UK, HC, “Affairs of Canada”, vol 40 (1838), cols 7-93 (16 January 1838)
By: UK (House of Commons)
Citation: UK, HC, “Affairs of Canada“, vol 40 (1838), cols 7-93.
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AFFAIRS OF CANADA.
HC Deb 16 January 1838 vol 40 cc7-937
Lord J. Russell Mr. Speaker, I rise in pursuance of the promise which I made to the House on a former occasion, to bring under its consideration at the earliest possible opportunity, the affairs of Canada. In proportion to the satisfaction which I feel whenever it falls to my lot to propose any measure ensuring additional advantages to my fellow
subjects, or an improvement in the laws, is the pain which I now suffer in having to treat of measures of an opposite nature, in regard to a part of her Majesty’s dominions, in which the horrors and misfortunes of civil war are now prevailing, and to ask the House to suspend, though only for a time, the constitutional liberties of that portion of the British territories. But, though I feel that I always approach one of these subjects with satisfaction and the other with sorrow, the one is a duty no less incumbent upon me than the other. I feel that lean no longer delay to ask the House for power to maintain the authority of her Majesty in Lower Canada. If it were only on the score of humanity, I am convinced, that, instead of preventing bloodshed, I should be only giving the word for all the horrors of civil war, were I to follow the advice which has been tendered by some, and withdraw the troops of her Majesty from that part of her dominions. With these feelings, therefore, it is my duty to propose to the House, in the first place, that an Address be sent up to the Crown, stating the concern of the House at the revolt and disturbances which exist in Lower Canada, and pledging itself to assist her Majesty in restoring tranquillity in that part of her dominions: and in the next place to move for leave to bring in a Bill, by which, for a certain time, the calling of an Assembly in that province, which is now incumbent on the Governor for the time being, may be suspended, and, by the means which I shall state to the House, that authority be given to meet the present emergency, and to provide for the future government of the province. In bringing this subject before the House, I feel that I shall not obtain its assent, unless I refute two propositions which have been confidently put forward. The first of these assertion is that the course pursued by this country in respect to Lower Canada has been unjust, and the second is, that whatever be the justice of the case, it is expedient to abandon the colony, and make an early separation between it and the mother country. In debating the first of these propositions it becomes necessary for me, in many respects to arraign the conduct of the Assembly of Lower Canada. I am sensible, Sir, bow invidious a task it may seem to arraign in this place, the conduct of any other, and particularly a distant Assembly: but I feel that in so doing in the present instance, I could not make out the case which I wish to establish, that in our present breach
with the Assembly, our conduct has been founded in justice; that the course which we pursued last year was necessary, and, further, that we shall be justified now in suspending the constitution of that province. I say, I shall be obliged to arraign the conduct of the Assembly of Lower Canada, but in what I say, and also in the course of policy which we may have to pursue, I wish that neither Parliament nor the Government to which I belong shall be chargeable with the vice of intemperance. In an individual, intemperance may be combined with the best feelings and dispositions, but in a Government it is the worst quality it can be possessed of. In a despotic government it becomes tyranny, we in that of a free country, intemperance influencing the passions, produces endless confusion, and finally, the subversion of the constitution. In considering the conduct of the Assembly of Lower Canada we must look at the nature of the Government by which this country first proposed to govern that province. The title of this country to Canada depends upon the treaty of peace of 1763. Soon after that treaty a proclamation was published respecting the mode of government which it was intended to apply to it; but, in point of fact, for some time English courts pursuing the method, and regulated by the decisions of English courts, held jurisdiction in the province; and, according to a report from General Murray, who succeeded to the government of the province after its conquest by General Wolfe, many hardships and grievances were suffered by the French Canadians in the administration of justice. But, whatever these hardships or grievances might have been, a remedy was applied to them by the act of 1774. Sir, I apprehend that never was a stronger inclination evinced by any country to act according to the feelings, habits, and prejudices of a dependent colony than in that act of 1774. By that act the Roman Catholic religion was established in the province of Canada, and the clergy of that persuasion were to continue to receive the tithes and other dues which they had been accustomed to receive; and, further, the French laws of property, and, indeed, the French laws in all matters except the criminal law, were to govern the colony. Now, Sir, with respect to the former of these provisions, it should be borne in mind, that it was passed at a time when nothing was less favoured by Parliament than the Roman Catholic religion, as was shown in Ireland where the severity of the penal laws
had been scarcely relaxed. With respect to the laws of property, nothing could be more adverse to the feelings of this country than the old feudal system of tenure which still prevailed in Canada. It had always been one of the greatest efforts made by the Parliament to wipe off what Blackstone calls “the slavery of the feudal tenures.” That was at length accomplished in the reign of Charles and, and the writer whom I have just referred to, says that the benefit thus bestowed on the country was not less important than those conferred by the Habeas Corpus Act itself. Sir, those tenures were considered, and I think, rightly, of slavish origin. According to Montesquieu, the very terms used in them had a slavish import; for instance, that he who paid cens was a serf, and he who did not was free. Then, in adopting the French law in this respect, the English Parliament was a party to the introduction of a species of law contrary to the genius of the British constitution, and to which all English settlers in that colony would naturally feel the strongest objection. But the reason why that law was adopted was the same as that which justified the establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, namely, because it was most congenial to the feelings and habits of the French portion of the inhabitants of that province. Sir, this constitution remained in force till the year 1791. In that year, it was proposed to frame a new constitution, and I must say, that looking to the debates of that period, and to the enactments of the law itself, with the light which experience affords, I do not think that law was very wisely framed with a view to its permanent continuance, and with the intention of preserving permanent harmony between all classes of the people. Sir, the policy of this country with regard to her colonies has been generally one of great lenity. In some colonies where the population is chiefly British, and the feelings and habits are therefore chiefly British, the British laws and constitution have been introduced, so far as they were applicable to the different state of society in the colony from that in the mother country; and according to that constitution the people are left to regulate their internal affairs. In other colonies which are of foreign origin there has been a power of governor and council more despotic in its nature, without the form of a real constitution, but at the same time the inhabitants were always left to enjoy whatever was congenial to their
habits or feelings in the laws of Spanish, French, or Dutch origin, or whatever it might be, under which the colony was originally founded, and by which its concerns bad been formerly regulated. Sir, looking back to the past, with the benefit of experience, I think that what was proposed by Mr. Fox at the time of establishing a constitution in Canada, would have given a better prospect of permanent tranquillity than the constitution which was then adopted. Mr. Fox maintained it was not wise to separate the upper from the lower province, but that it would be better to encourage the influx of British settlers in both, and endeavour to introduce by degrees British laws, with, as he said, a due weight of aristocracy. It may be doubted whether it would have been proper at that time to leave the introduction of British laws to the gradual operation of custom and the influx of British emigrants. I own that it appears to me that the wise course would have been, when, if the legislature were determined to introduce a representative constitution, instead of the more despotic governor and council, finding that the more despotic authority which had hitherto subsisted was not sufficient for the welfare and contentment of the province, while it introduced the representative constitution, it should at the same time have made a settlement with respect to English and French law, and only adopted so much of the latter as was necessary to prevent the French Canadians from being disquieted in their possessions, and having so done, it should have made general arrangements for a Legislative Council and a representative House of Assembly. But that course, which might have been taken, was not adopted at that period, and a law was passed on the presumption that the French would entirely inhabit one province and British settlers the other, Lower Canada being devoted or left to the French Canadians, and Upper Canada being the province into which it was expected British enterprise and emigration would flow. At the same time there was introduced into each province an assembly consisting of the representatives of the people, with rather a low rate of franchise, and a Legislative Council, to be formed partly of members with hereditary titles, and partly of members named for life by the governor. With regard to the latter part of this arrangement I do not think that it was a just application of the British constitution. With regard to the House of Lords, though every privilege
may be liable at times to abuse, yet we all know that there must be some distinction of eminence or some consideration of large property to justify a Minister in proposing to the Sovereign to elevate a commoner to the House of Lords. In Lower Canada the case was not the same: the person on whom the distinction was to be conferred was not so easily pointed out, and there was not that great and paramount check upon the exercise of this privilege which existed in this country. With regard to the House of Assembly, also, I think that that constitution was not wisely framed when the state of education in that colony is considered, and the power that constitution bestowed on the people. However, there could be no doubt that the constitution was so framed, whether wisely or no—and the criticisms he made on it might be unfounded and injudicious—but that the constitution was so framed with the sincere view to enlarge the privileges and provide for the welfare of the people of Canada it was impossible to deny. No one can doubt that the intention of the Legislature was, not to draw any undue power to the Government of this country, but to provide mainly, and in the first instance, for the welfare of the colony. I think, then, I may say, that with respect to the constitution of 1774 and 1791, this country had not been an oppressor in the mode by which it was proposed to administer the affairs of her colonies. I do not wish to state this for the purpose of making a debtor and creditor account between Lower Canada and this country, as relates to benefits mutually given and received—still less do I state it for the purpose of imputing ingratitude to the people of that colony. On the contrary I am happy to say, that whilst the intentions of the Legislature were those of kindness towards Canada on two great occasions, namely, in the war with the United States, and towards the conclusion of the last war with France, the Canadians came forward with loyalty and zeal to show their affection for this country; so that if we had been kind on the one hand, we had met with a return of affection and loyalty on the other. But the constitution so framed did contain within itself the seeds of difficulty, although for some time the difficulties were not felt. In 1810 there were some violent measures on the part of the Governor of Canada, and violent opposition on the part of the Assembly, which ended in the dissolution of that body, and the excitement of an angry state of feeling in the provinces.
But the dissensions on which much of what subsequently passed had turned began in the year 1818. It had been for some time the practice in Canada to vote certain sums for the maintenance of the Government, what was further required being supplied by the votes of the House of Commons. The Assembly of Canada had asked that all the supplies should be voted by themselves, that their Government might not be left dependent on the votes of the House of Commons. A petition was presented to that effect, which, though rejected at the time, was afterwards acceded to; but when the Duke of Richmond was there, a new mode of voting the supplies by chapters was proposed, and soon afterwards, under Lord Dalhousie, a permanent grant was required for a considerable part of the supplies. This led to a resistance on the part of the Assembly, and both those propositions were given up; the Assembly gained its point, the supplies were regularly proposed, item by item, and nothing more beyond the annual vote was asked for. This decision, however, led to new debates, and after a certain time, Mr. Huskisson, who was then Colonial Secretary, thought it fit to bring the questions under the consideration of Parliament, and caused a Select Committee to be appointed to consider the question then at issue with the House of Assembly. Before I state what the report of that Committee was, and the result of what was done, I wish to call the attention of the House to the instructions which were given by Sir George Murray, who was subsequently Secretary of State under the Duke of Wellington, before the report of the Committee had been taken into consideration. I wish to quote those instructions, in order to show that the policy of the Government of that day was, as of every Government since, a policy of forbearance and moderation, evincing a constant desire to consult the interests and to meet the wishes of the inhabitants of Lower Canada, as far as possible, consistently with a due regard to the maintenance of British authority. Sir G. Murray found, that according to the law of France, certain duties, imposed by an act passed by the Imperial Parliament in 1774, and which were granted in lieu of other duties that had been found more oppressive, were the only ones that could be appropriated by the Lords of the Treasury in this country to discharge the various expenses of the Colonial Government. He, therefore, instructed Sir J. Kempt, who, fortunately for this country, was then at
the head of the Government of the province, in what manner to proceed with respect to those duties. Although the extract is of considerable length, I will read it, as it will show the policy which the British Government had thought it becoming and necessary to pursue towards the Canadians. The proceeds of the above-mentioned duties, said Sir G. Murray, and of the territorial revenue of the Crown, with the produce of fines, forfeitures, and other incidents of that nature, appear to constitute, however, the only fund which his Majesty’s Government can lawfully apply, at its discretion, to the defraying the expenses of the civil government and those of the administration of justice in the province. It is, therefore, to be understood for the future, as a fixed and unalterable principle, that, with the exception of the funds already mentioned, no part of the revenue of Lower Canada must be applied to the public service, nor to any object whatever, except in pursuance of an act of appropriation passed by the three branches of the local Legislature. I am by no means insensible to the consequence which must necessarily result from the recognition and the observance of this principle. So long as the Assembly is called upon to provide for and to regulate any portion of the public expenditure, it will virtually acquire a control over the whole. If the entire charge of the civil government of the province could be limited to the amount of the Crown revenues, it might be possible to act without any dependence on the Assembly But whether such a result would be desirable, or would be really conducive to the welfare of the province at large, it is unnecessary for me to inquire. It is sufficient to say that, under the existing law, the executive government of Lower Canada cannot be relieved from a state of virtual pecuniary dependence upon the Assembly, by any constitutional means; and methods of a different nature must not be resorted to. This instruction clearly shows, that Sir George Murray meant to bind himself and the Government to which he belonged, to a precise and exact observance of the constitution. Sir George Murray saw that the adoption of the principle laid down in the instructions quoted, would necessarily make the Government dependent on the House of Assembly for the pecuniary supplies indispensable to its support; but he embraced that necessity, and determined that the constitution should not be departed from. I next come to the course adopted by the Committee of 1828, which made a report to this House containing many suggestions regarding the affairs of Canada. I will read to the House the
language employed in allusion to this report in an address agreed to by the House of Assembly on the 21st of November, 1828. The noble Lord then read the following extract from an Address of the Assembly of Lower Canada to Sir James Kempt, in answer to the speech with which he opened the session of the Provincial Parliament on the 21st of November, 1828:— As soon as the inhabitants of Lower Canada made known to the King the sufferings of the country, and suggested the remedy for those evils—as soon as their humble petitions were laid at the foot of the throne—the Sovereign, ever inclined towards constantly faithful subjects, positively ordered that those petitions should be forthwith submitted to the supreme tribunal of the empire. The charges and well-founded complaints of the Canadians, before that august senate, were referred to a Committee of the House of Commons, indicated by the Colonial minister; that Committee exhibiting a striking combination of talent and patriotism, uniting a general knowledge of public and constitutional law to a particular acquaintance with the state of both the Canadas, formally applauded almost all the reforms which the Canadian people and their representatives demanded, and still fervently demand. After solemn investigation, after deep and prolonged deliberation, the Committee made a report—an imperishable monument of their justice and profound wisdom—an authentic testimonial of the reality of our grievances, and of the justice of our complaints, faithfully interpreting our wishes and our wants. Now, one would have supposed, when the Canadian Assembly spoke in this manner of the report of the Committee, and eulogised it as an imperishable monument of justice and profound wisdom—that after the Government and people of this country had proved themselves anxious to perform—ay, more than perform, all that was asked for, and that was indicated by the report of the Committee, some satisfaction would have been produced in the minds of the Canadians, and some expression of cordiality towards the British Government would have been used by them. The effect, unfortunately, I am sorry to say, was so much the reverse of this, that after an attempt made to fulfil every wish entertained by the Canadians—after an attempt to remove every grievance under which they laboured, the complaints of the Assembly were uttered in a louder tone, and assumed a more bitter form. If I desired to enumerate the particular instances in which the Government of this country had
attempted to comply with the suggestions of the report, I need only refer to the very clear statement of them made in a minute drawn up by Lord Aberdeen, and intended, to be transmitted for the guidance of Lord Amherst, when that nobleman was appointed Governor of Lower Canada. I will allude at present only to three or four of the grievances specified in a resolution of the House of Assembly. It was stated by the Committee of the House, that they were of opinion that the revenue implied in the act of 1774 should be given up to the Assembly, but that they at the same time thought, that while the judges should not hold office for life, or, even during good behaviour, those functionaries should be relieved from dependence on the annual votes of the Assembly. There is much good sense in this recommendation, as appears by a circumstance which happened in Canada, but which certainly will hardly be credited in this House. One of the judges having expressed certain opinions, some time before his nomination to that office, adverse to the notions entertained by the Assembly, that body thought it decent and proper to withhold his salary as a mark of their disapprobation. However, on the opinion of the Committee being made known in Canada in the year 1828, the Assembly allowed that the proposition made by the Committee with reference to the judges was reasonable, and they resolved, on December 6, 1828— That on the permanent settlement before mentioned being effected with the consent of this House, it will be expedient to render the governor, lieutenant-governor, or person administering the government for the time being, the judges or executive councillors, independent of the annual vote of this House, to the extent of their present salaries. That amongst those questions not particularly mentioned on the present occasion, this House holds as most desirable to be admitted, and most essential to the future peace, welfare, and good government of the province, viz., the independence of the judges, and their removal from the political business of the province; the responsibility and accountability of public officers; a greater independence of support from the public revenues, and more intimate connexion with the interests of the colony in the composition of the Legislative Council; the application of the late property of the Jesuits to the purposes of general education; the removal of all obstructions to the settlement of the country, particularly by Crown and clergy reserves remaining unoccupied in the neighbourhood of Roode and Settlewaite, and exempt from the common
burdens; and a diligent inquiry into, and a ready redress of all grievances and abuses which may be found to exist, or which may have been petitioned against by the subjects in this province, thereby assuring to all the invaluable benefit of an impartial, conciliatory, and constitutional Government, and restoring a well-founded and reciprocal confidence between the governors and the governed. Now, Sir, I will state what has been done in order to remedy the particular grievances thus set forth. With respect to the independence of the judges, and their removal from the political business of the province, Lord Goderich (now the Earl of Ripon) fully concurred in the reasonableness of the proposal, and himself suggested the manner in which the object might be accomplished. But the House of Assembly, instead of following out the suggestion, tacked to the law by which the independence of the judges was to be secured, certain provisions relating to the hereditary revenues of the Crown to which they pretended a claim, and other provisions respecting a court of impeachment for the judges. This was a method of treating the proposal of the Crown well calculated to excite a suspicion that the object put forth by the House of Assembly was not what it really wished to attain. The independence of the judges was simply and of itself a positive good, and the annexation of perplexing conditions was a tolerably good proof that it was not their wish to rid themselves of the grievance of which they complained. Certainly it was the practice of former times in this House, when the Crown asked for a supply or made some other request, to grant it only on certain conditions which the House might think advisable for the benefit of the subject; but I never heard, when a Bill for the benefit of the subject, and solely proceeding from the wish of the House, was passed, that it was usual to clog it with impracticable conditions. With respect to the accountability of public officers, on this subject, too, Lord Ripon had proposed a measure which the House of Assembly would not allow to pass, though it was planned with a view to secure greater independence of the public revenues in the officers of Government and a more intimate connexion with the colonies of the persons composing the Legislative Council. With respect to that subject, on which unfortunately there had been the widest difference of opinion between the Assembly of Lower Canada and this country, no objection has been advanced, no
opposition has been offered, to a compliance with the terms of the Assembly’s resolution. It was determined at once, that the judges should be told they ought not to sit in the Legislative Council, with the exception of the chief-justice, and a number of persons were added to that body having no connexion with the Crown, totally independent of office, and giving on the whole a great majority in the Legislative Council, to those who were, unconnected with the Government of the colony. An attempt was likewise made to effect a measure always desirable—to introduce a greater proportion of French Canadians into the Council, by far the majority of the new Members of that body being of that extraction. The Assembly might indeed say, that those were not persons agreeable to their wishes, or acquainted with their wants; but the question was, whether they were not independent of office, and intimately connected with the interests of the colony. If other persons can be found, from their station in the colony and their independence, who deserve to be placed in the Legislative Council, that is a matter surely of arrangement and compromise, and not one sufficient to warrant a disturbance of the tranquillity of the colony. Thus stands the matter at present, according to the last determination of Lord Gosford, which had been approved by her Majesty’s Government. Of the forty Members of the Council, not less than eighteen are French Canadians. Many of the Members of English origin are not likely to attend again, having removed from the colonies, and thus the majority was on the side of the French Canadians, there being only seven in official connexion with the Government of the province. So far as the Assembly’s demands of 1828 are concerned—so far as the nature of the grievances, as they were called, could be met, a remedy had been already applied. Another question regarded the application of the property of the Jesuits to the purposes of general education. That demand has already been assented to by the House; the whole of the income derived from the property of the Jesuits has been ordered to be applied to purposes of education; and the only shadow of grievance connected with this subject now remaining, as declared in a subsequent resolution, was, that leases of the property had been given to persons other than those whom the Assembly desired to possess it. That was a grievance which, unless the uncontrolled administration of
