§ Bill read a second time.
having advanced to the bar, proceeded to address the House. He began by stating, that it might, perhaps, be requisite at the commencement of his address that he should establish rather more strongly than he had done in his petition the peculiar position in which he wished to stand before that House. He held in his hand an attested copy of the resolutions passed by the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, appointing him agent in this country, and if it should please the House, he would hand in that attested copy to be read by the clerk at the table. He also held in his hand a letter from the Speaker of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, communicating those resolutions to him, which letter, inasmuch as it contained terms flattering to himself, he should also prefer to hand to the clerk to be read. He did not know whether it was the desire of the House to have them read, but there they were. [The documents were handed in.] Mr. Roebuck then proceeded to say, that he appeared before the House as agent for the House of Assembly of Lower Canada under peculiar circumstances, which he hoped would win for him the kind consideration of that House. Old associations might possibly induce him to 266 forget, under the excitement of the things which he should have to say, the very novel situation in which he stood. He might in the course of his address to the House make use of some expressions, and he claimed from the House at the commencement of his address the right to make use of them. He should have to attack a succession of bad governments in Canada; and he should have to defend against a bill of pains and penalties the House of Assembly of Lower Canada. In defending that body he should have to attack her Majesty's Ministers, and in doing so, he did not suppose that he should be guilty of any offence towards that House, for he had a right to consider that the Ministers made no portion of that House. He did not consequently feel himself bound to show to them that respectful deference which he would show to the House; for it was always his wish to address the House with due deference and respect. But the House had now before it two parties—the House of Assembly of Lower Canada on the one hand, and her Majesty's Ministers on the other. There was now on the table of the House a bill of pains and penalties, and that bill of pains and penalties was directed against a whole people acting through their assembled Representatives. And who, he would ask, had suggested that Bill? He would have to say, that it was suggested by the guilty parties on the present occasion, and who ought to be punished, and not the House of Assembly. It would be his duty to prove that every act of the House of Assembly had been framed in a spirit of wisdom, that all the acts of that body were wise, and just, and politic, and that they had advanced no demands which the interests of their constituents did not require them to put forward. He would have to show, that they had gradually obtained their demands, and that those demands had been acknowledged to be just, although the House of Commons was now, at last, called on to pass a bill of pains and penalties against a whole people for the representations they had made. That was a state of things, not brought about as the consequence of any misconduct on the part of the House of Assembly, but, on the contrary, he would say, that it was brought about as the consequence of the weakness, the vacillation, and the strange inconsistency of her Majesty's Ministers, not by the conduct of 267 the House of Assembly of Lower Canada. Such was the position in which he was placed. He would have to throw himself before the House as the advocate of the absent—as the advocate of those to whom every bad passion and motive had been ascribed—as the advocate of those distant parties who were unfortunately subjected to vast difficulties, and who were now struggling for the liberties of their country. Such was the task he had undertaken, and he hoped he should not appeal in vain to the sympathies of a body of his countrymen. He would, therefore, confidently ask the House to hear him patiently in support of those who had no other advocate to defend them but the humble individual who then addressed the House, and who were about to suffer from a bill of pains and penalties which would have been a disgrace if directed against the servile inhabitants of Hindostan, but which was more calculated for them than for the free colonists of Great Britain. What, then, was the defence he had to offer? That every act of the House of Assembly, which had been arraigned in Parliament or out of it, had been called for by the interests of their constituents. But it might be said, that while he appeared as the advocate of others, he required to defend himself, and that he was a guilty and interested party. He was sure, however, that there was no one in that House who would make such a statement, however much he might be called a traitor and a rebel out of doors—he was sure that in that House he would not be so accused, as he could not there defend himself. But it might be supposed that he was interested in the separation of Canada from the mother country. If, however, the House would listen to him on a matter entirely personal to himself, he would beg to ask what interest he could have in the separation of the countries? What interest could he have in supporting a rebellion in the colony? He would entreat the Members of that honourable House to ask themselves whether any part of his conduct would justify the suspicion that he was in favour of separation, or interested in promoting rebellion in Canada. He was an Englishman, and all his hopes were connected with the mother country, and all his interests were connected with England. In England he had many who were dear to him, and there were many also who were dear to him in Canada, and 268 it was therefore his wish to support the connexion as it was his interest to promote the well-being of England. While it was possible with honour to keep up the connexion existing between Great Britain and Canada, no man would do more to maintain that connexion than he would; but the moment it became dishonourable he would be the first to ask for a separation. He would beg the House to recollect that all his interests of every description tended to make him wish for the continuance of the connexion with Canada, and he entreated the House not to think that he had any desire to promote rebellion, or that it was his interest to do so. He begged distinctly to say in the outset of his observations, that he was there as the advocate of the House of Assembly of Lower Canada. He had nothing to do with any other province, and he had nothing to do with any other subject but the grievances of which that body complained. He was not there to justify revolt—revolt must justify itself; but he was not there to defend it under any circumstances. He would make no distinctions between revolt in Canada and revolt in any other country. He made no distinctions. He looked to Poland, and saw Poland in rebellion, but he did not defend the people of that country. He was not then, and never was, one to pass acts in support of rebellious rights. He looked to Spain, and he did not support rebellion there—he never did, and he hoped he never should. He might look all round the world. He looked to Belgium, but he did not support rebellion there, and though England was bound by the most solemn treaties to maintain the connexion of that country with Holland, yet Belgium was successful, and he therefore hoped she was right. But, for his own part, he could not understand that morality which sympathised with revolt in one country and condemned it in another—he could not understand those who talked with great feeling of the condition of the Poles, but with contempt of the poor peasants of St. Charles. It might suit some parties to say the rebellion in Brussels was an heroic act, it was successful, but it failed in unfortunate Canada, It might suit some parties to say they had called into existence a new world—namely, the revolted colonies of Spain in America; it might suit some parties to speak with approbation of George Washington, and the same parties might 269 say that they had an abhorrence of rebellious Canada; but that was a sort of vacillating morality which he could not understand. But he had nothing to do with revolt; and it would be his duty to show that the House of Assembly had nothing to do with what had taken place in Lower Canada. It was surely impossible to make people believe that a body of men amounting to eighty-six or eighty-seven and scattered over a country of from 700 to 800 miles in extent, could possibly be the authors of the rebell on which had taken place. For his own part he would say, that it was those who sought to make that assembly responsible for the rebellion in Canada who were themselves by their shuffling policy the guilty parties. Having thus placed before the House the two parties who were to be tried—namely, the House of Assembly on the one hand, and her Majesty's Government on the other—he was about to prove that the House of Assembly was not only not guilty, but, on the contrary, that that body had deserved, and had obtained the approbation of their constituents, and the admiration of this country and of the world for the stand they had made against the despotic measures of Great Britain. They (the House of Commons) were, in fact, on the present occasion a jury, and he had to lay before them a number of facts connected with the history of Canada; and as they had to judge and decide betwixt Canada and the Government upon those facts, he hoped the House would patiently listen to the statements he had to adduce. He should go through those statements for the purpose of showing that the Bill upon the table of the House was an unjust Bill—that the House of Assembly was guiltless, and that the Bill was impolitic. He should then endeavour to demonstrate that there was another method for dealing with the affairs of Canada, which, if adopted, would put an end to all the disputes and disagreements which existed; and that if the resolution on the table was carried—war, misery, and calamity would be the consequence—war in Canada, and perhaps over the world, and calamity of the worst description to the unfortunate Canadians. First, then, as to the injustice of the Bill. But before proceeding, he would ask the House, for the sake of convenience, to separate the history of Canada into four periods, the first extending from 1763 to 1810; the second from 1810 to 1828; the 270 third from 1828 to 1834; the fourth from 1834 to the present time. In 1763 Canada was ceded to Great Britain, and up to 1774 was governed by the laws which previously prevailed in the colony. In 1774, the Government brought in a Bill, which, with certain reservations, established the French civil law in Lower Canada. That Bill also established the criminal law of England in the colony, and it further established the jury system, and to a certain extent, the English law regarding evidence. Now, any lawyer, and he saw many around him, would at once perceive the strange anomalies which such a hotchpotch must produce. In the first place, they had the civil code of France, and in the second, a criminal code founded on the English law; and it was clear that such a system could not work well. But why were those changes introduced into Canada? In the year 1774, it so happened, that the English colonists on the Continent of America, were in a state of open rebellion. There had been a spirit raised amongst them, which rebelled against the domination of the mother country. They said, "We cannot bear it any longer; you seek to impose laws upon us which are oppressive and tyrannical in their nature, and we can no longer submit to them." But, while we had those colonists in revolt, we had a French colony which had been conquered in 1762, and ceded to us in 1763. What then did we do? We created a French party in Canada in order to oppose them to the puritanical fanaticism of the English colonists who were in a state of revolt. In confirmation of that statement, he would refer to a speech made by Lord Lyttelton on the subject, to show that there was an intention on the part of the Government of that day, to create a French feeling in Canada—a feeling, which had since been called mischievous and abominable, but which was cherished by the Government as long as it suited their purposes. In alluding to the apprehensions which were expressed of the increased power which this would throw into the hands of the French colonists, Lord Lyttelton observed, "that he was not apprehensive of these consequences; but that if British America was determined to resist the lawful power and pre-eminence of Great Britain, he saw no reason why the loyal inhabitants of Canada should not co-operate with the rest of the empire in subduing them, and 271 bringing them to a right sense of their duty; and he thought it happy, that from their local situation, they might be some check to those fierce fanatic spirits that, inflamed with the same zeal which animated the roundheads in England, directed that zeal to the same purposes, to the demolition of regal authority, and to the subversion of all power which they did not themselves possess; that they were composed of the same leaven, and whilst they pretended to be contending for liberty, they were setting up an absolute independent republic, and that the struggle was not for freedom, but power, which was proved from the whole tenor of their conduct." And to put down that revolt, (continued the learned Gentleman) what did we do? We established the French law in Canada, against which he had heard persons discoursing who had no knowledge of it—we cherished French feelings which certain persons represented as mischievous, for the purpose of creating prejudices in the minds of the people of England. We did all 'that we could to make the Canadians French at that disastrous period of English history. That was the first instance of the conduct of England towards Canada, to which he wished to call attention. What was the next? In the eighteenth year of George 3rd, we had received a bitter lesson at the hands of rebellious colonists, by the refusal of a demand which, had it been conceded at the beginning of the disputes, would have secured for England the fairest of her North American colonies; but which, refused till it was wrested from her by force of arms, stood, as a record, to her shame, and, he feared, did not redound much to her sense of justice. In that year a declaratory act was passed, by which it was provided, that no rates or taxes should be levied on the colonists of Canada without the consent of the local legislature; and in 1791 a solemn pledge was given by the Imperial Parliament that there should be no raising of taxes or appropriation of revenue in the colony without the sanction of the representatives of the people. In 1794, a communication took place between the Governor of the province and the House of Assembly respecting the revenue. That was a part of the subject which it might be somewhat difficult to make the House understand. The revenues of the colony might be divided into three parts, In the first place, there were the 272 revenues raised by acts of the provincial Parliament; secondly, those raised by acts of the British Parliament; and thirdly, the casual and territorial revenues. In regard to the revenues arising from their own acts of Parliament there could be no question; but he was about to lay claim to the control over those revenues raised by acts of the British Parliament, and also to the control over the casual and territorial revenue. To these the House of Assembly was entitled from the arrangement entered into by the Governor, Lord Dorchester, who told the House of Assembly that if they would transmute the revenues raised under acts of the British Parliament into a civil list, to be raised by the act of the Canadian Legislature, they should obtain the control of the whole. That was in 1794; but the royal assent was not given to the Canadian Bill at that time. In 1796, however, the pledge was given that the Canadians should have the control of their revenues, but that pledge was not redeemed till the 1st and 2nd of William 4th. The Canadians performed their part of the agreement with Lord Dorchester, but it was only after long delay that the Government of England had redeemed the pledge which they had given. And then they were to be told that it was a been on the part of the Government to fulfil the promise they had given—that the Government had acted with great liberality, and done a great deal for Canada, and that the acts of the House of Assembly since that time were acts of the deepest ingratitude. He, on the contrary, would say, that it was the Government who had broken faith with the House of Assembly—that up to the passing of the act of the 1st and 2nd of William 4th, the Assembly was in the right, and the Governments of this country in the wrong, and that Ministers were now endeavouring to take advantage of the injury which had been inflicted by England upon Canada. He hoped the House would excuse him for reading the correspondence to which he had alluded. It was painful to himself to be compelled to do so, and he feared it would be tedious to the House. The learned Gentleman then read a portion of Lord Dorchester's message to the House of Assembly, which was as follows:—"The Governor has given directions for laying before the House of Assembly an account of the provincial revenue of the Crown from the commencement of the new constitution to the 10th 273 of January, 1794. First, the casual and territorial revenue, established prior to the conquest, which his Majesty has been most graciously pleased to order to be applied towards defraying the civil expenses of the province." He hoped there would be some attempt to show the injustice of the demand of the House of Assembly, to those revenues thus solemnly given up by the Governor, Lord Dorchester. He wanted to know wherein the injustice consisted, and why the House of Assembly was to be assailed for demanding control over the casual and territorial revenues. But, in the second place, Lord Dorchester further stated, that the duties levied on articles imported into Canada, and the revenue arising from the licences granted for the sale of spirits, would be given up as soon as the Assembly had passed laws providing for the support of the civil government. There were various duties imposed by provincial acts for the pay of officers of the provinces, and for other purposes. The message then went on to state that an account of all the monies taken out of the pockets of the Canadian people should be laid before the Assembly, with an account of the disbursements, together with the amount of the diminution of the Colonial revenues by the expenses of collection, and the House of Assembly was of opinion that every circumstance of this very important part of their business and duties ought to be constantly before their eyes, so that at the very outset of their constitution, they might guard those important branches of it from that corruption and abuse which had brought misery upon almost every nation. Now, was not this information, on the part of the then governor, who, being himself an Englishman, was accustomed to a representative Government, to persons who were not so accustomed—was not this information, he repeated, sufficient to induce the House of Assembly to direct their attention and to keep it fixed upon the appropriation of the immense collection of the revenues of the province; and did it not contain solemn pledges on the part of the Government to give up the whole of the revenues of that province to the control of he House of Assembly? This house would see why he urged this topic so strongly: it was one of vital importance to his case; it was that which the House of Assembly had claimed up to the present hour, and for the making of which they 274 were now about to be punished by the Imperial Parliament. Now, he had heard very often quoted—he would not say where—the evidence given before the select Committee which sat upon Canadian affairs in the year 1828. He would refer to the evidence given before the committee by Mr. John Neilson, who had taken a very important part in these transactions. In his evidence, Mr. Neilson laid it down distinctly that it was considered by the House of Assembly that this claim was their creed—one of the thirty-nine articles of their political religion. They had since learned the importance of a control over their own revenues, and they had never given up one iota of the demand; their governor had told them to demand all those revenues; he had told them to keep vigilant in their own concerns; they had ever acted up to his instructions, and had never lost sight of that demand. Mr. Neilson was asked, "Are you aware that there is no instance of a colonial act repealing a British act?"—Answer, "We do not pretend any such thing." "Do you not admit that in the Quebec Act of 31 George 3rd, part of the act of the 14th George 3rd was distinctly repealed, and the remainder of it distinctly confirmed?" Mr. Neilson replied, "That is not the act referred to; chapter 88 is the Revenue Act, but the Revenue Act was not mentioned in the act of 1791. There was a new constitution given to the country, and not a word said about the act of 1774, and it raised a dispute so early as 1794, and upon that dispute the Government at home, by means of their governor, told the Legislature that they would repeal the act if they would grant similar duties to the same amount; they did so, but the Government never recommended to Parliament to repeal the act; in fact somebody or other in the colony advised against it at that time. Now, such being the state of affairs, they thus continued, until the year 1810; the Government had a certain quantity of money appropriated, and they did not go beyond that appropriation, and therefore they never called upon the House of Assembly for any more money. The act gave them a certain revenue, and that revenue they were to take. But whenever the House of Assembly inquired in what manner the money was disbursed and expended, they were told that with that they had nothing to do, as they did not pay the expenses of their own civil list 275 To this the House of Assembly replied—"Then we will do so." And it so happened that on the making that demand by the Assembly certain members for making that proposal were sent to prison out of the Assembly. Such was the way in which the colonies were governed—such was the manner in which irresponsible power was used in the colonies, that for the making the demand to provide their own civil list, three men were taken out of the House of Assembly and thrown into prison. And why was this? The explanation was clear and simple. The officials of that country he was about to speak of—the official party, backed by the powers of the Colonial office, were the cause of all this. That party at once said—"We do not like to be paid by the House of Assembly;" and why? America is a very economical nation; England is far from being so; the English scale of expenditure is very unlike that of the Americans. The Governor of Lower Canada receives as much as the President of the United States, who was at the head of a nation second to none on the earth. What the people of America thought sufficient for the pay of their President was thought hardly adequate to maintain the expenses of a delegated governor from England. This feeling ran through all the official ranks in Canada; they compared themselves with the English, while the Canadian people compared themselves with the Americans. They see that in America things were carried on well and cheaply, and the Canadians were desirous to cut down the scale of their expenditure to that of their neighbours the Americans, while, on the other hand, the English Government, with reference to the colonists, thought with the expenditure of millions to keep up the establishments according to the extravagant rate of their own country. The official party in Canada were, of course, desirous to continue to be paid by this country instead of by the vigilant body of the House of Assembly, who were now filled with notions of American economy, and they consequently strove to fight off the control upon the part of the House of Assembly, and from this, he would tell the British Parliament, had arisen all the fever, all the disputes, all the ill blood, and all the passion which now existed in that colony: to the resistance by the official party to the investiga- 276 tion of their accounts and of their responsibility to the assembly, he could trace all these events—to that resistance he could trace the desire for an elective legislative council—to it he could trace the desire to have a control over the judicature of the country—indeed, there was not a single thing of mischief or dispute which he could not trace to the resistance on behalf of the official party. He should now be again obliged to quote the evidence of Mr. Neilson with regard to the financial disputes in Canada. He quoted from page 74 of the "Minutes of Evidence taken by the Select Committee on the Civil Government of Canada." Mr. Neilson was asked—"Does the House of Assembly also lay claim to the amount of 5,000l. per annum in lieu of the territorial revenue of the Crown?" Answer.—"The House of Assembly has laid claim to the territorial revenue of the Crown, because it gave 5,000l. a-year in the year 1794 or 1795, after the governor had told the Legislature that the Crown gave up its territorial revenue to the province." "Does the House of Assembly contend, that 5,000l. a-year is to be appropriated by the House of Assembly?" Answer.