at Trafalgar was celebrated by a Te
Deum in the Roman Catholic Cathedral at Quebec. In fact, as Craig
elsewhere noted, the habitants were becoming rather a new and
distinct nationality, a nation canadienne. They ceased to be
French; they declined to become English; and sheltered under
their "Sacred Charter"* they became Canadians first and last.

* "It cannot be sufficiently inculcated ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT
that the Quebec Act is a Sacred Charter, granted by the King in
Parliament to the Canadians as a Security for their Religion,
Laws, and Property." Governor Sir Frederick Haldimand to Lord
George Germaine, Oct. 25, 1780.

The governors were not alone in this hostility to the mass of the
people. There had grown up in the colony a little clique of
officeholders, of whom Jonathan Sewell, the Loyalist Attorney
General, and later Chief Justice, was the chief, full of racial
and class prejudice, and in some cases greedy for personal gain.
Sewell declared it "indispensably necessary to overwhelm and sink
the Canadian population by English Protestants," and was even
ready to run the risk of bringing in Americans to effect this
end. Of the non-official English, some were strongly opposed to
the pretensions of the "Chateau Clique"; but others, and
especially the merchants, with their organ the Quebec "Mercury",
were loud in their denunciations of the French who were
unprogressive and who as landowners were incidentally trying to
throw the burden of taxation chiefly on the traders.

The first open sign of the racial division which was to bedevil
the life of the province came in 1806 when, in order to meet the
attacks of the Anglicizing party, the newspaper "Le Canadien" was
established at Quebec. Its motto was significant: "Notre langue,
nos institutions, et nos lois." Craig and his counselors took up
the challenge. In 1808 he dismissed five militia officers,
because of their connection with the irritating journal, and in
1810 he went so far as to suppress it and to throw into prison
four of those responsible for its management. The Assembly, which
was proving hard to control, was twice dissolved in three years.
Naturally the Governor's arbitrary course only stiffened
resistance; and passions were rising fast and high when illness
led to his recall and the shadow of a common danger from the
south, the imminence of war with the United States, for a time
drew all men together.

While the foundations of the eastern provinces of Canada were
being laid, the wildernesses which one day were to become the
western provinces were just rising above the horizon of
discovery. In the plains and prairies between the Great Lakes and
the Rockies, fur traders warred for the privilege of exchanging
with the Indians bad whiskey for good furs. Scottish traders from
Montreal, following in the footsteps of La Verendrye and
Niverville, pushed far into the northern wilds.* In 1788 the
leading traders joined forces in organizing the North-West
Company. Their great canoes, manned by French-Canadian voyageurs,
penetrated the network of waters from the Ottawa to the
Saskatchewan, and poured wealth into the pockets of the lordly
partners in Montreal. Their rivalry wakened the sleepy Hudson's
Bay Company, which was now forced to leave the shores of the
inland sea and build posts in the interior.

* It is interesting to note the dominant share taken in the trade
and exploration of the North and West by men of Highland Scotch
and French extraction. For an account of La Verendrye see "The
Conquest of New France" and for the Scotch fur traders of
Montreal see "Adventurers of Oregon" (in "The Chronicles of

On the Pacific coast rivalry was still keener. The sea otter and
the seal were a lure to the men of many nations. Canada took its
part in this rivalry. In 1792, when the Russians were pressing
down from their Alaskan posts, when the Spaniards, claiming the
Pacific for their own, were exploring the mouth of the Fraser,
when Captain Robert Gray of Boston was sailing up the mighty
Columbia, and Captain Vancouver was charting the northern coasts
for the British Government, a young North-West Company factor,
Alexander Mackenzie, in his lonely post on Lake Athabaska, was
planning to cross the wilderness of mountains to the coast. With
a fellow trader, Mackay, and six Canadian voyageurs, he pushed up
the Peace and the Parsnip, passed by way of the Fraser and the
Blackwater to the Bella Coola, and thence to the Pacific, the
first white man to cross the northern continent. Paddling for
life through swirling rapids on rivers which rushed madly through
sheer rock-bound canyons, swimming for shore when rock or sand
bar had wrecked the precious bark canoe, struggling over
heartbreaking portages, clinging to the sides of precipices,
contending against hostile Indians and fear-stricken followers,
and at last winning through, Mackenzie summed up what will ever
remain one of the great achievements of exploration in the simple
record, painted in vermilion on a rock in Burke Channel:
Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of
July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three. The first bond
had been woven in the union of East and West. Between the eastern
provinces a stronger link was soon to be forged. The War of 1812
gave the scattered British colonies in America for the first time
a living sense of unity that transcended all differences, a
memory of perils and of victories which nourished a common

The War of 1812 was no quarrel of Canada's. It was merely an
incident in the struggle between England and Napoleon. At
desperate grips, both contestants used whatever weapons lay ready
to their hands. Sea power was England's weapon, and in her claim
to forbid all neutral traffic with her enemies and to exercise
the galling right of search, she pressed it far. France trampled
still more ruthlessly on American and neutral rights; but, with
memories of 1776 still fresh, the dominant party in the United
States was disposed to forgive France and to hold England to
strict account.

England had struck at France, regardless of how the blow might
injure neutrals. Now the United States sought to strike at
England through the colonies, regardless of their lack of any
responsibility for English policy. The "war hawks" of the South
and West called loudly for the speedy invasion and capture of
Canada as a means of punishing England. In so far as the British
North American colonies were but possessions of Great Britain,
overseas plantations, the course of the United States could be
justified. But potentially these colonies were more than mere
possessions. They were a nation in the making, with a right to
their own development; they were not simply a pawn in the game of
Britain and the United States. Quite aside from the original
rights or wrongs of the war, the invasion of Canada was from this
standpoint an act of aggression. "Agrarian cupidity, not maritime
right, wages this war," insisted John Randolph of Roanoke, the
chief opponent of the "war hawks" in Congress. "Ever since the
report of the Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House,
we have heard but one word--like the whippoorwill, but one
eternal monotonous tone--Canada, Canada, Canada!"

At the outset there appeared no question that the conquest of
Canada could be, as Jefferson forecast, other than "a mere matter
of marching." Eustis, the Secretary of War, prophesied that "we
can take Canada without soldiers." Clay insisted that the Canadas
were "as much under our command as the Ocean is under Great
Britain's." The provinces had barely half a million people,
two-thirds of them allied by ties of blood to Britain's chief
enemy, to set against the eight millions of the Republic. There
were fewer than ten thousand regular troops in all the colonies,
half of them down by the sea, far away from the danger zone, and
less than fifteen hundred west of Montreal. Little help could
come from England, herself at war with Napoleon, the master of
half of Europe.

