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Lord Dorchester
Chapter XI - Dorchester's Return


AFTER two years spent in England, which, so far as we know, were uneventful ones to Carleton save that he was created Baron Dorchester, he was offered and accepted the chief-governorship of Canada at the-beginning of 1786. With the sudden influx of Loyalist refugees variously estimated at from thirty to fifty thousand, a third of whom perhaps would be in Canada proper, the equilibrium, social, political and religious of that country, bade fair to be considerably upset. New cleavages, new issues and new difficulties were imminent within the province. Without it France was in a highly electrical condition, while one of the two great parties into which the United States was now divided was actively hostile to Great Britain, and sore at the failure to include Canada in their new republic. Indeed the immediate future of Canada promised to tax the capacities of the ablest ruler, and the British government at this crisis seems to have turned naturally to Carleton. Domestic legislation of a thorny kind and\ danger from without was the almost certain lot of the next occupant of the Chateau St. Louis, and it would seem that some pressure was put on Carleton in the matter and that he went out rather from a sense of patriotism and duty than personal inclination.

However unemotional his temperament, the feelings of Dorchester, as we must now call him, may well have been stirred as he again beheld the spires and rooftrees and batteries of Quebec ascending from the water line to their high protecting fortress, and as he climbed once more the steep familiar streets, every turn of which he had such good cause to know. When eight years previously Haldimand had arrived to take his place, the two had met in brief interchange of courtesies. This time Dorchester had renewed Haldimand's acquaintance in London before sailing, and was received at Quebec by Hope, the lieutenant-governor, who had acquitted himself with sufficient credit in the interval. His government had been marked by comparative domestic peace, pending the advent of so renowned an arbiter of Canadian friction. "We must preserve Quebec even if we have to send Carleton himself," Shelburne had written with scant courtesy and, one might add, scant gratitude, to Haldimand, whose biographer in this series has freed the memory of that excellent official from a good deal of ill-judged and unmerited censure.

Events of incalculable significance to North America, and to the world for all time, had happened. Since Carleton left Quebec in 1778. A new nation had arisen to the southward and had thrown off inadvertently the germ of another. A new and invigorated Canada had been born, which through the crucial fever of racial discord was to emerge at last into a power of such proportions as few of its most ardent friends had ever dreamed of; but Dorchester was among those few.

He had now to face the incipient difficulties of this upheaval as it affected Canada. The shaggy wilderness along the Upper St. Lawrence and the north shore of Lake Ontario, that had been in his former reign but a forbidding barrier cutting him off from the western posts, was now gradually opening to the light before the axes of the first United Empire Loyalists. Dorchester's trouble with the earlier handful of British Americans in their inequitable claims to a monopoly of power must have recurred to him as he looked over the correspondence relating to thousands of these men, whereas before there had been only hundreds. But the latter, by no stretch of imagination, could have been regarded as picked men. These others Dorchester, from his New York experience no doubt, knew weir were persons for the most part of another calibre, and yet this very fact may have seemed to make the future problem of Canadian government the more difficult.

That Dorchester had to report his reception as a warm one goes without saying. His reputation had probably increased in his absence, not only by that automatic process by which time enhances the virtues of the virtuous and the vices of the vicious*, but by comparison with other rulers who even if misjudged and underrated were at any rate not Carletons. He had, moreover, a host of old friends in the country, or perhaps having regard to the popular governor's temperament, admiring acquaintances would be the better word. The "friends of congress," or those advocating the most exclusive Anglo-Protestant pretensions were doubtless not so enthusiastic in their greeting.

Dorchester had come out with wider powers than my previous governor. He was not only the ruler of Canada, but had chief authority, when called upon ^to exercise it, over Nova Scotia, New. Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The latter, hitherto under an administrator directly responsible to the Crown, was now, though vastly increased in population through United Empire Loyalist immigrants, under a lieutenant-governor. New Brunswick, just created a province, was for the same cause similarly administered. The Loyalists in the district of Montreal and those already at Kingston on the shores of Lake Ontario numbered from five to ten thousand and were steadily increasing. There was not. now to be another Livius, for this time Dorchester had brought out his own chief-justice, William Smith, son of a New York judge and himself once chief-justice of that important province. Taking the loyal side he had retired to England with Carleton who held him in high regard. Both of them had been much in conference while in London with Lord Sydney, now a secretary of state, as to the future conduct of Canada, and Dorchester's after correspondence with that nobleman bears small resemblance in tone to the perfunctory and peppery despatches that went back and forth between Germain and himself.

