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THE arrival of the Commissioners of Inquiry in Canada put an end to all further prospect of grievances, and at once damped the hopes and awakened the anger of the disaffected. The very act of investigating the complaints which they themselves had preferred was made a subject of invective; the commission was denounced as an insult to the assembly, whose voice alone should be heard, and whose decisions neither admitted of question by the council nor by the government. Knowing that the instructions given to the commissioners were of the most conciliatory description, that every change would be effected that they had desired, and that, by their own showing, they would be compelled to be tranquil, they promptly changed their ground, abandoned the untenable local topics, and boldly attacked the constitution. The mask was now thrown off, and republicanism openly avowed as their object. That this development was prematurely
hastened by the unexpected and immediate concession of their requests, and their object disclosed sooner than they had intended, is evident from their address to the governor, so lately as in 1831, whom it was their interest and intention to deceive. Early in that year they said to him, "It will be our earnest desire that harmony may prevail among the several branches of the legislature, that full effect may be given to the constitution as established by law, and that it may be transmitted unimpaired to posterity." Now different language was held, and that there might be no mistake, Mr. Papineau said:
"The people of this province were now merely preparing themselves for a future state of political existence, which he trusted would be neither a monarchy nor an aristocracy. He hoped Providence had not in view for his country a feature so dark as that it should be the means of planting royalty in America, near a country so grand as the United States. He hoped, for the future, America would give republics to Europe."
As proofs are always preferable to assertions, and as this is too important a charge to rest on the authority of an anonymous writer,
I shall adduce a few more instances where the avowal is distinct and unequivocal. In a French journal devoted to the party, published in Montreal, we find the following senti
"In examining with an attentive eye what is passing around us, it is easy to convince oneself that our country is placed in very critical circumstances, and that a revolution will perhaps be necessary to place it in a more natural and less precarious situation. A constitution to remodel, a nationality to maintain-these are the objects which at present occupy all Canadians.
"It may be seen, according to this, that there exist two parties, of opposite interests and manners-the Canadians and the English. These first-born Frenchmen have the habits and character of such. They have inherited from their fathers a hatred to the English; who, in their turn, seeing in them the children of France, detest them. These two parties can never unite, and will not always remain tranquil; it is a bad amalgamation of interests, of manners, of language, and of religion, which sooner or later must produce a collision. It is sufficiently believed that a revolution is pos
sible, but it is believed to be far off; as for me, I think it will not be delayed. Let them consider these words of a great writer, and they will no longer treat a revolution and a separation from the mother country as a chimera-‘The greatest misfortune for man politically,' says he, 'is to obey a foreign power; no humiliation no torment of the heart, can compare to this. The subjected nation, at least if she be not pro tected by some extraordinary law, ought not to obey this sovereign.—We repeat it, an immediate separation from England is the only means of preserving our nationality. Some time hence, when emigration shall have made our adversaries our equals in number, more daring, and less generous, they will deprive us of our liberties, or we shall have the same fate as our unhappy countrymen the Acadians. Believe me, this is the fate reserved for us, if we do not hasten to make ourselves independent!"
In a pamphlet written by Mr. Papineau, he says of the French:
"It (the French party) has not, it ought not to entertain a shadow of hope that it will obtain any justice whatsoever from any of the authorities constituted as they are at present in this
country. If it would entertain the same opinion of the authorities in England that it entertains of the authorities in this country, these obstacles could easily be overcome."
He then claims the colony as belonging solely to his party :
"In consequence of the facilities afforded by the administration for the settlement of Britons within our colony, they came in shoals to our shores to push their fortunes."
They have established a system of papermoney, based solely upon their own credit, and which our habitans have had the folly to receive as ready money, although it is not hard cash, current among all nations, but on the contrary, which is of no value, and, without the limits of the province, would not be received by any person."
To obstruct the arrival of emigrants as much as possible, resort was had to one of those measures so common in Canadian legislation, in which the object of the bill is at variance with its preamble. An Act was passed, 6 Will. IV., c. 13, which, under the speciously humane pretence of creating a fund to defray the expence of medical assistance to sick emigrants, and of enabling indigent persons of that description to