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

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview

VIII
The Authoritarian Governor
LORD DALHOUSIE, 1820-28

The years from 1808 to 1820 had set the pattern of party strife in Lower Canada; the administration of Lord Dalhousie not only intensified the violence of feeling on both sides, but also created new political problems and an increased sense of insecurity, for Canadians and British-born alike, which was not to be liquidated until long after the rebellion. Yet of all the Governors of his generation, Dalhousie was the most high-minded and conscientious, and the most determined to be absolutely impartial as between the two races in Canada. Like his predecessors, he was a professional soldier, but it was a much more important factor in his mental and spiritual equipment that he was, in every fibre of his being, a Scot and a Presbyterian. Bigsby, who served under him and who contrasts him with the easy-going and sporting Richmond, tells us that he 'was a very favourable specimen of the Scottish mind . . . a quiet, studious, domestic man, faithful to his word and kind, but rather dry. He spoke and acted by measure, as if he were in an enemy's land, and so in truth he was, because in the face of the most determined opposition, he was honestly carrying out, as well as he could, the instructions of ill-informed men residing three thousand miles away.'1

It does not detract from the truth of Bigsby's picture to know that, even in his relations with the Colonial Office, Dalhousie's ultra-Scottish sympathies and connections were a handicap of which he himself had an exaggerated awareness. His predecessors had all had private pipelines to those near the ear of the Colonial Secretary, if not to the Colonial Secretary himself; Dalhousie depended entirely on the good offices of the Scots in London and Edinburgh, who cared for such matters on behalf of their countrymen -- Lord Melville, the Duke of Buccleuch, the Chief Baron for Scotland. These powerful patrons did not fail him, but their efforts on his behalf were probably of more use in securing for

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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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