Dorchester was at once confronted with the old difficulty of the French and English laws in Canada, which the Quebec Act had theoretically settled by giving the criminal courts to the one and the civil courts to the other. Some, however, of the ordinances of the Quebec Act were not final, and had to be renewed every two years, which in such cases^ gave rise to much discussion. But though the English criminal law commended itself to all, English litigants in matters not affecting land constantly rejected the French code. This, being a mixture of the old French and Roman law, with much that custom alone had improvised and sanctioned, presented a Herculean labour for the English advocate to grapple with. French justices it was complained still followed French, and English justices English law, precisely as they chose, to the confusion of all litigation. Smith showed his predilection at once for a loose interpretation of the Quebec Act, and a leaning towards the royal proclamation of 1763, and gave official utterance to it in reversing a judgment of the Common Pleas that came to him early in his first term. Indeed the confusion had become so great that one of Dorchester's first acts on calling the legislative council together was to appoint a committee to inquire into the matter and report upon it.

Committees were also nominated to report on the commerce, the police and the education of the province. Commerce was almost wholly represented by Montreal and Quebec, both now about the same size, and each containing about eight thousand souls. Their merchants, being mostly British, drew up a report on the confusion of the existing laws, which Dorchester's committee in turn strongly recommended to his "most serious consideration and reflection." Trial by jury in civil cases had, since Dorchester's former rule, been introduced with the limitation that it was optional with the litigants. Smith now brought a new bill into the council continuing the ordinance in all civil affairs, and establishing trial by jury between "merchant and merchant, and trader and trader," as well as in he matter of "personal wrongs " proper to be compensated in damages, "with certain other clauses intended to cure some of the disorders now prevalent in the courts." This, however, was rejected by the committee. The opposing party now brought in a fresh bill, but in the words of one of the others it merely retained the name of jury lest the advantages derived from that "glorious institution" should be wholly lost. The merchants prayed to be heard by council against the bill, and were so heard through the mouth of Attorney-General Monk for six hours. In his peroration Monk exposed such a confused state of justice that he "astonished the whole audience." These disclosures moved Dorchester to appoint a committee under Chief-Justice Smith to investigate into the past administration of the laws as well as into the conduct of judges in the courts both of Appeal and of Common Pleas. Every leading person was examined, and such a state of anarchy and confusion was shown to exist, says a legal chronicler who was living at the time, as no other British province ever before laboured under, "English judges following English, French judges French law, and what was worse some followed no particular laws of any kind whatsoever."

The committee called to take evidence on the schools and education of the province, and to form an opinion as to founding a university, produced no definite result, like the others, in view of the great general changes involved in the division of the country by the Canada Act of 1791. But it produced a pretty controversy between Hubert, the Bishop of Quebec, and his coadjutor Bailly, who was a highly polished cleric, a persona grata at the Chateau St. Louis, and had gone back to England in 1778 as tutor in Carleton's family. Their respective replies in answer to questions make instructive reading. It need only be noted here that the bishop^ was in favour of an improved education in theory only. He enumerated the various seminaries, such as that at Quebec for the higher education mainly of priests, and the other at Montreal which was merely a large free school—besides its college. The bishop proceeded then to mention the various convents, such as the Ursulines, and the nuns of the General Hospital who gave education free or otherwise to girls. It seems clear from his manner of reply that virtue and respect for religion were the main things imparted to the young ladies at these teaching centres, which he considered more than adequate. He certainly gives the impression that he thought nothing else much mattered. But this was not what the committee were sitting for. Neither any lack of virtue or religion had caused concern to the governor and his council, but rather the want of educational opportunities for all classes. When the bishop was asked if it were true that only three or four persons in each parish could read and write, his Lordship repelled the insinuation as " a wicked calumny started by bad men" which had even reached his own sacred ears. Thirty, he declared, was more like the average number, but anticipating perhaps some measure of scepticism on the part of the committee, about half of whom were French, he qualified the estimate by admitting the larger portion of these select ones to be women. " The country curds," he protested, " do their utmost to spread education in their parishes." With regard to a university presided over by men of unbiased and unprejudiced views he opined that that sort of men had generally no views of any kind on sacred matters. As to the demand for a university, he thought that the farmers with so much land to clear would prefer, until that Was accomplished, to keep their sons at home to help to clear it, rather than spend hard-earned money in sending them to gain education at Quebec.

