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Canadians was a later convention which gave the people
of the provinces full control of fisheries, ignorantly sacrificed
by the treaty of 1783.

No class of the people of Canada contributed more to the



V.] The War of 1812 15. 119

effectiveness of the militia and the successful defence of the
country than the descendants of the Loyalists, who formed so
large and influential a portion of the English population of
British North America. All the loyal settlements on the banks
of the St Lawrence, on the Niagara frontier, and on the
shores of Lake Erie, sent many men to fight by the side of the
regular British forces. Even aged men, who had borne arms
in the revolutionary war, came forward with an enthusiasm
which showed that age had not impaired their courage or pa-
triotism ; and although they were exempted from active service,
they were found most useful in stationary duties at a time when
Canada demanded the experience of such veterans. "Their
lessons and example," wrote General SheafTe, "will have a
happy influence on the youth of the militia ranks." When
Hull invaded the province and issued his boastful and threat-
ening proclamation he used language which must have seemed
a mockery to the children of the Loyalists. They remembered
too well the sufferings of their fathers and brothers during "the
stormy period of the revolution," and it seemed derisive to
tell them now that they were to be "emancipated from tyranny
and oppression and restored to the dignified station of free men."
The proclamation issued by Governor Brock touched the loyal
hearts of a people whose family histories were full of examples
of "oppression and tyranny," and of the kind consideration
and justice of England in their new homes. " Where," asked
Brock, with the confidence of truth, "is the Canadian subject
who can truly affirm to himself that he has been injured by the
government in his person, his property, or his liberty ? Where
is to be found, in any part of the world, a growth so rapid in
prosperity and wealth as this colony exhibits?" These people,
to whom this special appeal was made at this national crisis,
responded with a heartiness which showed that gratitude and
affection lay deep in their hearts. Even the women worked in
the field that their husbands, brothers and sons might drive the
invaders from Canadian soil. The io4th Regiment, which



120 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

accomplished a remarkable march of thirteen days in the depth
of winter, from Fredericton to Quebec a distance of three
hundred and fifty miles and lost only one man by illness, was
composed of descendants of the loyal founders of New Bruns-
wick. This march was accomplished practically without loss,
while more than three hundred men were lost by Benedict
Arnold in his expedition of 1777 against Quebec by the way of
Kennebec a journey not more dangerous or arduous than
that so successfully accomplished by the New Brunswick
Loyalists. In 1814 considerable numbers of seamen for ser-
vice in the upper lakes passed through New Brunswick to
Quebec, and were soon followed by several companies of the
8th or King's Regiment. The patriotism of the Loyalists of
New Brunswick was shown by grants of public money and
every other means in their power, while these expeditions were
on their way to the seat of war in the upper provinces.

Historians and poets have often dwelt on the heroism of
Laura Secord, daughter and wife of Loyalists, who made a
perilous journey in 1814 through the Niagara district, and
succeeded in warning Lieutenant Fitzgibbon of the approach
of the enemy, thus enabling him with a few soldiers and Indians
to surprise Colonel Boerstler near Beaver Dams and force him
by clever strategy to surrender with nearly 600 men and several
cannon. Even boys fled from home and were found fighting
in the field. The Prince Regent, at the close of the war, ex-
pressly thanked the Canadian militia, who had "mainly con-
tributed to the immediate preservation of the province and its
future security." The Loyalists, who could not save the old
colonies to England, did their full share in maintaining her
supremacy in the country she still owned in the valley of the
St Lawrence and on the shores of the Atlantic.

