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IBIHi:'

*




STUDIES IN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE

Edited by Prof. W. A. S. HEWINS,

Director of the London School of Economics.



SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA

AND HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED.



SELF-GOVERNMENT
IN CANADA

AND HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED:



THE STORY OF

LORD DURHAM'S

REPORT.



By F. BRADSHAW, B.A.,

Senior Hulme Exhibitioner, Brasenose Coil,, Oxford*



Honfcon :
P. S. KING & SON,

ORCHARD HOUSE, WESTMINSTER*
1903*







il



PREFACE.

THIS volume is the result of research work carried
on in the seminar of the Director at the London
School of Economics and Political Science.

The Author wishes to acknowledge the unfail-
ing kindness of the Director, Professor W. A. S.
Hewins, M.A., who was not only ready on all
occasions to give him the benefit of his experience,
but also made time to read through the proof-
sheets.

To Mr. Graham Wallas, who suggested the
subject and supplied useful hints from time to
time, as well as to Mr. J. McKillop, Librarian
of the British Library of Political Science, for
help with the bibliographies, the best thanks of
the Author are tendered.

F. B.



'37



CONTENTS.



CHAP

I. LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY I

II. THE CESSION OF CANADA AND THE TWO CONSTITUTIONS 25

III. " LA NATION CANADIENNE " 46

IV. THE PARTING OF THE WAYS 58

V. ENGLISH Versus FRENCH 74

VI. THE REBELLION QO

VII. THE UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS . . ' . . IO2

VIII. THE BEGINNINGS OF RADICALISM IOq

IX. THE RISE AND FALL OF MACKENZIE . . . -II?

X. LORD DURHAM IN CANADA. THE ORDINANCE. . . 138

xi. THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL'S TOUR 153

XII. DISILLUSIONMENT 165

XIII. RESIGNATION 177

XIV. THE RETURN TO ENGLAND 204

xv. LORD DURHAM'S RECEPTION IN ENGLAND . . . 221

XVI. THE DURHAM REPORT : LOWER CANADA .... 257

XVII. ,, ,, UPPER CANADA AND THE MARI-
TIME PROVINCES . . . 274

XVIII. ,, ,, PUBLIC LANDS EMIGRATION . 30!

XIX. ,, ,, RECOMMENDATIONS . . . 318



BIBLIOGRAPHY 361

INDEX 375



SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA,

AND HOW IT WAS ACHIEVED.



CHAPTER I.
LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY.

JOHN GEORGE LAMBTON, first Earl of Durham, the
eldest son of William Henry Lambton, who sat in
parliament as the member for Durham City, was of gentle
but not noble birth, and the family estates descended to
him in unbroken male succession from the twelfth century.
He was born at Berkeley Square, London, on April I2th,
1792, and died at Cowes, July 28th, 1840.

After leaving school at Eton, he served in the army
during 1810 and 1811, first as cornet and afterwards as
lieutenant of the loth Dragoons. He took his seat as a
Whig member for the County of Durham in 1813, after a
bye-election, and continued as one of the county's
representatives till his elevation to the Peerage in 1828.
Durham was Lord Privy Seal in Earl Grey's Reform
Administration, and on his resignation, March I4th, 1833,
he was created Viscount Lambton and Earl of Durham.

In politics Durham was a thorough Radical, not only as
the heir of a Radical family, but from sincere conviction.
Some of his most telling speeches in the House were on
behalf of oppressed nationalities. He spoke in favour of
mediation when Norway was struggling against Sweden,
and wished to preserve the Republic of Genoa in 1815.

S,G,C, B



2 SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

He opposed the Corn Bill of 1815, and attacked the
Government for the Peterloo massacre in 1819. Naturally
he sympathised with the demand for parliamentary reform.
His plans included electoral districts, household suffrage,
and triennial parliaments. Durham's marriage with Earl
Grey's daughter increased his political importance, and he
was made a Privy Councillor and Lord Privy Seal in the
Reform Administration of 1830. He had a considerable
share in the drafting of the great Reform Bill ; one of his
suggestions was the introduction of the ballot, but the
Whigs were not yet ready for such a measure, and Durham
soon became an object of suspicion to his fellow-ministers.
Durham's education was by no means worthy of his natural
gifts as a statesman, and his hatred for half-measures,
combined with a complete disregard for the remonstrances
of the more timid members of the Cabinet, ill fitted him for
a subordinate position. One of those who had experienced
Durham's scorn nicknamed him the "Dissenting Minister,"
and it was a relief to all parties when he accepted the post
of Ambassador Extraordinary to St. Petersburg in 1832.
Within a few weeks he returned; for, as might have been
expected, he had too little control of his feelings and
perhaps too great an impatience of the obvious insincerity
of Russian diplomacy to render his success possible in such
a sphere.