—"They would say, that if the Crown were not to come forward and ask for more money, it is gone; but if the Government conies forward and asks for more, they may say that money is misapplied, and that it ought to be applied in such a way. "Now this at the time was thought a very heinous offence, but Sir George Murray in a dispatch, which was not given in the present collection before the House—he knew not why it was omitted, perhaps it was omitted for particular reasons—but Sir George Murray, in one of his dispatches laid before the Select Committee, acknowledged that such must have been the case; that so long as the Government of Lower Canada did not ask for more money, they would have no right to inquire into the appropriation; but when it stepped over the bounds and sought more, of necessity an inquiry as to what became of the money would be called for, and, in short, Sir George Murray gave up any possibility of resistance in such a case to that very just demand of the year 1816. Then came this question put by the Committee to Mr. Neilson—"Will you state the progress of the disputes when those principles came practically into effect upon Sir John Sherbrook in 1818 calling upon 277 the Legislature to provide for the civil establishment?" Mr. Neilson thus replied:—"I have got already to the year 1799, when the Bill was passed giving a sum in lieu of the Act of 1774. Things went on tolerably well till the year 1809: the expenses were increasing very much, and the Assembly got alarmed, and they had a quarrel with the Governor. It was then said, that Great Britain had been paying a great part of the money during all this time; whenever they applied to control the expenditure, they were told 'Great Britain pays this; what business have you to interfere?' They said, 'Well, then we would rather take the whole of the expenses upon ourselves, so as to control the whole, for by and by, it will be saddled upon us.' Then they made the famous offer to pay the Civil List, and they heard no more about it. The war then began in 1812, and they gave all that they had, and more than they had, for the war; they authorized the issuing of paper money in the country, and there was no quarrel about the civil list or anything else; but after the war Sir John Sherbrook came out; he found everything in such a state of disorder that he represented it at home, and the Government here told him to get the accounts settled every year in the House of Assembly. Then came the acceptance of the offer of 1810 to pay all the expenses of the Government; they said, 'We will take all the expenses from you;' the expenses in the mean time had augmented from about 40,000l. to about 60,000l.; the Assembly then said, we will pay the whole of the expenses;' they then agreed to give the sum the Governor asked, which was in addition to the revenue that he assumed to be appropriated, and they reserved to themselves the right of examining into all the expenditure the next year." The next question was this—"Was any Bill passed that year, or was a resolution passed by the House of Assembly promising to indemnify the Governor?" Answer, "Precisely so. An address for the money. The next year the Duke of Richmond asked for an addition of 16,000l. the Assembly began to get alarmed; they appointed Committees to examine into the expenditure, and to check every item of it, and they began to vote it by items, and they left out all the increased expenses, but offered to pay the expenses as they stood in 1817, and they passed a Bill and sent it up to the Legislative Council, al- 278 lowing all those expenses." Now the House would remember that this was a supply bill, and attend to the remainder of Mr. Neilson's answer. "The Legislative Council threw out that Bill on the ground that it was not safe to take an annual bill." The Executive and Legislative Councils, though two bodies, were in fact one body, which controlled the expenditure and held all the patronage of the colony, and thus determining not to take an annual but insist upon a permanent civil list in one whole sum, and to escape from responsibility, they took upon themselves to throw out that Supply Bill. Perhaps it would surprise the House to be told that where the House of Assembly had once thrown out a Supply Bill the Legislative Council had done it three times over; the House of Assembly had for two years, and as he thought for good reasons, refused the supplies. He challenged contradiction, and for this it was now sought to take from the Canadians the power of legislating for themselves. Mr. Neilson was then asked the question, "Did not the Legislative Council also object on the ground of the vote being made by items?" Answer, "No, because it was an annual Bill. At the same time the Assembly made good its vote of the preceding year, because they conceived themselves bound in honour not to have any quarrel about what had been advanced upon their address, although there were some items of expenditure that they objected to, and the Bill passed." The Bill was passed in spite of the example set by the Legislative Council. "Then the Duke of Richmond unfortunately died, and in 1820 there was an irregularity in calling; the Assembly, and there was no vote and no estimate laid before the Assembly. Sir Peregrine Maitland convened the Assembly before the returns were all made, and the Assembly objected that the Governor ought not to convene the Assembly till the House was complete, because they said, that he might convene it before the time fixed for the returns; he might convene it before half of them were returned. Things remained in that state till the news came of the death of the King, and then there was a dissolution. At the close of 1820 Lord Dalhousie came, and he asked that whatever they had to give should be given permanently. They told him at once that they would not give anything in addition to what they had already given perma- 279 nently. Of course nothing was done; they passed, however, a Bill in some shape or other, which it was said would be less objectionable; it went up to the Legislative Council, and it was refused; it was refused by the Legislative Council upon the ground of its being detailed, and not being for the life of the King. The next year Lord Dalhousie asked for a Bill for the life of the King; the Assembly sent home a very long address to this country as reasons for not complying, and the Legislature finally broke up without any Bill being passed. Lord Dalhousie then asked for a sum of money, which they said they could not grant till they had an answer from this country to their representations. The session finished without any Bill being passed, and then came the famous union project." Here again the official party played the puppets of the machinery and the controlling power which was to deprive Canada of her constitution. They were known in that country—the world knew perfectly well who they were. Mr. Neilson then went on to state—"In 1824 the receiver-general failed, and the appropritions already made by the Legislature, were not paid; the Members got alarmed and some of them, against which I protested, voted a reduction of one-fourth of the expenditure to meet the empty state of the chest. That, of course, was not accepted—it was rejected in the Legislative Council. In 1824 Lord Dalhousie came home, and Sir Francis Burton took the government." Now, there was one very remarkable circumstance relative to the failure of the receiver-general, which was illustrative of the way in which the colonies were governed, and of the necessity for very great supervision on the part of the Legislative Assembly. The fight then going on in this case was a fight against responsibility on the part of the officials, and on the part of the House of Assembly enforcing that responsibility. The House of Assembly said that this man owed money, and they demanded the account—the accounts were refused. The receiver-general failed for 100,000l., and yet he was told that this was an old story. Let the House remember that the receiver-general at the present moment owed 150,000l. for principal and interest. True, it was said that the Canadians had got his estates, but they, if sold, would not cover one-tenth of the whole sum of 150,000l. principal and interest, which had been 280 robbed from the Canadian exchequer,—and by whom? Why by one of the party who talked about the honour and the prerogative of the Crown, and who would not give way in the least degree to the demands of the House of Assembly. The House of Assembly had tried him and found him a bankrupt, and then when they applied to this country, whose officer the defaulter was, to make good the loss, this country refused to do so. Now that was the history of the year 1824, when Lord Dalhousie, without the orders or the sanction of the Assembly, took the money, and the Legislative Council threw out every Bill of possible utility to the colony, and in 1827 and 1828 agents were sent over to this country to complain of the manifold grievances under which Canada laboured. Now what were those grievances? He begged the House to bear them in mind. They complained of the conduct of the Legislative Council in throwing out the fresh Bill, granting the necessary sums, and regulating the limits of expenditure they complained of the rejection of the Bill giving the inhabitants of towns a voice in the management of their local concerns; and of the Bill for facilitating the administration of justice; they claimed an amendment in the jury laws, introducing jury trials in the country districts, thereby diminishing the expenses, and they sought a Bill improving and rendering more commodious the gaol for the district of Montreal, for regulating the office of justice of the peace, for regulating the militia service, for increasing the security of public monies, and for a provision for an authorized agent to reside in this country. These were the complaints brought against the Legislative Council in 1828, and a Committee was appointed by this House to inquire into the complaints of the people of Canada. That Committee acknowledged the justice of these complaints, and solemnly asserted that the Legislative Council did not harmonise with the opinions of the Canadian people, that there should be some alteration in the constitution of the Council which should make it harmonise. The Committee did not point out the means, but declared that as then existing, the Council did not contribute to the good government of t e province. He had now got to the year 1828, at which point every one of the demands of the House of Assembly respecting the control of their own revenues 281 was declared to be just, to be wise, and to be provident. In that year the Legislative Council was condemned—that year it was when the administration of justice in that colony was declared not to be such, owing to the peculiar political opinions of the judges, as it ought to be; and now he came to the fact on which the House of Assembly had been arraigned—viz., for having, after all their claims of 1828 had been granted, and their grievances redressed, that still out of mere mischief, and with a factious spirit, they had been led on by a set of demagogues to bring forward new demands—new claims upon this country, and to fabricate new grievances. Now his assertion was, that the old grievances remained—that they had not been redressed in point of fact, and that if they had made any new demands, it was because they had discovered that the mode formerly suggested for remedying the evils had proved insufficient in the hands of her Majesty's Government. In the year 1830 it so happened that a Liberal Government as it was called, came into office; that Government was composed of persons who had been accustomed to fulminate against the oppressors of Lower Canada—that Government was composed of burning patriots, whose passion for liberty knew no bounds—in fact, of individuals who were supposed to be the friends of Canada. There were then supposed to be in power men who had laid down broad principles of liberty, who had passed their lives in uttering pretended declarations of liberal opinions; and in consequence of the advent of these strong and sworn supporters of the liberal cause, the feelings of the Canadian people were naturally excited, their expectations raised, and they said, "Now that we have got our Liberal friends in office, the men who had fulminated against the Legislative Council, the mischiefs would be cured and the plague stayed." They expected such things, but like many others they had been disappointed in their expectations. When they came into office this Government had to consider the alteration propounded by the Committee of 1828; and what were the chief of those alterations? He would quote a very short passage from the report:—One of the most important subjects to which their inquiries have been directed has been the state of the Legislative Councils in both the Canadas, and the manner in which 282 these assemblies have answered the purposes for which they were instituted. Your Committee strongly recommend that a more independent character should be given to these bodies; that the majority of their members should not consist of persons holding offices at the pleasure of the Crown; and that any other measures that may tend to connect more intimately this branch of the constitution with the interest of the colonies would be attended with the greatest advantage. With respect to the judges, with the exception only of the chief justice, whose presence on particular occasions might be necessary, your Committee entertain no doubt that they had better not be involved in the political business of the House, Upon similar grounds it appears to your Committee that it is not desirable that judges should hold seats in the Executive Council.Then the Committee went on to say, that they lamented the late period of the Session had prevented a full investigation into all the parts of the subject; but that if the Legislative Assembly and the Executive Government were both put on a right footing, means could be found to remedy all minor grievances. What was the consequence of the alteration made in the numbers of the Legislative Council? Why, the feeling of the majority of the Council remained the same as before. The people said, "It is true that you have put into that body a larger number of individuals, but it does not therefore follow that you have altered the character of the Assembly, or made it more in accordance with our interests. The majority against the people is the same. You may have chosen some two or three individuals who are justified in assuming the character of independent Members; but it is also true, that the bulk of those whom you have selected is composed of persons who ought not to be in the Council at all. We know them to be our enemies. They have declared against us. We know that the determination of the Assembly with regard to our interests is the same that it has been heretofore. And this we call keeping the word of promise to the ear only. It is the word, but not the spirit—the letter, but by no means the substantial reality. For it is illusive to suppose, that the mode in which the instruction has been carried into effect has altered the essential character of the Assembly." Was he justified in thus describing the alteration? He could hardly suppose, that her Majesty's Ministers would oppose the authority of the Commissioners whom they had sent out—of Commissioners sent out under 283 the auspices of Government to inquire into the reality of the grievances of which the Canadians complained. What did these Commissioners say of the Legislative Council? He would read a passage of their Report to the House. It was as follows:—On the 28th of January, 1831, an Address from the Assembly to the Governor, signed by Mr. Papineau the Speaker of the House, contained an assurance to the following purport:—'It will be our earnest desire, that harmony may prevail between the several branches of the Legislature, that full effect may be given to the constitution as established by law, and that it may be transmitted unimpaired to our posterity.' And towards the close of the same year a Bill passed the House of Assembly constituting the Legislative Council a court for the trial of impeachments, without any demand being put forward that it should be made elective. The conciliatory dispatch of Lord Ripon, dated 7th July, 1831, was, moreover, received in the province in a manner that might have seemed to encourage the hope that a more harmonious state of public feeling was on the point of being restored. But notwithstanding these appearances the hostility which had long existed between the two legislative bodies was not really abated, for on the 8th of March, in that very year, 1831, two resolutions were carried in the Assembly, (though they were afterwards struck out of a petition to the King, into which they had been designed to be inserted, declaring, that 'the appointment by the Executive of Legislators for life was fatal to the tranquillity and prosperity of the province, and incompatible with good government.' On the 29th of March also, the Council, on their part, placed on their journals a series of resolutions aimed at the most important privileges of the Assembly, and particularly at the one that, after a contest of many years' duration, they had just succeeded in establishing—we mean the exclusive right to control the financial concerns of the province. And it is not unworthy of remark, that in the very first of these resolutions they lay down as a positive law a practice which (however salutary) rests, we believe, in England only on a resolution of the House of Commons, adopted, like any other of their standing orders, at their own discretion, and revocable at their own pleasure. By a subsequent resolution, the Council likewise assumed to itself the dangerous right of judging what the contingent expenses of the representatives of the people ought to amount to. With these signs, therefore, of a continued hostility before us, we are disposed to ascribe the fact of no formal demand for an Elective Council having been made before 1833 simply to the expectation entertained by the popular party, that in consequence of the recommendations of the Committee of 1828, very essential alterations in the composition of the Council were on the point 284 of being effected. An alteration was, indeed, produced in 1832. The judges ceased to take any part in its proceedings, and thirteen new Members, unconnected with the Government, were added in the course of the year; but that these nominations were unsatisfactory to the Assembly, and that the disappointment they felt in the alterations of the Council was the cause of their fresh proceedings against it, may be inferred from the fact, that in the next Session of the Legislature was voted the first Address in which a demand for an Elective Council was put forth. The nature of the expectations that had been raised in the minds of the prevailing party in the Assembly, respecting the nomination of these Members, may probably be correctly gathered from the ninety-two resolutions of 1834, and particularly from the 24th of them, in which it is asserted, that 'such of the recently appointed Councillors as were taken from the majority of the Assembly, and had entertained the hope, that a sufficient number of independent men, holding opinions in unison with those of the majority of the people and of their representatives, would be associated with them, must now feel that they are overwhelmed by a majority hostile to the country.' We certainly do not think, that either the recommendation of the Committee of 1828, or anything that subsequently issued from a competent source, warranted an expectation that the Legislative Council was to be made entirely to harmonise with the feelings of the Assembly; nevertheless, that something of the kind was expected by the popular party does seem beyond dispute. We do not feel called on to pronounce an opinion on the propriety of the appointments in question; and the more so as they were narrowly scanned in the cross examination of Mr. Morin before the Committee of 1834; but we may, we think, venture to say, that whilst they satisfied the terms of the recommendation made by the Committee of 1828, as far as the matter of the pecuniary independence of the Crown was concerned, they scarcely produced an alteration in the political character of the body, to which the new Members were aggregated.He inferred from this language held by the Government Commissioners that the House of Assembly was perfectly justified in asserting that the political character of the Legislative Council was the same in 1833 that it had been in 1828, and that their demand for an Elective Council was just what they had a right to expect. So long as they entertained hopes, they said—We won't propose the introduction of anything new into our constitution. We won't propose any unnecessary change in the existing state of things. We are not the advocates of any wild theoretical forms of Government; 285 nor are we at all desirous to strike at the root of our institutions. No; we will apply to the Home Government. We will show them that we are moderate in our demands. We will ask them whether they think, that this Assembly, (the Legislative Council) ought to be composed of individuals entertaining feelings of well-ascertained hostility to the great body of the people, and with a corresponding array of the feelings of the people against them?The application was accordingly made, but it was not acceded to. "And now," said the Canadians, "we are placed in a new position; we pressed upon the notice of the British Government those alterations which we thought were best suited to their views, but they have rejected our demands. Since, therefore, the Government will not consent to the introduction of these changes, let the people themselves say whether they cannot do it." A convention of the people was then proposed, and an elective Legislative Council demanded. What was the consequence? It might possibly be imagined, that men on the other side of the Atlantic were without feeling—that they might be insulted with impunity, and called all manner of injurious names with perfect safety. And the then Secretary of State for the Colonial Department (Mr. Stanley), in writing to the Colonial Government, termed this a "national convention," thereby pretty broadly intimating that it was copied after the National Convention of France It was easy to conceive what conclusion was suggested by that statement of the then right hon. Gentleman. Let hon. Members mark the extraordinary want of acquaintance with the actual state of one of our most important colonial possessions which that right hon. Gentleman thus displayed when he thought of comparing this convention or assemblage of the people of Lower Canada with the National Convention of France. Why, conventions of this description were matters of every day occurrence in America. It was a matter of course that, when it was proposed to introduce, or to discuss the introduction of, any change into the constitution of a state, such a convention should be held. And, at the very moment that he (Mr. Roebuck) was addressing the House, a convention was being held in Philadelphia, with a view to remodel the constitution of that important independent state. But at that convention the people were all quiet, peaceful, and deliberative, and never once thought of making the 286 National Assembly of France their model. Instead of Robespierre, Danton, or Marat entering into their minds, as individuals to whose sentiments they should in any way conform, the spirits under whose auspices the proceedings of the Philadelphia convention were guided were those of Franklin, and Jefferson, and Washington. But it happened, in some way or other, that people were so occupied here with matters occurring in their own immediate neighbourhood, that they could not enter into the feelings, nor conceive what was the state of mind of other nations, but exclaimed, "Good God! would you have a renewal of all the horrors of the Revolution of 1793? Why, this Monsieur Papineau is nothing more nor less than the successor of Robespierre!" He (Mr. Roebuck) had heard this gravely stated in this country. He had heard Papineau likened to Robespierre, and he had heard the French Canadians called the French republicans. He had known that demand for a national convention to be asserted on the highest authority to be nothing more nor less than an attempt to set up a French republic in Lower Canada—an attempt, in short, to set up an absolute democracy. When the inhabitants of Lower Canada were informed that this statement had been made with reference to the proposed convention, they were naturally indignant, and several Members of the Assembly expressed their surprise that a Minister acquainted with the state of that country should use such language. He thought they were wrong. Nay, he was sure, quite sure, that the House of Assembly was, for once, very greatly in error. But it was a pardonable mistake to imagine, that a Colonial Secretary might possibly know something of the feelings of a country for which he was Minister, and concerning which he was about to introduce legislation. He must acknowledge, however, that the Canadians were positively wrong. It was quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman knew nothing of the matter in hand. Nevertheless, the remonstrances of the Canadians did not receive the slightest attention. Perceiving, at length, the right hon. Gentleman's total ignorance of the subject, they said, "This announcement of yours is an insult to us;" and at the moment there was another circumstance which kindled and increased their indignation. They said, "Having added to our Legislative Council, which you in your 287 wisdom deem all that can be necessary to remove our grievances, you taunt us, when we ask you for a national convention, with this statement from your Colonial Secretary, and, at the same time, in order to enforce your authority, you deliberately butcher our people." And they were justified in the employment of such language, for at that moment a circumstance took place at Montreal which would never be obliterated from the memory of the Canadians. For some trifling cause, the military in that district were called out, and a number of the poor peasantry of the country were shot. This sunk deeply into the minds of the Canadians. They said, and said naturally, "The Government can hardly be considered as parental which sanctions such doings in a country so peaceable as ours is, where there has been no disturbance, no riot, that would not at once yield to the authority of the constable's staff; yet we find a Government calling itself parental murdering our people, and thrusting their dominion down our throats." The people of Canada had never forgotten that cold-blooded cruelty, nor would they ever forget it, and recent events had served only to render deeper that already indelible impression. "And," exclaimed the learned Gentleman, "if you care not what you are about, there will something come that will read you a lesson which you in your turn will never forget, and which will again humiliate England after the fashion in which your forefathers were humiliated." It was in the year 1834, that the House of Assembly first evinced a real and serious determination to stop the supplies. There were no supplies voted in that year; but the House of Assembly passed resolutions, as they had done before, stating their grievances and demanding their removal. The Committee came to an untimely end—and why? Changes took place very often in the Cabinet of England, and every change, it seemed, must make a change in the Colonial Department. Mr. Stanley went out of the Colonial-office, and Mr. Spring Rice came in. Soon after Mr. Spring Rice became the Secretary for the Colonies, an interview took place between that right hon. Gentleman and the person who was then acting as the agent for Lower Canada, at which he was present. Mr. Spring Rice