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The Story of the Upper Canada Rebellion, Volume 1
by John Charles Dent
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[Sidenote: 1831.]

The Reformers could no longer hope to obtain justice, even in the Assembly, where they had exerted a predominating influence during the last two Parliaments. So long as they had had control of the Lower House they had possessed the shadow of power without the reality. Even the shadow had been better than nothing; but of this shadow they were henceforth to be deprived. They had not only sustained numerical defeat. Some of their most trusted leaders had been beaten at the polls, and were no longer able to raise their voices in Parliament. Robert Baldwin's defeat in York has already been mentioned.[148] His father had suffered a similar fate in Norfolk. In Middlesex John Rolph and Captain Matthews had been succeeded by Colonel Mahlon Burwell and another adherent of the Compact. Lennox and Addington had again returned Bidwell and Perry, but, owing to the changed complexion of the House, there was no possibility of the former's re-election to the Speaker's chair. Among other triumphs scored by the official party were the return of the Solicitor-General, Christopher A. Hagerman, for Kingston; of the Attorney-General, H. J. Boulton, for Niagara; of William B. Robinson (brother of the Chief Justice) for Simcoe, and of Allan N. MacNab for Wentworth. York still remained true to Mackenzie, and, as will presently be seen, his presence in a House composed mainly of political opponents was destined to lead to serious complications. Upon the assembling of the Legislature early in the following year, Archibald McLean, the official candidate for the Speakership, was elected by a majority of twelve votes. No adherent of the official party could have been more acceptable to the Reformers than Mr. McLean, who was a gentleman of high standing at the bar, and who personally enjoyed great popularity. He sat for the County of Stormont, which he had represented for many years, during all of which period he had maintained friendly personal relations with the members of the Opposition. Great confidence was felt in his personal integrity, and in his earnestness for the country's welfare. He had special claims to consideration, for he was a Canadian by birth, and had fought and bled in defence of his native land during the War of 1812. Still, he represented political principles which the Reform members had been expressly returned to combat, and the mere fact of his election to the Speaker's Chair by a majority of twelve votes in a House which numbered fewer than fifty members was in itself a sufficient indication that those principles were for the time unmistakably in the ascendant in Upper Canada. The proceedings of the House during the session furnished an apt and conclusive commentary upon this fact.

The session of 1831 was chiefly memorable for two things: the passing of the Everlasting Salary Bill, as it was called by those opposed to it; and the commencement of the agitation which had for its object the exclusion of Mr. Mackenzie from the Legislature.

The Salary Bill was simply a measure granting to the Provincial Government a permanent Civil List, in return for the cession by the Crown of the control of the Imperial duties. It was introduced in accordance with a suggestion from the King, but the Provincial Executive concealed certain facts in connection with it, of which the Opposition did not become aware until some time afterwards.[149]

By this Bill provision was made for the salaries of the Lieutenant-Governor, the three Judges of the Court of King's Bench, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General, five Executive Councillors, and the Clerk of the Executive Council. Reformers were strenuously opposed to the measure, which they regarded as another blow at the constitutional rights of the Assembly. It of course had the effect of rendering the Executive more independent of the Assembly, and more indifferent to its opposition, than ever. Hagerman and Boulton, whose official salaries were thereby provided for, were conspicuous above all other persons in the House in defending this measure, and in browbeating those who ventured to raise their voices against it. The Reform members found Attorney-General Boulton an infliction specially hard to bear. His predecessor, Mr. Robinson, had been a sufficiently galling yoke, but his abilities had made him respected, and he had seldom attempted to play the bully. In cases where no important party interests were at stake he had generally been amenable to reason, and had not gone out of his way to needlessly exacerbate the feelings of those who disagreed with him. Now, a different order of things prevailed. Boulton was simply unendurable. His capacity was barely such as to enable him to discharge his official functions, and what he lacked in ability he made up for in bluster. He had an abominable temper, and a haughty, overbearing manner. He was always committing blunders which he refused to acknowledge, and he roared and bullied his way through one complication after another in a fashion which disgusted even those with whom he acted. During the discussion on the Salary Bill he shrieked and raved himself hoarse in denouncing what he called the "factious insolence" of the Opposition. Of his own factious insolence he seems to have been altogether oblivious. The Bill was passed, but he was not destined to a long enjoyment of the provision thereby made for the Attorney-General.

The Mackenzie persecution was a matter of greater moment than the Salary Bill, and was fated to produce results altogether unexpected by those who set it on foot. The session was not many days old when Mr. Mackenzie once more began to make himself conspicuous in Opposition. He moved a resolution denying the authority of the Executive to prescribe the religious observances of the Assembly, and affirming the right of the latter body to appoint its own chaplain. He made a forcible but exasperating speech in support of his motion, which, by vote of the House, was not submitted. He then moved that the ministers of religion of various denominations resident in York should be requested to say prayers in the House during the session. This motion was equally unsuccessful. During the debate, the Assembly was favoured with a characteristic specimen of Attorney-General Boulton's oratory. He stigmatized the assumption that the House was entitled to appoint its own chaplain as of a piece with the assumption of an assassin that he has a right to shoot down a man in the street—the right of brute force. This nonsensical tirade he shrieked out by way of peroration to a speech intended as a defence of the right of the Government in the matter of the chaplaincy. It is strange that the House should have listened to such balderdash, not only with patience, but even with apparent submission. Solicitor-General Hagerman spoke in a similar strain, but with less of irascibility. He warned the House that the Government was too powerful for them; that the Lieutenant-Governor had strong feelings on this subject, and that if they persisted in opposing his wishes confusion would ensue, and an end would be put to their proceedings.

But Mackenzie was not to be dismayed by the want of success of his exertions to popularize the religious ceremonial of the Assembly. He next moved for an inquiry into the state of the representation. Such an inquiry was urgently needed, for the House was full of postmasters, county registrars, inspectors of licenses, and other placemen who held office at the will of the Executive, and who therefore could not be expected to be honest exponents of public opinion in their respective constituencies. Mackenzie, in the course of a vigorous speech, presented such an array of facts that a committee of inquiry was appointed. This success he followed up by a motion for an inquiry into certain pensions, fees and salaries. Then he instituted a crusade against the management of the Bank of Upper Canada, of which institution Attorney-General Boulton was solicitor. Each of these motions afforded opportunities for inflammatory speeches, in the course of which the Government and its official favourites were handled with scant consideration. The Attorney-General was several times lashed into a state of almost insane fury, and on one occasion seemed to be on the point of rushing across the floor and making a personal onslaught upon Mr. Mackenzie. The "little mannikin from York," as he was called, always had the courage of his opinions, and rather courted such an attack than otherwise. That he had many and grave faults cannot be denied, but certainly cowardice was not among the number. No more certain means of intensifying his opposition could have been found than an attempt to put him down by the strong hand. He continued to make motion upon motion and speech upon speech, and before the session was half over he had managed to cause an amount of annoyance to the Government such as they had never before known. And all this time the party to which he belonged was in an insignificant minority in the Assembly. What then was to be anticipated when the chances and changes of time should once more place that party in the ascendant there?

In former times it had been possible for the official party to rid themselves of a troublesome opponent upon any slight pretext. Why not now, when the Assembly was well-nigh as obedient as the Upper House, and when some of the ablest members of the Reform party had ceased to occupy themselves with public affairs? Certainly there had never been a time when suppression was more imperatively required, for did not this man Mackenzie spout something very much like democracy in their very faces? Had he not made several speeches in the House which had aroused a spirit of inquiry? If he were allowed to continue, was it not inevitable that some of his waspish stings must take serious effect?

Prosecutions for libel had become unpopular. The case of Francis Collins had aroused such a clamour that it was not deemed wise to try further experiments in that direction. In April, 1828—about the same time when measures had been instituted against Collins—an indictment for libel had actually been laid against Mackenzie for a paragraph published in the Advocate, in which the Crown lawyers and other supporters of the Government had been referred to in contumelious terms, and wherein a hope had been expressed that the constituencies returning certain Tory members to Parliament would clear the Assembly of "the whole of that ominous nest of unclean birds."[150] But the Attorney-General, after keeping the prosecution impending over the defendant's head for many months, had seen fit to abandon it. The times, in fact, had ceased to be propitious for libel prosecutions, and some other way out of the difficulty had to be found. The device actually hit upon to get rid of Mackenzie's opposition in the Assembly was worthy of the minds which had plotted the ruin of Captain Matthews, Justice Willis and Francis Collins. Mackenzie, who had the contract for printing the journals of the House, and who generally had a number of copies of those journals on hand, had distributed a hundred and sixty-eight of them throughout some of the constituencies just prior to the last general election. This had been done at his own expense, and in the interest of the Reform candidates; for he believed that no more effective campaign document could be devised than a truthful record of the proceedings in the House. But as strict matter of Parliamentary law he had been guilty of a breach of privilege, no one having a right to publish reports of the proceedings of the Houses without authority. The existence of such a rule is perhaps salutary, as there are conceivable cases in which it would be inexpedient to allow such publication. But, as everybody knew, Parliament had long been accustomed to wink at perpetual violations of this rule. Newspapers all over the world had been permitted, and even encouraged, to transgress it. Some of the leading organs of public opinion in different parts of the world had built up their reputations mainly by the fulness and accuracy of their reports of Parliamentary proceedings. Nothing can be more certain than that there would have been no talk about enforcing the obsolete rule at this time but for the fact that it seemed to afford a pretext for punishing the man whom the Government party wished to destroy. The attempt to enforce it was not a success. The motion to that end was made by Allan MacNab, and was to the effect that Mackenzie had abused the trust reposed in him as the printer of the journals, by distributing portions of the same for political purposes, and among persons not entitled to copies thereof, thereby committing a breach of the privileges of the House. The junior member for Wentworth thundered with tremendous vehemence in support of his motion. To judge from his language, his soul had been stirred to its nethermost depths by this lamentable violation of Parliamentary privilege, which he characterized as a species of treason. Hagerman and Boulton followed in the same strain, the latter waxing almost pathetic in his expressions of devotion to the British constitution. But their exertions were ineffectual. The House, subservient though it was, was not to be coerced into supporting a motion which, if carried, would almost certainly be converted into a basis of attack on persons who were favourable to the Administration. A majority of the members foresaw that if Mackenzie were punished on such a pretext, his fellow-workers in the Assembly would not fail to institute measures against the publishers of various newspapers throughout the land who had been in the constant habit of reporting the proceedings in Parliament without leave. Only fifteen members voted for MacNab's motion, while twenty recorded their votes against it, and among the latter were several of the most redoubtable Tories in the House. The organizers of the attack perceived that they had made a false move, and withdrew their forces for a fresh assault in a different quarter.

