...towards the furtherance of any general plan of improvement on the system now practiced." Having been honoured with His Excellency’s request in this behalf I deem it my duty to comply without any hesitation and to the very best of my ability to give what I consider the public opinion upon the several important matters submitted: Thinking it scarcely necessary to promise that the degree of dependence, for practical purposes to be placed upon the present opinion of the people, however cursory one may have been informed, must at best be regulated by our experience in the versatility of all popular opinion; but especially must the opinion of an individual as to the opinion of the public upon the first two questions, be received with much caution and many allowances: for the reason that although a great deal of bitterness has been engendered in the discussion of this, Second, they have not been a sufficient time before the public, for its expression to assume the form of a settled connection. I shall make no apology for the length at which any remarks may be drawn as his Excellency has left me at "Liberty to extend any comments in any way I may deem most expedient keeping in view the spirit rather than Letter of the present queries." I take the liberty of leaving the first two queries for discussion last and proceed to the 3rd "The Militia System, as it is now established; stating its practical operation upon the population generally of the District." Against the Militia System generally I have never yet heard complaint which might be considered as at all affecting its general adaptation to the people, and the circumstances of the Province. It is now, in spirit, what it was at the first organization of the Province _ with the exception that Lieutenants of Counties have been done away with _ and the people of this District I can safely say feel it not as a grievance. A few of the Militia among the old inhabitants would be well pleased to adopt the American fashion of selecting their officers. Taking the Militia of this District at 7,000 I think 1,000 might be of this description. My opinion is that we would be better without any Militia system. This is founded upon my knowledge of the working of such a plan in the United States or rather in the State of New York. The greater part of the more respectable class of society there bear no part in the Militia, either as privates or officers. Being excluded from the latter they find excuses or pay their fines rather than stand in the Ranks _ to be commanded in a majority of cases by men distinguished only by a tact for creating a popularity among the majority and therefore the lowest part of the community. When present this Autumn at their annual general training at Oswego I saw a Major General in command of several Regiments who was at the time, Captain of a Line Boat on the Erie Canal! And upon further enquiry I was assured upon the most respectable authority there, that this was no uncommon thing: but that in very many cases the most unprincipled characters were high in the militia service. The remark, therefore of my intelligent informant that "Canada in case of a regular war had little to fear from an invasion by the Militia of the State of New York" is entitled to some weight _ when he further urged as a reason _ That the disgust created by exacting the heavy fines from the more wealthy part of the men, combined with the opposition which would be met with from a rather respectable part, who for want of means to purchase their exemptions, would be obliged to serve joined to the influence of the minority in the selection of the Captain or other officer _ would paralyze all their efforts, in attempting an Invasion of a Foreign Country. It is easily perceived however that the volunteers of such an organization are the very force which would be most effective in the Brigand service _ a sample of whom we have already had. It has come to my knowledge that complaints have frequently been made on account of favoritism in the appointments of officers in various parts of the Province. In many cases such complaints, I have reason to believe were well founded. Everything, in my opinion, depends upon the exercise of a sound discretion in this particular. It is unpleasant to speak of ourself but in order to illustrate what I am going to say I am obliged to do so now. I have been about fourteen years in command of the 3rd Northumberland (at one time the three Regiments forming but one) and I will venture to say that during all that time not one complaints has reached the Adjutant General. I never sanction the appointment of a Sergeant who I do not think will one day be fit to command a Company; nor do I ever unless upon some very extraordinary occasion recommend any appointments to be made except from these Sergeants _ taking the most intelligent and active _ always having an eye as to how they are likely to "turn out in the world". Upon the occasion of every appointment I consult all my officers. In this way I always have an active intelligent set of non-commissioned officers, so essential not only when the Regiment is assembled but on account of the additional influence exercised by them whilst off duty. The character of Regiment may thus be so raised as that no man, however respectable will think it beneath him to be a non-commissioned officer nor to stand in the Ranks. I studiously avoid appointing or recommending any man as a sergeant or for a commission, however respectable who pays his fine or gets excused on some frivolous pretence, rather than stand in the Ranks _ and this determination I take care to have generally known. I cannot help thinking it a mistaken policy, doing away with Lieutenants of Counties. They would form a sort of breakwater to the government in regard to Militia appointments and I think it would be well to restore it. A much more efficient Militia force would, I think, be the result as will an account of the constant supervision which could be exercised over the officers as the reason above reverted to. With some amendments to the details of the Law, I do not see how "the practical operation of the Militia system" could be rendered less burthensome to the people than it is. 4th "The state of the Roads and all other internal improvements, and the suspension of outlay from public funds on these objects." There is no subject upon which the new settlers in this District (forming one half of its population) are more sensibly alive than that of roads and bridges. With them it swallows up almost the whole catalogue of grievances, and is in fact a subject of the most vital importance to them. The old settlers have now become comparatively easy upon this matter _ the improvements of roads always following closely upon the improvements of the Land. Stating the population of this District, in round numbers at 40,000 souls _ there are at least half of that number _ or about 4,000 old country families residing in situations remote from roads except those opened through these heavy forests by their own labour. They are therefore deprived of any advantage which might otherwise be derived from traffic in the productions of their limited clearings with the old settlers. This privation presses with peculiar hardship upon those of them who are settled fa4r from any of the rising villages _ and who unaccustomed to growing, and from their very small improvements incapable of raising much of the staple article _ wheat _ are compelled to defend in a great measure for the support of their families upon other _ while perhaps more bulky _ yet less valuable produce of the ground. That however which renders money grants for roads in the new settlements of the most immediate consequences to the people is the advantage which they derive from the circulation of part at least, of the money in their immediate neighbourhood - furnishing employment at the same time that it supplies them with a market in a small way, for their produce, and gives them almost the only chance they have in obtaining the little money always more or less necessary. Money _ grants from the Provincial Treasury for roads in any new country offering facilities for profitable investment, must be considered a waste. I shall presently make some suggestions upon the practicability of at least laying a foundation for a remedy of this great evil _ bad roads. In the mean time I can state generally that, in addition to the expectation of the people having been cut short of the grants for the last two years upon the roads from inability of the Government to raise the money voted for that object _ The suspension of the outlay upon the River Trent Canal and the improvement of the inland waters of the District which has lately taken place will press upon the people immediately to an almost ruinous extent. The crops too _ it may be borne in mind as connected with a continuation of pressure upon the farmers for a year or two to come must fall short for the reason that so many men have been taken in the Militia service for the last two years, during the usual chopping time _ and this must necessarily _ besides having raised wages _ affect the crops for 1841 and 1842. However all this pressure, falling as it (I am sorry to say) chiefly does upon the most loyal and peaceable part of the District Community _ the new settlers _ whilst this is no reason why the evil should not be averted _ but on the contrary a most powerful one in favour of it _ no apprehension need be entertained of its affecting their wanted devotion to the cause of their country. 