The Revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835: A Chapter of the History of the British Commonwealth

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview

I
The Province of Lower Canada

I

In the spring of 1812, a few months before the outbreak of war between England and the United States, there arrived in Quebec from Boston a young man who was to play an active part in Canadian politics and who has preserved for us a lively description of people and social life in the provincial capital. Andrew Cochran was a Nova Scotian, the son of an Anglican clergyman, but he had found much to admire in Boston, and he contrasted unfavourably the dull greys of the Rue de la Montagne with the neat brick houses and white woodwork of the New England metropolis.

Quebec appears very much to disadvantage after just leaving Boston; there everything is gay, clean and lively. Here the ill-looking stone houses, wearing more the appearance of prisons than habitations, give a gloomy aspect to everything around; added to which the men and women are a set of as ugly beings as ever man looked on. It is really a relief to my eye to see a pretty or even a good-looking face. The snow has not yet left the countryside and the streets are yet villainously dirty from its recent dissolution. The weather, however, is growing very warm and in a short time we shall have summer in all its heat and fury.1

Other visitors to Quebec at this time felt more admiration than Cochran for the picturesque aspects of the city on the rock, but all united in condemning the climate both winter and summer.

From the moment he landed, Cochran had the entrée to the Governor's court in Quebec, for he had known the new Governor-General, Sir George Prevost, in Halifax, and he came under the aegis of Colonel Brenton, Prevost's aide and confidential secretary, with whom he lived on his arrival. With the Brentons he visited the Castle every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and early attended a ball given by Lady Prevost, 'at which I saw the Canadian beauties and all the young girls of respectability. There were none who would not be considered very ordinary in

-3-

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The Revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835: A Chapter of the History of the British Commonwealth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Maps x
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - The Setting 1
  • I - The Province of Lower Canada 3
  • II - Lord Grenville's Act 23
  • Part II - The Struggle in the Colony: Governor Versus Assembly 39
  • III - Governor, Electorate, Assembly 41
  • IV - The Popular Party 58
  • V - Sir James Craig, 1807-11 77
  • VI - The Francophile Governor Sir George Prevost, 1811-15 95
  • VII - Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, I816-I8 109
  • VIII - Lord Dalhousie, 1820-28 124
  • Part III - The Struggle in the Colony: The Fundamental Issues 149
  • IX - The Question of Union 151
  • XII - The Question of Representation 187
  • XII - The Attack on the Councils 207
  • Part IV - The Reaction in England 223
  • XIII - Reaction in War 225
  • XIV - Reaction in Peace 243
  • XV - The Politics of the Colonial Office 260
  • XVI - The Mind of Parliament 277
  • Part V - The Ascendancy of French Canada 297
  • XVII - The Triumph of the Assembly 299
  • XVIII - The Work of the Assembly 311
  • XIX - The Forces Dividing 321
  • XX - The Catastrophe 335
  • XXI - The Election of 1834 355
  • Conclusion 374
  • Appendix 378
  • Bibliographical Notes 384
  • Notes 390
  • Index 419
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