Governor, Electorate, Assembly
In every colonial empire the official who is sent from the mother country to represent in his person the sovereign state across the seas is, almost of necessity, the most important link binding the two governments together. In the British Empire of the eighteenth century the Governor of a colony had an even more important role in this respect than the Governor-General of Canada under the French régime, who had to share his authority with the Royal Intendant, or the Viceroy under the Spanish system who was often subjected to the supervision and censure of an Audiencia as carefully selected by the Council of the Indies as he was himself. The importance of the Governor's position had always been fully recognized by English ministers, although they had not always succeeded in safeguarding his authority. After 1784 there was a stronger feeling in high quarters than ever before that if the Governor's power was weakened the control of the mother country over a colony would disappear entirely; in fact, in every discussion of the causes of the American Revolution, the weakness of the Governor's position in the thirteen colonies, when pitted against their legislatures, was acknowledged.
The nature of the Situation of the Governors in America [ Grenville wrote in 1789], the limited extent of their Authority, the dependence, in which they frequently found themselves, on the colonies even for their own Support and Maintenance, the little consequence annexed to their Station, & sometimes the character and rank of the persons sent there were but ill adapted to remedy the defect arising from the absence of the Sovereign.1
Grenville himself was determined that the Governor of Canada should suffer from no such handicaps, and believed that the measure taken in 1786 of appointing a single Governor-General for all of British North America and combining in his hands the civil and military authority was an effective remedy as far as it went. Certainly the character and