M. Bailly, the coadjutor, who for various reasons^ was on the worst of terms with his ecclesiastical chief, but who was an abler and broader-minded person, then proceeded to demolish the bishop's statements in relentless fashion, under the specious pretext that some malevolent person had foisted the paper on the committee as the bishop's with design to injure him. He sarcastically depicted the\ bishop as arguing that till Canada was cleared up to the polar regions the education of its inhabitants must be left in abeyance. His further enthusiasm for non-sectarian education is eloquently expressed and 'covers several pages. It was pointed out by him and others that the new provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick would contribute students to such a university increasingly as time went on.

The finding of the committee was under six heads, which in general terms may be described as in favour of free common schools in every parish and a secondary school, to use a modern phrase, in every town and district, and lastly of a non-sectarian college from which religion was to be rigorously^ excluded. As regards the last proposition, this committee of 1787, judged by the light of the intervening period, may be regarded as a singularly sanguine body.

As a Canadian historian has well said, these general inquiries on commerce, law and education, if they served no other purposes, succeeded in illustrating in a high degree the passions and prejudices that distinguished the province at that day. The income of the Jesuit estates was regarded by most people as a natural source of revenue for any fresh .educational enterprises. Four aged members of the fraternity alone survived, and at their death the property passed away from the order. The balance of the income, after their frugal wants had been supplied, had been hitherto devoted to the maintenance of the seminary. But another claimant had to e considered, for the estates had been either granted or promised to Amherst about the time of the conquest, and he now urged his rights. Perhaps these had not been formally established or defined; in any case the Canadians, as was natural, in view of the scarcity of money and lack of educational facilities strenuously objected and presented a petition to the Crown which Dorchester forwarded early in 1788. The weakness of Amherst's claim, if otherwise valid, lay in the fact that the Jesuits held the estates in the light rather of trustees than of owners, and that the property was originally given for the education of Indians and Canadians. The matter was not finally settled for more than forty years.

Other interests, however, were moving. In his first year Dorchester was approached by the Vermonters in the person of Silas Deane, who had been mooting the subject in London, in regard to an outlet for their trade by the St. Lawrence. Vermont, not admitted as a state till 1791, as readers of Haldimand's life will know, had been prompted by various reasons during the war to coquet—with British rule through the medium of Quebec. Now, however, it was a commercial matter and all above board. Free trade with Canada had been suggested long before and the Green Mountain men were now anxious to combine with the British province in circumventing the rapids of the Richelieu between St. Johns and Chambly—for this was then their natural trade outlet—by a canal. Dorchester, who had already discussed the matter in London, was favourable to the scheme. It seemed feasible and would have promoted friendly relations, a motive always powerful with Dorchester. But this also fell through, and was not achieved for fifty years.

