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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part I: Chapter XXVIII. The Union of the Provinces


IN 1839 Mr. Charles Poulett Thomson, an English merchant, was appointed Governor-General. Colboine, who now returned to England, received the title of Lord Seaton. In accordance with instructions from the English Minister, Thomson proposed for acceptance a measure which united the provinces, provided for equal representation of both in the conjoint Legislature, and conceded the full acknowledgment of the long-wished-for right of Responsible Government. The Lower Canadians were, of course, bitterly opposed to the union, but no attention was paid to their opposition. The Family Compact saw in it the ruin of their supremacy, but the hour was gone by in which they could cajole the English Government, now in the hands of the Liberals, who, thanks to Lord Durham, were no longer ignorant of Canadian politics. In 1840 the vexed question 'of the Clergy Reserves was again brought forward, and a bill passed authorizing their sale, but as it gave the lion's share of the proceeds to the Anglican Church, the Reformers were still dissatisfied. But a victory had been won for Constitutional Government which outweighed all minor grievances, and the knell of the Family Compact oligarchy sounded in Governor Thomson's message to the Upper Canada Parliament: "I have been commanded by Her Majesty to administer the Government in accordance with the well-understood wishes of the people, and to pay to their feelings, as expressed through their representatives, the deference that is justly due to them."

The union of Upper and Lower Canada came into force in 1841. Kingston was made the seat of Government. Mr. Thomson received the title of Baron Sydenham. He endeavoured to carry out faithfully the work of inaugurating the system of Responsible Government, and introduced, through the Executive Council, many useful measures. Unfortunately when riding up the lull of Portsmouth, near Kingston, his horse fell, crushing his leg, an injury of which, to the great sorrow of ah true Canadian patriots, he died on September 19th, 1841. By his own desire, he was buried at Kingston. He was succeeded by Sir Charles Bagot, a High Churchman and a Tory, who was at first received with dread by the Reformers, and with exultation by the Tories, who hoped that the good times of Sir Francis Head were come again. But neither party knew their man. Sir Charles Bagot had been sent to Canada to administer Responsible Government, and was, from first to last, faithful to his trust. He gave his confidence to the Reform Government, and refused to lend an ear to the blandishments of the Family Compact. Unhappily, he fell into ill health, aggravated by hard work, and exposure to the rigors of a Canadian winter, and he died at Alwington House, Kingston, m May. 1843. His successor, Sir Charles, afterwards Lord Metcalfe, was a politician of very different stamp. He threw himself wholly into the arms of the Tory party, who were the heirs of the defunct Family Compact, and, mainly by his influence, a small majority for that party was obtained at the elections of 1841. A Tory Ministry under Mr. Draper now came into power, Sir A. MacNab being Speaker. In 1845, the Draper Government proposed to pay all losses sustained by Loyalists during the troubles of 1837-38 in Upper Canada. The French agreed to this, provided that similar compensation was given to Fower Canada. Commissioners were appointed, who reported that 100,000 would be required. As a sop to his French supporters, Draper proposed a grant of $9,986 in partial payment of Lower Canadian losses. This satisfied nobody, and the Draper Administration became unpopular on all sides.