these estates was placed in the hands of the Assembly, to be conferred upon their friends and nominees, it was quite impossible to remove. Another question relates to the removal of all obstructions to the settlement of the country presented by the Crown, and clergy reserves which remained unoccupied in the neighbourhood of the cultivated lands. On this subject I will refer the House to a despatch of Lord Ripon, which does the highest honour to the wisdom of that nobleman, who declared that he was ready to put an end to the former system, while, at the same time, he stated, that he was not ready to adopt the remedy proposed by the House of Assembly. The noble Lord stated it to be his opinion that none of the particular lands alluded to, or of any lands in the possession of the Crown, should be given except for an adequate consideration, and pointed out, that they should be sold at a fair price, without any distinction being made or favour shown. The Assembly had particularly adverted to the management of the waste lands, in consequence of which they declared applicants were excluded from competition, and prevented from holding the land by secure titles without much expense and delay. Lord Ripon said, “I must dissent from the view here taken by the Assembly, and must say, that a careful consideration of the subject induces me to think that the prevention in some degree of the extreme facility of buying land, instead of being injurious to the occupants of the Crown lands, would be found favourable to their success, no less than to the welfare and prosperity of the province at large.” Having stated this, he went on to say, “I am of opinion that an end should be put to the system of setting apart any portion of waste lands to the support of the Protestant clergy, since a system which would be objectionable in rendering Government independent of the Assembly would be still more objectionable when applied for the support of the ministers of religion.” Lord Ripon added, that in order to guard the governor against the slightest suspicion of partiality in the disposal of the lands, the utmost freedom of bidding should be encouraged, the greatest publicity given to the sales, and the lands, as a matter of course, secured to the highest bidder. Now, Sir, I ask whether that proposition of Lord Ripon was not one which was more calculated to benefit the province, more lair in itself, less liable to any suspicion of partiality, and less open to the charge that
Government will hereafter derive influence from the disposal of those lands, than that which the Assembly itself had made; and whether, for this grievance, a full and adequate remedy has not been proposed? Sir, there was another grievance, as I before stated, or rather another dispute. It was the dispute with respect to the duties derived under the Act of the 14th of George 3rd. With respect to those duties it was urged, and no doubt rightfully urged by those who then held the Government of this country, that that law bound the Treasury abroad for the sum derived from the duties which it imposed. It was urged, rather by inference from the spirit of the constitution than in accordance with the letter of the law, that the Acts of 1778 and 1791 taken together, made it fit that those duties should be left to the appropriation of the local assembly. A Committee recommended that the view of the assembly should be adopted, but recommended likewise that a permanent settlement should be made for the salary of the judges and other officers. The assembly, while it agreed to be responsible for what it had itself proposed, did not consent to carry the whole recommendations into effect. But what, then, was the conduct of the Government of this country? There was introduced into this House, in the year 1831, an Act, originally moved by Lord Ripon in the other House of Parliament, which entirely repealed the power of appropriation by this country, and left it to the Assembly of Lower Canada (without condition—without stipulation) to dispose altogether of those duties. Now, I ask, could any remedy be more full—less indicative of hesitation or distrust? Could any remedy be proposed which showed a more generous confidence than that with which Lord Ripon proposed to meet the grievance which was complained of? It has been urged, certainly, and it may be contended, that the Government went too far in making that concession. It may be said, that this was an incautious assent to the demand of the House of Assembly. I am not of that opinion. I think if we had not made that compact, we should have been driven into a quarrel on ground on which it would not be safe to contend. Questions of revenue, on which Government takes a view in contradiction to that of the Assembly, are the most difficult to maintain; for when the question regards duties similar to those of which the Assembly possesses the control, no doubt there
is a strong argument from analogy in its favour. If we had not made this arrangement, no doubt the Canadians would have asked Government to surrender the revenue unconditionally; and if it had refused, a quarrel might have ensued on less defensible grounds than those which now supported them—a quarrel in which none of our North American colonies would have taken part with the mother country, and in which they would rather have sympathised with the Canadian Assembly. For these reasons I think the proposition of Lord Ripon displayed a wise as well as a generous confidence; but, at the same time, I am of opinion that it might have been expected that, after having made that eon-cession, after having remedied whatever grievances were complained of in the full manner which was proposed by the course to be taken by the Government, a disposition would have been shown by the Assembly of Lower Canada to meet what had been done with a conciliatory disposition, and to consider the remaining grievances in a friendly and amicable spirit. I regret to say that this was not the case. In the year 1833, at the time that these questions had been either settled, or proposed to be settled, conformably to the wishes of the Assembly, a supply bill passed that House of Assembly, containing the most unusual conditions, and providing that the persons holding certain offices should not be all ed salaries unless they ceased to hold certain other offices. Sir, these propositions may have been in themselves just or unjust, reasonable or unreasonable; but the Bill was rejected on the ground—which the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) who was then Secretary of the Colonies, approved—that these propositions were tacked to a money bill, which, therefore, as a matter of supply, could not be passed in that shape. I think the noble Lord was right in urging that these questions should have been proposed in a different shape. But the Supply Bill having failed in that year, in 1834 the Assembly met again, and adopted a new course, which has led to the present difficulties. I say that it adopted a new course, which led to the present difficulties, because, with respect to all that had been before stated—with respect to the investigation of the Committee of the year 1828, which had furnished, they said, a report which was “an imperishable monument of wisdom and justice”—and with respect to their own statements in the
reports and petitions of their assembly, every grievance had been met, fairly considered, and nearly all of them had been adequately remedied. Well then, Sir, what was the result?—contentment, satisfaction in voting the supplies, and a more harmonious working of the Canadian constitution? Quite the reverse. The course taken was, that the Canadian Assembly passed ninety-two resolutions, some of grievance, some of eulogy, some of vituperation, some directed against individuals, some against the governor of the province, some against the government at home, but all amounting to a long and vehement remonstrance, which they passed a whole session in framing, and separated without passing any supply bill whatever. This was the point of departure taken by those who caused a new breach in the proceedings of the Assembly. Those who on former occasions appeared before us as the able interpreters of their wants and wishes, at this time deserted the prosecution of their grievances. They comprised men whose names are known to this House, who have been most familiar with the history of Canadian affairs, and who had been the most able and intelligent in laying before the Legislature their grievances, and in many cases urging just grounds for redress—these men when they saw that the object was to put a stop to the machine of government and to make impracticable conditions with the executive, at once withdrew from the contest and separated themselves from the violent party who took the lead in it. And on this occasion let me call the attention of the House to the benefit which is to be derived in all contests like the present from applying to all real grievances a satisfactory remedy. I know that some there are who, from feelings of national pride, and from a mistaken sense of national honour, are inclined to say, “the petition is couched in disrespectful language; it goes much too far, let us not listen to it.” But it is the duty of the House, and it is more especially the duty of those who are intrusted with the administration of the country, to examine into all real grievances, and as far as they can, to remedy them; and when that is done, they might be sure that, though there might be persons who for a time might succeed in misleading the people as to their real interest, those who were sincere in their complaints, and who sought not their own individual aggrandizement, but the real welfare and prosperity of the country,
would stand by the Government in resistance to all ulterior and unreasonable demands; and thus by every remedy which it granted it gained additional strength to sustain any new contest which might be forced on it. Such has been the effect of the late measures taken with respect to Lower Canada—such continues to be the effect of them even up to the present hour. But to return to the events which I feel it to be my duty to refer to at large upon this subject—for I am bound to lay before the House the whole of the case respecting the affairs of both the Canadas—after passing the resolutions in 1834, to which I have already adverted, there was no one occasion on which the House of Assembly had voted the supplies which were necessary to carry on the machinery of local government. And yet the Government of this country had not been backward in its endeavours to remove all the real grievances of which the Canadians complained. At the end of the year 1834, as the House well knew, the right hon. Member for Tamworth became Prime Minister of this country. That, the right hon. Baronet did not intend to adopt any harsh course with respect to the Canadian Assembly may be concluded, not only from his language in this House, but from the appointments which he had made. One of the appointments made under his government was that of Lord Amherst, who had been sent out not merely as a governor, but as commissioner to investigate and redress all grievances affecting the administration of the province. Sir, the character of Lord Amherst himself—even if the object of his appointment had not been announced in The Gazelte which contained it—would show that at that time was appointed a person who, by his mild and conciliatory character, would remove every thing which he should find really to affect the interests or to injure the welfare of the Canadians. Sir, on the retirement of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite from office, and the resignation by Lord Amherst of the post to which he was appointed, the government of Lord Melbourne, which succeeded, proposed to send a commission to Canada for inquiry into the grievances which had been alleged, giving them great latitude, as may be seen by the instructions with which they were furnished, and appointed Lord Gosford as governor, with certain directions for his guidance. I shall take the liberty to quote one passage from the instructions which were given, because it shows the spirit in which the Government
thought that the affairs of Canada should be managed, and because I think those instructions constitute an answer to some charges which had been made with respect to the Government of the colonies in general. Lord Glenelg said, in his dispatch to Lord Gosford, dated July 17,1835.— It may not, however, be improper to address to your Lordship one caution of a different nature. Whatever may be the ground of the disputes which have so long prevailed between the Executive Government and the House of General Assembly of the province, it could not, with any degree of truth, or even of plausibility, be alleged that they have either originated, or have been prolonged, with a view to any interests, real or imaginary, excepting those of the people of Canada themselves. No motive could possibly be assigned as influencing British policy towards this part of his Majesty’s dominions, except the advancement of the social welfare of the inhabitants, and the development of the resources of the country. In promoting these great ends, the King has found an object worthy of the noblest ambition and of the most earnest solicitude. Even if the counsels submitted to his Majesty for the government of Lower Canada were admitted to be as injudicious as they have been sometimes described to be; yet, even on that supposition, the singleness and disinterestedness of the motives by which his Majesty’s confidential advisers have been actuated would be beyond dispute. What has Great Britain to gain by the misgovernment of so important a portion of the British empire? There is no single ground of national competition which could induce the metropolitan state to abuse her authority, or which should make that authority a subject of reasonable distrust to the Canadian people, if it could, with any justice, be supposed that those who are honoured with a place in his Majesty’s more immediate councils could be diverted by the sordid desire of patronage from the upright discharge of duties so clear and important as those which they owe to British North America. Yet it is demonstrable that so unworthy a motive has not exercised the slightest influence on their deliberations. I do not find, for many years past, a solitary example of any place, excepting that of the governor himself and one or two of the chief officers of customs, having been conferred, in Lower Canada, on any person except the settled inhabitants of the province, or in consequence of any recommendation but that of the governor. No British Minister, during the present or the last reign, has ever used the patronage of British North America either to promote his political power or the personal advantage of himself or his connections. I need scarcely add that his Majesty is firmly resolved to enforce the observance in future of the same just and liberal policy.
It is impossible to deny the truth of the allegations of the noble Lord who is now Secretary for the Colonies. I believe it to be impossible too to deny that Lord Gosford, in undertaking the charge which he did, entertained an anxious desire to second the Government in their attempts to allay animosity, to remedy the grievances which were found to exist, and to establish harmony between the different parts of the Legislature of that province. I stated last year the various recommendations which were made by the Commissioners on the subjects which were proposed for their consideration. I am sorry to say that these recommendations were not even waited for by the Canadian Assembly. The Members of that assembly thought proper to continue in the resolution which they had adopted, of determinedly refusing the supplies. They adhered to this course during the years 1835, 1836, and 1837, except on one occasion of a vote for six months, and that was given in so objectionable a manner that it could not be sanctioned. Their resolution then has been to put an end to the machinery of Government, to stop entirely the possibility of carrying on the Government, and thus have they made it necessary for this House to interpose with respect to the important questions which are submitted to it. I stated, on a former occasion, that the course adopted by this House in proposing to appropriate part of the revenues of Lower Canada was not a measure of finance but of defence. I adhere to that statement. In a constitutional Government it is quite impossible if the supplies be refused year after year that the machinery of Government can go on. If they were refused in this country even for a single year, the most calamitous consequences would be produced. To refuse the supplies is to disorganise the army—to refuse the supplies is to shake public credit—to refuse the supplies is almost to dissolve the constitution. Well, then, what was to be done on the refusal of the supplies by a provincial Parliament. There could be in such a case but one or two courses left to adopt—either to accede to all the demands, or to take some means by which the mischief might be remedied. It was quite impossible that the courts of justice and all the other means of civil Government could be carried on; and the conjuncture must arise when a stop must be put to all legislative proceedings in consequence of the refusal of the supplies, unless one remedy or the other was applied. I stated
to the House that it was impossible to adopt the former alternative. With regard to an elective council, the report of the Commissioners sent out by this country states it as their belief, without discussing the abstract question of an elective council, still less the policy or impolicy of its establishment in the North American continent—that the consequence of such a change in the Legislature of Lower Canada would be to place the Government in the hands of one of two extreme parties and that from the resistance of the other party must arise the additional danger of a civil war. I fully believe the truth of the statement of the commissioners. I am persuaded that after the dissensions which have prevailed, an elective council, representing the passions, the violence, and the desire for extraordinary changes found to exist in the assembly, would be considered by the British settlers of the province as nothing else but a declaration that their interests would not be protected, and they would be thus driven to some other means to produce a change in the constitution. Their next demand is, that the Executive Council should only be responsible to the House of Assembly. Sir, I stated that there was one place in which the power of the executive could be thus entirely controlled, and that was at the seat of the imperial Government. If the Sovereign of this country were to select those who had the confidence of the Crown but who possessed none of the confidence of the House of Commons, there must be a speedy change in the administration, and the constitution could only proceed in consequence of that change. But in a colony, if the Legislative Council are to be named according to the will of the assembly, there is another question which arises, namely, what is to become of the orders given by the imperial Government and the governer of the colony? You are here placed in the situation that your authority is completely set aside. You have a Canadian ministry responsible only to the assembly, with a power of dismissing or driving away from particular places British troops, and of admitting the ships of a power, perhaps at war with this country, into the ports of Canada. If they have not the power to make such restrictions, they must be made responsible. If they have, it then a supreme and independent governor has no place in the colonies. Not only should there be an irresponsible executive, but every judge and public officer should be appointed not according to the laws of the
constitution, or the rule of the imperial monarchy of the mother country, but in accordance with the institutions and usages of a new and independent republic. Another question in these proceedings was, whether a repeal should be granted of an Act passed by this country with respect to land in Canada, under which certain rights had accrued. The Royal Commissioners said, and most justly, that it was impossible to take these away without doing an act of flagrant injustice to rights and titles granted under the sanction of an Act of Parliament. Another subject, on which we declared we had no objection to enter, was an alteration in the tenures, provided the rights, which could not be set aside without injustice, were duly maintained and preserved. As we were obliged to declare, that we could not consent to have the relations between this country and Canada disturbed in the manner which had been threatened, and as the demands of the Assembly were declared repeatedly to be the only conditions on which they would consent to carry on the ordinary business of the constitution, I say, by their own act, and without any interference of the superior power, the Government was ipso facto suspended by themselves. Therefore, we proposed, in that difficulty, in that extremity, when this House could not agree to the propositions of the Assembly, that some measure should, be taken to remedy this extraordinary embarrassment, and that some measures should be adopted by which the judges and others holding official situations should receive what otherwise would have been voted by the Assembly, and that the governor should have the power to appropriate these sums. Sir, I do not think that we went at all beyond the necessity of the case. At the same time it was evident, that the House of Assembly of Canada must either continue to suspend the constitution altogether, or must re-consider the grounds of their complaints. They had repeatedly declared, that their misgovernment was owing to the Colonial Secretary of State, or to the Executive Government of this country, and that they relied on the wisdom of Parliament to remedy their grievances. On receiving, however, these resolutions, they did not take the peaceful part of the alternative. They did not agree to look to other methods for the redress of the grievances of which they complained. Be it remembered, that when we said we could not agree to their demands, I stated expressly myself, that if any mode of ar-
ranging the differences which existed were suggested, otherwise than by the appointment of an Elective Council, we should be ready to undertake the consideration of it, and if possible to adopt it. I proposed myself certain mitigations as to the manner of appointment in future. Instead of having persons chosen by the Governor unknown to the inhabitants (a matter which was frequently complained of,) it was determined that the Executive Council should state their opinion of the fitness of the persons intended to be appointed. When Mr. Roebuck, formerly a Member of this House, proposed that the Legislative Council should be abolished, I did not at once say, that the proposition was inadmissible, but I wished to know whether the House of Assembly agreed to that mode of remedying the grievance of which they had complained. I did not propose the remedy which was suggested. I was not disposed to think it well considered; but I felt, that the course which was to be taken should not be in the face of the repeated resolutions of the Assembly, declaring, that the Imperial Parliament could not otherwise act for their benefit than by making the Legislative Council elective. I could not, therefore, consent to a course entirely new, and at variance with that plan which had hitherto been looked upon as the sole means for accomplishing their wishes. But what was the answer of the Assembly in their meeting of August, 1837? Their answer was, that they would not suggest anything, that they would not propose anything, but if the Government of England should think proper to propose certain modifications in the Legislative Council, they would endeavour to determine what changes would enable the Government of the colony to be carried on beneficially. What was the meaning of this? By repeated evasions of the questions which had been asked them, and of the resolutions of that House, they seemed resolved to give this interpretation to their conduct, if we should introduce certain favourable changes: “We rejoice that you have got rid of the Legislative Council as an obstacle to our desires, but you have not fulfilled the whole conditions on which we rest our case, and we insist still upon an Elective Council as the only means by which future harmony can be established.” Is it not obvious that such would have been the answer—is it not clear, from the spirit in which the controversy has been conducted, that no other reply would be received from
the Canadians in answer to concessions volunteered by the Government. In August, 1837, therefore, the Assembly, having met, refused altogether to comply with the request of the Governor to grant the supplies, and persevered in their former demands, with the trifling admission, that there was a possibility of granting them at some future time. They were accordingly prorogued. With respect to all that has happened since the events of which I have been speaking, as there is a sufficiently succinct narration to be deduced from the papers which have been laid before the House, I do not mean to refer to them in detail, contenting myself with a reference to their most prominent features. It appears that soon after the reception of the resolutions of which I have just spoken, violent meetings were held in Canada, at which these resolutions were arraigned, the Government of the colonies held up to odium and scorn, and at which not unfrequently the example of the United States of America was held up as the one it behoved the Canadians to follow. The nature and objects of these meetings were very boldly expressed, but still it appears, by repeated despatches from Lord Gosford, that for a long time he did not consider these demonstrations of importance, and even in his later communications he has more than once said, he thinks that the system of agitation has failed in accomplishing its objects, that a better spirit is commencing to prevail, and that many who were but a little time past favourably disposed to the alleged objects of the movement party, have lately expressed themselves as better inclined to the mother-country. But after the meetings I have described above, had gone on for a considerable time, it appears, others commenced which were certainly of a more formidable character. Lord Gosford’s attention having been called to their existence, and to the propositions discussed before them, he conceived it to be his duty to dismiss from the militia, certain officers who had taken part at these violent, and I will say seditious, assemblies. Upon this the people met, and after most violently impugning the conduct and motives of the Governor for the dismissal, they proceeded to elect officers for themselves; and passed resolutions, pledging themselves not to submit any case of theirs to a magistrate holding authority from her Majesty, and concluded, by declaring themselves ready to act in any manner that should be required
under certain “pacificators,” appointed by themselves, and the officers of the militia they themselves had just elected. It was obvious from the very selection of these officers, and from the people proceeding to obey their commands, that the intention was, to throw off all allegiance to the mother country; but unfortunately, matters did not stop here. These seditious meetings continued to be held; and, goaded on by the inflammatory declamation of the orators, the mob proceeded, in, many instances, to acts of personal violence against all who refused to obey the mandates of these illegal meetings. Parties went round at night threatening with destruction all who refused to join the ranks of the disaffected; in many instances houses and property were destroyed, and the extreme vengeance of an infuriated rabble was held out to those officers of the militia who had not been dismissed by the Governor, and evinced an inclination to perform their duties with loyalty and fidelity. On the 2nd of September, Lord Gosford, in a dispatch to Lord Glenelg, says—”It is evident that the Papineau faction are not to be satisfied with any concession that does not place them in a more favourable position to carry into effect their ulterior objects, namely the separation of this country from England, and the establishment of a republican form of government. M. Papineau has gone such lengths, that he must now persevere in the course he has taken, or submit to a defeat which would annihilate all his power and influence. The plan he pursues clearly shows that he is determined to do all that he can to obtain his ends. The violent and unjustifiable attacks which have been made by the ultra Tory party upon the French Canadians generally, have caused an animosity which M. Papineau does not fail to turn to account, and I attribute much of his influence over so many Members in the Assembly to this cause. M. Papineau has emissaries in various directions; and though I do not conceive there is any ground for alarm, still great caution and vigilance are required to guard against the evils that might follow from the attempts making to excite discontent among the people by the most abominable misrepresentations. The executive requires more power, and under my present impression, I am disposed to think that you may be under the necessity of suspending the constitution. It is with feelings of deep regret I state this, but duty compels me to communicate it to you.” On the 8th of September he again writes—”We can now
