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To the Editor of the Register :

The conquest of Quebec, by Wolfe, in 1759, was one of the causes which led to the independence of the thirteen United States. Braddock's defeat took place but a few years before, and this event occurred within one hundred and fifty miles of Baltimore. At that time, the French and Indians drew a complete cordon around the thirteen provinces from Quebec to Florida, and were supplied by their settlements in the west. The English colonies existed on the margin of the Atlantic, and, without the protection of Great Britain, could have been utterly destroyed by the French and Indian allies, all of whom were catholics, and influenced by the Jesuits, burning with pious zeal for the destruction of protestants. The fall of Quebec extinguished the power of this vast confederacy, and left the British colonies comparatively free. This consideration doubtless had its weight, with the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

After the revolution, England did all in her power to secure the affections of her remaining North American colonies. To the French of Lower Canada she granted a parliament and other English institutions, but she omitted to make the government of the colony English in toto. The French there retained their language and peculiar laws, and having always a majority in their legislature, they were able to embarrass the Governor, oppress the English party, and stop all progress or advancement in the settlement, and civilization of the country. Hence, the present backward state of the lower province, which, notwithstanding its many advantages, barely raises sufficient food to supply its scattered inhabitants. Mr. Papineau gained the ascendency in the French Canadian Parliament some twenty or thirty years ago, and retained it until the rebellion of 1837, when the constitution was suspended for a year or two, and restored when the act of the union of the two provinces was effected. During Mr. Papineau's rule of about fifteen years, the English part of the inhabitants suffered every injustice,—the taxes were chiefly paid by them, but they received nothing back from the provincial exchequer. Every office and grant which the parliament could make were given to Frenchmen. In granting money for public schools, it was always given to Frenchmen, for Mr. Papineau took care that none but his countrymen should be nominated as trustees; and it is a fact that, as trustees could not always be found in the remoter districts who were capable of reading and writing, there are instances upon record where these illiterate trustees have given certificates of competency to a teacher signing them with a cross +! and this, too, whilst an English gentleman was residing, as magistrate, in the same village. So, too, with all grants for roads, bridges and the like. Frenchmen had all, Englishmen nothing. Is it surprising, then, that discord arose, and that a war of races ensued ? No public improvements could be made, and the progress of society


was at a dead lock. Mr. Papineau and his countrymen, in the meantime, indulged in schemes for establishing a French nationality, and becoming independent of England. The British government was constantly making concessions, sending Governor after Governor, and each receiving the treatment of his predecessor. At last, in the winter of 1837, when the military force was unusually small in the country, Mr. Papineau and his friends took up arms. They were speedily put down, however, and the next winter they tried it again, with the same sort of

The disaffection in Upper Canada arose from different causes. Settled originally by refugee loyalists from the United States, who found it a beautiful and fertile country, they were followed by other settlers from the United States, who were not loyalists. These latter, joined by some English and Scotch radicals, who had forced their way there, formed the nucleus of disaffection, which going on and increasing in strength, and stimulated by Mr. Bidwell an American, and by Mackenzie a Scotchman, the malcontents at length took up arms in imitation of the French in Lower Canada. This act of aggression roused all the latent loyalty of the country, and Mackenzie was defeated and expelled from the province in the winter of 1837–8.

Then the British ministry formed the notable scheme of uniting the two provinces, and bringing them into one legislature, because as Upper Canada was English, and Lower Canada French, it was supposed one would neutralize the other. The mixture, however, as may be supposed, proved a bad one, and, like mixing the acid and alkaline portions of a soda powder, the effervescence was increased. As soon as the members from the two Canadas met in the same legislature, the radicals of the English portion united with the French portion, (all of the latter, or nearly so, being opposed to English rule,) and put the English government in a minority. The folly of the measure was seen too late. The government had gained nothing with the French, and lost all with the English. In 1839, all this was predicted in the Albion, and the absurdity of the contemplated union shown, as follows:

“Suppose in your united legislature you have one hundred members, how will they vote? Of the fifty French, forty, at least, will vote against the government; of the English fifty, fifteen at least will be radicals, and on a vote the members will be French, disaffected,

40 English radicals,

15–55 English loyalists,

35 Loyalists from Lower Canada,

10—45 Leaving a majority against the government." This actually came to pass in the second session of the united parliament! The government then formed the further notable scheme of introducing “a responsible government;" the meaning of which is, that the legisla

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ture shall be regarded as speaking the sentiments of the people, and that the votes of the legislature shall govern all things, even the acts of the Governor. This has been adopted and carried out, and has ended in driving the loyal party into rebellion! Nothing, indeed, could ensue from such a plan, with a legislature constituted of such elements as I have mentioned, but discord and confusion. The dead weight of forty French votes out of the hundred was worse than Mr. O'Connell and his tail in the English parliament at home, because it was relatively more numerous. The real number of members in the united parliament is forty-two from each province, making eighty-four in all, and not one hundred; but the practical result is the same, as the relative numbers are the same in reference to political sentiment. It is easy to see that, with an English population alone, there would be a loyal majority; but the French dead weight overpowers every thing, and hence the folly of uniting these provinces.

Flushed with victory, the dominant party have carried on a system of revenge and persecution against their old enemies, which is a disgrace to legislation; and, at last, after turning every loyal man out of office and putting rebels in their places, they have passed the bill for indemnifying the rebels of 1837-8, and for calling upon the loyal party to pay the money; for, be it remembered, that it is the English who contribute nine-tenths of all the taxes and duties which go

into the provincial treasury. The French dress in their home-spun, and drink maple sugar and water; the English dress in silks and broadcloths, and drink rum, gin, brandy and wine, on all of which they pay duties.