In 1846 common schools were established throughout Upper Canada, the g<#m of our present public school system being introduced by Dr. Egerton Rversor The history of this very able administration in connection with the Public school system arose out of the following circumstances connected with the official acts of Lord Metcalfe. The Governor-General had, it is believed, received secret instructions from a reactionary administration in England to oppose, as far as possible, the growth of Responsible Government. In Carrying into effect these back stairs instructions, Metcalfe had thrown all hic personal and official influence into the support of Mr. Draper's Government, which, it was evident, did not possess the confidence of the people. Metcalfe, in consequence of this, was exposed to considerable unpopularity, and was justly criticised by the caustic pens of France Hincks and Robert Baldwin Sullivan. Meantime it was suggested to the Key. Egerton Rverson, at that time President of the Methodist University at Cobourg, that he might, with advantage to his church and the university, employ his pen m defending Lord Metcalfe against the aspersions constantly thrown upon his political course by some of our ablest public ministers. The person who made this suggestion was the Hon. William Hamilton Meiritt, of Welland Canal notoriety, m connection with which expensive enterprise he was more than suspected of serious malversation of public funds. The Rev. E. Ryerson was, at a time when such writing was more scarce than it is now, a vigorous and versatile writer, and a man of great force of character. But his Metcalfe letters are the least pleasant reading of anything the late Superintendent of Education has left behind him. They contain an admixture of political special pleading with the unctuous phraseology of the pulpit, which would be intolerable in the present day, and was only bearable at the time from the more influential position filled by preachers in influencing public opinion. As the first editor of the Christian Guardian, as a convert for conscience sake from the rich Episcopalian Church of his fathers, as a devoted missionary to the Indians, as the ablest of the ministers and champions of his church, Egerton Ryerson was, at the time, a power, and Lord Metcalfe anil his advisers knew it. As a direct result of the Metcalfe letters, the position of Chief Superintendent of Education was offered to l)r. Ryerson, pretty nearly on his own terms. He was certainly the best man for the position, and both as regards income and power, it was decidedly the best position the country could offer. In the course of his long autocracy, Dr. Ryerson established an eclectic system of public education, in part based on the Prussian and part on the New England school system, with a selection of non-denominational text-books similar to those used at the time by Protestant and Catholic alike in the national schools in Ireland. Whatever mistakes Dr. Ryerson may have made from time to time in matters of detail, however imperious his self-assertion, it was necessary to have a firm hand and a strong will at the helm in those troublous times that saw the establishment of our school system. To Dr. Ryerson we owe the establishment of the collection of works of art in the Normal School museum, the germ, it is to be hoped, of a Canadian national gallery. In the graded improvement of this collection, in the collection of an admirable series of specimens of engravings historically arranged, and n the completion of an art catalogue likely to be of use to art study, Dr. Ryerson's work has been well carried out by his subordinates. Of Dr. Ryerson's work in our educational system it may be said, as we point to oui city schools in Toronto, " if you seek his monument, look around you!"

