The Story of the Upper Canada Rebellion, Volume 1
by John Charles Dent
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No sooner was the number of the Advocate containing this letter in the hands of the public than an outcry arose on every hand. The Tories saw their advantage, and made the most of it. Now, it was said, the real designs of Mackenzie and those who acted with him were no longer masked. What they wanted was not constitutional Reform, but separation from the Empire, and the establishment of a republic. And it was not only Tories who spoke and felt thus. Persons who cordially hated the domination of the Compact, and who had condemned the treatment of Mackenzie as unconstitutional, tyrannical and unjust, now felt that such a man deserved no sympathy. He was evidently a rebel at heart.[186] He had brought reproach not only on himself, but upon the party to which he belonged. Reform journals hastened to signify their repudiation of the sentiments of the objectionable letter. "We profess ourselves Radical Reformers," said the Freeman, "and willing to go any reasonable length in correcting abuses, because we know extensive grievances have existed both in the mother country and in these colonies.... but we cannot bring ourselves to support violent and unprincipled factions." "It has often been the misfortune," said The British Whig, of Kingston, "for those who have laboured to emancipate the people of this colony from Tory misrule to be accused of disaffection to the mother country, and of a design to effect the substitution of a republican mode of Government for their present monarchical form. That no accusation is more generally false we are thoroughly satisfied; and yet, owing to the indiscreetness of certain writers, the enemies of political change have had too many opportunities afforded them to ground their assertions on something like proof. Here is a letter published by a leading Reformer, without one single remark in detestation of the doctrine it promulgates.... Does Mr. Mackenzie sincerely believe that the independence of this Province would be beneficial to its inhabitants; or is he of opinion that the domination of the mother country is baneful? If he answer in the negative, as we think he will, why in the name of common sense did he afford his enemies so much occasion to brand him with disloyalty?" Said The Free Press, of Hamilton, "It is not the domination of the mother country that Reformers complain of; it is only the tyrannical conduct of a small and despicable faction in the colony. The domination of the mother country is as necessary to our present happiness and future greatness as the mother's breast is to the infant." "There can be but one opinion," said The British American Journal, of St. Catharines, "in the minds of honest men, relative to the sentiments contained in this letter. That they are seditious and revolutionary is painfully evident; besides the language in which it is couched, the brief reference to the important subjects treated of, and the peculiar manner of its appearance before the Canadian public, irresistibly force the conclusion upon our mind that it is the premature disclosure of a plan long premeditated to separate the Canadas from the empire of Great Britain, and either annex them to the confederated union of the States, or establish separate independent republic Governments; as far as the author or publisher of the letter is concerned, it is immaterial which." Mackenzie himself was characterized as a man who was doing his best to drive the people headlong and blindfold into rebellion. Such being the tone of the Liberal press, that of the Tory journals may readily be conceived. Some of them demanded that the Government should institute an immediate prosecution of Mackenzie. Indignation meetings were held all over the Province, at which loyal addresses to His Majesty were passed. The Methodist Conference and other bodies, secular as well as religious, hastened to pass resolutions condemnatory of Mr. Hume's sentiments, and to forward the same to the Lieutenant-Governor. The excitement in Toronto was tremendous. Before noon of the day on which the offensive letter appeared in print a public meeting had been called to protest against the disloyal sentiments embodied in it. It was numerously attended, and, though a good many Reformers were present, a vote of censure on Mackenzie was passed without a dissentient voice. The matter was brought up in the City Council, and, though the support of the Reform members enabled him to escape the official censure of that body, he was compelled to submit to a series of criticisms which must have been exceedingly galling to his feelings. By this one misguided act he had contrived to do enough harm to far more than counterbalance any good which had been effected through his mission to England; and there were many Reformers who, in spite of all his protestations, never again felt any confidence in him, politically or otherwise.

In his capacity of mayor he was fairly assiduous in his attention to his duties. The city was subjected to a visitation of Asiatic cholera during the year, and he appears to have done his utmost to stay the progress of the pestilence, as well as to provide for the treatment of the stricken patients. He was nevertheless guilty of a number of indiscretions which rendered him odious to a large proportion of the population. His pettiness of spirit was incessantly asserting itself. No person in the community, however insignificant, was beneath his wrath when his sense of personal dignity was wounded. On one occasion a wretched woman of intemperate habits and loose character was brought before him in the Mayor's Court. She was loquacious and abusive, and Mackenzie, in a rage, ordered her to be placed in the public stocks. There were still a public pillory and stocks within the city, but, like those in Squire Hazeldean's parish, they had long been disused. Mackenzie had probably never heard of the maxim Quieta non movere. At any rate, the greater part of his life was spent in efforts in an opposite direction. His sentence was carried out, and the culprit was placed in the stocks. Had this been the act of a fossilized member of the Compact it would not have appeared very incongruous, but in Mackenzie it seemed ludicrously out of keeping with his professions. It aroused the popular indignation against him to a higher pitch than ever; but it had one good effect: it led to the removal and destruction of the barbarous relics of mediaevalism. To Mackenzie belongs the questionable credit of reviving their use when Tory magistrates had become ashamed to employ them any longer. He is entitled to the further distinction of being the last magistrate in Upper Canada to sanction their use; and that, too, in the case of a poor and defenceless woman, whose wretchedness ought to have removed her far from the possibility of his vengeance.

A considerable part of the summer was spent by both the political parties in the Province in preparing for the general election contest which was to take place before the close of the year. It was held in October. Had it been held some months earlier, while the public sympathy with Mackenzie in consequence of his repeated expulsions was at its height, an overwhelming preponderance of Reform members would have been returned. The publication of Mr. Hume's letter in the interval had alienated many sympathies and lost many votes to the Reform cause. Still, there was a strong tendency throughout the greater part of the Province in the direction of Reform, and the Reformers made unprecedented exertions. They succeeded in winning to their side a large number of the Roman Catholic electorate, and they absorbed most of the recent arrivals from beyond sea. Bidwell and Perry were re-elected for Lennox and Addington. William Benjamin Wells, a young lawyer of twenty-five, who afterwards made some mark as a newspaper writer on the Reform side, and from whose "Canadiana" several extracts have already been made in these pages, was returned for the County of Grenville. He was an Upper Canadian by birth, of U. E. Loyalist stock, and the grandson of a volunteer who fought at the siege of Louisbourg. Oxford returned for one of its members Dr. Charles Duncombe, who was destined to take a conspicuous part in the insurrectionary events of two years later. He was a medical practitioner of great intelligence and wide influence, an eloquent and forcible speaker, and an ardent Reformer. He resided on the Burford Plains, near the present village of Bishopsgate, a few miles west of Brantford. The two members returned for the County of Simcoe represented very nearly the two extremes of political opinion. William Benjamin Robinson, a brother of the Chief Justice, was, as became one of his race, the incarnation of Family Compact Toryism. His colleague was Samuel Lount, whose name, owing to his untimely fate and the melancholy circumstances attending it, arouses a host of sad memories. It may safely be said that of all the victims of the rising of 1837 none has been so sincerely and generally mourned. His execution is justly regarded in the light of a judicial murder and a stain upon our country's annals. As a peculiar interest has ever since attached to his name, and as but little is generally known with respect to him, it may be proper to record a few particulars. He was born on the banks of the Susquehanna River, in the State of Pennsylvania, on the 24th of September, 1791. His father, Gabriel Lount, was an Englishman, and a native of Bristol, who settled in the United States after the close of the Revolutionary War, and married an American lady of English descent. Gabriel Lount never lost his British proclivities during his residence in the republic, and in the spring of the year 1811, accompanied by his son and the rest of his family, he removed to Upper Canada. He settled in the township of Whitchurch, where he practised as a surveyor, and in the course of the nest few years laid out many official surveys for the Provincial Government. Samuel, prior to his removal to Canada, had learned the trade of a blacksmith, which he carried on for some years at Holland Landing. He had a farm in the same neighbourhood which he cultivated with much pecuniary success. Being a man of great industry and intelligence, he gradually amassed considerable property, and became what for those days might be regarded as wealthy. Better still, he acquired the respect and confidence of the people around him, for he was kind-hearted and generous, and spent much of his time in ministering to the necessities of those incoming settlers who were less advantageously situated than himself. To this day the neighbourhood abounds with traditions of his noble unselfishness, and there are old men and women who, after the lapse of half a century, cannot speak of Samuel Lount without a dimness of vision and a huskiness of the voice.[187] Though a zealous loyalist, he was an enthusiastic Reformer, and vehemently opposed to the domination of the faction whose selfishness went far to paralyze the life of the Province. He was an excellent speaker, and during election contests did much to awaken public opinion on the fruitful subject of Executive abuses. He now, in response to pressing solicitations, allowed himself to be nominated as a candidate for the representation of Simcoe in the Assembly, and, as has been seen, was returned for that constituency along with an ultra-Tory. In personal appearance he was considerably above the medium height, and of robust figure; of dark complexion, and with a pleasant, intelligent expression of countenance.

[TR: Handwritten.]

