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THE time had now arrived (1832) when every grievance, so far as the remedy lay with the government, had been removed, according to the recommendations of the committee. Whatever required the co-operation of the assembly themselves, remained untouched. They had asked what they did not require, and hoped would not be granted, so that the odium of refusal might serve as a pretext for further agitation. Several of the changes solicited would have weakened their influence, and they preferred to suffer things to remain as they were. There now existed no impediment to the public tranquillity; and, if their intentions had been honest, we should have heard no more of Canadian discontent. Several men of character and standing in the colony, who had hitherto acted with the French faction, now separated themselves from them, declaring that they had obtained all, and even more than they had sought, and that they had now nothing further to ask but to enjoy in tranquillity the fruits of their labour. When they found there was no corresponding feeling in the breasts of their colleagues, and that these concessions were merely used as the groundwork of further
changes, they became alarmed, and for the first time were made sensible of what the public had always known with unfeigned sorrow, that they had been all along the dupes of their own liberal notions and the artifices of others. They had now full time to reflect upon the mischief they had done and their own inability to make reparation, and have added another illustration to the numbers we already have on record of how much easier it is to open the flood-gates of popular prejudice and passion, than to close them against the force of the current. They are now likely to become the victims of their own folly, and to be overwhelmed in the ruins caused by the inundation to which they have unfortunately contributed, by cutting away the embankments. It is to be hoped that the lesson will not be lost upon England; and it may, perhaps, afford these unhappy men some consolation if the safety of others is confirmed by the contemplation of the fatal effects of their folly. The request of Lord Aylmer, that they would bring forward all their demands, and, if they had any further ones, to add them to their catalogue, or that he should feel himself entitled to report there were none others, was received with surprise, but in silence, and he very fairly concluded that they
had exhausted their budget. This was the natural inference, and it appears that parliament flattered itself also that the whole subject was now fully before them. It is true the tone and temper of the house of assembly were not materially altered, and that the next four years were consumed in local disputes, during which no appropriation was made for the public serservice; but all this was charitably supposed to be the effect of previous excitement, and it was thought not unnatural that some time should elapse before their angry feelings could wholly subside. But what was their astonishment, after their declining the unprecedented request of the governor to exhibit any further complaints if they had any, to find that, in 1834, they were prepared to come forward with ninety-two resolutions of fresh grievance! This extraordinary step revived the hopes of every loyalist throughout the adjoining colonies. Surely, they said, this last ungrateful, unprovoked attempt will open the eyes of the English nation to the ulterior views of Papineau and his party! It takes much provocation to arouse the British lion; but, surely, this last thrust will be more than he can bear! He will make his voice to be heard across the waters and sedition will fly terrified to its cover.
But, alas! they were mistaken. Noble and spirited as the animal once was, he is now old and infirm—a timid people have filed his teeth, and shortened his claws, and stupefied him with drugs, and his natural pride disdains to exhibit an unsuccessful imbecility. It was received with a meekness and mildness that filled every body that had known him in former years with astonishment and pity; they could not recognise, in the timid and crouching creature before them, the same animal whose indomitable courage and muscular strength had formerly conquered these same Canadians, even when supported by all the resources of France, who now, single-handed and alone, defied him to combat. But this is too painful a picture to dwell upon.
This singular document is well worthy of your perusal; its want of intrinsic weight is more than compensated by its prolixity. The astounding number of ninety-two resolutions was well calculated to delude strangers, and to induce them to think that the evils under which they laboured were almost too many for enumeration. As imagination is always more fertile than truth, they very wisely resorted to the former, and were thus enabled to supply themselves with any charge they required. It
would doubtless have appeared singular to the sympathisers of England, if the aggregate had amounted to so remarkable a number as one hundred it would have struck them as a suspicious coincidence that they should have exactly reached "a round number," and filled a well known measure, and therefore, with an acuteness peculiar to people accustomed to fabricate tales of fictitious distress, they wisely stopped at ninety-two. But it must not be supposed that even Canadian exaggeration could find a grievance for each number. Some were merely declamatory, and others personal; some complimented persons on this side of the water, whose politics they thought resembled their own, and others expressed or implied a censure against obnoxious persons, while not a few were mere repetitions of what had been previously said. Such a state paper, drawn up on such an occasion by the most eminent men in the house for the perusal of such a body of men as the members of the imperial parliament, is of itself a proof how little fitted the Canadians are for constitutional government.
1. Resolved, That His Majesty's loyal subjects, the people of this Province of Lower Canada, have shown the strongest attachment to the British Empire, of which they are a portion: that they have repeatedly defended