The atrocities committed, and the acts of injustice perpetrated against loyal men, are calculated to surprise any one; indeed, for some time past, it was dangerous to be known as a loyal person, if the vengeance of the government could reach him,—the Governor-General sanctioning every thing. No wonder, then, that he has been expelled from the St. Andrew's and Thistle society of Montreal, and has been obliged to seek refuge in a barricaded house. He is not wealthy, and the radicals have worked his income up to £7,500 a-year, a much larger sum than your Presidents receive, of which he spends about one-third, and lays by the rest. As the government at home have sanctioned all these acts, and participated in this persecuting system against the loyalists, the latter are becoming weaned from the mother country, and casting about for a new state of political existence, and annexation to the United States is the favourite remedy.*

So, then, the very party, nay, the very men, who, in 1837, were the firmest in their attachment to the mother country, now seek to cast her off. Many of my own personal friends, who turned out as volunteers, and bore all the rigours of a Canadian winter to expel Mackenzie from Navy Island, are loudly calling for a union with the stripes

* In England the prevailing opinion seems to be, that if Canada is separated from the mother country, the people will form an Independent Republic.

and stars! And this is their argument:-"It was our wish and pride to live under the British government, but that government has put us under the French domination. We will not live under the French, and would rather join the Americans." The consummation of this resolution will depend, I think, on the issue of the Rebellion Losses Bill. If it be stopped by the government and Lord Elgin recalled, matters will assume a new and more peaceable aspect; if not, the future must be pregnant with trouble. I should add, that the free trade system introduced into the colony by the home government,and the withdrawal of protection from the colonial produce in the home market, have added to the bad feeling. It would seem as if the free traders at home were determined to cast the colonies off, and this I believe to be really the case; and the object will sooner or later be effected if the whig government remain triumphant in England. The whig ministry insult the loyal colonists in two ways,-first, they invade their pockets by free trade, and, next, insult their feelings by rewarding traitors and rebels. The folly of such a system is most palpable.

The recent outbreak at Montreal and the destruction of the Parliament House was the work of the loyalists, and a friend writes to me from Montreal, that there was not one man among them who would not have laid down his life for the queen! The animosity is to the French rebels, not to the royal family of England.

If a good tory ministry could be made up in England, the whigs would certainly be ousted on this Canada business; but, alas, our best men have passed away, and the party was broken up by the treason of Peel when he turned free trader in 1846.

The tory government of George the Third lost the thirteen provinces by a system too stringent; and the whig government under Victoria seem destined to lose Canada by a system too lax. A century or nearly so elapses between the two events, and every thing in the civilized world would seem to have been improving but British colonial wisdom. What, then, is the cause? I answer, the ignorance of the British people in regard to the true nature and feeling of the colonies and colonists.


That the reader may have as satisfactory a view as possible of the present position of this perplexing question, we subjoin an extract from the Inquirer, containing a summary of the opinions entertained in England :

“A London correspondent of the National Intelligencer says, that 'a great change has taken place in England with regard to its colonial policy, and quotes the London Examiner thus:- Äre not the British North American colonies, one can hardly help asking, in connexion with these facts, beginning reasonably to think that they are too old and mature to walk any longer in leading-strings; the cords held, too, by parties far too distant and uninformed to handle them with any adroitness?'

“The correspondent continues:“This question is very pertinently put at this juncture, and, we think, can only be answered affirmatively. The British North American colonies contain nearly three million of people-considerably more than were in the thirteen United States' at the Declaration of Independence. Each of the seven present British North American colonies contains a population sufficient to constitute an independent federal State, and equal to many of those of the United States at the last census of the republic. Lower Canada is as populous as Massachusetts, Upper Canada is equal to Indiana, and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are each on a par with Michigan. The total number of men on the rolls of the militia for the seven colonies is very nearly 400,000; which would imply a total population of 2,800,000. These colonies have lately, so far as respects the mother country, been more in a state of management than government; but the means by which we have hitherto managed them have all nearly disappeared. We once managed them through the means of a faction among themselves, and this has most properly vanished. The monopolies of our markets which they once enjoyed, and which bound them to us, have also perished, or are perishing, to the advantage, we think, of both parent country and colonies.

“ All the advantages which we can now possibly derive from these remote and cumbrous colonies, they would yield, we think, to a much greater extent, were they independent of us to-morrow. Mercantile profit was the chief object of their establishment, but our commerce with the old colonies which have become independent of us is immeasurably superior to any thing which it could have been had they remained in their colonial dependence; and there is nothing in the condition of Canada or Nova Scotia, or New Brunswick, which would prevent our predicting the same results for them under similar circumstances.

“About a quarter of a million of emigrants leave the shores of the United Kingdom annually, but the greater majority of them find their final abode, not in our colonies, but in the United States. As regards our military strength, these colonies, so far from increasing it, tend to weaken it, by scattering our force and wasting our means. liamentary returns show that, in 1846, we had a military force stationed in Canada alone, amounting to 6,485, at a cost, for pay and rations only, of £268,681. But this is a great reduction from 1843, when the military amounted to 11,951, and their pay and rations were £473,328. Even now, the army for the protection of about a million and a half of people is very nearly three-fourths of what you require in the United States for a population at least four times as large. Probably the cost of the forces serving in the British North American colonies, for the five years ending with 1847, including barracks, fortifications, &c., has not been less than £6,000,000: what this would swell to, in case of a war, we will not venture to conjecture.'

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