stated, that he was young in office; that he was a new and untried man; that he wished to place 288 the commencement of his official career in a favourable light before the world; that he wished to do justice to the Canadians; and that all that he desired was, that his hands might be left unshackled, and his own good intentions be allowed to have the fullest scope. Upon this statement the agent for the House of Assembly—he must say at his persuasion, and he now begged pardon of the colony for having given such advice—but at his persuasion, the agent lent a favourable ear to the right hon. Gentleman's statement, and left him with the conviction that what he had promised would be carried into effect. In that interview Mr. Spring Rice solemnly promised, in his (Mr. Roebuck's) presence, and in the presence also of the agent of the House of Assembly, that he would not interfere with the prerogative of the House of Assembly, and at the same time admitted that that body had been most unconstitutionally dealt with by Lord Dalhousie, and also in another instance when money was taken out of their chest. "Never," said the right hon. Gentleman. "will I bring an act into the British Parliament which shall justify me in taking the money out of the colonial chest; the prerogatives of the House of Assembly shall be left untouched, and I will trust entirely to the good feeling of that body to extricate me from any temporary difficulty in which I may find myself involved in consequence of the liberality of my conduct." Such was the language held by Mr. Spring Rice whilst he was "a young and untried man;" yet he had hardly got hold of his office before a dispatch was sent out ordering the governor of the colony to pay the very official servants whom the House of Assembly had determined not to pay; and the right hon. Gentleman supposed that he got himself out of the difficulty by this sort of special pleading: "I have not done," said he "what Lord Dalhousie did—I have not taken the money out of their chest. I did not go the unconstitutional length of asking the House of Commons to take the money out of their chest; but I ordered the governor to pay the money, and to draw upon the Treasury for the amount." If he recollected right, it was thought necessary, during the last Session of Parliament, to pass a resolution in the House of Commons to enable the Colonial Minister to do the same thing. But Mr. Spring Rice was alive to 289 no such necessity: he took the whole order of the matter upon his own responsibility. And this certainly was a case in which the people of Canada did not expect that a Colonial Secretary who had so gravely and so solemnly pledged himself not to infringe the prerogatives of the provincial legislature would take upon himself to issue such an order as that which proceeded from Mr. Spring Rice, upon no other than his own responsibility. Succeeding events had justified the opinion of the Canadians that such a course was not consistent with the principles of the constitution, because last year, when a similar step was about to be taken, it was deemed necessary that a resolution of the House of Commons should be first obtained. No wonder then that the House of Assembly was incensed. It was made a matter of complaint against that body that it refused to vote the supplies in 1835 as well as in 1834. In 1834 they refused to vote supplies in consequence of their determination to demand a remedy for their grievances. In 1835 they resolved not to vote an amount of money because the head of the colonial department in England had so unwarrantably strained his power as to direct the payment of those servants of the colony whom they had determined should not be paid. That determination on the part of the House of Assembly was well known to the colonial authorities in England, was well known to Mr. Spring Rice, at the time the head and chief of those authorities; but in spite of that knowledge Mr. Spring Rice directed the money to be paid. Then, said the House of Assembly, "we will not pay this money back; you knew our feeling and our determination upon the matter; you have ordered the money to be paid in spite of us; we will not reimburse you." Accordingly in the year 1835 the House of Assembly again refused the supplies. Be it marked and remembered, however, that these two years, 1834 and 1835, were the only two years in which the supplies were really refused by the House of Assembly. Unfortunately for the good intentions of Mr. Spring Rice, just upon the very instant that all his schemes were rife—just as the extended plan, the great and statesmanlike affair which was to startle all beholders was about to be transmitted from the Colonial-office, it so happened, as the right hon. Gentleman was passing down Pall-mall, somebody 290 met him and told him that he was out of office. This was unfortunate; but it proved to be the fact, and the right hon. Gentleman had since ceased to be the Colonial Secretary. But there was one remarkable circumstance which took place before the right hon. Gentleman went out of office, to which he wished to direct the attention of the House. It had been brought as a charge against the House of Assembly that they were so little careful of the independence of the judicature, that because a certain judge held opinions contrary to their own, they withheld his salary, and would not place it upon the civil list. Hence it was concluded that the House of Assembly desired to exercise an undue and improper control over the judicature of the country. Now it so happened that just before Mr. Spring Rice went out of office information was received at the Colonial office of the appointment of Mr. Justice Gale; and when the right hon. Gentleman was called upon to confirm that appointment he wrote to the governor of the colony in these terms:—The learned Gentleman read the letter to this effect: "That it was at all times of the highest importance, and more especially at a moment like that which then existed, that no person partaking of the character of a political partisan should be placed upon the bench in Lower Canada." He hoped, therefore, that the, Canadian bar would be found capable of furnishing some gentleman of more calm and temperate views than the individual recommended. When he adverted to the line of conduct taken by Mr. Gale in 1828, and to his connection with certain measures of that time, he (Mr. S. Rice) very much feared that he would be looked upon with distrust by a very considerable portion of the community in Canada. Under these circumstances (he added) he was not disposed to recommend the confirmation of Mr. Gale's appointment. Now, government news did not travel very fast, as he had had reason to know; and it so happened that the news which carried out the right hon. Gentleman's dismissal from office travelled more rapidly than the right hon. Gentleman's refusal to confirm the appointment of Mr. Justice Gale. Lord Aylmer, therefore, finding that the right hon. Gentleman had been dismissed, and having received no communication from him relative to Mr. Justice Gale, took it upon himself to 291 confirm that Gentleman in his seat upon the bench, at the same time writing to Lord Aberdeen, the new secretary for the colonies, stating the reasons why he did so. Lord Aberdeen thought the explanation sufficient, and allowed Mr. Justice Gale to remain upon the bench. But the House of Assembly was of opinion that a man whose conduct had been such as to give rise to such grave and serious objections on the part of the previous secretary for the colonies could never be expected to gain the confidence of a great portion of the community over which he was to act as judge. "Therefore," said the House of Assembly, "we, being the representatives of the community, and knowing that justice depends for half or more than half its influence upon the opinion of the people for whom it is administered—knowing, too, what the opinions of the people are with respect to Mr. Justice Gale, and seeing that his conduct has been so solemnly impugned by the head of the colonial department in England, we, in our representative capacity, and acting in accordance with the views of Mr. Spring Rice, will not allow his salary." This was the true history of the matter with respect to Mr. Justice Gale; and when charges were brought against the House of Assembly he wished to know why the whole truth was not told. He remembered a great impression being once made upon the House of Commons by the statement of a colonial secretary that the House of Assembly (against which the secretary wanted at that time to make out a case) had refused to reimburse Lord Aylmer for the expense he had been put to in his efforts to protect the colony from the visitation of the cholera. It was said that Lord Aylmer had expended 7,000l. for that purpose, and that the House of Assembly had refused to repay him, upon the ground that he had exceeded his authority in making the disbursement. A statement of that kind was made by a gentleman filling the situation of colonial secretary; but it was afterwards proved that that gentleman must have been guilty of some culpable negligence in reading or arranging his information, as every one of his assertions turned out to be untrue. In the first place, the sum expended was 700l., not 7,000l.; and in the second place, Lord Aylmer, when he applied to the House of Assembly, was repaid at once. Yet months went over, during 292 which the impression obtained against the House of Assembly that they were so base, so bad, so dishonest, so utterly heartless, as to refuse the repayment of a sum which had been expended for a purpose so humane and necessary as that of endeavouring to prevent the access of a terrible pestilence. The person who made that statement was Mr. Stanley. This was the way, indeed, in which successive Governments talked of the House of Assembly, and it unfortunately happened that the House of Assembly was not here to answer for itself, nor could its defence be attempted, except by chance, and by the voice of one man against the voices of a hundred. He remembered in earlier days reading the history of one of the matchless characters of antiquity, who said, that his character had been assailed for a life, and could not be defended in an hour—that his assailants had occupied many years in poisoning the public mind against his character, and that when he was brought to the bar of trial for life or death, he felt himself in such a position that he could not wipe off the stain which those artful assailants had been careful to implant upon the public mind: he felt, therefore, that he stood before a jury almost condemned before he was heard. That matchless character, with whom he became acquainted in the course of his scholastic reading, was Socrates. Like the life long assailants of Socrates, men were in the habit of getting up in that House, and with a total disregard of truth, or a total ignorance of facts, and making assertions with respect to the House of Assembly which they knew could not be answered, except after the lapse of a considerable time, during which the poison of their statements would be allowed to eat its way in the public mind. Statements of this kind had frequently been made by persons holding high and responsible situations in the Government, but who seemed utterly careless of whether their statements were true or false as long as they produced the impression desired. He (Mr. Roebuck) maintained that this partial dealing with the truth, this garbling with evidence, was more suitable to Old Bailey practitioners than to those who advised her Majesty and directed the councils of the State. He would now return to the stream of his narrative. Upon the dismissal of Mr. Spring Rice, Lord Aberdeen was ap- 293 pointed to the colonial secretaryship, and with the administration of which that noble Lord was a member, was originated the bright idea of a commissioner, and a commissioner was in consequence appointed. But it so happened that the Government of which Lord Aberdeen was a member did not stand—it was not permanent. The succeeding administration, however, was exceedingly delighted with the idea of the commission. But, not wishing to take anything which assumed the appearance of an improvement from their opponents, they determined to do something that should be their own, and with characteristic intelligence and zeal they at once destroyed everything that was good in the commission; for, instead of confining the responsibility of the commission to one man, they determined to extend it to three. And how did they extend it? What character did they give to their commission? They compounded it of three different sets of politicians. Of these three commissioners the first was a high Tory, the second (the terra seemed contradictory, but there was no other to supply its place) a Tory-Whig, and the third a Radical-Whig. These three men went out to Canada, bound together by one secretary. What did they go to do? To inquire. True; they went to inquire, but about what? The grievances of the people. But the grievances of the people were best reflected by the body which had been elected as the representative of the whole of them. The House of Assembly, therefore, very properly said, "We are the people; we are returned as the Representatives of the people in a manner that you cannot impugn—you do not pretend to say that we do not represent the opinions and feelings of the great majority of the people—why, therefore, send out a commission to supersede us who assemble here under the sanction of an Act of the British Legislature, whilst the commission comes out only under an order of the Crown?" However, the commission went out; and if he (Mr. Roebuck) wanted anything that should justify in every particular the proceedings of the House of Assembly in Lower Canada, he would point to the report of the Commissioners to furnish him with that justification. Every part of it afforded a complete justification for every act of that branch of the Colonial Legislature. First and foremost, there was a 294 sort of see saw as regarded the constitution, but all the facts adduced in the report went to the complete justification of the House of Assembly. There was a good deal of parade about the report—a good deal of sound and fury; first, there was the full broadside of the commission, then the single gun of Sir Charles Grey, and then the replication of Sir George Gipps; and what between the broadside, the single gun, and the replication, there was a vast deal of confusion in the report; but those who were enabled to see their way clearly through it, could not fail of arriving at the conclusion, that in every particular the House of Assembly had been right. He would read a passage from the report, which, if it had any meaning at all, would go directly to the proof of that assertion. He quoted now from the general report—the general broadside of the Commissioners. The passage ran thus:—"For a number of years the Council, keeping, as it did, in close union with the executive, prevailed; but in process of time the inherent force of a popular assembly developed itself; and in the great contest that ensued about money matters, the Assembly came out completely successful." That was to say that in a dispute which bad lasted from the year 1810 to the year 1828, the Assembly at length prevailed. It was to be assumed, then, that the Assembly was right. "During the financial struggle, continued as it was for more than a quarter of a century, it was only natural that other collateral causes of difference should arise; and, if we were to examine into these, we believe we should also find that in every one of them the Assembly has carried its point." That was to say, that for upwards of a quarter of a century the House of Assembly had not demanded a single thing which was not ultimately granted to them; the inference of course was, that they had demanded only that which was right. The commissioners continued: "As a few instances, we will mention the right of the House to accuse and bring to trial public officers; their right to appoint an agent in England"—he (Mr. Roebuck) hoped that that would satisfy the House at least upon the point of agency—"and their right to control their own contingent expenses; their demand for the withdrawal of the judges from political affairs, or from seats in the legislative bodies or the executive coun- 295 cils, and for the surrender of the proceeds of the Jesuits' estates. All these are points on which contests have taken place between the two Houses, and in everyone of them the popular branch has prevailed, and the Council been successively driven from every position it had attempted to maintain. The Assembly, at the same time, by attacking abuses in the administration, and bringing charges against numerous officers of the Executive, succeeded scarcely less in exposing the weakness of the Government than of the Council." It was very strange that the word "weakness" should be introduced into that part of the report. How was it that the House of Assembly became successful? Not because the Government was weak—the Government was strong enough if it pleased to put down the House of Assembly—the reason why the Assembly succeeded was, because the Government was wrong. The report proceeded:—Both the Council and the Government have been worsted in many a struggle that they never ought to have engaged in; and if the Assembly has in consequence grown presumptuous, we apprehend that such is only the ordinary effect of an unchecked course of success.The next was, he thought, one of the most extraordinary statements ever put forward upon a subject of this kind:—In the course of these protracted disputes, too, it has happened that the Assembly, composed almost entirely of French Canadians, have constantly figured as the assertors of popular rights, and as the advocates of liberal institutions, whilst the Council, in which the English interest prevails, have, on the other hand, been made to appear as the supporters of arbitrary power, and of antiquated political doctrines; and to this alone we are persuaded the fact is to be attributed that the majority of settlers from the United States have hitherto sided with the French rather than the English party. The Representatives of the counties of Stanstead and Missisquoi have not been sent to parliament to defend the feudal system, to protect the French language, or to oppose a system of registration. They have been sent to lend their aid to the assertors of popular rights, and to oppose a Government by which, in their opinion, settlers from the United States have been neglected or regarded with disfavour.Now, he begged the House to observe in the next sentence the manner in which the Legislative Council sought to extend British feelings, and to protect British interests in the province. If he understood 296 anything about English feelings or English interests in the colony, it would mean this; that English feelings were in favour of a free representative Government, and opposed to every thing which had the appearance of arbitrary power—that English feelings were in favour of Municipal Institutions which subsisted in England, and opposed to the system of centralization which obtained in France. The Commissioners went on to say:—Even during our residence in the province we have seen the Council continue to act in the same spirit, and discard what we believe would have proved a most salutary measure, in a manner which can hardly be taken otherwise than to indicate at least a coldness towards the establishment of customs calculated to exercise the judgment, and promote the general improvement of the people. We allude to a Bill for enabling parishes and townships to elect local officers and assess themselves for local purposes, which measure, though not absolutely rejected, was suffered to fail in a way that showed no friendliness to the principle.Now, what was that principle? The principle of representative Government. They were very often told, that the Legislative Assembly was the great assertor and vindicator of the English interest in Canada. He asserted the precise contrary; and he had quoted evidence from the report of the Commissioners themselves to show that in the only instances in which it had ever done anything, it had done all it could, to support, protect, and maintain, the principles of arbitrary power. He had proved, that the Legislative Council was French so far forth as it was favourable to its own arbitrary power, and English so far forth as it could create a prejudice against the House of Assembly. He must observe how remarkable it was, that British merchants, on going out to Canada, should all at once be so very much struck at the absence of a registration-office in that country, when, as was very well known, there was no general registration-office in England. It was a curious fact that in this country, with the exception of the counties of Middlesex and York, there was no office for the registration of deeds, mortgages, &c. How was it, then, that merchants on going to Canada all at once discovered that an establishment of that kind was essential to the protection of their interests? Some ingenious person might, perhaps, discover the cause; but he (Mr. Roebuck) confessed that it 297 came not within the scope of his powers of penetration. In the midst of all the contention upon the subject, it had invariably happened that the House of Assembly had wished to promote all the real and substantial advantages of an office of registration; but they said, "We will not pass such a Bill as shall throw the poor persons of the country into the hands of a notary." Perhaps the House would excuse him if he entered into a short explanation upon the point. It so happened that under the old English law, mortgages might be effected upon land over and over again, and for more than twice its value, without the possibility of inflicting any kind of punishment upon the person by whom the money was obtained. But by the French law, if a mortgage for more than the value of the land were effected, it would be classed with the offences coming under the generic term dolus, and which meant nothing more nor less than that an offence of this kind amounted to felony. The House of Assembly found that in consequence of the wholesale introduction of the English law in the manner of which he (Mr. Roebuck) had already complained, no punishment was attached to an offence which they had always previously been taught to regard as a crime. They found that, according to the English law, which was new to them, a person who mortgaged his land for more than its value, could not be punished. "Therefore," said the House of Assembly, "we will endeavour to get at this class of offenders by establishing a law which shall be in accordance with our old law of 'Stelionat.'" A Bill having that object in view, accordingly passed through the House of Assembly, but the Legislative Council threw it out. And yet the Legislative Council called itself the defender and assertor of English interests in the colony, and constantly complained of the absence of an office of registration. In the Bill passed by the House of Assembly, the means were afforded of establishing a registration-office, or an institution that, in all respects, should be tantamount to such an office; but the Legislative Council refused to take it. Why? Because, in reality and in truth, they did not desire to see a system of registration established—they did not desire to make fraudulent mortgages a crime, but they did desire to have the means of creating a prejudice against the House of Assembly. If there were 298 one thing which more than another distinguished the institutions of England, it was the manner in which all local affairs were left to the management and control of local authorities. In this respect the institutions of England afforded a strong contrast to those of France, where the pernicious system of centralization placed the management of all the affairs of the country in the capital. He would explain this point in a few words, by quoting the language of Mr. John Nielson, to whose testimony he liked to refer. Mr. Nielson, in his examination before the Committee of 1828, was asked, "Are persons who settle in the townships, holding land upon the English tenure of free and common soccage, exposed to any other difficulties than those which arise in the administration of the courts of law?