But there was another side. The United States was not a unit in
the war; New England was apathetic or hostile to the war
throughout, and as late as 1814 two-thirds of the army of Canada
were eating beef supplied by Vermont and New York contractors.
Weak as was the militia of the Canadas, it was stiffened by
English and Canadian regulars, hardened by frontier experience,
and led for the most part by trained and able men, whereas an
inefficient system and political interference greatly weakened
the military force of the fighting States., Above all, the
Canadians were fighting for their homes. To them the war was a
matter of life and death; to the United States it was at best a
struggle to assert commercial rights or national prestige.

The course and fortunes of the war call for only the briefest
notice. In the first year the American plans for invading Upper
Canada came to grief through the surrender of Hull at Detroit to
Isaac Brock and the defeat at Queenston Heights of the American
army under Van Rensselaer. The campaign ended with not a foot of
Canadian soil in the invaders' hands, and with Michigan lost, but
Brock, Canada's brilliant leader, had fallen at Queenston, and at
sea the British had tasted unwonted defeat. In single actions one
American frigate after another proved too much for its British
opponent. It was a rude shock to the Mistress of the Seas.

The second year's campaign was more checkered. In the West the
Americans gained the command of the Great Lakes by rapid building
and good sailing, and with it followed the command of all the
western peninsula of Upper Canada. The British General Procter
was disastrously defeated at Moraviantown, and his ally, the
Shawanoe chief Tecumseh, one of the half dozen great men of his
race, was killed. York, later known as Toronto, the capital of
the province, was captured, and its public buildings were burned
and looted. But in the East fortune was kinder to the Canadians.
The American plan of invasion called for an attack on Montreal
from two directions; General Wilkinson was to sail and march down
the St. Lawrence from Sackett's Harbor with some eight thousand
men, while General Hampton, with four thousand, was to take the
historic route by Lake Champlain. Half-way down the St. Lawrence
Wilkinson came to grief. Eighteen hundred men whom he landed to
drive off a force of a thousand hampering his rear were
decisively defeated at Chrystler's Farm. Wilkinson pushed on for
a few days, but when word came that Hampton had also met disaster
he withdrew into winter quarters. Hampton had found Colonel de
Salaberry, with less than sixteen hundred troops, nearly all
French Canadians, making a stand on the banks of the Chateauguay,
thirty-five miles south of Montreal. He divided his force in
order to take the Canadians in front and rear, only to be
outmaneuvered and outfought in one of the most brilliant actions
of the war and forced to retire. In the closing months of the
year the Americans, compelled to withdraw from Fort George on the
Niagara, burned the adjoining town of Newark and turned its women
and children into the December snow. Drummond, who had succeeded
Brock, gained control of both sides of the Niagara and retaliated
in kind by laying waste the frontier villages from Lewiston to
Buffalo. The year closed with Amherstburg on the Detroit the only
Canadian post in American hands. On the sea the capture of the
Chesapeake by the Shannon salved the pride of England.

The last year of the war was also a year of varying fortunes. In
the far West a small body of Canadians and Indians captured
Prairie du Chien, on the Mississippi, while Michilimackinac,
which a force chiefly composed of French-Canadian voyageurs and
Indians had captured in the first months of war, defied a strong
assault. In Upper Canada the Americans raided the western
peninsula from Detroit but made their chief attack on the Niagara
frontier. Though they scored no permanent success, they fought
well and with a fair measure of fortune. The generals with whom
they had been encumbered at the outset of the war, Revolutionary
relics or political favorites, had now nearly all been replaced
by abler men--Scott, Brown, Exert--and their troops were better
trained and better equipped. In July the British forces on the
Niagara were decisively beaten at Chippawa. Three weeks later was
fought the bloodiest battle on Canadian soil, at Lundy's Lane,
either side's victory at the moment but soon followed by the
retirement of the invading force. The British had now outbuilt
their opponents on Lake Ontario; and, though American ships
controlled Lake Erie to the end, the Ontario flotilla aided
Drummond, Brock's able successor, in forcing the withdrawal of
Exert forces from the whole peninsula in November. Farther east a
third attempt to capture Montreal had been defeated in the
spring, after Wilkinson with four thousand men had failed to
drive five hundred regulars and militia from the stone walls of
Lacolle's Mill.

Until this closing year Britain had been unable, in face of the
more vital danger from Napoleon, to send any but trifling
reenforcements to what she considered a minor theater of the war.
Now, with Napoleon in Elba, she was free to take more vigorous
action. Her navy had already swept the daring little fleet of
American frigates and American merchant marine from the seas. Now
it maintained a close blockade of all the coast and, with troops
from Halifax, captured and held the Maine coast north of the
Penobscot. Large forces of Wellington's hardy veterans crossed
the ocean, sixteen thousand to Canada, four thousand to aid in
harrying the Atlantic coast, and later nine thousand to seize the
mouth of the Mississippi. Yet, strangely, these hosts fared
worse, because of hard fortune and poor leadership, than the
handful of militia and regulars who had borne the brunt of the
war in the first two years. Under Ross they captured Washington
and burned the official buildings; but under Prevost they failed
at Plattsburg; and under Pakenham, in January, 1815, they failed
against Andrew Jackson's sharpshooters at New Orleans.

Before the last-named fight occurred, peace had been made. Both
sides were weary of the war, which had now, by the seeming end of
the struggle between England and Napoleon in which it was an
incident, lost whatever it formerly had of reason. Though
Napoleon was still in Elba, Europe was far from being at rest,
and the British Ministers, backed by Wellington's advice, were
keen to end the war. They showed their contempt for the issues at
stake by sending to the peace conference at Ghent three
commissioners as incompetent as ever represented a great power,
Gambier, Goulburn, and Adams. To face these the United States had
sent John Quincy Adams, Albert Gallatin, Henry Clay, James
Bayard, and Jonathan Russell, as able and astute a group of
players for great stakes as ever gathered round a table. In these
circumstances the British representatives were lucky to secure
peace on the basis of the status quo ante. Canada had hoped that
sufficient of the unsettled Maine wilderness would be retained to
link up New Brunswick with the inland colony of Quebec, but this
proposal was soon abandoned. In the treaty not one of the
ostensible causes of the war was even mentioned.

