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BUBBLES OF CANADA
MY DEAR HALIBURTON,
As the people of this country know but little of the dissensions in Canada, they very wisely confine their observations to the dissensions of those who govern it. This is a more intelligible as well as a more amusing subject. Every body talks of Lord Brougham and Lord Durham, but nobody speaks of Canada. Instead, therefore, of inquiring what is to become of that valuable colony, what measures are, or ought, to be adopted, to ensure its tranquillity, and to protect British subjects and British property there, people very properly limit their attention to the more interesting question what will the Governor-General do when Parliament meets ? To inquire whether the Eng
lish or the French population of Canada is in the right, requires some investigation to ascertain facts, and some constitutional knowledge to judge of those facts when collected. It is, at best, but a dry subject. But to decide whether Lord Brougham or Lord Durham has the best of the dispute is a matter so well suited for easy conversation, and humorous argument, that it is no wonder it has more attractions than the other. Such, however, is the acerbity of politics in this country, that even this affair is made a party question, and the worst motives are imputed for everything that is said or done by either. There are not wanting those who gravely assert, that while Lord Brougham was affecting to brush off the flies from the heels of an old rival, he intentionally switched him so hard as to arouse his temper and induce him to kick. They maintain that there are two sorts of tickling, one that is so delicate as to produce laughter and pleasurable sensations, and another that irritates both the skin and the temper by the coarseness of its application. They say that his lordship is much addicted to the latter species, and applies it equally to both friends and foes; in short, that his play is too rough to be agreeable. While, on the other hand, there are some who are so unkind as to
insinuate that Lord Durham was very willing to take offence, and to shelter himself under it. That he felt he had voluntarily undertaken a load which he was unable to draw, and that knowing greater expectations had been formed of him than he could ever realise, had no objection to kick himself out of harness, and extricate himself by overthrowing friend or foe, so long as the public were willing to believe the fault to be that of the teemster, and not of the steed.
Be that as it may, the exhibition has been an entertaining one, and they deserve some credit for having afforded amusement and occupation to the public at this dull season of the year. There they are, the crowd has gathered round them, the idle and the vulgar stand gaping, and each one looks anxiously for what is to follow. What can be more agreeable to a British mob, a people essentially fond of the prize fight, than the contest of these two champions, men who have always courted their applause, and valued their noisy demonstrations of pleasure higher than the quiet respect of those of more taste and more refinement? It affords, however, no pleasure to the colonist. He regards one as a man of splendid talents and no conduct, and the other
as a man who, without the possession of either, has advanced to his present high station merely by the force of extreme opinions. He has no sympathy with either. The one is too much actuated by his implacable hatred, the other by his inordinate pride. The former is dangerous from his disposition to do mischief, and the latter unsafe, from his utter inability to effect any good.
After all the addresses that have been presented by the Canadians, this language may possibly appear strange and strong; but addresses afford no proof. They are cheap commodities everywhere. Place-hunters may flatter, and vulgar men may fawn, and office-holders tremble and obey, but the truth must still be told. A governor is the representative of royalty, and colonists have been taught to venerate the office, whatever they may think of the man. At the present crisis it is the test of loyalty. You will search in vain among those addresses for the names of the disaffected; and if those who signed them have expressed themselves strongly, they felt it was no time to measure words, when hesitation bears so strong a resemblance to a repugnance springing from a different cause. But even among these customary offerings of official respect, you will
find several exhibiting a choice of expression that bespeak a desire to separate the approbation of measures from the usual deference to rank and station, and others marking the distinction in explicit terms. The colonist by no means regrets his resignation, because he has shewn from his irritable temper, inconsiderate conduct, and crude and dangerous schemes, that, of all men, he was the most unfit depository for the extraordinary powers that were entrusted to him; but he does regret that public attention should be diverted from so important a subject as our Canadian affairs, to so unimportant a matter as my Lord Durham's private quarrels.
He is desirous that the questions at issue between the people of Canada and Great Britain should be understood, and he doubts not that the good sense and good feeling of this country will apply the proper remedies. In compiling a statement of these grievances, pretensions, or claims (or by whatever other name you may choose to designate them), I shall hope to contribute towards this desirable object. I feel, however, my dear friend, that before I enter upon the subject, I ought to apologise to you for the bulk of this work. Indeed, when you told me at Melrose that you had been in Egypt during nearly the whole period of these Cana