make no terms with Mr. Papineau; you must either put him down, or submit to let him put you down; there is no halting between two opinions. By at once increasing the power of the executive, and suspending the constitution, you at once paralyse the designs of these mischievous men. It would establish confidence in the minds of those disposed to peace and good government, and at no distant period you might be solicited to restore the constitution to the province, under arrangements better calculated to afford satisfaction than could be accomplished by any effort or proposal in the present state of things; for until you nullify Papineau’s power you can never be in a position to treat on anything like fair and liberal terms with a man of his extravagant, uncompromising, destructive views, exercising as he does, complete control over the minds of many who have been too long accustomed to be under his yoke.” Notwithstanding the positive tenour of this dispatch, I find, that on the 9th of September, Lord Gosford wrote to say, that he did not believe the disaffection wide spread. He observes in this dispatch—”That this state of affairs seriously augments the difficulties of carrying on the government, and operates most injuriously upon the welfare and prosperity of the province, must be quite obvious. With the exception of some of the counties in the district of Montreal, I believe the mass of the population is contented and loyal, and that the attempts that are making to shake its allegiance and to create confusion will be unsuccessful.” At a later period, however, there did occur a collision in the streets of Montreal between two parties, the one calling themselves the followers of Mr. Papineau, and the others adherents to the constituted authorities, under the designation of the Doric Club. This was very soon after followed by information of so alarming a tendency, that the Governor of the province conceived it to be his duty to send the Attorney General to Montreal to collect all possible information upon the subject, and to write to Sir John Colborne to ascertain what might be his means of putting down any disturbance that might arise. It appears the Attorney General very soon obtained what he conceived sufficient evidence of secret and unlawful organization; and in consequence he determined on putting on trial, for what was termed high treason, several persons of the Montreal district, and the requisite orders for their immediate arrest were
issued. In pursuance of these orders, the force, known as the county police, made several efforts to take into custody the persons inculpated, but in the end were obliged to relinquish the attempt. It appears that afterwards, when Sir John Colborne, in the exercise of his duty, sent out troops to obtain possession of the guilty parties, an armed rebel force was found prepared, in the villages of St. Denis and St. Charles, to resist the Queen’s troops, and then an open insurrection broke out. I imagine, Sir, that when matters came to this point, there can be no doubt on the mind of any man loyally disposed as to the object sought: no man so disposed would deny—indeed, I hope, no man so disposed would attempt to deny—that it was the duty of the governor of the province in which these acts of insubordination and rebellion took place to take every means his position afforded him to restore tranquillity and protect the well-disposed of her Majesty’s subjects. Fortunately, most fortunately, the person who is intrusted with the military command of the troops in Canada, is one intimately acquainted with the country in which he has to act, and endowed with all the vigour of intellect and firmness of purpose requisite for his highly important station. Sir John Colborne immediately adopted the steps which the occasion required, and, as far as we have been able to learn, up to the present moment, the result of those measures has been the defeat of those who were in arms against the troops of her Majesty, and the restoration of tranquillity to a great portion of the disturbed district. So far, therefore—although in common with all I must lament that civil war should prevail in any part of her Majesty’s dominions—I think we have all common cause of congratulation; I think, Sir, there can be but few—I think there can be but very few—to whom it can be a matter other than of congratulation that her Majesty’s troops have been successful in the performance of the service they were legally and constitutionally employed upon. I do trust, Sir, that, in the course of this or any subsequent debate on this subject, we shall hear no more of those inconceivable wishes, of those guilty hopes, that the armies of her Majesty may encounter defeat, and the British name be covered with dishonour. I do trust, Sir, and I do believe, that if such a feeling exists at all—and the balance of my opinion I am bound to say is against its existence—that it is confined to a very narrow portion—I will not say of
this House—but of the whole population of the empire. This, at least, is clear, that with respect to other portions of our North American colonies, with respect to Upper Canada—although a base traitor of the name of M’Kenzie has attempted to disturb that province—that in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick the feeling, I may say, the universal feeling, has been one of loyalty to the British Government, and attachment to the connection with the mother country. We have seen that not only the regular authorities of her Majesty’s Government acted with the promptitude which became them, but we have also seen a large portion of the loyally disposed inhabitants of the provinces holding meetings, volunteering to take arms, and doing every other act in their power to show the depth and sincerity of their attachment to the constitutional government, and the desire for the continuance of the connexion between the provinces and the mother country; and let me say further, I was asked at the commencement of this Session, whether the Government had not received intelligence of an increased amount of desertion among the British troops employed in Canada? At the time this question was asked I was not aware as to how the fact stood, and I answered accordingly; but I am most happy in being able to state that, upon inquiry, I find desertion among the troops in Canada, so far from having been on the increase during the past year, was considerably diminished in amount. The hon. Gentleman who asked me the question may, perhaps, be surprised that, with the addition to his ordinary duties of a civil war, a winter campaign, and very severe duty, there should not be an increase of desertion; but when I tell him that my supposition, the reverse of his, is based on these very circumstances, I think his surprise will be increased. In my opinion, when a British soldier finds the question is, whether or not he shall remain at his post to maintain his allegiance to his Sovereign, and support the honour of his country, those very hardships I have enumerated would induce him to be firm, and that, bearing up against them with the heart of a Briton, he will be found to the last faithful to his Queen, and true to the interests of his country. I have now, Sir, stated what has been the course of the present Government in respect to Canada, from the commencement of our career to the present time. I have shown, I think, that we have no reason to reproach ourselves with tyranny or oppression, or
even with carelessness or senseless indifference in our Government of these provinces. I come now to a question which has been argued in a very different temper—it is the question whether it is for our interest to abandon Lower Canada altogether. I say, at once, I cannot bring my mind to the conclusion that it would be so. I say at once, that the single motive of the attachment of a considerable portion of the population to the British constitution, and the situation in which they would be left if we abandoned the province to the French party, that single motive would be a sufficient reason with me for emphatically saying “No” to such a proposition. I ask the House would they be ready to desert the men who are now so nobly evincing their loyalty—would they leave them exposed to the plunder that would be inevitable on a separation—and if they would, I then ask them could they do so consistently with justice, and with the maintenance of their country’s high character? But if the reasons I have mentioned were insufficient, there are other considerations which would induce the Government to oppose any project of abandonment. Supposing the St. Lawrence under the command of the United States, and a Canadian republic established at Quebec, does any one believe that the other provinces, the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, could be kept under control? No, Sir; I am convinced if such a state of things should by any mischance come round, the question would arise, whether we should not try to regain Lower Canada, or abandon North America altogether. Is England prepared for such an alternative? I do believe that the possession of our colonies tends materially to the prosperity of this empire. On the preservation of our colonies depends the continuance of our commercial marine; and on our commercial marine mainly depends our naval power; and on our naval power mainly depends the strength and supremacy of our arms. I think, then, I may say, without arguing the question any further, that it is our policy, as well as but fairness and justice to our fellow-subjects, that we should not think of abandoning those provinces. Sir, I have thought it necessary to address the House at this great, I fear too great, length on the subject of our affairs in Canada, because I do think it is most important, that Parliament and the country should be put in possession of the whole of our proceedings, so that when the fitting time arrives
the conduct of the Government in regard to the question may be fairly and fully discussed. I say, for my own part, if I thought our conduct was founded in injustice to any party, from it, I would at once retreat. I say, likewise, if I could find, that it is not the interest both of this country and of the colony itself, that Canada should continue to be a part of the British empire, I should be prepared to counsel a separation; but coming as I do to a most decided conviction on both these questions, I am quite prepared to come to the further question, namely, what is the course we should adopt to preserve the union in peace and prosperity? I conceive there can be no doubt, that the first duty of the country and of the House, if hon. Members concur in the view of the question which we take, is to propose, that sufficient means be afforded in order to put down the insurrection. I am not going to argue the question whether or no the present Government were to blame in not having at this moment a greater military force in Canada. The question which we wish to propose for the consideration of the House to-night, is whether or not the House be prepared to maintain the sovereignty of the Crown in the colonies, and not whether her Majesty’s Ministers were to blame. I see opposite to me a noble Lord who is reported to have said, that Ministers should appear at the bar of the House for suffering an insurrection to break out. If that noble Lord, or any other hon. Member, thinks we are to blame, let him arraign us, and we shall be ready to meet the charge. Before, however, they do so, I shall suggest to their consideration for a moment, two points:—firstly, Whether any authority, civil or military, or any body of persons whatever, hold the opinion, that the force at present in Canada was inadequate, and ought to have been increased; and secondly, Whether, up to the present moment, the force in Lower Canada has been proved inadequate for the suppression of the disturbance. However, I repeat, I do not wish at the present moment to argue this question. I am ready to do so should any hon. Member think fit to propose a vote of censure on us; but the question to-night is, what are the means we ought to adopt, and what are the points on which we can agree in order to maintain in these provinces good order and tranquillity. With respect to force, it will be, I think, absolutely necessary, that a very sufficient force should be in the St. Law-
rence in the spring, to be landed in Canada as soon as the navigation opens. For my own part, I may say, I entertain no apprehensions as to what may have hitherto been done by these insurgents, abandoned as they seem to have been by the great body of the British, and even French Canadians. From this, I say, I do not feel any apprehension whatever. But it is obvious at the same time, that, an insurrection having once broken out, a temptation is by the very circumstance presented, to many—a temptation not to be resisted—to endeavour to shake the British power in Canada. Let me be understood as not meaning to say, that any treaties or friendships with this country are likely to be forgotten on the present occasion, either by the great powers of Furope or by America. I have no intention of even insinuating the possibility of such an occurrence, and the conduct of the United States Government since the commencement of the disturbances in Canada strongly tends to convince us, that from the United States the Canadian rebels will meet with neither sympathy nor assistance. But at the same time it is impossible not to see, that both in Europe and America there are many whom the want of employment at home, and the hope of a participation in those splendid spoils so temptingly held out by the abettors of the rebellion, will induce to flock to the scene; and for this reason, even though circumstances may in the end prove that the precaution is unnecessary, I think it will be quite necessary that we should be prepared for action by the next spring, and have in the St. Lawrence ready for disembarkation a force sufficient to put down every vestige of the insurrection. Then comes the question with respect to the civil Government. It is obviously quite impossible, that we should think of convening the Assembly, or of asking them to pass laws, or do any act properly belonging to their jurisdiction. Unhappily, some of the most prominent Members of the Assembly have taken part with the insurgents, so that, as I before said, the Assembly itself may be said to have suspended their constitution. I may as well here state, that the general plan I shall have the honour to propose is embodied in a Bill which I shall to-night ask for leave to introduce. Its leading provisions I shall now briefly state. In the first place, to ask Parliament to suspend that part of the constitution of 1791 by which it is made necessary to call together the Members of the Legislative Assembly. We then pro-
pose, that the power of legislation shall be given to a Governor in Council. The Bill does not, in its present shape, propose any particular number of which that Council should consist; but it provides that not less than five members of it should be present at any deliberation, and that every subject of deliberation should be brought forward and proposed by the governor. It then proceeds to provide that all the powers of legislation which may be necessary for the government of the provinces shall be intrusted to this body, I mean the Governor in council; that they may renew, if expedient, any acts which may have expired owing to the non-convocation of the Legislative Assembly, and that they may pass such acts as the occasion may require for the Government of the province; but the Bill does not propose that either the Governor or council should have power to change the constituent body. But, Sir, while this authority may be given, there remains this further question, in what manner is the constitution again to be re-established? It is our intention, and we adopt this plan with no other view, than that permanently a free constitution should exist in Canada. For this purpose we mean not only to limit the period of the authority of the new Governor, but also the period of the authority of the laws which we give him power to enact. If there are any who think that the present occasion ought to be taken to adopt any other than a free Government in Canada, or that the English party should have a concession made to all their wishes, and that the French Canadians should be subjected to a form of Government unpalatable to them, or one from which they could not expect full justice, or the due consideration of their interests, I have only to say that to such a proposition her Majesty’s Government will be noparties. We propose only to do that which we consider the interests both of the mother country and the provinces require. We do not propose to govern Canada in any other way than that which must tend to the welfare of its inhabitants. I am firmly of opinion that the difficulties which have hitherto prevented an adjustment of this question have entirely arisen from the peculiar constitution of the House of Assembly (convened, unfortunately, at the will of one ambitious demagogue), and of a Legislative Council, in the composition of which, by former governors, the interests of the provinces and the characters of the individual men were not sufficiently con-
sulted. I think, therefore, that with respect to the principal questions on which the alleged grievances of the Canadians are based, a satisfactory adjustment may, in the course of time, be arrived at. At the present moment I doubt very much whether we have before us all the elements upon which to decide the terms of such an adjustment; but I think, nevertheless, we have sufficient to justify our expressing an opinion that a consummation so much in every sense to be desired, is not considered by us either impracticable or even difficult. I shall propose, therefore, that the Governor and his council, with the view to this final adjustment, should have recourse to the opinions of the Canadians themselves, summoning for that purpose a kind of board, to consist of twenty-six persons, of whom ten should be representatives of the assembly in Upper Canada, ten of the assembly in Lower Canada, three to be members of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, and three members of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada. I do not, however, propose—I should not be justified in proposing—that the final settlement of this matter should be left to this body in conjunction with the Governor. The Imperial Parliament is naturally the supreme legislative authority in the British empire, and I do not think we should on this occasion—on this so important and solemn an occasion—depart from the principle so invariably advocated by every great statesman and lawyer, of leaving to it the supreme control. I, therefore, propose that the propositions which may emanate from this assembly, after having been assented and agreed to by the Governor, should be transmitted to this country, and then proposed to Parliament, with a view of making such modifications in the constitution of 1791 as may conduce to the interests of all, and eventually prove the foundation of an harmonious and, I would add, a free constitution for the people. I do not despond. I say that such a foundation may be laid; but at the same time I think it is most important that the person to be sent from this country should be one whose conduct and character should be beyond exception—a person conversant not solely with matters of administration, but with the most important affairs which are from time to time brought before the Parliament of this country. I think he should be conversant also with the affairs of the various states of Europe; and moreover, that it should be implied by his nomination that
he was not at all adverse to opinions the most liberal, and that he was favourable to popular feelings and popular rights. Having said this much, I know not why I should refrain from adding that her Majesty has been pleased to intrust the conduct of this affair and these high powers to one whom her advisers think in every respect fitted for the charge—namely, the Earl of Durham; and the Earl of Durham having accepted the office, will proceed in due time to perform its important duties. I will now proceed to say a few words as to the advantages which I think are at present enjoyed by the people of Lower Canada. It is the general opinion of all persons who are conversant with the subject, that there are no people on the face of the globe who are in a condition of greater comfort and ease, or who enjoy more extensive and peculiar advantages, than the habitans of Lower Canada. That is their present condition, and with the general progress of improvement it is fairly to be expected that that condition will improve. In addition to the benefit which they derive from the enjoyment of laws congenial to their own habits, feelings, and prejudices, they have the benefit which they derive from the enjoyment of British laws. It is certainly true that, with all these advantages, they do not enjoy complete independence. They do not enjoy that absolute freedom of action which is altogether inconsistent with their state, if they are still to be considered as the inhabitants of a colony belonging to a mother country. But, Sir, in return for that disadvantage (if, indeed, it be a disadvantage), there are circumstances which go far to compensate them. Among the first of those circumstances is the privilege which they possess of being defended from foreign attack by the armies and by the navies of this country without charge. In the last year a sum of 220,000l. was voted for the naval and military defence of Canada, of which sum not above 1,200l. or 1,500l. was paid by Canadians. What would they have to pay if they were in the situation of the United States? In the last year the charge for the naval and military expenses of the American states was little less than 5,000,000l. Then again, with regard to taxation. The taxes in the Canadas are exceedingly light. The disposition of the revenue is also in the highest degree favourable to the interests of the people. The largest annual sum that has been voted in Lower Canada (I speak in round
numbers) was 157,000l. Of that sum 57,000l. was appropriated to the expenses of the civil government; 70,000l. to the expenses of roads, enclosures, and other internal improvements; and 25,000l. to the purposes of education. Now, I ask whether, if we were in this condition, if all we had to pay was the expenses of the civil government, the expenses of internal improvements, and the expenses of public education, it would not be thought that we were in a very enviable situation? But, Sir, if the people of Canada have no great reason to complain of the laws under which they live—if they have no great reason to complain of the taxes which are imposed upon them—if they have no great reason to complain of the disposition of their revenue—still less reason have they to complain on the subject of trade. With respect to trade, it has always been admitted, that an Imperial Legislature has a right to compel a colony to receive the produce of the mother country, and a right to restrict that colony in its commerce with other nations. But, if Canada were separated from Great Britain—if Great Britain and Canada were two independent nations, could the trade of Canada by possibility be in a state so beneficial to that colony as at present? If, then, the situation of the people of Canada be so happy with respect to their internal condition, to their laws, to their finances, and to their trade, I think I have a perfect right to come to this House and to ask it to agree to the proposition which I am about to make. The Address which I mean to propose, after “thanking her Majesty for her gracious communication of papers relating to the affairs of Canada,” and “assuring her Majesty that the anxious consideration of this House shall be given to the preparation of such measures as the present exigency may require,” proceeds “to express to her Majesty our deep concern that a disaffected party in Canada should have had recourse to open violence and rebellion, with a view to throw off their allegiance to the Crown. To declare to her Majesty our satisfaction that their designs have been opposed, no less by her Majesty’s loyal subjects in North America than by her Majesty’s forces, and to assure her Majesty, that while this House is ever ready to afford relief to real grievances, we are fully determined to support the efforts of her Majesty for the suppression of revolts and the restoration of tranquillity.” Sir, I think I have laid quite suffi-
cient grounds to induce this House to consent to repose this confidence in her Majesty and her Majesty’s Government, who are, with me, not prepared to give immediate independence to the British provinces in North America. Although, I repeat, that I am not prepared to give immediate independence, this I will say, that if the time were come at which such an important change might be safely and advantageously made, I should, by no means, be indisposed to give the 1,400,000 of our present fellow-subjects who are living in the provinces of North America a participation in the perfect freedom enjoyed by the mother country. If it were a fit time, if circumstances of all kinds were such as to render such an arrangement desirable, I think that our colonies might with propriety be severed from us, and formed into a separate and distinct state, in alliance, offensive and defensive, with this country. [“Hear, hear!”] The hon. Member for Kilkenny and the hon. Member for Bridport cheer this sentiment. Of this I am sure, that if things had arrived at the state which I have described, if the time for such a separation had arrived, (which I utterly deny) we should then have as allies men influenced by the most amiable and affectionate feelings towards the mother country; not men who would wish to see the British arms defeated, or who would entertain the aspiration that the power of Great Britain might sink into insignificance and contempt. On the contrary, I am convinced that we should find in them men who would cheer on the efforts of this great empire, who would reverence our character, and share our triumphs. Until such a time, however, shall arrive, until separation shall be the mutual interest of the British colonies and the British empire, we will not consent that these provinces shall lose British protection, in addition to the privileges which they enjoy in common with their fellow-subjects. If the time be not come for the separation to which I allude, at least let us not consent to the separation of a small portion of persons who have carried their ambitious designs into effect by breaking into open rebellion in Lower Canada. If you consent to such a proposition, you will indeed create a civil war, you will excite plunder and pillage, you will give the signal for a long and sanguinary interruption of public tranquillity; and if the individuals to whom I have alluded fancy that they can establish
a free, a happy, and an orderly republic, in that expectation they will most signally fail. Sir, such are the reasons and such are the grounds on which I ask this House to assent to the Address which I am about to propose. I feel confident that the House and the country will do her Majesty’s Government the justice to believe, that they entertain no wish to avail themselves of the means which, they trust, will be placed at their disposal for purposes of severity, still less of vengeance, with reference to the misguided people who have been induced to take a part in this insurrection. I am sure that no one can be more anxious than the noble Lord, the present Governor of Canada, and I am sure that no one will be more anxious than the noble Lord who will succeed him, to make the present warfare as little attended by circumstances of a painful and sanguinary nature as possible. I feel confident that they will consider clemency the best road to reconciliation; for I also feel confident that the defection of the greater portion of those who have been led into rebellion in Lower Canada may be justly attributed to ignorance. The few really guilty, the designing men who have exasperated others, and induced them rashly to appeal to arms, will hereafter be held in detestation by their own countrymen. Confident as to the issue of this contest, I feel it my duty to call upon the House to uphold those who have been faithful to their Sovereign, to their country, to their oaths, and to the integrity of the empire. The noble Lord concluded by moving the following Address:— That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty, to thank her Majesty for her gracious communication of papers relating to the affairs of Canada. To assure her Majesty that the anxious consideration of this House shall be given to the preparation of such measures as the present exigency may require. To express to her Majesty our deep concern that a disaffected party in Canada should have had recourse to open violence and rebellion, with a view to throw off their allegiance to the Crown. To declare to her Majesty our satisfaction that their designs have been opposed no less by her Majesty’s loyal subjects in North America than by her Majesty’s forces; and to assure her Majesty that while this House is ever ready to afford relief to real grievances, we are fully determined to support the efforts of her Majesty for the suppression of revolt and the restoration of tranquillity.
