This book is a study of French Canadian nationalism in a very important stage of its development, and of the reaction to the movement in England. During the period covered the French- speaking inhabitants of the lower St. Lawrence Valley, the 'new subjects' of his Britannic Majesty, were the only part of the population who laid claim to the title of Canadian, and it will be noted in the pages that follow that it was accorded to them freely by the English-speaking residents of the province. The latter thought of themselves as British or Irish or American, sometimes as Loyalist, but never as Canadians. It should not be assumed, however, that the English-speaking part of the population, even if they were newly arrived, felt themselves to be aliens to Canadian soil or less concerned in the future development of the province than were the survivors of the earlier régime. On the contrary they behaved, for the most part, as conquerors have always behaved, and if they retained their national identity they did so partly, perhaps, because they counted on their British connections to strengthen their claim to rule over a land in which they knew themselves to be hopelessly outnumbered.
According to my original plan an equal amount of space was to be devoted to events in the mother country and events in North America. I have always believed that too little attention has been paid in histories of Canada to the important changes taking place in the British Isles in the first half of the nineteenth century and the influence of those events on colonial history. But the material on French Canada, as I became more familiar with it, seemed to require more extensive treatment than I had expected. Although French Canadians of the present day are making enormous contributions to the writing of their own history, the period here covered has not yet received the detailed re-examination it deserves. The collections of private papers in Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec that have recently become available have not been put to much use in retelling what is, to say the least, a very exciting story. Most narrative histories, following Garneau, whose Histoire de Canada was first published in 1845 , have passed lightly over the years between the recall of Lord Dalhousie ( January 1828), and the acceptance by the assembly of the Ninety-two Resolutions ( January 1834).