—Mr. Nielson replied, "I do not think that those people complain of anything except that they are far out of the way; because, unfortunately, the grants were made to them in a remote part in preference to the grants being made nearer the St. Lawrence. But, their great object has been to obtain a representative in the assembly of the province; and they have met in their usual way upon Stanstead Plain, and have declared that they were satisfied with the Bill that was passed by the Assembly, and they have petitioned the Assembly and the Council to pass that Bill. They say that in the event of the Bill passing, they think they can get a remedy for all their grievances; that the first thing they want is to get a representation in the assembly of the province, and the assembly of the province is willing to join them in redressing their grievances; but any person that by chance happens to have connection with the townships, goes and speaks as if he was deputed by the townships. We have had twenty different stories told us in that way; but the moment they have representatives of their own to speak for them, everybody will believe them, and there is no doubt they will get a remedy for everything they complain of. There is one thing that is desired to give them, which they have in the United States, and that is the power of regulating their own little local concerns, which, I conceive, contributes very much to the prosperity of the United States; every district of the country regulates matters of common convenience, such as roads and bridges—what can be done by an indivi- 299 dual is done by a common effort of the whole community, as determined by the majority; whereas, in the townships, they can get nothing done without delays and expenses." Mr. Neilson was then asked, to "describe the difference between the state of things in that respect in Canada and in the United States?" He answered in these terms:—"In Canada we have been plagued with an old French system of government: that is to say, a government in which the people have no concern whatsoever, every thing must proceed from the city of Quebec and the city of Montreal, and persons must come to the city of Quebec and the city of Montreal to do every thing;, instead of being able to do for themselves in their own localities. In the United States they have the English system, by which every locality has certain powers of regulating its own concerns, by which means they regulate them cheaper and better; whereas with us, a man must make a journey to Quebec; he must go to a great expense; he must bow to this man and bow to that man, and rap at this door and rap at that door, and spend days and weeks to effect a little improvement of a road, or something of that kind, of common convenience to a district; whereas all that is done in the United States, without going out of his own small district." Now that was precisely what the House of Assembly wanted to do. They passed a bill—passed it more than once, by which the people in the townships, against whom they were supposed to entertain so strong an animosity, were to have the control over their own concerns. The Legislative Council, however, invariably threw out the Bill, because they said it was tainted with the principle of representation. Could anything afford a stronger proof that the real support of English interests was in the House of Assembly, and that the Legislative Council was the advocate only of those narrow and arbitrary views which were diametrically opposed to every English feeling? He now came to the demand of the House of Assembly for an elective council. He had shown that this demand was warranted, first by the report of the Commissioners, and next by the conduct of the Legislative Council, which conduct had been so bad as to give rise to the admission, even amongst those by whom it was supported, that it required reform. He had shown that the Council was now 300 in precisely the same state as it was when that admission was made. He had shown that the people themselves were dissatisfied with it; and finally he had shown that the House of Assembly had asked in a quiet, decorous, and respectful manner that the people of the country might be allowed to meet in a national convention to determine whether or not the elective council were fit for them. The answer of the House of Commons to that demand last year was a peremptory refusal; but, at the same time, the House of Commons gravely and solemnly stated by its resolutions, that the Legislative Council required reform. Upon that occasion, the House of Commons again solemnly maintained the demand of the House of Assembly for a reform of the Legislative Council; for, in the resolutions which were passed at the same time that an elective council was refused, the House said "No—we will not grant you the elective council, but we see that you must have a reform in your Legislative Council; at the same time, we will take away your money, because for the last two years you have refused to vote the supplies"—and because the House of Commons could not pass a bill in time to sanction the taking away the money, they sent out to the governor of the colony instructions to ask the House of Assembly again to vote the supply. He now came to what he must regard as the very peculiar proceeding of the present Government in the dispute with the House of Assembly. The House of Commons and the House of Lords had voluntarily declared, in a series of resolutions to which they had severally and mutually agreed, that a reform in the Legislative Council was needed: at the same time, they bade the Colonial Governor demand the supplies of the House of Assembly, after having infringed the constitutional rights of that body in the most marked and extraordinary manner. He would be frank in this matter. He knew what would take place in Canada. He told the House what would take place, and his prophecies were verified to the letter. When the resolutions of last year went out the necessary consequence was, that every man in the colony asked himself "Are we to bear this? What is the alternative? It is clear that the Imperial Parliament, paramount in England, and indeed over the whole of its great empire, has decided against us; we have, therefore, no hope 301 through the ordinary means of obtaining our desires." "Is there, then, no alternative?" was the national question which every man put to himself. It was put by the leaders of the people to the people themselves; and the answer of the people was, "The power of the Imperial Parliament is so great that it may override us under any circumstances; therefore, we must submit." The determination come to by the leaders was, to counsel the people to submit. He did not say, that they did not expect a day to arrive when some other alternative might not present itself; but the result was, they determined to submit. At the same time they said, "We are to be called together by the governor—he is to present to us the resolutions of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Those resolutions are to be presented to us as a whole, and if the governor gives us a fair opportunity of saying to our constituents that we have done all that we could do, and that all has been done for them that the Parliament of Great Britain has determined, we must yield, and for the present submit to the demands of the Government." Such were the feelings—and he was bold in saying these things—he would pledge himself that such were the feelings and intentions with which the members of the House of Assembly went to Quebec. The resolutions were placed before them as a whole, but what was the demand of the governor? Money, money, money! But, said the House of Assembly, "is there not something else in the resolutions? Is it all money, money, money? Is there not some acknowledgment of abuse in the resolutions? Are you come only to ask for money? Have you not any authority for effecting some alteration in the Legislative Council?" Why did they ask this? Because, in point of fact, there had been circulated in Montreal, with a sort of demi-official authority, a list of the new Council. That list was withdrawn. It was not acted upon; and for four long months things went on shilly-shally dilly-dally—the colonial department on one side, and Lord Gosford on the other, with a great country there in a state next to revolution, and with a representative body anxious for an excuse—anxious for the means of saying to the people, "we have got all we can, all that the Imperial Parliament have proposed, and we must submit." But what was it 302 they sent? They sent the governor with these resolutions in his hands, but with nothing of redress, nothing to satisfy the pride as well as the vanity of these people; nothing conciliatory, but all that was grasping, after money, money, money. At whose door did all this lie? Why, at the imbecility of the Colonial-office. Did the House believe that if there had been a man of weight and of mind to lead in these affairs there could have been such delay upon such important points? Good God! to those who sent out all sorts of people to all sorts of places, were there no means of sending out a man post-haste to the governor of Lower Canada, begging him, for God's sake, to go down to the House of Assembly with a proposition for an altered Legislative Council, at least before he asked for money, entreating him not to insult that Assembly, not to say to them, "we do not care anything for your feelings, you who represent the feelings of the whole body of the people. True it is, we admit that the Legislative Council have done all that is mischievous; this we admit by the report of our commission, this we admit by the solemn censure of a resolution of Parliament—all this to us is as nought—we have the power to ask for money, and that is all we regard?" Why, any man of common sagacity would conceive that at least it was intended, when communicating those resolutions to the House of Assembly, that the governor should go down with some such proposition as that of a thorough investigation into the abuses of the Council. Why was that not done? It must be supposed that justice was asleep; that the Colonial-office was in that happy state of repose in which it could not even hear the murmurs of the people, although they were so loud as to startle every one else. Nothing could awake it from its slumbers. What cared the Colonial-office at the Canadian people being insulted by this mode of proceeding? It was a very easy thing to get at the Exchequer; therefore, if a revolt did take place, why, it must be put down. It might cost something, to be sure, but that could not be helped; besides, an opportunity might, at the same time, be obtained of putting down the House of Assembly, and that was something. Well, what took place besides? Before Lord Gosford met the House of Assembly he was exceedingly careful to insult the leader of the people there. It was well known that three 303 months before the meeting of the House of Assembly Mr. Papineau attended various meetings of the people. The leaders of the people discovered at the time of these public meetings that the people were not prepared for the alternative to which he (Mr. Roebuck) had alluded. What did Lord Gosford do? He waited three months, and then he did that which all the advocates of Canada had been unable hitherto to do—he brought the grievances home to every man's door. Hitherto the advocates of Canada had been obliged to address the Canadian people through their understandings. They had said to them—and he (Mr. Roebuck) acknowledged that he was one who did so—"These are encroachments upon your privileges—watch them well. The effect, though not mischievous now, may be so hereafter. The words of Lord Gosford may be a warning to you." This was a warning to the nation: but being in themselves happy, and not disposed to do anything violent, those good people, although they did support systematically their representatives, yet they did nothing more. But Lord Gosford came and dismissed by wholesale the militia officers and magistrates, thereby making every man feel himself personally insulted—and these were the people he was to conciliate! Could anybody wonder, after seeing that the resolutions were not carried out, and after seeing that nothing was done to satisfy one of their just demands, the justice of them acknowledged over and over again, that the members of the House of Assembly should say, "We will not be accessory, by paying this money, to our own dishonour and disgrace. We will not yield to this unrighteous demand." Well, the House of Assembly separated, and then what happened? Lord Gosford proceeded to revise the magistracy. He did not, indeed, dismiss every person from the commission who entertained liberal sentiments; but he dismissed almost every one. He dismissed men who were not accused of any crime—men belonging to no faction, not taking any part in politics. And what did he do next, and that without any apology, knowing what was the state of the law in that country? The Legislative Council took care of that. Nay, the Government at home acknowledged that the Orange party there was so thoroughly ferocious that they were obliged to send out officers from this country to officer 304 the militia in Canada. At that time the sheriff of Montreal was appointed by the governor, and was subject to dismissal by him; the mere magistrates and judges also were made by the governor, and likewise subject to dismissal by him. Well, in this state of things he issued orders wholesale to try all the leaders of the people for high treason, on account of speeches which they had delivered full three months before. And what was it that those persons said? Precisely what every man of common sense would have said, that to be tried by a jury chosen by such a sheriff, and before such a judge, was nothing more nor less than condemnation before trial. Every body knew (they had experience near home) what an Orange jury would do. The Canadians naturally said, "We are not willing to stand the result of such a trial," and as many of them as could consequently went away; and this was called running away—this was called dastardly! It was a most natural thing, but it seemed to him to be very easy to be valiant in other persons' places; but he should like that those persons who spoke thus of his friends over the water should be precisely in the same position with them. They were said to be cowards and to have fled from those whom they excited to revolt. First and foremost, if they had staid in in the country they would have been in prison, and then how could they have been with the people whom they were accused of deserting? If not with them how could they be said to have excited the people? and, furthermore, he wanted to know, they having gone out of the country, how it could be said that they excited the people? But he would tell the House how those people were excited, and when they had heard their story, the House, he hoped, would have some consideration for the characters of those individuals of whom men spoke so glibly. The people of the district of Montreal, when they saw the necessity of their leaders being obliged to depart to avoid being arrested, and knowing that many others were likely to be taken up upon the same plea that the apprehension of those who escaped was sought for, because two affidavits only were all that was required for that purpose, said that no more writs should be executed there. What did the magistrates of Montreal do, or rather what did the Attorney-General do? He got a party of militia 305 men, chosen out of those Orange partisans whom he knew to be the very men of all others who most wanted to create a riot; men who had before petitioned to be enrolled in the rifle corps of Montreal; and they went out and arrested two respectable men. M. Demaray and M. D'Avignon. They chained these two men, put manacles on their hands, a chain on their feet, placed them in an open waggon, and he (Mr. Roebuck) had it upon the authority of one of the people that they put a halter round their necks. He was the more bound to believe that they did so because they so treated a respectable person, the son of the surveyor-general of that country, and while suffering under his wounds, and dragged him many miles through the district, Well what did they do with Messrs. Demaray and D'Avignon? Instead of going direct to Montreal from the places where they were arrested, they actually paraded those persons throughout the excited district. What was the consequence? Just what they themselves expected: the peasantry rushed to arms and rescued the two men; whereupon the Government exclaimed, "We cannot suffer the law to be opposed in this way; we will send out an armed power." They accordingly sent Colonel Gore to St. Denis, and Colonel Wetherall to Chambly, who were to join each other at St. Charles. At St. Denis the English troops were dispersed, but Colonel Wetherall arrived at St. Charles and the people were dispersed. And what was the consequence? Why, that an excess afterwards took place at St. Charles and St. Denis on the part of the soldiery, only to be equalled by the scenes of slaughter at Tarragona and Badajoz. Nay, he had received information from a magistrate of Lower Canada of his having sat in the midst of the most horrible scenes, and of being surrounded by the mangled bodies of those who had been slaughtered by the British troops—that those very bodies were the next morning eaten by the pigs—that many houses were plundered of all that was valuable in them, and that to his own knowledge those troops, in the insolence of their success, had committed every species of outrage which an infuriated soldiery were apt to commit, and this upon whom? Upon our own fellow-subjects. The honour of the British soldier had been spoken of as involved in this affair; but that was not an expedition in which honour could be gained by British soldiers. No, 306 they were acting as police; and all that they could possibly do would, at best, be but a painful duty. But horrors such as these, atrocities such as these, were not to be spoken of, because, forsooth, it would be tarnishing the lustre of the British arms. Thank God, he thought much better of the lustre of the British arms than to ascribe it to such deeds as these. What honour was there to be acquired in opposing and sacrificing an undisciplined body of men who were in an unhappy state of excitement at beholding those persons whom they were accustomed to look up to and revere, treated with every indignity that malice could suggest? These undisciplined men being in arms, and in this state of excitement, did, undoubtedly, resist the well-disciplined troops of her Majesty, who thereupon proceeded to burn barns with men in them; and with their gallant commander at their head, to rush in upon an almost unarmed and, certainly, a most undisciplined body of peasantry, who were the subjects of the same Sovereign. And yet we were not to speak of these horrors, forsooth, but at the risk of being denounced as having no regard for the honour of the British army. He would repeat, that he had much more respect for the honour of that army than those who desired to have such services done by it. To suppress a revolt was always a painful duty, but it must be performed. That duty might, however, be disgraced; and he would never be persuaded that the commanding officer had not sufficient power over so small a body as were then employed in Lower Canada as to prevent them from committing these excesses. He himself knew that booty was actually brought into Montreal and sold by the soldiers. They robbed the inhabitants, and why? Because some portion of the people were in arms. They did so, knowing that the House of Assembly was not sitting; that its members were scattered over various parts of the country to an extent of no less than 700 miles; and knowing, therefore, that they were not in authority at that time. It was most unworthy shuffling, then, to attempt to put upon their back the odium and the horror of this rebellion. The rebellion was brought about by Lord Gosford, by the colonial Government, and by the want of wisdom on the part of the rulers, and not by those men who had honestly maintained the character of the real representatives of the interests of their constituents. 307 But (said Mr. Roebuck) it is the habit everywhere now-a-days to speak of Mr. Papineau as being answerable for all that has befallen his country. Now, Sir, I am not one of those who have been in the habit of deserting a friend in need. In his most prosperous days I have thought myself honoured by the friendship of Mr. Papineau. I think myself so honoured now; and when I review the political career of that man, raised as he has been to eminence by the sole power of his intellect, without the employment of one single disgraceful proceeding, I look in vain through the whole of that career for one act which deserves reprobation. True it is that he denounced in strong language the conduct of your colonial administration. I myself have equally condemned that administration; and if there be guilt in saying that Canada has been ill-governed, that her grievances have been left unredressed, that her oppressors are men ever cruel, and now exasperated, I, Sir, am willing to partake of that guilt. Talk to me of being frightened at being called a traitor; at being told that my life is forfeited; at the newspapers setting forth that I am to be sent to the Tower? Yes, the Government organs and other portions of the press have endeavoured to excite the people against me, and induce them to believe that I and my friends could desire that which England could view as dishonourable. Do you think that I am to be frightened by such petty warfare? If I be guilty why are there not some who dare accuse me lawfully? I want to know what is thought of the courage of those men who dare make these anonymous accusations, but have not the courage to support them by a criminal prosecution? My papers have been seized. Let them be produced. I have not run away; because I know that there is a jury in England who will render justice to the accused. Where is the ground of all this accusation? What I am anxious for is, to get laid before the people of this country whatever justification may be urged for all the persecutions that have been inflicted on the people of Lower Canada by the executive power. I want to know upon what grounds a justification can be put forth for harassing, persecuting, and putting into gaol a whole body of men who have been the leaders of that people for a quarter of a century, upon the mere affidavits and partial statements of persons whom the 308 executive Government know to have been suborned? And yet, with all this power in your hands, you proceed to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act and annul the constitution. It may be conceived that to suspend the constitution was a happy thought. It is an act you have long desired, but you dared not do it until you got the people frightened by your proceedings into a revolt. But why stop here? Why not suspend the constitution of Upper Canada? There is a revolt, and you have not heard the last of it. Why not suspend the constitution of Newfoundland? There is a stoppage of supplies, and you have not heard the last of it. How comes it, by-the-by, that we never hear, through the medium of the Colonial-office, of some things that are taking place there as well as in Canada? How happens it that at the last election in Newfoundland you had cannon planted on the hill commanding the hustings, loaded with grape shot? If you deny these things, I tell you there are men here who can prove it; and yet you wonder that your colonies do not entertain a feeling of gratitude and consideration for—that happy metaphor of yours—the mother country! Let me carry out your metaphor, and call her step-mother. If, after this statement which I have made, Gentlemen are still prepared to do what they are now called upon by the Government to do, I wish to know whether they will still say that any case has been made out against the House of Assembly. I address myself particularly in this case to that class of politicians who are, by favour, called Liberals. I want to know how they will distinguish these acts of power towards the people of Canada from those which were committed by this country previous to the American revolution? "O!" says one, "we don't tax them." No; but you allow the House of Assembly to tax them, and then take their money when they have been taxed. And, furthermore, is it nothing to suspend the constitution? After taking away their money, you proceed to deprive them of their constitutional system, notwithstanding their approximation to a nation for whose institutions the Canadian people entertain the strongest predilection. There is the same prevailing feeling in favour of the republican principle on the part of the various states of North America as there exists in Europe for the monarchical principle, or in the East for the despotic prin- 309 ciple. Can you wonder, then, if there should arise in the United States a strong feeling of sympathy for those people who are now reduced to the crouching condition and to the servile state of slaves? They are now to be governed by a governor in council—they who have been made to understand the full benefit of a representative Government; they who see that principle on the other side of an imaginary line constantly acting in full vigour, and in all peace and quietness. Comparing themselves with those men, they say, "We are your equals: why should we be deprived of those institutions which we hold dear? Why? Because we are weak. If we were strong England would be just, but we are weak and she is unjust." Sir, you have granted rights to those who knew their power, and who, knowing, used it. It was by the power of their arms that the United States of America became free. The best rights of this country have been gained by arms. You taught the people of Canada the very lesson they have now carried out. I myself have seen in this metropolis, things done, and heard things said, during the passing of the Reform Bill that, if you talk, of treason, were ten thousand times worse than anything that has been done in Canada. And who did those things? The Liberal party. Who consented to their being done, and profited by them? A Liberal Administration. And then you wonder at what is going on in Canada, and pretend to see a distinction which neither Washington nor Franklin could discover. The people of Canada say to the people of the United States, "We are in the same position that you were formerly in, but unfortunately we are only one million, while you are thirteen." At the time of the revolution, indeed, the United States were but about three millions, but England is now an overwhelming power, while then she was not equal to combat with the world. Sir, can any one who reads the history of nations aright fail to condemn the impolicy of these proceedings? I entreat this House to view the consequences that will naturally result from this disastrous question. I see on the other side of the St. Lawrence a nation now so powerful that we can hardly measure its extent; a nation, that has now dominion from Florida to the Lakes of Canada, and which, if we are wise, we shall take especial care has no increase of territory. If we are 310 wise, we shall see and arrange all matters in Canada, and in our other North American possessions, so as to prepare them when a separation shall come, as come it must, to be an independent nation. But if you treat them thus as you are now treating them, all their hopes will be centered in America, and unhappily all their alliances will be American; and when we lose Canada, as lose her one day or other we shall, she will merge in the United States, and then we shall see that nation stretching its power from the Gulf of Mexico to the northern pole, with their fleets in every sea, and her insolent dominion, over-riding every power: for men, whether tinder good or bad institutions, if you make them irresponsible, will be unjust. Then, in your turn, you will have to meet the injustice of too powerful America, in like manner as Canada has now to meet the injustice of too powerful England. Sir, I am sorry that on me should devolve this great argument. I feel that I have wearied you. I feel that I have been inadequate to the great task which a nation's struggle has thrown upon me; but I hope, while I have addressed you that I have not forgotten, in the zeal of my advocacy, that I am one who was born of British blood. I have spoken from my heart as one whose whole interests are bound up in the honour and glory of my country. I feel that that honour and that glory are now at stake—not that factitious honour which is to be derived from power, or whatever is successful in possession and prosperity, but that honour which is to be derived from the wisdom, the justice, and the benevolence of our rule. I find that the benevolence, the wisdom, and the justice of our rule are about to be infringed, and that all our American colonies that now remain to us will by and by in another page of history have to relate the calamitous story of this time similar to that which is already upon record; and then. Sir, as the last ship of England leaves that insulted coast, with its millions stretched along its shores shouting imprecations after her, you will feel, and not till then will you feel and know, your own injustice. Sir, I have done my duty.