Mr. Hume was very unwilling to tres-
pass upon the House, but was nevertheless desirous to state shortly the view he took of the question under consideration. There was one observation made by the noble Lord which had given him great satisfaction. The noble Lord had stated that he was sure the House and the country would be anxious to have all the facts relative to the occurrences in Canada fairly and fully before them. Now, it was, because he knew that the House and the country had not all the facts relative to the occurrences in Canada fairly and fully before them, that he could not agree to the proposed address, and still less to the proposition for suspending the constitution of Lower Canada. He knew very well that the noble Lord had a great advantage over him in calling the attention of the House to the subject, without having previously given the smallest intimation of what it was his intention to propose. The noble Lord had carefully concealed his plans from every body; and now, after a long statement of the past history of Canada, he came forth with a proposition to suspend the constitution of Lower Canada. He would take upon himself to say, that the noble Lord had not dealt fairly with the House in stating that they were in full possession of the facts which had led to the present condition of things in Lower Canada, and which ought to induce them to adopt the extraordinary and unconstitutional course which the noble Lord now proposed. He agreed with the noble Lord in one statement, that it was the intention of Parliament in 1791 (and he would not enter at all into the noble Lord’s previous statements) to give to the people of Canada all the advantages of a representative body, similar in every respect to the House of Commons in the mother country. If, however, the noble Lord read the speeches of Mr. Fox and the other hon. Members of that period correctly, he would find that the Legislative Council was an experiment to try if a body could be established similar to the House of Lords. That experiment had been made, and it had entirely failed. That circumstance the noble Lord had, however, passed over, and had gone on to describe the violent meetings, and proceedings that had taken place in Lower Canada. But the House of Assembly was not in fault. The fault was attributable to the Governor and the Legislative and Executive Councils, which were never found to be in accordance with the Legislative Assembly. In 1828 it had been distinctly
declared by the Colonial Secretary that the measures, then in contemplation had for their object the bringing of these different bodies into a state of accordance. Now, as the great majority of the Legislative Assembly was composed of French Canadians, if a disposition existed at the period he had alluded to to bring the different bodies into a state of accordance, that could only have been accomplished by giving the same party a majority in the Legislative and Executive Councils. Was it possible that any rational person could suppose that the Government of so distant a colony could be satisfactorily carried on by two parties so differing in opinion from one another? The thing was impossible; and there was no doubt, therefore, that the intention in 1828 was, that the people of Lower Canada, being fairly represented in the House of Assembly, the Legislative Council and the Executive Council should contain so many pelsons who had a stake and interest in the country, that it was probable the opinions of those councils would coincide with the opinions of the House of Assembly. That intention, however, was not carried into effect. On the contrary, such a selection of persons was made for the councils as was not at all calculated for that purpose. This the noble Lord must admit. If he did, ought he not to pause before he came to that House to propose the destruction of the representative body? He thought that the noble Lord was wrong in blaming the conduct of the House of Assembly. The noble Lord ought to have looked at the proceedings during the Government of Lord Dalhousie. He wished the noble Lord had told the House what, in his view of the question, had been the powers vested in the House of Assembly; and had then proceeded to show in what respect they had exceeded their authority, and what charge existed against them of a nature so serious as to demand their destruction. Could any thing be more legitimate than that they should employ themselves in examining item by item the articles of the civil list? From the year 1820, when Lord Dalhousie was Governor, the right possessed by the House of Assembly to exercise this scrutiny had been acknowledged. If this were supposed by the noble Lord an offence, the noble Lord would entirely fail in proving it to be one. Whoever knew any thing of the privileges of the House of Commons would acknowledge that one of the most valuable of those privileges was that of investigating the civil list. Instead,
therefore, of being a charge against the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada, their exercise of this privilege ought to redound to their praise. It was the Legislative Council which had thrown impediments in the way of beneficially governing the country. The noble Lord referred to the instructions which had been given by Sir George Murray, when he was Secretary of State for the Colonies, and said that those instructions were liberal in their character. He admitted it. But had those instructions been acted upon? He could state, on the authority of those who, being on the spot, were perfectly competent witnesses, that they had never been acted upon. He by no means blamed Sir George Murray, whose intentions, he believed, and had always said he believed, were good. But he had also said, and he still said, that it was impossible satisfactorily to govern any colony at a distance from the mother country, if the persons in authority in that colony had no feeling in common with the people of the colony. Up to the present moment the persons in authority in Lower Canada were aliens in that colony. That was proved by the petition to the House of Commons in 1828, signed by 87,000 inhabitants of Lower Canada, nineteen-twentieths of whom were landed proprietors, forming an overwhelming majority of the population. In the Legislative Council of Lower Canada there was only one person interested in the soil. The other members of that council were cither official persons, or people from England, who had no interest in the soil. Was it possible that Sir George Murray or any other Colonial Minister should be able satisfactorily to administer such a government as that of Lower Canada under such circumstances? Out of 340 civil offices, only forty were Canadians; the rest were persons such as he had just described. There was the origin of all the evils which had occurred. Could any thing be more extaordinary than that, at a time when they were anxious to be relieved from all the expenses of the colonies, they should refuse to listen to the proposition of the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada to relieve them from those expenses on the condition of having the management and disposal of the revenue? By such an arrangement both the Government at home and the colonial government would acquire greater strength. The present system of lavish and extravagant expenditure was main-
tained only for purposes of abuse and corruption. He had frequently stated, that the people of England were taxed, not for the benefit of the colonies (who did not want it), but for the benefit of a few individuals. That was the cause of the prevalent system of abuse and misrule. Was it fitting that the House of Assembly should be blamed for endeavouring to perform one of their most important functions, that of examining any branch of the public expenditure, item by item? The two statements made by the noble Lord were inconsistent with the facts, which could be abundantly proved by documents and correspondence. He might go on and advert to other circumstances—to the pension list and other matters. Nearly ten years ago he had said that Sir James Kempt was the only Governor of the colony he had ever heard of against whom no complaint had ever been sent home. He would take upon himself to say, that if all Governors of Canada had acted on Sir James Kempt’s principles, the present posture of affairs would never have existed. It was incorrect to say, that the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada had refused to pass the Act of supply. They had only refused to do so without attaching to it certain conditions, indicating the impropriety of allowing any individual to hold several offices, and the expediency of confining one individual to one office. Adverting to Lord Gosford’s letter of February, 1837, respecting the arrears which for three years the Legislative Assembly had refused to pay up, he (Mr. Hume) observed, that the noble Lord went out after the Governments of Lord Amherst and Lord Aylmer for the purpose of conciliation, but that the most important object of his mission remained concealed until disclosed by Sir F. Head. The Canadian people said, and said naturally to the Governor:— It is right we should tell you, and through you, the British Parliament and the British Government, that until you redress our grievances, which are of so important and so grievous a nature, we will not pay up the arrears; but in order to show you how sincerely desirous we are that the machinery of Government should go on, we will, notwithstanding the severity of the measures which you now adopt towards us, vote the supplies for the current year, so that you may have sufficient time to write home to the Colonial-office, and to ascertain whether in that quarter there is any disposition to accede to those claims which we deem just and reasonable. Such was the language held by the House
of Assembly, and they acted not only upon the spirit but up to the very letter of it. They took the estimates of 1833 as the groundwork upon which to frame those for the current year. The House would hardly believe that a Minister of the Crown should now rise in his place in that House, and state, that from the year 1832 the House of Assembly had uniformly and obstinately persisted in refusing the supplies, when he (Mr. Hume) held in his hand a letter from Lord Gosford, in which that nobleman said, “the House of Assembly has entered item by item into the account for the supplies.” The House of Assembly had, in fact, not only entered into the account item by item, but had actually voted the salaries of all the chief officers of the Government. It was true that they had attached certain conditions to their votes; but those conditions were only just and reasonable—conditions not only proper in themselves, but in many instances absolutely necessary to the proper discharge of the duties of the situations filled by the different officers. Did the noble Lord mean to say, that the House of Assembly, when it voted money, had not the power to affix conditions upon which that money should be paid? Public opinion in England had declared against plurality of offices. Was it not fit and proper, therefore, for the Canadian House of Assembly to say that it would vote certain salaries to certain officers only upon condition of their abandoning places which were wholly inconsistent with their official situations? Was there anything unjust, unreasonable, or improper in their declaring that the auditor of the land-tax, the clerk and registrar, the clerk of the Legislative Council, and the roaster in Chancery, should severally be paid the salaries attached to those offices, only upon condition of their ceasing to be members of the Legislative Council? Was there anything inconsistent in the House of Assembly declaring that men holding subservient situations, as clerks in different offices, should not continue to be Members of a body which in the colonial legislature was ranked in the same place as the House of Lords in Great Britain? He for one thought that the House of Assembly, instead of being subjected to blame, were deserving of every praise for the step they had taken towards the suppression of an abuse which was no longer tolerated at home. He would mention only one or two other instances, just to show the nature of
the conditions made by the House of Assembly, and for which the Legislative Council afterwards threw out the bill of supply. For it must always be remembered, that it was not the House of Assembly which refused, but the Legislative Council which rejected, the supply necessary to carry on the official duties of the government. The salary of the Speaker of the House of Assembly was voted with this proviso, “that he shall not at the same time receive an equal or a higher sum from any other situation under the government.” Had they not previously set the example in England, and laid down the rule, that an officer who received a large salary for one office should not, at the same time, be allowed to receive a salary from any other office? Was it just, then, to blame the House of Assembly in Canada for doing the very same thing which they (the House of Commons of England) took credit for doing themselves? The salaries of the officers of the Crown and of the Court of Chancery were also voted subject to this reasonable condition, “that they should not continue to be Members of the Executive or Legislative Councils.” A great deal had been said about the salaries of the judges being left unpaid. That was a falsehood throughout: the salaries of the judges had been voted. The noble Lord was, therefore, quite wrong in laying that charge at the door of the House of Assembly. Lord Gosford, in his despatch of March, 1836, distinctly stated that the House of Assembly would pay the salaries of the judges, provided they did not hold other offices. Was that an unreasonable condition? Was it fit that the judges should hold other offices? Was it permitted that the judges in England should hold a plurality of offices? If it were not permitted in England, was it right that the noble Lord, in making out a case against Canada, should say that the judges were left unpaid and that justice could not be administered, when the only bar to their payment was the fact of their holding a multiplicity of situations, utterly at variance with their office of judges. Such an allegation on the part of the noble Lord was nothing more than an excuse on the part of the noble Lord to induce the House to go along with him in an unjust measure; a measure founded upon statements and assertions which the documents in the noble Lord’s own hands would not bear out. The salary of the chief justice had been voted without any condition at all; and the salaries
of the puisne judges had also been voted subject only to the condition that they should not hold other offices under the government at the same time. The salary of the Judge of the Court of Vice Admiralty had also been voted, subject to the same condition. It was neither just nor fair in the noble Lord, therefore, to state that the salaries of the judges had been refused, and that justice could not be administered. Was the House of Assembly to blame if it attached such conditions to their votes, when they found gentlemen holding situations, as the Judge of the Court of Vice Admiraly did, wholly inconsistent with their offices, and receiving fees wholly unsanctioned by the laws? He took all these facts from Lord Gosford’s dispatches, which had been published by order of the Government; and when he mentioned that circumstance he thought he had stated enough to show that the noble Lord was not warranted in his assertion that the House of Assembly had refused to vote the supplies. Lord Gosford distinctly stated, that the bill of supply was introduced into the House of Assembly on the 25th of February or March, and was sent up to the other House with very little delay, and subject only to the conditions which he (Mr. Hume) had adverted to relative to plurality of offices. Lord Gosford added that the House of Assembly had taken that means of putting down the calumny that they had refused to vote the supplies; and he observed further, that he had no hesitation in saying such was the feeling—such the disposition—of the House of Assembly, that but for the untoward publication of the instructions of Sir Francis Head, the House of Assembly, that which was now so severely blamed, would have voted the whole of the supplies for the year. Was it not wonderful, then, that the noble Lord, with such evidence in his hands, should have the hardihood to come forward as a Minister of the Crown, and declare that the House of Assembly had obstinately refused to vote any supply? The fact, as he had already stated, was, that the House of Assembly proposed the measure of supply, and sent it up to the Legislative Council, where it was read a second time, but afterwards dropped. Hence the want of supply. Who was to blame? Not the House of Assembly but the Legislative Council. He had thus shown, from the correspondence of Lord Gosford, first, that the noble Lord was not supported in his statement; and, secondly, that the noble Lord was erroneous in the
conclusions he had drawn. Then the noble Lord alluded to the report of 1828, and to certain resolutions which were agreed to by the House of Assembly. The noble Lord said, that the Assembly was most ungrateful; what was the fact? He held in his hand a series of resolutions in which the House of Assembly expressed great thanks for the inquiry which had taken place. But what was the result of the inquiry for which, according to the noble Lord, the House of Assembly ought to be so extremely grateful? Were any of the recommendations of the report carried out? The House of Assembly was the best judge of that. The House of Assembly declared that not one of them had been carried out. They were great fools, therefore, for thanking the Home Government for benefits which seemed to be promised, but which, in fact, were never granted. If the recommendations contained in the report of 1828 had been fairly and honestly carried into effect, there would have been nothing of the unpleasant distractions which had existed almost from that time to the present hour. There would certainly have been nothing of that armed resistance which unhappily had of late been offered to the constituted authorities. He maintained, therefore, that the noble Lord when he quoted the report of 1828 quoted it against himself; or at all events quoted it only to be told that none of the recommendations which it contained had been carried into effect. There might have been a few petty and insignificant attempts at Reform; but all the principal grievances of the Canadians remained unredressed. The noble Lord then alluded to the minute of Lord Aberdeen. He wished that the noble Lord had acted more in the spirit of that nobleman. He thought that the intentions of Lord Aberdeen were good, and had that nobleman remained in office up to the present time, he had no doubt, from the great attention which he paid to the facts brought before him, and from the manner in which he drew his conclusions, that there would have been none of the rebellion, none of the disturbances, which they were now compelled to regret. He was bound to say so; taking it for granted that Lord Aberdeen would have acted upon the reasoning adopted by him during the short time he was at the head of the Colonial-office, and which, if carried into effect, would certainly have done much good. The noble Lord then referred to five different charges or complaints which
he alleged had been made. These included the independence of the press, the Jesuits’ property, the Church and Crown revenues and the constitution of the Legislative Council. He was certainly surprised to hear the noble Lord assert that the Canadians had no reason to complain of the constitution of the Legislative Council. The Canadians complained that that body, as at present constituted, was subject to no responsibility; and that as long as it was continued in its present shape they could have no power over their revenues, over their laws, or, in fact, over anything that concerned their welfare; because, whatever their own efforts might be in the House of Assembly, the Legislative Council had always the power without any kind of responsibility, to step in and mar all. The noble Lord passed over a period of ten years in a couple of paragraphs, with scarcely an allusion. He said that responsibility was recommended in the report of 1828, and that the Canadians were very unthankful in not having expressed their acknowledgments for the recommendation. But what had been done? Had the recommendation been carried into effect? No. Nothing had been done—nothing at least that could confer a substantial benefit upon the colony. Did the noble Lord believe that the alteration which he had made in the Legislative Council gave the least satisfaction to the people of Canada? Did he not know that public meetings had been held in which the new regulations introduced by the noble Lord were complained of as making the Legislative Council worse than it was before? Did not the noble Lord know that the Canadians would rather have that body composed of men fresh from England, not at all connected with the colony, than of men who were renegades from their former opinions, and in every way obnoxious to the great majority of the Canadian public. But when was the alteration made which was to give so much satisfaction to the people of Canada, and which according to the noble Lord, they were so ungrateful in not having acknowledged? Why (the House would hardly believe it), this boasted alteration was not made until the latter end of October last, ten years after the period at which an alteration in the constitution in the Legislative Council was originally recommended. The Council, which ought to have been reformed in 1828, was not reformed until 1837, when ten members were added to it, leaving it just as highly objectionable, and
as little calculated to satisfy the people upon the score of responsibility, as it had ever been. He maintained that all the noble Lord’s statements with respect to that body were entirely fallacious. The noble Lord then went on to say that from the year 1830 none of the measures of conciliation held out by the Government and Legislature of the mother country had been fairly met by the House of Assembly. What measures of conciliation had been held out? What real measures of conciliation had ever been held out without being successful? No, it was not until they were driven by the measure of last year—a measure which went at once to the destruction of their constitution, and of all their just rights, that the people of Canada assumed a tone of defiance towards the mother country. He denied that there had been any manifestation of a desire to conciliate on the part of the parent state. Was there anything of conciliation in the resolutions of last year? He had never heard of anything so reckless of all principle as those resolutions. They were immediately protested against by the whole of the Canadian people—public meetings were held in every district to condemn them; yet nothing was done by the home Government to remedy the fault it had committed. Up to a very late period assurances were received from Lord Gosford that there was nothing to excite any serious alarm in the state of the colony, although he, at the same time, expressed a doubt whether the spirit of dissatisfaction which had exhibited itself could be put down without a suspension of the constitution. The argument urged to-night by the noble Lord was, that a portion only of the people of the province were dissatisfied—merely a few demagogues who had practised upon the ignorance and credulity of a small portion of the people. If that were really the case, if the evil extended no further than that, what pretence was there for punishing the whole of the province? If a few had offended, why were all to be deprived of the benefit of their constitution? It was not yet known whether Papineau had ever joined the insurgents, or whether he were in any way privy to the revolt. He believed that the armed resistance to the Queen’s troops was not premeditated, but arose out of the heat of the moment. In consequence of instructions received from Lord Glenelg, Lord Gosford struck out of the list of magistrates every man of liberal opinions, and substituted none but Orangemen and
Tories in their places. Having thus obtained a subservient or congenial magistracy, Lord Gosford proceeded to arrest twenty-eight individuals in one day. It was this that startled the whole Canadian people, and excited that strong feeling which led to the opposition of the troops. Nobody knew on what authority or on what evidence these arrests were made. Everything was done with the utmost silence and secrecy. The people became alarmed; and this led to the rescue, which, as he before said, he believed to be wholly unpremeditated. Did the noble Lord mean to say that the House of Assembly knew anything or had anything to do with the rescue? Did the noble Lord mean to say, that anything but an attempt to interfere with the administration of justice in a degree so flagrant as that adopted by Lord Gosford would have led to the rescue which had since given rise to such unhappy consequences? Had the same conduct been pursued in Ireland, would not the consequences have been the same? If every liberal magistrate had been struck off the list in Ireland, and the Commission of the Peace filled up only by Orangemen and Tories—men entirely hostile to the feelings of the great mass of the people—would not the same resistance to the law have been offered at all events? When Ministers had allowed the expression of discontent to arise to so great a height in Canada, and especially after the admission of Lord Glenelg, that complaints from the colony had been increasing ever since 1828, he thought the measures now proposed to be adopted were too severe. To deprive the whole province of its liberties because a few had offended, gave to the proceedings of the Government an appearance of vengeance rather than of justice. He thought that the best course would be to send out an individual like Lord Durham, to whom he saw no sort of objection, armed with ample powers to do whatever he should deem necessary to preserve the tranquillity of the province, but not accompanied with the disgraceful act which was to suspend the liberties of the whole of the people. If he were to advise any course it would be that Government should declare a general amnesty. Let Lord Durham go out and declare an amnesty. Let him go out with full powers so to act, and then it would appear that revenge was not their object, but justice. But, at present, what had the Canadians to expect? What, after the Government had suspended their charter, had they to look
for? Would they not look at every act of England with suspicion and jealousy? Would they not feel a want of confidence in all that the Government proposed? If, then, the noble Lord wished to prevent the shedding of blood, let him pass an act of amnesty, and send out Lord Durham to declare it. Did not Sir Charles Grey tell them, after a residence of twelve months in Canada, that it was essential to interfere with the Legislative Assembly? It was admitted that a spirit of opposition had been excited that required an appeal to force; but he, for one, hated and detested war, above all, civil war. Civil war was the most to be abhorred, and to avoid such a calamity, he thought the Government ought not to stand upon any punctilios. But what was proposed? It was proposed to send out Lord Durham. Could Lord Durham do anything unless he got power? No. What did the noble Lord propose to do? He did not propose to give Lord Durham any such powers as would enable him to accomplish the only object it was necessary he should effect. This being so, Lord Durham would go out to Canada under such circumstances as would cover him with the like disgrace that had visited Lord Gosford. It was not Lower Canada alone that demanded redress. The other North American colonies were equally anxious to obtain justice from this country. If, then, the noble Lord were not disposed to make a permanent settlement with these colonies upon a constitutional basis, did he mean to keep them down by mere physical force? Would the people of England submit to the expense of such a policy? The noble Lord had said, that the feelings of the people were generally with him. He differed from the noble Lord in that respect. He believed that the people were anxious to put an end to bloodshed, and to effect a conciliation. This the noble Lord might succeed in accomplishing by passing an act of amnesty in favour of those who had been placed in their present predicament by the extraordinary and unaccountable proceedings of the colonial government. If the noble Lord would do that, he (Mr. Hume) was perfectly satisfied he might make amends for much that he had done. It was not the man who shed blood, but the man who stimulated him to shed it, who was the more guilty party. He would repeat, that it was the resolutions of the noble Lord that had stimulated the people of Lower Canada to revolt and bloodshed. It was unjust conduct of the House of Commons,
and the violation of the rights of the whole province of Canada that led to the bloodshed that had taken place. He was sorry to have been obliged to state his opinions at the length at which he had done, but he had felt it a duty both to himself and to the cause which he advocated, to advance the opinions he had declared, and he should sit down by expressing his deep regret at the course which the noble Lord had proposed to the House.