The opportunity for a fresh attack did not present itself until the following session. Meanwhile, Mackenzie occupied himself in turning his notoriety to account, and in developing his policy of agitation. He resolved upon getting up a series of petitions to the King and the Imperial Parliament, calling attention to the various grievances wherewith the inhabitants of the Province were burdened, and praying for redress. During the summer he carried out his project by organizing a series of public meetings in some of the most populous cities and towns of the Province, at each of which a petition was adopted and numerously signed. It is said that the aggregate number of signatures obtained exceeded 24,500. The agitator's success encouraged him to persevere in the course he had adopted, and when Parliament re-assembled in November he was ripe and ready for the fray that was sure to follow. The assault against him now took the shape of a charge of gross, scandalous and malicious libel, intended and calculated to bring the House and the Government of the Province into contempt, and to excite groundless suspicion and distrust in the minds of the inhabitants, thereby constituting a breach of privilege. The matter complained of was embodied in two articles published in the Advocate subsequent to the opening of the session, and both publication and authorship were admitted by Mackenzie. One of the articles was a sharp criticism on the manner in which the House had treated a petition from certain inhabitants of Vaughan. The other was a well-merited tirade against the local Executive, which was unfavourably contrasted with that of the sister Province. Neither of them was grossly abusive, nor even unfair. They were indeed exceptionally favourable specimens of the Mackenzie style of journalism, and were incomparably milder than articles which may constantly be seen in the Canadian party journals of the present day.

Being called upon for his defence, Mackenzie addressed the House with more than his wonted ability. He exposed the flimsiness of the charges against him, and the gross partiality of the proceedings. But the House was in search, not of justice, but of a victim, and neither the eloquence of a Demosthenes nor the reasoning powers of a Pascal would have availed aught with that hostile majority. Attorney-General Boulton, in the course of the discussion, delivered himself of a tempest of characteristic abuse against the accused, to whom he referred as a reptile. Solicitor-General Hagerman could always be depended upon as a good second in such emergencies, and followed up by referring to Mr. Mackenzie as a spaniel dog. The House seemed to accept these choice Parliamentary epithets with approval. They came from an official source, and it is so easy to be strong upon the stronger side. Little chance was there for the maimed and bleeding under dog in the fight among that crowd of venal and merciless sycophants, some of whom had libelled the late Assembly in terms thrice as gross as any that had been employed in the articles in question. The tu quoque argument is not generally admissible in legal investigations, but surely it might have been permitted to have some weight with the judges—who were likewise the jurors—in this case. Neither that nor any argument appears to have been seriously considered. The usual forms were gone through, in order to preserve some appearance of conventional propriety, but a verdict of guilty was altogether certain and beyond peradventure from the moment when the indictment was laid. By a vote of twenty-seven to fifteen it was resolved that Mackenzie was guilty of the libel charged against him. By a vote of twenty-six to fourteen it was resolved that he was guilty of a high breach of the privileges of the House. And by a vote of twenty-four to fifteen, it was resolved that he be expelled therefrom.

To characterize these proceedings as a series of shameful abuses of power is certainly not to exceed the bounds of moderation. The persons responsible for them must stand tainted at the bar of history for all time to come. It is far from desirable to perpetuate the bitterness of the past, but it is possible for oblivion to be too charitable. It is well that those who are accustomed to speak of "the rebels" of 1837 with contumely and indignation should bear in mind against whom and what it was that they rebelled. The expulsion of Mackenzie from the Assembly was not the greatest act of tyranny to which the people of Upper Canada were compelled to submit in the far-away days that are gone; but the nature of the abuse was such that it awoke widespread alarm, and gave rise to ominous forebodings. It indicated that constitutional opposition to the Government was no longer safe in the Assembly, as it had been during the two preceding Parliaments. It indicated that nothing approaching to a fair trial was to be had, even from the High Court of Parliament, for a politician who dared to criticize the official methods of transacting the public business. Growls of discontent were heard from all over the County of York, whose representative was treated with such ignominy. People were heard to express an opinion that Upper Canada was no longer a fit place of abode for free men and women.

The public indignation found expression in several petitions, addressed to the Lieutenant-Governor by electors in York and elsewhere, in which his Excellency was asked to "dismiss a House tainted with the worst vices of judicial partiality." A deputation, consisting of more than nine hundred persons, called at Government House to present one of these manifestations of popular sentiment. His Excellency could not well refuse to receive a respectfully-worded petition, but his reply was so curt and unsatisfactory as to amount to positive insolence. "Gentlemen," said he, "I have received the petition of the inhabitants." And with this wholly unnecessary item of information the deputation was compelled to withdraw. So utter a disregard for the expression of the opinion of a considerable body of the inhabitants was without precedent in the annals of the Province. That the prayer of the petition would be granted, or even that it would be taken into serious consideration, was hardly to be expected. Its very nature forbade any such expectation. But, considering the number of names appended to it, it certainly merited a serious response, in which light the actual rejoinder could not be regarded. The proceeding showed not merely indifference, but contempt; and thenceforward Sir John Colborne was as cordially hated by the Reformers of Upper Canada as ever Sir Peregrine Maitland had been.[151]

The efforts of the faction to ruin and humiliate Mackenzie had the effect which such treatment always produces in communities where the inhabitants have been indoctrinated with ideas of fair play and equal rights. It made a popular hero of one who, if the truth must be told, had very little of the heroic in his composition. Had the Government been wise enough in their own interests to let him have his say in the Assembly, he would soon have found his proper level, and would have ceased to carry any weight there.[152] He would undoubtedly have raised a good deal of temporary excitement by unearthing abuses, and by vituperating persons whom he disliked. But he could never have seriously threatened the supremacy of the Compact, for the very sufficient reason that he could not command the sympathies or respect of the leading spirits of his own party. Rolph, the Bidwells and the Baldwins had by this time come to rate Mackenzie at about his true value. They recognized his talents, which were many and considerable. He had a clear head for accounts, and was full of suggestive ideas about matters of finance. Some of these ideas were unpractical, and even chimerical, but anyone capable of separating the wheat from the chaff could learn much from him, and could render his suggestions available. He was an excellent subordinate, useful on committees, and active in the management of details. He also had his uses as the conductor of a public press, though, owing to the erratic and ill-balanced mind of its editor, the Advocate was in some respects a source of weakness rather than of strength. His influence was pretty much confined to the farmers and mechanics of that portion of the country where his paper was chiefly circulated; and even there his influence would never have been anything like so great as it actually became had it not been for the persecution to which he was subjected. Over and beyond, he could not be said to have any distinctive locus standi in the Reform party. Of statesmanship, properly so called, he had nothing beyond the most misty conception. The structure of his mind prevented him from seeing a question in its various aspects, and in judging of future political events he was much more often wrong than right. That he was honestly desirous of advancing the cause which he had espoused there seemed no good reason to doubt, but it was evident to those who were brought into intimate relations with him that the fiery zeal which he displayed was made up at least as much of hatred of his foes as of any overpowering enthusiasm for Reform. Another quality which seriously interfered with his usefulness was his exceeding want of discretion. He seemed to be utterly incapable of keeping his own counsel, and a secret once told to him was a secret no longer. His rashness and impetuosity were proverbial, and were perpetually involving him in disputes, not only with enemies but with friends.

[Sidenote: 1832.]