Lord Elgin arrived m Canada as Governor General in 1847. the decaying Tory Government was now attacked with much effect by Mr. Francis Hincks in the Montreal Pilot. This able writer and speaker had much advanced the cause of Reform by his articles in the Toronto Examiner in 1839. The Clergy Reserves question was now again agitated. A famine in Ireland and Scotland caused an immense immigration to Canada m this year, as many as 70,000 having landed at Quebec. But these were the least valuable class of settlers. Too weak to be of use as labourers, they earned the seeds of pestilence and death broadcast over the country. At the elections of 1848, the Reformers were once more successful, and, Draper being forced to resign, the Baldwin-Lafontaine Ministry came into power. In 1849, the strength of the two parties was tested by a new Rebellion Fosses Bill, to which the Tories' were bitterly opposed. Meantime the Governor announced that the British Government was prepared to hand over the control of the Post Office Department to the Canadian Government, and that it was optional with the Canadian Legislature to repeal the differential duties .n favour of British manufactures. Dr. Wolfred Nelson and M. Papineau were now returned as representatives from Lower Canada, but the magic of Papineau's influence had gone with his cowardice at St. Denis", and the French Canadians followed in preference the leadership of the more moderate Reformer, Lafontaine. There was a memorable debate in Parliament over M. Lafontaine's Rebellion Losses Bill. Sir Allan MacNab's party entered the conflict with a will. The Knight led the attack, and his invective was unsparing and indiscrimmate. - He did not wonder that a premium was put upon rebellion, now that rebels were rewarded for their own uprising; for the Government itself was a rebel Government, and the party of which it was maintained m power was a phalanx of rebels. His lieutenants were scarcely less unsparing and fierce in the attack. But the Government boldly took up their position. Mr. Baldwin, Attorney-General West, maintained that it would be disgraceful to enquire whether a man had been a rebel or not after the passage of a general act of indemnity. Mr. Drummond, Solicitor-General Fast, took ground which placed the matter in the clearest light. The Indemnity Act had pardoned those concerned in High Treason. Technically speaking, then, all who had been attainted stood in the same position as before the rebellion. But the opposition were not in a mood to reason. The two colonels, Prince and Gugy, talked a great deal of fury. The former reminded the house that he was "a gentleman;" the latter made it plain that he was a blusterer. Mr. Sherwood was fierce, and often trenchant; while Sir Allan reiterated that the whole French Canadian people were traitors and aliens. At this date, we are moved neither to anger nor contempt at reading such utterances as those of the knights, for it would be wrong to regard them as else than infirmities; and it is deplorable that by such statements the one party should allow itself to be dominated, and the other driven to wrath. But through all these volcanic speeches Sir Allan was drafting in the direction of a mighty lash, held in a strong arm; and when the blow descends we find little compassion for the wrigglings of the tortured knight. It was while Sir Allan had been bestriding the Parliament uke a Colossus, breathing fire and brimstone against every opponent, and flinging indiscriminately about him such epithets as "traitor" and "rebel," that Mr. Blake, Solicitor-General West, stung beyond endurance, sprang to 1 s feet. He would remind them, he said, that there was not only one kind of rebellion, and one description of rebel and traitor. He would tell them that there was such a thing as rebellion against the constitution as well as rebellion against the Crown. A man could be a traitor to his country's rights as well as a traitor to the power of the Crown. He instanced Philip of Spain, and James II., when there was a struggle between political freedom and royal tyranny. These royal tyrants found loyal men to do their bidding, not only m the army but on the bench of justice. There was one such loyal servant, he who shone above all the rest, the execrable Judge Jeffreys, who sent among the many other victims before their Maker, the mild, amiable and great Lord Russell. Another victim of these loyal servants was Algernon Sidney, whose offence was his loyalty to the people's rights and the constitution. He had no sympathy with the spurious loyalty of the honourable gentlemen opposite, which, while it trampled on the people, was the slave of the court; a loyalty which, from the dawn of the history of the world down to the present day, had lashed humanity into rebellion. He would not go to ancient history ; but he would tell the honourable gentlemen opposite of one great exhibition of this loyalty: on one occasion the people of a distant Roman province contemplated the perpetration of the foulest crime that the page of history records—a crime from which nature in compassion hid her face, and over which she strove to draw a veil; but the heathen Roman law-giver could not be induced by periured witnesses to place the great Pounder of our religion upon the cross. "I find no fault in Him," he said. But these provincials, after endeavouring by every other means to effect their purpose, had recourse to this spurious loyalty. "If thou Iettest this man go thou are not Caesar's friend!" Mark the loyalty; could they not see every feature of it; could they not trace it in this act; aye, and overcome by that mawkish, spurious loyalty, the heathen Roman governor gave his sanction to a deed whose foul and impure stain eighteen centuries of national humiliation and suffering have been unable to efface. This spurious, slavish loyalty was not British stuff, this spurious bullying loyalty never grew in his native land. British loyalty wrung on the field of Runnymede from the tyrant king the great charter of English liberty. Aye, "the barons of England, with arms in their hands, demanded and received the great charter of their rights. British loyalty, during a period of three centuries, wrung from tyrant kings thirty different recognitions of that great charter. Aye, and at the glorious era of the Revolution, when the loyal Jeffreys was ready, in his extreme loyalty, to hand over England's freedom and rights into the hands of tyrants, the people of England established the constitution which has maintained England till this day, a great, free and powerful nation.

So fierce was the animosity of the Tory party to the Rebellion Losses Bill that some of them broke out into threats of secession, and clamoured for annexation. The bill however passed on April 26th, 1849. On the afternoon of that day a riotous mob assailed the Governor, Lord Elgin, as he was leaving the Parliament House; but his carriage drove rapidly away, and he thus escaped. Baulked of their object, the mob then turned their attention to burning the Parliament Buildings, to which a torch was applied by a Tory member for a constituency in the Eastern Townships. The Parliament House, with its library, containing historical documents of great value, was totally destroyed. In consequence of this disgraceful outrage, in which the Tory party demeaned itself in a manner worthy of Guy Fawkes, the seat of Government was removed for the next two years to Toronto, the name of York having been changed for the more appropriate Indian designation in 1834. Subsequently, until Ottawa was fixed upon as the seat of Government, the sessions of Parliament were held sometimes at Toronto and sometimes at Quebec.

A period of depression now set in, owing to the English market being opened to the importation of grain from all countries by the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. In 1849 municipal government was organized in Upper Canada, and in the following year in the Lower Province. In 1850 a treaty of reciprocal trade was proposed to the United States Government. At the same time the Clergy Reserves Bid was agitated anew, and a division took place on this question in the Reform ranks, those who advocated the secularization of the Reserves being called "Grits." This was Canada's Railway year. The first lines constructed were the Great Western, Grand Trunk, and Northern.