5th "The land granting system generally and the levying a greater tax on wild lands as a means of either of facilitating emigration or promoting public works." As to the sentiments entertained by the people of this District upon the subject of the Land granting system generally; I do not think it forms any general ground of complaint, further than it has lately been made a handle of by demagogues and agitators, who of course, now that the subject has been mooted and made a ground of accusation against the local government by the Earl of Durham _ seize hold of isolated cases of very old grants, which now that Lands have so much increased in value, appear to the uninformed and unreflecting as abused; but which upon examination will turn out to be no such thing. I do not mean to say that extravagant grants may not have been made. It may be so, but I mean to say that if, instead of Lands which were granted thirty or more years ago _ the grantee had had one shilling given him for every acre _ that sum and the legal interest thereon would now amount to more than such land in general will bring. A grant therefore of 1,200 acres at that time could not be considered as a gift of more than 60 pounds. I have, within the last 20 years known tracts of as fine land as in the Province, sold by men of intelligence and wealth for one quarter of a dollar per acre. Indeed in the early period of the History of this country, Bishop Berkelay’s remark respecting Land in the old colonies might with equal propriety be applied to this country, "That a man may possess 20 miles square in this glorious country and yet not be able to get a dinner." However, whatever effects, charges of corruption against the local Government here on account of these grants may produce in the old country and upon newcomers here, the old settlers cannot in general be made to participate in their effects _ so far as the inhabitants of this District are concerned, certainly not: for I am of opinion that eight out of ten of the heads of families in this District are land owners, and that eight out of ten of these again have had grants of land from the Government. Upon the reestablishment of the Land boards in the several Districts (I think in 1825) Locations were permitted to be made without much, if any, restriction to all who chose to lay out 7/6 to pay the clerk for a certificate! So that in this District at least every faculty which it was possible for the Government to hold out to persons desirous of becoming landholders _ has been given. Having said thus much upon the general feeling of the people of this District upon the Land granting system, it is my duty to state what I believe to be their general feeling upon the land owning system! It matters much less to the back settler, whose is, or how the owner came by _ the blocks of wild land by which he is surrounded _ than the inconvenience and injury he sustains by it. This in my opinion forms a real grievance and is most justly complained of as such, and the remedy, albeit it may be considered worse than the disease by those who may be affected by it will nevertheless in my humble judgement go far toward remedying the evil complained of and toward placing the country in the road to prosperity. Here then I must avail myself of His Excellency’s permission to extend my comments in any "way I may deem expedient" but I shall confine myself to giving such a practical view of the matter as I think will be more useful to His Excellency being himself a practical man than any general disquisition could be. The prosperity of any new agricultural country must be chiefly in the number of its inhabitants and the capital introduced. Every possible facility should therefore be given for their introduction, and when introduced _ for their retention. In a colony insularly situated the retention of settlers and capital after they shall have been introduced is almost a matter of course, but with us it is far different. Situated as we are in Upper Canada _ (though attempted to be settled more than fifty years, yet actually commenced only about twenty five) alongside such a mammoth as the United States three hundred years old _ and from its extensive seaboard and captivating political institutions the western emporium of the whole world _ it is scarcely possible for us, under almost any circumstances to hold out sufficient inducements to prevent both men and money finding their way into the neighbouring States. But when the emigrant finds that all the lands near the roads or natural communications are already conceded and in the hands of persons whom perhaps they cannot find _ and if they do _ are quite indifferent about selling _ it is not to be wondered at that they cannot be persuaded to dive into the back forests upon the lands of the Government _ even if they could obtain that. The consequence is that very few and these of the poorer sort who know not how otherwise to dispose of themselves for the moment, remain in the country to leave it at some period, before they can realise anything form their land _ when absolute hunger compels them to seek for employment which they cannot obtain in the country _ in order to supply their families with bread. It is I think correctly estimated that of all the emigrants who since the year 1825 were landed on our shores not one out of ten are now to be found! Whilst there are hundreds of thousands of acres of the finest land in America, and lying contiguous to water and other communication _ and I may say millions of acres into which there are no communications at all _ lying a silent waste _ the emigrant is compelled from one cause or the other to leave the country! How then can we ever expect to become a prosperous people? I answer _ we never can be so until we compel (for nothing short of compulsion will do) the owners of these immense tracts of nonproductive land to contribute penny for penny with the actual settler and producer toward the improvement of the Province. More I do not ask. As much I have a right to expect. I will now show the difference in their contributions to the public stock. The man who settles upon 50 acres of wild land, which is the usual grant to emigrants (and which indeed is quite sufficient) _ before he has cut a stick of timber _ before his cabin is erected and before he brings a hoof upon his lot _ pays ten pence as a District rate in money and works two days upon the highways whilst the nonresident pays only one shilling and four pence farthing in all for the same quantity. Calculating wages it is the lowest sum it can be had at in the country 2 days will be equal to Pounds 7.6 cash for District rate 10 amount paid by emigrant 8.4 nonresident pays only 1.4 1/4 Difference 6.11 3/4 So that the settler whose every blow enriches his neighbour and whilst he makes his 50 acres contribute toward the trade and commerce of the Country, actually pays more than five times the sum toward the public benefit that the non resident does! But we will see how the case stands after the emigrant shall have been 10 or 12 years on his land _ supposing him to have been possessed of a little capital industry and frugality 30 acres improved = Pounds 30 = Pounds 0 _ 2.6 20 unimproved = 4 = 4 1 pair oxen = 8 = 8 1 horse = 8 = 8 5 cows = 15 = 1.3 6 young cattle = 6 = 6 1 stove = 5 = 5 Pounds 6.4 5 days statute labour 3/9 18.9 Pounds 1. 5. 1 The non resident still pays only 1.4 1/4 Pounds 1. 3. 8 3/4
Thus then the man, who, whilst he doubles the value of the adjoining wild lot pays nearly eighteen times as much toward the public service as its owner! Is there any reason for this _ on the contrary is there the least show of reason why the speculator should not at least contribute equally with the other? I have given a tabular view of these two ordinary cases in order to convince His Excellency that the people are not, in this respect, _ equally taxed. It may be said, in answer that the large land owner by the consumption of so much larger quantity of dutiable goods, makes up the deficiency to the public stock. Well how does such a case stand. If he owns 1,000 acres only _ and there are hundreds of such in the Province _ Twenty 50 acre settlers upon the like quantity _ besides consuming I will venture to say at least an equal quantity of dutiable goods, would pay Pounds 23.15.0 and he Pounds 1.7.0! Moreover when we come to bring a view of the political economist to bear upon this matter we shall find, that the whole of the tax upon the actual settler _ except four pence is a tax upon labour! The precedent for a direct tax upon uncultivated land we have and have acted upon it for 20 years _ see 59 geo: 3 chap 8, sec 3. The constitutionality of it is undoubted _ The Justice of it no impartial man will deny and the policy and expediency nay the absolute necessity of it such a measure, appear once too manifest to need argument. I am not ignorant of the opposition that this measure will meet with in the Legislature, but it must be overcome. We have no alternative _ the country is locked up without it and will remain so in spite of every other effort, every scheme which we can devise for settling the country will fail without it. "No" says the large landed proprietor, "The Government having granted to me this tract of land for services rendered, or other valuable consideration _ it has no justification in now taking it away from me, or which is the same thing imposing such tax as amounts to a defeasances." The fallacy of this however will appear from the answer that the condition either expressed or implied upon which this land was granted _ from first to last, was that of settlement. It is absurd to suppose that the government when granting it did not think it was settling the country. Every one knows that the several governors and their councils have been unremitting in their endeavours to devise the most effectual means for the attainment of this object. Moreover the circumstances of the country are changed. The Government by the greatest exertion and indeed sacrifices, have at length succeeded in partially settling the country and these wild tracts of land have now become a nuisance and is it to be endured that these landlords are for an indefinite length of time to be allowed the benefit of all the government expenditure and labour of the actual settler without something like a corresponding exertion on their part! But say these gentlemen, "We would gladly sell but cannot find purchasers" _ "No" it night be answered _ "nor you never will until you begin by making communications to it". If this tax be imposed every 50 acres which you possess will in a few years be worth as much as your 200 acres will without it. But you must begin." Now then as to the mode of carrying this into effect. I would not make it compulsory at all but allow every Township at its option to be signified by a vote at its annual Township meeting, to lay such tax upon all the uncultivated land in such Township (including those of the Crown, clergy, school, Canada Company and Indian lands for which provision might be made) not exceeding two pence per acre, as the inhabitants shall decide upon. On the 1st of January every year let District debentures be issued for half the sum such tax will produce, payable in 16 2/3 years with interest, and at the end of the time it will be found that a sum sufficient to redeem the outstanding debentures will be realised by sale of the land even though no part shall have been paid. The advantage however to prompt payers would be so great that very little would be suffered to remain in arrear. If the tax be paid at the end of every year, of course no debentures need be issued for such sum and consequently one penny supposing the tax to have been laid at 2 d. per acre will satisfy the demand, and whenever payments in arrear are to be made debentures, or the penny per acre the interest will be received. Or in other words the prompt payer upon 200 acres disburses in 16 2/3 years Pounds 13.6.8 and the maximum tax for that period supposing nothing be paid will be Pounds 26.13.4 upon that quantity of land. The calling in of debentures and other details can easily be regulated by the act. Taking an ordinary township of 66,000 acres of land and allowing it to be, what we Upper Canada consider in a high state of cultivation when only one half remains in wood _ 33,000 acres of wood 2 d. per acre Pounds 275 _ debentures to be issued for ½ 137.10.0 which last sum will be annually available to the Township. The resident farmer settled upon 200 acres half improved and in ordinary circumstances as to cattle and other property and calculating the interest of the taxes which he now pays from the day of such payments disburses for taxes in 16 2/3 years Pounds 80.6.8 or if he be placed on a par with the prompt non resident payer as above Pounds 40.3.4. These calculations include the District and road rate and his statute labour; so that even with the contemplated additional tax the non resident land owner does not pay one half as much as the actual settler! I have dwelt upon this subject and ventured, perhaps too minutely into detail, for the purpose of giving His Excellency, who it is impossible could attend to the minutia of all these matters, a view of it for practical purposes. Emigration I consider as the one thing needful for us as a Province _ without it we never can succeed _ it is impossible, but any and every attempt to settle the country with emigrants must prove abortive until we open up the back forests by some communications or other. And therefore the less expense we incur, until this matter of taxing land be disposed of, the better. There is however one suggestion which if it could be carried into effect would be productive of the best result as it regards the settling of the country and clearing up the wood. There are great numbers of farmers who have large families of sons and possess but little land, who would be glad of an opportunity of changing their improved farms for wild land by which means they would in most cases be enabled to provide their sons with land. If when emigration shall again set in upon us, some means could be devised either by the government or companies of individuals to make exchanges of this kind, the consequence would be that both parties would be benefited and the Province more than both; for the Canadian will always succeed better in the woods and the old countryman upon the cleared land _ five acres in fact would be better to him than 50. "6th The state of education in the province; stating how far the District community would be willing to contribute towards the furtherance of any general plan of improvement on the system now practiced." The people of this District, in common with those of the whole Province feel very deeply upon the subject of education. They feel that relief should in some way, and that without delay _ be extended to them _ especially the scotch settlers, who possess a sort of innate desire for educating their families. The privations in this respect bears peculiarly hard upon the more respectable class of old country settlers _ of whom we have a great number settled in the remote parts of this District. They cannot help fearing that their families must degenerate; if I may use the expression, and lose caste as it were, if to the influence of the society in many cases, into which their families are necessarily thrown, be added the ignorance in which, as it respects even the most common English education, they are brought up. All classes, indeed are quite alive to this important subject and evince upon it a praiseworthy anxiety, and I therefore take it for granted, and indeed am satisfied that they will readily unite in any reasonable measure in furtherance of this object _ and I believe further that no one measure of the government would be attended with so beneficial an influence in soothing the exacerbation produced by political strife as that of making some liberal provision for schools. How this provision is to be made I suppose is the knotty question, but it appears to me that our school lands might be made more available than they have been. There is an impression abroad very unfavourable to the Government upon this subject, which I suppose to have arisen from the agitation of the University and College questions, to which institutions it is asserted and believe all the most valuable and saleable of the school lands have been transferred. If this be so, a reasonable proportion ought to be restored if now practicable, or value in some way provided for any deficiency. The present money appropriations, do a great deal of good even under the present system, and its withdrawal should not be thought of under any circumstances. If we had it an additional appropriation ought to be made at the ensuring session of the Legislature. This, with a system through which a more strict surveillance over the teachers and books, could be exercised, and authority to authorise the several townships or school districts in the old settlements to assess the themselves in proportion to their dividend of the public money _ and an extra provision for the new settlements would work wonders in the country at this moment. I will now revert to the 1st and 2nd queries respecting the union of the Provinces and "Responsible Government" "1st The union of the two Provinces of upper and lower Canada both with respect to the principle of the measure and to the proposed details as set forth in the Bill now before the Imperial Parliament for giving it effect." With respect to this question the Union I believe the general feeling to be against it, and this feeling arises, as I believe from two causes _ The difference of origin in the people _ their language _ laws and customs and their notorious disaffection to the Government. This latter quality however commends the lower Canadians strongly to all the disloyal in this Province, whose sympathy has united them indissolubly with that people, making common cause with them in Rebellion against the British Government _ though as opposite in every other respect as can well be. Should the Union be carried into effect, no matter upon what terms, any opinion is that this feeling of opposition on the part of the great majority of the people of this Province to such a measure would gain ground and would under the management of demagogues, couple with the assistance of those whose private interests would be affected become a bone of incessant contention until it should be done away with. But most certainly with such a scheme fail if the Union be predicated upon the present principle of enfranchisement in Lower Canada. I think that the annexation of the Island of Montreal would be fully as much of an amalgamation as this Province would feel contented under. The principal advantages which the most sanguine of our supporters of an Union anticipate are those which involve our commercial prosperity _ but if it should turn out to be a political mistake, it must be fatal to a much higher interest. As it regards the Bill now before the Imperial Parliament having the Union for its object, I believe I am justified in saying that not one half the people in this District have ever heard of and that not one in ten has read, it, so that it is impossible that the opinion of the people as it respects either the principle or details of the measure can be had. This to a stranger would appear extraordinary _ that a measure changing the whole political institutions of the country, should have been passed over for several months without the notice by the people generally _ and with an apparently common consent of the newspapers _ suffered to pass almost without comment. The all _ engrossing subject _ the panacea for all our difficulties _ Responsible Government has absorbed every other matter, and will continue to do so until a decision be made by the Mother country let that period be when it may! If His Excellency expects my opinion upon this Bill I have no hesitation in saying that I am opposed to every kind of political Union with the Lower Canadians though if we could be united with the British population my opposition would be much enfeebled for I feel that, although a calm is now resting upon this portion of the population of that Province the time cannot be distant when it will be found to be a delusive calm. They will not long forego the privileges which they have so long enjoyed under the British Constitution and I much fear that unless something be done for them