It was surely a short-sighted policy which gave to a man so constituted a factitious importance, and which made him for some years the most notorious personage in Upper Canada. The treatment he had received aroused popular sympathy on his behalf, and preparations were made to return him again for the County of York by an increased majority. When the new election was held, on the 2nd of January in the following year, a long procession of sleighs escorted him to the polling-place, which was the Red Lion Tavern, on Yonge Street. Two thousand persons assembled to witness the triumph of "the people's friend." An Oppositionist was nominated, but as he received only one vote during the hour and a half which elapsed after the opening of the poll, he abandoned the contest, and Mackenzie's triumph was assured. The close of the poll was followed by the presentation of a gold medal by his constituents, as a token of their approbation. A number of sleighs were then formed in line and paraded down Yonge Street, and thence past Government House and down to the Parliament Buildings. The foremost sleigh was decorated with enthusiastic mottoes painted on calico, and cheers for the successful candidate rent the air as the procession passed along the principal thoroughfares. All this popular adulation was grateful to Mackenzie's soul. He was in his element. There is no need to linger over this part of the narrative. Parliament was still in session, and the Assembly were resolved that, no matter what the electors of York might think proper to do, Mackenzie should not sit in the House. A new pretext for his expulsion was found in an article of which he avowed himself to be the author, and which appeared in the Advocate of the 5th of January. This article was a true and by no means intemperate recital of certain well-known facts as to certain measures which had been passed by the Assembly. It was notwithstanding adjudged, by a vote of twenty-seven to nineteen, to be a libel on the House, and a high breach of its privileges; and it was further resolved that Mr. Mackenzie be expelled the House, and declared unfit and unworthy to hold a seat therein during the existing Parliament. But his constituency stood loyally by him, and again re-elected him by an overwhelming majority within a few weeks after this second expulsion. His popularity reached a higher point than ever. Public meetings were held all over the Province to protest against the measures which had been adopted towards him, and petitions to the King and the Imperial Parliament were again circulated and signed by great numbers of the inhabitants. These meetings proved so successful that the Government party deemed it wise to take some steps of a similar character on their own behalf, with a view to checkmating the operations of the Reformers. Nothing is more easy than to obtain signatures to petitions, which are frequently signed without being read. Opposition meetings were held by supporters of the Government, at which excuses were attempted to be made for the expulsions of Mackenzie, and at which counter petitions to the King and Parliament of Great Britain were signed by many thousands of persons. One of the meetings was held at Hamilton on the 19th of March, and Mackenzie attended it by special invitation. That same night an attack was made upon him by certain myrmidons of the official party, who kicked and beat him severely. At another meeting held at York four days later the proceedings became so riotous that the Sheriff professed himself unable to preserve the peace. An attack was made upon the office of the Advocate, the windows of which were broken. The town remained in a very disturbed state throughout the ensuing night, and a large proportion of the inhabitants did not venture to seek repose. Mackenzie deemed it prudent to retire into the country for several weeks; and almost immediately after his return to town he set off on an important mission to England. It was considered that the most effectual method of impressing the subject-matter of the various Reform petitions upon those to whom they were addressed would he to send Mackenzie himself across the Atlantic to present them, and to urge the many much-needed colonial reforms upon the attention of members of the British House of Commons. It was believed that he could accomplish the various objects of his mission and return in time to take his seat in the Assembly at its opening towards the close of the year. He deputed the editing and publication of the Advocate to other hands, and sailed from New York on the 1st of May. In due course he reached his destination, and put himself into communication with Hume, Roebuck, Cobbett, O'Connell, and other eminent persons of Liberal proclivities, including Lord Goderich, the Colonial Secretary.

The reader hardly needs to be informed that this was a momentous period in the history of England. It was the epoch of Reform, and the nation was in a state of ferment. During the brief space while Mackenzie had been crossing the Atlantic great events had taken place. Earl Grey's ministry had resigned; Sir Robert Peel had refused to join the Duke of Wellington in an attempt to form a Government; and Earl Grey had resumed office, armed with the King's written authority to Lord Brougham and himself to create as many peers as might be necessary to ensure the passing of the Reform Bill. This authority it did not become necessary to exercise. The titled aristocracy bowed to the unconquerable will of a great and thoroughly-aroused people, and Mackenzie reached London in time to hear the third reading of the Great Bill in the House of Lords. He was soon afterwards received at the Colonial Office, not as the representative of any particular class of Canadian politicians, but as a person interested in Canadian affairs, and able to afford much valuable information concerning them.[153] He then found that the efforts of the official party in Upper Canada to render his mission inoperative had not been barren of results. Petitions had been received at the Colonial Office in which entire satisfaction was expressed with the existing laws and institutions of the Province; and the signatures thereto slightly exceeded in number those appended to the petitions of which he himself had been the bearer. He however devoted himself with characteristic energy to the presentation of his case, and prepared a memoir wherein all the most serious grievances of the Upper Canadian people were set forth in detail. In this document the writer adopted a discursive and rhetorical style which, as the Colonial Secretary justly remarked, were "singularly ill adapted to bring questions of so much intricacy and importance to a definite issue." The facts were nevertheless pretty comprehensively embodied, and were generally speaking of such a character as to tell their own story. The perusal of the memoir seems to have produced an impression upon the Colonial Secretary's mind. He wrote a long and elaborate despatch to Sir John Colborne, in which the weak points of Mackenzie's arguments were exposed with cutting severity, and wherein it was evident that very little weight had been attached to most of his representations; but at the same time certain concessions to popular opinion were plainly hinted at. When this despatch was submitted to the Legislative Council and Assembly of Upper Canada at the ensuing session it was treated with scant respect. The Upper House formally declared that it did not regard it as calling for serious attention, and returned it to the Lieutenant-Governor. The Assembly discussed the propriety of sending it back, but finally resolved not to do so. Both the Crown Law Officers made hot-headed speeches on the subject, and referred to the Colonial Secretary in the most contemptuous terms.

Meanwhile, Mackenzie, who still remained in England, was in his absence expelled from the Assembly a third time. On this occasion there was no preliminary attempt to convict him of any fresh libel or breach of privilege. The Law Officers of the Crown simplified the proceedings by declaring that the House had a right to determine as to the eligibility of members, and a resolution to that effect was moved and carried. It was then resolved that the person returned for York was the same William Lyon Mackenzie who had been twice expelled the House and declared unfit to hold a seat therein; and that by reason thereof the said Mackenzie could not sit or vote in the House as a member thereof. He was then expelled for the third time, and a new writ was issued for the County of York. The inhabitants of that constituency felt so much aggrieved, and gave such loud-mouthed expression to their dissatisfaction, that no candidate hostile to Mackenzie dared to present himself at the ensuing election, and the choice of the people was returned by acclamation.

[Sidenote: 1833.]

The part taken by the Law Officers of the Crown in these repeated expulsions was not acceptable to the Colonial Office. Neither was the contemptuous manner in which they had seen fit to refer to the Secretary's despatch written after the perusal of Mackenzie's memoir. A missive on the former subject had been sent to Sir John Colborne some months before the commencement of the session of 1832-3, the contents of which seem to have been promptly communicated to Messieurs Boulton and Hagerman.[154] Notwithstanding that communication, those gentlemen had seen fit, soon after the opening of the session, to take a leading part in another expulsion, and to make contemptuous references to the conduct of the Colonial Secretary himself. The Attorney-General had expressed an opinion that the Secretary might have found something better to do than to sit down and answer "Mackenzie's rigmarole trash." Solicitor-General Hagerman had remarked that the Secretary had stultified himself by noticing statements which rested on no better authority than that of a person who had been twice expelled the Assembly, and who had been declared unfit to sit therein in consequence of his having "fabricated and reiterated libels of the grossest description." Lord Goderich signified his disapprobation of this conduct in the most emphatic manner by dismissing the two virulent critics from office. Their dismissal was effected by a despatch to Sir John Colborne dated March 6th, 1833. "By the accounts I have lately received of the proceedings of the Legislature of Upper Canada," wrote his Lordship, "I have learnt that the Attorney and Solicitor-General of that Province have, in their places in the Assembly, taken a part directly opposed to the avowed policy of His Majesty's Government. As members of the Provincial Parliament, Mr. Boulton and Mr. Hagerman are of course bound to act upon their own view of what is most for the interest of their constituents, and of the colony at large. But if, upon questions of great political importance, they unfortunately differ in opinion from His Majesty's Government, it is obvious that they cannot continue to hold confidential situations in His Majesty's service without either betraying their duty as members of the Legislature, or bringing the sincerity of the Government into question by their opposition to the policy which His Majesty has been advised to pursue." It was intimated that the Law Officers of the Crown could not be permitted to impede the Government policy, and that in order that those gentlemen might be at full liberty to follow their own judgment, they were to be relieved from their offices.[155]

When this despatch reached York, towards the end of April, its contents were communicated to Attorney-General Boulton. Mr. Hagerman had started for England a short time before on a mission connected with the Clergy Reserves, and, as was said,[156] in order to obtain a permanent appointment to a judgeship. He learned of his dismissal immediately upon his arrival in London, and lost no time in putting himself in communication with the Colonial Minister. An important change had recently taken place at the Colonial Office. Lord Goderich had vacated the Secretaryship, and had become Lord Privy Seal, being at the same time created Earl of Ripon. He was succeeded as Colonial Secretary by Mr. Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby, who had been Secretary for Ireland, but had aroused such hostility against himself among O'Connell's followers by his stand on the Irish question[157] that it had been deemed prudent to find another portfolio for him. He now admitted Mr. Hagerman to an audience, and was so won upon by that gentleman's specious representations that he restored him to his stewardship. Accordingly, although he had been only moderately successful in carrying out the specific objects of his mission, Mr. Hagerman returned to Upper Canada in triumph; and he was greeted, upon his arrival, with a tempest of acclamation from the Tory press.