The County of York, smarting under a sense of indignity and partial disfranchisement, rendered itself specially conspicuous in the contest. During the preceding year an Act[188] had been passed extending and readjusting the representation of the County, and dividing it for electoral purposes into four Ridings, designated respectively the First, Second, Third and Fourth. Each of these now returned a Radical Reformer. The First Riding returned David Gibson, a land surveyor who resided on Yonge Street, about eight miles north of the city, near the present village of Willowdale. He was of Scottish nationality, having been born in the parish of Glammis, Forfarshire, on the 9th of March, 1804. Within legitimate bounds there was no more pronounced Reformer in the Province than Mr. Gibson, whose house was a sort of rendezvous or place of meeting for party caucuses. He was an honourable and high-minded man, much esteemed by his neighbours, and in high favour with his party. The Second Riding chose Mackenzie. Many of the voters disapproved of some of his acts, but his paper was largely read among them, and it was felt that some recompense was due to him for the indignities which he had suffered. The Third Riding returned Dr. Thomas David Morrison, of Toronto, who has already been referred to in connection with the municipal affairs of the city. He was a physician enjoying a good practice; a man of good sense and wise counsels, and a prominent personage in the ranks of Reform. For the Fourth Riding was returned John Mackintosh, a resident of Toronto, and a connexion, by marriage, of Mackenzie. He was a steady Reformer, of no remarkable abilities, who a few months previously had been elected President of the Metropolitan District Reform Convention, and was known to be to a large extent under Mackenzie's control. Such were the four York representatives.

At the close of the contest the Reformers of the Province had secured a certain majority, which led them to look eagerly forward to the meeting of Parliament, although, with the exception of Bidwell and Perry, their best and most trusted chiefs had no seats therein. Rolph and the Baldwins had positively refused to stand for any of the constituencies, although strongly urged to do so. They seem to have felt that the political pulse was not healthy, and that no credit was to be won, either for themselves or for the Reform cause, while the morbid symptoms continued. The worst symptom of all in their eyes was the ascendency of Mackenzie and his satellites among the rural and uneducated part of the community.[189] With this ascendency they were wholly out of accord, and they awaited the time when he should find his proper level in public opinion. Dr. Rolph had brought himself to acquiesce in this estimate of Mackenzie with great reluctance; and it is probable that his strong suspicions of double-dealing in the matter of the mayoralty election had something to do with his change of views.

By this time Mackenzie had become tired of publishing the Advocate, which was not a commercial success. Early in November the last number published under his auspices made its appearance, and the editor was at liberty to devote his chief energies to his legislative duties.[190] During the second week in December he and a number of his political friends formed what they called the Canadian Alliance Society, for the promotion of Responsible Government, the abolition of the law of Primogeniture, the secularization of the Clergy Reserves, and other needful reforms, most of which have since been conceded. At the beginning of the new year (1835) Mackenzie again offered himself as a candidate for the representation of St. David's Ward in the City Council of Toronto, but he was defeated by Robert Baldwin Sullivan, a brilliant Toronto lawyer, and a kinsman of Robert Baldwin. The Council elected the successful candidate as mayor for the ensuing year.


[181] Ante, p. 187.

[182] "To his instruction, and the love of knowledge which he never failed to inspire in those who came within the magic of his eloquence, many men who have since made their mark on the history of Canada owe their first start in intellectual progress. Notable among these is the present Chief Superintendent of Education, who has acknowledged that if he has achieved any distinction, it is mainly due to the love of knowledge with which he was inspired by the eloquence and example of Dr. Rolph." Such was the late Dr. Ryerson's own testimony, as published in the Journal of Education, upon Dr. Rolph's death in 1870.

[183] The phrase is Mackenzie's own. See his remarks preceding the extracts in the Advocate of May 22nd.

[184] By Dr. Morrison in the Toronto City Council. See the report of the proceedings of that body at the meeting held on Monday, June 9th, 1834. On the subject generally, see the pamphlet published in Toronto in 1834 entitled The Celebrated Letter of Joseph Hume, etc.

[185] In a letter dated 14th July, 1834, and published in the Advocate of September 25th. Mr. Hume there states his meaning to have been "that the misrule of the Government in Canada, and the monopolizing selfish domination of such men as had lately (though but a small faction of the people) resisted all improvement and reform, would lose the countenance of the authorities in Downing Street, and leave the people in freedom to manage their own affairs."

[186] The following extract is from a cleverly-written letter signed "O. P. Q.," which appeared in the Courier of June 5th, 1834. It spoke the sentiments of nearly all the newspapers in the country, of whatsoever shade of politics: "But for that letter the people of this Province might long remain in ignorance of the real motives by which your conduct has been actuated. They might long regard you as a persecuted patriot.... But your imprudence or your vanity has been the means of completely unmasking and placing you before the people of this country in all the naked deformity of an acknowledged traitor. Henceforth you must be content to be regarded as the secret abettor of a heartless conspiracy.... Do not think, Sir, that these are the sentiments of a violent political opponent who approves of the measures adopted towards you by the House of Assembly.... These views, Sir, are the views of a man who has ever denounced the course your adversaries have pursued towards you as unwise, unjust and unconstitutional. They are the sentiments of a man who, if he had the power to punish the persons who first rose you from poverty, ignominy and ruin, to comparative affluence and popular notoriety, would have sent the destroyers of your press to less favoured regions. They are the sentiments of one who had up to the publication of the letter ... regarded you as a man attached to the institutions of your country.... It is an old adage, 'Give him rope enough,' etc. You have a moderate quantity, and if the avowal of such sentiments as you have lately promulgated do not afford you a few yards more, you may regard yourself as infinitely more fortunate than many better and bolder men."

[187] "To the many poor settlers who came from Europe, and obtained grants of lands from the government, he was a friend and adviser, and in cases of necessity their wants were supplied from his purse or his granaries. Many is the time, said some of our fellow-prisoners, that we have seen him, after the toils of the day were over, leave his home to carry provisions for miles through the pathless forest, to the shanty of some poor and destitute settler, who with wife and family were rendered by want and sickness utterly destitute. Those acquainted with the history of new settlements need not be told how often those who have been accustomed to better days are obliged to embark in a new career of life, the duties of which they are totally ignorant and wholly unfitted for, nor how often sickness is engendered by their great bodily exertions, by neglect and deprivation. In a country like that in which Mr. Lount was settled, the inhabitants resided far apart, and consisted generally of old, worn, and superannuated British officers, who, at the close of the war, pitched their tents, for the last time, in the wilderness. The sums which they obtained from the sale of their half-pay, almost expended in the transportation of their little families, before arriving on the lands assigned them by government—unfitted, from their former pursuits, to bear the drudgery their new course of life required, it was frequently the case, that before they could raise anything from their lands, they became perfectly destitute of the necessaries of subsistence. Too proud to seek assistance, they would starve rather than communicate their situation; but in Lount, their generous neighbour, they found one quick to discover and prompt in affording relief, and he would minister to their wants with such delicacy that the most sensitive would experience a pleasure rather than the pang of wounded pride."—Theller's Canada in 1837-38, vol. i., pp. 233, 234. I transfer these remarks, not because I have any respect for Theller's personal testimony on any subject, but because in the present instance his language clearly expresses the general sentiment of the period with regard to Samuel Lount, and is confirmed by the remembrance of many persons still living in and near Holland Landing.

[188] 3 Wm. IV., c. 15, passed 13th February, 1833.

[189] In the preceding February Dr. Baldwin had thus written in reply to a notification to attend as a delegate at the District Convention: "This honour I beg leave to decline, and for this reason: that having heretofore served the country to the utmost of my humble abilities as their representative in Parliament, with the sincerest integrity of purpose in maintenance of popular rights, unspotted, I trust, by one single vote of a contrary tendency, I, together with many others of the staunchest friends of those rights, experienced such extreme fickleness of popular opinion that this conclusion has long been formed in my mind: that the great body of the people of this Province (without doubt there are many honourable exceptions), in no wise ignorant of their rights or the great value of them, are nevertheless shamefully indifferent into whose hands they commit their preservation and due exercise. Experience alone must teach the people. This experience is coming to them by painful lessons.... Under these circumstances I beg you will make my apology," etc. The letter appears in the Advocate of March 13th, 1834, following one to a similar purport from Dr. Rolph.

[190] It was continued for some time after by another hand, under the name of The Correspondent and Advocate.



[Sidenote: 1835.]

Parliament met on the 15th of January, 1835, when the Reform majority in the Assembly were able to once more elect Mr. Bidwell to the Speakership. The vote stood thirty-one to twenty-seven. Among the minority were five or six Conservative members who repudiated the name of Tory, and were opposed to the policy of the official party, to whom, as has been seen,[191] they merely yielded a qualified support as the less of two evils. Such being the state of affairs in the Assembly, the Compact party were of course precluded from making any further serious attempts to keep Mackenzie out of the House. The proceedings of previous sessions relative to the several expulsions were upon motion of Mackenzie himself expunged from the journals of the House. The baneful domination letter was made the subject of a long discussion, in the course of which Mackenzie received some exceedingly hard hits from Solicitor-General Hagerman; but as he had been manifestly in the wrong in giving publicity to that letter, and as he had been disciplined by members of his party to keep silence in the event of an attack on that score, he sat quietly through the Solicitor-General's onslaught.