The war had the effect of unifying Canadian feeling. Once more it
had been determined that Canada was not to lose her identity in
the nation to the south. In Upper Canada, especially in the west,
there were many recent American settlers who sympathized openly
with their kinsmen, but of these some departed, some were jailed,
and others had a change of heart. Lower Canada was a unit against
the invader, arid French-Canadian troops on every occasion
covered themselves with glory. To the Canadians, as the smaller
people, and as the people whose country had been the chief battle
ground, the war in later years naturally bulked larger than to
their neighbors. It left behind it unfortunate legacies of
hostility to the United States and, among the governing classes,
of deep-rooted opposition to its democratic institutions. But it
left also memories precious for a young people--the memory of
Brock and Macdonell and De Salaberry, of Laura Secord and her
daring tramp through the woods to warn of American attacks, of
Stony Creek and Lundy's Lane, Chrystler's Farm and Chateauguay,
the memory of sacrifice, of endurance, and of courage that did
not count the odds.

Nor were the evil legacies to last for all time. Three years
after peace had been made the statesmen of the United States and
of Great Britain had the uncommon sense to take a great step
toward banishing war between the neighbor peoples. The Rush-Bagot
Convention, limiting the naval armament on the Great Lakes to
three vessels not exceeding one hundred tons each, and armed only
with one eighteen-pounder, though not always observed in the
letter, proved the beginning of a sane relationship which has
lasted for a century. Had not this agreement nipped naval rivalry
in the bud, fleets and forts might have lined the shores and
increased the strain of policy and the likelihood of conflict.
The New World was already preparing to sound its message to the


The history of British North America in the quarter of a century
that followed the War of 1812 is in the main the homely tale of
pioneer life. Slowly little clearings in the vast forest were
widened and won to order and abundance; slowly community was
linked to community; and out of the growing intercourse there
developed the complex of ways and habits and interests that make
up the everyday life of a people.

All the provinces called for settlers, and they did not call in
vain. For a time northern New England continued to overflow into
the Eastern Townships of Lower Canada, the rolling lands south of
the St. Lawrence which had been left untouched by riverbound
seigneur and habitant. Into Upper Canada, as well, many
individual immigrants came from the south, some of the best the
Republic had to give, merchants and manufacturers with little
capital but much shrewd enterprise, but also some it could best
spare, fugitives from justice and keepers of the taverns that
adorned every four corners. Yet slowly this inflow slackened.
After the war the Canadian authorities sought to avoid republican
contagion and moreover the West of the United States itself was
calling for men.

But if fewer came in across the border, many more sailed from
across the seas. Not again until the twentieth century were the
northern provinces to receive so large a share of British
emigrants as came across in the twenties and thirties. Swarms
were preparing to leave the overcrowded British hives. Corn laws
and poor laws and famine, power-driven looms that starved the
cottage weaver, peace that threw an army on a crowded and callous
labor market, landlords who rack-rented the Connaughtman's last
potato or cleared Highland glens of folks to make way for sheep,
rulers who persisted in denying the masses any voice in their own
government--all these combined to drive men forth in tens of
thousands. Australia was still a land of convict settlements and
did not attract free men. To most the United States was the land
of promise. Yet, thanks to state aid, private philanthropy,
landlords' urging and cheap fares on the ships that came to St.
John and Quebec for timber, Canada and the provinces by the sea
received a notable share. In the quarter of a century following
the peace with Napoleon, British North America received more
British emigrants than the United States and the Australian
colonies together, though many were merely birds of passage.

The country west of the Great Lakes did not share in this flood
of settlement, except for one tragic interlude. Lord Selkirk, a
Scotchman of large sympathy and vision, convinced that emigration
was the cure for the hopeless misery he saw around him, acquired
a controlling interest in the Hudson's Bay Company, and sought to
plant colonies in a vast estate granted from its domains. Between
1811 and 1815 he sent out to Hudson Bay, and thence to the Red
River, two or three hundred crofters from the Highlands and the
Orkneys. A little later these were joined by some Swiss soldiers
of fortune who had fought for Canada in the War of 1812. But
Selkirk had reckoned without the partners of the North-West
Company of Montreal, who were not prepared to permit mere herders
and tillers to disturb the Indians and the game. The Nor'Westers
attacked the helpless colonists and massacred a score of them.
Selkirk retorted in kind, leading out an armed band which seized
the Nor'Westers' chief post at Fort William. The war was then
transferred to the courts, with heart-breaking delays and endless
expense. At last Selkirk died broken in spirit, and most of his
colonists drifted to Canada or across the border. But a handful
held on, and for fifty years their little settlement on the Red
River remained a solitary outpost of colonization.

Once arrived in Canada, the settler soon found that he had no
primrose path before him. Canada remained for many years a land
of struggling pioneers, who had little truck or trade with the
world out of sight of their log shacks. The habitant on the
seigneuries of Lower Canada continued to farm as his grandfather
had farmed, finding his holding sufficient for his modest needs,
even though divided into ever narrower ribbons as le bon Dieu
sent more and yet more sons to share the heritage. The
English-speaking settler, equipped with ax and sickle and flail,
with spinning wheel and iron kettle, lived a life almost equally
primitive and self-contained. He and his good wife grew the
wheat, the corn, and the potatoes, made the soap and the candles,
the maple sugar and the "yarbs," the deerskin shoes and the
homespun-cloth that met their needs. They had little to buy and
little to sell. In spite of the preference which Great Britain
gave Canadian grain, in return for the preference exacted on
British manufactured goods, practically no wheat was exported
until the close of this period. The barrels of potash and pearl-
ash leached out from the ashes of the splendid hardwood trees
which he burned as enemies were the chief source of ready money
for the backwoods settler. The one substantial export of the
colonies came, not from the farmer's clearing, but from the
forest. Great rafts of square pine timber were floated down the
Ottawa or the St. John every spring to be loaded for England. The
lumberjack lent picturesqueness to the landscape and the
vocabulary and circulated ready money, but his industry did
little directly to advance permanent settlement or the wise use
of Canadian resources.

The self-contained life of each community and each farm pointed
to the lack of good means of transport. New Brunswick and the
Canadas were fortunate in the possession of great lake and river
systems, but these were available only in summer and were often
impeded by falls and rapids. On these waters the Indian bark
canoe had given way to the French bateau, a square-rigged flat-
bottomed boat, and after the war the bateau shared the honors
with the larger Durham boat brought in from "the States."