Mr. Boulton, upon receiving from the Lieutenant-Governor's secretary an intimation of his dismissal, raised a howl of indignation against Lord Goderich and the Imperial Government generally. It was notorious that he controlled the columns of The Upper Canada Courier, a newspaper published at York in the interests of the official party, and edited by Mr. George Gurnett. That paper, in its next issue, contained an article more scurrilous and abusive than had been either of those articles in the Advocate on the pretext whereof Mackenzie had been expelled from the Assembly. It reeked with scurrility and disloyalty from beginning to end. It alleged that the well-affected people in the country were more than half alienated from the Home Government, and that they began to cast about in their mind's eye for some new state of political existence. There was more to the same purport. Some new state of political existence! This was a pretty strong suggestion of rebellion! And it emanated from the organ of a faction in whose mouths the word "loyalty" was ever present; whose "loyalty" had for years been vaunted from every hustings, and who, so long as the tide ran in their favour, had preached doctrines worthy of the middle ages about submission to the higher powers. How changed was the tone now that there seemed to be some prospect of their being placed upon the same footing, and judged by the same standard as their neighbours. If they did these things in the green tree, what would they do in the dry? What might have been expected from them if they had been subjected to such injustice and ignominy as the party to which they were opposed? Here was a faction professedly ready to throw off their allegiance because two of their number had been deprived of offices which they had notoriously prostituted and disgraced.[158] Here was a "well-affected" people "casting about" in their "mind's eye" for a new state of political existence, because two of the most corrupt, brazen and audacious officials in the colony were no longer to be allowed to pervert legislation under the mantle of Imperial countenance. And they were as little disposed to brook interference with their pecuniary interests by the Colonial Office. Early in the following year they gave utterance to rank treason in consequence of the threatened disallowance by the Imperial Government of certain Bank Charter Acts passed by the Provincial Parliament.[159] A pearl is proverbially uncomely in the snout of a swine; and truly the word "loyalty" was never more absurdly out of place than when pronounced by such lips.

The ex-Attorney-General followed the ex-Solicitor-General to England, where he represented his case to the new Colonial Minister. After giving much attention to the matter, Mr. Stanley expressed himself as satisfied with the explanations which had been offered. The explanations seem to have chiefly consisted of solemn declarations on the part of Mr. Boulton that he had been insufficiently informed of the views of the Home Government, and that he had had no desire whatever to set up his own will in opposition to those views.[160] He doubtless professed his readiness to go any length in the way of sycophancy which might be required of him for the future. It was however impossible to restore him to the Attorney-Generalship, as a successor to that office had been appointed in the person of Mr. Robert Sympson Jameson,[161] an English barrister, who had actually sailed from Liverpool for Canada, and was already well on his way thither. Mr. Boulton was informed that he should have the first good appointment at the Secretary's disposal. His success was even greater than that of his recent colleague, for on the 17th of June he was notified that the King had been graciously pleased to accept of his further services, and that the Colonial Secretary had His Majesty's commands to offer him the appointment of Chief Justice of Newfoundland, which situation had recently become vacant.[162] This appointment was fully approved by the Earl of Ripon, under whose advice he had been dismissed from the Attorney-Generalship of Upper Canada,[163] but who had been induced to change his views after hearing Mr. Boulton's explanations.

Mr. Boulton's triumph, however, was to be followed by a downfall more humiliating than that which he had so narrowly escaped. He repaired to Newfoundland in the autumn, and entered upon the performance of his duties. He had not been long in his new position before he had aroused a feeling of disgust and alarm on the part of a large proportion of the public and the profession. He began by being arbitrary, tyrannical and unjust. He proceeded from bad to worse, until it was found impossible to permit him to retain his position.[164] There is no need to follow the proceedings adopted against him. He was not finally got rid of until 1838, when he returned to Upper Canada, and once more entered political life as member for Niagara. The Home Government turned a deaf ear to his perpetual applications for employment, and would have nothing more to do with him. Some years after the Union of the Provinces, finding that he had nothing to hope for from the Conservative party, who refused to elevate him to a judgeship, he abandoned them, and for some time acted with Mr. Baldwin. It seems almost cruel to record the fact that he supported Responsible Government and the Rebellion Losses Bill.

FOOTNOTES:

[148] Ante, p. 229.

[149] "When, in the year 1831, His Majesty was graciously pleased to suggest a further provision for the Civil List, which the Colonial Ministry required to be made either for seven years or for the life of His Majesty, the terms of the proposition were not candidly submitted to the Assembly, and notwithstanding the strenuous exertions of those who desired to make no provision at variance with the spirit of our constitution, the Executive influence in the Assembly succeeded in carrying a measure for a permanent and extravagant supply, popularly called 'the Everlasting Salary Bill,' while the liberal and gracious terms proposed by His Majesty on the subject were concealed and known only to those who, feeling themselves to be above responsibility, consummated a measure which has spread universal dissatisfaction and distrust. If this undue and impolitic concealment was practised from any pretended apprehension that a just provision would not be made for His Majesty's Government by his faithful Commons, there is nothing in the country to justify it, and as it encroached upon the privileges of the Legislature there is no language of censure too strong against it."—Seventh Report of Grievance Committee, p. xlii.

[150] See The Colonial Advocate of April 3rd, 1828.

[151] I can find no confirmation of the statement made by Mackenzie, and re-echoed by subsequent writers, about the excessive fears of the Government at this juncture, and the preparations made by them to resist an uprising of the people. There were no grounds for any such fears, nor for any anticipations of an uprising. The people were long-suffering, and were by no means ripe for revolt.

[152] If any evidence were needed of this obvious truth, it is furnished by Mackenzie's career in the Canadian Parliament after his return from exile. He was there brought into contact with politicians of a succeeding generation, most of whom knew him by tradition only. His misfortunes, and the manifold sufferings he had been compelled to endure, impelled most of the contemporaries to regard him with a large measure of forbearance, and he was permitted to indulge a license of speech which would not have been tolerated in any other member. He adopted precisely the same role as of yore, and delivered himself with great vehemence on matters which he did not understand. The inevitable result was that the Assembly soon ceased to attach any weight to his opinions. He had lived long enough to repudiate many of his old doctrines, and to eat many of his past words. His views on Tuesday were frequently the very opposite to what they had been on Monday, and neither were any indication of what they would be on Wednesday. Members ceased to attach any importance to his statements, or to think of them as calling for serious consideration. He came to be regarded as a sort of unlicensed jester who might be permitted to amuse the House by his antics when there was no pressing business on hand; but as to any real influence, he had no more than the junior messenger. It took him several years to find this out, and when it was brought thoroughly home to him he resigned his seat. Had the Family Compact politicians of fifty to sixty years ago been as wise in their generation as the members of the Assembly during the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Parliaments of United Canada, they would have ceased to defend the indefensible, and would have let Mackenzie alone. They might then have held the reins of power for ten—or possibly twenty—years longer; but the day of reckoning, when it came, would probably have been a darker one.

[153] Lord Howick, writing on behalf of the Colonial Secretary, under date of June 23rd, 1832, in reply to Mackenzie's application for an interview, informed the applicant that although the Secretary was ready to hear any observations which he (Mackenzie) might have to offer upon the affairs of Upper Canada, as an individual interested in the welfare of that Province, and as a member of the Assembly, yet that the Secretary could not recognize him as being deputed to act for any other person, nor could he enter into any discussion with him on measures which His Majesty's Government might think it right to pursue. "The views and intentions of His Majesty's Government with respect to the affairs of the Province," wrote his Lordship, "can only be made known to the people of Upper Canada through the medium of the Governor or of the Legislature; it is to one or other of these authorities that any complaints which individuals may have occasion to make should properly be addressed; and if the course pursued by the Executive Government should be such as to give just ground for dissatisfaction, the inhabitants have, by their Representatives, the means of bringing their grievances under the immediate attention of His Majesty." The full text of the letter will be found on pp. 191, 192 of the Seventh Report of Grievance Committee.

[154] Mr. Boulton denied, at least by implication, that any such communication had been made to him. See his letter dated April 30th, 1833, and published in the Courier of the following day. But it is certain that the contents of the missive had been made known to Mr. Hagerman, and it is hardly conceivable that he would have failed to communicate to his colleague matters of such vital importance to their welfare.

[155] The full text of the despatch will be found on p. 295 of the Seventh Report of Grievance Committee.

[156] "We have been very credibly informed that, on account of the extent of the settlements and consequent increase of court business, it was thought expedient by our wise ones that a fourth judge was necessary, and that he [Mr. Hagerman] had obtained (previous to his leaving here) a recommend from the other judges for himself to be appointed to the new created situation."—Colonial Advocate, Thursday, May 2nd, 1833.

[157] It was at this time that Mr. Stanley, by his fiery speech against O'Connell, won for himself the sobriquet of "the Rupert of Debate."

[158] Henry Sherwood, who had by this time attained to a prominent place in the ranks of the official party, was especially loud in his denunciations of the British Government for dismissing Boulton and Hagerman. According to a correspondent of the Colonial Advocate, he declared, in the course of an ordinary conversation, that if such proceedings were to continue, he, for his part, did not care how soon the British authority was superseded by a republican one.—See letter of "John Bull," on first page of the Advocate of December 14th, 1833.

[159] They were equally intolerant of opposition from their own adherents when their pecuniary interests were at stake. In December, 1833, the Hon. John Elmsley, who had been called to the Executive Council three years before, was forced to resign his seat in that body because he could not act independently there. In his letter of resignation, which is dated "Holland House, York, December 3rd, 1833," he says: "Since I have assumed the duties of that high office [i.e., the office of an Executive Councillor], I find that I cannot fearlessly express my real sentiments and opinions, if opposed to the Government for the time being, without incurring the risk of dismissal from that Honourable Board, which constitutes my inability to advance the public good. I have therefore deemed it expedient most respectfully, but reluctantly, to tender the resignation of my seat in the Executive Council."—See evidence of the Hon. Peter Robinson, in Appendix to Seventh Report on Grievance, p. 91. See also p. xxvii of the Report itself.

[160] See Case of the Honourable Henry John Boulton, Chief Justice of the Island of Newfoundland, etc.—being a report of the Case before the Privy Council—p. 3.

[161] This was the husband of the accomplished Anna Jameson, whose brilliant art criticisms are among the most readable things of their kind in the English language, and whose Canadian sketches have made her name well known in this country.

[162] Case of the Hon. H. J. Boulton, etc., p. 3.