Lord Eliot observed, that the hon. Member for Kilkenny had attacked the noble Lord opposite pretty severely. In offering a few observations in reply to that hon. Member, however, he would not follow the example of the noble Lord by going through the history of the Canadas from the earliest period of their connexion with this country. He would merely ask if there had not been two great boons granted to that colony, and if the first of these was not the act of 1791, by which the House of Assembly was conceded; for he found in that act an oath to be taken by each Member of that Assembly, to the effect, that he would be faithful and true in his allegiance to his Majesty the Sovereign of Great Britain, that those provinces of the Canadas were dependent upon that kingdom, that he would do everything in his power against any traitorous conspiracy or any attempt that might be made against the Crown or its dignity, that he would do his utmost endeavour to discover and make known to his Majesty all such treasonable attempts; and that he swore this without any equivocation or mental reservation? Having said so much regarding the act of 1791, he would leave to the hon. Member for Kilkenny the task of accounting for the conduct of those persons whose cause he had that evening advocated. The next great concession made to Canada was in 1831, when the whole of the Crown possessions—the territorial and casual revenues—were given over to the House of Assembly, on condition of their paying the expenses of the Executive Government of the colony. Did they respond to that act of generosity? Did they keep the condition which they had entered into? On the contrary, they had no sooner received it than they refused to provide for the Judges appointed by the Crown, and for the Executive generally, notwithstanding it formed an express portion of the declaration on their parts that they should do so. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had followed the example of the noble Lord, and entered
into an historical detail to prove the existence of grievances in the province; but the hon. Gentleman, in his anxiety to make out a case for the Canadians, had forgotten to state the important fact that all those grievances were now removed. He did not for a moment mean to say, that no grievances ever existed in that colony; on the contrary, he freely admitted that many had, but he was borne out by the facts in repeating that those which formed the groundwork of the present rebellion, and the present complaint, had been long removed altogether. First, with regard to the Legislative Council. The noble Lord opposite had removed some of the main objections to that body. But there were others equally weighty, which were equally easily removed also. There was no primogeniture and entailed property in Canada, therefore there could be no succession of hereditary dignity; and if a new Legislative Council were now to be framed for that province it should be formed of precisely the same materials as the present one. The greatest of the alleged grievances was that which was termed the Canada Clearing Act. Now, what was the object of that Act? The improvement of property in the colony. And it was an act of extreme conciliation on the part of the Government to give the inhabitants an opportunity of improving their properties gradually by its means. All these grievances had, however, been removed; and he (Lord Eliot) was quite sure that in regard to any others which remained, the House of Commons was not at all indisposed to entertain and redress them. It was a thing deeply to be regretted that civil war should now rage in the colony—and no one more deprecated the consequences than he did; but those who “drew the sword, and threw away the scabbard,” should abide the issue of their own deeds; and he much feared that nothing now remained but to put the country under military power. He should, therefore, support the proposition of the noble Lord. But, though he should support it, he could not help feeling some degree of surprise that no explanation of the conduct hitherto pursued by his Majesty’s Government in respect to the question before the House had been offered by the noble Lord—that no satisfaction had been given to the people of this country on the subject—that no reason was shown why such a valuable province had been placed in such a state of jeopardy. A precedent for the course to be pursued on such
a momentous occasion would be found in the proceedings of Parliament at the period of the American war. In those days, it being believed that the Government then in power had not acted with a sufficient degree of firmness, a Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the facts of the case, and they were empowered, in pursuance of it, to send for all that was necessary to come to a right decision—persons, papers, &c. In his opinion some such course was most advisable now; for he defied any one to read the correspondence placed by her Majesty’s Government in the hands of Members of that House, and then come to the conclusion that everything necessary had been done by them, and that sufficient means had been taken to meet the emergency which it was clear they saw coming. And he felt bound to add that no noble Lord or any other individual should be placed over a province of the importance of Canada who could not make out a better case for himself than that which was established by that correspondence.
Sir J. Carnac, without affirming that the Canadian constitution was perfect, or that there was no grievance in the country to redress, was justified by the history of the colony in saying, that the conduct of the British Government towards it had always been marked by extreme liberality. In the first place, on the accession of the country to the British Crown, it was believed that the English laws would be more acceptable to the people than those which they had until then lived under, and they were accordingly given. But when, on trial, it was found that they would Hot afford the satisfaction anticipated, they were at once withdrawn, with the exception of those portions which the people desired generally to retain. At the same period a representative government was granted to them, because they required it, notwithstanding that the American independence had been effected in their neighbourhood, and the French revolution was raging in Europe: On all occasions had the conduct of the British Government towards the Canadians been marked by the desire to raise them in the social and political scale to a complete level with the people of this country. But the House of Assembly were not, it seemed, satisfied. Not content with protecting their own rights and privileges, and carrying them out to the fullest extent, they trenched on those of the other branches of the local Legislature. Every concession possible to
be made had been made them. The people of Canada were the most lightly taxed of any in the world. The population had increased tenfold in almost as many years—they lived in peace—they enjoyed peace—and yet they were in a state of rebellion. The question was, should Canada longer remain a constituent portion of the British empire, contributing to its greatness and prosperity, participating in its grandeur and glory, or should it be arrested in its career of growing happiness to gratify the views of designing patriots or liberal theorists? The opposition party in Canada had long contemplated a separation from this country. On a late occasion the sanction of Parliament had been asked to a meeting of delegates, for the purpose of settling the alleged grievances of the colony; but it was very properly refused, as it would decidedly lead to its total loss. The same party who made that proposition, also required the Legislative Council to be made elective. That would be a greater stretch of privilege than even the people of England themselves enjoyed. They also demanded such a modification of the existing law as would lead to the complete suppression of emigration. Would the people of England permit that? And another demand made by them was a repeal of the Tenures Act, a circumstance which would entirely destroy the moral influence of England. The object to be had in view at present was, to uphold the dignity, the honour, and the well-being of the British Crown and the British nation. Canada was undoubtedly entitled to be well governed; but the former consideration should be the first. That colony never should be separated from England. Separation would be the greatest misfortune that could be fall it, and, therefore, in justice to Canada as well as to ourselves, such a result should be prevented. A vast mass of British capital was vested in the improvement of that colony—was not England bound to protect those who had vested it under the faith of Acts of Parliament? Should the property of those individuals be left to the mercy of an excited multitude, misled by trading sophists and philosophical soi-disant Liberals? He should be as unwilling to support any unnecessary interference of the Queen’s Government with the liberties of the people of Canada, or any other colony, as any other hon. Member in that House; but when they appealed to Parliament to put down rebellion—to uphold the Queen’s
sovereignty—and to support her authority, he could have no hesitation in acquiescing with them. He should hope, however, that, by this time, better feelings had returned—that the people of Canada had become convinced of their folly, and that things had returned to their ordinary course. If not, it was the duty of her Majesty’s Government to exercise generosity to the vanquished. There should be no repetition of those scenes which followed the Irish rebellion of 1798; even the recital of which made the blood run cold—scenes so disgraceful to England that they would for ever cast a dark shade on her annals. Vengeance should not be allowed to usurp the place of justice. The course the noble Lord would find it necessary hereafter to pursue would, however, be more doubtful. It would be extremely dangerous to leave any acknowledged grievance unredressed. The constitution of the Legislative Council was avowedly one of the greatest causes of the bitterness of feeling which prevailed in Canada; and so long as it remained in its present state, it would continue to be a great grievance. It had never been a source of strength to the Government, or of benefit to the people. It had not the sympathy of any portion of public opinion as a similar institution at home had. It was at variance with the interests of the population of all classes, and a screen for the grossest abuses of the Executive. It would, therefore, be a matter of deep moment for the Government here to consider whether it might not be abolished altogether with advantage to all parties. It would then be necessary to provide a check on the acts of the House of Assembly, and he thought that such check could not be provided for them by giving the Governor of the province or colony, as the case may be, a veto on the acts of that body. If any differences of a serious nature arose, they could be referred to this country for decision, inasmuch as they would be heard patiently, and argued dispassionately, without local prejudice or party feeling. That was his view of the matter.
Mr. Grote said, that he was convinced that no measure which did not remedy the complaints made against the Legislative Council would suffice to produce the desired tranquillity in Canada. Till he came into the House, he was entirely ignorant of the intention of the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, as to the course which he meant to pursue; he knew not whether
the noble Lord meant to move an address to the Crown, or for leave to bring in a bill; and he (Mr. Grote) did think, that the House had some little ground of complaint that it had been called upon to deliberate upon the present address without having received any notice of what they were to be called upon to assent to. He confessed, also, that the address, as now proposed, did not meet with his idea of the sentiments which ought to emanate from that House; for although he acquiesced in and entirely went along with the noble Lord in the conviction which he entertained of the necessity of restoring tranquillity, yet he thought that it was not right to express that conviction without, at the same time, stating a conviction, which was equally strong in his mind, that full redress should be given to all grievances, and ample provision should be made for future good government. He could not, however, acquiesce in the address which the noble Lord had proposed, nor could he concur in the argument which had been adduced in support of it; for if the noble Lord’s argument were good for anything, it gave conclusive proof of the wisdom of an early separation. For what was the noble Lord’s argument? The method of Government was such as to meet the noble Lord’s entire approval. The best system had been pursued, no mistake had been committed, the colony had been blessed with the most exemplary of governors, and yet its condition had become worse and worse, till at length it was in a state of open revolt. If so much had been done, if there was nothing to mend, nothing to improve in what had passed, what hope could they have for the future? With this view, though he was a friend of separation, and the House might think it treason to confess it, he thought that a separation would be the best thing both for England and for Canada. But he was not driven to this conclusion by the same train of argument as had been pursued by the noble Lord; for he thought, that there was much to blame in our system of colonial government, not towards Canada alone, but generally, and that there was much which admitted of improvement; and if it were not for the hope which he entertained of an amendment in the whole system, his anticipations for the future would be most desponding. He regretted that there was no hon. Member in that Assembly so intimate with all the facts of the case as to reply to the statements of the noble Lord;
the hon. and learned Gentleman who lately represented Bath, and who knew these facts, was unhappily not then a Member of the House; still he would say, that no person could read the long and voluminous Canadian reports with any correctness, if he did not see that there were many errors and inaccuracies in the noble Lords speech, both as it regarded the conduct of the House of Assembly in Canada, and the conduct of the Colonial-office here. He agreed entirely in the encomiums which had been passed on the dispatches and the conduct of Sir George Murray. No one could read the correspondence between that gallant officer and Sir James Kempt, and especially the passage in which it was said, that if “the House of Assembly were called upon to vote a certain portion of the revenue, it would acquire virtually a control over the whole,” without perceiving that Sir George Murray had an accurate knowledge of the true state of the country, and that if his advice had been attended to, the differences would have been adjusted; and that if accidental circumstances had not prevented, in 1829 or 1830, the introduction of an act repealing the act of 1774, the grievances then complained of would have been fully adjusted. The revenues would have been given over to the assembly on terms satisfactory to all parties, and he could not understand why, when Lord Ripon became colonial secretary, the same arrangement had not been carried into effect. But while that noble Lord was Colonial Secretary, circumstances happened which completely frustrated the amicable settlement; that noble Lord thought fit to advance a claim not only for the appropriation of the casual and territorial revenues—without the consent of the Assembly, for the purposes of civil government, a claim which had been made by former governors—but also for the diversion of them from the purposes of civil government, and making them over to the clergy. This claim wholly prevented the settlement of the financial disputes, for it left the Assembly in a worse situation than it was before, and was thought to be no less novel than it was preposterous and unreasonable. If the financial dispute had been met by a disposition to do justice, it would have been settled at this time, and the same remark applied to the other disputes in every particular. If this had only placed the Legislative Council in harmony with the feelings of the people, they never would have demanded an Elective Council.