What gave the governor most concern, however, was the critical state of the Indian question in the far West. The moment he landed this was pressed upon him by letters from Sir John Johnson who was in charge of the western districts. These posts, stretching southwards from Detroit to the Ohio and northwards up the shores of Lake Huron to Michilimackinac, had been retained by Great Britain as security for certain concessions on the part of the United States to the Loyalists. The Indians had been ignored altogether in the treaty of peace through timidity, or oversight, or a feeling of helplessness, and those whose hitherto recognized territories were being invaded right and left by adventurers over whom an inevitably weak congress had no control, were loud in their protests. The /forts were feebly garrisoned, the Indians were MQsing faith in British compacts and friendship, while something approaching war on a considerable scale and of a quite lawless kind was setting the West on fire. The Alleghany frontiersmen, who mainly composed the vanguard of these new Ohio settlers and would-be settlers, were a fine and virile race with a prevalent strain of Ulster or Scotch-Irish Presbyterian blood. The defenders of the Sault-au-Matelot at Quebec in 1775 had felt their courage, and the sentries on the walls had suffered much from their deadly aim. But they had their failings, chief among which perhaps was an impatience of outside control and a contempt for distant governments, natural enough to men who had not merely to carve out, but to fight for their own homes. Historians and contemporary despatch writers speak of them as Virginians and Pennsylvanians, but such a definition is purely technical and due to the fact that they lay at the back of and within the parrallels of these and other states. They bore indeed slight resemblance to the normal Virginian or Pennsylvanian, had little intercourse with them, and flouted both them and their governments whenever it suited. For the weak authority of the much harassed congress they had no regard whatever, unless it was backed by sufficient troops. Some acquaintance with their descendants still living rude lives in the wilder portions of their ancient haunts helps one to realize how hopeless it would have been, except by force, to impress upon such people the equity of distar whom they held as vermin, though they respected them as warriors. To hold back men of the type of Boone or Brady, of Clarke or Logan, of Shelby or Sevier, to cite familiar names, from the edge of a boundless wilderness by parchment documents, was a practical impossibility even if such treaty rights had been clearly defined. Behind these born frontiersmen followed clouds of only less hardy and reckless settlers from the eastern provinces, and soldiers lately disbanded from Washington's forces. The Indians'^territory was invaded at all points on the upper Ohio and to the south of the lakes, and sanguinary skirmishes were of constant occurrence. St. Clair, who had commanded and evacuated Ticonderoga before Burgoyne's advance was sent as governor to the new territory, and did his best for peace, but the Indians told him that they could no more restrain their young men than the Americans could hold their own wilder spirits. The British agents in the meantime could give no advice or assistance, while the small British garrisons on the edge of the struggle were weak to futility.

The Indians were clamouring to know whether the British posts were to be given up to "the Yankees," and threatened to visit Dorchester at Quebec, treaty rights and above all the rights of Indian and get to the root of the matter. Indeed these unfortunate people may well have fallen into a state of bewilderment as to who was now their "Father," a third claimant having appeared as candidate for this disinterested relationship. In the meantime they /Continued to interchange scalps with the western frontiersmen who burnt their villages and council halls, till the American regular troops were called into the field to the number of two thousand three hundred and received one severe defeat at the hands of as many Indians. But this was not till 1791. /It was no desire of wounding British susceptibilities or infringing British rights that prompted this forward movement on the American frontier so far as the government was concerned. On the contrary, there was a general appreciation of the advantages of English over-sea trade after its long cessation, and the trans-Alleghany people saw that only Coutlet was by the Mississippi through Spanish territory. There was, therefore, a strong feeling that this magnificent waterway must be opened to them willingly or unwillingly. The backwoodsman's views on foreign politics were crude and are sometimes only less so now. The feelings of Spain would not have been much considered had the power been theirs, as the darker schemes of Aaron Burr and Wilkinson and their unfortunate dupe Blennerhas-set a few years later give ample evidence.

It was natural for every reason that Dorchester should wish to visit his sub-governments of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as soon as possible, having in view the interesting situation and rapid development brought about by the Loyalist refugees. Almost immediately on landing he informed Parr, the lieutenant-governor of the former province, that he hoped shortly to be with him, and to include the islands of St. John and Cape Breton in his tour. The former, at that time scarcely giving promise of the importance it has since attained as Prince Edward Island, was under a lieutenant-governor named' Patterson, who on being superseded by the home authorities in the autumn of Dorchester's arrival, refused to give up his post to his successor, Fanning, whom they had sent out. He writes his reasons to Dorchester, which were in effect that the island had been his hobby. He had given it its laws, its roads, its inhabitants, its separate legislature. He had made his home there and his interests were such that they could not be managed by another. He could not go to England to answer charges of which he knew nothing, as when he was in Europe he obviously could not collect evidence in the island. At present he was condemned unheard and for what he did not know, so he proposed to remain until further light was shed upon the matter. His people; were apparently with him, so Mr. Fanning's immediate prospects of administering the fertile little/ island were poor, though that well known Carolina Loyalist and the majesty of the law prevailed in the end. This incident is a fair illustration of the enormous difficulties which the size of the country presented to its administrators of that day.

