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William Lyon MacKenzie
Chapter IX - Municipal and Later Parliamentary Career


ON March 6th, 1834, the town of York had its limits extended, and became an incorporated city under the name of Toronto. On March 15th, a proclamation was issued calling an election of aldermen and common councilmen for the twenty-seventh of that month. The Reformers resolved to profit by the circumstances; and, having carried the elections, they selected Mackenzie for mayor, the first mayor not only of Toronto but in the province. The event was looked upon as possessing some political significance, for Toronto was the seat of government and the headquarters of the Family Compact; and, as the sequel proved, it was prophetic of the result of the next parliamentary election in the city.

Mackenzie gave his time gratuitously to the interests of the city, and discharged the duties of mayor with the same vigour that he carried into everything he undertook. The whole machinery of municipal government had to be constructed and set in motion. The city finances were in a condition that much increased the difficulty of the task. The value of all the ratable property in the city was only £121,519, and there was a debt of £9,240. To meet the demands on the city treasury, it was necessary to levy a rate of three pence currency on the pound. This was regarded as a monstrous piece of fiscal oppression, almost sufficient to justify a small rebellion.

The arms of the city of Toronto, with the motto, "Industry, Intelligence, Integrity," were designed by Mackenzie.

During the term of Mackenzie's mayoralty, cholera revisited the city, and swept away every twentieth inhabitant. Throughout the whole course of the plague, the mayor was at the post of duty and of danger. He sought out the helpless victims of the disease and administered to their wants. He was constant in his attendance at the cholera hospital. In the height of the panic occasioned by this terrible scourge, when nobody else could be induced to take the cholera patients to the hospital, he visited the abodes of the victims, and, placing them in the cholera cart with whatever assistance he could get from the families of the plague-stricken, drove them to the hospital. On some days he made several visits of this kind to the pest-house. Day and night he gave himself no rest. At length, worn out by fatigue, the disease, from which he had done so much to save others, overtook him. The attack was not of an aggravated nature; and he was fortunate in securing the timely assistance of Dr. Widmer, for medical men were difficult to obtain.

The mayor was also assiduous in his attendance at the police court, where he constantly sat to decide the cases for adjudication. At the mayor's court, too, he presided. Here he had the assistance of juries. His magisterial decisions gave general satisfaction; but he was much censured for putting into the stocks an abandoned creature who had frequently been sent to gaol without any beneficial effect, and who was, on this occasion, excessively abusive to the court. Before the close of his mayoralty, Mackenzie issued a circular stating his determination to decline to come forward again for the city council •, but when his friends complained that he had no right to desert the Reform cause, he, at the eleventh hour, permitted his name to be used by the parties who had insisted on nominating him for re-election. The Reformers—for the election was made a party question—were defeated, Mackenzie being rejected on a national cry raised by the friends of R. B. Sullivan, afterwards a member of the bench. On January 5th, 1835, Mackenzie received the unanimous thanks of a public meeting, "for the faithful discharge of his arduous duties during the period of his office."

On December 9th, 1834, the "Canadian Alliance Society" was formed at York. James Lesslie was president, and Mackenzie corresponding secretary. In the declaration of objects, based upon resolutions drawn up and submitted by Mackenzie, for the attainment of which the society was formed, there were eighteen subjects of legislation, fourteen of which were subsequently adopted.1 In most cases these questions were disposed of in the manner recommended by the Alliance, and in others the deviation therefrom was more or less marked. The objects of the society were denounced by the partisans of the government as revolutionary. Their tendency was certainly democratic; and the carrying out of many of the objects of the Alliance proved how steadily public opinion advanced in that direction.

On his return from England, Mackenzie had announced his intention of giving up the publication of a newspaper. His journal had been carried on by Randall Wickson in his absence. He said he would issue one or two irregular papers, and then stop the publication. He had commenced when Reform was less fashionable, and now there were other Liberal journals, so that his own could be better spared. But the few fugitive sheets counted up to forty-eight after the announcement was made and before November 4th, 1834, when the last number of the Colonial Advocate was published.