In 1851 Mr. Hincks became the head of the Ministry. In 1853 a bill for election reform extended the number of representatives in the Lower House from eighty-four to one hundred and thirty. The Reciprocity Treaty with the United States was concluded in 1854. In the same year Lord Elgin was recalled, and the office of Governor-General filled by Sir Edmund Head.

In 1855 the Clergy Reserves question was definately settled by the secularization of the land, and the State in Canada was declared altogether independent of Church connection. In the Lower Province, all the remains of the feudal system, which had long been a hindrance to progress, were swept away, a balance of £636,000 being paid as compensation to the Seigneurs from the Treasury of Un ted Canada. In 1856 a further reform was introduced, by the Legislative Council being made elective, and, as the population and general prosperity of the country increased, additional representation was from time to time secured. The abolition of the longstanding uniqulity of the Clergy Reserves, the most bitter of all the oppressions against which Mackenzie had done battle, was effected. Perhaps no part of the community has been more a gainer by this great act of justice than the ancient historic Church which her bishops had wronged by their persistent efforts to grasp property that was not rightly theirs.

In 1859 the beautiful buildings of our Provincial University were completed amid the surroundings, not unworthy of such an edifice, of the people's chief park m Toronto. The University buildings are, next to the Ottawa Parliament House, the most beautiful in the Dominion, and worthily represent the progressive condition of University education since it was liberated from the mediaeval sectarianism of King's College, Toronto. At the same period the introduction of a decimal coinage put an end to the vexatious anomalies caused by the use of the foreign monetary system of "pounds, shillings and pence," and gave Canada a currency identical with that of the great continent to which she belongs.

In 1860 the magnificent bridge over the St. Lawrence, at Montreal, was opened for use. It ranks among the wonders of the modern world, and as a work of human art is well placed amid some of the finest scenery in Canada. In this same year was laid the foundation of the new Parliament House at Ottawa, a building of which any civilized nation might well be proud.

In 1861 Sir Edmund Head retired from office. He had not been a popular ruler—for rulers in some sense the foreign Governors of Canada still were in his day. But the principle of Responsible Government had been too firmly established as part of the Canadian constitution to be safely assailed, even by a Governor appointed by the Crown. Soon after his withdrawal to England, Sir Edmund Head died without issue, and his baronetcy-expired with him. His successor was Lord Monck, an Irish Peer (and thus an inferior article in English view).

In 1861 broke out that great struggle which was to have such momentous results in the life of the great Republic, our neighbour. It was an hour of peril for Canada. The Jingo party in England, backed by the aristocracy and all the enemies of freedom, wished for nothing more than to involve England in a war with the Republic, and more than once they seemed likely to gain their point. Had this happened, our country would have been the battle-field, our cities and homesteads would have fed the torch, our harvests have been trampled by the armies of England and the United States. War between England and the United States may always be looked on as a possible though not as a probable event in the future, as long as the Jingo party-is influential in England, and the Irish millions who hate England increase, as they must increase, n numbers and power in the States. It is therefore ever increasingly the interest of Canada to keep out of the quarrel, by securing, as soon as may be in her power, the right to stand alone and apart * from the feuds of foreign nations. As it providentially happened, no great harm came to Canada out of this war—except that business was unhealthily stimulated during its continuance by a scale of demand and of price which could not last, and was of course followed by a reaction proportionately violent. The general sympathies of the English Canadians may be considered to have been for the North and Freedom, against the slave-holding South, though the "shoddy aristocracy" at Ottawa thought it a fine thing to echo the English Jingo's hatred of the world's greatest Republic in the hour of her trial.

In 1862 Parliament met at Quebec, and a new administration came into poAver under John Sandfield Macdonald and F. V. Sicotte. Their programme included the double-majority principle in legislation, and the maintenance of the royal choice of OttaAva as the seat of Government. Ottawa has unfortunately proved to be •'' out of the way* of the general current of Canadian intellectual and industrial He, whose true centre is in Toronto. Mr. George BroAvn, who had assumed the leadership of the moderate Reformers, now began to attack from his place in the House, and in the columns of the Globe, of which paper, established in 1844, he was proprietor. He assailed the new Ministry, and upheld with much eloquence the only rational system of representation, that by population, irrespective of a division between the Provinces. In this year died Sir Allan MacNab, was, in spite of his championship of an unpatriotic cause, had done much good service to Canada, and personally was much esteemed. He had long retired from political leadership, the torch of Family Compact and Tory tradition having been handed on to John A. Macdonald, the able and astute member for Kingston. The revolt of the slave-Owning oligarchy in the Southern States was now in full progress. Fortunately, in spite of sympathy on the part of English Toryism, and the attempts of Southern refugees to abuse Canadian hospitality by making our country a basis for raids on the neighbouring Republic, Canada escaped being involved in the war.