[163] Ib., p. 4.

[164] Full particulars of his misconduct may be found in the work already quoted from.



CHAPTER XII.

DISENFRANCHISEMENT.

Mackenzie remained in England much longer than he had anticipated, and did not return to Canada until towards the end of August, 1833. He was absent in all nearly sixteen months, which was considerably longer than was necessary for the accomplishment of the objects of his mission. He doubtless enjoyed life in the metropolis, and was loth to relinquish it.[165] His mission had not been wholly fruitless, for his representations at the Colonial Office had led to the writing of Lord Goderich's despatch already referred to, by which the faction in Upper Canada were led to see that they would for the future be compelled to act with somewhat more of circumspection. Several much-needed suggestions were made in the despatch on subjects of practical importance—among others as to the remuneration of members of the Assembly representing Town constituencies; as to the extension of the franchise to persons who, by reason of their religious scruples, could not conscientiously take the prescribed oath; as to the repeal of the law disqualifying British subjects from voting at elections till the expiration of seven years after their return from a residence in a foreign country; and as to the interference of ecclesiastical Legislative Councillors in secular matters.[166] Mackenzie was also entitled to claim credit for obtaining important reforms in the management of the Provincial Post Office. He had brought the affairs of the Province conspicuously before the minds of several eminent public men, whose interest in Canada had thus been aroused, and who were thenceforth able to display some familiarity with Canadian questions as they came up for discussion in the House of Commons. During his stay in London he had published a duodecimo volume, extending to 504 pages, entitled "Sketches in Canada and the United States," in which a good many Provincial abuses had been specified. The information contained in this work had been thrown together in a higgledy-piggledy fashion, and it could not be said to have much real value, more especially as many of its statements were inaccurate, and must have been known to be so when they were written.[167] Still, it probably had some effect in seconding the author's efforts to attract attention to himself and the interests which he represented. He had moreover acquainted the Colonial Secretary with matters which could not possibly have been clearly explained otherwise than orally. It was tolerably certain that information furnished by him had led to the dismissal of Boulton and Hagerman, a proceeding which had wonderfully exhilarated his mind; and his depression had been correspondently deep upon learning that the one had been promoted and the other reinstated. He had hoped to see Mr. Rolph appointed to the Solicitor-Generalship, and, if his word is to be credited, he really seems to have had some grounds for believing that such an appointment would be made.[168] He afterwards declared that he had "good reasons for believing" that Mr. Rolph's appointment had actually been made out and transmitted to Canada, but that Sir John Colborne and Chief Justice Robinson had prevented it from taking effect.[169]

As has already been seen,[170] Mackenzie, during his absence in England, had once more been elected to represent the County of York in the Assembly. Upon the first meeting of Parliament after his return he presented himself as a member. There was however a persistent determination that he should not be permitted to take his seat. The hostile majority in the House professed to believe that they had a right to exercise a discretion as to who should be permitted to sit therein. Mackenzie, they alleged, had libelled the House by libelling a majority of its members, and he had neither made nor attempted to make any reparation or apology. The Clerk, acting most probably on instructions, refused to administer the oath to him. A resolution was adopted that he should not be permitted to sit or vote as a member during the session, and a writ for a new election was ordered. Again did he return to his constituents, and again was he returned without opposition. The electors of York were by this time heartily tired of the farce, the perpetual re-enactment whereof had the effect of partly disfranchising them by leaving them with only one representative in the Assembly instead of two. They were nevertheless fully resolved not to yield their undoubted rights without some further assertion of them. The member of their choice was under no legal disability. They were advised that there was no constitutional justification for the action of the Assembly. They declared that they owed it to themselves and those who were to come after them not to submit tamely to injustice of such a nature. The election being over, a considerable body of them escorted him to the Houses of Parliament. But a short time had elapsed since the last expulsion, and the Legislature was still in session. The members of the Assembly stared in astonishment at the sudden and altogether unlooked-for incursion of strangers, who poured into the gallery and into the space below the bar, where they were permitted to intrude themselves, and where Mackenzie presented himself to take the oath. Those who could not find room inside remained without in the lobbies. In a few moments a lull occurred in the proceedings of the House, whereupon burly Peter Perry rose in his place and announced that he had a petition to present on behalf of the inhabitants of the County of York. The contents of the petition were not of a nature to render it acceptable to a majority of the members. It referred to Mackenzie's expulsion, and prayed that that indignity might not be repeated. There was a very general feeling among the supporters of the Government that the House ought not to receive such a petition, and several of them gave utterance to their opinions on the subject. Allan MacNab expressed himself to this effect with his customary emphasis, and was greeted with a storm of hisses from the York electors in the gallery. Ominous sounds! The House could not be expected to tamely brook such a manifestation, and an order was given to clear the gallery. While the order was being obeyed, the Sergeant-at-Arms approached Mackenzie where he stood below the bar, and directed him to leave. Mackenzie replied to the effect that he had a right to be there, and that he intended to remain. The door was then opened by the Sergeant-at-Arms, who proceeded to eject Mackenzie by force; but before he could carry out his purpose a rush was made from the adjacent lobby. The door was promptly closed and barricaded, but not until several of the invaders had effected an entrance. The excitement was intense, and for some minutes the proceedings of the House were suspended. When quiet had been in some measure restored, the Speaker directed the Sergeant-at-Arms to clear the space below the bar of strangers. That functionary again ordered Mackenzie to leave, and he received the same reply as before. This was communicated to the Speaker, who decided that, as Mackenzie had not taken the oath, he was not a member of the House, and was not entitled to remain. Mackenzie was there, ready and anxious to take the oath; but he was nevertheless removed by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the Assembly was once more purged of his presence. On the next day he was again formally expelled by a vote of the House[171]—an anomalous proceeding in view of the Speaker's decision that he was not a member! He had thus been thrice expelled from the House, and once excluded therefrom upon the ground that he was not a member.

[Sidenote: 1834.]

It was by this time clear that from a House so constituted Mackenzie could not expect to meet with fair play. Mr. Bidwell, Mr. Perry, and others of his friends had all along spoken manfully on his behalf whenever an opportunity of doing so had presented itself, but their arguments had simply been thrown away. His pugnacious spirit was however fully aroused, and he determined to exhaust every means before abandoning his endeavours to take the seat to which he was entitled. He applied to the Lieutenant-Governor for permission to take the oath prescribed for members of the Legislature before his Excellency, or before some one specially appointed for the purpose, under the twenty-ninth section of the Constitutional Act of 1791.[172] The question involved in this application was submitted to the Attorney-General, Mr. Jameson, who pronounced the opinion that Mackenzie was entitled to the privilege asked for. The matter was nevertheless allowed to remain in abeyance for some weeks, as the hostile members of Assembly had been worked up to a great pitch of excitement by the incursion of the rural population, and were in no humour to tolerate Mackenzie's presence. Meanwhile petitions to the Lieutenant-Governor were sent in from various parts of the County of York, as well as from other places. The language in some of these was of the most unmistakable kind, and it was evident that endurance had nearly reached its limits. On Monday, the 10th of February, Mackenzie, having taken the oath before the Clerk of the Executive Council, and having obtained a duly attested certificate of the ceremonial, ventured once more to present himself in the Chamber of the Assembly.

