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FOR THE YEAR
HISTORY OF EUROPE.
General remarks on the Canadian Insurrection--Historical notice of
the grievances of Lower Canada-Nature of the disputes concerning the appropriation of the Revenue-Duties of 17744" Permanent appropriation"-Casual and Territorial Revenues—Law of Property -Tenures-Report of the Commons Committee of 1828 Conciliatory Policy of the British Government-Surrender of the Duties of 1774-Factious conduct of the House of Assembly-Sir Francis Head's publication of his Instructions_Crisis–Progress of the Insurrection in Loner Canada - Conflicts at St. Denis and St. Charles
- Revolt suppressed South of the St. Lawrence-Sir John Colborne crosses the Ottawa-Defeat of the Rebels at St. Eustache-Surrender and Burning of St. Benoit-Termination of the Insurrection State of Public Feeling in the United States Upper Canada – Mr. Mackenzie's Proclamations-Policy of Sir F. Head-Outbreak near Toronto - Flight of Mackenzie-Seizure of Navy Island—Affair of the Caroline - Aggressive conduct of Citizens of the United States Opening of the Session-Evacuation of Navy Island Patriots successively defeated near Kingston, at Fighting Island, and at Point Pelé Ísland— Conduct of the American Authorities - Sir Francis Head Resigns the Government— Addresses from the Two Houses Prorogation of the Local Parliament - Report of the Committee of the Assembly
NHE Queen's first Parliament, ters which came under deliberation
it will be recollected, was at the commencement of the sesassembled in November, 1837. sion, such as the civil and pension Some of the more important mate lists, and the affairs of Canada, are Vol. LXXX
noticed in our last volume. The nished when it came to see with
Canada, as may serve to illustrate sembled satisfaction on the diffi- the real character of the Canadian culties which must attend their
grievances, past as well as present. subjugation.
It is needless to add, that our liThese sentiments, however, found mited space excludes many points little echo among the community of the greatest importance to either at large. The liberality that could province. The following statethus invite revolt, and counsel ment applies almost exclusively to dismemberment, was of a pitch the principal "grievances” of the evidently transcending the com- people of Lower Canada. Upper prehension, or sympathy of any Canada, it will be seen, had its considerable body of the people. troubles likewise, but they arose There could, indeed, be but one less from political causes, than from opinion among sober minds as to a predatory spirit on the part of the unprovoked character of the the disturbers of the public peace. rebellion. Indeed, upon their own Shortly after the cession of Castatement of them, the grievances nada in 1763, English law was, of the Canadians were neither of by royal proclamation, established an extent or a kind to justify a in the colony. But by an act passed resort to such an extremity. It is the modern fashion to consider these as questions rather of expediency than of moral principle.
• Mr. Papineau, it is said by those
who ought to know, was not accessory to But even on that ground, there these latter proceedings, which took was little in the proceedings of the place contrary to his advice. This may French Canadians to conciliate re- be believed, without giving that gentlespect or interest. The most liberal man credit for more than common pruin such matters will admit, that in anterior to the outbreak scarcely corro
dence. Yet his conduct immediately a struggle of this kind, whatever borates the statement. be its motive or object, a fair prob- + For a valuable and authentic body ability of success is necessary of information on the whole question, not merely for its prudential but the reader is referred to the evidence its moral justification. In the 1928 and 1934, and to the report of Lord present case, the world was asto. Gusford's commission published in 1838,
in 1774, (14 George 3rd. c. 83) every fourth year, and was to conthe French civil law was restored, sist, in the upper province, of not with this restriction, that it should less than sixteen members, and in not apply to lands which had been the lower of not less than fifty. or should be granted in free and It seems to be admitted, that the common soccage. At the same time home Government began by shew. the English criminal code was ing little wisdom in its mode of retained. A free exercise of the managing the legislature of the Roman Catholic religion was gua- lower province. Finding that the ranteed, subject to the king's su- assembly was almost entirely premacy, and their accustomed French, they thought that they dues and rights were secured to could not do better than make the the clergy of that church. This legislative council as exclusively act of parliament stamped the pro- British. And thus, from a very vince with a character exclusively early period, the two bodies beFrench ; and impeded, as far as any came antagonists. legislative enactment could do, the The issue of such a contest was adoption of English manners and inevitable. The assembly consciinstitutions. And, thenceforward, ous of its strength, took up its the greater number of emigrants ground on the question of finance. of Bristish race, whether loyalists Until very lately, however, it was from the old colonies, or adven- content to confine its efforts within turers from home, repaired to that their legitimate sphere; aiming at part of Canada which now consti- nothing further than the redress tutes the upper province, and of administrative abuses, which where there were then no French undeniably existed, and demanding occupants.