Canadians took their full share in developing steamship
transportation. In 1809, two years after Fulton's success on the
Hudson, John Molson built and ran a steamer between Montreal and
Quebec. The first vessel to cross the Atlantic wholly under
steam, the Royal William, was built in Quebec and sailed from
that port in 1833. Following and rivaling American enterprise,
side-wheelers, marvels of speed and luxury for the day, were put
on the lakes in the thirties. Canals were built, the Lachine in
1821-25, the Welland around Niagara Falls in 1824-29, and the
Rideau, as a military undertaking, in 1826-32, all in response to
the stimulus given by De Witt Clinton, who had begun the "Erie
Ditch" in 1817. On land, road making made slower progress. The
blazed trail gave way to the corduroy road, and the pack horse to
the oxcart or the stage. Upper Canada had the honor of inventing,
in 1835, the plank road, which for some years thereafter became
the fashion through the forested States to the south. But at best
neither roads nor vehicles were fitted for carrying large loads
from inland farms to waterside markets.

Money and banks were as necessary to develop intercourse as roads
and canals. Until after the War of 1812, when army gold and army
bills ran freely, money was rare and barter served pioneer needs.
For many years after the war a jumble of English sovereigns and
shillings, of Spanish dollars, French crowns, and American
silver, made up the currency in use, circulating sometimes by
weight and sometimes by tale, at rates that were constantly
shifting. The position of the colonies as a link between Great
Britain and the United States, was curiously illustrated in the
currency system. The motley jumble of coins in use were rated in
Halifax currency, a mere money of account or bookkeeping
standard, with no actual coins to correspond, adapted to both
English and United States currency systems. The unit was the
pound, divided into shillings and pence as in England, but the
pound was made equal to four dollars in American money; it took 1
pound 4s. 4d. in Halifax currency to make 1 pound sterling. Still
more curious was the influence of American banking. Montreal
merchants in 1808 took up the ideas of Alexander Hamilton and
after several vain attempts founded the Bank of Montreal in 1817,
with those features of government charter, branch banks, and
restrictions as to the proportion of debts to capital and the
holding of real property which had marked Hamilton's plan. But
while Canadian banks, one after another, were founded on the same
model and throughout adhered to an asset-secured currency basis,
Hamilton's own country abandoned his ideas, usually for the

In the social life of the cities the influence of the official
classes and, in Halifax and Quebec, of the British redcoats
stationed there was all pervading. In the country the pioneers
took what diversions a hard life permitted. There were "bees" and
"frolics," ranging from strenuous barn raisings, with heavy
drinking and fighting, to mild apple parings or quilt patchings.
There were the visits of the Yankee peddler with his "notions,"
his welcome pack, and his gossip. Churches grew, thanks in part
to grants of government land or old endowments or gifts from
missionary societies overseas, but more to the zeal of lay
preachers and circuit riders. Schools fared worse. In Lower
Canada there was an excellent system of classical schools for the
priests and professional classes, and there were numerous
convents which taught the girls, but the habitants were for the
most part quite untouched by book learning. In Upper Canada
grammar schools and academies were founded with commendable
promptness, and a common school system was established in 1816,
but grants were niggardly and compulsion was lacking. Even at the
close of the thirties only one child in seven was in school, and
he was, as often as not, committed to the tender mercies of some
broken-down pensioner or some ancient tippler who could barely
sign his mark. There was but little administrative control by the
provincial authorities. The textbooks in use came largely from
the United States and glorified that land and all its ways in the
best Fourth-of-July manner, to the scandal of the loyal elect.
The press was represented by a few weekly newspapers; only one
daily existed in Upper Canada before 1840.

Against this background there developed during the period 1815-41
a tense constitutional struggle which was to exert a profound
influence on the making of the nation. The stage on which the
drama was enacted was a small one, and the actors were little
known to the world of their day, but the drama had an interest of
its own and no little significance for the future.

In one aspect the struggle for self-government in British North
America was simply a local manifestation of a world-wide movement
which found more notable expression in other lands. After a
troubled dawn, democracy was coming to its own. In England the
black reaction which had identified all proposals for reform with
treasonable sympathy for bloodstained France was giving way, and
the middle classes were about to triumph in the great franchise
reform of 1832. In the United States, after a generation of
conservatism, Jacksonian democracy was to sweep all before it.
These developments paralleled and in some measure influenced the
movement of events in the British North American provinces. But
this movement had a color of its own. The growth of self-
government in an independent country was one thing; in a colony
owing allegiance to a supreme Parliament overseas, it was quite
another. The task of the provinces--not solved in this period, it
is true, but squarely faced--was to reconcile democracy and

The people of the Canadas in 1791, and of the provinces by the
sea a little earlier, had been given the right to elect one house
of the legislature. More than this instalment of self-government
the authorities were not prepared to grant. The people, or rather
the property holders among them, might be entrusted to vote taxes
and appropriations, to present grievances, and to take a share in
legislation. They could not, however, be permitted to control the
Government, because, to state an obvious fact, they could not
govern themselves as well as their betters could rule them.
Besides, if the people of a colony did govern themselves, what
would become of the rights and interests of the mother country?
What would become of the Empire itself?

What was the use and object of the Empire? In brief, according to
the theory and practice then in force, the end of empire was the
profit which comes from trade; the means was the political
subordination of the colonies to prevent interference with this
profit; and the debit entry set against this profit was the cost
of the diplomacy, the armaments, and the wars required to hold
the overseas possessions against other powers. The policy was
still that which had been set forth in the preamble of the
Navigation Act of 1663, ensuring the mother country the sole
right to sell European wares in its colonies: "the maintaining a
greater correspondence and kindness between them [the subjects
at home and those in the plantations] and keeping them in a
firmer dependence upon it [the mother country], and rendering
them yet more beneficial and advantageous unto it in the further
Imployment and Encrease of English Shipping and Seamen, and vent
of English Woollen and other Manufactures and Commodities
rendering the Navigation to and from the same more safe and
cheape, and makeing this Kingdom a Staple not only of the
Commodities of those Plantations but also of the Commodities of
other countries and places for the supplying of them, and it
being the usage of other Nations to keep their [plantation] Trade
to themselves." Adam Smith had raised a doubt as to the wisdom
of the end. The American Revolution had raised a doubt as to the
wisdom of the means. Yet, with significant changes, the old
colonial system lasted for full two generations after 1776.

