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and servant of the old official party. The Colonial Office held back and showed displeasure ; but the Toronto officials knew their advantage and their man, and kept the field with exemplary pertinacity. At length, however, Downing Street patience was worn out, and Sir Francis was recalled, or, which amounted to the same thing, obliged to leave his post. The demonstration was not quite in time. His rashness had enticed a fraction of the ci-devant reform party into insurrection, and had done all that the folly of one man could do, towards securing the insurgents the sympathies of all parties in this country, and the boon of a foreign war besides, to give effect to them.
The insurrection in Upper Canada has had the fate of being magnified into an importance most extravagantly out of proportion to its real insignificance. Its defeated leaders, of course, magnified it in this country ; the party, of old their bitter enemies in the province, have done the same thing there ; the former to gain sympathy among our citizens ; the latter to throw popular odium upon the whole body of those who have been active as their opponents, in the province, by representing them as extensively implicated in a rebellion. The truth is, that the Head election, and its immediate consequences, for a time disorganized the old reform party.
The men who had left them on the occasion of the former, did not at once return on account of the latter. A large body, too, of those who had fought hard for the party at the elections, held aloof from politics in angry mortification, from the time their results were made known. And thus the least reflecting and judicious, with a good many others, the more unprincipled of the party, were left to the very indifferent guidance they could give each other ; with a Governor almost as little gifted in any of these respects as themselves, to guide, or make believe guide, the whole.
The prospects of the general election, now on the eve of taking place, may readily be inferred. The Durham Report, recommending all that the more temperate reformers ever called for, - the bitter disappointment of the Head experiment of abandoning those claims, – in a word, we might say, the history of the last four years, — cannot be without effect. Nor does it appear, from present indications, that they will be. All seems to promise a reappearance of the liberal party on the field, in stronger force and under better auspices than
at any former time. But we are digressing from the line of remark we had laid down to ourselves.
of Lord Durham's administration in the Canadas, and its abrupt termination, we do not propose at this time to speak. It is not a subject to be dismissed with a slight notice, if taken up at all. We could not have stated the case (as between the ex-governor-general, the British ministry, and his and their political antagonists) so as to present any thing like an adequate view of its true merits to our readers, without having first given them at least as much preliminary information as we have just been giving. And it would occupy us at least as much more space as that which we have already occupied, to do so now.
His Lordship’s recommendations for the future government of British America must meet universal approval, wherever they are known, among our people. In the provinces, cut up as parties are by causes of dispute of all kinds, a like unanimity cannot be expected yet, in regard to them. But they must, ere long, combine in their support all lovers of good, popular, and stable government, there also. The signs are not inauspicious in this respect.
To remedy the evils growing out of the national feud in Lower Canada, his Lordship recommends, that that colony be at once merged in a new and more extensive province, so as to throw the French race into a minority ; securing them, at the same time, from every thing like oppression at the hands of the new majority. He would give them their full weight in the representative body; would unite them, not merely with Upper Canada, but, as soon as possible, with the Lower Provinces too, where no feeling of hostility to them can be said to prevail; and by committing to every locality the utmost extent of power, for local government, that can safely be delegated to it, would, in fact, place their own concerns, after all, in their own hands, taking from them only the unreal mockery of a power to direct those of the other race. Easier terms than these, they cannot hope for from any party whatever, and have no right to ask. Harder, there is no good reason for any party's wishing to impose.
This general union of British America, with the proposed subdivision of the country, by Imperial legislation, into convenient Municipal Districts, is a scheme which, as its author proposes to carry it into effect, promises the most essential
VOL. XLIX. — No. 105. 55
improvements of every kind. It would break up the little oligarcbies of each province, would sweep away the thousand petty causes of feud which their influence has fostered or occasioned, would give a new and sufficient field for the full developement of the energies of the whole people, in the future goverument and improvement of their newly created country, and would hold out a reasonable prospect of their future avoidance of those errors, which have till now so fatally contributed to impede their prosperity.
To this new province, Lord Durham would give, in substance, an entirely new constitution. The Legislative Council he would reform, by placing such restrictions on the power of appointing to it, &c., as should be most likely to insure the respect of the province at large for its opinions. And the Executive Council he would so remodel, as to have it consist of Heads of Departments, responsible to the Provincial Parliament ; precisely as an English ministry is, - except, that, on matters not purely provincial, they would, of course, not be competent to decide and act, without reference to the Imperial Parliament and ministry. The Governor would thus become, in fact as well as in name, the representative of the Crown. The internal affairs of the province, he would be required to administer, through a Cabinet commanding the confidence of its people and their representatives. Imperial interference would be limited to that comparatively small number of cases, in which an interest, strictly Imperial, might be at stake. It is to this, more than to any other measure Great Britain can adopt, that she is destined to be indebted, if at all, for the lasting preservation of her Colonial Empire. It is the sine quâ non of colonial prosperity, content, and consequent adherence to her fortunes.