As Bishop Plessis stimulated a patriotic sentiment among the
French Canadians, so Vicar-General Macdonell of Glengarry,
subsequently the first Roman Catholic bishop of Upper Canada,
performed good service by assisting in the formation of a



V.J The War of 181215. 121

Glengarry regiment, and otherwise taking an active part in the
defence of the province, where his will always be an honoured
name. Equally indefatigable in patriotic endeavour was
Bishop Strachan, then rector of York, who established "The
Loyal and Patriotic Society," which did incalculable good by
relieving the necessities of women and children, when the men
were serving in the battle-field, by providing clothing and food
for the soldiery, and otherwise contributing towards the com-
fort and succour of all those who were taking part in the public
defences. Of the engagements of the war there are two which,
above all others, possess features on which the historian must
always like to dwell. The battle which was fought against
such tremendous odds on the banks of the Chateauguay by
less than a thousand French Canadians, led by Salaberry and
Macdonell, recalls in some respects the defeat of Braddock in
1755. The disaster to the British forces near the Monongahela
was mainly the result of the strategy of the Indians, who were
dispersed in the woods which reechoed to their wild yells and
their ever fatal shots fired under cover of trees, rocks and stumps.
The British were paralysed as they saw their ranks steadily
decimated by the fire of an enemy whom they could never see,
and who seemed multitudinous as their shrieks and shouts
were heard far and wide in that Bedlam of the forest. The
leaves that lay thick and deep on the ground were reddened
with the blood of many victims helpless against the concealed,
relentless savages. The woods of the Chateauguay did not
present such a scene of carnage as was witnessed at the battle of
the Monongahela, but nevertheless they seemed to the panic-
stricken invaders, who numbered many thousands, alive with
an enemy whose strength was enormously exaggerated as bugle
sounds and Indian yells made a fearful din on every side.
Believing themselves surrounded by forces far superior in
numbers, the invaders became paralysed with fear and fled in
disorder from an enemy whom they could not see, and who
might close upon them at any moment. In this way Canadian



122 Canada imder British Rule. [CHAP.

pluck and strategy won a famous victory which saved the
province of Lower Canada at a most critical moment of the
war.

If we leave the woods of Chateauguay, where a monument
has been raised in recognition of this brilliant episode of the
war, and come to the country above which rises the mist of the
cataract of Niagara, we see a little acclivity over which passes
that famous thoroughfare called "Lundy's Lane." Here too
rises a stately shaft in commemoration of another famous
victory in many respects the most notable of the war won
by a gallant Englishman, whose name still clings to the pretty
town close by.

This battle was fought on a midsummer night, when less
than three thousand British and Canadian troops fought six
hours against a much superior force, led by the ablest officers
who had taken part in the war. For three hours, from six to
nine o'clock at night, less than two thousand held the height,
which was the main object of attack from the beginning to the
end of the conflict, and kept at bay the forces that were led
against them with a stern determination to win the position.
Sunlight gave way to the twilight of a July evening, and dense
darkness at last covered the combatants, but still the fight went
on. Columns of the enemy charged in such close and rapid
succession that the British artillerymen were constantly assailed
in the very act of sponging and loading their guns. The
assailants once won the height, but only to find themselves
repulsed the next instant by the resolute daring of the British.
Happily at the most critical moment, when the defenders of
the hill were almost exhausted by the heroic struggle, rein-
forcements arrived, and the battle was renewed with a supreme
effort on both sides. For three hours longer, from nine o'clock
to midnight, the battle was fought in the darkness, only relieved
by the unceasing flashes from the guns, whose sharp reports
mingled with the deep and monotonous roar of the great falls.
It was a scene worthy of a painter whose imagination could



V.] The War of 1812 15. 123

grasp all the incidents of a situation essentially dramatic in its
nature. The assailants of the Canadian position gave way at
last and withdrew their wearied and disheartened forces. It
was in all respects a victory for England and Canada, since the
United States army did not attempt to renew the battle on the
next day, but retired to Fort Erie, then in their possession.
As Canadians look down "the corridors of time," they will
always see those flashes from the musketry and cannon of
Lundy's Lane, and hear the bugles which drove the invaders
of their country from the woods of Chateauguay.