In the Parliament of 1863 Mr. George Brown appeared as member for the South Riding of Oxford. The Globe now led the battle in favour of Upper Canada obtaining her just share of increased representation, in consequence of its great advance over Lower Canada m increased population. Public opinion in this Province was, of course, on his side, but the action of the Ministry was then, as it has been so often since, to the detriment of our interest, hampered by the Lower Canadian vote. The Ministry also lost ground with Protestant Reformers, who justly condemned its weakness in yielding to the clamours of the French and Irish Catholics the right to a Separate School system. Sandfield Macdonald, on Parliament being dissolved, tried to regain the support of the Brown section of Reformers by reconstructing his Cabinet. In consequence of this he lost the support of one of the most eloquent orators yet heard in Canadian legislative halls— the Irish patriot, Thomas D'Arcy McGee.

In 1864, the Reciprocity Treaty being withdrawn by the Government of the United States, a season of depression again occurred in Canada. When Parliament met, the Sandfield-Macdonald Ministry w as evidently in a state of collapse. On its resignation a Tory or Conservative Administration was formed by Sir E. P. Tache and Mr. (afterwards Sir George Etienne) Cartier. In this Government John A. Macdonald held office as Attorney-General. But when Parliament met in May, 1864, it was evident that Government could not be efficiently carried on. The scheme for the union of the provinces had resulted in continual dead-lock. Upper Canada would not forego its rightful claim to an increased representation. Lower Canada would not concede the passing of a measure which would force her into a second-rate position.

At this juncture John A. Macdonald for the first time, and on a great scale, displayed the talent for which he has since been distinguished above all other modern politicians, except perhaps the late Lord Beaconsfield—the most valuable political talent of appropriating the ideas of other men, and utilizing them for the advancement of his party. John A. Macdonald had again and again ridiculed the scheme of joint Federal authority, of which Mr. Brown had been an advocate. It was seen by the wily party-leader from Kingston that his opponents had after all been in the right, and that the only escape from anarchy was the separate Provincial Government of Upper and Lower Canada, with a Federal Government of the whole country based on representation by population. But the history of Confederation is of so great importance as to require a chapter to itself. Meanwhile we must notice an influence from without, which had a considerable indirect share in bringing about the federal union of the Provinces which now bear the common name of Canada.

