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rising in Upper Canada. In later years, Lord Grey1 remarked that this success was "dearly purchased, by the circumstance that the parliamentary opposition was no longer directed against the advisers of the governor but against the governor himself, and the British government, of which he was the organ. The majority of the government was obtained from Upper Canada, where a large body of people were misled by appeals made to their loyalty and attachment to the crown, and where a large number of Methodists were influenced by the extraordinary action of the Rev. Egerton Ryerson, a son of a United Empire Loyalist, who defended the position of the governor-general, and showed how imperfectly he understood the principles and practice of responsible government. In a life of Sir Charles Metcalfe, which appeared shortly after his death, it is stated that the governor-general "could not disguise from himself that the government was not strong, that it was continually on the brink of defeat, and that it was only enabled to hold its position by resorting to shifts and expedients, or what are called tactics, which in his inmost soul Lord Metcalfe abhorred."
The action of the British ministry during this crisis in Canadian affairs proved quite conclusively
1 "The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Administration," by Earl Grey, London, 1857. See Vol. I, p. 205.
"The "Life and Correspondence of Charles, Lord Metcalfe," by John W. Kaye, London, 1858.
METCALFE RETURNS TO ENGLAND
that it was not yet prepared to concede responsible government in its fullest sense. Both Lord Stanley, then secretary of state for the colonies, and Lord John Russell, who had held the same office in a Whig administration, endorsed the action of the governor-general, who was raised to the peerage under the title of Baron Metcalfe of Fernhill, in the county of Berks. Earthly honours were now of little avail to the new peer. He had been a martyr for years to a cancer in the face, and when it assumed a most dangerous form he went back to England and died soon after his return. So strong was the feeling against him among a large body of the people, especially in French Canada, that he was bitterly assailed until the hour when he left, a dying man. Personally he was generous and charitable to a fault, but he should never have been sent to a colony at a crisis when the call was for a man versed in the practice of parliamentary government, and able to sympathize with the aspirations of a people determined to enjoy political freedom in accordance with the principles of the parliamentary institutions of England. With a remarkable ignorance of the political conditions of the province— too often shown by British statesmen in those days -so great a historian and parliamentarian as Lord Macaulay actually wrote on a tablet to Lord Metcalfe's memory:-"In Canada, not yet recovered from the calamities of civil war, he reconciled contending factions to each other and to the mother
country." The truth is, as written by Sir Francis Hincks' fifty years later, "he embittered the party feeling that had been considerably assuaged by Sir Charles Bagot."
Lord Metcalfe was succeeded by Lord Cathcart, a military man, who was chosen because of the threatening aspect of the relations between England and the United States on the question of the Oregon boundary. During his short term of office he did not directly interfere in politics, but carefully studied the defence of the country and quietly made preparations for a rupture with the neighbouring republic. The result of his judicious action was the disappearance of much of the political bitterness which had existed during Lord Metcalfe's administration. The country, indeed, had to face issues of vital importance to its material progress. Industry and commerce were seriously affected by the adoption of free trade in England, and the consequent removal of duties which had given a preference in the British markets to Canadian wheat, flour, and other commodities. The effect upon the trade of the province would not have been so serious had England at this time repealed the old navigation laws which closed the St. Lawrence to foreign shipping and prevented the extension of commerce to other markets. Such a course might have immediately compensated
1 "Reminiscences of his public life," by Sir Francis Hincks, K.C.M.G., C.B., Montreal, 1884.
CONDITIONS OF TRADE
Canadians for the loss of those of the motherland. The anxiety that was generally felt by Canadians on the reversal of the British commercial policy under which they had been able to build up a very profitable trade, was shown in the language of a very largely signed address from the assembly to the Queen. "We cannot but fear," it was stated in this document, "that the abandonment of the protective principle, the very basis of the colonial commercial system, is not only calculated to retard the agricultural improvement of the country and check its hitherto rising prosperity, but seriously to impair our ability to purchase the manufactured goods of Great Britain—a result alike prejudicial to this country and the parent state." But this appeal to the selfishness of British manufacturers had no influence on British statesmen so far as their fiscal policy was concerned. But while they were not prepared to depart in any measure from the principles of free trade and give the colonies a preference in British markets over foreign countries, they became conscious that the time had come for removing, as far as possible, all causes of public discontent in the provinces, at this critical period of commercial depression. British statesmen had suddenly awakened to the mistakes of Lord Metcalfe's administration of Canadian affairs, and decided to pursue a policy towards Canada which would restore confidence in the good faith and justice of the imperial government. "The Queen's
representative"-this is a citation from a London paper1 supporting the Whig government— "should not assume that he degrades the crown by following in a colony with a constitutional government the example of the crown at home. Responsible government has been conceded to Canada, and should be attended in its workings with all the consequences of responsible government in the mother country. What the Queen cannot do in England the governor-general should not be permitted to do in Canada. In making imperial appointments she is bound to consult her cabinet; in making provincial appointments the governor-general should be bound to do the same.
The Oregon dispute had been settled, like the question of the Maine boundary, without any regard to British interests in America, and it was now deemed expedient to replace Lord Cathcart by a civil governor, who would be able to carry out, in the valley of the St. Lawrence, the new policy of the colonial office, and strengthen the ties between the province and the parent state.
As I have previously stated, Lord John Russell's ministry made a wise choice in the person of Lord Elgin. In the following pages I shall endeavour to show how fully were realized the high expectations of those British statesmen who sent him across the Atlantic at this critical epoch in the political and industrial conditions of the Canadian dependency.
1 See "McMullen's History of Canada," Vol. II (2nd Ed.), p. 201.