The Revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835: A Chapter of the History of the British Commonwealth

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview

VI
The Francophile Governor SIR GEORGE PREVOST, 1811-15

I

Sir George Prevost landed in Quebec in September, 1811, but it was not until three years later that he entered into a serious discussion of Canadian politics in his dispatches to England, and then only because the Colonial Secretary had been greatly alarmed by rumours of dissension in the province, and, in particular, by the news of the impeachment of Chief Justice Sewell and Chief Justice Monk by the assembly.

The divisions between the two houses of the legislature and the intemperate proceedings of the House of Assembly alluded to in your Lordship's letter, [ Prevost wrote in September 1814] may and probably will be renewed at their next meeting but however such proceedings may be deprecated I by no means apprehend from their renewal the evil consequences anticipated by your Lordship or the want of that support from the House of Assembly which the loyalty and attachment of His Majesty's Canadian subjects has hitherto procured for me. With regard to their general principles and disposition I cannot bring myself to think that they are either at present or likely soon to become hostile to His Majesty's government. . . . I am aware that a different opinion prevails on this head with some highly respectable Officers of His Majesty's government . . . and that by them the most criminal and corrupt views and motives are ascribed to the leaders of the Canadian party. . . . This may be true of a few although I very much doubt it; but of the loyalty and attachment of the majority there can be no question.1

The contrast between this cheerful view of the disposition of the Canadians toward the mother country and the dark forebodings of the former Governor is the more remarkable because Prevost, like Craig, had been appointed entirely on the strength of his military record in the wars against France, and his policy was based on the short range

-95-

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The Revolt of French Canada, 1800-1835: A Chapter of the History of the British Commonwealth
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Maps x
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Part I - The Setting 1
  • I - The Province of Lower Canada 3
  • II - Lord Grenville's Act 23
  • Part II - The Struggle in the Colony: Governor Versus Assembly 39
  • III - Governor, Electorate, Assembly 41
  • IV - The Popular Party 58
  • V - Sir James Craig, 1807-11 77
  • VI - The Francophile Governor Sir George Prevost, 1811-15 95
  • VII - Sir John Coape Sherbrooke, I816-I8 109
  • VIII - Lord Dalhousie, 1820-28 124
  • Part III - The Struggle in the Colony: The Fundamental Issues 149
  • IX - The Question of Union 151
  • XII - The Question of Representation 187
  • XII - The Attack on the Councils 207
  • Part IV - The Reaction in England 223
  • XIII - Reaction in War 225
  • XIV - Reaction in Peace 243
  • XV - The Politics of the Colonial Office 260
  • XVI - The Mind of Parliament 277
  • Part V - The Ascendancy of French Canada 297
  • XVII - The Triumph of the Assembly 299
  • XVIII - The Work of the Assembly 311
  • XIX - The Forces Dividing 321
  • XX - The Catastrophe 335
  • XXI - The Election of 1834 355
  • Conclusion 374
  • Appendix 378
  • Bibliographical Notes 384
  • Notes 390
  • Index 419
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