The most important proceedings of the session, and the only ones of which it is necessary to take cognizance in these pages, were those relating to the Seventh Report of the Grievance Committee, to which frequent reference has already been made. On Friday, the 23rd of January, Mackenzie moved for and obtained the appointment of a Special Committee on Grievances, with power to send for persons, papers and records, and with authority to report to the House from time to time by bill, address or otherwise. Mackenzie himself acted as Chairman of the Committee, the other members of which, as finally struck, were Dr. Morrison, David Gibson and Charles Waters, one of the members for Prescott. The famous Seventh Report, which did more to arouse the Home Government on the subject of Upper Canadian affairs than all previous efforts in that direction, was completed and presented to the Assembly on Friday, the 10th of April. It was a truly formidable indictment. It recapitulated the various grievances under which the Province laboured, and which called loudly for remedy. These have been already set forth in former chapters of the present work, and need not here be enlarged upon. The prevailing tone of the Report was temperate and calm, and there is little or nothing in it to which serious exception can be taken, although, as may easily be discerned from internal evidence, the compilers felt strongly the importance of a vivid presentation of their case. The Report proper occupies only fifteen folio pages of the appendix to the official journals of the session; but the evidence taken by the Committee, and the various letters, papers and documents which go to make up the mass of valuable information submitted to the Assembly, extend to voluminous dimensions. In addition to the copies printed for insertion in the appendix to the journal, two thousand copies of the complete work were issued separately in octavo form for distribution. It thus obtained a considerable circulation throughout the Province; and a copy was also sent to each member of the British House of Commons. The first copy that left the binder's hands was forwarded to the Colonial Secretary. All the most pressing grievances were dealt with in greater or less detail, but special prominence was given to the necessity for a responsible Government—a Government responsible to public opinion, which must cease to exist when it ceases to command popular confidence. The wished-for settlement of this important question would necessarily comprehend and include the removal of many of the most glaring abuses to which the people of the Province had long been subject and the Reform party were keenly alive to the importance of obtaining the concession. More than a third of the Report proper was devoted to dealing with the question in its various aspects, and it was shown that the Provincial Executive were not only impervious to public opinion, but were also ready enough to disregard the views of the Home Government itself when those views failed to coincide with their own plans for self-aggrandizement. Some of the evidence taken was of the most compromising character, while the refusal of leading members of the Compact to answer certain questions propounded to them did not tend to place matters in a more favourable light. Archdeacon Strachan's response to many of the questions put to him amounted to a practical contempt of the Committee. "I do not answer that question."—"I have no answer to give."—"I refer you to the Constitutional Act."—"I cannot answer that question, owing to its assumptions, which I do not admit." Such are a few of his replies. The whole of his examination is worth reading, as exemplifying how far an intelligent man will sometimes permit bigotry and intolerance to gain possession of his soul. Indeed, the evidence of all the witnesses may be read with profit by those who wish to gain a full insight into the state of the Province at that time, and to fully appreciate the necessity which existed for a change in the mode of conducting public affairs.

The report, though presented to the Assembly as above intimated, does not appear to have been formally adopted during the session, but the passing of the order for the printing of it, together with two thousand extra copies, amounted to a practical adoption, and was probably so considered. The Committee could easily have secured its adoption, for the vote on the Speakership had not fully represented the strength of the Opposition, who on several questions were able to command a majority of from ten to eleven. But the fact was again brought vividly home to the Reform party that mere success at the polls had availed them little. Notwithstanding the numerical minority of the official party in the Assembly, they continued to exercise supreme power, and to strengthen themselves by the constant dispensing of patronage. They controlled the Legislative Council, and could thus control the legislative powers of the Assembly, independently of any question of the numerical strength or weakness of the Opposition in that House. The Legislative Council now assumed an attitude of determined antagonism to the popular voice, and would entertain no legislation of a liberal character. The vivid realization of these facts gave a keen edge to the remarks on Responsible Government in the Grievance Committee's Report. An Address setting forth these various discouragements was forwarded to His Majesty by the Assembly. The language was respectful but firm, and it was hinted that, if a remedy were not provided, resort would have to be had to the extreme measure of withholding the usual supplies. Earnest petitions to His Majesty were at the same time sent across the Atlantic from some of the rural districts, praying that the principles of the British constitution might be applied to Canadian affairs.

The Address and petitions were accompanied by the fullest documentary and other evidence, and, in conjunction with the Grievance Committee's Report, they stirred the Home Government to action. The Colonial Secretaryship had changed hands more than once since Mr. Stanley's tenure of office. The incumbent at this time, and for several years afterwards, was Lord Glenelg. His Lordship gave much consideration to the Report, and laid it before the King in person. The Home Government had by this time fully realized that there was much well-grounded discontent in the Canadas, and that something must be done to allay it. It was clear that the Reformers were justified in at least some of their demands, and that reasonable concessions should be made to them. This conviction led to an ungracious correspondence between the Colonial Office and Sir John Colborne,[192] who, owing, as is to be presumed, to the advice of Chief Justice Robinson and Archdeacon Strachan, was very reluctant to make concessions as suggested. As this reluctance was made manifest in the course of the correspondence, the Colonial Secretary resolved upon His Excellency's recall. Sir John had been appointed by a Tory Government, the traditions of which had been pretty well swept away by the effect of the Reform Bill. His mode of conducting the Provincial Administration may perhaps be to some extent palliated by the circumstances attending his appointment. But a Whig Government had now been for some time in power, and an effete colonial policy could not be permitted to be maintained to the detriment of colonial loyalty. If Sir John Colborne was not amenable to Whig discipline he must make way for some one of a more plastic mind. He was meanwhile instructed to delay the assembling of the Legislature until the Home Government could fully consider the aspect of affairs, and take such steps for the redress of the Provincial grievances as might seem advisable.

Having arrived at this conclusion, the Colonial Secretary began to look about him for a successor to Sir John Colborne. It was not easy to find one in all respects suitable, for the appointment was not a prize of such magnitude as to attract persons of really first-rate abilities. There seems good reason to believe that the place was offered to at least two fairly competent public servants, both of whom declined it.[193] In view of his subsequent conduct, it is fair to assume that Lord Glenelg was sincerely anxious to do his best for Upper Canada, and to confer the appointment upon the best man within his reach. How ignominously he failed to carry out his wishes in this particular is known to every student of Upper Canadian history; but what is not known, either to students of history or anyone else, is—What was the motive power which directed his choice? By what whimsical combination of circumstances it came about that the appointment was finally offered to, and accepted by, one of the most unlikely men in the three kingdoms, is one of those official riddles which appear to defy solution. The fact remains, that the post of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada was conferred upon Sir Francis Bond Head, a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order, a retired half-pay Major, an Assistant Poor-Law Commissioner for one of the Kentish districts, and the author of several entertaining but exceedingly superficial books of travel. To no one was the appointment a greater surprise than to Sir Francis himself. He must have felt the utter absurdity of the thing—that he had no claim to such a post, and was disqualified from filling it with credit. He neither knew nor cared anything about Canada. He was altogether ignorant of politics. He had never joined any political party; never attended a political discussion; never even voted at an election or taken any part in one.[194] So far as any knowledge of the British constitution was concerned, he had as little as any Englishman of decent education could possibly have. He had no claim upon the Government; was not acquainted with any member of it; and had never so much as seen Lord Glenelg in his life.[195] It is certainly not strange that he should have been, as he says,[196] "altogether at a loss to conceive" why this appointment should have been offered to him.

From that day down to the present time the circumstance has puzzled wiser heads than his, and there have been various attempts to solve the mystery. A tradition is said to be current in the Colonial Office that the appointment was the result of a singular misapprehension of identity, and the late Mr. Roebuck assured Sir Francis Hincks that such was really the fact.[197] A "distinguished Imperial statesman" also assured Sir Francis that he had heard the same statement,[198] which was to the effect that the person for whom the appointment was really intended was the kinsman of Sir Francis, afterwards Sir Edmund Walker Head, Governor-General of Canada. It is said that at a meeting of the Cabinet, while the selection of a successor to Sir John Colborne was under consideration, one of the Ministers suggested that "young Head" would be a likely man for the position—the person meant being Edmund Walker Head, who was even then known as possessing wide political knowledge, in so far, at least, as such knowledge can be obtained from books. Edmund was moreover known to many public men in Great Britain as an able writer on political subjects, and was a protege of the Marquis of Lansdowne, who was at this time President of the Council, and, by consequence, a colleague of Lord Glenelg. Edmund, as well as Francis, was a Poor-Law Commissioner, though he occupied a more exalted position than his kinsman. Thus, it is argued, there was some show of excuse for confusing the one with the other. Lord Glenelg, so the story goes, took the suggestion of his colleague as applying to Sir Francis, and acted upon it; and before the error was discovered the appointment had been offered to and accepted by the wrong man.[199] How much truth there may be in this account of the matter it is not easy to say. Such a blunder would imply an amount of carelessness barely conceivable in the management of an important Department of the State. Sir Francis Hincks, however, who has enjoyed exceptional opportunities of discussing the story with leading English statesmen, is strongly disposed to believe it.[200] Whatever opinion may be formed as to its truth or falsity, certain it is that Sir Francis Bond Head received the appointment, and that his conduct in Upper Canada did more to alienate the minds of the colonists generally than anything which had been done by either Sir John Colborne or Sir Peregrine Maitland. There is this to be said on his behalf: that he came to Canada at a very critical time—at a time when diplomatic shrewdness and statesmanlike sagacity were imperatively demanded of one occupying the position of Lieutenant-Governor. Injustice had so long borne sway in the land that many of the inhabitants had ceased to hope for better times. Many despaired of the future, and a few, whose natural element was opposition, had little desire to be conciliated.[201] Even a born statesman would have found his task by no means a sinecure.