§ The learned gentleman withdrew.311
§ Lord John Russell
said, that the principle of the Bill would be debated on the question that the bill be committed.
§ The Speaker
said, the hon. Gentleman was in error. The House was not taking two stages. They were doing precisely what must be done on every Bill. The question that the Bill be committed having been carried, he should then p u t the question as to what day, and then it would be competent for the hon. Member to speak upon the principle of the Bill.
§ Mr. Hume
said, if so, they were in a condition always as if they were reading the Bill a second time. He would appeal to the House whether the case they had just heard at the Bar did not give a different colour to the whole transaction, and make out a case so favourable to the House of Assembly that they ought to pause before they proceeded with the Bill? He admitted it was imperative on the House to enforce obedience to the law in the colonies; but they ought not, therefore, to suspend the constitutional privileges of those colonies. From beginning to end, it appeared to him that the House of Assembly in Lower Canada had acted with great prudence and much patience. They had been invariably frustrated in their endeavours to obtain the best measures for the people by the Legislative Council, and if any punishment were to be inflicted, it ought to be inflicted on that body that had stayed the course of justice and reform. Mr. Roebuck might have made his case still stronger by showing that the House of Assembly had acted in accordance with the feelings of the people, because he might have shown, that during that period which the learned gentleman had so rapidly run over, the Governor had tried again and again, by appeals to the people, to resist the proceedings of the Assembly, but that at every new election the people sent back a greater number of members to support the popular cry, and to demand full justice. Under these circumstances, he entreated her Majesty's Ministers not to press on that which would be, in his opinion, so far from conciliation that it would tend to widen the breach. He should feel it his duty to give his opposition to the present Bill in every stage of its progress through that House and he should therefore then 312 move that the Bill be committed that day six months.
§ Sir George Grey
need scarcely say, that to the motion which had just been made to the House by the hon. Member for Kilkenny he should offer his most determined opposition. He was utterly at a loss to conceive how the hon. Member proposed to effect the object of which he appeared to approve—how he would send out a Governor with full powers, when he opposed the only measure which would give the necessary authority. He rejoiced that the House had listened to the learned Gentleman who had that night addressed them from the bar so ably and with such eloquence, for though there were not wanting in that Assembly many advocates who were not deficient in zeal, and whom they had heard on former occasions most fully state the wishes and represent the opinions of the Canadian people, yet he rejoiced, that the British Parliament, in accordance with the feelings which ever actuated a British assembly, had not interposed any obstacle to the hearing of a Gentleman claiming to be the authorised agent of the Canadian people, and possessed of such an authority, so far as a resolution of the House of Assembly could confer it. He was only anxious, then, to recal to the House the real circumstances connected with the Canadian controversy, to the state in which the Government and the House were then placed, and to the proceeding as connected with the Bill then before them. He would not follow the hon. and learned Gentleman through the remote periods of the Canadian history, neither would he recite the serious grievances which from time to time and from year to year they had heard so well stated by that hon. and learned Gentleman in his place as a Member of that House, nor the answers which had been called forth upon those occasions; but he must advert to one point in the earlier state of facts which had been referred to, and in which the hon. and learned Gentleman attempted to make the House believe, that the Canadian dispute related only to financial differences, and that the whole was merely a financial question. The hon. and learned Gentleman had stated, that all the Canadians required was, a control over the revenue; and in dealing with this point the hon. Gentleman had imputed great negligence and imbecility to her Majesty's 313 Ministers; but he must say, that this was not a fair representation, for every financial claim had been attended to by the Government; and the Legislative Assembly had subsequently departed from the just and constitutional grounds on which it had at first stood. Concession was made of all their just rights, and then commenced their unconstitutional and unjust demands; and a negative was given to those demands by the Parliament only after a solemn and thrice-repeated declaration of the Canadian Legislature to adjourn all their deliberations, to render useless their functions, and to abrogate the duties imposed upon them by the act of 1791, till the British Government and the Parliament had receded from the ground which they had taken—till they had granted an Elective Legislative Council. By these acts, or rather this neglect, the Canadian constitution was practically suspended, although it would only be so in reality by the act which was then proposed; an act which, in fact, was only to supply the wants created by the refusal of the Assembly to pass those legislative measures which the interest of the province demanded, and to provide for the want of the society during the interval which must elapse before an Assembly could be called together. The Government had placed confidence in the representations which had been made to them, that if the Canadians were intrusted with a control over their expenditure there would be but little difficulty in managing the affairs of the colony; but when the Assembly met they carried not one legislative act; they met to remonstrate, not to legislate; they saw all the acts which required to be re-enacted expiring; and all this they allowed to pass without the slightest attempt to prevent the injustice which would accrue to the public and to individuals, without any provision for the manifold interests which required their protection, and which were placed in their hands by the Act of 1791; and the House was then called upon, after the greatest forbearance had been carried to the fullest extent, by the Bill then before them, to remedy these inconveniences. This Bill, too, was the only means by which it could be done effectively, unless hon. Members assumed the functions of the local Legislature by passing from day to day the Bills which might be required, and which they must do in absence from the scene 314 of action, and in entire ignorance of local wants and local wishes. But let not the House mistake the real state of the case, nor what had occurred in Canada since 1828. Let them mark well the progress of the present dispute relative to the conduct of the House of Assembly. In 1833 a Bill of supply was passed by the Legislative Assembly, which was rejected by the Legislative Council for the reasons and under the circumstances which had been mentioned on a former evening. In 1834 no such question arose, but the House of Assembly, without any distinct refusal to vote a supply, passed the ninety-two resolutions, which were embodied in the Address to that House, and which having been sent to the Governor to be forwarded, the Legislative Assembly was left with so few Members remaining in Quebec attending to their duties as to render it impossible to transact any business, and they could only meet and adjourn. In 1835 the same process was pursued, and thus for two years the Assembly separated without making any provision for the public service, or for the payment of the salaries due to the persons who were necessary to discharge the judicial offices in the colony, or to those other persons against whom it was never alleged either that their offices were unnecessary, or that their salaries were inadequate to the onerous duties which they had to perform. Under these circumstances it became, in 1834, the duty of the Government to consider the best steps to pursue to raise the colony to a better state; and he could not regret, notwithstanding the weakness and the imbecility with which he and his colleagues were charged, that they had not adopted those harsher measures which would have led to an immediate quarrel; that they did believe in the professions which were made, that if the Canadians had a control over the expenditure, and if there were a fair distribution of offices, there was no reason to fear but that the Legislature would cordially co-operate with the Government to carry on the executive functions. Ministers might have been too credulous, but the course which they adopted was preferable to a harsh and little-provoked exercise of dominion, and the exercise of what Burke called "the boundless power of imperious legislation." Lord Gosford had gone out in the year 1835, and had carried with him instructions in a double capacity, both 315 as Governor and as a Commissioner. As a Governor he was ordered to remedy every abuse and to redress every grievance which was within the province of the executive Government, and he might confidently appeal to every Act of Lord Gosford in support of the assertion, that the noble Lord had fairly acted up to the spirit of these instructions; for he had never heard any complaint against his Lordship in his administration charging him with any partiality, any preference to one race over another; or at least, he had never heard such a complaint from the Canadians themselves. Complaint had been made that he had removed from commissions in the militia and the magistracy, not gentlemen who had merely attended a public meeting, to express a legitimate opposition to any given course of Government, but to pass resolutions subversive of all connexion between this country and the colony, and tending to that direct infraction of the law which had since been acted upon. If Lord Gosford had waited till insurrection had actually taken place, till the men were to be met with arms in their hands, then, indeed, he might have been justly accused of imbecility for abstaining from acting, but allowing the whole weight of their authority to add to the power which they would have with a misguided people; and he must say that Lord Gosford had taken the course which every man of mind would have pursued. He had been conciliatory till the exercise of stronger powers was absolutely necessary, and when the necessity arose he had not failed. In 1834 or 1835 the first demand was made for an elective Council, and the House of Assembly refused either to vote a supply, or to perform their other functions, till their demand was granted. Lord Gosford, in opening the session of 1835, informed the House that he had received his Majesty's commands to place at the disposal of the House all the public monies, subject to certain conditions. It had indeed been said that the message of Lord Dorchester had already, and for many years, placed these funds at the disposal of the colony; but all that Lord Dorchester's message did was to pledge the Crown that the funds derived from the casual and territorial revenues, and the revenues arising under the Act of 14 Geo. 3rd should be strictly applied to colonial purposes. He was not aware whether they were placed 316 at the disposal of the House of Assembly, but at any rate they were by that message only pledged to be used for colonial purposes, in aid of the revenue of the province. In stating Lord Gosford's message, placing these revenues at the disposal of the Legislative Assembly, he did not wish to claim for the present Government any share of merit to which they were not fairly entitled, and in justice to the Government of the right hon. Baronet, opposite, he must say, that to the same extent was the Government pledged so far back as the period when Lord Aberdeen was at the head of the Colonial-office, and the pledge was contained in some signed dispatches to Lord Amherst which were left in the Colonial-office. It was unnecessary for him, however, to travel through the early history of the Canadian differences; it was no part of his duty to defend former acts; it never was his intention to state that no unjust principles had been acted upon in the Government of Lower Canada. It had been admitted again and again that there were grievances; but what he had formerly stated and complained of, and to what he still adhered, was, that these had been redressed to the fullest extent; and when the more reasonable and more moderate but not more strenuous advocates of good Government had expressed themselves satisfied with the redress, other persons stepped in, and, denouncing the moderate and reasonable men as renegades, declared that nothing less than an elective Council or a separation from England would content them. To Lord Gosford's address a general answer was made by the Assembly, but several months elapsed—indeed it was not till the month of March, 1836, four months afterwards, that the House replied specifically to the Lieutenant-governor, declaring that the principal objects which they had in the reforms which they required were the introduction of the elective principle into the Legislative Council, to make the Executive Government directly responsible to the Assembly, to repeal certain Acts passed by the Imperial Parliament, and to give them a substantial control over the waste lands; and, to prevent any misunderstanding as to the demands which they made, they stated that the head of their reforms was the essential principle of introducing a system of election into the Legislative Council; and that "the people without distinction, regarded this coun- 317 cil as opposed to the wishes of the colony, and as the stronghold of abuse, and considered that any partial reform or alteration would be insufficient." Now the hon. and learned Gentleman who had that night spoken at the bar, had said that the House ought to look to no other representation of the opinions of the Canadian people but that which was stated by the House of Assembly, which was the sole organ of the wishes of an united people. But what were the facts relative to this very reply elicited by the Commissioners, and for no part of their report was there more convincing evidence than for this, that so far from the people being unanimously of opinion that nothing short of the introduction of the elective principle would suffice, there was a large and influential body of great wealth, especially commercial wealth, who deprecated, as positively mischievous, the suggestion of an elective council, who thought that by conceding this principle in the present state of the colony, the Government would be inflicting a great evil on the colony, and that Great Britain would be thereby receding from the position which she had taken up when she induced many of her citizens to transfer themselves to, and to invest their property in, this colony. He would not affirm, that the Legislative Council was without fault, he was not an admirer of its original constitution, and he had admitted that it had in its composition many faults; he need not, therefore, repeat the admission; but he must remark, that there was a great difference between making it elective and introducing into it such modifications as should secure for it the greater confidence of the people, and should bring into greater harmony the two branches of the Colonial Legislature, but which should still leave in existence the free exercise of an independent judgment. It was said, that the recommendations of the Assembly ought to have been attended to, but at the time three and a half years' arrears of salaries were due, and a six months' supply only was granted, being a small proportion merely of what was actually due, and making no provision for the future salaries. Lord Gosford reported this answer, and prorogued the Assembly; and it had been asserted, that the Government ought to have assumed that the dispute between the Assembly and the Council was irreconcileable; but the Government 318 was anxious not to force on such an evil; and considering that some passages in the reply of the Assembly showed a distrust of the Government and misunderstanding of their intentions, they had directed Lord Gosford again to convene the Assembly, to lay before them the whole of his instructions, and to request them, with these explanations, to reconsider their resolutions. In answer to the address which Lord Gosford accordingly made to them, the Assembly declared that they had not misunderstood the Government; and that in reference to a supply they considered that a redress of grievances should precede a grant of money, and that they had come to the determination to adjourn their proceedings till the determination of the Government should be known, and till the second branch of the Legislature was made conformable to the wishes and wants of the people. By this expression, they meant nothing less than the introduction of the elective principle; and his Majesty's Government, not being prepared to establish or propose the adoption of that principle, had asked the Parliament to consent to the resolutions which had been passed in order to show the Canadians that it was not a mere difference between the Executive Government and the Canadian Legislature, but between the Canadian and the Imperial Legislatures, so that the Canadian Legislature might reconsider their resolutions, and might yield to the voice of the Imperial Parliament what it would not grant to the requests of the Executive Government. He regretted that it had been necessary to call upon the Parliament to act as an arbitrator, and he regretted still more that its arbitration had been rejected. The solemn resolutions of the Imperial Parliament had been met in a spirit still more hostile than had been before experienced, and a resolution had been passed by the Legislative Assembly that they would not resume their functions till the elective principle was made the basis of the Legislative Council. Ministers, not being able to proposed concession to their demands, because they conscientiously believed that such concession would be detrimental to the colony as well as to this country, and would tend to the dismemberment of the empire, they were bound to provide the means by which a temporary substitution could be made for the discharge of the functions which had been abrogated by 319 the Legislative Assembly, and to provide for the necessities of the colony left without a Legislature. Against the Bill, then, before the House, and which was proposed with this view, nothing had been urged by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had been heard at the bar, and nothing had been suggested by him as an equivalent, except that he asked them again to call together the Assembly, which had been three several times convened, and had most unequivocally declared that they would never discharge their duties as one branch of the Legislature till the Government had complied with all their demands. The Bill now proposed was only a temporary measure, rendered necessary by the emergencies of the times. He entertained a hope, which he might venture to say amounted almost to a certainty, that this measure, in the hands of the Earl of Durham, coupled with the general instructions upon other points which he knew the Earl of Durham had received, would effect the object so much desired, that all past differences would be buried in entire oblivion, and that all parties in the colony would concur in establishing a firm, a reasonable, a stable, and a liberal form of government, which would not only cement the connexion between this country and the colony, but would also render the Canadas prosperous, and the people contented and happy; and he trusted that long before the period limited by this act, his hopes being fully realised, her Majesty in council would be able to avail herself of the power contained in this Bill to shorten its duration, with advantage to all parties, and to call together, under better auspices than had of late prevailed, the ordinary Colonial Legislature. Reference had been made by the hon. and learned Gentleman to some points in which he asserted the Legislative Assembly had been wronged by the Executive Government. He had said, that money was the only object of the governor, that no redress was afforded, and that in every other respect, except the attempt to get at the supplies, he had made long and useless delays. The learned gentleman particularly complained of the delay which had taken place in adding to the Legislative Council the names of Members of a more liberal character than had heretofore been selected, and who possessed greater confidence with the Legislative Assembly; out he thought that the papers on the 320 table of the House afforded full reason for the short delay which had taken place; and by a perusal of those papers it would be found that Lord Gosford had in the month of June, in the last year, after the most mature deliberation, sent home a list of men whom he had selected as fit to fill the important office, not indeed of men who were pledged strongly to any line of political conduct either on one side or the other, but men entitled from their character and station, and, above all, their moderation, to the confidence of the country; and he must candidly confess that the spirit in which those names had been received was such as to afford him no hope that if the selection had been made, the list had been forwarded, and the