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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part I: Chapter XXXI. Recent Years


THE Hon. William McDougall had been rewarded for his defection from the Liberal camp by being appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Territories, and had proceeded with his family into that "far country," where none doubted that a suitable field would present itself for his undeniable abilities, and in demonstrating the interests of which, and its importance to Ontario and Canadians in general, some of the ablest efforts of his life had been detected. He was undoubtedly the right man to rule Manatoba. So every one thought, excepting the Manitobans themselves, who were then half-breeds, and like most half-breeds, inherited the vices of their double descent. They were voyagenrs and courcurs des hoi, hunters, horse dealers, a suspicious and iritable race, who were easily reduced to believe that the plan adopted by the Ottawa Government was a device for dispossessing them of their lands, and were m revolt shortly before the arrival of Governor McDougall. Their leader was Louis Riel, a half-breed, of considerable influence, of a daring, subtle, and malignant disposition. Associated with him were Ambrose Lepine and John Bruce. They had soon a force of four hundred armed men, and seized Fort Garry and other points. Governor McDougall was notified to leave the territory under pain of death before nine o'clock the next day. He did not get a fair chance to show what he could do. The Hudson's Bay officers who, had they chosen to suppprt him, could have stamped out this contemptible rebellion in a day, were only too much m sympathy with Riel and his cause. This dog-m-the-manger policy was about to meet a deserved rebuff by Ontario's assuming the management of the magnificent country of whose products they had long held the most selfish of monopolies. The only other power that could and would have pacified the rebels, Bishop Tache, was absent in Rome.

Meantime some fifty Canadians banded themselves together under the leadership of Dr. Schultz. They were seized by Riel and confined in the fort, whence after three weeks' imprisonment, Schultz managed to escape. Riel threatened to have him shot d recaptured, and events soon showed that the half-breed would have kept his word. Fortunately Schiltz escaped to Ontario. A second attempt was made to vindicate the authority of Canada by about a hundred men under Major Boulton, but Boulton, with forty others, was captured and sentenced to death. The Catholic and Protestant clergy with much difficulty saved his life. But among the prisoners was a young man named Thomas Scott, a thorough adherent of the Canadian cause, a Protestant and an Orangeman, and for both reasons regarded by Riel with vindictive hate. Riel had him. tried by a mock "court-martial," and sentenced to be shot on the following morning. In vain did Methodist Missionary Young and others beg a reprieve. At noon Scott was blindfolded, and led to a spot a few yards from the fort. He was ordered to kneel, and a volley was fired, three bullets piercing his body. One of the tiring party then put a revolver to the wretched victim's head, and fired. This, however, did not end the agony, for Scott was heard to groan as the coffin was carried away.

It will hardly be believed that Sir John A. Macdonald had the temerity to condone this, the foulest crime known to Canadian history, and to allow the murderers of Scott to escape all punishment. He was the slave of his French allies, who of course sided with their compatriots and co-religionists. It will scarcely be believed that the Orangemen, instead of being true to their principles, and demanding justice for the murder of a member of their order, again and again voted into power the men and the Ministry on whose head rests to this day the unavenged blood of Thomas Scott. A fiasco of Fenian revolt in 1871 once more alarmed the country, and another attempt at a raid was made on the Missisquoi frontier. The Imperial authorities were now under the influence of a doctrine most forcibly put forward in a series of letters by Professor Goldwin Srn th, and published in the Fondon Daily News, that the colonies would be better off, more self reliant, and less burdensome to England, if they were independent. In accordance with this just and statesmanlike view, it waft resolved to withdraw the soldiers employed to garison Canadian cities, with the exception of a few troops stationed at Halifax, on account of the necessity for that port being retained as a naval depot. This withdrawal of the foreign soldiers was, in every respect, a gain to Canada. Every vice followed in the tram of the regiment. Drunkenness and prostitution are notoriously most prevalent in garrison towns, and the artificial would-be aristocratic manner of the men tended to create a vicious social tone, to disgust young Canadians with the industries of peace, and to teach our fine ladies to disapprove of the simpler ways of their own countrymen. It was a good day for Canada when the

last regiment marched down the historic hill where Wolfe and Montcalm and Montgomery fell. New retribution fell on the Macdonald Cabinet in the revelation of its full connection with the Pacific Scandal disclosures, which are too recent in the public mind to need repetition here.

The history of Ontario, the premier Province of Canada, the only one entirely solvent and entirely Liberal, is that happiest of all histories, one with few marked events, and a quiet progress of self-improvement and beneficent, because practical, administration. Under Mr. Mowat's Government economical rule has been carried out to a degree unanproached as yet by any Province in the Dominion. Party, at least on the main issues which divide the contending factions at Ottawa, has been banished from the Provincial Councils, appointments in the Civil Service have been made, not from a party standpoint, but on the sole grounds of efficiency for the public service, and, as a consequence, a Government has been established solid in the confidence and in the affections of the people. The ghost of the Family Compact has, n vain, attempted to do evil with its old weapons, calumny and corruption—the former has proved its own refutation, the latter is now in the criminal's dock of our Police Court.


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