To statesmanship no shadow of pretence could be made on behalf of Sir Francis Head. The texture of his mind was light and airy. He was inordinately vain and self-conscious; and, as has been seen, he was devoid of political knowledge and experience. The whole course of his previous life had been of a character to render him unfit for such greatness as was now thrust upon him. A considerable part of it had been spent in travel and adventure, and very little of it in study. He had left school at an early age, since which time he had encountered innumerable moving accidents by flood and field in various parts of the world. He had received a certain amount of training at the Military Academy at Woolwich, and had obtained a commission in the Royal Engineers in his nineteenth year. He had seen some active service in Spain towards the close of the Peninsular War; had been present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, and had fought at Fleurus under the Prussian General Ziethan, where he had had his horse shot under him. After the restoration of peace he had for some time been engaged in making a trigonometrical survey of the island of Lampedoza, in the Mediterranean. Thence he had embarked in a Greek vessel for Tripoli; had been nearly wrecked through the skipper's intemperance, and had finally been put ashore at Malta. He had also been Byron-smitten, and had followed in the wake of the author of "Childe Harold" to the Levant; had contemplated "the Niobe of nations" among the ruins of Rome; had witnessed the dance of the dervishes amid the fallen temples of Athens; and had "felt his patriotism gain force upon the plain of Marathon."[202] He had twice visited South America as the agent of a company formed for the working of certain gold and silver mines, and known as the Rio de la Plata Mining Association. During one of these expeditions he had ridden on horseback from the port of Buenos Aires across the pampas to the silver mines of Upsallata, near the foot of the Andes, whence, without any companion whatever, he had galloped back to Buenos Aires—a distance of nearly a thousand miles—in the brief space of eight days. Then he had retraced his course across the pampas, and, collecting a party of miners at Mendoza, had conducted them over the Andes to Santiago, the capital of Chili. After "prospecting" the country in various directions, he had ridden back across the Andes and the pampas to Buenos Aires, having traversed six thousand miles on horseback in an inconceivably short time. His "Rough Notes" contains a graphic account of this expedition, and is very interesting reading. It won for him wide notoriety, and led to his being commonly referred to in the current literature of the time as "Galloping Head." His adventurous career had left an indelible stamp upon his character. He was rash, impetuous, inconsiderate and superficial, fond of producing dramatic effects, and ever with an eye to some coup de theatre. He had not been a Poor-Law Commissioner long enough to have become thoroughly settled down when a king's messenger arrived at his Kentish abode about midnight, with a missive offering him the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. He seems to have at first had sufficient good sense to decline the proffered honour; but he allowed himself to be talked into accepting it by Lord Glenelg and his under-secretary, Mr. Stephen. As I have said elsewhere: "The result of an appointment made under such circumstances was disaster to the Province, and something nearly approaching ignominy to himself. As a civil administrator in a disturbed and grievance-ridden colony, he was altogether out of his proper element, and furnished a signal instance of the round peg in the square hole. His administration extended over little more than two years, but during that period he contrived to embroil himself with his own Executive, with the Home Government from which he had received his appointment, and with pretty nearly every one who was desirous of promoting the cause of political liberty in Upper Canada. He also contrived to do an amount of mischief which left traces behind it for many years after he had ceased to have any control over Canadian affairs. And yet it would be most unjust to represent him as a deliberately bad or ill-intentioned man. He was simply a weak man out of his proper sphere."[203] That a man of such mental endowments should have been sent out to stem the tide of Upper Canadian discontent, and to conciliate noisy Radicals of the Mackenzie stamp, is in itself sufficient proof that a huge official blunder of some sort was committed. What was wanted was a statesman, and a man of Liberal political views. Had there been any, even the slightest inquiry, it would have been ascertained that Sir Francis hardly knew the meaning of the word statesman, and that he had no political views whatever. It is hardly going too far to say that on all current political subjects, whether pertaining to the colonies or the mother country, his mind was little more than a blank. Lord Glenelg had an elaborate paper of instructions prepared for the new Lieutenant-Governor, This was intended as the Imperial response to the strong representations which had been received from Upper Canada in the course of the year. Sir Francis was directed to communicate the substance of his instructions to both Houses of the Provincial Parliament. Having been schooled for a few days by Mr. Stephen, and having gone down to Brighton and been presented to the King, he set sail, with his suite, from Liverpool for Canada, by way of New York. While crossing the Atlantic he devoted some time to studying his instructions, together with the Seventh Report of the Grievance Committee, with which he had been provided at the Colonial office.[204] Upon arriving at New York he pushed on to his final destination. "There would be no end to this chapter," he writes, in the third chapter of his "Narrative," "were I to describe the simplicity of mind, ill-naturedly called ignorance, with which I approached the city of Toronto. With Mr. Mackenzie's heavy book of lamentations in my portmanteau, and with my remedial instructions in my writing case, I considered myself as a political physician, who, whether regularly educated or not, was about to effect a surprising cure; for, as I never doubted for a moment either the existence of the 553 pages of grievances, nor that I would mercilessly destroy them, root and branch, I felt perfectly confident that I should very soon be able proudly to report that the grievances of Upper Canada were defunct—in fact, that I had veni-ed, vidi-ed and vici-ed them." Infatuated man, to compare himself to Caesar, even in this half-jocular manner, at such a time, and to suppose that the bitter animosities which had been accumulating for the best part of a generation could be swept out of existence at the mere wave of the hand of such a weak substitute for "the mighty Julius" as he!

[Sidenote: 1836.]

He reached Toronto on the 23rd of January, 1836. Sir John Colborne was just ready to take his departure, to the great regret of the official party, and very much to the delight of the Reformers, who had been led to believe that the incoming Lieutenant-Governor was a thorough-going Liberal, sent over expressly to redress their grievances, and to hurl the Compact from the seat of power which they had so long usurped. Parliament had been assembled on the 14th of the month, and had ever since been expecting the arrival of the King's new representative. As for Sir John Colborne, he was in no good humour with the Imperial Government, although his rigid ideas as to discipline prevented him from giving utterance to his displeasure except to some of the members of the Executive, and even to them his views were imparted with great caution, and in the strictest secrecy.[205] In consequence of his unsatisfactory communications from the Colonial Office, he had for some time felt his position growing more and more uncomfortable, and had solicited his recall; but his deposition had been fully resolved upon before the receipt of his request by the Colonial Secretary. He had served out his full term of six years, and somewhat more, so that his removal did not imply any reflection upon him. His nature and training unfitted him to carry out the projects of Reform which it had been determined to set on foot, but, in his proper sphere, he was recognized as a valuable public servant, who had all his life done his duty according to the light which had been vouchsafed to him. The leading spirits of the ruling party in the Province contemplated his departure with gloomy forebodings. They also had been led to suppose that Sir Francis Head was a Reformer of wide experience, who was coming among them to introduce a new order of things. They resolved to put forth one great effort while the chance remained to them. They induced Sir John, before his departure, to perpetrate what may fitly be characterized as the most unstatesmanlike act of his life: an act which aroused a perfect transport of public indignation, and caused the name of the perpetrator to be execrated throughout the length and breadth of the Province.

It will be remembered that[206] provision had been made by the Constitutional Act for the creation and endowment, out of the lands reserved for the support of a Protestant Clergy, of parsonages or rectories, according to the establishment of the Church of England. The discussion to which the Clergy Reserves had repeatedly given rise had prevented any advantage being taken of this authority. Nearly half a century had elapsed since the passing of the Constitutional Act, and as the power had been allowed to remain unexercised during all that time, there was good reason to believe that there would be no attempt to put it in operation, more especially in view of the strong feeling entertained with regard to the Reserves, and of the fact that the Provincial Parliament had been requested by the Imperial Government to legislate on the subject. Previous Colonial Secretaries, Lord Goderich among the number, had given what might fairly be construed as pledges on the part of the Imperial Government that no steps would be taken with respect to the disposal of any part of the Reserves, unless in accord with the views of a majority of the Upper Canadian people. Yet Sir John allowed himself to be persuaded into creating and endowing forty-four rectories[207] with more that 17,000 acres of land, giving an average of about 386 acres to each. These were put in possession of clergymen, who were thus enabled to acquire such a personal vested and possessory interest in the lands as, it was believed, would enable them to make good their titles thereto in a court of law.

This most reprehensible "clerical land grab" was made on the 15th of January, eight days before the arrival of Sir John Colborne's successor, and while Sir Francis was actually en route for Toronto. It was thus one of Sir John's last official acts. It is said that he was with difficulty brought to accede to the advice of his Council on the subject. He at all events seemed to feel that his creation of the rectories was an extraordinary act, and he took care to say nothing about the matter to the Imperial Government, who did not discover the facts until Sir Francis Head had been for some time in office. That the creation and endowment of the rectories were the means of greatly intensifying the general discontent throughout the Province, and that they were thus factors in bringing about the Rebellion, is beyond question; though to say, as has been said by Mackenzie and others, that they were the prime factors, is to talk nonsense. The sequel of the story may as well be briefly outlined here. The Executive Council kept the matter secret as long as they could, but it was of such a nature that its early disclosure was inevitable. The transaction became public property in the course of the spring, soon after the close of the session of Parliament. No sooner did it become known than the public indignation began to manifest itself in lurid speeches and newspaper articles. Meetings were held to denounce Sir John Colborne and those who had prompted him to this high-handed iniquity. The Wesleyan Methodist Conference and the Synod of the Church of Scotland in Upper Canada, if agreeing on no other subject, were of one mind as to this, and officially pronounced upon it with a vehemence which commended itself to popular opinion. Petitions without number were sent over the sea. "The Imperial Government," says Mr. Lindsey,[208] "was besieged with petitions, praying for the annulment of the rectories. The temper of the public mind became imbued with that sullenness which a sense of injury begets, and which forebodes the approach of civil commotion. It was the idea of violated Imperial faith; of a broken compact between the Sovereign and his Canadian subjects, that constituted the sting of the injury. The people recurred to the promise of Lord Goderich that their wishes should be the Sovereign's guide in the matter, and regarded themselves as the victims of a deception which brought dishonour on the Crown and distrust on Imperial faith." The Home Government were in two minds about repudiating the transaction. The right of the Lieutenant-Governor to create and endow without the express assent of the King was not perfectly clear, and the Law Officers of the Crown were consulted on the question. Those gentlemen, on the case submitted for their consideration, pronounced the opinion that there had been an excess of authority, and that the creation and endowment were invalid. Dr. Strachan, upon becoming acquainted with this circumstance, prepared a report embodying certain facts and documents which had not been before the Law Officers, to whom the case was now submitted a second time. The additional data placed a different face upon the question, and the Law Officers arrived at a conclusion contrary to that which they had formerly expressed. The grantees were accordingly permitted to retain their property undisturbed, but the name of Sir John Colborne continued to be execrated in Upper Canada for his share in the transaction for many a year.[209]


[191] Ante, pp. 231, 232.

