Majesty in Canada: Essays on the Role of Royalty

By Colin M. Coates | Go to book overview

“The Rising Star that Cheers the Scene”:
The Emerging Image of Queen Victoria in English
Canada, 1837–1849

CHRISTOPHER TAIT

Although Whig historians might view Canadian history in the 1830s and 1840s primarily as the struggle for a better political order through violent or constitutional means, one element of politics that remained beyond challenge for most English Canadians in the period was the monarchy. In the early 1830s, many of the grievances of both Upper and Lower Canadians had been formally drawn up for presentation to the British monarch, traditionally viewed (correctly or not) as the guardian of the constitution in both the colonies and the mother country. Since 1830, the recipient of these petitions had been His Majesty King William IV, who some thought might have had a special place in his heart for the North American colonies, having spent some time on this side of the Atlantic with the Royal Navy. The Toronto Patriot observed in a eulogy for the King in August 1837:

The paternal feeling of his late Majesty, of glorious memory,
towards his Canadian dominions, is well known. It arises in
part from an intimate knowledge of the country and its
inhabitants, created in early life, and partly from that strong
attachment to all ranks of his subjects, which formed the
most excellent and marked feature in his character, as the
monarch of a great and free people.1

Even so, the Sailor King had done little for his aggrieved subjects by the summer of 1837, and when news of his demise in June reached the

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