Since the troublous days the American Republic had furnished cities of refuge for the proscribed agents of Irish revolt. There Thomas Addis Emmett, brother of the more gifted but more unfortunate Robert Emmett, was welcomed by the members of the American bar, among whom he rose to eminence. There, without taking into account the unstable and capricious McGee, the really able leaders of young Ireland found a career. With every year, from the dismal 1847, which-the writer so well remembers, the crowds gathered on the Dublin quays, eager to tly from Sligo, dark with famine and pestilence. Thousands upon thousands repeated and twice told over, carried the religion of their fathers, the love for their country, the undying hatred of her oppressors, into the new world. A new and greater Ireland had grown up beyond the Atlantic, whose sons had fought, with the valour which had beaten back the bloody Duke of Cumberland at Eontenoy, the battles of their protectress Republic against the slave-holding South. An organization having for its avowed object the establishment of an independent Irish Republic had been founded in Ireland, and had extensive branches throughout the Northern States and army. It took the name of "Fenian" from the ancient militia of the tribal system of the Brehon era of Irish civilisation. It attempted a revolt in Ireland, of course without any success, for England was then unhampered by foreign wars, and English gold and steel were free to gag and smite. But it cannot be denied, except by the merest haters of all things Irish, such as Mr. Froude and some of his still more eminent literary confreres in England, that the Fenian movement in Ireland called forth the devotion, freely given through years of cruel imprisonment, of men like John O'Leary, Thomas Fuby and John Martin. It is quite true that there has been in connection with the present Irish nationalist movement in the United States a great deal of misfortune, as well as many of those dynamite assassination horrors which would disgrace any cause; but in Ireland, and among the leaders there, this was not the case. Lever, who knew well what he was writing about, has described most truthfully the better side of the early Fenian movement in one of the most graphic of his later novels, "Lord Kilgobbin." It must always be remembered that one wing, and that the most respectable by culture and character, opposed from first to last any proposal to make raids on Canada. It must be remembered also that if such ranis were made there, they were out of no ill-will to the Canadians, but as an indirect means of striking at England. Had Canada been independent, no Fenian would have earned a rifle across her borders. But the guilt of entertaining such a proposal cannot be palliated. It was not only a crime but a mistake. It tended to create bitterness between Canada and the United States, which would surely be the greatest loss to Irish nationalism, as it would tend to strengthen the hold of British connection in Canada, and perpetuate for the use of English Jingoism its only available basis of operations against the United States. Happily the raids of the banditti calling themselves Fenians have never produced that effect. Between Canadian Liberalism and Irish Nationalism there has never been a close alliance. O'Connell was the firm friend of William Lyon Mackenzie, and used all his great influence to advance the victory, in this country, of Responsible Government. And very recently both political parties in the Canadian House of Commons joined forces to support the address expressive of a hope that Ireland might yet enjoy the measure of Home Rule possessed by Canada, which brought out so much British Billingsgate from the English journals, and aroused such intense sympathy in Ireland. As to the question between England and Ireland, a history of Canada does not enter into it, but this much is patent : the position of England is that of a strong man who has taken possession of his weaker neighbour's house. Out of the original wrong-doing has grown hatred, agrarian outrage, murder most foul n myriad-shaped atrocity; but whence come all these evil results, if not from the original wrong-doing? The causes will continue to come home to roost till Ireland is granted the same Home Rule as is enjoyed by Canada. It is easy to declare against the plagues which afflict Egypt, but the plagues will continue till the oppressor ceases to harden his heart and let the oppressed go free. Fortunately for Canada, and fortunately for Irish Nationalism, the Fenian Raids in Canada were en'-rely premature, and could not have gained the smallest measure of permanent success—a fact which showed that the motives of invading peaceful Canada in order to punish English wrongdoing was a military error, as well as a political crime. In American Fenianism there is no doubt that there was a great deal of misfortune anil swindling' which desired to make cheap capital out of an easy and dangerless raid, and so be able to trade on the one intense passion of the Irish American race, hatred of the oppressors of Ireland. At the time it seemed to many people that the Fenian raiders might be dangerous foes. The great war against slavery had just been concluded, and the Fenian raids were mainly manned by veteran soldiers. But their numbers were quite insufficient for any large operations. They were acting against the prevailing sentiment in the United States, where it was felt that to mvade Canadian farms, and frighten the hired girls, was contemptible brigandage, and many a Canadian by adoption who was in thorough sympathy with the struggle of the Irish for Responsible Government and Home Rule, was ;lad to carry a rifle in the ranks of the volunteers who marched against the Fenian marauders in 1866.

