British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

absolutely necessary and it is therefore my intention shortly to propose to your Lordship the names of such persons as I think may be safely called to that House and who would form not only an accession of strength to it, but give it a character more likely to obtain the confidence of the Assembly than the present one. . . .


18
CANADA: SIR JOHN SHERBROOKE TO LORD BATHURST, 14 March 18221

Calverton near Southwell, Notts.

MY LORD,

I have been honoured with your Lordship's private and confidential letter of the 11th inst., the contents of which shall not transpire, and in reply to your question 'Whether the union of Upper and Lower Canada would have a beneficial effect', I answer, that if these provinces continue in the same state they were in at the time I relinquished the Government, an union would be very desirable, provided it could be established on proper principles, so that the undue influence of the Assembly should be somewhat controlled and the power of the Crown increased. But if such a measure were to be attempted, considerable difficulties must be expected before it could be reconciled with the jarring interests of the inhabitants and the variety of wild opinions so generally entertained.

Your Lordship's description of the persons usually returned to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada is perfectly correct. And the mischiefs arising from this cause are incalculable. I also agree that the Assembly of Upper Canada appears more tractable at present. But when I consider the vicinity of the latter province to the United States, the population continually flowing in from thence, the constant communication and intermarriages between the families on both sides of the line, the number of Americans who purchase the best of the lands as soon as they are cleared and every other description of property in Upper Canada worth having; and when I look to the loose demoralizing principles introduced by those people, I very much doubt whether reliance can be placed on a continuance of this tractable disposition.

I am fully aware my Lord of the evils arising from that ascendancy which the Catholics of Lower Canada exercise to the prejudice of whatever relates to the Protestant interest, but I suspect a very

____________________
1
private and confidential letter was written in retirement by Lieut.-General Sir John Sherbrooke, who had served in the Maritime Provinces, India, and the Peninsula. In August 1811 he was appointed Lieut.-Governor of Nova Scotia, and in January 1816 he became Governor-in-Chief of Canada in succession to Prevost; but in 1818 he was obliged through illness to retire to England.

-223-

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