the result will be a meeting of the two extremes of the English and French when a unanimous resistance will close the scene _ and this Province as a matter of course, be involved in its overthrow! Therefore it is, and therefore only that I should ever consent to a union on condition that the French should be disfranchised. If then the union should be determined upon on this principle, I am quite willing to be understood as being impressed with the conviction that the details of the Union Bill or conferring corporate or municipal powers upon some such principle, would tend to the advancement of the prosperity of the country and be favourably received by the people. At all events it would in any opinion have the effect of breaking up into smaller, and therefore less dangerous parties the two powerful ones to whose contentious I attribute all our difficulties. It would throw out a shield by giving scope and exercise for their bickerings within the precincts of their several sections, and give the Government which is always considered by the party out of power to be identified with that which is in power _ an opportunity of standing aloof and maintaining that high and independent ground without which every assault of a powerful and unified party must reach it. It would I have no doubt tend to the advancement of general improvement in this way. By leaving the power with the people, who are more immediately interested _ and whose interests to differ in different parts of the country, to manage their won local affairs. They would take pride in exhibiting a public spirit in raising money for various improvements, which now because they cannot constantly keep their eye upon its management, they either refuse or at best would very reluctantly do. Again _ I think some such plan would tend to the peace and prosperity of the country, because it would _ besides the great extension of the selective franchise, throw open an additional field for the exercise of patronage by the crown, which although of little benefit to the individuals, would nevertheless gratify that laudable desire of rising in the estimation of their neighbours. This is a principle inherent in man and in proportion to its gratification, the moral character of the community will be raised. In connection with this it may here properly be observed, that after all _ the agitation which has taken place may be traced to a very few men seeking for power or notoriety of some kind, and in many instances by men well effected to the Government and institutions of the Country, but who from small beginnings and a desire for popularity have gone beyond their depth. If therefore a legitimate field could be opened for the exercise of their ambition upon domestic matters it would much relieve the general politics of the country. The Province has almost outgrown the salutary influence which the exercise of the elective franchise and patronage of the crown has upon the community. The circulation of power must be less vigorous at the extremities of large bodies and therefore small ones are to be preferred. Taking these views therefore of the operation of the system contemplated by the Bill I am of opinion that a measure embracing the principles above adverted to would prove beneficial. It is said by some that this scheme is too democratic for a British Province and that it will tend by the frequent selections to create more confusion and bitterness than we already have and by fostering the elective principle and thus assimilating our institutions to those of the United States would finally end in a desire for a Republic altogether. If I thought so I should be far from saying one word in tis favour, but I do not. If it should create more confusion the effects of it would not be so dangerous. The force of political conflict would be spent in detachment, and the people bring more immediately engaged in their own local concerns will have less leisure as well as inclination to attend to the general politics of the country. The fact is that it is upon this principle though on a much larger scale, that the United States have been so long held together as they have _ the general government always holding the balance. But I am perhaps exceeding the bounds prescribed. With respect to its fostering a desires for Republican Government it is sheer nonsense. If it be supposed that the people of this country would desire republican institutions in that case more than now such supposition must be founded upon this idea that they are at present hoodwinked or otherwise kept in ignorance of the advantages to be derived from their adoption. Than which idea nothing can be more preposterous or untrue. The comparative merits of monarchial and republican government is, and has long been, thoroughly understood by the people of this country. But even if is be so, I should like to know if it be intended to keep them in such ignorance!! Neither is this scheme so far as my knowledge extends, an assimilation to Republican institutions except in so far as it may be considered a sort of Federal union and in that respect we only borrow from England what the Americans have borrowed before us. It is British in every sense of the word _ It is the adoption though perhaps on a little larger or different scale the municipal corporation system, and which has formed a prominent trait in the government of that country from the very beginning of its History: And it is hard indeed if we are to be deprived of the advantages held out by it, if advantage it be, for any such silly reason. The frequent assertion that our late troubles had their origin in a desire on the part of the inhabitants of the country for republican institutions _ is untrue, but I shall not here anticipate what I have to say upon that subject. "2nd The question of responsible government, stating particularly the various motives by which it may be considered that the advocates of the scheme are influenced." I take the population of this District to be 40,000 souls _ The one half old countrymen, including their children born here, and the other half Canadians and Americans. The male adults, whose opinions only it is necessary here to consider 16,000 or 8,000 old countrymen adults and 8,000 Canadian and American adults. In order to make myself understood in what I have yet to say I am obliged to divide the population in political classes. In doing so I am obliged to use the common terms by which they are designated. This I much regret, believing as I do that in general when the terms, "Tory", "Radical", and "Reformer" etc. are used they are intended as terms of reproach only. I therefore once for all beg leave to say I do not so intend them, but employ them merely for the purpose of making myself understood and for no other purpose whatever. I will first add here that although I can suggest _ no remedy which is likely to be adopted I believe more mischief is engendered by the use of these terms of reproach than is generally supposed. According to the best of my judgement then the above 8,000 adult old countrymen and 8,000 adult Canadians and Americans may be thus classified. Old Countrymen Tories 6,400 Reformers 800 Disaffected 800 Total 8,000
Canadians and Americans Tories 2,000 Reformers 4,000 Disaffected 2,000 Total 8,000
The subject of responsible government has not hitherto caused much agitation amongst the old country people but lately several of the leading men among them seem to have expressed opinions favourable to the measure, but I am inclined to think from what I know of them that they will not strenuously or long adhere to those opinions. The great body of old countrymen reside in the near townships and I am safe in saying that they desire no change in that respect in the government. The Canadians and Americans reside chiefly in the front townships _ the subject of responsible government has been much canvassed among them and I believe it is universally, with the exception of the Tories, adopted by them as the one thing needful for the political regeneration of the province; and to these may be added the Reformers and disaffected amongst the old countrymen. To assign the "motives" by which the Reformers and disaffected are "influenced" in this matter is very easy. I am convinced that not one out of ten have any other motive than that of supporting their own party and annoying the Tories. They cannot know what it means. How can they? I confess my ignorance notwithstanding I have given the subject my most serious consideration. And having never yet seen even an attempt at its explication, which if so carried out would leave a country a dependency of Great Britain, I conclude that either the meaning of the original projector has not been discovered or else he intended it should have no meaning so far as regarded its practical application to us. A great majority of the disaffected among the old settlers are other Americans and have come into the country within the last twenty years under various pretenses _ as traders or speculators, preachers and scholars _ some to escape justice in their own country _ all, however, making this country a mere temporary residence. The rest of the disaffected, whether Canadian, American, or old countrymen, are all natural born and nationalized who, being in general well-off as to property and shrewd intelligent people are a powerful auxiliary to the Reformers, in guiding and organizing their combined forces. The really disaffected men _ I mean Republicans _ and who would, in case of such invasion of our territory as might give them a clear prospect of success _ take up arms against the government do not amount to one tenth of the adult population of the whole district. There are, I am perfectly sure, not nearly the number of men of this description, according to the population, as there were during the late war. The "motives" by which the loyal "responsible government" men are "influenced" it is not easy to determine. But of this I am perfectly convinced _ they are honest and among the