In the second British Empire, which rose after the loss of the
first in 1783, the means to the old end were altered. To secure
control and to prevent disaffection and democratic folly, the
authorities relied not merely on their own powers but on the
cooperation of friendly classes and interests in the colonies
themselves. Their direct control was exercised in many ways. In
last reserve there was the supreme authority of King and
Parliament to bind the colonies by treaty and by law and the
right to veto any colonial enactment. This was as before the
Revolution. One change lay in the renunciation in 1778 of the
intention to use the supreme legislative power to levy taxes,
though the right to control the fiscal system of the colonies in
conformity with imperial policy was still claimed and practised.
In fact, far from seeking to secure a direct revenue, the British
Government was more than content to pay part of the piper's fee
for the sake of being able to call the tune. "It is considered by
the Well wishers of Government," wrote Milnes, Lieutenant
Governor of Lower Canada, in 1800, "as a fortunate Circumstance
that the Revenue is not at present equal to the Expenditure." A
further change came in the minute control exercised by the
Colonial Office, or rather by the permanent clerks who, in
Charles Buller's phrase, were really "Mr. Mother Country." The
Governor was the local agent of the Colonial Office. He acted on
its instructions and was responsible to it, and to it alone, for
the exercise of the wide administrative powers entrusted to him.

But all these powers, it was believed, would fail in their
purpose if democracy were allowed to grow unchecked in the
colonies themselves. It was an essential part of the colonial
policy of the time to build up conservative social forces among
the people and to give a controlling voice in the local
administration to a nominated and official class. It has been
seen that the statesmen of 1791 looked to a nominated executive
and legislative council, an hereditary aristocracy, and an
established church, to keep the colony in hand. British
legislation fostered and supported a ruling class in the
colonies, and in turn this class was to support British
connection and British control. How this policy, half avowed and
half unconscious, worked out in each of the provinces must now be

In Upper Canada party struggles did not take shape until well
after the War of 1812. At the founding of the colony the people
had been very much of one temper and one condition. In time,
however, divergences appeared and gradually hardened into
political divisions. A governing class, or rather clique, was the
first to become differentiated. Its emergence was slower than in
New Brunswick, for instance, since Upper Canada had received few
of the Loyalists who were distinguished by social position or
political experience. In time a group was formed by the accident
of occupation, early settlement, residence in the little town of
York, the capital after 1794, the holding of office, or by some
advantage in wealth or education or capacity which in time became
cumulative. The group came to be known as the Family Compact.
There had been, in fact, no intermarriage among its members
beyond what was natural in a small and isolated community, but
the phrase had a certain appositeness. They were closely linked
by loyalty to Church and King, by enmity to republics and
republicans, by the memory of the sacrifice and peril they or
their fathers had shared, and by the conviction that the province
owed them the best living it could bestow. This living they
succeeded in collecting. "The bench, the magistracy, the high
officials of the established church, and a great part of the
legal profession," declared Lord Durham in 1839, "are filled by
the adherents of this party; by grant or purchase they have
acquired nearly the whole of the waste lands of the province;
they are all powerful in the chartered banks, and till lately
shared among themselves almost exclusively all offices of trust
and profit." Fortunately the last absurdity of creating Dukes of
Toronto and Barons of Niagara Falls was never carried through, or
rather was postponed a full century; but this touch was scarcely
needed to give the clique its cachet. The ten-year governorship
of Sir Peregrine Maitland (1818-28), a most punctilious person,
gave the finishing touches to this backwoods aristocracy.

The great majority of the group, men of the Scott and Boulton,
Sherwood and Hagerman and Allan MacNab types, had nothing but
their prejudices to distinguish them, but two of their number
were of outstanding capacity. John Beverley Robinson, Attorney
General from 1819 to 1829 and thereafter for over thirty years
Chief Justice, was a true aristocrat, distrustful of the rabble,
but as honest and highminded as he was able, seeking his
country's gain, as he saw it, not his own. A more rugged and
domineering character, equally certain of his right to rule and
less squeamish about the means, was John Strachan, afterwards
Bishop of Toronto. Educated a Presbyterian, he had come to Canada
from Aberdeen as a dominie but had remained as an Anglican
clergyman in a capacity promising more advancement. His abounding
vigor and persistence soon made him the dominant force in the
Church, and with a convert's zeal he labored to give it exclusive
place and power. The opposition to the Family Compact was of a
more motley hue, as is the way with oppositions. Opposition
became potential when new settlers poured into the province from
the United States or overseas, marked out from their Loyalist
forerunners not merely by differences of political background and
experience but by differences in religion. The Church of England
had been dominant among the Loyalists; but the newcomers were
chiefly Methodist and Presbyterian. Opposition became actual with
the rise of concrete and acute grievances and with the appearance
of leaders who voiced the growing discontent.

The political exclusiveness of the Family Compact did not rouse
resentment half as deep as did. their religious, or at least
denominational, pretensions. The refusal of the Compact to permit
Methodist ministers to perform the marriage ceremony was not soon
forgotten. There were scores of settlements where no clergyman of
the Established Church of England or of Scotland resided, and
marriages here had been of necessity performed by other
ministers. A bill passed the Assembly in 1824 legalizing such
marriages in the past and giving the required authority for the
future; and when it was rejected by the Legislative Council,
resentment flamed high. An attempt of Strachan to indict the
loyalty of practically all but the Anglican clergy intensified
this feeling; and the critics went on to call in question the
claims of his Church to establishment and landed endowment.

The land question was the most serious that faced the province.
The administration of those in power was condemned on three
distinct counts. The granting of land to individuals had been
lavish; it had been lax; and it had been marked by gross
favoritism. By 1824, when the population was only 150,000, some
11,000,000 acres had been granted; ninety years later, when the
population was 2,700,000, the total amount of improved land was
only 13,000,000 acres. Moreover the attempt to use vast areas of
the Crown Lands to endow solely the Anglican Church roused bitter
jealousies. Yet even these grievances paled in actual hardship
beside the results of holding the vast waste areas unimproved.
What with Crown Reserves, Clergy Reserves, grants to those who
had served the state, and holdings picked up by speculators from
soldiers or poorer Loyalists for a few pounds or a few gallons of
whisky, millions of acres were held untenanted and unimproved,
waiting for a rise in value as a consequence of the toil of
settlers on neighboring farms. Not one-tenth of the lands granted
were occupied by the persons to whom they had been assigned. The
province had given away almost all its vast heritage, and more
than nine-tenths of it was still in wilderness. These speculative
holdings made immensely more difficult every common neighborhood
task. At best the machinery and the money for building roads,
bridges, and schools were scanty, but with these unimproved
reserves thrust in between the scattered shacks, the task was
disheartening. "The reserve of two-sevenths of the land for the
Crown and clergy," declared the township of Sandwich in 1817,
"must for a long time keep the country a wilderness, a harbour
for wolves, a hindrance to a compact and good neighborhood."