When he commenced the arduous, and in those days perilous, task of a Reform journalist, Mackenzie had no enemies among the official party. Setting out with Whig principles, he was driven by the course of events into the advocacy of radical reform. "I entered," he says, "the lists of opposition to the executive because I believed the system of government to be wretchedly bad, and was uninfluenced by any private feeling, or ill-will, or anger, towards any human being whatever." He threw away much of the profits of his business by circulating, at his own expense, an immense number of political documents intended to bring about an amelioration of the wretched system of government then in existence. "Gain," he truly says, "was with me a matter of comparatively small moment nor do I regret my determination to risk all in the cause of Reform; I would do it again." He did afterwards risk all on the issue of revolution, and lost the game. In 1834, he thought he had done with the press forever. The Advocate was incorporated with the Correspondent, a paper published by Dr. O'Grady, a Roman Catholic priest, under the name of the Correspondent and Advocate; and Mackenzie expressed a wish that no one would withhold subscriptions from any other paper in the expectation that he would ever again connect himself with the press.

In making an estimate of Mackenzie as a journalist, it may be said that his writings show an uneven temper; but taking them in the mass, and considering the abuses he had to assail, and the virulence of opposition he met—foul slanders, personal abuse, and even attempted assassination —we have reason to be surprised at the moderation of his tone. In mere personal invective he never dealt. He built all his opposition on hard facts, collected with industry and subject to the usual amount of error in the narration. Latterly, he had entirely abandoned the practice of replying to the abusive tirades of business competitors or political opponents. He generally wrote in the first person; and his productions sometimes took the shape of letters to important political personages. His articles were of every possible length, from the terse, compact paragraph to a full newspaper page. On whatever objects exerted, his industry was untiring; and the unceasing labours of the pen, consuming nights as well as days, prematurely wore out a naturally durable frame. Though possessed of a rich fund of humour, his work was too earnest and too serious to admit of his drawing largely upon it as a journalist. Whatever he did, he did with an honest intention; and, though freedom from errors cannot be claimed for him, 260 it may truly be said that his very faults were the results of generous impulses acted upon with insufficient reflection.

A general election took place in October, 1834. Mackenzie was elected to the assembly by the second riding of York, this being the first election since the division of the county into four ridings. His opponent, Edward Thomson, obtained one hundred and seventy-eight votes against three hundred and thirty-four, and in addition to the personal success of Mackenzie, the party with whom he acted secured a majority in the new House. Bidwell was elected Speaker for the second time. The new House met on January 15th, 1835. On the first vote, the government was left in a minority on a vote of thirty-one against twenty-seven. The solicitor-general branded Bidwell, the new Speaker, as a disloyal man who "wished to overturn the government and institutions of the country."

The letters of Hume to Mackenzie had been denounced by the official party as rank treason. Referring to this circumstance, the address in reply to the governor's speech expressed satisfaction that "His Majesty has received, through your Excellency, from the people of this province, fresh proofs of their devoted loyalty, and of their sincere and earnest desire to maintain and perpetuate the connection with the great empire of which they form so important a part;" proofs which would "serve to correct any misrepresentations intended to impress His Majesty with the belief that those who desire the reform of many public abuses in the province are not well affected towards His Majesty's person and government." It also deprecated the spirit in which honest differences of opinion had been treated by persons in office, who, on that account, had impeached the loyalty, integrity, and patriotism of their opponents, as calculated "to alienate the affections of His Majesty's loyal people and render them dissatisfied with the administration." "But," the address concluded, "should the government be administered agreeably to the intent, meaning, and spirit of our glorious constitution, the just wishes and constitutional rights of the people duly respected, the honours and patronage of His Majesty indiscriminately bestowed on persons of worth and talent, who enjoy the confidence of the people without regard to their political or religious opinions, and your Excellency's councils filled with moderate, wise, and discreet individuals, who are understood to respect, and to be influenced by, the public voice, we have not the slightest apprehension that the connection between this province and the parent state may long continue to exist, and be a blessing mutually advantageous to both."

A majority of the House rejected an amendment indirectly censuring Hume's " baneful domination" letter.1 That gentleman had, in explanation of his letter, accepted an interpretation put upon it by Dr. Morrison," That Mr. Hume justly regards such conduct [the repeated expulsions of Mr. Mackenzie from the House] on the part of the legislature, countenanced as it was by the Crown officers and other executive functionaries in the assembly, and unredressed by the royal prerogative, as evidence of baneful and tyrannical domination, in which conduct it is both painful and injurious to find the provincial officials systematically upheld by the minister at home against the people."

In the early part of the session, January 26th, 1835, Mackenzie moved for and obtained the celebrated select committee on grievences, whose report, Lord Glenelg stated, was carefully examined by the king, was replied to at great length by the colonial minister, and was taken by Sir Francis Bond Head—so he said—for his guide, but was certainly not followed by him.