last men in the world who, if they were convinced that it would in any way be detrimental _ would advocate its adoption. Having thus according to the best of my judgement answered in as concise a manner as possible, with a due regard to practical purposes, the several queries propounded, it remains for me to take advantage of His Excellency's permission to make a few "comments" keeping in view the spirit rather than "the letter" of them. This I shall now do "with all candor" under a deep sense of the responsibility under which I act giving an honest judgement regardless of all consequences except those which must attach to a disingenuous course in so solemn a matter. I take it for granted that our object in putting forth "circular letter" by His Excellency is that of ascertaining as far as practicable the general political hate of the country, preparatory to the adoption of such measures as are best calculated to lay a firm foundation for the future peace and prosperity of the country. As our late troubles have no doubt in a great measure induced this desire at this time it is in the first place important to ensure inquire into the origin of these troubles _ and I therefore set and by reiterating an opinion which has been more and more conformed in my mind ever since it was formed. That our late difficulties have not been caused by a desire for a Republican institutions are the past of the people of Upper Canada. Down to the year 1818 a distinctive name for political parties was unknown _ the inhabitants were at that time U.E. loyalists and their sons and American settlers who had emigrated to their province under sanction of Governor Simcoe's proclamation. In that year I think it was that one Goresbay, a fanatic and evidently a discontented man came from Scotland _ professedly for the purpose of collection statistical information and to this end put forth a great number of queries to be answered _ adopted to a very great number of the principal inhabitants of the province; but so artfully were these queries put, for the author was a shrewd and clever man, that great numbers of our most loyal and intelligent men were drawn into the trap of holding a concentration to consider "state of the province". If we accept the efforts made by one Wilcox (who was a member of the House of Assembly a number of years before this period) to embarrass the government _ this may be considered the origin of any considerably opposition to the government on the part of the people. In the year 1826 Sir Peregrine Maitland then Lieutenant-Governor inquiring found that the Americans who formed the chief part of the adult population of this province, has not conformed to the law for the naturalisation of "foreigners" and proposed that a Bill should be passed giving them all the privileges of natural born subjects. The Americans almost to a man and a great number of the U.E. Loyalists, (who not at all concerned in it) joined in a most determined opposition to this measure viewing it as the asserted, in the light of an indirect attempt on the part of the government to "make them aliens". The province was much excited for two or three years upon this subject and it was now that the change of disaffection to the government was first made by the party who supported it. The contemplated union of the provinces be the Home Government in the year 1822 caused considerable excitement in both provinces. It was in this session also if I do not mistake that the Clergy Reserve question was first publicly mooted by a claim set up by W. Morris on the part of the Church of Scotland to a share of the proceeds on the ground that that church was one of the established churches of the Empire. Subsequently the Methodists and all the other dissenters fill in with the Presbyterians in a course of opposition and agitation altogether unprecedented in the annals of this province and to such a pitch of frenzy have the people been worked up by all the agitation making common cause with all the opponents of the Church of England and through her of the government that in 1837 it ended in open insurrection. I have here only glanced at the most prominent of the political subjects which have served to warm into life and afterwards cherish and bring to full maturity party spirit until within the last twenty years, unknown in the province. During nearly all this time the party in power or I should perhaps rather say the supporters of the government, satisfied with the justice of their cause and secure in the support of the governments both in England and here sat with their hands folded and took no pains to spread true information before the people, but quietly allowed this seed which was sown but at first could scarcely find root, to spring up until is has produced an hundred fold. The government had no organ in the newspaper press through which its views and intentions were made known content to carry out its instructions and to do its duty within the walls of government house the great body of the people remained uninstructed in the road they should take. Every man was left to the tender mercy of the Itinerant preachers of sedition with whom the province had for the last fifteen years been swarming: and yet there are persons perfectly well acquainted with all these circumstances who affect to wonder at the results!!! What other result could have been anticipated from these causes? My wonder is that it has been no worse. For a confirmation of what there advance as one cause of our troubles I refer to the evidence taken before the Commissioners who were appointed to examine the Rebels who were committed to Gaol, a part of which is embodied in a report of a select Committee of the House of Assembly at its last session _ to which (bring here to appended) I respectfully beg leave to refer His Excellency. Having somewhat anticipated my subject, I shall go back to the year 1832. At this period the Province was at its zenith of prosperity. Its population had nearly doubled within the preceding fifteen years its public works in a rapid state of advancement. The accusation by emigration of great numbers of half pay officers and men by capital gave a new impulse to trade _ the government notwithstanding the accusation of several opposition members was strong in the affection of the people. The back woods began to fall before the axe of the immigrant, villages were making their appearance in rapid succession and in fine such was the impulse given to business we had already begun in these respects to head upon the heels of our New York neighbors. The passage of the Reform Bill however in England soon resurrected party spirit, which the rapid improvements of the country had kept in wholesome check, and under the management of the "Christian Guardian" and "Colonial Advocate" the one edited by the leader of the Methodists and the other by the rebel McKenzie _ the opposition was quickly reorganized under the fashionable and borrowed under the application of reformers. The clergy reserves being their watch word. Great political meetings were held by both Ryerson, and McKenzie. The Methodist chapel and the Bar-room became equally the arena of political discord. The most inflammatory publications against the Church of England were distributed by these two men to every part of the Province in so much that the anti-church party numbered in its ranks nearly one half the population of the Province. Still the supporters of the Church and Government instead of quietly contradicting the mischief by the same means by which it had been engendered _ the press contented itself with opposing them at public meetings at which they generally had the majorities _ but what was worse _ and this was the fatal mistake, physical means were sometimes resorted to. Whom such occasions the moral affects of which are not today nor ever will be extinguished. The Government, as party [ identity ] increased became gradually identified with its supporters, who were, now that the oppositionists had borrowed a name from the mother country, denominated Tories. The causes to which I have alluded had served to swell the ranks of the reformers here that they formed themselves very equally able to cope with their opponents; but when it was ascertained that the Ministry had so far broken through the long established usage of their predecessors as to receive directly our demagogues with their petitions and complaints the supporters of the Government were left at once in a minority. Mr. Steven's evidence before a committee of the House of Commons respecting the loyalty of the Canadians had not generally transpired until about the year 1834, which together with W. Humes celebrated letter to McKenzie exhorting the Canadians to revolt, so paralysed the supporters of the Government and I may add the opponents too, that little interest was taken by either party for some time. No sooner however had the two great parties recovered from their astonishment that disaffection to the Government clearly showed itself. Hume & Steven were shown up by McKenzie as patterns for patriotism; and he had the audacity to keep stereotyped in his paper both the quotation from W. Stevens evidence and Humes letter and comments upon theme so insidiously as to derive hundreds of honest farmers into the actual belief that Great Britain was desirous of giving is our "Independence". They had not the sagacity to distinguish between an individual in the Colonial office and the Government _ They confounded the arguments delivered by members of the Legislature with the acts of the Government, and the Government they sincerely, believed would upon the first favourable occasion deliver us over to the United States. Under these circumstances hundreds of times but honest and I will add _ for I know it to be the truth _ Loyal men placed themselves decidedly in the ranks of McKenzie and Ryerson. Public Political meetings were constantly being held in various parts of the Province and the impolite and injudicious opposition, frequently descending