In 18G6 the Fenian movement the States became divided into two parties; one under James Stephens, who wished to confine their operations to the proposed liberation of Ireland; the other led by Sweeney, who advocated the senseless plan of advancing Irish interests by making a raid on Canada. In June, 1866, a body of 900 Fenians, well armed, crossed the Niagara River, landin, a httle below the humble village, and once hotly-c.ontested but now-ruinous earthworks, of Fort Frie. They were commanded by a Colonel O'Neil, and mainly consisted of veterans of the late war. They took possession of the village of Fort Frie, and wrought much destruction among the provision stores and whiskey shops, licensed and unlicensed. They destroyed a part of the Grand Trunk Railway track, cut the telegraph wires, and attempted to burn bridges, but did not insult the inhabitants or wantonly injure private property, except to levy forced requisitions for rations. At the same time the United States' armed steamer Michigan entered that part of the river, as f to prevent breaches of international law, but her commander did not trouble himself to interfere with O'Neil's supporters as they crossed the river under his guns. When news of this " invasion " reached the Canadian cities, there was a general feeling of indignation, and the volunteers responded with enthusiasm to the call, promptly given, to march against the invaders of Canada. The present writer was then a lieutenant in the Lennoxville Company of the Sherbrooke Rifle Battalion, commanded by Colonel Bowen, a raid on Montreal being at this tune expected on the Eastern Counties frontier. Most unfortunately, the military reserves of the country were at that crisis in the hands of a Minister of Militia whose habits were such that he was notoriously incompetent to perform his public duties for above a week. Contradictory orders were sent, and steamers bustled hither and thither in most admired disorder. But the volunteer authorities lost no time in hurrying their men to the front. Major-General Napier, without delay, ordered the troops of the popular British service in Toronto and Hamilton districts to the Niagara frontier. Six hundred of the finest young men in Toronto mustered under Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis and Major Gillmor, of the Queen's Own. Hamilton furnished her quota, the 13th Battalion. Lieutenant-Colonel Booker was sent in charge of these volunteer corps to Port Colborne for the purpose of securing the Welland Canal. Most unfortunately the entire armament was under the command of Colonel George Peacoeke, of the i6tli Regiment; a brave officer, no doubt, but from his ignorance of the locality through which he had undertaken to direct the movements of his troops, and from the arrogance of temper, which too often in English officers of the "regular army" disdain to profit by the counsels of "mere colonials," seemed but too likely to make his expedition a second version of that disastrous one of General Braddock, little more than a century before. He sent orders by Captain Akers, who knew the country as little as himself, to instruct the commanding officer at Port Colborne to join the troops urider his command to his own at Stevensville, a village a short distance west of Foit Eric. Akers duly communicated these orders early next day at Port Colboine.

Meantime, at Port Colborne, Lieutenant-Colonel Booker had received intelligence that the Fenian force at Fort Erie was smaller than had been supposed; that it was ill-disciplined and demoralized by drinking and plunder, and in fact afforded material foi an easy victory. He accordingly took on him to reconstruct the entire plans of the expedition. He, with his volunteer force, would proceed by rail to attack the enemy at Fort Erie. Captain Akers and Lieutenant Colonel Dennis might, if Peacocke approved, support the attack with the Welland garrison battery. But Peacocke did not approve, and Booker, altering his plans m deference to his superior officer, took his troops hy train as far as Ridgeway station, whence he marched towards Stevensville. Soon after this his advance guard encountered the Fenian out-posts. O'Neil, having resolved before withdrawing to the States to destroy the locks of the Welland Canal, Colonel Booker and Major Gibson resolved to attack the enemy at once, not doubting that Peacocke and his regulars must be close at hand for their support. They did not realize the fact that by Booker's want of attention to his superior officer's orders, in leaving Port Colborne an hour before the time agreed on, he had thrown into confusion all Colonel Pea-cocke's plans for combining the movements of his troops. Meanwhile the order to advance was given: the Fenians came into view, some few on the road in front of our men, the others firing under the cover of the fences of fields on either side of the road. The volunteers attacked with spirit, and repulsed the enemy's out-posts and first line. Just at this crisis an orderly reached Booker with a despatch from Colonel Peacocke, ordering him to delay his departure from Port Colborne two hours from the time appointed. As Booker, contrary to all the traditions of military duty, had in fact started an hour before the time appointed, it was now but too plainly evident that he could get no support for at least three hours. Meanwhile the Fenian tire poured hotly on the companies of brave young volunteers, who, without any hope ot support, were then exposed to a far superior force of veteran soldiers. A cooler head might yet have carried the day by a brisk attack on either flank, but Booker seems to have lost all presence of mind, and as a rumour reached him that a body of "Fenian cavalry" was approaching it being well known that the United States army at that time had very little cavalry, and the Fenians none at all, Booker ordered Major Gillmor to "form his men into square to resist cavalry," which manoeuvre massed the unfortunate volunteers into a dense phalanx, the easiest of targets for the enemy's rifles. When Gillmor noticed the mistake he tried to form into line once more, but it was too late. Something very like panic possessed the troops, the rear companies fell back in disorder, and the word was given to retreat.