Lord Durham's proposed reforms extend to a variety of other subjects, indeed to all, which an Imperial enactment could possibly affect. Much must be left to the future action of the province itself ; and it is, as we have observed, the grand feature of the Report, that it insists on the unreserved grant to the province, of the power of hereafter acting with the prospect of being able to act wisely) for itself.
We would it were in our power to say, that the measures proposed by the British government are identical with these recommended measures. They savour of weakness, weakness of two kinds; the one growing out of the state of parties in England, the other out of that inherent defect in the constitution of the colonial office, to which we have so often adverted. Between the fear of the Tories at home, and the back-stairs influence of the oligarchists in the colonies, the best features of the Durham Report have no place in the ministerial plan. The union the government proposes, is a mere union of the Canadas; and the measure of measures, the direct establishment of responsible government, is to be sought in it in vain. These are omissions, for which nothing else can make amends. Minor reforms are well enough in their way ; but they are not enough here. The new wine cannot be kept in the old bottles.
But this, too, is a subject we must dismiss, without venturing to enter on questions involving so much discussion. One remark, and we have done. The ministerial measure, it must be remembered, is a mere suggestion. The same weakness, which has made it defective, has prevented the government from attempting to force it through Parliament. The colonies are consulted. Let us hope, that their voice will be expressed so unequivocally, as to lead to its effectual amendment. If the people of the interested colonies fail to make their voice heard, in such a cause, we can only say, they deserve the consequences, be they what they may.
In a case thus abounding with difficulties and embarrassments, and pending the discussion by those most interested, of what so deeply interests them, what course should those pursue, who have no other interest in the affair, than their own feelings of good-will to their neighbours oblige them to take? Had they better leave the case for those who must, to their own cost, be troubled with it, to decide ? Or had they better, by uncalled-for interference, embroil their affairs tenfold worse than ever ? Would charity, because it sees the ship in danger, and needing all the best and coolest efforts of her crew, fire into her shells and rockets, to distract those efforts, and insure, so far as in them lies, the triumph of those elements of danger by which she is surrounded ?
ART. VI. – The History of the Navy of the United States
of America. By J. FENIMORE COOPER. In Two Volumes. 8vo. Philadelphia : Lea & Blanchard. 1839.
Mr. Cooper has made a valuable addition to the history of the country, in the work before us. He appears to have used a commendable diligence in searching out whatever facts our early history affords, illustrative of the origin and growth of the national navy, and has dressed them out in a form as attractive, perhaps, as the unconnected nature of the events, and the meagreness of the annals from which he derived his materials, permitted.
With the exception of a few irregular exploits, and the more remarkable engagement of Paul Jones, in the Bon Hom. me Richard, in the revolutionary war, together with the capture of the Insurgent, by Commodore Truxton, in the Constellation, during our naval hostilities with France, in 1799, but few incidents occurred at those periods, of sufficient importance to come down to us with much minuteness of detail. These are all narrated by Mr. Cooper with sufficient clearness and vivacity. Our navy, both as it regards its ships and officers, can scarcely be said to have had a connected existence, from its first creation, during the revolutionary contest, until the commencement of the war against Tripoli. On the breaking out of that war, it was put on a more permanent and respectable footing, than it had hitherto obtained ; and, in the course of it, the foundation of that character, which it formed for itself in the late war with England, was laid in the brilliant actions of Preble, Decatur, and Somers. Most of the officers, who became distinguished during the last war, commenced their career at Tripoli, and received their early professional impressions in a school, which has conferred the deepest obligations on the Navy, and on the country. The burning of the frigate Philadelphia, during this war, may, indeed, be justly rated among the most brilliant achievements of the navy. It is described by Mr. Cooper in his best style, and we very reluctantly forego the pleasure of transferring it to our pages. We also intended, had our limits allowed, to extract his account of one of Commodore Preble's attacks on the gunboats and batteries of Tripoli, in August, 1804 ; a sketch which conveys a very lively idea of the desperate courage