[192] See Report of a Select Committee of the House of Assembly on the Political State of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, p. 25. Toronto, 1838.

[193] See Rough Notes on Head's Narrative, by a Liberal, p. 17. London, 1840.

[194] See his Narrative, Chapter III.

[195] Narrative, Chapter II.

[196] Ib.

[197] See Reminiscences of his Public Life, by Sir Francis Hincks, K.C.M.G., C.B. p. 14. Montreal, 1884.

[198] Ib., p. 15.

[199] See The Canadian Portrait Gallery, vol iv., p. 172.

[200] Reminiscences, etc., pp. 14, 15.

[201] The Colonial Office could not even plead, in extenuation of such a fatal blunder as the appointment of Sir F. B. Head, that it was unaware of the importance of the crisis in colonial affairs. In the beginning of the instructions prepared for Sir Francis, dated "Downing Street, December 15th, 1835," the following words may be found: "I have the honour herewith to transmit to you a Commission, under His Majesty's sign-manual, appointing you Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Upper Canada. You have been selected for this office at an era of more difficulty and importance than any which has hitherto occurred in the history of that part of His Majesty's dominions. The expression of confidence in your discretion and ability which the choice implies would only be weakened by any more formal assurance which I could convey to you." What a commentary upon such language was furnished by the mere fact of the appointment of such an one as Sir Francis Head!

[202] See a brief account of Sir F. B. Head's life published in The Courier of Upper Canada of June 11th, 1836, written by Alan Fairford (John Kent), and prefixed, with notes, to the collection of his Excellency's Speeches, Messages and Replies, published at Toronto during the same year.

[203] Canadian Portrait Gallery, Vol. II., p. 169, where the sentences above quoted form part of a tolerably full sketch of the life of Sir F. B. Head.

[204] He seems to have been provided with a duplicate copy by Joseph Hume. See that gentleman's letter to Mackenzie, dated 5th December, 1835, and included in the third chapter of Head's Narrative.

[205] See Report of a Select Committee of the Assembly, etc., 1838. See also The Rectory Question, p. 2. Toronto, 1836.

[206] Ante, p. 63.

[207] The intention was to create fifty-seven rectories, and patents for that number were actually made out, but thirteen of them were left unsigned by the Lieutenant-Governor, and the authorities refused to complete them or to admit their validity. See The Rectories of Upper Canada, being a Return to an Address of the Honourable the House of Commons, etc. Colonial Office, Downing Street, 1839. See also The Last Forty Years, vol. ii., p. 199: Religious Endowments in Canada; a Chapter of Canadian History, by Sir Francis Hincks, K.C.M.G., C.B.; London, 1869.

[208] See The Clergy Reserves, their History and Present Position, by Charles Lindsey, pp. 30, 31. Toronto, 1851.

[209] It has not been deemed necessary to go very fully into the Rectory question in these pages. Anyone desiring to do so will find very full details in the various authorities above cited.



Sir Francis Head, upon reaching Toronto on Saturday, the 23rd of January, temporarily took up his quarters at a hotel, where apartments had been engaged for him. He was not a little surprised, as he rode along the streets, to see himself placarded in large letters on the walls as "Sir Francis Head, a Tried Reformer." What a farce the thing must have appeared in his eyes, knowing, as he did, that up to the date of receiving the king's messenger, he had never read a page of practical politics; that he had never recorded a political vote, and that he was at this present moment, to use his own frank expression, no more connected with human politics than the horses that were drawing him! How he must have marvelled at Fate for playing him such a trick! On the same day, at the urgent request of Sir John Colborne, he removed to Government House. On Monday, the 25th, he was sworn into office as Lieutenant-Governor; and on Tuesday Sir John and his family took their departure for Montreal. The Compact took care that their staunch friend should not leave the seat of his Government without some mark of what might pass for popular favour. A crowd of persons was got together to cheer as Sir John passed along the streets on his way eastward, and a stranger might have been excused for believing that the ex-Lieutenant-Governor was regarded by the populace with feelings of the warmest affection. He proceeded to Montreal, and had arranged to sail from New York for England, when he received a despatch appointing him Commander-in-Chief of the Forces in Canada. He accordingly repaired to Quebec, the capital of the Lower Province, which was already in a state of ferment, and preparing for the outburst which ensued towards the close of the following year.

Sir Francis being now formally installed in office, an era of Reform was commonly supposed to have begun. His manner and address were in the highest degree pleasing, and he at first produced a most favourable impression upon all who came within the immediate circle of his influence. The Reform press sang paeans in his praise. He held no sooner received his appointment than Joseph Hume had written to Mackenzie congratulating the Province on the circumstance, and stating that the conduct and principles of Sir Francis had been much approved of. "My anxiety is," wrote Mr. Hume, "that you and all the Reformers should receive Sir Francis in the best possible manner, and do everything consistent with principle to meet his views and wishes."[210] The fact was that Mr. Hume was in precisely the same condition as Lord Glenelg himself with respect to Sir Francis: that is to say, he knew nothing whatever about him. He seems to have very unwisely taken it for granted that the new Lieutenant-Governor was a good man for the position because he had been appointed under Whig auspices. His letter found its way into all the Reform newspapers in Upper Canada, and Sir Francis had no reason to complain of the treatment he received at their hands. He was welcomed as the "Tried Reformer" for whom they had so long prayed in vain. The Tories and Conservatives, on the other hand, naturally regarded him with considerable apprehension. They entertained no doubt that his advent boded their downfall; but they were too wise to betray any solicitude, and quietly waited the march of events. Parliament being in session, he received from both Houses congratulatory addresses upon his assumption of the Government. On the 27th he went down to the Council Chamber, and made a brief and rather meaningless speech to the Legislature.[211] "As regards myself," said he, "I have nothing either to promise or profess, but I trust I shall not call in vain upon you to give me that loyal, constitutional, unbiased and fearless assistance which your King expects, and which the rising interests of your country require." He had been directed by Lord Glenelg to communicate to the Provincial Legislature the substance of his instructions. He not only communicated the substance, but a verbatim copy of the letter itself, together with a copy of the appendix, to each of the Houses. By this injudicious proceeding he caused no little embarrassment to the Colonial Secretary, and proved his utter want of experience in diplomatic affairs.[212] Lord Glenelg, in common with the official world of Great Britain generally, felt and expressed strong disapprobation of this extraordinary conduct on the part of the Lieutenant-Governor, who ought to have been recalled for this act alone, and probably would have been but for the difficulty of finding a competent man to succeed him.