Soon after his return from St. Petersburg Durham
resigned his seat in the Cabinet. Already he was giving
signs of that malady which was to carry him off, and his
obvious unpopularity with his colleagues was another
determining cause. Earl Grey, despite Durham's frequent
outbursts of rudeness towards himself, was devotedly
attached to his son-in-law, and wished to bring him into the
Cabinet again. The other members objected, and Durham
himself was not too eager to resume a subordinate position.
The extreme Whigs or Radicals were discontented with
the Reform Bill, which really threw all power into the
hands of the hated middle classes. The various Reform



LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY. 3

Clubs and Unions felt that they who had made reform
possible by their agitation had been tricked by the Whigs,
and began to consider the possibility of a separate Radical
Party. They were as strong in leaders as they were weak
in numbers in Parliament. Hume, Roebuck, Grote,
Molesworth, Leader, and others proved as little friendly to
the ministry of Lord Melbourne as they were to that of
Earl Grey, and when the actual leadership of the Tories
passed into the able hands of Sir Robert Peel, it was
evident that the days of the ministry were numbered.
Melbourne only retained office by the good-will of
O'Connell, the repealer, and the Radicals ; and when the
troubles in Canada began to grow serious the Radicals
openly abandoned the ministry, and scoffed at the high-
handed measures that had been devised by a Liberal
minister to crush out Liberal movements. Hume and
Roebuck boasted openly of the "coming triumph of the
Canadian Republicans, and the quick suppression of the
rising by Colborne only angered them the more.

While the Whigs were sinking deeper every day in
popular estimation, although they had forced Peel to resign
in 1835, Durham was a prey to two opposite tendencies.
His influence in the North of England was very great, and
it was yet possible that he might make his own terms with
the Whigs, now led by Melbourne. He had been present
at a banquet to Earl Grey at Edinburgh in 1834, and his
speech there against the lukewarmness of certain so-called
"Reformers" had been taken by Lord Brougham, the
Chancellor, as a personal attack. The warfare continued,
both in newspapers and at meetings, and Durham had
followed up his Edinburgh speech by expressing the most
advanced Radical sentiments at other meetings in Scotland.
Durham was a sincere friend to the theories of the Radicals,
but their practices did not appeal to him so strongly. He
was himself a wealthy landowner, and there \yere signs of
socialistic movements among the Radicals. Moreover, the
Radicals were not agreed upon their programme, and

.B 2



4 SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

Durham could not count upon much support, except from
leaders of the stamp of Grote, and Molesworth. The
philosophic Radicals appreciated Durham, the others were
ready to accept him if he could convince them that he had
the gift of leadership.

Durham was, however, too dangerous to leave at liberty,
and he was sent a second time to St. Petersburg. Again
Durham felt out of his element, and soon returned. He
met with a great reception from the Radicals, and for a
moment the ministers were alarmed. Durham's irresolution,
fortunately for himself, allowed the chance to pass. It was
an ingenious scheme to send the Radical Earl to Canada
to restore order, and mediate between the warring parties
there. In any case the ministry would score; if Durham
succeeded an unlikely event the ministry might hope
for a further lease of power from the country, and they
would share the credit of his success ; if he failed, it would
provide an excuse for acknowledging the independence of
a troublesome colony, as the Radicals proposed, while at
the same time it would ruin Durham politically for ever.
The Earl had only one friend in the Cabinet Lord John
Russell; Melbourne despised Durham's abilities as much
as he feared his ambition. In sending Durham the
ministry, from their own point of view, made a mistake, as
Melbourne acknowledged in a private letter a few months
afterwards. At last the Earl felt himself his own master,
and his terms were hard. Only at the personal request of
the Queen would Durham accept the post. He had his
way. It was not the first time that Durham had been
designated as Governor- General of Canada. Before Lord
Gosford set out on his ill-omened mission, Durham was
sounded, but the Earl knew little about Canada; his
interests lay in political reform at home, and his personal
health was not good.