persons appointed at an earlier period, this increased celerity would have removed any of the evils which had been complained of, or would have produced any quicker reconciliation between the two branches of the legislature. For had not hon. Members heard even in that House, men who did not form part of the extreme party in Canada, and who did not go to the full extent of the views of the Assembly, designated as worse than the most violent of the British party? Was there any disposition to give credit for liberality to any other persons in that colony than men who had looked, not to the attainment of an effective reform such as the Imperial Parliament had agreed to, and was more than once pledged to grant, but who had determined upon having an elective Legislative Council, and who laboured to produce a separation and to establish the independence of the colony, measures alike inconsistent with the interests of great Britain and of Canada. Allusion had also been made to acts which had taken place since the passing of the resolutions, and the learned gentleman had quoted extracts from papers published in America, and by the more violent party in the colony itself and the learned Gentleman had endeavoured, he (Sir G. Grey) trusted without succeeding—to fix a stigma on her Majesty's Government, and a stigma on the gallant officer commanding in Lower Canada, on account of the supposed conduct of the troops. Such a charge ought at no time to be allowed to be made in that House, either by a member, or at the bar, except it were intended to support it by proofs, and unless there was some other foundation on which it rested 321 of more weight than anonymous newspaper paragraphs. He would ask whether the persons who made the statements were prepared to prove that villages had been burned, that Houses had been sacked, and the mysterious allusion to all those other outrages usually perpetrated by an excited soldiery in a state of war? If they were prepared with proof he hoped that they would not delay in bringing it forward: but in the mean time he must express his utter disbelief in the statement; and he thought that from the character of the officer commanding the troops, he might safely assert that there were no grounds for the statement. The Learned Gentleman had also' to-night, and the hon. Member for Kilkenny had on a former occasion, alluded in severe terms to the conduct of Lord Gosford with respect to the selection of the magistrates, who were said to have been chosen solely from one violent political party, and to have been appointed only to carry in to effect the determination of the governor with respect to the state prosecutions. Now, though he had not before him the names in the list of magistrates who had been dismissed, nor of those who had been appointed, as moved for by the hon. Member for Kilkenny on a former night, yet he thought that some information as to their general characters might be gleaned from the dispatches. In Lord Gosford's dispatch, dated Nov. 22, 1837, in the inclosure containing a report from the Attorney and Solicitor-Generals respecting the proceedings in the district of Montreal, it is said, "our undivided attention has been devoted to the attainment of such evidence as would authorise the arrest of those political incendiaries to whose machinations the present alarming state of this city and district is to be attributed. Having at length accomplished this important object, by the assistance of Messrs. Cuvillier and Penn, two of the magistrates of this district, to whom the depositions and accompanying documents were submitted, with our opinion that the charges contained in them amounted to high treason against the parties implicated therein, warrants were issued for their apprehension." "Was Mr. Cuvillier one of the English magistrates against whom the denunciations were intended to be made? Was he one likely to be a party to such measures as had been described? He was one of the agents to this country from Canada, in company 322 with Mr. Neilson; there was not the slightest evidence to prove, that he wished to abandon the principles of liberty which he had ever advocated, or the improvements in the Government for which he had ever contended; but finding that the leaders of the people were going far beyond what his sentiments warranted, he had not gone along with them, and notwithstanding his former agency on the part of the Assembly, he was equally attached to the freedom of the people, and to stand by the Government in all attempts at insurrection and revolt. He was sure that Lord Gosford's conduct would bear the strictest investigation. Hon. Gentlemen had, indeed, brought no direct charge against him but had contented themselves with dealing in general allegations against him in every case except the last; and though there were at present no documents relating to this charge to which reference could be made, yet as far as the evidence went, there appeared the most perfect exculpation. There was one other statement of the learned Gentleman which he could not allow to pass unnoticed. The learned Gentleman had repeated what had been before explained; and he (Sir G. Grey) thought, that after the contradiction which had been given, the misquotation, he would not call it by the harsher name of culpable ignorance of facts, ought not to have been repeated. In Colonel Wetherell's report, dated from St. Charles, 27th of November, were contained these words, "I burnt the barn;" and in this passage, to make up the forced construction of the learned gentleman, the words, "with all the individuals in it" were interpolated; and hence the assumed wanton destruction of human life. It was not just that those statements should go forth to the country. The real facts should be looked to, for it would be found that at the moment when the barn was burnt there was no allegation of there being any person in it. Colonel Wetherell had been shortly before fired at from the very barn, while his troops were drawing up, but it did not appear that any persons were absolutely within the building at the time of its being destroyed. The destruction of the barn was necessary, and only in accordance with the practice universally adopted under such circumstances. He would ask the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Leader), who was present at the meeting at the Crown and Anchor 323 Tavern, whether it was fair that those statements should be made, which it was well known could not be proved? He was only anxious that the real facts should be known—that they should be known as widely as possible, and he was the more anxious, because he was satisfied that it would be seen, on the real circumstances being published, that the Ministers had not departed from a wise and temperate mode of government, but that they had acted only in the discharge of their duty, and had only adopted a course to which they were driven by the exigencies of the times. It was a duty, however, most distressing to them, and one which he hoped would be discharged with temper and judgment. He felt confident, indeed, that in these anticipations he would not be disappointed, but that the noble Lord who was about to proceed to Canada would conciliate the people so far as his office and the state of the times would permit, and that that course would be taken which would be best adapted to securing the happiness of the people and the re-establishment of their affections towards this country.
§ Lord Francis Egerton
felt anxious to bespeak the attention of the House for a short time, in order that he might explain the grounds on which he was disposed to give his feeble but persevering support to the measure proposed by the officers of her Majesty's Government. He Celt it the more necessary to do this, because the measure appeared likely, as far as he could judge from recent events and from the discussions which had taken place in that House, to meet with more than the usual degree of concurrence, almost amounting to unanimity, which was accorded to other measures of a similar description, involving as it did a wide distinction from the accustomed principles of legislation; and besides, as it happened, that so many hon. Members differed from their usual course, their reasons, it was probable, would be somewhat various, and it was, therefore, the more necessary to state the grounds on which he proposed, though with unfeigned reluctance, to support Ministers. He gave his support on the ground which had been stated by the hon. Member who had spoken last—on the ground of the necessity of the case, without any party purpose or party view, and stopping only to look at the difficulties in which this country and 324 Canada were entangled. From the statements which had gone forth he was most anxious to inquire whether it was the recent conduct of Ministers to which the present state of affairs was to be attributed; and he must say, that if he looked for reasons to believe that the Ministers were in fault, he should not be at a loss to find them in the papers which had been laid before the House. On the contrary, there were passages in some of the despatches which would lead him to entertain that opinion. He would take the liberty of illustrating his argument by referring to one or two passages which he found in the documents, and which appeared to support this view of the case. The first passage was in a correspondence which took place between Lord Gosford and the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, in which the latter professed to account for the delay which had taken place with regard to the legislation promised in the resolutions passed in that House—a delay which had given very little satisfaction in the colony. The noble Lord said, that much as he had always lamented the necessity of adopting measures of a harsh or coercive nature, he at the present moment felt peculiar reluctance in adverting to that course, regretting as he did that almost the first measure of the present Queen should carry with it the appearance of harshness towards any of her Majesty's subjects. It appeared to him (Lord Francis Egerton) that no official correspondence presented a parallel passage, containing so much of sickly and ill-timed sentimentality as this. "What a strange comment would it appear on the memory of our late lamented Sovereign, and what an ill-timed compliment was it to the young Sovereign who had recently ascended the Throne of this realm! For the memory of his late Majesty there was no regard—no respect; he must be allowed to go down to the grave with the unfavourable impression against him of coercive measures having been adopted by him, a circumstance which would cover his name and memory with obloquy." Such passages as this did more credit to the injustice than to the justice or the good sense of the noble Lord. There was another passage which had attracted his attention with reference to the recall of Lord Gosford: Sir Francis Head, it appeared, was recalled—it was not known why. It seemed that there was some 325 difference of opinion existing with regard to that gentleman; but so far as he could judge from the papers it appeared to him that he had conducted the affairs of Upper Canada with peculiar tact. Sir John Colborne had been also governor, and under his management the affairs had been well conducted, but he, too, was recalled: of the reason why, everyone was in dark ignorance. Sir John Colborne was recalled, however, and it was not for him to say that there was not some good reason for that course being taken. That Lord Gosford should himself desire to be recalled was natural from all the circumstances; his demand or request that he should be recalled, might be consistent with the credit given to him by the government, and to which he (Lord F. Egerton) was ready to subscribe, therefore if he had stated that the reason of his wishing to retire, was "The storm is gathering round me, I do not like to remain, relieve me and appoint a successor," nothing would have been more fair or more proper. But it was on the reasons given by him, but which were of a far different nature, that he must decline to give his assent to that part of the proceeding. He said, "My situation now is not an enviable one, and on every private consideration I should be glad to relinquish it; it would be better, besides, to have some one in my place who had not avowed his wish and determination to carry on the government on the principle of reconciliation," He had been led to suppose that the most useful agent who could be employed in a task of necessary or justifiable coercion, was one who had exhausted every weapon of remonstrance, conciliation, or peace. It was to this very strange observation of Lord Gosford that he desired to express his dissent, and as it appeared to have been written not without consideration he must be allowed to express his surprise at the sentiment expressed. Lord Glenelg, in answer to this, wrote, "It is impossible not to see that the course of policy now to be pursued will be best followed out by yourself in the matter of conciliation." Did he not see that in this he was writing down the course which he himself proposed. What had been the noble Lord's course but conciliation? He wondered that the noble Lord had not advised Lord Gosford to withdraw his dispatch, or that he had himself presented it to the public, for how could Lord Gosford know who would be sent out as 326 his successor, whether it was to be a man such as Lord Durham, or one who would have no care for the interests or the feelings of the people? He did not urge these facts with a view to impugning in any degree the credit to be given to Lord Gosford in the execution of his duty, and which he was willing to give him to the fullest extent. He knew Lord Gosford well, and was willing to believe that he had clone justice to all. Among other matters referred to in the dispatches, the sins of omission had been much remarked upon and it was said, that there were many gaps or intervals which ought to be filled up. Certainly on looking at the papers it might be supposed that there were some portions of the dispatches which had been kept back; but he was informed that every thing of importance had been brought forward; and he did not feel himself entitled to take any liberties with the name of the noble Lord in this respect as other Members had already done. It would be idle for him to say that the political sentiments and feelings of Lord Durham were not different from his own; but when he said so he did not venture to suggest that those feelings or sentiments would weigh at all with the noble Lord in his government of the colony. He entertained a sincere respect for the noble Lord, and it would give him the greatest satisfaction that he should be successful in the performance of his duties. He had been told, that an amnesty which had been carried into effect had been mentioned to the House, and it had been received as recommending, if not the policy of conciliation itself, at all events the conduct of Ministers; but if the Bill should tend at all to take away the power which the Government at present possessed in this respect, and which he believed to be most useful in recalling the misguided people to their allegiance, or if it referred to any particular individual, he should oppose it to the utmost. The House was told that few insurrections had, in some points of view, less excuse than the present. In spite of what had been said at the bar of the House and elsewhere, he must confess that he believed that there was much truth in this assertion, and that few measures of great importance of an insurrectionary character had had less ground. At the same time he thought that in other points of view few insurrections had been more excusable, because few ever received greater en- 327 couragement from this country from the speeches made in this House. He would not go into them, for it was the duty of the Government to suppress sedition. It was the duty of the Attorney-General to take up the prosecution of any individual whose speeches were treasonable or seditious, and he did not choose further to refer to such speeches made in that House or elsewhere. But the opinions advocated in those speeches had been such as to convince the misguided people of Canada, who knew little of the real state of feeling in this country, that however extreme their views might be, even if they should extend to the separation of the colony from this country, though they should go the length of what the law called treason, yet that they would meet with much sympathy from a powerful party in this country, from a party, whom they found advocating and supporting the proposition which they had themselves made. Had such been really the case, he could not but believe that the people had miscalculated; but he could not wonder that they should give credit to the idea, that the feelings which were expressed by that party, and which were very similar to their own, should be entertained also by Ministers in this country; and they would be led to suppose, that it was the impression there that a separation of the two countries would, in fact, be a great advantage to both. It was not surprising that they should place great reliance on the power of that party, seeing the position in which it stood; that it existed not "in," but "over," the Government; that it was one on which the Government very much depended for its existence, and to which, therefore, the Government must be very subservient. The party was one which the Government might resist on one question; but, mark the consequences—they must conciliate it by making some sacrifice to it, on another. The people were told this, and, was it to be wondered at, that they should adopt the supposition? Or was it likely that they would imagine that the Government was opposed to them, and that, with the assistance of the opposition, that opposition on whose support the Government could always depend when any question affecting the true well-being of the Constitution was to be considered, they would pass a measure such as that which was before the House? They were told to 328 look at the tests of the feelings of the people which the elections afforded. They could not believe that the Government could assert their independence of the party which they thought would remain friendly to it when they found the support which they gave to its members. The real feelings of the country might be against them, but there were events which induced the Canadians to suppose differently, for there had been a wailing over the defeat of Bath, and a triumph over the success of Westminster. They might be told to ask where the influence of Ministers, where the influence of the Crown had been given, and they would find that the very principles which they themselves advocated were now supported by the very men to whom that influence had been extended. Under such circumstances he could not call down the penalties of treason on those who had been misled, seeing that they had been misled by those very persons whom peculiarly Government had favoured. The public attention had been called to the conduct of the troops in Canada, and it was not for him to settle that question, because he had only the same knowledge which any other person might obtain from the official documents; but the hon. Member (Sir George Grey) had stated it to be his belief (and he most cordially concurred in this opinion), that any acts of violence which had been committed were only the inevitable consequences of collisions which took place between bodies of armed men. The transactions connected with the revolt afforded additional proof of the utility of a small body of troops in Canada. He was sure that no other country in the world would have attempted to put down such a revolt with so small a number of men, and he did hope, that in the event of any measure being hereafter brought forward in the House for the purpose of altering the present regulations of the army, that hon. Members would pause before they gave their assent to it. The subject of sending a reinforcement to the colony was, by some, considered purely a military one, but he did not consider it so. He did not think that Sir John Colborne or any one else, however competent he might be to speak upon the subject, should write home and say, "I have sufficient force to put down this insurrection." The question which he should have liked Sir John Colborne to answer was, whe- 329 ther he had sufficient force to prevent such an insurrection? He would not ask, "Have you sufficient force to put down an outbreak?" but, "Have you force to awe or intimidate those who are disaffected, and to prevent any revolt?" This was a question which he did not think could be now decided, but on the subject of which he must say, he did not think the Colonial-office stood quite clear. Looking at the question purely in a military point of view, the answer which was given was, that Sir John Colborne was about to quit his quarters with every available man under his command. To return to the Bill itself, there were many provisions in it to which objections might be taken, but he thought it would be premature to enter into the consideration of them before the Bill should come fairly before the Committee, and any observation on this point he should, therefore, reserve until a more fitting opportunity presented itself. He thought, however, that it would be found that the Members of the opposition gave their best support to the measure brought forward by Ministers, believing, with them, that this Bill was absolutely necessary in the present state of the country, and that some person should be sent out with dictatorial powers, and who might be able to conduct the government of the colony in such a manner as to secure eventual peace and security.