This demand was never made till 1833, when the council was still as unacceptable to the people as it was in 1828, at which period Lord Aberdeen had recommended that the Legislative Council should be made acceptable to the Canadians. If the Government seriously intended to apply this rule of conduct, how was it that they had so signally failed in finding proper men to appoint to the office? Was it so very difficult to lay their hands upon fit men? Or was it that they were not very strictly sought for? As it seemed to him, therefore, the Government had nothing but itself to thank, on account of its own omission, for the result which had taken place. There was no conduct which rendered the House of Lords unpopular in this country which did not apply with equal force to the Legislative Council. It was admitted, at the time the noble Lord’s resolutions were passed, that some remedy must be applied to the evils which accrued from this source; but how did the noble Lord reconcile with his speech the fact, that though the House had resolved that important alterations should be made in this council, Lord Gosford, when he opened the House of Assembly, on the 18th of August, was not prepared with such alterations? Did such a course of conduct give the House of Assembly a fair chance of proceeding to the discharge of its duties? Was it taking the best means of avoiding the ultimate painful consequences? Either Lord Gosford or the Colonial-office appeared to him to have been guilty of a great omission, and to be chargeable in some measure with a neglect of duty. It seemed also to him that from the tone of the noble Lord the Member for Stroud, in treating this question with an entire absence of all conciliation, it was not difficult to foresee a long series of increasing embarrassments and difficulties. Her Majesty’s Ministers seemed not to be unwilling to undertake what had ever been a difficult task to every Government—they were not unwilling to attempt the Herculean task of ruling in defiance of the recorded sense of a majority of the inhabitants which they were called upon to govern. By what means was this last to be accomplished? To what could they look but force; constraint to prevent the outburst of dissatisfaction which would smoulder beneath the surface of fancied security? They should recollect that it was not the same thing to put down by armed restraint, and to eradicate discontent. He did hope, however,
that the noble Lord would not think it beneath his attention to consider that the Canadians were bordering on the United States of America, and that however considerable might be the vast power of England to keep down a most reluctant people, yet they could not fail to imbibe something of the feelings and the habits of that vast and flourishing republic, which occupied so large a portion of that continent, and which was so close to the limits of Lower Canada. It seemed to him (Mr. Grote) that to rule in the manner proposed was to saddle on England a great burden and inconvenience, and to entail on the province itself nothing but what was oppressive and intolerable. Let the noble Lord say whether, with the best intentions on the part of the Colonial-office, it was practicable to prevent in so distant a colony as Canada the possession of power which might be turned to the private purposes of a small knot of individuals, of a little oligarchy, who govern there for their own benefit under the name of the colonial office. He would predict that even if they sent Lord Durham to Canada he would find no men more ready to thwart his views than this very Legislative Council for whose sake her Majesty’s ministers appeared inclined almost to decimate the people. He would find nothing but jobs which it would be his duty to put down, and he would discover the most gross mismanagement, and if he agreed to go out armed with nothing but pains and penalties unsuited to the genius of a free country, he would be thwarted as well by the Legislative Council as by the people at large. To the Bill suggested by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) he should feel it his duty to give his strenuous opposition in its passage through every stage; he thought that the House of Assembly had not done anything to justify a measure so stringent and severe. The Government had taken up the worst ground which it could occupy when it said to the Canadians “You shall either have a Legislative Council unfriendly to the great body of the people, or you shall have no constitution at all;” and he confessed that he entertained no very sanguine expectation from the success attending the governor going out after such a measure as was then suggested. He doubted not but that Lord Durham would introduce into Canada the measures which the Committee of 1828 had suggested long ago; and he begged the noble Lord especially to recollect that even at that
time the Committee recommended that the Legislative Council should be formed of men of impartial and conciliatory dispositions and that this recommendation had never been carried out down to the present time. If the council had been made thus impartial and conciliatory, how did it happen that the people did not gratefully ackowledge the change? Let them look at a case in point, to which the noble Lord would find no objection—let them look at Lord Mulgrave’s government in Ireland, where his position was fully made out; let them look at the altered feeling of the people of Ireland, when they really felt that there was in the Government a recognition of their wishes and a desire to act impartially and conciliatory. And why had not the same feeling been discovered in Canada if there was the same cause for its existence? If this feeling had been fostered, if the people in Canada had been dealt with in a conciliatory, friendly, and kind manner, he entertained a strong conviction that the demands which they had put forward would have been disposed of satisfactorily, that either they would not have been so strongly pressed, or they would have been susceptible of an easier adjustment. If the House passed a bill suspending the Canadian constitution, unaccompanied not only by disstinct promises but earnest signs of a redress of grievances, there would be nothing but increased troubles. The discontent engendered by the noble Lord’s resolutions would be still further confirmed and still deeper rooted; for let the House read with attention Lord Gosford’s statement, that there were many men in Lower Canada who, though they disapproved of the proceedings of the House of Assembly, disapproved of the noble Lord’s resolutions still more: let them mark well that most important passage, and remember that each such act would leave a deeper and a deeper sting behind, and would render conciliation more difficult. Let them redress the Canadian wrongs, and not begin with more coercion, and in his opinion, more unjustifiable proceedings than any which had yet taken place. If they carried out the noble Lord’s proposal, where would they stop? If rebellion by part of the people justified a suspension of the constitution of a country, why did he not propose to suspend that of Upper Canada, for there had been a revolt there also? He did not object to this omission, for, thinking that the proposal was unjustifiable, he was glad to find that it was not to be extended; but
still the same argument might be adduced in support of such a proposition. He could see no benefit which could be gained from severity and coercion, whilst he feared from it the great evil of continuing in the minds of the inhabitants a feeling of despair that justice would be done to their country; he need not say, that to govern a colony tranquilly the people must be animated with a feeling of respect towards their governors; and he was sure that coercion would never redound to the profit, and still less to the honour, of the mother country. For these reasons he must oppose the address: and he sincerely wished that it had been more distinct in recognising the redress of the Canadian grievances.
Sir Robert Peel said, that the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, in the course of the speech with which he had commenced this discussion, had brought under the consideration of the House two most important questions—one, an Address to the Crown, pledging the House of Commons to support the Crown in the efforts which it might make for the suppression of actual revolt; the other, a legislative measure for the suspension of the Constitution of Lower Canada, and investing the individual who was to proceed to that colony for the purpose of taking upon himself the administration of its affairs as Governor with dictatorial power. He was called on to-night, he apprehended, to give his opinion with respect to the first of these propositions, and while as a Member of that House, he should pledge his support to the Crown in its endeavours to put down rebellion on the part of a portion of her Majesty’s subjects, he must say, that he was glad that the question of supporting the authority of the Crown against open insurrection, and the legislative measure which the noble Lord proposed to bring forward, had been kept perfectly distinct and separate. He considered that the first question was one of sufficient importance to justify a separate discussion. When it became necessary, he should freely express his opinion with regard to the policy of the measure which the noble Lord had stated it was his intention to propose; but at present he should confine his observations to the question of the Address to the Crown. He lamented that so much time had been permitted to elapse before this subject was brought before them. If he had been in the House when the noble Lord proposed a three weeks’ adjournment, he should have voted for the proposition which was
then made, that the House should meet without delay for the purpose of considering an Address to the Crown, and of assuring the Crown of the support of the House of Commons. They had at that time the information that an attack had been made on her Majesty’s troops by her Majesty’s subjects—that a portion of her Majesty’s subjects were in open insurrection against her Government, and no time ought to have been permitted to elapse without assembling the House of Commons, for the purpose of intimidating the disaffected, and of encouraging the loyal and well-disposed. No doubt the Members of the House had separated, because it was understood that no business of importance would be brought forward till after the holydays; but when the fact was made known that a portion of her Majesty’s dominions was in open revolt against her Government, there could have been no reason whatever why an adjournment for three days should not have taken place, and the House have immediately re-assembled for the purpose of giving that assurance to the Crown which was now so tardily, and as far as Canada was concerned, so unimpressively conveyed, that in the suppression of the revolt, the Crown might rely on the support of the House of Commons. He was surprised, also, that no direct and formal communication had been made to both Houses of Parliament by a message from the Crown on this subject. Surely when they knew that the Queen’s troops had been actually called on to repress open insurrection—when they knew that the attack of a British force had been repulsed by the insurgents—when they saw martial law proclaimed—when they saw the most pressing instances addressed by the Governor to other colonies for troops—surely these were facts which justified a direct communication to Parliament from the throne; but the House of Commons had not, till five o’clock that evening, received even an indirect intimation that the Queen’s troops had been in collision with the people. It appeared that before the adjournment of the House of Commons no accounts whatever had reached them of the result of the expedition under Colonel Gore, and it was not until to-night that the House of Commons were informed of the result of the engagement which had taken place between those troops and the persons who, acting in open violation of the laws, had opposed the forces of her Majesty. It was no answer
to say, that the dispatches had not arrived, and that there had been no opportunity to communicate their contents before. But it was not of this that he was complaining especially, but he complained that the Crown had not sent any message to the House stating the circumstances attending the revolt, and soliciting the aid and support of the House of Commons in endeavouring to put it down; and he would venture to say, that in the history of this country no event of so much importance as the insurrection in Canada had taken place without its having been deemed necessary to communicate the fact specifically to the House of Commons, not by means of the publication of papers alone, but by means of a message from the Crown, in which a solicitation for support was included. He would begin with the events of the American war, and all the unfortunate transactions which took place with reference to that struggle for independence. In 1774 the disturbance took place in Massachusetts, and the riots also broke out in Boston. Parliament was aware of the unfortunate differences existing between that colony and this country from the reports which had reached them; but the notoriety of the matter was not considered a sufficient reason to relieve the Crown of the necessity of making a formal communication of the facts to both Houses of Parliament, and a message was accordingly delivered, setting forth the circumstances, and soliciting the aid of Parliament in suppressing the disturbances which prevailed. The occurrences in Boston also took place in 1774; but they formed the ground of a distinct message from the Crown, and of a distinct application for the support of Parliament. The case of the mutiny at the Nore, in 1797, was another, the facts of which were perfectly notorious, and had even been the subject of discussion in the House before they were introduced to its notice on the 1st of June, having been brought forward by Mr. Sheridan; but still on the 1st of June the Houses had a notification conveyed to them by a message that the mutiny had broken out, and their support was prayed. Take, also, the whole case of the Irish rebellion before the year 1798. In the year 1797, when Lord Camden was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, before the rebellion had broken out, when disturbances however prevailed in Ulster, and when assemblages of armed people had taken place, the Government did not then leave the Irish Parliament to collect the circum-
stances from the papers which were published, and the rumours which were afloat, but by a message it informed the Parliament of the whole of the facts, and prayed their support. In 1797, when the apprehension of two committees of the United Irishmen, in Belfast, had taken place, the same course was pursued; and in 1798, on the 22nd of May, before the rebellion actually broke out, a communication was conveyed from the Crown to both Houses, through the medium of the Lord-lieutenant. Then again, in 1803, when there were no separate Houses of Parliament in Ireland, the Crown made a distinct communication to the Imperial Parliament by a message. The substance of the message on the subject of the rebellion was, that his Majesty felt the deepest regret in acquainting the House of Commons that treasonable and rebellious opinions had been shown to exist in Ireland, and that his Majesty relied with the most perfect confidence on the wisdom of the steps which the House would take to afford protection to his Majesty’s Irish subjects, and to restore and secure the general tranquillity of the country. Why, he would ask, had this uniform course been adopted? and why was it, that when a revolt, such as had broken out in Canada, came before them—a revolt calling for the proclamation of martial law to put it down—why was it, that in such a case the Crown had not thought it becoming to mate a communication in accordance with the stream of all analogous cases in our history? There was not a single instance in our history in which the Crown had left it to Parliament to gather from the despatches facts which should be communicated by a message from itself. He was quite aware that, in the Queen’s speech, there was a reference to Canada; but that reference did not relate to the revolt; for, at the period when that speech was delivered, the revolt was not known, and the passage in the speech altogether referred to the events of last session, and in no way relieved the Ministers of the Crown from the onus of making a formal communication to the House. He had just heard an hon. Gentleman say, that this was only an objection as to form, and he was quite aware that it was an objection as to form only, and not as to substance; but he would ask the hon. Gentleman, who appeared so much to undervalue form, if, when a revolt took place, and martial law was proclaimed in a colony, it was to be deemed of no importance that the uniform
usage in such cases had not been adopted, and that thus the importance of the matter should be altogether underrated? The main question before the House, however, was, if it was fitting that the House of Commons should assure her Majesty of its cordial support in putting down this revolt; and he must say, that he never felt more sincerely that he was right than when, without passion, and after great deliberation, and not without a cautious forecast of all the probable consequences, he came to the conclusion of offering to the Crown his assurances of cordial support in attempting, at any hazard, to suppress this revolt. The hon. Gentleman who had last spoken, had suggested considerations which he admitted to be of great importance. He said, that the majority of the people of Canada were disaffected to the British Government, and he contended that therefore they ought to be released from their allegiance. The hon. Gentleman stated, that the more conciliatory the intentions of the colonial Government had been, the greater had been their failure, and the greater were the apprehensions that it would be impossible to establish mutual goodwill and harmony in the relations between the colony and the parent state. He admitted the importance of these suggestions, but at the same time he must be permitted to ask, whether the principles which the hon. Gentleman had laid down, were to be applied to the whole empire. Let not the House forget, that we had an extended colonial empire, including India, including Europe. Let them not forget the extent to which this principle, if admitted, might be applied. Let it be laid down, then, as a principle, that the first expression of dissatisfaction with our Government, and the first instance of resistance to our authority, was to be a signal for abandoning our claim to superiority. To put the strongest case, suppose Canada were an island; could we say, that after possession of the colony for seventy years, gained by a series of brilliant conquests, and after we had at least intended to do justice, that we ought to relinquish our sovereignty, because it was dissatisfied with our Government? If we laid down that principle, could it be limited to colonies? Could it not be applied to integral parts of the empire? Why might it not be extended to a part of England, if that part expressed itself dissatisfied with the rule of England? The fact of dissatisfaction with our Government, as the hon. Gentleman contended,
showed that the colony had been misgoverned, and then, he asked, what was the good of ruling over discontented subjects. Why, if we were to act on such a rule of public conduct, the glory of England would, in ten years, be utterly annihilated. The great influence which we possessed, owing to our vast colonial estalishments, and the great power which we derived from our navy, which, as the noble Lord had observed, was supported by our commercial marine, would soon pass away; and England, from the foremost rank among the nations of the earth, would descend to the situation of a subordinate and a fifth-rate power. Suppose that doctrine be applied to an island not connected with the British empire, would it even then be applicable to Canada? He thought not; for there appeared no reason for believing, that the dissatisfaction of Canada was so fixed, so deeply rooted, as to despair of effecting an ultimate arrangement. He had to-night, and for the hundredth time, heard some Gentlemen opposite deploring, that the Conservatives had been excluded from the Government, not on account of financial matters only, but from many other causes; and they had said, that if the Conservatives had remained in office, the interests of the country would have been much better managed. To-night had the hon. Member for Kilkenny declared, that he had no doubt if Lord Aberdeen had continued in office, there would have been no insurrection in Canada. There was a corollary which might be deduced from this, which was, that nothing could have been more factious and unprincipled than the opposition which had effected his being thrown out. “See,” says the hon. Gentleman, “the enclosure in Lord Aberdeen’s despatch; that will show that there was every disposition on the part of the Government to make any concessions that might be consistent with the integrity and honour of the British empire.” If, then, Lord Aberdeen had remained in office, this question would never have been brought forward. Was it not wrong, therefore, that his Lordship should have been excluded from office, and would it not be just, since his policy had been approved of, to give him another trial? It was unwise to apply the principle of separation with respect to the Canadas, because there had been at Richelieu and St. Denis some slight insurrection. The hon. Member for Kilkenny (Mr. Hume) said at once, “Shake them off, for their connection
hence forth will be grievous and burdensome;” but he said “No! try first the counsels which you admitted might, if they had been carried out, have prevented these disturbances.” The hon. Gentleman could not deny this admission, for he had read an extract from Lord Aberdeen’s minute, in which his Lordship had referred to the grievances complained of in Canada, and had pointed out means which he thought might redress them; and the hon. Gentleman’s conclusion was, that had such principles predominated over this question it might have been settled, not indeed by a hostile course, but by one that would have conciliated and satisfied the Canadians. There might be some who said that the hon. Member for Kilkenny had been indiscreet—that he did not see the force of his own admissions; but the hon. Member for London also shared in his condolence. He had also one bright example—one great exception—to adduce, for he lamented that Sir George Murray had not remained in office; and, moreover, that Sir James Kempt had not continued governor. If, said the hon. Gentleman, Sir George Murray had remained in the Colonial Department, and if the principles he had expressed had been allowed to predominate, the financial question in respect to these colonies would have been settled. But what was the question to-day? Was it not one of finance? It was one of feeling, but it was also one of finance. The hon. Member for Kilkenny then deplored the exclusion of Lord Aberdeen from office, because the course he proposed would have conciliated the Canadians, and the hon. Member for London deplored the exclusion of Sir G. Murray, because the policy he adopted would have removed all their financial grievances. This, said the right hon. Baronet, surely afforded collateral proof, first, of a most factious combination to drive honest and well-intentioned Ministers, as we were, from power—and, secondly, although unwise men may have succeeded us, whose policy has increased those disturbances, that there had been legitimate hope of settling this question by mild and conciliatory measures. But even supposing the principle of the hon. Gentleman to be applied to a separate dependence, such as Jamaica, he must, nevertheless, deny its application. Was this great country prepared to say, on the first manifestation of any rebellious feeling, “Separate from us, and establish a government for yourselves,” instead of re-calling them
to their duty? He thought not; and that the application of this principle was perfectly inadmissible. But if it applied to so distant an island as Jamaica, it would apply also to any one that was nearer, even to those that were most contiguous to the country. Suppose, for instance, the people of the Isle of Wight should fall out, and say that they had a right to be independent; that the rules of this philosophic argument were made for small as well as large communities; and that they desired to try the system, in order that they might he relieved from the heavy taxes at present imposed on them: and they might say, that they could show many equally small Italian states which were well governed, and were prosperous, and that the channel being between them and the mother country, there was no reason why they should not be equally so, or should not constitute themselves like the Canadians, a small republic, with laws and institutions of their own. What would the hon. Member say to that? His argument would apply there if it applied at all. But then the hon. Gentleman, seeing that the Isle of Wight might become attached to France, might find it convenient to say, “No, you are essential to our security from your being contiguous to Portsmouth, and we cannot permit you to be separate;” but if the principle was good in one case, it would apply to all. In considering the case of Canada, however, it must be inquired what would be the effect on the interests of those colonies in its immediate neighbourhood. If it could be foreseen that on the Canadas becoming independent they would be unable to stand against the United States, and on the first bonâ fide quarrel with them might fall to them, and be annexed to their other territories, and our own British American colonies should thus be separated from each other, we should still be bound by the obligation owed, not only to them, but to other parts of the British empire, to consult their interests. Suppose, now, that Lower Canada was declared independent, what would become of the navigation of the river of St. Lawrence, that great outlet of the commerce of Upper Canada? Or, again, suppose the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or Prince Edward’s Island, were to say, “We made a settlement here on the faith of Canada’s remaining connected with the British empire. You gained it by brilliant conquest, and a treaty of peace was signed, that has now existed upwards of seventy years, and you
instituted a form of government there with the best intentions for the advancement of the country; but although that Government has not been successful, we must object to the sacrifice of our own interests by your permitting the independence of a state in the North American provinces, and thus stopping up our medium of intercourse with Upper Canada.” Surely these complaints would be reasonable, and surely these colonies were entitled to have a voice in the matter. Unless by the strongest circumstances England was compelled to give up Canada, it ought never to permit that country to establish itself as an independent state; and if they should permit that to be done, what answer could be made to the complaints of the other colonies, which would be placed in a subordinate position by the very act of the Government by which they should be protected. He therefore said, that the case of Canada was not a simple abstract question, it was one which could not be considered separately from the question regarding the other colonies of North America. The situation of Canada and the physical condition of the other colonies of this country in North America must be considered together. That House and the Government must only look at Canada as an independent state when the situation of the other colonies in America could be regarded as independent states. These were prepared, however, to perform all their duties to this country as colonies, and therefore it would be the grossest folly on the part of England to allow the connexion to be lightly broken. He repeated, then, that the question of the separation or independence of Lower Canada could only be considered at the same time with the navigation of the St. Lawrence, the peculiar circumstances of the other colonies in America, and their neighbourhood to the United States. Therefore, as regarded the honour of the British Crown, the interests of the other British colonies, the well-being of the British settlers in the upper province, and the interests of Great Britain elsewhere, they ought not to let this revolt be triumphant, or suffer the flag of Great Britain to be lowered to the partisans of Mr. Papineau. At the same time that he should give his cordial consent to the address proposed by the noble Lord, he did not mean thereby to apply anything like approbation of the course pursued by her Majesty’s Government. He should give unhesitatingly his cordial support to the address in the first