The House was in Committee on the question of improving the navigation of the St. Lawrence when he entered. The gallery was crowded with spectators, most of whom were sympathizers with Mackenzie, and had assembled there to impart to him a sort of outside numerical support. He walked to the seat which he had once been accustomed to occupy, and quietly sat down in it. Ere many minutes the Sergeant-at-Arms[173] approached and requested him to withdraw. This he declined to do, alleging that he was a member legally elected, duly sworn, and charged with no offence or irregularity which could disqualify him from sitting and voting.[174] He produced the attested copy of the oath, and bade the Sergeant-at-Arms interfere at his peril. The following is Mackenzie's own account of what ensued; and, unlike most of his narratives, it is in all substantial respects confirmed by several eye-witnesses. "He [the Sergeant-at-Arms] said he must use force, and he did so in as gentle a manner as was consistent with the act. Although his proceedings were illegal, his whole conduct in carrying them into effect was marked by a discretion wisely adopted in the excited state of the minds of the dense audience by whom he was surrounded. I almost immediately returned to the seat I had occupied, and while on my way was seized hold of by Colonel Frazer, Collector of Customs at Brockville, and obliged to change my route. Before I had got well seated, one of the members, I think Mr. Boulton[175] moved that the Speaker take the chair. He did so, and I addressed him, stating the insult I had received while in the performance of my duty as a member. To this he made no reply, but said that the Sergeant-at-Arms must know his duty. He then left the chair; the Committee resumed, and I was a second time forced from my seat by violent means. After a little reflection I decided to resume my seat; was a third time forced from it by the Sergeant-at-Arms, and when the Speaker had returned I was placed at the bar, charged by the Sergeant-at-Arms with refusing to leave the House."[176] The Sergeant-at-Arms then reported to the Speaker that he had taken into custody William Lyon Mackenzie for disorderly conduct, and that he had him in charge at the bar; whereupon it was moved by Mr. Samson, and seconded by Mr. Vankoughnet, member for Stormont, that William Lyon Mackenzie, having been brought to the bar of the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms for disorderly conduct, be called upon to state what he might have to say in his defence. To this motion Mr. Perry moved an amendment to the effect that Mackenzie was under no legal disqualifications, and had a right to sit and vote in the House. Then followed a long debate which lasted nearly six hours,[177] and which left the question at issue pretty nearly where it had been. Mr. Perry's motion was lost by a vote of twenty-one to fifteen. A dense crowd occupied the gallery until far into the night, but good order was preserved, the only demonstration being a subdued hiss while Mr. William B. Robinson, member for Simcoe, and brother of the Chief Justice, was speaking. Much rancour was exhibited by some of the Tory speakers, several of whom approved their loyalty by inveighing loudly against the Lieutenant-Governor for permitting the Clerk of the Executive Council to administer the oath to Mackenzie. Allan MacNab declared his intention to vote for committing Mackenzie to the common jail. Casting his eyes up to the gallery, he scowled at the occupants, to whom he referred as a band of ruffians who had come there to intimidate the House. The Lieutenant-Governor, he said, had interfered very improperly, and in a manner no way creditable to himself. He had acted like the Vicar of Bray, and might yet find, like that individual, that by taking both sides of a question he might fall through between. Mr. Samson, member for Hastings, spoke to a similar purport, declaring himself to be in favour of sending Mackenzie to jail without a hearing, and referring to the Lieutenant-Governor in terms of strong censure. "His Excellency," remarked Mr. Samson, "knew perfectly well that Mr. Mackenzie had been expelled by us, and for him to allow the oath to be administered under such circumstances was a most unwarrantable proceeding. He had no right whatever to interfere. I do say he acted a most improper part, and I do not know but this House ought to take it up." When Mackenzie attempted to speak at the bar, William Hamilton Merritt, member for Haldimand, rose in much anger, and exclaimed: "Drown his voice. He ought to be put out of the House, and two men stationed continually at the door to keep him out." Absalom Shade, of Galt, member for Halton, was of the same opinion. The speech of the member for Simcoe, which evoked the hiss from the gallery as already mentioned, was perhaps the most violent of all. He advocated that Mackenzie should be punished and consigned to jail without being allowed to utter "one single word" in defence of his outrageous proceedings. "Mackenzie," said he, "would never have dared to show himself in this House again if he had not had his Excellency's sanction for doing so in his pocket. His Excellency's conduct, I maintain, has been utterly unjustifiable. Indeed, I could not have believed it possible that his Excellency should have thought of taking such a step without consulting the Speaker of this House. He had no right whatever to do so, and now that he is told that we do not recognize such a right on the part of the Executive, I trust he will not persevere."[178] For milder language than this, many of the Reformers had been branded as "traitors," "disaffected," and "republicans," by the very person who now gave utterance to it. The beam in one's own eye is so much harder to perceive than the mote in the eye of one's brother.

The plain fact of the matter is, that no sentiment of either loyalty or disloyalty had anything whatever to do with the treatment to which Mackenzie was subjected at the hands of the Compact and their supporters. It was simply this: Mackenzie was a thorn in their sides. He watched them closely, and exposed their conduct in language which was telling and vigorous, albeit often ill-considered and unbecoming. They felt that their supremacy was menaced, and largely by his instrumentality. His expulsions were due to a fixed determination to keep him out of Parliament, irrespective not only of what was constitutional or unconstitutional, but even of what was right or wrong. To carry out this determination they resorted to all the party devices which a majority in the Assembly placed at their disposal. "From first to last," as Mr. Lindsey remarks,[179] "the proceedings against Mr. Mackenzie were conceived in a party spirit, and carried by party votes. No worse description or condemnation of them could be given, seeing that they were in their nature judicial."

The debate, as has been said, came to nothing. Mackenzie was not permitted to take his seat, and did not again attempt to do so during the session. No new writ was issued for the election of a member by the County of York. Mackenzie's supporters opposed the issue of a writ because such a proceeding would have assumed that the expulsion had been legal, and that there was a legal vacancy in the representation. Others, who were not friendly to Mackenzie, felt that a new election would only lead to fresh complications. York would undoubtedly return the expelled member, and he would again be refused a seat in the House. The session accordingly dragged on to its close without any writ having been issued: a matter of little practical importance, inasmuch as there was to be a general election in the course of a few months. It will thus be seen that the County of York underwent a partial disfranchisement for three years, during which three sessions were held. Before another session came round a new Parliament had come into being, and the political situation had undergone a complete metamorphosis.

During the session of 1833-4, which witnessed the tumultuous scene just described, the Provincial Parliament made one important concession to public opinion by passing an Act to render the Judges of the Court of King's Bench independent of the Crown. It is right to state, however, that this was done in consequence of pressure from the Imperial Government,[180] and not from any wish to remove an abuse of long standing. The Act provided that "the Judges of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench for this Province shall hold their offices during their good behaviour, notwithstanding the commissions which have been heretofore granted to them, or either of them, may specify that the office is to be held during the pleasure of His Majesty; and that from and after the passing of this Act the commissions to the Judges of the said Court shall be made to them respectively to hold during their good behaviour, and that the commissions of Judges of the said Court for the time being shall be, continue, and remain in full force during their good behaviour, notwithstanding the demise of His Majesty, or of any of his heirs and successors." Thus were the Judiciary rendered independent of the humours of the Executive, whereby a long step was taken towards securing a pure administration of justice in the Superior Court of the Province. Had a similar policy been pursued with respect to other gross abuses, the effect upon the public mind would have been most pacificatory. Standing, as it did, alone, the Act exhibited a striking contrast to every other feature of the Executive policy, and it may be doubted whether a solitary inhabitant of the Province was conciliated thereby.

FOOTNOTES:

[165] Prior to his departure from Canada he travelled about here and there through the country to collect subscriptions towards the expenses of his journey. He met with but slender success. After his return he made further efforts in the same direction, and with similar results. Persons who professed much zeal for Reform were slow to put their hands in their pockets for such a purpose, and he succeeded in collecting only about L150. It should however be remembered that most Upper Canadian Reformers in those days were poor. Mackenzie's actual disbursements during his absence are stated by Mr. Lindsey to have been L676 (Life of Mackenzie, vol. i., p. 287), but a considerable part of this sum was expended on a visit to Scotland. It is probable, too, that the amount stated includes the cost of publishing Sketches in Canada and the United States, which must have been considerable. It is fairly to be inferred from Mr. Lindsey's account that Mackenzie was himself compelled to pay the difference between L150, the amount collected from subscribers, and L676, the amount actually expended. "The people's agent," he informs us, "was left to bear the greater part of the expense." This, no doubt, was Mr. Lindsay's belief when his book was written; but nothing could be further from the fact. It would be much nearer the truth to say that Mackenzie enjoyed a sixteen months' holiday at the expense of his political friends, for all, or nearly all the money expended over and above the L150 was contributed by Dr. Morrison, Dr. Rolph, David Gibson, the Lesslies, Shepards, and others; and as no portion of the money so contributed was ever repaid, they, and not Mackenzie, were compelled to bear the loss. The implied slur upon the Reform party is therefore wholly undeserved.

[166] His Lordship expressed himself with much clearness on this subject. "Whether," he wrote, "even under this restriction [i.e., the restriction of non-interference in secular affairs], their holding such seats is really desirable, is a question upon which I am fully prepared to listen with the utmost attention to any advice which I may receive from yourself, from the House of Assembly, or from any other competent authority. I have no solicitude for retaining either the Bishop [McDonnell] or the Archdeacon [Strachan] on the list of Councillors, but am, on the contrary, rather predisposed to the opinion that by resigning their seats they would best consult their own personal comfort and the success of their designs for the spiritual good of the people. But any such resignation must be voluntary, since the office is held for life; and were it otherwise, no consideration could induce me to advise His Majesty to degrade the Bishop or the Archdeacon from the stations they occupy, except upon the most conclusive proof of misconduct." One might not unreasonably construe these words into a pretty broad hint to Bishop McDonnell and Dr. Strachan that they ought to resign.

[167] The London Morning Herald of July 11th, 1833, correctly characterized it as "the oddest mixture of slander and truth, of knowledge and ignorance, of bold assertion and vacillating opinion."

[168] "Mr. Rolph will, we have no doubt, have the offer of the Solicitorship, but whether he will accept it is a matter more doubtful; though we think he possibly may, provided he is to be associated in the administration with men of a liberal policy; otherwise we are of opinion he will decline. Such an appointment would certainly do credit to our country, and we hope he (Mr. Rolph) will accept the appointment if offered—that is, if he can consistently do so."—Colonial Advocate, Thursday, May 2nd, 1833. See also the Advocate for October 3rd, 1833.

[169] See An Account of the Dismissal of the Attorney and Solicitor-General from Office, and of the Re-appointment of Mr. Hagerman, written by Mackenzie for the General [Reform] Committee at York, and published in the Advocate for Thursday, August 29th, 1833.

[170] Ante, p. 247.

[171] As the resolution recited the facts relating to the two former expulsions, as well as the grounds of the present one, it may not be amiss to transcribe it in full. It was voted upon on Tuesday, the 17th of December (1833). Its mover was William Morris, member for Lanark. It was in the following words: "That this House, on the thirteenth day of December, 1831, in consequence of a false and scandalous libel published against a majority of its members by William Lyon Mackenzie, Esquire, one of the members then representing the County of York, of which he avowed himself the author and publisher, was induced to expel him, the said William Lyon Mackenzie, from this House: That notwithstanding the gross and scandalous nature of the said libel, this House, in the hope that the said William Lyon Mackenzie would abstain from a continuance of the offensive conduct for which he had been expelled, permitted him to take his seat on the third day of January following, as a member for the County of York, after being re-elected: That in this hope, so important to the deliberate transaction of public business, so essential to the respectability of the Legislature and peace of the country, a few days' experience convinced this House there was so little reason to rely, that on the seventh day of the same month of January, it was by a large majority again deemed necessary to expel the said William Lyon Mackenzie, for a repetition and aggravated reiteration of the aforesaid false and scandalous libel; and in doing so, this House, in order to support the dignity which ought to belong to a Legislative body, considered it just and proper to declare the said William Lyon Mackenzie unfit and unworthy to hold a seat in this House during the continuance of the present Parliament: That as the said William Lyon Mackenzie has never made reparation to this House for the gross injuries which he has attempted to inflict on its character and proceedings, there is no reason to depart from the resolution of the said seventh day of January, 1832." In amendment, Mr. MacNab, seconded by Mr. Robinson, moved that the following words be added to the original resolution: "And therefore he, the said William Lyon Mackenzie, again elected and returned to represent the County of York in this present Parliament, is hereby expelled." The amendment, as well as the original motion, was carried by a vote of 22 to 18.