The war did much to solidify the various racial elements of
British North America during its formative stage. Frenchmen,
Englishmen, Scotsmen from the Lowlands and Highlands,
Irishmen and Americans, united to support the British con-
nection. The character of the people, especially in Upper
Canada, was strengthened from a national point of view by the
severe strain to which it was subjected. Men and women alike
were elevated above the conditions of a mere colonial life and
the struggle for purely material necessities, and became ani-
mated by that spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotic endeavour
which tend to make a people truly great



I2 4



CHAPTER VI

THE EVOLUTION OF RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT
(18151839).

SECTION I. The rebellion in Lower Canada.

RESPONSIBLE government in Canada is the logical sequence
of the political struggles, which commenced soon after the
close of the war of 1812-15. As we review the history of
Canada since the conquest we can recognise "one ever
increasing purpose" through all political changes, and the
ardent desire of men, entrusted at the outset with a very
moderate degree of political responsibility, to win for them-
selves a larger measure of political liberty in the management
of their own local affairs. Grave mistakes were often made by
the advocates of reform in the government of the several
provinces notably, as I shall show, in Lower Canada, where
the French Canadian majority were carried often beyond
reason at the dictation of Papineau but, whatever may have
been the indiscretions of politicians, there were always at the
bottom of their demands the germs of political development.

The political troubles that continued from 1817 until 1836
in Lower Canada eventually made the working of legislative
institutions impracticable. The contest gradually became one
between the governor-general representing the crown and the
assembly controlled almost entirely by a French Canadian
majority, with respect to the disposition of the public revenues



CH. VI.] The Evolution of Responsible Government. 125

and expenditures. Imperial statutes, passed as far back as
1774-1775, provided for the levying of duties, to be applied
solely by the crown, primarily "towards defraying the expenses
of the administration of justice and the support of the civil
government of the province " ; and any sums that remained in
the hands of the government were " for the future disposition
of parliament." Then there were "the casual or territorial
revenues," such as money arising from the Jesuits' estates,
royal seigniorial dues, timber and land, all of which were also
exclusively under the control of the government. The assembly
had been given jurisdiction only over the amount of duties
payable into the treasury under the authority of laws passed
by the legislature itself. In case the royal revenues were not
sufficient to meet the annual expenditure of the government,
the deficiency was met until the war of 1812-15 by drawing
on the military exchequer. k As the expenses of the provincial
administration increased the royal revenues became inadequate,
while the provincial revenues gradually showed a considerable
surplus over the expenditure voted by the legislature. In 1813
the cost of the war made it impossible for the government to use
the military funds, and it resorted to the provincial moneys for
the expenses of justice and civil government. In this way, by
1817, the government had incurred a debt of a hundred and
twenty thousand pounds to the province without the direct
authority of the legislature. The assembly of Lower Canada
was not disposed to raise troublesome issues during the war, or
in any way to embarrass the action of Sir George Prevost, who,
whatever may have been his incompetency as a military chief,
succeeded by his conciliatory and persuasive methods in winning
the good opinions of the French Canadian majority and making
himself an exceptionally popular civil governor. After closing
the accounts of the war, the government felt it expedient to stop
such irregular proceedings, to obtain from the legislature a
general appropriation act, covering the amount of expenditures
in the past, and to prevent the necessity of such a questionable



126 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

application of provincial funds in the future. This may be
considered the beginning of the financial controversies that
were so constant, as years passed by, between the governors
and the assemblies, and never ended until the rebellion broke
out. The assembly, desirous of obtaining power in the manage-
ment of public affairs, learned that it could best embarrass the
government and force them to consider and adjust public
grievances, as set forth by the majority in the house, by means
of the appropriation bills required for the public service. The
assembly not only determined to exercise sole control over its
own funds but eventually demanded the disposal of the duties
imposed and regulated by imperial statutes. The conflict was
remarkable for the hot and uncompromising temper constantly
exhibited by the majority on the discussion of the generally
moderate and fair propositions submitted by the government
for settling vexed questions. The assembly found a powerful
argument in favour of their persistent contention for a com-
plete control of the public revenues and expenditures in the
defalcation of Mr Caldwell, the receiver-general, who had been
allowed for years to use the public funds in his business specu-
lations, and whose property was entirely inadequate to cover
the deficiency in his accounts.