A further source of discontent developed in the disabilities
affecting recent American settlers. A court decision in 1824 held
that no one who had resided in the United States after 1783 could
possess or transmit British citizenship, with which went the
right to inherit real estate. This decision bore heavily upon
thousands of "late Loyalists" and more recent incomers. Under the
instructions of the Colonial Office, a remedial bill was
introduced in the Legislative Council in 1827, but it was a
grudging, halfway measure which the Assembly refused to accept.
After several sessions of quarreling, the Assembly had its way;
but in the meantime the men affected had been driven into
permanent and active opposition.

The leaders of the movement of resistance which now began to
gather force included all sorts and conditions of men. The
fiercest and most aggressive were two Scotchmen, Robert Gourlay
and William Lyon Mackenzie. Gourlay, one of those restless and
indispensable cranks who make the world turn round, active,
obstinate, imprudent, uncompromisingly devoted to the common good
as he saw it, came to Canada in 1817 on settlement and
colonization bent. Innocent inquiries which he sent broadcast as
to the condition of the province gave the settlers an opportunity
for voicing their pent-up discontent, and soon Gourlay was
launched upon the sea of politics. Mackenzie, who came to Canada
three years later, was a born agitator, fearless, untiring, a
good hater, master of avitriolic vocabulary, and absolutely
unpurchasable. He found his vein in weekly journalism, and for
nearly forty years was the stormy petrel of Canadian politics.
From England there came, among others, Dr. John Rolph, shrewd and
politic, and Captain John Matthews, a half-pay artillery officer.
Peter Perry, downright and rugged and of a homely eloquence,
represented the Loyalists of the Bay of Quinte, which was the
center of Canadian Methodism. Among the newer comers from the
United States, the foremost were Barnabas Bidwell, who had been
Attorney General of Massachusetts but had fled to Canada in 1810
when accused of misappropriating public money, and his son,
Marshall Spring Bidwell, one of the ablest and most single-minded
men who ever entered Canadian public life. From Ireland came Dr.
William Warren Baldwin, whose son Robert, born in Canada, was
less surpassingly able than the younger Bidwell but equally
moderate and equally beyond suspicion of faction or self-seeking.

How were these men to bring about the reform which they desired?
Their first aim was obviously to secure a majority in the
Assembly, and by the election of 1828 they attained this first
object. But the limits of the power of the Assembly they soon
discovered. Without definite leadership, with no control over the
Administration, and with even legislative power divided, it could
effect little. It was in part disappointment at the failure of
the Assembly that accounted for the defeat of the Reformers in
1830, though four years later this verdict was again reversed.
Clearly the form of government itself should be changed. But in
what way? Here a divergence in the ranks of the Reformers became
marked. One party, looking upon the United States as the utmost
achievement in democracy, proposed to follow its example in
making the upper house elective and thus to give the people
control of both branches of the Legislature. Another group, of
whom Robert Baldwin was the chief, saw that this change would not
suffice. In the States the Executive was also elected by the
people. Here, where the Governor would doubtless continue to be
appointed. by the Crown, some other means must be found to give
the people full control. Baldwin found it in the British Cabinet
system, which gave real power to ministers having the confidence
of a majority in Parliament. The Governor would remain, but he
would be only a figurehead, a constitutional monarch acting, like
the King, only on the advice of his constitutional advisers.
Responsible government was Baldwin's one and absorbing idea, and
his persistence led to its ultimate adoption, along with a
proposal for an elective Council, in the Reform party's programme
in 1834. Delay in affecting this reform, Baldwin told the
Governor a year later, was "the great and all absorbing grievance
before which all others sank into insignificance." The remedy
could be applied "without in the least entrenching upon the just
and necessary prerogatives of the Crown, which I consider, when
administered by the Lieutenant. Governor through the medium of a
provincial ministry responsible to the provincial parliament, to
be an essential part of the constitution of the province." In
brief, Baldwin insisted that Simcoe's rhetorical outburst in
1791, when he declared that Upper Canada was "a perfect Image and
Transcript of the British Government and Constitution," should be
made effective in practice.

The course of the conflict between the Compact and the Reformers
cannot be followed in detail. It had elements of tragedy, as when
Gourlay was hounded into prison, where he was broken in health
and shattered in mind, and then exiled from the province for
criticism of the Government which was certainly no more severe
than now appears every day in Opposition newspapers. The conflict
had elements of the ludicrous, too, as when Captain Matthews was
ordered by his military superiors to return to England because in
the unrestrained festivities of New Year's Eve he had called on a
strolling troupe to play Yankee Doodle and had shouted to the
company, "Hats off"; or when Governor Maitland overturned
fourteen feet of the Brock Monument to remove a copy of
Mackenzie's journal, the "Colonial Advocate", which had
inadvertently been included in the corner stone.

The weapons of the Reformers were the platform, the press, and
investigations and reports by parliamentary committees. The
Compact hit back in its own way. Every critic was denounced as a
traitor. Offending editors were put in the pillory. Mackenzie was
five times expelled from the House, only to be returned five
times by his stubborn supporters. Matters were at a deadlock, and
it became clear either that the British Parliament, which alone
could amend the Constitution, must intervene or else that the
Reformers would be driven to desperate paths. But before matters
came to this pass, an acute crisis had arisen in Lower Canada
which had its effect on all the provinces.

In Lower Canada, the conflict which had been smoldering before
the war had since then burst into flame. The issues of this
conflict were more clearcut than in any of the other provinces. A
coherent opposition had formed earlier, and from beginning to end
it dominated the Assembly. The governing forces were outwardly
much the same as in Upper Canada--a Lieutenant Governor
responsible to the Colonial Office, an Executive Council
appointed by the Crown but coming to have the independent power
of a well-entrenched bureaucracy, and a Legislative Council
nominated by the Crown and, until nearly the end of the period,
composed chiefly of the same men who served in the Executive. The
little clique in control had much less popular backing than the
Family Compact of Upper Canada and were of lower caliber. Robert
Christie, an English-speaking member of the Assembly, who may be
counted an unprejudiced witness since he was four times expelled
by the majority in that house, refers to the real rulers of the
province as "a few rapacious, overbearing, and irresponsible
officials, without stake or other connexion in the country than
their interests." At their head stood Jonathan Sewell, a
Massachusetts Loyalist who had come to Lower Canada by way of New
Brunswick in 1789, and who for over forty years as Attorney
General, Chief Justice, or member of Executive and Legislative
Councils, was the power behind the throne.