/Nova Scotia, before its division and the Loyalist influx, had contained about fifteen thousand inhabitants. In a couple of years over thirty thousand had been added to them. A monthly mail packet was established from Halifax to England, and Dorchester set to work to organize a land express from Quebec to the winter ports. It sounds strange now /that the most effective method of transit was found Lto be on foot! Speaking generally there were two distinct waves of Loyalist immigration. The influx of 1783 has already been alluded to. It was the immediate result of the close of the war and included disbanded Loyalist regiments as well as people of all sorts and conditions for whom a residence in the new republic was either impossible, unsafe or unpalatable. Later arrivals consisted of those who might have gone in '83 but were deterred not merely by the reported rigours of the climate and infertility of the soil, which was a common impression to the south, but by their fears of the Quebec Act and of strange laws, and the absence of representative government. All the Loyalist and militia corps were of course in the first batch, over six hundred for instance having been settled by Butler and de Peyster at Niagara, and out five hundred on the Crown seigniories of Sorel, d others near Montreal, Chambly and St. Johns. Nearly four hundred, of whom a considerable part were Loyalist soldiers and Rangers, were provided for in the district of which the modern Kingston is the centre. It was quite obvious that ex-American colonists would not be satisfied to hold land under seigniorial usage, and it was necessary to go outside the line of the seigniories. There was little difficulty^ in finding land in the Richelieu country and to the west of Montreal, and of course, none whatever in the virgin wilderness up the St. Lawrence towards Lake Ontario or on the Canadian shore at Niagara, nor for the few score families who settled as far down the St. Lawrence as Gaspe and the Bay of Chaleurs. That this large nucleus of settlement soon manifested an impatience of those French laws which still perplexed was not unnatural. Settlers also kept dropping in from the States, where there was much friction and discontent, and swelled the cry for constitutional changes and above all for that elective assembly which they had been accustomed to regard as the one thing essential to the happiness of all freeborn men, except colonial governors.

Dorchester recognized all this to the full, and warned the home government that fresh concessions in this direction were inevitable. But he confessed himself at a loss for a plan, so complex had the matter now become. " In a country," he writes, "where nine-tenths of the people do not yet understand even the nature of an assembly, any such scheme should be fully explained to them and they should be given ample time to digest it."

The organizing activity of the Kingston Loyalists was early astir. For while they were still petitioning Dorchester for another supply of provisions pending the gathering of harvest, they prayed that the English and Scottish Churches might be established among them, and that they should be assisted to erect a schoolhouse in each neighbourhood. They also petitioned for a supply of clothes, and it must be remembered that scarcely any of these people, gentle ,dr simple, were able to bring much more with them than they could carry upon their backs. The story of their fight with poverty and the primaeval forests, with the plague of insects, which then made life almost intolerable during the summer months, with sickness beyond reach of doctors or drugs, is both a pathetic and a noble one, above all when one remembers the physical comforts and social distinction which had been the former lot of so many of them. But all this has been told elsewhere many times. Dorchester did what he could. He sent them food and clothes and such medical assistance as the province, itself poorly provided in that respect, could spare. He eventually went to see them himself, though his visit was delayed for a season by the arrival of Prince William Henry.

He found them, however, the following year, progressing favourably. Settlers were shortly expected on the American shore of the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario, and the United Empire Loyalists were influenced by a not unworthy ambition to show them that they were finding material as well as sentimental consolation beneath the British flag. The land tenures, however, were still giving much anxiety, for the owners of seigniories French and English, of which last there were now a few, objected to the government selling wild lands in free and common socage. It contrasted too favourably with the position o their own censitaires and would thereby tend to depreciate their own estates. But the division of the province was already in the air, and settlers from the south were flocking steadily into it, some attracted by the easy terms of land, and others the objects of ill usuage at home; for the soil of Upper Canada had proved fertile beyond expectation, and f all could now see that the idea of a virtually homogeneous French Canada under British rule was shattered. The Quebec Act, which in any case was\ 2 not regarded as final, would soon need amendment under the pressure of developments due to peculiar causes that no human eye could have foreseen at its enactment.

