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

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview
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VI
The Francophile Governor SIR GEORGE PREVOST, 1811-15

I

Sir George Prevost landed in Quebec in September, 1811, but it was not until three years later that he entered into a serious discussion of Canadian politics in his dispatches to England, and then only because the Colonial Secretary had been greatly alarmed by rumours of dissension in the province, and, in particular, by the news of the impeachment of Chief Justice Sewell and Chief Justice Monk by the assembly.

The divisions between the two houses of the legislature and the intemperate proceedings of the House of Assembly alluded to in your Lordship's letter, [ Prevost wrote in September 1814] may and probably will be renewed at their next meeting but however such proceedings may be deprecated I by no means apprehend from their renewal the evil consequences anticipated by your Lordship or the want of that support from the House of Assembly which the loyalty and attachment of His Majesty's Canadian subjects has hitherto procured for me. With regard to their general principles and disposition I cannot bring myself to think that they are either at present or likely soon to become hostile to His Majesty's government. . . . I am aware that a different opinion prevails on this head with some highly respectable Officers of His Majesty's government . . . and that by them the most criminal and corrupt views and motives are ascribed to the leaders of the Canadian party. . . . This may be true of a few although I very much doubt it; but of the loyalty and attachment of the majority there can be no question.1

The contrast between this cheerful view of the disposition of the Canadians toward the mother country and the dark forebodings of the former Governor is the more remarkable because Prevost, like Craig, had been appointed entirely on the strength of his military record in the wars against France, and his policy was based on the short range

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