As we approach the threshold of an armed insurrection, it is necessary to obtain from those engaged in it their view of the grievances which existed. For this purpose an analysis of the famous "Seventh Report of the Committee on Grievances" will be necessary. Before, doing so, however, let us notice briefly the affairs of the Welland Canal, in which Mackenzie successfully intervened in the public interest.

The canal era preceded that of railroads. In 1824, not a single effort of a practical nature had been made to improve the inland navigation of the province. In 1830, the Rideau had been completed. A vessel of eighty-four tons burthen had, in the previous November, passed through the Welland. The Burlington and the Desjardins Canals were far advanced towards completion. Mackenzie, who had been a warm advocate of internal improvements, obtained a committee, in the session of 1830, to inquire into the management and expenditure of the Welland Canal Company. The whole thing had so much the appearance of a financial juggle—the original estimates of £15,000 to £23,000 having been followed by an expenditure of over £273,000—that curiosity must have been much excited to know by what legerdemain the different steps in the financial scheme had succeeded one another.

On March 6th, 1835, Mackenzie was appointed by the House of Assembly director of the Welland Canal Company, in respect of the stock owned by the province. He entered into a searching investigation; and if he showed a somewhat too eager anxiety to discover faults, and made some charges against the officers and managers of the company that might be deemed frivolous, he also made startling disclosures of worse than mismanagement. With the impatience of an enthusiast, he published his discoveries before the time came for making his official report, sending them forth in a newspaper-looking sheet entitled The Welland Canal, three numbers of which were printed. A libel suit, in which he was cast in damages to the amount of two shillings, resulted from this publication ; and Mr. Merritt, president of the company, in the ensuing session of the legislature, moved for a committee to investigate the charge brought against directors and officers of this company. It was a bold stroke on the part of the president; but, unfortunately for the canal management, the committee attested the discovery of large defalcations on the part of the company's officers. Accounts sworn to by the secretary of the company, and laid before the legislature, were proved to be incorrect. Large sums—one amount was $2,500—of the company's money had been borrowed by its own officers without the authority of the board. Improvident contracts were shamefully performed. The president, directors, and agents of the company leased water powers to themselves. The company sold, on a credit of ten years, over fifteen thousand acres of land, together with water privileges, for £25,000, to Alexander McDonnell, in trust for an alien of the name of Yates, and allowed him to keep two hundred acres, forming the town plots of Port Colborne and Allanburg. A quarter acre sold at the latter place for $100. The company repurchased the remainder, for which the company's bonds for £17,000 were given to Yates, though all they had received from him was eighteen months interest, the greater part of which he had got back in bonuses and alleged damages said to have arisen from the absence of water power. If such a transaction were to occur in private life, the committee averred, it "would not only be deemed ruinous, but the result of insanity." George Keefer, while a director, became connected more true or false ones. I am persuaded it is impossible for an accountant who desires to arrive at the truth to investigate them with any satisfaction, particularly as the vouchers are of such a character as to be of little or no service.....It has been clearly proved that large sums of money have been lost to the company, and, of course, to the province, which, if the present directors do their duty, can, in great part, be recovered; yet you, the person who has discovered these losses, and, what is still better, has exposed the system, have been abused in the most virulent manner from one end of the province to the other, and have not obtained the slightest remuneration for your services."

The difference between Mackenzie and the committee of the House was this: he suspected the worst in every case of unfavourable appearances; they were willing to make many allowances for irregularities where positive fraud could not be proved. The committee carried their leniency further than they were warranted by the facts. In the same sentence in which they acquitted the directors of any intentional abuse of the powers vested in them, they confessed themselves unable to explain the Phelps transaction.

But to return to the "Seventh Report of the Committee on Grievances." In order to understand what were, at this time, the subjects of complaint by the popular party in Upper Canada, the contents of this report must be examined. And to discover the spirit in which these complaints were met in England, the reply of Lord Glenelg, then secretary of state for the colonies, must be consulted. We are not entitled to pass over, as of no interest, the complaints as to these grievances which proved to be the seeds of insurrection, and the prompt response to which would have prevented the catastrophe that followed in less than three years after.