Still, even a division of the province would by no means dispose of the land difficulty. The British-American settlers on the Richelieu and Lake St. Francis already numbered some thousands and would absolutely reject the French method of tenure and inheritance, as they had already substituted the acre for thearpent and the square survey for the narrow strip wherever possible. The Eastern Townships of Quebec to-day still in part illustrate the contrast between the two races in their ideas of survey and settlement. Nor again is it realized in Great Britain, and not fully perhaps even in Canada, what a large admixture of German blood went in with these United Empire Loyalists. One entire German Loyalist regiment settled in the Kingston district, and on the roster of another corps one finds a thick sprinkling both of Dutch and German patronymics.

As already mentioned, in the August of 1787 Dorchester's intended visit to the Maritime Provinces was postponed by the arrival of Prince William^ Henry, the future King William IV. in command of H. M. S. Pegasus. With Judge Prowse's1 entertaining account in mind of the cheerful and popular manners of the sailor prince during his long stay in Newfoundland, one can well believe that he repaid the enthusiasm with which the Canadians greeted him in hearty fashion. De Gasp£ tells us what despair he caused Lady Dorchester at her balls by choosing his partners where he listed rather than where ceremony required. On his way up from Quebec to Montreal, whither the governor preceded him, he stopped at Sorel where government had encouraged the beginnings of a town and shipyards. The leading inhabitants were so delighted with the friendly young man that they violated their past and exchanged the old name of the place for that of William Henry. But time had its revenge. Sorel, if but a mushroom townlet then, had graven its name deep in the story of two wars and after a few years only officials in public documents remembered its second baptism, till even they wearied of the farce.

A French marquis on his travels was soon afterwards sent to Dorchester with introductions from leading Englishmen, but the governor privately" begged that these visits of foreigners should not be encouraged, for the political state of the country made them embarrassing. But a more useful arrival now put in an appearance, namely, an Anglican bishop for British North America; the first of a long line of distinguished prelates that have served that Church on both sides of the border. This was Charle Inglis, who was to take his title from Nova Scotia and reside there, but to have jurisdiction over Anglican Quebec. He had distinguished himself in Ne York both as an earnest churchman and evangelist, while later as a zealous Loyalist and rector of Christ Church he had aroused the enmity of the patriot party by his inconvenient eloquence. He left New York with Carleton at the evacuation and proceeded to Halifax, where his abilities gave him the first claim to the new see. In 1789 the bishop visited\ Quebec and ascended the river to Montreal, warmly welcomed everywhere by officials and Anglicans. The latter at Montreal had hitherto been indebted to the courtesy of the Recollets for the use of their church. Dorchester now granted and had restored for them the derelict church of the suppressed order of Jesuits. In this same August the first Episcopal conference of the Protestant Church and the first confirmation was held in the Recollets' church at Quebec.

It is curious in Sydney's official letters to Dorchester to read of a notion prevalent in England that America was going to apply for a monarch of the House of Hanover! The minister also deprecates any idea of contracting a commercial treaty with Vermont and represents the London merchants trading with Quebec as greatly annoyed at the want of gaols in Canada for the confinement of debtors. In short the Coutume de Paris seemed to the British merchant a monstrous anachronism. The British minister, however, writes that he does not see why the Canadians should not have their own laws if they chose.

Dorchester in this same year (1788) sent back the 29th, 31st and 34th Regiments and received instead the 5th, 26th and the first battalion of the 60th? so he had now, in view of possible complications with /the United States, some two thousand troops spread over one thousand one hundred miles of frontier, and an extremely unreliable militia. The late success of the Americans had undermined British prestige in the eyes of the Canadian masses. The Canadian militia, now grown more than ever averse to thoughts of war, would feel that the regulars supporting them were not infallible and were at any rate under a cloud. During 1788, however, Dorchester did his utmost to give efficiency to this service, and instructed the lieutenant-governors to have the forces of their several provinces set in order, for even, if peace were maintained with their neighbours, war with France might break out at any moment. He sent to England for thirty thousand stand-of-armsy and other war material, which Sydney promised him by the following spring. The postal arrangements too were completed at the same time, and it is curious to find, even in these early days, Halifax and St. John worrying Dorchester with their rival claims as open ports for a quick passage. This was to be made twelve times a year by a sailing packet and\ v&o-ti the Quebec letters were to be delivered by a walking postman till roads could be cut! The dispute was-settled by dividing these substantial favours alternately between the rivals, and Finlay of Quebec as postmaster-general had to see them carried out.