to physical force, which was resorted to added fuel to the flame and strengthened the foundation which had prepensely been laid for that deep hatred between parties which by a wavering and mistaken policy on the part of the Imperial Government, has steadily increased to the present hour. The election of 1834, ending as it did in placing in the House of Assembly an overwhelming majority of Reformers _ the minority consisting only of about eleven members out of fifty usually present _ served to dishearten the supporters of the Government, and proportionally to raise the hopes and add new vigour to the exertions of the oppositionist. That the great body of the Reformers were at this time loyal is clearly proved by subsequent events. For no sooner had the leaders in the Assembly proposed and carried the measure of stopping the supplies and the Speaker of the House, been detected in a Traitorous Correspondence with Papineau than a general feeling of disgust became apparent. Sir Francis Head by intuition as it were fathomed the designs of the Traitors in the House of Assembly as also the real feeling of the people by an appeal to whom at the close of the session _ laying bare the machinations of the leaders of the Reformers, he effectually prostrated their influence from one end of the Province to the other. To add to the confusion and discomfiture of these Rebel leaders of the Reformers _ and to the utter astonishment of every man in the Province a pamphlet written by Ryerson in England made its appearance at the critical time between the dissolution of the House and the Election of 1836. This publication most powerfully and ably written was directed against his quondam agitating friends and was a principal means of turning the elections in favour of the supporters of the Government and the consequence was the return of an overwhelming majority against the Reformers (or a speak more connectly against the leaders of that body) in the present House of Assembly. Sir Francis Head and the principal officers of the Government here committed, in my opinion, a capital error. To W. Ryerson on his return to the country they turned a cold shoulder _ notwithstanding that they were bound to acknowledge the public service he had rendered the Country. Instead of taking him by the hand and frankly acknowledging these services _ they annoyed him in my opinion in a most unjustifiable manner resection a Grant of 4000 pounds to the Upper Canada Academy which was made to him by the Colonial Secretary out of the causal and Territorial Revenue of the Crown here. For what reason it is difficult to say unless for that having whilst in England, in a letter to the Colonial Secretary made some severe structures upon the Conduct of the Legislative Council upon the subject of a Bill brought in for the purpose of this very grant of 4000 pounds to the Academy. And I cannot help believing that it is in consequences of the neglect which he has thus encountered that he has once turned agitator. I must now bring up another matter which has a very prominent place among the causes of our political embarrassment at this time and that is the outcry against the "Family Compact" as it is called. This first originated with old countrymen who, upon looking around them, after settling in the Province, found most of the officers under the Government fueled by Canadians. Their fueling of disappointment upon this discovery increased with time until they, very logically, if not very justly argued that as nearly one half of the inhabitants were old countrymen officers of the Government should be possessed by that class of people _ especially as there could be no doubt as to their superior qualifications. They did not stop to enquire very minutely into the justice of removing the inhabitants some of whom had had these situations ever since the Government had been established _ but charged the people about the Governor with favourtism in these appointments; and discovering that some the advisors of the Executives were related to each other by marriage and otherwise, at once hit upon this appropriate name. Injustice however of any such charge, appearing so manifest to every strict inquirer into facts _ has considerably abated this feeling , and I am certain if only half justice, in this respect be meted out to the Government, it must very shortly be extinguished _ may, I sincerely believe that it might be more justly made at this moment by Canadians. At the seat of Government I believe a majority of office holders are old countrymen. In this district out of five offices of involvement Three _ the Judge of the district court the Clerk of that court and the Clerk of the peace are all old countrymen _ Two _ the Inspector of Licenses and Sheriff _ Canadians. The Magistrates are _ old countrymen seventy_seven _ Canadians thirty. This camilion seems now however to have assumed another hue as it appears to me; For a general feeling seems to have differed itself over the whole opposition party, on account of the Combination of some influence adverse as it is said to the interests of all persons not is some way or another connected with or known to the Exclusives at the seat of Government. On the particular adherents to that body throughout the Province. "The Family Compact" is in the mouth of every person Tory, Reformer, radical and although they cannot define its precise meaning yet the descriptions upon it are evidently growing more and more vehement and rancorous; and will I fear before it subsides foster a subject of considerable embarrassment to the Government. I have endeavoured to bring under review as succinctly as possible the rise and progress of the party Spirit in the upper Canada until the receipt here of the Earl of Durham's Report _ and notwithstanding the dangerous height to which it had risen _ it was still possible by a wise and vigorous course on the part of the Executive _ and Conciliation and forbearance on the part of the heads and leaders of those who are its supporters _ to over come its disorganizing effects, but now that Report of the High Commissioner has communicated to its Combustible materials to the flame _ unless a caution and wisdom almost superhuman interpose. I much fear that a long period will lapse before perfect harmony will again be restored. I have asserted "that over late difficulties have not been caused by a desire for Republican institutions on the part of the people of Upper Canada". And I now give it as my Solemn Conviction that they have been caused by the mutual growth in numbers and increase in hatred of two great Political parties _ not of Monarchists and Republicans but of men in power and men out of power _ who have gradually ranged under their several banners the various other party interests which have risen as auxiliaries in the Course of the development of Political events within the Province. The former taking of the high ground of the Constitution in Church and State as by Law established and holding sacred in all cases the pledged faith of the Crown. The latter adopting the Constitution out (a great majority of them) replicating any other construction than that which adapts in to the circumstances of the Country and the expediency of things. These are the ostensible grounds of difference between these two parties. Before 1837 the oppositionists consisted of the Reformers, a name adopted here from its popularity in England, as applied there to parliamentary Reforms _ but here to the reform of abuses in the Government and the opponents of the Established Church. Since which a great exception of strength for all practical purposes of Elections in opposition to the Government parties has been gained in the Anti Family Compact _ and responsible Government parties. These will as a matter of course all oppose the supporters of the Government at the next election. This state of things is clearly, traceable to two great causes _ the unsteady hand of the Imperial Governments and the injudicious conduct of the supporters of the local Government. The exciting topics which have been so recklessly thrown amongst the people by the Ministry without decisive action have rapidly widened and defined the line between parties and the violent and reckless conduct of the ultra leaders Tories has completed the disorganization of society in the shedding of Blood at the political meetings. I shall be told, and I admit that if the Country be ruined it matters little by what means it shall be accomplished, whether by a Civil war by two great parties or by Rebellion against the Government _ but I insisted remedy (if any be practicable) will be widely, different. If I were convinced that the great body of the people of this Province who are now from various causes arrayed against the supporters of the Government were Rebels, I should at once and without hesitation advise England to thrown us off at once without a moments delay and he who so views our political state and gives any other advise is a Traitor to his Sovereign! How is it possible that a people who have never breathed a whisper against their Government on account of taxation _ who have never been coerced or interfered with on account of their religion or in any manner restrained or in fact interfered with by the Government _ but on the Contrary protected and defended by it at an enormous expense _ I say how it is possible that such a people can Rebel against the Government? Party may rebel against party and the Government by that means overturned; but I am dealing with facts in order that a remedy may be applied before our affairs come to that crisis. I have nothing now to do with consequences. Have the complaints of the people of Upper Canada ever assumed the form of a remonstrance, for alleged opposition by the Imperial Government. On the Contrary is it not well known that the chief causes of complaint have been of local origin _ or such grievances, as if they had any existence could be removed within the Province? Such as the monopolization of the clergy