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to shelter the British minority from the rapacity of the Conservative party. But what Stanley had in his mind becomes clear when he goes on to say : “Would it be consistent with the dignity, the honour, the metropolitan interests of the Crown that its patronage should be used by the administration (of Canada] to reward the very men who had held back in the hour of danger ? and would it be just or becoming to proscribe and drive from the service of the country those who, in the hour of peril, had come forward to manifest their loyalty and to maintain the union of Canada with the Crown of England ?” The union of Canada and England had as little to do with the present argument as the union of Sweden and Norway, but the reference to it passed current in both countries for nobility of sentiment. Lord Stanley concluded his remarks by referring to the LaFontaine-Baldwin ministry as “unprincipled demagogues” and “mischievous advisers.”

Stanley's defense of Metcalfe and his views on colonial self-government read somewhat strangely at the present day. What is still more strange is that the Liberal leader, Lord John Russell, who spoke on the same occasion, was prepared to put the same interpretation on the Canadian situation. He would, he said, have condemned Sir Charles Metcalfe if he had said that he would in no case take the opinion of his executive council respecting appointments; but it would be impossible for the

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IRRESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT governor to say that he would in all cases follow the will of the executive council. Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Charles Buller, one of the principal collaborators of Lord Durham in the composition of his report, spoke also to the same effect.

During all this time Sir Charles Metcalfe remained without a ministry. Even the two new councillors in office, Draper and Viger, had merely been sworn in as executive councillors without being assigned to offices of emolument. As the spring passed and the summer wore chances of being able to obtain a ministry on anything like a representative basis still appeared remote. The Tories of the assembly had given to Sir Charles Metcalfe from the outset a cordial support, but in view of the overwhelming numbers of the Reformers and French-Canadians, the attempt to construct a ministry from the ranks of the Tories would have been foredoomed to failure. On the other hand, the governor-general was well aware that continued government without a ministry meant ruin to his cause and tended of itself to prove the contention of his opponents. No effort was spared, therefore, to obtain support from the Reform party itself and to encourage secession from the ranks of the French-Canadians by tempting offers of office. It was hoped that the example of Mr. Viger might induce others of his nationality to desert the cause of the late administration. Barthe, a fellow-prisoner of Viger in the

days of the rebellion, and since then editor of L'Avenir du Canada and member for Yamaska, had been offered a seat in the cabinet shortly after the ministerial resignation and had refused. Four French-Canadians in turn had rejected the offer of the position of attorney-general for Lower Canada, and the same position had been offered in vain to two British residents. Viger found himself with but small support among his fellow-countrymen. It was in vain that he appealed to them in a pamphlet1 in which he sought to prove that LaFontaine and Baldwin had acted without constitutional warrant. The subtleties of Mr. Viger's argumer ts availed nothing against the instinctive sympathy of the French-Canadians with their chosen leader. At the end of the month of June, Mr. Draper, anxious to realize the situation at first hand, visited the Lower Province and spent some weeks in a vain attempt at obtaining organized support for the government. As a result of his investigations he wrote to Sir Charles Metcalfe that "after diligently prosecuting his inquiries and extending his observations in all possible quarters, he could come to no other conclusion than that the aid of the French-Canadian party was not to be obtained on any other than the impossible terms of the restoration of Baldwin and LaFontaine."2

See La Crise Ministerielle et M. Denis Benjamin Viger, (Kingston, 1844,) published also in English (Baldwin Pamphlets, 1844, Toronto Public Library).

2 Kaye, Life of Metcalfe, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 552, 553.

A A DEADLOCK “ The difficulty, indeed,”

indeed,” says

Metcalfe's biographer, “seemed to thicken. According to

. Mr. Draper, it was one from which there was no escape. After the lapse of seven months, during which the country had been without an executive government, Metcalfe was told by one of the ablest, the most clear-headed and one of the most experienced men in the country, that it was impossible to form a ministry, according to the recognized principle of responsible government, without the aid of the French-Canadian party, and that aid it was impossible to obtain. What was to be done?” Well might the governor-general and his private advisers ask themselves this question. As Mr. Draper himself informed His Excellency, the want of an executive government was beginning to have a disastrous effect upon the commerce and credit of the country. The revenue must inevitably be soon affected, the administration of justice was already hampered for want of a proper officer to represent the Crown in the courts of law, while the public mind was filled with disquieting apprehensions for the future which were beginning to paralyze the industrial life of the province."

The whole summer of 1844 was one of intense political excitement. Agitation meetings, and political speeches became the order of the day, and political demonstrations on a large scale were organized by the rival parties. On May 12th a 1 See Kaye, op. cit. Vol. II, p.

553.

days of the rebellion, and since then editor of L'Avenir du Canada and member for Yamaska, had been offered a seat in the cabinet shortly after the ministerial resignation and had refused. Four French-Canadians in turn had rejected the offer of the position of attorney-general for Lower Canada, and the same position had been offered in vain to two British residents. Viger found himself with but small support among his fellow-countrymen. It was in vain that he appealed to them in a pamphlet1 in which he sought to prove that LaFontaine and Baldwin had acted without constitutional warrant. The subtleties of Mr. Viger's argumer ts availed nothing against the instinctive sympathy of the French-Canadians with their chosen leader. At the end of the month of June, Mr. Draper, anxious to realize the situation at first hand, visited the Lower Province and spent some weeks in a vain attempt at obtaining organized support for the government. As a result of his investigations he wrote to Sir Charles Metcalfe that "after diligently prosecuting his inquiries and extending his observations in all possible quarters, he could come to no other conclusion than that the aid of the French-Canadian party was not to be obtained on any other than the impossible terms of the restoration of Baldwin and LaFontaine."2

See La Crise Ministerielle et M. Denis Benjamin Viger, (Kingston, 1844,) published also in English (Baldwin Pamphlets, 1844, Toronto Public Library).

Kaye, Life of Metcalfe, 1854, Vol. II, pp. 552, 553.

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