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in their favor. Unable, by mere hostile votes, to remove their antagonists from office, and indisposed to wait the tardy process of battling away fraction after fraction of their emoluments, in the vain hope of starving them out of its enjoyment, it was natural, that they should before long try the experiment of singling out obnoxious individuals for attack, by direct, or, as was the more common course, by indirect impeachment. Here, again, their leaders were exempt from all immediate fear of the lex talionis. They could play their game alone. The judges and their brethren had nothing for it but to complain of persecution, and stand on their defence. Of the impeachments, formal and informal, which grew out of this state of things, some were richly deserved, and many not wholly undeserved ; but the temptation to an abuse of power in the resort to them, was altogether too strong to be resisted. No competent tribunal existed for the trial of these high complaints, for the House, of course, repelled with scorn the idea of submitting them to the judgment of the Legislative Council, as a House of Peers ; and the or. dinary courts of law were obviously inadequate to entertain them, even if their own high functionaries had not been, as they were, continually their object. The House proceeded, therefore, by committees of inquiry of its own body, always of necessity hostile to the parties to be accused. In collecting material for accusation, this body often set aside every form of justice and rule of evidence. The committee reported. The House sat in judgment on its own complaint, and forthwith addressed the Governor to suspend, and the colonial Minister to remove, the accused officer. Did the Governor hesitate to become a party to the proceeding, and require, that the accused be heard before being treated as a criminal ? — a supplementary address was ready on the instant, to extend the benefit of the proposed impeachment, so far as it might be possible to do so, to such offending Governor himself. Does the colonial Secretary, too, seem reluctant ? committee follows committee, address follows address, and threats of the stoppage of the supplies follow all ; till from sheer weariness, if for no better reason, the Secretary some how or other gets rid of the complaint, and the hunted offcial is removed to some berth in another colony, or is suffered to resign uncensured, or is dismissed as a delinquent. In any case, his party has been harassed and humbled, and his assailants have gained their ends.
Partial successes, after a long and severe struggle, seldom make men moderate. The pretensions of the body which has gained them advance as fast as they are gained. A successful leader, who has carried matters thus far by agitation, is apt, on each new concession, to take new ground upon which to urge a claim to something more. After a certain time, so spent, he is not unlikely to lose all desire to have the popular wishes really satisfied, or its substantial interests advanced. Agitation has become a trade ; and the agitator sees the loss of his capital in the redress of grievances. Delay of redress has soured the feelings of his followers, and they are ready to be induced to advance new claims. Demand is now heaped upon demand ; not to obtain justice, (though the many still themselves seek nothing more,) but to force from the ruling power a refusal of what is asked, that the work of agitation may go on, and its workmen prosper. This last stage has by no means been reached in all the British colonies. Perhaps we ought not to speak of it as approached, or approaching, except in two of them, – the Canadas, where, for reasons we shall speak of presently, the controversy has assumed a much worse form than in the others. In the Canadas, however, it certainly has been reached ; earlier in Lower Canada than in Upper, and to much greater effect, whether we regard the number and character of the demands made, or of those who have made them. But of this hereafter.
We have, as yet, said nothing of the course of events in England, and their influence on this colonial struggle. During all its earlier stages, it will not be forgotten, that the party in power in the mother country was that which there set itself against all reform or change, as far as it was possible to avoid it. The sympathies of this powerful party, were, of course, for a variety of reasons, altogether with the official party in the colonies. We are all apt to see things. as we wish; and it hardly argues a national foregone conclusion to "oppress " the colonies, if those, who in their whole course of policy were nervously anxious to avoid change at home, should have been slow to adınit the occasion for radical changes at a distance. Be this, however, as it may, (and we have no disposition to underrate the mischiefs of this course, or to defend in the gross the very mixed motives which led the party to adopt it, it is certain, that this sympathy was to the colonial officials, in all their controversies, a tower of strength. They had, in fact, three principal resources ; the first, in the extravagance of the claims often urged by the Assemblies, and the frequent violence of their measures, by which many in the colonies were driven from the popular ranks, and, at least, inclined to yield them a measure of support against such assailants, and by which, also, they are so materially aided, in pleading their cause in England, with all moderate men, as well as with their friendly judges, of the ministerial phalanx ; the second, in the patronage of the Crown, which they wielded in the colony, to multiply and secure their supporters, but which was useless to them beyond the colony; and the third, in the sympathy of the dominant faction in the English Court and Parliament, to which at least they always looked as the grand security of their continued power, not merely from its direct effect in securing them a favorable hearing, whenever Downing Street was called upon to give judgment on their demerits, but still more from the general impression it contributed to give in the colonies, of the probable permanence of their power.
