British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

been effectually secured; but the growth and prosperity of the plantation was discouraged and kept down.

Perhaps a mean might have been found; to have given them more civil liberty, without political liberty, which, if I don't mistake, must necessarily include sovereignty, and consequently independence; because the share of the Crown in the sovereignty is certainly not enough by itself to create dependence. But reflections of this sort, even if they are thought just, must yield to actual circumstances; which necessarily draw pretty forcibly towards your conclusions. At the same time, with such ideas as these, while I incline to fall in with all the prejudices which have been already contracted, I still wish to shape the institutions resulting from them so as to preserve the greatest degree of habitual influence possible in the executive branch of government; that being, as I conceive, the only point of contact between this mother and her colonies. One effect of this way of considering the matter is to bring into some doubt your idea of an hereditary aristocracy; which, if placed in hands unequal to it, will only be despised; but if lodged with families of permanent consideration, will grow, as I fear, into an independent interest.

This idea will obviously bear on most of the subjects you have brought forward for discussion. And the application of it to them would perhaps be the best way of trying its real worth, and certainly of trying its expediency. But, for any practical purpose, dissertation in this way would not be so convenient as conversation; in which principles would come more easily to a settlement.

Perhaps it may be worth considering whether the object of providing for a political dependence, or, at least, of looking a great way forward with that view, be worth encountering many difficulties. As a seat of commerce, our present situation in that respect goes a great way to secure it. And to secure it, without such means, may perhaps be a task too hard for political wisdom. Increasing the number of our own subjects, and keeping them out of the hands of others, especially in time of war, is doubtless an important consideration, even in Canada; though not so much so as in those colonies we have lost. And I am far from laying by the object of dependence. I only would decline urging it to an extent which would produce still more considerable inconveniences. . . .


11
CANADA: W. W. GRENVILLE TO LORD THURLOW 12 September 17891

Wimbledon.

... I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's two letters. With respect to the first, I am sincerely sorry that any expression in

____________________
1
Printed in Dropmore Papers (H.M.C. 1892), vol. i, pp. 506-10.

-193-

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