Canada and the Canadian Question

By Goldwin D. C. L. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
FRENCH CANADA AFTER THE CONQUEST (1759)

QUEBEC had been won. What was to be done with it? The highest wisdom said, "Add it to the New England Colonies by which it will soon be assimilated, and leave the whole independent, content with the Empire of British civilisation over the New World, and with the moral supremacy which the mother country, provided the filial tie remains unbroken, is sure to retain." Cromwell had meditated giving the Colonies Jamaica. But such a policy was beyond the ken of the statesmen of that day, and few even among the calmest observers had any conception of it. We must remember, moreover, that in times before Adam Smith a distant dependency seemed to everybody to have real value inasmuch as the Imperial country monopolised its trade. Still the question remained whether Quebec should be left French and governed as a conquest or made English. That question was settled by the American Revolution, which compelled the Imperial Government to court the French of Quebec and respect their nationality. That a revolt of the American colonies would follow when the curb of French rivalry had been removed was surmised by clear-sighted men at the time, albeit it would be hard to accuse England of blindness, because she failed to foresee that the requital

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