The opposition to the bureaucrats at first included both English
and French elements, but the English minority were pulled in
contrary ways. Their antecedents were not such as to lead them to
accept meekly either the political or the social pretensions of
the "Chateau Clique"; the American settlers in the Eastern
Townships, and the Scotch and American merchants who were
building up Quebec and Montreal, had called for self-government,
not government from above. Yet their racial and religious
prejudices were strong and made them unwilling to accept in place
of the bureaucrats the dominance of an unprogressive habitant
majority. The first leader of the opposition which developed in
the Assembly after the War of 1812 was James Stuart, the son of
the leading Anglican clergyman of his day, but he soon fell away
and became a mainstay of the bureaucracy. His brother Andrew,
however, kept up for many years longer a more disinterested
fight. Another Scot, John Neilson, editor of the Quebec
"Gazette", was until 1833 foremost among the assailants of the
bureaucracy. But steadily, as the extreme nationalist claims of
the French-speaking majority provoked reprisals and as the
conviction grew upon the minority that they would never be
anything but a minority,* most of them accepted clique rule as a
lesser evil than "rule by priest and demagogue."

* The natural increase of the French-Canadian race under British
rule is one of the most extraordinary phenomena in social
history. The following figures illustrate the rate of that
increase: the number was 16,417 in 1706; 69,810 in 1765; 479,288
in 1825; 697,084 in 1844. The population of Canada East or Lower
Canada in 1844 was made up as follows: French Canadians, 524,244;
English Canadians. 85,660; English, 11,895; Irish, 43,982;
Scotch, 13,393; Americans, 11,946; born in other countries, 1329;
place of birth not specified, 4635.

In the reform movement in Upper Canada there were a multiplicity
of leaders and a constant shifting of groups. In Lower Canada,
after the defection of James Stuart in 1817, there was only one
leader, Louis Joseph Papineau. For twenty years Papineau was the
uncrowned king of the province. His commanding figure, his powers
of oratory, outstanding in a race of orators, his fascinating
manners, gave him an easy mastery over his people. Prudence did
not hamper his flights; compromise was a word not found in his
vocabulary. Few men have been better equipped for the agitator's

His father, Joseph Papineau, though of humble birth, had risen
high in the life of the province. He had won distinction in his
profession as a notary, as a speaker in the Assembly, and as a
soldier in the defense of Quebec against the American invaders of
1775. In 1804 he had purchased the seigneury of La Petite Nation,
far up the Ottawa. Louis Joseph Papineau followed in his father's
footsteps. Born in 1786, he served loyally and bravely in the War
of 1812. In the same year he entered the Assembly and made his
place at a single stroke. Barely three years after his election,
he was chosen Speaker, and with a brief break he held that post
for over twenty years.

Papineau did not soon or lightly begin his crusade against the
Government. For the first five years of his Speakership, he
confined himself to the routine duties of his office. As late as
1820 he pronounced a glowing eulogy on the Constitution which
Great Britain had granted the province. In that year he tested
the extent of the privileges so granted by joining in the attempt
of the Assembly to assert its full control of the purse; but it
was not until the project of uniting the two Canadas had made
clear beyond dispute the hostility of the governing powers that
he began his unrelenting warfare against them.

There was much to be said for a reunion of the two Canadas. The
St. Lawrence bound them together, though Acts of Parliament had
severed them. Upper Canada, as an inland province, restricted in
its trade with its neighbor to the south, was dependent upon
Lower Canada for access to the outer world. Its share of the
duties collected at the Lower Canada ports until 1817 had been
only one-eighth, afterwards increased to one-fifth. This
inequality proved a constant source of friction. The crying
necessity of cooperation for the improvement of the St. Lawrence
waterway gave further ground for the contention that only by a
reunion of the two provinces could efficiency be secured. In
Upper Canada the Reformers were in favor of this plan, but the
Compact, fearful of any disturbance of their vested interests,
tended to oppose it. In Lower Canada the chief support came from
the English element. The governing clique, as the older
established body, had no doubt that they could bring the western
section under their sway in case of union. But the main reason
for their advocacy was the desire to swamp the French Canadians
by an English majority. Sewell, the chief supporter of the
project, frankly took this ground. The Governor, Lord Dalhousie,
and the Colonial Office adopted his view; and in 1822 an attempt
was made to rush a Union Bill through the British Parliament
without any notice to those most concerned. It was blocked for
the moment by the opposition of a Whig group led by Burdett and
Mackintosh; and then Papineau and Neilson sailed to London and
succeeded in inducing the Ministry to stay its hand. The danger
was averted; but Papineau had become convinced that if his people
were to retain the rights given them by their "Sacred Charter"
they would have to fight for them. If they were to save their
power, they must increase it.

How could this be done? Baldwin's bold and revolutionary policy
of making the Executive responsible to the Assembly did not seem
within the range of practical politics. It meant in practice the
abandonment of British control, and this the Colonial Office was
not willing to grant. Antoine Panet and other Assembly leaders
had suggested in 1815 that it would be well, "if it were
possible, to grant a number of places as Councillors or other
posts of honour and of profit to those who have most influence
over the majority in the Assembly, to hold so long as they
maintained this influence," and James Stuart urged the same
tentative suggestion a year later. But even before this the
Colonial Office had made clear its position. "His Majesty's
Government," declared the Colonial Secretary, Lord Bathurst, in
1814, "never can admit so novel & inconvenient a Principle as
that of allowing the Governor of a Colony to be divested of his
responsibility [to the Colonial Office] for the acts done during
his administration or permit him to shield himself under the
advice of any Persons, however respectable, either from their
character or their Office."

Two other courses had the sanction of precedent, one of English,
the other of American example. The English House of Commons had
secured its dominant place in the government of the country by
its control of the purse. Why should not the Assembly do
likewise? One obvious difficulty lay in the fact that the
Assembly was not the sole authority in raising revenue. The
British Parliament had retained the power to levy certain duties
as part of its system of commercial control, and other casual and
territorial dues lay in the right of the Crown. From 1820,
therefore, the Assembly's main aim was twofold--to obtain control
of these remaining sources of revenue, and by means of this power
to bludgeon the Legislative Council and the Governor into
compliance with its wishes. The Colonial Office made concessions,
offering to resign all its taxing powers in return for a
permanent civil list, that is, an assurance that the salaries of
the chief officials would not be questioned annually. The offer
was reasonable in itself but, as it would have hampered the full
use of the revenue bludgeon, it was scornfully declined.