The legislative council was always ready to resist what it
often asserted to be unconstitutional acts on the part of the
house and direct infringements of " the rights of the crown "
sometimes a mere convenient phrase used in an emergency to
justify resistance to the assembly. It often happened, however,
that the upper chamber had law on its side, when the house
became perfectly unreasonable and uncompromising in its
attitude of hostility to the government. The council, on several
occasions, rejected a supply bill because it contained provisions
asserting the assembly's right to control the crown revenues and
to vote the estimates, item by item, from the governor's salary
down to that of the humblest official. Every part of the official
and legislative machinery became clogged by the obstinacy of



VI.] The Evolution of Responsible Government. 127

governor, councils, and assembly. To such an extent, indeed,
drcTthe assembly's assumption of power carry it in 1836, that
the majority actually asserted its own right to amend the con-
stitution of the council as denned in the imperial statute of
1791. Its indiscreet acts eventually alienated the sympathy
and support of such English members as Mr Neilson, a
journalist and politician of repute, Mr Andrew Stuart, a lawyer
of ability, and others who believed in the necessity of con-
stitutional reforms, but could not follow Mr Papineau and his
party in their reckless career of attack on the government,
which they thought would probably in the end imperil British
connection.

The government was in the habit of regularly submitting its
accounts and estimates to the legislature, and expressed its
desire eventually to grant that body the disposal of all the
crown revenues, provided it would consent to vote a civil list
for the king's life, or even for a fixed number of years ; but the
assembly was not willing to agree to any proposal which pre-
vented it from annually taking up the expenditures for the civil
government item by item, and making them matters of yearly
vote. In this way every person in the public service would be
subject to the caprice, or ill-feeling, of any single member of the
legislature, and the whole administration of the public depart-
ments would probably be made ineffective. Under the plan
suggested by the government in accordance with English consti-
tutional forms, the assembly would have every opportunity of
criticising all the public expenditures, and even reducing the
gross sum in cases of extravagance. But the same contumacious
spirit, which several times expelled Mr Christie, member for
Gaspe, on purely vexatious and frivolous charges, and con-
stantly impeached judges without the least legal justification,
simply to satisfy personal spite or political malice, would pro-
bably have been exhibited towards all officials had the majority
in the assembly been given the right of voting each salary
separately. The assembly never once showed a disposition to



128 Canada under British RuU. [CHAP.

meet the wishes of the government even half-way. Whatever
may have been the vacillation or blundering of officials in
Downing Street, it must be admitted that the imperial govern-
ment showed a conciliatory spirit throughout the whole finan-
cial controversy. Step by step it yielded to all the demands of
the assembly on this point. In 1831, when Lord Grey was
premier, the British parliament passed an act, making it
lawful for the legislatures of Upper and Lower Canada to
appropriate the duties raised by imperial statutes for the pur-
pose of defraying the charges of the administration of justice
and the support of civil government. The government conse-
quently retained only the relatively small sum arising from
casual and territorial dues. When Lord Aylmer, the governor-
general, communicated this important concession to the legisla-
ture, he also sent a message setting forth the fact that it was
the settled policy of the crown on no future occasion to
nominate a judge either to the executive or the legislative
council, the sole exception being the chief justice of Quebec.
He also gave the consent of the government to the passage of
an act declaring that judges of the supreme court should there-
after hold office "during good behaviour," on the essential
condition that their salaries were made permanent by the*
legislature. The position cf the judiciary had long been a
source of great and even just cornplamt ; and, in the time
of Sir James Craig, judges were disqualified from sitting in
the assembly on the demand of that body. They continued,
however, to hold office " during the pleasure " of the crown,
and to be called at its will to the executive and legislative
councils. Under these circumstances they were, with some
reason, believed to be more or less under the influence of the
governor-general ; and particular judges consequently fell at
times under the ban of the assembly, and were attacked on
the most frivolous grounds. The assembly passed a bill pro-
viding for the independence of the judiciary, but it had to
be reserved because it was not in accordance with the.