On January i6th, 1838, Parliament reassembled. Men
were on the tiptoe of expectation ; for the Christmas recess
had occurred too soon after the outbreak of the rebellion to



LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY. 5

allow of a policy being outlined by the Government. Now
the unseemly jubilation of some of the Radicals had been
somewhat toned down by the easy way in which the rising
had been suppressed. The Tories were delighted at the
prospect of a ministerial defeat, for they knew that without
the support of O'Connell and the Radicals, the Melbourne
Government was at their mercy. Many of the Irish wilfully
absented themselves, and the Radicals were avowedly
hostile; Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington
whipped up their supporters, and Melbourne was not sure
of a majority even in the House of Commons. In per-
formance of a promise given before the prorogation Lord
John Russell unfolded his scheme. He proposed to sus-
pend the Lower Canadian Constitution for two years, and
moved an Address to the Throne pledging the House to
vindicate the Royal authority in Canada. He proceeded
to give a short account of the history of the colony since its
cession, and put forward the view that as the Assembly of
Lower Canada had expressed itself satisfied with the recom-
mendations of the Commissioners of 1828, their Report was
the standard by which it was fair to decide whether the
Canadians had any real grievances. His speech was able,
but from its special pleading was not likely to convince
the followers of Sir Robert Peel. Two passages are worthy
of quotation. He gave an outline of the intended Bill, and
sketched the character which the new Governor must bear,
if his mission should be a success. " I think it is most
important that the person to be sent from this country
should be one whose conduct and character should be
beyond exception ; a person not conversant solely with
matters of administration, but with the more important
affairs which are brought before parliament. I think he
should be conversant with the affairs of the various European
States ; and, moreover, that it should be implied by his
nomination, that we were not at all opposed to opinions
the most liberal, and that we were favourable to popular
feelings and popular rights. Having said this much, I



6 SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

know not why I should refrain from adding that Her
Majesty has been pleased to intrust the conduct of this
affair to one whom her advisers think in every respect
fitted for the charge, namely, the Earl of Durham ; and
that noble lord, having accepted the office, will proceed in
due time to perform its important duties." The second
passage forms the concluding part of the speech. He said
that although a time might arrive when he would not be
indisposed "to give the 1,400,000 of our present fellow-
subjects who are living in the provinces of North America
a participation in the perfect freedom enjoyed by the
Mother Country," he thought that the day for separation
was still in the distance.

It was soon evident that, although the enemies of the
ministry had no alternative scheme to propose, they were
quite capable of rendering that of the Government unwork-
able. Hume and Grote blamed the Government for first
driving the colonists to desperation, and then applying
coercion to avoid the effects of their own blundering. Sir
Robert Peel's speech was scarcely worthy of him, but he
had the magnanimity to expose Hume's inconsistency in
blaming the ministry for the rebellion which he had him-
self partly caused by his unpatriotic advice to Mackenzie,
the leader of the rising in Upper Canada. Buller and
Leader also spoke. The former, probably knowing that
he for one would have to assist Lord Durham in executing
the arrangements now being made, insisted that the Royal
authority should be vindicated ; there was no rational
ground for separation, but the just grievances of the
Canadians should be remedied as speedily as possible.
Leader attempted to adjourn the House, for the Radicals
were unwilling to precipitate the fall of the ministry, while
at the same time they could not support the Bill. By a
clever manoeuvre Russell carried the Address with a large
majority, but he offended many of his supporters.

On January i;th the Bill was brought in. Russell
explained its leading provisions. His explanation was



LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY. 7

not very clear, and the new Bill was mercilessly criticised
by Peel. Lord John dared not risk a defeat, and he allowed
Peel to amend in such a way that it was all but impossible
to know what powers were or were not conferred on Lord
Durham. On the 22nd the Bill was read a second time,
and then Roebuck, 1 on the motion of Grote, was heard at
the Bar of the House against the Bill. Some difficulty
was raised as to the capacity in which he appeared, but it
was smoothed over. Roebuck addressed the House in one
of his usual speeches. Argument there was none, but what
it lacked in argument was made up in invective. He
attempted to show that the Canadians were wholly in the
right, but the House heard him with little attention. He
was followed by a number of speakers, all of whom agreed
in nothing except eulogy of Lord Durham. On the 23rd
the second reading was carried by 246. Only a little knot
of Radicals opposed it, and even they did so as a mere
formality. At the third reading, on January 29th, the
Noes fell to 8, but it was a Bill amended to suit Sir Robert
Peel and the Tories. The debate is dreary to read, for it
only shows the utter absence of any real appreciation of
the issues at stake. Men talked airily of the inevitable
separation from the Mother Country, or proposed various
impossible schemes for the federation or union of the
British North-American Provinces. That the colonists
themselves had any views on the matter never seemed to
occur to the speakers. The ignorance upon the troubles
in Upper Canada was only equalled by the perversity with
which ministers and Opposition alike approached the
question of Lower Canada. The one redeeming feature
in the debate was the readiness with which all parties, from
Lord John Russell to Hume, agreed in ascribing to Durham
the most despotic authority in his new government.

