British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

The great changes occasioned by this revolution in the political situation of these provinces; their distance from all succour and from the supreme seat of government, pointed out the necessity of an authority on the spot, to unite and call forth the greatest force their population would permit, and to act with promptitude in all cases where delay might be dangerous Thus constituted and united, our colonial strength might be in the proportion of one to fourteen, compared with the foreign power extending along our frontier: yet, in this critical situation, the drift of our present policy is to divide and subdivide, and of this remnant to form many independent Governments with as little communica- tion and as little connection as possible; while that of our neighbours is to consolidate, and of many independent states to form one Government.

Instead of authority competent to carry on the King's service, to distribute orders, regulate their execution, and enforce obedience, it seems to be a measure of office to withdraw all power from the person with whom the King's Commissions have placed it; communications are made, and directions sent to inferior officers, whereby the inter- mediate authority is virtually superseded, which consequently acts as a recall on the person in the chief command; the injury is not in a recall, but in the manner of bringing it about, which breaks asunder all ties of subordination and overturns the authority of the Crown, delegated by the King's Commission.

Thus we not only preclude ourselves from the chance of profiting by occurrences which the course of time may bring forth, but en- danger His Majesty's possessions on this continent still more and more. . . .


15
UPPER CANADA: LIEUT.-GOVERNOR J. G. SIMCOE TO THE DUKE OF PORTLAND 30 October 17951

Navy Hall, Upper Canada.

. . . I beg leave to offer to your Grace a few observations in vindica- tion of the principles which have regulated my conduct as submitted to your Grace in my letter No. 13, and in answer to which you are pleased to state as your opinion 'that neither the plan of creating corporations,2 nor that of establishing Lieutenants of counties are at

____________________
1
C.O. 42/320, pp. 13-23. Printed in Doughty and McArthur, op. cit., pp. 206-10. Major-General, Fohn Graves Simcoe, who as member of Parliament had taken a keen interest in the Canada Act of 1791, had been appointed the first Lieut.-Governor of Upper Canada in 1792 and served under Lord Dorchester, who was Governor-in- Chief. He was given command of the recently captured island of San Domingo in 1796 and did not return to Canada.
2
This idea derived from Richard Cartwright, a prominent Legislative Councillor

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