Sir John Colborne had admitted in a despatch to Sir George Murray, February 16th, 1829, that, " composed as the legislative council is at present, the province had a right to complain of the great influence of the executive government in it." In 1829, it comprised seventeen members, exclusive of the Bishop of Quebec, not more than fifteen of whom ever attended; and, of these, six were members of the executive council, and four more held offices under the government. It was no easy 268 matter, in the then state of the province, to find persons qualified to fill the situation of legislative councillor, and that circumstance had doubtless something to do in determining its character. In 1834 the council contained an additional member, Bishop McDonnell; but he drew an annual salary from the government, and did not therefore, by his presence, tend to increase its independence of the executive. While Sir John Colborne professed to be desirous of seeing the legislative council rendered less dependent upon the Crown, it was in evidence that the executive was in the habit of coercing the members whom it could control. Instances of remarkably sudden changes of opinion, effected by this means, were given. A disseverance of judicial and legislative functions had been frequently asked by the assembly; but the chief justice still continued Speaker of the legislative council.

To the select committee on grievances was referred a number of documents, including the celebrated despatch of Lord Goderich, and the accompanying documents prepared by Mackenzie while in England, the reply of the lieutenant-governor to an address of the assembly for information regarding the dismissal of the Crown officers, the re-appointment of one of them, and the selection of Jameson as attorney-general, together with petitions, viceregal messages, and other documents. The committee examined witnesses as well as documents, and their report, with documents and evidence, makes a thick octavo volume.

"The almost unlimited extent of the patronage of the Crown, or rather of the colonial minister for the time being," the report declared, was the chief source of colonial discontent. " Such," it added, 1 is the patronage of the colonial office, that the granting or withholding of supplies is of 110 political importance, unless as an indication of the opinion of the country concerning the character of the government/' Mr. Stanley, while in communication with Dr. Baldwin as chairman of a public meeting in York some years before, had pointed to the constitutional remedies of "addressing for the removal of the advisers of the Crown, and refusing supplies." The former remedy had been twice tried, but without producing any good effect, and almost without eliciting a civil reply. The second was hereafter to be resorted to. When the province first came under the dominion of the British Crown, certain taxes were imposed by imperial statute for the support of the local government. In time, as the House of Assembly acquired some importance and had attracted some able men, the control of these revenues became an object of jealousy and desire. Before there had been any serious agitation on the subject in Upper Canada, these revenues were surrendered in exchange for a permanent civil list. All opportune moment was chosen for effecting this change. Neither of the two previous

Houses would have assented to the arrangement, nor would the present legislature so long as there were no other constitutional means of bringing the administration to account than that which might have been obtained by a control of the purse strings. The granting of a permanent civil list had looked to the Reformers like throwing away the only means of control over the administration. Indirectly the executive controlled what was, properly speaking, the municipal expenditure. Magistrates appointed by the Crown met in quarter sessions to dispose of the local taxes. The bench of magistrates in the eastern district had, that very session, refused to render the House an account of their expenditure. The old objections to the post-office being under the control of the imperial government were reiterated. The patronage of the Crown was stated to cover £50,000 a year, in the shape of salaries and other payments, exclusive of the Clergy Reserve revenue, the whole of the money being raised within the province. The £4,472, which had annually come from England for the Church of England, had been withdrawn in 1834. Considering the poverty of the province, the scale of salaries was relatively much higher than at present. Ten persons were in receipt of $4,000 a year each for their public services.

The mode of treating the salaries received by the public functionaries, pursued in this report, is not free from objection. The bare statement that "the Hon. John H. Dunn has received £11,534 of public money since 1827," proved nothing; yet the aggregate sum was calculated to create the impression that there was something wrong about it. Some salaries and fees were undoubtedly excessive. Mr. Ruttan received in fees, as sheriff of the Newcastle district, in 1834, £1,040, and in the previous year, £1,180. Pensions had been pretty freely dispensed out of the Crown revenue. Under the head of pensions, £30,500 is set down as having been paid to eleven individuals within eight years ; but the payment to Bishop McDonnell should hardly have come under that designation. While the Church of England received the proceeds of the Clergy Reserves, annual payments were made by the government to several other denominations. Profuse professions of loyalty sometimes accompanied applications for such payments; and there seemed to be no shame in confessing something like an equivalent in political support. The Church of England managed to get the lion's share; and this naturally brought down on her the envy and jealousy of other denominations. Of twenty-three thousand nine hundred and five acres of public lands set apart as glebes, between 1789 and 1833, the Church of England had obtained twenty-two thousand three hundred and forty-five acres.