It is only veteran troops that can be safely manoeuvred when under a heavy fire, and only these when they have full confidence in their leaders. The volunteers were a few companies of imperfectly drilled college lads, lawyers' clerks and business employees. I am told by more than one volunteer captain present at that skirmish, that what contributed most to the panic was the certainty that "someone had blundered." Number One Company, Queen's Own, held the rear guard, the post of honour in a retreat, and marched out of the field in good order. The Trinity College and University Companies distinguished themselves by their grand gallantry; they took skirmishing order and fired on the enemy as calmly as if on parade. The Fenians pursued, but did not, fortunately, understand the full extent of their advantage, or know that they had Booker's troops at their disposal, without hope of reinforcement for the next two hours, or they might have followed up their success with much more disastrous results to our brave volunteers. As it was, the loss to the Canadians was one officer and eight men killed, six officers and twenty-six men wounded. The officer killed on the field was the gallant young Ensign McEachren, whom the present writer knew well when he served in Number One Company of the Queen's Own, from which corps he exchanged into the Sherbrooke Battalion, having occasion to remove to the Eastern Townships of the Province of Ontario short'1, before the Fenian raid took place. When McEachren fell, Dr. S. May, then serving as assistant-surgeon, rushed forward under a heavy fire to rescue, him, but found life extinct. Worse consequences stilll may be expected from a system which makes the appointment of volunteer officers a political perquisite of the Ottawa Government, a Government of whom it is no breach of charity to suppose that -n the future, as in the past, they will have no scruple whatever in committing the defences of the country to incompetent officers :n order to subserve the omnivorous needs of part\, It is well that a more disastrous defeat did not follow on drunkenness m the Council and incompetence in the presence of the enemy.

In the following year the Dominion Government lost one of its most influential outside members (a phrase by which I mean to designate one whose political training had not been that of the party and its leaders), Thomas D'Arcy McGee. This eccentric luminary of Irish, New York, and Montreal politics, began as one of the many orators of the young Ireland movement mi 1847-8. Helped to escape from Ireland by the kindness of a Catholic bishop, McGee next appeared as a journalist in New York, where he quarrelled with the Catholic Church. Thence to Montreal, where, from the way in which his name had been connected with Irish revolt against English rule, McGee was for a time all-powerful with the Irish vote. His first attachment was to the Reformers, whom he left for the camp of their opponents. His most successful speeches were in advocacy of Confederation, but in proportion as he expressed admiration for English institutions^ his popularity with the Montreal Irish began to change into hatred. At two a.m. on April the 6th, he had left the House of Commons, after delivering what was considered a brilliant speech. He had returned to his boarding house, and was about to open the door with his latch key, when, shot from behind by an assassin's pistol, he fell dead. It is a comfort to know that the cowardly murderer was detected and hanged.

Canada showed her gratitude and regret by voting a pension of ^300 to McGee's widow. McGee has left to Ireland and to Canada nothing that will live. He was here, as there, "the comet of a season." It is worth noting that poor McGee had, from the convivial habits natural to his light-hearted countrymen, fallen for some time into drinking habits. One of his best speeches before Confederation was delivered while under the influence of liquor. When it was finished, the last firework of the peroration shot off, the actor sank back incapably drunk into the aims of a friend. It is possible that this, which took place at Lennoxville, in the Eastern Town ships, may have been a mere tour de force, the speech having been, as all McGee's speeches were, memorized previously to delivery, and thus easily thrown off by the brain already charged with it. My authority for the anecdote was a captain of the Lennoxville Company, n which I was lieutenant. However this may be, the fact is sufficiently notorious, that McGee used to di ilk very hard. A year before his death he became a total abstainer, and not even when in a severe illness, and when his physician assured him that brandy was necessary, would he expose himself to the temptation of its taste. McGee was, to the last hour of his life, faithful to his pledge. In this he has set a good example to some leading statesmen of Ihi party, for of what use can it be for a party leader to make speechifications to temperance deputations, and catch the temperance vote, while his own life, that of a bar-room loafer from his first entrance into politics, continues its mockery of cynical comment in his professions, and Snakes men talk of the political corruption of those m high place? What use can it be to expect anything else from men who do not begin by being personally pure, whose conversation would pollute the ears of any virtuous young man whose souls have been, for half a century, steeped in alcohol r Can we exaggerate the moral effect for good on the English people of the life of such a ruler as Gladstone, a life sincere, pure, temperate in all things? Whoever would venture to repeat in Mr. Gladstone's presence some of the full-flavored anecdotes in which some of our Ottawa statesmen are said to delight would meet cold looks and prompt dismissal.


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