§ Mr. Leader
said, that after the admirable speech made at the bar, it was almost unnecessary for any Member to make any observations in opposition to the Bill. He, however, felt called upon to address some remarks to the House in answer to the speeches just delivered. He could not help feeling, that it was a most painful and disagreeable subject to follow the hon. Baronet through the details of his speech; and he would at once remark as to the charge made by Mr. Roebuck with respect to the treatment of the people of Canada by the soldiers; that learned gentleman had good authority for asserting that great severities and injuries had been committed by the troops both at St. Denis and St. Charles, and he was justified in saying that they had been guilty of excesses in Canada as if they had been in an enemy's country; for they not only burnt the fortified houses, but they also sacked and burned other houses in those villages, The hon. Baronet said, that the 330 assertions of Mr. Roebuck on this subject were exaggerated, and that Mr. Roebuck had made his statements on the authority of paragraphs in the American newspapers. Now he could state, that this was not the case, but that the statement was made on the authority of a gentleman who arrived from Canada by the last New York packet, namely, the Westminster. He had himself heard that Gentleman, who was an Englishman, and had nothing to do with what the hon. Baronet called the treasonable practices that had taken place in Canada. [Hear, hear!] He could not understand that cheer; but he was satisfied that many Canadians were charged with treasonable practices who were guilty of nothing of the kind, and it was rather hard to call them by such names before they were proved to be guilty. He had heard the Gentleman to whom he alluded make the statement almost in the same words as had been used by Mr. Roebuck as to the villages of St. Denis and St. Charles having been burned and sacked. He had, however, evidence on this point which would be considered better and of more weight by hon. Gentlemen. He would refer the hon. Baronet to this better evidence, namely, the dispatches of the Governor of Canada and the military officers who were engaged, and from them he would prove that an unnecessary degree of harshness and severity had been used, and that the property of Canadians had been wantonly destroyed. The troops not only destroyed the stronghold of the insurgents, but also the houses and property of persons who sided with the House of Assembly. He repeated, it was merely for siding with the House of Assembly that they had had their property destroyed. In the dispatch of Colonel Wetherall, dated St. Charles, the 22d of November, he says, "I then advanced to another position 100 yards from the works, but finding the defenders obstinate I stormed and carried them, burning every building within the stockade except that of the hon. Mr. Debartsch;" and the House will hardly believe what is the fact, that the house of Mr. Debartsch is the strongest house in the village, and that was not destroyed, because the owner of it was a Member of the Legislative Council, and a support of the Government. It seemed then that this property was not destroyed, not because it did not afford protection to the insurgents from the fire of the troops, 331 but because it belonged to a person attached to the Government—it was saved from destruction when other Houses not nearly so strong were destroyed, because it belonged to a partisan of the Government. The fact was also stated in the dispatch of the Earl of Gosford, alluding to the proceedings of Colonel Gore at St. Denis, "after destroying the houses from which the troops had been fired on at the former attack." It appeared, then, that those houses were destroyed which were no longer occupied by troops, for it is distinctly stated, that the houses were so destroyed by the troops because they had been fired upon from them in the former attack. There was also a paragraph in the dispatch of Colonel Gore, which was confirmatory of this; he says, "the property of the rebel, Wolfred Nelson, was, in the course of the day and the next morning, destroyed, and also the fortified house and all the defences." He recollected that great blame was cast on himself and others for having stated, that it was probable that the Lower Canadians would confiscate the property of their opponents if their party happened to be successful. It was said, that observations of that kind only encouraged them to confiscate the property of their opponents; but he had not alluded to it with any such view, but only mentioned it as a probable event. If, however, it was such a horrible thing even to allude to such a thing as confiscation, how came it that the property of Wolfred Nelson was destroyed, as well as all the other houses in the village? [Hear, hear.] That cheer proved to him that the property of Wolfred Nelson was destroyed because he was opposed to the Government, and not because his house was fortified. He thought that on this point he had proved that the attack of the hon. Baronet on Mr. Roebuck was neither fair nor justifiable, for the dispatches to the Colonial-office fully justified his learned Friend in stating, that a great deal more severity and harshness had been resorted to than was called for in common warfare. It was clear from the dispatches he had quoted that the houses of those not engaged in the war had been destroyed, and that fellow-subjects not in arms had been deprived of their property. If they were anxious to put down this insurrection and secure the peaceful government of the country, the best way to do so was by conciliation, and not by working on 332 the excited feelings of the people of Canada and by the destruction of property. The hon. Member then proceeded as follows: Before entering on the merits of the Bill before us, it is necessary, for the sake of doing justice to all parties concerned, that I should say a few words as to the origin of the present deplorable contest in Lower Canada. Throughout the discussion three causes have been assigned by various parties for the discontent and insurrection of the Canadians. First, the noble Lord and his Friends on this side as on the other side of the House lay much of the blame on the machinations of a few demagogues, who, we are told in one speech, have agitated and disorganised and inflamed to revolutionary madness the whole Canadian population, and who, we are told in another speech, though very anxious to cause confusion, have signally failed in their attempt, being supported by only a very small portion of ignorant and deluded peasantry in one or two districts. Leaving these contradictory statements to be reconciled with each other and with the truth, I proceed to the second alleged cause of the insurrection. The noble Lord solemnly arraigned the House of Assembly, and traced all the mischief to their conduct. I will not detain the House by defending their conduct; that task will, I trust, soon be performed by the man in this country most capable of doing justice to it. But this I must say, that from first to last the Assembly exercised a constitutional right solemnly guaranteed to them by this country. If blame, then, is to be attached to any persons, it should be attached to those who gave to the Assembly a power which was not to be used—who put into the hands of the Canadian representatives a weapon for using which in their own defence you are now about to inflict punishment upon them. The third alleged cause is that insisted on by the Gentlemen opposite, namely, the incompetence, vacillation, and procrastination of the present Ministers. It is not necessary to stop to inquire into the exact proportion of the mischief produced which should be attributed to each of these three causes, nor to weigh nicely the exact amount of evil which should in strict justice be assigned to each, nor even whether one or even two of them exist merely in the imagination of those who propound them: but there is a fourth cause which I believe to be the real 333 cause and origin of all the discontent, and of the consequent disturbances, and that is, the Tory misgovernment of the colony during more than twenty years. In order to prove which I am the more anxious to remark on this period of the misgovernment of Canada, in consequence of the praise bestowed by ray hon. Friend, the Member for London, and by my hon. Friend, the Member for Kilkenny, on the liberal dispatches and the liberal intentions of Sir George Murray and Lord Aberdeen. It is very true that their dispatches contain an expression of liberal sentiments, and hold out a hope that liberal measures will be adopted; but, unfortunately for the Canadians, these liberal views were never acted on, were never carried into effect; they had their beginning and their ending in the dispatches; and for all the good which they conferred on the Canadians they might as well never have been written, or rather, it would have been better if they had not been written, for they tended to raise expectations which were cruelly disappointed, and thereby added to the suspicion and bad feeling already existing in the province. This assertion is well founded. I refer to the debates which took place on the subject of Canada in the years 1828, 1829, and 1830. I find Sir J. Mackintosh, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Stanley (the noble Lord, now Member for North Lancashire), Lord Sandon, Lord Howick, Mr. C. Grant (now Colonial Secretary), Lord Althorp, Mr. Evelyn Denison, Lord Milton, and Mr. Stuart Wortley, all complaining of the misgovernment of Canada, and most of them strongly condemning the Legislative Council, both for its composition and conduct. As I know how disagreeable it is to the House to hear extracts from former debates, I will not trouble you with them now. I would also refer Members who are not aware of the facts to the evidence given by Mr. E. Ellice before the Committee of 1828. They will find him speaking of "a long course of mismanagement and a constant attempt to reconcile contradictory principles in the administration of affairs in Canada;" "of evils which were not theoretical but practical, and which formed just ground of complaint;" "of taxes levied against the will of the House of Assembly;" "of vexatious dissolutions and prorogations of the Assembly;" "of a perseverance in measures illegal and offensive to the rights and feelings of the people;" 334 "of the French and English population having been almost brought into collision, and a wider separation between them in opinion on all matters of internal government and legislation having been rather encouraged than checked." These and many more grave charges are brought against the Government in his evidence, which is indeed one of the best exposures on record of the misgovernment of Canada by the Tories. From the documents to which I have referred it is evident that the grievances which had been experienced in Canada as early as 1820, which reached this country and excited the attention of some Members of this House, and caused a Committee of Inquiry in 1828, were, though acknowledged, unredressed in 1830—the revenues of the province plundered—its treasury bankrupt—its suitors robbed—the constitutional rights of the people disregarded—one portion of the legislature (that which was nominated by the Crown) allowed by every one to be utterly unfit for the government of the country—the most arbitrary acts perpetrated by the governor. These were the grievances of Tory domination—these were the wrongs of Tory misrule. The long delay of redress and of justice exasperated the feelings of the people of the province, and caused them to view with distrust and suspicion the conduct of the government of this country. This gave rise to the feelings of discontent and disaffection which have since expanded to a fearful extent. This justifies me, I think, in the assertion that the contest which now desolates Canada derived its origin from the long-continued misgovernment by the Tory Ministers of this country. So much for Tory mismanagement. But it may be said as against the Canadians, that when the Whigs came into office they, by the wisdom and prudence of their views, and by the decision with which they carried their views into effect, completely repaired all the errors of their predecessors, and by a course of wise conciliation, united with a firm adherence to the real interests both of England and of Canada, soon settled the differences and removed the rancorous feelings which Tory mismanagement had produced. It has, indeed, been boldly asserted by the friends of the present Government that all the grievances of the Canadians have been redressed. I have a few observations to make as to the conduct of the Whigs, and especially as to their 335 having redressed all the grievances of the Canadians. I must, however, first remark that grievances which in 1820 might easily have been redressed had in 1828 become more complicated, and in 1831 greater concessions were required to compensate for long-continued wrongs. In 1828 the recommendation of the Committee would have been gladly accepted. The noble Lord has himself told us that the Canadians styled it "an imperishable monument of the wisdom and justice of Parliament." It is a pity that it was not carried into effect. In 1831, a greater measure of concession was wished for, as the delay of justice had increased the apprehensions of the people, and caused them to demand greater securities for good government. If, therefore, the demands of the Canadians have gone on increasing, the blame rests not on them, but on those who permitted acknowledged abuses to continue in existence. The conduct of the Tory party had tended to produce in the minds of the more reflecting of our North American subjects a conviction that it was impossible for a mother country to govern wisely and well a powerful and distant colony whose interests were most complicated. Moreover, they began to perceive that, unacquainted as the people of this country must be with those interests, and uninterested likewise as they must feel in the internal concerns of distant dependencies, it was impossible to enforce anything like effective responsibility on the home government of the colonies; and that when responsibility was wanting the experience of all ages proved that abuses would exist, and though acknowledged remain unredressed; and of the truth of these positions they had a grievous practical proof in the violence of Sir James Craig, in the arbitrary conduct of Lord Dalhousie, and in the policy of the Colonial-office during a long series of years. With these feelings, the Canadians increased their demands for local powers, convinced that the only chance of good government consisted in the greatest amount of self-government, and in the greatest amount of independence of this country which was consistent with the supremacy of Great Britain; for as yet they had no desire to shake off our yoke. It must be allowed, therefore, that the position of the Whigs, when they came into power was a far more difficult one than that of their predecessors at the 336 commencement, or at any other period of the dispute. But I ask, have they in any way shown themselves equal to the task, or even attempted to overcome the difficulties of their position? Have they even accomplished the recommendation of the Committee of 1828? I will answer the last question in the words of their own Commissioners, who made a report in 1837. The great grievance, and the one which originated many other grievances, was the composition and conduct and political character of the Legislative Council. This body had been condemned, as I have shown, by men of all parties from 1828 to this time, and the Committee of 1828 had recommended a great alteration in its composition. An alteration was, indeed, made in it in 1832 by the judges ceasing to take part in its proceedings and by the addition of thirteen new members unconnected with the Government. How, in the first place, was this alteration, and how were the new appointments, received by the Assembly? Their reception may be gathered from the ninety-two resolutions of 1834, and particularly from the twenty-fourth, which says, "Such of the recently appointed councillors as were taken from the majority of the Assembly, and had entertained the hope that a sufficient number of independent men, holding opinions in unison with those of the majority of the people and of their representatives, would be associated with them, must now feel that they are overwhelmed by a majority hostile to the country." It was the political character of the Legislative Council which induced it to oppose the Assembly, to reject all measures even for education and annual supply voted by the Assembly. It was the political character which caused the chief part of its evil, and which required above all an alteration. But your own Commissioners tell you that object was not effected in 1837, though recommended in 1828. The fact is, that in altering the Legislative Council, you kept the word of promise to the ear, and broke it to the sense; and after your alteration the Legislative Council was as hostile to the Assembly, and as great an obstacle to all useful and even necessary legislation, as when denounced by Mr. Labouchere in 1828, or by Lord Sandon in 1830. But have the Whigs shown themselves equal to the difficult task of arranging the disputes and smoothing the asperities caused 337 by the long misgovernment of their predecessors? To that question, there is a sad but a significant answer—Canada has revolted. The Whigs have done positively nothing to overcome the many and great obstacles that stood in the way of a peaceable settlement of Canadian differences. They promised much—they talked of infusing a liberal spirit into the Legislative Council—they sent out a commission to inquire into grievances which were notorious, instead of sending out a governor with power to redress them, and to conciliate the people. It seems that the Whig Ministers were afraid of facing the difficulty, and of acting on their own often-avowed principles of Government; the commission afforded them delay, and a breathing time; and when this Whig commission made its report last year what information not already common to every man who had looked at the subject did it afford? What measure of conciliation, what remedy for acknowledged evils, did it suggest? The Canadians asked for redress of grievances, many of which the Commission acknowledged in the report, but its pity was for the unpaid officials, not for the insulted people; and its chief recommendation was, that the constitutional rights of the House of Assembly should be violated by a seizure of the revenues, in direct opposition to the Assembly's vote. The Whig Ministers acted on this report, and proposed their coercive resolutions. What followed is of recent occurrence, and is well known. The resolutions were denounced by the Assembly, the people supported their representatives, meetings were held, strong language was used against the Government, measures for embarrassing it were adopted. Then came official reprisals; militia officers and magistrates were dismissed; and, lastly, some persons were arrested, and many more marked out for arrest. Some of those arrested were rescued by the peasantry; and to prevent the arrest of others the peasantry assembled to protect them against force. This led to the skirmish at St. John's, and to the disastrous affairs at St. Denis and St. Charles. The revolt was not premeditated and organised; it was an outbreak of the peasantry to defend their leaders. It may be right here to explain the state of the law in Lower Canada, in order to show why the peasantry were so determined, and perhaps imprudent in their defence of 338 persons marked for arrest. The judges are appointed during pleasure, not during good behaviour. They are responsible to the Crown only, and not to the Assembly; and they had recently received from the Crown that salary which they considered the Assembly had unjustly and vexatiously kept from them. The sheriffs are likewise appointed and paid by the Crown, and belong to the ascendancy faction, which is in bitter feud against the Assembly. The sheriffs have really the power of selecting what jury they please. The persons to be tried by such a tribunal were the very persons most obnoxious to both judge and sheriff, being members or friends of the Assembly. The prosecutor (that is the Crown or the executive) appointed and paid the judge and sheriff, and was in direct opposition if not in open hostility, with the prisoner, who had, moreover, sought to make the judge and sheriff responsible to the Assembly, and had kept back their salaries for three years. What chance of justice had the prisoner? What hope of ever leaving his prison but by the scaffold? The people saw the danger, and they determined that their chiefs and best friends should not thus be put away by judicial murder: they rose to defend them—collision took place between the Queen's troops and the Queen's Canadian subjects—the country was in a state of insurrection, and martial law was proclaimed. Such is the result of twenty years of Tory misgovernment and of seven years of Whig indecision. During this long period there were many occasions on which the differences might have been settled for some time, if not permanently; but the opportunities were (if seen) neglected, and the question for us now to consider is, how we can extricate ourselves from the difficulties in which we have been involved by official mismanagement, and by the national indifference to distant colonial affairs. There are evidently but three courses open to us—coercion, conciliation, and separation. Now, I object to the present bill, because it begins with a measure of coercion, which will, I fear, render future conciliation difficult, if not impossible. It is a bill of pains and penalties against a whole people; and what reasons are given to excuse or to justify the introduction of a measure which is styled even by the right hon. Baronet opposite "an act of despotism"? That the present constitution cannot be main- 339 tained "without serious detriment to the interests of the province," and that it has been virtually abrogated by a revolt. The cause of obstruction to the beneficial working of the constitution was the legislative council. It never harmonised with the Assembly, nor with the people; it was condemned by men of all parties in this House. The blame, then, rests with the Government, which having the power to improve the legislative council would not exercise it, and not with the Assembly, whom you seek by this bill to punish for having exercised a constitutional right. As to the constitution being virtually abrogated by the revolt, it was not the revolt, but your eighth resolution of last year, which destroyed the Canadian constitution. But there has been a revolt; and therefore, you say, the people must be punished by a suspension of their constitution. Now, the revolt was either partial or general. If, as you say yourselves, and as it at present appears, it was only partial, it is surely unjust to visit the offence of a few factious demagogues and a few deluded peasants, in one or two districts, on the whole Canadian population; and if the revolt or the discontent which preceded it be general, then it is evident that an arbitrary measure like this "act of despotism" will tend only to add intensity and bitterness to the feelings of hostility already unhappily existing. In either case the bill is a gross violation, not, I think, justified by the tyrant's plea of necessity, of a solemn compact; and it will, I fear, cause our other colonies to lose that confidence—that "unsuspecting confidence"—in our justice and our good faith which alone enable us to keep them without force and military occupation. After having suspended the present constitution, you reject, I am glad to see, the idea of governing Canada by the sword, and propose to govern it permanently on constitutional principles; but even supposing that the new constitution is as good as the present, and as acceptable to the people generally, what guarantee have the Canadians that the new constitution will be more respected than the constitution of 1791, which you violated last year, and which you now propose to destroy? That is a really good and free constitution; it will never clash with the Colonial-office; for it is utterly impossible for two things so diametrically opposed as good local government in a colony and the present 340 colonial system should long go on harmoniously together; and if the new constitution be not as free at least as that of 91, there will soon be deeper and more extended discontent in the province than at present. What is the avowed object of the present bill, and of your whole policy towards Canada? Not merely to put down revolt and settle differences, but chiefly to protect the British settlers in our North American provinces generally, and in Lower Canada especially. Now, a suspension of the constitution, and a temporary military occupation—for it seems that a large body of troops is to be sent to Canada in the spring to support this "act of despotism"—will injure the British settlers in Lower Canada infinitely more than their opponents would ever injure them. The mere fact of the suspension of the constitution and of the enforcing of arbitrary measures will inevitably very much damage the trade and diminish the amount of emigration, on which the British in Lower Canada chiefly depend for their support and their prosperity. And as a majority of the Canadians will believe that these harsh measures have been advised by them and passed for their exclusive advantage, you will widen the breach and increase the hostile feeling already unhappily existing between the minority and the majority of the population. In support of the course proposed by the noble Lord, blame has been cast and odium heaped on the Canadian people—a bill of indictment has been preferred against the assembly, which has been treated as a criminal, and misrepresented to the House and to the country as a body of factious, unreasonable, faithless men. This is a strange course for a minister to take—to act as a partisan—to state only one side of a question, and in the spirit of a partisan to arraign and condemn in the same speech a constitutional representative assembly. I know not whether the House still considers that the Assembly is a body of false and factious men, and ought to be so treated; but I am certain that calm reflection will convince them that the Assembly has been misrepresented, and that the course adopted towards