If ever a man had an excuse for over-estimating his

1 Roebuck, when M.P. for Bath, had supported the French Cana-
dians, and had been made their Agent by the Assembly of Lower
Canada. He lost his seat in 1835.



8 SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

powers, Lord Durham had. Russell said 1 it was proposed
" to set aside and suspend for a time the present Constitu-
tion of Lower Canada, and to place the authority despotic
authority if the right hon. baronet (Sir Robert Peel)
would have it so in the hands of the Governor-General in
Council." Again, on January 26th, Russell said, 2 " In
short, Lord Durham in proceeding to Lower Canada will
proceed there with our instructions, and will not consider
his discretion fettered by any resolution or any vote which
has been come to by the House on the subject." Moles-
worth was even more emphatic 3 : "The Governor alone
should be made answerable for every act done or omitted ;
all responsibility should be concentrated upon his single
head, and the noble lord should be made to feel that,
though he alone would merit all the praise of success, he
must equally bear all the odium, blame, and deep discredit
of failure. ... In proportion as Lord Durham was
independent of the control of the Colonial Office, or even
of Her Majesty's Government, in exactly the same ratio
would the probability of a successful termination of these
affairs increase. . . . The first act of the noble lord should
be one of grace and mercy, an oblivion of all past political
offences a general amnesty." Finally, Hume, speaking
for the " Friends of Canada," said 4 "that he should be
sorry to see the despotic power granted by that Act for
despotic it was in every sense of the term exercised by
any person but Lord Durham, to whom he had no
objection to confide it."

The course of the debate in the House of Lords, where
Lord Glenelg, the Colonial Secretary, brought in the Bill
on January iSth, was not dissimilar in some respects to
that in the Commons. Glenelg had not forgotten the
dispatches of Gosford telling of the dreams of Papineau
and " la nation Canadienne," and expressed his opinion
that the mutual hostility of the English and the French

1 " Hansard," Vol. XL., p. 154. 3 Ibid., p. 358.

2 Ibid., p. 546. 4 Ibid., p. 584.



LORD DURHAM AND HIS PARTY. 9

was at the root of the troubles of Lower Canada. This
theory of the rebellion and an attempt to show that the
Government had not been caught napping by the rebels,
in the matter of troops stationed in North America,
practically constituted the whole of his speech. He was
followed by Brougham ; the ex-Chancellor had never
forgiven the ministry, and his merciless sarcasm and irony
were never displayed with more zest. He ridiculed alike
the past actions and present proposals of the ministry, and
Melbourne's reply was quite ineffective. Wellington was
all-powerful in the House of Lords, and although he made
a show of defending Melbourne against some of the more
unfair attacks of Brougham, it only displayed the former's
impotence the more. After Wellington, Goderich (now
Lord Ripon) and Lansdowne spoke ; the former as an ex-
Colonial Secretary to express regret for having by an
imprudent confidence in the Assembly's good intentions
helped on the crisis he sought to avoid; the latter to
attack Brougham for having talked for three hours without
touching upon the real point at issue.