It was complained that much of the money granted for general purposes was very imperfectly accounted for. "The remedy," said the report, "would be a board of audit, the proceedings of which should be regulated by a well-considered statute, under a responsible government." In due time, both these things came, Mackenzie having been in these, as in numberless other instances, in advance of the times. Justices of the peace, it was complained, had been selected almost entirely from one political party. The necessity of a responsible administration, for any effectual reform of abuse, had been frequently insisted on by Mackenzie. "One great excellence of the English constitution," says this report, "consists in the limits it imposes on the will of a king, by requiring responsible men to give effect to it. In Upper Canada no such responsibility can exist. The lieutenant-governor and the British ministry hold in their hands the whole patronage of the province; they hold the sole dominion of the country, and leave the representative branch of the legislature powerless and dependent." English statesmen were far from realizing the necessity of making the colonial government responsible; and, for some years after, the official idea continued to be that such a system was incompatible with colonial dependence. Mr. Stanley had been one of the few who thought that "something might be done, with great advantage, to give a really responsible character to the executive council, which at present is a perfectly anomalous body, hardly recognized by the constitution, and chiefly effective as a source of patronage." Only a few years before, Attorney-General Robinson had denied the existence of a ministry in Upper Canada, and claimed the right to act solely upon his own individual responsibility in the House, and without reference to any supposed necessity for agreement with his colleagues. And Lord Goderich held that the colonial governors were alone responsible. He complained that the legislative councils had been used " as instruments for relieving governors from the responsibility they ought to have borne for the rejection of measures which have been proposed by the other branch of the legislature, and have not seldom involved them in dissensions which it would have been more prudent to decline. The effect of the constitution, therefore," he added, "is too often to induce a collision between the different branches of the legislature, to exempt the governor from a due sense of responsibility, and to deprive the representative body of some of its most useful members." The executive council had scarcely any recognized duties beyond those which were merely ministerial. The governor did not feel bound to ask the advice of his councillors, or to act upon it when given. In appointments to office, they were, as a rule, not consulted. The giving or withholding of the royal assent to bills passed by the legislature was a matter entirely in the hands of the governor. Yet the executive council was recognized by the Constitutional Act; and cases were specially mentioned in which the governor was required to act upon their advice. The governor, coming a stranger to the province, could not act without advice; and he was lucky if he escaped the toils of some designing favourite who had access to his presence and could determine his general course. The habit of sending out military governors, who were wholly unsuited for civil administration, was in vogue. The only excuse for pursuing this course was that a lieutenant-governorship was not a sufficient prize to attract men of first-rate abilities. There was great diversity of opinion as to the possible success of responsible government. It had never been tried in any of the old colonies. Mackenzie, while in England, had endeavoured to convince Lord Goderich that, with some modifications, it might be made the means of improving the colonial government. The sum of the whole matter was that the existing system made the governor responsible, in the absence of responsible advisers by whom he might have been personally relieved; and he, in turn, was only too glad to make the legislative council perform the functions which, on questions of legislation, naturally belonged to a responsible administration. He had them under his control.

The grievance committee insisted on the necessity of entire confidence between the executive and the House of Assembly. "This confidence," it was truly added, "cannot exist while those who have long and deservedly lost the esteem of the country are continued in the public offices and councils. Under such a state of things," it said, "distrust is unavoidable, however much it is to be deplored as incompatible with the satisfactory discharge of the public business." The demand for entire confidence between the executive and the House of Assembly was based upon "the growing condition of this part of the Empire in population, wealth and commerce." The committee perhaps meant the inference to be drawn that the necessity for responsible government had not been perceived in the earlier stages of colonial existence. From the facts before them, the committee concluded that the second branch of the legislature had failed to answer the purpose of its institution, and could "never be made to answer the end for which it was created," and that "the restoration of legislative harmony and good government requires its reconstruction on the elective principle."

Although many may think this an erroneous opinion, it cannot be matter of surprise that it should have found expression. The legislative council, owing its creation to the Crown, and its members being appointed for life, found itself in constant collision with the representative chamber. This collision created irritation; and the people naturally took the part of their representatives in the contest. If there had been an executive council to bear the responsibility that was thrown on this branch of the legislature, a change of ministry would have obviated the desire for a change of system. The legislative council would have been modified by having additions made to its numbers, as was done after the inauguration of responsible government; and the second chamber, being kept in harmony with the popular will, would not have been attacked in its constitution. The opinion that the council ought to be made elective was not confined to Canada; it had been shared by several English statesmen, including Sir James Mackintosh, Mr. Stanley, and Mr. Labouchere. Instances were also adverted toby the committee, in which the members of the local executive had prevented the good intentions of the imperial government being carried into effect. Such, in brief, was the famous report of the committee of grievances.