The expense of forwarding heavy packages may be gathered from the post-office charges of £28 16s. on the transport of a petition in a box from Mont-, real to Quebec addressed to Dorchester, which the latter refused to accept on the reasonable pretext that a continuance of so expensive a correspondence would be an intolerable burden on all concerned.

Adam Lymburner, a Quebec merchant, and described by Dorchester as "a quiet, decent man not unfriendly to the administration" had been already sent to England with a petition from the Quebec merchants for a change in the constitution. But the Loyalist influx had introduced silent arguments for this departure far more potent than the somewhat poor ones hitherto advanced by the old British faction in Quebec.

In the summer of 1788 the notorious and energetic Ethan Allenpwhose ardour had been in no wise cooled by his long confinement in a mediasval British fortress, again approached in diplomatic form the personage who had captured him and had been the means of his unwilling visit to Europe. His brother had been Dorchester's correspondent in the previous year and his letters had merely related to the free shipment of goods from Vermont to the St. Lawrence, and those commercial affairs which Silas Deane, it will be remembered, had in hand. Ethan Allen certainly bore no malice, for this curious document is little short of a proposal /to return to the British fold. His hatred of the new federal government, together with the commercial advantages of the British alternative, was no doubt the inspiring motive of Allen and the party he represented. Vermont had not yet become a state and owing to many causes a considerable party within her borders had no longer any wish that she ever should. Her proximity to Canada, wrote Allen, made her an object of suspicion and jealousy to the new government, but if the latter tried to force itself upon them there were fifteen thousand able-bodied Vermonters more than equal to a similar number of United States troops. Their objection to joining the new confederacy was that it would expose them to the displeasure of Great Britain, ruin their commerce and involve them in debt, if not insolvency. The differences of the confederacy owing to diversity of climate and their licentious notions of liberty imbibed in the course of the revolution operated against successful combination in government. Allen urges Dorchester not to undervalue Vermont on account of her geographical limitations. Immigration adds to her strength, as the people continually coming in^ want "property not liberty."

During the last three years of the war Allen pointed out that there had been practically an alliance of neutrality between Vermont and the British. " If the latter," he declared, " could have afforded them protection at that time, the Vermonters would readily have yielded up their independence and have become a province of Great Britain. Should the United States now attempt to coerce them they would doubtless do the same if British policy harmonized with the idea. The leading men of Vermont are not so sentimentally attached to a republican form of government, yet from political principles are determined to maintain their present mode of it till they can have a better, or until they can on principles of mutual interest and advantage return to the British government without war or annoyance from the United States." Allen was an able, if somewhat unscrupulous, man. Schooled by a generation or two of partisan warfare against the French-Canadians the Vermonters were the best irregular soldiers in the United States, with the exception perhaps of the Alleghany mountaineers.

While Lymburner was on his way to appeal to the British government and the House of Commons on the question of obtaining an elective assembly and diminishing the scope of French laws, a petition concluding with sixteen pages of French-Canadian signatures was presented to Dorchester protesting against the aforesaid appellant as professing to represent the new Canadian subjects as well as the old. The former, they declared, greatly demurred to any further change in their ancient laws, while as for a House of Assembly they rather objected to one than otherwise.

Dorchester's plan for overcoming the inefficient state into which the militia had subsided was to call out three battalions for two years service, replacing them at the end of the term by others, but ( "retaining the officers in permanent commission to take over each fresh corps as it came up. Le Comte Dupre was at this time colonel of all the militia of the town and district of Quebec and we find him corresponding direct with Sydney, describing his efforts to put his men on a good footing and asking for flags, uniforms, etc., and also a salary for himself as an encouragement to other Canadian officers.