place, and it was for the essential reason, because this country had acted liberally and justly towards Canada. It was impossible to look at the correspondence on the table—he meant the whole series of correspondence—without coming to the conclusion that Canada had occasionally just grounds of complaint. But he would ask, how could this country maintain its authority and dominion even at home, if at the first suggestion of a grievance revolt was to take place and the people were to resort to arms? He did not deny that when this country was engaged in war with foreign powers, that domestic affairs were neglected, and that the Canadians had just grounds of complaint; but of late years the affairs of Canada had been regarded as matters of essential importance, and he had never known an instance in which a mother country had manifested a greater desire to do justice to a colony than was exhibited in the course that had been pursued towards Canada. In a passage of the address of the Assembly of Lower Canada, which was referred to by the noble Lord, it was stated, that the report of the Committee of that House of the year 1828, and the recommendations embodied in it, furnished imperishable evidence of the liberality of this country. But he begged the House to recollect, that Lord Aberdeen not only acted upon the recommendations of the Committee of 1828, but went beyond those recommendations in the course he pursued; and in every case in which the recommendations of the Committee were not acted upon, the delay arose, not from the Government at home, but from the Canadians themselves. There was an end, then, to the assertion that they were not disposed to attend to the affairs of Canada. At the same time he was prepared to admit that the habits of the people of that country and their feelings and prejudices were not the same that existed at home, and that, therefore, allowances should be made for their conduct. While he admitted this, he repeated, he was convinced of the justice of the course pursued, and of the folly of a proceeding on any allegations of grievance which could at least be found in these papers, to such an extent as to revolt against the authority of the Crown, and to organise an armed force against the civil and military authorities in the colony. He was convinced, that if the authority of the Crown was to be maintained in Canada or at home, this revolt must be suppressed, and he should, therefore, give his cordial
support to the Address, and he should support measures at any hazard to carry it into effect. But he did not by this mean the House to imply that he placed confidence in the Queen’s Government, or that he meant to approve of their conduct, or was satisfied at the course which they had pursued. But for what the noble Lord had said, he should have been content to pass over tins part of the subject; but the noble Lord in the course of his speech had challenged a reference to these documents for approbation of the conduct of the Government. He was bound to say, on reading them, that measures of precaution had been neglected previously to the revolt. But before he did so, he might be recommended to look at the papers on the table, and see whether the authorities in Canada complained of any want of military force there. He did not know with whom the blame rested, but after passing the resolutions last year having reference to Canada, and after the excitement which might naturally be expected to follow on their adoption, surely somebody in authority at home or in Canada might have suspected that some such result would have followed as the revolt. Could anything have been more delusive than the hope that a feeling of satisfaction and quiet could arise from the passing these resolutions? Did the Government imagine that it could pass these resolutions, declaring that the British Legislature could not trust the House of Assembly of Lower Canada with the management of the funds of that colony, although they did not follow up their resolutions by passing a Bill, without producing angry and excited feelings? For his own part, he firmly believed that a Bill on this subject might have been passed last year. Any delay was prejudicial, for the result, as might have been expected, was, that the Canadians felt assured that the Government at home was afraid to enforce them. There was not the slightest prospect that any delay in passing the Bill founded on these resolutions, would conciliate the Canadians to us. On the contrary, immediately after passing the resolutions, the Government might have expected some such result as an insurrection. The same course was pursued when the resolutions respecting imposing a stamp duty in our former American colonies passed that House. It was then said, that an objectionable mode of proceeding would be avoided by passing the resolutions, and postponing the Bill to carry them into effect to the following Session. The same result then followed as now; for by calling
in question the authority of the local Assembly, an insurrection was excited against the mother country. He contended that the Government ought to have been fully prepared to expect that the feeling of dissatisfaction that prevailed in Canada would be greatly increased by passing these resolutions. In addition to this, to whom did they look for support? Why to another party, who were also dissatisfied with the treatment they had experienced. He knew this, from the picture of the country drawn by one of the friends of her Majesty’s Government. This picture was drawn so lately as the 12th of October, and the writer stated— Some of the immediate fruits of the system now in operation, which, if not put down, must lead to the worst consequences, are to be seen in the apathy and inaction of such of the magistracy and persons of property who had not joined the revolutionary party—in the extreme difficulty of obtaining accurate and available information of what is passing; and judging from recent events, in the little probability, even if evidence of sufficient weight could be procured to arraign the offenders, of a jury taken from the district of Montreal finding bills and convicting on them. Again in another part of this document it is stated: It is proper that I should represent to you the inadequacy of the powers at the disposal of the local Government, for meeting the difficulties that surround it. The law fails to afford its support; the civil authorities become therefore impotent; the Habeas Corpus Act cannot be suspended. The clergy, though well-disposed and loyal, are reluctant to come forward; any further appeal to the; present Parliament would not only be inexpedient and useless, but positively injurious; and a dissolution offers no prospect of a more reasonable House of Assembly, nor any hope that the new House, which would be composed of a majority of the old Members, would recede in any particular, from the demands so pertinaciousty insisted on by the present body. Indeed, a dissolution, if decided on at all should not at any rate be resorted to, before the whole of the measures and arrangements you now have in contemplation respecting this province shall have passed into law and be perfected. In such circumstances, and seeing that the Imperial Parliament has solemnly and unequivocally stated that it will not accede to the Assembly’s demands, I am, forced, however reluctantly, to come to the conclusion that the only practical course now open for conducting the affairs of this province with any benefit to the inhabitants generally, is at once formally to suspend the present constitution, which both parties unite in confessing cannot
now be worked, and which has in fact for the last twelve months been virtually suspended; to increase the military force, and to strengthen the hands of the executive, now almost impotent for any good or useful purpose. Such was the lamentable state of this colony, in which for a period the loyal inhabitants had been discouraged by the authorities. They now, however, passed for and were recognized as loyal men; but, at one time, they were taunted with being Orangemen and Tories, and were called upon to come forward and supply the place of the troops which ought to have been, but which had not been, sent out to Canada. He should refer once more to the document before him to show the treatment to which the loyal inhabitants of Canada had been exposed:— The mode of proceeding adopted for keeping up and increasing this feeling is by parading nightly, in the town of Montreal, large and organized bands of men, who, however, have as yet proceeded to no acts of violence or breaches of the peace; by inflammatory speeches at meetings; by seditious publications and resolutions of the central committees; by placing (in the most disturbed of the rural parishes) those who are loyal and hold opposite political opinions under a species of excommunication, and keeping them in dread of nocturnal injuries to their property; by burning in effigy those in higher stations, and by subjecting them to a kind of annoyance called a charivari, which is the assembling of a crowd before their doors, for the purpose of alarming them and their families at night with uncouth noises, hisses, threats, and other manifestations of popular displeasure. Sir John Colborne, the hon. Mr. Debartzch, and others have been exposed to this kind of outrage, which, in a recent instance, at St. Dennis, in the county of Richelieu, was unhappily attended with loss of life and property. This, then, was the way in which the loyal inhabitants of Canada had been discouraged, and who ought not to have been left, after the resolutions had passed, without powerful military support and co-operation. The noble Lord might ask whether a military force had been required by the authorities in the colony. On that subject Lord Glenelg, in a dispatch sent out to Lord Gosford, in reply to the request of the noble Lord that two regiments should be dispatched to Canada, said that the doing so would be attended with greater inconvenience than any advantage that could arise from their presence. It was evident, however, that this was not Lord Gosford’s opinion, for he said, so far from the presence of an additional military force there being attended with inconvenience,
that the arrival of a regiment in Canada from New Brunswick had been attended with the greatest possible advantage. It was not the opinion of Sir John Colborne, for in one of the papers laid on the table that night, that gallant Officer stated that the troops which he had sent for had not arrived in consequence of the late period of the year, although three expresses had been sent to hasten their march. It was also generally understood that the militia could not be called upon to act unless in case of war with the United States. It appeared, then, that there had been a complete want of foresight, either on the part of the home or the colonial authorities, to pass resolutions influencing, as those of last year did, the state of Canada, and thus defying the power of the House of Assembly, and leaving the loyal inhabitants without adequate military support, and thus leaving to the machinations of the disaffected an innocent and rural population who were not of themselves disposed to revolt. Some might assert that they took a more enlarged view of the subject, and that no great evil would result from the revolt. He did not agree in this, although he believed that the insurrection had arisen from certain disaffected persons acting upon a naturally unsuspecting and quiet population, and he trusted that an end would soon be put to this insurrection; but it was the duty of the Government to have prepared such a military force in the colony as to have discouraged the leaders from exciting the people to revolt. The information, however, as to the extent of the insurrection, as communicated by Lord Gosford, was by no means satisfactory or conclusive; for in one dispatch he stated, that the feelings of disaffection extended to so few that no alarm need be entertained; and yet in one dated only in the next week he said, that the communications with the troops called upon to act in the disturbed districts, and to put down this sudden and extensively-combined revolt, had been completely interrupted by the armed peasantry assembled on the line of march, and that the Queen’s troops could not march without having an enemy on their flank and rear. After such evidence, would any one presume to tell him that blame did not rest somewhere? He agreed with an observation that fell from the hon. Member for Kilkenny, who stated that blame rested with those who had drawn an innocent and harmless people into that which he believed to be a hopeless insurrection. Some pallia-
tion might by possibility be offered in a case where there was a reasonable prospect of success; but when those who excited the present insurrection saw what were the feelings of the British inhabitants of Canada, how great was the loyal attachment of the British race in that country, and how general was the feeling of loyalty in Upper Canada, which the hon. Gentleman, however, had repeatedly said was disaffected—when the attempt at insurrection had been at once suppressed without the presence of any soldiers, all of whom had been sent to Lower Canada—what could they plead who, he must say, had manifested such ignorance of their prospects of success when they involved an innocent population in such an insurrection as that of Canada? When he heard the hon. Gentleman make such observations as had fallen from him, he happened to have his eye to the following passage from the Report of the Committee of the House of Assembly in Upper Canada:— It appears, from letters of Mr. Hume, addressed to some of the Ministers of the Crown, that he is desirous of representing himself as the agent, or, at all events, as being authorised to express the sentiments of the people of Upper Canada on the subject of their political feelings, and the public affairs of the province. Your Committee are of opinion that the honour and character of his Majesty’s loyal subjects in this province require that it should be promptly and emphatically declared by their representatives that Mr. Hume is among the last men they would select to advocate their cause, or represent their feelings or wishes to the British nation. The people of Upper Canada recollect that, in the year 1834, Mr. Joseph Hume addressed a letter to a correspondent of his in this country, which, referring to his correspondent’s recent expulsion from, and re-election to, the Assembly, contained the following treasonable language and advice:—’ Your triumphant election of the 16th, and ejection from the Assembly of the 17th, must hasten that crisis which is fast approaching in the affairs of the Canadas, and which will terminate in independence and freedom from the baneful domination of the mother country, and the tyrannical conduct of a small and despicable faction in the colony. The proceedings between 1772 and 1782, in America, ought not to be forgotton; and to the honour of the Americans, and for the interest of the civilised world, let their conduct and result be ever in view.’ This was the language which in 1834 the hon. Member addressed to the people of Upper Canada; but how grossly the hon. Gentleman miscalculated the feelings of loyalty of the inhabitants of the upper
province was manifested in the following passage from the same document:— And when it is remembered with what indignation and disgust the publication of this detestable communication was received throughout the province, his Majesty’s loyal subjects cannot but regard with abhorrence the idea that the person who had thus insulted them should be supposed by their Sovereign and their fellow subjects in the United Kingdom to be their accredited agent, that they held any communication with him, or that he was in any way clothed with authority to speak their sentiments or represent their views on any subject, public or private. But supposing that the British Legislature were to apply to Lower Canada the principle laid down by the hon. Member for the city of London—supposing it right that the connexion between this country and Lower Canada should be dissolved—still the indignity in the address of the hon. Member for Kilkenny would place it in the power of the colonists justly to have reproached this country with desertion and pusillanimity? And who was the correspondent of the hon. Gentleman to whom he uttered and addressed this inflammatory language, advising him ever to bear in mind—ever to keep in his view, the struggles of the provinces of the United States? Why it was that Mr. Mackenzie, who had made an ineffectual attempt upon the loyalty of the province of Upper Canada during the absence of the troops. Mr. Mackenzie might now say to the British Legislature:— I acted on the authority of the hon. Member for Kilkenny; visit not, therefore, this delusion and its consequences upon me, the mere agent and instrument of the hon. Gentleman, but rather visit it upon your own Member, to whom I gave credit as being then a Member for a metropolitan county, and, therefore, necessarily intimately acquainted with British feelings and views. I have been acting upon the advice received from the representative of Middlesex, and in apportioning the punishment to which I am subject for my misdeeds, remember his own emphatic declaration, that the real responsibility for the revolt rests not on the humble deluded agent, but on those who gave advice and uttered suggestions disparaging to the authority of their own country and destructive of the integrity of the British empire.
Viscount Howick said, that although the right hon. Baronet who had just sat down had expressed his concurrence in the Address which had been moved by his noble Friend, the Secretary for the Home De-
partment, and although there was much in the speech of the right hon. Baronet in which he entirely and completely concurred, still there were some observations which had been made by the right hon. Baronet in the course of that speech—some remarks upon the past conduct of the Government with which he had the honour to be connected, which he thought should not be permitted on the present occasion to pass altogether without notice. The right hon. Baronet had commenced his speech by dwelling at a length hardly in proportion to the importance of the point upon the mode of proceeding adopted by her Majesty’s Government on the present occasion, and had objected, that the Government should have thought it proper to proceed in this question by the mere presentation of papers, instead of by a formal message from the Crown. The right hon. Baronet had himself seemed to feel that this was a mere difference in form, and that the presentation of papers by command was as satisfactory a communication of information upon this subject as a Royal message. That being the case, he owned that it did appear to him that the question was one of very great importance; but, for his own part, he thought that whatever advantage there might be on the one side or the other, that advantage was in favour of the course adopted upon the present occasion. For his own part, although he knew it was necessary to adopt strong measures for suppressing the insurrection in the Canadas, he still thought it better to mark by the mode of proceeding some difference between the case of an insurrection by fellow-subjects, and that of the breaking out of a war with the enemies of the Crown. The right hon. Baronet had adverted to some remarks made by the hon. Member for Kilkenny, and by the hon. Member for the city of London, and had amused the House by the inferences which he drew from the panegyrics of those hon. Members upon the acts of former Administrations to which the right hon. Baronet had himself belonged, and, in particular, he had alluded to the supposed desire of the hon. Member for Kilkenny to give the Members of those Administrations another chance. Now, he would just ask the right hon. Baronet on what it was he founded those claims to that great superiority in point of liberality on the part of the right hon. Baronet’s own Administration over that which had now the honour of serving her Majesty? Why,
it was simply upon a very able minute of Lord Aberdeen’s which was to be found in the papers printed for the use of the House; and what was the object of that minute? Did it describe what Lord Aberdeen had done, or what had been done by a Tory Administration? Far from it, its object was to prove, and it did prove, conclusively that by the Administration of the party which now held office the grievances set forth by the Committee of the House of Commons in the year 1828 had been redressed. That was the object of the minute, and he gave Lord Aberdeen credit for the candour towards his political opponents which induced him to adopt and give the sanction of his authority to this minute, which it could hardly be supposed had been prepared by himself, as he could not be acquainted with the details of this subject, considering the very short time he held the seals of office. In the next place, the right hon. Baronet adverted to the panegyric of the Member for the city of London upon the Administration of Sir George Murray, and the right hon. Baronet had taken credit that that Administration had concurred with the hon. Member for the city of London in asserting, that if the Administration of Sir George Murray had continued at the Colonial-office, the financial disputes with Canada would long since have been settled. Now he could not help saying that the hon. Member could not have read very accurately the papers which from time to time had been printed for the use of the House. The hon. Member had said, that the despatches of Sir G. Murray did contain liberality of principle; but the hon. Member must have confined his examination to the mere expressions of liberality contained in those despatches, and had not extended his examination to the acts of that Secretary of State by whom those despatches were written. But what was the fact? The Committee of the House of Commons in the year 1828 recommended to the attention of the Legislature that one of the great grievances constantly urged by Canada was the want of control over the revenues which under the Acts of 1774 were to be placed at the disposal of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury. And what steps did Sir George Murray for three years take in reference to that subject? The right hon. Baronet brought in a Bill in a most imperfect shape during the last year he held office, but never brought that bill under
discussion, and in spite of the liberal expressions contained in his despatches, the right hon. Baronet for near three years left the revenue of the Canadian provinces solely controlled and directed by the Treasury at home. He had very little hesitation in saying that if the Bill which he (acting as he had done under the Earl of Ripon in 1831) had introduced, had passed in 1828, or 1829, or 1830, the result would have been very different from that which actually had occurred. He would not, however, enter into a discussion upon those points, but when hon. Gentlemen upon his own side of the House made the admissions they had done, and when those admissions were taken up by the right hon. Baronet with that most amusing art of which he was the master, and which created impressions not justified by the real facts of the case, he thought it only due to those who had administered these most important affairs, that he should endeavour to set them right in the eyes and estimation of the country. The right hon. Baronet in the next place had said, that although he concurred in the address, he did not acquit the Government of the want of due precautions with respect to Canada. The right hon. Baronet had said, that when the Government proposed and passed the resolutions of the last Session, it was their duty to have accompanied those resolutions with a sufficient force to maintain the authority of the Crown in Canada; and the right hon. Baronet had added, that it was weakness and delusion in the Government to postpone the proceeding with the Bill which was to have been founded upon those resolutions. Then the right hon. Baronet had condemned in very strong language the conduct of the Government in not having persevered with that Bill. He could not but observe, that the right hon. Baronet was totally mistaken as to the reasons which operated to prevent the proceeding with that measure in accordance with the resolutions agreed to by the House. It had been the anxious desire of the Government to have proceeded with that Bill, and they had not abandoned it under a weak and miserable delusion, as had been supposed, for the right hon. Baronet must be aware that circumstances over which the Government had no control rendered it utterly impossible for them to go on with any advantage with that measure. It had been brought forward during the serious illness of his late Majesty, and on the demise of the Crown, it was impossible to
retain in London a sufficient number of Members of that House to pass the measure in such a manner as alone would give it any authority. The right hon. Baronet would remember, that in the last few weeks of the last Session, on the eve of a general election, it was totally absurd to think of proceeding with the discussion of a matter so serious as that—nobody could forget the anxiety shown on both sides of the House to conclude all necessary business. These circumstances alone prevented the Government from proceeding with that Bill. But, then, admitting that those resolutions required precautionary measures, still the question which the right hon. Baronet had raised was, whether the Government had taken proper precautions or not? The right hon. Baronet had stilted, that whatever was the opinion that more force was not necessary, at all events it was not the error of the Colonial Secretary of State, and the right hon. Baronet had read a portion of the despatch of Lord Glenelg to Lord Gosford of the 22d of March.—[Sir R. Peel referred to the despatch of the 6th of March.] The right hon. Baronet had stated that whatever was the opinion that further military force was necessary, it was not that of the Secretary of State. His answer was, that the Secretary of State himself might think that though more force might be wanted, still that there were those upon the spot who were better judges than he in London could possibly be. He thought the appearance in the colony of the force, if not wanted, might possibly be attended with inconvenience, and that the necessity for the force was a visionary apprehension. He thought very possibly that the appearance of such a force in a mere civil contest, instead of being of use or support to the authorities, might have had a very opposite effect; and the right hon. Baronet himself had read a description of the state of the colony, and of the dangers and difficulties with which the governor had to contend. What were those difficulties? there were the resolutions passed at public meetings, there was the machinery of agitation but there was nothing menacing, open or wanton violence. True, the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act might be wanted, but there had been no necessity for a demand for additional forces. Regiments were not necessary to put down meetings—they could not stop speeches. Regiments could not prevent the adoption of resolutions, neither could troops obtain juries to convict men for seditious practices. Addi-
tional regiments could not attain any one of these objects. On the contrary, the additional regiment appears to have produced considerable effect, and in the papers there would be found proof of it. He would refer to one of the enclosures in Lord Gosford’s despatch, dated the 30th of October, 1837, giving an account of a public meeting which had been held, the object of which meeting was to increase the excitement amongst the people; and one of the topics was the arrival at the time of an additional regiment in Canada, and one of the resolutions was to this effect:—”As a climax to our misfortunes, the present Governor-in-Chief has recently introduced, in time of profound peace, a large body of armed troops into this province, to destroy, by physical force, all constitutional resistance, and to complete, by desolation and death, the work of tyranny already determined upon and authorized beyond the seas.” Was it not obvious, that if an armed force was not actually wanted, its arrival before the insurrection actually took place would have been made a handle of, and would have extended the exasperation against the Government? This was the motive which induced Lord Glenelg to alter his opinion as to the expediency of sending troops to Canada. But, supposing he had altered his opinion, did he therefore leave the governor without the means of obtaining an additional force? On the contrary, in the very despatch which the right hon. Baronet had quoted, in order to show that Lord Glenelg was aware that an additional force was necessary, it was stated that orders had been given to Sir Colin Campbell to forward an additional force from Halifax, on the requisition of Lord Gosford. That was the order given to Sir Colin Campbell: and he would tell the right hon. Baronet that, though it was admitted that in winter no force could be sent to Canada, there was no difficulty in sending a force to Halifax to supply the place of those troops which might be sent thence to Canada. Although he had felt it necessary, this being the first occasion on which the subject was brought forward, to make these answers to the charges of the right hon. Baronet against the Government, he was aware that the charges, if insisted on, would require more canvassing than was convenient at the present moment. On a future occasion, if the charges should be pressed, he should be able to complete the defence of the Government; in the meantime he should content
himself with expressing his satisfaction at the very general acquiescence in the propriety of the course which his noble Friend had adopted.