The other aim of the Patriotes, as the Opposition styled
themselves, was to conquer the Legislative Council by making it
elective. Papineau, in spite of his early prejudices, was drawn
more and more into sympathy with the form of democracy worked out
in the United States. In fact, he not only looked to it as a
model but, as the thirties wore on, he came to hope that moral,
if not physical, support might be found there for his campaign
against the English Government. After 1830 the demand for an
elective Legislative Council became more and more insistent.

The struggle soon reached a deadlock. Governor followed Governor:
Lord Dalhousie, Sir James Kempt, Lord Aylmer, all in turn failed
to allay the storm. The Assembly raised its claims each session
and fulminated against all the opposing powers in windy
resolutions. Papineau, embittered by continued opposition,
carried away by his own eloquence, and steadied by no
responsibility of office, became more implacable in his demands.
Many of his moderate supporters--Neilson, Andrew Stuart, Quesnel,
Cuvillier--fell away, only to be overwhelmed in the first
election at a wave of the great tribune's hand. Business was
blocked, supplies were not voted, and civil servants made shift
without salary as best they could.

The British Government awoke, or half awoke, to the seriousness
of the situation. In 1835 a Royal Commission of three, with the
new Governor General, Lord Gosford, as chairman, was appointed to
make inquiries and to recommend a policy. Gosford, a genial
Irishman, showed himself most conciliatory in both private
intercourse and public discourse. Unfortunately the rash act of
the new Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, Sir Francis Bond
Head, in publishing the instructions of the Colonial Office,
showed that the policy of Downing Street was the futile one of
conciliation without concession. The Assembly once more refused
to grant supplies without redress of grievances. The
Commissioners made their report opposing any substantial change.
In March, 1837, Lord John Russell, Chancellor of the Exchequer in
the Melbourne Ministry, opposed only by a handful of Radical and
Irish members, carried through the British Parliament a series of
resolutions authorizing the Governor to take from the Treasury
without the consent of the Assembly the funds needed for civil
administration, offering control of all revenues in return for a
permanent civil list, and rejecting absolutely the demands alike
for a responsible Executive and for an elective Council.

British statesmanship was bankrupt. Its final answer to the
demands for redress was to stand pat. Papineau, without seeing
what the end would be, held to his course. Younger men, carried
away by the passions he had aroused, pushed on still more
recklessly. If reform could not be obtained within the British
Empire, it must be sought by setting up an independent republic
on the St. Lawrence or by annexation to the United States.

In Upper Canada, at the same time, matters had come to the verge
of rebellion. Sir John Colborne had, just before retiring as
Lieutenant Governor in 1836, added fuel to the flames by creating
and endowing some forty-four rectories, thus strengthening the
grip of the Anglican Church on the province. His successor, Sir
Francis Bond Head, was a man of such rash and unbalanced judgment
as to lend support to the tradition that he was appointed by
mistake for his cousin, Edmund Head, who was made Governor of
United Canada twenty years later. He appointed to his Executive
Council three Reformers, Baldwin, Rolph, and Dunn, only to make
clear by his refusal to consult them his inability to understand
their demand for responsible government. All the members of the
Executive Council thereupon resigned, and the Assembly refused
supplies. Head dissolved the House and appealed to the people.

The weight of executive patronage, the insistence of the Governor
that British connection was at stake, the alarms caused by some
injudicious statements of Mackenzie and his Radical ally in
England, Joseph Hume, and the defection of the Methodists, whose
leader, Egerton Ryerson, had quarreled with Mackenzie, resulted
in the overwhelming defeat of the Reformers. The sting of defeat,
the failure of the Family Compact to carry out their eleventh
hour promises of reform, and the passing of Lord John Russell's
reactionary resolutions convinced a section of the Reform party,
in Upper Canada as well as in Lower Canada, that an appeal to
force was the only way out.

Toward the end of 1837 armed rebellion broke out in both the
Canadas. In both it was merely a flash in the pan. In Lower
Canada there had been latterly much use of the phrases of
revolution and some drilling, but rebellion was neither
definitely planned nor carefully organized. The more extreme
leaders of the Patriotes simply drifted into it, and the actual
outbreak was a haphazard affair. Alarmed by the sudden and
seemingly concerted departure of Papineau and some of his
lieutenants, Nelson, Brown, and O'Callaghan, from Montreal, the
Government gave orders for their arrest. The petty skirmish that
followed on November 16, 1837, was the signal for the rallying of
armed habitants around impromptu leaders at various points. The
rising was local and spasmodic. The vast body of the habitants
stood aloof. The Catholic Church, which earlier had sympathized
with Papineau, had parted from him when he developed radical and
republican views. Now the strong exhortations of the clergy to
the faithful counted for much in keeping peace, and in one view
justified the policy of the British Government in seeking to
purchase their favor. The Quebec and Three Rivers districts
remained quiet. In the Richelieu and Montreal districts, where
disaffection was strongest, the habitants lacked leadership,
discipline, and touch with other groups, and were armed only with
old flintlocks, scythes, or clubs. Here and there a brave and
skillful leader, such as Dr. Jean Olivier Chenier, was thrown up
by the evidence opened a way out of the difficult situation. A
year later Peel and Webster, representing the two countries,
exchanged formal explanations, and the incident was closed.

In Upper Canada many a rebel sympathizer lay for months in jail,
but only two leaders, Lount and Matthews, both brave men, paid
the penalty of death for their failure. In Lower Canada the new
Governor General, Lord Durham, proved more clement, merely
banishing to Bermuda eight of the captured leaders. When, a year
later, after Durham's return to England, a second brief rising
broke out under Robert Nelson, it was stamped out in a week,
twelve of the ringleaders were executed, and others were deported
to Botany Bay.

The rebellion, it seemed, had failed and failed miserably. Most
of the leaders of the extreme factions in both provinces had been
discredited, and the moderate men had been driven into the
government camp. Yet in one sense the rising proved successful.
It was not the first nor the last time that wild and misguided
force brought reform where sane and moderate tactics met only
contempt. If men were willing to die to redress their wrongs, the
most easy-going official could no longer deny that there was a
case for inquiry and possibly for reform. Lord Melbourne's
Government had acted at once in sending out to Canada, as
Governor General and High Commissioner with sweeping powers, one
of the ablest men in English public life. Lord Durham was an

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