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

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview

XIV
Reaction in Peace

Lord Bathurst belonged to the generation who had fought the war and made the peace and who worried very little about theories of empire. They all assumed without reservation that it was desirable to make Great Britain the dominant power in all distant quarters of the globe, while preserving a balance between the great nations in the continent of Europe; if they gave away overseas territory needed for strategic purposes it was in order to strengthen the hands of their diplomats at Chaumont and Vienna who were working on European boundaries. Lord Castlereagh, who took personal pride in the settlements in the Far East and the Caribbean, told the House of Commons that he had ensured the safety of British interests in every direction: 'Our policy has been to secure the Empire against future attack. In order to do this we had acquired what in former days would have been thought romance -- the keys to every great military position.'1

The peace with America had been considered the responsibility of the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies and Castlereagh was able to pass lightly over the fact that it was by no means as satisfactory from the point of vie of defending Britain's possessions as was the settlement in the Far East which left the Cape and Good Hope, Mauritius, and Ceylon in British hands. The very simple explanation for the weaknesses in the American treaty, however, was the failure of British generals and admirals to win any victories in 1814 after they had been given what were regarded as ample reinforcements. Wellington himself stated flatly to Lord Bathurst that he saw no hope of getting better terms in view of recent defeats on lake Champlain and Lake Erie, and since the British public was clamouring for the end of war everywhere the Commissioners at Ghent had to take what they could get.2 The significant phase of ministerial policy in British North America was the aftermath of the peace treaty when they were willing to appropriate large sums of money for the construction of the Rideau Canal to protect communications between Montreal and Lake Ontario. Unfortunately, from their point of

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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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