[172] This section provides for the taking of the oath before the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or person administering the Government, or "before some person or persons authorized by the said Governor or Lieutenant-Governor," etc.

[173] The Sergeant-at-Arms was Allan MacNab, Sr., father of the junior member for Wentworth.

[174] See the Advocate of Thursday, February 13th, 1834.

[175] Not H. J. Boulton, who had several months before departed for Newfoundland, but George Strange Boulton, one of the members for Durham.

[176] See the Advocate of February 13th, 1834.

[177] Mackenzie, in the Advocate, says "full seven hours," but he did not reach the Assembly Chamber until nearly half-past three in the afternoon, and the House adjourned at 9.30 for want of a quorum. See the sessional journal. The three removals of Mackenzie from his seat must have occupied some minutes, and the entire debate could not possibly have extended over quite six hours. The matter is of no particular importance, but it shows how carefully all unsupported statements of Mackenzie ought to be scrutinized before being admitted as evidence.

[178] "It is probable," says Mackenzie (Colonial Advocate, Feb. 13th), "that the provoking language of some of the members would have ended in a disturbance had I not warned the people through the press, personally at many of their dwelling houses, and in the House before I took my seat, to preserve perfect silence whatever the members said or did. They were very orderly, and it is creditable to them that they were so. If public opinion will not avenge our cause, violence and tumult will not help us." The irony of fate had decreed that this admirable sentiment should not find a permanent lodgement in the writer's breast.

[179] Life and Times of Mackenzie, vol. i., p. 311.

[180] See Lord Goderich's despatch of 8th November, 1832.



CHAPTER XIII.

MR. HUME'S "BANEFUL DOMINATION" LETTER.

Mackenzie's repeated expulsions, unjust as they were, and humiliating as were some of the attendant circumstances, were not wholly without compensation. For one thing they caused him to be more talked about than any other man in Upper Canada. This, of itself, would have gone far towards reconciling him to the indignities which had been heaped upon him, for notoriety was very dear to his heart. But a more substantial reward, and one altogether unlooked for, was in store for him.

Within a month after the scene in the Assembly described towards the close of the last chapter, the town of York ceased to exist, having exchanged its name for the old Indian appellation which it has ever since borne. An Act of incorporation had been obtained during the session, whereby it was enacted that York should be constituted a body corporate and politic by the name of the City of Toronto. The city was to be divided into wards, with two aldermen and two common councilmen for each ward, to be elected by the inhabitants; and with a mayor, to be elected by the aldermen and councilmen from among themselves. This Act, like the rest of the measures passed during the session, was assented to on the day of adjournment—the 6th of March, 1834. On the 15th of the same month an official proclamation appeared whereby Thursday, the 27th, was appointed for the first election of municipal representatives. A campaign of active canvassing was forthwith set on foot throughout the city. As has often happened in more recent times, the contest assumed a political complexion. The Act of incorporation had been procured by Tory influences, and had been carried through the Assembly under the auspices of Sheriff Jarvis, the local member. In his speeches on the subject in the House Mr. Jarvis had taken the reasonable and legitimate ground that the Provincial capital had attained dimensions which rendered a separate government necessary to the efficient management of its affairs. This view was participated in by Tory residents generally. The Reformers, on the other hand, had all along been opposed to incorporation. York, they argued, was the main fortress and stronghold of the official party, who would be almost certain to acquire a pernicious ascendency in municipal affairs, to the detriment of the rest of the community. The Province at large had already suffered enough from Compact domination, and it was far from desirable to afford an opportunity for its exercise in a more restricted field. Again, it was urged that the expense of a separate administration for the city would more than counterbalance any advantages to be derived therefrom. These views were put forward with much vehemence by reformers, both in Parliament and through the medium of the press. From all which it was evident that the impending elections would afford a pretty accurate test of the strength of the respective political parties in the city.

Generally speaking, the Tory vote in the capital had been largely in excess of that polled by the Reformers. That it was not so in the spring of 1834 was due in no small degree to public indignation at the unfair treatment to which Mackenzie had been subjected. Persons who had never recorded a Reform vote before now came forward to support candidates who were known to be strong Reformers. It was not so much that these persons sympathized with Mackenzie, who was by many of them held in detestation and abhorrence; but they felt that gross injustice had been done, against which it behooved them to record their formal protest. The result was that the sanguine calculations of the Tories were altogether falsified, and that a majority of Reform candidates were returned to the first Council of the City of Toronto. Among the latter were Mackenzie himself, who was elected as one of the aldermen for St. David's Ward, and John Rolph, who was elected for the Ward of St. Patrick.

A few words of explanation are necessary in this place with regard to Mr. Rolph. It will be remembered that he and the two Baldwins had divested themselves of their gowns during the progress of the Willis dispute, and had declined to transact any further business in a court which they believed to be illegally constituted.[181] They did not again present themselves before the court during Term until after the decision of the Privy Council had set their minds at rest on the subject. There was no longer anything to prevent them from resuming their practice. The Baldwins did so, and Rolph for a time followed their example, albeit in a half-hearted manner. He had long been profoundly disgusted with the partiality displayed by the judges, and by their complete subserviency to the wishes of the Executive, as expressed by their forensic mouthpiece, Attorney-General Robinson. On account, as he believed, of his political opinions, he had been forced to contend against the persistent hostility of the judiciary. His triumphs at the bar had been won by reason of his power over juries, and in spite of one-sided charges from the bench. Of the understanding and judicial integrity of Mr. Sherwood he had formed a very low estimate. Hagerman, who temporarily succeeded Judge Willis, was an abler man, but his political feelings were so strong that Rolph would not imperil the interests of his clients by appearing before him. Upon the accession of Attorney-General Robinson to the bench the state of affairs from Rolph's point of view was not much improved. Mr. Robinson and he had so long fought each other at the bar and on the floor of the Assembly that they had come to regard each other as personal enemies. Rolph, rightly or wrongly, came to the conclusion that he could no longer hope to obtain any measure of justice. The necessary consequence of such a conclusion was a resolve to abandon the practice of law, and to resume that of medicine, which latter, indeed, he had never wholly abandoned. This resolution was not fully carried out until more than two years after it had been formed, though he meanwhile accepted no new suits, and steadily prepared himself for the impending change. The decisive step does not appear to have been taken until 1832, when he transferred his legal practice to his brother George. Thenceforward John Rolph never again appeared in a Court of justice in the capacity of an advocate. It was a momentous decision, for he had a fine legal practice, and enjoyed the reputation of being the most eloquent man at the Upper Canadian bar. He had outlived the exuberance of youth, and was at this time nearly forty years old—an age at which few men would have had the courage to abandon a pursuit which had been followed with signal success for many years. He resumed the practice of medicine and surgery, and was thenceforward known as "Doctor" Rolph. For some years before this time he had resided at Dundas. He now removed to the capital, where he was well known, and where he continued to reside until the breaking out of the Rebellion towards the close of 1837. He soon won a distinguished place in the ranks of his new calling, and reached a preeminence therein as great as he had ever attained at the bar. There was no regularly-organized medical college in Upper Canada, and the facilities for acquiring a competent medical training were few. In response to urgent requests from a number of influential persons in Toronto he established a private medical class, and gave instruction to a limited number of students. His teaching was eminently successful, and he made himself greatly beloved by his students. He seemed to have the whole round of medical literature at his fingers' ends, and his marvellous knowledge and graphic power of expression kindled in the breasts of the young men a love of knowledge for its own sake.[182] By no one were his attainments held in higher respect than by the Lieutenant-Governor. Sir John urged him to found a permanent medical college, and promised that Government aid for such an enterprise should not be wanting. But Dr. Rolph had other views. He had for several years been out of public life, but with no idea of so remaining. He was resolved to re-enter Parliament at the first suitable opportunity, and did not allow his professional pursuits to absorb all his attention. Unlike Robert Baldwin, who to a great extent held himself aloof from politics at this time, Rolph took a leading part at Reform meetings and caucuses, and did his utmost to give practical shape to the Reform policy. Baldwin, notwithstanding his undoubted zeal for Liberal principles, was imbued with somewhat exclusive social ideas, and was not in active sympathy with the Reformers at this period. He regarded Mackenzie as very much of a demagogue, and as a person with whom he could not hold any very intimate relations. The sentiments entertained by Baldwin for Mackenzie seem to have been closely akin to those entertained by Sir John Falstaff for the troops with whom he declared that he would not march through Coventry. Mackenzie's noisy verbosity and self-assertion offended the patrician instincts of Mr. Baldwin, to whom, indeed, the little proletarian was altogether distasteful and repulsive. This feeling, however, seems to have been due to the antipathetic natures of the two men, rather than to any mere feeling of exclusiveness on the part of Mr. Baldwin. They had as little in common as two persons very well could have. Without entering any further into the question, it will be sufficient to say that the one had a judgment under strict discipline, while the judgment of the other was always subordinate to the circumstances or prejudices of the moment—a fatal defect in one who aspires to be a leader of men. Mr. Baldwin made no secret of his conviction that no substantial progress could be made by the Reform party so long as one like Mackenzie was permitted to have any commanding voice in its counsels, or at any rate to have any hand in the shaping or directing of its policy. Rolph took a broader view, and while he admitted the notoriously weak points in Mackenzie's character, did not feel disposed either to throw him overboard altogether or to deprive him of a share in the direction of party affairs. He naturally felt and spoke strongly on the subject of the expulsions. For Mackenzie personally he had never felt much liking, but he hated injustice, and did not hesitate to give the expelled member all the support, moral and otherwise, which he could command. He was wont to say that Mackenzie might yet do much good work for Reform, if he could only be kept in his proper place. Mackenzie, on his side, never wearied of sounding Rolph's praises, and he sometimes did so in extravagant terms. Wherever he went he proclaimed the Doctor as the one man in Upper Canada capable of leading the Reform party to triumph and permanent power. Bidwell and Perry were well enough in their way, but to neither of them would he pin his faith if Rolph questioned the wisdom of their counsels.

