« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
nature soon led him to outstrip them all in the violence of sedition.
His trial excited very great interest: doubt there was none, and the solemn sentence was pronounced. His daughter, a girl of no common attractions, had forced her way through the crowd, close to the judges' bench. With fixed eye, and bloodless cheeks, she heard the fatal words which blighted earthly hope ; for a time they were but an empty voice, no meaning reached her stunned senses. Slowly, and with an increasing distinctness, the terrible reality stamped itself upon her soul. She was carried to her home, thence to her long home.
Her father prayed earnestly, and acknowledged the justice of his punishment when on the scaffold. In the last moment, he wondered that his child had not come to bid him farewell; when he complained, he did not know that they were to meet so soon.
Very great leniency was shown by the English Government; fifty or sixty persons were transported; but almost all the political offenders have since been pardoned. Occasionally there were instances of great apparent harshness. Where such numbers were implicated, over such an extent of country, at a great distance from the fountain head, with several
changes of Governors, such cases could not be altogether avoided; unfortunately, those really most guilty were not always the men made to expiate their offences. The loyal Canadians, who had suffered much during the insurrection, were discontented and indignant at this tendency to clemency; particularly with regard to the sympathizers, whom they looked upon as assassins and robbers.
Thus ended the Canadian rebellion; the handiwork of a few political knaves and desperate adventurers, acting on the passions and ignorance of a portion of a virtuous and peaceful people. Whatever may have been their wrongs, real or imaginary, such an attempt at redress was but a murderous folly. Without arms, money, or combinationwith chiefs only conspicuous by cowardice and incapacity — with but sufficient spirit to prosecute their first success by an atrocious assassination—unsupported, discountenanced by the mass of the intelligent and wealthy, even of their own race-opposed by the more warlike and energetic inhabitants of the Upper Province - they threw themselves madly into the field against the greatest of earthly powers; their only allies, the robber refuse of a neighbouring population.
As a political movement, it was an egregious error; as a military effort, it was below contempt : not that one would wish for a moment to depreciate the merits of the brave and judicious leaders, and the gallant troops, through whose instrumentality it was suppressed; nor to speak with less pride and pleasure of those loyal men, who, from the Chief Justice of a province to the hardy woodsmanfrom the descendant of the earliest settler to the emigrant but just landed from his English home or Irish country village—had all, with ready heart and hand, fought for the crown and laws of our matchless country. • The republican journals of France took up the
cause of the rebels with fiery zeal. Undeterred by profound ignorance of the circumstances of the case, they spoke of “their brethren in blood and principle, the six hundred thousand oppressed French in Canada, who had risen en masse against British tyranny, the motive and soul of which is inveterate hatred of all that is French.”
On the 7th of September, the Governor of Canada, Mr. Poulett Thompson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, communicated to the Parliament of the Upper Province a proposition from the English Government to unite the provinces : both to be
represented equally in the new Legislature; to agree to a sufficient civil list; and the charge of the principal part of the debt of Upper Canada to fall on the United Province. This was agreed to, both in the Legislative Council and the House of Assembly. · In the month of March' following,' after the union, a general election took place, which was favourable to the Government in its results. Lord Sydenham addressed the House, in' a sound and conciliatory speech, which was well received, though in the ensuing debate the difficult question of “Responsible Government” was much dwelt upon. He did not live to see the effects of his measures. In September he had a fall from his horse, and soon after died in great torture; continuing, however, to fulfil his duties with unflinching fortitude to the end. His last wish was, that his grave might be on the banks of the St. Lawrence. · Sir Charles Bagot was the next Governor. He, to a certain extent, succeeded in the fusion of parties, admitting some representatives of each section into his ministry. He was shortly compelled, by ill health, to take measures for his return to England, but, in the month of May, 1843, expired at Kingston, Canada.
In January, 1843, Sir Charles Metcalfe, now Lord Metcalfe, had succeeded him. This distinguished officer was, for many years, in the service of the East India Company. In 1839 he was appointed Governor of Jamaica, where he had very great difficulties to contend with, but overcame them all; gaining the admiration, love, and respect of the inhabitants, and the fullest approbation of the authorities at home. On the 28th of September, Sir Charles Metcalfe opened the third session of the United Legislature, in a speech expressing the greatest anxiety for improvements in the colony, and for a more efficient system of emigration. He announced the act of the Imperial Government, admitting Canada corn to England at a nominal duty, and recommended various local arrangements for consideration. An animated debate took place on the subject of the future seat of government, which was at length fixed at Montreal.
Not long afterwards, the ministry insisted on a pledge that they should be consulted on all appointments by the Governor; this was at once denied, as limiting the prerogative of the Crown, and implying a want of confidence. The Ministry, with one exception, then resigned office; and were