reserves by the Church of England. The alleged unconstitutionality of the Executive Council _ The Family Compact _ the conduct of the Tories in putting down by physical means the free extension of political opinion forever. Did the French in Lower Canada revolt because of any alleged oppression by the British Government? On the Contrary, is it not well known that, notwithstanding the written complaint of their Leaders _ the real causes of Rebellion was hatred to the English men not Government? If these men had wished to throw off the Government one would have supposed that they would have done so in 1776 when they were yet Smarting under the effects of the Conquest _ Test what answer did they return to the eloquent and power official of the Colonial defenders assembled at Philadelphia in that year? In what in truth caused the Rebellion (I am ashamed so to prostitute a word) in Upper Canada was it that deep seated dissatisfaction arising from real tangible oppression realized and felt by the great body of the people which usually produces such a Catastrophe? I should like to know whether one man in the Province can be found who will assert that, if McKenzie had been made Post Master General _ Bidwell a Judge _ Rolph Attorney General and Duncouch an Executive Councilor _ we should have had a Rebellion! Not one! And what was this Rebellion after all? Why it was this. A man publishes under the nose of the Government one of the most incendiary papers ever printed for fourteen or fifteen years. During most of that time he agitates his subscribers and others with the most inflammatory speeches at public meetings. He trains them to the use of arms under pretence that the Tories and the Church of England intend to impose Tythes upon them and when that time arrives they ought to defend themselves by the force of Arms. He afterward makes them believe that the Chief Justice and other high functionaries are only waiting for them to march into the City in order to give up the Government HsHs. Out of a space of country 100 miles by 50 he finds four or five hundred who with the exception of the leaders are the most ignorant and miserable creatures in the Country. He marches them upon the City _ the poor creatures have some misgivings and halt. He tries for 3 days to siren them up to the marching form by every art he can employ _ at the end of that time, notwithstanding he has place a Cordon of Sentries to keep his people together, he finds one half of his force had fled. A Force goes against him and about 150 actually stand a shot! This is the Rebellion! The objector however may say "if the country be not full of dissatisfaction to the Government house happens it that it is full of `Hunters'" I answer this is the effect not the cause of McKenzie's outbreak. And I can say further, it is caused by the same panic which actuates some of the most loyal men and men too high in office who I have heard openly declare that "the country is gone!!!" and I am sincere in saying that I verily believe that very little would cause them to become "Hunters" upon the same principal that hundreds of those joined that secret society!! Yes the Country is full of those Croakers _ They have no courage moral or physical and they exhibit their fear by their intemperate conduct as well as by their other indiscretions. If the heads and leaders of the loyal men have not nerve how can they expect others to possess it? Let me tell all such that every eye is turned toward them and that the least indication whether by word or gesture indicative of indecision may be fatal to the whole Country! A panic may overturn the strongest Government in the World. History is full of the direful effects flowing from this cause. But I am again exceeding my limits. Hence I infer then that in neither of these cases (Lower and Upper Canada) has "a desire on the part of the great body of the people for a Republican Government been the cause of the insurrections." As W. Hume has exhorted us to "look to the Revolution of 1776 and ever to keep its result in view" and he could not have hit upon a more opposite theme, let us examine into the parallel which he hue points us to. There the Rebellion was not caused by any internal or party disputes. There Rebellion grew up against the Imperial Government and persuaded the entire mass of the Population on account of real tangible exaction's upon them by that Government, not by their Local Government. So far from this being the case here, the entire of the complaints of the oppositionists, disaffected and all have been directed solely against the local Government whilst the only impugners of the Home Government are the Loyal Party! It is unfortunate for us that we are obliged to contend not only against the influence of republican principles upon the Ignorant, imported directly from its source in a few hours, but also against that nervous panic which (as I have before stated) seems in some unaccountable manner to have taken hold of the better informed. That an ignorant man should infer that because that old Colonies gained their "Independence" in despite of the efforts of England, we must also fall is not surprising: but that the influential because better informed part of the Community should thus argue is indeed as surprising as it is mischievous. At and previously to the time of the Rebellion of the American Provinces all the old Government of Europe claimed and exercised without question, the right of regulating and confining the Trade of their Colonies: and to prove to what extent this was done by England it is only necessary to refer to the English Statue Book where it will be found that between, the 12th Car 2 to 16th Ges: 2 no less than twenty nine statutes for the purpose were passed! The American Colonies were Maritime and therefore restrictions upon trade would be felt in proportion to the increase of population. Their shipping increased and with it the restrictive laws of the Mother Country. Smuggling was at length carried on by the Colonists to such a degree that a law was obliged to be passed to try the offenders in the Imperial Courts for American Juries would no longer convict. In fact their whole coast might be considered as under Blockade for many years. Besides these indirect furthens direct taxes kept gradually increasing. Paper bills of credit were at length resorted to and the colonists went so far as to make them a legal tendre in the payment of debts! This again called forth the action of the Imperial Legislature. Upon this the most vexatious and harassing conduct through means of the Colonial Courts and otherwise were resorted to by the Colonial debtor toward the English Creditor _ The interference of the Imperial Legislature was again required in order to authorize the obtaining of judgements in the English Courts. The refractory conduct of the colonists now became still more intolerable insomuch that the English creditor was not only obliged to forego the collection of debts but he and his officers were actually tarred and feathered! At the time the Rebellion broke out in 1776 the Colonists were still very poor. They had commenced remonstrating in 1696, to Mn 3 and continued to do so down to this time. Their poverty may be estimated from the facts that their population was a little inpured of 2 000 000 and their exports a fraction over 2 000 000 pounds sterling. Ours in the two Canada's about 1 000 000 population and exports very nearly equal to theirs. I am not stating these things in order to justify their Rebellion, I have only facts to deal with, leaving inferences out of the questions: During all this time we hear of no Whig, Tory, or any other party name. The people so far as we can learn were unanimous among themselves. I might go on to show still more conclusively the absolute dissimilarity between us and the old colonies but I trust it is sufficiently apparent for my purpose. Still the colonists would have gone on and prospered, but about this period, Infidelity and Republicanism were shaking the foundation of the Empire. Priestly, Ropeau and Price, exactly answering to our Hume, Molesworth and Roebuck undertook the cause of the Colonies in order to arouse the Sympathy of the English people, against the Ministry. The Colonists now, under the tutelage of these Gentlemen, who held out to them the most flattering assurances of Cooperation on the part of the English people and Parliament began to organise a regular resistance to the principle which England asserted. It is also a fact worthy of observation, that the same sudden changes in the Ministry _ the same vacillating and transposing policy characterized those, that mark these times. The stamp act certainly was the immoderate occasion though not the cause of the Rebellion: and it is an extraordinary circumstance that the colonists had actually acquiesced in this tax. "Several of their most popular orators and Leaders used considerable interest to be employed as agents in the distribution of those stamps" and Governor Franklin, who was then in England, and who was decidedly the most popular man in America, had recommended persons as stamp officers! Nor can that be a doubt but if the act had been immediately passed it would have been as favourably received as those which had preceded it _ for it was in fact a mercly nominal thing only one half penny on a newspaper! But no! It was discovered that it was only a matter of Common Justice that it should not go into operation until the expiration of a year! "When the outs and pouters" on this side the water says one of the most powerful winters of those times "Saw the advantage which the Ministers gave them by a whole years delay, they eagerly seized the opportunity; Commissaries and agents were dispatched into all quarters; the Newspapers were filled with incentives against the new intended tax. It was injudicious! _ it was ill timed! _ offensive! Tyrannical! And every thing that was but Letters upon letters were wrote to America, to excite the people to associate _ to remonstrate and