A certain space must be devoted to an examination of these instructions. Speaking generally, it may be premised that they showed a disposition to conciliate the discontent of the colonists, but only after a partial and piecemeal fashion, such as might be exercised towards persons in a state of tutelage. It was evident that the Home Government regarded the colonists as persons who had not reached full political stature, who were not in all cases able to judge as to what was best for themselves, and who needed the constant supervision of calmer and loftier intelligences than their own. In reply to the allegation that the number of public offices in the colony was in excess of the people's needs, it was said that in Upper Canada, as in other new countries, the number of public employments was necessarily larger in proportion than in older and more densely-peopled states. "In the early stages of such a society," wrote Lord Glenelg, "many duties devolve upon the Government which, at a more advanced period, are undertaken by the better educated and wealthier classes, as an honourable occupation of their leisure time." He went on to say that His Majesty's Government were not solicitous to retain more patronage than was necessary for the people's welfare, but that the selection of public officers must be entrusted to the head of the local Government, and could not wisely be exercised in any form of popular election, or committed to any popular body. Such exercise or transfer, it was suggested, would be destructive of responsibility and discipline. This doctrine was laid down as a general rule of action, but any wish to urge it beyond its just and necessary limits was expressly disclaimed, and it was even suggested that there were cases in which the doctrine might be contravened. There was no attempt to go into details as to specific cases, but it was stated as a general principle that whatever patronage was necessary to maintain perfect subordination to the prerogatives of the Crown must be retained, and that whatever was unnecessary for that purpose should be abandoned. His Excellency was directed to review and consider the subject with diligence, and to report the result of his investigation. Should he meanwhile deem it wise to reduce the number of offices, either by abolition or consolidation, he was authorized to exercise his discretion in that respect, but any appointment made under such circumstances was to be merely provisional, and subject to cancellation by the Home Government. In the selection of persons for public offices his Excellency was to be guided exclusively by the comparison of the claims of the candidates by reason of past services or personal qualifications; and as a general rule no person was to be appointed to office who was not either a native of the Province or a settled inhabitant of it. Exceptions to this latter rule were admitted where a knowledge of some particular art or science was demanded, and where no Provincial candidate could be found possessing the necessary qualifications. His Excellency was also left free from restriction in the choice of those officers immediately attached to his own person. There were various other directions, not necessary to be specified, on the subjects of patronage and pensions, salaries and fees, and the Provincial Post Office. The Clergy Reserves question was dealt with in the most general manner, no definite course being suggested; and the instructions on this subject are absolutely devoid of historical or other value. With regard to the Land-Granting Department, it was assumed that some of the grievances had been remedied. Reference was made to a despatch of Lord Ripon's on the subject, and it was stated that any ambiguity therein was to be removed, while prompt obedience to the instructions embodied therein was inculcated. Upper Canada College, established by Sir John Colborne only five years before this time, had already become a ground of offence to many Reformers. The Assembly, in their Address to His Majesty, had declared that it was upheld at great public expense, with high salaries to its principal masters. They had expressed the opinion that the Province in general derived very little advantage from it, and that it might be dispensed with. On this subject Lord Glenelg remarked that there was no desire to retain any charge for the establishment more than sufficient to suitably provide for the effective performance of the teachers; but the advantages of such an institution, it was said, ought to be great, and if the Province derived no benefit from it the explanation was to be found in some error of management susceptible of remedy. His Lordship remarked that he should deeply lament the abolition of a college "of which the defects would appear so remediable, and of which it does not seem easy to exaggerate the benefits." As for King's College, which was another educational bone of contention between the two branches of the Provincial Legislature, it was intimated that His Majesty would cheerfully resume the consideration of the charter, provided the assent of both Houses to his doing so could be obtained, but that, as the subject had been committed to the local Legislature, he could not withdraw it from their cognizance at the instance of one branch only. The system of auditing the public accounts had been complained of as being insufficient for ensuring the proper application of the revenue. As a remedy, the establishment of a Board of Audit, the regulation of which should be secured by well-considered legislation, had been suggested. In this suggestion the Colonial Secretary expressed his concurrence, and he transmitted various documents explanatory of the system of auditing the public accounts of the Kingdom. The Assembly having expressed its belief that the Legislative Council would not assent to any efficient legislation on the subject, the Lieutenant-Governor was empowered, in case of that belief being realized, to constitute a provisional Board of Audit. To remedy another evil which had been complained of—the withholding of public accounts from the Assembly—it was proposed that a statute should be passed providing the time and manner of making periodical returns, and naming the officers who should render them to the Legislature. Then followed brief instructions to be observed by the Lieutenant-Governor in his intercourse with the Assembly. "You will always," wrote his Lordship, "receive the addresses of the Assembly with the most studious attention and courtesy. As far as may be consistent with your duty to the King, you will accede to their wishes cheerfully and frankly. Should that duty ever compel you to differ from their opinion, or to decline compliance with their desires, you will explain in the most direct, and of course in the most conciliatory terms, the ground of your conduct." His Excellency was instructed to adopt Lord Goderich's despatch to Sir John Colborne of the 8th of November, 1832,[213] as a rule for the guidance of his conduct. He was directed to select Justices of the Peace without reference to political considerations. In the Grievance Committee's Report, as well as in the Address from the Assembly to the King, great stress had been laid on the mode of appointing members of the Legislative Council. It had been represented that that body had utterly failed to answer the ends for which it had been created, and that the restoration of legislative harmony and good government required its reconstruction on the elective principle.[214] The inhabitants of the Lower Province felt still more strongly on this subject than did their fellow-colonists in Upper Canada, and had made urgent representations to His Majesty thereupon in ninety-two resolutions which had been adopted by the local Assembly during the session of 1834. "The greatest defect in the constitution of Canada," said they, "is the right of nomination, by the Crown, of the Legislative Councillors." These resolutions had led to the appointment by the Imperial Government of a commission of investigation into the affairs of Lower Canada, and as the principles bearing upon the question of an elective Legislative Council were the same in both Provinces, Lord Glenelg now contented himself with appending the instructions issued to the commissioners, and referring to the views therein contained as having received the deliberate sanction of the King. A similar device was adopted with respect to the demand for the control by the Assembly of the territorial and casual revenues of the Crown.

The one great overshadowing question of Executive responsibility was dealt with by Lord Glenelg in a most perfunctory and unsatisfactory manner. It was apparent that he either wholly failed to grasp the real significance of the theme, or that he fenced with it for the mere purpose of beguiling the colonists with a counterfeit presentment. "Experience would seem to prove," he wrote, "that the administration of public affairs in Canada is by no means exempt from the control of a sufficient practical responsibility. To His Majesty and to Parliament the Governor of Upper Canada is at all times most fully responsible for his official acts. That this responsibility is not merely nominal, but that His Majesty feels the most lively interest in the welfare of his Canadian subjects, and is ever anxious to devote a patient and laborious attention to any representations which they may address to him, either through their representatives or as individuals, is proved not only by the whole tenor of the correspondence of my predecessors in this office, but by the despatch which I am now addressing to you. That the Imperial Parliament is not disposed to receive with inattention the representations of their Canadian fellow-subjects is attested by the labours of the committees which have been appointed by the House of Commons during the last few years to inquire into matters relating to those Provinces." It was declared to be the Lieutenant-Governor's duty to vindicate to the King and the Imperial Parliament every act of his administration. In the event of any complaint being preferred against him, his conduct was to receive the most favourable construction. The Assembly, it was said, were at all times able to invoke the interference of the King and Parliament. Every public officer was to depend on the King's pleasure—i.e., upon the pleasure of the Lieutenant-Governor—for the tenure of his office. Certain rules were then laid down, the observance of which, it was said, would produce a system of perfect responsibility. As these rules differed in no essential respect from those which had consistently been acted upon by Francis Gore, Sir Peregrine Maitland and Sir John Colborne, it was evident that the system of responsibility contemplated by Lord Glenelg was not identical with that desired by Upper Canadian Reformers. Lord Glenelg certainly made good his asseveration that the Upper Canadian Executive were "practically responsible." But to whom were they responsible? To the Upper Canadian people? Not at all. The responsibility was to the King and Parliament of Great Britain—that is to say, to Downing Street, several thousand miles away. Of what avail was such responsibility, guarded, as it was, by secret despatches, "like a system of espionage"?[215] Had this responsibility to Downing Street ever saved "a single martyr to Executive displeasure"?[216] Had it been of any avail for the protection of Robert Gourlay, Captain Matthews, Francis Collins or Robert Randal? Had it preserved from the dry pan and the slow fire any one of a score of individuals whose only offence against the State was that they would not willingly sacrifice their rights, and become the tools of venality and corruption? In not one solitary instance had it served any such purpose. Such responsibility was a mockery, "a broken reed, which it would be folly ever again to rest upon."[217] Of real, constitutional responsibility to the people there was not so much as a pretence. "All the powers of the Government," says Mr. Lindsey, "were centralized in Downing Street, and all the colonial officers, from the highest to the lowest, were puppets in the hands of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. At the same time, the outward trappings of a constitutional system, intended to amuse the colonists, served no other end than to irritate and exasperate men who had penetration enough to detect the mockery, and whose self-respect made them abhor the sham."[218]

In an early paragraph of these instructions, Lord Glenelg had objected, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, to any resort on the part of the Assembly to that ulterior measure—the stoppage of the supplies—to which allusion had been made in the Address of that body, and had referred to it as a proceeding to be justified only by an extreme emergency. He concluded with an expression of earnest hope that the representatives of the Upper Canadian people would receive with gratitude and cordiality this renewed proof of His Majesty's paternal solicitude for the welfare of his loyal subjects in the Province, and that, laying aside all groundless distrusts, they would cheerfully cooeperate with the King and the Lieutenant-Governor in advancing the prosperity of "that interesting and valuable portion of the British Empire."

As already mentioned, the full text of the instructions was communicated by the new Lieutenant-Governor to the Upper Canadian Assembly. Apart from the fact that this proceeding was not warranted either by usage or express permission, it was short-sighted and unwise, for the instructions were not such as to be by any means satisfactory, either to the official party or the Opposition. The Opposition perceived that, under a cover of many fair words and specious phrases, there was very little substantial concession. To the official party it seemed that the spirit of concession was manifested much too strongly, and as the appointment of Sir Francis Head had been hailed by the Reformers as a triumph, anything in the nature of concession, filtered through such a medium, was naturally regarded with strong suspicion. As for Sir Francis himself, his mind seems to have been for some weeks in a chaotic state. He had not been installed in office many days before he had a succession of private interviews with several leading members of the Reform party. In the course of a conversation with Mr. Bidwell, who, it will be remembered, was Speaker of the Assembly, he for the first time became aware that the Report of the Grievance Committee was not recognized by the Reform party as being a complete exposition of the case as between the Home Government and themselves.[219] He soon after had an interview with Mackenzie, who, in conjunction with Dr. Morrison, was chiefly responsible for the existence of the Report. "I thought," writes Sir Francis,[220] "that of course he would be too happy to discuss with me the contents of his own book, but his mind seemed to nauseate its subjects even more than Mr. Bidwell's. Afraid to look me in the face, he sat, with his feet not reaching the ground, and with his countenance averted from me, at an angle of about seventy degrees; while, with the eccentricity, the volubility, and indeed the appearance of a madman, the tiny creature raved about grievances here and grievances there, which the Committee, he said, had not ventured to enumerate." This was a revelation to the Lieutenant-Governor, and set him thinking. He attempted to discuss the merits of the Report with various persons, but encountered what was to him an inexplicable reluctance to talk about it. All were ready to discuss the grievances themselves, but no leading Reformer was disposed to admit the Report into the discussion. The reason of this was doubtless because the Report had been chiefly fathered by Mackenzie, and they were unwilling to accept him as their mouthpiece. As for Mackenzie's own disinclination to enter into a discussion of the matter, it probably arose from a feeling that it would be unwise for him to tie himself down to a particular record, beyond which he would not be permitted to travel. Sir Francis, writing three years afterwards, declares that "the light of truth" at once burst upon his mind, and that he perceived that the Grievance Report was a mere pretext for Rebellion.[221] It is quite clear that he perceived nothing of the kind, and that "the light of truth" was a mere after-thought with him. It is impossible for one in his sober senses to see what does not exist, and at this time there was no purpose of rebellion in the heart of anyone with whom the Lieutenant-Governor came in contact—not even in the heart of Mackenzie himself, who might easily have been conciliated by wisdom and prudence. Had Sir Francis been half as clever and astute as he professed to believe himself to be—nay, had he even been fairly honest and truthful, and possessed of the most ordinary good sense—there would probably have been no such thing as an Upper Canadian Rebellion.