In 1830, however, this metropolitan party was doomed to undergo defeat ; and, from that time to this, professed reformers have wielded the powers of the government, and even radical reformers have been found in general supporting the administration. Before this great change took place, the colonial liberals had gained some advantages, but their progress had been slow. It did not become at once irresistible ; and it has not unfrequently been made matter of complaint in consequence, by those who were disappointed in this result, that the English liberals in power have been just as thorough colonial Tories, as their antagonists were before them. The charge is not a just one. The policy of the colonial office, since 1830, is open to attack, no doubt, but not justly to this. The new head of the department has had the old subordinates about him, and much of what goes forth in his name is in fact of necessity theirs. Besides, his correspondents and agents in the colonies were still the same. It was from the officials there, that he received his ordinary information, and it was to them that he had to intrust the developement of his plans. How could the policy of a department, thus divided against itself, be other than wavering? On the whole, however, the can
did observer must acknowledge, that, in general, Downing Street, under the new régime, has decidedly favored the popular party in these colonies ; and that the successes of that party have, in consequence, been much more rapid than they otherwise could have been.
Still, for the reasons we have explained, its victory was not complete. The reform governments were too busy at home, to give their full attention to what was still an obscure controversy beyond the Atlantic. The colonial Tories still lived in hope, that their old friends would, ere long, return to power, and they therefore abated no jot of their pretensions or zeal. The opposition, on the other hand, by the near prospect of success, was often made more exacting in its demands; and when, as soon happened, a number of these were not at once gained, its complaints were so much the louder and more bitter. A state of things like this had a strong tendency to hurry on that last stage in the colonial controversy, which we have already described, and to which things have advanced in the Canadas, though not elsewhere.
But we have thus far confined our attention to a single feature of the controversy. This contest with the officeholders, or, as the Lower Canadian opposition not inaptly styled them, the “ Bureaucrats," was by no means the only, nor even the immediate, cause of the recent troubles. There are elements of internal strength in a popular party, which insure it a speedy triumph, where the battle is an open, standup fight of the few against the many. In New Brunswick, the Bureaucracy have quietly lost the day. In Nova Scotia, they have all but lost it. Had the struggle in the Canadas been merely what it was in them, there would no more have been an insurrection in the one case than in the other. Let us turn our view then a little more closely to some of the other grand, early errors of the constitution-makers, and the effect of the state of things since existing in England, in respect to them. On this part of our subject, we cannot hope to say enough for the full explanation of the case. To do this, we must make what we are writing, a book, not an article.
We have seen how clumsily the constitution-makers provided for future government and legislation in the colonies. What sort of system did they establish or allow de facto, for their ill-contrived machines of constitutional government to set to work upon ? . If a good one, the clumsiness of their machine might have been of less consequence ; is bad, the opposite. — To omit, then, all minor errors, and all considerations not absolutely necessary.
The germs of a politico-religious feud were introduced into all the colonies. The church of England, and, though to a less extent, the kirk of Scotland, too, bore with thein to the colonies the claim of spiritual superiority. Yet of those who emigrated to form their population, the great majority were not members of those sects. Catholics and dissenters constitute three fourths of those who leave the old world for the colonies. The settlers froin the States are, of course, all « voluntary-principle” men. These claims of the established church or churches have been put forward to a different extent, and have led to very different consequences, in degree, in different Provinces. In all, however, as a matter of course, there has been an intimate alliance between the church and the Bureaucracy, not, of course, that every officer-holder has been of the favored sect, but that the great body of them have been, and that their policy has been that of the sect in its claims for power. In justice to the Scottish church, we are bound to say, that, in this unholy struggle, it has never stood the foremost. To the English church, in every colony, has belonged this unenviable distinction; and the church of the sister kingdom has generally, rather stood on her rights, as a recognised established church, against the all-exclusive spirit of her rival, than attempted to urge claims of its own to any unfair advantage over other religious bodies. The exceptions to the rule are not many.
This alliance with the high-church party, on the whole, tended to increase the strength of the Bureaucrat faction. It gave them a stronger hold on Tory sympathy in England, and served, to some extent, to mystify the question of colonial parties, in the eyes of very many, in the old country, who were not Tories, but whose prejudices were in favor of the church establishment at home. In the colonies it had no tendency to make either of the allied powers popular ; for there both office-holders and high-churchmen were, from the nature of the case, hopelessly in the minority. But it strengthened them, notwithstanding. It secured a class of influential settlers, who would otherwise have had no bond