Mr. C. Buller was afraid that the right hon. Baronet alluded to him when h e right hon. Baronet referred to some hon. Member’s cheer as evincing an insensibility to the importance of his argument, founded on a laborious research into precedents. He was sorry if he had offended the right hon. Baronet by that cheer; but if the right hon. Baronet had understood the cheer, he would have known that it meant to express his astonishment that a parson of the right hon. Baronet’s intellectual powers should have expended so much of them on what he could not help calling laborious trifling. The right hon. Baronet had said he was not sensible of the importance of the question, because he was not sensible of the importance of forms. He believed that the forms of the House had been matured with great wisdom; but he was more sensible of the importance of circumstances. A grave question like this should render them indifferent to forms. He was sorry if he judged hastily of the right hon. Baronet’s speech, and of the part he considered most important; but he thought that the right hon. Baronet had considered that part most important in which he had been able to taunt his political opponents, and by a dexterous application of what had fallen from the hon. Members for London and Kilkenny, to call upon them to aid him in turning out the present Ministers, and bringing back those excellent Ministers who had been removed from office by what he termed factious means. But this was unimportant in comparison with the subject itself; and he (Mr. Buller) was anxious to express his desire as a Member who had given his support to the resolutions of the Government passed last Session, to extend that support to her Majesty’s Ministers in their policy towards Canada so far as at present developed. He must say, however, that the noble Lord had shown indications in his speech of a tone and spirit which had not led him to expect much liberality on the noble Lord’s part. But when he had got over the little irritation at the tone of the noble Lord’s speech, and came to examine the proofs themselves, he found that he could offer no opposition to his motion. He could not offer any opposition to an address pledging the House to assist her Majesty to put down an insurrection.
He did not mean to say that he would put down insurrection in every case, or that, if the British Government had misconducted itself he would put down insurrection against it. But there was no middle course when insurrection raged; one course was to acknowledge its justice, and grant the demands of the insurgents; the other was to put it down, and vindicate the majesty of the law. If it was meant to consent to a separation, and leave Canada to itself, let it be done; but if it were meant that the general law should be maintained, the law must be vindicated without parleying with the insurgents, and it was the duty of Government to put down insurrection. If he was for separation, he would say so; but he thought there was not a shadow of ground for separation, and one ground of objection to her Majesty’s Ministers had been, that they had rather arbitrarily assumed, that the demands of Canada would lead to separation. He never thought so. He had always thought, that by acceding to its demands, the supremacy of the mother country would hot be endangered. He was not in favour of the old constitutions of the colonies, but he did not find that they made our colonies desirous of separation. He relied upon the wisdom of our ancestors, which on this subject he acknowledged, and on experience, and he held cheap the arguments of those theorists who wished to brand him with a desire to bring about the separation of the colonies, when he wished them to have the old constitutions of Charles 2nd. He was not an advocate for separation, and he protested against the doctrine which the noble Lord and the right hon. Baronet had laid down, that colonies were to be kept merely with reference to the commerce and interests of the mother country. After the example of the United States, he was astonished at this doctrine. He should not enter into the question of the value of the colony, but he would say that we could not, consistently with a regard to the interests of the colony, leave it to itself: it was a duty on our part at any cost to bear the consequences of our own misgovernment. He should not, however, have been willing to put down this insurrection, but for the other part of the plan of Government—doing ample justice to the people of Canada. If the plan of the noble Lord had referred merely to Lower Canada, he should have been dissatisfied with it. He said, that their demand for an Elective House of Assembly was a just demand. He believed, that good government
could not be established in the British North American Colonies without a wider scheme, and the only way of doing it was by altering considerably the extent of the local divisions of the colonies. By what means were these to be carried into execution? We could not legislate effectually here in such nice matters. What was done must be done with the consent of the inhabitants in the colonies. What was the course to be pursued? You must send out a negociator to ascertain their wishes, armed with sufficient power. He was not prepared to admit the propriety of suspending the whole constitution in Lower Canada. He hoped, that in any plan of the noble Lord, he would manage to give the people of Canada a security, that their just wishes would be complied with. He hoped the Bill would be immediately brought in, and that the appointment of Lord Durham to go to Canada would be speedy, and that his Lordship would repair soon to a place where he was much wanted. In conclusion, he could not find any apology for the insurrection in Canada; but he hoped the House and the Government would recollect, that the surest mode of pacification was to show clemency to those who were now to be considered as vanquished. However much he might lament the carnage and conflagration which had taken place, he rejoiced that the insurrection had been put down, for it appeared to him, that there was now a fair opportunity of acceding, with decency and propriety, to the just demands of the people.
Sir A. Dalrymple said, he had read the papers, and he did not believe, that the archives of all the Governments of the world could produce such proofs of weakness. On the 6th of March Lord Glenelg says, that the regiments are to be sent out; on the 26th of March he says, they are not to go. If the troops had been on the spot, the traitors in Canada would have considered well before they began the insurrection.
Lord J. Russell, in explanation, said, that he had been misapprehended by the hon. Member for Liskeard. The hon. Member had supposed, that he had negatived every proposition for councils similar to those which had existed in the old colonies; but what he had said was, that he agreed with the Report of the Commissioners, that without determining whether Elective Councils might or might not be expedient, or whether they were applicable to the North American colonies, the state
of society in Canada was such as rendered it inexpedient to introduce one there; that was the extent of his objection to Elective Councils. He would farther say, that his hon. Friend, and some other hon. Members with him were too apt to look at this question as one between the Government and the people of Lower Canada, whereas they ought to bear in mind, that there was a great body of British residents there to be considered. He agreed with his hon. Friend in the hope that there might be a satisfactory settlement of the question, but he must at the same time say, that he could not hold any settlement of it satisfactory which did not provide equally for the interests of the British as for those of the French inhabitants of the Canadas.
Mr. Leader said, it was not his intention to enter into the question under discussion, and that he rose merely to protest against the Address which the noble Lord had moved, coupled with the speech which he had made. That speech, he must say, was most unjust in its character towards the Canadian people and the House of Assembly of the Lower Province, and taken in connexion with the Bill which the noble Lord meant to bring in, there could, he thought, be no doubt, that there was to be in the measures of the noble Lord more of coercion and less of conciliation than they had a right to expect at the hands of her Majesty’s Government. If the noble Lord had given them some intimation of the course he intended to pursue they would have been prepared to go into the whole subject, or at all events would have had less difficulty as to the line of conduct which they ought to adopt. If they were to oppose the Address by a direct negative it would, he knew, be said, that the motion was resisted by a factious vote, and that was an imputation that he, for one, was anxious to avoid. At the present hour it was impossible, that they could enter into the question so as to be able to refute the many fallacies contained in the noble Lord’s speech. [Laughter.] He could assure those hon. Members who laughed that the speech of the noble Lord did contain much misrepresentation, both with respect to the Government, the grievances, and the conduct of the Canadians, and he said this not on his own authority but upon the authority of men much better acquainted with the question than he was himself. Unless, therefore the noble Lord allowed them an adjournment until to-morrow he should consider it necessary, disagreeing as he did
with the Address, to oppose it by moving a direct negative, and he should take this course because he felt if they did not oppose it either by an amendment or a direct negative they would hereafter be pledged to all the measures which the Government might think fit to adopt; and even though these measures were at variance not only with their own sentiments, but the sentiments of the great mass of the people out of doors. If the noble Lord had told them that his intention was to propose an amnesty, with a view to conciliation., and a redress of the grievances of which the Canadians complained, there might have been no objection to the Address which the noble Lord had moved; but when that was not the case—when the noble Lord, in his speech, arraigned the Canadian people, and told that House that one of the measures which he intended to bring forward was the suspension of the Canadian Constitution—then he must say that it was impossible for any one who disapproved of such a course to vote for the Address. This being the present position in which they were placed, and not wishing to detain the House to go into the subject, or to give what might by some be deemed a factious vote, he must entreat the noble Lord to consent to the proposition which he now made, of adjourning the debate until to-morrow. If the noble Lord would not agree to the adjournment of the debate—if he would not allow those who wished to speak an opportunity of arguing the question fully and dispassionately—and, if it were true, as he asserted, that a considerable portion of the noble Lord’s speech was made up of fallacies, and that they were not to have the opportunity of proposing an amendment to the Address, then all he could say was, that he and those who thought as he did were threatened into giving the motion a direct negative, and the blame would not rest on him or them, but upon those who overwhelmed them, by a large majority, and would not allow them, to enter into the debate properly. Hon. Members acted unjustly in asking him to proceed at that late hour of the night. The subject was one of vital importance—one which required at their hands full and proper discussion: and, therefore, he thought it hard that he and those who acted with him, should be compelled to go into it at such a time of night. He was aware the noble Lord had the power to resist the motion if he thought proper, but he should consider that the delay sought for was not a week or a fort-
night, but only a few hours. The hon. Member, after again entreating the noble Lord to accede to his proposal, moved that the debate be adjourned until tomorrow.
Mr. Baines seconded the motion and said, that he did so with no factious view, but because he thought the matter to be of great national importance, and that they were bound to address their minds to it in a manner worthy of the subject. He certainly felt that they were taken by surprise, and that they had come down to the House without knowing, in fact, what they were going to discuss. Such a knowledge he considered necessary to their deliberations, and when he contemplated how much was involved in the question, and that civil war might be the result, he did entreat the noble Lord to afford to the House and the country a full and fair opportunity of discussing a matter which might involve considerations so mighty in their consequences, not only to the Canadas, but to this country.
Mr. Hume rose, amidst loud cries of “Spoke, spoke.” The hon. Member said, he only wished to say one word to the noble Lord. The question was simply this, whether those who had not spoken, or wished to speak, should have an opportunity afforded them to-morrow of contradicting the statements which the noble Lord had made. It appeared to him that the noble Lord was afraid to trust his speech to examination even for the short space of twelve hours. The noble Lord had taken them by surprise, but if he were, as he would have them believe, confident in the righteousness of his own case, why refuse an adjournment until to-morrow. He had no hesitation in saying, that if the noble Lord had not brought forward the second part of his plan—that relating to the suspension of the Canadian Constitution—he would not have any objection to the Address, but, as the noble Lord had taken that course, they would, he thought, have to blame themselves if they agreed to the motion without more time for consideration were given to them. If the noble Lord wished perfect unanimity on the part of that House, what he ought to do was, to withdraw the second part of his plan, and then, while he declared that the revolution should be put down by means distinct from conciliation, he should say that the just demands of the Canadians should no longer be put off with promises, and state exactly what the Government intended to do in the way of redressing grievances.
Lord John Russell did not think the House would consider that he was unreasonable when he stated that he must oppose the motion of the hon. Member for Westminster for the adjournment of the debate. The hon. Member for Kilkenny said, the House had been taken by surprise, but that was not the fact; for he begged to say that he gave notice when the House last separated, that he meant this day to bring forward the affairs of Canada, and that that subject should have precedence of all other business. With respect to the Address, all he need say, was, that, so far from pledging the House to particular measures, all that was asked by it was, to know whether they determined to maintain the allegiance of those colonies or to abandon them? Now, that was a question on which he thought he had a right to call for the decision of that House. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had blamed the Government for not providing for what had happened in the first instance. He would not stop, then, to vindicate the Government, but he would say that advantage had been gained by the delay, because the receipt of further intelligence had rendered that which had been obscure before plain and intelligible. The whole of the papers connected with the matter had been laid on the table and fully considered, and, when all this had been done, it was, he must say, a little too much to ask for further delay. The hon. Gentleman was aware that this was not the first occasion when the affairs of Canada had been discussed, and that he and his friends had expressed their opinions freely on the subject at the late meeting at the Crown and Anchor. Under such circumstances, it was a little too much to say now that they were unable to answer his speech—and therefore he should persist in calling for the decision of the House on the hon. Gentleman’s motion, concluding, of course, that those who should vote for the adjournment meant to give a negative to the Address.
Mr. Warburton thought that, considering the momentous nature of the subject, and the consequences which might result from their decision, that a fair opportunity ought to be given to every hon. Member who wished to speak, to deliver his sentiments upon it. There were, he believed many Members who had not spoken who wished to address the House, and he thought they ought to be allowed to deliver their sentiments. He did not mean to say that by agreeing to the address they would pledge
themselves to maintain the authority of her Majesty in the Canadas, whether right or wrong, but he did mean to say that if they concurred in such a motion it would be impossible for them to refuse their assent to the estimate when it was brought forward for an increased vote of money, and placing an additional burthen on the people. Before, therefore, they came to a vote, they should well weigh all the consequences of that vote; and, for his own part, he could not help thinking that they were dealing too hastily with the matter. What they asked for was delay until to-morrow, and as no evil could arise from such delay, there being no possibility of sending a military force to Canada at present, he thought the noble Lord ought to consent to the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. D. Browne said, that although he intended to vote for the Address without going into the abstract merits of that part of the plan relating to the suspending of the Canadian Constitution, he still considered the adjournment of the debate for a few hours so reasonable a proposition that he should support it. They should consider the great risk that was involved in the question, and the amount of treasure and blood which might be fruitlessly expended by an over-hasty decision. He thought the noble Lord should be willing to allow the friends of the Canadian people to defend them if they could, rather than take an unfair advantage of them.
Mr. Darby must protest against the doctrine laid down by the noble Lord, that those who should support the motion for adjourning the debate, intended to negative the Address. Now he for one was ready to vote for the Address, and, although he should do so, he could see no inconsistency in his also supporting the motion for the adjournment of the debate.
Mr. S. O’Brien said that he meant to vote for the adjournment of the debate, but he begged it to be understood that in doing so. He did not pledge himself not to vote for the Address.
The House divided on the question of adjournment:—Ayes 28: Noes 188:—Majority l60.
Address agreed to.
List of the AYES.
Baines, Edward Darby, G.
Brotherton, J. Dennistoun, J.
Browne, R. D. Eliot, Lord
Butler, hon. P. Finch, F.
Currie, Raikes Forester, hon. G.
Gillon, Wm. Down Somerville, Sir W.
Goddard, A. Stewart, J.
Grote, G. Thornley, Thomas
Hall, B. Vigors, N. A.
Hindley, C. Villiers, C. P.
Hodges, T. L. Wakley, T.
Marton, G. Warburton, H.
Molesworth, Sir W.
O’Brien, W. S. TELLERS.
Praed, Winthrop M. Leader, J. T.
Scarlett, hon. R. Hume, J.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. Divett, E.
Acland, Thos. D. Duckworth, S.
Adam, Sir C. Duke, Sir James
Aglionby, H. A. Dundas, Fred.
Ainsworth, P. Dundass, Capt. D.
Alford, Viscount Easthope, J.
Alsager, Capt. Eaton, R. J.
Alston, Rowland Elliott, hon. J. C.
Arbuthnot, hon. H. Ellice, Capt. A.
Ashley, Lord Ellice, rt. hon. E.
Attwood, W. Elice, E.
Bagge, W. Ellis, J.
Bagot, hon. W. Evans, De Lacy
Baillie, H. D. Farnham, E. B.
Baring, F. T. Fitzalan, Lord
Barrington, Viscount Fleetwood, P. H.
Belfast, Earl of Forbes, Wm.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fort, John
Berkeley, hon. H. Fremantle, Sir T.
Bernal, R. Gibson, T.
Blackstone, W. S. Gladstone, W. E.
Blake, W. J. Gordon, Robert
Blennerhasset, A. Gordon, hon. Capt.
Boiling, W. Goring, H. D.
Borthwick, P. Goulburn, rt. hon. H.
Bowes, John Granby, Marquess of
Bradshaw, J. Greene, T.
Bramston, T. W. Grey, Sir G.
Brodie, W. B. Grimston, Viscount
Bruges, W. H. L. Grimston, hon. E. H
Buller, C. Hale, R. B.
Bulwer, Edw. L. Halford, H.
Burdett, Sir Francis Harland, W. C.
Campbell, Sir J. Hastie, A.
Canning, Sir S. Hawes, B.
Cantalupe, Viscount Hawkes, T.
Castlereagh, Viscount Hawkins, J. H.
Cavendish, hon. C. Hay, Sir A. L.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Hayter, W. G.
Cayley, E. S. Heathcote, G. J.
Chandos, Marq. of Herbert, hon. S.
Childers, J. W. Hobhouse, Sir J.
Clay, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Clayton, Sir W. Hogg, J. W.
Collins, W. Hope, G. W.
Colquhoun, Sir. Hotham, Viscount
Compton, H. C. Howard, F. J.
Corry, hon. H. Howard, P. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Howick, Viscount
Crawford, W. Hurst, R. H.
Denison, W. J. Inglis, Sir R. H.
De Horsey, S. H. James, W.
D’Israeli, B. Jermyn, Earl of
Jolliffe, Sir W. Richards, Richard
Jones, T. Rickford, W.
Kinnaird, hon. A. F. Rolfe, Sir R. M.
Knatchbull, Sir E. Rose, right hon. Sir G.
Knight, H. G. Round, C. G.
Labouchere, H. Round, John
Lambton, H. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Lascelles, hon. W. S. Russell, Lord J.
Lennox, Lord A. Russell, Lord C.
Lockhart, A. M. Salwey, Col.
Logan, H. Sandon, Viscount
Lushington, C. Seymour, Lord
Mackenzie, T. Sinclair, Sir G.
Mackenzie, W. F. Somerset, Lord G.
Macleod, R. Stanley, Lord
Macnamara, Major Stuart, H.
Manners, Lord C. Style, Sir C.
Marshall, W. Surrey, Earl of
Martin, J. Talfourd, Serjeant
Maule, W. H. Tancred, H. W.
Milnes, R. M. Thomson, C. P.
Morpeth, Viscount Trevor, hon. G.
Muskett, G. A. Troubridge, Sir. T.
O’Ferrall, R. M. Tuffnell, H.
Pakington, J. S. Turner, E.
Palmer, C. F. Vere, Sir C. B.
Palmer, Robert Villiers, Lord
Palmerston, Viscount Vivian, Sir R. H.
Parker, J. Welby, G. Earle
Parrott, J. Wilde, Sergeant
Pechell, Captain R. Wilshere, W.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Winnington, T. E.
Peel, Colonel J. Winnington, H. J.
Pemberton, T. Wood, C.
Perceval, hon. G. J. Wood, T
Planta, Joseph Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Poulter, J. S. Young, G. F.
Pryme, G. Young, J.
Ramsay, Lord TELLERS.
Reid, Sir John Rae Stanley, E. J.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Steuart, R.