He had not been a fortnight in the country when suggestions began to be made to him from various quarters as to the membership of the Executive Council. That body, for the nonce, consisted of only three persons, namely, Peter Robinson, Commissioner of Crown Lands; George Herchmer Markland, Inspector-General; and Joseph Wells, Bursar of King's College. The presence of all three of these persons was necessary to the formation of a quorum, and in case of the illness or unavoidable absence of any one of them the public business would have been interrupted and delayed. Mr. Robinson, moreover, was not only an Executive Councillor, but, as just mentioned, was also Commissioner of Crown Lands. In the former capacity the duty was imposed upon him of taking part in the auditing of his own accounts. This invidious necessity would no longer exist if additional members were appointed, as a quorum could easily be obtained without Mr. Robinson's presence being required at the Council Board. These facts were indisputable, and the argument to be deduced therefrom was unanswerable. Additional Councillors must be appointed. But from what class of the community should they be selected? Sir Francis, the "Tried Reformer," had begun to conceive a distaste for the Reformers of Upper Canada. There seemed to be a natural antagonism between him and them. The reason is not far to seek. Persons of the social grade of Mackenzie were inconceivably odious to this "diner-out of the first water;" while men like Bidwell and Baldwin made him painfully conscious of his own littleness and insufficiency for the task which he had undertaken. Yet he could not venture to call to his Council any of the remnant of the Tory Compact, and thereby utterly ignore the Liberal principles which were presumed to have dictated his appointment. The Tories, moreover, had seen fit to petition the King against his very first administrative act—the appointment of a Surveyor-General. As for the Conservatives, as distinct from the Tories, they had not yet formulated a distinct policy, and none of their leaders had come very conspicuously to the front.

It seemed clear, then, that the choice must be made from the Reform ranks. After much deliberation and inquiry,[222] the Lieutenant-Governor came to the conclusion that approaches should be made to Robert Baldwin, a gentleman to whom he refers as "highly respected for his moral character, being moderate in his politics, and possessing the esteem and confidence of all parties."[223] His Excellency's resolve on this subject was approved of by the Speakers of the two Houses, as well as by the three members of the Council, to all of whom the project was submitted before any attempt was made to carry it out. When the proposal was made to Mr. Baldwin it was received by him with becoming respect, but with a coolness of demeanour which was far from flattering to the vanity of Sir Francis, who seems to have expected that the recipient would be well-nigh overwhelmed by the honour. The latter stated that he was very reluctant to again embark in public life, and he explained his views on the political situation with great frankness. There were several interviews, in the course of which Sir Francis did his utmost to induce Mr. Baldwin to accede to his wishes. Mr. Baldwin required time for consideration, an indulgence which was of course accorded. The Lieutenant-Governor being anxious to carry his point, sent for Mr. Baldwin's father, Dr. W. W. Baldwin, for the purpose of securing his influence in the negotiations. Father and son were both of one mind. There was little or nothing in common between the political sentiments of the three members of the existing Executive Council and the man whom it was proposed to add to their number. How, then, could it be expected that they would agree as to the policy of the Administration. If they did not agree, what would Mr. Baldwin's single voice avail against the other three? And, even admitting that this anomaly could be got rid of, it was deemed necessary that there should be some understanding on the subject of Executive responsibility before Mr. Baldwin could consent to accept a seat in the Council. He and his father, from whom his political ideas had been chiefly derived, had for years contended that Responsible Government already existed in Upper Canada by virtue of the Constitutional Act, and that when a Government failed to command a majority of votes in the Assembly it was legally bound to resign. It was of course notorious that this principle had never been recognized by the Provincial Administration, but Mr. Baldwin was of opinion that the constitution had been systematically violated in this particular. In talking over the matter with the Lieutenant-Governor he now discovered that the latter was entirely unacquainted with constitutional questions, and that he had no ideas on the subject whatever, beyond such as he had picked up within the past few days. Still, his Excellency's good temper, and his seeming anxiety to do his duty, won upon the sympathies of Mr. Baldwin, who naturally felt desirous to be of service to a man who had come to Canada in the guise of a tried Reformer, and who professed to be actuated by a sincere desire to govern the colony on Liberal principles. After several courteous refusals, and after much consideration and repeated consultations with his friends, Mr. Baldwin consented to accept office, provided that seats in the Council were at the same time offered to his father, and to Dr. Rolph and Mr. Bidwell. Dr. Baldwin was so unwilling to accept the cares of office that his name was dropped by common consent. To Dr. Rolph no objection was felt, but his Excellency had conceived an antagonism towards Mr. Bidwell, with whom he had had frequent interviews, and who had not scrupled to express himself with much freedom on the necessity for a regular system of Provincial Reform. After considerable discussion, it was agreed that John Henry Dunn, the Provincial Receiver-General, should be substituted for Mr. Bidwell. Mr. Dunn was not a member of any political party, nor had he any special aptitude for political life; but he was a man of high character and moderate views, and was held in much public estimation. On Saturday the 20th of February the three new Councillors were sworn into office and gazetted, "until the King's pleasure be known."[224] The three old members retained their places.

This manifestation of a resolve to carry on the Government of the Province by means of Councillors possessing the public confidence was hailed with great favour by the Reform party, and indeed by the Conservatives as well, for Messieurs Baldwin, Rolph and Dunn were persons for whom the highest respect was felt by all classes of the community, and were regarded as being altogether above suspicion. Even the members of the Compact were disposed to favour the arrangement, for, in consequence of rumours which had reached their ears, they had dreaded that the Lieutenant-Governor might possibly ally himself with the Radicals, who, if placed in power, would have done their utmost to exact a reckoning for past abuses. Upon the whole, then, Sir Francis had materially strengthened his position. But the strength was fictitious rather than real, and the baseless fabric which he had reared with such pains quickly tottered and fell. The three new Councillors were not long in discovering that their places were sinecures. His Excellency wanted none of their counsel, and had no intention of permitting them to have any real voice in the carrying-on of the Government. To one person only did he apply for advice in every emergency. That person was not a member of the Government, and was therefore an unsworn counsellor, under no semblance of responsibility to anybody. He was a power behind the throne, with all the privileges and none of the disabilities attaching to such a position. The gentleman elevated to this anomalous dignity was Chief Justice Robinson, Speaker of the Legislative Council, the master-spirit of the Family Compact, and the life-long champion of those very abuses which the "Tried Reformer" was currently supposed to have been sent out to remove. The Councillors, old as well as new, were treated as mere figure-heads. They were consulted about land matters and insignificant questions of detail, but the policy and measures of the Government seldom passed under their review, or were submitted to them for advice.[225] Some of these measures were such as they could not approve or sanction. His Excellency nominated two adherents of the old official party to vacant offices upon which they had no sort of claim. He refused the royal assent to the Felons' Counsel Bill, a measure "demanded by justice and humanity, and passed for more than ten years, almost unanimously, by repeated and different Houses of Assembly."[226] The Councillors were thus made to seem responsible for acts over which they had no control, and of which some of them, at least, highly disapproved. The Reform party were astonished to see such things done under the auspices of a Government of which Robert Baldwin and Dr. Rolph were members. They however acquitted both those gentleman of having advised such acts. It was believed by Reformers generally that the three new Councillors were not consulted, or else that the old members, with the umpirage of the Lieutenant-Governor, predominated.[227]

This state of things could not be allowed to continue. The Executive Councillors consulted together, and determined upon a remonstrance with the Lieutenant-Governor. This remonstrance was formally prepared in writing, and sent in to his Excellency on Friday, the 4th of March. The three old members concurred in it, and it was signed by all the six in order of seniority. The mere fact of this concurrence affords strong evidence of the growth of the power of public opinion in the Province. In past times members of the Executive Council had been content to pose as figure-heads year after year, while John Beverley Robinson and one or two others manipulated and directed the whole course of public affairs. It is probable, however, that in the present instance the three senior Councillors may have been influenced by the arguments of Baldwin and Rolph, who felt very strongly on the question at issue.

The Lieutenant-Governor's reply, every paragraph of which bears evidence of the Chief Justice's cunning hand, is dated on the following day, but was not actually communicated until the next regular Council day, which was Thursday, the 10th. It contained a firm but courteous expression of his Excellency's dissent from the opinions expressed by the Executive Councillors as to their privileges and duties. It was contended that the Lieutenant-Governor was the sole responsible minister, and the difference between the constitution of the mother-country and the colony was referred to as being highly advantageous to the latter. His Excellency, it was said, was only bound to consult his Council when he felt the need of their advice, and to do so on the innumerable subjects upon which he was daily compelled to decide would be "as utterly impossible as for any one but himself to decide upon what points his mind required or needed" advice. The position taken by the Councillors was declared to be unconstitutional, but his Excellency informed them that his estimation of their talents and integrity, as well as his personal regard for them, remained unshaken, and that he was not insensible to the difficulties to which he would be exposed should they deem it necessary to resign. He added, however, that should they be of opinion that their oaths required them to retire from office, he begged that they would not on his account hesitate to do so. As they were very strongly of that opinion, they waited on his Excellency on Saturday, the 12th, and tendered their resignations, which were accepted. They had held office precisely three weeks.

