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to obtain that influence in the public councils to which they were fully entitled, or to reconcile and unite the diverse interests of a great province, divided by the Ottawa river into two sections, the one French and Roman Catholic, and the other English and Protestant.

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CHAPTER VI

THE HINCKS-MORIN MINISTRY.

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HEN LaFontaine resigned the premiership the ministry was dissolved and it was necessary for the governor-general to choose his successor. After the retirement of Baldwin, Hincks and his colleagues from Upper Canada were induced to remain in the cabinet and the latter became the leader in that province. He was endowed with great natural shrewdness, was deeply versed in financial and commercial matters, had a complete comprehension of the material conditions of the province, and recognized the necessity of rapid railway construction if the people were to hold their own against the competition of their very energetic neighbours to the south. His ideas of trade, we can well believe, recommended themselves to Lord Elgin, who saw in him the very man he needed to help him in his favourite scheme of bringing about reciprocity with the United States. At the same time he was now the most prominent man in the Liberal party so long led by Baldwin and LaFontaine, and the governor-general very properly called upon him to reconstruct the ministry. He assumed the responsibility and formed the government known in the political history of

Canada as the Hincks-Morin ministry; but before we consider its personnel and review its measures, it is necessary to recall the condition of political parties at the time it came into power.

During the years Baldwin and LaFontaine were in office, the politics of the province were in the process of changes which eventually led to important results in the state of parties. The Parti Rouge was formed in Lower Canada out of the extreme democratic element of the people by Papineau, who, throughout his parliamentary career since his return from exile, showed the most determined opposition to LaFontaine, whose mea

were always distinguished by a spirit of conservatism, decidedly congenial to the dominant classes in French Canada where the civil and religious institutions of the country had much to fear from the promulgation of republican principles.

The new party was composed chiefly of young Frenchmen, then in the first stage of their political growth-notably A. A. Dorion, J. B. E. Dorion (l'enfant terrible), R. Doutre, Dessaules, Labrèche, Viger, and Laflamme; L. H. Holton, and a very few men of British descent were also associated with the party from its commencement. Its organ was L'Avenir of Montreal, in which were constantly appearing violent diatribes and fervid appeals to national prejudice, always peculiar to French Canadian journalism. It commenced with a programme in which it advocated universal suffrage,

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THE LOWER CANADIAN LIBERALS

the abolition of property qualification for members of the legislature, the repeal of the union, the abolition of tithes, a republican form of government, and even, in a moment of extreme political aberration, annexation to the United States. It was a feeble imitation of the red republicanism of the French revolution, and gave positive evidences of the inspiration of the hero of the fight at St. Denis in 1837. Its platform was pervaded not only by hatred of British institutions, but with contempt for the clergy and religion generally. Its revolutionary principles were at once repudiated by the great mass of French Canadians and for years it had but a feeble existence. It was only when its leading spirits reconstructed their platform and struck out its most objectionable planks, that it became something of a factor in practical Canadian politics. In 1851 it was still insignificant numerically in the legislature, and could not affect the fortunes of the Liberal party in Lower Canada then distinguished by the ability of A. N. Morin, P. J. O. Chauveau, R. E. Caron, E. P. Taché, and L. P. Drummond. The recognized leader of this dominant party was Morin, whose versatile knowledge, lucidity of style, and charm of manner gave him much strength in parliament. His influence, however, as I have already said, was too often weakened by an absence of energy and of the power to lead at national or political crises.

Parties in Upper Canada also showed the signs

of change. The old Tory party had been gradually modifying its opinions under the influence of responsible government, which showed its wisest members that ideas that prevailed before the union had no place under the new, progressive order of things. This party, nominally led by Sir Allan MacNab, that staunch old loyalist, now called itself Conservative, and was quite ready, in fact anxious, to forget the part it took in connection with the rebellion-losses legislation, and to win that support in French Canada without which it could not expect to obtain office. The ablest man in its councils was already John Alexander Macdonald, whose political sagacity and keenness to seize political advantages for the advancement of his party, were giving him the lead among the Conservatives. The Liberals had shown signs of disintegration ever since the formation of the "Clear Grits," whose most conspicuous members were Peter Perry, the founder of the Liberal party in Upper Canada before the union; William McDougall, an eloquent young lawyer and journalist; Malcolm Cameron, who had been assistant commissioner of public works in the LaFontaineBaldwin government; Dr. John Rolph, one of the leaders of the movement that ended in the rebellion of 1837; Caleb Hopkins, a western farmer of considerable energy and natural ability; David Christie, a well-known agriculturist; and John Leslie, the proprietor of the Toronto Examiner,

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