them was the very worst possible course for a settlement of the dispute. If such bad faith as this be committed, all the colonies of Great Britain which have constitutions will begin to tremble for their rights, will begin to think they hold their constitutions 341 on no better tenure than the Canadians. Appeals are made to British honour to sanction the proposed measures of coercion. I too would appeal to the national honour—I would entreat you to look back to history and to remember who these Canadians are whom we are called upon by ministers in this House to, punish by suspending their constitution, and whom we are vehemently urged, in the most ferocious and sanguinary terms, by the London daily press, to put down by hangings in the town, and by burnings and butcherings in the field. Conquered from France, they became our subjects in 1763; only eleven years after they refused the splendid offer of the American Congress to be received on terms of equality into the great republic; they remained faithful to Great Britain throughout the war of independence. From that time till 1812, when the second American war broke out, though misgoverned, and occasionally very ill treated, they were the most loyal and attached of British colonists: again in that war they refused the tempting overtures of the American republic, at a time when the province was almost drained of British troops, and might have fallen an easy prey to the Americans had the French Canadians been hostile to us, or even remained neutral. They rose en masse to repel the enemies of England, and by their courage and determination preserved the country to Great Britain. How have they been rewarded? From that time to this their history is one series of complaints unattended to—of wrongs unredressed—of the most oppressive, capricious, and contemptuous misgovernment. So long as they complained merely, and petitioned and used constitutional means for redress of grievances, they were neglected by the Colonial office and unheeded by the people of this country. They were too few in number—too weak—too distant to attract notice and to command attention to their complaints. There was always some excuse at the Colonial-office for not attending to their petitions at the proper times—at the only times, indeed, when prompt attention might have prevented the difficulties which had been accumulating for years, and which are now almost insurmountable. At one time the Canadians are put off because the whole country, and especially the ministers, including the colonial minister, have all their time and attention occupied by the discussion 342 of the Catholic Emancipation Bill; at another time, their business is postponed to more important domestic business caused by the death of George 4th; at another time, England is in a state bordering on revolution at the refusal of the Reform Bill—the Canadians must wait in patience till that storm has blown over and given Ministers time to look to our transatlantic possessions. A sudden change of Ministry in 1834 causes another period of delay, during which the colonists must endure as patiently as they can the evils they complain of—the death of William 4th, the consequent election, and the varied but tumultuous hopes and fears and feelings of the Whig Ministers, and the great pressure of electioneering business, and court business, and other business upon them, afford an excuse for a further neglect of the affairs of Canada. Let any man read the dispatches from the Colonial office, and he will see that this statement is strictly true, and not in the slightest degree exaggerated. There is always some untoward event occurring to prevent proper measures from being taken for redress of acknowledged grievances, and for conciliation at the proper moment. Such is the inevitable effect of legislating at the Colonial-office in Downing-street for the internal affairs and government of a country on the other side of the Atlantic. In the pressure of more important affairs at home, the distant colony is forgotten, neglected, or mismanaged—its affairs are postponed till a more convenient season, which said convenient season has not in the course of twenty years once appeared to the Colonial-office for settling the complicated and difficult affairs of Canada. It really seems that almost the only way by which a distant colony can command attention is by open and armed resistance to the Government. I must here remark on the manner in which this Canadian question has been treated by the London daily press. The Canadians have been grossly calumniated, their assembly misrepresented, and the worst passions of the people of this country have been appealed to in order to excite their bitterest hatred against the Canadians, who are held up as fit objects to be reviled and oppressed because they are of French origin and of the Roman Catholic religion. I grieve that Englishmen—men of talent and of learning-having received a liberal education, and fully aware of the gross injustice they were 343 committing and of the miseries they would inflict on a whole people—should have had recourse to means so utterly base and despicable. As for their attacks on me and others in this House, I freely forgive them. Their attacks are not very terrible, and they think, I suppose, that party-spirit justifies them in slandering and misrepresenting a political opponent. But their attacks on the Canadians do not deserve to be so easily forgiven; for they were cowardly, malignant attacks on the lives and the liberties of the Canadian people. When I see myself and others pointed out to public indignation as traitors to England, I have this consolation, that the men who deprecated the American war were in like manner charged with treason to their country. The public voice has decided in their favour, and so I feel thoroughly convinced it will at no distant period decide for us. For myself, I can only say, that I have acted in this affair to the best of my judgment, with an anxious desire to aid in the settlement of Canadian differences, and, as I conscientiously believed, in the way best calculated to promote the public welfare. There is not a man in this House who would sacrifice more for the honour and prosperity of England than myself. I have as deep an interest in the country as most men in this House; yet I and others are held up as traitors to our country, because we venture to offer an opinion as to the best means of putting down the revolt, the best means of preventing its recurrence, and as to the causes which lead to it. But even in this House my words have been misunderstood or misrepresented. The other night the noble Lord indulged in a sneer against me on account of a question I had put to him, as to the amount of desertion from the British troops in Canada. In all that I said—and it was very little on the subject of desertion—I neither expressed a hope nor even an opinion that desertion would increase; I merely asked a question on the subject and stated a fact which I thought it right to state to the house. The hon. Member for the North Riding of Yorkshir also gravely charged me with being responsible for some violent language used at a meeting at Leeds, because I happened to be invited to attend. The hon. Member knew very well that I was not present, and, it is really too absurd to blame me for language used at a meeting which I did not attend. There are only 344 two more points on which I would say a very few words. I am glad that the Ministers have promised an amnesty. I hope that promise will be fulfilled in a liberal spirit, and that the noble Lord will not allow the British name to be disgraced by an unnecessary exhibition of severity in sanguinary punishments for political offences, I must also say, that it is a fortunate thing for the present Ministers that they had connected with them a man like Lord Durham, with a reputation for liberal opinions, and fortunately for him not committed to the coercive resolutions of last year. If any man of all their party could settle the differences in Canada, and restore peace with good government to that unhappy country, I believe he is the man. But sincerely wishing him success (as I do most heartily, both for his own sake, and, above all, for the sake of Canada and of this country), I think it unwise to send out a coercion Bill like this "act of despotism" to precede him, and a large body of troops to enforce coercion now that the revolt is at an end, as you say—to the very province to which you appoint him as pacificator, and to which you mean shortly to give a constitutional representative government. For this and the other reasons which I have stated, I shall feel it my duty to oppose the Bill. I have but another remark to trouble the House with, which is respecting the amnesty which has been promised, and I am very sorry to hear the noble Lord opposite regret that there should be any idea of giving an amnesty for all political offences in Canada ["No!" from Lord F. Egerton.] I am glad to find that I had mistaken the noble Lord; and I hope that there will be no objection on the part of any one to grant a general amnesty for all the political offences which have occurred in Canada. The noble Lord, however, expressed his sorrow that certain parties in this country were not either prosecuted by the Attorney-General, or otherwise brought under the censure of the Government. I thank the noble Lord for his suggestion, and if I or any of my friends have said, or done, or advised, anything treasonable, by all means let the noble Lord's suggestion be acted upon without delay; but I certainly say, that I am not conscious of having either said, or done, or advised, anything partaking of that character.
§ Lord F. Egerton
said, the hon. Gentle- 345 man had greatly misapprehended the observations he had made. So far from deprecating anything in the nature of an amnesty, he had expressed an opinion that the present case was one which made an amnesty—always acceptable to the feelings of the people of this country—peculiarly desirable. As to having expressed a sorrow that the hon. Gentleman and his friends were not prosecuted by the Attorney-General, he begged to say he had said nothing of the sort. What he had said was, that it was not for him, as an individual, to take on himself the part of a prosecutor, when Government did not think proper to pass any censure on what had passed elsewhere.
§ Mr. E. R. Rice
said, it was a great source of satisfaction to him that the great and extensive powers about to be conferred by the act upon the Governor-General, were not to be irresponsibly exercised, but were only to be called into action under the sanction of her Majesty's Government. The high-minded and patriotic nobleman who had accepted the difficult and delicate task of effecting a reconciliation between this country and the colony, concurred in that sentiment, and went out with the full and clear understanding that he was so to act. He, during the short time he had the honour of having a seat in that House, had often listened with great pleasure, and always with respectful attention, to the observations of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. It was, therefore, with great regret that he had heard from the right hon. Gentleman a threatened opposition to that part of the Bill which gave a principle of representation, and also a declaration that he should have preferred a pure unalloyed, unmitigated character of despotism, to the specious liberality of a constitutional form of Government. He believed, that accompanied with this restriction, the powers sought for by the Bill would be more cheerfully conceded. He hoped that the period during which it would be found necessary to exercise those powers would be of short duration, and that a state of things so injurious to the agricultural and commercial interests of both countries would not long continue to exist. He would, therefore, ask the right hon. Baronet and his friends not to look upon the measure as they would upon a Bill of an ordinary or party character, but arising out of a great question of national justice, 346 and intended to settle a political difficulty caused by extraordinary circumstances. He would ask them to give their best assistance towards the passing of the Bill. The separation of the colonies from this country he would consider as an abandonment of them and of the best interests of the colonies and of the mother country—as an abandonment of the good faith, honour, and protection which ought to be observed towards the British settlers there who relied upon this country for the observance of that good faith and honour. The only other course which could have been taken was obviously that which had been adopted by the Government, namely—the having recourse to strong, prompt, and decisive measures, which, though productive of temporary inconvenience, would ultimately be found the most effectual for this object. It was true, that great, many, and galling abuses had formerly existed in Canada, and that if these had been redressed in time, resistance would have been powerless. He denied, however, that these grievances were sufficient to warrant the leaders of the insurrection in resorting to forcible measures. He trusted that these grievances would be redressed, and that the people of Canada might find that when they applied in a peaceful manner they were more likely to succeed.
§ Mr. Pakington
was deeply impressed with the difficulty, as well as the great importance, of the subject under discussion, and nothing but a strong sense of duty could induce him to enter upon it at that moment. He was called upon to give his assent to a Bill, the object of which was the suspension of the constitution of Canada, and the providing a substitute for that constitution; but he would not accede to such a proposition without expressing his earnest and anxious hope—a hope that he had no doubt would be responded to by the country—that in the new arrangement which had been forced upon them they would not be unmindful of the interests of the British settlers in Canada. He might, perhaps, be told that there were no grounds for this wish—that all those parties could require would be conceded to them; but when he regarded the history of Canada for the last few years, and the tone which this debate had taken in the past week, he confessed he could not arrive at any such conclusion. The hon. Baronet, the Under Secretary 347 for the Colonies, in the course of his able and spirited speech the other night, rebuked the hon. Member for Kilkenny for having made it a matter of boast that the Government of Canada had not been conducted on the principles of conciliation, he however doubted not only the efficacy of the conciliation which had been adopted, but the extent to which that conciliation had been carried. Now, he admitted that, speaking abstractedly, conciliation was good, but he thought no man could deny, that conciliation on the part of a Government towards a people became injurious and weak in the exact ratio that it exceeded the great line of impartiality. It was not just towards the rebellious and contumacious, although it was just as regarded the loyal and well-disposed. He believed that the conciliation of Lord Gosford had been carried to this dangerous extent. What were Lord Gosford's acts? Why, one of them was the issuing of warrants for a sum of 19,0007, which had been voted by the House of Assembly, without the sanction of the Legislative Council, and for what? Why, for paying the salaries of Mr. Papineau and other parties, at a time, too, when the House of Assembly refused the supplies necessary for carrying on the civil government of the colony. Another of his acts was, the appointment of Mr. Fincher, the mover of the ninety-two resolutions. He was not going too far when he said, that there never was an appointment made which more excited the indignation of one party and the ridicule of the other than this. The effect of the course pursued by Lord Gosford was happily described in one of his own despatches, when speaking of his regret for the measures he felt it necessary to adopt, and the necessity of these measures Lord Gosford adds, after stating his opinion that a few examples would have a salutary effect," Especially as it has been part of the policy of the ill-disposed to create an impression that the Government is unwilling or unable to act, and that it may be set at defiance with impunity." He was afraid that this impression was not limited to the disaffected only, but that it also extended to the loyal part of the population of Canada. It was clear, even according to Lord Gosford's own view, that the course he pursued was the result of a mistaken policy, and when such an impression had got abroad, when it inflamed the minds not only of the dis- 348 affected, but of the loyal, was it to be wondered that open rebellion should have broken out? He did hope, that under no absurd feelings of liberality would they be induced to depart from doing justice to the British portion of the population, or neglect their interests. Now what was the number of the British residents in the Canadas? This was a point which had not been mentioned even once in the course of the debate, and therefore he felt himself justified in alluding to it. Canada formerly included both the upper and the lower province. They had once been united. At the period of the outbreak at Toronto—an outbreak which was occasioned by the political correspondence of the hon. Member for Kilkenny—he found that there were in the upper province 350,000 inhabitants of British origin, and in the lower province a population of 600,000, 270,000 or one-third of whom were of British and the remainder of French extraction. The British inhabitants of both the provinces, therefore, constituted more than one-half of the whole population, and he was bound to say that a more enlightened, or more respectable, or a more loyal people than they were, never inhabited any colony, or struggled more to prolong the connexion with the mother country. With respect to the grievances of which the Canadians complained, he would not undertake to say that they might not have been suffering under grievances. If, however, the French Canadians laboured under any grievances, he did not hesitate to assert that they either had been removed or were in the course of removal at the moment the outbreak took place. There was in that House a party, or he should rather say a section, small in numbers, it was true, but even smaller still in moral weight and influence in the country, who came forward as the advocates of rebellion. To justify their own course and the conduct of the Canadians this section talked loudly of grievances, and what were they obliged to resort to for this purpose? Why they were driven to the necessity of placing in the head and front of this catalogue of grievances the resolutions brought forward by the Government in the last Session. If there were one proof more conclusive than another that the French Canadians had nothing to complain of, it was the fact that their advocates in and out of that House had been obliged to put these resolutions in 349 the van of all other grievances. Those resolutions were the consequence and not the cause of a rebellion. He did not approve of them, and he thought, in the first place, that they had been too long delayed. He entirely agreed with the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, that they were inadequate in themselves, and ought to have been followed up by legislative measures. This was his opinion, but still he did not think they justified the course which had been adopted by the Canadians. There was no more sense or reason in alleging that they had caused the rebellion than there would be in asserting that it had been occasioned by the guns which had been fired at St. Denis or St. Charles. While he denied, that the French Canadians had any grounds for well-founded complaint, he must admit that the British portion of the population of the colony had both grave and substantive grievances of which to complain. The divisions of the country after 1791 had deprived the British of that share of the representation to which they were entitled, and they were greatly annoyed by the tax upon their exports to the British islands. These were matters which would now, he trusted be fully considered. There was one other grievance of which they complained—a grievance of wide-spreading and pressing operation—to which he hoped her Majesty's Government would allow him to call their attention. He meant the refusal of the Minister of the Crown to renew the allowance for the support of the bishopric of Quebec. He trusted that the refusal was not actual, but only amounted to hesitation, as he considered it of the last importance that the bishopric should be kept up. This bishopric was established after 1791, and a handsome allowance was made by the Government to keep it up; but it would appear by a tract published by the Society for the Propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, that—The allowance enjoyed by the Bishop is to be extinguished with his own life; and his strength having become unequal to the charge which lies upon him, an arrangement has been patched up—(for, in truth, I can hardly express it otherwise)—for the exigency, by which I have myself been consecrated as Bishop of Montreal, and am to divide with him the labours of his diocese, with the prospect, in the event of my surviving him, of assuming the episcopal superintendence of both provinces, without any addition to the emoluments at- 350 tached to the offices which I held before my consecration, and which, as a matter of necessity, I still retain. The diminished efficiency of a Bishop thus situated, in a diocese of such an extent, and of such a description, as that of Quebec, is too apparent to require being pointed out: but more gloomy still is the perspective beyond, for after the few remaining years of my natural life, even the inadequate expedient above described will be at an end, and no means whatever will exist for maintaining Protestant Episcopacy in the Canadas. I am ignorant of any resource to which we can look for the accomplishment of this object, or for the support of an effective ministry, if we are deprived of succour from home, and despoiled of the reserved lands.He held in his hand a private letter which had been addressed by the Bishop of Montreal, and as he thought it highly important in relation to this part of the subject, he would, with the leave of the House, read an extract from it:—I have written to Lord Glenelg to state that, as matters actually stand, I must continue to administer the diocese as Bishop of Montreal, although I have the promise from his Lordship of succeeding to the see of Quebec, since I cannot pay the fees for my appointment till some emoluments shall be attached to it. The exigencies of the Church induced me to close with the arrangements under which I was consecrated as Bishop of Montreal, and I cannot repent having done so, for the most distressing inconveniences would already have been felt in the diocese had I not been invested with Episcopal powers. But, if nothing should be done to endow the see of Quebec, and the project should fail of erecting a new diocese in Upper Canada, it will be perfectly impossible for me, with my present means, to do any tolerable justice to the whole charge; and I fear sometimes that I shall be compelled to confine my visitations to the Lower Province. The Board may judge how an income of 890l. a-year, out of which house-rent is to be paid, can support the station of a Bishop of the Church of England at the seat of the General Government of British North America.He submitted to the House, after the documents which he had read, whether he was not justified in calling the attention of the Government to this important subject, and he could state to them that if ever there was a Protestant Episcopal Church which was useful in active service, it was the Protestant Church existing in Canada. In Upper Canada alone there were 200,000 persons belonging to the Church of England, and as this was the case, he hoped the noble Lord would not leave the clergy without adequate remu- 351 neration. With regard to religious instruction, that was a topic on which he did not wish to enter at present; but he could not help saying now that they were about to remodel the constitution of Canada, that measures ought to be taken to provide the Protestant population of that colony with sufficient means of religious instruction. In 1791 both the civil and the religious interests of the Canadian people were considered by the Crown and by Parliament, and he hoped that this object would not now be lost sight of. Of the endowments of the Catholic Clergy of Canada he did not complain, but he thought he had a right to call on her Majesty's Government to do as their predecessors had done—not to refuse, but to grant this allowance for maintaining the Bishopric of Quebec. They should recollect that thousands were going out every day from this country to settle in Canada—not outcasts—not the refuse of the land; but officers in the army and the navy, the younger branches of the gentry and the farmer, the yeomen, the labourer, and the artisan. Multitudes of such classes were annually crossing the Atlantic, and they were all migrating under the expectation of receiving British protection, and living, if not according to the latter, at least under the spirit of the British Constitution. These persons, for the most part, belonged to the Established Church, and the Government were, therefore, bound to perform towards them the parental duty of providing them with the means of religious instruction. He thanked the House for the patient and attentive hearing which they had given him, and said that with regard to the measure under consideration he meant to give his support to what he must call the "tardy vigour" of the Government. He was satisfied that it was the feeble and temporising conduct of the Government that had led to the present evils, and he believed that if Lord Aberdeen had remained at the Colonial-office, or if the vigorous mind of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire, had continued there, that this unhappy rebellion never would have broken out. He should support the measures of the Ministers, not because he had any confidence in the Government, but because he was anxious to support the Queen against her revolted subjects. He considered the Government answerable for all that had taken place, and all the blood which had been 352 spilled, and he thought they ought to be held deeply responsible for their conduct.
§ Debate adjourned.