The clue to this puzzle is easily found. Sir Francis had conceived an utter distaste for the persons and political principles of the Reformers of Upper Canada. There was an inherent antagonism between the nature of this shallow, feather-brained sketcher by the wayside and the natures of men like Rolph, Bidwell and the Baldwins, whose quiet earnestness and fixity of purpose had been intensified by the long course of injustice to which they, in common with their party, had been subjected. The earnestness of these gentlemen presented itself to him in the light of importunity, if not of impertinence. He could hardly be expected to sympathize very strongly with their unconquerable zeal for principles which he did not understand: which he was perhaps incapable of understanding. Then, Sir Francis was an eminently social personage, and the social qualities of the leaders of Upper Canadian Reform were not of a high order. To them, small talk across the walnuts and the wine seemed utterly incongruous in view of the momentous public questions which were urgently pressing for a solution. In this particular they presented a marked contrast to the leading spirits of the Compact. The Robinsons, Hagermans and Sherwoods, one and all, could not only advise the Lieutenant-Governor on the affairs of the Province, but could be pleasant and entertaining companions. They were not very different from the county magistrates and other officials with whom he had been accustomed to confer in his capacity of a poor-law commissioner. They were moreover exceedingly diplomatic. They saw the importance of winning him to their side, and governed themselves accordingly. They lost no opportunity of making themselves agreeable to him. Instead of boring him with what, to his understanding, seemed abstruse speculations on executive responsibility and an elective Legislative Council, they scouted such doctrines as myths begotten in the moody brains of unpractical and discontented men. The wide knowledge, long experience and specious eloquence of the Chief Justice enabled him to present the Tory side of these arguments with much plausibility. Sir Francis soon became convinced that the issue was not merely between two sides of colonial politics, but between monarchy and republicanism, between loyalty and disloyalty, between Great Britain and the United States. As he afterwards declared, he believed that he was "sentenced to contend on the soil of America with Democracy,[228]" and that if he did not overpower it, he would himself be compelled to succumb. Having brought himself to this conclusion, he not unnaturally preferred the role of the hammer to that of the anvil. It was surely better to strike than to be struck. Acting on this principle, he made a complete surrender of himself to the Family Compact, and from that time forward was in all essential respects guided by their counsels. His rashness and impetuosity sometimes led him to act on his own motion, and without waiting to take counsel from any quarter; but in all ordinary affairs of administration he was guided by Sir John Robinson quite as effectually as Sir John Colborne had ever been.

No sooner was it announced that the Executive Councillors had all resigned office than the public pulse began to beat at an accelerated pace. The excitement was greatly intensified upon the publication of a letter written by Robert Baldwin to Peter Perry, in which, by the Lieutenant-Governor's special permission, all the attendant circumstances were set forth in detail. This letter, having been written for the express purpose of being read by Mr. Perry from his place in the Assembly, and of being afterwards published in the newspapers, is somewhat formal and official in its tone, but it presents the subject-matter in a clear light, and must be regarded as an important contribution to the history of Responsible Government in Upper Canada. It is the chief, indeed the only trustworthy original authority for the facts as to the precise dispute between Sir Francis and his Council, for the former's account[229] is more than usually incomplete and one-sided when dealing with this episode. The essential portions of Mr. Baldwin's presentation of the case have been embodied in the foregoing narrative. The Lieutenant-Governor lost no time in providing himself with a new Council. On the 14th of March, when the resignation was only two days old, an extraordinary issue of the Gazette announced that Robert Baldwin Sullivan, John Elmsley, Augustus Baldwin and William Allan had been appointed members of the Executive Council of the Province. The reader has already made the acquaintance of all these gentlemen with the exception of Augustus Baldwin, who was a retired naval officer of high character, but of no particular politics; a brother of Dr. Baldwin, and by consequence an uncle of Robert Baldwin. All four of the new Councillors were persons of character and position, but they were not in sympathy with the Liberal sentiments of the period, and the people generally were not disposed to place any political confidence in them. Elmsley and Allan were consistent, old-fashioned Tories. Baldwin's leanings, so far as he had any, were in the same direction. Sullivan's youth and early life had been passed amid more or less Liberal influences, but of late he had shown a retrogressive tendency in political matters. This was largely due to personal rivalry between Mackenzie and himself in municipal affairs. As previously mentioned, he had defeated Mackenzie at the municipal elections for St. David's Ward, and had been elected mayor of Toronto in the beginning of 1835. The contest had been waged between them with unseemly rancour. Sullivan had denounced Mackenzie as a noisy upstart and demagogue; while Mackenzie had characterized Sullivan as an oily-tongued, unprincipled lawyer, who would lie the loudest for the client who had the longest purse. All Mackenzie's supporters during the contest had been Radicals, or at least persons of strong Reform proclivities. This had arrayed the whole Tory and Conservative vote on the side of Sullivan, who was thus in a measure brought under anti-Reform influences. His social tastes also inclined him in the same direction, so that he soon came to be classed as a Conservative. Reformers were disposed to look askance at him as a political renegade, and this disposition was increased upon his acceptance of office under Sir Francis Head at the present juncture. He alone, of all the new Councillors, was a man of exceptional ability. He was not inaccurately described, a few years later, as "an Irishman by birth, and a lawyer by profession; a man who, if he had united consistency of political conduct and weight of personal character with the great and original talents which he unquestionably possessed, might have taken a conspicuous part in the public affairs of any country."[230]

These transactions—the resignation of the Councillors and the appointment of their successors—produced a tremendous effervescence of feeling among the Opposition in the Assembly, who had already conceived strong suspicions of the Lieutenant-Governor's motives. But the excitement was not confined to the Opposition. It was participated in by the Conservatives, and, even, for a time, by most of the ultra-Tories. On the 14th of March, the House, by a vote of fifty-three to two, adopted a resolution unequivocally assertive of the principles which the ex-Councillors had endeavoured to maintain. Ten days later an address to the Lieutenant-Governor, based on this resolution, was passed by a vote of thirty-two to nineteen. It expressed deep regret that his Excellency had consented to accept the resignation of his late Council. It declared the Assembly's entire want of confidence in the new appointments, and humbly requested that immediate steps might be taken to remove the new Councillors from office. Meanwhile, petitions on the all-engrossing subject poured into the Assembly from all over the Province.[231] Public meetings were called in Toronto, as well as in some other of the principal towns, at which resolutions were passed echoing the Assembly's address, imploring the Lieutenant-Governor to dismiss his present advisers, and to call to his Council gentlemen possessing public confidence.

One of these gatherings tended in an especial manner to widen the irreparable breach between Sir Francis Head and the Reform party. On the 25th of March a meeting was held in the City Hall, Toronto, at which an Address to his Excellency of exceptional significance was passed. It dealt at considerable length with the constitutional question at issue; referred to Responsible Government as having been introduced by the Constitutional Act; expressed surprise and sorrow at the resignation of the late Councillors, and an entire want of confidence in their successors. It deplored the apparent fact that his Excellency was acting under the influence of evil and unknown advisers. In conclusion, it claimed all the rights and privileges of the British constitution, and that the representative of the Crown should be advised by men known to and possessing the confidence of the people. When the deputation called at Government House to present this Address, they were treated with an off-hand abruptness and brusquerie which gave them much offence. The reply of his Excellency was wordy and unsatisfying in tone; but its most objectionable feature was the air of assumed superiority by which it was pervaded. It referred to the meeting represented by the deputation as having been composed principally of "the industrious classes," but added, with a seeming loftiness of condescension, that the Address should be replied to with as much attention as if it had proceeded from either of the branches of the Legislature—"although," said his Excellency, "I shall express myself in plainer and more homely language." This was bad enough, but its effect was intensified by the demeanour of the Lieutenant-Governor and several military officers who were in attendance upon him. It seemed to the deputation that those gentlemen regarded them with supercilious impertinence; as a something which viceroyalty must be content, for the nonce, to endure, but as being altogether beyond the pale of their sympathies or interests. Nothing could have been in worse taste than such conduct as this, though it is possible enough that more sensitiveness was displayed than was called for by the actual circumstances. The deputation withdrew, cut to the quick by the indignities which they, rightly or wrongly, conceived themselves to have sustained. On the succeeding evening a meeting of themselves and some of their friends was held at the house of Dr. Morrison—who was now mayor of the city—at which a bitterly sarcastic rejoinder was prepared. It thanked his Excellency for replying to an Address from "the industrious classes" with as much attention as if it had proceeded from either branch of the Legislature, and acknowledged his condescension in expressing himself in plain and homely language—language presumed to be brought down to the level of the plain and homely understandings of his interlocutors, whose deplorable want of education was accounted for by the maladministration by former Governments of the endowments of King's College, and by the impossibility of obtaining a sale of the Clergy Reserves and the appropriation of the proceeds to educational purposes. "It is," proceeded this cutting rejoinder, "because we have been thus maltreated, neglected and despised, in our education and interests, under the system of Government that has hitherto prevailed, that we are now driven to insist upon a change that cannot be for the worse." Reference was made to the desire to bring about a system of Responsible Government, and the utter futility of mere responsibility to Downing Street was pointed out with a pointed eloquence which proved that the signatories were in deadly earnest. The misgovernment of Dalhousie and Aylmer in Lower Canada, and of Gore, Maitland and Colborne in Upper Canada, was touched upon in a few brief, vitriolic sentences. It was shown that, though these gentlemen had been responsible to Downing Street, they had not only met with no punishment, but had actually been promoted to higher honours. "We do not mean," said they, "in our plain and homely statement, to be discourteous, by declaring our unalterable conviction that a nominal responsibility to Downing Street, which has failed of any good with the above gentlemen of high pretensions to honour, character and station, cannot have any magic operation in your Excellency's administration, which, should it end as it has unhappily begun, might make us drink the cup of national misgovernment to the very dregs, without (as experience proves) redress on our part, or retribution on yours." There was much more of the same sort. The document concluded by stating that if the Lieutenant-Governor would not govern upon sound constitutional principles he would violate the charter, virtually abrogate the law, and justly forfeit submission to his authority.

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