It elicited from the secretary of state for the colonies a reply which we must now proceed to consider. But before the reply came, Lord Glenelg, on October 20th, 1835, conveyed to Canada the assurance that the king, having had the report before him, " has been pleased to devote as much of his time and attention as has been compatible with the shortness of the period which has elapsed since the arrival in this country" of the despatch enclosing the document.

In the ordinary course of events, the Upper Canada legislature would have met in November; but so important was it deemed that the report should be responded to, that Major-General Colborne was directed to delay the calling of the House till the ensuing January—a delay of three months. At the same time, an assurance was conveyed that the House would find, in the promised communications, "conclusive proof of the desire and fixed purpose of the king to redress every real grievance, affecting any class of His Majesty's subjects in Upper Canada, which has been brought to His Majesty's notice by their representatives in provincial parliament assembled." A belief was at the same time expressed, that the assembly "would not propose any measure incompatible with the great fundamental principles of the constitution," which, in point of fact, had been systematically violated by the ruling party.

Soon after, in addressing the assembly, Mackenzie said: "I would impress upon the House the importance of two things : the necessity of getting control of the revenue raised in this country, and control over the men sent out here to govern us, by placing them under the direction of responsible advisers." The House, about the same time, addressed the governor for information " in respect to the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the executive council; how far that body is responsible for the acts of the executive government; and how far the lieutenant-governor is authorized by His Majesty to act with or against their advice." The governor replied that the executive council had no powers but such as were conferred on it by "the express provisions of British or colonial statutes," about which the House knew as much as he. However, he condescended to proceed to particulars. " It was necessary," he said, " that they should concur with the lieutenant-governor in deciding upon appli cations for lands, and making regulations relative to the Crown Lands Department." He admitted that these duties were additional to those imposed by statute. " It was also," His Excellency proceeded to state, " the duty of the executive council to afford their advice to the lieutenant-governor upon all public matters referred to them for their consideration." He himself, as well as his council, was responsible to the imperial government and removable at the pleasure of the king. Where, by statute, the concurrence of the executive council was required to any Act of the government, it could not be dispensed with, and in such case the executive council must share the responsibility of the particular Act But the lieutenant-governor claimed the right to exercise " his judgment in regard to demanding the assistance and advice of the executive council, except he is confined to a certain course by the instructions of His Majesty." The governor thus fairly expressed the official view of ministerial responsibility, as was afterwards shown by Sir Francis Bond Head's instructions on his appointment to the lieutenant-governorship of Upper Canada.

The promised reply of Lord Glenelg was dated December 15th, 1835. It took the shape of instructions to Sir Francis Bond Head on his appointment to the lieutenant-governorship of Upper Canada. The patronage at the disposal of the Crown, which had been so much complained of, had been swelled by the practice of confiding to the government or its officers the prosecution of all offences. But this circumstance was declared by Lord Glenelg to be no proof of any peculiar avidity on the part of the executive for the exercise of such power. The transfer of the patronage to any popular body was objected to as tending to make public officers virtually irresponsible, and to the destruction of the "discipline and subordination which connect together, in one unbroken chain, the king and his representative in the province, down to the lowest functionary to whom any portion of the powers of the State may be confided." The selection of public officers, it was laid down, must for the most part be entrusted to the head of the local government; but there were cases in which the analogy of English practice would permit a transference of patronage from the governor to others. Whatever was necessary to ensure subordination to the head of the government was to be retained; everything beyond this was at once to be abandoned. Subordinate public functionaries were to continue to hold their offices at the pleasure of the Crown. They incurred no danger of dismissal except for misconduct; and great evils would result from making them independent of their superior. The new governor was instructed to enter upon a review of the offices in the gift of the Crown, with a view of ascertaining to what extent it would be possible to reduce them without impairing the efficiency of the public service, and to report the result of his investigation to the colonial secretary. He might make a reduction of offices either by abolition or consolidation; but any appointment made, under those circumstances, would be provisional and subject to the final decision of the imperial government. In case of abolition, the deprived official was to receive a reasonable compensation. What share of the patronage of the Crown, or of the local government could be transferred to other hands, was to be reported. A comparison of claims or personal qualifications was to be the sole rule for appointments* to office. As a general rule, no person, not a native or settled resident, was to be selected for public employment. In case of any peculiar art or science, of which no local candidate had a competent knowledge, an exception was to be made. In selecting the officers attached to his own person, the governor was to be under no restriction. Appointments to all offices of the value of over £200 a year were to be only provisionally made by the governor, with a distinct intimation to the persons accepting them that their confirmation must depend upon the approbation of the imperial government, which required to be furnished with the grounds and motives on which each appointment had been made. The hope was expressed that, unless in an extreme emergency, the House would not carry out the menaced refusal of supplies.