VI.] The Evolution of Responsible Government. 1 29

conditions considered necessary by the crown for the protec-
tion of the bench.

The governor-general also in his message promised reforms /
of the judicial and legal systems, the disposal of the funds arising '
from the Jesuits' estates by the legislature, and, in fact, nearly all
the reforms which had been demanded by the house for years.
Yet when the government asked at the_same time for a perma-
nejit civil list, the message was simply referred to a committee
of the whole house which never reported. Until this time the \
efforts of the assembly to obtain complete^ control of the public
revenues and expenditures had a justification in the fact ^HaTTt
is a recognised English principle that the elected house should
impose the taxes and vote the supplies ; but their action on this
occasion, when the imperial government made most important
concessions, giving them full control over the public funds,
simply on condition that they should follow the English system
of voting the salaries of the judiciary and civil list, showed
that the majority were carried away by a purely factious
spirit. During the progress of these controversies, Mr Louis
Joseph Papineau, a brilliant but an unsafe leader, had become
the recognised chief of the French Canadian majority, who for
years elected him speaker of the assembly. In the absence of
responsible government, there was witnessed in those times the
extraordinary spectacle only now-a-days seen in the American
^congress of the speaker, who should be above all political
antagonisms, acting as the leader of an arrogant majority, and
urging them to continue in their hostility to the government.
It was Mr Papineau who first brought the governor-general
directly into the arena of political conflict by violent personal
attacks ; and indeed he went so far in the case of Lord
Dalhousie, a fair-minded man anxious to act moderately within
the limits of the constitution, that the latter felt compelled
by a sense of dignity to refuse the confirmation of the
great agitator as speaker in ijj^Z- The majority in the as-
sembly vehemently asserted their right to elect their speaker

B. c. a



130 Canada under British Rule. [CHAP.

independently of the governor, whose confirmation was a mere
matter of form, and not of statutory right ; and the only course
at last open to Lord Dalhousie was to prorogue the legislature.
Mr Papineau was re-elected speaker at the next session, when
Lord Dalhousie had gone to England and Sir James Kempt
was administrator.

A After 1831, Mr Papineau steadily evoked the opposition of
/the more conservative and thoughtful British Liberals who
/ were not disposed to be carried into a questionable position,
1 inimical to British connection and the peace of the country.
Dr Wolfred Nelson, and Dr O'Callaghan, a journalist, were
soon the only supporters of ability left him among the British
and Irish, the great majority of whom rallied to the support of
the government when a perilous crisis arrived in the affairs of
the province. The British party dwindled away in every appeal
to the people, and no French Canadian representative who
presumed to differ from Mr Papineau was ever again re-
turned to the assembly. Mr Papineau became not only a
political despot but an " irreconcilable," whose vanity led him
to believe that he would soon become supreme in French
Canada, and the founder of La Nation Canadienne in the
valley of the St Lawrence. The ninety-two resolutions passed
in 1834 may be considered the climax of the demands of his
party, which for years had resisted immigration as certain to
strengthen the British population, had opposed the establishment
of registry offices as inconsistent with the French institutions
of the province, and had thrown every possible opposition in
the way of the progress of the Eastern Townships, which were
attracting year by year an industrious and energetic British
population from the British Isles and New England.

In these resolutions of 1834 there is not a single paragraph
or even phrase which can be tortured into showing that the
French Canadian agitator and his friends were in favour of
responsible government. The key-note of the whole document
is an elective legislative council, which would inevitably increase



VI.] The Evolution of Responsible Government. 131

the power of the French Canadians and place the British
in a hopeless minority. Mr Roebuck, the paid agent of
the assembly in England, is said to have suggested the idea



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