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

By Helen Taft Manning | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The revolt of French Canada described in these pages, appeared to end, as did most nationalist movements before 1850, in tragedy and utter frustration. The Canadians were fortunate when compared to many Europeans, however, in that most of their leaders survived the armed risings of 1837-38 and could take up the threads of constitutional development where they had been dropped five years earlier. It was they who carried to completion the work begun by Pierre Bédard and Louis Bourdages in 1810. After 1840 these leaders owed much to the steadiness of principle and the lack of racial antagonism displayed by the liberals in Canada West who had for several years been working for the introduction of cabinet governement, and much also to a few of the Governor-Generals sent from England who recognized clearly that Canada could not be developed or governed successfully without the co-operation of the French-speaking population.

The chief contribution of the French Canadians to the evolution of the British Commonwealth is that they have demonstrated that a large and ever-increasing group can live peacefully and happily within the boundaries of the Empire without abandoning their own laws and language or their traditional way of living. The Dutch in South Africa, who in many ways had more in common with their British conquerors, and who enjoyed from the first greater participation in the somewhat autocratic form of government inherited from the Dutch East India Company, missed the opportunity to work out a similar solution because so large a proportion of the vigorous farming population emigrated north and passed out of the jurisdiction of the government at Capetown, at the very moment when the French Canadians were at last learning to co-operate politically with the liberal party leaders in Upper Canada.

A state or confederation in which people of different race and language participate while maintaining their own identity may seem to most Americans and to some Canadians less satisfactory than the solution achieved in the United States and Mexico where people of very different stock have, for the most part, lost the sense of being separate entities and become American or Mexican. Certainly it is true that the French Can-

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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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