Such was the state of affairs at the time of the election of the first Council of the City of Toronto. In that Council, as already mentioned, there was a preponderance of Reform members. According to the provisions of the Act of incorporation the aldermen and councilmen were to hold their first meeting on Thursday, the 3rd of April, when they were to proceed to the election of a mayor. As the Reform members were able to command the situation, they held a caucus on the evening of Monday, the 31st of March, to concert a scheme of action, and to take steps to turn their numerical superiority in the Council to the best account. An understanding had already been arrived at as to the mayoralty. Dr. Rolph had been pitched upon by common consent to fill the chair of the chief magistrate. He was upon the whole better fitted to grace the position than any other man in the city, and the Reform members contemplated their candidate with pride. But at the caucus held on the evening of the 31st matters took an altogether unexpected turn. Dr. Rolph did not attend, being kept away by professional duties. It was suggested by James Lesslie, one of the aldermen from St. David's Ward, that the Doctor was indifferent as to the mayoralty, and that he would be quite willing to waive any claims to the position which he might be supposed to have. It was further suggested that the interests of the Reformers would be best promoted by the elevation of the editor of the Advocate to the chief magistracy. Mackenzie, it was urged, had been treated with shameful indignity by the Assembly, and had been held up to contempt by the official party generally. He had been maligned at the Home Office as a personage whom the Secretary could not admit to his presence consistently with due respect to himself and his office. He had been represented as a snarling little upstart who, by the votes of the lowest and most rascally section of the Radicals, had been placed in a position unsuited to his character and belongings. It had been especially urged against him in England that the better class of Reformers held aloof from and thoroughly despised him. There could be no doubt that by such representations as these Mackenzie had been subjected to much unmerited obloquy and annoyance during his sojourn in the old country. The present conjuncture of affairs, it was said, afforded an excellent opportunity for atoning to him for what he had endured, and at the same time for scoring a double victory for Reform principles. His elevation to the chief magistracy of the capital city of Upper Canada would furnish the most conclusive answer that could possibly be made to the abuse and slander wherewith he had been assailed. The position was one of high honour and dignity. It would be impossible to represent the occupant of that position as the mere tool and mouthpiece of a low Radical clique, or as a person whom no gentleman could admit to a conference. There was much plausibility about these arguments, and they had the more weight inasmuch as Dr. Rolph was said to be personally indifferent about the matter. Dr. Rolph, moreover, needed no accession of dignity. He could certainly derive none from being elected to the mayoralty, and could very well afford to waive his claims. This view of the matter finally prevailed, and it was agreed, before the adjournment of the caucus, that, provided Dr. Rolph were a consenting party, Mackenzie should be the first mayor of Toronto.

When the matter was submitted to Dr. Rolph he expressed some surprise at the action of the caucus. He appears to have felt convinced that no credit to the Reform cause was to be won by placing Mackenzie in a prominent position. He knew Mackenzie to be a man who could not stand prosperity, and whose want of mental ballast was such that he was not fit to be trusted with power. He was moreover very much disposed to suspect that the little man himself was at the bottom of the movement in his favour, which was probably the fact. Still, the Doctor was compelled to admit that there was much force in the arguments put forward, and he was by no means disposed to press his own claims. He therefore gave his assent; and from that moment the question was to be regarded as practically settled, although the matter was kept a profound secret among the persons most immediately concerned.

The Conservative members of the Council also held a caucus before the day appointed for the election of a mayor. Their purpose was to organize their forces, and to present the best front which their numerical inferiority would admit of. They had assumed that Dr. Rolph would as a matter of course be the choice of the Reform members for the chief magistracy, and this assumption had been confirmed by common rumour, so that they entertained no doubt on the subject. The selection met with their full approval. In fact, unless a mayor was to be chosen from their own number—a thing out of the question with such a preponderance of Reform members—no man would have been so acceptable to them as Dr. Rolph. He was known to and respected by them all, and it was felt that he would fill the chair with credit to the city. They accordingly resolved to give him their support, and one of their number, Mr. Thomas Carfrae, Jr., wrote to him on the subject. But, Dr. Rolph had meanwhile given his assent to the project of Mackenzie's election, and was not in a position to accept support from any quarter. After careful consideration he had determined to resign his seat in the Council. He foresaw that Mackenzie would render himself unpopular, and deemed it probable that he would be guilty of indiscretions which no public representative of a political party could properly defend. The course of subsequent events was such as to fully justify this forecast. Dr. Rolph replied to Mr. Carfrae, thanking him for his offer of support, but announcing that he was about to resign his seat. He also wrote to his friend Dr. Morrison, one of the representatives of St. Andrew's Ward, to the same effect. The contents of these two letters did not become known until the meeting of the Council on the 3rd of April, otherwise steps would unquestionably have been taken to prevent Mackenzie's election; for the Reformers, with two or three exceptions, were not sufficiently anxious to elect him to oust Dr. Rolph for his sake; and as for the Conservatives, the idea of Mackenzie's elevation to the highest seat in the Council would at all times have been simply intolerable to them. At the appointed time all the aldermen and councilmen were in their places except Dr. Rolph. The chair was temporarily taken by John Doel, one of the representatives from St. Andrew's Ward. It was moved by Franklin Jackes, councilman from St. David's Ward, and seconded by James Lesslie, Mackenzie's colleague as aldermanic representative from the same ward, "that William Lyon Mackenzie, Esquire, be the mayor of this city." The motion took the Conservative members completely by surprise, and they did not attempt to conceal their dissatisfaction, and even disgust. Several of them arose in succession, and spoke in favour of Dr. Rolph. Dr. Morrison then announced Dr. Rolph's decision, and read his letter by way of confirmation. Mr. Carfrae intimated that he had received from the Doctor a letter to the same purport. There was thus no room for further discussion. The pre-concerted programme was carried out. Mackenzie received ten votes in support of his candidature, which constituted a majority. He was declared duly elected, and took the chair of honour. During the afternoon of the same day he took the prescribed oath, and his authority was complete. He could boast that he was the first mayor of Toronto, and also the first mayor ever elected in Upper Canada.

Scarcely had he been installed in office ere he began to furnish examples of that perverse and almost inconceivable want of judgment which attended upon him from the beginning of his life to its end. Knowing the light in which he was regarded by the Conservative members of the Council, it might have been supposed that he would be specially circumspect in his demeanour towards them, and careful not to give gratuitous offence. On the contrary, he conducted himself like a veritable Jack-in-Office, and disgusted not only the Conservatives but some of his own friends. He was constantly intruding his personal antagonisms upon the Council, and trying to induce the members to take sides. His indiscretion in the matter of the famous "baneful domination" letter is absolutely incomprehensible. The particulars can only be given very briefly in these pages.

During the month of May, Mr. Mackenzie received from Joseph Hume, the Radical member for Middlesex in the British House of Commons, an extraordinary letter—a letter which, for violence of tone and intemperance of language, might almost have been written by the editor of the Advocate himself. It referred to the Reverend Egerton Ryerson, a leading minister of the Methodist Church and editor of The Christian Guardian, in terms which it is astonishing to think that a gentleman in Mr. Hume's position should have permitted himself to employ. Now, Mackenzie had quarrelled with Mr. Ryerson not long before, and had devoted much space in the Advocate to maligning him. He saw here an opportunity for a further attack, with which view he deliberately published "copious extracts"[183] from the letter in the issue of his paper dated the 22nd of May. The effect was electrical, for the references to Mr. Ryerson, bad as they were, were not the portions of the letter most calculated to excite astonishment in the public mind. The phrase which called forth prompt execration from all classes of the community was one in which the writer, referring to Mackenzie's last election to the Assembly and his expulsion therefrom, characterized those proceedings as events which must hasten the crisis that was fast approaching in the affairs of the Canadas, and which would "terminate in independence and freedom from the baneful domination of the mother country." These extraordinary words—extraordinary as proceeding from a British statesman to a colonist who was likewise a public character—were printed in the Advocate, like the rest of the letter, in large type. It was subsequently urged[184] on Mr. Hume's behalf that he had not meant to imply separation from the mother country, but only an end to the false and pernicious system of governing the colony; and this explanation was admitted by him[185] to express what he had intended to signify. But if Mr. Hume could write so indiscreetly on such a subject, what is to be thought of the newspaper editor and the politician who had no better sense than to give such a production to the world of Upper Canada, more especially while he himself occupied the position of mayor of its most important city?

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