an enlarged control over the reThis state of things was con- venues of the province. firmed in 1791, when the act We may venture to say, that up passed, (31 George 3rd. c. 31) di- to the year 1828, the assembly of viding the province into two, and lower Canada, if not entirely free establishing in each the present from a factious spirit, was yet not, constitution. The legislatures 50 in the main, unreasonable either in created consisted of a council, and its pretensions or its behaviour. an assembly. The members of the In that year, the whole subject former were to be appointed by the came before the house of commons, Crown. For the purpose of consti- and the committee, to which the tuting the latter, each province Canadian grievances were referred, was distributed into counties and made their celebrated report. Setowns or townships. The members veral petitions came under their for the counties were to be chosen consideration. The most imporby persons holding land in free- tant, signed by about 87,000 inhold, fief, or roture, to the annual habitants of Lower Canada, resivalue of forty shillings; while the dent within the Seigniories, electoral qualification for the towns complained of arbitrary conduct consisted of a dwelling house and on the part of the governors; of the lot of ground in the township, of appointment of none but creatures the annual value of 5l., or for of the executive government to the which a rent of 101. ; was paid. legislative council; of the illegal The assembly was to be renewed appropriation of public money; of violent prorogations and dissolu- applied, in the first place, to tions of the provincial parliament; making a more certain and adeof the connivance of the govern- quate provision for the adminisment at the insolvency of the Re. tration of justice, and of the civil ceiver General, Sir John Caldwell; government, the residue to be and of certain acts of the imperial reserved in the hands of the reparliament, particularly the Ca- ceiver-general of the province, for nada trade act, (3 George 4th.) and the future disposition of Parliament. the Canada tenures act, (6 George This was followed by the act of 4th). On the other hand, another the 31 Geo. 3. c. 31, already adpetition signed by 10,000 inhabi- verted to, and of which the 46th tants of the townships, enumerated section recites the 18th Geo. 3. c. the grievances of the British portion 12 (1778), which latter act deof the community. Among these, clared, that thenceforward the the most prominent were the in- King and Parliament of Great conveniences to which they were Britain would not impose any duty exposed, by being made subject or tax in any of the North Ame. to French law and procedure; and rican colonies, or in the West the inequality of their share in the Indies, except only such as it representation.
might be expedient to impose for Upon the more important of the regulation of commerce ;" these matters we propose to offer a the net produce of such duties few remarks, serving to give a being always applied to the use of general notion of the controversy the colony, in which the same between this country and the should be levied, in such manner colony. We will begin with the as other duties collected by the nost important of all—the public authority of the respective general revenue.
courts, or general assemblies of It may be premised, that through- such colonies are ordinarily paid out the unfortunate differences and applied.” which we are about to notice, no The act then states, that it is question ever existed with respect necessary for the general benefit to the imposition of duties, or the of the empire, that such power of levying of money. The claims of regulating commerce should conti. either party were limited to the nue, “subject, nevertheless, to the right of appropriating, what must, condition thereinbefore recited, at all events, be collected, and with respect to the application, what, if not disposed of, must of the duties." And it therefore accumulate from year to year in provides for the continuance of the the public chest.
powers in question, and debars the In the year 1774, an act passed provincial legislature from varying, the Imperial Parliament, (14 Geo. repealing, or obstructing lawsmade 3.c.88,) on which the financial part by virtue thereof-provided, that of the quarrel mainly rested. After the net produce of all duties to be stating that certain duties had been so imposed should, at all times imposed by the French king, and thereafter, be applied in such were subsisting at the period of manner only as should be directed the conquest, it directed that they by the provincial legislature. should be discontinued ; substitut. Now, according to the construcing others, which were to be tion of the British government, the effect of these statutes was, to -a privilege implied in its very divide the revenues collected under existence, and inseparable from its their authority in Canada into two functions. distinct classes ; whereof the one We believe, that though these consisted of the duties levied ante. latter considerations might have rior to the passing of the act, 18 afforded a good reason for a timely Geo. 3, and the other of such as and graceful concession of their had been imposed since and by demands to the Canadian Assembly, virtue of that act, or of the 31 on fair terms, no lawyer could Geo. 3. c. 3). The latter of these have denied, that the legal classes they admitted to be alto- construction of the statutes was gether subject to the control of the that assumed by the British goprovincial legislature, which, tho'vernment. Another, and perhaps without the
power of prohibiting better ground of dispute, on the the collection of the duties, might, part of the Assembly, though at pleasure, regulate, limit, and equally inoperative with the foreven refuse, their appropriation. mer, as a legal argument, was the But, with respect to the former, following. It being admitted on it was contended, on the part of all sides, that the duties of 1774 the Imperial Legislature, that the were to be applied exclusively to colonial parliament had no such the support of the civil governpower, and that the duties substi- ment, it became the duty, as well tuted by the 14 Geo. 3. c 88, for as the privilege, of the assembly, those which were antecedently whenever the executive governexisting, were already specifically ment came down to them for an appropriated by the British Parlia- addition to that fund, to ascertain, ment to defray the civil expenses by a careful examination of the of the colony.
whole expenditure, whether the The Canadians, on the other supplementary aid, which they had hand, insisted, that the last-men- the power of withholding, ought to mentioned act had been virtually, be voted or no. This, it will be if not in terms, repealed by the perceived, amounted really to a two which succeeded it, and to control over the appropriation of which they attributed a retroactive the entire revenue, since, by reoperation. And they claimed a fusing to advance the secondary, further latitude for the construc- until they were quite satisfied with tion of the latter statutes, in consi. every item of disbursement of the deration of the fact, that the act of primary fund, they, of course, suc1774 was passed at a time when ceeded in obtaining the regulation there was no provincial legislation, of both. nor any local authorities, to whom This power, which they posthe constitutional appropriation of sessed in substance, whatever may the duties, then imposed, could be have been the theory of its attrideputed. And they went on to bution, should, we think, have argue, that the local parliament settled the question. But the must, as soon as it came into being, government still clung to their by a certain transcendent virtue, legal title, shadowy as it was. essentially inherent in parliaments, And, in the ordinary course of such attract within its own sphere the controversies, the misunderstandmanagement of all public monies ing and irritation on this question