Then Durham arose and made a most touching speech,
full of generous confidence that the patriotism of his
opponents equalled his own. 1 He did not wish to take
part in the debate, but to address a few words explanatory
of the general principles which would influence his conduct
in the discharge of the grave duties imposed upon him,
and of the reasons which had induced him to accept the
trust. He would not go to Canada to support a party, but
to assert the supremacy, in the first place, of Her Majesty's
Government and to vindicate everywhere the majesty of
the law. He would not look upon any part of the
Canadians as French, but merely as Her Majesty's
subjects, and would defend the rights of all, whether
French habitants in Quebec or British merchants in
Montreal. He did not think that he would, as some
speakers had said, execute a thankless task in carrying out
1 " Hansard," Vol. XL., p. 240.



io SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

with him the measure for the suspension of the French-
Canadian Constitution, for it was already de facto sus-
pended by the rebellion of the Canadians, and his duty
was merely to provide as well as he could for the extra-
ordinary state of affairs thus brought about ..." Great
and dictatorial as these powers are, I shall be anxious to
lay them down at the earliest possible time. As far as
concerns the principal province it would be wise and I
implore my noble friends to give me the means of
accomplishing it to effect such a kind of settlement as
should produce contentment and harmony among all
classes, enable me to establish, not temporarily but
lastingly, the supremacy of the laws, and finally to leave
behind me such a system of government as may tend to
the general prosperity and happiness of one of the most
important portions of Her Majesty's dominions. If I can
accomplish such an object as that I shall deem no personal
sacrifice of my own too great. I feel, however, that I can
only accomplish it by the cordial and energetic support a
support which I am sure I shall obtain of my noble
friends, the members of Her Majesty's Cabinet, by the
co-operation of the Imperial Parliament, and, permit me to
say, by the generous forbearance of the noble lords
opposite to whom I have always been politically opposed.
From the candour and generosity which have distinguished
the noble Duke's [Wellington's] remarks this evening, as
well as upon all other occasions, I trust that he and those
who think with him will give me credit for the good
intentions which I feel, and will only condemn me if they
find my actions such as shall enable them, consistently
with their own consciences, to find fault."

Brougham did not hear this appeal. Feeling unwell, he
had left the House immediately after his own speech,
much to Glenelg's disgust, as the latter's reply thus
remained unheard by him. The new Governor-General
knew his foes and his friends alike too well to imagine that
he would find forbearance or defence within the walls of



LORD DURHAM AND;;; HIS PARTY. n

parliament. He was appealing to a wider audience to
the British people and to those over whom he was about to
rule. It is impossible to doubt Durham's sincerity, nor
were his words the offspring of a vaulting ambition.
Having outlined his policy, he wisely employed his remain-
ing time in England in selecting suitable assistants, and in
collecting information bearing upon his task. It is
probable that he realised only too well the justice of the
criticisms which were levelled at the motives influencing
the ministry in its appointment of him. However, the
Earl felt that the chance of his life had come, and hoped
that success would be as beneficial to himself as he meant
t to be to the unhappy French.

On February 2nd the Bill was read for a second time in
the House of Lords. As usual Brougham was in opposi-
tion, and the acrimony of his speech was so marked that it
stirred up the normally placid Melbourne into something
very like a state of excitement. The most remarkable
passage in Brougham's speech in the light of his sub-
sequent conduct was the splendid word-painting with
which he described the successful mission of Pedro de la
Gasca to recover Peru from the rebel Pizarros. If it
meant anything, it was an assertion that Lord Durham's
power was not great enough for his task. On February 5th
Roebuck was heard at the Bar against the Bill. This time
his speech was less wild and more constructive and had
important after-results. On February 8th the Bill passed
the third reading, but lengthy protests were entered by
Brougham, Ellenborough, and Fitzwilliam.

The purport of this " Act to make temporary provision
for the Government of Lower Canada " is as follows : The
House of Assembly which was granted to Lower Canada
by the Act 31 Geo. III. c. 31 cannot be called together on
account of the disturbed state of the province, but to obtain
information by which the Imperial Government may be
guided to form a suitable Constitution for the province,
the Governor-General is to summon delegates from the



12 SELF-GOVERNMENT IN CANADA.

Provinces of Lower and Upper Canada, which is also
interested in the proposed reforms. In the meantime, to
carry on the Government of Lower Canada, the Queen is
authorised to suspend so much of the Act 31 Geo. III. c. 31
as orders the calling of a Legislative Council and House of
Assembly for Lower Canada, and under the Great Seal or
the Signet to commission the Governor-General to call
together a Legislative Council for Lower Canada of a
number to be settled by the Crown. After the proclama-
tion of this Act, and up to the first day of November, 1840,
" it shall be lawful for the Governor of the Province of



Online LibraryF. (Frederick) BradshawSelf-government in Canada, and how it was achieved: the story of Lord Durham's report → online text (page 1 of 36)