even to revolt. The most ample promises were made from hence of giving them all the assistance which faction and clamor and mock patriotism could muster up". What an extraordinary coincidence of circumstances characterise our times? Before the expiration of that year the English demagogues with W. Price at their head had the colonies in a flame! Then the Ministry repealed the act! It was too late! And then to make the thing worse they reasserted their right to tax the colonies! I have now endeavored to show in the first place how totally dissimilar are the circumstances, so far as and real grievance or cause of complaint can go _ often Canada's and those of the old Colonies _ and in the second place I have drawn the parallel in order prove that in their case a will as ours _ the real authors of or instigators to Rebellion are always to be found in England, not here! What other result can England expect when members of the Imperial Government and Legislature can with perfect impunity be guilty of openly inciting the subjects of the Empire to revolt, as in the case of Hume, Roebuck and Steven? Surely none other than Rebellion! There is luckily no excitement here caused by the impositions of the Mother Country. The Rebels both in, England and here have no ground to work upon _ nothing that the people upon whom their hopes depend, can feelingly enter into. It is uphill work with them in our case. The excitement here is altogether of a different nature from that of the colonies. It is here the quarrels and dissensions of a Family, of children about Household matters. There the whole family felt itself oppressed by its parent: but in either case, as I have before admitted _ though the cases require different remedies _ get the result may be the same _ the dismemberment of the Family. I have already far exceeded the limits I had prescribed to myself in the communication of this letter and much far that I have presumed too much upon His Excellency's indulgence but I hope an excuse will be found for the liberty I have taken in the anxiety which must be supposed to influence, at this time, every true friend to the Country _ with the following few remarks therefore I shall close this communication. The excitement which has been produced in this Province from the several causes and upon the various topics to which I have briefly, reverted, has ranged under the Banners of two great parties very nearly all its inhabitants. The Government in this as well as in all other countries, must be more or less identified with one or the other as party spirit forces into on or the other side, all the independent, sober, unexcited, right minded men _ all those who can so far "rule their spirit" as to reason in the midst of violence and fiery: For these, in times of party strife and violence are the real strength of the Government after all _ but when they are extinct the Government must be proportionably weak. The one party changes the other with being Republicans, in fact Rebels. The others retort and fix upon their opponents the appellation of Tory, _ Family _ Compact _ because as they allege all the officers are fast held by them and this loyalty is only co_extensive with their interests. A fierce war of words (and to their disgrace be it said _ some times of fists and sticks) ensues _ every species of insult and upon all occasions are reciprocally heaped upon each other. People seldom reason when they are driven to a state of frenzy _ nor are they in such case very scrupulous as to the means they employ to attain an end _ each of these parties therefore threatens the other with a Republican Government (which is always at hand in terrorism) if they do not desist _ the one from monopolising all the power _ The other from attempting to drive them from power. Now this I believe to be the head and front of our difficulties and not a desire to throw off the Government. Both parties will lay hold of everything to serve as a motive for their conduct _ except the real one: and in this way every brisling thing is manufactured into a grievance of some kind or other. That there are Rebels in the Country no one will deny was there ever a Country without them? I am willing too to admit that there are a great many _ that they are increasing and will continue to increase unless a stop be put to the violent collision of party _ and this, it appears to me can only be effected by the creation of some third party or power between the two extremes. There was a time at which by proper management on the part of those in power _ the various separate and local _ political _ religious and personal interests throughout the province might have been prevented from combining against them, but it will be found to be a much more difficult task now. Before the appearance of Lord Durham's report, The Loyal Reformers having been so confounded and cut up by the discovery that they had been mixed with _ led and followed by Rebels that they seemed quite willing to submit to any terms from their opponents _ and the Tories began to believe that there were honest and loyal men among the Reformers: and indeed it was quite visible that peace and harmony were about being restored. The moment however that document made its appearance each party again gradually assumed its belligerent attitude; and from that hour to this party rancour has steadily increased, with this difference however, that by the impolite injudicious course of the Tories the opposition had been nearly disabled by the addition of all the "responsibles" and anti Family_Compact men. When this report appears I at once clearly foresaw that not only would the internal quirt of the Country be in Jeopardy, but that we might in fact be invaded under a "Durham Flag". And so far has depended upon me, I immediately and at a great sacrifice of personal feeling I must confess determined upon defeated the disaffected upon their own ground be prevented the collision of parties. An instance of which his Excellency will recollect happen at the meeting of my Regiment for Training at Brighton. And I succeeded most effectually through the cost of a bad name by my Tory friends. But so far were the persons of influence at the head of the party in power, throughout the Province from profiting by experience that they seemed to me to be guided by an infatuation produced by personal feeling _ little short if insanity _ they seemed determined blindly to court the destruction of the Country, by adopting the very course which most effectually served their enemies personal collision. Then in office _ in various parts of the Province not only took no pains to conceal but seemed to take a pride in openly and at public meetings avoiding, their party bias _ instead of manifesting to the world that as officers of the Government they claimed the confidence of all parties for their independent and impartial conduct. They prostituted the power and influence that their offices gave them to the base purpose of upholding a party. And this it has happened that bring devotedly loyal _ in fact the very sinews of the loyal and great majority of the people _ and having but recently wielded that moral and physical power which crushed and annihilated Rebellion in the bud _ they have taken the mean advantage of claiming from the Government for services performed in times of danger _ immunity for such their subsequent conduct. They will know that the Government must under such circumstances, become more or less identified with the axe of its officers. Any complaint however against the Government on this score must come with a very bad grace from the Responsible Government men, for their theory if carried out must compel the Local Governments under all circumstances with a party!! The great cause of mischief is the frequent collision of parties at Political meetings. Now if we could only persuade our ultra people to take other countries as examples in this respect a great stride toward our return to a state of quite would be made. How our public political meetings held in England _ in the United States _ in fact every where but in Upper Canada? Their different political parties are never seen meeting together except at political elections. You see and read constantly of the meetings of political and all other parties on other and general matters _ but never upon any great political question. They are always held separately. But this mode will not answer our ultra politicians _ they must show by ocular demonstration that they have the strongest party for political power, if the other will not do! Their opponents are not permitted to hold a meeting at all, in peace _ no matter what the object _ or with what professions of loyalty _ their flags must be torn down and themselves insulated because of forsooth, as it is said _ Known rebels and disaffected persons are seen amongst them! But this is not the only evil attendant upon the putting down these meetings _ the whole assemblage is at once characterized as one of rebels! Every man who either meets or Votes with the Reformers is a rebel and is so esteemed, looked upon and publicly and privately changed with being one so readier or more effectual method to make rebels could by any popularity be hit upon. Call a man a rebel and ten to one but from that circumstance alone he would ultimately become one. Especially if he finds himself so regarded by any Office of the Government _ or even a respectable Conservative. Hundreds if not thousands who are now swelling the Ranks of the Reformers have been thus driven into that party: And if between this and the next election all the Responsible and Anti _ Family Compact men be added to the list by the same means, which I think not at all unlikely _ indeed which I look upon as certain if the present insane policy toward them be much longer pursued. Let these gentlemen who are the instigators look to it!! They will be the first to flee.
Source: Trent University Archives Henry Ruttan Report 92-1000
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