If these instructions from the colonial office showed a disposition to treat the colonists with consideration, it was the sort of consideration which we bestow upon persons wholly incapable of managing their own affairs.

To any measure of retrenchment, compatible with the just claims of the public officers and the efficient performance of the public duties, the king would cheerfully assent. The assembly might appoint a commission to fix a scale of public salaries. The pensions already granted and made payable out of the Crown revenues were held to constitute a debt, to the payment of which the honour of the king was pledged; and on no consideration would His Majesty "assent to the violation of any engagement lawfully and advisedly entered into by himself or any of his royal predecessors." At the same time, the law might fix, at a reasonable limit, the amount of future pensions; and to any such measure the governor was instructed to give the assent of the Crown.

The assembly was anxious to dispose of the Clergy Reserves, and place the proceeds under the control of the legislature. The other chamber objected; and Lord Glenelg urged strong constitutional reasons against the imperial parliament exercising the interference which the assembly had invoked. And it must be confessed that, in this respect, the assembly's demand was not consistent with its general principles or with those contended for by the popular party. It was easy in this case to put the assembly in the wrong; and Lord Glenelg made the most of the opportunity. But, with strange inconsistency, the imperial government in 1840 assumed, at the dictation of the bishops, a trust which five years before they had refused to accept at the solicitation of the Canadian assembly, on the ground of its unconstitutionality. Lord Glenelg admitted that the time might arrive, if the two branches of the Canadian legislature continued to disagree on the subject, when the interposition of the imperial parliament might become necessary; but the time selected for interference was when the two branches of the local legislature had, for the first time, come to an agreement and sent to England a bill for the settlement of the question.

On the question of King's College and the principles on which it should be conducted, the two Houses displayed an obstinate difference of opinion, and the governor was instructed, on behalf of the king, to mediate between them. The basis of the mediation included a study of theology; and it was impossible satisfactorily, in a mixed community, to do this with a hope of giving general satisfaction. This college question having once been placed under the control of the local legislature, Lord Glenelg could not recommend its withdrawal at the instance of one of the two Houses.

The suggestion for establishing a board of audit was concurred in. As a fear had been expressed that the legislative council would oppose a bill for such a purpose, the governor was authorized to establish a board of audit provisionally, till the two Houses could agree upon a law for the 284 regulation of the board. Lord Glenelg objected to the enactment of a statute requiring that the accounts of the public revenue should be laid before the legislature at a particular time and by-persons to be named, since this would confer on them the right to " exercise a control over all the functions of the executive government," and give them a right to inspect the records of all public offices to such an extent as would leave "His Majesty's representative and all other public functionaries little more than a dependent and subordinate authority." Besides, it was assumed they would be virtually irresponsible and independent. At the same time, the governor was to be prepared at all times to give such information as the House might require respecting the public revenue, except in some extreme case where a great public interest would be endangered by compliance.

Rules were even laid down for the regulation of the personal intercourse of the governor with the House. He was to receive their addresses with the most studious courtesy and attention, and frankly and cheerfully to concede to their wishes as far as his duty to the king would permit. Should he ever find it necessary to differ from them, he was to explain the reasons for his conduct in the most conciliatory terms. Magistrates who might be appointed were to be selected from persons of undoubted loyalty, without reference to political considerations. The celebrated despatch of Lord Goderich, written in consequence of the representations made by Mackenzie while in England, was to be a rule for the guidance of the conduct of Sir Francis Bond Head.