Through the whole of 1788 and 1789 Dorchester shows his keen interest in the curious drift of American politics beyond the A Lleghanies, in Kentucky, and towards the Mississippi. The links of the confederacy were just now dangerously loose, as the Vermont incident alone would illustrate, but greater issues seemed at stake in the south-west. The latest^ plan reported to Dorchester was for Kentucky to secede and join Spain, though it was suspected that her true intention was to declare independence of the/ union, seize New Orleans and then look to Great Britain for assistance. Letters from Kentuckians to Dorchester are extant speaking even then of the inevitable separation of the west from the east, the need of the former for foreign protection with the right of navigating the Mississippi and the alternative of an appeal to Spain or Britain. The latter country was advised to form connections with western men of influence and capacity. A few weeks later particulars are forwarded to Dorchester from Kentucky of a scheme to induce France to seize New Orleans with offers to put Great Britain in her place, to make Dorchester an active agent in the matter supplying in his turn arms and ammunition. Any objection on account of the present peaceful relations with Spain it was urged might fairly be waived, as that power had supplied money and material to the rebellious colonists of Britain. These matters interested Dorchester and he sent most of the documents to Sydney, stating, however, that he had declined to assist or even to give his opinion on the merits of the scheme. The French minister to the United States, Count Moustier, at this moment asked leave to cross the border at Niagara and make the round tour /by Montreal and down Lake Champlain, but Dorchester with all politeness possible felt himself obliged to decline the honour for reasons politic.

At Christmas, 1789, Dorchester received from Grenville, who had taken Sydney's place at the colonial office, the first draft of a new bill for the better government of Quebec, the object of which was to assimilate the constitution to that of Great Britain so far as circumstances would allow. Consideration for the French, said Grenville, had received great weight in the adoption of the new plan for dividing the province. Dorchester himself thought that the few thousand Loyalists at present settled to the west of Montreal hardly justified immediate division. He seems to have underrated, which with his level head and wide experience is singular, the great influx would be from the States so soon as the fear French laws and customs was removed. Respect-g the boundaries of the two provinces, they were be left blank in the draft of the Act. Members of the legislative council were to be honoured with baronetcies, and perhaps higher distinctions, if sufficient wealth flowed in to sustain them. The view of the Quebec British is expressed in a letter from Finlay, the deputy postmaster-general, to the home government. He professes not to know Dorchester's private opinion. Indeed the latter's reserve was notable till he came to act; but the writer gives a receipt for converting the Canadians into Englishmen—a very old one it is true, and its possible efficacy at the time is still a matter of speculation, if a futile one, with some modern writers. The seigr niors would certainly oppose any proposal to change the old system, and cherished, according to Finlay, mistaken ideas of their own importance.

Hope, the lieutenant-governor, was now dead, and Dorchester urged the need of a good sensible man of some rank to take his place. In answer to this Grenville offered the succession to Dorchester's nephew, now lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, but if he preferred remaining there, which for somewhat obvious reasons he very sensibly did, Colonel Alured Clarke who had done well in Jamaica should be sent, as he ultimately was. Grenville approved of Dorchester's interest in the Kentucky movements. He commended his caution but suggested certain advantages that might arise from the threatened split in the confederacy. But the governor's interest in western matters was by no means ^f an academic one, for the responsibility of the western posts, still held as a point of honour by Great Britain, to the resentment of the republic, lay% heavily upon him. At any moment the American troops, traders and settlers, might become involved in a great Indian war. In such case the weakness of the posts would invite seizure by American forces heated with battle and exasperated with losses, and the seizure of the posts would inevitably lead to the very conflict from which Dorchester by all reasonable means was anxious to save the British government. Danger came too, in 1790, from another quarter, in the shape of what is known in the troubled history of Pacific coast treaties as the "Nootka incident." The enormous distance which at that period separated Quebec from Vancouver Island may well seem to have removed this affair completely from Dorchester's sphere of anxieties. But it had its bearing on the western posts from the fact that it nearly provoked war with Spain, and Spain, as we have seen, was somewhat closely involved with that westward movement of the Americans which President Roosevelt in his notable volumes on the subject has aptly and euphoniously termed, The Winning of the West. But Spain, who had seized British vessels ^trading from a British post on Vancouver Island and by refusing all demands for satisfaction had brought the two countries to the brink of war, yielded at the last moment when France, being in no mood or condition for a great war about nothing, refused her support.


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