On the great question of executive responsibility Lord Glenelg totally failed to meet the expectations expressed in the grievance report to which he was replying. He did more; he assumed that " the administration of public affairs, in Canada, is by no means exempt from the control of a sufficient practical responsibility. To His Majesty and to parliament," it was added, "the governor of Upper Canada is at all times most fully responsible for his official acts." Under this system the lieutenant-governor might wield all the powers of the government, and was even bound to do so, since he was the only one who could be called to account. The assembly, if they had any grounds of complaint against the executive, were told that they must seek redress, not by demanding a removal of. the executive council, but by addressing the sovereign against the acts of his representative. Every executive councillor was to depend for the tenure of his office, not on the will of the assembly, but on the pleasure of the Crown. And in this way responsibility to the central authority in Downing Street, of all the public affairs in the province, was to be enforced. The members of the local government might or might not have seats in the legislature. Any member holding a seat in the legislature was required blindly to obey the behests of the governor on pain of instant dismissal. By this means it was hoped to preserve the head of the government from the imputation of insincerity, and to conduct the administration with firmness and decision.

These instructions embody principles which might have been successfully worked out by a governor and council; but they were inapplicable in the presence of a legislature. There was no pretence that the system was constitutional, and the elective chamber must be a nullity when the Crown-nominated legislative council can at any time be successfully played off against it. As for responsibility to the Canadian people through their representatives, there was none. All the powers of the government were centralized in Downing Street, and all the colonial officers, from the highest to the lowest, were puppets in the hands of the secretary of state for the colonies. At the same time, the outward trappings of a constitutional system, intended to amuse the colonists, served no other end than to irritate and exasperate men who had penetration enough to detect the mockery, and whose self-respect made them abhor the sham.

In November, 1835, Mackenzie visited Quebec in company with Dr. O'Grady. They went, as a deputation from leading and influential Reformers in Upper Canada, to bring about a closer alliance between the Reformers in the two provinces. In the Lower Province affairs were approaching a crisis more rapidly than in the west. The difficulties arising out of the control of the revenue had led to the refusal of the supplies by the Lower Canada assembly; and, in 1834, £31,000 sterling had been taken out of the military chest, by the orders of the imperial government, to pay the salaries and contingencies of the judges and the other public officers of the Crown, under the hope that, when the difficulties were accommodated, the assembly would reimburse the amount. But the difficulties, instead of finding a solution, continued to increase. As the grievances of which the majority in the two provinces complained had much in common, the respective leaders began to make common cause. The provinces had had their causes of difference arising out of the distribution of the revenue collected at Quebec. But the political sympathies of the popular party in each province were becoming stronger than the prejudices engendered by the fiscal difficulties which had acted as a mutual repulsion. Mackenzie and his co-delegate met a cordial and affectionate welcome. This expression of sympathy, extending to all classes of Reformers, was expected to prove to the authorities, both in Canada and England, " that the tide is setting in with such irresistible force against bad government, that, if they do not yield to it before long, it will shortly overwhelm them in its rapid and onward progress." Mackenzie was on good terms with Papineau, whose word was law in the assembly of Lower Canada, of which he was Speaker, but who, in committee of the whole, used the greatest freedom of debate. This visit resulted in establishing a better understanding between the Reformers of the two provinces.

In December, 1835, Mackenzie addressed a long letter to Joseph Hume, in which he explained that the Reformers of both provinces directed their exertions mainly to the accomplishment of four objects: an elective legislative council, an executive council responsible to public opinion, the control of the whole provincial revenues, and a cessation of interference on the part of the colonial office— "not one of which," he said, "I believe will be conceded till it is too late." The prediction proved to be correct; but all these changes were effected after the insurrection of 1837. He tendered his thanks to Mr. Hume for his exertions on behalf of Canada in these words :—

"On behalf of thousands whom you have benefited, on behalf of the country so far as it has had confidence in me, I do most sincerely thank you for the kind and considerate interest you have taken in the welfare of a distant people. To your generous exertions it is owing that tens of thousands of our citizens are not at this dajr branded as rebels and aliens; and to you alone it is owing that our petitions have sometimes been treated with ordinary courtesy at the colonial office.

"We have wearied you with our complaints, and occupied many of those valuable hours which you would have otherwise given to the people of England. But the time may come when Canada, relieved from her shackles, will be in a situation to prove that her children are not ungrateful to those who are now, in time of need, their disinterested benefactors."

A shadowy idea of independence appeals already to have been floating in men's minds; and it found expression in such terms as are employed in his letter about Canada being relieved of her shackles.


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